The Project Gutenberg eBook of Church History, Volume 1 (of 3)

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Title: Church History, Volume 1 (of 3)

Author: J. H. Kurtz

Translator: John Macpherson

Release date: March 17, 2016 [eBook #51489]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jon Ingram, Richard Hulse and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Book Cover

Transcriber’s Notes

The cover image was provided by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Punctuation has been standardized.

The Table of Contents has been updated to agree with the headings and subheadings of the text.

The † symbol next to a date was not defined in the text. It appears to mean approximate year of death.

This book was written in a period when many words had not become standardized in their spelling. Words may have multiple spelling variations or inconsistent hyphenation in the text. These have been left unchanged unless indicated with a Transcriber’s Note.

Many names appear with multiple spelling variations. The most common form used has been added in brackets following alternate forms to facilitate document searching.

Latin words and quotations are regularly italicized in the text. Italics have been added to words missed by the printer.

Footnotes are numbered consecutively through the 3 volumes and are identified in the text with a superscript number and have been accumulated in a table at the end of the text.

Transcriber’s Notes are used when making corrections to the text or to provide additional information for the modern reader. These notes are not identified in the text, but have been accumulated in a table at the end of the book.

The Foreign Biblical Library.

Edited by the Rev. W. Robertson Nicoll, M.A., LL.D.

12 Volumes.   Large crown 8vo.   Price 7s. 6d. each.

  1. Still Hours.

    By Richard Rothe. Translated by Jane T. Stoddart. With an Introductory Essay by the Rev. John Macpherson, M.A.

  2. Biblical Commentary on the Book of Psalms.

    By Professor Franz Delitzsch, of Leipzig. From the latest edition specially revised by the Author. Translated by the Rev. David Eaton, M.A. In three Volumes.

  3. A Manual of Introduction to the New Testament.

    By Bernhard Weiss. Translated by Miss Davidson. In 2 Vols.

  4. Church History.

    By Professor Kurtz. Authorized Translation, from the latest Revised Edition, by the Rev. J. Macpherson, M.A. In 3 Vols.

  5. Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher.

    Translated by Mary F. Wilson.

  6. A Commentary on the Book of Isaiah.

    By Professor Franz Delitzsch. Translated by the Rev. James Denney, B.D. In 2 Vols.













Butler & Tanner,
The Selwood Printing Works,
Frome, and London.


The English reader is here presented with a translation of the ninth edition of a work which first appeared in 1849, and has obtained a most distinguished place, it might be said almost a monopoly, as a text-book of Church History in the German Universities. Since 1850, when the second edition was issued, an English translation of which has been widely used in Britain and America, Dr. Kurtz has given great attention to the improvement of his book. The increase of size has not been caused by wordy amplification, but by an urgent necessity felt by the author as he used the vast materials that recent years have spread out before the historical student. In 1870 Dr. Kurtz retired from his professorship, and has conscientiously devoted himself to bring up each successive edition of his text-book to the point reached by the very latest scholarship of his own and other lands. In his Preface to the ninth edition of 1885 he claims to have made very special improvements on the presentation of the history of the first three centuries, where ample use is made of the brilliant researches of Harnack and other distinguished scholars of the day.

In the exercise of that discretion which has been allowed him, the translator has ventured upon an innovation, which he trusts will be generally recognised as a very important improvement. The German edition has frequently pages devoted to the literature of the larger divisions, and a considerable space is thus occupied at the beginning of most of the ordinary sections, as well as at the close of many of the sub-sections. The books named in these lists are almost exclusively German works and articles that have appeared in German periodicals. Experience has shown that the reproduction of such lists in an English edition is utterly useless to the ordinary student and extremely repulsive to the reader, as it seriously interferes with the continuity of the text. The translator has therefore ventured wholly to cancel these lists, substituting carefully selected standard English works known to himself from which detailed information on the subjects treated of in the several paragraphs may be obtained. These he has named in footnotes at the places where such references seemed to be necessary and most likely to be useful. Those students who know German so thoroughly as to be able to refer to books and articles by German specialists will find no difficulty in using the German edition of Kurtz, in which copious lists of such literature are given.

The first English volume is a reproduction without retrenchment of the original; but in the second volume an endeavour has been made to render the text-book more convenient and serviceable to British and American students by slightly abridging some of those paragraphs which give minute details of the Reformation work in various German provinces. But even there care has been taken not to omit any fact of interest or importance. No pains have been spared to give the English edition a form that may entitle it to occupy that front rank among students’ text-books of Church History which the original undoubtedly holds in Germany.


Findhorn, July, 1888.


§ 1. Idea and Task of Church History.
§ 2. Distribution of Church History according to Contents.
  (1) The Various Branches Included in a Complete Course of Church History.
  (2) The Separate Branches of Church History.
§ 3. Distribution of Church History according to Periods.
§ 4. Sources and Auxiliaries of Church History.
  (1) Literature of the Sources.
  (2) Literature of the Auxiliary Sciences.
§ 5. History of General Church History.
  (1) Down to the Reformation.
  (2) The 16th and 17th Centuries.
(3) The 18th Century.
  (4) The 19th Century.
  (5) The 19th Century―Continued.
  (6) The 19th Century―Continued.
The pre-Christian World preparing the way of the Christian Church.
§ 6. The Standpoint of Universal History.
§ 7. Heathenism.
  (1) The Religious Character of Heathenism.
  (2) The Moral Character of Heathenism.
  (3) The Intellectual Culture in Heathenism.
  (4) The Hellenic Philosophy.
  (5) The Heathen State.
§ 8. Judaism.
  (1) Judaism under special Training of God through the Law and Prophecy.
  (2) Judaism after the Cessation of Prophecy.
  (3) The Synagogues.
  (4) Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
§ 9. Samaritanism.
§ 10. Intercourse between Judaism and Heathenism.
  (1) Influence of Heathenism upon Judaism.
  (2) Influence of Judaism upon Heathenism.
§ 11. The Fulness of Time.
The Founding of the Church by Christ and His Apostles.
§ 12. Character of the History of the Beginnings.
§ 13. Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World.
  (1) Year of Birth and Year of Death of Jesus.
  (2) Earliest Non-Biblical Witnesses to Christ.
A.D. 30-70.
§ 14. The Ministry of the Apostles before Paul.
    Beginning and Close of Apostolic Age.
§ 15. The Ministry of the Apostle Paul.
    Details of Paul’s Life.
§ 16. The Other Apostles after the Appearance of the Apostle Paul.
  (1) The Roman Episcopate of Peter.
  (2) The Apostle John.
  (3) James, the brother of the Lord.
  (4) The Later Legends of the Apostles.
§ 17. Constitution, Worship, and Discipline.
  (1) The Charismata of the Apostolic Age.
  (2) The Constitution of the Mother Church at Jerusalem.
  (3) The Constitution of the Pauline Churches.
  (4) The Church in the Pauline Epistles.
  (5) Congregational and Spiritual Offices.
  (6) The Question about the Original Position of the Episcopate and Presbyterate.
  (7) Christian Worship.
  (8) Christian Life and Ecclesiastical Discipline.
§ 18. Heresies in the Apostolic Age.
  (1) Jewish Christianity and the Council of Apostles.
  (2) The Apostolic Basis of Doctrine.
  (3) False Teachers.
History of the Development of the Church during the Græco-Roman and Græco-Byzantine Periods.
§ 19. Content, Distribution and Boundaries of those Periods.
History of the Græco-Roman Church during the Second and Third Centuries (A.D. 70-323).
§ 20. Content, Distribution and Boundaries of this Period.
  (1) The Post-Apostolic Age.
  (2) The Age of the Old Catholic Church.
  (3) The Point of Transition from the One Age to the Other.
§ 21. The Spread of Christianity.
§ 22. Persecutions of the Christians in the Roman Empire.
  (1) Claudius, Nero and Domitian.
  (2) Trajan and Hadrian.
  (3) Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
  (4) Septimius Severus and Maximinus Thrax.
  (5) Decius, Gallus and Valerian.
  (6) Diocletian and Galerius.
  (7) Maximinus Daza, Maxentius and Licinius.
§ 23. Controversial Writings of Paganism.
  (1) Lucian’s Satire De Morte Peregrini.
  (2) Worshippers of an Ass.
  (3) Polemic properly so-called.
§ 24. Attempted Reconstruction of Paganism.
  (1) Apollonius of Tyana.
  (2) Neo-platonism.
§ 25. Jewish and Samaritan Reaction.
  (1) Disciples of John.
  (2) The Samaritan Heresiarchs.
    a. Dositheus.
    b. Simon Magus.
    c. Menander.
§ 26. Gnosticism in General.
  (1) Gnosticism.
  (2) The Problems of Gnostic Speculation.
  (3) Distribution.
  (4) Sources of Information.
§ 27. The Gentile Christian Gnosticism.
  (1) Cerinthus.
  (2) The Gnosticism of Basilides.
  (3) Irenæus’ Sketch of Basilideanism.
  (4) Valentinian Gnosticism.
  (5) Two Divisions of the Valentinian School.
  (6) The Ophites and related Sects.
  (7) The Gnosis of the Ophites.
  (8) Antinomian and Libertine Sects.
    a. The Nicolaitans.
    b. The Simonians.
    c. The Carpocratians.
    d. The Prodicians.
  (9) Saturninus.
  (10) Tatian and the Encratites.
  (11) Marcion and the Marcionites.
  (12) Marcion’s Disciples.
  (13) Hermogenes.
§ 28. Ebionism and Ebionitic Gnosticism.
  (1) Nazareans and Ebionites.
  (2) The Elkesaites.
  (3) The Pseudo-Clementine Series of Writings.
    a. Homiliæ XX Clementis.
    b. Recognitiones Clementis.
    c. Epitomæ.
  (4) The Pseudo-Clementine Doctrinal System.
§ 29. Manichæism.
  (1) The Founder.
  (2) The System.
  (3) Constitution, Worship, and Missionarizing.
§ 30. The Theological Literature of the Post-Apostolic Age, A.D. 70-170.
  (1) The Beginnings of Patristic Literature.
  (2) The Theology of the Post-Apostolic Age.
  (3) The so-called Apostolic Fathers.
    a. Clement of Rome.
  (4) b. Barnabas.
    c. Pastor Hermas.
  (5) d. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch.
  (6) e. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.
    f. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis.
    g. Epistle to Diognetus.
  (7) The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.
  (8) The Writings of the Earliest Christian Apologists.
  (9) Extant Writings of Apologists of the Post-Apostolic Age.
    a. Justin Martyr.
  (10) b. Tatian.
    c. Athenagoras.
    d. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch.
    e. Hermias.
§ 31. The Theological Literature of the Old Catholic Age, A.D. 170-323.
  (1) The Theological Schools and Tendencies.
1. Church Fathers Writing in Greek.
  (2) Church Teachers of the Asiatic Type.
    a. Irenæus.
  (3) b. Hippolytus.
  (4) The Alexandrian Church Teachers.
    a. Pantænus.
    b. Titus Flavius Clement.
  (5) c. Origen.
  (6) d. Dionysius of Alexandria.
    e. Gregory Thaumaturgus.
    f. Pamphilus.
  (7) Greek-speaking Church Teachers in other Quarters.
    a. Hegesippus.
    b. Caius of Rome.
  (8) c. Sextus Julius Africanus.
  (9) d. Methodius.
    e. Lucian of Samosata.
2. Church Fathers Writing in Latin.
  (10) The Church Teachers of North Africa.
  (11)   Cyprian.
  (12) Various Ecclesiastical Writers using the Latin Tongue.
    a. Minucius Felix.
    b. Commodus.
    c. Novatian.
    d. Arnobius.
    e. Victorinus of Pettau.
    f. Lucius Lactantius.
§ 32. The Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical Literature.
  (1) Professedly Old Heathen Prophecies.
  (2) Old Testament Pseudepigraphs.
    a. Book of Enoch.
    b. Assumptio Mosis.
    c. Fourth Book of Ezra.
    d. Book of Jubilees.
  (3) Pseudepigraphs of Christian Origin.
    a. History of Assenath.
    b. The Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs.
    c. Ascensio Isaiæ and Visio Isaiæ.
    d. Spelunca thesaurorum.
  (4) New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphs.
    I. Apocryphal Gospels.
  (5) II. Apocryphal Histories and Legends of the Apostles.
  (6) ―― Apocryphal Monographs.
  (7) III. Apostolic Epistles.
    IV. Apocryphal Apocalypses.
    V. Apostolical Constitutions.
  (8) The Acts of the Martyrs.
§ 33. The Doctrinal Controversies of the Old Catholic Age.
  (1) The Trinitarian Questions.
  (2) The Alogians.
  (3) The Theodotians and Artemonites.
  (4) Praxeas and Tertullian.
  (5) The Noëtians and Hippolytus.
  (6) Beryllus and Origen.
  (7) Sabellius; Dionysius of Alexandria; Dionysius of Rome.
  (8) Paul of Samosata.
  (9) Chiliasm.
§ 34. The Inner Organization of the Church.
  (1) The Continuation of Charismatic Endowments into Post-Apostolic Times.
  (2) The Development of the Episcopal Hierarchy.
  (3) The Regular Ecclesiastical Offices of the Old Catholic Age.
  (4) Clergy and Laity.
  (5) The Synods.
  (6) Personal and Epistolary Intercourse.
  (7) The Unity and Catholicity of the Church.
  (8) The Roman Primacy.
§ 35. The Administration of Baptism.
  (1) The Preparation for Receiving Baptism.
  (2) The Baptismal Formula.
  (3) The Administration of Baptism.
  (4) The Doctrine of Baptism.
  (5) The Controversy about Heretics’ Baptism.
§ 36. Public Worship and its Various Parts.
  (1) The Agape.
  (2) The Missa Catechumenorum.
  (3) The Missa Fidelium.
  (4) The Disciplina Arcani.
  (5) The Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.
  (6) The Sacrificial Theory.
  (7) The Use of Scripture.
  (8) Formation of a New Testament Canon.
  (9) The Doctrine of Inspiration.
  (10) Hymnology.
§ 37. Feasts and Festival Seasons.
  (1) The Festivals of the Christian Year.
  (2) The Paschal Controversies.
  (3) The Ecclesiastical Institution of Fasting.
§ 38. The Church Buildings and the Catacombs.
  (1) The Catacombs.
  (2) The Antiquities of the Catacombs.
  (3) Pictorial Art and the Catacombs.
  (4) Pictorial and Artistic Representations.
    a. Significant Symbols.
    b. Allegorical Figures.
    c. Parabolic Figures.
    d. Historical Pictures of O. T. Types.
    e. Figures from the Gospel History.
    f. Liturgical Figures.
§ 39. Life, Manners, and Discipline.
  (1) Christian Morals and Manners.
  (2) The Penitential Discipline.
  (3) Asceticism.
  (4) Paul of Thebes.
  (5) Beginning of Veneration of Martyrs.
  (6) Superstition.
§ 40. The Montanist Reformation.
  (1) Montanism in Asia Minor.
  (2) Montanism at Rome.
  (3) Montanism in Proconsular Africa.
  (4) The Fundamental Principle of Montanism.
  (5) The Attitude of Montanism toward the Church.
§ 41. Schismatic Divisions in the Church.
  (1) The Schism of Hippolytus at Rome about A.D. 220.
  (2) The Schism of Felicissimus at Carthage in A.D. 250.
  (3) The Schism of the Presbyter Novatian at Rome in A.D. 251.
  (4) The Schism of Meletius in Egypt in A.D. 306.

The History of the Græco-Roman Church from the 4th-7th centuries. A.D. 323-692.
§ 42. The Overthrow of Paganism in the Roman Empire.
  (1) The Romish Legend of the Baptism of Constantine.
  (2) Constantine the Great and his Sons.
  (3) Julian the Apostate (A.D. 361-363).
  (4) The Later Emperors.
  (5) Heathen Polemics and Apologetics.
  (6) The Religion of the Hypsistarians.
§ 43. The Christian Empire and the Ecclesiastical Law.
  (1) The Jus Circa Sacra.
  (2) The Institution of Œcumenical Synods.
  (3) Canonical Ordinances.
  (4) Pseudepigraphic Church Ordinances.
  (5) The Apostolic Church Ordinances.
§ 44. Monasticism.
  (1) The Biography of St. Anthony.
  (2) The Origin of Christian Monasticism.
  (3) Oriental Monasticism.
  (4) Western Monasticism.
  (5) Institution of Nunneries.
  (6) Monastic Asceticism.
  (7) Anti-Ecclesiastical and Heretical Monasticism.
§ 45. The Clergy.
  (1) Training of the Clergy.
  (2) The Injunction of Celibacy.
  (3) Later Ecclesiastical Offices.
  (4) Church Property.
§ 46A. The Patriarchal Constitution and the Primacy.
  (1) The Patriarchal Constitution.
  (2) The Rivalry between Rome and Byzantium.
§ 46B. History of the Roman Chair and its Claims to the Primacy.
  (3) From Melchiades to Julius I., A.D. 310 to A.D. 352.
  (4) From Liberius to Anastasius, A.D. 352 to A.D. 402.
  (5) From Innocent I. to Zosimus, A.D. 402 to A.D. 418.
  (6) From Boniface I. to Sixtus III., A.D. 419 to A.D. 440.
  (7) From Leo the Great to Simplicius, A.D. 440 to A.D. 483.
  (8) From Felix III. to Boniface II., A.D. 483 to A.D. 532.
  (9) From John II. to Pelagius II., A.D. 532 to A.D. 590.
  (10) From Gregory I. to Boniface V., A.D. 590 to A.D. 625.
  (11) From Honorius I. to Gregory III., A.D. 625 to A.D. 741.
§ 47. The Theological Schools and their most celebrated Representatives.
  (1) The Theological Schools and Tendencies.
    a. In the 4th and 5th centuries.
    b. Of the 6th and 7th Centuries.
  (2) The Most Celebrated Representative of the Old Alexandrian School――Eusebius.
  (3) Church Fathers of the New Alexandrian School.
    a. Athanasius.
  (4)   The Three Great Cappadocians.
    b. Basil the Great.
    c. Gregory Nazianzen.
    d. Gregory of Nyssa.
  (5) e. Apollinaris.
    f. Didymus the Blind.
  (6) g. Macarius Magnes.
    h. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria.
    i. Isidore of Pelusium.
  (7)   Mystics and Philosophers.
    k. Macarius the Great or the Elder.
    l. Marcus Eremita.
    m. Synesius of Cyrene.
    n. Nemesius, Bishop of Emesa.
    o. Æneas of Gaza.
  (8) The Antiocheans.
    a. Eusebius of Emesa.
    b. Diodorus of Tarsus.
    c. John of Antioch (Chrysostom).
  (9) d. Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia.
    e. Polychronius, Bishop of Apamea.
    f. Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus.
  (10) Other Teachers of the Greek Church during the 4th and 5th Centuries.
    a. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem.
    b. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis.
    c. Palladius.
    d. Nilus.
  (11) Greek Church Fathers of the 6th and 7th Centuries.
    a. Johannes Philoponus.
    b. Dionysius the Areopagite.
  (12) c. Leontius Byzantinus.
    d. Maximus Confessor.
    e. Johannes Climacus.
    f. Johannes Moschus.
    g. Anastasius Sinaita.
  (13) Syrian Church Fathers.
    a. Jacob of Nisibis.
    b. Aphraates.
    c. Ephraim the Syrian.
    d. Ibas, Bishop of Edessa.
    e. Jacob, Bishop of Edessa.
  (14) f. During the Period of the Arian Controversy.

a. Jul. Firmicus Maternus.
b. Lucifer of Calaris.
c. Marius Victorinus.
d. Hilary of Poitiers.
e. Zeno, Bishop of Verona.
f. Philaster, Bishop of Brescia.
g. Martin of Tours.

  (15) g. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
    h. Ambrosiaster.
    i. Pacianus, Bishop of Barcelona.
  (16) During the Period of Origenistic Controversy.
    a. Jerome.
  (17) b. Tyrannius Rufinus.
    c. Sulpicius Severus.
    d. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna.
  (18) The Hero of the Soteriological Controversy―Augustine.
  (19) Augustine’s Works.
    a. Philosophical Treatises.
    b. Dogmatic Treatises.
    c. Controversial Treatises.
    d. Apologetical Treatises.
    e. Exegetical Works.
  (20) Augustine’s Disciples and Friends.
    a. Paulinus, Deacon of Milan.
    b. Paul Orosius.
    c. Marius Mercator.
    d. Prosper Aquitanicus.
    e. Cæsarius, Bishop of Arelate.
    f. Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe.
  (21) Pelagians and semi-Pelagians.
    I. Pelagius.
    II. Semi-Pelagians or Massilians.

a. Johannes Cassianus.
b. Vincent Lerinensis.
c. Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons.
d. Salvianus, Presbyter at Marseilles.
e. Faustus of Rhegium.
f. Arnobius the Younger.

  (22) The Most Important Church Teachers among the Roman Popes.
    a. Leo the Great.
    b. Gelasius I.
    c. Gregory the Great.
  (23) The Conservators and Continuators of Patristic Culture.
    a. Boëthius.
    b. Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus.
    c. Dionysius Exiguus.
§ 48. Branches of Theological Science and Christian Poetry.
  (1) Exegetical Theology.
  (2) Historical Theology.
  (3) Systematic Theology.
    a. Apologetics.
    b. Polemics.
    c. Positive Dogmatics.
    d. Morals.
  (4) Practical Theology.
  (5) Christian Poetry.
  (6) Christian Latin Poetry.
  (7) Poetry of National Syrian Church.
  (8) The Legendary History of Cyprian.
§ 49. The Development of Doctrine Generally.
    Heretical Developments.
§ 50. The Trinitarian Controversy, A.D. 318-381.
  (1) Preliminary Victory of the Homoousia, A.D. 318-325.
  (2) Victory of Eusebianism, A.D. 328-356.
  (3) Victory of Homoiousianism, A.D. 357-361.
  (4) Final Victory of the Nicene Creed, A.D. 361-381.
  (5) The Pneumatomachians, A.D. 362-381.
  (6) The Literature of the Controversy.
  (7) Post-Nicene Development of the Dogma.
  (8) Schisms in consequence of the Arian Controversy.
    I. The Meletian Schism at Antioch.
    II. The Schism of the Luciferians.
    III. The Schism of Damasus and Ursacius at Rome.
§ 51. The Origenist Controversies, A.D. 394-438.
  (1) The Monks of the Scetic and Nitrian Deserts.
  (2) The Controversy in Palestine and Italy, A.D. 394-399.
  (3) The Controversy in Alexandria and Constantinople, A.D. 399-438.
§ 52. The Christological Controversy.
  (1) The Apollinarian Controversy, A.D. 362-381.
  (2) Christology of the Opposing Theological Schools.
  (3) The Dyoprosopic or Nestorian Controversy, A.D. 428-444.
  (4) The Monophysite Controversy.
    I. Eutychianism, A.D. 444-451.
  (5) II. Imperial Attempts at Union, A.D. 451-519.
  (6) III. Justinian’s Decrees, A.D. 527-553.
  (7) IV. The Monophysite Churches.
  (8) The Monothelite Controversy, A.D. 633-680.
  (9) The Case of Honorius.
§ 53. The Soteriological Controversies, A.D. 412-529.
  (1) Preliminary History.
  (2) The Doctrine of Augustine.
  (3) Pelagius and his Doctrine.
  (4) The Pelagian Controversy, A.D. 411-431.
  (5) The Semi-Pelagian Controversy, A.D. 427-529.
§ 54. Reappearance and Remodelling of Earlier Heretical Sects.
  (1) Manichæism.
  (2) Priscillianism, A.D. 383-563.
§ 55. Worship in General.
    The Age of Cyril of Alexandria.
§ 56. Festivals and Seasons for Public Worship.
  (1) The Weekly Cycle.
  (2) Hours and Quarterly Fasts.
  (3) The Reckoning of Easter.
  (4) The Easter Festivals.
  (5) The Christmas Festivals.
  (6) The Church Year.
  (7) The Church Fasts.
§ 57. Worship of Saints, Relics and Images.
  (1) The Worship of Martyrs and Saints.
  (2) The Worship of Mary and Anna.
  (3) Worship of Angels.
  (4) Worship of Images.
  (5) Worship of Relics.
  (6) The Making of Pilgrimages.
§ 58. The Dispensation of the Sacraments.
  (1) Administration of Baptism.
  (2) The Doctrine of the Supper.
  (3) The Sacrifice of the Mass.
  (4) The Administration of the Lord’s Supper.
§ 59. Public Worship in Word and Symbol.
  (1) The Holy Scriptures.
  (2) The Creeds of the Church.
    I. The Nicæno-Constantinopolitan Creed.
    II. The Apostles’ Creed.
    III. The Athanasian Creed.
  (3) Bible Reading in Church and Preaching.
  (4) Hymnology.
  (5) Psalmody and Hymn Music.
  (6) The Liturgy.
  (7) Liturgical Vestments.
  (8) Symbolical Acts in Worship.
  (9) Processions.
§ 60. Places of Public Worship, Buildings And Works of Art.
  (1) The Basilica.
  (2) Secular Basilicas.
  (3) The Cupola Style.
  (4) Accessory and Special Buildings.
  (5) Church furniture.
  (6) The Graphic and Plastic Arts.
§ 61. Life, Discipline and Morals.
  (1) Church Discipline.
  (2) Christian Marriage.
  (3) Sickness, Death and Burial.
  (4) Purgatory and Masses for Souls.
§ 62. Heretical Reformers.
  (1) Audians and Apostolics.
  (2) Protests against Superstition and External Observances.
  (3) Protests against the Over-Estimation of Doctrine.
§ 63. Schisms.
  (1) The Donatist Schism, A.D. 311-415.
  (2) The Concilium Quinisextum, A.D. 692.
§ 64. Missionary Operations in the East.
  (1) The Ethiopic-Abyssinian Church.
  (2) The Persian Church.
  (3) The Armenian Church.
  (4) The Iberians.
§ 65. The Counter-Mission of the Mohammedans.
  (1) The Fundamental Principle of Islam.
  (2) The Providential Place of Islam.
I. Developments of the Greek Church in Combination with the Western.
§ 66. Iconoclasm of the Byzantine Church (A.D. 726-842).
  (1) Leo III., the Isaurian, A.D. 717-741.
  (2) Constantine V. A.D. 741-775.
  (3) Leo IV., Chazarus, A.D. 775-780.
  (4) Leo V., the Armenian, A.D. 813-820.
§ 67. Division between Greek and Roman Churches and Attempts at Union, A.D. 857-1453.
  (1) Foundation of the Schism, A.D. 867.
  (2) Leo VI., the Philosopher, A.D. 886-911.
  (3) Completion of the Schism, A.D. 1054.
  (4) Attempts at Reunion.
  (5) Andronicus III. Palæologus and Barlaam.
  (6) Council of Florence.
  (7) Decay of Byzantine Empire.
II. Developments in the Eastern Church without the Co-operation of the Western.
§ 68. Theological Science and Literature.
  (1) Revival of Classical Studies.
  (2) Aristotle and Plato.
  (3) Scholasticism and Mysticism.
  (4) The Branches of Theological Science.
  (5) Distinguished Theologians.
  (6) Barlaam and Josaphat.
§ 69. Doctrinal Controversies in the 12th-14th Centuries.
  (1) Dogmatic Questions.
  (2) The Hesychast Controversy, A.D. 1341-1351.
§ 70. Constitution, Worship and Life.
  (1) The Arsenian Schism, A.D. 1262-1312.
  (2) Public Worship.
  (3) Monasticism.
  (4) Endeavours at Reformation.
§ 71. Dualistic Heretics.
  (1) The Paulicians.
  (2) The Children of the Sun.
  (3) The Euchites.
  (4) The Bogomili.
§ 72. The Nestorian and Monophysite Churches of the East.
  (1) The Persian Nestorians.
  (2) Monophysite Churches.
  (3) The Maronites.
  (4) The Legend of Prester John.
§ 73. The Slavonic Churches adhering to the Orthodox Greek Confession.
  (1) Slavs in the Greek Provinces.
  (2) The Chazari.
  (3) The Bulgarians.
  (4) The Russian Church.
  (5) Russian Sects.
  (6) Romish Efforts at Union.
§ 74. Character and Divisions of this Period of the Development.
  (1) The Character of Mediæval History.
  (2) Periods in the Church History of the German-Roman Middle Ages.
I. Founding, Spread, and Limitation of the German Church.
§ 75. Christianity and the Germans.
  (1) The Predisposition of the Germans for Christianity.
  (2) Unopposed Adoption of Christianity.
  (3) Mode of Conversion in the Church of these Times.
§ 76. The Victory of Catholicism over Arianism.
  (1) The Goths in the lands of the Danube.
  (2) The Visigoths in Gaul and Spain.
  (3) The Vandals in Africa.
  (4) The Suevi.
  (5) The Burgundians.
  (6) The Rugians.
  (7) The Ostrogoths.
  (8) The Longobards in Italy.
  (9) The Franks in Gaul.
§ 77. Victory of the Romish over the Old British Church.
  (1) The Conversion of the Irish.
  (2) The Mission to Scotland.
  (3) The Peculiarities of the Celtic Church.
  (4) The Romish Mission to the Anglo-Saxons.
  (5) Celtic Missions among the Anglo-Saxons.
  (6) The Celtic Element Driven out of the Anglo-Saxon Church.
  (7) Spread and Overthrow of the British Church on the Continent.
  (8) Overthrow of the Old British System in the Iro-Scottish Church.
§ 78. The Conversion and Romanizing of Germany.
  (1) South-Western Germany.
  (2) South-Eastern Germany.
  (3) North-Western Germany.
  (4) The Missionary Work of Boniface.
  (5) The Organization Effected by Boniface.
  (6) Heresies Confronted by Boniface.
  (7) The End of Boniface.
  (8) An Estimate of Boniface.
  (9) The Conversion of the Saxons.
§ 79. The Slavs in German Countries.
  (1) The Carantanians and Avars.
  (2) The Moravian Church.
  (3) The Beginnings of Christianity in Bohemia.
§ 80. The Scandinavian Nations.
  (1) Ansgar.
  (2) Ansgar’s Successor―Rimbert.
§ 81. Christianity and Islam.
  (1) Islam in Spain.
  (2) Islam in Sicily.
§ 82. The Papacy and the Carolingians.
  (1) The Period of the Founding of the States of the Church.
  (2) Stephen III., A.D. 768-772.
    Hadrian I., A.D. 772-795.
  (3) Charlemagne and Leo III., A.D. 795-816.
  (4) Louis the Pious and the Popes of his Time.
  (5) The Sons of Louis the Pious and the Popes of their Days.
  (6) The Legend of the Female Pope Joanna.
  (7) Nicholas I. and Hadrian II.
  (8) John VIII. and his Successors.
  (9) The Papacy and the Nationalities.
§ 83. The Rank of Metropolitan.
  (1) The Position of Metropolitans in General.
  (2) Hincmar of Rheims.
  (3) Metropolitans in other lands.
§ 84. The Clergy in General.
  (1) The Superior Clergy.
  (2) The Inferior Clergy.
  (3) Compulsory Celibacy.
  (4) Canonical life.
§ 85. Monasticism.
  (1) Benedict of Nursia.
  (2) Benedict of Aniane.
  (3) Nunneries.
  (4) The Greater Monasteries.
  (5) Monastic Practices among the Clergy.
  (6) The Stylites.
§ 86. The Property of Churches and Monasteries.
  (1) The Revenues of Churches and Monasteries.
  (2) The Benefice System.
§ 87. Ecclesiastical Legislation.
  (1) Older Collections of Ecclesiastical Law.
  (2) The Collection of Decretals of the Pseudo-Isidore.
  (3) Details of the History of the Forgery.
  (4) The Edict and Donation of Constantine.
§ 88. Public Worship and Art.
  (1) Liturgy and Preaching.
  (2) Church Music.
  (3) The Sacrifice of the Mass.
  (4) The Worship of Saints.
  (5) Times and Places for Public Worship.
  (6) Ecclesiastical Architecture and Painting.
§ 89. National Customs, Social Life and Church Discipline.
  (1) Superstition.
  (2) Popular Education.
  (3) Christian Popular Poetry.
  (4) Social Condition.
  (5) Practice of Pubic Law.
  (6) Church Discipline and Penitential Exercises.
§ 90. Scholarship and Theological Science.
  (1) Rulers of the Carolingian Line.
      Charlemagne, A.D. 768-814.
      Louis the Pious, A.D. 814-840.
      Charles the Bald, A.D. 840-877.
  (2) The most distinguished Theologians of the Pre-Carolingian Age.
    1. Merovingian France.
    2. South of the Pyrenees.
    3. England.
  (3) The most distinguished Theologians of the Age of Charlemagne.
    1. Alcuin.
    2. Paulus Diaconus.
    3. Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans.
    4. Paulinus, Patriarch of Aquileia and Bishop Leidrad of Lyons.
    5. Hatto, Abbot of Reichenau.
  (4) The most distinguished Theologians of the Age of Louis the Pious.
    1. Agobard of Lyons.
    2. Claudius, Bishop of Turin.
    3. Jonas of Orleans.
    4. Amalarius of Metz.
    5. Christian Druthmar.
    6. Rabanus Magnentius Maurus.
    7. Walafrid Strabo.
  (5) The Most Distinguished Theologians of the Age of Charles the Bald.
    1. Hincmar of Rheims.
    2. Paschasius Radbertus.
    3. Ratramnus.
    4. Florus Magister.
    5. Haymo, Bishop of Halberstadt.
    6. Servatus Lupus.
    7. Remigius of Auxerre.
    8. Regius of Prüm.
  (6) 9. Anastasius Bibliothecarius.
    10. Eulogius of Cordova.
  (7) 11. Joannes Scotus Erigena.
  (8) The Monastic and Cathedral Schools.
  (9) Various Branches of Theological Science.
    1. Exegesis.
    2. Systematic Theology.
    3. Practical Theology.
    4. Historical Theology.
  (10) Anglo-Saxon Culture under Alfred the Great, A.D. 871-901.
§ 91. Doctrinal Controversies.
  (1) The Adoptionist Controversy, A.D. 782-799.
  (2) Controversy about the Procession of the Holy Spirit.
  (3) The Eucharistic Controversy, A.D. 844.
  (4) Controversy about the Conception of the Virgin.
  (5) The Predestinarian Controversy A.D. 847-868.
  (6) The Trinitarian Controversy, A.D. 857.
§ 92. Endeavours After Reformation.
  (1) The Carolingian Opposition to Image Worship, A.D. 790-825.
  (2) Agobard of Lyons and Claudius of Turin.


§ 1. Idea and Task of Church History.

The Christian Church is to be defined as the one, many-branched communion, consisting of all those who confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ who in the fulness of time appeared as the Saviour of the world. It is the Church’s special task to render the saving work of Christ increasingly fruitful for all nations and individuals, under all the varying conditions of life and stages of culture. It is the task of Church History to describe the course of development through which the Church as a whole, as well as its special departments and various institutions, has passed, from the time of its foundation down to our own day; to show what have been the Church’s advances and retrogressions, how it has been furthered and hindered; and to tell the story of its deterioration and renewal.

§ 2. Distribution of Church History according To Contents.

The treatment of Church History, on account of its manifold ramifications, demands a distribution of its material, on the one hand, according to definite periods, during which the end hitherto aimed at in the whole course of development has been practically attained, so that either entirely new phenomena gain prominence, or else the old go forth in an altogether different direction; on the other hand, according to the various phases of endeavour and development, which in respect of time are evolved alongside of one another. When this last-mentioned method of division is adopted, we may still choose between two different modes of treatment. First, we may deal with national churches, in so far as these are independent and have pursued some special direction; or with particular churches, which have originated from the splitting up of the church universal over some important difference in doctrine, worship, and constitution. Secondly, we may group our material according to the various departments of historical activity, which are essential to the intellectual and spiritual life of all national churches and denominations, and are thus common to all, although in different churches in characteristic ways and varying degrees. It follows however from the very idea of history, especially from that of the universal history of the church, that the distribution according to periods must be the leading feature of the entire exposition. At the same time, whatever may now and again, in accordance with the other principles of arrangement, be brought into prominence will be influenced materially by the course of the history and formally by the facility afforded for review by the mode of treatment pursued.

§ 2.1. The Various Branches Included in a Complete Course of Church History.―The Christian Church has undertaken the task of absorbing all peoples and tongues. Hence it is possessed of an eager desire to enlarge its borders by the conversion of all non-Christian races. The description of what helps or hinders this endeavour, the history of the spread and limitation of Christianity, is therefore an essential constituent of church history. Since, further, the church, in order to secure its continued existence and well-being, must strive after a legally determined position outwardly, as well as a firm, harmonious articulation, combination and order inwardly, it evidently also belongs to our science to give the history of the ecclesiastical constitution, both of the place which the church has in the state, and the relation it bears to the state; and also of its own internal arrangements by superordination, subordination, and co-ordination, and by church discipline and legislation. Not less essential, nay, even more important for the successful development of the church, is the construction and establishment of saving truth. In Holy Scripture the church indeed has possession of the fountain and standard, as well as the all-sufficient power and fulness, of all saving knowledge. But the words of Scripture are spirit and life, living seeds of knowledge, which, under the care of the same Spirit who sows them, may and shall be developed so as to yield a harvest which becomes ever more and more abundant; and therefore the fulness of the truth which dwells in them comes to be known more simply, clearly, fully, and becomes always more fruitful for all stages and forms of culture, for faith, for science, and for life. Hence church history is required to describe the construction of the doctrine and science of the church, to follow its course and the deviations from it into heresy, whenever these appear. The church is, further, in need of a form of public worship as a necessary expression of the feelings and emotions of believers toward their Lord and God, as a means of edification and instruction. The history of the worship of the church is therefore also an essential constituent of church history. It is also the duty of the church to introduce into the practical life and customs of the people that new spiritual energy of which she is possessor. And thus the history of the Christian life among the people comes to be included in church history as a further constituent of the science. Further, there is also included here, in consequence of the nature and aim of Christianity as a leaven (Matt. xiii. 33), an account of the effects produced upon it by the development of art (of which various branches, architecture, sculpture, painting, music, have a direct connexion with Christian worship), and likewise upon national literature, philosophy, and secular science generally; and also, conversely, an estimate of the influence of these forms of secular culture upon the condition of the church and religion must not be omitted. The order of succession in the historical treatment of these phases under which the life of the church is manifested, is not to be rigidly determined in the same way for all ages after an abstract logical scheme. For each period that order of succession should be adopted which will most suitably give prominence to those matters which have come to the front, and so call for early and detailed treatment in the history of that age.

§ 2.2. The Separate Branches of Church History.―The constituent parts of church history that have been already enumerated are of such importance that they might also be treated as independent sciences, and indeed for the most part they have often been so treated. In this way, not only is a more exact treatment of details rendered possible, but also, what is more important, the particular science so limited can be construed in a natural manner according to principles furnished by itself. The history of the spread and limitation of Christianity then assumes a separate form as the History of Missions. The separate history of the ecclesiastical constitution, worship, and customs is known by the name of Christian Archæology, which is indeed, in respect of title and contents, an undefined conglomeration of heterogeneous elements restricted in a purely arbitrary way to the early ages. The treatment of this department therefore requires that we should undertake the scientific task of distinguishing these heterogeneous elements, and arranging them apart for separate consideration; thus following the course of their development down to the present day, as the history of the constitution, of the worship, and of the culture of the church. The history of the development of doctrine falls into four divisions:

  1. The History of Doctrines in the form of a regular historical sketch of the doctrinal development of the church.
  2. Symbolics, which gives a systematic representation of the relatively final and concluded doctrine of the church as determined in the public ecclesiastical confessions or symbols for the church universal and for particular sects: these again being compared together in Comparative Symbolics.
  3. Patristics, which deals with the subjective development of doctrine as carried out by the most distinguished teachers of the church, who are usually designated church Fathers, and confined to the first six or eight centuries.
  4. And, finally, the History of Theology in general, or the History of the particular Theological Sciences, which treats of the scientific conception and treatment of theology and its separate branches according to its historical development; while the History of Theological Literature, which when restricted to the age of the Fathers is called Patrology, has to describe and estimate the whole literary activity of the church according to the persons, motives, and tendencies that are present in it.

As the conclusion and result of church history at particular periods, we have the science of Ecclesiastical Statistics, which describes the condition of the church in respect of all its interests as it stands at some particular moment, “like a slice cut cross-wise out of its history.” The most important works in these departments are the following:

  1. History of Missions.

    Brown, “Hist. of Propag. of Christ. among Heathen since Reformation.” 3rd Ed., 3 vols., Edin., 1854.

    Warneck, “Outlines of Hist. of Prot. Miss.” Edin., 1884.

    Smith, “Short Hist. of Christ. Miss.” Edin., 1884.

  2. History of the Papacy.

    Ranke, “History of Papacy in 16th and 17th Cent.” 2 vols., Lond., 1855.

    Platina (Lib. of Vatican), “Lives of Popes.” (1481). Trans. by Rycaut, Lond., 1685.

    Bower, “Hist. of Popes.” 7 vols., Lond., 1750.

    Bryce, “Holy Rom. Empire.” Lond., 1866.

    Creighton, “Hist. of Papacy during the Reformation.” Vols. I.-IV., from A.D. 1378-1518, Lond., 1882-1886.

    Janus, “Pope and the Council.” Lond., 1869.

    Pennington, “Epochs of the Papacy.” Lond., 1882.

  3. History of Monasticism.

    Hospinianus [Hospinian], “De Monachis.” Etc., Tigur., 1609.

    Maitland, “The Dark Ages.” Lond., 1844.

  4. History of Councils.

    Hefele, “Hist. of Councils.” Vols. I.-III., to A.D. 451, Edin., 1871-1883. (Original German work brought down to the Council of Trent exclusive.)

  5. Church law.

    Haddan and Stubbs, “Councils and Eccl. Documents illust. Eccl. Hist. of Gr. Brit. and Ireland.” 3 vols., Lond., 1869 ff.

    Phillimore, “Eccl. Law.” Lond., 1873.

  6. Archæology.

    By Cath. Didron, “Christ. Iconography; or, Hist. of Christ. Art in M. A.” Lond., 1886.

    By Prot. Bingham, “Antiq. of Christ. Church.” 9 vols., Lond., 1845.

    “Dictionary of Christ. Antiquities.” Ed. by Smith & Cheetham, 2 vols., Lond., 1875 ff.

  7. History of Doctrines.

    Neander, “Hist. of Christ. Doct.” 2 vols., Lond.

    Hagenbach, “Hist. of Christ. Doctrines.” 3 vols., Edin., 1880 f.

    Shedd, “Hist. of Christ. Doc.” 2 vols., Edin., 1869.

  8. Symbolics and Polemics.

    Winer, “Confessions of Christendom.” Edin., 1873.

    Schaff, “Creeds of Christendom.” 3 vols., Edin., 1877 ff.

    Möhler, “Symbolism: an Expos. of the Doct. Differences between Catholics and Protestants.” 2 vols., Lond., 1843.

  9. Patrology and History of Theolog. Literature.

    Dupin, “New History of Ecclesiastical Writers.” Lond., 1696.

    Cave, “Script. Eccl. Hist. Lit.” 2 vols., Lond., 1668.

    Fabricii, “Biblioth. Græca.” 14 vols., Hamb., 1705; “Biblioth. Mediæ et infinæ Latin.” 6 vols., Hamb., 1734.

    Teuffel, “Hist. of Rom. Lit.” 2 vols., Lond., 1873.

  10. History of the Theological Sciences.

    Buddæus, “Isagoge Hist. Theol. ad Theol. Univ.” Lps., 1727.

    Räbiger, “Encyclopædia of Theology.” 2 vols., Edin., 1884.

    Dorner, “Hist. of Prot. Theol.” 2 vols., Edin., 1871.

    • History of Exegesis.

      Davidson, “Sacred Hermeneutics; including Hist. of Biblical Interpretation from earliest Fathers to Reformation.” Edin., 1843.

      Farrar, “Hist. of Interpretation.” Lond., 1886.

    • History of Morals.

      Wuttke’s “Christian Ethics.” Vol. I., “Hist. of Ethics.” Edin., 1873.

  11. Biographies.

    “Acta Sanctorum.” 63 vols. fol., Ant., 1643 ff.

    Mabillon, “Acta Ss. ord. S. Bened.” 9 vols. fol., Par., 1666 ff.

    Flaccius [Flacius], “Catalog. Testium Veritatis.” 1555.

    Piper, “Lives of Leaders of Church Universal.” 2 vols., Edin.

    Smith and Wace, “Dict. of Chr. Biog.” etc., 4 vols., Lond., 1877 ff.

§ 3. Distribution of Church History according to Periods.

In the history of the world’s culture three historical stages of universal development succeed each other: the Oriental, the Franco-German, and the Teutono-Romanic. The kingdom of God had to enter each of these and have in each a distinctive character, so that as comprehensive a development as possible might be secured. The history of the preparation for Christianity in the history of the Israelitish theocracy moves along the lines of Oriental culture. The history of the beginnings of Christianity embraces the history of the founding of the church by Christ and His Apostles. These two together constitute Biblical history, which, as an independent branch of study receiving separate treatment, need be here treated merely in a brief, introductory manner. This holds true also of the history of pagan culture alongside of and subsequent to the founding of the church. Church history, strictly so-called, the development of the already founded church, begins therefore, according to our conception, with the Post-Apostolic Age, and from that point pursues its course in three principal divisions. The ancient church completes its task by thoroughly assimilating the elements contributed by the Græco-Roman forms of civilization. In the Teutono-Romanic Church of the middle ages the appropriation and amalgamation of ancient classical modes of thought with modern tendencies awakened by its immediate surroundings were carried out and completed. On the other hand, the development of church history since the Reformation has its impulse given it by that Teutono-Christian culture which had maturity and an independent form secured to it by the Reformation. This distribution in accordance with the various forms of civilization seems to us so essential, that we propose to borrow from it our principle for the arrangement of our church history.

The chronological distribution of the material may be represented in the following outline:

  1. History of the Preparation for Christianity: Preparation for Redemption during the Hebraic-Oriental stage of civilization, and the construction alongside of it in the universalism of classical culture of forms that prepared the way for the coming salvation.
  2. History of the Beginnings of Christianity: a sketch of the redemption by Christ and the founding of the Church through the preaching of it by the Apostles.
  3. History of the Development of Christianity, on the basis of the sketch of the redemption given in the history of the Beginnings:
    1. In the Græco-Roman and Græco-Byzantine Period, under Ancient Classical Forms of Civilization.

      First Section, A.D. 70 to A.D. 323,―down to the final victory of Christianity over the Græco-Roman paganism; the Post-Apostolic and Old Catholic Ages.

      Second Section, from A.D. 323 to A.D. 692,―down to the final close of œcumenical development of doctrine in A.D. 680, and the appearance of what proved a lasting estrangement between the Eastern and the Western Churches in A.D. 692, which was soon followed by the alliance of the Papacy with the Frankish instead of the Byzantine empire; the Œcumenico-Catholic Church, or the Church of the Roman-Byzantine Empire.

      Third Section, from A.D. 692 to A.D. 1453,―down to the overthrow of Constantinople. Languishing and decay of the old church life in the Byzantine Empire; complete breach and futile attempts at union between East and West. The Church of the Byzantine Empire.

    2. In the Mediæval Period, under Teutono-Romanic Forms of Civilization.

      First Section, 4-9th cent.―from the first beginnings of Teutonic church life down to the end of the Carlovingian Age, A.D. 911. The Teutonic Age.

      Second Section, 10-13th cent.―down to Boniface VIII., A.D. 1294; rise of mediæval institutions―the Papacy, Monasticism, Scholasticism; Germany in the foreground of the ecclesiastico-political movement.

      Third Section, the 14-15th cent.―down to the Reformation in A.D. 1517; deterioration and collapse of mediæval institutions; France in the foreground of the ecclesiastico-political movement.

    3. In the Modern Period, under the European Forms of Civilization.

      First Section, the 16th cent. Age of Evangelical-Protestant Reformation and Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation.

      Second Section, the 17th cent. Age of Orthodoxy on the Protestant side and continued endeavours after restoration on the side of Catholicism.

      Third Section, the 18th cent. Age of advancing Illuminism in both churches,―Deism, Naturalism, Rationalism.

      Fourth Section, the 19th cent. Age of re-awakened Christian and Ecclesiastical life. Unionism, Confessionalism, and Liberalism in conflict with one another on the Protestant side; the revival of Ultramontanism in conflict with the civil power on the Catholic side. In opposition to both churches, widespread pantheistic, materialistic, and communistic tendencies.

§ 4. Sources and Auxiliaries of Church History.1

The sources of Church history are partly original, in the shape of inscriptions and early documents; partly derivative, in the shape of traditions and researches in regard to primitive documents that have meanwhile been lost. Of greater importance to church history than the so-called dumb sources, e.g. church buildings, furniture, pictures, are the inscriptions coming down from the earliest times; but of the very highest importance are the extant official documents, e.g. acts and decisions of Church Councils, decrees and edicts of the Popes,―decretals, bulls, briefs,―the pastoral letters of bishops, civil enactments and decrees regarding ecclesiastical matters, the rules of Spiritual Orders, monastic rules, liturgies, confessional writings, the epistles of influential ecclesiastical and civil officers, reports by eye witnesses, sermons and doctrinal treatises by Church teachers, etc. In regard to matters not determined by any extant original documents, earlier or later fixed traditions and historical researches must take the place of those lost documents.―Sciences Auxiliary to Church History are such as are indispensable for the critical estimating and sifting, as well as for the comprehensive understanding of the sources of church history. To this class the following branches belong: Diplomatics, which teaches how to estimate the genuineness, completeness, and credibility of the documents in question; Philology, which enables us to understand the languages of the sources; Geography and Chronology, which make us acquainted with the scenes and periods where and when the incidents related in the original documents were enacted. Among auxiliary sciences in the wider sense, the history of the State, of Law, of Culture, of Literature, of Philosophy, and of Universal Religion, may also be included as indispensable owing to their intimate connection with ecclesiastical development.

§ 4.1. Literature of the Sources.

  1. Inscriptions:

    de Rossi, “Inscriptt. chr. urbis Rom.” Vols. I. II., Rome, 1857.

  2. Collections of Councils:

    Harduin [Hardouin], “Conc. coll.” (to A.D. 1715), 12 vols., Par., 1715.

    Mansi, “Conc. nova et ampl. coll.” 31 vols., Flor., 1759.

  3. Papal Acts:

    Jaffe, “Regesta pont. Rom.” (to A.D. 1198), 2 ed., Brl., 1881.

    Potthast, “Regesta pont. Rom.” (A.D. 1198-1304), 2 Vols., Brl., 1873.

    The Papal Decretals in “Corp. jur. Canonici.” ed., Friedberg, Lips., 1879.

    “Bullarum, diplom. et privil. SS. rom. pont.” Taurenensis editio, 24 vols., 1857 ff.

    Nussi, “Conventiones de reb. eccl. inter s. sedem et civ. pot. initæ.” Mogunt., 1870.

  4. Monastic Rules:

    Holstenii, “Cod. regul. mon. et. can.” 6 vols., 1759.

  5. Liturgies:

    Daniel, “Cod. liturg. eccl. univ.” 4 vols., Leipz., 1847 ff.

    Hammond, “Ancient Liturgies.” Oxf., 1878.

  6. Symbolics:

    Kimmel, “Ll. Symb. eccl. Orient.” Jena., 1843.

    Danz, “Ll. Symb. eccl. Rom. Cath.” Weimar, 1835.

    Hase, “Ll. Symb. eccl. evang.” Ed. iii., Leipz., 1840.

    Niemeyer, “Coll. Conf. eccl. Ref.” Leipz., 1840.

    Schaff, “Creeds of Christendom.” 3 vols., Lond., 1882.

  7. Martyrologies:

    Ruinart, “Acta prim. Mart.” 3 vols., 1802.

    Assemanni [Assemani], “Acta SS. Mart. orient. et occid.” 2 vols., Rome, 1748.

  8. Greek and Latin Church Fathers and Teachers:

    Migne, “Patrologiæ currus completus.” Ser. I., Eccl. Græc., 162 vols., Par., 1857 ff.; Ser. II., Eccl. Lat., 221 vols., Par., 1844 ff.

    Horoy, “Media ævi biblioth. patrist.” (from A.D. 1216 to 1564), Paris, 1879.

    “Corpus Scriptorum eccl. lat.” Vindob., 1866 ff.

    Grabe, “Spicilegium SS. Pp. et Hærett.” Sæc. I.-III., 3 vols., Oxford, 1698.

    Routh, “Reliquiæ sac.” 4 vols., Oxford, 1814 ff.

    “Ante-Nicene Christian Library; a collection of all the works of the Fathers of the Christian Church prior to the Council of Nicæa.” 24 vols., Edin., 1867 ff.

  9. Ancient Writers of the East:

    Assemanus [Assemani], “Biblioth. orient.” 4 vols., Rome, 1719.

  10. Byzantine Writers:

    Niebuhr, “Corp. scr. hist. Byz.” 48 vols., Bonn, 1828 ff.

    Sathas, “Biblioth. Græc. Med. ævi.” Vols. I.-VI., Athens, 1872 ff.

§ 4.2. Literature of the Auxiliary Sciences.

  1. Diplomatics:

    Mabillon, “De re diplomatic.” Ed. ii., Par., 1709.

  2. Philology:

    Du Fresne (du Cange), “Glossarium ad scriptt. med. et infim. Latin.” 6 vols., Par., 1733; New ed., Henschel and Favre, in course of publication.

    Du Fresne, “Glossarium, ad scriptt. med. et infim. Græc.” 2 vols., Leyden, 1688.

    Suiceri, “Thesaurus ecclesiast. e patribus græcis.” Ed. ii., 2 vols., Amst., 1728.

  3. Geography and Statistics:

    Mich. le Quien, “Oriens christianus in quatuor patriarchatus digestus.” 3 vols., Par., 1704.

  4. Chronology:

    Nicolas, “The Chronology of History.” 2 ed., Lond., 1838.

    “L’art de verifier les dates, by d’Antine.” Etc., ed. by Courcelles, 19 vols., Par., 1821-1824.

§ 5. History of General Church History.

The earliest writer of church history properly so called is Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea, † 340. During the fifth century certain members of the Greek Church continued his work. The Western Church did not so soon engage upon undertakings of that sort, and was contented with translations and reproductions of the materials that had come down from the Greeks instead of entering upon original investigations. During the middle ages, in consequence of the close connection subsisting between Church and State, the Greek Scriptores historiæ Byzantinæ, as well as the Latin national histories, biographies, annals, and chronicles, are of the very utmost importance as sources of information regarding the church history of their times. It was the Reformation, however, that first awakened and inspired the spirit of true critical research and scientific treatment of church history, for the appeal of the Reformers to the pure practices and institutions of the early days of the church demanded an authoritative historical exposition of the founding of the church, and this obliged the Catholic church to engage upon the studies necessary for this end. The Lutheran as well as the Catholic Church, however, down to the middle of the 17th century, were satisfied with the voluminous productions of the two great pioneers in Church history, Flacius and Baronius. Afterwards, however, emulation in the study of church history was excited, which was undoubtedly, during the 17th century, most successfully prosecuted in the Catholic Church. In consequence of the greater freedom which prevailed in the Gallican Church, these studies flourished conspicuously in France, and were pursued with exceptional success by the Oratorians and the Order of St. Maur. The Reformed theologians, especially in France and the Netherlands, did not remain far behind them in the contest. Throughout the 18th century, again, the performances of the Lutheran Church came to the front, while a laudable rivalry leads the Reformed to emulate their excellencies. In the case of the Catholics, on the other hand, that zeal and capacity which, during the 17th century, had won new laurels in the field of honour, were now sadly crippled. But as rationalism spread in the domain of doctrine, pragmatism spread in the domain of church history, which set for itself as the highest ideal of historical writing the art of deducing everything in history, even what is highest and most profound in it, from the co-operation of fortune and passion, arbitrariness and calculation. It was only in the 19th century, when a return was made to the careful investigation of original authorities, and it came to be regarded as the task of the historian, to give a conception and exposition of the science as objective as possible, that this erroneous tendency was arrested.

§ 5.1. Down to the Reformation.―The church history of Eusebius, which reaches down to A.D. 324, was to some extent continued by his Vita Constantini, down to A.D. 337 (§ 47, 2). The church history of Philostorgius, which reaches from A.D. 318-423, coming down to us only in fragments quoted by Photius, was an Arian party production of some importance. During the 5th century, however, the church history of Eusebius was continued down to A.D. 439 by the Catholic Socrates, an advocate at Constantinople, written in a simple and impartial style, yet not altogether uncritical, and with a certain measure of liberality; and down to A.D. 423, by Sozomen, also an advocate at Constantinople, who in large measure plagiarizes from Socrates, and is, in what is his own, uncritical, credulous, and fond of retailing anecdotes; and down to A.D. 428 by Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, who produces much useful material in the shape of original authorities, confining himself, however, like both of his predecessors, almost exclusively to the affairs of the Eastern Church. In the 6th century, Theodorus, reader at Constantinople, made a collection of extracts from these works, continuing the history down to his own time in A.D. 527. Of this we have only fragments preserved by Nicephorus Callisti. The continuation by Evagrius of Antioch, reaching from A.D. 431-594, is characterized by carefulness, learning, and impartiality, along with zealous orthodoxy, and an uncritical belief in the marvellous. Collected editions of all these works have been published by Valesius (Par., 1659), and Reading (Cantab., 1720), in each case in 3 vols. folio.―In the Latin Church Rufinus of Aquileia translated the work of Eusebius and enlarged it before the continuations of the three Greek historians had appeared, carrying it down to his own time in A.D. 395 in an utterly uncritical fashion. Sulpicius Severus, a presbyter of Gaul, wrote about the same time his Historia Sacra, in two books, from the creation of the world down to A.D. 400. In the 6th century, Cassiodorus fused together into one treatise in 12 books, by means of extracts, the works of the three Greek continuators of Eusebius, under the title Hist. ecclesiastica tripartita, which, combined with the history of Rufinus, remained down to the Reformation in common use as a text-book. A church history written in the 6th century in Syriac, by the monophysite bishop, John of Ephesus, morbidly fond of the miraculous, first became known to us in an abridged form of the third part embracing the history of his own time. (Ed. Cureton, Oxf., 1853. Transl. into Engl. by Payne Smith, Oxford, 1859.)―Belonging to the Latin church of the middle ages, Haymo of Halberstadt deserves to be named as a writer of universal history, about A.D. 850, leaning mainly upon Rufinus and Cassiodorus. The same too may be said about the work entitled, Libri XIII. historiæ ecclesiasticæ written by the Abbot Odericus Vitalis in Normandy, about A.D. 1150, which forms upon the whole the most creditable production of the middle ages. In the 24 books of the Church history of the Dominican and Papal librarian, Tolomeo of Lucca, composed about A.D. 1315, church history is conceived of as if it were simply a historical commentary on the ecclesiastical laws and canons then in force, as an attempt, that is, to incorporate in the history all the fictions and falsifications, which Pseudo-Isidore in the 9th century (§ 87, 2-4), Gratian in the 12th century, and Raimundus [Raimund] de Penneforti [Pennaforte] in the 13th century (§ 99, 5), had wrought into the Canon law. Toward the end of the 15th century, under the influence of humanism there was an awakening here and there to a sense of the need of a critical procedure in the domain of church history, which had been altogether wanting throughout the middle ages. In the Greek Church again, during the 14th century, Nicephorus Callisti of Constantinople, wrote a treatise on church history, reaching down to A.D. 610, devoid of taste and without any indication of critical power.

§ 5.2. The 16th and 17th Centuries.―About the middle of the 16th century the Lutheran Church produced a voluminous work in church history, the so-called Magdeburg Centuries, composed by a committee of Lutheran theologians, at the head of which was Matthias Flacius, of Illyria in Magdeburg. This work consisted of 13 folio vols., each of which embraced a century. (Eccles. Hist., integram eccl. ideam complectens, congesta per aliquot studiosos et pios viros in urbe Magdb. Bas., 1559-1574.) They rest throughout on careful studies of original authorities, produce many documents that were previously unknown, and, with an unsparingly bitter polemic against the Romish doctrinal degeneration, address themselves with special diligence to the historical development of dogma. In answer to them the Romish Oratorian, Cæsar Baronius, produced his Annales ecclesiastici, in 12 vols. folio, reaching down to A.D. 1198 (Rome, 1588-1607). This work moves entirely along Roman Catholic lines and is quite prejudiced and partial, and seeks in a thoroughly uncritical way, by every species of ingenuity, to justify Romish positions; yet, as communicating many hitherto unknown, and to others inaccessible documents, it must be regarded as an important production. It secured for its author the cardinal’s hat, and had wellnigh raised him to the chair of St. Peter. In the interests of a scholarly and truth-loving research, it was keenly criticised by the Franciscan Anthony Pagi (Critica hist-chronol. 4 vols., Antw., 1705), carried down in the 17th century from A.D. 1198-1565, in 9 vols. by Oderic. Raynaldi, in the 18th century from A.D. 1566-1571, in 3 vols. by de Laderchi, and in the 19th century down to A.D. 1585 in 3 vols. by August Theiner. A new edition was published by Mansi (43 vols., 1738 ff.), with Raynaldi’s continuation and Pagi’s criticism.―During the 17th century the French Catholic scholars bore the palm as writers of Church history. The course was opened in general church history by the Dominican Natalis Alexander, a learned man, but writing a stiff scholastic style (Selecta hist. eccl. capita et diss. hist. chron. et dogm. 24 vols., Par., 1676 ff.). This first edition, on account of its Gallicanism was forbidden at Rome; a later one by Roncaglia of Lucca, with corrective notes, was allowed to pass. Sebast. le Nain de Tillemont, with the conscientiousness of his Jansenist faith, gave an account of early church history in a cleverly grouped series of carefully selected authorities (Memoires pour servir à l’hist. eccl. des six premiers siècles, justifiés par les citations des auteurs originaux. 16 vols., Par., 1693 ff.). Bossuet wrote, for the instruction of the Dauphin, what Hase has styled “an ecclesiastical history of the world with eloquent dialectic and with an insight into the ways of providence, as if the wise Bishop of Meaux had been in the secrets not only of the king’s but also of God’s councils” (Discours sur l’hist. universelle depuis le commencement du monde jusqu’à l’empire de Charles M. Par., 1681). Claude Fleury, aiming at edification, proceeds in flowing and diffuse periods (Histoire ecclst. 20 vols., Par., 1691 ff.).―The history of the French Church (A.D. 1580) ascribed, probably erroneously, to Theodore Beza, the successor of Calvin, marks the beginning of the writing of ecclesiastical history in the Reformed Church. During the 17th century it secured an eminence in the department of church history, especially on account of learned special researches (§ 160, 7), but also to some extent in the domain of general church history. J. H. Hottinger overloaded his Hist. ecclst. N. T. (9 vols., Fig., 1651 ff.) by dragging in the history of Judaism, and Paganism, and even of Mohammedanism, with much irrelevant matter of that sort. Superior to it were the works of Friedr. Spanheim (Summa hist. eccl. Leyd., 1689) Jas. Basnage (Hist. de l’égl. 2 vols., Rotd., 1699). Most important of all were the keen criticism of the Annals of Baronius by Isaac Casaubon (Exercitt. Baronianæ. Lond., 1614), and by Sam. Basnage (Exercitt. hist. crit. Traj., 1692; and Annales polit. ecclst. 3 vols., Rotd., 1706).

§ 5.3. The 18th Century.―After the publication of the Magdeburg Opus palmare the study of church history fell into the background in the Lutheran Church. It was George Calixtus († A.D. 1658) and the syncretist controversies which he occasioned that again awakened an interest in such pursuits. Gottfr. Arnold’s colossal party-spirited treatise entitled “Unparteiische Kirchen- und Ketzerhistorie” (2 vols. fol., Frkf., 1699), which scarcely recognised Christianity except in heresies and fanatical sects, gave a powerful impulse to the spirit of investigation and to the generous treatment of opponents. This bore fruit in the irenical and conciliatory attempts of Weismann of Tübingen (Introd. in memorabilia ecclst. 2 vols., Tüb., 1718). The shining star, however, in the firmament of church history during the 18th century was J. Lor. v. Mosheim in Helmstedt [Helmstadt] and Göttingen, distinguished alike for thorough investigation, with a divinatory power of insight, and by a brilliant execution and an artistic facility in the use of a noble Latin style (Institutionum hist. ecclst. Libri IV. Helmst., 1755; transl. into English by Murdock, ed. by Reid, 11th ed., Lond., 1880). J. A. Cramer, in Kiel, translated Bossuet’s Einl. in die Gesch. d. Welt u. d. Relig., with a continuation which gave a specially careful treatment of the theology of the middle ages (7 vols., Leipz., 1757 ff.). J. Sal. Semler, in Halle, shook, with a morbidly sceptical criticism, many traditional views in Church history that had previously been regarded as unassailable (Hist. eccl. selecta capita. 3 vols., Halle, 1767 ff.; Versuch e. fruchtb. Auszugs d. K. Gesch. 3 vols., Halle, 1773 ff.). On the other hand, Jon. Matt. Schröckh of Wittenberg produced a gigantic work on church history, which is characterized by patient research, and gives, in so far as the means within his reach allowed, a far-sighted, temperate, and correct statement of facts (Christl. K. G. 45 vols., Leipz., 1772 ff., the last two vols. by Tzschirner). The Würtemburg [Württemberg] minister of state, Baron von Spittler, sketched a Grundriss der K. Gesch., in short and smartly expressed utterances, which in many cases were no better than caricatures (5th ed. by Planck, Gött., 1812). In his footsteps Henke of Helmstedt [Helmstadt], followed, who, while making full acknowledgment of the moral blessing which had been brought by true Christianity to mankind, nevertheless described the “Allg. Gesch. der Kirche” as if it were a bedlam gallery of religious and moral aberrations and strange developments (6 vols., Brsweig., 1788 ff.; 5th ed. revised and continued by Vater in 9 vols.).―In the Reformed Church, Herm. Venema, of Franeker, the Mosheim of this church, distinguished himself by the thorough documentary basis which he gave to his exposition, written in a conciliatory spirit (Institutt. hist. eccl. V. et N. T. 7 vols., Leyd., 1777 ff.). In the Catholic Church, Royko of Prague, favoured by the reforming tendencies of the Emperor Joseph II., was able with impunity to give expression to his anti-hierarchical views in an almost cynically outspoken statement (Einl. in d. chr. Rel. u. K. G. Prague, 1788).

§ 5.4. The 19th Century. In his Handb. d. chr. K. G., publ. in 1801 (in 2nd ed. contin. by Rettberg, 7 vols., Giessen, 1834), Chr. Schmidt of Giessen expressly maintained that the supreme and indeed the only conditions of a correct treatment of history consisted in the direct study of the original documents, and a truly objective exhibition of the results derived therefrom. By objectivity, however, he understood indifference and coolness of the subject in reference to the object, which must inevitably render the representation hard, colourless, and lifeless. Gieseler of Göttingen, † 1854, commended this mode of treatment by his excellent execution, and in his Lehrbuch (5 vols., Bonn, 1824-1857; Engl. transl. “Compendium of Church History.” 5 vols., Edinb., 1846-1856), a master-piece of the first rank, which supports, explains and amplifies the author’s own admirably compressed exposition by skilfully chosen extracts from the documents, together with original and thoughtful criticism under the text. A temperate, objective, and documentary treatment of church history is also given in the Handbuch of Engelhardt of Erlangen (5 vols., Erlang., 1832 ff.). Among the so-called Compendia the most popular was the Universalgeschichte d. K. by Stäudlin, of Göttingen (Hann., 1807; 5th ed. by Holzhausen, 1833). It was superseded by the Lehrbuch of Hase, of Jena (Leipz., 1834; 10th ed., 1877; Engl. transl. from 7th Germ. ed., New York, 1855), which is a generally pregnant and artistically tasteful exposition with often excellent and striking features, subtle perception, and with ample references to documentary sources. The Vorlesungen of Schleiermacher, † 1834, published after his death by Bonell (Brl., 1840), assume acquaintance with the usual materials, and present in a fragmentary manner the general outlines of the church’s course of development. Niedner’s Lehrbuch (2nd ed., Brl., 1866), is distinguished by a philosophical spirit, independent treatment, impartial judgment, and wealth of contents with omission of customary matter, but marred by the scholastic stiffness and awkwardness of its style. Gfrörer’s († 1861) Kirchengeschichte (7 vols. reaching down to A.D. 1000, Stuttg., 1840) treats early Christianity as purely a product of the culture of the age, and knows of no moving principles in the historical development of the Christian church but clerical self-seeking, political interests, machinations and intrigues. Nevertheless the book, especially in the portion treating of the middle ages, affords a fresh and lively account of researches among original documents and of new results, although even here the author does not altogether restrain his undue fondness for over subtle combinations. After his entrance into the Catholic Church his labours in the domain of church history were limited to a voluminous history of Gregory VII., which may be regarded as a continuation of his church history, the earlier work having only reached down to that point. Baur of Tübingen began the publication of monographical treatises on particular periods, reaching down to the Reformation (3 vols., 2nd ed., Tüb., 1860 ff.), a continuation to the end of the 18th cent. (published by his son F. Baur, 1863), and also a further volume treating of the 19th cent. (publ. by his son-in-law Zeller, 2nd ed., 1877). These works of this unwearied investigator show thorough mastery of the immense mass of material, with subtle criticism and in many cases the first establishment of new views. Böhringer’s massive production (Die Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen, oder Kirchengeschichte in Biographien. 24 vols., Zur., 1842; 2nd ed., Zur., 1873), upon the basis of an independent study of the several ages down to the Reformation, characterizes by means of detailed portraiture the personalities prominent during these periods. In the second edition, thoroughly recast with the assistance of his two sons, there is evidence of a more strictly critical research and a judicial frame of mind, so that the predominantly panegyrical character of the first edition is considerably modified. Rothe’s lectures, edited after his death, with additions from his literary remains, by Weingarten (2 vols., Hdlb., 1875) are quite fragmentary because the usual historical matter was often supplied from Gieseler, Neander, or Hase. The work is of great value in the departments of the Constitution and the Life of the Church, but in other respects does not at all satisfy the expectations which one might entertain respecting productions bearing such an honoured name; thoroughly solid and scholarly, however, are the unfortunately only sparse and short notes of the learned editor.

§ 5.5. Almost contemporaneously with Gieseler, Aug. Neander of Berlin, † 1850, began the publication of his Allg. Gesch. d. chr. Kirche in xi. divisions down to A.D. 1416 (Ham., 1824-1852. Engl. Transl. 9 vols., Edin., 1847-1855), by which ground was broken in another direction. Powerfully influenced by the religious movement, which since the wars of independence had inspired the noblest spirits of Germany, and sympathizing with Schleiermacher’s theology of feeling, he vindicated the rights of subjective piety in the scientific treatment of church history, and sought to make it fruitful for edification as a commentary of vast proportions on the parable of the leaven. With special delight he traces the developments of the inner life, shows what is Christian in even misconceived and ecclesiastically condemned manifestations, and feels for the most part repelled from objective ecclesiasticism, as from an ossification of the Christian life and the crystallization of dogma. In the same way he undervalues the significance of the political co-efficients, and has little appreciation of esthetic and artistic influences. The exposition goes out too often into wearisome details and grows somewhat monotonous, but is on every side lighted up by first hand acquaintance with the original sources. His scholar, Hagenbach of Basel, † 1874, put together in a collected form his lectures delivered before a cultured public upon several periods of church history, so as to furnish a treatise dealing with the whole field (7 vols., Leipz., 1868). These lectures are distinguished by an exposition luminous, interesting, sometimes rather broad, but always inspired by a warm Christian spirit and by circumspect judgment, inclining towards a mild confessional latitudinarianism. What, even on the confessional and ecclesiastical side, had been to some extent passed over by Neander, in consequence of his tendency to that inwardness that characterizes subjective and pectoral piety, has been enlarged upon by Guericke of Halle, † 1878, another of Neander’s scholars, in his Handbuch (2 vols., Leipz., 1833; 9th ed., 3 vols., 1866; Eng. transl. “Manual of Ch. Hist.” Edinb., 1857), by the contribution of his own enthusiastic estimate of the Lutheran Church in a strong but clumsy statement; beyond this, however, the one-sidedness of Neander’s standpoint is not overcome, and although, alongside of Neander’s exposition, the materials and estimates of other standpoints are diligently used, and often the very words incorporated, the general result is not modified in any essential respect. Written with equal vigour, and bearing the impress of a freer ecclesiastical spirit, the Handbuch of Bruno Lindner (3 vols., Leipzig, 1848 ff.) pursues with special diligence the course of the historical development of doctrine, and also emphasizes the influence of political factors. This same end is attempted in detailed treatment with ample production of authoritative documents in the Handbuch of the author of the present treatise (vol. I. in three divisions, in a 2nd ed.; vol. II. 1, down to the end of the Carlovingian Era. Mitau, 1858 ff.). Milman (1791-1868) an English church historian of the first rank (“Hist. of Chr. to Abolit. of Pag. in Rom. Emp.” 3 vols., London, 1840; “History of Latin Christianity to the Pontificate of Nicholas V.” 3 vols., London, 1854), shows himself, especially in the latter work, learned, liberal and eloquent, eminently successful in sketching character and presenting vivid pictures of the general culture and social conditions of the several periods with which he deals. The Vorlesungen of R. Hasse [Hase], published after his death by Köhler (2nd ed., Leipz., 1872), form an unassuming treatise, which scarcely present any trace of the influence of Hegel’s teaching upon their author. Köllner of Giessen writes an Ordnung und Uebersicht der Materien der chr. Kirchengeschichte, Giess., 1864, a diligent, well-arranged, and well packed, but somewhat dry and formless work. H. Schmid of Erlangen has enlarged his compendious Lehrbuch (2nd ed., 1856), into a Handbuch of two bulky volumes (Erlang., 1880); and O. Zöckler of Greifswald has contributed to the Handbuch d. theolog. Wissenschaften (Erlang., 1884; 2nd ed., 1885) edited by him an excellent chronological summary of church history. Ebrard’s Handbuch (4 vols., Erlang., 1865 ff.) endeavours to give adequate expression to this genuine spirit of the Reformed conception of historical writing by bringing church history and the history of doctrines into organic connection. The attempt is there made, however, as Hase has expressed it, with a paradoxical rather than an orthodox tendency. The spirit and mind of the Reformed Church are presented to us in a more temperate, mild and impartial form, inspired by the pectoralism of Neander, in the Handbuch of J. J. Herzog of Erlangen, † 1882 (3 vols., Erlang., 1876), which assumes the name of Abriss or Compendium. This work set for itself the somewhat too ambitious aim of supplying the place of the productions of Gieseler and Neander,―which, as too diffuse, have unfortunately repelled many readers―by a new treatise which should set forth the important advances in the treatment of church history since their time, and give a more concise sketch of universal church history. The Histoire du Christianisme of Prof. Chastel of Geneva, (5 vols., Par., 1881 ff.) in its earlier volumes occupies the standpoint of Neander, and we often miss the careful estimation of the more important results of later research. In regard to modern church history, notwithstanding every effort after objectivity and impartiality, theological sympathies are quite apparent. On the other hand, in the comprehensive History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff (in 8 vols., Edinb., 1885, reaching down to Gregory VIII., A.D. 1073), the rich results of research subsequent to the time of Neander are fully and circumspectly wrought up in harmony with the general principles of Neander’s view of history. Herzog’s Realencyclopædie für protest. Theol. u. Kirche, especially in its 2nd ed. by Herzog and Plitt, and after the death of both, by Hauck (18 vols., Leipz., 1877 ff.), has won peculiar distinction in the department of church history from the contributions of new and powerful writers. Lichtenberger, formerly Prof. of Theol. in Strassburg, now in Paris, in his Encyclopédie des sciences relig. has produced a French work worthy of a place alongside that of Herzog. The Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects, and Doctrines during the first eight centuries, edited with admirable circumspection and care by Dr. Wm. Smith and Prof. Wace, combines with a completeness and richness of contents never reached before, a thoroughgoing examination of the original sources. (4 vols., Lond., 1877 ff.) Weingarten’s Chronological Tables for Church History (Zeittafeln z. K.G. 2nd ed., Brl., 1874) are most useful to students as the latest and best helps of that kind.

§ 5.6. In the Catholic Church of Germany too a great activity has been displayed in the realm of church history. First of all in general Church history we have the diffuse work of the convert von Stolberg (Gesch. d. Rel. Jesu, 15 vols., down to A.D. 430, Hamb., 1806 ff., continued by von Kerz, vols. 16-45, and by Brischar, vols. 46-52, Mainz, 1825-1859), spreading out into hortatory and uncritical details. The elegant work of Katerkamp (K.G., 5 vols., down to 1153, Münst., 1819 ff.) followed it, inspired by a like mild spirit, but conceived in a more strictly scientific way. Liberal, so far as that could be without breaking with the hierarchy, is the Handbuch der K.G. (3 vols., Bonn, 1826 ff.; 6th ed. by Ennen, 2 vols., 1862), by I. Ign. Ritter. The ample and detailed Gesch. d. Chr. Rel. u. d. K. (8 vols., down to 1073, Ravensb., 1824 ff.) of Locherer reminds one of Schröckh’s work in other respects than that of its voluminousness. A decidedly ultramontane conception of church history, with frequent flashes of sharp wit, first appears in Hortig’s Handbuch (2 vols., Landsh., 1826). Döllinger in 1828 publ. as a 3rd vol. of this work a Handbuch d. Neuern K.G., which, with a similar tendency, assumed a more earnest tone. This theologian afterwards undertook a thoroughly new and independent work of a wider range, which still remains incomplete (Gesch. d. chr. K., I. 1, 2, partially down to A.D. 630, Landsh., 1833-1835). This work with ostensible liberality exposed the notorious fables of Romish historical literature; but, on the other hand, with brilliant ingenuity, endeavoured carefully to preserve intact everything which on ultramontane principles and views might seem capable of even partial justification. His Lehrbuch (I. II. 1., Rgsb., 1836 ff.), reaching down only to the Reformation, treats the matter in a similar way, and confines itself to a simple statement of acknowledged facts. In the meantime J. A. Möhler, by his earlier monographical works, and still more decidedly by his far-reaching influence as a Professor at Tübingen, gave rise to an expectation of the opening up of a new epoch in the treatment of Catholic church history. He represented himself as in spiritual sympathy with the forms and means of Protestant science, although in decided opposition and conflict with its contents, maintaining his faithful adhesion to all elements essential to Roman Catholicism. This master, however, was prevented by his early death, † 1838, from issuing his complete history. This was done almost thirty years after his death by Gams, who published the work from his posthumous papers (K. G., 3 vols., Rgsb., 1867 ff.), with much ultramontane amendment. It shows all the defects of such patchwork, with here and there, but relatively, very few fruitful cases. Traces of his influence still appear in the spirit which pervades the Lehrbücher proceeding from his school, by Alzog († 1878) and Kraus. The Universalgeschichte d. K., by J. Alzog (Mainz, 1841; 9th ed., 2 vols., 1872; transl. into Engl., 3 vols., Lond., 1877), was, in its earlier editions, closely associated with the lectures of his teacher, not ashamed even to draw from Hase’s fresh-sparkling fountains something at times for his own yet rather parched meadows, but in his later editions he became ever more independent, more thorough in his investigation, more fresh and lively in his exposition, making at the same time a praiseworthy endeavour at moderation and impartiality of judgment, although his adhesion to the Catholic standpoint grows more and more strict till it reaches its culmination in the acceptance of the dogma of Papal Infallibility. The 10th ed. of his work appeared in 1882 under the supervision of Kraus, who contributed much to its correction and completion. The Lehrbuch of F. Xav. Kraus of Freiburg (2nd ed., Trier, 1882) is without doubt among all the Roman Catholic handbooks of the present the most solid from a scientific point of view, and while diplomatically reserved and carefully balanced in its expression of opinions, one of the most liberal, and it is distinguished by a clever as well as instructive mode of treatment. On the other hand, the Würzburgian theologian, J. Hergenröther (since 1879 Cardinal and Keeper of the Papal Archives at Rome), who represents the normal attitude of implicit trust in the Vatican, has published a Handbuch (2 vols. in 4 parts, Freib., 1876 ff.; 2nd ed., 1879, with a supplement: Sources, Literat., and Foundations). In this work he draws upon the rich stores of his acknowledged scholarship, which, however, often strangely forsakes him in treating of the history of Protestant theology. It is a skilful and instructive exposition, and may very fitly be represented as “a history of the church, yea, of the whole world, viewed through correctly set Romish spectacles.” Far beneath him in scientific importance, but in obstinate ultramontanism far above him, stands the Lehrbuch of H. Bruck [Brück] (2nd ed., Mainz, 1877). A far more solid production is presented in the Dissertatt. selectæ in hist. ecclst. of Prof. B. Jungmann of Louvain, which treat in chronological succession of parties and controversies prominent in church history, especially of the historical development of doctrine, in a thorough manner and with reference to original documents, not without a prepossession in favour of Vaticanism (vols. i.-iii., Ratisb., 1880-1883, reaching down to the end of the 9th cent.). The Kirchenlexikon of Wetzer and Wette (12 vols., Freib., 1847 ff.) gained a prominent place on account of the articles on church history contributed by the most eminent Catholic scholars, conceived for the most part in the scientific spirit of Möhler. The very copious and of its kind admirably executed 2nd ed. by Kaulen (Freib., 1880 ff.), under the auspices of Card. Hergenröther, is conceived in a far more decidedly Papistic-Vatican spirit, which often does not shrink from maintaining and vindicating even the most glaring productions of mediæval superstition, illusion and credulity, as grounded in indubitable historical facts. Much more important is the historical research in the Hist. Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft, edited from 1880 by G. Hüffer, and from 1883 by B. Gramich, which presents itself as “a means of reconciliation for those historians with whom Christ is the middle point of history and the Catholic Church the God-ordained institution for the education of the human race.”―In the French Church the following are the most important productions: the Hist. de l’égl. of Berault-Bercastel (24 vols., Par., 1778 ff.), which have had many French continuators and also a German translator (24 vols., Vienna, 1784 ff.); the Hist. ecclst. depuis la création, etc., of Baron Henrion, ed. by Migne (25 vols., Par., 1852 ff.); and the very diffuse compilation, wholly devoted to the glorification of the Papacy and its institutions, Hist. universelle de l’égl. Cath. of the Louvain French Abbé Rohrbacher (29 vols., Par., 1842 ff.; of which an English transl. is in course of publication). Finally, the scientifically careful exposition of the Old Catholic J. Rieks, Gesch. d. chr. K. u. d. Papstthums, Lahr., 1882, though in some respects onesided, may be mentioned as deserving of notice for its general impartiality and love of the truth.

The pre-Christian World preparing the way of the Christian Church.

§ 6. The Standpoint of Universal History.

The middle point of the epochs and developments of the human race is the incarnation of God in Christ. With it begins, upon it rests, the fulness of the time (Gal. iv. 4), and toward it the whole pre-Christian history is directed as anticipatory or progressive. This preparation has its beginning in the very cradle of humanity, and is soon parted in the two directions of Heathenism and Judaism. In the former case we have the development of merely human powers and capacities; in the latter case this development is carried on by continuous divine revelation. Both courses of development, distinguished not only by the means, but also by the task undertaken and the end aimed at, run alongside of one another, until in the fulness of the time they are united in Christianity and contribute thereto the fruits and results of what was essential and characteristic in their several separate developments.

§ 7. Heathenism.

The primitive race of man, surrounded by rich and luxuriant forms of nature, put this abundance of primeval power in the place of the personal and supramundane God. Surrounded by such an inexhaustible fulness of life and pleasures, man came to look upon nature as more worthy of sacrifice and reverence than a personal God removed far off into supramundane heights. Thus arose heathenism as to its general features: a self-absorption into the depths of the life of nature, a deification of nature, a worshipping of nature (Rom. i. 21 ff.), therefore, the religion of nature, in accordance with which, too, its moral character is determined. Most conspicuously by means of its intellectual culture has heathenism given preliminary aid to the church for the performing of her intellectual task. And even the pagan empire, with its striving after universal dominion, as well as the active commercial intercourse in the old heathen world, contributed in preparing the way of the church.

