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THE COMMON FAITH AND THE BEGINNINGS OF KNOWLEDGE
IN GENTILE CHRISTIANITY AS IT WAS BEING
DEVELOPED INTO CATHOLICISM163163The statements made in this chapter need special
forbearance, especially as the selection from the rich and motley material—cf. only
the so-called Apostolic Fathers—the emphasising of this, the throwing into the background
of that element, cannot here be vindicated. It is not possible, in the compass of
a brief account, to give expression to that elasticity and those oscillations of
ideas and thoughts which were peculiar to the Christians of the earliest period.
There was indeed, as will be shewn, a complex of tradition in many respects fixed,
but this complex was still under the dominance of an enthusiastic fancy, so that
what at one moment seemed fixed, in the next had disappeared. Finally, attention
must be given to the fact that when we speak of the beginnings of knowledge, the
members of the Christian community in their totality are no longer in question,
but only individuals who of course were the leaders of the others. If we had no
other writings from the times of the Apostolic Fathers than the first Epistle of
Clement and the Epistle of Polycarp, it would he comparatively easy to sketch a
clear history of the development connecting Paulinism with the Old-Catholic Theology
as represented by Iræneus, and so to justify the traditional ideas. But besides
these two Epistles which are the classic monuments of the mediating tradition, we
have a great number of documents which shew us how manifold and complicated the
development was. They also teach us how carefnl we should be in the interpretation
of the post-Apostolic documents that immediately followed the Pauline Epistles,
and that we must give special heed to the paragraphs and ideas in them, which distinguish
them from Paulinism. Besides, it is of the greatest importance that those two Epistles
originated in Rome and Asia Minor, as these are the places where we must seek the
embryonic stage of old-Catholic doctrine. Numerous fine threads, in the form of
fundamental ideas and particular views, pass over from the Asia Minor theology of
the post-Apostolic period into the old-Catholic theology.
§©1. The Communities and the Church.
THE confessors of the Gospels, belonging to organised communities who recognised the Old Testament as the Divine record of revelation, and prized the Evangelic tradition as a public message for all, to which, in its undiluted form, they wished to adhere truly and sincerely, formed the stem of 151Christendom both as to extent and importance.164164The Epistle to the Hebrews (X. 25), the Epistle of Barnabas (IV. 10), the Shepherd of Hermas (Sim. IX. 26. 3), but especially the Epistle of Ignatius and still later documents, shew that up to the middle of the second century, and even later, there were Christians who, for various reasons, stood outside the union of communities, or wished to have only a loose and temporary relation to them. The exhortation: ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ συνερχόμενοι συνζητεῖτε περὶ τοῦ κοινῇ συμφέροντος (see my note on Didache XVI. 2, and cf. for the expression the interesting State Inscription which was found at Magnesia on the Meander. Bull, Corresp. Hellen. 1883 p. 506: ἀπαγορεύω μήτε συνέρχεσθαι τοὺς ἀρτοκόκους κατ᾽ ἑταιρίαν μήτε παρεστηκότας θρασύνεσθαι. πειθάρχεἰν δε πάντως τοῖς ὑπὲρ τοῦ κοινῇ συμφέροντος ἐπιταττομένοις κ.τ.λ. or the exhortation: κολλᾶσθε τοἶς ἁγίοις, ὅτι οἱ κολλώμενοι αὐτοῖς ἁγιασθήσονται (1 Clem. 46. 2, introduced as γραφὴ) runs through most of the writings of the post-Apostolic and pre-catholic period. New doctrines were imported by wandering Christians who, in many cases, may not themselves have belonged to a community, and did not respect the arrangements of those they found in existence, but sought to form conventicles. If we remember how the Greeks and Romans were wont to get themselves initiated into a mystery cult, and took part for a long time in the religious exercises, and then, when they thought they had got the good of it, for the most part or wholly to give up attending, we shall not wonder that the demand to become a permanent member of a Christian community was opposed by many. The statements of Hermas are specially instructive here. The communities stood to each other in an outwardly loose, but inwardly firm connection, and every community by the vigour of its faith, the certainty of its hope, the holy character of its life, as well as by unfeigned love, unity and peace, was to be an image of the holy Church of God which is in heaven, and whose members are scattered over the earth. They were, further, by the purity of their walk and an active brotherly disposition, to prove to those without, that is to the world, the excellence and truth of the Christian faith.165165“Corpus sumus,” says Tertullian, at a time when this description had already become an anachronism, “de conscientia religionis et disciplinæ unitate et spei foedere.” (Apol. 39: cf. Ep. Petri ad Jacob. I.; εἷς θεὸς, εἷς νόμος, μία ἐλπίς). The description was applicable to the earlier period, when there was no such thing as a federation with political forms, but when the consciousness of belonging to a community and of forming a brotherhood (ἀδελφότης) was all the more deeply felt: See, above all, 1 Clem. and Corinth., the Didache (9-15), Aristides, Apol 15: “and when they have become Christians they call them (the slaves) brethren without hesitation . . . . for they do not call them brethren according to the flesh, but according to the spirit and in God;” cf. also the statements on brotherhood in Tertullian and Minucius Felix (also Lucian). We have in 1 Clem. 1. 2. the delineation of a perfect Christian Church. The Epistles of Ignatius are specially instructive as to the independence of each individual community: 1 Clem. and Didache, as to the obligation to assist stranger communities by counsel and action, and to support the travelling brethren. As every Christian is a πάροικος, so every community is a παροικοῦσα τὴν πόλιν, but it is under obligation to give an example to the world, and must watch that “the name be not blasphemed.” The importance of the social element in the oldest Christian communities, has been very justly brought into prominence in the latest works on the subject (Renan, Heinrici, Hatch). The historian of dogma must also emphasise it, and put the fluid notions of the faith in contrast with the definite consciousness of moral tasks. See 1. Clem. 47-50; Polyc. Ep. 3; Didache 1 ff.; Ignat. ad Eph. 14, on ἀγάπη as the main requirement. Love demands that everyone: “ζητεῖ τὸ κοινωφελὲς πᾶσιν καὶ μὴ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ” (1. Clem. 48. 6. with parallels; Didache 16. 3; Barn. 4. 10; Ignatius). The hope 152that the Lord would speedily appear to gather into his Kingdom the believers who were scattered abroad, punishing the evil and rewarding the good, guided these communities in faith and life. In the recently discovered “Teaching of the Apostles” we are confronted very distinctly with ideas and aspirations of communities that are not influenced by Philosophy.
The Church, that is the totality of all believers destined to be received into the kingdom of God (Didache, 9. 10), is the holy Church, (Hermas) because it is brought together and preserved by the Holy Spirit. It is the one Church, not because it presents this unity outwardly, on earth the members of the Church are rather scattered abroad, but because it will be brought to unity in the kingdom of Christ, because it is ruled by the same spirit and inwardly united in a common relation to a common hope and ideal. The Church, considered in its origin, is the number of those chosen by God,1661661 Clem. 59. 2, in the church prayer; ὅπως τὸν ἀριθμὸν τὸν κατηριθμημένον τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν ὅλῳ κόσμῳ διαφυλάξῃ ἄθραυστον ὁ δημιουργὸς τῶν ἁπάντων διὰ τοῦ ἡγαπημένου παιδὸς αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. the true Israel,167167See 1 Clem., 2 Clem., Ignatius (on the basis of the Pauline view; but see also Rev. II. 9). nay, still more, the final purpose of God, for the world was created for its sake.168168See Hermas (the passage is given above, p. 103, note.) There were in connection with these doctrines in the earliest period, various speculations about the Church: it is a heavenly Æon, is older than the world, was created by God at the beginning of things as a companion of the heavenly Christ;169169See Hermas. Vis. I.-III. Papias. Fragm. VI. and VII. of my edition, 2 Clem. 14: ποηοῦντες τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν ἐσόμεθα ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς πρώτης τῆς πνευματικῆς, τῆς πρὸ ἡλίου καὶ σελήνης ἐκτισμένης . . . . ἐκκλησία ζῶσα σῶμά ἐστι Χριστοῦ· λέγει γάρ ἡ γραφή· ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἄρσεν καί θῆλυ. Τὸ ἄρσεν ἐστὶν ὁ Χριστός, τὸ θῆλυ ἡ ἐκκλησία. its members form the new nation 153which is really the oldest nation,170170See Barn. 13 (2 Clem. 2). it is the λαὸς ὁ τοῦ ἡγαπημένου ὁ φιλούμενος καὶ φιλῶν αὐτνόν,171171See Valentinus in Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 52. “Holy Church”, perhaps also in Marcion, if his text (Zahn. Gesch. des N. T. lichen Kanons, II p. 502) in Gal. IV. 21, read; ἥτις ἐστὶν μήτηρ ἡμῶν, γεννῶσα εἰς ἣν ἐπηγγειλάμεθα ἁγίαν ἐκκλησίαν. the people whom God has prepared “in the Beloved”,172172Barn. 3. 6. etc. The creation of God, the Church, as it is of an antemundane and heavenly nature, will also attain its true existence only in the Æon of the future, the Æon of the Kingdom of Christ. The idea of a heavenly origin, and of a heavenly goal of the Church, was therefore an essential one, various and fluctuating as these speculations were. Accordingly, the exhortations, so far as they have in view the Church, are always dominated by the idea of the contrast of the kingdom of Christ with the kingdom of the world. On the other hand, he who communicated knowledge for the present time, prescribed rules of life, endeavoured to remove conflicts, did not appeal to the peculiar character of the Church. The mere fact, however, that from nearly the beginning of Christendom, there were reflections and speculations not only about God and Christ, but also about the Church, teaches us how profoundly the Christian consciousness was impressed with being a new people, viz., the people of God.173173We are also reminded here of the “tertium genus.” The nickname of the heathen corresponded to the self-consciousness of the Christians, (see Aristides, Apol.). These speculations of the earliest Gentile Christian time about Christ and the Church, as inseparable correlative ideas, are of the greatest importance, for they have absolutely nothing Hellenic in them, but rather have their origin in the Apostolic tradition. But for that very reason the combination very soon, comparatively speaking, be-came obsolete or lost its power to influence. Even the Apologists made no use of it, though Clement of Alexandria and other Greeks held it fast, and the Gnostics by their Æon “Church” brought it into discredit. Augustine was the first to return to it.
The importance attached to morality is shewn in Didache 154cc. 1-6, with parallels.174174See also the letter of Pliny, the paragraphs about Christian morality in the first third-part of Justin’s apology, and especially the apology of Aristides, c. 15. Aristides portrays Christianity by portraying Christian morality. “The Christians know and believe in God, the creator of heaven and of earth, the God by whom all things consist, i.e., in him from whom they have received the commandments which they have written in their hearts, commandments which they observe in faith and in the expectation of the world to come. For this reason they do not commit adultery, nor practise unchastity, nor bear false witness, nor covet that with which they are entrusted, or what does not belong to them, etc.” Compare how in the Apocalypse of Peter definite penalties in hell are portrayed for the several forms of immorality. But this section and the statements so closely related to it in the pseudo-phocylidean poem which is probably of Christian origin, as well as in Sibyl, II. v. 56-148, which is likewise to be regarded as Christian, and in many other Gnomic paragraphs, shews at the same time, that in the memorable expression and summary statement of higher moral commandments, the Christian propaganda had been preceded by the Judaism of the Diaspora, and had entered into its labours. These statements are throughout de-pendent on the Old Testament wisdom, and have the closest relationship with the genuine Greek parts of the Alexandrian Canon, as well as with Philonic exhortations. Consequently, these moral rules, “the two ways,” so aptly compiled and filled with such an elevated spirit, represent the ripest fruit of Jewish as well as of Greek development. The Christian spirit found here a disposition which it could recognise as its own. It was of the utmost importance, however, that this disposition was already expressed in fixed forms suitable for didactic purposes. The young Christianity therewith received a gift of first importance. It was spared a labour in a region, the moral, which experience shews can only be performed in generations, viz., the creation of simple fixed impressive rules, the labour of the Catechist. The sayings of the Sermon on the Mount were not of themselves sufficient here. Those who in the second century attempted to rest in these alone, and turned aside from the Judheo-Greek inheritance, landed in Marcionite or Encratite doctrines.175175An investigation of the Græco-Jewish, Christian literature of gnomes and moral rules, commencing with the Old Testament doctrine of wisdom on the one hand, and the Stoic collections on the other, then passing beyond the Alexandrian and Evangelic gnomes up to the Didache, the Pauline tables of domestic duties, the Sibylline sayings, Phocylides, the Neopythagorean rules, and to the gnomes of the enigmatic Sextus, is still an unfulfilled task. The moral rules of the Pharisaic Rabbis should also be included. We can see, especially 155from the Apologies of Aristides (c. 15), Justin and Tatian (see also Lucian), that the earnest men of the Græco-Roman world were won by the morality and active love of the Christians.
§©2. The Foundations of the Faith.
The foundations of the faith—whose abridged form was, on the one hand, the confession of the one true God, μὸνος ἀληθινὸς,176176Herm. Mand. I. has merely fixed the Monotheistic confession: πρῶτον πάντων πίστευσον, ὅτι εἷς ἐστὶν ὁ θεὸς, ὁ τὰ πάντα κτίσας καὶ καταρτίσας, κ.τ.λ. See Praed. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 48: VI. 5. 39: Aristides gives in c. 2. of his Apology the preaching of Jesus Christ: but where he wishes to give a short expression of Christianity he is satisfied with saying that Christians are those who have found the one true God. See, e. g., c. 15 “Christians have . . . . found the truth .... They know and believe in God, the creator of heaven and of earth, by whom all things consist, and from whom all things come, who has no other god beside him, and from whom they have received commandments which they have written in their hearts, commandments which they observe in faith and in expectation of the world to come.” It is interesting to note how Origen, Comm. in Joh. XXXII 9, has brought the Christological Confession into approximate harmony with that of Hermas First, Mand. I. is verbally repeated and then it is said: χρὴ δὲ καὶ πιστεύειν, ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ πασῃ τῇ τερὶ αὐτοῦ κατὰ τὴν θεοτητα καὶ τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα· ἀληθείᾳ δεὶ δὲ καὶ εἰς τὸ ἅγιον πιστεύειν πνεῦμα, καὶ ὅτι αὐτεξούσιοι ὄντες κολαζόμεθα μὲν ἐφ᾽ οἷς ἁμαρτάνομεν, τιμώμεθα δὲ ἐφ᾽ οἷς εὖ πραττομεν. and of Jesus, the Lord, the Son of God, the Saviour,177177Very instructive here is 2 Clem. ad Corinth. 20. 5: τῷ μόνῳ θεῷ ἀοράτῳ, πατρὶ τῆς ἀληθείας, τῷ ἐξαποστείλαντι ἡμῖν τὸν σωτῆρα καὶ ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ἀφθαρσίας, δι᾽ οὗ καὶ ἐφανέρωσεν ἡμῖν τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ τὴν ἐπουράνιον ζωήν, αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα. On the Holy Spirit see previous note. and also of the Holy Spirit; and on the other hand, the confident hope of Christ’s kingdom and the resurrection—were laid on the Old Testament interpreted in a Christian sense together with the Apocalypses,178178They were quoted as ἡ γραφὴ, τὰ βιβλία, or with the formula ὁ θεὸς (κύριος) λέγει. Also “Law and Prophets,” “Law Prophets and Psalms.” See the original of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions. and the progressively enriched traditions about Jesus Christ. (ἡ παράδοσις— ὁ παραδοθεὶς λόγος— ὁ κανὼν τῆς ἀληθείας or τὴς παραδόσεως—ἡ πίστις— ὁ κανών τῆς πίστεως—156ὁ δοθεῖσα πίστις—τὸ κήρυγμα—τὰ διδὰγματα τοῦ χριστοῦ—ἡ διδαχὴ—τὰ μαθήματα, or τὸ μάθημα).179179See the collection of passages in Patr. App. Opp. edit. Gebhardt. I. 2 p. 133, and the formula, Diogn. 11: ἀποστόλων γένομενος μαθητὴς γὶνομαι διδάσκαλος εθνῶν, τὰ παραδοθέντα ἀξίως ὑπηρετῶν γινομένοις ἀληθείας μαθηταῖς. Besides the Old Testament and the traditions about Jesus (Gospels), the Apocalyptic writings of the Jews, which were regarded as writings of the Spirit, were also drawn upon. Moreover, Christian letters and manifestoes proceeding from Apostles, prophets, or teachers, were read. The Epistles of Paul were early collected and obtained wide circulation in the first half of the second century but they were not Holy Scripture in the specific sense, and therefore their authority was not unqualified. The Old Testament revelations and oracles were regarded as pointing to Christ; the Old Testament itself, the words of God spoken by the Prophets, as the primitive Gospel of salvation, having in view the new people, which is, however, the oldest, and belonging to it alone.180180Barn. 5. 6, οἱ προφηται, ἀπὸ τοῦ κύριου ἐχοντες τὴν χάριν, εἰς αὐτὸν ἑπροφήτευσαν. Ignat. ad Magn. 8. 2: cf. also Clem. Paedag. I. 7. 59: ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς οὗτος παιδαγωγὸς τότε μὲν “φοβηθήση κύριον τὸν θεὸν ἔλεγεν, ἡμῖν δὲ “ὰγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεὸν σου” ταρῄνεσεν. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐντέλλεται ἡμῖν “παύσασθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων ὐμῶν” τῶν ταλαιῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, “μάθετε καλὸν ποιεῖν, ἔκκλινον ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ ποίησον ἀγαθόν, ἡγάπησας δικαιοσύνην, ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν” αὕτη μου ἡ νέα διαθήκη παλαὶῷ κεχαραγμένη γράμματι. The exposition of the Old Testament, which, as a rule, was of course read in the Alexandrian Canon of the Bible, turned it into a Christian book. A historical view of it, which no born Jew could in some measure fail to take, did not come into fashion, and the freedom that was used in interpreting the Old Testament,—so far as there was a method, it was the Alexandrian Jewish—went the length of even correcting the letter and enriching the contents.181181See above §©5, p. 114 f.
The traditions concerning Christ on which the communities were based, were of a twofold character. First, there were words of the Lord, mostly ethical, but also of eschatological content, which were regarded as rules, though their expression was uncertain, ever changing, and only gradually assuming a fixed form. The διδάγματα τοῦ χριστοῦ are often just the moral commandments.182182See my edition of the Didache, Prolegg. p. 32 ff.; Rothe, “De disciplina arcani origine,” 1841. Second, the foundation of the faith, that is, the assurance of the blessing of salvation, was formed by a proclamation of the history of Jesus concisely expressed, and 157composed with reference to prophecy.183183The earliest example is 1. Cor. XI. 1 f. It is different in 1 Tim. III. 16 where already the question is about τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον: See Patr. App. Opp. I. 2. p. 134. The confession of God the Father Almighty, of Christ as the Lord and Son of God, and of the Holy Spirit,184184Father, son, and spirit: Paul; Matt. XXVIII. 19; 1 Clem. ad. Cor. 58. 2, (see 2. 1. f.: 42. 3: 46. 6); Didache 7; Ignat. Eph. 9. 1; Magn. 13. 1. 2.; Philad. inscr.; Mart. Polyc. 14. I. 2; Ascens. Isai. 8. 18: 9. 27: 10. 4: 11. 32 ff.; Justin passim; Montan. ap. Didym. de trinit. 411; Excerpta ex Theodot. 80; Pseudo Clem. de virg. 1. 13. Yet the omission of the Holy Spirit is frequent, as in Paul; or the Holy Spirit is identified with the Spirit of Christ. The latter takes place even with such writers as are familiar with the baptismal formula, Ignat. ad Magn. 15; κεκτημένοι ἀδιάκριτον πνεῦμα, ὅς ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς. was, at a very early period in the communities, united with the short proclamation of the history of Jesus, and at the same time, in certain cases, referred expressly to the revelation of God (the Spirit) through the prophets.185185The formulæ run: “God who has spoken through the Prophets,” or the “Prophetic Spirit,” etc. The confession thus conceived had not everywhere obtained a fixed definite expression in the first century (cc. 50-150). It would rather seem that, in most of the communities, there was no exact formulation beyond a confession of Father, Son and Spirit, accompanied in a free way by the historical proclamation.186186That should be assumed as certain in the case of the Egyptian Church, yet Caspari thinks he can shew that already Clement of Alexandria presupposes a symbol. It is highly probable, however, that a short confession was strictly formulated in the Roman community before the middle of the second century,187187Also in the communities of Asia Minor (Smyrna); for a combination of Polyc. Ep. c. 2 with c. 7, proves that in Smyrna the παραδοθεὶς λόγος must have been something like the Roman Symbol, see Lightfoot on the passage; it cannot be proved that it was identical with it. See, further, how in the case of Polycarp the moral element is joined on to the dogmatic. This reminds us of the Didache and has its parallel even in the first homily of Aphraates. expressing belief in the Father, Son and Spirit, embracing also the most important facts in the history of Jesus, and mentioning the Holy Church, as well as the two great blessings of Christianity, the forgiveness of sin, and the resurrection of the dead (ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν, σαρκὸς188188See Caspari, Quellen z. Gesch. des Taufsymbols, III. p. 3. ff., and Patr. App. Opp. 1. 2. pp. 115-142. The old Roman Symbol reads: Πιστεύω εἰς θεὸν πατέρα παντοκράτορα καὶ εἰς Χριτὸν Ἰησοῦν (τὸν) ὑιὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῇ, (on this word see Westcott’s Excursus in his commentary on 1st John) τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν τὸν γεννηθέντα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου, τὸν ἐπὶ Ποντιον Πιλάτου σταυρωθέντα καὶ ταφέντα; τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστάντα ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἀναβάντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς, καθήμενον ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ πατρός, ὅθεν ἔρχεται κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς· καὶ εἰς πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ἁγίαν ἐκκλισίαν, ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν σαρκὸς ἀνάστασιν, ἀμήν. To estimate this very important article aright we must note the following: (1) It is not a formula of doctrine, but of confession. (2) It has a liturgical form which is shewn in the rhythm and in the disconnected succession of its several members, and is free from everything of the nature polemic. (3) It tapers off into the three blessings, Holy Church, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body, and in this as well as in the fact that there is no mention of γνῶσις (ἀλήθεια) καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνος, is revealed an early Christian untheological attitude. (4) It is worthy of note, on the other hand, that the birth from the Virgin occupies the first place, and all reference to the baptism of Jesus, also to the Davidic Sonship, is wanting. (5) It is further worthy of note, that there is no express mention of the death of Jesus, and that the Ascension already forms a special member (that is also found elsewhere, Ascens. Isaiah, c. 3. 13. ed. Dillmann. p. 13. Murator. Fragment, etc.). Finally, we should consider the want of the earthly Kingdom of Christ and the mission of the twelve Apostles, as well as, on the other hand, the purely religious attitude, no notice being taken of the new law. Zahn (Das Apostol. Symbolum, 1893) assumes, “That in all essential respects the identical baptismal confession which Justin learned in Ephesus about 130, and Marcion confessed in Rome about 145, originated at latest somewhere about 120”. In some “unpretending notes” (p. 37 ff.) he traces this confession back to a baptismal confession of the Pauline period (“it had already assumed a more or less stereotyped form in the earlier Apostolic period”), which, however, was somewhat revised, so far as it contained, for example, “of the house of David”, with reference to Christ. “The original formula, reminding us of the Jewish soil of Christianity, was thus remodelled, perhaps about 70-120, with retention of the fundamental features so that it might appear to answer better to the need of candidates for baptism, proceeding more and more from the Gentiles. . . . This changed formula soon spread on all sides. It lies at the basis of all the later baptismal confessions of the Church, even of the East. The first article was slightly changed in Rome about 200-220”. While up till then, in Rome as everywhere else, it had read πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα θεὸν παντοκράτορα, it was now changed in πιστεύω εἰς θεὸν πετέρα παντοκράτορα. This hypothesis, with regard to the early history of the Roman Symbol, presupposes that the history of the formation of the baptismal confession in the Church, in east and west, was originally a uniform one. This cannot be proved; besides, it is refuted by the facts of the following period. It presupposes secondly, that there was a strictly formulated baptismal confession outside Rome before the middle of the second century, which likewise cannot he proved; (the converse rather is probable, that the fixed formulation proceeded from Rome). Moreover, Zahn himself retracts everything again by the expression “more or less stereotyped form;” for what is of decisive interest here is the question, when and where the fixed sacred form was produced. Zahn here has set up the radical thesis that it can only have taken place in Rome between 200 and 220. But neither his negative nor his positive proof for a change of the Symbol in Rome at so late a period is sufficient. No sure conclusion as to the Symbol can be drawn from the wavering regulæ fidei of Irenæus and Tertullian, which contain the “unum”; further, the “unum” is not found in the western provincial Symbols, which, however, are in part earlier than the year 200. The Romish correction must therefore have been subsequently taken over in the provinces (Africa?). Finally, the formula θεὸν πάτερα παντοκράτορα beside the more frequent θεὸν παντοκράτορα, is attested by Irenæus, I. 10. 1, a decisive passage. With our present means we cannot attain to any direct knowledge of Symbol formation before the Romish Symbol. But the following hypotheses, which I am not able to establish here, appear to me to correspond to the facts of the case and to be fruitful: (1) There were, even in the earliest period, separate Kerygmata about God and Christ: see the Apostolic writings, Hermas, Ignatius, etc. (2) The Kerygma about God was the confession of the one God of creation, the almighty God. (3) The Kerygma about Christ had essentially the same historical contents everywhere, but was expressed in diverse forms: (a) in the form of the fulfilment of prophecy, (b) in the form κατὰ σάκρα, κατὰ πνεῦμα, (c) in the form of the first and second advent, (d) in the form, καταβάς-ἀναβάς; these forms were also partly combined. (4) The designations “Christ”, “Son of God” and “Lord”; further, the birth from the Holy Spirit, or κατὰ πνεῦμα, the sufferings (the practice of exorcism contributed also to the fixing and naturalising of the formula “crucified under Pontius Pilate”), the death, the resurrection, the coming again to judgment, formed the stereotyped content of the Kerygma about Jesus. The mention of the Davidic Sonship, of the Virgin Mary, of the baptism by John, of the third day, of the descent into Hades, of the demonstratio veræ carnis post resurrectionem , of the ascension into heaven and the sending out of the disciples, were additional articles which appeared here and there. The σάκρα λαβών, and the like, were very early developed out of the forms (b) and (d). All this was already in existence at the transition of the first century to the second. (5) The proper contribution of the Roman community consisted in this, that it inserted the Kerygma about God and that about Jesus into the baptismal formula; widened the clause referring to the Holy Spirit, into one embracing Holy Church, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body; excluded theological theories in other respects; undertook a reduction all round, and accurately defined everything up to the last world. (6) The western regulæ fide do not fall back exclusively on the old Roman Symbol, but also on the earlier freer Kerygmata about God and about Jesus which were common to the east and west; not otherwise can the regulæ fide of Irenæus and Tertullian, for example, be explained. But the symbol became more and more the support of the regula. (7) The eastern confessions (baptismal symbols) do not fall back directly on the Roman Symbol, but were probably on the model of this symbol, made up from the provincial Kerygmata, rich in contents and growing ever richer, hardly, however, before the third century. (8) It cannot be proved, and it is not probable, that the Roman Symbol was in existence before Hermas, that is, about 135.). But, however the proclamation might be handed 158down, in a form somehow fixed, or in a free form, the disciples of Jesus, the (twelve) Apostles, were regarded as the authorities who mediated and guaranteed it. To them was traced 159back in the same way everything that was narrated of the history of Jesus, and everything that was inculcated from his sayings.189189See the fragment in Euseb. H. E. III. 39, from the work of Papias. Consequently, it may be said, that beside the Old 160Testament, the chief court of appeal in the communities was formed by an aggregate of words and deeds of the Lord ;—for the history and the suffering of Jesus are his deed: ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὑπέμεινεν παθεῖν, κ.τ.λ.,—fixed in certain fundamental features, though constantly enriched, and traced back to apostolic testimony.190190Διδαχὴ κύριον διὰ τῶν ιβ᾽ ἀποστόλων (Διδ. inscr.) is the most accurate expression (similarly 2. Pet. III. 2). Instead of this might be said simply ὁ κύριος (Hegesipp.). Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E., IV. 22. 3: See also Steph. Gob.) comprehends the ultimate authorities under the formula: ὠς ὁ νομος κηρύσσει καὶ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ κύριος; just as even Pseudo Clem. de Virg. I. 2: “Sicut ex lege ac prophetis et a domino nostro Jesu Christo didicimus.” Polycarp (6. 3) says: καθὼς αὐτὸς ἐνετείλατο καὶ οἱ εὐαγγελισάμενοι ἡμᾶς ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ προφῆται οἱ προκηρύξαντες τὴν ἔλευσιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. In the second Epistle of Clement (14. 2) we read: τὰ βιβλία (O. T.) καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι; τὸ εὐαγγέλιον may also stand for ὁ κύριος (Ignat., Didache. 2 Clem. etc.). The Gospel, so far as it is described, is quoted as τὰ ἀπομνημονεύματα τ. ἀποστόλων (Justin, Tatian), or on the other hand, as αἱ κυριακαὶ γραφαί, (Dionys. Cor. in Euseb. H. E. IV. 23. 12: at a later period in Tertull. and Clem. Alex.). The words of the Lord, in the same way as the words of God, are called simply τά λόγια (κυριακά). The declaration of Serapion at the beginning of the third century (Euseb., H. E. VI. 12. 3): ἡμεῖς καὶ Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀποστόλους ἀποδεχόμεθα ὡς Χριστόν, is an innovation in so far as it puts the words of the Apostles fixed in writing and as distinct from the words of the Lord, on a level with the latter. That is, while differentiating the one from the other, Serapion ascribes to the words of the apostles and those of the Lord equal authority. But the development which led to this position, had already begun in the first century. At a very early period there were read in the communities, beside the Old Testament, Gospels, that is collections of words of the Lord, which at the same time contained the main facts of the history of Jesus. Such notes were a necessity (Luke 1. 4: ἵνα ἐπιγνῶς περιὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν), and though still indefinite and in many ways unlike, they formed the germ for the genesis of the New Testament. (See Weiss. Lehrb. d. Einleit in d. N. T. p. 21 ff.) Further, there were read Epistles and Manifestoes by apostles, prophets and teachers, but, above all, Epistles of Paul. The Gospels at first stood in no connection with these Epistles, however high they might be prized. But there did exist a connection between the Gospels and the ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπταις καὶ ὑπηρέταις τοῦ λόγου, so far as these mediated the tradition of the Evangelic material, and on their testimony rests the Kerygma of the Church about the Lord as the Teacher, the crucified and risen One. Here lies the germ for the genesis of a canon which will comprehend the Lord and the Apostles, and will also draw in the Pauline Epistles. Finally, Apocalypses were read as Holy Scriptures.
