Marcion of Sinope

Marcion Marcion or (* 85 in Sinope in Pontus, † 160) was the founder of Marcionism, an influential Christian direction of the 2nd century Gnostic influences. His religious aspirations and teachings were attacked in the process of self-definition of the early church as misleading (' heretical '). So he went to church history as the arch-heretic, but unfolded rise to some great effect when it was dedicated to him the richest apologetic literature. In the liberal theology rehabilitation Marcion as a kind of early church reformer was undertaken in part.


Marcion was ( mostly handed down to 85 AD) in the commercial city of Sinope born before 100 AD. He was shipowners and Seekaufmann. Probably after an anti-heretical fiction he was charged with seduction of a virgin by the municipality of Sinope of his father, the bishop there, excluded. He traveled around the year 135 to Rome and brought a successful merchant of the community an enormous fortune (the talk is of 100,000 or 200,000 sesterces, which he was able to buy because of its commercial activities ). There, he developed his own theology, probably under the influence of the Gnostic Cerdo, whom he met there. 144 came the break and establishing a separate, stamped Gnostic faith community, Marcion was excommunicated and returned his money gift. By traveling Marcion, his teachings spread rapidly as far as Egypt and Persia. Marcion himself died well before the government Official ride of Marcus Aurelius by 160 Under Constantine the Marcionite churches were fought, in some regions more than others supporters had communities. In contrast to the Gnostic sects, the community of the Marcionites was tightly organized; it could just be for the official church to serious competitors. The Marcionite church services were forbidden, even in private homes. Marcionite churches were destroyed and confiscated their land. In the 3rd century, it came through the persecutions in the West, in the 4th century in the east to decline, until the 6th century, the Marcionite church existed is no longer open. Many of the communities went on Manichaeism. Traditions of the Marcionite church found after Petros Sikeliotes at the Paulikianern. Extent to which these inter-Christian, some violent clashes have promoted or also allows the subsequent spread of Islam in these regions is controversial.


Marcion is the first theologian to systematically defined a difference between a good God of love in the New Testament as it was proclaimed by Jesus as a father, and an evil God of the Old Testament, which was responsible for creation, law and justice. As a consequence, the entire Old Testament Marcion back, because it describes a demiurge, whom he, as in Gnosticism, perceives as evil god, but above all as a god of law. Here, the creation is not perceived in their beauty, but in its material coarseness (inter faeces et urinas nascimur - between urine and feces we are born ). For the spiritually - spiritual people a horrible idea. Consequently, this demiurge is also responsible for the suffering and unhappiness in the world. We need a redemption that is thought of as a return to actually spiritual, spiritual and boundless life. Therefore represent Christ the God of love, which frees people from the domination of this God of the law. Alone, Faith in the God of love is necessary for salvation. Jesus does not apply to him as the Messiah, but as a divine being with a phantom body ( Docetism ), because of course, could not happen redemption through suffering, sweat, blood and tears, but as a spiritual overcoming of the material by the Savior. As in Gnosticism ie Marcion summarizes the material to be bad, and postulated two gods. Unlike in Gnosticism, however, there is no secret doctrine, which is necessary to salvation. After Marcion said of him Demiurge evil god and the god of love have nothing to do with each other, they have no relationship to each other. You probably do not even know each other. The God of love was completely unknown before his revelation in Christ ( ignotus ).

Action and effect

To prevent Using the above theological reasons and to the contemporary it may consider as dangerous continuation of the revelation ( as in Gnosticism ), Marcion sifts through the stock Coursing Christian texts and reduces it to a stock, which as a first Biblical canon of ten Pauline letters as well as a purified gospel that contains so-called Marcionite Gospel. This is probably in close proximity to the Gospel of Luke, but contains no references to the Old Testament. In all probability, Marcion was against a form of Luke 's Gospel.

His teachings had laid down inter alia in the antitheses, which represented a commentary on his Bible Marcion. The works of Marcion, however, are not obtained, but survives only through quotations and reports of his opponents, especially in Tertullian. An attempt to portray his true doctrine is, therefore, faced with difficulties. Another unresolved issue is whether Marcion has created a myth of what is usually denied. In Tertullian we find nothing of it, but Eznik describes piston of a myth of the Marcionite church, however, can be developed in later times.

It also needs to be investigated further, how large the influence of the " Marcionite " Church on Church history has been especially of the Orient. It has probably given regions where the only Christian church was the Marcionite flat. Marcionite theology traces can still be found in the Qur'an of the religion 's founder Muhammad many researchers.

In the church, the challenge posed by Marcion accelerated the formation of the extensive and unabridged biblical canon and the emergence of a Christology that combines the spiritual and the spiritual and the human sufferer elements in it ( two-natures doctrine ).

For effective historical perspective of the liberal historian of dogmas Adolf von Harnack is mentioned, which showed in his great Marcion book extremely sensitive to the basic concerns of Marcion - and among other things, the discussion of Marcion with his congregation in Rome compared to the confrontation at the Diet of Worms in 1521.