Category Archives: marcion

Luke: Adapting from Marcion or Matthew?

So it’s been my working hypothesis that Luke is following Matthew and that Q didn’t exist. There is another line of evidence that may even suggest that Marcion’s gospel should be added into the mix as a “fourth Synoptic”.

In Marcion’s gospel, Jesus descends from heaven right into Capernaum and begins preaching. It’s only later that Marcion’s Jesus goes to Nazareth. In Luke, however, Jesus doesn’t go to Capernaum until 4.31, where the people there are amazed at his preaching and amazed that he removed an unclean spirit from a parishioner; implying that Jesus had never been to Capernaum before. In the pericope right before that at Luke 4.23, Jesus claims that he was in Capernaum before preaching in Nazareth. Of course, in Luke, Jesus didn’t start preaching or doing any miracles until chapter 4. The chapters before that, Jesus is born, gets baptized, and immediately goes into the wilderness to be tested. After testing in the wilderness, he goes to Nazareth.

To make an error like that implies that Luke is redacting an earlier source, chopping up bits and pieces to rearrange them for his theological needs. Since neither Marcion nor Matthew have this error, and the ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ line is not in Matt, it probably means that Luke is redacting Marcion at this point.

In general, Luke’s narrative logic in this pericope makes little sense while Marcion’s makes a bit of sense. At first those in the synagogue are pleased with Jesus’ reading of scripture (e.g. Lk 4.22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.) and then out of nowhere Jesus accuses them of being skeptical and demanding that he do there in Nazareth what he did in Capernaum (which, as I’ve just discussed, he hadn’t been to Capernaum at this point). This drives the people into such a rage that they attempt to throw him off a cliff which he just passes through as though he were a ghost.

Why would Jesus accuse them of skepticism when they were pleased with his preaching? It doesn’t make sense.

Marcion’s version makes a bit more sense. After speaking, the people are confused about his speaking, and Jesus insinuates they are skeptical and probably want him to do here in Nazareth what he did in Capernaum (which makes sense, since he drove out an unclean spirit [i.e. ‘Physician, heal yourself!’] in Capernaum before going to Nazareth in Marcion). The people are driven into a rage and attempt to toss him off a cliff, in which, since Jesus is a phantom, he decides to pass through the crowd untouched.

Of course, in total this pericope makes sense for Marcion to write, since Marcion’s Jesus was indeed a “ghost” or a phantom, being a docetist and all. Luke, being an anti-docetist, doesn’t should not create a pericope like this that implies docetism.

Tertullian’s apologetic for this is pretty bad:

Here at once, when I observe that they laid their hands on Him, I cannot help drawing a conclusion respecting His bodily substance, which cannot be believed to have been a phantom, since it was capable of being touched and even violently handled, when He was seized and taken and led to the very brink of a precipice. For although He escaped through the midst of them, He had already experienced their rough treatment, and afterwards went His way, no doubt because the crowd (as usually happens) gave way, or was even broken through; but not because it was eluded as by an impalpable disguise, which, if there had been such, would not at all have submitted to any touch.

(Against Marcion 4.8.10-13)

An alternative hypothesis is that Luke had this error and Marcion corrected it. But we would then have to answer why Luke had this error in the first place. Another alternative is that both Luke and Marcion are adapting an older source, a sort of pre-Luke (see J. Tyson’s Marcion and Luke-Acts p 83-85). This still wouldn’t answer why Luke had the error in the first place.

A sticking point with this, however, is that Luke has included in this section the town name “Nazara” that Matt 4.13 also used; albeit in a different pericope (Lk 4.16 Καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς Ναζαρά, οὗ ἦν τεθραμμένος :: And he went into Nazara, where he was brought up // // Mt 4.13 καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὰ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ :: and leaving from Nazara went to settle in Capernaum). In short, this town name “Nazara” is the grammatically correct interpretation of what “Nazarene” means, if one assumes Nazarene is a gentilic. Matt assumed, at 4.13, that Mark’s “Nazarene” was a gentilic.

