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Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God Paperback – 1 Dec 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers; Reprint edition (Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556357036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556357039
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 840,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Harnack is Ordinary Professor of Church History in the University, and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Science, Berlin.

Lyle D. Bierma is Dean of the Faculty and the Jean and Kenneth Baker Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is the author of "Covenant Theology of Caspar Olevianus", "The Doctrine of the Sacraments in the Heidelberg Catechism", and "An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism".

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A more consistent prefiguring of the reformation? 24 May 2011
By Stratiotes Doxha Theon - Published on Amazon.com
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"[T]here stood before the presbyters a man who expounded to them the difference between law and gospel and interpreted their Christianity as a Jewish kind. Who does not think here of Luther?" So begins Professor Adolf Harnack's definitive work on the early church character of Marcion. Indeed, the parallels between the 16th century reformers and Marcion are many and intriguing. And Professor Harnack, from the Protestant tradition himself, does not hesitate to praise Marcion's consistency and passion in separating law and gospel. At times Marcion is even a model in that Professor Harnack cannot help but wonder if the reformers did not go far enough and should have completely divorced Christianity from the old testament and it's Jewish roots entirely.

Despite Professor Harnack's enthusiasm for his subject (perhaps inevitable of biographers), the detailed information that the Professor was able to glean from the existing sources is still the standard background for this fascinating period in the early church. A few areas that Professor Harnack could have explored more seem to be Marcion's rejection of church Tradition is practically ignored but obvious in his rejection of the texts accepted for liturgy. Marcion's views of the Eucharist would not have meshed well with the early church fathers who used language extremely suggestive of the real presence. See for instance, Ignatius of Antioch, concerning the Docetists with whom Marcion had so much in common concerning a true presence of Jesus.

Marcion is a reminder of the results in rejecting the authority and tradition of the church in favor of one's own presuppositions ending with an interpretation (and even acceptance) of scripture based on those presuppositions. He is an important topic of the early church, the disunity he sparked led to the church defining itself further in doctrine and in the formation of a canon of scripture. This is the definitive work in the original German language. In this English form it is missing some of the source material referred to throughout the book. It is a shame that the material was left out. At points in the text Professor Harnack's style can be difficult to follow and may require re-reading but there is no text more thorough in coverage of this important topic.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsurpassed classic on 2nd Century Christianity 10 Jan. 2013
By Jay A. Wilcoxen - Published on Amazon.com
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Harnack's study of Marcion provides a critical view into the most formative period of early Christianity. Marcion, who created the first New Testament, consisting of a stripped-down version of the Gospel of Luke and 10 letters of Paul, would have made Christianity a religon of love -- rather than a mixture of judgment and grace. Harnack knew why that wouldn't ultimately work (he had written the History of [Christian] Dogma in four editions earlier), but from his earliest to his latest writing, Harnack rather wished that Marcion could have won. This was the 20th century master treatment of Marcion. Great to have it available in an inexpensive edition.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marcion rehabilitated. 9 Sept. 2013
By Chris Albert Wells - Published on Amazon.com
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Paul had no more devoted pupil than Marcion, claims Harnack in this impressive monograph. Many readers may feel that some aspects of the study are very outdated, in particular Harnack accepts too much from Paul whereas more recent research would claim the opposite, that Paul's letters have been extensively reworked on by Marcion and his followers. It seems that Marcion added considerably more to Paul's letters than what he removed. Harnack had obviously not solved the problem of Paul's apparent dual theology and restricts Marcion's action to Biblical theology, devoid of any speculative theology. Harnack misses Marcion's doctrine by claiming everything speculative to be Pauline.

With these restrictions in mind, and considering that we have here a university theses from the early nineteen twenties, the amount of careful research is to be valued. Readers will find many precious references not readily found in other publications based on Tertullians' Contra-Marcion.

Although the translation from German is occasionally difficult to fully understand, the book is well worthwhile our efforts.

I would nevertheless suggest that unprepared readers should first go for more recent studies on Marcion, such as Tyson's "Marcion and Luke-Acts, a Defining Struggle, as well as Hermann Detring's "Fabricated Paul" that holds wide-open the doors to Marcion (even too wide) and gives a lively account on the extent of Christianity's debt toward heretics.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars understanding Marcion 20 Aug. 2013
By Joel Bjorling - Published on Amazon.com
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Marcion was a controversial teacher in the early church. He rejected the Old Testament and its angry God, seeing a more loving God in the testimonies of Jesus and Paul. I have not found many books about him, especially no primary, original sources. Marcion was considered a heretic and with heretics you generally get the writings of their enemies. It is good to find a book that truly gets into Marcion's head and that tells his story.
4 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another research tool 6 Aug. 2012
By Harold E. Boucher - Published on Amazon.com
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This book, along with all my other volumes on christianity are instructive and giving me insights for my research. My library of research books is getting extensive.
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