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Title: History of Dogma, Volume 1 (of 7)

Author: Adolph Harnack

Translator: Neil Buchanan

Release Date: October 24, 2006 [EBook #19612]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Το δογματος ονομα της ανθρωπινης εχεται βουλης τε και γνωμης. 'Οτι δε τουθ' 'ουτος εχει, μαρτυρει μεν 'ικανως 'η δογματικη των ιατρων τεχνη, μαρτυρει δε και τα των φιλοσοφων καλουμενα δογματα. 'Οτι δε και τα συνκλητο δοξαντα ετι και νυν δογματα συνκλητου λεγεται, ουδενα αγνοειν οιμαι.
Die Christliche Religion hat nichts in der Philosophie zu thun, Sie ist ein machtiges Wesen für sich, woran die gesunkene und leidende Menschheit von Zeit zu Zeit sich immer wieder emporgearbeitet hat, und indem man ihr diese Wirkung zugesteht, ist sie über aller Philosophie erhaben und bedarf von ihr keine Stütze.
Gesprache mit GOETHE von ECKERMANN,
2 Th p 39.











Ein theologisches Buch erhält erst dadurch einen Platz in der Weltlitteratur, dass es Deutsch und Englisch gelesen werden kann. Diese beiden Sprachen zusammen haben auf dem Gebiete der Wissenschaft vom Christenthum das Lateinische abgelöst. Es ist mir daher eine grosse Freude, dass mein Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte in das Englische übersetzt worden ist, und ich sage dem Uebersetzer sowie den Verlegern meinen besten Dank.

Der schwierigste Theil der Dogmengeschichte ist ihr Anfang, nicht nur weil in dem Anfang die Keime für alle späteren Entwickelungen liegen, und daher ein Beobachtungsfehler beim Beginn die Richtigkeit der ganzen folgenden Darstellung bedroht, sondern auch desshalb, weil die Auswahl des wichtigsten Stoffs aus der Geschichte des Urchristenthums und der biblischen Theologie ein schweres Problem ist. Der Eine wird finden, dass ich zu viel in das Buch aufgenommen habe, und der Andere zu wenig—vielleicht haben Beide recht; ich kann dagegen nur anführen, dass sich mir die getroffene Auswahl nach wiederholtem Nachdenken und Experimentiren auf's Neue erprobt hat.

Wer ein theologisches Buch aufschlägt, fragt gewöhnlich zuerst nach dem "Standpunkt" des Verfassers. Bei geschichtlichen Darstellungen sollte man so nicht fragen. Hier handelt es sich darum, ob der Verfasser einen Sinn hat für den Gegenstand den er darstellt, ob er Originales und Abgeleitetes zu unterscheiden versteht, ob er seinen Stoff volkommen kennt, ob er sich der Grenzen des geschichtlichen Wissens bewusst ist, und ob er wahrhaftig ist. Diese Forderungen enthalten den kategorischen Imperativ für den Historiker; aber nur indem man rastlos an sich selber arbeitet, sind sie zu erfullen,—so ist jede geschichtliche Darstellung eine ethische Aufgabe. Der Historiker soll in jedem Sinn treu sein: ob er das gewesen ist, darnach soll mann fragen.

Berlin, am 1. Mai, 1894.



No theological book can obtain a place in the literature of the world unless it can be read both in German and in English. These two languages combined have taken the place of Latin in the sphere of Christian Science. I am therefore greatly pleased to learn that my "History of Dogma" has been translated into English, and I offer my warmest thanks both to the translator and to the publishers.

The most difficult part of the history of dogma is the beginning, not only because it contains the germs of all later developments, and therefore an error in observation here endangers the correctness of the whole following account, but also because the selection of the most important material from the history of primitive Christianity and biblical theology is a hard problem. Some will think that I have admitted too much into the book, others too little. Perhaps both are right. I can only reply that after repeated consideration and experiment I continue to be satisfied with my selection.

In taking up a theological book we are in the habit of enquiring first of all as to the "stand-point" of the Author. In a historical work there is no room for such enquiry. The question here is, whether the Author is in sympathy with the subject about which he writes, whether he can distinguish original elements from those that are derived, whether he has a thorough acquaintance with his material, whether he is conscious of the limits of historical knowledge, and whether he is truthful. These requirements constitute the categorical imperative for the historian: but they can only be fulfilled by an unwearied self-discipline. Hence every historical study is an ethical task. The historian ought to be faithful in every sense of the word; whether he has been so or not is the question on which his readers have to decide.

Berlin, 1st May, 1894.



The task of describing the genesis of ecclesiastical dogma which I have attempted to perform in the following pages, has hitherto been proposed by very few scholars, and, properly speaking, undertaken by one only. I must therefore crave the indulgence of those acquainted with the subject for an attempt which no future historian of dogma can avoid.

At first I meant to confine myself to narrower limits, but I was unable to carry out that intention, because the new arrangement of the material required a more detailed justification. Yet no one will find in the book, which presupposes the knowledge of Church history so far as it is given in the ordinary manuals, any repertory of the theological thought of Christian antiquity. The diversity of Christian ideas, or of ideas closely related to Christianity, was very great in the first centuries. For that very reason a selection was necessary; but it was required, above all, by the aim of the work. The history of dogma has to give an account, only of those doctrines of Christian writers which were authoritative in wide circles, or which furthered the advance of the development; otherwise it would become a collection of monographs, and thereby lose its proper value. I have endeavoured to subordinate everything to the aim of exhibiting the development which led to the ecclesiastical dogmas, and therefore have neither, for example, communicated the details of the gnostic systems, nor brought forward in detail the theological ideas of Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, etc. Even a history of Paulinism will be sought for in the book in vain. It is a task by itself, to trace the aftereffects of the theology of Paul in the post-Apostolic age. The History of Dogma can only furnish fragments here; for it is not consistent with its task to give an accurate account of the history of a theology the effects of which were at first very limited. It is certainly no easy matter to determine what was authoritative in wide circles at the time when dogma was first being developed, and I may confess that I have found the working out of the third chapter of the first book very difficult. But I hope that the severe limitation in the material will be of service to the subject. If the result of this limitation should be to lead students to read connectedly the manual which has grown out of my lectures, my highest wish will be gratified.

There can be no great objection to the appearance of a text-book on the history of dogma at the present time. We now know in what direction we have to work; but we still want a history of Christian theological ideas in their relation to contemporary philosophy. Above all, we have not got an exact knowledge of the Hellenistic philosophical terminologies in their development up to the fourth century. I have keenly felt this want, which can only be remedied by well-directed common labour. I have made a plentiful use of the controversial treatise of Celsus against Christianity, of which little use has hitherto been made for the history of dogma. On the other hand, except in a few cases, I have deemed it inadmissible to adduce parallel passages, easy to be got, from Philo, Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Porphyry, etc.; for only a comparison strictly carried out would have been of value here. I have been able neither to borrow such from others, nor to furnish it myself. Yet I have ventured to submit my work, because, in my opinion, it is possible to prove the dependence of dogma on the Greek spirit, without being compelled to enter into a discussion of all the details.

The Publishers of the Encyclopædia Britannica have allowed me to print here, in a form but slightly altered, the articles on Neoplatonism and Manichæism which I wrote for their work, and for this I beg to thank them.

It is now eighty-three years since my grandfather, Gustav Ewers, edited in German the excellent manual on the earliest history of dogma by Münter, and thereby got his name associated with the history of the founding of the new study. May the work of the grandson be found not unworthy of the clear and disciplined mind which presided over the beginnings of the young science.

Giessen, 1st August, 1885.


In the two years that have passed since the appearance of the first edition I have steadily kept in view the improvement of this work, and have endeavoured to learn from the reviews of it that have appeared. I owe most to the study of Weizsäcker's work, on the Apostolic Age, and his notice of the first edition of this volume in the Göttinger gelehrte Anzeigen, 1886, No. 21. The latter, in several decisive passages concerning the general conception, drew my attention to the fact that I had emphasised certain points too strongly, but had not given due prominence to others of equal importance, while not entirely overlooking them. I have convinced myself that these hints were, almost throughout, well founded, and have taken pains to meet them in the new edition. I have also learned from Heinrici's commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and from Bigg's "Lectures on the Christian Platonists of Alexandria." Apart from these works there has appeared very little that could be of significance for my historical account; but I have once more independently considered the main problems, and in some cases, after repeated reading of the sources, checked my statements, removed mistakes and explained what had been too briefly stated. Thus, in particular, Chapter II. §§ 1-3 of the "Presuppositions", also the Third Chapter of the First Book (especially Section 6), also in the Second Book, Chapter I. and Chapter II. (under B), the Third Chapter (Supplement 3 and excursus on "Catholic and Romish"), the Fifth Chapter (under 1 and 3) and the Sixth Chapter (under 2) have been subjected to changes and greater additions. Finally, a new excursus has been added on the various modes of conceiving pre-existence, and in other respects many things have been improved in detail. The size of the book has thereby been increased by about fifty pages. As I have been misrepresented by some as one who knew not how to appreciate the uniqueness of the Gospel history and the evangelic faith, while others have conversely reproached me with making the history of dogma proceed from an "apostasy" from the Gospel to Hellenism, I have taken pains to state my opinions on both these points as clearly as possible. In doing so I have only wrought out the hints which were given in the first edition, and which, as I supposed, were sufficient for readers. But it is surely a reasonable desire when I request the critics in reading the paragraphs which treat of the "Presuppositions", not to forget how difficult the questions there dealt with are, both in themselves and from the nature of the sources, and how exposed to criticism the historian is who attempts to unfold his position towards them in a few pages. As is self-evident, the centre of gravity of the book lies in that which forms its subject proper, in the account of the origin of dogma within the Græco-Roman empire. But one should not on that account, as many have done, pass over the beginning which lies before the beginning, or arbitrarily adopt a starting-point of his own; for everything here depends on where and how one begins. I have not therefore been able to follow the well-meant counsel to simply strike out the "Presuppositions."

I would gladly have responded to another advice to work up the notes into the text; but I would then have been compelled to double the size of some chapters. The form of this book, in many respects awkward, may continue as it is so long as it represents the difficulties by which the subject is still pressed. When they have been removed—and the smallest number of them lie in the subject matter—I will gladly break up this form of the book and try to give it another shape. For the friendly reception given to it I have to offer my heartiest thanks. But against those who, believing themselves in possession of a richer view of the history here related, have called my conception meagre, I appeal to the beautiful words of Tertullian; "Malumus in scripturis minus, si forte, sapere quam contra."

Marburg, 24th December, 1887.


In the six years that have passed since the appearance of the second edition I have continued to work at the book, and have made use of the new sources and investigations that have appeared during this period, as well as corrected and extended my account in many passages. Yet I have not found it necessary to make many changes in the second half of the work. The increase of about sixty pages is almost entirely in the first half.

Berlin, 31st December, 1893




§ 1. The Idea and Task of the History of Dogma


Limits and Divisions

Dogma and Theology

Factors in the formation of Dogma

Explanation as to the conception and task of the History of Dogma

§ 2. History of the History of Dogma

The Early, the Mediæval, and the Roman Catholic Church

The Reformers and the 17th Century

Mosheim, Walch, Ernesti

Lessing, Semler, Lange, Münscher, Baumgarten-Crusius, Meier

Baur, Neander, Kliefoth, Thomasius, Nitzsch, Ritschl, Renan, Loofs


§ 1. Introductory

The Gospel and the Old Testament

The Detachment of the Christians from the Jewish Church

The Church and the Græco-Roman World

The Greek spirit an element of the Ecclesiastical Doctrine of Faith

The Elements connecting Primitive Christianity and the growing Catholic Church

The Presuppositions of the origin of the Apostolic Catholic Doctrine of Faith

§ 2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own Testimony concerning Himself

Fundamental Features




§ 3. The Common Preaching concerning Jesus Christ in the first generation of believers.

General Outline

The faith of the first Disciples

The beginnings of Christology

Conceptions of the Work of Jesus

Belief in the Resurrection

Righteousness and the Law, Paul

The Self-consciousness of being the Church of God

Supplement 1. Universalism

Supplement 2. Questions as to the value of the Law; the four main tendencies at the close of the Apostolic Age

Supplement 3. The Pauline Theology.

Supplement 4. The Johannine Writings

Supplement 5. The Authorities in the Church

§ 4. The current Exposition of the Old Testament and the Jewish hopes of the future in their significance for the Earliest types of Christian preaching

The Rabbinical and Exegetical Methods

The Jewish Apocalyptic literature

Mythologies and poetical ideas, notions of pre-existence and their application to Messiah

The limits of the explicable


§ 5. The Religious Conceptions and the Religious Philosophy of the Hellenistic Jews in their significance for the later formulation of the Gospel

Spiritualising and Moralising of the Jewish Religion


The Hermeneutic principles of Philo

§ 6. The religious dispositions of the Greeks and Romans in the first two centuries, and the current Græco-Roman philosophy of religion

The new religious needs and the old worship (Excursus on θεος)

The System of associations, and the Empire

Philosophy and its acquisitions

Platonic and Stoic Elements in the philosophy of religion

Greek culture and Roman ideas in the Church

The Empire and philosophic schools (the Cynics)



(1) The twofold conception of the blessing of Salvation in its significance for the following period

(2) Obscurity in the origin of the most important Christian ideas and Ecclesiastical forms

(3) Significance of the Pauline theology for the legitimising and reformation of the doctrine of the Church in the following period






(1) The Communities and the Church

(2) The Foundations of the Faith; the Old Testament, and the traditions about Jesus (sayings of Jesus, the Kerygma about Jesus), the significance of the "Apostolic"

(3) The main articles of Christianity and the conceptions of salvation. The new law. Eschatology.

(4) The Old Testament as source of the knowledge of faith

(5) The knowledge of God and of the world, estimate of the world (Demons)

(6) Faith in Jesus Christ

Jesus the Lord.

Jesus the Christ

Jesus the Son of God, the Theologia Christi

The Adoptian and the Pneumatic Christology

Ideas of Christ's work

(7) The Worship, the sacred actions, and the organisation of the Churches

The Worship and Sacrifice

Baptism and the Lord's Supper

The organisation


The premises of Catholicism

Doctrinal diversities of the Apostolical Fathers


(1) The conditions for the rise of Gnosticism.

(2) The nature of Gnosticism

(3) History of Gnosticism and the forms in which it appeared

(4) The most important Gnostic doctrines


Characterisation of Marcion's attempt

(1) His estimate of the Old Testament and the god of the Jews

(2) The God of the Gospel

(3) The relation of the two Gods according to Marcion

(4) The Christology

(5) Eschatology and Ethics

(6) Criticism of the Christian tradition, the Marcionite Church



(1) General conditions for the development of Jewish Christianity

(2) Jewish Christianity and the Catholic Church, insignificance of Jewish Christianity, "Judaising" in Catholicism

Alleged documents of Jewish Christianity (Apocalypse of John, Acts of the Apostles, Epistle to the Hebrews, Hegesippus)

History of Jewish Christianity

The witness of Justin

The witness of Celsus

The Elkesaites and Ebionites of Epiphanius

Estimate of the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Homilies, their want of significance for the question as to the genesis of Catholicism and its doctrine


I. On the different notions of Pre-existence.

II. On Liturgies and the genesis of Dogma.

III. On Neoplatonism





[pg 1]



§1. The Idea and Task of the History of Dogma.

1. The History of Dogma is a discipline of general Church History, which has for its object the dogmas of the Church. These dogmas are the doctrines of the Christian faith logically formulated and expressed for scientific and apologetic purposes, the contents of which are a knowledge of God, of the world, and of the provisions made by God for man's salvation. The Christian Churches teach them as the truths revealed in Holy Scripture, the acknowledgment of which is the condition of the salvation which religion promises. But as the adherents of the Christian religion had not these dogmas from the beginning, so far, at least, as they form a connected system, the business of the history of dogma is, in the first place, to ascertain the origin of Dogmas (of Dogma), and then secondly, to describe their development (their variations).

2. We cannot draw any hard and fast line between the time of the origin and that of the development of dogma; they rather shade off into one another. But we shall have to look for the final point of division at the time when an article of faith logically formulated and scientifically expressed, was first raised to the articulus constitutivus ecclesiæ, and as such was universally enforced by the Church. Now that first happened when the doctrine of Christ, as the pre-existent and personal Logos of God, had obtained acceptance everywhere in the confederated Churches as the revealed and [pg 2] fundamental doctrine of faith, that is, about the end of the third century or the beginning of the fourth. We must therefore, in our account, take this as the final point of division.1 As to the development of dogma, it seems to have closed in the Eastern Church with the seventh Œcumenical Council (787). After that time no further dogmas were set up in the East as revealed truths. As to the Western Catholic, that is, the Romish Church, a new dogma was promulgated as late as the year 1870, which claims to be, and in point of form really is, equal in dignity to the old dogmas. Here, therefore, the History of Dogma must extend to the present time. Finally, as regards the Protestant Churches, they are a subject of special difficulty in the sphere of the history of dogma; for at the present moment there is no agreement within these Churches as to whether, and in what sense, dogmas (as the word was used in the ancient Church) are valid. But even if we leave the present out of account and fix our attention on the Protestant Churches of the 16th century, the decision is difficult. For, on the one hand, the Protestant faith, the Lutheran as well as the Reformed (and that of Luther no less), presents itself as a doctrine of faith which, resting on the Catholic canon of scripture, is, in point of form, quite analogous to the Catholic doctrine of faith, has a series of dogmas in common with it, and only differs in a few. On the other hand, Protestantism [pg 3] has taken its stand in principle on the Gospel exclusively, and declared its readiness at all times to test all doctrines afresh by a true understanding of the Gospel. The Reformers, however, in addition to this, began to unfold a conception of Christianity which might be described, in contrast with the Catholic type of religion, as a new conception, and which indeed draws support from the old dogmas, but changes their original significance materially and formally. What this conception was may still be ascertained from those writings received by the Church, the Protestant symbols of the 16th century, in which the larger part of the traditionary dogmas are recognised as the appropriate expression of the Christian religion, nay, as the Christian religion itself.2 Accordingly, it can neither be maintained that the expression of the Christian faith in the form of dogmas is abolished in the Protestant Churches—the very acceptance of the Catholic canon as the revealed record of faith is opposed to that view—nor that its meaning has remained absolutely unchanged.3 The history of dogma has simply to recognise this state of things, and to represent it exactly as it lies before us in the documents.

But the point to which the historian should advance here still remains an open question. If we adhere strictly to the definition of the idea of dogma given above, this much is certain, that dogmas were no longer set up after the Formula of Concord, or in the case of the Reformed Church, after the decrees of the Synod of Dort. It cannot, however, be maintained that they have been set aside in the centuries that [pg 4] have passed since then; for apart from some Protestant National and independent Churches, which are too insignificant and whose future is too uncertain to be taken into account here, the ecclesiastical tradition of the 16th century, and along with it the tradition of the early Church, have not been abrogated in authoritative form. Of course, changes of the greatest importance with regard to doctrine have appeared everywhere in Protestantism from the 17th century to the present day. But these changes cannot in any sense be taken into account in a history of dogma, because they have not as yet attained a form valid for the Church. However we may judge of these changes, whether we regard them as corruptions or improvements, or explain the want of fixity in which the Protestant Churches find themselves, as a situation that is forced on them, or the situation that is agreeable to them and for which they are adapted, in no sense is there here a development which could be described as history of dogma.

These facts would seem to justify those who, like Thomasius and Schmid, carry the history of dogma in Protestantism to the Formula of Concord, or, in the case of the Reformed Church, to the decrees of the Synod of Dort. But it may be objected to this boundary line; (1) That those symbols have at all times attained only a partial authority in Protestantism; (2) That as noted above, the dogmas, that is, the formulated doctrines of faith have different meanings on different matters in the Protestant and in the Catholic Churches. Accordingly, it seems advisable within the frame-work of the history of dogma, to examine Protestantism only so far as this is necessary for obtaining a knowledge of its deviations from the Catholic dogma materially and formally, that is, to ascertain the original position of the Reformers with regard to the doctrine of the Church, a position which is beset with contradictions. The more accurately we determine the relation of the Reformers to Catholicism, the more intelligible will be the developments which Protestantism has passed through in the course of its history. But these developments themselves (retrocession and advance) do not belong to the sphere of the history of dogma, [pg 5] because they stand in no comparable relation to the course of the history of dogma within the Catholic Church. As history of Protestant doctrines they form a peculiar independent province of Church history.

As to the division of the history of dogma, it consists of two main parts. The first has to describe the origin of dogma, that is, of the Apostolic Catholic system of doctrine based on the foundation of the tradition authoritatively embodied in the creeds and Holy scripture, and extends to the beginning of the fourth century. This may be conveniently divided into two parts, the first of which will treat of the preparation, the second of the establishment of the ecclesiastical doctrine of faith. The second main part, which has to portray the development of dogma, comprehends three stages. In the first stage the doctrine of faith appears as Theology and Christology. The Eastern Church has never got beyond this stage, although it has to a large extent enriched dogma ritually and mystically (see the decrees of the seventh council). We will have to shew how the doctrines of faith formed in this stage have remained for all time in the Church dogmas κατ' εξοχην. The second stage was initiated by Augustine. The doctrine of faith appears here on the one side completed, and on the other re-expressed by new dogmas, which treat of the relation of sin and grace, freedom and grace, grace and the means of grace. The number and importance of the dogmas that were, in the middle ages, really fixed after Augustine's time, had no relation to the range and importance of the questions which they raised, and which emerged in the course of centuries in consequence of advancing knowledge, and not less in consequence of the growing power of the Church. Accordingly, in this second stage which comprehends the whole of the middle ages, the Church as an institution kept believers together in a larger measure than was possible to dogmas. These in their accepted form were too poor to enable them to be the expression of religious conviction and the regulator of Church life. On the other hand, the new decisions of Theologians, Councils and Popes, did not yet possess the authority which could have made them [pg 6] incontestable truths of faith. The third stage begins with the Reformation, which compelled the Church to fix its faith on the basis of the theological work of the middle ages. Thus arose the Roman Catholic dogma which has found in the Vatican decrees its provisional settlement. This Roman Catholic dogma, as it was formulated at Trent, was moulded in express opposition to the Theses of the Reformers. But these Theses themselves represent a peculiar conception of Christianity, which has its root in the theology of Paul and Augustine, and includes either explicitly or implicitly a revision of the whole ecclesiastical tradition, and therefore of dogma also. The History of Dogma in this last stage, therefore, has a twofold task. It has, on the one hand, to present the Romish dogma as a product of the ecclesiastical development of the middle ages under the influence of the Reformation faith which was to be rejected, and on the other hand, to portray the conservative new formation which we have in original Protestantism, and determine its relation to dogma. A closer examination, however, shews that in none of the great confessions does religion live in dogma, as of old. Dogma everywhere has fallen into the background; in the Eastern Church it has given place to ritual, in the Roman Church to ecclesiastical instructions, in the Protestant Churches, so far as they are mindful of their origin, to the Gospel. At the same time, however, the paradoxical fact is unmistakable that dogma as such is nowhere at this moment so powerful as in the Protestant Churches, though by their history they are furthest removed from it. Here, however, it comes into consideration as an object of immediate religious interest, which, strictly speaking, in the Catholic Church is not the case.4 The Council of Trent was simply wrung from the Romish Church, and she has made the dogmas of that council [pg 7] in a certain sense innocuous by the Vatican decrees.5 In this sense, it may be said that the period of development of dogma is altogether closed, and that therefore our discipline requires [pg 8] a statement such as belongs to a series of historical phenomena that has been completed.

3. The church has recognised her faith, that is religion itself, in her dogmas. Accordingly, one very important business of the History of Dogma is to exhibit the unity that exists in the dogmas of a definite period, and to shew how the several dogmas are connected with one another and what leading ideas they express. But, as a matter of course, this undertaking has its limits in the degree of unanimity which actually existed in the dogmas of the particular period. It may be shewn without much difficulty, that a strict though by no means absolute unanimity is expressed only in the dogmas of the Greek Church. The peculiar character of the western post-Augustinian ecclesiastical conception of Christianity, no longer finds a clear expression in dogma, and still less is this the case with the conception of the Reformers. The reason of this is that Augustine, as well as Luther, disclosed a new conception of Christianity, but at the same time appropriated the old dogmas.6 But neither Baur's nor Kliefoth's method of writing the history of dogma has done justice to this fact. Not Baur's, because, notwithstanding the division into six periods, it sees a uniform process in the development of dogma, a process which begins with the origin of Christianity and has run its course, as is alleged, in a strictly logical way. Not Kliefoth's, because, in the dogmas of the Catholic Church which the East has never got beyond, it only ascertains the establishment of one portion of the Christian faith, to which the parts still wanting have been successively added in later times.7 In contrast with this, we may refer to the fact that we can clearly distinguish three styles of building in the history of dogma, but only three; the style of Origen, that of Augustine, and that of the Reformers. But the dogma of the post-Augustinian Church, as well as that of Luther, does not [pg 9] in any way represent itself as a new building, not even as the mere extension of an old building, but as a complicated rebuilding, and by no means in harmony with former styles, because neither Augustine nor Luther ever dreamed of building independently.8 This perception leads us to the most peculiar phenomenon which meets the historian of dogma, and which must determine his method.

Dogmas arise, develop themselves and are made serviceable to new aims; this in all cases takes place through Theology. But Theology is dependent on innumerable factors, above all, on the spirit of the time; for it lies in the nature of theology that it desires to make its object intelligible. Dogmas are the product of theology, not inversely; of a theology of course which, as a rule, was in correspondence with the faith of the time. The critical view of history teaches this: first we have the Apologists and Origen, then the councils of Nice and Chalcedon; first the Scholastics, then the Council of Trent. In consequence of this, dogma bears the mark of all, the factors on which the theology was dependent. That is one point. But the moment in which the product of theology became dogma, the way which led to it must be obscured; for, according to the conception of the Church, dogma can be nothing else than the revealed faith itself. Dogma is regarded not as the exponent, but as the basis of theology, and therefore the product of theology having passed into dogma limits, and criticises the work of theology both past and future.9 That is the second point. It follows from this that the history of the Christian religion embraces a very complicated relation of ecclesiastical dogma and theology, and that the [pg 10] ecclesiastical conception of the significance of theology cannot at all do justice to this significance. The ecclesiastical scheme which is here formed and which denotes the utmost concession that can be made to history, is to the effect that theology gives expression only to the form of dogma, while so far as it is ecclesiastical theology, it presupposes the unchanging dogma, i.e., the substance of dogma. But this scheme, which must always leave uncertain what the form really is, and what the substance, is in no way applicable to the actual circumstances. So far, however, as it is itself an article of faith it is an object of the history of dogma. Ecclesiastical dogma when put on its defence must at all times take up an ambiguous position towards theology, and ecclesiastical theology a corresponding position towards dogma; for they are condemned to perpetual uncertainty as to what they owe each other, and what they have to fear from each other. The theological Fathers of dogma have almost without exception failed to escape being condemned by dogma, either because it went beyond them, or lagged behind their theology. The Apologists, Origen and Augustine may be cited in support of this; and even in Protestantism, mutatis mutandis, the same thing has been repeated, as is proved by the fate of Melanchthon and Schleiermacher. On the other hand, there have been few theologians who have not shaken some article of the traditional dogma. We are wont to get rid of these fundamental facts by hypostatising the ecclesiastical principle or the common ecclesiastical spirit, and by this normal hypostasis, measuring, approving or condemning the doctrines of the theologians, unconcerned about the actual conditions and frequently following a hysteron-proteron. But this is a view of history which should in justice be left to the Catholic Church, which indeed cannot dispense with it. The critical history of dogma has, on the contrary, to shew above all how an ecclesiastical theology has arisen; for it can only give account of the origin of dogma in connection with this main question. The horizon must be taken here as wide as possible; for the question as to the origin of theology can only [pg 11] be answered by surveying all the relations into which the Christian religion has entered in naturalising itself in the world and subduing it. When ecclesiastical dogma has once been created and recognised as an immediate expression of the Christian religion, the history of dogma has only to take the history of theology into account so far as it has been active in the formation of dogma. Yet it must always keep in view the peculiar claim of dogma to be a criterion and not a product of theology. But it will also be able to shew how, partly by means of theology and partly by other means—for dogma is also dependent on ritual, constitution, and the practical ideals of life, as well as on the letter, whether of Scripture, or of tradition no longer understood—dogma in its development and re-expression has continually changed, according to the conditions under which the Church was placed. If dogma is originally the formulation of Christian faith as Greek culture understood it and justified it to itself, then dogma has never indeed lost this character, though it has been radically modified in later times. It is quite as important to keep in view the tenacity of dogma as its changes, and in this respect the Protestant way of writing history, which, here as elsewhere in the history of the Church, is more disposed to attend to differences than to what is permanent, has much to learn from the Catholic. But as the Protestant historian, as far possible, judges of the progress of development in so far as it agrees with the Gospel in its documentary form, he is still able to shew, with all deference to that tenacity, that dogma has been so modified and used to the best advantage by Augustine and Luther, that its Christian character has in many respects gained, though in other respects it has become further and further alienated from that character. In proportion as the traditional system of dogmas lost its stringency it became richer. In proportion as it was stripped by Augustine and Luther of its apologetic philosophic tendency, it was more and more filled with Biblical ideas, though, on the other hand, it became more full of contradictions and less impressive.

[pg 12]

This outlook, however, has already gone beyond the limits fixed for these introductory paragraphs and must not be pursued further. To treat in abstracto of the method of the history of dogma in relation to the discovery, grouping and interpretation of the material is not to be recommended; for general rules to preserve the ignorant and half instructed from overlooking the important, and laying hold of what is not important, cannot be laid down. Certainly everything depends on the arrangement of the material; for the understanding of history is to find the rules according to which the phenomena should be grouped, and every advance in the knowledge of history is inseparable from an accurate observance of these rules. We must, above all, be on our guard against preferring one principle at the expense of another in the interpretation of the origin and aim of particular dogmas. The most diverse factors have at all times been at work in the formation of dogmas. Next to the effort to determine the doctrine of religion according to the finis religionis, the blessing of salvation, the following may have been the most important. (1) The conceptions and sayings contained in the canonical scriptures. (2) The doctrinal tradition originating in earlier epochs of the church, and no longer understood. (3) The needs of worship and organisation. (4) The effort to adjust the doctrine of religion to the prevailing doctrinal opinions. (5) Political and social circumstances. (6) The changing moral ideals of life. (7) The so-called logical consistency, that is the abstract analogical treatment of one dogma according to the form of another. (8) The effort to adjust different tendencies and contradictions in the church. (9) The endeavour to reject once for all a doctrine regarded as erroneous. (10) The sanctifying power of blind custom. The method of explaining everything wherever possible by "the impulse of dogma to unfold itself," must be given up as unscientific, just as all empty abstractions whatsoever must be given up as scholastic and mythological. Dogma has had its history in the individual living man and nowhere else. As soon as one adopts this statement in real earnest, that mediæval realism must vanish to which a man so often thinks [pg 13] himself superior while imbedded in it all the time. Instead of investigating the actual conditions in which believing and intelligent men have been placed, a system of Christianity has been constructed from which, as from a Pandora's box, all doctrines which in course of time have been formed, are extracted, and in this way legitimised as Christian. The simple fundamental proposition that that only is Christian which can be established authoritatively by the Gospel, has never yet received justice in the history of dogma. Even the following account will in all probability come short in this point; for in face of a prevailing false tradition the application of a simple principle to every detail can hardly succeed at the first attempt.

Explanation as to the Conception and Task of the History of Dogma.

No agreement as yet prevails with regard to the conception of the history of dogma. Münscher (Handbuch der Christl. D.G. 3rd ed. I. p. 3 f.) declared that the business of the history of dogma is "To represent all the changes which the theoretic part of the Christian doctrine of religion has gone through from its origin up to the present, both in form and substance," and this definition held sway for a long time. Then it came to be noted that the question was not about changes that were accidental, but about those that were historically necessary, that dogma has a relation to the church, and that it represents a rational expression of the faith. Emphasis was put sometimes on one of these elements and sometimes on the other. Baur, in particular, insisted on the first; V. Hofmann, after the example of Schleiermacher, on the second, and indeed exclusively (Encyklop. der theol. p. 257 f.: "The history of dogma is the history of the Church confessing the faith in words"). Nitzsch (Grundriss der Christl. D.G. I. p. 1) insisted on the third: "The history of dogma is the scientific account of the origin and development of the Christian system of doctrine, or that part of historical theology which presents the history of the expression of the Christian faith in notions, doctrines [pg 14] and doctrinal systems." Thomasius has combined the second and third by conceiving the history of dogma as the history of the development of the ecclesiastical system of doctrine. But even this conception is not sufficiently definite, inasmuch as it fails to do complete justice to the special peculiarity of the subject.

Ancient and modern usage does certainly seem to allow the word dogma to be applied to particular doctrines, or to a uniform system of doctrine, to fundamental truths, or to opinions, to theoretical propositions or practical rules, to statements of belief that have not been reached by a process of reasoning, as well as to those that bear the marks of such a process. But this uncertainty vanishes on closer examination. We then see that there is always an authority at the basis of dogma, which gives it to those who recognise that authority the signification of a fundamental truth "quæ sine scelere prodi non poterit" (Cicero Quæst. Acad. IV. 9). But therewith at the same time is introduced into the idea of dogma a social element (see Biedermann, Christl. Dogmatik. 2. Edit. I. p. 2 f.); the confessors of one and the same dogma form a community.

There can be no doubt that these two elements are also demonstrable in Christian dogma, and therefore we must reject all definitions of the history of dogma which do not take them into account. If we define it as the history of the understanding of Christianity by itself, or as the history of the changes of the theoretic part of the doctrine of religion or the like, we shall fail to do justice to the idea of dogma in its most general acceptation. We cannot describe as dogmas, doctrines such as the Apokatastasis, or the Kenosis of the Son of God, without coming into conflict with the ordinary usage of language and with ecclesiastical law.

If we start, therefore, from the supposition that Christian dogma is an ecclesiastical doctrine which presupposes revelation as its authority, and therefore claims to be strictly binding, we shall fail to bring out its real nature with anything like completeness. That which Protestants and Catholics call dogmas, are not only ecclesiastical doctrines, but they are [pg 15] also: (1) theses expressed in abstract terms, forming together a unity, and fixing the contents of the Christian religion as a knowledge of God, of the world, and of the sacred history under the aspect of a proof of the truth. But (2) they have also emerged at a definite stage of the history of the Christian religion; they show in their conception as such, and in many details, the influence of that stage, viz., the Greek period, and they have preserved this character in spite of all their reconstructions and additions in after periods. This view of dogma cannot be shaken by the fact that particular historical facts, miraculous or not miraculous are described as dogmas; for here they are regarded as such, only in so far as they have got the value of doctrines which have been inserted in the complete structure of doctrines and are, on the other hand, members of a chain of proofs, viz., proofs from prophecy.

But as soon as we perceive this, the parallel between the ecclesiastical dogmas and those of ancient schools of philosophy appears to be in point of form complete. The only difference is that revelation is here put as authority in the place of human knowledge, although the later philosophic schools appealed to revelation also. The theoretical as well as the practical doctrines which embraced the peculiar conception of the world and the ethics of the school, together with their rationale, were described in these schools as dogmas. Now, in so far as the adherents of the Christian religion possess dogmas in this sense, and form a community which has gained an understanding of its religious faith by analysis and by scientific definition and grounding, they appear as a great philosophic school in the ancient sense of the word. But they differ from such a school in so far as they have always eliminated the process of thought which has led to the dogma, looking upon the whole system of dogma as a revelation and therefore, even in respect of the reception of the dogma, at least at first, they have taken account not of the powers of human understanding, but of the Divine enlightenment which is bestowed on all the willing and the virtuous. In later times, indeed, the analogy was far more complete, in so far as the [pg 16] Church reserved the full possession of dogma to a circle of consecrated and initiated individuals. Dogmatic Christianity is therefore a definite stage in the history of the development of Christianity. It corresponds to the antique mode of thought, but has nevertheless continued to a very great extent in the following epochs, though subject to great transformations. Dogmatic Christianity stands between Christianity as the religion of the Gospel, presupposing a personal experience and dealing with disposition and conduct, and Christianity as a religion of cultus, sacraments, ceremonial and obedience, in short of superstition, and it can be united with either the one or the other. In itself and in spite of all its mysteries it is always intellectual Christianity, and therefore there is always the danger here that as knowledge it may supplant religious faith, or connect it with a doctrine of religion, instead of with God and a living experience.

If then the discipline of the history of dogma is to be what its name purports, its object is the very dogma which is so formed, and its fundamental problem will be to discover how it has arisen. In the history of the canon our method of procedure has for long been to ask first of all, how the canon originated, and then to examine the changes through which it has passed. We must proceed in the same way with the history of dogma, of which the history of the canon is simply a part. Two objections will be raised against this. In the first place, it will be said that from the very first the Christian religion has included a definite religious faith as well as a definite ethic, and that therefore Christian dogma is as original as Christianity itself, so that there can be no question about a genesis, but only as to a development or alteration of dogma within the Church. Again it will be said, in the second place, that dogma as defined above, has validity only for a definite epoch in the history of the Church, and that it is therefore quite impossible to write a comprehensive history of dogma in the sense we have indicated.

As to the first objection, there can of course be no doubt that the Christian religion is founded on a message, the contents [pg 17] of which are a definite belief in God and in Jesus Christ whom he has sent, and that the promise of salvation is attached to this belief. But faith in the Gospel and the later dogmas of the Church are not related to each other as theme and the way in which it is worked out, any more than the dogma of the New Testament canon is only the explication of the original reliance of Christians on the word of their Lord and the continuous working of the Spirit; but in these later dogmas an entirely new element has entered into the conception of religion. The message of religion appears here clothed in a knowledge of the world and of the ground of the world which had already been obtained without any reference to it, and therefore religion itself has here become a doctrine which has, indeed, its certainty in the Gospel, but only in part derives its contents from it, and which can also be appropriated by such as are neither poor in spirit nor weary and heavy laden. Now, it may of course be shewn that a philosophic conception of the Christian religion is possible, and began to make its appearance from the very first, as in the case of Paul. But the Pauline gnosis has neither been simply identified with the Gospel by Paul himself (1 Cor. III. 2 f.; XII. 3; Phil. I. 18) nor is it analogous to the later dogma, not to speak of being identical with it. The characteristic of this dogma is that it represents itself in no sense as foolishness, but as wisdom, and at the same time desires to be regarded as the contents of revelation itself. Dogma in its conception and development is a work of the Greek spirit on the soil of the Gospel. By comprehending in itself and giving excellent expression to the religious conceptions contained in Greek philosophy and the Gospel, together with its Old Testament basis; by meeting the search for a revelation as well as the desire for a universal knowledge; by subordinating itself to the aim of the Christian religion to bring a Divine life to humanity as well as to the aim of philosophy to know the world: it became the instrument by which the Church conquered the ancient world and educated the modern nations. But this dogma—one cannot but admire its formation or [pg 18] fail to regard it as a great achievement of the spirit, which never again in the history of Christianity has made itself at home with such freedom and boldness in religion—is the product of a comparatively long history which needs to be deciphered; for it is obscured by the completed dogma. The Gospel itself is not dogma, for belief in the Gospel provides room for knowledge only so far as it is a state of feeling and course of action, that is a definite form of life. Between practical faith in the Gospel and the historico-critical account of the Christian religion and its history, a third element can no longer be thrust in without its coming into conflict with faith, or with the historical data—the only thing left is the practical task of defending the faith. But a third element has been thrust into the history of this religion, viz., dogma, that is, the philosophical means which were used in early times for the purpose of making the Gospel intelligible have been fused with the contents of the Gospel and raised to dogma. This dogma, next to the Church, has become a real world power, the pivot in the history of the Christian religion. The transformation of the Christian faith into dogma is indeed no accident, but has its reason in the spiritual character of the Christian religion, which at all times will feel the need of a scientific apologetic.10 But the question here is not as to something indefinite and general, but as to the definite dogma formed in the first centuries, and binding even yet.

This already touches on the second objection which was raised above, that dogma, in the given sense of the word, was too narrowly conceived, and could not in this conception be [pg 19] applied throughout the whole history of the Church. This objection would only be justified, if our task were to carry the history of the development of dogma through the whole history of the Church. But the question is just whether we are right in proposing such a task. The Greek Church has no history of dogma after the seven great Councils, and it is incomparably more important to recognise this fact than to register the theologoumena which were later on introduced by individual Bishops and scholars in the East, who were partly influenced by the West. Roman Catholicism in its dogmas, though, as noted above, these at present do not very clearly characterise it, is to-day essentially—that is, so far as it is religion—what it was 1500 years ago, viz., Christianity as understood by the ancient world. The changes which dogma has experienced in the course of its development in western Catholicism are certainly deep and radical: they have, in point of fact, as has been indicated in the text above, modified the position of the Church towards Christianity as dogma. But as the Catholic Church herself maintains that she adheres to Christianity in the old dogmatic sense, this claim of hers cannot be contested. She has embraced new things and changed her relations to the old, but still preserved the old. But she has further developed new dogmas according to the scheme of the old. The decrees of Trent and of the Vatican are formally analogous to the old dogmas. Here, then, a history of dogma may really be carried forward to the present day without thereby shewing that the definition of dogma given above is too narrow to embrace the new doctrines. Finally, as to Protestantism, it has been briefly explained above why the changes in Protestant systems of doctrine are not to be taken up into the history of dogma. Strictly speaking, dogma, as dogma, has had no development in Protestantism, inasmuch as a secret note of interrogation has been here associated with it from the very beginning. But the old dogma has continued to be a power in it, because of its tendency to look back and to seek for authorities in the past, and partly in the original unmodified form. The dogmas of [pg 20] the fourth and fifth centuries have more influence to-day in wide circles of Protestant Churches than all the doctrines which are concentrated around justification by faith. Deviations from the latter are borne comparatively easy, while as a rule, deviations from the former are followed by notice to quit the Christian communion, that is, by excommunication. The historian of to-day would have no difficulty in answering the question whether the power of Protestantism as a Church lies at present in the elements which it has in common with the old dogmatic Christianity, or in that by which it is distinguished from it. Dogma, that is to say, that type of Christianity which was formed in ecclesiastical antiquity, has not been suppressed even in Protestant Churches, has really not been modified or replaced by a new conception of the Gospel. But, on the other hand, who could deny that the Reformation began to disclose such a conception, and that this new conception was related in a very different way to the traditional dogma from that of the new propositions of Augustine to the dogmas handed down to him? Who could further call in question that, in consequence of the reforming impulse in Protestantism, the way was opened up for a conception which does not identify Gospel and dogma, which does not disfigure the latter by changing or paring down its meaning while failing to come up to the former? But the historian who has to describe the formation and changes of dogma can take no part in these developments. It is a task by itself more rich and comprehensive than that of the historian of dogma, to portray the diverse conceptions that have been formed of the Christian religion, to portray how strong men and weak men, great and little minds have explained the Gospel outside and inside the frame-work of dogma, and how under the cloak, or in the province of dogma, the Gospel has had its own peculiar history. But the more limited theme must not be put aside. For it can in no way be conducive to historical knowledge to regard as indifferent the peculiar character of the expression of Christian faith as dogma, and allow the history of dogma to be absorbed in a general history of the [pg 21] various conceptions of Christianity. Such a "liberal" view would not agree either with the teaching of history or with the actual situation of the Protestant Churches of the present day: for it is, above all, of crucial importance to perceive that it is a peculiar stage in the development of the human spirit which is described by dogma. On this stage, parallel with dogma and inwardly united with it, stands a definite psychology, metaphysic and natural philosophy, as well as a view of history of a definite type. This is the conception of the world obtained by antiquity after almost a thousand years' labour, and it is the same connection of theoretic perceptions and practical ideals which it accomplished. This stage on which the Christian religion has also entered we have in no way as yet transcended, though science has raised itself above it.11 But the Christian religion, as it was not born of the culture of the ancient world, is not for ever chained to it. The form and the new contents which the Gospel received when it entered into that world have only the same guarantee of endurance as that world itself. And that endurance is limited. We must indeed be on our guard against taking episodes for decisive crises. But every episode carries us forward, and retrogressions are unable to undo that progress. The Gospel since the Reformation, in spite of retrograde movements which have not been wanting, is working itself out of the forms which it was once compelled to assume, and a true comprehension of its history will also contribute to hasten this process.

1. The definition given above, p. 17: "Dogma in its conception and development is a work of the Greek spirit on [pg 22] the soil of the Gospel," has frequently been distorted by my critics, as they have suppressed the words "on the soil of the Gospel." But these words are decisive. The foolishness of identifying dogma and Greek philosophy never entered my mind; on the contrary, the peculiarity of ecclesiastical dogma seemed to me to lie in the very fact that, on the one hand, it gave expression to Christian Monotheism and the central significance of the person of Christ, and, on the other hand, comprehended this religious faith and the historical knowledge connected with it in a philosophic system. I have given quite as little ground for the accusation that I look upon the whole development of the history of dogma as a pathological process within the history of the Gospel. I do not even look upon the history of the origin of the Papacy as such a process, not to speak of the history of dogma. But the perception that "everything must happen as it has happened" does not absolve the historian from the task of ascertaining the powers which have formed the history, and distinguishing between original and later, permanent and transitory, nor from the duty of stating his own opinion.

2. Sabatier has published a thoughtful treatise on "Christian Dogma: its Nature and its Development." I agree with the author in this, that in dogma—rightly understood—two elements are to be distinguished, the religious proceeding from the experience of the individual or from the religious spirit of the Church, and the intellectual or theoretic. But I regard as false the statement which he makes, that the intellectual element in dogma is only the symbolical expression of religious experience. The intellectual element is itself again to be differentiated. On the one hand, it certainly is the attempt to give expression to religious feeling, and so far is symbolical; but, on the other hand, within the Christian religion it belongs to the essence of the thing itself, inasmuch as this not only awakens feeling, but has a quite definite content which determines and should determine the feeling. In this sense Christianity without dogma, that is, without a clear expression of its content, is inconceivable. But that does not [pg 23] justify the unchangeable permanent significance of that dogma which has once been formed under definite historical conditions.

3. The word "dogmas" (Christian dogmas) is, if I see correctly, used among us in three different senses, and hence spring all manner of misconceptions and errors. By dogmas are denoted: (1) The historical doctrines of the Church. (2) The historical facts on which the Christian religion is reputedly or actually founded. (3) Every definite exposition of the contents of Christianity is described as dogmatic. In contrast with this the attempt has been made in the following presentation to use dogma only in the sense first stated. When I speak, therefore, of the decomposition of dogma, I mean by that, neither the historical facts which really establish the Christian religion, nor do I call in question the necessity for the Christian and the Church to have a creed. My criticism refers not to the general genus dogma, but to the species, viz., the defined dogma, as it was formed on the soil of the ancient world, and is still a power, though under modifications.

2. History of the History of Dogma.

The history of dogma as a historical and critical discipline had its origin in the last century through the works of Mosheim, C. W. F. Walch, Ernesti, Lessing and Semler. Lange gave to the world in 1796 the first attempt at a history of dogma as a special branch of theological study. The theologians of the Early and Mediæval Churches have only transmitted histories of Heretics and of Literature, regarding dogma as unchangeable.12 This presupposition is so much a part of the nature of Catholicism that it has been maintained till the present day. It is therefore impossible for a Catholic to make a free, impartial and [pg 24] scientific investigation of the history of dogma.13 There have, indeed, at almost all times before the Reformation, been critical efforts in the domain of Christianity, especially of western Christianity, efforts which in some cases have led to the proof of the novelty and inadmissibility of particular dogmas. But, as a rule, these efforts were of the nature of a polemic against the dominant Church. They scarcely prepared the way for, far less produced a historical view of, dogmatic tradition.14 The progress of the sciences15 and the conflict with Protestantism could here, for the Catholic Church, have no other effect than that of leading to the collecting, with great learning, of material for the history of dogma, the establishing of the consensus patrum et doctorum, the exhibition of the necessity of a continuous explication of dogma, and the description of the history of heresies pressing in from without, regarded now as unheard-of [pg 25] novelties, and again as old enemies in new masks. The modern Jesuit-Catholic historian indeed exhibits, in certain circumstances, a manifest indifference to the task of establishing the semper idem in the faith of the Church, but this indifference is at present regarded with disfavour, and, besides, is only an apparent one, as the continuous though inscrutable guidance of the Church by the infallible teaching of the Pope is the more emphatically maintained.16

It may be maintained that the Reformation opened the way for a critical treatment of the history of dogma.17 But even [pg 26] in Protestant Churches, at first, historical investigations remained under the ban of the confessional system of doctrine and were used only for polemics.18 Church history itself up to the 18th century was not regarded as a theological discipline in the strict sense of the word, and the history of dogma existed only within the sphere of dogmatics as a collection of testimonies to the truth, theologia patristica. It was only after the material had been prepared in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries by scholars of the various Church parties, and, above all, by excellent editions of the Fathers,19 and after Pietism had exhibited the difference between Christianity and Ecclesiasticism, and had begun to treat the traditional confessional structure of doctrine with indifference,20 that a critical investigation was entered on.

The man who was the Erasmus of the 18th century, neither orthodox nor pietistic, nor rationalistic, but capable of appreciating all these tendencies, familiar with English, French and Italian literature, influenced by the spirit of the new English [pg 27] Science,21 while avoiding all statements of it that would endanger positive Christianity. John Lorenz Mosheim, treated Church history in the spirit of his great teacher Leibnitz,22 and by impartial analysis, living reproduction, and methodical artistic form raised it for the first time to the rank of a science. In his monographic works also, he endeavours to examine impartially the history of dogma, and to acquire the historic stand-point between the estimate of the orthodox dogmatists and that of Gottfried Arnold Mosheim, averse to all fault-finding and polemic, and abhorring theological crudity as much as pietistic narrowness and undevout Illuminism, aimed at an actual correct knowledge of history, in accordance with the principle of Leibnitz, that the valuable elements which are everywhere to be found in history must be sought out and recognised. And the richness and many-sidedness of his mind qualified him for gaining such a knowledge. But his latitudinarian dogmatic stand-point as well as the anxiety to awaken no controversy or endanger the gradual naturalising of a new science and culture, caused him to put aside the most important problems of the history of dogma and devote his attention to political Church history as well as to the more indifferent historical questions. The opposition of two periods which he endeavoured peacefully to reconcile could not in this way be permanently set aside.23 In Mosheim's sense, but without the [pg 28] spirit of that great man, C.W.F. Walch taught on the subject and described the religious controversies of the Church with an effort to be impartial, and has thus made generally accessible the abundant material collected by the diligence of earlier scholars.24 Walch, moreover, in the "Gedanken von der Geschichte der Glaubenslehre," 1756, gave the impulse that was needed to fix attention on the history of dogma as a special discipline. The stand-point which he took up was still that of subjection to ecclesiastical dogma, but without confessional narrowness. Ernesti in his programme of the year 1759. "De theologiae historicae et dogmaticae conjungendae necessitate," gave eloquent expression to the idea that Dogmatic is a positive science which has to take its material from history, but that history itself requires a devoted and candid study, on account of our being separated from the earlier epochs by a complicated tradition.25 He has also shewn in his celebrated "Antimuratorius" that an impartial and critical investigation of the problems of the history of dogma, might render the most effectual service to the polemic against the errors of Romanism. Besides, the greater part of the dogmas were already unintelligible to Ernesti, and yet during his lifetime the way was opened up for that tendency in theology, which prepared in Germany by Chr. Thomasius, supported by English writers, drew the sure principles of faith and life from what is called reason, and therefore was not only indifferent to the system [pg 29] of dogma, but felt it more and more to be the tradition of unreason and of darkness. Of the three requisites of a historian, knowledge of his subject, candid criticism, and a capacity for finding himself at home in foreign interests and ideas, the Rationalistic Theologians who had outgrown Pietism and passed through the school of the English Deists and of Wolf, no longer possessed the first, a knowledge of the subject, to the same extent as some scholars of the earlier generation. The second, free criticism, they possessed in the high degree guaranteed by the conviction of having a rational religion; the third, the power of comprehension, only in a very limited measure. They had lost the idea of positive religion, and with it a living and just conception of the history of religion.

In the history of thought there is always need for an apparently disproportionate expenditure of power, in order to produce an advance in the development. And it would appear as if a certain self-satisfied narrow-mindedness within the progressing ideas of the present, as well as a great measure of inability even to understand the past and recognise its own dependence on it, must make its appearance, in order that a whole generation may be freed from the burden of the past. It needed the absolute certainty which Rationalism had found in the religious philosophy of the age, to give sufficient courage to subject to historical criticism the central dogmas on which the Protestant system as well as the Catholic finally rests, the dogmas of the canon and inspiration on the one hand, and of the Trinity and Christology on the other. The work of Lessing in this respect had no great results. We to-day see in his theological writings the most important contribution to the understanding of the earliest history of dogma, which that period supplies; but we also understand why its results were then so trifling. This was due, not only to the fact that Lessing was no theologian by profession, or that his historical observations were couched in aphorisms, but because like Leibnitz and Mosheim, he had a capacity for appreciating the history of religion which forbade him to do violence to that history or to sit in judgment on it, and because his [pg 30] philosophy in its bearings on the case allowed him to seek no more from his materials than an assured understanding of them, in a word again, because he was no theologian. The Rationalists, on the other hand, who within certain limits were no less his opponents than the orthodox, derived the strength of their opposition to the systems of dogma, as the Apologists of the second century had already done with regard to polytheism, from their religious belief and their inability to estimate these systems historically. That, however, is only the first impression which one gets here from the history, and it is everywhere modified by other impressions. In the first place, there is no mistaking a certain latitudinarianism in several prominent theologians of the rationalistic tendency. Moreover, the attitude to the canon was still frequently, in virtue of the Protestant principle of scripture, an uncertain one, and it was here chiefly that the different types of rational supernaturalism were developed. Then, with all subjection to the dogmas of Natural religion, the desire for a real true knowledge was unfettered and powerfully excited. Finally, very significant attempts were made by some rationalistic theologians to explain in a real historical way the phenomena of the history of dogma, and to put an authentic and historical view of that history in the place of barren pragmatic or philosophic categories.

The special zeal with which the older rationalism applied itself to the investigation of the canon, either putting aside the history of dogma, or treating it merely in the frame-work of Church history, has only been of advantage for the treatment of our subject. It first began to be treated with thoroughness when the historical and critical interests had become more powerful than the rationalistic. After the important labours of Semler which here, above all, have wrought in the interests of freedom,26 and after some monographs on the history [pg 31] of dogma,27 S.G. Lange for the first time treated the history of dogma as a special subject.28 Unfortunately, his comprehensively planned and carefully written work, which shews a real understanding of the early history of dogma, remains incomplete. Consequently, W. Münscher, in his learned manual, which was soon followed by his compendium of the history of dogma, was the first to produce a complete presentation of our subject.29 Münscher's compendium is a counterpart to Giesler's Church history; it shares with that the merit of drawing from the sources, intelligent criticism and impartiality, but with a thorough knowledge of details it fails to impart a real conception of the development of ecclesiastical dogma. The division of the material into particular loci, which, in three sections, is carried through the whole history of the Church, makes insight into the whole Christian conception of the different epochs impossible, and the prefixed "General History of Dogma," is far too sketchily treated to make up for that [pg 32] defect. Finally, the connection between the development of dogma and the general ideas of the time is not sufficiently attended to. A series of manuals followed the work of Münscher, but did not materially advance the study.30 The compendium of Baumgarten Crusius,31 and that of F.K. Meier,32 stand out prominently among them. The work of the former is distinguished by its independent learning as well as by the discernment of the author that the centre of gravity of the subject lies in the so-called general history of dogma.33 The work of Meier goes still further, and accurately perceives that the division into a general and special history of dogma must be altogether given up, while it is also characterised by an accurate setting and proportional arrangement of the facts.34

The great spiritual revolution at the beginning of our century, which must in every respect be regarded as a reaction against the efforts of the rationalistic epoch, changed also the conceptions of the Christian religion and its history. It appears therefore plainly in the treatment of the history of dogma. The advancement and deepening of Christian life, the zealous study of the past, the new philosophy which no longer thrust history aside, but endeavoured to appreciate it in all its phenomena [pg 33] as the history of the spirit, all these factors co-operated in begetting a new temper, and accordingly, a new estimate of religion proper and of its history. There were three tendencies in theology that broke up rationalism; that which was identified with the names of Schleiermacher and Neander, that of the Hegelians, and that of the Confessionalists. The first two were soon divided into a right and a left, in so far as they included conservative and critical interests from their very commencement. The conservative elements have been used for building up the modern confessionalism, which in its endeavours to go back to the Reformers has never actually got beyond the theology of the Formula of Concord, the stringency of which it has no doubt abolished by new theologoumena and concessions of all kinds. All these tendencies have in common the effort to gain a real comprehension of history and be taught by it, that is, to allow the idea of development to obtain its proper place, and to comprehend the power and sphere of the individual. In this and in the deeper conception of the nature and significance of positive religion, lay the advance beyond Rationalism. And yet the wish to understand history, has in great measure checked the effort to obtain a true knowledge of it, and the respect for history as the greatest of teachers, has not resulted in that supreme regard for facts which distinguished the critical rationalism. The speculative pragmatism, which, in the Hegelian School, was put against the "lower pragmatism," and was rigorously carried out with the view of exhibiting the unity of history, not only neutralised the historical material, in so far as its concrete definiteness was opposed, as phenomenon, to the essence of the matter, but also curtailed it in a suspicious way, as may be seen, for example, in the works of Baur. Moreover, the universal historical suggestions which the older history of dogma had given were not at all, or only very little regarded. The history of dogma was, as it were, shut out by the watchword of the immanent development of the spirit in Christianity. The disciples of Hegel, both of the right and of the left, were, and still are, agreed in this watch-word,35 [pg 34] the working out of which, including an apology for the course of the history of dogma, must be for the advancement of conservative theology. But at the basis of the statement that the history of Christianity is the history of the spirit, there lay further a very one-sided conception of the nature of religion, which confirmed the false idea that religion is theology. It will always, however, be the imperishable merit of Hegel's great disciple, F. Chr. Baur, in theology, that he was the first who attempted to give a uniform general idea of the history of dogma, and to live through the whole process in himself, without renouncing the critical acquisitions of the 18th century.36 His brilliantly written manual of the history of dogma, in which the history of this branch of theological science is relatively treated with the utmost detail, is, however, in material very meagre, and shews in the very first proposition of the historical presentation an abstract view of history.37 Neander, whose "Christliche Dogmengeschichte," 1857, is distinguished by the variety of its points of view, and keen apprehension of particular forms of doctrine, shews a far more lively [pg 35] and therefore a far more just conception of the Christian religion. But the general plan of the work, (General history of dogma—loci, and these according to the established scheme), proves that Neander has not succeeded in giving real expression to the historical character of the study, and in attaining a clear insight into the progress of the development.38

Kliefoth's thoughtful and instructive, "Einleitung in die Dogmengeschichte," 1839, contains the programme for the conception of the history of dogma characteristic of the modern confessional theology. In this work the Hegelian view of history, not without being influenced by Schleiermacher, is so represented as to legitimise a return to the theology of the Fathers. In the successive great epochs of the Church several circles of dogmas have been successively fixed, so that the respective doctrines have each time been adequately formulated.39 Disturbances of the development are due to the influence of sin. Apart from this, Kliefoth's conception is in point of form equal to that of Baur and Strauss, in so far as they also have considered the theology represented by themselves as the goal of the whole historical development. The only distinction is that, according to them, the next following stage always cancels the preceding, while according to Kliefoth, who, moreover, has no desire to give effect to mere traditionalism, the new knowledge is added to the old. The new edifice of true historical knowledge, according to Kliefoth, is raised on the ruins of Traditionalism, Scholasticism, Pietism, Rationalism and Mysticism. Thomasius (Das Bekenntniss der evang-luth. Kirche in der Consequenz seines Princips, 1848) has, [pg 36] after the example of Sartorius, attempted to justify by history the Lutheran confessional system of doctrine from another side, by representing it as the true mean between Catholicism and the Reformed Spiritualism. This conception has found much approbation in the circles of Theologians related to Thomasius, as against the Union Theology. But Thomasius is entitled to the merit of having produced a Manual of the history of dogma which represents in the most worthy manner,40 the Lutheran confessional view of the history of dogma. The introduction, as well as the selection and arrangement of his material, shews that Thomasius has learned much from Baur. The way in which he distinguishes between central and peripheral dogmas is, accordingly, not very appropriate, especially for the earliest period. The question as to the origin of dogma and theology is scarcely even touched by him. But he has an impression that the central dogmas contain for every period the whole of Christianity, and that they must therefore be apprehended in this sense.41 The presentation is dominated throughout by the idea of the self-explication of dogma, though a malformation has to be admitted for the middle ages;42 and therefore the formation [pg 37] of dogma is almost everywhere justified as the testimony of the Church represented as completely hypostatised, and the outlook on the history of the time is put into the background. But narrow and insufficient as the complete view here is, the excellences of the work in details are great, in respect of exemplary clearness of presentation, and the discriminating knowledge and keen comprehension of the author for religious problems. The most important work done by Thomasius is contained in his account of the history of Christology.

In his outlines of the history of Christian dogma (Grundriss der Christl. Dogmengesch. 1870), which unfortunately has not been carried beyond the first part (Patristic period), F. Nitzsch, marks an advance in the history of our subject. The advance lies, on the one hand, in the extensive use he makes of monographs on the history of dogma, and on the other hand, in the arrangement. Nitzsch has advanced a long way on the path that was first entered by F.K. Meier, and has arranged his material in a way that far excels all earlier attempts. The general and special aspects of the history of dogma are here almost completely worked into one,43 and in the main divisions, "Grounding of the old Catholic Church doctrine," and "Development of the old Catholic Church doctrine," justice is at last done to the most important problem which the history of dogma presents, though in my opinion the division is not made at the right place, and the problem is not so clearly kept in view in the execution as the arrangement would lead one to expect.44 Nitzsch has freed himself [pg 38] from that speculative view of the history of dogma which reads ideas into it. No doubt idea and motive on the one hand, form and expression on the other, must be distinguished for every period. But the historian falls into vagueness as soon as he seeks and professes to find behind the demonstrable ideas and aims which have moved a period, others of which, as a matter of fact, that period itself knew nothing at all. Besides, the invariable result of that procedure is to concentrate the attention on the theological and philosophical points of dogma, and either neglect or put a new construction on the most concrete and important, the expression of the religious faith itself. Rationalism has been reproached with "throwing out the child with the bath," but this is really worse, for here the child is thrown out while the bath is retained. Every advance in the future treatment of our subject [pg 39] will further depend on the effort to comprehend the history of dogma without reference to the momentary opinions of the present, and also on keeping it in closest connection with the history of the Church, from which it can never be separated without damage. We have something to learn on this point from rationalistic historians of dogma.45 But progress is finally dependent on a true perception of what the Christian religion originally was, for this perception alone enables us to [pg 40] distinguish that which sprang out of the inherent power of Christianity from that which it has assimilated in the course of its history. For the historian, however, who does not wish to serve a party, there are two standards in accordance with which he may criticise the history of dogma. He may either, as far as this is possible, compare it with the Gospel, or he may judge it according to the historical conditions of the time and the result. Both ways can exist side by side, if only they are not mixed up with one another. Protestantism has in principle expressly recognised the first, and it will also have the power to bear its conclusions; for the saying of Tertullian still holds good in it; "Nihil veritas erubescit nisi solummodo abscondi." The historian who follows this maxim, and at the same time has no desire to be wiser than the facts, will, while furthering science, perform the best service also to every Christian community that desires to build itself upon the Gospel.

After the appearance of the first and second editions of this Work, Loofs published, "Leitfaden für seine Vorlesungen über Dogmengeschichte," Halle, 1889, and in the following year, "Leitfaden zum Studium der Dogmengeschichte, zunächst für seine Vorlesungen," (second and enlarged edition of the first-named book). The work in its conception of dogma and its history comes pretty near that stated above, and it is distinguished by independent investigation and excellent selection of material. I myself have published a "Grundriss der Dogmengeschichte," 2 Edit, in one vol. 1893. (Outlines of the history of dogma, English translation, Hodder and Stoughton). That this has not been written in vain, I have the pleasure of seeing from not a few notices of professional colleagues. I may mention the Church history of Herzog in the new revision by Koffmane, the first vol. of the Church history of Karl Müller, the first vol. of the Symbolik of Kattenbusch, and Kaftan's work, "The truth of the Christian religion." Wilhelm Schmidt, "Der alte Glaube und die Wahrheit des Christenthums," 1891, has attempted to furnish a refutation in principle of Kaftan's work.

Footnote 1: (return)

Weizsäcker, Gött. Gel. Anz. 1886, p. 823 f., says, "It is a question whether we should limit the account of the genesis of Dogma to the Antenicene period and designate all else as a development of that. This is undoubtedly correct so long as our view is limited to the history of dogma of the Greek Church in the second period, and the development of it by the Œcumenical Synods. On the other hand, the Latin Church, in its own way and in its own province, becomes productive from the days of Augustine onwards; the formal signification of dogma in the narrower sense becomes different in the middle ages. Both are repeated in a much greater measure through the Reformation. We may therefore, in opposition to that division into genesis and development, regard the whole as a continuous process, in which the contents as well as the formal authority of dogma are in process of continuous development." This view is certainly just, and I think is indicated by myself in what follows. We have to decide here, as so often elsewhere in our account, between rival points of view. The view favoured by me has the advantage of making the nature of dogma clearly appear as a product of the mode of thought of the early church, and that is what it has remained, in spite of all changes both in form and substance, till the present day.

Footnote 2: (return)

See Kattenbusch. Luther's Stellung zu den ökumenischen Symbolen, 1883.

Footnote 3: (return)

See Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus. I. p. 80 ff., 93 ff. II. p. 60 f.: 88 f. "The Lutheran view of life did not remain pure and undefiled, but was limited and obscured by the preponderance of dogmatic interests. Protestantism was not delivered from the womb of the western Church of the middle ages in full power and equipment, like Athene from the head of Jupiter. The incompleteness of its ethical view, the splitting up of its general conceptions into a series of particular dogmas, the tendency to express its beliefs as a hard and fast whole; are defects which soon made Protestantism appear to disadvantage in comparison with the wealth of Mediæval theology and asceticism ... The scholastic form of pure doctrine is really only the provisional, and not the final form of Protestantism."

Footnote 4: (return)

It is very evident how the mediæval and old catholic dogmas were transformed in the view which Luther originally took of them. In this view we must remember that he did away with all the presuppositions of dogma, the infallible Apostolic Canon of Scripture, the infallible teaching function of the Church, and the infallible Apostolic doctrine and constitution. On this basis dogmas can only be utterances which do not support faith, but are supported by it. But, on the other hand, his opposition to all the Apocryphal saints which the Church had created, compelled him to emphasise faith alone, and to give it a firm basis in scripture, in order to free it from the burden of tradition. Here then, very soon, first by Melanchthon, a summary of articuli fidei was substituted for the faith, and the scriptures recovered their place as a rule. Luther himself, however, is responsible for both, and so it came about that very soon the new evangelic standpoint was explained almost exclusively by the "abolition of abuses", and by no means so surely by the transformation of the whole doctrinal tradition. The classic authority for this is the Augsburg confession ("hæc fere summa est doctrina apud suos, in qua cerni potest nihil inesse, quod discrepet a scripturis vel ab ecclesia Catholica vel ab ecclesia Romana ... sed dissensio est de quibusdam abusibus"). The purified catholic doctrine has since then become the palladium of the Reformation Churches. The refuters of the Augustana have justly been unwilling to admit the mere "purifying," but have noted in addition that the Augustana does not say everything that was urged by Luther and the Doctors (see Ficker, Die Konfutation des Augsburgischen Bekenntnisse, 1891). At the same time, however, the Lutheran Church, though not so strongly as the English, retained the consciousness of being the true Catholics. But, as the history of Protestantism proves, the original impulse has not remained inoperative. Though Luther himself all his life measured his personal Christian standing by an entirely different standard than subjection to a law of faith; yet, however presumptuous the words may sound, we might say that in the complicated struggle that was forced on him, he did not always clearly understand his own faith.

Footnote 5: (return)

In the modern Romish Church, Dogma is, above all, a judicial regulation which one has to submit to, and in certain circumstances submission alone is sufficient, fides implicita. Dogma is thereby just as much deprived of its original sense and its original authority as by the demand of the Reformers, that every thing should be based upon a clear understanding of the Gospel. Moreover, the changed position of the Romish Church towards dogma is also shewn by the fact that it no longer gives a plain answer to the question as to what dogma is. Instead of a series of dogmas definitely defined, and of equal value, there is presented an infinite multitude of whole and half dogmas, doctrinal directions, pious opinions, probable theological propositions, etc. It is often a very difficult question whether a solemn decision has or has not already been taken on this or that statement, or whether such a decision is still necessary. Everything that must be believed is nowhere stated, and so one sometimes hears in Catholic circles the exemplary piety of a cleric praised with the words that "he believes more than is necessary." The great dogmatic conflicts within the Catholic Church, since the Council of Trent, have been silenced by arbitrary Papal pronouncements and doctrinal directions. Since one has simply to accommodate oneself to these as laws, it once more appears clear that dogma has become a judicial regulation, administered by the Pope, which is carried out in an administrative way and loses itself in an endless casuistry. We do not mean by this to deny that dogma has a decided value for the pious Catholic as a Summary of the faith. But in the Catholic Church it is no longer piety, but obedience that is decisive. The solidarity with the orthodox Protestants may be explained by political reasons, in order from political reasons again, to condemn, where it is necessary, all Protestants as heretics and revolutionaries.

Footnote 6: (return)

See the discussions of Biedermann (Christliche Dogmatik. 2 Ed. p. 150 f.) about what he calls the law of stability in the history of religion.

Footnote 7: (return)

See Ritschl's discussion of the methods of the early histories of dogma in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theologie. 1871, p. 181 ff.

Footnote 8: (return)

In Catholicism, the impulse which proceeded from Augustine has finally proved powerless to break the traditional conception of Christianity, as the Council of Trent and the decrees of the Vatican have shewn. For that very reason the development of the Roman Catholic Church doctrine belongs to the history of dogma. Protestantism must, however, under all circumstances be recognised as a new thing, which indeed in none of its phases has been free from contradictions.

Footnote 9: (return)

Here then begins the ecclesiastical theology which takes as its starting-point the finished dogma it strives to prove or harmonise, but very soon, as experience has shewn, loses its firm footing in such efforts and so occasions new crises.

Footnote 10: (return)

Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, Vol. I. p. 123. "Christianity as religion is absolutely inconceivable without theology; first of all, for the same reasons which called forth the Pauline theology. As a religion it cannot be separated from the religion of its founder, hence not from historical knowledge. And as Monotheism and belief in a world purpose, it is the religion of reason with the inextinguishable impulse of thought. The first gentile Christians therewith gained the proud consciousness of a gnosis." But of ecclesiastical Christianity which rests on dogma ready made, as produced by an earlier epoch, this conception holds good only in a very qualified way; and of the vigorous Christian piety of the earliest and of every period, it may also be said that it no less feels the impulse to think against reason than with reason.

Footnote 11: (return)

In this sense it is correct to class dogmatic theology as historical theology, as Schleiermacher has done. If we maintain that for practical reasons it must be taken out of the province of historical theology, then we must make it part of practical theology. By dogmatic theology here, we understand the exposition of Christianity in the form of Church doctrine, as it has been shaped since the second century. As distinguished from it, a branch of theological study must be conceived which harmonises the historical exposition of the Gospel with the general state of knowledge of the time. The Church can as little dispense with such a discipline as there can be a Christianity which does not account to itself for its basis and spiritual contents.

Footnote 12: (return)

See Eusebius' preface to his Church History. Eusebius in this work set himself a comprehensive task, but in doing so he never in the remotest sense thought of a history of dogma. In place of that we have a history of men "who from generation to generation proclaimed the word of God orally or by writing," and a history of those who by their passion for novelties, plunged themselves into the greatest errors.

Footnote 13: (return)

See for example, B. Schwane, Dogmengesch. d. Vornicänischen Zeit, 1862, where the sense in which dogmas have no historical side is first expounded, and then it is shewn that dogmas, "notwithstanding, present a certain side which permits a historical consideration, because in point of fact they have gone through historical developments." But these historical developments present themselves simply either as solemn promulgations and explications, or as private theological speculations.

Footnote 14: (return)

If we leave out of account the Marcionite gnostic criticism of ecclesiastical Christianity, Paul of Samosata and Marcellus of Ancyra may be mentioned as men who, in the earliest period, criticised the apologetic Alexandrian theology which was being naturalised (see the remarkable statement of Marcellus in Euseb. C. Marc. I.4: το του δογματος ονομα της ανθρωπινης εχεται βουλης τε και γνωμης κ.τ.λ. which I have chosen as the motto of this book). We know too little of Stephen Gobarus (VI. cent.) to enable us to estimate his review of the doctrine of the Church and its development (Photius Bibl. 232). With regard to the middle ages (Abelard "Sic et Non"), see Reuter, Gesch. der relig. Aufklärung im MA., 1875. Hahn Gesch, der Ketzer, especially in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, 3 vols., 1845. Keller, Die Reformation und die alteren Reform-Parteien, 1885.

Footnote 15: (return)

See Voigt, Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Alterthums. 2 vols., 1881, especially vol. II p. 1 ff. 363 ff. 494 ff. ("Humanism and the science of history"). The direct importance of humanism for illuminating the history of the middle ages is very little, and least of all for the history of the Church and of dogma. The only prominent works here are those of Saurentius Valla and Erasmus. The criticism of the scholastic dogmas of the Church and the Pope began as early as the 12th century. For the attitude of the Renaissance to religion, see Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance. 2 vols., 1877.

Footnote 16: (return)

See Holtzmann, Kanon und Tradition, 1859, Hase, Handbuch der protest. Polemik, 1878. Joh Delitszch, Das Lehrsystem der röm. Kirche, 1875. New revelations, however, are rejected, and bold assumptions leading that way are not favoured: See Schwane, above work p. 11: "The content of revelation is not enlarged by the decisions or teaching of the Church, nor are new revelations added in course of time ... Christian truth cannot therefore in its content be completed by the Church, nor has she ever claimed the right of doing so, but always where new designations or forms of dogma became necessary for the putting down of error or the instruction of the faithful, she would always teach what she had received in Holy scripture or in the oral tradition of the Apostles." Recent Catholic accounts of the history of dogma are Klee, Lehrbuch der D.G. 2 vols, 1837, (Speculative). Schwane, Dogmengesch. der Vornicänischen Zeit, 1862, der patrist Zeit, 1869; der Mittleren Zeit, 1882. Bach, Die D.G. des MA. 1873. There is a wealth of material for the history of dogma in Kuhn's Dogmatîk, as well as in the great controversial writings occasioned by the celebrated work of Bellarmin; Disputationes de controversiis Christianæ fidei adversus hujus temporis hæreticos, 1581-1593. It need not be said that, in spite of their inability to treat the history of dogma historically and critically, much may be learned from these works, and some other striking monographs of Roman Catholic scholars. But everything in history that is fitted to shake the high antiquity and unanimous attestation of the Catholic dogmas, becomes here a problem, the solution of which is demanded, though indeed its carrying out often requires a very exceptional intellectual subtlety.

Footnote 17: (return)

Historical interest in Protestantism has grown up around the questions as to the power of the Pope, the significance of Councils, or the Scripturalness of the doctrines set up by them, and about the meaning of the Lord's supper, of the conception of it by the Church Fathers; (see Œcolampadius and Melanchthon.) Protestants were too sure that the doctrine of justification was taught in the scriptures to feel any need of seeking proofs for it by studies in the history of dogma, and Luther also dispensed with the testimony of history for the dogma of the Lord's supper. The task of shewing how far and in what way Luther and the Reformers compounded with history has not even yet been taken up. And yet there may be found in Luther's writings surprising and excellent critical comments on the history of dogma and the theology of the Fathers, as well as genial conceptions which have certainly remained inoperative; see especially the treatise "Von den Conciliis und Kirchen," and his judgment on different Church Fathers. In the first edition of the Loci of Melanchthon we have also critical material for estimating the old systems of dogma. Calvin's depreciatory estimate of the Trinitarian and Christological Formula, which, however, he retracted at a later period is well known.

Footnote 18: (return)

Protestant Church history was brought into being by the Interim, Flacius being its father, see his Catalogus Testium Veritatis, and the so called Magdeburg Centuries 1559-1574, also Jundt Les Centuries de Magdebourg Paris, 1883 Von Engelhardt (Christenthum Justins, p. 9 ff.) has drawn attention to the estimate of Justin in the Centuries, and has justly insisted on the high importance of this first attempt at a criticism of the Church Fathers Khefoth (Eml. in. d. D.G. 1839) has the merit of pointing out the somewhat striking judgment of A. Hyperius on the history of dogma Chemnitz, Examen concilii Tridentini, 1565 Forbesius a Corse (a Scotsman) Instructiones historico-theologiæ de doctrina Christiana 1645.

Footnote 19: (return)

The learning, the diligence in collecting, and the carefulness of the Benedictines and Maurians, as well as of English Dutch and French theologians, such as Casaubon, Vossius, Pearson, Dallaus Spanheim, Grabe, Basnage, etc. have never since been equalled, far less surpassed. Even in the literary historical and higher criticism these scholars have done splendid work, so far as the confessional dogmas did not come into question

Footnote 20: (return)

See especially, G. Arnold, Unpartheyische Kirchen- und Ketzerhistorie, 1699, also Baur, Epochen der kirchlichen Geschichtsschreibung p. 84 ff., Floring G. Arnold als Kirchenhistoriker Darmstadt, 1883. The latter determines correctly the measure of Arnold's importance. His work was the direct preparation for an impartial examination of the history of dogma however partial it was in itself Pietism, here and there, after Spener, declared war against scholastic dogmatics as a hindrance to piety, and in doing so broke the ban under which the knowledge of history lay captive.

Footnote 21: (return)

The investigations of the so-called English Deists about the Christian religion contain the first, and to some extent a very significant free-spirited attempt at a critical view of the history of dogma (see Lechler, History of English Deism, 1841). But the criticism is an abstract rarely a historical one. Some very learned works bearing on the history of dogma were written in England against the position of the Deists especially by Lardner; see also at an earlier time Bull, Defensio fidei nic.

Footnote 22: (return)

Calixtus of Helmstadt was the forerunner of Leibnitz with regard to Church history. But the merit of having recognised the main problem of the history of dogma does not belong to Calixtus. By pointing out what Protestantism and Catholicism had in common he did not in any way clear up the historico-critical problem. On the other hand, the Consensus repetitus of the Wittenberg theologians shews what fundamental questions Calixtus had already stirred.

Footnote 23: (return)

Among the numerous historical writings of Mosheim may be mentioned specially his Dissert ad hist Eccles pertinentes 2 vols. 1731-1741, as well as the work "De rebus Christianorum ante Constantinum M Commentarii," 1753; see also "Institutiones hist Eccl" last Edition, 1755.

Footnote 24: (return)

Walch, "Entwurf einer vollständigen Historie der Ketzereien, Spaltungen und Religionsstreitigkeiten bis auf die Zeiten der Reformation." 11 Thle (incomplete), 1762-1785. See also his "Entwurf einer vollständigen Historie der Kirchenversammlungen" 1759, as well as numerous monographs on the history of dogma. Such were already produced by the older Walch, whose "Histor. theol Einleitung in die Religionsstreitigkeiten der Ev. Luth. Kirche," 5 vols. 1730-1739, and "Histor.-theol. Einleit. in die Religionsstreitigkeiten welche sonderlich ausser der Ev Luth. Kirche entstanden sind 5 Thle", 1733-1736, had already put polemics behind the knowledge of history (see Gass. "Gesch. der protest. Dogmatik," 3rd Vol. p. 205 ff).

