History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two-Hundred

by Charles B. Waite

(Chicago, C.V.Waite &Co., 1900) pp.272-286.

MARCION.-- A. D. 145.

Marcion, the great heresiarch, was born at Sinope, in the second century. He came to Rome about the year 142.

Tertullian says, the fiercest and most barbarous nations lived upon the Euxine Sea--that nothing had the glow of life there-that all things were torpid and stiff with cold - that nevertheless, nothing in Pontus was so barbarous and sad, as that Marcion was born there.

Dr. Lardner, on the authority of Jerome and Augustine - credits Marcion with being a man of letters [Lardner's works, vol. 4, p.526.] He preached and disseminated his doctrines, for twenty years; and with such success, that in the time of Epiphanius, his followers were in every nation under heaven.

The story that before he came to Rome, he had seduced a young woman, Dr. Lardner thinks an invention of Epiphanius.[Ibid. vol.4, p.59'. ] It probably originated in the fact which we learn from Jerome, that Marcion had sent before him to Rome, a woman, to prepare the minds of the people for his doctrines [ Jerome, adv. Ctesiph. t. 4, p.477. ].

Marcion is said to have rejected the Old Testament entirely; not considering it of any authority after the coming of Christ. He wrote a work entitled "Antithesis," in which he contrasted the old system with the new--the God of the one, with the God of the other--the law with the gospel. He represented Christianity as a new system, abrogating the old, and as entirely disconnected from it. The Creator of the world described in the Old Testament, [The Demi-ourgos], was different fromthe God of the new dispensation, and inferior to him. From the superior God, Jesus had come, endued with divine power, commencing with the beginning of his ministry.

He maintained the doctrine of the impurity of matter and could not therefore believe in the immaculate conception. According to Tertullian,[ Adv. Marcion, 3.8. See also de Pr. C. 33, 34.] he even denied the corporeal reality of the flesh of Christ. But this statement may be received with some allowance.

Marcion denied the resurrection of the body, and believed in the doctrine of necessity. He was a follower of Paul, and accused the other apostles of having perverted the gospel doctrines. Tertullian ingeniously endeavors to treat this accusation as aimed at the four gospels; and argues thence that they must have been in existence before Marcion. His argument, however, destroys itself; since the apostles denounced were Peter, James, and John; only one of whom has credit for writing either of the four gospels, while to the other two were attributed two of the apocryphal gospels. Marcion probably referred to the corruption of "the gospel," and not to any written books.

Marcion taught and permitted the baptizing by women. It may be inferred, also, from Epiphanius, that he did not treat with much respect those who refused them this privilege. [Adv. Har. 42.4.]


The first New Testament that ever appeared, was compiled and published by Marcion. It was in the Greek language. It consisted of "The Gospel," and "The Apostolicon." No Acts--no Revelation, and but one gospel.

The Apostolicon comprised ten of Paul's Epistles, as follows: Galatians, 1st and 2d Corinthians, Romans, except the 15th and 16th chapters, 1st and 2d Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians ; arranged in the order as here named.[ Also part of the Epistle to the Laodiceans.]. This canon of the New Testament was prepared and published soon after his arrival at Rome ; probably about A. D. 145. Baring-Gould thinks he brought the gospel with him from Sinope. [Lost and Host. Gospels, p.241 ].

Tertullian accuses Marcion of giving no name or title to his gospel. It was called simply "the Gospel;" and sometimes, "the Gospel of the Lord." Marcion claimed for it the authority of Paul himself. It closely resembles the Gospel of Luke, but is much shorter.

Ever since the time of Tertullian, it has been, by many, charged against Marcion, that he corrupted the Gospel of Luke. This charge, it will be seen as we proceed, cannot be sustained. Nearly all we have concerning the Gospel of Marcion, comes through Tertullian and Epiphanius, both of whom were violently opposed to him, and neither of whom was particularly scrupulous in the means employed against an adversary. Hence it has become difficult to reproduce the gospel. Several German critics have attempted to reconstruct it, and it is published in the Codex Apocryphus of Thilo, from the works of Hahn.

In Marcion 's Gospel, there was nothing corresponding to the first three chapters of Luke. The first chapter of Marcion was similar to the fourth of Luke, but had many variations from it; and it is here that the critics have had the most difficulty. After passing the first chapter of Marcion and fourth of Luke, the progress is somewhat easier.

