Markus Vinzent's Blog

Thursday, 24 November 2016

I am in the process of reading your book ‘Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels’ ...

Today I had a reader giving a fantastic summary of my argument and asked great questions, for which I am extremely grateful:

I am in the process of reading your book Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels’ and wanted to make sure I am understanding your argument correctly before I use it in my essay.

Put in simple terms- Marcion's gospel was the first, however it was a draft and he did not put his name on it. 

>correct (as authors did not put their names on either drafts or texts not meant to be published, or other people's texts - although the latter sometimes happened as one can see in pseudepigraphy. But Marcion did not write anything pseudepigraphical, the letters of Paul which he collected, he correctly gave as the letters of Paul, and Colossians and Laodiceans[=Ephesians] he certainly took for authentically Paul's letters). 
The four gospels used/plagiarised it, and rewrote it with additions concerning Christianity's link to Judaism. 
>correct again, that is what Marcion, according to Tertullian, states (you can also check my new monograph on this topic Tertullian's Preface to Marcion's Gospel, Leuven:Peeters 2016). 

This angered him, did he then rewrite another one? Taking out the things they added concerning Judaism? 
>It angered him, as he saw his intention distorted. He did not write another one (perhaps only slightly updated it), but now he decided to publish it together with the preface on which Tertullian relies, and together with 10 Pauline Letters. This is the book, he called by the term he now coined as "The New Testament" to make it absolutely clear, that this New Testament should not be linked (as in the plagiarising Gospels) with what already Paul called the Old Testament (now by Marcion taken als a book). 

If this is correct, would it be possible to form an argument that it may be true Christianity therefore did not come from Jewish roots as he wrote the original doctrine and none of the links were included? Or is it more reasonable to say that due to his determination to make Christianity separate he just didn't include the obvious links to Judaism? And the four gospels realised this and therefore rewrote it including the important common tradition?
>I would think along a middle line between your two thoughts. Don't forget, even if you want to distinguish yourself from what you now construct to be 'Judaism', you start from this construction of yours. And in this regard the 'New' is not such a novelty as you want to have it. And in this regard, Marcion is not fundamentally different from those who plagiarised them - the difference lies in that he consciously wanted to dissociate himself and what he perceived and even termed to be 'Christianity' from what he saw to be 'Judaism' and begin a separate heresy and tradition, whereas his plagiarisers saw 'Christianity' as heirs of the Jewish tradition which disinherited all those other Jews who from now on were no longer regarded as 'verus Israel' (true Israel), as Justin states. 

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