The following statement, abridged from Dr. Lardner (The History of Heretics, chap. x. secs. 35–40), may be useful to the reader, in reference to the subject of the preceding Book:—Marcion received but eleven books of the New Testament, and these strangely curtailed and altered. He divided them into two parts, which he called τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον (the Gospel) and τὸ ᾽Αποστολικόν (the Apostolicon).
1. The former contained nothing more than a mutilated, and sometimes interpolated, edition of St. Luke; the name of that evangelist, however, he expunged from the beginning of his copy. Luke 1:0, Luke 2:0. he rejected entirely, and began at Luke 3.1, reading the opening verse thus: “In the xv. year of Tiberius Cæsar, God descended into Capernaum, a city of Galilee.”
2. According to Irenæus, Epiphanius, and Theodoret, he rejected the genealogy and baptism of Christ; whilst from Tertullians statement (chap. vii.) it seems likely that he connected what part of chap. iii.—Luke 3:1, 2—he chose to retain, with Luke 4.31, at a leap.
3. He further eliminated the history of the temptation. That part of Luke 4. which narrates Christs going into the synagogue at Nazareth and reading out of Isaiah he also rejected, and all afterwards to the end of Luke 4.30.
4. Epiphanius mentions sundry slight alterations in capp. v. 14, 24, vi. 5, 17. In Luke 8.19 he expunged ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ. From Tertullians remarks (chap. xix.), it would seem at first as if Marcion had added to his Gospel that answer of our Saviour which we find related by Matt. 12.48: “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?” For he represents Marcion (as in De carne Christi, vii., he represents other heretics, who deny the nativity) as making use of these words for his favourite argument. But, after all, Marcion might use these words against those who allowed the authenticity of Matthews Gospel, without inserting them in his own Gospel; or else Tertullian might quote from memory, and think that to be in Luke which was only in Matthew—as he has done at least in three instances. (Lardner refers two of these instances to passages in chap. vii. of this Book iv., where Tertullian mentions, as erasures from Luke, what really are found in Matt. 5:17, Matt. 15:24. The third instance referred to by Lardner probably occurs at the end of chap. ix. of this same Book iv., where Tertullian p. 424 again mistakes Matt. v. 17 for a passage of Luke, and charges Marcion with expunging it; curiously enough, the mistake recurs in chap. xii of the same Book.) In Luke x. 21 Marcion omitted the first πάτερ and the words καὶ τῆς γῆς, that he might not allow Christ to call His Father the Lord of earth, or of this world. The second πατήρ in this verse, not open to any inconvenience, he retained. In chap. xi. 29 he omitted the last words concerning the sign of the prophet Jonah; he also omitted all the Luke 11.30-32; in Luke 11.42 he read κλῆσιν, calling, instead of κρίσιν judgment. He rejected verses Luke 11.49-51, because the passage related to the prophets. He entirely omitted Luke 12.6; whilst in Luke 12.8 he read ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ instead of ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ Θεοῦ. He seems to have left out all the Luke 12.28, and expunged ὑμῶν from Luke 12:30, 32, reading only ὁ πατήρ. In Luke 12.38, instead of the words ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ φυλακῇ, καὶ ἐν τῇ τρίτῃ φυλακῇ, he read ἐν τῇ ἑσπερινῇ φυλακῇ. In Luke 13. he omitted the Luke 13.1-5, whilst in the Luke 13.28 of the same chapter, where we read, “When ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out,” he read (by altering, adding, and transposing), “When ye shall see all the just in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out, and bound without, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” He likewise excluded all the Luke 13.29-35. All Luke 15.11-31, in which is contained the parable of the prodigal son, he eliminated from his Gospel. In Luke 17.10 he left out all the words after λέγετε. He made many alterations in the story of the ten lepers; he left out part of Luke 17.12-14, reading thus: “There met Him ten lepers; and He sent them away, saying, Show yourselves to the priest;” after which he inserted a clause from Luke 4.27: “There were many lepers in the days of Eliseus the prophet, but none of them were cleansed, but Naaman the Syrian.” In Luke 18.19 he added the words ὁ πατήρ, and in Luke 18.20 altered οἶδας, thou knowest, into the first person. He entirely omitted Luke 18.31-33, in which our blessed Saviour declares that the things foretold by the prophets concerning His sufferings, and death, and resurrection, should all be fulfilled. He expunged nineteen verses out of chap. xix., from the Luke 19.27-47. In chap. xx. he omitted ten verses, from the Luke 20.8-18. He rejected also Luke 20.37-38, in which there is a reference to Moses. Marcion also erased of Luke 21.1-22, on account of this clause, “that all things which are written may be fulfilled;” Luke 20.16 was left out by him, so also Luke 20:35, 50 (and, adds Lardner, conjecturally, not herein following his authority Epiphanius, also Luke 20:38, 49). In Luke 23.2, after the words “perverting the nation,” Marcion added, “and destroying the law and the prophets;” and again, after “forbidding to give tribute unto Cæsar,” he added, “and perverting women and children.” He also erased Luke 23.43. In Luke 24. he omitted that part of the conference between our Saviour and the two disciples going to Emmaus, which related to the prediction of His sufferings, and which is contained in Luke 24.26-27. These two verses he omitted, and changed the words at the end of Luke 24.25, ἐλάλησαν οἱ προφῆται, into ἐλάλησα ὑμῖν. Such are the alterations, according to Epiphanius, which Marcion made in his Gospel from St. Luke. Tertullian says (in the 4th chapter of the preceding Book) that Marcion erased the passage which gives an account of the parting of the raiment of our Saviour among the soldiers. But the reason he assigns for the erasure—respiciens Psalmi prophetiam—shows that in this, as well as in the few other instances which we have already named, where Tertullian has charged Marcion with so altering passages, his memory deceived him into mistaking Matthew for Luke, for the reference to the passage in the Psalm is only given by St. Matthew xxvii. 35.
5. On an impartial review of these alterations, some seem to be but slight; others might be nothing but various readings; but others, again, are undoubtedly designed perverp. 425 sions. There were, however, passages enough left unaltered and unexpunged by the Marcionites, to establish the reality of the flesh and blood of Christ, and to prove that the God of the Jews was the Father of Christ, and of perfect goodness as well as justice. Tertullian, indeed, observes (chap. xliii.) that “Marcion purposely avoided erasing all the passages which made against him, that he might with the greater confidence deny having erased any at all, or at least that what he had omitted was for very good reasons.”
6. To show the unauthorized and unwarrantable character of these alterations, omissions, additions, and corruptions, the Catholic Christians asserted that their copies of St. Lukes Gospel were more ancient than Marcions (so Tertullian in chap. iii. and iv. of this Book iv.); and they maintained also the genuineness and integrity of the unadulterated Gospel, in opposition to that which had been curtailed and altered by him (chap. v.).