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3. Expulsion of Modalistic Monarchianism.
(a). The Modalistic Monarchians in Asia Minor and in the West: Noëtus, Epigonus, Cleomenes, Aeschines, Praxeas, Victorinus (Victor), Zephyrinus, Sabellius, Callistus.125125Döllinger, Hippolytus und Kallistus, 1853. Volkmar, Hippolyt. und die röm. Zeitgenossen, 1855. Hagemann, Die römische Kirche, 1864. Langen, Gesch. d. römischen Kirche I., p. 192 ff. Numerous monographs on Hippolytus and the origin of the Philosophumena, as also on the authorities for the history of the early heretics, come in here. See also Caspari, Quellen III., vv. ll. The authorites are for Noëtus, the Syntagma of Hippolytus (Epiph., Philaster, Pseudo-Tertull.), and his great work against Monarchianism, of which the so-called Ὁμιλία Ἱππολύτου εἰς τὴν αἵρεσιν Νοήτου τινός (Lagarde, Hippol. quæ feruntur, p. 43 sq.) may with extreme probability be held to be the conclusion. Both these works have been made use of by Epiph. H. 57. [When Epiph. (l.c. ch. 1) remarks that “Noëtus appeared ± 130 years ago”, it is to be inferred that he fixed the date from his authority, the anti-monarchian work of Hippolytus. For the latter he must have had a date, which he believed he could simply transfer to the period of Noëtus, since Noëtus is described in the book as οὐ πρὸ πολλοῦ χρόνου γενόμενος. But in that case his source was written about A.D. 230-240, i.e., almost at the same time as the so-called Little Labyrinth. It is also possible, however, that the above date refers to the excommunication of Noëtus. In that case the work which has recorded this event, can have been written at the earliest in the fourth decade of the fourth century]. Most of the later accounts refer to that of Epiph. An independent one is the section Philos. IX. 7 sq. (X. 27; on this Theodoret is dependent H. F. III. 3). For Epigonus and Cleomenes we have Philos. IX. 7, 10, 11, X. 27; Theodoret H. F. III. 3. For Æschines: Pseudo-Tertull. 26; Philos. VIII. 19, X. 26; for Praxeas: Tertull. adv. Prax., Pseudo-Tertull. 30. The later Latin writers against heretics are at this point all dependent on Tertullian; yet see Optat., de schism. I. 9. Lipsius has tried to prove that Tertullian has used “Hippolytus against Noëtus” in his work adv. Prax. (Quellen-kritik, p. 43; Ketzergeschichte, p. 183 f.; Jahrbuch für deutsche Theologie, 1868, p. 704); but the attempt is not successful (see Ztschr. f. d. hist. Theol., 1874, p. 200 f.). For Victorinus we have Pseudo-Tertull. 30. For Zephyrinus and Callistus: Philos. IX. 11 sq. Origen has also had Roman Monarchians in view in many of the arguments in his commentaries. On Origen’s residence in Rome and his relations with Hippolytus, see Euseb. H. E. VI. 14; Jerome, De vir. inl. 61; Photius Cod. 121; on his condemnation at Rome, see Jerome Ep. 33, ch. 4.
The really dangerous opponent of the Logos Christology in the period between A.D. 180 and 300 was not Adoptianism, but the doctrine which saw the deity himself incarnate in Christ, and conceived Christ to be God in a human body, the Father 52become flesh. Against this view the great Doctors of the Church — Tertullian, Origen, Novatian, but above all, Hippolytus — had principally to fight. Its defenders were called by Tertullian “Monarchiani”, and, not altogether correctly, “Patripassiani” which afterwards became the usual names in the West (see e.g., Cypr., Ep. 73. 4). In the East they were all designated, after the famous head of the school, “Sabelliani” from the second half of the third century; yet the name of “Patripassiani” was not quite unknown there also.126126Orig. in Titum, Lomm. V., p. 287 “. . . sicut et illos, qui superstitiose magis quam religiose, uti ne videantur duos deos dicere, neque rursum negare salvatoris deitatem, unam eandemque substantiam patris ac filii asseverant, id est, duo quidem nomina secundum diversitatem causarum recipientes, unam tamen ὑπόστασιν subsistere, id est, unam personam duobus nominibus subiacentem, qui latine Patripassiani appellantur.” Athanas., de synod. 7 after the formula Antioch. macrostich. Hippolytus tells us in 53the Philosophumena, that at that time the Monarchian controversy agitated the whole Church,127127IX. 6: μέγιστον τάραχον κατὰ πάντα τὸν κόσμον ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστοῖς ἐμβάλλουσιν. and Tertullian and Origen testified, that in their day the “economic” trinity, and the technical application of the conception of the Logos to Christ, were regarded by the mass of Christians with suspicion.128128Ad. Prax. 3: Simplices quique, ne dixerim imprudentes et idiotæ, quæ maior semper pars credentium est, quoniam et ipsa regula fidei a pluribus diis sæculi ad unicum et verum deum transfert, non intelligentes unicum quidem, sed cum sua οἰκονομία esse credendum, expavescunt ad οἰκονομία . . . Itaque duos et tres iam iactitant a nobis prædicari, se vero unius dei cultores præsumunt, . . . monarchiam inquiunt tenemus.” Orig., in Joh. II 3. Lomm. I. p. 95: Ἕτεροι δὲ οἱ μηδὲν εἰδότες, εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωνένον, τὸν γενόμενον σάρκα λόγον τὸ πᾶν νομίσαντες εἶναι τοῦ λόγου, Χριστὸν κατὰ σάρκα μόνον γιγνώσκουσι τοιοῦτον δέ ἐστι τὸ πλῆθος τῶν πεπιστευκέναι νομιζὸμένων. Origen has elsewhere distinguished four grades in religion: (1) those who worship idols, (2) those who worship angelic powers, (3) these to whom Christ is the entire God, (4) those whose thoughts rise to the unchangeable deity. Clement (Strom. VI. 10) had already related that there were Christians who, in their dread of heresy, demanded that everything should be abandoned as superfluous and alien, which did not tend directly to blessedness. Modalism, as we now know from the Philosoph., was for almost a generation the official theory in Rome. That it was not an absolute novelty can be proved;129129See above (Vol. I., p. 195) where reference is made, on the one hand, to the Modalism reflected in Gnostic and Enkratitic circles (Gosp. of the Egypt., and Acta Lenc., Simonians in Iren. I. 231); on the other, to the Church formulas phrased, or capable of being interpreted, modalistically (see II. Ep. of Clement, Ign. ad Ephes., Melito [Syr. Fragments]; and in addition, passages which speak of God having suffered, died, etc.). It is instructive to notice that the development in Marcionite Churches and Montanist communities moved parallel to that in the great Church. Marcion himself, being no dogmatist, did not take any interest in the question of the relation of Christ to the higher God. Therefore it is not right to reckon him among the Modalists, as Neander has done (Gnost. Syxteme, p. 294, Kirchengesch. I. 2. p. 796). But it is certain that later Marcionites in the West taught Patripassianism (Ambros. de fide V. 13. 162, T. II., p. 579; Ambrosiaster ad I. Cor. II. 2, T. II., App. p. 117). Marcionites and Sabellians were therefore at a later date not seldom classed together. Among the Montanists at Rome there were, about A.D. 200, a Modalistic party and one that taught like Hippolytus; at the head of the former stood Æschines, at the head of the latter Proculus. Of the followers of Æschines, Hippolytus says (Philos. X. 26) that their doctrine was that of Noëtus: αὐτὸν εἶναι υἱὸν καὶ πατέρα, ὁρατὸν καὶ ἀόρατον; γεννητὸν καὶ ἀγέννητον, θνητὸν καὶ ἀθάνατον. It is rather an idle question whether Montanus himself and the prophetic women taught Modalism. They certainly used formulas which had a Modalistic sound; but they had also others which could afterwards be interpreted and could not but be interpreted “economically”. In the Test. of the XII. Patriarchs many passages that, in the Jewish original, spoke of Jehovah’s appearance among his people must now have received a Christian impress from their Christian editor. It is remarkable that, living in the third century, he did not scruple to do this, see Simeon 6: ὅτι ὁ κύριος ὁ Θεὸς μέγας τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, φαινόμενος επὶ γῆς ὡς ἀνθρώπος καὶ σώζων ἐν αὐτῷ τὸν Ἀδάμ . . . ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς σῶμα λαβὼν καὶ συνεσθίων ἀνθρώποις ἔσωσεν ἀνθρώπους; Levi 5, Jud. 22, Issachar. 7: ἔχοντες μεθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν τὸν Θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, συμπορευόμενον τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: Zebul. 9: ὅψεσθε Θεὸν ἐν σχήματι ἀνθρώπου; Dan. 5; Naphth. 8: ὀφθήσεται Θεὸς κατοικῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἐπι τῆς γῆς: Asher 7: ἕως οὗ ὁ ὕψιστος ἐπισκέψηται τὴν γῆν, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐλθὼν ὡς ἄνθρωπος μετὰ ἀνθρώπων ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων; Benjamin 10. Very different Christologies, however, can be exemplified from the Testaments. It is not certain what sort of party Philaster (H. 51) meant (Lipsius Ketzergesch., p. 99 f.). In the third century Modalism assumed various forms, among which the conception of a formal transformation of God into man, and a real transition of the one into the other, is noteworthy. An exclusive Modalistic doctrine first existed in the Church after the fight with Gnosticism. but it is very probable, on 54the other hand, that a Modalistic doctrine, which sought to exclude every other, only existed from the end of the second century. It was in opposition to Gnosticism that the first effort was made to fix theologically the formulas of a naïve Modalism, and that these were used to confront the Logos Christology in order (1) to avert Ditheism, (2) to maintain the complete divinity of Christ, and (3) to prevent the attacks of Gnosticism. An attempt was also made, however, to prove Modalism by exegesis. That is equivalent to saying that this form of doctrine, which was embraced by the great majority of Christians,130130Tertull. l.c. and ch. I.: “simplicitas doctrinæ”, ch. 9, Epiphan. H. 62. 2 ἀφελεστατοι ἢ ἀκέραιοι. Philos. IX. 7, 11: Ζεφυρῖνος ἰδιώτης καί ἀγράμματος, l.c. ch. 6: ἀμαθεῖς. was supported by scientific authorities, from the end of the second century. But it can be shown without difficulty, how hurtful any contact with theology could not fail to be to the naïve conception of the incarnation of the deity in Christ, and we may say that it was all over with it — though of course the death-struggle lasted long — when it found itself compelled to attack others or to defend itself. When it required to clothe itself in a cloak manufactured by a scientific theology, and to reflect on the idea of God, it belied its own nature, and lost its raison d’être. What it still retained was completely distorted by its opponents. Hippolytus has in the Philosophumena represented the doctrine of Noëtus to have been borrowed from Heraclitus. That 55is, of course, an exaggeration. But once we grasp the whole problem “philosophically and scientifically” — and it was so understood even by some scientific defenders of Monarchianism — then it undoubtedly resembles strikingly the controversy regarding the idea of God between the genuine Stoics and the Platonists. As the latter set the transcendent, apathetic God of Plato above the λόγος-θεός of Heraclitus and the Stoics, so Origen, e.g., has charged the Monarchians especially with stopping short at the God manifest, and at work, in the world, instead of advancing to the “ultimate” God, and thus apprehending the deity “economically”. Nor can it surprise us that Modalistic Monarchianism, after some of its representatives had actually summoned science, i.e., the Stoa, to their assistance, moved in the direction of a pantheistic conception of God. But this does not seem to have happened at the outset, or to the extent assumed by the opponents of the school. Not to speak of its uncultured adherents, the earliest literary defenders of Modalism were markedly monotheistic, and had a real interest in Biblical Christianity. It marks the character of the opposition, however, that they at once scented the God of Heraclitus and Zeno — a proof of how deeply they themselves were involved in Neo-platonic theology.131131That the scientific defenders of Modalism adopted the Stoic method — just as the Theodotians had the Aristotelian (see above) — is evident, and Hippolytus was therefore so far correct in connecting Noëtus with Heraclitas, i.e., with the father of the Stoa. To Hagemann belongs the merit (Röm. Kirche, pp. 354-371) of having demonstrated the traces of Stoic Logic and Metaphysics in the few and imperfectly transmitted tenets of the Modalists. (See here Hatch, The influence etc., p. 19 f. on the σύπάσχειν and the substantial unity of ψυχή and σῶμα). We can still recognise, especially from Novatian’s refutation, the syllogistic method of the Modalists, which rested on nominalist, i.e., Stoic, logic. See, e.g., the proposition: “Si unus deus Christus, Christus autem deus, pater est Christus, quia unus deus; si non pater sit Christus, dum et deus filius Christus, duo dii contra scripturas introducti videantur.” But those utterances in which contradictory attributes, such as visible-invisible etc., are ascribed to God, could be excellently supported by the Stoic system of categories. That system distinguished ἴδια (οὐσία, ὑποκείμενον) from συμβεβηκότα, or more accurately (1) ὑποκείμενα (substrata, subjects of judgment); (2) ποιά (qualitatives); (3) πὼς ἔχοντα (definite modifications) and (4) πρός τι πὼς ἔχοντα (relative modifications). Nos. 2-4 form the qualities of the idea as a συγκεχυομένον; but 2 and 3 belong to the conceptual sphere of the subject itself, while 4 embraces the variable relation of the subject to other subjects. The designations Father and Son, visible and invisible etc., must be conceived as such relative, accidental, attributes. The same subject can in one relation be Father, in another Son, or, according to circumstances, be visible or invisible. One sees that this logical method could be utilised excellently to prove the simple unreasoned propositions of the old Modalism. There are many traces to show that the system was applied in the schools of Epigonus and Cleomenes, and it is with schools we have here to deal. Thus, e.g., we have the accusation which, time and again, Origen made against the Monarchians, that they only assume one ὑποκειμένον, and combine Father and Son indiscriminately as modes in which it is manifested. (Hagemann refers to Orig. on Matt. XVI. 14: οἱ συγχέοντες πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ ἔννοιαν; and on John X. 21: συγχεόμενοι ἐν τῷ περὶ πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ τόπῳ — but συγχέειν is the Stoic term). The proposition is also Stoic that while the one ὑποκειμένον is capable of being divided (διαρεῖν), it is only subjectively, in our conceptions of it (τῇ ἐπινοίᾳ μόνῃ), so that merely ὀνόματα not differences καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν, result. Further, the conception of the Logos as a mere sound is verbally that of the Stoics, who defined the φωνή (λόγος) as ἀὴρ πεπληγμένος ἢ τὸ ̓ίδιον αἰσθητὸν ἀκοῆς. Tertullian adv. Prax.7; “quid est enim, dices, sermo nisi vox et sonus oris et sicut grammatici tradunt, aër offensus, intelligibilis auditu, ceterum vacuum nescio quid et inane et incorporale?” Hippolyt., Philos. X. 33: Θεὸς λόγον ἀπογεννᾷ, οὐ λόγον ὡς φωνήν. Novatian, de trinit. 31: “sermo filius natus est, qui non in sono percussi aëris aut tono coactæ de visceribus vocis accipitur.” The application of Nominalist Logic and Stoic Methaphysics to theology was discredited in the controversy with the Modalists under the names of “godless science”, or “the science of the unbelievers”, just as much as Aristotelian philosophy had been in the fight with the Adoptians. Therefore, even as early as about A.D. 250, one of the most rancorous charges levelled at Novatian by his enemies was that he was a follower of another, i.e., of the Stoic, philosophy (Cornelius ap. Euseb. H. E. VI. 43. 16; Cypr. Ep. 55. 24, 60. 3). Novatian incurred this reproach because he opposed the Monarchians with their own, i.e., the syllogistic, method, and because he had maintained, as was alleged, imitating the Stoics, “omnia peccata paria esse.” Now if the philosophy of Adoptian scholars was Aristotelian, and that of Modalistic scholars was Stoic, so the philosophy of Tatian, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Origen, in reference to the One and Many, and the real evolutions (μερισμός) of the one to the many is unmistakably Platonic. Hagemann (l.c. pp. 182-206) has shown the extent to which the expositions of Plotinus (or Porphyry) coincide in contents and form, method and expression — see especially the conception of Hypostasis (substance) in Plotinus — with those of the Christian theologians mentioned, among whom we have to include Valentinus. (See also Hipler in the östr. Vierteljahrsschr. f. Kath. Theol. 1869, p. 161 ff., quoted after Lösche, Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1884, p. 259). When the Logos Christology triumphed completely in the Church at the end of the third century, Neoplatonism also triumphed over Aristotelianism and Stoicism in ecclesiastical science, and it was only in the West that theologians, like Arnobius, were tolerated who in their pursuit of Christian knowledge rejected Platonism. As it was in Asia 56Minor that Adoptianism first entered into conflict with the Logos Christology, so the Church of Asia Minor seems to have been the scene of the first Modalistic controversy, while in both cases natives of that country transferred the dispute to Rome.57
It is possible that Noëtus was not excommunicated till about A.D. 230, and, even if we cannot now discover his date more accurately, it seems to be certain that he first excited attention as a Monarchian, and probably in the last twenty years of the second century. This was perhaps in Smyrna,132132Hippol. c. Noët. I., Philos. IX. 7. his native place, perhaps in Ephesus.133133Epiph. l.c., ch. I. He was excommunicated in Asia Minor, only after the whole controversy had, comparatively speaking, come to a close in Rome.134134According to Hippol. c. Noët. I., he was not condemned after the first trial, but only at the close of a second, — a proof of the uncertainty that still prevailed. It is impossible now to discover what ground there was for the statement that Noëtus gave himself out to be Moses, and his brother to be Aaron. This explains why Hippolytus has mentioned him last in his great work against the Monarchians, while in the Philosoph. he describes him as the originator (IX. 6: ἀρχηγόν) of the heresy.135135The fact that Noëtus was able to live for years in Asia Minor undisturbed, has evidently led Theodoret into the mistake that he was a later Monarchian who only appeared after Epigonus and Cleomenes. For the rest, Hippolytus used the name of Noëtus in his attack on him, simply as a symbol under which to oppose later Monarchians (see Ztschr. f. d. hist. Theol. 1874, p. 201); this is at once clear from ch. 2. A disciple of his, Epigonus, came to Rome in the time of Zephyrinus, or shortly before (+ 200), and is said to have there diffused the teaching of his master, and to have formed a separate party of Patripassians. At first Cleomenes, the disciple of Epigonus, was regarded as the head of the sect, and then, from c. A.D. 215, Sabellius. Against these there appeared, in the Roman Church, especially the presbyter Hippolytus, who sought to prove that the doctrine promulgated by them was a revolutionary error. But the sympathies of the vast majority of the Roman Christians, so far as they could take any part in the dispute, were on the side of the Monarchians, and even among the clergy only a minority supported Hippolytus. The “uneducated” Bishop Zephyrine, advised by the prudent Callistus, was himself disposed, like Victor, his predecessor (see under), to the Modalistic views; but his main effort seems to have been to calm the contending parties, and at any cost to avoid a new 58schism in the Roman Church, already sadly split up. After his death the same policy was continued by Callistus (217-222), now raised to the Bishopric. But as the schools now attacked each other more violently, and an agreement was past hoping for, the Bishop determined to excommunicate both Sabellius and Hippolytus, the two heads of the contending factions.136136Philos. IX. 12: Οὕτως ὁ Κάλλιστος μετὰ τὴν τοῦ Ζεφυρίνου τελευτὴν νομίζων τετυχηκέναι οὗ ἐθηρᾶτο, τὸν Σαβέλλιον ἀπέωσεν ὡς μὴ φρονοῦντα ὀρθῶς, δεδοικὼς ἐμὲ καὶ νομίζων οὕτω δύνασθαι ἀποτρίψασθαι τὴν πρὸς τὰς ἐκκλησίας κατηγορίαν, ὡς μὴ ἀλλοτρίως φρονῶν. Hippolytus, whose treatment of Sabellius is respectful, compared with his attitude to Callistus, says nothing of his own excommunication; it is therefore possible that he and his small faction had already separated from Callistus, and for their part had put him under the ban. This cannot have happened under Zephyrine, as is shown directly by Philos. IX. 11, and all we can infer from ch. 7 is that the party of Hippolytus had ceased to recognise even Zephyrine as Bishop; so correctly Döllinger, l.c., p. 101 f., 223 f., a different view in Lipsius, Ketzergeschichte, p. 150. The situation was doubtless this: Epigonus and Cleomenes had founded a real school (διδαςκαλεῖον) in the Roman Church, perhaps in opposition to that of the Theodotians, and this school was protected by the Roman bishops. (s. Philos. IX. 7: Ζεφυρῖνος [τῷ κέρδει προσφερομένῳ τειθόμενος] συνεχώρει τοῖς προσιοῦσι τῷ Κλεομένει μαθητεύεσθαι . . . Τούτων κατὰ διαδοχὴν διέμεινε τὸ διδασκαλεῖον κρατυνόμενον καὶ ἐπαῦξον διὰ τὸ συναίρεσθαι αὐτοῖς τὸν Σεφυρῖνον καὶ τὸν Κὰλλιστον). Hippolytus attacked the orthodoxy and Church character of the school, which possessed the sympathy of the Roman community, and he succeeded, after Sabellius had become its head, in getting Callistus to expel the new leader from the Church. But he himself was likewise excommunicated on account of his Christology, his “rigourism” and his passionate agitations. At the moment the community of Callistus was no longer to him a Catholic Church, but a διδασκαλεῖον (see Philos. IX. 12, p 458, 1; p. 462, 42). The Christological formula, which Callistus himself composed, was meant to satisfy the less passionate adherents of both parties, and this it did, so far as we may conjecture. The small party of Hippolytus “the true Catholic Church”, held its ground in Rome for only about fifteen years, that of Sabellius probably longer. The formula of Callistus was the bridge, on which the Roman Christians, who were originally favourable to Monarchianism, passed over to the recognition of the Logos Christology, following the trend of the times, and the science of the Church. This doctrine must have already been the dominant theory in Rome when Novatian wrote his work De Trinitate, and from that date it was never ousted thence. It had been established in the Capital by a politician, who, for his own part, and so far 59as he took any interest at all in dogmatics, had been more inclined to the Modalistic theory.137137The attempt has been made in the above to separate the historical kernel from the biassed description of Hippolytus in the Philos. His account is reproduced most correctly by Caspari (Quellen III., p. 325 ff.). Hippolytus has not disguised the fact that the Bishops had the great mass of the Roman community on their side (IX. 11), but he has everywhere scented hypocrisy, intrigues and subserviency, where it is evident to the present day that the Bishops desired to protect the Church from the rabies theologorum. In so doing, they only did what their office demanded, and acted in the spirit of their predecessors, in whose days the acceptance of the brief and broad Church confession was alone decisive, while beyond that freedom ruled. It is also evident that Hippolytus considered Zephyrine and the rest a set of ignorant beings (idiotes), because they would not accede to the new science and the “economic” conception of God.