Kinda like saying Canadian. In English, if we call someone an XYZ-ian, we would assume that this person was from XYZ. Similarly, in Koine Greek, if someone is a XYZ-ene, then they are from XYZ. So at Mark 5.1, Jesus goes into the region “of the Gerasenes” (Γερασηνῶν::Gerasenon; gen. pl.), which means that he went to Gerasa. The same logic would hold for Nazarene which would mean someone from Nazara. The move from Nazarene to Nazareth seems to have taken time to develop. This gentilic is corroborated by some Gnostic sources. In the Gospel of Philip, the author says that Nazara means “truth”, thus Jesus is one who comes from truth.

Anyway, it is impossible to tell if Marcion had Nazara where Luke has it, since the only source that only implies that Marcion had this section is written in Latin (Tertullian). Not only that, but the W-H NT is a reconstruction of the earliest manuscripts. This means that Nazara might have been replaced with Nazareth by copyists in later copies by the time of Tertullian.

Nazara is evidence that Matt is among Luke’s sources, but I don’t know if Marcion also knew about Matt. Marcion having Nazara would be evidence in favor of him knowing Matt.

So we have three related weights of evidence in favor of Luke rewriting Marcion and/or Matt from this section:

1. Jesus refering to miracles in Capenaum before even going there
2. A narrative that doesn’t make sense of why the synagogue would go from glowing praises to raging anger in just a couple of verses
3. A pericope’s conclusion that assumes some type of docetism

We also have some weights that argue that Marcion edited Luke:

1. Scholarly consensus that Marcion did so
2. All ancient sources (besides Marcion himself and the Marcionites) allege that Marcion mutilated Luke
3. Scholarly consensus that Luke was written about 40 years before Marcion became active; Luke is alleged to have been written around 80 CE and Marcion being active around 120 – 140 CE according to the majority of NT scholars.

Quite honestly, I think the arguments in favor of Marcion editing Luke, that I’ve enumerated above, are all bullshit. I can’t abide by a scholarly consensus that is based mostly on cultural inertia and trying not to offend Christians; “pursue the truth no matter where it lies”, and all that. Though it seems like the consensus is moving a bit more towards Luke (and Acts of the Apostles) having been written later than the standard time of 80 CE to at least the time period after Josephus. But I’ll factor in the consensus in my little analysis.

If I may be so bold, I think I can represent this using some subjective Bayescraft in a following post.


Posted by on January 16, 2013 in marcion


The Marcionite God Is Compatible With Evolution

Marcion (Μαρκίων) of Sinope (modern Turkey)

If you look at my posts about Bayes’ Theorem and the existence of god (parts 2 and 3) you’ll notice that the probability of the Christian god goes down due to it being asserted that he has a role in evolution and the creation of the universe. If you don’t feel like slogging through those posts, here are the relevant arguments.

On life arising on Earth as opposed to other planets:

So if one were to say that P(Earth | H [i.e. Chrisian God]) is .99, then one is in effect saying that it would be very unlikely, or .01 probability, for the Christian god to create life on any other planet. What exactly is limiting the Christian god at this point? Why couldn’t the Christian god create life on Mercury if he wanted to? It seems to me that since all things are possible with the Christian god, we would have to distribute our probability evenly between the eight planets. We can’t have .99 for each planet because .99 * 8 is much greater than 1.00. Like I said in a previous post, probability is like energy. It has to be conserved. When everything is added up it has to equal 1.00.

P(Earth | H) in reality would be 1/8, or .125.


So I would estimate that P(Earth |~ H) would be closer to .9, with the planets on the outskirts of the [Goldilocks Zone] getting a decent chunk like .04, and the remaining five planets splitting up the .02. This is in fact what astrophysicists do when looking for planets outside of our Solar System. They concentrate on looking for planets that are within that star’s GZ and then concluding that those are the planets that have a high probability of water and thus a high probability of life (compared to other planets outside of the GZ). Methodological Naturalism for the win, I suppose!

