Marcion. On the Restitution of Christianity

Hoffman R.J.

Hoffmann’s Marcion was the first work after Harnack (1924) to call into question the patristic testimony concerning the “arch-heretic.” In his work, Hoffmann challenged the conventional wisdom concerning the date, sources, and accuracy of reports on Marcion through careful and critical examination of patristic evidence. In Hoffmann’s view, Marcion was the creator of the two-part canon. Theologically, his attempts to elevate Paul above the gospels ensured the enduring role of Paul in the history of the early church. Contrary to early views that Marcion was a gnostic, Hoffmann argued that Marcion was a man from an “earlier time” who demonstrates in his theology the living controversies of the early period: whether the Old Testament should be accepted or rejected; whether the God of the Old Testament and the God of the gospel are the same deity; and finally, whether the revelation of God represented in the teaching and person of Jesus Christ is definitive for the church.