§ 7.1. The Religious Character of Heathenism.―The hidden powers of the life of nature and the soul, not intellectually apprehended in the form of abstract knowledge, but laid hold of in immediate practice, and developed in speculation and mysticism, in natural magic and soothsaying, and applied to all the relations of human life, seemed revelations of the eternal spirit of nature, and, mostly by means of the intervention of prominent personalities and under the influence of various geographical and ethnographical peculiarities, produced manifold systems of the religion of nature. Common to all, and deeply rooted in the nature of heathenism, is the distinction between the esoteric religion of the priests, and the exoteric religion of the people. The former is essentially a speculative ideal pantheism; the latter is for the most part a mythical and ceremonial polytheism. The religious development of heathenism has nevertheless been by no means stripped of all elements of truth. Apart from casual remnants of the primitive divine revelation, which, variously contorted on their transmission through heathen channels, may lie at the foundation or be inwrought into its religious systems, the hothouse-like development of the religion of nature has anticipated many a religious truth which, in the way of divine revelation, could only slowly and at a late period come to maturity, but has perverted and distorted it to such a degree that it was little better than a caricature. To this class belong, for example, the pantheistic theories of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the dualistic acknowledgment of the reality of evil, etc. To this also especially belongs the offering of human victims which has been practised in all religions of nature without exception,―a terrible and to some extent prophetic cry of agony from God-forsaken men, which is first toned down on Golgotha into hymns of joy and thanksgiving. Witness is given to the power and energy, with which the religions of nature in the time of their bloom took possession of and ruled over the minds and emotions of men, by the otherwise unexampled sacrifices and self-inflictions, such as hecatombs, offerings of children, mutilation, prostitution, etc., to which its votaries submitted, and not less the almost irresistible charm which it exercised again and again upon the people of Israel during the whole course of their earlier history. It also follows from this that the religion of heathenism does not consist in naked lies and pure illusions. There are elements of truth in the lies, which gave this power to the religion of nature. There are anticipations of redemption, though these were demoniacally perverted, which imparted to it this charm. There are mysterious phenomena of natural magic and soothsaying which seemed to establish their divine character. But the worship of nature had the fate of all unnatural, precocious development. The truth was soon swallowed up by the lies, the power of development and life, of which more than could possibly be given was demanded, was soon consumed and used up. The blossoms fell before the fruit had set. Mysteries and oracles, magic and soothsaying, became empty forms, or organs of intentional fraud and common roguery. And so it came to pass that one harauspex could not look upon another without laughing. Unbelief mocked everything, superstition assumed its most absurd and utterly senseless forms, and religions of an irrational mongrel type sought in vain to quicken again a nerveless and soulless heathenism.

§ 7.2. The Moral Character of Heathenism.―Religious character and moral character go always hand in hand. Thus, too, the moral life among heathen peoples was earnest, powerful, and true, or lax, defective, and perverse, in the same proportion as was the religious life of that same period. The moral faults of heathenism flow from its religious faults. It was a religion of the present, to whose gods therefore were also unhesitatingly ascribed all the imperfections of the present. In this way religion lost all its power for raising men out of the mire and dust surrounding them. The partly immoral myths sanctioned or excused by the example of the gods the grossest immoralities. As the type and pattern of reproductive power in the deified life of nature, the gratification of lust was often made the central and main point in divine service. The idea of pure humanity was wholly wanting in heathenism. It could only reach the conception of nationality, and its virtues were only the virtues of citizens. In the East despotism crushed, and in the West fierce national antipathies stifled the acknowledgment of, universal human rights and the common rank of men, so that the foreigner and the slave were not admitted to have any claims. As the worth of man was measured only by his political position, the significance of woman was wholly overlooked and repudiated. Her position was at most only that of the maid of the man, and was degraded to the lowest depths in the East by reason of the prevalent polygamy. Notwithstanding all these great and far-reaching moral faults, heathenism, in the days of its bloom and power, at least in those departments of the moral life, such as politics and municipal matters, in which pantheism and polytheism did not exert their relaxing influence, had still preserved much high moral earnestness and an astonishing energy. But when the religion of their fathers, reduced to emptiness and powerlessness, ceased to be the soul and bearer of those departments of life, all moral power was also withdrawn from them. The moral deterioration reached its culminating point in the dissolute age of the Roman Emperors. In this indescribable state of moral degeneration, the church found heathenism, when it began its spiritual regeneration of the world.

§ 7.3. The Intellectual Culture in Heathenism.―The intellectual culture of heathenism has won in regard to the church a twofold significance. On the one hand it affords a pattern, and on the other it presents a warning beacon. Pagan science and art, in so far as they possess a generally culturing influence and present to the Christian church a special type for imitation, are but the ultimate results of the intellectual activity which manifested itself among the Greeks and Romans in philosophy, poetry and historical writing, which have in two directions, as to form and as to contents, become the model for the Christian church, preparing and breaking up its way. On the one side they produced forms for the exercise of the intellectual life, which by their exactness and clearness, by their variety and many-sidedness, afforded to the new intellectual contents of Christianity a means for its formal exposition and expression. But, on the other side, they also produced, from profound consideration of and research into nature and spirit, history and life, ideas and reflections which variously formed an anticipation of the ideas of redemption and prepared the soil for their reception. The influence, however, on the other hand, which oriental forms of culture had upon the development and construction of the history of redemption, had already exhausted itself upon Judaism. What the symbolism of orientalism had contributed to Judaism, namely the form in which the divine contents communicated by Old Testament prophesy should be presented and unfolded, the dialectic of classical heathenism was to Christianity, in which the symbolic covering of Judaism was to be torn off and the thought of divine redemption to be manifested and to be laid hold of in its purely intellectual form. The influence of heathenism upon the advancing church in the other direction as affording a picture of what was to be avoided, was represented not less by Eastern culture than by the classical culture of the Greeks and Romans. Here it was exclusively the contents, and indeed the ungodly anti-Christian contents, the specifically heathen substance of the pagan philosophy, theosophy, and mysteriosophy, which by means of tolerated forms of culture sought to penetrate and completely paganize Christianity. To heathenism, highly cultured but pluming itself in the arrogance of its sublime wisdom, Christianity, by whose suggestive profundity it had been at first attracted, appeared altogether too simple, unphilosophical, unspeculative, to satisfy the supposed requirements of the culture of the age. There was needed, it was thought, fructification and enriching by the collective wisdom of the East and the West before religion could in truth present itself as absolute and perfect.

§ 7.4. The Hellenic Philosophy.―What is true of Greek-Roman culture generally on its material and formal sides, that it powerfully influenced Christianity now budding into flower, is preeminently true of the Greek Philosophy. Regarded as a prefiguration of Christianity, Greek philosophy presents a negative side in so far as it led to the dissolution of heathenism, and a positive side in so far as it, by furnishing form and contents, contributed to the construction of Christianity. From its very origin Hellenic philosophy contributed to the negative process by undermining the people’s faith in heathenism, preparing for the overthrow of idolatry, and leading heathenism to take a despondent view of its own future. It is with Socrates, who died in B.C. 399, that the positive prefiguring of Christianity on the part of Greek philosophy comes first decidedly into view. His humble confession of ignorance, his founding of the claim to wisdom on the Γνῶθι σεαυτόν, the tracing of his deepest thoughts and yearnings back to divine suggestions (his Δαιμόνιον), his grave resignation to circumstances, and his joyful hope in a more blessed future, may certainly be regarded as faint anticipations and prophetic adumbrations of the phenomena of Christian faith and life. Plato, who died B.C. 348, with independent speculative and poetic power, wrought the scattered hints of his teacher’s wisdom into an organically articulated theory of the universe, which in its anticipatory profundity approached more nearly to the Christian theory of the universe than any other outside the range of revelation. His philosophy leads men to an appreciation of his God-related nature, takes him past the visible and sensible to the eternal prototypes of all beauty, truth and goodness, from which he has fallen away, and awakens in him a profound longing after his lost possessions. In regard to matter Aristotle, who died B.C. 322, does not stand so closely related to Christianity as Plato, but in regard to form, he has much more decidedly influenced the logical thinking and systematizing of later Christian sciences. In these two, however, are reached the highest elevation of the philosophical thinking of the Greeks, viewed in itself as well as in its positive and constructive influence upon the church. As philosophy down to that time, consciously or unconsciously, had wrought for the dissolution of the religion of the people, it now proceeded to work its own overthrow, and brought into ever deeper, fuller and clearer consciousness the despairing estimate of the world regarding itself. This is shown most significantly in the three schools of philosophy which were most widely spread at the entrance of the church into the Græco-Roman world, Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Scepticism. Epicurus, who died B.C. 271, in his philosophy seeks the highest good in pleasure, recognises in the world only a play of fortune, regards the soul as mortal, and supposes that the gods in their blissful retirement no longer take any thought about the world. Stoicism, founded by Zeno, who died in B.C. 260, over against the Epicurean deism set up a hylozoistic pantheism, made the development of the world dependent upon the unalterable necessity of fate, which brings about a universal conflagration, out of which again a new world springs to follow a similar course. To look on pleasure with contempt, to scorn pain, and in case of necessity to end a fruitless life by suicide―these constitute the core of all wisdom. When he has reached such a height in the mastery of self and of the world the wise man is his own god, finding in himself all that he needs. Finally, in conflict with Stoicism arose the Scepticism of the New Academy, at the head of which were Arcesilaus who died B.C. 240 and Carneades who died B.C. 128. This school renounced all knowledge of truth as something really unattainable, and in the moderation (ἐποχή) of every opinion placed the sum of theoretic wisdom, while it regarded the sum of all practical wisdom to consist in the evidence of every passionate or exciting effort.

§ 7.5. The Heathen State.―In the grand endeavour of heathenism to redeem itself by its own resources and according to its own pleasure, the attempt was finally made by the concentration of all forces into one colossal might. To gather into one point all the mental and bodily powers of the whole human race, and through them also all powers of nature and the products of all zones and lands, and to put them under one will, and then in this will to recognise the personal and visible representation of the godhead―to this was heathenism driven by an inner necessity. Hence arose a struggle, and in consequence of the pertinacity with which it was carried on, one kingdom after another was overthrown, until the climax was reached in the Roman empire. Yet even this empire was broken and dissolved when opposed by the spiritual power of the kingdom of God. Like all the endeavours of heathenism, this struggle for absolute sovereignty had a twofold aspect; there are thereby made prominent men’s own ways and God’s ways, the undivine aims of men, and the blessed results which God’s government of the world could secure for them. We have here to do first of all simply with the Roman universal empire, but the powers that rose in succession after it are only rejuvenations and powerful continuations of the endeavour of the earlier power, and so that is true of every state which is true of the Roman. Its significance as a preparer of the way for the church is just this, that in consequence of the articulation of the world into one great state organisation, the various stages and elements of culture found among the several civilized races hitherto isolated, contributed now to one universal civilization, and a rapid circulation of the new life-blood driven by the church through the veins of the nations was made possible and easy. With special power and universal success had the exploits of Alexander the Great in this direction made a beginning, which reached perfection under the Roman empire. The ever advancing prevalence of one language, the Greek, which at the time of the beginning of the church was spoken and understood in all quarters of the Roman empire, which seemed, like a temporary suspension of the doom of the confusion of languages which accompanied the rise of heathenism (Gen. xi.), to celebrate its return to the divine favour, belongs also pre-eminently to those preparatory influences. And as the heathen state sought after the concentration of all might, Industry and Trade, moved by the same principle, sought after the concentration of wealth and profit. But as worldly enterprise for its own ends made paths for universal commerce over wastes and seas, and visited for purposes of trade the remotest countries and climes, it served unwittingly and unintentionally the higher purposes of divine grace by opening a way for the spread of the message of the gospel.

§ 8. Judaism.

In a land which, like the people themselves, combined the character of insular exclusiveness with that of a central position in the ancient world, Israel, on account of the part which it was called to play in universal history, had to be the receiver and communicator of God’s revelations of His salvation, had to live quiet and apart, taking little to do with the world’s business; having, on the other hand, the assurance from God’s promise that disasters threatened by heathenish love of conquest and oppression would be averted. This position and this task were, indeed, only too often forgotten. Only too often did the Israelites mix themselves up in worldly affairs, with which they had no concern. Only too often by their departure from their God did they make themselves like the heathen nations in religion, worship, and conversation, so that for correction and punishment they had often to be put under a heavy yoke. Yet the remnant of the holy seed (Isa. iv. 3; vi. 13) which was never wholly wanting even in times of general apostasy, as well as the long-suffering and faithfulness of their God, ensured the complete realisation of Israel’s vocation, even though the unspiritual mass of the people finally rejected the offered redemption.

§ 8.1. Judaism under special Training of God through the Law and Prophecy.―Abraham was chosen as a single individual (Isa. li. 2), and, as the creator of something new, God called forth from an unfruitful womb the seed of promise. As saviour and redeemer from existing misery He delivered the people of promise from the oppression of Egyptian slavery. In the Holy Land the family must work out its own development, but in order that the family might be able unrestrainedly to expand into a great nation, it was necessary that it should first go down into Egypt. Moses led the people thus disciplined out of the foreign land, and gave them a theocratic constitution, law, and worship as means for the accomplishment of their calling, as a model and a schoolmaster leading on to future perfection (Gal. iii. 24; Heb. x. 1). The going out of Egypt was the birth of the nation, the giving of the law at Sinai was its consecration as a holy nation. Joshua set forth the last condition for an independent people, the possession of a country commensurate with the task of the nation, a land of their own that would awaken patriotic feelings. Now the theocracy under the form of a purely popular institution under the fostering care of the priesthood could and should have borne fruit, but the period of the Judges proves that those two factors of development were not sufficient, and so now two new agencies make their appearance; the Prophetic order as a distinct and regular office, constituted for the purpose of being a mouth to God and a conscience to the state, and the Kingly order for the protecting of the theocracy against hurt from without and for the establishment of peace within her borders. By David’s successes the theocracy attained unto a high degree of political significance, and by Solomon’s building of the temple the typical form of worship reached the highest point of its development. In spite, however, of prophecy and royalty, the people, ever withdrawing themselves more and more from their true vocation, were not able outwardly and inwardly to maintain the high level. The division of the kingdom, internal feuds and conflicts, their untheocratic entanglement in the affairs of the world, the growing tendency to fall away from the worship of Jehovah and to engage in the worship of high places, and calves, and nature, called down incessantly the divine judgments, in consequence of which they fell a prey to the heathen. Yet this discipline was not in vain. Cyrus decreed their return and their independent organization, and even prophecy was granted for a time to the restored community for its establishment and consolidation. Under these political developments has prophecy, in addition to its immediate concern with its own times in respect of teaching, discipline, and exhortation, given to the promise of future salvation its fullest expression, bringing a bright ray of comfort and hope to light up the darkness of a gloomy present. The fading memories of the happy times of the brilliant victories of David and the glorious peaceful reign of Solomon formed the bases of the delineations of the future Messianic kingdom, while the disasters, the suffering and the humiliation of the people during the period of their decay gave an impulse to Messianic longings for a Messiah suffering for the sins of the people and taking on Himself all their misery. And now, after it had effected its main purpose, prophecy was silenced, to be reawakened only in a complete and final form when the fulness of time had come.

§ 8.2. Judaism after the Cessation of Prophecy.―The time had now come when the chosen people, emancipated from the immediate discipline of divine revelation, but furnished with the results and experiences of a rich course of instruction, and accompanied by the law as a schoolmaster and by the light of the prophetic word, should themselves work out the purpose of their calling. The war of extermination which Antiochus Epiphanes in his heathen fanaticism waged against Judaism, was happily and victoriously repelled, and once more the nation won its political independence under the Maccabees. At last, however, owing to the increasing corruption of the ruling Maccabean family, they were ensnared by the craft of the Roman empire. The Syrian religious persecution and the subsequent oppression of the Romans roused the national spirit and the attachment to the religion of their fathers to the most extreme exclusiveness, fanatical hatred, and proud scorn of everything foreign, and converted the Messianic hope into a mere political and frantically carnal expectation. True piety more and more disappeared in a punctilious legalism and ceremonialism, in a conceited self-righteousness and boastful confidence in their own good works. Priests and scribes were eagerly bent on fostering this tendency and increasing the unsusceptibility of the masses for the spirituality of the redemption that was drawing nigh, by multiplying and exaggerating external rules and by perverse interpretation of scripture. But in spite of all these perverting and far-reaching tendencies, there was yet in quiet obscurity a sacred plantation of the true Israel (John i. 47; Luke i. 6; ii. 25, 38, etc.), as a garden of God for the first reception of salvation in Christ.

§ 8.3. The Synagogues.―The institution of the Synagogues was of the greatest importance for the spread and development of post-exilian Judaism. They had their origin in the consciousness that, besides the continuance of the symbolical worship of the temple, a ministry of the word for edification by means of the revelation of God in the law and the prophets was, after the withdrawal of prophecy, all the more a pressing need and duty. But they also afforded a nursery for the endeavour to widen and contract the law of Moses by Rabbinical rules, for the tendency to external legalism and hypocrisy, for the national arrogance and the carnal Messianic expectations, which from them passed over into the life of the people. On the other hand, the synagogues, especially outside of Palestine, among the dispersion, won a far-reaching significance for the church by reason of their missionary tendency. For here where every Sabbath the holy scripture of the Old Testament was read in the Greek translation of the Septuagint and expounded, a convenient opportunity was given to heathens longing for salvation to gain acquaintance with the revelations and promises of God in the Old Covenant, and here there was already a place for the first ministers of the gospel, from which they could deliver their message to an assembled multitude of people from among the Jews and Gentiles. (Schürer, “Hist. of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ.” Div. ii., vol. 2., “The School and Synagogue.” pp. 44-89, Edin., 1885.)

§ 8.4. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.―The strict, traditionally legalistic, carnally particularistic tendency of Post-Exilian Judaism had its representatives and supporters in the sect of the Pharisees (פְרוּשִׁים, ἀφωρισμένοι), so called because their main endeavour was to maintain the strictest separation from everything heathenish, foreign, and ceremonially unclean. By their ostentatious display of zeal for the law, their contempt for everything not Jewish, their democratic principles and their arrogant patriotism, they won most completely the favour of the people; they shared the evil fortunes of the Maccabean princes, and became the bitterest enemies of the Herodians, and entertained a burning fanatical hatred to the Romans. They held sway in the synagogues to such an extent that the names Scribes and Pharisees were regarded as almost synonymous, and even in the Sanhedrim they secured many seats. In the times of Jesus the schools of Hillel and Shammai contended with one another, the former pleading for somewhat lax views, especially in reference to divorce and the obligation of oaths, while the latter insisted upon the most rigorous interpretation of the law. Both, however, were agreed in the recognition of oral tradition, the παραδόσεις τῶν πατέρων, as a binding authority and an essential supplement to the law of Moses. In direct opposition to them stand the Sadducees, out of sympathy with the aspirations of the people, and abandoning wholly the sacred traditions, and joining themselves in league with the Herodians and Romans. The name originally designated them as descendants of the old temple aristocracy represented by the family of the high priest Zadok, and, in consequence of the similarity in sound between צַדּוּקיִם and צַדּיִקיִם, gave expression to their claim to be regarded as essentially and truly righteous because of their outward adherence to the Mosaic law. Proceeding on the principle that virtue as a free act of man has in it its own worth and reward, just as vice has in it its own punishment, they rejected the doctrine of a future judgment, denied the doctrine of a resurrection, the existence of angels and spirits, and the doctrine of the divine foreknowledge.2 The Essenes, not mentioned in the Bible, but named by Philo, Josephus, and the elder Pliny, form a third sect. Their name was probably derived from חֲסֵא, pious. The original germ of their society is found in distinct colonies on the banks of the Dead Sea, which kept apart from the other Jews, and recognised even among themselves four different grades of initiation, each order being strictly separated from the others. A member was received only after a three years’ novitiate, and undertook to keep secret the mysteries of the order. Community of goods in the several communities and clans, meals in common accompanied by religious ceremonies, frequent prayers in the early morning with the face directed to the rising sun, oft repeated washings and cleansings, diligent application to agriculture and other peaceful occupations, abstaining from the use of flesh and wine, from trade and every warlike pursuit, from slavery and taking of oaths, perhaps also abstinence from marriage in the higher orders, were the main conditions of membership in their association. The Sabbath was observed with great strictness, but sacrifices of blood were abolished, and all anointing with oil was regarded as polluting. They still, however, maintained connection with Judaism by sending gifts to the temple. So far the order may fairly be regarded, as it is by Ritschl, as a spiritualizing exaggeration of the Mosaic idea of the priestly character that had independently grown up on Jewish soil, and indeed especially as an attempt to realize the calling set forth in Exod. xix. 5, 6, and repudiated in Exod. xx. 19, 20, unto all Israelites to be a spiritual priesthood. But when, on the other hand, the Essenes, according to Josephus, considered the body as a prison in which the soul falling from its ethereal existence is to be confined until freed from its fetters by death it returns again to heaven, this can scarcely be explained as originating from any other than a heathen source, especially from the widely spread influences of Neo-Pythagoreanism (§ 24). Lucius (1881) derives the name and seeks their origin from the Asidæans, Chasidim, or Pious, in 1 Macc. ii. 42; vii. 13; and 2 Macc. xiv. 6. Very striking too is Hilgenfeld’s carefully weighed and ably sustained theory (Ketzergesch., pp. 87-149), that their descent is to be traced from the Kenite Rechabites (Jer. xxxv.; Judg. i. 16), and their name from the city Gerasa, west of the Dead Sea, called in Josephus also Essa, where the Rechabites, abandoning their tent life, formed a settlement. In the time of Josephus the Essenes numbered about four thousand. In consequence of the Jewish war, which brought distress upon them, as well as upon the Christians, they were led into friendly relations with Christianity; but even when adopting the Christian doctrines, they still carried with them many of their earlier tenets (§ 28, 23).3

§ 9. Samaritanism.

The Samaritans, who came into existence at the time of the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel, from the blending of Israelitish and heathenish elements, desired fellowship with the Jewish colony that returned from the Babylonish captivity, but were repelled on account of their manifold compromises with pagan practice. And although an expelled Jew named Manasseh purified their religion as far as possible of heathenish elements, and gave them a temple and order of worship on Mount Gerizim, this only increased the hatred of the Jews against them. Holding fast to the Judaism taught them by Manasseh, the Samaritans never adopted the refinements and perversions of later Judaism. Their Messianic expectations remained purer, their particularism less severe. While thus rendered capable of forming a more impartial estimate of Christianity, they were also inclined upon the whole, because of the hatred and contempt which they had to endure from Pharisaic Judaism, to look with favour upon Christianity despised and persecuted as they themselves had been (John iv. 41; Acts viii. 5 ff.). On the other hand, the syncretic-heathen element, which still flourished in Samaritanism, showed its opposition to Christianity by positive reactionary attempts (§ 25, 2).4

§ 10. Intercourse between Judaism and Heathenism.

Alexander the Great’s conquest of the world brought into connection with one another the most diverse elements of culture in antiquity. Least of all could Judaism outside of Palestine, the diaspora, living amid the influences of heathen or Hellenic culture and ways of viewing things, withdraw itself from the syncretic current of the age. The Jews of Eastern Asia maintained a closer connection and spiritual affinity with the exclusive Palestinian Rabbinism, and the heathen element, which here penetrated into their religious conceptions, became, chiefly through the Talmud, the common property of post-Christian Judaism. But heathenism also, contemptible as Judaism appeared to it, was susceptible to Jewish influences, impressed by the deeper religious contents of Judaism, and though only sporadic, instances of such influence were by no means rare.

§ 10.1. Influence of Heathenism upon Judaism.―This reached its greatest strength in Egypt, the special centre and source of the syncretic tendencies of the age. Forming for itself by means of the adoption of Greek culture and especially of the Platonic philosophy a more universal basis of culture, Jewish Hellenism flourished in Alexandria. After Aristobulus, who wrote Ἐξηγήσεις τῆς Μωυσέως, about B.C. 170, now only found in a fragment of doubtful authority, and the author of the Book of Wisdom, the chief representative of this tendency was the Alexandrian Jew Philo, a contemporary of Christ. His Platonism enriched by elements drawn from Old Testament revelation and from the doctrines of the Essenes has on many points carried its speculation to the very borders of Christianity, and has formed a scaffolding for the Christian philosophy of the Church Fathers. He taught that all nations have received a share of divine truth, but that the actual founder and father of all true philosophy was Moses, whose legislation and teaching formed the source of information for even the Greek Philosophy and Mysteriosophy. But it is only by means of allegorical interpretation that such depths can be discovered. God is τὸ ὄν, matter τὸ μὴ ὄν. An intermediate world, corresponding to the Platonic world of ideas, is the κόσμος νοητός, consisting of innumerable spirits and powers, angels and souls of men, but bound together into a unity in and issuing from the Word of God, who as the λόγος ἐνδιαθετός was embraced in God from eternity, coming forth from God as the λόγος προφορικός for the creation of the world (thought and word). The visible world, on account of the physical impotence of matter, is an imperfect representation of the κόσμος νοητός, etc. On the ground of the writing De vita contemplativa attributed to Philo, the Therapeutæ, or worshippers of God, mentioned therein, had been regarded as a contemplative ascetic sect related to the Essenes, affected by an Alexandrian philosophical spirit, living a sort of monastic life in the neighbourhood of Alexandria, until Lucius (Strassb., 1879) withdrew them from the domain of history to that of Utopian romance conceived in support of a special theory. This scholar has proved that the writing referred to cannot possibly be assigned to Philo, but must have been composed about the end of the third century in the interest of Christian monasticism, for which it presented an idealizing apology. This, however, has been contested by Weingarten, in Herzog, x. 761, on good grounds, and the origin of the book has been assigned to a period soon after Philo, when Hellenistic Judaism was subjected to a great variety of religious and philosophical influences.5

§ 10.2. Influence of Judaism upon Heathenism.―The heathen state showed itself generally tolerant toward Judaism. Alexander the Great and his successors, the Ptolemies, to some extent also the Seleucidæ, allowed the Jews the free exercise of their religion and various privileges, while the Romans allowed Judaism to rank as a religio licita. Nevertheless the Jews were universally despised and hated. Tacitus calls them despectissima pars servientium, teterrima gens; and even the better class of writers, such as Manetho, Justin, Tacitus, gave currency to the most absurd stories and malicious calumnies against them. In opposition to these the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus took pains to overcome the prejudices of Greeks and Romans against his nation, by presenting to them its history and institutions in the most favourable light. But on the other side, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, as well as the multitude of Jewish synagogues, which during the Roman period were scattered over the whole world, afforded to every heathen interested therein the opportunity of discovering by personal examination and inquiry the characteristic principles of Judaism. When, therefore, we consider the utterly corrupt condition of heathenism, we cannot wonder that Judaism, in spite of all the contempt that was thrown upon it, would attract, by reason of its hoary antiquity and the sublime simplicity of its creed, the significance of its worship, and its Messianic promises, many of the better aspiring heathens, who were no longer satisfied with their sorely degraded forms of religion. And though indeed only a few enrolled themselves as “Proselytes of Righteousness,” entering the Jewish community by submitting to the rite of circumcision, the number of the “Proselytes of the Gate” who without observing the whole of the ceremonial law undertook to abandon their idols and to worship Jehovah, in all ranks of society, mostly women, was very considerable, and it was just among them that Christianity found the most hearty and friendly acceptance.

§ 11. The Fulness of Time.

The fulness of the olden time had come when the dawn of a new era burst forth over the mountains of Judea. All that Judaism and heathenism had been able to do in preparing the way for this new era had now been done. Heathenism was itself conscious of its impotence and unfitness for satisfying the religious needs of the human spirit, and wherever it had not fallen into dreary unbelief or wild superstition, it struggled and agonized, aspiring after something better. In this way negatively a path was prepared for the church. In science and art, as well as in general intellectual culture, heathenism had produced something great and imperishable; and ineffectual as these in themselves had proved to restore again to man the peace which he had lost and now sought after, they might become effectually helpful for such purposes when made subservient to the true salvation. And so far heathenism was a positive helper to the church. The impression that a crisis in the world’s history was near at hand was universal among Jews and Gentiles. The profound realization of the need was a presage of the time of fulfilment. All true Israelites waited for the promised Messiah, and even in heathenism the ancient hope of the return of the Golden Age was again brought to the front, and had, from the sacred scriptures and synagogues of the Jews, obtained a new holding ground and a definite direction. The heathen state, too, made its own contribution toward preparing the way of the church. One sceptre and one language united the whole world, a universal peace prevailed, and the most widely extended commercial intercourse gave opportunity for the easy and rapid spread of saving truth.

The Founding of the Church by Christ and His Apostles.

§ 12. Character of the History of the Beginnings.

The propriety in a treatise on general church history of separating the Times of Jesus and the Times of the Apostles, closely connected therewith, from the History of the Development of the Church, and giving to them a distinct place under the title of the History of the Beginnings, rests on the fact that in those times we have the germs and principles of all that follows. The unique capacity of the Apostles, resulting from special enlightenment and endowment, makes that which they have done of vital importance for all subsequent development. In our estimation of each later form of the church’s existence we must go back to the doctrine and practice of Christ and His Apostles as the standard, not as to a finally completed form that has exhausted all possibilities of development, and made all further advance and growth impossible or useless, but rather as to the authentic fresh germs and beginnings of the church, so that not only what in later development is found to have existed in the same form in the beginning is recognised as genuinely Christian, but also that which is seen to be a development and growth of that primitive form.


§ 13. Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. iv. 4, 5). In accordance with prophetic announcements, He was born in Bethlehem as the Son of David, and, after John the Baptist, the last of the prophets of the Old Covenant, had prepared His way by the preaching of repentance and the baptism of repentance, He began in the thirtieth year of His age His fulfilment by life and teaching of the law and the prophets. With twelve chosen disciples He travelled up and down through the land of the Jews, preaching the kingdom of God, helping and healing, and by miracles and signs confirming His divine mission and doctrine. The Pharisees contradicted and persecuted Him, the Sadducees disregarded Him, and the people vacillated between acclamations and execrations. After three years’ activity, amid the hosannas of the multitude, He made His royal entry into the city of His kingly ancestors. But the same crowd, disappointed in their political and carnal Messianic expectations, a few days later raised the cry: Crucify Him, crucify Him! Thus then He suffered according to the gracious good pleasure of the Father the death of the cross for the sins of the world. The Prince of life, however, could not be holden of death. He burst the gates of Hades, as well as the barriers of the grave, and rose again the third day. For forty days He lingered here below, promised His disciples the gift of His Holy Spirit, and commissioned them to preach the gospel to all nations. Then upon His ascension He assumed the divine form of which He had emptied Himself during His incarnation, and sits now at the right hand of power as the Head of His church and the Lord of all that is named in heaven and on earth, until visibly and in glory, according to the promise, He returns again at the restitution of all things.

§ 13.1. In regard to the year of the birth and the year of the death of the Redeemer no absolutely certain result can now be attained. The usual Christian chronology constructed by Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century, first employed by the Venerable Bede, and brought into official use by Charlemagne, assumes the year 754 A.U.C. as the date of Christ’s birth, which is evidently wrong, since, in A.D. 750 or 751, Herod the Great was already dead. Zumpt takes the seventh, others the third, fourth, or fifth year before our era. The length of Christ’s public ministry was fixed by many Church Fathers, in accordance with Isaiah lxi. 1, 2, and Luke iv. 19, at one year, and it was consequently assumed that Christ was crucified when thirty years of age (Luke iii. 21). The synoptists indeed speak only of one passover, the last, during Christ’s ministry; but John (ii. 13; vi. 4; xii. 1) speaks of three, and also besides (v. 1) of a ἑορτὴ τῶν Ἰουδαίων.

§ 13.2. Among the non-biblical witnesses to Christ the earliest is probably a Syrian Epistle of Mara to his son Serapion, written, according to Cureton (“Spicileg. Syriacum.” Lond., 1855), about A.D. 73. The father, highly cultured in Greek wisdom but dissatisfied with it, writes from exile words of comfort and exhortation to his son, in which he places Christ alongside of Socrates and Pythagoras, and honours him as the wise King, by whose death the Jews had brought upon themselves the swift overthrow of their kingdom, who would, however, although slain, live for ever in the new land which He has given. To this period also belongs the witness of the Jewish historian Josephus, which in its probably genuine portions praises Jesus as a worker of miracles and teacher of wisdom, and testifies to His death on the cross under Pilate, as well as the founding of the church in His name. Distinctly and wholly spurious is the Correspondence of Christ with Abgar, Prince of Edessa, who entreats Christ to come to Edessa to heal him and is comforted of the Lord by the sending of one of His disciples after His ascension. This document was first communicated by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., i. 13) from the Archives of Edessa in a literal translation from the Syriac, and is also to be found in the Syrian book Doctrina Addæi (§ 32, 6). Of a similar kind are the apocryphal Acta Pilati, as well the heathen form which has perished (§ 22, 7), as the Christian form which is still extant (§ 32, 4). An Epistle of Lentulus, pretending to be from a Roman resident in Palestine on terms of intimacy with Pilate, containing a description of the appearance of Christ, is quoted, and even then as a forgery, by Laurentius Valla in his writing on the Donation of Constantine. Since in many particulars it agrees with the description of the person of Christ given in the Church History by Nicephorus Callisti (§ 5, 1), in accordance with the type then prevailing among Byzantine painters, it may fairly be regarded as an apocryphal Latin retouching of that description originating in the fifteenth century. At Edessa a picture of Christ was known to exist in the fourth century (according to the Doctr. Addæi), which must have been brought thither by the messengers of Abgar, who had picked it up in Jerusalem. During the fourth century mention is made of a statue of Christ, first of all by Eusebius, who himself had seen it. This was said to have been set up in Paneas by the woman cured of the issue of blood (Matt. ix. 20). It represents a woman entreating help, kneeling before the lofty figure of a man who stretches out his hand to her, while at his feet a healing herb springs up. In all probability, however, it was simply a votive figure dedicated to the god of healing, Æsculapius. The legend that has been current since the fifth century of the sweat-marked handkerchief of Veronica―this name being derived either from vera icon, the true likeness, or from Bernice or Beronice, the name given in apocryphal legends to the woman with the issue of blood,―on which the face of the Redeemer which had been wiped by it was imprinted, probably arose through the transferring to other incidents the legendary story of Edessa. On the occurrence of similar transferences see § 57, 5.

A.D. 30-70.

§ 14. The Ministry of the Apostles before Paul.

After the Apostolate had been again by means of the lot raised to the significant number of twelve, amid miraculous manifestations, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the waiting disciples as they were assembled together on the day of Pentecost, ten days after the Ascension of the Lord. It was the birthday of the church, and its first members were won by the preaching of Peter to the wondering multitude. By means of the ministry of the Apostles, who at first restricted themselves to Jerusalem, the church grew daily. A keen persecution, however, on the part of the Jews, beginning with the execution of the deacon Stephen, scattered them apart, so that the knowledge of the gospel was carried throughout all Palestine, and down into Phœnicia and Syria. Philip preached with peculiarly happy results in Samaria. Peter soon began a course of visitation through the land of Jews, and at Cæsarea received into the church by baptism the first Gentile family, that of Cornelius, having been prepared for this beforehand by a vision. At the same time there arose independently at Antioch in Syria a Christian congregation, composed of Jews and Gentiles, through the great eagerness of the Gentiles for salvation. The Levite Barnabas, a man of strong faith, was sent down from Jerusalem, took upon himself the care of this church, and strengthened his own ministry by securing Paul, the converted Pharisee, as his colleague. This great man, some years before, by the appearing of Christ to him on the way to Damascus, had been changed from a fanatical persecutor into a zealous friend and promoter of the interests of the church. Thus it came about that the Apostolic mission broke up into two different sections, one of which was purely Jewish and had for its centre and starting point the mother church at Jerusalem, while the other, issuing from Antioch, addressed itself to a mixed audience, and preeminently to the Gentiles.

It is difficult to determine with chronological exactness either the beginning (§ 13, 1) or the close of the Apostolic Age. Still we cannot be far wrong in taking A.D. 30 as the beginning and A.D. 70 as the close of that period. The last perfectly certain and uncontested date of the Apostolic Age is the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in A.D. 64, or perhaps A.D. 67, see § 15, 1. We have it on good evidence that James the elder died about A.D. 44, and James the Just about A.D. 63 (§ 16, 3), that Peter suffered martyrdom contemporaneously with Paul (§ 16, 1), that about the same time or not long after the most of the other Apostles had been in all probability already taken home, at least in regard to their life and work after the days of Paul, we have not the slightest information that can lay any claim to be regarded as historical. The Apostle John forms the only exception to this statement. According to important witnesses from the middle and end of the second century (§ 16, 2), he entered upon his special field of labour in Asia Minor after the death of Paul, and continued to live and labour there, with the temporary interruption of an exile in Patmos, down to the time of Trajan, A.D. 98-117. But the insufficient data which we possess regarding the nature, character, extent, success, and consequences of his Apostolic activity there are partly, if not in themselves altogether incredible, interesting only as anecdotes, and partly wholly fabulous, and therefore little fitted to justify us, simply on their account, in assigning the end of the first or the beginning of the second century as the close of the Apostolic Age. We are thus brought back again to the year of Paul’s death as indicating approximately the close of that period. But seeing that the precise year of this occurrence is matter of discussion, the adoption of the round number 70 may be recommended, all the more as with this year, in which the last remnant of Jewish national independence was lost, the opposition between Jewish and Gentile Christianity, which had prevailed throughout the Apostolic Age, makes its appearance under a new phase (§ 28).

§ 15. The Ministry of the Apostle Paul.

Set apart to the work by the church by prayer and laying on of hands, Paul and Barnabas started from Antioch on their first missionary journey to Asia Minor, A.D. 48-50. Notwithstanding much opposition and actual persecution on the part of the enraged Jews, he founded mixed churches, composed principally of Gentile Christians, comprising congregations at Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. When Paul undertook his second missionary journey, A.D. 52-55, Barnabas separated himself from him because of his refusal to accept the company of his nephew John Mark, who had deserted them during their first journey, and along with Mark embarked upon an independent mission, beginning with his native country Cyprus; of the success of this mission nothing is known. Paul, on the other hand, accompanied by Silas and Luke, with whom at a later period Timothy also was associated, passed through Asia Minor, and would thereafter have returned to Antioch had not a vision by night at Troas led him to take ship for Europe. There he founded churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth, and then returned through Asia Minor to Syria. Without any lengthened interval he entered upon his third missionary journey, A.D. 55-58, accompanied by Luke, Titus, and Timothy. The centre of his ministerial activity during this period was Ephesus, where he founded a church with a large membership. His success was extraordinary, so that the very existence of heathenism in Asia Minor was seriously imperilled. Driven away by the uprising of a heathen mob, he travelled through Macedonia, pressed on to Illyricum, visited the churches of Greece, and then went to Jerusalem, for the performance of a vow. Here his life, threatened by the excited Jews, was saved by his being put in prison by the Roman captain, and then sent down to Cæsarea, A.D. 58. An appeal to Cæsar, to which as a Roman citizen he was entitled, resulted in his being sent to Rome, where he, beginning with the spring of A.D. 61, lived and preached for several years, enduring a mild form of imprisonment. The further course of his life and ministry remains singularly uncertain. Of the later labours and fortunes of Paul’s fellow-workers we know absolutely nothing.

It may be accepted as a well authenticated and incontestable fact that Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome under Nero. This is established by the testimony of Clement of Rome―μαρτυρήσας ἐπὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων οὕτως ἀπηλλάγη τοῦ κοσμοῦ,―and is further explained and confirmed by Dionysius of Corinth, quoted in Eusebius, and by Irenæus, Tertullian, Caius of Rome (§ 16, 1). On the other hand it is disputed whether it may have happened during the imprisonment spoken about in the Acts of the Apostles, or during a subsequent imprisonment. According to the tradition of the church given currency to by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., ii. 22), which even in our own time has been maintained by many capable scholars, Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment shortly before the outburst of Nero’s persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 (§ 22, 1), and made a fourth missionary journey which was brought to a close by his being a second time arrested and subsequently beheaded at Rome in A.D. 67. The proofs, however, that are offered in support of this assertion are of a very doubtful character. Paul certainly in A.D. 58 had the intention (Rom. xv. 24, 28) after a short visit to Rome to proceed to Spain; and when from his prison in Rome he wrote to Philemon (v. 22) and to the Philippians (i. 25; ii. 24), he believed that his cherished hope of yet regaining his liberty would be realised; but there is no further mention of a journey into Spain, for apparently other altogether different plans of travel are in his mind. And indeed circumstances may easily be conceived as arising to blast such hopes and produce in him that spirit of hopeless resignation, which he gives expression to in 2 Tim. iv. 6 ff. But the words of Clement of Rome, chap. 5: δικαιοσύνην διδάξας ὅλον τὸν κόσμον καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ τέρμα τῆς δύσεως ἐλθών, etc., are too indefinite and rhetorical to be taken as a certain testimony on behalf of a Spanish missionary journey. The incomplete reference in the Muratorian Fragment (§ 36, 8) to a profectio Pauli ab Urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis may be thought to afford more direct testimony, but probably it is nothing more than a reminiscence of Rom. xv. 24, 28. Much more important, nay almost conclusive, in the opposite direction, is the entire absence, not only from all the patristic, but also from all the apocryphal, literature of the second and third centuries, of any allusion to a fourth missionary journey or a second imprisonment of the Apostle. The assertion of Eusebius introduced by a vague λόγος ἔχει can scarcely be regarded as outweighing this objection. Consequently the majority of modern investigators have decided in favour of the theory of one imprisonment. But then the important question arises as to whether the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, claiming to be Pauline, with the journeys referred to or presupposed in them, and the residences of the Apostle and his two assistants, can find a place in the framework of the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles, and if so, what that place may be. In answering this question those investigators take diverse views. Of those who cannot surrender their conviction that the Pastoral Epistles are genuine, some assign them to the Apostle’s residence of almost three years in Ephesus, others to the imprisonment in Cæsarea which lasted two years and a half, and others to the Roman imprisonment of almost three years. Others again, looking upon such expedients as inadmissible, deny the authenticity of the Pastoral Epistles, these having appeared to them worthy of suspicion on other grounds.

§ 16. The Other Apostles after the Appearance of the Apostle Paul.

Only in reference to the most distinguished of the Apostles have any trustworthy accounts reached us. James the brother of John, at an early period, in A.D. 44, suffered a martyr’s death at Jerusalem. Peter was obliged by this persecution to quit Jerusalem for a time. Inclination and his special calling marked him out as the Apostle of the Jews (Gal. ii. 7-9). His ministry outside of Palestine was exercised, according to 1 Pet. i. 1, in the countries round about the Black Sea, and, according to chap. v. 13, extended to Babylon. The legend that, contemporaneously with the beheading of Paul, he suffered death by crucifixion under Nero at Rome (John xxi. 18, 19), is doubtful; and it is also questionable whether he ever went to Rome, while the story of his having down to the time of his death been Bishop of Rome for twenty-five years is wholly fabulous. John, according to the tradition of the church, took up Asia Minor as his special field of labour after it had been deprived of its first Apostle by the martyr death of Paul, fixing his residence at Ephesus. At the head of the mother church of Jerusalem stood James the Just, the brother of the Lord. He seems never to have left Jerusalem, and was stoned by the Jews between A.D. 63-69. Regarding the rest of the Apostles and their fellow-workers we have only legendary traditions of an extremely untrustworthy description, and even these have come down to us in very imperfect and corrupt forms.

§ 16.1. The Roman Episcopate of Peter.―The tradition that Peter, after having for some years held the office of bishop at Antioch, became first Bishop of Rome, holding the office for twenty-five years (A.D. 42-67), and suffered martyrdom at the same time with Paul, had its origin in the series of heretical apocryphal writings, out of which sprang, both the romance of the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions (§ 28, 3), and the Ebionite Acts of Peter; but it attained its complete form only at the end of the fourth century, after it had been transplanted into the soil of the church tradition through the Acta Petri et Pauli (§ 32, 6). What chiefly secured currency and development to this tradition was the endeavour, ever growing in strength in Rome, to vindicate on behalf of the Roman Episcopate as the legitimate successor and heir to all the prerogatives alleged to have been conferred on Peter in Matt. xvi. 18, a title to primacy over all the churches (§ 34, 8; 46, 3 ff.). But that Peter had not really been in Rome as a preacher of the gospel previous to the year A.D. 61, when Paul came to Rome as a prisoner, is evident from the absence of any reference to the fact in the Epistle to the Romans, written in A.D. 58, as well as in the concluding chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. According to the Acts, Peter in A.D. 44 lay in prison at Jerusalem, and according to Gal. ii., he was still there in A.D. 51. Besides, according to the unanimous verdict of tradition, as expressed by Irenæus, Eusebius, Rufinus, and the Apostolic Constitutions, not Peter, but Linus, was the first Bishop of Rome, and it is only in regard to the order of his successors, Anacletus and Clement, that any real uncertainty or discrepancy occurs. This, indeed, by no means prevents us from admitting an appearance of Peter at Rome resulting in his martyrdom. But the testimonies in favour thereof are not of such a kind as to render its historical reality unquestionable. That Babylon is mentioned in 1 Pet. v. 13 as the place where this Epistle was composed, can scarcely be used as a serious argument, since the supposition that Babylon is a symbolical designation of Rome as the centre of anti-Christian heathenism, though quite conceivable and widely current in the early church, is not by any means demonstrable. Toward the end of the first century, Clement of Rome relates the martyrdom of Peter as well as of Paul, but he does not even say that it took place at Rome. On the other hand, clear and unmistakable statements are found in Dionysius of Corinth, about A.D. 170, then in Caius of Rome, in Irenæus and Tertullian, to the effect that Peter and Paul exercised their ministry together and suffered martyrdom together at Rome. These statements, however, are interwoven with obviously false and fabulous dates to such a degree that their credibility is rendered extremely doubtful. Nevertheless they prove this much, that already about the end of the second century, the story of the two Apostles suffering martyrdom together at Rome was believed, and that some, of whom Caius tells us, professed to know their graves and to have their bones in their possession.

§ 16.2. The Apostle John.―Soon after the death of Paul, the Apostle John settled in Ephesus, and there, with the temporary break caused by his exile to Patmos (Rev. i. 9), he continued to preside over the church of Asia Minor down to his death in the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117). This rests upon the church tradition which, according to Polycrates of Ephesus (Eus., Hist. Eccl., v. 24) and Irenæus, a scholar of Polycarp’s (Eus., iv. 14), was first set forth during the Easter controversies (§ 37, 2) in the middle of the second century by Polycarp of Smyrna, and has been accepted as unquestionable through all ages down to our own. According to Irenæus (Eus., iii. 18), his exile occurred under Domitian; the Syrian translation of the Apocalypse, which was made in the sixth century, assigned it to the time of Nero. But seeing that, except in Rev. i. 11, neither in the New Testament scriptures, nor in the extant writings and fragments of the Church Fathers of the second century before Irenæus, is a residence of the Apostle John at Ephesus asserted or assumed, whereas Papias (§ 30, 6), according to Georgius Hamartolus, a chronicler of the 9th cent., who had read the now lost work of Papias, expressly declares that the Apostle John was slain “by Jews” (comp. Matt. xx. 23), which points to Palestine rather than to Asia Minor, modern critics have denied the credibility of that ecclesiastical tradition, and have attributed its origin to a confusion between the Apostle John and a certain John the Presbyter, with whom we first meet in the Papias-Fragment quoted in Eusebius as μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου. Others again, while regarding the residence of the Apostle at Ephesus as well established, have sought, on account of differences in style standpoint and general mode of thought in the Johannine Apocalypse on the one hand, and the Johannine Gospel and Epistles on the other hand, to assign them to two distinct μαθηταὶ τοῦ κυρίου of the same name, and by assigning the Apocalypse to the Presbyter and the Gospel and Epistles to the Apostle, they would in this way account for the residence at Ephesus. This is the course generally taken by the Mediation theologians of Schleiermacher’s school. The advanced liberal critics of the school of Baur assign the Apocalypse to the Apostle and the Gospel and Epistles to the Presbyter, or else instead of the Apostle assume a third John otherwise unknown. Conservative orthodox theology again maintains the unity of authorship of all the Johannean writings, explains the diversity of character discernible in the different works by a change on the part of the Apostle from the early Judæo-Christian standpoint (Gal. ii. 9), which is still maintained in the Apocalypse, to the ideal universalistic standpoint assumed in the Gospel and the Epistles, and is inclined to identify the Presbyter of Papias with the Apostle. Even in Tertullian we meet with the tradition that under Nero the Apostle had been thrown into a vat of boiling oil, and in Augustine we are told how he emptied a poisoned cup without suffering harm. It is a charming story at least that Clement of Alexandria tells of the faithful pastoral care which the aged Apostle took in a youth who had fallen so far as to become a bandit chief. Of such a kind, too, is the story told of the Apostle by Jerome, how in the extreme weakness of old age he had to be carried into the assemblies of the congregation, and with feeble accents could only whisper, Little children, love one another. According to Irenæus, when by accident he met with the heretic Cerinthus (§ 27, 1) in the bath, he immediately rushed out to avoid any contact with him.

§ 16.3. James, the brother of the Lord.―The name of James was borne by two of the twelve disciples of Jesus: James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, who was put to death by the command of Herod Agrippa I. (Acts xii. 2) about A.D. 44, and James, son of Alphæus, about whom we have no further information. A third James, designated in Gal. i. 19 the brother of the Lord, who according to Hegesippus (Euseb., Hist. Eccl., ii. 23) on account of his scrupulous fulfilment of the law received the title of the Just, is met with in Acts xii. 17; xv. 13; xxi. 18, and is recognised by Paul (Gal. i. 19; ii. 9-12) as the President of the church in Jerusalem. According to Hegesippus (§ 31, 7), he was from his childhood a Nazirite, and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews at the Passover having desired of him a testimony against Christ, and he having instead given a powerful testimony on His behalf, he was hurled down from a pinnacle of the temple, stoned, and at last, while praying for his enemies, slain by the blows of a fuller’s club. According to Josephus, however, Ananus, the high priest, after the recall of the Proconsul Festus and before the arrival of his successor Albinus, along with other men hostile to James, hastily condemned him and had him stoned, about A.D. 63. In regard to the person of this last-named James three different theories have been proposed.

  1. In the ancient church, the brothers of Jesus, of whom besides James other three, Joses, Simon, and Judas, are named, were regarded undoubtedly as step-brothers of Jesus, sons of Joseph and Mary (Matt. i. 25), and even Tertullian argues from the existence of brothers of the Redeemer according to the flesh against the Docetism of the Gnostics.
  2. Soon, however, it came to be felt that the idea that Joseph had conjugal intercourse with Mary after the birth of Jesus was in conflict with the ascetic tendency now rising into favour, and so to help themselves out of this embarrassment, it was assumed that the brothers of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife.
  3. The want of biblical foundation for this view was the occasion of its being abandoned in favour of a theory, first hinted at by Jerome, according to which the expression brothers of Jesus is to be taken in a wider sense as meaning cousins, and in this way James the brother of the Lord was identified with James the son of Alphæus, one of the twelve disciples, and the four or five Jameses named in the New Testament were reduced to two, James the son of Zebedee and James son of Alphæus. It was specially urged from John xix. 25 that James the son of Alphæus was the sister’s son of Jesus’ mother. This was done by a purely arbitrary identification of the name Clopas or Cleophas with the Alphæus of the Synoptists, the rendering of the words Μαρία τοῦ Κλωπᾶ by the wife of Clopas, and also the assumption, which is scarcely conceivable, that the sister of the mother of Jesus was also called Mary. We should therefore in this passage regard the sister of the mother of Jesus and Mary wife of Clopas as two distinct persons. In that case the wife of Alphæus may have been called Mary and have had two sons who, like two of the four brothers of Jesus, were named James and Joses (Matt. xxvii. 56; Mark xv. 40; Luke xxiv. 10); but even then, in the James here mentioned, we should meet with another James otherwise unknown, different from the James son of Alphæus in the list of the Apostles, whose name occurs in Luke xv. 16 and Acts i. 13 in the phrase Judas of James, where the genitive undoubtedly means brother of James son of Alphæus. And though in Gal. i. 19, James the brother of the Lord seems to be called an Apostle, when this is compared with Acts xiv. 14, it affords no proof that he belonged to the number of the twelve.

But the fact that the brothers of Jesus are all and always expressly distinguished from His twelve Apostles, and form a group outwardly and inwardly apart from them (Matt. xii. 46; Mark iii. 31; Luke viii. 19; John ii. 12), tells decidedly against that idea. In John vii. 3, 5, they are, at a time when James son of Alphæus and Judas brother of James were already in the Apostolate, described as unbelieving, and only subsequently to the departure of the Lord, who after His resurrection appeared to James (1 Cor. xv. 7), do we meet them, though even then distinguished from the twelve, standing in the closest fellowship with the Christian believing community (Acts i. 14; 1 Cor. ix. 5). Besides, in accordance with Matt. xxviii. 19, none of the twelve could assume the permanent presidency of the mother church, and Hegesippus not only knows of πολλοὶ Ἰάκωβοι, and so surely of more than two, but makes James enter upon his office in Jerusalem first μετὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων.

§ 16.4. The Later Legends of the Apostles.―The tradition that after the Lord’s ascension His disciples, their number having been again made up to twelve (Acts i. 13), in fulfilment of their Lord’s command (Matt. xxviii. 18), had a special region for missionary labour assigned by lot to each, and also the other tradition, according to which, before their final departure from Jerusalem, after a stay there for seven or twelve years, they drew up by common agreement rules for worship, discipline and constitution suited to the requirements of universal Christendom, took shape about the middle of the second century, and gave occasion to the origin of many apocryphal histories of the Apostles (§ 32, 56), as well as apocryphal books of church order (§ 43, 45). Whether any portion at all, and if so, how much, of the various contradictory statements of the apocryphal histories and legends of the Apostles about their mission fields and several fortunes can be regarded as genuine tradition descending from the Apostolic Age, must be left undecided. In any case, the legendary drapery and embellishment of casual genuine reminiscences are in the highest degree fantastic and fabulous. Ancient at least, according to Eusebius, are the traditions of Thomas having preached in Parthia, Andrew in Scythia, and Bartholomew in India; while in later traditions Thomas figures as the Apostle of India (§ 32, 5). The statement by Eusebius, supported from many ancient authorities, that the Apostle Philip exercised his ministry from Hierapolis in Phrygia to Asia Minor, originated perhaps from the confounding of the Apostle with the Evangelist of the same name (Acts xxi. 8, 9). A history of the Apostle Barnabas, attributed to John Mark, but in reality dating only from the fifth century, attaching itself to Acts xv. 39, tells how he conducted his mission and suffered martyrdom in his native country of Cyprus; while another set of legends, probably belonging to the same period, makes him the founder of the church of Milan. John Mark, sister’s son of Barnabas, who appears in Col. iv. 10; 2 Tim. iv. 11; and Philem. 24, as the fellow-labourer of the Apostle Paul, in 1 Pet. v. 13 as companion of Peter at Babylon, and, according to Papias, wrote his gospel at Rome as the amanuensis of Peter, is honoured, according to another very widely received tradition, quoted by Eusebius from a Chronicle belonging to the end of the second century, from which also Julius Africanus drew information, as the founder and first bishop of the church of Alexandria, etc., etc.

§ 17. Constitution, Worship, and Discipline.6

Bound under Christ its one head into an articulated whole, the church ought by the co-operation of all its members conditioned and determined by position, talent, and calling, to build itself up and grow (1 Cor. xii. 12 ff.; Eph. i. 22 f.). Development will thus be secured to natural talent and the spiritual calling through the bestowment of special gifts of grace or charismata. The first form of Christian church fellowship, in the Jewish as well as the Gentile Christian churches, was of a thoroughly free character; modelled upon, and attached to, forms of organization already existing and legitimized, or, at least, tolerated by the state, but all the while inspired and leavened by a free Christian spirit. Compelled by the necessity which is felt in all social federations for the recognised ranking of superiority, inferiority, and equality, in which his own proper sphere and task would be assigned to each member, and encroachment and disorderliness prevented, a collegial church council was soon formed by a free compact, the members of which, all possessed of equal rights, were called πρεσβύτεροι in consideration of their personal character, and ἐπίσκοποι in consideration of their official duties. Upon them devolved especially attention and care in regard to all outward things that might affect the common interests of the church, management of the property which had to be realised and spent on the religious services, and of the means required for the support of the poor, as well as the administration of justice and of discipline. But alongside of these were other more independent offices, the holders of which did not go forth like the members of the eldership as the choice of the churches, but rather had the spiritual edification of the church assigned them as their life work by a special divine call and a charismatic endowment of the gift of teaching. To this class belong, besides Apostles and helpers of the Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers.

§ 17.1. The Charismata of the Apostolic Age are presented to us in 1 Cor. xii. 4 ff. as signs (φανερώσεις, v. 7) of the presence of the Spirit of God working in the church, which, attaching themselves to natural endowment and implying a free personal surrender to their influence, and manifesting themselves in various degrees of intensity from the natural to the supernatural, qualified certain members of the church with the powers necessary and desirable for the upbuilding and extension of the Christian community. In verses 8-11, the Charismata are arranged in three classes by means of the twice-repeated ἑτέρω.

  1. Gifts of Teaching, embracing the λόγος σοφίας and the λόγος γνώσεως.
  2. Completeness of Faith, or πίστις with the possession of supernatural powers for healing the sick, working miracles, and prophesying, and alongside of the latter, for sifting and proving it, διάκρισις πνευμάτων.
  3. Ecstatic speaking with tongues, γένη γλωσσῶν, γλώσσαις λαλεῖν, alongside of which is placed the interpretation of tongues necessary for the understanding thereof ἑρμενεία γλωσσῶν.

In addition to these three are mentioned, in verse 28, ἀντιλήψεις, care of the poor, the sick and strangers, and κυβερνήσεις, church government. The essential distinction between speaking with tongues and prophesying consists, according to 1 Cor. xiv. 1-18, in this, that whereas the latter is represented as an inspiration by the Spirit of God, acting upon the consciousness, the νοῦς of the prophet, and therefore requiring no further explanation to render it applicable for the edification of the congregation, the former is represented as an ecstatic utterance, wholly uncontrolled by the νοῦς of the human instrument, yet employing the human organs of speech, γλῶσσαι, which leaves the assembled congregation out of view and addresses itself directly to God, so that in ver. 13-15 it is called a προσεύχεσθαι, being made intelligible to the audience only by means of the charismatic interpretation of men immediately acted upon for the purpose by the Spirit of God. In Rom. xii. 6-8, although there the charisms are enumerated in even greater details, so as to include even the showing of mercy with cheerfulness, the γλώσσαις λαλεῖν is wanting. It would thus seem that this sort of spiritual display, if not exclusively (Acts ii. 4; x. 46; xix. 6; Mark xvi. 17), yet with peculiar fondness, which was by no means commended by the Apostle, was fostered in the church of Corinth. The thoroughly unique speaking with tongues which took place on the first Pentecost (Acts ii. 6, 11) is certainly not to be understood as implying that the Apostles had been either temporarily or permanently qualified to speak in the several languages and dialects of those present from all the countries of the dispersion. It probably means simply that the power was conferred upon the speakers of speaking with tongues and that at the same time an analogous endowment of the interpretation of tongues was conferred upon those who heard (Comp., Acts ii. 12, 15, with 1 Cor. xiv. 22 f.).

§ 17.2. The Constitution of the Mother Church at Jerusalem.―The notion which gained currency through Vitringa’s learned work “De synagoga vetere,” publ. 1696, that the constitution of the Apostolic church was moulded upon the pattern of the synagogues, is now no longer seriously entertained. Not only in regard to the Pauline churches wholly or chiefly composed of Gentile Christians, but also in regard to the Palestinian churches of purely Jewish Christians, no evidence in support of such a theory can be found. There is no sort of analogy between any office bearers in the church and the ἀρχισυνάγωγοι who were essentially characteristic of all the synagogues both in Palestine and among the dispersion (Mark v. 22; Luke viii. 41, 49; Acts xiii. 15; xviii. 8, 17), nor do we find anything to correspond to the ὑπήρεται or inferior officers of the synagogue (Luke iv. 20). On the other hand, the office bearers of the Christian churches, who, consisting, according to Acts vi., of deacons, and also afterwards, according to Acts xi. 30, of πρεσβύτεροι, or elders of the church at Jerusalem, occupied a place alongside of the Apostles in the government of the church, are without any analogy in the synagogues. The Jewish πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ mentioned in Matt. xxi. 23; xxvi. 3; Acts iv. 5; xxii. 5, etc., did not exercise a ministry of teaching and edification in the numerous synagogues of Jerusalem, but a legislatory, judicial and civil authority over the whole Jewish commonwealth as members of the Sanhedrim, of chief priest, scribes and elders. Between even these, however, and the elders of the Christian church a far-reaching difference exists. The Jewish elders are indeed representatives of the people, and have as such a seat and vote in the supreme council, but no voice is allowed to the people themselves. In the council of the Christian church, on the other hand, with reference to all important questions, the membership of all believers is called together for consultation and deliverance (Acts vi. 2-6; xv. 4, 22). A complaint on the part of the Hellenistic members of the church that their poor were being neglected led to the election of seven men who should care for the poor, not by the Apostles, but by the church. This is commonly but erroneously regarded as the first institution of the deaconship. To those then chosen, for whom the Acts (xxi. 8) has no other designation than that of “the seven,” the διακονεῖν τραπέζαις is certainly assigned: but they were not and were not called Deacons in the official sense any more than the Apostles, who still continued, according to v. 4, to exercise the διακονία τοῦ λόγου. When the bitter persecution that followed the stoning of Stephen had scattered the church abroad over the neighbouring countries, they also departed at the same time from Jerusalem (Acts viii. 1), and Philip, who was now the most notable of their number, officiated henceforth only as an evangelist, that is, as an itinerant preacher of the gospel, in the region about his own house in Cæsarea (Acts viii. 5; xxi. 8; comp. Eph. iv. 11; 2 Tim. iv. 5). Upon the reorganization of the church at Jerusalem, the Apostles beginning more clearly to appreciate their own special calling (Matt. xxviii. 19), gave themselves more and more to the preaching of the gospel even outside of Jerusalem, and thus the need became urgent of an authoritative court for the conducting of the affairs of the church even during their absence. In these circumstances it would seem, according to Acts xi. 30, that those who ministered to the poor, chosen probably from among the most honourable of the first believers (Acts ii. 41), passed over into a self-constituted college of presbyters. At the head of this college or board stood James, the brother of the Lord (Gal. i. 19; ii. 9; Acts xii. 17; xv. 13; xxi. 15), and after his death, according to Hegesippus, a near relation of the Lord, Simeon, son of Clopas, as a descendant of David, was unanimously chosen as his successor. The episcopal title, however, just like that of Deacon, is first met with in the New Testament in the region of the Pauline missions, and in the terminology of the Palestinian churches we only hear of presbyters as officers of the church (Acts xv. 4, 6, 22; xxi. 18; James v. 14). In 1 Peter v. 2, however, although ἐπίσκοπος does not yet appear as an official title, the official duty of the ἐπισκοπεῖν is assigned to presbyters (see § 17, 6). It is Hegesippus, about A.D. 180, who first gives the title Bishop of Jerusalem to James, after the Clementines (§ 28, 3) had already ten years previously designated him ἐπισκόπων ἐπίσκοπος.

§ 17.3. The Constitution of the Pauline Churches. Founding upon the works of Mommsen and Foucart, first of all Heinrici and soon afterwards the English theologian Hatch7 has wrought out the theory that the constitution of the churches that were wholly or mainly composed of Gentile Christians was modelled on those convenient, open or elastic rules of associations under which the various Hellenistic guilds prospered so well (θίασοι, ἔρανοι),―associations for the naturalization and fostering of foreign, often oriental, modes of worship. In the same way, too, the Christian church at Rome, for social and sacred purposes, made use of the forms of association employed in the Collegia or Sodalicia, which were found there in large numbers, especially of the funeral societies in which both of those purposes were combined (collegia funeraticia). In both these cases, then, the church, by attaching itself to modes of association already existing, acknowledged by the state, or tolerated as harmless, assumed a form of existence which protected it from the suspicion of the government, and at the same time afforded it space and time for independent construction in accordance with its own special character and spirit. As in those Hellenic associations all ranks, even those which in civil society were separated from one another by impassable barriers, found admission, and then, in the framing of statutes, the reception of fellow members, the exercise of discipline, possessed equal rights; as, further, the full knowledge of their mysteries and sharing in their exercise were open only to the initiated (μεμυημένοι), yet in the exercise of exoteric worship the doors were hospitably flung open even to the ἀμυήτοι; as upon certain days those belonging to the narrow circle joining together in partaking of a common feast; so too all this is found in the Corinthian church, naturally inspired by a Christian spirit and enriched with Christian contents. The church also has its religious common feast in its Agape, its mystery in the Eucharist, its initiation in baptism, by the administration of which the divine service is divided into two parts, one esoteric, to be engaged in only by the baptized, the other exoteric, a service that is open to those who are not Christians. All ranks (Gal. iii. 28) have the same claim to admission to baptism, all the baptized have equal rights in the congregation (see § 17, 7). It is evident, however, that the connection between the Christian churches and those heathen associations is not so to be conceived as if, because in the one case distinctions of rank were abolished, so also they were in the other; or that, because in the one case religious festivals were observed, this gave the first hint as to the observance of the Christian Agape; or that, because and in the manner in which there a mysterious service was celebrated from which all outside were strictly excluded, so also here was introduced an exclusive eucharistic service. These observances are rather to be regarded as having grown up independently out of the inmost being of Christianity; but the church having found certain institutions existing inspired by a wholly different spirit, yet outwardly analogous and sanctioned by the state, it appropriated, as far as practicable, their forms of social organization, in order to secure for itself the advantages of civil protection. That even on the part of the pagans, down into the last half of the second century, the Christian congregational fellowship was regarded as a special kind of the mystery-communities, is shown by Lucian’s satire, De morte Peregrini (§ 23, 1), where the description of Christian communities, in which its hero for a time played a part, is full of technical terms which were current in those associations. “It is also,” says Weingarten, “expressly acknowledged in Tertullian’s Apologeticus, c. 38, 39, written about A.D. 198, that even down to the close of the second century, the Christian church was organized in accordance with the rules of the Collegia funeraticia, so that it might claim from the state the privileges of the Factiones licitæ. The arrangements for burial and the Christian institutions connected therewith are shown to have been carefully subsumed under forms that were admitted to be legal.”

§ 17.4. Confining ourselves meantime to the oldest and indisputably authentic epistles of the Apostle, we find that the autonomy of the church in respect of organization, government, discipline, and internal administration is made prominent as the very basis of the constitution. He never interferes in those matters, enjoining and prescribing by his own authority, but always, whether personally or in spirit, only as associated with their assemblies (1 Cor. v. 3), deliberating and deciding in common with them. Thus his Apostolic importance shows itself not in his assuming the attitude of a lord (2 Cor. i. 24), but that of a father (1 Cor. iv. 14 f.), who seeks to lead his children on to form for themselves independent and manly judgments (1 Cor. x. 15; xi. 13). Regular and fixed church officers do not seem to have existed in Corinth down to the time when the first Epistle was written, about A.D. 57. A diversity of functions (διαιρέσεις διακονιῶν, 1 Cor. xii. 4) is here, indeed, already found, but not yet definitely attached to distinct and regular offices (1 Cor. vi. 1-6). It is always yet a voluntary undertaking of such ministries on the one hand, and the recognition of peculiar piety and faithfulness, leading to willing submission on the other hand, out of which the idea of office took its rise, and from which it obtained its special character. This is especially true of a peculiar kind of ministry (Rom. xvi. 1, 2) which must soon have been developed as something indispensable to the Christian churches throughout the Hellenic and Roman regions. We mean the part played by the patron, which was so deeply grounded in the social life of classical antiquity. Freedmen, foreigners, proletarii, could not in themselves hold property and had no claim on the protection of the laws, but had to be associated as Clientes with a Patronus or Patrona (προστάτης and προστάτις) who in difficult circumstances would afford them counsel, protection, support, and defence. As in the Greek and Roman associations for worship this relationship had long before taken root, and was one of the things that contributed most materially to their prosperity, so also in the Christian churches the need for recognising and giving effect to it became all the more urgent in proportion as the number of members increasing for whom such support was necessary (1 Cor. i. 26-29). Phœbe is warmly recommended in Rom. xvi. 1, 2, as such a Christian προστάτις, at Cenchrea, the port of Corinth, among whose numerous clients the Apostle himself is mentioned. Many inscriptions in the Roman catacombs testify to the deep impress which this social scheme made upon the organization, especially of the Roman church, down to the end of the first century, and to the help which it gave in rendering that church permanent. All the more are we justified in connecting therewith the προϊστάμενος ἐν σπουδῇ (Rom. xii. 8), and in giving this passage in connection with the preceding and succeeding context the meaning: whoever represents any one as patron let him do it with diligence.―The gradual development of stated or independent congregational offices, after privileges and duties were distinguished from one another, was thus brought about partly by the natural course of events, and partly by the endeavour to make the church organization correspond with the Greek and Roman religious associations countenanced by the state by the employment in it of the same or similar forms and names. In the older communities, especially those in capital cities, like Thessalonica, Corinth, Rome, etc., the heads of the families of the first believers attained an authoritative position altogether unique, as at Corinth those of the household of Stephanas, who, according to 1 Cor. xvi. 15, as the ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀχαΐας εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς. Such honour, too, was given to the most serviceable of the chosen patrons and others, who evidently possessed the gifts of κυβερνήσεις and ἀντιλήψεις, and those who first in an informal way had discharged official duties had amends made them even after death by a formal election. On the other hand, the churches that sprang up at a later period were probably provided immediately with such offices under the direction and with the consent of the Apostle or his apostolic assistants (1 Tim. v. 9; Tit. i. 5).

§ 17.5. Congregational and Spiritual Offices.―While then, down to A.D. 57 no ecclesiastical offices properly so called as yet existed at Corinth, and no injunctions are given by the Apostle for their definite introduction, it is told us in Acts xiv. 23 that, so early as A.D. 50, when Paul was returning from his first missionary journey he ordained with prayer and fasting elders or presbyters in those churches of Asia Minor previously founded by him. Now it is indeed quite conceivable that in these cases he adhered more closely to the already existing presbyterial constitution of the mother church at Jerusalem (Acts xi. 30), than he did subsequently in founding and giving a constitution to the churches of the European cities where perhaps the circumstances and requirements were entirely different. But be this as it may, it is quite certain that the Apostle on his departure from lately formed churches took care to leave them in an organized condition, and the author of the Acts has given expression to the fact proleptically in terms with which he was himself conversant and which were current in his time.―Among the Pauline epistles which are scarcely, if at all, objected to by modern criticism the first to give certain information regarding distinct and independent congregational offices, together with the names that had been then assigned to these offices, is the Epistle to the Philippians, written during the Roman imprisonment of the Apostle. In chap. i. 1, he sends his apostolic greeting and blessing πᾶσι τοῖς ἁγίοις τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις.8 The Episcopate and the Diaconate make their appearance here as the two categories of congregational offices, of both of which there are several representatives in each congregation. It is in the so-called Pastoral Epistles that for the first time we find applied in the Gentile Christian communities the title of Presbyter which had been the usual designation of the president in the mother church at Jerusalem. This title, just as in Acts xx. 17, 28, is undoubtedly regarded as identical with that of bishop (ἐπίσκοπος) and is used as an alternative (Tit. i. 5, 7; 1 Tim. iii. 1; iv. 14; v. 17, 19). From the practical identity of the qualifications of bishops (1 Tim. iii. 1) or of deacons (v. 12 f.), it follows that their callings were essentially the same; and from the etymological signification of their names, it would seem that there was assigned to the bishops the duty of governing, administrating and superintending, to the deacons that of serving, assisting and carrying out details as subordinate auxiliaries. It is shown by Rom. xvi. 1, that even so early as A.D. 58, the need of a female order of helpers had been felt and was supplied. When this order had at a later period assumed the rank of a regular office, it became the rule that only widows above sixty years of age should be chosen (1 Tim. v. 9).―We are introduced to an altogether different order of ecclesiastical authorities in Eph. iv. 11, where we have named in the first rank Apostles, in the second Prophets, in the third Evangelists, and in the fourth Pastors and Teachers. What is here meant by Apostles and Prophets is quite evident (§ 34, 1). From 2 Tim. iv. 5 and Acts xxi. 8 (viii. 5), it follows that Evangelists are itinerant preachers of the gospel and assistants of the Apostles. It is more difficult to determine exactly the functions of Pastors and Teachers and their relation to the regular congregational offices. Their introduction in Eph. iv. 11, as together constituting a fourth class, as well as the absence of the term Pastor in the parallel passage, 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29, presupposes such a close connection of the two orders, the one having the care of souls, the other the duties of preaching and catechizing, that we unhesitatingly assume that both were, if not always, at least generally, united in the same person. They have been usually identified with the bishops or presbyters. In Acts xx. 17, 28, and in 1 Pet. v. 2-4, presbyters are expressly called pastors. The order of the ἡγούμενοι in Heb. xiii. 7, οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, has also been regarded as identical with that of bishops. In regard to the last named order a confusion already appears in Acts xv., where men, who in v. 22 are expressly distinguished from the elders (presbyters) and in v. 32 are ranked as prophets, are yet called ἡγούμενοι. We should also be led to conclude from 1 Cor. xii. 28, that those who had the qualifications of ἀντιλήψεις and κυβερνήσεις, functions certainly belonging to bishops or presbyters as administrative and diocesan officers, are yet personally distinguished from Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers. Now it is explicitly enjoined in Tit. i. 9 that in the choice of bishops special care should be taken to see that they have capacity for teaching. In 1 Tim. v. 17 double honour is demanded for the καλῶς προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι, if they also labour ἐν λόγῳ καὶ διδασκαλίᾳ. This passage, however, shows teaching did not always and in all circumstances, or even ex professo belong to the special functions of the president of the congregation; that it was rather in special circumstances, where perhaps these gifts were not at all or not in sufficient abundance elsewhere to be found, that these duties of teaching were undertaken in addition to their own proper official work of presidency (προϊστάναι). The dividing line between the two orders, bishops and deacons on the one hand, and pastors and teachers on the other, consists in the fundamentally different nature of their calling. The former were congregational offices, the latter, like those of Apostles and Prophets, were spiritual offices. The former were chosen by the congregation, the latter had, like the Apostles and Prophets, a divine call, though according to James iii. 1 not without the consenting will of the individual, and the charismatic capacity for teaching, although not in the same absolute measure. The former were attached to a particular congregation, the latter were, like the Apostles and Prophets, first of all itinerant teachers and had, like them, the task of building up the churches (Eph. iv. 12, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ). But, while the Apostles and Prophets laid the foundation of this building on Christ, the chief corner stone, preachers and teachers had to continue building on the foundation thus laid (Eph. ii. 20). A place and importance are undoubtedly secured for these three spiritual offices, in so far as continued itinerant offices, by the example of the Lord in His preliminary sending forth of the twelve in Matt. x., and of the seventy disciples in Luke x.―Continuation, § 34, 1.

§ 17.6. The question about the original position of the Episcopate and Presbyterate, as well as their relation to one another, has received three different answers. According to the Roman Catholic theory, which is also that of the Anglican Episcopal Church, the clerical, hierarchical arrangement of the third century, which gave to each of the larger communities a bishop as its president with a number of presbyters and deacons subject to him, existed as a divine institution from the beginning. It is unequivocally testified by the New Testament, and, as appears from the First Epistle of Clement of Rome (ch. 42, 44, 57), the fact had never been disputed down to the close of the first century, that bishops and presbyters are identical. The force of this objection, however, is sought to be obviated by the subterfuge that while all bishops were indeed presbyters, all presbyters were not bishops. The ineptitude of such an evasion is apparent. In Phil. i. 1 the Apostle, referring to this one particular church greeted not one but several bishops. According to Acts xx. 17, 28, all the presbyters of the one Ephesian community are made bishops by the Holy Ghost. Also, Tit. i. 5, 7 unconditionally excludes such a distinction; and according to 1 Pet. v. 2, all such presbyters should be ἐπισκοποῦντες.―In opposition to this theory, which received the sanction of the Council of Trent, the Old Protestant theologians maintained the original identity of the two names and offices. In support of this they could refer not only to the New Testament, but also to Clement of Rome and the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (§ 34, 1), where, just as in Phil. i. 1, only bishops and deacons are named as congregational officers, and as appointed by the free choice of the congregation. They can also point to the consensus of the most respected church fathers and church teachers of later times. Chrysostom (Hom. ix. in Ep. ad Tim.) says: οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τὸ παλαιὸν ἐκαλοῦντο ἐπίσκοποι καὶ διάκονοι Χριστοῦ, καὶ οἱ ἐπίσκοποι πρεσβύτεροι. Jerome (ad Tit. i. 5) says: Idem est presbyter qui et episcopus et antequam diaboli instinctu studia in religione fierent ... communi presbyterorum concilio gubernantur ecclesiæ. Augustine, and other church fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, as well as Urban II. in A.D. 1091, Petrus [Peter] Lombardus and the Decree of Gratian, may all be referred to as supporting the same view. After such an identification of the person and office, the existence of the two names must be explained from their meaning as words, by assuming that the title ἐπίσκοπος, which arose among the Gentile-Christian churches, pointed more to the duty officially required, while the title πρεσβύτερος, which arose among the Jewish-Christian churches, pointed more to the honourable character of the person (1 Tim. v. 17, 19). The subsequent development of a monarchical episcopacy is quite conceivable as having taken place in the natural course of events (§ 34, 2).―A third theory is that proposed by Hatch, of Oxford, in A.D. 1881, warmly approved of and vigorously carried out by Harnack. According to this theory the two names in question answer to a twofold distinction that appears in the church courts: on the college of presbyters was devolved the government of the community, with administration of law and discipline; on the bishops and their assistants the superintendence and management of the community in the widest sense of the word, including its worship, and first of all and chiefly the brotherly care of the poor, the sick and strangers, together with the collecting, keeping, and dispensing of money needful for those ends. In the course of time the two organizations were combined into one, since the bishops, on account of their eminently important place and work, obtained in the presbytery not only a simple seat and vote, but by-and-by the presidency and the casting vote. In establishing this theory it is pointed out that in the government and management of federations of that time for social and religious purposes in country districts or in cities, in imitation of which the organization of the Christian communities was formed, this twofold distribution is also found, and that especially the administrators of the finances in these societies had not only the title of ἐπίσκοποι, but had also the president’s seat in their assemblies (γερουσία, βουλή), which, however, is not altogether conclusive, since it is demonstrable that this title was also borne by judicial and political officials. It is also pointed out on the other hand that, in accordance with the modified view presented in the Pastoral Epistles, the Acts, and the Epistle of Clement of Rome, the consciousness of the original diversity of calling of the two offices were maintained throughout the whole of the second century, inasmuch as often a theoretical distinction between bishops and presbyters in the way specified was asserted. Now, in the first place, it can scarcely be matter of dispute as to whether the administration of property, with the care of the poor (ἀντιλήψεις) as the principal task, could actually have won a place so superior in respectability, influence and significance to that of congregational government (κυβερνήσεις), or whether the authority which embraced the functions of a judicial bench, a court of discipline, and a court of equity did not rather come to preponderate over that which was occupied in the administration of property and the care of the poor. But above all we shall have to examine the New Testament writings, as the relatively oldest witnesses to the matter of fact as well as to the usage of the language, and see what they have to say on the subject. This must be done even by those who would have the composition of the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts removed out of the Apostolic Age. In these writings, however, there is nowhere a firm and sure foundation afforded to that theory. It has, indeed, been supposed that in Phil. i. 1 mention is made only of bishops and deacons because by them the present from the Philippians had been brought to the Apostle. But seeing that, in the case of there actually existing in Philippi at this time besides the bishops a college of presbyters, the omission of these from the greeting in this epistle, the chief purpose of which was to impart apostolic comfort and encouragement, and which only refers gratefully at the close, ch. iv. 10, to the contribution sent, would have been damaging to them, we must assume that the bishops with their assistants the deacons were the only office-bearers then existing in that community. Thus this passage tells as much against as in favour of the limiting of the episcopal office to economical administration. Often as mention is made in the New Testament of an ἐπισκοπεῖν and a διακονεῖν in and over the community, this never stands in specific and exclusive relation to administration of property and care of the poor. It is indeed assumed in Acts xi. 30 that care of the poor is a duty of the presbyter; so also the charismatic caring for the sick is required of presbyters in James v. 14; and in 1 Pet. v. 2 presbyters are described as ἐπισκοποῦντες; in 1 Pet. ii. 25 Christ is spoken of as ἐπίσκοπος τῶν ψυχῶν; in Acts i. 20 the apostolic office is called ἐπισκοπή, while in Acts i. 25 and often, especially in the Pauline epistles, it is designated a διακονία.9―Continuation, § 34, 2.

