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CHAPTER V.

THE TRANSITION FROM THE JEWISH TO THE GENTILE MISSION

Christi mors potentior erat quam vita.” The death of Christ was more effective than his life; it failed to shatter faith in him as one sent by God, and hence the conviction of his resurrection arose. He was still the Messiah, his disciples held—for there was no alternative now between this and the rejection of his claims. As Messiah, he could not be held of death. He must be alive; he must soon return in glory. The disciples became chosen members of his kingdom, witnesses and apostles. They testified not only to his preaching and his death, but to his resurrection, for they had seen him and received his spirit. They became new men. A current of divine life seized them, and a new fire was burning in their hearts. Fear, doubt, cowardice—all this was swept away. The duty and the right of preaching this Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ pressed upon them with irresistible power. How could they keep silence when they knew that the new age of the world was come, and that God had already begun the redemption of his people? An old tradition (Acts i.-ii.) relates that the preaching of the disciples began in Jerusalem on the fifty-first day after the crucifixion. We have no reason to doubt so definite a statement. They must have returned from Galilee to Jerusalem and gathered together there—a change which suggests that they wished to work openly, in the very midst of the Jewish community. They remained there for some years7474We may perhaps assume that they wished to be on the very spot when the Lord returned and the heavenly Jerusalem descended. It is remarkable how Galilee falls into the background: we hear nothing about it.—for a period of twelve years indeed, according to 45one early account 7575This early account (in the preaching of Peter, cited by Clem., Strom., vi. 5. 43) is of course untrustworthy; it pretends to know a word spoken by the Lord to his disciples, which ran thus: “After twelve years, go out into the world, lest any should say, we have not heard” μετὰ ιβ´ ἔτη ἐξέλθετε εἰς τὸν κόσμον, μή τις εἴπῃ· οὐκ ἠκούσαμεν). But although the basis of the statement is apologetic and untrue, it may be right about the twelve years, for in the Acta Petri cum Simone, 5, and in Apollonius (in Eus., H.E., v. 18. 14), the word (here also a word of the Lord) runs that the apostles were to remain for twelve years at Jerusalem, without any mention of the exodus εἰς τὸν κόσμον. Here, too, the “word of the Lord” lacks all support, but surely the fact of the disciples remaining for twelve years in Jerusalem can hardly have been invented. Twelve (or eleven) years after the resurrection is a period which is also fixed by other sources (see von Dobschütz in Texte u. Unters., XI. i. p. 53 f.); indeed it underlies the later calculation of the year when Peter died (30+12+25 = 67 A.D.).The statement of the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions (i. 43, ix. 29), that the apostles remained seven years in Jerusalem, stands by itself. ignored by the book of Acts (cp., however, xii. 17)—they would undertake mission tours in the vicinity; the choice of James, who did not belong to the twelve, as president of the church at Jerusalem,7676Acts assumes that during the opening years the apostles superintended the church in Jerusalem; all of a sudden (xii. 17) James appears as the president. tells in favour of this conclusion, whilst the evidence for it lies in Acts, and above all in 1 Cor. ix. 5.

The gospel was at first preached to the Jews exclusively. The church of Jerusalem was founded; presently churches in Judæa (1 Thess. ii. 14, αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ θεοῦ αἱ οὖσαι ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ: Gal. i. 22, ἤμην ἀγνοούμενος τῷ προσώπῳ ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Ἰουδαίας ταῖς ἐν Χριστῷ), Galilee, Samaria (Acts i. 8, viii. 1 f., ix. 31, xv. 3), and on the sea-coast (Acts ix. 32 f.) followed.7777The parallel mission of Simon Magus in Samaria maybe mentioned here in passing. It had important results locally, but it failed in its attempt to turn the Christian movement to account. The details are for the most part obscure; it is clear, however, that Simon held himself to be a religious founder (copying Jesus in this?), and that subsequently a Hellenistic theosophy or gnosis was associated with his religion. Christians treated the movement from the very outset with unabated abhorrence. There must have been, at some early period, a time when the movement proved a real temptation for the early church: to what extent, however, we cannot tell. Did Simon contemplate any fusion? (Acts viii. and later sources). The initial relationship of these churches to Judaism is not quite clear. As a matter of fact, so far from being clear, it is full of inconsistencies. On the one hand, the narrative of Acts (see iii. f.), which describes the Jerusalem church as 46exposed to spasmodic persecutions almost from the start, is corroborated by the evidence of Paul (1 Thess. ii. 14, ὅτι τὰ αὐτὰ ἐπάθετε καὶ ὑμει̂ς ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶν, καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ [i.e. the churches in Judæa] ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων), so that it seems untenable to hold with some Jewish scholars that originally, and indeed for whole decades, peace reigned between the Christians and the Jews.7878Cp. Joël's Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte (Part II., 1883). The course of events in the Palestinian mission may be made out from Matt. x. 17 f.: παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶσ . . . . παραδώσει δὲ ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον καὶ ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς . . . . ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν. On the other hand, it is certain that peace and toleration also prevailed, that the churches remained unmolested for a considerable length of time (Acts ix. 31, ἡ ἐκκλησία καθ᾽ ὅλης τῆς Ἰουδαίας καὶ Γαλιλαίας καὶ Σαμαρίας εἶχεν εἰρήνην), and that several Christians were highly thought of by their Jewish brethren.7979Hegesippus (in Eus., H.E., ii. 22) relates this of James. No doubt his account is far from lucid, but the repute of James among the Jews may be safely inferred from it. By their strict observance of the law and their devoted attachment to the temple,8080Cp. Acts xxi. 20, where the Christians of Jerusalem address Paul thus: θεωρεῖς, ἀδελφέ, πόσαι μυριάδες εἰσὶν ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τῶν πεπιστευκότων, καὶ πάντες ζηλωταὶ τοῦ νόμου ὑπάρχουσιν. This passage at once elucidates and confirms the main point of Hegesippus' account of James. From one very ancient tradition (in a prologue to Mark's gospel, c. 200 A.D.), that when Mark became a Christian he cut off his thumbs in order to escape serving as a priest, we may infer that many a Christian Jew of the priestly class in Jerusalem still continued to discharge priestly functions in those primitive days. they fulfilled a Jew's principal duty, and since it was in the future that they expected Jesus as their Messiah—his first advent having been no more than a preliminary step—this feature might be overlooked, as an idiosyncrasy, by those who were inclined to think well of them for their strict observance of the law.8181As Weizsäcker justly remarks (Apost. Zeitalter(2), p. 38; Eng. trans., i. 46 f.): “The primitive Christians held fast to the faith and polity of their nation. They had no desire to be renegades, nor was it possible to regard them as such. Even if they did not maintain the whole cultus, this did not endanger their allegiance, for Judaism tolerated not merely great latitude in doctrinal views, but also a partial observance of the cultus—as is sufficiently proved by the contemporary case of the Essenes. The Christians did not lay themselves open to the charge of violating the law. They assumed no aggressive attitude. That they appeared before the local courts as well as before the Sanhedrim, the supreme national council, tallies with the fact that, on the whole, they remained Jews. It is in itself quite conceivable (cp. Matt. x. 17) that . . . . individual Christians should have been prosecuted, but discharged on the score of insufficient evidence, or that this discharge was accompanied by some punishment. . . . The whole position of Jewish Christians within the Jewish commonwealth precludes the idea that they made a practice of establishing a special synagogue for themselves on Jewish soil, or avowedly formed congregations beside the existing synagogues. As the synagogue was a regular institution of the Jewish community, such a course of action would have been equivalent to a complete desertion of all national associations and obligations whatsoever, and would therefore have resembled a revolt. The only question is, whether the existence of synagogues for foreigners in Jerusalem gave them a pretext for setting up an independent one there. It is our Acts that mentions this in a passage which is beyond suspicion; it speaks (vi. 9) about the synagogue of the Libertini, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia who disputed with Stephen. It is not quite clear whether we are to think here of a single synagogue embracing all these people, or of several—and if so, how many. The second alternative is favoured by this consideration, that the foreigners who, according to this account, assembled in meeting-places of their own throughout Jerusalem, proceeded on the basis of their nationality. In that case one might conjecture that the Christians, as natives of Galilee (Acts i. 11, ii. 7), took up a similar position. Yet it cannot be proved that the name was applied to them. From Acts xxiv. 5 we must assume that they were known rather by the name of ‘Nazarenes,' and as this title probably described the origin, not of the body, but of its founder, its character was different. . . . . But even if the Christians had, like the Libertini, formed a synagogue of Galileans in Jerusalem, this would not throw much light upon the organization of their society, for we know nothing at all about the aims or regulations under which the various nationalities organized themselves into separate synagogues. And in regard to the question as a whole, we must not overlook the fact that in our sources the term synagogue is never applied to Christians.” At least 47this is the only way in which we can picture to ourselves the state of matters. The more zealous of their Jewish compatriots can have had really nothing but praise for the general Christian hope of the Messiah's sure and speedy advent. Doubtless it was in their view a grievous error for Christians to believe that they already knew the person of the future Messiah. But the crucifixion seemed to have torn up this belief by the roots, so that every zealous Jew could anticipate the speedy collapse of “the offence,” while the Messianic ardour would survive. As for the Jewish authorities, they could afford to watch the progress of events, contenting themselves with a general surveillance. Meantime, however, the whole movement was confined to the lower classes.8282Cp. what is said of Gamaliel, Acts v. 34 f. For the lower classes, see John vii. 48, 49: μή τις ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἐπίστευσεν εἰς αὐτὸν ἤ ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων; ἀλλὰ ὁ ὄχλος οὗτος ὁ μὴ γινώσκων τὸν νόμον ἐπάρατοί εἰσιν. Yet Acts vi. 7) brings out the fact that priests (a great crowd of them—πολὺς ὄχλος—it is alleged), no less than Pharisees (xv. 5), also joined the movement.

