Source of Marcionism; Empedocles Reasserted as the Suggester of the Heresy.
When, therefore, Marcion or some one of his hounds barks against the Demiurge, and adduces reasons from a comparison of what is good and bad, we ought to say to them, that neither Paul the apostle nor Mark, he of the maimed finger, [873] announced such (tenets). For none of these (doctrines) has been written in the Gospel according to Mark. But (the real author of the system) is Empedocles, son of Meto, a native of Agrigentum. And (Marcion) despoiled this (philosopher), and imagined that up to the present would pass undetected his transference, under the same expressions, of the arrangement of his entire heresy from Sicily into the evangelical narratives. For bear with me, O Marcion: as you have instituted a comparison of what is good and evil, I also to-day will institute a comparison following up your own tenets, as you suppose them to be. You affirm that the Demiurge of the world is evil -- why not hide your countenance in shame, (as thus) teaching to the Church the doctrines of Empedocles? You say that there is a good Deity who destroys the works of the Demiurge: then do not you plainly preach to your pupils, as the good Deity, the Friendship of Empedocles. You forbid marriage, the procreation of children, (and) the abstaining from meats which God has created for participation by the faithful, and those that know the truth. [874] (Thinkest thou, then,) that thou canst escape detection, (while thus) enjoining the purificatory rites of Empedocles? For in point of fact you follow in every respect this (philosopher of paganism), while you instruct your own disciples to refuse meats, in order not to eat any body (that might be) a remnant of a soul which has been punished by the Demiurge. You dissolve marriages that have been cemented by the Deity. And here again you conform to the tenets of Empedocles, in order that for you the work of Friendship may be perpetuated as one (and) indivisible. For, according to Empedocles, matrimony separates unity, and makes (out of it) plurality, as we have proved.


[873] ho kolobodaktulos. Bunsen [more suo, vol. i., p. 89] considers this a corrupt reading, and suggests kalon logon didaskalos, i.e., "a teacher of good words," i.e., an evangelist, which word, as just used, he does not wish to repeat. The Abbe Cruice denies the necessity for any such emendation, and refers us to an article in the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology (Cambridge, March, 1855), the writer of which maintains, on the authority of St. Jerome, that St. Mark had amputated his thumb, in order that he might be considered disqualified for the priesthood.

[874] 1 Timothy 4:3.

chapter xvii marcion his dualism derives
Top of Page
Top of Page