Marcion of Sinope - The Heretic who created his own Bible
Marcion of Sinope was born in either 85CE or 110CE, depending on which author you believe. What is known is that he was a prosperous ship owner, the Stavros Niarchos of his time, and that Marcion died in 160CE.
Travelled to Rome
When Marcion travelled to Rome he went with the intention of altering the infant Christian church. In the years after his arrival in Rome, he worked out his own theological system and began to organize his followers into a separate community.
Marcion was excommunicated by the Church at Rome in 144. When he was condemned as a heretic, he founded a church of his own. Most of what is known is obtained from the writings of his religious opponents.
He was considered heretical because he couldn’t bring himself to believe that the vengeful God of the Old Testament was the same God who was so loving in the New Testament.
I wonder if he ever considered that there were three Gods, much like the Hindu Trimurti, where Shiva the Destroyer accompanies Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver. The ‘Brahma’ God could have been the God of the book of Genesis, who created the world in six days. In the rest of the Old Testament, the ‘Shiva’ God took over and was present in the Ark of the Covenant as the Israelis smote their enemies. In the New Testament, the ‘Vishnu’ version was represented as a more protective God.
Marcion thought Jesus Christ was the saviour sent by God and that Paul was his chief apostle. Marcion believed that Christianity was distinct from Judaism and that Jesus was not Judaism’s promised Messiah. Jesus’ role was to introduce the ‘new’ caring God of the New Testament, who was to replace the spiteful God of the Old Testament.
Marcion was the first person to produce a Christian list of the books that he considered authoritative. From the Bible that’s known today, Marcion included only ten of the epistles attributed to St Paul and the Gospel of Luke – for according to Marcion, these were the only books that contained the true teachings of Paul.
Marcion accepted only Luke’s gospel because he believed that in Galatians Paul had specified that there was only one gospel, and if anyone should preach a gospel other than this then that person was unchristian in their beliefs. As Luke accompanied Paul on some of his journeys in Asia Minor, Marcion believed the one true gospel was Luke's.
St Paul's Epistles
Marcion rejected the Old Testament, believing that it was of no value to Christians. And even though Marcion believed Paul was the chief apostle of Jesus, he accepted only 10 of Paul's Epistles, which he called the Apostolikon.
These ten were: Colossians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians (called Laodiceans by Marcion), Galatians (which he considered his blueprint), Philemon, Philippians, Romans, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Marcion didn’t stop there though because he did edit some of Paul’s work. References to the Old Testament, God, or any statements that differed with Marcion’s understanding of what Paul meant to write, were removed from the text.
Tags: Marcion , Heresy , St Paul , Jesus , Church , Bible , Christian , Christianity , Epistles , Corinthians
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