The scantiness of our sources for the history of Monarchianism in Rome, — not to speak of other cities — in spite of the discovery of the Philosophumena, is shown most clearly by the circumstance that Tertullian has not mentioned the names of Noëtus, Epigonus, Cleomenes, or Callistus; on the other hand, he has introduced a Roman Monarchian, Praxeas, whose name is not mentioned by Hippolytus in any of his numerous controversial writings. This fact has seemed so remarkable that very hazardous hypotheses have been set up to explain it. It has been thought that “Praxeas” is a nickname (= tradesman), and that by it we ought really to understand Noëtus,138138According to Pseudo-Tertull. 30, where in fact the name of Praxeas is substituted for Noëtus. Epigonus,139139De Rossi, Bullet. 1866, p. 170. or Callistus.140140So, e.g., Hagemann, l.c., p. 234 f., and similarly at an earlier date, Semler. The correct view is to be found in Döllinger141141L.c., p. 198. and Lipsius.142142Jahrb. f. deutsche Theologie, 1868, H. 4. Praxeas143143The name has undoubtedly not been shown elsewhere up till now. had come to Rome before Epigonus, at a date anterior to the earliest of Hippolytus’ personal recollections, accordingly about contemporaneously with Theodotus, or a little earlier, while Victor was Bishop; according to Lipsius, and this is probable, even during the episcopate of Eleutherus.144144Chronol. d. röm. Bischöfe, p. 173 f. He probably resided only a short time in Rome, 60where he met with no opposition; and he founded no school in the city. When, twenty years afterwards, the controversy was at its height in Rome and Carthage, and Tertullian found himself compelled to enter the lists against Patripassianism, the name of Praxeas was almost forgotten. Tertullian, however, laid hold of him because Praxeas had been the first to raise a discussion in Carthage also, and because he had an antipathy to Praxeas who was a decided anti-montanist. In his attack, Tertullian has, however, reviewed the historical circumstances of about the year A.D. 210, when his work Adv. Prax. was written; nay, he manifestly alludes to the Roman Monarchians, i.e., to Zephyrinus and those protected by him. This observation contains what truth there is in the hypothesis that Praxeas is only a name for another well-known Roman Monarchian.
Praxeas was a confessor of Asia Minor, and the first to bring the dispute as to the Logos Christology to Rome.145145Adv. Prax.: Iste primus ex Asia hoc genus perversitatis intulit Romam, homo et alias inquietus, insuper de iactatione martyrii inflatus ob solum et simplex et breve carceris tædium. At the same time he brought from his birth-place a resolute zeal against the new prophecy. We are here, again, reminded of the faction of Alogi of Asia Minor who combined with the rejection of the Logos Christology an aversion from Montanism; cf. also the Roman presbyter Caius. Not only did his efforts meet with no opposition in Rome, but Praxeas induced the Bishop, by giving him information as to the new prophets and their communities in Asia, to recall the litteræ pacis, which he had already sent them, and to aid in expelling the Paraclete.146146L.c.: Ita duo negotia diaboli Praxeas Romæ procuravit, prophetiam expulit et hæresim intulit, paracletum fugavit et patrem crucifixit. If this Bishop was Eleutherus, and that is probable from Euseb. H. E. V. 4, then we have four Roman Bishops in succession who declared themselves in favour of the Modalistic Christology, viz., Eleutherus, Victor, Zephyrine, and Callistus; for we learn from PseudoTertullian that Victor took the part of Praxeas.147147Pseudo-Tertull.: Praxeas quidem hæresim introduxit quam Victorinus corroborare curavit. This Victorinus is rightly held by most scholars to be Bishop Victor; (1) there is the name (on Victor = Victorinus, see Langen l c., p. 196; Caspari, Quellen III., p. 323, n. 102); (2) the date; (3) the expression “curavit” which points to a high position, and is exactly paralleled by the συναίρεσθαι used by Hippolytus in referring to Zephyrine and Callistus (see p. 58, note 1); lastly, the fact that Victor’s successors, as we know definitely, held Monarchian views. The excommunication of Theodotus by Victor proves nothing, of course, to the contrary; for the Monarchianism of this man was of quite a different type from that of Praxeas. But it is also 61possible that Victor was the Bishop whom Tertullian (Adv. Prax.) was thinking of, and in that case Eleutherus has no place here. It is at all events certain that when Dynamistic Monarchianism was proscribed by Victor, it was expelled not by a defender of the Logos Christology, but in the interests of a Modalistic Christology. The labours of Praxeas did not yet bring about a controversy in Rome with the Logos Doctrine; he was merely the forerunner of Epigonus and Cleomenes there. From Rome he betook himself to Carthage,148148This is definitely to be inferred from the words of Tertullian (l.c.): “Fructicaverant avenæ Praxeanæ hic quoque superseminatæ dormientibus multis in simplicitate doctrinæ”; see Caspari, l.c.; Hauck, Tertullian, p. 368; Langen, l.c., p. 199; on the other side Hesselberg, Tertullian Lehre, p. 24, and Hagemann, l.c. and strove against the assumption of any distinction between God and Christ. But he was resisted by Tertullian, who, at that time, still belonged to the Catholic Church, and he was silenced, and even compelled to make a written recantation. With this ended the first phase of the dispute.149149Tertullian, l.c.: Avenæ Praxeanæ traductæ dehinc per quem deus voluit (scil. per me), etiam evulsæ videbantur. Denique caverat pristinum doctor de emendatione sua, et manet chirographum apud psychicos, apud quos tunc gesta res est; exinde silentium. The name of Praxeas does not again occur. But it was only several years afterwards that the controversy became really acute in Rome and Carthage, and caused Tertullian to write his polemical work.150150Tertull., l.c. Avenæ vero illæ ubique tunc semen excusserant. Ita altquamdiu per hypocrisin subdola vivacitate latitavit, et nunc denuo erupit. Sed et denuo eradicabitur, si voluerit dominus. Of the final stages of Monarchianism in Carthage and Africa we know nothing certain. Yet see under.
It is not possible, from the state of our sources, to give a complete and homogeneous description of the doctrine of the older Modalistic Monarchianism. But the sources are not alone to blame for this. As soon as the thought that God Himself 62was incarnate in Christ had to be construed theologically, very various attempts could not fail to result. These could lead, and so far did lead, on the one hand, to hazardous conceptions involving transformation, and, on the other, almost to the border of Adoptianism; for, as soon as the indwelling of the deity of the Father (deitas patris) in Jesus was not grasped in the strict sense as an incarnation, as soon as the element that in Jesus constituted his personality was not exclusively perceived in the deity of the Father, these Christians were treading the ground of the Artemonite heresy. Hippolytus also charged Callistus with wavering between Sabellius and Theodotus,151151Philos. IX. 12, X. 27. Epiph. H. 57. 2. and in his work against Noëtus he alludes (ch. III.) to a certain affinity between the latter and the leather-worker. In the writings of Origen, moreover, several passages occur, regarding which it will always be uncertain whether they refer to Modalists or Adoptians. Nor can this astonish us, for Monarchians of all shades had a common interest in opposition to the Logos Christology: they represented the conception of the Person of Christ founded on the history of salvation, as against one based on the history of his nature.
Among the different expositions of the doctrine of the older Modalists that of Hippolytus in his work against Noëtus shows us it in its simplest form. The Monarchians there described are introduced to us as those who taught that Christ is the Father himself, and that the Father was born, suffered and died.152152C. 1: ἔφη τὸν Χριστὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι τὸν πατέρα καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν πατέρα γεγεννῆσθαι καὶ πεπονθέναι καὶ ἀποτεθνηκέναι. If Christ is God, then he is certainly the Father, or he would not be God. If Christ, accordingly, truly suffered, then the God, who is God alone, suffered.153153C. 2: Εἰ οὖν Χριστὸν ὁμολογῶ Θεόν, αὐτὸς ἄρα ἐστίν ὁ πατὴρ, εἴ γε ἔστιν ὁ Θεός. ἔπαθεν δὲ Χριστὸς, αὐτὸς ὢν Θεός, ἄρα οὖν ἔπαθεν πατὴρ, πατὴρ γὰρ αὐτὸς ἦν. But they were not only influenced by a decided interest in Monotheism,154154Φὰσκουσιν συνιστᾶν ἕνα Θεόν (c. 2).a cause which they held to have been injured by their opponents,155155Hippolytus defends himself, c. 11. 14: οὐ δύο θεοὺς λέγω, s. Philos. IX. 11, fin. 12: δημοσίᾳ ὁ Κάλλιστος ἡμῖν ὀνειδίζει εἰπεῖν· δίθεοί ἐστε. From c. Noët. 11 it appears that the Monarchians opposed the doctrine of the Logos, because it led to the Gnostic doctrine of Æons. Hippolytus had to reply: τὶς ἀποφαίνεται πλήθυν Θεῶν παραβαλλομένην κατὰ καιρούς. He sought to show (ch. 14 sq.) that the μυστήριον οἰκονομίας, of the Trinity taught by him was something different from the doctrine of the Æons. whom 63they called ditheists (δίθεοι), but they fought in behalf of the complete deity of Jesus, which, in their opinion, could only be upheld by their doctrine.156156Hippol. (c. Noët. I.) makes his opponent say, τὶ οὖν κακὸν ποιῶ δοξάζων τὸν Χριστόν; see also ch. II. sq.; see again ch. IX. where Hippolytus says to his opponents that the Son must be revered in the way defined by God in Holy Scriptures. In support of the latter they appealed, like the Theodotians, chiefly to the Holy Scriptures, and, indeed, to the Catholic Canon; thus they quoted Exod. III. 6, XX. 2f.; Isa. XLIV. 6, XLV. 5, 14 f.; Baruch. III. 36; John. X. 30, XIV. 8f.; Rom. IX. 5. Even John’s Gospel is recognised; but this is qualified by the most important piece of information which Hippolytus has given about their exposition of the Scriptures. They did not regard that book as justifying the introduction of a Logos, and the bestowal on him of the title Son of God. The prologue of the Gospel, as well as, in general, so many passages in the book, was to be understood allegorically.157157S. c. 15: ἀλλ᾽ ἐρεῖ μοι τὶς· Ξένον φέρεις λόγον λέγων υἱόν. Ἰωάννης μὲν γὰρ λέγει λόγον, ἀλλ᾽ ἄλλως ἀλληγορεῖ. The use of the category of the Logos was accordingly emphatically rejected in their theology. We do not learn any more about the Noëtians here. But in the Philosoph. Hippolytus has discussed their conception of God, and has presented it as follows:158158L. IX. 10. See also Theodoret. They say that one and the same God was creator and Father of all things; that he in his goodness appeared to the righteous of olden times, although he is invisible; in other words, when he is not seen, he is invisible, but when he permits himself to be seen, he is visible; he is incomprehensible, when he wills not to be apprehended, comprehensible when he permits himself to be apprehended. So in the same way he is invincible and to be overcome, unbegotten and begotten, immortal and mortal.” Hippolytus continues: 64“Noëtus says, ‘So far, therefore, as the Father was not made, he is appropriately called Father; but in so far as he passively submitted to be born, he is by birth the Son, not of another, but of himself.’” In this way he meant to establish the Monarchia, and to say that he who was called Father and Son, was one and the same, not one proceeding from the other, but he himself from himself; he is distinguished in name as Father and Son, according to the change of dispensations; but it is one and the same who appeared in former times, and submitted to be born of the virgin, and walked as man among men. He confessed himself, on account of his birth, to be the Son to those who saw him, but he did not conceal the truth that he was the Father from those who were able to apprehend it.159159We perceive very clearly here that we have before us not an unstudied, but a thought-out, and theological Modalism. As it was evident, in the speculations about Melchisedec of the Theodotians, that they, like Origen, desired to rise from the crucified Jesus to the eternal, godlike Son, so these Modalists held the conception, that the Father himself was to be perceived in Jesus, to be one which was only meant for those who could grasp it. Cleomenes and his party maintain that “he who was nailed to the cross, who committed his spirit to himself, who died and did not die, who raised himself on the third day and rested in the grave, who was pierced with the lance and fastened with nails, was the God and Father of all.” The distinction between Father and Son was accordingly nominal; yet it was to this extent more than nominal, that the one God, in being born man, appeared as Son; it was real, so far, from the point of view of the history of salvation. In support of the identity of the “manifested” and the invisible, these Monarchians referred to the O. T. theophanies, with as good a right as, nay, with a better than, the defenders of the Logos Christology. Now as regards the idea of God, it has been said that “the element of finitude was here potentially placed in God himself,” and that these Monarchians were influenced by Stoicism, etc. While the former statement is probably unwarranted, the Stoic influence, on the contrary, is not to be denied.160160See above (p. 55, note 1). In addition Philos. X. 27: τοῦτον τὸν πατέρα αὐτὸν υἰὸν νομίζουσι κατὰ καιροὺς καλούμενον πρὸς τὰ συμβαίνοντα. But the foundation to which we have to refer them consists of two ancient liturgical 65formulas, used by Ignatius, the author of the II. Ep. of Clement, and Melito,161161See Ignat. ad Ephes. VII. 2: εἷς ιἀτρός ἐστιν σαρκικός τε καὶ πνευματικός, γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος, ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος Θεός, ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινὴ, καὶ ἐκ Μαρίας καὶ ἐκ Θεοῦ, πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ τότε ἀπαθής, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός; and see for Clement Vol. I., p. 186 ff. whom we include, although he wrote a work “Concerning the creation and genesis of Christ” (περὶ κτίσεως καὶ γενέσεως Χριστοῦ). Further, even Ignatius, although he held Christ to have been pre-existent, knew only of one birth of the Son, namely, that of God from the virgin.162162It is interesting to notice that in the Abyssinian Church of to-day there is a theological school which teaches a threefold birth of Christ, from the Father in eternity, from the virgin, and from the Holy Ghost at the Baptism; see Herzog, R. E., 2 Aufl., Bd. I., p. 70. We have here to recognise the conception, according to which, God, in virtue of his own resolve to become finite, capable of suffering etc., can and did decide to be man, without giving up his divinity. It is the old, religious, and artless Modalism, which has here been raised, with means furnished by the Stoa, to a theological doctrine, and has become exclusive. But in the use of the formula “the Father has suffered,” we have undoubtedly an element of novelty; for it cannot be indicated in the post-apostolic age. It is very questionable, however, whether it was ever roundly uttered by the theological defenders of Modalism. They probably merely said that “the Son, who suffered, is the same with the Father.”
We do not learn what conception these Monarchians formed of the human σάρξ (flesh) of Jesus, or what significance they attached to it. Even the Monarchian formulas, opposed by Tertullian in “Adv. Prax”, and attributed to Callistus by Hippolytus, are already more complicated. We easily perceive that they were coined in a controversy in which the theological difficulties inherent in the Modalistic doctrine had become notorious. Tertullian’s Monarchians still cling strongly to the perfect identity of the Father and Son;163163C. 1: “Ipsum dicit patrem descendisse in virginem, ipsum ex ea natum, ipsum passum ipsum denique esse Iesum Christum.” c. 2: “post tempus pater natus et pater passus, ipse deus, dominus omnipotens, Iesus Christus prædicatur”; see also c. 13. they refuse to admit the Logos into their Christology; for the “word” is no substance, but 66merely a “sound”;164164C. 7: “Quid est enim, dices, sermo nisi vox et sonus oris, et sicut grammatici tradunt, aër offensus, intellegibilis auditu, ceterum vanum nescio quid.” they are equally interested with the Noëtians in monotheism,165165C. 2: “Unicum deum non alias putat credendum, quem si ipsum eundemque et patrem et filium et spiritum s. dicat.” c. 3: “Duos et tres iam iactitant a nobis prædicari, se vero unius dei cultores præsamunt . . . monarchiam, inquiunt, tenemus.” c. 13: “inquis, duo dii prædicuntur.” c. 19: “igitur si propterea eundem et patrem et filium credendum putaverunt, ut unum deum vindicent etc.” c. 23: “ut sic duos divisos diceremus, quomodo iactitatis etc.” though not so evidently in the full divinity of Christ; like them they dread the return of Gnosticism;166166C. 8: “Hoc si qui putaverit me προβολὴν aliquam introducer,” says Tertullian “quod facit Valentinus, etc.” they hold the same view as to the invisibility and visibility of God;167167See C. 14. 15: “Hic ex diverso volet aliquis etiam filium invisibilem contendere, ut sermonem, ut spiritum . . . Nam et illud adiiciunt ad argumentationem, quod si filius tunc (Exod. 33) ad Moysen loquebatur, ipse faciem suam nemini visibilem pronuntiaret, quia scil. ipse invisibilis pater fuerit in filii nomine. Ac per hoc si eundem volunt accipi et visibilem et invisibilem, quomodo eundem patrem et filium . . . Ergo visibilis et invisibilis idem, et quia utrumque, ideo et ipse pater invisibilis, qua et filius, visibilis . . . Argumentantur, recte utrumque dictum, visibilem quidem in carne, invisibilem vero ante carnem, ut idem sit pater invisibilis ante carnem, qui et filius visibilis in carne.” they appeal to the Holy Scriptures, sometimes to the same passages as the opponents of Hippolytus;168168Thus to Exod. XXXIII. (ch. 14), Rev. I. 18 (ch. 17), Isa XXIV. 24 (ch. 19), esp. John X. 30; XIV. 9, 10 (ch. 20), Isa. XLV. 5 (ch. 20). They admit that in the Scriptures sometimes two, sometimes one, are spoken of; but they argued (ch 18): Ergo quia duos et unum invenimus, ideo ambo unus atque idem et filius et pater.” but they find themselves compelled to adapt their teaching to those proof-texts in which the Son is contrasted, as a distinctive subject, with the Father. This they did, not only by saying that God made himself Son by assuming a body,169169Ch. 10: “Ipse se sibi filium fecit.”or that the Son proceeded from himself170170Ch. 11: “Porro qui eundem patrem dicis et filium, eundem et protulisse ex semetipso facis.” — for with God nothing is impossible:171171To this verse the Monarchians, according to ch. 10, appealed, and they quoted as a parallel the birth from the virgin. but they distinctly declared that the flesh changed the Father into the Son; or even that in the person of the Redeemer the 67body (the man, Jesus) was the Son, but that the Spirit (God, Christ) was the Father.172172Ch. 27: “Æque in una persona utrumque distinguunt, patrem et filium, discentes filium carnem esse, id est hominem, id est Iesum, patrem autem spiritum, id est deum, id est Christum.” On this Tertullian remarks: “et qui unum eundemque contendunt patrem et filium, iam incipiunt dividere illos potius quam unare; talem monarchiam apud Valentinum fortasse didicerunt, duos facere Iesum et Christum.” Tertullian, accordingly, tries to retort on his opponents the charge of dissolving the Monarchia; see even ch. 4. The attack on the assumption of a transformation of the divine into the human does not, for the rest, affect these Monarchians (ch. 27 ff.).For this they appealed to Luke I. 35. They conceived the Holy Spirit to be identical with the power of the Almighty, i.e., with the Father himself, and they emphasised the fact that that which was born, accordingly the flesh, not the Spirit, was to be called Son of God.173173See ch. 26, 27: “propterea quod nascetur sanctum, vocabitur filius dei; caro itaque nata est, caro itaque erit filius dei.” The Spirit (God) was not capable of suffering, but since he entered into the flesh, he sympathised in the suffering. The Son suffered,174174Ch. 29: “mortuus est non ex divina, sed ex humana substantia.” but the Father “sympathised”175175L. c.: “Compassus est pater filio.” — this being a Stoic expression. Therefore Tertullian says (ch. 23), “Granting that we would thus say, as you assert, that there were two separate (gods), it was more tolerable to affirm two separate (gods) than one dissembling (turn-coat) god” [Ut sic divisos diceremus, quomodo iactitatis, tolerabilius erat, duos divisos quam unum deum versipellem prædicare].
It is very evident that whenever the distinction between caro
(filius) and spiritus (pater), between the flesh or Son and the Spirit or Father,
is taken seriously, the doctrine approximates to the Artemonite idea. It is in fact
changing its coat (versipellis). But it is obvious that even in this form it could
not satisfy the defenders of the Logos Christology, for the personal identity between
the Father and the Spirit or Christ is still retained. On the whole, every attempt
made by Modalism to meet the demands of the Logos doctrine could not fail logically
to lead to Dynamistic Monarchianism. We know definitely that the formulas of Zephyrine
and Callistus arose out of attempts
68at a compromise,176176Philos. IX. 7, p. 440. 35 sq.; 11, p. 450. 72 sq. though
the charge of having two gods was raised against Hippolytus and his party. Zephyrine’s
thesis (IX. 11), “I know one God, Christ Jesus, and besides him no other born and
suffering,” which he announced with the limiting clause, “the Father did not die,
but the Son,”177177Ἐγὼ οἶδα ἕνα Θεὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ πλὴν
αὐτοῦ ἕτερον οὐδένα γεννητὸν καὶ
παθητόν — οὐχ ὁ πατὴρ ἀπέθανεν, ἀλλὰ ὁ υἱός. agrees
with the doctrines of “Praxeas”, but, as is clear from the Philos., is also to be
understood as a formula of compromise. Callistus went still further. He found it
advisable after the excommunication of Sabellius and Hippolytus, to receive the
category of the Logos into the Christological formula meant to harmonise all parties,
an act for which he was especially abused by Hippolytus, while Sabellius also accused
him of apostasy.178178L.c. IX. 12, p. 458, 78: ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ Σαβελλίου συχνῶς κατηγορεῖσθαι
ὡς παραβάντα τὴν πρώτην πίστιν.
