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OF those movements, either within or on the verge of Christianity,
which took their rise and reached their full development largely
within the second century, Marcionism was among the most
significant. Marcion himself had come to Rome from Sinope per-
haps as early as A.D. 130. The Roman church received him,
apparently as a Christian already: though one report says that
it demanded written proof of his orthodoxy. As a shipowner by
profession he seems to have been a man of wealth, for he made
the church a present of 200,000 sesterces, which were returned
to him when shortly afterwards he left the church or was expelled
from it. At this point his peculiar doctrines, hitherto undetected,
and perhaps carefully concealed, received fuller expression and
wider dissemination, with the establishment of a new society,
a church which within half a generation expanded throughout
the known world, vigorous enough to be in almost every place
a serious rival to the catholic church, and with strong enough con-
victions to retain its expansive power for more than a century,
and to survive heathen persecution, Christian controversy, and
imperial disapproval for several centuries more.

        It is perhaps unfortunate that most of our information about
Marcion and his doctrines is derived from those who undertook
to controvert him: but it by no means follows that their informa-
tion is incorrect. Indeed there is remarkable agreement among
them. He is first mentioned by Justin Martyr who, writing per-
haps A.D. 155, says (Apology I. 26) that after Christ's ascension
evil demons sent forth a succession of false teachers, and among

one Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even now alive, teaching those
who believe him to pay honour to a different god, greater than the
Creator: and this man has by the assistance of those demons caused
many of every nation to utter blasphemies, denying the God who made
this universe, and professing that another, a greater than he, has done
greater things.

St. Irenaeus, who may have been in Rome in company with


St. Polycarp his master not long before Justin wrote, intended to
compose a treatise against Marcion. Whether he did so, is not
clear: but in his work Against the Heresies he gives in summary form
information which Tertullian was afterwards to repeat in greater
detail. He says that Marcion was in some sense a follower or
successor of a certain Gerdo, who came to Rome during the
episcopate of Hyginus, and taught that the God of whom the
law and the prophets speak is not the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ: for that one is known, whereas the father of Christ is
unknown: he is just, whereas this other is good.1

        Irenaeus proceeds (Haer. I. xxv. 1):

In succession to him Marcion, of Pontus, developed this doctrine,
with shameless blasphemy of the God of whom the law and the prophets
tell, saying that he is the creator of evil things, takes delight in wars,
is inconstant also in temper and at variance within himself: but that
Jesus came from that father who is high above the God who made the
world: that in the days of Pontius Pilate the governor, who was pro-
curator of Tiberius Caesar, he was made manifest in human shape to
those who were in Judaea: that he put an end to the law and the pro-
phets and all the works of the God who made the world: and this God,
he says, is a world-ruler (Ephesians 6: 12). In addition to this he circum-
cised the gospel according to Luke by excising everything written about
our Lord's nativity, as well as removing from our Lord's teaching many
passages in which it is written that he openly professed that the Creator
of this universe is his Father. Marcion persuaded his adherents that he
himself expressed the truth better than the apostles who delivered the
gospel: though in fact he delivered them no gospel but only a part of
one. In like manner he castrated the epistles of Paul the apostle by re-
moving all things clearly expressed by the apostle concerning the God
who made the world, as when he says that he is the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, as well as all the apostle's doctrine which refers to the
words of the prophets as proclaiming beforehand the coming of the

        He says that salvation is of souls only, those souls which have learned
his doctrine: the body, derived from the earth, cannot possibly partake
of salvation. Over and above his blasphemy against God—in which
truly he speaks with the devil's mouth and tells the opposite of the truth—


1 Just, or righteous, is di/kaioj, interpreted to mean one who administers
justice, or pays men that which they deserve. The word for 'good' is a)gaqo&j,
which naturally means 'noble', and by implication 'generous': the Latin bonus
implies kindness quite as much as abstract goodness, which Tertullian (follow-
ing Marcion) represents by optimus.


he adds this also: that Cain and those like him, and the men of Sodom,
and the Egyptians and those like them, with all the gentiles everywhere,
whose life has been a compound of all manner of malignity, were saved
by the Lord when he went down into hell and they ran to meet him,
and he took them into his kingdom: whereas Abel and Enoch and Noah
and the rest of the righteous, and the patriarchs associated with Abraham,
along with all the prophets and those who have pleased God, had no
part in salvation. So the serpent in Marcion asserted: for, says he, be-
cause they knew that their God was for ever tempting them, they sur-
mised that he was tempting them even then, and did not run to meet
Jesus or believe what he told them: consequently their souls remained
in hell.

        Hippolytus, more or less contemporary with Tertullian, gives
much the same information, though in more abstruse form. As
his custom is, he tries to discover among the Greek natural philo-
sophers the origins of Marcion's variations from standard doctrine.
Empedocles, to account for the origin of the universe, had postu-
lated six first principles, the four elements, along with the two
opposing forces of hostility and amity. Not very persuasively,
Hippolytus associates with this Marcion's theory that the Creator's
work, and apparently the Creator himself, are an evil (ponhro&n)
and that the good god brings to naught the works of the Creator.
Empedocles had objected to matrimony and the procreation of
children on the ground that by this means the One becomes
dispersed into the Many: he also imposed abstinence from certain
foods for fear lest by eating them one might consume part of
a soul now under chastisement by the Creator through reduction
to animal or vegetable life. Marcion, Hippolytus says (implausibly
enough), copied from him these speculations and these rules of
conduct (Haer. VII. 29-31).

        In another connection Hippolytus summarizes as follows the
doctrine of Marcion, and of Cerdo his master (Haer. x. 19).

They postulate three universal principles, the good, the just, and
matter: though some of their adherents make four, good, just, evil,
matter. They all agree that the Good never made anything: but the
Just—or as some say, the Evil—made the universe out of pre-existent
matter.1 He made it not well, but irrationally: for of necessity things

1 See below, I. 15. 4. This may not have been Marcion's own belief. It was
certainly that of Hermogenes (cf. Tertullian, adv. Hermogenem) and probably
other gnostics and Marcionites, who held that the intractability of this matter
explains the world's many imperfections.


made have to be like their maker. They quote to this effect the gospel
parable, that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, and what follows.
They affirm that Christ is the son of the Good, and was sent by him for
the saving of souls, which Marcion calls 'the inner man': and that he
was revealed as a man, though not a man, and as being in a body when
not in a body, manifest in appearance only, subject to no nativity or
passion, except only in appearance. He denies that Christ's body rose
again. He says that marriage is a corruption, and persuades his adherents
to a canine life, supposing that by this means he distresses the Creator,
by repudiation of the things made or ordained by him.

        Expressed in this form Marcion's ideas appear sufficiently un-
interesting and abstruse, the sort of negations on which it seems
unlikely that a living church could ever have been founded. But
Marcion's church was very much alive, and rapidly expansive:
it must have had far more in it than these bare bones as Hippolytus
exposes them. Tertullian's response is a lively confrontation,
analysis, and refutation of a lively, if mistaken, faith: and even
two centuries later, in the Dialogue of Adamantius,1 there is life
both in the Marcionite controversialist and in his orthodox oppo-
nent. Almost contemporary with Tertullian, those are lively
doctrines which Origen from time to time brings under censure.
Marcion in fact appears to have been an abler man than his
opponents suggest, a man of strong convictions and of forcible
or even attractive character, a man also of some business capacity
and of great organizing ability. What had he to say that was of
interest to so many?

        At what point did his doctrine begin, and which shall we say
was its central feature? The Old Testament he regarded as a true
historical record, but rejected it as being the work, and a record
of the works, of an inferior god of objectionable character: yet
of antisemitism there seems to be no suggestion. He was inter-
ested, as many people then were, in the question of the origin of
evil, attributing it, as did others, to the intractability of matter

1 The Dialogue of Adamantius, On Right Faith in God, composed, as it ap-
pears, about the middle of the fourth century, soon began to be ascribed to
Origen, as for example by Basil and Gregory in the Philocalia, scholion to ch.
xxiv. The dialogue in its earlier part is a discussion with a Marcionite of the
doctrine of three, or two, first principles: in the later sections the defendant is
a disciple of Bardaisan, and the subjects of discussion are the theses that God
cannot have created evil, that the Word cannot really have assumed human
flesh, and that the human body cannot rise again—doctrines which are
Marcionite in principle, and perhaps in origin.


