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1. Born in Sinope in Asia Minor where he was a wealathy Christian ship owner, Marcion came to Rome about 139 AD and joined the Roman congregation, where he began teaching his own understanding of the Gospel, which was based on an interpretation of the letters of Paul. His views created enough scandal and opposition to bring about his excommunication in 144. Marcion gathered his followers into a separated church, for whom he provided an official canon of sacred books: ten letters of Paul (he did not know of, or decided not to include the Pastoral Epistles of Paul) and a form of the Gospel of Luke. The community which he built spread quickly over wide areas and existed as a rival to orthodox churches well into the fifth century. It became especially strong in Syria.

2. Based on his reading of Paul, he learned that the Christian dispensation of a loving and gracious God was founded on the revelation in Christ, and inferred that between this Gospel of a loving God and the law-religion of Judaism there was opposition and inconsistency. Rather than reading Jewish scripture as a foreshadowing of Christ, he read them literally and concluded that the God of Moses and the God of Jesus were completely different entities. The latter was a God of love and mercy, the former a God of harsh justice, arbitrary, inconsistent, even tyrranical. This contrast he set forth systematically in his only written work, the "Antitheses", of which only fragments remain.

Sources utilized in these pages may include:
  • Everett Ferguson's: Backgrounds of Early Christianity
  • Walker's: History of Christianity (out of print)

    (These links will take you to book detail pages at

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