It is apparently the very formula “Compassus est pater filio” that appeared unacceptable to the strict Monarchians. According
to Zephyrine: God is in himself an indivisible Pneuma, which fills all things, or,
in other words, the Logos; as Logos he is nominally two, Father and Son. The Pneuma,
become flesh in the virgin, is thus in essence not different from, but identical
with, the Father (John XIV. 11). He who became manifest, i.e., the man, is the
Son, but the Spirit, which entered into the Son, is the Father. “For the Father,
who is in the Son, deified the flesh, after he had assumed it, and united it with
himself, and established a unity of such a nature that now Father and Son are called
one God, and that henceforth it is impossible that this single person can be divided
into two; rather the thesis holds true that the Father suffered in sympathy with
the Son” — not the Father suffered.179179 Philos. IX. 12, p. 458, 80:
Κάλλιστος λέγει τὸν λόγον αὐτὸν εἶναι υἱόν, αὐτὸν
καὶ πατέρα ὀνόματι μὲν καλούμενον, ἕν δὲ ὃν τὸ πνεῦμα ἀδιαίρετον. οὐκ ἄλλο εἶναι
πατέρα, ἄλλο δὲ υἱόν, ἓν δὲ καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ὑπάρχειν, καὶ τὰ πάντα γέμειν τοῦ θείου
πνεύματος τά τε ἄνω καὶ κάτω· καὶ εἶναι τὸ ὲν τῇ παρθένῳ σαρκωθὲν πνεῦμα οὐχ
ἕτερον παρὰ τὸν πατέρα, ἀλλὰ ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτό. Καὶ τοῦτο εἶναι τὸ
εἰρημένον. John. 14. 11.
Τὸ μὲν γὰρ βλεπόμενον, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἄνθρωπος, τοῦτο εἶναι τὸν υἱόν, τὸ δὲ ἐν
τῷ υἱῷ χωρηθὲν πνεῦμα τοῦτο εἶναι τὸν πατέρα· οὐ γὰρ, Bησίν, ἐρῶ δύοθεοὺς πατέρα
καὶ υἱόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἕνα. Ὁ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῷ γενόμενος πατὴρ προσλαβόμενος τὴν σ8άρκα ἐθεοποίησεν
ἑνώσας ἑαυτῷ, καὶ ἐποίησεν ἕν, ὡς καλεῖσθαι πατέρα καὶ υἱὸν ἕνα Θεόν. καὶ
τοῦτο ἓν ὂν πρόσωπον μὴ δύνασθαι εἶναι δύο, καὶ οὕτως τὸν πατέρα συμπεπονθέναι
τῷ υἱῷ· οὐ γὰρ θέλει λέγειν τὸν πατέρα πεπονθέναι καὶ ἓν εἶναι πρόσωπον . . .
Here something is wanting in the text.
Hippolytus discovered in this formula a mixture of Sabellian and Theodotian ideas, and he was right.180180Catholic theologians endeavour to give a Nicene interpretation to the theses of Callistus, and to make Hippolytus a ditheist; see Hagemann, l.c.; Kuhn, Theol. Quartalschrift, 1885, II.; Lehir, Études bibliques, II., p. 383; de Rossi and various others. The approximation to the Christology founded on the doctrine of substances (hypostases), and the departure from the older Monarchianism, are, in fact, only brought about by Callistus having also made use of a Theodotian idea.181181This is also Zahn’s view, Marcell., p. 214. The doctrine of Callistus is for the rest so obscure, — and for this our informant does not seem to be alone to blame — that, when we pass from it to the Logos Christology, we actually breathe freely, and we can understand how the latter simpler and compact doctrine finally triumphed over the laboured and tortuous theses of Callistus. He still kept aloof from the Platonic conception of God; nay, it sounds like a reminiscence of Stoicism, when, in order to obtain a rational basis for the incarnation, he refers to the Pneuma (Spirit) which fills the universe, the upper and under world. But the fact that his formulas, in spite of this, could render valuable service in Rome in harmonising different views, was not only due to their admission of the Logos conception. It was rather a result of the thought expressed in them, that God in becoming incarnate had deified the flesh, and that the Son, in so far as he represented the essentially deified σἀρξ, was to be conceived as a second person, and yet as one really united with God.182182See the Christology of Origen. At this point the ultimate Catholic interest in the Christology comes correctly to light, and this is an interest not clearly perceptible elsewhere in Monarchian theories. It was thus that men were gradually tranquillised in Rome, and only the few extremists of the Left and Right parties offered any resistance. Moreover, the formula was extraordinarily adapted, by its very vagueness, to set up among the believing people the religious Mystery, under whose protection the Logos Christology gradually made good its entrance.
The latter was elaborated in opposition to Modalism by Tertullian, 70Hippolytus, and Novatian in the West.183183See Vol. II., p. 256. While Adoptianism apparently played a very small part in the development of the Logos Christology in the Church, the Christological theses of Tertullian and the rest were completely dependent on the opposition to the Modalists.184184This can be clearly perceived by comparing the Christology of Tertullian and Hippolytus with that of Irenæus. This reveals itself especially in the strict subordination of the Son to the Father. It was only by such a subordination that it was possible to repel the charge, made by opponents, of teaching that there were two Gods. The philosophical conception of God implied in the Logos theory was now set up definitely as the doctrine of the Church, and was construed to mean that the unity of God was simply to be understood as a “unicum imperium”, which God could cause to be administered by his chosen officials. Further, the attempt was made to prove that Monotheism was satisfactorily guarded by the Father remaining the sole First Cause.185185See Tertullian adv. Prax. 3; Hippol. c. Noët. 11. But while the reproach was thus repelled of making Father and Son “brothers”, an approach was made to the Gnostic doctrine of Æons, and Tertullian himself felt, and was unable to avert, the danger of falling into the channel of the Gnostics.186186Adv. Prax. 8, 13. It is the same with Hippolytus; both have in their attacks on the Modalists taken Valentine, comparatively speaking, under their protection. This is once more a sign that the doctrine of the Church was modified Gnosticism. His arguments in his writing Adv. Praxeas are not free from half concessions and uncertainties, while the whole tenor of the work contrasts strikingly with that of the anti-gnostic tractates. Tertullian finds himself time and again compelled in his work to pass from the offensive to the defensive, and the admissions that he makes show his uncertainty. Thus he concedes that we may not speak of two Lords or two Gods, that in certain circumstances the Son also can be called Almighty, or even Father, that the Son will in the end restore all things to the Father, and, as it would seem, will merge in the Father; finally, and especially, that the Son is not only not aliud a patre (different in substance from the Father), but even in some way 71not alius a patre187187Ch. 18, in other passages otherwise. (different in person etc). Yet Tertullian and his comrades were by no means at a disadvantage in comparison with the Monarchians. They could appeal (1) to the Rule of Faith in which the personal distinction between the Father and Son was recognised;188188Tertull. adv. Prax. 2. Hippol. c. Noët. I. (2) to the Holy Scriptures from which it was, in fact, easy to reduce the arguments of the Monarchians ad absurdum;189189The Monarchian dispute was conducted on both sides by the aid of proofs drawn from exegesis. Tertullian, besides, in Adv. Prax., appealed in support of the “economic” trinity to utterances of the Paraclete. (3) to the distinction between Christians and Jews which consisted, of course, in the belief of the former in the Son;190190See ad. Prax. 21: “Ceterum Iudaicæ fidei ista res, sic unum deum credere, ut filium adnumerare ei nolis, et post filium spiritum. Quid enim erit inter nos et illos nisi differentia ista? Quod opus evangelii, si non exinde pater et filius et spiritus, tres crediti, unum deum sistunt?” and lastly, and this was the most important point, they could cite the Johannine writings, especially in support of the doctrine of the Logos. It was of the highest importance in the controversy that Christ could be shown to have been called the Logos in John’s Gospel and the Apocalypse.191191Πιστεύσωμεν, says Hippolyt. c. Noët. 17 — κατά τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀποστόλων ὅτι Θεὸς λόγος ἀπ᾽ οὐρανῶν κατῆλθεν, — see already Tatian, Orat. 5 following Joh. I. 1: Θεὸς ἦν ἐν ἀρχῆ, τὴν δὲ ἀρχὴν λόγου δύναμιν παρειλήφαμεν. In view of the way in which the Scriptures were then used in the Church, these passages were fatal to Monarchianism. The attempts to interpret them symbolically192192See above, p. 63. could not but fail in the end, as completely as those, e.g., of Callistus and Paul of Samasota, to combine the use of the expression “Logos” with a rejection of the apologetic conception of it based on Philo. Meanwhile Tertullian and Hippolytus did not, to all appearance, yet succeed in getting their form of doctrine approved in the Churches. The God of mystery of whom they taught was viewed as an unknown God, and their Christology did not correspond to the wants of men. The Logos was, indeed, to be held one in essence with God; but yet he was, by his being made the organ of the creation of the world, an inferior 72divine being, or rather at once inferior and not inferior. This conception, however, conflicted with tradition as embodied in worship, which taught men to see God Himself in Christ, quite as much as the attempt was opposed by doctrinal tradition, to derive the use of the name “Son of God” for Christ, not from His miraculous birth, but from a decree dating before the world.193193In the Symbolum the “γεννηθέντα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου” is to be understood as explaining τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ. For the rest, the older enemies of Monarchianism still maintained common ground with their opponents, in so far as God’s evolving of Himself in several substances (Hypostases) was throughout affected by the history of the world (cosmos), and in this sense by the history of revelation. The difference between them and at least the later Monarchians was here only one of degree. The latter began at the incarnation (or at the theophanies of the O. T.), and from it dated a nominal plurality, the former made the “economic” self-unfolding of God originate immediately before the creation of the world. Here we have the cosmological interest coming once more to the front in the Church Fathers and displacing the historical, while it ostensibly raised the latter to a higher plane.
Wherever the doctrine of the Logos planted itself in the third century the question, whether the divine being who appeared on earth was identical with the Deity, was answered in the negative.194194See Adv. Prax. 16. In opposition to this Gnostic view, which was first to be corrected in the fourth century, the Monarchians maintained a very ancient and valuable position in clinging to the identity of the eternal Deity, with the Deity revealed on earth. But does not the dilemma that arises show that the speculation on both sides was as untenable as unevangelical? Either we preserve the identity, and in that case defend the thesis, at once absurd and inconsistent with the Gospel, that Christ was the Father himself; or with the Gospel we retain the distinction between Father and Son, but then announce a subordinate God after the fashion of a Gnostic polytheism. Certainly, as regards religion, a very great advance was arrived at, when Athanasius, by his exclusive formula of Λόγος ὁμοούσιος 73(consubstantial Logos), negatived both Modalism and subordinationist Gnosticism, but the Hellenic foundation of the whole speculation was preserved, and for the rational observer a second rock of offence was merely piled upon a first. However, under the conditions of scientific speculation at the time, the formula was the saving clause by which men were once for all turned from Adoptianism, whose doctrine of a deification of Jesus could not fail, undoubtedly, to awaken the most questionable recollections.
(b) The last stages of Modalism in the West, and the State of Theology.
Our information is very defective concerning the destinies of Monarchianism in Rome and the West, after the close of the first thirty years of the third century; nor are we any better off in respect to the gradual acceptance of the Logos Christology. The excommunication of Sabellius by Callistus in Rome resulted at once in the Monarchians ceasing to find any followers in the West, and in the complete withdrawal soon afterwards of strict and aggressive Modalism.195195On these grounds the doctrine of Sabellius will be described under, in the history of Eastern Modalism. Callistus himself has, besides, not left to posterity an altogether clean reputation as regards his Christology, although he had covered himself in the main point by his compromise formula.196196In forged Acts of Synod of the 6th century we read (Mansi, Concil. II., p. 621): “qui se Callistus ita docuit Sabellianum, ut arbitrio suo sumat unam personam esse trinitatis.” The words which follow later, “in sua extollentia separabat trinitatem” have without reason seemed particularly difficult to Döllinger (l.c., p. 247) and Langen (l.c., p. 215). Sabellianism was often blamed with dismembering the Monas (see Zahn, Marcell. p. 211.) Hippolytus’ sect had ceased to exist about A.D. 250; nay, it is not altogether improbable that he himself made his peace with the great Church shortly before his death.197197See Döllinger, l.c., Hippolytus was under Maximinus banished along with the Roman Bishop Pontian to Sardinia. See the Catal. Liber. sub “Pontianus” (Lipsius, Chronologic, pp. 194, 275). We can infer from Novatian’s important work “De trinitate”, that the following tenets were recognised 74in Rome about 250:198198This writing shows, on the one hand, that Adoptians and Modalists still existed and were dangerous in Rome, and on the other, that they were not found within the Roman Church. On the significance of the writing see Vol. II., p. 313 f. (1) Christ did not first become God. (2) The Father did not suffer. (3) Christ pre-existed and is true God and man.199199The Roman doctrine of Christ was then as follows: He has always been with the Father (sermo dei), but he first proceeded before the world from the substance of the Father (ex patre) for the purpose of creating the world. He was born into the flesh, and thus as filius dei and deus adopted a homo; thus he is also filius hominis. “Filius dei” and “filius hominis” are thus to be distinguished as two substances (substantia divina — homo), but he is one person; for he has completely combined, united, and fused the two substances in himself. At the end of things, when he shall have subjected all to himself, he will subject himself again to the Father, and will return to and be merged in him. Of the Holy Spirit it is also true, that he is a person (Paraclete), and that he proceeds from the substance of the Father; but he receives from the Son his power and sphere of work, he is therefore less than the Son, as the latter is less than the Father. But all three persons are combined as indwellers in the same substance, and united by love and harmony. Thus there is only one God, from whom the two other persons proceed. But it was not only in Rome that these tenets were established, but also in many provinces. If the Roman Bishop Dionysius could write in a work of his own against the Sabellians, that “Sabellius blasphemed, saying that the Son was himself Father”,200200Σαβέλλιος βλασφημεῖ, αὐτὸν τὸν υἱὸν εἶναι λέγων τὸν πάτερα. See Routh, Reliq. S. III., p. 373 then we must conclude that this doctrine was then held inadmissible in the West. Cyprian again has expressed himself as follows (Ep. 73. 4): “Patripassiani, Valentiniani, Appelletiani, Ophitæ, Marcionitæ et cetere hæreticorum pestes” ( — the other plagues of heretics), and we must decide that the strict Modalistic form of doctrine was then almost universally condemned in the West. Of the difficulties met with in the ejection of the heresy, or the means employed, we have no information. Nothing was changed in the traditional Creed — a noteworthy and momentous difference from the oriental Churches! But we know of one case in which an important alteration was proposed. The Creed of the Church of Aquileia began, in the fourth century, with the words “I believe in God the Father omnipotent, invisible, and impassible” (Credo in deo patre omnipotente, invisibili et impassibili), and Rufinus, who 75has preserved it for us, tells201201Expos. Symboli Apost. ch. 19. The changes which can be shown to have been made on the first article of the Creed elsewhere in the West — see especially the African additions — belong probably at the earliest to the fourth century. Should they be older, however, they are all, it would seem, to be understood anti-gnostically; in other words, they contain nothing but explanations and comfirmatory additions. It is in itself incredible and incapable of proof that the Roman and after it the Western Churches should, at the beginning of the third century, have deleted, as Zahn holds, a ἕνα which originally stood in the first article of the Creed, in order to confute the Monarchians. that the addition was made, at any rate as early as the third century, in order to exclude the Patripassians.
But the exclusion of the strict Modalists involved neither their
immediate end, nor the wholesale adoption of the teaching of Tertullian and Hippolytus,
of the philosophical doctrine of the Logos. As regards the latter, the recognition
of the name of Logos for Christ, side by side with other titles, did not at once
involve the reception of the Logos doctrine, and the very fact, that no change was
made in the Creed, shows how reluctant men were to give more than a necessary minimum
of space to philosophical speculations. They were content with the formula, extracted
from the Creed, “Jesus Christus, deus et homo”, and with the combination of the
Biblical predicates applied to Christ, predicates which also governed their conception
of the Logos. In this respect the second Book of the Testimonies of Cyprian is of
great importance. In the first six chapters the divinity of Christ is discussed,
in terms of Holy Scripture, under the following headings. (1) Christum primogenitum
esse et ipsum esse sapientiam dei, per quem omnia facta sunt; (2) quod sapientia
dei Christus; (3) quod Christus idem sit et sermo dei; (4) quod Christus idem manus
et brachium dei; (5) quod idem angelus et deus; (6) quod deus Christus. Then follows,
after some sections on the appearing of Christ: (10) quod et homo et deus Christus.
The later Nicene and Chalcedonian doctrine was the property of the Western Church
from the third century, not in the form of a philosophically technical speculation,
but in that of a categorical Creed-like expression of faith — see Novatian’s “De trinitate”, in which the doctrine of the
Logos falls into the background. Accordingly
the statement of Socrates (H. E. III. 7)
76is not incredible, that the Western Churchman Hosius had already declared
the distinction between οὐσία and ὑπόστασις
(substantia and persona) before the
Council of Nicæa.202202See Vol. IV. The West welcomed in the fourth century all statements which contained the complete
divinity of Christ, without troubling itself much about arguments and proofs, and
the controversy between the two Dionysii in the middle of the third century (see
under), proves that a declared interest was kept up in the complete divinity of
Christ, as an inheritance from the Monarchian period in Rome.203203We, unfortunately, do not know on what
grounds the Roman Bishop approved of the excommunication of Origen, or whether Origen’s
doctrine of subordination was regarded in Rome as heretical. Nay,
a latent Monarchian element really continued to exist in the Western Church; this
we can still study in the poems of Commodian.204204Here follow in the original illustrations
which we relegate to this footnote. Compare Instruct. II. 1 (Heading): “De populo
absconso sancto omnipotentis Christi dei vivi;” II. 1, p. 28. 22, ed. Ludwig): “omnipotens
Christus descendit ad suos electos;” II. 23, p. 43, 11 sq.: “Unde deus clamat: Stulte,
hac nocte vocaris.” II. 39. 1, p. 52. Carmen apolog. 91 sq.: “Est deus omnipotens,
unus, a semetipso creatus, quem infra reperies magnum et humilem ipsum. Is erat
in verbo positus, sibi solo notatus, Qui pater et filius dicitur et spiritus sanctus;”
276: “Hic pater in filio venit, deus unus ubique.” (See also the following verses
according to the edition of Dombart): 285: “hic erat Omnipotens;” 334: “(ligno) deus pependit dominus;”
353: “deum talia passum, Ut enuntietur crucifixus conditor
orbis;” 359 sq.: “Idcirco nec voluit se manifestare, quid esset, Sed filium dixit
se missum fuisse a patre;” 398: “Prædictus est deus carnaliter nasci pro nobis;”
455: “quis deus est ille, quem nos crucifiximus;” 610: “ipsa spes tota, deo credere,
qui ligno pependit;” 612: “Quod filius dixit, cum sit deus pristinus ipse;” 625:
“hic erat venturus, commixtus sanguine nostro, ut videretur homo, sed deus in carne latebat . . . dominus ipse veniet.” 630, 764:
“Unus est in cælo deus dei, terræ marisque, Quem Moyses docuit ligno pependisse pro nobis;” etc. etc. Commodian is
usually assigned to the second half of the third century, but doubts have recently
been expressed as to this date. Jacobi, Commodian u. d. alt Kirchlich. Trinitätslehre, in der deutschen Ztschr. f. Christl.
Wissensch., 1853, p, 203 ff. Commodian,
again, was not yet acquainted with speculations regarding the “complete” humanity
of Jesus; he is satisfied with the flesh of Christ being represented as a sheath,
(V. 224, “And suffers, as he willed, in our likeness”;205205Et patitur, quomodo voluit sub imagine nostra. on the
other hand, V. 280, “now the flesh was God, in which the virtue of God acted.”)206206Iam caro deus erat, in qua dei virtus agebat. But
these are only symptoms
77of a Christian standpoint which was fundamentally different from that
of oriental theologians, and which Commodian was by no means the only one to occupy.
He, Lactantius, and Arnobius207207See Francke’s fine discussion, Die Psychologie
und Erkentnisslehre des Arnobius (Leipzig, 1878). are
very different from each other. Commodian was a practical Churchman; Arnobius was
an empiricist and in some form also a sceptic and decided opponent of Platonism;208208We recall the Theodotians of Rome. while
Lactantius was a disciple of Cicero and well acquainted besides with the speculations
of Greek Christian theology. But they are all three closely connected in the contrast
they present to the Greek theologians of the school of Origen; there is nothing
mystical about them, they are not Neoplatonists. Lactantius has, indeed, expounded
the doctrine of Christ, the incarnate Logos, as well as any Greek; as a professional
teacher it was all known and familiar to him;209209See Instit. IV. 6-30. The doctrine of
the Logos is naturally worked out in a subordinationist sense. Besides this, many
other things occur which must have seemed very questionable to the Latin Fathers
60 years afterwards: “Utinam,” says Jerome, “tam nostra confirmare potuisset quam
facile aliena destruxit.” but
as he nowhere encounters any problems in his Christology, as he discusses doctrines
with very few theological or philosophical formulas, almost in a light tone, as
if they were mere matters of course, we see that he had no interest of his own in
them. He was rather interested in exactly the same questions as Arnobius and Commodian,
who again showed no anxiety to go beyond the simplest Christological formulas
— that Christ was God, that he had, however, also assumed flesh, or united
himself with a man, since otherwise we could not have borne the deity: “And God
was man, that he might possess us in the future” (Et fuit homo deus, ut nos in futuro
haberet).210210Commod., Carmen apolog. 761. 211211See the Christological expositions, in
part extremely questionable, of Arnobius I. 39, 42, 53, 60, 62, and elsewhere. A.
demands that complete divinity should be predicated of Christ on account of the
divine teaching of Christ (II. 60). In his own theology many other antique features
crop up; he even defends the view that the supreme God need not be conceived as
creator of this world and of men (see the remarkable chap. 46 of the second book,
which recalls Marcion and Celsus). Many Church doctrines Arnobius cannot understand,
and he admits them to be puzzles whose solution is known to God
alone (see e.g., B. II. 74). Even in the doctrine of the soul, which to him
is mortal and only has its life prolonged by receiving the doctrine brought by Christ,
there is a curious mixture of antique empiricism and Christianity. If we measure
him by the theology of the fourth century, Arnobius is heterodox on almost every page. The
Christianity and theology which these
78Latins energetically supported against polytheism, were summed up in
Monotheism, a powerfully elaborated morality, the hope of the Resurrection which
was secured by the work of the God Christ who had crushed the demons, and in unadulterated
Chiliasm.212212See the Carmen apolog. with its
detailed discussions of the final Drama, Antichrist (Nero) etc.; Lactant IV. 12,
VII. 21 sq.; Victorinus, Comm. on Revelation. Monotheism — in the
sense of Cicero “De natura deorum” — Moralism, and Chiliasm: these are the clearly
perceived and firmly held points, and not only for Apologetic purposes, but also,
as is proved especially by the second book of Commodian’s “Instructiones”, in independent
and positive expositions. These Instructions are, along with the Carmen Apolog.,
of the highest importance for our estimate of Western Christianity in the period
A.D. 250-315. We discover here, 100 years after the Gnostic fight, a Christianity
that was affected, neither by the theology of the anti-gnostic Church Fathers, nor
specially by that of the Alexandrians, one which the dogmatic contentions and conquests
of the years 150-250 have passed over, hardly leaving a trace. Almost all that is
required to explain it by the historian who starts with the period of Justin is
to be found in the slightly altered conditions of the Roman world of culture, and
in the development of the Church system as a practical power, a political and social
quantity.213213We can notice throughout in Commodian
the influence of the institution of penance, that measuring-tape of the extent to
which Church and World are entwined. Even in the use of Scripture
this Christianity of the West reveals its conservatism. The Books of the O. T. and
the Apocalypse are those still most in vogue.214214The oldest commentary preserved,
in part, to us is that of Victorinus of Pettan on the Apocalypse. Commodian does not stand
alone, nor are the features to be observed in his “Instructiones” accidental. And
79we are not limited to the Apologists Arnobius and Lactantius for purposes
of comparison. We learn much the same thing as to African Christianity from the
works of Cyprian, or, even from the theological attitude of the Bishop himself,
as we infer from Commodian’s poems. And, on the other hand, Latin Church Fathers
of the fourth century, e.g., Zeno and Hilary, show in their writings that
we must not look for the theological interests of the West in the same quarter as
those of the East. In fact the West did not, strictly speaking, possess a specifically
Church “theology” at all.215215The work of Arnobius is, in this
respect, very instructive. This theologian did not incline as a theologian to Neoplatonism,
at a time when, in the East, the use of any other philosophy in Christian dogmatics
was ipso facto forbidden as heretical. It was only from the
second half of the fourth century that the West was invaded by the Platonic theology
which Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Novatian had cultivated, to all appearance without
any thorough success. Some of its results were accepted, but the theology itself
was not. Nor, in some ways, was it later on, when the Western structure of Monotheism,
energetic practical morality, and conservative Chiliasm fell a prey to destruction.