Tertullian furnishes but little aid ; but Epiphanius, writing in the same language with Marcion, gives a list of 78 passages, in which, as he claims, Marcion corrupted the text of Luke. As he mentions the most trivial deviations, giving the exact words in every instance, we think it may be taken as the correct text of Marcion. This opinion is confirmed by the fact, that in his scholia, he recapitulates every reading in almost precisely the same words; the deviations being few and unimportant.

Tertullian, in his work against Marcion, has a running commentary on Luke, with a constant invective against Marcion, and an occasional allusion to his gospel. From this some little further assistance may be obtained. Too much reliance has been placed upon it by some critics, as it is quite uncertain, in many cases, whether Tertullian is referring to the Gospel of Marcion, or to the text of Luke, as it prevailed in his day. By comparing all that is said by these two writers, the text of Marcion may be pretty nearly discovered.

We have not been able to procure a copy of this important gospel, as it appears in Thilo, or else-where.From the works of Tertullian and Epiphanius, we have, however, attempted to reproduce it; occasionally invoking the aid of some of the German critics.

THE GOSPEL. [According to Marcion.]

CHAPTER 1.-(Mostly in the 4th chapter of Luke.)

'In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, (Part of Luke 3: 1), Jesus came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days. (Luke 4.31.)

Verse 2. And they were exceedingly astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power.

(For parallel with verses 2 to 9 inclusive, see Luke, ch. 4. vv. 32 to 39.)

3. And in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean devil, and who cried out with a loud voice,

4. Saying: Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, Jesus? (omitting the words "of Nazareth.") Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God.

5. And Jesus rebuked him, saying: Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

6. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying: What a word is this? For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

7. And the fame of him went out into every place, in the country round about. (This verse is omitted by Volkmar, but retained by Hahn, Hilgenfeld and others. See Sup. Rel. vol.2, p.128. Note. Baring-Gould, who reproduces this chapter, follows Volkmar. The two following verses are omitted by Ritschl and Bauer, but retained by others.)

8. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

9. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever; and it left her; and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. (Following this, Volkmar has the last part of Luke 4.14 and 15; but he is not supported by other critics.)

10. And he came to Nazareth, and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and began to preach to them.(See Luke 4.16.)

11. And he sat down, and the eyes of all who were in the synagogue, were fastened on him.(Luke 4.20.)

12. And he began to speak to them. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. (Luke 4.21, 22.)

13. And he said unto them, Ye surely will say unto me this proverb: Physician, heal thyself; whatsoever ye have done in Capernaum, do also here. (Luke 4.23.) (The next verse, 24th of Luke, was not in Marcion. Neither were verses 25 and 26, according to Hahn, Ritschl and Dewette. We accordingly omit them, though they were retained by Volkmar and Hilgenfeld.. Verse 27 is also omitted by most critics. Baring.Gould, who follows Voikmar, retains these three verses.)

14. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things were filled with wrath. (Luke4.28.)

15. And rose up, and thrust him out of the city and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. (Luke 4.29.)

16. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. (Volkmar says "to Capernaum.") (See Luke 4.30.)

17. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. (Luke 4.40.)

18. And devils also came out of many, crying out and saying, Thou art Christ, the Son of God. And he, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. (For parallel to verses 18 to 21, inclusive, see Luke 4.41 to 44.)

19. And when it was day, he departed, and went into a desert place. And the people sought him,and came unto him, and staid him, that he should not depart from them.

20. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; for therefore am I sent.

21. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

CHAPTER II (See Luke ch. 5.)

Verses 1 to 13, same as in the Gospel of Luke.

14. And he charged him to tell no man, But go and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto you.

Verses 15 to 39 inclusive, same as in Luke.

CHAPTER III. (Luke, ch. 6.)

Verses 1 to 16, same as in Luke.

17. And he came down among them, (en autois), and stood in the plain, and there was the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people, out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed oftheir diseases.

18. Same as In Luke.

19. And the whole multitude sought to touch him.

20,21 and 22, Same as in Luke.

23. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for behold your reward is great in heaven; for in the like manner did your fathers unto the prophets.

