Episode 10: Marcion

 
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The Old Testament often portrays God as a wrathful, seemingly vindictive God, while the New Testament tells about a meek-and-mild Jesus. From the very beginning, Christians have struggled to come to terms with how to read both Old and New Testaments faithfully, in light of these apparent differences. Did God really command Joshua to kill every Canaanite, young and old? Does God really judge nations by causing wars?

In more progressive streams of Christianity, there is a tendency to gloss over (or altogether ignore) the "wrathful" passages of the Old Testament in favor of a more palpable and tender god. In more conservative streams, there is a tendency to ignore the difficulties and accept everything at face-value. Perhaps the controversies around the early Christian "heretic" Marcion can show us how the early church handled these questions and teach us how we might find a more nuanced and thoughtful way to approach the issue for today.

Sources

Primary
"Against Marcion" by Tertullian
"Marcion and Cerdo" from Hippolytus' Refutation of All Heresies

Secondary
The Gospel According to Heretics by David Wilhite
"Marcionites in Africa: What Did Tertullian Know and When Did He Invent It?," by David Wilhite (Perspectives in Religious Studies, 43 no 4 (2016): 437-452)

Music

"Falling Into You" by Little Glass Men (cc by 4.0)
"The Great Society" by Little Glass Men (cc by 4.0)
"Tim Brady" by BenJamin Banger (cc by-nd 4.0)