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APPENDIX 2

MARCION'S TREATMENT OF THE NEW
TESTAMENT

MARCION'S New Testament consisted only of St. Luke's gospel and
the epistles of St. Paul—excluding the pastoral epistles and Hebrews—
both in edited versions (see above, pp. xiv sqq.). This appendix lists the
more significant of his omissions and alterations.

THE GOSPEL

(For details and evidence see also Harnack, Marcion, pp. 183*-240*.)

Omitting chapters I and 2, and most of 3 and 4 [the nativity, the
baptism and temptation, with the genealogy, and all reference to Bethle-
hem and Nazareth], Marcion's gospel begins with 3: 1, In the fifteenth
year of Tiberius Caesar,
and 4: 31, God descended into Capernaum, a city of
Galilee.
Thereafter the narrative continues until in ch. 8 he omits verse
19 [the statement that Christ's mother and brethren were present], but
retains vv. 20, 21 [the announcement of their alleged arrival]. In ch. 9
he omits [all reference to Jairus], but retains the episode of the woman
with an issue. In 10: 21 he omits [Father], along with and of earth. In 11:
29-32 he omits [the reference to Jonah]. At 11:42 he reads vocation instead
of judgement, klh~sin for kri/sin: he omits also 11: 49-51 [the reference to
the Wisdom of God]. In ch. 12 he retains verse 5, whom ye shall fear,
making it refer to the Creator, but omits vv. 6 and 7 [five sparrows and
the hairs of your head], and in verse 8 reads before God instead of before the
angels of God:
he omits verse 28 [the grass in the field], and in w. 30 and
32 reads the Father [omitting your]: and in verse 38 reads at the evening
watch.
In ch. 13 he omits vv. 1-5 [of the Galilaeans murdered by Pilate,
and those killed by the tower of Siloam]: for verse 28 he reads, When ye
shall see all the just in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast out and bound
without, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth:
omitting w. 29-35
[they shall come from east and west: go and tell that fox: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem].
In ch. 15 he omits w. 11-32 [the prodigal son] but retains the lost coin
and the lost sheep. At 17: 10 he omits [say, We are unprofitable servants etc.],
and in vv. 11-19 he reads, There met him ten men that were lepers and he
sent them away saying, Shew yourselves to the priest,
inserting here apparently
4: 27, Then were many lepers in Israel etc. At 18: 19 he reads God the Father,


644

APPENDIX 2 

and at verse 20, I know the commandments: he omits vv. 31-3 [Behold we go
up etc
.]. In ch. 19 he omits vv. 28-46 [the journey to Jerusalem, the
triumphal entry, and If thou hadst known etc.]. He omits 20: 9-18 [the
parable of the wicked husbandmen] and vv. 37-8 [with the mention of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]. In ch. 21 he omits vv. 1-17 [with the re-
ference to the temple treasury, the widow's two mites, and the question
When shall these things be?, with most of our Lord's answer], but retains
verse 18, a hair of your head, omitting vv. 21-2 [Then let them that are in
Judaea etc
.]. In ch. 22 he omits verse 16 [I will not again eat etc.] and w.
35-8 [When I sent you out, and Here are two swords etc.] as well as w. 39-51
[Gethsemane: the arrest: the high priest's servant]. In ch. 23 he adds
to verse 2, and destroying the law and the prophets and perverting women and
children:
and omits verse 43 [Today shall thou be with me]. At 24: 25 he
reads, to believe all that I have spoken to you, omitting w. 26-7 [and beginning
at Moses etc.
]: he also omits vv. 32-6 [and they said one to another etc.] and
w. 44-6 [These are the words etc.]: he retains verse 47, and that repentance
should be preached etc.,
but omits vv. 48-53 [And behold I send the promise . . .
returned to Jerusalem . . . blessing God
].

THE EPISTLES

GALATIANS

At 1: 1 Marcion read By Jesus Christ who raised himself from the dead, and
at 1: 7 inserted the word pa&ntwj or omnino, which in fact makes the apostle's
meaning clear. He omitted 1: 18-24 [the visit to Jerusalem and the
meeting with Cephas and James, followed by retirement to Syria and
Cilicia]. He retained 2: 1 and 2, but seems to have altered them by insert-
ing a summary of vv. 18-24. He omitted 2: 6-9a [the consultation with
James, Cephas, and John], but retained 9b and 10 [omitting Barnabas].
He omitted 3: 6-9 [even as Abraham believed God . . . are blessed with
faithful Abraham
] and altered 3: 10-12 into Learn that the just shall live
by faith: for they that are under the law are under a curse, but he that hath done
them shall live in them.
Also 3: 14 was altered into Therefore we received the
blessing of the Spirit by faith
(reading eu0logi/an for e0paggeli/an). He omitted
3: 15-25 [a man's testament: the covenant and the law: the promise to
Abraham: the seed to whom the promise was made: the law a pedagogue]
and altered 3: 26 to Ye are all the sons of faith. He omitted also 3: 27-4: 2
[baptized into Christ: heirs according to promise]. At 4: 3 he read Again
I speak after the manner of men, When we were children etc.,
but omitting from
verse 4 [born of a woman], and in verse 6 reading When ye were sons.
He probably retained 4: 11-20, though this is not commented on by
Tertullian: 4: 21-6 was retained but seriously altered, with 'expositions'
for 'covenants' in verse 24 and, after that, Another that gendereth above all


APPENDIX 2 

645

principality and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in
this world but also in that which is to come
(from Ephesians 1: 21) and The
holy church our mother, to whom we have made promise.
He omitted 4:
27-30 [Rejoice thou barren etc.: cast out the bondwoman etc.]. Chapters 5 and 6
were no doubt retained: at least there were no tendentious removals.
Summary of omissions: 1: 18-24; 2: 6-9a; 3: 6-9 and parts of
10-12; 3: 14a and 15-25; 4: 27-30; with extensive alteration of
4: 21-6.

I CORINTHIANS

It appears that Marcion kept most of this epistle unaltered. At 6: 20
he read glorificate et portate. He probably curtailed chapter seven, leaving
out such references to marriage as he disapproved of. At 10: 11 he may,
with a very slight change, have made the apostle say These things happened
not for examples.
1 There was apparently some manipulation of 14: 35,
and he seems to have omitted all or most of 15: 1-11: according to the
scriptures
(twice) would certainly have to go. At 15: 38 either he or his
successors read God giveth it a spirit.

II CORINTHIANS

At 1: 3 Marcion read Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Tertul-
lian's next reference is to 1: 20, and then to 2: 14-17: he does not note
every detail. The following seem to be tendentious alterations. At 3:
14 Marcion read the thoughts of the world, for their thoughts: and at 3: 18
he read the Lord of spirits. At 4: 10 he read bearing about the dying of the
Lord
and that the life also of Christ. He misread 5: 17 as If there be any new
creation in Christ.
At 7: 1 he read every defilement of flesh and blood, connect-
ing this with 11:2, present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

ROMANS

Marcion omits part of 1: 3 [was made of the seed of David etc.], and
the whole section 1: 19-2: 1 [on God the Creator]. He appears to
have retained most of the next few chapters, though he omitted 3:
31-4: 25 [concerning the law: Abraham our father: the promise: circum-
cision]. Chapter 9 is omitted [7 speak the truth in Christ etc.: Jacob and
Esau: Pharaoh: the remnant], but 10: 1—4, My heart's desire for Israel,
(strangely) is retained. He omits 10: 5-11: 32 [with its many Old Testa-
ment quotations], but retains 11: 33, 34, O the depth etc. In ch. 12 Tertul-
lian alludes to verses 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19: but 12: 1 [present your bodies]
must have been removed. There are references to parts of chapters 13
and 14. After 14: 23 he added Grace be with you. Chapters 15 and 16
[personal matters: future plans: greetings] were omitted altogether.
1 tau~t' a0tupikw~j sune/bainen.


646

APPENDIX 2 

 

THESSALONIANS

In these epistles Marcion made no serious omissions. At 2 Thess.
1: 8 he excised [in flaming fire], and at 2 Thess. 2: 11 he read and it will
become to them for an incitement to error.

LAODICEANS

i.e. EPHESIANS. He appears to have omitted 1: 21 [far above all
principality and power] and 5: 30 [members of his body]. At 5: 31 he
made 'this' feminine, so as to refer to the church, and at 6: 2 he omitted
[which is the first commandment with promise].

COLOSSIANS

The most significant omission was of 1: 15, 16 [the first-begotten of all
creation, for in him etc
.]. At 1: 17 the Marcionite Latin version had
ante omnes.

PHILIPPIANS

At 1: 15 Marcion translated, or interpreted, 'of goodwill' as if it
meant 'by the good reputation of the word'. At 1: 21 he read for to
me to live in Christ and to die is joy.


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Ernest Evans(ed), Tertullian: Adversus Marcionem. © Oxford University Press. 1972.  Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.

Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1972
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2002

Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press
SPIonic font, free from here.


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