The authority which the Apostles in this way enjoyed, did not, in any great measure, rest on the remembrance of direct services which the twelve had rendered to the Gentile Churches: for, as the want of reliable concrete traditions proves, no such services had been rendered, at least not by the twelve. 161
On the contrary, there was a theory operative here regarding the special authority which the twelve enjoyed in the Church at Jerusalem, a theory which was spread by the early missionaries, including Paul, and sprang from the a priori consideration that the tradition about Christ, just because it grew up so quickly,191191Read, apart from all others, the canonical Gospels, the remains of the so-called Apocryphal Gospels, and perhaps the Shepherd of Hermas: see also the statements of Papias. must have been entrusted to eye-witnesses who were commissioned to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world, and who fulfilled that commission. The a priori character of this assumption is shewn by the fact that—with the exception of reminiscences of an activity of Peter and John among the ἔθνη, not sufficiently clear to us192192That Peter was in Antioch follows from Gal. II.; that he laboured in Corinth, perhaps before the composition of the first epistle to the Corinthians, is not so improbable as is usually maintained (1 Cor.; Dionys. of Corinth); that he was at Rome even is very credible. The sojourn of John in Asia Minor cannot, I think, be contested.—the twelve, as a rule, are regarded as a college, to which the mission and the tradition are traced back.193193See how in the three early “writings of Peter” (Gospel, Apocalypse, Kerygma) the twelve are embraced in a perfect unity. Peter is the head and spokesman for them all. That such a theory, based on a dogmatic construction of history, could have at all arisen, proves that either the Gentile Churches never had a living relation to the twelve, or that they had very soon lost it in the rapid disappearance of Jewish Christianity, while they had been referred to the twelve from the beginning. But even in the communities which Paul had founded and for a long time guided, the remembrance of the controversies of the Apostolic age must have been very soon effaced, and the vacuum thus produced filled by a theory which directly traced back the status quo of the Gentile Christian communities to a tradition of the twelve as its foundation. This fact is extremely paradoxical, and is not altogether explained by the assumptions that the Pauline-Judaistic controversy had not made a great impression on the Gentile Christians, that the way in which Paul, while fully recognising the twelve, had insisted on his own independent importance, had long ceased to be really understood, 162and that Peter and John had also really been missionaries to the Gentiles. The guarantee that was needed for the “teaching of the Lord” must finally be given not by Paul, but only by chosen eye-witnesses. The less that was known about them, the easier it was to claim them. The conviction as to the unanimity of the twelve, and as to their activity in founding the Gentile Churches, appeared in these Churches as early as the urgent need of protection against the serious consequences of unfettered religious enthusiasm and unrestrained religious fancy. This urgency cannot be dated too far back. In correspondence therewith, the principle of tradition in the Church (Christ, the twelve Apostles) in the case of those who were intent on the unity and completeness of Christendom, is also very old. But one passed logically from the Apostles to the disciples of the Apostles, “the Elders,” without at first claiming for them any other significance than that of reliable hearers (Apostoli et discentes ipsorum). In coming down to them, one here and there betook oneself again to real historical ground, disciples of Paul, of Peter, of John.194194See Papias and the Reliq. Presbyter. ap. Iren., collecta in Parr. Opp. I. 2, p. 105: see also Zahn, Forschungen. III., p. 156 f. Yet even here legends with a tendency speedily got mixed with facts, and because, in consequence of this theory of tradition, the Apostle Paul must needs fall into the background, his disciples also were more or less forgotten. The attempt which we have in the Pastoral Epistles remained without effect, as regards those to whom these epistles were addressed. Timothy and Titus obtained no authority outside these epistles. But so far as the epistles of Paul were collected, diffused, and read, there was created a complex of writings which at first stood beside the “Teaching of the Lord by the twelve Apostles”, without being connected with it, and only obtained such connection by the creation of the New Testament, that is, by the interpolation of the Acts of the Apostles, between Gospels and Epistles.195195The Gentile-Christian conception of the significance of the twelve—a fact to be specially noted—was all but unanimous (see above Chap. II.): the only one who broke through it was Marcion. The writers of Asia Minor, Rome and Egypt, coincide in this point. Beside the Acts of the Apostles, which is specially instructive see 1 Clem. 42; Barn. 5. 9. 8. 3: Didache inscr.; Hermas. Vis. III. 5, 11; Sim. IX. 15, 16, 17, 25; Petrusev-Petrusapok. Præd. Petr. ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48; Ignat. ad Trall. 3; ad Rom. 4; ad Philad. 5; Papias; Polyc.; Aristides; Justin passim; inferences from the great work of Irenæus, the works of Tertull. and Clem. Alex.; the Valentinians. The inference that follows from the eschatological hope, that the Gospel has already been preached to the world, and the growling need of having a tradition mediated by eye-witnesses co-operated here, and out of the twelve who were in great part obscure, but who had once been authoritative in Jerusalem and Palestine, and highly esteemed in the Christian Diaspora from the beginning, though unknown, created a court of appeal which presented itself as not only taking a second rank after the Lord himself, but as the medium through which alone the words of the Lord became the possession of Christendom, as he neither preached to the nations nor left writings. The importance of the twelve in the main body of the Church may at any rate be measured by the facts, that the personal activity of Jesus was confined to Palestine, that he left behind him neither a confession nor a doctrine, and that in this respect the tradition tolerated no more corrections. Attempts which were made in this direction, the fiction of a semi-Gentile origin of Christ, the denial of the Davidic Sonship, the invention of a correspondence between Jesus and Abgarus, meeting of Jesus with Greeks, and much else, belong only in part to the earliest period, and remained as really inoperative as they were uncertain (according to Clem. Alex., Jesus himself is the Apostle to the Jews; the twelve are the Apostles to the Gentiles in Euseb. H. E. VI. 14). The notion about the helve Apostles evangelising the world in accordance with the commission of Jesus, is consequently to be considered as the means by which the Gentile Christians got rid of the inconvenient fact of the merely local activity of Jesus. (Compare how Justin expresses himself about the Apostles: their going out into all the world is to him one of the main articles predicted in the Old Testament, Apol. 1. 39; compare also the Apology of Aristides, c. 2, and the passage of similar tenor in the Ascension of Isaiah, where the “adventus XII. discipulorum” is regarded as one of the fundamental facts of salvation, c. 3. 13, ed. Dillmann, p. 13, and a passage such as Iren. fragm. XXIX. in Harvey II., p. 494, where the parable about the grain of mustard seed is applied to the λόγος ἀπουράνιος, and the twelve Apostles; the Apostles are the branches ὑφ᾽ ὧν κλάδων σκεπασθέντες οἱ πάντες ὡς ὅρνεα ὑπὸ καλιὰν συνελθόντα μετέλαβον τῆς ἐξ αὐτῶν προερχομένης ἐδωδίμου καὶ ἐπουρανίου τροφῆς Hippol., de Antichr. 61. Orig c. Cels. III. 28.) This means, as it was empty of contents, was very soon to prove the very most convenient instrument for establishing ever new historical connections, and legitimising the status quo in the communities. Finally, the whole catholic idea of tradition was rooted in that statement which was already, at the close of the first century, formulated by Clement of Rome (c. 42): οἱ ἀπόστολοι ἡμῖν εὐηγγελίσθησαν ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, Ἰησοῦς ὁ χριστὸς ἀπρ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξεπόμφθη. ὁ χριστὸς οὖν ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ· ἐγένοντο οὖν ἀμφότερα εὐτάκτῶς ἐκ θελήματος θεοῦ κ.τ.λ. Here, as in all similar statements which elevate the Apostles into the history of revelation, the unanimity of all the Apostles is always presupposed, so that the statement of Clem. Alex. (Strom. VII., 17, 108: μία ἡ πάντων γέγονε τῶν ἀποστόλων ὥσπερ διδασκαλία οὕτως δὲ καὶ ἡ παράδοσις; see Tertull., de præscr. 32: “Apostoli non diversa inter se docuerent,” Iren. alii), contains no innovation, but gives expression to an old idea. That the twelve unitedly proclaimed one and the same message, that they proclaimed it to the world, that they were chosen to this vocation by Christ, that the communities possess the witness of the Apostles as their rule of conduct (Excerp. ex Theod. 25. ὥσπερ ὑπὸ τῶν ζωδίων ἡ γένεσις διοικεῖται, οὕτως ὐπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων ἡ ἀναγέννησις are authoritative theses which can be traced back as far as we have any remains of Gentile-Christian literature. It was thereby presupposed that the unanimous kerygma of the twelve Apostles, which the communities possess as κανὼν τῆς παραδόσεως (1 Clem. 7), was public and accessible to all. Yet the idea does not seem to have been everywhere kept at a distance, that besides the kerygma a still deeper knowledge was transmitted by the Apostles, or by certain Apostles, to particular Christians who were specially gifted. Of course we have no direct evidence of this; but the connection in which certain Gnostic unions stood at the beginning with the communities developing themselves to Catholicism, and inferences from utterances of later writers (Clem. Alex. Tertull.), make it probable that this conception was present in the communities here and there even in the age of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. It may be definitely said that the peculiar idea of tradition (θεός—χριστος—οἱ δώδεκα ἀποστόλοι—ἐκκλησίαι) in the Gentile Churches is very old, but that it was still limited in its significance at the beginning, and was threatened (1) by a wider conception of the idea “Apostle” (besides, the fact is important, that Asia Minor and Rome were the very places where a stricter idea of “Apostle” made its appearance: See my Edition of the Didache, p. 117); (2) by free prophets and teachers moved by the Spirit, who introduced new conceptions and rules, and whose word was regarded as the word of God; (3) by the assumption, not always definitely rejected, that besides the public tradition of the kerygma there was a secret tradition. That Paul, as a rule, was not included in this high estimate of the Apostles is shewn by this fact, among others, that the earlier Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles are much less occupied with his person than with the rest of the Apostles. The features of the old legends which make the Apostles in their deeds, their fate, nay, even in appearance as far as possible equal to the person of Jesus himself, deserve special consideration, (see, for example, the descent of the Apostles into hell in Herm. Sim. IX. 16); for it is just here that the fact above established, that the activity of the Apostles was to make up for the want of the activity of Jesus himself among the nations, stands clearly out. (See Acta Johannis ed. Zahn, p. 246: ὁ ἐκλεξάμενος ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀποστολὴν ἐθνῶν, ὁ ἐκπέμψας ἡμας εἰς τὴν οἰκουμένην θεός, ὁ δειξας ἑαυτὸν διὰ τῶν ἀποςτολῶν, also the remarkable declaration of Origen about the Chronicle [Hadrian], that what holds good of Christ, is in that Chronicle transferred to Peter; finally we may recall to mind the visions in which an Apostolic suddenly appears as Christ.) Between the judgment of value: ἡμεῖς τούς ἀποστόλους ἀποδεχόμεθα ὡς Χριστὸν, and those creations of fancy in which the Apostles appear as gods and demigods, there is certainly a great interval; but it can be proved that there are stages lying between the extreme points. It is therefore permissible to call to mind here the oldest Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, although they may have originated almost completely in Gnostic circles (see also the Pistis Sophia which brings a metaphysical theory to the establishment of the authority of the Apostles, p. 11, 14, see Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. p. 61 ff.). Gnosticism here, as frequently elsewhere, is related to common Christianity, as excess progressing to the invention of a myth with a tendency, to a historical theorem determined by the effort to maintain one’s own position, (cf. the article from the kerygma of Peter in Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48: Ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς δωδεκα μαθηπὰς, κ.τ.λ., the introduction to the basal writing of the first 6 books of the Apostolic Constitutions, and the introduction to the Egyptian ritual, κατὰ κέλευσίν τοῦ κυρίου ὑμῶν, κ.ὼ.λ.). Besides, it must be admitted that the origin of the idea of tradition and its connection with the twelve, is obscure: what is historically reliable here has still to be investigated; even the work of Seufert (Der Urspr. u. d. Bedeutung des Apostolats in der christl. Kirche der ersten zwei Jahrhunderte, 1887) has not cleared up the dark points. We will, perhaps, get more light by following the important hint given by Weizäcker (Apost. Age, p. 13 ff.) that Peter was the first witness of the resurrection, and was called such in the kerygma of the communities (see 1 Cor. XV. 5: Luke XXIV. 34). The twelve Apostles are also further called οἱ περὶ τὸν Πετρὸν (Mrc. fin. in L. Ign. ad Smyrn. 3; cf. Luke VIII. 45; Acts. II. 14; Gal. I. 18 f; 1 Cor. XV. 5), and it is a correct historical reminiscence when Chrysostom says (Hom. in Joh. 88), ὁ Πέτρος ἔκκριτος ἡν τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ πτόμα τῶν μαθητῶν καὶ κορυφή τοῦ σόρου. Now, as Peter was really in personal relation with important Gentile-Christian communities, that which held good of him, the recognized head and spokesman of the twelve, was perhaps transferred to these. One has finally to remember that besides the appeal to the twelve there was in the Gentile Churches an appeal to Peter and Paul (but not for the evangelic kerygma), which has a certain historical justification; cf. Gal. II. 8; 1 Cor. I. 12 f., IX. 5; I Clem. Ign. ad Rom. 4, and the numerous later passages. Paul in claiming equality with Peter, though Peter was the head and mouth of the twelve and had himself been active in mission work, has perhaps contributed most towards spreading the authority of the twelve. It is notable how rarely we find any special appeal to John in the tradition of the main body of the Church. For the middle of the 2nd century, the authority of the twelve Apostles may be expressed in the following statements: (1) They were missionaries for the world; (2) They ruled the Church and established Church Offices; (3) They guaranteed the true doctrine, (a) by the tradition going back to them, (b) by writings; (4) They are the ideals of Christian life; (5) They are also directly mediators of salvation—though this point is uncertain.163
§©3. The Main Articles of Christianity and the Conceptions of Salvation. Eschatology.
1. The main articles of Christianity were (1) belief in God the δεσπότης, and in the Son in virtue of proofs from prophecy, and the teaching of the Lord as attested by the Apostles; (2) discipline according to the standard of the words of the Lord; (3) baptism; 164(4) the common offering of prayer, culminating in the Lord’s Supper and the holy meal; (5) the sure hope of the nearness of Christ’s glorious kingdom. In these appears the unity of Christendom, that is, of the Church which possesses the Holy 165Spirit.196196See Διδαχὴ, c. 1-10, with parallel passages. On the basis of this unity Christian knowledge was free and manifold. It was distinguished as σοφία, σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη, γνῶσις (τῶν δικαιωμάτων), from the λόγος θεοῦ τῆς πίστεως, 166and the κλῆσις τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, and the ἐντολαὶ τῆς διδαχῆς (Barn. 16, 9, similarly Hermas). Perception and knowledge of Divine things was a Charism, possessed only by individuals; but, like all Charisms, it was to be used for the good of the whole. In so far as every actual perception was a perception produced by the Spirit, it was regarded as important and indubitable truth, even though some Christians were unable to understand it. While attention was given to the firm inculcation and observance of the moral precepts of Christ, as well as to the awakening of sure faith in Christ, and while all waverings and differences were excluded in respect of these, there was absolutely no current doctrine of faith in the communities, in the sense of a completed theory; and the theological speculations of even closely related Christian writers of this epoch, exhibit, the greatest differences.197197Cf., for example, the first epistle of Clement to the Corinthians with the Shepherd of Hermas. Both documents originated in Rome. The productions of fancy, the terrible or consoling pictures of the future pass for sacred knowledge, just as much as intelligent and sober reflections, and edifying interpretation of Old Testament sayings. Even that which was afterwards separated as Dogmatic and Ethics was then in no way distinguished.198198Compare how dogmatic and ethical elements are inseparably united in the Shepherd, in first and second Clement, as well as in Polycarp and Justin. The communities gave expression in the cultus, chiefly in the hymns and prayers, to what they possessed in their God and their Christ; here sacred formulæ were fashioned and delivered to the members.199199Note the hymnal parts of the Revelation of John, the great prayer with which the first epistle of Clement closes, the “carmen dicere Christo quasi deo” reported by Pliny, the eucharist prayer in the Διδαχὴ, the hymn 1 Tim. III. 16, the fragments from the prayers which Justin quotes, and compare with these the declaration of the anonymous writer in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 5, that the belief of the earliest Christians in the Deity of Christ might be proved from the old Christian hymns and odes. In the epistles of Ignatius the theology frequently consists of an aimless stringing together of articles manifestly originating in hymns and the cultus. The problem of surrendering the world in the hope of a life beyond was regarded as the practical side of the faith, and the unity in temper and disposition resting on faith in the saving revelation of God in Christ, permitted the highest degree 167of freedom in knowledge, the results of which were absolutely without control as soon as the preacher or the writer was recognised as a true teacher, that is inspired by the Spirit of God.200200The prophet and teacher express what the Spirit of God suggest to them. Their word is therefore God’s word, and their writings, in so far as they apply to the whole of Christendom, are inspired, holy writings. Further, not only does Acts XV. 22 f. exhibit the formula; ἔδοξεν τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀγίῳ καὶ ἡμῖν (see similar passages in the Acts), but the Roman writings also appeal to the Holy Spirit (1 Clem. 63. 2): likewise Barnabas, Ignatius, etc. Even in the controversy about the baptism of heretics a Bishop gave his vote with the formula “secundum motum animi mei et spiritus sancti” (Cypr. Opp. ed. Hartel. I. p. 457). There was also in wide circles a conviction that the Christian faith, after the night of error, included the full knowledge of everything worth knowing, that precisely in its most important articles it is accessible to men of every degree of culture, and that in it, in the now attained truth, is contained one of the most essential blessings of Christianity. When it is said in the Epistle of Barnabas (II. 2. 3); τῆς πίστεως ἡμῶν εἰσὶν βοηθοὶ φόβος καὶ ὑπομονή, τὰ δὲ συμμαχοῦντα ἡμῖν μακροθυμία καὶ ἐγκράτεια· τούτων μενόντων τὰ πρὸς κόριον ἁγνῶς, συνευφραίνονταί αὐτοῖς σοφία, σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη, γνῶσις, knowledge appears in this classic formula to be an essential element in Christianity, conditioned by faith and the practical virtues, and dependent on them. Faith takes the lead, knowledge follows it: but of course in concrete cases it could not always be decided what was λόγος τῆς πίστεως, which implicitly contained the highest knowledge, and what the special γνώσις; for in the last resort the nature of the two was regarded as identical, both being represented as produced by the Spirit of God.