and the incompetence of the creator.1 His primary error, Ter-
tullian remarks, an error which he was the first to make, was in
his doctrine of God: 'Doubts about the Son were more common
than doubts about the Father, until Marcion introduced, in
opposition to the Creator, a god whose sole attribute was good-
ness.'2 He did indeed postulate two gods, 'of unequal rank, the
one a judge, stern and warlike, the other gentle and mild, kind,
and supremely good'.3 The whole course of the world's history as
described in the Old Testament, together with the Christ there
prophesied (who has still to appear, to restore the Jewish king-
dom) he attributed to the former: the latter has himself appeared
on earth, to save the souls of such as accept him, and is the Christ
whom the authentic gospel, and Paul the only true apostle, have
told of.

        So then this superior god, this stranger, whose existence was
previously unknown and unsuspected, appeared suddenly and
unannounced at Capernaum in the fifteenth year of Tiberius
Caesar. He made himself visible in only the phantasm of a body,
and it is the soul only that he will save, for the flesh is both in-
capable and unworthy of salvation. His purpose here was to re-
veal himself, the unknown god, the god from outside, repudiating
all that was past, and reversing the moral values implied in the
Creator's words and works, while rescuing those who accepted
him from the Creator's censures, impositions, and torments.

       Marcion had excised from St. Luke's gospel the narratives of
the annunciation and the nativity, as well as Christ's baptism and
temptation, his genealogy, and all mention of Bethlehem and
Nazareth. One might have expected that in consistency with him-
self he would have excised the passion as well—or, as Tertullian
suggests, even more so. This he did not do: he retained the signi-
ficant parts of that narrative, as well as some sort of resurrection;
though he was bound to interpret all of it docetically. And here
perhaps we have our answer: here, it may be, Marcion's doctrine
begins. Christianity cannot escape being a religion of redemption.
The passion and resurrection are too important ever to be left

1 Tertullian, adv. Marc. i. 2: 'having, along with many other people, espe-
cially heretics, an unhealthy interest in the problem of evil, how it comes to
exist, etc.'

2 Tertullian, de praescriptione haereticorum 34.

3 Tertullian, adv. Marc. i. 6.


out of the story, and Christ himself is too important to be content
with second place. So he must, Marcion thinks, be set in isolation
from all else that has ever been—from the world itself, and from
the God who made it. It could have been matter for some surprise
if a new theory of the creation of the world, coupled with a
repudiation of Judaism, and supported by a book of Antitheses in
which scripture was set against scripture, should have been attrac-
tive enough to have brought into being a world-wide society in
less than a generation. But that the exaltation of the name of
Christ should have had this effect, is much less surprising. The
early emergence of docetism, even within the period covered by
the apostolic writings,1 however wrong-headed in origin and inten-
tion, shows how welcome that theory was to a certain type of
reverent mind, unable to distinguish the fanciful from the real,
or to understand that redemption means not the disentanglement
of the good from among the bad, but the restoration of the bad
to goodness. There have always been those who are more zealous
for God's honour than he is for his own. The repudiation of the
Old Testament might have given additional satisfaction to those
troubled with what were at one time known as 'Bible difficulties':
even the renunciation of marriage and parenthood might have
been a price worth paying: but only along with the consciousness
of being among the accepted and accepting few, to whom a Christ
very high and exalted has given a special privilege not granted
to many. It is consistent with such principles as these that almost
alone of the heretics of those days Marcionites did not refuse
martyrdom or compromise with apostasy, and that not even
Tertullian can find any strictures to pass on the morals of Marcion
or his adherents.

        Marcion, as already observed, rejected the Old Testament,
not as untrue but as non-Christian. He also rejected such parts
of the New Testament as spoke with approval of the past, or
brought Christ into any sort of relationship with the God who
made the world. From his mutilated and otherwise edited copy
of St. Luke he had removed the evangelist's name, pretending
that this was the original gospel, written down by Christ himself.
His apostolicon consisted of ten epistles of St. Paul,2 these also

