(Μαρκίων), founder of the sect of Marcionites, flourished near the middle of the 2d century.. He was a native of Sinope. According to Tertullian, he was a pilot. Some critics have expressed their doubts that so learned a man should have followed such a trade, but nothing proves Marcion having been a very learned man. He seems to have at first connected himself with the Stoics, and, although his father was a bishop (probably of Sinope), he long inquired into the merits of Christianity before becoming a convert to it. He either retained some of his former views, or else indulged in new speculative views which caused him to be excommunicated by his own father. Epiphanius, who states that Marcion was driven out of the Church for having seduced a young girl (not credited any longer by modern scholars, as Beausobre and Neander), affirms that he afterwards endeavored to regain admission into it by affecting to be deeply penitent, but his father refused to admit him again. Marcion now went to Rome, where he arrived, according to Tillemont, in 142, or, according to Lipsius (Zeitschrij für wissenschafil. Theologie, 1847, p. 77), in 143 or 144, but, more probably, in 138, as St. Justin mentions his residence in Rome in his Apology, written in 139. According to St. Epiphanius, Marcion's first step upon reaching Rome was to ask readmission into the Church, but he was refused. The same writer further states that Marcion aimed to succeed pope Hyginus, who had just died, and that his regret at having failed was the cause of his accepting Gnosticism. These Oriental doctrines were then preached at Rome by a Syrian named Cerdon. Marcion joined him, and proclaimed his intention of creating an abiding schism in the Christian Church. Quite different is the statement of Epiphanius. Marcion, says he, was at first received into the Church at Rome, and professed at first orthodox views, but being of a speculative turn of mind, his prying, the rising intellect constantly led him into opinions and practices too hostile to .the opinions and practices of the Church to escape opposition, and he was therefore constantly involved in controversies, in which he often espoused heretical views. After repeated warnings, he was finally cut off from communion with the Church, "in perpetuum discidium relegatus." He continued to teach, still hoping to become reconciled with the Church. Finally he was offered reconciliation on the condition of returning with all his followers, but die. while endeavoring to do so. His disciples were then but few, and did not hold all the doctrines afterwards maintained by the Marcionites, who flourished as a sect, in spite of untold persecution, until the 6th century, particularly in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The most distinguished among his disciples and followers were Apelles, Lucanus, Basilus, Blastus, and Potitus.
The fundamental point of Marcion's heresy was a supposed irreconciliable opposition between the Creator and the God of the Christians, or, in other words, between the two religious systems, the Law and the Gospel. His theological system is but imperfectly known. St. Epiphanius accuses him of recognizing three first principles, one supreme, ineffable, and invisible, whom he calls good; secondly, the Creator thirdly, the devil, or perhaps matter, source of evil. According to Theodoret, he admitted three, the good God, the Creator, matter, and evil which governs matter, i.e. the devil. It is proved that Marcion believed in the eternity of matter, but it is uncertain whether he considered the Creator as a first principle, or as, in some degree, an emanation of the good God. At any rate, he considered them as essentially antagonistic. This conclusion he arrived at because he could not find in the O.T. the love and charity manifested in the Gospel of Christ. He therefore made the Creator, the God of the O.T., the author of evil, "malorum factorem," by which he meant suffering, not moral evil. The old dispensation was, according to his views, the reign of the Creator, who chose the Jews for his own special people, and promised them a Messiah. Christ is not this Messiah, but is the Son of the invisible, good Go, and appeared upon earth in human form (being, perhaps, but a phantom), to free the soul and overthrow the dominion of the Creator. Marcion also supposed that when Christ descended into hell, he did not deliver those who in the O.T. are designated as saints, such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc., but rather those who had disobeyed and rejected the Creator, like Cain, Esau, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The other doctrines of Marcion were the natural consequences of these principles. He disapproved of marriage, and did not admit married persons to baptism, considering it wrong to propagate a race sulbject to the cruel dominion of the Creator. His disciples, convinced that this world is a prey to evil, hailed deah, even a martyr's, as freeing them from it. They denied the resurrection of the body, and, notwithstanding Epiphanius's assertion, it appears doubtful whether they believed in the transmigration of the soul. They were in the habit of being baptized several times, as if the sins of every day diminished the effect of that sacrament; but this custom, which is not mentioned by Tertullian, was probably introduced after the death of Marcion. Women were allowed to baptize persons of their sex, and the new converts were admitted to witness the mysteries. To make the Scripture agree with his views, Marcion rejected a large portion of the N.T. He looked upon the O.T. as a revelation of the Creator to the Jews, his chosen people, which not only differed from, but was entirely opposed to Christianity. He admitted but one Gospel, and that a truncated version of Luke's, the first four chapters of which he rejected, making it to commence by the words: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, God came to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and spoke on the Sabbath. He carefully omitted all the passages in which Christ acknowledged the Creator as his Father. Among the Epistles, he admitted those to the Romans. 1st and 2d to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2d to the Thessalonians, Philemon, and some part of a supposed Epistle of St. Paul to the Laodiceans; but all these Epistles were expurgated and interpolated to suit his views. Marcion also composed a work entitled Antithesis; it is a collection of passages from the O. and the N.T. which he looked upon as contradictory. In reality, the system of Marcion bore a close resemblance to that of Mani (q.v.); it was an attempt to explain the origin of evil. Marcion, as afterwards Mani, thought to solve the problem by supposing two first principles; but there is this essential difference between them, that while Marcion based his system on the Scriptures, interpreted with daring subtility, Mani derived his from Parseeism, without direct reference to Christian dogmas or traditions. See Tertullian, Contra Marcionem, libri v; De Praescriptione haereticorum; Justin, Apologia; Irenasus, Adversus Haeres.; Clement of Alexandria,
Stromata, 3:3; St. Epiphanius, Panariumn; Ittigius, De Haeresiarchis, sect. ii, c. 7; Cave, Historia Litteraria, 1:54; Tillemont, Memoires Eccles. 2:266; Beausobre, Hist. cdu Manzicheisme, lib. iv, c. vs viii; Lardner, ITist. of Heretics, vol. ii, c. x; Esnig, Darstelluan des marcionitischeen Systems, from the Armenian by Neumann, in the Zeitschriftfiur hist. theol. 1834; Hahn, Antithesis Marcionlis (1823); id. De canone Marcios2is and/nozi (1824); Becker, Examen critique de l'evangile de Marcion (1837); Ritschl, Das Evangelium Marcion's u. d. Evangel. des Lukas (1846); Hilgenfeld, Krit. Untersuchungen 2:d.Evangel. Justinius d. clement. liom. u. Mars cion's (1852); Heim, Marcion, sa doctrine et son evangile (1862); Schaff, Ch. Hist. 1:245; Milman, Ilist. of Latin Christianity; Donaldson, Literature; Werner, Gesch. d. apologet. u. polenr. Literatur; Hagenbach, lIist. of Doctrines, 1:58 sq., 85, 190,198; Zeitschrf.f. Wissensch. theol. 1860, 2:285; Stud. u. Krit. 1855, 2:296; Am. Presb. Rev. 1860 (May), p. 360; Neander, Ch. Hist. 2:458 sq.; id. Christian Dogmas (see Index); Baur, Dogmengesch. vol. ii (see Index); Bayle, Dict. Hist. and Crit.; Dict. des Sciences philosophiques; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 33:505; Smith, Dict. Gr. and Romans Biog. s.v. SEE TRINITY.