Marcion is sometimes referred to as one of the gnostics, but from what assessment of his lost writings can be gleaned from his mainstream opponents, his teachings were quite different in nature. His canon included ten Pauline Epistles and one gospel called the Gospel of Marcion, a rejection of the whole Hebrew Bible, and did not include the rest of the books later incorporated into the canonical New Testament. He propounded a Christianity free from Jewish doctrines with Paul as the reliable source of authentic doctrine. Paul was, according to Marcion, the only apostle who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Christ.
Marcion had travelled to Rome about 142–143. In the next few years, Marcion worked out his theological system and attracted a large following. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Marcion was a consecrated bishop and was probably an assistant or suffragan of his father at Sinope. When conflicts with the bishops of Rome arose, Marcion began to organize his followers into a separate community. He was excommunicated by the Church of Rome around 144 and had a large donation of 200,000 sesterces returned.
After his excommunication, he returned to Asia Minor where he continued to spread his message. He created a strong ecclesiastical organization resembling the Church of Rome, and put himself as bishop.
Marcionism is the dualist belief system that originates in the teachings of Marcion around the year 144. Marcion affirmed Jesus Christ as the saviour sent by God and Paul as his chief apostle. Marcion declared that Christianity was distinct from and in opposition to Judaism. He rejected the entire Hebrew Bible, and declared that the God of the Hebrew Bible was a lesser demiurge, who had created the earth, and whose law, the Mosaic covenant, represented bare natural justice i.e. eye for an eye.
The premise of Marcionism is that many of the teachings of Christ are incompatible with the actions of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Tertullian claimed Marcion was the first to separate the New Testament from the Old Testament. Focusing on the Pauline traditions of the Gospel, Marcion felt that all other conceptions of the Gospel were opposed to the truth. He regarded Paul's arguments of law and gospel, wrath and grace, works and faith, flesh and spirit, sin and righteousness and death and life as the essence of religious truth. He ascribed these aspects and characteristics as two principles: the righteous and wrathful God of the Old Testament, the creator of the world, and a second God of the Gospel who is purely love and mercy and who was revealed by Jesus.
His canon consisted of eleven books: his own version of the Gospel of Luke, and ten of Paul's epistles. All other epistles and gospels of the New Testament were rejected.
Polycarp from Smyrne called him "the first born of Satan. His numerous critics also included Ephraim of Syria, Dionysius of Corinth, Theophilus of Antioch, Philip of Gortyna, Hippolytus and Rhodo in Rome, Bardesanes at Edessa, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen of Alexandria. Nevertheless, "not even Tertullian can find any strictures to pass on the morals of Marcion or his adherents".
I have written in Catholic Matters and elsewhere of standing in St. Peter's square many years ago and being suddenly struck by the wonder that both St. Peter and St. Paul were drawn from the distant origins of the faith to die in Rome.(While We're At It)(Excerpt)
May 01, 2007; I have written in Catholic Matters and elsewhere of standing in St. Peter's square many years ago and being suddenly struck by...