So our formula to update our prior of .977 looks like this:

P(H | E) = P(E | H) * P(H) / [P(E | H) * P(H)] + [P(E | ~H) * P(~H)]
= P(Life on Earth | Christian God) * P(Christian God) / [P(Life on Earth | Christian God) * P(Christian God)] + [P(Life on Earth | NonChristian God, Atheism) * P(NonChristian God, Atheism)]
= .125 * .977 / [.125 * .977] + [.9 * .023]
= .1221 / [.1221] + [.0207]
= .1221 / .143
= .8551

So our prior was bumped down from .977 to .8551. If there were no GZ planets (i.e. P(E | ~H) would be basically zero) and there was life on a planet anyway, then even if P(E | H) was .125, this would increase our prior probability from .977 to basically 1.00; we would have almost absolute certainty of the Christian god’s existence, according to the assertions of Christians.

On evolution:

So given evolution, and assuming equal distribution between theistic evolution and theistic non-evolution (I don’t have any a priori reason why the Christian god would pick evolution over non-evolution or vice versa), we would have the following Bayesian update to our prior probability of .8551:

P(Christian God | Evolution) = P(Evolution | Christian God) * P(Christian God) / [P(Evolution | Christian God) * P(Christian God)] + [P(Evolution | Atheism) * P(Atheism)]
= .5 * .8551 / [.5 * .8551] + [.99 * .1449]
= .4276 / .4276 + .1435
= .4276 / .571
= .7487

Now, given no evolution, we would have the following Bayesian update to our prior probability of .8551:

P(Christian God | No Evolution) = P(No Evolution | Christian God) * P(Christian God) / [P(No Evolution | Christian God) * P(Christian God)] + [P(No Evolution | Atheism) * P(Atheism)]
= .5 * .8551 / [.5 * .8551] + [~0 * .1449]
= .4276 / .4276 + ~0
= ~1.00

So if there were no evolution, then the evidence for the Christian god goes up from .8551 to approximately 1.00. I have to stress that in reality no evolution would simply be evidence against atheism. Surely the Greek gods or some other supernatural force could have created life on Earth if there indeed was no evidence for evolution, and that would have to be included in the H of ~1.00. This is the reason why P(No Evolution | Atheism) is only approximately zero and not zero. ~H was supposed to be both atheism and some other, non-all powerful god(s) besides the Christian god.

But as it stands, evolution is the most likely explanation for the emergence of human beings on Earth. And evolution does indeed favor atheistic evolution over Christian theistic evolution.

Now our prior probability for the existence of the Christian god is .7487 and the prior probability for the existence of a non-Christian god(s) or atheism is .2513.

On the creation of this universe as opposed to some other universe:

According to this apologetics website the probability of the current arrangement of our universe’s constants is the equivalent of picking one red dime out of a pile of 1037 dimes. Or, P(Current Universal Constants) = 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001.


Back to our Total Probability formula:

0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001 = P(Current Universal Constants | Christian God) * .7412 + P(Current Universal Constants | Non Christian God, Atheism) * .2588.

0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001 = ???? * .7412 + P(Current Universal Constants | Naturalism, Atheism) * . 2588.

It looks like the equation has to be P(Current Universal Constants | Non Christian God, Atheism) > P(Current Universal Constants | Christian God) in such a manner that makes the Total Probability equal to 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001. Since P(Current Universal Constants | Christian God) is basically zero — the majority of the probability capital goes into P(Other Universal Constants | Christian God) — this means that P(Current Universal Constants | Non Christian God, Atheism) is equal to a miniscule amount more than P(Current Universal Constants). At this point, it might as well be equal to P(Current Universal Constants).

Since P(Current Universal Constants | Christian God) is basically, zero, this means that the probability of the Christian god’s existence given the current universal constants is also basically zero. It’s not actually zero because zero isn’t a probability. I’d like to say that I’m the first one to make that argument, but it already looks like other people have come to a similar conclusion about the fine-tuning argument.

You can see that the probability of the Christian god’s existence takes a hit with all of these arguments; the reason it takes a hit is because the Christian god is unfalsifiable. But what happens if no one ever asserted that the Christian god was responsible for the creation of the universe or life on Earth?

That just so happens to be the description of the Marcionite god.

