Marcion wrote the first canon of the New Testament in AD 140. For centuries Marcion has been maligned as a heretic, since the Church Fathers like Tertullian accused him of taking the razor to the Bible and cutting out several of the Pauline epistles; Acts, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. In addition the only Gospel in Marcion's Bible is two thirds of Luke. Actually that's it. One Gospel and ten Pauline epistles, which means no Revelations and no Old Testament.
Christians like to tell us that Marcion changed the Bible to suit his theology. However it appeared to me from the beginning that before Marcion there was no documented history of Christianity as we know it. So for example there are no reliable historical contemporary accounts of Paul, Peter, Luke, Mark or even the Jesus that we think of today. Likewise archaeological New Testament fragments have been dated starting around 190 AD, again consistent with the first New Testament being written 140 AD.
In addition Bible scholars who actually question things have come to the conclusion that some of the Pauline epistles were added later than whoever wrote the first ones. Their conclusions are consistent with Marcion's Bible being the original text.
Even more important than the fact that Marcion's Bible was very short are the number of radical political differences between Marcion's Bible and our modern day Bible. Firstly the hero of Marcion's Bible was called Isu Chrestos - not Jesus. An important point here is you don't see "Jesus Christ" in second century texts. So in the Bible of Marcion of Sinope "Isu Chrestos" appears instead of "Christ" and "Jesus". Also in the archaeological fragments mentioned earlier the scribes used the letters "IS" wherever Jesus Christ now appears. The inscription "Isu Chrestos" can still be seen on the oldest surviving Christian "Synagogue" in Syria.
The next difference is that Isu Chrestos was a ghost. The first three chapters of Luke where "Jesus" was born are missing. When you think about it they are missing in two of the synoptic Gospels too. There were no Gospels of Luke, Mark, Matthew or John in the second century. There was only "Euangelion" - the "Good News" of Marcion's single Gospel.
The fact is that Paul spoke of "my gospel" singular and warned us of other gospels. Read Marcion. It all takes on a whole new meaning!
It was important for the Marcionites that Isu Chrestos was a ghost. They believed that the world (and our bodies) were created by Jehovah, and that the world which Jehovah had created, his Angels and Archangels and the Mosaic law were a spiritual pitfall to be avoided. There weren't really any fallen angels in Marcion's theology. All angels were fallen, which is reasonably consistent with Gnostic teachings about the Divine Mother. Marcion does recognise the Divine Mother by the way (but not Mary - who makes no appearance).
Galatians was Marcions most important book. Marcion's Galatians 4:24-26 states:
4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth by the Law to the Synagogue of the Jews to bondage. The other gendereth higher than all Principalities, Virtues, Powers; even higher than any Lady ever named; not only in this Aeon but in the following one also,
4:26 which is the mother of us all.
Note: Most of the Marcion Bible was reconstructed simply by removing verses. Sections like the above, where verses needed to be rewritten are less common.
You are no doubt familiar with the following quote from the Bible. As you can see after reading the above example, it is original Marcionite text warning against Angels and Archangels:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
I believe also that is why Satan became the devil. He wasn't really a demon in the context of the Old Testament. But after Marcion, someone demonized him, and we can thank Marcion for making that possible through his association with Jehovah. It is important to note however that there is no serious reference in Marcion's Pauline text to the Devil and Hell as in Revelations. There is a brief mention to Gehenna in Euangelion (ie. Luke) as follows:
12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into Gehenna; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Regarding Lucifer it could also be argued that Christian demology does not have firm roots in Judaism. Lucifer makes one appearance in the Old Testament ie. Isaiah 14:12
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"
The English translation of the original Hebrew text reads a little differently:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, that didst cast lots over the nations!
Verse 9 also refers to Hell, but the Hebrew text talks of the nether-world. More importantly Lucifer is not mentioned. The day-star may refer to Venus, and some scholars think that it refers to a Babylonian king. In any case it is a single reference amongst the entire Jewish scriptures, and not much to base a Lucifer myth on.
However that is not to say that Babylonian religion, worshipping Ishtar (Venus) and involving child sacrifice has not been with us from the time this text was written to the present. In fact it would not be unreasonable to assume that the authors of some of the New Testament texts (like Revelations) had a vested interest in replacing the names of the gods worshipped in real life "Satanic" practices and using Satan and Lucifer as a smokescreen. However the information found in the Old Testament still accurately describes the deities involved in the depraved occult activities of today. These were described in the Old Testament as Baal or Beelzebub (the sun god), Astoreth or Ishtar (Venus) and Molech.
The Marcionites believed that the God of Isu Chrestos was a higher God than Jehovah, and that consequently Isu Chrestos could not incarnate in human form. In contrast our souls were created by the God of Isu Chrestos. The Marcionites practiced a life of vegetarianism, celibacy and constant prayer. They believed that people that shunned the world in this way were free from the Mosaic Law which binds us. They believed that marriage was fornication.
Marcion and the Old Testament
When you read Marcion's Bible you will see that there are none of the references to the Old Testament Prophets, to Christianity being a new dispensation of Judaism, to Angels, Archangels and the Law of Moses. That is apart from those which are used as an example. Even the account of the Transfiguration where "Jesus" spoke to Moses and Elias, was placed very carefully by Marcion in order to point out their inferiority. It is actually through the later interpolations that Judaism and Christianity were entwined. This is not the case in Marcion's text. It is much simpler to read, and the meaning is much clearer.
Of course, if you don't know this already, the Old Testament pointers to Christianity like "A virgin shall conceive" and "They pierced my hands and my feet" simply aren't in the Jewish books from which the Old Testament was taken. This is very strange when you consider that otherwise the texts are very close.
So for example in the Old Testament we find in Isaiah 7-14
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
However let's have a look at an English translation of the Hebrew Prophets. It is the original text isn't it? Why do Christians never mention this?
"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Let's have a look at the supposed reference to the crucifixion in Psalm 22-16. In the Old Testament it says:
"For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet."
Now compare this with Writings Psalm 22-17 translated from the original Hebrew:
For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.
Notice how in the original Jewish text they parted his garments and casts lots. But guess what? None of that is mentioned in Marcion's Euangelion. See how they did it?
Books like the Torah and Marcion's eleven books were modified and cross referenced to create one religion - Judaeo-Christianity. However when the Jewish books and Marcion's books are read in the original they have nothing in common at all.
Most likely this was done partly or wholly because of the numerous religions in the Roman empire which were it's greatest threat to stability.
Portions copyright 2002-2018 Interchange Development Group, freely redistributable under GPL
large desktop (lg)