Five Books Against Marcion Background information.

Early Christian Writings

Title: Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion) 


From: (

Ante-Nicene Fathers

Τὰ ἀρχαῖα ἔθη κρατείτω. The Nicene Council

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By: Roger Pearse  

Our Ref:
ECST: 167.13.1.T77

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This book is the third edition of this work, in 5 books. Marcion was a Jew-hater, who rejected the Old Testament, and any bits of the New Testament, books or passages, which disagreed with him.  This lead the church to start the definition of the canon. Marcion believed that God the Father was different from the savage God of the Old Testament. None of his works are now extant, which makes this treatise the primary source for Marcionism.

Books 1 and 2 refute Marcion’s dualism; Book 3 shows that Jesus is the messiah of the Old Testament. Books 4 and 5 discuss Marcion’s butchered ‘gospel’ and ‘letters’ of Paul.




In Book 3, chapter 5, there is a discussion of why scripture must sometimes be understood allegorically, and how the Jewish prophecy works.

In Book 3, ch 24, there is a reference to the lost De spe fidelium.  This is followed by a description of a heavenly city seen in the clouds in the East early every morning for 40 days, even by pagans.

In Book 4, the Psalms are quoted by number.  Tertullian refers to the 3rd and 4th book of Kings (21:4-5).

In Book 4, ch 19, v.10, the biblical census under Quirinius (Luke 2,2) is ascribed instead to Saturninus: “there is historical proof that at this very time a census had been taken in Judaea by Sentius Saturninus, which might have satisfied their inquiry respecting the family and descent of Christ. “

In Book 4, ch 22, v. 4-5, he refers to the New Prophecy as requiring ecstasy. In 22: 7 he refers to the New Testament.  In 23:3, he refers to Aesop’s fables.  24:10 contains a possible reference to the long ending of Mark (or else to Acts).  In 29:9 he relates the parable of the unjust steward to those who have authority in the church. In 34:6 he refers to the ‘Gospel of Matthew’ by title; in 35:9 to the ‘Gospel of John’.  In 36:8 he indicates that the census returns of Augustus for the census at the time of Jesus are not now extant.  In 36:14 he quotes a proverb: “the blind man leads the blind down into the ditch.”  In 39:5 he rejects the idea that Christ’s prophecy of ‘wars’ in the end times referred to the upcoming Jewish revolt.  In 40:4 Jesus is described as “casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies” of the OT.

In Book 5, 11:12, and 17:1, he refers to Marcion as calling Ephesians, ‘Laodiceans’. In ch 12,7-8, there is a reference to the lost work De paradiso. Marcion’s ‘principle belief’ is identified as coming from the school of Epicurus in 19:7, the impassible and indifferent deity.  In 20:2 he states, “the majority of persons everywhere now-a-days are of our way of thinking, rather than on the heretical side.”


This work is contained in the numerous members of the Cluny collection. (q.v.). 

The primary witnesses, therefore, are:

• The Montpellier MS, Codex Montepessulanus H54 (M) (From the Alpha branch)

• The 15th century Florence MS, Codex Florentinus BNC Conventi soppressi J.6.9 (N). (From the Alpha branch).  [I don’t know if there are readings from D or G for this work]

• The 15th century Luxembourg MS, Codex Luxemburgensis 75 (X).

• The 15th century(1426) Florence MS, Codex Florentinus BNC Conventi Soppresi J.6.10 (F).

• Rhenanus edition of 1521.  This is because his only source for this work was the now lost Hirsau MS (H), the ancestor of F and X.

• The Stuttgart fragment discovered in 1991.

Possibly also to be considered are:

• The Naples MS, Codex Neapolitanus, Mus. Naz. 55, portions of which were once in Vienna as Codex Vindobonensis 4194 (V).

• The BPL Leiden MS, Codex Leidensis latinus 2 (L) has been considered independent but is merely a copy of V.

which may or may not have some independent witness.  Many consider them simply copies of F, however.




This runs up to 1955.  Where not otherwise indicated, details are from Quasten’s Patrology, 2 (1955). See also Editions page and Critical Editions page for more information, particularly on collected editions of more than one work.


A. KROYMANN, CSEL 47 (1906) 290-650. Checked.

A. KROYMANN, CCSL 1 (1954) 437-730. Checked.

E. EVANSTertullian Adversus Marcionem, (Oxford, 1972). Latin Edition and translation. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1972. ISBN 0-19-826807-6 2 volumes: xxiii, 658 p. 21 cm (Details from BL online catalogue, but I now have this). Checked.  Basically Oehler’s text, but a new translation.  Few notes. Now online (complete)

C. MORESCHINI, Tertulliani Adversus Marcionem ; XIII +434pp. Milano, Cisalpino 1971. Checked. (Personal copy). Series: Testi e documenti per lo studio dell’antichità 35.  Based upon a complete re-examination of the text tradition, and a number of articles on this.

R. BRAUN, Contre Marcion. Book 1: Sources Chrétiennes 365 (1990); Book 2: 368 (1991); Book 3: 399 (1994); Book 4: 456 (2001).  Book 5 in preparation.  Checked. (Personal copies)



P. HOLMESANCL 7 (1868), (whole volume); reprinted ANF 3 (1885), pp. 269-475.  Online.  Checked.


M. CHARPENTIEROeuvres de Tertullien: Apologétique. Prescriptions contre les gentils. Du Baptême. De l’Ornement des femmes. [Contre les spectacles. De la Patience. De la Couronne du soldat. Contre Marcion, extrait. De la Chair de Jésus-Christ. De la Résurrection de la chair. Aux nations. – listed in table of contents but not on title page] Paris : Ed. M. Charpentier, 1844. 12o, III-504 p.  Another title page has the address:”A. Delahays, 1845″. “Oeuvres de Tertullien traduites en français” Checked (Details from BNF catalogue and personal copy).  Adversus Marcionem (Extracts only) is pp.260-280.