1 Cf. 1 John 4: 2,3.

2 Excluding the pastoral epistles, and Hebrews. The pastorals were after-
wards accepted by some of his successors.


edited by the removal of most of the places in which the Old
Testament is adduced in support or illustration of apostolic doc-
trine.1 A work by Marcion himself, entitled Antitheses, consisted
of contrasted statements arranged to prove the incompatibility
of the law and the gospel, and the fundamental disagreement
between Christ and the Creator: the remains of it, collected
from those who argue against it, show that it was, for its purpose,
a highly competent work, involving far from negligible analysis
and criticism of the scriptures.2 These are the documents on which
Tertullian bases his constructive criticism in Books I—III of the
present work, and which he examines in detail in Books IV and
V, so as to show that even on his own evidences Marcion is
proved to be at fault. The particular matter of Christ's human
birth and the reality of his human soul and body is also discussed
in the treatise de carne Christi, written shortly after this main work
against Marcion: there he also deals trenchantly with Apelles,
a follower of Marcion, who appears to have carried his master's
doctrine into further detail with the help of ideas borrowed from
the more fanciful gnostic schools. The companion treatise, de
resurrectione carnis,
also maintains, against Marcion and others, the
essential dignity of the human body and its hope of resurrection
to eternal life.

        What Apelles' own ideas were it is difficult to ascertain: accord-
ing to one account3 he was not very clear about it himself.
Tertullian indicates4 that he said that creation was the work of
a fiery prince of evil, who is the God of Israel, 'and of us': he, by
the enticements of earthly food, fetched souls down from their
supercelestial abodes, and constructed sinful flesh as clothing for
them. Apelles said that Christ had a real body, no phantasm,
though not of human descent or nativity: but that he fabricated flesh
for himself out of celestial elements which he collected on his way
down to earth. Late in life Apelles associated himself with a clair-
voyant girl named Philumena, whose ecstatic visions were written
down and published, under the title of Phaneroses, or 'expositions'.

        As regards Marcion and his influence, a few further questions

1 See also Appendix 2.

2 The Marcionite documents can most conveniently be consulted in Har-
nack's monumental work: the Gospel, pages 183* to 240*: the Epistles, pages
67* to 127*: the Antitheses, pages 257* to 318*.

3 By Rhodon, quoted by Eusebius, H.E. v. 13.           4 De anima 23.


arise, to which the answers can here be only briefly and tenta-
tively suggested. First, it is true that in a few places Marcion's
verbal alterations of the text of gospel and epistles have found
their way as variant readings into some of the New Testament
manuscripts: though it does not appear that any of his more
tendentious amendments have left their mark there. Secondly,
Marcion is the first person known to have compiled a closed canon
of Christian scriptures, and his apostolic canon included no
epistles except those of St. Paul. But it need not follow that it was
his influence which rescued the Pauline writings from an oblivion
into which but for him they would have fallen: nor need it follow
that, except for the needs of controversy against him, the great
church would not at some time have defined its own canon, or
that its introduction of Petrine and Johannine elements was de-
signed as a counterweight to the influence of Marcion and St.
Paul. Tertullian is fully justified in his claim that in the essentials
of the faith, in the things which really matter, the three apostles
are in complete agreement: and, we may add, even James stands
within the same tradition. A more important question would be
how far Marcion, in his doctrine of creation, his docetism, and
his attitude to the Old Testament, represents a tradition older
than himself, coming down from the beginnings of Christianity.
Here we should need to take account of the things said, or assumed,
by Clement and Ignatius and Polycarp, as well as the somewhat
different view presented in the Epistle of Barnabas: and the fact
remains that Marcion himself, in spite of his claim to possess the
original and authentic written gospel, professes or even boasts
that he is an innovator. Lastly, Marcion's assertion of the personal
identity of his hitherto unknown god with the Christ who ap-
peared in Galilee, is echoed two generations later in the mon-
archianism or patripassionism which was attacked by Tertullian
in his treatise Against Praxeas, and remained a bugbear to theo-
logians as late as the fourth century: as also Marcion's docetism,
and more particularly that variant of it suggested by Apelles,
has some similarity with the view attributed to certain of the
successors of Apollinarius, that Christ's apparently human nature
was of heavenly origin: though it does not appear that either of
these heresies was directly suggested by that of Marcion, except
in so far as all three were the consequence of theorizing un-
restrained by the safeguards of scriptural fact.



