Saturday, June 15, 2013

Marcionite 2 Corinthians Interlinear and Notes (updated 3/16)

I have released my reconstruction of 2 Corinthians in Marcionite form, and also the notes for the material I determined to be Catholic in origin and not part of Marcion's text. This letter reads dramatically different from the version in our bibles today, and is radically shorter and more focused as well. Despite the assurances of Harnack (Marcion and the Gospel of the Alien God, outlined on p 33) that Marcion made only a few changes to the Corinthian letters -an opinion also held by Knox- the truth is the letter was radically different from the Catholic, as were all the letters of Paul except Philemon. Our best and most thorough witness Tertullian testified to this fact in Adversus Marcionem 5.21.1 Soli huic epistulae brevitas sua profuit ut falsarias manus Marcionis evaderet. It is Tertullian whom this work shows was correct.

Language Matters

Framing an argument is critical to its perception and often outcome. No small part of this is the choice of vocabulary. Pick the political subject and you can see the process of choosing the language in action. For example with abortion you see the language of the opponents in terms of life and protection of helpless children, while the proponents speak in terms of the choice of women to determine whether to bear children and how to care for her body. The issue, as we are all aware, is is far more complicated and nuanced than that, and covers many more rights and conflicts - too many to enumerate - which are simplified, objectified, and positioned to favor the position of the speaker. On this issue no proponent of abortion wants to speak in terms of being "against life"  or "against children" and no opponent wants to speak in terms of being "against women" or "against choice" as their opposites would like to have them argue. Hopefully this example illustrates how the power of language can influence a debate over an audience.

In Christianity, the Heterodox of the 2nd and 3rd centuries have left the field, and we have been conditioned by the language and vocabulary of the Orthodox to read the New Testament and indeed the Old Testament in a particular way, and even though almost the entire composition of the Marcionite and Heretical text is still contained, it is necessary to remove the vocabulary of the orthodoxy to find the earlier text.

My methodology to do this includes some eclectic choices, but generally I followed certain rules concerning vocabulary, by including the framing of theological content, as well as focusing on social changes and source dependencies that can be determined. My notes for the Catholic content (link: Notes on Catholic Additions to 2 Corinthians) and the Marcionite text (link: Marcionite 2 Corinthians) are available with the links, and are up on the main page of this blog


My notes here below on the addition of verses 4:1-2 by the Catholic editor is perhaps the most illustrative example of how language and in this case the word 'Mercy' which is not associated with God in Marcion, is used to frame the argument. Hopefully you will find this instructive.

These two verses intrude upon the discussion of Moses and the Old Testament veiling the Gospel to those who are perishing in verses 3:13-18, 4:3ff, and how the Gospel shines light in the darkness (4:4). But 4:1 digresses tangentially into an appeal to Paul's ministry that is received as a result of mercy τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν rather than from revelation so prominent to Marcion’s Paul, and more directly it differs from the relevant description in verse 3:8 the ministry of the spirit in contrast to verse 3:7, the Jewish Christian ministry of death in letters in stones, that is the books of Moses διακονία τοῦ θανάτου ἐν γράμμασιν ἐντετυπωμένη λίθοις.

p46 2 Corinthians 11:33-12:9
The very term mercy ἠλεήθημεν (ἐλεέω) occurs surprisingly rarely in Marcion. Mercy is found only five times in the Gospel, twice in the triple tradition healing of the blind man, both spoken by the blind man (18:39, 41), similarly in healing of the ten lepers (17:13) it is they who ask for mercy (significantly only the Samaritan praised the right God of Jesus not the Jews), once again mercy is used to describe the Good Samaritan (10:37) by the lawyer (e.g., follower of the Law of Moses). The other usage in the Gospel is when the Rich Man (16:24) asks father Abraham for mercy and send Lazarus to cool his torment in Hades. What is significant in the Gospel is how Jesus never speaks the word, but others who ask for mercy, as with a Judge. There is no attested use in Marcion’s text of Paul, and upon examination even 1 Corinthians 7:25 (ἠλεημένος is a hapax legomenen) and Ephesians 2:4 ( δὲ θεὸς πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει) look like additions to emphasize the merciful judge of the Jewish God, while Philippians 2:27 is part of the post-Marcionite travelogues – but again it is God selectively having mercy, which is a characteristic of the Jewish God. The usage in Romans 12:8 is very different, describing a characteristic of an idealized individual, so not terribly relevant.

