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Claire Clivaz has suggested that Papyrus 69 should be regarded 'as a witness to a Marcionite edition of Luke's Gospel'.[1]

The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd century Christian teacher Marcion of Sinope to the exclusion of the other gospels. Its reconstructed fragments now appear among the New Testament apocrypha. Marcion's teaching was condemned as heresy in the year 144.

So many Catholic Christian apologists wrote treatises against Marcion after his death, in addition to the noted work of Tertullian, that it has been possible to reconstruct almost the whole of Marcion's Gospel of the Lord from their quotations. Marcion, then, is known only through his critics, who considered his doctrines a deviation from proto-orthodox Christianity.

Relationship to the Gospel of Luke[edit]

There are two possible relationships between Marcion's gospel and the Gospel of Luke; either Marcion revised a previously existing Gospel of Luke to fit his own agenda or else his "Gospel of the Lord" pre-dated the Gospel of Luke as we have it today and was in fact the basis for it.

Marcion's gospel as a revision of Luke's

Church Fathers wrote, and the majority of modern scholars[2][3] agree, that Marcion edited Luke to fit his own theology, Marcionism. The late 2nd -century writer Tertullian noted that Marcion, "expunged [from the Gospel of Luke] all the things that oppose his view... but retained those things that accord with his opinion".[4]

According to this view, Marcion eliminated the first two chapters of Luke concerning the nativity, and began his gospel at Capernaum making modifications to the remainder suitable to Marcionism. The differences in the texts below highlight the Marcionite view that, first, Jesus did not follow the Prophets and, second, the earth is evil.

Luke Marcion
O foolish and hard of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken (24:25) O foolish and hard of heart to believe in all that I have told you
They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation . . .’ (23:2) They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation . . . and destroying the law and the prophets.'
I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth... (10:21) I thank Thee, Heavenly Father...
Marcion's gospel as pre-dating Luke's

In 1881 Charles B. Waite[5] suggested that Marcion's Gospel may have preceded Luke's Gospel. John Knox (not the same as the Scottish reformer John Knox) in Marcion and the New Testament (1942) also defends this hypothesis. In the 2006 book Marcion and Luke-Acts: a defining struggle, Joseph B Tyson makes a case for not only Luke but also Acts (see Luke-Acts) being responses to Marcion rather than Marcion's gospel being a rewrite of Luke.[6]


Theologian Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930), in agreement with the traditional account of Marcion as revisionist, discussed the reasons for his alterations to Luke. According to Harnack, Marcion believed there could be only one true gospel, all others being fabrications by pro-Jewish elements, determined to sustain worship of Yahweh. Furthermore, he believed that the true gospel was given directly to Paul by Christ himself, but was later corrupted by those same elements who also corrupted the Pauline epistles. Marcion saw the attribution of this gospel to "Luke" as another fabrication. He therefore began what he saw as a restoration of the original gospel as given to Paul.[7]

Von Harnack wrote that:

For this task he did not appeal to a divine revelation, any special instruction, nor to a pneumatic assistance [...] From this it immediately follows that for his purifications of the text - and this is usually overlooked - he neither could claim nor did claim absolute certainty.


  1. ^ Clivaz, C., The Angel and the Sweat Like 'Drops of Blood' (Lk 22:43–44): P69 and f13, HTR 98 2005), p. 420
  2. ^ Ehrman, Bart (2003). Lost Christianities. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 108. 
  3. ^ Metzger, Bruce. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Developments and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 
  4. ^ Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.6.2
  5. ^ Charles B. Waite (1881) History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two-Hundred
  6. ^ Joseph B Tyson Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle
  7. ^ Adolf von Harnack: Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God (1924) translated by John E. Steely and Lyle D. Bierma

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Marcion — Please support Wikipedia.
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Bib1. Gospel of Marcion, and the philosophy of Marcionism - Bible Dates 1

Gotta start somewhere. Let's start with Marcion. Tertullian: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/tertullian121.html This video may or may not contain ...

Bib3. Gospel of Matthew, Luke, Marcion, Mark, James, The Evidence of Justin Martyr. Bible Dates 3

The adventure continues through Justin Martyr. This guy has been yielding a gold-mine. ;-D Gospel of James: http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncan...

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After doing some cross-referencing, a very simple solution is beginning to emerge. This video, will hopefully, explain that solution. It is not 100% yet, the...

M4 - "John the Baptist" - Marcion Priority Support

http://evolutionsofchristianity.blogspot.com/ Gospel of Marcion (Luke Parallel numbering): http://www.gnosis.org/library/marcionsection.htm This video may or...

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A simple time shift, and later connections, will bring us a lot closer. Pilate/Nicodemus Both Forms: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelnicodem...

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The CSCO team is pleased to present Professor Judith Lieu's Kennedy-Wright opening lecture entitled "Marcion and the Corruption of the Gospel." christianorig...

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http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/tertullian125.html I require to know of Marcion the origin of his apostles even--I, who am to some degree a new di...

Marcion the Heretic - Unscripted 8

http://evolutionsofchristianity.blogspot.com/ Please feel free to sign up for the "mailing list" on the blog. It will send you a verification email. All info...

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The Law and the Gospel, the so-called Principle work of Marcion

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