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But no sooner did the Gentile mission, with its lack of restrictions (from the Jewish point of view) or laxity of restrictions, become an open fact, than this period of toleration, or of spasmodic and not very violent reactions on the part of Judaism, had to cease. Severe reprisals followed. Yet the Gentile mission at first drove a wedge into the little company of Christians themselves; it prompted those who disapproved of it to retire closer to their non-Christian brethren. The apostle Paul had to complain of and to contend with a double opposition. He was persecuted by Jewish Christians who were zealous for the law, no less than by the Jews (so 1 Thess. ii. 15 f., ἐκδιώξαντες ἡμᾶς . . . . κωλύοντες ἡμᾶς τοῖς ἔθνεσιν λαλῆσαι, ἵνα σωθῶσιν); the latter had really nothing whatever to do with the Gentile mission, but evidently they did not by any means look on with folded arms.

It is not quite clear how the Gentile mission arose. Certainly Paul was not the first missionary to the Gentiles.8383Paul never claims in his letters to have been absolutely the pioneer of the Gentile mission. Had it been so, he certainly would not have failed to mention it. Gal. i. 16 merely says that the apostle understood already that his conversion meant a commission to the Gentiles; it does not say that this commission was something entirely new. Nor need it be concluded that Paul started on this Gentile mission immediately; the object of the revelation of God's Son (ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν) may have been only disclosed to him by degrees. All we are to understand is that after his conversion he needed no further conflict of the inner man in order to undertake the Gentile mission. Nevertheless, it is certain that Paul remains the Gentile missionary. It was he who really established the duty and the right of Gentile missions; it was he who raised the movement out of its tentative beginnings into a mission that embraced all the world. But a priori considerations and the details of the evidence alike may justify us in concluding that while the transition to the Gentile mission was gradual, it was carried out with irresistible energy. Here, too, the whole ground had been prepared already, by the inner condition of Judaism, i.e., by the process of decomposition within Judaism which made for universalism, as well as by the graduated system of the proselytes. To this we have already alluded in the first chapter.

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According to Acts vi. 7 f.,8484To the author of Acts, the transition from the Jewish to the Gentile mission, with the consequent rejection of Judaism, was a fact of the utmost importance; indeed one may say that he made the description of this transition the main object of his book. This is proved by the framework of the first fifteen chapters, and by the conclusion of the work in xxviii. 23-28 (verses 30-31 being a postscript). After quoting from Isa. vi. 9, 10—a prophecy which cancels Judaism, and which the author sees to be now fulfilled—he proceeds to make Paul address the Jews as follows: γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπεστάλη τοῦτο τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ· αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται. This is to affirm, as explicitly as possible, that the gospel has been given, not to Jews, but to the nations at large. The above account of the work of the Gentile mission rests upon Acts, in so far as I consider its statements trustworthy. The author was a Paulinist, but he found much simpler grounds for Christian universalism than did Paul; or rather, he needed no grounds for it at all—the gospel being in itself universal—although he does not ignore the fact that at the outset it was preached to none but Jews, and that the Gentile mission was long in developing. The internal divisions of Christianity, moreover, are scarcely noticed. the primitive Christian community in Jerusalem was composed of two elements, one consisting of Palestinian Hebrews, and the other of Jews from the dispersion (Ἑλληνισταί).8585Acts vi. 5 (Νικόλαον προσήλυτον) shows that there were also Christians in Jerusalem who had been previously proselytes. The addition of Ἀντιοχέα betrays the author's special interest in this city. A cleavage occurred between both at an early stage, which led to the appointment of seven guardians of the poor, belonging to the second of these groups and bearing Greek names. Within this group of men, whom we may consider on the whole to have been fairly enlightened, i.e., less strict than others in literal observance of the law,8686See Weizsäcker, Apost. Zeitalter(2), pp. 51 f.; Eng. trans., i. 62 f. Naturally they were “good” Jews, otherwise they would never have settled at Jerusalem; but we may assume that these synagogues of the Libertini (Romans), the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, the Ciliciana and Asiatics (Acts vi. 9), embraced Hellenistic Jews as well, who had mitigated the Jewish religion with their Hellenistic culture. Upon the other hand, they also included exclusive fanatics, who were responsible for the first outburst against Christianity. Palestinian Judaism (i.e., the Sanhedrim) sided with them. The earliest Christian persecution thus appears as a quarrel and cleavage among the Diaspora Jews at Jerusalem. Stephen rose to special prominence. The charge brought against him before the Sanhedrim was to the effect that he went on uttering blasphemous language against “the holy place” and the law, by affirming that Jesus was to destroy the temple and alter the customs enjoined by Moses. This charge Acts describes as false; but, as the speech of Stephen proves, it was well founded so far as it went, the falsehood consisting merely in the conscious purpose 50attributed to the words in question. Stephen did not attack the temple and the law in order to dispute their divine origin, but he did affirm the limited period of these institutions. In this way he did set himself in opposition to the popular Judaism of his time, but hardly in opposition to all that was Jewish. It is beyond doubt that within Judaism itself, especially throughout the Diaspora, tendencies were already abroad by which the temple-cultus,8787Particularly when it had been profaned over and over again by a secularized priesthood. and primarily its element of bloody sacrifices, was regarded as unessential and even of doubtful validity. Besides, it is equally certain that in many a Jewish circle, for external and internal reasons, the outward observance of the law was not considered of any great value; it was more or less eclipsed by the moral law. Consequently it is quite conceivable, historically and psychologically, that a Jew of the Diaspora who had been won over to Christianity should associate the supreme and exclusive moral considerations urged by the new faith8888At this point it may be also recalled that Jesus himself foretold the overthrow of the temple. With Weizsäcker (op. cit., p. 53; Eng. trans., i. 65) I consider that saying of our Lord is genuine. It became the starting-point of an inner development in his disciples which finally led up to the Gentile mission. Cp. Wellhausen's commentary on the synoptic gospels for a discussion of the saying's significance. with the feelings he had already learned to cherish, viz., that the temple and the ceremonial law were relatively useless; it is also conceivable that he should draw the natural inference—Jesus the Messiah will abolish the temple-cultus and alter the ceremonial law. Observe the future tense. Acts seems here to give an extremely literal report. Stephen did not urge any changes—these were to be effected by Jesus, when he returned as Messiah. All Stephen did was to announce them by way of prophecy, thus implying that the existing arrangements wore valueless. He did not urge the Gentile mission; but by his words and death he helped to set it up.

When Stephen was stoned, he died, like Huss, for a cause whose issues he probably did not foresee. It is not surprising that he was stoned, for orthodox Judaism could least afford to tolerate this kind of believer in Jesus. His adherents were also 51persecuted—the grave peril of the little company of Christians being thus revealed in a flash. All except the apostles (Acts viii. 1) had to leave Jerusalem. Evidently the latter had not yet declared themselves as a body on the side of Stephen in the matter of his indictment.8989This seems to me an extremely important fact, which at the same time corroborates the historical accuracy of Acts at this point. Evidently the Christians at this period were persecuted with certain exceptions; none were disturbed whose devotion to the temple and the law was unimpeachable, and these still included Peter and the rest of the apostles. Acts makes it perfectly plain that it was only at a later, though not much later, period that Peter took his first step outside strict Judaism. Weizsäcker's reading of the incident is different (op. cit., pp. 60 f.; Eng. trans., i. 75). He holds that the first step was taken at this period; but otherwise he is right in saying that “it is obvious that nothing was so likely to create and strengthen this conviction (viz., that the future, the salvation to be obtained in the kingdom itself, could no longer rest upon the obligations of the law) as Pharisaic attacks prompted by the view that faith in Jesus and his kingdom was prejudicial to the inviolable duration of the law, and to belief in its power of securing salvation. The persecution, therefore, liberated the Christian faith; it was the means by which it came to know itself. And in this sense it was not without its fruits in the primitive church.” The scattered Christians went abroad throughout Judæa and Samaria; nolens volens they acted as missionaries, i.e., as apostles (Acts viii. 4). The most important of them was Philip, the guardian of the poor, who preached in Samaria and along the sea-board; there is a long account of how he convinced and baptized an Ethiopian officer, a eunuch (Acts viii. 26 f.). This is perfectly intelligible. The man was not a Jew. He belonged to the “God-fearing class'” (φοβούμενος τὸν θεόν). Besides, even if he had been circumcised, he could not have become a Jew. Thus, when this semi-proselyte, this eunuch, was brought into the Christian church, it meant that one stout barrier had fallen.