§ 17.7. Christian Worship.―Even in Jerusalem, where the temple ordinances were still observed, the religious needs of the Christian community demanded that separate services of a distinctly Christian character should be organized. But just as the Jewish services of that day consisted of two parts―the ministry of the word for purposes of instruction and edification in the synagogues, and the symbolic service of a typical and sacramental character in the temple,―the Christian service was in like manner from the first divided into a homiletical-didactic part, and a eucharistic-sacramental part.―The Homiletical and Didactic part, on account of the presence of those who were not Christians, must have had, just like the synagogue service, alongside of its principal aim to instruct and edify the congregation, a definite and deliberately planned missionary tendency. The church in Jerusalem at the first held these morning services in one of the halls of the temple, where the people were wont to assemble for prayer (Acts ii. 46; iii. 1, 11); but at a later period they were held in private houses. In the Gentile churches they seem from the first to have been held in private houses or in halls rented for the purpose. The service consisted in reading of portions of the Old Testament, and at a later period, portions of the Apostolic Epistles and Gospels, and in connection therewith, doctrinal and hortatory discourses, with prayer and singing of psalms. It is more than probable that the liberty of teaching, which had prevailed in the synagogues (Luke ii. 46; iv. 16; Acts xiii. 15), was also permitted in the similar assemblies of Jewish Christians (Acts viii. 4; xi. 19; James iii. 1); and it may be concluded from 1 Cor. xiv. 34 that this also was the practice in Gentile-Christian congregations. The apparent contradiction of women as such being forbidden to speak, while in 1 Cor. xi. 5 it seems to be allowed, can only be explained by supposing that in the passage referred to the woman spoken of as praying or prophesying is praying in an ecstasy, that is, speaking with tongues (1 Cor. xiv. 13-15), or uttering prophetic announcements, like the daughters of Philip (Acts xxi. 9), and that the permission applies only to such cases, the exceptional nature of which, as well as their temporary character, as charismatic and miraculous gifts, would prevent their being used as precedents for women engaging in regular public discourse (1 Thess. v. 19). In 1 Cor. xiv. 24 the ἰδιῶται (synonymous with the ἀμύητοι in the statutes of Hellenic religious associations) are mentioned as admitted along with the ἀπίστοι to the didactic services, and, according to v. 16, they had a place assigned to them separate from the congregation proper. We are thus led to see in them the uninitiated or not yet baptized believers, that is, the catechumens.―The Sacramental part of the service, the separation of which from the didactic part was rendered necessary on account alike of its nature and purpose, and is therefore found existing in the Pauline churches as well as in the church of Jerusalem, was scrupulously restricted in its observance, in Jewish and Gentile churches alike, to those who were in the full communion of the Christian church (Acts ii. 46; 1 Cor. xi. 20-23). The celebration of the Lord’s Supper (δεῖπνον κυριακόν, 1 Cor. xi. 21), after the pattern of the meal of institution, consisting of a meal partaken of in common, accompanied with prayer and the singing of a hymn, which at a later period was named the Ἀγάπη, as the expression of brotherly love (Jude v. 12), was the centre and end of these evening services. The elements in the Lord’s Supper were consecrated to their sacramental purpose by a prayer of praise and thanksgiving (εὐχαριστία, 1 Cor. xi. 24; or εὐλογία, 1 Cor. x. 16), together with a recital of the words of institution which contained a proclamation of the death of Christ (1 Cor. xi. 26). This prayer was followed by the kiss of brotherhood.10 In the service of song they used to all appearance besides the psalms some Christian hymns and doxologies (Eph. v. 19; Col. iii. 16).11The homiletical as well as the eucharistic services were at first held daily; at a later period at least every Sunday.12 For very soon, alongside of the Sabbath, and among Gentile Christians, instead of it, the first day of the week as the day of Christ’s resurrection began to be observed as a festival.13 But there is as yet no trace of the observance of other festivals. It cannot be exactly proved that infant baptism was an Apostolic practice, but it is not improbable that it was so.14 Baptism was administered by complete immersion (Acts viii. 38) in the name of Christ or of the Trinity (Matt. xxviii. 19). The charism of healing the sick was exercised by prayer and anointing with oil (Jas. v. 14). On the other hand, confession of sin even apart from the public service was recommended (Jas. v. 16). Charismatic communication of the Spirit and admission to office in the church15 was accomplished by prayer and laying on of hands.16

§ 17.8. Christian Life and Ecclesiastical Discipline.―In accordance with the commandment of the Lord (John xiii. 34), brotherly love in opposition to the selfishness of the natural life, was the principle of the Christian life. The power of youthful love, fostered by the prevalent expectation of the speedy return of the Lord, endeavoured at first to find for itself a fitting expression in the mother church of Jerusalem by the voluntary determination to have their goods in common,―an endeavour which without prejudice of its spiritual importance soon proved to be impracticable. On the other hand the well-to-do Gentile churches proved their brotherly love by collections for those originally poor, and especially for the church at Jerusalem which had suffered the special misfortune of famine. The three inveterate moral plagues of the ancient world, contempt of foreign nationalities, degradation of woman, and slavery, were overcome, according to Gal. iii. 28, by gradual elevation of inward feeling without any violent struggle against existing laws and customs, and the consciousness of common membership in the one head in heaven hallowed all the relationships of the earthly life. Even in apostolic times the bright mirror of Christian purity was no doubt dimmed by spots of rust. Hypocrisy (Acts v.) and variance (Acts vi.) in single cases appeared very early in the mother church; but the former was punished by a fearfully severe judgment, the latter was overcome by love and sweet reasonableness. In the rich Gentile churches, such as those of Corinth and Thessalonica, a worldly spirit in the form of voluptuousness, selfishness, pride, etc., made its appearance, but was here also rooted out by apostolic exhortation and discipline. If any one caused public scandal by serious departure from true doctrine or Christian conduct, and in spite of pastoral counsel persisted in his error, he was by the judgment of the church cast out, but the penitent was received again after his sincerity had been proved (1 Cor. v. 1; 2 Cor. ii. 5).

§ 18. Heresies in the Apostolic Age.17

When Christianity began its career of world conquest in the preaching of the Apostle Paul, the representatives of the intellectual culture of the ancient world assumed toward it an attitude, either of utter indifference, or of keen hostility, or of readiness to accept Christian elements, while retaining along with these many of their old notions. From this mixing of heterogeneous elements a fermentation arose which was the fruitful mother of numerous heresies.

§ 18.1. Jewish Christianity and the Council of Apostles.―The Lord had commanded the disciples to preach the gospel to all nations (Matt. xxviii. 19), and so they could not doubt that the whole heathen world was called to receive the church’s heritage; but feeling themselves bound by utterances of the Old Testament regarding the eternal validity of the law of Moses, and having not yet penetrated the full significance of the saying of Christ (Mark v. 17), they thought that incorporation into Judaism by circumcision was still an indispensable condition of reception into the kingdom of Christ. The Hellenist Stephen represented a more liberal tendency (Acts vi. 14); and Philip, also a Hellenist, preached at least occasionally to the Samaritans, and the Apostles recognised his work by sending down Peter and John (Acts viii. 14). On the other hand, it needed an immediate divine revelation to convince Peter that a Gentile thirsting for salvation was just as such fit for the kingdom of God (Acts x.). And even this revelation remained without any decisive influence on actual missionary enterprise. They were Hellenistic Jews who finally took the bold step of devoting themselves without reserve to the conversion of the Gentiles at Antioch (Acts xi. 19). To foster the movement there the Apostles sent Barnabas, who entered into it with his whole soul, and in Paul associated with himself a yet more capable worker. After the notable success of their first missionary journey had vindicated their claim and calling as Apostles of the Gentiles, the arrival of Jewish zealots in the Antiochean church occasioned the sending of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, about A.D. 51, in order finally to settle this important dispute. At a Council of the Apostles convened there Peter and James the Just delivered the decision that Gentile converts should only be required to observe certain legal restrictions, and these, as it would seem from the conditions laid down (Acts xv. 20), of a similar kind to those imposed upon proselytes of the gate. An arrangement come to at this time between the two Antiochean Apostles and Peter, James, and John, led to the recognition of the former as Apostles of the Gentiles and the latter as Apostles of the Jews (Gal. ii. 1-10). Nevertheless during a visit to Antioch Peter laid himself open to censure for practical inconsistency and weak connivance with the fanaticism of certain Jewish Christians, and had to have the truth respecting it very pointedly told him by Paul (Gal. ii. 11-14). The destruction of the temple and the consequent cessation of the entire Jewish worship led to the gradual disappearance of non-sectarian Jewish Christianity and its amalgamation with Gentile Christianity. The remnant of Jewish Christianity which still in the altered condition of things continued to cling to its principles and practice assumed ever more and more the character of a sect, and drifted into open heresy. (Comp. § 28).

§ 18.2. The Apostolic Basis of Doctrine.―The need of fixing the apostolically accredited accounts of the life of the Redeemer by written documents, led to the origin of the Gospels. The continued connection of the missionary Apostles with the churches founded by them, or even their authority of general superintendence, called forth the apostolic doctrinal epistles. A beginning of the collection and general circulation of the New Testament writings was made at an early date by the communication of these being made by one church to another (Col. iv. 16). There was as yet no confession of faith as a standard of orthodoxy, but the way was prepared by adopting Matt. xxviii. 19 as a confession by candidates for baptism. Paul set up justification through faith alone (Gal. i. 8, 9), and John, the incarnation of God in Christ (1 John iv. 3), as indispensable elements in a Christian confession.

§ 18.3. False Teachers.―The first enemy from within its own borders which Christianity had to confront was the ordinary Pharisaic Judaism with its stereotyped traditional doctrine, its lifeless work-righteousness, its unreasonable national prejudices, and its perversely carnal Messianic expectations. Its shibboleth was the obligation of the Gentiles to observe the Mosaic ceremonial law, the Sabbath, rules about meats, circumcision, as an indispensable condition of salvation. This tendency had its origin in the mother church of Jerusalem, but was there at a very early date condemned by the Apostolic Council. This party nevertheless pursued at all points the Apostle Paul with bitter enmity and vile calumnies. Traces of a manifestation of a Sadducean or sceptical spirit may perhaps already be found in the denial of the resurrection which in 1 Cor. xv. Paul opposes. On the other hand, at a very early period Greek philosophy got mixed up with Christianity. Apollos, a philosophically cultured Jew of Alexandria, had at first conceived of Christianity from the speculative side, and had in this form preached it with eloquence and success at Corinth. Paul did not contest the admissibility of this mode of treatment. He left it to the verdict of history (1 Cor. iii. 11-14), and warned against an over-estimation of human wisdom (1 Cor. ii. 1-10). Among many of the seekers after wisdom in Corinth, little as this was intended by Apollos, the simple positive preaching of Paul lost on this account the favour that it had enjoyed before. In this may be found perhaps the first beginnings of that fourfold party faction which arose in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. i.). The Judaists appealed to the authority of the Apostle Peter (οἱ τοῦ Κηφᾶ); the Gentile Christians were divided into the parties of Apollos and of Paul, or by the assumption of the proud name οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, sought to free themselves from the recognition of any Apostolic authority. Paul successfully opposes these divisions in his Epistle to the Corinthians. Apprehension of a threatened growth of gnostic teachers is first expressed in the Apostle Paul’s farewell addresses to the elders of Asia Minor (Acts xx. 29); and in the Epistle to the Colossians, as well as in the Pastoral Epistles, this ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις is expressly opposed as manifesting itself in the adoption of oriental theosophy, magic, and theurgy, in an arbitrary asceticism that forbade marriage and restricted the use of food, in an imaginary secret knowledge of the nature and order of the heavenly powers and spirits, and idealistic volatilizing of concrete Christian doctrines, such as that of the resurrection (2 Tim. ii. 18). In the First Epistle of John, again, that special form of Gnosis is pointed out which denied the incarnation of God in Christ by means of docetic conceptions; and in the Second Epistle of Peter, as well as in the Epistle of Jude, we have attention called to antinomian excrescences, unbridled immorality and wanton lust in the development of magical and theurgical views. It should not, however, be left unmentioned, that modern criticism has on many grounds contested the authenticity of the New Testament writings just named, and has assigned the first appearance of heretical gnosis to the beginning of the second century. The Nicolaitans of the Apocalypse (iii. 5, 14, 15, 20) appear to have been an antinomian sect of Gentile Christian origin, spread more or less through the churches of Asia Minor, perhaps without any gnostic background, which in direct and intentional opposition to the decision of the Apostolic Council (Acts xv. 29) took part in heathen sacrificial feasts (comp. 1 Cor. x.), and justified or at least apologized for fleshly impurity.

History of the Development of the Church during the Græco-Roman and Græco-Byzantine Periods.

§ 19. Content, Distribution and Boundaries of those Periods.

At the very beginning of the Apostolic Age the universalistic spirit of Christianity had already broken through the particularistic limitations of Judaism. When once the substantial truth of divine salvation had cast off the Judaistic husk in which the kernel had ripened, those elements of culture which had come to maturity in the Roman-Greek world were appropriated as means for giving to Christian ideas a fuller and clearer expression. The task now to be undertaken was the development of Christianity on the lines of Græco-Roman culture, or the expansion of the church’s apostolicity into catholicity. The ancient church of the Roman and Byzantine world fulfilled this task, but in doing so the sound evangelical catholic development encountered at every point elements of a false, because an unevangelical, Catholicism. The centre, then, of all the movements of Church History is to be found in the Teutono-Roman-Slavic empire. The Roman church preserved and increased her importance by attaching herself to this new empire, and undertaking its spiritual formation and education. The Byzantine church, on the other hand, falling into a state of inward stagnation, and pressed from without by the forces of Islam, passes into decay as a national church.

The history of this first stage of the development of the church falls into three periods. The first period reaches down to Constantine the Great, who, in A.D. 323, secured to Christianity and the church a final victory over Paganism. The second period brings us down to the close of the universal catholic or œcumenical elaboration of doctrine attained by the church under its old classical form of culture, that is, down to the close of the Monothelite controversy (§ 52, 8), by the Sixth Œcumenical Council at Constantinople in A.D. 680. But inasmuch as the Concilium quini-sextum in A.D. 692 undertook simply the completion of the work of the two previous œcumenical synods with reference to church constitution and worship, and as here the first grounds were laid for the great partition of the church into Eastern and Western (§ 63, 2), we prefer to make A.D. 692 the closing limit of the second period. The conclusion of the third period, is found in the overthrow of Constantinople by the Turks in A.D. 1453. The first two periods are most evidently distinguished from one another in respect of the outward condition of the church. Before the times of Constantine, it lives and develops its strength amid the oppression and persecution of the pagan state; under Constantine the state itself becomes Christian and the church enjoys all the advantages, all the care and furtherance, that earthly protection can afford. Along with all this worldly splendour, however, a worldly disposition makes its way into the church, and in exchange for its protection of the church the state assumes an autocratic lordship over it. Even in the inner, and pre-eminently doctrinal, development of the church the two periods of this age are essentially distinguished from one another. While it was the church’s endeavour to adopt only the forms of culture of ancient paganism, while rejecting its godless substance, it too often happened that pagan ideas got mixed up with Christianity, and it was threatened with a similar danger from the side of Judaism. It was therefore the special task of the church during the first period to resist the encroachment of anti-Christian Jewish and Pagan elements. In the first period the perfecting of its own genuinely Christian doctrinal content was still a purely subjective matter, resting only on the personal authority of the particular church teachers. In the second period, on the other hand, the church universal, as represented by œcumenical synods with full power, proceeds to the laying down and establishing of an objective-ecclesiastical, œcumenical-catholic system of doctrine, constituting an all-sided development of the truth in opposition to the one-sided development of subjective heretical teaching. In doing so, however, the culture of the old Græco-Roman world exhausted its powers. The measure of development which these were capable of affording the church was now completed, and its future must be looked for among the new nationalities of Teutonic, Romanic, and Slavic origin. While the Byzantine empire, and with it the glory of the ancient church of the East was pressed and threatened by Islam, a new empire arose in the West in youthful vigour and became the organ of a new phase of development in the history of the church; and while the church in the West struggled after a new and higher point in her development, the Eastern church sank ever deeper down under outward oppression and inward weakness. The partition of the church into an Eastern and a Western division, which became imminent at the close of the second period, and was actually carried out during the third period, cut off the church of the East from the influence of those new vital forces, political as well as ecclesiastical, and which it might otherwise, perhaps, have shared with the West. By the overthrow of the East-Roman empire the last support of its splendour and even of its vital activity was taken away. Here too ends the history of the church on the lines of purely antique classical forms of culture. The remnants of the church of the East were no longer capable of any living historical development under the oppression of the Turkish rule.

History of the Græco-Roman Church during the Second and Third Centuries (A.D. 70-323).18

§ 20. Content, Distribution and Boundaries of this Period.19

As the history of the beginnings of the church has been treated by us under two divisions, so also the first period of the history of its development may be similarly divided into the Post-Apostolic Age, which reaches down to the middle of the second century, and the Age of the Old Catholic Church, which ends with the establishment of the church under and by Constantine, and at that point passes over into the Age of the œcumenical Catholic or Byzantine-Roman Imperial Church.―As the Post-Apostolic Age was occupied with an endeavour to appropriate and possess in a fuller and more vigorous manner the saving truths transmitted by the Apostles, and presents as the result of its struggles, errors, and victories, the Old Catholic Church as a unity, firmly bound from within, strictly free of all compulsion from without, so on the basis thus gained, the Old Catholic Church goes forward to new conflicts, failures, and successes, by means of which the foundations are laid for the future perfecting of it through its establishment by the state into the Œcumenical Catholic Imperial Church.20

§ 20.1. The Post-Apostolic Age.―The peril to which the church was exposed from the introduction of Judaistic and Pagan elements with her new converts was much more serious not only than the Jewish spirit of persecution, crushed as it was into impotence through the overthrow of Jewish national independence, but also than the persecution of anti-Christian paganism which at this time was only engaged upon sporadically. All the more threatening was this peril from the peculiar position of the church during this age. Since the removal of the personal guidance of the Apostles that control was wanting which only at a subsequent period was won again by the establishment of a New Testament canon and the laying down of a normative rule of faith, as well as by the formation of a hierarchical-episcopal constitution. In all the conflicts, then, that occupied this age, the first and main point was to guard the integrity and purity of traditional Apostolic Christianity against the anti-Christian Jewish and Pagan ideas which new converts endeavoured to import into it from their earlier religious life. Those Judaic ideas thus imported gave rise to Ebionism; those Pagan ideas gave rise to Gnosticism (§§ 26-28). And just as the Pauline Gentile Christianity, in so far as it was embraced under this period (§ 30, 2), secured the victory over the moderate and non-heretical Jewish Christianity, this latter became more and more assimilated to the former, and gradually passed over into it (§ 28, 1). Add to this the need, ever more pressingly felt, of a sifting of the not yet uniformly recognised early Christian literature that had passed into ecclesiastical use (§ 36, 78) by means of the establishment of a New Testament canon; that is, the need of a collection of writings admitted to be of Apostolic origin to occupy henceforth the first rank as a standard and foundation for the purposes of teaching and worship, and to form a bulwark against the flood of heretical and non-heretical Pseudepigraphs that menaced the purity of doctrine (§ 32). Further, the no less pressing need for the construction of a universally valid rule of faith (§ 35, 2), as an intellectual bond of union and mark of recognition for all churches and believers scattered over the earth’s surface. Then again, in the victory that was being secured by Episcopacy over Presbyterianism, and in the introduction of a Synodal constitution for counsel and resolution, the first stage in the formation of a hierarchical organization was reached (§ 34). Finally, the last dissolving action of this age was the suppression of the fanatical prophetic and fanatical rigorist spirit, which, reaching its climax in Montanism, directed itself mainly against the tendency already appearing on many sides to tone down the unflinching severity of ecclesiastical discipline, to make modifications in constitution, life and conversation in accordance with the social customs of the world, and to settle down through disregard of the speedy return of the Lord, so confidently expected by the early Christians, into an easy satisfaction in the enjoyment of earthly possessions (§ 40, 5).

§ 20.2. The Age of the Old Catholic Church.―The designation of the universal Christian church as Catholic dates from the time of Irenæus, that is, from the beginning of this second part of our first period. This name characterizes the church as the one universally (καθ’ ὅλου) spread and recognised from the time of the Apostles, and so stigmatizes every opposition to the one church that alone stands on the sure foundation of holy scripture and pure apostolic tradition, as belonging to the manifold particularistic heretical and schismatical sects. The church of this particular age, however, has been designated the Old Catholic Church as distinguished from the œcumenical Catholic church of the following period, as well as from the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic churches, into which afterwards the œcumenical Catholic church was divided.

At the beginning of this age, the heretical as well as the non-heretical Ebionism may be regarded as virtually suppressed, although some scanty remnants of it might yet be found. The most brilliant period of Gnosticism, too, when the most serious danger from Paganism within the Christian pale in the form of Hellenic and Syro-Chaldaic Theosophy and Mysteriosophy threatened the church, was already past. But in Manichæism (§ 29) there appeared, during the second half of the third century, a new peril of a no less threatening kind, inspired by Parseeism and Buddhism, which, however, the church on the ground of the solid foundations already laid was able to resist with powerful weapons. On the other hand the Pagan element within the church asserted itself more and more decidedly (§ 39, 6) by means of the intrusion of magico-theurgical superstition into the catholic doctrine of the efficacy of the church sacraments and sacramental acts (§ 58). But now also, with Marcus Aurelius, Paganism outside of Christianity as embodied in the Roman state, begins the war of extermination against the church that was ever more and more extending her boundaries. Such manifestation of hostility, however, was not able to subdue the church, but rather led, under and through Constantine the Great, to the Christianizing of the state and the establishment of the church. During the same time the episcopal and synodal-hierarchical organization of the church was more fully developed by the introduction of an order of Metropolitans, and then in the following period it reached its climax in the oligarchical Pentarchy of Patriarchs (§ 46, 1), and in the institution of œcumenical Synods (§ 43, 2). By the condemnation and expulsion of Montanism, in which the inner development of the Post-Apostolic Age reached its special and distinctive conclusion, the endeavour to naturalize Christianity among the social customs of the worldly life was certainly legitimized by the church, and could now be unrestrictedly carried out in a wider and more comprehensive way. In the Trinitarian controversies, too, in which several prominent theologians engaged, the first step was taken in that œcumenical-ecclesiastical elaboration of doctrine which occupied and dominated the whole of the following period (§§ 49-52).

§ 20.3. The Point of Transition from the One Age to the Other may unhesitatingly be set down at A.D. 170. The following are the most important data in regard thereto. The death about A.D. 165 of Justin Martyr, who marks the highest point reached in the Post-Apostolic Age, and forms also the transition to the Old Catholic Age; and Irenæus, flourishing somewhere about A.D. 170, who was the real inaugurator of this latter age. Besides these we come upon the beginnings of the Trinitarian controversies about the year 170. Finally, the rejection of Montanism from the universal Catholic church was effected about the year 170 by means of the Synodal institution called into existence for that very purpose.


§ 21. The Spread of Christianity.

Amid all the persecutions which the church during this period had to suffer it spread with rapid strides throughout the whole Roman empire, and even far beyond its limits. Edessa, the capital of the kingdom of Osrhoëne in Mesopotamia, had, as early as A.D. 170, a Christian prince, named Abgar Bar Maanu, whose coins were the first to bear the sign of the cross. We find Christianity gaining a footing contemporaneously in Persia, Media, Bactria, and Parthia. In the third century we find traces of its presence in Armenia. Paul himself made his way into Arabia (Gal. i. 17). In the third century Origen received an invitation from a ἡγούμενος τῆς Ἀραβίας, who wished to receive information about Christianity. At another time he accepted a call from that country in order to settle an ecclesiastical dispute (§ 33, 6). From Alexandria, where Mark had exercised his ministry, the Christian faith spread out into other portions of Africa, into Cyrene and among the Coptic races, neighbouring upon the Egyptians properly so-called. The church of proconsular Africa, with Carthage for its capital, stood in close connection with Rome. Mauretania and Numidia had, even in the third century, so many churches, that Cyprian could bring together at Carthage a Synod of eighty-seven bishops. In Gaul there were several flourishing churches composed of colonies and teachers from Asia Minor, such as the churches of Lyons, Vienne, etc. At a later period seven missionary teachers of the Christian faith came out of Italy into Gaul, among whom was Dionysius, known as St. Denis, the founder of the church at Paris. The Roman colonies in the provinces of the Rhine and the Danube had several flourishing congregations as early as the third century.

The emptiness and corruption of paganism was the negative, the divine power of the gospel was the positive, means of this wonderful extension. This divine power was manifested in the zeal and self-denial of Christian teachers and missionaries (§ 34, 1), in the life and walk of Christians, in the brotherly love which they showed, in the steadfastness and confidence of their faith, and above all in the joyfulness with which they met the cruellest of deaths by martyrdom. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, and it was not an unheard-of circumstance that the executioners of those Christian witnesses became their successors in the noble army of confessors.

§ 22. Persecutions of the Christians in the Roman Empire.22

The Law of the Twelve Tables had already forbidden the exercise of foreign modes of worship within the Roman empire (Religiones peregrinæ, Collegia illicita), for religion was exclusively an affair of the state and entered most intimately into all civil and municipal relations, and on this account whatever endangered the national religion was regarded as necessarily imperilling the state itself. Political considerations, however, led to the granting to conquered nations the free use of their own forms of worship. This concession did not materially help Christianity after it had ceased, in the time of Nero, to be regularly confounded by the Roman authorities with Judaism, as had been the case in the time of Claudius, and Judaism, after the destruction of Jerusalem, had been sharply distinguished from it. It publicly proclaimed its intention to completely dislodge all other religions, and the rapidity with which it spread showed how energetically its intentions were carried out. The close fellowship and brotherliness that prevailed among Christians, as well as their exclusive, and during times of persecution even secret assemblies, aroused the suspicion that they had political tendencies. Their withdrawal from civil and military services on account of the pagan ceremonies connected with them, especially their refusal to burn incense before the statues of the emperor, also the steadfastness of their faith, which was proof against all violence and persuasion alike, their retiredness from the world, etc., were regarded as evidence of their indifference or hostility to the general well-being of the state, as invincible stiff-neckedness, as contumacy, sedition, and high treason. The heathen populace saw in the Christians the sacrilegious enemies and despisers of their gods; and the Christian religion, which was without temples, altars and sacrifices, seemed to them pure Atheism. The most horrible calumnies, that in their assemblies (Agapæ) the vilest immoralities were practised (Concubitus Œdipodei), children slain and human flesh eaten (Epulæ Thyesteæ, comp. § 36, 5), were readily believed. All public misfortunes were thus attributed to the wrath of the gods against the Christians, who treated them with contempt. Non pluit Deus, duc ad Christianos! The heathen priests also, the temple servants and the image makers were always ready in their own common interests to stir up the suspicions of the people. Under such circumstances it is not to be wondered at that the fire of persecution on the part of the heathen people and the heathen state continued to rage for centuries.

§ 22.1. Claudius, Nero and Domitian.―Regarding the Emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14-37), we meet in Tertullian with the undoubtedly baseless tradition, that, impressed by the story told him by Pilate, he proposed to the Senate to introduce Christ among the gods, and on the rejection of this proposal, threatened the accusers of the Christians with punishment. The statement in Acts xviii. 2, that the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) expelled from Rome all Jews and with them many Christians also, is illustrated in a very circumstantial manner by Suetonius: Claudius Judæos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit. The tumults, therefore, between the Jews and the Christians, occurring about the year 51 or 52, gave occasion to this decree. The first persecution of the Christians proceeding from a Roman ruler which was directed against the Christians as such, was carried out by the Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68) in the year 64, in consequence of a nine days’ conflagration in Rome, the origin of which was commonly ascribed by the people to the Emperor himself. Nero, however, laid the blame upon the hated Christians, and perpetrated upon them the most ingeniously devised cruelties. Sewn up in skins of wild animals they were cast out to be devoured of dogs; others were crucified, or wrapt in tow and besmeared with pitch, they were fixed upon sharp spikes in the imperial gardens where the people gathered to behold gorgeous spectacles, and set on fire to lighten up the night (Tac., Ann., xv. 44). After the death of Nero the legend spread among the Christians, that he was not dead but had withdrawn beyond the Euphrates, soon to return as Antichrist. Nero’s persecution seems to have been limited to Rome, and to have ended with his death.―It was under Domitian (A.D. 81-96) that individual Christians were for the first time subjected to confiscation of goods and banishment for godlessness or the refusal to conform to the national religion. Probably also, the execution of his own cousin, the Consul Flavius Clemens [Clement], on account of his ἀθεότης and his ἐξοκέλλειν εἰς τὰ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθη (Dio Cass., lxvii. 14), as well as the banishment of Clemens’ [Clement’s] wife, Flavia Domitilla (A.D. 93), was really on account of their attachment to the Christian faith (§ 30, 3). The latter at least is proved by two inscriptions in the catacombs to have been undoubtedly a Christian. Domitian insisted upon having information as to the political significance of the kingdom of Christ, and brought from Palestine to Rome two relatives of Jesus, grandsons of Jude, the brother of the Lord, but their hands horny with labour satisfied him that his suspicions had been unfounded. The philanthropic Emperor Nerva (A.D. 96-98) recalled the exiles and did not listen to those who clamoured bitterly against the Christians, but Christianity continued after as well as before a Religo illicita, or rather was now reckoned such, after it had been more distinctly separated from Judaism.23

§ 22.2. Trajan and Hadrian.―With Trajan (A.D. 98-117), whom historians rightly describe as a just, earnest, and mild ruler, the persecutions of the Christians enter upon a new stage. He renewed the old strict prohibition of secret societies, hetæræ, which could easily be made to apply to the Christians. In consequence of this law the younger Pliny, as Governor of Bithynia, punished with death those who were accused as Christians, if they would not abjure Christianity. But his doubts being awakened by the great number of every rank and age and of both sexes against whom accusations were brought, and in consequence of a careful examination, which showed the Christians to be morally pure and politically undeserving of suspicion and to be guilty only of stubborn attachment to their superstition, he asked definite instructions from the Emperor. Trajan approved of what he had done and what he proposed; the Christians were not to be sought after and anonymous accusations were not to be regarded, but those formally complained of and convicted, if they stubbornly refused to sacrifice to the gods and burn incense before the statues of the Emperor were to be punished with death (A.D. 112). This imperial rescript continued for a long time the legal standard for judicial procedure with reference to the Christians. The persecution under Trajan extended even to Syria and Palestine. In Jerusalem the aged bishop Simeon, the successor of James, accused as a Christian and a descendant of David, after being cruelly scourged, died a martyr’s death on the cross in A.D. 107. The martyrdom, too, of the Antiochean bishop, Ignatius, in all probability took place during the reign of Trajan (§ 30, 5). An edict of toleration supposed to have been issued at a later period by Trajan, a copy of which exists in Syriac and Armenian, is now proved to be apocryphal.―During the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), the people began to carry out in a tumultuous way the execution of the Christians on the occasion of the heathen festivals. On the representation of the proconsul of Asia, Serenius Granianus, Hadrian issued a rescript addressed to his successor, Minucius Fundanus, against such acts of violence, but executions still continued carried out according to the forms of law. The genuineness of the rescript, however, as given at the close of the first Apology of Justin Martyr, has been recently disputed by many. In Rome itself, between A.D. 135 and A.D. 137, bishop Telesphorus, with many other Christians, fell as victims of the persecution. The tradition of the fourth century, that Hadrian wished to build a temple to Christ, is utterly without historical foundation. His unfavourable disposition toward the Christians clearly appears from this, that he caused a temple of Venus to be built upon the spot where Christ was crucified, and a statue of Jupiter to be erected on the rock of the sepulchre, in order to pollute those places which Christians held most sacred.

§ 22.3. Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.―Under Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161), the tumultuous charges of the people against the Christians, on account of visitations of pestilence in many places, were renewed, but the mildly disposed emperor sought to protect them as much as possible from violence. The rescript, however, Ad Commune Asiæ, which bears his name is very probably of Christian authorship.―The persecutions again took a new turn under Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180) who was, both as a man and a ruler, one of the noblest figures of antiquity. In the pride of his stoical wisdom, however, despising utterly the enthusiasm of the Christians, he not only allowed free scope to the popular hatred, but also introduced the system of espionage, giving to informers the confiscated property of the Christians, and even permitting the use of torture, in order to compel them to recant, and thus gave occasion to unexampled triumphs of Christian heroism. At Rome, the noble Apologist Justin Martyr, denounced by his opponent the philosopher Crescens, after cruel and bloody scourging, died under the executioner’s axe about A.D. 165 (§ 30, 9).―In regard to a very severe persecution endured by the church of Smyrna, we possess an original report of it sent from that church to one closely related to it, embellished with legendary details or interpolated, which Eusebius has incorporated in his Church History. The substance of it is a description of the glorious martyr death of their aged bishop Polycarp (§ 30, 6), who, because he refused to curse the Lord whom he had served for eighty-six years, was made to mount the funeral pile, and while rejoicing in the midst of the flames, received the crown of martyrdom. According to the story the flames gathered around him like a wind-filled sail, and when a soldier pierced him with his sword, suddenly a white dove flew up; moreover the glorified spirit also appeared to a member of the church in a vision, clothed in a white garment. Eusebius places the date of Polycarp’s death shortly before A.D. 166. But since it has been shown by Waddington, on the basis of an examination of recently discovered inscriptions, that the proconsul of Asia, Statius Quadratus, mentioned in the report of the church of Smyrna, did not hold that office in A.D. 166, but in A.D. 155-156, the most important authorities have come to regard either A.D. 155 or A.D. 156 as the date of his martyrdom. Still some whose opinions are worthy of respect refuse to accept this view, pointing out the absence of that chronological statement from the report in Eusebius and to its irreconcilability with the otherwise well-supported facts, that Polycarp was on a visit to Rome in A.D. 155 (§ 37, 2), and that the reckoning of the day of his death in the report as ὄντος σαββάτου μεγάλου would suit indeed the Easter of A.D. 155, as well as that of A.D. 166, but not that of A.D. 156.24 The legend of the Legio fulminatrix, that in the war against the Marcomanni in A.D. 174 the prayers of the Christian soldiers of this legion called forth rain and thunder, and thus saved the Emperor and his army from the danger of perishing by thirst, whereupon this modified law against the accusers of the Christians was issued, has, so far as the first part is concerned, its foundation in history, only that the heathen on the other hand ascribed the miracle to their prayer to Jupiter Pluvius.25―Regarding the persecution at Lyons and Vienne in A.D. 177, we also possess a contemporary report from the Christian church of these places (§ 32, 8). Bishop Pothinus, in his ninetieth year, sank under the effects of tortures continued during many days in a loathsome prison. The young and tender slave-girl Blandina was scourged, her body scorched upon a red-hot iron chair, her limbs torn by wild beasts and at last her life taken; but under all her tortures she continued to repeat her joyful confession: “I am a Christian and nothing wicked is tolerated among us.” Under similar agonies the boy Ponticus, in his fifteenth year, showed similar heroism. The dead bodies of the martyrs were laid in heaps upon the streets, until at last they were burnt and their ashes strewn upon the Rhone. Commodus (A.D. 180-192), the son of Marcus Aurelius, who in every other respect was utterly disreputable, influenced by his mistress Marcia, showed himself inclined, by the exercise of his clemency, to remit the sentences of the Christians. The persecution at Scillita in North Africa, during the first year of the reign of Commodus, in which the martyr Speratus suffered, together with eleven companions, was carried out in accordance with the edict of Marcus Aurelius.

§ 22.4. Septimius Severus and Maximinus Thrax.Septimius Severus (A.D. 193-211), whom a Christian slave, Proculus, had healed of a sickness by anointing with oil, was at first decidedly favourable to the Christians. Even in A.D. 197, after his triumphal entrance into Rome, he took them under his personal protection when the popular clamour, which such a celebration was fitted to excite, was raised against them. The judicial persecution, too, which some years later, A.D. 200, his deputy in North Africa carried on against the Christians on the basis of existing laws because they refused to sacrifice to the genius of the Emperor, he may not have been able to prevent. On the other hand, he did himself, in A.D. 202, issue an edict which forbade conversions to Judaism and Christianity. The storm of persecution thereby excited was directed therefore first of all and especially against the catechumens and the neophytes, but frequently also, overstepping the letter of the edict, it was turned against the older Christians. The persecution seems to have been limited to Egypt and North Africa. At Alexandria Leonidas, the father of Origen, was beheaded. The female slave, Potamiæna, celebrated as much for her moral purity as for her beauty, was accused by her master, whose evil passions she had refused to gratify, as a Christian, and was given over to the gladiators to be abused. She succeeded, however, in defending herself from pollution, and was then, along with her mother Marcella, slowly dipped into boiling pitch. The soldier, Basilides by name, who should have executed the sentence himself embraced Christianity, and was beheaded. The persecution raged with equal violence and cruelty in Carthage. A young woman of a noble family, Perpetua, in her twenty-second year, in spite of imprisonment and torture, and though the infant in her arms and her weeping pagan father appealed to her heart’s affections, continued true to her faith, and was thrown to be tossed on the horns of a wild cow, and to die from the dagger of a gladiator. The slave girl Felicitas who, in the same prison, became a mother, showed similar courage amid similar sufferings. Persecution smouldered on throughout the reign of Septimius, showing itself in separate sporadic outbursts, but was not renewed under his son and successor Caracalla (A.D. 211-217), who in other respects during his reign stained with manifold cruelties, did little to the honour of those Christian influences by which in his earliest youth he had been surrounded (“lacte Christiano educatus,” Tert.).―That Christianity should have a place given it among the senseless religions favoured by Elagabalus or Heliogabalus (A.D. 218-222), was an absurdity which nevertheless secured for it toleration and quiet. His second wife, Severina or Severa, to whom Hippolytus dedicated his treatise Περὶ ἀναστάσεως, was the first empress friendly to the Christians. Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235), embracing a noble eclecticism, placed among his household gods the image of Christ, along with those of Abraham, Orpheus, and Apollonius of Tyana, and showed himself well disposed toward the Christians; while at the same time his mother, Julia Mammæa, encouraged and furthered the scholarly studies of Origen. The golden saying of Christ, Luke vi. 31, was inscribed upon the gateway of his palace. His murderer, Maximinus Thrax (A.D. 235-238), from very opposition to his predecessor, became at once the enemy of the Christians. Clearly perceiving the high importance of the clergy for the continued existence of the church, his persecuting edict was directed solely against them. The imperial position which he had usurped, however, was not sufficiently secure to allow him to carry out his intentions to extremities. Under Gordianus the Christians had rest, and Philip the Arabian (A.D. 244-249) favoured them so openly and decidedly, that it came to be thought that he himself had been a Christian.

§ 22.5. Decius, Gallus and Valerianus [Valerian].―Soon after the accession of Decius (A.D. 249-251), in the year 250, a new persecution broke out that lasted without interruption for ten years. This was the first general persecution and was directed at first against the recognised heads of the churches, but by-and-by was extended more widely to all ranks, and exceeded all previous persecutions by its extent, the deliberateness of its plan, the rigid determination with which it was conducted, and the cruelties of its execution. Decius was a prudent ruler, an earnest man of the old school, endued with an indomitable will. But it was just this that drove him to the conclusion that Christianity, as a godless system and one opposed to the interests of the state, must be summarily suppressed. All possible means, such as confiscation of goods, banishment, severe tortures, or death, were tried in order to induce the Christians to yield. Very many spoiled by the long peace that they had enjoyed gave way, but on the other hand crowds of Christians, impelled by a yearning after the crown of martyrdom, gave themselves up joyfully to the prison and the stake. Those who fell away, the lapsi, were classified as the Thurificati or Sacrificati, who to save their lives had burnt incense or sacrificed to the gods, and Libellatici, who without doing this had purchased a certificate from the magistrates that they had done so, and Acta facientes, who had issued documents giving false statements regarding their Christianity. Those were called Confessores who publicly professed Christ and remained steadfast under persecution, but escaped with their lives; those were called Martyrs who witnessing with their blood, suffered death for the faith they professed. The Roman church could boast of a whole series of bishops who fell victims to the storm of persecution: Fabianus [Fabian] in A.D. 250, and Cornelius in A.D. 253, probably also Lucius in A.D. 254, and Stephanus in A.D. 257. And as in Rome, so also in the provinces, whole troops of confessors and martyrs met a joyful death, not only from among the clergy, but also from among the general members of the church.―Then again, under Gallus (A.D. 251-253), the persecution continued, excited anew by plagues and famine, but was in many ways restricted by political embarrassment. Valerianus [Valerian] (A.D. 253-260), from being a favourer of the Christians, began from A.D. 257, under the influence of his favourite Macrianus, to show himself a determined persecutor. The Christian pastors were at first banished, and since this had not the desired effect, they were afterwards punished with death. At this time, too, the bishop of Carthage, Cyprian, who under Decius had for a short season withdrawn by flight into the wilderness, won for himself the martyr’s crown. So, likewise, in A.D. 258, suffered Sixtus II. of Rome. The Roman bishop was soon followed by his deacon Laurentius, a hero among Christian martyrs, who pointed the avaricious governor to the sick, the poor and the orphans of the congregation as the treasures of the church, and was then burnt alive on a fire of glowing coal. But Valerian’s son, Gallienus (A.D. 260-268), by an edict addressed to the bishops, abolished the special persecuting statutes issued by his father, without, however, as he is often erroneously said to have done, formally recognising Christianity as a Religio licita. The Christians after this enjoyed a forty years’ rest; for the commonly reported cruel persecution of Christians under Claudius II., (A.D. 268-270) has been proved to be a pure fable of apocryphal Acts of the Martyrs; and also the persecution planned by Aurelian (A.D. 270-275), toward the close of his reign, was prevented by his assassination committed by a pagan officer.

§ 22.6. Diocletian and Galerius.―When Diocletian (A.D. 284-305) was proclaimed Emperor by the army in Chalcedon, he chose Nicomedia in Bithynia as his residence, and transferred the conduct of the war to the general Maximianus [Maximian] Herculius with the title of Cæsar, who, after the campaign had been closed successfully in A.D. 286, was raised to the rank of Augustus or joint-Emperor. New harassments from within and from without led the two Emperors in A.D. 286 to name two Cæsars, or sub-Emperors, who by their being adopted were assured of succession to imperial rank. Diocletian assumed the administration of the East, and gave up Illyricum as far as Pontus to his Cæsar and son-in-law Galerius. Maximian undertook the government of the West, and surrendered Gaul, Spain and Britain to his Cæsar, Constantius Chlorus. According to Martyrologies, there was a whole legion, called Legio Thebaica, that consisted of Christian soldiers. This legion was originally stationed in the East, but was sent into the war against the Gauls, because its members refused to take part in the persecution of their brethren. After suffering decimation twice over without any result, it is said that Maximian left this legion, consisting of 6,600 men, along with its commander St. Maurice, to be hewn down in the pass of Agaunum, now called St. Moritz, in the Canton Valais. According to Rettberg,26 the historical germ of this consists in a tradition reported by Theodoret as originating during the fifth or sixth century, in a letter of Eucherius bishop of Lyons, about the martyrdom of St. Maurice, who as Tribunus Militum was executed at Apamea along with seventy soldiers, by the orders of Maximian. Diocletian, as the elder and supreme Emperor, was an active, benevolent, clear-sighted statesman and ruler, but also a zealous adherent of the old religion as regenerated by Neo-platonic influences (§ 24, 2), and as such was inclined to hold Christianity responsible for many of the internal troubles of his kingdom. He was restrained from interfering with the Christians, however, by the policy of toleration which had prevailed since the time of Gallienus, as well as by his own benevolent disposition, and not least by the political consideration of the vast numbers of the Christian population. His own wife Prisca and his daughter Valeria had themselves embraced Christianity, as well as very many, and these the truest and most trustworthy, of the members of his household. Yet the incessant importunities and whispered suspicions of Galerius were not without success. In A.D. 298 he issued the decree, that all soldiers should take part in the sacrificial rites, and thus obliged all Christian soldiers to withdraw from the army. During a long sojourn in Nicomedia he finally prevailed upon the Emperor to order a second general persecution; yet even then Diocletian persisted, that in it no blood should be shed. This persecution opened in A.D. 303 with the imperial command to destroy the stately church of Nicomedia. Soon after an edict was issued forbidding all Christian assemblies, ordering the destruction of the churches, the burning of the sacred scriptures, and depriving Christians of their offices and of their civil rights. A Christian tore up the edict and was executed. Fire broke out in the imperial palace and Galerius blamed the Christians for the fire, and also charged them with a conspiracy against the life of the Emperor. A persecution then began to rage throughout the whole Roman empire, Gaul, Spain and Britain alone entirely escaping owing to the favour of Constantius Chlorus who governed these regions. All conceivable tortures and modes of death were practised, and new and more horrible devices were invented from day to day. Diocletian, who survived to A.D. 313, and Maximian, abdicated the imperial rank which they had jointly held in A.D. 305. Their places were filled by those who had been previously their Cæsars, and Galerius as now the chief Augustus proclaimed as Cæsars, Severus and Maximinus Daza, the most furious enemies of the Christians that could be found, so that the storm of persecution which had already begun in some measure to abate, was again revived in Italy by Severus and in the East by Maximinus. Then in order to bring all Christians into inevitable contact with idolatrous rites, Galerius in A.D. 308 had all victuals in the markets sprinkled with wine or water that had been offered to idols. Seized with a terrible illness, mortification beginning in his living body, he finally admitted the uselessness of all his efforts to root out Christianity, and shortly before his death, in common with his colleague, he issued in A.D. 311, a formal edict of toleration, which permitted to all Christians the free exercise of their religion and claimed in return their intercession for the emperor and the empire.―During this persecution of unexampled cruelty, lasting without intermission for eight years, many noble proofs were given of Christian heroism and of the joyousness that martyrdom inspired. The number of the Lapsi, though still considerable, was in proportion very much less than under the Decian persecution. How much truth, if any, there may have been in the later assertion of the Donatists (§ 63, 1), that even the Roman bishop, Marcellinus [Marcellus] (A.D. 296-304), and his presbyters, Melchiades, Marcellus and Sylvester, who were also his successors in the bishopric, had denied Christ and sacrificed to idols, cannot now be ascertained. Augustine denies the charge, but even the Felician Catalogue of the Popes reports that Marcellinus [Marcellus] during the persecution became a Thurificatus, adding, however, the extenuation, that he soon thereafter, seized with deep penitence, suffered martyrdom. The command to deliver up the sacred writings gave rise to a new order of apostates, the so-called Traditores. Many had recourse to a subterfuge by surrendering heretical writings instead of the sacred books and as such, but the earnest spirit of the age treated these as no better than traditors.27

§ 22.7. Maximinus Daza, Maxentius and Licinius.―After the death of Galerius his place was taken by the Dacian Licinius, who shared with Maximinus the government of the East, the former taking the European, the latter the Asiatic part along with Egypt. Constantius Chlorus had died in A.D. 306, and Galerius had given to the Cæsar Severus the empire of the West. But the army proclaimed Constantine, son of Constantius, as Emperor. He also established himself in Gaul, Spain and Britain. Then also Maxentius, son of the abdicated emperor Maximian, claimed the Western Empire, was proclaimed Augustus by the Prætorians, recognised by the Roman senate, and after the overthrow of Severus, ruled in Italy and Africa.―The pagan fanaticism of Maximinus prevailed against the toleration edict of Galerian. He heartily supported the attempted expulsion of Christians on the part of several prominent cities, and commended the measure on brazen tablets. He forbade the building of churches, punished many with fines and dishonour, inflicted in some cases bodily pains and even death, and gave official sanction to perpetrating upon them all sorts of scandalous enormities. The Acta Pilati, a pagan pseudepigraph filled with the grossest slanders about the passion of Christ, was widely circulated by him and introduced as a reading-book for the young in the public schools. Constantine, who had inherited from his father along with his Neo-platonic eclecticism his toleration of the Christians, secured to the professors of the Christian faith in his realm the most perfect quiet. Maxentius, too, at first let them alone; but the rivalry and enmity that was daily increasing between him and Constantine, the favourer of the Christians, drew him into close connection with the pagan party, and into sympathy with their persecuting spirit. In A.D. 312 Constantine led his army over the Alps. Maxentius opposed him with an army drawn up in three divisions; but Constantine pressed on victoriously, and shattered his opponent’s forces before the gates of Rome. Betaking himself to flight, Maxentius was drowned in the Tiber, and Constantine was then sole ruler over the entire Western Empire. At Milan he had a conference with Licinius, to whom he gave in marriage his sister Constantia. They jointly issued an edict in A.D. 313, which gave toleration to all forms of worship throughout the empire, expressly permitting conversion to Christianity, and ordering the restoration to the Christians of all the churches that had been taken from them. Soon thereafter a decisive battle was fought between Maximinus and Licinius. The former was defeated and took to flight. The friendly relations that had subsisted between Constantine and Licinius gave way gradually to estrangement and were at last succeeded by open hostility. Licinius by manifesting zeal as a persecutor identified himself with the pagan party, and Constantine threw in his lot with the Christians. In A.D. 323 a war broke out between these two, like a struggle for life and death between Paganism and Christianity. Licinius was overthrown and Constantine was master of the whole empire (§ 42, 2). Eusebius in his Vita Constantini reports, on the basis probably of a sworn statement of the emperor, that during the expedition against Maxentius in A.D. 312, after praying for the aid of the higher powers, when the sun was going down, he saw in heaven a shining cross in the sun with a bright inscription: τούτῳ νίκα. During the night Christ appeared to him in a dream, and commanded him to take the cross as his standard in battle and with it to go into battle confident of victory. In his Church History, Eusebius makes no mention of this tradition of the vision. On the other hand there is here the fact, contested indeed by critics, that after the victory over Maxentius the emperor had erected his statue in the Roman Forum, with the cross in his hand, and bearing the inscription: “By this sign of salvation have I delivered your city from the yoke of the tyrant.” This only is certain, that the imperial standard, which had the unexplained name Labarum, bore the sign of the cross with the monogram of the name of Christ.

§ 23. Controversial Writings of Paganism.

Pagan writers in their published works passed spiteful and contemptuous judgments upon Christians and Christianity (Tacitus, Pliny, Marcus Aurelius, and the physician Galen), or, like the rhetorician Fronto, argued against them with violent invective; while popular wit ran riot in representing Christianity by word and picture as the devout worship of an ass. But even the talented satirist Lucian of Samosata was satisfied with ridiculing the Christians as senseless fools. The first and also the most important of all really pagan advocates was Celsus, who in the second century, with brilliant subtlety and scathing sarcasm sought to prove that the religion of the Christians was the very climax of unreason. In respect of ability, keenness and bitterness of polemic he is closely followed by the Neo-platonist Porphyry. Far beneath both stands Hierocles, governor of Bithynia. Against such attacks the most famous Christian teachers took the field as Apologists. They disproved the calumnies and charges of the pagans, demanded fair play for the Christians, vindicated Christianity by the demonstration of its inner truth, the witness borne to it by the life and walk of Christians, its establishment by miracles and prophecies, its agreement with the utterances and longings of the most profound philosophers, whose wisdom they traced mediately or immediately from the Old Testament, and on the other hand, they sought to show the nothingness of the heathen gods, and the religious as well as moral perversity of paganism.

§ 23.1. Lucian’s Satire De Morte Peregrini takes the form of an account given by Lucian to his friend Cronius of the Cynic Peregrinus Proteus’ burning of himself during the Olympic games of A.D. 165, of which he himself was a witness. Peregrinus is described as a low, contemptible man, a parricide and guilty of adultery, unnatural vice and drunkenness, who having fled from his home in Palestine joined the Christians, learnt their θαυμαστὴ σοφία, became their prophet (§ 34, 1), Thiasarch (§ 17, 3) and Synagogeus, and as such expounded their sacred writings, even himself composed and addressed to the most celebrated Greek cities many epistles containing new ordinances and laws. When cast into prison he was the subject of the most extravagant attentions on the part of the Christians. Their γραΐδια and χῆραι (deaconesses) nursed him most carefully, δεῖπνα ποικίλα and λόγοι ἱεροί (Agapæ) were celebrated in his prison, they loaded him with presents, etc. Nevertheless on leaving prison, on account of his having eaten a forbidden kind of meat (flesh offered to idols) he was expelled by them. He now cast himself into the arms of the Cynics, travelled as the apostle of their views through the whole world, and ended his life in his mad thirst for fame by voluntarily casting himself upon the funeral pile. Lucian tells with scornful sneer how the superstitious people supposed that there had been an earthquake and that an eagle flew up from his ashes crying out: The earth I have lost, to Olympus I fly. This fable was believed, and even yet it is said that sometimes Peregrinus will be seen in a white garment as a spirit.―It is undoubtedly recorded by Aulus Gellius that a Cynic Peregrinus lived at this time whom he describes as vir gravis et constans. This too is told by the Apologist Tatian, who in him mocks at the pretension on the part of heathen philosophers to emancipation from all wants. But neither of them knows anything about his Christianity or his death by fire. It is nevertheless conceivable that Peregrinus had for some time connection with Christianity; but without this assumption it seems likely that Lucian in a satire which, under the combined influence of personal and class antipathies, aimed first and chiefly at stigmatizing Cynicism in the person of Peregrinus, should place Christianity alongside of it as what seemed to him with its contempt of the world and self-denial to be a new, perhaps a nobler, but still nothing more than a species of Cynicism. Many features in the caricature which he gives of the life, doings and death of Peregrinus seem to have been derived by him from the life of the Apostle Paul as well as from the account of the martyrdom of Ignatius, and especially from that of Polycarp (§ 22, 3).28

§ 23.2. Worshippers of an Ass (Asinarii) was a term of reproach that was originally and from early times applied to the Jews. They now sought to have it transferred to the Christians. Tertullian tells of a picture publicly exhibited in Carthage which represented a man clothed in a toga, with the ears and hoof of an ass, holding a book in his hand, and had this inscription: Deus Christianorum Onochoetes. This name is variously read. If read as ὄνου χοητής it means asini sacerdos. Alongside of this we may place the picture, belonging probably to the third century, discovered in A.D. 1858 scratched on a wall among the ruins of a school for the imperial slaves, that were then excavated. It represents a man with an ass’s head hanging on a cross, and beneath it the caricature of a worshipper with the words written in a schoolboy’s hand; Alexamenos worships God (A. σεβετε θεον); evidently the derision of a Christian youth by a pagan companion. The scratching on another wall gives us probably the answer of the Christian: Alexamenos fidelis.

§ 23.3. Polemic properly so-called.

  1. The Λόγος ἀληθής of Celsus is in great part preserved in the answer of Origen (§ 31, 5). He identifies the author with that Celsus to whom Lucian dedicated the little work Alexander or Pseudomantis in which he so extols the philosophy of Epicurus that it seems he must be regarded as an Epicurean. Since, however, the philosophical standpoint of our Celsus is that of a Platonist the assumption of the identity of the two has been regarded as untenable. But even our Celsus does not seem to have been a pure Platonist but an Eclectic, and as such might also show a certain measure of favour to the philosophy of Epicurus. Their age is at least the same. Lucian wrote that treatise soon after A.D. 180, and according to Keim, the Λόγος ἀληθής was probably composed about A.D. 178. Almost everything that modern opponents down to our own day have advanced against the gospel history and doctrine is found here wrought out with original force and subtlety, inspired with burning hatred and bitter irony, and highly spiced with invective, mockery, and wit. First of all the author introduces a Jew who repeats the slanders current among the Jews, representing Jesus as a vagabond impostor, His mother as an adulteress, His miracles and resurrection as lying fables; then enters a heathen philosopher who proves that both Judaism and Christianity are absurd; and finally, the conditions are set forth under which alone the Christians might claim indulgence: the abandonment of their exclusive attitude toward the national religion and the recognition of it by their taking part in the sacrifices appointed by the state.29
  2. The Neo-platonist Porphyry, about A.D. 270, as reported by Jerome, in the XV. Book of his Κατὰ Χριστιανῶν points to a number of supposed contradictions in holy scripture, calls attention to the conflict between Paul and Peter (Gal. ii.), explains Daniel’s prophecies as Vaticinia post eventum, and censures the allegorical interpretation of the Christians. Although even among the Christians themselves Porphyry as a philosopher was highly esteemed, and notwithstanding contact at certain points between his ethical and religious view of the world and that of the Christians, perhaps just because of this, he is the worst and most dangerous of all their pagan assailants. Against his controversial writings, therefore, the edict of Theodosius II. ordering them to be burnt was directed in A.D. 448 (§ 42, 4), and owing to the zeal with which his works were destroyed the greater part of the treatises which quoted from it for purposes of controversy also perished with it―the writings of Methodius of Tyre (§ 31, 9), Eusebius of Cæsarea (§ 47, 2), Philostorgius (§ 5, 1) and Apollinaris the younger (§ 47, 5). Of these according to Jerome those of the last named were the most important. In the recently discovered controversial treatise of Macarius Magnes (§ 47, 6) an unnamed pagan philosopher is combated whose attacks, chiefly directed against the Gospels, to all appearance verbally agree with the treatise of Porphyry, or rather, perhaps, with that of his plagiarist Hierocles.
  3. Hierocles who as governor of Bithynia took an active part in the persecution of Galerius, wrote two books Λόγοι φιλαλήθεις against the Christians, about A.D. 305, which have also perished. Eusebius’ reply refers only to his repudiation of the equality assigned to Christ and Apollonius of Tyana (§ 24, 1). While the title of his treatise is borrowed from that of Celsus, he has also according to the testimony of Eusebius in great part copied the very words of both of his predecessors.
§ 24. Attempted Reconstruction of Paganism.

All its own more thoughtful adherents had long acknowledged that paganism must undergo a thorough reform and reconstruction if it were to continue any longer in existence. In the Augustan Age an effort was made to bolster up Neopythagoreanism by means of theurgy and magic. The chief representative of this movement was Apollonius of Tyana. In the second century an attempt was made to revivify the secret rites of the ancient mysteries, of Dea Syra, and Mithras. Yet all this was not enough. What was needed was the setting up of a pagan system which would meet the religious cravings of men in the same measure as Christianity with its supernaturalism, monotheism and universalism had done, and would have the absurdities and impurities that had disfigured the popular religion stripped off. Such a regeneration of paganism was undertaken in the beginning of the third century by Neoplatonism. But even this was no more able than pagan polemics had been to check the victorious career of Christianity.

§ 24.1. Apollonius of Tyana in Cappadocia, a contemporary of Christ and the Apostles, was a philosopher, ascetic and magician esteemed among the people as a worker of miracles. As an earnest adherent of the doctrine of Pythagoras, whom he also imitated in his dress and manner of life, claiming the possession of the gifts of prophecy and miracle working, he assumed the role of a moral and religious reformer of the pagan religion of his fathers. Accompanied by numerous scholars, teaching and working miracles, he travelled through the whole of the then known world until he reached the wonderland of India. He settled down at last in Ephesus where he died at an advanced age, having at least passed his ninety-sixth year. At the wish of the Empress Julia, wife of Septimius Severus, in the third century, Philostratus the elder composed in the form of a romance in eight books based upon written and oral sources, a biography of Apollonius, in which he is represented as a heathen counterpart of Christ, who is otherwise completely ignored, excelling Him in completeness of life, doctrine and miraculous powers.30

§ 24.2. In Neo-platonism, by the combination of all that was noblest and best in the exoteric and esoteric religion, in the philosophy, theosophy and theurgy of earlier and later times in East and West, we are presented with a universal religion in which faith and knowledge, philosophy and theology, theory and practice, were so perfectly united and reconciled, and all religious needs so fully met, that in comparison with its wealth and fulness, the gnosis as well as the faith, the worship and the mysteries of the Christians must have seemed one-sided, commonplace and incomplete. The first to introduce and commend this tendency, which was carried out in three successive schools of philosophy, the Alexandrian-Roman, the Syrian and the Athenian, was the Alexandrian Ammonius Saccas,―this surname being derived from his occupation as a porter. He lived and taught in Alexandria till about A.D. 250. He sought to combine in a higher unity the Platonic and the Aristotelian philosophies, giving to the former a normative authority, and he did not hesitate to enrich his system by the incorporation of Christian ideas. His knowledge of Christianity came from Clement of Alexandria and from Origen, whose teacher in philosophy he had been. Porphyry indeed affirms that he had previously been himself a Christian, but had at a later period of life returned to paganism.―The most distinguished of his scholars, and also the most talented and profound of all the Neo-platonists, was Plotinus, who was in A.D. 254 a teacher of philosophy at Rome, and died in A.D. 270. His philosophico-theological system in its characteristic features is a combination of the Platonic antithesis of the finite world of sense and the eternal world of ideas with the stoical doctrine of the world soul. The eternal ground of all being is the one supramundane, unintelligible and indescribable good (τὸ ἕν, τὸ ἀγαθόν), from which all stages of being are radiated forth; first; spirit or the world of ideas (νοῦς, κόσμος νοητός), the eternal type of all being; and then, from this the world soul (ψυχή); and from this, finally, the world of phenomena. The outermost fringe of this evolution, the forms of which the further they are removed from the original ground become more and more imperfect, is matter, just as the shadow is the outermost fringe of the light. It is conceived of as the finite, the fleeting, even as evil in itself. But imperfect as the world of sense is, it is nevertheless the vehicle of the ideal world and in many ways penetrated by the ideas, and the lighting up imparted by the ideas affords it its beauty. In consequence of those rays shining in from the realm of ideas, a whole vast hierarchy of divine forms has arisen, with countless dæmons good and bad, which give room for the incorporation of all the divine beings of the Greek and oriental mythologies. In this way myths that were partly immoral and partly fantastic can be rehabilitated as symbolical coverings of speculative ideas. The souls of men, too, originate from the eternal world soul. By their transition, however, into the world of sense they are hampered and fettered by corporeity. They themselves complete their redemption through emancipation from the bonds of sense by means of asceticism and the practice of virtue. In this way they secure a return into the ideal world and the vision of the highest good, sometimes as moments of ecstatic mystical union with that world, even during this earthly life, but an eternally unbroken continuance thereof is only attained unto after complete emancipation from all the bonds of matter.31―Plotinus’ most celebrated scholar, who also wrote his life, and collected and arranged his literary remains, was Porphyry. He also taught in Rome and died there in A.D. 304. His ἐκ τῶν λογίων φιλοσοφία, a collection of oracular utterances, was a positive supplement to his polemic against Christianity (§ 23, 3), and afforded to paganism a book of revelation, a heathen bible, as Philostratus had before sought to portray a heathen saviour. Of greater importance for the development of mediæval scholasticism was his Commentary on the logical works of Aristotle, published in several editions of the Aristotelian Organon.―His scholar Iamblichus of Chalcis in Cœle-Syria, who died A.D. 333, was the founder of the Syrian school. The development which he gave to the Neo-platonic doctrine consisted chiefly in the incorporation of a fantastic oriental mythology and theurgy. This also brought him the reputation of being a magician.―Finally, the Athenian school had in Proclus, who died in A.D. 485, its most distinguished representative. While on the one hand, he proceeded along the path opened by Iamblichus to develop vagaries about dæmons and theurgical fancies, on the other hand, he gave to his school an impulse in the direction of scholarly and encyclopædic culture.―The Neo-platonic speculation exercised no small influence on the development of Christian philosophy. The philosophizing church fathers, whose darling was Plato, got acquaintance with his philosophical views from its relatively pure reproduction met with in the works of the older Neo-platonists. The influence of their mystico-theosophic doctrine, especially as conveyed in the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius (§ 47, 11), is particularly discernible in the Christian mysticism of the middle ages, and has been thence transmitted to modern times.32

§ 25. Jewish and Samaritan Reaction.

The Judaism of the Apostolic Age in its most characteristic form was thoroughly hostile to Christianity. The Pharisees and the mass of the people with their expectation of a political Messiah, took offence at a Messiah crucified by the Gentiles (1 Cor. i. 13); their national pride was wounded by the granting of equality to Samaritans and heathens, while their legal righteousness and sham piety were exposed and censured by the teachings of Christianity. On the other side, the Sadducees felt no less called upon to fight to the death against Christianity with its doctrine of the resurrection (Acts iv. 2; xxiii. 6). The same hostile feeling generally prevailed among the dispersion. The Jewish community at Berea (Acts xvii. 2) is praised as a pleasing exception to the general rule. Finally, in A.D. 70 destruction fell upon the covenant people and the holy city. The Christian church of Jerusalem, acting upon a warning uttered by the Lord (Matt. xxiv. 16), found a place of refuge in the mountain city of Pella, on the other side of Jordan. But when the Pseudo-Messiah, Bar-Cochba (Son of a Star, Num. xxiv. 17), roused all Palestine against the Roman rule, in A.D. 132, the Palestinian Christians who refused to assist or recognise the false Messiah, had again to endure a bloody persecution. Bar-Cochba was defeated in A.D. 135. Hadrian now commanded that upon pain of death no Jew should enter Ælia Capitolina, the Roman colony founded by him on the ruins of Jerusalem. From that time they were deprived of all power and opportunity for direct persecution of the Christians. All the greater was their pleasure at the persecutions by the heathens and their zeal in urging the pagans to extreme measures. In their seminaries they gave currency to the most horrible lies and calumnies about Christ and the Christians, which also issued thence among the heathens. On the other hand, however, they intensified their own anti-Christian attitude and sought protection against the advancing tide of Christianity by strangling all spiritual movement under a mass of traditional interpretations and judgments of men. The Schools of Tiberias and Babylon were the nurseries of this movement, and the Talmud, the first part of which, the Mishna, had its origin during this period, marks the completion of this anti-Christian self-petrifaction of Judaism. The disciples of John, too, assumed a hostile attitude toward Christianity, and formed a distinct set under the name of Hemerobaptists. Contemporaneously with the first successes of the Apostolic mission, a current set in among the Samaritans calculated to checkmate Christianity by the setting up of new religions. Dositheus, Simon Magus and Menander here made their appearance with claims to the Messiahship, and were at a later period designated heresiarchs by the church fathers, who believed that in them they found the germs of the Gnostic heresy (§§ 26 ff.).

§ 25.1. Disciples of John.―Even after their master had been beheaded the disciples of John the Baptist maintained a separate society of their own, and reproached the disciples of Jesus because of their want of strict ascetic discipline (Matt. ix. 14, etc.). The disciples of John in the Acts (xviii. 25; xix. 1-7) were probably Hellenist Jews, who on their visits to the feasts had been pointed by John to Christ, announced by him as Messiah, without having any information as to the further developments of the Christian community. About the middle of the second century, however, the Clementine Homilies (§ 28, 3), in which John the Baptist is designated a ἡμεροβαπτίστης, speaks of gnosticizing disciples of John, who may be identical with the Hemerobaptists, that is, those who practise baptism daily, of Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iv. 22). They originated probably from a coalition of Essenes (§ 8, 4) and disciples of the Baptist who when orphaned by the death of John persistently refused to join the disciples of Christ.―We hear no more of them till the Carmelite missionary John a Jesu in Persia came upon a sect erroneously called Christians of St. John or Nazoreans.33 Authentic information about the doctrine, worship and constitution of this sect that still numbers some hundred families, was first obtained in the 19th century by an examination of their very comprehensive sacred literature, written in an Aramaic dialect very similar to that of the Babylonian Talmud. The most important of those writings the so-called Great Book (Sidra rabba), also called Ginza, that is, thesaurus, has been faithfully reproduced by Petermann under the title Thesaurus s. Liber magnus, etc., 2 vols., Berl., 1867.―Among themselves the adherents of this sect were styled Mandæans, after one of their numerous divine beings or æons, Manda de chaje, meaning γνῶσις τῆς ζωῆς. In their extremely complicated religious system, resembling in many respects the Ophite Gnosis (§ 27, 6) and Manicheism (§ 29), this Æon takes the place of the heavenly mediator in the salvation of the earthly world. Among those without, however, they called themselves Subba, Sabeans from צבא or צבע to baptize. Although they cannot be identified right off with the Disciples of John and Hemerobaptists, a historical connection between them, carrying with it gnostic and oriental-heathen influences, is highly probable. The name Sabean itself suggests this, but still more the position they assign to John the Baptist as the only true prophet over against Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. As adherents of John the Baptist rejected by the Jews the old Disciples of John had an anti-Jewish character, and by their own rejection of Christ an anti-Christian character. By shifting their residence to Babylon, however, they became so dependent on the Syro-Chaldean mythology, theosophy and theurgy, that they sank completely into paganism, and so their opposition to Judaism and Christianity increased into fanatical hatred and horrid calumniation.34

§ 25.2. The Samaritan Heresiarchs.

  1. Dositheus was according to Origen a contemporary of Jesus and the Apostles, and gave himself out as the prophet promised in Deut. xviii. 18. He insisted upon a curiously strict observance of the Sabbath, and according to Epiphanius he perished miserably in a cave in consequence of an ostentatiously prolonged fast. Purely fabulous are the stories of the Pseudo-Clementine writings (§ 28, 3) which bring him into contact with John the Baptist as his scholar and successor, and with Simon Magus as his defeated rival. More credible is the account of an Arabic-Samaritan Chronicle,35 according to which the sect of the Dostanians at the time of Simon Maccabæus traced their descent from a Samaritan tribe, while also the Catholic heresiologies (§ 26, 4) reckon the Dositheans among the pre-Christian sects. According to a statement of Eulogius of Alexandria recorded by Photius, the Dositheans and Samaritans in Egypt in A.D. 588 disputed as to the meaning of Deut. xviii. 18.
  2. Simon Magus, born, according to Justin Martyr, at Gitta in Samaria, appeared in his native country as a soothsayer with such success that the infatuated people hailed him as the δύναμις τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ καλουμένη μεγάλη. When Philip the Deacon preached the gospel in Samaria, Simon also received baptism from him, but was sternly denounced by Peter from whom he wished to buy the gift of communicating the Spirit (Acts viii). As to the identity of this man with Simon the Magician, according to Josephus hailing from Cyprus, who induced the Herodian Drusilla to quit her husband and become the wife of the Governor Felix (Acts xxiv. 24), it can scarcely claim to be more than a probability. A vast collection of fabulous legends soon grew up around the name of Simon Magus, not only from the Gentile-Christian and Catholic side, but also from the Jewish-Christian and heretical side; the latter to be still met with in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, while in the Acta Petri et Pauli, we have the Catholic revision and reproduction of the no longer extant Ebionistic Acts of Peter (§ 32, 6). These Judaizing heretics particularly amused themselves by making a very slightly veiled vile caricature of the great Apostle of the Gentiles by transferring to the name of the magician many distorted representations of occurrences in the life and works of the Apostle Paul. This representation, however, was recognised in the Acts above referred to and by the church fathers as originally descriptive of Simon Magus. On the basis of this legendary conglomerate Irenæus, after the example of Justin, describes him as Magister ac progenitor omnium hæreticorum. From a house of ill fame in Tyre he bought a slave girl Helena, to whom he assigned the role of the world creating Ἔννοια of God. The angels born of her for the purpose of creating the world had rebelled against her; she was enslaved, and was imprisoned, sometimes in this, sometimes in that, human body; at one time in the body of Helen of Troy, and at last in that of the Tyrian prostitute. In order to redeem her and with her the world enslaved by the rebel angels, the supreme God (ὁ ἐστώς) Himself came down and assumed the form of man, was born unbegotten of man, suffered in appearance in Judea, and reveals Himself to the Samaritans as Father, to the Jews as Son, and to the Gentiles as the Holy Spirit. The salvation of man consists simply in acknowledging Simon and his Helena as the supreme gods. By faith only, not by works, is man justified. The law originated with the evil angels and was devised by them merely to keep men in bondage under them. This last point is evidently transferred to the magician partly from the Apostle Paul, partly from Marcion (§ 27, 11), and is copied from Ebionite sources. The Simon myth is specially rich in legends about the magician’s residence in Rome, to which place he had betaken himself after being often defeated in disputation by the Apostle Peter, and where he was so successful that the Romans erected a column in his honour on an island in the Tiber, which Justin Martyr himself is said to have seen, bearing the inscription: Simoni sancto Deo. The discovery in A.D. 1574 of the column dedicated to the Sabine god of oaths, inscribed “Semoni Sanco Deo Fidio,” explains how such a legend may have arisen out of a misunderstanding. Although by a successful piece of jugglery―decapitation and rising again the third day, having substituted for himself a goat whom he had bewitched to assume his appearance, whose head was cut off―he won the special favour of Nero, he was thereafter in public disputation before the emperor unmasked by Peter. In order to rehabilitate himself he offered to prove his divine power by ascending up into heaven. For this purpose he mounted a high tower. Peter adjured the angel of Satan, which carried him through the air, and the magician fell with a crash to the ground. Probably there is here transferred to one magician what is told by Suetonius (Nero, xii.) and Juvenal (Sat. iii. 79 ff.) as happening to a soothsayer in Nero’s time who made an attempt to fly. The school of Baur (§ 182, 7), after Baur himself had discovered in the Simon Magus of the Clementine Homilies a caricature of the Apostle Paul, has come to question the existence of the magician altogether, and has attempted to account for the myth as originating from the hatred of the Jewish Christians to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Support for this view is sought from Acts viii., the offering of money by the magician being regarded as a maliciously distorted account of the contribution conveyed by Paul to the church at Jerusalem.36 Recently, however, Hilgenfeld, who previously maintained this view, has again recognised as well grounded the tradition of the Church Fathers, that Simon was the real author of the ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις, and has carried out this idea in his “Ketzergeschichte.”
  3. Menander was, according to Justin Martyr, a disciple of Simon. Subsequently he undertook to play the part of the Saviour of the world. In doing so, however, he was always, as Irenæus remarks, modest enough not to give himself out as the supreme god, but only as the Messiah sent by Him. He taught, however, that any one who should receive his baptism would never become old or die.37


§ 26. Gnosticism in General.38

The Judaism and paganism imported into the church proved more dangerous to it than the storm of persecution raging against it from without. Ebionism (§ 28) was the result of the attempt to incorporate into Christianity the narrow particularism of Judaism; Heretical Gnosis or Gnosticism was the result of the attempt to blend with Christianity the religious notions of pagan mythology, mysteriology, theosophy and philosophy. These two tendencies, moreover, were combined in a Gnostic Ebionism, in the direction of which Essenism may be regarded as a transitional stage (§ 8, 4). In many respects Manichæism (§ 29), which sprang up at a later period, is related to the Gnosticism of Gentile Christianity, but also in character and tendency widely different from it. The church had to employ all her powers to preserve herself from this medley of religious fancies and to purify her fields from the weeds that were being sown on every side. In regard to Ebionism and its gnosticizing developments this was a comparatively easy task. The Gnosticism of Gentile Christianity was much more difficult to deal with, and although the church succeeded in overcoming the weed in her fields, yet many of its seeds continued hidden for centuries, from which sprouts grew up now and again quite unexpectedly (§§ 5471, 108). This struggle has nevertheless led to the furtherance of the church in many ways, awakening in it a sense of scientific requirements, stirring it up to more vigorous battling for the truth, and endowing it with a more generous and liberal spirit. It had learnt to put a Christian gnosis in the place of the heretical, a right and wholesome use of speculation and philosophy, of poetry and art, in place of their misuse, and thus enabled Christianity to realise its universal destination.

§ 26.1. Gnosticism was deeply rooted in a powerful and characteristic intellectual tendency of the first century. A persistent conviction that the ancient world had exhausted itself and was no longer able to resist its threatened overthrow, now prevailed and drove the deepest thinkers to adopt the boldest and grandest Syncretism the world has ever beheld, in the blending of all the previously isolated and heterogeneous elements of culture as a final attempt at the rejuvenating of that which had become old (§ 25). Even within the borders of the church this Syncretism favoured by the prevailing spirit of the age influenced those of superior culture, to whom the church doctrine of that age did not seem to make enough of theosophical principles and speculative thought, while the worship of the church seemed dry and barren. Out of the fusing of cosmological myths and philosophemes of oriental and Greek paganism with Christian historical elements in the crucible of its own speculation, there arose numerous systems of a higher fantastic sort of religious philosophy, which were included under the common name of Gnosticism. The pagan element is upon the whole the prevailing one, inasmuch as in most Gnostic systems Christianity is not represented as the conclusion and completion of the development of salvation given in the Old Testament, but often merely as the continuation and climax of the pagan religion of nature and the pagan mystery worship. The attitude of this heretical gnosis toward holy scripture was various. By means of allegorical interpretation some endeavoured to prove their system from it; others preferred to depreciate the Apostles as falsifiers of the original purely gnostic doctrine of Christ, or to remodel the apostolic writings in accordance with their own views, or even to produce a bible of their own after the principles of their own schools in the form of gnostic pseudepigraphs. With them, however, for the most part the tradition of ancient wisdom as the communicated secret doctrine stood higher than holy scripture. Over against the heretical gnosis, an ecclesiastical gnosis was developed, especially in the Alexandrian school of theology (Clement and Origen, § 31, 45), which, according to 1 Cor. xii. 8, 9; xiii. 2, was esteemed and striven after as, in contradistinction to faith, a higher stage in the development of the religious consciousness. The essential distinction between the two consisted in this, that the latter was determined, inspired and governed by the believing consciousness of the universal church, as gradually formulated in the church confession, whereas the former, completely emancipated therefrom, disported itself in the unrestricted arbitrariness of fantastic speculation.

§ 26.2. The Problems of Gnostic Speculation are: the origin of the world and of evil, as well as the task, means and end of the world’s development. In solving these problems the Gnostics borrowed mostly from paganism the theory of the world’s origin, and from Christianity the idea of redemption. At the basis of almost all Gnostic systems there lies the dualism of God and matter (ὕλη); only that matter is regarded sometimes in a Platonic sense as non-essential and non-substantial (=μὴ ὄν) and hence without hostile opposition to the godhead, sometimes more in the Parsee sense as inspired and dominated by an evil principle, and hence in violent opposition to the good God. In working out the theosophical and cosmological process it is mainly the idea of emanation (προβολή) that is called into play, whereby from the hidden God is derived a long series of divine essences (αἰῶνες), whose inherent divine power diminishes in proportion as they are removed to a distance from the original source of being. These æons then make their appearance as intermediaries in the creation, development and redemption of the world. The substratum out of which the world is created consists in a mixture of the elements of the world of light (πλήρωμα) with the elements of matter (κένωμα) by means of nature, chance or conflict. One of the least and weakest of the æons, who is usually designated Δημιουργός, after the example of Plato in the Timæus, is brought forward as the creator of the world. Creation is the first step toward redemption. But the Demiurge cannot or will not carry it out, and so finally there appears in the fulness of the times one of the highest æons as redeemer, in order to secure perfect emancipation to the imprisoned elements of light by the communication of the γνῶσις. Seeing that matter is derived from the evil, he appears in a seeming body or at baptism identifies himself with the psychical Messiah sent by the Demiurge. The death on the cross is either only an optical illusion, or the heavenly Christ, returning to the pleroma, quits the man Jesus, or gives His form to some other man (Simon of Cyrene, Matt. xxvii. 32) so that he is crucified instead of Him (Docetism). The souls of men, according as the pleromatic or hylic predominates in them, are in their nature, either Pneumatic, which alone are capable of the γνῶσις, or Psychical, which can only aspire to πίστις, or finally, Hylic (χοϊκοί, σαρκικοί), to which class the great majority belongs, which, subject to Satanic influences, serve only their lower desires. Redemption consists in the conquest and exclusion of matter, and is accomplished through knowledge (γνῶσις) and asceticism. It is therefore a chemical, rather than an ethical process. Seeing that the original seat of evil is in matter, sanctification is driven from the ethical domain into the physical, and consists in battling with matter and withholding from material enjoyments. The Gnostics were thus originally very strict in their moral discipline, but often they rushed to the other extreme, to libertinism and antinomianism, in consequence partly of the depreciation of the law of the Demiurge, partly of the tendency to rebound from one extreme to the other, and justified their conduct on the ground of παραχρῆσθαι τῇ σαρκί.

§ 26.3. Distribution.Gieseler groups the Gentile Christian Gnostics according to their native countries into Egyptian or Alexandrian, whose emanationist and dualistic theories were coloured by Platonism, and the Syrian, whose views were affected by Parseeism.―Neander divides Gnostic systems into Judaistic and Anti-Jewish, subdividing the latter into such as incline to Paganism, and such as strive to apprehend Christianity in its purity and simplicity.―Hase arranges them as Oriental, Greek and Christian.―Baur classifies the Gnostic systems as those which endeavour to combine Judaism and paganism with Christianity, and those which oppose Christianity to these.―Lipsius marks three stages in the development of Gnosticism: the blending of Asiatic myths with a Jewish and Christian basis which took place in Syria; the further addition to this of Greek philosophy either Stoicism or Platonism which was carried out in Egypt; and recurrence to the ethical principles of Christianity, the elevation of πίστις above γνῶσις.―Hilgenfeld arranges his discussion of these systems in accordance with their place in the early heresiologies.―But none of these arrangements can be regarded as in every respect satisfactory, and indeed it may be impossible to lay down any principle of distribution of such a kind. There are so many fundamental elements and these of so diverse a character, that no one scheme of division may suffice for an adequate classification of all Gnostic systems. The difficulty was further enhanced by the contradiction, approximation, and confusion of systems, and by their construction and reconstruction, of which Rome as the capital of the world was the great centre.

§ 26.4. Sources of Information.―Abundant as the literary productions were which assumed the name or else without the name developed the principles of Gnosticism, comparatively little of this literature has been preserved. We are thus mainly dependent upon the representations of its catholic opponents, and to them also we owe the preservation of many authentic fragments. The first church teacher who ex professo deals with Gnosticism is Justin Martyr (§ 30, 9), whose controversial treatise, however, as well as that of Hegesippus (§ 31, 7), has been lost. The most important of extant treatises of this kind are those of Irenæus in five books Adv. hæreses, and of Hippolytus Ἔλεγχος κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων, the so-called Philosophoumena (§ 31, 3). The Σύνταγμα κ. π. αἱρ. of Hippolytus is no longer extant in the original; a Latin translation of it apparently exists in the Libellus adv. omnes hæreses, which has been attributed to Tertullian. Together with the work of Irenæus, it formed a query for the later heresiologists, Epiphanius and Philaster (§ 47, 1014), who were apparently unacquainted with the later written but more important and complete Elenchus. Besides these should be mentioned the writings of Tertullian (§ 31, 10) and Theodoret (§ 47, 9) referring to this controversy, the Stromata of Clement of Alexandria, and the published discussions of Origen (§ 31, 45), especially in his Commentary on John, also the five Dialogues of the Pseudo-Origen (Adamantius) against the Gnostics from the beginning of the fourth century;39 and finally many notices in the Church History of Eusebius. The still extant fragments of the Gnostic Apocryphal historian of the Apostles afford information about the teaching and forms of worship of the later syncretic vulgar Gnosticism, and also from the very defective representations of them in the works of their Catholic opponents.

§ 27. The Gentile Christian Gnosticism.

In the older heretical Gnosticism (§ 18, 3), Jewish, pagan, and Christian elements are found, which are kept distinct, or are amalgamated or after examination are rejected, what remains being developed, consolidated and distributed, but in a confused blending. This is the case with Cerinthus. In Basilides again, who attaches himself to the doctrines of Stoicism, we have Gnosticism developed under the influence of Alexandrian culture; and soon thereafter in Valentinus, who builds on Plato’s philosophy, it attains its richest, most profound and noblest expression. From the blending of Syro-Chaldæan mythology with Greek and Hellenistic-Gnostic theories issue the divers Ophite systems. Antinomian Gnosticism with loose practical morality was an outgrowth from the contempt shown to the Jewish God that created the world and gave the law. The genuinely Syrian Gnosticism with its Parseeist-dualistic ruggedness was most purely represented by Saturninus, while in Marcion and his scholars the exaggeration of the Pauline opposition of law and grace led to a dualistic contrast of the God of the Old Testament and of the New. From the middle of the second century onwards there appears in the historical development of Gnosticism an ever-increasing tendency to come to terms with the doctrine of the church. This is shown by the founders of new sects, Marcion, Tatian, Hermogenes; and also by many elaborators of early systems, by Heracleon, Ptolomæus and Bardesanes who developed the Valentinian system, in the so-called Pistis Sophia, as the exposition of the Ophite system. This tendency to seek reconciliation with the church is also shown in a kind of syncretic popular or vulgar Gnosticism which sought to attach itself more closely to the church by the composition of apocryphal and pseudepigraphic Gospels and Acts of Apostles under biblical names and dates (§ 32, 4-6).―The most brilliant period in the history of Gnosticism was the second century, commencing with the age of Hadrian. At the beginning of the third century there was scarcely one of the more cultured congregations throughout the whole of the Roman empire and beyond this as far as Edessa, that was not affected by it. Yet we never find the numbers of regular Gnostic congregations exceeding that of the Catholic. Soon thereafter the season of decay set in. Its productive power was exhausted, and while, on the one side, it was driven back by the Catholic ecclesiastical reaction, on the other hand, in respect of congregational organization it was outrun and outbidden by Manichæism, and also by Marcionism.

§ 27.1. Cerinthus, as Irenæus says, resting on the testimony of Polycarp, was a younger contemporary of the Apostle John in Asia Minor; the Apostle meeting the heretic in a bath hastened out lest the building should fall upon the enemy of the truth. In his Gnosticism, resting according to Hippolytus on a basis of Alexandrian-Greek culture, we have the transition from the Jewish-Christian to a more Gentile than Jewish-Christian Gnostic standpoint. The continued hold of the former is seen according to Epiphanius in the maintaining of the necessity of circumcision and of the observances by Christians of the law given by disposition of angels, as also, according to Caius of Rome, who regards him as the author of the New Testament Apocalypse, in chiliastic expectations. Both of these, however, were probably intended only in the allegorical and spiritual sense. At the same time, according to Irenæus and Theodoret, the essentially Gnostic figure of the Demiurge already appears in his writings, who without knowing the supreme God is yet useful to Him as the creator of the world. Even Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary, knew him not, until the ἄνω Χριστός descended upon him at his baptism. Before the crucifixion, which was a merely human mischance without any redemptive significance, the Christ had again withdrawn from him.

