heterodox.20 The nature and extent of Marcion's editorial work has been difficult to determine since the texts he produced have not themselves survived. Hence we shall need to attend also to the questions of how and how much Marcion may have altered the texts upon which he depended.
It is in his exclusive reliance on a gospel and the letters of Paul that many modern scholars have perceived Marcion's influence on the formation of a canon of Christian scriptures, a 'New Testament', though appraisals of this influence have been various. In his magisterial study, Adolf von Harnack asserted that Marcion was no less than 'the creator of Christian Holy Scripture'.21 With this claim Harnack did not imagine that there were no Christian scriptures before Marcion; he supposed that the four gospels were widely known and had already been shaped into a collection, that there was already a collection of letters of Paul, and that various other Christian writings were in broad circulation and use, and he acknowledged that all of these writings possessed a measure of authority in Christian communities, though none held what he called 'an absolute dignity'.22 Harnackmeant, rather, that Marcion was the first to shape any of these writings into a fixed collection invested with 'absolute authority'.23 Thus he maintained that Marcion was the creator of a 'canon' of Christian writings, insofar as a canon is fixed and closed, and that in this he anticipated the church at large. Harnack also claimed that Marcion's canon provided the dual form of 'gospel and apostle' upon which the canon of the catholic church was subsequently constructed, so that in both the principle of a closed canon and in its structure Marcion's scriptures were decisive for the church at large.24 As Harnack saw it, the church both 'had to accept and did accept from Marcion everything that he had created' in the way of a canon, yet necessarily also more than that, in order to safeguard itself against Marcionite ideas.25 In addition to emphasising Marcion's importance for the formation of the New Testament canon, Harnack also undertook to reconstruct the texts that resulted from Marcion's editorial work, and on that basis regarded a very large number of textual variants as Marcionite in origin.26 Hence he also claimed that Marcion had a broad impact upon the textual tradition of the New Testament. Many scholars have followed Harnack in maintaining that
20 For the heterodox: Nestle, Einfuhrung, 219-27; and more fully, Bludau, Schriftfalschungen; for the orthodox: Ehrman, The orthodox corruption.
21 Marcion, 151.
22 Marcion, 34.
23 Marcion, 72, 151.
24 Marcion, 210-213.
25 Marcion, 212.
26 Marcion, preface to the 2nd German ed. For the reconstruction itself: supp. 3 ('Das Apostolikon Marcions', 40*-i76*) and supp. 4 ('Das Evangelium Marcions', i77*-255*).
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