MARCION OF SINOPE
Rather by chance I stumbled over Marcion, a Roman teacher from the 2nd c. AD, when I worked on the reception of the concept of Christ’s Resurrrection in early Christianity. Having studied some years back the philosophical and theological debates of the 4th c. AD, and especially Apolinarius of Laodicea, to whom the Resurrection was a core idea, I thought I would find the same emphasis in the first texts of Christianity. And yet, I discovered that it was a topic which in the beginnings was almost exclusively one that was confined to Paul and the trail of his thoughts.
As Marcion was the re-discoverer of Paul in the 2nd c. AD, the one who searched for his letters, published the first collection of them with his own introductions, I began to learn how important this teacher and researcher was, not only for the topic of the Resurrection, but more widely. The more I studied his impact, the clearer it became to me that Christianity as a religion which had developed as a branch of Judaism – particularly distinguished as such in Marcion’s home country Pontus – was for the first time in hitory conceptualized as a new religion by Marcion.
Moreover, we knew already that he was our first witness for a Gospel – but a critical assessment of the existing evidence has now led me to believe that he was also our first Gospel author. Over the next years, in a major research project a comparative and synoptic study of his Gospel and all Gospel material will be undertaken and the question of dependencies studied. The publication of initial findings in my Christ’s Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament of 2011 is followed next year by a follow-up, Marcion and the Dating of Gospels. Next, a multivolume Synoptic Commentary of Marcion's Gospel is in preparation.