§ 27.2. The Gnosticism of Basilides.Basilides (Βασιλείδης) was a teacher in Alexandria about A.D. 120-130. He pretends to derive the gnostic system from the notes of the esoteric teaching of Christ taken down by the Apostle Matthew and an amanuensis of Peter called Glaucias. He also made use of John’s Gospel and Paul’s Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians. He himself left behind 24 books Ἐξηγητικά and his equally talented son Isidorus has left a treatise under the title Ἠθικά. Fragments of both are found in Clement of Alexandria, two passages from the first are given also in the “Acts of Disputation,” by Archelaus of Cascar (§ 29, 1). Irenæus, i. 24, who refers to him as a disciple of Menander (§ 25, 2), and the Pseudo-Tertullian, c. 41, Epiphanius, 21, and Theodoret, i. 4, describe his system as grossly dualistic and decidedly emanationist. Hippolytus, vii. 14 ff., on the other hand, with whom Clement seems to agree, describes it as a thoroughly monistic system, in which the theogony is developed not by emanation from above downwards but by evolution from below upwards. This latter view which undoubtedly presents this system in a more favourable light,―according to Baur, Uhlhorn, Jacobi, Möller, Funk, etc., its original form: according to Hilgenfeld, Lipsius, Volkmar, etc., a later form influenced by later interpolations of Greek pantheistic ideas,―makes the development of God and the world begin with pure nothing: ἦν ὅτε ἦν οὐδέν. The principle of all development is ὁ οὐκ ὢν θεός, who out of Himself (ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων) calls chaos into being. This chaos was still itself an οὐκ ὄν, but yet also the πανσπερμία τοῦ κόσμου upon which now the οὐκ ὢν θεός as ἀκίνητος κινητής operated attractively by his beauty. The pneumatic element in the newly created chaos is represented in a threefold sonship (υἱότης τριμερής) of which the first and most perfect immediately after creation with the swiftness of thought takes its flight to the happy realm of non-existence, the Pleroma. The second less perfect sonship struggles after the first (hence called, μιμητική), but must, on reaching the borders of the happy realm, cast aside the less perfect part of its being, which now as the Holy Spirit (μεθόριον πνεῦμα) forms the vestibule (στερέωμα) or boundary line between the Pleroma (τὰ ὑπερκόσμια) and the cosmos, and although severed from the sonship, still, like a vessel out of which sweet ointment has been taken, it bears to this lower world some of the perfume adhering to it. The third sonship being in need of purifying must still remain in the Panspermia, and is as such the subject of future redemption. On the other hand, the greatest archon as the most complete concentration of all wisdom, might and glory which was found in the psychical elements of chaos, flew up to the firmament as ἀῤῥητῶν ἀῤῥητότερος. He now fancied himself to be the Supreme God and ruler of all things, and begot a son, who according to the predetermination of the non-existing excelled him in insight and wisdom. For himself and Son, having with them besides six other unnamed principalities, he founded the higher heavens, the so-called Ogdoas. After him there arose of chaos a second inferior Archon with the predicate ἄῤῥητος, who likewise begat a son mightier than himself, and founded a lower heavenly realm, the so-called Hebdomas, the planetary heavens. The rest of the Panspermia was the developed κατὰ φύσιν, that is, in accordance with the natural principle implanted in it by the non-existent “at our stage” (τὸ διάστημα τὸ καθ’ ἡμᾶς). As the time drew near for the manifestation of the children of God, that is, of men whose pneumatical endowment was derived from the third sonship, the son of the great Archon through the mediation of the μεθόριον πνεῦμα first devised the saving plan of the Pleroma. With fear and trembling now the great Archon too acknowledged his error, repented of this self-exaltation and with the whole Ogdoas rejoiced in the scheme of salvation. Through him also the son of the second Archon is enlightened, and he instructs his father, who now as the God of the Old Testament prepares the way for the development of salvation by the law and prophecy. The beginning is made by Jesus, son of the virgin Mary, who first himself absorbed the ray of the higher light, and as “the firstborn of the children of God” became also the Saviour (σωτήρ) of his brethren. His sufferings were necessary for removing the psychical and somatical elements of the Panspermia adhering to him. They were therefore actual, not mere seeming sufferings. His bodily part returned to the formlessness out of which it sprang; his psychical part arose from the grave, but in his ascension returned into the Hebdomas, while his pneumatic being belonging to the third sonship went up to the happy seat of the οὐκ ὢν θεός. And as he, the firstborn, so also all the children of God, have afterwards to perform their task of securing the highest possible development and perfection of the groaning creation (Rom. viii. 19), that is, of all souls which by their nature are eternally bound “to our stage.” Then finally, God will pour over all ranks of being beginning from the lowest the great ignorance (τὴν μεγάλην ἄγνοιαν) so that no one may be disturbed in their blessedness by the knowledge of a higher. Thus the restitution of all things is accomplished.―The mild spirit which pervades this dogmatic system preserved from extravagances of a rigoristic or libertine sort the ethical system resulting from it. Marriage was honoured and regarded as holy, though celibacy was admitted to be helpful in freeing the soul from the thraldom of fleshly lusts.

§ 27.3. The system set forth by Irenæus and others, as that of Basilides, represents the Supreme God as Pater innatus or θεὸς ἄῤῥητος. From him emanates the Νοῦς, from this again the Λόγος, from this the Φρόνησις, who brings forth Σοφία and Δύναμις. From the two last named spring the Ἀρχαί, Ἐξουσίαι and Ἄγγελοι, who with number seven of the higher gods, the primal father, at their head, constitute the highest heaven. From this as its ἀντίτυπος radiates forth a second spiritual world, and the emanation continues in this way, until it is completed and exhausts itself in the number of 365 spiritual worlds or heavens under the mystic name Ἀβραξάς or Ἀβρασάξ which has in its letters the numerical value referred to. This last and most imperfect of these spiritual worlds with its seven planet spirits forms the heaven visible to us. Through this three hundred and sixty-five times repeated emanation the Pleroma approaches the borders of the hyle, a seething mass of forces wildly tossing against one another. These rush wildly against it, snatch from it fragments of light and imprison them in matter. From this mixture the Archon of the lowest heaven in fellowship with his companions creates the earth, and to each of them apportions by lot a nation, reserving to himself the Jewish nation which he seeks to raise above all other nations, and so introduces envy and ambition into heaven, and war and bloodshed upon earth. Finally, the Supreme God sends his First-born, the Νοῦς, in order to deliver men from the power of the angel that created the world. He assumes the appearance of a body, and does many miracles. The Jews determined upon his death; nevertheless they crucified instead of him Simon the Cyrenian, who assumed his shape. He himself returned to his Father. By means of the Gnosis which he taught men’s souls are redeemed, while their bodies perish.―The development of one of these systems into the other might be most simply explained by assuming that the one described in the Elenchus of Hippolytus is the original and that its reconstruction was brought about by the overpowering intrusion of current dualistic, emanationistic, and docetic ideas. All that had there been said about the great Archon must now be attributed to the Supreme God, the Pater innatus, while the inferior archon might keep his place as ruler of the lowest planetary heaven. The 365 spiritual worlds had perhaps in the other system a place between the two Archons, for even Hippolytus, vii. 26, mentions in addition the 365 heavens to which also he gives the name of the great Archon Abrasax.―It is a fact of special importance that even Irenæus and Epiphanius distinguish from the genuine disciples of Basilides the so-called Pseudo-Basilideans as representing a later development, easily deducible from the second but hardly traceable from the first account of the system. That with their Gnosis they blended magic, witchcraft and fantastic superstition appears from the importance which they attached to mystic numbers and letters. Their libertine practice can be derived from their antinomian contempt of Judaism as well as from the theory that their bodies are doomed to perish. So, too, their axiom that to suffer martyrdom for the crucified, who was not indeed the real Christ, is foolish, may be deduced from the Docetism of their system. Abrasax gems which are still to be met with in great numbers and in great variety are to be attributed to these Basilideans; but these found favour and were used as talismans not only among other Gnostic sects but also among the Alchymists of the Middle Ages.

§ 27.4. Valentinian Gnosticism.Valentinus, the most profound, talented and imaginative of all the Gnostics, was educated in Alexandria, and went to Rome about A.D. 140, where, during a residence of more than twenty years, he presided over an influential school, and exercised also a powerful influence upon other systems. He drew the materials for his system partly from holy scripture, especially from the Gospel of John, partly from the esoteric doctrine of a pretended disciple of Paul, Theodades. Of his own voluminous writings, in the form of discourses, epistles and poems, only a few fragments are extant. The reporters of his teaching, Irenæus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Epiphanius, differ greatly from one another in details, and leave us in doubt as to what really belongs to his own doctrine and what to its development by his disciples―The fundamental idea of his system rests on the notion that according to a law founded in the depths of the divine nature the æons by emanation come into being as pairs, male and female. The pairing of these æons in a holy marriage is called a Syzygy. With this is joined another characteristic notion, that in the historical development of the Pleroma the original types of the three great crises of the earthly history, Creation, the Fall, and Redemption, are met with. On the basis of this he develops the most magnificently poetic epic of a Christian mythological Theogony and Cosmogony. From the Βυθός or Αὐτοπάτωρ and its Ἔννοια or Σιγή, evolving his thought hitherto only in silent contemplation of his own perfection, emanates the first and highest pair of æons, the Νοῦς or Μονογενής who alone of all æons can bear to look into the depths of the perfection of the Father of all, and beside him his bride Ἀλήθεια. From them spring the Λόγος and Ζωή as the second pair, and from this pair again Ἄνθρωπος and Ἐκκλησία as the third pair. The Αὐτοπάτωρ and his Ennoia, with the first and highest pair of æons emanating for them, and these together with the second Tetras, form the Ogdoas. The Logos then begets a further removed circle of five pairs, the Decas, and finally the Anthropos begets the last series of six pairs, the Dodecas. Therewith the Pleroma attains a preliminary completion. A final boundary is fixed for it by the Ὅρος emanating from the Father of all, who, being alone raised above the operation of the law of the Syzygy, is endowed with a twofold ἐνεργεία, an ἐνεργεία διοριστική, by means of which he wards off all from without that would hurt, and an ἐνεργεία ἑδραστική, the symbol of which is the cross, with which he maintains inward harmony and order. How necessary this was is soon made apparent. For the Σοφία, the last and least member of the fourteen æon pairs, impelled by burning desire, tears herself away from her partner, and seeks to plunge into the Bythos in order to embrace the Father of All himself. She is indeed prevented from this by the Horos; but the breach in the Pleroma has been made. In order to restore the harmony that has thus been broken, the Monogenes begets with Aletheia a new æon pair, the Ἄνω Χριστός and the Πνεῦμα ἅγιον which emancipates the Sophia from her disorderly, passionate nature (Ἐνθύμησις), cuts out this latter from the Pleroma, but unites again the purified Sophia with her husband, and teaches all the æons about the Father’s unapproachable and incomprehensible essence, and about the reason and end of the Syzygies. Then they all, amid hymns of praise and thanksgiving, present an offering to the Father, each one of the best that he has, and form thereof an indescribably glorious æon-being, the Ἄνω Σωτήρ, and for his service myriads of august angels, who bow in worship before him.―The basis for the origination of the sensible world, the Ὑστέρημα, consist of the Enthymesis ejected from the Pleroma into the desert, void and substanceless Kenoma, which is by it for the first time filled and vitalized. It is an ἔκτρωμα, an abortion, which however retains still the æon nature of its divine present, and as such bears the name of Ἔξω (κάτω) Σοφία or Ἀχαμώθ (הַחָכְמוֹת). Hence even the blessed spirits of the Pleroma can never forsake her. They all suffer with the unfortunate, until she who had sprung from the Pleroma is restored to it purified and matured. Hence they espouse her, the Ektroma of the last and least of the æons, to the Ano-Soter, the noblest, most glorious and most perfect being in the æon-heaven, as her redeemer and future husband. He begins by comforting the despondent and casting out from her the baser affections. Among the worst, fear, sorrow, doubt, etc., is found the basis of the hylic stage of existence; among the better, repentance, desire, hope, etc., that of the psychic stage of existence (φύσεις). Over the beings issuing forth from the former presides Satan; over the psychical forms of being, as their highest development, presides the Demiurge, who prepares as his dwelling-place the seven lower heavens, the Hebdomas. But Achamoth had retired with the pneumatic substratum still remaining in her into the Τόπος τῆς μεσότητος, between the Pleroma and the lower world, whence she, inspired by the Ano-Soter, operates upon the Demiurge, who, knowing nothing of her existence, has no anticipation thereof. From the dust of the earth and pneumatic seed, which unobserved she conveys into it, he formed man, breathed into him his own psychical breath of life, and set him in paradise, that is, in the third of his seven heavens, but banished him to earth, when he disobeyed his command, and instead of his first ethereal garment clothed him in a material body. When men had spread upon the earth, they developed these different natures: Pneumatical, which free from the bondage of every outward law and not subject to the impulses of the senses, a law unto themselves, travel toward the Pleroma; next, the Hylic, which, hostile to all spirit and law, and the sport of all lusts and passions, are doomed to irremediable destruction; and finally, the Psychical, which under the discipline of outward law attain not indeed to a perfect divine life, but yet to outward righteousness, while on the other hand they may sink down to the rank and condition of the Hylic natures. The Psychical natures were particularly numerous among the Jews. Therefore the Demiurge chose them as his own, and gave them a strict law and through his prophets promised them a future Messiah. The Hylic natures which were found mostly among the heathens, were utterly hateful to him. The Pneumatical natures with their innate longing after the Pleroma, he did not understand and therefore disregarded; but yet, without knowing or designing it, he chose many of them for kings, priests, and prophets of his people, and to his amazement heard from their lips prophecies of a higher soul, which originated from Achamoth, and which he did not understand. When the time was fulfilled, he sent his Messiah in the person of Jesus. When he was baptized by John, the heaven opened over him and the Ano-Soter descended upon him. The Demiurge saw it and was astonished, but submitted himself awe-stricken to the will of the superior deities. The Soter remained then a year upon the earth. The Jews, refusing to receive him, nailed his organ, the psychical Messiah, to a cross; but his sufferings were only apparent sufferings, since the Demiurge had supplied him in his origin with an ethereal and only seemingly material body. In consequence of the work of the Ano-Soter the Pneumatical natures by means of the Gnosis taught by him, but the Psychical natures by means of Pistis, attain unto perfection after their kind. When once everything pneumatical and psychical which was bound up in matter, has been freed from it, the course of the world has reached its end and the longed-for time of Achamoth’s marriage will have come. Accompanied by myriads of his angels, the Soter leads the noble sufferer into the Pleroma. The pneumatical natures follow her, and as the Soter is married to Achamoth, the angels are married to them. The Demiurge goes with his tried and redeemed saints into the Τόπος τῆς μεσότητος. But from the depths of the Hyle breaks forth a hidden fire which utterly consumes the Hylic natures and the Hyle itself.40

§ 27.5. According to Hippolytus the Valentinian school split up into two parties―an Italian party, the leaders of which, Heracleon and Ptolemæus [Ptolemy], were at Rome, and an Eastern party to which Axionicus and Bardesanes belonged. Heracleon of Alexandria was a man of a profoundly religious temperament, who in his speculation inclined considerably toward the doctrine of the church, and even wrote the first commentary on the Gospel of John, of which many fragments are preserved in Origen’s commentary on that gospel. Ptolemæus [Ptolemy] drew even closer than his master to the church doctrine. Epiphanius quotes a letter of his to his pupil Flora in which, after Marcion’s example (see § 27, 11), the distinction of the divine and the demiurgical in the Old Testament, and the relation of the Old Testament to the New, are discussed. A position midway between that of the West and of the East is apparently represented by Marcus and his school. He combined with the doctrine of Valentinus the Pythagorean and cabbalistic mysticism of numbers and letters, and joined thereto magical and soothsaying arts. His followers, the Marcosians, had a form of worship full of ceremonial observances, with a twofold baptism, a psychical one in the Kato-Christus for the forgiveness of sins, and a pneumatical one for affiance with the future heavenly syzygy. Of the Antiochean Axionicus we know nothing but the name. Of far greater importance was Bardesanes, who flourished according to Eusebius in the time of Marcus Aurelius, but is assigned by authentic Syrian documents to the beginning of the third century. The chief sources of information about his doctrine are the 56 rhyming discourses of Ephraem [Ephraim] against the heretics. Living at the court and enjoying the favour of the king of Edessa, he never attacked in his sermons the doctrinal system of the church, but spread his Gnostic views built upon a Valentinian basis in lofty hymns of which, besides numerous fragments in Ephraem [Ephraim], some are preserved in the apocryphal Acta Thomae (§ 32, 6). Among his voluminous writings there was a controversial treatise against the Marcionites (see § 27, 11). In a Dialogue, Περὶ εἱμαρμένης, attributed to him, but probably belonging to one of his disciples named Philippus, from which Eusebius (Præp. Ev. vi. 10) quotes a passage, the Syrian original of which, “The Book of the Laws of the Land,” was only recently discovered,41 astrology and fatalism are combated from a Christian standpoint, although the author is still himself dominated by many Zoroastrian ideas. Harmonius, the highly gifted son of Bardesanes, distinguished himself by the composition of hymns in a similar spirit.

§ 27.6. The Ophites and related Sects.―The multiform Ophite Gnosis is in general characterized by fantastic combinations of Syro-Chaldaic myths and Biblical history with Greek mythology, philosophy and mysteriosophy. In all its forms the serpent (ὄφις, נָחָשׁ) plays an important part, sometimes as Kakodemon, sometimes as Agathodemon. This arose from the place that the serpent had in the Egyptian and Asiatic cosmology as well as in the early biblical history. One of the oldest forms of Ophitism is described by Hippolytus, who gives to its representatives the name of Naassenes, from נָחָשׁ. The formless original essence, ὁ προών, revealed himself in the first men, Ἀδάμας, Adam, Cadmon, in whom the pneumatic, psychical and hylic principles were still present together. As the instrument in creation he is called Logos or Hermes. The serpent is revered as Agathodemon; it proceeds from the Logos, transmitting the stream of life to all creatures. Christ, the redeemer, is the earthly representative of the first man, and brings peace to all the three stages of life, because he, by his teaching, directs every one to a mode of life in accordance with his nature.―The Sethites, according to Hippolytus, taught that there were two principles: an upper one, τὸ φῶς, an under one, τὸ σκότος, and between these τὸ πνεῦμα, the atmosphere that moves and causes motion. From a blending of light with darkness arose chaos, in which the pneuma awakened life. Then from chaos sprang the soul of the world as a serpent, which became the Demiurge. Man had a threefold development: hylic or material in Cain, psychical in Abel, and pneumatical in Seth, who was the first Gnostic.―The founders of the Perates, who were already known to Clement of Alexandria, are called by Hippolytus Euphrates and Celbes. Their name implies that they withdrew from the world of sense in order to secure eternal life here below, περᾶν τὴν φθοράν. The original divine unity, they taught, had developed into a Trinity: τὸ ἀγέννητον, ἀυτογενές and γεννητόν, the Father, the Son, and the Hyle. The Son is the world serpent that moves and quickens all things (καθολικός ὄφις). It is his task to restore everything that has sunk down from the two higher worlds into the lower, and is held fast by its Archon. Sometimes he turns himself serpent-like to his Father and assumes his divine attributes, sometimes to the lower world to communicate them to it. In the shape of a serpent he delivers Eve from the law of the Archon. All who are outlawed by this Archon, Cain, Nimrod, etc., belong to him. Moses, too, is an adherent of his, who erected in the wilderness the healing brazen serpent to represent him, while the fiery biting serpent of the desert represent the demons of the Archon. The Cainites, spoken of by Irenæus and Epiphanius, were closely connected with the Perates. All the men characterized in the Old Testament as godless are esteemed by them genuine pneumatical beings and martyrs for the truth. The first who distinguished himself in conflict with the God of the Jews was Cain; the last who led the struggle on to victory, by bringing the psychical Messiah through his profound sagacity to the cross, was Judas Iscariot. The Gnostic Justin is known to us only through Hippolytus, who draws his information from a Book of Baruch. He taught that from the original essence, ὁ Ἀγαθός or Κύριος, יְהוָֹה, emanated a male principle, Ἐλωείμ, אֱלֹהִים, which had a pneumatical nature, and a female principle, Ἐδέμ, עֵדֶן, which was above man (psychical) and below the serpent (hylic). From the union of this pair sprang twelve ἄγγελοι πατρικοί, who had in them the father’s nature, and twelve ἄγγελοι μητρικοί, on whom the mother’s nature was impressed. Together they formed Paradise, in which Baruch, an angel of Elohim, represented the tree of life, and Naas, an Edem-angel, represented the tree of knowledge. The Elohim-angel formed man out of the dust of Paradise; Edem gave him a soul, Elohim gave him a spirit. Pressing upward by means of his pneumatical nature Elohim raised himself to the borders of the realms of light. The Agathos took him and set him at his right hand. The forsaken Edem avenged himself by giving power to Naas to grieve the spirit of Elohim in man. He tempted Eve to commit adultery with him, and got Adam to commit unnatural vice with him. In order to show the grieved spirit of man the way to heaven, Elohim sent Baruch first to Moses and afterwards to other Prophets of the Old Testament; but Naas frustrated all his efforts. Even from among the heathen Elohim raised up prophets, such as Hercules whom he sent to fight against the twelve Edem-angels (his twelve labours), but one of them named Babel or Aphrodite robbed even this divine hero of his power (a reminiscence of the story of Omphale). Finally, Elohim sent Baruch to the peasant boy Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary. He resisted all the temptations of Naas, who therefore got him nailed upon the cross. Jesus commended his spirit into the hands of the Father, into whose heaven he ascended, leaving his body and soul with Edem. So, after his example, do all the pious.

§ 27.7. The Gnosis of the Ophites, described by Irenæus, etc., is distinguished from that of the earlier Naasenes [Naassenes] by its incorporation of Valentinian and dualistic or Saturninian (see § 27, 9) ideas. From the Bythos who, as the primary being, is also called the first man, Adam Cadmon, emanates the thought, ἔννοια, of himself as the second man or son of man, and from him the Holy Spirit or the Ano-Sophia, who in turn bears the Ano-Christus and Achamoth. The latter, an imperfect being of light, who is also called Προύνικος, which according to Epiphanius means πόρνη, drives about through the dark ocean of chaos, over which the productive mother, the Holy Spirit, broods, in order to found for himself in it an independent world of his own. There dense matter unites with the element of light and darkens it to such a degree that even the consciousness of its own divine origin begins to fade away from it. In this condition of estrangement from God she produces the Demiurge, Jaldabaoth, יַלְדָּא בָּהוּת, son of chaos; and he, a wicked as well as limited being, full of arrogance and pride, determines that he himself alone will be lord and master in the world which he creates. This brings Achamoth to penitent deliberation. By the vigorous exercise of all the powers of light dwelling in her, and strengthened by a gleam of light from above, she succeeds in raising herself from the realm of chaos into the Τόπος τῆς μεσότητος. Nevertheless Jaldabaoth brought forth six star spirits or planets after his own image, and placed himself as the seventh at their head. But they too think of rebelling. Enraged at this Jaldabaoth glances wildly upon the deep-lying slime of the Hyle; his frightfully distorted countenance is mirrored in this refuse of chaos; the image there comes to life and forms Ophiomorphus or Satan. By order of Jaldabaoth the star spirits make man; but they produce only an awkward spiritless being that creeps along the ground. In order to quicken it and make it stand erect the Demiurge breathes into it his own breath, but thereby deprives himself of a great part of that pneumatical element which he had from his mother. The so-called fall, in which Ophiomorphus or the serpent was only the unconscious instrument of Achamoth, is in truth the beginning of the redemption of man, the advance to self-consciousness and moral freedom. But as a punishment for his disobedience Jaldabaoth drove him out of the higher material world, Paradise, into the lower, where he was exposed to the annoyances of Ophiomorphus, who also brought the majority of mankind, the heathens, under his authority, while the Jews served Jaldabaoth, and only a small number of pneumatical natures by the help of Achamoth kept themselves free from both. The prophets whom Jaldabaoth sent to his people, were at the same time unconscious organs of Achamoth, who also sent down the Ano-Christus from the Pleroma upon the Messiah, whose kingdom is yet to spread among all nations. Jaldabaoth now let his own Messiah be crucified, but the Ano-Christus was already withdrawn from him and had set himself unseen at the right hand of the Demiurge, where he deprives him and his angels of all the light element which they still had in them, and gathers round himself the pneumatical from among mankind, in order to lead them into the Pleroma.―The latest and at the same time the noblest product of Ophite Gnosticism is the Pistis Sophia,42 appearing in the middle of the third century, with a strong tincture of Valentinianism. It treats mainly of the fall, repentance, and complaint of Sophia, and of the mysteries that purify for redemption, often approaching very closely the doctrine of the church.

§ 27.8. Antinomian and Libertine Sects.―The later representatives of Alexandrian Gnosticism on account of the antinomian tendency of their system fell for the most part into gross immorality, which excused itself on the ground that the pneumatical men must throw contempt upon the law of the Demiurge, ἀντιτάσσεσθαι, (whence they were also called Antitactes), and that by the practice of fleshly lusts one must weaken and slay the flesh, παραχρῆσθαι τῇ σαρκί, so as to overcome the powers of the Hyle. The four following sects may be mentioned as those which maintained such views.―

  1. The Nicolaitans, who in order to give themselves the sanction of primitive Christianity sought to trace their descent from Nicolaus [Nicolas] the Deacon (Acts vi. 5). But while they have really no connection with him, they are just as little to be identified with the Nicolaitans of the Apocalypse (§ 18, 3).
  2. In a similar way the Simonians sought to attach themselves to Simon Magus (§ 25, 2). They gave to the fables associated with the name of Simon a speculative basis borrowed from the central idea of the philosophy of Heraclitus, that the principle of all things (ἡ ἀπέραντος δύναμις) is fire. From it in three syzygies, νοῦς and ἐπίνοια, φωνή and ὄνομα, λογισμός and ἐνθύμησις, proceed the six roots of the supersensible world, and subsequently the corresponding six roots of the sensible world, Heaven and earth, Sun and moon, Air and water, in which unlimited force is present as ὁ ἐστώς, στάς, and στησόμενος. Justin Martyr was already acquainted with this sect, and also Hippolytus, who quotes many passages from their chief treatise, entitled, Ἀπόφασις μεγάλη and reports scandalous things about their foul worship.
  3. The Carpocratians. In the system of their founder Carpocrates, who lived at Alexandria in the first half of the second century, God is the eternal Mould, the unity without distinctions, from whom all being flows and to whom all returns again. From Him the ἄγγελοι κοσμοποιοί revolted. By the creation of the world they established a distinct order of existence apart from God and consolidated it by the law issuing from them and the national religions of Jews and Gentiles founded by them. Thus true religion or the way of return for the human spirit into the One and All consists theoretically in Gnosis, practically in emancipation from the commands of the Demiurge and in a life κατὰ φύσιν. The distinction of good and bad actions rests merely on human opinions. Man is redeemed by faith and love. In order to be able to overcome the powers that created the world, he is in need of magic which is intimately connected with Gnosis. Every human spirit who has not fully attained to this end of all religious endeavour, is subjected, until he reaches it, to the assumption of one bodily form after another. Among the heroes of humanity who with special energy and success have assailed the kingdom of the Demiurge by contempt of his law and spread of the true Gnosis, a particularly conspicuous place is assigned to Jesus, the son of Joseph. What he was for the Jews, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, etc., were for the Gentiles. To the talented son of Carpocrates, named Epiphanes, who died in his seventeenth year, after impressing upon his father’s Gnostic system a boundless communistic and libertine tendency with community of goods and wives, his followers erected a temple at Cephalonia, in which they set up for divine honours the statues of Christ and the Greek philosophers. At the close of their Agapæ, they indulged in Concubitus promiscuus.
  4. The Prodicians flourished about the time of Clement of Alexandria, and were connected, perhaps, through their founder Prodicus, with the Carpocratians. In order to prove their dominion over the sensible world they were wont to appear in their assemblies naked, and hence are also called Adamites. So soon as they succeeded in thus reaching the state of innocence that had preceded the fall, they maintained that as pneumatical king’s sons they were raised above all law and entitled to indulge in unbridled lust.

§ 27.9. Saturninus, or Satornilus of Antioch, according to Irenæus, a disciple of Menander, was one of the oldest Syrian Gnostics, during the age of Hadrian, and the one in whose system of Dualism the most decided traces of Parsee colouring is found. From the θεὸς ἄγνωστος the spirit world of the kingdom of light emanates in successive stages. On the lowest stage stand the seven planet spirits, ἄγγελοι κοσμοκράτορες, at their head the creator of the world and the god of the Jews. But from eternity over against the realm of light stands the Hyle in violent opposition under the rule of Satanas. The seven star spirits think to found therein a kingdom free and independent of the Pleroma, and for this purpose make an inroad upon the kingdom of the Hyle, and seize upon a part of it. Therefore they form the sensible world and create man as keeper thereof after a fair model sent by the good God of which they had a dim vision. But they could not give him the upright form. The supreme God then takes pity upon the wretched creature. He sends down a spark of light σπινθήρ into it which fills it with pneumatical life and makes it stand up. But Satanas set a hylic race of men over against this pneumatical race, and persecuted the latter incessantly by demons. The Jewish god then plans to redeem the persecuted by a Messiah, and inspires prophets to announce his coming. But Satan, too, has his prophets, and the Jewish god is not powerful enough to make his views prevail over his enemy’s. Finally the good God sends to the earth the Aeon [Æon] Νοῦς, in what has the appearance of a body, in order that he as σωτήρ may teach the pneumatical how to escape, by Gnosis and asceticism, abstaining from marriage and the eating of flesh, not only the attacks of Satan, but also the dominion of the Jewish god and his star spirits, how to emancipate themselves from all connection with matter, and to raise themselves into the realm of light.

§ 27.10. Tatian and the Encratites.―The Assyrian Tatian, converted to Christianity at Rome by Justin Martyr, makes his appearance as a zealous apologist of the faith (§ 30, 10). In his later years, however, just as in the case of Marcion, in consequence of his exaggeration of the Pauline antithesis of flesh and spirit, law and grace, he was led to propound a theory of the dualistic opposition between the god of the law, the Demiurge, and the god of the gospel, which found expression in a Gnostic-ascetic system, completely breaking away from the Catholic church, and reaching its conclusion in the hyperascetic sect of the Encratites that arose in Rome about A.D. 172. He now became head and leader of this sect, which, with its fanatical demand of complete abstinence from marriage, from all eating of flesh and all spirituous liquors, won his approval, and perhaps from him received its first dogmatic Gnostic impress. Of Tatian’s Gnostic writings, Προβλήματα and Περὶ τοῦ κατὰ τὸν σωτῆρα καταρτισμοῦ, only some fragments, with scanty notices of his Gnostic system, are preserved. His dualistic opposition of the god of the Old Testament and the god of the New Testament cannot have meant a thorough hostility, for he makes the Demiurge sitting in darkness address himself to the supreme God in the language of prayer, “Let there be light.” He declares, however, that Adam, as the author of the fall, is incapable of redemption.―His followers were also called Ὑδροπαραστάται, Aquarii, because at the Supper they used water instead of wine. See Lit. at § 30, 10.

§ 27.11. Marcion and the Marcionites.―Marcion of Sinope in Pontus, who died about A.D. 170, was, according to Tertullian, a rich shipmaster who, on his arrival in Rome, in his early enthusiasm for the faith, bestowed upon the Church there a rich present, but was afterwards excommunicated by it as a heretic. According to the Pseudo-Tertullian and others he was the son of a bishop who excommunicated him for incontinence with one under the vow of virginity. The story may possibly be based upon a later misunderstanding of the charge of corrupting the church as the pure bride of Christ. He was a man of a fiery and energetic character, but also rough and eccentric, of a thoroughly practical tendency and with little speculative talent. He was probably driven by the hard inward struggles of his spiritual life, somewhat similar to those through which Paul had passed, to a full and hearty conception of the free grace of God in Christ; but conceived of the opposition between law and gospel, which the Apostle brought into harmony by his theory of the pædogogical office of the law, as purely hostile and irreconcileable. At Rome in A.D. 140, the Syrian Gnostic Cerdo, who already distinguished between the “good” God of Christianity and the “just” God of Judaism, gained an influence over him. He consequently developed for himself a Gnostic system, the dominating idea of which was the irreconcileable opposition of righteousness and grace, law and gospel, Judaism and Christianity. He repudiated the whole of the Old Testament, and set forth the opposition between the two Testaments in a special treatise entitled Antitheses. He acknowledged only Paul as an Apostle, since all the rest had fallen back into Judaism, and of the whole New Testament he admitted only ten Pauline epistles, excluding the Pastoral Epistles and the Epistles to the Hebrews, and admitting the Gospel of Luke only in a mutilated form.43 Marcion would know nothing of a secret doctrine and tradition and rejected the allegorical interpretation so much favoured by the Gnostics, as well as the theory of emanation and the subordination of Pistis under Gnosis. While other Gnostics formed not churches but only schools of select bands of thinkers, or at most only small gatherings, Marcion, after vainly trying to reform the Catholic church in accordance with his exaggerated Paulinism, set himself to establish a well organised ecclesiastical system, the members of which were arranged as Perfecti or Electi and Catechumeni. Of the former he required a strict asceticism, abstinence from marriage, and restriction in food to the simplest and least possible. He allowed the Catechumens, however, in opposition to the Catholic practice (§ 35, 1), to take part in all the services, which were conducted in the simplest possible forms. The moral earnestness and the practical tendency of his movement secured him many adherents, of whom many congregations maintained their existence for a much longer time than the members of other Gnostic sects, even down to the seventh century. None of the founders of the old Gnostic sects were more closely connected in life and doctrine to the Catholic Church than Marcion, and yet, or perhaps just for that reason, none of them were opposed by it so often, so eagerly and so bitterly. Even Polycarp, on his arrival in Rome (§ 37, 2), in reply to Marcion’s question whether he knew him, said: Ἐπιγνώσκω τὸν πρωτότοκον τοῦ Σατανᾶ.―The general scope and character of the System of Marcion have been variously estimated. All older ecclesiastical controversialists, Justin, Rhodon in Eusebius, Tertullian and Irenæus, in their description and refutation of it seem to recognise only two principles (ἀρχαί), which stand in opposition to one another, as θεὸς ἀγαθός and θεὸς δίκαιος. The latter appears as creator of the world, or Demiurge, the god of the Jews, the giver of the law, unable, however, by his law to save the Jews and deter them from breaking it, or to lead back the Gentiles to the observance of it. Then of his free grace the “good” God, previously quite unknown, determined to redeem men from the power of the Demiurge. For this purpose he sends his Logos into the world with the semblance of a body. By way of accommodation he gives himself out as the Messiah of the Jewish god, proclaims the forgiveness of sins through free grace, communicates to all who believe the powers of the divine life, is at the instigation of the angry Demiurge nailed to the cross to suffer death in appearance only, preaches to Gentiles imprisoned in Hades, banishes the Demiurge to Hades, and ordains the Apostle Paul as teacher of believers.―The later heresiologists, however, Hippolytus, in his Elenchus, Epiphanius, Theodoret, and especially the Armenian Esnig (§ 64, 3), are equally agreed in saying that Marcion recognised three principles (ἀρχαί); that besides the good God and the righteous God he admitted an evil principle, the Hyle concentrated in Satan, so that even the pre-Christian development of the world was viewed from the standpoint of a dualistic conflict between divine powers. The righteous God and the Hyle, as a quasi female principle, united with one another in creating the world, and when the former saw how fair the earth was, he resolved to people it with men created of his own likeness. For this purpose the Hyle at his request afforded him dust, from which he created man, inspiring him with his own spirit. Both divine powers rejoiced over man as parents over a child, and shared in his worship. But the Demiurge sought to gain undivided authority over man, and so commanded Adam, under pain of death, to worship him alone, and the Hyle avenged himself by producing a multitude of idols to whom the majority of Adam’s descendants, falling away from the God of the law, gave reverence.―The harmonizing of these two accounts may be accomplished by assuming that the older Church Fathers, in their conflict with Marcion had willingly restricted themselves to the most important point in the Marcionite system, its characteristic opposition of the Gods of the Old and New Testaments, passing over the points in which it agreed more or less with other Gnostic systems; or by assuming that later Marcionites, such as Prepon (§ 27, 12), in consequence of the palpable defectiveness and inadequacy of the original system of two principles, were led to give it the further development that has been described.44

§ 27.12. The speculative weakness and imperfection of his system led Marcion’s Disciples to expand and remodel it in many ways. Two of these, Lucanus and Marcus, are pre-eminent as remodellers of the system, into which they imported various elements from that of Saturninus. The Assyrian Prepon placed the “righteous” Logos as third principle between the “good” God and the “evil” Demiurge. Of all the more nameful Marcionites, Apelles, who died about A.D. 180, inclined most nearly to the church doctrine. Eusebius tells about a Disputation which took place in Rome between him and Rhodon, a disciple of Tatian. At the head of his essentially monistic system Apelles places the ἀγέννητος θεός as the μία ἀρχή. This God, besides a higher heavenly world, had created an order of angels, of whom the first and most eminent, the so-called Angelus inclytus or gloriosus as Demiurge made the earthly world after the image and to the glory of the supreme God. But another angel, the ἄγγελος πυρετός, corrupted his creation, which was already in itself imperfect, by bringing forth the σὰρξ ἁμαρτίας, with which he clothed the souls enticed down from the upper world. It was he, too, who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, and as the god of the Jews gave the law from Sinai. The Demiurge soon repented of his ill-fated performance, and prayed the supreme God to send his Son as redeemer. Christ appeared, lived, wrought and suffered in a real body. It was not, however, the σὰρξ ἁμαρτίας that he assumed, but a sinless body composed out of the four elements which he gave back to the elements on his ascension to heaven. Towards the close of his life Apelles seems, under the influence of the mystic revelations of a prophetess, Philoumena, whose φανερώσεις he published, to have more and more renounced his Gnostic views. He had already admitted in his Disputation with Rhodon, that even on the Catholic platform one may be saved, for the main thing is faith in the crucified Christ and the doing of his works. He would even have been prepared to subscribe to the Monotheism of the church, had he not been hindered by the opposition between the Old Testament and the New.

§ 27.13. The painter Hermogenes in North Africa, about A.D. 200, whom Tertullian opposed, took offence at the Catholic doctrine of creation as well as at the Gnostic theory of emanation, because it made God the author of evil. He therefore assumed an eternal chaos, from whose striving against the creative and formative influence of God he explained the origin of everything evil and vile.

§ 28. Ebionism and Ebionitic Gnosticism.45

The Jewish-Christianity that maintained separation from Gentile-Christianity even after the overthrow of the Holy City and its temple, assumed partly a merely separatist, partly a decidedly heretical character. Both tendencies had in common the assertion of the continued obligation to observe the whole of the Mosaic law. But while the former limited this obligation to the Christians of Jewish descent as the peculiar stem and kernel of the new Messianic community, and allowed the Gentile Christians as Proselytes of the Gate to omit those observances, the latter would tolerate no such concession and outran the Old Testament monotheism by a barren monarchianism that denied the divinity of Christ (§ 33, 1). At a later period the two parties were distinguished as Nazareans and Ebionites. On the other hand, in the Ebionites described to us by Epiphanius we have a form of Jewish Christianity permeated by Gnostic elements. These Ebionites, settling along with the Essenes (§ 8, 4) on the eastern shores of the Dead Sea, came to be known under the name of Elkesaites. In the Pseudo-Clementine scheme of doctrine, this Ebionitic Gnosis was carried out in detail and wrought up into a comprehensive and richly developed system.

§ 28.1. Nazareans and Ebionites.―Tertullian and with him most of the later Church Fathers derive the name Ebionite from Ebion, a founder of the sect. Since the time of Gieseler, however, the name has generally been referred to the Hebrew word אֶבְיוֹן meaning poor, in allusion partly to the actual poverty of the church of Jerusalem (Gal. ii. 10), partly to the association of the terms poor and pious in the Psalms and Prophets (comp. Matt. v. 3). Minucius Felix, c. xxxvi. testifies that the Gentile Christians were also so designated by those without: Ceterum quod plerique “Pauperes” dicimur, non est infamia nostra, sed gloria. Recently, however, Hilgenfeld has recurred to the patristic derivation of the name.―In Irenæus the name Ebionæi makes its first appearance in literature, and that as a designation of Jewish Christians as heretics who admitted only a Gospel according to Matthew, probably the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews (§ 32, 4), branded the Apostle Paul as an apostate, insisted upon the strict observance of the Jewish law, and taught on Christological questions “consimiliter ut Cerinthus et Carpocrates” (§ 27, 18), while they denied that Christ was born of a virgin, and regarded Him as a mere man. Origen († A.D. 243) embraced all Jewish Christians under the name Ἐβιωναῖοι but did not deny the existence of two very different parties among them (διττοὶ and ἀμφότεροι Ἐβιωναῖοι). Eusebius does the same. Jerome again is the first to distinguish the more moderate party by the name Nazareans (Acts xxiv. 5) from the more extreme who are designated Ebionites. This too is the practice of Augustine and Theodoret. The former party acknowledged the virgin birth of Christ and so His divine origin, assigned to Paul his place as Apostle to the Gentiles, and made no demand of Gentile Christians that they should observe the ceremonial law of Moses, although they believed that they themselves were bound thereby. The latter again regarded it as absolutely necessary to salvation, and also held that Christ was the Messiah, but only a man, son of Joseph by Mary, endowed with divine powers in His baptism. His Messianic work, according to them, consisted in His fulfilling by His teaching the Mosaic law. His death was an offence to them, but they took comfort from the promise of His coming again, when they looked for the setting up of an earthly Messianic kingdom. Paul was depreciated by them and made of little account. Ebionites of both parties continued to exist in small numbers down to the fifth century, especially in Palestine and Syria. Both however had sunk by the middle of the second century into almost utter insignificance. The scanty remains of writings issuing from the party prove that especially the non-heretical Jewish Christianity before the close of this century had in great part abandoned its national Jewish character, and therewith its separate position as a religious sect, and by adopting the views of the Pauline Gentile Christianity (§ 30, 2) became gradually amalgamated with it.46

§ 28.2. The Elkesaites.―Independent accounts of this sect in substantial agreement with one another are given by Hippolytus in his Elenchus, by Origen as quoted in Eusebius, and by Epiphanius. Their designation has also led the Church Fathers to assume a sect founder of the name of Elxai or Elchasai, who is said to have lived in the time of Hadrian. The members of the sect themselves derived their name from חֵיל כְּסָי, δύναμις κεκαλυμμένη, the hidden power of God operating in them, that is, the Holy Spirit, the δύναμις ἄσαρκος of the Clementine Homilies. Probably it was the title of a book setting forth their esoteric doctrine, which circulated only among those bound under oath to secrecy. Origen says that the book was supposed to have fallen down from heaven; Hippolytus says that it was held to have been revealed by an angel who was the Son of God himself. Elxai obtained it from the Serians in Parthia and communicated it to the Sobiai, probably from שֹׁבְעַ; then the Syrian Alcibiades brought it from Apamea to Rome in the third century. The doctrinal system of the Elkesaites was very variable, and is represented by the Church Fathers referred to as a confused mixture of Christian elements with the legalism of Judaism, the asceticism of Essenism, and the naturalism of paganism, and exhibiting a special predilection for astrological and magical fancies. The law was regarded as binding, especially the precepts concerning the Sabbath and circumcision, but the sacrificial worship was abandoned, and the portions of the Old Testament referring to it as well as other parts. Their doctrine of baptism varied from that of baptism once administered to that of a baptism by oft repeated washings on days especially indicated by astrological signs. Baptism was for the forgiveness of sins and also for the magical cure of the sick. It was administered in the name of the Father and the Son, and in addition there were seven witnesses called, the five elements, together with oil and salt, the latter as representative of the Lord’s Supper, which was celebrated with salt and bread without wine. Eating of flesh was forbidden, but marriage was allowed and highly esteemed. Their Christology presented the appearance of unsettled fermentation. On the one hand Christ was regarded as an angel, and indeed as the μέγας βασιλεύς, of gigantic size, 96 miles high, and 24 miles broad; but on the other hand, they taught also a repeated incarnation of Christ as the Son of God, the final One being the Christ born of the virgin. He represents the male principle, and by his side, as the female principle, stands the Holy Spirit. Denial of Christ in times of persecution seemed to them quite allowable. At the time of Epiphanius,―who identifies them with the Sampseans, whose name was derived from שֶׁמֶשׁ the sun, because in prayer they turned to the sun, called also Ἡλιακοί,―they had for the most part their residence round about the Dead Sea, where they got mixed up with the Essenes of that region.―More recently the Elkesaites have been brought into connection with the still extant sect of the Sabeans or Mandeans (§ 25, 1). These Sabeans, from צבע meaning טבע, βαπτίζειν, are designated by the mediæval Arabic writers Mogtasilah, those who wash themselves, and Elchasaich is named as their founder, and as teaching the existence of two principles a male and a female.47

§ 28.3. The Pseudo-Clementine Series of Writings forms a literature of a romantic historico-didactic description which originated between A.D. 160 and 170.

  1. The so-called Homiliæ XX Clementis48 were prefaced by two letters to the Apostle James at Jerusalem. The first of these is from Peter enjoining secrecy in regard to the “Kerugma” sent therewith. The second is from Clement of Rome after the death of Peter, telling how he as the founder and first bishop of the church of Rome had ordained Clement as his successor, and had charged him to draw up those accounts of his own career and of the addresses and disputations of Peter which he had heard while the Apostle pursued and contended with Simon Magus, and to send them to James as head of the church, “bishop of bishops, who ruled the church of Jerusalem and all the churches,” that they might be certified by him. The historical framework of the book represents a distinguished Roman of philosophical culture and of noble birth, named Clement, as receiving his first acquaintance with Christianity at Rome, and then as going forth on his travels to Judea as an eager seeker after the truth. At Alexandria (§ 16, 4) Barnabas convinces him of the truth of Christianity, and Clement follows him to Cæsarea where he listens to a great debate between Peter and Simon Magus (§ 25, 2). Simon defeated betakes himself to flight, but Peter follows him, accompanied by Clement and two who had been disciples of the magician, Niceta and Aquila. Though he goes after him from place to place, Peter does not get hold of Simon, but founds churches all along his route. On the way Clement tells him how long before his mother, Mattidia, and his two brothers had gone on a journey to Athens, and how his father, Faustus, had gone in search of them, and no trace of any of them had ever been found. Soon thereafter the mother is met with, and then it is discovered that Niceta and Aquila are the lost brothers Faustinus and Faustinianus. At the baptism of the mother the father also is restored. Finally at Laodicea Peter and Simon engage a second time in a four-days’ disputation which ends as the first. The story concludes with Peter’s arrival at Antioch.
  2. The ten books of the so-called Recognitiones Clementis,49 present us again with the Clement of the historical romance, the historical here overshadowing the didactic, and a closer connection with church doctrine being here maintained. Critical examinations of the relations between the two sets of writings have more and more established the view that an older Jewish-Christian Gnostic work lay at the basis of both. This original document seems to have been used contemporaneously, but in a perfectly independent manner in the composition of both; the Homilies using the materials in an anti-Marcionite interest (§ 27, 11), the Recognitions using them in such a way as to give as little offence as possible to their Catholic readers. Still it is questionable whether this original document, which probably bore the title of Κηρύγματα Πέτρου, embraced in its earliest form the domestic romance of Clement, or only treated of the disputation of Peter with Simon at Cæsarea, and was first enlarged by addition of the Ἀναγνωρισμοί Κλήμεντος giving the story of Peter’s travels (Περίοδοι).
  3. Finally, extracts from the Homilies, worthless and of no independent significance, are extant in the form of two Greek Epitomæ (ed. Dressel, Lps., 1859). Equally unimportant is the Syrian Epitome, edited by Lagarde, Lps., 1861, a compilation from the Recognitions and the Homilies. All the three writers of the Epitomes had an interest only in the romantic narrative.

§ 28.4. The Pseudo-Clementine Doctrinal System is represented in the most complete and most original manner in the Homilies. In the conversations, addresses, and debates there reported the author develops his own religious views, and by putting them in the mouth of the Apostle Peter seeks to get them recognised as genuine unadulterated primitive Christianity, while all the doctrines of Catholic Paulinism which he objects to, as well as those of heretical Gnosticism and especially of Marcionism, are put into the mouth of Simon Magus, the primitive heretic; and then an attempt is made at a certain reconciliation and combination of all these views, the evil being indeed contended against, but an element of truth being recognised in them all. He directs his Polemics against the polytheism of vulgar paganism, the allegorical interpretation by philosophers of pagan myths, the doctrine of the creation of the world out of nothing and the sacrificial worship of Judaism, against the hypostatic Trinity of Catholicism, the chiliasm of the Ebionites, the pagan naturalistic element in Elkesaism, the dualism, the doctrine of the Demiurge, the Docetism and Antinomianism of the Gentile Christian Gnostics. He attempts in his Ironies to point out the Ebionitic identity of genuine Christianity with genuine Judaism, emphasizes the Essenic-Elkesaitic demand to abstain from eating flesh, to observe frequent fasts, divers washings and voluntary poverty (through a recommendation of early marriages), as well as the Catholic doctrine of the necessity of baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and justifies the Gnostic tendency of his times by setting up a system of doctrine of which the central idea is the connection of Stoical Pantheism with Jewish Theism, and is itself thoroughly dualistic: God the eternal pure Being was originally a unity of πνεῦμα and σῶμα, and his life consisted in extension and contraction, ἔκτασις and συστολή, the symbol of which the human heart was a later copy. The result of such an ἔκτασις was the separation of πνεῦμα and σῶμα, wherewith a beginning of the development of the world was made. The πνεῦμα is thus represented as Υἱός, also called Σοφία or Ἄρχων τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦ μέλλοντος; the Σῶμα is represented as Οὐσία or Ὕλη which four times parts asunder in twofold opposition of the elements. Satan springs from the mixing of these elements, and is the universal soul of the Ἄρχων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου. The Σῶμα has thereby become ἔμψυχον and ζῶον. Thus the Monas has unfolded itself into a Dyas, as the first link of a long chain of contrasted pairs or Syzygies, in the first series of which the large and male stands opposite the small and female, heaven and earth, day and night, etc. The last Syzygy of this series is Adam as the true male, and Eve as the false female prophet. In the second series that relation had come to be just reversed, Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, etc. In the protoplasts this opposition of truth and falsehood, of good and evil, was still a physical and necessary one; but in their descendants, because both elements of their parents are mixed up in them, it becomes an ethical one, conditioning and requiring freedom of self-determination. Meanwhile Satan tempted men to error and sin; but the true prophet (ὁ ἀληθὴς προφήτης) in whom the divine Πνεῦμα dwelt as ἔμφυτον and ἀένναον, always leads them back again into the true way of Gnosis and the fulfilment of the law. In Adam, the original prophet, who had taught whole and full truth, he had at first appeared, returning again after every new obscuration and disfigurement of his doctrine under varying names and forms, but always anew proclaiming the same truth. His special manifestations were in Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and finally, in Christ. Alongside of them all, however, stand false prophets inspired by the spirit of lies, to whom even John the Baptist belongs, and in the Old Testament many of their doctrines and prophecies have slipped in along with the true prophecy. The transition from the original pantheistic to the subsequent theistic standpoint, in which God is represented as personal creator of the world, lawgiver, and governor, seems to have been introduced by means of the primitive partition of the divine being into Πνεῦμα and Σῶμα. In vain, however, do we seek an explanation of the contradiction that, on the one hand, the end of the development of the world is represented as the separation of the evil from the good for the eternal punishment of the former, but on the other hand, as a return, through the purification of the one and the destruction of the other, of all into the divine being, the ἀνάπαυσις. Equally irreconcilable is the assertion of the unconditional necessity of Christian baptism with the assertion of the equality of all stages of revelation.

§ 29. Manichæism.

Manichæism makes its appearance in Persia about the middle of the third century, independently of the Gentile-Christian Gnosticism of the Roman empire, which was more or less under the influence of the Greek philosophy of the second century, but bearing undoubted connection with Mandæism (§ 25, 1), and Elkesaism (§ 28, 2). In principle and tendency, it was at various points, as e.g. in its theory of emanation, its doceticism, etc., connected with Gnosticism, but was distinguished therefrom pre-eminently by using Christian soteriological ideas and modes of thought as a mere varnish for oriental pagan or Babylonian-Chaldaic theosophy, putting this in place of Platonic or Stoical notions which are quite foreign to it, basing the system on Persian dualism and impregnating it with elements from Buddhist ethics. Another point in which it is distinguished from Gnosticism is that it does not present itself as an esoteric form of religion meant only for the few specially gifted spirits, but distinctly endeavours to build up a community of its own with a regularly articulated constitution and a well organized ritual.

§ 29.1. The Founder.―What the Greek and Latin Fathers (Titus of Bostra, Epiphanius, Augustine, etc.) say about the person and history of the founder of this sect is derived mainly from an account of a disputation which a bishop Archelaus of Cascar in Mesopotamia is said to have held with Manes or Manichæus. This document is written in Syriac and dates about A.D. 320, but it is simply a polemical work under the guise of a debate between men with historical names. These “Acts” have come down to us in a very corrupt Latin version, and contain, especially in their historical allusions, much that is incredible and legendary, while in their representation of the doctrine of Manes they are much more deserving of confidence. According to them the origin of Manichæism is to be attributed to a far travelled Saracen craftsman, named Scythianus, who lived in the age of the Apostles. His disciple, Terebinthus, who subsequently in Babylon took the name Buddas, and affirmed that he had been born of a virgin, wrote at the master’s dictation four books, Mysteria, Capitula, Evangelium, Thesaurus, which after his death came into the possession of a freed slave, Cubricus or Corbicus. This man made the wisdom taught therein his own, developed it more fully, appeared in Persia as the founder of a new religion, and called himself Manes. He was even received at court, but his failure to heal a prince was used by the jealous magicians to secure his overthrow. He escaped, however, from prison, and found a safe hiding place in Arabion, an old castle in Mesopotamia. Meanwhile he had got access to the sacred writings of the Christians and borrowed much from them for the further development of his system. He now gave himself out as the Paraclete promised by Christ, and by means of letters and messengers developed a great activity in the dissemination of his views, especially among Christians. This led to the disputation of Archelaus above referred to, in which Manes suffered utter defeat. He was soon thereafter seized by order of the Persian king, flayed alive, and his stuffed skin publicly exhibited as a warning.

The reports in Persian documents of the ninth and tenth centuries though later seem much more credible, and the dates derivable from Manes’ own writings and those of his disciples quoted in Arabic documents of the tenth and eleventh centuries, are quite worthy of acceptance.50 According to them Fatak the father of Manes, called Πατέκιος in a Greek oath formula still extant, was descended from a noble Persian family in Hamadan or Ecbatana, married a princess of the Parthian Asarcidae, not long before this, in A.D. 226, driven out by the Persian Sassanidæ, and settled down with her at Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital. Here he met with the Mogtasilah, Mandeans or Elkesaites (§ 28, 2), then removed to Southern Chaldea, and trained his son, born in A.D. 216, with great care in this faith. But even in his twelfth year Manes received a divine revelation, which ordained him to be the founder of a new religion, and in his twenty-fourth year he was commissioned to preach this religion publicly. On his first appearance in Persia, on the coronation day of king Sapor I., in A.D. 242, he met with so little support that he found it necessary to keep away from the Persian empire for several decades, which he spent in foreign lands developing his system and successfully prosecuting missionary work. It was only about the end of Sapor’s reign († A.D. 272) that he ventured again to return. He won over to his views the king’s brother Peroz and through him found favour temporarily with Sapor, which, however, soon again turned into dislike. Sapor’s successor, Hormuz or Hormisdas I., seemed inclined to be tolerant toward him. For this very reason Bahram or Baranes I. showed himself all the more hostile, and had him crucified in A.D. 276, his body flayed, and the skin stuffed with straw thrown out at the gate of the city.

The two accounts may, according to Kessler, be brought into harmony thus. The name Scythianus was given to Fatak as coming from Parthia or Scythia. Terebinthus, a corruption of the Aramaic tarbitha, sapling, was given originally as Nomen appell. to the son of Fatak, and was afterwards misunderstood and regarded as Nomen propr. of an additional member of the family, intermediate between Fatak and Manes. In the Latin Cubricus, however, we meet with a scornful rendering of his original name, which he, on his entering independently on his work, exchanged for the name Manes.51 The name Buddas seems to indicate some sort of connection with Buddhism. We also meet with the four Terebinthus books among the seven chief works of Manes catalogued in the Fihrist. According to a Persian document the Evangelium bore the title Ertenki Mani, was composed by Manes in a cave in Turkestan, in which he stayed for a long time during his banishment, and was adorned with beautiful illustrations, and passed for a book sent down to him direct from heaven.

§ 29.2. The System.―The different sets of documents give very different accounts of the religious system of Manichæism. This is not occasioned so much by erroneous tradition or misconception as by the varying stages through which the doctrine of Manes passed. In Western and Christian lands it took on a richer Christian colouring than in Eastern and pagan countries. In all its forms, however, we meet with a groundwork of magical dualism. As in Parseeism, Ahriman and his Devas stand opposed to Ormuzd and his Ameshaspentas and Izeds, so also here from all eternity a luminous ether surrounding the realm of light, the Terra lucida, of the good God, with his twelve æons and countless beings of light, stands opposed to the realm of darkness, the Terra pestifera, with Satan and his demons. Each of the two kingdoms consists of five elements: the former of bright light, quickening fire, clear water, hot air, soft wind; the latter of lurid flame, scorching fire, grimy slime, dark clouds, raging tempest. In the one, perfect concord, goodness, happiness, and splendour prevail; in the other, wild, chaotic and destructive waves dash confusedly about. Clothing himself in a borrowed ray of light, Satan prepared himself for a robber campaign in the realm of light. In order to keep him off the Father of Lights caused to emanate from him the “Mother of Life,” and placed her as a watcher on the borders of his realm. She brought forth the first man (ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος), who armed with the five pure elements engaged in battle with the demons. When he sank before their furious onslaught, God sent a newly emanated æon for his deliverance, the “living spirit” (ζῶον πνεῦμα), who freed him and vanquished the demons. But a portion of the ethereal substance of the first man, his armour of light, had been already devoured by the demoniac Hyle, and as the Jesus patibilis, υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐμπαθής, remains imprisoned in it. Out of the elements of light which he saved the living Spirit now forms the Sun and Moon, and settles there the first man as Jesus impatibilis, υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἀπαθής, while out of the Hyle impregnated with elements of light he constructs the present earthly world, in order gradually to deliver the fragments of light bound up in it, the Jesus patibilis or the soul of the world, and to fit them for restoration to their eternal home. The first man dwelling in the sun and the Holy Spirit enthroned in the luminous ether have to further and direct this process of purification. The sun and moon are the two light-ships, lucidæ naves, which the light particles wrenched out of the world further increase. The zodiac with its twelve signs operates in this direction like a revolving wheel with twelve buckets, while the smaller ship, as new moon, receives them, and as full moon empties them again into the sun, which introduces them into the realm of light. In order to check this process of purification Satan, out of the Hyle and the imprisoned particles of light, of which he still had possession, made Adam and Eve after his own image and that of the first man, and incited them to fleshly lusts and carnal intercourse, so that the light of their soul became dim and weak, and more and more the body became its gloomy prison. His demons, moreover, were continually busying themselves in fastening the chains of darkness more tightly about their descendants by means of the false religions of Judaism and paganism. Therefore at last the Jesus impatibilis, clothed with the appearance of a body, descended from the sun to the earth, to instruct men about their souls and the means and end of their redemption. The sufferings and death inflicted upon him by the Prince of Darkness were only in appearance. The death of the cross and the resurrection were only sensible representations of the overthrow and final victory of the Jesus patibilis. As in the macrocosm of the earthly world there is set forth the emancipation of this suffering Christ from the bonds of hylic matter, so also in the microcosm represented in each individual man, we have the dominion of the spirit over the flesh, the redemption of the soul of light from the prison of the body, and its return to the realm of light, conceived of as the end and aim of all endeavour. The method for attaining this consists in the greatest possible abstinence from all connection and intercourse with the world of sense; the Signaculum oris in particular demands absolute abstinence from all animal food and restriction in the use even of vegetable food, for in the slaughtering of the animal all elements of light are with the life withdrawn from its flesh, and only hylic elements remain, whereas in vegetable fare the substances of light there present contribute to the strengthening of the light in the man’s own soul. Wine and all intoxicating drinks as “Satan’s gall” are strictly forbidden, as well as animal food. The Signaculum manuum prohibits all injuring of animal or plant life, all avoidable contact with or work upon matter, because the material is thereby strengthened. The Signaculum sinus forbids all sensual pleasure and carnal intercourse. The souls of those men who have perfectly satisfied the threefold injunction, return at death immediately into the blessed home of light. Those who only partially observe them must, by transmigration of the soul into other bodies, of animals, plants or men, in proportion to the degree of purification attained unto, that is, by metempsychosis, have the purifying process carried to perfection. But all who have not entered upon the way of sanctification, are finally delivered over unreservedly to Satan and hell. The Apostles greatly misunderstood and falsified this doctrine of Christ; but in the person of Manes the promised Paraclete appeared, who taught it again in its original purity. For the most part Manes accepted the Pauline epistles in which the doctrines of the groaning creation and the opposition of flesh and spirit must have been peculiarly acceptable to him; all the more decidedly did he reject the Acts of the Apostles, and vigorously did he oppose the account which it gave of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as in conflict with his doctrine of the Paraclete. According to the Fihrist, Manes distinguished from the Jesus impatibilis who as true redeemer descended to earth in the appearance of a body, the historical Jesus as prophet of the Devil, and the false Messiah who for the punishment of his wickedness suffered actual death on the cross instead of the true Jesus. The Old Testament he wholly rejected. The god of the Jews was with him the Prince of Darkness; the prophets with Moses at their head were the messengers of the Devil. As his own true precursors―the precursors of the Paraclete―he named Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Buddha, and Zoroaster.

§ 29.3. Constitution, Worship, and Missionarizing.―Manes was still regarded after his death as the invisibly present head (Princeps) of the church. At the head of the hierarchical order as his visible representative stood an Imam or Pope, who resided at Babylon. The first of these, appointed by Manes himself before his death, was named Sis or Sisinius. The Manichæan ministry was distributed under him into twelve Magistri and seventy-two Bishops, with presbyters and deacons in numbers as required. The congregations consisted of Catechumens (Auditores) and Elect (Electi, Perfecti). The latter were strictly bound to observe the threefold Signaculum. The Auditores brought them the food necessary for the support of their life and out of the abundance of their holiness they procured pardon to these imperfect ones for their unavoidable violation of mineral and vegetable life in making this provision. The Auditores were also allowed to marry and even to eat animal food; but by voluntary renunciation of this permission they could secure entrance into the ranks of the Electi. The worship of the Manichæans was simple, but orderly. They addressed their prayers to the sun and moon. The Sunday was hallowed by absolute fasting, and the day of common worship was dedicated to the honour of the spirit of the sun; but on Monday the Electi by themselves celebrated a secret service. At their annual chief festival, that of the Pulpit (βῆμα), on the day of their founder’s death, they threw themselves down upon the ground in oriental fashion before a beautifully adorned chair of state, the symbol of their departed master. The five steps leading up to it represented the five hierarchical decrees of the Electi, Diaconi, Presbyteri, Episcopi and Magistri. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the former with oil, the latter with bread without wine, belonged to the secret worship of the Perfect. Oil and bread were regarded as the most luminous bearers of the universal soul in the vegetable world.―Notwithstanding the violent persecution which after the execution of Manes was raised against the adherents of his doctrine throughout the whole Persian empire, their number increased rapidly in all quarters, especially in the East, but also in the West, in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, etc. Proconsular Africa became the centre of its Western propaganda; and thence it spread into Italy and Spain. In A.D. 290 Diocletian issued an edict by which the Proconsul of Africa was required to burn the leaders of this sect, doubly dangerous as springing from the hostile Persian empire, along with their books, to execute with the sword its persistent adherents, or send them to work in the quarries, and confiscate their goods.―Continuation at § 54, 1.


§ 30. The Theological Literature of the Post-Apostolic Age, A.D. 70-170.53

The literary remains of the so-called Apostolic Fathers constitute the first fruits of Patristic-Christian literature. These are in respect of number and scope insignificant, and, inasmuch as they had their origin, from the special individual circumstances of their writers, they were composed for the most part in the form of epistles. The old traditional view that the authors of these treatises had enjoyed the immediate fellowship and instruction of the Apostles is at once too narrow and too wide. Among these writings must be included first of all the recently discovered “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.” About A.D. 130, when Christianity was making its way among the ranks of the cultured, Christian writers began to feel themselves called upon to engage with paganism in a literary warfare defensive and offensive, in order to repel the charges and calumnies raised against their religion and to demonstrate its inner worth in opposition to the moral and religious degradation of heathenism. These writings had a more theological and scientific character than those of the Apostolic Fathers, which had more of a practical and hortatory tendency. The works of these Apologists still extant afford interesting and significant glimpses of the life, doctrine, and thinking of the Christians of that age, which but for these writings would have been almost unknown.

§ 30.1. The Beginnings of Patristic Literature.―According to the established rule of the church we have to distinguish between New Testament and Patristic literature in this way: to the former belongs those writings to which, as composed by Apostles or at least under Apostolic authority, the ancient church assigned an objectively fundamental and regulative significance for further ecclesiastical development; while in the latter we have represented the subjective conception and estimation which the Church Fathers made of the Christian message of salvation and the structure they reared upon this foundation. The so-called Apostolic Fathers may be regarded as occupying a position midway between the two and forming a transition from the one to the other, or as themselves constituting the first fruits of Patristic literature. Indeed as regards the New Testament writings themselves the ancient church was long uncertain and undecided as to the selection of them from the multitude of contemporary writings;54 and Eusebius still designated several of the books that were subsequently definitely recognised ἀντιλεγόμενα; while modern criticism has not only repeated such doubts as to the genuineness of these writings but has extended these doubts to other books of the New Testament. But even this criticism cannot deny the historical significance assigned above to those New Testament books contested by it, even though it may feel obliged to reject the account of them given by the ancient church, and to assign their composition to the Post-Apostolic Age.―When we turn to the so-called Apostolic Fathers, on closer examination the usual designation as well as the customary enumeration of seven names as belonging to the group will be found too narrow because excluding the New Testament writings composed by disciples of the Apostles, and too wide because including names which have no claim to be regarded as disciples or contemporaries of the Apostles, and embracing writings of which the authenticity is in some cases clearly disproved, in other cases doubtful or at least only problematical. We come upon firm ground when we proceed to deal with the Apologists of the age of Hadrian. It was not, however, till the period of the Old Catholic Church, about A.D. 170, that the literary compositions of the Christians became broadened, deepened and universalized by a fuller appropriation and appreciation of the elements of Græco-Latin culture, so as to form an all-sided universal Christian literature representative of Christianity as a universal religion.

§ 30.2. The Theology of the Post-Apostolic Age.―By far the greater number of the ecclesiastical writers of this period belong to the Gentile Christian party. Hence we might suppose that it would reflect the Pauline type of doctrine, if not in its full depth and completeness, yet at least in its more significant and characteristic features. This expectation, however, is not altogether realised. Among the Church Fathers of this age we rather find an unconscious deterioration of the original doctrine of Paul revealing itself as a smoothing down and belittling or as an ignoring of the genuine Paulinism, which, therefore, as the result of the struggle against the Gnostic tendency, only in part overcome, was for the first time fully recognised and proved finally victorious in the Reformation of the 16th century. On the one hand, we see that these writers, if they do not completely ignore the position and task assigned to Israel as the chosen people of God, minimise their importance and often fail to appreciate the pædagogical significance of the Mosaic law (Gal. iii. 24), so that its ceremonial parts are referred to misunderstanding, want of sense, and folly, or are attributed even to demoniacal suggestion. But on the other hand, even the gospel itself is regarded again as a new and higher law, purified from that ceremonial taint, and hence the task of the ante-mundane Son of God, begotten for the purpose of creating the world, but now also manifest in the flesh, from whose influence upon Old Testament prophets as well as upon the sages of paganism all revelations of pre-Christian Judaism as well as all σπέρματα of true knowledge in paganism have sprung, is pre-eminently conceived of as that of a divine teacher and lawgiver. In this way there was impressed upon the Old Catholic Church as it grew up out of Pauline Gentile Christianity a legalistic moral tendency that was quite foreign to the original Paulinism, and the righteousness of faith taught by the Apostle when represented as obedience to the “new law” passed over again unobserved into a righteousness of works. Redemption and reconciliation are indeed still always admitted to be conditioned by the death of Christ and their appropriation to be by the faith of the individual; but this faith is at bottom nothing more than the conviction of the divinity of the person and doctrine of the new lawgiver evidencing itself in repentance and rendering of practical obedience, and in confident expectation of the second coming of Christ, and in a sure confidence of a share in the life everlasting.―The introduction of this legalistic tendency into the Gentile Christian Church was not occasioned by the influence of Jewish Christian legalism, nor can it be explained as the result of a compromise effected between Jewish Christian Petrinism and Gentile Christian Paulinism, which were supposed by Baur, Schwegler, etc., to have been, during the Apostolic Age, irreconcilably hostile to one another. This has been already proved by Ritschl, who charges its intrusion rather upon the inability of Gentile Christianity fully to understand the Old Testament bases of the Pauline doctrine. By means of a careful analysis of the undisputed writings of Justin Martyr and by a comparison of these with the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Engelhardt has proved that anything extra-, un-, or anti-Pauline in the Christianity of these Fathers has not so much an Ebionitic-Jewish Christian, but rather a pagan-philosophic, source. He shows that the prevalent religio-moral mode of thought of the cultured paganism of that age reappears in that form of Christianity not only as an inability to reach a profound understanding of the Old Testament, but also just as much as a minimising and depreciating, or disdaining of so many characteristic features of the Pauline doctrinal resting on Old Testament foundations.

§ 30.3. The so-called Apostolic Fathers.55

  1. Clement of Rome was one of the first Roman bishops, probably the third (§ 16, 1). The opinion that he is to be identified with the Clement named in Phil. iv. 3 is absolutely unsupported. The sameness of age and residence in some small measure favours the identifying him with Tit. Flav. Clemens [Clement], the consul, and cousin of the Emperor, who on account of his Christianity (?) was executed in A.D. 95 (§ 22, 1). Besides a multitude of other writings which subsequently assumed his well-known name (§ 28, 3; 43, 4), there are ascribed to him two so-called Epistles to the Corinthians, of which however, the second certainly is not his. The First Epistle which in the ancient church was considered worthy to be used in public worship, was afterwards lost, but fragments of it were recovered in A.D. 1628 in the so-called Codex Alexandrinus (§ 152, 2), together with a portion of the so-called “Second Epistle.” Recently however both writings were found in a complete form by Bryennius, Metropolitan of Serrä in Macedonia, in a Jerusalem Codex of A.D. 1056 discovered at Constantinople and published by him.56 In the following year a Codex of the Syrian New Testament at Cambridge was more closely examined,57 and in it there was found a complete Syriac translation of both writings inserted between the Catholic and the Pauline Epistles, while in Codex Alexandrinus they are placed after the Apocalypse. The “First” Epistle, the date of which is generally given as A.D. 93-95, does not give the author’s name, but is assigned to Clement of Rome by Dionysius of Corinth in A.D. 170, as quoted in Eusebius, and by Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, and described as written from Rome in name of the church of that place to the church of Corinth, counselling peace and unity. In the passage c. 58-63, formerly wanting but now restored, the exhortation passes into a long prayer with intercessions for those in authority and for the church according to what was perhaps already the customary form of public prayer in Rome. Both churches, those of Rome and Corinth, are admitted without dispute to have been Gentile Christian churches, which had accepted the Pauline type of doctrine, without however fully fathoming or understanding it. But Peter also occupies a position of equal honour alongside of Paul, and nowhere does any trace appear of a consciousness of any opposition between the two apostles. The divine sonship of the Redeemer and His consequent universal sovereignty are the basis of the Christian confession, but no sort of developed doctrine of the divinity of Christ is here found, and even His pre-existence is affirmed only as the presupposition of the view that He was already operative in the prophets by His spirit. The Old Testament, allegorically and typically interpreted, is therefore the source and proof of Christian doctrine. Of a particular election of Israel the author knows nothing. Christians as such, whether descended from Gentiles or from Jews, are the chosen people of God; Abraham by reason of his faith is their father; and it is only by faith in the Almighty God that men of all ages have been justified before God.―In the so-called Second “Epistle” the completed form of the second half proves what the less complete form rendered probable, that it is no Epistle but a sermon, and indeed the oldest specimen of a sermon, that we here possess. The author, who delivered it somewhere about A.D. 144-150, wrote it out first for his own use, and then for the church. As it has in its theological views many points of contact with the Shepherd of Hermas (§ 30, 4), Harnack thinks it probable that a younger Clement of Rome mentioned by Hermas may be the author; while Hilgenfeld is inclined to regard it as a youthful work of Clement of Alexandria (§ 31, 4). It contains a forcible exhortation to thorough repentance and conversion in accordance with the command of Christ, with a reference to the judgment and the future glory. This shows in a remarkable way what rapid progress had been made from the religio-moral mode of thought of cultured paganism toward moralizing legalism, and the smoothing down of Christianity thereby introduced into the Gentile-Christian Catholic Church, during the half century between the composition of the Epistle of Clement and this Clementine discourse. For in the latter already the gospel is represented as a new law, a higher divine doctrine of virtue and reward, in which alms, fasts, and prayer appear as specially meritorious works. The righteousness that avails with God is still indeed derived from faith, but this faith is reduced to a belief in the future recompense of eternal life. Christ as Son of God is conceived of by the author as a pneumatical heavenly being, created before the world, who, sent by God into the world for man’s redemption, took upon Him human σάρξ. But besides Him, he also knows a second pneumatical hypostasis created before the world, “before sun and moon,” the ἐκκλησία ζῶσα, which, as the heavenly body of Christ, is at the same time the presupposition for the making of the world restored by His work of salvation. For the creation of this divine pair of æons, that is, of Christ as the ἄνθρωπος ἐπουράνιος and of the church as His heavenly σύζυγος, the author refers to the account of the creation in Gen. i. 27. Of passages quoted as sayings of Christ several are not to be found in our Gospels.

§ 30.4.

  1. The Epistle known by the name of Paul’s travelling companion Barnabas (Acts iv. 36) was first recovered in the 17th century. The first 4½ chapters were added from an old Latin translation, till in the 19th century the Codex Sinaiticus of the New Testament, and recently also the Jerusalem Codex of Bryennius above referred to, supplied the complete Greek text.58 The date of the epistle has been variously assigned to the age of Domitian, to that of Nerva, to that of Hadrian; and is placed by Harnack between A.D. 96 and A.D. 125. Its extravagant allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament betrays its Alexandrian origin, and in Gentile-Christian depreciation of the ceremonial law of the Old Testament it goes so far as to attribute the conception and actual composition of its books to diabolical inspiration. It admits indeed a covenant engagement between God and Israel, but maintains that this was immediately terminated by Moses’ breaking of the tables of the law. All things considered the composition of this Epistle by Barnabas is scarcely conceivable. This was acknowledged by Eusebius who counted it among the νόθοι, and by Jerome, who placed it among the Apocrypha. For the rest, however, its type of doctrine is in essential agreement with that of Paul, though it fails to penetrate the depths of apostolic truth. It is at least decidedly free from any taint of that legalistic-moral conception of Christianity which is so strongly masked in the discourse of Clement. The divine sonship, pre-existence, and world-creating activity of Christ is expressly acknowledged and taught, though there is yet no reference to the doctrine of the Logos.
  2. The prophetical writing known to us as Pastor Hermæ [Hermas],59 which was first erroneously attributed by Origen to Hermas the scholar of Paul at Rome (Rom. xvi. 14), was so highly esteemed in the ancient church that it was used in public like the canonical books of the New Testament. Irenæus quotes it as holy scripture; Clement and Origen regarded it as inspired, and the African church of the 3rd century included it in the New Testament canon. On the other hand, the Muratorian canon (§ 36, 8) had already ranked it among the Apocrypha that might be used in private but not in public worship. The book owes its title to the circumstance that in it an angel appears in the form of a shepherd instructing Hermas. It contains four visions, in which the church, which πάντων πρώτη ἐκτίσθη, appears to the author as an old woman giving instruction (πρεσβυτέρα); it contains also twelve Mandata of the angel, and finally, ten Similitudines or parables. The Gentile-Christian origin of the author is shown by the position which he assigns to the church as coeval with the creation of the world and as at first embracing all mankind. The sending of the Son of God into the world has for its end not the founding but only the renewing and perfecting of the church, and the twelve tribes to which the Apostles were to preach the gospel are “the twelve peoples who dwell on the whole earth” (comp. Deut. xxxii. 8). In all the three parts the book takes the form of a continuous earnest call to repentance in view of the early coming again of Christ, dominated throughout by that same legalistic conception of the Gospel that we meet with in the discourse of Clement. Indeed this is more fully carried out, for it teaches that the true penitent is able not only to live a perfectly righteous life, but also in good works, such as fasts, alms, etc., to do more than fulfil the commands of God, and in this way to win for himself a higher measure of the divine favour and eternal blessedness. In Hermas we find no trace of any application of the doctrine of the Logos to the person of Christ, and the ideas of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are confused with one another. The Son of God as the Holy Spirit is προγενέστερος πάσης τῆς κτίσεως; at His suggestion and by His means God created the world; through Him He bears, sustains, and upholds it; and by Him He redeems it by means of His incarnation, for the Son of God as the Holy Spirit descends upon the man Jesus in His baptism. From its prophetical utterances, its eager expectation of the early return of the Lord, and its promises of a new outpouring of the Spirit for the quickening of the church already become too worldly, the book may be characterized as a precursor of the Montanist movement (§ 40), although on questions of practical morality, such as second marriages, martyrdom, fasting, etc., it exhibits a milder tendency than that of Montanistic rigorism, and in reference to penitential discipline (§ 39, 2), while acknowledging the inadmissibility of absolution for a mortal sin committed after baptism, it nevertheless, owing to the nearness of the second coming, allows to be proclaimed by the angel a repeated, though only short, space for repentance. The date of the composition of this book is still matter of controversy. Since Hermas is commanded in the second vision to send a copy of his book to “Clement” in order to secure its further circulation, most of the earlier scholars, and among the moderns specially Zahn, identifying this Clement with the celebrated Roman Presbyter-Bishop of that name, fix its date at somewhere about A.D. 100. Recently, however, Harnack, v. Gebhardt, and others have rightly assigned much greater importance to the testimony of the Muratorian canon, according to which it was written somewhere between A.D. 130-160, “nuperrime temporibus nostris in urbe Roma,” by Hermas, the brother of the Roman bishop Pius (A.D. 139-154).

§ 30.5.

  1. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, is said to have been a pupil of the Apostle John, though no evidence of this can be produced from the Epistles ascribed to him. The Acta martyrii sancti Ignatii, extant in five parts, are purely legendary and full of contradictory statements. According to a later document, that of the Byzantine chronographer Joh. Malalas, at the time of the Parthian war during the visit of Trajan to Antioch in A.D. 115, soon after an earthquake had been experienced there, he was torn asunder by lions in the circus as a despiser of the gods. According to the martyrologies he was transported to Rome and suffered this fate there, as usually supposed in A.D. 115, in the opinion of Wieseler and others in A.D. 107 (Lightfoot says between A.D. 100-118), according to Harnack soon after A.D. 130.60 The epistles to various churches and one to Polycarp ascribed to him have come down to us in three recensions differing from one another in extent, number and character. There is a shorter Greek recension containing seven, a larger Greek form, with expansions introduced for a purpose, containing thirteen epistles, twelve by and one to Ignatius, and the shortest of all in a Syriac translation containing three epistles, those to the Romans, to the Ephesians, and to Polycarp.61 According to the first-named recension, Ignatius is represented as writing all his epistles during his martyr journey to Rome, but no reference to this is made in the Syrian recension. Vigorous polemic against Judaistic and Docetic heresy, undaunted confession of the divinity of Christ, and unwearied exhortation to recognise the bishop as the representative of Christ, while the presbyters are described as the successors of the Apostles, distinguish these epistles from all other writings of this age, especially in the two Greek recensions, and have led many critics to question their genuineness. Bunsen, Lipsius, Ritschl, etc., regarded the Syrian recension, in which the hierarchical tendency was more in the background, as the original and authentic form. Uhlhorn, Düsterdieck, Zahn, Funk, Lightfoot, Harnack, etc., prefer the shorter Greek recension, and view the Syrian form as abbreviated perhaps for liturgical purposes, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, etc., deny the genuineness of all three. But even on this assumption, in determining the date of the composition of the two shorter recensions, to whichever of them we may ascribe priority and originality, we cannot on internal grounds put them later than the middle of the second century, whereas the larger Greek recension paraphrased and expanded into thirteen epistles belongs certainly to a much later date (§ 43, 4).62

§ 30.6.

  1. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, had also been according to Irenæus ordained to this office by the Apostle John. He died at the stake under Marcus Aurelius (Antoninus Pius?) in A.D. 166 (or A.D. 155) at an extreme old age (§ 22, 3). We possess an epistle of his to the Philippians of practical contents important on account of its New Testament quotations. Its genuineness, however, has been contested by modern criticism. It stands and falls with the seven Ignatian epistles, as it occupies common ground with them. We have a legendary biography of Polycarp by Pionius dating from the 4th century, which is reproduced in Lightfoot’s work.
  2. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis in Galatia, was also, according to Irenæus, a pupil of the Apostle John. This statement, however, in the opinion of Eusebius and many moderns, rests upon a confusion between the Apostle and another John, whom Papias himself distinguishes by the title πρεσβύτερος (§ 16, 2). He is said to have suffered death as a martyr under Marcus Aurelius, about A.D. 163. With great diligence he collected mediately and immediately from the mouths of the πρεσβύτεροι, that is, from such as had intercourse with the Apostles, or had been, like the above-mentioned John the Presbyter, μαθηταὶ τοῦ κυρίου, oral traditions about the discourses of the Lord, and set down the results of his inquiries in a writing entitled Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξήγησις. A passage quoted by Eusebius in his Ch. Hist., iii. 29, from the preface of this treatise has given rise to a lively controversy as to whether Papias was a pupil of the Apostle John and was acquainted with the fourth Gospel. Another fragment on the history of the origin of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark has occasioned a dispute as to whether only these two Gospels were known to him. Finally, there is preserved in Irenæus a passage giving a reputed saying of Christ regarding the fantastically rich fruitfulness of the earth during the thousand years’ reign (§ 33, 9). He so revels in fantastic and sensuous chiliastic dreams that Eusebius, who had previously spoken of him as a learned and well-read man, is driven to pass upon him the harsh judgment: σφόδρα γάρ τοι σμικρὸς ὢν τὸν νοῦν.63
  3. Finally, we must here include an epistle to a certain Diognetus by an unknown writer, who has described himself as μαθητὴς τῶν ἀποστόλων. Justin Martyr, among whose writings this epistle got inserted, cannot possibly have been the author, as both his style and his point of view are different. The epistle controverts in a spirited manner the objections of Diognetus to Christianity, views the pagan deities not, like the other Church Fathers, as demons, but as unsubstantial phantoms, explains the Old Testament institutions as human, and so in part foolish enactments, and maintains keenly and determinedly the opinion that God for the first time revealed Himself to man in Christ. He thus, as Dräseke thinks, to some extent favours the Marcionite view of the Old Testament, so that he regards it as not improbable that our epistle was composed by a disciple of Marcion, one perhaps like Apelles, who in the course of the later development of the school had rejected many of his master’s crudities (§ 27, 12). He addresses his discourse to Diognetus, the stoical philosopher who boasts of Marcus Aurelius as his master. On the other hand, Overbeck assigns its composition to the Post-Constantine Age, and the French scholar Doulcet, setting it down to the age of Hadrian, thinks he has discovered the author to be the Athenian philosopher Aristides. This idea has been more fully carried out by Kihn, who endeavours to make out not only the identity of the author, but that of him to whom the epistle is addressed: Κράτιστε Διόγνητε, “Almighty son of Zeus,” that is, Hadrian.

