isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter iii (religious sects)

“Such, and far more elevating were the ideas of Marcion, the great “Heresiarch” of the second century, as he is termed by his opponents. He came to Rome toward the latter part of the half-century, from A.D. 139-142, according to Tertullian, Irenaeus, Clemens, and most of his modern commentators, such as Bunsen, Tischendorf, Westcott, and many others. Credner and Schleiermacher agree as to his high irreproachable personal character, his pure religious aspirations and elevated views. His influence must have been powerful, as we find Epiphanius writing more than two centuries later that in his time the followers of Marcion were to be found throughout the whole world.

The danger must have been pressing and great indeed, if we are to judge it to have been proportioned with the opprobrious epithets and vituperation heaped upon Marcion by the “Great African”, that Patristic Cerberus, whom we find ever barking at the door of the Irenaean dogmas. We have but to open his celebrated refutation of Marcion’s Antithesis, to acquaint ourselves with the fine-fleur of monkish abuse of the Christian school; an abuse so faithfully carried through the Middle Ages, to be renewed again in our present day- at the Vatican.

“Now then, ye hounds, yelping at the God of Truth, whom the apostles cast out, to all your questions. These are the bones of contention which ye gnaw”, etcetera. “The poverty of the Great African’s arguments keeps pace with his abuse”, remarks the author of Supernatural Religion. “Their, (the Father’s), religious controversy bristles with misstatements, and is turbid with pious abuse. Tertullian was a master of his style, and the vehement vituperation with which he opens and often interlards his work against ‘the impious and sacrilegious Marcion’, offers anything but a guarantee of fair and legitimate criticism.” How firm these two Fathers – Tertullian and Epiphanius – were on their theological ground, may be inferred from the curious fact that they intemperately both vehemently reproach “the beast”, (Marcion), “with erasing passages from the Gospel of Luke which never were in Luke at all.”

“The lightness and inaccuracy”, adds the critic, “with which Tertullian proceeds, are all the better illustrated by the fact that not only does he accuse Marcion falsely, but he actually defines the motives for which he expunged a passage which never existed; in the same chapter he also similarly accuses Marcion of erasing, (from Luke), the saying that Christ had not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, and he actually repeats the charge on two other occasions. Epiphanius also commits the mistake of reproaching Marcion with omitting from Luke what is only found in Matthew.

Having so far shown the amount of reliance to be placed in the Patristic literature, and it being unanimously conceded by the great majority of biblical critics that what the Father’s fought for was not truth, but their own interpretations and unwarranted assertions, we will now proceed to state what are the views of Marcion, whom Tertullian desired to annihilate as the most dangerous heretic of his day. “

H. P. Blavatsky

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