i. Summary of its contents

Tertullian's refutation of Marcionism, envisaged as a case argued
in court against Marcion as defendant, is contained in five books,
as it were three speeches in presentation of his case, followed by
two more in assessment and examination of his opponent's evi-
dence. In the first book it is argued, on the general principles
essential to rational theology, that the god imagined or invented
by Marcion is not a god in any acceptable sense of that term: as
Marcion describes him and his activities, or lack of them, he is
neither good and kind, as Marcion pretends, nor does he possess
any other of those attributes of deity which the reasonable mind
expects or demands. In book two Tertullian claims that in spite
of Marcion's strictures, or even in view of them, the Creator of
the world does exhibit these essential attributes of deity, and both
in his words and in his works is proved to be God and good.
Book three is concerned with prophecy and its fulfilment: the
concordance between the messianic prophecies of the Old Testa-
ment and the facts of the gospel narrative proves that the Christ
promised by God the Creator is none other than the Christ of the
gospels, and that this is the one and only Christ. In the fourth and
fifth books Tertullian accepts, for the sake of argument, and dis-
cusses almost sentence by sentence, Marcion's mutilated gospel
and his edited epistles, claiming that even with these tendentious
alterations and in spite of the suggestions advanced in the Anti-
they will not bear the construction put upon them, but pre-
sent a Christ who is in all respects such a one as the Creator's law
and prophets have given reason to expect. Here we observe that
though there is at times some tendency to interpret Christ in
terms of the prophecies, for the most part the opposite is true:
the prophecies are interpreted in terms of Christ as he presents
himself in the gospel, and as the apostle represents him in the

        What may have been the effect of this highly competent and
impressive work, it is difficult to say. Certainly it did not put
an end to Marcionism. But if it is true that by the next genera-
tion this form of doctrine had lost much of its expansive power
and was on the defensive, Tertullian may have been in part
responsible for that. Marcion was of course ignorant of any idea


8268033 b


of gradual or progressive revelation. The Epistle to the Hebrews
had been known to Clement of Rome in the first century, and
Marcion can hardly have been unaware of its noble opening
sentence: but he cannot have had any comprehension of a revela-
tion made at sundry times and in divers manners, or any apprecia-
tion of the Son of God upholding all things by the word of his
power: Christ's appearance had to be sudden, unheralded, and
unexpected. Tertullian, through his Montanist connections and
growing sympathy with the 'new prophecy', was conscious of
progress and development chiefly in matters of personal morality
and church discipline. In theology he claims that the truth is,
and has been, always and everywhere the same. Yet even here
he is not without a sense of the unfolding of a mystery which had
throughout the ages been both revealed and hid in God, and was
now fully manifest in Christ.


ii. The successive editions of this work

The present, the third, edition of adversus Marcionem was com-
pleted between April 207 and April 208, during the fifteenth year
of Severus, as is seen from I. 15. The first edition appeared per-
haps as early as 198, while the Judaean campaign referred to
at III. 24 was still a recent memory. That edition Tertullian him-
self, as he observes at I. 1, came to regard as too brief and hasty.
It was shortly afterwards replaced by the second, and this in its
turn came to call for improvement, not least because certain
extracts from it had been made and circulated without permission.
In this third edition the discussion of the doctrine of God has been
expanded into two books: in it also Tertullian's growing interest
in Montanism begins in a few places to appear in his argument.


iii. Tertullian and Montanism

It was not until several years later, perhaps about 212, that
Tertullian's approval of the 'new prophecy' led to a formal breach
with the church. We do however perceive in these five books
indications of his interest in that movement. At I. 21 he qualifies
his statement that tradition is authoritative by adding 'except of
course where a person is a prophet'. At I. 29 he signifies his
agreement with the Montanist prohibition of second marriages.
At III. 24 he claims that the millennarian expectations of the
new prophecy are confirmed by a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem


recently seen in Palestine. At IV. 23 he asserts that there is a
difference of opinion between 'us' and the 'natural men', in that
we claim, while they deny, that it is right for a prophet's natural
faculties to go into abeyance during 'ecstasy'. But he has not yet
broken away from the church or severed relations with the natural
men. Expressions such as 'we profess', at II. 27 and elsewhere,
still refer to all orthodox Christians and not to Montanists only.
The authority of the apostolic churches and their bishops, we
hear at IV. 5, is still paramount in matters of faith: and there is
frequent insistence (as at I. 1, III. 1, and elsewhere) that priority
and acceptance of the apostolic tradition are the test and safe-
guard of orthodoxy. In these books Tertullian repeatedly asserts
that the Montanist revelations are in no sense opposed to the
traditional doctrine of the apostolic churches, but that they do pro-
vide additional assurance, and help in the solution of difficulties.
That in Montanism which he found most attractive, that which he
made the subject of a series of moral or disciplinary works written
at this time or shortly afterwards, was its stringent rule of personal
conduct, its insistence on an ethical puritanism which was not
indeed previously unknown as a Christian ideal but had usually
been a matter on which men's conscience was expected to decide
for itself.


iv. The relation of adversus Marcionem to adversus Judaeos

Chapters seven to twelve of Tertullian's third book against
Marcion run so closely parallel to the argument and the actual
expressions of some sections of the tract against the Jews, that it
is possible on occasion to correct from either of these the defective
readings of the other. Suspicion has arisen regarding the authen-
ticity of the shorter work, and several suggestions have been
advanced. Was this, for example, the work of some early imitator
of Tertullian taking over his armoury against Marcion for use
against the Jews? Evidently the interpretation of Old Testament
prophecies in a Christian sense will be no less valid against Jews
who deny the truth of the New Testament, than it has been against
Marcionites who deny the Christian value of the law and the
prophets. It is suggested by Professor Gilles Quispel (1943) that
the author of adversus Judaeos was the Christian, subsequently an
apostate, whom in I. 1 Tertullian condemns for having pirated
his work. The latest view, that of H. Tränkle in his edition of


adversus Judaeos (1964), is that this is Tertullian's own work, earlier
in date than adversus Marcionem. In that case the two works stand
in much the same relationship to each other as adversus nationes
and apologeticus, and the theological relationship between them
will be similar to that between Justin's Dialogue with Trypho and
that other work of his against Marcion which has not survived.

        It appears even on a casual reading, without recourse to subtle
analysis of vocabulary and style, that there is a noticeable con-
trast between the first eight chapters of adversus Judaeos and those
that follow. The former lack much of the forthright vigour of
Tertullian's usual writing, though they may well be the work of
a contemporary and imitator of his. The latter are evidently
copied from Tertullian, unless indeed they are an earlier draft
written by himself.


v. The sources of adversus Marcionem

Tertullian was an inveterate copier of his own work. He also
drew largely upon his predecessors, notably Justin and Irenaeus,
and probably also Theophilus of Antioch, who wrote against
Marcion a work which is now lost but was known to Eusebius
(H.E. iv. 24). The notes which accompany this translation will
indicate at least a part of Tertullian's indebtedness to these older
writers. Professor G. Quispel (op. cit.) suggests that in the first
three books Tertullian made use respectively of matter drawn
from Irenaeus, Theophilus, and Justin. This seems to be generally
true, though a very precise attribution is perhaps more than the
evidence justifies. The most original part of Tertullian's work is
to be found in books four and five, where his purpose is to prove
that Marcion's theology can be discounted on the evidence even
of those parts of the New Testament which he has adduced in
his own support. He had before him Marcion's Antitheses and the
Greek text of his gospel and apostolicon. It is conceivable that he
also had to hand a Marcionite Latin version of some part of these
documents. What he says of the form and content of Marcion's
text is confirmed, and considerably supplemented, by material
preserved in Adamantius and Epiphanius.


vi. Tertullian's Biblical Text

Tertullian read the Old Testament in the Septuagint version,
possibly making his own translation into Latin as need arose. In


a number of places the Septuagint does not accurately represent
the Hebrew: in such places, if Tertullian is aware of the difference,
he regards the Greek as authoritative.



The five books against Marcion were preserved in some twelve
manuscripts which still survive, and in three or more others which
were in the hands of the early editors but have since disappeared.
These MSS. were all derived, at second or third hand, from
a codex now lost, which is known to have been at Cluny in the
eleventh century, and is thought to represent a collection of
twenty-one treatises made in Spain, perhaps under the direction
of St. Isidore, bishop of Seville (600-36). Of these MSS. the most
important are:

M = codex Montepessulanus (Montpellier, H 54) of the eleventh
F = codex Magliabechianus (Florence, convv. soppr. I. vi. 9) of
               the fifteenth century
N = codex Magliabechianus (Florence, convv. soppr. I. vi. 10) of
               the fifteenth century.

