Markus Vinzent's Blog

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Marcion and Paul's Letters

Being asked from a reader of this blog, I sent the following response:
The question of the nature of Paul's letter needs a thorough examination. The last attempt to do this was Schmid's book ( Schmid, Ulrich, Marcion und sein Apostolos (Berlin a.o., 1995), but it was done entirely on the other assumption that Marcion was a big redactor, hence the model how he went about the Gospel was also used for that of his use of Paul's letters.

Now, I think, we can see from Tertullian that Marcion was indeed handling the Gospel very differently from Paul's letters and that he did neither forge the letters, nor wrote them in the name of Paul, but that he, indeed, collected those and, only occasionally as Schmid shows, corrects and deviates from the text as we have them today. Yet, it is clear, having done some research on these texts (far from being substantial enough to form a final opinion with regards to most details of the letters), that the letters were different to some extent from what we have today and were, indeed, post Marcion redacted in an anti-Marcionite way. Take the example of Romans. Romans, in Marcion's collection, ended with chapter 14. He did not shorten it, but it was later broadened. Similarly, the opening of 1Corinthians 15 did not display the reference that Paul has taken his information from others, and such references were not cut out by Marcion, but introduced to make Paul depending from the Apostles. Without having done a full examination (which is a huge job and needs to be done in the future), I think, we can build on Schmid's work, but need to revise the assumptions, and, therefore, will also come to very different results,