Recommended Books

MARCION: ON THE RESTITUTION OF CHRISTIANITY - An Essay on the Development of Radical Paulinist Theology in the Second Century, by R.Joseph Hoffmann (Scholars Press, 1984). This is one of the best works on Marcion currently in print. Hoffmann presents an in-depth discussion on Marcionite theology and the various influences which may have led to its formation, and in the process, calls into question the testimony of the church fathers and the traditional dating of Marcion's life and career, proposing that Marcion occupied a much earlier period of time in christian history - almost a generation earlier - than has been commonly supposed. In addition, Hoffmann's superb comprehensive bibliography provides many leads for those interested in pursuing further research on Marcion. I highly recommend this work! Some chapter headings: The Hellenistic Matrix of Marcion's Religious Thought; The Gnostic Trajectory of Marcion's Theology; The Morphology of Marcion's Dualism; The Reclamation of Paul: the Orthodox Critique of Marcion's Paulinism; the Marcionite Error in the Pastoral Epistles.

MARCION:The Gospel of the Alien God by Adolf von Harnack. Translated by John E. Steely and Lyle D. Bierma (Labyrinth Press). Harnack's monumental work on Marcion (originally published in German in 1924) would and should be at the top of this list - if not for the fact that the English translation (first pub.1984) has apparantly already gone out of print! Nonetheless, Amazon still has it listed, and it would be worth placing a special order with Amazon to locate any new or used copies which might be available. This is THE work on Marcion to have! There is one drawback to the English version: Harnack's extensive appendixes of the 1924 German edition(about 400 pages) - containing his reconstruction of Marcion's canon - were not included! Despite this, Harnack's monograph is invaluable with much to offer. Chapter headings: Marcion's Life and Career; The Critic and Restorer: Marcion's Bible; Marcion's Antithesis; Marcion's Christianity and his Preaching; The History of the Marcionite Church. It's Theological Schools and the Sect of Apelles; Marcion's Historical Position and His Historical Significance for the Emergence of the Catholic Church; Marcion's Christianity in Light of Church History and the Philosophy of Religion.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD, Marcion of Sinope by James Hamlyn Hill. A "hard copy" of Marcion's gospel featured at this site, with an informative introduction by James Hill.

MARCION AND SEIN APOSTOLOS: Rekonstruktion und Historische Einordnung der Marcionitischen Paulusbriefausgabe (Arbeiten zur Neutestamentlichen textes vol 25) by Ulrich Schmid. The most recent reconstruction (in Greek) of Marcion's Apostolikon in circulation. A bit pricey for 366 pages - $142 - and presented in headache-inducing German at that. The major difference with this reconstruction from the past efforts of Zahn and Harnack is that Schmid refrained from using material from The Dialogues of Adamantius, for which many doubts have been raised (by John Clabeaux - see below) regarding its reliability as a source for quotations from Marcion's bible. The great body of the work is devoted to the reassessment of source material used for reconstructing Marcion's Pauline canon, while the reconstruction of the text comprises the appendices (p.313ff): Beilage I: Der Text des marcionitischen Apostolikon; Beilage II: Die sicheren Lesarten des marcionitischen Textes - containing the sigla to other ancient NT manuscripts with which to compare marcionite readings.

A LOST EDITION OF THE LETTERS OF PAUL: A Reassessment of the Text of the Pauline Corpus Attested by Marcion by John J. Clabeaux. Not much offered here in the way of Marcion's theology, nor even a full reconstruction along the lines of efforts by Zahn, Harnack and Schmid. Clabeaux gives an immensely detailed treatment and review of Marcionite readings, setting forth the hypothesis that Marcion's canon was not the earliest canon of Paul. Impressively executed, but Clabeaux's proposition suffers from one major oversight (in my opinion) - he fails to either mention or take into consideration Hoffmann's earlier dating for Marcion's life and career, and does not even offer a date for Marcion's activity - which does not exactly lend weight to the conjecture of a "Pre-Marcionite" canon, if indeed Marcion lived much earlier than where traditional dating has placed him. Nevertheless, his work containing extensive appendices evaluating lists of "Secure Pre-Marcionite Readings","Probable Pre-Marcionite Readings", and an "Evaluation of Passages from Dial.5, Significant Problems" makes for interesting reading and source reference.

