chapter  6
15 Pages

Marcion Revisited

Marcion refused to read the Old Testament allegorically. Now allegorical interpretation was one very important way in which the early Church managed to hold on to the Old Testament as its own scripture rather than declaring it to be part of the older and superseded Jewish dispensation. Marcion was, of course, strongly anti-Jewish in his theology, believing Judaism to be the worship of the evil creator-god whom Jesus had come to defeat. Yet his literal reading of the Old Testament is often quite close to a Jewish reading. Christians should have become, for polemical reasons, more self-conscious in using the texts that would eventually form the New Testament. The Christian books were merely memory-joggers, not independently existing scriptural oracles. Modern biblical theology has often argued that the Old Testament, read in its own terms and with an eye to its literal meaning, is entirely compatible with Christian faith.