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Marcion of Sinope (Early 2nd Century)

  1. D. H. Williams

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0849

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Williams, D. H. 2011. Marcion of Sinope (Early 2nd Century). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Of all the heterodox figures that flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Marcion's views were attacked the most frequently and extensively. Hegesippus, Justin Martyr, and Theophilus of Antioch wrote the earliest known refutations, but none survive. Major works against Marcion consist of Tertullian's five volume treatise (c.200) and Ephrem of Nisibis in Syriac-speaking communities (4th century), but care is given to repudiating Marcionism by Irenaeus (late 2nd century), Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen (3rd century). Brief prologues to three gospels and most of Paul's letters have been discovered in various editions of the Old Latin Bible that may date as early as the 2nd century. Altogether, these serve as a solemn testimony to the widespread reception that Marcionism had in churches throughout the east and west. Unfortunately, none of Marcion's own writings have come down to us, which hampers our ability to know exactly what he taught and why. Our knowledge about Marcion and what became Marcionism is a project of reconstruction.


  • marcion of sinope (early 2nd century);
  • theophilus of antioch, refutations;
  • marcion's question of jewish-christian identity;
  • great divide, message of the gospel, hebrew scriptures