2. The conceptions of Christian salvation, or of redemption, were grouped around two ideas, which were themselves but loosely connected with each other, and of which the one influenced more the temper and the imagination, the other the intellectual faculty. On the one hand, salvation, in accordance with the earliest preaching, was regarded as the glorious kingdom which was soon to appear on earth with the visible return of Christ, which will bring the present course of the world to an end, and introduce for a definite series of centuries, before the final judgment, a new order of all things to the 168joy and blessedness of the saints.201201The so-called Chiliasm—the designation is unsuitable and misleading—is found wherever the Gospel is not yet Hellenised (see, for example, Barn. 4. 15; Hermas; 2 Clem.; Papias [Euseb. III. 39]; Διδαχὴ, 10. 16; Apoc. Petri; Justin, Dial. 32, 51, 80, 82, 110, 139; Cerinthus), and must be regarded as a main element of the Christian preaching (see my article “Millenium” in the Encycl. Brit.). In it lay not the least of the power of Christianity in the first century, and the means whereby it entered the Jewish propaganda in the Empire and surpassed it. The hopes springing out of Judaism were at first but little modified, that is, only so far as the substitution of the Christian communities for the nation of Israel made modification necessary. In all else, even the details of the Jewish hopes of the future were retained, and the extra-canonical Jewish Apocalypses (Esra, Enoch, Baruch, Moses, etc.) were diligently read alongside of Daniel. Their contents were in part joined on to sayings of Jesus, and they served as models for similar productions (here, therefore, an enduring connection with the Jewish religion is very plain). In the Christian hopes of the future, as in the Jewish eschatology, may be distinguished essential and accidental, fixed and fluid elements To the former belong (1) the notion of a final fearful conflict with the powers of the world which is just about to break out τὸ τέλειον σκάνδαλον ἤγγικεν, (2) belief in the speedy return of Christ, (3) the conviction that after conquering the secular power (this was variously conceived, as God’s Ministers, as “that which restrains”—2 Thess. II. 6, as a pure kingdom of Satan; see the various estimates in Justin, Melito, Irenæus and Hyppolytus), Christ will establish a glorious kingdom on the earth, and will raise the saints to share in that kingdom, and (4) that he will finally judge all men. To the fluid elements belong the notions of the Antichrist, or of the secular power culminating in the Antichrist, as well as notions about the place, the extent, and the duration of Christ’s glorious kingdom. But it is worthy of special note, that Justin regarded the belief that Christ will set up his kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it will endure for 1000 years, as a necessary element of orthodoxy, though he confesses he knew Christians who did not share this belief, while they did not, like the pseudo-Christians, reject also the resurrection of the body (the promise of Montanus that Christ’s kingdom would be let down at Pepuza and Tymion is a thing by itself, and answers to the other promises and pretensions of Montanus). The resurrection of the body is expressed in the Roman Symbol, while, very notably, the hope of Christ’s earthly kingdom is not there mentioned, (see above, p. 157). The great inheritance which the Gentile Christian communities received from Judaism, is the eschatological hopes, along with the Monotheism assured by revelation and belief in providence. The law as a national law was abolished. The Old Testament became a new book in the hands of the Gentile Christians. On the contrary, the eschatological hopes in all their details, and with all the deep shadows which they threw on the state and public life, were at first received, and maintained themselves in wide circles pretty much unchanged, and only succumbed in some of their details just as in Judaism—to the changes which resulted from the constant change of the political situation. But these hopes were also destined in great measure to pass away after the settlement of Christianity on Græco-Roman soil. We may set aside the fact that they did not occupy the foreground in Paul, for we do not know whether this was of importance for the period that followed. But that Christ would set up the kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it would be an earthly kingdom with sensuous enjoyments—these and other notions contend, on the one hand, with the vigorous antijudaism of the communities, and on the other, with the moralistic spiritualism, in the pure carrying out of which the Gentile Christians, in the East at least, increasingly recognised the essence of Christianity. Only the vigorous world-renouncing enthusiasm which did not permit the rise of moralistic spiritualism and mysticism, and the longing for a time of joy and dominion that was born of it, protected for a long time a series of ideas which corresponded to the spiritual disposition of the great multitude of converts, only at times of special oppression. Moreover, the Christians, in opposition to Judaism, were, as a rule, instructed to obey magistrates, whose establishment directly contradicted the judgment of the state contained in the Apocalypses. In such a conflict, however, that judgment necessarily conquers at last, which makes as little change as possible in the existing forms of life. A history of the gradual attenuation and subsidence of eschatological hopes in the II.-IV. centuries can only be written in fragments. They have rarely—at best, by fits and starts—marked out the course. On the contrary, if I may say so, they only gave the smoke: for the course was pointed out by the abiding elements of the Gospel, trust in God and the Lord Christ, the resolution to a holy life, and a firm bond of brotherhood. The quiet, gradual change in which the eschatological hopes passed away, fell into the background, or lost important parts, was, on the other hand, a result of deep-reaching changes in the faith and life of Christendom. Chiliasm as a power was broken up by speculative mysticism, and on that account very much later in the West than in the East. But speculative mysticism has its centre in christology. In the earliest period, this, as a theory, belonged more to the defence of religion than to religion itself. Ignatius alone was able to reflect on that transference of power from Christ which Paul had experienced. The disguises in which the apocalyptic eschatological prophecies were set forth, belonged in part to the form of this literature, (in so far as one could easily be given the lie if he became too plain, or in so far as the prophet really saw the future only in large outline), partly it had to be chosen in order not to give political offence. See Hippol., comm. in Daniel (Georgiades, p. 49, 51: νοεῖν ὀφείλομεν τὰ κατὰ καιρὸν συμβαίνοντα καὶ εἰδοτας σιωπᾶν); by above all, Constantine, orat. ad. s. cœtum 19, on some verses of Virgil which are interpreted in a Christian sense,” but that none of the rulers in the capital might be able to accuse their author of violating the laws of the state with his poetry, or of destroying the traditional ideas of the procedure about the gods, he concealed the truth under a veil.” That holds good also of the Apocalyptists and the poets of the Christian Sibylline sayings. In connection with this the hope of the resurrection of the body occupied the 169foreground.202202The hope of the resurrection of the body (1 Clem. 26. 3: ἀναστήσεις τὴν σάρκα μου ταύτην. Herm. Sim. V. 7. 2: βλέπε μήποτε ἀναβῇ ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν σου τὴν σάρκα σου ταύτην φθαρτὴν εἶναι. Barn. 5. 6 f.: 21. 1: 2 Clem. 1: καὶ μή λεγέτω τις ὑμῶν ὅτι αὕτη ἡ σὰρξ οὐ κρίνεται οὐδὲ ἀνίσταται. Polyc. Ep. 7. 2: Justin, Dial. 80 etc.,) finds its place originally in the hope of a share in the glorious kingdom of Christ. It therefore disappears or is modified wherever that hope itself falls into the background. But it finally asserted itself throughout and became of independent importance, in a new structure of eschatological expectations, in which it attained the significance of becoming the specific conviction of Christian faith. With the hope of the resurrection of the body was originally connected the hope of a happy life in easy blessedness, under green trees in magnificent fields with joyous feeding flocks, and flying angels clothed in white. One must read the Revelation of Peter, the Shepherd, or the Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas, in order to see how entirely the fancy of many Christians, and not merely of those who were uncultured, dwelt in a fairyland in which they caught sight now of the Ancient of Days, and now of the Youthful Shepherd, Christ. The most fearful delineations of the torments of Hell formed the reverse side to this. We now know, through the Apocalypse of Peter, how old these delineations are. On the other hand, salvation appeared to be given in the truth, that is, in the complete and certain knowledge of God, as contrasted with the error of heathendom and the night of sin, and this truth included the certainty of the gift 170of eternal life, and all conceivable spiritual blessings.203203The perfect knowledge of the truth and eternal life are connected in the closest way (see p. 144, note 1), because the Father of truth is also Prince of life (see Diognet. 12: οὐδὲ γάρ ξωὴ ἄνευ γνώσεως οὐδὲ γνῶσις ἀσφαλὴς ἄνευ ζωῆς ἀληθοῦς· διὸ πλησιον ἐκάτερον πεφύτευται, see also what follows). The classification is a Hellenic one, which has certainly penetrated also into Palestinian Jewish theology. It may be reckoned among the great intuitions, which in the fulness of the times, united the religious and reflective minds of all nations. The Pauline formula, “Where there is forgiveness of sin, there also is life and salvation”, had for centuries no distinct history. But the formula, “Where there is truth, perfect knowledge, there also is eternal life”, has had the richest history in Christendom from the beginning. Quite apart from John, it is older than the theology of the Apologists (see, for example, the Supper prayer in the Didache, 9. 10, where there is no mention of the forgiveness of sin, but thanks are given, ὑπὲρ τῆς γνώσεως καὶ πίστεως καὶ ἀθανασίας ἧς ἐγνώρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς διὰ Ἰησοῦ, or ὑπὲρ τῆς ζωῆς καὶ γνώσεως, and 1 Clem. 36. 2: διὰ τούτο ἡθέλησεν ὁ δεσπότης τῆς ἀθανάτου γνώσεως ἡμᾶς γεύσασθαι). It is capable of a very manifold content, and has never made its way in the Church without reservations, but so far as it has we may speak of a hellenising of Christianity. This is shewn most clearly in the fact that the ἀθανασία, identical with ἀφθαρσία and ζωὴ αἰώνιος, as is proved by their being often interchanged, gradually supplanted the βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ (χριστοῦ) and thrust it out of the sphere of religious intuition and hope into that of religious speech. It should also be noted at the same time, that in the hope of eternal life which is bestowed with the knowledge of the truth, the resurrection of the body is by no means with certainty included. It is rather added to it (see above) from another series of ideas. Conversely, the words ζωὴν αἰώνιον were first added to the words σαρκὸς ἀνάστασιν in the western Symbols at a comparatively late period, while in the prayers they are certainly very old. Of these the community, so far as it is a community of saints, that is, so far as it is ruled by the Spirit of God, already possesses forgiveness of sins and righteousness. But, as a rule, neither blessing was understood in a strictly religious sense, that is to say, the effect of their religious sense was narrowed. 171The moralistic view, in which eternal life is the wages and reward of a perfect moral life wrought out essentially by one’s own power, took the place of first importance at a very early period. On this view, according to which the righteousness of God is revealed in punishment and reward alike, the forgiveness of sin only meant a single remission of sin in connection with entrance into the Church by baptism,204204Even the assumption of such a remission is fundamentally in contradiction with moralism; but that solitary remission of sin was not called in question, was rather regarded as distinctive of the new religion, and was established by an appeal to the omnipotence and special goodness of God, which appears just in the calling of sinners. In this calling, grace as grace is exhausted (Barn. 5. 9; 2 Clem. 2. 4-7). But this grace itself seems to be annulled, inasmuch as the sins committed before baptism were regarded as having been committed in a state of ignorance (Tertull. de bapt. I.: delicta pristinæ cæcitatis), ou account of which it seemed worthy of God to forgive them, that is, to accept the repentance which followed on the ground of the new knowledge. So considered, everything, in point of fact, amounts to the gracious gift of knowledge, and the memory of the saying, “Jesus receiveth sinners”, is completely obscured. But the tradition of this saying and many like it, and above all, the religious instinct, where it was more powerfully stirred, did not permit a consistent development of that moralistic conception. See for this, Hermas. Sim. V. 7. 3: περὶ τῶν προτέρων ἀγνοημάτων τῷ θεῷ μονῷ δυνατὸν ἴασιν δοῦναι· αὐτοῦ γὰρ ἐστι πᾶσα ἐξουσία. Præd. Petri ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 48: ὅσα ἐν ἀγνοίᾳ τις ὑμῶν ἐποίησεν μὴ εἐδὼς σαφῶς τὸν θεὸν, ἐὰν ἐπιγνοὺς μετανοήσῃ, τάντα αὐτῷ ἀφεθήσεται τὰ ἀμαρτήματα. Aristides, Apol. 17: “The Christians offer prayers (for the unconverted Greeks) that they may be converted from their error. But when one of them is converted he is ashamed before the Christians of the works which he has done. And he confesses to God, saying: ‘I have done these things in ignorance.’ And he cleanses his heart, and his sins are forgiven him, because he had done them in ignorance, in the earlier period when he mocked and jeered at the true knowledge of the Christians.” Exactly the same in Tertull. de pudic. 10. init. The statement of this same writer (1. c. fin), “Cessatio delicti radix est veniæ, ut venia sit pænitentiæ fructus”, is a pregnant expression of the conviction of the earliest Gentile Christians. and righteousness became identical with virtue. The idea is indeed still operative, especially in the oldest Gentile-Christian writings known to us, that sinlessness rests upon a new creation (regeneration) which is effected in baptism;205205This idea appears with special prominence in the Epistle of Barnabas (see 6. II. 14); the new formation (ἀναπλασσειν) results through the forgiveness of sin. In the moralistic view the forgiveness of sin is the result of the renewal that is spontaneously brought about on the ground of knowledge shewing itself in penitent feeling. but, so far as dissimilar eschatological hopes do not operate, it is everywhere in danger of being supplanted by the other idea, which maintains 172that there is no other blessing in the Gospel than the perfect truth and eternal life. All else is but a sum of obligations in which the Gospel is presented as a new law. The christianising of the Old Testament supported this conception. There was indeed an opinion that the Gospel, even so far as it is a law, comprehends a gift of salvation which is to be grasped by faith (νόμος ἄνευ ζυγοῦ ἀνάγκης,206206Barn. 2. 6, and my notes on the passage. νόμος τ. ἐλευθερίας,207207James I. 25. Christ himself the law);208208 Hermas. Sim. VIII. 3. 2; Justin Dial. II. 43; Praed. Petri in Clem., Strom. I. 29. 182; II. 15. 68. but this notion, as it is obscure in itself, was also an uncertain one and was gradually lost. Further, by the “law” was frequently meant in the first place, not the law of love, but the commandments of ascetic holiness, or an explanation and a turn were given to the law of love, according to which it is to verify itself above all in asceticism.209209Didache, c I., and my notes on the passage (Prolegg. p. 45 f.).
The expression of the contents of the Gospel in the concepts ἐπαγγελία (ζωὴ αἰῴνιος) γνῶσις (ἀληθεία) νόμος (ἐγκρὰτέια), seemed quite as plain as it was exhaustive, and the importance of faith which was regarded as the basis of hope and knowledge and obedience in a holy life, was at the same time in every respect perceived.210210The concepts ἐπαγγελία, γνῶσις, νόμος, form the Triad on which the later catholic conception of Christianity is based, though it can he proved to have been in existence at an earlier period. That πίστις must everywhere take the lead was undoubted, though we must not think of the Pauline idea of πίστις. When the Apostolic Fathers reflect upon faith, which, however, happens only incidentally, they mean a holding for true of a sum of holy traditions, and obedience to them, along with the hope that their consoling contents will yet be fully revealed. But Ignatius speaks like a Christian who knows what he possesses in faith in Christ, that is, in confidence in him. In Barn. I.: Polyc. Ep. 2, we find “faith, hope love”; in Ignatius, “faith and love”. Tertullian, in an excellent exposition, has shewn how far patience is a temper corresponding to Christian faith (see besides the Epistle of James).
Supplement 1.—The moralistic view of sin, forgiveness of sin, and righteousness, in Clement, Barnabas, Polycarp and Ignatius, gives place to Pauline formulæ; but the uncertainty with which these are reproduced, shews that the Pauline idea 173has not been clearly seen.211211See Lipsius De Clementis. R. ep ad. Cor. priore disquis. 1855. It would be in point of method inadmissible to conclude from the fact that in 1 Clem. Pauline formulæ are relatively most faithfully produced, that Gentile Christianity generally understood Pauline theology at first, but gradually lost this understanding in the course of two generations. In Hermas, however, and in the second Epistle of Clement, the consciousness of being under grace, even after baptism, almost completely disappears behind the demand to fulfil the tasks which baptiser imposes.212212Formally: τηρήσατε τὴν σάρκα ἁγνὴν καὶ τὴν σφραγῖδα ἄσπιλον (2 Clem. 8. 6.) The idea that serious sins, in the case of the baptised, no longer should or can be forgiven, except under special circumstances, appears to have prevailed in wide circles, if not everywhere.213213Hermas (Mand. IV. 3) and Justin presuppose it. Hermas of course sought and found a way of meeting the results of that idea which were threatening the Church with decimation; but he did not question the idea itself. Because Christendom is a community of saints which has in its midst the sure salvation, all its members—this is the necessary inference—must lead a sinless life. It reveals the earnestness of those early Christians and their elevated sense of freedom and power; but it might be united either with the highest moral intensity, or with a lax judgment on the little sins of the day. The latter, in point of fact, threatened to become more and more the presupposition and result of that idea—for there exists here a fatal reciprocal action.
Supplement 2.—The realisation of salvation—as βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ and as ἀφθαρσία—being expected from the future, the whole present possession of salvation might be comprehended under the title of vocation (κλῆσις): see, for example, the second Epistle of Clement. In this sense gnosis itself was regarded as something only preparatory.
Supplement 3.—In some circles the Pauline formula about righteousness and salvation by faith alone, must, it would appear, not infrequently (as already in the Apostolic age itself) have been partly misconstrued, and partly taken advantage of as a cloak for laxity. Those who resisted such a disposition, and therefore also the formula in the post-Apostolic age, shew indeed by their opposition how little they have hit upon or understood the Pauline idea of faith: for they not only issued the watchword “faith and works” (though the Jewish ceremonial law was not thereby meant), but they admitted, and not only hypothetically, 174that one might have the true faith even though in his case that faith remained dead or united with immorality. See, above all, the Epistle of James and the Shepherd of Hermas; though the first Epistle of John comes also into consideration (III. 7: “He that doeth righteousness is righteous”).214214The formula, “righteousness by faith alone,” was really repressed in the second century; but it could not he entirely destroyed: see my Essay, “Gesch. d. Seligkeit allein durch den Glauben in der alten K.” Ztsch. f. Theol, u. Kirche. I. pp. 82-105.
Supplement 4.—However similar the eschatological expectations of the Jewish Apocalyptists and the Christians may seem, there is yet in one respect an important difference between them. The uncertainty about the final consummation was first set aside by the Gospel. It should be noted as highly characteristic of the Jewish hopes of the future, even of the most definite, how the beginning of the end, that is, the overthrow of the world-powers and the setting up of the earthly kingdom of God, was much more certainly expressed than the goal and the final end. Neither the general judgment, nor what we, according to Christian tradition, call heaven and hell, should be described as a sure possession of Jewish faith in the primitive Christian period. It is only in the Gospel of Christ, where everything is subordinated to the idea of a higher righteousness and the union of the individual with God, that the general judgment and the final condition after it are the clear, firmly grasped goal of all meditation. No doctrine has been more surely preserved in the convictions and preaching of believers in Christ than this. Fancy might roam ever so much and, under the direction of the tradition, thrust bright and precious images between the present condition and the final end, the main thing continued to be the great judgment of the world, and the certainty that the saints would go to God in heaven, the wicked to hell. But while the judgment, as a rule, was connected with the Person of Jesus himself (see the Romish Symbol: the words κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν, were very frequently applied to Christ in the earliest writings), the moral condition of the individual, and the believing recognition of the Person of Christ were put in the closest relation. The Gentile Christians held firmly 175to this. Open the Shepherd, or the second Epistle of Clement, or any other early Christian writing, and you will find that the judgment, heaven and hell, are the decisive objects. But that shews that the moral character of Christianity as a religion is seen and adhered to. The fearful idea of hell, far from signifying a backward step in the history of the religious spirit, is rather a proof of its having rejected the morally indifferent point of view, and of its having become sovereign in union with the ethical spirit.
§©4. The Old Testament as Source of the Knowledge of Faith.215215The only thorough discussion of the use of the Old Testament by an Apostolic Father, and of its authority, that we possess, is Wrede’s “Untersuchungen zum 1 Clementsbrief” (1891). Excellent preliminary investigations, which, however, are not everywhere quite reliable, may be found in Hatch’s Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889. Hatch has taken up again the hypothesis of earlier scholars, that there were very probably in the first and second centuries systematised extracts from the Old Testament (see pp. 203-214). The hypothesis is not yet quite establised (see Wrede, above work, p. 65), but yet it is hardly to be rejected. The Jewish catechetical and missionary instruction in the Diaspora needed such collections, and their existence seem to be proved by the Christian Apologies and the Sybilline books.
The sayings of the Old Testament, the word of God, were believed to furnish inexhaustible material for deeper knowledge. The Christian prophets were nurtured on the Old Testament, the teachers gathered from it the revelation of the past, present and future (Barn. 1. 7), and were therefore able as prophets to edify the Churches; from it was further drawn the confirmation of the answers to all emergent questions, as one could always find in the Old Testament what he was in search of. The different writers laid the holy book under contribution in very much the same way; for they were all dominated by the presupposition that this book is a Christian book, and contains the explanations that are necessary for the occasion. There were several teachers,—e.g., Barnabas,—who at a very early period boasted of finding in it ideas of special profundity and value—these were always an expression of the difficulties that were being felt. The plain words of the Lord as generally known, did not seem sufficient 176to satisfy the craving for knowledge, or to solve the problems that were emerging;216216It is an extremely important fact that the words of the Lord were quoted and applied in their literal sense (that is chiefly for the statement of Christian morality) by Ecclesiastical authors, almost without exception. up to and inclusive of Justin. It was different with the theologians of the age, that is the Gnostics, and the Fathers from Irenæus. their origin and form also opposed difficulties at first to the attempt to obtain from them new disclosures by re-interpretation. But the Old Testament sayings and histories were in part unintelligible, or in their literal sense offensive; they were at the same time regarded as fundamental words of God. This furnished the conditions for turning them to account in the way we have stated. The following are the most important points of view under which the Old Testament was used. (1) The Monotheistic cosmology and view of nature were borrowed from it (see, for example, 1 Clem.). (2) It was used to prove that the appearance and entire history of Jesus had been foretold centuries, nay, thousands of years beforehand, and that the founding of a new people gathered out of all nations had been predicted and prepared for from the very beginning.217217Justin was not the first to do so, for it had already been done by the so-called Barnabas (see especially c. 13) and others. On the proofs from prophecy see my Texte und Unters. Bd. I. 3. pp. 56-74. The passage in the Praed. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 15. 128) is very complete: Ἡμεῖς ἀναπτίξαντες τὰς βίβλους ἃς εἴχομεν τῶν προφητῶν, ἃ μὲν διὰ παραβολῶν ἃ δὲ διὰ αἰνιγμάτων ἡ δὲ αὐθεντικῶ; καὶ αὐτολεξεί τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ὀνομαζόντων, εὓρμεν καὶ τὴν παρουσίαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸν θανατον καὶ τὸν σταυρὸν καὶ τὰς λοιπάς κολάσεις πάσας, ὃσας ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, καὶ τὴν ἔγερσιν καὶ τὴν εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάληψιν πρὸ τοῦ Ἱερσόλυμα κριθῆναι, καθὼς ἐγέγραπτο ταῦτα πάντα ἃ ἔδει αὐτὸν παθεῖν καὶ μετ᾽ αὐτὸν ἃ ἔσται· ταῠτα οὖν ἐπιγνόντες ἐπιστεύσαμεν τῷ θεῷ διὰ τῶν γεγραμμένων εἰς αὐτὸν. With the help of the Old Testament the teachers dated back the Christian religion to the beginning of the human race, and joined the preparations for the founding of the Christian community with the creation of the world. The Apologists were not the first to do so, for Barnabas and Hermas, and before these, Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and others had already done the same. This was undoubtedly to the cultured classes one of the most impressive articles in the missionary preaching. The Christian religion in this way got a hold which the others—with the exception of the Jewish—lacked. But for that very reason, we must guard against turning it into a formula, that the Gentile Christians had comprehended the Old Testament essentially through the scheme of prediction and fulfilment. The Old Testament is certainly the book of predictions, but for that very reason the complete revelation of God which needs no additions and excludes subsequent changes. The historical fulfilment only proves to the world the truth of those revelations. Even the scheme of shadow and reality is yet entirely out of sight. In such circumstances the question necessarily arises, as to what independent meaning and significance Christ’s appearance could have, apart from that confirmation of the Old Testament. But, apart from the Gnostics, a surprisingly long time passed before this question was raised, that is to say, it was not raised till the time of Irenæus. (3) It was used as 177a means of verifying all principles and institutions of the Christian Church,—the spiritual worship of God without images, the abolition of all ceremonial legal precepts, baptism, etc. (4) The Old Testament was used for purposes of exhortation according to the formula a minori ad majus ; if God then punished and rewarded this or that in such a way, how much more may we expect, who now stand in the last days, and have received the κλῆσις τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. (5) It was proved from the Old Testament that the Jewish nation is in error, and either never had a covenant with God or has lost it, that it has a false apprehension of God’s revelations, and therefore has, now at least, no longer any claim to their possession. But beyond all this, (6) there were in the Old Testament books, above all, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, a great number of sayings—confessions of trust in God and of help received from God, of humility and holy courage, testimonies of a world-overcoming faith and words of comfort, love and communion—which were too exalted for any cavilling, and intelligible to every spiritually awakened mind. Out of this treasure which was handed down to the Greeks and Romans, the Church edified herself, and in the perception of its riches was largely rooted the conviction that the holy book must in every line contain the highest truth.
