Why Was Marcion Declared a Heretic?

              The question I will be dealing with this week relates to the issue of heresy and orthodoxy in early Christianity.  If you have a question you would like me to address, let me know!

 

QUESTION:

As I am reading about Marcion being declared a heretic I wonder, who had the authority to do this?

 

RESPONSE:

It’s a very good question, and more significant than, on the surface, one might think.  First some background.

Marcion was a second-century philosopher/theologian/teacher who eventually came to ...

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Why Did We Get a New Testament?

In my past couple of posts I’ve talked about how the canon of the Hebrew Bible was formed.  That raises the obvious corollary of how the canon of the New Testament was formed.  Who decided we should have the twenty-seven books we do?  Why these books and not others?  Why were any books chosen at all?  When were these decisions made?  And what criteria were used to make the decisions?

To my surprise, I haven’t talked much about the process on ...

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Orthodoxy and Proto-Orthodoxy

The current thread on the diversity of early Christianity actually began as a response to a question raised by a reader, which was the following:

Dr. Ehrman, I do not know if others would find this interesting, but I would love to know how you developed the idea for The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. How did you go about researching it? How long did it take? Is it a once in a lifetime work?

My initial thought was ...

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Evaluating the Views of Walter Bauer

In my last two posts I talked about the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy in early Christianity.   The standard view, held for many many centuries, goes back to the Church History  of the fourth-century church father Eusebius, who argued that orthodoxy represented the original views of Jesus and his disciples, and heresies were corruptions of that truth by willful, mean-spirited, wicked, and demon inspired teachers who wanted to lead others astray.

In 1934 Walter Bauer challenged that view in ...

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A Radically Different View of Orthodoxy and Heresy

In my last post I started discussing the terms “orthodoxy” and “heresy,” pointing out that their traditional/etymological meanings are not very helpful for historians.   “Orthodoxy” literally means the “right belief” about God, Christ, the world and so.   That means it is a theological term about religious truth.   But historians are not theologians who can tell you what is theologically true; they are scholars who try to establish what happened in the past.  And so how can a historian, acting as ...

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What Are Orthodoxy and Heresy?

In my previous post I began to explain what I meant by the title of my 1993 book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.   One of the terms of the title is non-problematic:  by “Scripture” I meant specifically the writings of the New Testament.  Another term, “corruption,” is a bit trickier, and as  I indicated I was using it both in a technical sense to refer to any kind of alteration of a text by a scribe who was ...

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What is An Orthodox Corruption of Scripture?

READER’S QUESTION:

Dr. Ehrman, I do not know if others would find this interesting, but I would love to know how you developed the idea for _The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture_. How did you go about researching it? How long did it take? Is it a once in a lifetime work?

 

MY RESPONSE:

Ah, this is a great question and it will take a number of posts to lay it all out, as it is a very complicated affair.   ...

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Early Christianity in Egypt

About two months ago, in May, I was feeling pretty burned out; I had just finished my manuscript on How Jesus Became God and my brain was reasonably fried. At that point, I had trouble imagining being able to come up with posts for the blog for a while, and so I asked if anyone had any questions they would like to have answered. And so once again I have learned my lesson: Be careful what you ask for!

Since then ...

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Translating the Apostolic Fathers

In my last post I answered a question about whether I would ever publish a translation of the New Testament. (Short answer: almost certainly not!). But I want to take a couple of posts to talk about the work of translation.

There is a very big difference between being able to read an ancient text in its ancient language (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, whatever) and producing a translation of it for publication. You might think that it’s all basically the ...

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