File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_2001/heidegger.0105, message 20

Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 05:46:02 -0400 (EDT)

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From: Edward Moore <>
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Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2001 1:50 AM
Subject: [LaMystique] Marcion

Marcion then, following Paul (in Romans 1:20) declared that God is knowable
through His creation; however, unlike Paul, Marcion did not take this
"natural revelation" as evidence of God's singularity and goodness. Quite
the contrary, Marcion believed that he knew the God of this realm all too
well, and that He was not worthy of the devotion and obedience that He
demanded . . . Marcion simultaneously put forth his notion of the "alien
God" . . .

Two points here. First, Rudolf Bultmann makes a clear point in The Theology
of the New Testament that Paul's declaration at Romans 1:20 is in utter
contradiction of the whole of his theology. This would also be in agreement
with Heidegger on the grounds that such "objective" proofs of the existence
of God make Him into an object and therefore, very important in Bultmann's
argumentation, ontic and therefore quite literally God becomes merely merely
one of the beings in and of the world. This relates directly to the battle
between monism and dualism which which important not only to Heidegger (and
Spinoza and Shakara) as monists themselves but is the most fundamental
problem in all philosophies and theologies. To think dualism is very easy,
yet expresses a fundamental desire in humanity. To think monism is very hard
if not downright fundamentally contradictory. However, then considering
reality as utterly and irrevocally ONE no matter what, then in some fashion
or other it has to take in and accept everyday, common sense, practical
reality on the same plane as anything else that is to be considered. Shakara
and Heidegger are very interesting in his difficult problems of handling
this problematic, something Bultmann - I am just a beginner with him - does
not seem to handle well at all - but that viewpoint may be mistaken due to
ignorrence. Bultmann seems to handle with great perceptivity and sensitivity
the theologies of Paul and John that in turn becomes immensely illuminating
for the understanding of Heidegger. But then, in his Demythologization,
seems to reject every and any fundamental axiom that makes sense of Paul and
John. If anyone has any specific information with pages references on this,
it would be welcome. But Bultmann first makes it very plain that Paul stands
and falls one the understanding of a single proposition: That Jesus rose
from the dead and eternally lives and in doing so brought ressurection and
immortality at least to all believers. Then Bultmann seems to say both
ressurection and immortality are myths. Why, then, bother so much with Paul
and John?

Secondly, I have always been amazed that the fundamental proposition of
Gnosticism, that there is an Evil God and a Good God, and is easily
discussed openly by people with at least an objective regard for Gnosticism,
is in the everyday population regarded with even more horror than a
declaration of the nonexistence of God. And yet they believe in the
existence of Satan. Does this indicate they truly deep inside have real
questions themselves as to the 'goodness' of the God they worship? After
all, they absolutely refuse to face up to the outright declarations of God
Himself in JOB, that you must rever God not because He is good but because
He is all powerful. In a recent reading of a commentary on JOB by David J.
A. Clines, he invented a term at least new to me called "the theology of the
animals" the direct confrontation to Job is "Why did I create so many
animals not only utterly useless to man but even inimical to his existence
if you, Job, so well understand the planning of the universe I, God,
created?" The direct logical implication of this is not only that man is by
no means the center of importance of God's universe but, consistent with the
rest of the book of JOB, God does not need nor is very interested in man's
love and worship which would be necessarily consistent with any rational
approach to an understanding of what the word "God" means.

Marcion simply posited two opposed and irreducible Gods: the biblical god,
and the unknown or "alien" God, who is the Father of Christ. According to
Marcion, the god who controls this realm is a being who is intent on
preserving his autonomy and power even at the expense of the (human) beings
whom he created. The "alien"
God, who is the Supremely Good, is a "god of injection," for he enters this
realm from outside, in order to gratuitously adopt the pitiful human beings
who remain under the sway of the inferior god as His own children. This act
is the origin of and reason for the Incarnation of Christ, according to
Marcion. In spite of the absence of any solid philosophical or theological
foundation for this rather simple formulation, Marcion's idea nevertheless
expresses, in a somewhat crude and immediate form, a basic truth of human
existence: that the desires of the Mind are incommensurable with the nature
of material existence (cf. Irenaeus 1.27.2-3, in Barnstone, ed. _The Other
Bible_ 1984, p. 645).

Would not a "solid theological foundation" to Marcion's statement be found
in Paul's statements in Athens, recorded in ACTS, when confronting the
philosophers at the stature "To An  Unknown God"? But I am by no means an
authority on such things and do not want to be really. However, being my
contradictory self, the whole thrust of Kabbalism as Gershom Scholem
describes it in Sabbati Sevi: The Mystical Messiah is the utter withdrawal
to man's point of view of God from any kind of knowledge as well as the
inescapable problem of a monist conception of God that necessitates that God
created evil which Sabbati Sevi says is a stage every person must go through
in order to 'discover' God at all.

Yet, if we follow Marcion's argument to its logical (or perhaps
'anti-logical') conclusion, we discover an existential expression (not a
philosophy) of the primal feeling of "abandonment" (_Geworfenheit_).
(Heidegger! Heidegger! Heidegger!) This expression plays upon the subtle yet
poignant opposition of "love of wisdom" (_philosophia_) and "complete
wisdom" (_plÍrosophia_). We are alone in a world that does not lend itself
to our quest for unalterable truth, and so we befriend wisdom, which is the
way of or manner in which we attain this intuited truth. However, according
to Marcion, this truth is not to be found in this world -- all that is to
> be found is the desire for this truth, which arises amongst human beings.
However, since this desire, on the part of human beings, only produces
various philosophies, none of which can hold claim to the absolute truth,
Marcion concludes that the noetic beings (humans) of this realm are capable
of nothing more than a shadow of wisdom.

Again, as a supposed contradiction in Bultmann, he makes it clear that this
is not only fundamental to Paul per se but is necessarily true upon its own
As the investigation of the term soma showed (17,2), man, according to Paul,
is a being who has a relationship to himself, is placed at his own disposal,
and is responsible for his own existence. but this existence of his, as the
investigation of the terms psyche, pneuma, zoe, nous, and kardia showed
(18-20), is never to be found in the present as a fufilled reality, but
always lies ahed of him. In other words, his existence is always an
intention and a quest, and in it he may find himself or lose his grip upon
himself, gain his self or fail to do so.
Here Bultmann's Heidegger is clearly showing and he does an excellent job of
simplification, but -
These phenomena indicate that Paul is of this opinion: Man has always
already missed the existence that at heart he seeks, his intent is basically
perverse, evil. (vol. 1,page 227)
Does Bultmann later demythologize this?

This doctrine emphasized not only humankind's radical alienation from the
realm of their birth, but also their lack of any genealogical relation to
the God who sacrificed His own Son to save them -- in other words, Marcion
painted a picture of humanity as a race displaced, with no true home at all
(cf. Giovanni Filorama, _A History of Gnosticism_ 1990, p. 164). The hope of
searching for a lost home, or of returning to a home from which one has been
turned out, was absent in the doctrine of Marcion. Like Pico della
Mirandola, Marcion declared the nature of humankind to be that of an
eternally intermediate entity, poised precariously between heaven and earth
(cp. Pico della Mirandola, _Oration on the Dignity of Man_, 3). However,
unlike Pico, Marcion called for a radical displacement of humankind -- a
'rupture' -- in which humanity would awaken to its full (if not innate)
> Edward Moore
> Area Editor: Late Hellenistic Philosophy
> The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
> Email.

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