When we look at the usage of Mercy in the clearly post-Marcionite Luke (1:50, 54, 58, 1:72), and Paul (Romans 9:15-16, 18, 23, 11:30-32, 15:9, Galatians 6:16, 1 Timothy 1:2, 14, 16, 2 Timothy 1:2, 16, 18, Titus 3:5) we see a clear pattern of association of Mercy with the Judicial Jewish God that Marcion opposes. This attribute is so important that in 1 Timothy 1:2, and 2 Timothy 1:2, it was added to the Pauline greeting benediction Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς. This is selective mercy, as described in Luke 1:50 and most plainly in Romans 9:15ff (quoting Exodus 33:19) τῷ Μωϋσεῖ γὰρ λέγει, Ἐλεήσω ὃν ἂν ἐλεῶ. 1 Timothy 1:13 explains that ignorance of what you are doing is one reason God may give mercy. And it is perhaps 1Timothy 1:13 that is in view when the Catholic editor wrote that Paul had received his ministry by mercy ἔχοντες τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν. And this is important, because the argument the redactor is making is that the Jews can have mercy from God despite the veiling of the Gospel from Moses – something he also felt the need to qualify as “the reading of Moses.”

The target of the warning against wrong belief is shifted in verse 4:2 toward those who interpret the prior verses as meaning the Old Testament and Moses are not valid. The common orthodox complaints against Gnostic type opponents, as being dishonest and changing the meaning (λόγος) of the scriptures against what the orthodox know as the demonstrated truth,  is clear in the proclamation μὴ περιπατοῦντες ἐν πανουργίᾳ μηδὲ δολοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλὰ τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείας.Such statements are impossible for Marcion's Paul.

Travelogue and Titus

Just a brief comment on the travelogue portions of this epistle which the Catholic editor inserted. There seems to have been a lost apocryphal Acts of Paul that was the source of much of the travel sequence, which either elaborated on the canonical Acts, or given the likely window of when the Catholic and Marcionite versions of this letter were written, may actually have been one of the sources for Canonical. We can see the enhancement of the Basket incident of Acts 9:20-25 has occurred in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33, such that Paul was held by the city strongman for King Aretas, details not found in Acts. There are other points of contact with Acts and Galatians, some enhanced, such as the vision supposedly fourteen years prior, which includes descriptions of a third heaven, and hints at it being a well known story which the author side steps deftly the nature of the incident, by stating he doesn't know if it was in our out of body.

The important point to take away in the stories from Acts, whether apocryphal or canonical, is that the accounts have an extraordinary character of fiction, a legendary hero and his travels, with wonders and powers and signs. This indicates that a long period of time, certainly more than a generation,  has passed between the original version of this epistle and the Catholic editors additions.

The other point to consider is with knowledge of the Pastorals (see my notes) shown elsewhere, and the time passed, there can be little question that the praise and endorsement throughout this epistle are meant to buttress the credentials of the Pastoral Epistle of Paul to Titus. A sales job to reluctant congregations absorbed from the ranks of reconciled heretical churches. It is the same as the effort in 1 Corinthians to build up Timothy for at least the 2nd Epistle of Paul to Timothy (Frederick Schleiermacher demonstrated rigorously that 1 Timothy was a conflation of the other two  pastorals, see Hermann Patsch, JHC), an expanded collection.

1 Corinthians Re-Examined

Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for scholarship, my reconstruction of 1 Corinthians needs to be seriously re-examined. Its very clear my reconstruction was perhaps too timid, and many problems in content and vocabulary have after completing 2 Corinthians reconstruction become obvious among several of the unattested verses. Verse 8:1-3 contain problematic vocabulary of knowledge and edification (definitely never present in Marcion) which indicate these verses were not in the original. Verses 8:9-13 are troublesome, with non Marcionite vocabulary (ἀσθενέσιν, εἰδωλείῳ, οἰκοδομηθήσεται, συνείδησιν, ἀσθενοῦσαν) and the phrase κρέα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα in  8:13 that harkens too close to the post Marcionite Galatians 1:4-5 text. The appearance of the word mercy (ἠλεημένος) in 7:25 make the 2nd half of the verse unlikely to have been original. Verse 3:9 is suspect due to vocabulary (συνεργοί, οἰκοδομή ). And finally a review of 10:23-33 is in order - this will be the most difficult to review.

My reconstruction plans for the Marcionite texts focus on first making corrections to 1 Corinthians and republishing. Then I will push my version of Galatians, which varies only slightly from Detering's (it's done, and I will defer to Detering's notes, except the few points where I differ), which should be a quick effort of maybe a day or two. After that I have to decide whether to work on the Thessalonians or Laodiceans next, or if I should focus on the Antithesis and additional details of how it was a source and influence Matthew.

Comments from the Audience

If you have a preference for what I should work on next let me know -- that is one of the points of the public blog. Also please comment on any of the notes for this or other reconstructions. I want to learn from you as much as I want to impart my ideas. So feel free. Thanks for reading 

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