Marcion’s Gospel: Reconstructions and Their Implications

Over the past decade, there has been a significant, renewed interest in Marcion and Marcion’s Gospel in publications by, amongst others, Joseph Tyson, Andrew Gregory, Sebastian Moll, Matthias Klinghardt, Markus Vinzent, Jason BeDuhn, and Judith Lieu. Though perhaps not, or at least not yet, matching the intensity of debate and publication during the 1840s and 1850s when, in particular, Albrecht Ritschl, F. C. Baur, Adolf Hilgenfeld, and Gustav Volckmar published a series of articles and monographs in rapid succession, there is more being written and published about Marcion at present than at perhaps any other point since Adolf von Harnack’s monumental tome Marcion: Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott, first published in 1921, with the second edition appearing in 1924. The resurgence of interest in Marcion’s Gospel has been marked especially by questions involving readings found in this text, its relationship to canonical Luke, and its place among early Christian Gospels. A major challenge, however, is that any attempt to analyze Marcion’s Gospel or to compare it with Luke or any other text must be based upon a particular reconstruction of Marcion’s text in order to be able to make such comparisons. Some of the difficulties confronted in such a reconstruction, however, are determining which sources are relevant for reconstructing Marcion’s Gospel and, in particular, how the relevant sources are read and utilized in the pursuit of this scholarly endeavor. In this paper, therefore, I will survey and critically interact with a series of issues for the reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel and then illustrate their relevance for the discussion of the textual tradition of Luke, including the so-called “Western non-interpolations,” and the comparison of readings between Marcion’s Gospel and Luke.