§ 30.7. The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.―The celebrated little treatise bearing the title Διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τοῖς ἔθνεσιν was discovered by Bryennius (then metropolitan of Serrä, now of Nicomedia) in the Jerusalem Codex, to which we also owe the perfect text of the two so-called Epistles of Clement, and it was edited by this scholar with prolegomena and notes in Greek, at Constantinople in 1883. It at once set in motion many learned pens in Germany, France, Holland, England, and North America.―Eusebius, who first expressly names it in his list of New Testament writings as τῶν ἀποστόλων αἱ λεγόμεναι διδαχαί, which Rufinus renders by Doctrina quæ dicitur App., places it in the closest connection with the Epistle of Barnabas among the ἀντιλεγόμενα νόθα (§ 36, 8). Four years later Athanasius ranks it as διδαχὴ καλουμένη τῶν ἀπ. along with the Shepherd of Hermas, giving it the first place, as a New Testament supplement corresponding to the Old Testament ἀναγινωσκόμενα (§ 59, 1). Clement of Alexandria quoting a passage from it uses the formula, ὑπὸ τῆς γραφῆς εἴρηται, and thus treats it as holy scripture. In Origen again no sort of reference to it has as yet been found. From the 39th Festival Epistle of Athanasius, A.D. 367, which ranks it, as we have just seen, as a New Testament supplement like the Old Testament Anaginoskomena, we know that it like these were used at Alexandria παρὰ τῶν πατέρων in the instruction of catechumens. In the East, according to Rufinus, when enumerating in his Expos. Symb. Ap. the Athanasian Anaginoskomena, we find alongside of Hermas, instead of the Didache, the “Two Ways,” Duæ viæ vel Judicium secundum Petrum. Jerome, too, in his De vir. ill., mentions among the pseudo-Petrine writings a Judicium Petri. We have here no doubt a Latin translation or recension of the first six chapters of the Didache beginning with the words: Ὅδοι δύο εἰσι, these two ways being the way of life and the way of death. The second title instead of the twelve Apostles names their spokesman Peter as the reputed author of the treatise. Soon after the time of Athanasius our tract passed out of the view of the Church Fathers, but it reappears in the Ecclesiastical Constitutions of the 4th century (§ 43, 45), of which it formed the root and stem. The Didache itself, however, should not be ranked among the pseudepigraphs, for it never claims to have been written by the twelve Apostles or by their spokesman Peter.―Bryennius and others, from the intentional prominence given to the twelve Apostles in the title and from the legalistic moralizing spirit that pervades the book, felt themselves justified in seeking its origin in Jewish-Christian circles. But this moralizing character it shares with the other Gentile-Christian writings of the Post-Apostolic Age (§ 30, 2), and the restriction of the term “Apostles” by the word “twelve” was occasioned by this, that the itinerant preachers of the gospel of that time, who in the New Testament are called Evangelists (§ 17, 5) were now called Apostles as continuators of the Apostles’ missionary labours, and also the exclusion of the Apostle Paul is to be explained by the consideration that the book is founded upon the sayings of the Lord, the tradition of which has come to us only through the twelve. It has been rightly maintained on the other hand by Harnack, that the author must rather have belonged to Gentile-Christian circles which repudiated all communion with the Jews even in matters of mere form; for in chap. viii. 1, 2, resting upon Matt. vi. 5, 16, he forbids fasting with the hypocrites, “the Jews,” or perhaps in the sense of Gal. ii. 13, the Jewish-Christians, on Monday and Thursday, instead of Wednesday and Friday according to the Christian custom (§ 37, 3), and using Jewish prayers instead of the Lord’s Prayer. The address of the title: τοῖς ἔθνεσιν is to be understood according to the analogy of Rom. xi. 13; Gal. ii. 12-14; and Eph. iii. 1. The author wishes in as brief, lucid, easily comprehended, and easily remembered form as possible, to gather together for Christians converted from heathenism the most important rules for their moral, religious and congregational life in accordance with the precepts of the Lord as communicated by the twelve Apostles, and in doing so furnishes us with a valuable “commentary on the earliest witnesses for the life, type of doctrine, interests and ordinances of the Gentile-Christian churches in the pre-Catholic age.” As to the date of its composition, its connection with the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas indicates the period within which it must fall, for the connection is so close that it must have employed them or they must have employed it. However, not only is the age of the Epistle of Barnabas, as well as that of the Shepherd of Hermas, still undetermined, but it is also disputed whether one or other of these two or the Didache has priority and originality. On the other hand, the Didache itself in almost all its data and presuppositions bears so distinct an impress of an archaic character that one feels obliged to assign its date as near the Apostolic Age as possible. Harnack who feels compelled to ascribe priority not only to the Pseudo-Barnabas, but also to the Shepherd of Hermas, fixes its date between A.D. 140-165, after Hermas and before Marcion. On the other hand, Zahn and Funk, Lechler, Taylor, etc., give the Didache priority even over the Epistle of Barnabas. The place as well as the time of the composition of this work is matter of dispute. Those who maintain its Jewish-Christian origin think of the southern lands to the east or west of the Jordan; others think of Syria. On account of its connection with the Epistle of Barnabas, and with reference to Clement and Athanasius (see above), Harnack has decided for Egypt, and, on account of its agreement with the Sahidic translation of the New Testament in omitting the doxology from Matt. v. 13, he fixes more exactly upon Upper Egypt. The objection that the designation of the grain of which the bread for the Lord’s Supper is made in the eucharistic prayer given in chap. ix. 4 as ἐπάνω τῶν ὀρέων, does not correspond with that grown there, is sought to be set aside with the scarcely satisfactory remark that “the origin of the eucharistic prayer does not decide the origin of the whole treatise.” That the book, however, does not bear in itself any specifically Alexandrian impress, such as, e.g., is undeniably met with in the Epistle of Barnabas, has been admitted by Harnack.64

§ 30.8. The Writings of the Earliest Christian Apologists65 are lost. At the head of this band stood Quadratus of Athens, who addressed a treatise in defence of the faith to Hadrian, in which among other things he shows that he himself was acquainted with some whom Jesus had cured or raised from the dead. No trace of this work can be found after the 7th century. His contemporary, Aristides the philosopher, in Athens after his conversion addressed to the same emperor an Apology that has been praised by Jerome. A fragment of an Armenian translation of this treatise, which according to its superscription belongs to the 5th century, was found in a codex of the 10th century by the Mechitarists at S. Lazzaro, and was edited by them along with a Latin translation. This fragment treats of the nature of God as the eternal creator and ruler of all things, of the four classes of men,―barbarians who are sprung from Belos, Chronos, etc., Greeks from Zeus, Danaus, Hellenos, etc., Jews from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Christians from Christ,―and of Jesus Christ as the Son of God born of a Jewish virgin, who sent His twelve Apostles into all the world to teach the nations wisdom. This probably formed the beginning of the Apology. The antique character of its point of view and the complete absence of any reference to the Logos doctrine or to any heretical teaching, lends great probability to the authenticity of this fragment, although the designation of the mother of Jesus as the “bearer of God” must be a later interpolation (comp. § 52, 3). The genuineness of the second piece, however, taken from another Armenian Codex,―an anti-docetic homily, De Latronis clamore et Crucifixi responsione (Luke xxiii. 42), which from the words of Christ and those crucified with Him proves His divinity―is both on external and on internal grounds extremely doubtful. According to the Armenian editor this Codex has the title: By the Athenian philosopher Aristeas. This is explained as a corruption of the name Aristides, but recently another Catholic scholar, Dr. Vetter, on close examination found that the name was really that of Aristides.―To a period not much later must be assigned the apologetic dialogue between the Jewish Christian Jason and the Alexandrian Jew Papiscus, in which the proof from prophecy was specially emphasized, and the in principio of Gen. i. 1 was interpreted as meaning in filio. The pagan controversialist Celsus is the first to mention this treatise. He considers it, on account of its allegorical fancies, not so much fitted to cause laughter as pity and contempt, and so regards it as unworthy of any serious reply. Origen, too, esteemed it of little consequence. Subsequently, however, in the 5th century, it obtained high repute and was deemed worthy of a Latin translation by the African bishop Celsus. The controversialist Celsus, and also Origen, Jerome, and the Latin translator, do not name the writer. His name is first given by Maximus Confessor as Ariston of Pella. Harnack has rendered it extremely probable that in the “Altercatio Simonis Judæi et Theophili Christiani” discovered in the 18th century, reported on by Gennadius (§ 47, 16), and ascribed by him to a certain Evagrius, we have a substantially correct Latin reproduction of the old Greek dialogue, in which everything that is told us about the earlier document is met with, and which, though written in the 5th century, in its ways of looking at things and its methods of proof moves within the circle of the Apologists of the 2nd century. In it, just as in those early treatises the method of proof is wholly in accordance with the Old Testament; by it every answer of the Christian to the Jew is supported; at last the Jew is converted and asks for baptism, while he regards the Christians as lator salutis and ægrotorum bone medice with a play probably upon the word Ἰάσων=ἰατρός and from this it is conceivable how Clement of Alexandria supposed Luke, the physician, to be the author of the treatise. Harnack’s conclusion is significant inasmuch as it lends a new confirmation to the fact that the non-heretical Jewish Christianity of the middle of the second century had already completely adopted the dogmatic views of Gentile Christianity. Claudius Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis, and the rhetorician Miltiades of Athens addressed very famous apologies to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Melito of Sardis was also a highly esteemed apologist, and a voluminous writer in many other departments of theological literature.66 The elaborate introduction to the mystical interpretation of scripture by investigating the mystical meaning of biblical names and words published in Pitra’s “Spicileg. Solesm.” II. III., as “Clavis Melitonis,” belongs to the later period of the middle ages. Melito’s six books of Eclogues deal with the Old Testament as a witness for Christ and Christianity, where he takes as his basis not the LXX. but the Hebrew canon (§ 36, 1).67

§ 30.9. Extant Writings of Apologists of the Post-Apostolic Age.

  1. The earliest and most celebrated of these is Justin Martyr.68 Born at Shechem (Flavia Neapolis) of Greek parents, he was drawn to the Platonic doctrine of God and to the Stoical theory of ethics, more than to any of the other philosophical systems to which, as a pagan, he turned in the search after truth. But full satisfaction he first found in the prophets and apostles, to whom he was directed by an unknown venerable old man, whom he once met by the sea-side. He now in his thirtieth year cast off his philosopher’s cloak and adopted Christianity, of which he became a zealous defender, but thereby called down upon himself the passionate hatred of the pagan sages. His bitterest enemy was the Cynic Crescens in Rome, who after a public disputation with him, did all he could to compass his destruction. In A.D. 165, under Marcus Aurelius, Justin was condemned at Rome to be scourged and beheaded.―His two Apologies, addressed to Antoninus Pius and his son Marcus Aurelius are certainly genuine. Of these, however, the shorter one, the so-called second Apology is probably only a sort of appendix to the first. His Dialogus cum Tryphone Judæo is probably a free rendering of a disputation which actually occurred. Except a few fragments, his Σύνταγμα κατὰ Μαρκίωνος have been lost. It is disputed whether that was an integral part of the Σύνταγμα κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων of which he himself makes mention, or a later independent work. The following are of more than doubtful authenticity: the Λόγος παραινετικὸς πρὸς Ἕλληνας (Cohortatio ad Græcos), which seeks to prove that not by the poets nor by the philosophers, but only by Moses and the prophets can the true knowledge of God be found, and that whatever truth is spoken by the former, they had borrowed from the latter; also, the shorter Λόγος πρὸς Ἕλληνας (Oratio ad Græcos), on the irrationality and immorality of the pagan mythology; further, the short treatise Περὶ μοναρχίας, which proves the vanity of polytheism from the admissions of heathen poets and philosophers; and a fragment Περὶ ἀναστάσεως.―Justin’s theology is of the Gentile Christian type, quite free from any Ebionitic taint, inclining rather to the speculation and ethics of Greek philosophy and to an Alexandrian-Hellenistic conception and exposition of scripture. To these sources everything may be traced in which he unconsciously departs from biblical Paulinism and Catholic orthodoxy. Then in his idea of God and creation, he has not quite overcome the partly pantheistic, partly dualistic, principles derived from the Platonic philosophy. He shows traces of Alexandrian influences in his conception of the person and work of Christ, to whom he assigns merely the role of a divine teacher, who has made known the true idea of God the Creator, of righteousness, and of eternal life, and has won power by death, resurrection and ascension, and will give evidence of it by His coming again to reward the righteousness of the saints with immortal blessedness. He was also led into doctrinal aberrations in the anthropological domain, because his idea of freedom and virtue borrowed from Greek philosophy prevented him from fully grasping the Pauline doctrine of sin. His theory of morals, with its legalistic tendency and its righteousness of works, was grounded not in Judaism but in Stoicism. His chiliasm, too, is not Ebionitic but is immediately derived from scripture, and has less significance for his speculation than the other eschatological principles of Resurrection, Judgment, and Recompence. His Christianity consists essentially of only three elements: Worship of the true God, a virtuous life according to the commandments of Christ, and belief in rewards and punishments hereafter. Over against the pagan philosophy it represents itself as the true philosophy, and over against the Mosaic law as the new law freed from the fetters of ceremonialism. Even in the natural man, in consequence of the divine reason that is innate in him, there dwells the power of living as a Christian: Abraham and Elias, Socrates and Heraclitus, etc., have to such a degree lived according to reason that they must be called Christians. But even they possessed only σπέρματα Λόγου, only a μέρος Λόγου; for the divine reason dwells in men only as Λόγος σπερματικός; in Christ alone as the incarnate Logos it dwells as ὁ πᾶς Λόγος or τὸ Λογικὸν τὸ ὅλον. He is the only true Son of God, pre-mundane but not eternal, the πρῶτον γέννημα τοῦ θεοῦ, or the πρωτότοκος τοῦ θεοῦ, by whom God in the beginning created all things. The Father alone is ὄντως θεός, and the Logos only a divine being of the second rank, a ἕτερος θεὸς παρὰ τὸν ποιητὴν τῶν ὅλων, to whom, however, as such, worship should be rendered. In Justin’s theological speculation the Holy Spirit stands quite in the background, though the baptismal and congregational Trinitarian confession obliged him to assign to the Spirit the rank of an independent divine being, whom the Logos had used for the enlightening of His prophets. Justin too knows nothing of a particular election of Israel as the people of God; with him the Christians as such are the true Israel, the people of God, the children of the faith of Abraham. From the Old Testament he proves the divinity of the person and doctrine of Christ, and from the Ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων (§ 36, 7) he derives his information about the historical life, teaching, and works of Jesus. The Gospel of John, although never mentioned, was not unknown to him, but it appeared to him more as a doctrinal and hortatory treatise than as a historical document, and undoubtedly his Logos doctrine is connected with that of John. He shows himself familiar with the Epistles of Paul, although he never expressly quotes from them.

§ 30.10.

  1. Tatian, a Greek born in Assyria (according to Zahn, a Semite) while engaged as a rhetorician at Rome, was won to Christianity by Justin Martyr, according to Harnack about A.D. 150. As the fruit of youthful zeal, he published an Apologetical Λόγος πρὸς Ἕλληνας, in which he treats the Greek paganism and its culture with withering scorn for even its noblest manifestations, and shared with his teacher the hatred and persecution of the philosopher Crescens. His later written Εὐαγγέλιον διὰ τεσσάρων (§ 36, 7) was a Gospel harmony, in which the removal of all reference to the descent of Jesus from the seed of David, according to the flesh, objected to by Theodoret, was occasioned perhaps more by antipathy to Ebionism than by any sympathy with Gnosticism. Zahn affirms, while Harnack decidedly denies, that this work was originally composed in Syriac. The exclusive use by the Syrians of the Greek name Diatessaron seems to afford a strong argument for a Greek original. Its general agreement with the readings of the so-called Itala (§ 36, 8) witnesses to the West as the place of its composition. The introduction of a Syriac translation of it into church use in the East is to be explained by a longer residence of the author in his eastern home; and its neglect on the part of many of the Greek and Latin Church Fathers, and even their complete ignorance of it, may be accounted for by the fact that, while in the far East it was unsuspected, elsewhere it came to be branded as heretical (§ 27, 10).69
  2. Athenagoras, about whose life we have no authentic information, in A.D. 177 addressed his Πρεσβεία (Intercessio) περὶ Χριστιανῶν to Marcus Aurelius, in which he clearly and convincingly disproves the hideous calumnies of Atheism, Ædipodean atrocities, Thyestean feasts (§ 22), and extols the excellence of Christianity in life and doctrine. In the treatise Περὶ ἀναστάσεως νέκρων he proves, from the general philosophical rather than distinctively Christian standpoint, the necessity of resurrection from the vocation of man in connection with the wisdom, omnipotence and righteousness of God.
  3. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch (†   after A.D. 180), was by birth a pagan. His writing Πρὸς Αὐτόλυκον περὶ τῆς τῶν Χριστιανῶν πίστεως is one of the most excellent apologetical treatises of this period. Autolycus was one of his heathen acquaintances. His commentaries and controversial works have been lost. Zahn, indeed, has sought to prove that an extant Latin Commentary on selected passages from the four Gospels in the allegorical style belonging to the first half of the 3rd  century, and bearing the name of Theophilus of Antioch, is a substantially faithful translation of the authentic Greek original of A.D. 170. He has also called attention to the great importance of this commentary, not only for the oldest history of the Canon, Text and Exposition, but also for that of the church life, the development of doctrine and the ecclesiastical constitution, especially of the monasticism already appearing in those early times. But while Zahn reached those wonderful results from a conviction that the verbal coincidences of the Latin Church Fathers of the 3rd to the 5th centuries with the supposed Theophilus commentary were examples of their borrowing from it, Harnack has convincingly proved that this so-called commentary is rather to be regarded as a compilation from these same Latin Church Fathers made at the earliest during the second half of the 5th century.
  4. Finally, an otherwise unknown author Hermias wrote under the title Διασυρμὸς τῶν ἔξω φιλοσόφων (Irrisio gentilium philos.) a short abusive treatise, in a witty but superficial style, of which the fundamental principle is to be found in 1 Cor. iii. 19.
§ 31. The Theological Literature of the Old Catholic Age, A.D. 170-323.

From about A.D. 170, during the Old Catholic Age, scientific theology in conflict with Judaizing, paganizing and monarchianistic heretics progressed in a more vigorous and comprehensive manner than in the apologetical and polemical attempt at self-defence of Post-Apostolic Times. Throughout this period, however, the zeal for apologetics continued unabated, but also in other directions, especially in the department of dogmatics, important contributions were made to theological science. While these developments were in progress, there arose within the Catholic church three different theological schools, each with some special characteristic of its own, the Asiatic, the Alexandrian, and the North African.

§ 31.1. The Theological Schools and Tendencies.The School of Asia Minor was the outcome of John’s ministry there, and was distinguished by firm grasp of scripture, solid faith, conciliatory treatment of those within and energetic polemic against heretics. Its numerous teachers, highly esteemed in the ancient church, are known to us only by name, and in many cases even the name has perished. Only two of their disciples resident in the West―Irenæus and Hippolytus―are more fully known. A yet greater influence, more widely felt and more enduring, was that of the Alexandrian School.70 Most of its teachers were distinguished by classical culture, a philosophical spirit, daring speculativeness and creative power. Their special task was the construction of a true ecclesiastical gnosis over against the false heretical gnosis, and so the most celebrated teachers of this school have not escaped the charge of unevangelical speculative tendencies. The nursery of this theological tendency was especially this Catechetical School of Alexandria which from an institution for the training of educated Catechumens had grown up into a theological seminary. The North African School by its realism, a thoroughly practical tendency, formed the direct antithesis of the idealism and speculative endeavours of the Alexandrian. It repudiated classical science and philosophy as fitted to lead into error, but laid special stress upon the purity of Apostolic tradition, and insisted with all emphasis upon holiness of life and strict asceticism.―Finally, our period also embraces the first beginnings of the Antiochean School, whose founders were the two presbyters Dorotheus and Lucian. The latter especially gave to the school in its earlier days the tendency to critical and grammatico-historical examination of scripture. At Edessa, too, as early as the end of the 2nd century, we find a Christian school existing.

1. Church Fathers Writing in Greek.

§ 31.2. Church Teachers of the Asiatic Type.

  1. Irenæus, a pupil of Polycarp, was a native of Asia Minor. According to the Vita Polycarpi of Pionius he lived in Rome at the time of Polycarp’s death as a teacher, and it is not improbable that he had gone there in company with his master (§ 37, 2). Subsequently he settled in Gaul, and held the office of presbyter at Lyons. During his absence at Rome as the bearer of a tract by the imprisoned confessors of Lyons on the Montanist controversy to the Roman bishop Eleutherus, Pothinus, the aged bishop of Lyons, fell a victim to the dreadful persecution of Marcus Aurelius which raged in Gaul. Irenæus succeeded him as bishop in A.D. 178. About the time and manner of his death nothing certain is known. Jerome, indeed, once quite casually designates him a martyr, but since none of the earlier Church Fathers, who speak of him, know anything of this, it cannot be maintained with any confidence. Gentleness and moderation, combined with earnestness and decision, as well as the most lively interest in the catholicity of the church and the purity of its doctrine according to scripture and tradition, were the qualities that make him the most important and trustworthy witness to his own age, and led to his being recognised in all times as one of the ablest and most influential teachers of the church and a most successful opponent of heretical Gnosticism. His chief work against the Gnostics: Ἔλεγχος καὶ ἀνατροπὴ τῆς ψευδονύμου γνώσεως (Adv. hæreses) in 5 books, is mainly an ex professo directed against the Valentinians and the schools of Ptolemy and Marcus There is appended to it, beyond what had been proposed at the beginning, a short discussion of the views of other Gnostics, the basis of which may be found in an older treatise, perhaps in the Syntagma of Justin. The last four books give the express scripture proofs to sustain the general confutation, without doing this, however, in a complete manner; at the same time there is rapid movement amid many digressions and excursuses. This work has come down to us in a complete form only in an old translation literally rendered in barbarous Latin, even to the reproduction of misunderstood words, which was used as early as by Tertullian in his treatise against the Valentinians. We are indebted to the writings of the heresiologists Hippolytus and Epiphanius for the preservation of many remarkable fragments of the original, with or without the author’s name. Of his other writings we have only a few faint reminiscences. Two epistles addressed to the Roman presbyter Florinus combat the Valentinian heresy to which Florinus was inclined. During the controversy about Easter (§ 37, 2) he wrote several epistles of a conciliatory character, especially one to Blastus in Rome, an adherent of the Asiatic practice, and in the name of the whole Gallic church, he addressed a letter to the Roman bishop, Victor, and afterwards a second letter in his own name.71

§ 31.3.

  1. Hippolytus, a presbyter and afterwards schismatical bishop at Rome, though scarcely to be designated of Asia Minor, but rather a Lyonese, if not a Roman pupil of Irenæus, belonged to the same theological school. He was celebrated for his comprehensive learning and literary attainments, and yet his career until quite recently was involved in the greatest obscurity. Eusebius, who is the first to refer to him, places him in the age of Alex. Severus (A.D. 222-235), calls him a bishop, without, however, naming his supposed oriental diocese, which even Jerome was unable to determine. The Liberian list of Popes of A.D. 354, describes him as Yppolytus presbyter who was burnt in Sardinia about A.D. 235 along with the Roman bishop, Pontianus (§ 41, 1). In the fifth century, the Roman church gave him honour as a martyr. The poet Prudentius († A.D. 413) who himself saw the crypt in which his bones were laid and which in the book of his martyrdom was pictorially represented, celebrated his career in song. According to him Hippolytus was an adherent of the Novatian schism (§ 41, 3), but returned to the Catholic church and suffered martyrdom at Portus near Rome. According to his own statement quoted by Photius he was a hearer of the doctrinal discourses of Irenæus. A statue representing him in a sitting posture which was exhumed at Rome in A.D. 1551, has on the back of the seat a list of his writings along with an Easter cycle of sixteen years drawn up by him (§ 56, 3). Finally, there was found among the works of Origen a treatise on the various philosophical systems entitled Philosophoumena, which professes to be the first book of a writing in ten books found in Greece in A.D. 1842, Κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων ἔλεγχος. Starting from the position, and seeking to establish it, that the heretics have got their doctrines not from holy scripture, but from astrology, pagan mysteries and the Greek philosophers, this treatise is generally of great importance not only for the history of the heresies of the Gnostics and Monarchians, but also for the history of philosophy. The English editor, E. Miller (Oxon., 1851), attributed the authorship of the whole to Origen, which, however, from the complete difference of style, point of view and position was soon proved to be untenable. Since the writer admits that he was himself the author of a book Περὶ τῆς τοῦ πάντος οὐσίας, and Photius ascribes a book with the same title to the Roman Caius (§ 31, 7), Baur attributes to the latter the composition of the Elenchus. Photius, however, founds his opinion simply upon an apocryphal note on the margin of his copy of the book. Incomparably more important are the evidences for the Hippolytus authorship, which is now almost universally admitted. The Elenchus is not, indeed, enumerated in the list of works on the statue. The book Περὶ τῆς τοῦ πάντος οὐσίας, however, appears there, and it contains the statement that its author also wrote the Elenchus. The author of the Elenchus also states that he had previously written a similar work in a shorter form, and Photius describes such a shorter writing of Hippolytus, dating from the time of his intercourse with Irenæus, under the title Σύνταγμα κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων. Lipsius has made it appear extremely probable that in the Libellus adv. omnes hæreticos appended to Tertullian’s De præscriptione hæreticorum, and so usually styled a treatise of the Pseudo-Tertullian, we have an abbreviated Latin reproduction of that work; for this one as well as the other begins with Dositheus and ends with Noëtus, and both deal with thirty-two heresies. Epiphanius and Philastrius [Philaster] have used it largely in their heresiological works. The discussion in the Elenchus agrees therewith in many passages but also in many is essentially different, which, however, when we consider the much later date of the first named treatise affords no convincing evidence against the theory that both are by one author. The Elenchus thereby wins a high importance as giving information about the condition of the Roman church during the first decades of the 3rd century, about the position of the author who describes himself in his treatise as a pupil of Irenæus, about his own and his opponents’ way of viewing things, and about his conflict with them leading to schism, though all is told from the standpoint of an interested party (§§ 33, 5; 41, 1). A considerable fragment directed against the errors of Noëtus (§ 33, 5) was perhaps originally a part of his Syntagma,―though not perhaps of the anonymous, so-called Little Labyrinth against the Artemonites (§ 33, 3) or probably against the Monarchians generally, from which Eusebius makes extensive quotations, especially about the Theodotians. This work is ascribed by Photius to the Roman Caius, but without doubt wrongly. Great probability has been given to the recently advanced idea that this book too may have been written by Hippolytus.72

§ 31.4. The Alexandrian Church Teachers.

  1. The first of the teachers of the catechetical school at Alexandria known by name was Pantænus, who had formerly been a Stoic philosopher. About A.D. 190 he undertook a missionary journey into Southern Arabia or India, and died in A.D. 202 after a most successful and useful life. Jerome says of him: Hujus multi quidem in s. Scri. exstant Commentarii, sed Magis viva voce ecclesiis profuit. Of his writings none are preserved.
  2. Titus Flavius Clemens [Clement] was the pupil of Pantænus and his successor at the catechetical school in Alexandria. On his travels undertaken in the search for knowledge he came to Alexandria as a learned pagan philosopher, where probably Pantænus gained an influence over him and was the means of his conversion. During the persecution under Septimius Severus in A.D. 202 he sought in flight to escape the rage of the heathens, in accordance with Matt. x. 23. But he continued unweariedly by writing and discourse to promote the interests of the church till his death in A.D. 220. The most important and most comprehensive of his writings is the work in three parts of which the first part entitled Λόγος προτρεπτικὸς πρὸς Ἕλληνας (Cohortatio ad Græcos) with great expenditure of learning seeks to prepare the minds of the heathen for Christianity by proving the vanity of heathenism; the second part, Ὁ παιδαγωγός in three books, with a Hymnus in Salvatorem attached, gives an introduction to the Christian life; and the third part, Στρωματείς (Stromata), that is, patchwork, so-called from the aphoristic style and the variety of its contents, in eight books, setting forth the deep things of Christian gnosis, but in the form rather of a collection of materials than a carefully elaborated treatise. The little tractate Τίς ὁ σωζόμενος πλούσιος (Quis dives salvetur) shows how even wealth may be made contributory to salvation. Among his lost treatises the most important was the Ὑποτυπώσεις in eight books, an expository review of the contents of holy scripture.73

§ 31.5.

  1. Great as was the reputation of Clement, he was far outstripped by his pupil and successor Origen, acknowledged by pagan and Christian contemporaries to be a miracle of scholarship. On account of his indomitable diligence, he was named Ἀδαμάντιος. Celebrated as a philosopher, philologist, critic, exegete, dogmatist, apologist, polemist, etc., posterity has with equal right honoured him as the actual founder of an ecclesiastical and scientific theology, and reproached him as the originator of many heretical opinions (§§ 51; 52, 6). He was born of Christian parents at Alexandria about A.D. 185, was educated under his father Leonidas, Pantænus and Clement, while still a boy encouraged his father when he suffered as a martyr under Septimius Severus in A.D. 202, became the support of his helpless mother and his six orphaned sisters, and was called in A.D. 203 by bishop Demetrius to be teacher of the catechetical school. In order to qualify himself for the duties of his new calling, he engaged eagerly in the study of philosophy under the Neo-Platonist Ammonius Saccas. His mode of life was extremely simple and from his youth he was a strict ascetic. In his eager striving after Christian perfection he had himself emasculated, from a misunderstanding of Matt. xix. 12, but afterwards he admitted that that was a wrong step. His fame advanced from day to day. About A.D. 211 he visited Rome. Accepting an honourable invitation in A.D. 215 he wrought for a long time as a missionary in Arabia, he was then appointed by the celebrated Julia Mammæa (§ 22, 4) to Antioch in A.D. 218; and in A.D. 230 undertook in the interest of the church a journey to Greece through Palestine, where the bishops of Cæsarea and Jerusalem admitted him to the rank of a presbyter. His own bishop, Demetrius, jealous of the daily increasing fame of Origen and feeling that his episcopal rights had been infringed upon, recalled him, and had him at two Alexandrian Synods, in A.D. 231 and 232, arraigned and excommunicated for heresy, self-mutilation and contempt of the ecclesiastical laws of his office. Origen now went to Cæsarea, and there, honoured and protected by the Emperor, Philip the Arabian, opened a theological school. His literary activity here reached its climax. But under Decius he was cast into prison at Tyre, in A.D. 254, and died in consequence of terrible tortures which he endured heroically.―Of his numerous writings74 only a comparatively small number, but those of great value, are preserved; some in the original, others only in a Latin translation.
    1. To the department of Biblical Criticism belongs the fruit of twenty-seven years’ labour, the so-called Hexapla, that is, a placing side by side the Hebrew text of the O.T. (first in Hebr. and then in the Gr. letters) and the existing Greek translations of the LXX., Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion; by the addition in some books of other anonymous translations, it came to be an Octopla or Enneapla. By critical marks on the margin all variations were carefully indicated. The enormous bulk of fifty volumes hindered its circulation by means of transcripts; but the original lay in the library at Cæsarea open to the inspection of all, until lost, probably in the sack of the city by the Arabians in A.D. 653.75
    2. His Exegetical works consist of Σημειώσεις or short scholia on separate difficult passages, Τόμοι or complete commentaries on whole books of the bible, and Ὁμιλίαι or practical expository lectures. Origen, after the example of the Rabbinists and Hellenists, gave a decided preference to the allegorical method of interpretation. In every scripture passage he distinguished a threefold sense, as σῶμα, ψυχή, πνεῦμα, first a literal, and then a twofold higher sense, the tropical or moral, and the pneumatical or mystical. He was not just a despiser of the literal sense, but the unfolding of the mystical sense seemed to him of infinitely greater importance. All history in the bible is a picture of things in the higher world. Most incidents occurred as they are told; but some, the literal conception of which would be unworthy or irrational, are merely typical, without any outward historical reality. The Old Testament language is typical in a twofold sense: for the New Testament history and for the heavenly realities. The New Testament language is typical only of the latter. He regarded the whole bible as inspired, with the exception of the books added by the LXX., but the New Testament in a higher degree than the Old. But even the New Testament had defects which will only be overcome by the revelation of eternity.
    3. To the department of Dogmatics belongs his four books Περὶ ἀρχῶν (De Principiis), which have come down to us in a Latin translation of Rufinus with arbitrary interpolations. His Στρωματεῖς in ten books which sought to harmonize the Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy is lost, and also his numerous writings against the heretics. His comprehensive apologetical work in eight books, Contra Celsum (§ 23, 3), has come down to us complete.76 Gregory of Nazianzus [Nazianzen] and Basil the Great made a book entirely from his writings under the title Φιλοκαλία, which contains many passages from lost treatises, and a valuable original fragment from his Περὶ ἀρχῶν. His principal doctrinal characteristics are the following: There is a twofold revelation, the primitive revelation in conscience to which the heathen owe their σπέρματα ἀληθείας, and the historical revelation in holy scripture; there are three degrees of religious knowledge, that of the ψιλὴ πίστις, an unreasoned acceptance of the truth, wrought by God immediately in the heart of men, that of γνῶσις or ἐπιστήμη to which the reasoning mind of man can reach by the speculative development of scripture revelation in his life, and finally, that of σοφία or θεωρία, the vision of God, the full enjoyment of which is attained unto only hereafter. For his doctrine of the Trinity, see § 33, 6. His cosmological, angelological and anthropological views represent a mixture of Platonic, Gnostic and spiritualistic ideas, and run out into various heterodoxies; thus, he believes in timeless or eternal creation, an ante-temporal fall of human souls, their imprisonment in earthly bodies, he denies the resurrection of the body, he believed in the animation and the need and capacity of redemption of the stars and star-spirits, in the restoration of all spirits to their original, ante-temporal blessedness and holiness, ἀποκατάστασις τῶν πάντων.
    4. Of his Ascetical Works, the treatise Περὶ εὐχῆς with an admirable exposition of the Lord’s prayer, and a Λόγος προτρεπικὸς εἰς μαρτύριον have been preserved. Of his numerous epistles, the Epistola ad Julium Africanum defends against his correspondent the genuineness of the history of Susannah.

§ 31.6.

  1. Among the successors of Origen in the school of Alexandria the most celebrated, from about A.D. 232, was Dionysius Alexandrinus [of Alexandria]. He was raised to the rank of bishop in A.D. 247, and died in A.D. 265. In speculative power he was inferior to his teacher Origen. His special gift was that of κυβέρνησις. He was honoured by his own contemporaries with the title of The Great. During the Decian persecution he manifested wisdom and good sense as well as courage and steadfastness. The ecclesiastical conflicts of his age afforded abundant opportunities for testing his noble and gentle character, as well as his faithful attachment to the church and zeal for the purity of its doctrine, and on all hands his self-denying amiability wrought in the interests of peace. Of his much-praised writings, exegetical, ascetical, polemical (Περὶ ἐπαγγελιῶν § 33, 9), apologetical (Περὶ φύσεως against the Atomism of Democritus and Epicurus), and dogmatical (§ 33, 7), only fragments are preserved, mostly from his Epistles in quotations by Eusebius. We have, however, one short tract complete addressed to Novatian at Rome (§ 31, 12), containing an earnest entreaty that he should abandon his schismatic rigorism.
  2. Gregory Thaumaturgus was one of Origen’s pupils at Cæsarea. Origen was the means of converting the truth-seeking heathen youth to Christianity, and Gregory clung to his teacher with the warmest affection. He subsequently became bishop of his native city of Neo-Cæsarea, and was able on his death-bed in A.D. 270 to comfort himself with the reflection that he left to his successor no more unbelievers in the city than his predecessor had left him of believers (their number was seventeen). He was called the second Moses and the power of working miracles was ascribed to him. We have from his pen a panegyric on Origen, an Epistle on Church Discipline, a Μετάφρασις εἰς Ἐκκλησιάστην, a Confession of Faith important for the history of the Ante-Nicene period (§ 50, 1): Ἔκθεσις πίστεως. Two other tracts in a Syrian translation are ascribed to him: To Philagrius on Consubstantiality, and To Theopompus on the Passibility of God. Dräseke, however, identifies the first-named with Oratio 45 of Gregory Nazianzus [Nazianzen] and assigns to him the authorship.77
  3. The learned presbyter Pamphilus of Cæsarea, the friend of Eusebius (§ 47, 2) and founder of a theological seminary and the celebrated library of Cæsarea, who died as a martyr under Maximinus, belongs to this group. His Old Testament Commentaries have been lost. In prison he finished his work in five books which he undertook jointly with Eusebius, the Apology for Origen, to which Eusebius independently added a sixth book. Only the first book is preserved in Rufinus’ Latin translation.

§ 31.7. Greek-speaking Church Teachers in other Quarters.

  1. Hegesippus wrote his five books Ὑπομνήματα, about A.D. 180, during the age of the Roman bishop Eleutherus. From his knowledge of the Hebrew language, literature and traditions Eusebius concludes that he was a Jew by birth. He himself says distinctly that in A.D. 155 during the time of bishop Anicetus he was staying in Rome, and that on his way thither he visited Corinth. The opinion formerly current that his Hypomnemata consisted of a collection of historical traditions from the time of the Apostles down to the age of the writer, and so might be called a sort of Church History, arose from the historical character of the contents of eight quotations made from this treatise by Eusebius in his own Church History. It is, however, not borne out by the fact that what Hegesippus tells in his detailed narrative of the end of James the Just (§ 16, 3) occurs, not in the first or second but in the fifth and last book of his treatise. Moreover, among writers against the heretics or Gnostics, Eusebius enumerates in the first place one Hegesippus, having it would seem his Hypomnemata in view. From this circumstance, in conjunction with everything else quoted from and told about him by Eusebius, we may with great probability conclude that the purpose of his writing was to confute the heresies of his age. In doing so he traces them partly to Gentile sources, but partly and mainly to pre-Christian Jewish heresies, seven of which are enumerated. He treats in the first three books of the so-called Gnostics and their relations to heathenism and false Judaism. Then in the fourth book he discusses the heretical Apocrypha and, as contrasted with them, the orthodox ecclesiastical writings, mentioning among them expressly the Epistle of Clemens [Clement] Romanus [of Rome] to the Corinthians. Finally, in the fifth book, he proves from the Apostolic succession of the leaders of the church, the unity and truth of ecclesiastically transmitted doctrine. The historical value of his writing, owing to the confusion and want of critical power shown in the instances referred to, cannot be placed very high. The school of Baur, more particularly Schwegler (see § 20), attached greater importance to him as a supposed representative of the anti-Pauline Judaism of his time. The value of his testimony in this direction, however, is reduced by his acknowledgment of the Epistle of Clement that accords so high a place to the Apostle Paul. His relations to Rome and Corinth, with his judgment on the general unity of faith in the church of his age, prove that he would be by no means disposed to repudiate the Apostle Paul in favour of any Ebionitic tendency.
  2. Caius of Rome, a contemporary of bishop Zephyrinus about A.D. 210, was one of the most conspicuous opponents of Montanism. Eusebius who characterizes him as ἀνὴρ ἐκκλησιαστικός and λογιώτατος, quotes four times from his now lost controversial tract in dialogue form against Proclus the Roman Montanist leader.

§ 31.8.

  1. Sextus Julius Africanus, according to Suidas a native of Libya, took part, as he says himself in his Κεστοῖς, in the campaign of Septimius Severus against Osrhoëne in A.D. 195, became intimate with the Christian king Maanu VIII. of Edessa, whom in his Chronographies he calls ἱερὸς ἀνὴρ, and was often companion in hunting to his son and successor Maanu IX. About A.D. 220 we find him, according to Eusebius and others, in Rome at the head of an embassy from Nicopolis or Emmaus in Palestine petitioning for the restoration of that city. In consequence of Origen addressing him about A.D. 227 as ἀγαπητὸς ἀδελφός it has been rashly concluded that he was then a presbyter or at least of clerical rank. The five books, Χρονογραφίαι, were his first and most important work. This work which was known partly in the original, partly in the citations from it in the Eusebian Chronicle (§ 47, 2), together with its Latin continuation by Jerome proved a main source of information in general history during the Byzantine period and the Latin Middle Age. Beginning with the creation of the world and fixing the whole course of the world’s development at 6,000 years, he set the middle point of this period to the age of Peleg (Gen. x. 25), and in accordance with the chronology of the LXX. and reckoning by Olympiads, proceeded to synchronize biblical and profane history. He assigned the birth of Christ to the middle of the sixth of the thousand year periods, at the close of which he probably expected the beginning of the millennium. From the fragments preserved by later Byzantine chroniclers, Gelzer has attempted to reproduce as far as possible the original work, carefully indicating its sources and authorities. Of the other works of Africanus we have in a complete form only an Epistle to Origen, “a real gem of brilliant criticism spiced with a gentle touch of fine irony” (Gelzer), which combats the authenticity and credibility of the Pseudo-Daniel’s history of Susannah. We have also a fragment quoted in Eusebius from an Epistle to a certain Aristides, which attempts a reconciliation of the genealogies in Matt. and Luke by distinguishing παῖδες νόμῳ and παῖδες φύσει with reference to Deut. xxv. 5. According to Eusebius “the chronologist Julius Africanus,” according to Suidas “Origen’s friend Africanus with the prænomen Sextus,” is also the author of the so called Κεστοί (embroidery), a great comprehensive work of which only fragments have been preserved, in which all manner of wonderful things from the life of nature and men, about agriculture, cattle breeding, warfare, etc., were recorded, so that it had the secondary title Παράδοξα. The excessive details of pagan superstition here reported, much of which, such as that relating to the secret worship of Venus, was distinctly immoral, and its dependence on the secret writings of the Egyptians seem now as hard to reconcile with the standpoint of a believing Christian, as with the sharpness of intellect shown in his criticism of the letter of Susannah. It has therefore been assumed that alongside of the Christian chronologist Julius Africanus there was a pagan Julius Africanus who wrote the Κεστοί,―or, seeing the identity of the two is strongly evidenced both on internal and external grounds, the composition of the Κεστοί is assigned to a period when the author was still a heathen. The facts, however, that the Chronicles close with A.D. 221 and that the Κεστοί is dedicated to Alex. Severus (A.D. 222-235), seem to guarantee the earlier composition of the Chronicles. The author of the Κεστοί, too, by his quotation of Ps. xxxiv. 9 with the formula θεία ῥήματα, shows himself a Christian, and on the other hand, the author of the Chronicles says that at great cost he had made himself acquainted in Egypt with a celebrated secret book.

§ 31.9.

  1. Methodius bishop of Olympus in Lycia, subsequently at Tyre, a man highly esteemed in his day, died as a martyr in A.D. 311. He was a decided opponent of the spiritualism prevailing in the school of Origen. His Συμπόσιον τῶν δέκα παρθένων is a dialogue between several virgins regarding the excellence of virginity written in eloquent and glowing language (transl. in Ante-Nicene Lib., Edin., 1870). Of his other works only outlines and fragments are preserved by Epiphanius and Photius. To these belong Περὶ αὐτεξουσίου καὶ ποθὲν κακά, a polemic against the Platonic-Gnostic doctrine of the eternity of matter as the ultimate ground and cause of sin, which are to be sought rather in the misuse of human freedom; the dialogues Περὶ ἀναστάσεως and Περὶ τῶν γεννητῶν, the former of which combats Origen’s doctrine of the resurrection, and the latter his doctrine of creation. His controversial treatise against Porphyry (§ 23, 3) has been completely lost.
  2. The martyr Lucian of Samosata, born and brought up in Edessa, was presbyter of Antioch and co-founder of the theological school there that became so famous (§ 47, 1), where he, deposed by a Syrian Synod of A.D. 269, and persecuted by the Emperor Aurelian in A.D. 272, as supporter of bishop Paul of Samosata (§ 33, 8), maintained his position under the three following bishops (till A.D. 303) apart from the official church, and died a painful martyr’s death under the Emperor Maximinus in A.D. 312. That secession, however, was occasioned less perhaps through doctrinal and ecclesiastical, than through national and political, anti-Roman and Syrian sympathies with his heretical countrymen of Samosata. For though in the Arian controversy (§ 50, 1) Lucian undoubtedly appears as the father of that Trinitarian-Christological view first recognised and combated as heretical in his pupil Arius in A.D. 318, this was certainly essentially different from the doctrine of the Samosatian. About Lucian’s literary activity only the scantiest information has come down to us. His most famous work was his critical revision of the Text of the Old and New Testaments, which according to Jerome was officially sanctioned in the dioceses of the Patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople, and thus probably lies at the basis of Theodoret’s and Chrysostom’s exegetical writings. Rufinus’ Latin translation of Eusebius’ Church History gives an extract from the “Apologetical Discourse” in which he seems to have openly confessed and vindicated his Christian faith before his heathen judge.

2. Church Fathers Writing in Latin.

§ 31.10. The Church Teachers of North Africa.Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus [Tertullian] was the son of a heathen centurion of Carthage, distinguished as an advocate and rhetorician, converted somewhat late in life, about A.D. 190, and, after a long residence in Rome, made presbyter at Carthage in A.D. 220. He was of a fiery and energetic character, in his writings as well as in his life pre-eminently a man of force, with burning enthusiasm for the truth of the gospel, unsparingly rigorous toward himself and others. His “Punic style” is terse, pictorial and rhetorical, his thoughts are original, brilliant and profound, his eloquence transporting, his dialectic clear and convincing, his polemic crushing, enlivened with sharp wit and biting sarcasm. He shows himself the thoroughly accomplished jurist in his use of legal terminology and also in the acuteness of his deductions and demonstrations. Fanatically opposed to heathen philosophy, though himself trained in the knowledge of it, a zealous opponent of Gnosticism, in favour of strict asceticism and hostile to every form of worldliness, he finally attached himself, about A.D. 220, to the party of the Montanists (§ 40, 3). Here he found the form of religion in which his whole manner of thought and feeling, the energy of his will, the warmth of his emotions, his strong and forceful imagination, his inclination to rigorous asceticism, his love of bald realism, could be developed in all power and fulness, without let or hindrance. If amid all his enthusiasm for Montanism he kept clear of many of its absurdities, he had for this to thank his own strong common sense, and also, much as he affected to despise it, his early scientific training. He at first wrote his compositions in Greek, but afterwards exclusively in Latin, into which he also translated the most important of his earlier writings. He is perhaps not the first who treated of the Christian truth in this language (§ 31, 12a), but he has been rightly recognised as the actual creator of ecclesiastical Latin. His writings may be divided into three groups.

  1. Apologetical and Controversial Treatises against Jews and Pagans, which belong to his pre-Montanist period. The most important and instructive of these is the Apologeticus adv. Gentes, addressed to the Roman governor. A reproduction of this work intended for the general public, less learned, but more vigorous, scathing and uncompromising, is the treatise in two books entitled Ad Nationes. In the work Ad Scapulam, who as Proconsul of Africa under Septimius Severus had persecuted the Christians with unsparing cruelty, he calls him to account for this with all earnestness and plainness of speech. In the book, De testimonio animæ he carries out more fully the thought already expressed in the Apologeticus c. 17 of the Anima humana naturaliter christiana, and proves in an ingenious manner that Christianity alone meets the religious needs of humanity. The book Adv. Judæos had its origin ostensibly in a public disputation with the Jews, in which the interruptions of his audience interferes with the flow of his discourse.
  2. Controversial Treatises against the Heretics. In the tract De præscriptione hæreticorum he proves that the Catholic church, because in prescriptive possession of the field since the time of the Apostles, is entitled on the legal ground of præscriptio to be relieved of the task of advancing proof of her claims, while the heretics on the other hand are bound to establish their pretensions. A heresiological appendix to this book has been erroneously attributed to Tertullian (see § 31, 3). He combats the Gnostics in the writings: De baptismo (against the Gnostic rejection of water baptism); Adv. Hermogenem; Adv. Valentinianos; De anima (an Anti-Gnostic treatise, which maintains the creatureliness, yea, the materiality of the soul, traces its origin to sexual intercourse, and its mortality to Adam’s sin); De carne Christi (Anti-Docetic): De resurrectione carnis Scorpiace (an antidote to the scorpion-poison of the Gnostic heresy); finally, the five books, Adv. Marcionem. The book Adv. Praxeam is directed against the Patripassians (§ 33, 4). In this work his realism reaches its climax at c. 7 in the statement: “Quis enim negabit, Deum corpus esse, etsi Deus spiritus est? Spiritus enim corpus sui generis in sua effigie,”―where, however, he is careful to state that with him corpus and substantia are identical ideas, so that he can also say in c. 10 de carne Christi: “Omne quod est, corpus est sui generis. Nihil est incorporate nisi quod non est.
  3. Practical and Ascetical Treatises. His pre-Montanist writings are characterized by moderation as compared with the fanatical rigorism and scornful bitterness against the Psychical, i.e. the Catholics, displayed in those of the Montanist period. To the former class belong: De oratione (exposition of the Lord’s Prayer); De baptismo (necessity of water baptism, disapproval of infant baptism); De pœnitentia; De idolatria; Ad Martyres; De spectaculis; De cultu feminarum (against feminine love of dress); De patientia; Ad uxorem (a sort of testament for his wife, with the exhortation after his death not to marry again, but at least in no case to marry an unbeliever). To the Montanist period belong: De virginibus velandis; De corona militis (defending a Christian soldier who suffered imprisonment for refusing to wear the soldier’s crown); De fuga in persecutione (which with fanatical decision is declared to be a renunciation of Christianity); De exhortatione castitatis and De monogamia (both against second marriages which are treated as fornication and adultery); De pudicitia (recalling his milder opinion given in his earlier treatise De pœnitentia, that every mortal sin is left to the judgment of God, with the possibility of reconciliation); De jejuniis adv. Psychicos (vindication of the fasting discipline of the Montanists, § 40, 4); De pallio (an essay full of wit and humour in answer to the taunts of his fellow-citizens about his throwing off the toga and donning the philosopher’s mantle, i.e. the Pallium, which even the Ascetics might wear).78

§ 31.11. Thascius Cæcilius Cyprianus [Cyprian], descended from a celebrated pagan family in Carthage, was at first a teacher of rhetoric, then, after his conversion in A.D. 245, a presbyter and from A.D. 248 bishop in his native city. During the Decian persecution the hatred of the heathen mob expressed itself in the cry Cyprianum ad leonem; but he withdrew himself for a time in flight into the desert in A.D. 250, from whence he guided the affairs of the church by his Epistles, and returned in the following year when respite had been given. The disturbances that had meanwhile arisen afforded him abundant opportunity for the exercise of that wisdom and gentleness which characterized him, and the earnestness, energy and moderation of his nature, as well as his Christian tact and prudence all stood him in good stead in dealing, on the one hand, with the fallen who sought restoration, and on the other, the rigorous schismatics who opposed them (§ 41, 2). When persecution again broke out under Valerian in A.D. 257 he was banished to the desert Curubis, and when he returned to his oppressed people in A.D. 258, he was beheaded. His epoch-making significance lies not so much in his theological productions as in his energetic and successful struggle for the unity of the church as represented by the monarchical position of the episcopate, and in his making salvation absolutely dependent upon submission to episcopal authority, as well as in the powerful impetus given by him to the tendency to view ecclesiastical piety as an opus operatum (§ 39). As a theologian and writer he mainly attaches himself to the giant Tertullian, whose thoughts he reproduces in his works, with the excision, however, of their Montanist extravagances. Jerome relates that no day passed in which he did not call to his amanuensis: Da magistrum! In originality, profundity, force and fulness of thought, as well as in speculative and dialectic gifts, he stands indeed far below Tertullian, but in lucidity and easy flow of language and pleasant exposition he far surpasses him. His eighty-one Epistles are of supreme importance for the Ch. Hist. of his times, and next to them in value is the treatise “De unitate ecclesiæ” (§ 34, 7). His Liber ad Donatum s. de gratia Dei, the first writing produced after his conversion, contains treatises on the leadings of God’s grace and the blessedness of the Christian life as contrasted with the blackness of the life of the pagan world. The Apologetical writings De idolorum vanitate and Testimonia adv. Judæos, II. iii., have no claims to independence and originality. This applies also more or less to his ascetical tracts: De habitu virginum, De mortalitate, De exhortatione martyrii, De lapsis, De oratione dominica, De bono patientiæ, De zelo et livore, etc. His work De opere et eleemosynis specially contributed to the spread of the doctrine of the merit of works.79

§ 31.12. Various Ecclesiastical Writers using the Latin Tongue.

  1. The Roman attorney Minucius Felix, probably of Cirta in Africa, wrote under the title of Octavius a brilliant Apology, expressed in a fine Latin diction, in the form of a conversation between his two friends the Christian Octavius and the heathen Cæcilius, which resulted in the conversion of the latter. It is matter of dispute whether it was composed before or after Tertullian’s Apologeticus, and to which of the two the origin of thoughts and expressions common to both is to be assigned. Recently Ebert has maintained the opinion that Minucius is the older, and this view has obtained many adherents; whereas the contrary theory of Schultze has reached its climax in assigning the composition of the Octavius to A.D. 300-303, so that he is obliged to ascribe the Octavius as well as the Apologeticus to a compiler of the fourth or fifth century, plagiarizing from Cyprian’s treatise De idolorum vanitate!
  2. Commodianus [Commodus], born at Gaza, was won to Christianity by reading holy scripture, and wrote about A.D. 250 his Instructiones adv. Gentium Deos, consisting of eighty acrostic poems in rhyming hexameters and scarcely intelligible, barbarous Latin. His Carmen apologeticum adv. Jud. et Gent. was first published in 1852.
  3. The writings of his contemporary the schismatical Novatian of Rome (§ 41, 3) show him to have been a man of no ordinary dogmatical and exegetical ability. His Liber de Trinitate s. de Regula fidei is directed in a subordinationist sense against the Monarchians (§ 33). The Epistola de cibis Judaici repudiates any obligation on the part of Christians to observe the Old Testament laws about food; and the Epistola Cleri Romani advocates milder measures in the penitential discipline.
  4. Arnobius was born at Sicca in Africa, where he was engaged as a teacher of eloquence about A.D. 300. For a long time he was hostilely inclined toward Christianity, but underwent a change of mind by means of a vision in a dream. The bishop distrusted him and had misgivings about admitting him to baptism, but he convinced him of the honesty of his intentions by composing the seven books of Disputationes adv. Gentes. This treatise betrays everywhere defective understanding of the Christian truth; but he is more successful in combating the old religion than in defending the new.
  5. The bishop Victorinus of Pettau (Petavium in Styria), who died a martyr during the Diocletian persecution in A.D. 303, wrote commentaries on the Old and New Testament books that are no longer extant. Only a fragment De fabrica mundi on Gen. i. and Scholia on the Apocalypse have been preserved.
  6. Lucius Cœlius Firmianus Lactantius († about A.D. 330), probably of Italian descent, but a pupil of Arnobius in Africa, was appointed by Diocletian teacher of Latin eloquence at Nicomedia. At that place about A.D. 301 he was converted to Christianity and resigned his office on the outbreak of the persecution. Constantine the Great subsequently committed to him the education of his son Crispus, who, at his father’s command, was executed in A.D. 326. From his writings he seems to have been amiable and unassuming, a man of wide reading, liberal culture and a warm heart. The purity of his Latin style and the eloquence of his composition, in which he excels all the Church Fathers, has won for him the honourable name of the Christian Cicero. We often miss in his writings grip, depth and acuteness of thinking; especially in their theological sections we meet with many imperfections and mistakes. He was not only carried away by a fanatical chiliasm, but adopted also many opinions of a Manichæan sort. The Institutiones divinæ in seven bks., a complete exposition and defence of the Christian faith, is his principal work. The Epitome div. inst. is an abstract of the larger works prepared by himself with the addition of many new thoughts. His book De mortibus persecutorum (Engl. trans. by Dr. Burnett, “Relation of the Death of the Primitive Persecutors.” Amsterdam, 1687), contains a rhetorically coloured description of the earlier persecutions as well as of those witnessed by himself during his residence in Nicomedia. It is of great importance for the history of the period but must be carefully sifted owing to its strongly partisan character. Not only the joy of the martyrs but also the proof of a divine Nemesis in the lives of the persecutors are regarded as demonstrating the truth of Christianity. The tract De ira Dei seeks to prove the failure of Greek philosophy to combine the ideas of justice and goodness in its conception of God. The book De opificio Dei proves from the wonderful structure of the human body the wisdom of divine providence. Jerome praises him as a poet; but of the poems ascribed to him only one on the bird phœnix, which, as it rises into life out of its own ashes is regarded as a symbol of immortality and the resurrection, can lay any claim to authenticity.
§ 32. The Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical Literature.80

The practice, so widely spread in pre-Christian times among pagans and Jews, of publishing treatises as original and primitive divine revelations which had no claim to such a title found favour among Christians of the first centuries, and was continued far down into the Greek and Latin Middle Ages. The majority of the apocryphal or anonymous and pseudepigraphic writings were issued in support of heresies Ebionite or Gnostic. Many, however, were free from heretical taint and were simply undertaken for the purpose of glorifying Christianity by what was then regarded as a harmless pia fraus through a vaticinia post eventum, or of filling up blanks in the early history with myths and fables already existing or else devised for the occasion. They took the subjects of their romances partly from the field of the Old Testament, and partly from the field of the New Testament in the form of Gospels, Acts, Apostolic Epistles and Apocalypses. A number of them are professedly drawn from the prophecies of old heathen seers. Of greater importance, especially for the history of the constitution, worship and discipline of the church are the Eccles. Constitutions put forth under the names of Apostles. Numerous apocryphal Acts of Martyrs are for the most part utterly useless as historical sources.

§ 32.1. Professedly Old Heathen Prophecies.―Of these the Sibylline Writings occupy the most conspicuous place. The Græco-Roman legend of the Sibyls, σιοῦ βούλη (Æol. for θεοῦ βούλη), i.e. prophetesses of pagan antiquity, was wrought up at a very early period in the interests of Judaism and afterwards of Christianity, especially of Ebionite heresy. The extant collection of such oracles in fourteen books were compiled in the 5th or 6th century. It contains in Greek verses prophecies partly purely Jewish, partly Jewish wrought up by a Christian hand, partly originally Christian, about the history of the world, the life and sufferings of Christ, the persecutions of His disciples and the stages in the final development of His kingdom. The Christian participation in the composition of the Sibylline oracles began in the first century, soon after the irruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, and continued down to the 5th century. The Apologists, especially Lactantius, made such abundant use of these prophecies that the heathens nicknamed them Sibyllists.―Of the prophecies about the coming of Christ ascribed to an ancient Persian seer, Hystaspes, none have been preserved.

§ 32.2. Old Testament Pseudepigraphs.81―These are mostly of Jewish Origin, of which, however, many were held by the early Christians in high esteem.

  1. To this class belongs pre-eminently the Book of Enoch, written originally in Hebrew in the last century before Christ, quoted in the Epistle of Jude, and recovered only in an Ethiopic translation in A.D. 1821. In its present form in which a great number of older writings about Enoch and Noah have been wrought up, the book embraces accounts of the fall of a certain part of the angels (Gen. vi. 1-4; Jude 6; and 2 Pet. ii. 4), also statements of the holy angels about the mysteries of heaven and hell, the earth and paradise, about the coming of the Messiah, etc.
  2. The Assumptio Mosis (ἀνάληψις), from which, according to Origen, the reference to the dispute between Michael and Satan about the body of Moses in the Epistle of Jude is taken, was discovered by the librarian Ceriani at Milan. He found the first part of this book in an old Latin translation and published it in A.D. 1860. In the exercise of his official gift Moses prophesies to Joshua about the future fortunes of his nation down to the appearing of the Messiah. The second part, which is wanting, dealt with the translation of Moses. The exact date of its composition is not determined, but it may be perhaps assigned to the first Christian century.
  3. The so-called Fourth Book of Ezra is first referred to by Clement of Alexandria. It is an Apocalypse after the manner of the Book of Daniel. It was probably written originally in Greek but we possess only translations: a Latin one and four oriental ones―Ethiopic, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian. From these oriental translations the blanks in the Latin version have been supplied, and its later Christian interpolations have been detected. The angel Uriel in seven visions makes known to the weeping Ezra the signs of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, the decay of the Roman empire, the founding of the Messianic kingdom, etc. The fifth vision of the eagle with twelve wings and three heads seems to fix the date of its composition to the time of Domitian.
  4. In the year 1843 the missionary Krapff sent to Tübingen the title of an Ethiopic Codex, in which Ewald recognised the writing referred to frequently by the Church Fathers as the Book of Jubilees (Ἰωβελαῖα) or the Little Genesis (Λεπτογένεσις). This book, written probably about A.D. 50 or 60, is a complete summary of the Jewish legendary matter about the early biblical history from the creation down to the entrance into Canaan, divided into fifty jubilee periods. The name Little Genesis was given it, notwithstanding its large dimensions, as indicating a Genesis of the second rank.82

§ 32.3. The following Pseudepigraphs are of Christian Origin.

  1. The short romantic History of Assenath, daughter of Potiphar and wife of Joseph (Gen. xli. 45). Its main point is the conversion of Assenath by an angel.
  2. The Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs, after the style of Gen. xlix., written in Greek in the 2nd cent., and quoted by Origen. As in the chapter of Gen. referred to parting counsels are put in the mouth of Jacob, they are here ascribed to his twelve sons. These discourses embrace prophecies of the coming of Christ and His atoning sufferings and death, statements about baptism and the Lord’s supper, about the great Apostle of the Gentiles, the rejection of the O.T. covenant people and the election of the Gentiles, the destruction of Jerusalem and the final completion of the kingdom of God. The book is thus a cleverly compiled and comprehensive handbook of Christian faith, life and hope.
  3. Of the Ascensio Isaiæ (Ἀναβατικόν) and the Visio Isaiæ (Ὅρασις) traces are to be found as early as in Justin Martyr and Tertullian. The Greek original is lost. Dillmann published an old Ethiopic version (Lps., 1877), and Gieseler an old Lat. text (Gött., 1832). Its Cabbalistic colouring commended it to the Gnostics. In its first part, borrowed from an old Jewish document, it tells about the martyrdom of Isaiah who was sawn asunder by King Manasseh; in its second part, entitled Visio Isaiæ it is told how the prophet in an ecstasy was led by an angel through the seven heavens and had revealed to him the secrets of the divine counsels regarding the incarnation of Christ.
  4. A collection in Syriac belonging perhaps to the 5th or 6th century in which other legends about early ages are kept together, is called Spelunca thesaurorum. We are here told about the sepulchre of the patriarch Lamech and the treasures preserved there from which the wise men obtained the gifts which they presented to the infant Saviour. The Ethiopic Vita Adami is an expansion of the book just referred to. This book is manifestly a legendary account of the changes wrought upon all relations of life in our first parents by means of the fall (hence the title: “Conflict of Adam and Eve”), and Golgotha is named as Adam’s burying place. A second and shorter part treats of the Sethite patriarchs down to Noah. The still shorter third part relates the post-diluvian history down to the time of Christ.83

§ 32.4. New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphs.―The Gnostics especially produced these in great abundance. Epiphanius speaks of them as numbering thousands. But the Catholics, too, were unable to resist the temptation to build up the truth by these doubtful means.

  1. Apocryphal Gospels.
    1. Complete Gospels existed in considerable numbers, i.e. embracing the period of Christ’s earthly labours, more or less corrupted in the interests of Gnostic or Ebionitic heresy, or independently composed Gospels; but only of a few of these do we possess any knowledge.84 The most important of these are the following: The Gosp. of the Egyptians, esteemed by the Encratites, according to Origen one of the writings referred to in Luke i. 1; also the Gosp. of the XII. Apostles, generally called by the Fathers Εὐαγγ. καθ’ Ἑβραίους originally written in Aramaic; and finally, the Gosp. of Marcion (§ 27, 11). The most important of these is the Gospel of the Hebrews, on account of its relation to our canonical Gospel of Matthew, which is generally supposed to have been written originally in Aramaic.85 Jerome who translated the Hebrew Gospel says of it: Vocatur a plerisque Matthæi authenticum; but this is not his own opinion, nor was it that of Origen and Eusebius. The extant fragments show many divergences as well as many similarities, partly in the form of apocryphal amplifications, partly of changes made for dogmatic reasons.
    2. Gospels dealing with particular Periods―referring to the days preceding the birth of Jesus and the period of the infancy or to the closing days of His life, where the heretical elements are wanting or are subordinated to the general interests of Christianity. Of these there was a large number and much of their legendary or fabulous material, especially about the family history of the mother of Jesus (§ 57, 2), has passed over into the tradition of the Catholic Church. Among them may be mentioned;
      1. The Protevangel. Jacobi minoris, perhaps the oldest, certainly the most esteemed and most widely spread, written in Greek, beginning with the story of Mary’s birth and reaching down to the death of the children of Bethlehem;
      2. The Ev. Pseudo Matthæi, similar in its contents, but continued down to the period of Jesus’ youth, and now existing only in a Lat. translation;
      3. The Ev. de nativitate Mariæ, only in Lat., containing the history of Mary down to the birth of Jesus;
      4. The Hist. Josephi fabri lignarii down to his death, dating probably from the 4th cent., only now in an Arabic version;
      5. The Ev. Infantiæ Salvatoris, only in Arabic, a compilation with no particular dogmatic tendency;
      6. Also the so-called Ascension of Mary (§ 57, 2) soon became the subject of apocryphal treatment, for which John was claimed as the authority (John xix. 26), and is preserved in several Greek, Syriac, Arabic and Latin manuscripts;
      7. The Ev. Nicodemi (John xix. 39) in Greek and Lat. contains two Jewish writings of the 2nd century. The first part consists of the Gesta or Acta Pilati. There can be no doubt of its identity with the Acta Pilati quoted by Justin, Tert., Euseb., Epiph. It contains the stories of the canonical Gospels variously amplified and an account of the judicial proceedings evidently intended to demonstrate Jesus’ innocence of the charges brought against Him by His enemies. The second part, bearing the title Descensus Christi ad inferos, is of much later origin, telling of the descent of Christ into Hades along with two of the saints who rose with him (Matt. xxvii. 52), Leucius and Carinus, sons of Simeon (Luke ii. 25).86

§ 32.5.

  1. The numerous Apocryphal Histories and Legends of the Apostles were partly of heretical, and partly of Catholic, origin. While the former have in view the establishing of their heretical doctrines and peculiar forms of worship, constitution and life by representing them as Apostolic institutions, the latter arose mostly out of a local patriotic intention to secure to particular churches the glory of being founded by an Apostle. Those inspired by Gnostic influences far exceed in importance and number not only the Ebionitic but also the genuinely Catholic. The Manichæans especially produced many and succeeded in circulating them widely. The more their historico-romantic contents pandered to the taste of that age for fantastic tales of miracles and visions the surer were they to find access among Catholic circles.―A collection of such histories under the title of Περίοδοι τῶν ἀποστόλων was received as canonical by Gnostics and Manichæans, and even by many of the Church Fathers. Augustine first named as its supposed author one Leucius. We find this name some decades later in Epiphanius as that of a pupil of John and opponent of the Ebionite Christology, and also in Pacianus of Barcelona as that of one falsely claimed as an authority by the Montanists. According to Photius this collection embraced the Acts of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas and Paul, and the author’s full name was Leucius Carinus, who also appears in the second part of the Acta Pilati, but in quite other circumstances and surroundings. That all the five books were composed by one author is not probable; perhaps originally only the Acts of John bore the name of Leucius, which was subsequently transferred to the whole. Zahn’s view, on the other hand, is, that the Περίοδοι τῶν ἀποστόλων, especially the Acts of John, was written under the falsely assumed name of John’s pupil Leucius, about A.D. 130, at a time when the Gnostics had not yet been separated from the Church as a heretical sect, was even at a later period accepted as genuine by the Catholic church teachers notwithstanding the objectionable character of much of its contents, its modal docetic Christology and encratite Ethics with contempt of marriage, rejection of animal food and the use of wine and the demand of voluntary poverty, and held in high esteem as a source of the second rank for the Apostolic history. Lipsius considers that it was composed in the interests of the vulgar Gnosticism (§ 27) in the second half of the 2nd, or first half of the 3rd cent., and proves that from Eusebius down to Photius, who brands it as πασῆς αἱρέσεως πηγὴν καὶ μητέρα, the Catholic church teachers without exception speak of it as heretical and godless, and that the frequent patristic references to the Historiæ ecclesiasticiæ do not apply to it but to Catholic modifications of it, which were regarded as the genuine and generally credible original writing of Leucius which were wickedly falsified by the Manichæans.―Catholic modifications of particular Gnostic Περίοδοι, as well as independent Catholic writings of this sort in Greek are still preserved in MS. in great numbers and have for the most part been printed. The Hist. certaminis apostolici in ten books, which the supposed pupil of the Apostles Abdias, first bishop of Babylon, wrote in Hebrew, was translated by his pupil Eutropius into Greek and by Julius Africanus into Latin.87―They are all useless for determining the history of the Apostolic Age, although abundantly so used in the Catholic church tradition. For the history of doctrines and sects, the history of the canon, worship, ecclesiastical customs and modes of thought during the 2nd-4th cents., they are of the utmost importance.

§ 32.6. From the many apocryphal monographs still preserved on the life, works and martyrdom of the biblical Apostles and their coadjutors, in addition to the Pseudo-Clementines already discussed in § 28, 3, the following are the most important.

  1. The Greek Acta Petri et Pauli. These describe the journeys of Paul to Rome, the disputation of the two Apostles at Rome with Simon Magus, and the Roman martyrdom of both, and constitute the source of the traditions regarding Peter and Paul which are at the present day regarded in the Roman Catholic Church as historical. These Acts, however, as Lipsius has shown, are not an original work, but date from about A.D. 160, and consist of a Catholic reproduction of Ebionite or Anti-Pauline, Acts of Peter, with additions from Gentile-Christian traditions of Paul. The Acts of Peter take up the story where the Pseudo-Clementines end, as may be seen even from their Catholic reproduction, for they make Simon Magus, followed everywhere and overcome by the Apostle Peter, at last seek refuge in Rome, where, again unmasked by Peter, he met a miserable end (§ 25, 2). As the Κηρύγματα Πέτρου which formed the basis of the Pseudo-Clementine writings combats the specifically Pauline doctrines as derived from Simon Magus (§ 28, 4), so the Acts of Peter identify him even personally with Paul, for they maliciously and spitefully assign well-known facts from the Apostle’s life to Simon Magus, which are bona fide in the Catholic reproduction assumed to be genuine works of Simon.―The Gnostic Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul had wrought up the current Ebionite and Catholic traditions about the doings and martyr deaths of the two Apostles with fanciful adornments and embellishments after the style and in the interests of Gnosticism. A considerable fragment of these, purified indeed by Catholic hands, is preserved to us in the Passio Petri et Pauli, to which is attached the name of Linus, the pretended successor of Peter. The fortunes of the two Apostles are related quite independently of one another: Paul makes his appearance at Rome only after the death of Peter. Of the non-heretical Acts of Paul which according to Eusebius were in earlier times received in many churches as holy scripture (§ 36, 8), no trace has as yet been discovered.
  2. Among the Greek Acts of John, the remnants of the Leucian Περίοδοι Ἰωάννου preserved in their original form deserve to be first mentioned. According to Zahn, they are one of the earliest witnesses for the genuineness of the Gospel of John, and give the deathblow to the theory that with and after the Apostle John, there was in Ephesus another John the Presbyter distinct from him (§ 16, 2). Lipsius, on the other hand, places their composition in the second half of the 2nd cent., and deprives them of that significance for the life of the Apostle, but admits their great value for a knowledge of doctrines, principles and forms of worship of the vulgar Gnosticism then widely spread. The Πράξεις Ἰωάννου, greatly esteemed in the Greek church, and often translated into other languages, written in the 5th cent. by a Catholic hand and ascribed to Prochoros [Prochorus] the deacon of Jerusalem (Acts vi. 5), is a poetic romance with numerous raisings from the dead, exorcisms, etc., almost wholly the creation of the writer’s own imagination, without a trace of any encratite tendency like the Leucian Περίοδοι and without any particular doctrinal significance.
  3. To the same age and the same Gnostic party as the Leucian Acts of John, belong the Acts of Andrew preserved in many fragments and circulated in various Catholic reproductions. Of these latter the most esteemed were the Acts of Andrew and Matthew in the city of the cannibals.
  4. d. The Catholic reproductions in Greek and Syriac that have come down to us of the Leucian Acts of Thomas are of special value because of the many Gnostic elements which, particularly in the Greek, have been allowed to remain unchanged in the very imperfectly purified text. The scene of the Apostle’s activity is said to be India. The central point in his preaching to sinners is the doctrine that only by complete abstinence from marriage and concubinage can we become at last the partner of the heavenly bridegroom (§ 27, 4). A highly poetical hymn on the marriage of Sophia (Achamoth) is left in the Greek text unaltered, while the Syriac text puts the church in place of Sophia. Then we have two poetical consecration prayers for baptism and the eucharist, in which the Syriac substituted Christ for Achamoth. But besides, even in the Syriac text, a grandly swelling hymn, which is wanting in the Greek text, romances about the fortunes of the soul, which, sent from heaven to earth to fetch a pearl watched by the serpent forgets its heavenly origin and calling, and only remembers this after repeated reminders from heaven, etc. Gutschmied has shown it to be probable that the history groundwork of the Acts of Thomas is borrowed from older Buddhist legends (§ 68, 6).
  5. The Acta Pauli et Thecla, according to Tertullian and Jerome, were composed by a presbyter of Asia Minor who, carried away by the mania for literary forging, excused himself by saying that he had written Pauli amore, but was for this nevertheless deprived of his office. According to these Acts Thecla, the betrothed bride of a young man of importance at Iconium, was won to Christianity by a sermon of Paul on continence as a condition of a future glorious resurrection, forsook her bridegroom, devoted herself to perpetual virginity, and attached herself forthwith to the Apostle whose bodily presence is described as contemptible,―little, bald-headed, large nose, and bandy legs,―but lighted up with heavenly grace. Led twice to martyrdom she was saved by miraculous divine interposition, first from the flames of the pile, then, after having baptized herself in the name of Christ by plunging into a pit full of water, from the rage of devouring animals; whereupon Paul, recognising that sort of baptism in an emergency as valid, sent her forth with the commission: Go hence and teach the word of God! After converting and instructing many, she died in peace in Seleucia. Although Jerome treats our book as apocryphal, the legends of Thecla as given in it were regarded in the West as genuine, and St. Thecla was honoured throughout the whole of the Latin middle ages next to the mother of Jesus as the most perfect pattern of virginity. In the Greek church where we meet with the name first in the Symposium of Methodius, the book remained unsuspected and its heroine, as ἡ ἀπόστολος and ἡ πρωτομάρτυς, was honoured still more enthusiastically than in the West.
  6. The Syriac Doctrina Addæi Apost. was according to its own statement deposited in the library of Edessa, but allusions to later persons and circumstances show that it could not have been written before A.D. 280 (according to Zahn about A.D. 270-290; acc. to Lipsius not before A.D. 360). It assigns the founding of the church of Edessa, which is proved to have been not earlier than A.D. 170, according to local tradition to the Apostle Addai [Addæi] (in Euseb. and elsewhere, Thaddeus: comp. Matt. x. 3; Mark iii. 18), whom it represents as one of the seventy disciples and as having been sent by Thomas to Abgar Uchomo in accordance with Christ’s promise (§ 13, 2).88

§ 32.7.

  1. Apostolic Epistles. The apocryphal Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans (Col. iv. 16), and that to the Corinthians suggested by the statement in 1 Cor. v. 9, are spiritless compilations from the canonical Epistles. From the Correspondence of Paul with Seneca, quotations are made by Jerome and Augustine. It embraces fourteen short epistles. The idea of friendly relations between these two men suggested by Acts xviii. 12, Gallio being Seneca’s brother, forms the motive for the fiction.
  2. The apocryphal Apocalypses that have been preserved are of little value. An Apocalypsis Petri was known to Clement of Alexandria. The Apoc. Pauli is based on 2 Cor. xii. 2.
  3. Apostolical Constitutions, comp. § 43, 45.89

§ 32.8. The Acts of the Martyrs.―Of the numerous professedly contemporary accounts of celebrated martyrs of the 2nd and 3rd cents., those adopted by Eusebius in his Church History may be accepted as genuine; especially the Epistle of the Church of Smyrna to the Church at Philomelium about the persecution which it suffered (§ 22, 3); also the Report of the Church at Lyons and Vienne to the Christians in Asia and Phrygia about the persecution under Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 177 (§ 22, 3); and an Epistle of Dionysius Bishop of Alexandria to Fabian of Antioch about the Alexandrian martyrs and confessors during the Decian persecution. The Acts of the Martyrs of Scillita are also genuine (§ 22, 3); so too the Montanistic History of the sufferings of Perpetua, Felicitas, and their companions (§§ 22, 4; 40, 3); as well as the Acta s. Cypriani. The main part of the Martyrdom of Justin Martyr by Simeon Metaphr. (§ 68, 4) belongs probably to the 2nd cent. The Martyrdom of Ignatius (§ 30, 5) professedly by his companions in his last journey to Rome, and the Martyrdom of Sympherosa in the Tiber, who was put to death with her seven sons under Hadrian, as well as all other Acts of the Martyrs professedly belonging to the first four centuries, are of more than doubtful authenticity.

§ 33. The Doctrinal Controversies of the Old Catholic Age.90

The development of the system of Christian doctrine must become a necessity when Christianity meeting with pagan culture in the form of science is called upon to defend her claim to be the universal religion. In the first three centuries, however, there was as yet no official construction and establishment of ecclesiastical doctrine. There must first be a certain measure of free subjective development and wrestling with antagonistic views. A universally acknowledged organ is wanting, such as that subsequently found in the Œcumenical Councils. The persecutions allowed no time and peace for this; and the church had enough to do in maintaining what is specifically Christian in opposition to the intrusion of such anti-Christian, Jewish and Pagan elements as sought to gain a footing in Ebionism and Gnosticism. On the other hand, friction and controversy within the church had already begun as a preparation for the construction of the ecclesiastical system of doctrine. The Trinitarian controversy was by far the most important, while the Chiliastic discussions were of significance for Eschatology.

§ 33.1. The Trinitarian Questions.―The discussion was mainly about the relation of the divine μοναρχία (the unity of God) to the οἰκονομία (the Trinitarian being and movement of God). Then the relation of the Son or Logos to the Father came decidedly to the front. From the time when the more exact determination of this relationship came to be discussed, toward the end of the 2nd cent., the most eminent teachers of the Catholic church maintained stoutly the personal independence of the Logos―Hypostasianism. But the necessity for keeping this view in harmony with the monotheistic doctrine of Christianity led to many errors and vacillations. Adopting Philo’s distinction of λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and λόγος προφορικός (§ 10, 1), they for the most part regarded the hypostasizing as conditioned first by the creating of the world and as coming forth not as a necessary and eternal element in the very life of God but as a free and temporal act of the divine will. The proper essence of the Godhead was identified rather with the Father, and all attributes of the Godhead were ascribed to the Son not in a wholly equal measure as to the Father, for the word of Christ: “the Father is greater than I” (John xiv. 28), was applied even to the pre-existent state of Christ. Still greater was the uncertainty regarding the Holy Spirit. The idea of His personality and independence was far less securely established; He was much more decidedly subordinated, and the functions of inspiration and sanctification proper to Him were ascribed to Christ, or He was simply identified with the Son of God. The result, however, of such subordinationist hypostasianism was that, on the one hand, many church teachers laid undue stress on the fundamental anti-pagan doctrine of the unity of God, just as on the other hand, many had indulged in exaggerated statements about the divinity of Christ. It seemed therefore desirable to set aside altogether the question of the personal distinction of the Son and Spirit from the Father. This happened either in the way clearly favoured by the Ebionites who regarded Christ as a mere man, who, like the prophets, though in a much higher measure, had been endued with divine wisdom and power (dynamic Monarchianism), or in a way more accordant with the Christian mode of thought, admitting that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ, and either identifying the Logos with the Father (Patripassianism), or seeing in Him only a mode of the activity of the Father (modal Monarchianism). Monarchianism in all these forms was pronounced heretical by all the most illustrious fathers of the 3rd cent., and hypostasianism was declared orthodox. But even under hypostasianism an element of error crept in at a later period in the form of subordinationism, and modal Monarchianism approached nearer to the church doctrine by adopting the doctrine of sameness of essence (ὁμοουσία) in Son and Father. The orthodox combination of the two opposites was reached in the 3rd cent, in homoousian hypostasianism, but only in the 4th cent. attained universal acceptance (§ 50).

§ 33.2. The Alogians.―Soon after A.D. 170 in Asia Minor we meet with the Alogians as the first decided opponents from within the church of Logos doctrine laid down in the Gospel by John and the writings of the Apologists. They started in diametrical opposition to the chiliasm of the Montanists and their claims to prophetic gifts, and were thus led not only to repudiate the Apocalypse but also the Gospel of John; the former on account of its chiliast-prophetic contents which embraced so much that was unintelligible, yea absurd and untrue; the latter, first of all on account of the use the Montanists made of its doctrine of the Paraclete in support of their prophetic claims (§ 40, 1), but also on account of its seeming contradictions of and departures from the narratives of the Synoptists, and finally, on account of its Logos doctrine in which the immediate transition from the incarnation of the Logos to the active life of Christ probably seemed to them too closely resembling docetic Gnosticism. They therefore attributed to the Gnosticizing Judaist, Cerinthus, the authorship both of the Fourth Gospel and of the Apocalypse. Of their own Christological theories we have no exact information. Irenæus and Hippolytus deal mildly with them and recognise them as members of the Catholic church. It is Epiphanius who first gives them the equivocal designation of Alogians (which may either be “deniers of the Logos” or “the irrational”), denouncing them as heretical rejecters of the Logos doctrine and the Logos-Gospel. This is the first instance which we have of historical criticism being exercised in the Church with reference to the biblical books.

§ 33.3. The Theodotians and Artemonites.―Epiphanius describes the sect of the Theodotians at Rome as an ἀπόσπασμα τῆς ἀλόγου αἱρέσεως. The main source of information about them is the Little Labyrinth (§ 31, 3), and next to it Hippolytus in his Syntagma, quoted by the Pseudo-Tertullian and Epiphanius, and in his Elenchus. The founder of this sect, Theodotus ὁ σκυτεύς, the Tanner, a man well trained in Greek culture, came A.D. 190 to Byzantium where, during the persecution, he denied Christ, and on this account changed his residence to Rome and devoted himself here to the spread of his dynamic Monarchianism. He maintained ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον εἶναι τὸν Χριστόν,―Spiritu quidem sancto natum ex virgine, sed hominem nudum nulla alia præ cæteris nisi sola justitæ auctoritate. He sought to justify his views by a one-sided interpretation of scripture passages referring to the human nature of Christ.91 But since he acknowledged the supernatural birth of Christ as well as the genuineness of the Gospel of John, and in other respects agreed with his opponents, he could still represent himself as standing on the basis of the Old Catholic Regula fidei (§ 35, 2). Nevertheless the Roman bishop Victor (A.D. 189-199) excommunicated him and his followers. The most distinguished among his disciples was a second Theodotus ὁ τραπεζίτης, the Money-changer. By an exegesis of Heb. v. 6, 10; vi. 20; vii. 3, 17, he sought to prove that Melchisedec was δύναμις τίς μεγίστη and more glorious than Christ; the former was the original type, the latter only the copy; the former was intercessor before God for the angels, the latter only for men; the origin of the former is secret, because truly heavenly, that of Christ open, because born of Mary. The later heresiologists therefore designate his followers Melchisedecians. Laying hold upon the theory φύσει τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ἰδέᾳ ἀνθρώπου τότε τῷ Ἀβραὰμ πεφηνέναι which, according to Epiphanius, was held even by Catholics, and also, like the Shepherd of Hermas, identifying the Son of God with the Holy Spirit that descended in baptism on the man Jesus, Theodotus seems from those two points of view to have proceeded to teach, that the historical Christ, because operated upon only dynamically by the Holy Spirit or the Son of God, was inferior to the purely heavenly Melchisedec who was himself the very eternal Son of God. The reproaches directed against the Theodotians by their opponents were mainly these: that instead of the usual allegorical exegesis they used only a literal and grammatical, that they practised an arbitrary system of Textual criticism, and that instead of holding to the philosophy of the divine Plato, they took their wisdom from the empiricists (Aristotle, Euclid, Galen, etc.), and sought by such objectionable means to support their heretical views. We have thus probably to see in them a group of Roman theologians, who, towards the close of the 2nd cent. and the beginning of the 3rd cent. maintained exegetical and critical principles essentially the same as those which the Antiochean school with greater clearness and definiteness set forth toward the end of the 3rd cent. (§§ 31, 1; 47, 1). The attempt, however, which they made to found an independent sect in Rome about A.D. 210 was an utter failure. According to the report of the Little Labyrinth, they succeeded in getting for their bishop a weak-minded confessor called Natalius. Haunted by visions of judgment and beaten sore one night by good angels till in a miserable plight, he hasted on the following morning to cast himself at the feet of bishop Zephyrinus (A.D. 199-217), successor of Victor, and showing his stripes he begged for mercy and restoration.―The last of the representatives of the Theodotians in Rome, and that too under this same Zephyrinus, was a certain Artemon or Artemas. He and his followers maintained that their own doctrine (which cannot be very exactly determined but was also of the dynamic order) had been recognised in Rome as orthodox from the time of the Apostles down to that of bishop Victor, and was first condemned by his successor Zephyrinus. This assertion cannot be said to be altogether without foundation in view, on the one hand, of the agreement above referred to between Theodotus the younger and the Roman Hermas, and on the other hand, of the fact that the Roman bishops Zephyrinus and Callistus had passed over to Noëtian Modalism. Artemon must have lived at least until A.D. 260, when Paul of Samosata (§ 33, 8), who also maintained fellowship with the excommunicated Artemonites in Rome, conducted a correspondence with him.

§ 33.4. Praxeas and Tertullian.―Patripassianism, which represented the Father Himself as becoming man and suffering in Christ, may be characterized as the precursor and first crude form of Modalism. It also had its origin during the 2nd cent., in that same intellectually active church of Asia Minor, and from thence the movement spread to Rome, where after a long and bitter struggle it secured a footing in the 3rd cent.―Praxeas, a confessor of Asia Minor and opponent of Montanism, was its first representative at Rome, where unopposed he expounded his views about A.D. 190. As he supported the Roman bishop Victor in his condemnation of Montanism (§ 40, 2), so he seems to have won the bishop’s approval for his Christological theory.92 Perhaps also the excommunication which was at this time uttered against the dynamic Monarchian, Theodotus the Elder, was the result of the bishop’s change of views. From Rome Praxeas betook himself, mainly in the interest of his Anti-Montanist crusade, to Carthage, and there also won adherents to his Christology. Meanwhile, however, Tertullian returned to Carthage, and as a convert to Montanism, hurled against Praxeas and his followers a controversial treatise, in which he laid bare with acute dialectic the weaknesses and inconsistencies, as well as the dangerous consequences of their theory. Just like the Alogians, Praxeas and his adherents refused to admit the doctrine of the Logos into their Christology, and feared that it in connection with the doctrine of the hypostasis would give an advantage to Gnosticism. In the interests of monotheism, as well as of the worship of Christ, they maintained the perfect identity of Father and Son. God became the Son by the assumption of the flesh; under the concept of the Father therefore falls the divinity, the spirit; under that of the Son, the humanity, the flesh of the Redeemer.―Tertullian himself in his Hypostasianism had not wholly got beyond the idea of subordinationism, but he made an important advance in this direction by assuming three stages in the hypostasizing of the Son (Filiatio). The first stage is the eternal immanent state of being of the Son in the Father; the second is the forthcoming of the Son alongside of the Father for the purpose of creating the world; and the third is the going forth of the Son into the world by means of the incarnation.

§ 33.5. The Noëtians and Hippolytus.―The Patripassian standpoint was maintained also by Noëtus of Smyrna, who summed up his Christological views in the sentence: the Son of God is His own, and not another’s Son. One of his pupils, Epigonus, in the time of bishop Zephyrinus brought this doctrine to Rome, where a Noëtian sect was formed with Cleomenes at its head. Sabellius too, who in A.D. 215 came to Rome from Ptolemais in Egypt, attached himself to it, but afterwards constructed an independent system of doctrine in the form of a more speculative Modalism. The most vigorous opponent of the Noëtians was the celebrated presbyter Hippolytus (§ 31, 3). He strongly insisted upon the hypostasis of the Son and of the Spirit, and claimed for them divine worship. But inasmuch as he maintained in all its strictness the unity of God, he too was unable to avoid subordinating the Son under the Father. The Son, he taught, owed His hypostasizing to the will of the Father; the Father commands and the Son obeys; the perfect Logos was the Son from eternity, but οὐ λόγος ὡς φωνὴ, ἀλλ’ ἐνδιάθετος τοῦ πάντος λογισμός, therefore in a hypostasis, which He became only at the creation of the world, so that He became perfect Son first in the incarnation. Bishop Zephyrinus, on the other hand, was not inclined to bear hard upon the Noëtians, but sought in the interests of peace some meeting-point for the two parties. The conflagration fairly broke out under his successor, Callistus (A.D. 217-222; comp. § 41, 1). Believing that truth and error were to be found on both sides he defined his own position thus: God is a spirit without parts, filling all things, giving life to all, who as such is called Logos, and only in respect of name is distinguished as Father and Son. The Pneuma become incarnate in the Virgin is personally and essentially identical with the Father. That which has thereby become manifest, the man Jesus, is the Son. It therefore cannot be said that the Father as such has suffered, but rather that the Father has suffered in and with the Son. Decidedly Monarchian as this formula of compromise undoubtedly is, it seems to have afforded the bridge upon which the official Roman theology crossed over to the homoousian Hypostasianism which forty years later won the day (§ 33, 7). Among the opposing parties it found no acceptance. Hippolytus denounced the bishop as a Noëtian, while the Noëtians nicknamed him a Dytheist. The result was that the two party leaders, Sabellius and Hippolytus, were excommunicated. The latter formed the company of his adherents in Rome into a schismatic sect.

§ 33.6. Beryllus and Origen.Beryllus of Bostra93 in Arabia also belonged to the Patripassians; but he marks the transition to a nobler Modalism, for though he refuses to the deity of Christ the ἰδία θεότης, he designates it πατρικὴ θεότης, and sees in it a new form of the manifestation (πρόσωπον) of God. In regard to him an Arabian Synod was held in A.D. 244, to which Origen was invited. Convinced by him of his error, Beryll [Beryllus] retracted.―All previous representatives of the hypostasis of the Logos had understood his hypostatizing as happening in time for the purpose of the creation and the incarnation. Origen removed this restriction when he enunciated the proposition: The Son is from eternity begotten of the Father and so from eternity an hypostasis. The generation of the Son took not place simply as the condition of creation, but as of itself necessary, for where there is light there must be the shedding forth of rays. But because the life of God is bound to no time, the objectivizing of His life in the Son must also lie outside of all time. It is not therefore an act of God accomplished once and for ever, but an eternally continued exercise of living power (ἀεὶ γεννᾲ τὸν υἱόν). Origen did not indeed get beyond subordinationism, but he restricted it within the narrowest possible limits. He condemns the expression that the Son is ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός, but only in opposition to the Gnostic theories of emanation. He maintained a ἑτερότης τῆς οὐσίας, but only in opposition to the ὁμοούσιος in the Patripassian sense. He teaches a generation of the Son ἐκ τοῦ θελήματος θεοῦ, but only because he sees in Him the objectified divine will. He calls Him a κτίσμα, but only in so far as He is θεοποιούμενος, not αὐτόθεος, though indeed the Son is αὐτοσοφία, αὐτοαλήθεια, δεύτερος θεός. Thus what he teaches is not a subordination of essence or nature, but only of existence or origin.

§ 33.7. Sabellius and Dionysius of Alex. and Dionysius of Rome.―We have already seen that Sabellius had founded in Rome a speculative Manichæan system, which found much favour among the bishops of his native region. His assigning an essential and necessary place in his system to the Holy Spirit indicates an important advance. God is a unity (μονάς) admitting of no distinctions, resting in Himself as θεὸς σιωπών coming forth out of Himself (for the purpose of creation) as θεὸς λαλῶν. In the course of the world’s development the Monas for the sake of redemption assumes necessarily three different forms of being (ὀνόματα πρόσωπα), each of which embraces in it the complete fulness of the Monas. They are not ὑποστάσεις, but πρόσωπα, masks, we might say roles, which the God who manifests Himself in the world assumes in succession. After the prosopon of the Father accomplished its work in the giving of the law, it fell back into its original condition; advancing again through the incarnation as Son, it returns by the ascension into the absolute being of the Monas; it reveals itself finally as the Holy Spirit to return again, after securing the perfect sanctification of the church, into the Monas that knows no distinctions, there to abide through all eternity. This process is characterized by Sabellius as an expansion (ἔκτασις) and contraction (συστολή). By way of illustration he uses the figure of the sun ὄντος μὲν ἐν μίᾳ ὑποστάσει, τρεῖς δὲ ἔχοντος τὰς ἐνεργείας, namely τὸ τῆς περιφερείας σχῆμα, τὸ φωτιστικὸν καὶ τὸ θάλπον.―At a Synod of Alexandria in A.D. 261 Dionysius the Great (§ 31, 6) entered the lists against the Sabellianism of the Egyptian bishops, and with well-intentioned zeal employed subordinationist expressions in a highly offensive way (ξένον κατ’ οὐσίαν αὐτὸν εἶναι τοῦ Πατρὸς ὥσπερ ἐστὶν ὁ γεωργὸς πρὸς τὴν ἄμπελον καὶ ὁ ναυπηγὸς πρὸς τὸ σκάφος,―ὡς ποίημα ὢν οὐκ ἦν πρὶν γέννηται). When bishop Dionysius of Rome (A.D. 259-268) was informed of these proceedings he condemned his Alexandrian colleague’s modes of expression at a Synod at Rome in A.D. 262, and issued a tract (Ἀνατροπή), in which against Sabellius he affirmed hypostasianism and against the Alexandrians, notwithstanding the suspicion of Manichæanism that hung about it, the doctrine of the ὁμοουσία and the eternal generation of the Son. With a beautiful modesty Dionysius of Alexandria retracted his unhappily chosen phrases and declared himself in thorough agreement with the Roman exposition of doctrine.

§ 33.8. Paul of Samosata.―In Rome and throughout the West general dynamical Monarchianism expired with Artemon and his party. In the East, however, it was revived by Paul of Samosata, in A.D. 260 bishop of the Græco-Syrian capital Antioch, which, however, was then under the rule of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. Attaching himself to the other dynamists, especially the Theodotians and Artemonites, he went in many respects beyond them. Maintaining as they did the unipersonality of God (ἓν πρόσωπον), he yet admitted a distinction of Father, Son (λόγος) and Spirit (σοφία) the two last, however, being essentially identical attributes of the first, and also the distinction of the λόγος προφορικός from the λόγος ἐνδιάθετος, the one being the ἐπιστήμη ἀνυπόστατος operative in the prophets, the other the ἐπ. ἀνυπ. latent in God. Further, while placing like the dynamists the personality of Christ in His humanity and acknowledging His supernatural birth from the Holy Spirit by the Virgin, he conceived of Him, like the modern Socinians, as working the way upward, ἐκ προκοπῆς τεθεοποιῆσθαι, i.e. by reason of His unique excellence to divine rank and the obtaining of the divine name.―Between A.D. 264-269 the Syrian bishops held three large Synods in regard to him at Antioch, to which also many other famous bishops of the East were invited. The first two were without result, for he knew how to conceal the heterodox character of his views. It was only at the third that the presbyter Malchion, a practised dialectician and formerly a rhetorician, succeeded in unmasking him at a public disputation. The Synod now declared him excommunicated and deprived him of his office, and also transmitted to all the catholic churches, first of all to Rome and Alexandria, the records of the disputation together with a complete report in which he was described as a proud, vain, pompous, covetous and even immoral man (§ 39, 3). Nevertheless by the favour of the Queen he kept possession of his bishopric, and holding a high office at the court he exercised not only spiritual functions but also great civil authority. But when Zenobia was overcome by Aurelian in A.D. 272, the rest of the bishops accused him before the pagan emperor, who decided that the ecclesiastical buildings should be made over to that one of the contending bishops whom the Christian bishops of Rome and Italy should recognise. In these conflicts undoubtedly a national and political antagonism lay behind the dogmatic and ecclesiastical dispute (§ 31, 9e).―At the Synod of A.D. 269 the expression ὁμοούσιος, which since it had been first used by Sabellius was always regarded with suspicion in church circles, was dragged into the debate and expressly condemned; and so it is doubtful whether Paul himself had employed it, or whether, on the contrary, he wished to charge his opponents with heresy as being wont to use this term.

§ 33.9. Chiliasm or the doctrine of an earthly reign of the Messiah in the last times full of splendour and glory for His people arose out of the literal and realistic conception of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The adoption of the period of a thousand years for its duration rested on the idea that as the world had been created in six days, so, according to Ps. xc. 4 and 2 Pet. iii. 8, its history would be completed in six thousand years. Under the oppression of the Roman rule this notion came to be regarded as a fundamental doctrine of Jewish faith and hope (Matt. xx. 21; Acts i. 6). The Apocalypse of St. John was chiefly influential in elaborating the Christian chiliastic theory. In chap. xx. under the guise of vision the doctrine is set forth that after the finally victorious conflict of the present age there will be a first and partial resurrection, the risen saints shall reign with Christ a thousand years, and then after another revolt of Satan that is soon suppressed the present age will be closed in the second universal resurrection, the judgment of the world and the creation of new heavens and a new earth. What fantastic notions of the glory of the thousand years’ reign might be developed from such passages, is seen in the traditional saying of the Lord given by Papias (Iren., v. 33) about the wonderful fruitfulness of the earth during the millennium: one vine-stock will bear 10,000 stems (palmites), each stem will have 10,000 branches (bracchia), each branch 10,000 twigs (flagella), each twig 10,000 clusters (botrus), each cluster 10,000 grapes, and every grape will yield 25 measures of wine; “et quum eorum apprehenderit aliquis Sanctorum, alius clamabit: Botrus ego melior sum, me sume, per me Dominum benedic!” After the time of Papias Chiliasm became the favourite doctrine of the Christians who under the severe pressure of pagan persecution longed for the early return of the Lord. The Apologists of the 2nd century do indeed pass it over in silence, but only perhaps because it seemed to them impolitic to give it a marked prominence in works directly addressed to the pagan rulers; at least Justin Martyr does not scruple in the Dialog. c. Tryph. addressed to another class of readers to characterize it as a genuinely orthodox doctrine. Asia Minor was the chief seat of these views, where, as we have seen (§ 40), Montanism also in its most fanatical and exaggerated form was elevated into a fundamental article of the Christian faith. Irenæus enthusiastically adopted chiliastic views and gave a full though fairly moderate exposition of them in his great work against the Gnostics (v. 24-36). Tertullian also championed these notions, at the same time rejecting many outgrowths of a grossly carnal nature (Adv. Marc., iii. 24, and in a work no longer extant, De spe fidelium). The most vigorous opposition is shown to Chiliasm by the Alogians, Praxeas the Patripassian and Caius of Rome, who were also the determined opponents of Montanism. The last named indeed went so far in his controversial writing against Proclus the Montanist, as to ascribe the authorship of the Johannine Apocalypse to the heretic Cerinthus (§ 27, 1). The Alexandrian spiritualists too, especially Origen (De Prin., ii. 11), were decided opponents of every form of Chiliasm and explained away the Scripture passages on which it was built by means of allegorical interpretation. Nevertheless even in Egypt it had numerous adherents. At their head about the middle of the 3rd cent. stood the learned bishop Nepos of Arsinoe, whose Ἔλεγχος τῶν ἀλληγοριστῶν directed against the Alexandrians is no longer extant. After his death his party under the leadership of the presbyter Coracion separated from the church of Alexandria, the bishop Dionysius the Great going down himself expressly to Arsinoe in order to heal the breach. In a conference of the leaders of the parties continued for three days he secured the sincere respect of the dissentients by his counsels, and even Coracion was induced to make a formal recantation. Dionysius then wrote for the confirmation of the converts his book: Περὶ ἐπαγγελιῶν. But not long after, opposition to the spiritualism of the school of Origen made Methodius, the bishop of Olympus, play the part of a new herald of Chiliasm, and in the West, Commodian, Victor of Poitiers, and especially Lactantius, became its zealous advocates in a particularly materialistic form. Its day, however, was already past. What tended most to work its complete overthrow was the course of events under Constantine. Amid the rejoicings of the national church as a present reality, interest in the expectation of a future thousand years’ reign was lost. Among post-Constantine church teachers only Apollinaris the Younger favoured Chiliasm (§ 47, 5). Jerome indeed, in deference to the cloud of witnesses from the ancient church, does not venture to pronounce it heretical, but treats it with scornful ridicule; and Augustine (De civ. Dei), though at an earlier period not unfavourable to it, sets it aside by showing that the scriptural representations of the thousand years’ reign are to be understood as referring to the church obtaining dominion through the overthrow of the pagan Roman empire, the thousand years being a period of indefinite duration, and the first resurrection being interpreted of the reception of saints and martyrs into heaven as sharers in the glory of Christ.―See Candlish, “The Kingdom of God.” Edin., 1884. Especially pp. 409-415, “Augustine on the City of God.”


§ 34. The Inner Organization of the Church.95

From the beginning of the 2nd cent. the episcopal constitution was gradually built up, and the superiority of one bishop over the whole body of the other presbyters (§ 17, 6) won by degrees universal acceptance. The hierarchical tendency inherent in it gained fresh impetus from two causes: (1) from the gradual disappearance of the charismatic endowments which had been continued from the Apostolic Age far down into post-Apostolic times, and the disposition of ecclesiastical leaders more and more to monopolise the function of teaching; and (2) from the reassertion of the idea of a special priesthood as a divine institution and the adoption of Old Testament conceptions of church officers. The antithesis of Ordo or κλῆρος (sc. τοῦ θεοῦ) and Plebs or λαός (λαϊκοί) when once expression had been given to it, tended to become even more marked and exclusive. In consequence of the successful extension of the churches the functions, rights and duties of the existing spiritual offices came to be more precisely determined and for the discharge of lower ecclesiastical service new offices were created. Thus arose the partition of the clergy into Ordines majores and Ordines minores. As it was in the provincial capital that common councils were held, which were convened, at first in consequence of the requirements of the hour, afterwards as regular institutions (Provincial Synods), the bishop of the particular capital assumed the president’s chair. Among the metropolitans pre-eminence was claimed by churches founded by Apostles (sedes apostolicæ), especially those of Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Ephesus and Corinth. To the idea of the unity and catholicity of the church, which was maintained and set forth with ever increasing decision, was added the idea of the Apostle Peter being the single individual representative of the church. This latter notion was founded on the misunderstood word of the Lord, Matt. xvi. 18, 19. Rome, as the capital of the world, where Peter and Paul suffered death as martyrs (§ 16, 1), arrogated to itself the name of Chair (Cathedra) of Peter and transferred the idea of the individual representation of the church to its bishops as the supposed successors of Peter.

§ 34.1. The Continuation of Charismatic Endowments into Post-Apostolic Times has, by means of the Apostolic Didache recently rendered accessible to us (§ 30, 7), not only received new confirmation, but their place in the church and their relation to it has been put in a far clearer light. In essential agreement with 1 Cor. xii. 28, and Eph. iv. 11 (§ 17, 5), it presents to us the three offices of Apostle, Prophet and Teacher. The Pastors and Teachers of the Epistle to the Ephesians, as well as of the passage from Corinthians, are grouped together in one; and the Evangelists, that is, helpers of the Apostles, appear now after the decease of the original Apostles, as their successors and heirs of their missionary calling under the same title of Apostles. Hermas indeed speaks only of Apostles and Teachers; but he himself appears as a Prophet and so witnesses to the continuance of that office. The place and task of the three offices are still the same as described in § 17, 5 from Eph. iv. 11, 12 and ii. 20. These three were not chosen like the bishops and deacons by the congregations, but appointment and qualifications for office were dependent on a divine call, somewhat like that of Acts xiii. 2-4, or on a charism that had evidently and admittedly been bestowed on them. They are further not permanent officials in particular congregations but travel about in the exercise of their teaching function from church to church. Prophets and Teachers, however, but not Apostles, might settle down permanently in a particular church.―In reference exclusively to the Apostles the Didache teaches as follows: In the case of their visiting an already constituted church they should stay there at furthest only two days and should accept provision only for one day’s journey but upon no account any money (Matt. x. 9, 10). Eusebius too, in his Ch. Hist., iii. 37, tells that after the death of the twelve the gospel was successfully spread abroad in all lands by means of itinerating Apostolic men, whom he designates, however, by the old name of evangelists, and praises them for having according to the command of the Lord (Matt. x. and Luke x.) parted their possessions among the poor, and having adhered strictly to the rule of everywhere laying only the foundations of the faith and leaving the further care of what they had planted to the settled pastors.―The Didache assigns the second place to the Prophets: they too, inasmuch as like the Apostles they are itinerants, are without a fixed residence; but they are distinguished from the latter by having their teaching functions directed not to the founding of a church but only to its edification, and in this respect they are related to the Teachers. Their distinguishing characteristic, however, is the possession of the charism of prophesying in the wider sense, whereas the Teachers’ charism consisted in the λόγος σοφίας and the λόγος γνώσεως (§ 17, 1). When they enter into a church as ἐν πνεύματι λαλοῦντες, that church may not, according to the Didache, in direct opposition to 1 Thess. v. 21; 1 Cor. xii. 10; xiv. 29; 1 John iv. 1, exercise the right of trying their doctrine, for that would be to commit the sin against the Holy Ghost who speaks through them, but the church may inquire of their life, and thus distinguish true prophets from the false. If they wish to settle down in a particular church, that church should make provision for their adequate maintenance by surrendering to them, after the pattern of the Mosaic law, all firstlings of cattle, and first fruits of grain and oil and wine, and also the first portion of their other possessions, “for they are your high priests.” This phrase means either, that for them they are with their prophetic gift what the high priests of the old covenant with their Urim and Thummim were to ancient Israel, or, as Harnack understands it on the basis of chap. x. 7: τοῖς προφήταις ἐπιτρέπετε εὐχαριστεῖν ὅσα θέλουσιν, while ordinary ministers had to confine themselves to the usual formularies, that they were pre-eminently entrusted with the administration of the Lord’s Supper which was the crowning part of the worship. If, however, there were no Prophets present, these first fruits were to be distributed among the poor.―The rank also of Teachers (διδάσκαλοι, Doctores) is still essentially the same as described in § 17, 5. As their constant association with the Apostles and Prophets would lead us to expect, they also were properly itinerant teachers, who like the Prophets had to minister to the establishment of existing churches in the Christian life, in faith and in hope. But when they settled down in a particular church, whether in consequence of that church’s special needs, or with its approval in accordance with their own wish, that church had to provide for their maintenance according to the principle that the labourer is worthy of his reward. The author of the Didache, as appears from the whole tenor of his book, was himself such a teacher. Hermas, who at the same time makes no mention of the Prophets, speaks only twice and that quite incidentally of the Teachers, without indicating particularly their duties and privileges.―The continuance of those three extraordinary offices down to the end of the 2nd cent. was of the utmost importance. The numerous churches scattered throughout all lands had not as yet a firmly established New Testament Canon nor any one general symbol in the form of a confession of faith, and so were without any outward bond of union: but these Teachers, by means of their itinerant mode of life and their authoritative position, which was for the first time clearly demonstrated by Harnack, contributed powerfully to the development of the idea of ecclesiastical unity. According to Harnack, the composition of the so-called Catholic Epistles and similar early Christian literature is to be assigned to them, and in this way he would account for the Apostolic features which are discoverable in these writings. He would not, however, attribute to them the fiction of claiming for their works an Apostolic origin, but supposes that the subsequently added superscriptions and the author’s name in the address rest upon an erroneous tradition.―The gradual disappearance of charismatic offices was mainly the result of the endeavour, that became more and more marked during the 2nd cent., after the adoption of current social usages and institutions, which necessarily led to a repression of the enthusiastic spirit out of which those offices had sprung and which could scarcely reconcile itself with what seemed to it worldly compromises and concessions. The fanatical and eccentric pretension to prophetic gifts in Montanism, with its uncompromising rigour (§ 40) and its withdrawal from church fellowship, gave to these charismatic offices their deadly blow. A further cause of their gradual decay may certainly be found in their relation to the growing episcopal hierarchy. At the time of the Didache, which knows nothing of a subordination of presbyters under the bishop (indeed like Phil. i. 1, it makes no mention of presbyters), this relation was one of thoroughly harmonious co-ordination and co-operation. In the 13th chap. the exhortation is given to choose only faithful and approved men as bishops and deacons, “for they too discharge for you τὴν λειτουργίαν τῶν προφητῶν καὶ διδασκάλων and so they represent along with those the τετιμημένοι among you.” The service of prophets, according to the Didache, was pre-eminently that of the ἀρχιερεῖς and so there was entrusted to them the consecration of the elements in the Lord’s Supper. This service the bishops and deacons discharged, inasmuch as, in addition to their own special duties as presidents of the congregation charged with its administration and discipline, they were required in the absence of prophets to conduct the worship. Then also they had to officiate as Teachers (1 Tim. v. 17) when occasion required and the necessary qualifications were possessed. But this peaceful co-operating of the two orders undoubtedly soon and often gave place to unseemly rivalry, and the hierarchical spirit obtruding itself in the Protepiscopate (§ 17, 6), which first of all reduced its colleagues from their original equality to a position of subordination soon asserted itself over against the extraordinary offices which had held a place co-ordinate with and in the department of doctrine and worship even more authoritative and important than that of the bishops themselves. They were only too readily successful in having their usurpation of their offices recognised as bearing the authority of a divine appointment. These soon completed the theory of the hierarchical and monarchical rank of the clergy and the absurd pretension to having obtained from God the absolute fulness of His Spirit and absolute sovereign power.

§ 34.2. The Development of the Episcopal Hierarchy was the result of an evolution which in existing circumstances was not only natural but almost necessary. In the deliberations and consultations of the college of presbyters constituting the ecclesiastical court, just as in every other such assembly, it must have been the invariable custom to confer upon one of their number, generally the eldest, or at least the one among them most highly esteemed, the presidency, committing to him the duty of the orderly conduct of the debates, as well as the formulating, publishing and enforcing of their decrees. This president must soon have won the pre-eminent authority of a primus inter pares, and have come to be regarded as an ἐπίσκοπος of higher rank. From such a primacy to supremacy, and from that to a monarchical position, the progress was natural and easy. In proportion as the official authority, the ἐπισκοπή, concentrated itself more and more in the president, the official title, ἐπίσκοπος, at first by way of eminence, then absolutely, was appropriated to him. This would be all the more easily effected since, owing to the twofold function of the office (§ 17, 56), he who presided in the administrative council still bore the title of πρεσβύτερος. It was not accomplished, however, without a long continued struggle on the part of the presbyters who were relegated to a subordinate rank, which occasioned keen party contentions and divisions lasting down even into the 3rd century (§ 41). But the need of the churches to have in each one man to direct and control was mightier than this opposition. That need was most keenly felt when the church was threatened with division and dissolution by the spread of heretical and separatist tendencies. The need of a single president in the local churches was specially felt in times of violent persecution, and still more just after the persecution had ceased when multitudes who had fallen away during the days of trial sought to be again restored to the membership of the church (§ 39, 2), in order to secure the reorganization of the institution which, by violence from without and weakness within, had been so sorely rent. Both in the Old and in the New Testament there seemed ground for regarding the order of things that had grown up in the course of time as jure divino and as existing from the beginning. After the idea of a distinct sacerdotal class had again found favour, the distribution of the clergy in the Old Testament into High priest, priests and Levites was supposed to afford an exact analogy to that of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate. To effect this the charismatic offices of teaching had to be ignored and their divinely ordained functions had to be set aside. It was even supposed that the relative ranks in the offices of the Christian church must be determined by the corresponding orders in the Old Testament. Then in the gospels, it seemed as if the relations of Christ to His disciples corresponded to that of the bishop to the presbyters; and from the Acts of the Apostles the preponderating authority of James at the head of the Jerusalem presbytery or eldership (§ 17, 2) might be used as a witness for the supremacy of the bishop. The oldest and most important contender for the monarchical rank of the bishop is the author of the Ignatian Epistles (§ 30, 5). In every bishop he sees the representative of Christ, and in the college of presbyters the representatives of the Apostles. In the Clementines too the bishop appears as ἐπὶ τῆς Χριστοῦ καθέδρας καθεσθείς. This view also finds expression in the Apostolic Constitutions (2, 26), and even in the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite (§ 47, 11). Another theory, according to which the bishops are successors of the Apostles and as such heirs of the absolute dominion conferred in Matt. xiv. 18, 19 upon Peter and through him on all the Apostles, sprang up in the West and gained currency by means of Cyprian’s eloquent enunciation of it (§ 34, 7).

§ 34.3. The Regular Ecclesiastical Offices of the Old Catholic Age. The Ordines Majores embraced the Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons. Upon the Bishop, elected by the people and the clergy in common, there devolved in his monarchical position the supreme conduct of all the affairs of the church. The exclusively episcopal privileges were these: the ordination of presbyters and deacons, the absolving of the penitent, according to strict rule also the consecration of the eucharistic elements, in later times also the right of speaking at Synods, and in the West also the confirmation of the baptised. In large cities where a single church was no longer sufficient daughter churches were instituted. Country churches founded outside of the cities were supplied with presbyters and deacons from the city. If they increased in importance, they chose for themselves their own bishop, who remained, however, as Χωρεπίσκοπος dependent upon the city bishop. Thus distinctly official episcopal dioceses came to be formed. And just as the city bishops had a pre-eminence over the country bishops, so also the bishops of the chief cities of provinces soon came as metropolitans to have a pre-eminence over those of other cities. To them was granted the right of calling and presiding at the Synods, and of appointing and ordaining the bishops of their province. The name Metropolitan, however, was first used in the Acts of the Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325.―The Presbyters were now only the advisers and assistants of the bishop, whose counsel and help he accepted just in such ways and at such times as seemed to him good. They were employed in the directing of the affairs of the church, in the administration of the sacrament, in preaching and in pastoral work, but only at the bidding or with the express permission of the bishop. During the following period for the first time, when demands had multiplied, and the episcopal authority was no longer in need of being jealously guarded, were their functions enlarged to embrace an independent pastoral care, preaching and dispensation of the sacraments for which they were personally responsible.―In regard to official position the Deacons had a career just the converse of this; for their importance increased just as the range of their official functions was enlarged. Seeing that in the earliest times they had occupied a position subordinate to the presbyter-bishops, they could not be regarded in this way as their rivals; and the development of the proto-presbyterate into a monarchical episcopate was too evidently in their own interests to awaken any opposition on their part. They therefore stood in a far closer relation to the bishops than did the presbyters. They were his confidants, his companions in travel, often also his deputies and representatives at the Synods. To them he committed the distribution of the church’s alms, for which their original charge of the poor qualified them. To these duties were added also many of the parts of divine service; they baptised under the commission of the bishop, obtained and prepared the sacramental elements, handed round the cup, at the close of the service carried to the sick and imprisoned the body and blood of the Lord, intimated the beginning and the close of the various parts of divine service, recited the public prayers, read the gospels, and kept order during worship. Often, too, they preached the sermon. In consequence of the preponderating position given to the Old Testament idea of the priesthood the bishop was compared to the high priest, the presbyters to the priests, and the deacons to the Levites, and so too did they already assume the name, from which the German word “Priester,” English “Priest,” French “Prêtre,” Italian “Prête,” is derived.

Among the Ordines Minores the oldest was the office of Reader, Ἀναγνώστης. In the time of Cyprian this place was heartily accorded to the Confessors. In later times it was usual to begin the clerical career with service in the readership. The duties of this office were the public reading of the longer scripture portions and the custody of the sacred books. Somewhat later than the readership the office of the Subdiaconi, ὑποδιάκονοι was instituted. They were assistants to the Deacons, and as such took first rank among the Ordines Minores, and of these were alone regarded as worthy of ordination. Toward the end of the 3rd century the office of the Cantores, ψαλταί, was instituted for the conducting of the public service of praise. The Acolytes, who are met with in Rome first about the middle of the 3rd century, were those who accompanied the bishop as his servants. The Exorcists discharged the spiritual function of dealing with those possessed of evil spirits, ἐνεργούμενοι, δαιμονιζόμενοι, over whom they had to repeat the public prayers and the formula of exorcism. As there was also an exorcism associated with baptism, the official functions of the exorcists extended to the catechumens. The Ostiarii or Janitores, θυρωροί, πυλωροί, occupied the lowest position.―In the larger churches for the instruction of the catechumens there were special Catechists appointed, Doctores audientium, and where the need was felt, especially in the churches of North Africa speaking the Punic tongue, there were also Interpreters whose duty it was to translate and interpret the scripture lessons. To the Deaconesses, for the most part widows or virgins, was committed the care of the poor and sick, the counselling of inexperienced women and maidens, the general oversight of the female catechumens. They had no clerical character.―The Ordination of the clergy was performed by the laying on of hands. Those were disqualified who had just recently been baptised or had received baptism only during severe illness (Neophyti, Clinici), also all who had been excommunicated and those who had mutilated themselves.―Continuation, § 45, 3.

§ 34.4. Clergy and Laity.―The idea that a priestly mediation between sinful men and a gracious deity was necessary had been so deeply implanted in the religious consciousness of pre-Christian antiquity, pagan as well as Jewish, that a form of public worship without a priesthood seemed almost as inconceivable as a religion without a god. And even though the inspired writings of the New Testament decidedly and expressly taught that the pre-Christian or Old Testament institution of a special human priesthood had been abolished and merged in the one eternal mediation of the exalted Son of God and Son of man, and that there was now a universal spiritual priesthood of all Christians with the right and privilege of drawing near even to the heavenly throne of grace (Heb. iv. 16; 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9; Rev. i. 6), yet, in consequence of the idea of the permanence of Old Testament institutions which prevailed, even in the Post-Apostolic Age, the sacerdotal theory came more and more into favour. This relapse to the Old Testament standpoint was moreover rendered almost inevitable by the contemporary metamorphosis of the ecclesiastical office which existed as the necessary basis of human organisation (§ 17, 4) into a hierarchical organisation resting upon an assumed divine institution. For clericalism, with its claims to be the sole divinely authorised channel for the communication of God’s grace, was the correlate and the indispensable support of hierarchism, with its exclusive claims to legislative, judicial, disciplinary and administrative precedence in the affairs of the church. The reaction which Montanism (§ 40) initiated in the interests of the Christian people against the hierarchical and clerical tendencies spreading throughout the church, was without result owing to its extreme extravagance. Tertullian emphasised indeed very strongly the Apostolic idea of the universal priesthood of all Christians, but in Cyprian this is allowed to fall quite behind the priesthood of the clergy and ultimately came to be quite forgotten.―The Old Catholic Age, however, shows many reminiscences of the original relation of the congregation to the ecclesiastical officers, or as it would now be called, of the laity to the clergy. That the official teaching of religion and preaching in the public assemblies of the church, although as a rule undertaken by the Ordines majores, might even then in special circumstances and with due authorisation be discharged by laymen, was shown by the Catechetical institution at Alexandria and by the case of Origen who when only a Catechist often preached in the church. The Apostolic Constitutions, too, 8, 31, supported the view that laymen, if only they were skilful in the word and of irreproachable lives, should preach by a reference to the promise: “They shall be all taught of God.” The repeated expressions of disapproval of the administration of the eucharist by laymen in the Ignatian Epistles presupposes the frequent occurrence of the practice; Tertullian would allow it in case of necessity, for “Ubi tres, ecclesia est, licet laici.” Likewise in reference to the administration of baptism he teaches that under ordinary circumstances propter ecclesiæ honorem it should be administered only by the bishop and the clergy appointed by him to the work, alioquin (e.g. in times of persecution) etiam laicis jus est. This, too, is the decision of the Council of Elvira in A.D. 306. The report which Cyprian gives of his procedure in regard to the vast number of the Lapsi of his time (§ 39, 2; 41, 2) affords evidence that at least in extraordinary and specially difficult cases of discipline the whole church was consulted. The people’s right to take part in the choice of their minister had not yet been questioned, and their assistance at least in the Synods was never refused.

§ 34.5. The Synods.―The Council of Apostles at Jerusalem (Acts xv.) furnished an example of Synodal deliberation and issuing of decrees. But even in the pagan world such institutions had existed. The old religio-political confederacies in Greece and Asia Minor had indeed since the time of the Roman conquest lost their political significance; but their long accustomed assemblies (κοιναὶ σύνοδοι, Concilia) continued to meet in the capitals of the provinces under the presidency of the Roman governor. The fact that the same nomenclature was adopted seems to show that they were not without formal influence on the origin of the institution of the church synod. The first occasion for such meetings was given by the Montanist movements in Asia Minor (§ 40, 1); and soon thereafter by the controversies about the observance of Easter (§ 37, 2). In the beginning of the 3rd century the Provincial Synods had already assumed the position of fixed and regularly recurring institutions. In the time of Cyprian, the presbyters and deacons took an active part in the Synods alongside of the bishops, and the people generally were not prevented from attending. No decision could be arrived at without the knowledge and the acquiescence of the members of the church. From the time of the Nicene Council, in A.D. 325, the bishops alone had a vote and the presence of the laity was more and more restricted. The decrees of Synods were communicated to distant churches by means of Synodal rescripts, and even in the 3rd century the claim was made in these, in accordance with Acts xv., to the immediate enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.―Continuation, § 43, 2.

§ 34.6. Personal and Epistolary Intercourse.―From the very earliest times the Christian churches of all lands maintained a regular communication with one another through messengers or itinerating brethren. The Teaching of the XII. Apostles furnishes the earliest account of this: Any one who comes from another place in the name of the Lord shall be received as a brother; one who is on his journey, however, shall not accept the hospitality of the church for more than two, or at furthest than three days; but if he chooses to remain in the place, he must engage in work for his own support, in which matter the church will help him; if he will not so conduct himself he is to be sent back as a χριστέμπορος, who has been seeking to make profit out of his profession of Christ. The Didache knows nothing as yet of the letters of authentication among the earlier messengers of the church which soon became necessary and customary. As a guarantee against the abuse of this custom such συστατικαὶ ἐπιστολαί (2 Cor. iii. 1) had come into use even in Tertullian’s time, who speaks of a Contesseratio hospitalitatis, in such a form that they were understood only by the initiated as recognisable tokens of genuineness, and were hence called Litteræ formatæ, or γράμματα τετυπωμένα. The same care was also taken in respect of important epistolary communications from one church to another or to other churches. Among these were included, e.g. the Synodal rescripts, the so-called γράμματα ἐνθρονιστικά by which the newly-chosen bishops intimated their entrance upon office to the other bishops of their district, the Epistolæ festales (paschales) regarding the celebration of a festival, especially the Easter festival (§ 56, 3), communications about important church occurrences, especially about martyrdoms (§ 32, 8), etc. According to Optatus of Mileve (§ 63, 1): “Totus orbis” could boast of “comnmercio formatarum in una communionis societate concordat.”

§ 34.7. The Unity and Catholicity of the Church.―The fact that Christianity was destined to be a religion for the world, which should embrace all peoples and tongues, and should permeate them all with one spirit and unite them under one heavenly head, rested upon the presupposition that the church was one and universal or catholic. The inward unity of the spirit demanded also a corresponding unity in manifestation. It is specially evident from the Teaching of the XII. Apostles that the consciousness of the unity of the church had deeply rooted itself even in the Post-Apostolic Age (§ 20, 1). “The points which according to it prove the unity of Christendom are the following: firstly, the disciplina in accordance with the ethical requirements of the Lord, secondly, baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thirdly, the order of fasting and prayer, especially the regular use of the Lord’s Prayer, and fourthly and lastly, the eucharist, i.e. the sacred meal in partaking of which the church gives thanks to God, the creator of all things, for the revelation imparted to it through Jesus, for faith and knowledge and immortality, and implores the fulfilment of its hope, the overthrow of this world, the coming again of Christ, and reception into the kingdom of God. He who has this doctrine and acts in accordance with it is a ‘Christian,’ belongs to ‘the saints,’ is a ‘brother,’ and ought to be received even as the Lord” (Harnack). The struggle against the Gnostics had the effect of transforming this primitive Christian idea of unity into a consciousness of the necessity of adopting a common doctrinal formula, which again this controversy rendered much more definite and precise, to which a concise popular expression was given in one common Regula fidei (§ 35, 2), and by means of which the specific idea of catholicity was developed (§ 20, 2).―The misleading and dangerous thing about this construction and consolidation of one great Catholic church was that every deviation from external forms in the constitution and worship as well as erroneous doctrine, immorality and apostasy, was regarded as a departing from the one Catholic church, the body of Christ, and consequently, since not only the body was put upon the same level with the head, but even the garment of the body was identified with the body itself, as a separating from the communion of Christ, involving the loss of salvation and eternal blessedness. This notion received a powerful impulse during the 2nd century when the unity of the church was threatened by heresies, sects and divisions. It reached its consummation and won the Magna Charta of its perfect enunciation in Cyprian’s book De Unitate Ecclesiæ. In the monarchical rank of the bishop of each church, as the representative of Christ, over the college of presbyters, as representatives of the Apostles, Ignatius of Antioch sees the guarantee of the church’s unity. According to Cyprian, this unity has its expression in the Apostolate; in the Episcopate it has its support. The promise of Christ, Matt. xvi. 18, is given to Peter, not as the head but as the single representative of the Apostles (John xx. 21). The Apostolic office, with the promise attached to it, passed from the Apostles by means of ordination to the bishops. These, through their monarchical rank, represent continuously for the several churches (Ecclesia est in episcopo), and through their combined action, for the whole of Christendom, the unity of the church; Episcopatus unus est, cujus a singulus in solidum, pars tenetur. All the bishops, just as all the Apostles, have perfect parity with one another; pares consortio, jure et honore. Each of them is a successor of Peter and heir of the promise given first to Peter but for all.―He who cuts himself off from the bishops, cuts himself off from the church. Habere non potest Deum patrem, qui ecclesiam non habet matrem.... Extra ecclesiam nulla spes salutis. Alongside of the Apostolic writings, the tradition which prevailed among the Apostolic churches (Sedes apostolicæ) was regarded as a standard of catholicity in constitution, worship and doctrine; indeed, it must even have ranked above the Apostolic writings themselves in settling the question of the New Testament Canon (§ 36, 8), until these had secured general circulation and acceptance.

§ 34.8. The Roman Primacy.―The claims of the Roman bishopric to the primacy over the whole church, which reached its fuller development in the 4th and 5th centuries (§ 46, 7), were founded originally and chiefly on the assertion that the promise of Matt. xvi. 18, 19, was given only and exclusively to the Apostle Peter as the Primate of the Apostles and the head of the church. This assumption overlooked the fact that in Matt. xviii. 18 and John xx. 21 ff., this promise was given with reference to all the Apostles. These claims were further supposed to be supported by the words addressed to Peter, “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke xxii. 31), which seemed to accord to Peter a primacy over his fellow Apostles; and also by the interpretation given of John xxi. 15 ff., where “lambs” were understood of laymen and “sheep” of the Apostles. It was likewise assumed that the bishop of Rome was the successor of Peter, and so the legitimate and only heir of all his prerogatives. The fable of the Roman bishopric of Peter (§ 16, 1) was at an early period unhesitatingly adopted, all the more because no one expected the results which in later times were deduced from a quite different understanding of Matt. xvi. 18. During this whole period such consequences were never dreamt of either by a Roman bishop or by anybody else. Only this was readily admitted at least by the West that Rome was the foremost of all the Apostolic churches, that there the Apostolic tradition had been preserved in its purest form, and that, therefore, its bishops should have a particularly influential voice in all questions that were to be judged of by the whole episcopate, and the Roman bishops were previously content with taking advantage of this concession in the largest measure possible.96

§ 35. The Administration of Baptism.97

As an indispensable means to participation in salvation and as a condition of reception into the communion of the church, baptism was practised from the earliest times. Infant baptism, though not universally adopted, was yet in theory almost universally admitted to be proper. Tertullian alone is found opposing it. All adults who desired baptism had, as Catechumens, to pass through a course of training under a Christian teacher. Many, however, voluntarily and purposely postponed their baptism, frequently even to a deathbed, in order that all the sins of their lives might be certainly removed by baptismal grace. After a full course of instruction had been passed through, the Catechumens prepared themselves for baptism by prayer and fasting, and before the administration of the sacred ordinance they were required to renounce the devil and all his works (Abrenuntiare diabolo et pompæ et angelis ejus) and to recite a confession of their faith. The controversy as to whether baptism administered by heretics should be regarded as valid was conducted with great bitterness during the 3rd century.

§ 35.1. The Preparation for Receiving Baptism.―After a complete exposition of the evangelical moral code in chap. 1-6, the Teaching of the XII. Apostles proceeds thus: Ταῦτα πάντα προειπόντες βαπτίσατε εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, etc. At this time, therefore, besides the necessarily presupposed acquaintance with the chief points in the gospel history, the initiation into the moral doctrine of the gospel of the person receiving baptism was regarded as most essential in the baptismal instruction. In this passage there is no mention of a doctrinal course of teaching based upon a symbol. But what here is still wanting is given in a summary way in chaps. 7 ff. in the instructions about baptism and the Lord’s supper attached to the baptismal formula and the eucharistic prayers. This therefore was reserved for that worship from which the candidates for baptism and the newly baptized had to gather their faith and hope as to the future completion of the kingdom of God. First the struggle against Gnosticism obliged the church to put more to the front the doctrines of faith which were thereby more fully developed, and to concern itself with these questions even in the instruction of the Catechumens. The custom, which the Didache and Justin Martyr show to have been prevalent in post-Apostolic times, of the baptiser together with others voluntarily offering themselves taking part with the candidate for baptism in completing the preparation for the holy ordinance by observing a two days’ fast, seems soon, so far as the baptiser and the others were concerned, to have fallen into desuetude, and is never again mentioned.―Since the development of the Old Catholic church the preparation of candidates for baptism has been divided into two portions of very unequal duration, namely, that of instruction, for which on an average a period of two years was required, and that of immediate preparation by prayer and fasting after the instructions had been completed. During the former period the aspirants were called κατηχοῦμενοι, Catechumeni; during the latter, φωτιζόμενοι, Competentes. As to their participation in the public divine service, the Catechumens were first of all as ἀκροώμενοι admitted only to the hearing of the sermon, and had thus no essential privileges over the unbelievers. They first came into closer connection with the church only when it was permitted them to take part in the devotional exercises, yet only in those portions which had reference to themselves, kneeling as γονυκλίνοντες, while also the congregation prayed kneeling. Only in cases of dangerous illness could baptism be given before the Catechumen had completed his full course (Baptismus Clinicorum). The Council of Neo-Cæsarea soon after A.D. 314 ordained that a Catechumen who as a γονυκλίνων had been guilty of an open sin, should be put back to the first stage of the Catechumenate, namely, to that of the ἀκροᾶσθαι, and if he then again sinned he should be cast off altogether; and the Œcumenical Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325 demanded that offending (παραπέσοντες) Catechumens should remain ἀκροώμενοι for three years and only then should be allowed to take part in the devotional service of the church.98

§ 35.2. The Baptismal Formula.―In close connection with the words of institution of baptism (Matt. xxviii. 19) and hence in a trinitarian framework, an outline of the doctrine common to all the churches, introduced first of all as a confession of faith professed by candidates for baptism, obtained currency at a very early date. Only a few unimportant modifications were afterwards made upon it, and amid all the varieties of provincial and local conditions, the formula remained essentially the same. Hence it could always be properly characterized with Irenæus as ἀκλινής, and with Tertullian as immobilis et irreformabilis. As a token of membership in the Catholic church it is called the Baptismal Formula or Symbolum. After the introduction of the Disciplina arcani (§ 36, 4) it was included in that, and hence was kept secret from heathens and even from catechumens, and first communicated to the competentes. As the “unalterable and inflexible” test and standard of the faith and doctrine, as well as an intellectual bond of union between churches scattered over all the earth, it was called Regula fidei and Κανὼν τῆς ἀληθείας. That we never find it quoted in the Old Catholic Age, is to be explained from its inclusion in the disciplina arcani and by this also, that the ancient church in common with Jeremiah (xxxi. 33), laid great stress upon its being engraven not with pen and ink on paper, but with the pen of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of believers. Instead then of literal quotation we find among the fathers of the Old Catholic Age (Irenæus, Tertullian, Origen, Novatian, etc.) only paraphrastic and explanatory references to it which, seeing that no sort of official sanction was accorded them in the church, are erroneously spoken of as Regulæ fidei. These paraphrases, however, are valuable as affording information about the creed of the early church, because what is found the same in them all must be regarded as an integral part of the original document. In harmony with this is the testimony of Rufinus, about A.D. 390, who in his Expositio Symb. apost. produces three different recensions, namely, the Roman, the Aquileian and the Oriental. The oldest and simplest was that used in Rome, traces of which may be found as early as the middle of the 2nd century. In the time of Rufinus there was a tradition that this Roman creed had been composed by the XII. Apostles in Jerusalem at the time of their scattering, as a universal rule of faith, and had been brought to Rome by Peter. It is not quite the same as that known among us as the Apostles’ Creed. It wants the phrases “Creator of heaven and earth,” “suffered, dead, descended into hell,” “catholic, communion of saints, eternal life.” The creed of Aquileia adopted the clause “Descendit ad infera,” and intensified the clause Carnis resurrectio by the addition of “hujus” and the phrase Deus pater omnipotens by the addition of the anti-Patripassian predicate (§ 33, 4) invisibilis et impassibilis.

§ 35.3. The Administration of Baptism.―According to the showing of the Teaching of the XII. Apostles baptism was ordinarily administered by a thrice-repeated immersion in flowing water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If there be no flowing water at hand, any other kind, even warm water, may be used, and in case of necessity sprinkling may be substituted for the thrice-repeated immersion. At a later time sprinkling was limited to the baptism of the sick, Baptismus clinicorum. We hear nothing of a consecration of the water to its holy use, nor is there any mention of the renunciation and exorcism which became customary first in the 3rd century through the use of a form of adjuration previously employed only in cases of possession. Upon immersion followed an anointing, χρίσμα (still unknown to the Didache), as a symbol of consecration to a spiritual priesthood (1 Pet. ii. 9), and then, in accordance with Acts viii. 16 f., the laying on of hands as the vehicle for the communication of the Holy Spirit. Soon the immersion came to be regarded as the negative part of the ordinance, the putting away of sin, and the anointing with the laying on of hands as the positive part, the communication of the Spirit. In the Eastern church presbyters and deacons were permitted to dispense baptism including also the anointing. Both, therefore, continued there unseparated. In the West, however, the bishops claimed the laying on of hands as their exclusive right, referring in support of their claim to Acts viii. Where then the bishop did not himself dispense the baptism, the laying on of hands as well as the chrismatic anointing was given separately and in addition by him as Confirmation, Confirmatio, Consignatio, which separation, even when the baptism was administered by a bishop, soon became the usual and legal practice. Nevertheless even in the Roman church there was at the baptism an anointing with oil which had canonical sanction and was designated chrism, without prejudice to confirmation as an independent act at a later time. The usual seasons for administering baptism were Easter, especially the Sabbath of Passion week, baptism into the death of Christ, Rom. vi. 3, and Pentecost, and in the East also the Epiphany. The place for the administration of baptism was regarded as immaterial. With infant baptism was introduced the custom of having sponsors, ἀνάδοχοι, sponsores, who as sureties repeated the confession of faith in the name of the unconscious infant receiving the baptism.―Continuation, § 58, 1.

§ 35.4. The Doctrine of Baptism.―The Epistle of Barnabas says: Ἀναβαίνομεν καρποφοροῦντες ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ. Hermas says: Ascendunt vitæ assignati. With Justin the water of baptism is a ὕδωρ τῆς ζωῆς, ἐξ οὗ ἀναγεννήθημεν, According to Irenæus it effects a ἕνωσις πρὸς ἀφθαρσίαν. Tertullian says: Supervenit spiritus de cœlis,―caro spiritualiter mundatur. Cyprian speaks of an unda genitalis, of a nativitas secunda in novum hominem. Firmilian says: Nativitas, quæ est in baptismo, filios Dei generat. Origen calls baptism χαρισμάτων θείων ἀρχὴν καὶ πηγήν.―Of the bloody baptism of martyrdom Tertullian exclaims: Lavacrum non acceptum repræsentat et perditum reddit. Hermes and Clement of Alexandria maintain that there will be in Hades a preaching and a baptism for the sake of pious Gentiles and Jews.

§ 35.5. The Controversy about Heretics’ Baptism.―The church of Asia Minor and Africa denied the validity of baptism administered by heretics; but the Roman church received heretics returning to the fold of the Catholic church, if only they had been baptized in the name of Christ or of the Holy Trinity, without a second baptism, simply laying on the hands as in the case of penitents. Stephen of Rome would tolerate no other than the Roman custom and hastened to break off church fellowship with those of Asia Minor (A.D. 253). Cyprian of Carthage whose ideal of the unity of that church in which alone salvation was to be obtained seemed to be overthrown by the Roman practice, and Firmilian of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, were the most vigorous supporters of the view condemned by Rome. Three Carthaginian Synods, the last and most important in A.D. 256, decided unequivocally in their favour. Dionysius of Alexandria sought to effect a reconciliation by writing a tenderly affectionate address to Stephen. To this end even more effectively wrought the Valerian persecution, which soon afterwards broke out, during which Stephen himself suffered martyrdom (A.D. 257). Thus the controversy reached no conclusion. The Roman practice, however, continued to receive more and more acceptance, and was confirmed by the first Œcumenical Council at Nicæa in A.D. 325, with the exclusion only of the Samosatians (§ 33, 8); likewise also at the Council at Constantinople in A.D. 381, with the exclusion of the Montanists (§ 40, 1), the Eunomians (§ 50, 3) and the Sabellians (§ 33, 7). These exceptions, therefore, referred mostly to the Unitarian heretics, the Montanists being excluded on account of their doctrine of the Paraclete. Augustine’s successful polemic against the Donatists (§ 63, 1), in his treatise in seven books De baptismo first overcame all objections hitherto waged against the validity of baptism administered by heretics derived from the objectivity of the sacrament, and henceforth all that was required was that it should be given in the name of the three-one God.

§ 36. Public Worship and its Various Parts.99

There was a tendency from the 2nd century onwards more and more to dissolve the connection of the Lord’s Supper with the evening Agape (§ 17, 7). Trajan’s strict prohibition of secret societies, hetæræ (§ 22, 2) seems to have given the first occasion for the separation of these two and for the temporary suppression of the love-feasts. The Lord’s Supper was now observed during the Sunday forenoon service and the mode of its observance is described even by Justin Martyr. In consideration of the requirements of the Catechumens the service was divided into two parts, a homiletical and a sacramental, and from the latter all unbaptized persons, as well as all under discipline and those possessed of evil spirits, were excluded. Each part of the service was regularly closed by a concluding benediction, and in the West bore the designations respectively of Missa catechumenorum and Missa fidelium, while in the East they were distinguished as λειτουργία τῶν κατηχουμένων and λειτουργία τῶν πιστῶν. In connection with this there grew up a notion that the sacramental action had a mysterious character, Disciplina arcani. Owing to the original connection of the Supper with the Agape it became customary to provide the elements used in the ordinance from the voluntary gifts brought by the members of the church, which were called Oblationes, προσφοραί,―a designation which helped to associate the idea of sacrifice with the observance of the Lord’s Supper.

§ 36.1. The Agape.―That in consequence of the imperial edict against secret societies, at least in Asia Minor, the much suspected and greatly maligned love-feasts (§ 22) were temporarily abandoned, appears from the report of Pliny to the Emperor, according to which the Christians of whom he made inquiries assured him that they had given up the mos coeundi ad capiendum cibum promiscuum. But in Africa they were still in use or had been revived in the time of Tertullian, who in his Apology makes mention very approvingly of them, although at a later period, after he had joined the Montanists, he lashes them in his book De Jejuniis with the most stinging sarcasm. Clement of Alexandria too is aware of flagrant abuses committed in connection with those feasts. They continued longest to be observed in connection with the services in commemoration of the dead and on the festivals of martyrs. The Council of Laodicæa, about the middle of the 4th century, forbade the holding of these in the churches and the Second Trullan Council in A.D. 692 renewed this prohibition. After this we find no further mention of them.

§ 36.2. The Missa Catechumenorum.―The reading of scripture (ἀνάγνωσις, Lectio,―comp. § 36, 7) formed the chief exercise during this part of the service. There was unrestricted liberty as to the choice of the portions to be read. It was the duty of the Readers, Ἀναγνώσται, to perform this part of the worship, but frequently Evangelists on the invitation of the Deacons would read, and the whole congregation showed their reverence by standing up. At the close of the reading an expository and practical address (ὁμιλία, λόγος, Sermo, Tractatus) was given by the bishop or in his absence by a presbyter or deacon, or even by a Catechist, as in the case of Origen, and soon, especially in the Greek church, this assumed the form of an artistic, rhetorical discourse. The reading and exposition of God’s word were followed by the prayers, to which the people gave responses. These were uttered partly by the bishop, partly by the deacons, and were extemporary utterances of the heart, though very soon they assumed a stereotyped form. The congregation responded to each short sentence of the prayer with Κύριε ἐλέησον. In the fully developed order of public worship of the 3rd century the prayers were arranged to correspond to the different parts of the service, for Catechumens, energumens (possessed), and penitents. After all these came the common prayer of the church for all sorts of callings, conditions, and needs in the life of the brethren.

§ 36.3. The Missa Fidelium.―The centre of this part of the service was the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. In the time of Justin Martyr the liturgy connected therewith was very simple. The brotherly kiss followed the common prayer, then the sacramental elements were brought in to the ministrant who consecrated them by the prayer of praise and thanksgiving (εὐχαριστία). The people answered Amen, and thereupon the consecrated elements were distributed to all those present. From that prayer the whole ordinance received the name εὐχαριστία, because its consecrating influence made common bread into the bread of the Supper. Much more elaborate is the liturgy in the 8th Book of the Apostolic Constitutions (§ 43, 4), which may be regarded as a fair sample of the worship of the church toward the end of the 3rd century. At the close of the sermon during the prayers connected with that part of the service began the withdrawal successively of the Catechumens, the energumens and the penitents. Then the Missa fidelium was commenced with the common intercessory prayer of the church. After various collects and responses there followed the brotherly kiss, exhortation against participation in unworthy pleasures, preparation of the sacramental elements, the sign of the cross, the consecration prayer, the words of institution, the elevation of the consecrated elements, all accompanied by suitable prayers, hymns, doxologies and responses. The bishop or presbyter distributed the bread with the words, Σῶμα Χριστοῦ; the deacon passed round the cup with the words, Αἷμα Χριστοῦ, ποτήριον ζωῆς. Finally the congregation kneeling received the blessing of the bishop, and the deacon dismissed them with the words, Ἀπολύεσθε ἐν εἰρήνῃ.―The bread was that commonly used, i.e., leavened bread (κοινὸς ἄρτος); the wine also was, according to the custom of time, mixed with water (κρᾶμα), in which Cyprian already fancied a symbol of the union of Christ and the church. In the African and Eastern churches, founding on John vi. 53, children, of course, those who had already been baptised, were allowed to partake of the communion. At the close of the service the deacons carried the consecrated sacramental elements to the sick and imprisoned. In many places a portion of the consecrated bread was taken home, that the family might use it at morning prayer for the consecration of the new day. No formal act of confession preceded the communion. The need of such an act in consequence of the existing disciplinary and liturgical ordinance had not yet made itself felt.

§ 36.4. The Disciplina Arcani.―The notion that the sacramental part of the divine service, including in this the prayers and hymns connected therewith, the Lord’s prayer, administration of baptism and the baptismal formula, as well as the anointing and the consecration of the priest, was a mystery (μυστικὴ λατρεία, τελετή) which was to be kept secret from all unbaptised persons (ἀμύητοι) and only to be practised in presence of the baptised (συμμύσται), is quite unknown to Justin Martyr and also to Irenæus. Justin accordingly describes in his Apology, expressly intended for the heathen, in full detail and without hesitation, all the parts of the eucharistic service. It was in Tertullian’s time that this notion originated, and it had its roots in the catechumenate and the consequent partition of the service into two parts, from the second of which the unbaptised were excluded. The official Roman Catholic theology, on the other hand, regards the disciplina arcani as an institution existing from the times of the Apostles, and from it accounts for the want of patristic support to certain specifically Roman Catholic dogmas and forms of worship, in order that they may, in spite of the want of such support, maintain that these had a place in primitive Christianity.

§ 36.5. The Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.―Though the idea was not sharply and clearly defined, there was yet a widespread and profound conviction that the Lord’s Supper was a supremely holy mystery, spiritual food indispensable to eternal life, that the body and blood of the Lord entered into some mystical connection with the bread and wine, and placed the believing partaker of them in true and essential fellowship with Christ. It was in consequence of the adoption of such modes of expression that the pagan calumnies about Thyestian feasts (§ 22) first gained currency. Ignatius calls the Lord’s Supper a φάρμακον ἀθανασίας, the cup a ποτήριον εἰς ἕνωσιν τοῦ αἵματος Χριστοῦ, and professes εὐχαριστίαν σάρκα εἶναι τοῦ σωτῆρος. Justin Martyr says: σάρκα καὶ αἷμα ἐδιδάχθημεν εἶναι. According to Irenæus, it is not communis panis, sed eucharistia ex duabus rebus constans, terrena et cœlesti, and our bodies by means of its use become jam non corruptibilia, spem resurrectionis habentia. Tertullian and Cyprian, too, stoutly maintain this doctrine, but incline sometimes to a more symbolical interpretation of it. The spiritualistic Alexandrians, Clement and Origen, consider that the feeding of the soul with the divine word is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.100―Continuation § 58, 2.

§ 36.6. The Sacrificial Theory.―When once the sacerdotal theory had gained the ascendancy (§ 34, 4) the correlated notion of a sacrifice could not much longer be kept in the background. And it was just in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper that the most specious grounds for such a theory were to be found. First of all the prayer, which formed so important a part of this celebration that the whole service came to be called from it the Eucharist, might be regarded as a spiritual sacrifice. Then again the gifts brought by the congregation for the dispensation of the sacrament were called προσφοραί, Oblationes, names which were already in familiar use in connection with sacrificial worship. And just as the congregation offered their contributions to the Supper, so also the priests offered them anew in the sacramental action, and also to this priestly act was given the name προσφέρειν, ἀναφέρειν. Then again, not only the prayer but the Supper itself was designated a θυσία, Sacrificium, though at first indeed in a non-literal, figurative sense.―Continuation § 58, 3.

§ 36.7. The Use of Scripture.―In consequence of their possessing but few portions of Scripture, the references of the Apostolic Fathers to the New Testament books must necessarily be only occasional. The synoptic gospels are most frequently quoted, though these are referred to only as a whole under the name τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. In Justin Martyr the references become more frequent, yet even here there are no express citation of passages; only once, in the Dialogue, is the Revelation of John named. He mentions as his special source for the life and works of Jesus the Ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων. What he borrows from this source is for the most part to be found in our Synoptic Gospels; but we have not in this sufficient ground for identifying the one with the other. On the contrary, we find that the citations of our Lord’s words do not correspond to the text of our gospels, but are sometimes rather in verbal agreement with the Apocryphal writings, and still further, that he adopts Apocryphal accounts of the life of Jesus, e.g., the birth of Christ in a cave, the coming of the Magi from Arabia, the legend that Jesus as a carpenter made ploughs and yokes, etc., borrowing them from the Ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν ἀποστόλων. If one further considers Justin’s account of the Sunday service as consisting of the reading of the Ἀπομνημονεύματα or the writings of the Prophets, and thereafter closed by the expository and hortatory address of the president (προεστώς), he will be led to the conclusion that his “Apostolic Memoirs” must have been a Gospel Harmony for church use, probably on the basis of Matthew’s Gospel drawn from our Synoptic Gospels, with the addition of some apocryphal and traditional elements. The author of the Didache too does not construct his “commands of the Lord communicated by the Apostles” directly from our Synoptic Gospels, but from a εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ κυρίου which presented a text of Matthew enriched by additions from Luke. The Diatessaron of Tatian (§ 30, 10) shows that soon after this the gospel of John, which was not regarded by Justin or the author of the Didache as a source for the evangelical history, although there are not wanting in both manifold references to it, came to be regarded as a work to be read in combination with these. It was only after a New Testament Canon had been in the Old Catholic Age gradually established, and from the vast multitude of books on gospel history, which even Luke had found existing (i. 1) and which had been multiplied to an almost incalculable extent both in the interests of heresy and of church doctrine, our four gospels were universally recognised as alone affording authentic information of the life and doctrines of the Lord, that the eclectic gospels hitherto in use had more and more withdrawn from them the favour of the church. Tatian’s Diatessaron maintained its place longest in the Syrian Church. Theodoret, † A.D. 457, testifies that in his diocese he had found and caused to be put away about two hundred copies. Aphraates (about A.D. 340, § 47, 13) still used it as the text of his homilies. At the time of publication of the Doctrina Addæi (§ 32, 6) it was still used in the church of Edessa, and Ephraim Syrus in A.D. 360 refers to a commentary in the form of scholia on it in an Armenian translation, in which the passages commented on are literally reproduced, Theodoret’s charge against it of cutting out passages referring to the descent of Christ after the flesh from David, especially the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, is confirmed by these portions thus preserved. Otherwise however, it is free from heretical alterations, though not wholly without apocryphal additions. All the four gospels are in brief summary so skilfully wrought into one another that no joining is ever visible. What cannot be incorporated is simply left out, and the whole historical and doctrinal material is distributed over the one working year of the synoptists.

§ 36.8. Formation of a New Testament Canon.―The oldest collection of a New Testament Canon known to us was made by the Gnostic Marcion (§ 27, 11) about A.D. 150. Some twenty years later in the so-called Muratorian Canon, a fragment found by Muratori in the 18th century with a catalogue in corrupt Latin justifying the reception of the New Testament writings received in the Roman church. For later times the chief witnesses are Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Eusebius. The Muratorian Canon and Eusebius are witnesses for the fact that in the 2nd century, besides the Gospels, the Apostolic Epistles and the Revelation of John, other so-called Apostolic Epistles were read at worship in the churches, for instance, the 1st Ep. of Clement of Rome, the Ep. of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, in some churches also the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter and Acts of Paul, in Corinth, an Ep. of the Roman bishop Soter (A.D. 166-174) to that church, and also Acts of the Martyrs. Montanist as well as Gnostic excesses gave occasion for the definite fixing of the New Testament Canon by the Catholic church (§ 40). Since the time of Irenæus, the four Gospels, the Acts, the 13 Epp. of Paul, the Ep. to the Hebrews (which some in the West did not regard as Pauline), 1st Peter, and 1st John, along with the Revelation of John, were universally acknowledged. Eusebius therefore calls these ὁμολογούμενα. There was still some uncertainty as to the Ep. of James, 2nd Peter, 2nd and 3rd John and Jude (ἀντιλεγόμενα). The antilegomena of a second class, which have no claim to canonicity, although in earlier times they were much used in churches just like the canonical scriptures, were called by him νόθα, viz. the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Ep. of Barnabas, and the Didache. He would also very willingly have included among these the Revelation of John (§ 33, 9), although he acknowledged that elsewhere that is included in the Homologoumena.―The Old Testament Canon was naturally regarded as already completed. But since the Old Testament had come to the Greek and Latin Church Teachers in the expanded form of the LXX., they had unhesitatingly assumed that its added books were quite as sacred and as fully inspired as those of the Hebrew Canon. Melito of Sardis, however, about A.D. 170, found it desirable to make a journey of research through Palestine in order to determine the limits of the Jewish Canon, and then to draw up a list of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament essentially corresponding therewith. Origen too informs us that the Jews, according to the number of letters in their alphabet acknowledged only 22 books, which, however, does not lead him to condemn this reception of the additional books of the church. From the end of the 2nd century, the Western church had Latin Translations of the biblical books, the origin of which is to be sought in North Africa, where in consequence of prevailing ignorance of the Greek language the need of such translations was most deeply felt. Even so early as the beginning of the 5th century we find Jerome († 420) complaining of varietas and vitiositas of the Codices latini, and declaring: Tot sunt exemplaria (=forms of the text) paene quot codices. Augustine101 gives preference to the Itala over all others. The name Itala is now loosely given to all fragments of Latin translations previous to that of Jerome.―The Syriac translation, the Peshito, plain or simple (so-called because it exactly and without paraphrasing renders the words of the Hebrew and Greek originals) belongs to the 3rd century, although first expressly referred to by Ephraim. In it 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Jude are not found.

§ 36.9. The Doctrine of Inspiration.―In earlier times it was usual, after the example of Philo, to regard the prophetic inspiration of the sacred writers as purely passive, as ἔκστασις. Athenagoras compares the soul of the prophet while prophesying to a flute; Justin Martyr in his Cohort. ad Græc. to a lyre, struck by the Holy Spirit as the plectrum, etc. The Montanist prophets first brought this theory into disrepute. The Apologist Miltiades of Asia Minor was the first Church Teacher who vindicated over against the Montanists the proposition: προφήτην μὴ δεῖν ἐν ἐκστάσει λαλεῖν. The Alexandrians who even admitted an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the nobler intellects of paganism, greatly modified the previously accepted doctrine of inspiration. Origen, for example, teaches a gradual rising or falling in the measure of inspiration even in the bible, and determines this according to the more or less prominence secured by the human individuality of the writers of scripture.

§ 36.10. Hymnology.―The Carmen Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem in the report of Pliny (§ 22, 2), may be classed with the antiphonal responsive hymns of the church. Tertullian bears witness to a rich use of song in family as well as congregational worship. So too does Origen. In the composition of church hymns the heretics seem for a long while to have kept abreast of the Catholics (Bardesanes and Harmonius, § 27, 5), but the latter were thereby stirred up to greater exertions. The Martyr Athenogenes and the Egyptian bishop Nepos are named as authors of church hymns. We have still a hymn εἰς Σωτῆρα by Clement of Alexandria. Socrates ascribes to Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, the introduction of the alternate-song (between different congregational choirs). More credible is Theodoret’s statement that the Antiochean monks Flavian and Diodorus had imported it, about A.D. 260, from the National Syrian into the Greek-Syrian church.―Continuation § 59, 45.

§ 37. Feasts and Festival Seasons.102

Sunday as a day of joy was distinguished by standing at prayer, instead of kneeling as at other times, and also by the prohibition of fasting. Of the other days of the week, Wednesday, the day on which the Jewish Council decided to put Jesus to death and Judas had betrayed him, and Friday, as the day of his death, were consecrated to the memory of Christ’s suffering; hence the Feria quarta et sexta were celebrated as watch days, dies stationum, after the symbolism of the Militia christiana (Eph. vi. 10-17), by public meetings of the congregation. As days of the Passion, penitence and fasting they formed a striking contrast to the Sunday. The chief days of the Christian festival calendar, which afterwards found richer and more complete expression in the cycle of the Christian year, were thus at first associated with the weekly cycle. A long continued and wide spread controversy as to the proper time for celebrating Easter arose during the 2nd century.

§ 37.1. The Festivals of the Christian Year.―The thought of Christ’s suffering and death was so powerful and engrossing that even in the weekly cycle one day had not been sufficient. Still less could one festal day in the yearly cycle satisfy the hearts of believers. Hence a long preparation for the festival was arranged, which was finally fixed at forty days, and was designated the season Quadragesima (τεσσαρακοστή). Its conclusion and acme was the so-called Great Week, beginning with the Sunday of the entrance into Jerusalem, culminating in the day of the crucifixion, Good Friday, and closing with the day of rest in the tomb. This Great Week or Passion Week was regarded as the antitype of the Old Testament Passover feast. The Old Catholic church did not, however, transfer this name to the festival of the resurrection (§ 56, 4). The day of the resurrection was rather regarded as the beginning of a new festival cycle consecrated to the glorification of the redeemer, viz. the season of Quinquagesima (πεντηκοστή), concluding with the festival of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the anniversary of the founding of the Christian church, which has now come to be known par excellence as Pentecost. The fifty intervening days were simply days of joy. There was daily communion, no fasting, only standing and not kneeling at prayer. The fortieth day, the day of the Ascension, had a special pre-eminence as a day of festal celebrations. The festival of Epiphany on 6th January originated in the East to celebrate the baptism of Christ in Jordan, as the manifestation of his Messianic rank. As yet there is nowhere any trace of the Christmas festival.―Continuation, § 56.

§ 37.2. The Paschal Controversies.―During the 2nd century, there were three different practices prevalent in regard to the observance of the Paschal festival. The Ebionite Jewish Christians (§ 28, 1) held the Paschal feast on the 14th Nisan according to the strict literal interpretation of the Old Testament precepts, maintaining also that Christ, who according to the synoptists died on the 15th, observed the Passover with his disciples on the 14th. Then again the church of Asia Minor followed another practice which was traced back to the Apostle John. Those of Asia Minor attached themselves indeed in respect of date to the Jewish festival, but gave it a Christian meaning. They let the passover alone, and pronounced the memorial of Christ’s death to be the principal thing in the festival. According to their view, based upon the fourth Gospel, Christ died upon the 14th Nisan, so that He had not during the last year of His life observed a regular Passover. On the 14th Nisan, therefore, they celebrated their Paschal festival, ending their fast at the moment of Christ’s death, three o’clock in the afternoon, and then, instead of the Jewish Passover, having an Agape with the Lord’s Supper. Those who adopted either of those two forms were at a later period called Quartodecimans or Tessareskaidekatites. Different from both of these was a third practice followed in all the West, as also in Egypt, Palestine, Pontus and Greece, which detached itself still further from the Jewish Passover. This Western usage disregarded the day of the month in order to secure the observance of the great resurrection festival on the first day of the week. The πάσχα σταυρώσιμον, then, if the 14th did not happen to be a Friday, was always celebrated on the first Friday after the 14th, and the Easter festival with the observance of the Lord’s Supper on the immediately following Sunday. The Westerns regarded the day of Christ’s death as properly a day of mourning, and only at the end of the pre-Easter fast on the day of the Resurrection introduced the celebration of the Agape and the Lord’s Supper. These divergent practices first awakened attention on the appearing of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna at Rome in A.D. 155. The Roman bishop Anicetus referred to the tradition of the Roman Church; Polycarp laid stress upon the fact that he himself had celebrated the Paschal festival after the manner followed in Asia Minor along with the Apostle John. No common agreement was reached at this time; but, in token of their undisturbed church fellowship, Anicetus allowed Polycarp to dispense the communion in his church. Some fifteen years later a party, not distinctly particularised, obtained at Laodicea in Phrygia sanction for the Ebionite practice with strict observance of the time of the Passover, and awakened thereby a lively controversy in the church of Asia Minor, in which opposite sides were taken by the Apologists, Apollinaris and Melito (§ 30, 7). The dispute assumed more serious dimensions about A.D. 196 through the passionate proceedings of the Roman bishop Victor. Roused probably by the agitation of a Quartodeciman named Blastus then in Rome, he urged upon the most distinguished bishops of the East and West the need of holding a Synod to secure the unequivocal vindication of the Roman practice. On this account many Synods were held, which almost invariably gave a favourable verdict. Only those of Asia Minor with Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus at their head, entered a vigorous protest against the pretensions of Rome, and notwithstanding all the Roman threatenings determined to stand by their own well established custom. Victor now went the length of breaking off church fellowship with them, but this extreme procedure met with little favour. Even Irenæus expressed himself to the Gallican bishops as opposed to it.―Continuation § 56, 3.

§ 37.3. The Ecclesiastical Institution of Fasting.―The Didache gives evidence that even at so early a date, the regular fasts were religiously observed on the Dies stationum by expressly forbidding fasting “with hypocrites” (Jews and Jewish Christians, Luke xviii. 12) on Monday and Thursday, instead of the Christian practice of so observing Wednesday and Friday. The usual fast continued as a rule only till three o’clock in the afternoon (Semijejunia, Acts x. 9, 30; iii. 1). In Passion week the Saturday night, which, at other times, just like the Sunday, was excluded from the fasting period, as part of the day during which Christ lay buried, was included in the forty-hours’ fast, representing the period during which Christ lay in the grave. This was afterwards gradually lengthened out into the forty-days’ fast of Lent (Exod. xxxiv. 28; 1 Kings xix. 8; Matt. iv. 2), in which, however, the jejunium proper was limited to the Dies Stationum, and for the rest of the days only the ξηροφαγίαι, first forbidden by the Montanists (§ 40, 4), i.e. all fattening foods, such as flesh, eggs, butter, cheese, milk, etc., were abstained from.―On fasting preparatory to baptism, see § 35, 1. The Didache, c. i. 3, adds to the gospel injunction that we should pray for our persecutors (Matt. v. 44) the further counsel that we should fast for them. The meaning of the writer seems to be that we should strengthen our prayers for persecutors by fasting. Hermas, on the other hand, recommends fasting in order that we may thereby spare something for the poor; and Origen says that he read in quodam libello as ab apostolis dictum: Beatus est, qui etiam jejunat pro eo ut alat pauperem.

§ 38. The Church Buildings and the Catacombs.

The earliest certain traces of special buildings for divine worship which had been held previously in private houses of Christians are met with in Tertullian about the end of the 2nd century. In Diocletian’s time Nicomedia became a royal residence and hard by the emperor’s palace a beautiful church proudly reared its head (§ 22, 6), and even in the beginning of the 3rd century Rome had forty churches. We know little about the form and arrangement of these churches. Tertullian and Cyprian speak of an altar or table for the preparation of the Lord’s supper and a desk for the reading, and in the Apostolic Constitutions it is required that the building should be oblong in shape. The wide-spread tradition that in times of sore persecution the worshippers betook themselves to the Catacombs is evidently inconsistent with the limited space which these afforded. On the other hand, the painter whose works, by a decree of a Spanish Council in A.D. 306, were banished from the churches, found here a suitable place for the practice of sacred art.

§ 38.1. The Catacombs.―The Christian burying places were generally called κοιμητήρια, Dormitoria. They were laid out sometimes in the open fields (Areæ), sometimes, where the district was suitable for that, hewn out in the rock (κρύπται, crypts). This latter term was, by the middle of the 4th century, quite interchangeable with the name Catacumbæ, (κατὰ κύμβας=in the caves). The custom of laying the dead in natural or rock-hewn caves was familiar to pagan antiquity, especially in the East. But the recesses used for this purpose were only private or family vaults. Their growth into catacombs or subterranean necropolises for larger companies bound together by their one religion without distinctions of rank (Gal. iii. 28), first arose on Christian soil from a consciousness that their fellowship transcended death and the grave. For the accomplishment of this difficult and costly undertaking, Christian burial societies were formed after the pattern of similar institutions of paganism (§ 17, 3). Specially numerous and extensive necropolises have been found laid out in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome. But also in Malta, in Naples, Syracuse, Palermo, and other cities, this mode of sepulchre found favour. The Roman catacombs, of which in the hilly district round about the eternal city fifty-eight have been counted in fourteen different highways, are almost all laid out in the white porous tufa stone which is there so abundant, and useful neither for building nor for mortar. It is thus apparent that these are neither wrought-out quarries nor gravel pits (Arenariæ), but were set in order from the first as cemeteries. A few Arenariæ may indeed have been used as catacombs, but then the sides with the burial niches consist of regularly built walls. The Roman Catacombs in the tufa stone form labyrinthine, twisting, steep galleries only 3 or 4 feet broad, with rectangular corners caused by countless intersections. Their perpendicular sides varied greatly in height and in them the burial niches, Loculi, were hewn out one above the other, and on the reception of the body were built up or hermetically sealed with a stone slab bearing an inscription and a Christian symbol. The wealthy laid their dead in costly marble sarcophagi or stone coffins ornamented with bas-reliefs. The walls too and the low-arched roofs were adorned with symbols and pictures of scripture scenes. From the principal passages many side paths branched off to so-called burial chambers, Cubicula, which were furnished with shafts opening up to the surface and affording air and light, Luminaria. In many of these chambers, sometimes even in the passages, instead of simple Loculi we meet with the so-called Arcosolium as the more usual form; one or more coffin-shaped grooves hewn out in the rocky wall are covered with an altar-shaped marble plate, and over this plate, Mensa, is a semicircular niche hewn out spreading over it in its whole extent. These chambers are often held in reverence as “catacomb churches,” but they are so small in size that they could only accommodate a very limited number, such as might gather perhaps at the commemoration of a martyr or the members of a single family. And even where two or three such chambers adjoin one another, connected together by doors and having a common lighting shaft, accommodating at furthest about twenty people, they could not be regarded as meeting-places for public congregations properly so called.―Where the deposit of tufa stone was sufficiently large, there were several stories (Piani), as many as four or five connected by stairs, laid out one above the other in galleries and chambers. According to de Rossi’s103 moderate calculation there have been opened altogether up to this time so many passages in the catacombs that if they were put in a line they would form a street of 120 geographical miles. Their oldest inscriptions or epitaphs date from the first years of the second century. After the destruction of Rome by the hordes of Alaric in A.D. 410, the custom of burying in them almost entirely ceased. Thereafter they were used only as places of pilgrimage and spots where martyr’s relics were worshipped. From this time the most of the so-called Graffiti, i.e. scribblings of visitors on the walls, consisting of pious wishes and prayers, had their origin. The marauding expedition of the Longobard Aistulf into Roman territory in A.D. 756, in which even the catacombs were stripped of their treasures, led Pope Paul I. to transfer the relics of all notable martyrs to their Roman churches and cloisters. Then pilgrimages to the catacombs ceased, their entrances got blocked up, and the few which in later times were still accessible, were only sought out by a few novelty hunting strangers. Thus the whole affair was nigh forgotten until in A.D. 1578 a new and lively interest was awakened by the chance opening up again of one of those closed passages. Ant. Bosio from A.D. 1593 till his death in A.D. 1629, often at the risk of his life, devoted all his time and energies to their exploration. But great as his discoveries were, they have been completely outdone by the researches of the Roman nobleman, Giov. Battista de Rossi, who, working unweariedly at his task since A.D. 1849 till the present time, is recognised as the great master of the subject, although even his investigations are often too much dominated by Roman Catholic prejudices and by undue regard for traditional views.104

§ 38.2. The Antiquities of the Catacombs.―The custom widely spread in ancient times and originating in piety or superstition of placing in the tombs the utensils that had been used by the deceased during life was continued, as the contents of many burial niches show among the early Christians. Children’s toys were placed beside them in the grave, and the clothes, jewels, ornaments, amulets, etc., of grown up people. Quite a special interest attaches to the so-called Blood Vases, Phiolæ rubricatæ, which have been found in or near many of these niches, i.e. crystal, rarely earthenware, vessels with Christian symbols figured on a red ground. The Congregation of rites and relics in A.D. 1668, asserted that they were blood-vessels, in which the blood of the martyrs had been preserved and stood alongside of their bones; and the existence of such jars, as well as every pictorial representation of the palm branch (Rev. vii. 9), was supposed to afford an indubitable proof that the niches in question contained the bones of martyrs. But the Reformed theologian Basnage shows that this assumption is quite untenable, and he has explained the red ground from the dregs of the red sacramental wine which may have been placed in the burial niches as a protection against demoniacal intrusion. Even many good Roman Catholic archæologists, Mabillon, Papebroch, Tillemont, Muratori, etc., contest or express doubts as to the decree of the Congregation. At the instigation probably of the Belgian Jesuit Vict. de Buck, Pius IX. in A.D. 1863 confirmed and renewed the old decree, and among others, Xav. Kraus has appeared as its defender. But a great multitude of unquestionable facts contradict the official decree of the church; e.g. the total absence of any support to this view in tradition, the silence of such inscriptions as relate to the martyrs, above all the immense number of these jars, their being found frequently alongside the bones of children of seven years old, the remarkable frequency of them in the times of Constantine and his successors which were free from persecution, the absence of the red dregs in many jars, etc. Since dregs of wine, owing to their having the vegetable property of combinableness could scarcely be discernible down to the present day, it has recently been suggested that the red colour may have been produced by a mineral-chemical process as oxide of iron.