According to Marcion, his good god was an alien. Previously unknown to humanity before the descent of Jesus from heaven, this god had no hand in the creation of humanity or the universe. All of that was on the hands of the Jewish god. Marcion’s god just sort of “happened” onto humanity and felt sorry for us and decided to offer unconditional eternal life to those who believed in him.

There’s no reason why the same sort of logic couldn’t apply in the context of evolution; the Marcionite god just happened upon an already evolved humanity and the subsequent divine passion play would pan out. Since it is never asserted that the Marcionite god had a hand in creation or evolution, he doesn’t take any hits in probability in comparison to the (orthodox) Christian god.

In short, a non-creator god is compatible with evolution. One of the reasons I think Marcion’s theology is one of the most logical iterations of Christianity.

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Bayes, marcion


A New Oldest Christian Inscription?

As far as we know, the oldest Christian inscription is Marcionite and dates to c. 313 CE. However, there might be one that dates almost 200 years earlier, and is Valentinian:
Here is a CBS Live article on an old Christian inscription found in Rome in the 1953, NCE 156. Gregory Snyder has recently published a updated analysis of it in the Journal of Early Christianity in which he argues for a 2nd century date and Valentinian provenance. His translation is as follows: 

To my bath, the brothers of the bridal chamber carry the torches,

[here] in our halls, they hunger for the [true] banquets,
even while praising the Father and glorifying the Son.
There [with the Father and the Son] is the only spring and source of truth.

Synder, according to CBS, thinks that it is the oldest Christian object we possess.
Coolness! The heretic Valentinus is more than likely also the earliest Christian to quote and use the gospel of John, and is possibly also the earliest Christian to use a trinitarian formula for the Christian god.

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in early Christianity, marcion


The Son Of David

It's really striking to me that the phrase “son of David” only shows up in two parts of Mark's narrative. Once when Jesus heals Bartimaeus (Mk 10.46-52) and the second time when Jesus rebukes the “son of David” title, at least as a title for the messiah (Mk 12.35-37). Jesus has no qualms about being the “son of man” (Mk 14.62). But the son of David? Heavens to Mergatroyd!

This is more than likely a misuse of Psalm 110 (the psalm was written to David, not by him*). But aside from that digression, these are the only two times that the title “son of David” is used in Mark so there might be a relationship between the two pericopae. And they appear relatively close in the narrative (i.e. one doesn't occur in Mark 2 and the second at Mark 13). The one person to call Jesus “son of David” is a blind man. Is the author of Mark saying that those who call the messiah a son of David are blind? What are we to make of Romans 1.3: γενομενο[ς] εκ σπερματος δαυιδ κατα σαρκα :: born from the seed of David according to the flesh? Paul most certainly believed that Jesus was a “son of David”.

Or did he?

Look how virulently anti-Marcionite these first few lines of Romans are:

2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature (i.e. κατα σαρκα) was a descendant of David,
4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God

We should note that Romans has the longest introduction out of all of the authentic Pauline letters:

* Galatians 1.1-2 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers with me. To the churches in Galatia…

* 1 Corinthians 1.1-2 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes. To the church of God in Corinth…

* 2 Corinthians 1.1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God in Corinth…

* Phillipians 1.1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus. To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi…

* Philemon 1.1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother. To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker…

* 1 Thessalonians 1.1 Paul, Silas, and Timothy. To the church of the Thessalonians…

Even the contested Pauline letters have shorter intros than the one in Romans:

* Colossians 1.1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To God’s holy people in Colossae…

* Ephesians 1.1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. To God’s holy people in Ephesus…

* 2 Thessalonians 1.1 Paul, Silas and Timothy. To the church of the Thessalonians…

All of these introductions are only like one sentence long until it gets to the addressing phrase (i.e. to the churches in Galatia…). Romans, on the other hand, goes on this relatively long sidebar about the Jewish nature of Jesus and the gospel. To make the Roman letter's introduction match those of the other authentic Pauline letters, it should read like this: “1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God […] 7To all in Rome who are loved by God…

Certainly, this long-ish digression about the Jewish nature of the Jesus religion wouldn't have been in Marcion's canon. Marcion didn't believe that Jesus was a descendant of anyone, nor did he believe that he had come “in the flesh”. Marcion also did not believe that Jesus had been predicted in Jewish scripture (I actually don't think the authentic Paul even believed this) nor that he was “declared” to be the son of god, which implies some sort of adoptionist Christology. I'm willing to bet that Marcion's version of Romans had something like the intro I've just propopsed here; it would match the intro of all of the other letters. And it is also telling that Marcion actually seems like the first Christian witness to Romans. The only other long intro of a similar length that we see in Romans is in one of the pseduo-Pauline letters – Titus (also, I might add, not in Marcion's canon).