A. DE GENOUDE, Contre Marcion. Paris (1852). t.1.  Partly online.


H. U. MEYBOOM, Tegen Marcion (Oudchristel. geschriften, dl. 40/41). Leiden, 1927.


C. MORESCHINI, Opere scelte di Quinto Settimo Florente Tertulliano. (Classici UTET). Turin, 1974.  pp.459 ff. (Details from BRAUN, SC 456, and BN Florence OPAC).

Claudio MORESCHINI, Tertulliano, Opere scelte di Quinto Settimio Fiorente Tertulliano. 2. ed. interamente rifatta. Torino : Unione tipografico-editrice torinese, [1999]. 813 p., [8] c. di tav. : ill. ; 24 cm. ( Classici delle religioni. Sez. 4, La religione cattolica). Contiene: Gli ornamenti delle donne (tit. orig.: De cultu feminarum), Contro Marcione (tit. orig.: Adversus Marcionem), La resurrezione della carne (tit. orig.: De resurrectione carnis). ISBN 88-02-05362-6 (Details from BN Florence OPAC).


H. KELLNER, Tertullians sämmtliche Schriften aus dem Lateinischen übersetzt. Cologne, 1882. t.2. Contains books 1-3. Book 3: pp.212-254.  pp.255-265 contain first 6 chapters (only) of Book IV. Now online.


László VANYÓ &c, Tertullianus muvei (The works of Tertullian), Budapest: Szent István Társulat (1986) 1100pp. (Ókeresztény frók 12). (Details CTC 2002.75).  The older translations of István Városi (Pat, Apol, Orat, Ux, Cult) and Marcell Mosolygó (Mart) have been recycled; the rest are new.


Stefan RYZNAR and Emil STANULA, “Przeciw Marcjonowi”, Warszawa: Akademia Teologii Katolickiej (1994) 352 pp. LAT: Adversus Marcionem (Details from UNESCO Index Translationum)


H. RÖNSCH, Das Neue Testament Tertullians. Leipzig.

A. BILL, Zur Erklärung und Textkritik des 1. Buches Tertullians adversus Marcionem (TU 38, 2). Leipzig, 1911.

P. DE LABRIOLLETertullien a-t-il connu une version latine de la Bible?: Bull, d’ancienne Littérat. et d’Archéol. chrét. (1914) 210-213. Checked. Online

A. HARNACK, Tertullians Bibliothek christlicher Schriften: SAB (1914) 303-334.

F. H. COLSONTertullian on Luke VI. Two examples of literary and rhetorical criticism in the Fathers : JThSt 25 (1924) 364-377. Checked.  Online.

P. CORSSEN, Tertulliani Adversus Marcionem in librum quartum animadversiones : Mnem 51 (1923) 242-261, 390-411; 52 (1924) 225-249.

E. BOSSHARDT, Essai sur l’originalité et la probité de Tertullien dans son traité contre Marcion. Thèse. Fribourg, 1921. Cf. VON SODEN, ZKG (1924) 366.

A. HARNACK, Marcion. Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott. 2nd ed. (TU 45). Leipzig, 1924.

H. v. SODEN, Der lateinische Paulustext bei Marcion und Tertullian: Festgabe A. Jülicher. Tübingen, 1927, 229-281.

G. J. D. AALDERS, Tertullianus’ citaten uit de Evangelien en de oudlatijnsche Bijbelvertalingen. Amsterdam, 1932.

J. NAUMANN, Das Problem des Bösen in Tertullians zweitem Buch gegen Marcion: ZkTh 58 (1934) 311-363, 533-551.

A. D’ALÈS, Tertullien, IV Ad. Marcionem 21: RSR 26 (1936) 99-100, 585-586; 27 (1937) 228-230.

G. J. D. AALDERS, Tertullian’s Quotations from St. Luke: Mnem 5 (1937) 241-282.

G. PFLIGERSDORFFER, De Tertulliani adversus Marcionem libri tertii argumento sententiarumque connexu. Diss. Vienna, 1939.

M. RIST, Pseudographic Refutations of Marcionism: JR 22 (1942) 39-62.

J. H. WASZINK, Mnem 3 (1935/36) 172; 11 (1943) 72-74; 13 (1947) 127-129.

G. QUISPEL, De bronnen van Tertullianus’ Adversus Marcionem. Leiden, 1943; idem, Ad Tertulliani Adversus Marcionem librum observatio: VC 1 (1947) 42.

M. C. TENNEY, The Quotations from Luke in Tertullian as Related to the Texts of the Second and Third Centuries: HS 56/57 (1947) 258-260.

R. M. GRANT, Two Notes on Tertullian: VC 5 (1951) 114 f. (Adv. Marc. 1, 13).

A.J.B. HIGGINS, The Latin Text of Luke in Marcion and Tertullian : VC 5 (1951) 1-42.

M. STENGEL, Zum Wortschatz der nt. Vulgata: VC 6 (1952) 20-27.

Eve-Marie BECKER, Marcion und die Korintherbriefe nach Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem V. In: Marcion und seine kirchengeschichtliche Wirkung: Vorträge der internationalen Fachkonferenz du Marcion, gehalten vom 15-18 August in Mainz = Marcion and his impact on Church History, edd. • Gerhard MAY and • Katharina • • • GRESCHAT in Gemeinschaft mit • Martin MEISER, Berlin/New York: De Gruyter (2002) pp. 95-109. (Texte und untersuchungen zur Geschicte der altchristlichen Literatur 150). (Details CTC2002).



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