Save

Was Marcion a Docetist? The Body of Evidence vs. Tertullian’s Argument

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Author:
David E. Wilhite Baylor University US David_Wilhite@Baylor.edu

Search for other papers by David E. Wilhite in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$34.95

There is no credible evidence that Marcion was a docetist. Marcion’s alleged belief that Christ was a phantasm is found in accusations made by Tertullian, but these accusations are a form of reductio ad absurdum and not firsthand information on Marcion’s Christology. There are in fact remnants of data in Tertullian’s Adversus Marcionem, which point to Marcion’s teaching about the material flesh of Christ, a flesh that suffers and dies on the cross. Tertullian dismisses these artifacts as proof that Marcion was foolishly inconsistent: he taught docetism, but still accepted Christ’s suffering and death. Scholars should no longer accept Tertullian’s caricature uncritically, especially in light of the overwhelming amount of other second and third century sources that are unanimously silent about any docetic thinking in Marcion. Moreover, much of the confusion in modern scholarship is shown to derive from Adolf von Harnack’s equivocating explanations about Marcion’s alleged docetism.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1414 238 24
Full Text Views 269 12 2
PDF Views & Downloads 158 32 3