So I don’t think Paul wrote this long intro to Romans. The language is not Pauline (the only other time that “Paul” uses the phrase Holy Scripture is in the pseudo-Pauline letter 2 Timothy [3.15]). The long digression doesn’t match other Pauline introductions, and Paul never appeals to the prophets in predicting Jesus’ advent (Paul mostly talks about prophets in relation to apostles. Meaning contemporary prophets) or otherwise goes out of his way to stress the Jewishness of the Jesus religion.

Anyway, in Matthew Jesus is presented repeatedly as being the “son of David”. It might be seen as a subtle correction of Mark's disavowal.

Like I wrote before, this healing pericope is the only time that Mark actually gives the person that Jesus heals a name. And he more than likely named him for a reason. Since the reason for Mark naming Bartimaeus appears prior in the narrative to Jesus rebuking the “son of David” title, again, it might mean that all of this was planned. A deliberate connection between the two pericopes. It could be further evidence that Mark is along the trajectory towards Marcionism; Jesus and the new religion are a novelty and shouldn't be mixed with the old (hence Mark's wineskins pericope). Mark might be subtly saying to his readers that they should stop thinking of Christianity in terms of Judaism and think of it on its own terms. A new age has begun; Jews and Judaism have been abandoned by their god (again, Mark 12.1-10, Mark 13). Thinking of the messiah as being a “son of David” is thinking of things in terms of the old ways.

The teachers of the law (who are “blind”) are the only ones who say that the messiah is the son of David. And we know that the law (in Christianity) is no longer valid.

[*] It seems as though our earliest witness to this Psalm are Christians. Psalm 110 was not found in the oldest collection of biblical works – the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even though the DSS group seemed to have a particular reverence for Melchitsedek. Psalm 110 also seems to merge the two positions of High Priest and King, which first enters the scene of the Jewish nationality with the Maccabean priest-kings. Considering that the DSS group had a not so veiled hatred of the Maccabean usurpers, it could be concluded that Psalm 110 was written by Maccabean sympathizers to legitimate their merging of the two once disparate offices. Which is why this particular Psalm would be written to David and not by him; the Maccabean leadership are implying that David was both priest and king to give credence to their claim to being both priest and king. It would also be why this Psalm was not included among the ones in the DSS – it was written by their political enemies.


Posted by on June 27, 2011 in marcion, paul, son of david


Little Caesar

The love child of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar was named Caesarion by Cleopatra. Caesarion (Καισαρίωνα) in Greek meant “little Caesar”. So it must follow then that -ίωνα is a diminutive suffix in Greek. Of course, I just found out that Marcion's name in Greek is not Μαρκίων, but Μαρκίωνα. As I wrote in a previous post, the suffix -ίων is a comparative suffix. But Marcion's Greek name was not Μαρκίων but Μαρκίωνα.
Inexorably, this means that Marcion (Μαρκίωνα) means Little Mark.
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in greek, marcion


Pobrecito Marquitos!

From this blog:

That Μαρκίων is a diminutive of Μαρκος, I conclude also from the relation of Εὔρυτος to Εὐρυτίων, (vgl. Phil. Griech. Gramm. 21. Aufl. S. 119, Anm. 12), κοδράτίων (from Philostratus vit. sophist. II, 6 p. 250) to κοδράτος (vgl. W. H. Waddington, Memoire sur la Chronologie de la vie du rheteur Aristide, 1867, p. 32). So also I think κάλλιστος, the Roman Bishop (217 – 222) against whom the author of the Philosophumena shows such hostility, is behind Rhodon’s reference to κάλλιστίωνι προσφωνων (Eusebius, Church History V, 13, 8). Stronger still is the case for the Μαρκιανοί – which Justin Dial c. Tr. c. 35 p. 253 mentions before the Valentinians, Basilideans, Satornillians, etc – being a reference to Marcionites. Similarly, one will have to read the Muratorianum Z 82-84: quia etiam librum novum psalmorum Marciani (= Marcionitae conscripserunt).