§ 38.3. Pictorial Art and the Catacombs.―Many of the earliest Christians may have inherited a certain dislike of the pictorial arts from Judaism, and may have been confirmed therein by their abhorrence of the frivolous and godless abuse of art in heathenism. But this aversion which in a Tertullian grew from a Montanistic rigorism into a fanatical hatred of art, is never met with as a constituent characteristic of Christianity. Much rather the great abundance of paintings on the walls of the Roman and Neapolitan catacombs, of which many, and these not the meanest, belong to the 2nd century, some indeed perhaps to the last decades of the 1st century, serves to show how general and lively was the artistic sense among the earliest Christians at least in the larger and wealthier communities. Yet from its circumstances the Christian church in its appreciation of art was almost necessarily limited on two sides; for, on the one hand, no paintings were tolerated in the churches, and on the other hand, even in private houses and catacombs they were restricted almost exclusively to symbolico-allegorical or typical representations. The 36th Canon of the Council of Elvira in A.D. 306 is a witness for the first statement when it says: Placuit picturas in ecclesia non esse debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur in parietibus depingatur. The plain words of the Canon forbid any other interpretation than this: From the churches, as places where public worship is regularly held, all pictorial representations must be banished, in order to make certain that in and under them there might not creep in those images, forbidden in the decalogue, of Him who is the object of worship and adoration. The Council thus assumed practically the same standpoint as the Reformed church in the 16th century did in opposition to the practice of the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches. It cannot, however, be maintained that the Canon of this rigorous Council (§ 45, 2) found general acceptance and enforcement outside of Spain―Proof of the second limitation is as convincingly afforded by what we find in the catacombs. On the positive side, it has its roots in the fondness which prevailed during these times for the mystical and allegorical interpretation of scripture; and on the negative side, in the endeavour, partly in respect for the prohibition of images contained in the decalogue, partly, and perhaps mainly, in the interests of the so-called Disciplina arcani, fostered under pressure of persecution, to represent everything that pertained to the mysteries of the Christian faith as a matter which only Christians have a right fully to understand. From the prominence given to the point last referred to it may be explained how amid the revolution that took place under Constantine the age of Symbolism and Allegory in the history of Christian art also passed away, and henceforth painters applied themselves pre-eminently to realistic historical representations.

§ 38.4. The pictorial and artistic representations of the pre-Constantine age may be divided into the six following groups:―

  1. Significant Symbols.―To these belong especially the cross,105 though, for fear of the reproaches of Jews and heathens (§ 23, 2), not yet in its own proper form but only in a form that indicated what was meant, namely in the form of the Greek Τ, very frequently in later times in the monogram of the name of Christ, i.e. in a variously constructed combination of its first two letters Χ and Ρ, while the Χ, as crux dissimulatæ, has very often on either side the letters α and ω.
  2. Allegorical Figures.―In the 4th century a particularly favourite figure was that of the Fish, the name of which, ἰχθύς, formed a highly significant monogrammatic representation of the sentence, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ, and which pointed strikingly to the new birth from the water of baptism. Then there is the lamb or sheep, as symbol of the soul, which still in this life seeks after spiritual pastures; and the dove as symbol of the pious believing soul passing into eternal rest, often with an olive branch in its mouth (Gen. viii. 11), as symbol of the eternal peace won. Also we have the hart (Ps. xlii. 1), the eagle (Ps. ciii. 5), the chicken, symbol of Christian growth, the peacock, symbol of the resurrection on account of the annual renewal of its beautiful plumage, the dolphin, symbol of hastiness or eagerness in the appropriation of salvation, the horse, symbol of the race unto the goal of eternal life, the hare, as symbol of the Christian working out his salvation with fear and trembling, the ship, with reference to Noah’s ark as a figure of the church, the anchor (Heb. vi. 19), the lyre (Eph. v. 19), the palm branch (Rev. vii. 9), the garland (or crown of life, Rev. ii. 9), the lily (Matt. vi. 28), the balances, symbol of divine righteousness, fishes and bread, symbol of spiritual nourishment with reference to Christ’s miracle of feeding in the wilderness, etc.
  3. Parabolic Figures.―These are illustrations borrowed from the parables of the Gospels. To these belong conspicuously the figure of the Good Shepherd, who bears on His shoulder the lost sheep that He had found (Luke xv. 5), the Vine Stock (John xv.), the Sower (Matt. xiii. 3), the Marriage Feast (Matt. xxii.), the Ten Virgins (Matt. xxv.), etc.
  4. Historical Pictures of O. T. Types.―Among these we have Adam and Eve, the Rivers of Paradise (as types of the four evangelists), Abel and Cain, Noah in the Ark, the Sacrifice of Isaac, Scenes from Joseph’s History, Moses at the Burning Bush, the Passage of the Red Sea, the Falling of the Manna, the Water out of the Rock, History of Job, Samson with the Gates of Gaza (the gates of Hell), David’s Victory over Goliath, Elijah’s Ascension, Scenes from the History of Jonah and Tobit, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace, etc. Also typical material from heathen mythology had a place assigned them, such as the legends of Hercules, Theseus, and especially of Orpheus who by his music bewitched the raging elements and tamed the wild beasts, descended into the lower world and met his death through the infuriated women of his own race.
  5. Figures from the Gospel History.―These, e.g. the Visit of the Wise Men from the East, and the Resurrection of Lazarus, are throughout this period still exceedingly rare. We do not find a single representation of the Passion of our Lord, nor any of the sufferings of Christian martyrs. Pictorial representations of the person of Christ, as a beardless youth with a friendly mild expression, are met with in the catacombs from the first half of the 2nd century, but without any claim to supply the likeness of a portrait, such as might be claimed for the figures of Christ in the temple of the Carpocratians (§ 27, 8) and in the Lararium of the Emperor Alexander Severus (§ 22, 4). Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, in accordance with the literal interpretation of Isa. liii. 2, 3, thought that Christ had an unattractive face; the post-Constantine fathers, on the contrary, resting upon Ps. xlv. 3 and John i. 14, thought of Him as beautiful and gracious.
  6. Liturgical Figures.―These were connected only with the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
§ 39. Life, Manners, and Discipline.106

When the chaff had been so relentlessly severed from the wheat by the persecutions of that age, a moral earnestness and a power of denying the world and self must have been developed, sustained by the divine power of the gospel and furthered by a strict and rigorous application of church discipline to the Christian life, such as the world had never seen before. What most excited and deserved wonder in the sphere of heathendom, hitherto accustomed only to the reign of selfishness, was the brotherly love of the Christians, their systematic care of the poor and sick, the widespread hospitality, the sanctity of marriage, the delight in martyrdom, etc. Marriages with Jews, heathens and heretics were disapproved, frequently even the celebration of a second marriage after the death of the first wife was disallowed. Public amusements, dances, and theatres were avoided by Christians as Pompa diaboli. They thought of the Christian life, in accordance with Eph. vi. 10 ff., as Militia Christi. But even in the Post-Apostolic Age we come upon indications of a tendency to turn from the evangelical spirituality, freedom and simplicity of the Apostolic Age toward a pseudo-catholic externalism and legalism in the fundamental views taken of ethical problems, and at the same time and in the same way in the departments of the church constitution (§ 34), worship (§ 36) and exposition of doctrine (§ 30, 2). The teachers of the church do still indeed maintain the necessity of a disposition corresponding to the outward works, but by an over-estimation of these they already prepare the way for the doctrine of merit and the opus operatum, i.e. the meritoriousness of works in themselves. Even the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache reckon almsgiving as an atonement for sins. Still more conspicuously is this tendency exhibited by Cyprian (De Opere et eleemosynis) and even in the Shepherd of Hermas (§ 30, 4) we find the beginnings of the later distinction, based upon 1 Cor. vii. 25, 26; Matt. xxv. 21, and Luke xviii. 10, between the divine commands, Mandata or Præcepta, which are binding upon all Christians, and the evangelical counsels, Consilia evangelica, the non-performance of which is no sin, but the doing of which secures a claim to merit and more full divine approval. Among the Alexandrian theologians, too, under the influence of the Greek philosophy a very similar idea was developed in the distinction between higher and lower morality, after the former of which the Christian sage (ὁ γνωστικός) is required to shine, while the ordinary Christian may rest satisfied with the latter. On such a basis a special order of Ascetics very early made its appearance in the churches. Those who went the length of renouncing the world and going out into the wilderness were called Anchorets. This order first assumed considerable dimensions in the 4th century (§ 44).

§ 39.1. Christian Morals and Manners.―The Christian spirit pervaded the domestic and civil life and here formed for itself a code of Christian morals. It expressed itself in the family devotions and family communions (§ 36, 3), in putting the sign of the cross upon all callings in life, in the Christian symbols (§ 38, 3) with which dwellings, garments, walls, lamps, cups, glasses, rings, etc. were adorned. As to private worship the Didache requires without fixing the hours that the head of the household shall have prayers three times a day (Dan. vi. 30), meaning probably, as with Origen, morning, noon, and night. Tertullian specifies the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours as the hours of prayer, and distinctly demands a separate morning and evening prayer.―The concluding of marriage according to the then existing Roman law had to be formally carried through by the expressed agreement of the parties in the presence of witnesses, and this on the part of the church was regarded as valid. The Christian custom required that there should be a previous making of it known, Professio, to the bishop, and a subsequent going to the church of the newly married pair in order that, amid the church’s intercessions and the priestly benediction, a religious sanction might be given to their marriage covenant, by the oblation and common participation of the Lord’s Supper at the close of the public services. Tertullian’s Montanistic rigorism shows itself in regarding marriages where these are omitted, occultæ conjunctiones, as no better than mœchia and fornicatio. The crowning of the two betrothed ones and the veiling of the bride were still disallowed as heathenish practices; but the use of the wedding ring was sanctioned at an early date and had a Christian significance attached to it. The burning of dead bodies prevalent among the heathens reminded them of hell fire; the Christians therefore preferred the Jewish custom of burial and referred in support to 1 Cor. xv. 36. The day of the deaths of their deceased members were celebrated in the Christian families by prayer and oblations in testimony of their fellowship remaining unbroken by death and the grave.―Continuation § 61, 23.

§ 39.2. The Penitential Discipline.―According to the Apostolic ordinance (§ 17, 8) notorious sinners were excluded from the fellowship of the church, Excommunicatio, and only after prolonged trial of their penitence, Exomologesis, were they received back again, Reconciliatio. In the time of Cyprian, about A.D. 250, there was already a well defined order of procedure in this matter of restoring the lapsed which continued in force until the 5th century. Penance, Pœnitentia, must extend through four stages, each of which according to circumstances might require one or more years. During the first stage, the πρόσκλαυσις, Fletio, the penitents, standing at the church doors in mourning dress, made supplication to the clergy and the congregation for restoration; in the second, the ἀκρόασις, Auditio, they were admitted again to the reading of the scriptures and the sermon, but still kept in a separate place; in the third, ὑπόπτωσις, Substratio, they were allowed to kneel at prayer; and finally, in the fourth, σύστασις, Consistentia, they took part again in the whole of the public services, with the exception of the communion which they were only allowed to look at standing. Then they received Absolution and Reconciliation (=pacem dare) in presence of the assembled and acquiescing congregation by the imposition of the hands of the bishop and the whole of the clergy, together with the brotherly kiss and the partaking of the communion. This procedure was directed against open and demonstrable sins of a serious nature against the two tables of the decalogue, against so called deadly sins, Peccata or crimina mortalia, 1 John v. 16. Excommunication was called forth, on the one side, against idolatry, blasphemy, apostasy from the faith and abjuration thereof; on the other, against murder, adultery and fornication, theft and lying, perfidy and false swearing. Whether reconciliation was permissible in the case of any mortal sin at all, and if so, what particular sins might thus be treated, were questions upon which teachers of the church were much divided during the 3rd century. But only the Montanists and Novatians (§§ 4041) denied the permissibility utterly and that in opposition to the prevailing practice of the church, which refused reconciliation absolutely only in cases of idolatry and murder, and sometimes also in the case of adultery. Even Cyprian at first held firmly by the principle that all mortal sins committed “against God” must be wholly excluded from the range of penitential discipline, but amid the horrors of the Decian persecution, which left behind it whole crowds of fallen ones, Lapsi (§ 22, 5), he was induced by the passionate entreaties of the church to make the concession that reconciliation should be granted to the Libellatici after a full penitential course, but to the Sacrificati only when in danger of death. All the teachers of the church, however, agree in holding that it can be granted only once in this life, and those who again fall away are cut off absolutely. But excessive strictness in the treatment of the penitents called forth the contrary extreme of undue laxity (§ 41, 2). The Confessors frequently used their right of demanding the restoration of the fallen by means of letters of recommendation, Libelli pacis, to such an extent as to seriously interfere with a wholesome discipline.107―Continuation § 61, 1.

§ 39.3. Asceticism.―The Ascetism (Continentia, ἐγκρατεία) of heathenism and Judaism, of Pythagoreanism and Essenism, resting on dualistic and pseudo-spiritualistic views, is confronted in Christianity with the proposition: Πάντα ὑμῶν ἐστιν (1 Cor. iii. 21; vi. 12). Christianity, however, also recognised the ethical value and relative wholesomeness of a moderate asceticism in proportion to individual temperament, needs and circumstances (Matt. ix. 12; 1 Cor. vii. 5-7), without demanding it or regarding it as something meritorious. This evangelical moderation we also find still in the 2nd century, e.g. in Ignatius. But very soon a gradual exaggeration becomes apparent and an ever-advancing over estimation of asceticism as a higher degree of morality with claims to be considered peculiarly meritorious. The negative requirements of asceticism are directed first of all to frequent and rigid fasts and to celibacy or abstinence from marital intercourse; its positive requirements, to the exercise of the spiritual life in prayer and meditation. The most of the Ascetics, too, in accordance with Luke xviii. 24, voluntarily divested themselves of their possessions. The number of them, men and women, increased, and even in the first half of the 2nd century, they formed a distinct order in the church, though they were not yet bound to observe this mode of life by any irrevocable vows. The idea that the clergy were in a special sense called to an ascetic life resulted in their being designated the κλῆρος Θεοῦ. Owing to the interpretation given to 1 Tim. iii. 2, second marriages were in the 2nd century prohibited among the clergy, and in the 3rd century it was regarded as improper for them after ordination to continue marital intercourse. But it was first at the Council of Elvira, in A.D. 306, that this opinion was elevated into a law, though it could not even then be rigorously enforced (§ 45, 2).―The immoral practice of ascetics or clerics having with them virgins devoted to God’s service as Sorores, ἀδελφαί on the ground of 1 Cor. ix. 5, with whom they were united in spiritual love, in order to show their superiority to the temptations of the flesh, seems to have been introduced as early as the 2nd century. In the middle of the 3rd century it was already widespread. Cyprian repeatedly inveighs against it. We learn from him that the so-called Sorores slept with the Ascetics in one bed and surrendered themselves to the tenderest caresses. For proof of the purity of their relations they referred to the examinations of midwives. Among bishops, Paul of Samosata in Antioch (§ 33, 8) seems to have been the first who favoured this evil custom by his own example. The popular wit of the Antiochenes [Antiocheans] invented for the more than doubtful relationship the name of the γυναίκες συνεισάκτοι, Subintroductæ, Agapetæ, Extreneæ. Bishops and Councils sent forth strict decrees against the practice.―The most remarkable among the celebrated ascetics of the age was Hieracas, who lived at Leontopolis in Egypt toward the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th century and died there when ninety years old. A pupil of Origen, he was distinguished for great learning, favoured the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, a spiritualistic dogmatics and strict asceticism. Besides this he was a physician, astronomer and writer of hymns, could repeat by heart almost all the Old and New Testaments, wrote commentaries in Greek and Coptic, and gathered round him a numerous society of men and women, who accepted his ascetical principles and heterodox views. Founding upon Matt. xix. 12; 1 Cor. vii. and Heb. xii. 14, he maintained that celibacy was the only perfectly sure way to blessedness and commended this doctrine as the essential advance from the Old Testament to the New Testament morality. He even denied salvation to Christian children dying in infancy because they had not yet fought against sensuality, referring to 2 Tim. ii. 5. Of a sensible paradise he would hear nothing, and just as little of a bodily resurrection; for the one he interprets allegorically and the other spiritually. Epiphanius, to whom we owe any precise information that we have about him, is the first to assign him and his followers a place in the list of heretics.

§ 39.4. Paul of Thebes.―The withdrawal of particular ascetics from ascetical motives into the wilderness, which was a favourite craze for a while, may have been suggested by Old and New Testament examples, e.g. 1 Kings xvii. 3; xix. 4; Luke i. 80; iv. 1; but it was more frequently the result of sore persecution. Of a regular professional institution of anchorets with life-long vows there does not yet appear any authentic trace. According to Jerome’s Vita Pauli monachi a certain Paul of Thebes in Egypt, about A.D. 250, during the Decian persecution, betook himself, when sixteen years old, to the wilderness, and there forgotten by all the world but daily fed by a raven with half a loaf (1 Kings xvii. 4), he lived for ninety-seven years in a cave in a rock, until St. Anthony (§ 44, 1), directed to him by divine revelation and led to him first by a centaur, half man, half horse, then by a fawn, and finally by a she-wolf, came upon him happily just when the raven had brought him as it never did before a whole loaf. He was just in time to be an eye-witness, not indeed of his death, but rather of his subsequent ascension into heaven, accompanied by angels, prophets and apostles, and to arrange for the burial of his mortal remains, for the reception of which two lions, uttering heart-breaking groans, dug a grave with their claws. These lions after earnestly seeking and obtaining a blessing from St. Anthony, returned back to their lair.―Contemporaries of the author, as indeed he himself tells, declared that the whole story was a tissue of lies. Church history, however, until quite recently, has invariably maintained that there must have been some historical foundation, though it might be very slight, for such a superstructure. But seeing that no single writer before Jerome seems to know even the name of Paul of Thebes and also that the Vita Antonii ascribed to Athanasius knows nothing at all of such a wonderful expedition of the saint, Weingarten (§ 44) has denied that there ever existed such a man as this Paul, and has pronounced the story of Jerome to be a monkish Robinson Crusoe, such as the popular taste then favoured, which the author put forth as true history ad majorem monachatus gloriam. We may simply apply to this book itself what Jerome at a later period confessed about his epistles of that same date ad Heliodorum:―sed in illo opere pio ætate tunc lusimus et celentibus adhuc Rhetorum studiis atque doctrinis quædam scholastico flore depinximus.

§ 39.5. Beginning of Veneration of Martyrs.―In very early times a martyr death was prized as a sin-atoning Lavacrum sanguinis, which might even abundantly compensate for the want of water baptism. The day of the martyr’s death which was regarded as the day of his birth into a higher life, γενέθλια, Natalitia martyrum, was celebrated at his grave by prayers, oblations and administration of the Lord’s Supper as a testimony to the continuance of that fellowship with them in the Lord that had been begun here below. Their bones were therefore gathered with the greatest care and solemnly buried; so e.g. Polycarp’s bones at Smyrna (§ 22, 2), as τιμιώτερα λίθων πολυτελῶν καὶ δωκιμώτερα ὑπὲρ χρυσίον, so that at the spot where they were laid the brethren might be able to celebrate his γενέθλιον ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει καὶ χαρᾷ, εἴς τε τῶν προηθληκότων μνήμην καὶ τῶν μελλόντων τε καὶ ἑτοιμασίαν. Of miracles wrought by means of the relics, however, we as yet find no mention. The Graffiti on the walls of the catacombs seem to represent the beginning of the invocation of martyrs. In these the pious visitors seek for themselves and those belonging to them an interest in the martyr’s intercessions. Some of those scribblings may belong to the end of our period; at least the expression “Otia petite pro,” etc. in one of them seem to point to a time when they were still undergoing persecution. The greatest reverence, too, was shown to the Confessors all through their lives, and great influence was assigned them in regard to all church affairs, e.g. in the election of bishops, the restoration of the fallen, etc.―Continuation, § 57.

§ 39.6. Superstition.―Just as in later times every great Christian missionary enterprise has seen religious ideas transferred from the old heathenism into the young Christianity, and, consciously or unconsciously, secretly or openly, acquiesced in or contended against, securing for themselves a footing, so also the Church of the first centuries did not succeed in keeping itself free from such intrusions. A superstition forcing its entrance in this way can either be taken over nude crude in its genuinely pagan form and, in spite of its palpable inconsistency with the Christian faith, may nevertheless assert itself side by side with it, or it may divest itself of that old pagan form, and so unobserved and uncontested gain an entrance with its not altogether extinguished heathenish spirit into new Christian views and institutions and thus all the more dangerously make its way among them. It is especially the magico-theurgical element present in all heathen religions, which even at this early period stole into the Christian life and the services of the church and especially into the sacraments and things pertaining thereto (§ 58), while it assumed new forms in the veneration of martyrs and the worship of relics. One can scarcely indeed accept as a convincing proof of this the statement of the Emperor Hadrian in his correspondence regarding the religious condition of Alexandria as given by the historian Vopiscus: Illic qui Serāpem colunt Christiani sunt, et devoti sunt Serapi qui se Christi episcopos dicunt; nemo illic archisynagogus Judæorum, nemo Samarites, nemo Christianorum presbyter non mathematicus, non haruspex, non aliptes. This statement bears on its face too evidently the character of superficial observation, of vague hearsay and confused massing together of sundry reports. What he says of the worship of Serapis, may have had some support from the conduct of many Christians in the ascetic order, the designating of their presbyters aliptæ may have been suggested by the chrism in baptism and the anointing at the consecration of the clergy, perhaps also in the anointing of the sick (Matt. vi. 13; Jas. v. 14); so too the characterizing of them as mathematici may have arisen from their determining the date of Easter by means of astronomical observations (§ 37, 2; 56, 3), though it could not be specially wonderful if there actually were Christian scholars among the Alexandrian clergy skilled in astronomy, notwithstanding the frequent alliance of this science with astrology. But much more significant is the gross superstition which in many ways shows itself in so highly cultured a Christian as Julius Africanus in his Cestæ (§ 31, 8). In criticising it, however, we should bear in mind that this book was written in the age of Alexander Severus, in which, on the one hand, a wonderful mixture of religion and theurgical superstition had a wonderful fascination for men, while on the Christian side the whirlwind of persecution had not for a long time blown its purifying breeze. The catacombs, too, afford some evidences of a mode of respect for the departed that was borrowed from heathen practices, but these on the whole are wonderfully free from traces of superstition.

§ 40. The Montanist Reformation.108

Earnest and strict as the moral, religious and ascetical requirements of the church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries generally were in regard to the life and morals of its members, and rigidly as these principles were carried out in its penitential discipline, there yet appeared even at this early date, in consequence of various instances of the relaxation of such strictness, certain eager spirits who clamoured for a restoration or even an intensification of the earlier rules of discipline. Such a movement secured for itself a footing about the middle of the 2nd century in Montanism, a growth of Phrygian soil, which without traversing in any way the doctrine of the church, undertook a thorough reformation of the ecclesiastical constitution on the practical side. Montanism, in opposition to the eclecticism of heretical Gnosticism, showed the attitude of Christianity to heathenism to be exclusive; against the spiritualizing and allegorizing tendencies of the church Gnosticism it opposed the realism and literalism of the doctrines and facts of the scripture revelation; against what seemed the excessive secularization of the church it presented a model of church discipline such as the nearness of the Lord’s coming demanded; against hierarchical tendencies that were always being more and more emphasized it maintained the rights of the laity and the membership of the church; while in order to secure the establishment of all these reforms it proclaimed that a prophetically inspired spiritual church had succeeded to Apostolic Christianity.

§ 40.1. Montanism in Asia Minor.―According to Epiphanius as early as A.D. 156, according to Eusebius in A.D. 172, according to Jerome in A.D. 171, a certain Montanus appeared as a prophet and church reformer at Pepuza in Phrygia. He was formerly a heathen priest and was only shortly before known as a Christian. He had visions, preached while unconscious in ecstasy of the immediate coming again of Christ (Parousia), fulminated against the advancing secularisation of the church, and, as the supposed organ of the Paraclete promised by Christ (John xiv. 16) presented in their most vigorous form the church’s demands in respect of morals and discipline. A couple of excited women Prisca and Maximilla were affected by the same extravagant spirit by which he was animated, fell into a somnambulistic condition and prophesied as he had done. On the death of Maximilla about A.D. 180, Montanus and Prisca having died before this, the supposed prophetic gift among them seems to have been quenched. At least an anonymous writer quoted in Eusebius (according to Jerome it was Rhodon, § 27, 12), in his controversial treatise published thirteen years afterwards, states that the voices of the prophets were then silent. So indeed she herself had declared: Μεθ’ ἐμὲ προφῆτης οὐκέτι ἔσται, ἀλλὰ συντέλεια. The Montanist prophecies occasioned a mighty commotion in the whole church of Asia Minor. Many earnest Christians threw themselves eagerly into the movement. Even among the bishops they found here and there favour or else mild criticism, while others combated them passionately, some going so far as to regard the prophesying women as possessed ones and calling exorcism to their aid. By the end of the year 170 several synods, the first synods regularly convened, had been held against them, the final result of which was their exclusion from the catholic church. Montanus now organized his followers into an independent community. After his death, his most zealous follower, Alcibiades, undertook its direction. It was also not without literary defenders. Themison, Alcibiades’ successor, issued “in imitation of the Apostle” (John?) a Καθολικὴ ἐπιστολή, and the utterances of the prophets were collected and circulated as holy scripture. On the other hand during this same year 170 they were attacked by the eminent apologists Claudius Apollinaris and Miltiades (§ 36, 9) probably also by Melito. Their radical opponents were the so-called Alogi (§ 33, 2). Among their later antagonists, who assumed more and more a passionately embittered tone, the most important according to Eusebius were one Apollinaris, whom Tertullian combats in the VII. Bk. of his work, De ecstasi, and Serapion. At a Synod at Iconium about the middle of the 3rd century at which also Firmilian of Cæsarea (§ 35, 5) was present and voted, the baptism of the Montanists, although their trinitarian orthodoxy could not be questioned, was pronounced to be like heretical baptism null, because administered extra ecclesiam, and a second baptism declared necessary on admission to the Catholic church. And although at the Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325 and of Constantinople in A.D. 381, the validity of heretics’ baptism was admitted if given orderly in the name of the Holy Trinity, the baptism of the Montanists was excluded because it was thought that the Paraclete of Montanism could not be recognised as the Holy Spirit of the church.―Already in the time of Constantine the Great the Montanists were spreading out from Phrygia over all the neighbouring provinces, and were called from the place where they originated Κατάφρυγες and Pepuziani. The Emperor now forbade them holding any public assemblies for worship and ordered that all places for public service should be taken from them and given over to the Catholic church. Far stricter laws than even these were enforced against them by later emperors down to the 5th century, e.g. prohibition of all Montanist writings, deprivation of almost all civil rights, banishment of their clergy to the mines, etc. Thus they could only prolong a miserable existence in secret, and by the beginning of the sixth century every trace of them had disappeared.

§ 40.2. Montanism at Rome.―The movement called forth by Montanism in the East spread by and by also into the West. When the first news reached Gaul of the synodal proceedings in Asia Minor that had rent the church, the Confessors imprisoned at Lyons and Vienne during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, of whom more than one belonged to a colony that had emigrated from Phrygia to Gaul, were displeased, and, along with their report of the persecution they had endured (§ 32, 8), addressed a letter to those of Asia Minor, not given by Eusebius, but reckoned pious and orthodox, exhorting to peace and the preservation of unity. At the same time (A.D. 177) they sent the Presbyter Irenæus to Rome in order to win from Bishop Eleutherus (A.D. 174-189), who was opposed to Montanism, a mild and pacific sentence. Owing, however, to the arrival of Praxeas, a Confessor of Asia Minor and a bitter opponent of Montanism, a formal condemnation was at last obtained (§ 33, 4). Tertullian relates that the Roman bishop, at the instigation of Praxeas, revoked the letters of peace which had been already prepared in opposition to his predecessors. It is matter of controversy whether by this unnamed bishop Eleutherus is meant, who then was first inclined to a peaceable decision by Irenæus and thereafter by the picture of Montanist extravagances given by Praxeas was led again to form another opinion; or that it was, what seems from the chronological references most probable, his successor Victor (A.D. 189-199), in which case Eleutherus is represented as having hardened himself against Montanism in spite of the entreaties of Irenæus, while Victor was the first who for a season had been brought to think otherwise.―Yet even after their condemnation a small body of Montanists continued to exist in Rome, whose mouthpiece during the time of bishop Zephyrinus (A.D. 199-217) was Proclus, whom the Roman Caius (§ 31, 7) opposed by word and writing.

§ 40.3. Montanism in Proconsular Africa.―When and how Montanism gained a footing in North Africa is unknown, but very probably it spread thither from Rome. The movement issuing therefrom first attracted attention when Tertullian, about A.D. 201 or 202, returned from Rome to Carthage, and with the whole energy of his character decided in its favour, and devoted his rich intellectual gifts to its advocacy. That the Montanist party in Africa at that time still continued in connection with the Catholic church is witnessed to by the Acts of the Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas (§ 32, 8), composed some time after this, which bear upon them almost all the characteristic marks of Montanism, while a vision communicated there shows that division was already threatened. The bishop and clergy together with the majority of the membership were decided opponents of the new ecstatic-visionary prophecy already under ecclesiastical ban in Asia Minor. They had not yet, however, come to an open breach with it, which was probably brought about in A.D. 206 when quiet had been again restored after the cessation of the persecution begun about A.D. 202 by Septimius Severus. Tertullian had stood at the head of the sundered party as leader of their sectarian services, and defended their prophesyings and rigorism in numerous apologetico-polemical writings with excessive bitterness and passion, applying them with consistent stringency to all the relations of life, especially on the ethical side. From the high esteem in which, notwithstanding his Montanist eccentricities, Tertullian’s writings continued to be held in Africa, e.g. by Cyprian (§ 31, 11), and generally throughout the West, the tendency defended by him was not regarded in the church there as in the East as thoroughly heretical, but only as a separatistic overstraining of views allowed by the church. This mild estimate could all the easier win favour, since to all appearance the extravagant visionary prophesying, which caused most offence, had been in these parts very soon extinguished.―Augustine reports that a small body of “Tertullianists” continued in Carthage down to his time († 430), and had by him been induced to return to the Catholic church; and besides this, he also tells us that Tertullian had subsequently separated himself from the “Cataphrygians,” i.e. from the communion of the Montanists of Asia Minor, whose excesses were only then perhaps made known to him.

§ 40.4. The Fundamental Principle of Montanism.―Montanism arose out of a theory of a divinely educative revelation proceeding by advancing stages, not finding its conclusion in Christ and the Apostles, but in the age of the Paraclete which began with Montanus and in him reached its highest development. The times of the law and the prophets in the Old Covenant is the childhood of the kingdom of God; in the gospel it appears in its youth; and by the Montanist shedding forth of the Spirit it reaches the maturity of manhood. Its absolute perfection will be attained in the millennium introduced by the approaching Parousia and the descent of the heavenly Jerusalem at Pepuza (Rev. xx. 21). The Montanist prophecy did not enrich or expand but only maintained and established against the heretics, the system of Christian doctrine already exclusively revealed in the times of Christ. Montanism regarded as its special task a reformation of Christian life and Church discipline highly necessary in view of the approaching Parousia. The defects that had been borne with during the earlier stages of revelation were to be repaired or removed by the Mandata of the Paraclete. The following are some of the chief of these prescriptions: Second marriage is adultery; Fasting must be practised with greater strictness; On dies stationum (§ 37, 3) nothing should be eaten until evening, and twice a year for a whole week only water and bread (ξηροφαγίαι); The excommunicated must remain their whole lifetime in status pœnitentiæ; Martyrdom should be courted, to withdraw in any way from persecution is apostasy and denial of the faith; Virgins should take part in the worship of God only when veiled; Women generally must put away all finery and ornaments; secular science and art, all worldly enjoyments, even those that seem innocent, are only snares of the devil, etc. An anti-hierarchical tendency early showed itself in Montanism from the circumstance that it arrogated to itself a new and high authority to which the hierarchical organs of the church refused to submit themselves. Yet even Montanism, after repudiating it, for its own self-preservation was obliged to give itself an official congregational organization, which, according to Jerome, had as its head a patriarch resident at Pepuza, and, according to Epiphanius, founding on Gal. iii. 28, gave even women admission into ecclesiastical offices. Its worship was distinguished only by the space given to the prophesyings of its prophets and prophetesses. Epiphanius notes this as a special characteristic of the sect, that often in their assemblies seven white-robed virgins with torches made their appearance prophesying; evidently, as the number seven itself shows, as representatives of the seven spirits of God (Rev. iv. 5, etc.), and not of the ten virgins who wait for the coming of the Lord. According to Philaster they allowed even unbaptized persons to attend all their services and were in the habit of baptizing even the dead, as is elsewhere told also of certain Gnostic sects. Epiphanius too speaks of a Montanist party which celebrated the Lord’s Supper with bread and cheese, Artotyrites, according to Augustine, because the first men had presented offerings of the fruits of the earth and sheep.

§ 40.5. The Attitude of Montanism toward the Church.―The derivation of Montanism from Ebionism, contended for by Schwegler, has nothing in its favour and much against it. To disprove this notion it is enough to refer to the Montanist fundamental idea of a higher stage of revelation above Moses and the prophets as well as above the Messiah and His Apostles. Neither can we agree with Neander in regarding the peculiar character of the Phrygian people, as exhibited in their extravagant and fanatical worship of Cybele, as affording a starting point for the Montanist movement, but at most as a predisposition which rendered the inhabitants of this province peculiarly susceptible in presence of such a movement. The origin of Montanism is rather to be sought purely among the specifically Catholic conditions and conflicts within the church of Asia which at that time was pre-eminently gifted and active. In regard to dogma Montanism occupied precisely the same ground as the Catholic church; even upon the trinitarian controversies of the age it took up no sectarian position but went with the stream of the general development. Not on the dogmatical but purely on the practical side, namely, on that of the Christian life and ecclesiastical constitution, discipline and morals, lay the problems which by the action of the Montanists were brought into conflict. But even upon this side Montanism, with all its eccentricities, did not assume the attitude of an isolated separatistic sect, but rather as a quickening and intensifying of views and principles which from of old had obtained the recognition and sanction of the church,―views which on the wider spread of Christianity had already begun to be in every respect toned down or even obliterated, and just in this way called forth that reaction of enthusiasm which we meet with in Montanism. From the Apostles’ time the expectation of the early return of the Lord had stood in the foreground of Christian faith, hope and yearning, and this expectation continued still to be heartily entertained. Nevertheless the fulfilment had now been so long delayed that men were beginning to put this coming into an indefinitely distant future (2 Pet. iii. 4). Hence it happened that even the leaders of the church, in building up its hierarchical constitution and adjusting it to the social circumstances and conditions of life by which they were surrounded, made their arrangements more and more deliberately in view of a longer continuance of the present state of things, and thus the primitive Christian hope of an early Parousia, though not expressly denied, seemed practically to have been set aside. Hence the Montanist revivalists proclaimed this hope as most certain, giving a guarantee for it by means of a new divine revelation. Similarly too the moral, ascetic and disciplinary rigorism of the Montanist prophecy is to be estimated as a vigorous reaction against the mild practice prevailing in the church with its tendency to make concessions to human weakness, in favour of the strict exercise of church discipline in view of the nearness of the Parousia. Montanism could also justify the reappearance of prophetic gifts among its founders by referring to the historical tradition which from the Apostolic Age (Acts xi. 27 f.; xxi. 9) presented to view a series of famous prophets and prophetesses, endowed with ecstatic visionary powers. The exclusion of Montanism from the Catholic Church could not, therefore, have been occasioned either by its proclaiming an early Parousia or by its rigorism, or finally, even by its prophetic claims, but purely by its doctrine of the Paraclete. Under the pretence of instituting a new and higher stage of revelation, it had really undertaken to correct the moral and religious doctrines of Christ and the Apostles as defective and incomplete, and had thereby proved itself to the representatives of the church to be undoubtedly a pseudo-prophecy. The spiritual pride with which the Montanists proclaimed themselves to be the privileged people of the Holy Spirit, Πνευματικοὶ, Spirituales and characterized the Catholics as, on the contrary, Ψυχικοὶ, Carnales, as also the assumption that chose their own obscure Pepuza for the site of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the manifold extravagances committed by their prophets and prophetesses in their ecstatic trances, must have greatly tended to create an aversion to every form of spiritualistic manifestation. The origin of Montanism, the contesting of it and its final expulsion, constitute indeed a highly significant crisis in the historical development of the church, conditioned not so much by a separatistic sectarian tendency, but rather by the struggle of two tendencies existing within the church, in which the tendency represented by Montanism and honestly endeavouring the salvation of the church, went under, while that which was victorious would have put an end to all enthusiasm. The expulsion of Montanism from the church contributed greatly to freeing the church from the reproach so often advanced against it of being a narrow sect, made its consenting to the terms, demands and conditions of everyday life in the world easier, gave a freer course and more powerful impulse to its development in constitution and worship dependent upon these, as well as in the further building up of its practical and scientific endeavours, and generally advanced greatly its expansion and transformation from a sectarian close association into a universal church opening itself up more and more to embrace all the interests of the culture of the age;―a transformation which indeed in many respects involved a secularizing of the church and imparted to its spiritual functions too much of an official and superficial character.

§ 41. Schismatic Divisions in the Church.

Even after the ecclesiastical sentence had gone forth against Montanism, the rigoristic penitential discipline in a form more or less severe still found its representatives within the Catholic church. As compared with the advocates of a milder procedure these were indeed generally in the minority, but this made them all the more zealously contend for their opinions and endeavour to secure for them universal recognition. Out of the contentions occasioned thereby, augmented by the rivalry of presbyter and episcopus, or episcopus and metropolitan, several ecclesiastical divisions originated which, in spite of the pressing need of the time for ecclesiastical unity, were long continued by ambitious churchmen in order to serve their own selfish ends.

§ 41.1. The Schism of Hippolytus at Rome about A.D. 220.―On what seems to have been the oldest attempt to form a sect at Rome over a purely doctrinal question, namely that of the Theodotians, about A.D. 210, see § 33, 3.―Much more serious was the schism of Hippolytus, which broke out ten years later. In A.D. 217, after an eventful and adventurous life, a freedman Callistus was raised to the bishopric of Rome, but not without strong opposition on the part of the rigorists, at whose head stood the celebrated presbyter Hippolytus. They charged the bishop with scoffing at all Christian earnestness, conniving at the loosening of all church discipline toward the fallen and sinners of all kinds, and denounced him especially as a supporter of the Noetian [Noëtian] heresy (§ 33, 5). They took great offence also at his previous life which his opponent Hippolytus (Elench., ix. 11 ff.) thus describes: When the slave of a Christian member of the imperial household, Callistus with the help of his lord established a bank; he failed, took to flight, was brought back, sprang into the sea, was taken out again and sent to the treadmill. At the intercession of Christian friends he was set free, but failing to satisfy his urgent creditors, he despairingly sought a martyr’s death, for this end wantonly disturbed the Jewish worship, and was on that account scourged and banished to the Sardinian mines. At the request of bishop Victor the imperial concubine Marcia (§ 22, 3) obtained the freedom of the exiled Christian confessors among whom Callistus, although his name had been intentionally omitted from the list presented by Victor, was included. After Victor’s death he wormed himself into the favour of his weak successor Zephyrinus, who placed him at the head of his clergy, in consequence of which he was able by intrigues and craft to secure for himself the succession to the bishopric.―An opportunity of reconciliation was first given, it would seem, under Pontianus, the second successor of Callistus, by banishing the two rival chiefs to Sardinia. Both parties then united in making a unanimous choice in A.D. 235.109

§ 41.2. The Schism of Felicissimus at Carthage in A.D. 250.―Several presbyters in Carthage were dissatisfied with the choice of Cyprian as bishop in A.D. 248 and sought to assert their independence. At their head stood Novatus. Taking the law into their own hands they chose Felicissimus, the next head of the party, as a deacon. When Cyprian during the Decian persecution withdrew for a time from Carthage, they charged him with dereliction of duty and faint-heartedness. Cyprian, however, soon returned, A.D. 251, and now they used his strictness toward the Lapsi as a means of creating a feeling against him. He expressed himself very decidedly as to the recklessness with which many confessors gave without examination Libelli pacis to the fallen, and called upon these to commit their case to a Synod that should be convened after the persecution. A church visitation completed the schism; the discontented presbyters without more ado received all the fallen and, notwithstanding that Cyprian himself on the return of persecution introduced a milder practice, they severed themselves from him under an opposition bishop Fortunatus. Only by the unwearied exercise of wisdom and firmness did Cyprian succeed in putting down the schism.110

§ 41.3. The Schism of the Presbyter Novatian at Rome in A.D. 251.―In this case the rigorist and presbyterial interests coincide. After the martyrdom of bishop Fabian under Decian in A.D. 250, the Roman bishopric remained vacant for more than a year. His successor Cornelius (A.D. 251-253) was an advocate of the milder practice. At the head of his rigorist opponents stood his unsuccessful rival, Novatian, a learned but ambitious presbyter (§ 31, 12). Meanwhile Novatus, excommunicated by Cyprian at Carthage, had also made his way to Rome. Notwithstanding his having previously maintained contrary principles in the matter of church discipline, he attached himself to the party of the purists and urged them into schism. They now chose Novatian as bishop. Both parties sought to obtain the recognition of the most celebrated churches. In doing so Cornelius described his opponent in the most violent and bitter manner as a mere intriguer, against whose reception into the number of presbyters as one who had received clinical baptism (§ 35, 3) and especially as an energoumenon under the care of the exorcists, he had already protested; further as having extorted a sham episcopal consecration from three simple Italian bishops, after he had attached them to himself by pretending to be a peacemaker, then locking them up and making them drunk, etc. Cyprian, as well as Dionysius of Alexandria, expressed himself against Novatian, and attacked the principles of his party, namely, that the church has no right to give assurance of forgiveness to the fallen or such as have broken their baptismal vows by grievous sin (although the possibility of finding forgiveness through the mercy of God was indeed admitted), and that the church as a communion of thoroughly pure members should never endure any impure ones in its bosom, nor receive back any excommunicated ones, even after a full ecclesiastical course of penitence. The Novatianists had therefore called themselves the Καθαροί. The moral earnestness of their fundamental principles secured for them even from bishops of contrary views an indulgent verdict, and Novatianist churches sprang up over almost all the Roman empire. The Œcumenical Council at Nicæa in A.D. 325 maintained an attitude toward them upon the whole friendly, and in the Arian controversy (§ 50) they stood faithfully side by side with their ecclesiastical opponents in the defence of Nicene orthodoxy, and with them suffered persecution from the Arians. Later on, however, the Catholic church without more ado treated them as heretics. Theodosius the Great sympathizing with them because of such unfair treatment, took them under his protection; but Honorius soon again withdrew these privileges from them. Remnants of the party continued nevertheless to exist down to the 6th century.111

§ 41.4. The Schism of Meletius in Egypt in A.D. 306.―Meletius, bishop of Lycopolis in the Thebaid, a representative of the rigorist party, during the Diocletian persecution claimed to confer ordinations and otherwise infringed upon the metropolitan rights of Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a supporter of the milder practice who for the time being lived in retirement. All warnings and admonitions were in vain. An Egyptian Synod under the presidency of Peter issued a decree of excommunication and deposition against him. Then arose the schism, A.D. 306, which won the whole of Egypt. The General Synod at Nicæa in A.D. 325 confirmed the Alexandrian bishop in his rights of supremacy (§ 46, 3) and offered to all the Meletian bishops an amnesty and confirmation in the succession on the death of the catholic anti-bishop of their respective dioceses. Many availed themselves of this concession, but others persisted in their schismatical course and finally attached themselves to the Arian party (§ 50, 2).

The History of the Græco-Roman Church from the 4th-7th centuries. A.D. 323-692.


§ 42. The Overthrow of Paganism in the Roman Empire.112

After the overthrow of Licinius (§ 22, 7) Constantine identified himself unreservedly with Christianity, but accepted baptism only shortly before his death in A.D. 337. He was tolerant toward paganism, though encouraging its abandonment in all possible ways. His sons, however, began to put it down by violence. Julian’s short reign was a historical anomaly which only proved that paganism did not die a violent death, but rather gradually succumbed to a Marasmus senilis. Succeeding emperors reverted to the policy of persecution and extermination.―Neoplatonism, notwithstanding the patronage of Julian and the brilliant reputation of its leading representatives, could not reach the goal arrived at, but from the ethereal heights of philosophical speculation sank ever further and further into the misty region of fantastic superstition (§ 24, 2). The attempts at regeneration made by the Hypsistarians, Euphemites, Cœlicolæ, in which paganism strove after a revival by means of a barren Jewish monotheism or an effete Sabaism, proved miserable failures. The literary conflict between Christianity and paganism had almost completely altered its tone.

§ 42.1. The Romish Legend of the Baptism of Constantine.―That Constantine the Great only accepted baptism shortly before his death in Nicomedia, from Eusebius, bishop of that place, and a well-known leader of the Arian party (§ 50, 12), is put beyond question by the evidence of his contemporary Eusebius of Cæsarea in his Vita Const., of Ambrose, of Jerome in his Chronicle, etc. About the end of the 5th century, however, a tradition, connecting itself with the fact that a Roman baptistery bore the name of Constantine, gained currency in Rome, to the effect that Constantine had been baptised at this baptistery more than twenty years before his death by Pope Sylvester (A.D. 314-335). According to this purely fabulous legend Constantine, who had up to that time been a bitter enemy and persecutor of the Christians, became affected with leprosy, for the cure of which he was recommended to bathe in a tub filled with the blood of an innocent child. Moved by the tears of the mother the emperor rejected this means of cure, and under the direction of a heavenly vision applied to the Pope, who by Christian baptism delivered him from his malady, whereupon all the members of the Roman senate still heathens, and all the people were straightway converted to Christ, etc. This legend is told in the so-called Decretum Gelasii (§ 47, 22), but is first vindicated as historically true in the Liber pontificalis (§ 90, 6), and next in A.D. 729, in Bede’s Chronicle (§ 90, 2). In the notorious Donatio Constantini (§ 87, 4) it is unhesitatingly accepted. Since then, at first with some exceptions but soon without exceptions, all chroniclers of the Middle Ages and likewise since the 9th century the Scriptores hist. Byzant., have adopted it. And although in the 15th century Æneas Sylvius and Nicolaus [Nicolas] of Cusa admitted that the legend was without foundation, yet in the 16th century in Baronius and Bellarmine, and in the 17th in Schelstraate, it found earnest defenders. The learned French Benedictines of the 17th century were the first to render it utterly incredible even in the Roman Catholic church.113

§ 42.2. Constantine the Great and his Sons.―Constantine’s profession of Christianity was not wholly the result of political craft, though his use of the name Pontifex Maximus and in this capacity the continued exercise of certain pagan practices, gave some colour to such an opinion. Outbursts of passion, impulsiveness exhibited in deeds of violence and cruelty, as in the order for the execution of his eldest son Crispus in A.D. 326 and his second wife Fausta, are met with even in his later years. Soon after receiving baptism he died without having ever attended a complete divine service. His toleration of paganism must be regarded purely as a piece of statecraft. He only prohibited impure rites and assigned to the Christians but a few of the temples that had actually been in use. Aversion to the paganism still prevalent among the principal families in Rome may partly have led him to transfer his residence to Byzantium, since called Constantinople, in A.D. 330. His three sons divided the Empire among them. Constantius (A.D. 337-361) retained the East, and became, after the death of Constantine II. in A.D. 340 and of Constans in A.D. 350, sole ruler. All the three sought to put down paganism by force. Constantius closed the heathen temples and forbade all sacrifices on pain of death. Multitudes of heathens went over to Christianity, few probably from conviction. Among the nobler pagans there was thus awakened a strong aversion to Christianity. Patriotism and manly spirit came to be identified with the maintenance of the old religion.114

§ 42.3. Julian the Apostate (A.D. 361-363).―The sons of Constantine the Great began their reign in A.D. 337 with the murder of their male relatives. The brothers Julian and Gallus, nephews of Constantine, alone were spared; but in A.D. 345 they were banished to a Cappadocian castle where Julian officiated for a while as reader in the village church. Having at last obtained leave to study in Nicomedia, then in Ephesus, and finally in Athens, the chief representatives of paganism fostered in him the conviction that he was specially raised up by the gods to restore again the old religion of his fathers. As early as A.D. 351 in Nicomedia he formally though still secretly returned to paganism, and at Athens in A.D. 355 he took part in the Eleusinian mysteries. Soon thereafter Constantius, harassed by foreign wars, assigned to him the command of the army against the Germans. By affability, personal courage and high military talent, he soon won to himself the enthusiastic attachment of the soldiers. Constantius thought to weaken the evident power of his cousin which seemed to threaten his authority, by recalling the best of the legions, but the legions refused obedience and proclaimed Julian emperor. Then the emperor refused to ratify the election and treated Julian himself as a rebel. The latter advanced at the head of his army by forced marches upon the capital, but ere he reached the city, he received the tidings of the opposing emperor’s death. Acknowledged now as emperor throughout the whole empire without any opposition, Julian proceeded with zeal, enthusiasm and vigour to accomplish his long-cherished wish, the restoring of the glory of the old national religion. He used no violent measures for the subversion and overthrow of Christianity, nor did he punish Christian obstinacy with death, except where it seemed to him the maintenance of his supremacy required it. But he demanded that temples which had been converted into churches should be restored to the heathen worship, those destroyed should be restored at the cost of the church exchequer and the money for the state that had been applied to ecclesiastical purposes had to be repaid. He scornfully referred the clergy thus robbed of their revenues to the blessedness of evangelical poverty. He also fomented as much as possible dissension in the church, favoured all sectaries and heretics, excluded Christians from all the higher, and afterwards from all the lower, civil and military offices, and loaded them on every occasion with reproach and shame, and by these means he actually induced many to apostatise. In order to discredit Christ’s prophecy in Matt. xxiv. 2, he resolved on the restoration of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem, but after having been begun it was destroyed by an earthquake. He excluded all Christian teachers from the public schools, and also forbade them in their own schools from explaining the classical writers who were objected to and contested by them only as godless; so that Christian boys and youths could obtain a higher classical education only in the pagan schools. By petty artifices he endeavoured to get Christian soldiers to take part, if only even seemingly, in the heathen sacrifices. Indeed at a later period in Antioch he was not ashamed to stoop to the mean artifice of Galerian (§ 22, 6) of sprinkling with sacrificial water the necessaries of life exposed in the public market, etc. On the other hand, he strove in every way to elevate and ennoble paganism. From Christianity he borrowed Benevolent Institutions, Church Discipline, Preaching, Public Service of Song, etc.; he gave many distinctions to the heathen priesthood, but required of them a strict discipline. He himself sacrificed and preached as Pontifex Maximus, and led a strictly ascetic, almost a cynically simple life. The ineffectiveness of his attempts and the daring, often even contemptuous, resistance of many Christian zealots embittered him more and more, so that there was now danger of bloody persecution when, after a reign of twenty months, he was killed from a javelin blow in a battle against the Persians in A.D. 363. Shortly before in answer to the scornful question of a heathen, “What is your Carpenter’s Son doing now?” it had been answered, “He is making a coffin for your emperor.” At a later period the story became current that Julian himself, when he received the deadly stroke, exclaimed, Tandem vicisti Galilæe! His military talents and military virtues had shed a glory around the throne of the Cæsars such as it had not known since the days of Marcus Aurelius, and yet his whole life’s struggle was and remained utterly fruitless and vain.115

§ 42.4. The Later Emperors.―After Julian’s death, Jovian, and then on his death in A.D. 364, Valentinian I. († 375), were chosen emperors by the army. The latter resigned to his brother Valens the empire of the East (A.D. 364-378). His son and successor Gratian (A.D. 375-383) at the wish of the army adopted his eldest half-brother of four years old, Valentinian II., as colleague in the empire of the West, and upon the death of Valens resigned the government of the West to the Spaniard Theodosius I., or the Great (A.D. 379-395), who, after the assassination of Valentinian II. in A.D. 392, became sole ruler. After his death his sons again divided the empire among them: Honorius († 423) took the West, Arcadius († 408) the East, and now the partitioned empire continued in this condition until the incursions of the barbarians had broken up the whole West Roman division (A.D. 476). Belisarius and Narses, the victorious generals of Justinian I., were the first to succeed, between A.D. 533-553, in conquering again North Africa and all Italy along with its islands. But in Italy the Byzantine empire from A.D. 569 was reduced in size from time to time by the Longobards, and in Africa from A.D. 665 by the Saracens, while even earlier, about A.D. 633, the Saracens had secured to themselves Syria, Palestine, and Egypt.―Julian’s immediate successors tolerated paganism for a time. It was, however, a very temporary respite. No sooner had Theodosius I. quieted in some measure political disorders, than he proceeded in A.D. 382 to accomplish the utter overthrow of paganism. The populace and the monks combined in destroying the temples. The rhetorician Libanius († 395) then addressed his celebrated discourse Περὶ τῶν ἱερῶν to the emperor; but the remaining temples were closed and the people were prohibited from visiting them. In Alexandria, under the powerful bishop Theophilus, there were bloody conflicts, in consequence of which the Christians destroyed the beautiful Serapeion in A.D. 391. In vain did the pagans look for the falling down of the heavens and the destruction of the earth; even the Nile would not once by causing blight and barrenness take vengeance on the impious. In the West, Gratian was the first of the emperors who declined the rank of pontifex maximus; he also deprived the heathen priests of their privileges, removed the foundations of the temple of Fiscus, and commanded that the altar of Victory should be taken away from the hall of the Senate in Rome. In vain did Symmachus, præfectus urbi, entreat for its restoration, if not “numinis” yet “nominis causa.” Valentinian II., urged on by Ambrose, sent back four times unheard the deputation that came about this matter. So soon as Theodosius I. became sole ruler the edicts were made more severe. On his entrance into Rome in A.D. 394 he addressed to the Roman Senate a severe lecture and called them to repentance. His sons, Honorius in the West and Arcadius in the East, followed the example of their father. Under the successor of the latter, Theodosius II. (A.D. 408-450), monks with imperial authority for the suppression of heathenism traversed the provinces, and in A.D. 448, in common with Valentinian III. (A.D. 425-455), the western emperor, he issued an edict which strictly enjoined the burning of all pagan polemical writings against Christianity, especially those of Porphyry “the crack-brained,” wherever they might be found. This period is also marked by deeds of bloody violence. The most horrible of these was the murder of the noble pagan philosopher Hypatia, the learned daughter of Theon the mathematician, at Alexandria in A.D. 415. Officially paganism may be regarded as no longer existent. Branded long even before this as the religion of the peasants (such is the derivation of the word paganism), it was now almost wholly confined to remote rural districts. Its latest and solitary stronghold was the University of Athens raised to the summit of its fame under Proclus (§ 24, 2). Justinian I. (A.D. 527-565) decreed the suppression of this school in A.D. 529. Its teachers fled into Persia, and there laid the first foundations of the later literary period of Islam under the ruling family of the Abassidæ at Bagdad (§ 65, 2). This was the death hour of heathenism in the Roman empire. The Mainottæ in the mountains of the Peloponnesus still maintained their political independence and the heathen religion of their fathers down to the 9th century. In the Italian islands, too, of Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, there were still many heathens even in the time of Gregory the Great († 604).116

§ 42.5. Heathen Polemics and Apologetics.Julian’s controversial treatise Κατὰ Γαλιλαίων λόγοι, in 3 bks. according to Cyril, in 7 bks. according to Jerome, is known only from the reply of Cyril of Alexandria (§ 47, 6) which follows it section by section, the rest of the answers to it having been entirely lost. Of Cyril’s book only the first ten λόγοι have come down to us in a complete state, and from these we are able almost wholly to restore the first book of Julian’s treatise. Only fragments of the second decade of Cyril’s work are extant, and not even so much of the third, so that of Julian’s third book we may be said to know nothing.117 Julian represented Christianity as a deteriorated Judaism, but Christolatry and the worship of martyrs as later falsifications of the doctrine of Christ.―The later advocates of heathenism, Libanius and Symmachus, were content with claiming toleration and religious freedom. But when from the 5th century, under the influence of the barbarians, signs of the speedy overthrow of the Roman empire multiplied, the heathen polemics assumed a bolder attitude, declaring that this was the punishment of heaven for the contempt of the old national religion, under which the empire had flourished. Such is the standpoint especially of the historians Eunapius and Zosimus. But history itself refuted them more successfully than the Christian apologists; for even these barbarous peoples passed over in due course to Christianity, and vied with the Roman emperors in their endeavours to extirpate heathenism. In the 5th century, the celebrated Neo-Platonist Proclus wrote “eighteen arguments (ἐπιχειρήματα) against the Christians” in vindication of the Platonic doctrine of the eternity of the world and in refutation of the Christian doctrine of creation. The Christian grammarian John Philoponus (§ 47, 11) answered them in an exhaustive and elaborate treatise, which again was replied to by the philosopher Simplicius, one of the best teachers in the pagan University of Athens.―The dialogue Philopatris, “the Patriot,” included among the works of Lucian of Samosata, but certainly not composed by him, is a feeble imitation of the famous scoffer, in which the writer declares that he can no longer fitly swear at the Olympic gods with their many unsavoury loves and objectionable doings, and with a satirical reference to Acts xvii. 23 recommends for this purpose “the unknown God at Athens,” whom he further scurrilously characterizes as ὑψιμέδων θεὸς, υἵος πατρὸς, πνεῦμα ἐκ πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον ἓν ἐκ τριῶν καὶ ἐξ ἑνὸς τρία (§ 50, 17). Finally he tells of some closely shaven men (§ 45, 1) who were treated as liars, because, having in consequence of a ten days’ fast and singing had a vision foreboding ill to their fatherland, their prophecy was utterly discredited by the arrival of an account of the emperor’s successes in the war against the Persians. The impudence with which the orthodox Christianity and the Nicene orthodox formula are sneered at, as well as the allusions to the spread of monasticism and a victorious war against the Persians, fix the date of the dialogue in the reign of Julian, or rather, since the writer would scarcely have had Julian’s approval in his scoffing at the gods of Olympus, in the time of the Arian Valens (§ 50, 4). But since the overthrow of Egypt and Crete is spoken of in this treatise, Niebuhr has put its date down to the time of the Emperor Nicephoras Phocas (A.D. 963-969), understanding by Persians the Saracens and by Scythians the Bulgarians.

§ 42.6. The religion of the Hypsistarians in Cappadocia was, according to Gregory Nazianzen, whose father had belonged to the sect, a blending of Greek paganism with bald Jewish monotheism, together with the oriental worship of fire and the heavenly bodies, with express opposition to the Christian doctrine of the trinity. Of a similar nature were the vagaries of the Euphemites, “Praise singers,” in Asia, who were also called Messalians, “Petitioners,” or Euchites, and in Africa bore the name of Cœlicolæ.

§ 43. The Christian Empire and the Ecclesiastical Law.

As in earlier times the supreme direction of all religious matters belonged to the Roman Emperor as Pontifex Maximus, so now that Christianity had become the state religion he claimed for himself the same position in relation to the church. Even Constantine the Great regarded himself as ἐπίσκοπος τῶν ἔξω τῆς ἐκκλησίας, and all his successors exercised the Jus circa sacra as their unquestioned right. Only the Donatists (§ 63, 1) denied to the state all and any right over the church. There was no clear consciousness of the limits of this jurisdiction, but this at least in theory was firmly maintained, that in all ecclesiastical matters, in worship, discipline and doctrine, the emperors were not of themselves entitled to issue conclusive decisions. For this purpose they called Œcumenical Synods, the decrees of which had legal validity throughout the empire when ratified by the emperor. But the more the Byzantine empire degenerated and became a centre of intrigues, the more hurtful did contact with the court become, and more than once the most glaring heresy for a time prevailed by means of personal passion, unworthy tricks and open violence, until at last orthodoxy again secured the ascendency.―From the ordinances issued by the recognised ecclesiastical and civil authorities upon ecclesiastical rights, duties and conditions, as well as from the pseudo-epigraphic apostolic writings already being secretly introduced in this department, there sprang up during this period a rich and varied literature on canon law.

§ 43.1. The Jus circa sacra gave to the Emperors the right of legally determining all the relations between church and state, but assigned to them also the duty of caring for the preservation or restoration of peace and of unity in the church, guarding orthodoxy with a strong arm, looking after the interests of the church and the clergy, and maintaining the authority of ecclesiastical law. Even Constantine the Great excluded all heretics from the privileges which he accorded to the church, and regarded it as a duty forcibly to prevent their spread. The destruction or closing of their churches, prohibition of public meetings, banishment of their leaders, afterwards seizure of their possessions, were the punishments which the state invariably used for their destruction. The first death sentence on a heretic was issued and executed so early as A.D. 385 by the usurper Maximus (§ 54, 2), but this example was not imitated during this period. Constans II. in A.D. 654 gave the first example of scourging to the effusion of blood and barbarous mutilation upon a persistent opponent of his union system of doctrine (§ 52, 8). The fathers of the 4th century were decidedly opposed to all compulsion in matters of faith (comp. however § 63, 1). The right of determining by imperial edict what was to be believed and taught in the empire was first asserted by the usurper Basilicus in A.D. 476 (§ 52, 5). The later emperors followed this example; most decidedly Justinian I. (§ 52, 6) and the court theologians justified such assumptions from the emperor’s sacerdotal rank, which was the antitype of that of Melchizedec [Melchisedec]. The emperor exercised a direct influence upon the choice of bishops especially in the capital cities; at a later period the emperor quite arbitrarily appointed these and set them aside. The church’s power to afford protection secured for it generally a multitude of outward privileges and advantages. The state undertook the support of the church partly by rich gifts and endowments from state funds, partly by the making over of temples and their revenues to the church, and Constantine conferred upon the church the right of receiving bequests of all kinds. The churches and their officers were expressly exempted from all public burdens. The distinct judicial authority of the bishops recognised of old was formally legitimized by Constantine under the name of Audentia episcopalis. The clergy themselves were exempted from the jurisdiction of civil tribunals and were made subject to an ecclesiastical court. The right of asylum was taken from the heathen temples and conferred upon the Christian churches. With this was connected also the right of episcopal intercession or of interference with regard to decisions already come to by the civil courts which were thus in some measure subject to clerical control.

§ 43.2. The Institution of Œcumenical Synods.―The σύνοδοι οἰκουμενικαί, Concilia universalia s. generalia, owe their origin to Constantine the Great (§ 50, 1). The calling of councils was an unquestioned right of the crown. A prelate chosen by the emperor or the council presided; the presence of the imperial commissioner, who opened the Synod by reading the imperial edict, was a guarantee for the preservation of the rights of the state. The treasury bore the expense of board and travelling. The decisions generally were called ὅροι, Definitiones; if they were resolutions regarding matters of faith, δόγματα; if in the form of a confession, σύμβολα; if they bore upon the constitution, worship and discipline, κανόνες. On doctrinal questions there had to be unanimity; on constitutional questions a majority sufficed. Only the bishops had the right of voting, but they allowed themselves to be influenced by the views of the subordinate clergy. As a sort of substitute for the œcumenical councils which could not be suddenly or easily convened we have the σύνοδοι ἐνδημοῦσα at Constantinople, which were composed of all the bishops who might at the time be present in the district. At Alexandria, too, these endemic Synods were held. The Provincial Synods were convened twice a year under the presidency of the metropolitan; as courts of higher instances we have the Patriarchal or Diocesan Synods (comp. § 46, 1).118

§ 43.3. Canonical Ordinances.―As canonical decrees acknowledged throughout the whole of the Catholic national church or at least throughout the more important ecclesiastical districts the following may be named.

  1. The Canons of the Œcumenical Councils.
  2. The Decrees of several important Particular Synods.
  3. The Epistolæ canonicæ of distinguished bishops, especially those of the Sedes apostolicæ, § 34, preeminently of Rome and Alexandria, pertaining to questions which have had a determining influence on church practice, which were at a later time called at Rome Epistt. decretales.
  4. The canonical laws of the emperors, νόμοι (Codex Theodosianus in A.D. 440, Codex Justinianæus in A.D. 534, Novellæ Justiniani).

The first systematically arranged collection of the Greek church known to us was made by Johannes Scholasticus, then presbyter at Antioch, afterwards Patriarch at Constantinople († 578). A second collection, also ascribed to him, to which were added the canonical νόμοι of Justinian, received the name of the Nomocanon. In the West all earlier collections were put out of sight by the Codex canonum of the Roman abbot Dionysius the Little (§ 47, 23), to which were also added the extant Decretal Epistles about A.D. 520.

§ 43.4. Pseudepigraphic Church Ordinances.―Even so early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries there sprang up no inconsiderable number of writings upon church law, with directions about ethical, liturgical and constitutional matters for the instruction of the church members as well as the clergy, the moral precepts of which are of importance in church procedure as affording a standard for discipline. The oldest probably of these has lately been made again accessible to us in the Teaching of the XII. Apostles, the Didache (§ 30, 7). It designates its contents, even where these are taken not from the Old Testament or the “Gospel,” but from the so-called church practice, as apostolic, with the honest conviction that by means of oral apostolic tradition it may be traced back to the immediate appointment of the Lord, without, however, pseudepigraphically claiming to have been written by the Apostles. Many treatises of the immediately following period, no longer known to us or known only by fragments, occupied the same standpoint. But even so early as the end of the 3rd century pseudepigraphic apostolic fiction makes its appearance in the so-called Apostolic Didascalia, and some sixty years later, it reached its climax in the eight bks. of the so-called Constitutiones Apostolicæ, Διαταγαὶ τῶν ἀπ. διὰ Κλήμεντος. The first six bks. correspond to the previously named Didascalia expanded and variously altered.119 It assumes the form of a prolix epistolary discourse of the Apostle, communicated through Clement of Rome, about everything pertaining to the Christian life, the Catholic system of doctrine, liturgical practice and hierarchical constitution which may be necessary and useful for the laity as well as the clergy to know, with the exclusion, however, of everything which belonged to the department of what was then regarded as the Disciplina arcani (§ 36, 4). Of older writings, so far as known, those principally used are the seven Ignatian Epistles (§ 30, 5). It is post-Novatianist (§ 41, 3) and belongs to a time pre-Constantine but free from persecution (§ 22, 6), and may therefore be placed somewhere between A.D. 260 and A.D. 302. It was written probably in Syria.―While the first six bks. of the Apostolic Constitutions may be compared to the Syrian recension as a contemporary rendition of the Didascalia, the seventh book from an examination of the Didache seems a rendition of that little work, in which the assumption of apostolic authorship is made, and from which everything offensive to the forger and his age is cut out, the old text being otherwise literally reproduced, while into it is cleverly smuggled from his own resources whatever would contribute to the support of his own peculiar views as well as the prevailing practice of the church. The Eusebian symbol, which is given in the 41st chap., is an anti-Nicene, anti-Marcellianist, Arianizing formula, fixing the date of the forgery at the period of the Arian controversy, somewhere between A.D. 340 and A.D. 350 (§ 50, 2).―The eighth book is in great part an unmistakeable forgery compiled from older sources belonging to the 3rd century, some of which are still to be found, and forms a handbook for the discharge of clerical, especially episcopal, duties in the conducting of worship and other clerical functions, e.g. ordination, baptism, etc., together with the relative liturgical formularies, drawn up in a thoroughly legal-like style, in which the Apostles one by one give their contribution with the formula Διατάσσομαι. The composition is probably ante-Nicene, but the date of its incorporation with the other seven books is uncertain.―In most, though not in all, MSS. the Canones Apostolorum, sometimes 50, sometimes 85, in number, are appended to the eighth book as its last chapter. Their standpoint is that common to the canons of the early councils from which they are chiefly borrowed. In respect of contents they treat mainly of the moral behaviour and official functions of the clergy. The 85th contains a Scripture canon of the Old and New Testaments, including the two Epp. of the Roman Clement (§ 30, 3), as well as the Apost. Constitutions, but omitting the Apocalypse of John (comp. § 33, 9). The collection of the apostolic canon cannot have been made before the beginning of the 5th century, and most likely in Syria. Dionysius the Little admitted only the first 50 as Canones qui dicuntur Apostolorum, but Johannes Scholasticus quite unhesitatingly ascribes all the 85 to Clement of Rome. The Second Trullan Council in A.D. 692 (§ 63, 2) acknowledged the genuineness of the 85, but rejected the Apostolic Constitutions as a heretical forgery which had found no general acceptance in the West.―While hitherto it has been surmised that the 7th bk. of the Apost. Constit., as an independent and original work, should be assigned to another and a much later author than the first six bks., Harnack, founding upon his study of the Didache, has come to a clear understanding of their mutual relations. He shows that the original documents lying at the basis respectively of the Didache and the Didascalia are fundamentally distinct in respect of composition and character, but the two in the form in which they lie before us in the Apost. Constit. are undoubtedly the work of one and the same interpolator. We further obtain the equally convincing and surprising result that the author of this forgery is also identical with the author of the thirteen Pseudo-Ignatian Epistles (§ 30, 5), and had in the one case and in the other the same object in view. Finally, he characterizes him as a Syrian cleric well versed in Scripture, especially the Old Testament, but also a shrewd worldly politician, opposed to all strict asceticism, who sought by his forgeries to win apostolic sanction and justification not only for the constitutional and liturgical institutions of the church, as well as the milder practice of his age, but also for his own semi-Arian doctrinal views.

§ 43.5. The Apostolic Church Ordinances120 are, according to Harnack’s careful analysis, a compilation executed in a most scholarly fashion of extracts from four old writings: the Didache, the Ep. of Barnabas, from which the moral precepts are taken, a κατάστασις τοῦ κλήρου from the beginning of the 3rd century, and a κατάστασις τῆς ἐκκλησίας from the end of the 2nd century, with many clumsy alterations and excursuses after the style of the church tradition of its own period, the beginning of the 4th century. Its introduction consists of a formula of greeting modelled upon the Ep. of Barnabas from the twelve Apostles who are designated by name. The list, which begins with the name of John, wants one of the two Jameses and the late chosen Matthias, and the number of twelve is made up by the addition of the name of Nathanael and that of Cephas in addition to that of Peter. Then the Apostles tell that Christ had commanded them to divide among them by lot the Eparchies, Episcopates, Presbyterates, Diaconates, etc., of all lands, and to send forth οἱ λόγοι into the whole οἰκουμένη; then follow these λόγοι, first the moral rules, then the constitutional enactments, both being divided among the several Apostles (Ἰωάννης εἶπεν, Ματθαίος εἶπεν, etc.). The compilation had its origin in Egypt, not, however, at Alexandria, where Athanasius was still unacquainted with it, or at least did not think it worthy of being mentioned among the church manuals (§ 59, 1), while at a later period it was held in the highest esteem by the Copts, Ethiopians, Arabians, etc., and took the first rank among their books on ecclesiastical procedure.


§ 44. Monasticism.121

Disgusted with worldly pursuits and following an impulse of the oriental character in favour of the contemplative life, many ascetics withdrew into deserts and solitudes, there as Anchorets (ἐρεμίται, μοναχοί, μονάζοντες), amid prayer and labour, privation and self-denial, wringing out of the wilderness their scanty support, they strove after holiness of life which they thought they could reach only by forsaking the accursed world. The place where this extravagant extreme of the old ascetism arose was the Thebaid in Upper Egypt (§ 39, 3). The first, and for a long time isolated, examples of such professional abandonment of the world may be traced back to the 3rd century; but they had wider spread first in the post-Constantine Age. The example of St. Anthony was specially influential in leading a number of like-minded men to betake themselves to isolated dwellings, λαῦραι, in his neighbourhood and to place themselves under his spiritual direction. In this we have already the transition from a solitary anchoret life to a communal cœnobite life (κοινὸς βίος), and this reached maturity when Anthony’s disciple Pachomius gathered the scattered residents in his district into one common dwelling, Claustrum, Cœnobium, Monasterium, Mandra=fold, and bound them under a common system of ascetic practice in prayer and labour, especially basket making and carpet weaving. This arrangement, without, however, any tendency to displace the anchoret life properly so-called, won great favour, and this went on for some decades until first of all in the East, then also in the West about A.D. 370, the land was covered over with monasteries. The monastic life under its twofold aspect was now esteemed as βὶος ἀγγελικός (Matt. xxii. 30), φιλοσοφία ὑψηλή, melior vita. Yet even here corruption soon spread. Not merely the feeling of spiritual need, but ambition, vanity, slothfulness and especially the desire to avoid military service and villainage, taxes and imposts, induced men to enter the monasteries. The Emperor Valens therefore issued an order in A.D. 365 that such men should be dragged out by force from their retreats. Spiritual vices too were not wanting―extravagance and fanaticism, spiritual pride, etc. All the more did the most distinguished bishops, e.g. Basil the Great, feel it their duty to take the monasteries under their special supervision and care. Under such direction, besides serving their own special purpose, they became extremely important and beneficial as places of refuge for the oppressed and persecuted, and as benevolent institutions for the sick and the poor. Sometimes also by the introduction of theological studies as seminaries to prepare candidates for the higher ecclesiastical offices. Other prelates, however, preferred to use their monks as a trusty horde for the accomplishment of their own ambitious party ends. The monks were always reckoned among laymen, but were distinguished from the Seculares as Religiosi or Conversi.

§ 44.1. The Biography of St. Anthony.―According to the Vita s. Antonii ascribed to Athanasius, Anthony was sprung from a wealthy Coptic family of the country town of Coma in Upper Egypt, and was born in A.D. 251. At the age of eighteen he lost his parents, and, being powerfully affected by hearing the story of the rich young ruler in the gospel read in church, he gave away all his goods to the poor and withdrew into the desert (A.D. 285). Amid terrible inward struggles, which took the form of daily conflicts with demons, who sprang upon him from the sides of his cave in the shape of all sort of beasts and strange creatures, he spent a long time in a horrible tomb, then twenty years in the crumbling ruins of a castle, and finally he chose as his constant abode a barren mountain, afterwards called Anthony’s Mount, where a well and some date palms afforded him the absolutely indispensable support. His clothing, a sheep’s skin and a hairy cloak, was on his body day and night, nor did he ever wash himself. The fame of his holiness attracted a multitude of like-minded ascetics who settled in his neighbourhood and put themselves under his spiritual direction. But also men of the world of all ranks made pilgrimages to him, seeking and finding comfort. Even Constantine and his sons testified in correspondence with him their veneration, and he answered “like a Christian Diogenes to the Christian Alexander.” Pointing to Christ as the only miracle worker, he healed by his prayers bodily maladies and by his conversations afflictions of the soul. Amid the distress of the persecution of Maximian in A.D. 311 he went to Alexandria, but found not the martyrdom which he courted. Again, in A.D. 351, during the bitter Arian controversy (§ 50), he appeared suddenly in the great capital, this time gazed at by Christians and pagans as a divine wonder, and converting crowds of the heathen. In his last days he resigned the further direction of the society of hermits gathered about him to his disciple Pachomius, himself withdrawing along with two companions into an unknown solitude, where he, bequeathing to the author his sheepskin, died in A.D. 356, in his 105th year, after exacting a promise that no one should know the place of his burial.―Until the appearance of this book, which was very soon translated into Latin by a certain Evagrius, no single writer, neither Lactantius, nor Eusebius, nor even Athanasius in any of his other undoubtedly genuine writings, mentions the name of this patriarchal monk afterwards so highly esteemed, and all later writers draw only from this one source. Weingarten has now not only proved that this Vita s. Ant. is not a biography in the proper sense, but a romance with a purpose which was intended “to represent the ideal of a monkish life dovetailed into the ecclesiastical system and raised notwithstanding all popular and vital elements into a spiritual atmosphere,” but has also disproved the Athanasian authorship of the book, without, however, seeking to deny the historical existence of St. Anthony and his importance in the establishment of monasticism, as this is already vouched for by the fact that even in the 4th century in the days of Rufinus pilgrimages were made to Mons Antonii.―The most important witness for the Athanasian authorship is Gregory Nazianzen, who begins his panegyric on Athanasius delivered in Constantinople only a few years after that father’s death, which occurred in A.D. 373, with the wish that he could describe brilliantly the life of the highly revered man, as he himself had portrayed the ideal of monasticism in the person of St. Anthony. But, on the other hand, Jerome in his Vita Pauli and Rufinus in his Hist. eremit. seem not yet to have known the author of the book, and the former, first in his De scriptoribus ecclst., written twenty years later, knows that Athanasius was the author. Internal reasons, too, seem with no small weight to tell against the authenticity of the book, the biographical contents of which are largely intermixed with fabulous and legendary elements.

§ 44.2. The Origin of Christian Monasticism.―From the fact that not only Lactantius, but also Eusebius, whose history reaches down to A.D. 324, have nothing to say of a monasticism already developed or then first in process of development, it may perhaps be concluded that although in a general way such an institution was already in existence, it had not yet become known beyond the bounds of the Thebaid where it originated. But from the fact that Eusebius, who died in A.D. 340, in his Vita Constantini reaching down to A.D. 337, never makes any mention of monasticism, we cannot with like probability infer a continuance of such ignorance down to the above-mentioned year, but must attribute it to the limited range of the book in question. In his commentary on Ps. lxviii. 7 and lxxxiv. 4 he distinctly speaks of a Christian monasticism. The fugitive Athanasius, too, so early as A.D. 356 betakes himself to the monks of the Thebaid, and stays for a year with them (§ 50, 24), which presupposes a certain measure of organization and celebrity on the part of the community of that region. In his Hist. Arianorum ad monachos, written about A.D. 360, he declares that already monasticism had spread through all the τόποι or districts of Egypt. Of a monasticism outside of Egypt, however, even this writing still knows nothing. We shall not, therefore, greatly err if we assume that the latter years of Constantine’s reign are to be taken as the period of the essential origin of Egyptian monasticism; though from this it is not to be concluded that the first isolated beginnings of it, which had not yet won any special recognition, are not to be assigned to a very much earlier period. Even the Old and New Testaments, in the persons of Elijah, John the Baptist, and our Lord Himself, tell of temporary withdrawals, from religious and ascetical motives, into the wilderness. But even the life-long professional anchoretism and cœnobitism had their precursors in the Indian gymnosophists, in the East-Asiatic Buddhism and the Egyptian Serapis worship, and to a certain extent also in the Essenism of Palestine (§ 8, 4). From the place of its origin and the character of its development, however, Christian monasticism can have been influenced only by the Egyptian Serapis worship, and that in a very general sort of way. That this actually was the case, Weingarten especially has sought to prove from various analogies based upon the learned researches of French Academicians.

§ 44.3. Oriental Monasticism.―For centuries Egypt continued the central seat and training school of Christian monasticism both for the East and for the West. The most celebrated of all the Egyptian hermit colonies was that founded by Pachomius, formerly perhaps a monk of Serapis, († 348), at Tabennæ, an island of the Nile. To the mother monastery were soon attached numerous daughter monasteries. Each of these institutions was under the direction of a president called the abbot, Abbas, i.e. “father,” or Archimandrite; while all of them together were under the superior of the parent monastery. Similar unions were established by Ammonius among the Nitrian mountains, and by Macarius the Elder (§ 47, 7) in the Scetic desert. Hilarion, a disciple of St. Anthony († 371), is celebrated by Jerome as the founder of Palestinian monasticism. The Vita Hilarionis of the latter, richly adorned with records of adventurous travels and wonderful events, most extravagant wonders and demoniacal apparitions, like the life of Paul of Thebes (§ 39, 4), has been recently shown to be a romance built upon certain genuine reminiscences. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen with youthful enthusiasm sought to introduce monasticism into their native Asia Minor, while Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste († 380), carried it still further east. But though among the Syrian discourses of Aphraates (§ 47, 13) there is found one on monasticism, which thus would seem to have been introduced into Mesopotamia by A.D. 340, this is in contradiction to all other witnesses and awakens a suspicion of the ungenuineness of the discourse, which is further confirmed by its being wanting in the Armenian translation, as well as in the enumeration of Gennadius.―The zeal especially of Basil was successful in ennobling monasticism and making it fruitful. The monastic rules drawn up by him superseded all others in the East, and are to this day alone recognised in the orthodox Greek Church. According to these every monastery had one or more clerics for conducting worship and administering the sacrament. Basil also advanced the development and influence of monasticism by setting down the monasteries in the neighbourhood of the cities. In the 5th century two of the noblest, most sensible and talented representatives of ancient monasticism did much for its elevation and ennobling; namely, Isidore, who died about A.D. 450, abbot and priest of a cloister at Pelusium in Egypt, and his contemporary Nilus, who lived among the monks of Sinai. The not inconsiderable remnants of their numerous letters still extant testify to their far-reaching influence, as well as to the noble and liberal spirit which they manifested (§ 47, 610).122 A peculiar kind of cœnobite life is found amongst the Acoimetæ, for whom the Roman Studius founded about A.D. 46O the afterwards very celebrated monastery Studion at Constantinople, in which as many as a thousand monks are said to have lived together at one time. They took their name from the divine service uninterruptedly continued in their cloister night and day. From the 5th century the legislative Synods undertook the care of the monasteries. The Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 put them under the jurisdiction of the bishop. Returning to the world was at first freely permitted, but was always regarded as discreditable and demanding submission to penance. From the 6th century, however, monastic vows were regarded as of life-long obligation, and therefore a regular canonical age was fixed and a long novitiate prescribed as a time of testing and consideration. About this time, too, besides the propria professio, the paterna devotio was also regarded as binding in accordance with the example of 1 Sam. i. 11.

§ 44.4. Western Monasticism.―The West did not at first take kindly to the monastic idea, and only the combined exhortations of the most respected bishops and teachers of the Church, with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine at their head, secured for it acceptance there. The idea that already the universally revered Athanasius who from A.D. 341 resided a long time in Rome (§ 50, 2), had brought hither the knowledge of Egyptian monasticism and first awakened on behalf of it the sympathies of the Westerns, is devoid of any sure foundation. Owing, however, to the free intercourse which even on the side of the Church existed between East and West, it is on the other hand scarcely conceivable that the first knowledge of Eastern monasticism should have reached Italy through Jerome on his return in A.D. 373 from his Eastern travels. But it is certain that Jerome from that time most zealously endeavoured to obtain recruits for it in the West, applying himself specially to conspicuous pious ladies of Rome and earning for this scant thanks from their families. The people’s aversion, too, against monasticism was so great that even in A.D. 384, when a young female ascetic called Blasilla, the daughter of St. Paula, died in Rome as some supposed from excessive fasting, an uproar was raised in which the indignant populace, as Jerome himself relates, cried out, Quousque genus detestabile monachorum non urbe pellitur? Non lapidibus obruitur? non præcipitatur in fluctus? But twenty years later Jerome could say with exultation, Crebra virginum monasteria, monachorum, innumerabilis multitudo, ut ... quod prius ignominiæ fuerat, esset postea gloriæ. Popular opposition to the monks was longest and most virulently shown in North Africa. Even so late as about A.D. 450, Salvianus reports the expressions of such hate: Ridebant, ... maledicebant ... insectabantur ... detestabantur ... omnia in monacho pœne fecerunt quæ in Salvatorem nostrum Judæorum impietas, etc. Nevertheless monasticism continued to spread and therewith also the institution grew in popular esteem in the West. Martin of Tours (§ 47, 14) established it in Northern Gaul in A.D. 370; and in Southern Gaul, Honoratus [Honorius] about A.D. 400 founded the celebrated monastery of Serinum, on the uninhabited island of Lerina, and John Cassianus (§ 47, 21), the still more celebrated one at Massilia, now Marseilles. The inroads of the invaders well nigh extinguished Western monachism. It was Benedict of Nursia who first, in A.D. 529, gave to it unity, order, and a settled constitution, and made it for many centuries the pioneer of agricultural improvement and literary culture throughout the Western empire that had been hurled into confusion by the wars of the barbarians (§ 85).