Footnote 25: (return)

Opusc. p. 576 f.: "Ex quo fit, ut nullo modo in theologicis, quæ omnia e libris antiquis hebraicis, grascis, latinis ducuntur, possit aliquis bene in definiendo versari et a peccatis multis et magnis sibi cavere, nisi litteras et historiam assumat." The title of a programme of Crusius, Ernesti's opponent, "De dogmatum Christianorum historia cum probatione dogmatum non confundenda," 1770, is significant of the new insight which was steadily making way.

Footnote 26: (return)

Semler, Einleitung zu Baumgartens evang. Glaubenslehre, 1759: also Geschichte der Glaubenslehre, zu Baumgartens Untersuch. theol. Streitigkeiten, 1762-1764. Semler paved the way for the view that dogmas have arisen and been gradually developed under definite historical conditions. He was the first to grasp the problem of the relation of Catholicism to early Christianity, because he freed the early Christian documents from the fetters of the Canon. Schröckh (Christl. Kirchengesch., 1786,) in the spirit of Semler described with impartiality and care the changes of the dogmas.

Footnote 27: (return)

Rössler, Lehrbegriff der Christlichen Kirche in den 3 ersten Jahrh. 1775; also, Arbeiten by Burscher, Heinrich, Stäudlin, etc., see especially, Löffler's "Abhandlung welche eine kurze Darstellung der Entstehungsart der Dreieinigkeit enthält," 1792, in the translation of Souverain's Le Platonisme devoilé, 1700. The question as to the Platonism of the Fathers, this fundamental question of the history of dogma, was raised even by Luther and Flacius, and was very vigorously debated at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, after the Socinians had already affirmed it strongly. The question once more emerges on German soil in the church history of G. Arnold, but cannot be said to have received the attention it deserves in the 150 years that have followed (see the literature of the controversy in Tzschirner, Fall des Heidenthums, p. 580 f.). Yet the problem was first thrust aside by the speculative view of the history of Christianity.

Footnote 28: (return)

Lange. Ausführ. Gesch. der Dogmen, oder der Glaubenslehre der Christl. Kirche nach den Kirchenväter ausgearbeitet. 1796.

Footnote 29: (return)

Münscher, Handb. d. Christl. D.G. 4 vols. first 6 Centuries 1797-1809; Lehrbuch, 1st Edit. 1811; 3rd. Edit. edited by v Cölln, Hupfeld and Neudecker, 1832-1838. Planck's epoch-making work: Gesch. der Veränderungen und der Bildung unseres protestantischen Lehrbegriffs. 6 vols. 1791-1800, had already for the most part appeared. Contemporary with Münscher are Wundemann, Gesch. d. Christl. Glaubenslehren vom Zeitalter des Athanasius bis auf Gregor. d. Gr. 2 Thle. 1789-1799; Münter, Handbuch der alteren Christl. D.G. hrsg. von Ewers, 2 vols. 1802-1804; Stäudlin, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik und Dogmengeschichte, 1800, last Edition 1822, and Beck, Comment, hist. decretorum religionis Christianæ, 1801.

Footnote 30: (return)

Augusti, Lehrb. d. Christl. D.G. 1805. 4 Edit. 1835. Berthold, Handb. der D.G. 2 vols. 1822-1823. Schickedanz, Versuch einer Gesch. d. Christl. Glaubenslehre etc. 1827. Ruperti, Geschichte der Dogmen, 1831. Lenz, Gesch. der Christl. Dogmen. 2 parts. 1834-1835. J.G.V. Engelhardt, Dogmengesch. 1839. See also Giesler, Dogmengesch. 2 vols. edited by Redepenning, 1855: also Illgen, Ueber den Werth der Christl. D.G. 1817.

Footnote 31: (return)

Baumgarten Crusius, Lehrb. d. Christl. D.G. 1852: also compendium d. Christl. D.G. 2 parts 1830-1846, the second part edited by Hase.

Footnote 32: (return)

Meier, Lehrb. d. D.G. 1840. 2nd Edit. revised by G. Baur 1854.

Footnote 33: (return)

The "Special History of Dogma" in Baumgarten Crusius, in which every particular dogma is by itself pursued through the whole history of the Church, is of course entirely unfruitful. But even the opinions which are given in the "General History of Dogma," are frequently very far from the mark, (Cf., e.g., § 14 and p. 67), which is the more surprising as no one can deny that he takes a scholarly view of history.

Footnote 34: (return)

Meier's Lehrbuch is formally and materially a very important piece of work, the value of which has not been sufficiently recognised, because the author followed neither the track of Neander nor of Baur. Besides the excellences noted in the text, may be further mentioned, that almost everywhere Meier has distinguished correctly between the history of dogma and the history of theology, and has given an account only of the former.

Footnote 35: (return)

Biedermann (Christl Dogmatik 2 Edit 1 vol. p. 332 f) says, "The history of the development of the Dogma of the Person of Christ will bring before us step by step the ascent of faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to its metaphysical basis in the nature of his person." This was the quite normal and necessary way of actual faith and is not to be reckoned as a confused mixture of heterogeneous philosophical opinions. The only thing taken from the ideas of contemporary philosophy was the special material of consciousness in which the doctrine of Christ's Divinity was at any time expressed. The process of this doctrinal development was an inward necessary one.

Footnote 36: (return)

Baur, Lehrbuch der Christl D.G. 1847 3rd Edit. 1867, also Vorles uber die Christl D.G. edited by F. Baur 1865-68. Further the Monographs, "Ueber die Christl Lehre v.d. Versohnung in ihrergesch Entw. 1838." Ueber die Christl Lehre v.d. Dreieinigkeit u.d. Menschwerdung, 1841, etc. D.F. Strauss preceded him with his work Die Christl Glaubenslehre in ihrer gesch Entw 2 vols 1840-41. From the stand-point of the Hegelian right we have Marheineke Christl D.G. edited by Matthias and Vatke 1849. From the same stand-point though at the same time influenced by Schleiermacher Dorner wrote "The History of the Person of Christ."

Footnote 37: (return)

See p. 63: "As Christianity appeared in contrast with Judaism and Heathenism, and could only represent a new and peculiar form of the religious consciousness in distinction from both reducing the contrasts of both to a unity in itself, so also the first difference of tendencies developing themselves within Christianity, must be determined by the relation in which it stood to Judaism on the one hand, and to Heathenism on the other." Compare also the very characteristic introduction to the first volume of the Vorlesungen.

Footnote 38: (return)

Hagenbach's Manual of the history of dogma might be put alongside of Neander's work. It agrees with it both in plan and spirit. But the material of the history of dogma which it offers in superabundance, seems far less connectedly worked out than by Neander. In Shedd's history of Christian doctrine the Americans possess a presentation of the history of dogma worth noting 2 vols 3 Edit 1883. The work of Fr. Bonifas Hist des Dogmes 2 vols 1886 appeared after the death of the author and is not important.

Footnote 39: (return)

No doubt Kliefoth also maintains for each period a stage of the disintegration of dogma but this is not to be understood in the ordinary sense of the word. Besides there are ideas in this introduction which hardly obtain the approval of their author to-day.

Footnote 40: (return)

Thomasius' Die Christl. Dogmengesch. als Entwickel. Gesch. des Kirchl. Lehrbegriffs. 2 vols. 1874-76. 2nd Edit intelligently and carefully edited by Bonwetsch. and Seeberg, 1887. (Seeberg has produced almost a new work in vol. II). From the same stand-point is the manual of the history of dogma by H. Schmid, 1859, (in 4th Ed. revised and transformed into an excellent collection of passages from the sources by Hauck, 1887), as well as the Luther. Dogmatik (Vol. II 1864: Der Kirchenglaube) of Kahnis, which, however, subjects particular dogmas to a freer criticism.

Footnote 41: (return)

See Vol. 1. p. 14.

Footnote 42: (return)

See Vol. 1. p. 11. "The first period treats of the development of the great main dogmas which were to become the basis of the further development (the Patristic age). The problem of the second period was, partly to work up this material theologically, and partly to develop it. But this development, under the influence of the Hierarchy, fell into false paths, and became partly, at least, corrupt (the age of Scholasticism), and therefore a reformation was necessary. It was reserved for this third period to carry back the doctrinal formation which had become abnormal, to the old sound paths, and on the other hand, in virtue of the regeneration of the Church which followed, to deepen it and fashion it according to that form which it got in the doctrinal systems of the Evangelic Church, while the remaining part fixed its own doctrine in the decrees of Trent (period of the Reformation)." This view of history, which, from the Christian stand-point, will allow absolutely nothing to be said against the doctrinal formation of the early Church, is a retrogression from the view of Luther and the writers of the "Centuries," for these were well aware that the corruption did not first begin in the middle ages.

Footnote 43: (return)

This fulfils a requirement urged by Weizsäcker (Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol 1866 p. 170 ff.)

Footnote 44: (return)

See Ritschl's Essay, "Ueber die Methode der älteren Dogmengeschichte" (Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol. 1871 p. 191 ff.) in which the advance made by Nitzsch is estimated, and at the same time, an arrangement proposed for the treatment of the earlier history of dogma which would group the material more clearly and more suitably than has been done by Nitzsch. After having laid the foundation for a correct historical estimate of the development of early Christianity in his work "Entstehung der Alt-Katholischen Kirche", 1857, Ritschl published an epoch-making study in the history of dogma in his "History of the doctrine of justification and reconciliation" 2 edit. 1883. We have no superabundance of good monographs on the history of dogma. There are few that give such exact information regarding the Patristic period as that of Von Engelhardt "Ueber das Christenthum Justin's", 1878, and Zahn's work on Marcellus, 1867. Among the investigators of our age, Renan above all has clearly recognised that there are only two main periods in the history of dogma, and that the changes which Christianity experienced after the establishment of the Catholic Church bear no proportion to the changes which preceded. His words are as follows (Hist. des origin. du Christianisme T. VII. p. 503 f.):—the division about the year 180 is certainly placed too early, regard being had to what was then really authoritative in the Church.—"Si nous comparons maintenant le Christianisme, tel qu'il existait vers l'an 180, au Christianisme du IVe et du Ve, siècle, au Christianisme du moyen âge, au Christianisme de nos jours, nous trouvons qu'en réalité il s'est augmenté des très peu de chose dans les siècles qui ont suivis. En 180, le Nouveau Testament est clos: il ne s'y ajoutera plus un seul livre nouveau(?). Lentement, les Épitres de Paul out conquis leur place à la suite des Evangiles, dans le code sacré et dans la liturgie. Quant aux dogmes, rien n'est fixé; mais le germe de tout existe; presque aucune idée n'apparaitra qui ne puisse faire valoir des autorités du 1er et du 2e siècles. Il y a du trop, il y a des contradictions; le travail théologique consistera bien plus à émonder, à écarter des superfluités qu'à inventer du nouveau. L'Église laissera tomber une foule de choses mal commencées, elle sortira de bien des impasses. Elle a encore deux coeurs, pour ainsi dire; elle a plusieurs têtes; ces anomalies tomberont; mais aucun dogme vraiment original ne se formera plus." Also the discussions in chapters 28-34, of the same volume. H. Thiersch (Die Kirche im Apostolischen Zeitalter, 1852) reveals a deep insight into the difference between the spirit of the New Testament writers and the post-Apostolic Fathers, but he has overdone these differences and sought to explain them by the mythological assumption of an Apostasy. A great amount of material for the history of dogma may be found in the great work of Böhringer, Die Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen, oder die Kirchengeschichte in Biographien. 2 Edit. 1864.

Footnote 45: (return)

By the connection with general church history we must, above all, understand, a continuous regard to the world within which the church has been developed. The most recent works on the history of the church and of dogma, those of Renan, Overbeck (Anfänge der patristischen Litteratur), Aube, Von Engelhardt (Justin), Kühn (Minucius Felix). Hatch ("Organization of the early church," and especially his posthumous work "The influence of Greek ideas and usages upon the Christian Church," 1890, in which may be found the most ample proof for the conception of the early history of dogma which is set forth in the following pages), are in this respect worthy of special note. Deserving of mention also is R. Rothe, who, in his "Vorlesungen über Kirchengeschichte", edited by Weingarten, 1875, 2 vols, gave most significant suggestions towards a really historical conception of the history of the church and of dogma. To Rothe belongs the undiminished merit of realising thoroughly the significance of nationality in church history. But the theology of our century is also indebted for the first scientific conception of Catholicism, not to Marheineke or Winer, but to Rothe. (See Vol II. pp. 1-11 especially p. 7 f.). "The development of the Christian Church in the Græco-Roman world was not at the same time a development of that world by the Church and further by Christianity. There remained, as the result of the process, nothing but the completed Church. The world which had built it had made itself bankrupt in doing so." With regard to the origin and development of the Catholic cultus and constitution, nay, even of the Ethic (see Luthardt, Die antike Ethik, 1887, preface), that has been recognised by Protestant scholars, which one always hesitates to recognise with regard to catholic dogma: see the excellent remarks of Schwegler, Nachapostolisches Zeitalter. Vol. 1. p. 3 ff. It may be hoped that an intelligent consideration of early Christian literature will form the bridge to a broad and intelligent view of the history of dogma. The essay of Overbeck mentioned above (Histor. Zeitschrift. N. F. XII p. 417 ff.) may be most heartily recommended in this respect. It is very gratifying to find an investigator so conservative as Sohm, now fully admitting that "Christian theology grew up in the second and third centuries, when its foundations were laid for all time (?), the last great production of the Hellenic Spirit." (Kirchengeschichte im Grundriss, 1888. p. 37). The same scholar in his very important Kirchenrecht. Bd. I. 1892, has transferred to the history of the origin of Church law and Church organization, the points of view which I have applied in the following account to the consideration of dogma. He has thereby succeeded in correcting many old errors and prejudices; but in my opinion he has obscured the truth by exaggerations connected with a conception, not only of original Christianity, but also of the Gospel in general, which is partly a narrow legal view, partly an enthusiastic one. He has arrived ex errore per veritatem ad errorem; but there are few books from which so much may be learned about early church history as from this paradoxical "Kirchenrecht."

[pg 41]



§ 1. Introductory.

The Gospel presents itself as an Apocalyptic message on the soil of the Old Testament, and as the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, and yet is a new thing, the creation of a universal religion on the basis of that of the Old Testament. It appeared when the time was fulfilled, that is, it is not without a connection with the stage of religious and spiritual development which was brought about by the intercourse of Jews and Greeks, and was established in the Roman Empire; but still it is a new religion because it cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. When the traditional religion has become too narrow the new religion usually appears as something of a very abstract nature; philosophy comes upon the scene, and religion withdraws from social life and becomes a private matter. But here an overpowering personality has appeared—the Son of God. Word and deed coincide in that personality, and as it leads men into a new communion with God, it unites them at the same time inseparably with itself, enables them to act on the world as light and leaven, and joins them together in a spiritual unity and an active confederacy.

2. Jesus Christ brought no new doctrine, but he set forth in his own person a holy life with God and before God, and gave himself in virtue of this life to the service of his brethren in order to win them for the Kingdom of God, that is, to lead them out of selfishness and the world to God, out of [pg 42] the natural connections and contrasts to a union in love, and prepare them for an eternal kingdom and an eternal life. But while working for this Kingdom of God he did not withdraw from the religious and political communion of his people, nor did he induce his disciples to leave that communion. On the contrary, he described the Kingdom of God as the fulfilment of the promises given to the nation, and himself as the Messiah whom that nation expected. By doing so he secured for his new message, and with it his own person, a place in the system of religious ideas and hopes, which by means of the Old Testament were then, in diverse forms, current in the Jewish nation. The origin of a doctrine concerning the Messianic hope, in which the Messiah was no longer an unknown being, but Jesus of Nazareth, along with the new temper and disposition of believers was a direct result of the impression made by the person of Jesus. The conception of the Old Testament in accordance with the analogia fidei, that is, in accordance with the conviction that this Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, was therewith given. Whatever sources of comfort and strength Christianity, even in its New Testament, has possessed or does possess up to the present, is for the most part taken from the Old Testament, viewed from a Christian stand-point, in virtue of the impression of the person of Jesus. Even its dross was changed into gold; its hidden treasures were brought forth, and while the earthly and transitory were recognised as symbols of the heavenly and eternal, there rose up a world of blessings, of holy ordinances, and of sure grace prepared by God from eternity. One could joyfully make oneself at home in it; for its long history guaranteed a sure future and a blessed close, while it offered comfort and certainty in all the changes of life to every individual heart that would only raise itself to God. From the positive position which Jesus took up towards the Old Testament, that is, towards the religious traditions of his people, his Gospel gained a footing which, later on, preserved it from dissolving in the glow of enthusiasm, or melting away in the ensnaring dream of antiquity, that dream of the indestructible Divine nature of the [pg 43] human spirit, and the nothingness and baseness of all material things.46 But from the positive attitude of Jesus to the Jewish tradition, there followed also, for a generation that had long been accustomed to grope after the Divine active in the world, the summons to think out a theory of the media of revelation, and so put an end to the uncertainty with which speculation had hitherto been afflicted. This, like every theory of religion, concealed in itself the danger of crippling the power of faith; for men are ever prone to compound with religion itself by a religious theory.

3. The result of the preaching of Jesus, however, in the case of the believing Jews, was not only the illumination of the Old Testament by the Gospel and the confirmation of the Gospel by the Old Testament, but not less, though indirectly, the detachment of believers from the religious community of the Jews from the Jewish Church. How this came about cannot be discussed here: we may satisfy ourselves with the fact that it was essentially accomplished in the first two generations of believers. The Gospel was a message for humanity even where there was no break with Judaism: but it seemed impossible to bring this message home to men who were not Jews in any other way than by leaving the Jewish Church. But to leave that Church was to declare it to be worthless, and that could only be done by conceiving it as a malformation from its very commencement, or assuming that it had temporarily or completely fulfilled its mission. In either case it was necessary to put another in its place, for, according to the Old Testament, it was unquestionable that God had not only given revelations, but through these revelations had founded a nation, a religious community. The result, also, to which the conduct of the unbelieving Jews and the social union of the disciples of Jesus required by that [pg 44] conduct, led, was carried home with irresistible power: believers in Christ are the community of God, they are the true Israel, the εκκλησια του θεου: but the Jewish Church persisting in its unbelief is the Synagogue of Satan. Out of this consciousness sprang—first as a power in which one believed, but which immediately began to be operative, though not as a commonwealth—the christian church, a special communion of hearts on the basis of a personal union with God, established by Christ and mediated by the Spirit; a communion whose essential mark was to claim as its own the Old Testament and the idea of being the people of God, to sweep aside the Jewish conception of the Old Testament and the Jewish Church, and thereby gain the shape and power of a community that is capable of a mission for the world.

4. This independent Christian community could not have been formed had not Judaism, in consequence of inner and outer developments, then reached a point at which it must either altogether cease to grow or burst its shell. This community is the presupposition of the history of dogma, and the position which it took up towards the Jewish tradition is, strictly speaking, the point of departure for all further developments, so far as with the removal of all national and ceremonial peculiarities it proclaimed itself to be what the Jewish Church wished to be. We find the Christian Church about the middle of the third century, after severe crisis, in nearly the same position to the Old Testament and to Judaism as it was 150 or 200 years earlier.47 It makes the same claim to the Old Testament, and builds its faith and hope upon its teaching. It is also, as before, strictly anti-national; above all, anti-judaic, and sentences the Jewish religious community to the abyss of hell. It might appear, then, as though the basis for the further development of Christianity as a church was completely [pg 45] given from the moment in which the first breach of believers with the synagogue and the formation of independent Christian communities took place. The problem, the solution of which will always exercise this church, so far as it reflects upon its faith, will be to turn the Old Testament more completely to account in its own sense, so as to condemn the Jewish Church with its particular and national forms.

5. But the rule even for the Christian use of the Old Testament lay originally in the living connection in which one stood with the Jewish people and its traditions, and a new religious community, a religious commonwealth, was not yet realised, although it existed for faith and thought. If again we compare the Church about the middle of the third century with the condition of Christendom 150 or 200 years before, we shall find that there is now a real religious commonwealth, while at the earlier period there were only communities who believed in a heavenly Church, whose earthly image they were, endeavoured to give it expression with the simplest means, and lived in the future as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, hastening to meet the Kingdom of whose existence they had the surest guarantee. We now really find a new commonwealth, politically formed and equipped with fixed forms of all kinds. We recognise in these forms few Jewish, but many Græco-Roman features, and finally, we perceive also in the doctrine of faith on which this commonwealth is based, the philosophic spirit of the Greeks. We find a Church as a political union and worship institute, a formulated faith and a sacred learning; but one thing we no longer find, the old enthusiasm and individualism which had not felt itself fettered by subjection to the authority of the Old Testament. Instead of enthusiastic independent Christians, we find a new literature of revelation, the New Testament, and Christian priests. When did these formations begin? How and by what influence was the living faith transformed into the creed to be believed, the surrender to Christ into a philosophic Christology, the Holy Church into the corpus permixtum, the glowing hope of the Kingdom of heaven into a doctrine [pg 46] of immortality and deification, prophecy into a learned exegesis and theological science, the bearers of the spirit into clerics, the brethren into laity held in tutelage, miracles and healings into nothing, or into priestcraft, the fervent prayers into a solemn ritual, renunciation of the world into a jealous dominion over the world, the "spirit" into constraint and law?

There can be no doubt about the answer: these formations are as old in their origin as the detachment of the Gospel from the Jewish Church. A religious faith which seeks to establish a communion of its own in opposition to another, is compelled to borrow from that other what it needs. The religion which is life and feeling of the heart cannot be converted into a knowledge determining the motley multitude of men without deferring to their wishes and opinions. Even the holiest must clothe itself in the same existing earthly forms as the profane if it wishes to found on earth a confederacy which is to take the place of another, and if it does not wish to enslave, but to determine the reason. When the Gospel was rejected by the Jewish nation, and had disengaged itself from all connection with that nation, it was already settled whence it must take the material to form for itself a new body and be transformed into a Church and a theology. National and particular, in the ordinary sense of the word, these forms could not be: the contents of the Gospel were too rich for that; but separated from Judaism, nay, even before that separation, the Christian religion came in contact with the Roman world and with a culture which had already mastered the world, viz., the Greek. The Christian Church and its doctrine were developed within the Roman world and Greek culture in opposition to the Jewish Church. This fact is just as important for the history of dogma as the other stated above, that this Church was continuously nourished on the Old Testament. Christendom was of course conscious of being in opposition to the empire and its culture, as well as to Judaism; but this from the beginning—apart from a few exceptions—was not without reservations. No man can serve two masters; but in setting up a spiritual power in this world [pg 47] one must serve an earthly master, even when he desires to naturalise the spiritual in the world. As a consequence of the complete break with the Jewish Church there followed not only the strict necessity of quarrying the stones for the building of the Church from the Græco-Roman world, but also the idea that Christianity has a more positive relation to that world than to the synagogue. And, as the Church was being built, the original enthusiasm must needs vanish. The separation from Judaism having taken place, it was necessary that the spirit of another people should be admitted, and should also materially determine the manner of turning the Old Testament to advantage.

6. But an inner necessity was at work here no less than an outer. Judaism and Hellenism in the age of Christ were opposed to each other, not only as dissimilar powers of equal value, but the latter having its origin among a small people, became a universal spiritual power, which, severed from its original nationality, had for that very reason penetrated foreign nations. It had even laid hold of Judaism, and the anxious care of her professional watchmen to hedge round the national possession, is but a proof of the advancing decomposition within the Jewish nation. Israel, no doubt, had a sacred treasure which was of greater value than all the treasures of the Greeks,—the living God—but in what miserable vessels was this treasure preserved, and how much inferior was all else possessed by this nation in comparison with the riches, the power, the delicacy and freedom of the Greek spirit and its intellectual possessions. A movement like that of Christianity, which discovered to the Jew the soul whose dignity was not dependent on its descent from Abraham, but on its responsibility to God, could not continue in the framework of Judaism however expanded, but must soon recognise in that world which the Greek spirit had discovered and prepared, the field which belonged to it: εικοτως Ιουδαιοις μεν νομος, 'Ελλεσι δε φιλοσοφια μεχρις της παρουσιας εντευθεν δε 'η κλησις 'η καθολικη [to the Jews the law, to the Greeks Philosophy, up to the Parousia; from that time the catholic invitation.] [pg 48] But the Gospel at first was preached exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and that which inwardly united it with Hellenism did not yet appear in any doctrine or definite form of knowledge.

On the contrary, the Church doctrine of faith, in the preparatory stage, from the Apologists up to the time of Origen, hardly in any point shews the traces, scarcely even the remembrance of a time in which the Gospel was not detached from Judaism. For that very reason it is absolutely impossible to understand this preparation and development solely from the writings that remain to us as monuments of that short earliest period. The attempts at deducing the genesis of the Church's doctrinal system from the theology of Paul, or from compromises between Apostolic doctrinal ideas, will always miscarry; for they fail to note that to the most important premises of the Catholic doctrine of faith belongs an element which we cannot recognise as dominant in the New Testament,48 [pg 49] viz., the Hellenic spirit.49 As far backwards as we can trace the history of the propagation of the Church's doctrine of faith, from the middle of the third century to the end of the first, we nowhere perceive a leap, or the sudden influx of an entirely new element. What we perceive is rather the gradual disappearance of an original element, the Enthusiastic and Apocalyptic, that is, of the sure consciousness of an immediate possession of the Divine Spirit, and the hope of the future conquering the present; individual piety conscious of itself and sovereign, living in the future world, recognising no external authority and no external barriers. This piety became ever weaker and passed away: the utilising of the Codex of Revelation, the Old Testament, proportionally increased with the Hellenic influences which controlled the process, for the two went always hand in hand. At an earlier period the Churches made very little use of either, because they had in individual religious inspiration on the basis of Christ's preaching [pg 50] and the sure hope of his Kingdom which was near at hand, much more than either could bestow. The factors whose co-operation we observe in the second and third centuries, were already operative among the earliest Gentile Christians. We nowhere find a yawning gulf in the great development which lies between the first Epistle of Clement and the work of Origen, Περι αρχων. Even the importance which the "Apostolic" was to obtain, was already foreshadowed by the end of the first century, and enthusiasm always had its limits.50 The most decisive division, therefore, falls before the end of the first century; or more correctly, the relatively new element, the Greek, which is of importance for the forming of the Church as a commonwealth, and consequently for the formation of its doctrine, is clearly present in the churches even in the Apostolic age. Two hundred years, however, passed before it made itself completely at home in the Gospel, although there were points of connection inherent in the Gospel.

7. The cause of the great historical fact is clear. It is given in the fact that the Gospel, rejected by the majority of the Jews, was very soon proclaimed to those who were not Jews, that after a few decades the greater number of its professors were found among the Greeks, and that, consequently, the development leading to the Catholic dogma took place within Græco-Roman culture. But within this culture there was lacking the power of understanding either the idea of the [pg 51] completed Old Testament theocracy, or the idea of the Messiah. Both of these essential elements of the original proclamation, therefore, must either be neglected or remodelled.51 But it is hardly allowable to mention details however important, where the whole aggregate of ideas, of religious historical perceptions and presuppositions, which were based on the old Testament, understood in a Christian sense, presented itself as something new and strange. One can easily appropriate words, but not practical ideas. Side by side with the Old Testament religion as the presupposition of the Gospel, and using its forms of thought, the moral and religious views and ideals dominant in the world of Greek culture could not but insinuate themselves into the communities consisting of Gentiles. From the enormous material that was brought home to the hearts of the Greeks, whether formulated by Paul or by any other, only a few rudimentary ideas could at first be appropriated. For that very reason, the Apostolic Catholic doctrine of faith in its preparation and establishment, is no mere continuation of that which, by uniting things that are certainly very dissimilar, is wont to be described as "Biblical Theology of the New Testament." Biblical Theology, even when kept within reasonable limits, is not the presupposition of the history of dogma. The Gentile Christians were little able to comprehend the controversies which stirred the Apostolic age within Jewish Christianity. The presuppositions of the history of dogma are given in certain fundamental ideas, or rather motives of the Gospel, (in the preaching concerning Jesus Christ, in the teaching of Evangelic ethics and the future life, in the Old Testament capable of any interpretation, but to be interpreted with reference to Christ and the Evangelic history), and in the Greek spirit.52

[pg 52]

8. The foregoing statements involve that the difference between the development which led to the Catholic doctrine of religion and the original condition, was by no means a total one. By recognising the Old Testament as a book of Divine revelation, the Gentile Christians received along with it the religious speech which was used by Jewish Christians, were made dependent upon the interpretation which had been used from the very beginning, and even received a great part of the Jewish literature which accompanied the Old Testament. But the possession of a common religious speech and literature is never a mere outward bond of union, however strong the impulse be to introduce the old familiar contents into the newly acquired speech. The Jewish, that is, the Old Testament element, divested of its national peculiarity, has remained the basis of Christendom. It has saturated this element with the Greek spirit, but has always clung to its main idea, faith in [pg 53] God as the creator and ruler of the world. It has in the course of its development rejected important parts of that Jewish element, and has borrowed others at a later period from the great treasure that was transmitted to it. It has also been able to turn to account the least adaptable features, if only for the external confirmation of its own ideas. The Old Testament applied to Christ and his universal Church has always remained the decisive document, and it was long ere Christian writings received the same authority, long ere individual doctrines and sayings of Apostolic writings obtained an influence on the formation of ecclesiastical doctrine.

9. From yet another side there makes its appearance an agreement between the circles of Palestinian believers in Jesus and the Gentile Christian communities, which endured for more than a century, though it was of course gradually effaced. It is the enthusiastic element which unites them, the consciousness of standing in an immediate union with God through the Spirit, and receiving directly from God's hand miraculous gifts, powers and revelations, granted to the individual that he may turn them to account in the service of the Church. The depotentiation of the Christian religion, where one may believe in the inspiration of another, but no longer feels his own, nay, dare not feel it, is not altogether coincident with its settlement on Greek soil. On the contrary, it was more than two centuries ere weakness and reflection suppressed, or all but suppressed, the forms in which the personal consciousness of God originally expressed itself.53 Now it certainly lies in the nature of [pg 54] enthusiasm, that it can assume the most diverse forms of expression, and follow very different impulses, and so far it frequently separates instead of uniting. But so long as criticism and reflection are not yet awakened, and a uniform ideal hovers before one, it does unite, and in this sense there existed an identity of disposition between the earliest Jewish Christians and the still enthusiastic Gentile Christian communities.

10. But, finally, there is a still further uniting element between the beginnings of the development to Catholicism, and the original condition of the Christian religion as a movement within Judaism, the importance of which cannot be overrated, although we have every reason to complain here of the obscurity of the tradition. Between the Græco-Roman world which was in search of a spiritual religion, and the Jewish commonwealth which already possessed such a religion as a national property, though vitiated by exclusiveness, there had long been a Judaism which, penetrated by the Greek spirit, was, ex professo, devoting itself to the task of bringing a new religion to the Greek world, the Jewish religion, but that religion in its kernel Greek, that is, philosophically moulded, spiritualised and secularised. Here then was already consummated an intimate union of the Greek spirit with the Old Testament religion, within the Empire and to a less degree in Palestine itself. If everything is not to be dissolved into a grey mist, we must clearly distinguish this union between Judaism and Hellenism and the spiritualising of religion it produced, from the powerful but indeterminable influences which the Greek spirit [pg 55] exercised on all things Jewish, and which have been a historical condition of the Gospel. The alliance, in my opinion, was of no significance at all for the origin of the Gospel, but was of the most decided importance, first, for the propagation of Christianity, and then, for the development of Christianity to Catholicism, and for the genesis of the Catholic doctrine of faith.54 We cannot certainly name any particular personality who was specially active in this, but we can mention three facts which prove more than individual references. (1) The propaganda of Christianity in the Diaspora followed the Jewish propaganda and partly took its place, that is, the Gospel was at first preached to those Gentiles who were already acquainted with the general outlines of the Jewish religion, and who were even frequently viewed as a Judaism of a second order, in which Jewish and Greek elements had been united in a peculiar mixture. (2) The conception of the Old Testament, as we find it even in the earliest Gentile Christian teachers, the method of spiritualising it, etc., agrees in the most surprising way with the methods which were used by the Alexandrian Jews. (3) There are Christian documents in no small number and of unknown origin, which completely agree in plan, in form and contents with Græco-Jewish writings of the Diaspora, as for example, the Christian Sibylline Oracles, and the pseudo-Justinian treatise, "de Monarchia." There are numerous tractates of which it is impossible to say with certainty whether they are of Jewish or of Christian origin.

The Alexandrian and non-Palestinian Judaism is still Judaism. As the Gospel seized and moved the whole of Judaism, [pg 56] it must also have been operative in the non Palestinian Judaism. But that already foreshadowed the transition of the Gospel to the non-Jewish Greek region, and the fate which it was to experience there. For that non-Palestinian Judaism formed the bridge between the Jewish Church and the Roman Empire, together with its culture.55 The Gospel passed into the world chiefly by this bridge. Paul indeed had a large share in this, but his own Churches did not understand the way he led them, and were not able on looking back to find it.56 He indeed became a Greek to the Greeks, and even began the undertaking of placing the treasures of Greek knowledge at the service [pg 57] of the Gospel. But the knowledge of Christ crucified, to which he subordinated all other knowledge as only of preparatory value, had nothing in common with Greek philosophy, while the idea of justification and the doctrine of the Spirit (Rom. VIII), which together formed the peculiar contents of his Christianity, were irreconcilable with the moralism and the religious ideals of Hellenism. But the great mass of the earliest Gentile Christians became Christians because they perceived in the Gospel the sure tidings of the benefits and obligations which they had already sought in the fusion of Jewish and Greek elements. It is only by discerning this that we can grasp the preparation and genesis of the Catholic Church and its dogma.

From the foregoing statements it appears that there fall to be considered as presuppositions of the origin of the Catholic Apostolic doctrine of faith, the following topics, though of unequal importance as regards the extent of their influence:

(a) The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(b) The common preaching of Jesus Christ in the first generation of believers.

(c) The current exposition of the Old Testament, the Jewish speculations and hopes of the future, in their significance for the earliest types of Christian preaching.57

(d) The religious conceptions, and the religious philosophy of the Hellenistic Jews, in their significance for the later restatement of the Gospel.

(e) The religious dispositions of the Greeks and Romans of the first two centuries, and the current Græco-Roman philosophy of religion.

[pg 58]

§ 2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own testimony concerning Himself.

I. The Fundamental Features.

The Gospel entered into the world as an apocalyptic eschatological message, apocalyptical and eschatological not only in its form, but also in its contents. But Jesus announced that the kingdom of God had already begun with his own work, and those who received him in faith became sensible of this beginning; for the "apocalyptical" was not merely the unveiling of the future, but above all the revelation of God as the Father, and the "eschatological" received its counterpoise in the view of Jesus' work as Saviour, in the assurance of being certainly called to the kingdom, and in the conviction that life and future dominion is hid with God the Lord and preserved for believers by him. Consequently, we are following not only the indications of the succeeding history, but also the requirement of the thing itself, when, in the presentation of the Gospel, we place in the foreground, not that which unites it with the contemporary disposition of Judaism, but that which raises it above it. Instead of the hope of inheriting the kingdom, Jesus had also spoken simply of preserving the soul, or the life. In this one substitution lies already a transformation of universal significance, of political religion into a religion that is individual and therefore holy; for the life is nourished by the word of God, but God is the Holy One.

The Gospel is the glad message of the government of the world and of every individual soul by the almighty and holy God, the Father and Judge. In this dominion of God, which frees men from the power of the Devil, makes them rulers in a heavenly kingdom in contrast with the kingdoms of the world, and which will also be sensibly realised in the future æon just about to appear, is secured life for all men who yield themselves to God, although they should lose the world and the earthly life. That is, the soul which is pure and holy in connection with God, and in imitation of the Divine [pg 59] perfection is eternally preserved with God, while those who would gain the world, and preserve their life, fall into the hands of the Judge who sentences them to Hell. This dominion of God imposes on men a law, an old and yet a new law, viz., that of the Divine perfection and therefore of undivided love to God and to our neighbour. In this love, where it sways the inmost feeling, is presented the better righteousness (better not only with respect to the Scribes and Pharisees, but also with respect to Moses, see Matt. V.), which corresponds to the perfection of God. The way to attain it is a change of mind, that is, self-denial, humility before God, and heartfelt trust in him. In this humility and trust in God there is contained a recognition of one's own unworthiness; but the Gospel calls to the kingdom of God those very sinners who are thus minded, by promising the forgiveness of the sins which hitherto have separated them from God. But the Gospel which appears in these three elements, the dominion of God, a better righteousness embodied in the law of love, and the forgiveness of sin, is inseparably connected with Jesus Christ; for in preaching this Gospel Jesus Christ everywhere calls men to himself. In him the Gospel is word and deed; it has become his food, and therefore his personal life, and into this life of his he draws all others. He is the Son who knows the Father. In him men are to perceive the kindness of the Lord; in him they are to feel God's power and government of the world, and to become certain of this consolation; they are to follow him the meek and lowly, and while he, the pure and holy one, calls sinners to himself, they are to receive the assurance that God through him forgiveth sin.

Jesus Christ has by no express statement thrust this connection of his Gospel with his Person into the foreground. No words could have certified it unless his life, the overpowering impression of his Person, had created it. By living, acting and speaking from the riches of that life which he lived with his Father, he became for others the revelation of the God of whom they formerly had heard, but whom they had not known. He declared his Father to be their Father and [pg 60] they understood him. But he also declared himself to be Messiah, and in so doing gave an intelligible expression to his abiding significance for them and for his people. In a solemn hour at the close of his life, as well as on special occasions at an earlier period, he referred to the fact that the surrender to his Person which induced them to leave all and follow him, was no passing element in the new position they had gained towards God the Father. He tells them, on the contrary, that this surrender corresponds to the service which he will perform for them and for the many, when he will give his life a sacrifice for the sins of the world. By teaching them to think of him and of his death in the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine, and by saying of his death that it takes place for the remission of sins, he has claimed as his due from all future disciples what was a matter of course so long as he sojourned with them, but what might fade away after he was parted from them. He who in his preaching of the kingdom of God raised the strictest self-examination and humility to a law, and exhibited them to his followers in his own life, has described with clear consciousness his life crowned by death as the imperishable service by which men in all ages will be cleansed from their sin and made joyful in their God. By so doing he put himself far above all others, although they were to become his brethren; and claimed a unique and permanent importance as Redeemer and Judge. This permanent importance as the Lord he secured, not by disclosures about the mystery of his Person, but by the impression of his life and the interpretation of his death. He interprets it, like all his sufferings, as a victory, as the passing over to his glory, and in spite of the cry of God-forsakenness upon the cross, he has proved himself able to awaken in his followers the real conviction that he lives and is Lord and Judge of the living and the dead.

The religion of the Gospel is based on this belief in Jesus Christ, that is, by looking to him, this historical person, it becomes certain to the believer that God rules heaven and earth, and that God, the Judge, is also Father and Redeemer. [pg 61] The religion of the Gospel is the religion which makes the highest moral demands, the simplest and the most difficult, and discloses the contradiction in which every man finds himself towards them. But it also procures redemption from such misery, by drawing the life of men into the inexhaustible and blessed life of Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world and called sinners to himself.

In making this attempt to put together the fundamental features of the Gospel, I have allowed myself to be guided by the results of this Gospel in the case of the first disciples. I do not know whether it is permissible to present such fundamental features apart from this guidance. The preaching of Jesus Christ was in the main so plain and simple, and in its application so manifold and rich, that one shrinks from attempting to systematise it, and would much rather merely narrate according to the Gospel. Jesus searches for the point in every man on which he can lay hold of him and lead him to the Kingdom of God. The distinction of good and evil—for God or against God—he would make a life question for every man, in order to shew him for whom it has become this, that he can depend upon the God whom he is to fear. At the same time he did not by any means uniformly fall back upon sin, or even the universal sinfulness, but laid hold of individuals very diversely, and led them to God by different paths. The doctrinal concentration of redemption on sin was certainly not carried out by Paul alone; but, on the other hand, it did not in any way become the prevailing form for the preaching of the Gospel. On the contrary, the antitheses, night, error, dominion of demons, death and light, truth, deliverance, life, proved more telling in the Gentile Churches. The consciousness of universal sinfulness was first made the negative fundamental frame of mind of Christendom by Augustine.

II. Details.

1. Jesus announced the Kingdom of God which stands in opposition to the kingdom of the devil, and therefore also [pg 62] to the kingdom of the world, as a future Kingdom, and yet it is presented in his preaching as present; as an invisible, and yet it was visible—for one actually saw it. He lived and spoke within the circle of eschatological ideas which Judaism had developed more than two hundred years before: but he controlled them by giving them a new content and forcing them into a new direction. Without abrogating the law and the prophets he, on fitting occasions, broke through the national, political and sensuous eudæmonistic forms in which the nation was expecting the realisation of the dominion of God, but turned their attention at the same time to a future near at hand, in which believers would be delivered from the oppression of evil and sin, and would enjoy blessedness and dominion. Yet he declared that even now, every individual who is called into the kingdom may call on God as his Father, and be sure of the gracious will of God, the hearing of his prayers, the forgiveness of sin, and the protection of God even in this present life.58 But everything in this proclamation is directed to the life beyond: the certainty of that life is the power and earnestness of the Gospel.

2. The conditions of entrance to the kingdom are, in the first place, a complete change of mind, in which a man renounces the pleasures of this world, denies himself, and is ready to surrender all that he has in order to save his soul; then, a believing trust in God's grace which he grants to the humble and the poor, and therefore hearty confidence in Jesus as the Messiah chosen and called by God to realise his kingdom on the earth. The announcement is therefore directed to the poor, the suffering, those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, not to those who live, but to those who wish to be healed and redeemed, and finds them prepared for entrance [pg 63] into, and reception of the blessings of the kingdom of God,59 while it brings down upon the self-satisfied, the rich and those proud of their righteousness, the judgment of obduracy and the damnation of Hell.

3. The commandment of undivided love to God and the brethren, as the main commandment, in the observance of which righteousness is realised, and forming the antithesis to the selfish mind, the lust of the world, and every arbitrary impulse,60 corresponds to the blessings of the Kingdom of God, viz., forgiveness of sin, righteousness, dominion and blessedness. The standard of personal worth for the members of the King is self-sacrificing labour for others, not any technical mode of worship or legal preciseness. Renunciation of the world together with its goods, even of life itself in certain circumstances, is the proof of a man's sincerity and earnest in seeking the Kingdom of God; and the meekness which renounces every right, bears wrong patiently, requiting it with kindness, is the practical proof of love to God, the conduct that answers to God's perfection.

4. In the proclamation and founding of this kingdom, Jesus summoned men to attach themselves to him, because he had recognised himself to be the helper called by God, and therefore also the Messiah who was promised.61 He gradually declared [pg 64] himself to the people as such by the names he assumed,62 for the names "Anointed," "King," "Lord," "Son of David," "Son of Man," "Son of God," all denote the Messianic office, and were familiar to the greater part of the people.63 But though, at first, they express only the call, office, and power of the Messiah, yet by means of them and especially by the designation Son of God, Jesus pointed to a relation to God the Father, then and in its immediateness unique, as the basis of the office with which he was entrusted. He has, however, given no further explanation of the mystery of this relation than the declaration that the Son alone knoweth the Father, and that this knowledge of God and Sonship to God are secured for all others by the sending of the Son.64 In the [pg 65] proclamation of God as Father,65 as well as in the other proclamation that all the members of the kingdom following the will of God in love, are to become one with the Son and through him with the Father,66 the message of the realised kingdom of God receives its richest, inexhaustible content: the Son of the Father will be the first-born among many brethren.

5. Jesus as the Messiah chosen by God has definitely distinguished himself from Moses and all the Prophets: as his preaching and his work are the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, so he himself is not a disciple of Moses, but corrects that law-giver; he is not a Prophet, but Master and Lord. He proves this Lordship during his earthly ministry in the accomplishment of the mighty deeds given him to do, above all in withstanding the Devil and his kingdom,67 and—according to the law of the Kingdom of God—for that very reason in the service which he performs. In this service Jesus also [pg 66] reckoned the sacrifice of his life, designating it as a λυτρον which he offered for the redemption of man.68 But he declared at the same time that his Messianic work was not yet fulfilled in his subjection to death. On the contrary, the close is merely initiated by his death; for the completion of the kingdom will only appear when he returns in glory in the clouds of heaven to judgment. Jesus seems to have announced this speedy return a short time before his death, and to have comforted his disciples at his departure, with the assurance that he would immediately enter into a supramundane position with God.69

6. The instructions of Jesus to his disciples are accordingly dominated by the thought that the end, the day and hour [pg 67] of which, however, no one knows, is at hand. In consequence of this, also, the exhortation to renounce all earthly good takes a prominent place. But Jesus does not impose ascetic commandments as a new law, far less does he see in asceticism as such, sanctification70—he himself did not live as an ascetic, but was reproached as a wine-bibber—but he prescribed a perfect simplicity and purity of disposition, and a singleness of heart which remains invariably the same in trouble and renunciation, in possession and use of earthly good. A uniform equality of all in the conduct of life is not commanded: "To whom much is given, of him much shall be required." The disciples are kept as far from fanaticism and overrating of spiritual results as from asceticism. "Rejoice not that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." When they besought him to teach them to pray, he taught them the "Lord's prayer", a prayer which demands such a collected mind, and such a tranquil, childlike elevation of the heart to God, that it cannot be offered at all by minds subject to passion or preoccupied by any daily cares.

7. Jesus himself did not found a new religious community, but gathered round him a circle of disciples, and chose Apostles whom he commanded to preach the Gospel. His preaching was universalistic inasmuch as it attributed no value to ceremonialism as such, and placed the fulfilment of the Mosaic law in the exhibition of its moral contents, partly against or beyond the letter. He made the law perfect by harmonising its particular requirements with the fundamental moral requirements which were also expressed in the Mosaic law. He emphasised the fundamental requirements more decidedly [pg 68] than was done by the law itself, and taught that all details should be referred to them and deduced from them. The external righteousness of Pharisaism was thereby declared to be not only an outer covering, but also a fraud, and the bond which still united religion and nationality in Judaism was sundered.71 Political and national elements may probably have [pg 69] been made prominent in the hopes of the future, as Jesus appropriated them for his preaching. But from the conditions [pg 70] to which the realising of the hopes for the individual was attached, there already shone the clearer ray which was to eclipse those elements, and one saying such as Matt. XXII. 21, annulled at once political religion and religious politics.

Supplement 1.—The idea of the inestimable inherent value of every individual human soul, already dimly appearing in several psalms, and discerned by Greek Philosophers, though as a rule developed in contradiction to religion, stands out plainly in the preaching of Jesus. It is united with the idea of God as Father, and is the complement to the message of the communion of brethren realising itself in love. In this sense the Gospel is at once profoundly individualistic and Socialistic. The prospect of gaining life, and preserving it for ever, is therefore also the highest which Jesus has set forth, it is not, however, to be a motive, but a reward of grace. In the certainty of this prospect, which is the converse of renouncing the world, he has proclaimed the sure hope of the resurrection, and consequently the most abundant compensation for the loss of the natural life. Jesus put an end to the vacillation and uncertainty which in this respect still prevailed among the Jewish people of his day. The confession of the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee", and the fulfilling of the Old Testament commandment, "Love thy neighbour as thyself", were for the first time presented in their connection in the person of Jesus. He himself therefore is Christianity, for the "impression of his person convinced the disciples of the facts of forgiveness of sin and the second birth, and gave them courage to believe in and to lead a new life." We cannot therefore state the "doctrine" of Jesus; for it appears as a supramundane life which must be felt in the person of Jesus, and its truth is guaranteed by the fact that such a life can be lived.

Supplement 2.—The history of the Gospel contains two great transitions, both of which, however, fall within the first century; from Christ to the first generation of believers, including [pg 71] Paul, and from the first, Jewish Christian, generation of these believers to the Gentile Christians, in other words: from Christ to the brotherhood of believers in Christ, and from this to the incipient Catholic Church. No later transitions in the Church can be compared with these in importance. As to the first, the question has frequently been asked, Is the Gospel of Christ to be the authority or the Gospel concerning Christ? But the strict dilemma here is false. The Gospel certainly is the Gospel of Christ. For it has only, in the sense of Jesus, fulfilled its Mission when the Father has been declared to men as he was known by the Son, and where the life is swayed by the realities and principles which ruled the life of Jesus Christ. But it is in accordance with the mind of Jesus and at the same time a fact of history, that this Gospel can only be appropriated and adhered to in connection with a believing surrender to the person of Jesus Christ. Yet every dogmatic formula is suspicious, because it is fitted to wound the spirit of religion; it should not at least be put before the living experience in order to evoke it; for such a procedure is really the admission of the half belief which thinks it necessary that the impression made by the person must be supplemented. The essence of the matter is a personal life which awakens life around it as the fire of one torch kindles another. Early as weakness of faith is in the Church of Christ, it is no earlier than the procedure of making a formulated and ostensibly proved confession the foundation of faith, and therefore demanding, above all, subjection to this confession. Faith assuredly is propagated by the testimony of faith, but dogma is not in itself that testimony.

The peculiar character of the Christian religion is conditioned by the fact that every reference to God is at the same time a reference to Jesus Christ, and vice versa. In this sense the Person of Christ is the central point of the religion, and inseparably united with the substance of piety as a sure reliance on God. Such a union does not, as is supposed, bring a foreign element into the pure essence of religion. The pure essence of religion rather demands such a union; for "the [pg 72] reverence for persons, the inner bowing before the manifestation of moral power and goodness is the root of all true religion" (W. Herrmann). But the Christian religion knows and names only one name before which it bows. In this rests its positive character, in all else, as piety, it is by its strictly spiritual and inward attitude, not a positive religion alongside of others, but religion itself. But just because the Person of Christ has this significance is the knowledge and understanding of the "historical Christ" required: for no other comes within the sphere of our knowledge. "The historical Christ" that, to be sure, is not the powerless Christ of contemporary history shewn to us through a coloured biographical medium, or dissipated in all sorts of controversies, but Christ as a power and as a life which towers above our own life, and enters into our life as God's Spirit and God's Word, (see Herrmann, Der Verkehr des Christen mit Gott. 2. Edit. 1892, (i.e., "The Fellowship of the Christian with God", an important work included in the present series of translations. Ed.) Kähler, Der sog. historische Jesus und der geschichtliche biblische Christus, 1892). But historical labour and investigation are needed in order to grasp this Jesus Christ ever more firmly and surely.

As to the second transition, it brought with it the most important changes, which, however, became clearly manifest only after the lapse of some generations. They appear, first, in the belief in holy consecrations, efficacious in themselves, and administered by chosen persons; further, in the conviction, that the relation of the individual to God and Christ is, above all, conditioned on the acceptance of a definite divinely attested law of faith and holy writings; further, in the opinion that God has established Church arrangements, observance of which is necessary and meritorious, as well as in the opinion that a visible earthly community is the people of a new covenant. These assumptions, which formally constitute the essence of Catholicism as a religion, have no support in the teaching of Jesus, nay, offend against that teaching.

Supplement 3.—The question as to what new thing Christ [pg 73] has brought, answered by Paul in the words, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new", has again and again been pointedly put since the middle of the second century by Apologists, Theologians and religious Philosophers, within and without the Church, and has received the most varied answers. Few of the answers have reached the height of the Pauline confession. But where one cannot attain to this confession, one ought to make clear to oneself that every answer which does not lie in the line of it is altogether unsatisfactory; for it is not difficult to set over against every article from the preaching of Jesus an observation which deprives it of its originality. It is the Person, it is the fact of his life that is new and creates the new. The way in which he called forth and established a people of God on earth, which has become sure of God and of eternal life; the way in which he set up a new thing in the midst of the old and transformed the religion of Israel into the religion that is the mystery of his Person, in which lies his unique and permanent position in the history of humanity.

Supplement 4.—The conservative position of Jesus towards the religious traditions of his people had the necessary result that his preaching and his Person were placed by believers in the frame-work of this tradition, which was thereby very soon greatly expanded. But, though this way of understanding the Gospel was certainly at first the only possible way, and though the Gospel itself could only be preserved by such means (see § 1), yet it cannot be mistaken that a displacement in the conception of the Person and preaching of Jesus, and a burdening of religious faith, could not but forthwith set in, from which developments followed, the premises of which would be vainly sought for in the words of the Lord (see §§ 3, 4). But here the question arises as to whether the Gospel is not inseparably connected with the eschatological world-renouncing element with which it entered into the world, so that its being is destroyed where this is omitted. A few words may be devoted to this question. The Gospel possesses properties [pg 74] which oppose every positive religion, because they depreciate it, and these properties form the kernel of the Gospel. The disposition which is devoted to God, humble, ardent and sincere in its love to God and to the brethren, is, as an abiding habit, law, and at the same time, a gift of the Gospel, and also finally exhausts it. This quiet, peaceful element was at the beginning strong and vigorous, even in those who lived in the world of ecstasy and expected the world to come. One may be named for all, Paul. He who wrote 1 Cor. XIII. and Rom. VIII. should not, in spite of all that he has said elsewhere, be called upon to witness that the nature of the Gospel is exhausted in its world-renouncing, ecstatic and eschatological elements, or at least, that it is so inseparably united with these as to fall along with them. He who wrote those chapters, and the greater than he who promised the kingdom of heaven to children, and to those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness, he to whom tradition ascribes the words: "Rejoice not that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven"—both attest that the Gospel lies above the antagonisms between this world and the next, work and retirement from the world, reason and ecstasy, Judaism and Hellenism. And because it lies above them it may be united with either, as it originally unfolded its powers under the ruins of the Jewish religion. But still more; it not only can enter into union with them, it must do so if it is otherwise the religion of the living and is itself living. It has only one aim; that man may find God and have him as his own God, in order to gain in him humility and patience, peace, joy and love. How it reaches this goal through the advancing centuries, whether with the co-efficients of Judaism or Hellenism, of renunciation of the world or of culture, of mysticism or the doctrine of predestination, of Gnosticism or Agnosticism, and whatever other incrustations there may yet be which can defend the kernel, and under which alone living elements can grow—all that belongs to the centuries. However each individual Christian may reckon to the treasure [pg 75] itself the earthly vessel in which he hides his treasure; it is the duty and the right, not only of the religious, but also of the historical estimate to distinguish between the vessel and the treasure; for the Gospel did not enter into the world as a positive statutory religion, and cannot therefore have its classic manifestation in any form of its intellectual or social types, not even in the first. It is therefore the duty of the historian of the first century of the Church, as well as that of those which follow, not to be content with fixing the changes of the Christian religion, but to examine how far the new forms were capable of defending, propagating and impressing the Gospel itself. It would probably have perished if the forms of primitive Christianity had been scrupulously maintained in the Church; but now primitive Christianity has perished in order that the Gospel might be preserved. To study this progress of the development, and fix the significance of the newly received forms for the kernel of the matter, is the last and highest task of the historian who himself lives in his subject. He who approaches from without must be satisfied with the general view that in the history of the Church some things have always remained, and other things have always been changing.

Literature.—Weiss. Biblical Theology of the New Testament. T. and T. Clark. Wittichen. Beitr. z. bibl. Theol. 3. Thle. 1864-72.

Schüreer. Die Predigt Jesu in ihrem Verhaltniss z. A.T.u. z. Judenthum, 1882.

Wellhausen. Abriss der Gesch. Israels u. Juda's (Skizzen u. Vorarbeiten) I. Heft. 1884.

Baldensperger. Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Licht der Messianischen Hoffnungen seiner Zeit, 1888, (2 Aufl. 1891). The prize essays of Schmoller and Issel, Ueber die Lehre vom Reiche Gottes im N. Test. 1891 (besides Gunkel in d. Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1893. N°. 2).

Wendt. Die Lehre Jesu. (The teaching of Jesus. T. and T. Clark. English translation.)

Joh. Weiss. Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes, 1892.

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Bousset. Jesu Predigt in ihrem Gegensatz zum Judenthum, 1892.

C. Holtzman. Die Offenbarung durch Christus und das Neue Testament (Zeitschr. f. Theol. und Kirche I. p. 367 ff.) The special literature in the above work of Weiss, and in the recent works on the life of Jesus, and the Biblical Theology of the New Testament by Beyschlag. (T.T. Clark)

§ 3. The Common Preaching concerning Jesus Christ in the First Generation of Believers.

Men had met with Jesus Christ and in him had found the Messiah. They were convinced that God had made him to be wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption. There was no hope that did not seem to be certified in him, no lofty idea which had not become in him a living reality. Everything that one possessed was offered to him. He was everything lofty that could be imagined. Everything that can be said of him was already said in the first two generations after his appearance. Nay, more: he was felt and known to be the ever living one, Lord of the world and operative principle of one's own life. "To me to live is Christ and to die is gain;" "He is the way, the truth and the life." One could now for the first time be certain of the resurrection and eternal life, and with that certainty the sorrows of the world melted away like mist before the sun, and the residue of this present time became as a day. This group of facts which the history of the Gospel discloses in the world, is at the same time the highest and most unique of all that we meet in that history; it is its seal and distinguishes it from all other universal religions. Where in the history of mankind can we find anything resembling this, that men who had eaten and drunk with their Master should glorify him, not only as the revealer of God, but as the Prince of life, as the Redeemer and Judge of the world, as the living power of its existence, and that a choir of Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians, wise and foolish, should along with them immediately confess that out of the fulness of this one man they have received grace for grace? [pg 77] It has been said that Islam furnishes the unique example of a religion born in broad daylight, but the community of Jesus was also born in the clear light of day. The darkness connected with its birth is occasioned not only by the imperfection of the records, but by the uniqueness of the fact, which refers us back to the uniqueness of the Person of Jesus.

But though it certainly is the first duty of the historian to signalise the overpowering impression made by the Person of Jesus on the disciples, which is the basis of all further developments, it would little become him to renounce the critical examination of all the utterances which have been connected with that Person with the view of elucidating and glorifying it; unless he were with Origen to conclude that Jesus was to each and all whatever they fancied him to be for their edification. But this would destroy the personality. Others are of opinion that we should conceive him, in the sense of the early communities, as the second God who is one in essence with the Father, in order to understand from this point of view all the declarations and judgments of these communities. But this hypothesis leads to the most violent distortion of the original declarations, and the suppression or concealment of their most obvious features. The duty of the historian rather consists in fixing the common features of the faith of the first two generations, in explaining them as far as possible from the belief that Jesus is Messiah, and in seeking analogies for the several assertions. Only a very meagre sketch can be given in what follows. The presentation of the matter in the frame-work of the history of dogma does not permit of more, because as noted above, § 1, the presupposition of dogma forming itself in the Gentile Church is not the whole infinitely rich abundance of early Christian views and perceptions. That presupposition is simply a proclamation of the one God and of Christ transferred to Greek soil, fixed merely in its leading features and otherwise very plastic, accompanied by a message regarding the future, and demands for a holy life. At the same time the Old Testament and the early Christian Palestinian writings with the rich abundance of their contents, did [pg 78] certainly exercise a silent mission in the earliest communities, till by the creation of the canon they became a power in the Church.

I. The contents of the faith of the disciples,72 and the common proclamation which united them, may be comprised in the following propositions. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised by the prophets. Jesus after his death is by the Divine awakening raised to the right hand of God, and will soon return to set up his kingdom visibly upon the earth. He who believes in Jesus, and has been received into the community of the disciples of Jesus, who, in virtue of a sincere change of mind, calls on God as Father, and lives according to the commandments of Jesus, is a saint of God, and as such can be certain of the sin-forgiving grace of God, and of a share in the future glory, that is, of redemption.73

A community of Christian believers was formed within the Jewish national community. By its organisation, the close brotherly union of its members, it bore witness to the impression which the Person of Jesus had made on it, and drew from faith in Jesus and hope of his return, the assurance of eternal life, the power of believing in God the Father and of fulfilling the lofty moral and social commands which Jesus had set forth. They knew themselves to be the true Israel of the Messianic time (see § 1), and for that very reason lived with all their thoughts and feelings in the future. Hence the Apocalyptic hopes which in manifold types were current in the Judaism of the time, and which Jesus had not demolished, continued to a great extent in force (see § 4). One guarantee for their fulfilment was supposed to be possessed in the various manifestations of the Spirit,74 which were displayed in the [pg 79] members of the new communities at their entrance, with which an act of baptism seems to have been united from the very first75, and in their gatherings. They were a guarantee that believers really were the εκκλησια του θεου, those called to be saints, and, as such, kings and priests unto God76 for whom the world, death and devil are overcome, although they still rule the course of the world. The confession of the God of Israel as the Father of Jesus, and of Jesus as Christ and Lord77 was sealed by the testimony [pg 80] of the possession of the Spirit, which as Spirit of God assured every individual of his call to the kingdom, united him personally with God himself and became to him the pledge of future glory78.

2. As the Kingdom of God which was announced had not yet visibly appeared, as the appeal to the Spirit could not be separated from the appeal to Jesus as Messiah, and as there was actually nothing possessed but the reality of the Person of Jesus, so in preaching all stress must necessarily fall on this Person. To believe in him was the decisive fundamental requirement, and, at first, under the presupposition of the religion of Abraham and the Prophets, the sure guarantee of salvation. It is not surprising then to find that in the earliest Christian preaching Jesus Christ comes before us as frequently as the Kingdom of God in the preaching of Jesus himself. The image of Jesus, and the power which proceeded from it, were the things which were really possessed. Whatever was expected was expected only from Jesus the exalted and returning one. The proclamation that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand must therefore become the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ, and that in him the revelation of God is complete. He who lays hold of Jesus lays hold in him of the grace of God, and of a full salvation. We cannot, however, call this in itself a displacement: but as soon as the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ ceased to be made with the same emphasis and the same meaning that it had in his own preaching, and what sort of blessings they were which he brought, not only was a displacement inevitable, but even a dispossession. But every dispossession requires the given forms to be filled with new contents. Simple as was the pure tradition of the confession: "Jesus is the Christ," [pg 81] the task of rightly appropriating and handing down entire the peculiar contents which Jesus had given to his self-witnessing and preaching was nevertheless great, and in its limit uncertain. Even the Jewish Christian could perform this task only according to the measure of his spiritual understanding and the strength of his religious life. Moreover, the external position of the first communities in the midst of contemporaries who had crucified and rejected Jesus, compelled them to prove, as their main duty, that Jesus really was the Messiah who was promised. Consequently, everything united to bring the first communities to the conviction that the proclamation of the Gospel with which they were entrusted, resolved itself into the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ. The διδασκειν τηρειν παντα 'οτα ενετειλατο 'ο Ιησους (teaching to observe all that Jesus had commanded), a thing of heart and life, could not lead to reflection in the same degree, as the διδασκειν 'οτι ουτος εστιν 'ο χριστος του θεου (teaching that this is the Christ of God): for a community which possesses the Spirit does not reflect on whether its conception is right, but, especially a missionary community, on what the certainty of its faith rests.

The proclamation of Jesus as the Christ, though rooted entirely in the Old Testament, took its start from the exaltation of Jesus, which again resulted from his suffering and death. The proof that the entire Old Testament points to him, and that his person, his deeds and his destiny are the actual and precise fulfilment of the Old Testament predictions, was the foremost interest of believers, so far as they at all looked backwards. This proof was not used in the first place for the purpose of making the meaning and value of the Messianic work of Jesus more intelligible, of which it did not seem to be in much need, but to confirm the Messiahship of Jesus. Still, points of view for contemplating the Person and work of Jesus could not fail to be got from the words of the Prophets. The fundamental conception of Jesus dominating everything was, according to the Old Testament, that God had chosen him and through him the Church. God had chosen him and made him to be both Lord and Christ. He had [pg 82] made over to him the work of setting up the Kingdom, and had led him through death and resurrection to a supra-mundane position of sovereignty, in which he would soon visibly appear and bring about the end. The hope of Christ's speedy return was the most important article in the "Christology," inasmuch as his work was regarded as only reaching its conclusion by that return. It was the most difficult, inasmuch as the Old Testament contained nothing of a second advent of Messiah. Belief in the second advent became the specific Christian belief.

But the searching in the scriptures of the Old Testament, that is, in the prophetic texts, had already, in estimating the Person and dignity of Christ, given an important impulse towards transcending the frame-work of the idea of the theocracy completed solely in and for Israel. Moreover, belief in the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God, caused men to form a corresponding idea of the beginning of his existence. The missionary work among the Gentiles, so soon begun and so rich in results, threw a new light on the range of Christ's purpose and work, and led to the consideration of its significance for the whole human race. Finally, the self-testimony of Jesus summoned them to ponder his relation to God the Father, with the presuppositions of that relation, and to give it expression in intelligible statements. Speculation had already begun on these four points in the Apostolic age, and had resulted in very different utterances as to the Person and dignity of Jesus (§ 4).79

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3. Since Jesus had appeared and was believed on as the Messiah promised by the Prophets, the aim and contents of his mission seemed already to be therewith stated with sufficient clearness. Further, as the work of Christ was not yet completed, the view of those contemplating it was, above all, turned to the future. But in virtue of express words of Jesus, and in the consciousness of having received the Spirit of God, one was already certain of the forgiveness of sin dispensed by God, of righteousness before him, of the full knowledge of the Divine will, and of the call to the future Kingdom as a present possession. In the procuring of these blessings not a few perceived with certainty the results of the first advent of Messiah, that is, his work. This work might be seen in the whole activity of Christ. But as the forgiveness of sins might be conceived as the blessing of salvation which included with certainty every other blessing, as Jesus had put his death in express relation with this blessing, and as the fact of this death so mysterious and offensive required a special explanation, there appeared in the foreground from the very beginning the confession, in 1 Cor. XV. 3: παρεδωξα 'υμιν εν πρωτοις, 'ο και παρελαβον, 'οτι χριστος απεθανεν 'υπερ των 'αμαρτιον 'ημον. "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins." Not only Paul, for whom, in virtue of his special reflections and experiences, the cross of Christ had become the central point of all knowledge, but also the majority of believers, must have regarded the preaching of the death of the Lord as an essential article in the preaching of Christ80, seeing that, as a rule, they placed [pg 84] it somehow under the aspect of a sacrifice offered to God. Still, there were very different conceptions of the value of the death as a means of procuring salvation, and there may have been many who were satisfied with basing its necessity on the fact that it had been predicted, (απεθανεν κατα τας γραφας: "he died for our sins according to the scriptures"), while their real religious interests were entirely centered in the future glory to be procured by Christ. But it must have been of greater significance for the following period that, from the first, a short account of the destiny of Jesus lay at the basis of all preaching about him (see a part of this in 1 Cor. XV. 1-11). Those articles in which the identity of the Christ who had appeared with the Christ who had been promised stood out with special clearness, must have been taken up into this report, as well as those which transcended the common expectations of Messiah, which for that very reason appeared of special importance, viz., his death and resurrection. In putting together this report, there was no intention of describing the "work" of Christ. But after the interest which occasioned it had been obscured, and had given place to other interests, the customary preaching of those articles must have led men to see in them Christ's real performance, his "work."81

4. The firm confidence of the disciples in Jesus was rooted in the belief that he did not abide in death, but was raised by God. That Christ had risen was, in virtue of what they had experienced in him, certainly only after they had seen him, just as sure as the fact of his death, and became the main article of their preaching about him.82 But in the message of the risen Lord was contained not only the conviction [pg 85] that he lives again, and now lives for ever, but also the assurance that his people will rise in like manner and live eternally. Consequently, the resurrection of Jesus became the sure pledge of the resurrection of all believers, that is of their real personal resurrection. No one at the beginning thought of a mere immortality of the spirit, not even those who assumed the perishableness of man's sensuous nature. In conformity with the uncertainty which yet adhered to the idea of resurrection in Jewish hopes and speculations, the concrete notions of it in the Christian communities were also fluctuating. But this could not affect the certainty of the conviction that the Lord would raise his people from death. This conviction, whose reverse side is the fear of that God who casts into hell, has become the mightiest power through which the Gospel has won humanity.83

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5. After the appearance of Paul, the earliest communities were greatly exercised by the question as to how believers obtain the righteousness which they possess, and what significance a precise observance of the law of the Fathers may [pg 87] have in connection with it. While some would hear of no change in the regulations and conceptions which had hitherto existed, and regarded the bestowal of righteousness by God as possible only on condition of a strict observance of the law, others taught that Jesus as Messiah had procured righteousness for his people, had fulfilled the law once for all, and had founded a new covenant, either in opposition to the old, or as a stage above it. Paul especially saw in the death of Christ the end of the law, and deduced righteousness solely from faith in Christ, and sought to prove from the Old Testament itself, by means of historical speculation, the merely temporary validity of the law and therewith the abrogation of the Old Testament religion. Others, and this view, which is not everywhere to be explained by Alexandrian influences (see above p. 72 f.), is not foreign to Paul, distinguished between spirit and letter in the Mosaic law, giving to everything a spiritual significance, and in this sense holding that the whole law as νομος πνευματικος was binding. The question whether righteousness comes from the works of the law or from faith, was displaced by this conception, and therefore remained in its deepest grounds unsolved, or was decided in the sense of a spiritualised legalism. But the detachment of Christianity from the political forms of the Jewish religion, and from sacrificial worship, was also completed by this conception, although it was regarded as identical with the Old Testament religion rightly understood. The surprising results of the direct mission to the Gentiles would seem to have first called forth those controversies (but see Stephen) and given them the highest significance. The fact that one section of Jewish Christians, and even some of the Apostles, at length recognised the right of the Gentile Christians to be Christians without [pg 88] first becoming Jews, is the clearest proof that what was above all prized was faith in Christ and surrender to him as the saviour. In agreeing to the direct mission to the Gentiles the earliest Christians, while they themselves observed the law, broke up the national religion of Israel, and gave expression to the conviction that Jesus was not only the Messiah of his people, but the redeemer of humanity.84 The establishment of the universal character of the Gospel, that is, of Christianity as a religion for the world, became now, however, a problem, the solution of which, as given by Paul, but few were able to understand or make their own.

6. In the conviction that salvation is entirely bound up with faith in Jesus Christ, Christendom gained the consciousness of being a new creation of God. But while the sense of being the true Israel was thereby, at the same time, held fast, there followed, on the one hand, entirely new historical perspectives, and on the other, deep problems which demanded solution. As a new creation of God, 'η εκκλησια του θεου, the community was conscious of having been chosen by God in Jesus before the foundation of the world. In the conviction of being the true Israel, it claimed for itself the whole historical development recorded in the Old Testament, convinced that all the divine activity there recorded had the [pg 89] new community in view. The great question which was to find very different answers, was how, in accordance with this view, the Jewish nation, so far as it had not recognised Jesus as Messiah, should be judged. The detachment of Christianity from Judaism was the most important preliminary condition, and therefore the most important preparation, for the Mission among the Gentile nations, and for union with the Greek spirit.

Supplement 1.—Renan and others go too far when they say that Paul alone has the glory of freeing Christianity from the fetters of Judaism. Certainly the great Apostle could say in this connection also: περισσοτερον αυτων παντων εκοπιασα, but there were others beside him who, in the power of the Gospel, transcended the limits of Judaism. Christian communities, it may now be considered certain, had arisen in the empire, in Rome for example, which were essentially free from the law without being in any way determined by Paul's preaching. It was Paul's merit that he clearly formulated the great question, established the universalism of Christianity in a peculiar manner, and yet in doing so held fast the character of Christianity as a positive religion, as distinguished from Philosophy and Moralism. But the later development presupposes neither his clear formulation nor his peculiar establishment of universalism, but only the universalism itself.

Supplement 2.—The dependence of the Pauline Theology on the Old Testament or on Judaism is overlooked in the traditional contrasting of Paulinism and Jewish Christianity, in which Paulinism is made equivalent to Gentile Christianity. This theology, as we might a priori suppose, could, apart from individual exceptions, be intelligible as a whole to born Jews, if to any, for its doctrinal presuppositions were strictly Pharisaic, and its boldness in criticising the Old Testament, rejecting and asserting the law in its historical sense, could be as little congenial to the Gentile Christians as its piety towards the Jewish people. This judgment is confirmed by a glance at the fate of Pauline Theology in the 120 years that followed. Marcion was the only Gentile Christian who understood Paul, and even he misunderstood him: the rest never got beyond [pg 90] the appropriation of particular Pauline sayings, and exhibited no comprehension especially of the theology of the Apostle, so far as in it the universalism of Christianity as a religion is proved, even without recourse to Moralism and without putting a new construction on the Old Testament religion. It follows from this, however, that the scheme "Jewish Christianity"-"Gentile Christianity" is insufficient. We must rather, in the Apostolic age, at least at its close, distinguish four main tendencies that may have crossed each other here and there,85 (within which again different shades appear). (1) The Gospel has to do with the people of Israel, and with the Gentile world only on the condition that believers attach themselves to the people of Israel. The punctilious observance of the law is still necessary and the condition on which the messianic salvation is bestowed (particularism and legalism, in practice and in principle, which, however, was not to cripple the obligation to prosecute the work of the Mission). (2) The Gospel has to do with Jews and Gentiles: the first, as believers in Christ, are under obligation as before to observe the law, the latter are not; but for that reason they cannot on earth fuse into one community with the believing Jews. Very different judgments in details were possible on this stand-point; but the bestowal of salvation could no longer be thought of as depending simply on the keeping of the ceremonial commandments of the law86 (universalism in principle, particularism in practice; the prerogative of Israel being to some extent clung to). (3) The Gospel has to do with both Jews and Gentiles; no one is any longer under obligation to observe [pg 91] the law; for the law is abolished (or fulfilled), and the salvation which Christ's death has procured is appropriated by faith. The law (that is the Old Testament religion) in its literal sense is of divine origin, but was intended from the first only for a definite epoch of history. The prerogative of Israel remains, and is shewn in the fact that salvation was first offered to the Jews, and it will be shewn again at the end of all history. That prerogative refers to the nation as a whole, and has nothing to do with the question of the salvation of individuals (Paulinism: universalism in principle and in practice, and Antinomianism in virtue of the recognition of a merely temporary validity of the whole law; breach with the traditional religion of Israel; recognition of the prerogative of the people of Israel; the clinging to the prerogative of the people of Israel was not, however, necessary on this stand-point: see the epistle to the Hebrews and the Gospel of John). (4) The Gospel has to do with Jews and Gentiles: no one need therefore be under obligation to observe the ceremonial commandments and sacrificial worship, because these commandments themselves are only the wrappings of moral and spiritual commandments which the Gospel has set forth as fulfilled in a more perfect form (universalism in principle and in practice in virtue of a neutralising of the distinction between law and Gospel, old and new; spiritualising and universalising of the law).87

[pg 92]

Supplement 3.—The appearance of Paul is the most important fact in the history of the Apostolic age. It is impossible to give in a few sentences an abstract of his theology and work; and the insertion here of a detailed account is forbidden, not only by the external limits, but by the aim of this investigation. For, as already indicated (§ 1), the doctrinal formation in the Gentile Church is not connected with the whole phenomenon of the Pauline theology, but only with certain leading thoughts which were only in part peculiar to the Apostle. His most peculiar thoughts acted on the development of Ecclesiastical doctrine only by way of occasional stimulus. We can find room here only for a few general outlines.88

(1) The inner conviction that Christ had revealed himself to him, that the Gospel was the message of the crucified and risen Christ, and that God had called him to proclaim that message to the world, was the power and the secret of his personality and his activity. These three elements were a unity in the consciousness of Paul, constituting his conversion and determining his after-life. (2) In this conviction he knew himself to be a new creature, and so vivid was this knowledge that he was constrained to become a Jew to the Jews, and a Greek to the Greeks in order to gain them. (3) The crucified and risen Christ became the central point of his theology, and not only the central point, but the one source and ruling principle. The Christ was not in his estimation Jesus of Nazareth now exalted, but the mighty [pg 93] personal spiritual being in divine form who had for a time humbled himself, and who as Spirit has broken up the world of law, sin, and death, and continues to overcome them in believers. (4) Theology therefore was to him, looking forwards, the doctrine of the liberating power of the Spirit (of Christ) in all the concrete relations of human life and need. The Christ who has already overcome law, sin and death, lives as Spirit, and through his Spirit lives in believers, who for that very reason know him not after the flesh. He is a creative power of life to those who receive him in faith in his redeeming death upon the cross, that is to say, to those who are justified. The life in the Spirit, which results from union with Christ, will at last reveal itself also in the body (not in the flesh). (5) Looking backwards, theology was to Paul a doctrine of the law and of its abrogation; or more accurately, a description of the old system before Christ in the light of the Gospel, and the proof that it was destroyed by Christ. The scriptural proof, even here, is only a superadded support to inner considerations which move entirely within the thought that that which is abrogated has already had its due, by having its whole strength made manifest that it might then be annulled,—the law, the flesh of sin, death: by the law the law is destroyed, sin is abolished in sinful flesh, death is destroyed by death. (6) The historical view which followed from this begins, as regards Christ, with Adam and Abraham; as regards the law, with Moses. It closes, as regards Christ, with the prospect of a time when he shall have put all enemies beneath his feet, when God will be all in all; as regards Moses and the promises given to the Jewish nation, with the prospect of a time when all Israel will be saved. (7) Paul's doctrine of Christ starts from the final confession of the primitive Church, that Christ is with the Father as a heavenly being and as Lord of the living and the dead. Though Paul must have accurately known the proclamation concerning the historical Christ, his theology in the strict sense of the word does not revert to it: but springing over the historical, it begins with the pre-existent Christ (the Man from heaven), [pg 94] whose moral deed it was to assume the flesh in self-denying love, in order to break for all men the powers of nature and the doom of death. But he has pointed to the words and example of the historical Christ in order to rule the life in the Spirit. (8) Deductions, proofs, and perhaps also conceptions, which in point of form betray the theology of the Pharisaic schools, were forced from the Apostle by Christian opponents, who would only grant a place to the message of the crucified Christ beside the δικαιοσυνη εξ εργων. Both as an exegete and as a typologist he appears as a disciple of the Pharisees. But his dialectic about law, circumcision and sacrifice, does not form the kernel of his religious mode of thought, though, on the other hand, it was unquestionably his very Pharisaism which qualified him for becoming what he was. Pharisaism embraced nearly everything lofty which Judaism apart from Christ at all possessed, and its doctrine of providence, its energetic insistence on making manifest the religious contrasts, its Messianic expectations, its doctrines of sin and predestination, were conditions for the genesis of a religious and Christian character such as Paul.89 This first Christian of the second generation is the highest product of the Jewish spirit under the creative power of the Spirit of Christ. Pharisaism had fulfilled its mission for the world when it produced this man. (9) But Hellenism also had a share in the making of Paul, a fact which does not conflict with his Pharisaic origin, but is partly given with it. In spite of all its exclusiveness the desire for making proselytes, especially in the Diaspora, was in the blood of Pharisaism. Paul continued the old movement in a new way, and he was qualified for his work among the Greeks by an accurate knowledge of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, by considerable dexterity in the use of the Greek language, and by a growing insight into the spiritual life of the Greeks. [pg 95] But the peculiarity of his Gospel as a message from the Spirit of Christ, which was equally near to and equally distant from every religious and moral mode of thought among the nations of the world, signified much more than all this. This Gospel—who can say whether Hellenism had already a share in its conception—required that the missionary to the Greeks should become a Greek and that believers should come to know, "all things are yours, and ye are Christ's." Paul, as no doubt other missionaries besides him, connected the preaching of Christ with the Greek mode of thought; he even employed philosophic doctrines of the Greeks as presuppositions in his apologetic,90 and therewith prepared the way for the introduction of the Gospel to the Græco-Roman world of thought. But, in my opinion, he has nowhere allowed that world of thought to influence his doctrine of salvation. This doctrine, however, was so fashioned in its practical aims that it was not necessary to become a Jew in order to appropriate it. (10) Yet we cannot speak of any total effect of Paulinism, as there was no such thing. The abundance of its details was too great and the greatness of its simplicity too powerful, its hope of the future too vivid, its doctrine of the law too difficult, its summons to a new life in the spirit too mighty to be comprehended and adhered to even by those communities which Paul himself had founded. What they did comprehend was its Monotheism, its universalism, its redemption, its eternal life, its asceticism; but all this was otherwise combined than by Paul. The style became Hellenic, and the element of a new kind of knowledge from the very first, as in the Church of Corinth, seems to have been the ruling one. The Pauline doctrine of the incarnate heavenly Man was indeed apprehended; it fell in with Greek [pg 96] notions, although it meant something very different from the notions which Greeks had been able to form of it.

