Oct 25View Source
Joe(?), I’m not quite sure what points you are trying to make here. Surely we KNOW that what you are calling PMS existed, if all you are saying that it was one or more items of source material, e.g. Mk. If not, what do you really mean by PMS? Also, I do not understand your distinction between “adding things to PMS” and “normal scribal evolution.” If you are suggesting that the latter is basically just revising existing text but not adding anything new, then I take your point that we don’t know what Marcion may or may not have done to his source material (Sondergut Marcion?). For example, could he be the actual author of the first version of Lk, using Mk as his source? I think it unlikely (the dating would seem to be the biggest problem), but I we can’t rule it out completely. This is one of the reasons I refer to Marcion’s gospel as ‘Mcg’ and the author as ‘aMcg,’ to try to avoid the unspoken assumption that it was Marcion who actually created it, rather than possibly just promoted it. In exactly the same way, I don’t refer to ‘Luke’ as the author of ‘Luke.’ Apart from the ambiguity, it precludes the possibility of multiple different authors, each working on different versions, possibly with ‘Luke’ only having added the finishing touches.
Re. the veracity of quotes, references, allusions, etc., we are in no worse position with regard to Marcion than any other biblical author. This surely is one of the things that NT dating is based on, e.g. “Father X has a quotation/allusion to/whatever to Y, therefore Y must have been in existence by Z.” Even though we cannot be 100% certain that ANY of the ‘quotations’ from the fathers are completely accurate, we construct hypotheses around what we believe to be the case, and only revise our hypotheses if, on being tested, they are found to be unworkable, or contradictory evidence comes to light. At that point we may well go back to our assumptions (e.g. about the accuracy of quotes) and revise them.
However, if you are saying that we can’t draw conclusions from what Tertullian, Epiphanius, Irenaeus, etc. report about Marcion, then we can’t draw conclusions from what any of the fathers reported about anyone or any text. This is clearly unworkable, so we do what we always do: draw conclusions based on the evidence we are presented with, and then test the viability of those conclusions. In my case, my basic conclusions are that Marcion’s gospel appears to be an earlier version of Lk (I am not stating whether it is the earliest or an intermediate version) that was seen by both aMt and aLk, and can take the place of Q in the synoptic problem. This is not a new conclusion, but I believe that some of the details I have presented on my website are new. Therefore, I am asking for comment on the validity of my results, based on the evidence I have presented.
David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
Essentially what you are saying is that there was some sort of Pre-Marcion Script that was also Pre-Luke. For the sake of discussion, let's call this manuscript PMS. To many people, PMS is simply that subset of Matthew or Mark that Luke USED. Some consider it Aramaic Q, or some subset thereof. Or perhaps it was some subset of the Gospel According to the Hebrews. It is impossible to prove that PMS was not a subset of one of those documents. But correct me if I am wrong but you are saying that Luke came from adding things to PMS and Marcion was a normal scribal evolution from PMS.
We have no manuscript of the alleged PMS, and no manuscript of Marcion. We know that Marcion existed, but we don't know that PMS even existed. We can reconstruct an approximation to the content of Marcion from a few sparse quotations of his theological opponents, but that's about it. Those quotations come from late copies of manuscripts of Early Church Pioneers who disagreed with him, making their quotations less than reliable. It is probably that they did not quote him word-for-word, because they did not consider his text to be inspired , but corrupted. Perhaps the wording they specifically argued against could be considered accurately worded. But since many of them did not even take the care to quote the manuscripts they considered very important with 100% word-for-word accuracy, we should not conclude they are quoting a text they considered corrupt on a word-for-word level either. On an approximation of content level, yes, but you need a word-for-word level to really cone to the type of conclusions being proposed.
Secondly, we really don't have a good analysis of the textual transmission of the writings of the Early church Pioneers, one reason why I think there is a problem with trying to use their quotes to correct a manuscript for the sake of a critical reading, unless there was some extensive analysis to the text that eliminates the possibility of scribal influence. Often Jerome or others gave enough extensive analysis to make clear some wordings we don't have extant today. But I think way too much has been read into the wording of quotations in this regard.
The only conclusions we can really come to from quotations of Marcion is that there were some differences in how Marcion and Luke were worded. It really is not possible to prove one was more original by comparing Luke with isolated and sparse quotations of Marcion from those who disagreed with Marcion. Without a complete manuscript of Marcion, and a complete manuscript of the alleged PMS, it is really overbroad and premature to conclude that PMS even existed. Concluding Marcion came from it is overbroad and premature and contrary to the testimony of those who did have access to his manuscript.