24 to 49 inclusive, same as In Luke.

CHAPTER IV. (Luke, ch. 7.)

Verses 1 to 28, same as in Luke except some unimportant verbal differences.

Verses 29 to 35 inclusIve, of Luke, not in Marcion.)

29. (36 of Luke.) And going into the house of a Pharisee, he ate with him.

30. (37 and 38 of Luke.) But a sinful woman, standing near, before his feet, washed his feet with her tears, and anointed them, and kissed them.

31 to 35 Inclusive, same as 39 to 43 of Luke.

36. (44,45 and 46 of Luke.) And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See'st thou this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet. She has washed my feet with her tears, and has anointed them, and kissed them.

37 to 40 inclusive, same as 47 to 50 of Luke.

CHAPTER V. (Luke, ch. 8)

Verses 1 to 18 inclusive, same as in Luke. (Verse 19 of Luke not in Marcion.)

19,20 and 21 inclusive, same as 20, 21 and 22 of Luke. But Volkmar has, in verse 20 of Marcion, (21 of Luke), "Who is my mother ? and who are my brethren? My mother and my brethren are," etc.

22. (23 and 24 of Luke.) He was sleeping with the sailors. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and the sea.

23 to 40 inclusive, same as 25 to 42 of Luke.

41. (43,44 and 45 of Luke.) And a woman, touching him, was healed of an issue of blood; and the Lord said, Who has touched me?

42 to 52 Inclusive, same as 46 to 56 of Luke.

CHAPTER VI. (Luke, ch. 9.)

Verses 1 to 15 inclusive, same as in Luke.

16. Same as in Luke, except, "he asked blessing upon them." [Ep autois]

17 to 21 inclusive, same as in Luke.

22.Saying, the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be~put to death, and after three days rise again.

23 to 29 inclusive, same as in Luke.

30. (30 and 31 of Luke.) And behold two men talked with him; Elias and Moses, in glory.

31 to 33 inclusive, same as 32 to 34 of Luke.

34. (35 of Luke.) From the cloud a voice saying: This is my beloved Son.

35 to 38 inclusive, same as 36 to 39 of Luke.

39. (40 of Luke.) And I besought thy disciples, and they were not able to cast him out. (ouk eedunestheesan ekballein auto.)

40. (41 of Luke.) And he said to them, O faithless generation, how long shall I suffer you?

41 to 61 inclusive, same as in 42 to 62 of Luke.

CHAPTER VII. (Luke, ch. 10.)

Verses 1 to 20 inclusive, same as in Luke.

21.In that hour, he rejoiced in the spirit, and said: I thank thee, Lord of heaven, that those things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, thou hast revealed unto babes. Even so, Father, for it seemed good in thy sight.

22.All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man hath known the Father save the Son, nor the Son save the Father, and he to whom the Son hath revealed.

23 and 24, same as in Luke.

25. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, say. ing: Master, doing what shall I obtain life? (aionion omitted.)

26. He said unto him, What is written in the law?

27 and 28, same as in Luke, except that instead of orthos apekrithees, Marcion had orthos eipes.

29 to 42 inclusive, same as in Luke.

CHAPTER VIII. (Luke ch. 11.)

Verse 1, same as in Luke.

2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, may thy Holy Spirit come to us. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.

3 and 4, same as in Luke.

5. And he said: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, asking for three loaves? (aiton treis artous;)

(Verses 6, 7 and 8 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

6. [9 of Luke.] Ask, and it shall be given. (Verse 10 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

7. [11 and 12 of Luke.] Who of you, being a father, if his son ask a fish, instead of a fish, will give to him a serpent? Or, instead of an egg, a scorpion?

8. [13 of Luke.] If, therefore, you being evil, know how to give good things unto your children, how much more your Father, who is in heaven?

9 to 23 inclusive, same as 14 to 28 of Luke.

24. [29 of Luke.] And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say: This is an evil generation; they seek a sign; no sign shall be given them.

[Verses 30, 31 and 32 of Luke, not in Marcion.] 25 to 33 inclusive, same as 33 to 41 of Luke.

34. [42 of Luke.] Wo unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over the calling [kleesin], and the love of God. These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

35 to 40 inclusive, same as 43 to 48 of Luke. [Verses 49, 50 and 51 of Luke, not in Marcion.] 41, 42 and 43, same as 52, 53 and 54 of Luke.

