Thursday, November 17, 2016

Matthew, the Perverted Gospel of Galatians

Christ and Peter walk on water, 
Fresovo taken from Matthew 14:28-31 
Dura-Europos (mid 3rd century?)






Most scholars when they hear Marcionite priority assume this means that the first Gospel was Marcion's and all other are dependent upon it. But Paul is still regarded generally as before the Gospels. Both assumptions are wrong. Marcionite priority merely means the first publicly circulating Gospel was the Marcionite. The letters of Paul are in earlier form in Marcion's collection, but their relationship to the Gospel is less clear, as we shall see with Galatians. [1]

The entire purpose of the first Gospel was to spread the word of Christ throughout the Roman Empire. And not surprising it was sectarian, the Marcionite Gospel. Other main sect, the proto-Orthodox, quickly found themselves at a disadvantage in this new game of evangelism, where itinerant teachers (Apostles).

Galatians letter presents a picture if a divided movement. One where Paul finds his authority challenged, with rivals dismiss his teachings, and present a completely different version of Christ. This letter, even more clearly in Marcionite form, presents a scenario where the first teachings of Paul have been overturned. What then is this new Christianity Paul confronts?  How is it that this new and different message has become such a threat that it required such strong a response?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Trouble with Sources - Never Salute a Marcionite

The Church Fathers, an 11th-century
Kievan miniature from Svyatoslav's 
There are three primary sources for the specific content and text of the Marcionite New Testament, Tertullian's Adversus Marcionem, Epiphanius' Panarion book 42, and the first two parts of Dialogue Adamantius. Each has their own problems. Tertullian's use of paraphrase and reference to the Catholic text at times with out notice. Epiphanius is writing much later than the others, and his source text shows signs of having been adjusted here and there toward the Catholic text in the interim.

Yet it is Dialogue Adamantius which is the most difficult. John Clabeaux states (page 12, A Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul),
'The Dial. Adam. is clearly artificial (Adamantius Dialogue xv). There are two claims by the title character (1.5 and 5.22) that he used a Marcionite Apostolikon. These claims, in light of the research of this study, are untenable. The author's claims, even if they are taken seriously, contain two major limitations: They do not speak for every Pauline citation in Dial. Adam.; and (2) when Adamantius says "ἐκ τοῦ αὐτῶν ἀποστολικοῦ" (5.22), he may merely be referring to those letters of Paul which the Marcionites accepted, without implying a reference to the text that is in fact used (catholic or Marcionite).'

Monday, March 30, 2015

John The Baptist: From the Marcionite to the Canonical

John the Baptist, 6th Century Icon 
St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai

John the Baptist appears in every canonical gospel as well as the Marcionite gospel. He is a key character playing a prominent role in each gospel. But there are subtle differences in the portrayal of his role and how it fits or doesn't in each author's presentation. What these differences are and how they came about is what I hope to answer in this survey of each gospels presentation.

The Evolving Character of John the Baptist

The character of John the Baptist figures prominently in the Gospels. We are all familiar with the scene on the Jordan where John is Baptizing, and then when Jesus is Baptized the sky opens and a voice is heard. And we are familiar with the Malachi and Isaiah references that introduce John and his preaching. But this is information that can get in the way of understanding how the character came to be so prominent in the Gospels and understanding how his role started and evolved.

So for this presentation, I am going ask you to forget everything we think we know about John and start with a fresh reading, as if for the first time. Beginning the Marcionite Gospel, and analyzing only what we find in that Gospel to understand John within the context of that writing. From there we will expand into the other Gospels to see how the character developed.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Gospel of John: Context of Authorship

John, Book of Kells (800 CE)
The Gospel of John is very different from the Synoptic Gospels in composition and content. But it is also very different in theology, and it is my aim to demonstrate it's dependence and opposition to the Synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew and Mark, and the Catholic theology they espouse. Although I am treading on ground already covered by Joseph Turmel some ninety years ago, and more recently by Roger Parvus,  [1] there is still much to be learned by a comparison between John and the Synoptic  Gospels in Catholic form. To that end I will survey some of the most obvious passages without attempting to splice the layers, with the hope of demonstrating the allegorical meaning the original author intended.

