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Infancy Narratives & Marcion

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  • Bill Woerlee
    I have been following with interest the debate over the Infancy Narratives. The thought about Luke and Matthew having different narratives prompted the thought
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 8, 2002
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      I have been following with interest the debate over the Infancy Narratives. The thought about Luke and Matthew having different narratives prompted the thought that Marcion's "Gospel of the Lord" has no infancy narrative. If it is the pre-Luke version of the Gospel, then the infancy narrative in Luke is a christological development after 150CE. In the alternative, if it is the conflated Luke, as asserted by Tertullian, then we are left puzzling over the intent of the these early Xns to diminish the influence of the infancy narratives.

      The reason for raising this up is to find out the attitudes towards Marcion's "Gospel of the Lord". Quite frankly, for me the jury is out as to whom was first, but I would like to hear the views of the various contributors.

      Thanks.

      Bill Woerlee
      Kambah ACT 2902





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • bjtraff
      ... Narratives. The thought about Luke and Matthew having different narratives prompted the thought that Marcion s Gospel of the Lord has no infancy
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 9, 2002
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        --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Bill Woerlee" <wysard@f...> wrote:
        > I have been following with interest the debate over the Infancy
        Narratives. The thought about Luke and Matthew having different
        narratives prompted the thought that Marcion's "Gospel of the Lord"
        has no infancy narrative. If it is the pre-Luke version of the
        Gospel, then the infancy narrative in Luke is a christological
        development after 150CE. In the alternative, if it is the conflated
        Luke, as asserted by Tertullian, then we are left puzzling over the
        intent of the these early Xns to diminish the influence of the
        infancy narratives.

        Hi Bill

        Marcion's theology had Jesus' Messiahship (which was separate and
        distinct from his human form) conveyed upon him at his baptism (Luke
        3:21-22) and left him at his death when he gives up his spirit
        (23:46). Jesus the Christ, therefore lived separate from Jesus of
        Nazareth, and only the latter was born (normally presumably), and
        died. On this basis, Marcion has no room for any ideas about a virgin
        birth of the Christ. This is why he almost certainly removed it from
        his own gospel (as opposed to it being created at a later date). The
        similarity in style between Luke 1-2 and the rest of Luke/Acts is
        further evidence for it being in the original work, pre-Marcion.
        Finally, remember that Marcion was known to have altered the letters
        from Paul when they offended him (usually because of references to
        the Jews being saved, as well as other positive references to the
        OT). On this basis we should not be surprised that he also rewrote
        Luke to suit his purposes. As for the idea that the Early Father's
        downplayed the virgin birth (including Tertullian, I am unsure what
        has led you to believe this.

        In my view, the Fathers certainly did not play it down, and the
        virgin conception (as given in Matthew and Luke), together with many
        of the Marian doctrines (rooted largely in Luke's Infancy Narrative)
        date back to the earliest days of the Church. Though it is
        apocryphal, and clearly legendary in nature, the Protoevangelium of
        James probably dates back to the first half of the 2nd Century. We
        can also see in the writings of Ignatius (ca. 110CE) that the belief
        in Jesus' human birth by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary had
        already taken root (Letter to the Ephesians 18.2). The fact that
        Matthew's Gospel was easily the most popular to the early Church
        tells us that the Infancy Narrative was not down played.

        > The reason for raising this up is to find out the attitudes towards
        > Marcion's "Gospel of the Lord". Quite frankly, for me the jury is
        > out as to whom was first, but I would like to hear the views of the
        > various contributors.

        If you have some evidence that suggests that Marcion's gospel was
        closer to the original GLuke, I would be interested in seeing it. So
        far as I am aware, the evidence that Luke 1-2 predate Marcion is
        quite compelling. Even if Luke added it to his Gospel after
        finishing the main body of his work, he almost certainly included it
        in the final composition, and probably before the rest was in
        circulation.

        I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

        Brian Trafford
        Calgary, AB, Canada
      • David C. Hindley
        ... the Christ. This is why he almost certainly removed it from his own gospel (as opposed to it being created at a later date)
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 9, 2002
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          Brian Trafford said:

          >>Marcion has no room for any ideas about a virgin birth of
          the Christ. This is why he almost certainly removed it from
          his own gospel (as opposed to it being created at a later
          date)<<

          There is also the option that Marcion removed it from the
          Gospel of Luke because it was created in reaction to a
          Jewish charge. I think Marcion so disliked Jews that he
          excised anything and everything in Christian literature that
          had to do with them, even when it could have been employed
          in defense of his own position.

          In a way it is ironic that he would attempt to excise the
          Judaic elements from a faith that originated within Judaism.
          My opinion is that Marcion was attracted to elements of
          early Christian literature (the Christological theology)
          that were created to serve as the antithesis to elements of
          Jewish based theology of an original movement. Whereas the
          NT as we have it now is a synthesis of a Jewish thesis and a
          reactionary antithesis (developed in response to social
          conditions), Marcion developed the antithetical positions to
          the extreme and completely rejected the original thesis that
          engendered them. [Man, I wish I knew the proper plural form
          of QESIS, EWS, hH]

          Respectfully,

          Dave Hindley
          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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