Still, a single case is not decisive, and even the second case of this kind, that of Peter baptizing the “God-fearing” ((fsofSov/Jievos) Cornelius at Caesarea, cannot have had at that early period the palmary importance which the author of Acts attaches to it.9090At least the importance did not lie in the direction in which the author of Acts looked to find it. Still, the case was one of great moment in this sense, that it forced Peter to side at last with that theory and practice which had hitherto (see the note above) been followed by none save the friends of Stephen (excluding the primitive apostles). The conversion of the Cæsarean officer led Peter, and with Peter a section of the church at Jerusalem, considerably further. It must be admitted, however, that the whole passage makes one suspect its historical character. Luke has treated it with a circumstantial detail which we miss elsewhere in his work; he was persuaded that it marked the great turning-point of the mission. 52So long as it was a question of proselytes, even of proselytes in the widest sense of the term, there was always one standpoint from which the strictest Jewish Christian himself could reconcile his mind to their admission: he could regard the proselytes thus admitted as adherents of the Christian community in the wider sense of the term, i.e., as proselytes still.

The next step, a much more decisive one, was taken at Antioch, again upon the initiative of the scattered adherents of Stephen (Acts xi. 19 f.), who had reached Phœnicia, Cyprus, and Antioch on their missionary wanderings. The majority of them confined themselves strictly to the Jewish mission. But some, who were natives of Cyprus and Crete,9191No names are given in the second passage, but afterwards (xiii. l) Barnabas the Cypriote, Simeon Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, and Saul are mentioned as prophets and teachers at Antioch. As Barnabas and Saul did not reach Antioch until after the founding of the church (cp. xi. 22 f.), we may probably recognize in the other three persons the founders of the church, and consequently the first missionaries to the heathen. But Barnabas must be mentioned first of all among the originators of the Gentile mission. He must have reached the broader outlook independently, as indeed is plain from Paul's relations with him. A Cypriote Levite, he belonged from the very beginning to the church of Jerusalem (perhaps he was a follower of Jesus; cp. Clem., Strom., II. 20; Eus., H.E., i. 12; Clem. Rom. Hom., i. 9), in which an act of voluntary sacrifice won for him a high position (Acts iv. 36 f.). He certainly acted as an intermediary between Paul and the primitive apostles, so long as such services were necessary (Acts ix. 27), just as he went between Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts xi. 22 f.). On what is called the “first mission-tour” of Paul, he was almost the leading figure (Acts xiii.-xiv.). But his devotion to the Gentile mission seems to have affected his early prestige at Jerusalem; he was suspected, and, like Paul, he had to justify his conduct (Acts xv., Gal. ii.). In the trying situation which ensued at Antioch, he fell under Peter's influence and failed to stand the test (so Paul says, at least, in Gal. ii. 13, but what would have been “hypocrisy” to Paul need not have been so in the case of Barnabas). His co-operation with Paul in mission-work now ceases (Acts also makes them separate owing to a misunderstanding; but, on this view, xv. 36 f., they disagreed upon the question of Mark as a coadjutor). Barnabas goes with Mark to Cyprus. When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and Galatians, Barnabas was still active as a missionary, and his name was familiar to the Corinthians (cp. 1 Cor. ix. 6). That Paul narrates to the Galatians with such exact chronology the “hypocrisy” of Barnabas, shows how the apostle could not forget the crisis when the Gentile mission was at stake, but it does not imply that Paul still felt himself at variance with Barnabas. The narrative simply mentions him in order to bring out sharply the magnitude of the disaster occasioned by Peter's pusillanimous conduct. The carefully chosen expression (καὶ Βαρνάβας συναπήχθη) shows that he was carried away half irresolutely. 1 Cor. i. 9 proves that Paul still recognized him as an apostle of Christ, and spoke of him as such in the churches (cp. also Col. iv. 10, which indicates clearly that Barnabas was also known to the Asiatic Christians as an important figure). But a hearty relationship between the two cannot have been ever restored, in spite of the great experiences they had shared for so long. Paul's silence in his epistles and the silence of Acts (after ch. xv.) are eloquent on this point. In the matter of the Gentile mission, however, Barnabas must be ranked next to Paul; in fact we may suspect, as the very sources permit us to do, that the services of Barnabas as a peace-maker amid the troubles and suspicions of the mother-church at Jerusalem were much more important than even the extant narratives disclose. Perhaps we have a writing of Barnabas—not the so-called “Epistle of Barnabas,” but the Epistle to the Hebrews. The external evidence for his authorship is not weak, but it is not adequate, and the internal evidence tells against him. Did he go from Cyprus to work at Alexandria, as the pseudo-Clementine Homilies make out (i.-ii.)? preached also to 53the Greeks 9292So Acts x. 20, reading “Ἕλληνες, not Ἑλληνίσται. It is not surprising that the Gentile Christian mission began in Antioch. It was only in the international, levelling society of a great city that such a movement could originate, or rather propagate itself, so far as it was not hampered by any new restriction in the sphere of principle. Most probably those early missionaries were not so hampered. It is very remarkable that there is no word of any opposition between Jewish and Gentile Christians at Antioch. The local Jewish Christians, scattered and cosmopolitan as they were, must have joined the new community of Christians, who were free from the law, without more ado. It was the Jerusalem church which first introduced dissension at Antioch (cp. Acts xv. 1, Gal. ii. 11-13). in Antioch with excellent results. They were the first missionaries to the heathen; they founded the first Gentile church, that of Antioch. In this work they were joined by Barnabas and Paul (Acts xi. 28 f.), who soon became the real leading spirits in the movement.9393All allusions to Antioch, direct or indirect, in the book of Acts are specially noticeable, for the tradition that Luke was a physician of Antioch deserves credence. In ch. vi., and in what immediately follows, there is a distinct line of reference to Antioch.

The converted Greeks in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia (to which Barnabas and Paul presently extended their mission), during this initial period were by no means drawn wholly from those who had been “God-fearing'' (φοβούμενοι) already, although this may have been the origin of a large number.9494Cp. Havet, Le Christianisme, vol. iv. p. 102: “Je ne sais s'il y est entré, du vivant de Paul, un seul païen, je veux dire un homme qui ne connût pas déjà, avant d'y entrer, le judaïsme et la Bible.” This is no doubt an exaggeration, but substantially it is accurate. At any rate a church was founded at Antioch which consisted for the most part of uncircumcised persons, and which now undertook the mission to the Gentiles (Acts xiii. 1 f.). For this church the 54designation of Χριστιανοί (“Christians,” Acts xi. 26) came into vogue, a name coined by their heathen opponents. This title is itself a proof that the new community in Antioch stood out in bold relief from Judaism.9595Details on the name of “Christian” in Book III. The theological vocabulary of Gentile Christianity, so far as it needed one, must also have arisen in Antioch.

The Gentile Christian churches of Syria and Cilicia did not observe the law, yet they were conscious of being the people of God in the fullest sense of the term, and were mindful to keep in touch with the mother church of Jerusalem, as well as to be recognized by her.9696Cp. the narrative of Acts xi. 29 f., xii. 25, regarding a collection which the recently founded church at Antioch sent to Jerusalem during the famine under Claudius. This was the famine in which Queen Helena of Adiabene gave much generous aid to the poor Jews of Jerusalem. The majority of these cosmopolitan converts were quite content with the assurance that God had already moved the prophets to proclaim the uselessness of sacrifice,9797With regard to the sacrificial system, the right of abandoning the literal meaning had been clearly made out, as that system had already become antiquated and depreciated in the eyes of large sections of people. The rest of the law followed as a matter of course. so that all the ceremonial part of the law was to be allegorically interpreted and understood in some moral sense.9898The post-apostolic literature shows with particular clearness that this was the popular view taken by the Gentile Christians; so that it must have maintained its vogue, despite the wide and powerful divergences of Paul's own teaching. This was also the view originally held by the other Gentile Christian communities which, like that of Rome, were founded by unknown missionaries.

The apostle Paul, however, could not settle his position towards the law with such simplicity. For him no part of the law had been depreciated in value by any noiseless, disintegrating influence of time or circumstances; on the contrary, the law remained valid and operative in all its provisions. It could not be abrogated save by him who had ordained it—i.e., by God himself. Nor could even God abolish it save by affirming at the same time its rights—i.e., he must abolish it just by providing for its fulfilment. And this was what actually took place. By the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's Son, upon the cross, the law was at once fulfilled and abolished. Whether all this reflection and speculation was secondary and 55derivative (resulting from the possession of the Spirit and the new life which the apostle felt within himself), or primary (resulting from the assurance that his sins were forgiven), or whether these two sources coalesced, is a question which need not occupy us here. The point is, that Paul was convinced that the death and resurrection of Christ had inaugurated the new age. “The future is already present, the Spirit reigns.” Hereby he firmly and unhesitatingly recognized the gospel to be the new level of religion, just as he also felt himself to be a new creature. The new religious level was the level of the Spirit and regeneration, of grace and faith, of peace and liberty; below and behind it lay everything old, including all the earlier revelations of God, since these were religions pertaining to the state of sin. This it was which enabled Paul, Jew and Pharisee as he was, to venture upon the great conception with which he laid the basis of any sound philosophy of religion and of the whole science of comparative religion, viz., the collocation of the “natural” knowledge of God possessed by man (i.e., all that had developed in man under the sway of conscience) with the law of the chosen people (Rom. 1 f.). Both, Paul held, were revelations of God, though in different ways and of different values; both represented what had been hitherto the supreme possession of mankind. Yet both had proved inadequate; they had aggravated sin, and had ended in death.

Now a new religion was in force. This meant that the Gentile mission was not a possibility but a duty, whilst freedom from the law was not a concession but the distinctive and blissful form which the gospel assumed for men. Its essence consisted in the fact that it was not law in any sense of the term, but grace and a free gift. The Christian who had been born a Jew might have himself circumcised and keep the law—which would imply that he considered the Jewish nation had still some valid part to play9999However, as Christians of Jewish birth had, in Paul's view, to live and eat side by side with Gentile Christians, the observance of the law was broken down at one very vital point. It was only Paul's belief in the nearness of the advent that may have prevented him from reflecting further on this problem. in the world-wide plan of God. But even so, there was nothing in the law to secure the bliss 56of the Jewish Christian; and as for the Gentile Christian, he was not allowed either to practice circumcision or to keep the law. In his case, such conduct would have meant that Christ had died in vain.

Thus it was that Paul preached the crucified Christ to the Gentiles, and not only established the principle of the Gentile mission, but made it a reality. The work of his predecessors, when measured by his convictions, was loose and questionable; it seemed to reach the same end as he did, but it was not entirely just to the law or to the gospel. Paul wrecked the religion of Israel on the cross of Christ, in the very endeavour to comprehend it with a greater reverence and stricter obedience than his predecessors. The day of Israel, he declared, had now expired. He honoured the Jewish Christian community at Jerusalem, the source of so much antagonism to himself, with a respect which is almost inconceivable; but he made it perfectly clear that “the times of the Gentiles” had arrived, and that if any Jewish Christian churches did not unite with the Gentile Christian churches to form the one “church of God,” they forfeited by this exclusiveness their very right to existence. Paul's conception of religion and of religious history was extremely simple, if one looks at its kernel, for it was based upon one fact. It cannot be reduced to a brief formula without being distorted into a platitude. It is never vital except in the shape of a paradox. In place of the particular forms of expression which Paul introduced, and by means of which he made the conception valid and secure for himself, it was possible that others might arise, as was the case in the very next generation with the author of Hebrews and with the anonymous genius who composed the Johannine writings. From that time onwards many other teachers came forward to find fresh bases for the Pauline gospel (e.g., Marcion and Clement of Alexandria, to name a couple of very different writers from the second century). But what they transformed was not the fruit and kernel of Paulinism. Essentially they were quite at one with the apostle. For it is the great prerogative of the historian in a later age to be able to recognize an essential unity where argument and proofs are widely different.