The point mentioned under (5) needs, however, further explanation. The self-consciousness of the Christian community of being the people of God, must have been, above all, expressed in its position towards Judaism, whose mere existence—even apart from actual assaults—threatened that consciousness most seriously. A certain antipathy of the Greeks and Romans towards Judaism co-operated here with a law of self-preservation. On all hands, therefore, Judaism as it then existed was abandoned as a sect judged and rejected by God, as a 178society of hypocrites,218218See Διδαχὴ, 8. as a synagogue of Satan,219219See the Revelation of John II. 9: III. 9; but see also the “Jews” in the Gospels of John and Peter. The latter exonerates Pilate almost completely, and makes the Jews and Herod responsible for the crucifixion. as a people seduced by an evil angel,220220See Barn. 9. 4. In the second epistle of Clement the Jews are called: “οἱ δοκοῦντες ἔχειν θεὸν,” cf. Præd. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 41: μηδὲ κατὰ Ἰουδαίους σέβεσθε· καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι μόνοι οἰόμενοι τὸν θεὸν γιγνώσκειν οὐκ ἐπίστανται, λατρεύοντες ἀγγέλοις καὶ ἀρχαγγέλοις, μηνὶ καὶ σελήνη, καὶ ἐὰν μὴ σελήνη φανῇ, σάββατον οὐκ ἀγουσι τὸ λεκόμενον πρῶτον, οὐδὲ γεομηνίαν ἄγουσιν, οὐδὲ ἄζυμα, οὐδὲ ἑορτήν, οὐδὲ μεγάλην ἡμέραν. (Cf. Diognet. 34.) Even Justin does not judge the Jews more favourably than the Gentiles, but less favourably; see Apol. I. 37, 39, 43, 44, 47, 53, 60. On the other hand, Aristides (Apol. c. 14, especially in the Syrian text) is much more friendly disposed to the Jews and recognises them more. The words of Pionius against and about the Jews in the “Acta Pionii,” c. 4, are very instructive. and the Jews were declared to have no further right to the possession of the Old Testament. Opinions differed, however, as to the earlier history of the nation and its relation to the true God. While some denied that there ever had been a covenant of salvation between God and this nation, and in this respect recognised only an intention of God,221221Barn. 4. 6. f.: 14. 1. f. The author of Præd. Petri must have had a similar view of the matter. which was never carried out because of the idolatry of the people, others admitted in a hazy way that a relation did exist; but even they referred all the promises of the Old Testament to the Christian people.222222Justin in the Dialogue with Trypho. While the former saw in the observance of the letter of the law, in the case of circumcision, sabbath, precepts as to food, etc., a proof of the special devilish temptation to which the Jewish people succumbed,223223Barn. 9. f. It is a thorough misunderstanding of Barnabas’ position towards the Old Testament to suppose it possible to pass over his expositions, c. 6-10, as oddities and caprices, and put them aside as indifferent or unmethodical. There is nothing here unmethodical, and therefore nothing arbitrary. Barnabas’ strictly spiritual idea of God, and the conviction that all (Jewish) ceremonies are of the devil, compel his explanations. These are so little ingenious conceits to Barnabas that, but for them, he would have been forced to give up the Old Testament altogether. The account, for example, of Abraham having circumcised his slaves would have forced Barnabas to annul the whole authority of the Old Testament if he had not succeeded in giving it a particular interpretation. He does this by combining other passages of Genesis with the narrative, and then finding in it no longer circumcision, but a prediction of the crucified Christ. the latter saw in circumcision a sign224224Barn 9. 6: ἀλλ᾽ ἐρεῖς· καὶ μὴν περιτέτμηται ὁ λαὸς εἰς σφραγῖδα. given by 179God, and in virtue of certain considerations acknowledged that the literal observance of the law was for the time God’s intention and command, though righteousness never came from such observance. Yet even they saw in the spiritual the alone true sense, which the Jews had denied, and were of opinion that the burden of ceremonies was a pædagogic necessity with reference to a people stiff-necked and prone to idolatry, i.e., a defence of monotheism, and gave an interpretation to the sign of circumcision which made it no longer a blessing, but rather the mark for the execution of judgment on Israel.225225See the expositions of Justin in the Dial. (especially, 16, 18, 20, 30, 40-46); Von Engelhardt, “Christenthum Justin’s,” p. 429. ff. Justin has the three estimates side by side. (1) That the ceremonial law was a pædagogic measure of God with reference to a stiff-necked people prone to idolatry. (2) That it—like circumcision—was to make the people conspicuous for the execution of judgment, according to the Divine appointment. (3) That in the ceremonial legal worship of the Jews is exhibited the special depravity and wickedness of the nation. But Justin conceived the Decalogue as the natural law of reason, and therefore definitely distinguished it from the ceremonial law.
Israel was thus at all times the pseudo-Church. The older people does not in reality precede the younger people, the Christians, even in point of time; for though the Church appeared only in the last days, it was foreseen and created by God from the beginning. The younger people is therefore really the older, and the new law rather the original law.226226See Ztschr. für K. G, I., p. 330 f. The Patriarchs, Prophets, and men of God, however, who were favoured with the communication of God’s words, have nothing inwardly in common with the Jewish people. They are God’s elect who were distinguished by a holy walk, and must be regarded as the forerunners and fathers of the Christian people.227227This is the unanimous opinion of all writers of the post-Apostolic age. Christians are the true Israel; and therefore all Israel’s predicates of honour belong to them. They are the twelve tribes, and therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the Fathers of the Christians. This idea, about which there was no wavering, cannot everywhere be traced back to the Apostle Paul. The Old Testament men of God were in certain measure Christians. See Ignat. Magn. 8. 2: οἱ προφῆται κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν έζησαν. To the question how such holy men appeared exclusively, or almost exclusively, among the Jewish people, the documents preserved to us yield no answer.180
§©5. The Knowledge of God and of the World. Estimate of the World.
The knowledge of faith was, above all, the knowledge of God as one, supramundane, spiritual,228228God was naturally conceived and represented as corporeal by uncultured Christians, though not by these alone, as the later controversies prove (e.g., Orig. contra Melito; see also Tertull. De anima). In the case of the cultured, the idea of a corporeality of God may be traced back to Stoic influences; in the case of the uncultured, popular ideas co-operated with the sayings of the Old Testament literally understood, and the impression of the Apocalyptic images. and almighty (παντοκράτωρ); God is creator and governor of the world and therefore the Lord.229229See Joh. IV. 22; ἡμεῖς προσκυνοῦμεν ὃ οἴδαμεν. I Clem. 59. 3. 4; Herm. Mand. I.; Præd. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 9.: γινωσκετε ὅτι εἷς θεὸς ἐστιν ὅς ἀρχὴν πάντων ἐποίησεν, καὶ τέλους ἐξουσίαν ἔχων. Aristides Apol. 15 (Syr.): “The Christians know and believe in God, the creator of heaven and of earth.” Chap. 16: “Christians as men who know God, pray to him for things which it becomes him to give and them to receive.” (Similarly Justin.) From very many old Gentile Christian writings we hear it as a cry of joy. “We know God the Almighty; the night of blindness is past” (see, e.g., 2 Clem. c. 1). God is δεσπότης, a designation which is very frequently used (it is rare in the New Testament). Still more frequently do we find κύριος. As the Lord and Creator, God is also called the Father (of the world) so 1 Clem. 19. 2: ὁ πατὴρ καὶ κτίστης τοῦ σύμπαντος κόσμου. 35. 3: δημιουργὸς καὶ πατῆρ τῶν αἰώνων. This use of the name Father for the supreme God was, as is well known, familiar to the Greeks, but the Christians alone were in earnest with the name. The creation out of nothing was made decidedly prominent by Hermas, see Vis. I. 1. 6, and my notes on the passage. In the Christian Apocrypha, in spite of the vividness of the idea of God, the angels play the same rôle as in the Jewish, and as in the current Jewish speculations. According to Hermas, e.g., all God’s actions are mediated by special angels, nay, the Son of God himself is represented by a special angel, viz., Michael, and works by him. But outside the Apocalypses there seems to have been little interest in the good angels. But as he created the world a beautiful ordered whole (monotheistic view of nature)230230See, for example, 1 Clem. 20. for the sake of man,231231This is frequent in the Apologists; see also Diogn. 10. 2: but Hermas, Vis. II. 4. I (see also Cels. ap. Orig. IV. 23) says: διὰ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ὁ κόσμος κατηρτίσθη (cf. I. 1. 6. and my notes on the passage). Aristides (Apol. 16) declares it as his conviction that “the beautiful things,” that is, the world, are maintained only for the sake of Christians; see, besides, the words (I. c.); “I have no doubt, that the earth continues to exist (only) on account of the prayers of the Christians.” Even the Jewish Apocalyptists wavered between the formulæ, that the world was created for the sake of man, and for the sake of the Jewish nation. The two are not mutually exclusive. The statement in the Eucharistic prayer of Didache, 9. 3, ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματος σου, is singular. he is at the same time the God of goodness and 181redemption (θεὸς σωτήρ), and the true faith in God and knowledge of him as the Father,232232God is named the Father, (1) in relation to the Son (very frequent), (2) as Father of the world (see above), (3) as the merciful one who has proved his goodness, declared his will, and called Christians to be his sons (1 Clem. 23. 1; 29, 1; 2 Clem. 1. 4; 8. 4; 10. 1; 14. 1; see the index to Zahn’s edition of the Ignatian Epistles; Didache. 1. 5; 9. 2. 3; 10. 2.) The latter usage is not very common; it is entirely wanting, for example, in the Epistle of Barnabas. Moreover, God is also called πετὴρ τῆς ἀληθείας, as the source of all truth (2 Clem. 3. 1: 20, 5: θεὸς τ. ἀληθείας). The identity of the Almighty God of creation with the merciful God of redemption is the tacit presupposition of all declarations about God, in the case of both the cultured and the uncultured. It is also frequently expressed (see, above all, the Pastoral Epistles), most frequently by Hermas (Vis. I. 3. 4), so far as the declaration about the creation of the world is there united in the closest way with that about the creation of the Holy Church. As to the designation of God in the Roman Symbol, as the “Father Almighty,” that threefold exposition just given may perhaps allow it. is made perfect only in the knowledge of the identity of the God of creation and the God of redemption. Redemption, however, was necessary, because at the beginning humanity and the world alike fell under the dominion of evil demons,233233The present dominion of evil demons, or of one evil demon, was just as generally presupposed as man’s need of redemption, which was regarded as a result of that dominion. The conviction that the world’s course (the πολιτεία ἐν τῷ κοσμῳ: the Latins afterwards used the word Sæculum) is determined by the devil, and that the dark one (Barnabas) has dominion, comes out most prominently where eschatological hopes obtain expression. But where salvation is thought of as knowledge and immortality, it is ignorance and frailty from which men are to be delivered. We may here also assume with certainty that these, in the last instance, were traced back by the writers to the action of demons. But it makes a very great difference whether the judgment was ruled by fancy which saw a real devil everywhere active, or whether, in consequence of theoretic reflection, it based the impression of universal ignorance and mortality on the assumption of demons who have produced them. Here again we must note the two series of ideas which intertwine and struggle with each other in the creeds of the earliest period; the traditional religious series, resting on a fanciful view of history—it is essentially identical with the Jewish Apocalyptic: see, for example, Barn. 4—and the empiric moralistic (see 2 Clem. 1. 2-7, as a specially valuable discussion, or Præd. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 5, 39, 40), which abides by the fact that men have fallen into ignorance, weakness and death (2 Clem. 1. 6: ὁ βίος ἡμῷν ὅλος ἄλλο οὐδὲν ἦν εἰ μὴ θάνατος). But, perhaps, in no other point, with the exception of the ἀνάστασις σαρκὸς, has the religious conception remained so tenacious as in this, and it decidedly prevailed, especially in the epoch with which we are now dealing. Its tenacity may be explained, among other things, by the living impression of the polytheism that surrounded the communities on every side. Even where the national gods were looked upon as dead idols—and that was perhaps the rule, see Præd. Petri, I. c.; 2 Clem. 3. 1; Didache, 6—one could not help assuming that there were mighty demons operative behind them, as otherwise the frightful power of idolatry could not be explained. But, on the other hand, even a calm reflection and a temper unfriendly to all religious excess must have welcomed the assumption of demons who sought to rule the world and man. For by means of this assumption, which was wide-spread even among the Greeks, humanity seemed to be unburdened, and the presupposed capacity for redemption could therefore be justified in its widest range. From the assumption that the need of redemption was altogether due to ignorance and mortality, there was but one step, or little more than one step, to the assumption that the need of redemption was grounded in a condition of man for which he was not responsible, that is, in the flesh. But this step, which would have led either to dualism (heretical Gnosis) or to the abolition of the distinction between natural and moral, was not taken within the main body of the Church. The eschatological series of ideas with its thesis that death, evil and sin entered into humanity at a definite historical moment, when the demons took possession of the world, drew a limit which was indeed overstepped at particular points, but was in the end respected. We have therefore the remarkable fact that, on the one hand, early Christian (Jewish) eschatology called forth and maintained a disposition in which the Kingdom of God and that of the world (Kingdom of the devil) were felt to be absolutely opposed (practical dualism), while, on the other hand, it rejected theoretic dualism. Redemption through Christ, however, was conceived in the eschatological Apocalyptic series of ideas as essentially something entirely in the future, for the power of the devil was not broken, but rather increased (or it was virtually broken in believers and increased in unbelievers) by the first advent of Christ, and therefore the period between the first and second advent of Christ belongs to οὗτος ὁ αἰών (see Barn. 2. 4; Herm. Sim. I; 2. Clem. 6. 3: ἔστιν δὲ οὗτος ὁ αἰὼν καὶ ὁ μέλλων δύο ἐχθροί· οὗτος λέγει μοιχείαν καὶ φθορὰν καὶ φιλαργουρίαν καὶ ἀπάτην, ἐκεῖνος δὲ τούτοις ἀποστάσσεται; Ignat. Magn. 5. 2). For that very reason, the second coming of Christ must, as a matter of course, be at hand, for only through it could the first advent get its full value. The painful impression that nothing had been outwardly changed by Christ’s first advent (the heathen, moreover, pointed this out in mockery to the suffering Christians), must be destroyed by the hope of his speedy coming again. But the first advent had its independent significance in the series of ideas which regarded Christ as redeeming man from ignorance and mortality; for the knowledge was already given and the gift of immortality could only of course be dispensed after this life was ended, but then immediately. The hope of Christ’s return was therefore a superfluity, but was not felt or set aside as such, because there was still a lively expectation of Christ’s earthly Kingdom. of the evil one. There was no 182universally accepted theory as to the origin of this dominion; but the sure and universal conviction was that the present condition and course of the world is not of God, but is of the devil. Those, however, who believed in God, the almighty creator, and were expecting the transformation of the earth, as well as the visible dominion of Christ upon it, could not be seduced into accepting a dualism in principle (God 183and devil: spirit and matter). Belief in God, the creator, and eschatological hopes preserved the communities from the theoretic dualism that so readily suggested itself, which they slightly touched in many particular opinions, and which threatened to dominate their feelings. The belief that the world is of God and therefore good, remained in force. A distinction was made between the present constitution of the world, which is destined for destruction, and the future order of the world which will be a glorious “restitutio in integrum”, The theory of the world as an articulated whole which had already been proclaimed by the Stoics, and which was strengthened by Christian monotheism, would not, even if it had been known to the uncultured, have been vigorous enough to cope with the impression of the wickedness of the course of this world, and the vulgarity of all things material. But the firm belief in the omnipotence of God, and the hope of the world’s transformation grounded on the Old Testament, conquered the mood of absolute despair of all things visible and sensuous, and did not allow a theoretic conclusion, in the sense of dualism in principle, to be drawn from the practical obligation to renounce the world, or from the deep distrust with regard to the flesh.
§©6. Faith in Jesus Christ.
1. As surely as redemption was traced back to God himself, so surely was Jesus (ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν) held to be the mediator of it. Faith in Jesus was therefore, even for Gentile Christians, a compendium of Christianity. Jesus is mostly designated with the same name as God,234234No other name adhered to Christ so firmly as that of κύριος: see a specially clear evidence of this, Novatian de trinit. 30, who argues against the Adoptian and Modalistic heretics thus: “Et in primis illud retorquendum in istos, qui duorum nobis deorum controversiam facere præsumunt. Scriptum est, quod negare non possunt: “Quoniam unus est dominus.” De Christo ergo quid sentiunt? Dominum esse, aut ilium omnino non esse? Sed dominum illum omnino non dubitant. Ergo si vera est illorum ratiocinatio, jam duo sunt domini.” On κύριος = δεσποτης, see above, p. 119, note. ὁ κύριος (ἡμῶν), for we must remember the ancient use of this title. All that has taken place or will take place with reference to salvation, is 184traced back to the “Lord.” The carelessness of the early Christian writers about the bearing of the word in particular cases,235235Specially instructive examples of this are found in the Epistle of Barnabas and the second Epistle of Clement. Clement (Ep. 1) speaks only of faith in God. shews that in a religious relation, so far as there was reflection on the gift of salvation, Jesus could directly take the place of God. The invisible God is the author, Jesus the revealer and mediator, of all saving blessings. The final subject is presented in the nearest subject, and there is frequently no occasion for expressly distinguishing them, as the range and contents of the revelation of salvation in Jesus coincide with the range and contents of the will of salvation in God himself. Yet prayers, as a rule, were addressed to God: at least, there are but few examples of direct prayers to Jesus belonging to the first century (apart from the prayers in the Act. Joh. of the so-called Leucius). The usual formula rather reads: θεῷ ἐξομολογούμεθα διὰ Ἰ. Χρ.—θεῷ δόξα διά Ἰ. Χρ.236236See 1 Clem. 59—61. Διδαχή, c. 9. 10. Yet Novatian (de trinit. 14) exactly reproduces the old idea, “Si homo tantummodo Christus, cur homo in orationibus mediator invocatur, cum invocatio hominis ad præstandam salutem inefficax judicetur.” As the Mediator, High Priest, etc., Christ is of course always and every-where invoked by the Christians, but such invocations are one thing and formal prayer another. The idea of the congruence of God’s will of salvation with the revelation of salvation which took place through Christ, was further continued in the idea of the congruence of this revelation of salvation with the universal preaching of the twelve chosen Apostles (see above, p. 162 ff.), the root of the Catholic principle of tradition. But the Apostles never became “οἱ κύριοι,” though the concepts διδαχὴ, (λόγος) κύριου, διδαχὴ (κήρυγμα) τῶν ἀποστόλων were just as interchangeable as λόγος θεοῦ and λόγος χριστοῦ. The full formula would be λὸγος θεοῦ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων. But as the subjects introduced by ara are chosen and perfect media, religious usage permitted the abbreviation.
2. As the Gentile Christians did not understand the significance of the idea that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the designation “χριστός” had either to be given up in their communities, or to subside into a mere name.237237In the epistle of Barnabas “Jesus Christ” and “Christ” appear each once, but “Jesus” twelve times: in the Didache “Jesus Christ” once, “Jesus” three times. Only in the second half of the second century, if I am not mistaken, did the designation “Jesus Christ,” or “Christ,” become the current one, more and more crowding out the simple “Jesus.” Yet the latter designation—and this is not surprising—appears to have continued longest in the regular prayers. It is worthy of note that in the Shepherd there is no mention either of the name Jesus or of Christ. The Gospel of Peter also says ὁ κύριος where the other Gospels use these names. But even where, 185through the Old Testament, one was reminded of the meaning of the word, and allowed a value to it, he was far from finding in the statement that Jesus is the Lord’s anointed, a clear expression of the dignity peculiar to him. That dignity had therefore to be expressed by other means. Nevertheless the eschatological series of ideas connected the Gentile Christians very closely with the early Christian ideas of faith, and therefore also with the earliest ideas about Jesus. In the confession that God chose238238See 1 Clem. 64: ὁ θεὸς, ὁ ἐκλεξάμενος τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ ἡμᾶς δι᾽ αὐτοῦ εἰς λαὸν περιούσιον δῷν. κ.τ.λ. (It is instructive to note that wherever the idea of election is expressed, the community is immediately thought of, for in point of fact the election of the Messiah has no other aim than to elect or call the community; Barn. 3. 6: ὁ λαὸς ὅν ἡτοίμασεν ἡν τῷ ᾐγαπημόνῳ αὐτοῦ.) Herm. Sim. V. 2: ἐκλεξάμενος δοῦλόν τινα πιστὸ καὶ εὐάρεστον. V. 6. 5. Justin, Dial. 48: μὴ ἀρνεῖσθαι ὅτι οὑτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς, ἐὰν φαίνηται ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἀνθρώπον γεννηθεὶς καὶ ἐκλογῇ γενόμενος εἰς τὸ Χριστὸν εἰναι ἀποδεικνύηται. and prepared239239See Barn. 14. 5: Ἰησοῦς εἰς τοῦτο ἡτοιμασθη, ἵνα . . . . ἡμᾶς λυτρωσάμενος ἐκ τοῦ σκότους διάθηται ἐν ἡμῖν διαθήκην λόγῳ. The same word concerning the Church, 1. c. 3. 6. and 5. 7: αὐτὸς ἐαυτῷ τὸν λαὸν τὸν καινὸν ἐτοιμάζων. 14. 6. Jesus, that Jesus is the Angel240240“Angel” is a very old designation for Christ (see Justin’s Dial.) which maintained itself up to the Nicean controversy, and is expressly claimed for him in Novatian’s treatise “de trinit.” 11. 25 ff. (the word was taken from Old Testament passages which were applied to Christ). As a rule, however, it is not to be understood as a designation of the nature, but of the office of Christ as such, though the matter was never very clear. There were Christians who used it as a designation of the nature, and from the earliest times we find this idea contradicted. (See the Apoc. Sophoniæ, ed Stern, 1886, IV. fragment, p. 10: “He appointed no Angel to come to us, nor Archangel, nor any power, but he transformed himself into a man that he might come to us for our deliverance.” Cf. the remarkable parallel, ep. ad. Diagn. 7. 2: . . . . οὐ, καθάπερ ἄν τις εἰκάσειεν ἃνθρωπος, ὑπηρέτην τινὰ πέμψας ἣ ἄγγελον ἣ ἄρχοντα ἣ τινα τῶν διεπόντων τὰ ἐπίγεια ἣ τινα τῶν πεπιστευμένων τὰς ἐν οὐρανοῖς διοικήσεις, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὸν τὸν τεχνίτην καὶ δημιουργὸν τῶν ὅλων, κ.τ.λ.) Yet it never got the length of a great controversy, and as the Logos doctrine gradually made way, the designation “Angel” became harmless and then vanished. and the servant of God,241241Παῖς (after Isaiah): this designation, frequently united with Ἰησοῦς and with the adjectives ἅγιος and ἡγαπημένος (see Barn. 3. 6: 4. 3: 4. 8: Valent. ap. Clem. Alex, Strom. VI. 6. 52, and the Ascensio Isaiæ), seems to have been at the beginning a usual one. It sprang undoubtedly from the Messianic circle of ideas, and at its basis lies the idea of election. It is very interesting to observe how it was gradually put into the background and finally abolished. It was kept longest in the liturgical prayers: see 1 Clem. 59. 2; Barn. 61: 9. 2; Acts iii. 13. 26; iv. 27. 30; Didache, 9. 2. 3; Mart. Polyc. 14. 20; Act. Pauli et Theclæ, 17. 24; Sibyl. I. v. 324, 331, 364; Diogn. 8, 9, 10: ὁ ἁγαπητὸς παῖς, 9. I; also Ep. Orig. ad Afric. init; Clem. Strom. VII. 1. 4: ὁ μονογενὴς παῖς, and my note on Barn. 6. 1. In the Didache (9. 2) Jesus as well as David is in one statement called “Servant of God.” Barnabas, who calls Christ the “Beloved,” uses the same expression for the Church (4. 1. 9); see also Ignat. ad Smyrn. inscr. that he will judge 186the living and the dead,242242See the old Roman Symbol and Acts X. 42; 2 Tim. IV. 1; Barn. 7. 2; Polyc. Ep. 2. 1; 2 Clem. 2. 1; Hegesipp. in Euseb., H. E. III. 20 6: Justin Dial. 118. etc., expression is given to ideas about Jesus, in the Gentile Christian communities, which are borrowed from the thought that he is the Christ called of God and entrusted with an office.243243There could of course be no doubt that Christ meant the “anointed” (even Aristides Apol. 2 fin., if Nestle’s correction is right, Justin’s Apol. 1. 4 and similar passages do not justify doubt on that point). But the meaning and the effect of this anointing was very obscure. Justin says (Apol. II. 6): Χριστὸς μὲν κατὰ τὸ κεχρῖσθαι καὶ κοσμῆσαι τα πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸν θεὸν λέγεται, and therefore (see Dial. 76 fin.) finds in this designation an expression of the cosmic significance of Christ. Besides, there was a very old designation handed down from the circle of the disciples, and specially intelligible to Gentile Christians, though not frequent and gradually disappearing, viz., “the Master”.244244See the Apologists Apost. K. O. (Texte v. Unters. II. 5. p. 25), προορῶντας τοὺς λόγους τοῦ διδασκάλου ἡμῶν, ibid., p. 28: ὅτε ᾔτησεν ὁ διδασκάλος τὸν ἄρτον, ibid. p. 30: προέλεγεν, ὅτε ἐδίδασκν. Apost. Constit. (original writing) III. 6: αὐτὸς ὁ διδάσκαλος ἡμῶν καὶ κύριος. III. 7: ὁ κύριος καὶ διδάσκαλος ἡμῶν εἷπεν. III. 19: III. 20: V. 12: 1 Clem. 13. 1 . . . . τῶν λόγων τοῦ κύριου Ἰησοῦ, οὓς ἐλάκησεν διδάσκων. Polyc. Ep. 2: μνημονεύοντες ὧν εἶπεν ὁ κυρίος διδάσκων. Ptolem. ad Floram. 5: ἡ διδασκαλια τοῦ σωτῆρος.
