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 ἡ διακονία τοῦ θανάτου ἐν γράμμασιν ἐντετυπωμένη λίθοις.
|p46 2 Corinthians 11:33-12:9|
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