Markus Vinzent's Blog

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

"Pan-Marcionism" - not a bad idea! Lionel Wickham's 'Times Literary Supplement' Review of Markus Vinzent, Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity

Lionel Wickham in the below review, published on 6 January 2012 in the Times Literary Supplement summarizes my findings as "Pan-Marcionism". And yet, it is like reading Tertullian Against Marcion - most of the rhetoric's catchy polemics are quite revealing of what Marcion intended, even if he himself not always expressed it in the sharp and distinct way as his extremely skilled critic did.
Having reflected about Wickham's "Pan-Marcionism" label - I agree that only since Marcion came to Rome, Christianity developed to what it became, a religion distinct from Judaism and another cult amongst the Roman religions with its own writings, liturgy and communities. If, as further work on Marcion's Gospel only confirms, he started off the writing of Gospels, it was with this literary genre and content that Marcion impacted and shaped all of what we know today as being 'Christian' - hence, the label "Pan-Marcionism" for "Christianity" is not bad at all and admissable, although only with one big reserve: Christianity, as it developed post Marcion, was based on his foundations, but his colleages did not embrace all of his ideas - on the contrary, most (but not all - so no 'Pan') who accepted his basic writings and ideas, also quickly corrected and developed these further. But I maintain that the readings of the texts in the book reviewed below are not amassing absurdities or building on silence or conjectures, but gathers evidence and tries to interpret them as best as I can.
That all authors up to the end of the 2nd century call Christian Easter the celebration of Christ's death is not an argument e silentio, not a conjecture or absurdity, but a simple fact which has been criticized in the 3rd c.  by Origen who blames his colleagues as bad linguists, because not knowing Hebrew they derived 'Pascha' from 'paschein' = suffering (although Origen does not mention that already the Jew Philo was of the same opinion as Origen's Christian colleagues).
Again that the baptismal question read: 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ who was born and suffered' is not conjecture, but shows that Christ's birth and suffering was core to baptism, according to Rom. 6. Why we find 'passum', but not death in the Apostle's Creed and in the Nicene Creed, I leave this question to the reader of earlier studies (Die Entstehung des römischen Glaubensbekenntnisses, in: Kinzig, Wolfram/ Markschies, Christoph/Vinzent, Markus, Tauffragen und Bekenntnis. Studien zur sogenannten Traditio Apostolica, zu den Interrogationes de fide und zum Römischen Glaubensbekenntnis, AzK, 74 [Berlin: de Gruyter 1999], 185-410; Der Ursprung des Apostolikums im Urteil der kritischen Forschung, FKDG 89 [Goettingen: Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht 2006]). But the resurrection, indeed, only comes into the creed at a later stage.
I am glad that this time (see JEH 58 [2007]), the reviewer did not believe that what he read was 'repetitive', 'of no importance' and 'worth only a footnote', but 'stimulating'.

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