3. But the earliest tradition not only spoke of Jesus as κύριος, σωτήρ, and διδάσκαλος, but as “ὁ ὑιὸς τοῦ θεοῦ”, and this name was firmly adhered to in the Gentile Christian communities.245245The baptismal formula, which had been naturalised everywhere in the communities at this period, preserved it above all. The addition of ἴδιος, πρωτόποκος is worthy of notice. Μονογενής (= the only begotten and also the beloved) is not common; it is found only in John, in Justin, in the Symbol of the Romish Church, and in Mart. Polyc. (Diogn. 10. 3). It followed immediately from this that Jesus belongs to the sphere of God, and that, as is said in the earliest preaching known to us,246246The so-called second Epistle of Clement begins with the words: Ἀδελφοί, οὕτως δεῖ ἦμᾶς φρονεῖν περὶ Ἰησοῦ, ὡς περὶ θεοῦ, ὡς περὶ κριτοῦ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν, (this order in which the Judge appears as the higher is also found in Barn. 7. 2), καὶ οὐ δεῖ ἡμᾶς μικρὰ φρονεῖν περὶ τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν· ἐν τᾧ γὰρ φρονεῖν ἡμᾶς μικρὰ περὶ αὐτοῦ, μικρὰ καί ἐλριζομεν λαβεῖν. This argumentation (see also the following verses up to II. 7) is very instructive; for it shews the grounds on which the φρονεῖν περὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς περὶ θεοῦ was based. H. Schultz, (L. v. d. Gottheit Christi, p. 25 f.) very correctly remarks: “In the second Epistle of Clement, and in the Shepherd, the Christological interest of the writer ends in obtaining the assurance, through faith in Christ as the world-ruling King and Judge, that the community of Christ will receive a glory corresponding to its moral and ascetic works. one must think of him “ὡς περὶ θεοῦ”. 187This formula describes in a classic manner the indirect “theologia Christi” which we find unanimously expressed in all witnesses of the earliest epoch.247247Pliny in his celebrated letter (96), speaks of a “Carmen dicere Christo quasi deo” on the part of the Christians. Hermas has no doubt that the Chosen Servant, after finishing his work, will be adopted as God’s Son, and therefore has been destined from the beginning, εἰς ἐξουσίαν μεγάλην καὶ κυριύτητα (Sim. V. 6. 1). But that simply means that he is now in a Divine sphere, and that one must think of him as of God. But there was no unanimity beyond that. The formula says nothing about the nature or constitution of Jesus. It might indeed appear from Justin’s dialogue that the direct designation of Jesus as θεός (not as ὁ θεός) was common in the communities; but not only are there some passages in Justin him-self to be urged against this, but also the testimony of other writers. Θεός, even without the article, was in no case a usual designation for Jesus. On the contrary, it was always quite definite occasions which led them to speak of Christ as of a God. In the first place there were Old Testament passages such as Ps. XLV. 8: CX. 1 f., etc., which, as soon as they were interpreted in relation to Christ, led to his getting the predicate θεός. These passages, with many others taken from the Old Testament, were used in this way by Justin. Yet it is very well worth noting, that the author of the Epistle of Barnabas avoided this expression, in a passage which must have suggested it. (12, 10, 11 on Ps. CX. 4.) The author of the Didache calls him “ὁ θεός Δάβιδ” on the basis of the above psalm. It is manifestly therefore in liturgical formulæ of exalted paradox, or living utterances of religious feeling that Christ is called God. See Ignat. ad Rom. 6. 3; ἐπιτρέψατέ μοι μιμητὴν εἶναι τοῦ παθους τοῦ θεοῦ μου (the μον here should be observed); ad Eph. 1. 1: ἀναζωπυρήσαντες ἐν αἴματι θεοῦ: Tatian Orat. 13: διάκονος τοῦ πεπονθότος θεοῦ. As to the celebrated passage 1 Clem. ad Cor. 2, 10: τὰ παθήματα αὐτοῦ, (the αὐτοῦ refers to θεός) we may perhaps observe that that ὁ θεός stands far apart. However, such a consideration is hardly in place. The passages just adduced shew that precisely the union of suffering (blood, death) with the concept “God”—and only this union—must have been in Christendom from a very early period; see Acts XX. 28 . . . τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἣν περιεποιήσατο διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου, and from a later period, Melito, Fragm. (in Routh Rel., Sacra I. 122): ὁ θεὸς πέπονθεν ὑπὸ δεξιάς Ἰσραηλιτίδος, Anonym. ap. Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 11; ὁ εὔσπλαγχνος θεός καὶ κυριός ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς οὐκ ἐβούλετο ἀπολέσθαι μάρτυρα τῶν ἰδίων παθημάτων; Test. XII. Patriarch. (Levi 4): ἐπὶ τῷ πάθει τοῦ ὑψίστου; Tertull. de carne 5; “passiones dei,” ad Uxor II. 3: “sanguine dei.” Tertullian also speaks frequently of the crucifying of God, the flesh of God, the death of God. (See Lightfoot, Clem. of Rome, p. 400 sq.) These formulæ were first subjected to examination in the Patripassian controversy. They were rejected by Athanasius, for example, in the fourth century (cf. Apollin. II. 13. 14. Opp. I. p. 758); πῶς οὖν γεγράφατε ὅτι θεός ὁ διὰ σάρκος παθὼν καὶ ἃναστάς, . . . . οὐδαμοῦ δὲ αἷμα θεοῦ δίχα σαρκὸς παραδεδώκασιν αἱ γραφαὶ ἣ θεὸν διὰ σαρκὸς παθόντα καὶ ἀναστάντα. They continued in use in the west and became of the utmost significance in the christological controversies of the fifth century. It is not quite certain whether there is a “theologia Christi” in such passages as Tit. II. 13: 2 Pet. I. 1 (see the controversies on Rom. IX. 5). Finally, θεός and Christus were often interchanged in religious discourse (see above). In the so-called second Epistle of Clement (c. 1. 4) the dispensing of light, knowledge, is traced back to Christ. It is said of him that, like a Father, he has called us children, he has delivered us, he has called us into existence out of non-existence, and in this God himself is not thought of. Indeed he is called (2. 2. 3) the hearer of prayer and controller of history; but immediately thereon a saying of the Lord is introduced as a saying of God (Matt. IX. 13). On the contrary, Isaiah XXIX. 13, is quoted 3. 5) as a declaration of Jesus, and again (13. 4) a saying of the Lord with the formula: λέγει ὁ θεός. It is Christ who pitied us (3. 1: 16. 2); he is described simply as the Lord who hath called and redeemed us (5. 1: 8. 2: 9. 5: etc.). Not only is there frequent mention of the ἐντλαι (ἐντάλματα) of Christ, but 6, 7 (see 14. 1) speak directly of a ποιεῖν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Χριστὸῦ. Above all, in the entire first division (up to 9. 5) the religious situation is for the most part treated as if it were something essentially between the believer and Christ. On the other hand, (10. 1) the Father is he who calls (see also 16. 1), who brings salvation (9. 7), who accepts us as sons (9. 10: 16. 1); he has given us promises (11. 1. 6. 7); we expect his kingdom, nay, the day of his appearing (12. 1 f.: 6. 9: 9. 6: 11. 7: 12. 1). He will judge the world, etc.; while in 17. 4 we read of the day of Christ’s appearing, of his kingdom and of his function of Judge, etc. Where the preacher treats of the relation of the community to God, where he describes the religious situation according to its establishment or its consummation, where he desires to rule the religious and moral conduct, he introduces, without any apparent distinction, now God himself, and now Christ. But this religious view, in which acts of God coincide with acts of Christ, did not, as will be shewn later on, influence the theological speculations of the preacher. We have also to observe that the interchanging of God and Christ is not always an expression of the high dignity of Christ, but, on the contrary, frequently proves that the personal significance of Christ is misunderstood, and that he is regarded only as the dependent revealer of God. All this shews that there cannot have been many passages in the earliest literature where Christ was roundly designated θεός. It is one thing to speak of the blood (death, suffering) of God, and to describe the gifts of salvation brought by Christ as gifts of God, and another thing to set up the proposition that Christ is a God (or God). When, from the end of the second century, one began to look about in the earlier writings for passages ἐν οἷς θεολογεῖται ὁ χριστός, because the matter had become a subject of controversy, one could, besides the Old Testament, point only to the writings of authors from the time of Justin, (to apologists and controversialists) as well as to Psalms and odes (see the Anonymn. in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 4–6). In the following passages of the Ignatian Epistles “θεός” appears as a designation of Christ; he is called ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν in Ephes. inscript; Rom. inscr. bis 3. 2; Polyc. 8. 3; Eph. 1. 1, αῖμα θεοῦ; Rom. 6. 3, τὸ πάθος τοῦ θεοῦ μου; Eph. 7. 2, ἐ99 σαρκὶ γενόμενος θεός, in another reading, ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός, Smyrn. I. 1., Ἰ. Χρ. ὁ θεός ὁ οὕτως ὑμᾶς ποφίσας. The latter passage, in which the relative clause must he closely united with “θεός,”; seems to form the transition to the three passages (Trail. 7. I; Smyrn. 6. 1; 10. 1), in which Jesus is called θεος without addition. But these passages are critically suspicious, see Lightfoot in loco. In the same way the “deus Jesus Christus” in Polyc. Ep. 12. 2, is suspicious, and indeed in both parts of the verse. In the first, all Latin codd. have “dei filius,” and in the Greek codd. of the Epistle, Christ is nowhere called θεός. We have a keen polemic against the designation of Christ as θεός in Clem. Rom. Homil. XVI. 15 sq.; Ὁ Πέτρος ἀπεκρίθη· ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν οὔτε θεοὺς εἶναι ἐφθέγξατο παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα τὰ πάντα οὔτε ἑαυτὸν θεὸν εἶναι ἀνηγόρευσεν, ὑιὸν δὲ θεοῦ τοῦ τὰ πάντα διακοσμήσαντος τὸν εἱπόντα αὐτὸν εὐλόγως ἐμακάρισεν καὶ ὁ Σίμων ἀπεκρίνατο· οὐ δοκεῖ σοι οὖν τὸν ἀπὸ θεὸν εἶναι; καὶ ὁ Πέτρος ἔφη· πῶς τοῦτο εἶναι δύναται, φράσον ἡμῖν, τοῦτο γὰρ ἡμεῖς εἰπεῖν σοι οὐ δυνάμεθα ὃτι μὴ ἡκούσαμεν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ. We must think about Christ as we think about God, because, on the one hand, God had exalted him, and committed to him as Lord, judgment over 188the living and the dead, and because, on the other hand, he has brought the knowledge of the truth, called sinful men, delivered them from the dominion of demons, and hath led, or will lead them, out of the night of death and corruption to eternal life. Jesus Christ is “our faith”, “our hope”, “our 189life”, and in this sense “our God”. The religious assurance that he is this, for we find no wavering on this point, is the root of the “theologia Christi”; but we must also remember that the formula “θεός” was inserted beside “κύριος,” that the “dominus ac deus” was very common at that time,248248On the further use of the word θεός in antiquity, see above, §©8, p. 120 f.; the formula “θεός ἐκ θεοῦ” for Augustus, even 24 years before Christ’s birth; on the formula “dominus ac deus,” see John XX. 28; the interchange of these concepts in many passages beside one another in the anonymous writer (Euseb. II. E. V. 28. 11.) Domitian first allowed himself to be called “dominus ac deus.” Tertullian Apol. 10. 11, is very instructive as to the general situation in the second century. Here are brought forward the different causes which then moved men, the cultured and the uncultured, to give to this or that personality the predicate of Divinity. In the third century the designation of “domus ac deus noster” for Christ was very common, especially in the west. (See Cyprian, Pseudo-Cyprian, Novatian; in the Latin Martyrology a Greek ὁ κύριος is also frequently so translated.) But only at this time had the designation come to be in actual use even for the Emperor. It seems at first sight to follow from the statements of Celsus (in Orig. c. Cels. III. 22-43) that this Greek had and required a very strict conception of the Godhead; but his whole work shews how little that was really the case. The reference to these facts of the history of the time is not made with the view of discovering the “theologia Christi” itself in its ultimate roots—these roots lie elsewhere, in the person of Christ and Christian experience; but that this experience, before any technical reflection, had so easily and so surely substituted the new formula instead of the idea of Messiah, can hardly be explained without reference to the general religious ideas of the time. and that a Saviour (σωτήρ) could only be represented somehow as 190a Divine being.249249The combination of θεὸς and σωτήρ in the Pastoral Epistles is very important. The two passages in the New Testament in which perhaps a direct “theologia Christi” may be recognised, contain likewise the concept σωτὴρ; see Tit. II. 13; προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (cf. Abbot, Journal of the Society of Bibl. Lit., and Exeg. 1881. June. p. 3 sq.): 2 Pet. I. 1: ἐν δικαιοσυνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος. Ἰ. Χρ. In both cases the ἡμῶν should be specially noted., Besides, θεὸς σωτήρ is also an ancient formula. Yet Christ never was, as “θεός”, placed on an equality with the Father,250250A very ancient formula ran “θεὸς καὶ θεὸς ὑιὸς,” see Cels. ap. Orig II. 30; Justin, frequently: Alterc. Sim. et Theoph. 4, etc. The formula is equivalent to θεὸς μονογενής (see Joh. I. 18).—monotheism guarded against that. Whether he was intentionally and deliberately identified with Him the following paragraph will shew.
4. The common confession did not go beyond the statements that Jesus is the Lord, the Saviour, the Son of God, that one must think of him as of God, that dwelling now with God in heaven, he is to be adored as προστάτης καὶ βοηθὸς τῆς ἀσθενείας, and as ἀρχιερεὺς τῶν προσφορῶν ἡμῶν [as guardian and helper of the weak and as High Priest of our oblations], to be feared as the future Judge, to be esteemed most highly as the bestower of immortality, that he is our hope and our faith. There are found rather, on the basis of that confession, very diverse conceptions of the Person, that is, of the nature of Jesus, beside each other,251251Such conceptions are found side by side in the same writer. See, for example, the second Epistle of Clement, and even the first. which collectively exhibit a certain analogy with the Greek theologies, the naive and the philosophic.252252See §©6, p. 120. The idea of a θεοποιήσις was as common as that of the appearances of the gods. In wide circles, however, philosophy had long ago naturalised the idea of the λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. But now there is no mistaking a new element everywhere. In the case of the Christologies which include a kind of θεοπιιήσις, it is found in the fact that the deified Jesus was to be recognised not as a Demigod or Hero, but as Lord of the world, equal in power and honour to the Deity. In the case of those Christologies which start with Christ as the heavenly spiritual being, it is found in the belief in an actual incarnation. These two articles, as was to be expected, presented difficulties to the Gentile Christians and the latter more than the former. There was as yet no such thing here as ecclesiastical “doctrines” in the strict sense of the word, but rather conceptions more or less fluid, which were not seldom fashioned 191ad hoc.253253This is usually overlooked. Christological doctrinal conceptions are frequently constructed by a combination of particular passages, the nature of which does not permit of combination. But the fact that there was no universally recognised theory about the nature of Jesus till beyond the middle of the second century, should not lead us to suppose that the different theories were anywhere declared to be of equal value, etc., therefore more or less equally valid; on the contrary, everyone, so far as he had a theory at all, included his own in the revealed truth. That they had not yet come into conflict is accounted for, on the one hand, by the fact that the different theories ran up into like formulæ, and could even frequently be directly carried over into one another; and on the other hand, by the fact that their representatives appealed to the same authorities. But we must, above all, remember that conflict could only arise after the enthusiastic element, which also had a share in the formation of Christology, had been suppressed, and problems were felt to be such, that is, after the struggle with Gnosticism, or even during that struggle. These may be reduced collectively to two.254254Both were clearly in existence in the Apostolic age. Jesus was either regarded as the man whom God hath chosen, in whom the Deity or the Spirit of God dwelt, and who, after being tested, was adopted by God and invested with dominion, (Adoptian Christology);255255Only one work has been preserved entire which gives clear expression to the Adoptian Christology, viz., the Shepherd of Hermas (see Sim. V. and IX. 1. 12). According to it, the Holy Spirit—it is not certain whether he is identified with the chief Archangel—is regarded as the pre-existent Son of God, who is older than creation, nay, was God’s counsellor at creation. The Redeemer is the virtuous man (σάρξ) chosen by God, with whom that Spirit of God was united. As he did not defile the Spirit, but kept him constantly as his companion, and carried out the work to which the Deity had called him, nay, did more than he was commanded, he was in virtue of a Divine decree adopted as a son and exalted to μεγάλη ἐξουσια καὶ κυριότης. That this Christology is set forth in a book which enjoyed the highest honour and sprang from the Romish community, is of great significance. The representatives of this Christology, who in the third century were declared to be heretics, expressly maintained that it was at one time the ruling Christology at Rome and had been handed down by the Apostles. (Anonym. H. E. V. 28. 3, concerning the Artemonites: φασὶ τοὺς μὲν προτέρους ἅπαντας καί αὐτοὺς τοὺς ἀποστόλους παρειληφέναι τε καὶ δεδιδαχέναι ταῦτα, ἅ νῦν οὗτοι λέγουσι, καὶ τετηρῆσθαι τὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ κηρύγματος μέχρι τῶν χρόνων τοῦ Βίκτορος . . . ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ διαδόχου αὐτοῦ Ζεφυρίνου παρακεχαράχθαι τὴν ἀλήθειαν.) This assertion, though exaggerated, is not incredible after what we find in Hermas. It cannot, certainly, be verified by a superficial examination of the literary monuments preserved to us, but a closer investigation shews that the Adoptian Christology must at one time have been very widespread, that it continued here and there undisturbed up to the middle of the third century (see the Christology in the Acta Archelai. 49. 50), and that it continued to exercise great influence even in the fourth and fifth centuries (see Book II. c. 7). Something similar is found even in some Gnostics, e.g., Valentinus himself (see Iren. I. 11. 1: καὶ τὸν Χριστὸν δὲ οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐν τῷ πληρώματι αἰώνων προβεβλῆσθαι, ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς, ἔξω δὲ γενομένης, κατὰ τὴν γνώμην τῶν κρειττόνων ἀποκεκυῆσθαι μετὰ σκιᾶς τινός. Καὶ τοῦτον μέν, ἅτε ἅρρενα ὑπάρχοντα, ἀποκὸψαντα ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ τὴν σκιὰν, ἀναδραμεῖν εἱς τὸ πλήρωμα. The same in the Exc. ex Theodot §§©22, 23, 32, 33), and the Christology of Basilides presupposes that of the Adoptians. Here also belongs the conception which traces back the genealogy of Jesus to Joseph. The way in which Justin (Dialogues 48, 49, 87 ff.) treats the history of the baptism of Jesus, against the objection of Trypho that a pre-existent Christ would not have needed to be filled with the Spirit of God. is instructive. It is here evident that Justin deals with objections which were raised within the communities themselves to the pre-existence of Christ, on the ground of the account of the baptism In point of fact, this account (it had, according to very old witnesses, see Resch, Agrapha Christi, p. 307, according to Justin; for example, Dial. 88, 103, the wording: ἅμα τῷ ἀναβῆναι αὐτὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ποταμοῦ τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ λεχθείσης υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε; see the Cod. D. of Luke. Clem. Alex. etc.) forms the strongest foundation of the Adoptian Christology, and hence it is exceedingly interesting to see how one compounds with it from the second to the fifth century, an investigation which deserves a special monograph. But, of course, the edge was taken off the report by the assumption of the miraculous birth of Jesus from the Holy Spirit, so that the Adoptians in recognising this, already stood with one foot in the camp of their opponents. It is now instructive to see here how the history of the baptism, which originally formed the beginning of the proclamation of Jesus’ history, is suppressed in the earliest formulæ, and therefore also in the Romish Symbol, while the birth from the Holy Spirit is expressly stated. Only in Ignatius (ad Smyrn. I: cf. ad Eph. 18. 2) is the baptism taken into account in the confession; but even he has given the event a turn by which it has no longer any significance for Jesus himself (just as in the case of Justin, who concludes from the resting of the Spirit in his fulness upon Jesus, that there will be no more prophets among the Jews, spiritual gifts being rather communicated to Christians; compare also the way in which the baptism of Jesus is treated in John I.). Finally, we must point out that in the Adoptian Christology the parallel between Jesus and all believers who have the Spirit and are Sons of God, stands out very clearly. (Cf. Herm. Sim. V. with Maud. III. V. 1: X. 2: most important is Sim. V. 6. 7.) But this was the very thing that endangered the whole view. Celsus, I. 57, addressing Jesus, asks; “If thou sayest that every man whom Divine Providence allows to be born (this is of course a formulation for which Celsus alone is responsible) is a son of God, what advantage hast thou then over others?” We can see already in the Dialogue of Justin the approach of the later great controversy, whether Christ is Son of God κατὰ γνώμην or κατὰ φύσιν, that is, had a pre-existence: “καί γὰρ εἶσι τινες, he says, ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱμετέρου γένους ὁμολογοῦντες αὐτὸν Χριστὸν εἶναι, ἄνθρωπον δὲ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων γενόμενον ἀποφαινόμενοι, οἷς οὐ συντίθεμαι” (c. 48). or Jesus was regarded as a heavenly spiritual being (the highest after God) who took 192flesh, and again returned to heaven after the completion of his work on earth (pneumatic Christology).256256This Christology, which may be traced back to the Pauline, but which can hardly have its point of departure in Paul alone, is found also in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the writings of John, including the Apocalypse, and is represented by Barnabas, I and 2 Clem., Ignatius, Polycarp, the author of the Pastoral Epistles, the Authors of Præd. Petri, and the Altercatio Jasonis et Papisci, etc. The Classic formulation is in 2 Clem. 9. 5: Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος ὁ σώσας ἡμᾶς ὣν μὲν τὸ πρῶτον πνεθμα ἐγήνετο σὰρξ καὶ οὥτως ἡμᾶς ἡκάλεσεν. According to Barnabas (5. 3), the pre-existent Christ is παντὸς τοῦ κοσμου κύριος; to him God said, ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κὸσμου, “Let us make man, etc.” He is (5. 6) the subject and goal of all Old Testament revelation. He is οὐχὶ ὑιὸς ἀνθρώπου ἀλλ: ὑιὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, τωπῷ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς (12. 10); the flesh is merely the veil of the Godhead, without which man could not have endured the light (5. 10). According to 1 Clement, Christ is τὸ σκῆπτρον τῆς μελαγοσύνης τοῦ θεοῦ (16. 2), who, if he had wished, could have appeared on earth ἐν κόμπῳ ἀλαζονείας; he is exalted far above the angels (32), as he is the Son of God (παθήματα τοῦ θεοῦ, 2. 1); he hath spoken through the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (22. 1). It is not certain whether Clement understood Christ under the λόγος μεγαλοσύνης τοῦ θεοῦ (27. 4). According to 2 Clem., Christ and the Church are heavenly spiritual existences which have appeared in the last times. Gen. 1. 27 refers to their creation (c. 14; see my note on the passage: We learn from Origen that a very old Theologoumenon identified Jesus with the ideal of Adam, the Church with that of Eve. Similar ideas about Christ are found in Gnostic Jewish Christians); one must think about Christ as about God (I. 1). Ignatius writes (Eph. 7. 2): Εἰς, ἰατρός ἐστιν σαρκικός τε καὶ πνευματικός, γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος, ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος θεὸς, ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή, καὶ ἐκ Μαρίας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ, πρῶτον παθητος καὶ τότε ἀπαθής Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν. As the human predicates stand here first, it might appear as though, according to Ignatius, the man Jesus became God (ὁ θεός ἡμῶν, Cf. Eph. inscr.: 18. 2). In point of fact, he regards Jesus as Son of God only by his birth from the Spirit; but on the other hand, Jesus is ἀφ᾽ ἑνὸς πατρός προελθῶν (Magn. 7. 2), is λόγος θεοὕ (Magn. 8. 2), and when Ignatius so often emphasises the truth of Jesus’ history against Docetism (Trall. 9. for example), we must assume that he shares the thesis with the Gnostics that Jesus is by nature a spiritual being. But it is well worthy of notice that Ignatius, as distinguished from Barnabas and Clement, really gives the central place to the historical Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, and his work. The like is found only in Irenæus. The pre-existence of Christ is presupposed by Polycarp. (Ep. 7. 1); but, like Paul, he strongly emphasises a real exaltation of Christ (2. 1). The author of Præd. Petri calls Christ the λόγος (Clem. Strom. I. 29, 182). As Ignatius calls him this also, as the same designation is found in the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse of John (the latter a Christian adaptation of a Jewish writing), in the Act. Joh. (see Zahn, Acta Joh. p. 220), finally, as Celsus (II. 31) says quite generally, “The Christians maintain that the Son of God is at the same time his incarnate Word,” we plainly perceive that this designation for Christ was not first started by professional philosophers (see the Apologists, for example, Tatian, Orat. 5, and Melito Apolog. fragm. in the Chron. pasch. p. 483, ed. Dindorf: Χριστὸς ὤν θεοῦ λόγος πρό αἰώνων). We do not find in the Johannine writings such a Logos speculation as in the Apologists, but the current expression is taken up in order to shew that it has its truth in the appearing of Jesus Christ. The ideas about the existence of a Divine Logos were very widely spread; they were driven out of philosophy into wide circles. The Author of the Alterc. Jas. et Papisci conceived the phrase in Gen. I. 1, ἐνἀρχῇ, as equivalent to ἐν ὑιῷ (χριστῷ) Jerome, Quæst. hebr. in Gen. p. 3; see Tatian Orat. 5: θεὸς ἡν ἐν ἀρχῇ τὴν δὲ ἀρχὴν λόγου δύναμιν παρειλήφαμεν. Ignatius (Eph. 3) also called Christ ἡ γνώμη τοῦ πατρός (Eph. 17: ἡ γνῶσις τοῦ θεοῦ); that is a more fitting expression than λόγος. The subordination of Christ as a heavenly being to the Godhead is seldom or never carefully emphasised, though it frequently comes plainly into prominence. Yet the author of the second Epistle of Clement does not hesitate to place the pre-existent Christ and the pre-existent Church on one level, and to declare of both that God created them (c. 14). The formulæ φανεροῦσθαι ἐν σαρκί, or γίγνεσθαι σάρξ, are characteristic of this Christology. It is worthy of special notice that the latter is found in all those New Testament writers who have put Christianity in contrast with the Old Testament religions, and proclaimed the conquest of that religion by the Christian, viz., Paul, John, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. These two 193Christologies which are, strictly speaking, mutually exclusive—the man who has become a God, and the Divine being who has appeared in human form—yet came very near each other when the Spirit of God implanted in the man Jesus was conceived 194as the pre-existent Son of God,257257Hermas, for example, does this (therefore Link; Christologie des Hermas, and Weizsäcker, Gott. Gel. Anz. 1886, p. 830, declare his Christology to be directly pneumatic): Christ is then identified with this Holy Spirit (see Acta Archel. 50), similarly Ignatius (ad Magn. 15): κεκτημένοι ἀδιάκριτον πνεῦμα, ὁς ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, This formed the transition to Gnostic conceptions on the one hand, to pneumatic Christology on the other. But in Hermas the real substantial thing in Jesus is the σάρξ. and when, on the other hand, the title, Son of God, for that pneumatic being was derived only from the miraculous generation in the flesh; yet both these seem to have been the rule.258258Passages may indeed be found in the earliest Gentile Christian literature in which Jesus is designated Son of God, independently of his human birth and before it (so in Barnabas, against Zahn), but they are not numerous. Ignatius very clearly deduces the predicate “Son” from the birth in the flesh. Zahn, Marcellus, p. 216 ff. Yet, in spite of all transitional forms, the two Christologies may be clearly distinguished. Characteristic of the one is the development through which Jesus is first to become a Godlike Ruler,259259The distinct designation “θεοποίησις” is not found, though that may be an accident. Hermas has the thing itself quite distinctly, (see Epiph. c. Alog. H. 51. 18: νομίζοντες ἀπὸ Μαρίας καὶ δεῦρο Χριστὸν αὐτὸν καλεῖσθαι καί ὑιὸν θεοῦ, καὶ εἶναι μὲν πρότερον ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον, κατὰ προκοπὴν δὲ εἰληφέναι τὴν τοῦ ὑιοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ προσηγορίαν). The stages of the προκοπὴ were undoubtedly the birth, baptism and resurrection. Even the adherents of the pneumatic Christology could not at first help recognising that Jesus, through his exaltation, got more than he originally possessed. Yet in their case this conception was bound to become rudimentary, and it really did so. 195and connected therewith, the value put on the miraculous event at the baptism; of the other, a naive docetism.260260The settlement with Gnosticism prepared a still always uncertain end for this naive Docetism. Apart from Barn 5. 12, where it plainly appears, we have to collect laboriously the evidences of it which have not accidentally either perished or been concealed. In the communities of the second century there was frequently no offence taken at Gnostic docetism (see the Gospel of Peter, Clem. Alex., Adumbrat. in Joh. Ep. I. c. 1. [Zahn, Forsch. z. Gesch. des N. T.-lichen Kanons, III p. 87]; “Fertur ergo in traditionibus, quoniam Johannes ipsum corpus, quod erat extrinsecus, tangens manum suam in profunda misisse et duritiam carnis nullo modo reluctatam esse, sed locum manui præbuisse discipuli.” Also Acta Joh. p. 209, ed. Zahn). In spite of all his polemic against “δόκησις” proper, one can still perceive a “moderate docetism” in Clem. Alex., to which indeed certain narratives in the Canonical Gospels could not but lead. The so-called Apocryphal literature (Apocryphal Gospels and Acts of Apostles), lying on the boundary between heretical and common Christianity, and preserved only in scanty fragments and extensive alterations, was, it appears, throughout favourable to Docetism. But the later recensions attest that it was read in wide circles. For no one as yet thought of affirming two natures in Jesus:261261Even such a formulation as we find in Paul (e.g., Rom. I. 3 f. κατὰ σάρκα—κατὰ πνεῦμα) does not seem to have been often repeated (yet see 1 Clem. 32. 2). It is of value to Ignatius only, who has before his mind the full Gnostic contrast. But even to him we cannot ascribe any doctrine of two natures: for this requires as its presupposition, the perception that the divinity and humanity are equally essential and important for the personality of the Redeemer Christ. Such insight, however, presupposes a measure and a direction of reflection which the earliest period did not possess. The expression “δύο οὐσίαι Χριστοῦ” first appears in a fragment of Melito, whose genuineness is not, however, generally recognised (see my Texte u. Unters. I. 1. 2. p. 257). Even the definite expression for Christ, θεὸς ὣν ὀμοῦ τε καὶ ἄνθρωπος, was fixed only in consequence of the Gnostic controversy. the Divine dignity appeared rather, either as a gift,262262Hermas (Sim. V. 6. 7) describes the exaltation of Jesus thus: ἵνα καὶ ἡ σάρξ αὕτη, δουλεύσασα τῷ πνεύμαρι ἀμέμπτως, σχῇ τόπον τινὰ κατασκήνώσεως, καὶ μὴ δοξῃ τὸν μισθὸν τῆς δουλείας αὐτῆς ἀπολωλεκέναι. The point in question is a reward of grace which consists in a position of rank (see Sim. V. 6. 1). The same thing is manifest from the statements of the later Adoptians. (Cf. the teaching of Paul Samosata.) or the human nature (σάρξ) as a veil assumed for a time, or as the metamorphosis of the Spirit.263263Barnabas, e.g., conceives it as a veil (5. 10: εἰ γὰρ μή ἦλθεν εν σαρκί, οὐδ᾽ ἄν πως οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἐσώθησαν βλέποντες αὐτόν· ὅτε τὸν μέλλοντα μὴ εἶναι ἥλιον ἐμβλέποντες οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν εἰς τὰς ἀκτῖνας αὐτοῦ ἀντοφθαλμῆσαι). The formulation of the Christian idea in Celsus is instructive (c. Cels. VI. 69): “Since God is great and not easily accessible to the view, he put his spirit in a body which is like our own, and sent it down in order that we might be instructed by it.” To this conception corresponds the formula: ἔρχεσθαι (φανεροῦσθαι) εν σαρκί (Barnabas, frequently; Polyc. Ep. 7. 1). But some kind of transformation must also have been thought of (see 2 Clem. 9. 5, and Celsus IV. 18: “Either God, as these suppose, is really transformed into a mortal body ...” Apoc. Sophon. ed Stern. 4 fragm. p. 10; “He has transformed himself into a man who comes to us to redeem us”). This conception might grow out of the formula σάρξ ἐγένετο (Ignat. ad Eph. 7. 2 is of special importance here). One is almost throughout here satisfied with the σάρξ of Christ, that is the ἀληθεία τῆς σαρκός, against the heretics (so Ignatius, who was already antignostic in his attitude). There is very seldom any mention of the humanity of Jesus. Barnabas (12), the author of the Didache (c. 10. 6. See my note on the passage), and Tatian questioned the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, which was strongly emphasised by Ignatius; nay, Barnabas even expressly rejects the designation “Son of Man” (12. 10; ἴδε πάλιν Ἰησοῦς, οὐχὶ ὑιὸς ἀνθρώπου ἀλλὰ ὑιὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, τύπῳ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς). A docetic thought, however, lies in the assertion that the spiritual being Christ only assumed human flesh, however, much the reality of the flesh may be emphasised. The passage 1 Clem. 49. 6, is quite unique: τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ ἔδωκεν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς . . . καὶ τὴν σάρκα ὑπὲρ τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ὑπὸρ τῶν ψυχῶν ἥμῶν. One would fain believe this an interpolation; the same idea is first found in Irenæus. (V. 1. 1). The formula that Jesus 196was a mere man (ψίλὸς ἄνθρωπος), was undoubtedly always and from the first regarded as offensive.264264Even Hermas does not speak of Jesus as ἄνθρωπος (see Link). This designation was used by the representatives of the Adoptian Christology only after they had expressed their doctrine antithetically and developed it to a theory, and always with a certain reservation. The “ἄνθρωπος Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς” in 1 Tim. II. 5 is used in a special sense. The expression ἄνθρωπος for Christ appears twice in the Ignatian Epistles (the third passage Smyrn. 4. 2: αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου ἀνθρωπου γενομένου, apart from the γενομένου, is critically suspicious, as well as the fourth, Eph. 7. 2; see above), in both passages, however, in connections which seem to modify the humanity; see Eph. 20. 1: οἰκονομία εἰς τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν; Eph. 20. 2: τῷ ὑιῷ ἀνθρώπου καὶ ὑιῷ θεοῦ. But the converse formulæ, which identified the person of Jesus in its essence with the Godhead itself, do not seem to have been rejected with the same decision.265265See above p. 185, note; p. 189, note. We have no sure evidence that the later so-called Modalism (Monarchianism) had representatives before the last third of the second century; yet the polemic of Justin, Dial. 128. seems to favour the idea, (the passage already presupposes controversies about the personal independence of the pre-existent pneumatic being of Christ beside God; but one need not necessarily think of such controversies within the communities; Jewish notions might be meant, and this, according to Apol. 1. 63, is the more probable). The judgment is therefore so difficult, because there were numerous formulæ in practical use which could be so understood, as if Christ was to be completely identified with the God-head itself (see Ignat. ad Eph. 7. 2, besides Melito in Otto. Corp. Apol. IX. p. 419, and Noëtus in the Philos. IX. 10, p. 448). These formula may, in point of fact, have been so understood, here and there, by the rude and uncultivated. The strongest again is presented in writings whose authority was always doubtful: see the Gospel of the Egyptians (Epiph. H. 62. 2), in which must have stood a statement somewhat to this effect: τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι πατέρα, τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι ὑιὸν, τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι ἅγιον πνεῦμα, and the Acta Joh. (ed. Zahn, p. 220 f., 240 f.: ὁ ἀγαθὸς ἡμῶν θεὸς ὁ εὔσπλαγχνος, ὁ ἐλεήμων, ὁ ἅγιος, ὁ καθαρός, ὁ ἀμίαντος, ὁ μόνος, ὁ εἷς, ὁ ἀμετάβλητος, ὁ εἰλικρινής, ὁ ἄδολος, ὁ μὴ ὀργιζόμενος, ὁ πᾶσης ἡμῖν λεγομένης ἣ νοουμένης προσηγορίας ἀνώτερος καὶ ὑψηλότερος ἡμῶν θεὸς Ἰησοῦς). In the Act. Joh. are found also prayers with the address θεὲ Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ (pp. 242, 247). Even Marcion and in part the Montanists—both bear witness to old traditions—put no value on the distinction between God and Christ; cf. the Apoc. Sophon. A witness to a naive Modalism is found also in the Acta Pionii 9: “Quem deum colis? Respondit: Christum. Polemon (judex): Quid ergo? iste alter est? [the co-defendant Christians had immediately before confessed God the Creator]. Respondit: Non; sed ipse quem et ipsi paullo ante confessi sunt; cf. c. 16. Yet a reasoned Modalism may perhaps he assumed here. See also the Martyr Acts; e.g., Acta Petri, Andrae, Pauli et Dionysiæ 1 (Ruinart, p. 205): ἡμεῖς οἱ Χριστὸν τὸν βασιλέα ἔχομεν, ὅτι ἀληθινὸς θεός ἐστιν καὶ ποιητὴς οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης. “Oportet me magis deo vivo et vero, regi sæculorum omnium Christo, sacrificium offerre.” Act. Nicephor. 3 (p. 285). I take no note of the Testament of the twelve Patriarchs, out of which one can, of course, beautifully verify the strict Modalistic, and even the Adoptian Christology. But the Testamenta are not a primitive or Jewish Christian writing which Gentile Christians have revised, but a Jewish writing christianised at the end of the second century by a Catholic of Modalistic views. But he has given us a very imperfect work, the Christology of which exhibits many contradictions. It is instructive to find Modalism in the theology of the Simonians, which was partly formed according to Christian ideas; see Irenæus I. 23, 1: “hic igitur a multis quasi deus glorificatus est, et docuit semetipsunr esse qui inter Judæos quidem quasi filius apparuerit, in Samaria autem quasi pater descenderit in reliquis vero gentibus quasi Spiritus Sanctus adventaverit. Yet such formulæ may have been 197very rare, and even objects of suspicion, in the leading ecclesiastical circles, at least until after the middle of the second century we can point to them only in documents which hardly found approbation in wide circles. The assumption of the existence of at least one heavenly and eternal spiritual being beside God was plainly demanded by the Old Testament writings, as they were understood; so that even those whose Christology did not require them to reflect on that heavenly being were forced to recognise it.266266That is a very important fact which clearly follows from the Shepherd, Even the later school of the Adoptians in Rome, and the later Adoptians in general, were forced to assume a divine hypostasis beside the Godhead, which of course sensibly threatened their Christology. The adherents of the pneumatic Christology partly made a definite distinction between the pre-existent Christ and the Holy Spirit (see, e.g., 1 Clem. 22. 1), and partly made use of formulæ from which one could infer an identity of the two. The conceptions about the Holy Spirit were still quite fluctuating: whether he is a power of God, or personal; whether he is identical with the pre-existent Christ, or is to be distinguished from him; whether he is the servant of Christ (Tatian Orat. 13); whether he is only a gift of God to believers, or the eternal Son of God, was quite uncertain. Hermas assumed the latter, and even Origen (de princip. præf. c. 4) acknowledges that it is not yet decided whether or not the Holy Spirit is likewise to be regarded as God’s Son. The baptismal formula prevented the identification of the Holy Spirit with the pre-existent Christ, which so readily suggested itself. But so far as Christ was regarded as a πνεῦμα, his further demarcation from the angel powers was quite uncertain, as the Shepherd of Hermas proves (though see 1 Clem. 36). For even Justin, in a passage, no doubt, in which his sole purpose was to shew that the Christians were not ἄθεοι, could venture to thrust in between God, the on and the Spirit, the good angels as beings who were worshipped and adored by the Christians (Apol I. 6 [if the text be genuine and not an interpolation]; see also the Suppl. of Athanagoras). Justin, and certainly most of those who accepted a pre-existence of Christ, conceived of it as a real pre-existence. Justin was quite well acquainted with the controversy about the independent quality of the power which proceeded from God. To him it is not merely, “Sensus, motus, affectus dei,” but a “personalis substantia” (Dial. 128). The pneumatic Christology 198accordingly meets us wherever there is an earnest occupation with the Old Testament, and wherever faith in Christ as the perfect revealer of God occupies the foreground, therefore not in Hermas, but Certainly in Barnabas, Clement, etc. The future belonged to this Christology because the current exposition of the Old Testament seemed directly to require it, because it alone permitted the close connection between creation and redemption, because it furnished the proof that the world and religion rest upon the same Divine basis, because it was represented in the most valuable writings of the early period of Christianity, and finally, because it had room for the speculations about the Logos. On the other hand, no direct and natural relation to the world and to universal history could be given to the Adoptian Christology, which was originally determined eschatologically. If such a relation, however, were added to it, there resulted formulæ such as that of two Sons of God, one natural and eternal, and one adopted, which corresponded neither to the letter of the Holy Scriptures, nor to the Christian preaching. Moreover, the revelations of God in the Old Testament made by Theophanies must have seemed, because of this their form, much more exalted than the revelations made through a man raised to power and glory, which Jesus constantly seemed 199to be in the Adoptian Christology. Nay, even the mysterious personality of Melchisedec, without father or mother, might appear more impressive than the Chosen Servant, Jesus, who was born of Mary, to a mode of thought which, in order to make no mistake, desired to verify the Divine by outer marks. The Adoptian Christology, that is the Christology which is most in keeping with the self-witness of Jesus (the Son as the chosen Servant of God), is here shewn to be unable to assure to the Gentile Christians those conceptions of Christianity which they regarded as of highest value. It proved itself insufficient when confronted by any reflection on the relation of religion to the cosmos, to humanity, and to its history. It might, perhaps, still have seemed doubtful about the middle of the second century as to which of the two opposing formulæ, “Jesus is a man exalted to a Godlike dignity” and “Jesus is a divine spiritual being incarnate”, would succeed in the Church. But one only needs to read the pieces of writing which represent the latter thesis, and to compare them, say, with the Shepherd of Hermas, in order to see to which view the future must belong. In saying this, however, we are anticipating; for the Christological reflections were not yet vigorous enough to overcome enthusiasm and the expectation of the speedy end of all things; and the mighty practical tendency of the new religion to a holy life did not allow any theory to become the central object of attention. But, still, it is necessary to refer here to the controversies which broke out at a later period; for the pneumatic Christology forms an essential article which cannot be dispensed with, in the expositions of Barnabas, Clement and Ignatius; and Justin shews that he cannot conceive of a Christianity without the belief in a real pre-existence of Christ. On the other hand, the liturgical formulæ, the prayers, etc., which have been preserved, scarcely ever take notice of the pre-existence of Christ; they either comprise statements which are borrowed from the Adoptian Christology, or they testify in an unreflective way to the Dominion and Deity of Christ.
5. The ideas of Christ’s work which were influential in the communities—Christ as Teacher: creation of knowledge, setting 200up of the new law; Christ as Saviour: creation of life, overcoming of the demons, forgiveness of sins committed in the time of error,—were by some, in conformity with Apostolic tradition and following the Pauline Epistles, positively connected with the death and resurrection of Christ, while others maintained them without any connection with these events. But one nowhere finds independent thorough reflections on the connection of Christ’s saving work with the facts proclaimed in the preaching, above all, with the death on the cross and the resurrection as presented by Paul. The reason of this undoubtedly is that in the conception of the work of salvation, the procuring of forgiveness fell into the background, as this could only be connected by means of the notion of sacrifice, with a definite act of Jesus, viz., with the surrender of his life. Consequently, the facts of the destiny of Jesus combined in the preaching formed only for the religious fancy, not for reflection, the basis of the conception of the work of Christ, and were therefore by many writers, Hermas, for example, taken no notice of. Yet the idea of suffering freely accepted, of the cross and of the blood of Christ, operated in wide circles as a holy mystery in which the deepest wisdom and power of the Gospel must somehow lie concealed.267267See the remarkable narrative about the cross in the fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and in Justin, Apol. I. 55. The peculiarity and uniqueness of the work of the historical Christ seemed, however, to be prejudiced by the assumption that Christ, essentially as the same person, was already in the Old Testament the Revealer of God. All emphasis must therefore fall on this—without a technical reflection which cannot be proved—that the Divine revelation has now, through the historical Christ, become accessible and intelligible to all, and that the life which was promised will shortly be made manifest.268268We must, above all things, be on our guard here against attributing dogmas to the churches, that is to say, to the writers of this period. The difference in the answers to the question, How far and by what means Jesus procured salvation? was very great, and the majority undoubtedly never at all raised the question, being satisfied with recognising Jesus as the revealer of God’s saving will (Didache, 10. 2: εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, πάτερ ἅγιε, ὑπερ τοῦ ἀγίου ὀνόματός σου, οὖ καεσκήνωσας ἐν ταῖς καρδίας ἡμῶν καὶ ὑπέρ τῆς γνώσεως καὶ πίστεως αί ἀθανασίας, ἧς ἐγνώρισας ἡμῖν διὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ ταιδος σου), without reflecting on the fact that this saving will was already revealed in the Old Testament. There is nowhere any mention of saving work of Christ in the whole Didache—nay, even the Kerygma about him is not taken notice of. The extensive writing of Hermas shews that this is not an accident. There is absolutely no mention here of the birth, death, resurrection, etc., of Jesus, although the author in Sim. V. had an occasion for mentioning them. He describes the work of Jesus as (1) preserving the people whom God had chosen, (2) purifying the people from sin, (3) pointing out the path of life and promulgating the Divine law (cc. 5. 6). This work however, seems to have been performed by the whole life and activity of Jesus; even to the purifyng of sin the author has only added the words; (καὶ αὐτὸς τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν ἐκαθάρισε) πολλὰ κοπιάσας καὶ πολλοὺς κόποὺς ἡντληκώς (Sim. V. 6. 2). But we must further note that Hermas held the proper and obligatory work of Jesus to be only the preservation of the chosen people (from demons in the last days, and at the end), while in the other two articles he saw a performance in excess of his duty, and wished undoubtedly to declare therewith, that the purifying from sin and the giving of the law are not, strictly speaking, integral parts of the Divine plan of salvation, but are due to the special goodness of Jesus (this idea is explained by Moralism). Now, as Hermas and others saw the saving activity of Jesus in his whole labours, others saw salvation given and assured in the moment of Jesus’ entrance into the world, and in his personality as a spiritual being become flesh. This mystic conception, which attained such wide-spread recognition later on, has a representative in Ignatius, if one can at all attribute clearly conceived doctrines to this emotional confessor. That something can be declared of Jesus, κατὰ πνεῦμα and κατὰ σάρκα—this is the mystery on which the significance of Jesus seems to Ignatius essentially to rest, but how far is not made clear. But the πάθος (αἷμα, σταυρός) and ἀναστάσις of Jesus are to the same writer of great significance, and by forming paradoxical formulæ of worship, and turning to account reminiscences of Apostolic sayings, he seems to wish to base the whole salvation brought by Christ on his suffering and resurrection (see Lightfoot on Eph. inscr. Vol. II, p. 25). In this connection also, he here and there regards all articles of the Kerygma as of fundamental significance. At all events, we have in the Ignatian Epistles the first attempt in the post-Apostolic literature to connect all the theses of the Kerygma about Jesus as closely as possible with the benefits which he brought. But only the will of the writer is plain here, all else is confused, and what is mainly felt is that the attempt to conceive the blessings of salvation as the fruit of the sufferings and resurrection, has deprived them of their definiteness and clearness. In proof we may adduce the following: If we leave out of account the passages in which Ignatius speaks of the necessity of repentance for the Heretics, or the Heathen, and the possibility that their sins may be forgiven (Philad. 3. 2: 8. 1; Smyrn. 4. 1: 5. 3; Eph. 10. 1), there remains only one passage in which the forgiveness of sin is mentioned, and that only contains a traditional formula (Smyrn. 7. 1: σάρξ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἡ ὑπέρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν παθοῦσα). The same writer, who is constantly speaking of the πάθος and ἀναστάσις of Christ, has nothing to say to the communities to which he writes, about the forgiveness of sin. Even the concept “sin,” apart from the passages just quoted, appears only once, viz., Eph. 14. 2: οὐδεὶς πίστιν ἐπαγγελλόμενος ἁμαρτάνει. Ignatius has only once spoken to a community about repentance (Smyrn. 9. 1). It is characteristic that the summons to repentance runs exactly as in Hermas and 2 Clem., the conclusion only being peculiarly Ignatian. It is different with Barnabas, Clement and Polycarp. They (see 1 Clem. 7. 4: 12. 7: 21. 6: 49. 6: Barn. 5. 1 ff.) place the forgiveness of sin procured by Jesus in the foreground, connect it most definitely with the death of Christ, and in some passages seem to have a conception of that connection, which reminds us of Paul. But this just shews that they are dependent here on Paul (or on 1st Peter), and on a closer examination we perceive that they very imperfectly understand Paul, and have no independent insight into the series of ideas which they reproduce. That is specially plain in Clement. For, in the first place, he everywhere passes over the resurrection (he mentions it only twice, once as a guarantee of our own resurrection, along with the Phœnix and other guarantees, 24. 1; and then as a means whereby the Apostles were convinced that the kingdom of God will come, 42. 3). In the second place, he in one passage declares that the χάρις μετανοίας was communicated to the world through the shedding of Christ’s blood (7. 4.). But this transformation of the ἄφοσις ἁμαρτιῶν into χάρις μετανοίας plainly shews that Clement had merely taken over from tradition the special estimate of the death of Christ as procuring salvation; for it is meaningless to deduce the χάρις μετανοίας from the blood of Christ. Barnabas testifies more plainly that Christ behoved to offer the vessel of his spirit as a sacrifice for our sins (4. 3: 5. 1), nay, the chief aim of his letter is to harmonise the correct understanding of the cross, the blood, and death of Christ in connection with baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and sanctification (application of the idea of sacrifice). He also unites the death and resurrection of Jesus (5. 6: αὐτὸς δὲ ἵνα καταργήσῃ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν δείξη, οτι ἐν σαρκὶ ἕδει αὐτὸν φανερωθῆναι, ὑπέμεινεν, ἵνα καὶ τοῖς πατράσιν τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν ἀποδῷ καὶ αὐτὸς εαυτῷ τὸν λαὸν τὸν καινὸν ἑτοιμάζων, ἐπιδείξῃ, τῆς γῆς ὤν, ὅτρ τήν ὡνάστασιγ αὐτὸς ποιήσας κρινεῖ): but the significance of the death of Christ is for him, at bottom, the fact that it is the fulfilment of prophecy. But the prophecy is related, above all, to the significance of the tree, and so Barnabas on one occasion says with admirable clearness (5, 13); αὐτὸς δὲ ἡθέλησεν οὕτω παθεῖν· ἔδει γὰρ ἵνα ἐπὶ ξύλου πάθῃ. The notion which Barnabas entertains of the σάρξ of Christ suggests the supposition that he could have given up all reference to the death of Christ, if it had not been transmitted as a fact and predicted in the Old Testament. Justin shews still less certainty. To him also, as to Ignatius, the. cross (the death) of Christ is a great—nay, the greatest mystery, and he sees all things possible in it (see Apol. 1. 35, 55). He knows, further, as a man acquainted with the Old Testament, how to borrow from it very many points of view for the significance of Christ’s death, (Christ the sacrifice, the Paschal lamb; the death of Christ the means of redeeming men; death as the enduring of the curse for us; death as the victory over the devil; see Dial. 44, 90, 91, 111, 134). But in the discussions which set forth in a more intelligible way the significance of Christ, definite facts from the history have no place at all, and Justin nowhere gives any indication of seeing in the death of Christ more than the mystery of the Old Testament, and the confirmation of its trustworthiness. On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken that the idea of an individual righteous man being able effectively to sacrifice himself for the whole, in order through his voluntary death to deliver them from evil, was not unknown to antiquity. Origen (c. Celsum 1. 31) has expressed himself on this point in a very instructive way. The purity and voluntariness of him who sacrifices himself are here the main things. Finally, we must be on our guard against supposing that the expressions σωτηρία, ἀπολύτρωσις and the like, were as a rule related to the deliverance from sin. In the superscription of the Epistle from Lyons, for example, (Euseb. H E. V. I. 3: οἱ αὐτὴν τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως ἡμῖν πίστιν καὶ ἐλπιδα ἔχοντες) the future redemption is manifestly to be understood by ἀπολύτρωσις.201
As to the facts of the history of Jesus, the real and the supposed, the circumstance that they formed the ever repeated proclamation about Christ gave them an extraordinary significance. In addition to the birth from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, the death, the resurrection, the exaltation to the right hand of God, and the coming again, there now appeared more definitely the ascension to heaven, and also, though more uncertainly, the descent into the kingdom of the dead. The belief that Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after the resurrection, gradually made way against the older conception, according to which resurrection and ascension really coincided, and against other ideas which maintained a longer 202period between the two events. That probably is the result of a reflection which sought to distinguish the first from the later manifestations of the exalted Christ, and it is of the utmost importance as the beginning of a demarcation of the times. It is also very probable that the acceptance of an actual ascensus in cœlum, not a mere assumptio, was favourable to the idea of an actual descent of Christ de cœlo, therefore to the pneumatic Christology and vice versa. But there is also closely connected with the ascensus in cœlum, the notion of a descensus ad inferna, which commended itself on the ground of Old Testament prediction. In the first century, however, it still remained uncertain, lying on the borders of those productions 203of religious fancy which were not able at once to acquire a right of citizenship in the communities.269269On the Ascension, see my edition of the Apost. Fathers I. 2, p. 138. Paul knows nothing of an Ascension, nor is it mentioned by Clement, Ignatius, Hermas, or Polycarp. In no case did it belong to the earliest preaching. Resurrection and sitting at the right hand of God are frequently united in the formulæ (Eph. I. 20: Acts. II. 32 ff.) According to Luke XXIV. 51, and Barn. 15. 9, the ascension into heaven took place on the day of the resurrection (probably also according to Joh. XX. 17; see also the fragment of the Gosp. of Peter), and is hardly to he thought of as happening but once. (Joh. III. 13: VI. 62; see also Rom. X. 6 f.; Eph. IV. 9 f.; I Pet. III. 19 f.; very instructive for the origin of the notion), According to the Valentinians and Ophites, Christ ascended into heaven 18 months after the resurrection (Iren. I. 3. 2: 30. 14); according to the Ascension of Isaiah, 545 days (ed. Dillmann, pp. 43, 57 etc.); according to Pistis Sophia 11 years after the resurrection. The statement that the Ascension took place 40 days after the resurrection is first found in the Acts of the Apostles. The position of the ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ, in the fragment of an old Hymn, 1 Tim. III. 16, is worthy of note, in so far as it follows the ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις. ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ. Justin speaks very frequently of the Ascension into heaven (see also Aristides). It is to him a necessary part of the preaching about Christ. On the descent into hell, see the collection of passages in my edition of the Apost. Fathers, III. p. 232. It is important to note that it is found already in the Gospel of Peter (ἐκήρυξας τοῖς κοιμωμένοις; ναί), and that even Marcion recognised it (in Iren. I. 27. 3), as well as the Presbyter of Irenæus (IV. 27. 2), and Ignatius (ad Magn. 9. 3); see also Celsus in Orig. II. 43. The witnesses to it are very numerous; sec Huidekoper, “The belief of the first three centuries concerning Christ’s mission to the under-world.” New York, 1876.
One can plainly see that the articles contained in the Kerygma were guarded and defended in their reality (κατ᾽ ἀληθείαν) by the professional teachers of the Church, against sweeping attempts 204at explaining them away, or open attacks on them.270270See the Pastoral Epistles, and the Epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp. But they did not yet possess the value of dogmas, for they were neither put in an indissoluble union with the idea of salvation, nor were they stereotyped in their extent, nor were fixed limits set to the imagination in the concrete delineation and conception of them.271271The “facts” of the history of Jesus were handed down to the following period as mysteries predicted in the Old Testament, but the idea of sacrifice was specially attached to the death of Christ, certainly without any closer definition. It is very noteworthy that in the Romish baptismal confession, the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, the baptism, the descent into the under-world, and the setting up of a glorious Kingdom on the earth, are not mentioned. These articles do not appear even in the parallel confessions which began to be formed. The hesitancy that yet prevailed here with regard to details is manifest from the fact, for example, that instead of the formula “Jesus was born of (ἐκ) Mary,” is found the other, “He was born through (διὰ) Mary,” (see Justin, Apol. I. 22, 31-33, 54, 63; Dial. 23, 43, 45, 48, 54, 57, 63, 66, 75, 85, 87, l00, 105, 120, 127). Iren. (I. 7. 2) and Tertull. (de carne 20) first contested the δὶα against the Valentinians.
§©7. The Worship, the Sacred Ordinances, and the Organisation of the Churches.
It is necessary to examine the original forms of the worship and constitution, because of the importance which they acquired in the following period even for the development of doctrine.
1. In accordance with the purely spiritual idea of God, it was a fixed principle that only a spiritual worship is well 205pleasing to Him, and that all ceremonies are abolished, ῖνα ὁ καινὸς νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μὴ ἀνθρωποποιητον ἔχῃ τὴν προσφοράν.272272This was strongly emphasised; see my remarks on Barn. 2. 3. The Jewish cultus is often brought very close to the heathen by Gentile Christian writers. Præd. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 41): καινῶς τὸν θεὸν διὰ τοῦ Ψριστοῦ σεβόμεθα. The statement in Joh. IV. 24: πνεῦμα ὁ θεὸς, καὶ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτὸν ἐν πνεύματι καί ἀληθείᾳ δεῖ προσκυνεῖν, was for long the guiding principle for the Christian worship of God. But as the Old Testament and the Apostolic tradition made it equally certain that the worship of God is a sacrifice, the Christian worship of God was set forth under the aspect of the spiritual sacrifice. In the most general sense it was conceived as the offering of the heart and of obedience, as well as the consecration of the whole personality, body and soul (Rom. XIII. 1) to God.273273Ps. LI. 19 is thus opposed to the ceremonial system (Barn. 2. 10). Polycarp consumed by fire is (Mart. 14. 1) compared to a κριὸς ἐπίσημος ἐκ μεγάλου ποιμνίου εἰς προσφοράν, ὁλοκαύτωμα δεκτὸν τῷ θεῷ ἀτοιμασμένον. Here, with a change of the figure, the individual Christian and the whole community were described as a temple of God.274274See Barn. 6. 15: 16. 7-9; Tatian Orat. 15; Ignat. ad Eph. 9. 15; Herm. Mand. V. etc. The designation of Christians as priests is not often found. In a more special sense, prayer as thanksgiving and intercession275275Justin, Apol. 1. 9: Dial. 117: Ὅτι μὲν οὖν καὶ εὐχαι καὶ εὐχαριστίαι, ὑπό τῶν ἀξίων γινόμεναι, τέλειαι μόναι καὶ εὐάρεστοι εἰσι τῷ θεῷ θυσίαι, καὶ αὐτός φημι; see also still the later Fathers; Clem. Strom. VII. 6. 31: ἡμεῖς δι᾽ εὐχῆς τιμῶμεν τὸν θεὸν, καὶ ταύτην τὴν θυσίαν ἀρίστην, καὶ ἀγιωτάτην μετὰ δικαιοσύνης ἀναπέμπομεν τῷ δικαίῳ λόγῳ; Iren. III. 18. 3. Ptolem. ad Floram. 3: προσφορὰς προσφέρειν προσέταξεν ἡμῖν ὁ σωτήρ, ἀλλὰ οὐχί τὰς δι᾽ ἀλόγων ζώων ἣ τούτων τῶν θωμιαμάτων ἀλλὰ διὰ πνευματικῶν αἴνων καὶ δοξῶν καὶ εὐχαριστίας καὶ διὰ τῆς εἰς τοὶς πλησίον κοινωνίας καὶ ε̰ποιίας. was regarded as the sacrifice which was to be accompanied, without constraint or ceremony, by fasts and acts of compassionate love.276276The Jewish regulations about fastings, together with the Jewish system of sacrifice were rejected; but on the other hand, in virtue of words of the Lord, fasts were looked upon as a necessary accompaniment of prayer, and definite arrangements were already made for them (see Barn. 3; Didache 8; Herm. Sim. V. 1. ff. The fast is to have a special value from the fact that whatever one saved by means of it, is to be given to the poor (see Hermas and Aristides, Apol. 15; “And if any one among the Christians is poor and in want, and they have not overmuch of the means of life, they fast two or three days, in order that they may provide those in need with the food they require”). The statement of James I. 27: θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ θέῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν, ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφάνους καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν, was again and again inculcated in diverse phraseology (Polycarp. Ep. 4, called the Widows θυσιαστήριον of the community). Where moralistic views preponderated, as in Hermas and 2 Clement, good works were already valued in detail; prayers, fasts, alms appeared separately, and there was already introduced, especially under the influence of the so-called deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament, the idea of a special meritoriousness of certain performances in fasts and alms (see 2 Clem. 16. 4). Still, the idea of the Christian moral life as a whole occupied the foreground (see Didache, cc. 1-5), and the exhortations to love God and one’s neighbour, which, as exhortations to a moral life, were brought forward in every conceivable relation, supplemented the general summons to renounce the world, just as the official diaconate of the churches originating in the cultus prevented the decomposition of them into a society of ascetics. Finally, 206prayers offered by the worshipper in the public worship of the community, and the gifts brought by them, out of which were taken the elements for the Lord’s supper, and which were used partly in the common meal, and partly in support of the poor, were regarded as sacrifice in the most special sense (προσφορὰ, δῶρα).277277For details, see below in the case of the Lord’s Supper. It is specially important that even charity, through its union with the cultus, appeared as sacrificial worship (see e.g., Polyc. Ep. 4. 3). For the following period, however, it became of the utmost importance, (1) that the idea of sacrifice ruled the whole worship, (2) that it appeared in a special manner in the celebration of the Lord’s supper, and consequently invested that ordinance with a new meaning, (3) that the support of the poor, alms, especially such alms as had been gained by prayer and fasting, was placed under the category of sacrifice (Heb. XIII. 16); for this furnished the occasion for giving the widest application to the idea of sacrifice, and thereby substituting for the original Semitic Old Testament idea of sacrifice with its spiritual interpretation, the Greek idea with its interpretation.278278The idea of sacrifice adopted by the Gentile Christian communities was that which was expressed in individual prophetic sayings and in the Psalms, a spiritualising of the Semitic Jewish sacrificial ritual, which, however, had not altogether lost its original features. The entrance of Greek ideas of sacrifice cannot be traced before Justin. Neither was there as yet any reflection as to the connection of the sacrifice of the Church with the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. It may, however, be maintained that the 207changes imposed on the Christian religion by Catholicism, are at no point so obvious and far-reaching, as in that of sacrifice, and especially in the solemn ordinance of the Lord’s supper, which was placed in such close connection with the idea of sacrifice.
2. When in the “Teaching of the Apostles,” which may be regarded here as a classic document, the discipline of life in accordance with the words of the Lord, Baptism, the order of fasting and prayer, especially the regular use of the Lord’s prayer, and the Eucharist are reckoned the articles on which the Christian community rests, and when the common Sunday offering of a sacrifice made pure by a brotherly disposition, and the mutual exercise of discipline are represented as decisive for the stability of the individual community,279279See my Texte und Unters. z. Gesch. d. Altchristl. Lit .II. 1. 2, p. 88 ff., p. 137 ff. we perceive that the general idea of a pure spiritual worship of God has nevertheless been realised in definite institutions, and that, above all, it has included the traditional sacred ordinances, and adjusted itself to them as far as that was possible.280280There neither was a “doctrine” of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, nor was there any inner connection presupposed between these holy actions. They were here and there placed together as actions by the Lord. This could only take effect under the idea of the symbolical, and therefore this idea was most firmly attached to these ordinances. But the symbolical of that time is not to be considered as the opposite of the objectively real, but as the mysterious, the God produced (μυστήριον), as contrasted with the natural, the profanely clear. As to Baptism, which was administered in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, though Cyprian, Ep. 73. 16-18, felt compelled to oppose the custom of baptising in the name of Jesus, we noted above (Chap. III. p. 161 f.) that it was regarded as the bath of regeneration, and as renewal of life, inasmuch as it was assumed that by it the sins of the past state of blindness were blotted out.281281Melito, Fragm. XII. (Otto. Corp. Apol. IX. p. 418). Δύο συνεστη τὰ ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτημάτων παρεχόμενα, πάθος διὰ Χριστόν καὶ βάπτισμα. But as faith was 208looked upon as the necessary condition,282282There is no sure trace of infant baptism in this epoch; personal faith is a necessary condition (see Hermas, Vis. III. 7. 3; Justin, Apol. 1. 61). “Prius est prædicare posterius tinguere” (Tertull. “de bapt.” 14). and as on the other hand, the forgiveness of the sins of the past was in itself deemed worthy of God,283283On the basis of repentance. See Præd. Petri in Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 43, 48. the asserted specific result of baptism remained still very uncertain, and the hard tasks which it imposed, might seem more important than the merely retrospective gifts which it proffered.284284See especially the second Epistle of Clement; Tertull. “de bapt.” 15: “Felix aqua quæ semel abluit, qum ludibrio pecatoribus non est. Under such circumstances the rite could not fail to lead believers about to be baptized to attribute value here to the mysterious as such.285285The sinking and rising in baptism, and the immersion, were regarded as significant but not indispensable symbols (see Didache. 7). The most important passages for baptism are Didache 7: Barn. 6. 11: 11. 1. 11 (the connection in which the cross of Christ is here placed to the water is important; the tertium comp. is that forgiveness of sin is the result of both); Herm. Vis. III. 3, Sim. IX. 16, Mand. IV. 3 (ἑτέρα μετάνοια οὐκ ἔστιν εἰ μὴ ἐκείνη, ὅτε εἰς ὕδωρ κατέβημεν καὶ ἐλάβομεν ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν τῶν προτέρῶν); 2 Clem. 6. 9: 7. 6: 8. 6. Peculiar is Ignat. ad. Polyc. 6. 2: τὸ βάπτισμα ὑμῶν μενέτω ὡς ὅπλα. Specially important is Justin, Apol I. 61. 65. To this also belong many passages from Tertullian’s treatise “de bapt.”; a Gnostic baptismal hymn in the third pseudo-Solomonic ode in the Pistis Sophia, p. 131, ed. Schwartze; Marcion’s baptismal formula in Irenæus I. 21. 3. It clearly follows from the seventh chapter of the Didache that its author held that the pronouncing of the sacred names over the baptised and over the water was essential, but that immersion was not; see the thorough examination of this passage by Schaff. “The oldest church manual called the teaching of the twelve Apostles” pp. 29-57. The controversy about the nature of John’s baptism in its relation to Christian baptism is very old in Christendom; see also Tertull. “de bapt.” 10. Tertullian sees in John’s baptism only a baptism to repentance, not to forgiveness. But that always creates a state of things which not only facilitates, but positively prepares for the introduction of new and strange ideas. For neither fancy nor reflection can long continue in the vacuum of mystery. The names σφραγίς and φωτισμός, which at that period came into fashion for baptism, are instructive, inasmuch as neither of them is a direct designation of the presupposed effect of baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and as, besides, both of them evince a Hellenic conception. Baptism 209in being called the seal,286286In Hermas and 2 Clement. The expression probably arose from the language of the mysteries: see Appuleius, “de Magia,” 55: “Sacrorum pleraque initia in Græcia participavi. Eorum quædam signa et monumenta tradita mihi a sacerdotibus sedulo conservo.” Ever since the Gentile Christians conceived baptism (and the Lord’s Supper) according to the mysteries, they were of course always surprised by the parallel with the mysteries themselves. That begins with Justin. Tertullian, “de bapt.” 5, says: “Sed enim nationes extraneæ, ab omni intellectu spiritalium potestatum eadem efficacia idolis suis subministrant. Sed viduis aquis sibi mentiuntur. Nam et sacris quibusdam per lavacrum initiantur, Isidis alicujus aut Mithræ; ipsos etiam deos suos lavationibus efferunt. Ceterum villas, domos, templa totasque urbes aspergine circumlatæ aqua expiant passim. Certe ludis Apollinaribus et Eleusiniis tinguuntur, idque se in regenerationem et impunitatem periuriorum suorum agere præsumunt. Item penes veteres, quisquis se homicidio infecerat, purgatrices aquas explorabat.” De praescr., 40: “Diabolus ipsas quoque res sacramentorum divinorum idolorum mysteriis æmulatur. Tingit et ipse quosdam, utique credentes et fideles suos; expositionem delictorum de lavacro repromittit, et si adhuc memini, Mithras signat illic in frontibus milites suos, celebrat et panis oblationem et imaginem resurrectionis inducit . . . . summum pontificem in unius nuptiis statuit, habet et virgines, habet et continentes.” The ancient notion that matter has a mysterious influence on spirit came very early into vogue in connection with baptism. We see that from Tertullian’s treatise on baptism and his speculations about the power of the water (c. 1 ff.). The water must, of course have been first consecrated for this purpose (that is, the demons must be driven out of it). But then it is holy water with which the Holy Spirit is united, and which is able really to cleanse the soul. See Hatch, “The influence of Greek ideas, etc.,” p. 19. The consecration of the water is certainly very old: though we have no definite witnesses from the earliest period. Even for the exorcism of the baptised before baptism I know of no earlier witness than the Sentent. LXXXVII. episcoporum (Hartel. Opp. Cypr. I. p. 450, No. 37: “primo per mantis impositionem in exorcismo, secundo per baptismi regenerationem”). is regarded as the guarantee of a blessing, not as the blessing itself, at least the relation to it remains obscure; in being called enlightenment,287287Justin is the first who does so (I. 61). The word comes from the Greek mysteries. On Justin’s theory of baptism, see also I. 62. and Von Engelhardt, “Christenthum Justin’s,” p. 102 f. it is placed directly under an aspect that is foreign to it. It would be different if we had to think of φωτισμός as a gift of the Holy Spirit, which is given to the baptised as real principle of a new life and miraculous powers. But the idea of a necessary union of baptism with a miraculous communication of the Spirit seems to have been lost very early, or to have become uncertain, the actual state of things being no longer favourable 210to it;288288Paul unites baptism and the communication of the Spirit: but they were very soon represented apart, see the accounts in the Acts of the Apostles, which are certainly very obscure because the author has evidently never himself observed the descent of the Spirit, or anything like it. The ceasing of special manifestations of the Spirit in and after baptism, and the enforced renunciation of seeing baptism accompanied by special shocks, must be regarded as the first stage in the sobering of the churches. at any rate, it does not explain the designation of baptism as φωτισμός.
As regards the Lord’s Supper, the most important point is that its celebration became more and more the central point, not only for the worship of the Church, but for its very life as a Church. The form of this celebration, the common meal, made it appear to be a fitting expression of the brotherly unity of the community (on the public confession before the meal, see Didache, 14, and my notes on the passage). The prayers which it included presented themselves as vehicles for bringing before God, in thanksgiving and intercession, every thing that affected the community; and the presentation of the elements for the holy ordinance was naturally extended to the offering of gifts for the poor brethren, who in this way received them from the hand of God himself. In all these respects, however, the holy ordinance appeared as a sacrifice of the community, and indeed, as it was also named εὐχαριστία, a sacrifice of thanksgiving.289289The idea of the whole transaction of the Supper as a sacrifice is plainly found in the Didache, (c. 14), in Ignatius, and above all in Justin (I. 65 f.). But even Clement of Rome presupposes it, when (in cc. 40–44) he draws a parallel between bishops and deacons and the Priests and Levites of the Old Testament, describing as the chief function of the former (44. 4) προσφέρειν τὰ δῶρα. This is not the place to enquire whether the first celebration had, in the mind of its founder, the character of a sacrificial meal; but, certainly, the idea, as it was already developed at the time of Justin, had been created by the churches. Various reasons tended towards seeing in the Supper a sacrifice. In the first place, Malachi I. 11, demanded a solemn Christian sacrifice: see my notes on Didache, 14. 3. In the second place, all prayers were regarded as sacrifice, and therefore the solemn prayers at the Supper must be specially considered as such. In the third place, the words of institution τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, contained a command with regard to a definite religious action. Such an action, however, could only be represented as a sacrifice, and this the more that the Gentile Christians might suppose that they had to understand ποιεῖν in the sense of θύειν. In the fourth place, payments in kind were necessary for the “agapæ” connected with the Supper, out of which were taken the bread and wine for the Holy celebration; in what other aspect could these offerings in the worship be regarded than as προσφοραί for the purpose of a sacrifice? Yet the spiritual idea so prevailed that only the prayers were regarded as the θυσία proper, even in the case of Justin (Dial. 117). The elements are only δῶρα, προσφοραί, which obtain their value from the prayers in which thanks are given for the gifts of creation and redemption as well as for the holy meal, and entreaty is made for the introduction of the community into the Kingdom of God (see Didache, 9. 10). Therefore, even the sacred meal itself is called εὐχαριστία (Justin, Apol. I. 66: ἡ τροφὴ αὕτη καλεἷται παρ᾽ ἡμῖν εὐχαριστία. Didache 9. 1: Ignat., because it is τροφὴ εὐχαριστηθεῖςα. It is a mistake to suppose that Justin already understood the body of Christ to be the object of ποιεῖν, and therefore thought of a sacrifice of this body (I. 66). The real sacrificial act in the Supper consists rather, according to Justin, only in the εὐχαριστίαν ποιεῖν, whereby the κοινὸς ἄρτος becomes the ἄρτος τῆς εὐχαριστίας. The sacrifice of the Supper in its essence, apart from the offering of alms, which in the practice of the Church was closely united with it, is nothing but a sacrifice of prayer: the sacrificial act of the Christian here also is nothing else than an act of prayer (see Apol. I. 13, 65–67; Dial. 28, 29, 41, 70, 116–118). As an act of sacrifice, all the 211termini technici which the Old Testament applied to sacrifice could be applied to it, and all the wealth of ideas which the Old Testament connects with sacrifice could be transferred to it. One cannot say that anything absolutely foreign was therewith introduced into the ordinance, however doubtful it may be whether in the idea of its founder the meal was thought of as a sacrificial meal. But it must have been of the most wide-reaching significance, that a wealth of ideas was in this way connected with the ordinance, which had nothing whatever in common either with the purpose of the meal as a memorial of Christ’s death,290290Justin lays special stress on this purpose. On the other hand, it is wanting in the Supper prayers of the Didache, unless c. 9. 2 be regarded as an allusion to it. or with the mysterious symbols of the body and blood of Christ. The result was that the one transaction obtained a double value. At one time it appeared as the προσφορά and θυσία of the Church,291291The designation θυσία is first found in the Didache, c. 14. as the pure sacrifice which is presented to the great king by Christians scattered over the world, as they offer to him their prayers and place before him again what he has bestowed in order to receive it back with thanks and praise. But there is no reference in this to the mysterious words, that the bread and wine are the body of Christ broken and the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness 212of sin. These words, in and of themselves, must have challenged a special consideration. They called forth the recognition in the sacramental action, or rather in the consecrated elements, of a mysterious communication of God, a gift of salvation, and this is the second aspect. But on a purely spiritual conception of the Divine gift of salvation, the blessings mediated through the Holy Supper could only be thought of as spiritual (faith, knowledge, or eternal life), and the consecrated elements could only be recognised as the mysterious vehicles of these blessings. There was yet no reflection on the distinction between symbol and vehicle; the symbol was rather regarded as the vehicle, and vice versa. We shall search in vain for any special relation of the partaking of the consecrated elements to the forgiveness of sin. That was made impossible by the whole current notions of sin and forgiveness. That on which value was put was the strengthening of faith and knowledge, as well as the guarantee of eternal life; and a meal in which there was appropriated not merely common bread and wine, but a τροφὴ πνευματική, seemed to have a bearing upon these. There was as yet little reflection; but there can be no doubt that thought here moved in a region bounded, on the one hand, by the intention of doing justice to the wonderful words of institution which had been handed down, and on the other hand, by the fundamental conviction that spiritual things can only be got by means of the Spirit.292292The Supper was regarded as a “Sacrament” in so far as a blessing was represented in its holy food. The conception of the nature of this blessing as set forth in John VI. 27-58, appears to have been the most common. It may be traced back to Ignatius, ad Eph. 20. 2: ἕνα ἄρτον κλῶντες ὅς ἐστιν φάρμακον ἀθανασίας, ἀντίδοτος τοῦ μὴ ἀτοθανεῖν ἀλλὰ ζῆν ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ διὰ παντός. Cf. Didache, 10. 3: ἡμῖν ἐχαρίσω πνευματικὴν τροφὴν καὶ ποτὸν καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον; also 10. 21: εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι ὑπὲρ τῆς γνωσεως καὶ πίστεως καὶ ἀθανασίας. Justin Apol. I. 66: ἐκ τῆς τροφῆς ταύτης αἷμα καὶ σάρκες κατὰ μεταβολὴν τρέφονται ἡμῶν (κατὰ μεταβολήν, that is, the holy food, like all nourishment, is completely transformed into our flesh; but what Justin has in view here is most probably the body of the resurrection. The expression, as the context shews, is chosen for the sake of the parallel to the incarnation). Iren. IV. 18. 5: V. 2. 2 f. As to how the elements are related to the body and blood of Christ, Ignatius seems to have expressed himself in a strictly realistic way in several passages, especially ad. Smyr. 7. 1: εὐχαριστίας καὶ προσευχῆς ἀπέχονται διὰ τὸ μὴ ὁμολογεῖν, τὴν εὐχαριστίαν σάρκα εἶνει τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὴν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν παθοῦσαν. But many passages shew that Ignatius was far from such a conception, and rather thought as John did. In Trall. 8, faith is described as the flesh, and love as the blood of Christ; in Rom. 7, in one breath the flesh of Christ is called the bread of God, and the blood ἀγάπη ἄφθαρτος. In Philad. 1, we read: αἷμα Ἰ Χρ. ἥτις ἐστὶν χαρὰ αἰώνιος καὶ παράμονος. In Philad. 5, the Gospel is called the flesh of Christ, etc. Hofling is therefore right in saying (Lehre v. Opfer, p. 39): “The Eucharist is to Ignatius σάρξ of Christ, as a visible Gospel, a kind of Divine institution attesting the content of πίστις, viz., belief in the σάρξ παθοῦσα, an institution which is at the same time, to the community, a means of representing and preserving its unity in this belief.” On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken that Justin (Apol. I. 66) presupposed the identity, miraculously produced by the Logos, of the consecrated bread and the body he had assumed. In this we have probably to recognise an influence on the conception of the Supper, of the miracle represented in the Greek Mysteries: Οὐχ ὡς κοινὸν ἄρτον οὐδὲ κοινὸν πόμα ταῦτα λαμβάνομεν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅν τρόπον διὰ λόγου θεοῦ σαρκοποιηθεῖς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν καὶ σάρκα καὶ αἱμα ὑπερ σωτηρίας ἡμῶν ἔσχεν, οὕτως καὶ τὴν δι᾽ εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστηθεῖσαν τροφήν, ἐξ ἧι αἱμα καὶ σάρκες κατὰ μεταβολὴν τρέφονται ἡμῶν, ἐκείνου τοῦ σαρκοποιηθέντος Ἰησοῦ καὶ σάρκα καὶ αἷμα θδιδάχθημεν εἶναι (See Von Otto on the passage). In the Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. p. 117 ff., I have shewn that in the different Christian circles of the second century, water and only water was often used in the Supper instead of wine, and that in many regions this custom was maintained up to the middle of the third century (see Cypr. Ep. 63). I have endeavoured to make it further probable that even Justin in his Apology describes a celebration of the Lord’s Supper with bread and water. The latter has been contested by Zahn, “Bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, in the early Church,” 1892, and Jülicher, Zur Gesch. der Abendmahisfeier in der aeltesten Kirche (Abhandl. f. Weiszäcker, 1892, p. 217 ff.). There was thus attached 213to the Supper the idea of sacrifice, and of a sacred gift guaranteed by God. The two things were held apart, for there is as yet no trace of that conception according to which the body of Christ represented in the bread293293Ignatius calls the thank-offering the flesh of Christ, but the concept “flesh of Christ” is for him itself a spiritual one. On the contrary, Justin sees in the bread the actual flesh of Christ, but does not connect it with the idea of sacrifice. They are thus both as yet far from the later conception. The numerous allegories which are already attached to the Supper (one bread, equivalent to one community; many scattered grains bound up in the one bread, equivalent to the Christians scattered abroad in the world, who are to be gathered together into the Kingdom of God; one altar, equivalent to one assembly of the community, excluding private worship, etc.), cannot as a group be adduced here. is the sacrifice offered by the community. But one feels almost called upon here to construe from the premises the later development of the idea, with due regard to the ancient Hellenic ideas of sacrifice.214
3. The natural distinctions among men, and the differences of position and vocation which these involve, were not to be abolished in the Church, notwithstanding the independence and equality of every individual Christian, but were to be consecrated: above all, every relation of natural piety was to be respected. Therefore the elders also acquired a special authority, and were to receive the utmost deference and due obedience. But, however important the organisation that was based on the distinction between πρεσβύτεροι and νεώτεροι, it ought not to be considered as characteristic of the Churches, not even where there appeared at the head of the community a college of chosen elders, as was the case in the greater communities and, perhaps, soon everywhere. On the contrary, only an organisation founded on the gifts of the Spirit (χαρίσματα) bestowed on the Church by God,294294Cf. for the following my arguments in the larger edition of the “Teaching of the Apostles” Chap. 5, (Texte u. Unters. II. 1. 2). The numerous recent enquiries (Loening, Loofs, Réville etc.) will be found referred to in Sohm’s Kirchenrecht. Vol. I. 1892, where the most exhaustive discussions are given. corresponded to the original peculiarity of the Christian community. The Apostolic age therefore transmitted a twofold organi sation to the communities. The one was based on the διακονία τοῦ λὸγου, and was regarded as established directly by God; the other stood in the closest connection with the economy of the Church, above all with the offering of gifts, and so with the sacrificial service. In the first were men speaking the word of God, commissioned and endowed by God, and bestowed on Christendom, not on a particular community, who as ἀπὸστολοι, προφῆται, and διδάσκαλοι had to spread the Gospel, that is to edify the Church of Christ. The were regarded as the real ἡγούμενοι in the communities, whose words given them by the Spirit all were to accept in faith. In the second were ἐπισκοποι, and διάκονοι, appointed by the individual congregation and endowed with the charisms of leading and helping, who had to receive and administer the gifts, to perform the sacrificial service (if there were no prophets present), and take charge of the affairs of the community.295295That the bishops and deacons were, primarily, officials connected with the cultus is most clearly seen from 1 Clem. 40-44, but also from the connection in which the 14th Chap. of the Didache stands with the 15th (see the οὖν 15.1), to which Hatch in conversation called my attention. The φιλοξενία and the intercourse with other communities (the fostering of the “unitas”) belonged, above all, to the affairs of the Church. Here, undoubtedly, from the beginning lay an important part of the bishop’s duties. Ramsay (“The Church in the Roman Empire,” p. 361 ff.) has emphasised this point exclusively, and therefore one-sidedly. According to him, the monarchical Episcopate sprang from the officials who were appointed ad hoc and for a time, for the purpose of promoting intercourse with other churches. It lay in the 215nature of the case that as a rule the ἐπίσκοποι, as independent officials, were chosen from among the elders, and might thus coincide with the chosen πρεσβύτεροι. But a very important development takes place in the second half of our epoch. The prophets and teachers—as the result of causes which followed the naturalising of the Churches in the world—fell more and more into the background, and their function, the solemn service of the word, began to pass over to the officials of the community, the bishops, who already played a great role in the public worship. At the same time, however, it appeared more and more fitting to entrust one official, as chief leader (superintendent of public worship), with the reception of gifts and their administration, together with the care of the unity of public worship; that is, to appoint one bishop instead of a number of bishops, leaving, however, as before, the college of presbyters, as προϊστάμενοι τῆς ἐκκλησίας, a kind of senate of the community.296296Sohm (in the work mentioned above) seeks to prove that the monarchical Episcopate originated in Rome and is already presupposed by Hermas. I hold that the proof for this has not been adduced, and I must also in great part reject the bold statements which are fastened on to the first Epistle of Clement. They may be comprehended in the proposition which Sohm, p. 158, has placed at the head of his discussion of the Epistle. “The first Epistle of Clement makes an epoch in the history of the organisation of the Church. It was destined to put an end to the early Christian constitution of the Church.” According to Sohm (p. 165), another immediate result of the Epistle was a change of constitution in the Romish Church, the introduction of the monarchical Episcopate. That, however, can only be asserted, not proved; for the proof which Sohm has endeavoured to bring from Ignatius’ Epistle to the Romans and the Shepherd of Hermas, is not convincing. Moreover, the idea of the chosen bishops and deacons as the antitypes of the Priests and Levites, had been formed at an early period in connection with the idea of the new sacrifice. But we find also the idea, which 216is probably the earlier of the two, that the prophets and teachers, as the commissioned preachers of the word, are the priests. The hesitancy in applying this important allegory must have been brought to an end by the disappearance of the latter view. But it must have been still more important that the bishops, or bishop, in taking over the functions of the old λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον, who were not Church officials, took over also the profound veneration with which they were regarded as the special organs of the Spirit. But the condition of the organisation in the communities about the year 140, seems to have been a very diverse one. Here and there, no doubt, the convenient arrangement of appointing only one bishop was carried out, while his functions had not perhaps been essentially increased, and the prophets and teachers were still the great spokesmen. Conversely, there may still have been in other communities a number of bishops, while the prophets and teachers no longer played regularly an important role. A fixed organisation was reached, and the Apostolic episcopal constitution established, only in consequence of the so-called Gnostic crisis, which was epoch-making in every respect. One of its most important presuppositions, and one that has struck very deep into the development of doctrine must, however, be borne in mind here. As the Churches traced back all the laws according to which they lived, and all the blessings they held sacred, to the tradition of the twelve Apostles, because they regarded them as Christian only on that presupposition, they also in like manner, as far as we can discover, traced back their organisation of presbyters, i.e., of bishops and deacons, to Apostolic appointment. The notion which followed quite naturally, was that the Apostles themselves had appointed the first church officials.297297See, above all, 1 Clem. 42, 44, Acts of the Apostles, Pastoral Epistles, etc. That idea may have found support in some actual cases of the kind, but this does not need to be considered here; for these cases would not have led to the setting up of a theory. But the point in question here is a theory, which is nothing else than an integral part of the general theory, that the twelve Apostles 217were in every respect the middle term between Jesus and the present Churches (see above, p. 158). This conception is earlier than the great Gnostic crisis, for the Gnostics also shared it. But no special qualities of the officials, but only of the Church itself, were derived from it, and it was believed that the independence and sovereignty of the Churches were in no way endangered by it, because an institution by Apostles was considered equivalent to an institution by the Holy Spirit, whom they possessed and whom they followed. The independence of the Churches rested precisely on the fact that they had the Spirit in their midst. The conception here briefly sketched was completely transformed in the following period by the addition of another idea—that of Apostolic succession,298298This idea is Romish. See Book II. chap 11. C. and then became, together with the idea of the specific priesthood of the leader of the Church, the most important means of exalting the office above the community.299299We must remember here that besides the teachers, elders and deacons, the ascetics (virgins, widows, celibates, abstinentes) and the martyrs (confessors) enjoyed a special respect in the Churches, and frequently laid hold of the government and leading of them. Hermas enjoins plainly enough the duty of esteeming the confessors higher than the presbyters (Vis. III. 1. 2). The widows were soon entrusted with diaconal tasks connected with the worship, and received a corresponding respect. As to the limits of this, there was, as we can gather from different passages, much disagreement. One statement in Tertullian shews that the confessors had special claims to be considered in the choice of a bishop (adv. Valent. 4: “Speraverat Episcopatum Valentinus, quia et ingenio poterat et eloquio. Sed alium ex martyrii prærogativa loci potitum indignatus de ecclesia authenticæ regulæ abrupit“). This statement is strengthened by other passages; see Tertull. de fuga; 11: “Hoc sentire et facere omnem servum dei oportet, etiam minor’s loci, ut maioris fieri possit, si quern gradum in persecutionis tolerantia ascenderit”; see Hippol. in the Arab. canons, and also Achelis, Texte u. Unters. VI. 4. pp. 67, 220: Cypr. Epp. 38. 39. The way in which confessors and ascetics, from the end of the second century, attempted to have their say in the leading of the Churches, and the respectful way in which it was sought to set their claims aside, shew that a special relation to the Lord, and therefore a special right with regard to the community, was early acknowledged to these people, on account of their archievements. On the transition of the old prophets and teachers into wandering ascetics, later into monks, see the Syriac Pseudo-Clementine Epistles, “de virginitate,” and my Abhandl. i. d. Sitzungsberichten d. K. Pr. Akad. d. Wissensch. 1891, p. 361 ff.218
This review of the common faith and the beginnings of knowledge, worship and organisation in the earliest Gentile Christianity will have shewn that the essential premises for the development of Catholicism were already in existence before the middle of the second century, and before the burning conflict with Gnosticism. We may see this, whether we look at the peculiar form of the Kerygma, or at the expression of the idea of tradition, or at the theology with its moral and philosophic attitude. We may therefore conclude that the struggle with Gnosticism hastened the development, but did not give it a new direction. For the Greek spirit, the element which was most operative in Gnosticism, was already concealed in the earliest Gentile Christianity itself; it was the atmosphere which one breathed; but the elements peculiar to Gnosticism were for the most part rejected.300300See Weizsäcker. Gött. Gel. Anz. 1886, No. 21, whose statements I can almost entirely make my own. We may even go back a step further (see above, pp. 41, 76). The great Apostle to the Gentiles himself, in his epistle to the Romans and in those to the Corinthians, transplanted the Gospel into Greek modes of thought. He attempted to expound it with Greek ideas, and not only called the Greeks to the Old Testament and the Gospel, but also introduced the Gospel as a leaven into the religious and philosophic world of Greek ideas. Moreover, in his pneumatico-cosmic Christology he gave the Greeks an impulse towards a theologoumenon, at whose service they could place their whole philosophy and mysticism. He preached the foolishness of Christ crucified, and yet in doing so proclaimed the wisdom of the nature-vanquishing Spirit, the heavenly Christ. From this moment was established a development which might indeed assume very different forms, but in which all the forces and ideas of Hellenism must gradually pass over to the Gospel. But even with this the last word has not been said; on the contrary, we must remember that the Gospel itself belonged to the fulness of the times, which 219is indicated by the inter-action of the Old Testament and the Hellenic religions (see above, pp. 41, 56).
The documents which have been preserved from the first century of the Gentile Church are, in their relation to the history of Dogma, very diverse. In the Didache we have a Catechism for Christian life dependent on a Jewish Greek Catechism, and giving expression to what was specifically Christian in the prayers and in the order of the Church. The Epistle of Barnabas, probably of Alexandrian origin, teaches the correct, Christian, interpretation of the Old Testament, rejects the literal interpretation and Judaism as of the devil, and in Christology essentially follows Paul. The Romish first Epistle of Clement, which also contains other Pauline reminiscences (reconciliation and justification), represents the same Christology, but it set it in a moralistic mode of thought. This is a most typical writing in which the spirit of tradition, order, stability, and the universal ecclesiastical guardianship of Rome is already expressed. The moralistic mode of thought is classically represented by the Shepherd of Hermas and the second Epistle of Clement, in which, besides, the eschatological element is very prominent. We have in the Shepherd the most important document for the Church Christianity of the age, reflected in the mirror of a prophet who, however, takes into account the concrete relations. The theology of Ignatius is the most advanced, in so far as he, opposing the Gnostics, brings the facts of salvation into the foreground, and directs his Gnosis not so much to the Old Testament as to the history of Christ. He attempts to make Christ κατὰ τνεῦμα and κατὰ σάρκα the central point of Christianity. In this sense his theology and speech is Christocentric, related to that of Paul and the fourth Evangelist, (specially striking is the relationship with Ephesians,) and is strongly contrasted with that of his contemporaries. Of kindred spirit with him are Melito and Irenæus, whose forerunner he is. He is related to them as Methodius at a later period was related to the classical orthodox theology of the fourth and fifth centuries. This parallel is appropriate not merely in point of form: it is rather one and the same tendency of mind which passes 220over from Ignatius to Melito, Irenæus, Methodius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa (here, however, mixed with Origenic elements), and to Cyril of Alexandria. Its characteristic is that not only does the person of Christ as the God-man form the central point and sphere of theology, but also that all the main points of his history are mysteries of the world’s redemption. (Ephes. 19). But Ignatius is also distinguished by the fact that behind all that is enthusiastic, pathetic, abrupt, and again all that pertains to liturgical form, we find in his epistles a true devotion to Christ (ὁ θεός μου). He is laid hold of by Christ: Cf. Ad. Rom. 6: ἐκεῖνον ζητῶ, τὸν ὑπερ ἡμῶν ἀποθανόντα, ἐκεῖνον θέλω, τὸν δι᾽ ἡμᾶς ἀναστάντα; Rom. 7: ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἐμοὶ πῦρ φιλοϋλον. As a sample of his theological speech and his rule of faith, see ad Smyrn. I: ἐνόησα ὑμᾶς κατηρτισμένους ἐν ἀκινήτῳ πίστει, ὥσπερ καθηλωμένους ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ κυριοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ σαρκί τε καὶ πνεύμαρι καὶ ἡδρασμένους ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐν τῶ αἵμαρι Χριστοῦ, πεπληροφορημένους εἰς τὸν κυρίου ἡμῶν, ἀληθῶς ὄντα ἐκ γένους Δαβὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, ὑιὸν θεοῦ κατὰ θέλημα καὶ δύναμιν θεοῦ, γεγενημένον ἀληθῶς ἐκ παρθένου, βεβαπτισμένον ὑπὸ Ἰωάννοῦ, ἵνα πληρωθῇ πᾶσα δικαιοσύνη ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, ἀληθῶς ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου καὶ Ἡρώδου τετράρχου καθηλωμένον ὑπέρ ἡμῶν ἐν σαρκί—ἀφ᾽ οὗ καρποῦ ἡμεῖς, ἀπὸ τοῦ θεομακαρίτου αὐτοῦ πάθους—ἵνα ἄρῃ σύσσημον εἰς τούς αἰῶνας διά τῆς ἀναστάσεως εἰς τούς ἀγίους καὶ πιστοὺς αὐτοῦ εἴτε ἐν Ἰουδαίοις εἴτε ἐν ἴθνεσιν ἐν ἑνὶ σώματη τῆς ἐκκλησίας αὐτοῦ. The Epistle of Polycarp is characterised by its dependence on earlier Christian writings (Epistles of Paul, I Peter, I John), consequently by its conservative attitude with regard to the most valuable traditions of the Apostolic period. The Kerygma of Peter exhibits the transition from the early Christian literature to the apologetic (Christ as νὸμος and as λόγος).
It is manifest that the lineage, “Ignatius, Polycarp, Melito, Irenæus,” is in characteristic contrast with all others, has deep roots in the Apostolic age, as in Paul and in the Johannine writings, and contains in germ important factors of the future formation of dogma, as it appeared in Methodius, Athanasius, Marcellus, Cyril of Jerusalem. It is very doubtful, therefore, whether we are justified in speaking of an Asia 221Minor theology. (Ignatius does not belong to Asia Minor.) At any rate, the expression, Asia Minor-Romish Theology, has no justification. But it has its truth in the correct observation, that the standards by which Christianity and Church matters were measured and defined must have been similar in Rome and Asia Minor during the second century. We lack all knowledge of the closer connections. We can only again refer to the journey of Polycarp to Rome, to that of Irenæus by Rome to Gaul, to the journey of Abercius and others. (Cf. also the application of the Montanist communities in Asia Minor for recognition by the Roman bishop.) In all probability, Asia Minor, along with Rome, was the spiritual centre of Christendom from about 60-200; but we have but few means for describing how this centre was brought to bear on the circumference. What we do know belongs more to the history of the Church than to the special history of dogma.
Literature.—The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. See the edition of v. Gebhardt, Harnack, Zahn, 1876. Hilgenfeld, Nov. Test. extra Can. recept. fasc. IV. 2 edit. 1884, has collected further remains of early Christian literature. The Teaching of the twelve Apostles. Fragments of the Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter (my edition, 1893). Also the writings of Justin and other apologists, in so far as they give disclosures about the faith of the communities of his time, as well as statements in Celsus Ἀληθὴς Λόγος, in Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. Even Gnostic fragments may be cautiously turned to profit. Ritschl, Entstehung der altkath. Kirche, 2 Aufl. 1857. Pfleiderer, Das Urchristenthum, 1887. Renan, Origins of Christianity, vol. V. V. Engelhardt, Das Christenthum Justin’s, d. M. 1878, p. 375 ff. Schenkel, Das Christusbild der Apostel, etc., 1879. Zahn, Gesch. des N.-Tlichen Kanons, 2 Bde. 1888. Behm, Das Christliche Gesetzthum der Apostolischen Väter (Zeitschr. f. kirchl. Wissensch. 1886). Dorner, History of the doctrine of the Person of Christ, 1845. Schultz, Die Lehre von der Gottheit Christi, 1881, p. 22 ff: Höfling, Die Lehre der ältesten Kirche vom Opfer, 1851, Höfling, Das Sacrament d. Taufe, 1848. Kahnis, Die Lehre vom Abendmahl, 1851. Th. Harnack, Der Christliche Gemeindegottedienst 222im Apost. u. Altkath. Zeitalter, 1854. Hatch, Organisation of the Early Church, 1883. My Prolegomena to the Didache (Texte u. Unters. II. Bd. H. 1, 2). Diestel, Gesch. des A. T. in der Christl. Kirche, 1869. Sohm, Kirchenrecht, 1892. Monographs on the Apostolic Fathers: on 1 Clem.: Lipsius, Lightfoot (most accurate commentary), Wrede; on 2 Clem.: A. Harnack (Ztschr. f. K. Gesch. 1887); on Barnabas: J. Müller; on Hermas: Zahn, Hückstädt, Link; on Papias: Weiffenbach, Leimbach, Zahn, Lightfoot; on Ignatius and Polycarp: Lightfoot (accurate commentary) and Zahn; on the Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter: A. Harnack; on the Kerygma of Peter: von Dobschütz; on Acts of Thecla: Schlau.223
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