I always thought there was some relationship between Mark[os] and Markion (Marcion). Here is what Wikipedia says about diminutives:

Diminutives are often used for the purpose of expressing affection (see nickname and hypocoristic). In many languages, the meaning of diminution can be translated “tiny” or “wee”, and diminutives are used frequently when speaking to small children; adult people sometimes use diminutives when they express extreme tenderness and intimacy by behaving and talking like children.


Greek [Diminutives]:

Several diminutive derivational suffixes existed in Classical Greek. The most common ones were -ι-, -ισκ-, -ιδι-, -αρι-.

Diminutives are also very common in Modern Greek. Literally every noun has its own diminutive. They express either small size or affection: size -aki (σπίτι/spiti “house”, σπιτάκι/spitaci “little house”; λάθος/lathos “mistake”, λαθάκι/lathaci “negligible mistake”) or affection -ula (μάνα/mana “mother”, μανούλα/manula “mommy”). The most common suffixes are -άκης/-acis and -ούλης/-ulis for the male gender, -ίτσα/-itsa and -ούλα/-ula for the female gender, and -άκι/-aci for the neutral gender. Several of them are common as suffixes of surnames, originally meaning the offspring of a certain person, e.g. Παπάς/Papas “priest” with Παπαδάκης/Papadacis as the surname.

Nothing here about adding ίων to make a diminutive of a masculine noun. But then again, there’s nothing here about what diminutive suffixes were extant in Koine Greek. One diminutive in Mark 3:9 is “little boat” / πλοιαριον which ends in -ιον but not ιων. Ironically, the difference between the two is between a little o (o micron) and a big o (o mega).

This, however, is from a Perseus Project website:

The comparative suffix (earlier -iōs) is akin to the Greek -ίων, or the Sanskrit -iyans.

Which is also corroborated by this Google Books page. -ίων is a “lesser known” comparative suffix than -οτερος.

In other words, it seems as though ίων might be added to denote a comparative (i.e. Μαρκίων is “something or other” than Μαρκος) and not a diminutive.

Nominative Diminutive Comparative Superlative
Adjective πτωχός / poor πτωχάκης / little poor one (i.e. “pobresito”) πτωχότερος / poorer πτωχότατος / poorest
Noun Μαρκός Μαρκάκης (?) Μαρκίων Μαρκίστος

The name “Mark” itself seems to come from Mars (and his month March), the god of war.

Maybe this moniker was added to differentiate between “orthodox” Mark and “heretical” Mark? Like Paul and Simon Magus, Jesus called BarAbba and Jesus called Christ? It might be that “Markion” actually was the author of Mark and they are really one and the same person. I can’t help but think it has something to do with the word ετερός, meaning “other” (but of a different kind) which sounds pretty close to the comparative suffix οτερος. Markion was the “other, different” Mark. Μαρκός ετερός > Μαρκότερος > Μαρκίων.

Regardless, it seems as though Mark and Markion are the same name. The really fishy thing being that they are both charged as being gospel authors. One orthodox, and one heterodox (ετερος).


Posted by on June 11, 2010 in gospel of mark, marcion


Marcion, Luke, and Justin

So I was thinking about how late Luke might have been written. In my view, it seems as though our current Luke is a reaction to Marcion’s possible correction of Matthew. If Luke is after Marcion, then who is the earliest witness to things in the gospel narrative(s) that are unique to Luke? This would be Justin Martyr.

There are a few clues that Justin was aware of Luke (courtesy of a table put together by Neil Godfrey).