CHAPTER IX. (Luke, ch. 12.)

Verses 1, 2 and 3, same as in Luke.

4. (4 and 5 of Luke.) I say unto you, be not afraid of them who kill the body; fear him who has power, after killing, to cast into hell.

(Verses 6 and 7 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

5. (8 of Luke.) Also I say unto you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before God.

6. (9 of Luke.) But he that denieth me before men, shall be denied before God.

7 to 24 inclusive, same as 10 to 27 of Luke. (Verse 28 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

25, same as 29 of Luke.

26. (30 of Luke.) For all these things do the nations of the world seek after. And your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things of the flesh.

27.(31 of Luke) Pleen before zeeteite, omitted.

28. (32 of Luke.) Instead of ho pateer humon, Marcion had ho pateer; "the Father."

29 to 33 inclusive, same as 33 to 37 of Luke.

34. (38 or Luke.) And if he shall come in the evening watch, (hesperieen phulakeen), and shall find them so, blessed are those servants.

35 to 41 Inclusive, same as 39 to 45 of Luke.

42 (46 of Luke.) The Lord of that servant will come, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint his portion with the unbelievers.

43 to 53 inclusive, same as 47 to 57 of Luke.

54.(58 of Luke.) Instead of se parado, Marcion has paradoaei se.

55, same as 59 of Luke.

CHAPTER X. (Luke, ch. 13.)

(Verses 1 to 10 of Luke, not in Marcion.) Verses 1 to 5 inclusive, same as 11 to 15 of Luke.

6. (16 of Luke.) Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond, on the sabbath day?

7 to 17 inclusive, same as 17 to 27 of Luke.

18.(28 of Luke.) There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see all the righteous in the kingdom of God, and your-selves cast out, and held back.

(Verses 29 to 35 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

CHAPTER XI. (Luke, ch. 14.)

Verses 1 to 6 inclusive, same as in Luke. (Verses 7 to 11 inclusive of Luke, not in Marcion.)

7 to 30 inclusive, same as 12 to 35 of Luke.

CHAPTER XII. (Luke, ch. 15.)

This chapter consisted of the first 10 verses only, of 15th Luke.

CHAPTER XIII. (Luke, ch. 16.)

Verses 1 to 11 inclusive, same as in Luke.

12. And if ye have not been faithful in that which was another man's, who will give you that which is mine?

13 to 16 Inclusive, substantially the same as in Luke.

17. Heaven and earth may pass, but one tittle of my words shall not fail.

18 to 28 inclusive, substantially the same as in Luke.

29. (In place of the last three verses of 16th Luke.) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. Not after one has risen from the dead, will they listen. (epei oude tou egeiromenou apo nekron akouousin)

CHAPTER XIV. (Luke, ch.17.)

Verse 1, same as in Luke.

2.(According to Volkmar.) It would be better for him, if he had not been born; or if a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

3 to 9 inclusive, same as in Luke.

10. So, likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you.

11, 12, and 13, substantially as In Luke.

14.And he sent them away, saying: Go, show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were cleansed.

15, 16, and 17, same as in Luke.

18. These are not found returning, to give glory unto God. And there were many lepers, in the days of Eliseus the prophet, and none of these were cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian.

19 to 37, substantially the same as in Luke.

CHAPTER XV. (Luke, ch. 18.)

Verses 1 to 18 inclusive, same as in Luke.

19.Jesus said to him, Do not call me good; one is good: the Father.

20 to 30 inclusive, same as in Luke. (Verses 31 to 34 inclusive, of Luke, not in Marcion.)

31.(In place of 35 to 43 inclusive, in Luke, were this verse and the following:) And it came to pass, as he came near Jericho, a blind man cried out, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

32. And when he had healed him, he said, Thy faith hath saved thee.

CHAPTER XVI. (Luke, ch. 19.)

Verses 1 to 8 inclusive, same as in Luke.

9. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come unto this house.

10 to 28 inclusive, same as in Luke.

(Verses 29 to 48 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

CHAPTER XVII. (Luke, ch. 20.)

Verses 1 to 8 inclusive, same as in Luke. (Verses 9 to 18 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

9, (19 of Luke.) And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him, and they feared the people.

10 to 24 Inclusive, same as 20 to 34 of Luke.

25. (35 of Luke.) But they who shall be accounted worthy of God, to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.

26, same as 36 of Luke. (Verses 37 and 38 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

27 to 35 inclusive, same as 39 to 47 of Luke.

CHAPTER XVIII. (Luke, ch. 21.)

Verses 1 to 17 inclusive, same as in Luke. (Verse 18 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

18 and 19, same as 19 and 20 of Luke. (Verses 21 and 22 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

20 to 35 inclusive, same as 23 to 38 of Luke.

(Dr. Lardner thought, the first 18 verses of 21st Luke were not in Marcion. But later authorities include vv. 1 to 17.)

CHAPTER XIX. (Luke, ch. 22.)

Verses 1, 2 and 3, same as in Luke.

4. And he communicated with the captains, how he might betray him unto them.

6,6 and 7, same as in Luke.

8. And he said to Peter and the rest, Go and prepare, that we may eat of the passover. (Kai eipe, to Petro kai tois Ioipois, apelthontes etoimasate, hina phagomen to pascha.)

9 to 13 inclusive, same as in Luke.

14. And he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

15. Same as Luke, except pros autous in Luke.

(Verses 16, 17 and 18 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

16 to 24 inclusive, same as 19 to 27 of Luke.

(Verses 28, 29 and 30 of Luke, not In Marcion.)

25 to 28 Inclusive, same as 31 to 34 of Luke.

(Verses 35 to 38 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

29 to 38 inclusive, substantially the same as 39 to 48 of Luke.

(Verses 49, 50 and 51 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

39 to 49 inclusive, same as 52 to 62 of Luke.

50, substantially the same as 63 of Luke.

51. (64 of Luke.) And striking him, they said: Prophesy: Who is it that smote thee?

52 to 58 inclusive, same as 65 to 71 of Luke.

CHAPTER XX. (Luke, ch. 23.)

Verse 1, same as in Luke.

2. And they began to accuse him, saying: We found this fellow perverting the nation, and destroying the law and the prophets; forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and turning away the women and children.

3 to 32 inclusive, same as in Luke.

33. And coming to the place called the place of Calvary, (place of a skull, kraniou topos,) they crucified him and divided his garments; and the sun was darkened.

34 to 42 inclusive, same as in Luke, excepting from Luke the portions contained in verse 33 of Marcion.

(Verse 43 of Luke, not in Marcion.) 43, same as 44 of Luke.

44. (46 of Luke.) And the vail of the temple was rent in the midst.

45. (46 of Luke.) And crying out with a loud voice, he expired.

46, 47 and 48, same as 47, 48 and 49 of Luke.

49. (50 to 53 of Luke.) And behold, a man named Joseph taking down the body, wrapped it up, and placed it in a hewn tomb.

50 and 51, same as 54 and 55 of Luke.

52 (56 of Luke.) And returning, they rested the sabbath day, according to the commandment.

CHAPTER XXI. (Luke ch. 24.)

Verses 1 to 4 inclusive, same as in Luke.

5.And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, those in white clothing said to them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

6.He has risen; remember what he said while yet living, (eti on.)

7.That It was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer, and be delivered up.

8 to 24, same as in Luke.

25.Then he said to them, O fools, and slow to believe all that he said unto you!

26, same as in Luke. [Verse 27 of Luke not in Marcion.]

27 to 30 inclusive, same as 28 to 31 of Luke.

31.(32 of Luke.) And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way?

32 to 36 inclusive, same as 33 to 37 of Luke.

37.(38 and 39 of Luke.) And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? Behold my hands and my feet; a spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have.

38 to 41 inclusive, same as 40 to 43 of Luke.

42.(44 of Luke.) These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you.

(Verse 45 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

43. (46 of Luke.) That thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead, the third day.

44 to 48 inclusive, same as 47 to 51 of Luke. (Verses 52 and 53 of Luke, not in Marcion.)

From the foregoing synopsis the reader can write out the Gospel of Marcion, and will have the text of that gospel, very nearly as it stood in the fourth century. The English reader may pass over, as unimportant, the Greek readings not translated, and may adopt the corresponding text of Luke.