In surveying the content of the Gospel of John today with knowledge of the second century controversies, I am struck by the consistent and blunt repudiation of the Jewish God as the father of Christ, and more generally its opposition against every Jewish Christian theological point we find presented in the rest of the New Testament. It is truly a wonder this book, even with redaction, ever made it into canon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Video Hello

Although I have been building this blog up for the last two years, I have only done so with written articles. But today I am going to add a video element, an introduction to my blog that I should have done a year or so ago. The purpose is to put a face on the blog, albeit late at night and unshaven, and give a brief explanation about the current state of the blog.

This comes at an important time in the blog, as I am busily preparing the critical text version of ten letter Marcionite Apostolikon for formal publication. What is up on the website can be considered rough draft form. It is my hope that publishing a critical text and commentary on the Marcionite form of Paul that people will get a clearer picture of the development of the Pauline letters. My plan is to follow on with a commentary on the Catholic editor(s), in which I discuss the deliberate additions and the theology they wish to support. Eventually (and I mean two to three years from now) I hope to also produce a critical text of the Marcionite Gospel and the Antithesis. It truly amazes me this has not been done to date, that no Professor has tasked some grad students to work on a reproduction of the Marcionite Gospel. In truth Harnack's reproduction can only be considered first pass, and not by any means a definitive critical version.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Marcionite Loadiceans (aka Ephesians)

Ƿ46 Ephesians 1:1-11
The Laodiceans epistle sat 7th in the Marcionite collection. And in many ways this was the most challenging of any for me to attempt a reproduction, due both to its interwoven textual relationship with other epistles, notably Romans in the western text and Colossians, and the lack of an easy textual guide such as Swanson's to view textual variants which might be missing in the commentary of Metzger. On the plus side I found a few wonderful sites, one of which have the entire texts and plate, like the one to the right,  of P46 (along with other Papyrii) and another with Codex Sinaitiacus, and yet another for Codex Vaticanus. [1] But fortunately most of the analysis doesn't require delving into textual variants - and mind you many of those are simply transmission errors, of the sort we see in any manuscript - but instead focuses on the separation of Catholic elements from Marcionite in the unattested text; the goal being to arrived at a minimalist text that has extremely probability of actually being in the Marcionite version. The resulting text is striking and direct.

Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 5.17.1, informs us straight out that Marcion's version of Ephesians with titled to the Laodiceans (ad Laodicenos).  What is more striking is that there was no address in the Marcionite version, exactly as we see in the picture provided of P46 nor in Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus (B), 1739, 424 nor miniscule 6,was any space left for an address, effectively shooting down the Lückenhypothese. However Tertullian suggests that Paul when writing to some was writing to all (cum ad omnes apostolus scripserit dum ad quosdam) does suggest the encyclical idea might be possible. But it seems more likely the author never gave an address, and all Marcion did was add Πρὸς Λαοδικέας as the superscription when the collection was put  together. This clearly shows Colossians 4:16 and the so-called Marcionite Latin Prologue to Colossians are dependent upon Laodiceans/Ephesians in Marcionite form.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Mystery of Mark, Part Three, Catholic Editor and/or Author

Mark, Slavonic Dobrylo Gospel (1164 CE)
With the completion of my cataloging the unique phrases in the Gospel of Mark I am able to get back to answering the questions about authorship, ending my article writing hiatus. I’d like to say my siesta was the result of the difficult work in compiling the list, but in truth the fault lies more in procrastination. But perhaps that is a good thing after all, as it gave me a chance to reflect and figure out how to present the true nature of the Gospel of Mark.

In compiling the unique phrases and words in Mark I found I had to differentiate between words which are basically a similar word found in another Gospel, which may have more to do with the voice Mark chose or other grammatical need and those which constitute an actual thought or fact which is unique in Mark. The latter are what we are examining here in the context of identifying finally the Catholic editor and the Author.