The mystical tendencies, or the perceptions that led to them, were themselves awanting.
Yet there is no mistake, on the other hand, as we are taught by the Institutiones
of Lactantius as well as the Tractates of Cyprian, that the rejection of Modalism
and the recognition of Christ as the Logos forced upon the West the necessity of
rising from faith to a philosophical and, in fact, a distinctively Neoplatonic dogmatic.
It was simply a question of time when this departure should take place. The recognition
of the Logos could not fail ultimately to produce everywhere a ferment which transformed
the Rule of Faith into the compendium of a scientific religion. It is hardly possible
to conjecture how long and where Monarchians maintained their ground as independent
sects in the West. It is yet most probable that there were Patripassians in Rome
in the fourth century. The Western Fathers and opponents of heretics from the middle
of the fourth century speak not infrequently of Monarchians — Sabellians; but they, as a rule, have simply copied Greek sources,
80from which they have transferred the confusion that prevailed among
the Greek representatives of Sabellianism, and to a still greater extent, we must
admit, among the historians who were hostile to it.216216 Epiphanius (H. 62. 1) tells us that there were Sabellians in Rome in his time. Since
he was acquainted with no other province or community in the West we may perhaps
believe him. This information seems to be confirmed by a discovery made in A.D.
1742 by Marangoni. “He found at the Marancia gate on the road leading to S. Paolo
a stair closed in his time which, as the discoverer believed, led to a cubiculum
of S. Callisto, and in which were painted Constantine’s monogram in very large letters,
and, secondly, Christ sitting on a globe, between Peter and Paul. On the cover,
in a mosaic of green stones, stood the inscription “Qui et filius diceris et pater
inveniris” (Kraus, Rom. sott. 2 Aufl., p. 550). De Rossi, Kraus, and Schultze
(Katakomben, p. 34) suppose that we have here the discovery of a burial place of Modalistic Monarchians, and that, as the
monogram proves, of the fourth century.
The sepulchre has again disappeared, and we have to depend entirely on Marangoni’s
account, which contains no facsimile. It is not probable that a Sabellian burial-place
lay in immediate proximity to Domitilla’s catacomb in the fourth century, or that
the grave-yard of any sect was preserved. If we can come to any decision at all,
in view of the uncertainty of the whole information, it seems more credible that
the inscription belongs to the third century, and that the monogram was added to
deprive it of its heretical character.
Whether Ambrosius and Ambrosiaster refer in the following quotations to Roman or say Western Monarchians living in their time is at least questionable. (Ambrosius, de fide V. 13. 162, Ed. Bened. II. p. 579 “Sabelliani et Marcionitæ dicunt, quod hæc futura sit Christi ad deum patrem subjectio, ut in patrem filius refundatur”; Ambrosiaster in Ep. ad Cor. II. 2, Ed. Bened. App. II., p. 117, “quia ipsum patrem sibi filium appellatum dicebant, ex quibus Marcion traxit errorem”).
Optatus (I. 9) relates that in the African provinces not only the errors, but even the names, of Praxeas and Sabellius had passed away; in I. 10, IV. 5, V. 1 he discusses the Patripassians briefly, but without giving anything new. Nor can we infer from Hilary (de trinitate VII. 39; ad Constant. II. 9) that there were still Monarchians in his time in the West. Augustine says (Ep. 118 c. II.  ed. Bened. II., p. 498) “dissensiones quæstionesque Sabellianorum silentur.” Secondhand information regarding them is to be found in Augustine, Tract. in Joh. (passim) and Hær. 41. (The remarks here on the relation of Sabellius to Noëtus are interesting. Augustine cannot see why orientals count Sabellianism a separate heresy from Monarchianism).
Again we have similar notices in Aug. Prædest. H. 41 — in H. 70 Priscillians and Sabellians are classed together; as already in Leo I — , in Isidor, H. 43, Gennadius, Eccl. Dogm. I. 4 (“Pentapolitana hæresis”) Pseudo-hieron. H. 26 (“Unionita” etc., etc. In the Consult. Zacch. et Appollon. l. II. 11 sq. (Gallandi -T. IX., p. 231 sq) — a book written about 430 — a distinction is made between the Patripassians and Sabellians. The former are correctly described, the latter confounded with the Macedonians. Vigilius Dial. adv. Arian. (Bibl. Lugd. T. VIII.).
(c) The Modalistic Monarchians in the East: Sabellianism and the History of Philosophical Christology and Theology after Origen.217217S. Schleiermacher in the Theol. Zeitschr. 1822, part 3; Lange in the Zeitschr. f. d. histor. Theol. 1832, II. 2. S. 17-46; Zahn, Marcell. 1867. Quellen: Orig., περὶ ἀρχ. I. 2; in John. I. 23, II. 2. 3, X. 21; in ep. ad Titum fragm. II; in Mt. XVI. 8, XVII. 14; c. Cels. VIII. 12, etc. For Sabellius, Philosoph. IX. is, in spite of its meagreness, of fundamental importance. Hippolytus introduces him in a way that shows plainly he was sufficiently well known at the time in the Roman Church not to need any more precise characterisation (see Caspari, Quellen III., p. 327.). Epiphanius (H. 62) has borrowed from good sources. If we still possessed them, the letters of Dionysius of Alex. would have been our most important original authorities on S. and his Libyan party. But we have only fragments, partly in Athanasius (de sententia Dionysii), partly in later writers — the collection in Routh is not complete, Reliq S. III., pp. 371-403. All that Athanasius imparts, though fragmentary, is indispensable (espec. in the writings De synod.; de decret. synod. Nic. and c. Arian. IV. This discourse has from its careless use led to a misrepresentation of Sabellian teaching; yet see Rettberg, Marcell. Præf.; Kuhn, Kath. Dogmatik II. S. 344; Zahn, Marcell. S. 198 f.). A few important notices in Novatian, de trinit. 12 sq.; Method., Conviv. VIII. 10; Arius in ep. ad. Alex. Alexandriæ (Epiph., H. 69. 7); Alexander of Alex. (in Theodoret , H. E. I.3); Eusebius, c. Marcell. and Præpar. evang.; Basilius, ep. 207, 210, 214, 235; Gregory of Nyssa, λόγος κατά Ἀρείου καὶ Σαελλίου (Mai. V. P. Nova Coll. VIII. 2, p. 1 sq.) — to be used cautiously — ; Pseudo-Gregor (Appollinaris) in Mai, 1.c. VII. 1., p. 170 sq.; Theodoret. H. F. II. 9; Anonymus, πρὸς τοὺς Σαβελλίζοντας (Athanas. Opp. ed. Montfaucon II., p. 37 sq.); Joh. Damascenus; Nicephorus Call., H. E. VI. 25. For Monarchianism we have a few passages in Gregorius Thaumaturg. The theologians after Origen and before Arius will be cited under.
After the close of the third century the name of “Sabellians” became the common title of Modalistic Monarchians in the East. In the West also the term was used here and there, in the same way, in the fourth and fifth centuries. In consequence of this the traditional account of the doctrines taught by Sabellius and his immediate disciples is very confused. Zahn has the credit of having shown that the propositions, especially, which were first published by Marcellus of Ancyra, were characterised by opponents as Sabellian because Monarchian, and in later times they have been imputed to the older theologian. But not only does the work of Marcellus pass under the name of Sabellius up to the present day, Monarchianism undoubtedly assumed very different forms in the East in the period between Hippolytus and Athanasius. It was steeped in philosophical speculation. Doctrines based on kenosis and transformation were developed. 82And the whole was provided by the historians with the same label. At the same time these writers went on drawing inferences, until they have described forms of doctrine which, in this connection, in all probability never existed at all. Accordingly, even after the most careful examination and sifting of the information handed down, it is now unfortunately impossible to write a history of Monarchianism from Sabellius to Marcellus; for the accounts are not only confused, but fragmentary and curt. It is quite as impossible to give a connected history of the Logos Christology from Origen to Arius and Athanasius, although the tradition is in this case somewhat fuller. But the orthodox of the fourth and fifth centuries found little to please them in the Logos doctrine of those earlier disciples of Origen, and consequently they transmitted a very insignificant part of their writings to posterity. This much is certain, however, that in the East the fight against Monarchianism in the second half of the third century was a violent one, and that even the development of the Logos Christology (of Origen) was directly and lastingly influenced by this opposition.218218Emendations both to support and to refute Sabellianism were proposed in the valued works of the past; the N. T., as well as other writings belonging to primitive Christian literature, being tampered with. Compare Lightfoot’s excursus on I. Clem. II., where Cod. A reads τοῦ Θεοῦ while C and S have τοῦ Χριστοῦ, the latter an emendation opposed to Monarchianism or Monophysitism (St. Clement of Rome, Appendix, p. 400 sq.). The old formulas τό αἵμα, τά παθήματα τοῦ Θεοῦ and others came into disrepute after the third century. Athanasius himself disapproved of them (c. Apoll. II. 13. 141, I., p. 758), and in the Monophysite controversy they were thoroughly distrusted. Thus in Ignatius (ad. Eph. I.) ἐν αἵματι Θεοῦ and (ad. Rom. VI.) τοῦ πάθους τοῦ Θεοῦ μου were corrected. On the other hand (II. Clem. IX.) the title of πνεῦμα for Christ was changed into λόγος. In the N. T. there are not a few passages where the various readings show a Monarchian or anti-Monarchian, a monophysite or dyophysite leaning. The most important have been discussed by Ezra Abbot in several essays in the “Bibliotheca Sacra” and the “Unitarian Review”. But we can trace certain various readings due to a Christological bias as far back as the second century: thus especially the famous ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς for μονογενὴς Θεός John I. 18; on this see Hort., Two Dissertations I., on ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΗΣ ΘΕΟΣ in Scripture and Tradition, 1878; Abbot in the Unitarian Review, June 1875. Since the majority of the important various readings in the N. T. belong to the second and third century, a connected examination of them would be very important from the standpoint of the history of dogma. For dogmatic changes in the western texts, the remarkable passage in Ambrosiaster on Rom. V. 14 falls especially to be noticed. The circumstance, that “Sabelliansim” 83was almost the only name by which Monarchianism was known in the East, points, for the rest, to schisms having resulted only from, or, at any rate, after the appearance and labours of Sabellius in the East, therefore at the earliest since about 230-240. So long as Origen lived in Alexandria no schism took place in Egypt over the Christological question.219219See Dionys. Alex. in Euseb. VII. 6. Dionysius speaks as if the appearance of Sabellian doctrine in his time in the Pentapolis were something new and unheard of.
Sabellius, perhaps by birth a Lybian from Pentapolis,220220This information, however, first appears in Basil, then in Philaster, Theodoret, and Nicephorus; possibly, therefore, it is due to the fact that Sabellius’ teaching met with great success in Libya and Pentapolis. seems after his excommunication to have remained at the head of a small community in Rome. He was still there, to all appearance, when Hippolytus wrote the Philosophumena. Nor do we know of his ever having left the city, — we are nowhere told that he did. Yet he must have, at least, set an important movement at work abroad from Rome as his centre, and have especially fostered relations with the East. When, in Pentapolis, about A.D. 260, and several years after the death of Origen, the Monarchian doctrine took hold of the Churches there (Dionys., l.c.) — Churches which, it is significant, were to some extent Latin in their culture — Sabellius can hardly have been alive, yet it was under his name that the heresy was promoted.221221Athanas de sententia Dionysii 5. But it would seem as if this prominence was given to him for the first time about A.D. 260. Origen at least had not, so far as I know, mentioned the name of Sabellius in his discussions of Monarchianism. These date from as early as A.D. 215. At the time, Origen was in Rome, Zephyrine being still Bishop. From the relations which he then entered into with Hippolytus, it has been rightly concluded that he did not hold aloof from the contentions in Rome, and took the side of Hippolytus. This attitude of Origen’s may not have been without influence on his condemnation afterwards in Rome by Pontian, 231 or 232. Origen’s writings, moreover, contain many sharp censures on Bishops who, in order to glorify God, made the distinction between Father and Son merely 84nominal. And this again seems to have been said not without reference to the state of matters in Rome. The theology of Origen made him an especially energetic opponent of the Modalistic form of doctrine; for although the new principles set up by him — that the Logos, looking to the content of his nature, possessed the complete deity, and that he from eternity was created from the being of the Father — approached apparently a Monarchian mode of thought, yet they in fact repelled it more energetically then Tertullian and Hippolytus could possibly have done. He who followed the philosophical theology of Origen was proof against all Monarchianism. But it is important to notice that in all places where Origen comes to speak about Monarchians, he merely seems to know their doctrines in an extremely simple form, and without any speculative embroidery. They are always people who “deny that Father and Son are two Hypostases” (they say: ἓν οὐ μόνον οὐσίᾳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑποκειμέῳ), who “fuse together” Father and Son (συγχέειν), who admit distinctions in God only in “conception” and “name”, and not in “number”, etc. Origen considers them therefore to be untheological creatures, mere “believers”. Accordingly, he did not know the doctrine of Sabellius, and living in Syria and Palestine had even had no opportunity of learning it.
That doctrine was undoubtedly closely allied, as Epiphanius has rightly seen (H. 62. 1), to the teaching of Noëtus; it was distinguished from the latter, however, both by a more careful theological elaboration, and by the place given to the Holy Ghost.222222This appears also from our oldest witness, the letter of Dionysius, Eusebius H. E. VII. 6: περὶ τοῦ νῦν κινηθέντος ἐν τῇ Πτολεμαΐδι τῆς Πενταπόλεως δόγματος, ὄντος ἀσεβοῦς καὶ βλασφημίαν πολλὴν ἔχοντος περὶ τοῦ παντοκράτορος Θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀπιστίαν τε πολλὴν ἔχοντος περὶ τοῦ μονογενοῦς παιδὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ πρωτοτόκου πάσης κτίσεως, τοῦ ἐναθρωπήσαντος λόγου, ἀναισθησίαν δὲ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. The opinion of Nitzsch and others, that we must distinguish between two stages in the theology of Sabellius, is unnecessary, whenever we eliminate the unreliable sources. The central proposition of Sabellius ran that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were the same. Three names accordingly were attached to one and the same being. It was his interest in monotheism that influenced Sabellius. “What shall we say,” urge his followers 85in Epiphanius (ch. 2), “have we one God or three Gods?” (τί ἂν εἴπωμεν, ἕνα Θεόν ἔχόεν, ἢ τρεῖς Θεούς); and Epiphanius (ch. 3) replies: “we do not propound polytheism” (οὐ πολυθεΐαν εἰσηγούμεθα). Whether Sabellius himself used the comparison between the threefold nature of man and the sun remains a question (one nature, three energies: τὸ φωτιστικόν light giving, τὸ θάλπον heat giving, τὸ σχῆμα the form).223223Epiph., l. c.: Δογματίζει γὰρ οὗτος καὶ οἱ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ Σαβελλιανοὶ τὸν αὐτόν εἶναι πατέρα, τὸν αὐτὸν υἱόν, τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι ἅγιον πνεῦμα· ὡ εἶναι ἐν μιᾷ ὑποστάσει τρεῖς ὀνομασίας, ἢ ὡς ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ σῶμα καὶ ψυχὴ καὶ πνεῦμα. Καὶ εἶναι μὲν τὸ σῶνα ὡς εἰτεῖν τὸν πατέρα, ψυχὴν δὲ ὡς εἰπεῖν τὸν υἱόν, τὸ πνεῦμα δὲ ὡς ἀνθρώπου, οὕτως καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα ἐν τῇ θεότητι. Ἢ ὡς ἐὰν ᾖ ἐν ἡλίῳ ὄντι μὲν ἐν μιᾷ ὑποστάσει, τρεῖς δὲ ἔχοντι τὰς ἐνεργείας κ.τ.λ. Method. Conviv. VIII. 10 (ed. Jahn, p. 37): Σαβέλλιος λέγει τὸν παντοκράτορα πεπονθέναι. The one being was also called by Sabellius υἱοπάτωρ,224224Athanas., de synod. 16; Hilar., de trin IV. 12. an expression which was certainly chosen to remove any misunderstanding, to make it impossible to suppose that two beings were in question. This υἱοπάτωρ (son-father) was in Sabellius the ultimate designation for God Himself, and not, say, merely for certain manifestations of a μονάς (unit) resting in the background. Sabellius, however, taught — according to Epiphanius and Athanasius — that God was not at the same time Father and Son; but that he had, rather, put forth his activity in three successive “energies”; first, in the Prosopon (= form of manifestation, figure; not = Hypostasis) of the Father as Creator and Lawgiver; secondly, in the Prosopon of the Son as Redeemer, beginning with the incarnation and ending at the ascension; finally, and up till the present hour, in the Prosopon of the Spirit as giver and sustainer of life.225225Epiph. H. 62, c. 1: Πεμφθέντα τὸν υἱὸν καιρῷ ποτέ, ὥσπερ ἀκτῖνα καὶ ἐργασάμενον τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τὰ τῆς οἰκονμίας τῆς εὐαγγελικῆς καὶ σωτηρίας τῶν ανθρώπων, ἀναληφθέντα δὲ αὖθις εἰς οὐρανόν, ὡς ὑπὸ ἡλίου πεμφθεῖσαν ἀκτῖνα, καὶ πάλιν εἰς τὸν ἥλιον ἀναδραμοῦσαν, Τὸ δὲ ἅγιον πνεῦμα πέμπεσθαι εἰς τὸν κόσμον, καὶ καθεξῆς καὶ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα εἰς ἕκαστον τῶν καταξιουμένων κ.τ.λ. C. 3 Epiphanius says: Οὐχ ὁ υἱὸς ἑαυτὸν ἐγέννησεν, οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ μεταβέβληται ἀπὸ τοῦ “πατήρ” τοῦ εἶναι “υἱός” κ.τ.λ. . . . πατὴρ ἀεὶ πατήρ, καὶ οὐκ ἦν καιρὸς ὅτε οὐκ ἦν πατὴρ πατήρ. We do not know whether Sabellius was able strictly to carry out the idea of the strict succession of the Prosopa, so that the one should form the boundary of the other. It is 86possible, indeed it is not improbable, that he could not fail to recognise in nature a continuous energy of God as Father.226226See Zahn, Marcell., p. 213. It is self-evident that the Sabellians would approve of the Catholic Canon; that they did, is confirmed by Epiphanius. They are said to have appealed especially to passages like Deut. VI. 4, Exod. XX. 3, Isa. XLIV. 6 and John X. 38.227227Epiph., l. c., c. 2. But Epiphanius remarks besides that the Sabellians derived their whole heresy and its strength from certain Apocrypha, especially the so-called Gospel of the Egyptians.228228L. c.: Τὴν δὲ πᾶσαν αὐτῶν πλάνην καὶ τὴν τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν δύναμιν ἔχουσιν ἐξ Ἀποκρύφων τινῶν, μάλιστα ἀπο τοῦ καλουμένου Αἰγυπτίου εὐαγγελίου, ᾧ τινες τὸ ὄνομα ἐπέθεντο τοῦτο. Ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ πολλὰ τοιαῦτα ὡς ἐν παραβύστῳ μυστηριωδῶς ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ σωτῆρος ἀναφέρεται, ὡς αὐτοῦ δηλοῦντος τοῖς μαθηταῖς τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι πατέρα, τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι υἱόν, τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι ἅγιον τνεῦμα. This note is instructive; for it not only recalls to our recollection a lost literature of the second century, especially the Gospel of the Egyptians,229229In the 2nd Ep. of Clement where it is frequently used, though this is disputed by some, Modalistic formulas occur. but it also shows that the use of an uncanonical Gospel had long continued among Catholics in the Pentapolis, or at any rate in Egypt.230230Clemens Alex. knew it; see Hilgenfeld, Nov. Testam. extra can. recept., 2 ed., fasc. 4, p. 42 sq. Finally, it confirms the view that the Christology of Sabellius cannot have been essentially different from the older, the so-called Patripassian doctrine. It is distinguished from the latter neither by the assumption of a transcendental Monas resting behind the Prosopa, nor by the introduction of the category of the Logos — which was made use of by Callistus, but not by Sabellius; nor by a speculative theory, borrowed from the Stoa, of the Deity, self-contained, and again unfolding itself; nor, finally, by a doctrine of the Trinity constructed in any fashion or by the expression υἱοπάτωρ, which, as used by Sabellius, simply affirmed the single personality of God. As to the doctrine of the Trinity, a triad was distinctly out of the question in Sabellius. The only noteworthy and real differences are found in these three points; first, in the attempt to demonstrate the succession of the Prosopa; secondly, as observed above, in the 87reference to the Holy Spirit; thirdly, in formally placing the Father on a parallel line with the two other Prosopa. The attempt mentioned above may be regarded as a return to the strict form of Modalism, which it was possible to hold was impugned by formulas like the compassus est pater filio (the Father suffered in sympathy with the Son). In the reference to the Holy Spirit, Sabellius simply followed the new theology, which was beginning to take the Spirit more thoroughly into account. Most important is the third point mentioned. For in ranging the Prosopon and energy of the Father in a series with the two others, not only was cosmology introduced into the Modalistic doctrine as a parallel to soteriology, but the preëminence of the Father over the other Prosopa was departed from in principle, and thus, in a curious fashion, the way was prepared for the Athanasian, and still more for the Western and Augustinian Christology. Here, undoubtedly, we have the decisive advance marked by Sabellianism within Monarchianism. It led up to the exclusive ὁμοούσιος (consubstantial); for it is probable that Sabellians employed this expression.231231See above, p. 45. They could apply it with perfect right. Further, while up to this time no evident bond had connected cosmology and soteriology within Modalistic theology, Sabellius now made the histories of the world and salvation into a history of the God who revealed himself in them. In other words, this Monarchianism became commensurate in form with that theology which employed the conception of the Logos, and this fact may have constituted by no means the least part of the attractiveness which Sabellianism proved itself to possess in no small degree up to the beginning of the fourth century and even later.232232There were still Sabellians in Neo-Cæsarea in the time of Basilius; Epiphanius knows of them only in Mesopotamia (H. 62 c. 1). The author of the Acta Archelai (c. 37) also became acquainted with them there; he treats them like Valentinians, Marcionites, and followers of Tatian as heretics. However, it is not to be concealed that the teaching of Sabellius relative to the Prosopon of the Father is particularly obscure. The sentence attributed to him by Athanasius,233233Orat. c. Arian IV. 25: ὥσπερ διαιρέσεις χαρισμάτων εἰσί, τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, οὕτω καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ὁ αὐτός μέν ἐστι, πλατύνεται δὲ εἰς υἱὸν καὶ πνεῦμα. “as there are diversities of spiritual gifts, but 88the same spirit, so also the Father is the same, but unfolds himself in Son and Spirit” — seems at the first glance to contradict the details given above. Yet the different gifts are certainly the Spirit himself, which so unfolds himself in them that he does not remain an element behind them, but is completely merged in them. In the same way the Father unfolds himself in the Prosopa. The witnesses to the succession of the Prosopa in Sabellius are too strong to allow us to infer from this passage that the Father still remained Father after the unfolding (πλατυσμός) in the Son. But this passage shows that philosophical speculations could readily attach themselves to the simple theory of Sabellius. Marcellus rejected his doctrine which he knew accurately. What he missed in it was the recognition of the Logos; therefore the idea of God had also not been correctly apprehended by him.234234Euseb. c. Marcell., p. 76 sq. But the form given to Monarchianism by Marcellus235235See on this Volume IV. won few friends for that type of doctrine. Alexandrian theologians, or Western scholars who came to their assistance, had already perfected the combination of Origen’s doctrine of the Logos with the Monarchian Ὁμοούσιος; in other words, they had turned the category used by Origen against the λόγος κτίσμα conception (the Logos-created) of Origen himself. The saving formula, , the Logos of the same substance, not made” (λόγος ὁμοούσιος οὐ ποιηθείς), was already uttered, and, suspiciously like Monarchianism as it sounded at first, became for that very reason the means of making Monarchianism superfluous in the Church, and of putting an end to it.236236Sabellius seems to have been held a heretic all over the West about A.D. 300; see the Acta Archelai, Methodius etc.