1. Elisabeth is mother of John the Baptist (Dialog with Trypho 84) / Luke 1:57
2. Gabriel’s announcement to Mary; “Be it according to thy word” (DT100) / Luke 1:38
3. Census under Quirinius (DT78) / Luke 2:2
4. Circumcised 8th day (DT23,67) / Luke 2:21
5. Sweats drops of blood (DT103) / Luke 22:44
6. Appears to disciples in Jerusalem (DT 51) / Luke 24:36 [the other gospels have him appear in Galilee, the more Gentile of the two]
7. Ascended to heaven (Firs Apology 51, 46) / Luke 24:51

Justin also seems to be aware of the Protevangelium of James:

But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found Him.

The bolded part — Joseph and Mary taking residence in a cave to give birth — is only to be found in the gospel of James:

17. […] And they came into the middle of the road, and Mary said to him: Take me down from off the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth. And he took her down from off the ass, and said to her: Whither shall I lead thee, and cover thy disgrace? for the place is desert.

18. And he found a cave there, and led her into it; and leaving his two sons beside her, he went out to seek a midwife in the district of Bethlehem.

The gospel of James is dated to around 150 – 200 CE.

One thing to point out is that Justin never refers to any gospel names as we know them (according to Matthew, etc.), he just refers to them as the Memoirs of the Apostles and it seemed like some sort of gospel harmony. If this is the case, then it was probably a compilation of the most popular gospels written by then; one of which more than likely included Marcion’s.

Here is a nice rundown of Marcion’s gospel vs. Luke’s:

In my opinion, Marcion must have been active a lot earlier than what’s traditionally ascribed by his enemies as his period of activity (140s CE). They had a vested interest in showing that heresy started “late” and orthodoxy started “early” (this is also the time period when gospels start getting names of those assumed to be “orthodox”; which is also after Marcion). There had to have been enough time for Marcion’s influence to spread all across the Roman empire by the time Justin is writing in the 150s. Of course, I could be wrong, but for the sake of argument, I think Marcion wrote his gospel – and began spreading it around – in the 130s. This is enough time for Mark’s gospel to have been written in the late 1st century (as I argued there), Matthew to make corrections that start getting circulated, Marcion becoming aware of both, and them him writing his correction of Matthew.

Sometime between Marcion and Justin, the current Loukan birth narrative was added, one that’s independent of Matthew’s, but still feeding on traditions of a miraculous birth. What Greco-Roman hero didn’t have a miraculous birth in antiquity? Of course, another line of evidence would be the portion of Luke that’s not the birth narrative that shows evidence of being aware of Matthew. Courtesy of Mark Goodacre:

The same phenomenon of editorial fatigue occurs also in double tradition material, where the evidence suggests that Luke is secondary to Matthew. In the Parable of the Talents / Pounds (Matt 25.14-30 // Luke 19.11-27), Luke, who loves the 10:1 ratio (Luke 15.8-10, Ten Coins, one lost; Luke 17.11-19, Ten Lepers, one thankful, etc.) begins with a typical change: ten servants, not three; and with one pound each (Luke 19.13). Yet as the story progresses, Luke appears to be drawn back to the plot of the Matthean parable, with three servants, “the first” (Luke 19.16), “the second” (Luke 19.18) and, remarkably, “the other” (Luke 19.20, ο ετερος). Moreover, the wording moves steadily closer to Matthew’s as the parable progresses, creating an internal contradiction when the master speaks of the first servant as “the one who has the ten pounds” (Luke 19.24), in parallel with Matthew 25.28. In Luke, he does not have ten pounds but eleven (Luke 19.16, contrast Matt. 25.20).

Possible evidence that Luke (or Marcion) depended on Matthew. On top of that, this also gives time for the author of Luke to utilize the (relatively) recently published works of Josephus.

One last point, and back to Luke 22:44. Ehrman argues in “Misquoting Jesus” that all throughout Luke, Jesus seems completely in control – never becoming emotional. It’s only at Luke 22:44 where Jesus seems to show any emphatic display of emotion. This might be a sign of interpolation; and if it is an interpolation then this means it happened before Justin since Justin is aware of it. Jesus — as the Good God of Marcion — being in control, showing no emotion, and knowing what will happen seems to be a staple of Docetic Christologies. Lk 22:44 might have been inserted as anti-Marcionite along with the rest of the birth narrative.

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