Supplement 4.—What we justly prize above all else in the New Testament is that it is a union of the three groups, Synoptic Gospels, Pauline Epistles,91 and Johannine writings, in which are expressed the richest contents of the earliest history of the Gospel. In the Synoptic Gospels and the epistles of Paul are represented two types of preaching the Gospel which mutually supplement each other. The subsequent history is dependent on both, and would have been other than it is had not both existed alongside of each other. On the other hand, the peculiar and lofty conception of Christ and of the Gospel, which stands out in the writings of John, has directly exercised no demonstrable influence on the succeeding development—with the exception of one peculiar movement, the Montanistic, which, however, does not rest on a true understanding of these writings—and indeed partly for the same reason that has prevented the Pauline theology as a whole from having such an influence. What is given in these writings is a criticism of the Old Testament as religion, or the independence of the Christian religion, in virtue of an accurate knowledge of the Old Testament through development of its hidden germs. The Old Testament stage of religion is really transcended and overcome in the Johannine Christianity, just as in Paulinism, and in the theology of the epistle to the Hebrews. "The circle of disciples who appropriated this characterisation of Jesus is," says Weizsäcker, "a revived Christ-party in the higher sense." But this transcending of the Old Testament religion was the very thing that was unintelligible, because there were few ripe for such a conception. Moreover, the origin of the Johannine writings is, from the stand-point of a history of literature and [pg 97] dogma, the most marvellous enigma which the early history of Christianity presents: Here we have portrayed a Christ who clothes the indescribable with words, and proclaims as his own self-testimony what his disciples have experienced in him, a speaking, acting, Pauline Christ, walking on the earth, far more human than the Christ of Paul and yet far more Divine, an abundance of allusions to the historical Jesus, and at the same time the most sovereign treatment of the history. One divines that the Gospel can find no loftier expression than John XVII.: one feels that Christ himself put these words into the mouth of the disciple, who gives them back to him, but word and thing, history and doctrine are surrounded by a bright cloud of the suprahistorical. It is easy to shew that this Gospel could as little have been written without Hellenism, as Luther's treatise on the freedom of a Christian man could have been written without the "Deutsche Theologie." But the reference to Philo and Hellenism is by no means sufficient here, as it does not satisfactorily explain even one of the external aspects of the problem. The elements operative in the Johannine theology were not Greek Theologoumena—even the Logos has little more in common with that of Philo than the name, and its mention at the beginning of the book is a mystery, not the solution of one92—but [pg 98] the Apostolic testimony concerning Christ has created from the old faith of Psalmists and Prophets, a new faith in a man who lived with the disciples of Jesus among the Greeks. For that very reason, in spite of his abrupt Anti-judaism, we must without doubt regard the Author as a born Jew.

Supplement 5.—The authorities to which the Christian communities were subjected in faith and life, were these: (1) The Old Testament interpreted in the Christian sense. (2) The tradition of the Messianic history of Jesus. (3) The words of the Lord: see the epistles of Paul, especially 1 Corinthians. But every writing which was proved to have been given by the Spirit had also to be regarded as an authority, and every tested Christian Prophet and Teacher inspired by the Spirit could claim that his words be received and regarded as the words of God. Moreover, the twelve whom Jesus had chosen had a special authority, and Paul claimed a similar authority for himself (διαταξεις των αποστολων). Consequently, there were numerous courts of appeal in the earliest period of Christendom, of diverse kinds and by no means strictly defined. In the manifold gifts of the spirit was given a fluid element indefinable in its range and scope, an element which guaranteed freedom of development, but which also threatened to lead the enthusiastic communities to extravagance.

Literature.—Weiss, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, 1884. Beyschlag, New Testament Theology, 1892. Ritschl, Entstehung der Alt-Katholischen Kirche, 2 Edit. 1857. Reuss, History of Christian Theology in the Apostolic Age, 1864. Baur, The Apostle Paul, 1866. Holsten, Zum Evangelium des Paulus und Petrus, 1868. Pfleiderer, Paulinism, 1873: also, Das Urchristenthum, 1887. Schenkel, Das Christusbild der Apostel, 1879. Renan, Origins of Christianity Vols. II.-IV. Havet, Le Christianisme et ses orig. T, IV. 1884. Lechler, The [pg 99] Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Age, 1885. Weizsäcker, The Apostolic Age, 1892. Hatch, Article "Paul" in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Everett, The Gospel of Paul. Boston, 1893. On the origin and earliest history of the Christian proofs from prophecy, see my "Texte und Unters. z. Gesch. der Alt-Christl." Lit. I. 3, p. 56 f.

§ 4. The Current Exposition of the Old Testament, and the Jewish hopes of the future, in their significance for the earliest types of Christian preaching.

Instead of the frequently very fruitless investigations about "Jewish-Christian," and "Gentile-Christian," it should be asked, What Jewish elements have been naturalised in the Christian Church, which were in no way demanded by the contents of the Gospel? have these elements been simply weakened in course of the development, or have some of them been strengthened by a peculiar combination with the Greek? We have to do here, in the first instance, with the doctrine of Demons and Angels, the view of history, the growing exclusiveness, the fanaticism; and on the other hand, with the cultus, and the Theocracy, expressing itself in forms of law.

1. Although Jesus had in principle abolished the methods of pedantry, the casuistic treatment of the law, and the subtleties of prophetic interpretation, yet the old Scholastic exegesis remained active in the Christian communities above all the unhistorical local method in the exposition of the Old Testament, both allegoristic and Haggadic; for in the exposition of a sacred text—and the Old Testament was regarded as such—one is always required to look away from its historical limitations and to expound it according to the needs of the present.93 The traditional view exercised its influence on the exposition of the Old Testament, as well as on the representations of the person, fate and deeds of Jesus, especially in those cases where the question was about the proof [pg 100] of the fulfilment of prophecy, that is, of the Messiahship of Jesus. (See above § 3, 2). Under the impression made by the history of Jesus it gave to many Old Testament passages a sense that was foreign to them, and, on the other hand, enriched the life of Jesus with new facts, turning the interest at the same time to details which were frequently unreal and seldom of striking importance.94

2. The Jewish Apocalyptic literature, especially as it flourished since the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and was impregnated with new elements borrowed from an ethico-religious philosophy, as well as with Babylonian and Persian myths (Greek myths can only be detected in very small number), was not banished from the circles of the first professors of the Gospel, but was rather held fast, eagerly read, and even extended with the view of elucidating the promises of Jesus.95 [pg 101] Though their contents seem to have been modified on Christian soil, and especially the uncertainty about the person of the Messiah exalted to victory and coming to judgment,96 yet the sensuous earthly hopes were in no way repressed. Green fat meadows and sulphurous abysses, white horses and frightful beasts, trees of life, splendid cities, war and bloodshed filled the fancy,97 and threatened to obscure the simple and yet, at bottom, much more affecting maxims about the judgment which is certain to every individual soul, and drew the confessors of the Gospel into a restless activity, into politics, and abhorrence of the State. It was an evil inheritance which the Christians took over from the Jews,98 an inheritance which makes it impossible to reproduce with certainty the eschatological sayings of Jesus. Things directly foreign were mixed up with them, and, what was most serious, delineations of the hopes of the future could easily lead to the undervaluing of the most important gifts and duties of the Gospel.99

[pg 102]

3. A wealth of mythologies and poetic ideas was naturalised and legitimised100 in the Christian communities, chiefly by the reception of the Apocalyptic literature, but also by the reception of artificial exegesis and Haggada. Most important for the following period were the speculations about Messiah, which were partly borrowed from expositions of the Old Testament and from the Apocalypses, partly formed independently, according to methods the justice of which no one contested, and the application of which seemed to give a firm basis to religious faith.

Some of the Jewish Apocalyptists had already attributed pre-existence to the expected Messiah, as to other precious things in the Old Testament history and worship, and, without any thought of denying his human nature, placed him as already existing before his appearing in a series of angelic beings.101 This took place in accordance with an established [pg 103] method of speculation, so far as an attempt was made thereby to express the special value of an empiric object, by distinguishing between the essence and the inadequate form of appearance, hypostatising the essence, and exalting it above time and space. But when a later appearance was conceived as the aim of a series of preparations, it was frequently hypostatised and placed above these preparations even in time. The supposed aim was, in a kind of real existence, placed, as first cause, before the means which were destined to realise it on earth.102

[pg 104]

Some of the first confessors of the Gospel, though not all the writers of the New Testament, in accordance with the same method, went beyond the declarations which Jesus himself had made about his person, and endeavoured to conceive its value and absolute significance abstractly and speculatively. The religious convictions (see § 3. 2): (1) That the founding of the Kingdom of God on earth, and the mission of Jesus as the perfect mediator, were from eternity based on God's plan of Salvation, as his main purpose; (2) that the exalted Christ was called into a position of Godlike Sovereignty belonging to him of right; (3) that God himself was manifested in Jesus, and that he therefore surpasses all mediators of the Old Testament, nay, even all angelic powers,—these convictions with some took the form that Jesus pre-existed, and that in him has appeared and taken flesh a heavenly being fashioned like God, who is older than the world, nay, its creative principle.103 The conceptions of the old Teachers, Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apocalypse, the author of the first Epistle of Peter, the fourth Evangelist, differ in many ways when they attempt to define these convictions more closely. The latter is the only one who has recognised with perfect clearness that the premundane Christ must be assumed to be θεος 'ων εν αρχη προς τον θεον, so as not to endanger by this speculation the contents and significance of the revelation of God which was given in Christ. This, in the earliest period, was essentially a religious problem, that is, it was not introduced for the explanation of cosmological problems, (see, especially, Epistle to the Ephesians, I Peter; but also the Gospel of John), and there stood peacefully beside [pg 105] it, such conceptions as recognised the equipment of the man Jesus for his office in a communication of the Spirit at his baptism,104 or in virtue of Isaiah VII., found the germ of his unique nature in his miraculous origin.105 But as soon as that speculation was detached from its original foundation, it necessarily withdrew the minds of believers from the consideration of the work of Christ, and from the contemplation of the revelation of God which was given in the ministry of the historical person Jesus. The mystery of the person of Jesus in itself, would then necessarily appear as the true revelation.106

A series of theologoumena and religious problems for the future doctrine of Christianity lay ready in the teaching of the Pharisees and in the Apocalypses (see especially the fourth book of Ezra), and was really fitted for being of service to it; e.g., doctrines about Adam, universal sinfulness, the fall, predestination, Theodicy, etc., besides all kinds of ideas about redemption. Besides these spiritual doctrines there were not a few spiritualised myths which were variously made use of in the Apocalypses. A rich, spiritual, figurative style, only too rich and therefore confused, waited for the theological artist to purify, reduce and vigorously fashion. There really remained very little of the Cosmico-Mythological in the doctrine of the great Church.

Supplement.—The reference to the proof from prophecy, to the current exposition of the Old Testament, the Apocalyptic and the prevailing methods of speculation, does not suffice to [pg 106] explain all the elements which are found in the different types of Christian preaching. We must rather bear in mind here that the earliest communities were enthusiastic, and had yet among them prophets and ecstatic persons. Such circumstances will always directly produce facts in the history. But, in the majority of cases, it is absolutely impossible to account subsequently for the causes of such productions, because their formation is subject to no law accessible to the understanding. It is therefore inadmissible to regard as proved the reality of what is recorded and believed to be a fact, when the motive and interest which led to its acceptance can no longer be ascertained.107

Moreover, if we consider the conditions, outer and inner, in which the preaching of Christ in the first decades was placed, conditions which in every way threatened the Gospel with extravagance, we shall only see cause to wonder that it continued to shine forth amid all its wrappings. We can still, [pg 107] out of the strangest "fulfilments", legends and mythological ideas, read the religious conviction that the aim and goal of history is disclosed in the history of Christ, and that the Divine has now entered into history in a pure form.

Literature.—The Apocalypses of Daniel, Enoch, Moses, Baruch, Ezra; Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the time of Christ; Baldensperger, in the work already mentioned. Weber, System der Altsynagogalen palästinischen Theologie, 1880, Kuenen, Hibbert Lectures, 1883. Hilgenfeld, Die jüdische Apokalyptik, 1857. Wellhausen, Sketch of the History of Israel and Judah, 1887. Diestel, Gesch. des A. T. in der Christl. Kirche, 1869. Other literature in Schürer. The essay of Hellwag in the Theol. Jahrb. von Baur and Zeller, 1848, "Die Vorstellung von der Präexistenz Christi in der ältesten Kirche", is worth noting; also Joël, Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des 2 Christl. Jahrhunderts, 1880-1883.

§ 5. The Religious Conceptions and the Religious Philosophy of the Hellenistic Jews, in their significance for the later formulation of the Gospel.

1. From the remains of the Jewish Alexandrian literature and the Jewish Sibylline writings, also from the work of Josephus, and especially from the great propaganda of Judaism in the Græco-Roman world, we may gather that there was a Judaism in the Diaspora, for the consciousness of which the cultus and ceremonial law were of comparatively subordinate importance; while the monotheistic worship of God, apart from images, the doctrines of virtue and belief in a future reward beyond the grave, stood in the foreground as its really essential marks. Converted Gentiles were no longer everywhere required to be even circumcised; the bath of purification was deemed sufficient. The Jewish religion here appears transformed into a universal human ethic and a monotheistic cosmology. For that reason, the idea of the Theocracy as well as the Messianic hopes of the future faded away or were uprooted. The latter, indeed, did not altogether pass away; but as the oracles [pg 108] of the Prophets were made use of mainly for the purpose of proving the antiquity and certainty of monotheistic belief, the thought of the future was essentially exhausted in the expectation of the dissolution of the Roman empire, the burning of the world, and the eternal recompense. The specific Jewish element, however, stood out plainly in the assertion that the Old Testament, and especially the books of Moses, were the source of all true knowledge of God, and the sum total of all doctrines of virtue for the nations, as well as in the connected assertion that the religious and moral culture of the Greeks was derived from the Old Testament, as the source from which the Greek Poets and Philosophers had drawn their inspiration.108

These Jews and the Greeks converted by them formed, as it were, a Judaism of a second order without law, i.e., ceremonial law, and with a minimum of statutory regulations. This Judaism prepared the soil for the Christianising of the Greeks, as well as for the genesis of a great Gentile Church in the empire, free from the law; and this the more that, as it seems, after the second destruction of Jerusalem, the punctilious observance of the law109 was imposed more strictly than before on all who worshipped the God of the Jews.110

[pg 109]

The Judaism just portrayed, developed itself, under the influence of the Greek culture with which it came in contact, into a kind of Cosmopolitanism. It divested itself, as religion, of all national forms, and exhibited itself as the most perfect expression of that "natural" religion which the stoics had disclosed. But in proportion as it was enlarged and spiritualised to a universal religion for humanity, it abandoned what was most peculiar to it, and could not compensate for that loss by the assertion of the thesis that the Old Testament is the oldest and most reliable source of that natural religion, which in the traditions of the Greeks had only witnesses of the second rank. The vigour and immediateness of the religious feeling was flattened down to a moralism, the barrenness of which drove some Jews even into Gnosis, mysticism and asceticism.111

2. The Jewish Alexandrian philosophy of religion, of which Philo gives us the clearest conception,112 is the scientific theory which corresponded to this religious conception. The theological system which Philo, in accordance with the example of others, gave out as the Mosaic system revealed by God, and [pg 110] proved from the Old Testament by means of the allegoric exegetic method, is essentially identical with the system of Stoicism, which had been mixed with Platonic elements and had lost its Pantheistic materialistic impress. The fundamental idea from which Philo starts is a Platonic one; the dualism of God and the world, spirit and matter. The idea of God itself is therefore abstractly and negatively conceived (God, the real substance which is not finite), and has nothing more in common with the Old Testament conception. The possibility, however, of being able to represent God as acting on matter, which as the finite is the non-existent, and therefore the evil, is reached, with the help of the Stoic λογος as working powers and of the Platonic doctrine of archetypal ideas, and in outward connection with the Jewish doctrine of angels and the Greek doctrine of demons, by the introduction of intermediate spiritual beings which, as personal and impersonal powers proceeding from God, are to be thought of as operative causes and as Archetypes. All these beings are, as it were, comprehended in the Logos. By the Logos Philo understands the operative reason of God, and consequently also the power of God. The Logos is to him the thought of God and at the same time the product of his thought, therefore both idea and power. But further, the Logos is God himself on that side of him which is turned to the world, as also the ideal of the world and the unity of the spiritual forces which produce the world and rule in it. He can therefore be put beside God and in opposition to the world; but he can also, so far as the spiritual contents of the world are comprehended in him, be put with the world in contrast with God. The Logos accordingly appears as the Son of God, the foremost creature, the representative, Viceroy, High Priest, and Messenger of God; and again as principle of the world, spirit of the world, nay, as the world itself. He appears as a power and as a person, as a function of God and as an active divine being. Had Philo cancelled the contradiction which lies in this whole conception of the Logos, his system would have been demolished; for that system with its hard antithesis of [pg 111] God and the world, needed a mediator who was, and yet was not God, as well as world. From this contrast, however, it further followed that we can only think of a world-formation by the Logos, not of a world-creation.113 Within this world man is regarded as a microcosm, that is, as a being of Divine nature according to his spirit, who belongs to the heavenly world, while the adhering body is a prison which holds men captive in the fetters of sense, that is, of sin.

The Stoic and Platonic ideals and rules of conduct (also the Neo-pythagorean) were united by Philo in the religious Ethic as well as in the Cosmology. Rationalistic moralism is surmounted by the injunction to strive after a higher good lying above virtue. But here, at the same time, is the point at which Philo decidedly goes beyond Platonism, and introduces a new thought into Greek Ethics, and also in correspondence therewith into theoretic philosophy. This thought, which indeed lay altogether in the line of the development of Greek philosophy, was not, however, pursued by Philo into all its consequences, though it was the expression of a new frame of mind. While the highest good is resolved by Plato and his successors into knowledge of truth, which truth, together with the idea of God, lies in a sphere really accessible to the intellectual powers of the human spirit, the highest good, the Divine original being, is considered by Philo, though not invariably, to be above reason, and the power of comprehending it is denied to the human intellect. This assumption, a concession which Greek speculation was compelled to make to positive religion for the supremacy which was yielded to it, was to have far-reaching consequences in the future. A place was now for the first time provided in philosophy for a mythology to be regarded as revelation. The highest truths [pg 112] which could not otherwise be reached, might be sought for in the oracles of the Deity; for knowledge resting on itself had learnt by experience its inability to attain to the truth in which blessedness consists. In this very experience the intellectualism of Greek Ethics was, not indeed cancelled, but surmounted. The injunction to free oneself from sense and strive upwards by means of knowledge, remained; but the wings of the thinking mind bore it only to the entrance of the sanctuary. Only ecstasy produced by God himself was able to lead to the reality above reason. The great novelties in the system of Philo, though in a certain sense the way had already been prepared for them, are the introduction of the idea of a philosophy of revelation and the advance beyond the absolute intellectualism of Greek philosophy, an advance based on scepticism, but also on the deep-felt needs of life. Only the germs of these are found in Philo, but they are already operative. They are innovations of world-wide importance: for in them the covenant between the thoughts of reason on the one hand, and the belief in revelation and mysticism on the other, is already so completed that neither by itself could permanently maintain the supremacy. Thought about the world was henceforth dependent, not only on practical motives, it is always that, but on the need of a blessedness and peace which is higher than all reason. It might, perhaps, be allowable to say that Philo was the first who, as a philosopher, plainly expressed that need, just because he was not only a Greek, but also a Jew.114

Apart from the extremes into which the ethical counsels of Philo run, they contain nothing that had not been demanded by philosophers before him. The purifying of the affections, the renunciation of sensuality, the acquisition of the four cardinal virtues, the greatest possible simplicity of life, as well [pg 113] as a cosmopolitan disposition are enjoined.115 But the attainment of the highest morality by our own strength is despaired of, and man is directed beyond himself to God's assistance. Redemption begins with the spirit reflecting on its own condition; it advances by a knowledge of the world and of the Logos, and it is perfected, after complete asceticism, by mystic ecstatic contemplation in which a man loses himself, but in return is entirely filled and moved by God.116 In this condition man has a foretaste of the blessedness which shall be given him when the soul, freed from the body, will be restored to its true existence as a heavenly being.

This system, notwithstanding its appeal to revelation, has, in the strict sense of the word, no place for Messianic hopes, of which nothing but very insignificant rudiments are found in Philo. But he was really animated by the hope of a glorious time to come for Judaism. The synthesis of the Messiah and the Logos did not lie within his horizon.117

3. Neither Philo's philosophy of religion, nor the mode of thought from which it springs, exercised any appreciable influence on the first generation of believers in Christ.118 But its practical ground-thoughts, though in different degrees, must have found admission very early into the Jewish Christian circles of the Diaspora, and through them to Gentile Christian circles also. Philo's philosophy of religion became [pg 114] operative among Christian teachers from the beginning of the second century,119 and at a later period actually obtained the significance of a standard of Christian theology, Philo gaining a place among Christian writers. The systems of Valentinus and Origen presuppose that of Philo. It can no longer, however, be shewn with certainty how far the direct influence of Philo reached, as the development of religious ideas in the second century took a direction which necessarily led to views similar to those which Philo had anticipated (see § 6, and the whole following account).

Supplement.—The hermeneutic principles (the "Biblicalalchemy"), above all, became of the utmost importance for the following period. These were partly invented by Philo himself, partly traditional,—the Haggadic rules of exposition and the hermeneutic principles of the Stoics having already at an earlier period been united in Alexandria. They fall into two main classes; "first, those according to which the literal sense is excluded, and the allegoric proved to be the only possible one, and then, those according to which the allegoric sense is discovered as standing beside and above the literal sense."120 That these rules permitted the discovery of a new sense by minute changes within a word, was a point of special importance.121 Christian teachers went still further in this direction, and, as can be proved, altered the text of the Septuagint in order to make more definite what suggested itself to them as the meaning of a passage, or in order to give a satisfactory meaning to a sentence which appeared to them unmeaning or offensive.122 Nay, attempts were not wanting [pg 115] among Christians in the second century—they were aided by the uncertainty that existed about the extent of the Septuagint, and by the want of plain predictions about the death upon the cross—to determine the Old Testament canon in accordance with new principles; that is, to alter the text on the plea that the Jews had corrupted it, and to insert new books into the Old Testament, above all, Jewish Apocalypses revised in a Christian sense. Tertullian (de cultu fem. I. 3,) furnishes a good example of the latter. "Scio scipturam Enoch, quæ hunc ordinem angelis dedit, non recipi a quibusdam, quia nee in armorium Judaicum admittitur ... sed cum Enoch eadem scriptura etiam de domino prædicarit, a nobis quidem nihil omnino reiciendum est quod pertinet ad nos. Et legimus omnem scripturam ædificationi habilem divinitus inspirari. A Judæis potest jam videri propterea reiecta, sicut et cetera fere quæ Christum sonant.... Eo accedit quod Enoch apud Judam apostolum testimonium possidet." Compare also the history of the Apocalypse of Ezra in the Latin Bible (Old Testament). Not only the genuine Greek portions of the Septuagint, but also many Apocalypses were quoted by Christians in the second century as of equal value with the Old Testament. It was the New Testament that slowly put an end to these tendencies towards the formation of a Christian Old Testament.

[pg 116]

To find the spiritual meaning of the sacred text, partly beside the literal, partly by excluding it, became the watchword for the "scientific" Christian theology which was possible only on this basis, as it endeavoured to reduce the immense and dissimilar material of the Old Testament to unity with the Gospel, and both with the religious and scientific culture of the Greeks,—yet without knowing a relative standard, the application of which would alone have rendered possible in a loyal way the solution of the task. Here, Philo was the master; for he first to a great extent poured the new wine into old bottles. Such a procedure is warranted by its final purpose; for history is a unity. But applied in a pedantic and stringently dogmatic way it is a source of deception, of untruthfulness, and finally of total blindness.

Literature.—Gefrörer, Das Jahr des Heils, 1838. Parthey, Das Alexandr. Museum, 1838. Matter, Hist. de l'école d'Alex. 1840. Dähne, Gesch. Darstellung der jüd.-alex. Religions-philos. 1834. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen, III. 2. 3rd Edition. Mommsen, History of Rome, Vol. V. Siegfried, Philo von Alex. 1875. Massebieau, Le Classement des Oeuvres de Philon. 1889. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889. Drummond, Philo Judæus, 1888. Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 1886. Schürer, History of the Jewish People. The investigations of Freudenthal (Hellenistische Studien), and Bernays (Ueber das phokylideische Gedicht; Theophrastos' Schrift über Frömmigkeit; Die heraklitischen Briefe). Kuenen, Hibbert Lectures: "Christian Theology could have made and has made much use of Hellenism. But the Christian religion cannot have sprung from this source." Havet thinks otherwise, though in the fourth volume of his "Origines" he has made unexpected admissions.

§ 6. The Religious Dispositions of the Greeks and Romans in the first two centuries, and the current Græco-Roman Philosophy of Religion.

1. After the national religion and the religious sense generally in cultured circles had been all but lost in the age of [pg 117] Cicero and Augustus, there is noticeable in the Græco-Roman world from the beginning of the second century a revival of religious feeling which embraced all classes of society, and appears, especially from the middle of that century, to have increased from decennium to decennium.123 Parallel with it went the not altogether unsuccessful attempt to restore the old national worship, religious usages, oracles, etc. In these attempts, however, which were partly superficial and artificial, the new religious needs found neither vigorous nor clear expression. These needs rather sought new forms of satisfaction corresponding to the wholly changed conditions of the time, including intercourse and mixing of the nations; decay of the old republican orders, divisions and ranks; monarchy and absolutism and social crises; pauperism; influence of philosophy on the domain of public morality and law; cosmopolitanism and the rights of man; influx of Oriental cults into the West; knowledge of the world and disgust with it. The decay of the old political cults and syncretism produced a disposition in favour of monotheism both among the cultured classes who had been prepared for it by philosophy, and also gradually among the masses. Religion and individual morality became more closely connected. There was developed a corresponding attempt at spiritualising the worship alongside of and within the ceremonial forms, and at giving it a direction towards the moral elevation of man through the ideas of moral personality, conscience, and purity. The ideas of repentance and of expiation and healing of the soul became of special importance, and consequently such Oriental cults came to the front as required the former and guaranteed the latter. But what was sought above all, was to enter into an inner union with the Deity, to be saved by him and become a partaker in the possession and enjoyment of his life. The worshipper consequently longed to find a "præsens numen" and the revelation of him in the cultus, and hoped to put himself in possession of the Deity by asceticism and mysterious rites. This new [pg 118] piety longed for health and purity of soul, and elevation above earthly things, and in connection with these a divine, that is, a painless and eternal life beyond the grave ("renatus in æternum taurobolio"). A world beyond was desired, sought for and viewed with an uncertain eye. By detachment from earthly things and the healing of its diseases (the passions) the freed, new born soul should return to its divine nature and existence. It is not a hope of immortality such as the ancients had dreamed of for their heroes, where they continue, as it were, their earthly existence in blessed enjoyment. To the more highly pitched self-consciousness this life had become a burden, and in the miseries of the present, one hoped for a future life in which the pain and vulgarity of the unreal life of earth would be completely laid aside (Ενκρατεια and αναστασις). If the new moralistic feature stood out still more emphatically in the piety of the second century, it vanished more and more behind the religious feature, the longing after life124 and after a Redeemer God. No one could any longer be a God who was not also a saviour.125

With all this Polytheism was not suppressed, but only put into a subordinate place. On the contrary, it was as lively and active as ever. For the idea of a numen supremum did not exclude belief in the existence and manifestation of subordinate deities. Apotheosis came into currency. The old state religion first attained its highest and most powerful expression in the worship of the emperor, (the emperor glorified [pg 119] as "dominus ac deus noster",126 as "præsens et corporalis deus", the Antinous cult, etc.)., and in many circles an incarnate ideal in the present or the past was sought, which might be worshipped as revealer of God and as God, and which might be an example of life and an assurance of religious hope. Apotheosis became less offensive in proportion as, in connection with the fuller recognition of the spiritual dignity of man, the estimate of the soul, the spirit, as of supramundane nature, and the hope of its eternal continuance in a form of existence befitting it, became more general. That was the import of the message preached by the Cynics and the Stoics, that the truly wise man is Lord, Messenger of God, and God upon the earth. On the other hand, the popular belief clung to the idea that the gods could appear and be visible in human form, and this faith, though mocked by the cultured, gained numerous adherents, even among them, in the age of the Antonines.127

[pg 120]

The new thing which was here developed, continued to be greatly obscured by the old forms of worship which reasons of state and pious custom maintained. And the new piety, [pg 121] dispensing with a fixed foundation, groped uncertainly around, adapting the old rather than rejecting it. The old religious practices of the Fathers asserted themselves in public life generally, and the reception of new cults by the state, which was certainly effected, though with many checks, did not disturb them. The old religious customs stood out especially on state holidays, in the games in honour of the Gods, frequently degenerating into shameless immorality, but yet protecting the institutions of the state. The patriot, the wise man, the sceptic, and the pious man compounded with them, for they had not really at bottom outgrown them, and they knew of nothing better to substitute for the services they still rendered to society (see the λογος αληθης of Celsus).

2. The system of associations, naturalised centuries before among the Greeks, was developed under the social and political pressure of the empire, and was greatly extended by the change of moral and religious ideas. The free unions, which, as a rule, had a religious element and were established for mutual help, support, or edification, balanced to some extent the prevailing social cleavage, by a free democratic organisation. They gave to many individuals in their small circle the rights which they did not possess in the great world, and were frequently of service in obtaining admission for new cults. Even the new piety and cosmopolitan disposition seem to have turned to them in order to find within them forms of expression. But the time had not come for the greater corporate unions, and of an organised connection of societies in one city with those of another we know nothing. The state kept these associations under strict control. It granted them only to the [pg 122] poorest classes (collegia tenuiorum) and had the strictest laws in readiness for them. These free unions, however, did not in their historical importance approach the fabric of the Roman state in which they stood. That represented the union of the greater part of humanity under one head, and also more and more under one law. Its capital was the capital of the world, and also, from the beginning of the third century, of religious syncretism. Hither migrated all who desired to exercise an influence on the great scale: Jew, Chaldean, Syrian priest, and Neoplatonic teacher. Law and Justice radiated from Rome to the provinces, and in their light nationalities faded away, and a cosmopolitanism was developed which pointed beyond itself, because the moral spirit can never find its satisfaction in that which is realised. When that spirit finally turned away from all political life, and after having laboured for the ennobling of the empire, applied itself, in Neoplatonism, to the idea of a new and free union of men, this certainly was the result of the felt failure of the great creation, but it nevertheless had that creation for its presupposition. The Church appropriated piecemeal the great apparatus of the Roman state, and gave new powers, new significance and respect to every article that had been depreciated. But what is of greatest importance is that the Church by her preaching would never have gained whole circles, but only individuals, had not the universal state already produced a neutralising of nationalities and brought men nearer each other in temper and disposition.

3. Perhaps the most decisive factor in bringing about the revolution of religious and moral convictions and moods, was philosophy, which in almost all its schools and representatives, had deepened ethics, and set it more and more in the foreground. After Possidonius, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius of the Stoical school, and men like Plutarch of the Platonic, attained to an ethical view, which, though not very clear in principle (knowledge, resignation, trust in God), is hardly capable of improvement in details. Common to them all, as distinguished from the early Stoics, is the value put upon the soul, (not the entire human nature), while in some [pg 123] of them there comes clearly to the front a religious mood, a longing for divine help, for redemption and a blessed life beyond the grave, the effort to obtain and communicate a religious philosophical therapeutic of the soul. From the beginning of the second century, however, already announced itself that eclectic philosophy based on Platonism which after two or three generations appeared in the form of a school, and after three generations more was to triumph over all other schools. The several elements of the Neoplatonic philosophy, as they were already foreshadowed in Philo, are clearly seen in the second century, viz., the dualistic opposition of the divine and the earthly, the abstract conception of God, the assertion of the unknowableness of God, scepticism with regard to sensuous experience, and distrust with regard to the powers of the understanding, with a greater readiness to examine things and turn to account the result of former scientific labour; further, the demand of emancipation from sensuality by means of asceticism, the need of authority, belief in a higher revelation, and the fusion of science and religion. The legitimising of religious fancy in the province of philosophy was already begun. The myth was no longer merely tolerated and re-interpreted as formerly, but precisely the mythic form with the meaning imported into it was the precious element.129 There were, however, in the second century numerous representatives of every possible philosophic view. To pass over the frivolous writers of the day, the Cynics criticised the traditional [pg 124] mythology in the interests of morality and religion.129 But there were also men who opposed the "ne quid nimis" to every form of practical scepticism, and to religion at the same time, and were above all intent on preserving the state and society, and on fostering the existing arrangements which appeared to be threatened far more by an intrusive religious than by a nihilistic philosophy.130 Yet men whose interest was ultimately practical and political, became ever more rare, especially as from the death of Marcus Aurelius, the maintenance of the state had to be left more and more to the sword of the Generals. The general conditions from the end of the second century were favourable to a philosophy which no longer in any respect took into real consideration the old forms of the state.

The theosophic philosophy which was prepared for in the second century,131 was, from the stand-point of enlightenment and knowledge of nature, a relapse: but it was the expression of a deeper religious need, and of a self-knowledge such as had not been in existence at an earlier period. The final consequences of that revolution in philosophy which made consideration of the inner life the starting-point of thought about the world, only now began to be developed. The ideas of a divine, gracious providence, of the relationship of all men, of universal brotherly love, of a ready forgiveness of wrong, of forbearing patience, of insight into one's own weakness—affected no doubt with many shadows—became, for [pg 125] wide circles, a result of the practical philosophy of the Greeks as well as, the conviction of inherent sinfulness, the need of redemption, and the eternal value and dignity of a human soul which finds rest only in God. These ideas, convictions and rules, had been picked up in the long journey from Socrates to Ammonius Saccas: at first, and for long afterwards, they crippled the interest in a rational knowledge of the world; but they deepened and enriched the inner life, and therewith the source of all knowledge. Those ideas, however, lacked as yet the certain coherence, but, above all, the authority which could have raised them above the region of wishes, presentiments, and strivings, and have given them normative authority in a community of men. There was no sure revelation, and no view of history which could be put in the place of the no longer prized political history of the nation or state to which one belonged.132 There was, in fact, no such thing as certainty. In like manner, there was no power which might overturn idolatry and abolish the old, and therefore one did not get beyond the wavering between self-deification, fear of God, and deification of nature. The glory is all the greater of those statesmen and jurists who, in the second and third centuries, introduced human ideas of the Stoics into the legal arrangements of the empire, and raised them to standards. And we must value all the more the numerous undertakings and performances, in which it appeared that the new view of life was powerful enough in individuals to beget a corresponding practice even without a sure belief in revelation.133

Supplement.—For the correct understanding of the beginning [pg 126] of Christian theology, that is, for the Apologetic and Gnosis, it is important to note where they are dependent on Stoic, and where on Platonic lines of thought. Platonism and Stoicism, in the second century, appeared in union with each other: but up to a certain point they may be distinguished in the common channel in which they flow. Wherever Stoicism prevailed in religious thought and feeling, as for example, in Marcus Aurelius, religion gains currency as natural religion in the most comprehensive sense of the word. The idea of revelation or redemption scarcely emerges. To this rationalism, the objects of knowledge are unvarying, ever the same: even cosmology attracts interest only in a very small degree. Myth and history are pageantry and masks. Moral ideas (virtues and duties) dominate even the religious sphere, which in its final basis has no independent authority. The interest in psychology and apologetic is very pronounced. On the other hand, the emphasis, which, in principle, is put on the contrast of spirit and matter, God and the world, had for results: inability to rest in the actual realities of the cosmos, efforts to unriddle the history of the universe backwards and forwards, recognition of this process as the essential task of theoretic philosophy, and a deep, yearning conviction that the course of the world needs assistance. Here were given the conditions for the ideas of revelation, redemption, etc., and the restless search for powers from whom help might come, received here also a scientific justification. The rationalistic apologetic interests thereby fell into the background: contemplation and historical description predominated.134

The stages in the ecclesiastical history of dogma, from the middle of the first to the middle of the fifth century, correspond to the stages in the history of the ancient religion during the same period. The Apologists, Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus; the Alexandrians; Methodius, and the Cappadocians; [pg 127] Dionysius, the Areopagite, have their parallels in Seneca, Marcus Aurelius; Plutarch, Epictetus, Numenius; Plotinus, Porphyry; Iamblichus and Proclus.

But it is not only Greek philosophy that comes into question for the history of Christian dogma. The whole of Greek culture must be taken into account. In his posthumous work, Hatch has shewn in a masterly way how that is to be done. He describes the Grammar, the Rhetoric, the learned Profession, the Schools, the Exegesis, the Homilies, etc., of the Greeks, and everywhere shews how they passed over into the Church, thus exhibiting the Philosophy, the Ethic, the speculative Theology, the Mysteries, etc., of the Greeks, as the main factors in the process of forming the ecclesiastical mode of thought.

But, besides the Greek, there is no mistaking the special influence of Romish ideas and customs upon the Christian Church. The following points specially claim attention: (1) The conception of the contents of the Gospel and its application as "salus legitima," with the results which followed from the naturalising of this idea. (2) The conception of the word of Revelation, the Bible, etc., as "lex." (3) The idea of tradition in its relation to the Romish idea. (4) The Episcopal constitution of the Church, including the idea of succession, of the Primateship and universal Episcopate, in their dependence on Romish ideas and institutions (the Ecclesiastical organisation in its dependence on the Roman Empire). (5) The separation of the idea of the "sacrament" from that of the "mystery", and the development of the forensic discipline of penance. The investigation has to proceed in a historical line, described by the following series of chapters: Rome and Tertullian; Rome and Cyprian; Rome, Optatus and Augustine; Rome and the Popes of the fifth century. We have, to shew how, by the power of her constitution and the earnestness and consistency of her policy, Rome a second time, step by step, conquered the world, but this time the Christian world.135

[pg 128]

Greek philosophy exercised the greatest influence not only on the Christian mode of thought, but also through that, on the institutions of the Church. The Church never indeed became a philosophic school: but yet in her was realised in a peculiar way, that which the Stoics and the Cynics had aimed at. The Stoic (Cynic) Philosopher also belonged to the factors from which the Christian Priests or Bishops were formed. That the old bearers of the Spirit—Apostles, Prophets, Teachers—have been changed into a class of professional moralists and preachers, who bridle the people by counsel and reproof (νουθετειν και ελεγχειν), that this class considers itself and desires to be considered as a mediating Kingly Divine class, that its representatives became "Lords" and let themselves be called "Lords", all this was prefigured in the Stoic wise man and in the Cynic Missionary. But so far as these several "Kings and Lords" are united in the idea and reality of the Church and are subject to it, the Platonic idea of the republic goes beyond the Stoic and Cynic ideals, and subordinates them to it. But this Platonic ideal has again obtained its political realisation in the Church through the very concrete laws of the Roman Empire, which were more and more adopted, or taken possession of. Consequently, in the completed Church we find again the philosophic schools and the Roman Empire.

Literature.—Besides the older works of Tzschirner, Döllinger, Burckhardt, Preller, see Friedländer, Darstellungen aus der Sittengesch. Roms. in der Zeit von August bis zum Ausgang der Antonine, 3 Bd. Aufl. Boissier, La Religion Romaine d'Auguste aux Antonins, 2 Bd. 1874. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire before 170. London, 1893. Réville, La Religion à Rome sous les Sévères, 1886. Schiller, Geschichte der Röm. Kaiserzeit, 1883. Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, 3 Bde. 1878. Foucart, Les Associations Relig. chez les Grecs, 1873. Liebeman, Z. Gesch. u. Organisation d. Röm. Vereinswesen, 1890. K.J. Neumann, Der Röm. Staat und die allg. Kirche, Bd. I. 1890. Leopold Schmidt, Die Ethik der [pg 129] alten Griechen, 2 Bd. 1882. Heinrici, Die Christengemeinde Korinth's und die religiösen Genossenschaften der Griechen, in der Ztschr. f. wissensch. Theol. 1876-77. Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church. Buechner, De neocoria, 1888. Hirschfeld, Z. Gesch. d. röm. Kaisercultus. The Histories of Philosophy by Zeller, Erdmann, Ueberweg, Strümpell, Windelband, etc. Heinze, Die Lehre vom Logos in der Griech. Philosophie, 1872. By same Author, Der Eudämonismus in der Griech. Philosophie, 1883. Hirzel, Untersuchungen zu Cicero's philos. Schriften, 3 Thle. 1877-1883. These investigations are of special value for the history of dogma, because they set forth with the greatest accuracy and care, the later developments of the great Greek philosophic schools, especially on Roman soil. We must refer specially to the discussions on the influence of the Roman on the Greek Philosophy. Volkmann, Die Rhetorik der Griechen und Römer, 1872.


Perhaps the most important fact for the following development of the history of Dogma, the way for which had already been prepared in the Apostolic age, is the twofold conception of the aim of Christ's appearing, or of the religious blessing of salvation. The two conceptions were indeed as yet mutually dependent on each other, and were twined together in the closest way, just as they are presented in the teaching of Jesus himself; but they began even at this early period to be differentiated. Salvation, that is to say, was conceived, on the one hand, as sharing in the glorious kingdom of Christ soon to appear, and everything else was regarded as preparatory to this sure prospect; on the other hand, however, attention was turned to the conditions and to the provisions of God wrought by Christ, which first made men capable of attaining that portion, that is, of becoming sure of it. Forgiveness of sin, righteousness, faith, knowledge, etc., are the things which come into consideration here, and these blessings themselves, so far as they have as their sure result life in the [pg 130] kingdom of Christ, or more accurately eternal life, may be regarded as salvation. It is manifest that these two conceptions need not be exclusive. The first regards the final effect as the goal and all else as a preparation, the other regards the preparation, the facts already accomplished by Christ and the inner transformation of men as the main thing, and all else as the natural and necessary result. Paul, above all, as may be seen especially from the arguments in the epistle to the Romans, unquestionably favoured the latter conception and gave it vigorous expression. The peculiar conflicts with which he saw himself confronted, and, above all, the great controversy about the relation of the Gospel and the new communities to Judaism, necessarily concentrated the attention on questions as to the arrangements on which the community of those sanctified in Christ should rest, and the conditions of admission to this community. But the centre of gravity of Christian faith might also for the moment be removed from the hope of Christ's second advent, and would then necessarily be found in the first advent, in virtue of which salvation was already prepared for man, and man for salvation (Rom. III.-VIII.). The dual development of the conception of Christianity which followed from this, rules the whole history of the Gospel to the present day. The eschatological view is certainly very severely repressed, but it always breaks out here and there, and still guards the spiritual from the secularisation which threatens it. But the possibility of uniting the two conceptions in complete harmony with each other, and on the other hand, of expressing them antithetically, has been the very circumstance that has complicated in an extraordinary degree the progress of the development of the history of dogma. From this follows the antithesis, that from that conception which somehow recognises salvation itself in a present spiritual possession, eternal life in the sense of immortality may be postulated as final result, though not a glorious kingdom of Christ on earth; while, conversely, the eschatological view must logically depreciate every blessing which can be possessed in the present life.

[pg 131]

It is now evident that the theology, and, further, the Hellenising, of Christianity, could arise and has arisen in connection, not with the eschatological, but only with the other conception. Just because the matters here in question were present spiritual blessings, and because, from the nature of the case, the ideas of forgiveness of sin, righteousness, knowledge, etc., were not so definitely outlined in the early tradition, as the hopes of the future, conceptions entirely new and very different, could, as it were, be secretly naturalised. The spiritual view left room especially for the great contrast of a religious and a moralistic conception, as well as for a frame of mind which was like the eschatological in so far as, according to it, faith and knowledge were to be only preparatory blessings in contrast with the peculiar blessing of immortality, which of course was contained in them. In this frame of mind the illusion might easily arise that this hope of immortality was the very kernel of those hopes of the future for which old concrete forms of expression were only a temporary shell. But it might further be assumed that contempt for the transitory and finite as such, was identical with contempt for the kingdom of the world which the returning Christ would destroy.

The history of dogma has to shew how the old eschatological view was gradually repressed and transformed in the Gentile Christian communities, and how there was finally developed and carried out a spiritual conception in which a strict moralism counterbalanced a luxurious mysticism, and wherein the results of Greek practical philosophy could find a place. But we must here refer to the fact, which is already taught by the development in the Apostolic age, that Christian dogmatic did not spring from the eschatological, but from the spiritual mode of thought. The former had nothing but sure hopes and the guarantee of these hopes by the Spirit, by the words of prophecy and by the apocalyptic writings. One does not think, he lives and dreams, in the eschatological mode of thought; and such a life was vigorous and powerful till beyond the middle of the second century. There can be no external authorities here; for one has at every moment the highest [pg 132] authority in living operation in the Spirit. On the other hand, not only does the ecclesiastical christology essentially spring from the spiritual way of thinking, but very specially also the system of dogmatic guarantees. The co-ordination of λογος θεου, διδαχη κυριου, κηρυγμα των δωδεκα αποστολων [word of God, teaching of the Lord, preaching of the twelve Apostles], which lay at the basis of all Gentile Christian speculation almost from the very beginning, and which was soon directed against the enthusiasts, originated in a conception which regarded as the essential thing in Christianity, the sure knowledge which is the condition of immortality. If, however, in the following sections of this historical presentation, the pervading and continuous opposition of the two conceptions is not everywhere clearly and definitely brought into prominence, that is due to the conviction that the historian has no right to place the factors and impelling ideas of a development in a clearer light than they appear in the development itself. He must respect the obscurities and complications as they come in his way. A clear discernment of the difference of the two conceptions was very seldom attained to in ecclesiastical antiquity, because they did not look beyond their points of contact, and because certain articles of the eschatological conception could never be suppressed or remodelled in the Church. Goethe (Dichtung und Wahrheit, II. 8,) has seen this very clearly. "The Christian religion wavers between its own historic positive element and a pure Deism, which, based on morality, in its turn offers itself as the foundation of morality. The difference of character and mode of thought shew themselves here in infinite gradations, especially as another main distinction cooperates with them, since the question arises, what share the reason, and what the feelings, can and should have in such convictions." See, also, what immediately follows.

2. The origin of a series of the most important Christian customs and ideas is involved in an obscurity which in all probability will never be cleared up. Though one part of those ideas may be pointed out in the epistles of Paul, yet the question must frequently remain unanswered, whether he [pg 133] found them in existence or formed them independently, and accordingly the other question, whether they are exclusively indebted to the activity of Paul for their spread and naturalisation in Christendom. What was the original conception of baptism? Did Paul develop independently his own conception? What significance had it in the following period? When and where did baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit arise, and how did it make its way in Christendom? In what way were views about the saving value of Christ's death developed alongside of Paul's system? When and how did belief in the birth of Jesus from a Virgin gain acceptance in Christendom? Who first distinguished Christendom, as εκκλησια του θεου, from Judaism, and how did the concept εκκλησια become current? How old is the triad: Apostles, Prophets and Teachers? When were Baptism and the Lord's Supper grouped together? How old are our first three Gospels? To all these questions and many more of equal importance there is no sure answer. But the greatest problem is presented by Christology, not indeed in its particular features doctrinally expressed, these almost everywhere may be explained historically, but in its deepest roots as it was preached by Paul as the principle of a new life (2 Cor. V. 17), and as it was to many besides him the expression of a personal union with the exalted Christ (Rev. II. 3). But this problem exists only for the historian who considers things only from the outside, or seeks for objective proofs. Behind and in the Gospel stands the Person of Jesus Christ who mastered men's hearts, and constrained them to yield themselves to him as his own, and in whom they found their God. Theology attempted to describe in very uncertain and feeble outline what the mind and heart had grasped. Yet it testifies of a new life which, like all higher life, was kindled by a Person, and could only be maintained by connection with that Person. "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." These convictions are not dogmas and have no history, and they can only be propagated in the manner described by Paul, Gal. I. 15, 16.

[pg 134]

3. It was of the utmost importance for the legitimising of the later development of Christianity as a system of doctrine, that early Christianity had an Apostle who was a theologian, and that his Epistles were received into the canon. That the doctrine about Christ has become the main article in Christianity is not of course the result of Paul's preaching, but is based on the confession that Jesus is the Christ. The theology of Paul was not even the most prominent ruling factor in the transformation of the Gospel to the Catholic doctrine of faith, although an earnest study of the Pauline Epistles by the earliest Gentile Christian theologians, the Gnostics, and their later opponents, is unmistakable. But the decisive importance of this theology lies in the fact that, as a rule, it formed the boundary and the foundation—just as the words of the Lord himself—for those who in the following period endeavoured to ascertain original Christianity, because the Epistles attesting it stood in the canon of the New Testament. Now, as this theology comprised both speculative and apologetic elements, as it can be thought of as a system, as it contained a theory of history and a definite conception of the Old Testament, finally, as it was composed of objective and subjective ethical considerations and included the realistic elements of a national religion (wrath of God, sacrifice, reconciliation, Kingdom of glory), as well as profound psychological perceptions and the highest appreciation of spiritual blessings, the Catholic doctrine of faith as it was formed in the course of time, seemed, at least in its leading features, to be related to it, nay, demanded by it. For the ascertaining of the deep-lying distinctions, above all for the perception that the question in the two cases is about elements quite differently conditioned, that even the method is different, in short, that the Pauline Gospel is not identical with the original Gospel and much less with any later doctrine of faith, there is required such historical judgment and such honesty of purpose not to be led astray in the investigation by the canon of the New Testament,136 that no change in the prevailing ideas can be [pg 135] hoped for for long years to come. Besides, critical theology has made it difficult, to gain an insight into the great difference that lies between the Pauline and the Catholic theology, by the one-sided prominence it has hitherto given to the antagonism between Paulinism and Judaistic Christianity. In contrast with this view the remark of Havet, though also very one-sided, is instructive, "Quand on vient de relire Paul, on ne peut méconnaître le caractère élevé de son oeuvre. Je dirai en un mot, qu'il a agrandi dans une proportion extraordinaire l'attrait que le judaïsme exerçait sur le monde ancien" (Le Christianisme, T. IV. p. 216). That, however, was only very gradually the case and within narrow limits. The deepest and most important writings of the New Testament are incontestably those in which Judaism is understood as religion, but spiritually overcome and subordinated to the Gospel as a new religion,—the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Gospel and Epistle of John. There is set forth in these writings a new and exalted world of religious feelings, views and judgments, into which the Christians of succeeding centuries got only meagre glimpses. Strictly speaking, the opinion that the New Testament in its whole extent comprehends a unique literature is not tenable; but it is correct to say that between its most important constituent parts, and the literature of the period immediately following there is a great gulf fixed.

But Paulinism especially has had an immeasurable and blessed influence on the whole course of the history of dogma, an influence it could not have had, if the Pauline Epistles had not been received into the canon. Paulinism is a religious and Christocentric doctrine, more inward and more powerful than any other which has ever appeared in the Church. It stands in the clearest opposition to all merely natural moralism, [pg 136] all righteousness of works, all religious ceremonialism, all Christianity without Christ. It has therefore become the conscience of the Church, until the Catholic Church in Jansenism killed this her conscience. "The Pauline reactions describe the critical epochs of theology and the Church."137 One might write a history of dogma as a history of the Pauline reactions in the Church, and in doing so would touch on all the turning points of the history. Marcion after the Apostolic Fathers; Irenæus, Clement and Origen after the Apologists; Augustine after the Fathers of the Greek Church;138 the great Reformers of the middle ages from Agobard to Wessel in the bosom of the mediæval Church; Luther after the Scholastics; Jansenism after the council of Trent:—Everywhere it has been Paul, in these men, who produced the Reformation. Paulinism has proved to be a ferment in the history of dogma, a basis it has never been.139 Just as it had that significance in Paul himself, with reference to Jewish Christianity, so it has continued to work through the history of the Church.

Footnote 46: (return)

The Old Testament of itself alone could not have convinced the Græco-Roman world. But the converse question might perhaps be raised as to what results the Gospel would have had in that world without its union with the Old Testament. The Gnostic Schools and the Marcionite Church are to some extent the answer. But would they ever have arisen without the presupposition of a Christian community which recognised the Old Testament?

Footnote 47: (return)

We here leave out of account learned attempts to expound Paulinism. Nor do we take any notice of certain truths regarding the relation of the Old Testament to the New, and regarding the Jewish religion, stated by the Antignostic church teachers, truths which are certainly very important, but have not been sufficiently utilised.

Footnote 48: (return)

There is indeed no single writing of the new Testament which does not betray the influence of the mode of thought and general conditions of the culture of the time which resulted from the Hellenising of the east: even the use of the Greek translation of the Old Testament attests this fact. Nay, we may go further, and say that the Gospel itself is historically unintelligible, so long as we compare it with an exclusive Judaism as yet unaffected by any foreign influence. But on the other hand, it is just as clear that, specifically, Hellenic ideas form the presuppositions neither for the Gospel itself, nor for the most important New Testament writings. It is a question rather as to a general spiritual atmosphere created by Hellenism, which above all strengthened the individual element, and with it the idea of completed personality, in itself living and responsible. On this foundation we meet with a religious mode of thought in the Gospel and the early Christian writings, which so far as it is at all dependent on an earlier mode of thought, is determined by the spirit of the Old Testament (Psalms and Prophets) and of Judaism. But it is already otherwise with the earliest Gentile Christian writings. The mode of thought here is so thoroughly determined by the Hellenic spirit that we seem to have entered a new world when we pass from the synoptists, Paul and John, to Clement, Barnabas, Justin or Valentinus. We may therefore say, especially in the frame-work of the history of dogma, that the Hellenic element has exercised an influence on the Gospel first on Gentile Christian soil, and by those who were Greek by birth, if only we reserve the general spiritual atmosphere above referred to. Even Paul is no exception; for in spite of the well-founded statements of Weizsäcker (Apostolic Age, vol. I. Book 11) and Heinrici (Das 2 Sendschreiben an die Korinthier, 1887, p. 578 ff), as to the Hellenism of Paul, it is certain that the Apostle's mode of religious thought, in the strict sense of the word, and therefore also the doctrinal formation peculiar to him, are but little determined by the Greek spirit. But it is to be specially noted that as a missionary and an Apologist he made use of Greek ideas (Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians). He was not afraid to put the Gospel into Greek modes of thought. To this extent we can already observe in him the beginning of the development which we can trace so clearly in the Gentile Church from Clement to Justin, and from Justin to Irenæus.

Footnote 49: (return)

The complete universalism of salvation is given in the Pauline conception of Christianity. But this conception is singular. Because: (1) the Pauline universalism is based on a criticism of the Jewish religion as religion, including the Old Testament, which was not understood and therefore not received by Christendom in general. (2) Because Paul not only formulated no national anti-Judaism, but always recognised the prerogative of the people of Israel as a people. (3) Because his idea of the Gospel, with all his Greek culture, is independent of Hellenism in its deepest grounds. This peculiarity of the Pauline Gospel is the reason why little more could pass from it into the common consciousness of Christendom than the universalism of salvation, and why the later development of the Church cannot be explained from Paulinism. Baur, therefore, was quite right when he recognised that we must exhibit another and more powerful element in order to comprehend the post-Pauline formations. In the selection of this element, however, he has made a fundamental mistake, by introducing the narrow national Jewish Christianity, and he has also given much too great scope to Paulinism by wrongly conceiving it as Gentile Christian doctrine. One great difficulty for the historian of the early Church is that he cannot start from Paulinism, the plainest phenomenon of the Apostolic age, in seeking to explain the following development, that in fact the premises for this development are not at all capable of being indicated in the form of outlines, just because they were too general. But, on the other hand, the Pauline Theology, this theology of one who had been a Pharisee, is the strongest proof of the independent and universal power of the impression made by the Person of Jesus.

Footnote 50: (return)

In the main writings of the New Testament itself we have a twofold conception of the Spirit. According to the one he comes upon the believer fitfully, expresses himself in visible signs, deprives men of self-consciousness, and puts them beside themselves. According to the other, the spirit is a constant possession of the Christian, operates in him by enlightening the conscience and strengthening the character, and his fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc. (Gal. V. 22). Paul above all taught Christians to value these fruits of the spirit higher than all the other effects of his working. But he has not by any means produced a perfectly clear view on this point: for "he himself spoke with more tongues than they all." As yet "Spirit" lay within "Spirit." One felt in the spirit of sonship a completely new gift coming from God and recreating life, a miracle of God; further, this spirit also produced sudden exclamations—"Abba, Father;" and thus shewed himself in a way patent to the senses. For that very reason, the spirit of ecstasy and of miracle appeared identical with the spirit of sonship. (See Gunkel, Die Wirkungen d. h. Geistes nach der populären Anschauung der Apostol. Zeit. Göttingen, 1888).

Footnote 51: (return)

It may even be said here that the αθανασια (ζωη αιωνιος), on the one hand, and the εκκλησια, on the other, have already appeared in place of the Βασιλεια του θεου, and that the idea of Messiah has been finally replaced by that of the Divine Teacher and of God manifest in the flesh.

Footnote 52: (return)

It is one of the merits of Bruno Bauer (Christus und die Cäsaren, 1877), that he has appreciated the real significance of the Greek element in the Gentile Christianity which became the Catholic Church and doctrine, and that he has appreciated the influence of the Judaism of the Diaspora as a preparation for this Gentile Christianity. But these valuable contributions have unfortunately been deprived of their convincing power by a baseless criticism of the early Christian literature, to which Christ and Paul have fallen a sacrifice. Somewhat more cautious are the investigations of Havet in the fourth volume of Le Christianisme, 1884; Le Nouveau Testament. He has won great merit by the correct interpretation of the elements of Gentile Christianity developing themselves to catholicism, but his literary criticism is often unfortunately entirely abstract, reminding one of the criticism of Voltaire, and therefore his statements in detail are, as a rule, arbitrary and untenable. There is a school in Holland at the present time closely related to Bruno Bauer and Havet, which attempts to banish early Christianity from the world. Christ and Paul are creations of the second century: the history of Christianity begins with the passage of the first century into the second—a peculiar phenomenon on the soil of Hellenised Judaism in quest of a Messiah. This Judaism created Jesus Christ just as the later Greek religious philosophers created their Saviour (Apollonius, for example). The Marcionite Church produced Paul and the growing Catholic Church completed him. See the numerous treatises of Loman, the Verisimilia of Pierson and Naber (1886), and the anonymous English work "Antiqua Mater" (1887), also the works of Steck (see especially his Untersuchung über den Galaterbrief). Against these works see P.V. Schmidt's, "Der Galaterbrief," 1892. It requires a deep knowledge of the problems which the first two centuries of the Christian Church present, in order not to thrust aside as simply absurd these attempts, which as yet have failed to deal with the subject in a connected way. They have their strength in the difficulties and riddles which are contained in the history of the formation of the Catholic tradition in the second century. But the single circumstance that we are asked to regard as a forgery such a document as the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, appears to me, of itself, to be an unanswerable argument against the new hypotheses.

Footnote 53: (return)

It would be a fruitful task, though as yet it has not been undertaken, to examine how long visions, dreams and apocalypses, on the one hand, and the claim of speaking in the power and name of the Holy Spirit, on the other, played a rôle in the early Church; and further to shew how they nearly died out among the laity, but continued to live among the clergy and the monks, and how, even among the laity, there were again and again sporadic outbreaks of them. The material which the first three centuries present is very great. Only a few may be mentioned here: Ignat. ad. Rom. VII. 2; ad. Philad. VII; ad Eph. XX. 1, etc.; 1 Clem. LXIII. 2; Martyr. Polyc.; Acta Perpet. et Felic; Tertull de animo XLVII.; "Major pæne vis hominum e visionibus deum discunt." Orig. c. Celsum. i. 46: πολλοι 'οσπερει ακοντες προσεληλυθασι χριστιανισμω, πνευματος τινος τρεψαντος ... και φαντασιωσαντος αυτους 'υπαρ 'η οναρ (even Arnobius was ostensibly led to Christianity by a dream). Cyprian makes the most extensive use of dreams, visions, etc., in his letters, see for example Ep. XI. 3-5; XVI. 4 ("præter nocturnas visiones per dies quoque impletur apud nos spiritu sancto puerorum innocens aetas, quæ in ecstasi videt," etc.); XXXIX. 1; LXVI 10 (very interesting: "quamquam sciam somnia ridicula et visiones ineptas quibusdam videri, sed utique illis, qui malunt contra sacerdotes credere quam sacerdoti, sed nihil mirum, quando de Joseph fratres sui dixerunt: ecce somniator ille," etc.). One who took part in the baptismal controversy in the great Synod of Carthage writes, "secundum motum animi mei et spiritus sancti." The enthusiastic element was always evoked with special power in times of persecution, as the genuine African martyrdoms, from the second half of the third century, specially shew. Cf. especially the passio Jacobi, Mariani, etc. But where the enthusiasm was not convenient it was called, as in the case of the Montanists, dæmonic. Even Constantine operated with dreams and visions of Christ (see his Vita).

Footnote 54: (return)

As to the first, the recently discovered "Teaching of the Apostles" in its first moral part, shews a great affinity with the moral philosophy which was set up by Alexandrian Jews and put before the Greek world as that which had been revealed: see Massebieau, L'enseignement des XII. Apôtres, Paris, 1884, and in the Journal "Le Temoignage," 7 Febr. 1885. Usener, in his Preface to the Ges. Abhandl. Jacob Bernays', which he edited, 1885, p.v.f., has, independently of Massebieau, pointed out the relationship of chapters 1-5 of the "Teaching of the Apostles" with the Phocylidean poem (see Bernays' above work, p. 192 ff.). Later Taylor, "The teaching of the twelve Apostles", 1886, threw out the conjecture that the Didache had a Jewish foundation, and I reached the same conclusion independently of him: see my Treatise: Die Apostellehre und die judischen beiden Wege, 1886.

Footnote 55: (return)

It is well known that Judaism at the time of Christ embraced a great many different tendencies. Beside Pharisaic Judaism as the stem proper there was a motley mass of formations which resulted from the contact of Judaism with foreign ideas, customs, and institutions (even with Babylonian and Persian), and which attained importance for the development of the predominant church as well as for the formation of the so-called gnostic Christian communions. Hellenic elements found their way even into Pharisaic theology. Orthodox Judaism itself has marks which shew that no spiritual movement was able to escape the influence which proceeded from the victory of the Greeks over the east. Besides who would venture to exhibit definitely the origin and causes of that spiritualising of religions and that limitation of the moral standard of which we can find so many traces in the Alexandrian age? The nations who inhabited the eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea had from the fourth century B.C. a common history and therefore had similar convictions. Who can decide what each of them acquired by its own exertions and what it obtained through interchange of opinions? But in proportion as we see this we must be on our guard against jumbling the phenomena together and effacing them. There is little meaning in calling a thing Hellenic, as that really formed an element in all the phenomena of the age. All our great political and ecclesiastical parties to-day are dependent on the ideas of 1789 and again on romantic ideas. It is just as easy to verify this as it is difficult to determine the measure and the manner of the influence for each group. And yet the understanding of it turns altogether on this point. To call Pharisaism or the Gospel or the old Jewish Christianity Hellenic is not paradox but confusion.

Footnote 56:(return)

The Acts of the Apostles is in this respect a most instructive book. It as well as the Gospel of Luke is a document of Gentile Christianity developing itself to Catholicism; Cf. Overbeck in his Commentar z Apostelgesch. But the comprehensive judgment of Havet in the work above mentioned (IV. p. 395) is correct: "L hellenisme tient assez peu de place dans le N.T. du moins l hellenisme voulu et reflechi. Ces livres sont ecrits en grec et leurs auteurs vivaient en pays grec, il y a donc eu chez eux infiltration des idees et des sentiments helleniques, quelquefois même l imagination hellenique y a pénetre comme dans le 3 evangile et dans les Actes. Dans son ensemble le N.T. garde le caractere d un livre hebraique. Le christianisme ne commence avoir une litterature et des doctrines vraiment helleniques qu au milieu du second siecle. Mais il y avait un judaisme celui d Alexandrie qui avait faite alliance avec l hellenisme avant meme qu il y eut des chretiens."

Footnote 57: (return)

The right of distinguishing (b) and (c) may be contested. But if we surrender this we therewith surrender the right to distinguish kernel and husk in the original proclamation of the Gospel. The dangers to which the attempt is exposed should not frighten us from it for it has its justification in the fact that the Gospel is neither doctrine nor law.

Footnote 58: (return)

Therewith are, doubtless, heavenly blessings bestowed in the present. Historical investigation has, notwithstanding, every reason for closely examining whether, and in how far, we may speak of a present for the Kingdom of God, in the sense of Jesus. But even if the question had to be answered in the negative, it would make little or no difference for the correct understanding of Jesus' preaching. The Gospel viewed in its kernel is independent of this question. It deals with the inner constitution and mood of the soul.

Footnote 59: (return)

The question whether, and in what degree, a man of himself can earn righteousness before God is one of those theoretic questions to which Jesus gave no answer. He fixed his attention on all the gradations of the moral and religious conduct of his countrymen as they were immediately presented to him, and found some prepared for entrance into the kingdom of God, not by a technical mode of outward preparation, but by hungering and thirsting for it, and at the same time unselfishly serving their brethren. Humility and love unfeigned were always the decisive marks of these prepared ones. They are to be satisfied with righteousness before God, that is, are to receive the blessed feeling that God is gracious to them as sinners, and accepts them as his children. Jesus, however, allows the popular distinction of sinners and righteous to remain, but exhibits its perverseness by calling sinners to him and by describing the opposition of the righteous to his Gospel as a mark of their godlessness and hardness of heart.

Footnote 60: (return)

The blessings of the kingdom were frequently represented by Jesus as a reward for work done. But this popular view is again broken through by reference to the fact that all reward is the gift of God's free grace.

Footnote 61: (return)

Some Critics—most recently Havet, Le Christianisme et ses origines, 1884. T. IV. p. 15 ff.—have called in question the fact that Jesus called himself Messiah. But this article of the Evangelic tradition seems to me to stand the test of the most minute investigation. But, in the case of Jesus, the consciousness of being the Messiah undoubtedly rested on the certainty of being the Son of God, therefore of knowing the Father and being constrained to proclaim that knowledge.

Footnote 62: (return)

We can gather with certainty from the Gospels that Jesus did not enter on his work with the announcement: Believe in me for I am the Messiah. On the contrary, he connected his work with the baptising movement of John, but carried that movement further, and thereby made the Baptist his forerunner (Mark I. 15: πεπληρωται 'ο καιρος και ηγγικεν 'η βασιλεια του θεου, μετανοειτε και πιστευετε εν τω ευαγγελιω). He was in no hurry to urge anything that went beyond that message, but gradually prepared, and cautiously required of his followers an advance beyond it. The goal to which he led them was to believe in him as Messiah without putting the usual political construction on the Messianic ideal.

Footnote 63: (return)

Even "Son of Man" probably means Messiah: we do not know whether Jesus had any special reason for favouring this designation which springs from Dan. VII. The objection to interpreting the word as Messiah really resolves itself into this, that the disciples (according to the Gospels) did not at once recognise him as Messiah. But that is explained by the contrast of his own peculiar idea of Messiah with the popular idea. The confession of him as Messiah was the keystone of their confidence in him, inasmuch as by that confession they separated themselves from old ideas.

Footnote 64: (return)

The distinction between the Father and the Son stands out just as plainly in the sayings of Jesus, as the complete obedient subordination of the Son to the Father. Even according to John's Gospel, Jesus finishes the work which the Father has given him, and is obedient in everything even unto death. He declares Matt. XIX. 17: 'εις εστιν 'ο αγαθος. Special notice should be given to Mark XIII. 32, (Matt. XXIV. 36). Behind the only manifested life of Jesus, later speculation has put a life in which he wrought, not in subordination and obedience, but in like independence and dignity with God. That goes beyond the utterances of Jesus even in the fourth Gospel. But it is no advance beyond these, especially in the religious view and speech of the time, when it is announced that the relation of the Father to the Son lies beyond time. It is not even improbable that the sayings in the fourth Gospel referring to this, have a basis in the preaching of Jesus himself.

Footnote 65: (return)

Paul knew that the designation of God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was the new Evangelic confession. Origen was the first among the Fathers (though before him Marcion) to recognise that the decisive advance beyond the Old Testament stage of religion, was given in the preaching of God as Father; see the exposition of the Lord's prayer in his treatise De oratione. No doubt the Old Testament, and the later Judaism knew the designation of God as Father; but it applied it to the Jewish nation, it did not attach the evangelic meaning to the name, and it did not allow itself in any way to be guided in its religion by this idea.

Footnote 66: (return)

See the farewell discourses in John, the fundamental ideas of which are, in my opinion, genuine, that is, proceed from Jesus.

Footnote 67: (return)

The historian cannot regard a miracle as a sure given historical event: for in doing so he destroys the mode of consideration on which all historical investigation rests. Every individual miracle remains historically quite doubtful, and a summation of things doubtful never leads to certainty. But should the historian, notwithstanding, be convinced that Jesus Christ did extraordinary things, in the strict sense miraculous things, then, from the unique impression he has obtained of this person, he infers the possession by him of supernatural power. This conclusion itself belongs to the province of religious faith: though there has seldom been a strong faith which would not have drawn it. Moreover, the healing miracles of Jesus are the only ones that come into consideration in a strict historical examination. These certainly cannot be eliminated from the historical accounts without utterly destroying them. But how unfit are they of themselves, after 1800 years, to secure any special importance to him to whom they are attributed, unless that importance was already established apart from them. That he could do with himself what he would, that he created a new thing without overturning the old, that he won men to himself by announcing the Father, that he inspired without fanaticism, set up a kingdom without politics, set men free from the world without asceticism, was a teacher without theology, at a time of fanaticism and politics, asceticism and theology, is the great miracle of his person, and that he who preached the Sermon on the Mount declared himself in respect of his life and death, to be the Redeemer and Judge of the world, is the offence and foolishness which mock all reason.

Footnote 68: (return)

See Mark X. 45.—That Jesus at the celebration of the first Lord's supper described his death as a sacrifice which he should offer for the forgiveness of sin, is clear from the account of Paul. From that account it appears to be certain, that Jesus gave expression to the idea of the necessity and saving significance of his death for the forgiveness of sins, in a symbolical ordinance (based on the conclusion of the covenant, Exod. XXIV. 3 ff., perhaps, as Paul presupposes, on the Passover), in order that His disciples by repeating it in accordance with the will of Jesus, might be the more deeply impressed by it. Certain observations based on John VI., on the supper prayer in the Didache, nay, even on the report of Mark, and supported at the same time by features of the earliest practice in which it had the character of a real meal, and the earliest theory of the supper, which viewed it as a communication of eternal life and an anticipation of the future existence, have for years made me doubt very much whether the Pauline account and the Pauline conception of it, were really either the oldest, or the universal and therefore only one. I have been strengthened in this suspicion by the profound and remarkable investigation of Spitta (z. Gesch. u. Litt. d. Urchristenthums: Die urchristl. Traditionen ü. den Urspr. u. Sinnd. Abendmahls, 1893). He sees in the supper as not instituted, but celebrated by Jesus, the festival of the Messianic meal, the anticipated triumph over death, the expression of the perfection of the Messianic work, the symbolic representation of the filling of believers with the powers of the Messianic kingdom and life. The reference to the Passover and the death of Christ was attached to it later, though it is true very soon. How much is thereby explained that was hitherto obscure—critical, historical, and dogmatico-historical questions—cannot at all be stated briefly. And yet I hesitate to give a full recognition to Spitta's exposition: the words 1 Cor. XI. 23: εγω γαρ παρελαβον απο του κυριου, 'ο και παρεδοκα 'υμιν κ.τ.λ. are too strong for me. Cf. besides, Weizsäcker's investigation in "The Apostolic Age." Lobstein, La doctrine de la s. cène. 1889. A. Harnack i.d. Texten u. Unters. VII. 2. p. 139 ff. Schürer, Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1891, p. 29 ff. Jülicher Abhandl. f Weizsäcker, 1892, p. 215 ff.

Footnote 69: (return)

With regard to the eschatology, no one can say in detail what proceeds from Jesus, and what from the disciples. What has been said in the text does not claim to be certain, but only probable. The most important, and at the same time the most certain point, is that Jesus made the definitive fate of the individual depend on faith, humility and love. There are no passages in the Gospel which conflict with the impression that Jesus reserved day and hour to God, and wrought in faith and patience as long as for him it was day.

Footnote 70: (return)

He did not impose on every one, or desire from every one even the outward following of himself: see Mark V. 18-19. The "imitation of Jesus", in the strict sense of the word, did not play any noteworthy rôle either in the Apostolic or in the old Catholic period.

Footnote 71: (return)

It is asserted by well-informed investigators, and may be inferred from the Gospels (Mark XII. 32-34; Luke X. 27, 28), perhaps also from the Jewish original of the Didache, that some representatives of Pharisaism, beside the pedantic treatment of the law, attempted to concentrate it on the fundamental moral commandments. Consequently, in Palestinian and Alexandrian Judaism at the time of Christ, in virtue of the prophetic word and the Thora, influenced also, perhaps, by the Greek spirit which everywhere gave the stimulus to inwardness, the path was indicated in which the future development of religion was to follow. Jesus entered fully into the view of the law thus attempted, which comprehended it as a whole and traced it back to the disposition. But he freed it from the contradiction that adhered to it, (because, in spite of and alongside the tendency to a deeper perception, men still persisted in deducing righteousness from a punctilious observance of numerous particular commandments, because in so doing they became self-satisfied, that is, irreligious, and because in belonging to Abraham they thought they had a claim of right on God). For all that, so far as a historical understanding of the activity of Jesus is at all possible, it is to be obtained from the soil of Pharisaism, as the Pharisees were those who cherished and developed the Messianic expectations, and because, along with their care for the Thora, they sought also to preserve, in their own way, the prophetic inheritance. If everything does not deceive us, there were already contained in the Pharisaic theology of the age, speculations which were fitted to modify considerably the narrow view of history, and to prepare for universalism. The very men who tithed mint, anise and cummin, who kept their cups and dishes outwardly clean, who, hedging round the Thora, attempted to hedge round the people, spoke also of the sum total of the law. They made room in their theology for new ideas which are partly to be described as advances, and on the other hand, they have already pondered the question even in relation to the law, whether submission to its main contents was not sufficient for being numbered among the people of the covenant (see Renan: Paul). In particular the whole sacrificial system, which Jesus also essentially ignored, was therewith thrust into the background. Baldensperger (Selbstbewusstsein Jesu. p. 46) justly says. "There lie before us definite marks that the certainty of the nearness of God in the Temple (from the time of the Maccabees) begins to waver, and the efficacy of the temple institutions to be called in question. Its recent desecration by the Romans, appears to the author of the Psalms of Solomon (II. 2) as a kind of Divine requital for the sons of Israel, themselves having been guilty of so grossly profaning the sacrificial gifts. Enoch calls the shewbread of the second Temple polluted and unclean. There had crept in among the pious a feeling of the insufficiency of their worship, and from this side the Essenic schism will certainly represent only the open outbreak of a disease which had already begun to gnaw secretly at the religious life of the nation": see here the excellent explanations of the origin of Essenism in Lucius (Essenism 75 ff. 109 ff.) The spread of Judaism in the world, the secularization and apostacy of the priestly caste, the desecration of the Temple, the building of the Temple at Leontopolis, the perception brought about by the spiritualising of religion in the empire of Alexander the Great, that no blood of beast can be a means of reconciling God—all these circumstances must have been absolutely dangerous and fatal, both to the local centralisation of worship, and to the statutory sacrificial system. The proclamation of Jesus (and of Stephen) as to the overthrow of the Temple, is therefore no absolutely new thing, nor is the fact that Judaism fell back upon the law and the Messianic hope, a mere result of the destruction of the Temple. This change was rather prepared by the inner development. Whatever point in the preaching of Jesus we may fix on, we shall find, that—apart from the writings of the Prophets and the Psalms, which originated in the Greek Maccabean periods—parallels can be found only in Pharisaism, but at the same time that the sharpest contrasts must issue from it. Talmudic Judaism is not in every respect the genuine continuance of Pharisaic Judaism, but a product of the decay which attests that the rejection of Jesus by the spiritual leaders of the people had deprived the nation, and even the Virtuosi of Religion of their best part (see for this the expositions of Kuenen "Judaismus und Christenthum", in his (Hibbert) lectures on national religions and world religions). The ever recurring attempts to deduce the origin of Christianity from Hellenism, or even from the Roman Greek culture, are there also rightly, briefly and tersely rejected. Also the hypotheses, which either entirely eliminate the person of Jesus or make him an Essene, or subordinate him to the person of Paul, may be regarded as definitively settled. Those who think they can ascertain the origin of Christian religion from the origin of Christian Theology will, indeed, always think of Hellenism: Paul will eclipse the person of Jesus with those who believe that a religion for the world must be born with a universalistic doctrine. Finally, Essenism will continue in authority with those who see in the position of indifference which Jesus took to the Temple worship, the main thing, and who, besides, create for themselves an "Essenism of their own finding." Hellenism, and also Essenism, can of course indicate to the historian some of the conditions by which the appearance of Jesus was prepared and rendered possible; but they explain only the possibility, not the reality of the appearance. But this with its historically not deducible power is the decisive thing. If some one has recently said that "the historical speciality of the person of Jesus" is not the main thing in Christianity, he has thereby betrayed that he does not know how a religion that is worthy of the name is founded, propagated, and maintained. For the latest attempt to put the Gospel in a historical connection with Buddhism (Seydel, Das Ev von Jesus in seinen Verhältnissen zur Buddha-Sage, 1882: likewise, Die Buddha-Legende und das Leben Jesu, 1884), see, Oldenburg, Theol. Lit-Z'g 1882. Col. 415 f. 1884. 185 f. However much necessarily remains obscure to us in the ministry of Jesus when we seek to place it in a historical connection,—what is known is sufficient to confirm the judgment that his preaching developed a germ in the religion of Israel (see the Psalms) which was finally guarded and in many respects developed by the Pharisees, but which languished and died under their guardianship. The power of development which Jesus imported to it was not a power which he himself had to borrow from without; but doctrine and speculation were as far from him as ecstasy and visions. On the other hand, we must remember we do not know the history of Jesus up to his public entrance on his ministry, and that therefore we do not know whether in his native province he had any connection with Greeks.

Footnote 72: (return)

See the brilliant investigations of Weizsäcker (Apost. Zeitalter. p. 36) as to the earliest significant names, self-designations, of the disciples. The twelve were in the first place "μαθηται," (disciples and family-circle of Jesus, see also the significance of James and the brethren of Jesus), then witnesses of the resurrection and therefore Apostles; very soon there appeared beside them, even in Jerusalem, Prophets and Teachers.

Footnote 73: (return)

The Christian preaching is very pregnantly described in Acts XXVIII. 31. as κηρυσσειν την Βασιλειαν του Θεου, και διδασκειν τα περι του Ιησου Χριστου.

Footnote 74: (return)

On the spirit of God (of Christ) see note, p. 50. The earliest Christians felt the influence of the spirit as one coming on them from without.

Footnote 75: (return)

It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted baptism, for Matth. XXVIII. 19, is not a saying of the Lord. The reasons for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority in the Apostolic age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also baptised. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John IV. 2, Jesus himself baptised not, but his disciples under his superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it ex necessitate salutis, though it is credible that tradition is correct here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was εις αφεσιν 'αμαρτιων, and indeed εις το ονομα χριστου (1 Cor. I. 13; Acts XIX. 5). We cannot make out when the formula, εις το ονομα του πατρος, και του 'υιου, και του 'αγιου πνευματος, emerged. The formula εις το ονομα expresses that the person baptised is put into a relation of dependence on him into whose name he is baptised. Paul has given baptism a relation to the death of Christ, or justly inferred it from the εις αφεσιν 'αμαρτιων. The descent of the spirit on the baptised very soon ceased to be regarded as the necessary and immediate result of baptism; yet Paul, and probably his contemporaries also, considered the grace of baptism and the communication of the spirit to be inseparably united. See Scholten. Die Taufformel. 1885. Holtzman, Die Taufe im N.T. Ztsch. f. wiss. Theol. 1879.

Footnote 76: (return)

The designation of the Christian community as εκκλησια originates perhaps with Paul, though that is by no means certain; see as to this "name of honour," Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. I. p. 16 ff. The words of the Lord, Matt. XVI. 18; XVIII. 17, belong to a later period. According to Gal. I. 22, ταις εν χριστο is added to the ταις εκκλησιαις της Ιουδαιας. The independence of every individual Christian in, and before God is strongly insisted on in the Epistles of Paul, and in the Epistle of Peter, and in the Christian portions of Revelations: εποιησεν 'ημας βασιλειαν, 'ιερεις τω θεο και πατρι αυτου.

Footnote 77: (return)

Jesus is regarded with adoring reverence as Messiah and Lord, that is, these are regarded as the names which his Father has given him. Christians are those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. I. 2): every creature must bow before him and confess him as Lord (Phil. II. 9): see Deissmann on the N.T. formula "in Christo Jesu."

Footnote 78: (return)

The confession of Father, Son and Spirit is therefore the unfolding of the belief that Jesus is the Christ: but there was no intention of expressing by this confession the essential equality of the three persons, or even the similar relation of the Christian to them. On the contrary, the Father, in it, is regarded as the God and Father over all, the Son as revealer, redeemer and Lord, the Spirit as a possession, principle of the new supernatural life and of holiness. From the Epistles of Paul we perceive that the Formula Father, Son and Spirit could not yet have been customary, especially in Baptism. But it was approaching (2 Cor. XIII. 13).

Footnote 79: (return)

The Christological utterances which are found in the New Testament writings, so far as they explain and paraphrase the confession of Jesus as the Christ and the Lord, may be almost entirely deduced from one or other of the four points mentioned in the text. But we must at the same time insist that these declarations were meant to be explanations of the confession that "Jesus is the Lord," which of course included the recognition that Jesus by the resurrection became a heavenly being (see Weizsäcker in above mentioned work, p. 110) The solemn protestation of Paul, 1 Cor. XII. 3 διο γνωριζο 'υμιν 'οτι ουδεις εν πνευματι θεου λαλων λεγει ΑΝΑΘΕΜΑ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, και ουδεις δυναται ειπειν ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ει μη εν πνευματι 'αγιω (cf. Rom. X. 9), shews that he who acknowledged Jesus as the Lord, and accordingly believed in the resurrection of Jesus, was regarded as a full-born Christian. It undoubtedly excludes from the Apostolic age the independent authority of any christological dogma besides that confession and the worship of Christ connected with it. It is worth notice, however, that those early Christian men who recognised Christianity as the vanquishing of the Old Testament religion (Paul, the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, John) all held that Christ was a being who had come down from heaven.

Footnote 80: (return)

Compare in their fundamental features the common declarations about the saving value of the death of Christ in Paul, in the Johannine writings, in 1st Peter, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Christian portions of the book of Revelation: τω αγαπωντι 'ημας και λυσαντι 'ημας εκ των 'αμαρτιων εν τω 'αιματι αυτου, αυτω 'η δοξα: Compare the reference to Isaiah LIII. and the Passover lamb: the utterances about the "lamb" generally in the early writings: see Westcott, The Epistles of John, p. 34 f.: The idea of the blood of Christ in the New Testament.

Footnote 81: (return)

This of course could not take place otherwise than by reflecting on its significance. But a dislocation was already completed as soon as it was isolated and separated from the whole of Jesus, or even from his future activity. Reflection on the meaning or the causes of particular facts might easily, in virtue of that isolation, issue in entirely new conceptions.

Footnote 82: (return)

See the discriminating statements of Weizsäcker, "Apostolic Age", p. 1 f., especially as to the significance of Peter as first witness of the resurrection. Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 5 with Luke XXIV. 34: also the fragment of the "Gospel of Peter" which unfortunately breaks off at the point where one expects the appearance of the Lord to Peter.

Footnote 83: (return)

It is often said that Christianity rests on the belief in the resurrection of Christ. This may be correct, if it is first declared who this Jesus Christ is, and what his life signifies. But when it appears as a naked report to which one must above all submit, and when in addition, as often happens, it is supplemented by the assertion that the resurrection of Christ is the most certain fact in the history of the world, one does not know whether he should marvel more at its thoughtlessness or its unbelief. We do not need to have faith in a fact, and that which requires religious belief, that is, trust in God, can never be a fact which would hold good apart from that belief. The historical question and the question of faith must therefore be clearly distinguished here. The following points are historically certain: (1) That none of Christ's opponents saw him after his death. (2) That the disciples were convinced that they had seen him soon after his death. (3) That the succession and number of those appearances can no longer be ascertained with certainty. (4) That the disciples and Paul were conscious of having seen Christ not in the crucified earthly body, but in heavenly glory—even the later incredible accounts of the appearances of Christ, which strongly emphasise the reality of the body, speak at the same time of such a body as can pass through closed doors, which certainly is not an earthly body. (5) That Paul does not compare the manifestation of Christ given to him with any of his later visions, but, on the other hand, describes it in the words (Gal. I. 15): 'οτε ευδοκησεν 'ο θεος αποκαλυψαι τον 'υιον αυτου εν εμοι, and yet puts it on a level with the appearances which the earlier Apostles had seen. But, as even the empty grave on the third day can by no means be regarded as a certain historical fact, because it appears united in the accounts with manifest legendary features, and further because it is directly excluded by the way in which Paul has portrayed the resurrection 1 Cor. XV. it follows: (1) That every conception which represents the resurrection of Christ as a simple reanimation of his mortal body, is far from the original conception, and (2) that the question generally as to whether Jesus has risen, can have no existence for any one who looks at it apart from the contents and worth of the Person of Jesus. For the mere fact that friends and adherents of Jesus were convinced that they had seen him, especially when they themselves explain that he appeared to them in heavenly glory, gives, to those who are in earnest about fixing historical facts not the least cause for the assumption that Jesus did not continue in the grave.

History is therefore at first unable to bring any succour to faith here. However firm may have been the faith of the disciples in the appearances of Jesus in their midst, and it was firm, to believe in appearances which others have had is a frivolity which is always revenged by rising doubts. But history is still of service to faith; it limits its scope and therewith shews the province to which it belongs. The question which history leaves to faith is this: Was Jesus Christ swallowed up of death, or did he pass through suffering and the cross to glory, that is, to life, power and honour. The disciples would have been convinced of that in the sense in which Jesus meant them to understand it, though they had not seen him in glory (a consciousness of this is found in Luke XXIV. 26 ουχι ταυτα εδει παθειν τον χριστον και εισελθειν εις την δοξαν αυτου, and Joh. XX. 29 'οτι εωρακας με πεπιστευκας, μακαριοι 'οι μη ιδοντες και πιστευσαντας) and we might probably add, that no appearances of the Lord could permanently have convinced them of his life, if they had not possessed in their hearts the impression of his Person. Faith in the eternal life of Christ and in our own eternal life is not the condition of becoming a disciple of Jesus, but is the final confession of discipleship. Faith has by no means to do with the knowledge of the form in which Jesus lives, but only with the conviction that he is the living Lord. The determination of the form was immediately dependent on the most varied general ideas of the future life, resurrection, restoration, and glorification of the body, which were current at the time. The idea of the rising again of the body of Jesus appeared comparatively early, because it was this hope which animated wide circles of pious people for their own future. Faith in Jesus, the living Lord, in spite of the death on the cross, cannot be generated by proofs of reason or authority, but only to-day in the same way as Paul has confessed of himself 'οτε ευδοκησεν 'ο θεος αποκαλυψσαι τον 'υιον αυτου εν εμοι. The conviction of having seen the Lord was no doubt of the greatest importance for the disciples and made them Evangelists, but what they saw cannot at first help us. It can only then obtain significance for us when we have gained that confidence in the Lord which Peter has expressed in Mark VIII. 29. The Christian even to-day confesses with Paul ει εν τη ζωη ταυτη εν χριστω ηλπικοτες εσμεν μονον, ελεειστεροι παντων ανθροπων εσμεν. He believes in a future life for himself with God because he believes that Christ lives. That is the peculiarity and paradox of Christian faith. But these are not convictions that can be common and matter of course to a deep feeling and earnest thinking being standing amid nature and death, but can only be possessed by those who live with their whole hearts and minds in God, and even they need the prayer, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. To act as if faith in eternal life and in the living Christ was the simplest thing in the world, or a dogma to which one has just to submit, is irreligious. The whole question about the resurrection of Christ, its mode and its significance, has thereby been so thoroughly confused in later Christendom, that we are in the habit of considering eternal life as certain, even apart from Christ. That, at any rate, is not Christian. It is Christian to pray that God would give the Spirit to make us strong to overcome the feelings and the doubts of nature and create belief in an eternal life through the experience of dying to live. Where this faith obtained in this way exists, it has always been supported by the conviction that the Man lives who brought life and immortality to light. To hold fast this faith is the goal of life, for only what we consciously strive for is in this matter our own. What we think we possess is very soon lost.

Footnote 84: (return)

Weizsäcker (Apostolic Age, p. 73) says very justly: "The rising of Judaism against believers put them on their own feet. They saw themselves for the first time persecuted in the name of the law, and therewith for the first time it must have become clear to them, that in reality the law was no longer the same to them as to the others. Their hope is the coming kingdom of heaven, in which it is not the law, but their Master from whom they expect salvation. Everything connected with salvation is in him. But we should not investigate the conditions of the faith of that early period, as though the question had been laid before the Apostles whether they could have part in the Kingdom of heaven without circumcision, or whether it could be obtained by faith in Jesus, with or without the observance of the law. Such questions had no existence for them either practically or as questions of the school. But though they were Jews, and the law which even their Master had not abolished, was for them a matter of course, that did not exclude a change of inner position towards it, through faith in their Master and hope of the Kingdom. There is an inner freedom which can grow up alongside of all the constraints of birth, custom, prejudice, and piety. But this only comes into consciousness, when a demand is made on it which wounds it, or when it is assailed on account of an inference drawn not by its own consciousness, but only by its opponents."

Footnote 85: (return)

Only one of these four tendencies—the Pauline, with the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Johannine writings which are related to Paulinism—has seen in the Gospel the establishment of a new religion. The rest identified it with Judaism made perfect, or with the Old Testament religion rightly understood. But Paul, in connecting Christianity with the promise given to Abraham, passing thus beyond the law, that is, beyond the actual Old Testament religion, has not only given it a historical foundation, but also claimed for the Father of the Jewish nation a unique significance for Christianity. As to the tendencies named 1 and 2, see Book I. chap. 6.

Footnote 86: (return)

It is clear from Gal. II. 11 ff. that Peter then and for long before occupied in principle the stand-point of Paul: see the judicious remarks of Weizsäcker in the book mentioned above, p. 75 f.

Footnote 87: (return)

These four tendencies were represented in the Apostolic age by those who had been born and trained in Judaism, and they were collectively transplanted into Greek territory. But we cannot be sure that the third of the above tendencies found intelligent and independent representatives in this domain, as there is no certain evidence of it. Only one who had really been subject to it, and therefore understood it, could venture on a criticism of the Old Testament religion. Still, it may be noted that the majority of non-Jewish converts in the Apostolic age, had probably come to know the Old Testament beforehand—not always the Jewish religion, (see Havet, Le Christianisme, T. IV. p. 120: "Je ne sais s'il y est entré, du vivant de Paul, un seul païen: je veux dire un homme, qui ne connût pas déjà, avant d'y entrer, le judaïsme et la Bible"). These indications will shew how mistaken and misleading it is to express the different tendencies in the Apostolic age and the period closely following by the designations "Jewish Christianity-Gentile Christianity." Short watchwords are so little appropriate here that one might even with some justice reverse the usual conception, and maintain that what is usually understood by Gentile Christianity (criticism of the Old Testament religion) was possible only within Judaism, while that which is frequently called Jewish Christianity is rather a conception which must have readily suggested itself to born Gentiles superficially acquainted with the Old Testament.

Footnote 88: (return)

The first edition of this volume could not appeal to Weizsäcker's work, Das Apostolische Zeitalter der Christlichen Kirche, 1886, (second edition translated in this series). The author is now in the happy position of being able to refer the readers of his imperfect sketch to this excellent presentation, the strength of which lies in the delineation of Paulinism in its relation to the early Church, and to early Christian theology (p. 79-172). The truth of Weizsäcker's expositions of the inner relations (p. 85 f.), is but little affected by his assumptions concerning the outer relations, which I cannot everywhere regard as just. The work of Weizsäcker as a whole is, in my opinion, the most important work on Church history we have received since Ritschl's "Entstehung der alt-katholischen Kirche." (2 Aufl. 1857.)

Footnote 89: (return)

Kabisch, Die Eschatologie des Paulus, 1893, has shewn how strongly the eschatology of Paul was influenced by the later Pharisaic Judaism. He has also called attention to the close connection between Paul's doctrine of sin and the fall, and that of the Rabbis.

Footnote 90: (return)

Some of the Church Fathers (see Socr. H. E. III. 16) have attributed to Paul an accurate knowledge of Greek literature and philosophy: but that cannot be proved. The references of Heinrici (2 Kor.-Brief. p. 537-604) are worthy of our best thanks; but no certain judgment can be formed about the measure of the Apostles' Greek culture, so long as we do not know how great was the extent of spiritual ideas which were already precipitated in the speech of the time.

Footnote 91: (return)

The epistle to the Hebrews and the first epistle of Peter, as well as the Pastoral epistles belong to the Pauline circle; they are of the greatest value because they shew that certain fundamental features of Pauline theology took effect afterwards in an original way, or received independent parallels, and because they prove that the cosmic Christology of Paul made the greatest impression and was continued. In Christology, the epistle to the Ephesians in particular, leads directly from Paul to the pneumatic Christology of the post-apostolic period. Its non-genuineness is by no means certain to me.

Footnote 92: (return)

In the Ztschr. für Theol und Kirche, II. p. 189 ff. I have discussed the relation of the prologue of the fourth Gospel to the whole work and endeavoured to prove the following: "The prologue of the Gospel is not the key to its comprehension. It begins with a well-known great object, the Logos, re-adapts and transforms it—implicitly opposing false Christologies—in order to substitute for it Jesus Christ, the μονογενης θεος, or in order to unveil it as this Jesus Christ. The idea of the Logos is allowed to fall from the moment that this takes place." The author continues to narrate of Jesus only with the view of establishing the belief that he is the Messiah, the son of God. This faith has for its main article the recognition that Jesus is descended from God and from heaven; but the author is far from endeavouring to work out this recognition from cosmological, philosophical considerations. According to the Evangelist, Jesus proves himself to be the Messiah, the Son of God, in virtue of his self-testimony, and because he has brought a full knowledge of God and of life—purely supernatural divine blessings (Cf. besides, and partly in opposition, Holtzmann, i.d. Ztschr. f. wissensch. Theol. 1893). The author's peculiar world of theological ideas, is not, however, so entirely isolated in the early Christian literature as appears on the first impression. If, as is probable, the Ignatian Epistles are independent of the Gospel of John, further, the Supper prayer in the Didache, finally, certain mystic theological phrases in the Epistle of Barnabas, in the second epistle of Clement, and in Hermas, a complex of Theologoumena may be put together, which reaches back to the primitive period of the Church, and may be conceived as the general ground for the theology of John. This complex has on its side a close connection with the final development of the Jewish Hagiographic literature under Greek influence.

Footnote 93: (return)

The Jewish religion, especially since the (relative) close of the canon, had become more and more a religion of the Book.

Footnote 94: (return)

Examples of both in the New Testament are numerous. See, above all, Matt. I. 11. Even the belief that Jesus was born of a Virgin sprang from Isaiah VII. 14. It cannot, however, be proved to be in the writings of Paul (the two genealogies in Matt. and Luke directly exclude it: according to Dillmann, Jahrb. f. protest. Theol. p. 192 ff. Luke I. 34, 35 would be the addition of a redactor); but it must have arisen very early, as the Gentile Christians of the second century would seem to have unanimously confessed it (see the Romish Symbol, Ignatius, Aristides, Justin, etc.) For the rest, it was long before theologians recognised in the Virgin birth of Jesus more than fulfilment of a prophecy, viz., a fact of salvation. The conjecture of Usener, that the idea of the birth from a Virgin is a heathen myth which was received by the Christians, contradicts the entire earliest development of Christian tradition which is free from heathen myths, so far as these had not already been received by wide circles of Jews, (above all, certain Babylonian and Persian Myths), which in the case of that idea is not demonstrable. Besides, it is in point of method not permissible to stray so far when we have near at hand such a complete explanation as Isaiah VII. 14. Those who suppose that the reality of the Virgin birth must be held fast, must assume that a misunderstood prophecy has been here fulfilled (on the true meaning of the passage see Dillmann (Jesajas, 5 Aufl. p. 69): "of the birth by a Virgin (i.e., of one who at the birth was still a Virgin.) the Hebrew text says nothing ... Immanuel as beginning and representative of the new generation, from which one should finally take possession of the king's throne"). The application of an unhistorical local method in the exposition of the Old Testament—Haggada and Rabbinic allegorism—may be found in many passages of Paul (see, e.g., Gal. III. 16, 19; IV. 22-31; 1 Cor. IX. 9; X. 4; XI. 10; Rom. IV. etc.).

Footnote 95: (return)

The proof of this may be found in the quotations in early Christian writings from the Apocalypses of Enoch, Ezra, Eldad and Modad, the assumption of Moses and other Jewish Apocalypses unknown to us. They were regarded as Divine revelations beside the Old Testament; see the proofs of their frequent and long continued use in Schürer's "History of the Jewish people in the time of our Lord." But the Christians in receiving these Jewish Apocalypses did not leave them intact, but adapted them with greater or less Christian additions (see Ezra, Enoch, Ascension of Isaiah). Even the Apocalypse of John is, as Vischer (Texte u. Unters. 3 altchristl. lit. Gesch. Bd. II. H. 4) has shown, a Jewish Apocalypse adapted to a Christian meaning. But in this activity, and in the production of little Apocalyptic prophetic sayings and articles (see in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and in those of Barnabas and Clement) the Christian labour here in the earliest period seems to have exhausted itself. At least we do not know with certainty of any great Apocalyptic writing of an original kind proceeding from Christian circles. Even the Apocalypse of Peter which, thanks to the discovery of Bouriant, we now know better, is not a completely original work as contrasted with the Jewish Apocalypses.

Footnote 96: (return)

The Gospel reliance on the Lamb who was slain, very significantly pervades the Revelation of John, that is, its Christian parts. Even the Apocalypse of Peter shews Jesus Christ as the comfort of believers and as the Revealer of the future. In it (v. 3,) Christ says; "Then will God come to those who believe on me, those who hunger and thirst and mourn, etc."

Footnote 97: (return)

These words were written before the Apocalypse of Peter was discovered. That Apocalypse confirms what is said in the text. Moreover, its delineation of Paradise and blessedness are not wanting in poetic charm and power. In its delineation of Hell, which prepares the way for Dante's Hell, the author is scared by no terror.

Footnote 98: (return)

These ideas, however, encircled the earliest Christendom as with a wall of fire, and preserved it from a too early contact with the world.

Footnote 99: (return)

An accurate examination of the eschatological sayings of Jesus in the synoptists shews that much foreign matter is mixed with them (see Weiffenbach, Der Wiederkunftsgedanke Jesu, 1875). That the tradition here was very uncertain because influenced by the Jewish Apocalyptic, is shewn by the one fact that Papias (in Iren. V. 33) quotes as words of the Lord which had been handed down by the disciples, a group of sayings which we find in the Apocalypse of Baruch, about the amazing fruitfulness of the earth during the time of the Messianic Kingdom.

Footnote 100: (return)

We may here call attention to an interesting remark of Goethe. Among his Apophthegms (no. 537) is the following: "Apocrypha: It would be important to collect what is historically known about these books, and to shew that these very Apocryphal writings with which the communities of the first centuries of our era were flooded, were the real cause why Christianity at no moment of political or Church history could stand forth in all her beauty and purity." A historian would not express himself in this way, but yet there lies at the root of this remark a true historical insight.

Footnote 101: (return)

See Schürer, History of the Jewish people. Div. II. vol. II. p. 160 f., yet the remarks of the Jew Trypho in the dialogue of Justin shew that the notions of a pre-existent Messiah were by no means very widely spread in Judaism. (See also Orig. c. Cels. I. 49: "A Jew would not at all admit that any Prophet had said, the Son of God will come: they avoided this designation and used instead the saying: the anointed of God will come"). The Apocalyptists and Rabbis attributed pre-existence, that is, a heavenly origin to many sacred things and persons, such as the Patriarchs, Moses, the Tabernacle, the Temple vessels, the city of Jerusalem. That the true Temple and the real Jerusalem were with God in heaven and would come down from heaven at the appointed time, must have been a very wide-spread idea, especially at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and even earlier than that (see Gal. IV. 26; Rev. XXI. 2; Heb. XII. 22). In the Assumption of Moses (c. 1) Moses says of himself: Dominus invenit me, qui ab initio orbis terrarum præparatus sum, ut sim arbiter (μεσιτης) testamenti illius (της διαθηκης αυτου). In the Midrasch Bereschith rabba VIII. 2. we read, "R. Simeon ben Lakisch says, 'The law was in existence 2000 years before the creation of the world.'" In the Jewish treatise Προσευχη Ιωσηφ, which Origen has several times quoted, Jacob says of himself (ap. Orig. tom. II. in Joann. C. 25. Opp. IV. 84): "'ο γαρ λαλων προς 'υμας, εγω Ιακωβ και Ισρηλ, αγγελος θεου ειμι εγω και πνευμα αρχικον και Αβρααμ και Ισαακ προεκτισθησαν προ παντος εργου, εγω δε Ιακοβ ... εγω πρωτογονος παντος ζωος ζωουμενου 'υπο θεου." These examples could easily be increased. The Jewish speculations about Angels and Mediators, which at the time of Christ grew very luxuriantly among the Scribes and Apocalyptists, and endangered the purity and vitality of the Old Testament idea of God, were also very important for the development of Christian dogmatics. But neither these speculations, nor the notions of heavenly Archetypes, nor of pre-existence, are to be referred to Hellenic influence. This may have co-operated here and there, but the rise of these speculations in Judaism is not to be explained by it; they rather exhibit the Oriental stamp. But, of course, the stage in the development of the nations had now been reached, in which the creations of Oriental fancy and Mythology could be fused with the ideal conceptions of Hellenic philosophy.

Footnote 102: (return)

The conception of heavenly ideals of precious earthly things followed from the first naive method of speculation we have mentioned, that of a pre-existence of persons from the last. If the world was created for the sake of the people of Israel, and the Apocalyptists expressly taught that, then it follows, that in the thought of God Israel was older than the world. The idea of a kind of pre-existence of the people of Israel follows from this. We can still see this process of thought very plainly in the shepherd of Hermas, who expressly declares that the world was created for the sake of the Church. In consequence of this he maintains that the Church was very old, and was created before the foundation of the world. See Vis. I. 2. 4; II. 4. 1 διατι ουν πρεσβυτερα (scil.) 'η εκκλησια: 'Οτι, φησιν, παντων πρωτε εκτισθη δια τουτο πρεσβυτερα, και δια ταυτην 'ο κοσμος κατηρτισθη. But in order to estimate aright the bearing of these speculations, we must observe that, according to them, the precious things and persons, so far as they are now really manifested, were never conceived as endowed with a double nature. No hint is given of such an assumption; the sensible appearance was rather conceived as a mere wrapping which was necessary only to its becoming visible, or, conversely, the pre-existence or the archetype was no longer thought of in presence of the historical appearance of the object. That pneumatic form of existence was not set forth in accordance with the analogy of existence verified by sense, but was left in suspense. The idea of "existence" here could run through all the stages which, according to the Mythology and Meta-physic of the time, lay between what we now call "valid," and the most concrete being. He who nowadays undertakes to justify the notion of pre-existence, will find himself in a very different situation from these earlier times, as he will no longer be able to count on shifting conceptions of existence. See Appendix I. at the end of this Vol. for a fuller discussion of the idea of pre-existence.

Footnote 103: (return)

It must be observed here that Palestinian Judaism, without any apparent influence from Alexandria, though not independently of the Greek spirit, had already created a multitude of intermediate beings between God and the world, avowing thereby that the idea of God had become stiff and rigid. "Its original aim was simply to help the God of Judaism in his need." Among these intermediate beings should be specially mentioned the Memra of God (see also the Shechina and the Metatron).

Footnote 104: (return)

See Justin Dial. 48. fin: Justin certainly is not favourably disposed towards those who regard Christ as a "man among men," but he knows that there are such people.

Footnote 105: (return)

The miraculous genesis of Christ in the Virgin by the Holy Spirit and the real pre-existence are of course mutually exclusive. At a later period, it is true, it became necessary to unite them in thought.

Footnote 106: (return)

There is the less need for treating this more fully here, as no New Testament Christology has become the direct starting-point of later doctrinal developments. The Gentile Christians had transmitted to them, as a unanimous doctrine, the message that Christ is the Lord who is to be worshipped, and that one must think of him as the Judge of the living and the dead, that is, 'ως περι θεου. But it certainly could not fail to be of importance for the result that already many of the earliest Christian writers, and therefore even Paul, perceived in Jesus a spiritual being come down from heaven ( πνευμα) who was εν μορφη θεου, and whose real act of love consisted in his very descent.

Footnote 107: (return)

The creation of the New Testament canon first paved the way for putting an end, though only in part, to the production of Evangelic "facts" within the Church. For Hermas (Sim. IX. 16) can relate that the Apostles also descended to the under world and there preached. Others report the same of John the Baptist. Origen in his homily on 1 Kings XXVII. says that Moses, Samuel and all the Prophets descended to Hades and there preached. A series of facts of Evangelic history which have no parallel in the accounts of our Synoptists, and are certainly legendary, may be put together from the epistle of Barnabas, Justin, the second epistle of Clement, Papias, the Gospel to the Hebrews, and the Gospel to the Egyptians. But the synoptic reports themselves, especially in the articles for which we have only a solitary witness, shew an extensive legendary material, and even in the Gospel of John, the free production of facts cannot be mistaken. Of what a curious nature some of these were, and that they are by no means to be entirely explained from the Old Testament, as for example, Justin's account of the ass on which Christ rode into Jerusalem, having been bound to a vine, is shewn by the very old fragment in one source of the Apostolic constitutions (Texte u. Unters II. 5. p. 28 ff.); 'οτε ητψεν 'ο διδασκαλος τον αρτον και το ποτηριον και ηυλογησεν αυτα λεγων τουτο εστι το σωμα μου και το 'αιμα, ουκ επετρεψε ταυταις (the women) συστηναι 'ημιν ... Μαρθα ειπεν δια Μαριαμ, 'οτι ειδεν αυτην μειδιωσαν. Μαρια ειπεν ουκετι εγελασα. Narratives such as those of Christ's descent to Hell and ascent to heaven, which arose comparatively late, though still at the close of the first century (see Book I. Chap 3) sprang out of short formulæ containing an antithesis (death and resurrection, first advent in lowliness, second advent in glory: descensus de cœlo, ascensus in cœlum; ascensus in cœlum, descensus ad inferna) which appeared to be required by Old Testament predictions, and were commended by their naturalness. Just as it is still, in the same way naively inferred: if Christ rose bodily he must also have ascended bodily (visibly?) into heaven.

Footnote 108: (return)

The Sibylline Oracles, composed by Jews, from 160 B.C. to 189 A.D. are specially instructive here: See the Editions of Friedlieb. 1852; Alexandre, 1869; Rzach, 1891. Delaunay, Moines et Sibylles dans l'antiquité judéo-grecque, 1874. Schürer in the work mentioned above. The writings of Josephus also yield rich booty, especially his apology for Judaism in the two books against Apion. But it must be noted that there were Jews, enlightened by Hellenism, who were still very zealous in their observance of the law. "Philo urges most earnestly to the observance of the law in opposition to that party which drew the extreme inferences of the allegoristic method, and put aside the outer legality as something not essential for the spiritual life. Philo thinks that by an exact observance of these ceremonies on their material side, one will also come to know better their symbolical meaning" (Siegfried, Philo, p. 157).

Footnote 109: (return)

Direct evidence is certainly almost entirely wanting here, but the indirect speaks all the more emphatically: see § 3, Supplements 1, 2.

Footnote 110: (return)

The Jewish propaganda, though by no means effaced, gave way very distinctly to the Christian from the middle of the second century. But from this time we find few more traces of an enlightened Hellenistic Judaism. Moreover, the Messianic expectation also seems to have somewhat given way to occupation with the law. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as other Jewish terms certainly played a great rôle in Gentile and Gnostic magical formulæ of the third century, as may be seen, e.g., from many passages in Origen c. Celsum.

Footnote 111: (return)

The prerogative of Israel was for all that clung to; Israel remains the chosen people.

Footnote 112: (return)

The brilliant investigations of Bernays, however, have shewn how many-sided that philosophy of religion was. The proofs of asceticism in this Hellenistic Judaism are especially of great interest for the history of dogma (See Theophrastus' treatise on piety). In the eighth Epistle of Heraclitus, composed by a Hellenistic Jew in the first century, it is said (Bernays, p. 182). "So long a time before, O Hermodorus, saw thee that Sibyl, and even then thou wert" ειδε σε προ ποσουτου αιωνος, Ερμοδωρε 'η Σιβυλλα εκεινη, και τοτε ησθα. Even here then the notion is expressed that foreknowledge and predestination invest the known and the determined with a kind of existence. Of great importance is the fact that even before Philo, the idea of the wisdom of God creating the world and passing over to men had been hypostatised in Alexandrian Judaism (see Sirach, Baruch, the wisdom of Solomon, Enoch, nay, even the book of Proverbs). But so long as the deutero-canonical Old Testament, and also the Alexandrine and Apocalyptic literature continue in the sad condition in which they are at present, we can form no certain judgment and draw no decided conclusions on the subject. When will the scholar appear who will at length throw light on these writings, and therewith on the section of inner Jewish history most interesting to the Christian theologian? As yet we have only a most thankworthy preliminary study in Schürer's great work, and beside it particular or dilettante attempts which hardly shew what the problem really is, far less solve it. What disclosures even the fourth book of the Maccabees alone yields for the connection of the Old Testament with Hellenism!

Footnote 113: (return)

"So far as the sensible world is a work of the Logos, it is called νεωτερος 'υιος (quod deus immut. 6. I.277), or according to Prov. VIII. 22, an offspring of God and wisdom: 'η δε παραδεξαμηνε το του θεου σπερμα τελεσφοροις ωδισι τον μονον και αγαπητον αισθητον 'υιον απεκυησε τον δε τον κοσμον (de ebriet 8 I. 361 f). So far as the Logos is High Priest his relation to the world is symbolically expressed by the garment of the High Priest, to which exegesis the play on the word κοσμος, as meaning both ornament and world, lent its aid." This speculation (see Siegfried. Philo, 235) is of special importance; for it shews how closely the ideas κοσμος and λογος were connected.

Footnote 114: (return)

Of all the Greek Philosophers of the second century, Plutarch of Chäronea, died c. 125 A.D., and Numenius of Apamea, second half of the second century, approach nearest to Philo; but the latter of the two was undoubtedly familiar with Jewish philosophy, specially with Philo, and probably also with Christian writings.

Footnote 115: (return)

As to the way in which Philo (see also 4 Maccab. V. 24) learned to connect the Stoic ethics with the authority of the Torah, as was also done by the Palestinian Midrash, and represented the Torah as the foundation of the world, and therewith as the law of nature: see Siegfried, Philo, p. 156.

Footnote 116: (return)

Philo by his exhortations to seek the blessed life, has by no means broken with the intellectualism of the Greek philosophy, he has only gone beyond it. The way of knowledge and speculation is to him also the way of religion and morality. But his formal principle is supernatural and leads to a supernatural knowledge which finally passes over into sight.

Footnote 117: (return)

But everything was now ready for this synthesis so that it could be, and immediately was, completed by Christian philosophers.

Footnote 118: (return)

We cannot discover Philo's influence in the writings of Paul. But here again we must remember that the scripture learning of Palestinian teachers developed speculations which appear closely related to the Alexandrian, and partly are so, but yet cannot be deduced from them. The element common to them must, for the present at least, be deduced from the harmony of conditions in which the different nations of the East were at that time placed, a harmony which we cannot exactly measure.

Footnote 119: (return)

The conception of God's relation to the world as given in the fourth Gospel is not Philonic. The Logos doctrine there is therefore essentially not that of Philo (against Kuenen and others. See p. 93).

Footnote 120: (return)

Siegfried (Philo. p. 160-197) has presented in detail Philo's allegorical interpretation of scripture, his hermeneutic principles and their application. Without an exact knowledge of these principles we cannot understand the Scripture expositions of the Fathers, and therefore also cannot do them justice.

Footnote 121: (return)

See Siegfried, Philo. p. 176. Yet, as a rule, the method of isolating and adapting passages of scripture, and the method of unlimited combination were sufficient.

Footnote 122: (return)

Numerous examples of this may be found in the epistle of Barnabas (see c. 4-9), and in the dialogue of Justin with Trypho (here they are objects of controversy, see cc. 71-73, 120), but also in many other Christian writings, (e.g., Clem. ad. Cor. VIII. 3; XVII. 6; XXIII. 3, 4; XXVI. 5; XLVI. 2; 2 Clem. XIII. 2). These Christian additions were long retained in the Latin Bible, (see also Lactantius and other Latins: Pseudo-Cyprian de aleat. 2 etc.), the most celebrated of them is the addition "a ligno" to "dominus regnavit" in Psalm XCVI., see Credner, Beiträge II. The treatment of the Old Testament in the epistle of Barnabas is specially instructive, and exhibits the greatest formal agreement with that of Philo. We may close here with the words in which Siegfried sums up his judgment on Philo. "No Jewish writer has contributed so much as Philo to the breaking up of particularism, and the dissolution of Judaism. The history of his people, though he believed in it literally, was in its main points a didactic allegoric poem for enabling him to inculcate the doctrine that man attains the vision of God by mortification of the flesh. The law was regarded by him as the best guide to this, but it had lost its exclusive value, as it was admitted to be possible to reach the goal without it, and it had, besides, its aim outside itself. The God of Philo was no longer the old living God of Israel, but an imaginary being who, to obtain power over the world, needed a Logos by whom the palladium of Israel, the unity of God, was taken a prey. So Israel lost everything which had hitherto characterised her."

Footnote 123: (return)

Proofs in Friedländer, Sittengeschichte, vol. 3.

Footnote 124: (return)

See the chapter on belief in immortality in Friedländer. Sittengesch. Roms. Bde. 3. Among the numerous mysteries known to us, that of Mythras deserves special consideration. From the middle of the second century the Church Fathers saw in it, above all, the caricature of the Church. The worship of Mithras had its redeemer, its mediator, hierarchy, sacrifice, baptism and sacred meal. The ideas of expiation, immortality, and the Redeemer God, were very vividly present in this cult, which of course, in later times, borrowed much from Christianity: see the accounts of Marquardt, Réville, and the Essay of Sayous, Le Taurobole in the Rev. de l'Hist. des Religions, 1887, where the earliest literature is also utilised. The worship of Mithras in the third century became the most powerful rival of Christianity. In connection with this should be specially noted the cult of Æsculapius, the God who helps the body and the soul; see my essay "Medicinisches aus der ältesten Kirchengeschichte," 1892. p. 93 ff.

Footnote 125: (return)

Hence the wide prevalence of the cult of Æsculapius.

Footnote 126: (return)

Dominus in certain circumstances means more than deus; see Tertull. Apol. It signifies more than Soter: see Irenæus I. 1. 3: τον σωτηρα λεγουσιν, ουδε γαρ κυριον ονομαζειν αυτον θελουσιν—κυριος and δεσποτης are almost synonymous. See Philo. Quis. rer. div. heres. 6: συνωνυμα ταυτα ειναι λεγεται.

Footnote 127: (return)

We must give special attention here to the variability and elasticity of the concept θεος, and indeed among the cultured as well as the uncultured (Orig. prolegg. in Psalm, in Pitra, Anal. T. II. p. 437, according to a Stoic source; κατ' αλλον δε τροπον λεγεσθαι θεον ζωιον αθανατον λογικον οπουδαιον, 'ωστε πασαν αστειαν ψυχην θεον 'υπαρχειν, καν περιεχηται, αλλως δε λεγεσθαι θεον το καθ' αυτο ον ζωιον αθανατον 'ως τα εν ανθρωποις περιεχομενας ψυχας μη 'υπαρχειν θεους). They still regarded the Gods as passionless, blessed men living for ever. The idea therefore of a θεοποιησις, and on the other hand, the idea of the appearance of the Gods in human form presented no difficulty (see Acts XIV. 11; XXVIII. 6). But philosophic speculation—the Platonic, as well as in yet greater measure the Stoic, and in the greatest measure of all the Cynic—had led to the recognition of something divine in man's spirit (πνευμα, νους). Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations frequently speaks of the God who dwells in us. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. VI. 14. 113) says: 'ουτως δυναμιν λαβουσα κυριακην 'η ψυχη μελεται ειναι θεος, κακον μεν ουδεν αλλο πλην αγνοιας ειναι νομιζουσα. In Bernays' Heraclitian Epistles, pp. 37 f. 135 f., will be found a valuable exposition of the Stoic (Heraclitian) thesis and its history, that men are Gods. See Norden, Beiträge zur Gesch. d. griech. Philos. Jahrb. f. klass Philol. XIX. Suppl. Bd. p. 373 ff., about the Cynic Philosopher who, contemplating the life and activity of man (κατασκοπος), becomes its επισκοπος, and further κυριος, αγγελος θεου, θεος εν ανθρωποις. The passages which he adduces are of importance for the history of dogma in a twofold respect. (1) They present remarkable parallels to Christology (one even finds the designations, κυριος, αγγελος, κατασκοπος, επισκοπος, θεος associated with the philosophers as with Christ, e.g., in Justin; nay, the Cynics and Neoplatonics speak of επισκοποι δαιμονες); cf. also the remarkable narrative in Laertius VI. 102, concerning the Cynic Menedemus; 'ουτος, καθα φησιν 'Ιπποβοτος, εις τοσος τον τερατειας ηλασεν, 'ωστε Ερινυος αναλαβον σχημα περιειει, λεγων επισκοπος αφιχθαι εξ 'Αιδου των 'αμαρτομενον, 'οπως παλιν κατιων ταστα απαγγελλοι τοις εκει, δαιμοσιν. (2) They also explain how the ecclesiastical επισκοποι came to be so highly prized, inasmuch as these also were from a very early period regarded as mediators between God and man, and considered as εν ανθρωποις θεοι. There were not a few who in the first and second centuries, appeared with the claim to be regarded as a God or an organ inspired and chosen by God (Simon Magus [cf. the manner of his treatment in Hippol. Philos. VI. 8: see also Clem. Hom. II. 27], Apollonius of Tyana (?), see further Tacitus Hist. II. 51: "Mariccus.... iamque adsertor Galliarum et deus, nomen id sibi indiderat"; here belongs also the gradually developing worship of the Emperor: "dominus ac deus noster." cf. Augustus, Inscription of the year 25; 24 B.C. in Egypt [where the Ptolemies were for long described as Gods] 'Υπερ Καισαρος Αυτοκραττορος θεου (Zeitschrift fur Aegypt. Sprache. XXXI Bd. p. 3). Domitian: θεος Αδριανος, Kaibel Inscr. Gr. 829. 1053. θεος Σεουηρος Ευσεβης. 1061—the Antinouscult with its prophets. See also Josephus on Herod Agrippa. Antiq. XIX 8. 2. (Euseb. H. E. II. 10). The flatterers said to him, θεον προσαγορευοντες; ει και μεχρι νυν 'ως ανθρωπον εφοβηθημεν, αλλα τουντευθεν κρειττονα σε θνητης της φυσεως 'ομολογουμεν. Herod himself, § 7, says to his friends in his sickness: 'ο θεος 'υμιν εγω ηδη καταστρεφειν επιταττομαι τον βιον ... 'ο κληθεις αθανατος 'υφ' 'ημων ηδη θανειν απαγομαι). On the other hand, we must mention the worship of the founder in some philosophic schools, especially among the Epicureans Epictetus says (Moral. 15), Diogenes and Heraclitus and those like them are justly called Gods. Very instructive in this connection are the reproaches of the heathen against the Christians, and of Christian partisans against one another with regard to the almost divine veneration of their teachers. Lucian (Peregr. II) reproaches the Christians in Syria for having regarded Peregrinus as a God and a new Socrates. The heathen in Smyrna, after the burning of Polycarp, feared that the Christians would begin to pay him divine honours (Euseb. H. E. IV. 15 41). Cæcilius in Minucius Felix speaks of divine honours being paid by Christians to priests (Octav. IX. 10). The Antimontanist (Euseb. H. E. V. 18. 6) asserts that the Montanists worship their prophet and Alexander the Confessor as divine. The opponents of the Roman Adoptians (Euseb. H. E. V. 28) reproach them with praying to Galen. There are many passages in which the Gnostics are reproached with paying Divine honours to the heads of their schools, and for many Gnostic schools (the Carpocratians, for example) the reproach seems to have been just. All this is extremely instructive. The genius, the hero, the founder of a new school who promises to shew the certain way to the vita beata, the emperor, the philosopher (numerous Stoic passages might be noted here) finally, man, in so far as he is inhabited by νους—could all somehow be considered as θεοι, so elastic was this concept. All these instances of Apotheosis in no way endangered the Monotheism which had been developed from the mixture of Gods and from philosophy; for the one supreme Godhead can unfold his inexhaustible essence in a variety of existences, which, while his creatures as to their origin, are parts of his essence as to their contents. This Monotheism does not yet exactly disclaim its Polytheistic origin. The Christian, Hermas, says to his Mistress (Vis. I 1. 7) ου παντοτε σε 'ως θεαν 'εγησαμην, and the author of the Epistle of Diognetus writes (X. 6), ταυτα τοις επιδεομενοις χορηγων, (i.e., the rich man) θεος γινεται των λαμβανοντων. That the concept θεος was again used only of one God, was due to the fact that one now started from the definition "qui vitam æternam habet," and again from the definition "qui est super omnia et originem nescit." From the latter followed the absolute unity of God, from the former a plurality of Gods. Both could be so harmonised (see Tertull. adv. Prax. and Novat. de Trinit.) that one could assume that the God, qui est super omnia, might allow his monarchy to be administered by several persons, and might dispense the gift of immortality and with it a relative divinity.

Footnote 128: (return)

See the so-called Neopythagorean philosophers and the so-called forerunners of Neoplatonism (Cf. Bigg, The Platonists of Alexandria, p. 250, as to Numenius). Unfortunately, we have as yet no sufficient investigation of the question what influence, if any, the Jewish Alexandrian Philosophy of religion had on the development of Greek philosophy in the second and third centuries. The answering of the question would be of the greatest importance. But at present it cannot even be said whether the Jewish philosophy of religion had any influence on the genesis of Neoplatonism. On the relation of Neoplatonism to Christianity and their mutual approximation, see the excellent account in Tzschirner, Fall des Heidenthums, pp. 574-618. Cf. also Réville, La Religion à Rome, 1886.

Footnote 129: (return)

The Christians, that is the Christian preachers, were most in agreement with the Cynics (see Lucian's Peregrinus Proteus), both on the negative and on the positive side; but for that very reason they were hard on one another (Justin and Tatian against Crescens)—not only because the Christians gave a different basis for the right mode of life from the Cynics, but above all, because they did not approve of the self-conscious, contemptuous, proud disposition which Cynicism produced in many of its adherents. Morality frequently underwent change for the worse in the hands of Cynics, and became the morality of a "Gentleman," such as we have also experience of in modern Cynicism.

Footnote 130: (return)

The attitude of Celsus, the opponent of the Christians, is specially instructive here.

Footnote 131: (return)

For the knowledge of the spread of the idealistic philosophy the statement of Origen (c. Celsum VI. 2) that Epictetus was admired not only by scholars, but also by ordinary people who felt in themselves the impulse to be raised to something higher, is well worthy of notice.

Footnote 132: (return)

This point was of importance for the propaganda of Christianity among the cultured. There seemed to be given here a reliable, because revealed, Cosmology and history of the world—which already contained the foundation of everything worth knowing. Both were needed and both were here set forth in closest union.

Footnote 133: (return)

The universalism as reached by the Stoics is certainly again threatened by the self-righteous and self-complacent distinction between men of virtue, and men of pleasure, who, properly speaking, are not men. Aristotle had already dealt with the virtuous élite in a notable way. He says (Polit. 3. 13. p. 1284), that men who are distinguished by perfect virtue should not be put on a level with the ordinary mass, and should not be subjected to the constraints of a law adapted to the average man. "There is no law for these elect, who are a law to themselves."

Footnote 134: (return)

Notions of pre-existence were readily suggested by the Platonic philosophy; yet this whole philosophy rests on the fact that one again posits the thing (after stripping it of certain marks as accidental, or worthless, or ostensibly foreign to it) in order to express its value in this form, and hold fast the permanent in the change of the phenomena.

Footnote 135: (return)

See Tzschirn. i.d. Ztschr. f. K.-Gesch. XII. p. 215 ff. "The genesis of the Romish Church in the second century." What he presents is no doubt partly incomplete, partly overdone and not proved: yet much of what he states is useful.

Footnote 136: (return)

What is meant here is the imminent danger of taking the several constituent parts of the canon, even for historical investigation, as constituent parts, that is, of explaining one writing by the standard of another and so creating an artificial unity. The contents of any of Paul's epistles, for example, will be presented very differently if it is considered by itself and in the circumstances in which it was written, or if attention is fixed on it as part of a collection whose unity is presupposed.

Footnote 137: (return)

See Bigg, The Christian Platonist of Alexandria, pp. 53, 283 ff.

Footnote 138: (return)

Reuter (August. Studien, p. 492) has drawn a valuable parallel between Marcion and Augustine with regard to Paul.

Footnote 139: (return)

Marcion of course wished to raise it to the exclusive basis, but he entirely misunderstood it.

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Εαν μυριους παιδαγωγους εχητε εν χριστω αλλ' ου πολλους πατερας.

1 Cor IV. 15.

Eine jede Idee tritt als ein fremder Gast in die Erscheinung, und wie sie sich zu realisiren beginnt, ist sie kaum von Phantasie und Phantasterei zu unterscheiden.

GOETHE, Sprüche in Prosa, 566

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The first century of the existence of Gentile Christian communities is particularly characterised by the following features:

I. The rapid disappearance of Jewish Christianity.140

II. The enthusiastic character of the religious temper; the Charismatic teachers and the appeal to the Spirit.141

III. The strength of the hopes for the future, Chiliasm.142

IV. The rigorous endeavour to fulfil the moral precepts of Christ, and truly represent the holy and heavenly community of God in abstinence from everything unclean, and in love to God and the brethren here on earth "in these last days."143

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V. The want of a fixed doctrinal form in relation to the abstract statement of the faith, and the corresponding variety and freedom of Christian preaching on the basis of clear formulæ and an increasingly rich tradition.

VI. The want of a clearly defined external authority in the communities, sure in its application, and the corresponding independence and freedom of the individual Christian in relation to the expression of the ideas, beliefs and hopes of faith.144

VII. The want of a fixed political union of the several communities with each other—every ecclesia is an image complete in itself, and an embodiment of the whole heavenly Church—while the consciousness of the unity of the holy Church of Christ which has the spirit in its midst, found strong expression.145

VIII. A quite unique literature in which were manufactured facts for the past and for the future, and which did not submit to the usual literary rules and forms, but came forward with the loftiest pretensions.146

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IX. The reproduction of particular sayings and arguments of Apostolic Teachers with an uncertain understanding of them.147

X. The rise of tendencies which endeavoured to hasten in every respect the inevitable process of fusing the Gospel with the spiritual and religious interests of the time, viz., the Hellenic, as well as attempts to separate the Gospel from its origins and provide for it quite foreign presuppositions. To the latter belongs, above all, the Hellenic idea that knowledge is not a charismatic supplement to the faith, or an outgrowth of faith alongside of others, but that it coincides with the essence of faith itself.148

The sources for this period are few, as there was not much written, and the following period did not lay itself out for preserving a great part of the literary monuments of that epoch. Still we do possess a considerable number of writings and important fragments,149 and further important inferences here are rendered possible by the monuments of the following period, since the conditions of the first century were not changed in a moment, but were partly, at least, long preserved, especially in certain national Churches and in remote communities.150

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Supplement.—The main features of the message concerning Christ, of the matter of the Evangelic history, were fixed in the first and second generations of believers, and on Palestinian soil. But yet, up to the middle of the second century, this matter was in many ways increased in Gentile Christian regions, revised from new points of view, handed down in very diverse forms, and systematically allegorised by individual teachers. As a whole, the Evangelic history certainly appears to have been completed at the beginning of the second century. But in detail, much that was new was produced at a later period—and not only in Gnostic circles—and the old tradition was recast or rejected.151

Footnote 140: (return)

This fact must have been apparent as early as the year 100. The first direct evidence of it is in Justin (Apol. I. 53).

Footnote 141: (return)

Every individual was, or at least should have been conscious, as a Christian, of having received the πνευμα θεου, though that does not exclude spiritual grades. A special peculiarity of the enthusiastic nature of the religious temper is that it does not allow reflection as to the authenticity of the faith in which a man lives. As to the Charismatic teaching, see my edition of the Didache (Texte u Unters. II 1. 2 p. 93 ff.).

Footnote 142: (return)

The hope of the approaching end of the world and the glorious kingdom of Christ still determined men's hearts; though exhortations against theoretical and practical scepticism became more and more necessary. On the other hand, after the Epistles to the Thessalonians, there were not wanting exhortations to continue sober and diligent.

Footnote 143: (return)

There was a strong consciousness that the Christian Church is, above all, a union for a holy life, as well as a consciousness of the obligation to help one another, and use all the blessings bestowed by God in the service of our neighbours. Justin (2 Apol. in Euseb. H. E. IV. 17. 10) calls Christianity το διδασκαλιον της θηιας αρητες.

Footnote 144: (return)

The existing authorities (Old Testament, sayings of the Lord, words of Apostles) did not necessarily require to be taken into account; for the living acting Spirit, partly attesting himself also to the senses, gave new revelations. The validity of these authorities therefore held good only in theory, and might in practice be completely set aside (cf. above all, the Shepherd of Hermas).

Footnote 145: (return)

Zahn remarks (Ignatius, v. A. p. VII.): "I do not believe it to be the business of that province of historical investigation which is dependent on the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers as main sources, to explain the origin of the universal Church in any sense of the term; for that Church existed before Clement and Hermas, before Ignatius and Polycarp. But an explanatory answer is needed for the question, by what means did the consciousness of the 'universal Church' so little favoured by outer circumstances, maintain itself unbroken in the post-Apostolic communities?" This way of stating it obscures, at least, the problem which here lies before us, for it does not take account of the changes which the idea "universal Church" underwent up to the middle of the third century—besides, we do not find the title before Ignatius. In so far as the "universal Church" is set forth as an earthly power recognisable in a doctrine or in political forms, the question as to the origin of the idea is not only allowable, but must be regarded as one of the most important. On the earliest conception of the "Ecclesia" and its realisation, see the fine investigations of Sohm "Kirchenrecht," I. p. i ff., which, however, suffer from being a little overdriven.

Footnote 146: (return)

See the important essay of Overbeck: Ueber die Anfänge d. patrist. Litteratur (Hist. Ztschr. N. F. Bd. XII pp. 417-472). Early Christian literature, as a rule, claims to be inspired writing. One can see, for example, in the history of the resurrection in the recently discovered Gospel of Peter (fragment) how facts were remodelled or created.

Footnote 147: (return)

The writings of men of the Apostolic period, and that immediately succeeding, attained in part a wide circulation, and in some portions of them, often of course incorrectly understood, very great influence. How rapidly this literature was diffused, even the letters, may be studied in the history of the Epistles of Paul, the first Epistle of Clement, and other writings.

Footnote 148: (return)

That which is here mentioned is of the greatest importance; it is not a mere reference to the so-called Gnostics. The foundations for the Hellenising of the Gospel in the Church were already laid in the first century (50-150).

Footnote 149: (return)

We should not over-estimate the extent of early Christian literature. It is very probable that we know, so far as the titles of books are concerned, nearly all that was effective, and the greater part, by very diverse means, has also been preserved to us. We except, of course, the so-called Gnostic literature of which we have only a few fragments. Only from the time of Commodus, as Eusebius, H. E. V. 21. 27, has remarked, did the great Church preserve an extensive literature.

Footnote 150: (return)

It is therefore important to note the locality in which a document originates, and the more so the earlier the document is. In the earliest period, in which the history of the Church was more uniform, and the influence from without relatively less, the differences are still in the background. Yet the spirit of Rome already announces itself in the Epistle of Clement, that of Alexandria in the Epistle of Barnabas, that of the East in the Epistles of Ignatius.

Footnote 151: (return)

The history of the genesis of the four Canonical Gospels, or the comparison of them, is instructive on this point. Then we must bear in mind the old Apocryphal Gospels, and the way in which the so-called Apostolic Fathers and Justin attest the Evangelic history, and in part reproduce it independently, the Gospels of Peter, of the Egyptians, and of Marcion; the Diatesseron of Tatian; the Gnostic Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, etc. The greatest gap in our knowledge consists in the fact, that we know so little about the course of things from about the year 61 to the beginning of the reign of Trajan. The consolidating and remodelling process must, for the most part, have taken place in this period. We possess probably not a few writings which belong to that period; but how are we to prove this, how are they to be arranged? Here lies the cause of most of the differences, combinations and uncertainties; many scholars, therefore, actually leave these 40 years out of account, and seek to place everything in the first three decennia of the second century.

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On account of the great differences among those who, in the first century, reckoned themselves in the Church of God, and called themselves by the name of Christ,152 it seems at first sight scarcely possible to set up marks which would hold good for all, or even for nearly all, the groups. Yet the great majority had one thing in common, as is proved, among other things, by the gradual expulsion of Gnosticism. The conviction that they knew the supreme God, the consciousness of being responsible to him (Heaven and Hell), reliance on Jesus Christ, the hope of an eternal life, the vigorous elevation above the world—these are the elements that formed the fundamental mood. The author of the Acts of Thecla expresses the general view when he (c. 5-7) co-ordinates τον του χριστου λογον with λογος θεου περι ενκατειας, και αναστασεως. The following particulars may here be specified.153

I. The Gospel, because it rests on revelation, is the sure manifestation of the supreme God, and its believing acceptance guarantees salvation (σωτερια).

II. The essential content of this manifestation (besides the revelation and the verification of the oneness and spirituality of God),154 is, first of all, the message of the resurrection and [pg 146] eternal life (αναστασις ζωη αιωνιος), then the preaching of moral purity and continence (εγκρατεια), on the basis of repentance toward God (μετανοια), and of an expiation once assured by baptism, with eye ever fixed on the requital of good and evil.155

III. This manifestation is mediated by Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour (σωτηρ) sent by God "in these last days," and who stands with God himself in a union special and unique, (cf. the ambiguous παις θεου, which was much used in the earliest period). He has brought the true and full knowledge of God, as well as the gift of immortality γνωσις και ζωη, or γνωσις της ζωης, as an expression for the sum of the Gospel. See the supper prayer in the Didache, c. IX. an X.; ευχαριστουμεν σοι, πατερ 'ημων 'υπερ της ζωης και γνωσεως 'ης εγνωρισας 'ημιν δια Ιησου του παιδος σου, and is for that very reason the redeemer (σωτηρ and victor over the demons) on whom we are to place believing trust. But he is, further, in word and walk the highest example of all moral virtue, and therefore in his own person the law for the perfect life, and at the same time the God-appointed lawgiver and judge.156

IV. Virtue as continence, embraces as its highest task, renunciation of temporal goods and separation from the common world; for the Christian is not a citizen, but a stranger on the earth, and expects its approaching destruction.157

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V. Christ has committed to chosen men, the Apostles (or to one Apostle), the proclamation of the message he received from God; consequently, their preaching represents that of Christ himself. But, besides, the Spirit of God rules in Christians, "the Saints." He bestows upon them special gifts, and, above all, continually raises up among them Prophets and spiritual Teachers who receive revelations and communications for the edification of others, and whose injunctions are to be obeyed.

VI. Christian Worship is a service of God in spirit and in truth (a spiritual sacrifice), and therefore has no legal ceremonial and statutory rules. The value of the sacred acts and consecrations which are connected with the cultus, consists in the communication of spiritual blessings. (Didache X., 'ημιν δε εχαρισω, δεσποτα, πνευματικην τροφην και ποτον και ζωην αιωνιον δια του παιδος σου).

VII. Everything that Jesus Christ brought with him, may be summed up in γνωσις και ζωη, or in the knowledge of immortal life.158 To possess the perfect knowledge was, in wide circles, an expression for the sum total of the Gospel.159

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VIII. Christians, as such, no longer take into account the distinctions of race, age, rank, nationality and worldly culture, but the Christian community must be conceived as a communion resting on a divine election. Opinions were divided about the ground of that election.

IX. As Christianity is the only true religion, and as it is no national religion, but somehow concerns the whole of humanity, or its best part, it follows that it can have nothing in common with the Jewish nation and its contemporary cultus. The Jewish nation in which Jesus Christ appeared, has, for the time at least, no special relation to the God whom Jesus revealed. Whether it had such a relation at an earlier period is doubtful (cf. here, e.g., the attitude of Marcion, Ptolemæus the disciple of Valentinus, the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, Aristides and Justin); but certain it is that God has now cast it off, and that all revelations of God, so far as they took place at all before Christ, (the majority assumed that there had been such revelations and considered the Old Testament as a holy record), must have aimed solely at the call of the "new people", and in some way prepared for the revelation of God through his Son.160

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Footnote 152: (return)

See, as to this, Celsus in Orig. III. 10 ff. and V. 59 ff.

Footnote 153: (return)

The marks adduced in the text do not certainly hold good for some comparatively unimportant Gnostic groups, but they do apply to the great majority of them, and in the main to Marcion also.

Footnote 154: (return)

Most of the Gnostic schools know only one God, and put all emphasis on the knowledge of the oneness, supramundaneness, and spirituality of this God. The Æons, the Demiurgus, the God of matter, do not come near this God though they are called Gods. See the testimony of Hippolytus c. Noet. 11; και γαρ παντες απεκλεισθησαν εις τουτο ακοντες ειπειν 'οτι το παν εις 'ενα ανατρεχει ει ουν τα παντα εις 'ενα ανατρεχει και κατα θυαλεντινον και κατα Μαρκιωνα, Κηρινθον τε και πασαν την εκεινων φλυαριαν, και ακοντες εις τουτο περιεπεσαν, 'ινα τον 'ενα 'ομολογησωσιν αιτιον των παντων 'ουτως ουν συντρεχουσιν και αυτοι μη θελοντες τη αληθεια 'ενα θεον λεγειν ποιησαντα 'ως ηθελησεν.

Footnote 155: (return)

Continence was regarded as the condition laid down by God for the resurrection and eternal life. The sure hope of this was for many, if not for the majority, the whole sum of religion, in connection with the idea of the requital of good and evil which was now firmly established. See the testimony of the heathen Lucian, in Peregrinus Proteus.

Footnote 156: (return)

Even where the judicial attributes were separated from God (Christ) as not suitable, Christ was still comprehended as the critical appearance by which every man is placed in the condition which belongs to him. The Apocalypse of Peter expects that God himself will come as Judge (see the Messianic expectations of Judaism, in which it was always uncertain whether God or the Messiah would hold the judgment).

Footnote 157: (return)

Celsus (Orig. c. Celsum, V. 59) after referring to the many Christian parties mutually provoking and fighting with each other, remarks (V. 64) that though they differ much from each other, and quarrel with each other, you can yet hear from them all the protestation, "The world is crucified to me and I to the world." In the earliest Gentile Christian communities brotherly love for reflective thought falls into the background behind ascetic exercises of virtue, in unquestionable deviation from the sayings of Christ, but in fact it was powerful. See the testimony of Pliny and Lucian, Aristides, Apol. 15, Tertull Apol. 39.

Footnote 158: (return)

The word "life" comes into consideration in a double sense, viz., as soundness of the soul, and as immortality. Neither, of course, is to be separated from the other. But I have attempted to shew in my essay, "Medicinisches aus der ältesten Kirchengesch" (1892), the extent to which the Gospel in the earliest Christendom was preached as medicine and Jesus as a Physician, and how the Christian Message was really comprehended by the Gentiles as a medicinal religion. Even the Stoic philosophy gave itself out as a soul therapeutic, and Æsculapius was worshipped as a Saviour-God; but Christianity alone was a religion of healing.

Footnote 159: (return)

Heinrici, in his commentary on the epistles to the Corinthians, has dealt very clearly with this matter; see especially (Bd. II. p. 557 ff.) the description of the Christianity of the Corinthians: On what did the community base its Christian character? It believed in one God who had revealed himself to it through Christ, without denying the reality of the hosts of gods in the heathen world (1 VIII. 6). It hoped in immortality without being clear as to the nature of the Christian belief in the resurrection (1 XV.) It had no doubt as to the requital of good and evil (1 IV. 5; 2 V. 10; XI. 15: Rom. II. 4), without understanding the value of self-denial, claiming no merit, for the sake of important ends. It was striving to make use of the Gospel as a new doctrine of wisdom about earthly and super-earthly things, which led to the perfect and best established knowledge (1 I. 21: VIII. 1). It boasted of special operations of the Divine Spirit, which in themselves remained obscure and non-transparent, and therefore unfruitful (1 XIV.), while it was prompt to put aside as obscure, the word of the Cross as preached by Paul (2. IV. 1 f). The hope of the near Parousia, however, and the completion of all things, evinced no power to effect a moral transformation of society We herewith obtain the outline of a conviction that was spread over the widest circles of the Roman Empire "Naturam si expellas furca, tamen usque recurret."

Footnote 160: (return)

Nearly all Gentile Christian groups that we know, are at one in the detachment of Christianity from empiric Judaism; the "Gnostics," however, included the Old Testament in Judaism, while the greater part of Christians did not. That detachment seemed to be demanded by the claims of Christianity to be the one, true, absolute and therefore oldest religion, foreseen from the beginning. The different estimates of the Old Testament in Gnostic circles have their exact parallels in the different estimates of Judaism among the other Christians; cf. for example, in this respect, the conception stated in the Epistle of Barnabas with the views of Marcion, and Justin with Valentinus. The particulars about the detachment of the Gentile Christians from the Synagogue, which was prepared for by the inner development of Judaism itself, and was required by the fundamental fact that the Messiah, crucified and rejected by his own people, was recognised as Saviour by those who were not Jews, cannot be given in the frame-work of a history of dogma; though, see Chaps. III. IV. VI. On the other hand, the turning away from Judaism is also the result of the mass of things which were held in common with it, even in Gnostic circles. Christianity made its appearance in the Empire in the Jewish propaganda. By the preaching of Jesus Christ who brought the gift of eternal life, mediated the full knowledge of God, and assembled round him in these last days a community, the imperfect and hybrid creations of the Jewish propaganda in the empire were converted into independent formations. These formations were far superior to the synagogue in power of attraction, and from the nature of the case would very soon be directed with the utmost vigour against the synagogue.

[pg 150]



§ 1. The Communities and the Church.

The confessors of the Gospels, belonging to organised communities who recognised the Old Testament as the Divine record of revelation, and prized the Evangelic tradition as a public message for all, to which, in its undiluted form, they [pg 151] wished to adhere truly and sincerely, formed the stem of Christendom both as to extent and importance.163 The communities stood to each other in an outwardly loose, but inwardly firm connection, and every community by the vigour of its faith, the certainty of its hope, the holy character of its life, as well as by unfeigned love, unity and peace, was to be an image of the holy Church of God which is in heaven, and whose members are scattered over the earth. They were further, by the purity of their walk and an active brotherly disposition, to prove to those without, that is to the world, the excellence and truth of the Christian faith.164 The hope [pg 152] that the Lord would speedily appear to gather into his Kingdom the believers who were scattered abroad, punishing the evil and rewarding the good, guided these communities in faith and life. In the recently discovered "Teaching of the Apostles" we are confronted very distinctly with ideas and aspirations of communities that are not influenced by Philosophy.

The Church, that is the totality of all believers destined to be received into the kingdom of God (Didache, 9. 10), is the holy Church, (Hermas) because it is brought together and preserved by the Holy Spirit. It is the one Church, not because it presents this unity outwardly, on earth the members of the Church are rather scattered abroad, but because it will be brought to unity in the kingdom of Christ, because it is ruled by the same spirit and inwardly united in a common relation to a common hope and ideal. The Church, considered in its origin, is the number of those chosen by God,165 the true Israel,166 nay, still more, the final purpose of God, for the world was created for its sake.167 There were in connection with these doctrines in the earliest period, various speculations about the Church: it is a heavenly Æon, is older than the world, was created by God at the beginning of things as a companion of the heavenly Christ;168 its members form the new nation [pg 153] which is really the oldest nation,169 it is the λαος 'ο του αγαπημενου 'ο φιλουμενος και φιλον αυτον,170 the people whom God has prepared "in the Beloved,"171 etc. The creation of God, the Church, as it is of an antemundane and heavenly nature, will also attain its true existence only in the Æon of the future, the Æon of the kingdom of Christ. The idea of a heavenly origin, and of a heavenly goal of the Church, was therefore an essential one, various and fluctuating as these speculations were. Accordingly, the exhortations, so far as they have in view the Church, are always dominated by the idea of the contrast of the kingdom of Christ with the kingdom of the world. On the other hand, he who communicated knowledge for the present time, prescribed rules of life, endeavoured to remove conflicts, did not appeal to the peculiar character of the Church. The mere fact, however, that from nearly the beginning of Christendom, there were reflections and speculations not only about God and Christ, but also about the Church, teaches us how profoundly the Christian consciousness was impressed with being a new people, viz., the people of God.172 These speculations of the earliest Gentile Christian time about Christ and the Church, as inseparable correlative ideas, are of the greatest importance, for they have absolutely nothing Hellenic in them, but rather have their origin in the Apostolic tradition. But for that very reason the combination very soon, comparatively speaking, became obsolete or lost its power to influence. Even the Apologists made no use of it, though Clement of Alexandria and other Greeks held it fast, and the Gnostics by their Æon "Church" brought it into discredit. Augustine was the first to return to it.

The importance attached to morality is shewn in Didache [pg 154] cc. 1-6, with parallels173. But this section and the statements so closely related to it in the pseudo phocylidean poem, which is probably of Christian origin, as well as in Sibyl, II. v. 56, 148, which is likewise to be regarded as Christian, and in many other Gnomic paragraphs, shews at the same time, that in the memorable expression and summary statement of higher moral commandments, the Christian propaganda had been preceded by the Judaism of the Diaspora, and had entered into its labours. These statements are throughout dependent on the Old Testament wisdom, and have the closest relationship with the genuine Greek parts of the Alexandrian Canon, as well as with Philonic exhortations. Consequently, these moral rules, the two ways, so aptly compiled and filled with such an elevated spirit, represent the ripest fruit of Jewish as well as of Greek development. The Christian spirit found here a disposition which it could recognise as its own. It was of the utmost importance, however, that this disposition was already expressed in fixed forms suitable for didactic purposes. The young Christianity therewith received a gift of first importance. It was spared a labour in a legion, the moral, which experience shews, can only be performed in generations, viz, the creation of simple fixed impressive rules, the labour of the Catechist. The sayings of the Sermon on the Mount were not of themselves sufficient here. Those who in the second century attempted to rest in these alone and turned aside from the Judaeo-Greek inheritance, landed in Marcionite or Encratite doctrines.174 We can see, especially [pg 155] from the Apologies of Aristides (c. 15), Justin and Tatian (see also Lucian), that the earnest men of the Græco-Roman world were won by the morality and active love of the Christians.

§ 2 The Foundations of the Faith.

The foundations of the faith—whose abridged form was, on the one hand, the confession of the one true God, μονος αλεθινος θεος,175 and of Jesus, the Lord, the Son of God, the Saviour176 and also of the Holy Spirit, and on the other hand, the confident hope of Christ's kingdom and the resurrection—were laid on the Old Testament interpreted in a Christian sense together with the Apocalypses,177 and the progressively enriched traditions about Jesus Christ ('ε παροδοσις—'ο παραδοθεις λογος—'ο κανων της αληθειας or της παραδοσεως—'η πιστις—'ο κανων της πιστεως—'ο δοθεισα πιστις—το κηρυγμα—τα διδαγματα του χριστου—'η διδαχη—τα μαθηματα, [pg 156] or το μαθημα).178 The Old Testament revelations and oracles were regarded as pointing to Christ; the Old Testament itself, the words of God spoken by the Prophets, as the primitive Gospel of salvation, having in view the new people, which is, however, the oldest, and belonging to it alone.179 The exposition of the Old Testament, which, as a rule, was of course read in the Alexandrian Canon of the Bible, turned it into a Christian book. A historical view of it, which no born Jew could in some measure fail to take, did not come into fashion, and the freedom that was used in interpreting the Old Testament,—so far as there was a method, it was the Alexandrian Jewish—went the length of even correcting the letter and enriching the contents.180

The traditions concerning Christ on which the communities were based, were of a twofold character. First, there were words of the Lord, mostly ethical, but also of eschatological content, which were regarded as rules, though their expression was uncertain, ever changing, and only gradually assuming a fixed form. The διδαγματα του χριστου are often just the moral commandments.181 Second, the foundation of the faith, that is, the assurance of the blessing of salvation, was formed by a proclamation of the history of Jesus concisely expressed, and [pg 157] composed with reference to prophecy.182 The confession of God the Father Almighty, of Christ as the Lord and Son of God, and of the Holy Spirit,183 was at a very early period in the communities, united with the short proclamation of the history of Jesus, and at the same time, in certain cases, referred expressly to the revelation of God (the Spirit) through the prophets.184 The confession thus conceived had not everywhere obtained a fixed definite expression in the first century (c. 50-150). It would rather seem that, in most of the communities, there was no exact formulation beyond a confession of Father, Son and Spirit, accompanied in a free way by the historical proclamation.185 It is highly probable, however, that a short confession was strictly formulated in the Roman community before the middle of the second century,186 expressing belief in the Father, Son and Spirit, embracing also the most important facts in the history of Jesus, and mentioning the Holy Church, as well as the two great blessings of Christianity, the forgiveness of sin, and the resurrection of the dead (αφεσις 'αμαρτιων, σαρκος αναστασις187). But, however the proclamation might be handed [pg 158] down, in a form somehow fixed, or in a free form, the disciples of Jesus, the (twelve) Apostles, were regarded as the authorities [pg 159] who mediated and guaranteed it. To them was traced back in the same way everything that was narrated of the history of Jesus, and everything that was inculcated from his sayings.188 Consequently, it may be said, that beside the Old Testament, the chief court of appeal in the communities was formed by an aggregate of words and deeds of the Lord;—for the history and the suffering of Jesus are his deed: 'ο Ιησους 'υπεμεινεν παθειν, κ.τ.λ.—fixed [pg 160] in certain fundamental features, though constantly enriched, and traced back to apostolic testimony.189

The authority which the Apostles in this way enjoyed, did not, in any great measure, rest on the remembrance of direct services which the twelve had rendered to the Gentile Churches: for, as the want of reliable concrete traditions proves, no such services had been rendered, at least not by the twelve. On the contrary, there was a theory operative here regarding the special authority which the twelve enjoyed in the Church at Jerusalem, a theory which was spread by the early missionaries, including Paul, and sprang from the a priori consideration [pg 161] that the tradition about Christ, just because it grew up so quickly,190 must have been entrusted to eye-witnesses who were commissioned to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world, and who fulfilled that commission. The a priori character of this assumption is shewn by the fact that—with the exception of reminiscences of an activity of Peter and John among the εθνη, not sufficiently clear to us191—the twelve, as a rule, are regarded as a college, to which the mission and the tradition are traced back.192 That such a theory, based on a dogmatic construction of history, could have at all arisen, proves that either the Gentile Churches never had a living relation to the twelve, or that they had very soon lost it in the rapid disappearance of Jewish Christianity, while they had been referred to the twelve from the beginning. But even in the communities which Paul had founded and for a long time guided, the remembrance of the controversies of the Apostolic age must have been very soon effaced, and the vacuum thus produced filled by a theory which directly traced back the status quo of the Gentile Christian communities to a tradition of the twelve as its foundation. This fact is extremely paradoxical, and is not altogether explained by the assumptions that the Pauline-Judaistic controversy had not made a great impression on the Gentile Christians, that the way in which Paul, while fully recognising the twelve, had insisted on his own independent importance, had long ceased to be really understood, and that Peter and John had also really been missionaries to the Gentiles. The guarantee that was needed for the "teaching of the Lord" must, finally, be given not by Paul, but only by chosen eye-witnesses. The less that was known [pg 162] about them, the easier it was to claim them. The conviction as to the unanimity of the twelve, and as to their activity in founding the Gentile Churches, appeared in these Churches as early as the urgent need of protection against the serious consequences of unfettered religious enthusiasm and unrestrained religious fancy. This urgency cannot be dated too far back. In correspondence therewith, the principle of tradition in the Church (Christ, the twelve Apostles) in the case of those who were intent on the unity and completeness of Christendom, is also very old. But one passed logically from the Apostles to the disciples of the Apostles, "the Elders," without at first claiming for them any other significance than that of reliable hearers (Apostoli et discentes ipsorum). In coming down to them, one here and there betook oneself again to real historical ground, disciples of Paul, of Peter, of John.193 Yet even here legends with a tendency speedily got mixed with facts, and because, in consequence of this theory of tradition, the Apostle Paul must needs fall into the background, his disciples also were more or less forgotten. The attempt which we have in the Pastoral Epistles remained without effect, as regards those to whom these epistles were addressed. Timothy and Titus obtained no authority outside these epistles. But so far as the epistles of Paul were collected, diffused, and read, there was created a complex of writings which at first stood beside the "Teaching of the Lord by the twelve Apostles", without being connected with it, and only obtained such connection by the creation of the New Testament, that is, by the interpolation of the Acts of the Apostles, between Gospels and Epistles.194

§ 3. The Main Articles of Christianity and the Conceptions of Salvation. Eschatology.

1. The main articles of Christianity were (1) belief in God the δεσποτης, and in the Son in virtue of proofs from prophecy, and the [pg 163] teaching of the Lord as attested by the Apostles; (2) discipline according to the standard of the words of the Lord; (3) baptism; [pg 164] (4) the common offering of prayer, culminating in the Lord's Supper and the holy meal, (5) the sure hope of the nearness [pg 165] of Christ's glorious kingdom. In these appears the unity of Christendom, that is, of the Church which possesses the Holy Spirit.195 On the basis of this unity Christian knowledge was free and manifold. It was distinguished as σοφια, συνεσις, επιστημε, γνωσις (των δικαιωματων), from the λογος θεου της πιστεως, the κλησις της επαγγελιας and the εντολαι της διδαχης (Barn. 16. 9, similarly Hermas). Perception and knowledge of Divine things was a Charism possessed only by individuals, but like all Charisms it was to be used for the good of the whole. In so far as every actual perception was a perception produced by the Spirit, it was regarded as important and indubitable truth, even though some Christians were unable to understand it. While attention was given to the firm inculcation [pg 166] and observance of the moral precepts of Christ, as well as to the awakening of sure faith in Christ, and while all waverings and differences were excluded in respect of these, there was absolutely no current doctrine of faith in the communities, in the sense of a completed theory, and the theological speculations of even closely related Christian writers of this epoch, exhibit the greatest differences.196 The productions of fancy, the terrible or consoling pictures of the future pass for sacred knowledge, just as much as intelligent and sober reflections, and edifying interpretation of Old Testament sayings. Even that which was afterwards separated as Dogmatic and Ethics was then in no way distinguished.197 The communities gave expression in the cultus, chiefly in the hymns and prayers, to what they possessed in their God and their Christ; here sacred formulæ were fashioned and delivered to the members.198 The problem of surrendering the world in the hope of a life beyond was regarded as the practical side of the faith, and the unity in temper and disposition resting on faith in the saving revelation of God in Christ, permitted the highest degree of freedom in knowledge, the results of which were absolutely without control as soon as the preacher or the writer was recognised as a true teacher, that is, inspired by the Spirit of God.199 There was also in wide circles a conviction that [pg 167] the Christian faith, after the night of error, included the full knowledge of everything worth knowing, that precisely in its most important articles it is accessible to men of every degree of culture, and that in it, in the now attained truth, is contained one of the most essential blessings of Christianity. When it is said in the Epistle of Barnabas (II. 2. 3); της πιστεως 'ημων εισιν βοηθοι φοβος και 'υπομονη, τα δε συμμαχουντα 'ημιν μακροθυμια και εγκρατεια; τουτων μενοντων τα προς κυριον 'αγνως, συνευφραινονται αυτοις σοφια, συνεσις, επιστημη, γνωσις, knowledge appears in this classic formula to be an essential element in Christianity, conditioned by faith and the practical virtues, and dependent on them. Faith takes the lead, knowledge follows it: but of course in concrete cases it could not always be decided what was λογος της πιστηως, which implicitly contained the highest knowledge, and what the special γνωσις; for in the last resort the nature of the two was regarded as identical, both being represented as produced by the Spirit of God.

2. The conceptions of Christian salvation, or of redemption, were grouped around two ideas, which were themselves but loosely connected with each other, and of which the one influenced more the temper and the imagination, the other the intellectual faculty. On the one hand, salvation, in accordance with the earliest preaching, was regarded as the glorious kingdom which was soon to appear on earth with the visible return of Christ, which will bring the present course of the world to an end, and introduce for a definite series of centuries, before the final judgment, a new order of all things to the joy and blessedness of the saints.200 In connection with this [pg 168] the hope of the resurrection of the body occupied the foreground201. On the other hand, salvation appeared to be given in the truth, [pg 169] that is, in the complete and certain knowledge of God, as contrasted with the error of heathendom and the night of sin, and this truth included the certainty of the gift [pg 170] of eternal life, and all conceivable spiritual blessings.202 Of these the community, so far as it is a community of saints, that is, so far as it is ruled by the Spirit of God, already possesses forgiveness of sins and righteousness. But, as a rule, neither blessing was understood in a strictly religious sense, that is to say, the effect of their religious sense was narrowed. The moralistic view, in which eternal life is the wages and reward of a perfect moral life wrought out essentially by one's own power, took the place of first importance at a very early period. On this view, according to which the righteousness of God is revealed in punishment and reward alike, the forgiveness of sin only meant a single remission of sin in connection with entrance into the Church by baptism,203 and [pg 171] righteousness became identical with virtue. The idea is indeed still operative, especially in the oldest Gentile-Christian writings known to us, that sinlessness rests upon a new creation (regeneration) which is effected in baptism;204 but, so far as dissimilar eschatological hopes do not operate, it is everywhere in danger of being supplanted by the other idea, which maintains that there is no other blessing in the Gospel than the perfect truth and eternal life. All else is but a sum of obligations in which the Gospel is presented as a new law. The christianising of the Old Testament supported this conception. There was indeed an opinion that the Gospel, even so far as it is a law, comprehends a gift of salvation which is to be grasped by faith νομος ανευ ζυγου αναγκης,205 νομος τ. ελευθεριας,206 Christ himself the law;207 but this notion, as it is obscure in itself, was also an uncertain one and was gradually lost. Further, [pg 172] by the "law" was frequently meant in the first place, not the law of love, but the commandments of ascetic holiness, or an explanation and a turn were given to the law of love, according to which it is to verify itself above all in asceticism.208

The expression of the contents of the Gospel in the concepts επαγγελια (ζωη αιωνιος) γνωσις (αληθεια) νομος (εγκρατεια), seemed quite as plain as it was exhaustive, and the importance of faith which was regarded as the basis of hope and knowledge and obedience in a holy life, was at the same time in every respect perceived.209

Supplement 1.—The moralistic view of sin, forgiveness of sin, and righteousness, in Clement, Barnabas, Polycarp and Ignatius, gives place to Pauline formulæ; but the uncertainty with which these are reproduced, shews that the Pauline idea has not been clearly seen.210 In Hermas, however, and in the second Epistle of Clement, the consciousness of being under grace, even after baptism, almost completely disappears behind the demand to fulfil the tasks which baptism imposes.211 The idea that serious sins, in the case of the baptised, no longer should or can be forgiven, except under special circumstances, appears to have prevailed in wide circles, if not everywhere.212 [pg 173] It reveals the earnestness of those early Christians and their elevated sense of freedom and power; but it might be united either with the highest moral intensity, or with a lax judgment on the little sins of the day. The latter, in point of fact, threatened to become more and more the presupposition and result of that idea—for there exists here a fatal reciprocal action.

Supplement 2.—The realisation of salvation—as βασιλεια του θεου and as αφθαρσια—being expected from the future, the whole present possession of salvation might be comprehended under the title of vocation (κλησις) see, for example, the second Epistle of Clement. In this sense gnosis itself was regarded as something only preparatory.

Supplement 3.—In some circles the Pauline formula about righteousness and salvation by faith alone, must, it would appear, not infrequently (as already in the Apostolic age itself) have been partly misconstrued, and partly taken advantage of as a cloak for laxity. Those who resisted such a disposition, and therefore also the formula in the post-Apostolic age, shew indeed by their opposition how little they have hit upon or understood the Pauline idea of faith: for they not only issued the watchword "faith and works" (though the Jewish ceremonial law was not thereby meant), but they admitted, and not only hypothetically, that one might have the true faith even though in his case that faith remained dead or united with immorality. See, above all, the Epistle of James and the Shepherd of Hermas; though the first Epistle of John comes also into consideration (III. 7: "He that doeth righteousness is righteous").213

Supplement 4.—However similar the eschatological expectations of the Jewish Apocalyptists and the Christians may [pg 174] seem, there is yet in one respect an important difference between them. The uncertainty about the final consummation was first set aside by the Gospel. It should be noted as highly characteristic of the Jewish hopes of the future, even of the most definite, how the beginning of the end, that is, the overthrow of the world-powers and the setting up of the earthly kingdom of God, was much more certainly expressed than the goal and the final end. Neither the general judgment, nor what we, according to Christian tradition, call heaven and hell, should be described as a sure possession of Jewish faith in the primitive Christian period. It is only in the Gospel of Christ, where everything is subordinated to the idea of a higher righteousness and the union of the individual with God, that the general judgment and the final condition after it are the clear, firmly grasped goal of all meditation. No doctrine has been more surely preserved in the convictions and preaching of believers in Christ than this. Fancy might roam ever so much and, under the direction of the tradition, thrust bright and precious images between the present condition and the final end, the main thing continued to be the great judgment of the world, and the certainty that the saints would go to God in heaven, the wicked to hell. But while the judgment, as a rule, was connected with the Person of Jesus himself (see the Romish Symbol: the words κριτης ζωντων και νεκρων, were very frequently applied to Christ in the earliest writings), the moral condition of the individual, and the believing recognition of the Person of Christ were put in the closest relation. The Gentile Christians held firmly to this. Open the Shepherd, or the second Epistle of Clement, or any other early Christian writing, and you will find that the judgment, heaven and hell, are the decisive objects. But that shews that the moral character of Christianity as a religion is seen and adhered to. The fearful idea of hell, far from signifying a backward step in the history of the religious spirit, is rather a proof of its having rejected the morally indifferent point of view, and of its having become sovereign in union with the ethical spirit.

[pg 175]

§ 4. The Old Testament as Source of the Knowledge of Faith.214

The sayings of the Old Testament, the word of God, were believed to furnish inexhaustible material for deeper knowledge. The Christian prophets were nurtured on the Old Testament, the teachers gathered from it the revelation of the past, present and future (Barn. 1. 7), and were therefore able as prophets to edify the Churches; from it was further drawn the confirmation of the answers to all emergent questions, as one could always find in the Old Testament what he was in search of. The different writers laid the holy book under contribution in very much the same way; for they were all dominated by the presupposition that this book is a Christian book, and contains the explanations that are necessary for the occasion. There were several teachers, e.g., Barnabas, who at a very early period boasted of finding in it ideas of special profundity and value—these were always an expression of the difficulties that were being felt. The plain words of the Lord as generally known, did not seem sufficient to satisfy the craving for knowledge, or to solve the problems that were emerging;215 their origin and form also opposed difficulties at first to the attempt to obtain from them new disclosures by re-interpretation. But the Old Testament sayings and histories were in part unintelligible, or in their literal sense offensive; they were at the same time regarded as fundamental [pg 176] words of God. This furnished the conditions for turning them to account in the way we have stated. The following are the most important points of view under which the Old Testament was used. (1) The Monotheistic cosmology and view of nature were borrowed from it (see, for example, 1 Clem.). (2) It was used to prove that the appearance and entire history of Jesus had been foretold centuries, nay, thousands of years beforehand, and that the founding of a new people gathered out of all nations had been predicted and prepared for from the very beginning.216 (3) It was used as a means of verifying all principles and institutions of the Christian Church,—the spiritual worship of God without images, the abolition of all ceremonial legal precepts, baptism, etc. (4) The Old Testament was used for purposes of exhortation according to the formula a minori ad majus; if God then punished and rewarded this or that in such a way, how [pg 177] much more may we expect, who now stand in the last days, and have received the κλησις της επαγγελιας. (5) It was proved from the Old Testament that the Jewish nation is in error, and either never had a covenant with God or has lost it, that it has a false apprehension of God's revelations, and therefore has, now at least, no longer any claim to their possession. But beyond all this, (6) there were in the Old Testament books, above all, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, a great number of sayings—confessions of trust in God and of help received from God, of humility and holy courage, testimonies of a world-overcoming faith and words of comfort, love and communion—which were too exalted for any cavilling, and intelligible to every spiritually awakened mind. Out of this treasure which was handed down to the Greeks and Romans, the Church edified herself, and in the perception of its riches was largely rooted the conviction that the holy book must in every line contain the highest truth.

The point mentioned under (5) needs, however, further explanation. The self-consciousness of the Christian community of being the people of God, must have been, above all, expressed in its position towards Judaism, whose mere existence—even apart from actual assaults—threatened that consciousness most seriously. A certain antipathy of the Greeks and Romans towards Judaism co-operated here with a law of self-preservation. On all hands, therefore, Judaism as it then existed was abandoned as a sect judged and rejected by God, as a society of hypocrites,217 as a synagogue of Satan,218 as a people seduced by an evil angel,219 and the Jews were declared to [pg 178] have no further right to the possession of the Old Testament. Opinions differed, however, as to the earlier history of the nation and its relation to the true God. While some denied that there ever had been a covenant of salvation between God and this nation, and in this respect recognised only an intention of God,220 which was never carried out because of the idolatry of the people, others admitted in a hazy way that a relation did exist; but even they referred all the promises of the Old Testament to the Christian people.221 While the former saw in the observance of the letter of the law, in the case of circumcision, sabbath, precepts as to food, etc., a proof of the special devilish temptation to which the Jewish people succumbed,222 the latter saw in circumcision a sign223 given by God, and in virtue of certain considerations acknowledged that the literal observance of the law was for the time God's intention and command, though righteousness never came from such observance. Yet even they saw in the spiritual the alone true sense, which the Jews had denied, and were of opinion that the burden of ceremonies was a pædagogic necessity with reference to a people stiff-necked and prone to idolatry, i.e., a defence of monotheism, and gave an interpretation to the sign of circumcision which made it no longer a blessing, but rather the mark for the execution of judgment on Israel.224

[pg 179]

Israel was thus at all times the pseudo-Church. The older people does not in reality precede the younger people, the Christians, even in point of time; for though the Church appeared only in the last days, it was foreseen and created by God from the beginning. The younger people is therefore really the older, and the new law rather the original law.225 The Patriarchs, Prophets, and men of God, however, who were favoured with the communication of God's words, have nothing inwardly in common with the Jewish people. They are God's elect who were distinguished by a holy walk, and must be regarded as the forerunners and fathers of the Christian people.226 To the question how such holy men appeared exclusively, or almost exclusively, among the Jewish people, the documents preserved to us yield no answer.

§ 5. The Knowledge of God and of the World. Estimate of the World.

The knowledge of faith was, above all, the knowledge of God as one, supramundane, spiritual,227 and almighty (παντοκρατωρ); God is creator and governor of the world and therefore [pg 180] the Lord.228 But as he created the world a beautiful ordered whole (monotheistic view of nature)229 for the sake of man,230 he is at the same time the God of goodness and redemption (θεος σωτηρ), and the true faith in God and knowledge of him as the Father,231 is made perfect only in the [pg 181] knowledge of the identity of the God of creation and the God of redemption. Redemption, however, was necessary, because at the beginning humanity and the world alike fell under the dominion of evil demons,232 of the evil one. There was no [pg 182] universally accepted theory as to the origin of this dominion; but the sure and universal conviction was that the present condition and course of the world is not of God, but is of the devil. Those, however, who believed in God, the almighty creator, and were expecting the transformation of the earth, as well as the visible dominion of Christ upon it, could not be seduced into accepting a dualism in principle (God and devil: spirit and matter). Belief in God, the creator, and eschatological hopes, preserved the communities from the theoretic dualism that so readily suggested itself, which they slightly touched in many particular opinions, and which threatened to dominate their feelings. The belief that the world is of God and therefore good, remained in force. A distinction was made between the present constitution of the world, which is destined for destruction, and the future order of the world which will be a glorious "restitutio in integrum." The theory of the world as an articulated whole which had already been proclaimed by the Stoics, and which was strengthened by Christian monotheism, would not, even if it had been known to the uncultured, have been vigorous enough to cope with the impression of the wickedness of the course of [pg 183] this world, and the vulgarity of all things material. But the firm belief in the omnipotence of God, and the hope of the world's transformation grounded on the Old Testament, conquered the mood of absolute despair of all things visible and sensuous, and did not allow a theoretic conclusion, in the sense of dualism in principle, to be drawn from the practical obligation to renounce the world, or from the deep distrust with regard to the flesh.

§ 6. Faith in Jesus Christ.

1. As surely as redemption was traced back to God himself, so surely was Jesus ('ο σωτηρ 'ημων) held to be the mediator of it. Faith in Jesus was therefore, even for Gentile Christians, a compendium of Christianity. Jesus is mostly designated with the same name as God,233 'ο κυριος ('ημων), for we must remember the ancient use of this title. All that has taken place or will take place with reference to salvation, is traced back to the "Lord." The carelessness of the early Christian writers about the bearing of the word in particular cases,234 shews that in a religious relation, so far as there was reflection on the gift of salvation, Jesus could directly take the place of God. The invisible God is the author, Jesus the revealer and mediator, of all saving blessings. The final subject is presented in the nearest subject, and there is frequently no occasion for expressly distinguishing them, as the range and contents of the revelation of salvation in Jesus [pg 184] coincide with the range and contents of the will of salvation in God himself. Yet prayers, as a rule, were addressed to God: at least, there are but few examples of direct prayers to Jesus belonging to the first century (apart from the prayers in the Act. Joh. of the so-called Leucius). The usual formula rather reads: θεω εξομολογουμεθα δια 'Ι. Χρ.—θεω δοξα διο 'Ι. Χρ.235

2. As the Gentile Christians did not understand the significance of the idea that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the designation "χριστος" had either to be given up in their communities, or to subside into a mere name.236 But even where, through the Old Testament, one was reminded of the meaning of the word, and allowed a value to it, he was far from finding in the statement that Jesus is the Lord's anointed, a clear expression of the dignity peculiar to him. That dignity had therefore to be expressed by other means. Nevertheless the eschatological series of ideas connected the Gentile Christians very closely with the early Christian ideas of faith, and therefore also with the earliest ideas about Jesus. In the [pg 185] confession that God chose237 and prepared238 Jesus, that Jesus is the Angel239 and the servant of God,240 that he will judge the living and the dead,241 etc., expression is given to ideas about Jesus, in the Gentile Christian communities, which are borrowed from the thought that he is the Christ called of God and entrusted with an office.242 Besides, there was a [pg 186] very old designation handed down from the circle of the disciples, and specially intelligible to Gentile Christians, though not frequent and gradually disappearing, viz., "the Master."243

3. But the earliest tradition not only spoke of Jesus as κυριος, σωτηρ, and διδασκαλος, but as "'ο 'υιος του θεου", and this name was firmly adhered to in the Gentile Christian communities.244 It followed immediately from this that Jesus belongs to the sphere of God, and that, as is said in the earliest preaching known to us,245 one must think of him "'ως περι θεου." This formula describes in a classic manner the indirect "theologia Christi" which we find unanimously expressed in all witnesses of the earliest epoch.246 We must think about Christ [pg 187] as we think about God, because, on the one hand, God had exalted him, and committed to him as Lord, judgment over [pg 188] the living and the dead, and because, on the other hand, he has brought the knowledge of the truth, called sinful men, delivered them from the dominion of demons, and hath led, or will lead them, out of the night of death and corruption to eternal life. Jesus Christ is "our faith", "our hope", "our [pg 189] life", and in this sense "our God." The religious assurance that he is this, for we find no wavering on this point, is the root of the "theologia Christi"; but we must also remember that the formula "θεος" was inserted beside "κυριος," that the "dominus ac deus," was very common at that time,247 and that a Saviour σωτηρ could only be represented somehow as a Divine being.248 Yet Christ never was, as "θεος," placed on an equality with the Father,249—monotheism guarded against that. Whether he was intentionally and deliberately identified with Him the following paragraph will shew.

4. The common confession did not go beyond the statements that Jesus is the Lord, the Saviour, the Son of God, that one must think of him as of God, that dwelling now with [pg 190] God in heaven, he is to be adored as προστατης και βοηθος της ασθενειας, and as αρχιερευς των προσφορων 'ημων [as guardian and helper of the weak and as High Priest of our oblations], to be feared as the future Judge, to be esteemed most highly as the bestower of immortality, that he is our hope and our faith. There are found rather, on the basis of that confession, very diverse conceptions of the Person, that is, of the nature of Jesus, beside each other,250 which collectively exhibit a certain analogy with the Greek theologies, the naive and the philosophic.251 There was as yet no such thing here as ecclesiastical "doctrines" in the strict sense of the word, but rather conceptions more or less fluid, which were not seldom fashioned ad hoc.252 These may be reduced collectively to two.253 Jesus was either regarded as the man whom God hath chosen, in whom the Deity or the Spirit of God dwelt, and who, after being tested, was adopted by God and invested with [pg 191] dominion, (Adoptian Christology);254 or Jesus was regarded as a heavenly spiritual being (the highest after God) who took [pg 192] flesh, and again returned to heaven after the completion of his work on earth (pneumatic Christology).255 These two [pg 193] Christologies which are, strictly speaking, mutually exclusive—the man who has become a God, and the Divine being who has appeared in human form—yet came very near each other when the Spirit of God implanted in the man Jesus was conceived as the pre-existent Son of God,256 and when, on the other hand, the title, Son of God, for that pneumatic being, was derived only from the miraculous generation in the flesh; [pg 194] yet both these seem to have been the rule.257 Yet, in spite of all transitional forms, the two Christologies may be clearly distinguished. Characteristic of the one is the development through which Jesus is first to become a Godlike Ruler,258 and connected therewith, the value put on the miraculous event at the baptism; of the other, a naive docetism.259 For no one as yet thought of affirming two natures in Jesus:260 [pg 195] the Divine dignity appeared rather, either as a gift,261 or the human nature (σαρξ) as a veil assumed for a time, or as the metamorphosis of the Spirit.262 The formula that Jesus was a mere man (ψιλος ανθρωπος), was undoubtedly always, and from the first, regarded as offensive.263 But the converse formulæ, which identified the person of Jesus in its essence with the Godhead itself, do not seem to have been rejected [pg 196] with the same decision.264 Yet such formulæ may have been very rare, and even objects of suspicion, in the leading ecclesiastical circles, at least until after the middle of the second century we can point to them only in documents which hardly found approbation in wide circles. The assumption of the existence of at least one heavenly and eternal spiritual being beside God, was plainly demanded by the Old Testament [pg 197] writings, as they were understood; so that even those whose Christology did not require them to reflect on that heavenly being were forced to recognise it.265 The pneumatic Christology, accordingly, meets us wherever there is an earnest occupation with the Old Testament, and wherever faith in Christ as the perfect revealer of God, occupies the foreground, therefore not in Hermas, but certainly in Barnabas, Clement, etc. The future belonged to this Christology, because the current exposition of the Old Testament seemed directly to require it, because it alone permitted the close connection between creation and redemption, because it furnished the proof that the world and religion rest upon the same Divine basis, because it was represented in the most valuable writings of the early period of Christianity, and finally, because it had room for the speculations about the Logos. On the other hand, no direct and natural relation to the world and to universal history could be given to the Adoptian Christology, which was originally determined eschatologically. If such a [pg 198] relation, however, were added to it, there resulted formulæ such as that of two Sons of God, one natural and eternal, and one adopted, which corresponded neither to the letter of the Holy Scriptures, nor to the Christian preaching. Moreover, the revelations of God in the Old Testament made by Theophanies, must have seemed, because of this their form, much more exalted than the revelations made through a man raised to power and glory, which Jesus constantly seemed to be in the Adoptian Christology. Nay, even the mysterious personality of Melchisedec, without father or mother, might appear more impressive than the Chosen Servant, Jesus, who was born of Mary, to a mode of thought which, in order to make no mistake, desired to verify the Divine by outer marks. The Adoptian Christology, that is, the Christology which is most in keeping with the self-witness of Jesus (the Son as the chosen Servant of God), is here shewn to be unable to assure to the Gentile Christians those conceptions of Christianity which they regarded as of highest value. It proved itself insufficient when confronted by any reflection on the relation of religion to the cosmos, to humanity, and to its history. It might, perhaps, still have seemed doubtful about the middle of the second century, as to which of the two opposing formulæ "Jesus is a man exalted to a Godlike dignity", and "Jesus is a divine spiritual being incarnate", would succeed in the Church. But one only needs to read the pieces of writing which represent the latter thesis, and to compare them, say, with the Shepherd of Hermas, in order to see to which view the future must belong. In saying this, however, we are anticipating; for the Christological reflections were not yet vigorous enough to overcome enthusiasm and the expectation of the speedy end of all things, and the mighty practical tendency of the new religion to a holy life did not allow any theory to become the central object of attention. But, still, it is necessary to refer here to the controversies which broke out at a later period; for the pneumatic Christology forms an essential article, which cannot be dispensed with, in the expositions of Barnabas, Clement and Ignatius, and Justin shews that he [pg 199] cannot conceive of a Christianity without the belief in a real pre-existence of Christ. On the other hand, the liturgical formulæ, the prayers, etc., which have been preserved, scarcely ever take notice of the pre-existence of Christ. They either comprise statements which are borrowed from the Adoptian Christology, or they testify in an unreflective way to the Dominion and Deity of Christ.

5. The ideas of Christ's work which were influential in the communities—Christ as Teacher: creation of knowledge, setting up of the new law; Christ as Saviour: creation of life, overcoming of the demons, forgiveness of sins committed in the time of error,—were by some, in conformity with Apostolic tradition and following the Pauline Epistles, positively connected with the death and resurrection of Christ, while others maintained them without any connection with these events. But one nowhere finds independent thorough reflections on the connection of Christ's saving work with the facts proclaimed in the preaching, above all, with the death on the cross and the resurrection as presented by Paul. The reason of this undoubtedly is that in the conception of the work of salvation, the procuring of forgiveness fell into the background, as this could only be connected by means of the notion of sacrifice, with a definite act of Jesus, viz., with the surrender of his life. Consequently, the facts of the destiny of Jesus combined in the preaching, formed, only for the religious fancy, not for reflection, the basis of the conception of the work of Christ, and were therefore by many writers, Hermas, for example, taken no notice of. Yet the idea of suffering freely accepted, of the cross and of the blood of Christ, operated in wide circles as a holy mystery, in which the deepest wisdom and power of the Gospel must somehow lie concealed.266 The peculiarity and uniqueness of the work of the historical Christ seemed, however, to be prejudiced by the assumption that Christ, essentially as the same person, was already in the Old Testament the Revealer of God. All [pg 200] emphasis must therefore fall on this—without a technical reflection which cannot be proved—that the Divine revelation has now, through the historical Christ, become accessible and intelligible to all, and that the life which was promised will shortly be made manifest.267

[pg 201]

As to the facts of the history of Jesus, the real and the supposed, the circumstance that they formed the ever repeated proclamation about Christ gave them an extraordinary [pg 202] significance. In addition to the birth from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, the death, the resurrection, the exaltation to the right hand of God, and the coming again, there now appeared more definitely the ascension to heaven, and also, though more uncertainly, the descent into the kingdom of the dead. The belief that Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after the resurrection, gradually made way against the older conception, according to which resurrection and ascension really coincided, and against other ideas which maintained a longer period between the two events. That probably is the result of a reflection which sought to distinguish the first from the later manifestations of the exalted Christ, and it is of the utmost importance as the beginning of a demarcation of the times. It is also very probable that the acceptance of an actual ascensus in cœlum, not a mere assumptio, was favourable to the idea of an actual descent of Christ de cœlo, therefore to the pneumatic Christology and vice versa. But there is also closely connected with the ascensus in cœlum, the notion of a descensus ad inferna, which commended itself on the ground of Old Testament prediction. In the first century, however, it still remained uncertain, lying on the borders of those productions of religious fancy which were not able at once to acquire a right of citizenship in the communities.268

[pg 203]

One can plainly see that the articles contained in the Kerygma were guarded and defended in their reality (κατ' αληθειαν) by the professional teachers of the Church, against sweeping attempts at explaining them away, or open attacks on them.269 But they did not yet possess the value of dogmas, for they were neither put in an indissoluble union with the idea of salvation, nor were they stereotyped in their extent, nor were fixed limits set to the imagination in the concrete delineation and conception of them.270

[pg 204]

§ 7. The Worship, the Sacred Ordinances, and the Organisation of the Churches.

It is necessary to examine the original forms of the worship and constitution, because of the importance which they acquired in the following period even for the development of doctrine.

1. In accordance with the purely spiritual idea of God, it was a fixed principle that only a spiritual worship is well pleasing to Hun, and that all ceremonies are abolished, 'ινα 'ο καινος νομος του κυριου 'ημων Ιησου Χριστου μη ανθροπωποιητον εχηι την προσφοραν.271 But as the Old Testament and the Apostolic tradition made it equally certain that the worship of God is a sacrifice, the Christian worship of God was set forth under the aspect of the spiritual sacrifice. In the most general sense it was conceived as the offering of the heart and of obedience, as well as the consecration of the whole personality, body and soul (Rom XIII. 1) to God.272 Here, with a change of the figure, the individual Christian and the whole community were described as a temple of God.273 In a more special sense, prayer as thanksgiving and intercession,274 was regarded as the sacrifice which was to be accompanied, without constraint or ceremony, by fasts and acts of compassionate love.275 Finally, [pg 205] prayers offered by the worshipper in the public worship of the community, and the gifts brought by them, out of which were taken the elements for the Lord's supper, and which were used partly in the common meal, and partly in support of the poor, were regarded as sacrifice in the most special sense (προσφορα, δωρα).276 For the following period, however, it became of the utmost importance, (1) that the idea of sacrifice ruled the whole worship, (2) that it appeared in a special manner in the celebration of the Lord's supper, and consequently invested that ordinance with a new meaning, (3) that the support of the poor, alms, especially such alms as had been gained by prayer and fasting, was placed under the category of sacrifice (Heb. XIII. 16), for this furnished the occasion for giving the widest application to the idea of sacrifice, and thereby substituting for the original Semitic Old Testament idea of sacrifice with its spiritual interpretation, the Greek idea with its interpretation.277 It may, however, be maintained that the [pg 206] changes imposed on the Christian religion by Catholicism, are at no point so obvious and far-reaching, as in that of sacrifice, and especially in the solemn ordinance of the Lord's supper, which was placed in such close connection with the idea of sacrifice.

2. When in the "Teaching of the Apostles," which may be regarded here as a classic document, the discipline of life in accordance with the words of the Lord, Baptism, the order of fasting and prayer, especially the regular use of the Lord's prayer, and the Eucharist are reckoned the articles on which the Christian community rests, and when the common Sunday offering of a sacrifice made pure by a brotherly disposition, and the mutual exercise of discipline are represented as decisive for the stability of the individual community,278 we perceive that the general idea of a pure spiritual worship of God has nevertheless been realised in definite institutions, and that, above all, it has included the traditional sacred ordinances, and adjusted itself to them as far as that was possible.279 This could only take effect under the idea of the symbolical, and therefore this idea was most firmly attached to these ordinances. But the symbolical of that time is not to be considered as the opposite of the objectively real, but as the mysterious, the God produced (μυστηριον) as contrasted with the natural, the profanely clear. As to Baptism, which was administered in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, though Cyprian, Ep. 73. 16-18, felt compelled to oppose the custom of baptising in the name of Jesus, we noted above (Chap. III. p. 161 f.) that it was regarded as the bath of regeneration, and as renewal of life, inasmuch as it was assumed that by it the sins of the [pg 207] past state of blindness were blotted out.280 But as faith was looked upon as the necessary condition,281 and as on the other hand, the forgiveness of the sins of the past was in itself deemed worthy of God,282 the asserted specific result of baptism remained still very uncertain, and the hard tasks which it imposed, might seem more important than the merely retrospective gifts which it proffered.283 Under such circumstances the rite could not fail to lead believers about to be baptized, to attribute value here to the mysterious as such.284 But that always creates a state of things which not only facilitates, but positively prepares for the introduction of new and strange ideas. For neither fancy nor reflection can long continue in the vacuum of mystery. The names σφραγις and φωτισμος, which at that period came into fashion for baptism, are instructive, inasmuch as neither of them is a direct designation of the presupposed effect of baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and as besides, both of them evince a Hellenic conception. Baptism [pg 208] in being called the seal,285 is regarded as the guarantee of a blessing, not as the blessing itself, at least the relation to it remains obscure; in being called enlightenment,286 it is placed directly under an aspect that is foreign to it. It would be different if we had to think of φωτισμος as a gift of the Holy Spirit, which is given to the baptised as real principle of a new life and miraculous powers. But the idea of a necessary union of baptism with a miraculous communication of the Spirit, seems to have been lost very early, or to have become uncertain, the actual state of things being no longer favourable to it;287 at any rate, it does not explain the designation of baptism as φωτισμος.

[pg 209]

As regards the Lord's Supper, the most important point is that its celebration became more and more the central point, not only for the worship of the Church, but for its very life as a Church. The form of this celebration, the common meal, made it appear to be a fitting expression of the brotherly unity of the community (on the public confession before the meal, see Didache, 14, and my notes on the passage). The prayers which it included presented themselves as vehicles for bringing before God, in thanksgiving and intercession, every thing that affected the community; and the presentation of the elements for the holy ordinance was naturally extended to the offering of gifts for the poor brethren, who in this way received them from the hand of God himself. In all these respects, however, the holy ordinance appeared as a sacrifice of the community, and indeed, as it was also named, ευχαριστια, sacrifice of thanksgiving.288 As an act of sacrifice, [pg 210] termini technici which the Old Testament applied to sacrifice could be applied to it, and all the wealth of ideas which the Old Testament connects with sacrifice, could be transferred to it. One cannot say that anything absolutely foreign was therewith introduced into the ordinance, however doubtful it may be whether in the idea of its founder the meal was thought of as a sacrificial meal. But it must have been of the most wide-reaching significance, that a wealth of ideas was in this way connected with the ordinance, which had nothing whatever in common, either with the purpose of the meal as a memorial of Christ's death,289 or with the mysterious symbols of the body and blood of Christ. The result was that the one transaction obtained a double value. At one time it appeared as the προσφορα and θυσια of the Church,290 as the pure sacrifice which is presented to the great king by Christians scattered over the world, as they offer to him their prayers, and place before him again what he has bestowed in order to receive it back with thanks and praise. But there is no reference in this to the mysterious words that the bread and wine are the body of Christ broken, and the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of sin. These words, in and of themselves, must have challenged a special consideration. They called forth the recognition in the sacramental action, or rather in the consecrated elements, of a mysterious communication of God, a gift of salvation, and this is the second aspect. But on a purely [pg 211] spiritual conception of the Divine gift of salvation, the blessings mediated through the Holy Supper could only be thought of as spiritual (faith, knowledge, or eternal life), and the consecrated elements could only be recognised as the mysterious vehicles of these blessings. There was yet no reflection on the distinction between symbol and vehicle; the symbol was rather regarded as the vehicle, and vice versa. We shall search in vain for any special relation of the partaking of the consecrated elements to the forgiveness of sin. That was made impossible by the whole current notions of sin and forgiveness. That on which value was put was the strengthening of faith and knowledge, as well as the guarantee of eternal life, and a meal in which there was appropriated not merely common bread and wine, but a τροφη πνευματικη, seemed to have a bearing upon these. There was as yet little reflection; but there can be no doubt that thought here moved in a region bounded, on the one hand, by the intention of doing justice to the wonderful words of institution which had been handed down, and on the other hand, by the fundamental conviction that spiritual things can only be got by means of the Spirit.291 There was thus attached [pg 212] to the Supper the idea of sacrifice, and of a sacred gift guaranteed by God. The two things were held apart, for there is as yet no trace of that conception, according to which the body of Christ represented in the bread292 is the sacrifice offered by the community. But one feels almost called upon here to construe from the premises the later development of the idea, with due regard to the ancient Hellenic ideas of sacrifice.

3. The natural distinctions among men, and the differences of position and vocation which these involve, were not to be abolished in the Church, notwithstanding the independence and equality of every individual Christian, but were to be consecrated: above all, every relation of natural piety was to be respected. Therefore the elders also acquired a special authority, and were to receive the utmost deference and due [pg 213] obedience. But, however important the organisation that was based on the distinction between πρεσβυτεροι and νεοτεροι, it ought not to be considered as characteristic of the Churches, not even where there appeared at the head of the community a college of chosen elders, as was the case in the greater communities and perhaps soon everywhere. On the contrary, only an organisation founded on the gifts of the Spirit χαρισματα, bestowed on the Church by God,293 corresponded to the original peculiarity of the Christian community. The Apostolic age therefore transmitted a twofold organisation to the communities. The one was based on the διακονια του λογου, and was regarded as established directly by God; the other stood in the closest connection with the economy of the church, above all with the offering of gifts, and so with the sacrificial service. In the first were men speaking the word of God, commissioned and endowed by God, and bestowed on Christendom, not on a particular community, who as αποστολοι, προφηται, and διδασκαλοι had to spread the Gospel, that is to edify the Church of Christ. They were regarded as the real 'ηγουμενοι in the communities, whose words given them by the Spirit all were to accept in faith. In the second were επισκοποι, and διακονοι, appointed by the individual congregation and endowed with the charisms of leading and helping, who had to receive and administer the gifts, to perform the sacrificial service (if there were no prophets present), and take charge of the affairs of the community.294 It lay in the [pg 214] nature of the case that as a rule the επισκοποι, as independent officials, were chosen from among the elders, and might thus coincide with the chosen πρεσβυτεροι. But a very important development takes place in the second half of our epoch. The prophets and teachers—as the result of causes which followed the naturalising of the Churches in the world—fell more and more into the background, and their function, the solemn service of the word, began to pass over to the officials of the community, the bishops, who already played a great rôle in the public worship. At the same time, however, it appeared more and more fitting to entrust one official, as chief leader (superintendent of public worship), with the reception of gifts and their administration, together with the care of the unity of public worship, that is, to appoint one bishop instead of a number of bishops, leaving, however, as before, the college of presbyters, as προισταμενοι της εκκλησιας, a kind of senate of the community.295 Moreover, the idea of the chosen bishops and deacons as the antitypes of the Priests and Levites, had been formed at an early period in connection with the idea of the new sacrifice. But we find also the idea, which is probably the earlier of the two, that the prophets and teachers, as the commissioned preachers of the word, are the priests. The hesitancy in applying this important allegory must have been brought to an end by the disappearance of the latter view. But it must have been still more important that the bishops, or bishop, in taking over the functions of the old λαλουντες τον λογον, who were not Church officials, took [pg 215] over also the profound veneration with which they were regarded as the special organs of the Spirit. But the condition of the organisation in the communities about the year 140, seems to have been a very diverse one. Here and there, no doubt, the convenient arrangement of appointing only one bishop was carried out, while his functions had not perhaps been essentially increased, and the prophets and teachers were still the great spokesmen. Conversely, there may still have been in other communities a number of bishops, while the prophets and teachers no longer played regularly an important rôle. A fixed organisation was reached, and the Apostolic episcopal constitution established, only in consequence of the so-called Gnostic crisis, which was epoch-making in every respect. One of its most important presuppositions, and one that has struck very deep into the development of doctrine must, however, be borne in mind here. As the Churches traced back all the laws according to which they lived, and all the blessings they held sacred, to the tradition of the twelve Apostles, because they regarded them as Christian only on that presupposition, they also in like manner, as far as we can discover, traced back their organisation of presbyters, i.e., of bishops and deacons, to Apostolic appointment. The notion which followed quite naturally, was that the Apostles themselves had appointed the first church officials.296 That idea may have found support in some actual cases of the kind, but this does not need to be considered here; for these cases would not have led to the setting up of a theory. But the point in question here is a theory, which is nothing else than an integral part of the general theory, that the twelve Apostles were in every respect the middle term between Jesus and the present Churches (see above, p. 158). This conception is earlier than the great Gnostic crisis, for the Gnostics also shared it. But no special qualities of the officials, but only of the Church itself, were derived from it, and it was believed that the independence and sovereignty of the Churches were in no way [pg 216] endangered by it, because an institution by Apostles was considered equivalent to an institution by the Holy Spirit, whom they possessed, and whom they followed. The independence of the Churches rested precisely on the fact that they had the Spirit in their midst. The conception here briefly sketched, was completely transformed in the following period by the addition of another idea—that of Apostolic succession,297 and then became, together with the idea of the specific priesthood of the leader of the Church, the most important means of exalting the office above the community.298


This review of the common faith and the beginnings of knowledge, worship and organisation, in the earliest Gentile Christianity, will have shewn that the essential premises for the development of Catholicism were already in existence before the middle of the second century, and before the burning conflict with Gnosticism. We may see this, whether we look [pg 217] at the peculiar form of the Kerygma, or at the expression of the idea of tradition, or at the theology with its moral and philosophic attitude. We may therefore conclude that the struggle with Gnosticism hastened the development, but did not give it a new direction. For the Greek spirit, the element which was most operative in Gnosticism, was already concealed in the earliest Gentile Christianity itself: it was the atmosphere which one breathed; but the elements peculiar to Gnosticism were for the most part rejected.299 We may even go back a step further (see above, pp. 41, 76). The great Apostle to the Gentiles himself, in his epistle to the Romans, and in those to the Corinthians, transplanted the Gospel into Greek modes of thought. He attempted to expound it with Greek ideas, and not only called the Greeks to the Old Testament and the Gospel, but also introduced the Gospel as a leaven into the religious and philosophic world of Greek ideas. Moreover, in his pneumatico-cosmic Christology he gave the Greeks an impulse towards a theologoumenon, at whose service they could place their whole philosophy and mysticism. He preached the foolishness of Christ crucified, and yet in doing so, proclaimed the wisdom of the nature-vanquishing Spirit, the heavenly Christ. From this moment was established a development which might indeed assume very different forms, but in which all the forces and ideas of Hellenism must gradually pass over to the Gospel. But even with this the last word has not been said; on the contrary, we must remember that the Gospel itself belonged to the fulness of the times, which is indicated by the inter-action of the Old Testament and the Hellenic religions (see above, pp. 41, 56).

The documents which have been preserved from the first century of the Gentile Church are, in their relation to the history of Dogma, very diverse. In the Didache we have a Catechism for Christian life, dependent on a Jewish Greek Catechism, and giving expression to what was specifically Christian [pg 218] in the prayers, and in the order of the Church. The Epistle of Barnabas, probably of Alexandrian origin, teaches the correct, Christian, interpretation of the Old Testament, rejects the literal interpretation and Judaism as of the devil, and in Christology essentially follows Paul. The Romish first Epistle of Clement, which also contains other Pauline reminiscences (reconciliation and justification) represents the same Christology, but it set it in a moralistic mode of thought. This is a most typical writing in which the spirit of tradition, order, stability, and the universal ecclesiastical guardianship of Rome is already expressed. The moralistic mode of thought is classically represented by the Shepherd of Hermas, and the second Epistle of Clement, in which, besides, the eschatological element is very prominent. We have in the Shepherd the most important document for the Church Christianity of the age, reflected in the mirror of a prophet who, however, takes into account the concrete relations. The theology of Ignatius is the most advanced, in so far as he, opposing the Gnostics, brings the facts of salvation into the foreground, and directs his Gnosis not so much to the Old Testament as to the history of Christ. He attempts to make Christ κατα πνευμα and κατα σαρκα the central point of Christianity. In this sense his theology and speech is Christocentric, related to that of Paul and the fourth Evangelist, (specially striking is the relationship with Ephesians), and is strongly contrasted with that of his contemporaries. Of kindred spirit with him are Melito and Irenæus, whose forerunner he is. He is related to them as Methodius at a later period was related to the classical orthodox theology of the fourth and fifth centuries. This parallel is appropriate, not merely in point of form: it is rather one and the same tendency of mind which passes over from Ignatius to Melito, Irenæus, Methodius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa (here, however, mixed with Origenic elements), and to Cyril of Alexandria. Its characteristic is that not only does the person of Christ as the God-man form the central point and sphere of theology, but also that all the main points of his history are mysteries of the world's redemption. (Ephes. [pg 219] 19). But Ignatius is also distinguished by the fact that behind all that is enthusiastic, pathetic, abrupt, and again all that pertains to liturgical form, we find in his epistles a true devotion to Christ ('ο θεος μου). He is laid hold of by Christ: Cf. Ad. Rom. 6: εκεινον ζητω, τον 'υπερ 'ημων αποθανοντα, εκεινον θελω τον δι' 'ημας ανασταντα; Rom. 7: 'ο εμος ερως εσταυρωται και ουκ εστιν εν εμοι πυρ φιλουλον. As a sample of his theological speech and his rule of faith, see ad. Smyrn. 1: ενοησα 'υμας κατηρτισμενους εν ακινητω πιστει, 'ωσπερ καθηλωμενους εν τω σταυρω του κυριου Ιησου Χριστου σαρκι τε και πνευματι και 'ηδρασμενους εν αγαπη εν τω 'αιματι Χριστου, πεπληροφορημενους εις τον κυριου 'ημων, αληθως οντα εκ γενους δαβιδ κατα σαρκα, 'υιον θεου κατα θελημα και δυναμιν θεου, γεγενημενον αληθως εκ παρθενου, βεβαπτισμενον 'υπο Ιωαννου, 'ινα πληρωθη πασα δικαιοσυνη 'υπ' αυτου, αληθως επι Ποντιου Πιλατου και 'Ηρωδου τετραρχου καθηλωμενον 'υπερ 'ημων εν σαρκι—αφ' 'ου καρπου 'ημεις, απο του θεομακαριτου αυτου παθους—'ινα αρη συσσημον εις τους αιωνας δια της αναστασεως εις τους αγιους και πιστους αυτου ειτε εν Ιουδαιους ειτε εν εθνεσιν εν 'ενι σωματι της εκκλησιας αυτου. The Epistle of Polycarp is characterised by its dependence on earlier Christian writings (Epistles of Paul, 1 Peter, 1 John), consequently, by its conservative attitude with regard to the most valuable traditions of the Apostolic period. The Kerygma of Peter exhibits the transition from the early Christian literature to the apologetic (Christ as νομος and as λογος).

It is manifest that the lineage, "Ignatius, Polycarp, Melito, Irenæus", is in characteristic contrast with all others, has deep roots in the Apostolic age, as in Paul and in the Johannine writings, and contains in germ important factors of the future formation of dogma, as it appeared in Methodius, Athanasius, Marcellus, Cyril of Jerusalem. It is very doubtful therefore, whether we are justified in speaking of an Asia Minor theology. (Ignatius does not belong to Asia Minor.) At any rate, the expression, Asia Minor-Romish Theology, has no justification. But it has its truth in the correct observation, that the standards by which Christianity and Church matters were measured and defined, must have been similar in Rome and Asia Minor during the second century. We [pg 220] lack all knowledge of the closer connections. We can only again refer to the journey of Polycarp to Rome, to that of Irenæus by Rome to Gaul, to the journey of Abercius and others (cf. also the application of the Montanist communities in Asia Minor for recognition by the Roman bishop). In all probability, Asia Minor, along with Rome, was the spiritual centre of Christendom from about 60-200: but we have but few means for describing how this centre was brought to bear on the circumference. What we do know belongs more to the history of the Church than to the special history of dogma.

Literature.—The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. See the edition of v. Gebhardt, Harnack, Zahn, 1876. Hilgenfeld, Nov. Test. extra Can. recept. fasc. IV. 2 edit. 1884, has collected further remains of early Christian literature. The Teaching of the twelve Apostles. Fragments of the Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter (my edition, 1893). Also the writings of Justin and other apologists, in so far as they give disclosures about the faith of the communities of his time, as well as statements in Celsus Αληθης Λογος, in Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. Even Gnostic fragments may be cautiously turned to profit. Ritschl, Entstehung der altkath. Kirche 2 Aufl. 1857. Pfleiderer, Das Urchristenthum, 1887. Renan, Origins of Christianity, vol. V. V. Engelhardt, Das Christenthum Justin's, d. M. 1878, p. 375 ff. Schenkel, Das Christusbild der Apostel, etc., 1879. Zahn, Gesch. des N.-Tlichen Kanons, 2 Bde. 1888. Behm, Das Christliche Gesetzthum der Apostolischen Väter (Zeitschr. f. kirchl. Wissensch. 1886). Dorner, History of the doctrine of the Person of Christ, 1845. Schultz, Die Lehre von der Gottheit Christi, 1881, p. 22 ff. Höfling. Die Lehre der ältesten Kirche vom Opfer, 1851. Höfling, Das Sacrament d. Taufe, 1848. Kahnis, Die Lehre vom Abendmahl, 1851. Th. Harnack, Der Christliche Gemeindegottedienst im Apost. u. Altkath. Zeitalter, 1854. Hatch, Organisation of the Early Church, 1883. My Prolegomena to the Didache (Texte u. Unters. II. Bd. H. 1, 2). Diestel, Gesch. des A.T. in der Christi. Kirche, 1869. Sohm, Kirchenrecht, 1892, Monographs on the Apostolic Fathers: on 1 [pg 221] Clem.: Lipsius, Lightfoot (most accurate commentary), Wrede; on 2 Clem.: A. Harnack (Ztschr. f. K. Gesch. 1887); on Barnabas: J. Müller; on Hermas: Zahn, Hückstädt, Link; on Papias: Weiffenbach, Leimbach, Zahn, Lightfoot; on Ignatius and Polycarp: Lightfoot (accurate commentary) and Zahn; on the Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter: A. Harnack: on the Kerygma of Peter: von Dobschütz; on Acts of Thecla: Schlau.

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The statements made in this chapter need special forbearance, especially as the selection from the rich and motley material—cf. only the so-called Apostolic Fathers—the emphasising of this, the throwing into the background of that element, cannot here be vindicated. It is not possible, in the compass of a brief account, to give expression to that elasticity and those oscillations of ideas and thoughts which were peculiar to the Christians of the earliest period. There was indeed, as will be shewn, a complex of tradition in many respects fixed, but this complex was still under the dominance of an enthusiastic fancy, so that what at one moment seemed fixed, in the next had disappeared. Finally, attention must be given to the fact that when we speak of the beginnings of knowledge, the members of the Christian community in their totality are no longer in question, but only individuals who of course were the leaders of the others. If we had no other writings from the times of the Apostolic Fathers than the first Epistle of Clement and the Epistle of Polycarp, it would be comparatively easy to sketch a clear history of the development connecting Paulinism with the old-Catholic Theology as represented by Irenæus, and so to justify the traditional ideas. But besides these two Epistles which are the classic monuments of the mediating tradition, we have a great number of documents which shew us how manifold and complicated the development was. They also teach us how careful we should be in the interpretation of the post-Apostolic documents that immediately followed the Pauline Epistles, and that we must give special heed to the paragraphs and ideas in them, which distinguish them from Paulinism. Besides, it is of the greatest importance that those two Epistles originated in Rome and Asia Minor, as these are the places where we must seek the embryonic stage of old-Catholic doctrine. Numerous fine threads, in the form of fundamental ideas and particular views, pass over from the Asia Minor theology of the post-Apostolic period into the old-Catholic theology.

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The Epistle to the Hebrews (X. 25), the Epistle of Barnabas (IV. 10), the Shepherd of Hermas (Sim. IX. 26, 3), but especially the Epistles of Ignatius and still later documents, shew that up to the middle of the second Century, and even later, there were Christians who, for various reasons, stood outside the union of communities, or wished to have only a loose and temporary relation to them. The exhortation: επι το αυτο συνερχομενοι συνζητειτε περι του κοινη συμφεροντος (see my note on Didache, XVI. 2, and cf.) for the expression the interesting State Inscription which was found at Magnesia on the Meander. Bull, Corresp. Hellen 1883, p. 506: απαγορευο μητε συνερχεσθαι τους αρτοκοκους κατ' 'εταιριαν μητε παρεστηκοτας θρασυνεσθαι, πειθαρχειν δε παντως τοις 'υπερ του κοινη συμφεροντος επιταττομενοις κ.τ.λ. or the exhortation: κολλασθε τοις 'αγιοις, 'οτι 'οι κολλωμενοι αυτοις 'αγιασθησονται (1 Clem. 46. 2, introduced as γραφη) runs through most of the writings of the post-Apostolic and pre-catholic period. New doctrines were imported by wandering Christians who, in many cases, may not themselves have belonged to a community, and did not respect the arrangements of those they found in existence, but sought to form conventicles. If we remember how the Greeks and Romans were wont to get themselves initiated into a mystery cult, and took part for a long time in the religious exercises, and then, when they thought they had got the good of it, for the most part or wholly to give up attending, we shall not wonder that the demand to become a permanent member of a Christian community was opposed by many. The statements of Hermas are specially instructive here.

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"Corpus sumus," says Tertullian at a time when this description had already become an anachronism, "de conscientia religionis et disciplinæ unitate et spei foedere." (Apol. 39: cf. Ep. Petri ad Jacob. I.: εις θεος, εις νομος, μια ελπις). The description was applicable to the earlier period, when there was no such thing as a federation with political forms, but when the consciousness of belonging to a community and of forming a brotherhood (αδελφοτης) was all the more deeply felt: See, above all, 1 Clem ad Corinth., the Didache (9-15), Aristides, Apol 15: "and when they have become Christians, they call them (the slaves) brethren without hesitation ... for they do not call them brethren according to the flesh, but according to the spirit and in God;" cf. also the statements on brotherhood in Tertullian and Minucius Felix (also Lucian). We have in 1 Clem. I. 2, the delineation of a perfect Christian Church. The Epistles of Ignatius are specially instructive as to the independence of each individual community: 1 Clem. and Didache, as to the obligation to assist stranger communities by counsel and action, and to support the travelling brethren. As every Christian is a παροικος so every community is a παροικουσα την πολιν but it is under obligation to give an example to the world, and must watch that "the name be not blasphemed." The importance of the social element in the oldest Christian communities, has been very justly brought into prominence in the latest works on the subject (Renan, Heinrici, Hatch). The historian of dogma must also emphasise it, and put the fluid notions of the faith in contrast with the definite consciousness of moral tasks. See 1 Clem. 47-50; Polyc. Ep. 3; Didache 1 ff.; Ignat. ad Eph. 14, on αγαπη as the main requirement Love demands that everyone "ζητει το κοινωφελες πασιν και μη το 'εαυτου" (1 Clem. 48. 6, with parallels; Didache 16. 3; Barn. 4. 10; Ignatius).

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1 Clem. 59. 2. in the Church prayer; 'οπως τον αριθμον τον κατηριθμηνον των εκλεκτων αυτου εν 'ολω τω κοσμω διαφυλαξη αθραυστον 'ο δημιουργος των 'απαντων δια του ηγαπημενου παιδος αυτου Ιησου Χριστου.

Footnote 166: (return)

See 1 Clem., 2 Clem., Ignatius (on the basis of the Pauline view; but see also Rev. II. 9).

Footnote 167: (return)

See Hermas (the passage is given above, p. 103, note).

Footnote 168: (return)

See Hermas Vis. I-III. Papias. Fragm. VI. and VII. of my edition. 2 Clem. 14: ποιουντες το θελημα του πατρος 'ημων εσομεθα εκ της εκκλησιας της πρωτης της πνευματικης, της προ 'ηλιου και σεληνης εκτισμενες.... εκκλησια ζωσα σωμα εστι Χριστου λεγει γαρ 'η γραφη εποιησεν 'ο θεος τον ανθρωπον αρσεν και θηλυ. το αρσεν εστιν 'ο Χριστος, το θηλυ 'η εκκλησια.

Footnote 169: (return)

See Barn. 13 (2 Clem. 2).

Footnote 170: (return)

See Valentinus in Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 52. "Holy Church", perhaps also in Marcion, if his text (Zahn. Gesch. des N.T.-lichen Kanons, II. p. 502) in Gal. IV. 21, read: 'ητις εστιν μητηρ 'υμων, γεννωσα εις 'ην επεγγειλαμεθα 'αγιαν εκκλησιαν.

Footnote 171: (return)

Barn. 3. 6.

Footnote 172: (return)

We are also reminded here of the "tertium genus." The nickname of the heathen corresponded to the self-consciousness of the Christians (see Aristides, Apol).

Footnote 173: (return)

See also the letter of Pliny the paragraphs about Christian morality, in the first third part of Justin's apology and especially the apology of Aristides c. 15. Aristides portrays Christianity by portraying Christian morality. The Christians know and believe in God the creator of heaven and of earth, the God by whom all things consist, i.e. in him from whom they have received the commandments which they have written in their hearts commandments, which they observe in faith and in the expectation of the world to come. For this reason they do not commit adultery, nor practise unchastity, nor bear false witness, nor covet that with which they are entrusted or what does not belong to them, etc. Compare how in the Apocalypse of Peter definite penalties in hell are portrayed for the several forms of immorality.

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An investigation of the Greco Jewish Christian literature of norms and moral rules commencing with the Old Testament doctrine of wisdom on the one hand and the Stoic collections on the other then passing beyond the Alexandrian and Evangelic norms up to the Didache, the Pauline tables of domestic duties, the Sibylline sayings, Phocylides, the Neopythagorean rules and to the norms of the enigmatic Sextus, is still an unfulfilled task. The moral rules of the Pharisaic Rabbis should also be included.

Footnote 175: (return)

Herm. Mand. I. has merely fixed the Monotheistic confession προτον παντων πιστευσον, 'οτι εις εστιν 'ο θεος, 'ο τα παντα κτισας και καταρτισας κ.τ.λ. See Praed Petri in Clem Strom VI. 6, 48, VI. 5, 39. Aristides gives in c. 2 of his Apology the preaching of Jesus Christ but where he wishes to give a short expression of Christianity he is satisfied with saying that Christians are those who have found the one true God. See e.g. c. 15.

Christians have found the truth. They know and believe in God the creator of heaven and of earth by whom all things consist and from whom all things come who has no other god beside him and from whom they have received commandments which they have written on their hearts, commandments which they observe in faith and in expectation of the world to come. It is interesting to note how Origen Comm. in Joh. XXXII. 9 has brought the Christological Confession into approximate harmony with that of Hermas. First Mand. I. is verbally repeated and then it is said χρη δε και πιστευειν, 'οτι κυριος Ιησους Χριστος και πασε τη περι αυτου κατα την θεοτητα και την ανθροπωτετα αληθεια δει δε και εις το 'αγιον πιστευειν πνευμα, και 'οτι αυτεξουσιοι οντες κολαζομεθα μεν εφ' 'οις 'αμαρτανομεν τιμωμεθα δε εφ' 'οις ευ πραττομεν.

Footnote 176: (return)

Very instructive here is 2 Clem. ad Corinth. 20, 5 το μονω θεο αορατο, πατρι της αληθειας, τω εξατοστειλαντι 'ημιν τον σωτηρα και αρχηγον της αφθαρσιας, δι' ου και εφανερωσεν 'ημιν την αληθειαν και την επουρανιον ζωην, αυτω 'ε δοξα. On the Holy Spirit see previous note.

Footnote 177: (return)

They were quoted as 'η γραφη, τα βιβλια, or with the formula 'ο θεος (κυριος) λεγει, γεγραπται. Also Law and Prophets. Law Prophets and Psalms. See the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions.

Footnote 178: (return)

See the collection of passages in Patr. App. Opp. edit. Gebhardt. 1. 2 p. 133, and the formula, Diogn. 11: αποστολων γενομενος μαθητης γινομαι διδασκαλος εθνων, τα παραδοθεντα αξιως 'υπηρετων γινομενοις αληθειας μαθηταις. Besides the Old Testament and the traditions about Jesus (Gospels), the Apocalyptic writings of the Jews, which were regarded as writings of the Spirit, were also drawn upon. Moreover, Christian letters and manifestoes proceeding from Apostles, prophets, or teachers, were read. The Epistles of Paul were early collected and obtained wide circulation in the first half of the second century; but they were not Holy Scripture in the specific sense, and therefore their authority was not unqualified.

Footnote 179: (return)

Barn. 5. 6, 'οι προφεται, απο του κυριου εχοντες την χαριν, εις αυτον επροφητευσαν. Ignat. ad Magn. 8. 2. cf. also Clem. Paedag. I. 7. 59: 'ο γαρ αυτος 'ουτος παιδαγωγος τοτε μεν "φοβηθηση κυριον τον θεον ελεγεν, 'ημιν δε αγαπησεις κυριον τον θεον σου" ταρηνεσεν. δια τουτο και εντελλεται 'ημιν "παυσασθε απο των εργων 'υμων" των παλαιων 'αμαρτιων, "μαθετε καλον ποιειν, εκκλινον απο κακου και ποιησον αγαθον, ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην, εμισησας ανομιαν" 'αυτη μου 'η νεα διαθηκη παλαιοι κεχαραγμενη γραμματι.

Footnote 180: (return)

See above § 5, p. 114 f.

Footnote 181: (return)

See my edition of the Didache. Prolegg. p. 32 ff.; Rothe, "De disciplina arcani origine," 1841.

Footnote 182: (return)

The earliest example is 1 Cor. XI. 1 f. It is different in 1 Tim. III. 16, where already the question is about το της ευσεβειας μυστηριον. See Patr. App. Opp. 1. 2. p. 134.

Footnote 183: (return)

Father, son, and spirit: Paul; Matt XXVIII. 19; 1 Clem. ad. Cor. 58. 2 (see 2. 1. f.; 42. 3; 46. 6); Didache 7; Ignat. Eph. 9. 1; Magn. 13. 1. 2.; Philad. inscr.; Mart. Polyc. 14. 1. 2; Ascens. Isai. 8 18:9. 27:10. 4:11. 32ff;, Justin passim; Montan. ap. Didym. de trinit. 411; Excerpta ex Theodot. 80; Pseudo Clem. de virg. 1 13. Yet the omission of the Holy Spirit is frequent, as in Paul, or the Holy Spirit is identified with the Spirit of Christ. The latter takes place even with such writers as are familiar with the baptismal formula. Ignat. ad Magn. 15; κεκτημενοι αδιακριτον πνευμα, 'ος εστιν Ιησους Χριστος..

Footnote 184: (return)

The formulæ run: "God who has spoken through the Prophets," or the "Prophetic Spirit," etc.

Footnote 185: (return)

That should be assumed as certain in the case of the Egyptian Church, yet Caspari thinks he can shew that already Clement of Alexandria presupposes a symbol.

Footnote 186: (return)

Also in the communities of Asia Minor (Smyrna); for a combination of Polyc. Ep. c. 2 with c. 7, proves that in Smyrna the παραδοθεις λογος must have been something like the Roman Symbol, see Lightfoot on the passage; it cannot be proved that it was identical with it. See, further, how in the case of Polycarp the moral element is joined on to the dogmatic. This reminds us of the Didache and has its parallel even in the first homily of Aphraates.

Footnote 187: (return)

See Caspari, Quellen z. Gesch. des Taufsymbols, III. p. 3 ff. and Patr. App. Opp. 1. 2. p 115-142. The old Roman Symbol reads: Πιστευω εις θεον πατερα παντοκρατορα, και εις Χριστον Ιησουν (τον) 'υιον αυτου τον μονογενη, (on this word see Westcott's Excursus in his commentary on 1st John) τον κυριον 'ημων τον γεννηθεντα εκ πνευματος 'αγιου και Μαριας της παρθενου, τον επι Ποντιου Πιλατου σταυρωθεντα και ταφεντα; τη τριτη 'ημεραι ανασταντα εκ νεκρων, αναβαντα εις τους ουρανους, καθημενον εν δεξια του πατρος, 'οθεν ερχεται κριναι ζωντας και νεκρους. και εις πνευμα 'αγιον, 'αγιαν εκκλησιαν, αφεσιν 'αμαρτιων σαρκος αναστασιν, αμην. To estimate this very important article aright we must note the following: (1) It is not a formula of doctrine, but of confession. (2) It has a liturgical form which is shewn in the rhythm and in the disconnected succession of its several members, and is free from everything of the nature of polemic. (3) It tapers off into the three blessings, Holy Church, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body, and in this as well as in the fact that there is no mention of γνωσις (αληθεια) και ζωη αιωνος, is revealed an early Christian untheological attitude. (4) It is worthy of note, on the other hand, that the birth from the Virgin occupies the first place, and all reference to the baptism of Jesus, also to the Davidic Sonship, is wanting. (5) It is further worthy of note, that there is no express mention of the death of Jesus, and that the Ascension already forms a special member (that is also found elsewhere, Ascens. Isaiah, c. 3. 13. ed. Dillmann. p. 13. Murator. Fragment, etc.). Finally, we should consider the want of the earthly Kingdom of Christ and the mission of the twelve Apostles, as well as, on the other hand, the purely religious attitude, no notice being taken of the new law. Zahn (Das Apostol. Symbolum, 1893) assumes, "That in all essential respects the identical baptismal confession which Justin learned in Ephesus about 130, and Marcion confessed in Rome about 145, originated at latest somewhere about 120." In some "unpretending notes" (p. 37 ff.) he traces this confession back to a baptismal confession of the Pauline period ("it had already assumed a more or less stereotyped form in the earlier Apostolic period"), which, however, was somewhat revised, so far as it contained, for example, "of the house of David", with reference to Christ. "The original formula, reminding us of the Jewish soil of Christianity, was thus remodelled, perhaps about 70-120, with retention of the fundamental features, so that it might appear to answer better to the need of candidates for baptism, proceeding more and more from the Gentiles.... This changed formula soon spread on all sides. It lies at the basis of all the later baptismal confessions of the Church, even of the East. The first article was slightly changed in Rome about 200-220." While up till then, in Rome as everywhere else, it had read πιστευω εις 'ενα θεον παντοκρατορα, it was now changed in πιστευω εις θεον πατερα παντοκρατορα. This hypothesis, with regard to the early history of the Roman Symbol, presupposes that the history of the formation of the baptismal confession in the Church, in east and west, was originally a uniform one. This cannot be proved; besides, it is refuted by the facts of the following period. It presupposes secondly, that there was a strictly formulated baptismal confession outside Rome before the middle of the second century, which likewise cannot be proved; (the converse rather is probable, that the fixed formulation proceeded from Rome.) Moreover, Zahn himself retracts everything again by the expression "more or less stereotyped form;" for what is of decisive interest here is the question, when and where the fixed sacred form was produced. Zahn here has set up the radical thesis that it can only have taken place in Rome between 200 and 220. But neither his negative nor his positive proof for a change of the Symbol in Rome at so late a period is sufficient. No sure conclusion as to the Symbol can be drawn from the wavering regulæ fidei of Irenæus and Tertullian which contain the "unum"; further, the "unum" is not found in the western provincial Symbols, which, however, are in part earlier than the year 200. The Romish correction must therefore have been subsequently taken over in the provinces (Africa?). Finally, the formula θεον πατερα παντοκρατορα beside the more frequent θεον παντοκρατορα is attested by Irenæus, I. 10. 1, a decisive passage. With our present means we cannot attain to any direct knowledge of Symbol formation before the Romish Symbol. But the following hypotheses, which I am not able to establish here, appear to me to correspond to the facts of the case and to be fruitful: (1) There were, even in the earliest period, separate Kerygmata about God and Christ: see the Apostolic writings, Hermas, Ignatius, etc. (2) The Kerygma about God was the confession of the one God of creation, the almighty God. (3) The Kerygma about Christ had essentially the same historical contents everywhere, but was expressed in diverse forms: (a) in the form of the fulfilment of prophecy, (b) in the form κατα σαρκα, κατα πνευμα, (c) in the form of the first and second advent, (d) in the form, καταβασ-αναβας; these forms were also partly combined. (4) The designations "Christ", "Son of God" and "Lord"; further, the birth from the Holy Spirit, or κατα πνευμα, the sufferings (the practice of exorcism contributed also to the fixing and naturalising of the formula "crucified under Pontius Pilate"), the death, the resurrection, the coming again to judgment, formed the stereotyped content of the Kerygma about Jesus. The mention of the Davidic Sonship, of the Virgin Mary, of the baptism by John, of the third day, of the descent into Hades, of the demonstratio veræ carnis post resurrectionem, of the ascension into heaven and the sending out of the disciples, were additional articles which appeared here and there. The σαρκα λαβον, and the like, were very early developed out of the forms (b) and (d). All this was already in existence at the transition of the first century to the second. (5) The proper contribution of the Roman community consisted in this, that it inserted the Kerygma about God and that about Jesus into the baptismal formula, widened the clause referring to the Holy Spirit, into one embracing Holy Church, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body, excluded theological theories in other respects, undertook a reduction all round, and accurately defined everything up to the last world. (6) The western regulæ fidei do not fall back exclusively on the old Roman Symbol, but also on the earlier freer Kerygmata about God and about Jesus which were common to the east and west; not otherwise can the regulæ fidei of Irenæus and Tertullian, for example, be explained. But the symbol became more and more the support of the regula. (7) The eastern confessions (baptismal symbols) do not fall back directly on the Roman Symbol, but were probably on the model of this symbol, made up from the provincial Kerygmata, rich in contents and growing ever richer, hardly, however, before the third century. (8) It cannot be proved, and it is not probable, that the Roman Symbol was in existence before Hermas, that is, about 135.

Footnote 188: (return)

See the fragment in Euseb. H. E. III. 39, from the work of Papias.

Footnote 189: (return)

διδαχη κυριον δια των ιβ' αποστολων (Did. inscr.) is the most accurate expression (similarly 2 Pet. III. 2). Instead of this might be said simply 'ο κυριος (Hegesipp.). Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E. IV. 22. 3; See also Steph. Gob.) comprehends the ultimate authorities under the formula: 'ως 'ο νομος κηρυσσει και 'οι προφηται και 'ο κυριος, just as even Pseudo Clem de Virg. I. 2: "Sicut ex lege ac prophetis et a domino nostro Jesu Christo didicimus." Polycarp (6.3) says: καθως αυτος ενετειλατο και 'οι ευαγγελισαμενοι 'ημας αποστολοι και 'οι προφηται 'οι προκηρυξαντες την ελευσιν του κυριου 'ημων. In the second Epistle of Clement (14. 2) we read: τα βιβλια (O.T.) και 'οι αποστολοι, το ευαγγελιον may also stand for 'ο κυριος; (Ignat., Didache. 2 Clem. etc.). The Gospel, so far as it is described, is quoted as τα απομνημονευματα τ. αποστολων (Justin, Tatian), or on the other hand, as 'αι κυριακαι γραφαι, (Dionys. Cor. in Euseb. H. E. IV. 23. 12: at a later period in Tertull. and Clem. Alex.). The words of the Lord, in the same way as the words of God, are called simply τα λογια (κυριακα). The declaration of Serapion at the beginning of the third century (Euseb., H. E. VI. 12. 3): 'ημεις και Πετρον και τους αλλους αποστολους αποδεχομεθα 'ως Χριστον, is an innovation in so far as it puts the words of the Apostles fixed in writing and as distinct from the words of the Lord, on a level with the latter. That is, while differentiating the one from the other, Serapion ascribes to the words of the apostles and those of the Lord equal authority. But the development which led to this position, had already begun in the first century. At a very early period there were read in the communities, beside the Old Testament, Gospels, that is collections of words of the Lord, which at the same time contained the main facts of the history of Jesus. Such notes were a necessity (Luke 1.4; 'ινα επιγνως περι 'ων κατηχηθης λογων την ασφαλειαν), and though still indefinite and in many ways unlike, they formed the germ for the genesis of the New Testament. (See Weiss, Lehrb. d. Einleit in d. N. T. p. 21 ff.). Further there were read Epistles and Manifestoes by apostles, prophets and teachers, but, above all, Epistles of Paul. The Gospels at first stood in no connection with these Epistles, however high they might be prized. But there did exist a connection between the Gospels and the απ' αρχης αυτοπταις και 'υπηρεταις του λογου, so far as these mediated the tradition of the Evangelic material, and on their testimony rests the Kerygma of the Church about the Lord as the Teacher, the crucified and risen One. Here lies the germ for the genesis of a canon which will comprehend the Lord and the Apostles, and will also draw in the Pauline Epistles. Finally, Apocalypses were read as Holy Scriptures.

Footnote 190: (return)

Read, apart from all others, the canonical Gospels, the remains of the so-called Apocryphal Gospels, and perhaps the Shepherd of Hermas: see also the statements of Papias.

Footnote 191: (return)

That Peter was in Antioch follows from Gal. II.; that he laboured in Corinth, perhaps before the composition of the first epistle to the Corinthians, is not so improbable as is usually maintained (1 Cor.; Dionys. of Corinth); that he was at Rome even is very credible. The sojourn of John in Asia Minor cannot, I think, be contested.

Footnote 192: (return)

See how in the three early "writings of Peter" (Gospel, Apocalypse, Kerygma) the twelve are embraced in a perfect unity. Peter is the head and spokesman for them all.

Footnote 193: (return)

See Papias and the Reliq. Presbyter, ap. Iren., collecta in Patr. Opp. I. 2, p. 105: see also Zahn, Forschungen. III., p. 156 f.

Footnote 194: (return)

The Gentile-Christian conception of the significance of the twelve—a fact to be specially noted—was all but unanimous (see above Chap. II.): the only one who broke through it was Marcion. The writers of Asia Minor, Rome and Egypt coincide in this point. Beside the Acts of the Apostles, which is specially instructive, see 1 Clem. 42; Barn 5. 9, 8. 3: Didache inscr.; Hermas, Vis. III. 5, 11; Sim. IX. 15, 16, 17, 25; Petrusev-Petrusapok. Præd. Petr. ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48; Ignat. ad Trall. 3; ad Rom 4; ad Philad. 5; Papias; Polyc., Aristides; Justin passim; inferences from the great work of Irenæus, the works of Tertull. and Clem. Alex; the Valentinians. The inference that follows from the eschatological hope, that the Gospel has already been preached to the world, and the growing need of having a tradition mediated by eye-witnesses co-operated here, and out of the twelve who were in great part obscure, but who had once been authoritative in Jerusalem and Palestine, and highly esteemed in the Christian Diaspora from the beginning, though unknown, created a court of appeal, which presented itself as not only taking a second rank after the Lord himself, but as the medium through which alone the words of the Lord became the possession of Christendom, as he neither preached to the nations nor left writings. The importance of the twelve in the main body of the Church may at any rate be measured by the facts, that the personal activity of Jesus was confined to Palestine, that he left behind him neither a confession nor a doctrine, and that in this respect the tradition tolerated no more corrections. Attempts which were made in this direction, the fiction of a semi-Gentile origin of Christ, the denial of the Davidic Sonship, the invention of a correspondence between Jesus and Abgarus, meetings of Jesus with Greeks, and much else, belong only in part to the earliest period, and remained as really inoperative as they were uncertain (according to Clem. Alex., Jesus himself is the Apostle to the Jews; the twelve are the Apostles to the Gentiles in Euseb. H. E. VI. 141). The notion about the twelve Apostles evangelising the world in accordance with the commission of Jesus, is consequently to be considered as the means by which the Gentile Christians got rid of the inconvenient fact of the merely local activity of Jesus (compare how Justin expresses himself about the Apostles: their going out into all the world is to him one of the main articles predicted in the Old Testament, Apol. 1. 39; compare also the Apology of Aristides, c. 2, and the passage of similar tenor in the Ascension of Isaiah, where the "adventus XII. discipulorum" is regarded as one of the fundamental facts of salvation, c. 3. 13, ed. Dillmann, p 13, and a passage such as Iren. fragm. XXIX. in Harvey II., p. 494, where the parable about the grain of mustard seed is applied to the λογος επουρανιος and the twelve Apostles; the Apostles are the branches 'υπ' 'ων κλαδων σκεπασθεντες 'οι παντες 'ως ορνεα 'υπο καλιαν συνελθοντα μετελαβον της εξ αυτων προερχομενης εδωδιμου και επουρανιου τροφης Hippol. de Antichr. 61. Orig. c. Cels. III. 28). This means, as it was empty of contents, was very soon to prove the most convenient instrument for establishing ever new historical connections, and legitimising the status quo in the communities. Finally, the whole catholic idea of tradition was rooted in that statement which was already, at the close of the first century, formulated by Clement of Rome (c. 42): 'οι αποστολοι 'ημιν ευηγγελισθησαν απο του κυριου Ιησου Χριστου, Ιησους 'ο χριστος απο του θεου εξεπεμφθη. 'ο χριστος ουν απο του θεου, και 'οι αποστολοι απο του Χριστου; εγενοντο ουν αμφοτερα ευτακτως εκ θεληματος θεου, κ.τ.λ. Here, as in all similar statements which elevate the Apostles into the history of revelation, the unanimity of all the Apostles is always presupposed, so that the statement of Clem. Alex. (Strom VII., 17, 108: μια 'η παντων γεγονε των αποστολων 'ωσπερ διδασκαλια 'ουτως δε και 'η παραδοσις, see Tertull., de præscr. 32: "Apostoli non diversa inter se docuerent," Iren. alii), contains no innovation, but gives expression to an old idea: That the twelve unitedly proclaimed one and the same message, that they proclaimed it to the world, that they were chosen to this vocation by Christ, that the communities possess the witness of the Apostles as their rule of conduct (Excerp. ex Theod. 25 'οσπερ 'υπο των ζωδιον 'η γενεσις διοικειται 'ουτως 'υπο των αποστολων 'η αναγεννησις) are authoritative theses which can be traced back as far as we have any remains of Gentile-Chnstian literature. It was thereby presupposed that the unanimous kerygma of the twelve Apostles which the communities possess as κανων της παραδοσεως (1 Clem. 7), was public and accessible to all. Yet the idea does not seem to have been everywhere kept at a distance that besides the kerygma a still deeper knowledge was transmitted by the Apostles or by certain Apostles to particular Christians who were specially gifted. Of course we have no direct evidence of this, but the connection in which certain Gnostic unions stood at the beginning with the communities developing themselves to Catholicism and inferences from utterances of later writers (Clem. Alex. Tertull.), make it probable that this conception was present in the communities here and there even in the age of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. It may be definitely said that the peculiar idea of tradition (θεος—χριστος—'οι δοδεκα αποστολοι—εκκλησιαι) in the Gentile Churches is very old but that it was still limited in its significance at the beginning and was threatened (1) by a wider conception of the idea 'Apostle' (besides, the fact is important that Asia Minor and Rome were the very places where a stricter idea of Apostle made its appearance. See my Edition of the Didache, p. 117), (2) by free prophets and teachers moved by the Spirit, who introduced new conceptions and rules and whose word was regarded as the word of God, (3) by the assumption not always definitely rejected, that besides the public tradition of the kerygma there was a secret tradition. That Paul as a rule was not included in this high estimate of the Apostles is shewn by this fact among others, that the earlier Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles are much less occupied with his person than with the rest of the Apostles. The features of the old legends which make the Apostles in their deeds, their fate, nay even in appearance as far as possible, equal to the person of Jesus himself deserve special consideration (see, for example the descent of the Apostles into hell in Herm. Sim. IX. 16), for it is just here that the fact above established that the activity of the Apostles was to make up for the want of the activity of Jesus himself among the nations stands clearly out (See Acta Johannis ed. Zahn p 246 'ο εκλεξαμενος 'ημας εις αποστολην εθνων 'ο εκπεμψας 'ημας εις την οικουμενεν θεος 'ο δειξας 'εαυτον δια των αποστολων also the remarkable declaration of Origen about the Chronicle of Phlegon [Hadrian], that what holds good of Christ, is in that Chronicle transferred to Peter; finally we may recall to mind the visions in which an Apostle suddenly appears as Christ). Between the judgment of value 'ημεις τους αποστολους αποδεχομεθα 'ως Χριστον and those creations of fancy in which the Apostles appear as gods and demigods there is certainly a great interval but it can be proved that there are stages lying between these extreme points. It is therefore permissible to call to mind here the oldest Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles although they may have originated almost completely in Gnostic circles (see also the Pistis Sophia which brings a metaphysical theory to the establishment of the authority of the Apostles, p. 11, 14; see Texte u Unters VII. 2 p. 61 ff.). Gnosticism here as frequently elsewhere is related to common Christianity as excess progressing to the invention of a myth with a tendency to a historical theorem determined by the effort to maintain one's own position; cf. the article from the kerygma of Peter in Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48 Εξελεξαμην 'υμας δωδεκα μαθητας, κ.τ.λ. the introduction to the basal writing of the first 6 books of the Apostolic Constitutions and the introduction to the Egyptian ritual, κατα κελευσιν του κυριου 'υμων κ.τ.λ. Besides it must be admitted that the origin of the idea of tradition and its connection with the twelve is obscure; what is historically reliable here has still to be investigated, even the work of Seufert (Der Urspr. u. d. Bedeutung des Apostolats in der christl Kirche der ersten zwei Jahrhunderte, 1887) has not cleared up the dark points. We will perhaps get more light by following the important hint given by Weizsäcker (Apost. Age p. 13 ff.) that Peter was the first witness of the resurrection, and was called such in the kerygma of the communities (see 1 Cor. XV., 5 Luke XXIV. 34). The twelve Apostles are also further called 'οι περι τον Πετρον (Mrc. fin. in L Ign. ad Smyrn. 3, cf. Luke VIII. 45, Acts II. 14, Gal. I. 18 f., 1 Cor. XV. 5), and it is a correct historical reminiscence when Chrysostom says (Hom. in Joh. 88), 'ο Πετρος εκηριτος ην των αποστολων και στομα των μαθητων και κορυφη του χορου. Now as Peter was really in personal relation with important Gentile-Christian communities, that which held good of him, the recognized head and spokesman of the twelve, was perhaps transferred to these. One has finally to remember that besides the appeal to the twelve there was in the Gentile Churches an appeal to Peter and Paul (but not for the evangelic kerygma) which has a certain historical justification, cf. Gal. II. 8, 1 Cor. I. 12 f., IX. 5, 1 Clem. Ign. ad Rom. 4 and the numerous later passages. Paul in claiming equality with Peter, though Peter was the head and mouth of the twelve and had himself been active in mission work, has perhaps contributed most towards spreading the authority of the twelve. It is notable how rarely we find any special appeal to John in the tradition of the main body of the Church. For the middle of the 2nd century the authority of the twelve Apostles may be expressed in the following statements: (1) They were missionaries for the world, (2) They ruled the Church and established Church Offices, (3) They guaranteed the true doctrine (a) by the tradition going back to them, (b) by writings, (4) They are the ideals of Christian life, (5) They are also directly mediators of salvation—though this point is uncertain.

Footnote 195: (return)

See Didache c. 1-10, with parallel passages.

Footnote 196: (return)

Cf., for example, the first epistle of Clement to the Corinthians with the Shepherd of Hermas. Both documents originated in Rome.

Footnote 197: (return)

Compare how dogmatic and ethical elements are inseparably united in the Shepherd, in first and second Clement, as well as in Polycarp and Justin.

Footnote 198: (return)

Note the hymnal parts of the Revelation of John, the great prayer with which the first epistle of Clement closes, the "carmen dicere Christo quasi deo," reported by Pliny, the eucharist prayer in the διδαχη, the hymn 1 Tim. III. 16, the fragments from the prayers which Justin quotes, and compare with these the declaration of the anonymous writer in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 5, that the belief of the earliest Christians in the Deity of Christ might be proved from the old Christian hymns and odes. In the epistles of Ignatius the theology frequently consists of an aimless stringing together of articles manifestly originating in hymns and the cultus.

Footnote 199: (return)

The prophet and teacher express what the Spirit of God suggests to them. Their word is therefore God's word, and their writings, in so far as they apply to the whole of Christendom, are inspired, holy writings. Further, not only does Acts XV. 22 f. exhibit the formula εδοξεν τω πνευματι τω 'αγιω και 'ημιν (see similar passages in the Acts), but the Roman writings also appeal to the Holy Spirit (1 Clem. 63. 2): likewise Barnabas, Ignatius, etc. Even in the controversy about the baptism of heretics a Bishop gave his vote with the formula: "secundum motum animi mei et spiritus sancti" (Cypr. Opp. ed. Hartel, I. p. 457).