§ 44.5. Institution of Nunneries.―Virgins devoted to God, who repudiated marriage, are spoken of as early as the 2nd century. The limitations of their sex forbade them entering on the life of anchorets, but all the more heartily did they adopt the idea of the cloister life. St. Anthony himself is said to have laid its first foundations when he was hastening away into solitude, by establishing at Coma for the sake of his sister whom he was leaving behind, an association of virgins consecrated unto God. Pachomius founded the first female cloister with definite rules, the superior of which was his own sister. From that time there sprang up a host of women’s cœnobite unions. The lady superior was called Ammas, “mother;” the members, μοναχαί, sanctimoniales, nonnæ, which was a Coptic word meaning chaste. The patroness of female monachism in the West was St. Paula of Rome, who was the scholar and friend of Jerome. Accompanied by her daughter Eustochium, she followed him to Palestine, and founded three nunneries at Bethlehem.

§ 44.6. Monastic Asceticism.―Although the founders of the Eastern monastic rules subjected themselves to the strictest asceticism and performed them to a remarkable extent, especially in fasting and enduring privations, yet the degree of asceticism which they enjoined upon their monks in fasting, watching, prayer and labour, was in general moderate and sensible. Valorous acts of self mortification, so very congenial to the oriental spirit, are thus met with in the proper monastic life seldomer than among ascetics living after their own fancy in deserts and solitudes. This accounts for the rare appearance of the Stylites or pillar saints, by whom expression was given in an outward way to the idea of elevation above the earthly and of struggle toward heaven. The most celebrated of these was Simeon Stylites, who lived in the neighbourhood of Antioch for thirty years on a pillar seventy feet high, and preached repentance to the people who flocked to him from every side. Thousands of Saracens who roamed through those regions sought baptism, overcome, according to the legend, by the power of his discourse. He died A.D. 459. After him the most celebrated pillar saints were one Daniel who died at Constantinople in A.D. 489, and a younger Simeon who died at Antioch in A.D. 596.

§ 44.7. Anti-Ecclesiastical and Heretical Monasticism.―Even after the regulating of monachism by Pachomius and Basil, there were still isolated hermit societies which would be bound by no rules. Such were the Sarabaites in Egypt and the Remoboth in Syria. Crowds of monks, too, under no rule swarmed about, called Βοσκοί, Pabulatores or Grazers, because they supported themselves only on herbs and roots. In Italy and Africa from the 5th century we hear of so-called Gyrovagi, who under the pretence of monachism led a useless vagabond life. Monasticism assumed a decidedly heretical and schismatical character among the Euchites and Eustathianists in the second half of the 4th century. The Euchites, called also from their mystic dances Messalians or Chorentes, not to be confounded with the pagan Euchites (§ 42, 6), thought that they had reached the ideal of perfection, and were therefore raised above observance of the law. Under pretext of engaging in constant prayer and being favoured with divine visions, they went about begging, because work was not seemly for perfect saints. Every man they taught, by reason of his descent from Adam, brings with him into the world an evil demon who can be overcome only by prayer, and thus evil can be torn out by the roots. Then man is in need neither of the law, nor of holy scripture, nor of the sacraments, and may be unconditionally left to himself, and may even do that which to a legal man would be sinful. The mystic union of God and man they represented by lascivious acts of sensual love. They understood the gospel history only as an allegory and considered fire the creative light of the universe. By craft and espionage Bishop Flavian of Antioch, in A.D. 381, came to know their secret principles and proceedings. But notwithstanding the persecution now directed against them, they continued in existence till the 6th century. The Eustathianists took their name from Eustathius, Bishop of Sebaste, the founder of monasticism in the eastern provinces of the empire. Their fanatical contempt of marriage went so far that they regarded fellowship with the married impure and held divine service by themselves alone. They repudiated the Church fasts and instead ordained fasts on Sundays and festival days, and wholly abstained from eating flesh. The women dressed in men’s clothes. From the rich they demanded the surrender of all their goods. Servants forsook their masters, wives their husbands, in order to attach themselves to the associations of these saints. But the resolute interference of the Synod of Gangra in Paphlagonia, between A.D. 360 and A.D. 370, checked their further spread.―More closely related to the old ascetic order than to the newly organized monasticism was a sect which, according to Augustine, had gained special acceptance among the country people round about Hippo. In accordance with the example of Abel, who in the Old Testament history is without children, its members, the so-called Abelites, indeed married, but restrained themselves from marital intercourse, in order that they might not by begetting children contribute to the spread of original sin, and maintained their existence by the adoption of strange children, one boy and one girl being received into each family.

§ 45. The Clergy.

The distinction between clergy and laity was ever becoming more and more clearly marked and in the higher church offices there grew up a spiritual aristocracy alongside of the secular aristocracy. The priesthood arrogated a position high above the laity just as the soul is higher than the body. There was consequently such a thronging into the clerical ranks that a restriction had to be put upon it by the civil laws. The choice of the clergy was made by the bishops with the formal consent of the members of the church. In the East the election of bishops lay ordinarily with the episcopal board of the province concerned though under the presidency of the metropolitan, whose duty it was to ordain the individual so elected. The episcopal chair of the imperial capital, however, was generally under the patronage of the court. In the West on the other hand the old practice was continued, according to which bishops, clergy and members of the church together made the election. At Rome, however, the emperor maintained the right of confirming the appointment of the new bishop. The exchange of one bishopric for another was forbidden by the Nicene Council as spiritual adultery (Eph. v. 33 ff.), but was nevertheless frequently practised. The monarchical rank of the bishop among the clergy was undisputed. The Chorepiscopi (§ 34, 3) had their episcopal privileges and authority always more and more restricted, were made subordinate to the city bishops, and finally, about A.D. 360, were quite set aside. To the Presbyters, on the other hand, in consequence of the success of the anti-episcopal reaction, especially among the daughter and country churches, complete independence was granted in regard to the ministry of the word and dispensation of sacraments, with the exception of the ordination of the clergy, and in the West also the confirmation of the baptism, which the bishop alone was allowed to perform.

§ 45.1. Training of the Clergy.―The few theological seminaries of Alexandria, Cæsarea, Antioch, Edessa and Nisibis could not satisfy the need of clerical training, and even these for the most part disappeared amid the political and ecclesiastical upheavals of the 5th and 6th centuries. The West was entirely without such institutions. So long as pagan schools of learning flourished at Athens, Alexandria, Nicomedia, etc., many Christian youths sought their scientific preparation for the service of the church in them, and added to this on the Christian side by asceticism and theological study among the anchorets or monks. Others despised classical culture and were satisfied with what the monasteries could give. Others again began their clerical career even in boyhood as readers or episcopal secretaries, and grew up under the oversight and direction of the bishop or experienced clergymen. Augustine organized his clergy into a monastic association, Monasterium Clericorum, and gave it the character of a clerical seminary. This useful institution found much favour and was introduced into Sicily and Sardinia by the bishops driven out by the Vandals. The Regula Augustini, so often referred to the Latin Middle Ages, is of later and uncertain origin, but is based upon two discourses of Augustine, “De Moribus Clericorum” and an Epistle to the Nuns at Hippo.―The age of thirty was fixed upon as the canonical age for entering the order of presbyter or priest; twenty-five for that of deacon. Neophytes, those who had been baptized on a sickbed (Clinici), penitents and energoumeni, Bigenie, the mutilated, eunuchs, slaves, actors, comedians, dancers, soldiers, etc., were excluded from the clerical office. The African church even in the 4th century prescribed a strict examination of candidates as to their attainments and orthodoxy. Justinian at least insisted upon a guarantee of orthodoxy by means of episcopal examination.―Ordination123 made its appearance as an appendage to the baptismal anointing as a sacramental ordinance. The one was consecration to the priesthood in the special sense: the other in the general sense; both bore a character indelibilis. Their efficacy was generally regarded as of a magical kind. The imparting of ordination was exclusively an episcopal privilege; but presbyters could assist at the consecration of those of their own order. The proposition: Ne quis vage ordinatur, was of universal application; the missionary office was the only exception. The anniversaries of episcopal ordinations, Natales episcoporum, were frequently observed as festivals. Legally no one could be ordained to a higher ecclesiastical office, who had not passed through all the lower offices from that of subdeacon. In earlier times ordination consisted only in imposition of hands; but subsequently, after the pattern of baptism there was added an anointing with Chrism, i.e. oil with balsam. The Lord’s Supper was partaken of before ordination, the candidate having previously observed a fast.―From the 5th century it was made imperative that the party ordained should adopt the Tonsure.124 It had been introduced first in connection with the penitents, then as a symbol of humility it found favour among the monks, and from these it passed over to the clergy. Originally the whole head was shaved bare. At a later period the Greek tonsure, Tonsura Pauli, which merely shaved the forehead, was distinguished from the Romish, Tonsura Petri, which left a circle of hair round about the crown of the head, as a memorial of Christ’s crown of thorns or as the symbol of the royal priesthood, Corona sacerdotalis. The shaving of the beard, as an effeminate foppish custom, seemed to the ancient church to detract from the sternness and dignity of the clerical rank. In all Eastern churches the full beard was retained, and the wearing of it by-and-by made obligatory, as it is to this day. In the West, however, perhaps to mark a contrast to the bearded clergy of the Arian Germans, shaving became general among the Catholic clergy, and by papal and synodal ordinances became almost universally prevalent. The adoption of the custom was also perhaps furthered by a desire to give symbolic expression by the removal of the beard to the renunciation of the claims of the male sex on the part of a celibate clergy.―A solemn Investiture with the insignia of office (§ 59, 7) was gradually introduced, and was that which marked distinctions between the consecrations to the various ranks of clerical offices.

§ 45.2. The Injunction of Celibacy.―In accordance with a hint given by the Spanish Provincial Synod of Elvira in A.D. 306 in its 32nd canon, the Œcumenical Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325 was inclined to make the obligation of celibacy at least for the Ordines Majores a binding law over the whole church. But on the other hand the Egyptian bishop Paphnutius, a confessor and from his youth an ascetic, stoutly maintained that the fellowship of married persons too is chastity. His powerful voice decided the matter. The usual practice, however, was that bishops, presbyters and deacons should not contract a second marriage (1 Tim. iii. 2), after ordination should contract no marriage at all, and if previously married, should continue to live with their wives or not as they themselves should find most fit. The Easterns maintained this free standpoint and at the Synod of Gangra in A.D. 360 contended against the Eustathianists (§ 44, 7) for the holiness of marriage and the legitimacy of married priests; and in the 5th Apost. Canon there was an express injunction: Episcopus vel presbyter, vel diaconus uxorem suam non rejiciat religionis prætexti; sin autem rejecerit segregetur, et si perseveret deponatur. Examples of married bishops are not rare in the 4th and 5th centuries; e.g. the father of Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Synesius of Ptolemais, etc. Justinian I. forbade the election of a married man as bishop. The second Trullan Council in A.D. 692 (§ 63, 2) confirmed this decree, interdicted second marriages to all the clergy, but, with an express protest against the unnatural hardness of the Roman church, allowed to presbyters a single marriage with all its privileges which, however, must have been entered upon before consecration, and during the period of service at the altar all marital intercourse had to be discontinued. In Rome, however, the Spanish principles were strictly maintained. A decretal of the Roman bishop, Siricius, in A.D. 385, with semi-Manichæan abuse of marriage, insisted on the celibacy of all bishops, presbyters and deacons, and Leo the Great included even subdeacons under this obligation. All the more distinguished Latin church teachers contended zealously for the universal application of the injunction of clerical celibacy. Yet there were numerous instances of the contravention of the order in Italy, in Gaul, and in Spain itself, and conformity could not be secured even by the most emphatic re-issue of the injunction by successive Synods. In the British and Iro-Scottish church the right of the clergy and even of bishops to marry was insisted upon (§ 77, 3).125

§ 45.3. Later Ecclesiastical Offices.―In addition to the older church offices we now meet with attendants on the sick or Parabolani, from παραβάλλεσθαι τὴν ζωήν, and grave-diggers, κοπιαταί, Fossarii, whose number in the capital cities rose to an almost incredible extent. They formed a bodyguard ever ready to gratify episcopal love of pomp. Theodosius II. in A.D. 418 restricted the number of the Parabolani of Alexandria to six hundred and the number of the Copiati of Constantinople to nine hundred and fifty. For the administration of Church property there were οἰκόνομοι; for the administration of the laws of the church there were advocates, ἔνδικοι, σύνδικοι, Defensores; for drawing up legal documents in regard to church affairs there were Notarii, ταχύγραφοι, besides, Keepers of Archives, χαρτοφύλακες, Librarians, Thesaurarii, σκευοφύλακες, etc. None of these as such had clerical consecration. But also within the ranks of the Ordines Majores new offices sprang up. In the 4th century we meet with an Archdeacon at the head of the deacons. He was the right hand of the bishop, his representative and plenipotentiary in the administration and government of the diocese, frequently also his successor in office. The college of presbyters, too, had as its head the Arch-Presbyter who represented and supported the bishop in all acts of public worship. A city presbyter was entrusted with the supervision of the country churches as Visitor. The African Seniores plebis were mere lay elders without clerical ordination. The office of Deaconess more or less lost its significance and gradually fell into disuse.―Justinian I. restricted the number of ecclesiastical officers in the four great churches of Constantinople to 525; namely, in addition to the bishop, 60 presbyters, 100 deacons, 40 deaconesses, 90 subdeacons, 110 readers, 24 singers, and 100 doorkeepers.

§ 45.4. Church Property.―The possessions of the church regularly increased by presents and bequests was regarded down to the 5th century generally as the property of the poor, Patrimonium pauperum, while the cost of maintaining public worship and supplying the clergy with the means of livelihood were defrayed by the voluntary contributions, Oblationes, of the church members. But the growing demands of the clergy, especially of the bishops, for an income corresponding to their official rank and the increasing magnificence of the service, led, first of all in Rome, to the apportioning of the whole sum into four parts; for the bishops, for the subordinate clergy, for the expenses of public worship (buildings, vestments, etc.), and for the needs of the poor. With the introduction of the Old Testament idea of priesthood the thought gradually gained ground that the laity were under obligation, at first regarded simply as a moral obligation, to surrender a tenth of all their possessions to the church, and at a very early date this, in the form of freewill offerings, was often realised. But the Council at Macon in A.D. 585, demanded these tithes as a right of the church resting on divine institution, without, however, being thereby able to effect what first was secured by the Carolingian legislation (§ 86, 1). The demand that all property which a cleric earned in the service of the church, should revert to the church after his death, was given effect to in a Council at Carthage in A.D. 397.

§ 46A. The Patriarchal Constitution and the Primacy.126

A hierarchical distinction of ranks among the bishops had already made its appearance even in the previous period by the elevation of the metropolitan see and the yet more marked precedency given to the so-called Sedes apostolicæ (§ 34). This tendency got powerful support from the political divisions of the empire made by Constantine the Great; for now the bishops of capital cities demanded an extension of their spiritual superiority corresponding to that given in secular authority to the imperial governors. The guarding of earlier privileges along with respectful consideration of more recent claims prevented the securing of a perfect correspondence between the political and hierarchical distribution of ranks. The result of giving consideration to both was the development of the Patriarchal Constitution, in which the bishops of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem were recognised as heads of the church universal of equal rank with jurisdiction over the patriarchates assigned them. The first place in this clerical Pentarchy was claimed by the Roman see, which ever more and more decidedly strove for the primacy of the whole church.

§ 46.1. The Patriarchal Constitution.―Constantine the Great divided the whole empire into four prefectures which were subdivided into dioceses, and these again into provinces. Many bishops then of the capitals of these dioceses, especially in the East, under the title of Exarchs, assumed a rank superior to that of the metropolitans, just as these had before arrogated a rank superior to that of provincial bishops. The first œcumenical Council at Nicæa in A.D. 325 (§ 50, 1) affirmed on behalf of the bishops of the three most prominent Sedes apostolicæ, Rome, Alexandria and Antioch, that their supremacy had been already established by old custom. The so-called second œcumenical Council at Constantinople in A.D. 381 (§ 50, 4) exempted the bishop of Constantinople, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν Ῥώμην (since A.D. 330), from the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Heraclea, and gave him the first rank after the bishop of Rome. To these distinguished prelates there was given the title of honour, Patriarch, which formerly had been given to all bishops; but the Roman bishops, declining to take common rank with the others, refused the title, and assumed instead the exclusive use of the title Papa, Πάπας, which had also been previously applied to all of episcopal rank. The fourth œcumenical Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, in the 28th canon, ranked the patriarch of the Eastern capital along with the bishop of Rome, granted him the right of hearing complaints against the metropolitans of all dioceses that they might be decided at an endemic Synod (§ 43, 2), and as an equivalent to the vast dominions of his Roman colleague, gave him as an endowment in addition to his own patriarchal district, the three complete dioceses of Thrace, Pontus and Asia. The Exarchs of Heraclea in Thrace, of Neo-Cæsarea in Pontus, and of Ephesus in Asia, thus placed under him, bearing the title of Archbishops, ἀρχιεπίσκοποι, formed a hierarchical middle rank between him and the metropolitans of these dioceses, without, however, any strict definition of their status being given, so that their preferential rank remained uncertain and gradually fell back again into that of ordinary metropolitans. But even at Nicæa in A.D. 325 the bishopric of Jerusalem had been declared worthy of very special honour, without, however, its subordination under the Metropolitan of Cæsarea being disputed. Founding on this, Juvenal of Jerusalem in the 3rd œcumenical Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 claimed the rank and privileges of a patriarch, but on the motion of Cyril of Alexandria was refused. He then applied to the Emperor Theodosius II. who by an edict named him patriarch, and assigned to him all Palestine and Arabia. Maximus, however, patriarch of Antioch, who was thereby deprived of part of his diocese, persisted in protesting until at Chalcedon in A.D. 451 at least Phœnicia and Arabia were restored to him.―Within his own official district each of these five prelates exercised supreme spiritual authority, and at the head of his patriarchal Synod decided all the affairs of the churches within the bounds. Still many metropolitans, especially those of Salamis in Cyprus, of Milan, Aquileia and Ravenna maintained a position, as Αὐτοκέφαλοι, independent of any superiority of patriarchate or exarchate. Alongside of the patriarchs in the East there were σύγκελλοι as councillors and assistants, and at the imperial court they were represented by permanent legates who were called Apocrisiarians. From the 6th century the Popes of Rome began by sending them the pallium to confer confirmation of rank upon the newly-elected metropolitans of the West, who were called in these parts Archiepiscopi, Archbishops. The patriarchs meeting as a court represented the unity of the church universal. Without their consent no œcumenical Council could be held, nor could any decision be binding on the whole church.―But first Jerusalem in A.D. 637, then Antioch in A.D. 638, and next Alexandria in A.D. 640, fell under the dominion of the Saracens.

§ 46.2. The Rivalry between Rome and Byzantium.―From the time of the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 the patriarch of Constantinople continued to claim equality in rank and authority with the bishop of Rome. But the principle upon which in either case the claims to the primacy were based were already being interpreted strongly in favour of Rome. In the East the spiritual rank of the bishoprics was determined in accordance with the political rank of the cities concerned. Constantinople was the residence of the ruler of the οἰκουμένη, consequently its bishop was œcumenical bishop. But in the eyes of the world Old Rome still ranked higher than the New Rome. All the proud memories of history clustered round the capital of the West. From Byzantium, on the other hand, dated the visible decline, the threatened overthrow of the empire. Moreover the West refused even to admit the principle itself. Not the will of the emperor, not the fortunes of the empire, ever becoming more and more deplorable, should determine the spiritual rank of the bishops, but the history of the church and the will of its Divine Founder and Head. Measured by this standard the see of Constantinople stood not only lower than those of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, but even below many other sees which though they scarcely had metropolitan rank, could yet boast of apostolic origin. Then, Rome unquestionably stood at the head of the church, for here had lived, confessed and suffered the two chief apostles, here too were their tombs and their bones; yea, still further, on the Roman chair had Peter sat as its first bishop (§ 16, 1), whom the Lord Himself had called to the primacy of the Apostles (§ 34, 8), and the Roman bishops were his successors and heirs of his privileges. The patriarch of Constantinople had nothing to depend upon but his nearness to the court. He was backed up and supported by the court, was only too often a tool in the hands of political parties and a defender of heresies which had the imperial favour. The case for the Roman bishop was incomparably superior. His being a member of the West-Roman empire, A.D. 395-476, with emperors for the most part weak and oppressed on all sides by the convulsions caused by the invasions of the barbarians, secured to him an incomparably greater freedom and independence of action, which was little, if at all, restricted by the Rugian and Ostrogoth invaders of Italy, A D. 476-536. And even in A.D. 536, when the Byzantine empire again obtained a footing in Italy, and held out with difficulty against the onslaught of the Longobards from A.D. 569 to A.D. 752 within ever narrowing limits, the court could only seldom exercise an influence upon his proceedings or punish him for his refusal to yield by removal, imprisonment or exile. And while the East was rent by a variety of ecclesiastical controversies, in which sometimes the one, sometimes the other party prevailed, the West under the direction of Rome almost constantly presented the picture of undisturbed unity. The controversialists sought the mediating judgment of Rome, the oppressed sought its intercession and protection, and because the Roman bishops almost invariably lent the weight of their intellectual and moral influence to the cause of truth and right, the party in whose favour decision was given, almost certainly at last prevailed. Thus Rome advanced from day to day in the eyes of the Christian world, and soon demanded as a constant right what personal confidence or pressure of circumstances had won for it in particular cases. And in the course of time Rome has never let a favourable opportunity slip, never failed to hold what once was gained or even claimed with any possibility of success. A strong feeling in favour of strict hierarchical pretensions united all parties and found its rallying point in the chair of St. Peter; even incapable and characterless popes were upborne and carried through by means of this idea. Thus Rome advanced with firm step and steady aim, and in spite of all opposition and resistance continually approached nearer and nearer to the end in view. The East could at last hold on and save its ecclesiastical independence only by a complete and incurable division (§ 67).

§ 46B. History of the Roman Chair and its Claims to the Primacy.127

The history of the Roman bishopric during the first three centuries is almost wholly enveloped in a cloud of legend which is only occasionally broken by a gleam of historical light (see § 33, 34, 57; § 35, 5; § 37, 2; § 40, 2; § 41, 13). Only after the martyr church became in the 4th century the powerful state church does it really enter into the field of regular and continuous history. And now also first begins that striving after primacy, present from the earliest times among its bishops and inherited from the political supremacy of “eternal Rome,” to be prosecuted with success in political and ecclesiastical quarters. Its history, for which biographies of the popes down to the end of the 9th century in the so-called Liber pontificalis (§ 90, 6) are most instructive sources, certainly always in need of critical sifting in a high degree, permits therefore and demands for our purposes at this point earnest and close consideration.

§ 46.3. From Melchiades to Julius I., A.D. 310 to A.D. 352.―At the time when Constantine’s conversion so completely changed the aspect of things Melchiades occupied the bishopric of Rome, A.D. 310 to A.D. 314. Even in A.D. 313 Constantine conferred on him as the chief bishop of the West the presidency of a clerical commission for inquiry into the Donatist schism (§ 63, 1). Under Sylvester I., A.D. 314 to A.D. 335, the Arian controversy broke out (§ 50), in which, however, he laid no claim to be an authority on either side. That by his legates, Vitus and Vincentius [Vincent], he presided at the first œcumenical Synod at Nicæa in A.D. 325 is a purely Romish fabrication; no contemporary and none of the older historians know anything of it. On account of the rise in Egypt of the Meletian schism (§ 41, 4) the 6th canon of the Council prescribes that the bishop of Alexandria “in accordance with the old customs shall have jurisdiction over Egypt, in Libya and in Pentapolis, since it is also according to old custom for the bishop of Rome to have such jurisdiction, as also the churches in Antioch and in the other provinces.” The Council, therefore, as Rufinus also and the oldest Latin collection of canons, the so-called Prisca, understand this canon, maintains that the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Roman chair extended not over all the West but only over the ten suburbicarian provinces belonging to the diocese of Rome according to Constantine’s division, i.e. over Middle and Southern Italy, with the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily. The bishop of Rome, however, was and continued by the wider development of the patriarchal constitution the sole patriarch in all the West. What more natural than that he should regard himself as the one patriarch over all the West? But, even as the only sedes apostolica of the West, Rome had already for a long time obtained a rank far beyond the limits of the Nicene canon. In doubtful cases application was made from all quarters of the West to Rome for instruction as to the genuine apostolic tradition, and the epistolary replies to such questions assumed even in the 4th century the tone of authoritative statements of the truth, epistolæ decretales. But down to A.D. 344 it was never attempted to claim the authority of Rome over the East in giving validity to any matter. In this year, however, the pressure of circumstances obliged the Council of Sardica (§ 50, 2), after most of the Eastern bishops had already withdrawn, to agree to hand over to the bishop of Rome, Julius I., A.D. 337-352, as a steadfast and consistent confessor of the orthodox faith in this age of ecclesiastical wavering, the right of receiving appeals from condemned bishops throughout the empire, and if he found them well supported, of appointing a new investigation by the bishops of the neighbouring province. But this decree affected only the person of Julius and was only the momentary makeshift of a hard-pressed minority. It therefore attracted no attention and was soon forgotten,―only Rome forgot it not.

§ 46.4. From Liberius to Anastasius, A.D. 352 to A.D. 402.―Julius’ successor Liberius,128 A.D. 352 to A.D. 366, maintained with equal steadfastness as his predecessor the confession of the orthodox Nicene faith, and was therefore banished by the Emperor Constantius in A.D. 355, who appointed as his successor the accommodating deacon Felix. But the members of the church would have nothing to do with the contemptible intruder, who moreover on the very day of the deportation of Liberius had solemnly sworn with the whole clergy of Rome to remain faithful to the exiled bishop. He succeeded indeed in drawing over to himself a considerable number of the clergy. The people, however, continued unfalteringly true to their banished bishop, and even after he had in A.D. 358 by signing a heretical creed (§ 50, 3) obtained permission to return, they received him again with unfeigned joy. It was the emperor’s wish that Liberius and Felix should jointly preside over the Roman church. But Felix was driven away by the people and could not again secure a footing among them. Liberius, who henceforth held his position in Rome as a Nicæan, amnestied those of the clergy who had fallen away. But the schism occasioned thereby in the church of Rome broke out with great violence after his death. A rigorist minority repudiated Damasus I., A.D. 366 to A.D. 384, who had been chosen as his successor by the majority, because he too at an earlier date had belonged to the oath-breaking party of Felix. This minority elected Ursinus as anti-bishop. Over this there were contentions that led to bloodshed. The party of Damasus attacked the church of Ursinus and one hundred and thirty-seven corpses were carried out. Valentinian III. now exiled Ursinus, and Gratian in A.D. 378 by an edict conferred upon Damasus the right of giving decision without appeal as party and judge in one person against all bishops and clergy involved in the schism. In consequence of this victory of Damasus as partisan of Felix there was now formed in Rome a tradition which has passed over into the lists of the popes and the martyrologies, in which Liberius figures as the adherent of a heretical emperor and a bloody persecutor of the true Nicene faith and Felix II. as the legitimate pope. He is also confounded with the martyr Felix who suffered under Maximian and was celebrated in song by Paulinus Nolanus, and is thus represented as a holy martyr.129 To the pontificate of Siricius, A.D. 384 to A.D. 398, the western church is indebted for the oldest extant papal decretals dating from A.D. 385 which contain a reply to various questions of the Spanish bishop couched quite in the hierarchical form and insisting in strong terms upon the binding obligation of clerical celibacy. Subsequently the same pope, burdened with “the care of all the churches,” feels himself obliged to issue an encyclical to all the churches of the West, denouncing the frequent neglect of existing ecclesiastical laws. In the Origenist controversy between Jerome and Rufinus (§ 51, 2) he favoured the latter;―whereas his successor, Anastasius, A.D. 398 to A.D. 402, took the side of Jerome.

§ 46.5. From Innocent I. to Zosimus, A.D. 402 to A.D. 418.―In consequence of the partition of the empire into an eastern and a western division in A.D. 364 (comp. § 42, 4), the claims of the Roman chair to ecclesiastical supremacy over the whole of the West were not only confirmed but also very considerably extended. For by this partition the western half of the empire included not only those countries which had previously been reckoned western, namely, Africa, Spain, Britain, Gaul and Italy, but also the prefecture of Illyricum (Greece, Thessaly, Macedonia, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Mœsia, Dacia) with its capital Thessalonica, and thus events played into the hands of those who pressed the patriarchal claims of Rome. Even when in A.D. 379 Eastern Illyria (Macedonia, Mœsia and Dacia) was attached to the Eastern empire, the Roman bishops continued still to regard it as belonging to their patriarchal domain. These claims were advanced with special emphasis and with corresponding success by Innocent I., A.D. 402 to A.D. 417. When in A.D. 402 he intimated to the archbishop of Thessalonica his elevation to the chair, he at the same time transferred to him as his representative the oversight of all the Illyrian provinces, and to his successor, in A.D. 412, he sent a formal document of installation as Roman vicar. Not only did he apply to the Roman chair that canon of the Council of Sardica which had referred only to the person of Julius, but in a decretal to a Gallic bishop he extended also the clearly circumscribed right of appeal on the part of condemned bishops into an obligation to submit all “causæ majores” to the decision of the apostolic see. From Africa a Carthaginian Synod in A.D. 404 sent messengers to Rome in order to secure its intercession with the emperor to put down the Donatists. From the East Theophilus of Alexandria and Chrysostom of Constantinople solicited the weighty influence of Rome in the Origenist controversy (§ 51, 3); and Alexander of Antioch (§ 50, 8) expresses the proud satisfaction he had, as only Western bishops had done before, in asking the Roman bishop’s advice on various constitutional and disciplinary matters. During the Pelagian controversy (§ 53, 4) the Palestinian Synod at Diospolis in A.D. 415 interceded with the Pope in favour of Pelagius accused of heresy in Africa; on the other hand the African Synods of Mileve and Carthage in A.D. 416 besieged him with the demand to give the sanction of his authority to their condemnation of the heretic. He took the side of the Anti-Pelagians, and Augustine could shower upon the heretics the pregnant words: Roma locuta ... causa finita.―The higher the authority of the Roman chair rose under Innocent, all the more painful to Rome must the humiliation have been, which his successor Zosimus, A.D. 417-418, called down upon it, when he, in opposition to his predecessor, took the part of Pelagius and his companion Cœlestius, and addressed bitter reproaches to the Africans for their treatment of him, but afterwards in consequence of their vigorous remonstrances and the interference of the emperor Honorius was obliged to withdraw his previous judgment and formally to condemn his quondam protegé. And when a deposed presbyter of Africa, Apiarius, sought refuge in Rome, the Council of Carthage in A.D. 418, in which Augustine also took part, made this an excuse for forbidding under threat of excommunication any appeal ad transmarina judicia. Zosimus indeed appealed to the canon of the Sardican Synod, which he quoted as Nicene; but the Africans, to whom that canon was quite unknown, only said that on this matter they must make inquiries among the Eastern churches.130

§ 46.6. From Boniface I. to Sixtus III., A.D. 419 to A.D. 440.―After the death of Zosimus, 26th Dec., 418, a minority of the clergy and the people, by the hasty election and ordination of the deacon Eulalius, anticipated the action of the majority who chose the presbyter Boniface. The recommendation of the city prefect Symmachus secured for the former the recognition of the Emperor Honorius; but the determined remonstrance of the majority moved him to convene a Synod at Ravenna in A.D. 419 for a final settlement of the dispute. When the bishops there assembled could not agree, he called a new Synod to meet at Spoleto at the approaching Easter festival, and ordered, so as to make an end of disturbances and tumults in the city, that both rivals should quit Rome until a decision had been reached. Eulalius, however, did not regard the injunction but pushed his way by force of arms into the city. The Emperor now banished him from Rome on pain of death, and at Spoleto the bishops decided in consequence of the moderation he had shown, to recognise Boniface I., A.D. 419 to A.D. 422, as bishop of Rome. His successor was Cœlestine I., A.D. 422 to A.D. 432. Apiarius, who meanwhile, because he professed repentance and besought forgiveness, had been restored, began anew to offend, was again deposed, and again obtained protection and encouragement at Rome. But an African Synod at Carthage energetically protested against Cœlestine’s interference, charging him with having often referred to a Nicene canon warranting the right of appeal to Rome which the most diligent inquiries among the churches of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch, had failed to discover. On the outbreak of the Nestorian controversy (§ 52, 3) two opponents again sued for the favour of the Roman league; first of all, Nestorius of Constantinople, because he professed to have given particular information about the Pelagian-minded bishops driven from Italy who sought refuge in Constantinople (§ 53, 4) and had immediately made a communication about the error of confounding the two natures of Christ which had recently sprung up in the East. The brotherly tone of this writing, free from any idea of subordination, found no response at Rome. The letters of Cyril of Alexandria proved more acceptable, filled as they were with cringing flatteries of the Roman chair and venomous invectives against the Constantinopolitan see and its occupier. Cœlestine unreservedly took the side of Cyril, commanded Nestorius under threat of deposition and excommunication within ten days to present to a Roman Synod, A.D. 420, a written retractation, and remitted to Cyril the carrying out of this judgment. To his legates at the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, he gave the instructions: Auctoritatem sedis apostolicæ custodire debere mandamus.... Ad disceptationem si fuerit ventum, vos de eorum sententiis judicare debetis, non subire certamen. The Council decided precisely according to Cœlestine’s wish. The proud Alexandrian patriarch had recognised Rome as the highest court of appeal; a Western educated at Rome, named Maximian, thoroughly submissive to Cœlestine, was, with the pope’s hearty approval, raised to the patriarchal see of Constantinople as successor of the deposed Nestorius; only John of Antioch opposed the decision. Cœlestine’s successor Sixtus III., A.D. 432 to A.D. 440, could already boast in A.D. 433 that he had put himself superior to the decrees of the Council, and in commemoration of the victory dedicated a beautiful church newly built to the mother of God, now called S. Maria Maggiore.131

§ 46.7. From Leo the Great to Simplicius, A.D. 440 to A.D. 483.Leo I., A.D. 440 to A.D. 461 (comp. § 47, 22), unquestionably up to that date the greatest of all the occupants of the Roman chair, was also the most powerful, the worthiest and most successful vindicator of its authority in the East as well as in the West; indeed he may be regarded as properly the founder of the Roman papacy as a universal episcopate with the full sanction of the civil power. Even the Western Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries, such as Hilary, Ambrose, Jerome and Augustine, as also Innocent I., had still interpreted the πέτρα of Matt. xvi. 18 partly of the confession of Peter, partly of the Person of Christ. First in the time of Cœlestine an attempt was made to refer it to the person of Peter. The legates of Cœlestine at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 had said: ὅστις, ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῦ διαδόχοις καὶ ζῇ καὶ δικάζει. Thus they claimed universal primacy as of immediately Divine authority. Leo I. adopted this view with all his soul. In the most determined and persistent way he carried it out in the West; then next in proconsular Africa which had so energetically protested in the times of Innocent and Cœlestine against Romish pretensions. When news came to him of various improprieties spreading there, he sent a legate to investigate, and in consequence of his report addressed severe censures which were submitted to without opposition. The right of African clerics to appeal to Rome was also henceforth unchallenged. In Gaul, however, Leo had still to maintain a hard struggle with Hilary, archbishop of Arles, who, arrogating to himself the right of a primacy of Gaul, had deposed Celedonius, bishop of Besontio, Besançon. But Leo took up his case and had him vindicated and restored by a Roman Synod. Hilary, who came himself to Rome, defied the Pope, escaped threatened imprisonment by secret flight, and was then deprived of his metropolitan rights. At the same time, in A.D. 445, Leo obtained from the young Emperor of the West, Valentinian III., a civil enactment which made every sort of resistance to the divinely established universal primacy of the Roman see an act of high treason.―In the East, too, Leo gained a higher position than had ever before been accorded to Rome on account of his moderation in the Eutychian controversy (§ 52, 4). Once again was Rome called in to mediate between the two conflicting parties. At the Robber-Synod of Ephesus in A.D. 449, under the presidency of the tyrannical Dioscurus of Alexandria, the legates of Leo were not, indeed, allowed to speak. But at the next œcumenical Council at Chalcedon in A.D. 451 his doctrine won a brilliant victory; even here, however, much objection was raised to his hierarchical pretensions. He demanded from the first the presidency for his legates, which, however, was assigned not to them, but to the imperial commissioners. The demand, too, for the expulsion of Dioscurus from the Synod, because he dared Synodum facere sine auctoritate sedis apostolicæ, quod mumquam licuit, numquem factum est, did not, at first at least, receive the answer required. When, notwithstanding the opposition of the legates the question of the relative ranks of the patriarchs was dealt with, they withdrew from the session and subsequently protested against the 28th canon agreed upon at that session with a reference to the 6th Nicene canon which in the Roman translation, i.e. forgery, began with the words: Ecclesia Romana semper habuit primatum. But the Council sent the Acts with a dutiful report to Rome for confirmation, whereupon Leo strictly repudiated the 28th canon, threatening the church of Constantinople with excommunication, and so finally gained his point. The emperor annulled it in A.D. 454, and Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople, was obliged to write a humble letter to Leo acquiescing in its erasure; but this did not prevent his successor from always maintaining its validity (§ 63, 2).―When the wild hordes of Attila, king of the Huns, spread terror and consternation by their approach, Leo’s priestly form appeared before him as a messenger of God, and saved Rome and Italy from destruction. Less successful was his priestly intercession with the Arian Vandal chief Genseric, whose army in A.D. 455 plundered, burnt and murdered throughout Rome for fourteen days; but all the more strikingly after his withdrawal did the pope’s ability display itself in restoring comfort and order amid scenes of unutterable destitution and confusion.

§ 46.8. From Felix III. to Boniface II., A.D. 483 to A.D. 532.―Under Leo’s second successor, the Rugian or Scyrrian Odoacer put an end to the West-Roman empire in A.D. 476 (§ 76, 6). As to the enactments of the Roman state, although himself an Arian, after seventeen years of a wise rule he left untouched the orthodox Roman church, and the Roman bishops could under him, as under his successor, the Ostrogoth Theodoric, also an Arian, from A.D. 493 to A.D. 526, more freely exercise their ecclesiastical functions than under the previous government, all the more as neither of these rulers resided in Rome but in Ravenna. Pope Felix III., A.D. 483 to A.D. 492, in opposition to the Byzantine ecclesiastical policy, which by means of the imperial authority had for quite a hundred years retarded the development of the orthodox doctrine (§ 52, 5), began a schism lasting for thirty-five years between East and West, from A.D. 484 to A.D. 519, which no suspicion of disloyal combination with the Western rulers can account for. On the appointment of Felix III. Odoacer assumed the right of confirming all elections of Popes, just as previously the West Roman emperors had claimed, and Rome submitted without resistance. The Gothic kings, too, maintained this right.―Gelasius I., A.D. 492 to A.D. 496 (comp. § 47, 22), ventured before the Emperor Anastasius I., in A.D. 493, to indicate the relation of Sacerdotium and Imperium according to the Roman conception, which already exhibits in its infant stage of development the mediæval theory of the two swords (§ 110, 1) and the favourite analogy of the sun and the moon (§ 96, 9). His peaceable successor Anastasius II., A.D. 496 to A.D. 498, entered into negotiations for peace with the Byzantine court; but a number of Roman fanatics wished on this account to have him cast out of the communion of the church, and saw in his early death a judgment of heaven upon his conduct. He has ever since been regarded as a heretic, and as such even Dante consigns him to a place in hell. After his death there was a disputed election between Symmachus, A.D. 498 to A.D. 514, and Laurentius. The schism soon degenerated into the wildest civil war, in which blood was shed in the churches and in the streets. Theodoric decided for Symmachus as the choice of the majority and the first ordained, but his opponents then charged him before the king as guilty of the gravest crimes. To investigate the charges brought against the bishop the king now convened at Rome a Synod of all the Italian bishops, Synodus palmaris of A.D. 502, so called from the porch of St. Peter’s Church adorned with palms, where it first met. As Symmachus on his way to it was met by a wild mob of his opponents and only narrowly escaped with his life, Theodoric insisted no longer on a regular proof of the charges against him. The bishops without any investigation freely proclaimed him their pope, and the deacon Eunodius of Pavia, known also as a hymn writer, commissioned by them to make an apology for their procedure, laid down the proposition that the pope who himself is judge over all, cannot be judged of any man. Bloody street fights between the two parties, however, still continued by day and night. Symmachus’ successor Hormisdas, A.D. 514 to A.D. 523, had the satisfaction of seeing the Byzantine court, in order to prepare the way for the winning back of Italy, seeking for reconciliation with the Western church, and in A.D. 519 submitting to the humbling conditions of restoration to church fellowship offered by the pope. A sharp edict of the West Roman emperor Justin II. against the Arians of his empire caused Theodoric to send an embassy in their favour to Constantinople, at the head of which stood John I., A.D. 523 to A.D. 526, with a threat of reprisals. The pope, however, seems rather to have utilized his journey for intrigues against the Italian government of the Goths, for after his return Theodoric caused him to be cast into prison, in which he died. He was succeeded by Felix IV. A.D. 526 to A.D. 530, after whose death the election was again disputed by two rivals. This schism, however, was only of short duration, since Dioscurus, the choice of the majority, died during the next month. His rival Boniface II., A.D. 530 to A.D. 532, a Goth by birth and favoured by the Ostrogoth government, applied himself with extreme severity to put down the opposing party.

§ 46.9. From John II. to Pelagius II., A.D. 532 to A.D. 590.―Meanwhile Justinian I. had been raised to the Byzantine throne, and his long reign from A.D. 527 to A.D. 565, was in many ways a momentous one for the fortunes of the Roman bishopric. The reconquest of Italy, from A.D. 536 to A.D. 553, by his generals Belisarius and Narses, and the subsequent founding of the Exarchate at Ravenna in A.D. 567, at the head of which a representative of the emperor, a so-called Roman patrician stood, freed the pope indeed from the control of the Arian Ostrogoths which since the restoration of ecclesiastical fellowship with the East had become oppressive, but it brought them into a new and much more serious dependence. For Justinian and his successors demanded from the Roman bishops as well as from the patriarchs of Constantinople unconditional obedience.―Agapetus I., A.D. 535 to A.D. 536, sent as peacemaker by the Goths to Constantinople, escaped the fate of John I. perhaps just because he suddenly died there. Under his successor Silverius, A.D. 536 to A.D. 537, Belisarius, in December, A.D. 536, made his entry into Rome, and in the March following he deposed the pope and sentenced him to banishment. This he did at the instigation of the Empress Theodora whose machinations in favour of Monophysitism had been already felt by Agapetus. Theodora had already designated the wretched Vigilius, A.D. 537 to A.D. 555, as his successor. He had purchased her favour by the promise of two hundred pounds of gold and acquiescence in the condemnation of the so-called three chapters (§ 52, 6) so eagerly desired by her. Owing to his cowardliness and want of character Africa, North Italy and Illyria shook off their allegiance to the Roman see and maintained their independence for more than half a century. Terrified by this disaster he partly retracted his earlier agreement with the empress, and Justinian sent him into exile. He submitted unconditionally and was forgiven, but died before reaching Rome. Pelagius I., A.D. 555 to A.D. 560, also a creature of Theodora, subscribed the agreement and so confirmed the Western schism which Gregory the Great first succeeded in overcoming.―The fantastic attempt of Justinian to raise his obscure birthplace Tauresium, the modern Bulgarian Achrida, to the rank of a metropolis as Justinianopolis or Prima Justiniana, and its bishop to the rank of patriarch with Eastern Illyria as his patriarchate, proved, notwithstanding the consent of Vigilius, a still-born child.

§ 46.10. From Gregory I. to Boniface V., A.D. 590 to A.D. 625.―After the papal chair had been held by three insignificant popes in succession Gregory the Great, A.D. 590 to A.D. 604 (comp. § 47, 22), was raised to the Apostolic see, the greatest, most capable, noblest, most pious and most superstitious in the whole long series of popes. He took the helm of the church at a time when Italy was reduced to the most terrible destitution by the savage and ruthless devastations of the Arian Longobards lasting over twenty years (§ 76, 8), and neither the emperor nor his exarch at Ravenna had the means of affording help. Gregory could not allow Italy and the church to perish utterly under these desperate circumstances, and so was compelled to assume the functions of civil authority. When the Longobards in A.D. 593 oppressed Rome to the uttermost there remained nothing for him but to purchase their withdrawal with the treasures of the church, and the peace finally concluded with them in A.D. 599 was his and not the exarch’s work. The exceedingly rich possessions of lands and goods, the so-called Patrimonium Petri, extending throughout all Italy and the islands, brought him the authority of a powerful secular prince far beyond the bounds of the Roman duchy, in comparison with which the rank of the exarch himself was insignificant. The Longobards too treated with him as an independent political power. Gregory, therefore, may rightly be regarded as the first founder of the temporal power of the Papacy on Italian soil. But all this as we can easily understand provoked no small dislike of the pope at Constantinople. The pope, on the other hand, was angry with the Emperor Maurice because he gave no consideration to his demand that the patriarch, Johannes Jejunator, should be prohibited from assuming the title Ἐπίσκοπος οἰκουμενικός. Gregory’s own position in regard to the primacy appears from his Epistles. He writes to the bishop of Syracuse: Si qua culpa in episcopis invenitur, nescio, quis Sedi apostolicæ subjectus non sit; cum vero culpa non existit, omnes secundum rationem humilitatis æquales sunt. And with this reservation it was certainly meant when he, in a letter to the patriarch of Alexandria, who had addressed him as “Universalis Papa,” most distinctly refused this title and readily conceded to the Alexandrian as well as to the Antiochean see, as of Petrine origin (the Antiochean directly, § 16, 1; the Alexandrian indirectly through Mark, § 16, 4), equal rank and dignity with that of Rome; and when he denounced as an anti-Christ every bishop who would raise himself above his fellow bishops. Thus he compared Johannes Jejunator to Lucifer who wished to exalt himself above all the angels. Gregory, on the other hand, in proud humility styled himself, as all subsequent popes have done, Servus servorum Dei. When he extolled the Frankish Jezebel Brunhilda [Brunehilda] (§ 77, 7), who had besought him to send her relics and at another time a pallium for a bishop, as an exemplary pious Christian woman and a wise ruler, he may, owing to the defective communication between Rome and Gaul, have had no authentic information about her doings and disposition. The memory of the otherwise noble-minded pope is more seriously affected by his conduct in reference to the emperor Phocas, A.D. 602 to A.D. 610, the murderer of the noble and just emperor Maurice, whom he congratulates upon his elevation to the throne, and makes all the angelic choirs of heaven and all tongues on earth break forth in jubilees and hymns of thanksgiving; but even here again, when he thus wrote, the news of his iniquities,―not only the slaughter of the emperor, but also of his queen, his five sons and three daughters, etc., by which this demon in human form cut his way to the throne,―may not have been known to him in their full extent.―Phocas, however, showed himself duly thankful, for at the request of pope Boniface III., A.D. 606 to A.D. 607, he refused to allow the patriarch of Constantinople to assume the title of Universal bishop, while at the same time he formally acknowledged the chair of Peter at Rome as Caput omnium ecclesiarum. To the next pope Boniface IV., A.D. 608 to A.D. 615, he presented the beautiful Pantheon at Rome, which from being a temple dedicated to Cybele, the mother of the gods, and to all the gods, he turned into a church of the mother of God and of all the martyrs.132

§ 46.11. From Honorius I. to Gregory III., A.D. 625 to A.D. 741.―For almost fifty years, from A.D. 633 under Honorius I., A.D. 625 to A.D. 638, the third successor of Boniface IV., the Monothelite controversy (§ 52, 8) continued its disastrous course. Honorius, a pious and peace-loving man, had seen nothing objectionable in this attempt of the Emperor Heraclius (A.D. 611 to A.D. 641) to win the numerous Monophysites back to the unity of the church by the concession of one will in the two natures of Christ, and was prepared to co-operate in the work. But the conviction grew more and more strong that the doctrine proposed in the interests of peace was itself heretical. All subsequent bishops of Rome therefore unanimously condemned as an accursed heresy (§ 52, 9), what their predecessor Honorius had agreed to and confessed. This explains how the exarch of Ravenna delayed for more than a year the confirmation of the election of the next pope, Severinus, A.D. 638 to A.D. 640, and granted it only in A.D. 640 as amends for his wholesale plundering of the treasury of the Roman church to supply his own financial deficiencies. In the time of Martin I., A.D. 649 to A.D. 653, the Emperor Constans II., A.D. 642 to A.D. 668, sought to make an end of the bitter controversy by the strict prohibition of any statement as to one will or two wills. The determined pope had to suffer for his opposition by severe imprisonment and still more trying banishment, in which he suffered from hunger and other miseries (A.D. 655). The new emperor Constantinus Pogonnatus, A.D. 668 to A.D. 685, finally recognised the indispensable necessity of securing reconciliation with the West. In A.D. 680, he convened an œcumenical Council at Constantinople at which the legates of the pope Agatho, A.D. 678 to A.D. 682, the fifth successor of Martin I., once more prescribed to the Greeks what should henceforth be regarded throughout the whole empire as the orthodox faith. The Council sent its Acts to Rome with the request that they might be confirmed, which Agatho’s successor, Leo II., A.D. 682 to A.D. 683, did, notwithstanding the condemnation therein very pointedly expressed of the heretical pope Honorius, which indeed he explicitly approved.―Once again in A.D. 686, the Roman church was threatened with a schism by a double election to the papal chair. This, however, was averted by the opposing electors, lay and clerical, agreeing to set aside both candidates and uniting together in the election of the Thracian Conon, A.D. 686 to A.D. 687. Precisely the same thing happened with a similar result on the death of Conon. The new candidate whom both parties agreed upon this time was Sergius I., A.D. 687 to A.D. 701, but he was obliged to purchase the exarch’s confirmation by a present of a hundred pounds of gold. His rejection of the conclusions of the second Trullan Council at Constantinople in A.D. 692 (§ 63, 2), which in various points disregarded the pretensions of Rome, brought him into conflict with the emperor Justinian II., A.D. 685 to A.D. 711. The result of this contest was to show that the power and authority of the pope in Italy were at this time greater than those of the emperor. When the emperor sent a high official to Rome with the order to bring the pope prisoner to Constantinople, almost the whole population of the exarchate gathered out in the pope’s defence. The Byzantine ambassador sought and obtained protection from the pope, under whose bed he crept, and was then allowed to quit Rome in safety, followed by the scorn and abuse of the people. Soon thereafter, in A.D. 695, Justinian was overthrown, and with slit ears and nose sent into exile. In A.D. 705, having been restored by the Bulgarian king, he immediately took fearful revenge upon the rebel inhabitants of Ravenna. Pope Constantine I., A.D. 708 to A.D. 715, intimidated by what he had seen, did not dare to refuse the imperial mandate which summoned him to Byzantium for the arrangement of ecclesiastical differences. With fear and trembling he embarked. But he succeeded in coming to an understanding with the emperor, who received and dismissed him with every token of respect. Under his successor, Gregory II., A.D. 715 to A.D. 731, the Byzantine iconoclast controversy (§ 66, 1) gave occasion to an almost complete rupture between the papacy and the Byzantine empire; and under Gregory III., A.D. 731 to A.D. 741, the papacy definitely withdrew from the Byzantine and put itself under the Frankish government. Down to the latest age of the exarchate of Ravenna the confirmation of papal elections by the emperor or his representative, the exarch, was always maintained, and only after it had been given was consecration allowed. This is proved both from the biographies of the papal books and from the relative formulæ of petition in the Liber diurnus Rom. Pontificum, a collection of formulæ for the performance of the most important acts in the service of the Romish Church made between A.D. 685 and A.D. 751. The election itself was in the hands of the three orders of the city (clerus, exercitus and populus).―Continuation § 82.


§ 47. The Theological Schools and their most celebrated Representatives.

The Ancient Church reached its highest glory during the 4th and 5th centuries. The number of theological schools properly so-called (§ 45, 1) was indeed small, and so the most celebrated theologians were self-taught in theology. But all the greater must the intellectual resources of this age have been and all the more powerful the general striving after culture, when the outward means, helps and opportunities for obtaining scientific training were so few. The middle of the 5th century, marked by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, may be regarded as the turning point where the greatest height in theological science and in other ecclesiastical developments was reached, and from this point we may date the beginnings of decline. After this the spirit of independent research gradually disappeared from the Eastern as well as from the Western Church. Political oppression, hierarchical exclusiveness, narrowing monasticism and encroaching barbarism choked all free scientific effort, and the industry of compilers took the place of fresh youthful intellectual production. The authority of the older church teachers stood so high and was regarded as binding in so eminent a degree that at the Councils argument was carried on almost solely by means of quotations from the writings of those fathers who had been recognised as orthodox.

§ 47.1. The Theological Schools and Tendencies:

  1. In the 4th and 5th centuries.―Since the time of the two Dionysiuses (§ 33, 7) the Alexandrian theology had been divided into two different directions which we may distinguish as the old and the new Alexandrian. The Old Alexandrian School held by the subordinationist view of Origen and strove to keep open to scientific research as wide a field as possible. Its representatives showed deep reverence for Origen but avoided his more eccentric speculations. Its latest offshoot was the Semiarianism with which it came to an end in the middle of the 4th century. This same free scientific tendency in theology was yet more decidedly shown in the Antiochean School. Although at first animated by the spirit which Origen had introduced into theology, its further development was a thoroughly independent one, departing from its original in many particulars. To the allegorical method of interpretation of the Origenist school it opposed the natural grammatico-historical interpretation, to its mystical speculation, clear positive thinking. Inquiry into the simple literal sense of holy scripture and the founding of a purely biblical theology were its tasks. Averse to all mysteries, it strove after a positive, rational conception of Christianity and after a construction of dogma by means of clear logical thought. Hence its dogmatic aim was pre-eminently the careful distinguishing of the divine and human in Christ and in Christianity, forming a conception of each by itself and securing especially in both due recognition of the human. The theology of the national East-Syrian Church, far more than that of the Antiochean or Græco-Syrian, was essentially bound down by tradition. It had its seminaries in the theological schools of Nisibis and Edessa. The oriental spirit was here displayed in an unrestricted manner; also a tendency to theosophy, mysticism and asceticism, a special productiveness in developing forms of worship and constitution, and withal doctrinal stability. In their exegesis the members of this school co-operated with the Antiocheans, though not so decidedly, in opposing the arbitrary allegorizing of the Origenist school, but their exegetical activity was not, as with the Antiocheans, scientific and critical but rather practical and homiletical. The New Alexandrian School was the prevailing one for the 4th century so far as Alexandrian culture was concerned. Its older representatives, at least, continued devotedly attached to Origen and favourable to the speculative treatment of Christian doctrine introduced by him. But they avoided his unscriptural extravagances and carried out consistently the ecclesiastical elements of his doctrine. By a firm acceptance of the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son they overcame the subordinationism of their master, and in this broke away from the old Alexandrian school and came into closer relations to the theology of the Western church. To the Antiochean school, however, they were directly opposed in respect of the delight they took in the mysteries of Christianity, and their disinclination to allow the reason to rule in theology. The union of the divine and human in Christ and in Christianity seemed to them a sublime, incomprehensible mystery, any attempt to resolve it being regarded as alike useless and profane. But in this way the human element became more and more lost to view and became absorbed in the divine. They energetically affirmed the inseparable union of the two, but thereby lost the consciousness of their distinctness and fell into the contrary error of Antiochean onesidedness. With Cyril of Alexandria the New Alexandrian school properly began to assume the form of a sect and to show symptoms of decay, although he himself retained the reputation of an orthodox teacher. The Western Theology of this period, as well as its North-African precursor (§ 31, 1011), energetically insisted upon the application of Christianity to the life, the development of the doctrines affecting this matter and the maintenance of the church system of doctrine as a strong protection against all wilfulness in doctrine. In it therefore the traditional theology finds its chief home. Still the points of contact with the East were so many and so vital that however much inclined to stability the West might be, it could not altogether remain unmoved and without enrichment from the theological movements of the age. Thus we distinguish in the West four different but variously inter-connected tendencies. First of all there is the genuinely Western, which is separated on the one hand in Tertullian and Cyprian, but on the other hand is variously influenced by the talented teachers of the New Alexandrian School, which continued to mould and dominate the cultured theology of the West. Its chief representatives are Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, and above all, Augustine, who completely freed the Latin theology from its hitherto prevailing dependence on the Greek, placing it now upon its own feet. The representatives of this tendency were at first in complete accord with the members of the New Alexandrian school in their opposition to the semi-Arian Origenists and the Nestorianizing Antiocheans, but then as that school itself drifted into the position of a heretical sect, they also decidedly contended for the other side of the truth which the Antiochean school maintained. A second group of Western theologians were inspired by the writings of Origen, without, however, abandoning the characteristics of the Western spirit. To this class belongs Jerome, who afterwards repudiated his master and joined the previously named school, and Rufinus. The third group of Pelagians represent the practical but cool rationalistic tendency of the West. The fourth is that of the semi-Pelagians who in the Western theology intermingle synergistic elements of an Antiochean complexion.
  2. Of the 6th and 7th Centuries.―The brilliant period of theological literature had now closed. There still were scholars who wrought laboriously upon the original contributions of the fathers, and reproduced the thoughts of their predecessors in a new shape suited to the needs of the time, but spirit and life, creative power and original productivity had well nigh disappeared. After the monophysite Johannes Philoponus of Alexandria had commented on the works of Aristotle and applied their categories to theology, the Platonic philosophy, hitherto on account of its ideal contents the favourite of all philosophizing church fathers, was more and more set aside by the philosophy of the Stagirite so richly developed on the formal side. The theology of the Greeks even at so early a date assumed to some extent the character of Scholasticism. Alongside of it, however, we have a theosophic mysticism which reverting from the tendency that had lately come into vogue to Neoplatonic ideas, drew its chief inspiration from the Pseudo-Dionysian writings. In the West, in addition to the general causes of decay, we have also the sufferings of the times amid the tumult of the migration of the nations. In Italy Boëthius and Cassiodorus won for themselves imperishable renown as the fosterers of classical and patristic studies in an age when these were in danger of being utterly forgotten. The series of Latin church fathers in the strict sense ends with Gregory the Great; that of Greek church fathers with Johannes Damascenus.


§ 47.2. The Most Celebrated Representative of the Old Alexandrian School is the father of Church History Eusebius Pamphili, i.e., the friend of Pamphilus (§ 31, 6), bishop of Cæsarea from A.D. 314 to A.D. 340. The favour of the emperor Constantine laid the imperial archives open to him for his historical studies. By his unwearied diligence as an investigator and collector he far excels all the church teachers of his age in comprehensive learning, to which we owe a great multitude of precious extracts from long lost writings of pagan and Christian antiquity. His style is jejune, dry and clumsy, sometimes bombastic. His Historical Writings supported on all sides by diligent research, want system and regularity, and suffer from disproportionate treatment and distribution of the material. To his Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία in 10 bks., reaching down to A.D. 324, he adds a highly-coloured biography of Constantine in 4 bks., which is in some respects a continuation of his history; and to it, again, he adds a fawning panegyric on the emperor.―At a later date he wrote an account of the Martyrs of Palestine during the Diocletian persecution which was afterwards added as an appendix to the 8th bk. of the History. A collection of old martyrologies, three bks. on the life of Pamphilus, and a treatise on the origin, celebration and history of the Easter festival, have all been lost. Of great value, especially for the synchronizing of biblical and profane history, was his diligently compiled Chronicle, Παντοδαπὴ ἱστορία, similar to that of Julius Africanus (§ 31, 3), an abstract of universal history reaching down to A.D. 352, to which chronological and synchronistic tables were added as a second part. The Greek original has been lost, but Jerome translated it into Latin, with arbitrary alterations, and carried it down to A.D. 378.―The Apologetical Writings take the second place in importance. Still extant are the two closely-connected works: Præparatio Evangelica, Εὐαγγελικὴ προπαρασκευή, in 15 bks., and the Demonstratio Evangelica, Εὐαγγελικὴ ἀπόδειξις, in 8 out of an original of 20 bks. The former proves the absurdity of heathenism; the latter, the truth and excellence of Christianity. A condensed reproduction of the contents and text of the Θεοφανεία in 5 bks. is found only in a Syriac translation. The Ἐκλογαὶ προφητικαί in 4 bks., of which only a portion is extant, expounds the Old Testament in an allegorizing fashion for apologetic purposes; and the treatise against Hierocles (§ 23, 3) contests his comparison of Christ with Apollonius of Tyana. A treatise in 30 bks. against Porphyry, and some other apologetical works are lost.―His Dogmatic Writings are of far less value. These treatises―Κατὰ Μαρκέλλου, in 2 bks., the one already named against Hierocles, and Περὶ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς θεολογίας, also against Marcellus (§ 50, 2)―are given as an Appendix in the editions of the Demonstratio Evangelica. On his share in Pamphilus’ Apology for Origen, see § 31, 6; and on his Ep. to the Princess Constantia, see § 57, 4. The weakness of his dogmatic productions was caused by his vacillating and mediating position in the Arian controversy, where he was the mouthpiece of the moderate semi-Arians (§ 50, 13), and this again was due to his want of speculative capacity and dogmatic culture.―Of his Exegetical Writings the Commentaries on Isaiah and the Psalms are the most complete, but of the others we have only fragments. We have, however, his Τοπικά in the Latin translation of Jerome: De Situ et Nominibus Locorum Hebraeorum.133

§ 47.3. Church Fathers of the New Alexandrian School.

  1. The most conspicuous figure in the church history of the 4th century is Athanasius, styled by an admiring posterity Pater orthodoxiæ. He was indeed every inch of him a church father, and the history of his life is the history of the church of his times. His life was full of heroic conflict. Unswervingly faithful, he was powerful and wise in building up the church; great in defeat, great in victory. His was a life in which insight, will and action, earnestness, force and gentleness, science and faith, blended in most perfect harmony. In A.D. 319 he was a deacon in Alexandria. His bishop Alexander soon discovered the eminent gifts of the young man and took him with him to the Council of Nicæa in A.D. 325, where he began the battle of his life. Soon thereafter, in A.D. 328, Alexander died and Athanasius became his successor. He was bishop for forty-five years, but was five times driven into exile. He spent about twenty years in banishment, mostly in the West, and died in A.D. 373. His writings are for the most part devoted to controversy against the Arians (§ 50, 6); but he also contested Apollinarianism (§ 52, 1), and vindicated Christianity against the attacks of the heathens in the pre-Arian treatise in two bks. Contra Gentes, Κατὰ Ἑλλήνων, the first bk. of which argues against heathenism, while the second expounds the necessity of the incarnation of God in Christ. For a knowledge of his life and pastoral activity the Librî paschales, Festal letters (§ 56, 3), are of great value.134 Of less importance are his exegetical, allegorical writings on the Psalms. His dogmatic, apologetical and polemical works are all characterized by sharp dialectic and profound speculation, and afford a great abundance of brilliant thoughts, skilful arguments and discussions on fundamental points in a style as clear as it is eloquent; but we often miss systematic arrangement of the material, and they suffer from frequent repetition of the same fundamental thoughts, defects which, from the circumstances of their composition, amid the hot combats of his much agitated life, may very easily be understood and excused.135

§ 47.4. (The Three Great Cappadocians.)

  1. Basil the Great, bishop of his native city of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, is in very deed a “kingly” figure in church history. His mother Emmelia and his grandmother Macrina early instilled pious feelings into his youthful breast. Studying at Athens, a friendship founded on love to the church and science soon sprang up between him and his likeminded countryman Gregory Nazianzen, and somewhat later his own brother Gregory of Nyssa became an equally attached member of the fraternity. After he had visited the most celebrated ascetics in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, he continued long to live in solitude as an ascetic, distributed his property among the poor, and became presbyter in A.D. 364, bishop in A.D. 370. He died in A.D. 379. The whole rich life of the man breathed of the faith that overcometh the world, of self-denying love and noble purpose. He gave the whole powers of his mind to the holding together of the Catholic church in the East during the violent persecution of the Arian Valens. The most beautiful testimony to his noble character was the magnificent Basil institute, a hospital in Cæsarea, to which he, while himself living in the humblest manner, devoted all his rich revenues. His writings, too, entitle Basil to a place among the most distinguished church fathers. They afford evidence of rich classical culture as well as of profound knowledge of Scripture and of human nature, and are vigorous in expression, beautiful and pictorial in style. In exegesis he follows the allegorical method. Among his dogmatic writings the following are the most important: Ll. 5 Adv. Eunomium (§ 50, 3) and De Spiritu s. ad Amphilochium against the Pneumatomachians (§ 50, 5). The other writings bearing his name comprise 365 Epistles, moral and ascetic tractates, Homilies on the Hexæmeron and 13 Psalms, and Discourses (among them, Πρὸς τοὺς νέους, ὁπως ἂν ἐξ ἑλληνικῶν ὠφελοῖντο λόγων), a larger and a short Monastic rule, and a Liturgy.136
  2. Gregory Nazianzen was born in the Cappadocian village Arianz. His father Gregory, in his earlier days a Hypsistarian (§ 42, 6), but converted by his pious wife Nonna, became bishop of Nazianzum [Nazianzen]. The son, after completing his studies in Cæsarea, Alexandria and Athens, spent some years with Basil in his cloister in Pontus, but, when his father allowed himself to be prevailed upon to sign an Arianizing confession, he hasted to Nazianzum [Nazianzen], induced him to retract, and was there and then suddenly and against his will ordained by him a presbyter in A.D. 361. From that time, always vacillating between the desire for a quiet contemplative ascetic life and the impulse toward ecclesiastical official activity, easily attracted and repelled, not without ambition, and so sometimes irritable and out of humour, he led a very changeful life, which prevented him succeeding in one definite calling. Basil transferred to him the little bishopric of Sasima; but Gregory fled thence into the wilderness to escape the ill-feelings stirred up against him. He was also for a long time assistant to his father in the bishopric of Nazianzum [Nazianzen]. He withdrew, however, in A.D. 375, when the congregation in spite of his refusal appointed him successor to his father. Then the small, forsaken company of Nicene believers in Constantinople called him to be their pastor. He accepted the call in A.D. 379, and delivered here in a private chapel, which he designated by the significant name of Anastasia, his celebrated five discourses on the divinity of the Logos, which won for him the honourable title of ὁ θεόλογος. He was called thence by Theodosius the Great in A.D. 380 to be patriarch of the capital, and had assigned to him the presidency of the Synod of Constantinople in A.D. 381. But the malice of his enemies forced him to resign. He returned now to Nazianzum [Nazianzen], administered for several years the bishopric there, and died in A.D. 390 in rural retirement, without having fully realised the motto of his life: Πράξις ἐπίβασις θεωρίας. His writings consist of 45 Discourses, 242 Epistles, and several poems (§ 48, 5). After the 5 λόγοι θεολογικοί and the Λόγος περὶ φυγῆς (a justification of his flight from Nazianzum [Nazianzen] by a representation of the eminence and responsibility of the priesthood), the most celebrated are two philippics, Λόγοι στηλιτευτικοί (στηλίτευσις=the mark branded on one at the public pillory), Invectivæ in Julianum Imperatorem, occasioned by Julian’s attempt to deprive the Christians of the means of classical culture.137
  3. Gregory of Nyssa was the younger brother of Basil. In philosophical gifts and scientific culture he excelled his two elder friends. His theological views too were rooted more deeply than theirs in those of Origen. But in zeal in controverting Arianism he was not a whit behind them, and his reputation among contemporaries and posterity is scarcely less than theirs. Basil ordained him bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, and thus, not without resistance, took him away from the office of a teacher of eloquence. The Arians, however, drove him from his bishopric, to which he was restored only after the death of the Emperor Valens. He died in A.D. 394. He took his share in the theological controversies of his times and wrote against Eunomius and Apollinaris. His dogmatic treatises are full of profound and brilliant thoughts, and especially the Λόγος κατηχητικὸς ὁ μέγας, an instruction how to win over Jews and Gentiles to the truth of Christianity; Περὶ ψυχῆς καὶ ἀναστάσεως, conversations between him and his sister Macrina after the death of their brother Basil, one of his most brilliant works; Κατὰ εἱμαρμένης, against the fatalistic theory of the world of paganism; Πρὸς Ἕλληνας ἐκ τῶν κοινῶν ἐννοίων, for the establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity on principles of reason. In his numerous exegetical writings he follows the allegorical method in the brilliant style of Origen. We also have from him some ascetical tracts, several sermons and 26 Epistles.

§ 47.5.

  1. Apollinaris, called the Younger, to distinguish him from his father of the same name, was a contemporary of Athanasius, and bishop of Laodicea. He died in A.D. 390. A fine classical scholar and endowed with rich poetic gifts, he distinguished himself as a defender of Christianity against the attacks of the heathen philosopher Porphyry (§ 23, 3) and also as a brilliant controversialist against the Arians; but he too went astray when alongside of the trinitarian question he introduced those Christological speculations that are now known by his name (§ 52, 1). That we have others of his writings besides the quotations found in the treatises of his opponents, is owing to the circumstance that several of them were put into circulation by his adherents under good orthodox names in order to get impressed upon the views developed therein the stamp of orthodoxy. The chief of these is Ἡ κατὰ μέρος (i.e. developed bit by bit) πίστις, which has come down to us under the name of Gregory Thaumaturgus (§ 31, 6). Theodoret quotes passages from it and assigns them to Apollinaris, and its contents too are in harmony with this view. So too with the tract Περὶ τῆς σαρκώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου, De Incarnatione Verbi, ascribed to Athanasius, which a scholar of Apollinaris, named Polemon, with undoubted accuracy ascribed to his teacher. That Cyril of Alexandria ascribes this last-named tract to Athanasius may be taken as proof of the readiness of the Monophysites and their precursor Cyril to pass off the false as genuine (§ 52, 2). To Apollinaris belong also an Epistle to Dionysius attributed to Julius, bishop of Rome (§ 50, 2) and a tract, attributed to the same, Περὶ τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ἑνότητος τοῦ σώματος πρὸς τὴν θεότητα, which were also assigned to Apollinaris by his own scholars. Finally, the Pseudo-Justin Ἔκθεσις τῆς πίστεως ἤτοι περὶ τριάδος seems to be a reproduction of a treatise of Apollinaris’ Περὶ τριάδος, supposed to be lost, enlarged with clumsy additions and palmed off in this form under the venerated name of Justin Martyr.
  2. Didymus the Blind lost his sight when four years of age, but succeeded in making wonderful attainments in learning. He was for fifty years Catechist in Alexandria, and as such the last brilliant star in the catechetical school. He died in A.D. 395. An enthusiastic admirer of Origen, he also shared many of his eccentric views, e.g. Apocatastasis, pre-existence of the soul, etc. But also in consequence of the theological controversies of the times he gave to his theology a decidedly ecclesiastical turn. His writings were numerous; but only a few have been preserved. His book De Spiritu S. is still extant in a Latin translation of Jerome; his controversial tract against the Manichæans is known only from fragments. His chief work De S. Trinitate, Περὶ τριάδος, in 3 bks., in which he showed himself a vigorous defender of the Nicene Creed, was brought to light in the 18th century. A commentary on the Περὶ ἀρχῶν of Origen now lost, was condemned at the second Council of Nicæa in A.D. 787.

§ 47.6.

  1. Macarius Magnes, bishop of Magnesia in Asia Minor about A.D. 403, under the title Μονογενὴς ἢ Ἀποκριτικός, etc., wrote an apology for Christianity in 5 bks., only recovered in A.D. 1867, which takes the form of an account of a disputation with a heathen philosopher. Doctrinally it has a strong resemblance to the works of Gregory of Nyssa. The material assigned to the opponent is probably taken from the controversial tract of Porphyry (§ 23, 3).
  2. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, was the nephew, protegé and, from A.D. 412, also the successor of Theophilus (§ 51, 3). The zealous and violent temper of the uncle was not without an injurious influence upon the character of the nephew. At the Synodus ad Quercum in A.D. 403, he voted for the condemnation of Chrysostom, but subsequently, on further consideration, he again of his own accord entered upon the diptyche (§ 59, 6) of the Alexandrian church the name of the disgracefully persecuted man. In order to revenge himself upon the Jews by whom in a popular tumult Christian blood had been shed, he came down upon them at the head of a mob, drove them out of the city and destroyed their houses. He also bears no small share of the odium of the horrible murder of the noble Hypatia (§ 42, 4). He shows himself equally passionate and malevolent in the contest with the Nestorians and the Antiocheans (§ 52, 3), and to this controversy many of his treatises, as well as 87 epistles, are almost entirely devoted. The most important of his writings is Πρὸς τὰ τοῦ ἐν ἀθέοις Ἰουλιανοῦ (§ 42, 5). He systematically developed in almost scholastic fashion the dogma of the Trinity in his Thesaurus de S. Consubstantiali Trinitate; and in a briefer and more popular form, in two short tracts. As a preacher he was held in so high esteem, that, as Gennadius relates, Greek bishops learnt his homilies by heart and gave them to their congregations instead of compositions of their own. His 30 Λόγοι ἑορταστικοί, Homiliæ paschales, delivered at the Easter festivals observed in Alexandria (§ 56, 3), in unctuous language expatiate upon the burning questions of the day, mostly polemical against Jews, heathens, Arians and Nestorians. His commentaries on the books of the Old and New Testaments illustrate the extreme arbitrariness of the typical-allegorical method.138 The treatise Περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθείᾳ προσκυνήσεως gives a typical exposition of the ceremonial law of Moses, and his Γλαφυρά contain “ornate and elegant,” i.e. typical-allegorical, expositions of selected passages from the Pentateuch.
  3. Isidore of Pelusium, priest and abbot of a monastery at Pelusium in Egypt, who died about A.D. 450, was one of the noblest, most gifted and liberal representatives of monasticism of his own and of all times. A warm supporter of the new Alexandrian system of doctrine but also conciliatory and moderate in his treatment of the persons of opponents, while firm and decided in regard to the subject in debate, he most urgently entreats Cyril to moderation. His writings Contra Gentiles and Contra Fatum are lost; but his still extant 2,012 Epistles in 5 bks. afford a striking evidence of the richness of his intellect and of his culture, as well as of the great esteem in which he was held and of his far-reaching influence. His exegesis, too, which always inclines to a simple literal sense, is of far greater importance than that of the other Alexandrians.

§ 47.7. (Mystics and Philosophers.)

  1. Macarius the Great or the Elder, monk and priest in the Scetic desert, was exiled by the Arian Emperor Valens on account of his zeal for Nicene orthodoxy. He died in A.D. 391. From his writings, consisting of 50 Homilies, a number of Apophthegms, some epistles and prayers, there is breathed forth a deep warm mysticism with various approaches to Augustine’s soteriological views, while other passages seem to convey quite a Pelagian type of doctrine.
  2. Marcus Eremita, a like-minded younger contemporary of the preceding, lived about A.D. 400 as an inhabitant of the Scetic desert. We possess of his writings only nine tracts of an ascetic mystical kind, the second of which, bearing the title Περὶ τῶν οἰομένων ἐξ ἔργων δικαιοῦσθαι, has secured for them a place in the Roman Index with the note “Caute legenda.” However even in his mysticism contradictory views, Augustinian and Pelagian, in regard to human freedom and divine grace, on predestination and sanctification, etc., find a place alongside one another, and have prominence given them according to the writer’s humour and the requirement of his meditation or exhortation.
  3. Synesius of Cyrene,139 subsequently bishop of Ptolemais in Egypt, was a disciple of the celebrated Hypatia (§ 42, 4) and an enthusiastic admirer of Plato. He died about A.D. 420. A happy husband and father, in comfortable circumstances and devoted to the study of philosophy, he could not for a long time be prevailed upon to accept a bishopric. He openly confessed his Origenistic heterodoxy in reference to the resurrection doctrine, the eternity of the world, as well as the pre-existence of the soul. He also publicly declared that as bishop he would continue the marriage relation with his wife, and no one took offence thereat. In the episcopal office he distinguished himself by noble zeal and courage which knew no fear of man. His 10 Hymns contain echoes of Valentinian views (§ 27, 4), and his philosophical tracts are only to a small extent dominated by Christian ideas. His 155 Epistles are more valuable as illustrating on every hand his noble character.
  4. Nemesius, Bishop of Emesa in Phœnicia, lived in the first half of the 5th century. He left behind a brilliant treatise on religious philosophy, Περὶ φύσεως ἀνθρώπου. The traditional doctrine of the Eastern church is unswervingly set forth by him; still he too finds therein a place for the eternity of the world, the pre-existence of the soul, a migration of souls (excluding, however, the brute creation), the unconditional freedom of the will, etc.
  5. Æneas of Gaza, a disciple of the Neo-Platonist Hierocles and a rhetorician in Alexandria, about A.D. 437 wrote a dialogue directed against the Origenistic doctrines of the eternity of the world and the pre-existence of the soul; as also against the Neo-Platonic denial of the resurrection of the body. It bore the title: Θεόφραστος.

§ 47.8. The Antiocheans.

  1. Eusebius of Emesa was born at Edessa and studied in Cæsarea and Antioch. A quiet, peaceful scholar, and one who detested all theological wrangling, he declined the call to the Alexandrian bishopric in place of the deposed Athanasius in A.D. 341, but accepted the obscure bishopric of Emesa. He was not, however, to be left here. When, on account of his mathematical and astronomical attainments, the people there suspected him of sorcery, he quitted Emesa and from that date till his death in A.D. 360 taught in Antioch. Of his numerous exegetical, dogmatical and polemical writings only a few fragments are extant.
  2. Diodorus of Tarsus, a scholar of the preceding, monk and presbyter at Antioch, was afterwards bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia, and died in A.D. 394. Only a few fragments of his numerous writings survive. As an exegete he concerned himself with the plain grammatico-historical sense and contested the Alexandrian mode of interpretation in the treatise: Τίς διαφορὰ θεωρίας καὶ ἀλληγορίας. By θεωρία he understands insight into the relations transcending the bare literal sense but yet essentially present in it as the ideal. By his polemic against Apollinaris (§ 52, 1), he imprinted upon the Antiochean school its specific dogmatic character (§ 52, 2), in consequence of which he was at a later period regarded as the original founder of the Nestorian party.
  3. His scholar again was John of Antioch, whose proper name afterwards almost disappeared before the honourable title of Chrysostom. Educated by his early widowed mother Arethusa with the greatest care, he attended the rhetoric school of Libanius and started with great success as an advocate in Antioch. But after receiving baptism he abandoned his practice and became a monk. He was made deacon in A.D. 380 and presbyter in A.D. 386 in his native city. His brilliant eloquence raised him at last in A.D. 398 to the patriarchal chair at Constantinople (§ 51, 3). He died in exile in A.D. 407. Next to Athanasius and the three Cappadocians he is one of the most talented of the Eastern fathers, the only one of the Antiochean school whose orthodoxy has never been questioned. In his exegesis he follows the fundamental principles of the Antiochean school. He wrote commentaries on Isaiah (down to chap. viii. 10) and on Galatians. Besides these his 650 Expository Homilies on all the Biblical books and particular sections cover almost the whole of the Old and New Testaments. Among his other dogmatical, polemical and hortatory church addresses the most celebrated are the 21 De Statuis ad populum Antiochen, delivered in A.D. 387. (The people of Antioch, roused on account of the exorbitant tax demanded of them, had broken down the statues of Theodosius I.) The Demonstratio c. Julianum et Gentiles quod Christus sit Deus and the Liber in S. Babylam c. Judæos et Gentiles are apologetical treatises. Of his ethico-ascetic writings, in which he eagerly commends virginity and asceticism, by far the most celebrated is Περὶ ἱερωσύνης, De Sacerdotis, in 4 bks., in the form of a dialogue with his Cappadocian friend Basil (the Great) who in A.D. 370 had felt compelled to accept the bishopric of Cæsarea after Chrysostom had escaped this honour by flight.140

§ 47.9.

  1. Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia, was the son of respectable parents in Antioch, the friend and fellow-student of Chrysostom, first under Libanius, then under Diodorus. He died in A.D. 429. It was he who gave full development and consistent expression to the essential dogmatic and hermeneutical principles of the Antiochean theology. For this reason he was far more suspected of heresy by his Alexandrian opponents than even his teacher Diodorus, and they finally obtained their desire by the formal condemnation of his person and writings at the fifth œcumenical Synod in A.D. 553 (§ 52, 6). Leontius Byzantinus formulated his exegetical offence by saying that in his exposition he treated the Holy Scriptures precisely as ordinary human writings, especially that he interpreted the Song of Songs as a love poem, libidinose pro sua et mente et lingua meretricia, explained the Psalms after the manner of the Jews till he emptied them dry of all Messianic contents, Judaice ad Zorobabelem et Ezechiam retulit, denied the genuineness of the titles of the Psalms, rejected the canonical authority of Job, the Chronicles and Ezra as well as James and other Catholic Epistles, etc. In every respect Theodore was one of the ablest exegetes of the ancient church and the Syrian church has rightly celebrated him as the “Interpres” par excellence. He set forth his hermeneutical principles in the treatise: De Allegoria et Historia. Of his exegetical writings we have still his Comm. on the Minor Prophets, on Romans, fragments of those on other parts of the New Testament. Latin translations of his Comm. on the Minor Epp. of Paul, with the corresponding Greek fragments, are edited by Swete, 2 vols., Cambr., 1880, 1882. An introduction to Biblical Theology collected from Theodore’s writings and reproduced in a Latin form by Junilius Africanus (§ 48, 1) is still extant. His dogmatic, polemical and apologetical works on the Incarnation and Original Sin (§ 53, 4), against Eunomius (§ 50, 3), Apollinaris (§ 52, 1) and the Emperor Julian (§ 42, 5), are now known only from a few fragmentary quotations.
  2. Polychronius, bishop of Apamea, was Theodore’s brother and quite his equal in exegetical acuteness and productivity, while he excelled him in his knowledge of the Hebrew and Syriac. Tolerably complete scholia by him on Ezekiel, Daniel and Job have been preserved in the Greek Catenæ (§ 48, 1). In regard to Daniel he maintains firmly its historical character and understands chap. vii. of Antiochus Epiphanes.
  3. Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus in Syria, was Theodore’s ablest disciple, the most versatile scholar and most productive writer of his age, an original investigator and a diligent pastor, an upright and noble character and a man who kept the just mean amid the extreme tendencies of his times,―yet even he could not escape the suspicion of heresy (§ 52, 346). He died in A.D. 457. As an exegete he followed the course of grammatico-historical exposition marked out by his Antiochean predecessors, but avoided the rationalistic tendencies of his teacher. He commented on most of the historical books of the Old Testament, on the Prophets, the Song, which he understood allegorically of the church as the bride of Christ, and on the Pauline Epistles. Among his historical works the first place belongs to his continuation of the history of Eusebius (§ 5, 1). His Φιλόθεος ἱστορία, Hist. religiosa, gives a glowing description of the lives of 33 celebrated ascetics of both sexes. Of higher value is the Αἱρετικῆς κακομυθίας ἐπιτομή, Hæreticarum fabularum compendium. His Ἑλληνικῶν θεραπευτικὴ παθημάτων, De Curandis Græcorum Affectionibus, is an apologetical treatise. His seven Dialogues De s. Trinitate are polemics against the Macedonians and Apollinarians. The Reprehensio xii. Anathematismorum is directed against Cyril of Alexandria; and the Ἐρανιστὴς ἤτοι Πολύμορφος against monophysitism as a heresy compounded of many heresies (§ 52, 4). Besides these we have from him 179 Epistles.141

§ 47.10. Other Teachers of the Greek Church during the 4th and 5th Centuries.

  1. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem