Project Gutenberg's History of Dogma, Volume 2 (of 7), by Adolph Harnack

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Title: History of Dogma, Volume 2 (of 7)

Author: Adolph Harnack

Translator: Neil Buchanan

Release Date: October 24, 2006 [EBook #19613]

Language: English

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CHAPTER I.—Historical Survey

The Old and New Elements in the formation of the Catholic Church; The fixing of that which is Apostolic (Rule of Faith, Collection of Writings, Organization, Cultus); The Stages in the Genesis of the Catholic Rule of Faith, the Apologists; Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus; Clement and Origen; Obscurities in reference to the origin of the most important Institutions; Difficulties in determining the importance of individual Personalities; Differences of development in the Churches of different countries.


CHAPTER II.—The setting up of the Apostolic Standards for Ecclesiastical Christianity. The Catholic Church

A. The transformation of the Baptismal Confession into the Apostolic Rule of Faith

Necessities for setting up the Apostolic Rule of Faith; The Rule of Faith is the Baptismal Confession definitely interpreted; Estimate of this transformation; Irenæus; Tertullian; Results of the transformation; Slower development in Alexandria: Clement and Origen.

B. The designation of selected writings read in the Churches as New Testament Scriptures or, in other words, as a collection of Apostolic Writings

Plausible arguments against the statement that up to the year 150 there was no New Testament in the Church; Sudden emergence of the New Testament in the Muratorian Fragment, in (Melito) Irenæus and Tertullian; Conditions under which the New Testament originated; Relation of the New Testament to the earlier writings that were read in the Churches; Causes and motives for the formation of the Canon, manner of using and results of the New Testament; The Apostolic collection of writings can be proved at first only in those Churches in which we find the Apostolic Rule of Faith; probably there was no New Testament in Antioch about the year 200, nor in Alexandria (Clement); Probable history of the genesis of the New Testament in Alexandria up to the time of Origen; ADDENDUM. The results which the creation of the New Testament produced in the following period.

C. The transformation of the Episcopal Office in the Church into an Apostolic Office. The History of the remodelling of the conception of the Church

The legitimising of the Rule of Faith by the Communities which were founded by the Apostles; By the "Elders"; By the Bishops of Apostolic Churches (disciples of Apostles); By the Bishops as such, who have received the Apostolic Charisma veritatis; Excursus on the conceptions of the Alexandrians; The Bishops as successors of the Apostles; Original idea of the Church as the Holy Community that comes from Heaven and is destined for it; The Church as the empiric Catholic Communion resting on the Law of Faith; Obscurities in the idea of the Church as held by Irenæus and Tertullian; By Clement and Origen; Transition to the Hierarchical idea of the Church; The Hierarchical idea of the Church: Calixtus and Cyprian; Appendix I. Cyprian's idea of the Church and the actual circumstances; Appendix II. Church and Heresy; Appendix III. Uncertainties regarding the consequences of the new idea of the Church.

CHAPTER III.—Continuation.—The Old Christianity and the New Church

Introduction; The Original Montanism; The later Montanism as the dregs of the movement and as the product of a compromise; The opposition to the demands of the Montanists by the Catholic Bishops: importance of the victory for the Church; History of penance: the old practice; The laxer practice in the days of Tertullian and Hippolytus; The abolition of the old practice in the days of Cyprian; Significance of the new kind of penance for the idea of the Church; the Church no longer a Communion of Salvation and of Saints, but a condition of Salvation and a Holy Institution and thereby a corpus permixtum; After effect of the old idea of the Church in Cyprian; Origen's idea of the Church; Novatian's idea of the Church and of penance, the Church of the Catharists; Conclusion: the Catholic Church as capable of being a support to society and the state; Addenda I. The Priesthood; Addenda II. Sacrifice; Addenda III. Means of Grace. Baptism and the Eucharist; Excursus to Chapters II. and III.—Catholic and Roman.


CHAPTER IV.—Ecclesiastical Christianity and Philosophy; The Apologists

1. Introduction

The historical position of the Apologists; Apologists and Gnostics; Nature and importance of the Apologists' theology.

2. Christianity as Philosophy and as Revelation

Aristides; Justin; Athenagoras; Miltiades, Melito; Tatian; Pseudo-Justin, Orat. ad Gr.; Theophilus; Pseudo-Justin, de Resurr.; Tertullian and Minucius; Pseudo-Justin, de Monarch.; Results

3. The doctrines of Christianity as the revealed and rational religion

Arrangement; The Monotheistic Cosmology; Theology; Doctrine of the Logos; Doctrine of the World and of Man; Doctrine of Freedom and Morality; Doctrine of Revelation (Proofs from Prophecy); Significance of the History of Jesus; Christology of Justin; Interpretation and Criticism, especially of Justin's doctrines.

CHAPTER V.—The Beginnings of an Ecclesiastico-theological interpretation and revision of the Rule of Faith in opposition to Gnosticism, on the basis of the New Testament and the Christian Philosophy of the Apologists, Melito, Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Novatian

1. The theological position of Irenæus and of the later contemporary Church teachers

Characteristics of the theology of the Old Catholic Fathers, their wavering between Reason and Tradition; Loose structure of their Dogmas; Irenæus' attempt to construct a systematic theology and his fundamental theological convictions; Gnostic and anti-Gnostic features of his theology; Christianity conceived as a real redemption by Christ (recapitulatio); His conception of a history of salvation; His historical significance: conserving of tradition and gradual hellenising of the Rule of Faith.

2. The Old Catholic Fathers' doctrine of the Church

The Antithesis to Gnosticism; The "Scripture theology" as a sign of the dependence on "Gnosticism" and as a means of conserving tradition; The Doctrine of God; The Logos Doctrine of Tertullian and Hippolytus; (Conceptions regarding the Holy Spirit); Irenæus' doctrine of the Logos; (Conceptions regarding the Holy Spirit); The views of Irenæus regarding the destination of man, the original state, the fall and the doom of death (the disparate series of ideas in Irenæus; rudiments of the doctrine of original sin in Tertullian); The doctrine of Jesus Christ as the incarnate son of God; Assertion of the complete mixture and unity of the divine and human elements; Significance of Mary; Tertullian's doctrine of the two natures and its origin; Rudiments of this doctrine in Irenæus; The Gnostic character of this doctrine; Christology of Hippolytus; Views as to Christ's work; Redemption, Perfection; Reconciliation; Categories for the fruit of Christ's work; Things peculiar to Tertullian; Satisfacere Deo; The Soul as the Bride of Christ; The Eschatology; Its archaic nature, its incompatibility with speculation and the advantage of connection with that; Conflict with Chiliasm in the East; The doctrine of the two Testaments; The influence of Gnosticism on the estimate of the two Testaments, the complexus oppositorum; the Old Testament a uniform Christian Book as in the Apologists; The Old Testament a preliminary stage of the New Testament and a compound Book; The stages in the history of salvation; The law of freedom the climax of the revelation in Christ.

3. Results to Ecclesiastical Christianity, chiefly in the West, (Cyprian, Novation)

CHAPTER VI.—The Transformation of the Ecclesiastical Tradition into a Philosophy of Religion, or the Origin of the Scientific Theology and Dogmatic of the Church: Clement and Origen

(1) The Alexandrian Catechetical School and Clement of Alexandria

Schools and Teachers in the Church at the end of the second and the beginning of the third century; scientific efforts (Alogi in Asia Minor, Cappadocian Scholars, Bardesanes of Edessa, Julius Africanus, Scholars in Palestine, Rome and Carthage)

The Alexandrian Catechetical School. Clement

The temper of Clement and his importance in the History of Dogma; his relation to Irenæus, to the Gnostics and to primitive Christianity; his philosophy of Religion; Clement and Origen.

(2) The system of Origen

Introductory: The personality and importance of Origen; The Elements of Origen's theology; its Gnostic features; The relative view of Origen; His temper and final aim: relation to Greek Philosophy; Theology as a Philosophy of Revelation, and a cosmological speculation; Porphyry on Origen; The neutralising of History, esoteric and exoteric Christianity; Fundamental ideas and arrangement of his system; Sources of truth, doctrine of Scripture.

I. The Doctrine of God and its unfolding; Doctrine of God; Doctrine of the Logos; Clement's doctrine of the Logos; Doctrine of the Holy Spirit; Doctrine of Spirits.

II. Doctrine of the Fall and its consequences; Doctrine of Man.

III. Doctrine of Redemption and Restoration; The notions necessary to the Psychical; The Christology; The Appropriation of Salvation; The Eschatology; Concluding Remarks: The importance of this system to the following period.




[pg 1]



The second century of the existence of Gentile-Christian communities was characterised by the victorious conflict with Gnosticism and the Marcionite Church, by the gradual development of an ecclesiastical doctrine, and by the decay of the early Christian enthusiasm. The general result was the establishment of a great ecclesiastical association, which, forming at one and the same time a political commonwealth, school and union for worship, was based on the firm foundation of an "apostolic" law of faith, a collection of "apostolic" writings, and finally, an "apostolic" organisation. This institution was the Catholic Church.1 In opposition to Gnosticism and Marcionitism, the main articles forming the estate and possession of orthodox Christianity were raised to the rank of apostolic regulations and laws, and thereby placed beyond all discussion and assault. At first the innovations introduced by this were not of a material, but of a formal, character. Hence they were not noticed by any of those who had never, or only in a vague fashion, been elevated to the feeling and idea of freedom and independence in religion. [pg 2] How great the innovations actually were, however, may be measured by the fact that they signified a scholastic tutelage of the faith of the individual Christian, and restricted the immediateness of religious feelings and ideas to the narrowest limits. But the conflict with the so-called Montanism showed that there were still a considerable number of Christians who valued that immediateness and freedom; these were, however, defeated. The fixing of the tradition under the title of apostolic necessarily led to the assumption that whoever held the apostolic doctrine was also essentially a Christian in the apostolic sense. This assumption, quite apart from the innovations which were legitimised by tracing them to the Apostles, meant the separation of doctrine and conduct, the preference of the former to the latter, and the transformation of a fellowship of faith, hope, and discipline into a communion "eiusdem sacramenti," that is, into a union which, like the philosophical schools, rested on a doctrinal law, and which was subject to a legal code of divine institution.2

The movement which resulted in the Catholic Church owes its right to a place in the history of Christianity to the victory [pg 3] over Gnosticism and to the preservation of an important part of early Christian tradition. If Gnosticism in all its phases was the violent attempt to drag Christianity down to the level of the Greek world, and to rob it of its dearest possession, belief in the Almighty God of creation and redemption, then Catholicism, inasmuch as it secured this belief for the Greeks, preserved the Old Testament, and supplemented it with early Christian writings, thereby saving—as far as documents, at least, were concerned—and proclaiming the authority of an important part of primitive Christianity, must in one respect be acknowledged as a conservative force born from the vigour of Christianity. [pg 4] If we put aside abstract considerations and merely look at the facts of the given situation, we cannot but admire a creation which first broke up the various outside forces assailing Christianity, and in which the highest blessings of this faith have always continued to be accessible. If the founder of the Christian religion had deemed belief in the Gospel and a life in accordance with it to be compatible with membership of the Synagogue and observance of the Jewish law, there could at least be no impossibility of adhering to the Gospel within the Catholic Church.

Still, that is only one side of the case. The older Catholicism never clearly put the question, "What is Christian?" Instead of answering that question it rather laid down rules, the recognition of which was to be the guarantee of Christianism. This solution of the problem seems to be on the one hand too narrow and on the other too broad. Too narrow, because it bound Christianity to rules under which it necessarily languished; too broad, because it did not in any way exclude the introduction of new and foreign conceptions. In throwing a protective covering round the Gospel, Catholicism also obscured it. It preserved Christianity from being hellenised to the most extreme extent, but, as time went on, it was forced to admit into this religion an ever greater measure of secularisation. In the interests of its world-wide mission it did not indeed directly disguise the terrible seriousness of religion, but, by tolerating a less strict ideal of life, it made it possible for those less in earnest to be considered Christians, and to regard themselves as such. It permitted the genesis of a Church, which was no longer a communion of faith, hope, and discipline, but a political commonwealth in which the Gospel merely had a place beside other things.3 In ever increasing measure it invested all the forms which this secular commonwealth required with apostolic, that is, indirectly, with divine authority. This course disfigured Christianity and made a knowledge of what is Christian an obscure and difficult matter. But, in Catholicism, religion for the first time obtained a formal dogmatic system. Catholic Christianity [pg 5] discovered the formula which reconciled faith and knowledge. This formula satisfied humanity for centuries, and the blessed effects which it accomplished continued to operate even after it had itself already become a fetter.

Catholic Christianity grew out of two converging series of developments. In the one were set up fixed outer standards for determining what is Christian, and these standards were proclaimed to be apostolic institutions. The baptismal confession was exalted to an apostolic rule of faith, that is, to an apostolic law of faith. A collection of apostolic writings was formed from those read in the Churches, and this compilation was placed on an equal footing with the Old Testament. The episcopal and monarchical constitution was declared to be apostolic, and the attribute of successor of the Apostles was conferred on the bishop. Finally, the religious ceremonial developed into a celebration of mysteries, which was in like manner traced back to the Apostles. The result of these institutions was a strictly exclusive Church in the form of a communion of doctrine, ceremonial, and law, a confederation which more and more gathered the various communities within its pale, and brought about the decline of all nonconforming sects. The confederation was primarily based on a common confession, which, however, was not only conceived as "law," but was also very soon supplemented by new standards. One of the most important problems to be investigated in the history of dogma, and one which unfortunately cannot be completely solved, is to show what necessities led to the setting up of a new canon of Scripture, what circumstances required the appearance of living authorities in the communities, and what relation was established between the apostolic rule of faith, the apostolic canon of Scripture, and the apostolic office. The development ended with the formation of a clerical class, at whose head stood the bishop, who united in himself all conceivable powers, as teacher, priest, and judge. He disposed of the powers of Christianity, guaranteed its purity, and therefore in every respect held the Christian laity in tutelage.

But even apart from the content which Christianity here received, this process in itself represents a progressive secularising of the Church, This would be self-evident enough, even if it [pg 6] were not confirmed by noting the fact that the process had already been to some extent anticipated in the so-called Gnosticism (See vol. I. p. 253 and Tertullian, de præscr. 35). But the element which the latter lacked, namely, a firmly welded, suitably regulated constitution, must by no means be regarded as one originally belonging and essential to Christianity. The depotentiation to which Christianity was here subjected appears still more plainly in the facts, that the Christian hopes were deadened, that the secularising of the Christian life was tolerated and even legitimised, and that the manifestations of an unconditional devotion to the heavenly excited suspicion or were compelled to confine themselves to very narrow limits.

But these considerations are scarcely needed as soon as we turn our attention to the second series of developments that make up the history of this period. The Church did not merely set up dykes and walls against Gnosticism in order to ward it off externally, nor was she satisfied with defending against it the facts which were the objects of her belief and hope; but, taking the creed for granted, she began to follow this heresy into its own special territory and to combat it with a scientific theology. That was a necessity which did not first spring from Christianity's own internal struggles. It was already involved in the fact that the Christian Church had been joined by cultured Greeks, who felt the need of justifying their Christianity to themselves and the world, and of presenting it as the desired and certain answer to all the pressing questions which then occupied men's minds.

The beginning of a development which a century later reached its provisional completion in the theology of Origen, that is, in the transformation of the Gospel into a scientific system of ecclesiastical doctrine, appears in the Christian Apologetic, as we already find it before the middle of the second century. As regards its content, this system of doctrine meant the legitimising of Greek philosophy within the sphere of the rule of faith. The theology of Origen bears the same relation to the New Testament as that of Philo does to the Old. What is here presented as Christianity is in fact the idealistic religious philosophy of the age, attested by divine revelation, made accessible to all by the incarnation of the Logos, and purified from any [pg 7] connection with Greek mythology and gross polytheism.4 A motley multitude of primitive Christian ideas and hopes, derived from both Testaments, and too brittle to be completely recast, as yet enclosed the kernel. But the majority of these were successfully manipulated by theological art, and the traditional rule of faith was transformed into a system of doctrine, in which, to some extent, the old articles found only a nominal place.5

This hellenising of ecclesiastical Christianity, by which we do not mean the Gospel, was not a gradual process; for the truth rather is that it was already accomplished the moment that the reflective Greek confronted the new religion which he had accepted. The Christianity of men like Justin, Athenagoras, and Minucius is not a whit less Hellenistic than that of Origen. But yet an important distinction obtains here. It is twofold. In the first place, those Apologists did not yet find themselves face to face with a fixed collection of writings having a title to be reverenced as Christian; they have to do with the Old Testament and the "Teachings of Christ" (διδαγματα Χριστου). In the second place, they do not yet regard the scientific presentation of Christianity as the main task and as one which this religion itself demands. As they really never enquired what was meant by "Christian," or at least never put the question clearly to themselves, they never claimed that their scientific presentation of Christianity was the first proper expression of it that had been given. Justin and his contemporaries make it perfectly clear that they consider the traditional faith existing in the churches to be complete and pure and in itself requiring no scientific revision. In a word, the gulf which existed [pg 8] between the religious thought of philosophers and the sum of Christian tradition is still altogether unperceived, because that tradition was not yet fixed in rigid forms, because no religious utterance testifying to monotheism, virtue, and reward was as yet threatened by any control, and finally, because the speech of philosophy was only understood by a small minority in the Church, though its interests and aims were not unknown to most. Christian thinkers were therefore still free to divest of their direct religious value all realistic and historical elements of the tradition, while still retaining them as parts of a huge apparatus of proof, which accomplished what was really the only thing that many sought in Christianity, viz., the assurance that the theory of the world obtained from other sources was the truth. The danger which here threatened Christianity as a religion was scarcely less serious than that which had been caused to it by the Gnostics. These remodelled tradition, the Apologists made it to some extent inoperative without attacking it. The latter were not disowned, but rather laid the foundation of Church theology, and determined the circle of interests within which it was to move in the future.6

But the problem which the Apologists solved almost offhand, namely, the task of showing that Christianity was the perfect and certain philosophy, because it rested on revelation, and that it was the highest scientific knowledge of God and the world, was to be rendered more difficult. To these difficulties all that primitive Christianity has up to the present transmitted to the Church of succeeding times contributes its share. The conflict with Gnosticism made it necessary to find some sort of solution to the question, "What is Christian?" and to fix this answer. But indeed the Fathers were not able to answer the question confidently and definitely. They therefore made a selection from tradition and contented themselves with making it binding on Christians. Whatever was to lay claim to authority in the [pg 9] Church had henceforth to be in harmony with the rule of faith and the canon of New Testament Scriptures. That created an entirely new situation for Christian thinkers, that is, for those trying to solve the problem of subordinating Christianity to the Hellenic spirit. That spirit never became quite master of the situation; it was obliged to accommodate itself to it.7 The work first began with the scientific treatment of individual articles contained in the rule of faith, partly with the view of disproving Gnostic conceptions, partly for the purpose of satisfying the Church's own needs. The framework in which these articles were placed virtually continued to be the apologetic theology, for this maintained a doctrine of God and the world, which seemed to correspond to the earliest tradition as much as it ran counter to the Gnostic theses. (Melito), Irenæus, Tertullian and Hippolytus, aided more or less by tradition on the one hand and by philosophy on the other, opposed to the Gnostic dogmas about Christianity the articles of the baptismal confession interpreted as a rule of faith, these articles being developed into doctrines. Here they undoubtedly learned very much from the Gnostics and Marcion. If we define ecclesiastical dogmas as propositions handed down in the creed of the Church, shown to exist in the Holy Scriptures of both Testaments, and rationally reproduced and formulated, then the men we have just mentioned were the first to set up dogmas8—dogmas but no [pg 10] system of dogmatics. As yet the difficulty of the problem was by no means perceived by these men either. Their peculiar capacity for sympathising with and understanding the traditional and the old still left them in a happy blindness. So far as they had a theology they supposed it to be nothing more than the explanation of the faith of the Christian multitude (yet Tertullian already noted the difference in one point, certainly a very characteristic one, viz., the Logos doctrine). They still lived in the belief that the Christianity which filled their minds required no scientific remodelling in order to be an expression of the highest knowledge, and that it was in all respects identical with the Christianity which even the most uncultivated could grasp. That this was an illusion is proved by many considerations, but most convincingly by the fact that Tertullian and Hippolytus had the main share in introducing into the doctrine of faith a philosophically formulated dogma, viz., that the Son of God is the Logos, and in having it made the articulus constitutivus ecclesiæ. The effects of this undertaking can never be too highly estimated, for the Logos doctrine is Greek philosophy in nuce, though primitive Christian views may have been subsequently incorporated with it. Its introduction into the creed of Christendom, which was, strictly speaking, the setting up of the first dogma in the Church, meant the future conversion of the rule of faith into a philosophic system. But in yet another respect Irenæus and Hippolytus denote an immense advance beyond the Apologists, which, paradoxically enough, results both from the progress of Christian Hellenism and from a deeper study of the Pauline theology, that is, emanates from the controversy with Gnosticism. In them a religious and realistic idea takes the place of the moralism of the Apologists, namely, the deifying of the human race through the incarnation of the Son of God. The apotheosis of mortal man through his acquisition of immortality (divine life) is the idea of salvation which was taught in the ancient mysteries. It is here adopted as a Christian one, supported by the Pauline theology (especially as contained in the Epistle to the Ephesians), and brought into the closest [pg 11] connection with the historical Christ, the Son of God and Son of man (filius dei et filius hominis). What the heathen faintly hoped for as a possibility was here announced as certain, and indeed as having already taken place. What a message! This conception was to become the central Christian idea of the future. A long time, however, elapsed before it made its way into the dogmatic system of the Church.9

But meanwhile the huge gulf which existed between both Testaments and the rule of faith on the one hand, and the current ideas of the time on the other, had been recognized in Alexandria. It was not indeed felt as a gulf, for then either the one or the other would have had to be given up, but as a problem. If the Church tradition contained the assurance, not to be obtained elsewhere, of all that Greek culture knew, hoped for, and prized, and if for that very reason it was regarded as in every respect inviolable, then the absolutely indissoluble union of Christian tradition with the Greek philosophy of religion was placed beyond all doubt. But an immense number of problems were at the same time raised, especially when, as in the case of the Alexandrians, heathen syncretism in the entire breadth of its development was united with the doctrine of the Church. The task, which had been begun by Philo and carried on by Valentinus and his school, was now undertaken in the Church. Clement led the way in attempting a solution of the problem, but the huge task proved too much for him. Origen took it up under more difficult circumstances, and in a certain fashion brought it to a conclusion. He, the rival of the Neoplatonic philosophers, the Christian Philo, wrote the first Christian dogmatic, which competed with the philosophic systems of the time, and which, founded on the Scriptures of both Testaments, presents a peculiar union of the apologetic theology of a Justin and the Gnostic theology of a Valentinus, [pg 12] while keeping steadily in view a simple and highly practical aim. In this dogmatic the rule of faith is recast and that quite consciously. Origen did not conceal his conviction that Christianity finds its correct expression only in scientific knowledge, and that every form of Christianity that lacks theology is but a meagre kind with no clear consciousness of its own content. This conviction plainly shows that Origen was dealing with a different kind of Christianity, though his view that a mere relative distinction existed here may have its justification in the fact, that the untheological Christianity of the age with which he compared his own was already permeated by Hellenic elements and in a very great measure secularised.10 But Origen, as well as Clement before him, had really a right to the conviction that the true essence of Christianity, or, in other words, the Gospel, is only arrived at by the aid of critical speculation; for was not the Gospel veiled and hidden in the canon of both Testaments, was it not displaced by the rule of faith, was it not crushed down, depotentiated, and disfigured in the Church which identified itself with the people of Christ? Clement and Origen found freedom and independence in what they recognized to be the essence of the matter and what they contrived with masterly skill to determine as its proper aim, after an examination of the huge apparatus of tradition. But was not that the ideal of Greek sages and philosophers? This question can by no means be flatly answered in the negative, and still less decidedly in the affirmative, for a new significance was here given to the ideal by representing it as assured beyond all doubt, already realised in the person of Christ and incompatible with polytheism. If, as is manifestly the case, they found joy and peace in their faith and in the theory of the universe connected with it, if they prepared themselves for an eternal life and expected it with certainty, if they felt themselves to be perfect only through dependence on God, then, in spite of their Hellenism, they unquestionably came nearer to the Gospel than Irenæus with his slavish dependence on authority.

The setting up of a scientific system of Christian dogmatics, which [pg 13] was still something different from the rule of faith, interpreted in an Antignostic sense, philosophically wrought out, and in some parts proved from the Bible, was a private undertaking of Origen, and at first only approved in limited circles. As yet, not only were certain bold changes of interpretation disputed in the Church, but the undertaking itself, as a whole, was disapproved.11 The circumstances of the several provincial churches in the first half of the third century were still very diverse. Many communities had yet to adopt the basis that made them into Catholic ones; and in most, if not in all, the education of the clergy—not to speak of the laity—was not high enough to enable them to appreciate systematic theology. But the schools in which Origen taught carried on his work, similar ones were established, and these produced a number of the bishops and presbyters of the East in the last half of the third century. They had in their hands the means of culture afforded by the age, and this was all the more a guarantee of victory because the laity no longer took any part in deciding the form of religion. Wherever the Logos Christology had been adopted the future of Christian Hellenism was certain. At the beginning of the fourth century there was no community in Christendom which, apart from the Logos doctrine, possessed a purely philosophical theory that was regarded as an ecclesiastical dogma, to say nothing of an official scientific theology. But the system of Origen was a prophecy of the future. The Logos doctrine started the crystallising process which resulted in further deposits. Symbols of faith were already drawn up which contained a peculiar mixture of Origen's theology with the inflexible Antignostic regula fidei. One celebrated theologian, Methodius, endeavoured to unite the theology of Irenæus and Origen, ecclesiastical realism and philosophic spiritualism, under the badge of monastic mysticism. The developments of the following period therefore no longer appear surprising in any respect.

As Catholicism, from every point of view, is the result of [pg 14] the blending of Christianity with the ideas of antiquity,12 so the Catholic dogmatic, as it was developed after the second or third century on the basis of the Logos doctrine, is Christianity conceived and formulated from the standpoint of the Greek philosophy of religion.13 This Christianity conquered the old world, and became the foundation of a new phase of history in the Middle Ages. The union of the Christian religion with a definite historical phase of human knowledge and culture may be lamented in the interest of the Christian religion, which was thereby secularised, and in the interest of the development of culture which was thereby retarded(?). But lamentations become here ill-founded assumptions, as absolutely everything that we have and value is due to the alliance that Christianity and antiquity concluded in such a way that neither was able to prevail over the other. Our inward and spiritual life, which owes the least part of its content to the empiric knowledge which we have acquired, is based up to the present moment on the discords resulting from that union.

These hints are meant among other things to explain and justify14 the arrangement chosen for the following presentation, which embraces the fundamental section of the history of Christian dogma.15 A few more remarks are, however, necessary.

[pg 15]

1. One special difficulty in ascertaining the genesis of the Catholic rules is that the churches, though on terms of close connection and mutual intercourse, had no real forum publicum, though indeed, in a certain sense, each bishop was in foro publico. As a rule, therefore, we can only see the advance in the establishment of fixed forms in the shape of results, without being able to state precisely the ways and means which led to them. We do indeed know the factors, and can therefore theoretically construct the development; but the real course of things is frequently hidden from us. The genesis of a harmonious Church, firmly welded together in doctrine and constitution, can no more have been the natural unpremeditated product of the conditions of the time than were the genesis and adoption of the New Testament canon of Scripture. But we have no direct evidence as to what communities had a special share in the development, although we know that the Roman Church played a leading part. Moreover, we can only conjecture that conferences, common measures, and synodical decisions were not wanting. It is certain that, beginning with the last quarter of the second century, there were held in the different provinces, mostly in the East, but later also in the West, Synods in which an understanding was arrived at on all questions of importance to Christianity, including, e.g., the extent of the canon.16

2. The degree of influence exercised by particular ecclesiastics [pg 16] on the development of the Church and its doctrines is also obscure and difficult to determine. As they were compelled to claim the sanction of tradition for every innovation they introduced, and did in fact do so, and as every fresh step they took appeared to themselves necessary only as an explanation, it is in many cases quite impossible to distinguish between what they received from tradition and what they added to it of their own. Yet an investigation from the point of view of the historian of literature shows that Tertullian and Hippolytus were to a great extent dependent on Irenæus. What amount of innovation these men independently contributed can therefore still be ascertained. Both are men of the second generation. Tertullian is related to Irenæus pretty much as Calvin to Luther. This parallel holds good in more than one respect. First, Tertullian drew up a series of plain dogmatic formulæ which are not found in Irenæus and which proved of the greatest importance in succeeding times. Secondly, he did not attain the power, vividness, and unity of religious intuition which distinguish Irenæus. The truth rather is that, just because of his forms, he partly destroyed the unity of the matter and partly led it into a false path of development. Thirdly, he everywhere endeavoured to give a conception of Christianity which represented it as the divine law, whereas in Irenæus this idea is overshadowed by the conception of the Gospel as real redemption. The main problem therefore resolves itself into the question as to the position of Irenæus in the history of the Church. To what extent were his expositions new, to what extent were the standards he formulated already employed in the Churches, and in which of them? We cannot form to ourselves a sufficiently vivid picture of the interchange of Christian writings in the Church after the last quarter of the second century.17 Every important work speedily found its way into the churches of the chief cities in the Empire. The diffusion was not merely from East to West, though this was the general rule. At the beginning of the fourth century there was in Cæsarea a Greek translation of Tertullian's Apology and a collection [pg 17] of Cyprian's epistles.18 The influence of the Roman Church extended over the greater part of Christendom. Up till about the year 260 the Churches in East and West had still in some degree a common history.

3. The developments in the history of dogma within the period extending from about 150 to about 300 were by no means brought about in the different communities at the same time and in a completely analogous fashion. This fact is in great measure concealed from us, because our authorities are almost completely derived from those leading Churches that were connected with each other by constant intercourse. Yet the difference can still be clearly proved by the ratio of development in Rome, Lyons, and Carthage on the one hand, and in Alexandria on the other. Besides, we have several valuable accounts showing that in more remote provinces and communities the development was slower, and a primitive and freer condition of things much longer preserved.19

4. From the time that the clergy acquired complete sway over the Churches, that is, from the beginning of the second third of the third century, the development of the history of dogma practically took place within the ranks of that class, and was carried on by its learned men. Every mystery they set up therefore became doubly mysterious to the laity, for these did not even understand the terms, and hence it formed another new fetter.

Footnote 1: (return)

Aubé (Histoire des Persécutions de l'Eglise, Vol. II. 1878, pp. 1-68) has given a survey of the genesis of ecclesiastical dogma. The disquisitions of Renan in the last volumes of his great historical work are excellent, though not seldom exaggerated in particular points. See especially the concluding observations in Vol. VII. cc. 28-34. Since the appearance of Ritschl's monograph on the genesis of the old Catholic Church, a treatise which, however, forms too narrow a conception of the problem, German science can point to no work of equal rank with the French. Cf. Sohm's Kirchenrecht, Vol. I. which, however, in a very one-sided manner, makes the adoption of the legal and constitutional arrangements responsible for all the evil in the Church.

Footnote 2: (return)

Sohm (p. 160) declares: "The foundation of Catholicism is the divine Church law to which it lays claim." In many other passages he even seems to express the opinion that the Church law of itself, even when not represented as divine, is the hereditary enemy of the true Church and at the same time denotes the essence of Catholicism. See, e.g., p. 2: "The whole essence of Catholicism consists in its declaring legal institutions to be necessary to the Church." Page 700: "The essence of Church law is incompatible with the essence of the Church." This thesis really characterises Catholicism well and contains a great truth, if expressed in more careful terms, somewhat as follows: "The assertion that there is a divine Church law (emanating from Christ, or, in other words, from the Apostles), which is necessary to the spiritual character of the Church and which in fact is a token of this very attribute, is incompatible with the essence of the Gospel and is the mark of a pseudo-Catholicism." But the thesis contains too narrow a view of the case. For the divine Church law is only one feature of the essence of the Catholic Church, though a very important element, which Sohm, as a jurist, was peculiarly capable of recognising. The whole essence of Catholicism, however, consists in the deification of tradition generally. The declaration that the empirical institutions of the Church, created for and necessary to this purpose, are apostolic, a declaration which amalgamates them with the essence and content of the Gospel and places them beyond all criticism, is the peculiarly "Catholic" feature. Now, as a great part of these institutions cannot be inwardly appropriated and cannot really amalgamate with faith and piety, it is self-evident that such portions become continued: legal ordinances, to which obedience must be rendered. For no other relation to these ordinances can be conceived. Hence the legal regulations and the corresponding slavish devotion come to have such immense scope in Catholicism, and well-nigh express its essence. But behind this is found the more general conviction that the empirical Church, as it actually exists, is the authentic, pure, and infallible creation: its doctrine, its regulations, its religious ceremonial are apostolic. Whoever doubts that renounces Christ. Now, if, as in the case of the Reformers, this conception be recognised as erroneous and unevangelical, the result must certainly be a strong detestation of "the divine Church law." Indeed, the inclination to sweep away all Church law is quite intelligible, for when you give the devil your little finger he takes the whole hand. But, on the other hand, it cannot be imagined how communities are to exist on earth, propagate themselves, and train men without regulations; and how regulations are to exist without resulting in the formation of a code of laws. In truth, such regulations have at no time been wanting in Christian communities, and have always possessed the character of a legal code. Sohm's distinction, that in the oldest period there was no "law," but only a "regulation," is artificial, though possessed of a certain degree of truth; for the regulation has one aspect in a circle of like-minded enthusiasts, and a different one in a community where all stages of moral and religious culture are represented, and which has therefore to train its members. Or should it not do so? And, on the other hand, had the oldest Churches not the Old Testament and the διαταξεις of the Apostles? Were these no code of laws? Sohm's proposition: "The essence of Church law is incompatible with the essence of the Church," does not rise to evangelical clearness and freedom, but has been formed under the shadow and ban of Catholicism. I am inclined to call it an Anabaptist thesis. The Anabaptists were also in the shadow and ban of Catholicism; hence their only course was either the attempt to wreck the Church and Church history and found a new empire, or a return to Catholicism. Hermann Bockelson or the Pope! But the Gospel is above the question of Jew or Greek, and therefore also above the question of a legal code. It is reconcilable with everything that is not sin, even with the philosophy of the Greeks. Why should it not be also compatible with the monarchical bishop, with the legal code of the Romans, and even with the Pope, provided these are not made part of the Gospel.

Footnote 3: (return)

In the formation of the Marcionite Church we have, on the other hand, the attempt to create a rigid œcumenical community, held together solely by religion. The Marcionite Church therefore had a founder, the Catholic has none.

Footnote 4: (return)

The historian who wishes to determine the advance made by Græco-Roman humanity in the third and fourth centuries, under the influence of Catholicism and its theology, must above all keep in view the fact that gross polytheism and immoral mythology were swept away, spiritual monotheism brought near to all, and the ideal of a divine life and the hope of an eternal one made certain. Philosophy also aimed at that, but it was not able to establish a community of men on these foundations.

Footnote 5: (return)

Luther, as is well known, had a very profound impression of the distinction between Biblical Christianity and the theology of the Fathers, who followed the theories of Origen. See, for example, Werke, Vol. LXII. p. 49, quoting Proles: "When the word of God comes to the Fathers, me thinks it is as if milk were filtered through a coal sack, where the milk must become black and spoiled."

Footnote 6: (return)

They were not the first to determine this circle of interests. So far as we can demonstrate traces of independent religious knowledge among the so-called Apostolic Fathers of the post-apostolic age, they are in thorough harmony with the theories of the Apologists, which are merely expressed with precision and divested of Old Testament language.

Footnote 7: (return)

It was only after the apostolic tradition, fixed in the form of a comprehensive collection, seemed to guarantee the admissibility of every form of Christianity that reverenced that collection, that the hellenising of Christianity within the Church began in serious fashion. The fixing of tradition had had a twofold result. On the one hand, it opened the way more than ever before for a free and unhesitating introduction of foreign ideas into Christianity, and, on the other hand, so far as it really also included the documents and convictions of primitive Christianity, it preserved this religion to the future and led to a return to it, either from scientific or religious considerations. That we know anything at all of original Christianity is entirely due to the fixing of the tradition, as found at the basis of Catholicism. On the supposition—which is indeed an academic consideration—that this fixing had not taken place because of the non-appearance of the Gnosticism which occasioned it, and on the further supposition that the original enthusiasm had continued, we would in all probability know next to nothing of original Christianity today. How much we would have known may be seen from the Shepherd of Hermas.

Footnote 8: (return)

So far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the idea of dogmas, as individual theorems characteristic of Christianity, and capable of being scholastically proved, originated with the Apologists. Even as early as Justin we find tendencies to amalgamate historical material and natural theology.

Footnote 9: (return)

It is almost completely wanting in Tertullian. That is explained by the fact that this remarkable man was in his inmost soul an old-fashioned Christian, to whom the Gospel was conscientia religionis, disciplina vitæ and spes fidei, and who found no sort of edification in Neoplatonic notions, but rather dwelt on the ideas "command," "performance," "error," "forgiveness." In Irenæus also, moreover, the ancient idea of salvation, supplemented by elements derived from the Pauline theology, is united with the primitive Christian eschatology.

Footnote 10: (return)

On the significance of Clement and Origen see Overbeck, "Über die Anfänge der patristischen Litteratur" in d. Hist. Ztschr, N. F., Vol, XII. p. 417 ff.

Footnote 11: (return)

Information on this point may be got not only from the writings of Origen (see especially his work against Celsus), but also and above all from his history. The controversy between Dionysius of Alexandria and the Chiliasts is also instructive on the matter.

Footnote 12: (return)

The three or (reckoning Methodius) four steps of the development of church doctrine (Apologists, Old Catholic Fathers, Alexandrians) correspond to the progressive religious and philosophical development of heathendom at that period: philosophic moralism, ideas of salvation (theology and practice of mysteries), Neoplatonic philosophy, and complete syncretism.

Footnote 13: (return)

"Virtus omnis ex his causam accipit, a quibus provocatur" (Tertull., de bapt. 2.)

Footnote 14: (return)

The plan of placing the apologetic theology before everything else would have much to recommend it, but I adhere to the arrangement here chosen, because the advantage of being able to represent and survey the outer ecclesiastical development and the inner theological one, each being viewed as a unity, seems to me to be very great. We must then of course understand the two developments as proceeding on parallel lines. But the placing of the former parallel before the latter in my presentation is justified by the fact that what was gained in the former passed over much more directly and swiftly into the general life of the Church, than what was reached in the latter. Decades elapsed, for instance, before the apologetic theology came to be generally known and accepted in the Church, as is shown by the long continued conflict against Monarchianism.

Footnote 15: (return)

The origin of Catholicism can only be very imperfectly described within the framework of the history of dogma, for the political situation of the Christian communities in the Roman Empire had quite as important an influence on the development of the Catholic Church as its internal conflicts. But inasmuch as that situation and these struggles are ultimately connected in the closest way, the history of dogma cannot even furnish a complete picture of this development within definite limits.

Footnote 16: (return)

See Tertullian, de pudic. 10: "Sed cederem tibi, si scriptura Pastoris, quæ sola moechos amat, divino instrumento meruisset incidi, si non ab omni concilio ecclesiarum etiam vestrarum inter aprocrypha et falsa iudicaretur;" de ieiun. 13: "Aguntur præsterea per Græcias illa certis in locis concilia ex universis ecclesiis, per quæ et altiora quæque in commune tractantur, et ipsa repræsentatio totius nominis Christiani magna veneratione celebratur." We must also take into account here the intercourse by letter, in which connection I may specially remind the reader of the correspondence between Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, Euseb., H. E. IV. 23, and journeys such as those of Polycarp and Abercius to Rome. Cf. generally Zahn, Weltverkehr und Kirche währeud der drei ersten Jahrhunderte, 1877.

Footnote 17: (return)

See my studies respecting the tradition of the Greek Apologists of the second century in the early Church in the Texte und Unters. z. Gesch. der alt christl. Litteratur, Vol. I. Part I. 2.

Footnote 18: (return)

See Euseb., H. E. II. 2; VI. 43.

Footnote 19: (return)

See the accounts of Christianity in Edessa and the far East generally. The Acta Archelai and the Homilies of Aphraates should also be specially examined. Cf. further Euseb., H. E. VI. 12, and finally the remains of the Latin-Christian literature of the third century—apart from Tertullian, Cyprian and Novatian—as found partly under the name of Cyprian, partly under other titles. Commodian, Arnobius, and Lactantius are also instructive here. This literature has been but little utilised with respect to the history of dogma and of the Church.

[pg 18]




We may take as preface to this chapter three celebrated passages from Tertullian's "de præscriptione hæreticorum." In chap. 21 we find: "It is plain that all teaching that agrees with those apostolic Churches which are the wombs and origins of the faith must be set down as truth, it being certain that such doctrine contains that which the Church received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, and Christ from God." In chap. 36 we read: "Let us see what it (the Roman Church) has learned, what it has taught, and what fellowship it has likewise had with the African Churches. It acknowledges one God the [pg 19] Lord, the creator of the universe, and Jesus Christ, the Son of God the creator, born of the Virgin Mary, as well as the resurrection of the flesh. It unites the Law and the Prophets with the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles. From these it draws its faith, and by their authority it seals this faith with water, clothes it with the Holy Spirit, feeds it with the eucharist, and encourages martyrdom. Hence it receives no one who rejects this institution." In chap. 32 the following challenge is addressed to the heretics: "Let them unfold a series of their bishops proceeding by succession from the beginning in such a way that this first bishop of theirs had as his authority and predecessor some one of the Apostles or one of the apostolic men, who, however, associated with the Apostles."21 From the consideration of these three passages it directly follows that three standards are to be kept in view, viz., the apostolic doctrine, the apostolic canon of Scripture, and the guarantee of apostolic authority, afforded by the organisation of the Church, that is, by the episcopate, and traced back to apostolic institution. It will be seen that the Church always adopted these three standards together, that is simultaneously.22 As a matter of fact they originated in Rome and gradually made their way in the other Churches. That Asia Minor had a share in this is probable, though the question is involved in obscurity. The three Catholic [pg 20] standards had their preparatory stages, (1) in short kerygmatic creeds; (2) in the authority of the Lord and the formless apostolic tradition as well as in the writings read in the Churches; (3) in the veneration paid to apostles, prophets, and teachers, or the "elders" and leaders of the individual communities.

A. The Transformation of the Baptismal Confession into the Apostolic Rule of Faith.

It has been explained (vol. I. p. 157) that the idea of the complete identity of what the Churches possessed as Christian communities with the doctrine or regulations of the twelve Apostles can already be shown in the earliest Gentile-Christian literature. In the widest sense the expression, κανων τησ παραδοσεως (canon of tradition), originally included all that was traced back to Christ himself through the medium of the Apostles and was of value for the faith and life of the Church, together with everything that was or seemed her inalienable possession, as, for instance, the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament. In the narrower sense that canon consisted of the history and words of Jesus. In so far as they formed the content of faith they were the faith itself, that is, the Christian truth; in so far as this faith was to determine the essence of everything Christian, it might be termed κανων της πιστεως, κανων της αληθειας (canon of the faith, canon of the truth).23 But the very fact that the extent of what was regarded as tradition of the Apostles was quite undetermined ensured the possibility of the highest degree of freedom; it was also still allowable to give expression to [pg 21] Christian inspiration and to the intuition of enthusiasm without any regard to tradition.

We now know that before the violent conflict with Gnosticism short formulated summaries of the faith had already grown out of the missionary practice of the Church (catechising). The shortest formula was that which defined the Christian faith as belief in the Father, Son, and Spirit.24 It appears to have been universally current in Christendom about the year 150. In the solemn transactions of the Church, therefore especially in baptism, in the great prayer of the Lord's Supper, as well as in the exorcism of demons,25 fixed formulæ were used. They embraced also such articles as contained the most important facts in the history of Jesus.26 We know definitely that not later than about the middle of the second century (about 140 A.D.) the Roman Church possessed a fixed creed, which every candidate for baptism had to profess;27 and something similar must also have existed [pg 22] in Smyrna and other Churches of Asia Minor about the year 150, in some cases, even rather earlier. We may suppose that formulæ of similar plan and extent were also found in other provincial Churches about this time.28 Still it is neither probable that all the then existing communities possessed such creeds, nor that those who used them had formulated them in such a rigid way as the Roman Church had done. The proclamation of the history of Christ predicted in the Old Testament, the κερυγμα της αληθειας, also accompanied the short baptismal formula without being expressed in set terms.29

Words of Jesus and, in general, directions for the Christian life were not, as a rule, admitted into the short formulated creed. In the recently discovered "Teaching of the Apostles" (Διδαχη των αποστολων) we have no doubt a notable attempt to fix the rules of Christian life as traced back to Jesus through the medium of the Apostles, and to elevate them into the foundation of the confederation of Christian Churches; but this undertaking, which could not but have led the development of Christianity into other paths, did not succeed. That the formulated creeds did not express the principles of conduct, but the facts on which Christians based their faith, was an unavoidable necessity. Besides, the universal agreement of all earnest and thoughtful minds on the question of Christian morals was practically assured.30 Objection was not taken to the principles [pg 23] of morality—at least this was not a primary consideration—for there were many Greeks to whom they did not seem foolishness, but to the adoration of Christ as he was represented in tradition and to the Church's worship of a God, who, as creator of the world and as a speaking and visible being, appeared to the Greeks, with their ideas of a purely spiritual deity, to be interwoven with the world, and who, as the God worshipped by the Jews also, seemed clearly distinct from the Supreme Being. This gave rise to the mockery of the heathen, the theological art of the Gnostics, and the radical reconstruction of tradition as attempted by Marcion. With the freedom that still prevailed Christianity was in danger of being resolved into a motley mass of philosophic speculations or of being completely detached from its original conditions. "It was admitted on all sides that Christianity had its starting-point in certain facts and sayings; but if any and every interpretation of those facts and sayings was possible, if any system of philosophy might be taught into which the words that expressed them might be woven, it is clear that there could be but little cohesion between the members of the Christian communities. The problem arose and pressed for an answer: What should be the basis of Christian union? But the problem was for a time insoluble. For there was no standard and no court of appeal." From the very beginning, when the differences in the various Churches began to threaten their unity, appeal was probably made to the Apostles' doctrine, the words of the Lord, tradition, "sound doctrine", definite facts, such as the reality of the human nature (flesh) of Christ, and the reality of his death and resurrection.31 In instruction, in exhortations, and above all in opposing erroneous doctrines and moral aberrations, [pg 24] this precept was inculcated from the beginning: απολιπωμεν τας κενας και ματαιας φροντιδας, και ελθωμεν επι τον ευκλεη και σεμνον της παραδοσεως 'ημων κανονα ("Let us leave off vain and foolish thoughts and betake ourselves to the glorious and august canon of our tradition"). But the very question was: What is sound doctrine? What is the content of tradition? Was the flesh of Christ a reality? etc. There is no doubt that Justin, in opposition to those whom he viewed as pseudo-Christians, insisted on the absolute necessity of acknowledging certain definite traditional facts and made this recognition the standard of orthodoxy. To all appearance it was he who began the great literary struggle for the expulsion of heterodoxy (see his συνταγμα κατα πασων των γεγενημενων 'αιρεσεων); but, judging from those writings of his that have been preserved to us, it seems very unlikely that he was already successful in finding a fixed standard for determining orthodox Christianity.32

The permanence of the communities, however, depended on the discovery of such a standard. They were no longer held together by the conscientia religionis, the unitas disciplinæ, and the fœdus spei. The Gnostics were not solely to blame for that. [pg 25] They rather show us merely the excess of a continuous transformation which no community could escape. The gnosis which subjected religion to a critical examination awoke in proportion as religious life from generation to generation lost its warmth and spontaneity. There was a time when the majority of Christians knew themselves to be such, (1) because they had the "Spirit" and found in that an indestructible guarantee of their Christian position, (2) because they observed all the commandments of Jesus (εντολαι Ιησου). But when these guarantees died away, and when at the same time the most diverse doctrines that were threatening to break up the Church were preached in the name of Christianity, the fixing of tradition necessarily became the supreme task. Here, as in every other case, the tradition was not fixed till after it had been to some extent departed from. It was just the Gnostics themselves who took the lead in a fixing process, a plain proof that the setting up of dogmatic formulæ has always been the support of new formations. But the example set by the Gnostics was the very thing that rendered the problem difficult. Where was a beginning to be made? "There is a kind of unconscious logic in the minds of masses of men when great questions are abroad, which some one thinker throws into suitable form."33 There could be no doubt that the needful thing was to fix what was "apostolic," for the one certain thing was that Christianity was based on a divine revelation which had been transmitted through the medium of the Apostles to the Churches of the whole earth. It certainly was not a single individual who hit on the expedient of affirming the fixed forms employed by the Churches in their solemn transactions to be apostolic in the strict sense. It must have come about by a natural process. But the confession of the Father, Son, and Spirit and the kerygma of Jesus Christ had the most prominent place among these forms. The special emphasising of these articles, in opposition to the Gnostic and Marcionite undertakings, may also be viewed as the result of the "common sense" of all those who clung to the belief that the Father of Jesus Christ was the creator of the world, and [pg 26] that the Son of God really appeared in the flesh. But that was not everywhere sufficient, for, even admitting that about the period between 150 and 180 A.D. all the Churches had a fixed creed which they regarded as apostolic in the strict sense—and this cannot be proved,—the most dangerous of all Gnostic schools, viz., those of Valentinus, could recognise this creed, since they already possessed the art of explaining a given text in whatever way they chose. What was needed was an apostolic creed definitely interpreted; for it was only by the aid of a definite interpretation that the creed could be used to repel the Gnostic speculations and the Marcionite conception of Christianity.

In this state of matters the Church of Rome, the proceedings of which are known to us through Irenæus and Tertullian, took, with regard to the fixed Roman baptismal confession ascribed to the Apostles, the following step: The Antignostic interpretation required by the necessities of the times was proclaimed as its self-evident content; the confession, thus explained, was designated as the "Catholic faith" ("fides catholica"), that is the rule of truth for the faith; and its acceptance was made the test of adherence to the Roman Church as well as to the general confederation of Christendom. Irenæus was not the author of this proceeding. How far Rome acted with the coöperation or under the influence of the Church of Asia Minor is a matter that is still obscure,34 and will probably never be determined with certainty. What the Roman community accomplished practically was theoretically established by Irenæus35 and Tertullian. The former proclaimed the baptismal confession, definitely interpreted and expressed in an Antignostic form, to be the apostolic rule of truth (regula veritatis), and tried [pg 27] to prove it so. He based his demonstration on the theory that this series of doctrines embodied the faith of the churches founded by the Apostles, and that these communities had always preserved the apostolic teaching unchanged (see under C).

Viewed historically, this thesis, which preserved Christianity from complete dissolution, is based on two unproved assumptions and on a confusion of ideas. It is not demonstrated that any creed emanated from the Apostles, nor that the Churches they founded always preserved their teaching in its original form; the creed itself, moreover, is confused with its interpretation. Finally, the existence of a fides catholica, in the strict sense of the word, cannot be justly inferred from the essential agreement found in the doctrine of a series of communities.36 But, on the other hand, the course taken by Irenæus was the only one capable of saving what yet remained of primitive Christianity, and that is its historical justification. A fides apostolica had to be set up and declared identical with the already existing fides catholica. It had to be made the standard for judging all particular doctrinal opinions, that it might be determined whether they were admissible or not.

The persuasive power with which Irenæus set up the principle of the apostolic "rule of truth," or of "tradition" or simply of "faith," was undoubtedly, as far as he himself was concerned, based on the facts that he had already a rigidly formulated creed before him and that he had no doubt as to its interpretation.37 The rule [pg 28] of truth (also 'η 'υπο της εκκλησιας κηρυσσομενη αληθεια "the truth proclaimed by the Church;" and το της αληθειας σωματιον, "the body of the truth") is the old baptismal confession well known to the communities for which he immediately writes. (See I. 9. 4; 'ουτω δε και 'ο τον κανονα της αληθειας ακλινη εν 'εαυτω κατεχων 'ον δια του βαπτισματος ειληφε, "in like manner he also who retains immovably in his heart the rule of truth which he received through baptism"); because it is this, it is apostolic, firm and immovable.38

By the fixing of the rule of truth, the formulation of which in the case of Irenæus (I. 10. 1, 2) naturally follows the arrangement of the (Roman) baptismal confession, the most important Gnostic theses were at once set aside and their antitheses established as apostolic. In his apostolic rule of truth Irenæus himself already gave prominence to the following doctrines:39 [pg 29] the unity of God, the identity of the supreme God with the Creator; the identity of the supreme God with the God of the Old Testament; the unity of Jesus Christ as the Son of the God who created the world; the essential divinity of Christ; the incarnation of the Son of God; the prediction of the entire history of Jesus through the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; the reality of that history; the bodily reception (ενσαρκος αναληψις) of Christ into heaven; the visible return of Christ; the resurrection of all flesh (αναστασις πασης σαρκος, πασης ανθροπωτητος), the universal judgment. These dogmas, the antitheses of the Gnostic regulæ,40 were consequently, as apostolic and therefore also as Catholic, removed beyond all discussion.

Tertullian followed Irenæus in every particular. He also interpreted the (Romish) baptismal confession, represented it, thus explained, as the regula fidei,41 and transferred to the latter the attributes of the confession, viz., its apostolic origin (or origin from Christ), as well as its fixedness and completeness.42 Like Irenæus, though still more stringently, he also endeavoured to prove that the formula had descended from Christ, that is, from the Apostles, and was incorrupt. He based his demonstration on the alleged incontestable facts that it contained the faith of those Churches founded by the Apostles, that in these communities a corruption of doctrine was inconceivable, because in them, as could be proved, the Apostles had always had successors, and that the other Churches were in communion with them (see under C). In a more definite way than Irenæus, Tertullian conceives the rule of faith as a rule for the faith,43 as the law given [pg 30] to faith,44 also as a "regula doctrinæ" or "doctrina regulæ" (here the creed itself is quite plainly the regula), and even simply as "doctrina" or "institutio."45 As to the content of the regula, it was set forth by Tertullian in three passages.46 It is essentially the same as in Irenæus. But Tertullian already gives prominence within the regula to the creation of the universe out of nothing,47 the creative instrumentality of the [pg 31] Logos,48 his origin before all creatures,49 a definite theory of the Incarnation,50 the preaching by Christ of a nova lex and a nova promissio regni cœlorum,51 and finally also the Trinitarian economy of God.52 Materially, therefore, the advance beyond Irenæus is already very significant. Tertullian's regula is in point of fact a doctrina. In attempting to bind the communities to this he represents them as schools.53 The apostolic "lex et doctrina" is to be regarded as inviolable by every Christian. Assent to it decides the Christian character of the individual. Thus the Christian disposition and life come to be a matter which is separate from this and subject to particular conditions. In this way the essence of religion was split up—the most fatal turning-point in the history of Christianity.

But we are not of course to suppose that at the beginning of the third century the actual bond of union between all the Churches was a fixed confession developed into a doctrine, that is, definitely interpreted. This much was gained, as is clear from the treatise de præscriptione and from other evidence, that in the communities with which Tertullian was acquainted, mutual recognition and brotherly intercourse were made to depend on assent to formulæ which virtually coincided with the Roman baptismal confession. Whoever assented to such a formula was regarded as a Christian brother, and was entitled to the salutation of peace, the name of brother, and hospitality.54 [pg 32] In so far as Christians confined themselves to a doctrinal formula which they, however, strictly applied, the adoption of this practice betokened an advance. The scattered communities now possessed a "lex" to bind them together, quite as certainly as the philosophic schools possessed a bond of union of a real and practical character55 in the shape of certain briefly formulated doctrines. In virtue of the common apostolic lex of Christians the Catholic Church became a reality, and was at the same time clearly marked off from the heretic sects. But more than this was gained, in so far as the Antignostic interpretation of the formula, and consequently a "doctrine," was indeed in some measure involved in the lex. The extent to which this was the case depended, of course, on the individual community or its leaders. All Gnostics could not be excluded by the wording of the confession; and, on the other hand, every formulated faith leads to a formulated doctrine, as soon as it is set up as a critical canon. What we observe in Irenæus and Tertullian must have everywhere taken place in a greater or less degree; that is to say, the authority of the confessional formula must have been extended to statements not found in the formula itself.

We can still prove from the works of Clement of Alexandria that a confession claiming to be an apostolic law of faith,56 ostensibly comprehending the whole essence of Christianity, was not set up in the different provincial Churches at one and the [pg 33] same time. From this it is clearly manifest that at this period the Alexandrian Church neither possessed a baptismal confession similar to that of Rome,57 nor understood by "regula fidei" and synonymous expressions a collection of beliefs fixed in some fashion and derived from the apostles.58 Clement of Alexandria in his Stromateis appeals to the holy (divine) [pg 34] Scriptures, to the teaching of the Lord,59 and to the standard tradition which he designates by a great variety of names, though he never gives its content, because he regards the whole of Christianity in its present condition as needing to be reconstructed by gnosis, and therefore as coming under the head of tradition.60 In one respect therefore, as compared with Irenæus and Tertullian, he to some extent represents an earlier standpoint; he stands midway between them and Justin. From this author he is chiefly distinguished by the fact that he employs sacred Christian writings as well as the Old Testament, makes the true Gnostic quite as dependent on the former as on the latter and has lost that naive view of tradition, that is, the complete content of Christianity, which Irenæus and Tertullian still had. As is to be expected, Clement too assigns the ultimate authorship of the tradition to the Apostles; but it is characteristic that he neither does this of such set purpose as Irenæus and Tertullian, nor thinks it necessary to prove that the Church had presented the apostolic tradition intact. But as he did not extract from the tradition a fixed complex of fundamental propositions, so also he failed to recognise the importance of its publicity and catholicity, and rather placed an esoteric alongside of an exoteric tradition. Although, like Irenæus and Tertullian, his attitude is throughout determined by opposition to the Gnostics and Marcion, he supposes it possible to refute them by giving to the Holy Scriptures a scientific exposition which must not oppose the κανων της εκκλησιας, that is, the Christian common sense, but receives from it only certain guiding rules. But this attitude of Clement would be simply inconceivable if the Alexandrian Church of his time had already employed the fixed standard applied in those of Rome, Carthage [pg 35] and Lyons.61 Such a standard did not exist; but Clement made no distinction in the yet unsystematised tradition, even between faith and discipline, because as a theologian he was not able to identify himself with any single article of it without [pg 36] hesitation, and because he ascribed to the true Gnostic the ability to fix and guarantee the truth of Christian doctrine.

Origen, although he also attempted to refute the heretics chiefly by a scientific exegesis of the Holy Scriptures, exhibits [pg 37] an attitude which is already more akin to that of Irenæus and Tertullian than to that of Clement. In the preface to his great work, "De principiis," he prefixed the Church doctrine as a detailed apostolic rule of faith, and in other instances also he appealed to the apostolic teaching.62 It may be assumed that in the time of Caracalla and Heliogabalus the Alexandrian Christians had also begun to adopt the principles acted upon in Rome and other communities.63 The Syrian Churches, or at least a part of them, followed still later.64 There can be no doubt that, from the last decades of the third century onward, one and the same confession, identical not in its wording, but in its main features, prevailed in the great confederation of Churches extending from Spain to the Euphrates and from Egypt to beyond the Alps.65 It was the basis of the confederation, and therefore also a passport, mark of recognition, etc., for the orthodox Christians. [pg 38] The interpretation of this confession was fixed in certain ground features, that is, in an Antignostic sense. But a definite theological interpretation was also more and more enforced. By the end of the third century there can no longer have been any considerable number of outlying communities where the doctrines of the pre-existence of Christ and the identity of this pre-existent One with the divine Logos were not recognised as the orthodox belief.66 They may have first become an "apostolic confession of faith" through the Nicene Creed. But even this creed was not adopted all at once.

B. The designation of selected writings read in the churches as New Testament Scriptures or, in other words, as a collection of apostolic writings.67

Every word and every writing which testified of the κυριος (Lord) was originally regarded as emanating from him, that is, from his spirit: 'Οθεν 'η κυριοτης λαλειται εκει Κυριος εστιν. (Didache IV. 1; [pg 39] see also 1 Cor. XII. 3). Hence the contents were holy.68 In this sense the New Testament is a "residuary product," just as the idea of its inspiration is a remnant of a much broader view. But on the other hand, the New Testament is a new creation of the Church,69 inasmuch as it takes its place alongside of the Old—which through it has become a complicated book for Christendom,—as a Catholic and apostolic collection of Scriptures containing and attesting the truth.

Marcion had founded his conception of Christianity on a new canon of Scripture,70 which seems to have enjoyed the same authority among his followers as was ascribed to the Old Testament in orthodox Christendom. In the Gnostic schools, which likewise rejected the Old Testament altogether or in part, Evangelic and Pauline writings were, by the middle of the second century, treated as sacred texts and made use of to confirm their theological [pg 40] speculations.71 On the other hand, about the year 150 the main body of Christendom had still no collection of Gospels and Epistles possessing equal authority with the Old Testament, and, apart from Apocalypses, no new writings at all, which as such, that is, as sacred texts, were regarded as inspired and authoritative.72 Here we leave [pg 41] out of consideration that their content is a testimony of the Spirit. From the works of Justin it is to be inferred that the ultimate authorities were the Old Testament, the words of the Lord, and the communications of Christian prophets.73 The memoirs of the Apostles (απομνημονευματα τον αποστολων = τα ευαγγελια) owed their significance solely to the fact that they recorded the words and history of the Lord and bore witness to the fulfilment of Old Testament predictions. There is no mention whatever of apostolic epistles as holy writings of standard authority.74 But we learn further from Justin that the Gospels as well as the Old Testament were read in public worship (Apol. I. 67) and that our first three Gospels were already in use. We can, moreover, gather from other sources that other Christian writings, early and late, were more or less regularly read in Christian meetings.75 Such writings naturally possessed a high degree of authority. As the Holy Spirit and the Church are inseparable, everything that edifies the Church originates with the Holy Spirit,76 which in this, as well as every other respect, is inexhaustibly rich. Here, however, two interests were predominant from the beginning, that of immediate spiritual edification and that of attesting and certifying the Christian [pg 42] Kerygma ('η ασφαλεια των λογων). The ecclesiastical canon was the result of the latter interest, not indeed in consequence of a process of collection, for individual communities had already made a far larger compilation,77 but, in the first instance, through selection, and afterwards, but not till then, through addition.

We must not think that the four Gospels now found in the canon had attained full canonical authority by the middle of the second century, for the fact—easily demonstrable—that the texts were still very freely dealt with about this period is in itself a proof of this.78 Our first three Gospels contain passages and corrections that could hardly have been fixed before about the year 150. Moreover, Tatian's attempt to create a new Gospel from the four shews that the text of these was not yet fixed.79 We may remark that he was the first in whom we find the Gospel of John80 alongside of the Synoptists, and these four the only ones recognised. From the assault of the "Alogi" on the Johannine Gospel we learn that about 160 the whole of our four Gospels had not been definitely recognised even in Asia Minor. Finally, we must refer to the Gospel of the Egyptians, [pg 43] the use of which was not confined to circles outside the Church.81

From the middle of the second century the Encratites stood midway between the larger Christendom and the Marcionite Church as well as the Gnostic schools. We hear of some of these using the Gospels as canonical writings side by side with the Old Testament, though they would have nothing to do with the Epistles of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles.82 But Tatian, the prominent Apologist, who joined them, gave this sect a more complete canon, an important fact about which was its inclusion of Epistles of Paul. Even this period, however, still supplies us with no testimony as to the existence of a New Testament canon in orthodox Christendom, in fact the rise of the so-called "Montanism" and its extreme antithesis, the "Alogi," in Asia Minor soon after the middle of the second century proves that there was still no New Testament canon there; for, if such an authoritative compilation had existed, these movements could not have arisen. If we gather together all the indications and evidence bearing on the subject, we shall indeed be ready to expect the speedy appearance in the Church of a kind of Gospel canon comprising the four Gospels;83 but we are prepared neither for this being formally placed on an equality with the Old Testament, nor for its containing apostolic writings, which as yet are only found in Marcion and the Gnostics. The canon emerges quite suddenly in an allusion of Melito of Sardis preserved by Eusebius,84 the meaning of which is, however, still dubious; in the works of Irenæus and Tertullian; and in the so-called Muratorian Fragment. There is no direct account of its origin [pg 44] and scarcely any indirect; yet it already appears as something to all intents and purposes finished and complete.85 Moreover, it emerges in the same ecclesiastical district where we were first able to show the existence of the apostolic regula fidei. We hear nothing of any authority belonging to the compilers, because we learn nothing at all of such persons.86 And yet the collection is regarded by Irenæus and Tertullian as completed. A refusal on the part of the heretics to recognise this or that book is already made a severe reproach against them. Their Bibles are tested by the Church compilation as the older one, and the latter itself is already used exactly like the Old Testament. The assumption of the inspiration of the books; the harmonistic interpretation of them; the idea of their absolute sufficiency with regard to every question which can arise and every event which they record; the right of unlimited combination of passages; the assumption that nothing in the Scriptures is without importance; and, finally, the allegorical interpretation: are the immediately observable result of the creation of the canon.87

[pg 45]

The probable conditions which brought about the formation of the New Testament canon in the Church, for in this case we are only dealing with probabilities, and the interests which led to and remained associated with it can only be briefly indicated here.88

The compilation and formation of a canon of Christian writings by a process of selection89 was, so to speak, a kind of involuntary undertaking of the Church in her conflict with Marcion and the Gnostics, as is most plainly proved by the [pg 46] warnings of the Fathers not to dispute with the heretics about the Holy Scriptures,90 although the New Testament was already in existence. That conflict necessitated the formation of a new Bible. The exclusion of particular persons on the strength of some apostolic standards, and by reference to the Old Testament, could not be justified by the Church in her own eyes and those of her opponents, so long as she herself recognised that there were apostolic writings, and so long as these heretics appealed to such. She was compelled to claim exclusive possession of everything that had a right to the name "apostolic," to deny it to the heretics, and to shew that she held it in the highest honour. Hitherto she had "contented" herself with proving her legal title from the Old Testament, and, passing over her actual origin, had dated herself back to the beginning of all things. Marcion and the Gnostics were the first who energetically pointed out that Christianity began with Christ, and that all Christianity was really to be tested by the apostolic preaching, that the assumed identity of Christian common sense with apostolic Christianity did not exist, and (so Marcion said) that the Apostles contradicted themselves. This opposition made it necessary to enter into the questions raised by their opponents. But, in point of content, the problem of proving the contested identity was simply insoluble, because it was endless and subject to question on every particular point. The "unconscious logic," that is the logic of self-preservation, could only prescribe an expedient. The Church had to collect everything apostolic and declare herself to be its only legal possessor. She was obliged, moreover, to amalgamate the apostolic with the canon of the Old Testament in such a way as to fix the exposition [pg 47] from the very first. But what writings were apostolic? From the middle of the second century great numbers of writings named after the Apostles had already been in circulation, and there were often different recensions of one and the same writing.91 Versions which contained docetic elements and exhortations to the most pronounced asceticism had even made their way into the public worship of the Church. Above all, therefore, it was necessary to determine (1) what writings were really apostolic, (2) what form or recension should be regarded as apostolic. The selection was made by the Church, that is, primarily, by the churches of Rome and Asia Minor, which had still an unbroken history up to the days of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. In making this choice, the Church limited herself to the writings that were used in public worship, and only admitted what the tradition of the elders justified her in regarding as genuinely apostolic. The principle on which she proceeded was to reject as spurious all writings, bearing the names of Apostles, that contained anything contradictory to Christian common sense, that is, to the rule of faith—hence admission was refused to all books in which the God of the Old Testament, his creation, etc., appeared to be depreciated,—and to exclude all recensions of apostolic writings that seemed to endanger the Old Testament and the monarchy of God. She retained, therefore, only those writings which bore the names of Apostles, or anonymous writings to which she considered herself justified in attaching such names,92 and whose contents were not at variance with the orthodox [pg 48] creed or attested it. This selection resulted in the awkward fact that besides the four Gospels there was almost nothing but Pauline epistles to dispose of, and therefore no writings or almost none which, as emanating from the twelve Apostles, could immediately confirm the truth of the ecclesiastical Kerygma. This perplexity was removed by the introduction of the Acts of the Apostles93 and in some cases also the Epistles of Peter and John, though that of Peter was not recognised at Rome at first. As a collection this group is the most interesting in the new compilation. It gives it the stamp of Catholicity, unites the Gospels with the Apostle (Paul), and, by subordinating his Epistles to the "Acta omnium apostolorum," makes them witnesses to the particular tradition that was required and divests them of every thing suspicious and insufficient.94 The Church, however, found [pg 49] the selection facilitated by the fact that the content of the early Christian writings was for the most part unintelligible to the Christendom of the time, whereas the late and spurious additions were betrayed not only by heretical theologoumena, but also and above all by their profane lucidity. Thus arose a collection of apostolic writings, which in extent may not have been strikingly distinguished from the list of writings that for [pg 50] more than a generation had formed the chief and favourite reading in the communities.95 The new collection was already exalted to a high place by the use of other writings being prohibited either for purposes of general edification or for theological ends.96 But the causes and motives which led to [pg 51] its being formed into a canon, that is, being placed on a footing of complete equality with the Old Testament, may be gathered partly from the earlier history, partly from the mode of using the new Bible and partly from the results attending its compilation. First, Words of the Lord and prophetic utterances, including the written records of these, had always possessed standard authority in the Church; there were therefore parts of the collection the absolute authority of which was undoubted from the first.97 Secondly, what was called "Preaching of the Apostles," "Teaching of the Apostles," etc., was likewise regarded from the earliest times as completely harmonious as well as authoritative. There had, however, been absolutely no motive for fixing this in documents, because Christians supposed they possessed it in a state of purity and reproduced it freely. The moment the Church was called upon to fix this teaching authentically, and this denotes a decisive revolution, she was forced to have recourse to writings, whether she would or not. The attributes formerly applied to the testimony of the Apostles, so long as it was not collected and committed to writing, had now to be transferred to the written records they had left. Thirdly, Marcion had already taken the lead in forming Christian writings into a canon in the strict sense of the word. Fourthly, the interpretation was at once fixed by forming the apostolic writings into a canon, and placing them on an equality with the Old Testament, as well as by subordinating troublesome writings to the Acts of the Apostles. Considered by themselves these writings, especially the Pauline Epistles, presented the greatest difficulties. We can see even yet from Irenæus and Tertullian that the duty of accommodating herself to these Epistles was forced upon the Church by Marcion and the heretics, and that, but for this constraint, her method of satisfying herself as to her relationship to them would hardly have taken the shape of incorporating them with the canon.98 [pg 52] This shows most clearly that the collection of writings must not be traced to the Church's effort to create for herself a powerful controversial weapon. But the difficulties which the compilation presented so long as it was a mere collection vanished as soon as it was viewed as a sacred collection. For now the principle: "as the teaching of the Apostles was one, so also is the tradition" (μια 'η παντων γεγονε των αποστολων 'ωσπερ διδασκαλια 'ουτως δε και 'η παραδοσις) was to be applied to all contradictory and objectionable details.99 It was now imperative to explain one writing by another; the Pauline Epistles, for example, were to be interpreted by the Pastoral Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles.100 Now was required what Tertullian calls the "mixture" of the Old and New Testaments,101 in consequence of which the full recognition of the knowledge got from the old Bible was regarded as the first law for the interpretation of the new. The formation of the new collection into a canon was therefore an immediate and unavoidable necessity if doubts of all kinds were to be averted. These were abundantly excited by the exegesis of the heretics; they were got rid of by making the writings into a canon. Fifthly, the early Christian enthusiasm more and more decreased in the course of the second century; not only did Apostles, prophets, and teachers die out, but the religious mood of the majority of Christians was changed. A reflective piety took the place of the instinctive religious enthusiasm which made those who felt it believe that they themselves possessed the Spirit.102 Such a piety requires rules; at the same time, however, it is characterised by the perception that it has not the active and spontaneous character which it ought to have, but has to prove its [pg 53] legitimacy in an indirect and "objective" way. The breach with tradition, the deviation from the original state of things is felt and recognised. Men, however, conceal from themselves their own defects, by placing the representatives of the past on an unattainable height, and forming such an estimate of their qualities as makes it unlawful and impossible for those of the present generation, in the interests of their own comfort, to compare themselves with them. When matters reach this point, great suspicion attaches to those who hold fast their religious independence and wish to apply the old standards. Not only do they seem arrogant and proud, but they also appear disturbers of the necessary new arrangement which has its justification in the fact of its being unavoidable. This development of the matter was, moreover, of the greatest significance for the history of the canon. Its creation very speedily resulted in the opinion that the time of divine revelation had gone past and was exhausted in the Apostles, that is, in the records left by them. We cannot prove with certainty that the canon was formed to confirm this opinion, but we can show that it was very soon used to oppose those Christians who professed to be prophets or appealed to the continuance of prophecy. The influence which the canon exercised in this respect is the most decisive and important. That which Tertullian, as a Montanist, asserts of one of his opponents: "Prophetiam expulit, paracletum fugavit" ("he expelled prophecy, he drove away the Paraclete"), can be far more truly said of the New Testament which the same Tertullian as a Catholic recognised. The New Testament, though not all at once, put an end to a situation where it was possible for any Christian under the inspiration of the Spirit to give authoritative disclosures and instructions. It likewise prevented belief in the fanciful creations with which such men enriched the history of the past, and destroyed their pretensions to read the future. As the creation of the canon, though not in a hard and fast way, fixed the period of the production of sacred facts, so it put down all claims of Christian prophecy to public credence. Through the canon it came to be acknowledged that all post-apostolic Christianity is only of a mediate and particular kind, and can therefore never be itself a standard. [pg 54] The Apostles alone possessed the Spirit of God completely and without measure. They only, therefore, are the media of revelation, and by their word alone, which, as emanating from the Spirit, is of equal authority with the word of Christ, all that is Christian must be tested.103

The Holy Spirit and the Apostles became correlative conceptions (Tertull., de pudic. 21). The Apostles, however, were more and more overshadowed by the New Testament Scriptures; and this was in fact an advance beyond the earlier state of things, for what was known of the Apostles? Accordingly, as authors of these writings, they and the Holy Spirit became correlative conceptions. This led to the assumption that the apostolic writings were inspired, that is, in the full and only intelligible sense attached to the word by the ancients.104 By this assumption the Apostles, viewed as prophets, received a significance quite equal to that of Old Testament writers.105 But, though Irenæus and Tertullian placed both parties on a level, they preserved a distinction between them by basing the whole authority of the New Testament on its apostolic origin, the concept "apostolic" being much more comprehensive than that [pg 55] of "prophet." These men, being Apostles, that is men chosen by Christ himself and entrusted with the proclamation of the Gospel, have for that reason received the Spirit, and their writings are filled with the Spirit. To the minds of Western Christians the primary feature in the collection is its apostolic authorship.106 This implies inspiration also, because the Apostles cannot be inferior to the writers of the Old Testament. For that very reason they could, in a much more radical way, rid the new collection of everything that was not apostolic. They even rejected writings which, in their form, plainly claimed the character of inspiration; and this was evidently done because they did not attribute to them the degree of authority which, in their view, only belonged to that which was apostolic.107 The new canon of Scripture set up by Irenæus and Tertullian primarily professes to be nothing else than a collection of apostolic writings, which, as such, claim absolute authority.108 It takes its place beside the apostolic rule of faith; and by this faithfully preserved [pg 56] possession, the Church scattered over the world proves herself to be that of the Apostles.

But we are very far from being able to show that such a rigidly fixed collection of apostolic writings existed everywhere in the Church about the year 200. It is indeed continually asserted that the Antiochian and Alexandrian Churches had at that date a New Testament which, in extent and authority, essentially coincided with that of the Roman Church; but this opinion is not well founded. As far as the Church of Antioch is immediately concerned, the letter of Bishop Serapion (whose episcopate lasted from about 190 to about 209), given in Eusebius (VI. 12), clearly shows that Cilicia and probably also Antioch itself as yet possessed no such thing as a completed New Testament. It is evident that Serapion already holds the Catholic principle that all words of Apostles possess the same value to the Church as words of the Lord; but a completed collection of apostolic writings was not yet at his disposal.109 Hence it is very improbable that Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, who died as early as the reign of Commodus, presupposed such a collection. Nor, in point of fact, do the statements in the treatise "ad Autolycum" point to a completed New Testament.110 Theophilus makes diligent use of the Epistles of Paul and mentions the evangelist John (C. I. 1.) as one of the bearers of the Spirit. But with him the one canonical court of appeal is the Scriptures of the Old Testament, that is, the writings of the Prophets (bearers of the Spirit). These Old Testament Prophets, however, are continued in a further group of "bearers of the Spirit," which we cannot definitely determine, but which at any rate included the authors of the four Gospels and the writer of the Apocalypse. It is remarkable that Theophilus has never mentioned the Apostles. Though he perhaps regards them all, including Paul, as "bearers of the Spirit," yet we have no indication that he looked on their Epistles as canonical. The different way he uses the Old [pg 57] Testament and the Gospels on the one hand and the Pauline Epistles on the other is rather evidence of the contrary. Theophilus was acquainted with the four Gospels (but we have no reference to Mark), the thirteen Epistles of Paul (though he does not mention Thessalonians), most probably also with the Epistle to the Hebrews, as well as 1st Peter and the Revelation of John. It is significant that no single passage of his betrays an acquaintance with the Acts of the Apostles.111

It might certainly seem venturesome, on the basis of the material found in Theophilus and the original document of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions, to conclude that the formation of a New Testament canon was not everywhere determined by the same interest and therefore did not everywhere take a similar course. It might seem hazardous to assume that the Churches of Asia Minor and Rome began by creating a fixed canon of apostolic writings, which was thus necessarily declared to be inspired, whereas other communities applied or did not deny the notion of inspiration to a great number of venerable and ancient writings not rigidly defined, and did not make a selection from a stricter historical point of view, till a later date. But the latter development not only corresponds to the indication found in Justin, but in my opinion may be verified from the copious accounts of Clement of Alexandria.112 In the entire literature of Greeks and barbarians Clement distinguishes between profane and sacred, i.e., inspired [pg 58] writings. As he is conscious that all knowledge of truth is based on inspiration, so all writings, that is all parts, paragraphs, or sentences of writings which contain moral and religious truth are in his view inspired.113 This opinion, however, does not exclude a distinction between these writings, but rather requires it. (2) The Old Testament, a fixed collection of books, is regarded by Clement, as a whole and in all its parts, as the divine, that is, inspired book par excellence. (3) As Clement in theory distinguishes a new covenant from the old, so also he distinguishes the books of the new covenant from those of the old. (4) These books to which he applies the formula "Gospel" (το ευαγγελιον) and "Apostles" ('οι αποστολοι) are likewise viewed by him as inspired, but he does not consider them as forming a fixed collection. (5) Unless all appearances are deceptive, it was, strictly speaking, only the four Gospels that he considered and treated as completely on a level with the Old Testament. The formula: 'ο νομος και 'οι προφηται και το ευαγγελιον ("the Law and the Prophets and the Gospel") is frequently found, and everything else, even the apostolic writings, is judged by this group.114 He does not consider even the Pauline Epistles to be a court of appeal of equal value with the Gospels, though he occasionally describes them as γραφαι.115 [pg 59] A further class of writings stands a stage lower than the Pauline Epistles, viz., the Epistles of Clement and Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, etc. It would be wrong to say that Clement views this group as an appendix to the New Testament, or as in any sense Antilegomena. This would imply that he assumed the existence of a fixed collection whose parts he considered of equal value, an assumption which cannot be proved.116 (6) As to certain books, such as the "Teaching of the Apostles," the "Kerygma of Peter," etc., it remains quite doubtful what authority Clement attributed to them.117 He quotes the Διδαχη as γραφη. (7) In determining and estimating the sacred books of the New Testament Clement is manifestly influenced by an ecclesiastical tradition, for he recognises four Gospels and no more because that was the exact number handed down. This tradition had already applied the name "apostolic" to most Christian writings which were to be considered as γραφαι, but it had given the concept "apostolic" a far wider content than Irenæus and Tertullian,118 although it had not been able to include all the new writings which were regarded as sacred under this idea. (Hermas). At the time Clement wrote, the Alexandrian Church can neither have held the principle that all writings of the Apostles must be read in the Church and form a decisive court of appeal like the Old Testament, nor have believed that nothing but the Apostolic—using this word also in its wider sense—has any claim to authority among Christians. We willingly admit the great degree of freedom [pg 60] and peculiarity characteristic of Clement, and freely acknowledge the serious difficulties inseparable from the attempt to ascertain from his writings what was regarded as possessing standard authority in the Church. Nevertheless it may be assumed with certainty that, at the time this author wrote, the content of the New Testament canon, or, to speak more correctly, its reception in the Church and exact attributes had not yet been finally settled in Alexandria.

The condition of the Alexandrian Church of the time may perhaps be described as follows: Ecclesiastical custom had attributed an authority to a great number of early Christian writings without strictly defining the nature of this authority or making it equal to that of the Old Testament. Whatever professed to be inspired, or apostolic, or ancient, or edifying was regarded as the work of the Spirit and therefore as the Word of God. The prestige of these writings increased in proportion as Christians became more incapable of producing the like themselves. Not long before Clement wrote, however, a systematic arrangement of writings embodying the early Christian tradition had been made in Alexandria also. But, while in the regions represented by Irenæus and Tertullian the canon must have arisen and been adopted all at once, so to speak, it was a slow process that led to this result in Alexandria. Here also the principle of apostolicity seems to have been of great importance for the collectors and editors, but it was otherwise applied than at Rome. A conservative proceeding was adopted, as they wished to insure as far as possible the permanence of ancient Christian writings regarded as inspired. In other words, they sought, wherever practicable, to proclaim all these writings to be apostolic by giving a wider meaning to the designation and ascribing an imaginary apostolic origin to many of them. This explains their judgment as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and how Barnabas and Clement were described by them as Apostles.119 Had this undertaking succeeded in the Church, a much more extensive canon would have resulted [pg 61] than in the West. But it is more than questionable whether it was really the intention of those first Alexandrian collectors to place the great compilation thus produced, as a New Testament, side by side with the Old, or, whether their undertaking was immediately approved in this sense by the Church. In view of the difference of Clement's attitude to the various groups within this collection of γραφαι, we may assert that in the Alexandrian Church of that time Gospels and Apostles were indeed ranked with the Law and the Prophets, but that this position of equality with the Old Testament was not assigned to all the writings that were prized either on the score of inspiration or of apostolic authority. The reason of this was that the great collection of early Christian literature that was inspired and declared to be apostolic could hardly have been used so much in public worship as the Old Testament and the Gospels.

Be this as it may, if we understand by the New Testament a fixed collection, equally authoritative throughout, of all the writings that were regarded as genuinely apostolic, that is, those of the original Apostles and Paul, then the Alexandrian Church at the time of Clement did not yet possess such a book; but the process which led to it had begun. She had come much nearer this goal by the time of Origen. At that period the writings included in the New Testament of the West were all regarded in Alexandria as equally authoritative, and also stood in every respect on a level with the Old Testament. The principle of apostolicity was more strictly conceived and more surely applied. Accordingly the extent of "Holy Scripture" was already limited in the days of Origen. Yet we have to thank the Alexandrian Church for giving us the seven Catholic Epistles. But, measured by the canon of the Western Church, which must have had a share in the matter, this sifting process was by no means complete. The inventive minds of scholars [pg 62] designated a group of writings in the Alexandrian canon as "Antilegomena." The historian of dogma can take no great interest in the succeeding development, which first led to the canon being everywhere finally fixed, so far as we can say that this was ever the case. For the still unsettled dispute as to the extent of the canon did not essentially affect its use and authority, and in the following period the continuous efforts to establish a harmonious and strictly fixed canon were solely determined by a regard to tradition. The results are no doubt of great importance to Church history, because they show us the varying influence exerted on Christendom at different periods by the great Churches of the East and West and by their learned men.

Addendum.—The results arising from the formation of a part of early Christian writings into a canon, which was a great and meritorious act of the Church120, notwithstanding the fact that it was forced on her by a combination of circumstances, may be summed up in a series of antitheses. (1) The New Testament, or group of "apostolic" writings formed by selection, preserved from destruction one part, and undoubtedly the most valuable one, of primitive Church literature; but it caused all the rest of these writings, as being intrusive, or spurious, or superfluous, to be more and more neglected, so that they ultimately perished.121 (2) The New Testament, though not all at once, put an end to the composition of works which claimed an authority binding on Christendom (inspiration); but it first made possible the production of secular Church literature and neutralised the extreme dangers attendant on writings of this kind. By making room for all kinds of writings that did not oppose it, it enabled the Church to utilise all the elements of Greek culture. At the same [pg 63] time, however, it required an ecclesiastical stamp to be placed on all the new Christian productions due to this cause.122 (3) The New Testament obscured the historical meaning and the historical origin of the writing contained in it, especially the Pauline Epistles, though at the same time it created the conditions for a thorough study of all those documents. Although primarily the new science of theological exegesis in the Church did more than anything else to neutralise the historical value of the New Testament writings, yet, on the other hand, it immediately commenced a critical restoration of their original sense. But, even apart from theological science, the New Testament enabled original Christianity to exercise here and there a quiet and gradual effect on the doctrinal development of the Church, without indeed being able to exert a dominant influence on the natural development of the traditional system. As the standard of interpretation for the Holy Scriptures was the apostolic regula fidei, always more and more precisely explained, and as that regula, in its Antignostic and philosophico-theological interpretation, was regarded as apostolic, the New Testament was explained in accordance with the conception of Christianity that had become prevalent in the Church. At first therefore the spirit of the New Testament could only assert itself in certain undercurrents and in the recognition of particular truths. But the book did not in the least ward off the danger of a total secularising of Christianity. (4) The New Testament opposed a barrier to the enthusiastic manufacture of "facts." But at the same time its claim to be a collection of inspired writings123 naturally resulted in principles of interpretation (such as the principle of unanimity, of unlimited combination, of absolute clearness and sufficiency, and of allegorism) which were necessarily [pg 64] followed by the manufacture of new facts on the part of theological experts. (5) The New Testament fixed a time within which divine revelation ceased, and prevented any Christian from putting himself into comparison with the disciples of Jesus. By doing so it directly promoted the lowering of Christian ideals and requirements, and in a certain fashion legitimised this weakening of religious power. At the same time, however, it maintained the knowledge of these ideals and requirements, became a spur to the conscience of believers, and averted the danger of Christianity being corrupted by the excesses of enthusiasm. (6) The fact of the New Testament being placed on a level with the Old proved the most effective means of preserving to the latter its canonical authority, which had been so often assailed in the second century. But at the same time it brought about an examination of the relation between the Old and New Testaments, which, however, also involved an enquiry into the connection between Christianity and pre-christian revelation. The immediate result of this investigation was not only a theological exposition of the Old Testament, but also a theory which ceased to view the two Testaments as of equal authority and subordinated the Old to the New. This result, which can be plainly seen in Irenæus, Tertullian, and Origen, led to exceedingly important consequences.124 It gave some degree of insight into statements, hitherto completely unintelligible, in certain New Testament writings, and it caused the Church to reflect upon a question that had as yet been raised only by heretics, viz., what are the marks which distinguish Christianity from the Old Testament religion? An historical examination imperceptibly arose; but the old notion of the inspiration of the Old Testament confined it to the narrowest limits, and in fact always continued to forbid it; for, as before, appeal was constantly made to the Old Testament as a Christian book which contained all the truths of religion in a perfect form. Nevertheless the conception [pg 65] of the Old Testament was here and there full of contradictions.125 (7) The fatal identification of words of the Lord and words of the Apostles (apostolical tradition) had existed before the creation of the New Testament, though this proceeding gave it a new range and content and a new significance. But, with the Epistles of Paul included, the New Testament elevated the highest expression of the consciousness of redemption into a guiding principle, and by admitting Paulinism into the canon it introduced a wholesome ferment into the history of the Church. (8) By creating the New Testament and claiming exclusive possession of it the Church deprived the non-Catholic communions of every apostolic foundation, just as she had divested Judaism of every legal title by taking possession of the Old Testament; but, by raising the New Testament to standard authority, she created the armoury which supplied the succeeding period with the keenest weapons against herself.126 The place of the Gospel was taken by a book with exceedingly varied contents, which theoretically acquired the same authority as the Gospel. Still, the Catholic Church never became a religion "of the book," because every inconvenient text could be explained away by the allegoric method, and because the book was not made use of as the immediate authority for the guidance of Christians, this latter function being directly discharged by the rule of faith.127 [pg 66] In practice it continued to be the rule for the New Testament to take a secondary place in apologetic writings and disputes with heretics.128 On the other hand it was regarded (1) as the directly authoritative document for the direction of the Christian life,129 and (2) as the final court of appeal in all the conflicts that arose within the sphere of the rule of faith. It was freely applied in the second stage of the Montanist struggle, but still more in the controversies about Christology, that is, in the conflict with the Monarchians. The apostolic writings belong solely to the Church, because she alone has preserved the apostolic doctrine (regula). This was declared to the heretics and therewith all controversy about Scripture, or the sense of Scripture passages, was in principle declined. But within the Church herself the Holy Scripture was regarded as the supreme and completely independent tribunal against which not even an old tradition could be appealed to; and the rule πολιτευεσθαι κατα το ευαγγελιον ("live according to the Gospel") held good in every respect. Moreover, this formula, which is rarely replaced by the other one, viz., κατα την καινην διαθηκην ("according to the New Testament"), shows that the words of the Lord, as in the earlier period, continued to be the chief standard of life and conduct.

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C. The transformation of the episcopal office in the Church into an apostolic office. The history of the remodelling of the conception of the Church.130

1. It was not sufficient to prove that the rule of faith was of apostolic origin, i.e., that the Apostles had set up a rule of faith. It had further to be shown that, up to the present, the Church had always maintained it unchanged. This demonstration was all the more necessary because the heretics also claimed an apostolic origin for their regulæ, and in different ways tried to adduce proof that they alone possessed a guarantee of inheriting the Apostles' doctrine in all its purity.131 An historical demonstration was first attempted by the earliest of the old Catholic Fathers. They pointed to communities of whose apostolic origin there could be no doubt, and thought it could not reasonably be denied that those Churches must have preserved apostolic Christianity in a pure and incorrupt form. The proof that the Church had always held fast by apostolic Christianity depended on the agreement in doctrine between the other communities and these.132 But Irenæus as well as Tertullian felt that a special demonstration was needed to show that the Churches founded by the Apostles had really at all times faithfully preserved their genuine teaching. General considerations, as, for instance, the notion that Christianity would otherwise have temporarily perished, or "that one event among many is as good as none; but when one and the same feature is found among many, it is not an aberration but a tradition" ("Nullus inter multos eventus unus est ... quod apud multos unum [pg 68] invenitur, non est erratum sed traditum") and similar ones which Tertullian does not fail to mention, were not sufficient. But the dogmatic conception that the ecclesiæ (or ecclesia) are the abode of the Holy Spirit,133 was incapable of making any impression on the heretics, as the correct application of this theory was the very point in question. To make their proof more precise Tertullian and Irenæus therefore asserted that the Churches guaranteed the incorruptness of the apostolic inheritance, inasmuch as they could point to a chain of "elders," or, in other words, an "ordo episcoporum per successionem ab initio decurrens," which was a pledge that nothing false had been mixed up with it.134 This thesis has quite as many aspects as the conception of the "Elders," e.g., disciples of the Apostles, disciples of the disciples of the Apostles, bishops. It partly [pg 69] preserves a historic and partly assumes a dogmatic character. The former aspect appears in the appeal made to the foundation of Churches by Apostles, and in the argument that each series of successors were faithful disciples of those before them and therefore ultimately of the Apostles themselves. But no historical consideration, no appeal to the "Elders" was capable of affording the assurance sought for. Hence even in Irenæus the historical view of the case had clearly changed into a dogmatic one. This, however, by no means resulted merely from the controversy with the heretics, but was quite as much produced by the altered constitution of the Church and the authoritative position that the bishops had actually attained. The idea was that the Elders, i.e., the bishops, had received "cum episcopatus successione certum veritatis charisma," that is, their office conferred on them the apostolic heritage of truth, which was therefore objectively attached to this dignity as a charism. This notion of the transmissibility of the charism of truth became associated with the episcopal office after it had become a monarchical one, exercising authority over the Church in all its relations;135 and after the bishops had proved themselves the strongest supports of the communities against the attacks of the secular power and of [pg 70] heresy.136 In Irenæus and Tertullian, however, we only find the first traces of this new theory. The old notion, which regarded the Churches as possessing the heritage of the Apostles in so far as they possess the Holy Spirit, continued to exercise a powerful influence on these writers, who still united the new dogmatic view with a historical one, at least in controversies with the heretics. Neither Irenæus, nor Tertullian in his earlier writings,137 asserted that the transmission of the charisma veritatis to the bishops had really invested them with the apostolic office in its full sense. They had indeed, according to Irenæus, received the "locum magisterii apostolorum" ("place of government of the Apostles"), but nothing more. It is only the later writings of Tertullian, dating from the reigns of Caracalla and Heliogabalus, which show that the bishop of Rome, who must have had imitators in this respect, claimed for his office the full authority of the apostolic office. Both Calixtus and his rival Hippolytus described themselves as successors of the Apostles in the full sense of the word, and claimed for themselves in that capacity much more than a mere guaranteeing of the purity of Christianity. Even Tertullian did not question this last mentioned attribute of the bishops.138 Cyprian found the theory already in existence, but was the first to develop it definitely and to eradicate every [pg 71] remnant of the historical argument in its favour. The conception of the Church was thereby subjected to a further transformation.

2. The transformation of the idea of the Church by Cyprian completed the radical changes that had been gradually taking [pg 72] place from the last half of the second century.139 In order to understand them it is necessary to go back. It was only with slowness and hesitation that the theories of the Church followed the actual changes in her history. It may be said that the idea of the Church always remained a stage behind the condition reached in practice. That may be seen in the whole course of the history of dogma up to the present day.

The essential character of Christendom in its first period was a new holy life and a sure hope, both based on repentance [pg 73] towards God and faith in Jesus Christ and brought about by the Holy Spirit. Christ and the Church, that is, the Holy Spirit and the holy Church, were inseparably connected. The Church, or, in other words, the community of all believers, attains her unity through the Holy Spirit. This unity manifested itself in brotherly love and in the common relation to a common ideal and a common hope.140 The assembly of all Christians is realised in the Kingdom of God, viz., in heaven; on earth Christians and the Church are dispersed and in a foreign land. Hence, properly speaking, the Church herself is a heavenly community inseparable from the heavenly Christ. Christians believe that they belong to a real super-terrestrial commonwealth, which, from its very nature, cannot be realised on earth. The heavenly goal is not yet separated from the idea of the Church; there is a holy Church on earth in so far as heaven is her destination.141 Every individual congregation is to be an image of the heavenly Church.142 Reflections were no doubt made on the contrast between the empirical community and the heavenly Church whose earthly likeness it was to be (Hermas); but these did not affect the theory of the subject. Only the saints of God, whose salvation is certain, belong to her, for the essential thing is not to be called, but to be, a Christian. There was as yet no empirical universal Church possessing an outward legal title that could, so to speak, be detached from the personal Christianity of the individual Christian.143 All the lofty [pg 74] designations which Paul, the so-called Apostolic Fathers, and Justin gathered from the Old Testament and applied to the Church, relate to the holy community which originates in heaven and returns thither.144

But, in consequence of the naturalising of Christianity in the world and the repelling of heresy, a formulated creed was made the basis of the Church. This confession was also recognised as a foundation of her unity and guarantee of her truth, and in certain respects as the main one. Christendom protected itself by this conception, though no doubt at a heavy price. To Irenæus and Tertullian the Church rests entirely on the apostolic, traditional faith which legitimises her.145 But this faith itself appeared as a law and aggregate of doctrines, all of which are of equally fundamental importance, so that their practical aim became uncertain and threatened to vanish ("fides in regula posita est, habet legem et salutem de observatione legis").

The Church herself, however, became a union based on the true doctrine and visible in it; and this confederation was at the same time enabled to realise an actual outward unity by means of the apostolic inheritance, the doctrinal confession, and the apostolic writings. The narrower and more external character assumed by the idea of the Church was concealed by the fact that, since the latter half of the second century, Christians in [pg 75] all parts of the world had really united in opposition to the state and "heresy," and had found compensation for the incipient decline of the original lofty thoughts and practical obligations in the consciousness of forming an ecumenical and international alliance. The designation "Catholic Church" gave expression to the claim of this world-wide union of the same faith to represent the true Church.146 This expression corresponds to the powerful position which the "great Church" (Celsus), or the [pg 76] "old" Church (Clemens Alex.) had attained by the end of the second century, as compared with the Marcionite Church, the school sects, the Christian associations of all kinds, and the independent Christians. This Church, however, was declared to be apostolic, i.e., founded in its present form by Christ through the Apostles. Through this idea, which was supported by the old enthusiastic notion that the Apostles had already proclaimed the Gospel to all the world, it came to be completely forgotten how Christ and his Apostles had exercised their ministry, and an empirical conception of the Church was created in which the idea of a holy life in the Spirit could no longer be the ruling one. It was taught that Christ received from God a law of faith, which, as a new lawgiver, he imparted to the Apostles, and that they, by transmitting the truth of which they were the depositaries, founded the one Catholic Church (Iren. III. 4. I). The latter, being guardian of the apostolic heritage, has the assurance of possessing the Spirit; whereas all communities other than herself, inasmuch as they have not received that deposit, necessarily lack the Spirit and are therefore separated from Christ and salvation.147 Hence one must be a member of this Church in order to be a partaker of salvation, because in her alone one can find the creed which must be recognised as the condition of redemption.148 Consequently, in proportion as the faith became a doctrine of faith, the Catholic Church interposed herself as an empiric power between the individual and salvation. She became a condition of salvation; [pg 77] but the result was that she ceased to be a sure communion of the saved and of saints (see on this point the following chapter). It was quite a logical proceeding when about the year 220 Calixtus, a Roman bishop, started the theory that there must be wheat and tares in the Catholic Church and that the Ark of Noah with its clean and unclean beasts was her type.149 The departure from the old idea of the Church appears completed in this statement. But the following facts must not be overlooked:—First, the new conception of the Church was not yet a hierarchical one. Secondly, the idea of the union and unity of all believers found here magnificent expression. Thirdly, the development of the communities into one solid Church also represents the creative power of the Christian spirit. Fourthly, through the consolidation effected in the Church by the rule of faith the Christian religion was in some measure preserved from enthusiastic extravagancies and arbitrary misinterpretation. Fifthly, in consequence of the regard for a Church founded on the doctrine of faith the specific significance of redemption by Christ, as distinguished from natural religion and that of the Old Testament, could no longer be lost to believers. Sixthly, the independence of each individual community had a wide scope not only at the end of the second but also in the third century.150 Consequently, though the revolution which led to the Catholic Church was a result of the situation of the communities in the world in general and of the struggle with the Gnostics and Marcion in particular, and though it was a fatal error to identify the Catholic and apostolic Churches, this change did not take place without an exalting of the Christian spirit and an awakening of its self-consciousness.

But there was never a time in history when the conception of the Church, as nothing else than the visible communion of those holding the correct apostolic doctrine, was clearly grasped or exclusively emphasised. In Irenæus and Tertullian we rather find, on the one hand, that the old theory of the [pg 78] Church was still to a great extent preserved and, on the other, that the hierarchical notion was already making its appearance. As to the first point, Irenæus frequently asserts that the Spirit and the Church, that is, the Christian people, are inseparable; that the Spirit in divers ways continually effects whatever she needs; that she is the totality of all true believers, that all the faithful have the rank of priests; that outside the holy Church there is no salvation, etc.; in fact these doctrines form the very essence of his teaching. But, since she was also regarded as the visible institution for objectively preserving and communicating the truth, and since the idea of the Church in contradistinction to heresy was necessarily exhausted in this as far as Irenæus was concerned, the old theories of the matter could not operate correctively, but in the end only served to glorify the earthly Catholic Church.151 The proposition that truth is only to be found in the Church and that she and the Holy Spirit are inseparable must be understood in Irenæus as already referring to the Catholic Church in contradistinction to every other calling itself Christian.152 As to the second point, it cannot be denied that, though Irenæus desires to maintain that the only essential part of the idea of the Church is the fact of her being the depository of the truth, he was no longer able to confine himself to this (see above). The episcopal succession and the transmission to the bishops of the magisterium of the Apostles were not indeed of any direct importance to his idea of the Church, but they were of consequence for the preservation of truth and therefore indirectly for the idea of the Church also. To Irenæus, however, that theory was still [pg 79] nothing more than an artificial line; but artificial lines are really supports and must therefore soon attain the value of foundations.153 Tertullian's conception of the Church was essentially the same as that of Irenæus; but with the former the idea that she is the outward manifestation of the Spirit, and therefore a communion of those who are spiritual, at all times continued to operate more powerfully than with the latter. In the last period of his life Tertullian emphasised this theory so vigorously that the Antignostic idea of the Church being based on the "traditio unius sacramenti" fell into the background. Consequently we find nothing more than traces of the hierarchical conception of the Church in Tertullian. But towards the end of his life he found himself face to face with a fully developed theory of this kind. This he most decidedly rejected, and, in doing so, advanced to such a conception of ecclesiastical orders, and therefore also of the episcopate, as clearly involved him in a contradiction of the other theory—which he also never gave up—viz., that the bishops, as the class which transmits the rule of faith, are an apostolic institution and therefore necessary to the Church154.

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From the disquisitions of Clement of Alexandria we see how vigorous the old conception of the Church, as the heavenly communion of the elect and believing, still continued to be about the year 200. This will not appear strange after what we have already said as to Clement's views about the rule of faith, the New Testament, and the episcopate. It is evident that his philosophy of religion led him to give a new interpretation to the original ideas. Yet the old form of these notions can be more easily made out from his works than from those of Irenæus.155 Up to the 15th Chapter of the 7th Book of his great work, the Stromateis, and in the Pædagogus, Clement simply speaks of the Church in the sense of the Epistle to the Ephesians and the Shepherd of Hermas. She is a heavenly formation, continued in that which appears on earth as her image. Instead of distinguishing two Churches Clement sees one, the product of God's will aiming at the salvation of man—a Church which is to be on earth as it is in heaven, and of which faith forms the subjective and the Logos the objective bond of union. But, beginning with Strom. VII. 15 (see especially 17), where he is influenced by opposition to the heretics, he suddenly identifies this Church with the single old Catholic one, that is, with the visible "Church" in opposition to the heretic sects. Thus the empirical interpretation of the Church, which makes her the institution in possession of the true doctrine, was also completely adopted by Clement; but as yet he employed it simply in polemics and not in positive teachings. He neither reconciled nor seemingly felt the contradiction in the statement that the Church is to be at one and the same time the assembly of the elect and the empiric universal Church. At any rate he made [pg 81] as yet no unconditional acknowledgment of the Catholic Church, because he was still able to attribute independent value to Gnosis, that is, to independent piety as he understood it.156 Consequently, as regards the conception of the Church, the mystic Gnosis exercised the same effect as the old religious enthusiasm from which in other respects it differs so much.157 The hierarchy has still no significance as far as Clement's idea of the Church is concerned.158 At first Origen entirely agrees with Clement in regard to this conception. He also starts with the theory that the Church is essentially a heavenly communion and a holy communion of believers, and keeps this idea constantly before him.159 When opposing heretics, he also, like Clement, cannot help identifying her with the Catholic Church, because the latter contains the true doctrine, though he likewise [pg 82] refrains from acknowledging any hierarchy.160 But Origen is influenced by two further considerations, which are scarcely hinted at in Clement, but which were called forth by the actual course of events and signified a further development in the idea of the Church. For, in the first place, Origen saw himself already compelled to examine closely the distinction between the essence and the outward appearance of the Church, and, in this process, reached results which again called in question the identification of the Holy Church with the empiric Catholic one (see on this point the following chapter). Secondly, in consequence of the extraordinary extension and powerful position attained by the Catholic Church by the time of Philip the Arabian, Origen, giving a new interpretation to a very old Christian notion and making use of a Platonic conception,161 arrived at the idea that she was the earthly Kingdom of God, destined to enter the world, to absorb the Roman Empire and indeed all mankind, and to unite and take the place of the various secular states.162 This magnificent idea, which regards the Church as κοσμος του κοσμου163, denoted indeed a complete departure from the original theory of the subject, determined by eschatological considerations; though we must not forget [pg 83] that Origen still demanded a really holy Church and a new polity. Hence, as he also distinguishes the various degrees of connection with the Church,164 we already find in his theory a combination of all the features that became essential parts of the conception of the Church in subsequent times, with the exception of the clerical element.165

3. The contradictory notions of the Church, for so they appear to us, in Irenæus and Clement and still more in Tertullian and Origen, need not astonish any one who bears in mind that none of these Fathers made the Church the subject of a theological theory.166 Hence no one as yet thought of questioning the old article: "I believe in a holy Church." But, at the same time, actual circumstances, though they did not at first succeed in altering the Church's belief, forced her to realise her changed position, for she had in point of fact become an association which was founded on a definite law of doctrine and rejected everything that did not conform to it. The identifying of this association with the ideal Church was a matter of course,167 but it was quite as natural to take no immediate theoretical notice of the identification except in cases where it was absolutely necessary, that is, in polemics. In the latter case the unity of faith and hope became the unity of the doctrine of faith, and the Church was, in this instance, legitimised by the possession of the apostolic tradition instead of by the realising of that tradition in heart and life. From the principle that had been set [pg 84] up it necessarily followed that the apostolic inheritance on which the truth and legitimacy of the Church was based, could not but remain an imperfect court of appeal until living authorities could be pointed to in this court, and until every possible cause of strife and separation was settled by reference to it. An empirical community cannot be ruled by a traditional written word, but only by persons; for the written law will always separate and split. If it has such persons, however, it can tolerate within it a great amount of individual differences, provided that the leaders subordinate the interests of the whole to their own ambition. We have seen how Irenæus and Tertullian, though they in all earnestness represented the fides catholica and ecclesia catholica as inseparably connected,168 were already compelled to have recourse to bishops in order to ensure the apostolic doctrine. The conflicts within the sphere of the rule of faith, the struggles with the so-called Montanism, but finally and above all, the existing situation of the Church in the third century with regard to the world within her pale, made the question of organisation the vital one for her. Tertullian and Origen already found themselves face to face with episcopal claims of which they highly disapproved and which, in their own way, they endeavoured to oppose. It was again the Roman bishop169 who first converted the proposition that the bishops are direct successors of the Apostles and have the same "locus magisterii" ("place of government") into a theory which declares that all apostolic powers have devolved on the bishops and that these have therefore peculiar rights and duties in virtue of their office.170 Cyprian added to this the corresponding theory of the Church. [pg 85] In one decisive point, however, he did not assist the secularising process which had been completed by the Roman bishop, in the interest of Catholicity as well as in that of the Church's existence (see the following chapter). In the second half of the third century there were no longer any Churches, except remote communities, where the only requirement was to preserve the Catholic faith; the bishops had to be obeyed. The idea of the one episcopally organised Church became the main one and overshadowed the significance of the doctrine of faith as a bond of unity. The Church based on the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, the vicegerents of God, is herself the legacy of the Apostles in virtue of this her foundation. This idea was never converted into a rigid theory in the East, though the reality to which it corresponded was not the less certain on that account. The fancy that the earthly hierarchy was the image of the heavenly was the only part that began to be taken in real earnest. In the West, on the other hand, circumstances compelled the Carthaginian bishop to set up a finished theory.171 According to Cyprian, the Catholic Church, to which all the lofty predictions and predicates in the Bible apply (see Hartel's index under "ecclesia"), is the one institution of salvation outside of which there is no redemption [pg 86] (ep. 73. 21). She is this, moreover, not only as the community possessing the true apostolic faith, for this definition does not exhaust her conception, but as a harmoniously organised federation.172 This Church therefore rests entirely on the episcopate, which sustains her,173 because it is the continuance of the apostolic office and is equipped with all the power of the Apostles.174 Accordingly, the union of individuals with the Church, and therefore with Christ, is effected only by obedient dependence on the bishop, i.e., such a connection alone makes one a member of the Church. But the unity of the Church, which is an attribute of equal importance with her truth, because this union is only brought about by love,175 primarily appears in the unity of the episcopate. For, according to Cyprian, the episcopate has been from its beginning undivided and has continued to be [pg 87] so in the Church, in so far as the bishops are appointed and guided by God, are on terms of brotherly intercourse and exchange, and each bishop represents the whole significance of the episcopate.176 Hence the individual bishops are no longer to be considered primarily as leaders of their special communities, but as the foundation of the one Church. Each of these prelates, however, provided he keeps within the association of the bishops, preserves the independent right of regulating the circumstances of his own diocese.177 But it also follows that [pg 88] the bishops of those communities founded by the Apostles themselves can raise no claim to any special dignity, since the unity of the episcopate as a continuation of the apostolic office involves the equality of all bishops.178 However, a special importance attaches to the Roman see, because it is the seat of the Apostle to whom Christ first granted apostolic authority in order to show with unmistakable plainness the unity of these powers and the corresponding unity of the Church that rests on them; and further because, from her historical origin, the Church of this see had become the mother and root of the Catholic Church spread over the earth. In a severe crisis which Cyprian had to pass through in his own diocese he appealed to the Roman Church (the Roman bishop) in a manner which made it appear as if communion with that Church was in itself the guarantee of truth. But in the controversy about heretical baptism with the Roman bishop Stephen, he emphatically denied the latter's pretensions to exercise special rights over the Church in consequence of the Petrine succession.179 Finally, [pg 89] although Cyprian exalted the unity of the organisation of the Church above the unity of the doctrine of faith, he preserved the Christian element so far as to assume in all his statements that the bishops display a moral and Christian conduct in keeping with their office, and that otherwise they have ipso facto forfeited it.180 Thus, according to Cyprian, the episcopal office does not confer any indelible character, though Calixtus and other bishops of Rome after him presupposed this attribute. (For more details on this point, as well as with regard to the contradictions [pg 90] that remain unreconciled in Cyprian's conception of the Church, see the following chapter, in which will be shown the ultimate interests that lie at the basis of the new idea of the Church).

Addendum I.—The great confederation of Churches which Cyprian presupposes and which he terms the Church was in truth not complete, for it cannot be proved that it extended to any regions beyond the confines of the Roman Empire or that it even embraced all orthodox and episcopally organised communities within those bounds.181 But, further, the conditions of the confederation, which only began to be realised in the full sense in the days of Constantine, were never definitely formulated—before the fourth century at least.182 Accordingly, the idea of the one exclusive Church, embracing all Christians and founded on the bishops, was always a mere theory. But, in so far as it is not the idea, but its realisation to which Cyprian here attaches sole importance, his dogmatic conception appears to be refuted by actual circumstances.183

Addendum II.—The idea of heresy is always decided by the idea of the Church. The designation 'αιρεσις implies an adherence to something [pg 91] self-chosen in opposition to the acknowledgment of something objectively handed down, and assumes that this is the particular thing in which the apostasy consists. Hence all those who call themselves Christians and yet do not adhere to the traditional apostolic creed, but give themselves up to vain and empty doctrines, are regarded as heretics by Hegesippus, Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement, and Origen. These doctrines are as a rule traced to the devil, that is, to the non-Christian religions and speculations, or to wilful wickedness. Any other interpretation of their origin would at once have been an acknowledgment that the opponents of the Church had a right to their opinions,184 and such an explanation is not quite foreign to Origen in one of his lines of argument.185 Hence the orthodox party were perfectly consistent in attaching no value to any sacrament186 or acts esteemed in their own communion, when these were performed by heretics;187 and this was a practical application of the saying that the devil could transform himself into an angel of light.188

[pg 92]

But the Fathers we have named did not yet completely identify the Church with a harmoniously organised institution. For that very reason they do not absolutely deny the Christianity of such as take their stand on the rule of faith, even when these for various reasons occupy a position peculiar to themselves. Though we are by no means entitled to say that they acknowledged orthodox schismatics, they did not yet venture to reckon them simply as heretics.189 If it was desired to get rid of these, an effort was made to impute to them some deviation from the rule of faith; and under this pretext the Church freed herself from the Montanists and the Monarchians.190 Cyprian was the first to proclaim the identity of heretics and schismatics, by making a man's Christianity depend on his belonging to the great episcopal Church confederation.191 But, both in East [pg 93] and West, this theory of his became established only by very imperceptible degrees, and indeed, strictly speaking, the process was never completed at all. The distinction between heretics and schismatics was preserved, because it prevented a public denial of the old principles, because it was advisable on political grounds to treat certain schismatic communities with indulgence, and because it was always possible in case of need to prove heresy against the schismatics.192

Addendum III.—As soon as the empiric Church ruled by the bishops was proclaimed to be the foundation of the Christian religion, we have the fundamental premises for the conception that everything progressively adopted by the Church, all her functions, institutions, and liturgy, in short, all her continuously changing arrangements were holy and apostolic. But the courage to draw all the conclusions here was restrained by the fact that certain portions of tradition, such as the New Testament canon of Scripture and the apostolic doctrine, had been once for all exalted to an unapproachable height. Hence it was only with slowness and hesitation that Christians accepted the inferences from the idea of the Church in the remaining directions, and these conclusions always continued to be hampered with some degree of uncertainty. The idea of the παραδοσις αγραφος; (unwritten tradition); i.e., that every custom, however recent, within the sphere of outward regulations, of public worship, discipline, etc., is as holy and apostolic as the Bible and the "faith", never succeeded in gaining complete acceptance. In this case, complicated, uncertain, and indistinct assumptions were the result.

Footnote 20: (return)

In itself the predicate "Catholic" contains no element that signifies a secularising of the Church. "Catholic" originally means Christianity in its totality as contrasted with single congregations. Hence the concepts "all communities" and the "universal Church" are identical. But from the beginning there was a dogmatic element in the concept of the universal Church, in so far as the latter was conceived to have been spread over the whole earth by the Apostles; an idea which involved the conviction that only that could be true which was found everywhere in Christendom. Consequently, "entire or universal Christendom," "the Church spread over the whole earth," and "the true Church" were regarded as identical conceptions. In this way the concept "Catholic" became a pregnant one, and finally received a dogmatic and political content. As this result actually took place, it is not inappropriate to speak of pre-Catholic and Catholic Christianity.

Footnote 21: (return)

Translator's note. The following is Tertullian's Latin as given by Professor Harnack: Cap. 21: "Constat omnem doctrinam quæ cum ecclesiis apostolicis matricibus et originalibus fidei conspiret veritati deputandam, id sine dubio tenentem quod ecclesiæ ab apostolis, apostoli a Christo, Christus a deo accepit." Cap. 36: "Videamus quid (ecclesia Romanensis) didicerit, quid docuerit, cum Africanis quoque ecclesiis contesserarit. Unum deum dominum novit, creatorem universitatis, et Christum Iesum ex virgine Maria filium dei creatoris, et carnis resurrectionem; legem et prophetas cum evangelicis et apostolicis litteris miscet; inde potat fidem, eam aqua signat, sancto spiritu vestit, eucharistia pascit, martyrium exhortatur, et ita adversus hanc institutionem neminem recipit." Chap. 32: "Evolvant ordinem episcoporum suorum, ita per successionem ab initio decurrentem, ut primus ille episcopus aliquem ex apostolis vel apostolicis viris, qui tamen cum apostolis perseveravit, habuerit auctorem et antecessorem."

Footnote 22: (return)

None of the three standards, for instance, were in the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions, which belong to the third century and are of Syrian origin; but instead of them the Old Testament and Gospel on the one hand, and the bishop, as the God of the community, on the other, are taken as authorities.

Footnote 23: (return)

See Zahn, Glaubensregel und Taufbekenntniss in der alten Kirche in the Zeitschrift f. Kirchl. Wissensch. u. Kirchl. Leben, 1881, Part 6, p. 302 ff., especially p. 314 ff. In the Epistle of Jude, v. 3, mention is made of the 'απαξ παραδοθεισα τοις 'αγιοις πιστις, and in v. 20 of "building yourselves up in your most holy faith." See Polycarp, ep. III. 2 (also VII. 2; II. 1). In either case the expressions κανων της πιστεως, κανων της αληθειας, or the like, might stand for πιστις, for the faith itself is primarily the canon; but it is the canon only in so far as it is comprehensible and plainly defined. Here lies the transition to a new interpretation of the conception of a standard in its relation to the faith. Voigt has published an excellent investigation of the concept 'ο κανων της αληθειας cum synonymis (Eine verschollene Urkunde des antimont. Kampfes, 1891, pp. 184-205).

Footnote 24: (return)

In Hermas, Mand. I., we find a still shorter formula which only contains the Confession of the monarchy of God, who created the world, that is the formula πιστεωυ εις 'ενα θεον παντακρατορα, which did not originate with the baptismal ceremony. But though at first the monarchy may have been the only dogma in the strict sense, the mission of Jesus Christ beyond doubt occupied a place alongside of it from the beginning; and the new religion was inconceivable without this.

Footnote 25: (return)

See on this point Justin, index to Otto's edition. It is not surprising that formulæ similar to those used at baptism were employed in the exorcism of demons. However, we cannot immediately infer from the latter what was the wording of the baptismal confession. Though, for example, it is an established fact that in Justin's time demons were exorcised with the words: "In the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate," it does not necessarily follow from this that these words were also found in the baptismal confession. The sign of the cross was made over those possessed by demons; hence nothing was more natural than that these words should be spoken. Hence they are not necessarily borrowed from a baptismal confession.

Footnote 26: (return)

These facts were known to every Christian. They are probably also alluded to in Luke I. 4.

Footnote 27: (return)

The most important result of Caspari's extensive and exact studies is the establishment of this fact and the fixing of the wording of the Romish Confession. (Ungedruckte, unbeachtete und wenig beachtete Quellen z. Gesch. des Taufsymbols u d. Glaubensregels. 3 Vols. 1866-1875. Alte u. neue Quellen zur Gesch. des Taufsymbols u. d. Glaubensregel, 1879). After this Hahn, Bibliothek d. Symbole u. Glaubensregeln der alten Kirche. 2 Aufl. 1877; see also my article "Apostol. Symbol" in Herzog's R.E.. 2nd. ed., as well as Book I. of the present work, Chap. III. § 2.

Footnote 28: (return)

This supposition is based on observation of the fact that particular statements of the Roman Symbol, in exactly the same form or nearly so, are found in many early Christian writings. See Patr. App. Opp. I. 2, ed. 2, pp. 115-42.

Footnote 29: (return)

The investigations which lead to this result are of a very complicated nature and cannot therefore be given here. We must content ourselves with remarking that all Western baptismal formulæ (creeds) may be traced back to the Roman, and that there was no universal Eastern creed on parallel lines with the latter. There is no mistaking the importance which, in these circumstances, is to be attributed to the Roman symbol and Church as regards the development of Catholicism.

Footnote 30: (return)

This caused the pronounced tendency of the Church to the formation of dogma, a movement for which Paul had already paved the way. The development of Christianity, as attested, for example, by the Διδαχη, received an additional factor in the dogmatic tradition, which soon gained the upper hand. The great reaction is then found in monasticism. Here again the rules of morality become the prevailing feature, and therefore the old Christian gnomic literature attains in this movement a second period of vigour. In it again dogmatics only form the background for the strict regulation of life. In the instruction given as a preparation for baptism the Christian moral commandments were of course always inculcated, and the obligation to observe these was expressed in the renunciation of Satan and all his works. In consequence of this, there were also fixed formulæ in these cases.

Footnote 31: (return)

See the Pastoral Epistles, those of John and of Ignatius; also the epistle of Jude, 1 Clem. VII., Polycarp, ad Philipp. VII., II. 1, VI. 3, Justin.

Footnote 32: (return)

In the apologetic writings of Justin the courts of appeal invariably continue to be the Old Testament, the words of the Lord, and the communications of prophets; hence he has hardly insisted on any other in his anti-heretical work. On the other hand we cannot appeal to the observed fact that Tertullian also, in his apologetic writings, did not reveal his standpoint as a churchman and opponent of heresy; for, with one exception, he did not discuss heretics in these tractates at all. On the contrary Justin discussed their position even in his apologetic writings; but nowhere, for instance, wrote anything similar to Theophilus' remarks in "ad Autol.," II. 14. Justin was acquainted with and frequently alluded to fixed formulæ and perhaps a baptismal symbol related to the Roman, if not essentially identical with it. (See Bornemann. Das Taufsymbol Justins in the Ztschr. f. K. G. Vol. III. p. 1 ff.), but we cannot prove that he utilised these formulæ in the sense of Irenæus and Tertullian. We find him using the expression ορθογνωμονες in Dial. 80. The resurrection of the flesh and the thousand years' kingdom (at Jerusalem) are there reckoned among the beliefs held by the ορθογνωμονες κατα παντα Χριστιανοι. But it is very characteristic of the standpoint taken up by Justin that he places between the heretics inspired by demons and the orthodox a class of Christians to whom he gives the general testimony that they are της καθαρας και ευσεβους γνωμης, though they are not fully orthodox in so far as they reject one important doctrine. Such an estimate would have been impossible to Irenæus and Tertullian. They have advanced to the principle that he who violates the law of faith in one point is guilty of breaking it all.

Footnote 33: (return)

Hatch, "Organisation of the Church," p. 96.

Footnote 34: (return)

We can only conjecture that some teachers in Asia Minor contemporary with Irenæus, or even of older date, and especially Melito, proceeded in like manner, adhering to Polycarp's exclusive attitude. Dionysius of Corinth (Eusebius, H. E. IV. 23. 2, 4) may perhaps be also mentioned.

Footnote 35: (return)

Irenæus set forth his theory in a great work, adv. hæres., especially in the third book. Unfortunately his treatise, "λογος εις επιδειξιν του αποστολικου κηρυγματος", probably the oldest treatise on the rule of faith, has not been preserved (Euseb., H. E. V. 26.)

Footnote 36: (return)

Irenæus indeed asserts in several passages that all Churches—those in Germany, Iberia, among the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Lybia and Italy; see I. 10. 2; III. 3. 1; III. 4. 1 sq.—possess the same apostolic kerygma; but "qui nimis probat nihil probat." The extravagance of the expressions shows that a dogmatic theory is here at work. Nevertheless this is based on the correct view that the Gnostic speculations are foreign to Christianity and of later date.

Footnote 37: (return)

We must further point out here that Irenæus not only knew the tradition of the Churches of Asia Minor and Rome, but that he had sat at the feet of Polycarp and associated in his youth with many of the "elders" in Asia. Of these he knew for certain that they in part did not approve of the Gnostic doctrines and in part would not have done so. The confidence with which he represented his antignostic interpretation of the creed as that of the Church of the Apostles was no doubt owing to this sure historical recollection. See his epistle to Florinus in Euseb., H. E. V. 20 and his numerous references to the "elders" in his great work. (A collection of these may be found in Patr. App. Opp. I. 3, p. 105 sq.)

Footnote 38: (return)

Caspari's investigations leave no room for doubt as to the relation of the rule of faith to the baptismal confession. The baptismal confession was not a deposit resulting from fluctuating anti-heretical rules of faith; but the latter were the explanations of the baptismal confession. The full authority of the confession itself was transferred to every elucidation that appeared necessary, in so far as the needful explanation was regarded as given with authority. Each momentary formula employed to defend the Church against heresy has therefore the full value of the creed. This explains the fact that, beginning with Irenæus' time, we meet with differently formulated rules of faith, partly in the same writer, and yet each is declared to be the rule of faith. Zahn is virtually right when he says, in his essay quoted above, that the rule of faith is the baptismal confession. But, so far as I can judge, he has not discerned the dilemma in which the Old Catholic Fathers were placed, and which they were not able to conceal. This dilemma arose from the fact that the Church needed an apostolic creed, expressed in fixed formulæ and at the same time definitely interpreted in an anti-heretical sense; whereas she only possessed, and this not in all churches, a baptismal confession, contained in fixed formulæ but not interpreted, along with an ecclesiastical tradition which was not formulated, although it no doubt excluded the most offensive Gnostic doctrines. It was not yet possible for the Old Catholic Fathers to frame and formulate that doctrinal confession, and they did not attempt it. The only course therefore was to assert that an elastic collection of doctrines which were ever being formulated anew, was a fixed standard in so far as it was based on a fixed creed. But this dilemma—we do not know how it was viewed by opponents—proved an advantage in the end, for it enabled churchmen to make continual additions to the rule of faith, whilst at the same time continuing to assert its identity with the baptismal confession. We must make the reservation, however, that not only the baptismal confession, but other fixed propositions as well, formed the basis on which particular rules of faith were formulated.

Footnote 39: (return)

Besides Irenæus I. 10. 1, 2, cf. 9. 1-5; 22. 1; II. 1. 1; 9. 1; 28. 1; 32. 3, 4; III. 1-4; 11. 1; 12. 9; 15. 1; 16. 5 sq.; 18. 3; 24. 1; IV. 1. 2; 9. 2; 20. 6; 33. 7 sq.; V. Præf. 12. 5; 20. 1.

Footnote 40: (return)

See Iren. I. 31. 3; II. Præf. 19. 8.

Footnote 41: (return)

This expression is not found in Irenæus, but is very common in Tertullian.

Footnote 42: (return)

See de præscr. 13: "Hæc regula a Christo instituta nullas habet apud nos quæstiones."

Footnote 43: (return)

See I. c. 14: "Ceterum manente forma regulæ in suo ordine quantumlibet quæras et tractes." See de virg. vol. 1.

Footnote 44: (return)

See 1. c. 14: "Fides in regula posita est, habet legem et salutem de observatione legis," and de vir. vol. 1.

Footnote 45: (return)

See de præscr. 21: "Si hæc ita sunt, constat perinde omnem doctrinam, quæ cum illis ecclesiis apostolicis matricibus et originalibus fidei conspiret, veritati deputandum ... Superest ergo ut demonstremus an hæc nostra doctrina, cujus regulam supra edidimus, de apostolorum traditione censeatur ... Communicamus cum ecclesiis catholicis, quod nulla doctrina diversa." De præscr. 32: "Ecclesiæ, quæ licet nullum ex apostolis auctorem suum proferant, ut multo posteriores, tamen in eadem fide conspirantes non minus apostolicæ deputantur pro consanguinitate doctrinæ." That Tertullian regards the baptismal confession as identical with the regula fidei, just as Irenæus does, is shown by the fact that in de spectac. 4 ("Cum aquam ingressi Christianam fidem in legis suæ verba profitemur, renuntiasse nos diabolo et pompæ et angelis eius ore nostro contestamur.") the baptismal confession is the lex. He also calls it "sacramentum" (military oath) in ad mart. 3; de idolol. 6; de corona 11; Scorp. 4. But he likewise gives the same designation to the interpreted baptismal confession (de præscr. 20, 32; adv. Marc. IV. 5); for we must regard the passages cited as referring to this. Adv. Marc. I. 21: "regula sacramenti;" likewise V. 20, a passage specially instructive as to the fact that there can be only one regula. The baptismal confession itself had a fixed and short form (see de spectac. 4; de corona, 3: "amplius aliquid respondentes quam dominus in evangelio determinavit;" de bapt. 2: "homo in aqua demissus et inter pauca verba tinctus;" de bapt. 6, 11; de orat. 2 etc.). We can still prove that, apart from a subsequent alteration, it was the Roman confession that was used in Carthage in the days of Tertullian. In de præscr. 26 Tertullian admits that the Apostles may have spoken some things "inter domesticos," but declares that they could not be communications "quæ aliam regulam fidei superducerent."

Footnote 46: (return)

De præscr. 13; de virg. vol. 1; adv. Prax. 2. The latter passage is thus worded: "Unicum quidem deum credimus, sub hac tamen dispensatione quam οικονομιαν dicimus, ut unici del sit et filius sermo ipsius, qui ex ipso processerit, per quern omnia facta sunt et sine quo factum est nihil, hunc missum a patre in virginem et ex ea natum, hominem et deum, filium hominis et filium dei et cognominatum Iesum Christum, hunc passum, hunc mortuum et sepultum secundum scripturas et resuscitatum a patre et in cœlo resumptum sedere ad dextram patris, venturum judicare vivos et mortuos; qui exinde miserit secundum promissionem suam a patre spiritum s. paracletum sanctificatorem fidei eorum qui credunt in patrem et filium et spiritum s. Hanc regulam ab initio evangelii decucurrisse."

Footnote 47: (return)

De præscr. 13.

Footnote 48: (return)


Footnote 49: (return)


Footnote 50: (return)

L.c.: "id verbum filium eius appellatum, in nomine dei varie visum a patriarchis, in prophetis semper auditum, postremo delatum ex spiritu patris dei et virtute in virginem Mariam, carnem factum," etc.

Footnote 51: (return)


Footnote 52: (return)

Adv. Prax. 2: "Unicum quidem deum credimus, sub hac tamen dispensatione quam οικονομιαν dicimus, ut unici dei sit et filius sermo ipsius," etc.

Footnote 53: (return)

But Tertullian also knows of a "regula disciplinæ" (according to the New Testament) on which he puts great value, and thereby shows that he has by no means forgotten that Christianity is a matter of conduct. We cannot enter more particularly into this rule here.

Footnote 54: (return)

Note here the use of "contesserare" in Tertullian. See de præscr. 20: "Itaque tot ac tantæ ecclesiæ una est illa ab apostolis prima, ex qua omnes. Sic omnes prima et omnes apostolicæ, dum una omnes. Probant unitatem communicatio pacis et appellatio fraternitatis et contesseratio hospitalitatis, quæ iura non alia ratio regit quam eiusdem sacramenti una traditio." De præscr. 36: "Videamus, quid ecclesia Romanensis cum Africanis ecclesiis contesserarit."

Footnote 55: (return)

We need not here discuss whether and in what way the model of the philosophic schools was taken as a standard. But we may refer to the fact that from the middle of the second century the Apologists, that is the Christian philosophers, had exercised a very great influence on the Old Catholic Fathers. But we cannot say that 2. John 7-11 and Didache XI. 1 f. attest the practice to be a very old one. These passages only show that it had preparatory stages; the main element, namely, the formulated summary of the faith, is there sought for in vain.

Footnote 56: (return)

Herein lay the defect, even if the content of the law of faith had coincided completely with the earliest tradition. A man like Tertullian knew how to protect himself in his own way from this defect, but his attitude is not typical.

Footnote 57: (return)

Hegesippus, who wrote about the time of Eleutherus, and was in Rome about the middle of the second century (probably somewhat earlier than Irenæus), already set up the apostolic rule of faith as a standard. This is clear from the description of his work in Euseb., H. E. IV. 8. 2 (εν πεντε συγγραμμασιν την απλανη παραδοσιν του αποστολικου κηρυγματος 'υπομνηματισαμενος) as well as from the fragments of this work (l.c. IV. 22. 2, 3: 'ο ορθος λογος and § 5 εμερισαν την 'ενωσιν της εκκλησιας φθοριμαιοις λογοις κατα του θεου; see also § 4). Hegesippus already regarded the unity of the Church as dependent on the correct doctrine. Polycrates (Euseb., H. E. V. 24. 6) used the expression 'ο κανων της πιστεως in a very wide sense. But we may beyond doubt attribute to him the same conception with regard to the significance of the rule of faith as was held by his opponent Victor. The Antimontanist (in Euseb. H. E. V. 16. 22.) will only allow that the martyrs who went to death for the κατα αληθειαν πιστις were those belonging to the Church. The regula fidei is not here meant, as in this case it was not a subject of dispute. On the other hand, the anonymous writer in Eusebius, H. E. V. 28. 6, 13 understood by το εκκλησιαστικον φρονημα or 'ο κανων της αρχαιας πιστεως the interpreted baptismal confession, just as Irenæus and Tertullian did. Hippolytus entirely agrees with these (see Philosoph. Præf., p. 4. v. 50 sq. and X. 32-34). Whether we are to ascribe the theory of Irenæus to Theophilus is uncertain. His idea of the Church is that of Irenæus (ad Autol. II. 14): δεδωκεν 'ο Θεος τω κοσμω κυμαινομενω και χειμαζομενω 'υπο των 'αμαρτηματων τας συναγωγας, λεγομενας δε εκκλησιας 'αγιας, εν αις καθαπερ λιμεσιν ευορμοις εν νησοις 'αι διδασκαλιαι της αληθειας εισιν ... Και 'ωσπερ αυ νησοι εισιν 'ετεραι πετρωδεις και ανυδροι και ακαρποι και θηριωδεις και αοικητοι επι βλαβη των πλεοντων ... 'ουτως εισιν 'αι διδασκαλιαι της πλανης, λεγω δε των 'αιρεσεων, 'αι εξαπολλυουσιν τους προσιοντας αυταις.

Footnote 58: (return)

This has been contested by Caspari (Ztschr. f. Kirchl. Wissensch. 1886, Part. 7, p. 352 ff.: "Did the Alexandrian Church in Clement's time possess a baptismal confession or not?"); but his arguments have not convinced me. Caspari correctly shows that in Clement the expression "ecclesiastical canon" denotes the summary of the Catholic faith and of the Catholic rule of conduct; but he goes on to trace the baptismal confession, and that in a fixed form, in the expression 'η περι των μεγιστων 'ομολογια, Strom. VII. 15. 90 (see remarks on this passage below), and is supported in this view by Voigt, l.c. p. 196 ff. I also regard this as a baptismal confession; but it is questionable if it was definitely formulated, and the passage is not conclusive on the point. But, supposing it to be definitely formulated, who can prove that it went further than the formula in Hermas, Mand. I. with the addition of a mere mention of the Son and Holy Spirit. That a free kerygma of Christ and some other matter were added to Hermas, Mand. I. may still be proved by a reference to Orig. Comm. in Joh. XXXII. 9 (see the passage in vol. I. p. 155.).

Footnote 59: (return)

'Η κυριακη διδασκαλια, e.g., VI. 15. 124; VI. 18. 165; VII. 10. 57; VII. 15. 90; VII. 18. 165, etc.

Footnote 60: (return)

We do not find in Clement the slightest traces of a baptismal confession related to the Roman, unless we reckon the Θεος παντοκρατωρ or εις Θ. π. as such. But this designation of God is found everywhere and is not characteristic of the baptismal confession. In the lost treatise on the Passover Clement expounded the "παραδοσεις των αρχαιων πρεσβυτερων" which had been transmitted to him.

Footnote 61: (return)

Considering the importance of the matter it is necessary to quote as copiously as possible from original sources. In Strom. IV. 15. 98, we find the expression 'ο κανων τεη πιστεως; but the context shows that it is used here in a quite general sense. With regard to the statement of Paul: "whatever you do, do it to the glory of God," Clement remarks 'οσα 'υπο τον κανονα της πιστεως ποιειν επιτετραπται. In Strom. I. 19. 96; VI. 15. 125; VI. 18. 165; VII. 7. 41; VII. 15. 90; VII. 16. 105 we find 'ο κανων της εκκλησιας (εκκλησιαστικος). In the first passage that canon is the rule for the right observance of the Lord's Supper. In the other passages it describes no doubt the correct doctrine, that is, the rule by which the orthodox Gnostic has to be guided in contrast with the heretics who are guided by their own desires (it is therefore parallel to the διδασκαλια του κυριου); but Clement feels absolutely no need to mention wherein this ecclesiastical canon consists. In Strom IV. 1. 3; VI. 15. 124; VI 15. 131; VII. 16. 94, we find the expression 'ο κανων της αληθειας. In the first passage it is said: 'η γουν κατα τον της αληθειας κανονα γνωστικης παραδοσεως φυσιολογια, μαλλον δε εποπτεια, εκ του περι κοσμογονιας ηρτηται λογου, ενθενδε αναβαινουσα επι το θεολογικον ειδος. Here no one can understand by the rule of truth what Tertullian understood by it. Very instructive is the second passage in which Clement is dealing with the right and wrong exposition of Scripture. He says first: παρακαταθηκε αποδιδομενη Θεω 'η κατα την του κυριου διδασκαλιαν δια των αποστολων αυτου της θεοσεβους παραδοσεως συνεσις τε και συνασκησις; then he demands that the Scriptures be interpreted κατα τον της αληθειας κανονα, or τ. εκκλης. καν.; and continues (125): κανων δε εκκλησιαστικος 'η συνωδια και 'η συμφωνια νομου τε και προφητων τη κατα την του κυριου παρουσιαν παραδιδομενη διαθηκη. Here then the agreement of the Old Testament with the Testament of Christ is described as the ecclesiastical canon. Apart from the question as to whether Clement is here already referring to a New Testament canon of Scripture, his rule agrees with Tertullian's testimony about the Roman Church: "legem et prophetas cum evangelicis et apostolicis litteris miscet." But at any rate the passage shows the broad sense in which Clement used the term "ecclesiastical canon." The following expressions are also found in Clement: 'η αληθες της μακαριας διδασκαλιας παραδοσις (I. 1. 11), 'αι 'αγιαι παραδοσεις (VII. 18. 110), 'η ευκλεης και σεμνος της παραδοσεως κανων (all gnosis is to be guided by this, see also 'η κατα την θειαν παραδοσιν φιλοσοφια, I, 1. 15. I: 11. 52., also the expression 'η θεια παραδοσις (VII. 16. 103), 'η εκκλησιαστικε παραδοσις (VII. 16. 95), 'αι του Χριστου παραδοσεις (VII. 16. 99), 'η του κυριου παραδοσις (VII. 17. 106: VII. 16. 104), 'η θεοσεβης παραδοσις (VI. 15. 124)). Its content is not more precisely defined, and, as a rule, nothing more can be gathered from the context than what Clement once calls το κοινον της πιστεως (VII. 16. 97). Where Clement wishes to determine the content more accurately he makes use of supplementary terms. He speaks, e.g., in III. 10. 66 of the κατα αληθειαν ευαγγελικος κανων, and means by that the tradition contained in the Gospels recognised by the Church in contradistinction to that found in other gospels (IV. 4. 15: κατα τον κανονα του ευαγγελιου = κατα τ. ευαγγ.). In none of these formulæ is any notice taken of the Apostles. That Clement (like Justin) traced back the public tradition to the Apostles is a matter of course and manifest from I. 1. 11, where he gives an account of his early teachers ('οι μεν την αληθη της μακαριας σωζοντες διδασκαλιας παραδοσιν ευθυς απο Πετρου τε και Ιακωβου, Ιωαννου τε και Παυλου των 'αγιων αποστολων, ταις παρα πατρος εκδεχομενος 'ηκον δη συν θεω και εις 'ημας τα προγονικα εκεινα και αποστολικα καταθησομενοι σπερματα). Clement does not yet appeal to a hierarchical tradition through the bishops, but adheres to the natural one through the teachers, though he indeed admits an esoteric tradition alongside of it. On one occasion he also says that the true Gnostic keeps the αποστολικη και εκκλησιαστικη ορθοτομια των δογματων (VII. 16. 104). He has no doubt that: μια 'η παντων γεγονε των αποστολων 'ωσπερ διδασκαλια 'ουτως δε και 'η παραδοσις (VII. 17. 108). But all that might just as well have been written in the first half of the second century. On the tracing back of the Gnosis, the esoteric tradition, to the Apostles see Hypotyp. in Euseb., H. E. II. 1. 4, Strom. VI. 15. 131: αυτικα διδαξαντος του σωτηρος τους αποστολους 'η της εγγραφου αγραφος ηδη και εις 'ημας διαδιδοται παραδοσις. VI. 7. 61: 'η γνωσις δε αυτη 'η κατα διαδοχας (this is the only place where I find this expression) εις ολιγους εκ των αποστολων αγραφως παραδοθεισα κατεληλυθεν, ibid 'η γνωστικη παραδοσις; VII. 10. 55: 'η γνωσις εκ παραδοσεως διαδιδομενη τοις αξιους σφας αυτους της διδασκαλιας παρεχομενοις οιον παρακαταθηκη εγχειριζεται. In VII. 17. 106 Clement has briefly recorded the theories of the Gnostic heretics with regard to the apostolic origin of their teaching, and expressed his doubts. That the tradition of the "Old Church," for so Clement designates the orthodox Church as distinguished from the "human congregation" of the heretics of his day, is throughout derived from the Apostles, he regards as so certain and self-evident that, as a rule, he never specially mentions it, or gives prominence to any particular article as apostolic. But the conclusion that he had no knowledge of any apostolic or fixed confession might seem to be disproved by one passage. It is said in Strom. VII. 15. 90: Μη τι ουν, ει και παραβαιη τις συνθηκας και την 'ομολογιαν παρελθοι την προς 'ημας, δια τον ψευσαμενον την 'ομολογιαν αφεξομεθα της αληθειας και 'ημεις, αλλ' 'ως αψευδειν χρη τον επιεικη και μηδεν 'ων 'υπεσχηται ακυρουν καν αλλοι τινες παραβαινωσι συνθηκας, ουτως και 'ημας κατα μηδενα τροπον τον εκκλησιαστικον παραβαινειν προσεκει κανονα και μαλιστα την περι των μεγιστων 'ομολογιαν 'ημεις μεν φυλαττομεν, οι δε παραβαινουσι. But in the other passages in Clement where 'ομολογια appears it nowhere signifies a fixed formula of confession, but always the confession in general which receives its content according to the situation (see Strom. IV. 4. 15; IV. 9. 71; III. 1. 4: εγκρατεια σωματος 'υπεροψια κατα την προς θεον 'ομολογιαν). In the passage quoted it means the confession of the main points of the true doctrine. It is possible or probable that Clement was here alluding to a confession at baptism, but that is also not quite certain. At any rate this one passage cannot prove that Clement identified the ecclesiastical canon with a formulated confession similar to or identical with the Roman, or else such identification must have appeared more frequently in his works.

Footnote 62: (return)

De princip. l. I. præf. § 4-10., IV. 2. 2. Yet we must consider the passage already twice quoted, namely, Com. in John. XXXII. 9, in order to determine the practice of the Alexandrian Church at that time. Was this baptismal confession not perhaps compiled from Herm., Mand. I., and Christological and theological teachings, so that the later confessions of the East with their dogmatic details are already to be found here?

Footnote 63: (return)

That may be also shown with regard to the New Testament canon. Very important is the declaration of Eusebius (H. E. VI. 14) that Origen, on his own testimony, paid a brief visit to Rome in the time of Zephyrinus, "because he wished to become acquainted with the ancient Church of the Romans." We learn from Jerome (de vir. inl. 61) that Origen there became acquainted with Hippolytus, who even called attention to his presence in the church in a sermon. That Origen kept up a connection with Rome still later and followed the conflicts there with keen interest may be gathered from his works. (See Döllinger, "Hippolytus und Calixtus" p. 254 ff.) On the other hand, Clement was quite unacquainted with that city. Bigg therefore l.c. rightly remarks: "The West is as unknown to Clement as it was to his favourite Homer." That there was a formulated πιστις και 'ομολογια in Alexandria about 250 A.D. is shown by the epistle of Dionysius (Euseb., H. E. VII. 8). He says of Novatian, ανατρεπει την προ λουτρου πιστιν και 'ομολογιαν. Dionysius would hardly have reproduced this Roman reproach in that way, if the Alexandrian Church had not possessed a similar πιστις.

Footnote 64: (return)

The original of the Apostolic Constitutions has as yet no knowledge of the Apostolic rule of faith in the Western sense.

Footnote 65: (return)

The close of the first homily of Aphraates shows how simple, antique, and original this confession still was in outlying districts at the beginning of the fourth century. On the other hand, there were oriental communities where it was already heavily weighted with theology.

Footnote 66: (return)

Cf. the epistles of Cyprian, especially ep. 69. 70. When Cyprian speaks (69. 7) of one and the same law which is held by the whole Catholic Church, and of one symbol with which she administers baptism (this is the first time we meet with this expression), his words mean far more than the assertion of Irenæus that the confession expounded by him is the guiding rule in all Churches; for in Cyprian's time the intercourse of most Catholic communities with each other was so regulated that the state of things in each was to some extent really known. Cf. also Novatian, "de trinitate seu de regula fidei," as well as the circular letter of the Synod of Antioch referring to the Metropolitan Paul (Euseb., H. E. VII. 30. 6 ... αποστας του κανονος επι κιβδηλα και νοθα διδαγματα μετεληλυθεν), and the homilies of Aphraates. The closer examination of the last phase in the development of the confession of faith during this epoch, when the apostolic confessions received an interpretation in accordance with the theology of Origen, will be more conveniently left over till the close of our description (see chap. 7 fin).

Footnote 67: (return)

See the histories of the canon by Credner, Reuss, Westcott, Hilgenfeld, Schmiedel, Holtzmann, and Weiss; the latter two, which to some extent supplement each other, are specially instructive. To Weiss belongs the merit of having kept Gospels and Apostles clearly apart in the preliminary history of the canon (see Th. L. Z. 1886. Nr. 24); Zahn, Gesch. des N. Tlichen Kanons, 2 vols, 1888 ff.; Harnack, Das Neue Test. um d. J. 200, 1889; Voigt, Eine verschollene Urkunde des antimontan. Kampfes, 1891, p. 236 ff.; Weizsäcker, Rede bei der akad. Preisvertheilung, 1892. Nov.; Köppel, Stud. u. Krit. 1891, p. 102 ff; Barth, Neue Jahrbb. f. deutsche Theologie, 1893, p. 56 ff. The following account gives only a few aspects of the case, not a history of the genesis of the canon.

Footnote 68: (return)

"Holy" is not always equivalent to "possessing absolute authority." There are also various stages and degrees of "holy."

Footnote 69: (return)

I beg here to lay down the following principles as to criticism of the New Testament. (1) It is not individual writings, but the whole book that has been immediately handed down to us. Hence, in the case of difficulties arising, we must first of all enquire, not whether the title and historical setting of a book are genuine or not, but if they are original, or were only given to the work when it became a component part of the collection. This also gives us the right to assume interpolations in the text belonging to the time when it was included in the canon, though this right must be used with caution. (2) Baur's "tendency-criticism" has fallen into disrepute; hence we must also free ourselves from the pedantry and hair-splitting which were its after effects. In consequence of the (erroneous) assumptions of the Tübingen school of critics a suspicious examination of the texts was justifiable and obligatory on their part. (3) Individual difficulties about the date of a document ought not to have the result of casting suspicion on it, when other good grounds speak in its favour; for, in dealing with writings which have no, or almost no accompanying literature, such difficulties cannot fail to arise. (4) The condition of the oldest Christianity up to the beginning of the second century did not favour literary forgeries or interpolations in support of a definite tendency. (5) We must remember that, from the death of Nero till the time of Trajan, very little is known of the history of the Church except the fact that, by the end of this time, Christianity had not only spread to an astonishing extent, but also had become vigorously consolidated.

Footnote 70: (return)

The novelty lies first in the idea itself, secondly in the form in which it was worked out, inasmuch as Marcion would only admit the authority of one Gospel to the exclusion of all the rest, and added the Pauline epistles which had originally little to do with the conception of the apostolic doctrinal tradition of the Church.

Footnote 71: (return)

It is easy to understand that, wherever there was criticism of the Old Testament, the Pauline epistles circulating in the Church would be thrust into the foreground. The same thing was done by the Manichæans in the Byzantine age.

Footnote 72: (return)

Four passages may be chiefly appealed to in support of the opposite view, viz., 2 Peter III. 16; Polycarp ep. 12. 1; Barn. IV. 14; 2 Clem. II. 4. But the first is put out of court, as the second Epistle of Peter is quite a late writing. The second is only known from an unreliable Latin translation (see Zahn on the passage: "verba 'his scripturis' suspecta sunt, cum interpres in c. II. 3 ex suis inseruerit quod dictum est"), and even if the latter were faithful here, the quotation from the Psalms prefixed to the quotation from the Epistle to the Ephesians prevents us from treating the passage as certain evidence. As to the third passage (μηποτε, 'ως γεγραπται, πολλοι κλητοι, ολιγοι δε εκλεκτοι 'ευρεθωμεν), it should be noted that the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, although he makes abundant use of the evangelic tradition, has nowhere else described evangelic writings as γραφη, and must have drawn from more sources than the canonic Gospels. Here, therefore, we have an enigma which may be solved in a variety of ways. It seems worth noting that it is a saying of the Lord which is here in question. But from the very beginning words of the Lord were equally reverenced with the Old Testament (see the Pauline Epistles). This may perhaps explain how the author—like 2 Clem. II. 4: 'ετερα δε γραφη λεγει 'οτι ουκ ηλθον καλεσαι δικαιους αλλα 'αμαρτωλους—has introduced a saying of this kind with the same formula as was used in introducing Old Testament quotations. Passages, such as Clem. XIII. 4: λεγει 'ο θεος: ου χαρις 'υμιν ει αγαπατε κ.τ.λ. would mark the transition to this mode of expression. The correctness of this explanation is confirmed by observation of the fact that the same formula as was employed in the case of the Old Testament was used in making quotations from early Christian apocalypses, or utterances of early Christian prophets in the earliest period. Thus we already read in Ephesians V. 14: διο λεγει: εγειρε 'ο καθευδων και αναστα εκ των νεκρων και επιφαυσει σοι 'ο Χριστος. That, certainly, is a saying of a Christian prophet, and yet it is introduced with the usual "λεγει". We also find a saying of a Christian prophet in Clem. XXIII. (the saying is more complete in 2 Clem. XI.) introduced with the words: 'η γραφη 'αυτη, 'οπου λεγει. These examples may be multiplied still further. From all this we may perhaps assume that the trite formulæ of quotation "γραφη, γεγραπται," etc., were applied wherever reference was made to sayings of the Lord and of prophets that were fixed in writings, even when the documents in question had not yet as a whole obtained canonical authority. Finally, we must also draw attention to the following:—The Epistle of Barnabas belongs to Egypt; and there probably, contrary to my former opinion, we must also look for the author of the second Epistle of Clement. There is much to favour the view that in Egypt Christian writings were treated as sacred texts, without being united into a collection of equal rank with the Old Testament. (See below on this point.)

Footnote 73: (return)

See on Justin Bousset. Die Evv.-Citate Justins. Gott., 1891. We may also infer from the expression of Hegesippus (Euseb., H. E. IV. 22. 3; Stephanus Gobarus in Photius, Bibl. 232. p. 288) that it was not Christian writings, but the Lord himself, who was placed on an equality with Law and Prophets. Very instructive is the formula: "Libri et epistolæ Pauli viri iusti" ('αι καθ' 'ημας βιβλοι και 'αι προσεπιτουτοις επιστολαι Παυλου του 'οσιου ανδρος), which is found in the Acta Mart. Scillit. anno 180 (ed. Robinson, Texts and Studies, 1891, I. 2, p. 114 f.), and tempts us to make certain conclusions. In the later recensions of the Acta the passage, characteristically enough, is worded: "Libri evangeliorum et epistolæ Pauli viri sanctissimi apostoli" or "Quattuor evv. dom. nostri J. Chr. et epp. S. Pauli ap. et omnis divinitus inspirata scriptura."

Footnote 74: (return)

It is worthy of note that the Gnostics also, though they quote the words of the Apostles (John and Paul) as authoritative, place the utterances of the Lord on an unattainable height. See in support of this the epistle of Ptolemy to Flora.

Footnote 75: (return)

Rev. I. 3; Herm. Vis. II. 4; Dionys. Cor. in Euseb., IV. 23. 11.

Footnote 76: (return)

Tertullian, this Christian of the primitive type, still reveals the old conception of things in one passage where, reversing 2 Tim. III. 16, he says (de cultu fem. I. 3) "Legimus omnem scripturam ædificationi habilem divinitus inspirari."

Footnote 77: (return)

The history of the collection of the Pauline Epistles may be traced back to the first century (1 Clem. XLVII. and like passages). It follows from the Epistle of Polycarp that this native of Asia Minor had in his hands all the Pauline Epistles (quotations are made from nine of the latter; these nine imply the four that are wanting, yet it must remain an open question whether he did not yet possess the Pastoral Epistles in their present form), also 1 Peter, 1 John (though he has not named the authors of these), the first Epistle of Clement and the Gospels. The extent of the writings read in churches which Polycarp is thus seen to have had approaches pretty nearly that of the later recognised canon. Compare, however, the way in which he assumes sayings from those writings to be well known by introducing them with "ειδοτες" (I. 3; IV. 1; V. 1). Ignatius likewise shows himself to be familiar with the writings which were subsequently united to form the New Testament. We see from the works of Clement, that, at the end of the second century, a great mass of Christian writings were collected in Alexandria and were used and honoured.

Footnote 78: (return)

It should also be pointed out that Justin most probably used the Gospel of Peter among the απομνημονευματα; see Texte u. Unters. IX. 2.

Footnote 79: (return)

See my article in the Zeitschr. f. K. Gesch. Vol. IV. p. 471 ff. Zahn (Tatian's Diatessaron, 1881) takes a different view.

Footnote 80: (return)

Justin also used the Gospel of John, but it is a disputed matter whether he regarded and used it like the other Gospels.

Footnote 81: (return)

The Sabellians still used it in the third century, which is a proof of the great authority possessed by this Gospel in Christian antiquity. (Epiph., H. 62. 2.)

Footnote 82: (return)

Euseb. H. E. IV. 29. 5.

Footnote 83: (return)

In many regions the Gospel canon alone appeared at first, and in very many others it long occupied a more prominent place than the other canonical writings. Alexander of Alexandria, for instance, still calls God the giver of the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels (Theodoret, I. 4).

Footnote 84: (return)

Euseb., H. E. II. 26. 13. As Melito speaks here of the ακριβεια των παλαιων βιβλιων, and of τα βιβλια της παλαιας διαθηκης, we may assume that he knows τα βιβλια της καινης διαθηκης.

Footnote 85: (return)

We may here leave undiscussed the hesitancy with regard to the admissibility of particular books. That the Pastoral Epistles had a fixed place in the canon almost from the very first is of itself a proof that the date of its origin cannot be long before 180. In connection with this, however, it is an important circumstance that Clement makes the general statement that the heretics reject the Epistles to Timothy (Strom. II. 12. 52: 'οι απο των 'αιρεσεων τας προς Τιμοθεον αθετουσιν επιστολας). They did not happen to be at the disposal of the Church at all till the middle of the second century.

Footnote 86: (return)

Yet see the passage from Tertullian quoted, p. 15, note 1; see also the "receptior," de pudic. 20, the cause of the rejection of Hermas in the Muratorian Fragment and Tertull. de bapt. 17: "Quodsi quæ Pauli perperam scripta sunt exemplum Theclæ ad licentiam mulierum docendi tinguendique defendunt, sciant in Asia presbyterum, qui eam scripturam construxit, quasi titulo Pauli de suo cumulans, convictum atque confessum id se amore Pauli fecisse, loco decessisse." The hypothesis that the Apostles themselves (or the apostle John) compiled the New Testament was definitely set up by no one in antiquity and therefore need not be discussed. Augustine (c. Faustum XXII. 79) speaks frankly of "sancti et docti homines" who produced the New Testament. We can prove by a series of testimonies that the idea of the Church having compiled the New Testament writings was in no way offensive to the Old Catholic Fathers. As a rule, indeed, they are silent on the matter. Irenæus and Tertullian already treat the collection as simply existent.

Footnote 87: (return)

Numerous examples may be found in proof of all these points, especially in the writings of Tertullian, though such are already to be met with in Irenæus also. He is not yet so bold in his allegorical exposition of the Gospels as Ptolemæus whom he finds fault with in this respect; but he already gives an exegesis of the books of the New Testament not essentially different from that of the Valentinians. One should above all read the treatise of Tertullian "de idololatria" to perceive how the authority of the New Testament was even by that time used for solving all questions.

Footnote 88: (return)

I cannot here enter into the disputed question as to the position that should be assigned to the Muratorian Fragment in the history of the formation of the canon, nor into its interpretation, etc. See my article "Das Muratorische Fragment und die Entstehung einer Sammlung apostolisch-katholischer Schriften" in the Ztschr. f. K. Gesch. III. p. 358 ff. See also Overbeck, Zur Geschichte des Kanons, 1880; Hilgenfeld, in the Zeitschrift f. Wissensch. Theol. 1881, part 2; Schmiedel, Art. "Kanon" in Ersch. u. Gruber's Encykl., 2 Section, Vol. XXXII. p. 309 ff.; Zahn, Kanongeschichte, Vol. II. p. 1 ff. I leave the fragment and the conclusions I have drawn from it almost entirely out of account here. The following sketch will show that the objections of Overbeck have not been without influence on me.

Footnote 89: (return)

The use of the word "canon" as a designation of the collection is first plainly demonstrable in Athanasius (ep. fest. of the year 365) and in the 59th canon of the synod of Laodicea. It is doubtful whether the term was already used by Origen. Besides, the word "canon" was not applied even to the Old Testament before the fourth century. The name "New Testament" (books of the New Testament) is first found in Melito and Tertullian. For other designations of the latter see Ronsch, Das N. T. Tertullian's p. 47 f. The most common name is "Holy Scriptures." In accordance with its main components the collection is designated as το ευαγγελιον και 'ο αποστολος (evangelicæ et apostolicæ litteræ); see Tertullian, de bapt. 15: "tam ex domini evangelio quam ex apostoli litteris." The name "writings of the Lord" is also found very early. It was already used for the Gospels at a time when there was no such thing as a canon. It was then occasionally transferred to all writings of the collection. Conversely, the entire collection was named, after the authors, a collection of apostolic writings, just as the Old Testament Scriptures were collectively called the writings of the prophets. Prophets and Apostles (= Old and New Testament) were now conceived as the media of God's revelation fixed in writing (see the Muratorian Fragment in its account of Hermas, and the designation of the Gospels as "Apostolic memoirs" already found in Justin.) This grouping became exceedingly important. It occasioned new speculations about the unique dignity of the Apostles and did away with the old collocation of Apostles and Prophets (that is Christian prophets). By this alteration we may measure the revolution of the times. Finally, the new collection was also called "the writings of the Church" as distinguished from the Old Testament and the writings of the heretics. This expression and its amplifications shew that it was the Church which selected these writings.

Footnote 90: (return)

Here there is a distinction between Irenæus and Tertullian. The former disputed with heretics about the interpretation of the Scriptures, the latter, although he has read Irenæus, forbids such dispute. He cannot therefore have considered Irenæus' efforts as successful.

Footnote 91: (return)

The reader should remember the different recensions of the Gospels and the complaints made by Dionysius of Corinth (in Euseb., H. E. IV. 23. 12).

Footnote 92: (return)

That the text of these writings was at the same time revised is more than probable, especially in view of the beginnings and endings of many New Testament writings, as well as, in the case of the Gospels, from a comparison of the canon text with the quotations dating from the time when there was no canon. But much more important still is the perception of the fact that, in the course of the second century, a series of writings which had originally been circulated anonymously or under the name of an unknown author were ascribed to an Apostle and were also slightly altered in accordance with this. In what circumstances or at what time this happened, whether it took place as early as the beginning of the second century or only immediately before the formation of the canon, is in almost every individual case involved in obscurity, but the fact itself, of which unfortunately the Introductions to the New Testament still know so little, is, in my opinion, incontestable. I refer the reader to the following examples, without indeed being able to enter on the proof here (see my edition of the "Teaching of the Apostles" p. 106 ff). (1) The Gospel of Luke seems not to have been known to Marcion under this name, and to have been called so only at a later date. (2) The canonical Gospels of Matthew and Mark do not claim, through their content, to originate with these men; they were regarded as apostolic at a later period. (3) The so-called Epistle of Barnabas was first attributed to the Apostle Barnabas by tradition. (4) The Apocalypse of Hermas was first connected with an apostolic Hermas by tradition (Rom. XVI. 14). (5) The same thing took place with regard to the first Epistle of Clement (Philipp, IV. 3). (6) The Epistle to the Hebrews, originally the writing of an unknown author or of Barnabas, was transformed into a writing of the Apostle Paul (Overbeck zur Gesch. des Kanons, 1880), or given out to be such. (7) The Epistle of James, originally the communication of an early Christian prophet, or a collection of ancient holy addresses, first seems to have received the name of James in tradition. (8) The first Epistle of Peter, which originally appears to have been written by an unknown follower of Paul, first received its present name from tradition. The same thing perhaps holds good of the Epistle of Jude. Tradition was similarly at work, even at a later period, as may for example be recognised by the transformation of the epistle "de virginitate" into two writings by Clement. The critics of early Christian literature have created for themselves insoluble problems by misunderstanding the work of tradition. Instead of asking whether the tradition is reliable, they always wrestle with the dilemma "genuine or spurious", and can prove neither.

Footnote 93: (return)

As regards its aim and contents, this book is furthest removed from the claim to be a portion of a collection of Holy Scriptures. Accordingly, so far as we know, its reception into the canon has no preliminary history.

Footnote 94: (return)

People were compelled by internal and external evidence (recognition of their apostolicity; example of the Gnostics) to accept the epistles of Paul. But, from the Catholic point of view, a canon which comprised only the four Gospels and the Pauline Epistles, would have been at best an edifice of two wings without the central structure, and therefore incomplete and uninhabitable. The actual novelty was the bold insertion into its midst of a book, which, if everything is not deceptive, had formerly been only in private use, namely, the Acts of the Apostles, which some associated with an Epistle of Peter and an Epistle of John, others with an Epistle of Jude, two Epistles of John, and the like. There were now (1) writings of the Lord which were at the same time regarded as απομνημονευματα of definite Apostles; (2) a book which contained the acts and preaching of all the Apostles, which historically legitimised Paul, and at the same time gave hints for the explanation of "difficult" passages in his Epistle; (3) the Pauline Epistles increased by the compilation of the Pastoral ones, documents which "in ordinatione ecclesiasticæ disciplinæ sanctificatæ erant." The Acts of the Apostles is thus the key to the understanding of the Catholic canon and at the same time shows its novelty. In this book the new collection had its bond of cohesion, its Catholic element (apostolic tradition), and the guide for its exposition. That the Acts of the Apostles found its place in the canon faute de mieux is clear from the extravagant terms, not at all suited to the book, in which its appearance there is immediately hailed. It is inserted in place of a book which should have contained the teaching and missionary acts of all the 12 Apostles; but, as it happened, such a record was not in existence. The first evidence regarding it is found in the Muratorian fragment and in Irenæus and Tertullian. There it is called "acta omnium apostolorum sub uno libro scripta sunt, etc." Irenæus says (III. 14. 1): "Lucas non solum prosecutor sed et cooperarius fuit Apostolorum, maxime autem Pauli," and makes use of the book to prove the subordination of Paul to the twelve. In the celebrated passages, de præscr. 22, 23: adv. Marc. I. 20; IV. 2-5; V. 1-3, Tertullian made a still more extensive use of the Acts of the Apostles, as the Antimarcionite book in the canon. One can see here why it was admitted into that collection and used against Paul as the Apostle of the heretics. The fundamental thought of Tertullian is that no one who fails to recognise the Acts of the Apostles has any right to recognise Paul, and that to elevate him by himself into a position of authority is unhistorical and absolutely unfounded fanaticism. If the διδαχη των δωδεκα αποστολων was needed as an authority in the earlier time, a book which contained that authority was required in the later period; and nothing else could be found than the work of the so-called Luke. "Qui Acta Apostolorum non recipiunt, nec spiritus sancti esse possunt, qui necdum spiritum sanctum possunt agnoscere discentibus missum, sed nec ecclesiam se dicant defendere qui quando et quibus incunabulis institutum est hoc corpus probare non habent." But the greater part of the heretics remained obstinate. Neither Marcionites, Severians, nor the later Manicheans recognised the Acts of the Apostles. To some extent they replied by setting up other histories of Apostles in opposition to it, as was done later by a fraction of the Ebionites and even by the Marcionites. But the Church also was firm. It is perhaps the most striking phenomenon in the history of the formation of the canon that this late book, from the very moment of its appearance, asserts its right to a place in the collection, just as certainly as the four Gospels, though its position varied. In Clement of Alexandria indeed the book is still pretty much in the background, perhaps on a level with the κηρυγμα Πετρου, but Clement has no New Testament at all in the strict sense of the word; see below. But at the very beginning the book stood where it is to-day, i.e., immediately after the Gospels (see Muratorian Fragment, Irenæus, etc.). The parallel creation, the group of Catholic Epistles, acquired a much more dubious position than the Acts of the Apostles, and its place was never really settled. Its germ is probably to be found in two Epistles of John (viz., 1st and 3rd) which acquired dignity along with the Gospel, as well as in the Epistle of Jude. These may have given the impulse to create a group of narratives about the twelve Apostles from anonymous writings of old Apostles, prophets, and teachers. But the Epistle of Peter is still wanting in the Muratorian Fragment, nor do we yet find the group there associated with the Acts of the Apostles. The Epistle of Jude, two Epistles of John, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter form the unsymmetrical conclusion of this oldest catalogue of the canon. But, all the same writings, by Jude, John, and Peter are here found side by side; thus we have a preparation for the future arrangement made in different though similar fashion by Irenæus and again altered by Tertullian. The genuine Pauline Epistles appear enclosed on the one hand by the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic Epistles, and on the other by the Pastoral ones, which in their way are also "Catholic." That is the character of the "Catholic" New Testament which is confirmed by the earliest use of it (in Irenæus and Tertullian). In speaking above of the Acts of the Apostles as a late book, we meant that it was so relatively to the canon. In itself the book is old and for the most part reliable.

Footnote 95: (return)

There is no doubt that this was the reason why to all appearance the innovation was scarcely felt. Similar causes were at work here as in the case of the apostolic rule of faith. In the one case the writings that had long been read in the Church formed the basis, in the other the baptismal confession. But a great distinction is found in the fact that the baptismal confession, as already settled, afforded an elastic standard which was treated as a fixed one and was therefore extremely practical; whilst, conversely, the undefined group of writings hitherto read in the Church was reduced to a collection which could neither be increased nor diminished.

Footnote 96: (return)

At the beginning, that is about 180, it was only in practice, and not in theory, that the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles possessed equal authority. Moreover, the name New Testament is not yet found in Irenæus, nor do we yet find him giving an exact idea of its content. See Werner in the Text. u. Unters. z. altchristl. Lit. Gesch. Bd. VI. 2.

Footnote 97: (return)

See above, p. 40, note 2.

Footnote 98: (return)

We have ample evidence in the great work of Irenæus as to the difficulties he found in many passages of the Pauline Epistles, which as yet were almost solely utilised as sources of doctrine by such men as Marcion, Tatian, and theologians of the school of Valentinus. The difficulties of course still continued to be felt in the period which followed. (See, e.g., Method, Conviv. Orat. III. 1, 2.)

Footnote 99: (return)

Apollinaris of Hierapolis already regards any contradiction between the (4) Gospels as impossible. (See Routh, Reliq. Sacr. I. p. 150.)

Footnote 100: (return)

See Overbeck, "Ueber die Auffassung des Streites des Paulus mit Petrus in Antiochien bei den Kirchenvätern," 1877, p. 8.

Footnote 101: (return)

See also Clement Strom. IV. 21. 124; VI. 15. 125. The expression is also frequent in Origen, e.g., de princip. præf. 4.

Footnote 102: (return)

The Roman Church in her letter to that of Corinth designates her own words as the words of God (1 Clem. LIX. 1) and therefore requires obedience "τοις 'υφ' 'ημων γεγραμμενοις δια του 'αγιου πνευματος" (LXIII. 2).

Footnote 103: (return)

Tertull. de exhort. 4: "Spiritum quidem dei etiam fideles habent, sed non omnes fideles apostoli ... Proprie enim apostoli spiritum sanctum habent, qui plene habent in operibus prophetiæ et efficacia virtutum documentisque linguarum, non ex parte, quod ceteri." Clem. Alex. Strom. IV. 21. 135: 'Εκαστος ιδιον εχει χαρισμα απο θεου, 'ο μεν 'ουτως, 'ο δε 'ουτως, 'οι αποστολοι δε εν πασι πεπληρομενοι; Serapion in Euseb., H. E. VI. 12. 3: 'ημεις και τον Πετρον και τους αλλους αποστολους αποδεχομεθα 'ως Χριστον. The success of the canon here referred to was an undoubted blessing, for, as the result of enthusiasm, Christianity was menaced with complete corruption, and things and ideas, no matter how alien to its spirit, were able to obtain a lodgment under its protection. The removal of this danger, which was in some measure averted by the canon, was indeed coupled with great disadvantages, inasmuch as believers were referred in legal fashion to a new book, and the writings contained in it were at first completely obscured by the assumption that they were inspired and by the requirement of an "expositio legitima."

Footnote 104: (return)

See Tertull., de virg. vol. 4, de resurr. 24, de ieiun. 15, de pudic. 12. Sufficiency is above all included in the concept "inspiration" (see for ex. Tertull., de monog. 4: "Negat scriptura quod non notat"), and the same measure of authority belongs to all parts (see Iren., IV. 28. 3. "Nihil vacuum neque sine signo apud deum").

Footnote 105: (return)

The direct designation "prophets" was, however, as a rule, avoided. The conflict with Montanism made it expedient to refrain from this name; but see Tertullian, adv. Marc. IV. 24: "Tam apostolus Moyses, quam et apostoli prophetæ."

Footnote 106: (return)

Compare also what the author of the Muratorian Fragment says in the passage about the Shepherd of Hermas.

Footnote 107: (return)

This caused the most decisive breach with tradition, and the estimate to be formed of the Apocalypses must at first have remained an open question. Their fate was long undecided in the West; but it was very soon settled that they could have no claim to public recognition in the Church, because their authors had not that fulness of the Spirit which belongs to the Apostles alone.

Footnote 108: (return)

The disputed question as to whether all the acknowledged apostolic writings were regarded as canonical must be answered in the affirmative in reference to Irenæus and Tertullian, who conversely regarded no book as canonical unless written by the Apostles. On the other hand, it appears to me that no certain opinion on this point can be got from the Muratorian Fragment. In the end the Gospel, Acts, Kerygma, and Apocalypse of Peter as well as the Acts of Paul were rejected, a proceeding which was at the same time a declaration that they were spurious. But these three witnesses agree (see also App. Constit. VI. 16) that the apostolic regula fidei is practically the final court of appeal, inasmuch as it decides whether a writing is really apostolic or not, and inasmuch as, according to Tertullian, the apostolic writings belong to the Church alone, because she alone possesses the apostolic regula (de præscr. 37 ff.). The regula of course does not legitimise those writings, but only proves that they are authentic and do not belong to the heretics. These witnesses also agree that a Christian writing has no claim to be received into the canon merely on account of its prophetic form. On looking at the matter more closely, we see that the view of the early Church, as opposed to Montanism, led to the paradox that the Apostles were prophets in the sense of being inspired by the Spirit, but that they were not so in the strict sense of the word.

Footnote 109: (return)

The fragment of Serapion's letter given in Eusebius owes its interest to the fact that it not only shows the progress made at this time with the formation of the canon at Antioch, but also what still remained to be done.

Footnote 110: (return)

See my essay "Theophilus v. Antiochien und das N. T." in the Ztschr. f. K. Gesch. XI. p. 1 ff.

Footnote 111: (return)

The most important passages are Autol. II. 9. 22: 'οθεν διδασκουσιν 'ημας 'αι 'αγιαι γραφαι και παντες 'οι πνευματοφοροι, εξ 'ων Ιωανναες λεγει κ.τ.λ. (follows John I. 1) III. 12: και περι δικαιοσυνης, 'ης 'ο νομος ειρηκεν, ακολουθα 'ευρισκεται και τα των προφητων και των ευαγγελιων εχειν, δια το τους παντας πνευματοφορους 'ενι πνευματι θεου λελαληκεναι; III. 13: 'ο 'αγιος λογος—'η ευαγγελιος φωνη.; III. 14: Ησαιας—το δε ευαγγελιον—'ο θειος λογος. The latter formula is not a quotation of Epistles of Paul viewed as canonical, but of a divine command found in the Old Testament and given in Pauline form. It is specially worthy of note that the original of the six books of the Apostolic Constitutions, written in Syria and belonging to the second half of the third century, knows yet of no New Testament. In addition to the Old Testament it has no authority but the "Gospel."

Footnote 112: (return)

There has as yet been no sufficient investigation of the New Testament of Clement. The information given by Volkmar in Credner's Gesch. d. N. Tlichen Kanon, p. 382 ff., is not sufficient. The space at the disposal of this manual prevents me from establishing the results of my studies on this point. Let me at least refer to some important passages which I have collected. Strom. I. §§ 28, 100; II. §§ 22, 28, 29; III.,§§ 11, 66, 70, 71, 76, 93, 108; IV. §§ 2, 91, 97, 105, 130, 133, 134, 138, 159; V. §§ 3, 17, 27, 28, 30, 31, 38, 80, 85, 86; VI. §§ 42,44, 54, 59, 61, 66—68, 88, 91, 106, 107, 119, 124, 125, 127, 128, 133, 161, 164; VII. §§ 1, 14, 34, 76, 82, 84, 88, 94, 95, 97, 100, 101, 103, 104, 106, 107. As to the estimate of the Epistles of Barnabas and Clement of Rome as well as of the Shepherd, in Clement, see the Prolegg. to my edition of the Opp. Patr. Apost.

Footnote 113: (return)

According to Strom. V. 14. 138 even the Epicurean Metrodorus uttered certain words ενθεως; but on the other hand Homer was a prophet against his will. See Pæd. I. 6. 36, also § 51.

Footnote 114: (return)

In the Pæd. the Gospels are regularly called 'η γραφη but this is seldom the case with the Epistles. The word "Apostle" is used in quoting these.

Footnote 115: (return)

It is also very interesting to note that Clement almost nowhere illustrates the parabolic character of the Holy Scriptures by quoting the Epistles, but in this connection employs the Old Testament and the Gospels, just as he almost never allegorises passages from other writings. 1 Cor. III. 2 is once quoted thus in Pæd. I. 6. 49: το εν τω αποστολω 'αγιον πνευμα τη του κυριου αποχρωμενον φωνη λεγει. We can hardly conclude from Pæd. I. 7. 61 that Clement called Paul a "prophet."

Footnote 116: (return)

It is worthy of special note that Clem., Pæd. II. 10.3; Strom. II. 15. 67 has criticised an interpretation given by the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, although he calls Barnabas an Apostle.

Footnote 117: (return)

In this category we may also include the Acts of the Apostles, which is perhaps used like the κηρυγμα. It is quoted in Pæd. II. 16. 56; Strom. I. 50, 89, 91, 92, 153, 154; III. 49; IV. 97; V. 75, 82; VI. 63, 101, 124, 165.

Footnote 118: (return)

The "seventy disciples" were also regarded as Apostles, and the authors of writings the names of which did not otherwise offer a guarantee of authority were likewise included in this category. That is to say, writings which were regarded as valuable and which for some reason or other could not be characterised as apostolic in the narrower sense were attributed to authors whom there was no reason for denying to be Apostles in the wider sense. This wider use of the concept "apostolic" is moreover no innovation. See my edition of the Didache, pp. 111-118.

Footnote 119: (return)

The formation of the canon in Alexandria must have had some connection with the same process in Asia Minor and in Rome. This is shown not only by each Church recognising four Gospels, but still more by the admission of thirteen Pauline Epistles. We would see our way more clearly here, if anything certain could be ascertained from the works of Clement, including the Hypotyposes, as to the arrangement of the Holy Scriptures; but the attempt to fix this arrangement is necessarily a dubious one, because Clement's "canon of the New Testament" was not yet finally fixed. It may be compared to a half-finished statue whose bust is already completely chiselled, while the under parts are still embedded in the stone.

Footnote 120: (return)

No greater creative act can be mentioned in the whole history of the Church than the formation of the apostolic collection and the assigning to it of a position of equal rank with the Old Testament.

Footnote 121: (return)

The history of early Christian writings in the Church which were not definitely admitted into the New Testament is instructive on this point. The fate of some of these may be described as tragical. Even when they were not branded as downright forgeries, the writings of the Fathers from the fourth century downwards were far preferred to them.

Footnote 122: (return)

See on this point Overbeck "Abhandlung über die Anfange der patristischen Litteratur," l.c., p. 469. Nevertheless, even after the creation of the New Testament canon, theological authorship was an undertaking which was at first regarded as highly dangerous. See the Antimontanist in Euseb., H. E. V. 16. 3: δεδιως και εξευλαβουμενος, μη πη δοξω πριν επισυγγραφειν η επιδιατασσεσθαι τω της του ευαγγελιου καινης διαθηκης λογω. We find similar remarks in other old Catholic Fathers (see Clemen. Alex.).

Footnote 123: (return)

But how diverse were the expositions; compare the exegesis of Origen and Tertullian, Scorp. II.

Footnote 124: (return)

On the extent to which the Old Testament had become subordinated to the New and the Prophets to the Apostles, since the end of the second century, see the following passage from Novatian, de trinit. 29: "Unus ergo et idem spiritus qui in prophetis et apostolis, nisi quoniam ibi ad momentum, hic semper. Ceterum ibi non ut semper in illis inesset, hic ut in illis semper maneret, et ibi mediocriter distributus, hic totus effusus, ibi parce datus, hic large commodatus."

Footnote 125: (return)

That may be shown in all the old Catholic Fathers, but most plainly perhaps in the theology of Origen. Moreover, the subordination of the Old Testament revelation to the Christian one is not simply a result of the creation of the New Testament, but may be explained by other causes; see chap. 5. If the New Testament had not been formed, the Church would perhaps have obtained a Christian Old Testament with numerous interpolations—tendencies in this direction were not wanting: see vol. I, p. 114 f.—and increased in extent by the admission of apocalypses. The creation of the New Testament preserved the purity of the Old, for it removed the need of doing violence to the latter in the interests of Christianity.

Footnote 126: (return)

The Catholic Church had from the beginning a very clear consciousness of the dangerousness of many New Testament writings, in fact she made a virtue of necessity in so far as she set up a theory to prove the unavoidableness of this danger. See Tertullian, de præscr. passim, and de resurr. 63.

Footnote 127: (return)

To a certain extent the New Testament disturbs and prevents the tendency to summarise the faith and reduce it to its most essential content. For it not only puts itself in the place of the unity of a system, but frequently also in the place of a harmonious and complete creed. Hence the rule of faith is necessary as a guiding principle, and even an imperfect one is better than a mere haphazard reliance upon the Bible.

Footnote 128: (return)

We must not, however, ascribe that to conscious mistrust, for Irenæus and Tertullian bear very decided testimony against such an idea, but to the acknowledgment that it was impossible to make any effective use of the New Testament Scriptures in arguments with educated non-Christians and heretics. For these writings could carry no weight with the former, and the latter either did not recognise them or else interpreted them by different rules. Even the offer of several of the Fathers to refute the Marcionites from their own canon must by no means be attributed to an uncertainty on their part with regard to the authority of the ecclesiastical canon of Scripture. We need merely add that the extraordinary difficulty originally felt by Christians in conceiving the Pauline Epistles, for instance, to be analogous and equal in value to Genesis or the prophets occasionally appears in the terminology even in the third century, in so far as the term "divine writings" continues to be more frequently applied to the Old Testament than to certain parts of the New.

Footnote 129: (return)

Tertullian, in de corona 3, makes his Catholic opponent say: "Etiam in traditionis obtentu exigenda est auctoritas scripta."

Footnote 130: (return)

Hatch, Organisation of the early Christian Church, 1883. Harnack, Die Lehre der zwölf Apostel, 1884. Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. I. 1892.

Footnote 131: (return)

Marcion was the only one who did not claim to prove his Christianity from traditions inasmuch as he rather put it in opposition to tradition. This disclaimer of Marcion is in keeping with his renunciation of apologetic proof, whilst, conversely, in the Church the apologetic proof, and the proof from tradition adduced against the heretics, were closely related. In the one case the truth of Christianity was proved by showing that it is the oldest religion, and in the other the truth of ecclesiastical Christianity was established from the thesis that it is the oldest Christianity, viz., that of the Apostles.

Footnote 132: (return)

See Tertullian, de præscr. 20, 21, 32.

Footnote 133: (return)

This theory is maintained by Irenæus and Tertullian, and is as old as the association of the 'αγια εκκλησια and the πνευμα 'αγιον. Just for that reason the distinction they make between Churches founded by the Apostles and those of later origin is of chief value to themselves in their arguments against heretics. This distinction, it may be remarked, is clearly expressed in Tertullian alone. Here, for example, it is of importance that the Church of Carthage derives its "authority" from that of Rome (de præscr. 36).

Footnote 134: (return)

Tertull., de præscr. 32 (see p. 19). Iren., III. 2. 2: "Cum autem ad eam iterum traditionem, quæ est ab apostolis, quæ per successiones presbyterorum in ecclesiis custoditur, provocamus eos, etc." III. 3. 1: "Traditionem itaque apostolorum in toto mundo manifestatam in omni ecclesia adest perspicere omnibus qui vera velint videre, et habemus annumerare eos, qui ab apostolis instituti sunt episcopi in ecclesiis et successiones eorum usque ad nos ... valde enim perfectos in omnibus eos volebant esse, quos et successores relinquebant, suum ipsorum locum magisterii tradentes ... traditio Romanæ ecclesiæ, quam habet ab apostolis, et annuntiata hominibus fides per successiones episcoporum perveniens usque ad nos." III. 3. 4, 4. 1: "Si de aliqua modica qusestione disceptatio esset, nonne oporteret in antiquissimas recurrere ecclesias, in quibus apostoli conversati sunt ... quid autem si neque apostoli quidem scripturas reliquissent nobis, nonne oportebat ordinem sequi traditionis, quam tradiderunt iis, quibus committebant ecclesias?" IV. 33. 8: "Character corporis Christi secundum successiones episcoporum, quibus apostoli eam quæ in unoquoque loco est ecclesiam tradiderunt, quæ pervenit usque ad nos, etc." V. 20.1: "Omnes enim ii valde posteriores sunt quam episcopi, quibus apostoli tradiderunt ecclesias." IV. 26. 2: "Quapropter eis, qui in ecclesia sunt, presbyteris obaudire oportet, his qui successionem habent ab apostolis; qui cum episcopatus successione charisma veritatis certum secundum placitum patris acceperunt." IV. 26. 5: "Ubi igitur charismata domini posita sunt, ibi discere oportet veritatem, apud quos est ea quæ est ab apostolis ecclesiæ successio." The declaration in Luke X. 16 was already applied by Irenæus (III. præf.) to the successors of the Apostles.

Footnote 135: (return)

For details on this point see my edition of the Didache, Proleg., p. 140. As the regula fidei has its preparatory stages in the baptismal confession, and the New Testament in the collection of writings read in the Churches, so the theory that the bishops receive and guarantee the apostolic heritage of truth has its preparatory stage in the old idea that God has bestowed on the Church Apostles, prophets, and teachers, who always communicate his word in its full purity. The functions of these persons devolved by historical development upon the bishop; but at the same time it became more and more a settled conviction that no one in this latter period could be compared with the Apostles. The only true Christianity, however, was that which was apostolic and which could prove itself to be so. The natural result of the problem which thus arose was the theory of an objective transference of the charisma veritatis from the Apostles to the bishops. This notion preserved the unique personal importance of the Apostles, guaranteed the apostolicity, that is, the truth of the Church's faith, and formed a dogmatic justification for the authority already attained by the bishops. The old idea that God bestows his Spirit on the Church, which is therefore the holy Church, was ever more and more transformed into the new notion that the bishops receive this Spirit, and that it appears in their official authority. The theory of a succession of prophets, which can be proved to have existed in Asia Minor, never got beyond a rudimentary form and speedily disappeared.

Footnote 136: (return)

This theory must have been current in the Roman Church before the time when Irenæus wrote; for the list of Roman bishops, which we find in Irenæus and which he obtained from Rome, must itself be considered as a result of that dogmatic theory. The first half of the list must have been concocted, as there were no monarchical bishops in the strict sense in the first century (see my treatise: "Die ältesten christlichen Datirungen und die Anfänge einer bischoflichen Chronographie in Rom." in the report of the proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science, 1892, p. 617 ff). We do not know whether such lists were drawn up so early in the other churches of apostolic origin (Jerusalem?). Not till the beginning of the 3rd century have we proofs of that being done, whereas the Roman community, as early as Soter's time, had a list of bishops giving the duration of each episcopate. Nor is there any evidence before the 3rd century of an attempt to invent such a list for Churches possessing no claim to have been founded by Apostles.

Footnote 137: (return)

We do not yet find this assertion in Tertullian's treatise "de præscr."

Footnote 138: (return)

Special importance attaches to Tertullian's treatise "de pudicitia," which has not been sufficiently utilised to explain the development of the episcopate and the pretensions at that time set up by the Roman bishop. It shows clearly that Calixtus claimed for himself as bishop the powers and rights of the Apostles in their full extent, and that Tertullian did not deny that the "doctrina apostolorum" was inherent in his office, but merely questioned the "potestas apostolorum." It is very significant that Tertullian (c. 21) sneeringly addressed him as "apostolice" and reminded him that "ecclesia spiritus, non ecclesia numerus episcoporum." What rights Calixtus had already claimed as belonging to the apostolic office may be ascertained from Hippol. Philos. IX. 11. 12. But the introduction to the Philosophoumena proves that Hippolytus himself was at one with his opponent in supposing that the bishops, as successors of the Apostles, had received the attributes of the latter: Τας 'αιρεσεις 'ετερος ουκ ελεγξει, η το εν εκκλησια παραδοθεν 'αγιον πνευμα, ου τυχοντες προτεροι 'οι αποστολοι μετεδοσαν τοις ορθως πεπιστευκοσιν 'ων 'ημεις διαδοχοι τυγχανοντες της τε αυτης χαριτος μετεχοντες αρχιερατειας τε και διδασκαλιας και φρουροι της εκκλησιας λελογισμενοι ουκ οφθαλμω νυσταζομεν, ουδε λογον ορθον σιωπωμεν, κ.τ.λ. In these words we have an immense advance beyond the conception of Irenæus. This advance, of course, was first made in practice, and the corresponding theory followed. How greatly the prestige and power of the bishops had increased in the first 3rd part of the 3rd century may be seen by comparing the edict of Maximinus Thrax with the earlier ones (Euseb., H. E. VI. 28; see also the genuine Martyr. Jacobi, Mariani, etc., in Numidia c. 10 [Ruinart, Acta mart. p. 272 edit. Ratisb.]): "Nam ita inter se nostræ religionis gradus artifex sævitia diviserat, ut laicos clericis separatos tentationibus sæculi et terroribus suis putaret esse cessuros" (that is, the heathen authorities also knew that the clergy formed the bond of union in the Churches). But the theory that the bishops were successors of the Apostles, that is, possessed the apostolic office, must be considered a Western one which was very slowly and gradually adopted in the East. Even in the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions, composed about the end of the 3rd century, which represents the bishop as mediator, king, and teacher of the community, the episcopal office is not yet regarded as the apostolic one. It is rather presbyters, as in Ignatius, who are classed with the Apostles. It is very important to note that the whole theory of the significance of the bishop in determining the truth of ecclesiastical Christianity is completely unknown to Clement of Alexandria. As we have not the slightest evidence that his conception of the Church was of a hierarchical and anti-heretical type, so he very rarely mentions the ecclesiastical officials in his works and rarest of all the bishops. These do not at all belong to his conception of the Church, or at least only in so far as they resemble the English orders (cf. Pæd. III. 12. 97, presbyters, bishops, deacons, widows; Strom. VII. 1. 3; III. 12. 90, presbyters, deacons, laity; VI. 13. 106, presbyters, deacons: VI. 13. 107, bishops, presbyters, deacons: Quis dives 42, bishops and presbyters). On the other hand, according to Clement, the true Gnostic has an office like that of the Apostles. See Strom. VI. 13. 106, 107: εξεστιν ουν και νυν ταις κυριακαις ενασκησαντας εντολαις κατα το ευαγγελιον τελειως βιωσαντας και γνωστικως εις την εκλογην των αποστολων εγγραφηναι 'ουτος πρεσβυτερος εστι τω οντι της εκκλησιας και διακονος αληθης της του θεου βουλησεως. Here we see plainly that the servants of the earthly Church, as such, have nothing to do with the true Church and the heavenly hierarchy. Strom VII. 9, 52 says: the true Gnostic is the mediator with God. In Strom. VI. 14. 108; VII. 12. 77 we find the words: 'ο γνωστικος 'ουτος συνελοντι ειπειν την αποστολικην απουσιαν ανταναπληροι, κ.τ.λ. Clement could not have expressed himself in this way if the office of bishop had at that time been as much esteemed in the Alexandrian Church, of which he was a presbyter, as it was at Rome and in other Churches of the West (see Bigg l.c. 101). According to Clement the Gnostic as a teacher has the same significance as is possessed by the bishop in the West; and according to him we may speak of a natural succession of teachers. Origen in the main still held the same view as his predecessor. But numerous passages in his works and above all his own history shew that in his day the episcopate had become stronger in Alexandria also, and had begun to claim the same attributes and rights as in the West (see besides de princip. præf. 2: "servetur ecclesiastica prædicatio per successionis ordinem ab apostolis tradita et usque ad præsens in ecclesiis permanens: illa sola credenda est veritas, quæ in nullo ab ecclesiastica et apostolica discordat traditione"—so in Rufinus, and in IV. 2. 2: του κανονος της Ιησου Χριστου κατα διαδοχην τ. αποστολων ουρανιου εκκλησιας). The state of things here is therefore exactly the same as in the case of the apostolic regula fidei and the apostolic canon of scripture. Clement still represents an earlier stage, whereas by Origen's time the revolution has been completed. Wherever this was so, the theory that the monarchical episcopate was based on apostolic institution was the natural result. This idea led to the assumption—which, however, was not an immediate consequence in all cases—that the apostolic office, and therefore the authority of Jesus Christ himself, was continued in the episcopate: "Manifesta est sententia Iesu Christi apostolos suos mittentis et ipsis solis potestatem a patre sibi datam permittentis, quibus nos successimus eadem potestatex ecclesiam domini gubernantes et credentium fidem baptizantes" (Hartel, Opp. Cypr. I. 459).

Footnote 139: (return)

See Rothe, Die Anfänge der christlichen Kirche und ihrer Verfassung, 1837. Köstlin, Die Katholische Auffassung von der Kirche in ihrer ersten Ausbildung in the Deutsche Zeitschrift für christliche Wissenschaft und christliches Leben, 1855. Ritschl, Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche, 2nd ed., 1857. Ziegler, Des Irenäus Lehre von der Autorität der Schrift, der Tradition und der Kirche, 1868. Hackenschmidt, Die Anfänge des katholischen Kirchenbegriffs, 1874. Hatch-Harnack, Die Gesellschaftsverfassung der christlichen Kirche im Alterthum, 1883. Seeberg, Zur Geschichte des Begriffs der Kirche, Dorpat, 1884. Söder, Der Begriff der Katholicität der Kirche und des Glaubens, 1881. O. Ritschl, Cyprian von Karthago und die Verfassung der Kirche, 1885. (This contains the special literature treating of Cyprian's conception of the Church). Sohm, l.c.

Footnote 140: (return)

See Hatch, l.c. pp. 191, 253.

Footnote 141: (return)

See vol. I. p. 150 f. Special note should be given to the teachings in the Shepherd, in the 2nd Epistle of Clement and in the Διδαχη.

Footnote 142: (return)

This notion lies at the basis of the exhortations of Ignatius. He knows nothing of an empirical union of the different communities into one Church guaranteed by any law or office. The bishop is of importance only for the individual community, and has nothing to do with the essence of the Church; nor does Ignatius view the separate communities as united in any other way than by faith, charity, and hope. Christ, the invisible Bishop, and the Church are inseparably connected (ad Ephes. V. 1; as well as 2nd Clem. XIV.), and that is ultimately the same idea, as is expressed in the associating of πνευμα and εκκλησια. But every individual community is an image of the heavenly Church, or at least ought to be.

Footnote 143: (return)

The expression "Catholic Church" appears first in Ignatius (ad Smyrn. VIII. 2): 'οπου αν φανηι 'ο επισκοπος, εκει το πληθος εστο; 'ωσπερ 'οπου αν η Χριστος Ιησους, εκει 'η καθολικη εκκλησια. But in this passage these words do not yet express a new conception of the Church, which represents her as an empirical commonwealth. Only the individual earthly communities exist empirically, and the universal, i.e., the whole Church, occupies the same position towards these as the bishops of the individual communities do towards the Lord. The epithet "καθολικος" does not of itself imply any secularisation of the idea of the Church.

Footnote 144: (return)

The expression "invisible Church" is liable to be misunderstood here, because it is apt to impress us as a mere idea, which is certainly not the meaning attached to it in the earliest period.

Footnote 145: (return)

It was thus regarded by Hegesippus in whom the expression "'η 'ενωσις της εκκλησιας" is first found. In his view the εκκλησια is founded on the ορθος λογος transmitted by the Apostles. The innovation does not consist in the emphasis laid upon faith, for the unity of faith was always supposed to be guaranteed by the possession of the one Spirit and the same hope, but in the setting up of a formulated creed, which resulted in a loosening of the connection between faith and conduct. The transition to the new conception of the Church was therefore a gradual one. The way is very plainly prepared for it in 1 Tim. III. 15: οικος θεου εκκλησια, στυλος και 'εδραιωμα της αληθειας.

Footnote 146: (return)

The oldest predicate which was given to the Church and which was always associated with it, was that of holiness. See the New Testament; Barn. XIV. 6; Hermas, Vis. I. 3, 4; I. 6; the Roman symbol; Dial. 119; Ignat. ad Trail, inscr.; Theophil. ad Autol., II. 14 (here we have even the plural, "holy churches"); Apollon. in Euseb, H. E. V. 18. 5; Tertull., adv. Marc. IV. 13; V. 4; de pudicit. 1; Mart. Polyc inscr.; Alexander Hieros. in Euseb., H. E. VI. 11. 5; Clemens Alex.; Cornelius in Euseb., VI. 43. 6; Cyprian. But the holiness (purity) of the Church was already referred by Hegesippus (Euseb., H. E. IV. 22. 4) to its pure doctrine: εκαλουν την εκκλησιαν παρθενον; ουπω γαρ εφθαρτο ακοαις ματαιαις. The unity of the Church according to Hegesippus is specially emphasised in the Muratorian Fragment (line 55): see also Hermas; Justin; Irenæus; Tertullian, de præscr. 20; Clem. Alex., Strom. VII. 17. 107. Even before Irenæus and Tertullian the universality of the Church was emphasised for apologetic purposes. In so far as universality is a proof of truth, "universal" is equivalent to "orthodox." This signification is specially clear in expressions like: 'η εν Σμυρνη καθολικη εκκλησια (Mart. Polyc. XVI. 2). From Irenæus, III. 15, 2, we must conclude that the Valentinians called their ecclesiastical opponents "Catholics." The word itself is not yet found in Irenæus, but the idea is there (see I. 10. 2; II. 9. 1, etc., Serapion in Euseb., H.E. V. 19: πασα 'η εν κοσμω αδελφοτης). Καθολικος is found as a designation of the orthodox, visible Church in Mart. Polyc. inscr.: 'αι κατα παντα τοπον της 'αγιας καθολικης εκκλησιας παροικιαι; 19. 2; 16. 2 (in all these passages, however, it is probably an interpolation, as I have shown in the "Expositor" for Dec. 1885, p. 410 f); in the Muratorian Fragment 61, 66, 69; in the anonymous writer in Euseb., H. E. V. 16. 9. in Tertull. frequently, e.g., de præscr. 26, 30; adv. Marc. III. 22: IV. 4; in Clem. Alex., Strom. VII. 17. 106, 107; in Hippol. Philos. IX. 12; in Mart. Pionii 2, 9, 13, 19; in Cornelius in Cypr., epp. 49. 2; and in Cyprian. The expression "catholica traditio" occurs in Tertull., de monog. 2, "fides catholica" in Cyprian ep. 25, "κανων καθολικος" in the Mart. Polyc. rec. Mosq. fin. and Cypr. ep. 70. 1, "catholica fides et religio" in the Mart. Pionii 18. In the earlier Christian literature the word καθολικος occurs in various connections in the following passages: in fragments of the Peratae (Philos. V. 16), and in Herakleon, e.g. in Clement, Strom. IV. 9. 71; in Justin, Dial., 81, 102; Athenag., 27; Theophil. I. 13; Pseudojustin, de monarch. 1, (καθολ. δοξα); Iren., III. 11, 8; Apollon. in Euseb., H. E. IV. 18 5, Tertull., de fuga 3; adv. Marc. II. 17; IV. 9; Clement, Strom, IV. 15. 97; VI. 6. 47; 7. 57; 8. 67. The addition "catholicam" found its way into the symbols of the West only at a comparatively late period. The earlier expressions for the whole of Christendom are πασαι 'αι εκκλησιαι, εκκλησιαι κατα πασαν πολιν, εκκλησιαι εν κοσμω, 'αι 'υφ' ουρανου, etc.

Footnote 147: (return)

Very significant is Tertullian's expression in adv. Val. 4: "Valentinus de ecclesia authenticæ regulæ abrupit," (but probably this still refers specially to the Roman Church).

Footnote 148: (return)

Tertullian called the Church mother (in Gal. IV. 26 the heavenly Jerusalem is called "mother"); see de oral. 2: "ne mater quidem ecclesia pixeterhur," de monog. 7; adv. Marc. V. 4 (the author of the letter in Euseb., H. E. V. 2. 7, 1. 45, had already done this before him). In the African Church the symbol was thus worded soon after Tertullian's time: "credis in remissionem peccatorum et vitam æsternam per sanctam ecclesiam" (see Hahn, Bibliothek der Symbole, 2nd ed. p. 29 ff.) On the other hand Clement of Alexandria (Strom. VI. 16. 146) rejected the designation of the Church, as "mother": μητηρ δε ουχ, 'ως τινες εκδεδωκασιν, 'η εκκλησια, αλλ' 'η θεια γνωσις και 'η σοφια (there is a different idea in Pæd. I. 5. 21. and 6. 42: μητηρ παρθενος; εκκλησιαν εμοι φιλον αυτην καλειν). In the Acta Justini c. 4 the faith is named "mother."

Footnote 149: (return)

Hippol. Philos. IX. 12 p. 460.

Footnote 150: (return)

The phraseology of Irenæus is very instructive here. As a rule he still speaks of Churches (in the plural) when he means the empirical Church. It is already otherwise with Tertullian, though even with him the old custom still lingers.

Footnote 151: (return)

The most important passages bearing on this are II. 31. 3: III. 24. 1 (see the whole section, but especially: "in ecclesia posuit deus universam operationem spiritus; cuius non sunt participes omnes qui non concurrunt ad ecclesiam ... ubi enim ecclesia, ibi et spiritus dei, et ubi spiritus dei, illic ecclesia et omnis gratia"); III.11. 8: στυλος και στηριγμα εκκλησιας το ευαγγελιον και πνευμα ζωης: IV. 8. 1: "semen Abrahæ ecclesia", IV. 8. 3: "omnes iusti sacerdotalem habent ordinem;" IV. 36. 2: "ubique præclara est ecclesia; ubique enim sunt qui suscipiunt spiritum;" IV. 33. 7: εκκλησια μεγα και ενδοξον σωμα του Χριστου; IV. 26. 1 sq.: V. 20. 1.: V. 32.: V. 34. 3., "Levitae et sacerdotes sunt discipuli omnes domini."

Footnote 152: (return)

Hence the repudiation of all those who separate themselves from the Catholic Church (III. 11. 9; 24. 1: IV. 26. 2; 33. 7).

Footnote 153: (return)

On IV. 33. 7 see Seeberg, l.c., p. 20, who has correctly punctuated the passage, but has weakened its force. The fact that Irenæus was here able to cite the "antiquus ecclesiæ status in universo mundo et character corporis Christi secundum successiones episcoporum," etc., as a second and independent item alongside of the apostolic doctrine is, however, a proof that the transition from the idea of the Church, as a community united by a common faith, to that of a hierarchical institution was already revealing itself in his writings.

Footnote 154: (return)

The Church as a communion of the same faith, that is of the same doctrine, is spoken of in de præscr. 20; de virg. vol. 2. On the other hand we find the ideal spiritual conception in de bapt. 6: "ubi tres, id est pater et filius et spiritus sanctus, ibi ecclesia, quæ trium corpus est;" 8: "columba s. spiritus advolat, pacem dei adferens, emissa de cœlis, ubi ecclesia est arca figurata;" 15: "unus deus et unum baptismum et una ecclesia in cœlis;" de pænit. 10: "in uno et altero ecclesia est, ecclesia vero Christus;" de orat. 28: "nos sumus veri adoratores et veri sacerdotes, qui spiritu orantes spiritu sacrificamus;" Apolog. 39; de exhort. 7: "differentiam inter ordinem et plebem constituit ecclesiæ auctoritas et honor per ordinis consessum sanctificatus. Adeo ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non est consessus, et offers et tinguis et sacerdos es tibi solus. Sed ubi tres, ecclesia est, licet laici" (the same idea, only not so definitely expressed, is already found in de bapt. 17); de monog. 7: "nos autem Iesus summus sacerdos sacerdotes deo patri suo fecit ... vivit unicus pater noster deus et mater ecclesia, ... certe sacerdotes sumus a Christo vocati;" 12; de pudic. 21: "nam et ipsa ecclesia proprie et principaliter ipse est spiritus, in quo est trinitas unius divinitatis, pater et filius et spiritus sanctus. Illam ecclesiam congregat quam dominus in tribus posuit. Atque ita exinde etiam numerus omnis qui in hanc fidem conspiraverint ecclesia ab auctore et consecratore censetur. Et ideo ecclesia quidem delicta donabit, sed ecclesia spiritus per spiritalem hominem, non ecclesia numerus episcoporum;" de anima 11, 21. Contradictions in detail need not surprise us in Tertullian, since his whole position as a Catholic and as a Montanist is contradictory.

Footnote 155: (return)

The notion that the true Gnostic can attain the same position as the Apostles also preserved Clement from thrusting the ideal conception of the Church into the background.

Footnote 156: (return)

Some very significant remarks are found in Clement about the Church which is the object of faith. See Pæd. I. 5. 18, 21; 6. 27: 'ως γαρ θελημα του Θεου εργον εστι και τουτο κοσμος ονομαζεται, 'ουτω και το βουλημα αυτου ανθρωπων εστι σωτηρια, και τουτο εκκλησια κεκληται—here an idea which Hermas had in his mind (see Vol. I., p. 180. note 4) is pregnantly and excellently expressed. Strom. II. 12. 55; IV. 8. 66: εικων της ουρανιου εκκλησιας 'η επιγειος, διοπερ ευχομεθα και επι γης γενεσθαι το θελημα του Θεου 'ως εν ουρανω; IV. 26. 172: 'η εκκλησια 'υπο λογου απολιορκητος ατυραννητος πολις επι γης, θελημα θειον επι γης, 'ως εν ουρανω; VI. 13. 106, 107; VI. 14. 108: 'η ανωτατω εκκλησια, καθ' 'ην 'οι φιλοσοφοι συναγονται του Θεου; VII. 5. 29: πως ου κυριος την εις τιμην του Θεου κατ' επιγνωσιν 'αγιαν γενομενην εκκλησιαν 'ιερον αν ειποιμεν Θεου το πολλου αξιον ... ου γαρ νυν τον τοπον, αλλα το αθροισμα των εκλεκτων εκκλησιαν καλω; VII. 6. 32; VII. 11. 68: 'η πνευματικη εκκλησια. The empirical conception of the Church is most clearly formulated in VII. 17. 107; we may draw special attention to the following sentences: φανερον οιμαι γεγενησθαι μιαν ειναι την αληθη εκκλησιαν την τωι οντι αρχαιαν, εις 'ην 'οι κατα προθεσιν δικαιοι εγκαταλεγονται, 'ενος γαρ οντος του Θεου και 'ενος του κυριου ... τη γουν του 'ενος φυσει συνκληρουνται εκκλησια 'η μια, 'ην εις πολλας κατατεμνειν βιαζονται 'αιρεσεις.

Footnote 157: (return)

It may, however, be noted that the old eschatological aim has fallen into the background in Clement's conception of the Church.

Footnote 158: (return)

A significance of this kind is suggested by the notion that the orders in the earthly Church correspond to those in the heavenly one; but this idea, which afterwards became so important in the East, was turned to no further account by Clement. In his view the "Gnostics" are the highest stage in the Church. See Bigg, l.c., p. 100.

Footnote 159: (return)

De princip. IV. 2, 2: 'η ουρανιος εκκλησια; Hom. IX. in Exod. c. 3: "ecclesia credentium plebs;" Hom. XI. in Lev. c. 5; Hom. VI. in Lev. c. 5; ibid. Hom. IX.: "omni ecclesiæ dei et credentium populo sacerdotium datum.": T. XIV. in Mt. c. 17: c. Cels. VI. 48: VI. 79; Hom. VII. in Lk.; and de orat. 31 a twofold Church is distinguished ('ωστε ειναι επι των 'αγιων συναθροιζομενων διπλην εκκλησιαν την μεν ανθρωπων, την δε αγγελων). Nevertheless Origen does not assume two Churches, but, like Clement, holds that there is only one, part of which is already in a state of perfection and part still on earth. But it is worthy of note that the ideas of the heavenly hierarchy are already more developed in Origen (de princip. I. 7). He adopted the old speculation about the origin of the Church (see Papias, fragm. 6; 2 Clem. XIV.). Socrates (H. E. III. 7) reports that Origen, in the 9th vol. of his commentary on Genesis, compared Christ with Adam and Eve with the Church, and remarks that Pamphilus' apology for Origen stated that this allegory was not new: ου πρωτον Ωριγενην επι ταυτην την πραγματειαν ελθειν φασιν, αλλα την της εκκλησιας μυστικην 'ερμηνευσαι παραδοσιν. A great many more of these speculations are to be found in the 3rd century. See, e.g., the Acts of Peter and Paul 29.

Footnote 160: (return)

De princip. IV. 2. 2; Hom. III. in Jesu N. 5: "nemo tibi persuadeat, nemo semetipsum decipiat: extra ecclesiam nemo salvatur." The reference is to the Catholic Church which Origen also calls το 'ολον σωμα των συναγωγων της εκκλησιας.

Footnote 161: (return)

Hermas (Sim. I.) has spoken of the "city of God" (see also pseudo-Cyprian's tractate "de pascha computus"); but for him it lies in Heaven and is the complete contrast of the world. The idea of Plato here referred to is to be found in his Republic.

Footnote 162: (return)

See c. Cels. VIII. 68-75.

Footnote 163: (return)

Comment. in Joh. VI. 38.

Footnote 164: (return)

Accordingly he often speaks in a depreciatory way of the οχλος της εκκλησιας (the ignorant) without accusing them of being unchristian (this is very frequent in the books c. Cels., but is also found elsewhere).

Footnote 165: (return)

Origen, who is Augustine's equal in other respects also, and who anticipated many of the problems considered by the latter, anticipated prophetically this Father's view of the City of God—of course as a hope (c. Cels. viii. 68 f). The Church is also viewed as το κατα Θεον πολιτευμα in Euseb., H. E. V. Præf. § 4, and at an earlier period in Clement.

Footnote 166: (return)

This was not done even by Origen, for in his great work "de principiis" we find no section devoted to the Church.

Footnote 167: (return)

It is frequently represented in Protestant writers that the mistake consisted in this identification, whereas, if we once admit this criticism, the defect is rather to be found in the development itself which took place in the Church, that is, in its secularisation. No one thought of the desperate idea of an invisible Church; this notion would probably have brought about a lapse from pure Christianity far more rapidly than the idea of the Holy Catholic Church.

Footnote 168: (return)

Both repeatedly and very decidedly declared that the unity of faith (the rule of faith) is sufficient for the unity of the Church, and that in other things there must be freedom (see above all Tertull., de orat., de bapt., and the Montanist writings). It is all the more worthy of note that, in the case of a question in which indeed the customs of the different countries were exceedingly productive of confusion, but which was certainly not a matter of faith, it was again a bishop of Rome, and that as far back as the 2nd century, who first made the observance of the Roman practice a condition of the unity of the Church and treated nonconformists as heterodox (Victor; see Euseb., H. E. V. 24). On the other hand Irenæus says: 'η διαφωνια της νηστειας την 'ομονοιαν της πιστεως συνιστησι.

Footnote 169: (return)

On Calixtus see Hippolyt., Philos. IX. I2; and Tertull., de pudic.

Footnote 170: (return)

See on the other hand Tertull., de monog., but also Hippol., l.c.

Footnote 171: (return)

Cyprian's idea of the Church, an imitation of the conception of a political empire, viz., one great aristocratically governed state with an ideal head, is the result of the conflicts through which he passed. It is therefore first found in a complete form in the treatise "de unitate ecclesiæ" and, above all, in his later epistles (Epp. 43 sq. ed. Hartel). The passages in which Cyprian defines the Church as "constituta in episcopo et in clero et in omnibus credentibus" date from an earlier period, when he himself essentially retained the old idea of the subject. Moreover, he never regarded those elements as similar and of equal value. The limitation of the Church to the community ruled by bishops was the result of the Novatian crisis. The unavoidable necessity of excluding orthodox Christians from the ecclesiastical communion, or, in other words, the fact that such orthodox Christians had separated themselves from the majority guided by the bishops, led to the setting up of a new theory of the Church, which therefore resulted from stress of circumstances just as much as the antignostic conception of the matter held by Irenæus. Cyprian's notion of the relation between the whole body of the Church and the episcopate may, however, be also understood as a generalisation of the old theory about the connection between the individual community and the bishop. This already contained an œcumenical element, for, in fact, every separate community was regarded as a copy of the one Church, and its bishop therefore as the representative of God (Christ).

Footnote 172: (return)

We need only quote one passage here—but see also epp. 69. 3, 7 sq.: 70. 2: 73. 8—ep. 55. 24: "Quod vero ad Novatiani personam pertinet, scias nos primo in loco nec curiosos esse debere quid ille doceat, cum foris doceat; quisquis ille est et qualiscunque est, christianus non est, qui in Christi ecclesia non est." In the famous sentence (ep. 74. 7; de unit. 6): "habere non potest deum patrem qui ecclesiam non habet matrem," we must understand the Church held together by the sacramentum unitatis, i.e., by her constitution. Cyprian is fond of referring to Korah's faction, who nevertheless held the same faith as Moses.

Footnote 173: (return)

Epp. 4. 4: 33. 1: "ecclesia super episcopos constituta;" 43. 5: 45. 3: "unitatem a domino et per apostolos nobis successoribus traditam;" 46. 1: 66. 8: "scire debes episcopum in ecclesia esse et ecclesiam in episcopo et si qui cum episcopo non sit in ecclesia non esse;" de unit. 4.

Footnote 174: (return)

According to Cyprian the bishops are the sacerdotes κατ' εκσοχην and the iudices vice Christi. See epp. 59. 5: 66. 3 as well as c. 4: "Christus dicit ad apostolos ac per hoc ad omnes præpositos, qui apostolis vicaria ordinatione succedunt: qui audit vos me audit." Ep. 3. 3: "dominus apostolos, i.e., episcopos elegit"; ep. 75. 16.

Footnote 175: (return)

That is a fundamental idea and in fact the outstanding feature of the treatise "de unitate." The heretics and schismatics lack love, whereas the unity of the Church is the product of love, this being the main Christian virtue. That is the ideal thought on which Cyprian builds his theory (see also epp. 45. 1: 55. 24: 69. 1 and elsewhere), and not quite wrongly, in so far as his purpose was to gather and preserve, and not scatter. The reader may also recall the early Christian notion that Christendom should be a band of brethren ruled by love. But this love ceases to have any application to the case of those who are disobedient to the authority of the bishop and to Christians of the sterner sort. The appeal which Catholicism makes to love, even at the present day, in order to justify its secularised and tyrannical Church, turns in the mouth of hierarchical politicians into hypocrisy, of which one would like to acquit a man of Cyprian's stamp.

Footnote 176: (return)

Ep. 43. 5: 55. 24: "episcopatus unus episcoporum multorum concordi numerositate diffusus;" de unit. 5: "episcopatus unus est, cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur." Strictly speaking Cyprian did not set up a theory that the bishops were directed by the Holy Spirit, but in identifying Apostles and bishops and asserting the divine appointment of the latter he took for granted their special endowment with the Holy Spirit. Moreover, he himself frequently appealed to special communications he had received from the Spirit as aids in discharging his official duties.

Footnote 177: (return)

Cyprian did not yet regard uniformity of Church practice as a matter of moment—or rather he knew that diversities must be tolerated. In so far as the concordia episcoporum was consistent with this diversity, he did not interfere with the differences, provided the regula fidei was adhered to. Every bishop who adheres to the confederation has the greatest freedom even in questions of Church discipline and practice (as for instance in the baptismal ceremonial); see ep. 59. 14: "Singulis pastoribus portio gregis est adscripta, quam regit unusquisque et gubernat rationem sui actus domino redditurus;" 55. 21: "Et quidem apud antecessores nostros quidam de episcopis istic in provincia nostra dandam pacis moechis non putaverunt et in totum pænitentiæ locum contra adulteria cluserunt, non tamen a co-episcoporum suorum collegio recesserunt aut catholicæ ecclesiæ unitatem ruperunt, ut quia apud alios adulteris pax dabatur, qui non dabat de ecclesia separaretur." According to ep. 57. 5 Catholic bishops, who insist on the strict practice of penance, but do not separate themselves from the unity of the Church, are left to the judgment of God. It is different in the case referred to in ep. 68, for Marcion had formally joined Novatian. Even in the disputed question of heretical baptism (ep. 72. 3) Cyprian declares to Stephen (See 69. 17: 73. 26; Sententiæ episc., præfat.): "qua in re nec nos vim cuiquam facimus aut legem damus, quando habeat in ecclesiæ administratione voluntatis suæ arbitrium liberum unusquisque præpositus, rationem actus sui domino redditurus." It is therefore plain wherein the unity of the episcopate and the Church actually consists; we may say that it is found in the regula, in the fixed purpose not to give up the unity in spite of all differences, and in the principle of regulating all the affairs of the Church "ad originem dominicam et ad evangelicam adque apostolicam traditionem" (ep. 74. 10). This refers to the New Testament, which Cyprian emphatically insisted on making the standard for the Church. It must be taken as the guide, "si in aliquo in ecclesia nutaverit et vacillaverit veritas;" by it, moreover, all false customs are to be corrected. In the controversy about heretical baptism, the alteration of Church practice in Carthage and Africa, which was the point in question—for whilst in Asia heretical baptism had for a very long time been declared invalid (see ep. 75. 19) this had only been the case in Carthage for a few years—was justified by Cyprian through an appeal to veritas in contrast to consuetudo sine veritate. See epp. 71. 2, 3: 73. 13, 23: 74. 2 sq.: 9 (the formula originates with Tertullian; see de virg. vel. 1-3). The veritas, however, is to be learned from the Gospel and words of the Apostles: "Lex evangelii," "præcepta dominica," and synonymous expressions are very frequent in Cyprian, more frequent than reference to the regula or to the symbol. In fact there was still no Church dogmatic, there being only principles of Christian faith and life, which, however, were taken from the Holy Scriptures and the regula.

Footnote 178: (return)

Cyprian no longer makes any distinction between Churches founded by Apostles, and those which arose later (that is, between their bishops).

Footnote 179: (return)

The statement that the Church is "super Petrum fundata" is very frequently made by Cyprian (we find it already in Tertullian, de monog.); see de habitu virg. 10; Epp. 59. 7: 66. 8: 71. 3: 74. 11: 73. 7. But on the strength of Matth. XVI. he went still farther; see ep. 43. 5: "deus unus est et Christus unus et una ecclesia et cathedra una super Petrum domini voce fundata;" ep. 48. 3 (ad Cornel.): "communicatio tua, id est catholicæ ecclesiæ unitas pariter et caritas;" de unit. 4: "superunum ædificat ecclesiam, et quamvis apostolis omnibus post resurrectionem suam parem potestatem tribuat, tamen ut unitatem manifestaret, unitatis eiusdem originem ab uno incipientem sua auctoritate disposuit;" ep. 70. 3: "una ecclesia a Christo domino nostro super Petrum origine unitatis et ratione fundata" ("with regard to the origin and constitution of the unity" is the translation of this last passage in the "Stimmen aus Maria Laach," 1877, part 8, p. 355; but "ratio" cannot mean that); ep. 73. 7; "Petro primum dominus, super quem ædificavit ecclesiam et unde unitatis originem instituit et ostendit, potestatem istam dedit." The most emphatic passages are ep. 48. 3, where the Roman Church is called "matrix et radix ecclesiæ catholicæ" (the expression "radix et mater" in ep. 45. I no doubt also refers to her), and ep. 59. 14: "navigare audent et ad Petri cathedram atque ad ecclesiam principalem, unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est, ab schismaticis et profanis litteras ferre nec cogitare eos esse Romanes, quorum fides apostolo prædicante laudata est (see epp. 30. 2, 3: 60. 2), ad quos perfidia habere non possit accessum." We can see most clearly from epp. 67. 5 and 68 what rights were in point of fact exercised by the bishop of Rome. But the same Cyprian says quite naively, even at the time when he exalted the Roman cathedra so highly (ep. 52. 2), "quoniam pro magnitudine sua debeat Carthaginem Roma præcedere." In the controversy about heretical baptism Stephen like Calixtus (Tertull., de pudic. 1) designated himself, on the ground of the successio Petri and by reference to Matth. XVI., in such a way that one might suppose he wished to be regarded as "episcopus episcoporum" (Sentent. episc. in Hartel I., p. 436). He expressly claimed a primacy and demanded obedience from the "ecclesiæ novellæ et posteræ" (ep. 71. 3). Like Victor he endeavoured to enforce the Roman practice "tyrannico terrore" and insisted that the unitas ecclesiæ required the observance of this Church's practice in all communities. But Cyprian opposed him in the most decided fashion, and maintained the principle that every bishop, as a member of the episcopal confederation based on the regula and the Holy Scriptures, is responsible for his practice to God alone. This he did in a way which left no room for any special and actual authority of the Roman see alongside of the others. Besides, he expressly rejected the conclusions drawn by Stephen from the admittedly historical position of the Roman see (ep. 71. 3): "Petrus non sibi vindicavit aliquid insolenter aut adroganter adsumpsit, ut diceret se principatum tenere et obtemperari a novellis et posteris sibi potius oportere." Firmilian, ep. 75, went much farther still, for he indirectly declares the successio Petri claimed by Stephen to be of no importance (c. 17), and flatly denies that the Roman Church has preserved the apostolic tradition in a specially faithful way. See Otto Ritschl, l.c., pp. 92 ff., 110-141. In his conflict with Stephen Cyprian unmistakably took up a position inconsistent with his former views as to the significance of the Roman see for the Church, though no doubt these were ideas he had expressed at a critical time when he stood shoulder to shoulder with the Roman bishop Cornelius.

Footnote 180: (return)

See specially epp. 65, 67, 68.

Footnote 181: (return)

Hatch l.c., p. 189 f.

Footnote 182: (return)

The gradual union of the provincial communities into one Church may be studied in a very interesting way in the ecclesiastical Fasti (records, martyrologies, calendars, etc.), though these studies are as yet only in an incipient stage. See De Rossi, Roma Sotter, the Bollandists in the 12th vol. for October; Stevenson, Studi in Italia (1879), pp. 439, 458; the works of Nilles; Egli, Altchristl. Studien 1887 (Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1887, no. 13): Duchesne, Les sources du Martyrol. Hieron. Rome 1885, but above all the latter's study: Mémoire sur l'origine des diocèses épiscopaux dans l'ancienne Gaule, 1890. The history of the unification of liturgies from the 4th century should also be studied.

Footnote 183: (return)

There were communities in the latter half of the 3rd century, which can be proved to have been outside the confederation, although in perfect harmony with it in point of belief (see the interesting case in Euseb., H. E. VII. 24. 6). Conversely, there were Churches in the confederation whose faith did not in all respects correspond with the Catholic regula as already expounded. But the fact that it was not the dogmatic system, but the practical constitution and principles of the Church, as based on a still elastic creed, which formed the ultimate determining factor, was undoubtedly a great gain; for a system of dogmatics developed beyond the limits of the Christian kerygma can only separate. Here, however, all differences of faith had of couise to be glossed over, for the demand of Apelles: μη δειν 'ολως εξεταζειν τον λογον, αλλ' εκαστον. 'ως πεπιστευκε, διαμενειν σωθησεσθαι γαρ τους επι τον 'εσταυρωμενον ηλπικοτας, κ.τ.λ., was naturally regarded as inadmissible.

Footnote 184: (return)

Hence we need not be surprised to find that the notion of heresy which arose in the Church was immediately coupled with an estimate of it, which for injustice and harshness could not possibly be surpassed in succeeding times. The best definition is in Tertull., de præscr. 6: "Nobis nihil ex nostro arbitrio indulgere licet, sed nec eligere quod aliquis de arbitrio suo induxerit. Apostolos domini habemus auctores, qui nec ipsi quicquam ex suo arbitrio quod inducerent elegerunt, sed acceptam a Christo disciplinam fideliter nationibus assignaverunt."

Footnote 185: (return)

See Vol. I., p. 224, note 1.

Footnote 186: (return)

We already find this idea in Tertullian; see de bapt. 15: "Hæretici nullum habent consortium nostra discipline, quos extraneos utique testatur ipsa ademptio communicationis. Non debeo in illis cognoscere, quod mihi est præceptum, quia non idem deus est nobis et illis, nec unus Christus, id est idem, ideoque nec baptismus unus, quia non idem; quem cum rite non habeant, sine dubio non habent, nec capit numerari, quod non habetur; ita nec possunt accipere quia non habent." Cyprian passed the same judgment on all schismatics, even on the Novatians, and like Tertullian maintained the invalidity of heretical baptism. This question agitated the Church as early as the end of the 2nd century, when Tertullian already wrote against it in Greek.

Footnote 187: (return)

As far as possible the Christian virtues of the heretics were described as hypocrisy and love of ostentation (see e.g., Rhodon in Euseb., H. E. V. 13. 2 and others in the second century). If this view was untenable, then all morality and heroism among heretics were simply declared to be of no value. See the anonymous writer in Eusebius, H. E. V. 16. 21, 22; Clem, Strom. VII. 16. 95; Orig., Comm. ad Rom. I. X., c. 5; Cypr., de unit. 14, 15; cp. 73. 21 etc.

Footnote 188: (return)

Tertull., de præscr. 3-6.

Footnote 189: (return)

Irenæus definitely distinguishes between heretics and schismatics (III. 11. 9: IV. 26. 2; 33. 7), but also blames the latter very severely, "qui gloriosum corpus Christi, quantum in ipsis est, interficiunt, non habentes dei dilectionem suamque utilitatem potius considerantes quam unitatem ecclesiæ." Note the parallel with Cyprian. Yet he does not class them with those "qui sunt extra veritatem," i.e., "extra ecclesiam," although he declares the severest penalties await them. Tertullian was completely preserved by his Montanism from identifying heretics and schismatics, though in the last years of his life he also appears to have denied the Christianity of the Catholics (?).

Footnote 190: (return)

Read, on the one hand, the Antimontanists in Eusebius and the later opponents of Montanism; and on the other, Tertull., adv. Prax.; Hippol., c. Noët; Novatian, de trinitate. Even in the case of the Novatians heresies were sought and found (see Dionys. Alex., in Euseb., H. E. VII. 8, where we find distortions and wicked misinterpretations of Novatian doctrines, and many later opponents). Nay, even Cyprian himself did not disdain to join in this proceeding (see epp. 69. 7: 70. 2). The Montanists at Rome were placed by Hippolylus in the catalogue of heretics (see the Syntagma and Philosoph.). Origen was uncertain whether to reckon them among schismatics or heretics (see in Tit. Opp. IV., p. 696).

Footnote 191: (return)

Cyprian plainly asserts (ep. 3. 3): "hæc sunt initia hæreticorum et ortus adque conatus schismaticorum, ut præpositum superbo tumore contemnant" (as to the early history of this conception, which undoubtedly has a basis of truth, see Clem., ep. ad Cor. 1. 44; Ignat.; Hegesippus in Euseb., H. E. IV. 22. 5; Tertull., adv. Valent. 4; de bapt. 17; Anonymus in Euseb; H. E. V. 16. 7; Hippolyt. ad. Epiphan. H. 42. 1; Anonymus in Eusebius, H. E. V. 28. 12; according to Cyprian it is quite the common one); see further ep. 59. 3: "neque enim aliunde hæreses obortæ sunt aut nata sunt schismata, quam quando sacerdoti dei non obtemperatur;" epp. 66. 5: 69. 1: "item b. apostolus Johannes nec ipse ullam hæresin aut schisma discrevit aut aliquos speciatim separes posuit"; 52. 1: 73. 2: 74. 11. Schism and heresy are always identical.

Footnote 192: (return)

Neither Optatus nor Augustine take Cyprian's theory as the starting-point of their disquisitions, but they adhere in principle to the distinction between heretic and schismatic. Cyprian was compelled by his special circumstances to identify them, but he united this identification with the greatest liberality of view as to the conditions of ecclesiastical unity (as regards individual bishops). Cyprian did not make a single new article an "articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiæ." In fact he ultimately declared—and this may have cost him struggle enough—that even the question of the validity of heretical baptism was not a question of faith.

[pg 94]



1. The legal and political forms by which the Church secured herself against the secular power and heresy, and still more the lower moral standard exacted from her members in consequence of the naturalisation of Christianity in the world, called forth a reaction soon after the middle of the second century. This movement, which first began in Asia Minor and then spread into other regions of Christendom, aimed at preserving or restoring the old feelings and conditions, and preventing Christendom from being secularised. This crisis (the so called Montanist struggle) and the kindred one which succeeded produced the following results: The Church merely regarded herself all the more strictly as a legal community basing the truth of its title on its historic and objective foundations, and gave a correspondingly new interpretation to the attribute of holiness she claimed. She expressly recognised two distinct classes in her midst, a spiritual and a secular, as well as a double standard of morality. Moreover, she renounced her character as the communion of those who were sure of salvation, and substituted the claim to be an educational institution and a necessary condition of redemption. After a keen struggle, in which the New Testament did excellent service to the bishops, the Church expelled the Cataphrygian fanatics and the adherents of the new prophecy (between 180 and 220); and in the same way, during the course of the third century, she caused the secession of all those Christians who made the truth of the Church depend on a stricter administration of moral discipline. Hence, apart from the heretic and Montanist sects, there existed in the Empire, after the middle of the second [pg 95] century, two great but numerically unequal Church confederations, both based on the same rule of faith and claiming the title "ecclesia catholica," viz., the confederation which Constantine afterwards chose for his support, and the Novatian Catharist one. In Rome, however, the beginning of the great disruption goes back to the time of Hippolytus and Calixtus; yet the schism of Novatian must not be considered as an immediate continuation of that of Hippolytus.

2. The so-called Montanist reaction193 was itself subjected to a similar change, in accordance with the advancing ecclesiastical development of Christendom. It was originally the violent undertaking of a Christian prophet, Montanus, who, supported by prophetesses, felt called upon to realise the promises held forth in the Fourth Gospel. He explained these by the Apocalypse, and declared that he himself was the Paraclete whom Christ had promised—that Paraclete in whom Jesus Christ himself, nay, even God the Father Almighty, comes to his own to guide them to all truth, to gather those that are dispersed, and to bring them into one flock. His main effort therefore was to make Christians give up the local and civil relations in which they lived, to collect them, and create a new undivided Christian commonwealth, which, separated from the world, should prepare itself for the descent of the Jerusalem from above.194

[pg 96]

The natural resistance offered to the new prophets with this extravagant message—especially by the leaders of communities, and the persecutions to which the Church was soon after subjected under Marcus Aurelius, led to an intensifying of the eschatological expectations that beyond doubt had been specially keen in Montanist circles from the beginning. For the New Jerusalem was soon to come down from heaven in visible form, and establish itself in the spot which, by direction of the Spirit, had been chosen for Christendom in Phrygia.195 Whatever amount of peculiarity the movement lost, in so far as the ideal of an assembly of all Christians proved incapable of being realised or at least only possible within narrow limits, was abundantly restored in the last decades of the second century by the strength and courage that the news of its spread in Christendom gave to the earnest minded to unite and offer resistance to the ever increasing tendency of the Church to assume a secular and political character. Many entire communities [pg 97] in Phrygia and Asia recognised the divine mission of the prophets. In the Churches of other provinces religious societies were formed in which the predictions of these prophets were circulated and viewed as a Gospel, though at the same time they lost their effect by being so treated. The confessors at Lyons openly expressed their full sympathy with the movement in Asia. The bishop of Rome was on the verge of acknowledging the Montanists to be in full communion with the Church. But among themselves there was no longer, as at the beginning, any question of a new organisation in the strict sense of the word, and of a radical remodelling of Christian society.196 Whenever Montanism comes before us in the clear light of history it rather appears as a religious movement already deadened, though still very powerful. Montanus and his prophetesses had set no limits to their enthusiasm; nor were there as yet any fixed barriers in Christendom that could have restrained them.197 The Spirit, the Son, nay, the Father himself had appeared in them and spoke through them.198 Imagination pictured [pg 98] Christ bodily in female form to the eyes of Prisca.199 The most extravagant promises were given.200 These prophets spoke in a loftier tone than any Apostle ever did, and they were even bold enough to overturn apostolic regulations.201 They set up new commandments for the Christian life, regardless of any tradition,202 and they inveighed against the main body of [pg 99] Christendom.203 They not only proclaimed themselves as prophets, but as the last prophets, as notable prophets in whom was first fulfilled the promise of the sending of the Paraclete.204 These Christians as yet knew nothing of the "absoluteness of [pg 100] a historically complete revelation of Christ as the fundamental condition of Christian consciousness;" they only felt a Spirit to which they yielded unconditionally and without reserve. But, after they had quitted the scene, their followers sought and found a kind of compromise. The Montanist congregations that sought for recognition in Rome, whose part was taken by the Gallic confessors, and whose principles gained a footing in North Africa, may have stood in the same relation to the original adherents of the new prophets and to these prophets themselves, as the Mennonite communities did to the primitive Anabaptists and their empire in Münster. The "Montanists" outside of Asia Minor acknowledged to the fullest extent the legal position of the great Church. They declared their adherence [pg 101] to the apostolic "regula" and the New Testament canon.205 The organisation of the Churches, and, above all, the position of the bishops as successors of the Apostles and guardians of doctrine were no longer disputed. The distinction between them and the main body of Christendom, from which they were unwilling to secede, was their belief in the new prophecy of Montanus, Prisca, and Maximilla, which was contained, in its final form, in written records and in this shape may have produced the same impression as is excited by the fragments of an exploded bomb.206

In this new prophecy they recognised a subsequent revelation of God, which for that very reason assumed the existence of a previous one. This after-revelation professed to decide the practical questions which, at the end of the second century, were burning topics throughout all Christendom, and for which no direct divine law could hitherto be adduced, in the form of a strict injunction. Herein lay the importance of the new prophecy for its adherents in the Empire, and for this reason they believed in it.207 The belief in the efficacy of the Paraclete, [pg 102] who, in order to establish a relatively stricter standard of conduct in Christendom during the latter days, had, a few decades before, for several years given his revelations in a remote corner of the Empire, was the dregs of the original enthusiasm, the real aspect of which had been known only to the fewest. But the diluted form in which this force remained was still a mighty power, because it was just in the generation between 190 and 220 that the secularising of the Church had made the greatest strides. Though the followers of the new prophecy merely insisted on abstinence from second marriage, on stricter regulations with regard to fasts, on a stronger manifestation of the Christian spirit in daily life, in morals and customs, and finally on the full resolve not to avoid suffering and martyrdom for Christ's name's sake, but to bear them willingly and joyfully,208 yet, under the given circumstances, these requirements, in spite of the express repudiation of everything "Encratite,"209 implied a demand that directly endangered the conquests already made by the Church and impeded the progress of the new propaganda.210 The people who put forth these demands, expressly based them on the injunctions of the Paraclete, and really lived in accordance with them, were not permanently capable of maintaining their position in the Church. In fact, the endeavour to found these demands [pg 103] on the legislation of the Paraclete was an undertaking quite as strange, in form and content, as the possible attempt to represent the wild utterances of determined anarchists as the programme of a constitutional government. It was of no avail that they appealed to the confirmation of the rule of faith by the Paraclete; that they demonstrated the harmlessness of the new prophecy, thereby involving themselves in contradictions;211 that they showed all honour to the New Testament; and that they did not insist on the oracles of the Paraclete being inserted in it.212 As soon as they proved the earnestness of their temperate [pg 104] but far-reaching demands, a deep gulf that neither side could ignore opened up between them and their opponents. Though here and there an earnest effort was made to avoid a schism, yet in a short time this became unavoidable; for variations in rules of conduct make fellowship impossible. The lax Christians, who, on the strength of their objective possession, viz., the apostolic doctrine and writings, sought to live comfortably by conforming to the ways of the world, necessarily sought to rid themselves of inconvenient societies and inconvenient monitors;213 and they could only do so by reproaching the latter with heresy and unchristian assumptions. Moreover, the followers of the new prophets could not permanently recognise the Churches of the "Psychical,"214 which rejected the "Spirit" and extended their toleration so far as to retain even whoremongers and adulterers within their pale.

In the East, that is, in Asia Minor, the breach between the Montanists and the Church had in all probability broken out before the question of Church discipline and the right of the bishops had yet been clearly raised. In Rome and Carthage this question completed the rupture that had already taken place between the conventicles and the Church (de pudic. 1. 21). Here, by a peremptory edict, the bishop of Rome claimed the right of forgiving sins as successor of the Apostles; and declared that he would henceforth exercise this right in favour of repentant adulterers. Among the Montanists this claim was [pg 105] violently contested both in an abstract sense and in this application of it. The Spirit the Apostles had received, they said, could not be transmitted; the Spirit is given to the Church; he works in the prophets, but lastly and in the highest measure in the new prophets. The latter, however, expressly refused to readmit gross sinners, though recommending them to the grace of God (see the saying of the Paraclete, de pud. 21; "potest ecclesia donare delictum, sed non faciam"). Thus agreement was no longer possible. The bishops were determined to assert the existing claims of the Church, even at the cost of her Christian character, or to represent the constitution of the Catholic Church as the guarantee of that character. At the risk of their own claim to be Catholic, the Montanist sects resisted in order to preserve the minimum legal requirements for a Christian life. Thus the opposition culminated in an attack on the new powers claimed by the bishops, and in consequence awakened old memories as to the original state of things, when the clergy had possessed no importance.215 But the ultimate motive was the effort to stop the continuous secularising of the Christian life and to preserve the virginity of the Church as a holy community.216 In his latest writings Tertullian vigorously [pg 106] defended a position already lost, and carried with him to the grave the old strictness of conduct insisted on by the Church.

Had victory remained with the stricter party, which, though not invariably, appealed to the injunctions of the Paraclete,217 the Church would have been rent asunder and decimated. The great opportunist party, however, was in a very difficult position, since their opponents merely seemed to be acting up to a conception that, in many respects, could not be theoretically disputed. The problem was how to carry on with caution the work of naturalising Christianity in the world, and at the same time avoid all appearance of innovation which, as such, was opposed to the principle of Catholicism. The bishops therefore assailed the form of the new prophecy on the ground of innovation;218 they sought to throw suspicion on its content; in some cases even Chiliasm, as represented by the Montanists, was declared to have a Jewish and fleshly character.219 They tried to show that the moral demands of their opponents were extravagant, that they savoured of the ceremonial law (of the Jews), were opposed to Scripture, and were derived from the worship of Apis, Isis, and the mother of the Gods.220 To the [pg 107] claim of furnishing the Church with authentic oracles of God, set up by their antagonists, the bishops opposed the newly formed canon; and declared that everything binding on Christians was contained in the utterances of the Old Testament prophets and the Apostles. Finally, they began to distinguish between the standard of morality incumbent on the clergy and a different one applying to the laity,221 as, for instance, in the question of a single marriage; and they dwelt with increased emphasis on the glory of the heroic Christians, belonging to the great Church, who had distinguished themselves by asceticism and joyful submission to martyrdom. By these methods they brought into disrepute that which had once been dear to the whole Church, but was now of no further service. In repudiating supposed abuses they more and more weakened the regard felt for the thing itself, as, for example, in the case of the so-called Chiliasm,222 congregational prophecy and the spiritual independence of the laity. But none of these things could be absolutely rejected; hence, for example, Chiliasm remained virtually unweakened (though subject to limitations223) in the West and certain districts of the East; whereas prophecy lost its force so much that it appeared harmless and therefore died away.224 [pg 108] However, the most effective means of legitimising the present state of things in the Church was a circumstance closely connected with the formation of a canon of early Christian writings, viz., the distinction of an epoch of revelation, along with a corresponding classical period of Christianity unattainable by later generations. This period was connected with the present by means of the New Testament and the apostolic office of the bishops. This later time was to regard the older period as an ideal, but might not dream of really attaining the same perfection, except at least through the medium of the Holy Scriptures and the apostolic office, that is, the Church. The place of the holy Christendom that had the Spirit in its midst was taken by the ecclesiastic institution possessing the "instrument of divine literature" ("instrumentum divinæ litteraturæ") and the spiritual office. Finally, we must mention another factor that hastened the various changes; this was the theology of the Christian philosophers, which attained importance in the Church as soon as she based her claim on and satisfied her conscience with an objective possession.

3. But there was one rule which specially impeded the naturalisation of the Church in the world and the transformation of a communion of the saved into an institution for obtaining [pg 109] salvation, viz., the regulation that excluded gross sinners from Christian membership. Down to the beginning of the third century, in so far as the backslider did not atone for his guilt225 by public confession before the authorities (see Ep. Lugd. in Euseb., H. E. V. 1 ff.), final exclusion from the Church was still the penalty of relapse into idolatry, adultery, whoredom, and murder; though at the same time the forgiveness of God in the next world was reserved for the fallen provided they remained penitent to the end. In theory indeed this rule was not very old. For the oldest period possessed no theories; and in those days Christians frequently broke through what might have been counted as one by appealing to the Spirit, who, by special announcements—particularly by the mouth of martyrs and prophets—commanded or sanctioned the readmission of lapsed members of the community (see Hermas).226 Still, the rule corresponded to the ancient notions that Christendom is a communion of saints, that there is no ceremony invariably capable of replacing baptism, that is, possessing the same value, and that God alone can forgive sins. The practice must on the whole have agreed with this rule; but in the course of the latter half of the second century it became an established custom, in the case of a first relapse, to allow atonement to be made once for most sins and perhaps indeed for all, on condition of public confession.227 For this, appeal was probably made [pg 110] to Hermas, who very likely owed his prestige to the service he here unwittingly rendered. We say "unwittingly," for he could scarcely have intended such an application of his precepts, though at bottom it was not directly opposed to his attitude. In point of fact, however, this practice introduced something closely approximating to a second baptism. Tertullian indeed (de pænit. 12) speaks unhesitatingly of two planks of salvation.228 Moreover, if we consider that in any particular case the decision as to the deadly nature of the sin in question was frequently attended with great difficulty, and certainly, as a rule, was not arrived at with rigorous exactness, we cannot fail to see that, in conceding a second expiation, the Church was beginning to abandon the old idea that Christendom was a community of [pg 111] saints. Nevertheless the fixed practice of refusing whoremongers, adulterers, murderers, and idolaters readmission to the Church, in ordinary cases, prevented men from forgetting that there was a boundary line dividing her from the world.

This state of matters continued till about 220.229 In reality the rule was first infringed by the peremptory edict of bishop Calixtus, who, in order to avoid breaking up his community, granted readmission to those who had fallen into sins of the flesh. Moreover, he claimed this power of readmission as a right appertaining to the bishops as successors of the Apostles, that is, as possessors of the Spirit and the power of the keys.230 At Rome this rescript led to the secession headed by Hippolytus. But, between 220 and 250, the milder practice with regard to the sins of the flesh became prevalent, though it was not yet universally accepted. This, however, resulted in no further schism (Cyp., ep. 55. 21). But up to the year 250 no concessions were allowed in the case of relapse into idolatry.231 These were first occasioned by the Decian persecution, since in many towns those who had abjured Christianity were more numerous than those who adhered to it.232 The majority of the bishops, part of them with hesitation, agreed on new principles.233 [pg 112] To begin with, permission was given to absolve repentant apostates on their deathbed. Next, a distinction was made between sacrificati and libellatici, the latter being more mildly treated. Finally, the possibility of readmission was conceded under certain severe conditions to all the lapsed, a casuistic proceeding was adopted in regard to the laity, and strict measures—though this was not the universal rule—were only adopted towards the clergy. In consequence of this innovation, which logically resulted in the gradual cessation of the belief that there can be only one repentance after baptism—an assumption that was untenable in principle—Novatian's schism took place and speedily rent the Church in twain. But, even in cases where unity was maintained, many communities observed the stricter practice down to the fifth century.234 What made it difficult to introduce this change by regular legislation was the authority to forgive sins in God's stead, ascribed in primitive times to the inspired, and at a later period to the confessors in virtue of their special relation to Christ or the Spirit (see Ep. Lugd. in Euseb., H. E. V. 1 ff.; Cypr. epp.; Tertull. de pudic. 22). The confusion occasioned by the confessors after the Decian persecution led to the non-recognition of any rights of "spiritual" persons other than the bishops. These confessors had frequently abetted laxity of conduct, whereas, if we consider the measure of secularisation found among the great mass of Christians, the penitential discipline insisted on by the bishops is remarkable for its comparative severity. The complete adoption of the episcopal constitution coincided with the introduction of the unlimited right to forgive sins.235

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4. The original conception of the relation of the Church to salvation or eternal bliss was altered by this development. According to the older notion the Church was the sure communion of salvation and of saints, which rested on the forgiveness of sins mediated by baptism, and excluded everything unholy. It is not the Church, but God alone, that forgives sins, and, as a rule, indeed, this is only done through baptism, though, in virtue of his unfathomable grace, also now and then by special proclamations, the pardon coming into effect for repentant sinners, after death, in heaven. If Christendom readmitted gross sinners, it would anticipate the judgment of God, as it would thereby assure them of salvation. Hence it can only take back those who have been excluded in cases where their offences have not been committed against God himself, but have consisted in transgressing the commandments of the Church, that is, in venial sins.236 But in course of time it was just in lay circles that faith in God's grace became weaker and trust in the Church stronger. He whom the Church abandoned was lost to the world; therefore she must not abandon him. This state of things was expressed in the new interpretation of the proposition, "no salvation outside the Church" ("extra ecclesiam nulla salus"), viz., the Church alone saves from damnation which is otherwise certain. In this conception the nature of the Church is depotentiated, but her powers are extended. If she is the institution which, according to Cyprian, is the indispensable preliminary condition of salvation, she can no longer be a sure communion of the saved; in other words, she becomes an institution from which proceeds the communion of saints; she includes both saved and unsaved. Thus her religious character consists in her being the indispensable [pg 114] medium, in so far as she alone guarantees to the individual the possibility of redemption. From this, however, it immediately follows that the Church would anticipate the judgment of God if she finally excluded anyone from her membership who did not give her up of his own accord; whereas she could never prejudge the ultimate destiny of a man by readmission.237 But it also follows that the Church must possess a means of repairing any injury upon earth, a means of equal value with baptism, namely, a sacrament of the forgiveness of sins. With this she acts in God's name and stead, but—and herein lies the inconsistency—she cannot by this means establish any final condition of salvation. In bestowing forgiveness on the sinner she in reality only reconciles him with herself, and thereby, in fact, merely removes the certainty of damnation. In accordance with this theory the holiness of the Church can merely consist in her possession of the means of salvation: the Church is a holy institution in virtue of the gifts with which she is endowed. She is the moral seminary that trains for salvation and the institution that exercises divine powers in Christ's room. Both of these conceptions presuppose political forms; both necessarily require priests and more especially an episcopate. (In de pudic. 21 Tertullian already defines the position of his adversary by the saying, "ecclesia est numerus episcoporum.") This episcopate by its unity guarantees the unity of the Church and has received the power to forgive sins (Cyp., ep. 69. 11).

The new conception of the Church, which was a necessary outcome of existing circumstances and which, we may remark, was not formulated in contradictory terms by Cyprian, but by Roman bishops,238 was the first thing that gave a fundamental [pg 115] religious significance to the separation of clergy and laity. The powers exercised by bishops and priests were thereby fixed and hallowed. No doubt the old order of things, which gave laymen a share in the administration of moral discipline, still continued in the third century, but it became more and more a mere form. The bishop became the practical vicegerent of Christ; he disposed of the power to bind and to loose. But the recollection of the older form of Christianity continued to exert an influence on the Catholic Church of the third century. It is true that, if we can trust Hippolytus' account, Calixtus had by this time firmly set his face against the older idea, inasmuch as he not only defined the Church as essentially a mixed body (corpus permixtum), but also asserted the unlawfulness of deposing the bishop even in case of mortal sin.239 But we do not find that definition in Cyprian, and, what is of more importance, he still required a definite degree of active Christianity as a sine quâ non in the case of bishops; and assumed it as a self-evident necessity. He who does not give evidence of this forfeits his episcopal office ipso facto.240 Now if we consider [pg 116] that Cyprian makes the Church, as the body of believers (plebs credentium), so dependent on the bishops, that the latter are the only Christians not under tutelage, the demand in question denotes a great deal. It carries out the old idea of the Church in a certain fashion, as far as the bishops are concerned. But for this very reason it endangers the new conception in a point of capital importance; for the spiritual acts of a sinful bishop are invalid;241 and if the latter, as a notorious sinner, is no longer bishop, the whole certainty of the ecclesiastical system ceases. Moreover, an appeal to the certainty of God's installing the bishops and always appointing the right ones242 is of no avail, if false ones manifestly find their way in. Hence Cyprian's idea of the Church—and this is no dishonour to him—still involved an inconsistency which, in the fourth century, was destined to produce a very serious crisis in the Donatist struggle.243 The view, however—which Cyprian never openly expressed, and which was merely the natural inference from his theory—that the Catholic Church, though the "one dove" ("una columba"), is in truth not coincident with the number of the elect, was clearly recognised and frankly expressed by Origen before him. Origen plainly distinguished between spiritual and fleshly members of the Church; and spoke of such as only belong to her outwardly, but are not Christians. As these are finally overpowered by the gates of hell, Origen does not hesitate to class them as merely seeming members of the Church. Conversely, he contemplates the possibility of a person being expelled from her fellowship and yet remaining a member in [pg 117] the eyes of God.244 Nevertheless he by no means attained to clearness on the point, in which case, moreover, he would have been the first to do so; nor did he give an impulse to further reflection on the problem. Besides, speculations were of no [pg 118] use here. The Church with her priests, her holy books, and gifts of grace, that is, the moderate secularisation of Christendom corrected by the means of grace, was absolutely needed in order to prevent a complete lapse into immorality.245

But a minority struggled against this Church, not with speculations, but by demanding adherence to the old practice with regard to lapsed members. Under the leadership of the Roman presbyter, Novatian, this section formed a coalition in the Empire that opposed the Catholic confederation.246 Their adherence to the old system of Church discipline involved a reaction against the secularising process, which did not seem to be tempered by the spiritual powers of the bishops. Novatian's conception of the Church, of ecclesiastical absolution and the rights of the priests, and in short, his notion of the power of the keys is different from that of his opponents. This is clear from a variety of considerations. For he (with his followers) assigned to the Church the right and duty of expelling gross sinners once for all;247 he denied her the authority to absolve [pg 119] idolaters, but left these to the forgiveness of God who alone has the power of pardoning sins committed against himself; and he asserted: "non est pax illi ab episcopo necessaria habituro gloriæ suæ (scil. martyrii) pacem et accepturo maiorem de domini dignatione mercedem,"—"the absolution of the bishop is not needed by him who will receive the peace of his glory (i.e., martyrdom) and will obtain a greater reward from the approbation of the Lord" (Cypr. ep. 57. 4), and on the other hand taught: "peccato alterius inquinari alterum et idololatriam delinquentis ad non delinquentem transire,"—"the one is defiled by the sin of the other and the idolatry of the transgressor passes over to him who does not transgress." His proposition that none but God can forgive sins does not depotentiate the idea of the Church; but secures both her proper religious significance and the full sense of her dispensations of grace: it limits her powers and extent in favour of her content. Refusal of her forgiveness under certain circumstances—though this does not exclude the confident hope of God's mercy—can only mean that in Novatian's view this forgiveness is the foundation of salvation and does not merely avert the certainty of perdition. To the Novatians, then, membership of the Church is not the sine quâ non of salvation, but it really secures it in some measure. In certain cases nevertheless the Church may not anticipate the judgment of God. Now it is never by exclusion, but by readmission, that she does so. As the assembly of the baptised, who have received God's forgiveness, the Church must be a real communion of salvation and of saints; hence she cannot endure unholy persons in her midst without losing her essence. Each gross sinner that is tolerated within her calls her legitimacy in question. But, from this point of view, the constitution of the Church, i.e., the distinction of lay and spiritual and the authority of the bishops, likewise retained nothing but the secondary importance it had in earlier times. For, according to those principles, the primary question as regards Church membership [pg 120] is not connection with the clergy (the bishop). It is rather connection with the community, fellowship with which secures the salvation that may indeed be found outside its pale, but not with certainty. But other causes contributed to lessen the importance of the bishops: the art of casuistry, so far-reaching in its results, was unable to find a fruitful soil here, and the laity were treated in exactly the same way as the clergy. The ultimate difference between Novatian and Cyprian as to the idea of the Church and the power to bind and loose did not become clear to the latter himself. This was because, in regard to the idea of the Church, he partly overlooked the inferences from his own view and to some extent even directly repudiated them. An attempt to lay down a principle for judging the case is found in ep. 69. 7: "We and the schismatics have neither the same law of the creed nor the same interrogation, for when they say: 'you believe in the remission of sins and eternal life through the holy Church,' they speak falsely" ("non est una nobis et schismaticis symboli lex neque eadem interrogatio; nam cum dicunt, credis in remissionem peccatorum et vitam æternam per sanctam ecclesiam, mentiuntur"). Nor did Dionysius of Alexandria, who endeavoured to accumulate reproaches against Novatian, succeed in forming any effective accusation (Euseb., H. E. VII. 8). Pseudo-Cyprian had just as little success (ad Novatianum).

It was not till the subsequent period, when the Catholic Church had resolutely pursued the path she had entered, that the difference in principle manifested itself with unmistakable plainness. The historical estimate of the contrast must vary in proportion as one contemplates the demands of primitive Christianity or the requirements of the time. The Novatian confederation undoubtedly preserved a valuable remnant of the old tradition. The idea that the Church, as a fellowship of salvation, must also be the fellowship of saints (Καθαροι) corresponds to the ideas of the earliest period. The followers of Novatian did not entirely identify the political and religious attributes of the Church; they neither transformed the gifts of salvation into means of education, nor confused the reality with the possibility of redemption; and they did not completely lower [pg 121] the requirements for a holy life. But on the other hand, in view of the minimum insisted upon, the claim that they were the really evangelical party and that they fulfilled the law of Christ248 was a presumption. The one step taken to avert the secularising of the Church, exclusion of the lapsed, was certainly, considering the actual circumstances immediately following a great apostasy, a measure of radical importance; but, estimated by the Gospel and in fact simply by the demands of the Montanists fifty years before, it was remarkably insignificant. These Catharists did indeed go the length of expelling all so-called mortal sinners, because it was too crying an injustice to treat libellatici more severely than unabashed transgressors;249 but, even then, it was still a gross self-deception to style themselves the "pure ones," since the Novatian Churches speedily ceased to be any stricter than the Catholic in their renunciation of the world. At least we do not hear that asceticism and devotion to religious faith were very much more prominent in [pg 122] the Catharist Church than in the Catholic. On the contrary, judging from the sources that have come down to us, we may confidently say that the picture presented by the two Churches in the subsequent period was practically identical.250 As Novatian's adherents did not differ from the opposite party in doctrine and constitution, their discipline of penance appears an archaic fragment which it was a doubtful advantage to preserve; and their rejection of the Catholic dispensations of grace (practice of rebaptism) a revolutionary measure, because it had insufficient justification. But the distinction between venial and mortal sins, a theory they held in common with the Catholic Church, could not but prove especially fatal to them; whereas their opponents, through their new regulations as to penance, softened this distinction, and that not to the detriment of morality. For an entirely different treatment of so-called gross and venial transgressions must in every case deaden the conscience towards the latter.

5. If we glance at the Catholic Church and leave the melancholy recriminations out of account, we cannot fail to see the wisdom, foresight, and comparative strictness251 with which the bishops carried out the great revolution that so depotentiated the Church as to make her capable of becoming a prop of civic society and of the state, without forcing any great changes upon them.252 In learning to look upon the Church as a training [pg 123] school for salvation, provided with penalties and gifts of grace, and in giving up its religious independence in deference to her authority, Christendom as it existed in the latter half of the third century,253 submitted to an arrangement that was really best adapted to its own interests. In the great Church every distinction between her political and religious conditions necessarily led to fatal disintegrations, to laxities, such as arose in Carthage owing to the enthusiastic behaviour of the confessors; or to the breaking up of communities. The last was a danger [pg 124] incurred in all cases where the attempt was made to exercise unsparing severity. A casuistic proceeding was necessary as well as a firm union of the bishops as pillars of the Church. Not the least important result of the crises produced by the great persecutions was the fact that the bishops in West and East were thereby forced into closer connection and at the same time acquired full jurisdiction ("per episcopos solos peccata posse dimitti"). If we consider that the archiepiscopal constitution had not only been simultaneously adopted, but had also attained the chief significance in the ecclesiastical organisation,254 we may say that the Empire Church was completed the moment that Diocletian undertook the great reorganisation of his dominions.255 No doubt the old Christianity had found its place in the new Church, but it was covered over and concealed. In spite of all that, little alteration had been made in the expression of faith, in religious language; people spoke of the universal holy Church, just as they did a hundred years before. Here the development in the history of dogma was in a very special sense a development in the history of the Church. Catholicism was now complete; the Church had suppressed all utterances of individual piety, in the sense of their being binding on [pg 125] Christians, and freed herself from every feature of exclusiveness. In order to be a Christian a man no longer required in any sense to be a saint. "What made the Christian a Christian was no longer the possession of charisms, but obedience to ecclesiastical authority," share in the gifts of the Church, and the performance of penance and good works. The Church by her edicts legitimised average morality, after average morality had created the authority of the Church. ("La médiocrité fonda l'autorité".) The dispensations of grace, that is, absolution and the Lord's Supper, abolished the charismatic gifts. The Holy Scriptures, the apostolic episcopate, the priests, the sacraments, average morality in accordance with which the whole world could live, were mutually conditioned. The consoling words: "Jesus receives sinners," were subjected to an interpretation that threatened to make them detrimental to morality.256 And with all that the self-righteousness of proud ascetics was not excluded—quite the contrary. Alongside of a code of morals, to which any one in case of need could adapt himself, the Church began to legitimise a morality of self-chosen, refined sanctity, which really required no Redeemer. It was as in possession of this constitution that the great statesman found and admired her, and recognised in her the strongest support of the Empire.257

A comparison of the aims of primitive Christendom with those of ecclesiastical society at the end of the third century—a comparison of the actual state of things at the different periods is hardly possible—will always lead to a disheartening result; but the parallel is in itself unjust. The truth rather is that the correct standpoint from which to judge the matter was already [pg 126] indicated by Origen in the comparison he drew (c. Cels. III. 29. 30) between the Christian society of the third century and the non-Christian, between the Church and the Empire, the clergy and the magistrates.258 Amidst the general disorganisation of all relationships, and from amongst the ruins of a shattered fabric, a new structure, founded on the belief in one God, in a sure revelation, and in eternal life, was being laboriously raised. It gathered within it more and more all the elements still capable of continued existence; it readmitted the old world, cleansed of its grossest impurities, and raised holy [pg 127] barriers to secure its conquests against all attacks. Within this edifice justice and civic virtue shone with no greater brightness than they did upon the earth generally, but within it burned two mighty flames—the assurance of eternal life, guaranteed by Christ, and the practice of mercy. He who knows history is aware that the influence of epoch-making personages is not to be sought in its direct consequences alone, as these speedily disappear: that structure which prolonged the life of a dying world, and brought strength from the Holy One to another struggling into existence, was also partly founded on the Gospel, and but for this would neither have arisen nor attained solidity. Moreover, a Church had been created within which the pious layman could find a holy place of peace and edification. With priestly strife he had nothing to do, nor had he any concern in the profound and subtle dogmatic system whose foundation was now being laid. We may say that the religion of the laity attained freedom in proportion as it became impossible for them to take part in the establishment and guardianship of the official Church system. It is the professional guardians of this ecclesiastical edifice who are the real martyrs of religion, and it is they who have to bear the consequences of the worldliness and lack of genuineness pertaining to the system. But to the layman who seeks from the Church nothing more than aid in raising himself to God, this worldliness and unveracity do not exist. During the Greek period, however, laymen were only able to recognise this advantage to a limited extent. The Church dogmatic and the ecclesiastical system were still too closely connected with their own interests. It was in the Middle Ages, that the Church first became a Holy Mother and her house a house of prayer—for the Germanic peoples; for these races were really the children of the Church, and they themselves had not helped to rear the house in which they worshipped.

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I. THE PRIESTHOOD. The completion of the old Catholic conception of the Church, as this idea was developed in the latter half of the third century, is perhaps most clearly shown in the attribute of priesthood, with which the clergy were invested and which conferred on them the greatest importance.259 The development of this conception, whose adoption is a proof that the Church had assumed a heathen complexion, cannot be more particularly treated of here.260 What meaning it has [pg 129] is shown by its application in Cyprian and the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions (see Book II.). The bishops (and also the presbyters) are priests, in so far as they alone are empowered to present the sacrifice as representatives of the congregation before God261 and in so far as they dispense or refuse the divine grace as representatives of God in relation to the congregation. In this sense they are also judges in God's stead.262 The position here conceded to the [pg 130] higher clergy corresponds to that of the mystagogue in heathen religions, and is acknowledged to be borrowed from the latter.263 Divine grace already appears as a sacramental consecration of an objective nature, the bestowal of which is confined to spiritual personages chosen by God. This fact is no way affected by the perception that an ever increasing reference is made to the Old Testament priests as well as to the whole Jewish ceremonial and ecclesiastical regulations.264 It is true that there is no other respect in which Old Testament commandments were incorporated with Christianity to such an extent as they were in this.265 But it can be proved that this formal adoption everywhere [pg 131] took place at a subsequent date, that is, it had practically no influence on the development itself, which was not legitimised by the commandments till a later period, and that often in a somewhat lame fashion. We may perhaps say that the development which made the bishops and elders priests altered the inward form of the Church in a more radical fashion than any other. "Gnosticism," which the Church had repudiated in the second century, became part of her own system in the third. As her integrity had been made dependent on inalienable objective standards, the adoption even of this greatest innovation, which indeed was in complete harmony with the secular element within her, was an elementary necessity. In regard to every sphere of Church life, and hence also in respect to the development of dogma266 and the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, the priesthood proved of the highest significance. The clerical exposition of the sacred books, with its frightful ideas, found its earliest advocate in Cyprian and had thus a most skilful champion at the very first.267

II. SACRIFICE. In Book I., chap. III., § 7, we have already shown what a wide field the idea of sacrifice occupied in primitive Christendom, and how it was specially connected with the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The latter was regarded [pg 132] as the pure (i.e., to be presented with a pure heart), bloodless thank offering of which Malachi had prophesied in I. 11. Priesthood and sacrifice, however, are mutually conditioned. The alteration of the concept "priest" necessarily led to a simultaneous and corresponding change in the idea of sacrifice, just as, conversely, the latter reacted on the former.268 In Irenæus and Tertullian the old conception of sacrifice, viz., that prayers are the Christian sacrifice and that the disposition of the believer hallows his whole life even as it does his offering, and forms a well-pleasing sacrifice to God, remains essentially unchanged. In particular, there is no evidence of any alteration in the notion of sacrifice connected with the Lord's Supper.269 But nevertheless we can already trace a certain degree of modification in Tertullian. Not only does he give fasting, voluntary celibacy, martyrdom, etc., special prominence among the sacrificial acts of a Christian life, and extol their religious value—as had already been done before; but he also attributes a God-propitiating significance to these performances, and plainly designates them as "merita" ("promereri deum"). To the best of my belief Tertullian was the first who definitely regarded ascetic performances as propitiatory offerings and ascribed to them the "potestas reconciliandi iratum deum."270 But he himself was far from using [pg 133] this fatal theory, so often found in his works, to support a lax Church practice that made Christianity consist in outward forms. This result did not come about till the eventful decades, prolific in new developments, that elapsed between the persecutions of Septimius and Decius; and in the West it is again Cyprian who is our earliest witness as to the new view and practice.271 In the first place, Cyprian was quite familiar with the idea of ascetic propitiations and utilised it in the interest of the Catholicity of the Church; secondly, he propounded a new theory of the offering in the cultus. As far as the first point is concerned, Cyprian's injunctions with regard to it are everywhere based on the understanding that even after baptism no one can be without sin (de op. et cleemos. 3); and also on the firm conviction that this sacrament can only have a retrospective virtue. Hence he concludes that we must appease God, whose wrath has been aroused by sin, through performances of our own, that is, through offerings that bear the character of "satisfactions." In other words we must blot out transgressions by specially meritorious deeds in order thus to escape eternal punishment. These deeds [pg 134] Cyprian terms "merita," which either possess the character of atonements, or, in case there are no sins to be expiated, entitle the Christian to a special reward (merces).272 But, along with lamentationes and acts of penance, it is principally alms-giving that forms such means of atonement (see de lapsis, 35, 36). In Cyprian's eyes this is already the proper satisfaction; mere prayer, that is, devotional exercises unaccompanied by fasting and alms, being regarded as "bare and unfruitful." In the work "de opere et eleemosynis" which, after a fashion highly characteristic of Cyprian, is made dependent on Sirach and Tobias, he has set forth a detailed theory of what we may call alms-giving as a means of grace in its relation to baptism and salvation.273 However, this practice can only be viewed as a means of grace in Cyprian's sense in so far as God has accepted it, that is, pointed it out. In itself it is a free human act. After the Decian persecution and the rearrangement of ecclesiastical affairs necessitated by it, works and alms (opera et eleemosynæ) made their way into the absolution system of the Church, and were assigned a permanent place in it. Even [pg 135] the Christian who has forfeited his Church membership by abjuration may ultimately recover it by deeds of sacrifice, of course under the guidance and intercessory coöperation of the Church. The dogmatic dilemma we find here cannot be more clearly characterised than by simply placing the two doctrines professed by Cyprian side by side. These are:—(1) that the sinfulness common to each individual can only be once extirpated by the power of baptism derived from the work of Christ, and (2) that transgressions committed after baptism, inclusive of mortal sins, can and must be expiated solely by spontaneous acts of sacrifice under the guidance of kind mother Church.274 A Church capable of being permanently satisfied with such doctrines would very soon have lost the last remains of her Christian character. What was wanted was a means of grace, similar to baptism and granted by God through Christ, to which the opera et eleemosynæ are merely to bear the relation of accompanying acts. But Cyprian was no dogmatist and was not able to form a doctrine of the means of grace. He never got beyond his "propitiate God the judge by sacrifices after baptism" ("promereri deum judicem post baptismum sacrificiis"), and merely hinted, in an obscure way, that the absolution of him who has committed a deadly sin after baptism emanates from the same readiness of God to forgive as is expressed in that rite, and that membership in the Church is a condition of absolution. His whole theory as to the legal nature of man's (the Christian's) relationship to God, and the practice, inaugurated by Tertullian, of designating this connection by terms derived from Roman law continued to prevail in the West down to Augustine's time.275 But, during this whole interval, no book was written by a Western Churchman which made the salvation of the sinful Christian dependent on ascetic offerings of atonement, [pg 136] with so little regard to Christ's grace and the divine factor in the case, as Cyprian's work de opere et eleemosynis.

No less significant is Cyprian's advance as regards the idea of the sacrifice in public worship, and that in three respects. To begin with, Cyprian was the first to associate the specific offering, i.e., the Lord's Supper276 with the specific priesthood. Secondly, he was the first to designate the passio dominis, nay, the sanguis Christi and the dominica hostia as the object of the eucharistic offering.277 Thirdly, he expressly represented the [pg 137] celebration of the Lord's Supper as an incorporation of the congregation and its individual members with Christ, and was the first to bear clear testimony as to the special importance attributed to commemoration of the celebrators ("vivi et defuncti"), though no other can be ascertained than a specially strong intercession.278 But this is really the essential effect of the sacrifice of the supper as regards the celebrators; for however much the conceptions about this ceremony might be heightened, and whatever additions might be made to its ritual, forgiveness of sins in the strict sense could not be associated with it. Cyprian's statement that every celebration of the Lord's Supper is a repetition or imitation of Christ's sacrifice of himself, and that the ceremony has therefore an expiatory value remains a mere assertion, though the Romish Church still continues to [pg 138] repeat this doctrine to the present day. For the idea that partaking of the Lord's Supper cleansed from sin like the mysteries of the Great Mother (magna mater) and Mithras, though naturally suggested by the ceremonial practice, was counteracted by the Church principles of penance and by the doctrine of baptism. As a sacrificial rite the Supper never became a ceremony equivalent in effect to baptism. But no doubt, as far as the popular conception was concerned, the solemn ritual copied from the ancient mysteries could not but attain an indescribably important significance. It is not possible, within the framework of the history of dogma, to describe the development of religious ceremonial in the third century, and to show what a radical alteration took place in men's conceptions with regard to it (cf. for example, Justin with Cyprian). But, in dealing with the history of dogma within this period, we must clearly keep in view the development of the cultus, the new conceptions of the value of ritual, and the reference of ceremonial usages to apostolic tradition; for there was plainly a remodelling of the ritual in imitation of the ancient mysteries and of the heathen sacrificial system, and this fact is admitted by Protestant scholars of all parties. Ceremonial and doctrine may indeed be at variance, for the latter may lag behind the former and vice versa, but they are never subject to entirely different conditions.

III. MEANS OF GRACE, BAPTISM, and EUCHARIST. That which the Western Church of post-Augustinian times calls sacrament in the specific sense of the word (means of grace) was only possessed by the Church of the third century in the form of baptism.279 In strict theory she still held that the grace once [pg 139] bestowed in this rite could be conferred by no holy ceremony of equal virtue, that is, by no fresh sacrament. The baptised Christian has no means of grace, conferred by Christ, at his disposal, but has his law to fulfil (see, e.g., Iren. IV. 27. 2). But, as soon as the Church began to absolve mortal sinners, she practically possessed in absolution a real means of grace that was equally effective with baptism from the moment that this remission became unlimited in its application.280 The notions as to this means of grace, however, continued quite uncertain in so far as the thought of God's absolving the sinner through the priest was qualified by the other theory (see above) which asserted that forgiveness was obtained through the penitential acts of transgressors (especially baptism with blood, and next in importance lamentationes, ieiunia, eleemosynæ). In the third century there were manifold holy dispensations of grace by the hands of priests; but there was still no theory which traced the means of grace to the historical work of Christ in the same way that the grace bestowed in baptism was derived from it. From Cyprian's epistles and the anti-Novatian sections in the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions we indeed see that appeal was not unfrequently made to the power of forgiving [pg 140] sins bestowed on the Apostles and to Christ's declaration that he received sinners; but, as the Church had not made up her mind to repeat baptism, so also she had yet no theory that expressly and clearly supplemented this rite by a sacramentum absolutionis. In this respect, as well as in regard to the sacramentum ordinis, first instituted by Augustine, theory remained far behind practice. This was by no means an advantage, for, as a matter of fact, the whole religious ceremonial was already regarded as a system of means of grace. The consciousness of a personal, living connection of the individual with God through Christ had already disappeared, and the hesitation in setting up new means of grace had only the doubtful result of increasing the significance of human acts, such as offerings and satisfactions, to a dangerous extent.

Since the middle of the second century the notions of baptism281 in the Church have not essentially altered (see Vol. I. p. 206 ff.). The result of baptism was universally considered to be forgiveness of sins, and this pardon was supposed to effect an actual sinlessness which now required to be maintained.282 We frequently find "deliverance from death," "regeneration of man," "restoration to the image of God," and "obtaining of the Holy Spirit." ("Absolutio mortes," "regeneratio hominis," "restitutio ad similitudinem dei" and "consecutio spiritus sancti") named along with the "remission of sins" and "obtaining of eternal life" ("remissio delictorum" and "consecutio æternitatis"). Examples are to be found in Tertullian283 adv. Marc. I. 28 and elsewhere; and Cyprian speaks of the "bath of regeneration and sanctification" ("lavacrum regenerationis et sanctificationis"). Moreover, we pretty frequently find rhetorical passages where, on the strength of New Testament texts, all possible blessings are associated with baptism.284 The constant additions to the [pg 141] baptismal ritual, a process which had begun at a very early period, are partly due to the intention of symbolising these supposedly manifold virtues of baptism,285 and partly owe their origin to the endeavour to provide the great mystery with fit accompaniments.286 As yet the separate acts can hardly be proved to have an independent signification.287 The water was [pg 142] regarded both as the symbol of the purification of the soul and as an efficacious, holy medium of the Spirit (in accordance with Gen. I. 2; water and Spirit are associated with each other, especially in Cyprian's epistles on baptism). He who asserted the latter did not thereby repudiate the former (see Orig. in Joann. Tom. VI. 17, Opp. IV. p. 133).288 Complete obscurity prevails as to the Church's adoption of the practice of child baptism, which, though it owes its origin to the idea of this ceremony being indispensable to salvation, is nevertheless a proof that the superstitious view of baptism had increased.289 In the time of Irenæus (II. 22. 4) and Tertullian (de bapt. 18) child baptism had already become very general and was founded on Matt. XIX. 14. We have no testimony regarding it from earlier times; Clement of Alexandria does not yet assume it. Tertullian argued against it not only because he regarded conscious faith as a needful preliminary condition, but also because he thought it advisable to delay baptism (cunctatio baptismi) on account of the responsibility involved in it (pondus baptismi). He says: "It is more advantageous to delay baptism, especially in the case of little children. For why is it necessary for the sponsors" (this is the first mention of "godparents") "also to be thrust into danger?... let the little ones therefore come when they are growing up; let them come when they are learning, when they are taught where they are coming to; let them become Christians when they are able to know Christ. Why does an age of innocence hasten to the remission of sins? People will act more cautiously in worldly affairs, so that one [pg 143] who is not trusted with earthly things is trusted with divine. Whoever understands the responsibility of baptism will fear its attainment more than its delay."290 To all appearance the practice of immediately baptising the children of Christian families was universally adopted in the Church in the course of the third century. (Origen, Comment, in ep. ad Rom. V. 9, Opp. IV. p. 565, declared child baptism to be a custom handed down by the Apostles.) Grown up people, on the other hand, frequently postponed baptism, but this habit was disapproved.291

The Lord's Supper was not only regarded as a sacrifice, but also as a divine gift.292 The effects of this gift were not theoretically fixed, because these were excluded by the strict scheme293 [pg 144] of baptismal grace and baptismal obligation. But in practice Christians more and more assumed a real bestowal of heavenly gifts in the holy food, and gave themselves over to superstitious theories. This bestowal was sometimes regarded as a spiritual and sometimes as a bodily self-communication of Christ, that is, as a miraculous implanting of divine life. Here ethical and physical, and again ethical and theoretical features were intermixed with each other. The utterances of the Fathers to which we have access do not allow us to classify these elements here; for to all appearance not a single one clearly distinguished between spiritual and bodily, or ethical and intellectual effects unless he was in principle a spiritualist. But even a writer of this kind had quite as superstitious an idea of the holy elements as the rest. Thus the holy meal was extolled as the communication of incorruption, as a pledge of resurrection, as a medium of the union of the flesh with the Holy Spirit; and again as food of the soul, as the bearer of the Spirit of Christ (the Logos), as the means of strengthening faith and knowledge, as a sanctifying of the whole personality. The thought of the forgiveness of sins fell quite into the background. This ever changing conception, as it seems to us, of the effects of partaking of the Lord's Supper had also a parallel in the notions as to the relation between the visible elements and the body of Christ. So far as we are able to judge no one felt that there was a problem here, no one enquired whether this relation was realistic or symbolical. The symbol is the mystery and the mystery was not conceivable without a symbol. What we now-a-days understand by "symbol" is a thing which is not that which it represents; at that time "symbol" denoted a thing which, in some kind of way, really is what it signifies; but, on the other hand, according to the ideas of that period, the really heavenly element lay either in or behind the visible form without being [pg 145] identical with it. Accordingly the distinction of a symbolic and realistic conception of the Supper is altogether to be rejected; we could more rightly distinguish between materialistic, dyophysite, and docetic conceptions which, however, are not to be regarded as severally exclusive in the strict sense. In the popular idea the consecrated elements were heavenly fragments of magical virtue (see Cypr., de laps. 25; Euseb., H. E. VI. 44). With these the rank and file of third-century Christians already connected many superstitious notions which the priests tolerated or shared.294 The antignostic Fathers acknowledged that the consecrated food consisted of two things, an earthly (the elements) and a heavenly (the real body of Christ). They thus saw in the sacrament a guarantee of the union between spirit and flesh, which the Gnostics denied; and a pledge of the resurrection of the flesh nourished by the blood of the Lord (Justin; Iren. IV. 18. 4, 5; V. 2. 2, 3; likewise Tertullian who is erroneously credited with a "symbolical" doctrine295). Clement and Origen "spiritualise," because, like Ignatius, they assign a spiritual significance to the flesh and blood of Christ himself (summary of wisdom). To judge from the exceedingly confused passage in Pæd. II. 2, Clement distinguishes a spiritual and a material blood of Christ. Finally, however, he sees in the Eucharist the union of the divine Logos with the human spirit, recognises, like Cyprian at a later period, that the mixture of wine with water in the symbol represents the spiritual process, and lastly does not fail to attribute to the holy food a relationship to the body.296 It is true that Origen, the great [pg 146] mysteriosophist and theologian of sacrifice, expressed himself in plainly "spiritualistic" fashion; but in his eyes religious mysteries and the whole person of Christ lay in the province of the spirit, and therefore his theory of the Supper is not "symbolical," but conformable to his doctrine of Christ. Besides, Origen was only able to recognise spiritual aids in the sphere of the intellect and the disposition, and in the assistance given to these by man's own free and spontaneous efforts. Eating and drinking and, in general, participation in a ceremonial are from Origen's standpoint completely indifferent matters. The intelligent Christian feeds at all times on the body of Christ, that is, on the Word of God, and thus celebrates a never ending Supper (c. Cels. VIII. 22). Origen, however, was not blind to the fact that his doctrine of the Lord's Supper was just as far removed from the faith of the simple Christian as his doctrinal system generally. Here also, therefore, he accommodated himself to that faith in points where it seemed necessary. This, however, he did not find difficult; for, though with him everything is at bottom "spiritual," he was unwilling to dispense with symbols and mysteries, because he knew that one must be initiated into the spiritual, since one cannot learn it as one learns the lower sciences.297 But, whether we consider simple believers, the antignostic Fathers or Origen, and, moreover, whether we view the Supper as offering or sacrament, we everywhere observe that the holy ordinance had been entirely [pg 147] diverted from its original purpose and pressed into the service of the spirit of antiquity. In no other point perhaps is the hellenisation of the Gospel so evident as in this. To mention only one other example, this is also shown in the practice of child communion, which, though we first hear of it in Cyprian (Testim. III. 25; de laps. 25), can hardly be of later origin than child baptism. Partaking of the Supper seemed quite as indispensable as baptism, and the child had no less claim than the adult to a magical food from heaven.298

In the course of the third century a crass superstition became developed in respect to the conceptions of the Church and the mysteries connected with her. According to this notion we must subject ourselves to the Church and must have ourselves filled with holy consecrations as we are filled with food. But the following chapters will show that this superstition and mystery magic were counterbalanced by a most lively conception of the freedom and responsibility of the individual. Fettered by the bonds of authority and superstition in the sphere of religion, free and self-dependent in the province of morality, this Christianity is characterised by passive submission in the first respect and by complete activity in the second. It may be that exegetical theology can never advance beyond an alternation between these two aspects of the case, and a recognition of their equal claim to consideration; for the religious phenomenon in which they are combined defies any explanation. But religion is in danger of being destroyed when the insufficiency of the understanding is elevated into a convenient principle of theory and life, and when the real mystery of the faith, [pg 148] viz., how one becomes a new man, must accordingly give place to the injunction that we must obediently accept the religious as a consecration, and add to this the zealous endeavour after ascetic virtue. Such, however, has been the character of Catholicism since the third century, and even after Augustine's time it has still remained the same in its practice.

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In investigating the development of Christianity up till about the year 270 the following facts must be specially kept in mind: In the regions subject to Rome, apart from the Judæo-Christian districts and passing disturbances, Christianity had yet an undivided history in vital questions;300 the independence of individual congregations and of the provincial groups of Churches was very great; and every advance in the development of the [pg 150] communities at the same time denoted a forward step in their adaptation to the existing conditions of the Empire. The first two facts we have mentioned have their limitations. The further apart the different Churches lay, the more various were the conditions under which they arose and flourished; the looser the relations between the towns in which they had their home the looser also was the connection between them. Still, it is evident that towards the end of the third century the development in the Church had well-nigh attained the same point everywhere—except in outlying communities. Catholicism, essentially as we conceive it now, was what most of the Churches had arrived at. Now it is an a priori probability that this transformation of Christianity, which was simply the adaptation of the Gospel to the then existing Empire, came about under the guidance of the metropolitan Church,301 the Church of Rome; and that "Roman" and "Catholic" had therefore a special relation from the beginning. It might a limine be objected to this proposition that there is no direct testimony in support of it, and that, apart from this consideration, it is also improbable, in so far as, in view of the then existing condition of society, Catholicism appears as the natural and only possible form in which Christianity could be adapted to the world. But this is not the case; for in the first place very strong proofs can be adduced, and besides, as is shown by the development in the second century, very different kinds of secularisation were possible. In fact, if all appearances are not deceptive, the Alexandrian Church, for example, was up to the time of Septimius Severus pursuing a path of development which, left to itself, would not have led to Catholicism, but, in the most favourable circumstances, to a parallel form.302

[pg 151]

It can, however, be proved that it was in the Roman Church, which up to about the year 190 was closely connected with that of Asia Minor, that all the elements on which Catholicism is based first assumed a definite form.303 (1) We know that the Roman Church possessed a precisely formulated baptismal confession, and that as early as the year 180 she declared this to be the apostolic rule by which everything is to be measured. It is only in her case that we are really certain of this, for we can merely guess at it as regards the Church of Smyrna, that is, of Asia Minor. It was accordingly admitted that the Roman Church was able to distinguish true from false with special exactness;304 and Irenæus and Tertullian appealed to her to decide the practice in Gaul and Africa. This practice, in its precisely developed form, cannot be shown to have existed in Alexandria till a later period; but Origen, who testifies to it, also bears witness to the special reverence for and connection with the Roman Church. (2) The New Testament canon, with its claim to be accounted catholic and apostolic and to possess [pg 152] exclusive authority is first traceable in her; in the other communities it can only be proved to exist at a later period. In the great Antiochian diocese there was, for instance, a Church some of whose members wished the Gospel of Peter read; in the Pentapolis group of congregations the Gospel of the Egyptians was still used in the 3rd century; Syrian Churches of the same epoch used Tatian's Diatessaron; and the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions still makes no mention of a New Testament canon. Though Clement of Alexandria no doubt testifies that, in consequence of the common history of Christianity, the group of Scriptures read in the Roman congregations was also the same as that employed in public worship at Alexandria, he had as yet no New Testament canon before him in the sense of Irenæus and Tertullian. It was not till Origen's time that Alexandria reached the stage already attained in Rome about forty years earlier. It must, however, be pointed out that a series of New Testament books, in the form now found in the canon and universally recognised, show marks of revision that can be traced back to the Roman Church.305 Finally, the later investigations, which show that after the third century the Western readings, that is, the Roman text, of the New Testament were adopted in the Oriental MSS. of the Bible,306 are of the utmost value here; for the most natural [pg 153] explanation of these facts is that the Eastern Churches then received their New Testament from Rome and used it to correct their copies of books read in public worship.307 (3) Rome is the first place which we can prove to have constructed a list of bishops reaching back to the Apostles (see Irenæus).308 We know that in the time of Heliogabalus such lists also existed in other communities; but it cannot be proved that these had already been drawn up by the time of Marcus Aurelius or Commodus, as was certainly the case at Rome. (4) The notion of the apostolic succession of the episcopate309 was first turned to account by the Roman bishops, and they were the first who definitely formulated the political idea of the Church in connection with this. The utterances and corresponding practical measures of Victor,310 Calixtus (Hippolytus), and Stephen are the earliest of their kind; whilst the precision and assurance with which they substituted the political and clerical for the ideal conception of the Church, or amalgamated the two notions, as well as the decided way in which they proclaimed the sovereignty of the bishops, were not surpassed in the third century by Cyprian himself. (5) Rome was the first place, and [pg 154] that at a very early period, to date occurrences according to her bishops; and, even outside that city, churches reckoned, not according to their own, but according to the Roman episcopate.311 (6) The Oriental Churches say that two bishops of Rome compiled the chief apostolic regulations for the organisation of the Church; and this is only partially wrong.312 (7) The three great theologians of the age, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Origen, opposed the pretensions of the Roman bishop Calixtus; and this very attitude of theirs testified that the advance in the political organisation of the Church, denoted by the measures of Calixtus, was still an unheard-of novelty, but immediately exercised a very important influence on the attitude of other Churches. We know that the other communities imitated this advance in the succeeding decades. (8) The institution of lower orders of clergy with the corresponding distinction of clerici maiores and minores first took place in Rome; but we know that this momentous arrangement gradually spread from that city to the rest of Christendom.313 (9) The different Churches communicated with one another through the medium of Rome.314

[pg 155]

From these considerations we can scarcely doubt that the fundamental apostolic institutions and laws of Catholicism were framed in the same city that in other respects imposed its authority on the whole earth; and that it was the centre from which they spread, because the world had become accustomed to receive law and justice from Rome.315 But it may be objected that the parallel development in other provinces and towns was spontaneous, though it everywhere came about at a somewhat later date. Nor do we intend to contest the assumption in this general sense; but, as I think, it can be proved that the Roman community had a direct and important share in the process and that, even in the second century, she was reckoned the first and most influential Church.316 We shall give a bird's-eye view of the most important facts bearing on the question, in order to prove this.

No other community made a more brilliant entrance into Church history than did that of Rome by the so called First Epistle of Clement—Paul having already testified (Rom. I. 8) that the faith of this Church was spoken of throughout the whole world. That letter to the Corinthians proves that, by the end of the first century, the Roman Church had already drawn up fixed rules for her own guidance, that she watched with motherly [pg 156] care over outlying communities, and that she then knew how to use language that was at once an expression of duty, love, and authority.317 As yet she pretends to no legal title of any kind, but she knows the "commandments and ordinances" (προσταγματα and δοκαιωματα) of God, whereas the conduct of the sister Church evinces her uncertainty on the matter; she is in an orderly condition, whereas the sister community is threatened with dissolution; she adheres to the κανων της παραδοσεως, whilst the other body stands in need of exhortation;318 and in these facts her claim to authority consists. The Shepherd of Hermas also proves that even in the circles of the laity the Roman Church is impressed with the consciousness that she must care for the whole of Christendom. The first testimony of an outsider as to this community is afforded us by Ignatius. Soften as we may all the extravagant expressions in his Epistle to the Romans, it is at least clear that Ignatius conceded to them a precedence in the circle of sister Churches; and that he was well acquainted with the energy and activity displayed by them in aiding and instructing other communities.319 Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to bishop Soter, affords us a glimpse of the vast activity manifested by the Christian Church of the world's metropolis on behalf of all Christendom and of all brethren far and near; and reveals to us the feelings of filial affection and veneration [pg 157] with which she was regarded in all Greece as well as in Antioch. This author has specially emphasised the fact that the Roman Christians are Romans, that is, are conscious of the particular duties incumbent on them as members of the metropolitan Church.320 After this evidence we cannot wonder that Irenæus expressly assigned to the Church of Rome the highest rank among those founded by the Apostles.321 His famous testimony has been quite as often under as over-estimated. Doubtless his reference to the Roman Church is introduced in such a way that she is merely mentioned by way of example, just as he also adds the allusion to Smyrna and Ephesus; but there is quite as little doubt that this example was no arbitrary selection. The truth rather is that the Roman community must have been named, because its decision was already the most authoritative and impressive in Christendom.322 Whilst giving a [pg 158] formal scheme of proof that assigned the same theoretical value to each Church founded by the Apostles, Irenæus added a reference to particular circumstance, viz., that in his time many communities turned to Rome in order to testify their orthodoxy.323 As soon as we cease to obscure our vision with theories and keep in view the actual circumstances, we have no cause for astonishment. Considering the active intercourse between the various Churches and the metropolis, it was of the utmost importance to all, especially so long as they required financial aid, to be in connection with that of Rome, to receive support from her, to know she would entertain travelling brethren, and to have the power of recommending prisoners and those pining in the mines to her influential intervention. The evidence of Ignatius and Dionysius as well as the Marcia-Victor episode place this beyond doubt (see above). The efforts of Marcion and Valentinus in Rome have also a bearing on this question, and the venerable bishop, Polycarp, did not shrink from the toil of a long journey to secure the valuable fellowship of the Roman Church;324 it was not Anicetus who came to Polycarp, [pg 159] but Polycarp to Anicetus. At the time when the controversy with Gnosticism ensued, the Roman Church showed all the rest an example of resolution; it was naturally to be expected that, as a necessary condition of mutual fellowship, she should require other communities to recognise the law by which she had regulated her own circumstances. No community in the Empire could regard with indifference its relationship to the great Roman Church; almost everyone had connections with her; she contained believers from all the rest. As early as 180 this Church could point to a series of bishops reaching in uninterrupted succession from the glorious apostles Paul and Peter325 down to the present time; and she alone maintained a brief but definitely formulated lex, which she entitled the summary of apostolic tradition, and by reference to which she decided all questions of faith with admirable certainty. Theories were incapable of overcoming the elementary differences that could not but appear as soon as Christianity became naturalised in the various provinces and towns of the Empire. Nor was it theories that created the empiric unity of the Churches, but the unity which the Empire possessed in Rome; the extent and composition of the Græco-Latin community there; the security—and this was not the least powerful element—that accompanied the development of this great society, well provided as it was with wealth and possessed of an influence in high quarters already dating from the first century;326 as well as the care which it displayed on behalf of all Christendom. All these causes combined to convert the Christian communities into a real confederation under the primacy of the Roman Church (and subsequently under the leadership of her bishops). [pg 160] This primacy cannot of course be further defined, for it was merely a de facto one. But, from the nature of the case, it was immediately shaken, when it was claimed as a legal right associated with the person of the Roman bishop.

That this theory is more than a hypothesis is shown by several facts which prove the unique authority as well as the interference of the Roman Church (that is, of her bishop). First, in the Montanist controversy—and that too at the stage when it was still almost exclusively confined to Asia Minor—the already sobered adherents of the new prophecy petitioned Rome (bishop Eleutherus) to recognise their Church, and it was at Rome that the Gallic confessors cautiously interfered in their behalf; after which a native of Asia Minor induced the Roman bishop to withdraw the letters of toleration already issued.327 In view of the facts that it was not Roman Montanists who were concerned, that Rome was the place where the Asiatic members of this sect sought for recognition, and that it was in Rome that the Gauls interfered in their behalf, the significance of this proceeding cannot be readily minimised. We cannot of course dogmatise on the matter; but the fact can be proved that the decision of the Roman Church must have settled the position of that sect of enthusiasts in Christendom. Secondly, what is reported to us of Victor, the successor of Eleutherus, is still plainer testimony. He ventured to issue an edict, which we may already style a peremptory one, proclaiming the Roman practice with regard to the regulation of ecclesiastical festivals to be the universal rule in the Church, and declaring that every congregation, that failed to adopt the Roman arrangement,328 [pg 161] was excluded from the union of the one Church on the ground of heresy. How would Victor have ventured on such an edict—though indeed he had not the power of enforcing it in every case—unless the special prerogative of Rome to determine the conditions of the "common unity" (κοινη 'ενωσις) in the vital questions of the faith had been an acknowledged and well-established fact? How could Victor have addressed such a demand to the independent Churches, if he had not been recognised, in his capacity of bishop of Rome, as the special guardian of the κοινη 'ενωσισ?329 Thirdly, it was Victor who formally excluded Theodotus from Church fellowship. This is the first really well-attested case of a Christian taking his stand on the rule of faith being excommunicated because a definite interpretation of it was already insisted on. In this instance the expression 'υιος μονογενης (only begotten Son) was required to be understood in the sense of Φυσει Θεος (God by nature). It was in Rome that this first took place. Fourthly, under Zephyrinus, Victor's successor, the Roman ecclesiastics interfered in the Carthaginian veil dispute, making common cause with the local clergy against Tertullian; and both appealed to the authority of predecessors, that is, above all, of the Roman bishops.330 Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Cyprian were [pg 162] obliged to resist the pretensions of these ecclesiastics to authority outside their own Church, the first having to contend with Calixtus, and the three others with Stephen.331

It was the Roman Church that first displayed this activity and care; the Roman bishop sprang from the community in exactly the same way as the corresponding official did in other places.332 In Irenæus' proof from prescription, however, it is already the Roman bishops that are specially mentioned.333 [pg 163] Praxeas reminded the bishop of Rome of the authority of his predecessors ("auctoritates præcessorum eius") and it was in the character of bishop that Victor acted. The assumption that Paul and Peter laboured in Rome, that is, founded the Church of that city (Dionysius, Irenæus, Tertullian, Caius), must have conferred a high degree of prestige on her bishops, as soon as the latter officials were elevated to the position of more or less sovereign lords of the communities and were regarded as successors of the Apostles. The first who acted up to this idea was Calixtus. The sarcastic titles of "pontifex maximus," "episcopus episcoporum," "benedictus papa" and "apostolicus," applied to him by Tertullian in "de pudicitia" I. 13, are so many references to the fact that Calixtus already claimed for himself a position of primacy, in other words, that he associated with his own personal position as bishop the primacy possessed by the Roman Church, which pre-eminence, however, must have been gradually vanishing in proportion to the progress of the Catholic form of organisation among the other communities. Moreover, that is evident from the form of the edict he issued (Tert. I. c., I: "I hear that an edict has been issued and that a decisive one," [pg 164] "audio edictum esse præpositum et quidem peremptorium"), from the grounds it assigned and from the opposition to it on the part of Tertullian. From the form, in so far as Calixtus acted here quite independently and, without previous consultation, issued a peremptory edict, that is, one settling the matter and immediately taking effect; from the grounds it assigned, in so far as he appealed in justification of his action to Matt. XVI. 18 ff.334—the first instance of the kind recorded in history; from Tertullian's opposition to it, because the latter treats it not as local, Roman, but as pregnant in consequences for all Christendom. But, as soon as the question took the form of enquiring whether the Roman bishop was elevated above the rest, a totally new situation arose. Even in the third century, as already shown, the Roman community, led by its bishops, still showed the rest an example in the process of giving a political constitution to the Church. It can also be proved that even far distant congregations were still being bound to the Roman Church through financial support,335 and that she was appealed to in questions of faith, just as the law of the city of Rome was invoked as the standard in civil questions.336 It [pg 165] is further manifest from Cyprian's epistles that the Roman Church was regarded as the ecclesia principalis, as the guardian par excellence of the unity of the Church. We may explain from Cyprian's own particular situation all else that he said in praise of the Roman Church (see above p. 88, note 2) and specially of the cathedra Petri; but the general view that she is the "matrix et radix ecclesiæ catholicæ" is not peculiar to him, and the statement that the "unitas sacerdotalis" originated in Rome is merely the modified expression, necessitated by the altered circumstances of the Church, for the acknowledged fact that the Roman community was the most distinguished among the sister groups, and as such had had and still possessed the right and duty of watching over the unity of the whole. Cyprian himself no doubt took a further step at the time of his correspondence with Cornelius, and proclaimed the special reference of Matt. XVI. to the cathedra Petri; but he confined his theory to the abstractions "ecclesia," "cathedra." In him the importance of this cathedra oscillates between the significance of a once existent fact that continues to live on as a symbol, and that of a real and permanent court of appeal. Moreover, he did not go the length of declaring that any special authority within the collective Church attached to the temporary occupant of the cathedra Petri. If we remove from Cyprian's abstractions everything to which he himself thinks there is nothing concrete corresponding, then we must above all eliminate every prerogative of the Roman bishop for the time being. What remains behind is the special position of the Roman Church, which indeed is represented by her bishop. Cyprian can say quite [pg 166] frankly: "owing to her magnitude Rome ought to have precedence over Carthage" ("pro magnitudine sua debet Carthaginem Roma præcedere") and his theory: "the episcopate is one, and a part of it is held by each bishop for the whole" ("episcopatus unus est, cuius a singulis in solidum pars tenetur"), virtually excludes any special prerogative belonging to a particular bishop (see also "de unit." 4). Here we have reached the point that has already been briefly referred to above, viz., that the consolidation of the Churches in the Empire after the Roman pattern could not but endanger the prestige and peculiar position of Rome, and did in fact do so. If we consider that each bishop was the acknowledged sovereign of his own diocese—now Catholic, that all bishops, as such, were recognised to be successors of the Apostles, that, moreover, the attribute of priesthood occupied a prominent position in the conception of the episcopal office, and that, the metropolitan unions with their presidents and synods had become completely naturalised—in short, that the rigid episcopal and provincial constitution of the Church had become an accomplished fact, so that, ultimately, it was no longer communities, but merely bishops that had dealings with each other, then we shall see that a new situation was thereby created for Rome, that is, for her bishop. In the West it was perhaps chiefly through the coöperation of Cyprian that Rome found herself face to face with a completely organised Church system. His behaviour in the controversy about heretical baptism proves that in cases of dispute he was resolved to elevate his theory of the sovereign authority of each bishop above his theory of the necessary connection with the cathedra Petri. But, when that levelling of the episcopate came about, Rome had already acquired rights that could no longer be cancelled.337 Besides, there was [pg 167] one thing that could not be taken from the Roman Church, nor therefore from her bishop, even if she were denied the special right to Matt. XVI., viz., the possession of Rome. The site of the world's metropolis might be shifted, but Rome could not be removed. In the long run, however, the shifting of the capital proved advantageous to ecclesiastical Rome. At the beginning of the great epoch when the alienation of East from West became pronounced and permanent, an emperor, from political grounds, decided in favour of that party in Antioch "with whom the bishops in Italy and the city of the Romans held intercourse" ('οις αν 'οι κατα την Ιταλιαν και την Ρωμαιων πολιν επισκοποι του δογματος επιστελλοιεν338). In this instance the [pg 168] interest of the Roman Church and the interest of the emperor coincided. But the Churches in the various provinces, being now completely organised and therefore seldom in need of any more help from outside, were henceforth in a position to pursue their own interest. So the bishop of Rome had step by step to fight for the new authority, which, being now based on a purely dogmatic theory and being forced to repudiate any empirical foundation, was inconsistent with the Church system that the Roman community more than any other had helped to build up. The proposition "the Roman Church always had the primacy" ("ecclesia Romana semper habuit primatum") and the statement that "Catholic" virtually means "Roman Catholic" are gross fictions, when devised in honour of the temporary occupant of the Roman see and detached from the significance of the Eternal City in profane history; but, applied to the Church of the imperial capital, they contain a truth the denial of which is equivalent to renouncing the attempt to explain the process by which the Church was unified and catholicised.339

Footnote 193: (return)

See Ritschl, l.c.; Schwegler. Der Montanismus, 1841; Gottwald, De Montanismo Tertulliani, 1862; Réville, Tertull. et le Montanisme, in the Revue des Deux Mondes of 1st Novr. 1864; Stroehlin, Essai sur le Montanisme, 1870; De Soyres, Montanism and the Primitive Church, 1878; Cunningham, The Churches of Asia, 1880; Renan, Les Crises du Catholicisme Naissant in the Revue des Deux Mondes of 15th Febr. 1881; Renan, Marc Aurèle, 1882, p. 208 ff.; Bonwetsch, Geschichte des Montanismus, 1881; Harnack, Das Monchthum, seine Ideale und seine Geschichte, 3rd. ed., 1886; Belck, Geschichte des Montanismus, 1883; Voigt, Eine verschollene Urkunde des antimontanistischen Kampfes, 1891. Further the articles on Montanism by Moller (Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie), Salmon (Dictionary of Christian Biography), and Harnack (Encyclopedia Britannica). Weizsäcker in the Theologische Litteraturzeitung, 1882, no. 4; Bonwetsch, Die Prophetie im apostolischen und nachapostolischen Zeitalter in the Zeitschrift fur kirchliche Wissenschaft und kirchliches Leben, 1884, Parts 8, 9; M. von Engelhardt, Die ersten Versuche zur Aufrichtung des wahren Christenthums in einer Gemeinde von Heiligen, Riga, 1881.

Footnote 194: (return)

In certain vital points the conception of the original nature and history of Montanism, as sketched in the following account, does not correspond with that traditionally current. To establish it in detail would lead us too far. It may be noted that the mistakes in estimating the original character of this movement arise from a superficial examination of the oracles preserved to us and from the unjustifiable practice of interpreting them in accordance with their later application in the circles of Western Montanists. A completely new organisation of Christendom, beginning with the Church in Asia, to be brought about by its being detached from the bonds of the communities and collected into one region, was the main effort of Montanus. In this way he expected to restore to the Church a spiritual character and fulfil the promises contained in John. That is clear from Euseb., V. 16 ff. as well as from the later history of Montanism in its native land (see Jerome, ep. 41; Epiphan., H. 49. 2 etc.). In itself, however, apart from its particular explanation in the case of Montanus, the endeavour to detach Christians from the local Church unions has so little that is striking about it, that one rather wonders at being unable to point to any parallel in the earliest history of the Church. Wherever religious enthusiasm has been strong, it has at all times felt that nothing hinders its effect more than family ties and home connections. But it is just from the absence of similar undertakings in the earliest Christianity that we are justified in concluding that the strength of enthusiastic exaltation is no standard for the strength of Christian faith. (Since these words were written, we have read in Hippolytus' Commentary on Daniel [see Georgiades in the journal Εκκλ. αληθεια 1885, p. 52 sq.] very interesting accounts of such undertakings in the time of Septimius Severus. A Syrian bishop persuaded many brethren with wives and children to go to meet Christ in the wilderness; and another in Pontus induced his people to sell all their possessions, to cease tilling their lands, to conclude no more marriages etc., because the coming of the Lord was nigh at hand.)

Footnote 195: (return)

Oracle of Prisca in Epiph. H. 49. 1.

Footnote 196: (return)

Even in its original home Montanism must have accommodated itself to circumstances at a comparatively early date—which is not in the least extraordinary. No doubt the Montanist Churches in Asia and Phrygia, to which the bishop of Rome had already issued literæ pacis, were now very different from the original followers of the prophets (Tertull., adv. Prax. 1). When Tertullian further reports that Praxeas at the last moment prevented them from being recognised by the bishop of Rome, "falsa de ipsis prophetis et ecclesiis eorum adseverando," the "falsehood about the Churches" may simply have consisted in an account of the original tendencies of the Montanist sect. The whole unique history which, in spite of this, Montanism undoubtedly passed through in its original home is, however explained by the circumstance that there were districts there, where all Christians belonged to that sect (Epiph., H. 51. 33; cf. also the later history of Novatianism). In their peculiar Church organisation (patriarchs, stewards, bishops), these sects preserved a record of their origin.

Footnote 197: (return)

Special weight must be laid on this. The fact that whole communities became followers of the new prophets, who nevertheless adhered to no old regulation, must above all be taken into account.

Footnote 198: (return)

See Oracles 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, 17, 18, 21 in Bonwetsch, l.c., p. 197 f. It can hardly have been customary for Christian prophets to speak like Montanus (Nos. 3-5): εγω κυριος 'ο θεος 'ο παντοκρατωρ καταγινομενος εν ανθροπω, or εγω κυριος 'ο θεος πατηρ ηλθον, or εγω ειμι 'ο πατηρ και 'ο υιος και 'ο παρακλητος, though Old Testament prophecy takes an analogous form. Maximilla says on one occasion (No. 11); απεστειλε με κυριος τουτου του πονου και της επαγγελιας αιρετιστην; and a second time (No. 12): διωκομαι 'ως λυκος εκ προβατων ουκ ειμι λυκος; 'ρημα ειμι και πνευμα και δυναμις. The two utterances do not exclude, but include, one another (cf. also No. 10: εμου μη ακουσητε αλλα Χριστου ακουσατε). From James IV. V. and Hermas, and from the Didache, on the other hand, we can see how the prophets of Christian communities may have usually spoken.

Footnote 199: (return)

L.c., no. 9: Χριστος 'εν ιδεα γυναικος εσχηματισμενος. How variable must the misbirths of the Christian imagination have been in this respect also! Unfortunately almost everything of that kind has been lost to us because it has been suppressed. The fragments of the once highly esteemed Apocalypse of Peter are instructive, for they still attest that the existing remains of early Christian literature are not able to give a correct picture of the strength of religious imagination in the first and second centuries. The passages where Christophanies are spoken of in the earliest literature would require to be collected. It would be shown what naive enthusiasm existed. Jesus appears to believers as a child, as a boy, as a youth, as Paul etc. Conversely, glorified men appear in visions with the features of Christ.

Footnote 200: (return)

See Euseb., H. E. V. 16. 9. In Oracle No. 2 an evangelical promise is repeated in a heightened form; but see Papias in Iren., V. 33. 3 f.

Footnote 201: (return)

We may unhesitatingly act on the principle that the Montanist elements, as they appear in Tertullian, are, in all cases, found not in a strengthened, but a weakened, form. So, when even Tertullian still asserts that the Paraclete in the new prophets could overturn or change, and actually did change, regulations of the Apostles, there is no doubt that the new prophets themselves did not adhere to apostolic dicta and had no hesitation in deviating from them. Cf., moreover, the direct declarations on this point in Hippolytus (Syntagma and Philos. VIII. 19) and in Didymus (de trin. III. 41. 2).

Footnote 202: (return)

The precepts for a Christian life, if we may so speak, given by the new prophets, cannot be determined from the compromises on which the discipline of the later Montanist societies of the Empire were based. Here they sought for a narrow line between the Marcionite and Encratite mode of life and the common church practice, and had no longer the courage and the candour to proclaim the "e sæculo excedere." Sexual purity and the renunciation of the enjoyments of life were the demands of the new prophets. But it is hardly likely that they prescribed precise "laws," for the primary matter was not asceticism, but the realising of a promise. In later days it was therefore possible to conceive the most extreme demands as regulations referring to none but the prophets themselves, and to tone down the oracles in their application to believers. It is said of Montanus himself (Euseb., H. E. V. 18. 2): 'ο διδαξας λυσεις γαμων, 'ο νηστειας νομοθετησας; Prisca was a παρθενος (l.c. § 3); Proculus, the chief of the Roman Montanists, "virginis senectæ" (Tert., adv. Val. 5). The oracle of Prisca (No. 8) declares that sexual purity is the preliminary condition for the oracles and visions of God; it is presupposed in the case of every "sanctus minister." Finally, Origen tells us (in Titum, Opp. IV. 696) that the (older) Cataphrygians said: "ne accedas ad me, quoniam mundus sum; non enim accepi uxorem, nec est sepulcrum patens guttur menin, sed sum Nazarenus dei non bibens vinum sicut illi." But an express legal direction to abolish marriage cannot have existed in the collection of oracles possessed by Tertullian. But who can guarantee that they were not already corrected? Such an assumption, however, is not necessary.

Footnote 203: (return)

Euseb., V. 16. 9: V. 18. 5.

Footnote 204: (return)

It will not do simply to place Montanus and his two female associates in the same category as the prophets of primitive Christian Churches. The claim that the Spirit had descended upon them in unique fashion must have been put forth by themselves with unmistakable clearness. If we apply the principle laid down on p. 98, note 3, we will find that—apart from the prophets' own utterances—this is still clearly manifest from the works of Tertullian. A consideration of the following facts will remove all doubt as to the claim of the new prophets to the possession of an unique mission, (1) From the beginning both opponents and followers constantly applied the title "New Prophecy" to the phenomenon in question (Euseb., V. 16. 4: V. 19. 2; Clem., Strom. IV. 13. 93; Tertull., monog. 14, ieiun. I, resurr. 63, Marc. III. 24.: IV. 22, Prax. 30; Firmil. ep. 75. 7; alii). (2) Similarly, the divine afflatus was, from the first, constantly designated as the "Paraclete" (Orac. no. 5; Tertull. passim; Hippol. passim; Didymus etc.). (3) Even in the third century the Montanist congregations of the Empire must still have doubted whether the Apostles had possessed this Paraclete or not, or at least whether this had been the case in the full sense. Tertullian identifies the Spirit and the Paraclete and declares that the Apostles possessed the latter in full measure—in fact as a Catholic he could not do otherwise. Nevertheless he calls Montanus etc. "prophetæ proprii" of the Spirit (pudic. 12; see Acta Perpet. 21). On the contrary we find in Philos. VIII. 19: 'υπερ δε αποστολους και παν χαρισμα ταυτα τα γυναια δοξαζουιν, 'ως τολμαν πλειον τι Χριστου εν τουτοις λεγειν τινας αυτων γεγονεαι. Pseudo-Tertullian says: "in apostolis quidem dicunt spiritum sanctum fuisse, paracletum non fuisse, et paracletum plura in Montano dixisse quam Christum in evangelio protulisse." In Didymus, l.c., we read: του αποστολου γραψαντος k.t.l., εκεινοι λεγουσιν τον Μοντανον εληλυθεναι και εσχηκεναι το τελειον το του παρακλητον, τουτ' εστιν το του αγιον πνευματος. (4) Lastly, the Montanists asserted that the prediction contained in John XIV. ff. had been fulfilled in the new prophecy, and that from the beginning, as is denoted by the very expression "Paraclete."

What sort of mission they ascribed to themselves is seen from the last quoted passage, for the promises contained in it must be regarded as the enthusiastic carrying out of Montanus' programme. If we read attentively John XIV. 16-21, 23, 26: XV. 20-26: XVI. 7-15, 25 as well as XVII. and X.; if we compare the oracles of the prophets still preserved to us; if we consider the attempt of Montanus to gather the scattered Christians and really form them into a flock, and also his claim to be the bearer of the greatest and last revelations that lead to all truth; and, finally, if we call to mind that in those Johannine discourses Christ designated the coming of the Paraclete as his own coming in the Paraclete and spoke of an immanence and unity of Father, Son, and Paraclete, which one finds re-echoed in Montanus' Oracle No. V., we cannot avoid concluding that the latter's undertaking is based on the impression made on excited and impatient prophets by the promises contained in the Gospel of John, understood in an apocalyptic and realistic sense, and also by Matt. XXIII. 34 (see Euseb., V. 16. 12 sq.). The correctness of this interpretation is proved by the fact that the first decided opponents of the Montanists in Asia—the so-called "Alogi" (Epiph., H. 51)—rejected both the Gospel and Revelation of John, that is, regarded them as written by some one else. Montanism therefore shows us the first and—up till about 180—really the only impression made by the Gospel of John on non-Gnostic Gentile Christians; and what a remarkable one it was! It has a parallel in Marcion's conception of Paulinism. Here we obtain glimpses of a state of matters which probably explains why these writings were made innocuous in the canon. To the view advanced here it cannot be objected that the later adherents of the new prophets founded their claims on the recognised gift of prophecy in the Church, or on a prophetic succession (Euseb, H. E. V. 17. 4; Proculus in the same author, II. 25. 7: III. 31. 4), nor that Tertullian, when it suits him, simply regards the new prophecy as a restitutio (e.g., in Monog. 4); for these assumptions merely represent the unsuccessful attempt to legitimise this phenomenon within the Catholic Church. In proof of the fact that Montanus appealed to the Gospel of John see Jerome, Ep. 41 (Migne I. p. 474), which begins with the words: "Testimonia de Johannis evangelio congregata, quæ tibi quidam Montani sectator ingessit, in quibus salvator noster se ad patrem iturum missurumque paracletum pollicetur etc." In opposition to this Jerome argues that the promises about the Paraclete are fulfilled in Acts II., as Peter said in his speech, and then continues as follows: "Quodsi voluerint respondere et Philippi deinceps quattuor filias prophetasse et prophetam Agabum reperiri et in divisionibus spiritus inter apostolos et doctores et prophetas quoque apostolo scribente formatos. etc."

Footnote 205: (return)

We are assured of this not only by Tertullian, but also by the Roman Montanist Proculus, who, like the former, argued against heretics, and by the testimony of the Church Fathers (see, e.g., Philos. VIII. 19). It was chiefly on the ground of their orthodoxy that Tertullian urged the claim of the new prophets to a hearing; and it was, above all, as a Montanist that he felt himself capable of combating the Gnostics, since the Paraclete not only confirmed the regula, but also by unequivocal utterances cleared up ambiguous and obscure passages in the Holy Scriptures, and (as was asserted) completely rejected doctrines like the Monarchian (see fuga 1, 14; corona 4; virg. vel. 1: Prax. 2, 13, 30; resurr. 63; pud. 1; monog. 2; ieiun. 10, II). Besides, we see from Tertullian's writings that the secession of the Montanist conventicles from the Church was forced upon them.

Footnote 206: (return)

The question as to whether the new prophecy had or had not to be recognised as such became the decisive one (fuga 1, 14; coron. 1; virg. vel. 1; Prax. 1: pudic. 11; monog. 1). This prophecy was recorded in writing (Euseb., V. 18. 1; Epiph., H. 48. 10; Euseb., VI. 20). The putting of this question, however, denoted a fundamental weakening of conviction, which was accompanied by a corresponding falling off in the application of the prophetic utterances.

Footnote 207: (return)

The situation that preceded the acceptance of the new prophecy in a portion of Christendom may be studied in Tertullian's writings "de idolol." and "de spectac." Christianity had already been conceived as a nova lex throughout the whole Church, and this lex had, moreover, been clearly defined in its bearing on the faith. But, as regards outward conduct, there was no definite lex, and arguments in favour both of strictness and of laxity were brought forward from the Holy Scriptures. No divine ordinances about morality could be adduced against the progressive secularising of Christianity; but there was need of statutory commandments by which all the limits were clearly defined. In this state of perplexity the oracles of the new prophets were gladly welcomed; they were utilised in order to justify and invest with divine authority a reaction of a moderate kind. More than that—as may be inferred from Tertullian's unwilling confession—could not be attained; but it is well known that even this result was not reached. Thus the Phrygian movement was employed in support of undertakings, that had no real connection with it. But this was the form in which Montanism first became a factor in the history of the Church. To what extent it had been so before, particularly as regards the creation of a New Testament canon (in Asia Minor and Rome), cannot be made out with certainty.

Footnote 208: (return)

See Bonwetsch, l.c., p. 82-108.

Footnote 209: (return)

This is the point about which Tertullian's difficulties are greatest. Tatian is expressly repudiated in de ieiun. 15.

Footnote 210: (return)

Tertullian (de monog.) is not deterred by such a limitation: "qui potest capere capiat, inquit, id est qui non potest discedat."

Footnote 211: (return)

It is very instructive, but at the same time very painful, to trace Tertullian's endeavours to reconcile the irreconcilable, in other words, to show that the prophecy is new and yet not so; that it does not impair the full authority of the New Testament and yet supersedes it. He is forced to maintain the theory that the Paraclete stands in the same relation to the Apostles as Christ does to Moses, and that he abrogates the concessions made by the Apostles and even by Christ himself; whilst he is at the same time obliged to reassert the sufficiency of both Testaments. In connection with this he hit upon the peculiar theory of stages in revelation—a theory which, were it not a mere expedient in his case, one might regard as the first faint trace of a historical view of the question. Still, this is another case of a dilemma, furnishing theology with a conception that she has cautiously employed in succeeding times, when brought face to face with certain difficulties; see virg. vel. I; exhort. 6; monog. 2, 3, 14; resurr. 63. For the rest, Tertullian is at bottom a Christian of the old stamp; the theory of any sort of finality in revelation is of no use to him except in its bearing on heresy; for the Spirit continually guides to all truth and works wherever he will. Similarly, his only reason for not being an Encratite is that this mode of life had already been adopted by heretics, and become associated with dualism. But the conviction that all religion must have the character of a fixed law and presupposes definite regulations—a belief not emanating from primitive Christianity, but from Rome—bound him to the Catholic Church. Besides, the contradictions with which he struggled were by no means peculiar to him; in so far as the Montanist societies accepted the Catholic regulations, they weighed on them all, and in all probability crushed them out of existence. In Asia Minor, where the breach took place earlier, the sect held its ground longer. In North Africa the residuum was a remarkable propensity to visions, holy dreams, and the like. The feature which forms the peculiar characteristic of the Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas is still found in a similar shape in Cyprian himself, who makes powerful use of visions and dreams; and in the genuine African Acts of the Martyrs, dating from Valerian's time, which are unfortunately little studied. See, above all, the Acta Jacobi, Mariani etc., and the Acta Montani, Lucii etc. (Ruinart, Acta Mart. edit Ratisb. 1859, p. 268 sq., p. 275 sq.)

Footnote 212: (return)

Nothing is known of attempts at a formal incorporation of the Oracles with the New Testament. Besides, the Montanists could dispense with this because they distinguished the commandments of the Paraclete as "novissima lex" from the "novum testamentum." The preface to the Montanist Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas (was Tertullian the author?) showed indeed the high value attached to the visions of martyrs. In so far as these were to be read in the Churches they were meant to be reckoned as an "instrumentum ecclesiæ" in the wider sense.

Footnote 213: (return)

Here the bishops themselves occupy the foreground (there are complaints about their cowardice and serving of two masters in the treatise de fugo). But it would be very unjust simply to find fault with them as Tertullian does. Two interests combined to influence their conduct; for if they drew the reins tight they gave over their flock to heresy or heathenism. This situation is already evident in Hermas and dominates the resolutions of the Church leaders in succeeding generations (see below).

Footnote 214: (return)

The distinction of "Spiritales" and "Psychici" on the part of the Montanists is not confined to the West (see Clem., Strom. IV. 13. 93); we find it very frequently in Tertullian. In itself it did not yet lead to the formal breach with the Catholic Church.

Footnote 215: (return)

A contrast to the bishops and the regular congregational offices existed in primitive Montanism. This was transmitted in a weakened form to the later adherents of the new prophecy (cf. the Gallic confessors' strange letter of recommendation on behalf of Irenæus in Euseb., H. E. V. 4), and finally broke forth with renewed vigour in opposition to the measures of the lax bishops (de pudic. 21; de exhort. 7; Hippolytus against Calixtus). The ecclesia, represented as numerus episcoporum, no longer preserved its prestige in the eyes of Tertullian.

Footnote 216: (return)

See here particularly, de pudicitia 1, where Tertullian sees the virginity of the Church not in pure doctrine, but in strict precepts for a holy life. As will have been seen in this account, the oft debated question as to whether Montanism was an innovation or merely a reaction does not admit of a simple answer. In its original shape it was undoubtedly an innovation; but it existed at the end of a period when one cannot very well speak of innovations, because no bounds had yet been set to subjective religiosity. Montanus decidedly went further than any Christian prophets known to us; Hermas, too, no doubt gave injunctions, as a prophet, which gave rise to innovations in Christendom; but these fell short of Montanus' proceedings. In its later shape, however, Montanism was to all intents and purposes a reaction, which aimed at maintaining or reviving an older state of things. So far, however, as this was to be done by legislation, by a novissima lex, we have an evident innovation analogous to the Catholic development. Whereas in former times exalted enthusiasm had of itself, as it were, given rise to strict principles of conduct among its other results, these principles, formulated with exactness and detail, were now meant to preserve or produce that original mode of life. Moreover, as soon as the New Testament was recognised, the conception of a subsequent revelation through the Paraclete was a highly questionable and strange innovation. But for those who acknowledged the new prophecy all this was ultimately nothing but a means. Its practical tendency, based as it was on the conviction that the Church abandons her character if she does not resist gross secularisation at least, was no innovation, but a defence of the most elementary requirements of primitive Christianity in opposition to a Church that was always more and more becoming a new thing.

Footnote 217: (return)

There were of course a great many intermediate stages between the extremes of laxity and rigour, and the new prophecy was by no means recognised by all those who had strict views as to the principles of Christian polity; see the letters of Dionysius of Corinth in Euseb., H. E. IV. 23. Melito, the prophet, eunuch, and bishop, must also be reckoned as one of the stricter party, but not as a Montanist. We must judge similarly of Irenæus.

Footnote 218: (return)

Euseb., H. E. V. 16. 17. The life of the prophets themselves was subsequently subjected to sharp criticism.

Footnote 219: (return)

This was first done by the so-called Alogi who, however, had to be repudiated.

Footnote 220: (return)

De ieiun. 12, 16.

Footnote 221: (return)

Tertullian protested against this in the most energetic manner.

Footnote 222: (return)

It is well known that in the 3rd century the Revelation of John itself was viewed with suspicion and removed from the canon in wide circles in the East.

Footnote 223: (return)

In the West the Chiliastic hopes were little or not at all affected by the Montanist struggle. Chiliasm prevailed there in unimpaired strength as late as the 4th century. In the East, on the contrary, the apocalyptic expectations were immediately weakened by the Montanist crisis. But it was philosophical theology that first proved their mortal enemy. In the rural Churches of Egypt Chiliasm was still widely prevalent after the middle of the 3rd century; see the instructive 24th chapter of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Book VII. "Some of their teachers," says Dionysius, "look on the Law and the Prophets as nothing, neglect to obey the Gospel, esteem the Epistles of the Apostles as little worth, but, on the contrary, declare the doctrine contained in the Revelation of John to be a great and a hidden mystery." There were even temporary disruptions in the Egyptian Church on account of Chiliasm (see Chap. 24. 6).

Footnote 224: (return)

"Lex et prophetæ usque ad Johannem" now became the motto. Churchmen spoke of a "completus numerus prophetarum" (Muratorian Fragment), and formulated the proposition that the prophets corresponded to the pre-Christian stage of revelation, but the Apostles to the Christian; and that in addition to this the apostolic age was also particularly distinguished by gifts of the Spirit. "Prophets and Apostles" now replaced "Apostles, prophets, and teachers," as the court of appeal. Under such circumstances prophecy might still indeed exist; but it could no longer be of a kind capable of ranking, in the remotest degree, with the authority of the Apostles in point of importance. Hence it was driven into a corner, became extinct, or at most served only to support the measures of the bishops. In order to estimate the great revolution in the spirit of the times let us compare the utterances of Irenæus and Origen about gifts of the Spirit and prophecy. Irenæus still expressed himself exactly like Justin (Dial. 39, 81, 82, 88); he says (II. 32. 4: V. 6. 1): καθως και πολλων ακουομεν αδελφων 'εν τη εκκλησια προφητικα χαρισματα εχοντων κ.τ.λ. Origen on the contrary (see numerous passages, especially in the treatise c. Cels.), looks back to a period after which the Spirit's gifts in the Church ceased. It is also a very characteristic circumstance that along with the naturalisation of Christianity in the world, the disappearance of charisms, and the struggle against Gnosticism, a strictly ascetic mode of life came to be viewed with suspicion. Euseb., H. E. V. 3 is especially instructive on this point. Here it is revealed to the confessor Attalus that the confessor Alcibiades, who even in captivity continued his ascetic practice of living on nothing but bread and water, was wrong in refraining from that which God had created and thus become a "τυπος σκανδαλου" to others. Alcibiades changed his mode of life. In Africa, however, (see above, p. 103) dreams and visions still retained their authority in the Church as important means of solving perplexities.

Footnote 225: (return)

Tertullian, adv. Marc. IV. 9, enumerates "septem maculas capitalium delictorum," namely, "idololatria," "blasphemia," "homicidium," "adulterium," "stuprum," "falsum testimonium," "fraus." The stricter treatment probably applied to all these seven offences. So far as I know, the lapse into heresy was not placed in the same category in the first centuries; see Iren. III. 4. 2: Tertull., de præscr. 30 and, above all, de pudic. 19 init.; the anonymous writer in Euseb., H. E. V. 28. 12, from which passages it is evident that repentant heretics were readmitted.

Footnote 226: (return)

Hermas based the admissibility of a second atonement on a definite divine revelation to this effect, and did not expressly discuss the admission of gross sinners into the Church generally, but treated of their reception into that of the last days, which he believed had already arrived. See particulars on this point in my article "Lapsi," in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, 2 ed. Cf. Preuschen, Tertullian's Schriften de pænit. et de pudic. mit Rücksicht auf die Bussdisciplin, 1890; Rolffs, Indulgenz-Edict des Kallistus, 1893.

Footnote 227: (return)

In the work de pænit. (7 ff.) Tertullian treats this as a fixed Church regulation. K. Müller, Kirchengeschichte I. 1892, p. 114, rightly remarks: "He who desired this expiation continued in the wider circle of the Church, in her 'antechamber' indeed, but as her member in the wider sense. This, however, did not exclude the possibility of his being received again, even in this world, into the ranks of those possessing full Christian privileges,—after the performance of penance or exhomologesis. But there was no kind of certainty as to that taking place. Meanwhile this exhomologesis itself underwent a transformation which in Tertullian includes a whole series of basal religious ideas. It is no longer a mere expression of inward feeling, confession to God and the brethren, but is essentially performance. It is the actual attestation of heartfelt sorrow, the undertaking to satisfy God by works of self-humiliation and abnegation, which he can accept as a voluntarily endured punishment and therefore as a substitute for the penalty that naturally awaits the sinner. It is thus the means of pacifying God, appeasing his anger, and gaining his favour again—with the consequent possibility of readmission into the Church. I say the possibility, for readmission does not always follow. Participation in the future kingdom may be hoped for even by him who in this world is shut out from full citizenship and merely remains in the ranks of the penitent. In all probability then it still continued the rule for a person to remain till death in a state of penance or exhomologesis. For readmission continued to involve the assumption that the Church had in some way or other become certain that God had forgiven the sinner, or in other words that she had power to grant this forgiveness in virtue of the Spirit dwelling in her, and that this readmission therefore involved no violation of her holiness." In such instances it is first prophets and then martyrs that appear as organs of the Spirit, till at last it is no longer the inspired Christian, but the professional medium of the Spirit, viz., the priest, who decides everything.

Footnote 228: (return)

In the 2nd century even endeavours at a formal repetition of baptism were not wholly lacking. In Marcionite congregations repetition of baptism is said to have taken place (on the Elkesaites see Vol. I. p. 308). One can only wonder that there is not more frequent mention of such attempts. The assertion of Hippolytus (Philos. IX. 12 fin.) is enigmatical: Επι Καλλιστου προτω τετολμηται δευτερον αυτοις βαπτισμα.

Footnote 229: (return)

See Tertull., de pudic. 12: "hinc est quod neque idololatriæ neque sanguini pax ab ecclesiis redditur." Orig., de orat. 28 fin; c. Cels. III. 50.

Footnote 230: (return)

It is only of whoremongers and idolaters that Tertullian expressly speaks in de pudic. c. I. We must interpret in accordance with this the following statement by Hippolytus in Philos. IX. 12: Καλλιστος πρωτος τα προς τας 'ηδονας τοις ανθρωποις συνχωρειν επενοησε, λεγων πασιν 'υπ' αυτου αφιεσθαι 'αμαρτιας. The aim of this measure is still clear from the account of it given by Hippolytus, though this indeed is written in a hostile spirit. Roman Christians were then split into at least five different sects, and Calixtus left nothing undone to break up the unfriendly parties and enlarge his own. In all probability, too, the energetic bishop met with a certain measure of success. From Euseb., H. E. IV. 23. 6, one might be inclined to conclude that, even in Marcus Aurelius' time, Dionysius of Corinth had issued lax injunctions similar to those of Calixtus. But it must not be forgotten that we have nothing but Eusebius' report; and it is just in questions of this kind that his accounts are not reliable.

Footnote 231: (return)

No doubt persecutions were practically unknown in the period between 220 and 260.

Footnote 232: (return)

See Cypr., de lapsis.

Footnote 233: (return)

What scruples were caused by this innovation is shown by the first 40 letters in Cyprian's collection. He himself had to struggle with painful doubts.

Footnote 234: (return)

Apart from some epistles of Cyprian, Socrates, H. E. V. 22, is our chief source of information on this point. See also Conc. Illib. can. 1, 2, 6-8, 12, 17, 18-47, 70-73, 75.

Footnote 235: (return)

See my article "Novatian" in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, 2nd ed. One might be tempted to assume that the introduction of the practice of unlimited forgiveness of sins was an "evangelical reaction" against the merciless legalism which, in the case of the Gentile Church indeed, had established itself from the beginning. As a matter of fact the bishops and the laxer party appealed to the New Testament in justification of their practice. This had already been done by the followers of Calixtus and by himself. See Philos. IX. 12: φασκοντες Χριστον αφιεναι τοις ευδοκουσι; Rom. XIV. 4 and Matt. XIII. 29 were also quoted. Before this Tertullian's opponents who favoured laxity had appealed exactly in the same way to numerous Bible texts, e.g., Matt. X. 23: XI. 19 etc., see de monog, de pudic., de ieiun. Cyprian is also able to quote many passages from the Gospels. However, as the bishops and their party did not modify their conception of baptism, but rather maintained in principle, as before, that baptism imposes only obligations for the future, the "evangelical reaction" must not be estimated very highly; (see below, p. 117, and my essay in the Zeitschrift fur Theologie und Kirche, Vol. I., "Die ehre von der Seligkeit allein durch den Glauben in der alten Kirche.")

Footnote 236: (return)

The distinction of sins committed against God himself, as we find it in Tertullian, Cyprian, and other Fathers, remains involved in an obscurity that I cannot clear up.

Footnote 237: (return)

Cyprian never expelled any one from the Church, unless he had attacked the authority of the bishops, and thus in the opinion of this Father placed himself outside her pale by his own act.

Footnote 238: (return)

Hippol., Philos. IX. 12: Και παραβολην των ζιζανιων προς τουτο εφη 'ο Καλλιστος λεγεσθαι. Αφετε τα ζιζανια συναυξειν τω σιτω, τουτεστιν εν τη εκκλησια τους 'αμαρτανοντας. Αλλα και την κιβωτον του Νωε εις 'ομοιωμα εκκλησιας εφη γεγονεναι, εν 'η και κυνες και λυκοι και κορακες και παντα τα καθαρα και ακαθαρτα; 'ουτω φασκων δειν ειναι εν εκκλησια 'ομοιως, και 'οσα προς τουτο δυνατος ην συναγειν 'ουτως 'ηρμηνευσεν. From Tertull., de idolol. 24, one cannot help assuming that even before the year 200 the laxer sort in Carthage had already appealed to the Ark. ("Viderimus si secundum arcæ typum et corvus et milvus et lupus et canis et serpens in ecclesia erit. Certe idololatres in arcæ typo non habetur. Quod in arca non fuit, in ecclesia non sit"). But we do not know what form this took and what inferences they drew. Moreover, we have here a very instructive example of the multitudinous difficulties in which the Fathers were involved by typology: the Ark is the Church, hence the dogs and snakes are men. To solve these problems it required an abnormal degree of acuteness and wit, especially as each solution always started fresh questions. Orig. (Hom. II. in Genes. III.) also viewed the Ark as the type of the Church (the working out of the image in Hom. I. in Ezech., Lomm. XIV. p. 24 sq., is instructive); but apparently in the wild animals he rather sees the simple Christians who are not yet sufficiently trained—at any rate he does not refer to the whoremongers and adulterers who must be tolerated in the Church. The Roman bishop Stephen again, positively insisted on Calixtus' conception of the Church, whereas Cornelius followed Cyprian (see Euseb., H. E. VI. 43. 10), who never declared sinners to be a necessary part of the Church in the same fashion as Calixtus did. (See the following note and Cyp., epp. 67. 6; 68. 5).

Footnote 239: (return)

Philos., l.c.: Καλλιστος εδογματισεν 'οπως ει επισκοπος 'αμαρτοι τι, ει και προς θανατον, μη δειν κατατιθεσθαι. That Hippolytus is not exaggerating here is evident from Cyp., epp. 67, 68; for these passages make it very probable that Stephen also assumed the irremovability of a bishop on account of gross sins or other failings.

Footnote 240: (return)

See Cypr., epp. 65, 66, 68; also 55. 11.

Footnote 241: (return)

This is asserted by Cyprian in epp. 65. 4 and 67. 3; but he even goes on to declare that everyone is polluted that has fellowship with an impure priest, and takes part in the offering celebrated by him.

Footnote 242: (return)

On this point the greatest uncertainty prevails in Cyprian. Sometimes he says that God himself installs the bishops, and it is therefore a deadly sin against God to criticise them (e.g., in ep. 66. 1); on other occasions he remembers that the bishops have been ordained by bishops; and again, as in ep. 67. 3, 4, he appears to acknowledge the community's right to choose and control them. Cf. the sections referring to Cyprian in Reuter's "Augustinische Studien" (Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, Vol. VII., p. 199 ff.).

Footnote 243: (return)

The Donatists were quite justified in appealing to Cyprian, that is, in one of his two aspects.

Footnote 244: (return)

Origen not only distinguishes between different groups within the Church as judged by their spiritual understanding and moral development (Comm. in Matt. Tom. XI. at Chap. XV. 29; Hom. II. in Genes. Chap. 3; Hom. in Cantic. Tom. I. at Chap. I. 4: "ecclesia una quidem est, cum perfecta est; multæ vero sunt adolescentulæ, cum adhuc instruuntur et proficiunt"; Hom. III. in Levit. Chap. iii.), but also between spiritual and carnal members (Hom. XXVI. in Num. Chap. vii.) i.e., between true Christians and those who only bear that name without heartfelt faith—who outwardly take part in everything, but bring forth fruits neither in belief nor conduct. Such Christians he as little views as belonging to the Church as does Clement of Alexandria (see Strom. VII. 14. 87, 88). To him they are like the Jebusites who were left in Jerusalem: they have no part in the promises of Christ, but are lost (Comm. in Matt. T. XII. c. xii.). It is the Church's task to remove such members, whence we see that Origen was far from sharing Calixtus' view of the Church as a corpus permixtum; but to carry out this process so perfectly that only the holy and the saved remain is a work beyond the powers of human sagacity. One must therefore content oneself with expelling notorious sinners; see Hom. XXI. in Jos., c. i.: "sunt qui ignobilem et degenerem vitam ducunt, qui et fide et actibus et omni conversatione sua perversi sunt. Neque enim possibile est, ad liquidum purgari ecclesiam, dum in terris est, ita ut neque impius in ea quisquam, neque peccator residere videatur, sed sint in ea omnes sancti et beati, et in quibus nulla prorsus peccati macula deprehendatur. Sed sicut dicitur de zizaniis: Ne forte eradicantes zizania simul eradicetis et triticum, ita etiam super iis dici potest, in quibus vel dubia vel occulta peccata sunt.... Eos saltem eiiciamus quos possumus, quorum peccata manifesta sunt. Ubi enim peccatum non est evidens, eiicere de ecclesia neminem possumus." In this way indeed very many wicked people remain in the Church (Comm. in Matt. T. X. at c. xiii. 47 f.: μη ξενιζομεθα, εαν 'ορωμεν 'ημων τα αθροισματα πεπληρωμενα και πονηρων); but in his work against Celsus Origen already propounded that empiric and relative theory of the Christian Churches which views them as simply "better" than the societies and civic communities existing alongside of them. The 29th and 30th chapters of the 3rd book against Celsus, in which he compares the Christians with the other population of Athens, Corinth, and Alexandria, and the heads of congregations with the councillors and mayors of these cities, are exceedingly instructive and attest the revolution of the times. In conclusion, however, we must point out that Origen expressly asserts that a person unjustly excommunicated remains a member of the Church in God's eyes; see Hom. XIV. in Levit. c. iii.: "ita fit, ut interdum ille qui foras mittitur intussit, et ille foris, qui intus videtur retineri." Döllinger (Hippolytus and Calixtus, page 254 ff.) has correctly concluded that Origen followed the disputes between Hippolytus and Calixtus in Rome, and took the side of the former. Origen's trenchant remarks about the pride and arrogance of the bishops of large towns (in Matth. XI. 9. 15; XII. 9-14; XVI. 8. 22 and elsewhere, e.g., de orat. 28, Hom. VI. in Isai c. i., in Joh. X. 16), and his denunciation of such of them as, in order to glorify God, assume a mere distinction of names between Father and Son, are also correctly regarded by Langen as specially referring to the Roman ecclesiastics (Geschichte der römischen Kirche I. p. 242). Thus Calixtus was opposed by the three greatest theologians of the age—Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Origen.

Footnote 245: (return)

If, in assuming the irremovability of a bishop even in case of mortal sin, the Roman bishops went beyond Cyprian, Cyprian drew from his conception of the Church a conclusion which the former rejected, viz., the invalidity of baptism administered by non-Catholics. Here, in all likelihood, the Roman bishops were only determined by their interest in smoothing the way to a return or admission to the Church in the case of non-Catholics. In this instance they were again induced to adhere to their old practice from a consideration of the catholicity of the Church. It redounds to Cyprian's credit that he drew and firmly maintained the undeniable inferences from his own theory in spite of tradition. The matter never led to a great dogmatic controversy.

Footnote 246: (return)

As to the events during the vacancy in the Roman see immediately before Novatian's schism, and the part then played by the latter, who was still a member of the Church, see my essay: "Die Briefe des römischen Klerus aus der Zeit. der Sedisvacanz im Jahre 250" (Abhandl. f. Weizsäcker, 1892).

Footnote 247: (return)

So far as we are able to judge, Novatian himself did not extend the severer treatment to all gross sinners (see ep. 55. 26, 27); but only decreed it in the case of the lapsed. It is, however, very probable that in the later Novatian Churches no mortal sinner was absolved (see, e.g., Socrates, H. E. I. 10). The statement of Ambrosius (de pænit. III. 3) that Novatian made no difference between gross and lesser sins and equally refused forgiveness to transgressors of every kind distorts the truth as much as did the old reproach laid to his charge, viz., that he as "a Stoic" made no distinction between sins. Moreover, in excluding gross sinners, Novatian's followers did not mean to abandon them, but to leave them under the discipline and intercession of the Church.

Footnote 248: (return)

The title of the evangelical life (evangelical perfection, imitation of Christ) in contrast to that of ordinary Catholic Christians, a designation which we first find among the Encratites (see Vol. I. p. 237, note 3) and Marcionites (see Tertull., adv. Marc. IV. 14: "Venio nunc ad ordinarias sententias Marcionis, per quas proprietatem doctrinæ suæ inducit ad edictum, ut ita dixerim, Christi, Beati mendici etc."), and then in Tertullian (in his pre-Montanist period, see ad mart., de patient., de pænit., de idolol.; in his later career, see de coron. 8, 9, 13, 14; de fuga 8, 13; de ieiun. 6, 8, 15; de monog. 3, 5, 11; see Aubé, Les Chrétiens dans l'empire Romain de la fin des Antonins, 1881, p. 237 ff.: "Chrétiens intransigeants et Chrétiens opportunistes") was expressly claimed by Novatian (Cypr., ep. 44. 3: "si Novatiani se adsertores evangelii et Christi esse confitentur"; 46. 2: "nec putetis, sic vos evangelium Christi adserere"). Cornelius in Eusebius, H. E. VI. 43. II calls Novatian: 'ο εκδικητης του ευαγγελιου. This is exceedingly instructive, and all the more so when we note that, even as far back as the end of the second century, it was not the "evangelical," but the lax, who declared the claims of the Gospel to be satisfied if they kept God in their hearts, but otherwise lived in entire conformity with the world. See Tertullian, de spec. 1; de pænit. 5: "Sed aiunt quidam, satis deum habere, si corde et animo suspiciatur, licet actu minus fiat; itaque se salvo metu et fide peccare, hoc est salva castitate matrimonia violare etc.": de ieiun. 2: "Et scimus, quales sint carnalium commodorum suasoriæ, quam facile dicatur: Opus est de totis præcordiis credam, diligam deum et proximum tanquam me. In his enim duobus præceptis tota lex pendet et prophetæ, non in pulmonum et intestinorum meorum inanitate." The Valentinian Heracleon was similarly understood, see above Vol. I. p. 262.

Footnote 249: (return)

Tertullian (de pud. 22) had already protested vigorously against such injustice.

Footnote 250: (return)

From Socrates' Ecclesiastical History we can form a good idea of the state of the Novatian communities in Constantinople and Asia Minor. On the later history of the Catharist Church see my article "Novatian," l.c., 667 ff. The most remarkable feature of this history is the amalgamation of Novatian's adherents in Asia Minor with the Montanists and the absence of distinction between their manner of life and that of the Catholics. In the 4th century of course the Novatians were nevertheless very bitterly attacked.

Footnote 251: (return)

This indeed was disputed by Hippolytus and Origen.

Footnote 252: (return)

This last conclusion was come to after painful scruples, particularly in the East—as we may learn from the 6th and 7th books of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. For a time the majority of the Oriental bishops adopted an attitude favourable to Novatian and unfavourable to Cornelius and Cyprian. Then they espoused the cause of the latter, though without adopting the milder discipline in all cases (see the canons of Ancyra and Neocæsarea IV. sæc. init.). Throughout the East the whole question became involved in confusion, and was not decided in accordance with clear principles. In giving up the last remnant of her exclusiveness (the canons of Elvira are still very strict while those of Arles are lax), the Church became "Catholic" in quite a special sense, in other words, she became a community where everyone could find his place, provided he submitted to certain regulations and rules. Then, and not till then, was the Church's pre-eminent importance for society and the state assured. It was no longer variance, and no longer the sword (Matt. X. 34, 35), but peace and safety that she brought; she was now capable of becoming an educative or, since there was little more to educate in the older society, a conservative power. At an earlier date the Apologists (Justin, Melito, Tertullian himself) had already extolled her as such, but it was not till now that she really possessed this capacity. Among Christians, first the Encratites and Marcionites, next the adherents of the new prophecy, and lastly the Novatians had by turns opposed the naturalisation of their religion in the world and the transformation of the Church into a political commonwealth. Their demands had progressively become less exacting, whence also their internal vigour had grown ever weaker. But, in view of the continuous secularising of Christendom, the Montanist demands at the beginning of the 3rd century already denoted no less than those of the Encratites about the middle of the second, and no more than those of the Novatians about the middle of the third. The Church resolutely declared war on all these attempts to elevate evangelical perfection to an inflexible law for all, and overthrew her opponents. She pressed on in her world-wide mission and appeased her conscience by allowing a twofold morality within her bounds. Thus she created the conditions which enabled the ideal of evangelical perfection to be realised in her own midst, in the form of monasticism, without threatening her existence. "What is monasticism but an ecclesiastical institution that makes it possible to separate oneself from the world and to remain in the Church, to separate oneself from the outward Church without renouncing her, to set oneself apart for purposes of sanctification and yet to claim the highest rank among her members, to form a brotherhood and yet to further the interests of the Church?" In succeeding times great Church movements, such as the Montanist and Novatian, only succeeded in attaining local or provincial importance. See the movement at Rome at the beginning of the 4th century, of which we unfortunately know so little (Lipsius, Chronologie der römischen Bischofe, pp. 250-255), the Donatist Revolution, and the Audiani in the East.

Footnote 253: (return)

It is a characteristic circumstance that Tertullian's de ieiun. does not assume that the great mass of Christians possess an actual knowledge of the Bible.

Footnote 254: (return)

The condition of the constitution of the Church about the middle of the 3rd century (in accordance with Cyprian's epistles) is described by Otto Ritschl, l.c., pp. 142-237. Parallels to the provincial and communal constitution of secular society are to be found throughout.

Footnote 255: (return)

To how great an extent the Church in Decius' time was already a state within the state is shown by a piece of information given in Cyprian's 55th epistle (c. 9.): "Cornelius sedit intrepidus Romæ in sacerdotali cathedra eo tempore: cum tyrannus infestus sacerdotibus dei fanda adque infanda comminaretur, cum multo patientius et tolerabilius audiret levari adversus se æmulum principem quam constitui Romæ dei sacerdotem." On the other hand the legislation with regard to Christian flamens adopted by the Council of Elvira, which, as Duchesne (Mélanges Renier: Le Concile d'Elvire et les flamines chrétiens, 1886) has demonstrated, most probably dates from before the Diocletian persecution of 300, shows how closely the discipline of the Church had already been adapted to the heathen regulations in the Empire. In addition to this there was no lack of syncretist systems within Christianity as early as the 3rd century (see the Κεστοι of Julius Africanus, and other examples). Much information on this point is to be derived from Origen's works and also, in many respects, from the attitude of this author himself. We may also refer to relic- and hero-worship, the foundation of which was already laid in the 3rd century, though the "religion of the second order" did not become a recognised power in the Church or force itself into the official religion till the 4th.

Footnote 256: (return)

See Tertullian's frightful accusations in de pudic. (10) and de ieiun. (fin) against the "Psychici", i.e., the Catholic Christians. He says that with them the saying had really come to signify "peccando promeremur," by which, however, he does not mean the Augustinian: "o felix culpa."

Footnote 257: (return)

The relation of this Church to theology, what theology she required and what she rejected, and, moreover, to what extent she rejected the kind that she accepted may be seen by reference to chap. 5 ff. We may here also direct attention to the peculiar position of Origen in the Church as well as to that of Lucian the Martyr, concerning whom Alexander of Alexandria (Theoderet, H. E. I. 3) remarks that he was a αποσυναγωγος in Antioch for a long time, namely, during the rule of three successive bishops.

Footnote 258: (return)

We have already referred to the passage above. On account of its importance we may quote it here:

"According to Celsus Apollo required the Metapontines to regard Aristeas as a god; but in their eyes the latter was but a man and perhaps not a virtuous one ... They would therefore not obey Apollo, and thus it happened that no one believed in the divinity of Aristeas. But with regard to Jesus we may say that it proved a blessing to the human race to acknowledge him as the Son of God, as God who appeared on earth united with body and soul." Origen then says that the demons counterworked this belief, and continues: "But God who had sent Jesus on earth brought to nought all the snares and plots of the demons and aided in the victory of the Gospel of Jesus throughout the whole earth in order to promote the conversion and amelioration of men; and everywhere brought about the establishment of Churches which are ruled by other laws than those that regulate the Churches of the superstitious, the dissolute and the unbelieving. For of such people the civil population (πολιτευομενα εν ταις εκκλησιαις των πολεων πληθη) of the towns almost everywhere consists." 'Αι δε του Θεου Χριστω μαθητευθεσαι εκκλησιαι, συνεζεταζομεναι ταις ων παροικουσι δημων εκκλησιαις, 'ως φωτηρες εισιν εν κοσμω. τις γαρ ουκ αν 'ομολογησαι, και τους χειρους των απο της εκκλησιας και συγκρισει βελτιονων ελαττους πολλω κρειττους τυγξ'ανειν των εν τοις δεμοις εκκλησιων; εκκλησια μεν γαρ του θεου, φερ' ειπειν, 'η Αθηναεσι πραεια τις και ευσταθης, 'ατε Θεω αρεσκειν τω επι πασι βουλομενη; 'η δ' Αθηναιων εκκλησια στασιωδης και ουδαμως παραβαλλομενη τη εκει εκκλησια του Θεου; το δ' αυτο ερεις, περι εκκλησιας του Θεου της εν Κορινθω και της εκκλησιας του δημον Κορινθιων; και, φερ' ειπειν, περι εκκλησιας του Θεου της εν Αλεξανδρεια, και εκκλησιας του Αλεξανδρεων δημου, και εαν ευγνωμων 'η 'ο τουτου ακουων και φιλαληθως εξεταζη τα πραγματα, θαυμασεται τον και βουλευσαμενον και ανουσαι δυνηθεντα πανταχου συστησασθαι εκκλησιας του Θεου, παροικουσας εκκλησιας των καθ' 'εκαστην πολιν δημων 'ουτω δε και βουλην εκκλησιας Θεου βουλη τη καθ' 'εκαστην πολιν συνεξεταζων 'ευροις αν 'οτι τινες μεν της εκκλησιας βουλευται εξιοι εισι—ει τις εστιν εν τω παντι πολις του Θεου—εν εκεινη πολιτευεσθαι 'οι δε πανταχου βουλευται ουδεν εξιον της εκ καταταξεως 'υπεροχης, 'ην 'υπερεχειν δοκουσι των πολιτων, φερουσιν εν τοις 'εαυτων ηθεσιν; 'ουτω δε και αρχοντα εκκλησιας 'εκαστης πολεως αρχοντι των εν τη πολει συγκροτεον; 'ινα κατανοησυς, 'οτι και επι των σφοδρα αποτυγχανομενοω βουλετων και αρχοντων εκκλησιας Θεου, και ρ'αθυμοτερον παρα τους ευτονωτερως βιουντας ουδεν ηττον εστιν 'ευρειν 'ως επιπαν 'υπεροχην την εν τη επι τας αρετας προκοπη παρα τα ηθη των εν ταις πολεσι βουλευτων και αρχοντων.

Footnote 259: (return)

Ritschl, Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche pp. 362, 368, 394, 461, 555, 560, 576. Otto Ritschl, l.c., pp. 208, 218, 231. Hatch "Organisation of the early Christian Church," Lectures 5 and 6; id., Art. "Ordination," "Priest," in the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. Hauck, Art. "Priester" in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, 2nd ed. Voigt, l.c., p. 175 ff. Sohm, Kirchenrecht I. p. 205 ff. Louw, Het ontstaan van het Priesterschap in de christ. Kerk, Utrecht, 1892.

Footnote 260: (return)

Clement of Rome was the first to compare the conductors of public worship in Christian Churches with the priests and Levites, and the author of the Διδαχη was the first to liken the Christian prophets to the high priests. It cannot, however, be shown that there were any Christian circles where the leaders were directly styled "priests" before the last quarter of the 2nd century. We can by no means fall back on Ignatius, Philad. 9, nor on Iren., IV. 8. 3, which passage is rather to be compared with Διδ. 13. 3. It is again different in Gnostic circles, which in this case, too, anticipated the secularising process: read for example the description of Marcus in Iren., I. 13. Here, mutatis mutandis, we have the later Catholic bishop, who alone is able to perform a mysterious sacrifice to whose person powers of grace are attached—the formula of bestowal was: μεταδουναι σοι θελω της εμης χαριτος ... λαμβανε απ' εμου και δι' εμου χαριν, and through whose instrumentality union with God can alone be attained: the απολυτρωσις (I. 21.) is only conferred through the mystagogue. Much of a similar nature is to be found, and we can expressly say that the distinction between priestly mystagogues and laymen was of fundamental importance in many Gnostic societies (see also the writings of the Coptic Gnostics); it was different in the Marcionite Church. Tertullian (de bapt. 17) was the first to call the bishop "summus sacerdos," and the older opinion that he merely "played" with the idea is untenable, and refuted by Pseudo-Cyprian, de aleat. 2 ("sacerdotalis dignitas"). In his Antimontanist writings the former has repeatedly repudiated any distinction in principle of a particular priestly class among Christians, as well as the application of certain injunctions to this order (de exhort. 7: "nonne et laici sacerdotes sumus? ... adeo ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non est consessus, et offeis et tinguis et sacerdos es tibi solus, sed ubi tres, ecclesia est, licet laici."; de monog. 7). We may perhaps infer from his works that before about the year 200, the name "priest" was not yet universally applied to bishop and presbyters in Carthage (but see after this de præscr. 29, 41: sacerdotalia munera; de pud. 1, 21; de monog. 12: disciplina sacerd.; de exhort. 7: sacerdotalis ordo, ibid. 11 "et offeres pro duabus uxoribus, et commendabis illas duas per sacerdotem de monogamia ordinatum; de virg. vel. 9: sacerdotale officium;" Scorp. 7: sacerdos). The latest writings of Tertullian show us indeed that the name and the conception which it represents were already prevalent. Hippolytus (Philos. præf.: 'ων 'ημεις διαδοχοι τυγχανοντες της τε αυτης χαριτος μετεχοντες αρχιερατειας και διδασκαλιας, see also the Arabian canons) expressly claimed high priesthood for the bishops, and Origen thought he was justified in giving the name of "Priests and Levites" to those who conducted public worship among Christians. This he indeed did with reserve (see many passages, e.g., Hom. II. in Num., Vol. II. p. 278; Hom. VI. in Lev., Vol. II. p. 211; Comment, in Joh., Vol. I. 3), but yet to a far greater extent than Clement (see Bigg, l.c., p. 214 f.). In Cyprian and the literature of the Greek Church in the immediately following period we find the designation "priest" as the regular and most customary name for the bishop and presbyters. Novatian (Jerome, de vir. inl. 70) wrote a treatise de sacerdote and another de ordinatione. The notable and momentous change of conception expressed in the idea can be traced by us through its preparatory stages almost as little as the theory of the apostolic succession of the bishops. Irenæus (IV. 8. 3, 17. 5, 18. 1) and Tertullian, when compared with Cyprian, appear here as representatives of primitive Christianity. They firmly assert the priesthood of the whole congregation. That the laity had as great a share as the leaders of the Churches in the transformation of the latter into Priests is moreover shown by the bitter saying of Tertullian (de monog. 12): "Sed cum extollimur et inflamur adversus clerum, tunc unum omnes sumus, tunc omnes sacerdotes, quia 'sacerdotes nos deo et patri fecit'. Cum ad peræquationem disciplinæ sacerdotalis provocamur, deponimus infulas."

Footnote 261: (return)

See Sohm, I. p. 207.

Footnote 262: (return)

The "deservire altari et sacrificia divina celebrare" (Cypr. ep. 67. 1) is the distinctive function of the sacerdos dei. It may further be said, however, that all ceremonies of public worship properly belong to him, and Cyprian has moreover contrived to show that this function of the bishop as leader of the Church follows from his priestly attributes; for as priest the bishop is antistes Christi (dei); see epp. 59. 18: 61. 2: 63. 14: 66. 5, and this is the basis of his right and duty to preserve the lex evangelica and the traditio dominica in every respect. As antistes dei however, an attribute bestowed on the bishop by the apostolic succession and the laying on of hands, he has also received the power of the keys, which confers the right to judge in Christ's stead and to grant or refuse the divine grace. In Cyprian's conception of the episcopal office the successio apostolica and the position of vicegerent of Christ (of God) counterbalance each other; he also tried to amalgamate both elements (ep. 55. 8: "cathedra sacerdotalis"). It is evident that as far as the inner life of each church was concerned, the latter and newer necessarily proved the more important feature. In the East, where the thought of the apostolical succession of the bishops never received such pronounced expression as in Rome it was just this latter element that was almost exclusively emphasised from the end of the 3rd century. Ignatius led the way when he compared the bishop, in his position towards the individual community, with God and Christ. He, however, is dealing in images, but at a later period the question is about realities based on a mysterious transference.

Footnote 263: (return)

Soon after the creation of a professional priesthood, there also arose a class of inferior clergy. This was first the case in Rome. This development was not uninfluenced by the heathen priesthood, and the temple service (see my article in Texte und Untersuchungen II. 5). Yet Sohm, l.c., p. 128 ff., has disputed this, and proposed modifications, worth considering, in my view of the origin of the ordines minores.

Footnote 264: (return)

Along with the sacerdotal laws, strictly so called, which Cyprian already understood to apply in a frightful manner (see his appeal to Deut. XVII. 12; 1 Sam. VIII. 7; Luke X. 16; John XVIII. 22 f.; Acts XXIII. 4-5 in epp. 3. 43, 59. 66), other Old Testament commandments could not fail to be introduced. Thus the commandment of tithes, which Irenæus had still asserted to be abolished, was now for the first time established (see Origen; Constit. Apost. and my remarks on Διδ. c. 13); and hence Mosaic regulations as to ceremonial cleanness were adopted (see Hippol. Canones arab. 17; Dionys. Alex., ep. canon.). Constantine was the first to base the observance of Sunday on the commandment as to the Sabbath. Besides, the West was always more hesitating in this respect than the East. In Cyprian's time, however, the classification and dignity of the clergy were everywhere upheld by an appeal to Old Testament commandments, though reservations still continued to be made here and there.

Footnote 265: (return)

Tertullian (de pud. I) sneeringly named the bishop of Rome "pontifex maximus," thereby proving that he clearly recognised the heathen colouring given to the episcopal office. With the picture of the bishop drawn by the Apostolic constitutions may be compared the ill-natured descriptions of Paul of Samosata in Euseb., VII. 30.

Footnote 266: (return)

Yet this influence, in a direct form at least, can only be made out at a comparatively late period. But nevertheless, from the middle of the 3rd century the priests alone are possessed of knowledge. As μαθησις and μυσταγωγια are inseparably connected in the mysteries and Gnostic societies, and the mystagogue was at once knowing one and priest, so also in the Catholic Church the priest is accounted the knowing one. Doctrine itself became a mystery to an increasing extent.

Footnote 267: (return)

Examples are found in epp. 1, 3, 4, 33, 43, 54, 57, 59, 65, 66. But see Iren., IV. 26. 2, who is little behind Cyprian here, especially when he threatens offenders with the fate of Dathan and Abiram. One of the immediate results of the formation of a priestly and spiritual class was that the independent "teachers" now shared the fate of the old "prophets" and became extinct (see my edition of the Διδαχη, prolegg. pp. 131-137). It is an instructive fact that Theoktistus of Cæsarea and Alexander of Jerusalem in order to prove in opposition to Demetrius that independent teachers were still tolerated, i.e., allowed to speak in public meetings of the Church, could only appeal to the practice of Phrygia and Lycaonia, that is, to the habit of outlying provinces where, besides, Montanism had its original seat. Euelpis in Laranda, Paulinus in Iconium, and Theodorus in Synnada, who flourished about 216, are in addition to Origen the last independent teachers (i.e., outside the ranks of the clergy) known to us in Christendom (Euseb., H. E. VI. 19 fin.).

Footnote 268: (return)

See Döllinger, Die Lehre von der Eucharistie in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, 1826. Höfling, Die Lehre der ältesten Kirche vom Opfer, p. 71 ff. Th. Harnack, Der christliche Gemeindegottesdienst im apostolischen und altkatholischen Zeitalter, p. 342 ff. Steitz, Art. "Messe" in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie, 2nd ed. It is idle to enquire whether the conception of the "sacerdotium" or that of the "sacrificium" was first altered, because they are correlative ideas.

Footnote 269: (return)

See the proof passages in Höfling, l.c., who has also treated in detail Clement and Origen's idea of sacrifice, and cf. the beautiful saying of Irenæus IV. 18. 3: "Non sacrificia sanctificant hominem; non enim indiget sacrificio deus; sed conscientia eius qui offert sanctificat sacrificium, pura exsistens, et præstat acceptare deum quasi ab amico" (on the offering in the Lord's Supper see Iren. IV. 17. 5, 18. 1); Tertull., Apolog. 30; de orat. 28; adv. Marc. III. 22; IV. 1, 35: adv. Jud. 5; de virg. vel. 13.

Footnote 270: (return)

Cf. specially the Montanist writings; the treatise de ieiunio is the most important among them in this case; see cc. 7, 16; de resurr. 8. On the use of the word "satisfacere" and the new ideas on the point which arose in the West (cf. also the word "meritum") see below chap. 5. 2 and the 2nd chap. of the 5th Vol. Note that the 2nd Ep. of Clement already contains the sayings: καλον ελεημουνη 'ως μετανοια 'αμαρτιας κρεισσων νηστεια προσευχης, ελεημοσυνη δε αμφοτερων ... ελεημοσυνη γαρ κουφισμα 'αμαρτιας γινεται (16. 4; similar expressions occur in the "Shepherd"). But they only show how far back we find the origin of these injunctions borrowed from Jewish proverbial wisdom. One cannot say that they had no effect at all on Christian life in the 2nd century; but we do not yet find the idea that ascetic performances are a sacrifice offered to a wrathful God. Martyrdom seems to have been earliest viewed as a performance which expiated sins. In Tertullian's time the theory, that it was on a level with baptism (see Melito, 12. Fragment in Otto, Corp. Apol. IX. p. 418: δυο συνεστη τα αφεσιν αμαρτηματα παρεχομενα, παθος δια Χριστον και βαπτισμα), had long been universally diffused and was also exegetically grounded. In fact, men went a step further and asserted that the merits of martyrs could also benefit others. This view had likewise become established long before Tertullian's day, but was opposed by him (de pudic 22), when martyrs abused the powers universally conceded to them. Origen went furthest here; see exhort. ad mart. 50: 'ωσπερ τιμιω 'αιματι του Ιησου ηγορασθημεν ... 'ουτως τω τιμιω 'αιματι των μαρτυρων αγορασθησονται τινες; Hom. X. in Num. c. II.: "ne forte, ex quo martyres non fiunt et hostiæ sanctorum non offeruntur pro peccatis nostris, peccatorum nostrorum remissionem non mereamur." The origin of this thought is, on the one hand, to be sought for in the wide-spread notion that the sufferings of an innocent man benefit others, and, on the other, in the belief that Christ himself suffered in the martyrs (see, e.g., ep. Lugd. in Euseb., H. E. V. 1. 23, 41).

Footnote 271: (return)

In the East it was Origen who introduced into Christianity the rich treasure of ancient ideas that had become associated with sacrifices. See Bigg's beautiful account in "The Christian Platonists of Alexandria," Lect. IV.-VI.

Footnote 272: (return)

Moreover, Tertullian (Scorp. 6) had already said: "Quomodo multæ mansiones apud patrem, si non pro varietate meritorum."

Footnote 273: (return)

See c. 1: "Nam cum dominus adveniens sanasset illa, quæ Adam portaverit vulnera et venena serpentis antiqua curasset, legem dedit sano et præcepit, ne ultra iam peccaret, ne quid peccanti gravius eveniret: coartati eramus et in augustum innocentiæ præscriptione conclusi, nec haberet quid fragilitatis humanæ infirmitas adque imbecillitas faceret, nisi iterum pietas divina subveniens iustitiæ et misericordiæ operibus ostensis viam quandam tuendæ salutis aperiret, ut sordes postmodum quascumque contrahimus eleemosynis abluamus." c. 2: "sicut lavacro aquæ salutaris gehennæ ignis extinguitur, ita eleemosynis adque operationibus iustus delictorum flamma sopitur, et quia semel in baptismo remissa peccatorum datur, adsidua et iugis operatic baptismi instar imitata dei rursus indulgentiam largiatur." 5, 6, 9. In c. 18 Cyprian already established an arithmetical relation between the number of alms-offerings and the blotting out of sins, and in c. 21, in accordance with an ancient idea which Tertullian and Minucius Felix, however, only applied to martyrdom, he describes the giving of alms as a spectacle for God and Christ. In Cyprian's epistles "satisfacere deo" is exceedingly frequent. It is almost still more important to note the frequent use of the expression "promereri deum (iudicem)" in Cyprian. See de unitate 15: "iustitia opus est, ut promereri quis possit deum iudicem: præceptis eius et monitis obtemperandum est, ut accipiant merita nostra mercedem." 18; de lapsis 31; de orat. 8, 32, 36; de mortal. 10; de op. 11, 14, 15, 26; de bono pat. 18; ep. 62. 2: 73. 10. Here it is everywhere assumed that Christians acquire God's favour by their works.

Footnote 274: (return)

Baptism with blood is not referred to here.

Footnote 275: (return)

With modifications, this has still continued to be the case beyond Augustine's time down to the Catholicism of the present day. Cyprian is the father of the Romish doctrine of good works and sacrifice. Yet is it remarkable that he was not yet familiar with the theory according to which man must acquire merita. In his mind "merits" and "blessedness" are not yet rigidly correlated ideas; but the rudiments of this view are also found in him; cf. de unit. 15 (see p. 134, note 3).

Footnote 276: (return)

"Sacrificare," "sacrificium celebrare," in all passages where they are unaccompanied by any qualifying words, mean to celebrate the Lord's Supper. Cyprian has never called prayer a "sacrifice" without qualifying terms; on the contrary he collocates "preces" and "sacrificium," and sometimes also "oblatio" and "sacrificium." The former is then the offering of the laity and the latter of the priests.

Footnote 277: (return)

Cf. the whole 63rd epistle and above all c. 7: "Et quia passionis eius mentionem in sacrificiis omnibus facimus, passio est enim domini sacrificium quod offerrimus, nihil aliud quam quod ille fecit facere debemus;" c. 9.: "unde apparet sanguinem Christi non offerri, si desit vinum calici." 13; de unit. 17: "dominicæ hostiæ veritatem per falsa sacrificia profanare;" ep. 63. 4: "sacramentum sacrificii dominici." The transference of the sacrificial idea to the consecrated elements, which, in all probability, Cyprian already found in existence, is ultimately based on the effort to include the element of mystery and magic in the specifically sacerdotal ceremony of sacrifice, and to make the Christian offering assume, though not visibly, the form of a bloody sacrifice, such as secularised Christianity desired. This transference, however, was the result of two causes. The first has been already rightly stated by Ernesti (Antimur. p. 94) in the words: "quia eucharistia habet αναμνησιν Christi mortui et sacrificii eius in cruce peracti, propter ea paullatim cœpta est tota eucharistia sacrificium dici." In Cyprian's 63rd epistle it is still observable how the "calicem in commemorationem domini et passionis eius offerre" passes over into the "sanguinem Christi offerre," see also Euseb. demonstr. I. 13: μνημην της θυσιας Χριστου προσφερειν and την ενσαρκον του Χριστου παρουσιαν και το καταρτισθεν αυτου σωμα προσφερειν. The other cause has been specially pointed out by Theodore Harnack (l.c., p. 409 f.). In ep. 63. 2 and in many other passages Cyprian expresses the thought "that in the Lord's Supper nothing else is done by us but what the Lord has first done for us." But he says that at the institution of the Supper the Lord first offered himself as a sacrifice to God the Father. Consequently the priest officiating in Christ's stead only presents a true and perfect offering when he imitates what Christ has done (c. 14: "si Christus Jesus dominus et deus noster ipse est summus sacerdos dei patris et sacrificiam patri se ipsum obtulit et hoc fieri in sui commemorationem præcepit, utique ille sacerdos vice Christi vere fungitur, qui id quod Christus fecit imitatur et sacrificium verum et plenum tunc offert in ecclesia deo patri, si sic incipiat offerre secundum quod ipsum Christum videat obtulisse"). This brings us to the conception of the repetition of Christ's sacrifice by the priest. But in Cyprian's case it was still, so to speak, only a notion verging on that idea, that is, he only leads up to it, abstains from formulating it with precision, or drawing any further conclusions from it, and even threatens the idea itself inasmuch as he still appears to conceive the "calicem in commemorationem domini et passionis eius offerre" as identical with it. As far as the East is concerned we find in Origen no trace of the assumption of a repeated sacrifice of Christ. But in the original of the first 6 books of the Apostolic Constitutions this conception is also wanting, although the Supper ceremonial has assumed an exclusively sacerdotal character (see II. 25: 'αι τοτε (in the old covenant) θυσιαι, νυν ευχαι και δεησεις και ευχαριστιαι. II. 53). The passage VI. 23: αντι θυσιας της δι' 'αιματων την λογικην και αναιμακτον και την μυστικην, 'ητις εις τον θανατον του κυριου συμβολων χαριν επιτελειται του σωματος αυτου και του 'αιματος does not belong to the original document, but to the interpolator. With the exception therefore of one passage in the Apostolic Church order (printed in my edition of the Didache prolegg. p. 236) viz.: 'η προσφορα του σωματος και του 'αιματος, we possess no proofs that there was any mention in the East before Eusebius' time of a sacrifice of Christ's body in the Lord's Supper. From this, however, we must by no means conclude that the mystic feature in the celebration of the sacrifice had been less emphasised there.

Footnote 278: (return)

In ep. 63. 13 Cyprian has illustrated the incorporation of the community with Christ by the mixture of wine and water in the Supper, because the special aim of the epistle required this: "Videmus in aqua populum intellegi, in vino vero ostendi sanguinem Christi; quando autem in calice vino aqua miscetur, Christo populus adunatur et credentium plebs ei in quem credidit copulatur et iungitur etc." The special mention of the offerers (see already Tertullian's works: de corona 3, de exhort. cast. II, and de monog. 10) therefore means that the latter commend themselves to Christ as his own people, or are recommended to him as such. On the Praxis see Cyprian ep. I. 2 "... si quis hoc fecisset. non offerretur pro eo nee sacrificium pro dormitione eius celebraretur;" 62. 5: "ut fratres nostros in mente habeatis orationibus vestris et eis vicem boni operis in sacrificiis et precibus repræsentetis, subdidi nomina singulorum."

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Much as the use of the word "sacramentum" in the Western Church from Tertullian to Augustine (Hahn, Die Lehre von den Sacramenten, 1864, p. 5 ff.) differs from that in the classic Romish use it is of small interest in the history of dogma to trace its various details. In the old Latin Bible μυστηριον was translated "sacramentum" and thus the new signification "mysterious, holy ordinance or thing" was added to the meaning "oath," "sacred obligation." Accordingly Tertullian already used the word to denote sacred facts, mysterious and salutary signs and vehicles, and also holy acts. Everything in any way connected with the Deity and his revelation, and therefore, for example, the content of revelation as doctrine, is designated "sacrament;" and the word is also applied to the symbolical which is always something mysterious and holy. Alongside of this the old meaning "sacred obligation" still remains in force. If, because of this comprehensive use, further discussion of the word is unnecessary, the fact that revelation itself as well as everything connected with it was expressly designated as a "mystery" is nevertheless of importance in the history of dogma. This usage of the word is indeed not removed from the original one so long as it was merely meant to denote the supernatural origin and supernatural nature of the objects in question; but more than this was now intended; "sacramentum" (μυστηριον) was rather intended to represent the holy thing that was revealed as something relatively concealed. This conception, however, is opposed to the Judæo-Christian idea of revelation, and is thus to be regarded as an introduction of the Greek notion. Probst (Sacramente und Sacramentalia, 1872) thinks differently. That which is mysterious and dark appears to be such an essential attribute of the divine, that even the obscurities of the New Testament Scriptures were now justified because these writings were regarded as altogether "spiritual." See Iren. II. 28. 1-3. Tert. de bapt. 2: "deus in stultitia et impossibilitate materias operationis suæ instituit."

Footnote 280: (return)

We have explained above that the Church already possessed this means of grace, in so far as she had occasionally absolved mortal sinners, even at an earlier period; but this possession was quite uncertain and, strictly speaking, was not a possession at all, for in such cases the early Church merely followed extraordinary directions of the Spirit.

Footnote 281: (return)

Höfling, Das Sacrament der Taufe, 2 Vols., 1846. Steitz, Art. "Taufe" in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie. Walch, Hist. pædobaptismi quattuor priorum sæculorum, 1739.

Footnote 282: (return)

In de bono pudic. 2: "renati ex aqua et pudicitia," Pseudo-Cyprian expresses an idea, which, though remarkable, is not confined to himself.

Footnote 283: (return)

But Tertullian says (de bapt. 6): "Non quod in aquis spiritum sanctum consequamur, sed in aqua emundati sub angelo spiritui sancto præparamur."

Footnote 284: (return)

The disquisitions of Clement of Alexandria in Pædag. I, 6 (baptism and sonship) are very important, but he did not follow them up. It is deserving of note that the positive effects of baptism were more strongly emphasised in the East than in the West. But, on the other hand, the conception is more uncertain in the former region.

Footnote 285: (return)

See Tertullian, de bapt. 7 ff.; Cypr., ep. 70. 2 ("ungi quoque necesse est eum qui baptizatus est, ut accepto chrismate, i.e., unctione esse unctus dei et habere in se gratiam Christi possit"), 74. 5 etc. "Chrism" is already found in Tertullian as well as the laying on of hands. The Roman Catholic bishop Cornelius in the notorious epistle to Fabius (Euseb., H. E. VI. 43. 15), already traces the rites which accompany baptism to an ecclesiastical canon (perhaps one from Hippolytus' collection: see can. arab. 19). After relating that Novatian in his illness had only received clinical baptism he writes: ου μην ουδε των λοιπων ετυχε, διαφυγων την νοσον, 'ων χρη μεταλαμβανειν κατα τον της εκκλησιας κανονα, του τε σφραγισθηναι 'υπο του επισκοπου. It is also remarkable that one of the bishops who voted about heretic baptism (Sentent. episcop., Cypr., opp. ed. Hartel I. p. 439) calls the laying on of hands a sacrament like baptism: "neque enim spiritus sine aqua separatim operari potest nec aqua sine spiritu male ergo sibi quidem interpretantur ut dicant, quod per manus impositionem spiritum sanctum accipiant et sic recipiantur, cum manifestum sit utroque sacramento debere eos renasci in ecclesia catholica." Among other particulars found in Tertullian's work on baptism (cc. I. 12 seq.) it may moreover be seen that there were Christians about the year 200, who questioned the indispensability of baptism to salvation (baptismus non est necessarius, quibus fides satis est). The assumption that martyrdom replaces baptism (Tertull., de bapt. 16; Origen), is in itself a sufficient proof that the ideas of the "sacrament" were still uncertain. As to the objection that Jesus himself had not baptised and that the Apostles had not received Christian baptism see Tert., de bapt. 11, 12.

Footnote 286: (return)

In itself the performance of this rite seemed too simple to those who sought eagerly for mysteries. See Tertull., de bapt. 2: "Nihil adeo est quod obduret mentes hominum quam simplicitas divinorum operum, quæ in actu videtur, et magnificentia, quæ in effecta repromittitur, ut hinc quoque, quoniam tanta simplicitate, sine pompa, sine apparatu novo aliquo, denique sine sumptu homo in aqua demissus et inter pauca verba tinctus non multo vel nihilo mundior resurgit, eo incredibilis existimetur consecutio æternitatis. Mentior, si non e contrario idolorum solemnia vel arcana de suggestu et apparatu deque sumptu fidem at auctoritatem sibi exstruunt."

Footnote 287: (return)

But see Euseb., H. E. VI. 43. 15, who says that only the laying on of hands on the part of the bishop communicates the Holy Spirit, and this ceremony must therefore follow baptism. It is probable that confirmation as a specific act did not become detached from baptism in the West till shortly before the middle of the third century. Perhaps we may assume that the Mithras cult had an influence here.

Footnote 288: (return)

See Tertullian's superstitious remarks in de bap. 3-9 to the effect that water is the element of the Holy Spirit and of unclean Spirits etc. Melito also makes a similar statement in the fragment of his treatise on baptism in Pitra, Anal, Sacra II., p. 3 sq. Cyprian, ep. 70. I, uses the remarkable words: "oportet veio mundari et sanctificari aquam prius a sacer dote (Tertull. still knows nothing of this: c. 17: etiam laicis ius est), ut possit baptismo suo peccata hominis qui baptizatur abluere." Ep. 74. 5: "peccata purgare et hominem sanctificare aqua sola non potest, nisi habeat et spiritum sanctum." Clem. Alex. Protrept. 10.99: λαβετε 'υδωρ λογικος.

Footnote 289: (return)

It was easy for Origen to justify child baptism, as he recognised something sinful in corporeal birth itself, and believed in sin which had been committed in a former life. The earliest justification of child baptism may therefore be traced back to a philosophical doctrine.

Footnote 290: (return)

Translator's note. The following is the original Latin, as quoted by Prof. Harnack: "Cunctatio baptismi utilior est, præcipue circa parvulos. Quid enim necesse, sponsores etiam periculo ingeri ... veniant ergo parvuli, dum adolescunt; veniant dum discunt, dum quo veniant docentur; fiant Christiani, cum Christum nosse potuerint. Quid festinat innocens ætas ad remissionem peccatorum? Cautius agetur in sæcularibus, ut cui substantia terrena non creditur, divina credatur ... Si qui pondus intelligant baptismi, magis timebunt consecutionem quam dilationem."

Footnote 291: (return)

Under such circumstances the recollection of the significance of baptism in the establishment of the Church fell more and more into the background (see Hermas: "the Church rests like the world upon water;" Irenæus III. 17. 2: "Sicut de arido tritico massa una non fieri potest sine humore neque unus panis, ita nec nos multi unum fieri in Christo Iesu poteramus sine aqua quæ de cœlo est. Et sicut aricla terra, si non percipiat humorem, non fructificat: sic et nos lignum aridum exsistentes primum, nunquam fructificaremus vitam sine superna voluntaria pluvia. Corpora unim nostra per lavacrum illam quæ est ad incorruptionem unitatem acceperunt, animæ autem per spiritum"). The unbaptised (catechumens) also belong to the Church, when they commit themselves to her guidance and prayers. Accordingly baptism ceased more and more to be regarded as an act of initiation, and only recovered this character in the course of the succeeding centuries. In this connection the 7th (spurious) canon of Constantinople (381) is instructive: και την πρωτην 'ημεραν ποιουμεν αυτους Χριστιανους, την δε δευτεραν κατηχουμενους, ειτα την τριτην εξορκιζομεν αυτους κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 292: (return)

Döllinger, Die Lehre von der Eucharistie in dem ersten 3 Jahrhunderten, 1826. Engelhardt in the Zeitschrift fur die hist. Theologie, 1842, I. Kahnis, Lehre vom Abendmahl, 1851. Ruckert, Das Abendmahl, sein Wesen und seine Geschichte, 1856. Leimbach, Beitrage zur Abendmahlslehre Tertullian's, 1874. Steitz, Die Abendmahlslehre der griechischen Kirche, in the Jahrbucher fur deutsche Theologie, 1864-1868; cf. also the works of Probst. Whilst Eucharist and love feast had already been separated from the middle of the 2nd century in the West, they were still united in Alexandria in Clement's time; see Bigg, l.c., p. 103.

Footnote 293: (return)

The collocation of baptism and the Lord's Supper, which, as the early Christian monuments prove, was a very familiar practice (Tert. adv. Marc. IV. 34: "sacramentum baptismi et eucharistiæ;" Hippol., can. arab. 38: "baptizatus et corpore Christi pastus"), was, so far as I know, justified by no Church Father on internal grounds. Considering their conception of the holy ordinances this is not surprising. They were classed together because they were instituted by the Lord, and because the elements (water, wine, bread) afforded much common ground for allegorical interpretation.

Footnote 294: (return)

The story related by Dionysius (in Euseb., l.c.) is especially characteristic, as the narrator was an extreme spiritualist. How did it stand therefore with the dry tree? Besides, Tertull. (de corona 3) says: "Calicis aut panis nostri aliquid decuti in terram anxie patimur". Superstitious reverence for the sacrament ante et extra usum is a very old habit of mind in the Gentile Church.

Footnote 295: (return)

Leimbach's investigations of Tertullian's use of words have placed this beyond doubt; see de orat. 6; adv. Marc. I. 14: IV. 40: III. 19; de resuri. 8.

Footnote 296: (return)

The chief passages referring to the Supper in Clement are Protrept. 12. 120; Pæd. I. 6. 43: II. 2. 19 sq.: I. 5. 15: I. 6. 38, 40; Quis div. 23; Strom. V. 10. 66: I. 10. 46: I. 19. 96: VI. 14. 113: V. II. 70. Clement thinks as little of forgiveness of sins in connection with the Supper as does the author of the Didache or the other Fathers; this feast is rather meant to bestow an initiation into knowledge and immortality. Ignatius had already said, "the body is faith, the blood is hope." This is also Clement's opinion; he also knows of a transubstantiation, not, however, into the real body of Christ, but into heavenly powers. His teaching was therefore that of Valentinus (see the Exc. ex. Theod. § 82, already given on Vol. i. p. 263) Strom. V. 11. 70: λογικον 'ημιν βρωμα 'η γνωσις; I. 20. 46: 'ινα δη φαγωμεν λογικως; V. 10. 66: βρωσις γαρ και ποσις του θειου λογου 'η γνωσις εστι της θειας ουσιας. Adumbrat. in epp. Joh.: "sanguis quod est cognitio"; see Bigg, l.c., p. 106 ff.

Footnote 297: (return)

Orig. in Matth. Comment. ser. 85: "Panis iste, quem deus verbum corpus suum esse fatetur, verbum est nutritorium animarum, verbum de deo verbo procedens et panis de pane cœ'esti... Non enim panem illum visibilem, quem tenebat in manibus, corpus suum dicebat deus verbum, sed verbum, in cuius mysterio fuerat panis ille frangendus; nec potum illum visibilem sanguinem suum dicebat, sed verbum in cuius mysterio potus ille fuerat effundendus;" see in Matt. XI. 14; c. Cels. VIII. 33. Hom. XVI. 9 in Num. On Origen's doctrine of the Lord's Supper see Bigg, p. 219 ff.

Footnote 298: (return)

The conception of the Supper as viaticum mortis (fixed by the 13th canon of Nicæa: περι δε των εξοδευοντων 'ο παλαιος και κανονικος νομος φυλαχθησεται και νυν, 'ωστε ειτις εξοδευοι, του τελευταιου και αναγκαιοτατου εφοδιου μη αποστερεισθαι), a conception which is genuinely Hellenic and which was strengthened by the idea that the Supper was φαρμακον αθανασιας, the practice of benediction, and much else in theory and practice connected with the Eucharist reveal the influence of antiquity. See the relative articles in Smith and Cheetham's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.

Footnote 299: (return)

The fullest account of the "history of the Romish Church down to the pontificate of Leo I." has been given by Langen, 1881; but I can in no respect agree (see Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1891, No. 6) with the hypotheses about the primacy as propounded by him in his treatise on the Clementine romances (1890, see especially p. 163 ff). The collection of passages given by Caspari, "Quellen zur Geschichte des Taufsymbols," Vol. III., deserves special recognition. See also the sections bearing on this subject in Renan's "Origines du Christianisme," Vols. V.-VII. especially VII., chaps. 5, 12, 23. Sohm in his "Kirchenrecht" I. (see especially pp. 164 ff., 350 ff., 377 ff.) has adopted my conception of "Catholic" and "Roman," and made it the basis of further investigations. He estimates the importance of the Roman Church still more highly, in so far as, according to him, she was the exclusive originator of Church law as well as of the Catholic form of Church constitution; and on page 381 he flatly says: "The whole Church constitution with its claim to be founded on divine arrangement was first developed in Rome and then transferred from her to the other communities." I think this is an exaggeration. Tschirn (Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, XII. p. 215 ff.) has discussed the origin of the Roman Church in the 2nd century. Much that was the common property of Christendom, or is found in every religion as it becomes older, is regarded by this author as specifically Roman.

Footnote 300: (return)

No doubt we must distinguish two halves in Christendom. The first, the ecclesiastical West, includes the west coast of Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome together with their daughter Churches, that is, above all, Gaul and North Africa. The second or eastern portion embraces Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and the east part of Asia Minor. A displacement gradually arose in the course of the 3rd century. In the West the most important centres are Ephesus, Smyrna, Corinth, and Rome, cities with a Greek and Oriental population. Even in Carthage the original speech of the Christian community was probably Greek.

Footnote 301: (return)

Rome was the first city in the Empire, Alexandria the second. They were the metropolitan cities of the world (see the inscription in Kaibel, No. 1561, p. 407: θρεψε μ' Αλεξανδρεια, μετοικον εθαψε δε 'Ρομη, 'αι κοσμου και γης, ω ξενε, μητροπολεις). This is reflected in the history of the Church; first Rome appears, then Alexandria. The significance of the great towns for the history of dogma and of the Church will be treated of in a future volume. Abercius of Hieropolis, according to the common interpretation (inscription V. 7 f.) designates Rome as "queen." This was a customary appellation; see Eunap., vita Prohaer. p. 90: 'η βασιλευουσα 'Ρωμη.

Footnote 302: (return)

In this connection we need only keep in mind the following summary of facts. Up to the end of the second century the Alexandrian Church had none of the Catholic and apostolic standards, and none of the corresponding institutions as found in the Roman Church; but her writer, Clement, was also "as little acquainted with the West as Homer." In the course of the first half of the 3rd century she received those standards and institutions; but her writer, Origen, also travelled to Rome himself in order to see "the very old" church and formed a connection with Hippolytus; and her bishop Dionysius carried on a correspondence with his Roman colleague, who also made common cause with him. Similar particulars may also be ascertained with regard to the Syrian Church.

Footnote 303: (return)

See the proofs in the two preceding chapters. Note also that these elements have an inward connection. So long as one was lacking, all were, and whenever one was present, all the others immediately made their appearance.

Footnote 304: (return)

Ignatius already says that the Roman Christians are αποδιυλισμενοι απο παντος αλλοτριον χρωματος (Rom. inscr.); he uses this expression of no others. Similar remarks are not quite rare at a later period; see, for instance, the oft-repeated eulogy that no heresy ever arose in Rome. At a time when this city had long employed the standard of the apostolic rule of faith with complete confidence, namely, at the beginning of the 3rd century, we hear that a lady of rank in Alexandria, who was at any rate a Christian, lodged and entertained in her house Origen, then a young man, and a famous heretic. (See Euseb., H. E. VI. 2. 13, 14). The lectures on doctrine delivered by this heretic and the conventicles over which he presided were attended by a μυριον πληθος ου μονον 'αιρετικων, αλλα και 'ημετεφων. That is a very valuable piece of information which shows us a state of things in Alexandria that would have been impossible in Rome at the same period. See, besides, Dionys. Alex, in Euseb., H. E. VII. 7.

Footnote 305: (return)

I must here refrain from proving the last assertion. The possibility of Asia Minor having had a considerable share, or having led the way, in the formation of the canon must be left an open question (cf. what Melito says, and the use made of New Testament writings in the Epistle of Polycarp). We will, however, be constrained to lay the chief emphasis on Rome, for it must not be forgotten that Irenæus had the closest connection with the Church of that city, as is proved by his great work, and that he lived there before he came to Gaul. Moreover, it is a fact deserving of the greatest attention that the Montanists and their decided opponents in Asia, the so-called Alogi, had no ecclesiastical canon before them, though they may all have possessed the universally acknowledged books of the Romish canon, and none other, in the shape of books read in the churches.

Footnote 306: (return)

See the Prolegg. of Westcott and Hort (these indeed give an opposite judgment), and cf. Harris, Codex Bezae. A study of the so-called Western text of the New Testament 1891. An exhaustive study of the oldest martyrologies has already led to important cases of agreement between Rome and the East, and promises still further revelations. See Duchesne, "Les Sources du Martyrologe Hieron." 1885. Egli, "Altchristliche Studien, Martyrien und Martyrologieen ältester Zeit." 1887; the same writer in the "Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie", 1891, p. 273 ff.

Footnote 307: (return)

On the relations between Edessa and Rome see the end of the Excursus.

Footnote 308: (return)

See my treatise "Die ältesten christlichen Datirungen und die Anfánge einer bischòflichen Chronographie in Rom." in the report of the proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science, 1892, pp. 617-658. I think I have there proved that, in the time of Soter, Rome already possessed a figured list of bishops, in which important events were also entered.

Footnote 309: (return)

That the idea of the apostolic succession of the bishops was first turned to account or appeared in Rome is all the more remarkable, because it was not in that city, but rather in the East, that the monarchical episcopate was first consolidated. (Cf. the Shepherd of Hermas and Ignatius' Epistles to the Romans with his other Epistles). There must therefore have been a very rapid development of the constitution in the time between Hyginus and Victor. Sohm, l.c., tries to show that the monarchical episcopate arose in Rome immediately after the composition of the First Epistle of Clement, and as a result of it; and that this city was the centre from which it spread throughout Christendom.

Footnote 310: (return)

See Pseudo-Cyprian's work "de aleat" which, in spite of remarks to the contrary, I am inclined to regard as written by Victor; cf. "Texte und Untersuchungen" V. I; see c. I of this writing: "et quoniam in nobis divina et paterna pietas apostolatus ducatum contulit et vicariam domini sedem cælesti dignatione ordinavit et originem authentici apostolatus, super quem Christus fundavit ecclesiam, in superiore nostro portamus."

Footnote 311: (return)

See report of the proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science, 1892, p. 622 ff. To the material found there must be added a remarkable passage given by Nestle (Zeitschrift fur wissenschaftliche Theologie, 1893, p. 437), where the dates are reckoned after Sixtus I.

Footnote 312: (return)

Cf. the 8th book of the Apostolic Constitutions with the articles referring to the regulation of the Church, which in Greek MSS. bear the name of Hippolytus. Compare also the Arabian Canones Hippolyti, edited by Haneberg (1870) and commented on by Achelis (Texte und Untersuchungen VI. 4). Apart from the additions and alterations, which are no doubt very extensive, it is hardly likely that the name of the Roman bishop is wrongly assigned to them. We must further remember the importance assigned by the tradition of the Eastern and Western Churches to one of the earliest Roman "bishops," Clement, as the confidant and secretary of the Apostles and as the composer and arranger of their laws.

Footnote 313: (return)

See my proofs in "Texte und Untersuchungen," Vol. II., Part 5. The canons of the Council of Nicæa presuppose the distinction of higher and lower clergy for the whole Church.

Footnote 314: (return)

We see this from the Easter controversy, but there are proofs of it elsewhere, e.g., in the collection of Cyprian's epistles. The Roman bishop Cornelius informs Fabius, bishop of Antioch, of the resolutions of the Italian, African, and other Churches (Euseb., H. E. VI. 43. 3: ηλθον εις 'ημας επιστολαι Κορνηλιου 'Ρωμαιων επισκοπου προς ... φαβιον, δηλουσαι τα περι της 'Ρωμαιων συνοδου, και τα δοξαντα πασι τοις κατα την Ιταλιαν και Αφρικην και τας αυτοφι χωρας). We must not forget, however, that there were also bishops elsewhere who conducted a so-called œcumenical correspondence and enjoyed great influence, as, e.g., Dionysius of Corinth and Dionysius of Alexandria. In matters relating to penance the latter wrote to a great many Churches, even as far as Armenia, and sent many letters to Rome (Euseb., H. E. VI. 46). The Catholic theologian, Dittrich—before the Vatican Decree, no doubt—has spoken of him in the following terms (Dionysius von Alexandrien, 1867, p. 26): "As Dionysius participated in the power, so also he shared in the task of the primateship." "Along with the Roman bishop he was, above all, called upon to guard the interests of the whole Church."

Footnote 315: (return)

This conception, as well as the ideas contained in this Excursus generally, is now entirely shared by Weingarten (Zeittafeln, 3rd. ed., 1888, pp. 12, 21): "The Catholic Church is essentially the work of those of Rome and Asia Minor. The Alexandrian Church and theology do not completely adapt themselves to it till the 3rd century. The metropolitan community becomes the ideal centre of the Great Church" ... "The primacy of the Roman Church is essentially the transference to her of Rome's central position in the religion of the heathen world during the Empire: urbs æterna urbs sacra."

Footnote 316: (return)

This is also admitted by Langen (l.c., 184 f.), who even declares that this precedence existed from the beginning.

Footnote 317: (return)

Cf. chaps. 59 and 62, but more especially 63.

Footnote 318: (return)

At that time the Roman Church did not confine herself to a letter; she sent ambassadors to Corinth, 'οιτινες μαρτυρες εσονται μεταξυ 'υμων και 'ημων. Note carefully also the position of the Corinthian community with which the Roman one interfered (see on this point Wrede, Untersuchungen zum I Clemensbrief, 1891.)

Footnote 319: (return)

In Ignatius, Rom. inscr., the verb προκαθημαι is twice used about the Roman Church (προκαθηται εν [to be understood in a local sense] τοπωι κ'ωριον 'Ρωμαιων—προκαθημενη της αγαπης = presiding in, or having the guardianship of, love). Ignatius (Magn. 6), uses the same verb to denote the dignity of the bishop or presbyters in relation to the community. See, besides, the important testimony in Rom. II.: αλλους εδιδαξατε. Finally, it must be also noted that Ignatius presupposes an extensive influence on the part of individual members of the Church in the higher spheres of government. Fifty years later we have a memorable proof of this in the Marcia-Victor episode. Lastly, Ignatius is convinced that the Church will interfeie quite as energetically on behalf of a foreign brother as on behalf of one of her own number. In the Epistle of Clement to James, c. 2, the Roman bishop is called 'ο αληθειας προκαθεζομενος.

Footnote 320: (return)

Euseb., H. E. IV. 23. 9-12; cf., above all, the words: Εξ αρχης 'υμιν εθος εστι τουτο, παντας μεν αδελφους ποικιως ευεργετειν, εκκλησιαις τε πολλαις ταις κατα πασαν πολιν εφοδια πεμπειν ... πατροπαραδοτον εθος 'Ρωμαιων 'Ρωμαιοι διαφυλαττοντες. Note here the emphasis laid on Ρωμαιοι.

Footnote 321: (return)

According to Irenæus a peculiar significance belongs to the old Jerusalem Church, in so far as all the Christian congregations sprang from her (III. 12. 5: αυται φωναι της εκκλησιας, εξ 'ης πασα εσχηκεν εκκλησια της αρχην αυται φωναι της μητροπολεως των της καινης διαθηκης πολιτων). For obvious reasons Irenæus did not speak of the Jerusalem Church of his own time. Hence that passage cannot be utilised.

Footnote 322: (return)

Iren. III. 3. i: "Sed quomiam valde longum est, in hoc tali volumine omnium ecclesiarum enumerare successiones, maximæ et antiquissimæ et omnibus cognitæ, a gloriosissimis duobus apostolis Paulo et Petro Romæ fundatæ et constitutæ ecclesiæ, eam quam habet ab apostolis traditionem et annuutiatam hominibus fidem, per successiones episcoporum pervenientem usque ad nos indicantes confundimus omnes eos, qui quoquo modo vel per sibiplacentiam malam vel vanam gloriam vel per cæcitatem et malam sententiam, præterquam oportet, colligunt. Ad hanc enim ecclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam, hoc est, eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his, qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quæ est ab apostolis traditio." On this we may remark as follows: (1) The special importance which Irenæus claims for the Roman Church—for he is only referring to her—is not merely based by him on her assumed foundation by Peter and Paul, but on a combination of the four attributes "maxima," "antiquissima" etc. Dionysius of Corinth also made this assumption (Euseb., II. 25. 8), but applied it quite as much to the Corinthian Church. As regards capability of proving the truth of the Church's faith, all the communities founded by the Apostles possess principalitas in relation to the others; but the Roman Church has the potentior principalitas, in so far as she excels all the rest in her qualities of ecclesia maxima et omnibus cognita etc. Principalitas = "sovereign authority," αυθεντια, for this was probably the word in the original text (see proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science, 9th Nov., 1893). In common with most scholars I used to think that the "in qua" refers to "Roman Church;" but I have now convinced myself (see the treatise just cited) that it relates to "omnem ecclesiam," and that the clause introduced by "in qua" merely asserts that every church, in so far as she is faithful to tradition, i.e., orthodox, must as a matter of course agree with that of Rome. (2) Irenæus asserts that every Church, i.e., believers in all parts of the world, must agree with this Church ("convenire" is to be understood in a figurative sense; the literal acceptation "every Church must come to that of Rome" is not admissible). However, this "must" is not meant as an imperative, but == αναγκη == "it cannot be otherwise." In reference to principalitas == αυθεντια (see I. 31. 1: I. 26. 1) it must be remembered that Victor of Rome (l.c.) speaks of the "origo authentici apostolatus," and Tertullian remarks of Valentinus when he apostatised at Rome, "ab ecclesia authenticæ regulæ abrupit" (adv. Valent. 4).

Footnote 323: (return)

Beyond doubt his "convenire necesse est" is founded on actual circumstances.

Footnote 324: (return)

On other important journeys of Christian men and bishops to Rome in the 2nd and 3rd centuries see Caspari, l.c. Above all we may call attention to the journey of Abercius of Hierapolis (not Hierapolis on the Meander) about 200 or even earlier. Its historical reality is not to be questioned. See his words in the epitaph composed by himself (V. 7 f.): εις 'Ρωμην 'ος επεμψεν εμεν βασιληαν αθρησαι και βασιλισσαν ιδειν χρυσοστολον χρυσοπεδιλον. However, Ficker raises very serious objections to the Christian origin of the inscription.

Footnote 325: (return)

We cannot here discuss how this tradition arose; in all likelihood it already expresses the position which the Roman Church very speedily attained in Christendom. See Renan, Orig., Vol. VII., p. 70: "Pierre el Paul (léconciliés), voilà le chef-d'oeuvre qui fondait la suprématie ecclésiastique de Rome dans làvenir. Une nouvelle qualité mythique lemplagait celle de Romulus et Remus." But it is highly probable that Peter was really in Rome like Paul (see 1 Clem. V., Ignatius ad Rom. IV.); both really performed important services to the Church there, and died as martyrs in that city.

Footnote 326: (return)

The wealth of the Roman Church is also illustrated by the present of 200,000 sesterces brought her by Marcion (Tertull., de præse. 30). The "Shepherd" also contains instructive particulars with regard to this. As far as her influence is concerned, we possess various testimonies from Philipp. IV. 22 down to the famous account by Hippolytus of the relations of Victor to Marcia. We may call special attention to Ignatius' Epistle to the Romans.

Footnote 327: (return)

See Tertullian, adv. Prax. I; Euseb., H. E. V. 3, 4. Dictionary of Christian Biography III., p. 937.

Footnote 328: (return)

Euseb, H.E. V. 24. 9: επι τουτοις 'ο μεν της 'Ρωμαιων προεστως Βικτωρ αθροως της Ασιας πασης 'αμα ταις 'ομοροις εκκλησιαις τας παροικιας αποτεμνειν 'ωσαν 'ετεροδοξουσας, της κοινης 'ενωσεως πειραται, και στηλιτευει γε δια γραμματων, ακοινωνητους παντας αρδην τους εκεισε ανακηρυττων αδελφους. Stress should be laid on two points here: (1) Victor proclaimed that the people of Asia Minor were to be excluded from the κοινη 'ενωσις, and not merely from the fellowship of the Roman Church; (2) he based the excommunication on the alleged heterodoxy of those Churches. See Heinichen, Melet. VIII, on Euseb., l.c. Victor's action is parallelled by that of Stephen. Firmilian says to the latter: "Dum enim putas, omnes abs te abstineri posse, solum te ab omnibus abstinuisti." It is a very instructive fact that in the 4th century Rome also made the attempt to have Sabbath fasting established as an apostolic custom. See the interesting work confuted by Augustine (ep. 36), a writing which emanates from a Roman author who is unfortunately unknown to us. Cf. also Augustine's 54th and 55th epistles.

Footnote 329: (return)

Irenæus also (l.c. § 11) does not appear to have questioned Victor's proceeding as such, but as applied to this particular case.

Footnote 330: (return)

See Tertull., de orat. 22: "Sed non putet institutionem unusquisque antecessoris commovendam." De virg. vel. I: "Paracletus solus antecessor, quia solus post Christum;" 2: "Eas ego ecclesias proposui, quas et ipsi apostolici viri condiderunt, et puto ante quosdam;" 3: "Sed nec inter consuetudines dispicere voluerunt illi sanctissimi antecessores." This is also the question referred to in the important remark in Jerome, de vir. inl. 53: "Tertullianus ad mediam ætatem presbyter fuit ecclesiæ Africanæ, invidia postea et contumeliis clericorum Romanæ ecclesiæ ad Montani dogma delapsus."

Footnote 331: (return)

Stephen acted like Victor and excluded almost all the East from the fellowship of the Church; see in addition to Cyprian's epistles that of Dionysius of Alexandria in Euseb., H. E. VII. 5. In reference to Hippolytus, see Philosoph. l. IX. In regard to Origen, see the allusions in de orat. 28 fin.; in Matth. XI. 9, 15: XII. 9-14: XVI. 8, 22: XVII. 14; in Joh. X. 16; Rom. VI in Isai. c. 1. With regard to Philosoph. IX. 12, Sohm rightly remarks (p. 389): "It is clear that the responsibility was laid on the Roman bishop not merely in several cases where married men were made presbyters and deacons, but also when they were appointed bishops; and it is also evident that he appears just as responsible when bishops are not deposed in consequence of their marrying." One cannot help concluding that the Roman bishop has the power of appointing and deposing not merely presbyters and deacons, but also bishops. Moreover, the impression is conveyed that this appointment and deposition of bishops takes place in Rome, for the passage contains a description of existent conditions in the Roman Church. Other communities may be deprived of their bishops by an order from Rome, and a bishop (chosen in Rome) may be sent them. The words of the passage are: επι καλλιστου ηρξαντο επισκοποι και πρεσβυτεροι και διακονοι διγαμοι και τριγαμοι καθιστασθαι εις κληρους ει δε και τις εν κληρω ων γαμοιη, μενειν τον τοιουτον εν τω κληρω 'ως μη 'ημαρτηκοτα.

Footnote 332: (return)

In the treatise "Die Briefe des romischen Klerus aus der Zeit der Sedisvacanz im Jahre 250" (Abhandlungen fur Weizsäcker, 1892), I have shown how the Roman clergy kept the revenue of the Church and of the Churches in their hands, though they had no bishop. What language the Romans used in epistles 8, 30, 36 of the Cyprian collection, and how they interfered in the affairs of the Carthaginian Church! Beyond doubt the Roman Church possessed an acknowledged primacy in the year 250; it was the primacy of active participation and fulfilled duty. As yet there was no recognised dogmatic or historic foundation assigned for it; in fact it is highly probable that this theory was still shaky and uncertain in Rome herself. The college of presbyters and deacons feels and speaks as if it were the bishop. For it was not on the bishop that the incomparable prestige of Rome was based—at least this claim was not yet made with any confidence,—but on the city itself, on the origin and history, the faith and love, the earnestness and zeal of the whole Roman Church and her clergy.

Footnote 333: (return)

In Tertullian, de præsc. 36, the bishops are not mentioned. He also, like Irenæus, cites the Roman Church as one amongst others. We have already remarked that in the scheme of proof from prescription no higher rank could be assigned to the Roman Church than to any other of the group founded by the Apostles. Tertullian continues to maintain this position, but expressly remarks that the Roman Church has special authority for the Carthaginian, because Carthage had received its Christianity from Rome. He expresses the special relationship between Rome and Carthage in the following terms: "Si autem Italiæ adiaces habes Romam, unde nobis quoque auctoritas præsto est." With Tertullian, then, the de facto position of the Roman Church in Christendom did not lead to the same conclusion in the scheme of proof from prescription as we found in Irenæus. But in his case also that position is indicated by the rhetorical ardour with which he speaks of the Roman Church, whereas he does nothing more than mention Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Ephesus. Even at that time, moreover, he had ground enough for a more reserved attitude towards Rome, though in the antignostic struggle he could not dispense with the tradition of the Roman community. In the veil dispute (de virg. vel. 2) he opposed the authority of the Greek apostolic Churches to that of Rome. Polycarp had done the same against Anicetus, Polycrates against Victor, Proculus against his Roman opponents. Conversely, Praxeas in his appeal to Eleutherus (c. 1.: "præcessorum auctoritates"), Caius when contending with Proculus, the Carthaginian clergy when opposing Tertullian (in the veil dispute), and Victor when contending with Polycrates set the authority of Rome against that of the Greek apostolic Churches. These struggles at the transition from the and to the 3rd century are of the utmost importance. Rome was here seeking to overthrow the authority of the only group of Churches able to enter into rivalry with her those of Asia Minor, and succeeded in the attempt.

Footnote 334: (return)

De pudic. 21: "De tua nunc sententia quæro, unde hoc ius ecclesiæ usurpes. Si quia dixerit Petro dominus: Super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam, tibi dedi claves regni cælestis, vel, Quæcumque alligaveris vel solveris in terra, erunt alligata vel soluta in cœlis, id circo præsumis et ad te derivasse solvendi et alligandi potestatem?" Stephen did the same; see Firmilian in Cyprian ep. 75. With this should be compared the description Clement of Rome gives in his epistles to James of his own installation by Peter (c. 2). The following words are put in Peter's mouth: κλημεντα τουτον επισκοπον 'υμιν χειροντονω, 'ω την εμην των λογων πιστευω καθεδραν ... δια αυτω μεταδιδωμι την εξουσιαν του δεσμευειν και λυειν, 'ινα περι παντος ου αν χειροτονηση επι γης εσται δεδογματισμενον εν ουρανοις. δησει γαρ 'ο δει δεθηναι και λυσει 'ο δει λυθηναι, 'ως τον της εκκλησιας ειδως κανονα.

Footnote 335: (return)

See Dionysius of Alexandria's letter to the Roman bishop Stephen (Euseb., H. E. VII. 5. 2): 'Αι μεντοι Συριαι 'ολαι και 'η Αραβια, οις επαρκειτε 'εκαστοτε και οις νυν επεστειλατε.

Footnote 336: (return)

In the case of Origen's condemnation the decision of Rome seems to have been of special importance. Origen sought to defend his orthodoxy in a letter written by his own hand to the Roman bishop Fabian (see Euseb., H. E. VI. 36; Jerome, ep. 84. 10). The Roman bishop Pontian had previously condemned him after summoning a "senate;" see Jerome, ep. 33 (Döllinger, Hippolytus and Calixtus, p. 259 f.). Further, it is an important fact that a deputation of Alexandrian Christians, who did not agree with the Christology of their bishop Dionysius, repaired to Rome to the Roman bishop Dionysius and formally accused the first named prelate. It is also significant that Dionysius received this complaint and brought the matter up at a Roman synod. No objection was taken to this proceeding (Athanas., de synod.). This information is very instructive, for it proves that the Roman Church was ever regarded as specially charged with watching over the observance of the conditions of the general ecclesiastical federation, the κοινη 'ενωσις. As to the fact that in circular letters, not excepting Eastern ones, the Roman Church was put at the head of the address, see Euseb., H. E. VII. 30. How frequently foreign bishops came to Rome is shown by the 19th canon of Arles (A.D. 314): "De episcopis peregrinis, qui in urbem solent venire, placuit iis locum dari ut offerant." The first canon is also important in deciding the special position of Rome.

Footnote 337: (return)

Peculiar circumstances, which unfortunately we cannot quite explain, are connected with the cases discussed by Cyprian in epp. 67 and 68. The Roman bishop must have had the acknowledged power of dealing with the bishop of Arles, whereas the Gallic prelates had not this right. Sohm, p. 391 ff., assumes that the Roman bishop alone—not Cyprian or the bishops of Gaul—had authority to exclude the bishop of Arles from the general fellowship of the Church, but that, as far as the Gallic Churches were concerned, such an excommunication possessed no legal effect, but only a moral one, because in their case the bishop of Rome had only a spiritual authority and no legal power. Further, two Spanish bishops publicly appealed to the Roman see against their deposition, and Cyprian regarded this appeal as in itself correct. Finally, Cornelius says of himself in a letter (in Euseb., H. E. VI. 43. 10): των λοιπων επισκοπων διαδοχους εις τους τοπους, εν 'οις ησαν, χειροτονησαντες απεσταλκαμεν. This quotation refers to Italy, and the passage, which must be read connectedly, makes it plain (see, besides, the quotation in reference to Calixtus given above on p. 162), that, before the middle of the 3rd century, the Roman Church already possessed a legal right of excommunication and the recognised power of making ecclesiastical appointments as far as the communities and bishops in Italy were concerned (see Sohm, p. 389 ff.).

Footnote 338: (return)

Euseb., H. E. VII. 30. 19. The Church of Antioch sought to enter upon an independent line of development under Paul of Samosata. Paul's fall was the victory of Rome. We may suppose it to be highly probable, though to the best of my belief there is for the present no sure proof, that it was not till then that the Roman standards and sacraments, catholic and apostolic collection of Scriptures (see, on the contrary, the use of Scripture in the Didaskalia), apostolic rule of faith, and apostolic episcopacy attained supremacy in Antioch; but that they began to be introduced into that city about the time of Serapion's bishopric (that is, during the Easter controversy). The old records of the Church of Edessa have an important bearing on this point; and from these it is evident that her constitution did not begin to assume a Catholic form till the beginning of the 3rd century, and that as the result of connection with Rome. See the Doctrine of Addai by Phillips, p. 50: "Palut himself went to Antioch and received the hand of the priesthood from Serapion, bishop of Antioch. Serapion, bishop of Antioch, himself also received the hand from Zephyrinus, bishop of the city of Rome, from the succession of the hand of the priesthood of Simon Cephas, which he received from our Lord, who was there bishop of Rome 25 years, (sic) in the days of the Cæsar, who reigned there 13 years." (See also Tixeront, Edesse, pp. 149, 152.) Cf. with this the prominence given in the Acts of Scharbil and Barsamya to the fact that they were contemporaries of Fabian, bishop of Rome. We read there (see Rubens Duval, Les Actes de Scharbil et les Actes de Barsamya, Paris, 1889, and Histoire d'Eclesse, p. 130): "Barsamya (he was bishop of Edessa at the time of Decius) lived at the time of Fabian, bishop of Rome. He had received the laying on of hands from Abschelama, who had received it from Palut. Palut had been consecrated by Serapion, bishop of Antioch, and the latter had been consecrated by Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome." As regards the relation of the State of Rome to the Roman Church, that is, to the Roman bishop, who by the year 250 had already become a sort of præfectus urbis, with his district superintendents, the deacons, and in fact a sort of princeps æmulus, cf. (1) the recorded comments of Alexander Severus on the Christians, and especially those on their organisation; (2) the edict of Maximinus Thrax and the banishment of the bishops Pontian and Hippolytus; (3) the attitude of Philip the Arabian; (4) the remarks of Decius in Cyp. ep. 55 (see above p. 124) and his proceedings against the Roman bishops, and (5) the attitude of Aurelian in Antioch. On the extent and organisation of the Roman Church about 250 see Euseb., H. E. VI. 43.

Footnote 339: (return)

The memorable words in the lately discovered appeal by Eusebius of Dorylæum to Leo I. (Neues Archiv., Vol. XI., part 2, p. 364 f.) are no mere flattery, and the fifth century is not the first to which they are applicable: "Curavit desuper et ab exordio consuevit thronus apostolicus iniqua perferentes defensare et eos qui in evitabiles factiones inciderunt, adiuvare et humi iacentes erigere, secundum possibilitatem, quam habetis; causa autem rei, quod sensum rectum tenetis et inconcussam servatis erga dominum nostrum Iesum Christum fidem, nec non etiam indissimulatam universis fratribus et omnibus in nomine Christi vocatis tribuitis caritatem, etc." See also Theodoret's letters addressed to Rome.

[pg 169]




1. Introduction.340

The object of the Christian Apologists, some of whom filled ecclesiastical offices and in various ways promoted spiritual progress,341 was, as they themselves explained, to uphold the Christianity professed by the Christian Churches and publicly preached. They were convinced that the Christian faith was founded on revelation and that only a mind enlightened by God could grasp and maintain the faith. They acknowledged the Old Testament to be the authoritative source of God's revelation, maintained that the whole human race was meant to be [pg 170] reached by Christianity, and adhered to the early Christian eschatology. These views as well as the strong emphasis they laid upon human freedom and responsibility, enabled them to attain a firm standpoint in opposition to "Gnosticism," and to preserve their position within the Christian communities, whose moral purity and strength they regarded as a strong proof of the truth of this faith. In the endeavours of the Apologists to explain Christianity to the cultured world, we have before us the attempts of Greek churchmen to represent the Christian religion as a philosophy, and to convince outsiders that it was the highest wisdom and the absolute truth. These efforts were not rejected by the Churches like those of the so-called Gnostics, but rather became in subsequent times the foundation of the ecclesiastical dogmatic. The Gnostic speculations were repudiated, whereas those of the Apologists were accepted. The manner in which the latter set forth Christianity as a philosophy met with approval. What were the conditions under which ecclesiastical Christianity and Greek philosophy concluded the alliance which has found a place in the history of the world? How did this union attain acceptance and permanence, whilst "Gnosticism" was at first rejected? These are the two great questions the correct answers to which are of fundamental importance for the understanding of the history of Christian dogma.

The answers to these questions appear paradoxical. The theses of the Apologists finally overcame all scruples in ecclesiastical circles and were accepted by the Græco-Roman world, because they made Christianity rational without taking from, or adding to, its traditional historic material. The secret of the epoch-making success of the apologetic theology is thus explained: These Christian philosophers formulated the content of the Gospel in a manner which appealed to the common sense of all the serious thinkers and intelligent men of the age. Moreover, they contrived to use the positive material of tradition, including the life and worship of Christ, in such a way as to furnish this reasonable religion with a confirmation and proof that had hitherto been eagerly sought, but sought in vain. In the theology of the Apologists, Christianity, as the religious enlightenment directly emanating from God himself, is most [pg 171] sharply contrasted with all polytheism, natural religion, and ceremonial. They proclaimed it in the most emphatic manner as the religion of the spirit, of freedom, and of absolute morality. Almost the whole positive material of Christianity is embodied in the story which relates its entrance into the world, its spread, and the proof of its truth. The religion itself, on the other hand, appears as the truth that is surely attested and accords with reason—a truth the content of which is not primarily dependent on historical facts and finally overthrows all polytheism.

Now this was the very thing required. In the second century of our era a great many needs and aspirations were undoubtedly making themselves felt in the sphere of religion and morals. "Gnosticism" and Marcionite Christianity prove the variety and depth of the needs then asserting themselves within the space that the ecclesiastical historian is able to survey. Mightier than all others, however, was the longing men felt to free themselves from the burden of the past, to cast away the rubbish of cults and of unmeaning religious ceremonies, and to be assured that the results of religious philosophy, those great and simple doctrines of virtue and immortality and of the God who is a Spirit, were certain truths. He who brought the message that these ideas were realities, and who, on the strength of these realities, declared polytheism and the worship of idols to be obsolete, had the mightiest forces on his side; for the times were now ripe for this preaching. What formed the strength of the apologetic philosophy was the proclamation that Christianity both contained the highest truth, as men already supposed it to be and as they had discovered it in their own minds, and the absolutely reliable guarantee that was desired for this truth. To the quality which makes it appear meagre to us it owed its impressiveness. The fact of its falling in with the general spiritual current of the time and making no attempt to satisfy special and deeper needs enabled it to plead the cause of spiritual monotheism and to oppose the worship of idols in the manner most easily understood. As it did not require historic and positive material to describe the nature of religion and morality, this philosophy enabled the Apologists [pg 172] to demonstrate the worthlessness of the traditional religion and worship of the different nations.342 The same cause, however, made them take up the conservative position with regard to the historical traditions of Christianity. These were not ultimately tested as to their content, for this was taken for granted, no matter how they might be worded; but they were used to give an assurance of the truth, and to prove that the religion of the spirit was not founded on human opinion, but on divine revelation. The only really important consideration in Christianity is that it is revelation, real revelation. The Apologists had no doubt as to what it reveals, and therefore any investigation was unnecessary. The result of Greek philosophy, the philosophy of Plato and Zeno, as it had further developed in the empires of Alexander the Great and the Romans, was to attain victory and permanence by the aid of Christianity. Thus we view the progress of this development to-day,343 and Christianity really proved to be the force from which that religious philosophy, viewed as a theory of the world and system of morality, first received the courage to free itself from the polytheistic past and descend from the circles of the learned to the common people.

This constitutes the deepest distinction between Christian philosophers like Justin and those of the type of Valentinus. The latter sought for a religion; the former, though indeed they were not very clear about their own purpose, sought assurance as to a theistic and moral conception of the world which they already possessed. At first the complexus of Christian tradition, which must have possessed many features of attraction for them, was something foreign to both. The latter, however, sought to make this tradition intelligible. For the former it was enough that they had here a revelation before them; that this revelation [pg 173] also bore unmistakable testimony to the one God, who was a Spirit, to virtue, and to immortality; and that it was capable of convincing men and of leading them to a virtuous life. Viewed superficially, the Apologists were no doubt the conservatives; but they were so, because they scarcely in any respect meddled with the contents of tradition. The "Gnostics," on the contrary, sought to understand what they read and to investigate the truth of the message of which they heard. The most characteristic feature is the attitude of each to the Old Testament. The Apologists were content to have found in it an ancient source of revelation, and viewed the book as a testimony to the truth, i.e., to philosophy and virtue; the Gnostics investigated this document and examined to what extent it agreed with the new impressions they had received from the Gospel. We may sum up as follows: The Gnostics sought to determine what Christianity is as a religion, and, as they were convinced of the absoluteness of Christianity, this process led them to incorporate with it all that they looked on as sublime and holy and to remove everything they recognised to be inferior. The Apologists, again, strove to discover an authority for religious enlightenment and morality and to find the confirmation of a theory of the universe, which, if true, contained for them the certainty of eternal life; and this they found in the Christian tradition.

At bottom this contrast is a picture of the great discord existing in the religious philosophy of the age itself (see p. 129, vol. I.). No one denied the fact that all truth was divine, that is, was founded on revelation. The great question, however, was whether every man possessed this truth as a slumbering capacity that only required to be awakened; whether it was rational, i.e., merely moral truth, or must be above that which is moral, that is, of a religious nature; whether it must carry man beyond himself; and whether a real redemption was necessary. It is ultimately the dispute between morality and religion, which appears as an unsettled problem in the theses of the idealistic philosophers and in the whole spiritual conceptions then current among the educated, and which recurs in the contrast between the Apologetic and the Gnostic theology. And, [pg 174] as in the former case we meet with the most varied shades and transitions, for no one writer has developed a consistent theory, so also we find a similar state of things in the latter;344 for no Apologist quite left out of sight the idea of redemption (deliverance from the dominion of demons can only be effected by the Logos, i.e., God). Wherever the idea of freedom is strongly emphasised, the religious element, in the strict sense of the word, appears in jeopardy. This is the case with the Apologists throughout. Conversely, wherever redemption forms the central thought, need is felt of a suprarational truth, which no longer views morality as the only aim, and which, again, requires particular media, a sacred history and sacred symbols. Stoic rationalism, in its logical development, is menaced wherever we meet the perception that the course of the world must in some way be helped, and wherever the contrast between reason and sensuousness, that the old Stoa had confused, is clearly felt to be an unendurable state of antagonism that man cannot remove by his own unaided efforts. The need of a revelation had its starting-point in philosophy here. The judgment of oneself and of the world to which Platonism led, the self-consciousness which it awakened by the detachment of man from nature, and the contrasts which it revealed led of necessity to that frame of mind which manifested itself in the craving for a revelation. The Apologists felt this. But their rationalism gave a strange turn to the satisfaction of that need. It was not their Christian ideas which first involved them in contradictions. At the time when Christianity appeared on the scene, the Platonic and Stoic systems themselves were already so complicated that philosophers did not find their difficulties seriously increased by a consideration of the Christian doctrines. As Apologists, however, they decidedly took the part of Christianity because, according to them, it was the doctrine of reason and freedom.

The Gospel was hellenised in the second century in so far as the Gnostics in various ways transformed it into a Hellenic [pg 175] religion for the educated. The Apologists used it—we may almost say inadvertently—to overthrow polytheism by maintaining that Christianity was the realisation of an absolutely moral theism. The Christian religion was not the first to experience this twofold destiny on Græco-Roman soil. A glance at the history of the Jewish religion shows us a parallel development; in fact, both the speculations of the Gnostics and the theories of the Apologists were foreshadowed in the theology of the Jewish Alexandrians, and particularly in that of Philo. Here also the Gospel merely entered upon the heritage of Judaism.345 Three centuries before the appearance of Christian Apologists, Jews, who had received a Hellenic training, had already set forth the religion of Jehovah to the Greeks in that remarkably summary and spiritualised form which represents it as the absolute and highest philosophy, i.e., the knowledge of God, of virtue, and of recompense in the next world. Here these Jewish philosophers had already transformed all the positive and historic elements of the national religion into parts of a huge system for proving the truth of that theism. The Christian Apologists adopted this method, for they can hardly be said to have invented it anew.346 We see from the Jewish Sibylline oracles how wide-spread it was. Philo, however, was not only a Stoic rationalist, but a hyper-Platonic religious philosopher. In like manner, the Christian Apologists did not altogether lack this element, though in some isolated cases among them there are hardly any traces of it. This feature is most fully represented among the Gnostics.

This transformation of religion into a philosophic system would not have been possible had not Greek philosophy itself happened to be in process of development into a religion. Such a transformation was certainly very foreign to the really classical time of Greece and Rome. The pious belief in the efficacy and power of the gods and in their appearances and manifestations, as well as the traditional worship, could have no bond of union [pg 176] with speculations concerning the essence and ultimate cause of things. The idea of a religious dogma which was at once to furnish a correct theory of the world and a principle of conduct was from this standpoint completely unintelligible. But philosophy, particularly in the Stoa, set out in search of this idea, and, after further developments, sought for one special religion with which it could agree or through which it could at least attain certainty. The meagre cults of the Greeks and Romans were unsuited for this. So men turned their eyes towards the barbarians. Nothing more clearly characterises the position of things in the second century than the agreement between two men so radically different as Tatian and Celsus. Tatian emphatically declares that salvation comes from the barbarians, and to Celsus it is also a "truism" that the barbarians have more capacity than the Greeks for discovering valuable doctrines.347 Everything was in fact prepared, and nothing was wanting.

About the middle of the second century, however, the moral and rationalistic element in the philosophy and spiritual culture of the time was still more powerful than the religious and mystic; for Neoplatonism, which under its outward coverings concealed the aspiration after religion and the living God, was only in its first beginnings. It was not otherwise in Christian circles. The "Gnostics" were in the minority. What the great majority of the Church felt to be intelligible and edifying above everything else was an earnest moralism.348 New and strange as the [pg 177] undertaking to represent Christianity as a philosophy might seem at first, the Apologists, so far as they were understood, appeared to advance nothing inconsistent with Christian common sense. Besides, they did not question authorities, but rather supported them, and introduced no foreign positive materials. For all these reasons, and also because their writings were not at first addressed to the communities, but only to outsiders, the marvellous attempt to present Christianity to the world as the religion which is the true philosophy, and as the philosophy which is the true religion, remained unopposed in the Church. But in what sense was the Christian religion set forth as a philosophy? An exact answer to this question is of the highest interest as regards the history of Christian dogma.

2. Christianity as Philosophy and as Revelation.

It was a new undertaking and one of permanent importance to a tradition hitherto so little concerned for its own vindication, when Quadratus and the Athenian philosopher, Aristides, presented treatises in defence of Christianity to the emperor.349 About a century had elapsed since the Gospel of Christ had begun to be preached. It may be said that the Apology of Aristides was a most significant opening to the second century, whilst we find Origen at its close. Marcianus Aristides expressly designates himself in his pamphlet as a philosopher of the Athenians. Since the days when the words were written: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit" (Col. II. 8), it had constantly been repeated (see, as evidence, Celsus, passim) that Christian preaching and philosophy were things entirely different, that God had chosen the fools, and that man's duty was not to investigate and seek, but to [pg 178] believe and hope. Now a philosopher, as such, pleaded the cause of Christianity. In the summary he gave of the content of Christianity at the beginning of his address, he really spoke as a philosopher and represented this faith as a philosophy. By expounding pure monotheism and giving it the main place in his argument, Aristides gave supreme prominence to the very doctrine which simple Christians also prized as the most important.350 Moreover, in emphasing not only the supernatural character of the Christian doctrine revealed by the Son of the Most High God, but also the continuous inspiration of believers—the new race (not a new school)—he confessed in the most express way the peculiar nature of this philosophy as a divine truth. According to him Christianity is philosophy because its content is in accordance with reason, and because it gives a satisfactory and universally intelligible answer to the questions with which all real philosophers have concerned themselves. But it is no philosophy, in fact it is really the complete opposite of this, in so far as it proceeds from revelation and is propagated by the agency of God, i.e., has a supernatural and divine origin, on which alone the truth and certainty of its doctrines finally depend. This contrast to philosophy is chiefly shown in the unphilosophical form in which Christianity was first preached to the world. That is the thesis maintained by all the Apologists from Justin to Tertullian,351 and which Jewish philosophers before them propounded and defended. This proposition may certainly be expressed in a great variety of ways. In the first place, it is important whether the first or second half is emphasised, and secondly, whether that which is "universally intelligible" is to be reckoned as philosophy at all, or is to be separated from it as that which comes by "nature." Finally, the attitude to be taken up towards the Greek philosophers is left an open question, so that the thesis, taking up this attitude as a starting-point, may again assume various forms. But was the contradiction which it contains not felt? The content of revelation is to be [pg 179] rational; but does that which is rational require a revelation? How the proposition was understood by the different Apologists requires examination.

Aristides. He first gives an exposition of monotheism and the monotheistic cosmology (God as creator and mover of the universe, as the spiritual, perfect, almighty Being, whom all things need, and who requires nothing). In the second chapter he distinguishes, according to the Greek text, three, and, according to the Syriac, four classes of men (in the Greek text polytheists, Jews, Christians, the polytheists being divided into Chaldeans, Greeks, and Egyptians; in the Syriac barbarians, Greeks, Jews, Christians), and gives their origin. He derives the Christians from Jesus Christ and reproduces the Christian kerygma (Son of the Most High God, birth from the Virgin, 12 disciples, death on the cross, burial, resurrection, ascension, missionary labours of the 12 disciples). After this, beginning with the third chapter, follows a criticism of polytheism, that is, the false theology of the barbarians, Greeks, and Egyptians (down to chapter 12). In the 13th chapter the Greek authors and philosophers are criticised, and the Greek myths, as such, are shown to be false. In the 14th chapter the Jews are introduced (they are monotheists and their ethical system is praised; but they are then reproached with worshipping of angels and a false ceremonial). In the 15th chapter follows a description of the Christians, i.e., above all, of their pure, holy life. It is they who have found the truth, because they know the creator of heaven and earth. This description is continued in chapters 16 and 17: "This people is new and there is a divine admixture in it." The Christian writings are recommended to the emperor.

Justin.352 In his treatise addressed to the emperor Justin did not call himself a philosopher as Aristides had done. In espousing [pg 180] the cause of the hated and despised Christians he represented himself as a simple member of that sect. But in the very first sentence of his Apology he takes up the ground of piety and philosophy, the very ground taken up by the pious and philosophical emperors themselves, according to the judgment of the time and their own intention. In addressing them he appeals to the λογος σωφρων in a purely Stoic fashion. He opposes the truth—also in the Stoic manner—to the δοξαις παλαιων.353 It was not to be a mere captatio benevolentiæ. In that case Justin would not have added: "That ye are pious and wise and guardians of righteousness and friends of culture, ye hear everywhere. Whether ye are so, however, will be shown."354 His whole exordium is calculated to prove to the emperors that they are in danger of repeating a hundredfold the crime which the judges of Socrates had committed.355 Like a second Socrates Justin speaks to the emperors in the name of all Christians. They are to hear the convictions of the wisest of the Greeks from the mouth of the Christians. Justin wishes to enlighten the emperor with regard to the life and doctrines (βιος και μαθηματα) of the latter. Nothing is to be concealed, for there is nothing to conceal.

Justin kept this promise better than any of his successors. For that very reason also he did not depict the Christian Churches as schools of philosophers (cc. 61-67). Moreover, in the first passage where he speaks of Greek philosophers,356 he is merely drawing a parallel. According to him there are bad Christians and seeming Christians, just as there are philosophers who are only so in name and outward show. Such men, too, were in early times called "philosophers" even when they preached atheism. To all appearance, therefore, Justin does not desire Christians to be reckoned as philosophers. But it is nevertheless significant that, in the case of the Christians, a [pg 181] phenomenon is being repeated which otherwise is only observed in the case of philosophers; and how were those whom he was addressing to understand him? In the same passage he speaks for the first time of Christ. He introduces him with the plain and intelligible formula: 'ο διδασκαλος Χριστος ("the teacher Christ").357 Immediately thereafter he praises Socrates because he had exposed the worthlessness and deceit of the evil demons, and traces his death to the same causes which are now he says bringing about the condemnation of the Christians. Now he can make his final assertion. In virtue of "reason" Socrates exposed superstition; in virtue of the same reason, this was done by the teacher whom the Christians follow. But this teacher was reason itself; it was visible in him, and indeed it appeared bodily in him.358

Is this philosophy or is it myth? The greatest paradox the Apologist has to assert is connected by him with the most impressive remembrance possessed by his readers as philosophers. In the same sentence where he represents Christ as the Socrates of the barbarians,359 and consequently makes Christianity out to be a Socratic doctrine, he propounds the unheard of theory that the teacher Christ is the incarnate reason of God.

Justin nowhere tried to soften the effect of this conviction or explain it in a way adapted to his readers. Nor did he conceal from them that his assertion admits of no speculative demonstration. That philosophy can only deal with things which ever are, because they ever were, since this world began, is a fact about which he himself is perfectly clear. No Stoic could have felt more strongly than Justin how paradoxical is the assertion that a thing is of value which has happened only once. Certain as he is that the "reasonable" emperors will regard it as a rational assumption that "Reason" is the [pg 182] Son of God,360 he knows equally well that no philosophy will bear him out in that other assertion, and that such a statement is seemingly akin to the contemptible myths of the evil demons.

But there is certainly a proof which, if not speculative, is nevertheless sure. The same ancient documents, which contain the Socratic and super-Socratic wisdom of the Christians, bear witness through prophecies, which, just because they are predictions, admit of no doubt, that the teacher Christ is the incarnate reason; for history confirms the word of prophecy even in the minutest details. Moreover, in so far as these writings are in the lawful possession of the Christians, and announced at the very beginning of things that this community would appear on the earth, they testify that the Christians may in a certain fashion date themselves back to the beginning of the world, because their doctrine is as old as the earth itself (this thought is still wanting in Aristides).

The new Socrates who appeared among the barbarians is therefore quite different from the Socrates of the Greeks, and for that reason also his followers are not to be compared with the disciples of the philosophers.361 From the very beginning of things a world-historical dispensation of God announced this reasonable doctrine through prophets, and prepared the visible appearance of reason itself. The same reason which created and arranged the world took human form in order to draw the whole of humanity to itself. Every precaution has been taken to make it easy for any one, be he Greek or barbarian, educated or uneducated, to grasp all the doctrines of this reason, to verify their truth, and test their power in life. What further importance can philosophy have side by side with this, how can one think of calling this a philosophy?

And yet the doctrine of the Christians can only be compared with philosophy. For, so far as the latter is genuine, it is also [pg 183] guided by the Logos; and, conversely, what the Christians teach concerning the Father of the world, the destiny of man, the nobility of his nature, freedom and virtue, justice and recompense, has also been attested by the wisest of the Greeks. They indeed only stammered, whereas the Christians speak. These, however, use no unintelligible and unheard-of language, but speak with the words and through the power of reason. The wonderful arrangement, carried out by the Logos himself, through which he ennobled the human race by restoring its consciousness of its own nobility, compels no one henceforth to regard the reasonable as the unreasonable or wisdom as folly. But is the Christian wisdom not of divine origin? How can it in that case be natural, and what connection can exist between it and the wisdom of the Greeks? Justin bestowed the closest attention on this question, but he never for a moment doubted what the answer must be. Wherever the reasonable has revealed itself, it has always been through the operation of the divine reason. For man's lofty endowment consists in his having had a portion of the divine reason implanted within him, and in his consequent capacity of attaining a knowledge of divine things, though not a perfect and clear one, by dint of persistent efforts after truth and virtue. When man remembers his real nature and destination, that is, when he comes to himself, the divine reason is already revealing itself in him and through him. As man's possession conferred on him at the creation, it is at once his most peculiar property, and the power which dominates and determines his nature.362 All that is reasonable [pg 184] is based on revelation. In order to accomplish his true destiny man requires from the beginning the inward working of that divine reason which has created the world for the sake of man, and therefore wishes to raise man beyond the world to God.363

Apparently no one could speak in a more stoical fashion. But this train of thought is supplemented by something which limits it. Revelation does retain its peculiar and unique significance. For no one who merely possessed the "seed of the Logos" (σπερμα του λογου), though it may have been his exclusive guide to knowledge and conduct, was ever able to grasp the whole truth and impart it in a convincing manner. Though Socrates and Heraclitus may in a way be called Christians, they cannot be so designated in any real sense. Reason is clogged with unreasonableness, and the certainty of truth is doubtful wherever the whole Logos has not been acting; for man's natural endowment with reason is too weak to oppose the powers of evil and of sense that work in the world, namely, the demons. We must [pg 185] therefore believe in the prophets in whom the whole Logos spoke. He who does that must also of necessity believe in Christ; for the prophets clearly pointed to him as the perfect embodiment of the Logos. Measured by the fulness, clearness, and certainty of the knowledge imparted by the Logos Christ, all knowledge independent of him appears as merely human wisdom, even when it emanates from the seed of the Logos. The Stoic argument is consequently untenable. Men blind and kept in bondage by the demons require to be aided by a special revelation. It is true that this revelation is nothing new, and in so far as it has always existed, and never varied in character, from the beginning of the world, it is in this sense nothing extraordinary. It is the divine help granted to man, who has fallen under the power of the demons, and enabling him to follow his reason and freedom to do what is good. By the appearance of Christ this help became accessible to all men. The dominion of demons and revelation are the two correlated ideas. If the former did not exist, the latter would not be necessary. According as we form a lower or higher estimate of the pernicious results of that sovereignty, the value of revelation rises or sinks. This revelation cannot do less than give the necessary assurance of the truth, and it cannot do more than impart the power that develops and matures the inalienable natural endowment of man and frees him from the dominion of the demons.

Accordingly the teaching of the prophets and Christ is related even to the very highest human philosophy as the whole is to the part,364 or as the certain is to the uncertain; and hence also [pg 186] as the permanent is to the transient. For the final stage has now arrived and Christianity is destined to put an end to natural human philosophy. When the perfect work is there, the fragmentary must cease. Justin gave the clearest expression to this conviction. Christianity, i.e., the prophetic teaching attested by Christ and accessible to all, puts an end to the human systems of philosophy that from their close affinity to it may be called Christian, inasmuch as it effects all and more than all that these systems have done, and inasmuch as the speculations of the philosophers, which are uncertain and mingled with error, are transformed by it into dogmas of indubitable certainty.365 The practical conclusion drawn in Justin's treatise from this exposition is that the Christians are at least entitled to ask the authorities to treat them as philosophers (Apol. I. 7, 20: II. 15). This demand, he says, is the more justifiable because the freedom of philosophers is enjoyed even by such people as merely bear the name, whereas in reality they set forth immoral and pernicious doctrines.366

[pg 187]

In the dialogue with the Jew Trypho, which is likewise meant for heathen readers, Justin ceased to employ the idea of the existence of a "seed of the Logos implanted by nature" (σπερμα λογου εμφυτον) in every man. From this fact we recognise that he did not consider the notion of fundamental importance. He indeed calls the Christian religion a philosophy;367 but, in so far as this is the case, it is "the only sure and saving philosophy." No doubt the so-called philosophies put the right questions, but they are incapable of giving correct answers. For the Deity, who embraces all true being, and a knowledge of whom alone makes salvation possible, is only known in proportion as he reveals himself. True wisdom is therefore exclusively based on revelation. Hence it is opposed to every human philosophy, [pg 188] because revelation was only given in the prophets and in Christ.368 The Christian is the philosopher,369 because the followers of Plato and the Stoics are virtually no philosophers. In applying the title "philosophy" to Christianity he therefore does not mean to bring Christians and philosophers more closely together. No doubt, however, he asserts that the Christian doctrine, which is founded on the knowledge of Christ and leads to blessedness,370 is in accordance with reason.

Athenagoras. The petition on behalf of Christians, which Athenagoras, "the Christian philosopher of Athens," presented, to the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, nowhere expressly designates Christianity as a philosophy, and still less does it style the Christians philosophers.371 But, at the very beginning of his writing Athenagoras also claims for the Christian doctrines the toleration granted by the state to all philosophic tenets.372 In support of his claim he argues that the state punishes nothing but practical atheism,373 and that the "atheism" of the Christians is a doctrine about God such as had been propounded by the most distinguished philosophers—Pythagoreans, Platonists, Peripatetics, and Stoics—who, moreover, were permitted to write whatsoever they pleased on the subject of the "Deity."374 The Apologist concedes even more: "If philosophers did not also acknowledge the existence of one God, if they did not also conceive the gods in question to be partly demons, partly matter, partly of human birth, then certainly we would be justly expelled as aliens."375 He therefore takes up the standpoint that the state is justified in refusing to tolerate people with completely new doctrines. When we add that he everywhere assumes that the wisdom and piety of the emperors are sufficient to test [pg 189] and approve376 the truth of the Christian teaching, that he merely represents this faith itself as the reasonable doctrine,377 and that, with the exception of the resurrection of the body, he leaves all the positive and objectionable tenets of Christianity out of account,378 there is ground for thinking that this Apologist differs essentially from Justin in his conception of the relation of Christianity to secular philosophy.

Moreover, it is not to be denied that Athenagoras views the revelation in the prophets and in Christ as completely identical. But in one very essential point he agrees with Justin; and he has even expressed himself still more plainly than the latter, inasmuch as he does not introduce the assumption of a "seed of the Logos implanted by nature" σπερμα λογου εμφυτον. The philosophers, he says, were incapable of knowing the full truth, since it was not from God, but rather from themselves, that they wished to learn about God. True wisdom, however, can only be learned from God, that is, from his prophets; it depends solely on revelation.379 Here also then we have a repetition of the thought that the truly reasonable is of supernatural origin. Such is the importance attached by Athenagoras to this proposition, that he declares any demonstration of the "reasonable" to be insufficient, no matter how luminous it may appear. Even that which is most evidently true—e.g., monotheism—is not raised from the domain of mere human opinion into the sphere of undoubted certainty till it can be confirmed by revelation.380 This can be done by Christians alone. Hence they are very different from the philosophers, just as they are also distinguished from these by their manner of life.381 All the praises which Athenagoras from time to time bestows on philosophers, particularly Plato,382 are consequently to be understood in a merely [pg 190] relative sense. Their ultimate object is only to establish the claim made by the Apologist with regard to the treatment of Christians by the state; but they are not really meant to bring the former into closer relationship to philosophers. Athenagoras also holds the theory that Christians are philosophers, in so far as the "philosophers" are not such in any true sense. It is only the problems they set that connect the two. He exhibits less clearness than Justin in tracing the necessity of revelation to the fact that the demon sovereignty, which, above all, reveals itself in polytheism,383 can only be overthrown by revelation; he rather emphasises the other thought (cc. 7, 9) that the necessary attestation of the truth can only be given in this way.384

Tatian's385 chief aim was not to bring about a juster treatment of the Christians.386 He wished to represent their cause as the good contrasted with the bad, wisdom as opposed to error, truth in contradistinction to outward seeming, hypocrisy, and pretentious emptiness. His "Address to the Greeks" begins [pg 191] with a violent polemic against all Greek philosophers. Tatian merely acted up to a judgment of philosophers and philosophy which in Justin's case is still concealed.387 Hence it was not possible for him to think of demonstrating analogies between Christians and philosophers. He also no doubt views Christianity as "reasonable;" he who lives virtuously and follows wisdom receives it;388 but yet it is too sublime to be grasped by earthly perception.389 It is a heavenly thing which depends on the communication of the "Spirit," and hence can only be known by revelation.390 But yet it is a "philosophy" with definite [pg 192] doctrines (δογματα);391 it brings nothing new, but only such blessings as we have already received, but could not retain392 owing to the power of error, i.e., the dominion of the demons.393 Christianity is therefore the philosophy in which, by virtue of the Logos revelation through the prophets,394 the rational knowledge that leads to life395 is restored. This knowledge was no less obscured among the Greek philosophers than among the Greeks generally. In so far as revelation took place among the barbarians from the remotest antiquity, Christianity may also be called the barbarian philosophy.396 Its truth is proved [pg 193] by its ancient date397 as well as by its intelligible form, which enables even the most uneducated person that is initiated in it398 to understand it perfectly.399 Finally, Tatian also states (c. 40) that the Greek sophists have read the writings of Moses and the prophets, and reproduced them in a distorted form. He therefore maintains the very opposite of what Celsus took upon him to demonstrate when venturing to derive certain sayings and doctrines of Christ and the Christians from the philosophers. Both credit the plagiarists with intentional misrepresentation or gross misunderstanding. Justin judged more charitably. To Tatian, on the contrary, the mythology of the Greeks did not appear worse than their philosophy; in both cases he saw imitations and intentional corruption of the truth.400

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Theophilus agrees with Tatian, in so far as he everywhere appears to contrast Christianity with philosophy. The religious and moral culture of the Greeks is derived from their poets (historians) and philosophers (ad Autol. II. 3 fin. and elsewhere). However, not only do poets and philosophers contradict each other (II. 5); but the latter also do not agree (II. 4. 8: III. 7), nay, many contradict themselves (III. 3). Not a single one of the so-called philosophers, however, is to be taken seriously;401 they have devised myths and follies (II. 8); everything they have set forth is useless and godless (III. 2); vain and worthless fame was their aim (III. 3). But God knew beforehand the "drivellings of these hollow philosophers" and made his preparations (II. 15). He of old proclaimed the truth by the mouth of prophets, and these deposited it in holy writings. This truth refers to the knowledge of God, the origin and history of the world, as well as to a virtuous life. The prophetic testimony in regard to it was continued in the Gospel.402 Revelation, however, is necessary because this wisdom of the philosophers and poets is really demon wisdom, for they were inspired by devils.403 Thus the most extreme contrasts appear to exist here. Still, Theophilus is constrained to confess that [pg 195] truth was not only announced by the Sibyl, to whom his remarks do not apply, for she is (II. 36): εν Ελλησιν και εν τοις λοιποις εθνετιν γενομενη προφητις, but that poets and philosophers, "though against their will," also gave clear utterances regarding the justice, the judgment, and the punishments of God, as well as regarding his providence in respect to the living and the dead, or, in other words, about the most important points (II. 37, 38, 8 fin.). Theophilus gives a double explanation of this fact. On the one hand he ascribes it to the imitation of holy writings (II. 12, 37: I. 14), and on the other he admits that those writers, when the demons abandoned them (τη ψυχη εκνηψαντες εξ αυτων), of themselves displayed a knowledge of the divine sovereignty, the judgment etc., which agrees with the teachings of the prophets (II. 8). This admission need not cause astonishment; for the freedom and control of his own destiny with which man is endowed (II. 27) must infallibly lead him to correct knowledge and obedience to God, as soon as he is no longer under the sway of the demons. Theophilus did not apply the title of philosophy to Christian truth, this title being in his view discredited; but Christianity is to him the "wisdom of God," which by luminous proofs convinces the men who reflect on their own nature.404

[pg 196]

Tertullian and Minucius Felix.405 Whilst, in the case of the Greek Apologists, the acknowledgment of revelation appears conditioned by philosophical scepticism on the one hand, and by the strong impression of the dominion of the demons on the other, the sceptical element is not only wanting in the Latin Apologists, but the Christian truth is even placed in direct opposition to the sceptical philosophy and on the side of philosophical dogmatism, i.e., Stoicism.406 Nevertheless the observations of Tertullian and Minucius Felix with regard to the essence of Christianity, viewed as philosophy and as revelation, are at bottom completely identical with the conception of the Greek Apologists, although it is undeniable that in the former case the revealed character of Christianity is placed in the background.407 The recognition of this fact is exceedingly instructive, for it proves [pg 197] that the conception of Christianity set forth by the Apologists was not an individual one, but the necessary expression of the conviction that Christian truth contains the completion and guarantee of philosophical knowledge. To Minucius Felix (and Tertullian) Christian truth chiefly presents itself as the wisdom implanted by nature in every man (Oct. 16. 5). In so far as man possesses reason and speech and accomplishes the task of the "examination of the universe" ("inquisitio universitatis"), conditioned by this gift, he has the Christian truth, that is, he finds Christianity in his own constitution, and in the rational order of the world. Accordingly, Minucius is also able to demonstrate the Christian doctrines by means of the Stoic principle of knowledge, and arrives at the conclusion that Christianity is a philosophy, i.e., the true philosophy, and that philosophers are to be considered Christians in proportion as they have discovered the truth.408 Moreover, as he represented Christian ethics to be the expression of the Stoic, and depicted the Christian bond of brotherhood as a cosmopolitan union of philosophers, who have become conscious of their natural similarity,409 the revealed character of Christianity appears to be entirely given up. This religion is natural enlightenment, the revelation of a truth contained in the world and in man, the discovery of the one God from the open book of creation. The difference between him and an Apologist like Tatian seems here to be a radical one. But, if we look more closely, we find that Minucius—and not less Tertullian—has abandoned Stoic rationalism in vital points. We may regard his apologetic aim as his excuse for clearly drawing the logical conclusions from these inconsistencies [pg 198] himself. However, these deviations of his from the doctrines of the Stoa are not merely prompted by Christianity, but rather have already become an essential component of his philosophical theory of the world. In the first place, Minucius developed a detailed theory of the pernicious activity of the demons (cc. 26, 27). This was a confession that human nature was not what it ought to be, because an evil element had penetrated it from without. Secondly, he no doubt acknowledged (I. 4: 16. 5) the natural light of wisdom in humanity, but nevertheless remarked (32. 9) that our thoughts are darkness when measured by the clearness of God. Finally, and this is the most essential point, after appealing to various philosophers when expounding his doctrine of the final conflagration of the world, he suddenly repudiated this tribunal, declaring that the Christians follow the prophets, and that philosophers "have formed this shadowy picture of distorted truth in imitation of the divine predictions of the prophets." (34) Here we have now a union of all the elements already found in the Greek Apologists; only they are, as it were, hid in the case of Minucius. But the final proof that he agreed with them in the main is found in the exceedingly contemptuous judgment which he in conclusion passed on all philosophers and indeed on philosophy generally.410 (34. 5: 38. 5) This judgment is not to be explained, as in Tertullian's case, by the fact that his Stoic opinions led him to oppose natural perception to all philosophical theory—for this, at most, cannot have been more than a secondary contributing cause,411 but by the fact that he is conscious of following revealed wisdom.412 [pg 199] Revelation is necessary because mankind must be aided from without, i.e., by God. In this idea man's need of redemption is acknowledged, though not to the same extent as by Seneca and Epictetus. But no sooner does Minucius perceive the teachings of the prophets to be divine truth than man's natural endowment and the speculation of philosophers sink for him into darkness. Christianity is the wisdom which philosophers sought, but were not able to find.413

We may sum up the doctrines of the Apologists as follows: (1) Christianity is revelation, i.e., it is the divine wisdom, proclaimed of old by the prophets and, by reason of its origin, possessing an absolute certainty which can also be recognised in the fulfilment of their predictions. As divine wisdom Christianity is contrasted with, and puts an end to, all natural and philosophical knowledge. (2) Christianity is the enlightenment corresponding to the natural but impaired knowledge of man.414 It embraces all the elements of truth in philosophy, whence it is the philosophy; and helps man to realise the knowledge with which he is naturally endowed. (3) Revelation of the rational was and is necessary, because man has fallen under the sway of the demons. (4) The efforts of philosophers to ascertain the right knowledge were in vain; and this is, above all, shown by the fact that they neither overthrew polytheism nor brought about a really moral life. Moreover, so far as they discovered the truth, they owed it to the prophets from whom they borrowed [pg 200] it; at least it is uncertain whether they even attained a knowledge of fragments of the truth by their own independent efforts.415 But it is certain that many seeming truths in the writings of the philosophers were imitations of the truth by evil demons. This is the origin of all polytheism, which is, moreover, to some extent an imitation of Christian institutions. (5) The confession of Christ is simply included in the acknowledgment of the wisdom of the prophets; the doctrine of the truth did not receive a new content through Christ; he only made it accessible to the world and strengthened it (victory over the demons; special features acknowledged by Justin and Tertullian). (6) The practical test of Christianity is first contained in the fact that all persons are able to grasp it, for women and uneducated men here become veritable sages; secondly in the fact that it has the power of producing a holy life, and of overthrowing the tyranny of the demons. In the Apologists, therefore, Christianity served itself heir to antiquity, i.e., to the result of the monotheistic knowledge and ethics of the Greeks: "Οσα ουν παρα πασικαλως ειρηται, 'ημων των Χριστιανων εστι" (Justin, Apol. II. 13). It traced its origin back to the beginning of the world. Everything true and good which elevates mankind springs from divine revelation, and is at the same time genuinely human, because it is a clear expression of what man finds within him and of his destination (Justin, Apol. I. 46: 'οι μετα λογου βιωσαντες Χριστιανοι εισι, καν αθεοι ενομισθησαν, οιον εν 'Ελλησι μεν Σωκρατης και Ηρακλειτος και οι ομοιοι αυτοις, εν βαρβαροις δε Αβρααμ κ.τ.λ., "those that have lived with reason are Christians, even though they were accounted atheists, such as Socrates and Heraclitus and those similar to them among the Greeks, and Abraham etc. among the barbarians"). But everything true and good is Christian, for Christianity is nothing else than the teaching of revelation. No second formula can be imagined in which the claim of Christianity to be the religion of the world is so powerfully expressed (hence also the endeavour of the Apologists to [pg 201] reconcile Christianity and the Empire), nor, on the other hand, can we conceive of one where the specific content of traditional Christianity is so thoroughly neutralised as it is here. But the really epoch-making feature is the fact that the intellectual culture of mankind now appears reconciled and united with religion. The "dogmas" are the expression of this. Finally, these fundamental presuppositions also result in a quite definite idea of the essence of revelation and of the content of reason. The essence of revelation consists in its form: it is divine communication through a miraculous inward working. All the media of revelation are passive organs of the Holy Spirit (Athenag. Supplic. 7; Pseudo-Justin, Cohort. 8; Justin, Dialogue 115. 7; Apol. I. 31, 33, 36; etc.; see also Hippolytus, de Christo et Antichr. 2). These were not necessarily at all times in a state of ecstasy, when they received the revelations; but they were no doubt in a condition of absolute receptivity. The Apologists had no other idea of revelation. What they therefore viewed as the really decisive proof of the reality of revelation is the prediction of the future, for the human mind does not possess this power. It was only in connection with this proof that the Apologists considered it important to show what Moses, David, Isaiah, etc., had proclaimed in the Old Testament, that is, these names have only a chronological significance. This also explains their interest in a history of the world, in so far as this interest originated in the effort to trace the chain of prophets up to the beginning of history, and to prove the higher antiquity of revealed truth as compared with all human knowledge and errors, particularly as found among the Greeks (clear traces in Justin,416 first detailed argument in Tatian).417 If, however, strictly speaking, it is only the form and not the content of revelation that is supernatural in so far as this content coincides with that of reason, it is evident that the Apologists simply took the content of the latter for granted and stated it dogmatically. So, whether they expressed themselves in strictly Stoic fashion or not, they all essentially agree in the assumption that true religion [pg 202] and morality are the natural content of reason. Even Tatian forms no exception, though he himself protests against the idea.

3. The doctrines of Christianity as the revealed and rational religion.

The Apologists frequently spoke of the doctrines or "dogmas" of Christianity; and the whole content of this religion as philosophy is included in these dogmas.418 According to what we have already set forth there can be no doubt about the character of [pg 203] Christian dogmas. They are the rational truths, revealed by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures, and summarised in Christ (χριστος λογος και νομος), which in their unity represent the divine wisdom, and the recognition of which leads to virtue and eternal life. The Apologists considered it their chief task to set forth these doctrines, and hence they can be reproduced with all desirable clearness. The dogmatic scheme of the Apologists may therefore be divided into three component parts. These are: (A) Christianity viewed as monotheistic cosmology (God as the Father of the world); (B) Christianity as the highest morality and righteousness (God as the judge who rewards goodness and punishes wickedness); (C) Christianity regarded as redemption (God as the Good One who assists man and rescues him from the power of the demons).419 Whilst the first two ideas are expressed in a clear and precise manner, it is equally true that the third is not worked out in a lucid fashion. This, as will afterwards be seen, is, on the one hand, the result of the Apologists' doctrine of freedom, and, on the other, of their inability to discover a specific significance for the person of Christ within the sphere of revelation. Both facts again are ultimately to be explained from their moralism.

The essential content of revealed philosophy is viewed by the Apologists (see A, B) as comprised in three doctrines.420 First, there is one spiritual and inexpressibly exalted God, who is Lord and Father of the world. Secondly, he requires a holy life. Thirdly, he will at last sit in judgment, and will reward the good with immortality and punish the wicked with death. The teaching concerning God, virtue, and eternal reward is traced to the prophets and Christ; but the bringing about of a virtuous [pg 204] life (of righteousness) has been necessarily left by God to men themselves; for God has created man free, and virtue can only be acquired by man's own efforts. The prophets and Christ are therefore a source of righteousness in so far as they are teachers. But as God, that is, the divine Word (which we need not here discuss) has spoken in them, Christianity is to be defined as the Knowledge of God, mediated by the Deity himself, and as a virtuous walk in the longing after eternal and perfect life with God, as well as in the sure hope of this imperishable reward. By knowing what is true and doing what is good man becomes righteous and a partaker of the highest bliss. This knowledge, which has the character of divine instruction,421 rests on faith in the divine revelation. This revelation has the nature and power of redemption in so far as the fact is undoubted that without it men cannot free themselves from the tyranny of the demons, whilst believers in revelation are enabled by the Spirit of God to put them to flight. Accordingly, the dogmas of Christian philosophy theoretically contain the monotheistic cosmology, and practically the rules for a holy life, which appears as a renunciation of the world and as a new order of society.422 The goal is immortal life, which consists in the full knowledge and contemplation of God. The dogmas of revelation lie between the cosmology and ethics; they are indefinitely expressed so far as they contain the idea of salvation; but they are very precisely worded in so far as they guarantee the truth of the cosmology and ethics.

1. The dogmas which express the knowledge of God and the world are dominated by the fundamental idea that the world as the created, conditioned, and transient is contrasted with something [pg 205] self-existing, unchangeable and eternal, which is the first cause of the world. This self-existing Being has none of the attributes which belong to the world; hence he is exalted above every name and has in himself no distinctions. This implies, first, the unity and uniqueness of this eternal Being; secondly, his spiritual nature, for everything bodily is subject to change; and, finally, his perfection, for the self-existent and eternal requires nothing. Since, however, he is the cause of all being, himself being unconditioned, he is the fulness of all being or true being itself (Tatian 5: καθο πασα δυναμις ορατων τε και αορατων αυτος 'υποστασις ην, συν αυτω τα παντα). As the living and spiritual Being he reveals himself in free creations, which make known his omnipotence and wisdom, i.e., his operative reason. These creations are, moreover, a proof of the goodness of the Deity, for they can be no result of necessities, in so far as God is in himself perfect. Just because he is perfect, the Eternal Essence is also the Father of all virtues, in so far as he contains no admixture of what is defective. These virtues include both the goodness which manifests itself in his creations, and the righteousness which gives to the creature what belongs to him, in accordance with the position he has received. On the basis of this train of thought the Apologists lay down the dogmas of the monarchy of God (των 'ολων το μοναρχικον), his supramundaneness (το αρρητον, το ανεκφραστον, το αχωρητον, το ακαταληπτον, το απερινοητον, το ασυγκριτον, το ασυμβιβαστον, το ανεκδιηγητον; see Justin, Apol. II. 6; Theoph. I. 3); his unity (εις Θεος); his having no beginning (αναρχος, 'οτι αγενητος); his eternity and unchangeableness (αναλλοιωτος καθοτι αθανατος); his perfection (τελειος); his need of nothing (απροσδεης); his spiritual nature (πνευμα 'ο Θεος); his absolute causality (αυτος 'υπαρχων του παντος 'η 'υποστασις, the motionless mover, see Aristides c. 1); his creative activity (κτιστης των παντων); his sovereignty (δεσποτης των 'ολων); his fatherhood (πατηρ δια το ειναι αυτον προ των 'ολων) his reason-power (God as λογος, νους, πνευμα, σοφια); his omnipotence (παντοκρατωρ 'οτι αυτος τα παντα κρατει και εμπεριεχει); his righteousness and goodness (πατηρ της δικαιοσυνης και πασων των αρετων χρηστοτης). These dogmas are set forth by one Apologist in a more detailed, and by another in a more concise form, [pg 206] but three points are emphasised by all. First, God is primarily to be conceived as the First Cause. Secondly, the principle of moral good is also the principle of the world. Thirdly, the principle of the world, that is, the Deity, as being the immortal and eternal, forms the contrast to the world which is the transient. In the cosmology of the Apologists the two fundamental ideas are that God is the Father and Creator of the world, but that, as uncreated and eternal, he is also the complete contrast to it.423

These dogmas about God were not determined by the Apologists from the standpoint of the Christian Church which is awaiting an introduction into the Kingdom of God; but were deduced from a contemplation of the world on the one hand (see particularly Tatian, 4; Theophilus, I. 5, 6), and of the moral nature of man on the other. But, in so far as the latter itself belongs to the sphere of created things, the cosmos is the starting-point of their speculations. This is everywhere dominated by reason and order;424 it bears the impress of the divine Logos, and that in a double sense. On the one hand it appears as the copy of a higher, eternal world, for if we imagine transient and changeable matter removed, it is a wonderful complex of spiritual forces; on the other it presents itself as the finite product of a rational will. Moreover, the matter which lies at its basis is nothing bad, but an indifferent substance created by God,425 though indeed perishable. In its constitution the world is in every respect a structure worthy of God.426 Nevertheless, according to the Apologists, the direct author of the world was not God, but the personified power of reason which they perceived [pg 207] in the cosmos and represented as the immediate source of the universe. The motive for this dogma and the interest in it would be wrongly determined by alleging that the Apologists purposely introduced the Logos in order to separate God from matter, because they regarded this as something bad. This idea of Philo's cannot at least have been adopted by them as the result of conscious reflection, for it does not agree with their conception of matter; nor is it compatible with their idea of God and their belief in Providence, which is everywhere firmly maintained. Still less indeed can it be shown that they were all impelled to this dogma from their view of Jesus Christ, since in this connection, with the exception of Justin and Tertullian, they manifested no specific interest in the incarnation of the Logos in Jesus. The adoption of the dogma of the Logos is rather to be explained thus: (1) The idea of God, derived by abstraction from the cosmos, did indeed, like that of the idealistic philosophy, involve the element of unity and spirituality, which implied a sort of personality; but the fulness of all spiritual forces, the essence of everything imperishable were quite as essential features of the conception; for in spite of the transcendence inseparable from the notion of God, this idea was nevertheless meant to explain the world.427 Accordingly, they required a formula capable of expressing the transcendent and unchangeable nature of God on the one hand, and his fulness of creative and spiritual powers on the other. But the latter attributes themselves had again to be comprehended in a unity, because the law of the cosmos bore the appearance of a harmonious one. From this arose the idea of the Logos, and indeed the latter was necessarily distinguished from God as a separate existence, as soon as the realisation of the powers residing in God was represented as beginning. The Logos is the hypostasis of the operative power of reason, which at once preserves the unity and unchangeableness of God in spite of the exercise of the powers residing in him, and renders this very exercise possible. (2) Though the Apologists believed in the divine origin of the revelation given to the prophets, on which [pg 208] all knowledge of truth is based, they could nevertheless not be induced by this idea to represent God himself as a direct actor. For that revelation presupposes a speaker and a spoken word; but it would be an impossible thought to make the fulness of all essence and the first cause of all things speak. The Deity cannot be a speaking and still less a visible person, yet according to the testimony of the prophets, a Divine Person was seen by them. The Divine Being who makes himself known on earth in audible and visible fashion can only be the Divine Word. As, however, according to the fundamental view of the Apologists the principle of religion, i.e., of the knowledge of the truth, is also the principle of the world, so that Divine Word, which imparts the right knowledge of the world, must be identical with the Divine Reason which produced the world itself. In other words, the Logos is not only the creative Reason of God, but also his revealing Word. This explains the motive and aim of the dogma of the Logos. We need not specially point out that nothing more than the precision and certainty of the Apologists' manner of statement is peculiar here; the train of thought itself belongs to Greek philosophy. But that very confidence is the most essential feature of the case; for in fact the firm belief that the principle of the world is also that of revelation represents an important early-Christian idea, though indeed in the form of philosophical reflection. To the majority of the Apologists the theoretical content of the Christian faith is completely exhausted in this proposition. They required no particular Christology, for in every revelation of God by his Word they already recognised a proof of his existence not to be surpassed, and consequently regarded it as Christianity in nuce.428 But the fact that the Apologists made a distinction in thesi between the prophetic Spirit of God and the Logos, without being able to make any use of this distinction, [pg 209] is a very clear instance of their dependence on the formulæ of the Church's faith. Indeed their conception of the Logos continually compelled them to identify the Logos and the Spirit, just as they not unfrequently define Christianity as the belief in the true God and in his Son, without mentioning the Spirit.429 Further their dependence on the Christian tradition is shown in the fact that the most of them expressly designated the Logos as the Son of God.430

The Logos doctrine of the Apologists is an essentially unanimous [pg 210] one. Since God cannot be conceived as without reason, αλογος, but as the fulness of all reason,431 he has always Logos in himself. This Logos is on the one hand the divine consciousness itself, and on the other the power (idea and energy) to which the world is due; he is not separate from God, but is contained in his essence.432 For the sake of the creation God produced (sent forth, projected) the Logos from himself, that is, he engendered433 him from his essence by a free and simple act of will (Θεος εκ Θεου πεφυκως εξ 'εαυτου. Dial. 61). Then for the first time the Logos became a hypostasis separate from God, or, in other words, he first came into existence; and, in virtue of his origin, he possesses the following distinctive features:434 [pg 211] (1) The inner essence of the Logos is identical with the essence of God himself; for it is the product of self-separation in God, willed and brought about by himself. Further, the Logos is not cut off and separated from God, nor is he a mere modality in him. He is rather the independent product of the self-unfolding of God (οικονομια), which product, though it is the epitome of divine reason, has nevertheless not stripped the Father of this attribute. The Logos is the revelation of God, and the visible God. Consequently the Logos is really God and Lord, i.e., he possesses the divine nature in virtue of his essence. The Apologists, however, only know of one kind of divine nature and this is that which belongs to the Logos. (2) From the moment when he was begotten the Logos is a being distinct from the Father; he is αριθμω ετερον τι, Θεος 'ετερος, Θεος δευτερος ("something different in number, another God, a second God.") But his personality only dates from that moment. "Fuit tempus, cum patri filius non fuit," ("there was a time when the Father had no Son," so Tertullian, adv. Hermog. 3). The λογος προφορικος is for the first time a hypostasis distinct from the Father, the λογος ενδιαθετος is not.435 (3) The Logos has an origin, the Father has not; hence it follows that in relation to God the Logos is a creature; he is the begotten, that is, the created God, the God who has a beginning. Wherefore in rank he is below God (εν δευτερα χωρα—δευτερος Θεος, "in the second place, [pg 212] and a second God"), the messenger and servant of God. The subordination of the Logos is not founded on the content of his essence, but on his origin. In relation to the creatures, however, the Logos is the αρχη, i.e., not only the beginning but the principle of the vitality and form of everything that is to receive being. As an emanation (the begotten) he is distinguished from all creatures, for he alone is the Son;436 but, as having a beginning, he again stands on a level with them. Hence the paradoxical expression, εργον πρωτοτοκον του πατρος ("first begotten work of the Father"), is here the most appropriate designation. (4) In virtue of his finite origin, it is possible and proper for the Logos to enter into the finite, to act, to speak, and to appear. As he arose for the sake of the creation of the world, he has the capacity of personal and direct revelation which does not belong to the infinite God; nay, his whole essence consists in the very fact that he is thought, word, and deed. Behind this active substitute and vicegerent, the Father stands in the darkness of the incomprehensible, and in the incomprehensible light of perfection as the hidden, unchangeable God.437

With the issuing forth of the Logos from God began the realisation of the idea of the world. The world as κοσμος νοητος is contained in the Logos. But the world is material and manifold, the Logos is spiritual and one. Therefore the [pg 213] Logos is not himself the world, but he is its creator and in a certain fashion its archetype. Justin and Tatian used the expression "beget" γενναν for the creation of the world, but in connections which do not admit of any importance being attached to this use. The world was created out of nothing after a host of spirits, as is assumed by most Apologists, had been created along with heaven, which is a higher, glorious world. The purpose of the creation of the world was and is the production of men, i.e., beings possessed of soul and body, endowed with reason and freedom, and therefore made in the image of God; beings who are to partake of the blessedness and perfection of God. Everything is created for man's sake, and his own creation is a proof of the goodness of God. As beings possessed of soul and body, men are neither mortal nor immortal, but capable either of death or immortality.438 The condition on which men can attain the latter introduces us to ethics. The doctrines, that God is also the absolute Lord of matter; that evil cannot be a quality of matter, but rather arose in time and from the free decision of the spirits or angels; and finally that the world will have an end, but God can call the destroyed material into existence, just as he once created it out of nothing, appear in principle to reconcile the dualism in the cosmology. We have the less occasion to give the details here, because they are known from the philosophical systems of the period, especially Philo's, and vary in manifold ways. All the Apologists, however, are imbued with the idea that this knowledge of God and the world, the genesis of the Logos and cosmos, are the most essential part of Christianity itself.439 This conception is really not peculiar to the Apologists: in the second century the great majority of Christians, in so far as they reflected at all, regarded [pg 214] the monotheistic explanation of the world as a main part of the Christian religion. The theoretical view of the world as a harmonious whole, of its order, regularity and beauty; the certainty that all this had been called into existence by an Almighty Spirit; the sure hope that heaven and earth will pass away, but will give place to a still more glorious structure, were always present, and put an end to the bright and gorgeously coloured, but phantastic and vague, cosmogonies and theogonies of antiquity.

2. Their clear system of morality is in keeping with their relatively simple cosmology. In giving man reason and freedom as an inalienable possession God destined him for incorruptibility (αθανασια, αφθαρσια), by the attainment of which he was to become a being similar to God.440 To the gift of imperishability God, however, attached the condition of man's preserving τα της αθανασιας ("the things of immortality"), i.e., preserving the knowledge of God and maintaining a holy walk in imitation of the divine perfection. This demand is as natural as it is just; moreover, nobody can fulfil it in man's stead, for an essential feature of virtue is its being free, independent action. Man must therefore determine himself to virtue by the knowledge that he is only in this way obedient to the Father of the world and able to reckon on the gift of immortality. The conception of the content of virtue, however, contains an element which cannot be clearly apprehended from the cosmology; moral goodness consists in letting oneself be influenced in no way by the sensuous, but in living solely, after the Spirit, and imitating the perfection and purity of God. Moral badness is giving way to any affection resulting from the natural basis of man. The Apologists undoubtedly believe that virtue consists negatively in man's renunciation of what his natural constitution of soul and body demands or impels him to. Some express this thought [pg 215] in a more pregnant and unvarnished fashion, others in a milder way. Tatian, for instance, says that we must divest ourselves of the human nature within us; but in truth the idea is the same in all. The moral law of nature of which the Apologists speak, and which they find reproduced in the clearest and most beautiful way in the sayings of Jesus,441 calls upon man to raise himself above his nature and to enter into a corresponding union with his fellow-man which is something higher than natural connections. It is not so much the law of love that is to rule everything, for love itself is only a phase of a higher law; it is the law governing the perfect and sublime Spirit, who, as being the most exalted existence on this earth, is too noble for the world. Raised already in this knowledge beyond time and space, beyond the partial and the finite, the man of God, even while upon the earth, is to hasten to the Father of Light. By equanimity, absence of desires, purity, and goodness, which are the necessary results of clear knowledge, he is to show that he has already risen above the transient through gazing on the imperishable and through the enjoyment of knowledge, imperfect though the latter still be. If thus, a suffering hero, he has stood the test on earth, if he has become dead to the world,442 he may be sure that in the life to come God will bestow on him the gift of immortality, which includes the direct contemplation of God together with the perfect knowledge that flows from it.443 Conversely, the vicious man is given over to eternal death, and in this punishment the righteousness of God is quite as plainly manifested, as in the reward of everlasting life.

3. While it is certain that virtue is a matter of freedom, it [pg 216] is just as sure that no soul is virtuous unless it follows the will of God, i.e., knows and judges of God and all things as they must be known and judged of; and fulfils the commandments of God. This presupposes a revelation of God through the Logos. A revelation of God, complete in itself and mediated by the Logos, is found in the cosmos and in the constitution of man, he being created in his Maker's image.444 But experience has shown that this revelation is insufficient to enable men to retain clear knowledge. They yielded to the seduction of evil demons, who, by God's sufferance, took possession of the world, and availed themselves of man's sensuous side to draw him away from the contemplation of the divine and lead him to the earthly.445 The results of this temptation appeared in the facts that humanity as a whole fell a prey to error, was subjected to the bonds of the sensuous and of the demons, and therefore became doomed to death, which is at once a punishment and the natural consequence of want of knowledge of [pg 217] God.446 Hence it required fresh efforts of the Logos to free men from a state which is indeed in no instance an unavoidable necessity, though a sad fact in the case of almost all. For very few are now able to recognise the one true God from the order of the universe and from the moral law implanted in themselves; nor can they withstand the power of the demons ruling in the world and use their freedom to imitate the virtues of God. Therefore the Almighty in his goodness employed new means through the Logos to call men back from the error of their ways, to overthrow the sovereignty of the demons upon earth, and to correct the disturbed course of the world before the end has yet come. From the earliest times the Logos (the Spirit) has descended on such men as preserved their souls pure, and bestowed on them, through inspiration, knowledge of the truth (with reference to God, freedom, virtue, the demons, the origin of polytheism, the judgment) to be imparted by them to others. These are his "prophets." Such men are rare among the Greeks (and according to some not found at all), but numerous among the barbarians, i.e., among the Jewish people. Taught by God, they announced the truth about him, and under the promptings of the Logos they also committed the revelations to writings, which therefore, as being inspired, are an authentic record of the whole truth.447 To some of the most virtuous among them he himself even appeared in human form and gave directions. He then is a Christian, who receives and follows these prophetic teachings, that have ever been proclaimed afresh from the beginning of the world down to the present time, and are summed up in the Old Testament. Such a one [pg 218] is enabled even now to rescue his soul from the rule of the demons, and may confidently expect the gift of immortality.

With the majority of the Apologists "Christianity" seems to be exhausted in these doctrines; in fact, they do not even consider it necessary to mention ex professo the appearance of the Logos in Christ (see above, p. 189 ff.). But, while it is certain that they all recognised that the teachings of the prophets contained the full revelation of the truth, we would be quite wrong in assuming that they view the appearance and history of Christ as of no significance. In their presentations some of them no doubt contented themselves with setting forth the most rational and simple elements, and therefore took almost no notice of the historical; but even in their case certain indications show that they regarded the manifestation of the Logos in Christ as of special moment.448 For the prophetic utterances, as found from the beginning, require an attestation, the prophetic teaching requires a guarantee, so that misguided humanity may accept them and no longer take error for truth and truth for error. The strongest guarantee imaginable is found in the fulfilment of prophecy. Since no man is able to foretell what is to come, the prediction of the future accompanying a doctrine proves its divine origin. God, in his extraordinary goodness, not only inspired the prophets, through the Logos, with the doctrines of truth, but has from the beginning put numerous predictions in their mouth. These predictions were detailed and manifold; the great majority of them referred to a more prolonged appearance of the Logos in human form at the end of history, and to a future judgment. Now, so long as the predictions had not yet come to pass, the teachings of the prophets were not sufficiently impressive, for the only sure witness of the truth is its outward attestation. In the history of Christ, [pg 219] however, the majority of these prophecies were fulfilled in the most striking fashion, and this not only guarantees the fulfilment of the relatively small remainder not yet come to pass (judgment, resurrection), but also settles beyond all doubt the truth of the prophetic teachings about God, freedom, virtue, immortality, etc. In the scheme of fulfilment and prophecy even the irrational becomes rational; for the fulfilment of a prediction is not a proof of its divine origin unless it refers to something extraordinary. Any one can predict regular occurrences which always take place. Accordingly, a part of what was predicted had to be irrational. Every particular in the history of Christ has therefore a significance, not as regards the future, but as regards the past. Here everything happened "that the word of the prophet might be fulfilled." Because the prophet had said so, it had to happen. Christ's destiny attests the ancient teachings of the prophets. Everything, however, depends on this attestation, for it was no longer the full truth that was wanting, but a convincing proof that the truth was a reality and not a fancy.449 But prophecy testifies that Christ is the ambassador of God, the Logos that has appeared in human form, and the Son of God. If the future destiny of Jesus is recorded in the Old Testament down to the smallest particular, and the book at the same time declares that this predicted One is the Son of God and will be crucified, then the paying of divine honours to this crucified man, to whom all the features of prophecy apply, is completely justified. The stage marked by Christ in the history of God's revelation, the content of which is always the same, is therefore the highest and last, because in it the "truth along with the proof" has appeared. This circumstance explains why the truth is so much more impressive and convinces more men than formerly, especially since Christ has also made special provision for the spread of the [pg 220] truth and is himself an unequalled exemplification of a virtuous life, the principles of which have now become known in the whole world through the spread of his precepts.

These statements exhaust the arguments in most of the Apologies; and they accordingly seem neither to have contemplated a redemption by Christ in the stricter sense of the word, nor to have assumed the unique nature of the appearance of the Logos in Jesus. Christ accomplished salvation as a divine teacher, that is to say, his teaching brings about the αλλαγη and επανγωγη of the human race, its restoration to its original destination. This also seems to suffice as regards demon rule. Logically considered, the individual portions of the history of Jesus (of the baptismal confession) have no direct significance in respect to salvation. Hence the teachings of the Christians seem to fall into two groups having no inward connection, i.e., the propositions treating of the rational knowledge of God, and the predicted and fulfilled historical facts which prove those doctrines and the believing hopes they include.

But Justin at least gave token of a manifest effort to combine the historical statements regarding Christ with the philosophical and moral doctrines of salvation and to conceive Jesus as the Redeemer.450 Accordingly, if the Christian dogmatic of succeeding times is found in the connection of philosophical theology with the baptismal confession, that is, in the "scientific theology of facts," Justin is, in a certain fashion, the first framer of Church dogma, though no doubt in a very tentative way. (1) He tried to distinguish between the appearance of the Logos in pre-Christian times and in Christ; he emphasised the fact that the whole Logos appeared only in Christ, and that the manner of this appearance has no counterpart in the past. (2) [pg 221] Justin showed in the Dialogue that, independently of the theologoumenon of the Logos, he was firmly convinced of the divinity of Christ on the ground of predictions and of the impression made by his personality.451 (3) In addition to the story of the exaltation of Christ, Justin also emphasised other portions of his history, especially the death on the cross (together with baptism and the Lord's Supper) and tried to give them a positive significance.452 He adopted the common Christian saying that the blood of Christ cleanses believers and men are healed through his wounds; and he tried to give a mystic significance to the cross. (4) He accordingly spoke of the forgiveness of sins through Christ and confessed that men are changed, through the new birth in baptism, from children of necessity and ignorance into children of purpose and understanding and forgiveness of sins.453 Von Engelhardt has, however, quite rightly noticed that these are mere words which have nothing at all corresponding to them in the general system of thought, because Justin remains convinced that the knowledge of the true God, of his will, and of his promises, or the certainty that God will always grant forgiveness to the repentant and eternal life to the righteous, is sufficient to convert the man who is master of himself. Owing to the fundamental conviction which is expressed in the formulæ, "perfect philosophy," "divine teacher," "new law," "freedom," "repentance," "sinless life," "sure hope," "reward," "immortality," the ideas, "forgiveness of sins," "redemption," "reconciliation," "new birth," "faith" (in the Pauline sense) must remain [pg 222] words,454 or be relegated to the sphere of magic and mystery.455 Nevertheless we must not on that account overlook the intention. Justin tried to see the divine revelation not only in the sayings of the prophets, but in unique fashion in the person of Christ, and to conceive Christ not only as the divine teacher, but also as the "Lord and Redeemer." In two points he actually succeeded in this. By the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Justin proved that Christ, the divine teacher, is also the future judge and bestower of reward. Christ himself is able to give what he has promised—a life after death free from sufferings and sins, that is the first point. The other thing, however, which Justin very strongly emphasised is that Jesus is even now reigning in heaven, and shows his future visible sovereignty of the world by giving his own people the power to cast out and vanquish the demons in and by his name. Even at the present time the latter are put to flight by believers in Christ.456 So the redemption is no mere future one; it is even now taking place, and the revelation of the Logos in Jesus Christ is not merely intended to prove the doctrines of the rational religion, but denotes a real redemption, that is, a new beginning, in so far as the power of the demons on earth is overthrown through Christ and in his strength. Jesus Christ, the teacher of the whole [pg 223] truth and of a new law, which is the rational, the oldest, and the divine, the only being who has understood how to call men from all the different nations and in all stages of culture into a union of holy life, the inspiring One, for whom his disciples go to death, the mighty One, through whose name the demons are cast out, the risen One, who will one day reward and punish as judge, must be identical with the Son of God, who is the divine reason and the divine power. In this belief which accompanies the confession of the one God, creator of heaven and earth, Justin finds the special content of Christianity, which the later Apologists, with the probable exception of Melito, reproduced in a much more imperfect and meagre form. One thing, however, Justin in all probability did not formulate with precision, viz., the proposition that the special result of salvation, i.e., immortality, was involved in the incarnation of the Logos, in so far as that act brought about a real secret transformation of the whole mortal nature of man. With Justin, indeed, as with the other Apologists, the "salvation" (σωτηρια) consists essentially in the apportioning of eternal life to the world, which has been created mortal and in consequence of sin has fallen a prey to the natural destiny of "death;" and Christ is regarded as the bestower of incorruptibility who thus brings the creation to its goal; but as a rule Justin does not go beyond this thought. Yet we certainly find hints pointing to the notion of a physical and magical redemption accomplished at the moment of the incarnation. See particularly the fragment in Irenæus (already quoted on page 220), which may be thus interpreted, and Apol. I. 66. This conception, in its most complete shape, would have to be attributed to Justin if the fragment V. (Otto, Corp. Apol. III. p. 256) were genuine.457 But the precise form of the presentation [pg 224] makes this very improbable. The question as to how, i.e., in what conceivable way, immortality can be imparted to the mortal nature as yet received little attention from Justin and the Apologists: it is the necessary result of knowledge and virtue. Their great object was to assure the belief in immortality. "Religion and morality depend on the belief in immortality or the resurrection from the dead. The fact that the Christian religion, as faith in the incarnate Son of God the creator, leads to the assurance that the maker of all things will reward piety and righteousness with the bestowal of eternal and immortal life, is the essential advantage possessed by the Christian religion over all others. The righteousness of the heathen was imperfect in spite of all their knowledge of good and evil, because they lacked the certain knowledge that the creator makes the just immortal and will consign the unjust to eternal torment." The philosophical doctrines of God, virtue, and immortality became through the Apologists the certain content of a world-wide religion, which is Christian because Christ guarantees its certainty. They made Christianity a deistical religion for the whole world without abandoning in word at least the old "teachings and knowledge" (διδαγματα και μαθηματα) of the Christians. They thus marked out the task of "dogmatic" and, so to speak, wrote the prolegomena for every future theological system in the Church (see Von Engelhardt's concluding observations in his "Christenthum Justin's" pp. 447-490, also Overbeck in the Historische Zeitschrift, 1880, pp. 499-505.) At the same time, however, they adhered to the early-Christian eschatology (see Justin, Melito, and, with reference to the resurrection of the flesh, the Apologists [pg 225] generally), and thus did not belie their connection with early Christianity.458

Interpretation and Criticism, especially of Justin's Doctrines.

1. The fundamental assumption of all the Apologists is that there can only be one and the same relation on earth between God and free man, and that it has been conditioned by the creation. This thought, which presupposes the idea of God's unchangeableness, at bottom neutralises every quasi-historical and mythological consideration. According to it grace can be nothing else than the stimulation of the powers of reason existent in man; revelation is supernatural only in respect of its form, and the redemption merely enables us to redeem ourselves, just as this possibility was given at the creation. Sin, which arose through temptation, appears on the one hand as error which must almost of necessity have arisen so long as man only possessed the "germs of the Logos" (σπερματα του λογου) and on the other as the dominion of sensuousness, which was nearly unavoidable since earthly material clothes the soul and mighty demons have possession of the world. The mythological idea of the invading sway of the demons is really the only interruption of the rationalistic scheme. So far as Christianity is something different from morality, it is the antithesis of the service and sovereignty of the demons. Hence the idea that the course of the world and mankind require in some measure to be helped is the narrow foundation of the thought of revelation or redemption. The necessity of revelation and redemption was expressed in a much stronger and more decisive way by many heathen philosophers of the same period. Accordingly, not only did these long for a revelation which would give a fresh attestation to old truth, but they yearned for a force, a real redemption, a præsens numen, and some new thing. Still more powerful was this longing in the case of the [pg 226] Gnostics and Marcion; compare the latter's idea of revelation with that of the Apologists. It is probable indeed that the thought of redemption would have found stronger expression among them also, had not the task of proof, which could be best discharged by the aid of the Stoic philosophy, demanded religious rationalism. But, admitting this, the determination of the highest good itself involved rationalism and moralism. For immortality is the highest good, in so far as it is perfect knowledge—which is, moreover, conceived as being of a rational kind,—that necessarily leads to immortality. We can only find traces of the converse idea, according to which the change into the immortal condition is the prius and the knowledge the posterius. But, where this conception is the prevailing one, moralistic intellectualism is broken through, and we can now point to a specific, supernatural blessing of salvation, produced by revelation and redemption. Corresponding to the general development of religious philosophy from moralism into mysticism (transition from the second to the third century), a displacement in this direction can also be noticed in the history of Greek apologetics (in the West it was different); but this displacement was never considerable and therefore cannot be clearly traced. Even later on under altered circumstances, apologetic science adhered in every respect to its old method, as being the most suitable (monotheism, morality, proof from prophecy), a circumstance which is evident, for example, from the almost complete disregard of the New Testament canon of Scripture and from other considerations besides.

2. In so far as the possibility of virtue and righteousness has been implanted by God in men, and in so far as—apart from trifling exceptions—they can actually succeed in doing what is good only through prophetic, i.e., divine, revelations and exhortations, some Apologists, following the early Christian tradition, here and there designate the transformation of the sinner into a righteous man as a work of God, and speak of renewal and regeneration. The latter, however, as a real fact, is identical with the repentance which, as a turning from sin and turning to God, is a matter of free will. As in Justin, so also in Tatian, the idea of regeneration is exhausted in the [pg 227] divine call to repentance. The conception of the forgiveness of sins is also determined in accordance with this. Only those sins can be forgiven, i.e., overlooked, which are really none, i.e., which were committed in a state of error and bondage to the demons, and were well-nigh unavoidable. The blotting out of these sins is effected in baptism, "which is the bath of regeneration in so far as it is the voluntary consecration of one's own person. The cleansing which takes place is God's work in so far as baptism was instituted by him, but it is effected by the man who in his change of mind lays aside his sins. The name of God is pronounced above him who repents of his transgressions, that he may receive freedom, knowledge, and forgiveness of his previous sins, but this effects a change only denoting the new knowledge to which the baptised person has attained." If, as all this seems to show, the thought of a specific grace of God in Christ appears virtually neutralised, the adherence to the language of the cultus (Justin and Tatian) and Justin's conception of the Lord's Supper show that the Apologists strove to get beyond moralism, that is, they tried to supplement it through the mysteries. Augustine's assertion (de predest. sanct. 27) that the faith of the old Church in the efficacy of divine grace was not so much expressed in the opuscula as in the prayers, shows correct insight.

3. All the demands, the fulfilment of which constitutes the virtue and righteousness of men, are summed up under the title of the new law. In virtue of its eternally valid content this new law is in reality the oldest; but it is new because Christ and the prophets were preceded by Moses, who inculcated on the Jews in a transient form that which was eternally valid. It is also new because, being proclaimed by the Logos that appeared in Christ, it announced its presence with the utmost impressiveness and undoubted authority, and contains the promise of reward in terms guaranteed by the strongest proof—the proof from prophecy. The old law is consequently a new one because it appears now for the first time as purely spiritual, perfect, and final. The commandment of love to one's neighbour also belongs to the law; but it does not form its essence (still less love to God, the place of which is taken by faith, obedience, and imitation). The content of all moral demands is comprehended [pg 228] in the commandment of perfect, active holiness, which is fulfilled by the complete renunciation of all earthly blessings, even of life itself. Tatian preached this renunciation in a specially powerful manner. There is no need to prove that no remains of Judæo-Christianity are to be recognised in these ideas about the new law. It is not Judæo-Christianity that lies behind the Christianity and doctrines of the Apologists, but Greek philosophy (Platonic metaphysics, Logos doctrine of the Stoics, Platonic and Stoic ethics), the Alexandrine-Jewish apologetics, the maxims of Jesus, and the religious speech of the Christian Churches. Justin is distinguished from Philo by the sure conviction of the living power of God, the Creator and Lord of the world, and the steadfast confidence in the reality of all the ideals which is derived from the person of Christ. We ought not, however, to blame the Apologists because to them nearly everything historical was at bottom only a guarantee of thoughts and hopes. As a matter of fact, the assurance is not less important than the content. By dint of thinking one can conceive the highest truth, but one cannot in this way make out the certainty of its reality. No positive religion can do more for its followers than faith in the revelation through Christ and the prophets did for the Apologists. Although it chiefly proved to them the truth of that which we call natural theology and which was the idealistic philosophy of the age, so that the Church appears as the great insurance society for the ideas of Plato and Zeno, we ought not at the same time to forget that their idea of a divine spirit working upon earth was a far more lively and worthy one than in the case of the Greek philosophers.

4. By their intellectualism and exclusive theories the Apologists founded philosophic and dogmatic Christianity (Loofs: "they laid the foundation for the conversion of Christianity into a revealed doctrine."459) If about the middle of the second century [pg 229] the short confession of the Lord Jesus Christ was regarded as a watchword, passport, and tessera hospitalitas (signum et vinculum), and if even in lay and uneducated circles it was conceived as "doctrine" in contradistinction to heresy, this transformation must have been accelerated through men, who essentially conceived Christianity as the "divine doctrine," and by whom all its distinctive features were subordinated to this conception or neutralised. As the philosophic schools are held together by their "laws" (νομοι) as the "dogmas" form the real bond between the "friends," and as, in addition to this, they are united by veneration for the founder, so also the Christian Church appeared to the Apologists as a universal league established by a divine founder and resting on the dogmas of the perfectly known truth, a league the members of which possess definite laws, viz., the eternal laws of nature for everything moral, and unite in common veneration for the Divine Master. In the "dogmas" of the Apologists, however, we find nothing more than traces of the fusion of the philosophical and historical elements; in the main both exist separately side by side. It was not till long after this that intellectualism gained the victory in a Christianity represented by the clergy. What we here chiefly understand by "intellectualism" is the placing of the scientific conception of the world behind the commandments of Christian morality and behind the hopes and faith of the Christian religion, and the connecting of the two things in such a way that this conception appeared as the foundation of these commandments and hopes. Thus was created the future dogmatic in the form which still prevails in the Churches and which presupposes the Platonic and Stoic conception of the world long ago overthrown by science. The attempt made at the beginning of the Reformation to free the Christian faith from this amalgamation remained at first without success.

Footnote 340: (return)

Edition by Otto, 9 Vols., 1876 f. New edition of the Apologists (unfinished; only Tatian and Athenagoras by Schwarz have yet appeared) in the Texte und Untersuchungen zur altchristlichen Litteratur-Geschichte, Vol. IV. Tzschirner, Geschichte der Apologetik, 1st part, 1805; id., Der Fall des Heidenthums, 1829. Ehlers, Vis atque potestas, quam philosophia antiqua, imprimis Platonica et Stoica in doctrina apologetarum habuerit, 1859.

Footnote 341: (return)

It is intrinsically probable that their works directly addressed to the Christian Church gave a more full exposition of their Christianity than we find in the Apologies. This can moreover be proved with certainty from the fragments of Justin's, Tatian's and Melito's esoteric writings. But, whilst recognising this fact, we must not make the erroneous assumption that the fundamental conceptions and interests of Justin and the rest were in reality other than may be inferred from their Apologies.

Footnote 342: (return)

That is, so far as these were clearly connected with polytheism. Where this was not the case or seemed not to be so, national traditions, both the true and the spurious, were readily and joyfully admitted into the catalogus testimoniorum of revealed truth.

Footnote 343: (return)

Though these words were already found in the first edition, Clemen (Justin 1890, p. 56) has misunderstood me so far as to think that I spoke here of conscious intention on the part of the Apologists. Such nonsense of course never occurred to me.

Footnote 344: (return)

Note here particularly the attitude of Tatian, who has already introduced a certain amount of the "Gnostic" element into his "Oratio ad Græcos," although, he adheres in the main to the ordinary apologetic doctrines.

Footnote 345: (return)

Since the time of Josephus Greek philosophers had ever more and more acknowledged the "philosophical" character of Judaism; see Porphyr., de abstin. anim. II. 26, 'ατε φιλοσοφοι το γενος οντες.

Footnote 346: (return)

On the relation of Christian literature to the writings of Philo, of Siegfried, Philo von Alexandrien, p. 303 f.

Footnote 347: (return)

It is very instructive to find Celsus (Origen, c. Cels. I. 2) proceeding to say that the Greeks understood better how to judge, to investigate, and to perfect the doctrines devised by the barbarians, and to apply them to the practice of virtue. This is quite in accordance with the idea of Origen, who makes the following remarks on this point: "When a man trained in the schools and sciences of the Greeks becomes acquainted with our faith, he will not only recognise and declare it to be true, but also by means of his scientific training and skill reduce it to a system and supplement what seems to him defective in it, when tested by the Greek method of exposition and proof, thus at the same time demonstrating the truth of Christianity."

Footnote 348: (return)

See the section "Justin und die apostolischen Váter" in Engelhardt's "Christenthum Justin's des Martyrers," p. 375 ff., and my article on the so-called 2nd Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte I. p. 329 ff.). Engelhardt, who on the whole emphasises the correspondences, has rather under- than over-estimated them. If the reader compares the exposition given in Book I., chap. 3, with the theology of the Apologists (see sub. 3), he will find proof of the intimate relationship that may be traced here.

Footnote 349: (return)

See Euseb., H. E. IV. 3. Only one sentence of Quadratus' Apology is preserved; we have now that of Aristides in the Syriac language; moreover, it is proved to have existed in the original language in the Historia Barlaam et Joasaph; finally, a considerable fragment of it is found in Armenian. See an English edition by Harris and Robinson in the Texts and Studies I. 1891. German translation and commentary by Raabe in the Texte und Untersuchungen IX. 1892. Eusebius says that the Apology was handed in to the emperor Hadrian; but the superscription in Syriac is addressed to the emperor Titus Hadrianus Antoninus.

Footnote 350: (return)

See Hermas, Mand I.

Footnote 351: (return)

With reservations this also holds good of the Alexandrians. See particularly Orig., c. Cels. I. 62.

Footnote 352: (return)

Semisch, Justin der Martyrer, 2 Vols, 1840 f. Aubé, S Justin, philosophe et martyre, 2nd reprint, 1875. Weizsäcker, Die Theologie des Martyrers Justin's in the Jahrbuch fur deutsche Theologie, 1867, p. 60 ff. Von Engelhardt, Christenthum Justin's, 1878; id, "Justin," in Herzog's Real-Encyklopädie. Stählin, Justin der Martyrer, 1880 Clemen, Die religionsphilosophische Bedeutung des stoisch-christlichen Eudamonismus in Justin's Apologie, 1890. Flemming, zur Beurtheilung des Christenthums Justin's des Martyrers, 1893. Duncker, Logoslehre Justin's, 1848. Bosse, Der prae istente Christus des Justinus, 1891.

Footnote 353: (return)

Apol. I. 2, p. 6, ed. Otto.

Footnote 354: (return)

Apol. I. 2, p. 6, sq.

Footnote 355: (return)

See the numerous philosophical quotations and allusions in Justin's Apology pointed out by Otto. Above all, he made an extensive use of Plato's Apology of Socrates.

Footnote 356: (return)

Apol. I. 4. p. 16, also I. 7, p. 24 sq: I. 26.

Footnote 357: (return)

Apol. I. 4, p. 14.

Footnote 358: (return)

Apol. I. 5, p. 18 sq., see also I. 14 fin.: ου σοφιστης 'υπηρχεν αλλα δυναμις Θεου 'ο λογος αυτου ην.

Footnote 359: (return)

L.c.: ου γαρ μονον εν 'Ελλησι δια Σωκρατους 'υπο λογου ηλεγχθηταυτα, αλλα και εν βαρβαροις 'υπ' αυτου του λογου μορφωθεντος και ανθρωπου και Ιησου Χριστου κληθενος.

Footnote 360: (return)

Celsus also admits this, or rather makes his Jew acknowledge it (Orig., c. Cels. II. 31). In Book VI. 47 he adopts the proposition of the "ancients" that the world is the Son of God.

Footnote 361: (return)

See Apol. II. 10 fin.: Σωκρατει ουδεις επεισθη 'υπερ τουτου του δογματος αποθνησκιν Χριστω δε τω και 'υπο Σωκρατους απο μερους γνωσθεντι ... ου φιλοσοφοι ουδε φιλολογοι μονον επεισθησαν.

Footnote 362: (return)

The utterances of Justin do not clearly indicate whether the non-Christian portion of mankind has only a σπερμα του λογον as a natural possession, or whether this σπερμα has in some cases been enhanced by the inward workings of the whole Logos (inspiration). This ambiguity, however, arises from the fact that he did not further discuss the relation between 'ο λογος and το σπερμα του λογου and we need not therefore attempt to remove it. On the one hand, the excellent discoveries of poets and philosophers are simply traced to το εμφυτον παντι γενει ανθρωπων σπερμα του λογου (Apol. II. 8), the μερος σπερματικου λογου (ibid) which was implanted at the creation, and on which the human 'ευρεσις και θεωρια depend (II. 10). In this sense it may be said of them all that they "in human fashion attempted to understand and prove things by means of reason;" and Socrates is merely viewed as the παντων ευτονωτερος (ibid.), his philosophy also, like all pre-Christian systems, being a φιλοσοφια ανθρωπειος (II. 15). But on the other hand Christ was known by Socrates though only απο μερους; for "Christ was and is the Logos who dwells in every man." Further, according to the Apologist, the μερος του σπερματικου θειου λογου bestows the power of recognising whatever is related to the Logos (το συγγενες II. 13). Consequently it may not only be said: 'οσα παρα πασι καλως ειρηται 'ημων, των Χριστιανων εστι (ibid.), but, on the strength of the "participation" in reason conferred on all, it may be asserted that all who have lived with the Logos (μετα λογου)—an expression which must have been ambiguous—were Christians. Among the Greeks this specially applies to Socrates and Heraclitus (I. 46). Moreover, the Logos implanted in man does not belong to his nature in such a sense as to prevent us saying υπο λογου δια Σωκρατους ηλεγχθη κ.τ.λ. (I. 5). Nevertheless αυτος 'ο λογος did not act in Socrates, for this only appeared in Christ (ibid). Hence the prevailing aspect of the case in Justin was that to which he gave expression at the close of the 2nd Apology (II. 15: alongside of Christianity there is only human philosophy), and which, not without regard for the opposite view, he thus formulated in II. 13 fin.: All non-Christian authors were able to attain a knowledge of true being, though only darkly, by means of the seed of the Logos naturally implanted within them. For the σπορα and μιμημα of a thing, which are bestowed in proportion to one's receptivity, are quite different from the thing itself, which divine grace bestows on us for our possession and imitation.

Footnote 363: (return)

"For the sake of man" (Stoic) Apol. I. 10: II. 4, 5; Dial. 41, p. 260, Apol I. 8: "Longing for the eternal and pure life, we strive to abide in the fellowship of God, the Father and Creator of all things, and we hasten to make confession, because we are convinced and firmly believe that that happiness is really attainable." It is frequently asserted that it is the Logos which produces such conviction and awakens courage and strength.

Footnote 364: (return)

Justin has destroyed the force of this argument in two passages (I. 44, 59) by tracing (like the Alexandrian Jews) all true knowledge of the poets and philosophers to borrowing from the books of the Old Testament (Moses). Of what further use then is the σπερμα λογος εμφυτον? Did Justin not really take it seriously? Did he merely wish to suit himself to those whom he was addressing? We are not justified in asserting this. Probably, however, the adoption of that Jewish view of the history of the world is a proof that the results of the demon sovereignty were in Justin's estimation so serious that he no longer expected anything from the σπερμα λογος εμφυτον when left to its own resources; and therefore regarded truth and prophetic revelation as inseparable. But this view is not the essential one in the Apology. That assumption of Justin's is evidently dependent on a tradition, whilst his real opinion was more "liberal."

Footnote 365: (return)

Compare with this the following passages: In Apol. I. 20 are enumerated a series of the most important doctrines common to philosophers and Christians. Then follow the words: "If we then in particular respects even teach something similar to the doctrines of the philosophers honoured among you, though in many cases in a divine and more sublime way; and we indeed alone do so in such a way that the matter is proved etc." In Apol. I. 44: II. 10. 13 uncertainty, error, and contradictions are shown to exist in the case of the greatest philosophers. The Christian doctrines are more sublime than all human philosophy (II. 15). "Our doctrines are evidently more sublime than any human teaching, because the Christ who appeared for our sakes was the whole fulness of reason" (το λογικον το 'ολον, II. 10). "The principles of Plato are not foreign (αλλοτρια) to the teaching of Christ, but they do not agree in every respect. The same holds good of the Stoics" (II. 13). "We must go forth from the school of Plato" (II. 12). "Socrates convinced no one in such a way that he would have been willing to die for the doctrine proclaimed by him; whereas not only philosophers and philologers, but also artisans and quite common uneducated people have believed in Christ" (II. 10). These are the very people—and that is perhaps the strongest contrast found between Logos and Logos in Justin—among whom it is universally said of Christianity: δυναμις εστι του αρρητου πατρος και ουχι ανθρωπειου λογου κατασκευη (see also I. 14 and elsewhere.)

Footnote 366: (return)

In Justin's estimate of the Greek philosophers two other points deserve notice. In the first place, he draws a very sharp distinction between real and nominal philosophers. By the latter he specially means the Epicureans. They are no doubt referred to in I. 4, 7, 26 (I. 14: Atheists). Epicurus and Sardanapalus are classed together in II. 7; Epicurus and the immoral poets in II. 12; and in the conclusion of II, 15 the same philosopher is ranked with the worst society. But according to II. 3 fin. (αδυνατον Κυνικω, αδιαφορον το τελος προθεμενω, το αγαθον ειδεναι πλην αδικφοριας) the Cynics also seem to be outside the circle of real philosophers. This is composed principally of Socrates, Plato, the Platonists and Stoics, together with Heraclitus and others. Some of these understood one set of doctrines more correctly, others another series. The Stoics excelled in ethics (II. 7); Plato described the Deity and the world more correctly. It is, however, worthy of note—and this is the second point—that Justin in principle conceived the Greek philosophers as a unity, and that he therefore saw in their very deviations from one another a proof of the imperfection of their teaching. In so far as they are all included under the collective idea "human philosophy," philosophy is characterised by the conflicting opinions found within it. This view was suggested to Justin by the fact that the highest truth, which is at once allied and opposed to human philosophy, was found by him among an exclusive circle of fellow-believers. Justin showed great skill in selecting from the Gospels the passages (I. 15-17), that prove the "philosophical" life of the Christians as described by him in c. 14. Here he cannot be acquitted of colouring the facts (cf. Aristides) nor of exaggeration (see, for instance, the unqualified statement: 'α εχομεν εις κοινον φεροντες και παντι δεομενω κοινωνουντες). The philosophical emperors were meant here to think of the "φιλοις παντα κοινα." Yet in I. 67 Justin corrected exaggerations in his description. Justin's reference to the invaluable benefits which Christianity confers on the state deserves notice (see particularly I. 12, 17.) The later Apologists make a similar remark.

Footnote 367: (return)

Dialogue 8. The dialogue takes up a more positive attitude than the Apology, both as a whole and in detail. If we consider that both works are also meant for Christians, and that, on the other hand, the Dialogue as well as the Apology appeals to the cultured heathen public, we may perhaps assume that the two writings were meant to present a graduated system of Christian instruction. (In one passage the Dialogue expressly refers to the Apology.) From Justin's time onward the apologetic polemic of the early Church appears to have adhered throughout to the same method. This consisted in giving the polemical writings directed against the Greeks the form of an introduction to Christian knowledge, and in continuing this instruction still further in those directed against the Jews.

Footnote 368: (return)

Dial. 2. sq. That Justin's Christianity is founded on theoretical scepticism is clearly shown by the introduction to the Dialogue.

Footnote 369: (return)

Dial. 8: 'ουτως δη και δια ταυτα φιλοσοφος εγω.

Footnote 370: (return)

Dial., l.c.: παρεστιν σοι τον Χριστον του Θεου επιγνοντι και τελειω γενομενω ευδαιμονειν.

Footnote 371: (return)

See particularly the closing chapter.

Footnote 372: (return)

Suppl. 2,

Footnote 373: (return)

Suppl. 4.

Footnote 374: (return)

Suppl. 5-7.

Footnote 375: (return)

Suppl. 24 (see also Aristides c. 13).

Footnote 376: (return)

Suppl, 7 fin. and many other places.

Footnote 377: (return)

E.g., Suppl. 8. 35 fin.

Footnote 378: (return)

The Crucified Man, the incarnation of the Logos etc. are wanting. Nothing at all is said about Christ.

Footnote 379: (return)

Suppl. 7.

Footnote 380: (return)

Cf. the arguments in c. 8 with c. 9 init.

Footnote 381: (return)

Suppl. 11.

Footnote 382: (return)

Suppl. 23.

Footnote 383: (return)

Suppl. 18, 23-27. He, however, as well as the others, sets forth the demon theory in detail.

Footnote 384: (return)

The Apology which Miltiades addressed to Marcus Aurelius and his fellow-emperor perhaps bore the title: 'υπερ της κατα Χριστιανους φιλοσοφιας (Euseb., H. E. V. 17. 5). It is certain that Melito in his Apology designated Christianity as 'η καθ' 'ημας φιλοσοφια (l.c., IV. 26. 7). But, while it is undeniable that this writer attempted, to a hitherto unexampled extent, to represent Christianity as adapted to the Empire, we must nevertheless beware of laying undue weight on the expression "philosophy." What Melito means chiefly to emphasise is the fact that Christianity, which in former times had developed into strength among the barbarians, began to flourish in the provinces of the Empire simultaneously with the rise of the monarchy under Augustus, that as foster-sister of the monarchy, it increased in strength with the latter, and that this mutual relation of the two institutions had given prosperity and splendour to the state. When in the fragments preserved to us he twice, in this connection, calls Christianity "philosophy," we must note that this expression alternates with the other "'ο καθ' 'ημας λογος", and that he uses the formula: "Thy forefathers held this philosophy in honour along with the other cults" προς ταις αλλαις θρησκειχις. This excludes the assumption that Melito in his Apology merely represented Christian as philosophy (see also IV. 26. 5, where the Christians are called "το των θεοσεβων γενος"). He also wrote a treatise περι κτισεως και γενεσεως Χριστου. In it (fragment in the Chron. Pasch) he called Christ Θεου λογος προ αιωνων.

Footnote 385: (return)

See my treatise "Tatian's Rede an die Griechen übers." 1884 (Giessener Programm). Daniel, Tatianus, 1837. Steuer, Die Gottes- und Logoslehre des Tatian, 1893.

Footnote 386: (return)

But see Orat. 4 init., 24 fin., 25 fin., 27 init.

Footnote 387: (return)

He not only accentuated the disagreement of philosophers more strongly than Justin, but insisted more energetically than that Apologist on the necessity of viewing the practical fruits of philosophy in life as a criterion; see Orat. 2, 3, 19, 25. Nevertheless Socrates still found grace in his eyes (c. 3). With regard to other philosophers he listened to foolish and slanderous gossip.

Footnote 388: (return)

Orat. 13, 15 fin., 20. Tatian also gave credence to it because it imparts such an intelligible picture of the creation of the world (c. 29).

Footnote 389: (return)

Orat. 12: τα της 'ημετερας παιδειας εστιν ανωτερω της κοσμικης καταληψεως. Tatian troubled himself very little with giving demonstrations. No other Apologist made such bold assertions.

Footnote 390: (return)

See Orat. 12 (p. 54 fin.), 20 (p. 90), 25 fin., 26 fin., 29, 30 (p. 116), 13 (p. 62), 15 (p. 70), 36 (p. 142), 40 (p. 152 sq.). The section cc. 12-15 of the Oratio is very important (see also c. 7 ff); for it shows that Tatian denied the natural immortality of the soul, declared the soul (the material spirit) to be something inherent in all matter, and accordingly looked on the distinction between men and animals in respect of their inalienable natural constitution as only one of degree. According to this Apologist the dignity of man does not consist in his natural endowments: but in the union of the human soul with the divine spirit, for which union indeed he was planned. But, in Tatian's opinion, man lost this union by falling under the sovereignty of the demons. The Spirit of God has left him, and consequently he has fallen back to the level of the beasts. So it is man's task to unite the Spirit again with himself, and thereby recover that religious principle on which all wisdom and knowledge rest. This anthropology is opposed to that of the Stoics and related to the "Gnostic" theory. It follows from it that man, in order to reach his destination, must raise himself above his natural endowment; see c. 15: ανθρωπον λεγω τον πορρω μεν ανθρωπτητος προς αυτον δε τον Θεον κεχωρηκοτα. But with Tatian this conception is burdened with radical inconsistency; for he assumes that the Spirit reunites itself with every man who rightly uses his freedom, and he thinks it still possible for every person to use his freedom aright (11 fin., 13 fin., 15 fin.) So it is after all a mere assertion that the natural man is only distinguished from the beast by speech. He is also distinguished from it by freedom. And further it is only in appearance that the blessing bestowed in the "Spirit" is a donum superadditum et supernaturale. For if a proper spontaneous use of freedom infallibly leads to the return of the Spirit, it is evident that the decision and consequently the realisation of man's destination depend on human freedom. That is, however, the proposition which all the Apologists maintained. But indeed Tatian himself in his latter days seems to have observed the inconsistency in which he had become involved and to have solved the problem in the Gnostic, that is, the religious sense. In his eyes, of course, the ordinary philosophy is a useless and pernicious art; philosophers make their own opinions laws (c. 27); whereas of Christians the following holds good (c. 32): λογου του δημοσιου και επιγειου κεχωρισμενοι και πειθομενοι θεου παραγγελμασι και νομω πατρος αφθαρσιας 'επομενοι, παν το εν δοξη κειμενον ανθρωπινη παραιτουμεθα.

Footnote 391: (return)

C. 31. init.: 'η 'ημετερα φιλοσοφια. 32 (p. 128): 'οι βουλομενοι φιλοσοφειν παρ' 'ημιν ανθρωποι. In c. 33 (p. 130) Christian women are designated 'αι παρ 'ημιν φιλοσοφουσαι. C. 35: 'η καθ' 'ημας βαρβαρος φιλοσοφια. 40 (p. 152): 'οι κατα Μωυσεα και 'ομοιως αυτω φιλοσοφουντες. 42: 'ο κατα βαρβαρους φιλοσοφων Τατιανος. The δογματα of the Christians: c. 1 (p. 2), 12 (p. 58), 19 (p. 86), 24 (p. 102), 27 (p. 108), 35 (p. 138), 40, 42. But Tatian pretty frequently calls Christianity "'η 'ημετερα παιδεια", once also "νομοθεσια" (12; cf. 40: 'οι 'ημετεροι νομοι), and often πολιτεια.

Footnote 392: (return)

See, e.g., c. 29 fin.: the Christian doctrine gives us ουχ 'οπερ μη ελαβομεν, αλλ' 'οπερ λαβοντες 'υπο της πλανης εχειν εκολυθημεν.

Footnote 393: (return)

Tatian gave still stronger expression than Justin to the opinion that it is the demons who have misled men and rule the world, and that revelation through the prophets is opposed to this demon rule; see c. 7 ff. The demons have fixed the laws of death; see c. 15 fin. and elsewhere.

Footnote 394: (return)

Tatian also cannot at bottom distinguish between revelation through the prophets and through Christ. See the description of his conversion in c. 29. where only the Old Testament writings are named, and c. 13 fin., 20 fin.. 12 (p. 54) etc.

Footnote 395: (return)

Knowledge and life appear in Tatian most closely connected. See, e.g., c. 13 init.: "In itself the soul is not immortal, but mortal; it is also possible, however, that it may not die. If it has not attained a knowledge of that truth it dies and is dissolved with the body; but later, at the end of the world, it will rise again with the body in order to receive death in endless duration as a punishment. On the contrary it does not die, though it is dissolved for a time, if it is equipped with the knowledge of God."

Footnote 396: (return)

Barbarian: the Christian doctrines are τα των βαρβαρων δογματα (c. 1): καθ' 'ημας βαρβαρος φιλοσοφια (c. 35); 'η βαρβαρικη νομοθεσια (c. 12); γραφαι βαρβαρικαι (c. 29); καινοτομειν τα βαρβαρων δογματα (c. 35); 'ο κατα βαρβαρους φιλοσοφων Τατιανος (c. 42); Μωυσης πασης βαρβαρου φιλοσοφιας αρχηγος (c. 31); see also c. 30, 32. In Tatian's view barbarians and Greeks are the decisive contrasts in history.

Footnote 397: (return)

See the proof from antiquity, c. 31 ff.

Footnote 398: (return)

C. 30 (p. 114): τουτων ουν την καταληψιν μεμυημενος.

Footnote 399: (return)

Tatian's own confession is very important here (c. 26): "Whilst I was reflecting on what was good it happened that there fell into my hands certain writings of the barbarians, too old to be compared with the doctrines of the Greeks, too divine to be compared with their errors. And it chanced that they convinced me through the plainness of their expressions, through the unartificial nature of their language, through the intelligible representation of the creation of the world, through the prediction of the future, the excellence of their precepts, and the summing up of all kinds under one head. My soul was instructed by God and I recognised that those Greek doctrines lead to perdition, whereas the others abolish the slavery to which we are subjected in the world, and rescue us from our many lords and tyrants, though they do not give us blessings we had not already received, but rather such as we had indeed obtained, but were not able to retain in consequence of error." Here the whole theology of the Apologists is contained in nuce; see Justin, Dial. 7-8. In Chaps. 32, 33 Tatian strongly emphasises the fact that the Christian philosophy is accessible even to the most uneducated; see Justin, Apol. II. 10; Athenag. 11 etc.

Footnote 400: (return)

The unknown author of the Λογος προς Ελληνας also formed the same judgment as Tatian (Corp. Apolog., T. III., p. 2 sq., ed. Otto; a Syrian translation, greatly amplified, is found in the Cod. Nitr. Mus. Britt. Add. 14658. It was published by Cureton, Spic. Syr., p. 38 sq. with an English translation). Christianity is an incomparable heavenly wisdom, the teacher of which is the Logos himself. "It produces neither poets, nor philosophers, nor rhetoricians; but it makes mortals immortal and men gods, and leads them away upwards from the earth into super-Olympian regions." Through Christian knowledge the soul returns to its Creator: δει γαρ αποκαταταθηναι οθεν απεστη.

Footnote 401: (return)

Nor is Plato "'ο δοκων εν αυτοις σεμνοτερον πεφιλοσοφηκεναι" any better than Epicurus and the Stoics (III. 6). Correct views which are found in him in a greater measure than in the others ('ο δοκων 'Ελληνων σοφωτερος γεγενησθαι), did not prevent him from giving way to the stupidest babbling (III. 16). Although he knew that the full truth can only be learned from God himself through the law (III. 17), he indulged in the most foolish guesses concerning the beginning of history. But where guesses find a place, truth is not to be found (III. 16: ει δε εικασμω, ουκ αρα αληθη εστιν τα 'υπ' αυτου ειρημενα).

Footnote 402: (return)

Theophilus confesses (I. 14) exactly as Tatian does: και γαρ εγω ηπιστουν τουτο εσεσθαι, αλλα νυν κατανοησας αυτα πιστευω, 'αμα και επιτυχων 'ιεραις γραφαις των αγιων προφητων, 'οι και προειπον δια πνευματος Θεου τι προγεγονοτα ω τροπω γεγονεν και τα ενεστωτα τινι τροπω γινεται, και τα επερχομενα ποια ταξει απαρτισθησεται. Αποδειξιν ουν λαβων των γινομενων και προαναπεφωνημενων ουκ απιστω; see also II. 8-10, 22, 30, 33-35: III. 10, 11, 17. Theophilus merely looks on the Gospel as a continuation of the prophetic revelations and injunctions. Of Christ, however, he did not speak at all, but only of the Logos (Pneuma), which has operated from the beginning. To Theophilus the first chapters of Genesis already contain the sum of all Christian knowledge (II. 10-32).

Footnote 403: (return)

See II. 8: 'υπο δαιμονων δε εμπνευσθεντες και 'υπ' αυτων φυσιωθεντες 'α ειπον δι' αυτων ειπον.

Footnote 404: (return)

The unknown author of the work de resurrectione, which goes under the name of Justin (Corp. Apol., Vol. III.) has given a surprising expression to the thought that it is simply impossible to give a demonstration of truth. (Ο μεν της αληθειας λογος εστιν ελευθεροστε και αυτεξουσιος, υπο μηδεμιαν βασανον ελεγχου θελων πιπτειν μηδε την παρα τοις ακουουσι δι' αποδειξεως εξετασιν 'υπομενειν. Το γαρ ευγενες αυτου και πεποιθος αυτω τω πεμψαντι πιστευεσθαι θελει). He inveighs in the beginning of his treatise against all rationalism, and on the one hand professes a sort of materialistic theory of knowledge, whilst on the other, for that very reason, he believes in inspiration and the authority of revelation; for all truth originates with revelation, since God himself and God alone is the truth. Christ revealed this truth and is for us των ολων πιστις και αποδειξις. But it is far from probable that the author would really have carried this proposition to its logical conclusion (Justin, Dial. 3 ff. made a similar start). He wishes to meet his adversaries "armed with the arguments of faith which are unconquered" (c. 1, p. 214), but the arguments of faith are still the arguments of reason. Among these he regarded it as most important that even according to the theories about the world, that is, about God and matter, held by the "so-called sages," Plato, Epicurus, and the Stoics, the assumption of a resurrection of the flesh is not irrational (c. 6, p. 228 f.). Some of these, viz., Pythagoras and Plato, also acknowledged the immortality of the soul. But, for that very reason, this view is not sufficient, "for if the Redeemer had only brought the message of the (eternal) life of the soul what new thing would he have proclaimed in addition to what had been made known by Pythagoras, Plato, and the band of their adherents?" (c. 10, p. 246.) This remark is very instructive, for it shows what considerations led the Apologists to adhere to the belief in the resurrection of the body. Zahn, (Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, Vol. VIII., pp. 1 f., 20 f.) has lately reassigned to Justin himself the fragment de resurr. His argument, though displaying great plausibility, has nevertheless not fully convinced me. The question is of great importance for fixing the relation of Justin to Paul. I shall not discuss Hermias' "Irrisio Gentilium Philosophorum," as the period when this Christian disputant flourished is quite uncertain. We still possess an early-Church Apology in Pseudo-Melito's "Oratio ad Antoninum Cæsarem" (Otto, Corp. Apol. IX., p. 423 sq.). This book is preserved (written?) in the Syrian language and was addressed to Caracalla or Heliogabalus (preserved in the Cod. Nitr. Mus. Britt. Add. 14658). It is probably dependent on Justin, but it is less polished and more violent than his Apology.

Footnote 405: (return)

Massebieau (Revue de l'histoire des religions, 1887, Vol. XV. No. 3) has convinced me that Minucius wrote at a later period than Tertullian and made use of his works.

Footnote 406: (return)

Cf. the plan of the "Octavius." The champion of heathenism here opposed to the Christian is a philosopher representing the standpoint of the middle Academy. This presupposes, as a matter of course, that the latter undertakes the defence of the Stoical position. See, besides, the corresponding arguments in the Apology of Tertullian, e.g., c. 17, as well as his tractate: "de testimonio animæ naturaliter Christianæ." We need merely mention that the work of Minucius is throughout dependent on Cicero's book, "de natura deorum." In this treatise he takes up a position more nearly akin to heathen syncretism than Tertullian.

Footnote 407: (return)

In R. Kühn's investigation ("Der Octavius des Min. Felix," Leipzig, 1882)—the best special work we possess on an early Christian Apology from the point of view of the history of dogma—based on a very careful analysis of the Octavius, more emphasis is laid on the difference than on the agreement between Minucius and the Greek Apologists. The author's exposition requires to be supplemented in the latter respect (see Theologische Litteratur-Zeitung, 1883, No. 6).

Footnote 408: (return)

C. 20: "Exposui opiniones omnium ferme philosophorum.... ut quivis arbitretur, aut nunc Christianos philosophos esse aut philosophos fuisse jam tunc Christianos."

Footnote 409: (return)

See Minucius, 31 ff. A quite similar proceeding is already found in Tertullian, who in his Apologeticum has everywhere given a Stoic colouring to Christian ethics and rules of life, and in c. 39 has drawn a complete veil over the peculiarity of the Christian societies.

Footnote 410: (return)

Tertullian has done exactly the same thing; see Apolog. 46 (and de præscr. 7.)

Footnote 411: (return)

Tertull., de testim. I.: "Sed non eam te (animam) advoco, quæ scholis formata, bibliothecis exercitata, academiis et porticibus Atticis pasta sapientiam ructas. Te simplicem et rudem et impoliitam et idioticam compello, qualem te habent qui te solam habent... Imperitia tua mihi opus est, quoniam aliquantulæ peritiæ tuæ nemo credit."

Footnote 412: (return)

Tertull., Apol. 46: "Quid simile philosophus et Christianas? Græciæ discipulus et cœli?" de præscr. 7: "Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis? Quid academiæ et ecclesiæ?" Minuc. 38.5: "Philosophorum supercilia contemnimus, quos corruptores et adulteros novimus... nos, qui non habitu sapientiam sed mente præferimus, non eloquimur magna sed vivimus, gloriamur nos consecutos, quod illi summa intentione quæsiverunt nec invenire potuerunt. Quid ingrati sumus, quid nobis invidemus, si veritas divinitatis nostri temporis ælate maturuit?"

Footnote 413: (return)

Minucius did not enter closely into the significance of Christ any more than Tatian, Athenagoras, and Theophilus; he merely touched upon it (9. 4: 29. 2). He also viewed Christianity as the teaching of the Prophets; whoever acknowledges the latter must of necessity adore the crucified Christ. Tertullian was accordingly the first Apologist after Justin who again considered it necessary to give a detailed account of Christ as the incarnation of the Logos (see the 21st chapter of the Apology in its relation to chaps. 17-20).

Footnote 414: (return)

Among the Greek Apologists the unknown author of the work "de Monarchia," which bears the name of Justin, has given clearest expression to this conception. He is therefore most akin to Minucius (see chap. I.). Here monotheism is designated as the καθολικη δοξα which has fallen into oblivion through bad habit; for της ανθρωπινης φυσεως το κατ' αρχην συζυγιαν συνεσεως και σωτηριας λαβουσης εις επιγνωσιν αληθειας θρησκειας τε της εις τον 'ενα και παντων δεσποτην. According to this, then, only an awakening is required.

Footnote 415: (return)

But almost all the Apologists acknowledged that heathendom possessed prophets. They recognise these in the Sibyls and the old poets. The author of the work "de Monarchia" expressed the most pronounced views in regard to this. Hermas (Vis. II. 4), however, shows that the Apologists owed this notion also to an idea that was widespread among Christian people.

Footnote 416: (return)

See Justin, Apol. I. 31, Dial. 7, p. 30 etc.

Footnote 417: (return)

See Tatian, c. 31 ff.

Footnote 418: (return)

In the New Testament the content of the Christian faith is now here designated as dogma. In Clement (I. 11.), Hermas, and Polycarp the word is not found at all; yet Clement (I. 20. 4, 27. 5) called the divine order of nature τα δεδογματισμενα 'υπο Θεου. In Ignatius (ad Magn. XIII. 1) we read: σπουδαζετε ουν βεβαιωθηναι εν τοις δογμασιν του κυριου και των αποστολων, but δογματα here exclusively mean the rules of life (see Zahn on this passage), and this is also their signification in Διδαχη XI. 3. In the Epistle of Barnabas we read in several passages (I. 6: IX. 7: X. 1, 9 f.) of "dogmas of the Lord;" but by these he means partly particular mysteries, partly divine dispensations. Hence the Apologists are the first to apply the word to the Christian faith, in accordance with the language of philosophy. They are also the first who employed the ideas θεολογειν and θεολογια. The latter word is twice found in Justin (Dial. 56) in the sense of "aliquem nominare deum." In Dial. 113, however, it has the more comprehensive sense of "to make religio-scientific investigations." Tatian (10) also used the word in the first sense; on the contrary he entitled a book of which he was the author "προς τους αποφηναμενους τα περι Θεου" and not "προς τους θεολογουντας". In Athenagoras (Suppl. 10) theology is the doctrine of God and of all beings to whom the predicate "Deity" belongs (see also 20, 22). That is the old usage of the word. It was thus employed by Tertullian in ad nat. II. 1 (the threefold division of theology; in II. 2, 3 the expression "theologia physica, mythica" refers to this); Cohort, ad Gr. 3, 22. The anonymous writer in Eusebius (H. E. V. 28. 4, 5) is instructive on the point. Brilliant demonstrations of the ancient use of the word "theology" are found in Natorp, Thema und Disposition der aristotelischen Metaphysik (Philosophische Monatshefte, 1887, Parts I and 2, pp. 55-64). The title "theology," as applied to a philosophic discipline, was first used by the Stoics; the old poets were previously called "theologians," and the "theological" stage was the prescientific one which is even earlier than the "childhood" of "physicists" (so Aristotle speaks throughout). To the Fathers of the Church also the old poets are still 'οι παλαιοι θεολογοι. But side by side with this we have an adoption of the Stoic view that there is also a philosophical theology, because the teaching of the old poets concerning the gods conceals under the veil of myth a treasure of philosophical truth. In the Stoa arose the "impossible idea of a 'theology' which is to be philosophy, that is, knowledge based on reason, and yet to have positive religion as the foundation of its certainty." The Apologists accepted this, but added to it the distinction of a κοσμικη and θεολογικη σοφια.

Footnote 419: (return)

Christ has a relation to all three parts of the scheme, (1) as λογος; (2) as νομος, νομοθετης, and κριτης; (3) as διδασκαλος and σοτηρ.

Footnote 420: (return)

In the reproduction of the apologetical theology historians of dogma have preferred to follow Justin; but here they have constantly overlooked the fact that Justin was the most Christian among the Apologists, and that the features of his teaching to which particular value is rightly attached, are either not found in the others at all (with the exception of Tertullian), or else in quite rudimentary form. It is therefore proper to put the doctrines common to all the Apologists in the foreground, and to describe what is peculiar to Justin as such, so far as it agree with New Testament teachings or contains an anticipation of the future tenor of dogma.

Footnote 421: (return)

Cicero's proposition (de nat. deor. II. 66. 167): "nemo vir magnus sine aliquo afflatu divino unquam fuit," which was the property of all the idealistic philosophers of the age, is found in the Apologists reproduced in the most various forms (see, e.g., Tatian 29). That all knowledge of the truth, both among the prophets and those who follow their teaching, is derived from inspiration was in their eyes a matter of certainty. But here they were only able to frame a theory in the case of the prophets; for such a theory strictly applied to all would have threatened the spontaneous character of the knowledge of the truth.

Footnote 422: (return)

Justin, Apol. I. 3: 'Ημετερον ουν εργον και βιου και μαθηματων την επισκεψιν πασι παρεχειν.

Footnote 423: (return)

See the exposition of the doctrine of God in Aristides with the conclusion found in all the Apologists, that God requires no offerings and presents.

Footnote 424: (return)

Even Tatian says in c. 19: Κοσμου μεν γαρ η κατασκευη καλη, το δε εν αυτω πολιτευμα φαυλον.

Footnote 425: (return)

Tatian 5: Ουτε αναρχος η 'υλη καθαπερ 'ο Θεος, ουδε δια το αναρχον και αυτη ισοδυναμος τω Θεω γεννητη δε και ουχ 'υπο του αλλου γεγονυια μονον δε 'υπο του παντων δημιουργου προβεβλημενη. 12. Even Justin does not seem to have taught otherwise, though that is not quite certain; see Apol. I. 10, 59, 64, 67: II. 6. Theophilus I. 4: II. 4, 10, 13 says very plainly: εξ ουκ οντων τα παντα εποιησεν.... τι δε μεγα, ει 'ο θεος εξ 'υποκειμενης 'υλης εποιει τον κοσμον.

Footnote 426: (return)

Hence the knowledge of God and the right knowledge of the world are most closely connected; see Tatian 27: 'η Θεου καταληψις ην εχω περι των 'ολων.

Footnote 427: (return)

The beginning of the fifth chapter of Tatian's Oration is specially instructive here.

Footnote 428: (return)

According to what has been set forth in the text it is incorrect to assert that the Apologists adopted the Logos doctrine in order to reconcile monotheism with the divine honours paid to the crucified Christ. The truth rather is that the Logos doctrine was already part of their creed before they gave any consideration to the person of the historical Christ, and vice versâ Christ's right to divine honours was to them a matter of certainty independently of the Logos doctrine.

Footnote 429: (return)

We find the distinction of Logos (Son) and Spirit in Justin, Apol. I. 5, and in every case where he quotes formulæ (if we are not to assume the existence of interpolation in the text, which seems to me not improbable; see now also Cramer in the Theologische Studien, 1893. pp. 17 ff., 138 ff.). In Tatian 13 fin. the Spirit is represented as 'ο διακονος του πεπονθοτος Θεου. The conception in Justin, Dial. 116, is similar. Father, Word, and prophetic Spirit are spoken of in Athenag. 10. The express designation τριας is first found in Theophilus (but see the Excerpta ex Theodoto); see II. 15: 'αι τρεις 'ημεραι τυποι 'εισιν της τριαδος, του Θεου και του λογου αυτου και της σοφιας αυτου; see II. 10, 18. But it is just in Theophilus that the difficulty of deciding between Logos and Wisdom appears with special plainness (II. 10). The interposition of the host of good angels between Son and Spirit found in Justin, Apol. I. 5 (see Athenag.), is exceedingly striking. We have, however, to notice, provided the text is right, (1) that this interposition is only found in a single passage, (2) that Justin wished to refute the reproach of αθεοτης, (3) that the placing of the Spirit after the angels does not necessarily imply a position inferior to theirs, but merely a subordination to the Son and the Father common to the Spirit and the angels, (4) that the good angels were also invoked by the Christians, because they were conceived as mediators of prayer (see my remark on I. Clem, ad Corinth. LVI. 1); they might have found a place here just for this latter reason. On the significance of the Holy Spirit in the theology of Justin, see Zahn's Marcellus of Ancyra, p. 228: "If there be any one theologian of the early Church who might be regarded as depriving the Holy Spirit of all scientific raison d'etre at least on the ground of having no distinctive activity, and the Father of all share in revelation, it is Justin." We cannot at bottom say that the Apologists possessed a doctrine of the Trinity.

Footnote 430: (return)

To Justin the name of the Son is the most important; see also Athenag. 10. The Logos had indeed been already called the Son of God by Philo, and Celsus expressly says (Orig., c. Cels. II. 31); "If according to your doctrine the Word is really the Son of God then we agree with you;" but the Apologists are the first to attach the name of Son to the Logos as a proper designation. If, however, the Logos is intrinsically the Son of God, then Christ is the Son of God, not because he is the begotten of God in the flesh (early Christian), but because the spiritual being existing in him is the antemundane reproduction of God (see Justin, Apol. II. 6: 'ο 'υιος του πατρος και Θεου, 'ο μονος λεγομενος κυριως 'υιος)—a momentous expression.

Footnote 431: (return)

Athenag., 10; Tatian, Orat. 5.

Footnote 432: (return)

The clearest expression of this is in Tatian 5, which passage is also to be compared with the following: Θεος ην εν αρχη, την δε αρχην λογου δυναμιν παρειληφαμεν. 'Ο γαρ δεσποτης των 'ολων, αυτος 'υπαρχων του παντος 'η 'υποστασις, κατα μεν την μηδεπω γεγενημενην ποιησιν μονος ην, καθο δε πασα δυναμις, 'ορατων τε και αορατων αυτος 'υποστασις ην, συν αυτω τα παντα συν αυτω δια λογικης δυναμεως αυτος και 'ο λογος, 'ος ην αυτο, 'υπεστησε. Θεληματι δε της απλοτητος αυτου προπηδα λογος, 'ο δε λογος, ου κατα κενου χωρησας, εργον πρωτοτοκον του πατρος γινεται. Τουτον ισμεν του κοσμου την αρχην. Γεγονε δε κατα μερισμον, ου κατα αποκοπην το γαρ αποτμηθεν του πρωτου κεχωρισται, το δε μεριοθεν οικονομας την 'αιρεσιν προσλαβον ουκ ενδεα τον 'οθεν ειληπται πεποιηκεν. Ωσπερ γαρ αρο μιας δαδος αναπτεται μεν πυρα πολλα, της δε πρωτης δαδος δια την εξαψιν των πολλων δαδων ουκ ελαττουται το φως, 'ουτω και 'ο λογος προελθων εκ της του πατρος δυναμεως ουκ αλογον πεποιηκε τον γεγεννηκοτα. In the identification of the divine consciousness, that is, the power of God, with the force to which the world is due the naturalistic basis of the apologetic speculations is most clearly shown. Cf. Justin, Dial. 128, 129.

Footnote 433: (return)

The word "beget" (γενναν) is used by the Apologists, especially Justin, because the name "Son" was the recognised expression for the Logos. No doubt the words εξερευγεσθαι, προβαλλεσθαι, προερχεσθαι, προπηδαν and the like express the physical process more exactly in the sense of the Apologists. On the other hand, however, γενναν appears the more appropriate word in so far as the relation of the essence of the Logos to the essence of God is most clearly shown by the name "Son."

Footnote 434: (return)

None of the Apologists has precisely defined the Logos idea. Zahn, l.c., p. 233, correctly remarks: "Whilst the distinction drawn between the hitherto unspoken and the spoken word of the Creator makes Christ appear as the thought of the world within the mind of God, yet he is also to be something real which only requires to enter into a new relation to God to become an active force. Then again this Word is not to be the thought that God thinks, but the thought that thinks in God. And again it is to be a something, or an Ego, in God's thinking essence, which enters into reciprocal intercourse with something else in God; occasionally also the reason of God which is in a state of active exercise and without which he would not be rational." Considering this evident uncertainty it appears to me a very dubious proceeding to differentiate the conceptions of the Logos in Justin, Athenagoras, Tatian, and Theophilus, as is usually done. If we consider that no Apologist wrote a special treatise on the Logos, that Tatian (c. 5) is really the only one from whom we have any precise statements, and that the elements of the conception are the same in all, it appears inadvisable to lay so great stress on the difference as Zahn, for instance, has done in the book already referred to, p. 232 f. Hardly any real difference can have existed between Justin, Tatian, and Theophilus in the Logos doctrine proper. On the other hand Athenagoras certainly seems to have tried to eliminate the appearance of the Logos in time, and to emphasise the eternal nature of the divine relationships, without, however, reaching the position which Irenæus took up here.

Footnote 435: (return)

This distinction is only found in Theophilus (II. 10); but the idea exists in Tatian and probably also in Justin, though it is uncertain whether Justin regarded the Logos as having any sort of being before the moment of his begetting.

Footnote 436: (return)

Justin, Apol. II. 6., Dial. 61. The Logos is not produced out of nothing, like the rest of the creatures. Yet it is evident that the Apologists did not yet sharply and precisely distinguish between begetting and creating, as the later theologians did; though some of them certainly felt the necessity for a distinction.

Footnote 437: (return)

All the Apologists tacitly assume that the Logos in virtue of his origin has the capacity of entering the finite. The distinction which here exists between Father and Son is very pregnantly expressed by Tertullian (adv. Marc. II. 27): "Igitur quæcumque exigitis deo digna, habebuntur in patre invisibili incongressibilique et placido et, ut ita dixerim, philosophorum deo. Quæcumque autem ut indigna reprehenditis deputabuntur in filio et viso et audito et congresso, arbitro patris et ministro." But we ought not to charge the Apologists with the theologoumenon that it was an inward necessity for the Logos to become man. Their Logos hovers, as it were, between God and the world, so that he appears as the highest creature, in so far as he is conceived as the production of God; and again seems to be merged in God, in so far as he is looked upon as the consciousness and spiritual force of God. To Justin, however, the incarnation is irrational, and the rest of the Greek Apologists are silent about it.

Footnote 438: (return)

The most of the Apologists argue against the conception of the natural immortality of the human soul; see Tatian 13; Justin, Dial. 5; Theoph. II. 27.

Footnote 439: (return)

The first chapter of Genesis represented to them the sum of all wisdom, and therefore of all Christianity. Perhaps Justin had already written a commentary to the Hexaëmeron (see my Texte und Untersuchungen I. 1, 2, p. 169 f.). It is certain that in the second century Rhodon (Euseb., H. E. V. 13. 8), Theophilus (see his 2nd Book ad Autol.), Candidus, and Apion (Euseb., H. E. V. 27) composed such. The Gnostics also occupied themselves a great deal with Gen. I.-III.; see, e.g., Marcus in Iren. I. 18.

Footnote 440: (return)

See Theophilus ad Aut. II. 27: Ει γαρ 'ο Θεος αθανατον τον ανθρωπον απ' αρχης πεποιηκει, Θεον αυτον πεποιηκει; παλιν ει θνητον αυτον πεποιηκει εδοκει αν 'ο Θεος αιτιος ειναι του θανατου αυτου. Ουτε ουν αθανατον αυτον εποιησεν ουτε μην θνητον, αλλα δεκτικον αμφοτερων, 'ινα, ει 'ρεψη επι τα της αθανασιας τηρησας την εντολην του Θεου, μισθον κομισηται παρ' αυτου την αθανασιαν και γενηται Θεος, ει δ' αυ τραπη επι τα του θανατου πραγματα παρακουσας του Θεου, αυτος εαυτω αιτιος η του θανατου.

Footnote 441: (return)

See Justin, Apol. I. 14 ff. and the parallel passages in the other Apologists.

Footnote 442: (return)

See Tatian, Orat. II. and many other passages.

Footnote 443: (return)

Along with this the Apologists emphasise the resurrection of the flesh in the strongest way as the specific article of Christian anticipation, and prove the possibility of realising this irrational hope. Yet to the Apologists the ultimate ground of their trust in this early-Christian idea is their reliance on the unlimited omnipotence of God and this confidence is a proof of the vividness of their idea of him. Nevertheless this conception assumes that in the other world there will be a return of the flesh, which on this side the grave had to be overcome and regarded as non-existent. A clearly chiliastic element is found only in Justin.

Footnote 444: (return)

No uniform conception of this is found in the Apologists; see Wendt, Die Christliche Lehre von der menschlichen Vollkommenheit 1882, pp. 8-20. Justin speaks only of a heavenly destination for which man is naturally adapted. With Tatian and Theophilus it is different.

Footnote 445: (return)

The idea that the demon sovereignty has led to some change in the psychological condition and capacities of man is absolutely unknown to Justin (see Wendt, l.c., p. 11 f., who has successfully defended the correct view in Engelhardt's "Das Christenthum Justin's des Märtyrers" pp. 92 f. 151. f. 266 f., against Stählin, "Justin der Märtyrer und sein neuester Beurtheiler" 1880, p. 16 f.). Tatian expressed a different opinion, which, however, involved him in evident contradictions (see above, p. 191 ff.). The apologetic theology necessarily adhered to the two following propositions: (1) The freedom to do what is good is not lost and cannot be. This doctrine was opposed to philosophic determinism and popular fatalism. (2) The desires of the flesh resulting from the constitution of man only become evil when they destroy or endanger the sovereignty of reason. The formal liberum arbitrium explains the possibility of sin, whilst its actual existence is accounted for by the desire that is excited by the demons. The Apologists acknowledge the universality of sin and death, but refused to admit the necessity of the former in order not to call its guilty character in question. On the other hand they are deeply imbued with the idea that the sovereignty of death is the most powerful factor in the perpetuation of sin. Their believing conviction of the omnipotence of God, as well as their moral conviction of the responsibility of man, protected them in theory from a strictly dualistic conception of the world. At the same time, like all who separate nature and morality in their ethical system, though in other respects they do not do so, the Apologists were obliged in practice to be dualists.

Footnote 446: (return)

Death is accounted the worst evil. When Theophilus (II. 26) represents it as a blessing, we must consider that he is arguing against Marcion. Polytheism is traced to the demons; they are accounted the authors of the fables about the gods; the shameful actions of the latter are partly the deeds of demons and partly lies.

Footnote 447: (return)

The Old Testament therefore is not primarily viewed as the book of prophecy or of preparation for Christ, but as the book of the full revelation which cannot be surpassed. In point of content the teaching of the prophets and of Christ is completely identical. The prophetical details in the Old Testament serve only to attest the one truth. The Apologists confess that they were converted to Christianity by reading the Old Testament. Cf. Justin's and Tatian's confessions. Perhaps Commodian (Instruct. I. 1) is also be understood thus.

Footnote 448: (return)

The Oratio of Tatian is very instructive in this respect. In this book he has nowhere spoken ex professo of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ; but in c. 13 fin. he calls the Holy Spirit "the servant of God who has suffered," and in c. 21 init. he says: "we are not fools and do not adduce anything stupid, when we proclaim that God has appeared in human form." Similar expressions are found in Minucius Felix. In no part of Aristides' Apology is there any mention of the pre-Christian appearance of the Logos. The writer merely speaks of the revelation of the Son of God in Jesus Christ.

Footnote 449: (return)

We seldom receive an answer to the question as to why this or that particular occurrence should have been prophesied. According to the ideas of the Apologists, however, we have hardly a right to put that question; for, since the value of the historical consists in its having been predicted, its content is of no importance. The fact that Jesus finds the she-ass bound to a vine (Justin, Apol. I. 32) is virtually quite as important as his being born of a virgin. Both occurrences attest the prophetic teachings of God, freedom, etc.

Footnote 450: (return)

In Justin's polemical works this must have appeared in a still more striking way. Thus we find in a fragment of the treatise προς Μαρκιωνα, quoted by Irenæus (IV. 6. 2), the sentence "unigenitus filius venit ad nos, suum plasma in semetipsum recapitulans." So the theologoumenon of the recapitulatio per Christum already appeared in Justin. (Vide also Dial. c. Tryph. 100.) If we compare Tertullian's Apologeticum with his Antignostic writings we easily see how impossible it is to determine from that work the extent of his Christian faith and knowledge. The same is probably the case, though to a less extent, with Justin's apologetic writings.

Footnote 451: (return)

Christians do not place a man alongside of God, for Christ is God, though indeed a second God. There is no question of two natures. It is not the divine nature that Justin has insufficiently emphasised—or at least this is only the case in so far as it is a second Godhead—but the human nature; see Schultz, Gottheit Christi, p. 39 ff.

Footnote 452: (return)

We find allusions in Justin where the various incidents in the history of the incarnate Logos are conceived as a series of arrangements meant to form part of the history of salvation, to paralyse mankind's sinful history, and to regenerate humanity. He is thus a forerunner of Irenæus and Melito.

Footnote 453: (return)

Even the theologoumenon of the definite number of the elect, which must be fulfilled, is found in Justin (Apol. I. 28, 45). For that reason the judgment is put off by God (II. 7). The Apology of Aristides contains a short account of the history of Jesus; his conception, birth, preaching, choice of the 12 Apostles, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, sending out of the 12 Apostles are mentioned.

Footnote 454: (return)

"To Justin faith is only an acknowledgment of the mission and Sonship of Christ and a conviction of the truth of his teaching. Faith does not justify, but is merely a presupposition of the justification which is effected through repentance, change of mind, and sinless life. Only in so far as faith itself is already a free decision to serve God has it the value of a saving act, which is indeed of such significance that one can say, 'Abraham was justified by faith.' In reality, however, this took place through μετανοια." The idea of the new birth is exhausted in the thought: Θεος καλει εις μετανοιαν, that of the forgiveness of sins in the idea: "God is so good that he overlooks sins committed in a state of ignorance, if man has changed his mind." Accordingly, Christ is the Redeemer in so far as he has brought about all the conditions which make for repentance.

Footnote 455: (return)

This is in fact already the case in Justin here and there, but in the main there are as yet mere traces of it: the Apologists are no mystics.

Footnote 456: (return)

If we consider how largely the demons bulked in the ideas of the Apologists, we must rate very highly their conviction of the redeeming power of Christ and of his name, a power continuously shown in the victories over the demons. See Justin Apol. II. 6, 8; Dial. II, 30, 35, 39, 76, 85, 111, 121; Tertull., Apol. 23, 27, 32, 37 etc. Tatian also (16 fin.) confirms it, and c. 12, p. 56, line 7 ff. (ed. Otto) does not contradict this.

Footnote 457: (return)

Von Engelhardt, Christenthum Justin's, p. 432 f., has pronounced against its genuineness; see also my Texte und Untersuchungen I. 1, 2, p. 158. In favour of its genuineness see Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, 1883, p. 26 f. The fragment is worded as follows: Πλασας 'ο Θεος κατ' αρχας τον ανθρωπον της γνωμης αυτου τα της φυσεως απηωρησεν εντολη μια ποιησαμενος την διαπειραν. Φυλαξαντα μεν γαρ ταυτην της αθαντου ληξεως πεποιηκεν εσεσθαι, παραβαντα δε της εναντιας. Ουτω γεγονως 'ο ανθρωπος και προς την παραβασιν ευθυς ελθων την φθοραν φυσικως εισεδεξατο. Φυσει δε της φθορας προσγενομενης ανανκαιον ην 'οτι σωσαι βουλομενος ην την φθοροποιον ουσιαν αφανισας. Τουτο δε ουκ ην 'ετερος γενεσθαι, ει μηπερ 'η κατα φυσιν ζωη προσεπλακη τω την φθοραν δεξαμενω, αφανιζουσα μεν την φθοραν, αθανατον δε του λοιπου το δεξαμενον διατηρουσα. Δια τουτο τον λογον εδεησεν εν σωματι γενεσθαι, 'ινα (του θανατου) της κατα φυσιν 'ημας φθορας ελευθερωση. Ει γαρ, 'ως φατε, νευματι μονον τον θανατον 'ημων απεκωλυσεν, ου προσηι μεν δια την βουλησιν 'ο θανατος, ουδεν δε ηττον φθαρτοι παλιν ημεν φυικην εν 'εαυτοις την φθοραν περιφεροντες.

Footnote 458: (return)

Weizsäcker, Jahrbücher fur deutsche Theologie, 1867, p. 119, has with good reason strongly emphasised this element. See also Stählin, Justin der Martyrer, 1880, p. 63 f., whose criticism of Von Engelhardt's book contains much that is worthy of note, though it appears to me inappropriate in the main.

Footnote 459: (return)

Loofs continues: "The Apologists, viewing the transference of the concept 'Son' to the preëxistent Christ as a matter of course, enabled the Christological problem of the 4th century to be started. They removed the point of departure of the Christological speculation from the historical Christ back into the preëxistence and depreciated the importance of Jesus' life as compared with the incarnation. They connected the Christology with the cosmology, but were not able to combine it with the scheme of salvation. Their Logos doctrine is not a 'higher' Christology than the prevailing form; it rather lags behind the genuine Christian estimate of Christ. It is not God who reveals himself in Christ, but the Logos, the depotentiated God, who as God is subordinate to the supreme Deity."

[pg 230]



1. The theological position of Irenæus and the later contemporary Church teachers.

Gnosticism and the Marcionite Church had compelled orthodox Christianity to make a selection from tradition and to make this binding on Christians as an apostolical law. Everything that laid claim to validity had henceforth to be legitimised by the faith, i.e., the baptismal confession and the New Testament canon of Scripture (see above, chap. 2, under A and B). However, mere "prescriptions" could no longer suffice here. But the baptismal confession was no "doctrine;" if it was to be transformed into such it required an interpretation. We have shown above that the interpreted baptismal confession was instituted as the guide for the faith. This interpretation took its matter from the sacred books of both Testaments. It owed its guiding lines, however, [pg 231] on the one hand to philosophical theology, as set forth by the Apologists, and on the other to the earnest endeavour to maintain and defend against all attacks the traditional convictions and hopes of believers, as professed in the past generation by the enthusiastic forefathers of the Church. In addition to this, certain interests, which had found expression in the speculations of the so-called Gnostics, were adopted in an increasing degree among all thinking Christians, and also could not but influence the ecclesiastical teachers.461 The theological labours, thus initiated, accordingly bear the impress of great uniqueness and complexity. In the first place, the old Catholic Fathers, Melito,462 Rhodon,463 Irenæus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian were in every case convinced that all their expositions contained the universal Church faith itself and nothing else. Though the faith is identical with the baptismal confession, yet every interpretation of it derived from the New Testament is no less certain than the shortest formula.464 The creation of the New Testament furnished all at once a quite [pg 232] unlimited multitude of conceptions, the whole of which appeared as "doctrines" and offered themselves for incorporation with the "faith."465 The limits of the latter therefore seem to be indefinitely extended, whilst on the other hand tradition, and polemics too in many cases, demanded an adherence to the shortest formula. The oscillation between this brief formula, the contents of which, as a rule, did not suffice, and that fulness, which admitted of no bounds at all, is characteristic of the old Catholic Fathers we have mentioned. In the second place, these fathers felt quite as much need of a rational proof in their arguments with their christian opponents, as they did while contending with the heathen;466 and, being themselves children of their time, they required this proof for their own assurance and that of their fellow-believers. The epoch in which men appealed to charisms, and "knowledge" counted as much as prophecy and vision, because it was still of them same nature, was in the main a thing of the past.467 Tradition and reason had taken the place of charisms as courts of appeal. But this change had neither come to be clearly recognized,468 nor was the right and scope of rational theology alongside of tradition felt to be a problem. We can indeed trace the consciousness of the danger in attempting to introduce new termini and regulations not prescribed by the Holy Scriptures.469 The bishops themselves in fact encouraged this apprehension in order to [pg 233] warn people against the Gnostics,470 and after the deluge of heresy, representatives of Church orthodoxy looked with distrust on every philosophic-theological formula.471 Such propositions of rationalistic theology as were absolutely required, were, however, placed by Irenæus and Tertullian on the same level as the hallowed doctrines of tradition, and were not viewed by them as something of a different nature. Irenæus uttered most urgent warnings against subtle speculations;472 but yet, in the naivest way, associated with the faithfully preserved traditional doctrines and fancies of the faith theories which he likewise regarded as tradition and which, in point of form, did not differ from those of the Apologists or Gnostics.473 The [pg 234] Holy Scriptures of the New Testament were the basis on which Irenæus set forth the most important doctrines of Christianity. Some of these he stated as they had been conceived by the oldest tradition (see the eschatology), others he adapted to the new necessities. The qualitative distinction between the fides credenda and theology was noticed neither by Irenæus nor by Hippolytus and Tertullian. According to Irenæus I. 10. 3 this distinction is merely quantitative. Here faith and theological knowledge are still completely intermixed. Whilst stating and establishing the doctrines of tradition with the help of the New Testament, and revising and fixing them by means of intelligent deduction, the Fathers think they are setting forth the faith itself and nothing else. Anything more than this is only curiosity not unattended with danger to Christians. Theology is interpreted faith.474

Corresponding to the baptismal confession there thus arose at the first a loose system of dogmas which were necessarily devoid of strict style, definite principle, or fixed and harmonious aim. In this form we find them with special plainness in Tertullian.475 This writer was still completely incapable of inwardly connecting his rational (Stoic) theology, as developed by him for apologetic purposes, with the Christological doctrines of the regula fidei, which, after the example of Irenæus, he constructed and defended from Scripture and tradition in opposition to heresy. Whenever he attempts in any place to prove [pg 235] the intrinsic necessity of these dogmas, he seldom gets beyond rhetorical statements, holy paradoxes, or juristic forms. As a systematic thinker, a cosmologist, moralist, and jurist rather than a theosophist, as a churchman, a masterly defender of tradition, as a Christian exclusively guided in practical life by the strict precepts and hopes of the Gospel, his theology, if by that we understand his collective theological disquisitions, is completely devoid of unity, and can only be termed a mixture of dissimilar and, not unfrequently, contradictory propositions, which admit of no comparison with the older theology of Valentinus or the later system of Origen.476 To Tertullian everything lies side by side; problems which chance to turn up are just as quickly solved. The specific faith of Christians is indeed no longer, as it sometimes seems to be in Justin's case, a great apparatus of proof for the doctrines of the only true philosophy; it rather stands, in its own independent value, side by side with these, partly in a crude, partly in a developed form; but inner principles and aims are nearly everywhere sought for in vain.477 In spite of this he possesses inestimable importance in the history of dogma; for he developed and created, in a disconnected form and partly in the shape of legal propositions, a series of the most important dogmatic formulæ, which Cyprian, Novatian, Hosius, and the Roman bishops of the fourth century, Ambrosius and Leo I., introduced into the general dogmatic system of the Catholic Church. He founded the terminology both of the trinitarian and of the Christological dogma; and in addition to this was the first to give currency to a series of dogmatic concepts (satisfacere, meritum, sacramentum, vitium originis etc., etc.). [pg 236] Finally it was he who at the very outset imparted to the type of dogmatic that arose in the West its momentous bias in the direction of auctoritas et ratio, and its corresponding tendency to assume a legal character (lex, formal and material), peculiarities which were to become more and more clearly marked as time went on.478 But, great as is his importance in this respect, it has no connection at all with the fundamental conception of Christianity peculiar to himself, for, as a matter of fact, this was already out of date at the time when he lived. What influenced the history of dogma was not his Christianity, but his masterly power of framing formulæ.

It is different with Irenæus. The Christianity of this man proved a decisive factor in the history of dogma in respect of its content. If Tertullian supplied the future Catholic dogmatic with the most important part of its formulæ, Irenæus clearly sketched for it its fundamental idea, by combining the ancient notion of salvation with New Testament (Pauline) thoughts.479 Accordingly, as far as the essence of the matter is concerned, the great work of Irenæus is far superior to the theological writings of Tertullian. This appears already in the task, voluntarily undertaken by Irenæus, of giving a relatively complete exposition of the doctrines of ecclesiastical Christianity on the basis of the New Testament, in opposition to heresy. Tertullian nowhere betrayed a similar systematic necessity, which indeed, in the case of the Gallic bishop too, only made its appearance as the result of polemical motives. But Irenæus to a certain degree succeeded in amalgamating philosophic theology and the statements of ecclesiastical tradition viewed as doctrines. This result followed (1) because he never lost sight of a fundamental idea to which he tried to refer everything, and (2) because he was directed by a confident view of Christianity as a religion, [pg 237] that is, a theory of its purpose. The first fundamental idea, in its all-dominating importance, was suggested to Irenæus by his opposition to Gnosticism. It is the conviction that the Creator of the world and the supreme God are one and the same.480 The other theory as to the aim of Christianity, however, is shared by Irenæus with Paul, Valentinus, and Marcion. It is the conviction that Christianity is real redemption, and that this redemption was only effected by the appearance of Christ. The working out of these two ideas is the most important feature in Irenæus' book. As yet, indeed, he by no means really succeeded in completely adapting to these two fundamental thoughts all the materials to be taken from Holy Scripture and found in the rule of faith; he only thought with systematic clearness within the scheme of the Apologists. His archaic eschatological disquisitions are of a heterogeneous nature, and a great deal of his material, as, for instance, Pauline formulæ and thoughts, he completely emptied of its content, inasmuch as he merely contrived to turn it into a testimony of the oneness and absolute causality of God the Creator; but the repetition of the same main thoughts to an extent that is wearisome to us, and the attempt to refer everything to these, unmistakably constitute the success of his work.481 God the Creator and the one Jesus Christ [pg 238] are really the middle points of his theological system, and in this way he tried to assign an intrinsic significance to the several historical statements of the baptismal confession. Looked at from this point of view, his speculations were almost of an identical nature with the Gnostic.482 But, while he conceives Christianity as an explanation of the world and as redemption, his Christocentric teaching was opposed to that of the Gnostics. Since the latter started with the conception of an original dualism they saw in the empiric world a faulty combination of opposing elements,483 and therefore recognised in the redemption by Christ the separation of what was unnaturally united. Irenæus, on the contrary, who began with the idea of the absolute causality of God the Creator, saw in the empiric world faulty estrangements and separations, and therefore viewed the redemption by Christ as the reunion of things unnaturally separated—the "recapitulatio" (ανακεφαλαιωσις).484 This speculative [pg 239] thought, which involved the highest imaginable optimism in contrast to Gnostic pessimism, brought Irenæus into touch with certain Pauline trains of thought,485 and enabled him to adhere to the theology of the Apologists. At the same time it opened up a view of the person of Christ, which supplemented the great defect of that theology,486 surpassed the Christology of the Gnostics,487 and made it possible to utilise the Christological statements contained in certain books of the New Testament.488

So far as we know at least, Irenæus is the first ecclesiastical theologian after the time of the Apologists (see Ignatius before that) who assigned a quite specific significance to the person of Christ and in fact regarded it as the vital factor.489 That was possible for him because of his realistic view of redemption. Here, however, he did not fall into the abyss of Gnosticism, because, as a disciple of the "elders", he adhered to the early-Christian eschatology, and because, as a follower of the Apologists, he held, along with the realistic conception of salvation, the other dissimilar theory that Christ, as the teacher, imparts [pg 240] to men, who are free and naturally constituted for fellowship with God, the knowledge which enables them to imitate God, and thus by their own act to attain communion with him. Nevertheless to Irenæus the pith of the matter is already found in the idea that Christianity is real redemption, i.e., that the highest blessing bestowed in Christianity is the deification of human nature through the gift of immortality, and that this deification includes the full knowledge and enjoying of God (visio dei). This conception suggested to him the question as to the cause of the incarnation as well as the answer to the same. The question "cur deus—homo", which was by no means clearly formulated in the apologetic writings, in so far as in these "homo" only meant appearance among men, and the "why" was answered by referring to prophecy and the necessity of divine teaching, was by Irenæus made the central point. The reasons why the answer he gave was so highly satisfactory may be stated as follows: (1) It proved that the Christian blessing of salvation was of a specific kind. (2) It was similar in point of form to the so-called Gnostic conception of Christianity, and even surpassed it as regards the promised extent of the sphere included in the deification. (3) It harmonised with the eschatological tendency of Christendom, and at the same time was fitted to replace the material eschatological expectations that were fading away. (4) It was in keeping with the mystic and Neoplatonic current of the time, and afforded it the highest imaginable satisfaction. (5) For the vanishing trust in the possibility of attaining the highest knowledge by the aid of reason it substituted the sure hope of a supernatural transformation of human nature which would even enable it to appropriate that which is above reason. (6) Lastly, it provided the traditional historical utterances respecting Christ, as well as the whole preceding course of history, with a firm foundation and a definite aim, and made it possible to conceive a history of salvation unfolding itself by degrees οικονομια Θεου. According to this conception the central point of history was no longer the Logos as such, but Christ as the incarnate God, while at the same time the moralistic interest was balanced by a really religious one. An approach was thus made to the Pauline [pg 241] theology, though indeed in a very peculiar way and to some extent only in appearance. A more exact representation of salvation through Christ has, however, been given by Irenæus as follows: Incorruptibility is a habitus which is the opposite of our present one and indeed of man's natural condition. For immortality is at once God's manner of existence and his attribute; as a created being man is only "capable of incorruption and immortality" ("capax incorruptionis et immortalitatis");490 thanks to the divine goodness, however, he is intended for the same, and yet is empirically "subjected to the power of death" ("sub condicione mortis"). Now the sole way in which immortality as a physical condition can be obtained is by its possessor uniting himself realiter with human nature, in order to deify it "by adoption" ("per adoptionem"), such is the technical term of Irenæus. The deity must become what we are in order that we may become what he is. Accordingly, if Christ is to be the Redeemer, he must himself be God, and all the stress must fall upon his birth as man. "By his birth as man the eternal Word of God guarantees the inheritance of life to those who in their natural birth have inherited death."491 [pg 242] But this work of Christ can be conceived as recapitulatio because God the Redeemer is identical with God the Creator; and Christ consequently brings about a final condition which existed from the beginning in God's plan, but could not be immediately realised in consequence of the entrance of sin. It [pg 243] is perhaps Irenæus' highest merit, from a historical and ecclesiastical point of view, to have worked out this thought in pregnant fashion and with the simplest means, i.e., without the apparatus of the Gnostics, but rather by the aid of simple and essentially Biblical ideas. Moreover, a few decades later, he and Melito, an author unfortunately so little known to us, were already credited with this merit. For the author of the so-called "Little Labyrinth" (Euseb., H. E. V. 28. 5) can indeed boast with regard to the works of Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, etc., that they declared Christ to be God, but then continues: Τα Ειρηναιου τε και Μελιτωνος και των λοιπων τις αγνοει βιβλια, θεον και ανθρωπον καταγγελλοντα τον Χριστον ("Who is ignorant of the books of Irenæus, Melito, and the rest, which proclaim Christ to be God and man"). The progress in theological views is very precisely and appropriately expressed in these words. The Apologists also professed their belief in the full revelation of God upon earth, that is, in revelation as the teaching which necessarily leads to immortality;492 but Irenæus is the first to whom Jesus Christ, God and man, is the centre of history and faith.493 [pg 244] Following the method of Valentinus, he succeeded in sketching a history of salvation, the gradual realising of the οικονομια Θεου culminating in the deification of believing humanity, but here he always managed to keep his language essentially within the limits of the Biblical. The various acting æons of the Gnostics became to him different stages in the saving work of the one Creator and his Logos. His system seemed to have absorbed the rationalism of the Apologists and the intelligible simplicity of their moral theology, just as much as it did the Gnostic dualism with its particoloured mythology. Revelation had become history, the history of salvation; and dogmatics had in a certain fashion become a way of looking at history, the knowledge of God's ways of salvation that lead historically to an appointed goal.494

But, as this realistic, quasi-historical view of the subject was by no means completely worked out by Irenæus himself, since the theory of human freedom did not admit of its logical development, and since the New Testament also pointed in other directions, it did not yet become the predominating one even in the third century, nor was it consistently carried out by any one teacher. The two conceptions opposed to it, that of the early Christian eschatology and the rationalistic one, were still in vogue. The two latter were closely connected in the third century, especially in the West, whilst the mystic and realistic view was almost completely lacking there. In this respect Tertullian adopted but little from Irenæus. Hippolytus also lagged behind him. Teachers like Commodian, Arnobius, and Lactantius, however, wrote as if there had been no Gnostic movement at all, and as if no Antignostic Church theology existed. The immediate result of the work carried on by Irenæus and the Antignostic teachers in the Church consisted in the fixing of tradition and in the intelligent treatment of individual doctrines, which gradually became established. The most [pg 245] important will be set forth in what follows. On the most vital point, the introduction of the philosophical Christology into the Church's rule of faith, see Chapter 7.

The manner in which Irenæus undertook his great task of expounding and defending orthodox Christianity in opposition to the Gnostic form was already a prediction of the future. The oldest Christian motives and hopes; the letter of both Testaments, including even Pauline thoughts; moralistic and philosophical elements, the result of the Apologists' labours; and realistic and mystical features balance each other in his treatment. He glides over from the one to the other; limits the one by the other; plays off Scripture against reason, tradition against the obscurity of the Scriptures; and combats fantastic speculation by an appeal sometimes to reason, sometimes to the limits of human knowledge. Behind all this and dominating everything, we find his firm belief in the bestowal of divine incorruptibility on believers through the work of the God-man. This eclectic method did not arise from shrewd calculation. It was equally the result of a rare capacity for appropriating the feelings and ideas of others, combined with the conservative instincts that guided the great teacher, and the consequence of a happy blindness to the gulf which lay between the Christian tradition and the world of ideas prevailing at that time. Still unconscious of the greatest problem, Irenæus with inward sincerity sketched out that future dogmatic method according to which the theology compiled by an eclectic process is to be nothing else than the simple faith itself, this being merely illustrated and explained, developed and by that very process established, as far as "stands in the Holy Scripture," and—let us add—as far as reason requires. But Irenæus was already obliged to decline answering the question as to how far unexplained faith can be sufficient for most Christians, though nothing but this explanation can solve the great problems, "why more covenants than one were given to mankind, what was the character of each covenant, why God shut up every man unto unbelief, why the Word became flesh and suffered, why the advent of the Son of God only took place in the last times etc." (I. 10. 3). The relation of faith and theological Gnosis was [pg 246] fixed by Irenæus to the effect that the latter is simply a continuation of the former.495 At the same time, however, he did not clearly show how the collection of historical statements found in the confession can of itself guarantee a sufficient and tenable knowledge of Christianity. Here the speculative theories are as a matter of fact quite imbedded in the historical propositions of tradition. Will these obscurities remain when once the Church is forced to compete in its theological system with the whole philosophical science of the Greeks, or may it be expected that, instead of this system of eclecticism and compromise, a method will find acceptance which, distinguishing between faith and theology, will interpret in a new and speculative sense the whole complex of tradition? Irenæus' process has at least this one advantage over the other method: according to it everything can be reckoned part of the faith, providing it bears the stamp of truth, without the faith seeming to alter its nature. It is incorporated in the theology of facts which the faith here appears to be.496 The latter, however, imperceptibly becomes a revealed system of doctrine and history; and though Irenæus himself always seeks to refer everything again to the "simple faith" (φιλη πιστις), and to believing simplicity, that is, to the belief in the Creator and the Son of God who became man, yet it was not in his power to stop the development destined to transform the faith into knowledge of a theological system. The pronounced hellenising of the Gospel, [pg 247] brought about by the Gnostic systems, was averted by Irenæus and the later ecclesiastical teachers by preserving a great portion of the early Christian tradition, partly as regards its letter, partly as regards its spirit, and thus rescuing it for the future. But the price of this preservation was the adoption of a series of "Gnostic" formulæ. Churchmen, though with hesitation, adopted the adversary's way of looking at things, and necessarily did so, because as they became ever further and further removed from the early-Christian feelings and thoughts, they had always more and more lost every other point of view. The old Catholic Fathers permanently settled a great part of early tradition for Christendom, but at the same time promoted the gradual hellenising of Christianity.

2. The Doctrines of the Church.

In the following section we do not intend to give a presentation of the theology of Irenæus and the other Antignostic Church teachers, but merely to set forth those points of doctrine to which the teachings of these men gave currency in succeeding times.

Against the Gnostic theses497 Irenæus and his successors, apart from the proof from prescription, adduced the following intrinsic considerations: (1) In the case of the Gnostics and Marcion the Deity lacks absoluteness, because he does not embrace everything, that is, he is bounded by the kenoma or by the sphere of a second God; and also because his omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence have a corresponding limitation.498 (2) The assumption of divine emanations and of a differentiated [pg 248] divine pleroma represents the Deity as a composite, i.e.,499 finite being; and, moreover, the personification of the divine qualities is a mythological freak, the folly of which is evident as soon as one also makes the attempt to personify the affections and qualities of man in a similar way.500 (3) The attempt to make out conditions existing within the Godhead is in itself absurd and audacious.501 (4) The theory of the passion and ignorance of Sophia introduces sin into the pleroma itself, i.e., into the Godhead.502 With this the weightiest argument against the Gnostic cosmogony is already mentioned. A further argument against the system is that the world and mankind would have been incapable of improvement, if they had owed their origin to ignorance and sin.503 Irenæus and Tertullian employ lengthy arguments to show that a God who has created nothing is inconceivable, [pg 249] and that a Demiurge occupying a position alongside of or below the Supreme Being is self-contradictory, inasmuch as he sometimes appears higher than this Supreme Being, and sometimes so weak and limited that one can no longer look on him as a God.504 The Fathers everywhere argue on behalf of the Gnostic Demiurge and against the Gnostic supreme God. It never occurs to them to proceed in the opposite way and prove that the supreme God may be the Creator. All their efforts are rather directed to show that the Creator of the world is the only and supreme God, and that there can be no other above this one. This attitude of the Fathers is characteristic; for it proves that the apologetico-philosophical theology was their fundamental assumption. The Gnostic (Marcionite) supreme God is the God of religion, the God of redemption; the Demiurge is the being required to explain the world. The intervention of the Fathers on his behalf, that is, their assuming him as the basis of their arguments, reveals what was fundamental and what was accidental in their religious teaching. At the same time, however, it shows plainly that they did not understand or did not feel the fundamental problem that troubled and perplexed the Gnostics and Marcion, viz., the qualitative distinction between the spheres of creation and redemption. They think they have sufficiently explained this distinction by the doctrine of human freedom and its consequences. Accordingly their whole mode of argument against the Gnostics and Marcion is, in point of content, of an abstract, philosophico-rational [pg 250] kind.505 As a rule they do not here carry on their controversy with the aid of reasons taken from the deeper views of religion. As soon as the rational argument fails, however, there is really an entire end to the refutation from inner grounds, at least in the case of Tertullian; and the contest is shifted into the sphere of the rule of faith and the Holy Scriptures. Hence, for example, they have not succeeded in making much impression on the heretical Christology from dogmatic considerations, though in this respect Irenæus was still very much more successful than Tertullian.506 Besides, in adv. Marc. II. 27, the latter betrayed what interest he took in the preëxistent Christ as distinguished from God the Father. It is not expedient to separate the arguments advanced by the Fathers against the Gnostics from their own positive teachings, for these are throughout dependent on their peculiar attitude within the sphere of Scripture and tradition.

Irenæus and Hippolytus have been rightly named Scripture theologians; but it is a strange infatuation to think that this designation characterises them as evangelical. If indeed we here understand "evangelical" in the vulgar sense, the term may be correct, only in this case it means exactly the same as "Catholic." But if "evangelical" signifies "early-Christian," then it must be said that Scripture theology was not the primary means of preserving the ideas of primitive Christianity; for, as the New Testament Scriptures were also regarded as inspired documents and were to be interpreted according to the regula, their content was just for that reason apt to be obscured. Both Marcion and the chiefs of the Valentinian school had also been Scripture theologians. Irenæus and Hippolytus merely followed them. Now it is true that they very decidedly argued against the arbitrary method of interpreting the Scriptures adopted by Valentinus, and compared it to the process of forming the mosaic picture [pg 251] of a king into the mosaic picture of a fox, and the poems of Homer into any others one might choose;507 but they just as decidedly protested against the rejection by Apelles and Marcion of the allegorical method of interpretation,508 and therefore were not able to set up a canon really capable of distinguishing their own interpretation from that of the Gnostics.509 The Scripture theology of the old Catholic Fathers has a twofold aspect. The religion of the Scripture is no longer the original form; it is the mediated, scientific one to be constructed by a learned process; it is, on its part, the strongest symptom of the secularisation that has begun. In a word, it is the religion of the school, first the Gnostic then the ecclesiastical. But it may, on the other hand, be a wholesome reaction against enthusiastic excess and moralistic frigidity; and the correct sense of the letter will from the first obtain imperceptible recognition in opposition to the "spirit" arbitrarily read into it, and at length banish this "spirit" completely. Irenæus certainly tried to mark off the Church use of the Scriptures as distinguished from the Gnostic practice. He rejects the accommodation theory of which some Gnostics availed themselves;510 he emphasises more strongly than these the absolute sufficiency of the Scriptures by repudiating all esoteric doctrines;511 he rejects all distinction between different kinds of inspiration in the sacred books;512 he lays down the maxim that the obscure passages [pg 252] are to be interpreted from the clear ones, not vice versa;513 but this principle being in itself ambiguous, it is rendered quite unequivocal by the injunction to interpret everything according to the rule of faith514 and, in the case of all objectionable passages, to seek the type.515 Not only did Irenæus explain the Old Testament allegorically, in accordance with traditional usage;516 but according to the principle: "with God there is nothing without purpose or due signification" ("nihil vacuum neque sine signo apud deum") (IV. 21. 3), he was also the first to apply the scientific and mystical explanation to the New Testament, and was consequently obliged to adopt the Gnostic exegesis, which was imperative as soon as the apostolic writings were viewed as a New Testament. He regards the fact of Jesus handing round food to those lying at table as signifying that Christ also bestows life on the long dead generations;517 and, in the parable of the Samaritan, he interprets the host as the Spirit and the two denarii as the Father and Son.518 To Irenæus and also to Tertullian and Hippolytus all numbers, incidental circumstances, etc., in the Holy Scriptures are virtually as significant as they are to the Gnostics, and hence the only question is what hidden meaning we are to give to them. "Gnosticism" is therefore here adopted by the ecclesiastical teachers in its full extent, proving that this "Gnosticism" is nothing else than the learned construction of religion with the scientific means of those days. As soon as Churchmen were forced to bring forward their proofs and proceed to put the same questions as the "Gnostics," they were obliged to work by their method. Allegory, however, was required in [pg 253] order to establish the continuity of the tradition from Adam down to the present time—not merely down to Christ—against the attacks of the Gnostics and Marcion. By establishing this continuity a historical truth was really also preserved. For the rest, the disquisitions of Irenæus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus were to such an extent borrowed from their opponents that there is scarcely a problem that they propounded and discussed as the result of their own thirst for knowledge. This fact not only preserved to their works an early-Christian character as compared with those of the Alexandrians, but also explains why they frequently stop in their positive teachings, when they believe they have confuted their adversaries. Thus we find neither in Irenæus nor Tertullian a discussion of the relation of the Scriptures to the rule of faith. From the way in which they appeal to both we can deduce a series of important problems, which, however, the Fathers themselves did not formulate and consequently did not answer.519

The doctrine of God was fixed by the old Catholic Fathers for the Christendom of succeeding centuries, and in fact both the methodic directions for forming the idea of God and their results remained unchanged. With respect to the former they occupy a middle position between the renunciation of all knowledge—for God is not abyss and silence—and the attempt to fathom the depths of the Godhead.520 Tertullian, influenced by the Stoics, strongly emphasised the possibility of attaining a knowledge of God. Irenæus, following out an idea which seems to anticipate the mysticism of later theologians, made love a preliminary condition of knowledge and plainly acknowledged it as the principle of knowledge.521 God can be known from [pg 254] revelation,522 because he has really revealed himself, that is, both by the creation and the word of revelation. Irenæus also taught that a sufficient knowledge of God, as the creator and guide, can be obtained from the creation, and indeed this knowledge always continues, so that all men are without excuse.523 In this case the prophets, the Lord himself, the Apostles, and the Church teach no more and nothing else than what must be already plain to the natural consciousness. Irenæus certainly did not succeed in reconciling this proposition with his former assertion that the knowledge of God springs from love resting on revelation. Irenæus also starts, as Apologist and Antignostic, with the God who is the First Cause. Every God who is not that is a phantom;524 and every sublime religious state of mind which [pg 255] does not include the feeling of dependence upon God as the Creator is a deception. It is the extremest blasphemy to degrade God the Creator, and it is the most frightful machination of the devil that has produced the blasphemia creatoris.525 Like the Apologists, the early Catholic Fathers confess that the doctrine of God the Creator is the first and most important of the main articles of Christian faith;526 the belief in his oneness as well as his absoluteness is the main point.527 God is all light, all understanding, all Logos, all active spirit;528 everything anthropopathic and anthropomorphic is to be conceived as incompatible with his nature.529 The early-Catholic doctrine of God shows an advance beyond that of the Apologists, in so far as God's attributes of goodness and righteousness are expressly discussed, and it is proved in opposition to Marcion that [pg 256] they are not mutually exclusive, but necessarily involve each other.530

In the case of the Logos doctrine also, Tertullian and Hippolytus simply adopted and developed that of the Apologists, whilst Irenæus struck out a path of his own. In the Apologeticum (c. 21) Tertullian set forth the Logos doctrine as laid down by Tatian, the only noteworthy difference between him and his predecessor consisting in the fact that the appearance of the Logos in Jesus Christ was the uniform aim of his presentation.531 [pg 257] He fully explained his Logos doctrine in his work against the Monarchian Praxeas.532 Here he created the formulæ of succeeding orthodoxy by introducing the ideas "substance" and "person" and by framing, despite of the most pronounced subordinationism and a purely economical conception of the Trinity, definitions of the relations between the persons which could be fully adopted in the Nicene creed.533 Here also the philosophical and cosmological interest prevails; the history of salvation appears only to be the continuation of that of the cosmos. This system is distinguished from Gnosticism by the history of redemption appearing as the natural continuation of the history of creation and not simply as its correction. The thought that the unity of the Godhead is shown in the una substantia and the una dominatio was worked out by Tertullian with admirable clearness. According to him the unfolding of this one substance into several heavenly embodiments, or the administration of the divine sovereignty by emanated persons cannot endanger the [pg 258] unity; the "arrangement of the unity when the unity evolves the trinity from itself" ("dispositio unitatis, quando unitas ex semetipsa [trinitatem] derivat") does not abolish the unity, and, moreover, the Son will some day subject himself to the Father, so that God will be all in all.534 Here then the Gnostic doctrine of æons is adopted in its complete form, and in fact Hippolytus, who in this respect agrees with Tertullian, has certified that the Valentinians "acknowledge that the one is the originator of all" ("τον 'ενα 'ομολογουσιν αιτιον των παντων"), because with them also, "the whole goes back to one" ("το παν εις 'ενα ανατρεχει").535 The only difference is that Tertullian and Hippolytus limit the "economy of God" (οικονομια του Θεου) to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while the Gnostics exceed this number.536 According to Tertullian "a rational conception of the Trinity constitutes truth, an irrational idea of the unity makes heresy" ("trinitas rationaliter expensa veritatem constituit, unitas irrationaliter collecta hæresim facit") is already the watchword of the Christian dogmatic. Now what he considers a rational conception is keeping in view the different stages of God's economy, and distinguishing between dispositio, distinctio, numerus on the one hand and divisio on the other. At the beginning God was alone, but ratio and sermo existed within him. In a certain sense then, [pg 259] he was never alone, for he thought and spoke inwardly. If even men can carry on conversations with themselves and make themselves objects of reflection, how much more is this possible with God.537 But as yet he was the only person.538 The moment, however, that he chose to reveal himself and sent forth from himself the word of creation, the Logos came into existence as a real being, before the world and for the sake of the world. For "that which proceeds from such a great substance and has created such substances cannot itself be devoid of substance." He is therefore to be conceived as permanently separate from God "secundus a deo consititutus, perseverans in sua forma"; but as unity of substance is to be preserved ("alius pater, alius filius, alius non aliud"—"ego et pater unum sumus ad substantiæ unitatem, non ad numeri singularitatem dictum est"—"tres unum sunt, non unus"—"the Father is one person and the Son is another, different persons not different things", "I and the Father are one refers to unity of substance, not to singleness in number"—"the three are one thing not one person"), the Logos must be related to the Father as the ray to the sun, as the stream to the source, as the stem to the root (see also Hippolytus, c. Noëtum 10).539 For that very reason "Son" is the most suitable expression for the Logos that has emanated in this way (κατα μερισμον). Moreover, since he (as well as the Spirit) has the same substance as the Father ("unius substantia" = 'ομοουσιος) he has also the same power540 as regards the world. He has all might in heaven and earth, and he has had it ab initio, from the very beginning of time.541 On the other hand this same Son is only a part and offshoot; the Father is the whole; and in this the mystery of the economy consists. What the Son possesses has been given him by the Father; the Father is therefore greater than the Son; the Son [pg 260] is subordinate to the Father.542 "Pater tota substantia est, filius vero derivatio totius et portio".543 This paradox is ultimately based on a philosophical axiom of Tertullian: the whole fulness of the Godhead, i.e., the Father, is incapable of entering into the finite, whence also he must always remain invisible, unapproachable, and incomprehensible. The Divine Being that appears and works on earth can never be anything but a part of the transcendent Deity. This Being must be a derived existence, which has already in some fashion a finite element in itself, because it is the hypostatised Word of creation, which has an origin.544 We would assert too much, were we to say that Tertullian meant that the Son was simply the world-thought itself; his insistance on the "unius substantiæ" disproves this. But no doubt he regards the Son as the Deity depotentiated for the sake of self-communication; the Deity adapted to the world, whose sphere coincides with the world-thought, and whose power is identical with that necessary for the world. From the standpoint of humanity this Deity is God himself, i.e., a God whom men can apprehend and who can apprehend them; but from God's standpoint, which speculation can fix but not fathom, this Deity is a subordinate, nay, even a temporary one. Tertullian and Hippolytus know as little of an immanent Trinity [pg 261] as the Apologists; the Trinity only appears such, because the unity of the substance is very vigorously emphasised; but in truth the Trinitarian process as in the case of the Gnostics, is simply the background of the process that produces the history of the world and of salvation. This is first of all shown by the fact that in course of the process of the world and of salvation the Son grows in his sonship, that is, goes through a finite process;545 and secondly by the fact that the Son himself will one day restore the monarchy to the Father.546 These words no doubt are again spoken not from the standpoint of man, but from that of God; for so long as history lasts "the Son continues in his form." In its point of departure, its plan, and its details this whole exposition is not distinguished from the teachings of contemporaneous and subsequent Greek philosophers,547 but merely differs in its aim. In itself absolutely unfitted to preserve the primitive Christian belief in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, its importance consists in its identification of the historical Jesus with this Logos. By its aid Tertullian united the scientific, idealistic cosmology with the utterances of early Christian tradition about Jesus in such a way as to make the two, as it were, appear the totally dissimilar wings of one and the same building,548 With peculiar versatility he contrived to make himself at home in both wings.

[pg 262]

It is essentially otherwise with the Logos doctrine of Irenæus.549 Whereas Tertullian and Hippolytus developed their Logos doctrine without reference to the historical Jesus, the truth rather being that they simply add the incarnation to the already existing theory of the subject, there is no doubt that Irenæus, as a rule, made Jesus Christ, whom he views as God and man, the starting-point of his speculation. Here he followed the Fourth Gospel and Ignatius. It is of Jesus that Irenæus almost always thinks when he speaks of the Logos or of the Son of God; and therefore he does not identify the divine element in Christ or Christ himself with the world idea or the creating Word or the Reason of God.550 That [pg 263] he nevertheless makes Logos (μονογενης, πρωτοτοκος, "only begotten," "first born") the regular designation of Christ as the preëxistent One can only be explained from the apologetic tradition which in his time was already recognised as authoritative by Christian scholars, and moreover appeared justified and required by John I. 1. Since both Irenæus and Valentinus consider redemption to be the special work of Christ, the cosmological interest in the doctrine of the second God becomes subordinate to the soteriological. As, however, in Irenæus' system (in opposition to Valentinus) this real redemption is to be imagined as recapitulatio of the creation, redemption and creation are not opposed to each other as antitheses; and therefore the Redeemer has also his place in the history of creation. In a certain sense then the Christology of Irenæus occupies a middle position between the Christology of the Valentinians and Marcion on the one hand and the Logos doctrine of the Apologists on the other. The Apologists have a cosmological interest, Marcion only a soteriological, whereas Irenæus has both; the Apologists base their speculations on the Old Testament, Marcion on a New Testament, Irenæus on both Old and New.

Irenæus expressly refused to investigate what the divine element in Christ is, and why another deity stands alongside of the Godhead of the Father. He confesses that he here simply keeps to the rule of faith and the Holy Scriptures, and declines speculative disquisitions on principle. He does not admit the distinction of a Word existing in God and one coming forth from him, and opposes not only ideas of emanation in general, but also the opinion that the Logos issued forth at a definite point of time. Nor will Irenæus allow the designation "Logos" to be interpreted in the sense of the Logos being the inward Reason or the spoken Word of God. God is a simple essence and always remains in the same state; besides we ought not to hypostatise qualities.551 Nevertheless Irenæus, too, calls the preëxistent Christ the Son of God, and strictly maintains the personal distinction between Father and Son. What makes [pg 264] the opposite appear to be the case is the fact that he does not utilise the distinction in the interest of cosmology.552 In Irenæus' sense we shall have to say: The Logos is the revelation hypostasis of the Father, "the self-revelation of the self-conscious God," and indeed the eternal self-revelation. For according to him the Son always existed with God, always revealed the Father, and it was always the full Godhead that he revealed in himself. In other words, he is God in his specific nature, truly God, and there is no distinction of essence between him and God.553 Now we might conclude from the strong [pg 265] emphasis laid on "always" that Irenæus conceived a relationship of Father and Son in the Godhead, conditioned by the essence of God himself and existing independently of revelation. But the second hypostasis is viewed by him as existing from all eternity, just as much in the quality of Logos as in that of Son, and his very statement that the Logos has revealed the Father from the beginning shows that this relationship is always within the sphere of revelation. The Son then exists because he gives a revelation. Little interested as Irenæus is in saying anything about the Son, apart from his historical mission, naïvely as he extols the Father as the direct Creator of the universe, and anxious as he is to repress all speculations that lead beyond the Holy Scriptures, he could not altogether avoid reflecting on the problems: why there is a second deity alongside of God, and how the two are related to one another. His incidental answers are not essentially different from those of the Apologists and Tertullian; the only distinction is this incidental character. Irenæus too looked on the Son as "the hand of God," the mediator of creation; he also seems in one passage to distinguish Father and Son as the naturally invisible and visible elements of God; he too views the Father as the one who dominates all, the head of Christ, i.e., he who bears the creation and his Logos.554 Irenæus had no opportunity of writing against [pg 266] the Monarchians, and unfortunately we possess no apologetic writings of his. It cannot therefore he determined how he would have written, if he had had less occasion to avoid the danger of being himself led into Gnostic speculations about æons. It has been correctly remarked that with Irenæus the Godhead and the divine personality of Christ merely exist beside each other. He did not want to weigh the different problems, because, influenced as he was by the lingering effects of an early-Christian, anti-theological interest, he regarded the results of this reflection as dangerous; but, as a matter of fact, he did not really correct the premises of the problems by rejecting the conclusions. We may evidently assume (with Zahn) that, according to Irenæus, "God placed himself in the relationship of Father to Son, in order to create after his image and in his likeness the man who was to become his Son;"555 but we ought not to ask if Irenæus understood the incarnation as a definite purpose necessarily involved in the Sonship, as this question falls outside the sphere of Patristic thinking. No doubt the incarnation constantly formed the preëminent interest of Irenæus, and owing to this interest he was able to put aside or throw a veil over the mythological speculations of the Apologists regarding the Logos, and to proceed at once to the soteriological question.556

[pg 267]

Nothing is more instructive than an examination of Irenæus' views with regard to the destination of man, the original state, the fall, and sin; because the heterogeneous elements of his "theology," the apologetic and moralistic the realistic, and the [pg 268] Biblical (Pauline), are specially apparent here, and the inconsistencies into which he was led are very plain. But these very contradictions were never eliminated from the Church doctrinal system of succeeding centuries and did not admit of being removed; hence his attitude on these points is typical.557 The apologetic and moralistic train of thought is alone developed with systematic clearness. Everything created is imperfect, just from the very fact of its having had a beginning; therefore man also. The Deity is indeed capable of bestowing perfection on man from the beginning, but the latter was incapable of grasping or retaining it from the first. Hence perfection, i.e., incorruptibility, which consists in the contemplation of God and is conditional on voluntary obedience, could only be the destination of man, and he must accordingly have been made capable of it.558 That destination is realised through the guidance of God [pg 269] and the free decision of man, for goodness not arising from free choice has no value. The capacity in question is on the one hand involved in man's possession of the divine image, which, however, is only realised in the body and is therefore at bottom a matter of indifference; and, on the other, in his likeness to God, which consists in the union of the soul with God's Spirit, but only comes about when man is obedient to him. Along with this Irenæus has also the idea that man's likeness consists in freedom. Now, as man became disobedient immediately after the creation, this likeness to God did not become perfect.559 Through the fall he lost the fellowship with God to [pg 270] which he was destined, i.e., he is forfeit to death. This death was transmitted to Adam's whole posterity.560 Here Irenæus followed sayings of Paul, but adopted the words rather than the sense; for, in the first place, like the Apologists, he very strongly emphasises the elements that palliate man's fall561 and, secondly, he contemplates the fall as having a teleological significance. It is the fall itself and not, as in Paul's case, the [pg 271] consequences of the fall, that he thus views; for he says that disobedience was conducive to man's development. Man had to learn by experience that disobedience entails death, in order that he might acquire wisdom and choose freely to fulfil the commandments of God. Further, man was obliged to learn through the fall that goodness and life do not belong to him by nature as they do to God.562 Here life and death are always the ultimate question to Irenæus. It is only when he quotes sayings of Paul that he remembers sin in connection with redemption; and ethical consequences of the fall are not mentioned in this connection. "The original destination of man was not abrogated by the fall, the truth rather being that the fall was intended as a means of leading men to attain this perfection to which they were destined."563 Moreover, the goodness of God immediately showed itself both in the removal of the tree of life and in the sentence of temporal death.564 What significance belongs to Jesus Christ within this conception is clear: he is the man who first realised in his person the destination of humanity; the Spirit of God became united with his soul and accustomed itself to dwell in men. But he is also the teacher who reforms mankind by his preaching, calls upon them to direct their still existing freedom to obedience to the divine commandments, thereby restoring, i.e., strengthening, freedom, so that humanity is thus rendered capable of receiving incorruptibility.565 One can plainly see that this is the idea of Tatian [pg 272] and Theophilus, with which Irenæus has incorporated utterances of Paul. Tertullian and Hippolytus taught essentially the same doctrine;566 only Tertullian beheld the image and likeness of God expressly and exclusively in the fact that man's will and capacity are free, and based on this freedom an argument in justification of God's ways.567

But, in addition to this, Irenæus developed a second train of thought. This was the outcome of his Gnostic and realistic doctrine of recapitulation, and evinces clear traces of the influence of Pauline theology. It is, however, inconsistent with the moralistic teachings unfolded above, and could only be united with them at a few points. To the Apologists the proposition: "it is impossible to learn to know God without the help of God" ("impossibile est sine deo discere deum") was a conviction which, with the exception of Justin, they subordinated to their moralism and to which they did not give a specifically Christological signification. Irenæus understood this proposition in a Christological sense,568 and at the same time conceived the blessing of salvation imparted by Christ not only as the incorruptibility consisting in the beholding of God bestowed on obedience IV. 20. 5-7: IV. 38, but also as the divine sonship which [pg 273] has been won for us by Christ and which is realised in constant fellowship with God and dependence on him.569 No doubt he also viewed this divine sonship as consisting in the transformation of human nature; but the point of immediate importance here is that it is no longer human freedom but Christ that he contemplated in this connection. Corresponding to this he has now also a different idea of the original destination of man, of Adam, and of the results of the fall. Here comes in the mystical Adam-Christ speculation, in accordance with the Epistles to the Ephesians and Corinthians. Everything, that is, the "longa hominum expositio," was recapitulated by Christ in himself; in other words he restored humanity to what it originally was and again included under one head what was divided.570 If humanity is restored, then it must have lost something before and been originally in good condition. In complete contradiction to the other teachings quoted above, Irenæus now says: "What we had lost in Adam, namely, our possession of the image and likeness of God, we recover in Christ."571 Adam, however, is humanity; in other words, as all humanity is united and renewed through Christ so also it was already summarised in Adam. Accordingly "the sin of disobedience and the loss of salvation which Adam consequently suffered may now be viewed as belonging to all mankind summed up in him, in like manner as Christ's obedience and possession of salvation are the property [pg 274] of all mankind united under him as their head."572 In the first Adam we offended God by not fulfilling his commandments; in Adam humanity became disobedient, wounded, sinful, bereft of life; through Eve mankind became forfeit to death; through its victory over the first man death descended upon us all, and the devil carried us all away captive etc.573 Here Irenæus always means that in Adam, who represents all mankind as their head, the latter became doomed to death. In this instance he did not think of a hereditary transmission, but of a mystic unity574 as in the case of Christ, viewed as the [pg 275] second Adam. The teachings in III. 21. 10-23575 show what an almost naturalistic shape the religious quasi-historical idea assumed in Irenæus' mind. This is, however, more especially evident from the assertion, in opposition to Tatian, that unless Adam himself had been saved by Christ, God would have been overcome by the devil.576 It was merely his moralistic train of thought that saved him from the conclusion that there is a restoration of all individual men.

This conception of Adam as the representative of humanity corresponds to Irenæus' doctrine of the God-man. The historical importance of this author lies in the development of the Christology. At the present day, ecclesiastical Christianity, so far as it seriously believes in the unity of the divine and human in Jesus Christ and deduces the divine manhood from the work of Christ as his deification, still occupies the same standpoint as Irenæus did. Tertullian by no means matched him here; he too has the formula in a few passages, but he cannot, like Irenæus, account for its content. On the other hand we owe to him the idea of the "two natures," which remain in their integrity—that formula which owes its adoption to the influence [pg 276] of Leo I. and at bottom contradicts Irenæus' thought "the Son of God became the Son of man," ("filius dei factus filius hominis"). Finally, the manner in which Irenæus tried to interpret the historical utterances about Jesus Christ from the standpoint of the Divine manhood idea, and to give them a significance in regard to salvation is also an epoch-making fact.

"Filius dei filius hominis factus," "it is one and the same Jesus Christ, not a Jesus and a Christ, nor a mere temporary union of an æon and a man, but one and the same person, who created the world, was born, suffered, and ascended"—this along with the dogma of God the Creator is the cardinal doctrine of Irenæus:577 "Jesus Christ truly man and truly God" ("Jesus Christus, vere homo, vere deus").578 It is only the Church that adheres to this doctrine, for "none of the heretics hold the opinion that the Word of God became flesh" ("secundum nullam sententiam hæreticorum verbum dei caro factum est").579 What therefore has to be shown is (1) that Jesus Christ is really the Word of God, i.e., is God, (2) that this Word really became man and (3) that the incarnate Word is an inseparable unity. Irenæus maintains the first statement as well against the "Ebionites" as against the Valentinians who thought that Christ's advent was the descent of one of the many æons. In opposition to the Ebionites he emphasises the distinction between natural and adopted Sonship, appeals to the Old Testament testimony in favour of the divinity of Christ,580 and moreover argues that we would still be in the bondage of the old disobedience, if Jesus Christ had only been a man.581 In this connection he also discussed the birth from the virgin.582 He not only proved it from prophecy, but his recapitulation theory also suggested to him a parallel between Adam and Eve on the one hand and Christ [pg 277] and Mary on the other, which included the birth from the virgin.583 He argues in opposition to the Valentinians that it was really the eternal Word of God himself, who was always with God and always present to the human race, that descended.584 He who became man was not a being foreign to the world—this is said in opposition to Marcion—but the Lord of the world and humanity, the Son of God, and none other. The reality of the body of Christ, i.e., the essential identity of the humanity of Christ with our own, was continually emphasised by Irenæus, and he views the whole work of salvation as dependent on this identity.585 In the latter he also includes the fact that Jesus must [pg 278] have passed through and been subjected to all the conditions of a complete human life from birth to old age and death.586 Jesus Christ is therefore the Son of God who has really become the Son of man; and these are not two Christs but one, in whom the Logos is permanently united with humanity.587 Irenæus called this union "union of the Word of God with the creature" ("adunitio verbi dei ad plasma")588 and "blending and communion of God and man" ("commixtio et communio dei et hominis")589 [pg 279] without thereby describing it any more clearly.590 He views it as perfect, for, as a rule, he will not listen to any separation of what was done by the man Jesus and by God the Word.591 The explicit formula of two substances or natures in Christ is not found in Irenæus; but Tertullian already used it. It never [pg 280] occurred to the former, just because he was not here speaking as a theologian, but expressing his belief.592 In his utterances about the God-man Tertullian closely imitates Irenæus. Like the latter he uses the expression "man united with God" ("homo deo mixtus")593 and like him he applies the predicates of the man to the Son of God.594 But he goes further, or rather, in the interest of formal clearness, he expresses the mystery in a manner which shows that he did not fully realise the religious significance of the proposition, "the Son of God made Son of man" ("filius dei filius hominis factus"). He speaks of a "corporal and spiritual, i.e., divine, substance of the Lord", ("corporalis et spiritalis (i.e., divina) substantia domini")595 of "either substance of the flesh and spirit of Christ" ("utraque substantia et carnis et spiritus Christi"), of the "creation of two substances which Christ himself also possesses," ("conditio duarum substantiarum, quas Christus et ipse gestat")596 and of [pg 281] the "twofold condition not blended but united in one person—God and man" ("duplex status non confusus sed conjunctus in una persona—deus et homo".)597 Here we already have in a complete form the later Chalcedonian formula of the two substances in one person.598 At the same time, however, we can clearly see that Tertullian went beyond Irenæus in his exposition.599 He was, moreover, impelled to combat an antagonistic principle. Irenæus had as yet no occasion to explain in detail that the proposition "the Word became flesh" ("verbum caro [pg 282] factum") denoted no transformation. That he excludes the idea of change, and that he puts stress on the Logos' assumption of flesh from the Virgin is shown by many passages.600 Tertullian, on the other hand, was in the first place confronted by (Gnostic) opponents who understood John's statement in the sense of the Word's transforming himself into flesh, and therefore argued against the "assumption of flesh from the Virgin" ("assumptio carnis ex virgine");601 and, in the second place, he had to do with Catholic Christians who indeed admitted the birth from the Virgin, but likewise assumed a change of God into flesh, and declared the God thus invested with flesh to be the Son.602 In this connection the same Tertullian, who in the Church laid great weight on formulæ like "the crucified God," "God consented to be born" ("deus crucifixus," "nasci se voluit deus") and who, impelled by opposition to Marcion and by his apologetic interest, distinguished the Son as capable of suffering from God the Father who is impassible, and imputed to him human weaknesses—which was already a further step,—sharply emphasised the "distinct function" ("distincte agere") of the two substances in Christ and thus separated the persons. With Tertullian the interest in the Logos doctrine, on the one hand, and in the real humanity, on the other, laid the basis of that conception of Christology in accordance with which the unity of the person is nothing more than an assertion. The "deus factus homo" ("verbum caro factus") presents quite insuperable difficulties, as soon as "theology" can no longer be banished. Tertullian smoothed over these difficulties by juristic distinctions, [pg 283] for all his elucidations of "substance" and "person" are of this nature.

A somewhat paradoxical result of the defence of the Logos doctrine in the struggle against the "Patripassians" was the increased emphasis that now began to be laid on the integrity and independence of the human nature in Christ. If the only essential result of the struggle with Gnosticism was to assert the substantial reality of Christ's body, it was Tertullian who distinguished what Christ did as man from what he did as God in order to prove that he was not a tertium quid. The discriminating intellect which was forced to receive a doctrine as a problem could not proceed otherwise. But, even before the struggle with Modalism, elements were present which repressed the naïve confidence of the utterances about the God-man. If I judge rightly, there were two features in Irenæus both of which resulted in a splitting up of the conception of the perfect unity of Christ's person. The first was the intellectual contemplation of the perfect humanity of Jesus, the second was found in certain Old and New Testament texts and the tradition connected with these.603 With regard to the first we may point out that Irenæus indeed regarded the union of the human and divine as possible only because man, fashioned from the beginning by and after the pattern of the Logos, was an image of the latter and destined for union with God. Jesus Christ is the realisation of our possession of God's image;604 but this [pg 284] thought, if no further developed, may be still united with the Logos doctrine in such a way that it does not interfere with it, but serves to confirm it. The case becomes different when it is not only shown that the Logos was always at work in the human race, but that humanity was gradually more and more accustomed by him (in the patriarchs and prophets) to communion with God,605 till at last the perfect man appeared in Christ. For in this view it might appear as if the really essential element in Jesus Christ were not the Logos, who has become the new Adam, but the new Adam, who possesses the Logos. That Irenæus, in explaining the life of Jesus as that of Adam according to the recapitulation theory, here and there expresses himself as if he were speaking of the perfect man, is undeniable: If the acts of Christ are really to be what they seem, the man concerned in them must be placed in the foreground. But how little Irenæus thought of simply identifying the Logos with the perfect man is shown by the passage in III. 19. 3 where he writes: "'ωσπερ γαρ ην ανθρωπος 'ινα πειρασθη, 'ουτω και λογος 'ινα δοξασθη. ησυχαζοντος μεν του λογου εν τω πειραζεσθαι και σταυρουσθαι και αποθνησκειν συγγινομενου δε τω ανθρωπω εν τω νικαν και 'υπομενειν και χρηστευεσθαι και ανιστασθαι και αναλαμβανεσθαι" ("For as he was man that he might be tempted, so also he was the Logos that he might be glorified. The Logos remained quiescent during the process of temptation, crucifixion and death, but aided the human nature when it conquered, and endured, and performed deeds of kindness, and rose again from the dead, and was received up into heaven"). From these words it is plain that Irenæus preferred to assume that the divine and human natures existed side by side, and consequently to split up the perfect unity, rather than teach a mere ideal manhood which would be at the same time a divine manhood. The "discrete agere" of the two natures proves that to Irenæus the perfect manhood of the incarnate Logos was merely an incidental quality he possessed. In reality the Logos is the perfect man [pg 285] in so far as his incarnation creates the perfect man and renders him possible, or the Logos always exists behind Christ the perfect man. But nevertheless this very way of viewing the humanity in Christ already compelled Irenæus to limit the "deus crucifixus" and to lay the foundation for Tertullian's formulæ. With regard to the second point we may remark that there were not a few passages in both Testaments where Christ appeared as the man chosen by God and anointed with the Spirit. These as well as the corresponding language of the Church were the greatest difficulties in the way of the Logos Christology. Of what importance is an anointing with the Spirit to him who is God? What is the meaning of Christ being born by the power of the Holy Ghost? Is this formula compatible with the other, that he as the Logos himself assumed flesh from the Virgin etc.? Irenæus no doubt felt these difficulties. He avoided them (III. 9. 3) by referring the bestowal of the Spirit at baptism merely to the man Jesus, and thus gave his own approval to that separation which appeared to him so reprehensible in the Gnostics.606 This separation indeed rescued to future ages the minimum of humanity that was to be retained in the person of Christ, but at the same time it laid the foundation of those differentiating speculations, which in succeeding times became the chief art and subject of dispute among theologians. The fact is that one cannot think in realistic fashion of the "deus homo factus" without thinking oneself out of it. It is exceedingly instructive [pg 286] to find that, in some passages, even a man like Irenæus was obliged to advance from the creed of the one God-man to the assumption of two independent existences in Christ, an assumption which in the earlier period has only "Gnostic" testimony in its favour. Before Irenæus' day, in fact, none but these earliest theologians taught that Jesus Christ had two natures, and ascribed to them particular actions and experiences. The Gnostic distinction of the Jesus patibilis ("capable of suffering") and the Christ απαθης ("impassible") is essentially identical with the view set forth by Tertullian adv. Prax., and this proves that the doctrine of the two natures is simply nothing else than the Gnostic, i.e., scientific, adaptation of the formula: "filius dei filius hominis factus." No doubt the old early-Christian interest still makes itself felt in the assertion of the one person. Accordingly we can have no historical understanding of Tertullian's Christology or even of that of Irenæus without taking into account, as has not yet been done, the Gnostic distinction of Jesus and Christ, as well as those old traditional formulæ: "deus passus, deus crucifixus est" ("God suffered, God was crucified").607

But beyond doubt the prevailing conception of Christ in [pg 287] Irenæus is the idea that there was the most complete unity between his divine and human natures; for it is the necessary consequence of his doctrine of redemption, that "Jesus Christus factus est, quod sumus nos, uti nos perficeret esse quod et ipse"608 [pg 288] ("Jesus Christ became what we are in order that we might become what he himself is"). But, in accordance with the recapitulation theory, Irenæus developed the "factus est quod sumus nos" in such a way that the individual portions of the life of Christ, as corresponding to what we ought to have done but did not do, receive the value of saving acts culminating in the death on the cross. Thus he not only regards Jesus Christ as "salvation and saviour and saving" ("salus et salvator et salutare"),609 but he also views his whole life as a work of salvation. All that has taken place between the conception and the ascension is an inner necessity in this work of salvation. This is a highly significant advance beyond the conception of the Apologists. Whilst in their case the history of Jesus seems to derive its importance almost solely from the fulfilment of prophecy, it acquires in Irenæus an independent and fundamental significance. Here also we recognise the influence of "Gnosis," nay, in many places he uses the same expressions as the Gnostics, when he sees salvation accomplished, on the one hand, in the mere appearance of Jesus Christ as the second Adam, and on the other, in the simple acknowledgment of this appearance.610 But he is distinguished from them by the fact that he decidedly emphasises the personal acts of Jesus, and that he applies the benefits of Christ's work not to the "pneumatic" ipso facto, but in principle to all men, though practically only to those who listen to the Saviour's words and adorn themselves with works of righteousness.611 Irenæus presented this work of Christ from various points of view. He regards it as [pg 289] the realisation of man's original destiny, that is, being in communion with God, contemplating God, being imperishable like God; he moreover views it as the abolition of the consequences of Adam's disobedience, and therefore as the redemption of men from death and the dominion of the devil; and finally he looks upon it as reconciliation with God. In all these conceptions Irenæus fell back upon the person of Christ. Here, at the same time, he is everywhere determined by the content of Biblical passages; in fact it is just the New Testament that leads him to these considerations, as was first the case with the Valentinians before him. How uncertain he still is as to their ecclesiastical importance is shown by the fact that he has no hesitation in reckoning the question, as to why the Word of God became flesh and suffered, among the articles that are a matter of consideration for science, but not for the simple faith (I. 10. 3). Here, therefore, he still maintains the archaic standpoint according to which it is sufficient to adhere to the baptismal confession and wait for the second coming of Christ along with the resurrection of the body. On the other hand, Irenæus did not merely confine himself to describing the fact of redemption, its content and its consequences; but he also attempted to explain the peculiar nature of this redemption from the essence of God and the incapacity of man, thus solving the question "cur deus homo" in the highest sense.612 Finally, he adopted from Paul the thought that Christ's real work of salvation consists in his death on the cross; and so he tried to amalgamate the two propositions, "filius dei filius hominis factus est propter nos" ("the Son of God became Son of man for us") and "filius dei passus est propter nos" ("the Son of God suffered for us") as the most vital ones. He did not, however, clearly show which [pg 290] of these doctrines is the more important. Here the speculation of Irenæus is already involved in the same ambiguity as was destined to be the permanent characteristic of Church speculation as to Christ's work in succeeding times. For on the one hand, Paul led one to lay all the emphasis on the death on the cross, and on the other, the logical result of dogmatic thinking only pointed to the appearance of God in the flesh, but not to a particular work of Christ that had not been already involved in the appearance of the Divine Teacher himself. Still, Irenæus contrived to reconcile the discrepancy better than his successors, because, being in earnest with his idea of Christ as the second Adam, he was able to contemplate the whole life of Jesus as redemption in so far as he conceived it as a recapitulation. We see this at once not only from his conception of the virgin birth as a fact of salvation, but also from his way of describing redemption as deliverance from the devil. For, as the birth of Christ from the Virgin Mary is the recapitulating counterpart of Adam's birth from the virgin earth, and as the obedience of the mother of Jesus is the counterpart of Eve's disobedience, so the story of Jesus' temptation is to him the recapitulating counterpart of the story of Adam's temptation. In the way that Jesus overcame the temptation by the devil (Matt. IV.) Irenæus already sees the redemption of mankind from Satan; even then Jesus bound the strong one. But, whereas the devil seized upon man unlawfully and deceitfully, no injustice, untruthfulness, or violence is displayed in the means by which Jesus resisted Satan's temptation.613 As yet Irenæus is quite as free from the thought that the devil has real rights upon man, as he is from the immoral idea that God accomplished his work of redemption by an act of deceit. But, on the strength of Pauline passages, many of his teachings rather view redemption from the devil as accomplished by the death of Christ, and accordingly represent this death as a ransom paid to the "apostasy" for men who had fallen into captivity. He did not, however, develop this thought any further.614

[pg 291]

His idea of the reconciliation of God is just as rudimentary, and merely suggested by Biblical passages. He sometimes saw the means of reconciliation solely in obedience and in the "righteous flesh" as such, at other times in the "wood." Here also the recapitulation theory again appears: through disobedience at the tree Adam became a debtor to God, and through obedience at the tree God is reconciled.615 But teachings as to vicarious suffering on the part of Christ are not found in Irenæus, [pg 292] and his death is seldom presented from the point of view of a sacrifice offered to God.616 According to this author the reconciliation virtually consists in Christ's restoring man to communion and friendship with God and procuring forgiveness of sins; he very seldom speaks of God being offended through Adam's sin (V. 16. 3). But the incidental mention of the forgiveness of sins resulting from the redemption by Christ has not the meaning of an abolition of sin. He connects the redemption with this only in the form of Biblical and rhetorical phrases; for the vital point with him is the abolition of the consequences of sin, and particularly of the sentence of death.617 Here we have the transition to the conception of Christ's work which makes this appear more as a completion than as a restoration. In this connection Irenæus employed the following categories: restoring of the likeness of God in humanity; abolition of death; connection and union of man with God; adoption of men as sons of God and as gods; imparting of the Spirit who now becomes accustomed to abide with men;618 imparting of a knowledge of God culminating in beholding him; bestowal of everlasting life. All these are only the different aspects of one and the same blessing, which, being of a divine order, could only be brought to us and implanted in our nature by God himself. But inasmuch as this view represents Christ not as performing a reconciling but a perfecting work, his acts are [pg 293] thrust more into the background; his work is contained in his constitution as the God-man. Hence this work has a universal significance for all men, not only as regards the present, but as regards the past from Adam downwards, in so far as they "according to their virtue in their generation have not only feared but also loved God, and have behaved justly and piously towards their neighbours, and have longed to see Christ and to hear his voice."619 Those redeemed by Jesus are immediately joined by him into a unity, into the true humanity, the Church, whose head he himself is.620 This Church is the communion of the Sons of God, who have attained to a contemplation of him and have been gifted with everlasting life. In this the work of Christ the God-man is fulfilled.

In Tertullian and Hippolytus, as the result of New Testament exegesis, we again find the same aspects of Christ's work as in Irenæus, only with them the mystical form of redemption recedes into the background.621

[pg 294]

Nevertheless the eschatology as set forth by Irenæus in the fifth Book by no means corresponds to this conception of the work of Christ as a restoring and completing one; it rather appears as a remnant of antiquity directly opposed to the [pg 295] speculative interpretation of redemption, but protected by the regula fidei, the New Testament, especially Revelation, and the material hopes of the great majority of Christians. But it would be a great mistake to assume that Irenæus merely repeated the hopes of an earthly kingdom just because he still found them in tradition, and because they were completely rejected by the Gnostics and guaranteed by the regula and the New Testament.622 [pg 296] The truth rather is that he as well as Melito, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Lactantius, Commodian, and Victorinus lived in these hopes no less than did Papias, the Asia Minor Presbyters and Justin.623 But this is the clearest proof that all these theologians were but half-hearted in their theology, which was forced upon them, in defence of the traditional faith, by the historical situation in which they found themselves. The Christ, who will shortly come to overcome Antichrist, overthrow the Roman empire, establish in Jerusalem a kingdom of glory, and feed believers with the fat of a miraculously fruitful earth, is in fact a quite different being from the Christ who, as the incarnate [pg 297] God, has already virtually accomplished his work of imparting perfect knowledge and filling mankind with divine life and incorruptibility. The fact that the old Catholic Fathers have both Christs shows more clearly than any other the middle position that they occupy between the acutely hellenised Christianity of the theologians, i.e., the Gnostics, and the old tradition of the Church. We have indeed seen that the twofold conception of Christ and his work dates back to the time of the Apostles, for there is a vast difference between the Christ of Paul and the Christ of the supposedly inspired Jewish Apocalypses; and also that the agency in producing this conjunction may be traced back to the oldest time; but the union of a precise Christological Gnosis, such as we find in Irenæus and Tertullian, with the retention in their integrity of the imaginative series of thoughts about Antichrist, Christ as the warrior hero, the double resurrection, and the kingdom of glory in Jerusalem, is really a historical novelty. There is, however, no doubt that the strength of the old Catholic theology in opposition to the Gnostics lies in the accomplishment of this union, which, on the basis of the New Testament, appeared to the Fathers possible and necessary. For it is not systematic consistency that secures the future of a religious conception within a church, but its elasticity, and its richness in dissimilar trains of thought. But no doubt this must be accompanied by a firm foundation, and this too the old Catholic Fathers possessed—the church system itself.

As regards the details of the eschatological hopes, they were fully set forth by Irenæus himself in Book V. Apart from the belief that the returning Nero would be the Antichrist, an idea spread in the West during the third century by the Sibylline verses and proved from Revelation, the later teachers who preached chiliastic hopes did not seriously differ from the Gallic bishop; hence the interpretation of Revelation is in its main features the same. It is enough therefore to refer to the fifth Book of Irenæus.624 There is no need to show in detail that [pg 298] chiliasm leads to a peculiar view of history, which is as much opposed to that resulting from the Gnostic theory of redemption, as this doctrine itself forbids the hope of a bliss to be realised in an earthly kingdom of glory. This is not the proper place to demonstrate to what extent the two have been blended, [pg 299] and how the chiliastic scheme of history has been emptied of its content and utilised in the service of theological apologetics.

But the Gnostics were not the only opponents of chiliasm. Justin, even in his time, knew orthodox Christians who refused to believe in an earthly kingdom of Christ in Jerusalem, and Irenæus (V. 33 ff.), Tertullian, and Hippolytus625 expressly argued against these. Soon after the middle of the second century, we hear of an ecclesiastical party in Asia Minor, which not only repudiated chiliasm, but also rejected the Revelation of John as an untrustworthy book, and subjected it to sharp criticism. These were the so-called Alogi.626 But in the second century such Christians were still in the minority in the Church. It was only in the course of the third century that chiliasm was almost completely ousted in the East. This was the result of the Montanistic controversy and the Alexandrian theology. In the West, however, it was only threatened. In this Church the first literary opponent of chiliasm and of the Apocalypse appears to have been the Roman Presbyter Caius. But his polemic did not prevail. On the other hand the learned bishops of the East in the third century used their utmost efforts to combat and extirpate chiliasm. The information given to us by Eusebius (H. E. VII. 24), from the letters of Dionysius of Alexandria, about that father's struggles with whole communities in Egypt, who would not give up chiliasm, is of the highest interest. This account shews that wherever philosophical theology had not yet made its way the chiliastic hopes were not only cherished and defended against being explained away, but were emphatically regarded as Christianity itself.627 Cultured [pg 300] theologians were able to achieve the union of chiliasm and religious philosophy; but the "simplices et idiotæ" could only understand the former. As the chiliastic hopes were gradually obliged to recede in exactly the same proportion as philosophic theology became naturalised, so also their subsidence denotes the progressive tutelage of the laity. The religion they understood was taken from them, and they received in return a faith they could not understand; in other words, the old faith and the old hopes decayed of themselves and the authority of a mysterious faith took their place. In this sense the extirpation or decay of chiliasm is perhaps the most momentous fact in the history of Christianity in the East. With chiliasm men also lost the living faith in the nearly impending return of Christ, and the consciousness that the prophetic spirit with its gifts is a real possession of Christendom. Such of the old hopes as remained were at most particoloured harmless fancies which, when allowed by theology, were permitted to be added to dogmatics. In the West, on the contrary, the millennial hopes retained their vigour during the whole third century; we know of no bishop there who would have opposed chiliasm. With this, however, was preserved a portion of the earliest Christianity which was to exercise its effects far beyond the time of Augustine.

Finally, we have still to treat of the altered conceptions regarding the Old Testament which the creation of the New produced among the early-Catholic Fathers. In the case of Barnabas and the Apologists we became acquainted with a theory of the Old Testament which represented it as the Christian [pg 301] book of revelation and accordingly subjected it throughout to an allegorical process. Here nothing specifically new could be pointed out as having been brought by Christ. Sharply opposed to this conception was that of Marcion, according to which the whole Old Testament was regarded as the proclamation of a Jewish God hostile to the God of redemption. The views of the majority of the Gnostics occupied a middle position between the two notions. These distinguished different components of the Old Testament, some of which they traced to the supreme God himself and others to intermediate and malevolent beings. In this way they both established a connection between the Old Testament, and the Christian revelation and contrived to show that the latter contained a specific novelty. This historico-critical conception, such as we specially see it in the epistle of Ptolemy to Flora, could not be accepted by the Church because it abolished strict monotheism and endangered the proof from prophecy. No doubt, however, we already find in Justin and others the beginning of a compromise, in so far as a distinction was made between the moral law of nature contained in the Old Testament—the Decalogue—and the ceremonial law; and in so far as the literal interpretation of the latter, for which a pedagogic significance was claimed, was allowed in addition to its typical or Christian sense. With this theory it was possible, on the one hand, to do some sort of justice to the historical position of the Jewish people, and on the other, though indeed in a meagre fashion, to give expression to the novelty of Christianity. The latter now appears as the new law or the law of freedom, in so far as the moral law of nature had been restored in its full purity without the burden of ceremonies, and a particular historical relation to God was allowed to the Jewish nation, though indeed more a wrathful than a covenant one. For the ceremonial regulations were conceived partly as tokens of the judgment on Israel, partly as concessions to the stiffneckedness of the people in order to protect them from the worst evil, polytheism.

Now the struggle with the Gnostics and Marcion, and the creation of a New Testament had necessarily a double consequence. On the one hand, the proposition that the "Father of [pg 302] Jesus Christ is the creator of the world and the God of the Old Testament" required the strictest adherence to the unity of the two Testaments, so that the traditional apologetic view of the older book had to undergo the most rigid development; on the other hand, as soon as the New Testament was created, it was impossible to avoid seeing that this book was superior to the earlier one, and thus the theory of the novelty of the Christian doctrine worked out by the Gnostics and Marcion had in some way or other to be set forth and demonstrated. We now see the old Catholic Fathers engaged in the solution of this twofold problem; and their method of accomplishing it has continued to be the prevailing one in all Churches up to the present time, in so far as the ecclesiastical and dogmatic practice still continues to exhibit the inconsistencies of treating the Old Testament as a Christian book in the strict sense of the word and yet elevating the New above it, of giving a typical interpretation to the ceremonial law and yet acknowledging that the Jewish people had a covenant with God.

With regard to the first point, viz., the maintenance of the unity of the two Testaments, Irenæus and Tertullian gave a most detailed demonstration of it in opposition to Marcion,628 and primarily indeed with the same means as the older teachers had already used. It is Christ that prophesied and appeared in the Old Testament; he is the householder who produced both Old and New Testaments.629 Moreover, as the two have the same origin, their meaning is also the same. Like Barnabas the early Catholic Fathers contrived to give all passages in the Old Testament a typical Christian sense: it is the same truth which we can learn from the prophets and again from Christ and the Apostles. With regard to the Old Testament the watchword is: "Seek the type" ("Typum quæras").630 But they went [pg 303] a step further still. In opposition to Marcion's antitheses and his demonstration that the God of the Old Testament is a petty being and has enjoined petty, external observances, they seek to show in syntheses that the same may be said of the New. (See Irenæus IV. 21-36). The effort of the older teachers to exclude everything outward and ceremonial is no longer met with to the same extent in Irenæus and Tertullian, at least when they are arguing and defending their position against the Gnostics. This has to be explained by two causes. In the first place Judaism (and Jewish Christianity) was at bottom no longer an enemy to be feared; they therefore ceased to make such efforts to avoid the "Jewish" conception of the Old Testament. Irenæus, for example, emphasised in the most naïve manner the observance of the Old Testament law by the early Apostles and also by Paul. This is to him a complete proof that they did not separate the Old Testament God from the Christian Deity.631 In connection with this we observe that the radical antijudaism of the earliest period more and more ceases. Irenæus and Tertullian admitted that the Jewish nation had a covenant with God and that the literal interpretation of the Old Testament was justifiable. Both repeatedly testified that the Jews had the right doctrine and that they only lacked the knowledge of the Son. These thoughts indeed do not attain clear expression with them because their works contain no systematic discussions involving these principles. In the second place the Church itself had become an institution where sacred ceremonial injunctions were necessary; and, in order to find a basis for these, they had to fall back on Old Testament commandments (see Vol. I., chap. 6, p. 291 ff.). In Tertullian we find this only in its most rudimentary form;632 but in [pg 304] the course of the third century these needs grew mightily633 and were satisfied. In this way the Old Testament threatened to become an authentic book of revelation to the Church, and that in a quite different and much more dangerous sense than was formerly the case with the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists.

With reference to the second point, we may remark that just when the decay of antijudaism, the polemic against Marcion, and the new needs of the ecclesiastical system threatened the Church with an estimate of the Old Testament hitherto unheard of, the latter was nevertheless thrust back by the creation and authority of the New Testament, and this consequently revived the uncertain position in which the sacred book was henceforth to remain. Here also, as in every other case, the development in the Church ends with the complexus oppositorum, which nowhere allows all the conclusions to be drawn, but offers the great advantage of removing every perplexity up to a certain point. The early-Catholic Fathers adopted from Justin the distinction between the Decalogue, as the moral law of nature, and the ceremonial law; whilst the oldest theologians (the Gnostics) and the New Testament suggested to them the thought of the (relative) novelty of Christianity and therefore also of the New Testament. Like Marcion they acknowledged the literal sense of the ceremonial law and God's covenant with the Jews; and they sought to sum up and harmonise all these features in the thought of an economy of salvation and of a history of salvation. This economy and history of salvation which contained the conception of a divine accommodation and pedagogy, and which accordingly distinguished between constituent parts of different degrees of value (in the Old Testament also), is the great result presented in the main work of Irenæus and accepted by Tertullian. It is to exist beside the proof from prophecy without modifying it;634 and thus appears as something intermediate [pg 305] between the Valentinian conception that destroyed the unity of origin of the Old Testament and the old idea which neither acknowledged various constituents in the book nor recognised the peculiarities of Christianity. We are therefore justified in regarding this history of salvation approved by the Church, as well as the theological propositions of Irenæus and Tertullian generally, as a Gnosis "toned down" and reconciled with Monotheism. This is shown too in the faint gleam of a historical view that still shines forth from this "history of salvation" as a remnant of that bright light which may be recognised in the Gnostic conception of the Old Testament.635 Still, it is a striking advance that Irenæus has made beyond Justin and especially beyond Barnabas. No doubt it is mythological history that appears in this history of salvation and the recapitulating story of Jesus with its saving facts that is associated with it; and it is a view that is not even logically worked out, but ever and anon crossed by the proof from prophecy; yet for all that it is development and history.

The fundamental features of Irenæus' conception are as follow: The Mosaic law and the New Testament dispensation of grace both emanated from one and the same God, and were granted for the salvation of the human race in a form appropriate to the times.636 The two are in part different; but the difference must be conceived as due to causes637 that do not affect the unity of the author and of the main points.638 We must make the nature of God and the nature of man our point of departure. God is always the same, man is ever advancing towards God; God is always the giver, man always the receiver;639 [pg 306] God leads us ever to the highest goal; man, however, is not God from the beginning, but is destined to incorruptibility, which he is to attain step by step, advancing from the childhood stage to perfection (see above, p. 267 f.). This progress, conditioned by the nature and destination of man, is, however, dependent on the revelation of God by his Son, culminating in the incarnation of the latter and closing with the subsequent bestowal of the Spirit on the human race. In Irenæus therefore the place of the many different revelation-hypostases of the Valentinians is occupied by the one God, who stoops to the level of developing humanity, accommodates himself to it, guides it, and bestows on it increasing revelations of grace.640 The fundamental knowledge of God and the moral law of nature, i.e., natural morality, were already revealed to man and placed in his heart641 by the creator. He who preserves these, as for example the patriarchs did, is justified. (In this case Irenæus leaves Adam's sin entirely out of sight). But it was God's will to bring men into a higher union with himself; wherefore his Son descended to men from the beginning and accustomed himself to dwell among them. The patriarchs loved God and refrained from injustice towards their neighbours; hence it was not necessary that they should be exhorted with the strict letter of the law, since they had the righteousness of the law in themselves.642 But, as far as the great majority of men are concerned, they wandered away from God and fell into the sorriest condition. From this moment Irenæus, keeping strictly to the Old Testament, only concerns himself with the Jewish people. These [pg 307] are to him the representatives of humanity. It is only at this period that the training of the human race is given to them; but it is really the Jewish nation that he keeps in view, and through this he differs very decidedly from such as Barnabas.643 When righteousness and love to God died out in Egypt, God led his people forth so that man might again become a disciple and imitator of God. He gave him the written law (the Decalogue), which contains nothing else than the moral law of nature that had fallen into oblivion.644 But when they made to themselves a golden calf and chose to be slaves rather than free men, then the Word, through the instrumentality of Moses, gave to them, as a particular addition, the commandments of slavery (the ceremonial law) in a form suitable for their training. These were bodily commandments of bondage which did not separate them from God, but held them in the yoke. The ceremonial law was thus a pedagogic means of preserving the people from idolatry; but it was at the same time a type of the future. Each constituent of the ceremonial law has this double signification, and both of these meanings originate with God, i.e., with Christ; for "how is Christ the end of the law, if he be not the beginning of it?" ("quomodo finis legis Christus, si non et initium eius esset") IV. 12. 4. Everything in the law is therefore holy, and moreover we are only entitled to blame such portions of the history of the Jewish nation as Holy Scripture itself condemns. This nation was obliged to circumcise itself, keep Sabbaths, offer up sacrifices, and do whatever is related of it, so far as its action is not censured. All this belonged to the state of bondage in which men had a covenant with God and in which they also possessed [pg 308] the right faith in the one God and were taught before hand to follow his Son (IV. 12, 5; "lex prædocuit hominem sequi oportere Christum"). In addition to this, Christ continually manifested himself to the people in the prophets, through whom also he indicated the future and prepared men for his appearance. In the prophets the Son of God accustomed men to be instruments of the Spirit of God and to have fellowship with the Father in them; and in them he habituated himself to enter bodily into humanity.645 Hereupon began the last stage, in which men, being now sufficiently trained, were to receive the "testamentum libertatis" and be adopted as Sons of God. By the union of the Son of God with the flesh the agnitio filii first became possible to all; that is the fundamental novelty. The next problem was to restore the law of freedom. Here a threefold process was necessary. In the first place the Law of Moses, the Decalogue, had been disfigured and blunted by the "traditio seniorum". First of all then the pure moral law had to be restored; secondly, it was now necessary to extend and fulfil it by expressly searching out the inclinations of the heart in all cases, thus unveiling the law in its whole severity; and lastly the particularia legis, i.e., the law of bondage, had to be abolished. But in the latter [pg 309] connection Christ and the Apostles themselves avoided every transgression of the ceremonial law, in order to prove that this also had a divine origin. The non-observance of this law was first permitted to the Gentile Christians. Thus, no doubt, Christ himself is the end of the law, but only in so far as he has abolished the law of bondage and restored the moral law in its whole purity and severity, and given us himself.

The question as to the difference between the New Testament and the Old is therefore answered by Irenæus in the following manner. It consists (1) in the agnitio filii and consequent transformation of the slaves into children of God; and (2) in the restoration of the law, which is a law of freedom just because it excludes bodily commandments, and with stricter interpretation lays the whole stress on the inclinations of the heart.646 But in [pg 310] these two respects he finds a real addition, and hence, in his opinion, the Apostles stand higher than the prophets. He proves this higher position of the Apostles by a surprising interpretation of 1 Cor. XII. 28, conceiving the prophets named in that passage to be those of the Old Testament.647 He therefore views the two Testaments as of the same nature, but "greater is the legislation which confers liberty than that which brings bondage" ("maior est legisdatio quæ in libertatem, quam quæ data est in servitutem"). Through the two covenants the accomplishment of salvation was to be hastened "for there is one salvation and one God; but the precepts that form man are numerous, and the steps that lead man to God are not a few;" ("una est enim salus et unus deus; quæ autem formant hominem, præcepta multa et non pauci gradus, qui adducunt hominem ad deum"). A worldly king can increase his benefits to his subjects; and should it not also be lawful for God, though he is always the same, to honour continually with greater gifts those who are well pleasing to him? (IV. 9. 3). Irenæus makes no direct statement as to the further importance which the Jewish people have, and in any case regards them as of no consequence after the appearance of the covenant of freedom. Nor does this nation appear any further even in the chiliastic train of thought. It furnishes the Antichrist and its holy city becomes the capital of Christ's earthly kingdom; but the nation itself, which, according to this theory, had represented all mankind from Moses to Christ, just as if all men had been Jews, now entirely disappears.648

This conception, in spite of its want of stringency, made an immense impression, and has continued to prevail down to the present time. It has, however, been modified by a combination [pg 311] with the Augustinian doctrine of sin and grace. It was soon reckoned as Paul's conception, to which in fact it has a distant relationship. Tertullian had already adopted it in its essential features, amplified it in some points, and, in accordance with his Montanist ideas, enriched it by adding a fourth stage (ab initio—Moses—Christ—Paraclete). But this addition was not accepted by the Church.649

[pg 312]

3. Results to ecclesiastical Christianity.

As we have shown, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus had no strictly systematised theology; they formulated theological propositions because their opponents were theologians. Hence the result of their labours, so far as this was accepted by the Western Church of the third century, does not appear in the adoption of a systematic philosophical dogmatic, but in theological fragments, namely, the rule of faith fixed and interpreted in an antignostic sense650. As yet the rule of faith and theology nowhere came into collision in the Western Churches of the third century, because Irenæus and his younger contemporaries did not themselves notice any such discrepancies, but rather imagined all their teachings to be expositions of the faith itself, and did not trouble their heads about inconsistencies. If we [pg 313] wish to form a notion as to what ideas had become universally prevalent in the Church in the middle of the third century let us compare Cyprian's work "Testimonia", written for a layman, with Novatian's work "De Trinitate".

In the "Testimonia" the doctrine of the two Testaments, as developed by Irenæus, forms the framework in which the individual dogmas are set. The doctrine of God, which should have been placed at the beginning, has been left out in this little book probably because the person addressed required no instruction on the point. Some of the dogmas already belong to philosophical theology in the strict sense of the word; in others we have merely a precise assertion of the truth of certain facts. All propositions are, however, supported by passages from the two Testaments and thereby proved.651 The theological counterpart to this is Novatian's work "De Trinitate". This first great Latin work that appeared in Rome is highly important. In regard to completeness, extent of Biblical proofs, and perhaps also its influence on succeeding times, it may in many respects be compared with Origen's work περι αρχων. Otherwise indeed it differs as much from that work, as the sober, meagre theology of the West, devoid of philosophy and speculation, differs in general from that of the East. But it sums up in classic fashion the doctrines of Western orthodoxy, the main features of which were sketched by Tertullian in his antignostic writings and the work against Praxeas. The old Roman symbol forms the basis of the work. In accordance with this the author gives a comprehensive exposition of his doctrine of God in the first eight chapters. Chapters 9-28 form the main portion; they establish the correct Christology in opposition to the heretics who look on Christ as a mere man or as the Father himself; the Holy Scriptures furnish the material for the proofs. Chapter 29 treats of the Holy Spirit. Chapters 30 and 31 contain the recapitulation and conclusion. The whole is based on Tertullian's treatise against Praxeas. No important argument in that work has escaped Novatian; but everything is extended, and made more systematic [pg 314] and polished. No trace of Platonism is to be found in this dogmatic; on the contrary he employs the Stoic and Aristotelian syllogistic and dialectic method used also by his Monarchian opponents. This plan together with its Biblical attitude gives the work great outward completeness and certainty. We cannot help concluding that this work must have made a deep impression wherever it was read, although the real difficulties of the matter are not at all touched upon, but veiled by distinctions and formulæ. It probably contributed not least to make Tertullian's type of Christology the universal Western one. This type, however, as will be set forth in greater detail hereafter, already approximates closely to the resolutions of Nicæa and Chalcedon.652 Novatian adopted Tertullian's formulæ "one substance, three persons" ("una substantia, tres personæ"), "from the substance of God" ("ex substantia dei"), "always with the Father" ("semper apud patrem"), "God and man" ("deus et homo"), "two substances" ("duæ substantiæ"), "one person" ("una persona"), as well as his expressions for the union and separation of the two natures adding to them similar ones and giving them a wider extension.653 Taking his book in all we may see [pg 315] that he thereby created for the West a dogmatic vademecum, which, from its copious and well-selected quotations from Scripture, must have been of extraordinary service.

The most important articles which were now fixed and transferred [pg 316] to the general creed along with the necessary proofs, especially in the West, were: (1) the unity of God, (2) the identity of the supreme God and the creator of the world, that is, the identity of the mediators of creation and redemption, (3) [pg 317] the identity of the supreme God with the God of the Old Testament, and the declaration that the Old Testament is God's book of revelation, (4) the creation of the world out of nothing, (5) the unity of the human race, (6) the origin of evil from freedom, and the inalienable nature of freedom, (7) the two Testaments, (8) Christ as God and Man, the unity of his personality, the truth of his divinity, the actuality of his humanity, the reality of his fate, (9) the redemption and conclusion of a covenant through Christ as the new and crowning manifestation of God's grace to all men, (10) the resurrection of man in soul and body. But the transmission and interpretation of these propositions, by means of which the Gnostic theses were overthrown, necessarily involved the transmission of the Logos doctrine; for the doctrine of the revelation of God and of the two Testaments could not have prevailed without this theory. How this hypothesis gained acceptance in the course of the third century, and how it was the means of establishing and legitimising philosophical theology as part of the faith, will be shown in the seventh chapter. We may remark in conclusion that the religious hope which looked forward to an earthly kingdom of Christ was still the more widely diffused among the Churches of the third century;654 but that the other hope, viz., that of being deified, was gaining adherents more and more. The latter result was due to men's increasing indifference to daily life and growing aspiration after a higher one, a longing that was moreover nourished among the more cultured by the philosophy which was steadily gaining ground. The hope of deification is the expression of the idea that this world and human nature do not correspond to that exalted world which man has built up within his own mind and which he may reasonably demand to be realised, because it is only in it that he can come to himself. The fact that Christian teachers like Theophilus, Irenæus, and Hippolytus expressly declared this to be a legitimate Christian hope and held out a sure prospect of its fulfilment [pg 318] through Christ, must have given the greatest impulse to the spread and adoption of this ecclesiastical Christianity. But, when the Christian religion was represented as the belief in the incarnation of God and as the sure hope of the deification of man, a speculation that had originally never got beyond the fringe of religious knowledge was made the central point of the system and the simple content of the Gospel was obscured.655

Footnote 460: (return)

Authorities: The works of Irenæus (Stieren's and Harvey's editions), Melito (Otto, Corp. Apol. IX.), Tertullian (Oehler's and Reiflerscheid's editions), Hippolytus (Fabricius', Lagarde's, Duncker's and Schneidewin's editions), Cyprian (Hartel's edition), Novatian (Jackson). Biographies of Bohringer, Die Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen, 1873 ff. Werner, Der Paulinismus des Irenäus, 1889. Nöldechen, Tertullian, 1890. Döllinger, "Hippolytus und Kallistus," 1853. Many monographs on Irenæus and Tertullian.

Footnote 461: (return)

The following exposition will show how much Irenæus and the later old Catholic teachers learned from the Gnostics. As a matter of fact the theology of Irenæus remains a riddle so long as we try to explain it merely from the Apologists and only consider its antithetical relations to Gnosis. Little as we can understand modern orthodox theology from a historical point of view—if the comparison be here allowed—without keeping in mind what it has adopted from Schleiermacher and Hegel, we can just as little understand the theology of Irenæus without taking into account the schools of Valentinus and Marcion.

Footnote 462: (return)

That Melito is to be named here follows both from Eusebius, H. E. V. 28. 5, and still more plainly from what we know of the writings of this bishop; see Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur, I. 1, 2, p. 24 ff. The polemic writings of Justin and the Antignostic treatise of that "ancient" quoted by Irenæus (see Patr. App. Opp. ed. Gebhardt etc. I. 2, p. 105 sq.) may in a certain sense be viewed as the precursors of Catholic literature. We have no material for judging of them with certainty. The New Testament was not yet at the disposal of their authors, and consequently there is a gap between them and Irenæus.

Footnote 463: (return)

See Eusebius, H. E. V. 13.

Footnote 464: (return)

Tertullian does indeed say in de præscr. 14: "Ceterum manente forma regulæ fidei in suo ordine quantumlibet quæras, et trades, et omnem libidinem curiositatis effundas, si quid tibi videtur vel ambiguitate pendere vel obscuritate obumbrari"; but the preceding exposition of the regula shows that scarcely any scope remained for the "curiositas," and the one that follows proves that Tertullian did not mean that freedom seriously.

Footnote 465: (return)

The most important point was that the Pauline theology, towards which Gnostics, Marcionites, and Encratites had already taken up a definite attitude, could now no longer be ignored. See Overbeck's Basler Univ.—Programm, 1877. Irenæus immediately shows the influence of Paulinism very clearly.

Footnote 466: (return)

See what Rhodon says about the issue of his conversation with Appelles in Euseb., H. E. V. 13. 7: εγω δε γελασας κατεγνων αυτου, διοτι δεδασκαλος ειναι λεγων ουν ηδει το διδασκομενον 'υπ' αυτου κρατυνειν.

Footnote 467: (return)

On the old "prophets and teachers" see my remarks on the Διδαχη, c. 11 ff., and the section, pp. 93-137, of the prolegomena to my edition of this work. The διδασκαλοι αποστολικοι και προφητικοι (Ep. Smyrn. ap. Euseb., H. E. IV. 15. 39) became lay-teachers who were skilful in the interpretation of the sacred traditions.

Footnote 468: (return)

In the case of Irenæus, as is well known, there was absolutely no consciousness of this, as is well remarked by Eusebius in H. E. V. 7. In support of his own writings, however, Irenæus appealed to no charisms.

Footnote 469: (return)

See the passage already quoted on p. 63, note 1.

Footnote 470: (return)

Irenæus and Tertullian scoffed at the Gnostic terminology in the most bitter way.

Footnote 471: (return)

Tertullian, adv. Prax. 3: "Simplices enim quique, ne dixerim imprudentes et idiotæ, quæ major semper credentium pars est, quoniam et ipsa regula fidei a pluribus diis sæculi ad unicum et verum deum transfert, non intellegentes unicum quidem, sed cum sua οικονομια esse credendum, expavescunt ad οικονομιαν." Similar remarks often occur in Origen. See also Hippol., c. Noet 11.

Footnote 472: (return)

The danger of speculation and of the desire to know everything was impressively emphasised by Irenæus, II. 25-28. As a pronounced ecclesiastical positivist and traditionalist, he seems in these chapters disposed to admit nothing but obedient and acquiescent faith in the words of Holy Scripture, and even to reject speculations like those of Tatian, Orat. 5. Cf. the disquisitions II. 25. 3: "Si autem et aliquis non invenerit causam omnium quæ requiruntur, cogitet, quia homo est in infinitum minor deo et qui ex parte (cf. II. 28.) acceperit gratiam et qui nondum æqualis vel similis sit factori"; II. 26. 1: Αμεινον και συμφορωτερον ιδιωτας και ολιγομαθεις 'υπαρχειν, και δια της αγαπης πλησιον γενεσθαι του Θεου η πολυμαθεις και εμπειρους δοκουντας ειναι, βλασφημους εις τον 'εαυτων 'ευρισκεσθαι δεσποτην, and in addition to this the close of the paragraph, II. 27. 1: Concerning the sphere within which we are to search (the Holy Scriptures and "quæ ante oculos nostros occurrunt", much remains dark to us even in the Holy Scriptures II. 28. 3); II. 28. 1 f. on the canon which is to be observed in all investigations, namely, the confident faith in God the creator, as the supreme and only Deity; II. 28. 2-7: specification of the great problems whose solution is hid from us, viz., the elementary natural phenomena, the relation of the Son to the Father, that is, the manner in which the Son was begotten, the way in which matter was created, the cause of evil. In opposition to the claim to absolute knowledge, i.e., to the complete discovery of all the processes of causation, which Irenæus too alone regards as knowledge, he indeed pointed out the limits of our perception, supporting his statement by Bible passages. But the ground of these limits, "ex parte accepimus gratiam," is not an early-Christian one, and it shows at the same time that the bishop also viewed knowledge as the goal, though indeed he thought it could not be attained on earth.

Footnote 473: (return)

The same observation applies to Tertullian, Cf. his point blank repudiation of philosophy in de præse. 7, and the use he himself nevertheless made of it everywhere.

Footnote 474: (return)

In point of form this standpoint is distinguished from the ordinary Gnostic position by its renunciation of absolute knowledge, and by its corresponding lack of systematic completeness. That, however, is an important distinction in favour of the Catholic Fathers. According to what has been set forth in the text I cannot agree with Zahn's judgment (Marcellus of Ancyra, p. 235 f.): "Irenæus is the first ecclesiastical teacher who has grasped the idea of an independent science of Christianity, of a theology which, in spite of its width and magnitude, is a branch of knowledge distinguished from others; and was also the first to mark out the paths of this science."

Footnote 475: (return)

Tertullian seems even to have had no great appreciation for the degree of systematic exactness displayed in the disquisitions of Irenæus. He did not reproduce these arguments at least, but preferred after considering them to fall back on the proof from prescription.

Footnote 476: (return)

The more closely we study the writings of Tertullian, the more frequently we meet with inconsistencies, and that in his treatment both of dogmatic and moral questions. Such inconsistencies could not but make their appearance, because Tertullian's dogmatising was only incidental. As far as he himself was concerned, h