Footnote 200: (return)

The so-called Chiliasm—the designation is unsuitable and misleading—is found wherever the Gospel is not yet Hellenised (see, for example, Barn. 4. 15; Hermas; 2 Clem.; Papias [Euseb. III. 39]; διδαχη, 10. 16; Apoc. Petri; Justin. Dial. 32, 51, 80, 82, 110, 139; Cerinthus), and must be regarded as a main element of the Christian preaching (see my article "Millenium" in the Encycl. Brit.) In it lay not the least of the power of Christianity in the first century, and the means whereby it entered the Jewish propaganda in the Empire and surpassed it. The hopes springing out of Judaism were at first but little modified, that is, only so far as the substitution of the Christian communities for the nation of Israel made modification necessary. In all else even the details of the Jewish hopes of the future were retained, and the extra-canonical Jewish Apocalypses (Esra, Enoch, Baruch, Moses, etc.) were diligently read alongside of Daniel. Their contents were in part joined on to sayings of Jesus and they served as models for similar productions (here therefore an enduring connection with the Jewish religion is very plain). In the Christian hopes of the future as in the Jewish eschatology may be distinguished essential and accidental fixed and fluid elements. To the former belong: (1) the notion of a final fearful conflict with the powers of the world which is just about to break out το τελειον σκανδαλον εγγικεν, (2) belief in the speedy return of Christ, (3) the conviction that after conquering the secular power (this was variously conceived as God's Ministers as that which restrains—2 Thess. II. 6, as a pure kingdom of Satan see the various estimates in Justin, Melito, Irenæus and Hippolytus) Christ will establish a glorious kingdom on the earth and will raise the saints to share in that kingdom, and (4) that he will finally judge all men. To the fluid elements belong the notions of the Antichrist or of the secular power culminating in the Antichrist as well as notions about the place, the extent, and the duration of Christ's glorious kingdom. But it is worthy of special note that Justin regarded the belief that Christ will set up his kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it will endure for 1000 years, as a necessary element of orthodoxy, though he confesses he knew Christians who did not share this belief, while they did not like the pseudo Christians reject also the resurrection of the body (the promise of Montanus that Christ's kingdom would be let down at Pepuza and Tymion is a thing by itself and answers to the other promises and pretensions of Montanus). The resurrection of the body is expressed in the Roman Symbol while very notably the hope of Christ's earthly kingdom is not there mentioned (see above p. 157). The great inheritance which the Gentile Christian communities received from Judaism is the eschatological hopes along with the Monotheism assured by revelation and belief in providence. The law as a national law was abolished. The Old Testament became a new book in the hands of the Gentile Christians. On the contrary the eschatological hopes in all their details and with all the deep shadows which they threw on the state and public life were at first received and maintained themselves in wide circles pretty much unchanged and only succumbed in some of their details—just as in Judaism—to the changes which resulted from the constant change of the political situation. But these hopes were also destined in great measure to pass away after the settlement of Christianity on Græco-Roman soil. We may set aside the fact that they did not occupy the foreground in Paul, for we do not know whether this was of importance for the period that followed. But that Christ would set up the kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it would be an earthly kingdom with sensuous enjoyments—these and other notions contend on the one hand with the vigorous antijudaism of the communities, and on the other with the moralistic spiritualism, in the pure carrying out of which the Gentile Christians in the East at least increasingly recognised the essence of Christianity. Only the vigorous world renouncing enthusiasm which did not permit the rise of moralistic spiritualism and mysticism, and the longing for a time of joy and dominion that was born of it, protected for a long time a series of ideas which corresponded to the spiritual disposition of the great multitude of converts only at times of special oppression. Moreover the Christians in opposition to Judaism were, as a rule, instructed to obey magistrates whose establishment directly contradicted the judgment of the state contained in the Apocalypses. In such a conflict however that judgment necessarily conquers at last which makes as little change as possible in the existing forms of life. A history of the gradual attenuation and subsidence of eschatologlcal hopes in the II.-IV. centuries can only be written in fragments. They have rarely—at best by fits and starts—marked out the course. On the contrary if I may say so they only gave the smoke, for the course was pointed out by the abiding elements of the Gospel, trust in God and the Lord Christ, the resolution to a holy life, and a firm bond of brotherhood. The quiet gradual change, in which the eschatologlcal hopes passed away fell into the background or lost important parts, was on the other hand a result of deep reaching changes in the faith and life of Christendom. Chiliasm as a power was broken up by speculative mysticism and on that account very much later in the West than in the East. But speculative mysticism has its centre in christology. In the earliest period this as a theory belonged more to the defence of religion than to religion itself. Ignatius alone was able to reflect on that transference of power from Christ which Paul had experienced. The disguises in which the apocalyptic eschatologlcal prophecies were set forth belonged in part to the form of this literature (in so far as one could easily be given the lie if he became too plain or in so far as the prophet really saw the future only in large outline) partly it had to be chosen in order not to give political offence. See Hippol. comm. in Daniel (Georgiades, p. 49, 51. νοειν οφειλομεν τα κατα καιρον συμβαινοντα και ειδοτας σιωπαν), but above all Constantine orat. ad s. coetum 19, on some verses of Virgil which are interpreted in a Christian sense but that none of the rulers in the capital might be able to accuse their author of violating the laws of the state with his poetry or of destroying the traditional ideas of the procedure about the gods he concealed the truth under a veil. That holds good also of the Apocalyptists and the poets of the Christian Sibylline sayings.

Footnote 201: (return)

The hope of the resurrection of the body (1 Clem. 26. 3 αναστεσεις τεν σαρκα μου ταυτεν, Herm. Sim. V. 7. 2 βλεπε μητοτε αναβη επι την καρδιαν σου την σαρκα σου ταυτην φθαρτην ειναι. Barn. 5. 6 f., 21. 1, 2 Clem. 9. 1 και μη λεγετω τις 'υμων οτι 'αυτη 'η σαρξ ου κρινεται ουδε ανισταται. Polyc. Ep. 7. 2, Justin Dial. 80, etc.) finds its place originally in the hope of a share in the glorious kingdom of Christ. It therefore disappears or is modified wherever that hope itself falls into the background. But it finally asserted itself through out and became of independent importance in a new structure of eschatologlcal expectations in which it attained the significance of becoming the specific conviction of Christian faith. With the hope of the resurrection of the body was originally connected the hope of a happy life in easy blessedness under green trees in magnificent fields with joyous feeding flocks and flying angels clothed in white. One must read the Revelation of Peter the Shepherd or the Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas in order to see how entirely the fancy of many Christians and not merely of those who were uncultured dwelt in a fairyland in which they caught sight now of the Ancient of days and now of the Youthful Shepherd Christ. The most fearful delineations of the torments of Hell formed the reverse side to this. We now know through the Apocalypse of Peter, how old these delineations are.

Footnote 202: (return)

The perfect knowledge of the truth and eternal life are connected in the closest way (see p. 144, note 1) because the Father of truth is also Prince of life (see Diognet. 12: ουδε γαρ ζωη ανευ γνωσεως ουδε γνωσις ασφαλης ανευ ζωης αληθους διο πλησιον εκατερον πεφυτευται, see also what follows). The classification is a Hellenic one, which has certainly penetrated also into Palestinian Jewish theology. It may be reckoned among the great intuitions, which in the fulness of the times, united the religious and reflective minds of all nations. The Pauline formula, "Where there is forgiveness of sin, there also is life and salvation", had for centuries no distinct history. But the formula, "Where there is truth, perfect knowledge, there also is eternal life", has had the richest history in Christendom from the beginning. Quite apart from John, it is older than the theology of the Apologists (see, for example, the Supper prayer in the Didache, 9. 10, where there is no mention of the forgiveness of sin, but thanks are given, 'υπερ της γνωσεως και πιστεως και αθανασιας 'ης εγνωρισεν 'ημιν 'ο θεος δια Ιησου, or 'υπερ της ζωης και γνωσεως, and 1 Clem. 36. 2: δια τουτο ηθελησεν 'ο δεσποτες της αθανατου γνωσεως 'ημας γευσασθαι). It is capable of a very manifold content, and has never made its way in the Church without reservations, but so far as it has we may speak of a hellenising of Christianity. This is shewn most clearly in the fact that the αθανασια, identical with αφθαρσια and ζωη αιωνιος, as is proved by their being often interchanged, gradually supplanted the βασιλεια του θεου (χριστου) and thrust it out of the sphere of religious intuition and hope into that of religious speech. It should also be noted, at the same time, that in the hope of eternal life which is bestowed with the knowledge of the truth, the resurrection of the body is by no means with certainty included. It is rather added to it (see above) from another series of ideas. Conversely, the words ζωην αιωνιον were first added to the words σαρκος αναστασιν in the western Symbols at a comparatively late period, while in the prayers they are certainly very old.

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Even the assumption of such a remission is fundamentally in contradiction with moralism; but that solitary remission of sin was not called in question, was rather regarded as distinctive of the new religion, and was established by an appeal to the omnipotence and special goodness of God, which appears just in the calling of sinners. In this calling, grace as grace is exhausted (Barn. 5. 9; 2 Clem. 2. 4-7). But this grace itself seems to be annulled, inasmuch as the sins committed before baptism were regarded as having been committed in a state of ignorance (Tertull. de bapt. I.: delicta pristinæ cæcitatis), on account of which it seemed worthy of God to forgive them, that is, to accept the repentance which followed on the ground of the new knowledge. So considered, everything, in point of fact, amounts to the gracious gift of knowledge, and the memory of the saying, "Jesus receiveth sinners", is completely obscured. But the tradition of this saying and many like it, and above all, the religious instinct, where it was more powerfully stirred, did not permit a consistent development of that moralistic conception. See for this, Hermas, Sim. V. 7. 3: περι των προτερων αγνοηματων τω θεω μονω δυνατον ιασιν δουναι; αυτου γαρ εστι πασα εξουσια. Præd. Petri ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 48: 'οσα εν αγνοια τις 'υμων εποιησεν μη ειδως σαφως τον θεον, εαν επιγνους μετανοησηι, παντα αυτω αφεθησεται τα 'αμαρτηματα. Aristides, Apol. 17: "The Christians offer prayers (for the unconverted Greeks) that they may be converted from their error. But when one of them is converted he is ashamed before the Christians of the works which he has done. And he confesses to God, saying: 'I have done these things in ignorance.' And he cleanses his heart, and his sins are forgiven him, because he had done them in ignorance, in the earlier period when he mocked and jeered at the true knowledge of the Christians." Exactly the same in Tertull. de pudic. so. init. The statement of this same writer (1. c. fin), "Cessatio delicti radix est veniæ, ut venia sit pænitentiæ fructus", is a pregnant expression of the conviction of the earliest Gentile Christians.

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This idea appears with special prominence in the Epistle of Barnabas (see 6. 11. 14); the new formation (αναπλασσειν) results through the forgiveness of sin. In the moralistic view the forgiveness of sin is the result of the renewal that is spontaneously brought about on the ground of knowledge shewing itself in penitent feeling.

Footnote 205: (return)

Barn. 2. 6, and my notes on the passage.

Footnote 206: (return)

James I. 25.

Footnote 207: (return)

Hermas. Sim. VIII. 3. 2; Justin Dial. II. 43; Præd. Petri in Clem., Strom. I. 29. 182; II. 15. 68.

Footnote 208: (return)

Didache, c. 1., and my notes on the passage (Prolegg. p. 45 f.).

Footnote 209: (return)

The concepts, επαγγελια, γνωσις, νομος, form the Triad on which the later catholic conception of Christianity is based, though it can be proved to have been in existence at an earlier period. That πιστις must everywhere take the lead was undoubted, though we must not think of the Pauline idea of πιστις. When the Apostolic Fathers reflect upon faith, which, however, happens only incidentally, they mean a holding for true of a sum of holy traditions, and obedience to them, along with the hope that their consoling contents will yet be fully revealed. But Ignatius speaks like a Christian who knows what he possesses in faith in Christ, that is, in confidence in him. In Barn. 1, Polyc. Ep. 2, we find "faith, hope, love"; in Ignatius, "faith and love." Tertullian, in an excellent exposition, has shewn how far patience is a temper corresponding to Christian faith (see besides the Epistle of James).

Footnote 210: (return)

See Lipsius De Clementis R. ep. ad. Cor. priore disquis. 1855. It would be in point of method inadmissible to conclude from the fact that in 1 Clem. Pauline formulæ are relatively most faithfully produced, that Gentile Christianity generally understood Pauline theology at first, but gradually lost this understanding in the course of two generations.

Footnote 211: (return)

Formally: τηρησατε την σαρκα αγνην και την σφραγιδα ασπιλον (2 Clem. 8. 6).

Footnote 212: (return)

Hermas (Mand. IV. 3) and Justin presuppose it. Hermas of course sought and found a way of meeting the results of that idea which were threatening the Church with decimation; but he did not question the idea itself. Because Christendom is a community of saints which has in its midst the sure salvation, all its members—this is the necessary inference—must lead a sinless life.

Footnote 213: (return)

The formula, "righteousness by faith alone", was really repressed in the second century; but it could not be entirely destroyed: see my Essay, "Gesch. d. Seligkeit allein durch den Glauben in der alten K." Ztsch. f. Theol. u Kirche. I. pp. 82-105.

Footnote 214: (return)

The only thorough discussion of the use of the Old Testament by an Apostolic Father, and of its authority, that we possess, is Wrede's "Untersuchungen zum 1 Clemensbrief" (1891). Excellent preliminary investigations, which, however, are not everywhere quite reliable, may be found in Hatch's Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889. Hatch has taken up again the hypothesis of earlier scholars, that there were very probably in the first and second centuries systematised extracts from the Old Testament (see p. 203-214). The hypothesis is not yet quite established (see Wrede, above work, p. 65), but yet it is hardly to be rejected. The Jewish catechetical and missionary instruction in the Diaspora needed such collections, and their existence seem to be proved by the Christian Apologies and the Sybilline books.

Footnote 215: (return)

It is an extremely important fact that the words of the Lord were quoted and applied in their literal sense (that is chiefly for the statement of Christian morality) by Ecclesiastical authors, almost without exception, up to and inclusive of Justin. It was different with the theologians of the age, that is the Gnostics, and the Fathers from Irenæus.

Footnote 216: (return)

Justin was not the first to do so, for it had already been done by the so-called Barnabas (see especially c. 13) and others. On the proofs from prophecy see my Texte und Unters. Bd. I. 3. pp. 56-74. The passage in the Praed. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 15. 128) is very complete: 'Ημις αναπτιξαντες τας βιβλους τας ειχομεν των προφητων, 'α μεν δια παραβολων 'α δε δια αινιγματων, 'α δε αυθεντικως και αυτολεξει τον Χριστον Ιησουν ονομαζοντων, ευρομεν και την παρουσιαν αυτου και τον θανατον και τον σταυρον και τας λοιπας κολασεις πασας, 'οσας εποιησαν αυτω 'οι Ιουδαιοι, και την εγερσιν και την εις ουρανους αναληψιν προ του 'ιερσολυμα κριθηναι, καθως εγεγραπτο ταυτα παντα 'α εδει αυτον παθειν και μετ' αυτον 'α εσται; ταυτα ουν επιγνοντες επιστευσαμεν τω θεω δια των γεγραμμεννων εις αυτον. With the help of the Old Testament the teachers dated back the Christian religion to the beginning of the human race, and joined the preparations for the founding of the Christian community with the creation of the world. The Apologists were not the first to do so, for Barnabas and Hermas, and before these, Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and others had already done the same. This was undoubtedly to the cultured classes one of the most impressive articles in the missionary preaching. The Christian religion in this way got a hold which the others—with the exception of the Jewish—lacked. But for that very reason, we must guard against turning it into a formula, that the Gentile Christians had comprehended the Old Testament essentially through the scheme of prediction and fulfilment. The Old Testament is certainly the book of predictions, but for that very reason the complete revelation of God which needs no additions and excludes subsequent changes. The historical fulfilment only proves to the world the truth of those revelations. Even the scheme of shadow and reality is yet entirely out of sight. In such circumstances the question necessarily arises, as to what independent meaning and significance Christ's appearance could have, apart from that confirmation of the Old Testament. But, apart from the Gnostics, a surprisingly long time passed before this question was raised, that is to say, it was not raised till the time of Irenæus.

Footnote 217: (return)

See διδαχη, 8.

Footnote 218: (return)

See the Revelation of John II. 9; III. 9; but see also the "Jews" in the Gospels of John and of Peter. The latter exonerates Pilate almost completely, and makes the Jews and Herod responsible for the crucifixion.

Footnote 219: (return)

See Barn. 9. 4. In the second epistle of Clement the Jews are called: 'οι δοκιουντες εχειν θεον, cf. Præd. Petri in Clem., Strom. VI. 5. 41: μηδε κατα Ιουδαιους σεβεσθε, και γαρ εκεινοι μονοι οιομενοι τον θεον γιγνωσκειν ουκ επιστανται, λατρευοντες αγγελοις και αρχαγγελοις, μηνι και σεληνη, και εαν μη σεληνη φανηι, σαββατον ουκ αγουσι το λεγομενον πρωτον, ουδε νεομηνιαν αγουσιν, ουδε αζυμα, ουδε 'εορτην, ουδε μεγαλην 'ημερα. (Cf. Diognet. 34.) Even Justin does not judge the Jews more favourably than the Gentiles, but less favourably; see Apol I. 37, 39, 43, 34, 47, 53, 60. On the other hand, Aristides (Apol. c. 14, especially in the Syrian text) is much more friendly disposed to the Jews and recognises them more. The words of Pionius against and about the Jews, in the "Acta Pionii," c. 4, are very instructive.

Footnote 220: (return)

Barn. 4. 6. f.; 14. 1 f. The author of Præd. Petri must have had a similar view of the matter.

Footnote 221: (return)

Justin in the Dialogue with Trypho.

Footnote 222: (return)

Barn. 9 f. It is a thorough misunderstanding of Barnabas' position towards the Old Testament to suppose it possible to pass over his expositions, c. 6-10, as oddities and caprices, and put them aside as indifferent or unmethodical. There is nothing here unmethodical, and therefore nothing arbitrary. Barnabas' strictly spiritual idea of God, and the conviction that all (Jewish) ceremonies are of the devil, compel his explanations. These are so little ingenious conceits to Barnabas that, but for them, he would have been forced to give up the Old Testament altogether. The account, for example, of Abraham having circumcised his slaves would have forced Barnabas to annul the whole authority of the Old Testament if he had not succeeded in giving it a particular interpretation. He does this by combining other passages of Genesis with the narrative, and then finding in it no longer circumcision, but a prediction of the crucified Christ.

Footnote 223: (return)

Barn. 9. 6: αλλ' ερεις, και μην περιτετμηται 'ο λαος εις σφραγιδα.

Footnote 224: (return)

See the expositions of Justin in the Dial. (especially, 16, 18, 20, 30, 40-46); Von Engelhardt, "Christenthum Justin's", p. 429, ff. Justin has the three estimates side by side. (1) That the ceremonial law was a pædagogic measure of God with reference to a stiff-necked people, prone to idolatry. (2) That it—like circumcision—was to make the people conspicuous for the execution of judgment, according to the Divine appointment. (3) That in the ceremonial legal worship of the Jews is exhibited the special depravity and wickedness of the nation. But Justin conceived the Decalogue as the natural law of reason, and therefore definitely distinguished it from the ceremonial law.

Footnote 225: (return)

See Ztschr fur K.G. I., p. 330 f.

Footnote 226: (return)

This is the unanimous opinion of all writers of the post-Apostolic age. Christians are the true Israel; and therefore all Israel's predicates of honour belong to them. They are the twelve tribes, and therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the Fathers of the Christians. This idea, about which there was no wavering, cannot everywhere be traced back to the Apostle Paul. The Old Testament men of God were in a certain measure Christians. See Ignat. Magn. 8. 2: 'οι προφηται κατα Χριστον Ιησουν εζησαν.

Footnote 227: (return)

God was naturally conceived and represented as corporeal by uncultured Christians, though not by these alone, as the later controversies prove (e.g., Orig. contra Melito; see also Tertull. De anima). In the case of the cultured, the idea of a corporeality of God may be traced back to Stoic influences; in the case of the uncultured, popular ideas co-operated with the sayings of the Old Testament literally understood, and the impression of the Apocalyptic images.

Footnote 228: (return)

See Joh. IV. 22, 'ημεις προσκυνουμεν 'ο οιδαμεν. 1 Clem. 59. 3, 4, Herm. Mand. I., Præd Petri in Clem., Strom. VI. 5. 9 γινωσκετε 'οτι εις θεος εστιν, 'ος αρχην παντων εποιησεν, και τελους εξουσιαν εχων. Aristides Apol. 15 (Syr) "The Christians know and believe in God, the creator of heaven and of earth." Chap. 16 "Christians as men who know God pray to him for things which it becomes him to give and them to receive." Similarly Justin: "From very many old Gentile Christian writings we hear it as a cry of joy 'We know God the Almighty, the night of blindness is past'" (see, e.g., 2 Clem. c. 1). God is δεσποτης, a designation which is very frequently used (it is rare in the New Testament). Still more frequently do we find κυριος. As the Lord and Creator God is also called the Father (of the world) so 1 Clem. 19. 2 'ο πατηρ και κτιστης του συμπαντος κοσμου; 35. 3 δημιουργος και πατηρ των αιωνων. This use of the name Father for the supreme God was as is well known familiar to the Greeks, but the Christians alone were in earnest with the name. The creation out of nothing was made decidedly prominent by Hermas, see Vis. I. 1. 6 and my notes on the passage. In the Christian Apocrypha, in spite of the vividness of the idea of God, the angels play the same rôle as in the Jewish, and as in the current Jewish speculations. According to Hermas, e.g., all God's actions are mediated by special angels, nay the Son of God himself is represented by a special angel, viz. Michael, and works by him. But outside the Apocalypses there seems to have been little interest in the good angels.

Footnote 229: (return)

See, for example 1 Clem. 20.

Footnote 230: (return)

This is frequent in the Apologists, see also Diogn. 10. 2; but Hermas, Vis. II. 4. 1 (see also Cels. ap Orig. IV. 23) says δια την εκκλησιαν 'ο κοσμος κατηρτισθη (cf. I. 1. 6 and my notes on the passage). Aristides (Apol. 16) declares it as his conviction that "the beautiful things, that is, the world are maintained only for the sake of Christians," see besides the words (I. c.), "I have no doubt that the earth continues to exist (only) on account of the prayers of the Christians." Even the Jewish Apocalyptists wavered between the formulæ, that the world was created for the sake of man and for the sake of the Jewish nation. The two are not mutually exclusive. The statement in the Eucharistic prayer of Didache, 9. 3 εκτισας τα παντα 'ενεκεν του ονοματος σου is singular.

Footnote 231: (return)

God is named the Father, (1) in relation to the Son (very frequent) (2) as Father of the world (see above) (3) as the merciful one who has proved his goodness, declared his will and called Christians to be his sons (1 Clem. 23. 1, 29. 1, 2 Clem. 1. 4, 8. 4, 10. 1, 14. 1, see the index to Zahn's edition of the Ignatian Epistles, Didache, 1. 5, 9. 2, 3, 10. 2). The latter usage is not very common, it is entirely wanting for example in the Epistle of Barnabas. Moreover God is also called πατηρ της αληθειας as the source of all truth (2 Clem. 3. 1, 20. 5 θεος το αληθειας). The identity of the Almighty God of creation with the merciful God of redemption is the tacit presupposition of all declarations about God in the case of both the cultured and the uncultured. It is also frequently expressed (see above all the Pastoral Epistles), most frequently by Hermas (Vis. 1. 3. 4) so far as the declaration about the creation of the world is there united in the closest way with that about the creation of the Holy Church. As to the designation of God in the Roman Symbol as the "Father Almighty," that threefold exposition just given, may perhaps allow it.

Footnote 232: (return)

The present dominion of evil demons or of one evil demon, was just as generally presupposed as man's need of redemption, which was regarded as a result of that dominion. The conviction that the world's course (the πολιτεια εν τω κοσμω, the Latins afterwards used the word Sæculum) is determined by the devil, and that the dark one (Barnabas) has dominion, comes out most prominently where eschatological hopes obtain expression. But where salvation is thought of as knowledge and immortality, it is ignorance and frailty from which men are to be delivered. We may here also assume with certainty that these, in the last instance, were traced back by the writers to the action of demons. But it makes a very great difference whether the judgment was ruled by fancy which saw a real devil everywhere active, or whether, in consequence of theoretic reflection, it based the impression of universal ignorance and mortality on the assumption of demons who have produced them. Here again we must note the two series of ideas which intertwine and struggle with each other in the creeds of the earliest period, the traditional religious series resting on a fanciful view of history—it is essentially identical with the Jewish Apocalyptic, see, for example Barn 4—and the empiric moralistic, (see 2 Clem. 1. 2-7, as a specially valuable discussion, or Praed. Petri in Clem, Strom. VI. 5, 39, 40), which abides by the fact that men have fallen into ignorance, weakness and death (2 Clem. 1. 6 'ο βιος 'ημων 'ολος αλλο ουδεν ην ει μη θανατος). But perhaps, in no other point, with the exception of the αναστασις σαρκος has the religious conception remained so tenacious as in this and it decidedly prevailed, especially in the epoch with which we are now dealing. Its tenacity may be explained, among other things, by the living impression of the polytheism that surrounded the communities on every side. Even where the national gods were looked upon as dead idols—and that was perhaps the rule, see Praed. Petri. I. c, 2 Clem. 3. 1, Didache, 6—one could not help assuming that there were mighty demons operative behind them, as otherwise the frightful power of idolatry could not be explained. But on the other hand, even a calm reflection and a temper unfriendly to all religious excess must have welcomed the assumption of demons who sought to rule the world and man. For by means of this assumption which was wide-spread even among the Greeks, humanity seemed to be unburdened, and the presupposed capacity for redemption could therefore be justified in its widest range. From the assumption that the need of redemption was altogether due to ignorance and mortality there was but one step, or little more than one step, to the assumption that the need of redemption was grounded in a condition of man for which he was not responsible, that is, in the flesh. But this step which would have led either to dualism (heretical Gnosis) or to the abolition of the distinction between natural and moral, was not taken within the main body of the Church. The eschatological series of ideas with its thesis that death evil and sin entered into humanity at a definite historical moment when the demons took possession of the world drew a limit which was indeed overstepped at particular points but was in the end respected. We have therefore the remarkable fact that, on the one hand, early Christian (Jewish) eschatology called forth and maintained a disposition in which the Kingdom of God, and that of the world, (Kingdom of the devil) were felt to be absolutely opposed (practical dualism), while, on the other hand, it rejected theoretic dualism. Redemption through Christ, however, was conceived in the eschatological Apocalyptic series of ideas as essentially something entirely in the future, for the power of the devil was not broken, but rather increased (or it was virtually broken in believers and increased in unbelievers), by the first advent of Christ, and therefore the period between the first and second advent of Christ belongs to 'ουτος 'ο αιων (see Barn. 2. 4; Herm. Sim 1; 2 Clem. 6. 3: εστιν δε 'ουτος 'ο αιων και 'ο μελλων δυο εχθροι; 'ουτος λεγει μοιχειαν και φθοραν και φιλαργουριαν και απατην, εκεινος δε τουτοις αποστασσεται, Ignat. Magn. 5. 2). For that very reason, the second coming of Christ must, as a matter of course, be at hand, for only through it could the first advent get its full value. The painful impression that nothing had been outwardly changed by Christ's first advent (the heathen, moreover, pointed this out in mockery to the suffering Christians), must be destroyed by the hope of his speedy coming again. But the first advent had its independent significance in the series of ideas which regarded Christ as redeeming man from ignorance and mortality; for the knowledge was already given, and the gift of immortality could only of course be dispensed after this life was ended, but then immediately. The hope of Christ's return was therefore a superfluity, but was not felt or set aside as such, because there was still a lively expectation of Christ's earthly Kingdom.

Footnote 233: (return)

No other name adhered to Christ so firmly as that of κυριος; see a specially clear evidence of this, Novatian de trinit. 30, who argues against the Adoptian and Modalistic heretics thus: "Et in primis illud retorquendum in istos, qui duorum nobis deorum controversiam facere præsumunt. Scriptum est, quod negare non possunt: 'Quoniam unus est dominus.' De Christo ergo quid sentiunt? Dominum esse, aut illum omnino non esse? Sed dominum illum omnino non dubitant. Ergo si vera est illorum ratiocinatio, jam duo sunt domini." On κυριος—δεσποτης, see above, p. 119, note.

Footnote 234: (return)

Specially instructive examples of this are found in the Epistle of Barnabas and the second Epistle of Clement. Clement (Ep. 1) speaks only of faith in God.

Footnote 235: (return)

See 1 Clem. 59-61. διδαχη, c. 9. 10. Yet Novatian (de trinit. 14) exactly reproduces the old idea, "Si homo tantummodo Christus, cur homo in orationibus mediator invocatur, cum invocatio hominis ad præstandam salutem inefficax judicetur." As the Mediator, High Priest, etc., Christ is of course always and everywhere invoked by the Christians, but such invocations are one thing and formal prayer another. The idea of the congruence of God's will of salvation with the revelation of salvation which took place through Christ, was further continued in the idea of the congruence of this revelation of salvation with the universal preaching of the twelve chosen Apostles (see above, p. 162 ff.), the root of the Catholic principle of tradition. But the Apostles never became "'οι κυριοι" though the concepts διδαχη (λογος) κυριου, διδαχη (κηρυγμα) των αποστολων were just as interchangeable as λογος θεου and λογος χριστου. The full formula would be λογος θεου δια Ιησου Χριστου δια των αποστολων. But as the subjects introduced by δια are chosen and perfect media, religious usage permitted the abbreviation.

Footnote 236: (return)

In the epistle of Barnabas "Jesus Christ" and "Christ" appear each once, but "Jesus" twelve times: in the Didache "Jesus Christ" once, "Jesus" three times. Only in the second half of the second century, if I am not mistaken, did the designation "Jesus Christ", or "Christ", become the current one, more and more crowding out the simple "Jesus." Yet the latter designation—and this is not surprising—appears to have continued longest in the regular prayers. It is worthy of note that in the Shepherd there is no mention either of the name Jesus or of Christ. The Gospel of Peter also says 'ο κυριος where the other Gospels use these names.

Footnote 237: (return)

See 1 Clem. 64: 'ο θεος, 'ο εκλεξαμενος τον κυριον Ιησουν Χριστον και 'ημας δι' αυτου εις λαον περιουσιον δωη, κ.τ.λ. (It is instructive to note that wherever the idea of election is expressed, the community is immediately thought of, for in point of fact the election of the Messiah has no other aim than to elect or call the community; Barn. 3. 6: 'ο λαος 'ον 'ητοιμασεν εν τω ηγαπημενωι αυτου). Herm. Sim. V. 2: εκλεξαμενος δουλον τινα πιστον και ευαρεστον V. 6. 5. Justin, Dial. 48: μη αρνεισθαι 'οτι 'ουτος εστιν 'ο Χριστος, εαν φαινηται 'ως ανθρωπος εξ ανθρωπον γεννηθεις και εκλογη γενομενος εις το Χριστον ειναι αποδεικνυηται.

Footnote 238: (return)

See Barn. 14. 5: Ιησους εις τουτο 'ητοιμασθη, 'ινα ... 'ημας λυτρωσαμενος εκ του σκοτους διαθηται εν 'ημιν διαθηκην λογωι. The same word concerning the Church, I. c. 3. 6. and 5. 7: αυτος εαυτω τον λαον τον καινον ετοιμαζων 14 6.

Footnote 239: (return)

"Angel" is a very old designation for Christ (see Justin's Dial.) which maintained itself up to the Nicean controversy, and is expressly claimed for him in Novatian's treatise "de trinit." 11. 25 ff. (the word was taken from Old Testament passages which were applied to Christ). As a rule, however, it is not to be understood as a designation of the nature, but of the office of Christ as such, though the matter was never very clear. There were Christians who used it as a designation of the nature, and from the earliest times we find this idea contradicted (see the Apoc. Sophoniæ, ed. Stern, 1886, IV. fragment, p 10: "He appointed no Angel to come to us, nor Archangel, nor any power, but he transformed himself into a man that he might come to us for our deliverance." Cf. the remarkable parallel, ep. ad. Diagn. 7. 2: ... ου, καθαπερ αν τις εικασειεν ανθρωπος, 'υπηρετην τινα πεμψας η αγγελον η αρχοντα η τινα των διεποντων τα επιγεια 'η τινα των πεπιστευμενων τας εν ουρανοις διοικησεις, αλλ' αυτον τον τεχνιτην και δημιουργον των 'ολων. κ.τ.λ.). Yet it never got the length of a great controversy and as the Logos doctrine gradually made way, the designation "Angel" became harmless and then vanished.

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Παις (after Isaiah): this designation, frequently united with Ιησους and with the adjectives 'αγιος and ηγαπημενος (see Barn. 3, 6; 4, 3; 4, 8; Valent. ap. Clem. Alex., Strom. VI. 6. 52, and the Ascensio Isaiae), seems to have been at the beginning a usual one. It sprang undoubtedly from the Messianic circle of ideas, and at its basis lies the idea of election. It is very interesting to observe how it was gradually put into the background and finally abolished. It was kept longest in the liturgical prayers: see 1 Clem. 59. 2; Barn. 61. 9. 2; Acts iii. 13, 26; iv. 27, 30; Didache, 9. 2. 3; Mart. Polyc. 14. 20; Act. Pauli et Theclæ, 17, 24; Sibyl. I. v. 324, 331, 364; Diogn. 8, 9, 10: 'ο 'αγαπητος παις 9; also Ep. Orig. ad Afric. init; Clem. Strom. VII. 1. 4: 'ο μονογενης παις, and my note on Barn 6. 1. In the Didache (9. 2) Jesus as well as David is in one statement called "Servant of God." Barnabas, who calls Christ the "Beloved", uses the same expression for the Church (4. 1. 9); see also Ignat ad Smyrn. inscr.

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See the old Roman Symbol and Acts X. 42; 2 Tim. IV. 1; Barn. 7. 2; Polyc. Ep. 2. 1; 2 Clem. 2. 1; Hegesipp. in Euseb. H. E. III. 20, 6: Justin Dial. 118

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There could of course be no doubt that Christ meant the "anointed" (even Aristides Apol. 2 fin., if Nestle's correction is right, Justin's Apol. 1. 4 and similar passages do not justify doubt on that point). But the meaning and the effect of this anointing was very obscure. Justin says (Apol. II. 6) Χριστος μεν κατα το κεχρισθαι και κοσμησαι τα παντα δι αυτου τον θεον λεγεται and therefore (see Dial. 76 fin.) finds in this designation an expression of the cosmic significance of Christ.

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See the Apologists: Apost. K.O. (Texte. v. Unters. II. 5, p. 25) προορωντας τους λογους του διδασκαλου 'ημων, ibid, p. 28 οτε ητησεν 'ο διδασκαλος τον αρτον, ibid. p. 30 προελεγεν οτε εδιδασκεν, Apost. Constit. (original writing) III. 6 αυτος 'ο διδασκαλος 'ημων και κυριος, III. 7 'ο κυριος και διδασκαλος 'ημων ειπεν, III. 19, III. 20, V. 12, 1 Clem. 13. 1 των λογων του κυριου Ιησου 'ους ελαλησεν διδασκων, Polyc. Ep. 2 μνημονευοντες 'ων ειπεν 'ο κυριος διδασκων, Ptolem. ad Floram 5 'η διδασκαλια του σωτηρος.

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The baptismal formula which had been naturalised everywhere in the communities at this period preserved it above all. The addition of ιδιος πρωτοτοκος is worthy of notice. Μονογενης (= the only begotten and also the beloved) is not common, it is found only in John, in Justin, in the Symbol of the Romish Church and in Mart. Polyc. (Diogn. 10. 3).

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The so-called second Epistle of Clement begins with the words Αδελφοι ουτως δει 'ημας φρονειν περι Ιησου 'ως περι θεου, 'ως περι κριτου ζωντων και νεκρων (this order in which the Judge appears as the higher is also found in Barn. 7. 2), και ου δει 'ημας μικρα φρονειν περι της σωτηριας 'ημων; εν τω γαρ φρονειν 'ημας μικρα περι αυτου μικρα και ελπιζομεν λαβειν. This argumentation (see also the following verses up to II. 7) is very instructive, for it shews the grounds on which the φρονειν περι αυτου ως περι θεου was based H. Schultz (L. v. d. Gottheit Christi, p. 25 f.) very correctly remarks. In the second Epistle of Clement and in the Shepherd the Christological interest of the writer ends in obtaining the assurance, through faith in Christ as the world ruling King and Judge that the community of Christ will receive a glory corresponding to its moral and ascetic works.

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Pliny in his celebrated letter (96) speaks of a "Carmen dicere Christo quasi deo" on the part of the Christians. Hermas has no doubt that the Chosen Servant, after finishing his work, will be adopted as God's Son, and therefore has been destined from the beginning, εις εξουσιαν μεγαλην και κυριοτητα, Sim. V. 6. 1. But that simply means that he is now in a Divine sphere and that one must think of him as of God. But there was no unanimity beyond that. The formula says nothing about the nature or constitution of Jesus. It might indeed appear from Justin's dialogue that the direct designation of Jesus as θεος (not as ο θεος) was common in the communities, but not only are there some passages in Justin himself to be urged against this but also the testimony of other writers. Θεος, even without the article, was in no case a usual designation for Jesus. On the contrary, it was always quite definite occasions which led them to speak of Christ as of a God or as God. In the first place there were Old Testament passages such as Ps. XLV. 8, CX. 1 f. etc. which as soon as they were interpreted in relation to Christ led to his getting the predicate θεος. These passages, with many others taken from the Old Testament, were used in this way by Justin. Yet it is very well worth noting that the author of the Epistle of Barnabas avoided this expression in a passage which must have suggested it (12, 10, 11 on Ps. CX. 4) The author of the Didache calls him "ο θεος δαβιδ" on the basis of the above psalm. It is manifestly therefore in liturgical formulæ of exalted paradox or living utterances of religious feeling that Christ is called God. See Ignat. ad Rom. 6. 3, επιτρεψατε μοι μιμητην ειναι του παθους του θεου μου (the μου here should be observed), ad Eph. 1. 1 αναζωπυρησαντες εν αιματι θεου, Tatian Orat. 13 διακονος του πεπονθοτος θεου. As to the celebrated passage 1 Clem. ad Cor. 2. 10 τα παθηματα αυτου (the αυτου refers to θεος) we may perhaps observe that that ο θεος stands far apart. However, such a consideration is hardly in place. The passages just adduced shew that precisely the union of suffering (blood, death) with the concept "God"—and only this union—must have been in Christendom from a very early period, see Acts XX. 28 την εκκλησιαν του θεου 'ην περιεποιησατο δια του 'αιματος του ιδιου, and from a later period Melito, Fragm (in Routh Rel Sacra I. 122), 'ο θεος πεπονθεν 'υπο δεξιας Ισραηλιτιδος, Anonym ap Euseb H. E. V. 28 11, 'ο ευσπλαγχνος θεος και κυριος 'ημων Ιησους Χριστος ουκ εβουλετο απολεσθαι μαρτυρα των ιδιων παθηματων, Test XII. Patriarch. (Levi. 4) επι τω παθει του 'υψιστου; Tertull. de carne 5, "passiones dei," ad Uxor. II. 3: "sanguine dei." Tertullian also speaks frequently of the crucifying of God, the flesh of God, the death of God. (see Lightfoot, Clem. of Rome, p. 400, sq.). These formulæ were first subjected to examination in the Patripassian controversy. They were rejected by Athanasius for example in the fourth century (cf. Apollin. II. 13, 14, Opp. I. p. 758) πως ουν γεγραφατε 'οτι θεος 'ο δια σαρκος παθων και αναστας, ... ουδαμου δε 'αιμα θεου διχα σαρκος παραδεδωκασιν 'αι γραφαι η θεον δια σαρκος παθοντα και ανασταντα. They continued in use in the west and became of the utmost significance in the christological controversies of the fifth century. It is not quite certain whether there is a theologia Christi in such passages as Tit. II. 13, 2 Pet. I. 1 (see the controversies on Rom. IX. 5). Finally θεος and Christus were often interchanged in religious discourse (see above). In the so called second Epistle of Clement (c. 1. 4) the dispensing of right knowledge is traced back to Christ. It is said of him that like a Father, he has called us children, he has delivered us, he has called us into existence out of non-existence and in this God himself is not thought of. Indeed he is called (2. 2. 3) the hearer of prayer and the controller of history, but immediately thereon a saying of the Lord is introduced as a saying of God (Matt. IX. 13). On the contrary Isaiah XXIX. 13 is quoted (3. 5) as a declaration of Jesus, and again (13. 4) a saying of the Lord with the formula λεγει ο θεος. It is Christ who pitied us (3. 1, 16. 2), he is described simply as the Lord who hath called and redeemed us (5. 1, 8. 2, 9. 5 etc). Not only is there frequent mention of the εντολαι (ενταλματα) of Christ, but 6. 7 (see 14. 1) speak directly of a ποιειν το θελημα του Χριστου. Above all, in the entire first division (up to 9. 5) the religious situation is for the most part treated as if it were something essentially between the believer and Christ. On the other hand, (10. 1), the Father is he who calls (see also 16. 1), who brings salvation (9. 7), who accepts us as Sons (9. 10; 16. 1); he has given us promises (11. 1, 6. 7.); we expect his kingdom, nay, the day of his appearing (12. 1 f.; 6. 9; 9. 6; 11. 7; 12. 1). He will judge the world, etc.; while in 17. 4. we read of the day of Christ's appearing, of his kingdom and of his function of Judge, etc. Where the preacher treats of the relation of the community to God, where he describes the religious situation according to its establishment or its consummation, where he desires to rule the religious and moral conduct, he introduces, without any apparent distinction, now God himself, and now Christ. But this religious view, in which acts of God coincide with acts of Christ, did not, as will be shewn later on, influence the theological speculations of the preacher. We have also to observe that the interchanging of God and Christ is not always an expression of the high dignity of Christ, but, on the contrary, frequently proves that the personal significance of Christ is misunderstood, and that he is regarded only as the dependent revealer of God. All this shews that there cannot have been many passages in the earliest literature where Christ was roundly designated θεος. It is one thing to speak of the blood (death, suffering) of God, and to describe the gifts of salvation brought by Christ as gifts of God, and another thing to set up the proposition that Christ is a God (or God). When, from the end of the second century, one began to look about in the earlier writings for passages εν 'οις θεολογειται 'ο χριστος, because the matter had become a subject of controversy, one could, besides the Old Testament, point only to the writings of authors from the time of Justin (to apologists and controversialists) as well as to Psalms and odes (see the Anonym. in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 4-6). In the following passages of the Ignatian Epistles "θεος" appears as a designation of Christ; he is called 'ο θεος 'ημων in Ephes. inscript.; Rom. inscr. bis 3. 2; Polyc. 8. 3; Eph. 1. 1, 'αιμα θεου; Rom. 6. 3, το παθος του θεου μου; Eph. 7. 2, εν σαρκι γενομενος θεος, in another reading, εν ανθρωπω θεος, Smyrn. I. 1, I. Chr. 'ο θεος 'ο ουτως 'υμας σοφισας. The latter passage, in which the relative clause must he closely united with "'ο θεος", seems to form the transition to the three passages (Trall. 7. 1; Smyrn. 6. 1; 10. 1), in which Jesus is called θεος without addition. But these passages are critically suspicious, see Lightfoot in loco. In the same way the "deus Jesus Christus" in Polyc. Ep. 12. 2, is suspicious, and indeed in both parts of the verse. In the first, all Latin codd. have "dei filius," and in the Greek codd. of the Epistle, Christ is nowhere called θεος. We have a keen polemic against the designation of Christ as θεος in Clem. Rom. Homil. XVI. 15 sq.; 'ο Πετρος απεκριθη 'ο κυριος 'ημων ουτε θεους ειναι εφθεγξατο παρα τον κτισαντα τα παντα ουτε 'εαυτον θεον ειναι ανηγορευσεν, 'υιον δε θεου του τα παντα διακοσμησαντος τον ειποντα αυτον ευλογως εμακαρισεν, και ο Σιμων απεκρινατο; ου δοκει σοι ουν τον απο θεου θεον ειναι, και 'ο Πετρος εφη: πως τουτο ειναι δυναται, φρασον 'ημιν, τουτο γαρ 'ημεις ειπειν σοι ου δυναμεθα, 'οτι μη 'ηκουσαμεν παρ' αυτου.

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On the further use of the word θεος in antiquity, see above, § 8, p. 120 f.; the formula "θεος εκ θεου" for Augustus, even 24 years before Christ's birth; on the formula "dominus ac deus", see John XX. 28; the interchange of these concepts in many passages beside one another in the anonymous writer (Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 11). Domitian first allowed himself to be called "dominus ac deus." Tertullian, Apol. 10. 11, is very instructive as to the general situation in the second century. Here are brought forward the different causes which then moved men, the cultured and the uncultured, to give to this or that personality the predicate of Divinity. In the third century the designation of "dominus ac deus noster" for Christ, was very common, especially in the west (see Cyprian, Pseudo-Cyprian, Novatian; in the Latin Martyrology a Greek 'ο κυριος is also frequently so translated). But only at this time had the designation come to be in actual use even for the Emperor. It seems at first sight to follow from the statements of Celsus (in Orig. c. Cels. III. 22-43) that this Greek had and required a very strict conception of the Godhead; but his whole work shews how little that was really the case. The reference to these facts of the history of the time is not made with the view of discovering the "theologia Christi" itself in its ultimate roots—these roots lie elsewhere, in the person of Christ and Christian experience; but that this experience, before any technical reflection, had so easily and so surely substituted the new formula instead of the idea of Messiah, can hardly be explained without reference to the general religious ideas of the time.

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The combination of θεος and σωτηρ in the Pastoral Epistles is very important. The two passages in the New Testament in which perhaps a direct "theologia Christi" may be recognised, contain likewise the concept σωτηρ; see Tit. II. 13; προσδεχομενοι την μακαριαν ελπιδα και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος 'ημων Χριστου Ιησου (cf. Abbot, Journal of the Society of Bibl. Lit., and Exeg. 1881. June. p. 3 sq.): 2 Pet. I. 1: εν δικαιοσυνηι του θεου 'ημων και σωτηρος 'Ι. Χρ.. In both cases the 'ημων should be specially noted. Besides, θεος σωτηρ is also an ancient formula.

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A very ancient formula ran "θεος και θεος 'υιος" see Cels. ap. Orig II. 30; Justin, frequently: Alterc. Sim. et Theoph. 4, etc. The formula is equivalent to θεος μονογενης (see Joh. I. 18).

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Such conceptions are found side by side in the same writer. See, for example, the second Epistle of Clement, and even the first.

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See § 6, p. 120. The idea of a θεοποιησις was as common as that of the appearances of the gods. In wide circles, however, philosophy had long ago naturalised the idea of the λογος του θεου. But now there is no mistaking a new element everywhere. In the case of the Christologies which include a kind of θεοποιησις, it is found in the fact that the deified Jesus was to be recognised not as a Demigod or Hero, but as Lord of the world, equal in power and honour to the Deity. In the case of those Christologies which start with Christ as the heavenly spiritual being, it is found in the belief in an actual incarnation. These two articles, as was to be expected, presented difficulties to the Gentile Christians, and the latter more than the former.

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This is usually overlooked. Christological doctrinal conceptions are frequently constructed by a combination of particular passages, the nature of which does not permit of combination. But the fact that there was no universally recognised theory about the nature of Jesus till beyond the middle of the second century, should not lead us to suppose that the different theories were anywhere declared to be of equal value, etc., therefore more or less equally valid; on the contrary, everyone, so far as he had a theory at all, included his own in the revealed truth. That they had not yet come into conflict is accounted for, on the one hand, by the fact that the different theories ran up into like formulæ, and could even frequently be directly carried over into one another, and on the other hand, by the fact that their representatives appealed to the same authorities. But we must, above all, remember that conflict could only arise after the enthusiastic element, which also had a share in the formation of Christology, had been suppressed, and problems were felt to be such, that is, after the struggle with Gnosticism, or even during that struggle.

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Both were clearly in existence in the Apostolic age.

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Only one work has been preserved entire which gives clear expression to the Adoptian Christology, viz., the Shepherd of Hermas (see Sim. V. and IX. 1. 12). According to it, the Holy Spirit—it is not certain whether he is identified with the chief Archangel—is regarded as the pre-existent Son of God, who is older than creation, nay, was God's counsellor at creation. The Redeemer is the virtuous man σαρξ chosen by God, with whom that Spirit of God was united. As he did not defile the Spirit, but kept him constantly as his companion, and carried out the work to which the Deity had called him, nay, did more than he was commanded, he was in virtue of a Divine decree adopted as a son and exalted to μεγαλη εξουσια και κυριοτης. That this Christology is set forth in a book which enjoyed the highest honour and sprang from the Romish community, is of great significance. The representatives of this Christology, who in the third century were declared to be heretics, expressly maintained that it was at one time the ruling Christology at Rome and had been handed down by the Apostles. (Anonym, in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 3, concerning the Artemonites: φασι τους μεν προτερους 'απαντας και αυτους τους αποστολους παρειληφεναι τε και δεδιδαχεναι ταυτα, 'α νυν 'ουτοι λεγουσι, και τετηρησθαι την αληθειαν του κηρυγματος μεχρι των χρονων του Βικτορος ... απο του διαδοχον αυτο Ζεφυρινου παρακεχαραχθαι την αληθειαν). This assertion, though exaggerated, is not incredible after what we find in Hermas. It cannot, certainly, be verified by a superficial examination of the literary monuments preserved to us, but a closer investigation shews that the Adoptian Christology must at one time have been very widespread, that it continued here and there undisturbed up to the middle of the third century (see the Christology in the Acta Archelai. 49, 50), and that it continued to exercise great influence even in the fourth and fifth centuries (see Book II. c. 7). Something similar is found even in some Gnostics, e.g., Valentinus himself (see Iren. I. 11. 1: και τον Χριστον δε ουκ απο των εν τωι πληρωματι αιωνων προβεβλησθαι, αλλα 'υπο της μητρος, εξω δε γενομενης, κατα την γνωμην των κρειττονων αποκεκυησθαι μετα σκιας τινος. Και τουτον μεν, 'ατε αρρενα 'υπαρχονταφ, αποκοψαντα 'υφ' 'εαυτου την σκιαν, αναδραμειν εις το πληρομα. The same in the Exc. ex Theodot §§ 22, 23, 32, 33), and the Christology of Basilides presupposes that of the Adoptians. Here also belongs the conception which traces back the genealogy of Jesus to Joseph. The way in which Justin (Dialog. 48, 49, 87 ff.) treats the history of the baptism of Jesus, against the objection of Trypho that a pre-existent Christ would not have needed to be filled with the Spirit of God, is instructive. It is here evident that Justin deals with objections which were raised within the communities themselves to the pre-existence of Christ, on the ground of the account of the baptism. In point of fact, this account (it had, according to very old witnesses, see Resch, Agrapha Christi, p. 307, according to Justin, for example, Dial. 88. 103, the wording: 'αμα τωι αναβηναι αυτον απο του ποταμου του Ιορδανου, της φωνης αυτου λεχθεισης 'υιος μου ει σς, εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε; see the Cod. D. of Luke. Clem. Alex, etc.) forms the strongest foundation of the Adoptian Christology, and hence it is exceedingly interesting to see how one compounds with it from the second to the fifth century, an investigation which deserves a special monograph. But, of course, the edge was taken off the report by the assumption of the miraculous birth of Jesus from the Holy Spirit, so that the Adoptians in recognising this, already stood with one foot in the camp of their opponents. It is now instructive to see here how the history of the baptism, which originally formed the beginning of the proclamation of Jesus' history, is suppressed in the earliest formulæ, and therefore also in the Romish Symbol, while the birth from the Holy Spirit is expressly stated. Only in Ignatius (ad Smyrn. I; cf. ad Eph. 18. 2) is the baptism taken into account in the confession; but even he has given the event a turn by which it has no longer any significance for Jesus himself (just as in the case of Justin, who concludes from the resting of the Spirit in his fulness upon Jesus, that there will be no more prophets among the Jews, spiritual gifts being rather communicated to Christians; compare also the way in which the baptism of Jesus is treated in Joh. I.). Finally, we must point out that in the Adoptian Christology, the parallel between Jesus and all believers who have the Spirit and are Sons of God, stands out very clearly (Cf. Herm. Sim. V. with Mand. III. V. 1; X. 2; most important is Sim. V. 6. 7). But this was the very thing that endangered the whole view. Celsus, I. 57, addressing Jesus, asks; "If thou sayest that every man whom Divine Providence allows to be born (this is of course a formulation for which Celsus alone is responsible), is a son of God, what advantage hast thou then over others?" We can see already in the Dialogue of Justin, the approach of the later great controversy, whether Christ is Son of God κατα γνωμην, or κατα φυσιν, that is, had a pre-existence: "και γαρ εισι τινες, he says, απο του 'υμετερου γενους 'ομολογουντες αυτον Χριστον ειναι, ανθρωπον δε εξ ανθρωπων γενομενον αποφαινομενοι, 'οις ου συντιθεμαι" (c. 48).

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This Christology which may be traced back to the Pauline, but which can hardly have its point of departure in Paul alone, is found also in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the writings of John, including the Apocalypse, and is represented by Barnabas, 1 and 2 Clem., Ignatius, Polycarp, the author of the Pastoral Epistles, the Authors of Praed. Petri, and the Altercatio Jasonis et Papisci, etc. The Classic formulation is in 2 Clem. 9. 5: Χριστος 'ο κυριος 'ο σωσας 'ημας ων μεν το πρωτον πνευμα εγενετο σαρξ και 'ουτως 'ημας εκαλεσεν. According to Barnabas (5. 3), the pre-existent Christ is παντος του κοσμου κυριοσ: to him God said, απο καταβολης κοσμου, "Let us make man, etc." He is (5. 6) the subject and goal of all Old Testament revelation. He is ουξι 'υιος ανθρωπου αλλ: 'υιος του θεου, τυπωι δε εν σαρκι φανερωθεις (12. 10); the flesh is merely the veil of the Godhead, without which man could not have endured the light (5. 10). According to 1 Clement, Christ is το σκηπτρον της μελαγοσυνης του θεου (16. 2), who if he had wished could have appeared on earth εν κομπωι αλαζονειας, he is exalted far above the angels (32), as he is the Son of God (παθηματα του θεου, 2. 1); he hath spoken through the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (22. 1). It is not certain whether Clement understood Christ under the λογος μεγαλοσυνης του θεου (27. 4). According to 2 Clem., Christ and the church are heavenly spiritual existences which have appeared in the last times. Gen. I. 27 refers to their creation (c. 14; see my note on the passage: We learn from Origen that a very old Theologoumenon identified Jesus with the ideal of Adam, the church with that of Eve). Similar ideas about Christ are found in Gnostic Jewish Christians); one must think about Christ as about God (I. 1). Ignatius writes (Eph. 7-2): Εις, ιατρος εστιν σαρκικος τε και πνευματικος, γεννητος και αγεννητος, εν σαρκι γενομενος θεος, εν θανατωι ζωη αληθινη, και εκ Μαριας και εκ θεου, πρωτον παθαετος και τοτε απαθης Ιησους Χριστος 'ο κυριος 'ημων. As the human predicates stand here first, it might appear as though, according to Ignatius, the man Jesus first became God ('ο θεος 'ημων, Cf. Eph. inscr.: 18. 2). In point of fact, he regards Jesus as Son of God only by his birth from the Spirit; but on the other hand, Jesus is αφ' 'ενος πατρος προελθων (Magn. 7. 2), is λογος θεου (Magn. 8. 2,) and when Ignatius so often emphasises the truth of Jesus' history against Docetism (Trall. 9. for example), we must assume that he shares the thesis with the Gnostics that Jesus is by nature a spiritual being. But it is well worthy of notice that Ignatius, as distinguished from Barnabas and Clement, really gives the central place to the historical Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, and his work. The like is found only in Irenæus. The pre-existence of Christ is presupposed by Polycarp. (Ep 7. 1); but, like Paul, he strongly emphasises a real exaltation of Christ (2. 1). The author of Præd. Petri calls Christ the λογος (Clem. Strom. I. 29, 182). As Ignatius calls him this also, as the same designation is found in the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse of John (the latter a Christian adaptation of a Jewish writing), in the Act. Joh. (see Zahn, Acta Joh. p. 220), finally, as Celsus (II. 31) says quite generally, "The Christians maintain that the Son of God is at the same time his incarnate Word", we plainly perceive that this designation for Christ was not first started by professional philosophers (see the Apologists, for example, Tatian, Orat. 5, and Melito Apolog. fragm. in the Chron. pasch. p. 483, ed. Dindorf: Χριστος ων θεου λογος προ αιωνων. We do not find in the Johannine writings such a Logos speculation as in the Apologists, but the current expression is taken up in order to shew that it has its truth in the appearing of Jesus Christ. The ideas about the existence of a Divine Logos were very widely spread; they were driven out of philosophy into wide circles. The author of the Alterc. Jas. et Papisci conceived the phrase in Gen I. 1, εν αρχη, as equivalent to εν 'υιωι (Χριστωι) Jerome. Quæst. hebr. in Gen. p. 3; see Tatian Orat. 5: θεος ην εν αρχηι την δε αρχην λογου δυναμιν παρειληφαμεν. Ignatius (Eph. 3) also called Christ 'η γνομη του πατρος (Eph. 17: 'η γνωσις του θεου); that is a more fitting expression than λογος. The subordination of Christ as a heavenly being to the Godhead, is seldom or never carefully emphasised, though it frequently comes plainly into prominence. Yet the author of the second Epistle of Clement does not hesitate to place the pre-existent Christ and the pre-existent church on one level, and to declare of both that God created them (c. 14). The formulæ φανερουσθαι εν σαρκι, or, γιγγεσθαι σαρξ, are characteristic of this Christology. It is worthy of special notice that the latter is found in all those New Testament writers, who have put Christianity in contrast with the Old Testament religions, and proclaimed the conquest of that religion by the Christian, viz., Paul, John, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

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Hermas, for example, does this (therefore Link; Christologie des Hermas, and Weizsäcker, Gott Gel. Anz. 1886, p. 830, declare his Christology to be directly pneumatic): Christ is then identified with this Holy Spirit (see Acta. Archel. 50), similarly Ignatius (ad. Magn. 15): κεκτημενοι αδιακριτον πνευμα, 'ος εστιν Ιησους Χριστος. This formed the transition to Gnostic conceptions on the one hand, to pneumatic Christology on the other. But in Hermas the real substantial thing in Jesus Christ is the σαρξ.

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Passages may indeed be found in the earliest Gentile Christian literature, in which Jesus is designated Son of God, independently of his human birth and before it (so in Barnabas, against Zahn), but they are not numerous. Ignatius very clearly deduces the predicate "Son" from the birth in the flesh. Zahn, Marcellus, p. 216 ff.

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The distinct designation "θεοποιησις" is not found, though that may be an accident. Hermas has the thing itself quite distinctly (See Epiph. c. Alog. H. 51. 18: νομιζοντες απο Μαριας και δευρο Χριστον αυτον καλεισθαι και 'υιον θεου, και ειναι μεν προτερον ψιλον ανθρωπον, κατα προκοπην δε ειληφεναι την του 'υιου του θεου προσηγοριαν). The stages of the προκοπη were undoubtedly the birth, baptism and resurrection. Even the adherents of the pneumatic Christology, could not at first help recognising that Jesus, through his exaltation, got more than he originally possessed. Yet in their case, this conception was bound to become rudimentary, and it really did so.

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The settlement with Gnosticism prepared a still always uncertain end for this naive Docetism. Apart from Barn. 5. 12, where it plainly appears, we have to collect laboriously the evidences of it which have not accidentally either perished or been concealed. In the communities of the second century there was frequently no offence taken at Gnostic docetism (see the Gospel of Peter. Clem. Alex., Adumbrat in Joh. Ep. I. c. 1, [Zahn, Forsch. z. Gesch. des N. T.-lichen Kanons, III. p. 871]; "Fertur ergo in traditionibus, quoniam Johannes ipsum corpus, quod erat extrinsecus, tangens manum suam in profunda misisse et duritiam carnis nullo modo reluctatam esse, sed locum manui præbuisse discipuli." Also Acta Joh. p. 219, ed. Zahn). In spite of all his polemic against "δοκησις" proper, one can still perceive a "moderate docetism" in Clem. Alex., to which indeed certain narratives in the Canonical Gospels could not but lead. The so-called Apocryphal literature (Apocryphal Gospels and Acts of Apostles), lying on the boundary between heretical and common Christianity, and preserved only in scanty fragments and extensive alterations, was, it appears, throughout favourable to Docetism. But the later recensions attest that it was read in wide circles.

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Even such a formulation as we find in Paul (e.g., Rom. I. 3 f. κατα σαρκα—κατα πνευμα), does not seem to have been often repeated (yet see 1 Clem. 32. 21). It is of value to Ignatius only, who has before his mind the full Gnostic contrast. But even to him we cannot ascribe any doctrine of two natures: for this requires as its presupposition, the perception that the divinity and humanity are equally essential and important for the personality of the Redeemer Christ. Such insight, however, presupposes a measure and a direction of reflection which the earliest period did not possess. The expression "δυο ουσιαι Χριστου" first appears in a fragment of Melito, whose genuineness is not, however, generally recognised (see my Texte u. Unters. I. 1. 2. p. 257). Even the definite expression for Christ θεος ων 'ομου τε και ανθρωπος was fixed only in consequence of the Gnostic controversy.

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Hermas (Sim. V. 6. 7) describes the exaltation of Jesus, thus: 'ινα και 'η σαρξ 'αυτη, δουλευσασα τωι πνευματι αμεμπτως, σχαηι τοπον τινα κατασκηνωσεως, και μη δοξηι τον μισθον της δουλειας αυτης απολωλεκεναι. The point in question is a reward of grace which consists in a position of rank (see Sim. V. 6. 1). The same thing is manifest from the statements of the later Adoptians. (Cf. the teaching of Paul Samosata).

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Barnabas, e. g., conceives it as a veil (5. 10: ει γαρ μη ηλθεν εν σαρκι, ουδ' αν πως 'οι ανθρωποι εσωθησαν βλεποντες αυτον, 'οτε τον μελλοντα μη ειναι 'ηλιον εμβλεποντες ουκ ισχυσουσιν εις τας ακτινας αυτου αντοφθαλμησαι). The formulation of the Christian idea in Celsus is instructive (c. Cels VI. 69): "Since God is great and not easily accessible to the view, he put his spirit in a body which is like our own, and sent it down in order that we might be instructed by it." To this conception corresponds the formula: ερχεσθαι (φανερουσθαι) εν σαρκι (Barnabas, frequently; Polyc. Ep. 7. 1). But some kind of transformation must also have been thought of (See 2 Clem. 9. 5. and Celsus IV. 18: "Either God, as these suppose, is really transformed into a mortal body...." Apoc. Sophon. ed. Stern. 4 fragm. p. 10; "He has transformed himself into a man who comes to us to redeem us"). This conception might grow out of the formula σαρξ εγενετο (Ignat. ad. Eph. 7, 2 is of special importance here). One is almost throughout here satisfied with the σαρξ of Christ, that is the αληθεια της σαρκος, against the Heretics (so Ignatius, who was already anti-gnostic in his attitude). There is very seldom any mention of the humanity of Jesus. Barnabas (12). the author of the Didache (c. 10. 6. See my note on the passage), and Tatian questioned the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, which was strongly emphasised by Ignatius; nay, Barnabas even expressly rejects the designation "Son of Man" (12. 10; ιδε παλιν Ιησους, ουχι 'υιος ανθρωπου αλλα 'υιος του θεου, τυπο δε εν σαρκι φανερωθεις). A docetic thought, however, lies in the assertion that the spiritual being Christ only assumed human flesh, however much the reality of the flesh may be emphasised. The passage 1 Clem. 49. 6, is quite unique: το 'αιμα αυτου εδωκεν 'υπερ 'ημων Ιησους Χριστος ... και την σαρκα 'υπερ της σαρκος 'ημων και την ψυχην 'υπερ των ψυχων 'υμων. One would fain believe this an interpolation; the same idea is first found in Irenæus. (V. 1. 1).

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Even Hermas docs not speak of Jesus as ανθρωπος (see Link). This designation was used by the representatives of the Adoptian Christology only after they had expressed their doctrine antithetically and developed it to a theory, and always with a certain reservation. The "ανθρωπος Χριστος Ιησους" in 1 Tim. II. 5 is used in a special sense. The expression ανθρωπος for Christ appears twice in the Ignatian Epistles (the third passage Smyrn. 4. 2: αυτου με ενδυναμουντος του τελειου ανθρωπου γενομενου, apart from the γενομενου, is critically suspicious, as well as the fourth, Eph. 7. 2; see above), in both passages, however, in connections which seem to modify the humanity; see Eph. 20. 1: οικονομια εις τον καινον ανθρωπον Ιησουν Χριστον, Eph. 20. 2: τωι 'υιωι ανθρωπου και 'υιωι θεου.

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See above p. 185, note; p. 189, note. We have no sure evidence that the later so-called Modalism (Monarchianism) had representatives before the last third of the second century; yet the polemic of Justin, Dial. 128, seems to favour the idea, (the passage already presupposes controversies about the personal independence of the pre-existent pneumatic being of Christ beside God; but one need not necessarily think of such controversies within the communities; Jewish notions might be meant, and this, according to Apol. I. 63, is the more probable). The judgment is therefore so difficult, because there were numerous formulæ in practical use which could be so understood, as if Christ was to be completely identified with the Godhead itself (see Ignat. ad Eph. 7. 2, besides Melito in Otto Corp. Apol. IX. p. 419. and Noëtus in the Philos. IX. 10, p. 448). These formulæ may, in point of fact, have been so understood, here and there, by the rude and uncultivated. The strongest again is presented in writings whose authority was always doubtful: see the Gospel of the Egyptians (Epiph. H. 62. 2), in which must have stood a statement somewhat to this effect: τον αυτον ειναι πατερα, τον αυτον ειναι 'υιον, τον αυτον ειναι 'αγιον πνευμα, and the Acta Joh. (ed. Zahn, p. 220 f., 240 f.: 'ο αγαθος 'ημων θεος 'ο ευσπλανχνος, 'ο ελεημων, 'ο 'αγιος, 'ο καθαρος, 'ο αμιαντος, 'ο μονος, 'ο 'εις, 'ο αμεταβλητος, 'ο ειλικρινης, 'ο αδολος, 'ο μη οργιζομενος, 'ο πασης 'ημιν λεγομενης η νοουμενης προσηγοριας ανωτερος και 'υψηλοτερος 'ημων θεος Ιησους). In the Act. Joh. are found also prayers with the address θεε Ιησου Χριστε (pp. 242. 247). Even Marcion and a part the Montanists—both bear witness to old traditions—put no value on the distinction between God and Christ; cf. the Apoc. Sophon. A witness to a naive Modalism is found also in the Acta Pionii 9: "Quem deum colis? Respondit: Christum Polemon (judex): Quid ergo? iste alter est? [the co-defendant Christians had immediately before confessed God the Creator] Respondit: Non; sed ipse quem et ipsi paullo ante confessi sunt;" cf. c. 16. Yet a reasoned Modalism may perhaps be assumed here. See also the Martyr Acts; e.g., Acta Petri, Andræ, Pauli et Dionysiæ I (Ruinart, p. 205): 'ημεις οι Χριστον τον βασιλεα εχομεν, 'οτι αληθινος θεος εστιν και ποιητης ουρανου και γης και θαλασσης. "Oportet me magis deo vivo et vero. regi sæculorum omnium Christo, sacrificium offerre." Act. Nicephor. 3 (p. 285). I take no note of the Testament of the twelve Patriarchs, out of which one can, of course, beautifully verify the strict Modalistic, and even the Adoptian Christology. But the Testamenta are not a primitive or Jewish Christian writing which Gentile Christians have revised, but a Jewish writing christianised at the end of the second century by a Catholic of Modalistic views. But he has given us a very imperfect work, the Christology of which exhibits many contradictions. It is instructive to find Modalism in the theology of the Simonians, which was partly formed according to Christian ideas; see Irenæus I. 23. I. "hic igitur a multis quasi deus glorificatus est, et docuit semetipsum esse qui inter Judæos quidem quasi filius apparuerit, in Samaria autem quasi pater descenderit, in reliquis vero gentibus quasi Spiritus Sanctus adventaverit."

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That is a very important fact which clearly follows from the Shepherd. Even the later school of the Adoptians in Rome, and the later Adoptians in general, were forced to assume a divine hypostasis beside the Godhead, which of course sensibly threatened their Christology. The adherents of the pneumatic Christology partly made a definite distinction between the pre-existent Christ and the Holy Spirit (see, e.g., 1 Clem. 22. 1), and partly made use of formulæ from which one could infer an identity of the two. The conceptions about the Holy Spirit were still quite fluctuating; whether he is a power of God, or personal, whether he is identical with the pre-existent Christ, or is to be distinguished from him, whether he is the servant of Christ (Tatian Orat. 13), whether he is only a gift of God to believers, or the eternal Son of God, was quite uncertain. Hermas assumed the latter, and even Origen (de princip. præf. c. 4) acknowledges that it is not yet decided whether or not the Holy Spirit is likewise to be regarded as God's Son. The baptismal formula prevented the identification of the Holy Spirit with the pre-existent Christ, which so readily suggested itself. But so far as Christ was regarded as a πνευμα, his further demarcation from the angel powers was quite uncertain, as the Shepherd of Hermas proves (though see 1 Clem. 36). For even Justin, in a passage, no doubt, in which his sole purpose was to shew that the Christians were not αθεοι, could venture to thrust in between God, the Son and the Spirit, the good angels as beings who were worshipped and adored by the Christians (Apol. 1. 6 [if the text be genuine and not an interpolation]; see also the Suppl. of Athanagoras). Justin, and certainly most of those who accepted a pre-existence of Christ, conceived of it as a real pre-existence. Justin was quite well acquainted with the controversy about the independent quality of the power which proceeded from God. To him it is not merely, "Sensus, motus, affectus dei", but a "personalis substantia" (Dial. 128).

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See the remarkable narrative about the cross in the fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and in Justin, Apol. 1. 55.

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We must, above all things, be on our guard here against attributing dogmas to the churches, that is to say, to the writers of this period. The difference in the answers to the question, How far and by what means, Jesus procured salvation? was very great, and the majority undoubtedly never at all raised the question, being satisfied with recognising Jesus as the revealer of God's saving will (Didache, 10. 2: ευχαριστοι μεν σοι, πατερ 'αγιε, 'υπερ του αγιου ονοματος σου, ου κατεσκηνωσας εν ταις καρδιαις 'ημων και 'υπερ της γνωσεως και πιστεως και αθανασιας, 'ης εγνωρισας 'ημιν δια Ιησου του παιδος σου), without reflecting on the fact that this saving will was already revealed in the Old Testament. There is nowhere any mention of a saving work of Christ in the whole Didache, nay, even the Kerygma about him is not taken notice of. The extensive writing of Hermas shews that this is not an accident. There is absolutely no mention here of the birth, death, resurrection, etc., of Jesus, although the author in Sim. V had an occasion for mentioning them. He describes the work of Jesus as (1) preserving the people whom God had chosen. (2) purifying the people from sin, (3) pointing out the path of life and promulgating the Divine law (c. c. 5. 6). This work however, seems to have been performed by the whole life and activity of Jesus; even to the purifying of sin the author has only added the words: (και αυτος τας 'αμαρτιας αυτων εκαθαρισε) πολλα κοπιασας και πολλους κοπους ηντληκως (Sim. V. 6. 2). But we must further note that Hermas held the proper and obligatory work of Jesus to be only the preservation of the chosen people (from demons in the last days, and at the end), while in the other two articles he saw a performance in excess of his duty, and wished undoubtedly to declare therewith, that the purifying from sin and the giving of the law are not, strictly speaking, integral parts of the Divine plan of salvation, but are due to the special goodness of Jesus (this idea is explained by Moralism). Now, as Hermas, and others, saw the saving activity of Jesus in his whole labours, others saw salvation given and assured in the moment of Jesus' entrance into the world, and in his personality as a spiritual being become flesh. This mystic conception, which attained such wide-spread recognition later on, has a representative in Ignatius, if one can at all attribute clearly conceived doctrines to this emotional confessor. That something can be declared of Jesus, κατα πνευμα and κατα σαρκα—this is the mystery on which the significance of Jesus seems to Ignatius essentially to rest, but how far is not made clear. But the παθος ('αιμα, σταυρος) and αναστασις of Jesus are to the same writer of great significance, and by forming paradoxical formulæ of worship, and turning to account reminiscences of Apostolic sayings, he seems to wish to base the whole salvation brought by Christ on his suffering and resurrection (see Lightfoot on Eph. inscr. Vol. II. p. 25). In this connection also, he here and there regards all articles of the Kerygma as of fundamental significance. At all events, we have in the Ignatian Epistles the first attempt in the post-Apostolic literature, to connect all the theses of the Kerygma about Jesus as closely as possible with the benefits which he brought. But only the will of the writer is plain here, all else is confused, and what is mainly felt is that the attempt to conceive the blessings of salvation as the fruit of the sufferings and resurrection, has deprived them of their definiteness and clearness. In proof we may adduce the following: If we leave out of account the passages in which Ignatius speaks of the necessity of repentance for the Heretics, or the Heathen, and the possibility that their sins may be forgiven (Philad. 3. 2:8. 1; Smyrn. 4. 1: 5-3; Eph. 10. 1), there remains only one passage in which the forgiveness of sin is mentioned, and that only contains a traditional formula (Smyrn 7. 1: σαρξ Ιησου Χριστου, 'η 'υπερ των 'αμαρτιων 'ημων παθουσα). The same writer, who is constantly speaking of the παθος and αναστασις of Christ, has nothing to say, to the communities to which he writes, about the forgiveness of sin. Even the concept "sin", apart from the passages just quoted, appears only once, viz., Eph 14. 2: ουδεις πιστιν επαγγελλομενος 'αμαρτανει. Ignatius has only once spoken to a community about repentance (Smyrn. 9. 1). It is characteristic that the summons to repentance runs exactly as in Hermas and 2 Clem., the conclusion only being peculiarly Ignatian. It is different with Barnabas, Clement and Polycarp. They (see 1 Clem. 7. 4:12, 7:21, 6:49 6; Barn. 5. 1 ff.) place the forgiveness of sin procured by Jesus in the foreground, connect it most definitely with the death of Christ, and in some passages seem to have a conception of that connection, which reminds us of Paul. But this just shews that they are dependent here on Paul (or on 1st Peter), and on a closer examination we perceive that they very imperfectly understand Paul, and have no independent insight into the series of ideas which they reproduce. That is specially plain in Clement. For in the first place, he everywhere passes over the resurrection (he mentions it only twice, once as a guarantee of our own resurrection, along with the Phoenix and other guarantees, 24. 1, and then as a means whereby the Apostles were convinced that the kingdom of God will come, 42. 3). In the second place, he in one passage declares that the χαρις μετανοιας was communicated to the world through the shedding of Christ's blood (7. 4.) But this transformation of the αφεσις 'αμαρτιων into χαρις μετανοιας plainly shews that Clement had merely taken over from tradition the special estimate of the death of Christ as procuring salvation; for it is meaningless to deduce the χαρις μετανοιας from the blood of Christ. Barnabas testifies more plainly that Christ behoved to offer the vessel of his spirit as a sacrifice for our sins (4. 3; 5. 1), nay, the chief aim of his letter is to harmonise the correct understanding of the cross, the blood, and death of Christ in connection with baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and sanctification (application of the idea of sacrifice). He also unites the death and resurrection of Jesus (5. 6: αυτος δε 'ινα καταεργησηι τον θανατον και την εκ νεκρων αναστασιν δειξηι, 'οτι εν σαρκι εδει αυτον φανερωθηναι, 'υπεμεινεν, 'ινα και τοις πατρασιν την επαγγελλιαν αποδωι και αυτος 'εαυτωι τον λαον τον καινον 'ετοιμαζων επιδειξηι, επι της γης ων. 'οτι την αναστασιν αυτος ποιησας κρινει): but the significance of the death of Christ is for him at bottom, the fact that it is the fulfilment of prophecy. But the prophecy is related, above all, to the significance of the tree, and so Barnabas on one occasion says with admirable clearness (5. 13); αυτος δε ηθελησεν 'ουτω παθειν; εδει γαρ 'ινα επι ξυλου παθηι. The notion which Barnabas entertains of the σαρξ of Christ suggests the supposition that he could have given up all reference to the death of Christ, if it had not been transmitted as a fact and predicted in the Old Testament. Justin shews still less certainty. To him also, as to Ignatius, the cross (the death) of Christ is a great, nay, the greatest mystery, and he sees all things possible in it (see Apol. 1. 35, 55). He knows, further, as a man acquainted with the Old Testament, how to borrow from it very many points of view for the significance of Christ's death, (Christ the sacrifice, the Paschal lamb; the death of Christ the means of redeeming men; death as the enduring of the curse for us; death as the victory over the devil; see Dial 44. 90, 91, 111, 134). But in the discussions which set forth in a more intelligible way the significance of Christ, definite facts from the history have no place at all, and Justin nowhere gives any indication of seeing in the death of Christ more than the mystery of the Old Testament, and the confirmation of its trustworthiness. On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken that the idea of an individual righteous man being able effectively to sacrifice himself for the whole, in order through his voluntary death to deliver them from evil, was not unknown to antiquity. Origen (c. Celsum 1. 31) has expressed himself on this point in a very instructive way. The purity and voluntariness of him who sacrifices himself are here the main things. Finally, we must be on our guard against supposing that the expressions σωρτια, απολυτρωσις and the like, were as a rule related to the deliverance from sin. In the superscription of the Epistle from Lyons, for example, (Euseb. H. E V. 1. 3: 'οι αυτην της απολυτρωσεως 'ημιν πιστιν και ελπιδα εχοντες) the future redemption is manifestly to be understood by απολυτρωσις.

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On the Ascension, see my edition of the Apost. Fathers I. 2, p. 138. Paul knows nothing of an Ascension, nor is it mentioned by Clement, Ignatius, Hermas, or Polycarp. In no case did it belong to the earliest preaching. Resurrection and sitting at the right hand of God are frequently united in the formulæ (Eph. I. 20; Acts. II. 32 ff.) According to Luke XXIV. 51, and Barn. 15. 9, the ascension into heaven took place on the day of the resurrection (probably also according to Joh. XX. 17; see also the fragment of the Gosp. of Peter), and is hardly to be thought of as happening but once (Joh. III. 13; VI 62; see also Rom. X. 6 f.; Eph. IV. 9 f; 1 Pet. III. 19 f.; very instructive for the origin of the notion). According to the Valentinians and Ophites, Christ ascended into heaven 18 months after the resurrection (Iren. I. 3. 2; 30. 14); according to the Ascension of Isaiah, 545 days (ed. Dillmann, pp. 43. 57 etc.); according to Pistis Sophia 11 years after the resurrection. The statement that the Ascension took place 40 days after the resurrection is first found in the Acts of the Apostles. The position of the ανελημφθη εν δοξηι, in the fragment of an old Hymn, 1 Tim. III. 16, is worthy of note, in so far as it follows the ωφθη αγγελοις, εκηρυχθη εν εθνεσιν, επιστευθη εν κοσμωι. Justin speaks very frequently of the Ascension into heaven (see also Aristides). It is to him a necessary part of the preaching about Christ. On the descent into hell, see the collection of passages in my edition of the Apost. Fathers, III. p. 232. It is important to note that it is found already in the Gospel of Peter (εκηρυξας τοις κοιμωμενοις, ναι), and that even Marcion recognised it (in Iren. I. 27. 31), as well as the Presbyter of Irenæus (IV. 27. 2), and Ignatius (ad Magn. 9. 3), see also Celsus in Orig. II. 43. The witnesses to it are very numerous, see Huidekoper, "The belief of the first three centuries concerning Christ's Mission to the under-world." New York, 1876.

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See the Pastoral Epistles, and the Epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp.

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The "facts" of the history of Jesus were handed down to the following period as mysteries predicted in the Old Testament, but the idea of sacrifice was specially attached to the death of Christ, certainly without any closer definition. It is very noteworthy that in the Romish baptismal confession, the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, the baptism, the descent into the under-world, and the setting up of a glorious Kingdom on the earth, are not mentioned. These articles do not appear even in the parallel confessions which began to be formed. The hesitancy that yet prevailed here with regard to details, is manifest from the fact, for example, that instead of the formula, "Jesus was born of (εκ) Mary," is found the other, "He was born through (δια) Mary" (see Justin, Apol. I. 22. 31-33, 54, 63; Dial. 23. 43, 45. 48, 57. 54, 63, 66, 75, 85, 87, 100, 105, 120, 127), Iren. (I. 7. 2) and Tertull. (de carne 20) first contested the δια against the Valentinians.

Footnote 271: (return)

This was strongly emphasised see my remarks on Barn. 2. 3. The Jewish cultus is often brought very close to the heathen by Gentile Christian writers: Praed. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 41) καινως τον θεον δια του Χριστου σεβομεθα. The statement in Joh. IV. 24, πνευμα 'ο θεος και τους προσκυνουντας αυτον εν πνευματι και αληθειας δει προσκυνειν, was for long the guiding principle for the Christian worship of God.

Footnote 272: (return)

Ps. LI. 19 is thus opposed to the ceremonial system (Barn. 2. 10). Polycarp consumed by fire is (Mart. 14. 1) compared to a κριος επισημος εκ μεγαλου ποιμνιου εις προσφοραν ολοκαυτωμα δεκτον τωι θεωι 'ητοιμασμενον.

Footnote 273: (return)

See Barn. 6. 15, 16, 7-9, Tatian Orat. 15, Ignat. ad. Eph. 9. 15, Herm Mand. V. etc. The designation of Christians as priests is not often found.

Footnote 274: (return)

Justin, Apol. I. 9. Dial. 117 'οτι μεν ουν και ευχαι κα ευχαριστιαι, 'υπο των αξιων γινομεναι τελειαι μοναι και ευαρεστοι εισι τωι θεωι θυσιαι και αυτος φημι, see also still the later Fathers: Clem. Strom. VII. 6. 31: 'ημεις δι ευχης τιμωμεν τον θεον και ταυτην την θυσιαν αριστην και 'αγιωτατην μετα δικαιοσυνης αναπεμπομεν τωι δικαιωι λογωι, Iren. III. 18. 3, Ptolem ad. Floram. 3: προσφορας προσφερειν προσεταξεν 'ημιν 'ο σωτηρ αλλα ουχι τας δι αλογων ζωων 'η τουτων των δωμιαματων αλλα δια πνευματικων αινων και δοξων και ευχαριστιας και δια της εις τους πλησιον κοινωνιας και ευποιιας.

Footnote 275: (return)

The Jewish regulations about fastings together with the Jewish system of sacrifice were rejected, but on the other hand, in virtue of words of the Lord, fasts were looked upon as a necessary accompaniment of prayer and definite arrangements were already made for them (see Barn. 3, Didache 8, Herm. Sim. V. 1. ff). The fast is to have a special value from the fact that whatever one saved by means of it is to be given to the poor (see Hermas and Aristides, Apol. 15, "And if any one among the Christians is poor and in want, and they have not overmuch of the means of life, they fast two or three days in order that they may provide those in need with the food they require"). The statement of James I. 27 θρησκεια καθαρα και αμιαντος παρα τω θεω και πατρι 'αυτη εστιν επισκεπτεσθαι ορφανους και χηρας εν τη θλιψει αυτων, was again and again inculcated in diverse phraseology (Polycarp Ep. 4, called the Widows θυσιαστηριον of the community). Where moralistic views preponderated as in Hermas and 2 Clement good works were already valued in detail, prayers, fasts, alms appeared separately, and there was already introduced especially under the influence of the so-called deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament the idea of a special meritoriousness of certain performances in fasts and alms (see 2 Clem. 16. 4). Still the idea of the Christian moral life as a whole occupied the foreground (see Didache cc. 1-5) and the exhortations to love God and one's neighbour, which as exhortations to a moral life were brought forward in every conceivable relation, supplemented the general summons to renounce the world just as the official diaconate of the churches originating in the cultus, prevented the decomposition of them into a society of ascetics.

Footnote 276: (return)

For details, see below in the case of the Lord's Supper. It is specially important that even charity, through its union with the cultus, appeared as sacrificial worship (see e.g. Polyc. Ep. 4. 3).

Footnote 277: (return)

The idea of sacrifice adopted by the Gentile Christian communities, was that which was expressed in individual prophetic sayings and in the Psalms, a spiritualising of the Semitic Jewish sacrificial ritual which, however, had not altogether lost its original features. The entrance of Greek ideas of sacrifice cannot be traced before Justin. Neither was there as yet any reflection as to the connection of the sacrifice of the Church with the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.

Footnote 278: (return)

See my Texte und Unters. z Gesch. d. Altchristl. Lit. II. 1. 2, p. 88 ff., p. 137 ff.

Footnote 279: (return)

There neither was a "doctrine" of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, nor was there any inner connection presupposed between these holy actions. They were here and there placed together as actions by the Lord.

Footnote 280: (return)

Melito, Fragm. XII. (Otto. Corp. Apol. IX. p. 418). δυο συνεστη τα αφεσιν 'αμαρτηματων παρεχομενα, παθος δια Χριστον και βαπτισμα.

Footnote 281: (return)

There is no sure trace of infant baptism in this epoch; personal faith is a necessary condition (see Hermas, Vis. III. 7. 3; Justin, Apol. 1. 61). "Prius est prædicare posterius tinguere" (Tertull. "de bapt." 14).

Footnote 282: (return)

On the basis of repentance. See Praed. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 43, 48.

Footnote 283: (return)

See especially the second Epistle of Clement; Tertull. "de bapt." 15: "Felix aqua quæ semel abluit, quas ludibrio peccatoribus non est."

Footnote 284: (return)

The sinking and rising in baptism, and the immersion, were regarded as significant, but not indispensable symbols (see Didache. 7). The most important passages for baptism are Didache 7; Barn. 6. 11; 11. 1. 11 (the connection in which the cross of Christ is here placed to the water is important; the tertium comp. is that forgiveness of sin is the result of both); Herm. Vis. III. 3, Sim. IX 16. Mand. IV. 3 ('ετερα μετανοια ουκ εστιν ει μη εκεινη, 'οτε εις 'υδωρ κατεβημεν και ελαβομεν αφεσιν 'αμαρτιων 'ημων των προτερον); 2 Clem. 6. 9; 7. 6; 8. 6. Peculiar is Ignat. ad. Polyc. 6. 2: το βαπτισμα 'υμων μενετω 'ως 'οπλα. Specially important is Justin, Apol. I. 61. 65. To this also belong many passages from Tertullian's treatise "de bapt."; a Gnostic baptismal hymn in the third pseudo-Solomonic ode in the Pistis Sophia, p. 131, ed. Schwartze; Marcion's baptismal formula in Irenæus 1. 21. 3. It clearly follows from the seventh chapter of the Didache, that its author held that the pronouncing of the sacred names over the baptised, and over the water, was essential, but that immersion was not; see the thorough examination of this passage by Schaff, "The oldest church manual called the teaching of the twelve Apostles" pp. 29-57. The controversy about the nature of John's baptism in its relation to Christian baptism, is very old in Christendom; see also Tertull. "de bapt." 10. Tertullian sees in John's baptism only a baptism to repentance, not to forgiveness.

Footnote 285: (return)

In Hermas and 2 Clement. The expression probably arose from the language of the mysteries: see Appuleius, "de Magia", 55: "Sacrorum pleraque initia in Græcia participavi. Eorum quædam signa et monumenta tradita mihi a sacerdotibus sedulo conservo." Ever since the Gentile Christians conceived baptism (and the Lord's Supper) according to the mysteries, they were of course always surprised by the parallel with the mysteries themselves. That begins with Justin. Tertullian, "de bapt." 5, says: "Sed enim nationes extraneæ, ab omni intellectu spiritalium potestatum eadem efficacia idolis suis subministrant. Sed viduis aquis sibi mentiuntur. Nam et sacris quibusdam per lavacrum initiantur, Isidis alicujus aut Mithræ; ipsos etiam deos suos lavationibus efferunt. Ceterum villas, domos, templa totasque urbes aspergine circumlatæ aquæ; expiant passim. Certe ludis Apollinaribus et Eleusiniis tinguuntur, idque se in regenerationem et impunitatem periuriorum suorum agere præsumunt. Item penes veteres, quisquis se homicidio infecerat, purgatrices aquas explorabat." De praescr. 40: "Diabolus ipsas quoque res sacramentorum divinorum idolorum mysteriis æmulatur. Tingit et ipse quosdam, utique credentes et fideles suos; expositionem delictorum de lavacro repromittit. et si adhuc memini, Mithras signat illic in frontibus milites suos, celebrat et panis oblationem et imaginem resurrectionis inducit ... summum pontificem in unius nuptiis statuit, habet et virgines, habet et continentes." The ancient notion that matter has a mysterious influence on spirit, came very early into vogue in connection with baptism. We see that from Tertullian's treatise on baptism and his speculations about the power of the water (c. 1 ff.). The water must, of course, have been first consecrated for this purpose (that is, the demons must be driven out of it). But then it is holy water with which the Holy Spirit is united, and which is able really to cleanse the soul. See Hatch, "The influence of Greek ideas, etc.," p. 19. The consecration of the water is certainly very old: though we have no definite witnesses from the earliest period. Even for the exorcism of the baptised before baptism I know of no earlier witness than the Sentent. LXXXVII. episcoporum (Hartel. Opp. Cypr. I. p. 450, No. 37: "primo per manus impositionem in exorcismo, secundo per baptismi regenerationem").

Footnote 286: (return)

Justin is the first who does so (I. 61). The word comes from the Greek mysteries. On Justin's theory of baptism, see also I. 62. and Von Engelhardt, "Christenthum Justin's," p. 102 f.

Footnote 287: (return)

Paul unites baptism and the communication of the Spirit; but they were very soon represented apart, see the accounts in the Acts of the Apostles, which are certainly very obscure, because the author has evidently never himself observed the descent of the Spirit, or anything like it. The ceasing of special manifestations of the Spirit in and after baptism, and the enforced renunciation of seeing baptism accompanied by special shocks, must be regarded as the first stage in the sobering of the churches.

Footnote 288: (return)

The idea of the whole transaction of the Supper as a sacrifice, is plainly found in the Didache, (c. 14), in Ignatius, and, above all, in Justin (I. 65 f.) But even Clement of Rome presupposes it, when in (cc. 40-44) he draws a parallel between bishops and deacons and the Priests and Levites of the Old Testament, describing as the chief function of the former (44. 4) προσφερειν τα δωρα. This is not the place to enquire whether the first celebration had, in the mind of its founder, the character of a sacrificial meal; but, certainly, the idea, as it was already developed at the time of Justin, had been created by the churches. Various reasons tended towards seeing in the Supper a sacrifice. In the first place, Malachi I. 11, demanded a solemn Christian sacrifice: see my notes on Didache, 14. 3. In the second place, all prayers were regarded as sacrifice, and therefore the solemn prayers at the Supper must be specially considered as such. In the third place, the words of institution τουτο ποιειτε, contained a command with regard to a definite religious action. Such an action, however, could only be represented as a sacrifice, and this the more that the Gentile Christians might suppose that they had to understand ποιειν in the sense of θυειν. In the fourth place, payments in kind were necessary for the "agapæ" connected with the Supper, out of which were taken the bread and wine for the Holy celebration; in what other aspect could these offerings in the worship be regarded than as προσφοραι for the purpose of a sacrifice? Yet the spiritual idea so prevailed that only the prayers were regarded as the θυσια proper, even in the case of Justin (Dial. 117). The elements are only δωρα, προσφοραι which obtain their value from the prayers, in which thanks are given for the gifts of creation and redemption, as well as for the holy meal, and entreaty is made for the introduction of the community into the Kingdom of God (see Didache, 9. 10). Therefore, even the sacred meal itself is called ευχαριστια (Justin, Apol. I. 66: 'η τροφη 'αυτη χαλειται παρ' 'ημιν ευχαριστια). Didache, 9. 1; Ignat., because it is τροφη ευχαριστηθεισα. It is a mistake to suppose that Justin already understood the body of Christ to be the object of ποιειν, and therefore thought of a sacrifice of this body (I. 66). The real sacrificial act in the Supper consists rather, according to Justin, only in the ευχαριστιαν ποιειν, whereby the κοινος αρτος becomes the αρτος της ευχαριστιας. The sacrifice of the Supper in its essence, apart from the offering of alms, which in the practice of the Church was closely united with it, is nothing but a sacrifice of prayer: the sacrificial act of the Christian here also is nothing else than an act of prayer (see Apol. I. 13, 65-67; Dial. 28, 29, 41, 70, 116-118).

Footnote 289: (return)

Justin lays special stress on this purpose. On the other hand, it is wanting in the Supper prayers of the Didache, unless c. 9. 2 be regarded as an allusion to it.

Footnote 290: (return)

The designation θυσια is first found in the Didache, c. 14.

Footnote 291: (return)

The Supper was regarded as a "Sacrament" in so far as a blessing was represented in its holy food. The conception of the nature of this blessing as set forth in John VI. 27-58, appears to have been the most common. It may be traced back to Ignatius, ad Eph. 20.2: 'ενα αρτον κλωντες 'ος εστιν φαρμακον αθανασιας, αντιδοτος του μη αποθανειν αλλα ζην εν Ιησου Χριστου δια παντος. Cf Didache, 10.3: 'ημιν εχαρισω πνευματικην τροφην και ποτον και ζωην αιωνιον, also 10.21: ευχαριστουμεν σοι 'υπερ της γνωσεως και πιστεος και αθανασιας. Justin Apol. 1. 66: εκ της τροφης ταυτης 'αιμα και σαρκες κατα μεταβολην τρεφονται 'ημων κατα μεταβολην that is, the holy food, like all nourishment, is completely transformed into our flesh; but what Justin has in view here is most probably the body of the resurrection. The expression, as the context shews, is chosen for the sake of the parallel to the incarnation). Iren. IV. 18. 5; V. 2. 2 f. As to how the elements are related to the body and blood of Christ, Ignatius seems to have expressed himself in a strictly realistic way in several passages, especially ad. Smyr. 7-1: ευχαριστιας και προσευχης απεχονται δια το μη 'ομολογειν, την ευχαριστιαν σαρκα ειναι του σωτηρος 'ημων Ιησου Χριστου, την 'υπερ των 'αμαρτιον 'ημων παθουσαν. But many passages shew that Ignatius was far from such a conception, and rather thought as John did. In Trall. 8, faith is described as the flesh, and love as the blood of Christ; in Rom. 7, in one breath the flesh of Christ is called the bread of God, and the blood αγαπη αφθαρτος. In Philad. 1, we read: 'αιμα Ι. Χρ. 'ητις εστιν χαρα αιωνιος και παραμονος. In Philad. 5, the Gospel is called the flesh of Christ, etc. Höfling is therefore right in saying (Lehre v. Opfer, p. 39): "The Eucharist is to Ignatius σαρξ of Christ, as a visible Gospel, a kind of Divine institution attesting the content of πιστις, viz., belief in the σαρξ παθουσα, an institution which is at the same time, to the community, a means of representing and preserving its unity in this belief." On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken that Justin (Apol. I. 66) presupposed the identity, miraculously produced by the Logos, of the consecrated bread and the body he had assumed. In this we have probably to recognise an influence on the conception of the Supper, of the miracle represented in the Greek Mysteries: Ουχ 'ως κοινον αρτον ουδε κοινον πομα ταυτα λαμβανομεν, αλλ' 'ον τροπον δια λογου θεου σαρκοποιηθεις Ιησους Χριστος 'ο σωτηρ 'ημων και σαρκα και 'αιμα 'υπερ σωτηριας 'ημων εσχεν, 'ουτως και την δι' ευχης λογου του παρ' αυτου ευχαριστηθεισαν τροφην, εξ ης 'αιμα κα σαρκες κατα μεταβολεν τρεφονται 'εμων, εκεινου του σαρκοποιεθεντος Ιησου και σαρκα και 'αιμα εδιδαχθημεν ειναι (See Von Otto on the passage). In the Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. p. 117 ff., I have shewn that in the different Christian circles of the second century, water and only water was often used in the Supper instead of wine, and that in many regions this custom was maintained up to the middle of the third century (see Cypr. Ep. 63). I have endeavoured to make it further probable, that even Justin in his Apology describes a celebration of the Lord's Supper with bread and water. The latter has been contested by Zahn, "Bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, in the early Church," 1892, and Jülicher, Zur Gesch. der Abendmahlsfeier in der aeltesten Kirche (Abhandl. f Weiszacker, 1892, p. 217 ff.

Footnote 292: (return)

Ignatius calls the thank-offering the flesh of Christ, but the concept "flesh of Christ" is for him itself a spiritual one. On the contrary, Justin sees in the bread the actual flesh of Christ, but does not connect it with the idea of sacrifice. They are thus both as yet far from the later conception. The numerous allegories which are already attached to the Supper (one bread equivalent to one community; many scattered grains bound up in the one bread, equivalent to the Christians scattered abroad in the world, who are to be gathered together into the Kingdom of God; one altar, equivalent to one assembly of the community, excluding private worship, etc.), cannot as a group be adduced here.

Footnote 293: (return)

Cf. for the following my arguments in the larger edition of the "Teaching of the Apostles" Chap 5, (Texte u. Unters II. 1. 2). The numerous recent enquiries (Loening, Loofs, Réville etc.) will be found referred to in Sohm's Kirchenrecht. Vol. I. 1892, where the most exhaustive discussions are given.

Footnote 294: (return)

That the bishops and deacons were, primarily, officials connected with the cultus, is most clearly seen from 1 Clem. 40-44, but also from the connection in which the 14th Chap. of the Didache stands with the 15th (see the ουν, 15. 1) to which Hatch in conversation called my attention. The φιλοξενια, and the intercourse with other communities (the fostering of the "unitas") belonged, above all, to the affairs of the church. Here, undoubtedly, from the beginning lay an important part of the bishop's duties. Ramsay ("The Church in the Roman Empire," p. 361 ff.) has emphasised this point exclusively, and therefore one-sidedly. According to him, the monarchical Episcopate sprang from the officials who were appointed ad hoc and for a time, for the purpose of promoting intercourse with other churches.

Footnote 295: (return)

Sohm (in the work mentioned above) seeks to prove that the monarchical Episcopate originated in Rome and is already presupposed by Hermas. I hold that the proof for this has not been adduced, and I must also in great part reject the bold statements which are fastened on to the first Epistle of Clement. They may be comprehended in the proposition which Sohm, p. 158, has placed at the head of his discussion of the Epistle. "The first Epistle of Clement makes an epoch in the history of the organisation of the Church. It was destined to put an end to the early Christian constitution of the Church." According to Sohm (p. 165), another immediate result of the Epistle was a change of constitution in the Romish Church, the introduction of the monarchical Episcopate. That, however, can only be asserted, not proved; for the proof which Sohm has endeavoured to bring from Ignatius' Epistle to the Romans and the Shepherd of Hermas, is not convincing.

Footnote 296: (return)

See, above all, 1 Clem. 42, 44, Acts of the Apostles, Pastoral Epistles, etc.

Footnote 297: (return)

This idea is Romish. See Book II. chap, 11 C.

Footnote 298: (return)

We must remember here, that besides the teachers, elders, and deacons, the ascetics (virgins, widows, celibates, abstinentes) and the martyrs (confessors) enjoyed a special respect in the Churches, and frequently laid hold of the government and leading of them. Hermas enjoins plainly enough the duty of esteeming the confessors higher than the presbyters (Vis. III. 1. 2). The widows were soon entrusted with diaconal tasks connected with the worship, and received a corresponding respect. As to the limits of this there was, as we can gather from different passages, much disagreement. One statement in Tertullian shews that the confessors had special claims to be considered in the choice of a bishop (adv. Valent. 4: "Speraverat Episcopatum Valentinus, quia et ingenio poterat et eloquio. Sed alium ex martyrii praerogativa loci potitum indignatus de ecclesia authenticae regulæ abrupit"). This statement is strengthened by other passages; see Tertull. de fuga; 11. "Hoc sentire et facere omnem servum dei oportet, etiam minoris loci, ut maioris fieri possit, si quem gradum in persecutionis tolerantia ascenderit"; see Hippol in the Arab. canons, and also Achelis, Texte u. Unters VI. 4. pp. 67, 220; Cypr. Epp. 38. 39. The way in which confessors and ascetics, from the end of the second century, attempted to have their say in the leading of the Churches, and the respectful way in which it was sought to set their claims aside, shew that a special relation to the Lord, and therefore a special right with regard to the community, was early acknowledged to these people, on account of their achievements. On the transition of the old prophets and teachers into wandering ascetics, later into monks, see the Syriac Pseudo-Clementine Epistles, "de virginitate," and my Abhandl i d. Sitzungsberichten d. K. Pr. Akad. d. Wissensch. 1891, p. 361 ff.

Footnote 299: (return)

See Weizsäcker, Gött Gel. Anz. 1886, No. 21, whose statements I can almost entirely make my own.

[pg 222]



§ 1. The Conditions for the Rise of Gnosticism.

The Christian communities were originally unions for a holy life, on the ground of a common hope, which rested on the belief that the God who has spoken by the Prophets has sent his Son Jesus Christ, and through him revealed eternal life, and will shortly make it manifest. Christianity had its roots in certain facts and utterances, and the foundation of the Christian union was the common hope, the holy life in the Spirit according to the law of God, and the holding fast to those facts and utterances. There was, as the foregoing chapter will have shewn, no fixed Didache beyond that.300 There was abundance of fancies, ideas, and knowledge, but these had not yet the value of being the religion itself. Yet the belief that Christianity guarantees the perfect knowledge, and leads from one degree of clearness to another, was in operation from the very beginning. This conviction had to be immediately tested by the Old Testament, that is, the task was imposed on the majority of thinking Christians, by the circumstances in which the Gospel had been proclaimed to them, of making the Old Testament intelligible to themselves, in other words, of using this book as a Christian book, and of [pg 223] finding the means by which they might be able to repel the Jewish claim to it, and refute the Jewish interpretation of it. This task would not have been imposed, far less solved, if the Christian communities in the Empire had not entered into the inheritance of the Jewish propaganda, which had already been greatly influenced by foreign religions (Babylonian and Persian, see the Jewish Apocalypses), and in which an extensive spiritualising of the Old Testament religion had already taken place. This spiritualising was the result of a philosophic view of religion, and this philosophic view was the outcome of a lasting influence of Greek philosophy and of the Greek spirit generally on Judaism. In consequence of this view, all facts and sayings of the Old Testament in which one could not find his way, were allegorised. "Nothing was what it seemed, but was only the symbol of something invisible. The history of the Old Testament was here sublimated to a history of the emancipation of reason from passion." It describes, however, the beginning of the historical development of Christianity, that as soon as it wished to give account of itself, or to turn to advantage the documents of revelation which were in its possession, it had to adopt the methods of that fantastic syncretism. We have seen above that those writers who made a diligent use of the Old Testament, had no hesitation in making use of the allegorical method. That was required not only by the inability to understand the verbal sense of the Old Testament, presenting diverging moral and religious opinions, but, above all, by the conviction, that on every page of that book Christ and the Christian Church must be found. How could this conviction have been maintained, unless the definite concrete meaning of the documents had been already obliterated by the Jewish philosophic view of the Old Testament?

This necessary allegorical interpretation, however, brought into the communities an intellectual philosophic element, a gnosis, which was perfectly distinct from the Apocalyptic dreams, in which were beheld angel hosts on white horses, Christ with eyes as a flame of fire, hellish beasts, conflict and [pg 224] victory.301 In this γνωσις, which attached itself to the Old Testament, many began to see the specific blessing which was promised to mature faith, and through which it was to attain perfection. What a wealth of relations, hints, and intuitions seemed to disclose itself, as soon as the Old Testament was considered allegorically, and to what extent had the way been prepared here by the Jewish philosophic teachers! From the simple narratives of the Old Testament had already been developed a theosophy, in which the most abstract ideas had acquired reality, and from which sounded forth the Hellenic canticle of the power of the Spirit over matter and sensuality, and of the true home of the soul. Whatever in this great adaptation still remained obscure and unnoticed, was now lighted up by the history of Jesus, his birth, his life, his sufferings and triumph. The view of the Old Testament as a document of the deepest wisdom, transmitted to those who knew how to read it as such, unfettered the intellectual interest which would not rest until it had entirely transferred the new religion from the world of feelings, actions and hopes, into the world of Hellenic conceptions, and transformed it into a metaphysic. In that exposition of the Old Testament which we find, for example, in the so-called Barnabas, there is already concealed an important philosophic, Hellenic element, and in that sermon which bears the name of Clement (the so-called second Epistle of Clement), conceptions such as that of the Church, have already assumed a bodily form and been joined in marvellous connections, while, on the contrary, things concrete have been transformed into things invisible.

[pg 225]

But once the intellectual interest was unfettered, and the new religion had approximated to the Hellenic spirit by means of a philosophic view of the Old Testament, how could that spirit be prevented from taking complete and immediate possession of it, and where, in the first instance, could the power be found that was able to decide whether this or that opinion was incompatible with Christianity? This Christianity, as it was, unequivocally excluded all polytheism, and all national religions existing in the Empire. It opposed to them the one God, the Saviour Jesus, and a spiritual worship of God. But, at the same time, it summoned all thoughtful men to knowledge, by declaring itself to be the only true religion, while it appeared to be only a variety of Judaism. It seemed to put no limits to the character and extent of the knowledge, least of all to such knowledge as was able to allow all that was transmitted to remain, and at the same time, abolish it by transforming it into mysterious symbols. That really was the method which every one must and did apply who wished to get from Christianity more than practical motives and super-earthly hopes. But where was the limit of the application? Was not the next step to see in the Evangelic records also new material for spiritual interpretations, and to illustrate from the narratives there, as from The Old Testament, the conflict of the spirit with matter, of reason with sensuality? Was not the conception that the traditional deeds of Christ were really the last act in the struggle of those mighty spiritual powers whose conflict is delineated in the Old Testament, at least as evident as the other, that those deeds were the fulfilment of mysterious promises? Was it not in keeping with the consciousness possessed by the new religion of being the universal religion, that one should not be satisfied with mere beginnings of a new knowledge, or with fragments of it, but should seek to set up such knowledge in a complete and systematic form, and so to exhibit the best and universal system of life as also the best and universal system of knowledge of the world? Finally, did not the free and yet so rigid forms in which the Christian communities were organised, the union of the [pg 226] mysterious with a wonderful publicity, of the spiritual with significant rites (baptism and the Lord's Supper), invite men to find here the realisation of the ideal which the Hellenic religious spirit was at that time seeking, viz., a communion which in virtue of a Divine revelation, is in possession of the highest knowledge, and therefore leads the holiest life, a communion which does not communicate this knowledge by discourse, but by mysterious efficacious consecrations, and by revealed dogmas? These questions are thrown out here in accordance with the direction which the historical progress of Christianity took. The phenomenon called Gnosticism gives the answer to them.302

§ 2. The Nature of Gnosticism.

The Catholic Church afterwards claimed as her own those writers of the first century (60-160) who were content with turning speculation to account only as a means of spiritualising the Old Testament, without, however, attempting a systematic reconstruction of tradition. But all those who in the first century undertook to furnish Christian practice with the foundation of a complete systematic knowledge, she declared false Christians, Christians only in name. Historical enquiry cannot accept this judgment. On the contrary, it sees in Gnosticism a series of undertakings, which in a certain way is analogous to the Catholic embodiment of Christianity, in doctrine, morals, and worship. The great distinction here consists essentially in the fact that the Gnostic systems represent the acute secularising or hellenising of Christianity, with the rejection of the Old Testament,303 while the Catholic system, on the [pg 227] other hand, represents a gradual process of the same kind with the conservation of the Old Testament. The traditional religion on being, as it were, suddenly required to recognise itself in a picture foreign to it, was yet vigorous enough to reject that picture; but to the gradual, and one might say indulgent remodelling to which it was subjected, it offered but little resistance, nay, as a rule, it was never conscious of it. It is therefore no paradox to say that Gnosticism, which is just Hellenism, has in Catholicism obtained half a victory. We have, at least, the same justification for that assertion—the parallel may be permitted—as we have for recognising a triumph of 18th century ideas in the first Empire, and a continuance, though with reservations, of the old regime.

From this point of view the position to be assigned to the Gnostics in the history of dogma, which has hitherto been always misunderstood, is obvious. They were, in short, the Theologians of the first century.304 They were the first to transform Christianity into a system of doctrines (dogmas). They were the first to work up tradition systematically. They undertook to present Christianity as the absolute religion, and therefore placed it in definite opposition to the other religions, even to Judaism. But to them the absolute religion, viewed in its contents, was identical with the result of the philosophy of religion for which the support of a revelation was to be sought. They are therefore those Christians who, in a swift advance, attempted to capture Christianity for Hellenic culture, and Hellenic culture for Christianity, and who gave up the Old Testament in order to facilitate the conclusion of the covenant between the two powers, and make it possible to [pg 228] assert the absoluteness of Christianity.—But the significance of the Old Testament in the religious history of the world, lies just in this, that, in order to be maintained at all, it required the application of the allegoric method, that is, a definite proportion of Greek ideas, and that, on the other hand, it opposed the strongest barrier to the complete hellenising of Christianity. Neither the sayings of Jesus, nor Christian hopes, were at first capable of forming such a barrier. If, now, the majority of Gnostics could make the attempt to disregard the Old Testament, that is a proof that, in wide circles of Christendom, people were at first satisfied with an abbreviated form of the Gospel, containing the preaching of the one God, of the resurrection and of continence, a law and an ideal of practical life.305 In this form, as it was realised in life, the Christianity which dispensed with "doctrines" seemed capable of union with every form of thoughtful and earnest philosophy, because the Jewish foundation did not make its appearance here at all. But the majority of Gnostic undertakings may also be viewed as attempts to transform Christianity into a theosophy, that is, into a revealed metaphysic and philosophy of history, with a complete disregard of the Jewish Old Testament soil on which it originated, through the use of Pauline ideas,306 and under the influence of the Platonic spirit. Moreover, comparison is possible between writers such as Barnabas and Ignatius, and the so-called Gnostics, to the effect of making the latter appear in possession of a completed theory, to which fragmentary ideas in the former exhibit a striking affinity.

We have hitherto tacitly presupposed that in Gnosticism the Hellenic spirit desired to make itself master of Christianity, or more correctly of the Christian communities. This conception may be, and really is still contested. For according to the accounts of later opponents, and on these we are almost exclusively dependent here, the main thing with the Gnostics seems to have been the reproduction of Asiatic Mythologoumena [pg 229] of all kinds, so that we should rather have to see in Gnosticism a union of Christianity with the most remote Oriental cults and their wisdom. But with regard to the most important Gnostic systems the words hold true, "The hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob." There can be no doubt of the fact, that the Gnosticism which has become a factor in the movement of the history of dogma, was ruled in the main by the Greek spirit, and determined by the interests and doctrines of the Greek philosophy of religion,307 which doubtless had already assumed a syncretistic character. This fact is certainly concealed by the circumstance that the material of the speculations was taken now from this, and now from that Oriental religious philosophy, from astrology and the Semitic cosmologies. But that is only in keeping with the stage which the religious development had reached among the Greeks and Romans of that time.308 The cultured, and these primarily come into consideration here, no longer had a religion in the sense of a national religion, but a philosophy of religion. They were, however, in search of a religion, that is, a firm basis for the results of their speculations, and they hoped to obtain it by turning themselves towards the very old Oriental cults, and seeking to fill them with the religious and moral knowledge which had been gained by the Schools of Plato and of Zeno. The union of the traditions and rites of the Oriental religions, viewed as mysteries, with the spirit of Greek philosophy is the characteristic of the epoch. The needs, which asserted themselves with equal strength, of a complete knowledge of the All, of [pg 230] a spiritual God, a sure, and therefore very old revelation, atonement and immortality, were thus to be satisfied at one and the same time. The most sublimated spiritualism enters here into the strangest union with a crass superstition based on Oriental cults. This superstition was supposed to insure and communicate the spiritual blessings. These complicated tendencies now entered into Christianity.

We have accordingly to ascertain and distinguish in the prominent Gnostic schools, which, in the second century on Greek soil, became an important factor in the history of the Church, the Semitic-cosmological foundations, the Hellenic philosophic mode of thought, and the recognition of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. Further, we have to take note of the three elements of Gnosticism, viz., the speculative and philosophical, the mystic element connection with worship, and the practical, ascetic. The close connection in which these three elements appear,309 the total transformation of all ethical into cosmological problems, the upbuilding of a philosophy of God and the world on the basis of a combination of popular Mythologies, physical observations belonging to the Oriental (Babylonian) religious philosophy, and historical events, as well as the idea that the history of religion is the last act in the drama-like history of the Cosmos—all this is not peculiar to Gnosticism, but rather corresponds to a definite stage of the general development. It may, however, be asserted that [pg 231] Gnosticism anticipated the general development, and that not only with regard to Catholicism, but also with regard to Neo-platonism, which represents the last stage in the inner history of Hellenism.310 The Valentinians have already got as far as Jamblichus.

The name Gnosis, Gnostics, describes excellently the aims of Gnosticism, in so far as its adherents boasted of the absolute knowledge, and faith in the Gospel was transformed into a knowledge of God, nature and history. This knowledge, however, was not regarded as natural, but in the view of the Gnostics was based on revelation, was communicated and guaranteed by holy consecrations, and was accordingly cultivated by reflection supported by fancy. A mythology of ideas was created out of the sensuous mythology of any Oriental religion, by the conversion of concrete forms into speculative and moral ideas, such as "Abyss," "Silence," "Logos," "Wisdom," "Life," while the mutual relation and number of these abstract ideas were determined by the data supplied by the corresponding concretes. Thus arose a philosophic dramatic poem, similar to the Platonic, but much more complicated, and therefore more fantastic, in which mighty powers, the spiritual and good, appear in an unholy union with the material and wicked, but from which the spiritual is finally delivered by the aid of those kindred powers which are too exalted to be ever drawn down into the common. The good and heavenly which has been drawn down into the material, and therefore really non-existing, is the human spirit, and the exalted power who delivers it is Christ. The Evangelic history as handed down is not the history of Christ, but a collection of allegoric representations of the great history of God and the world. Christ has really no history. His appearance in this world of mixture [pg 232] and confusion is his deed, and the enlightenment of the spirit about itself is the result which springs out of that deed. This enlightenment itself is life. But the enlightenment is dependent on revelation, asceticism and surrender to those mysteries which Christ founded, in which one enters into communion with a præsens numen, and which in mysterious ways promote the process of raising the spirit above the sensual. This rising above the sensual is, however, to be actively practised. Abstinence therefore, as a rule, is the watchword. Christianity thus appears here as a speculative philosophy which redeems the spirit by enlightening it, consecrating it, and instructing it in the right conduct of life. The Gnosis is free from the rationalistic interest in the sense of natural religion. Because the riddles about the world which it desires to solve are not properly intellectual, but practical, because it desires to be in the end γνωσις σωτηριας, it removes into the region of the suprarational the powers which are supposed to confer vigour and life on the human spirit. Only a μαθησις, however, united with μυσταγογια, resting on revelation, leads thither, not an exact philosophy. Gnosis starts from the great problem of this world, but occupies itself with a higher world, and does not wish to be an exact philosophy, but a philosophy of religion. Its fundamental philosophic doctrines are the following: (1) The indefinable, infinite nature of the Divine primeval Being exalted above all thought. (2) Matter as opposed to the Divine Being, and therefore having no real being, the ground of evil. (3) The fulness of divine potencies, Æons, which are thought of partly as powers, partly as real ideas, partly as relatively independent beings, presenting in gradation the unfolding and revelation of the Godhead, but at the same time rendering possible the transition of the higher to the lower. (4) The Cosmos as a mixture of matter with divine sparks, which has arisen from a descent of the latter into the former, or, as some say, from the perverse, or, at least, merely permitted undertaking of a subordinate spirit. The Demiurge, therefore, is an evil, intermediate, or weak, but penitent being; the best thing therefore in the world is aspiration. (5) The [pg 233] deliverance of the spiritual element from its union with matter, or the separation of the good from the world of sensuality by the Spirit of Christ which operates through knowledge, asceticism, and holy consecration: thus originates the perfect Gnostic, the man who is free from the world, and master of himself, who lives in God and prepares himself for eternity. All these are ideas for which we find the way prepared in the philosophy of the time, anticipated by Philo, and represented in Neoplatonism as the great final result of Greek philosophy. It lies in the nature of the case that only some men are able to appropriate the Christianity that is comprehended in these ideas, viz., just as many as are capable of entering into this kind of Christianity, those who are spiritual. The others must be considered as non-partakers of the Spirit from the beginning, and therefore excluded from knowledge as the profanum vulgus. Yet some, the Valentinians, for example, made a distinction in this vulgus, which can only be discussed later on, because it is connected with the position of the Gnostics towards Jewish Christian tradition.

The later opponents of Gnosticism preferred to bring out the fantastic details of the Gnostic systems, and thereby created the prejudice that the essence of the matter lay in these. They have thus occasioned modern expounders to speculate about the Gnostic speculations in a manner that is marked by still greater strangeness. Four observations shew how unhistorical and unjust such a view is, at least with regard to the chief systems. (1) The great Gnostic schools, wherever they could, sought to spread their opinions. But it is simply incredible that they should have expected of all their disciples, male and female, an accurate knowledge of the details of their system. On the contrary, it may be shewn that they often contented themselves with imparting consecration, with regulating the practical life of their adherents, and instructing them in the general features of their system.311 (2) We see how in one and the same school, for example, the Valentinian, [pg 234] the details of the religious metaphysic were very various and changing. (3) We hear but little of conflicts between the various schools. On the contrary, we learn that the books of doctrine and edification passed from one school to another.312 (4) The fragments of Gnostic writings which have been preserved, and this is the most important consideration of the four, shew that the Gnostics devoted their main strength to the working out of those religious, moral, philosophical and historical problems, which must engage the thoughtful of all times.313 We only need to read some actual Gnostic document, such as the Epistle of Ptolemæus to Flora, or certain paragraphs of the Pistis Sophia, in order to see that the fantastic details of the philosophic poem can only, in the case of the Gnostics themselves, have had the value of liturgical apparatus, the construction of which was not of course a matter of indifference, but hardly formed the principal interest. The things to be proved, and to be confirmed by the aid of this or that very old religious philosophy, were certain religious and moral fundamental convictions, and a correct conception of God, of the sensible, of the creator of the world, of Christ, [pg 235] of the Old Testament, and the evangelic tradition. Here were actual dogmas. But how the grand fantastic union of all the factors was to be brought about, was, as the Valentinian school shews, a problem whose solution was ever and again subjected to new attempts.314 No one to-day can in all respects distinguish what to those thinkers was image and what reality, or in what degree they were at all able to distinguish image from reality, and in how far the magic formulæ of their mysteries were really objects of their meditation. But the final aim of their endeavours, the faith and knowledge of their own hearts which they instilled into their disciples, the practical rules which they wished to give them, and the view of Christ which they wished to confirm them in, stand out with perfect clearness. Like Plato, they made their explanation of the world start from the contradiction between sense and reason, which the thoughtful man observes in himself. The cheerful asceticism, the powers of the spiritual and the good which were seen in the Christian communities, attracted them and seemed to require the addition of theory to practice. Theory without being followed by practice had long been in existence, but here was the as yet rare phenomenon of a moral practice which seemed to dispense with that which was regarded as indispensable, viz., theory. The philosophic life was already there; how could the philosophic doctrine be wanting, and after what other model could the latent doctrine be reproduced than that of the Greek religious philosophy?315 That the Hellenic [pg 236] spirit in Gnosticism turned with such eagerness to the Christian communities and was ready even to believe in Christ in order to appropriate the moral powers which it saw operative in them, is a convincing proof of the extraordinary impression which these communities made. For what other peculiarities and attractions had they to offer to that spirit than the certainty of their conviction (of eternal life), and the purity of their life? We hear of no similar edifice being erected in the second century on the basis of any other Oriental cult—even the Mithras cult is scarcely to be mentioned here—as the Gnostic was on the foundation of the Christian.316 The Christian communities, however, together with their worship of Christ, formed the real solid basis of the greater number and the most important of the Gnostic systems, and in this fact we have, on the very threshold of the great conflict, a triumph of Christianity over Hellenism. The triumph lay in the recognition of what Christianity had already performed as a moral and social power. This recognition found expression in bringing [pg 237] the highest that one possessed as a gift to be consecrated by the new religion, a philosophy of religion whose end was plain and simple, but whose means were mysterious and complicated.

§ 3. History of Gnosticism and the forms in which it appeared.

In the previous section we have been contemplating Gnosticism as it reached its prime in the great schools of Basilides and Valentinus, and those related to them,317 at the close of the period we are now considering, and became an important factor in the history of dogma. But this Gnosticism had (1) preliminary stages, and (2) was always accompanied by a great number of sects, schools and undertakings which were only in part related to it, and yet, reasonably enough, were grouped together with it.

To begin with the second point, the great Gnostic schools were flanked on the right and left by a motley series of groups which at their extremities can hardly be distinguished from popular Christianity on the one hand, and from the Hellenic and the common world on the other.318 On the right were communities such as the Encratites, which put all stress on a strict asceticism, in support of which they urged the example of Christ, but which here and there fell into dualistic ideas.319 There were further, whole communities which, for decennia, drew their [pg 238] views of Christ from books which represented him as a heavenly spirit who had merely assumed an apparent body.320 There were also individual teachers who brought forward peculiar opinions without thereby causing any immediate stir in the Churches.321 On the left there were schools such as the Carpocratians, in which the philosophy and communism of Plato [pg 239] were taught, the son of the founder and second teacher Epiphanes honoured as a God (at Cephallenia), as Epicurus was in his school, and the image of Jesus crowned along with those of Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle.322 On this left flank are, further, swindlers who take their own way, like Alexander of Abonoteichus, magicians, soothsayers, sharpers and jugglers, under the sign-board of Christianity, deceivers and hypocrites who appear using mighty words with a host of unintelligible formulæ, and take up with scandalous ceremonies, in order to rob men of their money and women of their honour.323 All this was afterwards called "Heresy" and "Gnosticism," and is still so called.324 And these names may be retained, if we will understand by them nothing else than the world taken into Christianity, all the manifold formations which resulted from the first contact of the new religion with the [pg 240] society into which it entered. To prove the existence of that left wing of Gnosticism is of the greatest interest for the history of dogma, but the details are of no consequence. On the other hand, in the aims and undertakings of the Gnostic right, it is just the details that are of greatest significance, because they shew that there was no fixed boundary between what one may call common Christian and Gnostic Christian. But as Gnosticism, in its contents, extended itself from the Encratites and the philosophic interpretation of certain articles of the Christian proclamation, as brought forward without offence by individual teachers in the communities, to the complete dissolution of the Christian element by philosophy, or the religious charlatanry of the age, so it exhibits itself formally also in a long series of groups which comprised all imaginable forms of unions. There were churches, ascetic associations, mystery cults, strictly private philosophic schools,325 free unions for edification, entertainments by Christian charlatans and deceived deceivers, who appeared as magicians and prophets, attempts at founding new religions after the model and under the influence of the Christian, etc. But, finally, the thesis that Gnosticism is identical with an acute secularising of Christianity, in the widest sense of the word, is confirmed by the study of its own literature. The early Christian production of Gospel and Apocalypses was indeed continued in Gnosticism yet so that the class of "Acts of the Apostles" was added to them, and that didactic, biographic and "belles lettres," [pg 241] elements were received into them, and claimed a very important place. If this makes the Gnostic literature approximate to the profane, that is much more the case with the scientific theological literature which Gnosticism first produced. Dogmatico-philosophic tracts, theologico-critical treatises, historical investigations and scientific commentaries on the sacred books, were, for the first time in Christendom, composed by the Gnostics, who in part occupied the foremost place in the scientific knowledge, religious earnestness and ardour of the age. They form, in every respect, the counterpart to the scientific works which proceeded from the contemporary philosophic schools. Moreover, we possess sufficient knowledge of Gnostic hymns and odes, songs for public worship, didactic poems, magic formulæ, magic books, etc., to assure us that Christian Gnosticism took possession of a whole region of the secular life in its full breadth, and thereby often transformed the original forms of Christian literature into secular.326 If, [pg 242] however, we bear in mind how all this at a later period was gradually legitimised in the Catholic Church, philosophy, the science of the sacred books, criticism and exegesis, the ascetic associations, the theological schools, the mysteries, the sacred formulæ, the superstition, the charlatanism, all kinds of profane literature, etc., it seems to prove the thesis that the victorious epoch of the gradual hellenising of Christianity followed the abortive attempts at an acute hellenising.

The traditional question as to the origin and development of Gnosticism, as well as that about the classification of the Gnostic systems, will have to be modified in accordance with the foregoing discussion. As the different Gnostic systems might be contemporary, and in part were undoubtedly contemporary, and as a graduated relation holds good only between some few groups, we must, in the classification, limit ourselves essentially to the features which have been specified in the foregoing paragraph, and which coincide with the position of the different groups to the early Christian tradition in its connection with the Old Testament religion, both as a rule of practical life, and of the common cultus.327

As to the origin of Gnosticism, we see how, even in the earliest period, all possible ideas and principles foreign to Christianity force their way into it, that is, are brought in under Christian rules, and find entrance, especially in the consideration of the Old Testament.328 We might be satisfied [pg 243] with the observation that the manifold Gnostic systems were produced by the increase of this tendency. In point of fact we must admit that in the present state of our sources, we can reach no sure knowledge beyond that. These sources, however, give certain indications which should not be left unnoticed. If we leave out of account the two assertions of opponents, that Gnosticism was produced by demons329 and—this, however, was said at a comparatively late period—that it originated in ambition and resistance to the ecclesiastical office, the episcopate, we find in Hegesippus, one of the earliest writers on the subject, the statement that the whole of the heretical schools sprang out of Judaism or the Jewish sects; in the later writers, Irenæus, Tertullian and Hippolytus, that these schools owe most to the doctrines of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, etc.330 But they all agree in this, that a definite personality, viz., Simon the Magician, must be regarded as the original source of the heresy. If we try it by these statements of the Church Fathers, we must see at once that the problem in this case is limited—certainly in a proper way. For after Gnosticism is seen to be the acute secularising of Christianity the only question that remains is, how are we to account for the origin of the great Gnostic schools, that is, whether it is possible to indicate their preliminary stages. The following may be asserted here with some confidence: Long before the appearance of Christianity, combinations of religion had taken place in Syria and Palestine,331 especially in Samaria, in so far, on the one hand, as the Assyrian and Babylonian religious philosophy, together with its myths, as [pg 244] well as the Greek popular religion, with its manifold interpretations, had penetrated as far as the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and been accepted even by the Jews, and, on the other hand, the Jewish Messianic idea had spread and called forth various movements.332 The result of every mixing of national religions, however, is to break through the traditional, legal and particular forms.333 For the Jewish religion syncretism signified the shaking of the authority of the Old Testament by a qualitative distinction of its different parts, as also doubt as to the identity of the supreme God with the national God. These ferments were once more set in motion by Christianity. We know that in the Apostolic age there were attempts in Samaria to found new religions, which were in all probability influenced by the tradition and preaching concerning Jesus. Dositheus, Simon Magus, Cleobius, and Menander appeared as Messiahs or bearers of the Godhead, and proclaimed a doctrine in which the Jewish faith was strangely and grotesquely mixed with Babylonian myths, together with some Greek additions. The mysterious worship, the breaking up of Jewish particularism, the criticism of the Old Testament, which for long had had great difficulty in retaining its authority in many circles, in consequence of the widened horizon and the deepening of religious feeling, finally, the wild syncretism, whose aim, however, was a universal religion, all contributed to gain adherents for Simon.334 His [pg 245] enterprise appeared to the Christians as a diabolical caricature of their own religion, and the impression made by the success which Simonianism gained by a vigorous propaganda even beyond Palestine into the West, supported this idea.335 We can therefore understand how, afterwards, all heresies were traced back to Simon. To this must be added that we can actually trace in many Gnostic systems the same elements which were prominent in the religion proclaimed by Simon (the Babylonian and Syrian), and that the new religion of the Simonians, just like Christianity, had afterwards to submit to be transformed into a philosophic, scholastic doctrine.336 The formal parallel to the Gnostic doctrines was therewith established. But even apart from these attempts at founding new religions, Christianity in Syria, under the influence of foreign religions and speculation on the philosophy of religion, gave a powerful impulse to the criticism of the law and the prophets which had already been awakened. In consequence of this, there appeared, about the transition of the first century to the second, a series of teachers, who, under the impression of the Gospel, sought to make the Old Testament capable of furthering the tendency to a universal religion, not by allegorical interpretation, [pg 246] but by a sifting criticism. These attempts were of very different kinds. Teachers such as Cerinthus, clung to the notion that the universal religion revealed by Christ was identical with undefined Mosaism, and therefore maintained even such articles as circumcision and the Sabbath commandment, as well as the earthly kingdom of the future. But they rejected certain parts of the law, especially, as a rule, the sacrificial precepts, which were no longer in keeping with the spiritual conception of religion. They conceived the creator of the world as a subordinate being distinct from the supreme God, which is always the mark of a syncretism with a dualistic tendency; introduced speculations about Æons and angelic powers, among whom they placed Christ, and recommended a strict asceticism. When, in their Christology, they denied the miraculous birth, and saw in Jesus a chosen man on whom the Christ, that is, the Holy Spirit, descended at the baptism, they were not creating any innovation, but only following the earliest Palestinian tradition. Their rejection of the authority of Paul is explained by their efforts to secure the Old Testament as far as possible for the universal religion.337 There were others who rejected all ceremonial commandments as proceeding from the devil, or from some intermediate being, but yet always held firmly that the God of the Jews was the supreme God. But alongside of these stood also decidedly anti-Jewish groups, who seem to have been influenced in part by the preaching of Paul. They advanced much further in the criticism of the Old Testament and perceived the impossibility of saving it for the Christian universal religion. They rather connected this religion with the cultus-wisdom of Babylon and Syria, which seemed more adapted for allegorical interpretations, and opposed this formation to the Old Testament religion. The God of the Old Testament appears here at best as a subordinate Angel of limited power, wisdom and [pg 247] goodness. In so far as he was identified with the creator of the world, and the creation of the world itself was regarded as an imperfect or an abortive undertaking, expression was given both to the anti-Judaism and to that religious temper of the time, which could only value spiritual blessing in contrast with the world and the sensuous. These systems appeared more or less strictly dualistic, in proportion as they did or did not accept a slight co-operation of the supreme God in the creation of man; and the way in which the character and power of the world-creating God of the Jews was conceived, serves as a measure of how far the several schools were from the Jewish religion and the Monism that ruled it. All possible conceptions of the God of the Jews, from the assumption that he is a being supported in his undertakings by the supreme God, to his identification with Satan, seem to have been exhausted in these schools. Accordingly, in the former case, the Old Testament was regarded as the revelation of a subordinate God, in the latter as the manifestation of Satan, and therefore the ethic—with occasional use of Pauline formula—always assumed an antinomian form, compared with the Jewish law, in some cases antinomian even in the sense of libertinism. Correspondingly, the anthropology exhibits man as bipartite, or even tripartite, and the Christology is strictly docetic and anti-Jewish. The redemption by Christ is always, as a matter of course, related only to that element in humanity which has an affinity with the Godhead.338

[pg 248]

It is uncertain whether we should think of the spread of these doctrines in Syria in the form of a school, or of a cultus; probably it was both. From the great Gnostic systems as formed by Basilides and Valentinus they are distinguished by the fact, that they lack the peculiar philosophic, that is Hellenic element, the speculative conversion of angels and Æons into real ideas, etc. We have almost no knowledge of their effect. This Gnosticism has never directly been a historical factor of striking importance, and the great question is whether it was so indirectly.339 That is to say, we do not know whether this Syrian Gnosticism was, in the strict sense, the preparatory stage of the great Gnostic schools, so that these schools should be regarded as an actual reconstruction of it. But there can be no doubt that the appearance of the great Gnostic schools in the Empire, from Egypt to Gaul, is contemporaneous with the vigorous projection of Syrian cults westwards, and therefore the assumption is suggested, that the Syrian Christian syncretism was also spread in connection with that projection, and underwent a change corresponding to the new conditions. We know definitely that the Syrian Gnostic, Cerdo, came to Rome, wrought there, and exercised an influence on Marcion. But no less probable is the assumption that the great Hellenic Gnostic schools arose spontaneously, in the sense of having been independently developed out of the elements to which undoubtedly the Asiatic cults also belonged, without being influenced in any way by Syrian syncretistic efforts. The conditions for the growth of such [pg 249] formations were nearly the same in all parts of the Empire. The great advance lies in the fact that the religious material as contained in the Gospel, the Old Testament, and the wisdom connected with the old cults, was philosophically, that is, scientifically, manipulated by means of allegory, and the aggregate of mythological powers translated into an aggregate of ideas. The Pythagorean and Platonic, more rarely the Stoic philosophy, were compelled to do service here. Great Gnostic schools, which were at the same time unions for worship, first enter into the clear light of history in this form, (see previous section), and on the conflict with these, surrounded as they were by a multitude of dissimilar and related formations, depends the progress of the development.340

We are no longer able to form a perfectly clear picture of how these schools came into being, or how they were related to the Churches. It lay in the nature of the case that the heads of the schools, like the early itinerant heretical teachers, devoted attention chiefly, if not exclusively, to those who were already Christian, that is, to the Christian communities.341 From the Ignatian Epistles, the Shepherd of [pg 250] Hermas (Vis. III. 7. 1; Sim. VIII. 6. 5; IX. 19. and especially 22) and the Didache (XI. 1. 2) we see that those teachers who boasted of a special knowledge, and sought to introduce "strange" doctrines, aimed at gaining the entire churches. The beginning, as a rule, was necessarily the formation of conventicles. In the first period therefore, when there was no really fixed standard for warding off the foreign doctrines—Hermas is unable even to characterise the false doctrines—the warnings were commonly exhausted in the exhortation: κολλασθε τοις 'αγιοις, 'οτι 'οι κολλωμενοι αυτοις 'αγιασθησονται ["connect yourselves with the saints, because those who are connected with them shall be sanctified"]. As a rule, the doctrines may really have crept in unobserved, and those gained over to them may for long have taken part in a two-fold worship, the public worship of the churches, and the new consecration. Those teachers must of course have assumed a more aggressive attitude who rejected the Old Testament. The attitude of the Church, when it enjoyed competent guidance, was one of decided opposition towards unmasked or recognised false teachers. Yet Irenæus' account of Cerdo in Rome shews us how difficult it was at the beginning to get rid of a false teacher.342 For Justin, about the year 150, the Marcionites, Valentinians, Basilideans and Saturninians, are groups outside the communities, and undeserving of the name "Christians."343 There must therefore have been at that time, in Rome and Asia Minor at least, a really perfect separation of those schools from the Churches (it was different in Alexandria). Notwithstanding, this continued to be the region from which those schools obtained their adherents. For the [pg 251] Valentinians recognised that the common Christians were much better than the heathen, that they occupied a middle position between the "pneumatic" and the "hylic", and might look forward to a kind of salvation. This admission, as well as their conforming to the common Christian tradition, enabled them to spread their views in a remarkable way, and they may not have had any objection in many cases, to their converts remaining in the great Church. But can this community have perceived everywhere and at once, that the Valentinian distinction of "psychic" and "pneumatic" is not identical with the scriptural distinction of children and men in understanding? Where the organisation of the school (the union for worship) required a long time of probation, where degrees of connection with it were distinguished, and a strict asceticism demanded of the perfect, it followed of course that those on the lower stage should not be urged to a speedy break with the Church.344 But after the creation of the catholic confederation of churches, existence was made more and more difficult for these schools. Some of them lived on somewhat like our freemason-unions, some, as in the East, became actual sects (confessions), in which the wise and the simple now found a place, as they were propagated by families. In both cases they ceased to be what they had been at the beginning. From about 210, they ceased to be a factor of [pg 252] the historical development, though the Church of Constantine and Theodosius was alone really able to suppress them.

4. The most important Gnostic Doctrines.

We have still to measure and compare with the earliest tradition those Gnostic doctrines which, partly at once and partly in the following period, became important. Once more, however, we must expressly refer to the fact, that the epoch-making significance of Gnosticism for the history of dogma, must not be sought chiefly in the particular doctrines, but rather in the whole way in which Christianity is here conceived and transformed. The decisive thing is the conversion of the Gospel into a doctrine, into an absolute philosophy of religion, the transforming of the disciplina Evangelii into an asceticism based on a dualistic conception, and into a practice of mysteries.345 We have now briefly to shew, with due regard to the earliest tradition, how far this transformation was of positive or negative significance for the following period, that is, in what respects the following development was anticipated by Gnosticism, and in what respects Gnosticism was disavowed by this development.346

[pg 253]

(1) Christianity, which is the only true and absolute religion, embraces a revealed system of doctrine (positive).

(2) This doctrine contains mysterious powers, which are communicated to men by initiation (mysteries).

(3) The revealer is Christ (positive), but Christ alone, and only in his historical appearance—no Old Testament Christ (negative); this appearance is itself redemption: the doctrine is the announcement of it and of its presuppositions (positive).347

(4) Christian doctrine is to be drawn from the Apostolic tradition, critically examined. This tradition lies before us in a series of Apostolic writings, and in a secret doctrine derived from the Apostles, (positive).348 As exoteric it is comprehended [pg 255] in the regula fidei (positive),349 as esoteric it is propagated by chosen teachers.350

(5) The documents of revelation (Apostolic writings), just because they are such, must be interpreted by means of allegory, that is, their deeper meaning must be extracted in this way (positive).351

[pg 256]

(6) The following may be noted as the main points in the Gnostic conception of the several parts of the regula fidei.

(a) The difference between the supreme God and the creator of the world, and therewith the opposing of redemption and creation, and therefore the separation of the Mediator of revelation from the Mediator of creation.352

(b) The separation of the supreme God from the God of the Old Testament, and therewith the rejection of the Old Testament, or the assertion that the Old Testament contains no revelations of the supreme God, or at least only in certain parts.353

(c) The doctrine of the independence and eternity of matter.

(d) The assertion that the present world sprang from a fall [pg 257] of man, or from an undertaking hostile to God, and is therefore the product of an evil or intermediate being.354

(e) The doctrine, that evil is inherent in matter, and therefore is a physical potence.355

(f) The assumption of Æons, that is, real powers and heavenly persons in whom is unfolded the absoluteness of the Godhead.356

[pg 258]

(g) The assertion that Christ revealed a God hitherto unknown.

(h) The doctrine that in the person of Jesus Christ—the Gnostics saw in it redemption, but they reduced the person to the physical nature—the heavenly Æon, Christ, and the human appearance of that Æon must be clearly distinguished, and a "distincte agere" ascribed to each. Accordingly, there were some, such as Basilides, who acknowledged no real union between Christ and the man Jesus, whom, besides, they regarded as an earthly man. Others, e.g., part of the Valentinians, among whom the greatest differences prevailed—see Tertull. adv. Valent. 39—taught that the body of Jesus was a heavenly psychical formation, and sprang from the womb of Mary only in appearance. Finally, a third party, such as Saturninus, declared that the whole visible appearance of Christ was a phantom, and therefore denied the birth of Christ.357 [pg 259] Christ separates that which is unnaturally united, and thus leads everything back again to himself; in this redemption consists (full contrast to the notion of the ανακεφαλαιωσις).

[pg 260]

(i) The conversion of the εκκλησια (it was no innovation to regard the heavenly Church as an Æon) into the college of the pneumatic, who alone, in virtue of their psychological endowment, are capable of Gnosis and the divine life, while the others, likewise in virtue of their constitution, as hylic perish. The Valentinians, and probably many other Gnostics also, distinguished between pneumatic, psychic and hylic. They regarded the psychic as capable of a certain blessedness, and of a corresponding certain knowledge of the supersensible, the latter being obtained through Pistis, that is, through Christian faith.358

[pg 261]

(k) The rejection of the entire early Christian eschatology, especially the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and Christ's Kingdom of glory on the earth, and, in connection with this, the assertion that the deliverance of the spirit from the sensuous can be expected only from the future, while the spirit enlightened about itself already possesses immortality, and only awaits its introduction into the pneumatic pleroma.359

[pg 262]

In addition to what has been mentioned here, we must finally fix our attention on the ethics of Gnosticism. Like the ethics of all systems which are based on the contrast between the sensuous and spiritual elements of human nature, that of the Gnostics took a twofold direction. On the one hand, it sought to suppress and uproot the sensuous, and thus became strictly ascetic (imitation of Christ as motive of asceticism;360 Christ and the Apostles represented as ascetics);361 on the other hand, it treated the sensuous element as indifferent, and so became libertine, that is, conformed to the world. The former was undoubtedly the more common, though there are credible witnesses to the latter; the frequentissimum collegium in particular, the Valentinians, in the days of Irenæus and Tertullian, did not vigorously enough prohibit a lax and world-conforming morality;362 and among the Syrian and Egyptian Gnostics there were associations which celebrated the most revolting orgies.363 As the early Christian tradition summoned to a strict renunciation of the world and to self-control, the Gnostic asceticism could not but make an impression at the first; but the dualistic basis on which it rested could not fail to excite suspicion as soon as one was capable of examining it.364

[pg 263]

Literature.—The writings of Justin (his syntagma against heresies has not been preserved), Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Epiphanius, Philastrius [pg 264] and Theodoret; cf. Volkmar, Die Quellen der Ketzergeschichte, 1885.

Lipsius, Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanios, 1875; also Die Quellen der ältesten Ketzergeschichte, 1875.

Harnack, Zur Quellenkritik d. Gesch. d. Gnostic, 1873 (continued i. D. Ztschr. f. d. hist. Theol. 1874, and in Der Schrift de Apellis gnosi monarch. 1874).

Of Gnostic writings we possess the book Pistis Sophia, the writings contained in the Coptic Cod. Brucianus, and the Epistle of Ptolemy to Flora; also numerous fragments, in connection with which Hilgenfeld especially deserves thanks, but which still require a more complete selecting and a more thorough discussion (see Grabe, Spicilegium T. I. II. 1700. Heinrici, Die Valentin. Gnosis, u. d. H. Schrift, 1871).

On the (Gnostic) Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, see Zahn, Acta Joh. 1880, and the great work of Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, I. Vol., 1883; II. Vol., 1887. (See also Lipsius, Quellen d. röm. Petrussage, 1872).

Neander, Genet. Entw. d. vornehmsten gnostischen Systeme, 1818.

Matter, Hist. crit. du gnosticisme, 2 Vols., 1828.

Baur, Die Christl. Gnosis, 1835.

Lipsius, Der Gnosticismus, in Ersch. und Gruber's Allg. Encykl. 71 Bd. 1860.

Moeller, Geschichte d. Kosmologie i. d. Griech. K. his auf Origenes. 1860.

King, The Gnostics and their remains, 1873.

Mansel, The Gnostic heresies, 1875.

Jacobi, Art. "Gnosis" in Herzog's Real Encykl. 2nd Edit.

[pg 265]

Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums, 1884, where the more recent, special literature concerning individual Gnostics is quoted.

Lipsius, Art. "Valentinus" in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography.

Harnack, Art. "Valentinus" in the Encycl. Brit.

Harnack, Pistis Sophia in the Texte und Unters. VII. 2.

Carl Schmidt, Gnostische Schriften in koptischer Sprache aus dem Codex Brucianus (Texte und Unters. VIII. 1. 2).

Joël, Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des 2 Christl. Jahrhunderts, 2 parts, 1880, 1883.

Renan, History of the Origins of Christianity. Vols. V. VI. VII.

Footnote 300: (return)

We may consider here once more the articles which are embraced in the first ten chapters of the recently discovered διδαχη των αποστολων, after enumerating and describing which, the author continues (II. 1): 'ος αν ουν ελθων διδαχηι υμας ταυτα παντα τα προειρημενα, δεξασθε αυτον.

Footnote 301: (return)

It is a good tradition, which designates the so-called Gnosticism, simply as Gnosis, and yet uses this word also for the speculations of non-Gnostic teachers of antiquity (e.g., of Barnabas). But the inferences which follow have not been drawn. Origen says truly (c. Celsus III. 12) "As men, not only the labouring and serving classes, but also many from the cultured classes of Greece, came to see something honourable in Christianity, sects could not fail to arise, not simply from the desire for controversy and contradiction, but because several scholars endeavoured to penetrate deeper into the truth of Christianity. In this way sects arose, which received their names from men who indeed admired Christianity in its essence, but from many different causes had arrived at different conceptions of it."

Footnote 302: (return)

The majority of Christians in the second century belonged no doubt to the uncultured classes, and did not seek abstract knowledge, nay, were distrustful of it; see the λογος αληθης of Celsus, especially III. 44, and the writings of the Apologists. Yet we may infer from the treatise of Origen against Celsus that the number of "Christiani rudes" who cut themselves off from theological and philosophic knowledge, was about the year 240 a very large one; and Tertullian says (Adv. Prax. 3): "Simplices quique, ne dixerim imprudentes et idiotæ, quæ major semper credentium pars est," cf. de jejun. 11: "Major pars imperitorum apud gloriosissimam multitudinem psychicorum."

Footnote 303: (return )

Overbeck (Stud. z. Gesch. d. alten Kirche. p. 184) has the merit of having first given convincing expression to this view of Gnosticism.

Footnote 304: (return)

The ability of the prominent Gnostic teachers has been recognised by the Church Fathers: see Hieron. Comm in Osee. II. 10, Opp. VI. i: "Nullus potest haeresim struere, nisi qui ardens ingenii est et habet dona naturæ quæ a deo artifice sunt creata: talis fuit Valentinus, tails Marcion, quos doctissimos legimus, talis Bardesanes, cujus etiam philosophi admirantur ingenium." It is still more important to see how the Alexandrian theologians (Clement and Origen) estimated the exegetic labours of the Gnostics, and took account of them. Origen undoubtedly recognised Herakleon as a prominent exegete, and treats him most respectfully even where he feels compelled to differ from him. All Gnostics cannot, of course, be regarded as theologians. In their totality they form the Greek society with a Christian name.

Footnote 305: (return)

Otherwise the rise of Gnosticism cannot at all be explained.

Footnote 306: (return)

Cf. Bigg, "The Christian Platonists of Alexandria," p. 83: "Gnosticism was in one respect distorted Paulinism."

Footnote 307: (return)

Joel, "Blick in die Religionsgesch." Vol. I. pp. 101-170, has justly emphasised the Greek character of Gnosis, and insisted on the significance of Platonism for it. "The Oriental element did not always in the case of the Gnostics, originate at first hand, but had already passed through a Greek channel."

Footnote 308: (return)

The age of the Antonines was the flourishing period of Gnosticism. Marquardt (Römische Staatsverwaltung Vol. 3, p. 81) says of this age: "With the Antonines begins the last period of the Roman religious development in which two new elements enter into it. These are the Syrian and Persian deities, whose worship at this time was prevalent not only in the city of Rome, but in the whole empire, and, at the same time, Christianity, which entered into conflict with all ancient tradition, and in this conflict exercised a certain influence even on the Oriental forms of worship."

Footnote 309: (return)

It is a special merit of Weingarten (Histor. Ztschr. Bd 45. 1881. p. 441 f.) and Koffmane (Die Gnosis nach ihrer Tendenz und Organisation, 1881) to have strongly emphasised the mystery character of Gnosis, and in connection with that, its practical aims. Koffmane, especially, has collected abundant material for proving that the tendency of the Gnostics was the same as that of the ancient mysteries, and that they thence borrowed their organisation and discipline. This fact proves the proposition that Gnosticism was an acute hellenising of Christianity. Koffmane has, however, undervalued the union of the practical and speculative tendency in the Gnostics, and, in the effort to obtain recognition for the mystery character of the Gnostic communities, has overlooked the fact that they were also schools. The union of mystery-cultus and school is just, however, their characteristic. In this also they prove themselves the forerunners of Neoplatonism and the Catholic Church. Moehler in his programme of 1831 (Urspr. d. Gnosticismus Tubingen), vigorously emphasised the practical tendency of Gnosticism, though not in a convincing way. Hackenschmidt (Anfange des katholischen Kirchenbegriffs, p. 83 f.) has judged correctly.

Footnote 310: (return)

We have also evidence of the methods by which ecstatic visions were obtained among the Gnostics, see the Pistis Sophia, and the important rôle which prophets and Apocalypses played in several important Gnostic communities (Barcoph and Barcabbas, prophets of the Basilideans; Martiades and Marsanes among the Ophites; Philumene in the case of Apelles; Valentinian prophecies, Apocalypses of Zostrian, Zoroaster, etc.) Apocalypses were also used by some under the names of Old Testament men of God and Apostles.

Footnote 311: (return)

See Koftmane, before-mentioned work, p. 5 f.

Footnote 312: (return)

See Fragm. Murat. V. 81 f.; Clem. Strom. VII. 17. 108; Orig. Hom. 34. The Marcionite Antitheses were probably spread among other Gnostic sects. The Fathers frequently emphasise the fact that the Gnostics were united against the church: Tertullian de præscr 42: "Et hoc est, quod schismata apud hæreticos fere non sunt, quia cum sint, non parent. Schisma est enim unitas ipsa." They certainly also delight in emphasising the contradictions of the different schools; but they cannot point to any earnest conflict of these schools with each other. We know definitely that Bardasanes argued against the earlier Gnostics, and Ptolemæus against Marcion.

Footnote 313: (return)

See the collection, certainly not complete, of Gnostic fragments by Grabe (Spicileg.) and Hilgenfeld (Ketzergeschichte). Our books on the history of Gnosticism take far too little notice of these fragments as presented to us, above all, by Clement and Origen, and prefer to keep to the doleful accounts of the Fathers about the "Systems", (better in Heinrici: Valent. Gnosis, 1871). The vigorous efforts of the Gnostics to understand the Pauline and Johannine ideas, and their in part surprisingly rational and ingenious solutions of intellectual problems, have never yet been systematically estimated. Who would guess, for example, from what is currently known of the system of Basilides, that, according to Clement, the following proceeds from him, (Strom. IV. 12. 18): 'ως αυτος φησιν 'ο Βασιλειδης, εν μερος εκ του λεγομενου θεληματος του θεου 'υπειληφαμεν, το ηγαπηκεναι 'απαντα. 'οτι λογον αποσωζουσι προς το παν 'απαντα; 'ετερον δε το μηδενος επιθυμειν, και το τριτον μισειν μηδε 'εν, and where do we find, in the period before Clement of Alexandria, faith in Christ united with such spiritual maturity and inner freedom as in Valentinians, Ptolemæus and Heracleon?

Footnote 314: (return)

Testament of Tertullian (adv. Valent. 4) shews the difference between the solution of Valentinus, for example, and his disciple Ptolemæus. "Ptolemæus nomina et numeros Æonum distinxit in personales substantias, sed extra deum determinatas, quas Valentinus in ipsa summa divinitatis ut sensus et affectus motus incluserat." It is, moreover, important that Tertullian himself should distinguish this so clearly.

Footnote 315: (return)

There is nothing here more instructive than to hear the judgments of the cultured Greeks and Romans about Christianity, as soon as they have given up the current gross prejudices. They shew with admirable clearness, the way in which Gnosticism originated. Galen says (quoted by Gieseler, Church Hist. 1. 1. 41): "Hominum plerique orationem demonstrativam continuam mente assequi nequeunt, quare indigent, ut instituantur parabolis. Veluti nostro tempore videmus, homines illos, qui Christian! vocantur, fidem suam e parabolis petiisse. Hi tamen interdum talia faciunt, qualia qui vere philosophantur. Nam quod mortem contemnunt, id quidem omnes ante oculos habemus; item quod verecundia quadam ducti ab usu rerum venerearum abhorrent. Sunt enim inter eos feminæ et viri, qui per totam vitam a concubitu abstinuerint; sunt etiam qui in animis regendis coërcendisque et in accerrimo honestatis studio eo progressi sint, ut nihil cedant vere philosophantibus." Christians, therefore, are philosophers without philosophy. What a challenge for them to produce such, that is to seek out the latent philosophy! Even Celsus could not but admit a certain relationship between Christians and philosophers. But as he was convinced that the miserable religion of the Christians could neither include nor endure a philosophy, he declared that the moral doctrines of the Christians were borrowed from the philosophers (I. 4). In course of his presentation (V. 65; VI. 12. 15-19, 42; VII. 27-35) he deduces the most decided marks of Christianity, as well as the most important sayings of Jesus from (misunderstood) statements of Plato and other Greek philosophers. This is not the place to shew the contradictions in which Celsus was involved by this. But it is of the greatest significance that even this intelligent man could only see philosophy where he saw something precious. The whole of Christianity from its very origin appeared to Celsus (in one respect) precisely as the Gnostic systems appear to us, that is, these really are what Christianity as such seemed to Celsus to be. Besides, it was constantly asserted up to the fifth century that Christ had drawn from Plato's writings. Against those who made this assertion, Ambrosius (according to Augustine, Ep. 31. c. 8) wrote a treatise which unfortunately is no longer in existence.

Footnote 316: (return)

The Simonian system at most might be named, on the basis of the syncretistic religion founded by Simon Magus. But we know little about it, and that little is uncertain. Parallel attempts are demonstrable in the third century on the basis of various "revealed" fundamental ideas ('η εκ λογιων φιλοσοφια).

Footnote 317: (return)

Among these I reckon those Gnostics whom Irenæus (I. 29-31) has portrayed, as well as part of the so-called Ophites, Peratæ, Sethites and the school of the Gnostic Justin (Hippol. Philosoph. V. 6-28). There is no reason for regarding them as earlier or more Oriental than the Valentinians, as is done by Hilgenfeld against Baur, Möller, and Gruber (the Ophites, 1864). See also Lipsius, "Ophit. Systeme", i. d. Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1863. IV, 1864, I. These schools claimed for themselves the name Gnostic (Hippol. Philosoph. V. 6). A part of them, as is specially apparent from Orig. c. Celsum. VI., is not to be reckoned Christian. This motley group is but badly known to us through Epiphanius, much better through the original Gnostic writings preserved in the Coptic language. (Pistis Sophia and the works published by Carl Schmidt Texte u. Unters. Bd. VIII.). Yet these original writings belong, for the most part, to the second half of the third century (see also the important statements of Porphyry in the Vita Plotini, c. 16), and shew a Gnosticism burdened with an abundance of wild speculations, formulæ, mysteries, and ceremonial. However, from these very monuments it becomes plain that Gnosticism anticipated Catholicism as a ritual system (see below).

Footnote 318: (return)

On Marcion, see the following Chapter.

Footnote 319: (return)

We know that from the earliest period (perhaps we might refer even to the Epistle to the Romans) there were circles of ascetics in the Christian communities who required of all, as an inviolable law, under the name of Christian perfection, complete abstinence from marriage, renunciation of possessions, and a vegetarian diet. (Clem. Strom. III. 6. 49: 'υπο διαβολου ταυτην παραδιδοσθαι δογματιζουσι, μιμεισθαι δ' αυτους 'οι μεγαλανχοι φασι τον κυριον μητε γημαντα, μητε τι εν τωι κοσμωι κτησαμενον, μαλλον παρα αλλους νενοηκεναι το ευαγγελιον καυχομενοι.—Here then, already, imitation of the poor life of Jesus, the "Evangelic" life, was the watchword. Tatian wrote a book, περι του κατα τον σωτηρα καταρτισμου, that is, on perfection according to the Redeemer: in which he set forth the irreconcilability of the worldly life with the Gospel). No doubt now existed in the Churches that abstinence from marriage, from wine and flesh, and from possessions, was the perfect fulfilling of the law of Christ (βασταζειν 'ολον τον ζυγον του κυριου). But in wide circles strict abstinence was deduced from a special charism, all boastfulness was forbidden, and the watchword given out: 'οσον δυνασαι 'αγνευσεις, which may be understood as a compromise with the worldly life as well as a reminiscence of a freer morality (see my notes on Didache, c. 6; 11, 11 and Prolegg. p. 42 ff.). Still, the position towards asceticism yielded a hard problem, the solution of which was more and more found in distinguishing a higher and a lower though sufficient morality, yet repudiating the higher morality as soon as it claimed to be the alone authoritative one. On the other hand, there were societies of Christian ascetics who persisted in applying literally to all Christians the highest demands of Christ, and thus arose, by secession, the communities of the Encratites and Severians. But in the circumstances of the time even they could not but be touched by the Hellenic mode of thought, to the effect of associating a speculative theory with asceticism, and thus approximating to Gnosticism. This is specially plain in Tatian, who connected himself with the Encratites, and in consequence of the severe asceticism which he prescribed, could no longer maintain the identity of the supreme God and the creator of the world (see the fragments of his later writings in the Corp. Apol. ed Otto. T. VI.). As the Pauline Epistles could furnish arguments to either side, we see some Gnostics such as Tatian himself, making diligent use of them, while others such as the Severians, rejected them. (Euseb. H. E. IV. 29. 5, and Orig. c. Cels. V. 65). The Encratite controversy was, on the one hand, swallowed up by the Gnostic, and on the other hand, replaced by the Montanistic. The treatise written in the days of Marcus Aurelius by a certain Musanus (where?) which contains warnings against joining the Encratites (Euseb. H. E. IV. 28) we unfortunately no longer possess.

Footnote 320: (return)

See Eusebius, H. E. VI. 12. Docetic elements are apparent even in the fragment of the Gospel of Peter recently discovered.

Footnote 321: (return)

Here, above all, we have to remember Tatian, who in his highly praised Apology, had already rejected altogether the eating of flesh (c. 23) and set up very peculiar doctrines about the spirit, matter, and the nature of man (c. 12 ff.). The fragments of the Hypotyposes of Clem. of Alex. show how much one had to bear in some rural Churches at the end of the second century.

Footnote 322: (return)

See Clem. Strom III. 2. 5; Επιφανης, 'υιος Καρποκρατους, εζησε τα παντα ετη 'επτακαιδεκα και θεος εν Σαμηι της Κεφαλληνιας τετιμηται, ενθα αυτωι 'ιερον ρυτων λιθων, βωμοι, τεμενη, μουσειον, ωικοδομηται τε και καθιερωται, και συνιοντες εις το 'ιερον 'οι Καφαλληνες κατα νουμηνιαν γενεθλιον αποθεωσιν θυουσιν Επιφανει, σπενδουσι τε και ευωχουνται και 'υμνοι λεγονται. Clement's quotations from the writings of Epiphanes shew him to be a pure Platonist: the proposition that property is theft is found in him. Epiphanes and his father, Carpocrates, were the first who attempted to amalgamate Plato's State with the Christian ideal of the union of men with each other. Christ was to them, therefore, a philosophic Genius like Plato, see Irenæus I. 25. 5: "Gnosticos autem se vocant, etiam imagines, quasdam quidem depictas, quasdam autem et de reliqua materia fabricatas habent..... et has coronant, et proponent eas cum imaginibus mundi philosophorum, videlicet cum imagine Pythagoræ et Platonis et Aristotelis et reliquorum, et reliquam observationem circa eas similiter ut gentes faciunt."