Historically, Paul the Pharisee dethroned the people and the 57religion of Israel;100100Little wonder that Jews of a later day declared he was a pagan in disguise: cp. Epiph. Hær., xxx. 16: καὶ τοῦ Παύλου κατηγοροῦντες οὐκ αἰσχύνονται ἐπιπλάστοις τισὶ τῆς τῶν ψευδαποστόλων αὐτῶν κακουργίας καὶ πλάνης λόγοις πεποιημένοις. Ταρσέα μὲν αὐτόν, ὡς αὐτὸς ὁμολογεῖ καὶ οὐκ ἀρνεῖται, λέγοντες ἐξ Ἑλλήνων δὲ αὐτὸν ὐποτίθενται, λαβόντες τὴν προφάσιν ἐκ τοῦ πόπου διὰ τὸ φιλάληθες ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ῥηθέν, ὅτι, Ταρσεύς εἰμι, οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως πολίτης. εἶτα φάσκουσιν αὐτὸν εἶναι Ἕλληνα καὶ Ἑλληνίδος μητρὸς καὶ Ἕλληνος πατρὸς παῖδα, ἀναβεβηκέναι δὲ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ χρόνον ἐκεῖ μεμενηκέναι ἐπιτεθυμηκέναι δὲ θυγατέρα τοῦ ἱερέως πρὸς γάμον ἀγαγέσθαι καὶ τούτου ἕνεκα προσήλυτον γευέσθαι καὶ περιτμηθῆναι, εἶτα μὴ λαβόντα τὴν κόρην ὠργίσθαι καὶ κατὰ περιτομῆς γεγραφέναι καὶ κατὰ σαββάτου καὶ νομοθεσίας (“Nor are they ashamed to accuse Paul with false charges concocted by the villainy and fraud of these false apostles. While a native of Tarsus (as he himself frankly admits) they avow that he was born of Greek parentage, taking as their pretext for this assertion the passage in which Paul's love of truth leads him to declare, ‘I am of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city.' Whereupon they allege that he was the son of a Greek father and a Greek mother; that he went up to Jerusalem, where he resided for some time; that he resolved to marry the daughter of the high priest, and consequently became a proselyte and got circumcised; and that on failing to win the girl, he vented his anger in writing against circumcision and the sabbath and the Mosaic legislation “). he tore the gospel from its Jewish soil and rooted it in the soil of humanity.101101No one has stated the issues of this transplanting more sublimely than Luke in his narrative of the birth of Jesus (Luke ii.), especially in the words which he puts into the mouth of the angel and the angels. No wonder that the full reaction of Judaism against the gospel now commenced—a reaction on the part of Jews and Jewish Christians alike. The hostility of the Jews appears on every page of Acts, from chap. xii. onwards, and it can be traced by the aid even of the evangelic narratives,102102Cp. the speeches of Jesus when he sent out the disciples on their missions, and also the great eschatological discourse in the synoptic gospels. whose sources go back to the period preceding A.D. 65. The Jews now sought to extirpate the Palestinian churches and to silence the Christian missionaries. They hampered every step of Paul's work among the Gentiles; they cursed Christians and Christ in their synagogues; they stirred up the masses and the authorities in every country against him; systematically and officially they scattered broadcast horrible charges against the Christians, which played an important part (ὑμεῖς τῆς κατὰ τοῦ δικαίου καὶ ἡμῶν τῶν ἀπ᾽ ἐκείνου κακῆς προλήψεως αἴτιοι) in the persecutions as early as the reign of Trajan; they started calumnies against Jesus; 103103Justin (Dial. xvii.; cp. cviii., cxvii.), after making out that the Jews were responsible for the calumnies against the Christians, observes that the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem despatched ἄνδρας ἐκλεκτοὺς ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν, λέγοντας ἅιρεσιν ἄθεον Χριστιανῶν πεφηνέναι, καταλέγοντας ταῦτα, ἅπερ καθ᾽ ἡμῶν οἱ ἀγνοοῦντες ἡμᾶς πάντες λέγουσιν, ὥστε οὐ μόνον ἑαντοῖς ἀδικίας αἴτιοι ὑπάρχετε, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασιν ἁπλῶς ἀνθρώποις (“Chosen men from Jerusalem into every land, declaring that a godless sect of Christians had appeared, and uttering everything that those who are ignorant of us say unanimously against us. So that you are the cause not only of your own unrighteousness, but also of that of all other men”). Cp. cxvii.: τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ ὄνομα βεβηλωθῆναι κατὰ πᾶσαν τῆν γῆν καὶ βλασφημεῖσθαι οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ ὑμῶν καὶ διδάσκαλοι εἰργάσαντο (“The name of the Son of God have the chief priests of your nation and your teachers caused to be profaned throughout all the earth and to be blasphemed”). Also cviii.: ἄνδρας χειροντονήσαντες ἐκλεκτοὺς εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐπέμψατε, κηρύσσοντας ὅτι ἄιρεσις τις ἄθεος καὶ ἄνομος ἐγήγερται ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ τινος Γαλιλαίου πλάνου, ὃν σταυρωσάντων ἡμῶν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ μνήματος νυκτὸς . . . . πλανῶσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους λέγοντες ἐγηγέρθαι αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ εἰς οὐρανὸν ἀνεληλυθέναι, κατειπόντες δεδιδαχέναι καὶ ταῦτα ἅπερ κατὰ τῶν ὁμολογούντων Χριστὸν καὶ διδάσκαλον καὶ υἱὸν θεοῦ εἶναι παντὶ γένει ἀνθρώπων ἄθεα καὶ ἄνομα καὶ ἀνόσια λέγετε (“You have sent chosen and appointed men into all the world to proclaim that ‘a godless and lawless sect has arisen from a certain Jesus, a Galilean impostor, whom we crucified; his disciples, however, stole him by night from the tomb . . . . and now deceive people by asserting that he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.' You accuse him of having taught the godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you bring forward against those who acknowledge him to be Christ, a teacher from God, and the Son of God”). For the cursing of Christians in the synagogues, cp. Dial. xvi. (also the words οὐκ ἐξουσίας ἔχετε αὐτόχειρες γενέσθαι ἡμῶν διὰ τοὺς νῦν ἐπικρατοῦντας, ὁσάκις δὲ ἂν ἐδύνητε, καὶ τοῦτο ἐπράξατε = You have no power of yourselves to lay hands on us, thanks to your overlords [i.e., the Romans], but you have done so whenever you could”), xlvii., xciii., xcv.-xcvi., cviii., cxvii., cxxxvii., where Justin declares that the rulers of the synagogue arranged for the cursing of Christians μετὰ τὴν προσευχὴν (after prayers) during the course of public worship (the pagan proselytes of Judaism being even more hostile to Christians than the Jews themselves, cxxii.); Jerome on Isa. lii. 2; Epiph., Har., xxix. 9; Apol., I. x., xxxi. (Jewish Christians fearfully persecuted by Jews during the Barcochba war); Tert., ad Nat., I. xiv.: et credidit vulgus Judaeo; quod enim aliud genus seminarium est infamiae nostrae? (“The crowd believed the Jew. In what other set of people lies the seedplot of calumny against us?”); adv. Marc., iii. 23; adv. Jud., xiii.: ab illis enim incepit infamia (“They started the calumny”); Scorp. x.: synagogae Judaeorum fontes persecutionum; Iren. IV. xxi. 3: ecclesia insidias et persecutiones a Judaeis patitur; IV. xxviii. 3: Judaei interfectores domini . . . . apostolos interficientes et persequentes ecclesiam. Origen repeatedly testifies to the fact that the Jews were the originators of the calumnies against Christians; cp. passages like Hom. I. on Ps. xxxvi. (t. 12, p. 54, ed. Lomm.): etiam nunc Judaei non moventur adversus gentiles, adversus eos, qui idola colunt et deum blasphemant, et illos non oderunt nec indignantur adversus eos; adversus Christiano vero insatiabili odio feruntur (“The Jews even now are not angry at the heathen who worship idols and blaspheme God; they do not hate them, but they attack Christians with insatiable hatred”; cp. also p. 155). By far the most important notice is that preserved by Eusebius (on Isa. xviii. 1 f.), although its source is unfortunately unknown —at any rate it did not come from Justin. It runs as follows: εὕρομεν ἐν τοῖς τῶν παλαιῶν συγγράμμασιν, ὡς οἱ τῆν Ἱερουσαλὴμ οἰκοῦντες τοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους ἱερεῖς καὶ πρεσβύτεροι γράμματα διαχαράξαντες εἰς πάντα διεπέμψαντο τὰ ἔθνη τοῖς ἁπανταχοῦ Ἰουδαίοις διαβάλλοντες τὴν Χριστοῦ διδασκαλίαν ὡς αἵρεσιν καινὴν καὶ ἀλλοτρίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, παρήγγελλόν τε δι᾽ ἐπιστολῶν μὴ παραδέξασθαι αὐτήν . . . . οἵ τε ἀπόστολοι αὐτῶν ἐπιστολὰς βιβλίνας κομιζόμενοι . . . . ἀπανταχοῦ γῆς διέτρεχον, τὸν περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐνδιαβάλλοντες λόγον. ἀποστόλους δὲ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν ἔθος ἐστὶν Ἰουδαὶοις ὀνομάζειν τοὺς ἐγκύκλια γράμματα παρὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων αὐτῶν ἐπικομιζομένονς (“In the writings of the ancients we find that the priests and elders of the Jewish people resident at Jerusalem drew up and dispatched written instructions for the Jews throughout every country, slandering the doctrine of Christ as a newfangled heresy which was alien to God, and charging them by means of letters not to accept it. . . . . Their apostles also, conveying formal letters . . . . swarmed everywhere on earth, calumniating the gospel of our Savior. And even at the present day it is still the custom of the Jews to give the name of ‘apostle' to those who convey encyclical epistles from their rulers”). According to this passage Paul would be an “apostle” before he became an apostle, and the question might be raised whether the former capacity did not contribute in some way to the feeling he had, on becoming a Christian, that he was thereby called immediately to be an apostle of Christ. they 58provided heathen opponents of Christianity with literary ammunition; unless the evidence is misleading, they instigated the Neronic outburst against the Christians; and as a rule, whenever bloody persecutions are afoot in later days, the Jews are either in the background or the foreground (the synagogues being dubbed by Tertullian “fontes persecutionum”). By a sort of instinct they felt that Gentile Christianity, though apparently it was no concern of theirs, was their peculiar foe. This course of action on the part of the Jews was inevitable. They merely accelerated a process which implied the complete 59liberation of the new religion from the old, and which prevented Judaism from solving the problem which she had already faced, the problem of her metamorphosis into a religion for the world. In this sense there was something satisfactory about the Jewish opposition. It helped both religions to make the mutual breach complete, whilst it also deepened in the minds of Gentile Christians—at a time when this still needed to be deepened—the assurance that their religion did represent a new creation, and that they were no mere class of people admitted into some lower rank, but were themselves the new People of God, who had succeeded to the old.104104In this connection one must also note the Christian use of ἔθνη (“gentes,” “Gentiles”). In the Old Testament the ἔθνη are opposed to the people of Israel (which was also reckoned, as was natural under the circumstances, among the “peoples”), so that it was quite easy for a Jew to describe other religions by simply saying that they were religions of the ἔθνη. Consequently ἔθνη had acquired among the Jews, long before the Christian era, a sense which roughly coincided with that of our word “pagans” or “heathen.” Paul was therefore unable to allow any Christian of non-Jewish extraction to be still ranked among the ἔθνη, nor would it seem that Paul was alone in this contention. Such a convert once belonged to the ἔθνη, but not now (cp., e.g., 1 Cor. xii. 2: οἴδατε ὅτι ὅτε ἔθνη ἦτε πρός τὰ εἴδωλα . . . . ἤγεσθε, “ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away to idols”); now he belongs to the true Israel, or to the new People. It is plain that while this did not originally imply an actual change of nationality, it must have stimulated the cosmopolitan feeling among Christians, as well as the consciousness that even politically they occupied a distinctive position, when they were thus contrasted with all the ἔθνη on the one hand, and on the other were thought of as the new People of the world, who repudiated all connection with the Jews. We need hardly add that Christians were still described as members of the ἔθνη, in cases where the relationship caused no misunderstanding, and where it was purely a question of non-Jewish descent.

60

But the Jewish Christians also entered the arena. They issued from Jerusalem a demand that the church at Antioch should be circumcised, and the result of this demand was the so-called apostolic council. We possess two accounts of this (Gal. ii. and Acts xv.). Each leaves much to be desired, and it is hardly possible to harmonize them both. Paul's account is not so much written down as flung down pell-mell; such is the vigour with which it seeks to emphasize the final result, that its abrupt sentences render the various intermediate stages either invisible or indistinct. The other account, unless we are deceived, has thrown the ultimate issue of the council into utter confusion by the irrelevant introduction of what transpired at a later period. Even for other reasons, this account excites suspicion. Still we can see plainly that Peter, John, and James recognized the work of Paul, that they gave him no injunctions as to his missionary labours, and that they chose still to confine themselves to the Jewish mission. Paul did not at once succeed in uniting Jewish and Gentile Christians in a single fellowship of life and worship; it was merely the principle of this fellowship that gained the day, and even this principle —an agreement which in itself was naturally unstable and shortlived—could be ignored by wide circles of Jewish Christians. Nevertheless much ground had been won. The stipulation itself ensured that, as did even more the developments to which it led. The 61Jewish Christians split up. How they could still continue to hold together (in Jerusalem and elsewhere) for years to come, is an insoluble riddle. One section persisted in doing everything they could to persecute Paul and his work with ardent enmity: to crush him was their aim. In this they certainly were actuated by some honest convictions, which Paul was naturally incapable of understanding. To the very last, indeed, he made concessions to these “zealots for the law” within the boundaries of Palestine; but outside Palestine he repudiated them so soon as they tried to win over Gentiles to their own form of Christianity. The other section, including Peter and probably the rest of the primitive apostles, commenced before long to advance beyond the agreement, though in a somewhat hesitating and tentative fashion: outside Palestine they began to hold intercourse with the Gentile Christians, and to lead the Jewish Christians also in this direction. These tentative endeavours culminated in a new agreement, which now made a real fellowship possible for both parties. The condition was that the Gentile Christians were to abstain from flesh offered to idols, from tasting blood and things strangled, and from fornication. Henceforth Peter, probably with one or two others of the primitive apostles, took part in the Gentile mission. The last barrier had collapsed.105105We may conjecture that originally there were also Jewish Christian communities in the Diaspora (not simply a Jewish Christian set inside Gentile Christian communities), and that they were not confined even to the provinces bordering on Palestine. But in Asia Minor, or wherever else such Jewish Christian communities existed, they must have been absorbed at a relatively early period by the Gentile Christian or Pauline communities. The communities of Smyrna and Philadelphia about 93 A.D. (cp. Rev. ii.-iii.) seem to have been composed mainly of converted Jews, but they are leagued with an association of the other communities, just as if they were Gentile Christians. If we marvel at the greatness of Paul, we should not marvel less at the primitive apostles, who for the gospel's sake entered on a career which the Lord and Master, with whom they had eaten. and drunk, had never taught them.

By adopting an intercourse with Gentile Christians, this Jewish Christianity did away with itself, and in the second period of his labours Peter ceased to be a “Jewish Christian.”106106Cp. Pseudo-Clem., Hom., XI. xvi.: ἐὰν ὁ ἀλλόφυλος τὸν νόμος πράξῃ, Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, μὴ πράξας δὲ Ἰουδαῖος Ἕλλην (“If one of other nation observe the law, he is a Jew; the Jew who does not observe it is a Greek”). His labours in the mission-field must have brought him to the side of Paul (cp. Clem. Rom., v.), else his repute in the Gentile Christian church would be inexplicable; but we have no detailed information on this point. Incidentally we hear of him being at Antioch (Gal. ii.). It is also likely, to judge from First Corinthians, that on his travels he reached Corinth shortly after the local church had been founded, but it is by a mere chance that we learn this. After Acts xii. Luke loses all interest in Peter's missionary efforts; why, we cannot quite make out. But if he laboured among Jewish Christians in a broad spirit, and yet did not emancipate them outright from the customs of Judaism, we can understand how the Gentile Christian tradition took no particular interest in his movements. Still, there must have been one epoch in his life when he consented heart and soul to the principles of Gentile Christianity; and it may be conjectured that this took place as early as the time of his residence at Corinth, not at the subsequent period of his sojourn in Rome. (He stayed for some months at Rome, before he was crucified. This we learn from an ancient piece of evidence which has been strangely overlooked. Porphyry, in Macarius Magnes (iii. 22), writes: “Peter is narrated to have been crucified, after pasturing the lambs for several months” (ἱστορεῖται μήδ᾽ ὀλίγους μῆνας βοσκήσας τὰ προβάτια ὁ Πέτρος ἐσταυρῶσθαι). This passage must refer to his residence at Rome, and its testimony is all the more weighty, as Porphyry himself lived for a long while in Rome and had close dealings with the local Christianity. If the pagan cited in Macarius was not Porphyry himself, then he has reproduced him.) At the same time it must be understood that we are not in a position to explain how Peter came to be ranked first of all alongside of Paul (as in Clement and Ignatius) and then above him. The fact that our First Peter in the New Testament was attributed to him involves difficulties which are scarcely fewer than those occasioned by the hypothesis that he actually wrote the epistle. 62He became a Greek. Still, two Jewish Christian parties continued to exist. One of these held by the agreement of the apostolic council; it gave the Gentile Christians its blessing, but held aloof from them in actual life. The other persisted in fighting the Gentile Church as a false church. Neither party counts in the subsequent history of the church, owing to their numerical weakness. According to Justin (Apol., I. liii.), who must have known the facts, Jesus was rejected by the Jewish nation “with few exceptions” (πλὴν ὀλίγων τινῶν). In the Diaspora, apart from Syria and Egypt, Jewish Christians were hardly to be met with;107107Individual efforts of propaganda were not, however, awanting. Such include the origins of the pseudo-Clementine literature, Symmachus and his literary efforts towards the close of the second century, and also that Elkesaite Alcibiades of Apamea in Syria, who went to Rome and is mentioned by Hippolytus in the Philosophumena. The syncretism of gnostic Jewish Christianity, to which all these phenomena belong, entitled it to expect a better hearing in the pagan world than the stricter form of the Christian faith. But it would lead us too far afield from our present purpose to go into details. there the Gentile Christians felt themselves 63supreme, in fact they were almost masters of the field.108108The turn of affairs is seen in Justin's Dial. xlvii. Gentile Christians for a long while ceased to lay down any fresh conditions, but they deliberated whether they could recognize Jewish Christians as Christian brethren, and if so, to what extent. They acted in this matter with considerable rigour. This did not last, however, beyond 180 A.D., when the Catholic church put Jewish Christians upon her roll of heretics. They were thus paid back in their own coin by Gentile Christianity; the heretics turned their former judges into heretics.

Before long the relations of Jewish Christians to their kinsmen the Jews also took a turn for the worse—that is, so far as actual relations existed between them at all. It was the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which seems to have provoked the final crisis, and led to a complete breach between the two parties.109109We do not know when Jewish Christians broke off, or were forced to break off, from all connection with the synagogues; we can only conjecture that if such connections lasted till about 70 A.D., they ceased then. No Christian, even supposing he were a simple Jewish Christian, could view the catastrophe which befell the Jewish state, with its capital and sanctuary, as anything else than the just punishment of the nation for having crucified the Messiah. Strictly speaking, he ceased from that moment to be a Jew; for a Jew who accepted the downfall of his state and temple as a divine dispensation, thereby committed national suicide. Undoubtedly the catastrophe decimated the exclusive Jewish Christianity of Palestine and drove a considerable number either back into Judaism or forward into the Catholic church. Yet how illogical human feelings can be, when they are linked to a powerful tradition! There were Jewish Christians still, who remained after the fall of Jerusalem just where they had stood before; evidently they bewailed the fall of the temple, and yet they saw in its fall a merited punishment. Did they, we ask, or did they not, venture to desire the rebuilding of the temple? We can easily understand how such people proved a double offence to their fellow-countrymen, the genuine Jews. Indeed they were always falling between two fires, for the Jews persecuted them with bitter hatred,110110Epiphanius (xxix. 9): οὐ μόνον οἱ τῶν Ἰουδαίων παίδες πρὸς τούτους κέκτηνται μῖσος, ἀλλὰ ἀνιστάμενοι ἕωθεν καὶ μέσης ἡμέρας καὶ περὶ τὴν ἑσπέραν, τρίς τῆς ἡμέρας, ὅτε εὐχὰς ἐπιτελοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς αὐτῶν συναγωγαῖς ἐπαρῶνται αὐτοῖς καὶ ἀναθεματίζουσι φάσκοντες ὅτι· Ἐπικαταράσαι ὁ θεὸς τοὺς Ναζωραίους. καὶ γὰρ τούτοις περισσότερον ἐνέχουσι, διὰ τὸ ἀπὸ Ἰουδαίων αὐτοὺς ὄντας Ἰησοῦν κηρύσσειν εἶναι Χριστόν, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἐναντίον πρὸς ποὺς ἔτι Ἰουδαίους τοὺς Χριστὸν μὴ δεξαμένους (“Not merely are they visited with hatred at the hands of Jewish children, but rising at dawn, at noon, and eventide, when they perform their orisons in their synagogues, the Jews curse them and anathematize them, crying ‘God curse the Nazarenes!' For, indeed, they are assailed all the more bitterly because, being themselves of Jewish origin, they proclaim Jesus to be the Messiah—in opposition to the other Jews who reject Christ”). while the Gentile church 64censured them as heretics—i.e., as non-Christians. They are dubbed indifferently by Jerome, who knew them personally,111111Epiphanius (loc. cit.) says of them: Ἰουδαῖοι μᾶλλον καὶ οὐδὲν ἕτερον· πάνυ δὲ οὗτοι ἐχθροὶ τοῖς Ἰουδαῖοις ὑπάρχουσιν (“They are Jews more than anything else, and yet they are detested by the Jews”). “semi-Judaei” and “semi-Christiani.'” And Jerome was right. They were really “semis”; they were “half” this or that, although they followed the course of life which Jesus had himself observed. Crushed by the letter of Jesus, they died a lingering death.

There is hardly any fact which deserves to be turned over and thought over so much as this, that the religion of Jesus has never been able to root itself in Jewish or even Semitic soil112112The Syrians are a certain exception to this rule; yet how markedly was the Syrian church Grecized, even although it retained its native language!. Certainly there must have been, and certainly there must be still, some element in this religion which is allied to the greater freedom of the Greek spirit. In one sense Christianity has really remained Greek down to the present day. The forms it acquired on Greek soil have been modified, but they have never been laid aside within the church at large, not even within Protestantism itself. And what an ordeal this religion underwent in the tender days of its childhood! “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred unto a land that I will show thee, and I will make of thee a great nation.” Islam rose in Arabia and has remained upon the whole an Arabic religion; the strength of its youth was also the strength of its manhood. Christianity, almost immediately after it arose, was dislodged from the nation to which it belonged; and thus from the very outset it was forced to learn how to distinguish between the kernel and the husk.113113The gospel allied itself, in a specially intimate way, to Hellenism, but not exclusively, during the period of which we are speaking; on the contrary, the greatest stress was laid still, as by Paul of old, upon the fact that all peoples were called, and the gospel accepted by members of all nations. Certainly the Greeks ranked as primi inter pares, and the esteem in which they were held was bound to increase just as tradition came to be emphasized, since it was neither possible nor permissible as yet to trace back the latter to the Jews (from the middle of the second century onwards, the appeal of tradition to the church of Jerusalem was not to a Jewish, but to a Greek church). In this sense, even the Latins felt themselves secondary as compared with the Greeks, but it was not long before the Roman church understood how to make up for this disadvantage. In the Easter controversy, about the year 190 A.D., certain rivalries between the Greeks and Latins emerged for the first time; but such differences were provincial, not national, for the Roman church at that period was still predominantly Greek.

Paul is only responsible in part for the sharp anti-Judaism 65which developed within the very earliest phases of Gentile Christianity. Though he held that the day of the Jews (πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων, 1 Thess. ii. 15) was past and gone, yet he neither could nor would believe in a final repudiation of God's people; on that point his last word is said in Rom. xi. 25, 29:—οὐ θελω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο, ὅτι πώρωσις ἀπὸ μέρους τῷ Ἰσραὴλ γέγονεν ἄχρις οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ, καὶ οὕτως πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται . . . ἀμεταμέλητα γὰρ τὰ χαρίσματα καὶ ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ. In this sense Paul remained a Jewish Christian to the end. The duality of mankind (Jews and “nations''') remained, in a way, intact, despite the one church of God which embraced them both. This church did not abrogate the special promises made to the Jews.

But this standpoint remained a Pauline idiosyncrasy. When people had recourse, as the large majority of Christians had, simply to the allegorical method in order to emancipate themselves from the letter, and even from the contents, of Old Testament religion, the Pauline view had no attraction for them; in fact it was quite inadmissible, since the legitimacy of the allegorical conception, and inferentially the legitimacy of the Gentile church in general, was called in question, if the Pauline view held good at any single point.114114As the post-apostolic literature shows, there were wide circles in which Paul's doctrine of the law and the old covenant was never understood, and consequently was never accepted. If the people of Israel retained a single privilege, if a single special promise still had any meaning whatsoever, if even one letter had still to remain in force—how could the whole of the Old Testament be spiritualized? How could it all be transferred to another people? The result of this mental attitude was the conviction that the Jewish 66people was now rejected: it was Ishmael, not Isaac; Esau, not Jacob. Yet even this verdict did not go far enough. If the spiritual meaning of the Old Testament is the correct one, and the literal false, then (it was argued) the former was correct from the very first, since what was false yesterday cannot be true today. Now the Jewish people from the first persisted in adhering to the literal interpretation, practicing circumcision, offering bloody sacrifices, and observing the regulations concerning food; consequently they were always in error, an error which shows that they never were the chosen people. The chosen people throughout was the Christian people, which always existed in a sort of latent condition (the younger brother being really the elder), though it only came to light at first with Christ. From the outset the Jewish people had lost the promise; indeed it was a question whether it had ever been meant for them at all. In any case the literal interpretation of God's revealed will proved that the people had been forsaken by God and had fallen under the sway of the devil. As this was quite clear, the final step had now to be taken, the final sentence had now to be pronounced: the Old Testament, from cover to cover, has nothing whatever to do with the Jews. Illegally and insolently the Jews had seized upon it; they had confiscated it, and tried to claim it as their own property. They had falsified it by their expositions and even by corrections and omissions. Every Christian must therefore deny them the possession of the Old Testament. It would be a sin for Christians to say, “This book belongs to us and to the Jews.'' No; the book belonged from the outset, as it belongs now and evermore, to none but Christians,115115It was an inconvenient fact that the book had not been taken from the Jews, who still kept and used it; but pseudo-Justin (Cohort. xiii.) gets over this by explaining that the Jews' retention of the Old Testament was providential. They preserved the Old Testament, so that it might afford a refutation of the pagan opponents who objected to Christianity on account of its forgeries {i.e., the prophecies). In his Dialogue, Justin, however, charges the Jews with falsifying the Old Testament in an anti-Christian sense. His proofs are quite flimsy. whilst Jews are the worst, the most godless and God-forsaken, of all nations upon earth,116116Justin, for example, looks on the Jews not more but less favourably than on the heathen (cp. Apol., I. xxxvii., xxxix., xliii.-xliv., xlvii., liii., lx.). The more friendly attitude of Aristides (Apol. xiv.) is exceptional. the devil's own people, Satan's synagogue, 67a fellowship of hypocrites.117117Cp. Rev. ii. 9, iii. 9, Did. viii., and the treatment of the Jews in the Fourth Gospel and the Gospel of Peter. Barnabas (ix. 4) declares that a wicked angel had seduced them from the very first. In 2 Clem. ii. 3, the Jews are called οἱ δοκοῦντες ἔχειν θεόν (“they that seem to have God”); similarly in the Preaching of Peter (Clem., Strom., vi. 5. 41): ἐκεῖνοι μόνοι οἰόμενοι τὸν θεὸν γιγνώσκειν οὐκ ἐπίστανται (“They suppose they alone know God, but they do not understand him”). They are stamped by their crucifixion of the Lord.118118Pilate was more and more exonerated. God has now brought them to an open ruin, before the eyes of all the world; their temple is burnt, their city destroyed, their commonwealth shattered, their people scattered—never again is Jerusalem to be frequented.119119Cp. Tertull., Apol. xxi.: dispersi, palabundi et soli et caeli sui extorres vagantur per orbem sine homine, sine deo rege, quibus nec advenarum iure terram patriam saltim vestigio salutare conceditur (“Scattered, wanderers, exiles from their own land and clime, they roam through the world without a human or a divine king, without so much as a stranger's right to set foot even in their native land”). It may be questioned, therefore, whether God still desires this people to be converted at all, and whether he who essays to win a single Jew is not thereby interfering unlawfully with his punishment. But the fact is, this people will not move; so that by their obstinacy and hostility to Christ, they relieve Christians from having to answer such a question.

This was the attitude consistently adopted by the Gentile church towards Judaism. Their instinct of self-preservation and their method of justifying their own appropriation of the Old Testament, chimed in with the ancient antipathy felt by the Greeks and Romans to the Jews. Still,120120For what follows see my Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, I.(3), pp. 168 f. [Eng. trans., i. 291 f.]. it was not everyone who ventured to draw the final conclusions of the epistle of Barnabas (iv. 6. f., xiv. 1 f.). Most people admitted vaguely that in earlier days a special relation existed between God and his people, though at the same time all the Old Testament promises were referred even by them to Christian people. While Barnabas held the literal observance of the law to prove a seduction of the devil to which the Jewish people had succumbed,121121Cp. Barn. ix. f. The attitude of Barnabas to the Old Testament is radically misunderstood if one imagines that his expositions in vi.-x. can be passed over as the result of oddity and caprice, or set aside as destitute of any moment or method. Not a sentence in this section lacks method, and consequently there is no caprice at all. The strictly spiritual conception of God in Barnabas, and the conviction that all (Jewish) ceremonies are of the devil, made his expositions of Scripture a matter of course; so far from being mere ingenious fancies to this author's mind, they were essential to him, unless the Old Testament was to be utterly abandoned. For example, the whole authority of the Old Testament would have collapsed for Barnabas, unless he had succeeded in finding some fresh interpretation of the statement that Abraham circumcised his servants. This he manages to do by combining it with another passage from Genesis; he then discovers in the narrative, not circumcision at all, but a prophecy of the crucified Christ (ix.). 68the majority regarded circumcision as a sign appointed by God;122122Barn. ix. 6: ἀλλ᾽ ἐρεῖς· καὶ μὴν περιτέτμηται ὁ λαὸς εἰς σφραγῖδα. (“But thou wilt say, this people hath been certainly circumcised for a seal”). This remark is put into the mouth of an ordinary Gentile Christian; the author himself does not agree with it. they recognized that the literal observance of the law was designed and enjoined by God for the time being, although they held that no righteousness ever emanated from it. Still even they held that the spiritual sense was the one true meaning, which by a fault of their own the Jews had misunderstood; they considered that the burden of the ceremonial law was an educational necessity, to meet the stubbornness and idolatrous tendencies of the nation (being, in fact, a safeguard of monotheism); and, finally, they interpreted the sign of circumcision in such a way that it appeared no longer as a favour, but rather as a mark of the judgment to be executed on Israel.123123Cp. Justin's Dial. xvi., xviii., xx., xxx., xl.-xlvi. He lays down these three findings side by side: (l) that the ceremonial laws were an educational measure on the part of God to counteract the stubbornness of the people, who were prone to apostatize; (2) that, as in the case of circumcision, they were meant to differentiate the people in view of the future judgment which was to be executed according to divine appointment; and (3) finally, that the Jewish worship enacted by the ceremonial law exhibited the peculiar depravity and iniquity of the people. Justin, however, viewed the decalogue as the natural law of reason, and therefore as definitely distinct from the ceremonial law.

Israel thus became literally a church which had been at all times the inferior or the Satanic church. Even in point of time the “older” people really did not precede the “younger,” for the latter was more ancient, and the “new” law was the original law. Nor had the patriarchs, prophets, and men of God, who had been counted worthy to receive God's word, anything in common inwardly with the Jewish people; they were God's 69elect who distinguished themselves by a holy conduct corresponding to their election, and they must be regarded as the fathers and forerunners of the latent Christian people.124124This is the prevailing view of all the sub-apostolic writers. Christians are the true Israel; hence theirs are all the honourable titles of the people of Israel. They are the twelve tribes (cp. Jas. i. l), and thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the fathers of Christians (a conception on which no doubt whatever existed in the Gentile church, and which is not to be traced back simply to Paul); the men of God in the Old Testament were Christians (cp. Ignat., ad Magn., viii. 2, οἱ προφῆται κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ἔζησαν, “the prophets lived according to Christ Jesus”). But it is to be noted that a considerable section of Christians, viz., them majority of the so-called gnostics and the Marcionites, repudiated the Old Testament along with Judaism (a repudiation to which the epistle of Barnabas approximates very closely, but which it avoids by means of its resolute re-interpretation of the literal sense). These people appear to be the consistent party, yet they were really nothing of the kind; to cut off the Old Testament meant that another historical basis must be sought afresh for Christianity, and such a basis could not be found except in some other religion or in another system of worship. Marcion made the significant attempt to abandon the Old Testament and work exclusively with the doctrine and mythology of Paulinism; but the attempt was isolated, and it proved a failure. No satisfactory answer is given by any of these early Christian writings to the question, How is it that, if these men must not on any account be regarded as Jews, they nevertheless appeared entirely or almost entirely within the Jewish nation? Possibly the idea was that God in his mercy meant to bring this wickedest of the nations to the knowledge of the truth by employing the most effective agencies at his command; but even this suggestion comes to nothing.

Such an injustice as that done by the Gentile church to Judaism is almost unprecedented in the annals of history. The Gentile church stripped it of everything; she took away its sacred book; herself but a transformation of Judaism, she cut off all connection with the parent religion. The daughter first robbed her mother, and then repudiated her! But, one may ask, is this view really correct? Undoubtedly it is, to some extent, and it is perhaps impossible to force anyone to give it up. But viewed from a higher standpoint, the facts acquire a different complexion. By their rejection of Jesus, the Jewish people disowned their calling and dealt the death-blow to their own existence; their place was taken by Christians as the new People, who appropriated the whole tradition of Judaism, giving 70a fresh interpretation to any unserviceable materials in it, or else allowing them to drop. As a matter of fact, the settlement was not even sudden or unexpected; what was unexpected was simply the particular form which the settlement assumed. All that Gentile Christianity did was to complete a process which had in fact commenced long ago within Judaism itself, viz., the process by which the Jewish religion was being inwardly emancipated and transformed into a religion for the world.

About 140 A.D. the transition of Christianity to the “Gentiles,” with its emancipation from Judaism, was complete.125125Forty years later Irenæus was therefore in a position to treat the Old Testament and its real religion with much greater freedom, for by that time Christians had almost ceased to feel that their possession of the Old Testament was seriously disturbed by Judaism. Thus Irenæus was able even to repeat the admission that the literal observance of the Old Testament in earlier days was right and holy. The Fathers of the ancient Catholic church, who followed him, went still further: on one side they approximated again to Paulinism; but at the same time, on every possible point, they moved still further away from the apostle than the earlier generations had done, since they understood his anti-legalism even less, and had also to defend the Old Testament against the gnostics. Their candid recognition of a literal sense in the Old Testament was due to the secure consciousness of their own position over against Judaism, but it was the result even more of their growing passion for the laws and institutions of the Old Testament cultus. It was only learned opponents among the Greeks and the Jews themselves, who still reminded Christians that, strictly speaking, they must be Jews. After the fall of Jerusalem there was no longer any Jewish counter-mission, apart from a few local efforts;126126Attempts of the Jews to seduce Christians into apostasy are mentioned in literature, but not very often; cp. Serapion's account quoted by Eusebius (H.E. vi. 12), and Acta Pionii (xiii., with a Jewish criticism of Christ as a suicide and a sorcerer). on the contrary, Christians established themselves in the strongholds hitherto held by Jewish propaganda and Jewish proselytes. Japhet occupied the tents of Shem,127127The half-finished, hybrid products of Jewish propaganda throughout the empire were transmuted into independent and attractive forms of religion, far surpassing the synagogues. It was only natural that the former had at once to enter into the keenest conflict with the latter. and Shem had to retire.

One thing, however, remained an enigma. Why had Jesus appeared among the Jews, instead of among the “nations”?128128That Jesus himself converted many people ἐν τοῦ Ἐλληνικοῦ is asserted only by a comparatively late and unauthentic remark in Josephus. 71This was a vexing problem. The Fourth Gospel (see above, p. 42), it is important to observe, describes certain Greeks as longing to see Jesus (xii. 20 f.), and the words put into the mouth of Jesus on that occasion129129“The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it abides by itself alone; but if it die it bears much fruit. . . . . A voice then came from heaven, ‘I have glorified, and I will glorify it again.' . . . . Jesus said, ‘This voice has come, not for my sake but for yours; now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. Yet when 1 am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.'” are intended to explain why the Saviour did not undertake the Gentile mission. The same evangelist makes Jesus say with the utmost explicitness (x. 16), “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.” He himself is to bring them. The mission which his disciples carry out, is thus his mission; it is just as if he drew them himself.130130Naturally, there was not entire and universal satisfaction with this explanation. Even legend did not venture in those early days to change the locale of Jesus to the midst of paganism, but already Magi from the East were made to come to the child Jesus and worship him, after a star had announced his birth to all the world (Matt. ii.); angels at the birth of Jesus announced tidings of great joy to “all peoples” (Luke ii.); and when that star appeared, says Ignatius (ad Eph., xix.), its appearance certified that ''All sorcery was dissolved and every wicked spell vanished, ignorance was overthrown and the old kingdom was destroyed, when God appeared in human guise unto newness of eternal life. Then that which had been prepared within God's counsels began to take effect. Thence were all things perturbed, because the abolition of death was being undertaken” (ἐλύετο πᾶσα μαγεία, καὶ πᾶς δεσμὸς ἡφανίζετο κακίας, ἄγνοια καθῃρεῖτο, παλαιὰ βασιλεία διεφθείρετο, θεοῦ ἀνθρωπίνως φανερουμένου εἰς καινότητα ἀϊδίου ζωῆς· ἀρχὴν δὲ ἐλάμβανεν τὸ παρὰ θεῷ ἀπηρτισμένον. ἔνθεν τὰ πάντα συνεκινεῖτο διὰ τὸ μελετᾶσθαι θανάτου κατάλυσιν). The Christians of Edessa were still more venturesome. They declared in the third century that Jesus had corresponded with their king Abgar, and cured him. Eusebius (H.E., i. ad fin.) thought this tale of great importance; it seemed to him a sort of substitute for any direct work of Jesus among pagans. Indeed his own power is still to work in them, as he is to send them the Holy Spirit to lead them into all the truth, communicating to them a wisdom which had hitherto lain unrevealed.

One consequence of this attitude of mind was that the twelve were regarded as a sort of personal multiplication of Christ himself, while the Kerugma (or outline and essence of Christian preaching) came to include the dispatch of the twelve into all the world—i.e., to include the Gentile mission as a command of 72Jesus himself. Compare the Apology of Aristides (ii.); Just., Apol., I. xxxix.; Ascens. Isaiae, iii. 13 f. (where the coming of the twelve disciples belongs to the fundamental facts of the gospel); Iren., Fragm. 29;131131Harvey II. p. 494: οὗτος [ὁ χριστὸς] ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς, ἐν χώματι κρυβεὶς καὶ τριημέρῳ μέγιστον δένδρον γεννηθεὶς ἐξέτεινε τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ κλάδους εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς. ἐκ τούτου προκύψαντες οἱ ιβ᾽ ἀπόστολοι, κλάδοι ὡραῖοι, καὶ εὐθαλεῖς γενηθέντες σκέπη ἐγγενήθησαν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὡς πετεινοῖς οὐρανοῦ, ὑφ᾽ ὧν κλάδων σκεπασθέντες οἱ πάντες, ὡς ὄρνεα ὑπὸ καλιὰν συνελθόντα μετέλαβον τῆς ἐξ αὐτῶν προερχομένης ἐδωδίμου καὶ ἐπουρανίον τροφῆς = “Within the heart of the earth, hidden in the tomb, he became in three days the greatest of all trees [Iren. had previously compared Christ to the seed of corn in Luke xiii. 19], and stretched out his branches to the ends of the earth. His outstretched branches, waxing ripe and fresh, even the twelve apostles, became a shelter for the birds of heaven, even for the nations. By these branches all were shadowed, like birds gathered in a nest, and partook of the food and heavenly nourishment which came forth from them.” Tertull., Apol. xxi., adv. Marc. III. xxii. (habes et apostolorum opus praedicatum); Hippol., de Antichr. 61; Orig., c. Cels., III. xxviii.; Acta Joh. (ed. Zahn, p. 246: “the God who chose us to be apostles of the heathen, who sent us out into the world, who showed himself by the apostles”); Serapion in Eus., H.E., vi. 12.132132This idea suggests one of the motives which prompted people to devise tales of apostolic missions. Details on this conception of the primitive apostles will be found in Book III.


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