Sunday, June 30, 2013

Marcionite Galatians: The first is last

If Marcion wrote any of the Pauline Epistles - and I think he did - then none can be as wrenching as the last one written, the first one in the collection, Galatians. The situation is looking back on the separation and  foundation of his own churches. He is battling a resurgent Jewish Christian camp that has taken over at least one and likely more of the congregations he founded. Further there is a traitor among his trusted Apostles in Cephas, who has turned to the camp of the Jews. This Epistle is a plea to return to his leadership and theology.

The Marcionite version of Galatians has been reconstructed by Adolph Harnack first, then more recently by Daniel Mahar, and most completely by Dr. Herman Detering - whose version I consider by far the best. It is upon Dr. Detering's planting that I am watering in making my reconstruction. There are only a few places of difference, but they are significant, and involve the increased knowledge
I have gained in other reconstructions, that helped me catch a few things that have been overlooked.

The first concerns verse 1:17 which is included in every prior reconstruction. But it doesn't belong. First Jerusalem is not yet in sight, and is secondary to the vision. With the certain deletions of verses 1:18-24 it would stand back to back in two verses, which is less likely than that the doublet is the result of redaction. Further Jerusalem passage involves Paul acknowledging other Apostles, something he does nowhere except in 1 Corinthians, in what appears to be a discussion of succession. In this verse the τοὺς πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλους are those before Paul, a position simply untenable to Marcion. The second objection concerns going up to Damascus, which is clearly an allusion to the Acts 9:1-25 account with which the Catholic editor so desperately is trying to harmonize with. Arabia seems to be a details from the same source document that also had additional information on the Damascus basket incident in 2 Corinthians 11:30-33, a piece of apocrypha that was not part of the original epistle.

My next objection of substance concerns the names of the three pillar in verse 2:9, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάνης. These are names without a back story, as so often we find in the Catholic editors additions. They require Acts and other works, to understand their positions, which from Tertullian's commentary were clearly well known by his day. But they are superfluous to Marcion's version, so should be deleted. The names also cause a certain inconsistency with respect to Cephas and his actions in 2:11-14, as he seems to have before coming to been opposed  to his own camp in Jerusalem as one of the three named pillars.

Verse 2:11 contains a reference to Antioch which also is clearly a harmony to Acts 15:23ff. There is no need otherwise to mention the city; a sloppy addition by the redactor since he gives no travelogue. The rest of the differences center around specific wording of verses 4:10, 26, and a brief discussion of why I left 6:18 stand.

To the left I put up a quick chart of the timeline I see for the Pauline Epistles. Not all the Epistles are up on the timeline as I have yet to determine exactly where Philippians and the Thessalonians fall in their Marcionite versions. Also I have not placed the Pastorals, but at least in the case of Titus and 2 Timothy I have a rough date in mind, essentially 160-175 CE. What is of note is that Colossians likely represents a prior document from another author that Marcion picked up. As for dating Romans and all the Epistles that have similar opinions on circumcision, 127 CE is a critical date, as that is when Hadrian banned the practice. This is reflected in Galatians 5:12 sentiments which are identical. 

It is actually my opinion that the entire collection is post Bar Kochba except perhaps Colossians. Romans 2:25ff, and especially Galatians 5 which are focused on the issue of circumcision which really comes into focus after 127 or 129 CE when Hadrian banned the practice as part of his Hellenization policy toward the Jews. It is noteworthy that Galatians 5:12 asks satirically that those of the circumcision party mutilate themselves (οἱ ἀναστατοῦντες ὑμᾶς),  as this matches the sentiments of Hadrian who referred to the practice as mutilation. The entire body as the temple is very likely a post-Bar Kochba idea, as seen in 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17, because up to that point there was always the hope that the temple would be rebuilt. Certainly the heavenly Jerusalem is after this date as Aelia Capitolina replaced it, and the temple mount was occupied by an equestrian statue of Hadrian, and also one his successor Antonius Pius added, making it very clear Jerusalem was not coming back, nor the temple. (above Hadrian coin).

Here is the Marcionite Galatians Interlinear and Notes on Catholic Additions to Galatians.

This concludes the first four books of the Apostolikon (note 1 Corinthians, 3rd Revision is up, deleting verse 14:3-5, 12 which I missed in the last pass). I am currently working on Philippians, with Laodiceans and 1& 2 Thessalonians to follow. Colossians will be the most difficult and problematic, so I am saving it for last. In addition I will go back to my work on the Antithesis (and Matthew), and I will tackle the Lazarus and the Rich Man story in the Gospel, as it holds some very critical insights. Revelation has got me interested in the Astrological possibilities with regard to Marcion and Paul, most specifically the eclipse of September 3rd, 118 which passed very close to Sinope; unfortunately there is no Revelation chapter to try and decode by, so it my just be a dead end.

1 comment:

  1. Since writing this post, I have come to realize Hadrian never banned circumcision. The controversy came to the fore when the province of Judea was disbanded in the wake of the Bar Kokhba revolt after 135 CE. And the absorption of Judea into the Syria-Palestine province meant an end of Torah Law. With no province having Torah Law, the Augustan decree that Jews can follow the traditions of the Law of their fathers anywhere in the Empire was no longer in force. This resulted in a window of a few years until Antoninus Pius appended the Law to allow circumcision for children of Jews (but not slaves held by them), most likely as part of the usual new Emperors gestures and favors to his constituents in the Empire. So the gap of when circumcision was not allowed for Jews is probably from late 135 CE to the 2nd half of 138 CE. This pushes lower bound of the date of Galatians from the 127 CE to after 135 CE.