But that only happened after great fights. One of these we know, the controversy of the two Dionysii, a prelude to the Arian conflict.237237Hagemann, l.c., p. 411 ff.; Dittrich, Dion. d. Gr. 1867; Förster, in the Ztschr. f. d. hist. Theol., 1871) p. 42 ff.; Routh, Reliq. S. III., pp. 373-403. The main source is Athanasius de sentent, Dionysii, a defence of the Bishop, due to the appeal of the Arians to him; see also Basilius de spiritu, p. 29; Athan. de synod. 43-45. In the Pentapolis the Sabellian doctrine had, soon after the death of Origen, won a great following even 89among the Bishops, “so that the Son of God was no longer preached.” Dionysius of Alexandria, therefore, composed various letters in which he tried to recall those who had been misled, and to refute Sabellianism.238238Euseb., H. E. VII. 26. 1: Ἐπὶ ταύταις τοῦ Διονυσίου φέρονται καὶ ἄλλαι πλείους ἐπιστολαί, ὥσπερ αἱ κατὰ Σαβελλίου πρὸς Ἄμμωνα τῆς κατὰ Βερενίκην ἐκκλησίας ἐπίσκοπον, καὶ ἡ πρὸς Τελέσφορον καὶ ἡ πρὸς Εὐφράνορα, καὶ πάλιν Ἄμμωνα καὶ Εὔπορον. Συντάττει δὲ περὶ τῆς αὐτῆς ὑποθέσεως καὶ ἄλλα τέσσαρα συγγράμματα, ἃ τῷ κατὰ Ῥώμην ὁμωνύμῳ Διονυσίῳ προσφωνεῖ. Dionysius had already called the attention of Sixtus II., the predecessor of the Roman Dionysius, to the revolt in the Pentapolis. In one of these, directed to Euphranor and Ammonius, he gave an extreme exposition of Origen’s doctrine of the subordination of the Son. This letter seemed very questionable to some Christians — probably in Alexandria, perhaps in Pentapolis. They lodged a complaint, soon after A.D. 260, against the Alexandrian Bishop with Dionysius in Rome.239239Hagemann maintains that they first turned to the Alexandrian Bishop himself, and that he wrote an explanatory letter, which, however, did not satisfy them; but this cannot be proved (Athanasius de sentent. Dion. 13 is against it). The standpoint of the accusers appears from their appeal to the Roman Bishop, from the fact that he made their cause his own, and from the testimony of Athanasius. who describes them as orthodox Churchmen (de sentent. Dion. 13) — they were orthodox in the Roman sense. It is entirely wrong, with Dorner (Entwickelungsgesch. I., p. 748 f.) and Baur (Lehre v. d. Dreieinigkeit I., p. 313), to identify the accusers with those heretics, who, according to Dionysius’ letter, taught there were three Gods; for the heretics meant were rather the Alexandrian theologians. The latter assembled a synod at Rome, which disapproved of the expressions used by the Alexandrian, and himself despatched to Alexandria a didactic letter against the Sabellians and their opponents, who inclined to subordinationism. In this letter the Bishop so far spared his colleague as not to mention his name; but he sent him a letter privately, calling for explanations. The Alexandrian Bishop sought to justify himself in a long document in four books (ἔλεγ χος καὶ ἀπολογία), maintained that his accusers had wickedly torn sentences from their context, and gave explanations which seem to have satisfied the Roman Bishop, and which Athanasius at any rate admitted to be thoroughly orthodox. But the letter of the Roman Bishop appears to have had no immediate influence on the further development in Alexandria (see under); the universal collapse of the Empire in the following decades permitted the Alexandrian theologians 90to continue their speculations, without needing to fear further immediate reproofs from Roman Bishops.
Two facts give a special interest to the controversy of the Dionysii. First, in spite of the acceptance of the sacred Triad, the Romans adhered simply, without any speculative harmonising, to the unity of the Deity, and decided that Origen’s doctrine of subordination was Tritheism. Secondly, no scruple was felt at Alexandria in carrying out the subordination of the Son to the Father until it involved separation, though it was well known that such a view was supported, not by the tradition of the Church, but by philosophy alone. The accusers of the Alexandrian Dionysius charged him with separating Father and Son;240240De sententia 10. 16. denying the eternal existence of the Son;241241De sententia 14: οὐκ ἀεὶ ἦν ὁ Θεὸς πατήρ, οὐκ ἀεὶ ἦν ὁ υἱός, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ μὲν Θεὸς ἦν χωρὶς τοῦ λόγου, αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ υἱὸς οὐκ ἦν πρὶν γενηθῇ, ἀλλ᾽ ἦν ποτὲ ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, οὐ γὰρ ἀΐδιός ἐστιν, ἀλλ᾽ ὕστερον ἐπιγέγονεν. naming the Father without the Son and vice versâ;242242De sententia 16: πατέρα λέγων Διονύσιος οὐκ ὀνομάζει τὸν υἱόν, καὶ πάλιν υἱὸν λέγων οὐκ ὀνομάζει τὸν πατέρα, ἀλλὰ διαιρεῖ καὶ μακρύνει καὶ μέρίζει τὸν υἱὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρός.omitting to use the word ὁμοούσιος;243243L. c. 18: προσφέρουσιν ἔγκλημα κατ᾽ ἐμοῦ ψεῦδος ὂν ὡς οὐ λέγοντος τὸν Κριστὸν ὁμοούσιον εἶναι τῷ Θεῷ. and finally, with regarding the Son as a creature, related to the Father as the vine to the gardener, or the boat to the shipbuilder.244244L. c. 18: πλὴν ἐγὼ γενητά τινα — says Dion. Alex. — καὶ ποιητά τινα φήσας νοεῖσθαι, τῶν μὲν τοιούτων ὡς ἀχρειοτέρων ἐξ ἐπιδρομῆς εἶπον παραδείγματα, ἐπεὶ μήτε τὸ φυτὸν ἔφην (τὸ αὐτὸ εἶναι) τῷ γεωργῷ, μήτε τῷ ναυπηγῷ τὸ σκάφος· — Ἕνα τῶν γενητῶν εἶναι — say the opponents of Dion. — τὸν υἱὸν καὶ μὴ ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρί. The passage in the letter to Euphranor ran (c. 4): ποίημα καὶ γενητὸν εἶναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ, μήτε δὲ φύσει ἴδιον, ἀλλὰ ξένον κατ᾽ οὐσίαν αὐτὸν εἶναι τοῦ πατρός, ὥσπερ ἐστὶν ὁ γεωργὸς πρὸς τὴν ἄμπελον καὶ ὁ ναυπηγὸς πρὸς τὸ σκάφος. καὶ γὰρ ὡς ποίημα ὢν οὐκ ἦν πρὶν γένηται. In these censures, which were not inaccurate, it is obvious that Dionysius, continuing the Neoplatonic speculations of his teacher, conceived the λόγος as portio and derivatio of the μονάς, thus, in order to meet Sabellianism, actually dividing him from the deity. Dionysius sought to excuse himself in his ἔλεγχος (Refutation), and emphasised exclusively the other side of Origen’s doctrine, at the same time 91admitting that in his incriminated writing he had incidentally employed somewhat unsuitable similes. Now he said that the Father had always been Father, and that Christ had always existed as the Logos and wisdom and power of God; that the Son had his being from the Father, and that he was related to the Father as the rays are to the light.245245L. c. 15. He explained that while he had not used the word ὁμοούσιος, because it did not occur in Holy Scripture, figures were to be found in his earlier writings which corresponded to it; thus the figure of parents and children, of seed or root and plant, and of source and stream.246246L. c. 18. The Father was the source of all good, the Son the outflow; the Father the mind (νοῦς), the Son the word (λόγος) — reminding us very forcibly of Neoplatonism — or the emanating mind (νοῦς προπηδῶν), while the νοῦς itself remains “and is what it was” (καὶ ἔστιν οἷος ἦν). “But being sent he flew forth and is borne everywhere, and thus each is in each, the one being of the other, and they are one, being two’ (Ὁ δὲ ἐξέπτη προπεμφθεὶς καὶ φέρεται πανταχοῦ καὶ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἑκάτερος ἐν ἑκατέρω ἓτερος ὤν θατέρου, καὶ ἓν εἰσιν, ὄντες δύο).247247L. C. 23. The expositions of νοῦς and λόγος which were found both in the 2 and 4 books of Dionysius quite remind us of Porphyry: καὶ ἔστιν ὁ μὲν οἷον πατὴρ ὁ νοῦς τοῦ λόγου, ὢν ἐφ᾽ ἐαυτοῦ, ὁ δὲ καθάπερ υἱὸς ὁ λόγος τοῦ νοῦ. πρὸ ἐκείνου μὲν ἀδύνατον, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ ἔξωθέν ποθεν, σὺν ἐκείνῳ γενόμενος, βλαστήσας δὲ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ. οὕτως ὁ πατὴρ ὁ μέγιστος καὶ καθόλου νοῦς πρῶτον τὸν νἱὸν λόγον ἑρμηνέα καί ἄγγελον ἑαυτοῦ ἔχει. But he now went further: any separation between Father and Son was to be repudiated. “I say Father, and before I add the Son, I have already included and designated him in the Father.” The same holds true of the Holy Spirit. Their very names always bind all three together inseparably. “How then do I who use these names think that these are divided and entirely separated from each other? (πῶς οὖν ὁ τούτοις χρώμενος τοῖς ὀνόμασι μεμερίσθαι ταῦτα καὶ ἀφωρίσθαι παντελῶς ἀλλήλων οἴομαι;).248248L. c. 17. In these words the retreat was sounded; for what the Roman Bishop rejected, but Alexandrian theology never ventured wholly to 92discard, was the “dividing” (μερίζεσθαι).249249We see from the passages quoted by Basilius that Dionysius adhered to the expression “τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις,” but discarded the “μερισμένας εἶναι.” while his accusers must have attacked the former expression also: Εἰ τῷ τρεῖς εἶναι τὰς ύπαστάσεις μεμερισμένας εἶναι λέγουσι, τρεῖς εἰσί, κᾂν μὴ θέλωσιν ἢ τὴν θείαν τριάδα παντελῶς ἀνελέτωσαν.. This accordingly is to be translated: “if they maintain that a separation is necessarily involved in the expression ‘three Hypostases,’ yet there are three — whether they admit it or no — or they must completely destroy the divine triad.” The reservation lies in the word “entirely” (παντελῶς). Dionysius added in conclusion: “Thus we unfold the unit into the triad without dividing it, and we sum up the triad again into the unit without diminishing it,” (οὕτω μὲν ἡμεῖς εἴς τε τὴν τριάδα τὴν μονάδα πλατύνομεν ἀδιαίρετον, καὶ τὴν τριάδα πάλιν ἀμείωτον εἰς τὴν μονάδα συγκεφαλαιούμεθα). In this he has accommodated himself to a mode of looking at things which he could only allege to be his own under a mental reservation, as in the case of the qualification “entirely” (παντελῶς). For the terms πλατύνειν and συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι were not those current in the school of Origen, and admit of a different interpretation. Finally, Dionysius denied the charge of the “sycophants” that he made the Father the Creator of Christ.250250L.c. 20, 21. It is very noteworthy, that Dionysius has not even brought himself to use the expression ὁμοούσιος in his ἔλεγχος. If he had Athanasius would have given it in his extracts. For the rest, the attempt of Athanasius to explain away the doubtful utterances of Dionysius, by referring them to the human nature of Christ, is a makeshift born of perplexity.
The letter of Dionysius of Rome falls midway between these two manifestoes, which are so different, of the Alexandrian Bishop. We have to regret very deeply that Athanasius has only preserved one, though a comprehensive, fragment of this document.251251De decret. synod. Nic. 26 (see besides de sentent. Dion. 13). It is extremely characteristic of the Roman Bishop, to begin with, that it seeks to settle the sound doctrine by representing it as the just mean between the false unitarian or Sabellian, and the false trinitarian or Alexandrian doctrine.252252The attack on the latter has alone been preserved by Athanasius along with the concluding argument; it is thus introduced: Ὅτι δὲ ποίημα οὐδὲ κτίσμα ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγος, ἀλλ᾽ ἴδιον τῆς τοῦ πατρὸς οὐσίας γέννημα ἀδιαίρετ͙όν ἐστιν, ὡς ἔγραψεν ἡ μεγάλη σύνοδος, ἰδοὺ καὶ ὁ τῆς Ῥώμης ἐπίσκοπος Διονύσιος γράφων κατὰ τῶν τὰ τοῦ Σαβελλίου φρονούντων, σχετλιάζει κατὰ τῶν ταῦτα τολμώντων λέγειν καὶ φήσιν οὕτως. The second 93characteristic of the letter is that it regards the Alexandrian doctrine as teaching that there are three Gods, and draws a parallel between it and the Three principles of the Marcionites. This proves that the Roman Bishop did not trouble himself with the speculation of the Alexandrians, and simply confined himself to the result — as he conceived it — of three separate Hypostases.253253Ἑξῆς δ᾽ ἄν εἰκότως λέγοιμι καὶ πρὸς τοὺς διαιροῦντας καὶ κατατέμνοντας καὶ ἀναιροῦντας τὸ σεμνότατον κήρυγμα τῆς ἐκκλησίας τοῦ Θεοῦ, τὴν μοναρχίαν — thus begins the fragment communicated by Athanasius, — εἰς τρεῖς δυνάμεις τινας καὶ μεμερισμένας ὑποστάσεις καὶ θεότητας τρεῖς· πέπυσμαι γὰρ εἶναί τινας τῶν παρ᾽ ὑμῖν κατηχούντων καὶ διδασκόντων τὸν θεῖον λόγον, ταύτης ὑφηγντὰς τῆς φρονήσεως· οἳ κατὰ διάμετρον, ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν, ἀντίκεινται τῇ Σαβελλίου γνώμῃ· ὁ μὲν γὰρ βλασφημεῖ, αὐτὸν τὸν υἱὸν εἶναι λέγων τόν πατέρα, καὶ ἔμπαλιν· οἱ δὲ τρεῖς θεοὺς τρόπον τινὰ κηρύττουσιν, εἰς τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις ξένας ἀλλήλων, παντάπασι κεχωρισμένας, διαιροῦντες τὴν ἀγίαν μονάδα. ἡνῶσθαι γὰρ ἀνάγκη τῷ Θεῷ τῶν ὅλων τὸν θεῖον λόγον, ἐμφιλοχωρεῖν δὲ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐνδιαιτᾶσθαι δεῖ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, ἤδη καὶ τὴν θείαν τριάδα εἰς ἕνα, ὥσπερ εἰς κορυφήν τινα (τὸν Θεὸν τῶν ὅλων τὸν παντοκράτορα λέγω) συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαί τε καὶ συνάγεσθαι πᾶσα ἀνάγκη. Μαρκίωνος γὰρ τοῦ ματαιόφρονος δίδαγμα εἰς τρεῖς ἀρχὰς τῆς μοναρχίας τομὴν καὶ διαίρεσιν (διορίζει), παίδευμα ὂν διαβολικόν, οὐχὶ δὲ τῶν ὄντως μαθητῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ . . . οὗτοι γὰρ τρίάδα μὲν κηρυττομένην ὑπὸ τῆς θείας γραφῆς σαφῶς ἐπίςτανται, τρεῖς δε θεοὺς οὔτε παλαιὰν οὔτε καινὴν διαθήκην κηρύττουσαν According to Dionysius, then, some Alexandrian teachers taught “τρόπον τινά” — this is the only limitation — a form of Tritheism. The whole effort of the Bishop was to prevent this. We recognise here the old Roman interest in the unity of God, as represented by Victor, Zephyrine, and Callistus, but Dionysius may also have remembered, that his predecessors, Pontian and Fabian, assented to the condemnation of Origen. Should we not connect the angry reproach, levelled at the Alexandrian teachers, that they were Tritheists, with the charge made by Callistus against Hippolytus, that he was a Ditheist; and may we not perhaps conclude that Origen himself was also accused of Tritheism in Rome? Finally — and this is the third characteristic feature — the letter shows that Dionysius had nothing positive to say, further than that it was necessary to adhere to the ancient Creed, definitely interpreting it to mean that the three, Father, Son, and Spirit, were equally one. Absolutely no attempt is made to explain or to prove this paradox.254254The positive conclusion runs: Οὔτ᾽ οὐν καταμερίζειν χρὴ εἰς τρεῖς θεότητας τὴν θαυμαστὴν καὶ θείαν μονάδα, οὔτε ποιήσει κωλύειν τὸ ἀξίωμα καὶ τὸ ὑπέρβαλλον μέγεθος τοῦ κυρίου· ἀλλὰ πεπιστευκέναι εἰς Θεὸν πατέρα παντοκράτορα καὶ εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, ἡνῶσθαι δὲ τῷ Θεῷ τῶν ὅλων τὸν λόγον· ἐγὼ γὰρ, φησί. καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. καὶ ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί — these are the old Monarchian proof-texts — οὕτω γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἡ θεία τριὰς καὶ τὸ ἅγιον κήρυγμα τῆς μοναρχίας διασώζοιτο. We see that Dionysius simply places the “holy preaching of the Monarchy” and the “Divine Triad” side by side: “stat pro ratione voluntas.” Between this conclusion and the commencement of the fragment preserved by Athanasius given in the preceding note, we have a detailed attack on those who hold the Son to be a ποίημα like other creatures, “while the Holy Scriptures witness to his having an appropriate birth, but not to his being formed and created in some way.” The attack on the ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν touches the fundamental position of the Alexandrian scholars as little as the opposition to three Gods; for Dionysius contents himself with arguing that God would have been without understanding, if the Logos had not always been with him; a thing which no Alexandrian doubted. The subtle distinction between Logos and Logos Dionysius leaves wholly out of account, and the explanation of the Roman Bishop on Proverbs VIII. 32 (κύριος ἔκτισέ με ἀρχὴν ὁδῶν αὐτοῦ): ἔκτισε ἐνταῦθα ἀκουστέον ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐπέστησε τοῖς ὐπ᾽ αὐτοῦ γεγονόσιν ἔργοις, γεγονόσι δὲ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ, must merely have caused a compassionate smile among the theologians of Alexandria. But here undoubtedly 94lies the strength of the Roman Bishop’s position. When we compare his letter with that of Leo I. to Flavian and Agatho’s to the Emperor, we are astonished at the close affinity of these Roman manifestoes. In form they are absolutely identical. The three Popes did not trouble themselves about proofs or arguments, but fixed their attention solely on the consequences, or what seemed to them consequences, of disputed doctrines. Starting with these deductions they refuted doctrines of the right and left, and simply fixed a middle theory, which existed merely in words, for it was self-contradictory. This they grounded formally on their ancient Creed without even attempting to argue out the connection: one God — Father, Son and Spirit; one Person — perfect God and perfect man; one Person — two wills. Their contentment with establishing a middle line, which possessed the attribute of that known in mathematics, is, however, a proof that they had not a positive, but merely a negative, religious interest in these speculations. Otherwise they would not have been satisfied with a definition it was impossible to grasp; for no religion lives in conceptions which cannot be represented and realised. Their religious interest centred in the God Jesus, who had assumed the substantia humana.
