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Chapter II.—St. Luke’s Gospel, Selected by Marcion as His Authority, and Mutilated by Him.  The Other Gospels Equally Authoritative.  Marcion’s Terms of Discussion, However, Accepted, and Grappled with on the Footing of St. Luke’s Gospel Alone.

You have now our answer to the Antitheses compendiously indicated by us. 3516 I pass on to give a proof of the Gospel 3517 —not, to be sure, of Jewry, but of Pontus—having become meanwhile 3518 adulterated; and this shall indicate 3519 the order by which we proceed. We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical Testament 3520 has apostles for its authors, 3521 to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel. Since, however, there are apostolic 3522 men also, 3523 they are yet not alone, but appear with apostles and after apostles; because the preaching of disciples might be open to the suspicion of an affectation of glory, if there did not accompany it 3524 the authority of the masters, which means that of Christ, 3525 for it was that which made the apostles their masters. Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instil 3526 faith into us; whilst of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. 3527 These all start with the same principles of the faith, 3528 so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfil 3529 the law and the prophets. Never mind 3530 if there does occur some variation in the order of their narratives, provided that there be agreement in the essential matter 3531 of the faith, in which there is disagreement with Marcion. Marcion, on the other hand, you must know, 3532 ascribes no author to his Gospel, as if it could not be allowed him to affix a title to that from which it was no crime (in his eyes) to subvert 3533 the very body. And here I might now make a stand, and contend that a work ought not to be recognised, which holds not its head erect, which exhibits no consistency, which gives no promise of credibility from the fulness of its title and the just profession of its author. But we prefer to join issue 3534 on every point; nor shall we leave unnoticed 3535 what may fairly be understood to be on our side. 3536 Now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke 3537 for his mutilating process. 3538 Luke, however, was not an apostle, but only an apostolic man; not a master, but a disciple, and so inferior to a master—at least as far subsequent to 3539 him as the apostle whom he followed (and that, no doubt, was Paul 3540 ) was subsequent to the others; so that, had Marcion even published his Gospel in the name of St. Paul himself, the single authority of the document, 3541 destitute of all support from preceding authorities, would not be a sufficient basis for our faith. There would be still wanted that Gospel which St. Paul found in existence, to which he yielded p. 348 his belief, and with which he so earnestly wished his own to agree, that he actually on that account went up to Jerusalem to know and consult the apostles, “lest he should run, or had been running in vain;” 3542 in other words, that the faith which he had learned, and the gospel which he was preaching, might be in accordance with theirs. Then, at last, having conferred with the (primitive) authors, and having agreed with them touching the rule of faith, they joined their hands in fellowship, and divided their labours thenceforth in the office of preaching the gospel, so that they were to go to the Jews, and St. Paul to the Jews and the Gentiles.  Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of St. Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke’s Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master. 3543



Expeditam a nobis.


[The term εὐαγγέλιον was often employed for a written book, says Kaye (p. 298), who refers to Book i. cap. 1. supra, etc.]


Interim, perhaps “occasionally.”




Instrumentum. [See cap. 1, supra. And, above, note 9. Also in cap. iii. and the Apology, (cap. xlvii.) he calls the Testaments, Digests, or Sancta Digesta.]


By this canon of his, that the true Gospels must have for their authors either apostles or companions and disciples of apostles, he shuts out the false Gospels of the heretics, such as the Ebionites, Encratites, Nazarenes, and Marcionites (Le Prieur).


Apostolicos, companions of the apostles associated in the authorship.


He means, of course, St. Mark and St. Luke.


Adsistat illi.


Immo Christi.






Isdem regulis.






De capite.










Ex nostro.


Compare Irenæus, Adversus Hæreses (Harvey), i. 25 and iii. 11; also Epiphanius, Hær. xlii. See also the editor’s notes on the passages in Irenæus, who quotes other authorities also, and shows the particulars of Marcion’s mutilations.  [Vol. I. 429.]


Quem cæderet.




See Hieronymi, Catal. Scriptt. Eccles. 7, and Fabricius’ notes.




Gal. ii. 2.


[Dr. Holmes not uniformly, yet constantly inserts the prefix St. before the name of Paul, and brackets it, greatly disfiguring the page.  It is not in our author’s text, but I venture to dispense with the ever-recurring brackets.]

Next: Marcion Insinuated the Untrustworthiness of Certain Apostles Whom St. Paul Rebuked. The Rebuke Shows that It Cannot Be Regarded as Derogating from Their Authority. The Apostolic Gospels Perfectly Authentic.