A question that keeps hanging over my mind as I read and think about Klinghardt’s article is: Just how reliable is Tertullian’s witness of Marcion’s gospel anyway? How can we be sure Tertullian is not really relying more on Luke and recalling what differences he thinks there were from an earlier reading of Marcion’s gospel? Tertullian does concede that his earlier notes went missing, and one is left wondering how much that survives was from his memory and without immediate reference to Marcion’s gospel.
If that was the case, then is not there a risk of Klinghardt’s argument lacking a stable support — in effect being circular?
But the fact that Epiphanius can be called on to support Tertullian’s testimony from time to time does appear to lessen the risk that this is the case.
Some years ago when first studying what we know about Marcion I had an ambition of sifting through Tertullian et al to see if the Marcionite gospel might indeed cross reference to the synoptic gospels and suggest an alternative to Q. I’m thrilled to see that Klinghardt appears to have done something like that here.
I know the whole notion of this discussion will be nonsense to anyone who cannot admit even the possibility of a second century, let alone post Marcion, date for the synoptics. But the more I read around the issues the more I can’t help thinking that such a late date resolves so many other questions, too, which I discuss here from time to time.
Notes from Klinghardt’s article:
Alternating primitivity in the Double Tradition (Mt & Lk) material
Matthew and Luke alone include “the beatitude” sayings of Jesus. Luke writes: Blessed are the poor; Matthew writes: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Luke’s version here is regarded as the original or more primitive version of the two. Matthew’s defining the poor in spiritual terms is regarded as a subsequent evolution of the saying as it appears in Luke. Sometimes, however, it is Luke who will use what is considered the more mature form of a saying and Matthew the more primitive. The most widely accepted explanation for this alternating primitivity in the double tradition material (that shared exclusively by Matthew and Luke) has been the hypothesis that both Matthew and Luke were using another common source, Q.
Klinghardt however writes: “On the assumption of [Marcion] being prior to Luke the observation of alternating primitivity finds a completely different and rather simple solution.” (p.15)
Tertullian informs us that Marcion’s text matches Luke’s (contra Matthew’s) in the following instances:
- Blessed are the poor (Luke 6:20b) — Tert. 4.1.41
- Blessed are the persecuted on behalf of the Son of Man (Luke 6:22) — Tert. 41.14.14
- The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4, contra Matt. 6:9-13) — Tert. 4.26.3-4 (Tert does not quote the Marcionite Lord’s Prayer but K comments that it is clear he does not know of Matthew’s second and seventh prayer requests in Marcion’s version. Some manuscript evidence also points to the possibility that Luke’s original Lord’s prayer called on the spirit in place of the kingdom and was later changed to “kingdom” — which would also be more consistent with a Marcionite theology.)
- Exorcism is performed by the finger of God (Luke 11:20, contra Matt. 12:28 ) — Tert. 4.26.11
Luke’s “re-ordering” of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount
Matthew’s multi-page Sermon on the Mount is not repeated as a solitary block in Luke. Rather, Luke does use a number of the sayings from that sermon but in small snatches scattered throughout the narrative. To those who support Luke’s knowledge of and borrowing from Matthew, this is evidence of Luke’s greater narrative skill; to most, however, it is inconceivable that any author would have broken up a such a “masterpiece” had he known it.
Tertullian in particular informs us that Marcion’s gospel contained the bulk of the broken up “sermon” sayings of Matthew in the same narrative order as found in Luke. In other words, given Macionite priority it appears most likely that Luke followed Marcion’s text rather than another otherwise unattested document, Q.
Klinghardt provides the following table:
- Matt. 5:13 // Luke 14:34-35 (parable of salt): –
- Matt. 5:15 // Luke 11:33 (parable of light): Tert. 4.27.1
- Matt. 5:18 // Luke 16:17 (imperishability of the law): Tert. 4.33.9
- Matt. 5:25 // Luke 12:57-59 (reconciling with enemy): Tert. 4.29.15
- Matt. 5:32 // Luke 16:18 (divorce and remarriage): Tert. 4.34.1, 4
- Matt. 6:9-13 // Luke 11:2-4 (Lord’s Prayer): Tert. 4.26.3-5
- Matt. 6:19-21 // Luke 12: 33-34 (on collecting treasures): –
- Matt. 6:22-23 // Luke 11:34-36 (parable of the eye): –
- Matt. 6:24 // Luke 16:13 (serving 2 masters): Tert. 4.33.1-2; Adam., Dial. 1.26
- Matt. 6:25-34 // Luke 12:22-31 (on anxiety): Tert. 4.29.1-5
- Matt. 7:7-11 // Luke 11:9-13 (answered prayer): Tert. 4.26.5-10; Epiph. 42.11.6
- Matt. 7:13-14 // Luke 13:23-24 (narrow gate): –
- Matt. 7:22-23 // Luke 13:26-27 (warning against self-deception): Tert. 4.30.4
On the Minor Agreements in the Triple Tradition (Mt, Mk, Lk) material
These are so, well, “minor” that there is no way to test many of them against Marcion’s gospel without that gospel’s actual text. In some of the minor agreements between Luke and Matthew against Mark there is no Marcionite attestation and it seems logical to think Luke has copied Matthew in such cases.
But a few points are worth noting in relation to the possibility of Marcionite influence:
- the sabbath was not made for man . . .
Both Luke 9:5 and Matthew 12:7-8 omit Mark 2:27 (the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath). There is no attestation that this and other “omission agreements” were in Marcion’s text.
Who hit you?
A more significant and testable agreement is in the depiction of Christ’s beating. Matthew and Luke both add the “Tell us who hit you” taunt to Mark’s account. (cf. Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64; Matt. 26:68 )
This agreement is prima facie evidence that Luke did know and use Matthew. Arguments against this have centred on postulating faulty manuscript transmission or that Luke sometimes occasionally used Matthew as well as Q. The former sounds ad hoc and the latter contradicts the very premise for the Q hypothesis (that Matthean material is not found in Luke.)
But Epiphanius (Panar. 42.11.6) informs us that these words were in Marcion’s gospel. The simplest explanation therefore, given Marcion priority, would be that both Luke and Matthew copied Marcion’s text here.
standing outside (minus the sisters)
Mark 3:31-5 narrates Jesus’ family, including his sisters, are waiting for him outside a house. Luke 8:20 and Matthew 12:47 narrate the same incident from Mark, but without mentioning the sisters and with both describing the family as “standing” outside.
Tertullian read the same (Lukan and Matthean) words in Marcion’s text. 4.19.7
the mustard seed
Mark’s parable of the mustard seed (4:30-32) is told in the passive voice and without naming the subject (sower). Both Matthew and Luke use the active voice and do name the subject (sower). Matthew, however, speaks of a garden, Luke of a field.
Tertullian tells us, 4.30.1, that Marcion had the same version we find in Matthew and Luke. Tertullian also read Luke’s “field” in the Macionite text.
after three days
In Mark 8:31 we read the resurrection was to be “after three days”. In Matthew 16:21 and Luke 9:22 we read it was to be “on the third day”.
Marcion also used “on the third day” — Tertullian 4.21.7
The nativity stories
Klinghardt discusses these as well. But my note-taking time is up for now so that’s another post.