REFUTATION OF THE SECTS, A Retelling of Yeznik Koghbatsi's Apology, translated by Thomas Samuelian (Armenian Church Classics). An English translation of the refutation of the Armenian Yeznik (or "Eznik"), who lived from 387-450 CE. Book IV is his "Refutation of the Heretic Marcion", which contains the later marcionite myth of creation. Contents: Book I - The Nature of God; Book II -Refutation of Zurvanism (an offshoot of Zoroastrianism); Book III - Refutation of the Greek Philosophers.

MARCION AND THE NEW TESTAMENT by John Knox (published 1942). A most compelling work! Did Marcion actually erase passages from his canon, as accused by his opponents - or did the proto-orthodoxy expand their canon, laced with anti-marcionite polemic to boot? Amazon lists this work as "out of stock", but it would be worthwhile ordering if Amazon can track down a copy.

MARCION: A Study of a Second Century Heretic by Robert S.Wilson. A classic 1933 work, still available through Amazon via special order.

MARCION AND HIS INFLUENCE by E.C.Blackman. A detailed exposition, challenging Harnack's conclusions concerning the significance of Marcion for christian history. "Out of stock" at the moment according to Amazon.

MARCION, MUHAMMAD AND THE MAHATMA: Exegetical Perspectives on the Encounter of Cultures and Faiths by Heikki Raisanen (1997). Not yet reviewed.

THE PANARION OF EPIPHANIUS, BOOK I (Sects 1-46), translated by Frank Williams (1987). An English translation of Epiphanius' nasty rantings against the marcionites and various other gnostic movements. A major source for readings from Marcion's canon. Be forewarned -an expensive volume - but Amazon offers the best price.

THE PANARION OF EPIPHANIUS, BISHOP OF SALAMIS: Selected Passages, translated by Philip R. Amidon. The "poor man"'s alternative to the volume above. However, I have not had opportunity to review this yet, and am uncertain how much on Marcion this volume contains.

HERETICS:THE OTHER SIDE OF CHRISTIANITY by Gerd Ludemann. "Gerd Ludemann argues that it is impossible to overlook the historical distance between every possible theology today and the primitive Christian period. The gulf between the history of Jesus and the varied picture of him in the New Testament makes it impossible to argue for the Bible's inspiration. Gerd Ludemann argues that the time from the first Christian communities to the end of the second century was not a period of great harmony, but was defined by struggles by various groups for doctrinal authority. Drawing on a wealth of data, he asserts that the losers in the struggle actually represented Christiani ty in its more authentic, original form. Since Orthodoxy has been defined by the victors in this struggle, it is the silenced alternative views that have been labeled "heretical".Ludemann's findings are important as well as liberating for understanding both Christianity and the Bible. Readers will gain a new understanding of Jesus and the early church from this compelling and controversial book".

THE ORTHODOX CORRUPTION OF SCRIPTURE:The Effect of Early Christological Controversieson the Text of the New Testament by Bart Ehrman. "Exploring the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Bart Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian "heresy" and "orthodoxy" affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part,the debates were waged. In the process, he provides a valuable analysis of significant textual problems that continue to puzzle New Testament scholars. Ehrman argues that scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons. In order to make them support established christological doctrine, scribes imported orthodox motions into passages, or modified texts that might have lent support to heretical views. Closely examining three such heresies, Ehrman identifies how the proto-orthodox response affected the evolving texts of scripture, devoting a chapter to adoptionists like the Ebionites, who claimed that Christ was a man but not God; one to docetists like Marcion, who claimed that Christ was God but not a man; and another to Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that Christ was two beings, one divine and one human. The first full-length work to evaluate textual data with reference to specific controversies between orthodoxy and heresies, Ehrman's thorough and incisive analysis makes a vital contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity. In addition, it raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts - especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean, effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture".

ALL IN ALL : The Goal of the Universe by A.E.Knoch. Does the salvation of Christ extend to the entire human race? An upbeat thesis making the case for "universal conciliation" for all with God. Not a marcionite thesis, but at least a greater alternative to traditional Christendom's "hell, fire and brimstone", and more befitting of a Supreme Being.