The letter of the Roman Bishop produced only a passing impression in Alexandria. Its adoption would have meant the repudiation of science. A few years afterwards the great Synod of Antioch expressly rejected the term ὁμοούσιος (consubstantial) 95as being liable to misconstruction.255255See above, page 45. The followers of Origen in his training school continued their master's work, and they were not molested in Alexandria itself, as it seems, up till about the close of the third century. If we review the great literary labours of Dionysius, of which we, unfortunately, only possess fragments, and observe his attitude in the questions debated in the Church in his time, we see how faithfully he followed in the track of Origen. The only difference lay in greater laxity in matters of discipline.256256See the letter to Fabius of Antioch, and the attitude of Dionysius in the Novatian controversy, in which he sought at first to act as mediator precisely as he did in the dispute over the baptism of heretics (Euseb. H. E. VI. 41, 42, 44-46, VII. 2-9). He proved, in his work “On Promises” (περὶ ἐπαγγελιῶν) that he possessed the zeal against all Chiliasm and the dexterity in critical exegesis which characterised the school of Origen;257257See the fragments in Euseb. H. E. VII. 24, 25. The criticism of the Apocalypse is a master-piece. and in his work “On Nature” (περὶ φύσεως) he introduced, and endeavoured to carry out, a new task in the science of Christian theology, viz., the systematic refutation of Materialism, i.e., of the Atomic theory.258258See Euseb. H. E. VII. 26, 2; the fragments of the work in Routh, Reliq. S. IV., p. 393 sq. On this, Roch, die Schrift des Alex. Bischofs, Dionysius d. Gr. über die Natur (Leipzig 1882) and my account of this dissertation in the Th. L. Z. 1883, No. 2. Dionysius' work, apart from a few Biblical quotations which do not affect the arguments, might have been composed by a Neo-platonic philosopher. Very characteristic is the opening of the first fragment preserved by Eusebius. Πότερον ἔν ἐστι συναφὲς τὸ πᾶν, ὡς ἡμῖν τε καὶ τοῖς σοφωτάτοις Ἑλλήνων Πλάτωνι καὶ Πυθαγόρᾳ καὶ τοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς Στοᾶς καὶ Ἡρακλείτῳ φαίνεται; there we have in a line the whole company of the saints with whom Epicurus and the Atomists were confronted. We notice that from and after Justin Epicurus and his followers were extremely abhorred by Christian theologians, and that in this abhorrence they felt themselves at one with Platonists, Pythagoreans, and Stoics. But Dionysius was the first Christian to take over from these philosophers the task of a systematic refutation. Of the later heads of the training school we know very little; but that little is enough to let us see that they faithfully preserved the theology of Origen. Pierius, who also led a life of strict asceticism, wrote learned commentaries and treatises. Photius259259Photius Cod. 119. testifies that he taught piously concerning the Father and Son, “except that 96he speaks of two “beings” and two natures; using the words being and nature, as is plain from the context, in place of Hypostasis, and not as those who adhere to Arius” (πλὴν ὅτι οὐσίας δύο καὶ φύσεις δύο λέγει· τῷ τῆς οὐσίας καὶ φύσεως ὀνόματι, ὡς δῆλον, ἔκ τε τῶν ἑπομένων καὶ προηγουμένων τοῦ χωρίου ἀντὶ τῆς ὑποστάσεως καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ Ἀρείῳ προσανακείμενοι χρώμενος). This explanation is hardly trustworthy; Photius himself is compelled to add that Pierius held impious doctrines as to the Holy Ghost, and ranked him far below the Father and Son. Now since he further expressly testifies that Pierius, like Origen, held the pre-existence of souls, and explained some passages in the O. T. “economically”, i.e., contested their literal meaning, it becomes obvious that Pierius had not parted company with Origen;260260Routh, Reliq. S. III., pp. 425-435. indeed, he was even called “Origen Junior”.261261Jerome, de vir. 76 ; see also Euseb. H. E. VII. 32. He was the teacher of Pamphilus, and the latter inherited from him his unconditional devotion to Origen's theology. Pierius was followed, in Diocletian's time, by Theognostus at the Alexandrian school. This scholar composed a great dogmatic work in seven books called “Hypotyposes”. It has been described for us by Photius,262262Cod. 106. whose account shows that it was planned on a strict system, and was distinguished from Origen's great work, in that the whole was not discussed in each part under reference to one main thought, but the system of doctrine was presented in a continuous and consecutive exposition.263263The first book dealt with the Father and Creator; the second, with the necessity that God should have a son, and the Son; the third, took up the Holy Ghost; the fourth, angels and demons; the fifth and sixth, the possibility and actuality of the Son's incarnation; the seventh, God's creative work. From the description by Photius it appears that Theognostus laid the chief stress on the refutation of two opinions, namely, that matter was eternal, and that the incarnation of the Logos was an impossibility. These are, however, the two theses with which the Neoplatonic theologians of the 4th and 5th centuries confronted Christian science, and in whose assertion the whole difference between Neo-platonism, and the dogmatic of Alexandrian churchmen at bottom consisted. It is very instructive to notice that even at the end of the 3rd century the antithesis thus fixed came clearly to the front. If Theognostus, for the rest, rejected the opinion that God created all things from a matter equally eternal with himself, this did not necessarily imply his abandonment of Origen's principle of the eternity of matter; yet it is at any rate possible that in this point he took a more guarded view of the master's doctrine. Thus Theognostus 97invented that form of scientific, Church dogmatic which was to set a standard to posterity — though it was indeed long before the Church took courage to erect a doctrinal structure of its own. Athanasius had nothing but praise for the work of Theognostus, and has quoted a passage from the second book which undoubtedly proves that Theognostus did full justice to the Homoousian side of Origen’s Christology.264264The fragment given by Athanasius (de decr. Nic. syn. 25) runs as follows: Οὐκ ἔξωθέν τις ἐστὶν ἐφευρεθεῖσα ἡ τοῦ υἱοῦ οὐσία, οὐδὲ ἐκ μὴ ὄντων ἐπεισήχθη· ἀλλὰ ἐκ τῆς τοῦ πατρὸς οὐσίας ἔφυ, ὡς τοῦ φωτὸς τὸ ἀπαύγασμα, ὡς ὕδατος ἀτμίς· οὔτε γὰρ τὸ ἀπαύγασμα οὔτε ἡ ἀτμὶς αὐτὸ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐστὶν ἢ αὐτὸς ὁ ἥλιος, οὔτε ἀλλότριον· καὶ οὔτε αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ πατὴρ οὔτε ἀλλότριος ἀλλὰ ἀπόῤῥοια τῆς τοῦ πατρὸς οὐσίας, οὐ μερισμὸν ὑπομεινάσης τῆς τοῦ πατρὸς οὐσίας· ὡς γὰρ μένων ὁ ἥλιος ὁ αὐτὸς οὐ μειοῦται ταῖς ἐκχεομέναις ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ αὐγαῖς, οὕτως οὐδὲ ἡ οὐσία τοῦ πατρὸς ἀλλοίωσιν ὑπέμεινεν, εἰκόνα ἑαυτῆς ἔχουσα τὸν υἱόν. Notice that the μερισμός is here negatived; but this negative must have been limited by other definitions. At all events we may perhaps regard Theognostus as midway between Pierius and Alexander of Alexandria. But even the Cappadocians remarked certain affinities between Arius and Theognostus,265265See Gregory of Nyssa, c. Eunom. III. in Routh, l.c., p. 412; he proscribes the proposition of Theognostus: τὸν Θεὸν βουλόμενον τόδε τὸ πᾶν κατασκευάσαι, πρῶτον τὸν υἱὸν οἷόν τινα κανόνα τῆς δημιουργίας προϋποστήσασθαι. Stephanus Gobarus has expressly noted it as a scandal that Athanasius should nevertheless have praised Theognostus (in Photius, Cod. 282). Jerome did not admit him into his catalogue of authors, and it is remarkable that Eusebius has passed him over in silence; this may, however, have been accidental. and Photius informs us that he called the Son a “creature” (κτίσμα), and said such mean things about him that one might perhaps suppose that he was simply quoting, in order to refute, the opinions of other men. He also, like Origen, taught heterodox views as to the Holy Spirit, and the grounds on which he based the possibility of the incarnation were empty and worthless. As a matter of fact, Theognostus’ exposition of the sin against the Holy Ghost shows that he attached himself most closely to Origen. For it is based on the well-known idea of the master that the Father embraced the largest, the Son, the medium, and the Holy Spirit the smallest sphere; that the sphere of the Son included all rational beings, inclusive of the imperfect, while that of the Spirit comprehended only the perfect 98(τελειούμενοι), and that therefore the sin against the Holy Ghost, as the sin of the “perfect”, could not be forgiven.266266See Athanas. Ep. ad Serap. IV., ch. 11; Routh, l.c., pp. 407-422, where the fragments of Theognostus are collected. The only novelty is that Theognostus saw occasion expressly to attack the view “that the teaching of the Spirit was superior to that of the Son” (τὴν τοῦ πνεύματος διδασκαλίαν ὑπερβάλλειν τῆς τοῦ υἱοῦ διδαχῆς). Perhaps he did this to oppose another disciple of Origen, Hieracas, who applied himself to speculations concerning Melchizedek, as being the Holy Spirit, and emphasised the worship of the Spirit.267267See Epiph. H. 67. 3, 55. 5. This Copt, who lived at the close of the third and in the first half of the fourth century, cannot be passed over, because, a scholar like Origen,268268Epiphanius (H. 67) speaks in the highest terms of the knowledge, learning, and power of memory, possessed by Hieracas. he on the one hand modified and refined on certain doctrines of his master,269269H. understood the resurrection in a purely spiritual sense, and repudiated the restitutio carnis. He would have nothing to do with a material Paradise; and Epiphanius indicates other heresies, which H. tried to support by a comprehensive scriptural proof. The most important point is that he disputed, on the ground of 2 Tim. II. 5, the salvation of children who died even when baptised; “for without knowledge no conflict, without conflict no reward.” Epiphanius expressly certifies his orthodoxy in the doctrine of the Trinity; in fact. Arius rejected his Christology along with that of Valentinus, Mani, and Sabellius, in his letter to Alexander of Alex. (Epiph. H. 69. 7). From his short description of it (οὐδ ὡς Ἱεράκας λύχνον ἀπὸ λύχνου, ἢ ὡς λαμπάδα εἰς δύο — these are figures already employed by Tatian) we can only, however, conclude that H. declared the οὐσια of the Son to be identical with that of the Father. He may have developed Origen’s Christology in the direction of Athanasius. and on the other hand, emphasised his practical principles, requiring celibacy as a Christian law.270270See my Art. in Herzog’s R. E. 2 Aufl. VI., p. 100 f. Hieracas recognised the essential difference between the O. and N. T. in the commandments as to ἀγνεία, ἐγκράτεια, and especially, celibacy. “What then did the Logos bring that was new?” or what is the novelty proclaimed and instituted by the Only-begotten? The fear of God? The law already contained that. Was it as to marriage? The Scriptures (= the O. T.) had already dealt with it. Or as to envy, greed, and unrighteousness? All that is already contained in the O. T. Ἓν δὲ μόνον τοῦτο κατορθῶσαι ἦλθε, τὸ τὴν ἐγκράτειαν κηρύξαι ἔν τῷ κόσμῳ καὶ ἑαυτῷ ἀναλέξασθαι ἁγνείαν καὶ ἐγκράτειαν. Ἄνευ δὲ τούτου μὴ δύνασθαι ζῆν (Epiph. H. 67, ch. 1). He appealed to 1 Cor. VII., Hebr. XII. 14, Math. XIX. 12, XXV. 21. Hieracas is for us the connecting link between Origen and the 99Coptic monks; the union of ascetics founded by him may mark the transition from the learned schools of theologians to the society of monks. But in his proposition that, as regards practice, the suppression of the sexual impulse was the decisive, and original, demand of the Logos Christ, Hieracas set up the great theme of the Church of the fourth and following century.
In Alexandria the system of faith and the theology of Origen were fused more and more completely together, and it cannot be proved that the immediate disciples of Origen, the heads of the training-school, corrected their master.271271Procopius undoubtedly maintains (Comm. in Genes., ch. III., p. 76, in Routh, Reliq. S. IV., p. 50) that Dionysius Alex., in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, contradicted the allegorical explanation of Gen. II., III; but we do not know in what the contradiction consisted. The first to do this in Alexandria was Peter, Bishop and Martyr.272272Eusebius, H. E. IX. 6: Peter was made a martyr, probably in A.D. 311. In his writings “Concerning divinity” (περὶ θεότητος), “Concerning the sojourn of our Saviour” (περὶ τῆς σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐπιδημίας), and especially in his books “Concerning (the fact) that the soul does not preexist, nor has entered this body after having sinned” (περὶ τοῦ μηδὲ προϋπάρχειν τὴν ψυχὴν μηδὲ ἀμαρτήσασαν τοῦτο εἰς σῶμα βληθῆναι), he maintains against Origen the complete humanity of the Redeemer, the creation of our souls along with our bodies, and the historical character of the events narrated in Gen. III., and he characterises the doctrine of a pre-mundane fall as a “precept of Greek philosophy which is foreign and alien to those who desire to live piously in Christ” (μάθημα τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς φιλοσοφίας, ξένης καὶ ἀλλοτρίας οὔσης τῶν ἐν Χριστῷ εὐσεβῶς θελόντων ζῇν).273273See the fragments of Peter’s writings in Routh, l.c., pp. 21-82, especially pp. 46-50. Vide also Pitra, Analecta Sacra IV., p. 187 sq., 425 sq. This utterance proves that Peter had taken up a position definitely opposed to Origen;274274Decidedly spurious is the fragment of an Μυσταγωγία alleged of Peter, in which occur the words: τί δὲ εἴπω Ἡρακλᾶν καὶ Δημήτριον τοὺς μακκαρίους ἐπισκόπους, οἵους πειρασμοὺς ὑπέστησαν ὑπὸ τοῦ μανέντος Ὠριγένους, καὶ αὐτοῦ σχίσματα βαλλόντος ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τὰ ἕως σήμερον ταραχὰς αὐτῇ ἐγείραντα (Routh, l.c., p. 81). but his own expositions show, on the other hand, that he only deprived Origen’s doctrines of their extreme conclusions, while otherwise he maintained them, in so far as they did not come into direct conflict with the rule of faith. The corrections on Origen’s system were therefore not undertaken silently 100even in Alexandria. A compromise took place between scientific theology, and the ancient antignostically determined Creed of the Church, or the letter of Holy Scripture, to which all the doctrines of Origen were sacrificed that contradicted the tenor of the sacred tradition.275275We have unfortunately no more precise information as to Peter’s attitude; we may determine it, however, by that of Methodius (see under). But above all, the distinction made by him between the Christian science of the perfect and the faith of the simple was to be abolished. The former must be curtailed, the latter added to, and thus a product arrived at in a uniform faith which should be at the same time ecclesiastical and scientific. After theology had enjoyed a period of liberty, the four last decades of the third century, a reaction seems to have set in at the beginning of the fourth, or even at the end of the third century, in Alexandria. But the man had not yet risen who was to preserve theology from stagnation, or from being resolved into the ideas of the time. All the categories employed by the theologians of the fourth and fifth centuries were already current in theology,276276So μονάς — τριάς — οὐσία – φύσις — ὑποκείμενον — ὑπόστασις — πρόσωπον — περιγραφή — μερίζεσθαι — διαιρεῖν — πλατύνειν — συγκεφαλαιοῦσθαι — κτίζειν — ποιεῖν — γίγνεσθαι γεννᾶν — ὁμοούσιος — ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός — διὰ τοῦ θελήματος — Θεὸς ἐκ Θεοῦ — φῶς ἐκ φωτός — γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα — ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν — οὐκ ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν — ἦν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν — ἕτερος κατ᾽ οὐσίαν — ἄτρεπτος — ἀναλλοίωτος — ἀγέννητος — ἀλλότριος — πηγὴ τῆς θεότητος — δύο οὐσίαι — οὐσία οὐσιωμένη — ἐνανθρώπησις — θεάνθρωπος — ἕνωσις οὐσιώδης — ἕνωσις κατὰ μετουσίαν — συνάφεια κατὰ μάθησιν καὶ μετουσίαν — συγκρᾶσις — ἐνοικεῖν etc. Hipler in the Oesterr. Vierteljahrschrift für kathol. Theol. 1869, p. 161 ff. (quoted after Lösche, Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1884, S. 259) maintains that expressions occurred in the speculations of Numenius and Porphyry as to the nature of God, which only emerged in the Church in consequence of the Nicene Council. Those technical terms of religio-philosophical speculation, common to the Neoplatonists of the 3rd century, the Gnostics and Catholic theologians, require reexamination. One result of this will be perhaps the conclusion that the philosophy of Plotinus and Porphyry was not uninfluenced by the Christian system, Gnostic and Origenistic, which they opposed. We await details under this head from Dr. Carl Schmidt. but they had not yet received their definite impress and fixed value.277277The meaning which was afterwards attached to the received categories was absolutely unthinkable, and corresponded perfectly to none of the definitions previously hit upon by the philosophical schools. But this only convinced men that Christianity was a revealed doctrine, which was distinguished from philosophical systems by mysterious ideas or categories. Even the Biblical texts which in those centuries were especially exploited pro and contra, 101had already been collected in the third. Dionysius of Alexandria had already given warning that the word ὁμοούσιος did not occur in Holy Scripture, and this point of view seems, as a rule, to have been thoroughly decisive even in the third century.278278But we have not yet ascertained the method followed in the earlier period of collecting the verdicts of the older Fathers, and of presenting them as precedents; yet it is noteworthy that Irenæus and Clement already delighted in appealing to the πρεσβύτεροι, which meant for them, however, citing the Apostles’ disciples, and that Paul of Samosata was accused in the epistle of the Synod of Antioch, of despising the ancient interpreters of the Divine Word (Euseb. VII. 30).
We get an insight into the state of religious doctrine about the middle of the third century and afterwards from the works of Gregory,279279See Caspari IV., p. 10 ff.; Ryssel, Gregorius Thaumaturgus, 1880. Vide also Overbeck in the Th. L.–Z., 1881, No. 12, and Dräscke in the Jahrb. f. protest. Theol. 1881, H. 2. Edition by Fronto. Ducäus, 1621. Pitra, Analecta Sacra III.; also Loofs, Theol. L. Z., 1884, No. 23. the miracle-worker, who was one of the most eminent of Origen’s disciples, and whose influence in the provinces of Asia Minor extended far into the fourth century. This scholar and Bishop who delivered the first Christian panegyric — one on Origen — and has in it given his autobiography, remained throughout his life an enthusiastic follower of Origen, and adhered, in what was essential, to his doctrine of the Trinity.280280See Caspari’s (l.c.) conclusions as to Gregory’s confession of faith, whose genuineness seems to me made out. Origen’s doctrine of the Trinity appears clearly in the Panegyric. The fragment printed by Ryssel, p. 44 f., is not by Gr. Thaumaturgus. But Gregory felt compelled, in opposition to Christians whose conception of the Trinity was absolutely polytheistic, to emphasise the unity of the Godhead. He did this in his “Confession of faith”,281281See Caspari, l.c., p. 10: τριὰς τέλεια, δόξη καὶ ἀϊδιότητι καὶ βασιλείᾳ μὴ μεριζομένη μηδὲ ἀπαλλοτριουμένη. Οὔτε οὖν κτιστόν τι ἢ δοῦλον ἐν τῇ τριάδι οὔτε ἐπείσακτον, ὡς πρότερον μὲν οὐχ ὕπαρχον, ὕστερον δὲ ἐπείσελθόν· οὔτε γὰρ ἐνέλιπέ ποτε υἱὸς πατρί, οὔτε τἱῷ πνεῦμα, ἄλλ᾽ ἄτρεπτος καὶ ἀναλλοίωτος ἡ αὐτὴ τριὰς ἀεί. and in a still greater degree, according to the testimony of Basilius, in his lost work διάλεξις πρὸς Ἀλιανόν (Debate with Ailianus),282282Basil., ep. 210. which contained a proposition, afterwards appealed to by Sabellians, and somewhat to the following effect, viz., Father and Son are two in thought, but one in substance (πατὴρ καὶ υἱὸς ἐπινοίᾳ μέν εἰσι δύο, ὑποστάσει δὲ ἕν). Gregory, on the other hand, described the Logos as creature (κτίσμα) 102and created (ποίημα) — so Basilius tells us, — and this form of expression can probably be explained by the fact that he thought it necessary, in this way and aggressively (ἀγωνιστικῶς), to emphasise, on the basis of Origen’s idea of the Homoousia of the Son, the substantial unity of the deity, in opposition to a view of the divine Hypostases which approximated to polytheism. On the whole, however, we cannot avoid supposing, that at the time when theology was introduced into the faith — a work in which Gregory especially took part, — and in consequence the worst confusions set in,283283It remained a matter of doubt in the East up to the beginning of the fourth century, whether one ought to speak of three Hypostases (essences, natures), or one. the tendency to heathen Tritheism had grown, and theologians found themselves compelled to maintain the “preaching of the monarchy” (κήρυγμα τῆς μοναρχίας) to an increasing extent. This is proved by the correspondence of the Dionysii, the theology of Hieracas, and the attitude of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria; but we have also the evidence of Gregory. True, the genuineness of the writing ascribed to him, on the “essential identity”284284Ryssel, p. 65 f., 100 f.; see Gregor. Naz., Ep. 243, Opp, p. II., p. 196 sq., ed. Paris, 1840. (of the three Persons), is not yet decided, but it belongs, at all events, to the period before Athanasius. In this treatise the author seeks to establish the indivisibility and uniqueness of God, subject to the hypothesis of a certain hypostatic difference. In this he obviously approaches Monarchian ideas, yet without falling into them. Further, the very remarkable tractate, addressed to Theopompus, on the incapability and capability of suffering,285285Ryssel, p. 71 f., 118 f. The genuineness of the tractate is not so certain as its origin in the 3rd century; yet see Loofs, l.c. treats this very subject, without even hinting at a division between Father and Son in this connection; on the other hand, the author certainly does not call it in question. We can study in the works of Gregory, and in the two treatises286286See also the Sermo de incarnatione attributed to Gregory (Pitra III., p. 144 sq., 395 sq.) just mentioned, which bear his name, the state of theological stagnation, connected with the indeterminateness of all dogmatic ideas, and the danger, 103then imminent, of passing wholly over to the domain of abstract philosophy, and of relaxing the union of speculation with the exegesis of Holy Scripture. The problems are strictly confined to the sphere of Origen’s theology; but that theology was so elastic that they threatened to run wild and become thoroughly secular.287287Origen himself always possessed in his unconditional adherence to the Bible a kind of corrective against the danger of passing entirely over to philosophy. Though thoroughly versed in philosophical science, he sought never to be more than a scriptural theologian, and urged his disciples — witness his letter to Gregor. Thaum. — to give up their philosophical studies, and devote themselves wholly to the Bible. No professedly philosophical expositions occur in Origen himself, so far as I know, like those transmitted by his disciples. For the latter the comprehensive chapter of Eusebius (H. E. VII. 32) is very instructive. Here we meet with Bishops who seem to have been scholars first and clerics afterwards. This Eusebius (§ 22) has to tell of one: λόγων μὲν φιλοσόφων καὶ τῆς ἂλλης παρ᾽ Ἕλλησι παιδείας παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς θαυμασθείς, οὐχ ὁμοίως γε νὴν περὶ τὴν θείαν πίστιν διατεθειμένος. If, e.g., we review the Christological tenets of Eusebius of Cæsarea, one of Origen’s most enthusiastic followers, we are struck by their universal hollowness and emptiness, uncertainty and instability. While Monotheism is maintained with an immense stock of Bible texts and a display of all possible formulas, a created and subordinate God is, in fact, interposed between the deity and mankind.