For his editio princeps (1521) Beatus Rhenanus used a codex
(from Hirschau in Bavaria, now lost), and for his third
edition (1539) also a codex Gorziensis (from Gorze, near Metz, also
lost): Rhenanus in these two editions is cited in the apparatus
criticus as a primary authority. As the Florentine F appears to be
a copy of Hirsaugiensis the sign R is to be understood to include
F unless it is otherwise stated. The rest of the extant MSS. (of
which a complete list will be found in Tabula II after the Preface
to Tertullian's Works in Corpus Christianorum, volume i) are of no
particular value, being copies, or copies of copies, of some of the

        Of the other early editors, Gelenius and Pamelius claimed to
have had access to other manuscripts, which have since dis-
appeared. The current chapter divisions are due to Pamelius.

        The present edition is based on Oehler's text (1854), which has
been retained except where it is unintelligible or where sub-
sequent critics have made suggestions which are manifestly prefer-
able. The edition of Aemilius Kroymann (1942) is valuable


chiefly because of his collation of the Montpellier manuscript:
he has indeed made many unnecessary and exasperating altera-
tions of the text, though a number of his conjectures (including
some which he has not brought into the text) are manifestly good,
as are those of his friend and critic Augustus Engelbrecht. His
edition is reprinted in Corpus Christianorum, volume i (Turnhout,
1953) along with additional suggestions of great value by A.
Bill (1911), P. Corssen(1923-4),H. Hoppe (1903 and afterwards),
G. Quispel (1947), and G. Thornell (1918-26). There are also
recorded a few conjectures of P. Ciacconius (Pedro Chacon,
1525-81), and of J. van der Vliet (1891). The present editor's
contribution consists largely of improved punctuation, though
there are a few places where he has ventured to print conjectures
of his own. The apparatus criticus is deliberately brief. A fairly
complete account of early editorial variants will be found in the
footnotes to Oehler's edition: the more notable of these, as well
as the readings of the important manuscripts, are recorded by



The works reprinted by Oehler in his third volume are probably
seldom read. They are replete with curious learning, and if in
bulk they make heavy reading they amply repay occasional and
more than superficial reference. That on the life of Tertullian
by Jacobus Pamelius is not too long, and comprises all the avail-
able ancient testimony.

On Tertullian's theology:

A. D'ALÈS, La theologie de Tertullien, 1905.

On Marcion and Marcionism:

A. VON HARNACK, Marcion: das Evangelium vomfremden Gott, 2nd
edition, 1924.

This great work begins with a dissertation in which Harnack, after a reasoned
discussion of Marcion and his intentions, gives his own judgement on the
importance and originality of Marcion's gospel of the stranger god. The second
half of the book reproduces in Greek and Latin, with comments and elucidations
in German, all the available ancient documents.


G. QUISPEL, De bronnen van Tertullianus' adversus Marcionem, 1943.

E. C. BLACKMAN, Marcion and his influence, 1948.

This work much more briefly covers all the ground and discusses the pertinent
questions. The author with good reason dissents from some of Harnack's
extreme opinions.

T. P. O'MALLEY, S.J., Tertullian and the Bible, 1967.

The first part of this work consists of a detailed discussion of the question whether
Tertullian had access to a Marcionite Latin translation of the Marcionite
gospel and epistles. It is prefixed by an impressive bibliography.

DIMITRI MICHAÉLIDÈS, Sacramentum chez Tertullien, 1970.

A careful examination of apparently every instance of this term in Tertullian,
including a number of texts from adversus Marcionem.

ROBERT DICK SIDER, Ancient Rhetoric and the Art of Tertullian, 1971.

An instructive analysis of Tertullian's application of the rules of forensic
rhetoric as laid down by Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. Every one of
Tertullian's works is meticulously examined, adversus Marcionem receiving
particular attention. Much light is thrown upon forms of argument and dis-
cussion which to Tertullian were perhaps the natural outcome of his advocate's
training and practice in court. Here also is a comprehensive bibliography.

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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, 2001

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

This page has been online since 8th December 2001.

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