Footnote 323: (return)

See the "Gnostics" of Hermas, especially the false prophet whom he portrays, Mand. XI., Lucian's Peregrinus, and the Marcus, of whose doings Irenæus (I. 13. ff.) gives such an abominable picture. To understand how such people were able to obtain a following so quickly in the Churches, we must remember the respect in which the "prophets" were held (see Didache XI.). If one had once given the impression that he had the Spirit, he could win belief for the strangest things, and could allow himself all things possible (see the delineations of Celsus in Orig. c. Cels. VII. 9. 11). We hear frequently of Gnostic prophets and prophetesses, see my notes on Herm. Mand. XI. 1 and Didache XI. 7. If an early Christian element is here preserved by the Gnostic schools, it has undoubtedly been hellenised and secularised as the reports shew. But that the prophets altogether were in danger of being secularised is shewn in Didache XI. In the case of the Gnostics the process is again only hastened.

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The name Gnostic originally attached to schools which had so named themselves. To these belonged, above all, the so-called Ophites, but not the Valentinians or Basilideans.

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Special attention should be given to this form, as it became in later times of the very greatest importance for the general development of doctrine in the Church. The sect of Carpocrates was a school. Of Tatian Irenæus says (I. 28. 1): Τατιανος Ιουστινου ακροατης γεγοναις ... μετα δε την εκεινου μαρτυριαν αποστας της εκκλησιας, οιηματι διδασκαλον επαρθεις ... ιδιον χαρακτηρ διδασκαλειου συνεστησατο. Rhodon (in Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 4) speaks of a Marcionite διδασκαλειον. Other names were, "Collegium" (Tertull. ad Valen 1), "Secta", the word had not always a bad meaning, 'αιρεσις, εκκλησια (Clem. Strom. VII. 16. 98, on the other hand, VII. 15. 92: Tertull. de præscr. 42: plerique nec Ecclesias habent), θιασος (Iren. I. 13. 4, for the Marcosians). συναγωγη, συστημα, διατριβη, 'αι αθρωπιναι συνηλυσεις, factiuncula, congregatio, conciliabulum, conventiculum. The mystery-organisation most clearly appears in the Naassenes of Hippolytus, the Marcosians of Irenæus, and the Elkasites of Hippolytus, as well as in the Coptic-Gnostic documents that have been preserved. (See Koffmane, above work, pp. 6-22).

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The particulars here belong to church history. Overbeck ("Ueber die Anfänge der patristischen Litteratur" in d. hist. Ztschr. N. F. Bd. XII. p. 417 ff.) has the merit of being the first to point out the importance, for the history of the Church, of the forms of literature as they were gradually received in Christendom. Scientific, theological literature has undoubtedly its origin in Gnosticism. The Old Testament was here, for the first time, systematically and also in part, historically criticised; a selection was here made from the primitive Christian literature; scientific commentaries were here written on the sacred books (Basilides and especially the Valentinians, see Heracleon's comm. on the Gospel of John [in Origen]); the Pauline Epistles were also technically expounded; tracts were here composed on dogmatico-philosophic problems (for example, περι δικαιοσυνης—περι προσφυους ψυχης—ηθικα—περι εγκρατειας 'η περι ευνουχιας), and systematic doctrinal systems already constructed (as the Basilidean and Valentinian); the original form of the Gospel was here first transmuted into the Greek form of sacred novel and biography (see, above all, the Gospel of Thomas, which was used by the Marcosians and Naassenes, and which contained miraculous stories from the childhood of Jesus); here, finally, psalms, odes and hymns were first composed (see the Acts of Lucius, the psalms of Valentinus, the psalms of Alexander the disciple of Valentinus, the poems of Bardesanes). Irenæus, Tertullian and Hippolytus have indeed noted, that the scientific method of interpretation followed by the Gnostics, was the same as that of the philosophers (e.g., of Philo). Valentinus, as is recognised even by the Church Fathers, stands out prominent for his mental vigour and religious imagination, Heracleon for his exegetic theological ability, Ptolemy for his ingenious criticism of the Old Testament and his keen perception of the stages of religious development (see his Epistle to Flora in Epiphanius, hær. 33. c. 7). As a specimen of the language of Valentinus one extract from a homily may suffice (in Clem. Strom. IV. 13. 89). Απ αρχης αθανατοι εστε και τεκνα ζωης εστε αιωνιας, και τον θανατον ηθελετε μερισασθαι εις 'εαυτους, 'ινα δαπανησητε αυτον και αναλωσητε, και αποθανη 'ο θανατος εν 'υμιν και δι' 'υμων, 'οταν γαρ τον μεν κοσμον λυητε, αυτοι δε μη καταλυησθε, κυριευετε της κρισεως και της φθορας απασης. Basilides falls into the background behind Valentinus and his school. Yet the Church Fathers, when they wish to summarise the most important Gnostics, usually mention Simon Magus, Basilides, Valentinus, Marcion (even Apelles). On the relation of the Gnostics to the New Testament writings, and to the New Testament, see Zahn, Gesch. des N. T-lichen Kanons I. 2, p. 718.

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Baur's classification of the Gnostic systems, which rests on the observation of how they severally realised the idea of Christianity as the absolute religion, in contrast to Judaism and Heathenism, is very ingenious, and contains a great element of truth. But it is insufficient with reference to the whole phenomenon of Gnosticism, and it has been carried out by Baur by violent abstractions.

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The question, therefore, as to the time of the origin of Gnosticism, as a complete phenomenon, cannot be answered. The remarks of Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E. IV. 22) refer to the Jerusalem Church, and have not even for that the value of a fixed datum. The only important question here is the point of time at which the expulsion or secession of the schools and unions took place in the different national churches.

Footnote 329: (return)

Justin Apol. 1. 26.

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Hegesippus in Euseb. H. E. IV. 22, Iren. II. 14. 1 f., Tertull. de præscr. 7, Hippol. Philosoph. The Church Fathers have also noted the likeness of the cultus of Mithras and other deities.

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We must leave the Essenes entirely out of account here, as their teaching, in all probability, is not to be considered syncretistic in the strict sense of the word, (see Lucius, "Der Essenismus", 1881), and as we know absolutely nothing of a greater diffusion of it. But we need no names here, as a syncretistic, ascetic Judaism could and did arise everywhere in Palestine and the Diaspora.

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Freudenthal's "Hellenistische Studien" informs us as to the Samaritan syncretism; see also Hilgenfeld's "Ketzergeschichte", p. 149 ff. As to the Babylonian mythology in Gnosticism, see the statements in the elaborate article, "Manichaismus", by Kessler (Real-Encycl. für protest. Theol., 2 Aufl.).

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Wherever traditional religions are united under the badge of philosophy a conservative syncretism is the result, because the allegoric method, that is, the criticism of all religion, veiled and unconscious of itself, is able to blast rocks and bridge over abysses. All forms may remain here, under certain circumstances, but a new spirit enters into them. On the other hand, where philosophy is still weak, and the traditional religion is already shaken by another, there arises the critical syncretism in which either the gods of one religion are subordinated to those of another, or the elements of the traditional religion are partly eliminated and replaced by others. Here, also, the soil is prepared for new religious formations, for the appearance of religious founders.

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It was a serious mistake of the critics to regard Simon Magus as a fiction, which, moreover, has been given up by Hilgenfeld (Ketzergeschichte, p. 163 ff.). and Lipsius (Apocr Apostelgesch 11. 1),—the latter, however, not decidedly. The whole figure, as well as the doctrines attributed to Simon (see Acts of the Apostles, Justin, Irenæus, Hippolytus), not only have nothing improbable in them, but suit very well the religious circumstances which we must assume for Samaria. The main point in Simon is his endeavour to create a universal religion of the supreme God. This explains his success among the Samaritans and Greeks. He is really a counterpart to Jesus, whose activity can just as little have been unknown to him as that of Paul. At the same time, it cannot be denied, that the later tradition about Simon was the most confused and biassed imaginable, or that certain Jewish Christians at a later period may have attempted to endow the magician with the features of Paul in order to discredit the personality and teaching of the Apostle. But this last assumption requires a fresh investigation.

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Justin, Apol. I. 26: και σχεδον παντες μεν Σαμαρεις, ολιγοι δε και εν αλλοις εθνεσιν, 'ως τον πρωτον θεον Σιμωνα 'ομολογουντες, εκεινον και προσκυνουσιν (besides the account in the Philos and Orig. c. Cels i. 57; VI. 11). The positive statement of Justin that Simon came even to Rome (under Claudius) can hardly be refuted from the account of the Apologist himself, and therefore not at all (See Renan, "Antichrist").

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We have it as such in the Μεγαλη Αποφασις which Hippolytus (Philosoph. VI. 19. 20) made use of. This Simonianism may perhaps have been related to the original, as the doctrines of the Christian Gnostics to the Apostolic preaching.

Footnote 337: (return)

The Heretics opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians may belong to these. On Cerinthus, see Polycarp, in Iren. III. 3. 2, Irenæus (I. 26. I.; III. 11. 1), Hippolytus and the redactions of the Syntagma, Cajus in Euseb. III. 28. 2, Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, p. 411 ff. To this category belong also the Ebionites and Elkasites of Epiphanius (See Chap. 6).

Footnote 338: (return)

The two Syrian teachers, Saturninus and Cerdo, must in particular be mentioned here. The first (See Iren I. 24. 1. 2, Hippolyt. and the redactions of the Syntagma) was not strictly speaking a dualist, and therefore allowed the God of the Old Testament to be regarded as an Angel of the supreme God, while at the same time he distinguished him from Satan. Accordingly, he assumed that the supreme God co-operated in the creation of man by angel powers—sending a ray of light, an image of light, that should be imitated as an example and enjoined as an ideal. But all men have not received the ray of light. Consequently, two classes of men stand in abrupt contrast with each other. History is the conflict of the two. Satan stands at the head of the one, the God of the Jews at the head of the other. The Old Testament is a collection of prophecies out of both camps. The truly good first appears in the Æon Christ, who assumed nothing cosmic, did not even submit to birth. He destroys the works of Satan (generation, eating of flesh), and delivers the men who have within them a spark of light The Gnosis of Cerdo was much coarser. (Iren. I. 27. 1, Hippolyt. and the redactions). He contrasted the good God and the God of the Old Testament as two primary beings. The latter he identified with the creator of the world. Consequently, he completely rejected the Old Testament and everything cosmic and taught that the good God was first revealed in Christ. Like Saturninus he preached a strict docetism; Christ had no body, was not born, and suffered in an unreal body. All else that the Fathers report of Cerdo's teaching has probably been transferred to him from Marcion, and is therefore very doubtful.

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This question might perhaps be answered if we had the Justinian Syntagma against all heresies; but, in the present condition of our sources, it remains wrapped in obscurity. What may be gathered from the fragments of Hegesippus, the Epistles of Ignatius, the Pastoral Epistles and other documents, such as, for example, the Epistle of Jude, is in itself so obscure, so detached, and so ambiguous, that it is of no value for historical construction.

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There are, above all, the schools of the Basilideans, Valentinians and Ophites. To describe the systems in their full development lies, in my opinion, outside the business of the history of dogma and might easily lead to the mistake that the systems as such were controverted, and that their construction was peculiar to Christian Gnosticism. The construction, as remarked above, is rather that of the later Greek philosophy, though it cannot be mistaken that, for us, the full parallel to the Gnostic systems first appears in those of the Neoplatonists. But only particular doctrines and principles of the Gnostics were really called in question, their critique of the world, of providence, of the resurrection, etc.; these therefore are to be adduced in the next section. The fundamental features of an inner development can only be exhibited in the case of the most important, viz., the Valentinian school. But even here, we must distinguish an Eastern and a Western branch. (Tertull. adv. Valent. I.: "Valentiniani frequentissimum plane collegium inter hæreticos." Iren. I. 1.; Hippol. Philos. VI. 35; Orig. Hom. II. 5 in Ezech. Lomm. XIV. p. 40: "Valentini robustissima secta").

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Tertull. de præscr. 42: "De verbi autem administratione quid dicam, cum hoc sit negotium illis, non ethnicos convertendi, sed nostros evertendi? Hanc magis gloriam captant, si stantibus ruinam, non si jacentibus elevationem operentur. Quoniam et ipsum opus eorum non de suo proprio ædificio venit, sed de veritatis destructione; nostra suffodiunt, ut sua ædificent. Adime illis legem Moysis et prophetas et creatorem deum, accusationem eloqui non habent." (See adv. Valent. I init.). This is hardly a malevolent accusation. The philosophic interpretation of a religion will always impress those only on whom the religion itself has already made an impression.

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Iren. III. 4. 2: Κερδων εις την εκκλησιαν ελθων και εξομολογουμενος, 'ουτως διετελετε, ποτε μεν λαθροδιδασκαλων ποτε δε παλιν εξομολογουμενος, ποτε δε ελεγγομενος εφ 'οις εδιδασκε κακως, και αφισταμενος της των αδελφων συνοδιας, see, besides, the valuable account of Tertull. de præscr. 30. The account of Irenæus (I. 13) is very instructive as to the kind of propaganda of Marcus, and the relation of the women he deluded to the Church. Against actually recognised false teachers the fixed rule was to renounce all intercourse with them (2 Joh. 10. 11, Iren. ep. ad. Florin on Polycarp's procedure, in Euseb. H. E. V. 20. 7; Iren. III. 3. 4) But how were the heretics to be surely known?

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Among those who justly bore this name he distinguishes those 'οι ορθογνωμενες κατα παντα χριστανοι εισιν (Dial. 80).

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Very important is the description which Irenæus (III. 15. 2) and Tertullian have given of the conduct of the Valentinians as observed by themselves (adv. Valent. 1). "Valentiniani nihil magis curant quam occultare, quod prædicant; si tamen prædicant qui occultant. Custodiæ officium conscientiæ officium est (a comparison with the Eleusinian mysteries follows.) Si bona fide quæras, concreto vultu, suspenso supercilio, Altum est, aiunt. Si subtiliter temptes per ambiguitates bilingues communem fidem adfirmant. Si scire te subostendas negant quidquid agnoscunt. Si cominus certes, tuam simplicitatem sua cæde dispergunt. Ne discipulis quidem propriis ante committunt quam suos fecerint. Habent artificium quo prius persuadeant quam edoceant." At a later period Dionysius of Alex, (in Euseb. H. E. VII. 7) speaks of Christians who maintain an apparent communion with the brethren, but resort to one of the false teachers (cf. as to this Euseb. H. E. VI. 2. 13). The teaching of Bardesanes influenced by Valentinus, who, moreover, was hostile to Marcionitism, was tolerated for a long time in Edessa (by the Christian kings), nay, was recognised. The Bardesanites and the "Palutians" (catholics) were differentiated only after the beginning of the third century.

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There can be no doubt that the Gnostic propaganda was seriously hindered by the inability to organise and discipline churches, which is characteristic of all philosophic systems of religion. The Gnostic organisation of schools and mysteries was not able to contend with the episcopal organisation of the churches; see Ignat. ad Smyr. 6. 2; Tertull de præscr. 41. Attempts at actual formations of churches were not altogether wanting in the earliest period; at a later period they were forced on some schools. We have only to read Iren. III. 15. 2 in order to see that these associations could only exist by finding support in a church. Irenæus expressly remarks that the Valentinians designated the common Christians καθολικοι (communes) και εκκλησιαστικοι, but that they, on the other hand, complained that "we kept away from their fellowship without cause, as they thought like ourselves."

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The differences between the Gnostic Christianity and that of the Church, that is, the later ecclesiastical theology, were fluid, if we observe the following points. (1) That even in the main body of the Church, the element of knowledge was increasingly emphasised, and the Gospel began to be converted into a perfect knowledge of the world (increasing reception of Greek philosophy, development of πιστις to γνωσις). (2) That the dramatic eschatology began to fade away. (3) That room was made for docetic views, and value put upon a strict asceticism. On the other hand, we must note: (1) That all this existed only in germ or fragments within the great Church during the flourishing period of Gnosticism. (2) That the great Church held fast to the facts fixed in the baptismal formula (in the Kerygma), and to the eschatological expectations, further, to the creator of the world as the supreme God, to the unity of Jesus Christ, and to the Old Testament, and therefore rejected dualism. (3) That the great Church defended the unity and equality of the human race, and therefore the uniformity and universal aim of the Christian salvation. (4) That it rejected every introduction of new, especially of Oriental Mythologies, guided in this by the early Christian consciousness and a sure intelligence. A deeper, more thorough distinction between the Church and the Gnostic parties hardly dawned on the consciousness of either. The Church developed herself instinctively into an imperial Church, in which office was to play the chief rôle. The Gnostics sought to establish or conserve associations in which the genius should rule, the genius in the way of the old prophets or in the sense of Plato, or in the sense of a union of prophecy and philosophy. In the Gnostic conflict, at least at its close, the judicial priest fought with the virtuoso and overcame him.

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The absolute significance of the person of Christ was very plainly expressed in Gnosticism (Christ is not only the teacher of the truth, but the manifestation of the truth), more plainly than where he was regarded as the subject of Old Testament revelation. The pre-existent Christ has significance in some Gnostic schools, but always a comparatively subordinate one. The isolating of the person of Christ, and quite as much the explaining away of his humanity, is manifestly out of harmony with the earliest tradition. But, on the other hand, it must not be denied that the Gnostics recognised redemption in the historical Christ: Christ personally procured it (see under 6. h.).

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In this thesis, which may be directly corroborated by the most important Gnostic teachers, Gnosticism shews that it desires in thesi (in a way similar to Philo) to continue on the soil of Christianity as a positive religion. Conscious of being bound to tradition, it first definitely raised the question, what is Christianity? and criticised and sifted the sources for an answer to the question. The rejection of the Old Testament led it to that question and to this sifting. It may be maintained with the greatest probability, that the idea of a canonical collection of Christian writings first emerged among the Gnostics (see also Marcion). They really needed such a collection, while all those who recognised the Old Testament as a document of revelation, and gave it a Christian interpretation, did not at first need a new document, but simply joined on the new to the old, the Gospel to the Old Testament. From the numerous fragments of Gnostic commentaries on New Testament writings which have been preserved, we see that these writings there enjoyed canonical authority, while at the same period, we hear nothing of such authority, nor of commentaries in the main body of Christendom (see Heinrici, "Die Valentinianische Gnosis", u. d. h. Schrift, 1871). Undoubtedly, sacred writings were selected according to the principle of apostolic origin. This is proved by the inclusion of the Pauline Epistles in the collections of books. There is evidence of such having been made by the Naassenes, Peratæ, Valentinians, Marcion, Tatian, and the Gnostic Justin. The collection of the Valentinians, and the Canon of Tatian must have really coincided with the main parts of the later Ecclesiastical Canon. The later Valentinians accommodated themselves to this Canon, that is, recognised the books that had been added (Tertull. de præscr. 38). The question as to who first conceived and realised the idea of a Canon of Christian writings, Basilides or Valentinus or Marcion or whether this was done by several at the same time, will always remain obscure, though many things favour Marcion. If it should even be proved that Basilides (see Euseb. H. E. IV. 7. 7) and Valentinus himself, regarded the Gospels only as authoritative yet the full idea of the Canon lies already in the fact of their making these the foundation and interpreting them allegorically. The question as to the extent of the Canon afterwards became the subject of an important controversy between the Gnostics and the Catholic Church. The Catholics throughout took up the position that their Canon was the earlier, and the Gnostic collection the corrupt revision of it (they were unable to adduce proof, as is attested by Tertullian's de præscr.) But the aim of the Gnostics to establish themselves on the uncorrupted apostolic tradition gathered from writings was crossed by three tendencies, which, moreover, were all jointly operative in the Christian communities and are therefore not peculiar to Gnosticism. (1) By faith in the continuance of prophecy, in which new things are always revealed by the Holy Spirit (the Basilidean and Marcionite prophets). (2) By the assumption of an esoteric secret tradition of the Apostles (see Clem. Strom. VII. 17. 106, 108, Hipp. Philos. VII. 20, Iren. I. 25. 5, III. 2. 1, Tertull. de præscr. 25. Cf. the Gnostic book Πιστις Σοφια, which in great part is based on doctrines said to be imparted by Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection). (3) By the inability to oppose the continuous production of Evangelic writings in other words by the continuance of this kind of literature and the addition of Acts of the Apostles (Gospel of the Egyptians (?), other Gospels, Acts of John, Thomas, Philip etc. We know absolutely nothing about the conditions under which these writings originated the measure of authority which they enjoyed or the way in which they gained that authority). In all these points which in Gnosticism hindered the development of Christianity to the religion of a new book the Gnostic schools shew that they stood precisely under the same conditions as the Christian communities in general (see above Chap. 3 § 2). If all things do not deceive us, the same inner development may be observed even in the Valentinian school, as in the great Church viz. the production of sacred Evangelic and Apostolic writings, prophecy and secret gnosis, falling more and more into the background, and the completed Canon becoming the most important basis of the doctrine of religion. The later Valentinians (see Tertull. de præscr. and adv. Valent.) seem to have appealed chiefly to this Canon, and Tatian no less (about whose Canon see my Texte u Unters I. 1. 2. pp. 213-218). But finally we must refer to the fact that it was the highest concern of the Gnostics to furnish the historical proof of the Apostolic origin of their doctrine by an exact reference to the links of the tradition (see Ritschl Entstehung der altkath Kirche 2nd ed. p. 338 f.). Here again it appears that Gnosticism shared with Christendom the universal presupposition that the valuable thing is the Apostolic origin (see above p. 160 f.), but that it first created artificial chains of tradition, and that this is the first point in which it was followed by the Church (see the appeals to the Apostle Matthew, to Peter and Paul, through the mediation of "Glaukias," and "Theodas," to James and the favourite disciples of the Lord, in the case of the Naassenes, Ophites, Basilideans and Valentinians, etc., see, further, the close of the Epistle of Ptolemy to Flora in Epiphan H. 33. 7 Μαθαεσαε εξης και την τουτου αρχην τε κα κεννησιν, αξιουμενη της αποστολικης παραδοσεος. 'η εκ διαδοχης και 'ημεις παρειληφαμεν μετα καιρου [sic] κανονισαι παντας τους λογους τηι του σωτηρος διδασκαλια, as well as the passages adduced above under (2)). From this it further follows that the Gnostics may have compiled their Canon solely according to the principle of Apostolic origin. Upon the whole we may see here how foolish it is to seek to dispose of Gnosticism with the phrase lawless fancies. On the contrary, the Gnostics purposely took their stand on the tradition, nay they were the first in Christendom who determined the range, contents and manner of propagating the tradition. They are thus the first Christian theologians.

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Here also we have a point of unusual historical importance. As we first find a new Canon among the Gnostics so also among them (and in Marcion) we first meet with the traditional complex of the Christian Kerygma as a doctrinal confession (regula fidei), that is, as a confession which, because it is fundamental, needs a speculative exposition, but is set forth by this exposition as the summary of all wisdom. The hesitancy about the details of the Kerygma, only shews the general uncertainty which at that time prevailed. But again, we see that the later Valentinians completely accommodated themselves to the later development in the Church (Tertull. adv. Valent. I: communem fidem adfirmant) that is attached themselves, probably even from the first, to the existing forms, while in the Marcionite Church a peculiar regula was set up by a criticism of the tradition. The regula as a matter of course, was regarded as Apostolic. On Gnostic regulæ see Iren. I. 21. 5, 31. 3, II. præf. II. 19. 8, III. II. 3, III. 16. 1, 5, Ptolem. ap Epiph. h. 33. 7, Tertull. adv Valent. I. 4, de præscr. 42, adv Marc. I. 1, IV. 5, 17, Ep. Petri ad Jacob in Clem. Hom. c. 1. We still possess in great part verbatim the regula of Apelles, in Epiphan II. 44, 2 Irenæus (I. 7. 2) and Tertull (de carne. 20) state that the Valentinian regula contained the formula, 'γεννηθεντα δια Μαριας', see on this p. 203. In noting that the two points so decisive for Catholicism the Canon of the New Testament and the Apostolic regula were first, in the strict sense, set up by the Gnostics on the basis of a definite fixing and systematising of the oldest tradition we may see that the weakness of Gnosticism here consisted in its inability to exhibit the publicity of tradition and to place its propagation in close connection with the organisation of the churches.

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We do not know the relation in which the Valentinians placed the public Apostolic regula fidei to the secret doctrine derived from one Apostle. The Church in opposition to the Gnostics strongly emphasised the publicity of all tradition. Yet afterwards though with reservations, she gave a wide scope to the assumption of a secret tradition.

Footnote 351: (return)

The Gnostics transferred to the Evangelic writings, and demanded as simply necessary, the methods which Barnabas and others used in expounding the Old Testament (see the samples of their exposition in Irenæus and Clement. Heinrici, l. c.). In this way, of course, all the specialties of the systems may be found in the documents. The Church at first condemned this method (Tertull. de præscr. 17-19. 39; Iren. I. 8. 9), but applied it herself from the moment in which she had adopted a New Testament Canon of equal authority with that of the Old Testament. However, the distinction always remained, that in the confrontation of the two Testaments with the views of getting proofs from prophecy, the history of Jesus described in the Gospels was not at first allegorised. Yet afterwards, the Christological dogmas of the third and following centuries demanded a docetic explanation of many points in that history.

Footnote 352: (return)

In the Valentinian, as well as in all systems not coarsely dualistic, the Redeemer Christ has no doubt a certain share in the constitution of the highest class of men, but only through complicated mediations. The significance which is attributed to Christ in many systems for the production or organisation of the upper world, may be mentioned. In the Valentinian system there are several mediators. It may be noted that the abstract conception of the divine primitive Being seldom called forth a real controversy. As a rule, offence was taken only at the expression.

Footnote 353: (return)

The Epistle of Ptolemy to Flora is very instructive here. If we leave out of account the peculiar Gnostic conception, we have represented in Ptolemy's criticism the later Catholic view of the Old Testament, as well as also the beginning of a historical conception of it. The Gnostics were the first critics of the Old Testament in Christendom. Their allegorical exposition of the Evangelic writings should be taken along with their attempts at interpreting the Old Testament literally and historically. It may be noted, for example, that the Gnostics were the first to call attention to the significance of the change of name for God in the Old Testament; see Iren. II. 35.. 3. The early Christian tradition led to a procedure directly the opposite. Apelles, in particular, the disciple of Marcion, exercised an intelligent criticism on the Old Testament, see my treatise, "de Apellis gnosi." p. 71 sq., and also Texte u. Unters VI. 3. p. 111 ff. Marcion himself recognised the historical contents of the Old Testament as reliable, and the criticism of most Gnostics only called in question its religious value.

Footnote 354: (return)

Ecclesiastical opponents rightly put no value on the fact, that some Gnostics advanced to Pan-Satanism with regard to the conception of the world, while others beheld a certain justitia civilis ruling in the world. For the standpoint which the Christian tradition had marked out, this distinction is just as much a matter of indifference, as the other, whether the Old Testament proceeded from an evil, or from an intermediate being. The Gnostics attempted to correct the judgment of faith about the world and its relation to God, by an empiric view of the world. Here again they are by no means "visionaries", however fantastic the means by which they have expressed their judgment about the condition of the world, and attempted to explain that condition. Those, rather are "visionaries" who give themselves up to the belief that the world is the work of a good and omnipotent Deity, however apparently reasonable the arguments they adduce. The Gnostic (Hellenistic) philosophy of religion, at this point, comes into the sharpest opposition to the central point of the Old Testament Christian belief, and all else really depends on this. Gnosticism is antichristian so far as it takes away from Christianity its Old Testament foundation, and belief in the identity of the creator of the world with the supreme God. That was immediately felt and noted by its opponents.

Footnote 355: (return)

The ecclesiastical opposition was long uncertain on this point. It is interesting to note that Basilides portrayed the sin inherent in the child from birth, in a way that makes one feel as though he were listening to Augustine (see the fragment from the 23rd book of the Εξηγητικα in Clem., Strom. VI. 12. 83). But it is of great importance to note how even very special later terminologies, dogmas, etc., of the Church, were in a certain way anticipated by the Gnostics. Some samples will be given below; but meanwhile we may here refer to a fragment from Apelles' Syllogisms in Ambrosius (de Parad. V. 28): "Si hominem non perfectum fecit deus, unusquisque autcm per industriam propriam perfectionem sibi virtutis adsciscit: nonne videtur plus sibi homo adquirere, quam ei deus contulit?" One seems here to be transferred into the fifth century.

Footnote 356: (return)

The Gnostic teaching did not meet with a vigorous resistance even on this point, and could also appeal to the oldest tradition. The arbitrariness in the number, derivation and designation of the Æons was contested. The aversion to barbarism also co-operated here, in so far as Gnosticism delighted in mysterious words borrowed from the Semites. But the Semitic element attracted as well as repelled the Greeks and Romans of the second century. The Gnostic terminologies within the Æon speculations were partly reproduced among the Catholic theologians of the third century; most important is it that the Gnostics have already made use of the concept "'ομοουσιος"; see Iren., I. 5. 1: αλλα το μεν πνευματικον μη δεδυνησθαι αυτην μορφωσαι, επειδη 'ομοουσιον 'υπηρχεν αυτηι (said of the Sophia): L. 5. 4, και τουτον ειναι τον κατ' εικονα και 'ομοιωσιν γεγονοτα; κατ' εικονα μεν τον 'υλικον 'υπαρχειν, παραπλησιον μεν, αλλ' ουχ 'ομοουσιον τωι θεωι καθ' 'ομοιωσιν δε τον ψυχικον. I. 5. 5: το δε κυημα της μητρος της "Αχαμωθ", 'ομοουσιον 'υπαρχον τηι μητρι. In all these cases the word means "of one substance." It is found in the same sense in Clem., Hom. 20. 7: See also Philos. VII. 22; Clem., Exc. Theod. 42. Other terms also which have acquired great significance in the Church since the days of Origen, (e.g., αγεννητος), are found among the Gnostics, see Ep. Ptol. ad Floram, 5; and Bigg. (1. c. p. 58, note 3) calls attention to the appearance τριας in Excerpt. ex. Theod. § 80, perhaps the earliest passage.

Footnote 357: (return)

The characteristic of the Gnostic Christology is not Docetism, in the strict sense, but the doctrine of the two natures, that is, the distinction between Jesus and Christ, or the doctrine that the Redeemer as Redeemer was not a man. The Gnostics based this view on the inherent sinfulness of human nature, and it was shared by many teachers of the age without being based on any principle (see above, p. 195 f.). The most popular of the three Christologies briefly characterised above was undoubtedly that of the Valentinians. It is found, with great variety of details, in most of the nameless fragments of Gnostic literature that have been preserved, as well as in Apelles. This Christology might be accommodated to the accounts of the Gospels and the baptismal confession (how far is shewn by the regula of Apelles, and that of the Valentinians may have run in similar terms). It was taught here that Christ had passed through Mary as a channel; from this doctrine followed very easily the notion of the Virginity of Mary, uninjured even after the birth—it was already known to Clem. Alex. (Strom. VII. 16. 93). The Church also, later on, accepted this view. It is very difficult to get a clear idea of the Christology of Basilides, as very diverse doctrines were afterwards set up in his school as is shewn by the accounts. Among them is the doctrine, likewise held by others, that Christ in descending from the highest heaven took to himself something from every sphere through which he passed. Something similar is found among the Valentinians, some of whose prominent leaders made a very complicated phenomenon of Christ, and gave him also a direct relation to the demiurge. There is further found here the doctrine of the heavenly humanity, which was afterwards accepted by ecclesiastical theologians. Along with the fragments of Basilides the account of Clem. Alex. seems to me the most reliable. According to this, Basilides taught that Christ descended on the man Jesus at the baptism. Some of the Valentinians taught something similar: the Christology of Ptolemy is characterised by the union of all conceivable Christology theories. The different early Christian conceptions may be found in him. Basilides did not admit a real union between Christ and Jesus; but it is interesting to see how the Pauline Epistles caused the theologians to view the sufferings of Christ as necessarily based on the assumption of sinful flesh, that is, to deduce from the sufferings that Christ has assumed sinful flesh. The Basilidean Christology will prove to be a peculiar preliminary stage of the later ecclesiastical Christology. The anniversary of the baptism of Christ was to the Basilideans, as the day of the επιφανεια, a high festival day (see Clem., Strom. I. 21. 146): they fixed it for the 6th (2nd) January. And in this also the Catholic Church has followed the Gnosis. The real docetic Christology as represented by Saturninus (and Marcion) was radically opposed to the tradition, and struck out the birth of Jesus, as well as the first 30 years of his life. An accurate exposition of the Gnostic Christologies, which would carry us too far here, (see especially Tertull., de carne Christi), would shew, that a great part of the questions which occupy Church theologians till the present day, were already raised by the Gnostics; for example, what happened to the body of Christ after the resurrection? (see the doctrines of Apelles and Hermogenes); what significance the appearance of Christ had for the heavenly and Satanic powers? what meaning belongs to his sufferings, although there was no real suffering for the heavenly Christ, but only for Jesus? etc. In no other point do the anticipations in the Gnostic dogmatic stand out so plainly (see the system of Origen; many passages bearing on the subject will be found in the third and fourth volumes of this work, to which readers are referred). The Catholic Church has learned but little from the Gnostics, that is, from the earliest theologians in Christendom, in the doctrine of God and the world, but very much in Christology, and who can maintain that she has ever completely overcome the Gnostic doctrine of the two natures, nay, even Docetism? Redemption viewed in the historical person of Jesus, that is, in the appearance of a Divine being on the earth, but the person divided and the real history of Jesus explained away and made inoperative, is the signature of the Gnostic Christology—this, however, is also the danger of the system of Origen and those systems that are dependent on him (Docetism) as well as, in another way, the danger of the view of Tertullian and the Westerns (doctrine of two natures). Finally, it should be noted that the Gnosis always made a distinction between the supreme God and Christ, but that, from the religious position, it had no reason for emphasising that distinction. For to many Gnostics, Christ was in a certain way the manifestation of the supreme God himself, and therefore in the more popular writings of the Gnostics (see the Acta Johannis) expressions are applied to Christ which seem to identify him with God. The same thing is true of Marcion and also of Valentinus (see his Epistle in Clem., Strom. II. 20. 114: εις δε εστιν αγαθος. ου παρουσια 'η δια του 'υιου φανερωσις). This Gnostic estimate of Christ has undoubtedly had a mighty influence on the later Church development of Christology. We might say without hesitation that to most Gnostics Christ was a πνευμα 'ομοουσιον τωι πατρι. The details of the life, sufferings and resurrection of Jesus are found in many Gnostics, transformed, complemented and arranged in the way in which Celsus (Orig., c. Cels. I. II.) required for an impressive and credible history. Celsus indicates how everything must have taken place if Christ had been a God in human form. The Gnostics in part actually narrate it so. What an instructive coincidence! How strongly the docetic view itself was expressed in the case of Valentinus, and how the exaltation of Jesus above the earthly was thereby to be traced back to his moral struggle, is shewn in the remarkable fragment of a letter (in Clem., Strom. III. 7. 59): Παντα 'υπομεινας ηγκρατης την θεοτητα Ιησους ειργαζετο. ησθιεν γαρ και απιεν ιδιως ουκ αποδιδους τα βρωματα, τοσαυτη ην αυτωι της εγκρατειας δυναμις, 'ωστε και μη φθαρηναι την τροφην εν αυτωι επει το φθερεσθαι αυτος ουκ ειχεν. In this notion, however, there is more sense and historical meaning than in that of the later ecclesiastical aphtharto-docetism.

Footnote 358: (return)

The Gnostic distinction of classes of men was connected with the old distinction of stages in spiritual understanding, but has its basis in a law of nature. There were again empirical and psychological views—they must have been regarded as very important, had not the Gnostics taken them from the traditions of the philosophic schools—which made the universalism of the Christian preaching of salvation, appear unacceptable to the Gnostics. Moreover, the transformation of religion into a doctrine of the school, or into a mystery cult, always resulted in the distinction of the knowing from the profanum vulgus. But in the Valentinian assumption that the common Christians as psychical occupy an intermediate stage, and that they are saved by faith, we have a compromise which completely lowered the Gnosis to a scholastic doctrine within Christendom. Whether and in what way the Catholic Church maintained the significance of Pistis as contrasted with Gnosis, and in what way the distinction between the knowing (priests) and the laity was there reached, will be examined in its proper place. It should be noted, however, that the Valentinian, Ptolemy, ascribes freedom of will to the psychic (which the pneumatic and hylic lack), and therefore has sketched by way of by-work a theology for the psychical beside that for the pneumatic, which exhibits striking harmonies with the exoteric system of Origen. The denial by Gnosticism of free will, and therewith of moral responsibility, called forth very decided contradiction. Gnosticism, that is, the acute hellenising of Christianity, was wrecked in the Church on free will, the Old Testament and eschatology.

Footnote 359: (return)

The greatest deviation of Gnosticism from tradition appears in eschatology, along with the rejection of the Old Testament and the separation of the creator of the world from the supreme God. Upon the whole our sources say very little about the Gnostic eschatology. This, however, is not astonishing; for the Gnostics had not much to say on the matter, or what they had to say found expression in their doctrine of the genesis of the world, and that of redemption through Christ. We learn that the regula of Apelles closed with the words: ανεπτη εις ουρανον 'οθεν και 'ηκε, instead of 'οθεν ερχεται κριναι ζωντας και νεκρους. We know that Marcion, who may already be mentioned here, referred the whole eschatological expectations of early Christian times to the province of the god of the Jews, and we hear that Gnostics (Valentinians) retained the words σαρκος αναστασιν, but interpreted them to mean that one must rise in this life, that is perceive the truth (thus the "resurrectio a mortuis", that is, exaltation above the earthly, took the place of the "resurrectio mortuorum"; See Iren. II. 31. 2: Tertull., de resurr. carnis, 19). While the Christian tradition placed a great drama at the close of history, the Gnostics regard the history itself as the drama, which virtually closes with the (first) appearing of Christ. It may not have been the opinion of all Gnostics that the resurrection has already taken place, yet for most of them the expectations of the future seem to have been quite faint, and above all without significance. The life is so much included in knowledge, that we nowhere in our sources find a strong expression of hope in a life beyond (it is different in the earliest Gnostic documents preserved in the Coptic language), and the introduction of the spirits into the Pleroma appears very vague and uncertain. But it is of great significance that those Gnostics who, according to their premises, required a real redemption from the world as the highest good, remained finally in the same uncertainty and religious despondency with regard to this redemption, as characterised the Greek philosophers. A religion which is a philosophy of religion remains at all times fixed to this life, however strongly it may emphasise the contrast between the spirit and its surroundings, and however ardently it may desire redemption. The desire for redemption is unconsciously replaced by the thinker's joy in his knowledge, which allays the desire (Iren. III. 15. 2: "Inflatus est iste [scil. the Valentinian proud of knowledge] neque in coelo, neque in terra putat se esse, sed intra Pleroma introisse et complexum jam angelum suum, cum institorio et supercilio incedit gallinacei elationem habens.... Plurimi, quasi jam perfecti, semetipsos spiritales vocant, et se nosse jam dicunt eum qui sit intra Pleroma ipsorum refrigerii locum"). As in every philosophy of religion, an element of free thinking appears very plainly here also. The eschatological hopes can only have been maintained in vigour by the conviction that the world is of God. But we must finally refer to the fact, that even in eschatology, Gnosticism only drew the inferences from views which were pressing into Christendom from all sides, and were in an increasing measure endangering its hopes of the future. Besides, in some Valentinian circles, the future life was viewed as a condition of education, as a progress through the series of the (seven) heavens; i.e., purgatorial experiences in the future were postulated. Both afterwards, from the time of Origen, forced their way into the doctrine of the Church (purgatory, different ranks in heaven), Clement and Origen being throughout strongly influenced by the Valentinian eschatology.

Footnote 360: (return)

See the passage Clem. Strom. III. 6, 49, which is given above, p. 238.

Footnote 361: (return)

Cf. the Apocryphal Acts of Apostles and diverse legends of Apostles (e.g., in Clem. Alex.).

Footnote 362: (return)

More can hardly be said: the heads of schools were themselves earnest men. No doubt statements such as that of Heracleon seem to have led to laxity in the lower sections of the collegium: 'ομολογιαν ειναι την μεν εν τηι πιστει και πολιτειαι. την δε εν φωνηι; 'η μην ουν εν φωνηι 'ομολογια και επι των εξουσιων γινεται, 'ην μονην 'ομολογιαν 'ηγουνται ειναι 'οι πολλοι, ουχ 'υγιως δυνανται δε ταυτην την 'ομολογιαν και 'οι 'υποκριται 'ομολογειν.

Footnote 363: (return)

See Epiph. h. 26, and the statements in the Coptic Gnostic works. (Schmidt, Texte u Unters. VIII. 1. 2, p. 566 ff.).

Footnote 364: (return)

There arose in this way an extremely difficult theoretical problem, but practically a convenient occasion for throwing asceticism altogether overboard, with the Gnostic asceticism, or restricting it to easy exercises. This is not the place for entering into the details. Shibboleths, such as φευγετε ου τας φυσεις αλλα τας γνωμας των κακων, may have soon appeared. It may be noted here, that the asceticism which gained the victory in Monasticism, was not really that which sprang from early Christian, but from Greek impulses, without, of course, being based on the same principle. Gnosticism anticipated the future even here. That could be much more clearly proved in the history of the worship. A few points which are of importance for the history of dogma may be mentioned here: (1) The Gnostics viewed the traditional sacred actions (Baptism and the Lord's Supper) entirely as mysteries, and applied to them the terminology of the mysteries (some Gnostics set them aside as psychic); but in doing so they were only drawing the inferences from changes which were then in process throughout Christendom. To what extent the later Gnosticism in particular was interested in sacraments, may be studied especially in the Pistis Sophia and the other Coptic works of the Gnostics, which Carl Schmidt has edited; see, for example, Pistis Sophia, p. 233. "Dixit Jesus ad suos μαθητας; αμην dixi vobis, haud adduxi quidquam in κοσμον veniens nisi hunc ignem et hanc aquam et hoc vinum et hunc sanguinem." (2) They increased the holy actions by the addition of new ones, repeated baptisms (expiations), anointing with oil, sacrament of confirmation απολυτρωσις; see, on Gnostic sacraments, Iren. I. 20, and Lipsius, Apokr. Apostelgesch. I. pp. 336-343, and cf. the πυκνως μετανοσυσι in the delineation of the Shepherd of Hermas. Mand. XI. (3) Marcus represented the wine in the Lord's Supper as actual blood in consequence of the act of blessing: see Iren., I. 13.2: ποτηρια οινω κεκραμενα προσποιουμενος ευχαριστειν και επι πλεον εκτεινων τον λογον της επικλησεως, πορφυρεα και ερυθρα αναφαινεσθαι ποιει, 'ως δοκειν την απο των 'υπερ τα 'ολα χαριν το 'αιμα το 'εαυτης σταζειν εν εκεινω τω ποτηριω δια της επικλησεως αυτου, και 'υπεριμειρεσθαι τους παροντας εξ εκεινου γευσασθαι του ποματος, 'ινα και εις αυτους επομβρηση 'η δια του μαγου τουτου κληιζομενη χαρις. Marcus was indeed a charlatan; but religious charlatanry afterwards became very earnest, and was certainly taken earnestly by many adherents of Marcus. The transubstantiation idea, in reference to the elements in the mysteries, is also plainly expressed in the Excerpt. ex. Theodot. § 82: και 'ο αρτος και το ελαιον αγιαζεται τη δυναμει του ονοματος ου τα αυτα οντα κατα το φαινομενον δια εληφθη, αλλα δυ αμει εις δυναμιν πνευματικην μεταβεβληται (that is, not into a new super-terrestrial material, not into the real body of Christ, but into a spiritual power) ουτως και το 'υδωρ και το εξορκιζομενον και το βαπτισμα γινομενον ου μονον χωρει το χειρον, αλλα και αγιασμον προσλαμβανει. Irenæus possessed a liturgical handbook of the Marcionites, and communicates many sacramental formula from it (I. c. 13 sq). In my treatise on the Pistis Sophia (Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. pp. 59-94) I think I have shewn ("The common Christian and the Catholic elements of the Pistis Sophia") to what extent Gnosticism anticipated Catholicism as a system of doctrine and an institute of worship. These results have been strengthened by Carl Schmidt (Texte u. Unters. VIII. 1. 2). Even purgatory, prayers for the dead, and many other things, raised in speculative questions and definitely answered, are found in those Coptic Gnostic writings, and are then met with again in Catholicism. One general remark may be permitted in conclusion. The Gnostics were not interested in apologetics, and that is a very significant fact. The πνευμα in man was regarded by them as a supernatural principle, and on that account they are free from all rationalism and moralistic dogmatism. For that very reason they are in earnest with the idea of revelation, and do not attempt to prove it or convert its contents into natural truths. They did endeavour to prove that their doctrines were Christian, but renounced all proof that revelation is the truth (proofs from antiquity). One will not easily find in the case of the Gnostics themselves, the revealed truth described as philosophy, or morality as the philosophic life. If we compare therefore, the first and fundamental system of Catholic doctrine, that of Origen, with the system of the Gnostics, we shall find that Origen, like Basilides and Valentinus, was a philosopher of revelation, but that he had besides a second element which had its origin in apologetics.

[pg 266]



Marcion cannot be numbered among the Gnostics in the strict sense of the word.365 For (1) he was not guided by any speculatively scientific, or even by an apologetic, but by a soteriological interest.366 (2) He therefore put all emphasis on faith, not on Gnosis.367 (3) In the exposition of his ideas he neither applied the elements of any Semitic religious wisdom, [pg 267] nor the methods of the Greek philosophy of religion.368 (4) He never made the distinction between an esoteric and an exoteric form of religion. He rather clung to the publicity of the preaching, and endeavoured to reform Christendom, in opposition to the attempts at founding schools for those who knew and mystery cults for such as were in quest of initiation. It was only after the failure of his attempts at reform that he founded churches of his own, in which brotherly [pg 268] equality, freedom from all ceremonies, and strict evangelical discipline were to rule.369 Completely carried away with the novelty, uniqueness and grandeur of the Pauline Gospel of the grace of God in Christ, Marcion felt that all other conceptions of the Gospel, and especially its union with the Old Testament religion, was opposed to, and a backsliding from the truth.370 He accordingly supposed that it was necessary to make the sharp antitheses of Paul, law and gospel, wrath and grace, works and faith, flesh and spirit, sin and righteousness, death and life, that is the Pauline criticism of the Old Testament religion, the foundation of his religious views, and to refer them to two principles, the righteous and wrathful god of the Old Testament, who is at the same time identical with the creator of the world, and the God of the Gospel, quite unknown before Christ, who is only love and mercy.371 This Paulinism in its religious strength, but without dialectic, without the Jewish Christian view of history, and detached from the soil of the Old Testament, was to him the true Christianity. Marcion, like Paul, felt that the religious value of a statutory law with commandments and ceremonies, was very different from that of a uniform law of love.372 Accordingly, he had a capacity for appreciating the Pauline idea of faith; it is to him reliance on the unmerited grace of God which is revealed in Christ. But Marcion shewed himself to be a Greek, [pg 269] influenced by the religious spirit of the time, by changing the ethical contrast of the good and legal into the contrast between the infinitely exalted spiritual and the sensible which is subject to the law of nature, by despairing of the triumph of good in the world and, consequently, correcting the traditional faith that the world and history belong to God, by an empirical view of the world and the course of events in it,373 a view to which he was no doubt also led by the severity of the early Christian estimate of the world. Yet to him systematic speculation about the final causes of the contrast actually observed, was by no means the main thing. So far as he himself ventured on such a speculation he seems to have been influenced by the Syrian Cerdo. The numerous contradictions which arise as soon as one attempts to reduce Marcion's propositions to a system, and the fact that his disciples tried all possible conceptions of the doctrine of principles, and defined the relation of the two Gods very differently, are the clearest proof that Marcion was a religious character, that he had in general nothing to do with principles, but with living beings whose power he felt, and that what he ultimately saw in the Gospel was not an explanation of the world, but redemption from the world,374—redemption from a world, which even in the best that it can offer, has nothing that can reach the height of the blessing bestowed in Christ.375 Special attention may be called to the following particulars.

1. Marcion explained the Old Testament in its literal sense and rejected every allegorical interpretation. He recognised [pg 270] it as the revelation of the creator of the world and the god of the Jews, but placed it, just on that account, in sharpest contrast to the Gospel. He demonstrated the contradictions between the Old Testament and the Gospel in a voluminous work (the αντιθεσεις).376 In the god of the former book he saw a being whose character was stern justice, and therefore anger; contentiousness and unmercifulness. The law which rules nature and man appeared to him to accord with the characteristics of this god and the kind of law revealed by him, and therefore it seemed credible to him that this god is the creator and lord of the world (κοσμοκρατωρ). As the law which governs the world is inflexible, and yet, on the other hand, full of contradictions, just and again brutal, and as the law of the Old Testament exhibits the same features, so the god of creation was to Marcion a being who united in himself the whole gradations of attributes from justice to malevolence, from obstinacy to inconsistency.377 Into this conception of the creator of the world, the characteristic of which is that it cannot be systematised, could easily be fitted the Syrian Gnostic theory which regards him as an evil being, because he belongs to this world and to matter. Marcion did not accept it in principle,378 but touched it lightly and adopted certain inferences.379 On [pg 271] the basis of the Old Testament and of empirical observation, Marcion divided men into two classes, good and evil, though he regarded them all, body and soul, as creatures of the demiurge. The good are those who strive to fulfil the law of the demiurge. These are outwardly better than those who refuse him obedience. But the distinction found here is not the decisive one. To yield to the promptings of Divine grace is the only decisive distinction, and those just men will shew themselves less susceptible to the manifestation of the truly good than sinners. As Marcion held the Old Testament to be a book worthy of belief, though his disciple, Apelles, thought otherwise, he referred all its predictions to a Messiah whom the creator of the world is yet to send, and who, as a warlike hero, is to set up the earthly kingdom of the "just" God.380

2. Marcion placed the good God of love in opposition to the creator of the world.381 This God has only been revealed in Christ. He was absolutely unknown before Christ,382 and men were in every respect strange to him.383 Out of pure goodness and mercy, for these are the essential attributes of this God who judges not and is not wrathful, he espoused the cause of those beings who were foreign to him, as he could not bear to have them any longer tormented by their just and yet malevolent lord.384 The God of love appeared in Christ and proclaimed a new kingdom (Tertull., adv. Marc. III. 24. fin.). Christ called to himself the weary and heavy laden,385 and proclaimed to them that he would deliver them [pg 272] from the fetters of their lord and from the world. He shewed mercy to all while he sojourned on the earth, and did in every respect the opposite of what the creator of the world had done to men. They who believed in the creator of the world nailed him to the cross. But in doing so they were unconsciously serving his purpose, for his death was the price by which the God of love purchased men from the creator of the world.386 He who places his hope in the Crucified can now be sure of escaping from the power of the creator of the world, and of being translated into the kingdom of the good God. But experience shews that, like the Jews, men who are virtuous according to the law of the creator of the world, do not allow themselves to be converted by Christ; it is rather sinners who accept his message of redemption. Christ, therefore, rescued from the under-world, not the righteous men of the Old Testament (Iren. I. 27. 3), but the sinners who were disobedient to the creator of the world. If the determining thought of Marcion's view of Christianity is here again very clearly shewn, the Gnostic woof cannot fail to be seen in the proposition that the good God delivers only the souls, not the bodies of believers. The antithesis of spirit and matter, appears here as the decisive one, and the good God of love becomes the God of the spirit, the Old Testament god the god of the flesh. In point of fact, Marcion seems to have given such a turn to the good God's attributes of love, and incapability of wrath, as to make Him the apathetic, infinitely exalted Being, free from all affections. The contradiction in which Marcion is here involved is evident, because he taught expressly that the spirit of man is in itself just as foreign to the good God as his body. But the strict asceticism which Marcion demanded as a Christian, could have had no motive, without the Greek assumption of a metaphysical contrast of [pg 273] flesh and Spirit, which in fact was also apparently the doctrine of Paul.

3. The relation in which Marcion placed the two Gods, appears at first sight to be one of equal rank.387 Marcion himself, according to the most reliable witnesses, expressly asserted that both were uncreated, eternal, etc. But if we look more closely we shall see that in Marcion's mind there can be no thought of equality. Not only did he himself expressly declare that the creator of the world is a self-contradictory being of limited knowledge and power, but the whole doctrine of redemption shews that he is a power subordinate to the good God. We need not stop to enquire about the details, but it is certain that the creator of the world formerly knew nothing of the existence of the good God, that he is in the end completely powerless against him, that he is overcome by him, and that history in its issue with regard to man, is determined solely by its relation to the good God. The just god appears at the end of history, not as an independent being, hostile to the good God, but as one subordinate to him,388 so that some scholars, such as Neander, have attempted to claim for Marcion a doctrine of one principle, and to deny that he ever held the complete independence of the creator of the world, the creator of the world being simply an angel of the good God. This inference may certainly be drawn with [pg 274] little trouble, as the result of various considerations, but it is forbidden by reliable testimony. The characteristic of Marcion's teaching is just this, that as soon as we seek to raise his ideas from the sphere of practical considerations to that of a consistent theory, we come upon a tangled knot of contradictions. The theoretic contradictions are explained by the different interests which here cross each other in Marcion. In the first place, he was consciously dependent on the Pauline theology, and was resolved to defend everything which he held to be Pauline. Secondly, he was influenced by the contrast in which he saw the ethical powers involved. This contrast seemed to demand a metaphysical basis, and its actual solution seemed to forbid such a foundation. Finally, the theories of Gnosticism, the paradoxes of Paul, the recognition of the duty of strictly mortifying the flesh, suggested to Marcion the idea that the good God was the exalted God of the spirit, and the just god the god of the sensuous, of the flesh. This view, which involved the principle of a metaphysical dualism, had something very specious about it, and to its influence we must probably ascribe the fact that Marcion no longer attempted to derive the creator of the world from the good God. His disciples who had theoretical interests in the matter, no doubt noted the contradictions. In order to remove them, some of these disciples advanced to a doctrine of three principles, the good God, the just creator of the world, the evil god, by conceiving the creator of the world sometimes as an independent being, sometimes as one dependent on the good God. Others reverted to the common dualism, God of the spirit and god of matter. But Apelles, the most important of Marcion's disciples, returned to the creed of the one God (μια αρχη), and conceived the creator of the world and Satan as his angels, without departing from the fundamental thought of the master, but rather following suggestions which he himself had given.389 Apart from Apelles, [pg 275] who founded a Church of his own, we hear nothing of the controversies of disciples breaking up the Marcionite church. All those who lived in the faith for which the master had worked—viz., that the laws ruling in nature and history, as well as the course of common legality and righteousness, are the antitheses of the act of Divine mercy in Christ, and that cordial love and believing confidence have their proper contrasts in self-righteous pride and the natural religion of the heart,—those who rejected the Old Testament and clung solely to the Gospel proclaimed by Paul, and finally, those who considered that a strict mortification of the flesh and an earnest renunciation of the world were demanded in the name of the Gospel, felt themselves members of the same community, and to all appearance allowed perfect liberty to speculations about final causes.

4. Marcion had no interest in specially emphasising the distinction between the good God and Christ, which according to the Pauline Epistles, could not be denied. To him Christ is the manifestation of the good God himself.390 But [pg 276] Marcion taught that Christ assumed absolutely nothing from the creation of the Demiurge, but came down from heaven in the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius, and after the assumption of an apparent body, began his preaching in the synagogue of Capernaum.391 This pronounced docetism which denies that Jesus was born, or subjected to any human process of development,392 is the strongest expression of Marcion's abhorrence of the world. This aversion may have sprung from the severe attitude of the early Christians toward the world, but the inference which Marcion here draws, shews, that this feeling was, in his case, united with the Greek estimate of spirit and matter. But Marcion's docetism is all the more remarkable that, under Paul's guidance, he put a high value on the fact of Christ's death upon the cross. Here also is a glaring contradiction which his later disciples laboured to remove. This much, however, is unmistakable, that Marcion succeeded in placing the greatness and uniqueness of redemption through Christ in the clearest light and in beholding this redemption in the person of Christ, but chiefly in his death upon the cross.

5. Marcion's eschatology is also quite rudimentary. Yet be assumed with Paul that violent attacks were yet in store for the Church of the good God on the part of the Jewish Christ of the future, the Antichrist. He does not seem to have taught a visible return of Christ, but, in spite of the omnipotence and goodness of God, he did teach a twofold issue of history. The idea of a deliverance of all men, which seems to follow from his doctrine of boundless grace, was quite foreign to him. For this very reason, he could not help actually making the good God the judge, though in theory he rejected the idea, [pg 277] in order not to measure the will and acts of God by a human standard. Along with the fundamental proposition of Marcion, that God should be conceived only as goodness and grace, we must take into account the strict asceticism which he prescribed for the Christian communities, in order to see that that idea of God was not obtained from antinomianism. We know of no Christian community in the second century which insisted so strictly on renunciation of the world as the Marcionites. No union of the sexes was permitted. Those who were married had to separate ere they could be received by baptism into the community. The sternest precepts were laid down in the matter of food and drink. Martyrdom was enjoined; and from the fact that they were ταλαιπωροι και μισουμενοι in the world, the members were to know that they were disciples of Christ.393 With all that, the early Christian enthusiasm was wanting.

6. Marcion defined his position in theory and practice towards the prevailing form of Christianity, which, on the one hand, shewed throughout its connection with the Old Testament, and, on the other, left room for a secular ethical code, by assuming that it had been corrupted by Judaism, and therefore needed a reformation.394 But he could not fail to note that this corruption was not of recent date, but belonged to the oldest tradition itself. The consciousness of this moved him to a historical criticism of the whole Christian tradition.395 [pg 278] Marcion was the first Christian who undertook such a task. Those writings to which he owed his religious convictions, viz., the Pauline Epistles, furnished the basis for it. He found nothing in the rest of Christian literature that harmonised with the Gospel of Paul. But he found in the Pauline Epistles hints which explained to him this result of his observations. The twelve Apostles whom Christ chose did not understand him, but regarded him as the Messiah of the god of creation.396 And therefore Christ inspired Paul by a special revelation, lest the Gospel of the grace of God should be lost through falsifications.397 But even Paul had been understood only by [pg 279] few (by none?). His Gospel had also been misunderstood, nay, his Epistles had been falsified in many passages,398 in order to make them teach the identity of the god of creation and the God of redemption. A new reformation was therefore necessary. Marcion felt himself entrusted with this commission, and the church which he gathered recognised this vocation of his to be the reformer.399 He did not appeal to a new revelation such as he presupposed for Paul. As the Pauline Epistles and an authentic ευαγγελιον κυριου were in existence, it was only necessary to purify these from interpolations, and restore the genuine Paulinism which was just the Gospel itself. But it was also necessary to secure and preserve this true Christianity for the future. Marcion, in all probability, was the first to conceive and, in great measure, to realise the idea of placing Christendom on the firm foundation of a definite theory of what is Christian—but not of basing it on a theological doctrine—and of establishing this theory by a fixed [pg 280] collection of Christian writings with canonical authority.400 He was not a systematic thinker; but he was more, for he was not only a religious character, but at the same time a man with an organising talent, such as has no peer in the early Church. If we think of the lofty demands he made on Christians, and, on the other hand, ponder the results that accompanied his activity, we cannot fail to wonder. Wherever Christians were numerous about the year 160, there must have been Marcionite communities with the same fixed but free organisation, with the same canon and the same conception of the essence of Christianity, pre-eminent for the strictness of their morals and their joy in martyrdom.401 The Catholic Church was then only in process of growth, and it was long ere it reached the solidity won by the Marcionite church through the activity of one man, who was animated by a faith so strong that he was able to oppose his conception of Christianity to all others as the only right one, and who did not shrink from making selections from tradition instead of explaining it away. He was the first who laid the firm foundation [pg 281] for establishing what is Christian, because, in view of the absoluteness of his faith,402 he had no desire to appeal either to a secret evangelic tradition, or to prophecy, or to natural religion.

Remarks.—The innovations of Marcion are unmistakable. The way in which he attempted to sever Christianity from the Old Testament was a bold stroke which demanded the sacrifice of the dearest possession of Christianity as a religion, viz., the belief that the God of creation is also the God of redemption. And yet this innovation was partly caused by a religious conviction, the origin of which must be sought not in heathenism, but on Old Testament and Christian soil. For the bold Anti-judaist was the disciple of a Jewish thinker, Paul, and the origin of Marcion's antinomianism may be ultimately found in the prophets. It will always be the glory of Marcion in the early history of the Church that he, the born heathen, could appreciate the religious criticism of the Old Testament religion as formerly exercised by Paul. The antinomianism of Marcion was ultimately based on the strength of his religious feeling, on his personal religion as contrasted with all statutory religion. That was also its basis in the case of the prophets and of Paul, only the statutory religion which was felt to be a burden and a fetter was different in each case. As regards the prophets, it was the outer sacrificial worship, and the deliverance was the idea of Jehovah's righteousness. In the case of Paul, it was the pharisaic treatment of the law, and the deliverance was righteousness by faith. To Marcion it was the sum of all that the past had described as a revelation of God: only what Christ had given him was of real value to him. In this conviction he founded a Church. Before him there was no such thing in the sense [pg 282] of a community, firmly united by a fixed conviction, harmoniously organised, and spread over the whole world. Such a Church the Apostle Paul had in his mind's eye, but he was not able to realise it. That in the century of the great mixture of religion the greatest apparent paradox was actually realised: namely, a Paulinism with two Gods and without the Old Testament; and that this form of Christianity first resulted in a church which was based not only on intelligible words, but on a definite conception of the essence of Christianity as a religion, seems to be the greatest riddle which the earliest history of Christianity presents. But it only seems so. The Greek, whose mind was filled with certain fundamental features of the Pauline Gospel (law and grace), who was therefore convinced that in all respects the truth was there, and who on that account took pains to comprehend the real sense of Paul's statements, could hardly reach any other results than those of Marcion. The history of Pauline theology in the Church, a history first of silence, then of artificial interpretation, speaks loudly enough. And had not Paul really separated Christianity as religion from Judaism and the Old Testament? Must it not have seemed an inconceivable inconsistency, if he had clung to the special national relation of Christianity to the Jewish people, and if he had taught a view of history in which for pædagogic reasons indeed, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort had appeared as one so entirely different? He who was not capable of translating himself into the consciousness of a Jew, and had not yet learned the method of special interpretation, had only the alternative, if he was convinced of the truth of the Gospel of Christ as Paul had proclaimed it, of either giving up this Gospel against the dictates of his conscience, or striking out of the Epistles whatever seemed Jewish. But in this case the god of creation also disappeared, and the fact that Marcion could make this sacrifice proves that this religious spirit, with all his energy, was not able to rise to the height of the religious faith which we find in the preaching of Jesus.

In basing his own position and that of his church on Paulism, [pg 283] as he conceived and remodelled it, Marcion connected himself with that part of the earliest tradition of Christianity which is best known to us, and has enabled us to understand his undertaking historically as we do no other. Here we have the means of accurately indicating what part of this structure of the second century has come down from the Apostolic age and is really based on tradition, and what does not. Where else could we do that? But Marcion has taught us far more. He does not impart a correct understanding of early Christianity, as was once supposed, for his explanation of that is undoubtedly incorrect, but a correct estimate of the reliability of the traditions that were current in his day alongside of the Pauline. There can be no doubt that Marcion criticised tradition from a dogmatic stand-point. But would his undertaking have been at all possible, if at that time a reliable tradition of the twelve Apostles and their teaching had existed and been operative in wide circles? We may venture to say no. Consequently, Marcion gives important testimony against the historical reliability of the notion that the common Christianity was really based on the tradition of the twelve Apostles. It is not surprising that the first man who clearly put and answered the question, "What is Christian?" adhered exclusively to the Pauline Epistles, and therefore found a very imperfect solution. When more than 1600 years later the same question emerged for the first time in scientific form, its solution had likewise to be first attempted from the Pauline Epistles, and therefore led at the outset to a one-sidedness similar to that of Marcion. The situation of Christendom in the middle of the second century was not really more favourable to a historical knowledge of early Christianity, than that of the 18th century, but in many respects more unfavourable. Even at that time, as attested by the enterprise of Marcion, its results, and the character of the polemic against him, there were besides the Pauline Epistles, no reliable documents from which the teaching of the twelve Apostles could have been gathered. The position which the Pauline Epistles occupy in the history of the world is, however, described by [pg 284] the fact that every tendency in the Church which was unwilling to introduce into Christianity the power of Greek mysticism, and was yet no longer influenced by the early Christian eschatology, learned from the Pauline Epistles a Christianity which, as a religion, was peculiarly vigorous. But that position is further described by the fact that every tendency which courageously disregards spurious traditions, is compelled to turn to the Pauline Epistles, which, on the one hand, present such a profound type of Christianity, and on the other, darken and narrow the judgment about the preaching of Christ himself, by their complicated theology. Marcion was the first, and for a long time the only Gentile Christian who took his stand on Paul. He was no moralist, no Greek mystic, no Apocalyptic enthusiast, but a religious character, nay, one of the few pronouncedly typical religious characters whom we know in the early Church before Augustine. But his attempt to resuscitate Paulinism is the first great proof that the conditions under which this Christianity originated do not repeat themselves, and that therefore Paulinism itself must receive a new construction if one desires to make it the basis of a Church. His attempt is a further proof of the unique value of the Old Testament to early Christendom, as the only means at that time of defending Christian monotheism. Finally, his attempt confirms the experience that a religious community can only be founded by a religious spirit who expects nothing from the world.

Nearly all ecclesiastical writers, from Justin to Origen, opposed Marcion. He appeared already to Justin as the most wicked enemy. We can understand this, and we can quite as well understand how the Church Fathers put him on a level with Basilides and Valentinus, and could not see the difference between them. Because Marcion elevated a better God above the god of creation, and consequently robbed the Christian God of his honour, he appeared to be worse than a heathen (Sentent. episc. LXXXVII., in Hartel's edition of Cyprian, I. p. 454; "Gentiles quamvis idola colant, tamen summum deum patrem creatorem cognoscunt et confitentur [!]; [pg 285] in hunc Marcion blasphemat, etc."), as a blaspheming emissary of demons, as the first-born of Satan (Polyc., Justin, Irenæus). Because he rejected the allegoric interpretation of the Old Testament, and explained its predictions as referring to a Messiah of the Jews who was yet to come, he seemed to be a Jew (Tertull., adv. Marc. III.). Because he deprived Christianity of the apologetic proof (the proof from antiquity) he seemed to be a heathen and a Jew at the same time (see my Texte u. Unters. I. 3, p. 68; the antitheses of Marcion became very important for the heathen and Manichæan assaults on Christianity). Because he represented the twelve Apostles as unreliable witnesses, he appeared to be the most wicked and shameless of all heretics. Finally, because he gained so many adherents, and actually founded a church, he appeared to be the ravening wolf (Justin, Rhodon), and his church as the spurious church. (Tertull., adv. Marc. IV. 5). In Marcion the Church Fathers chiefly attacked what they attacked in all Gnostic heretics, but here error shewed itself in its worst form. They learned much in opposing Marcion (see Bk. II.). For instance, their interpretation of the regula fidei and of the New Testament received a directly Antimarcionite expression in the Church. One thing, however, they could not learn from him, and that was how to make Christianity into a philosophic system. He formed no such system, but he has given a clearly outlined conception, based on historic documents, of Christianity as the religion which redeems the world.

Literature.—All anti-heretical writings of the early Church, but especially Justin, Apol. I. 26, 58; Iren. I. 27; Tertull., adv. Marc. I-V.; de præscr.; Hippol., Philos.; Adamant., de recta in deum fidei; Epiph. h. 42; Ephr. Syr.; Esnik. The older attempts to restore the Marcionite Gospel and Apostolicum have been antiquated by Zahn's Kanonsgeschichte, l. c. Hahn (Regimonti, 1823) has attempted to restore the Antitheses. We are still in want of a German monograph on Marcion (see the whole presentation of Gnosticism by Zahn, with his Excursus, l. c.). Hilgenfeld, Ketzergesch. p. 316 f. 522 f.; cf. my works, Zur Quellenkritik des Gnosticismus, 1873; de Apelles [pg 286] Gnosis Monarchia, 1874; Beiträge z. Gesch. der Marcionitischen Kirchen (Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1876). Marcion's Commentar zum Evangelium (Ztschr. f. K. G. Bd. IV. 4). Apelles Syllogismen in the Texte u. Unters. VI. H. 3. Zahn, die Dialoge des Adamantius in the Ztschr. f. K.-Gesch. IX. p. 193 ff. Meyboom, Marcion en de Marcionieten, Leiden, 1888.

Footnote 365: (return)

He belonged to Pontus and was a rich shipowner: about 139 he came to Rome already a Christian, and for a short time belonged to the church there. As he could not succeed in his attempt to reform it, he broke away from it about 144. He founded a church of his own and developed a very great activity. He spread his views by numerous journeys and communities bearing his name very soon arose in every province of the Empire (Adamantius, de recta in deum fide, Origen Opp. ed Delarue 1. p. 809, Epiph. h. 42. p. 668, ed. Oehler). They were ecclesiastically organised (Tertull., de præscr. 41. and adv. Marc. IV. 5) and possessed bishops, presbyters, etc. (Euseb. H. E. IV. 15. 46: de Mart. Palæst. X. 2; Les Bas and Waddington Inscript, Grecq. et Latines rec. en Grêce et en Asie Min. Vol. III. No. 2558). Justin (Apol. 1. 26) about 150 tells us that Marcion's preaching had spread κατα παν γενος ανθρωπων and by the year 155, the Marcionites were already numerous in Rome (Iren. III. 34). Up to his death however Marcion did not give up the purpose of winning the whole of Christendom and therefore again and again sought connection with it (Iren. I. c.; Tertull., de præscr. 30), likewise his disciples (see the conversation of Apelles with Rhodon in Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 5. and the dialogue of the Marcionites with Adamantius). It is very probable that Marcion had fixed the ground features of his doctrine and had laboured for its propagation even before he came to Rome. In Rome the Syrian Gnostic Cerdo had a great influence on him, so that we can even yet perceive, and clearly distinguish the Gnostic element in the form of the Marcionite doctrine transmitted to us.

Footnote 366: (return)

"Sufficit," said the Marcionites, "unicum opsus deo nostro quod hominem liberavit summa et præcipua bonitate sua" (Tertull. adv. Marc. I. 17).

Footnote 367: (return)

Apelles, the disciple of Marcion, declared (Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 5) σωθησεσθαι τους επι τον εσταυρωμενον ηλπικοτας, μονον εαν εν εργοις αγαθοις ευρισκωνται.

Footnote 368: (return)

This is an extremely important point. Marcion rejected all allegories (See Tertull. adv. Marc. II. 19. 21, 22, III. 5. 6, 14, 19, IV. 15. 20, V. 1, Orig. Comment. in Matth. T. XV. 3, Opp. III. p. 655, in ep. ad. Rom. Opp. IV. p. 494 sq., Adamant. Sect. I., Orig. Opp. I. pp. 808, 817, Ephr. Syrus. hymn. 36., Edit. Benedict p. 520 sq.) and describes this method as an arbitrary one. But that simply means that he perceived and avoided the transformation of the Gospel into Hellenic philosophy. No philosophic formulæ are found in any of his statements that have been handed down to us. But what is still more important, none of his early opponents have attributed to Marcion a system as they did to Basilides and Valentinus. There can be no doubt that Marcion did not set up any system (the Armenian Esnik first gives a Marcionite system but that is a late production, see my essay in the Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1896, p. 80 f.). He was just as far from having any apologetic or rationalistic interest; Justin (Apol. I. 58) says of the Marcionites αποδειξιν μηδεμιαν περι 'ων λεγουσιν εχουσιν αλλα αλογως 'ως 'υπο λυκου αρνες συνηρπασμενοι κ.τ.λ.. Tertullian again and again casts in the teeth of Marcion that he has adduced no proof. See I. 11 sq., III. 2. 3, 4, IV. 11: "Subito Christus subito et Johannes Sic sunt omnia apud Marcionem quæ suum et plenum habent ordinem apud creatorem." Rhodon (Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 4) says of two prominent genuine disciples of Marcion μη ευρισκοντες την διαιρεσιν των πραγματων 'ως ουδε εκεινος δυο αρχας απεφηναντο ψιλως κα αναποδεικτως. Of Apelles the most important of Marcion's disciples, who laid aside the Gnostic borrows of his master, we have the words (1. c) μη δειν 'ολως εξεταζειν τον λογον αλλ' 'εκαστον 'ως πεπιστευκε διαμενειν Σωθησεσθαι γαρ τους ετι τον εσταρωμενον ηλπικοτας απεφαινετο μονον εαν εν εργοις αγαθοις 'ευρισκωνται. το δε πως εστι μια αρχη μη γινωσκειν ελεγεν 'ουτω δε κινεισθαι μονον. μη επιστασθαι πως εις εστιν αγεννητος θεος τουτο δε πιστευειν. It was Marcion's purpose therefore to give all value to faith alone to make it dependent on its own convincing power and avoid all philosophic paraphrase and argument. The contrast in which he placed the Christian blessing of salvation has in principle nothing in common with the contract in which Greek philosophy viewed the summum bonum. Finally it may be pointed out that Marcion introduced no new elements (Æons, Matter, etc.) into his evangelic views and leant on no Oriental religious science. The later Marcionite speculations about matter (see the account of Esnik) should not be charged upon the master himself as is manifest from the second book of Tertullian against Marcion. The assumption that the creator of the world created it out of a materia subjacens is certainly found in Marcion (see Tertull. 1. 15, Hippol. Philos. X. 19) but he speculated no further about it and that assumption itself was not rejected, for example, by Clem. Alex. (Strom. II. 16. 74, Photius on Clement's Hypotyposes). Marcion did not really speculate even about the good God, yet see Tertull. adv. Marc. I. 14. 15, IV. 7: "Mundus ille superior—coelum tertium."

Footnote 369: (return)

Tertull., de præscr. 41. sq.; the delineation refers chiefly to the Marcionites (see Epiph. h. 42. c. 3. 4, and Esnik's account), on the Church system of Marcion, see also Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 14, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29: III. 1, 22: IV. 5, 34: V. 7, 10, 15, 18.

Footnote 370: (return)

Marcion himself originally belonged to the main body of the Church, as is expressly declared by Tertullian and Epiphanius, and attested by one of his own letters.

Footnote 371: (return)

Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 2, 19: "Separatio legis et evangelii proprium et principale opus est Marcionis ... ex diversitate sententiarum utriusque instrumenti diversitatem quoque argumentatur deorum." II. 28, 29: IV. 1. I. 6: "dispares deos, alterum, judicem, ferum, bellipotentem; alterum mitem, placidum et tantummodo bonum atque optimum." Iren. I. 27. 2.

Footnote 372: (return)

Marcion maintained that the good God is not to be feared. Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 27: "Atque adeo præ se ferunt Marcionitæ quod deum suum omnino non timeant. Malus autem, inquiunt, timebitur; bonus autem diligitur." To the question why they did not sin if they did not fear their God, the Marcionites answered in the words of Rom. VI. 1. 2. (l. c).

Footnote 373: (return)

Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 2; II. 5.

Footnote 374: (return)

See the passage adduced, p. 266, note 2, and Tertull, I. 19: "Immo inquiunt Marcionitæ, deus noster, etsi non ab initio, etsi non per conditionem, sed per semetipsum revelatus est in Christi Jesu." The very fact that different theological tendencies (schools) appeared within Marcionite Christianity and were mutually tolerant, proves that the Marcionite Church itself was not based on a formulated system of faith. Apelles expressly conceded different forms of doctrine in Christendom, on the basis of faith in the Crucified and a common holy ideal of life (see p. 267).

Footnote 375: (return)

Tertull., I, 13. "Narem contrahentes impudentissimi Marcionitæ convertuntur ad destructionem operum creatoris. Nimirum, inquiunt, grande opus et dignum deo mundus?" The Marcionites (Iren., IV. 34. 1) put the question to their ecclesiastical opponents, "Quid novi attulit dominus veniens?" and therewith caused them no small embarrassment.

Footnote 376: (return)

On these see Tertull. I. 19; II. 28. 29; IV. 1, 4, 6; Epiph. Hippol., Philos. VII. 30; the book was used by other Gnostics also (it is very probable that 1 Tim. VI. 20, an addition to the Epistle—refers to Marcion's Antitheses). Apelles, Marcion's disciple, composed a similar work under the title of "Syllogismi." Marcion's Antitheses, which may still in part be reconstructed from Tertullian, Epiphanius, Adamantius, Ephraem, etc., possessed canonical authority in the Marcionite church, and therefore took the place of the Old Testament. That is quite clear from Tertull., I. 19 (cf. IV. 1): Separatio legis et Evangelii proprium et principale opus est Marcionis, nee poterunt negare discipuli ejus, quod in summo (suo) instrumento habent, quo denique initiantur et indurantur in hanc hæresim.

Footnote 377: (return)

Tertullian has frequently pointed to the contradictions in the Marcionite conception of the god of creation. These contradictions, however, vanish as soon as we regard Marcion's god from the point of view that he is like his revelation in the Old Testament.

Footnote 378: (return)

The creator of the world is indeed to Marcion "malignus", but not "malus."

Footnote 379: (return)

Marcion touched on it when he taught that the "visibilia" belonged to the god of creation, but the "invisibilia" to the good God (I. 16). He adopted the consequences, inasmuch as he taught docetically about Christ, and only assumed a deliverance of the human soul.

Footnote 380: (return)

See especially the third book of Tertull., adv. Marcion.

Footnote 381: (return)

"Solius bonitatis", "deus melior", were Marcion's standing expressions for him.

Footnote 382: (return)

"Deus incognitus" was likewise a standing expression. They maintained against all attacks the religious position that, from the nature of the case, believers only can know God, and that this is quite sufficient (Tertull., 1. 11).

Footnote 383: (return)

Marcion firmly emphasised this and appealed to passages in Paul; see Tertull., I. 11, 19, 23: "scio dicturos, atquin hanc esse principalem et perfectam bonitatem, cum sine ullo debito familiaritatis in extraneos voluntaria et libera effunditur, secundum quam inimicos quoque nostros et hoc nomine jam extraneos deligere jubeamur." The Church Fathers therefore declared that Marcion's good God was a thief and a robber. See also Celsus, in Orig. VI. 53.

Footnote 384: (return)

See Esnik's account, which, however, is to be used cautiously.

Footnote 385: (return)

Marcion has strongly emphasised the respective passages in Luke's Gospel: see his Antitheses, and his comments on the Gospel, as presented by Tertullian (l. IV).

Footnote 386: (return)

That can be plainly read in Esnik, and must have been thought by Marcion himself, as he followed Paul (see Tertull., l. V. and I. 11). Apelles also emphasised the death upon the cross. Marcion's conception of the purchase can indeed no longer be ascertained in its details. But see Adamant., de recta in deum fide, sect. I. It is one of his theoretic contradictions that the good God who is