But there was also in the East a theology which, while it sought to make use of philosophy, at the same time tried to preserve in their realistic form the religious truths established in the fight with Gnosticism. There were theologians who, following in the footsteps of Irenæus and Hippolytus, by no means despised science, yet found the highest truth expressed in the tenets handed down by the Church; and who therefore, refusing the claim of philosophical Gnosis to re-edit the principles of faith, only permitted it to support, connect, and interpret them. These theologians were necessarily hostile to the science of religion cultivated in Alexandria, and enemies of its founder Origen. We do not know whether, during his life-time, Origen came into conflict in the East with opponents who met him in the spirit of an Irenæus.288288It is unknown who was the καλλίων ἡμῶν πρεσβύτης καὶ μακαριστὸς ἀνὴρ quoted by Epiph. (H. 64, ch. 8 and 67) as an opponent of Origen. From his own statements we must suppose that he only had to deal with untrained disputants. 104But in the second half of the third century, and at the beginning of the fourth, there were on the side of the Church antagonists of Origen’s theology who were well versed in philosophical knowledge, and who not merely trumped his doctrine with their ψιλὴ πίστις (bare faith), but protected the principles transmitted by the Church from spiritualising and artificial interpretations, with all the weapons of science.289289Besides these we have Eastern theologians, who, while they did not write against Origen, show no signs in their works of having been influenced by Alexandrian theology, but rather resemble in their attitude Irenæus and Hippolytus. Here we have especially to mention the author of five dialogues against the Gnostics, which, under the title “De recta in deum fide,” bear the name of Adamantius; see the editio princeps by Wetstein, 1673, and the version of Rufinus discovered by Caspari (Kirchenhistorische Anecdota, 1883; also Th. L.–Z. 1884, No. 8) which shows that the Greek text is interpolated. The author, for whom we have perhaps to look in the circle of Methodius, has at any rate borrowed not a little from him (and also from the work of Theophilus against Marcion?). See Jahn, Methodii, Opp. I., p. 99, II. Nos. 474, 542, 733-749, 771, 777. Möller in Herzog’s R. E., 2 Ed., IX., p. 725. Zahn, Ztschr. f. Kirchengesch., Vol. IX., p. 193 ff.: “Die Dialoge des Adamantius mit den Gnostikern.” The dialogues were written ± 300, probably somewhere in East Asia Minor, or in West Syria, according to Zahn about 300-313 in Hellenic Syria, or Antioch. They are skilfully written and instructive; a very moderate use is made of philosophical theology. Perhaps the Ep. ad Diogn. also came from the circle of Methodius. Again, there is little philosophical theology to be discovered in the original edition of the first six books of the apostolic Constitutions, which belongs to the third century. See Lagarde in Bunsen’s Analecta Ante-Nicæna T. II. The author still occupied the standpoint of Ignatius, or the old anti-gnostic teachers. The dogmatic theology, in the longer recension of the work, preserved in Greek, belongs entirely to the reviser who lived in or after the middle of the 4th century (so App. Const. II. 24, VI. 11, 14, 41 [Hahn, Biblioth. der Symbole, 2 Aufl., §§ 10, 11, 64]; see my edition of the Διδαχὴ, p. 241 ff. That Aphraates and the author of the Acta Archelai were unaffected by Origen’s theology will have been clear from what was said above, p. 50 f. The most important among them, indeed really the only one of whom we have any very precise knowledge, besides Peter of Alexandria (see above), is Methodius.290290Jahn, S. Methodii Opp., 1865; Pars II. S. Methodius Platonizans, 1865; Bonwetsch, M. von Olympus I. 1891. Vide also Pitra, Analecta Sacra T. III., IV. (see Loofs, Th. L.–Z., 1884, No. 23, col. 556 ff.). Möhler, Patrologie, pp. 680-700. Möller, l.c., p. 724 ff. Salmon Dict. of Christian Biogr. III. p. 909 sq. But of the great number of treatises by this original and prolific author only one has been till now preserved complete in the original — Conviv. decem virg., while we have the greater part of a second — De resurr.291291Besides smaller fragments are found, increased by Pitra. The rest 105has been preserved in the Slavic language, and only very lately been rendered accessible. The personality of Methodius himself, with his position in history, is obscure.292292See Zahn, Ztschr. f. Kirchengesch. Vol. VIII., p. 15 ff. Place: Olympus in Lycia. But what we do know is enough to show that he was able to combine the defence of the Rule of Faith as understood by Irenæus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian,293293He was ranked in later times with Irenæus and Hippolytus (see Andreas Cæs. in præf. in Apoc., p. 2.) and that as a witness to the inspiration of John’s Apocalypse. with the most thorough study of Plato’s writings and the reverent appropriation of Plato’s ideas. Indeed he lived in these.294294See Jahn, l.c. Accordingly, he defended “the popular conception of the common faith of the Church” in an energetic counterblast to Origen, and rejected all his doctrines which contained an artificial version of traditional principles.295295See the long fragments of the writing de resurrectione which was directed against Origen, as also the work περὶ τῶν γενητῶν. Methodius called Origen a “Centaur” (Opp. I. 100, 101), i.e., “Sophist,” and compared his doctrine with the Hydra (I. 86). See the violent attack on the new-fashioned exegetes and teachers in De resurr. 8, 9 (Opp I. 67 sq.) and 20, (p. 74), where the ὀστᾶ νοητὰ and σάρκας νοητάς of Origen’s school are ridiculed; ch. 21, p. 75; 39, p. 83. But on the other hand, he did not repudiate the basis on which Origen’s speculation rested. He rather attempted with its presuppositions and method to arrive at a result in harmony with the common faith. There seems to be no doubt that he took the great work of Irenæus as his model; for the manner in which Methodius has endeavoured to overcome dualism and spiritualism, and to establish a speculative realism, recalls strikingly the undertaking of Irenæus. Like the latter, Methodius sought to demonstrate the eternal importance of the natural constitution in spirit and body of the creatures made by God; and he conceived salvation not as a disembodying, not in any sense as a division and separation, but as a transfiguration of the corporeal, and a union of what had been unnaturally divided. He rejected the pessimism with which Origen had, like the Gnostics, viewed the world as it is, the σύστασις τοῦ κόσμου, making it, if a well-ordered and necessary prison, yet a prison after all. This he confronted with the optimistic conviction, that everything which God has created, and as he has created it, is capable of permanence and 106transfiguration.296296See the short argument against Origen, De resurr. 28, p. 78: Εἰ γὰρ κρεῖττον τὸ μὴ εἶναι τοῦ εἶναι τὸν κόσμον, διὰ τί τὸ χεῖρον ἡρεῖτο ποιήσας τὸν κόσμον ὁ Θεός; ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲν ὁ Θεὸς ματαίως ἢ χεῖρον ἐποίει. οὐκοῦν εἰς τὸ εἶναι καὶ μένειν τὴν κτίσιν ὁ Θεὸς διεκοσμήσατο. Wisdom I. 14 and Rom. VIII. 19 follow. The fight waged by Methodius against Origen presents itself as a continuation of that conducted by Irenæus against the Gnostics. It dealt in part with the same problems, and used the same arguments and proofs. The extent to which Origen hellenised the Christian tradition was in the end as little tolerated in the Church as the latitude taken by the Gnostics. But while Gnosticism was completely ejected in two or three generations it took much longer to get rid of Origenism. Therefore, still more of Origen’s theology passed into the “revealed” system of Church doctrine, than of the theology of the Gnostics. Accordingly, he opposed Origen’s doctrines of the pre-existence of souls, the nature and object of the world and of corporeality, the eternal duration of the world, a premundane Fall, the resurrection as a destruction of the body, etc. At the same time he certainly misrepresented them, as, e.g., Origen’s doctrine of sin, p. 68 sq. Like Irenæus, Methodius introduced curious speculations as to Adam for the purpose of establishing realism, i.e., the maintenance of the literal truth of sacred history. Adam was to him the whole of natural humanity, and he assumed, going beyond Irenæus, that the Logos combined the first man created (protoplast) with himself.297297See Conviv. III. 6 (p. 18 sq.): ταύτῃ γὰρ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἄνείληφεν ὁ λόγος, ὅπως δὴ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ καταλύσῃ τὴν ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ γεγονυῖαν καταδίκην, ἡττήσας τὸν ὄφιν. ἥρμοζε γὰρ μὴ δι᾽ ἑτέρου νικηθῆναι τὸν πονηρὸν ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἐκείνου, ὃν δὴ καὶ ἐκόμπαζεν ἀπατήσας αὐτὸν τετυραννηκέναι, ὅτι μὴ ἄλλως τὴν ἁμαρτίαν λυθῆναι καὶ τὴν κατάκρισιν δυνατὸν ἦν, εἰ μὴ πάλιν ὁ αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος ἄνθρωπος, δι᾽ ὃν εἴρητο το “γῆ εἶ καί εἰς γῆν ἀπελεύσῃ,” ἀναπλασθεὶς ἀνέλυσε τὴν ἀπόφασιν τὴν δι᾽ αὐτὸν εὶς πάντας ἐξενηνεγμένην. ὅπως, καθὼς ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ πρότερον πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, οὕτω δὴ πάλιν καὶ ἐν τῷ ἀνειληφότι Χπιστῷ τὸν Ἀδαμ πάντες ζωοποιηθῶσιν. Still clearer is III. 4, where it is expressly denied that Adam is only a type of Christ: φέρε γὰρ ἡμεῖς ἐπισκεψώμεθα πῶς ὀρθοδόξως ἀνήγαγε τὸν Ἀδὰμ εἰς τὸν Χριστὸν, οὐ μόνον τύπον αὐτὸν ἡγούμενος εἶναι καὶ εἰκόνα, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο Χριστὸν καὶ αὐτὸν γεγονέναι διὰ τὸ τὸν πρὸ αἰώνων εἰς αὐτὸν ἐγκατασκῆψαι λόγον. ἥρμοζε γὰρ τὸ πρωτόγονον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πρῶτον βλάστημα καὶ μονογενὲς τὴν σοφίαν τῷ πρωτοπλάστῳ καὶ πρώτῳ καὶ πρωτογόνῳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀνθρώπῳ κερασθεῖσαν ἐνηνθρωπηκέναι, τοῦτο γὰρ εἶναι τὸν Χριστόν, ἄνθρωπον ἐν ἀκράτῳ θεότητι καὶ τελείᾳ πεπληρωμένον καὶ Θεὸν ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ κεχωρημένον· ἦν γὰρ πρεπωδέστατον τόν πρεσβύτατον τῶν αἰώνων καὶ πρῶτον τῶν ἀρχαγγέλων, ἀνθρώποις μέλλοντα συνομιλεῖν, εἰς τὸν πρεσβύτατον καὶ πρῶτον τῶν ἀνθρώπον εἰσοικισθῆναι τὸν Ἀδάμ. See also III. 7 8: προγεγύμνασθαι γὰρ . . . ὡς ἄρα ὁ πρωτόπλαστος οἰκείως εἰς αὐτὸν ἀναφέρεσθαι δύναται τὸν Χριστόν, οὐκέτι τύπος ὢν καὶ ἀπείκασμα μόνον καὶ εἰκὼν τοῦ μονογενοῦς, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο σοφία γεγονώς καὶ λόγος. δίκην γὰρ ὕδατος συγκερασθεὶς ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῇ σοφίᾳ καὶ τῇ ζωῇ τοῦτο γέγονεν, ὅπερ ἦν αὐτὸ τὸ εἰς αὐτὸν ἐγκατασκῆψαν ἄκρατον φῶς. 107This union was conceived as a complete incorporation: “God embraced and comprehended in man;” and, starting from this incorporation, the attempt was made to explain redemption in terms of a mystical realism. Salvation was not consummated in knowledge (Gnosis), but it came to light, already achieved for mankind, in the constitution of the God-man.298298Yet see, under, the new turn given to the speculation. But for this very reason Methodius borders, just like Irenæus, on a mode of thought which sees in the incarnation the necessary completion of creation, and conceives the imperfection of the first Adam to have been natural.299299S. Conviv. III. 5: ἔτι γὰρ πηλουργούμενον τὸν Ἀδάμ, ὡς ἔστιν εἰπεῖν, καὶ τηκτὸν ὄντα ταὶ ὑδαρῆ, καὶ μηδέπω φθάσαντα δίκην ὀστράκου τῇ ἀφθαρσίᾳ κραταιωθῆναι καὶ παγιωθῆναι, ὕδωρ ὥσπερ καταλειβομένη καὶ καπαστάζουσα διέλυσεν αὐτὸ ἡ ἁμαρτία. διὸ δὴ πάλιν ἄνωθεν ἀναδεύων καὶ πηλοπλαστῶν τὸν αὐτὸν εἰς τιμὴν ὁ Θεός ἐν τῇ παρθενικῇ κραταιώσας πρῶτον καὶ πήξας μήτρᾳ καὶ συνενώσας καὶ συγκεράσας τῷ λογῳ, ἄτηκτον καὶ ἄθραυστον ἐξήγαγεν εἰς τὸν βίον, ἵνα μὴ πάλιν τοῖς τῆς φθορᾶς ἔξψθεν ἐπικλυσθεὶς ἱεύμασιν, τηκεδόνα γεννήσας διαπέσῃ. Methodius, like Irenæus, gave much study to Paul’s Epistles, because they were especially quoted by Origen and his school (see ch. 51 fin., p. 90); on the difficulties which he felt see De resurr. 26, p. 77; 38, p. 83. Adam, i.e., mankind, was before Christ still in a plastic condition, capable of receiving any impression and liable to dissolution. Sin, which had exclusively an external source, had therefore an easy task; humanity was first consolidated in Christ. In this way freedom is retained, but we easily see that Origen’s idea of sin was more profound than that of Methodius.300300The expositions of concupiscence, sin, and death, are distinguished very strongly from those of Origen. (For death as means of salvation see De resurr. 23, 49). They resemble the discussions of Irenæus, only Methodius maintains — a sign of the times — that sinlessness is impossible even to the Christian. See De resurr. 22 (I., p. 75): ζῶντος γὰρ ἔτι τοῦ σώματος πρὸ τοῦ τεθνήξεσθαι συζῆν ἀνάγκη καὶ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, ἔνδον τὰς ῥίζας αὐτῆς ἐν ἡμῖν ἀποκρύπτουσαν, εἰ καὶ ἔξωθεν τομαίς ταῖς ἀπὸ τῶν σωφρονισμῶν καὶ τῶν νουθετήσεων ἀνεστέλλετο, ἐπει οὐκ ἂν μετὰ τὸ φωτισθῆναι συνέβαινεν ἀδικεῖν, ἅτε παντάπασιν εἰλικρινῶς ἀφῃρημένης ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν τῆς αμαρτίας· νῦν δὲ καὶ μετὰ τὸ πιστεῦσαι καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐλθεῖν τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ πολλάκις ἐν ἀμαρτίαις ὄντες εὑρισκόμεθα· οὐδεὶς γὰρ οὕτως ἁμαρτίας ἐκτὸς εἶναι ἑαυτὸν καυχήσεται, ὡς μηδὲ κἂν ἐνθυμηθῆναι τὸ σύνολον ὅλως τῆν ἀδικὶαν. To this conception corresponds the view of Methodius that Christianity is a cultus of mysteries, in which consecration is unceasingly bestowed on the τελειούμενοι. Methodius also referred Rom. VII. 18 f. to those born again. The fantastic realism of the latter’s view is carried out in his speculations on the transference of salvation from 108Christ to individuals. The deep sleep of the Protoplast is paralleled in the second Adam by the sleep of death. Now as Eve was formed from, and was part of the being of sleeping Adam, so the Holy Spirit issued from Christ lying in the sleep of death, and was part of his being;301301The allegory receives another version Opp. I., p. 119: μή πως ἄρα αἱ τρεῖς αὗται τῶν προγόνων κεφαλαὶ πάσης τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος ὁμοούσιοι ὑποστάσεις κατ᾽ εἰκόνα τινά, ὡς καὶ Μεθοδίῳ δοκεῖ — the passage occurs in Anastasius Sin. ap. Mai, Script. Vet. N. Coll. IX. p. 619 — τυπικῶς γεγόνασι τῆς ἁγίας καὶ ὁμοούσιου τριάδος, τοῦ μὲν ἀναιτίου καὶ ἄγεννήτου Ἀδὰμ τύπον καὶ εἰκόνα ἔχοντος τοῦ ἀναιτίου καὶ πάντων αἱτίου παντοκράτορος Θεοῦ καὶ πατρός, τοῦ δὲ γεννητοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ εἰκόνα προδιαγράφοντος τοῦ γεννητοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ λόγου τοῦ Θεοῦ. τῆς δὲ ἐκπορευτῆς Εὔας σημαινούσης τὴν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐκπορευτὴν ὑπόστασιν. and from him the Church was fashioned.
“The Apostle has excellently applied the history of Adam to Christ. So we will require to say with him that the Church is of the bone and flesh of Christ, since for her sake the Logos left the Heavenly Father, and came down that he might cleave to his spouse; and he fell asleep unconscious of suffering, dying voluntarily for her, that he might present the Church to himself glorious and faultless, after he had purified her by the bath; so that she might receive the spiritual and blessed seed, which he himself, instilling and implanting, scatters into the depths of the Spirit, whom the Church receives and, fashioning, develops like a spouse, that she may bear and rear virtue. For in this way the word is also excellently fulfilled ‘Grow and increase’; since the Church increases daily in greatness, beauty, and extent; because the Logos dwells with her, and holds communion with her, and he even now descends to us, and in remembrance (Anamnesis) of his suffering (continually) dies to himself. For not otherwise could the Church continually conceive believers in her womb, and bear them anew through the bath of regeneration, unless Christ were repeatedly to die, emptying himself for the sake of each individual, in order to find acceptance by means of his sufferings continuing and completing themselves; unless, descending from heaven, and united with his spouse, the Church, he imparted from his own side a certain power, that all who are edified in him should attain growth, those, namely, who, born again through baptism, have received flesh of his flesh, bone of his 109bone, i.e., of his holiness and glory. He, however, who calls bone and flesh wisdom and virtue, speaks truly; but the side is the Spirit of truth, the Paraclete, from whom the enlightened receiving their portion are born again, in a worthy manner, to immortality. But no one can participate in the Holy Spirit, and be accounted a member of Christ, unless the Logos has first descended upon him, and, falling asleep, has ‘emptied’ himself, that he, rising again and rejuvenated, along with him who fell asleep for his sake, and re-fashioned in his own person, may participate in the Holy Spirit. For the side (πλευρά) of the Logos is really the spirit of truth, the seven-formed of the prophet, from whom God, in accordance with the self-sacrifice of Christ, that is, the incarnation and suffering of Christ, takes away something, and fashions for him his spouse, in other words, souls fit for him and prepared like a bride.”302302Conviv. III. 8.
Methodius accordingly, starts in his speculations from Adam and Eve as the real types of Christ and the Church; but he then varies this, holding that the individual soul rather must become the bride of Christ, and that for each the descent of the Logos from heaven and his death must be repeated — mysteriously and in the heart of the believer.
This variation became, and precisely through the instrumentality of Methodius, of eminent importance in the history of dogma.303303It was not altogether absent in earlier times, and on this see ch. V. § 2. As we have remarked above, individualism in this extreme form occurs also in Origen; see, e.g., “De orat.” 17.: “He who has perceived the beauty of the bride whom the Son of God loves as bridegroom, namely, the soul.” We would not have had in the third century all the premises from which Catholic Christianity was developed in the following centuries, unless this speculation had been brought forward, or, been given a central place, by a Christian theologian of the earlier period. It marks nothing less than the tapering of the realistic doctrinal system of the Church into the subjectivity of monkish mysticism. For to Methodius, the history of the Logos-Christ, as maintained by faith, was only the general background of an inner history, which required to repeat itself in each believer: the Logos had to descend from heaven, suffer, die, and 110rise again for him. Nay, Methodius already formulated his view to the effect that every believer must, through participation in Christ, be born as a Christ.304304Conviv. VIII. 8: Ἐγὼ γάρ τὸν ἄρσενα (Apoc. XII. 1 f.) ταύτῃ γεννᾶν εἰρῆσθαι νoμίζω τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ἐπειδὴ τοὺς χαρακτῆρας καὶ τὴν ἐκτύπωσιν καὶ τὴν ἀρρενωπίαν τοῦ Χριστοῦ προσλαμβάνουσιν οἱ φωτιζόμενοι, τῆς καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν μορφῆς ἐν αὐτοῖς ἐκτυπουμένης τοῦ λόγου καὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς γεννωμένης κατά τὴν ἀκριβῆ γνῶσιν καὶ πίστιν ὥστε ἐν ἑκάστῳ γεννᾶσθαι τὸν Χριστὸν νοητῶς· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἡ ἐκκλησία σπαργᾷ καὶ ὡδίνει, μέχριπερ ἂν ὁ Χριστὸς ἐν ἡμῖν μορφωθῇ γεννηθείς, ὅπως ἕκαστος τῶν ἁγίων τῷ μετέχειν Χριστοῦ Χριστος γεννηθῇ, καθ᾽ ὃν λόγον καὶ ἔν τινι γραφῇ φέρεται “μὴ ἅψησθε τῶν Χριστῶν μου” οἱονεὶ Χριστῶν γεγονότων τῶν κατὰ μετουσίαν τοῦ πνεύματος εἰς Χριστὸν βεβαπτισμένων, συμβαλλούσης ἐνταῦθα τὴν ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τράνωσιν αὐτῶν καὶ μεταμόρφωσιν τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Even Tertullian teaches (De pud. 22) that the martyr who does what Christ did, and lives in Christ, is Christ. The background was, however, not a matter of indifference, seeing that what took place in the individual must have first taken place in the Church. The Church, accordingly, was to be revered as mother, by the individual soul which was to become the bride of Christ. In a word: here we have the theological speculation of the future monachism of the Church, and we see why it could not but pair with the loftiest obedience, and greatest devotion to the Church.
But the evidence that we have really here the fundamental features of the monkish mysticism of the Church, is contained in the correct perception of the final object of the work from which the above details are taken. The whole writing seeks to represent the state of virginity as the condition of Christlikeness (I. 5, p. 13). Everything is directed to this end; yet marriage is not forbidden, but is admitted to possess a mystery of its own. Unstained virginity is ranked high above the married state; towards it all Christians must strive; it is the perfectly Christian life itself. Yet Methodius succeeds in maintaining, beside it, marriage and sin-stained birth from the flesh (II. 1 sq.). He had already arrived at the position of Catholic monasticism; the body belonging to the soul that would be the bride of Christ must remain virgin. The proper result of the work of Christ is represented in the state of virginity of the believers who still walk upon earth, and it is the bloom of imperishableness:
“Exceedingly great and wonderful and glorious is virginity, and to speak plainly, following Holy Scripture, this most noble 111and fair practice is alone the ripe result, the flower and first fruits of incorruption, and therefore the Lord promises to admit “those who have preserved their virginity into the kingdom of heaven . . . for we must understand that virginity, while walking “upon the earth, reaches the heavens”:
μεγάλη τίς ἐστιν ὑπερφυῶς καὶ θαυμαστὴ καὶ ἔνδοξος ἡ παρθενία, καὶ εἰ χρὴ φανερῶς εἰπεῖν ἐπομένην ταῖς ἁγίαις γραφαῖς, τὸ οὖθαρ τῆς ἀφθαρσίας καὶ τὸ ἄνθος καὶ ἡ ἀπαρχὴ αὐτῆς τοῦτο τὸ ἄριστον καὶ κάλλιστον ἐπιτήδευμα μόνον τυγχάνει, καὶ δία ταῦτα καὶ ὁ κύριος εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν εἰσελάσαι τῶν οὐρανῶν τοὺς ἀποπαρθενεύσαντας σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ἐπαγγελλεται . . . , παρθενίαν γὰρ βαίνειν μέν ἐπὶ γῆς, ἐπιψαύειν δὲ τῶν οὐρανῶν ἡγητέον (Conv. I. 1, p. 11).
Methodius started from other premises than the school of Origen, and bitterly opposed the latter, but in the end he came to the same practical result — witness the followers of Hieracas. Their speculations also led to the depreciation of the objective redemption, and to monachism. But the concrete forms were very different. In Origen himself and his earliest disciples the Church was by no means really the mother, or, if it were, it was in a wholly different sense from that of Methodius. Asceticism and in particular virginity were not in themselves valuable, an end in themselves, but means to the end. Finally, Gnosis (knowledge) was different from Pistis (faith), and the ideal was the perfect Gnostic, who is freed from all that is alien and fleeting, and lives in the eternal and abiding. Methodius’ teaching was different. Pistis and Gnosis were related to each other as theme and exposition: there is only one truth, which is the same for all; but on the soil of the Church there is room for the state of virginity, which is the goal of the incarnation, though all may not yet reach it. The important and momentous achievement of Methodius305305The theology of Methodius was in the Eastern Church, like Tertullian’s in the West, a prophecy of the future. His method of combining tradition and speculation was not quite attained even by the Cappadocians in the 4th century. Men like Cyril of Alexandria were the first to resemble him. In Methodius we have already the final stage of Greek theology. consisted in subordinating a realistic Church theology, which yet was not destitute of a speculative phase, and even made a moderate use of the allegorical method, 112to the practical object of securing virginity, a life in which God and Christ were imitated, (Conv. I. 5, p. 13: to imitate God is to escape from corruption [ὁμοίωσις Θεῷ φθορᾶς ἀποφυγή]; Christ is not only arch-shepherd and arch-prophet [ἀρχιποιμήν-ἀρχιποροφήτης], but also archetypal virgin [ἀρχιπαρθνος]). This doctrine, as well as the practical attitude of Hieracas, and many other features, as, e.g., the considerably earlier Pseudo-Clementine epistles “De virginitate,”306306See Funk, Patr. App. Opp. II. pp. 1-27, and Harnack, Sitzungsberichte d. Preuss. Akad. d. Wissensch. 1891, p. 361 ff. prove that the great aspiration of the time in the East was towards monachism, and Methodius succeeded in uniting this with a Church theology. In spite of his polemic against Origen he did not despise those phases of the latter’s theology, which were at all compatible with the traditional comprehension of religious doctrine. Thus he accepted the doctrine of the Logos implicitly in the form given to it by Origen’s school, without, of course, entangling himself in the disputed terminology (see, e.g., De creat. 11, p. 102); so far as I know, he made no express defence of Chiliasm, in spite of the high value he put on the Apocalypse. He is even said by Socrates (H. E. VI. 13) to have admired Origen, in one of his latest writings, “a sort of recantation” (ὡς ἐκ παλινῳδίας). However that may be, the future belonged not to Origen, nor to the scientific religion that soared above faith, but to compromises, such as those, stamped with monachism, which Methodius concluded, to the combination of realistic and speculative elements, of the objectivity of the Church and the mysticism of the monks.307307On the authority of Methodius in later times, see the Testimonia Veterum in Jahn, 1. c. I., p. 6 sq. The defence of Origen against Methodius by Pamphilus and Eusebius has unfortunately been preserved only to a very small extent. See Routh, Reliq. S. IV., p. 339 sq. The great fight in the next decades was undoubtedly to be fought out between two forms of the doctrine of the Logos; the one, that of Lucian the martyr and his school, which had adopted elements distinctive of Adoptianism, and the other, professed by Alexander of Alexandria and the Western theologians, which with Sabellianism held fast the unity of the divine nature. But, in the case of the majority of Eastern 113Christians in the 4th century, the background or basis of these opposite views was formed, not by a theology purely Origenist, but by one of compromise, which had resulted from a combination of the former with the popular idea of the rules of faith, and which sought its goal, not in an absolute knowledge and the calm confidence of the pious sage, but in virginity, ecclesiasticism, and a mystical deification. Men like Methodius became of the highest consequence in the development of this theological genus, which, indeed, could not but gain the upper hand more and more, from the elemental force of factors existent in the Church.308308It is instructive to notice how Athanasius has silently and calmly shelved those doctrines of Origen which did not harmonise with the wording of the rule of faith, or allegorised facts whose artificial interpretation had ceased to be tolerated.
But while as regards Origen’s theology reservations may have gradually grown stronger and more numerous in the course of the next decades, theological speculation aimed in the East, from about 250-320, at a result than which nothing grander or more assured could be imagined. In the West the old, short, Creed was retained, and, except in one case,309309See above, p. 75. the Christological conflicts did not induce men to change it. But in the leading Churches of the East, and during the given period, the Creeds were expanded by theological additions,310310It is possible, and indeed probable, that Creeds were then set up for the first time in many Churches. The history of the rise of Creeds — further than the Baptismal formula — in the East is wholly obscure. Of course there always were detailed Christological formulas, but the question is whether they were inserted into the Baptismal formula. and thus exegetical and speculative theology was introduced into the Apostolic faith itself.311311It has been already pointed out on p. 48, note 1, that the Biblical character of some of those additions cannot be used against their being regarded as theological and philosophical formulas. The theology of Origen — witness his letter to Gregory — was throughout exegetical and speculative; therefore the reception of certain Biblical predicates of Christ into the Creeds meant a desire to legitimise the speculation which clung to them as Apostolic. The Churches, however, by setting up theological Creeds only repeated a development in which they had been anticipated about 120 years before by the “Gnostics.” The latter had theologically worked out Creeds as early as in the second century. Tertullian, it is true, says of the Valentinians (adv. Valent. I.) “communem fidem affirmant,” i.e., they adapt themselves to the common faith; but he himself relates (De carne, 20; see Iren. I. 7, 2) that they preferred “διά Μαρίας” to “ἐκ Μαρίας”; in other words, of these two prepositions, which were still used without question even in Justin’s time, they, on theological grounds, admitted only the one. So also they said “Resurrection from the dead” instead of “of the body.” Irenæus as well as Tertullian has spoken of the “blasphemous” regulæ of the Gnostics and Marcionites which were always being changed (Iren. I. 21 5, III. 11 3, I. 31 3; II præf.; II. 19 8, III. 16, I. 5; Tertull., De præscr. 42; Adv. Valent. 4; Adv. Marc. I. 1, IV. 5, IV. 17). We can still partly reconstruct these “Rules” from the Philosoph. and the Syntagma of Hippolytus (see esp. the regula of Apelles in Epiphan. H. XLIV. 2). They have mutatis mutandis the most striking similarity to the oriental confessions of faith published since the end of the third century; compare, e.g., the Creed, given under, of Gregorius Thaumaturgus with the Gnostic rules of faith which Hippolytus had before him in the Philosoph. There is, further, a striking affinity between them in the fact that the ancient Gnostics already appealed in support of their regulæ to secret tradition, be it of one of the Apostles or all, yet without renouncing the attestation of these rules by Holy Scripture through the spiritual (pneumatic) method of Exegesis. Precisely the same thing took place in the Eastern Churches of the next age. For the tenor and phrasing of the new Creeds which seemed to be necessary, the appeal to Holy Scripture was even here insufficient, and it was necessary to resort to special revelations, as in the case alluded to, p. 115, note 3, or to a παράδοσις ἄγραφος of the Church. That the new theology and Christology had found their way into the psalms sung in the Church, can be seen from the Synodal document on Paul of Samosata (Euseb. VII. 30, 11), where it is said of the Bishop: ψαλμοὺς τοὺς μὲν εἰς τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χρ. παύσας ὡς δὴ νεωτέρους καὶ νεωτέρων ἀνδρῶν συγγράμματα; i.e., Paul set aside those Church songs which contained the philosophical or Alexandrian christology. In this respect also the Church followed the Gnostics: compare in the period immediately following, the songs of Arius, on the one hand, and the orthodox hymns on the other; for we know of Marcionite, Valentinian, and Bardesanian psalms and hymns. (See the close of the Muratorian Fragment, further my investigations in the Ztschr. f. wissensch. Theol., 1876, p. 109 ff.; Tertull., De Carne Chr. 17; Hippol., Philos. VI. 37; the psalms of Bardesanes in Ephraim; the Gnostic hymns in the Acts of John and Thomas, in the Pistis Sophiæ, etc.). It is self-evident that these psalms contained the characteristic theology of the Gnostics; this also appears from the fragments that have been preserved, and is very clearly confirmed by Tertullian, who says of Alexander the Valentinian (1. c.): “sed remisso Alexandro cum suis syllogismis, etiam cum Psalmis Valentini, quos magna impudentia, quasi idonei alicuius auctoris interserit.” The scholastic form of the Church was more and more complete in the East in the second half of the third century Alexandrian Catechists, had finally succeeded in partly insinuating its teaching into the Church. Where Valentine Basilides, etc., had absolutely failed, and Bardesanes partly succeeded, the School of Origen had been almost entirely successful. It is very characteristic that the ecclesiastical parties which opposed each other in the third century applied the term “school” (διδασκαλεῖον) as an opprobrious epithet to their antagonists. This term was meant to signify a communion which rested on a merely human, instead of a revealed doctrine. But the Church nearly approximated, in respect of doctrine, to the form of the philosophic schools, at the moment when her powerful organisation destroyed every analogy with them, and when the possession of the two Testaments marked her off definitely from them. Much might be said on “schola” and “ecclesia”; a good beginning has been made by Lange, Haus und Halle, 1885, p. 288 ff. See also v. Wilamowitz-Möllendorff, “Die rechtliche Stellung der Philosophenschulen,” 1881. Thus, in the Catholic Churches of the East, this 114theology was for ever fused with the faith itself. A striking example has been already quoted; those six Bishops who wrote against Paul of Samosata in the seventh decade of the third century, submitted a Rule of Faith, which had been elaborated philosophically and theologically, as the faith handed down 115in the holy Catholic Church from the Apostles312312See also the document in Eusebius, H. E. VIII. 30, 6, where it is said of Paul: ἀποστὰς τοῦ κανόνος ἐπὶ κίβδηλα καὶ νόθα διδάγματα μετελήλυθεν. But we possess numerous other proofs. Gregory of Nyssa tells us that from the days of Gregory Thaumaturgus till his own, the Creed of the latter formed the foundation of the instruction given to catechumens in Neo-Cæsarea. But this Creed313313Caspari, l. c. IV., p. 10. 27. Hahn, § 114. was neither more nor less than a compendium of Origen’s theology,314314It runs: Εἷς Θέος, πατὴρ λόγου ζῶντος, σοφίας ὑφεστώσης καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ χαρακτῆρος ἀϊδίου, τέλειος τελείου γεννήτωρ, πατηρ υἱοῦ μονογενοῦς, Εἷς κύριος, μόνος ἐκ μόνου, Θεὸς ἐκ Θεοῦ, χαρακτὴρ καὶ εικων τῆς θεότητος, λόγος ἐνεργός, σοφία τῆς τῶν ὅλων συστάσεως περιεκτικὴ καὶ δύναμις τῆς ὅλης κτίσεως ποιητική, υἱὸς ἀληθινὸς ἀκληθινοῦ πατρός, ἀόρατος ἀοράτου καὶ ἄφθαρτος ἀφθάρτου καὶ ἀθάνατος ἀθανάτου καὶ ἀΐδιος ἀϊδίου. Καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ἐκ Θεοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἔχον καὶ δι᾽ υἱοῦ πεφηνὸς [δηλαδὴ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις], εἰκὼν τοῦ ὑιοῦ, τεκείου τεκεία, ζωὴ ζώντων αἰτία, [πηγὴ ἁγία] ἁγιότης ἁγιασμοῦ χορηγός, ἐν ᾧ φανεροῦται Θεός ὁ πατὴρ ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσι, καὶ Θεὸς ὁ υἱὸς ὁ διὰ πάντων-τριὰς τελεία, δόξῃ καὶ ἀϊδιότητι καὶ βασιλείᾳ μὴ μεριζομένη μὴδὲ ἀπαλλοτριουμενη. Οὔτε οὖν κτιστόν τι ἢ δοῦλον ἐν τῇ τριάδι, οὔτε ἐπείσακτον, ὡς πρότερον μὲν οὐχ ὑπάρχον, ὕστερον δὲ ἐπεισελθόν· οὔτε γὰρ ἐνέλιπέ ποτε υἱὸς πατρί οὔτε υἱῷ πνεῦμα, ἀλλ᾽ ἄτρεπτος καὶ ἀναλλοίωτος ἡ αὐτὴ τριὰς ἀεί. It ought to be distinctly noticed that the genuineness of this Creed is, in spite of Caspari’s brilliant defence, not raised above all doubt. But the external and internal evidence in support of its authenticity seem to me overwhelming. According to Gregory of Nyssa it was said to have been revealed to Gregory Thaumaturgus immediately before entering on his Bishopric, by the Virgin Mary and the Apostle John. If this legend is old, and there is nothing to show it is not, then we may regard it as proving that this confession of faith could only be introduced into the Church by the use of extraordinary means. The abstract, unbiblical character of the Creed is noteworthy; it is admirably suited to a follower of Origen like Gregory; but it is less suited to a post-Nicene Bishop. Origen himself would hardly have approved of so unbiblical a Creed. It points to a time in which there was imminent danger of theological speculation relaxing its connection with the Books of Revelation. which, here, 116was thus introduced into the faith and instruction of the Church. Further, it is clear from the letter of Alexander of Alexandria to Alexander of Constantinople, that the Church of Alexandria possessed at that time a Creed which had been elaborated theologically.315315See Theodoret, H. E. I. 4; Hahn, l. c., § 65: Πιστεύομεν, ὡς τῇ ἀποστολικῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ δοκεῖ, εἰς μόνον ἀγέννητον πατέρα, οὐδένα τοῦ εἶναι αὐτῷ τὸν αἴτιον ἔχοντα . . . καὶ εἰς ἕνα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν μονογενῇ, γεννηθέντα οὐκ ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ ὄντος πατρός . . . πρὸς δὲ τῇ εὐσεβεῖ ταύτῃ περὶ πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ δόξῃ, καθὼς ἡμᾶς αἱ θεῖαι γραφαὶ διδάσκουσιν, ἕν πνεῦμα ἅγιον ὁμολογοῦμεν, τὸ καινίσαν τοῦς τε τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης ἁγίους ἀνθρώπους καὶ τοὺς τῆς χρηματιζούσης καινῆς παιδευτὰς θείους. μίαν καὶ μόνην καθολικήν, τὴν ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ἀκαθαίρετον μὴν ἀεί, κἂν πᾶς ὁ κόσμος αὐτῇ πολεμεῖν βουλεύηται . . . Μετὰ τούτων τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν οἴδαμεν, ἧς ἀπαρχὴ γέγονεν ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χρ., σῶμα φορέσας ἀληθῶς καὶ οὐ δοκήσει ἐκ τῆς θεοτόκου (one of the earliest passages, of which we are certain, for this expression; yet it was probably already used in the middle of the third century; a treatise was also written περὶ τῆς θεοτόκου by Pierius) Μαρίας ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων, εἰς ἀθέτησιν ἁμαρτίαςἐ πιδημήσας τῷ γένει τῶν ἀνθρώπων, σταυρωθεὶς καὶ ἀποθανών, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ διὰ ταῦτα τῆς ἑαυτοῦ θεότητος ἥττων γεγενημένος, ἀναστὰς ἐκ νεκρῶν, ἀναλημφθείς ἐν οὐρανοῖς, καθήμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης. After the Bishop has quoted extensive portions of it, which he describes as “the whole pious Apostolic doctrine” (πᾶσα ἡ ἀποστολικὴ εὐσεβὴς δόξα), he closes with the words “these things we teach and preach, that is the Apostolic dogmas of the Church” (ταῦτα διδάσκομεν, ταῦτα κηρύττομεν, ταῦτα τῆς ἐκκλησίας τὰ ἀποστολικὰ δόγματα) But these dogmas belong to Origen’s theology. Finally, we perceive from the Nicene transactions, that many Churches then possessed Creeds, which contained the Biblical theological formulas of Origen. We may assert this decidedly of the Churches of Cæsarea, Jerusalem, and Antioch.316316The Cæsarean Creed in Athanasius, Socrates, Theodoret and Gelasius, see. Hahn, § 116 and Hort, Two Dissertations, pp. 138, 139. It runs: Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν πατέρα παντοκράτορα, τὸν τῶν ἁπάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν. Καὶ εἰς ἕνα κύριον Ἰ. Χρ., τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ λόγον, Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, ζωὴν ἐκ ζωῆς, υἱὸν μονογενῆ, πρωτότοκον πάσης κτίσεως, πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς γεγεννημένον, δι᾽ οὗ καὶ ἐγένετο τὰ πάντα· τὸν διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν σαρκωθέντα καὶ ἐν ανθρώποις πολιτευσάμενον, καὶ παθόντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ, καὶ ἀνελθόντα πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἥξοντα πάλιν ἐν δόξῃ κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. Καὶ εἰς πνεῦμα ἅγιον. This Creed is also remarkable from its markedly theological character. On the Creeds of Antioch and Jerusalem, which are at any rate earlier then A.D. 325. see Hort, (l.c 73) and Hahn, § 63. We cannot appeal, as regards the phrasing, to the so-called Creed of Lucian (Hahn, § 115). Yet it is extremely probable that it is based on a Creed by Lucian. The entire undertaking of the Fathers 117of the Nicene Council to set up a theological Creed to be observed by the whole Church, would have been impossible, had not the Churches, or at least the chief Churches, of the East already been accustomed to such Symbols. These Churches had thus passed, in the generations immediately preceding the Nicene, through a Creed-forming period, to which little attention has hitherto been paid. In its beginning and its course it is wholly obscure, but it laid the foundation for the development of theological dogmatics, peculiar to the Church, in the fourth and fifth centuries. It laid the foundation — for the following epoch was distinguished from this one by the fact that the precise definitions demanded by the doctrine of redemption, as contained within the frame-work of Origen’s theology, were fixed and made exclusive. Thus the dangers were guarded against, which rose out of the circumstance, that the philosophical theory of God, and the idea of the Logos which belonged to it, had been received into the system of religion, i.e., the Neo-platonic method and circle of ideas had been legitimised, without the traditional tenets of the faith having been sufficiently protected against them. In the new Creeds of the period 260-325 we find the conditions to hand for a system of religion based on the philosophical doctrine of God, a system specifically belonging to the Church, completely expressed in fixed and technical terms, and scientific. We find the conditions ready — but nothing more, or less. But it was also due to the Creeds that in after times every controversy of the schools necessarily became a conflict that moved and shook the Church to its very depths. The men, however, who in the fourth and fifth centuries made orthodox dogma, were undoubtedly influenced, to a greater degree than their predecessors of from A.D. 260-315, by specifically Church ideas; and their work, if we measure it by the mixture of ideas and methods which they received from tradition, was eminently a conservative reduction and securing of tradition, so far as that was still in their possession. It was really a new thing, a first step of immeasurable significance, when Athanasius staked his whole life on the recognition of a single attribute — the consubstantiality — of Christ, and rejected all others as being liable to pagan misinterpretation.118
At the beginning of the fourth century, Rules of Faith and theology were differently related to each other in the Churches of the East and West. In the latter, the phraseology of the primitive Creed was strictly adhered to, and a simple antignostic interpretation was thought sufficient, by means of formulas like “Father, Son, and Spirit: one God” — “Jesus Christ, God and man” — “Jesus Christ, the Logos, wisdom, and power of God” In the former, theological formulas were admitted into the Confession of Faith itself, which was thus shaped into a theological compendium ostensibly coming from the Apostles. But in both cases, the personal reality, and, with it, the pre-existence of the divinity manifested in Christ, were recognised by the vast majority;317317See the interesting passage in Eusebius’ letter to his Church, in which he (sophistically) so defends the rejection of the οὐκ ἦν πρὸ τοῦ γεννηθῆναι, as to fall back upon the universally recognised pre-existence of Christ (Theodoret, H. E. I. 12). they were included in the instruction given to Catechumens; they furnished the point of view from which men sought to understand the Person of Christ. And, accordingly, the accurate definition of the relation of the Deity to that other divine nature which appeared on earth necessarily became the chief problem of the future.
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