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Early Christianity


The Marcionite Movement

Doctrines Marcion and his followers believed that there were two Gods: the God of wrath and vengefulness of the Hebrew scriptures and the God of love and mercy revealed through Jesus Christ. It was the God of the Hebrew scriptures who created the material universe, which is evil and is destined for destruction. The God of love is revealed through Jesus. Because Jesus could have nothing in common with the evil material world his human body was apparent, not real. Marcion's followers were required to avoid as far as possible contamination with the material world. This took the form of abstaining from sexual intercourse and from eating meat.

History Marcion, a wealthy Christian ship owner, came to Rome in about 139 and brought with him a controversial interpretation of the Jewish scriptures. He argued that there were moral contradictions between the Jewish scriptures and Christian belief. The religion based in retributive law of the Old Testament could have no similarity to the religion of love of the New Testament.
Marcion identified these differences in a work called Antitheses which juxtaposed contradictory statements made about the God of the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian God. More importantly, he put forward a canon of Christian works which consisted of Paul's letters (except 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus) and an edited version of the Gospel of Luke. In 144 he was excommunicated from the Christian Church in Rome and established a separate church.
Following its establishment in Rome, the Marcionite sect spread quickly, establishing communities in throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Such was its strength during the 2nd century that it was seen as a serious rival to the mainstream church. However, the movement fell into rapid decline during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and by the 5th century had largely disappeared in the west. In the east, particularly Syria, the church continued to flourish, surviving until the 10th century.

Symbols Like other Christian groups the Marcionites commemorated Christ's last supper. However, unlike mainstream Christians they used water instead of wine.

Adherents No contemporary adherents.

Headquarters/
Main Centre
 Rome.