Re: Monograph on Marcion: "The Arch-Heretic Marcion" by Moll
The Gospel of Thomas Discussion Group
Having read what’s available online, I have to say I’m not impressed. First, despite the title, it’s not about Marcion. It’s about Harnack’s views on Marcion, and as the title “The Arch-Heretic Marcion” makes plain, the author has a rather fixed opinion of Marcion himself. As a result, he only very lightly brushes the subject of the veracity of the sources used to establish Marcion’s identity, etc., choosing only to address sources that are neither “undisputed” nor the subject of a scholarly consensus.
For example, the chief of these is the “Letter to Flora” from Ptolemy. The author satisfies himself the this is the same Ptolemy known to Justin, that Flora is the same woman interested in divorce as in Justin’s Apology, and that the letter refers to “a Marcionite position.” However, as the letter talks about three Gods (the good; the evil, and the just), and in the same monograph the author states that Marcion only referred to two Gods (Good and Evil), and that the Just God was added by later generations of his followers, it doesn’t seem to me that the letter writer can be referring to Marcion himself.
For me, the most interesting think in the monograph is the discussion over the date at which Marcion arrived in Rome. However, I’m not convinced by the author here. Overall, I don’t find his logic to be well founded, and he tends to hide this (maybe not intentionally) by his many forward references in the text, and statements of fact based on things not yet in evidence. For example, on page 7 he writes: [Hoffman] “supposes that his [Marcion’s] main activity took place in Asia Minor in the years 110-150 (while it actually was in Rome in the years 145-165, see chapter III). Unfortunately, with this dating being crucially wrong, much of the rest of Hoffman’s argument in his book collapses…”
Moll could be right here (and in other places) but he doesn’t in any way help himself with his presentation.
David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA