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THE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES (APOSTLES, EVANGELISTS, AND PROPHETS OR TEACHERS: THE INFORMAL MISSIONARIES)
Before entering upon the subject proper, let us briefly survey the usage of the term “apostle,” in its wider and narrower senses, throughout the primitive Christian writings.523523Though it is only apostles of Christ who are to be considered, it may be observed that Paul spoke (2 Cor. viii. 23) of ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν, and applied the title “apostle of the Philippians” to Epaphroditus, who had conveyed to him a donation from that church (Philip. ii. 25). In Heb. iii. 1 Jesus is called “the apostle and high-priest of our confession.” But in John xiii. 16 “apostle” is merely used as an illustration: οὐκ ἔστιν δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ, οὐδὲ ἀπόστολος μείζων τοῦ πέμψαντος αὐτόν. For the literature on this subject, see my edition of the Didachê (Texte u. Untersuchungen, vol. ii., 1884) and my Dogmengeschichte I.3 (1894), pp. 153 f. [Eng. trans., vol. i. pp. 212 f.], Seufert on Der Ursprung and die Bedeutung des Apostolats in d. Christliche Kirche (1887), Weizsäcker's Der Apost. Zeitalter2 (1892, s.v.), Zahn's Skizzen aus dem Leben der alten Kirche2 (1898), p. 338, Haupt on Zum Verständnisse des Apostolats im N. T. (1896), Wernle's Anfänge unserer Religion2 (1904), and Monnier's La notion de 1'Apostolat des origins à Irénée (1903).
1. In Matthew, Mark, and John, “apostle” is not a special and distinctive name for the inner circle of the disciples of Jesus. These are almost invariably described as “the twelve,”524524Matt. x. 5, xx. 17, xxvi. 14, 47; Mark (iii. 14), iv. 10, vi. 7, ix. 35, x. 32, xi. 11, xiv. 10, 17, 20, 43; John vi. 67, 70, 71, xx. 24. or the 320twelve disciples.525525Matt. x. 1, xi. 1, xxvi. 20.—Add further the instances in which they are called “the eleven” (Mark xvi. 14) or “the eleven disciples” (Matt. xxviii. 16). As may be inferred from Matt. xix. 28, the choice of this number probably referred to the twelve tribes of Israel.526526This is explicitly stated in Barn. 8: οὖσιν δεκαδύο εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν φυλῶν ὅτι ιβ´ αἱ φυλαὶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ (“They are twelve for a testimony to the tribes, for there are twelve tribes in Israel”). In my opinion the fact of their selection is historical, as is also the tradition that even during his lifetime Jesus once dispatched them to preach the gospel, and selected them with that end in view. At the same time, the primitive church honored them pre-eminently not as apostles but as the twelve disciples (chosen by Jesus). In John they are never called the apostles;527527This is a remarkable fact. In the Johannine epistles “apostle” never occurs at all. Yet these letters were composed by a man who, whatever he may have been, claimed and exercised apostolic authority over a large number of the churches, as is plain from the third epistle (see my study of it in the fifteenth volume of the Texte und Untersuchungen, part 3). More on this point afterwards. in Matthew they are apparently called “the twelve apostles” (x. 2) once,528528Not “the twelve” pure and simple. Elsewhere the term, “the twelve apostles,” occurs only in Apoc. xxi. 14, and there the “twelve” is not superfluous, as the Apocalypse uses “apostle” in a more general sense (see below). but this reading is a correction, Syr. Sin. giving “disciples.” At one place Mark writes “the apostles” (vi. 30), but this refers to their temporary missionary labors during the life of Jesus. All three evangelists are thus ignorant of “apostle” as a designation of the twelve: there is but one instance where the term is applied to them ad hoc.529529The phrasing of Mark iii. 14 (ἐποίησεν δώδεκα ἵνα ὦσιν μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια) corresponds to the original facts of the case. The mission (within Israel) was one object of their election from the very first; see, further, the saying upon “fishers of men” (Mark i. 17).—In this connection we must also note those passages in the gospel where ἀποστέλλειν is used, i.e., where it is applied by Jesus to his own commissions and to the disciples whom he commissions (particularly John xx. 21, καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατὴρ, κἀγω πέμπω ὑμᾶς).
2. With Paul it is quite otherwise. He never employs the term “the twelve” (for in 1 Cor. xv. 5 he is repeating a formula of the primitive church),530530From the absence of the term “twelve” in Paul, one might infer (despite the gospels) that it did not arise till later; 1 Cor. xv. 5, however, proves the reverse. but confines himself to the idea of “apostles.” His terminology, however, is not unambiguous on this point.321
(a) He calls himself an apostle of Jesus Christ, and lays the greatest stress upon this fact.531531See the opening of all the Pauline epistles, except 1 and 2 Thess., Philippians and Philemon; also Rom. i. 5, xi. 13, 1 Cor. iv. 9, ix. 1 f., xv. 9 f., 2 Cor. xii. 12, Gal. i. 17 (ii. 8). It may be doubted whether, in 1 Cor. iv. 9 (δοκῶ, ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἐσχάτους ἀπέδειξεν ὡς ἐπιθανατίους), is to be taken as an attribute of ἐσχάτους or as a predicative. I prefer the former construction (see 1 Cor. xv. 8 f.), and it seems to me therefore probable that the first person plural here is an epistolary plural. He became an apostle, as alone one could, through God (or Christ); God called him and gave him his apostleship,532532Gal. i. 1 f., Rom. i. 5 ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν). It is hard to say whether ἐλάβομεν is a real plural, and, if so, what apostles are here associated with Paul. and his apostleship was proved by the work he did and by the way in which he did it.5335331 Cor. ix. 1, 2, xv. 9 f., 2 Cor. xii. 12, Gal. i. 2.
(b) His fellow-missionaries—e.g., Barnabas and Silvanus—are also apostles; not so, however, his assistants and pupils, such as Timothy and Sosthenes.5345341 Cor. ix. 4 f. and Gal. ii. 9 prove that Barnabas was an apostle, whilst 1 Thess. ii. 7 makes it very probable that Silvanus was one also. In the greetings of the Thessalonian and Philippian epistles Paul does not call himself an apostle, since he is associating himself with Timothy, who is never given this title (1 Thess. ii. 7 need not be taken as referring to him). It is therefore quite correct to ascribe to him (as in 2 Tim. iv. 5) the work of an evangelist. Apollos, too [see p. 79], is never called an apostle. As for εὐαγγελιστής, it is to be noted that, apart from 2 Timothy, it occurs twice in the New Testament; namely, in the We-journal in Acts (xxi. 8, as a title of Philip, one of the seven), and in Ephes. iv. 11, where the reason for evangelists being mentioned side by side with apostles is that the epistle is addressed to churches which had been founded by nonapostolic missionaries, and not by Paul himself—just as the term οἱ ἀκούσαντες (sc. τὸν κύριον) is substituted for “apostles” in Heb. ii. 3, because the readers for whom the epistle was originally designed had not received their Christianity from apostles.
(c) Others also—probably, e.g., Andronicus and Junias535535Rom. xvi. 7 (ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ); ἐν is probably (with Lightfoot, as against Zahn) to be translated “among” rather than “by,” since the latter would render the additional phrase rather superfluous and leave the precise scope of ἀποστόλοι unintelligible. If ἐν means “by,” this passage is to be correlated with those which use οἱ ἀποστόλοι for the original apostles, since in the present case this gives the simplest meaning to the words. At any rate, the οἳ refers to Andronicus and Junias, not to ἀποστόλοις. are apostles. In fact, the term cannot be sharply restricted at all; for as God appoints prophets and teachers “in the church,” so also does he appoint apostles to be the front rank 322therein,5365361 Cor. xii. 28 f.; Eph. iv. 2. Even Eph. ii. 20 and iii. 5 could not be understood to refer exclusively to the so-called “original apostles,” otherwise Paul would simply be disavowing his own position. and since such charismatic callings depend upon the church's needs, which are known to God alone, their numbers are not fixed. To the apostleship belong (in addition to the above mentioned call of God or Christ) the wonderful deeds which accredit it (2 Cor. xii. 12) and a work of its own (1 Cor. ix. 1-2), in addition to special rights.537537It cannot be proved—at least not with any great degree of probability from 1 Cor. ix. 1 that one must have seen the Lord in order to be able to come forward as an apostle. The four statements are an ascending series (οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος; οὐχὶ Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ἑόρακα; οὐ τὸ ἔργον μου ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν κυρίῳ), as is proved by the relation of the second to the first. It is clear that the third and fourth statements are meant to attest the second, but it is doubtful if they contain an attestation which is absolutely necessary. He who can point to such is an apostle. The very polemic against false apostles (2 Cor. ix. 13) and “super-apostles” (2 Cor. xi. 5, xii. 11) proves that Paul did not regard the conception of “apostle” as implying any fixed number of persons, otherwise the polemic would have been differently put. Finally, a comparison of 1 Cor. xv. 7 with verse 5 of the same chapter shows, with the utmost clearness, that Paul distinguished a circle of apostles which was wider than the twelve—a distinction, moreover, which prevailed during the earliest period of the church and within Palestine.538538Cp. Origen, Hom. in Num., xxvii. 11 (vol. x. p. 353, ed. Lommatzsch): “In quo apostolus ostendit [sc. 1 Cor. xv. 7) esse et alios apostolos exceptis illis duodecim.”
(d) But in a further, strict, sense of the term, “apostle” is reserved for those with whom he himself works5395391 Cor. ix. 2 and Gal. ii. (a Jewish and a Gentile apostolate); cp. also Rom. xi. 13, ἐθνῶν ἀπόστολος. Peter (Gal. ii. 8) has the ἀποστολὴ τ. περιτομῆς. Viewed ideally, there is only one apostolate, since there is only one church; but the concrete duties of the apostles vary. and here some significance attaches to the very chronological succession of those who were called to the apostleship (Rom. xvi. 7). The twelve who were called during the lifetime of Jesus fall to be considered as the oldest apostles;540540The apostolate is the highest rank (1 Cor. xii. 28); it follows that the main thing even about the twelve is the fact of their being apostles. with their qualities and functions they 323form the pattern and standard for all subsequent apostles. Thus the twelve, and (what is more) the twelve as apostles, come to the front. As apostles Paul put them in front; in order to set the dignity of his own office in its true light, he embraced the twelve under the category of the original apostolate (thereby allowing their personal discipleship to fall into the background, in his terminology), and thus raised them above all other apostles, although not higher than the level which he claimed to occupy himself. That the twelve henceforth rank in history as the twelve apostles, and in fact as the apostles, was a result brought about by Paul; and, paradoxically enough, this was brought about by him in his very effort to fix the value of his own apostleship. He certainly did not work out this conception, for he neither could nor would give up the more general conception of the apostleship. Thus the term “apostle” is confined to the twelve only twice in Paul,541541Apart from 1 Cor. xv. 7 (cp. verse 5), where the twelve appear as the original nucleus of the apostles; probably also apart from Rom. xvi. 7 (cp. p. 321, note) and i. 5. and even in these passages the reference is not absolutely certain. They occur in the first chapter of Galatians and in 1 Cor. ix. 5. Gal. i. 17 speaks of of οἱ πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλοι (”those who were apostles before me”), where in all likeliehood the twelve are alone to be understood. Yet the subsequent remark in verse 19 (ἕτερον τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον εἰ μὴ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου) shows that it was of no moment to Paul to restrict the conception rigidly. In 1 Cor. ix. 5 we read, μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ Κηφᾶς the collocation of λοιπῶν ἀπόστολῶν with the Lord's brothers renders it very probable that Paul here is thinking of the twelve exclusively, and not of all the existing apostles, when he mentions “the apostles.” To sum up our results: Paul holds fast to the wider conception of the apostolate, but the twelve disciples form in his view its original nucleus.
3. The terminology of Luke is determined as much by that of the primitive age (the Synoptic tradition) as by the post-Pauline. Following the former, he calls the chosen disciples of 324 Jesus “the twelve,”542542Luke viii. 1, ix. 1, 12, xviii. 31, xxii. 3, 47; Acts vi. 2. Only once, then, are they called by this title in Acts, and that in a place where Luke seems to me to be following a special source. or “the eleven;”543543Luke xxiv. 9, 33 (cp. Acts ii. 14, Πέτρος σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα). but he reproduces the latter in describing these disciples almost invariably throughout Acts as simply “the apostles”—just as though there were no other544544Acts i. 2, ii. 37,42-43, 42-43, iv. 33, 35, 36, 37, 5.2, 12, 18, 29, 40, vi. 6, viii. 1, xiv. 18, ix. 27, xi. 1, xv. 2, 4, 6, 22, 23, xvi. 4. In the later chapters “apostle” no longer occurs at all. Once we find the expression of οἱ ἕνδεκα ἀπόστολοι (Acts i. 26). apostles at all—and in relating, in his gospel, how Jesus himself called them apostles (vi. 13). Accordingly, even in the gospel he occasionally calls them “the apostles.”545545Luke ix. 10, xvii. 5, xxii. 14, xxiv. 10. The gospel of Peter is more cautious; it speaks of μαθηταί (30), or of οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταί (59), but never of ἀπόστολοι. Similarly, the apocalypse of Peter (5) writes, it ἡμεῖς οἱ δῶδεκα μαθηταί. This would incline one to assert that Luke either knew, or wished to know, of no apostles save the twelve; but the verdict would be precipitate, for in Acts xiv. 4, 14, he describes not merely Paul but also Barnabas as an apostle.546546With both Paul (see above) and Luke, then, the apostolic dignity of Barnabas is well established.—In regard to the Seventy disciples Luke does speak of an ἀποστέλλειν and calls them “seventy other” apostles, in allusion to the twelve. Yet he does not call them explicitly apostles. Irenæus (II. xxi. 1), Tertullian (adv. Marc., iv. 24), Origen (on Rom. xvi. 7), and other writers, however, describe them as apostles, and people who were conjectured to have belonged to the Seventy were also named apostles by a later age. Obviously, the terminology was not yet fixed by any means. Nevertheless it is surprising that Paul is only described as an “apostle” upon one occasion in the whole course of the book. He does not come547547The apostle to be elected must have companied with Jesus from the date of John's baptism until the ascension; he must also have been a witness of the resurrection (cp. also Luke xiv. 48, Acts i. 8). (Paul simply requires an apostle to have “seen” the Lord.) This conception of the apostolate gradually displaced the original conception entirely, although Paul still retained his apostolic dignity as an exception to the rule. under the description of the qualities requisite for the apostleship which Luke has in view in Acts i. 21 f., a description which became more and more normative for the next age. Consequently he cannot have been an apostle for Luke, except in the wider sense of the term.
4. The apocalypse of John mentions those who call themselves 325 apostles and are not (ii. 2),548548Cp. (above) Paul's judgment on the false apostles. which implies that they might be apostles. Obviously the writer is following the wider and original conception of the apostolate, The reference in xviii. 20 does not at least contradict this,549549Εὐφραίνου οὐρανὲ καὶ οἱ ἅγιοι καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ προφῆται. For the collocation of the Old Testament prophets, cp. also Luke xi. 49, 2 Pet. iii. 2. But in our passage, as in Eph. iii. 20, iii. 5, iv. 11, the writer very possibly means Christian prophets. any more than xxi. 14 (see above), although only the twelve are named here “apostles,” while the statement with its symbolic character has certainly contributed largely to win the victory for the narrower sense of the term.
5. In First Peter and Second Peter (i. 1), Peter is called an apostle of Jesus Christ. As for Jud. 17 and 2 Peter iii. 2 (μνησθῆναι τῶν προειρημένων ῥημάτων ὑπὸ τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν καὶ τῆς τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑμῶν ἐντολῆς τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος), in the first passage it is certain, and in the second very likely, that only the twelve disciples are to be understood.
6. That the epistle of Clement uses “apostles” merely to denote the original apostles and Paul, is perfectly clear from xlii. 1 f. (the apostles chosen previous to the resurrection) and xlvii. 4 (where Apollos, as ἀνὴρ δεδοκιμάσμενος παρ᾽ ἀποστόλοις, a man approved by the apostles, is definitely distinguished from the apostles); cp. also v. 3 and xliv. 1. For Clement's conception of the apostolate, see below. The epistle of Barnabas (v. 9) speaks of the Lord's choice of his own apostles (ἴδιος ἀπόστολοι), and therefore seems to know of some other apostles; in viii. 3 the author only mentions the twelve “who preached to us the gospel of the forgiveness of sins550550Of οἱ ῥαντίζοντες παῖδες οἱ εὐαγγελισάμενοι ἡμῖν τὴν ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν καὶ τὸν ἁννισμὸν τῆς καρδίας, οἷς ἔδωκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τὴν ἐξουσίαν—οὖσιν δεκαδύο εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν φυλῶν, ὅτι δεκαδύο φυλαὶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ—εἰς τὸ κηρύσσειν. (“The children who sprinkle are those who preached to us the gospel of the forgiveness of sins and purification of heart; those whom he empowered to preach the gospel, being twelve in number for a testimony to the tribes—since there are twelve tribes in Israel”). and were empowered to preach the gospel,” without calling them expressly “apostles.”551551As v. 9 shows, this is merely accidental. As the Preaching of Peter professes to be an actual composition of 326Peter, it is self-evident that whenever it speaks of apostles, the twelve are alone in view.552552See von Dobschütz in Texte u. Unters., xi. 1. Jesus says in this Preaching Ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς δώδεκα μαθητὰς κρίνας ἀξίους ἐμοῦ καὶ ἀποστόλους πιστοὺς ἡγησάμενος εἶναι, πέμπων ἐπὶ τὸν κόσμον εὐαγγελίσασθαι τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἀνθρώπους, κ.τ.λ. (“I have chosen you twelve disciples, judging you to be worthy of me and esteeming you to be faithful apostles, sending you out into the world to preach the gospel to all its inhabitants,” etc. ).
7. The passage in Sim. IX. xvii. 1 leaves it ambiguous whether Hermas meant by “apostles” the twelve or some wider circle. But the other four passages in which the apostles emerge (Vis., III. v. 1; Sim., IX. xv. 4, xvi. 5, xxv. 2) make it perfectly clear that the author had in view a wider, although apparently a definite, circle of persons, and that he consequently paid no special attention to the twelve (see below, Sect. III., for a discussion upon this point and upon the collocation of apostles, bishops, and teachers, or of apostles and teachers). Similarly, the Didachê contemplates nothing but a wider circle of apostles. It certainly avows itself to be, as the title suggests, a διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν ιβ´ ἀποστόλων (an instruction of the Lord given through the twelve apostles), but the very addition of the number in this title is enough to show that the book knew of other apostles as well, and xi. 3-6 takes apostles exclusively in the wider sense of the term (details of this in a later section).
8. In the dozen or so passages where the word “apostle” occurs in Ignatius, there is not a single one which renders it probable that the word is used in its wider sense. On the contrary, there are several in which the only possible allusion is to the primitive apostles. We must therefore conclude that by “apostle” Ignatius simply and solely understood553553Ignatius disclaims apostolic dignity for himself, in several passages of his epistles; which nevertheless is a proof that there was a possibility of one who had not been an original apostle being none the less an apostle. This survey of the primitive usage of the word “apostle” the twelve and Paul (Rom. iv. 3). Any decision in the case of Polycarp (Ep., vi. 3, viii. 1) is uncertain, but he would hardly have occupied a different position from that of Ignatius. His church added to his name the title of an “apostolic and prophetic teacher” (Ep. Smyrn., xvi. 2). 327shows that while two conceptions existed side by side, the narrower was successful in making headway against its rival.554554During the course of the second century it became more rare than ever to confer the title of “apostles” on any except the biblical apostles or persons mentioned as apostles in the Bible. But Clement of Rome is called an apostle by Clement of Alexandria (Strom., IV. xvii. 105), and Quadratus is once called by this name.
One other preliminary inquiry is necessary before we can proceed to the subject of this chapter. We are to discuss apostles, prophets, and teachers as the missionaries or preachers of Christianity; the question is, whether this threefold group can be explained from Judaism.
Such a derivation is in any case limited by the fact that these classes did not form any triple group in Judaism, their close association being a characteristic of primitive Christianity. With regard to each group, the following details are to be noted:—
1. Apostles.555555The very restricted use of the word in classical (Attic) Greek is well known (Herod., I. 21. v. 38; Hesychius: ἀπόστολος· στρατηγὸς κατὰ πλοῦν πεμπόμενος). In the LXX. the word occurs only in 1 Kings xiv. 6 (describing the prophet Abijah: Hebrew שׁלוח). Justin has to fall back on ἀποστέλλειν in order to prove (Dial. lxxv.) that the prophets in the Old Testament were called ἀπόστολοι. Josephus calls Varus, the head of a Jewish deputation to Rome, ἀπόστολος αὐτῶν (Antiq., xvii. 11. 1). The classical usage does not explain the Jewish-Christian. Hence it is probable that ἀπόστολος on Jewish soil retained the technical sense of “messenger.”—Jewish officials bearing this title are unknown to us until the destruction of the temple and the organization of the Palestinian patriarchate; but it is extremely unlikely that no “apostles” previously existed, since the Jews would hardly have created an official class of “apostles” after the appearance of the Christian apostles. At any rate, the fact was there, as also, beyond question, was the name556556If Judaism had never known apostles, would Paul have spoken of “apostles” in 2 Cor. viii. 23 and Phil. ii. 25?—i.e., of authoritative officials who collected contributions from the Diaspora for the temple and kept the churches in touch with Jerusalem and with each other. According to Justin (Dial. xvii., cviii., cxvii.), the thoroughly systematic measures which were initiated from 328Jerusalem in order to counteract the Christian mission even in Paul's day were the work of the high priests and teachers, who despatched men (ἄνδρας χειροτονήσαντες ἐκλεκτούς) all over the world to give correct information about Jesus and his disciples. These were “apostles”557557The passages have been printed above, on pp. 57 f.; χειροντονήσαντες denotes the apostolate (cp. Acts xiii. 3). that is, this task was entrusted to the “apostles” who kept Jerusalem in touch with the Diaspora.558558For this intercommunication see, e.g., Acts, xxviii. 21: οὔτε γράμματα περὶ σοῦ ἐδεξάμεθα ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας (say the Roman Jews, with regard to Paul) οὔτε παραγενόμενος τις τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἀπήγγειλεν. A cognate reference is that of 2 Cor. iii. 1, to ἐπιστολαὶ συστατικαὶ.
Eusebius (in Isa. xviii. 1 f.) proves that the chosen persons whom Justin thus characterizes are to be identified with the “apostles” of Judaism. The passage has been already printed (cp. p. 59), but in view of its importance it may once more be quoted: 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 κομιζόμενοι559559The allusion is to Isa. xviii. 1-2, where the LXX. reads: οὐαὶ . . . . ὁ ἀποστέλλων ἐν θαλάσσῃ ὅμηρα καὶ ἐπιστολὰς βυβλίνας ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος, while Symmachus has not ὅμηρα but ἀποστόλους Eusebius therefore refers this passage to the false “apostles” of Judaism, and the words πορεύσονται γὰρ ἄγγελοι κοῦφοι, κ.τ.λ., to the true apostles. ἀπανταχοῦ γῆς διέτρεχον, τὸν περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐνδιαβάλλοντες λόγον. ἀποστόλους δὲ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν (so that the institution was no novelty) ἔθος ἐστὶν Ἰουδαὶοις ὀνομάζειν τοὺς ἐγκύκλια γράμματα παρὰ τῶν ἀρχόντων αὐτῶν ἐπικομιζομένονς. The primary function, therefore, which Eusebius emphasized in the Jewish “apostles” of his own day, was their duty of conveying encyclical epistles issued by the central authority for the instruction and direction of the Diaspora. In the law-book (Theodosianus Codex, xvi. 8. 14), as is only natural, another side is presented “Superstitionis indignae est, ut archisynagogi sive presbyteri Judaeorum vel quos ipsi apostolos vocant, qui ad exigendum aurum atque argentum a patriarcha certo tempore diriguntur,” 329etc. (“It is part of this worthless superstition that the Jews have chiefs of their synagogues, or elders, or persons whom they call apostles, who are appointed by the patriarch at a certain season to collect gold and silver”). The same aspect is adduced, as the context indicates, by Julian (Epist. xxv.; Hertlein, p. 513), when he speaks of “the apostleship you talk about” λεγομένη παῤ ὑμῖν ἀποστολή Jerome (ad Gal., i. 1) merely remarks: “Usque hodie a patriarchis Judaeorum apostolos mitti” (“To this day apostles are despatched by the Jewish patriarchs”). But we gain much more information from Epiphanius, who, in speaking of a certain Joseph (adv. Hær., xxx. 4), writes: οὗτος τῶν παῤ αὐτοῖς ἀξιωματικῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐναρίθμιος ἦν· εἶσὶ δὲ οὗτοι μετὰ τὸν πατριάρχην ἀπόστολοι καλούμενοι, προσεδρεύουσι δὲ τῷ πατριάρχῃ καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ πολλάκις καὶ ἐν νυκτὶ καὶ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ συνεχῶς διάγουσι, διὰ τὸ συμβουλεύειν καὶ ἀναφέρειν αὐτῷ τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον.560560“He belonged to the order of their distinguished men. These consist of men called ‘apostles'; they rank next to the patriarch, with whom they are associated and with whom they often spend whole nights and days taking counsel together and consulting him on matters concerning the law.” He tells (chap. xi.) when this Joseph became an apostle (or, got the εὐκαρπία τῆς ἀποστολῆς), and then proceeds: καὶ μετ᾽ ἐπιστολῶν οὗτος ἀποστέλλεται εἰς τὴν Κιλίκων γῆν· ὅς ἀνελθὼν ἐκεῖσε ἀπὸ ἑκάστης πόλεως τῆς Κιλικίας τὰ ἐπιδέκατα καὶ τὰς ἀπαρχὰς παρὰ τῶν ἐν τῇ ἐπαρχίᾳ Ἰουδαίων εἰσέπραττεν . . . . ἐπεὶ οὖν, οἷα ἀπόστολος (οὕτως γὰρ παῤ αὐτοῖς, ὡς ἔφην, τὸ ἀξίωμα καλεῖται), ἐμβριθέστατος καὶ καθαρεύων δῆθεν τὰ εἰς κατάστασιν εὐνομίας, οὕτως ἐπιτελεῖν προβαλλόμενος, πολλοὺς τῶν κακῶν κατασταθέντων ἀρχισυναγώγων καὶ ἱερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀζανιτῶν . . . . καθαιρῶν τε καὶ μετακινῶν τοῦ ἀξιώματος ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἐνεκοτεῖτο, κ.τ.λ. (“He was despatched with epistles to Cilicia, and on arriving there proceeded to levy from every city of Cilicia the titles and firstfruits paid by the Jews throughout the province. When, therefore, in virtue of his apostleship (for so is this order of men entitled by the Jews, as I have said), he acted with great rigour, forsooth, in his reforms and restoration of good order-which was the very business before him—deposing and removing from office many wicked chiefs of the synagogue and priests and 330presbyters and ministers . . . . he became hated by many people”).
Putting together these functions of the “apostles,”561561Up till now only one inscription has been discovered which mentions these apostles, viz., the epitaph of a girl of fourteen at Venosa: “Quei dixerunt trenus duo apostuli et duo rebbites” (Hirschfeld, Bullett. dell Instil. di corrisp. archaeol., 1867, p. 152). we get the following result. (1) They were consecrated persons of a very high rank; (2) they were sent out into the Diaspora to collect tribute for headquarters; (3) they brought encyclical letters with them, kept the Diaspora in touch with the centre and informed of the intentions of the latter (or of the patriarch), received orders about any dangerous movement, and had to organize resistance to it; (4) they exercised certain powers of surveillance and discipline in the Diaspora; and (5) on returning to their own country they formed a sort of council which aided the patriarch in supervising the interests of the law.
In view of all this one can hardly deny a certain connection between these Jewish apostles and the Christian. It was not simply that Paul562562Was not Paul himself, in his pre-Christian days [cp. p. 59], a Jewish “apostle”? He bore letters which were directed against Christians in the Diaspora, and had assigned to him by the highpriests and Sanhedrin certain disciplinary powers (see Acts viii. 2, xxii. 4 f., xxvi. 10 f., statements which deserve careful attention). and others had hostile relations with them their very organization afforded a sort of type for the Christian apostleship, great as were the differences between the two. But, one may ask, were not these differences too great? Were not the Jewish apostles just financial officials? Well, at the very moment when the primitive apostles recognized Paul as an apostle, they set him also a financial task (Gal. ii. 10); he was to collect money throughout the Diaspora for the church at Jerusalem. The importance henceforth attached by Paul to this side of his work is well known; on it he spent unceasing care, although it involved him in the sorest vexations and led finally to his death. Taken by itself, it is not easy to understand exactly how the primitive apostles could impose this task on Paul, and how he could quietly accept it. But the thing becomes intelligible whenever we assume that the church at Jerusalem, together with the primitive apostles, considered 331themselves the central body of Christendom, and also the representatives of the true Israel. That was the reason why the apostles whom they recognized were entrusted with a duty similar to that imposed on Jewish “apostles,” viz., the task of collecting the tribute of the Diaspora. Paul himself would view it, one imagines, in a somewhat different light, but it is quite probable that this was how the matter was viewed by the primitive apostles. In this way the connection between the Jewish and the Christian apostles, which on other grounds is hardly to be denied in spite of all their differences, becomes quite evident.563563We do not know whether there were also “apostles” among the disciples of John—that narrow circle of the Baptist which, as the gospels narrate, was held together by means of fasting and special prayers; we merely know that adherents of this circle existed in the Diaspora (at Alexandria: Acts xviii. 24 f., and Ephesus: Acts xix. 1 f.). Apollos (see above, p. 79) would appear to have been originally a regular missionary of John the Baptist's movement; but the whole narrative of Acts at this point is singularly coloured and obscure.
These statements about the Jewish apostles have been contested by Monnier (op. cit., pp. 16 f.): “To prop up his theory, Harnack takes a text of Justin and fortifies it with another from Eusebius. That is, he proves the existence of an institution in the first century by means of a second-century text, and interprets the latter by means of a fourth-century writer. This is too easy.” But it is still more easy to let such confusing abstractions blind us to the reasons which in the present instance not only allow us but even make it obvious to explain the testimony of Justin by that of Eusebius, and again to connect it with what we know of the antichristian mission set on foot by the Jerusalemites, and of the false apostles in the time of Paul. I have not ignored the fact that we possess no direct evidence for the assertion that Jewish emissaries like Saul in the first century bore the name of “apostles.”
(2) Prophets.—The common idea is that prophets had died out in Judaism long before the age of Jesus and the apostles, but the New Testament itself protests against this erroneous idea. Reference may be made especially to John the Baptist, who certainly was a prophet and was called a prophet; also to the prophetess Hanna (Luke ii. 36), to Barjesus the Jewish prophet 332in the retinue of the pro-consul at Cyprus (Acts xiii. 7), and to the warnings against false prophets (Matt. vii. 15, xxiv. 11, 25 = Mark xiii. 22, 1 John iv. 1, 2 Pet. ii. 1). Besides, we are told that the Essenes possessed the gift of prophecy;564564Cp. Josephus' Wars, i. 3. 5, ii., 7. 3, 8. 12; Antiq. xiii. 11. 2, xv. 10. 5, xvii. 3. 3. of Theudas, as of the Egyptian,565565Acts xxi. 38; Joseph., Antiq., xx. 8. 6; Wars, ii. 13. 5. it is said, προφήτης ἔλεγεν εἶναι (“he alleged himself to be a prophet, Joseph” Antiq., xx. 5. 1); Josephus the historian played the prophet openly and successfully before Vespasian;566566Wars, iii. 8. 9; cp. Suet., Vespas., v., and Dio Cass., lxvi. 1. Philo called himself a prophet, and in the Diaspora we hear of Jewish interpreters of dreams, and of prophetic magicians.567567Cp. Hadrian, Ep. ad Servian. (Vopisc., Saturn., viii.).—One cannot, of course, cite the gospel of pseudo-Matthew, ch. xiii. (“et prophetae qui fuerant in Jerusalem dicebant hanc stellam indicare nativitatem Christi”), since the passage is merely a late paraphrase of the genuine Matthew. What is still more significant, the wealth of contemporary Jewish apocalypses, oracular utterances, and so forth shows that, so far from being extinct, prophecy was in luxuriant bloom, and also that prophets were numerous, and secured both adherents and readers. There were very wide circles of Judaism who cannot have felt any surprise when a prophet appeared: John the Baptist and Jesus were hailed without further ado as prophets, and the imminent return of ancient prophets was an article of faith.568568Only it is quite true that the Sadducees would have nothing to do with prophets, and that a section of the strict upholders of the law would no longer hear of anything ranking beside the law. It stands to reason also that the priests and their party did not approve of prophets. After the completion of the canon there must have been a semi-official doctrine to the effect that the prophets were complete (cp. Ps. lxxiv. 9: τὰ σημεῖα ἡμῶν οὐκ εἴδομεν, οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι προφήτης, καὶ ἡμᾶς οὐ γνώσεται ἔτι, also 1 Macc. iv. 46, ix. 27, xiv. 41), and this conviction passed over into the church (cp. Murator. Fragm., “completo numero”); the book of Daniel was no longer placed among the prophets, and the later apocalypses were no longer admitted at all into the canon. Josephus is undoubtedly echoing a widely spread opinion when he maintains that the “succession of the prophets” is at an end (Apion., i. 8; cp. also Euseb., H.E., iii., 10. 4: “From the time of Artaxerxes to our own day all the events have been recorded, but they do not merit the same confidence as we repose in the events that preceded them, since there has not been during this time an exact succession of prophets”—ἀπὸ δὲ Ἀρταξέρξου μέχρι τοῦ καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χρόνου γέγραπται μὲν ἕκαστα, πίστεως δ᾽ οὐχ ὁμοίας ἡξίωται τοῖς πρὸ αὐτῶν, διὰ τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι τὴν τῶν προφητῶν ἀκριβῆ διαδοχήν). Julian, c. Christ., 198 C: τὸ παῤ Ἑβραίοις [προφητικὸν πνεῦμα] ἐπέλιπεν (“the prophetic spirit failed among the Hebrews”). But although the line of the “canonical” prophets had been broken off before the appearance of Jesus, prophecy need not therefore have been extinguished. From its earliest awakening, then, Christian prophecy was no novelty, when formally considered, but a phenomenon which readily coordinated itself with similar contemporary phenomena in Judaism. In both cases, too, the high value attached to the prophets follows as a matter of course, since they are the voice of God; recognized as genuine prophets, they possess an absolute authority in their preaching and counsels. They were not 333merely deemcd capable of miracles, but even expected to perform them. It even seemed credible that a prophet could rise from the dead by the power of God; Herod and a section of the people were quite of opinion that Jesus was John the Baptist redivivnt (see also Rev. xi. 11).569569The saying of Jesus, that all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (Matt. xi. 13), is very remarkable (see below); he appears to have been thinking of the cessation of prophecy, probably owing to the nearness of the end. But the word also admits of an interpretation which does not contemplate the cessation of prophecy.
(3) Teachers.—No words need be wasted on the importance of the scribes and teachers in Judaism, particularly in Palestine; but in order to explain historically the prestige claimed and enjoyed by the Christian διδάσκαλοι it is necessary to allude to the prestige of the Jewish teachers. “The rabbis claimed from their pupils the most unqualified reverence, a reverence which was to exceed even that paid to father and mother.” “Let esteem for thy friend border on respect for thy teacher, and respect for thy teacher on reverence for God.” “Respect for a teacher surpasses respect for a father; for son and father alike owe respect to a teacher.” “If a man's father and teacher have lost anything, the teacher's loss has the prior claim; for while his father has only brought the nian into the world, his teacher has taught him wisdom and brought him to life in the world to come. If a man's father and teacher are bearing burdens, he must help the teacher first, and then his father. If father and teacher are both in captivity, he must ransom the teacher first.” As a rule, the rabbis claimed everywhere the highest rank. “They love the uppermost places at feasts and the front seats 334in the synagogues, and greetings in the market-place, and to be called by men ‘rabbi'”(Matt. xxiii. 6 f. and parallel passages). “Their very dress was that of people of quality.”570570Schürer, Gesch. d. jüd. Volkes, II.3 pp. 317 f. (Eng. trans., II. i. 317).
Thus the three members of the Christian group—apostles, prophets, teachers—were already to be met with in contemporary Judaism, where they were individually held in very high esteem. Still, they were not grouped together; otherwise the prophets would have been placed in a more prominent position. The grouping of these three classes, and the special development of the apostleship, were the special work of the Christian church. It was a work which had most vital consequences.
As we are essaying a study of the missionaries and teachers, let us take the Didachê into consideration.571571In what follows I have drawn upon the section in my larger edition of the Didachê (1884), which occupies pp. 93 f.
In the fourth chapter, where the author gathers up the special duties of Christians as members of the church, this counsel is put forward as the first commandment: τέκνον μοῦ, τοῦ λαλοῦντός σοι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ μνησθήσῃ νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, τιμήσεις δὲ αὐτὸν ὡς κύριον· ὅθεν γὰρ ἡ κυριότης λαλεῖται, ἐκεῖ κύριός ἐστιν (“My son, thou shalt remember him that speaketh to thee the word of God by night and day; thou shalt honour him as the Lord. For whencesoever the lordship is lauded, there is the Lord present “).572572Compare the esteem above mentioned in which the Jews held their teachers. Barnabas (xix. 9-10), in a passage parallel to that of the Didachê, writes: ἀγαπήσεις ὡς κόρην τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου πάντα τὸν λαλοῦντά σοι τὸν λόγον κυρίου, μνησθήσῃ ἡμέραν κρίσεως νυκτὸς και ἡμέρας (“Thou shalt love as the apple of thine eye everyone who speaks to thee the word of the Lord; night and day shalt thou remember the day of judgment”). As is plain from the whole book (particularly from what is said in chap. xv. on the bishops and deacons), the writer knew only one class of people who were to be honored in the church, viz., those alone who preached the word of God in their capacity of ministri evangelii.573573The author of Hebrews also depicts the ἡγούμενοι more closely, thus: οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ (xiii. 7). The expression ἡγούμενοι or προηγούμενοι (see also Heb. xiii. 17), which had a special vogue in the Roman church, although it is not unexampled elsewhere, did not become a technical expression in the primitive age; consequently it is often impossible to ascertain in any given case who are meant by it, whether bishops or teachers.335
But who are these λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ in the Didachê? Not permanent, elected officials of an individual church, but primarily independent teachers who ascribed their calling to a divine command or charism. Among them we distinguish (1) apostles, (2) prophets, and (3) teachers. These preachers, at the time when the author wrote, and for the circle of churches with which he was familiar, were in the first place the regular missionaries of the gospel (apostles), in the second place the men who ministered to edification, and consequently sustained the spiritual life of the churches (prophets and teachers).574574According to chap. xv., bishops and deacons belong to the second class, in so far as they take the place of prophets and teachers in the work of edifying the church by means of oral instruction.
(1) They were not elected by the churches, as were bishops and deacons alone (xv. 1, χειροτονήσατε ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισκόπους καὶ διακόνους). In 1 Cor. xii. 28 we read: καὶ οὓς μὲν ἔθετο ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτον ἀποστόλους, δεύτερον προφήτας, τρίτον διδασκάλους (cp. Ephes. iv. 11: καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους. The early source incorporated in Acts xiii. gives a capital idea of the way in which this divine appointment is to be understood in the case of the apostles. In that passage we are told how after prayer and fasting five prophets and teachers resident in the church at Antioch (Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul) received instructions from the holy Spirit to despatch Barnabas and Saul as missionaries or apostles.575575The despatch of these two men appears to be entirely the work of the holy Spirit. Ἀφορίσατε δὴ μοι τὸν Βαρνάβαν καὶ Σαῦλον εἰς τὸ ἔργον ὃ προσκέκλημαι αὐτούς, says the Spirit. The envoys thus act simply as executive organs of the Spirit. We may assume that in other cases also the apostles could fall back on such an exceptional commission.576576In the epistles to Timothy, Timothy is represented as an “evangelist,” i.e., as an apostle of the second class, but he is also the holder of a charismatic office. Consequently, just as in Acts xiii., we find in I. i. 18 these words: ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν παρατίθεμαί σοι, τέκνον Τιμόθεε, κατὰ τὰς προαγούσας ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας; and in iv. 14, the following: μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος, ὃ ἐδόθη σοι διὰ προφητείας [μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου]. 336The prophets were authenticated by what they delivered in the form of messages from the Holy Spirit, in so far as these addresses proved spiritually effective. But it is impossible to determine exactly how people were recognized as teachers. One clue seems visible, however, in Jas. iii. 1, where we read: μὴ πολλοὶ διδάσκαλοι γίνεσθε, εἰδότες ὅτι μεῖζον κρίμα λημψόμεθα. From this it follows that to become a teacher was a matter of personal choice—based, of course, upon the individual's consciousness of possessing a charisma. The teacher also ranked as one who had received the holy Spirit577577This may probably be inferred even from 1 Cor. xiv. 26, where διδαχή follows ἀποκάλυψις, and it is made perfectly clear by Hermas who not only is in the habit of grouping ἀπόστολοι and διδάσκαλοι, but also (Sim., ix. 25. 2) writes thus of the apostles and teachers: “They taught the word of God soberly and purely . . . . even as also they had received the holy Spirit” (διδάξαντες σεμνῶς καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ . . . . καθὼς καὶ παρέλαβον τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον). for his calling; whether he was a genuine teacher (Did., xiii. 2) or not, was a matter which, like the genuineness of the prophets (Did., xi. 11, xiii. 1), had to be decided by the churches. Yet they merely verified the existence of a divine commission; they did not in the slightest degree confer any office by their action. As a rule, the special and onerous duties which apostles and prophets had to discharge (see below) formed a natural barrier against the intrusion of a crowd of interlopers into the office of the preacher or the missionary.
(2) The distinction of “apostles, prophets, and teachers” is very old, and was common in the earliest period of the church. The author of the Didachê presupposes that apostles, prophets, and teachers were known to all the churches. In xi. 7 he specially mentions prophets; in xii. 3 f. he names apostles and prophets, conjoining in xiii. 1-2 and xvi. 1-2 prophets and teachers (never apostles and teachers: unlike Hermas). The inference is that although this order—“apostles, prophets, and teachers”—was before his mind, the prophets and apostles formed in certain aspects a category by themselves, while in other aspects the prophets had to be ranked with the teachers (see below). This order is identical with that of Paul (1 Cor. xii. 28), so that its origin is to be pushed back to the sixth decade of the first century; in fact, it goes back to a still earlier 337period, for in saying οὓς μὲν ἔθετο ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτον ἀποστόλους, κ.τ.λ., Paul is thinking without doubt of some arrangement in the church which held good among Jewish Christian communities founded apart from his co-operation, no less than among the communities of Greece and Asia Minor. This assumption is confirmed by Acts xi. 27, xv. 22, 32, and xiii. 1. f. In the first of these passages we hear of prophets who had migrated from the Jerusalem-church to the Antiochene;578578On a temporary visit. One of them, Agabus, was permanently resident in Judæa about fifteen years later, but journeyed to meet Paul at Cæsarea in order to bring him a piece of prophetic information (Acts 21. 10 f.). the third passage implies that five men, who are described as prophets and teachers, occupied a special position in the church at Antioch, and that two of their number were elected by them as apostles at the injunction of the Spirit (see above).579579From the particles employed in the passage, it is probable that Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius were the prophets, while Manäen and Saul were the teachers, One prophet and one teacher were thus despatched as apostles. As the older man, Barnabas at first took the lead (his prophetic gift may be gathered from the name assigned to him, “Barnabas” = υἱὸς παρακλήσεως (Acts iv. 36); for in 1 Cor. xiv. 3 we read, ὁ προφητεύων ἀνθρώποις λαλεῖ παράκλησιν). Thus the apostolic vocation was not necessarily involved in the calling to be a prophet or teacher; it required for itself a further special injunction of the Spirit. From Acts xiii. 1 f. the order—“apostles, prophets, teachers”—follows indirectly but quite obviously; we have therefore evidence for it (as the notice may be considered historically reliable) in the earliest Gentile church and at a time which was probably not even one decade distant from the year of Paul's conversion.
A century may have elapsed between the event recorded in Acts xiii. 1 f. and the final editing of the Didachê. But intermediate stages are not lacking. First, we have the evidence of 1 Cor. (xii. 28),580580Observe that after enumerating apostles, prophets, and teachers, Paul does not proceed to give any further category of persons with charismatic gifts, but merely adds charismatic gifts themselves; note further that he gives no classification of these gifts, but simply arranges them in one series with a double ἔπειτα, whereas the apostles, prophets, and teachers are enumerated in order with πρῶτον, δεύτερον, and τρίτον. The conclusion is that the apostolate, the prophetic office (not, speaking with tongues), and teaching were the only offices which made their occupants persons of rank in the church, whilst the δυνάμεις, ἰάματα, ἀντιλήμψεις, κ.τ.λ., conferred no special standing on those who were gifted with such charismata. Hence with Paul, too, it is the preaching of God's word which constitutes a position in the ἐκκλησία of God. This agrees exactly with the view of the author of the Didachê. with two witnesses besides in Ephesians (whose 338evidence is all the more weighty if the epistle is not genuine) and Hermas. Yet neither of these witnesses is of supreme importance, inasmuch as both fail to present in its pristine purity the old class of the regular λαλούντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ as apostles, prophets, and teachers; both point to a slight modification of this class, owing to the organization of individual churches, complete within themselves, which had grown up on other bases.
Like Did. xi. 3, Eph. ii. 20 and iii. 5 associate apostles and prophets, and assign them an extremely high position. All believers, we are told, are built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, to whom, in the first instance, is revealed the secret that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs of the promise of Christ. That prophets of the gospel, and not of the Old Testament, are intended here is shown both by the context and by the previous mention of apostles. Now in the list at iv. 11 the order “apostles, prophets, and teachers” is indeed preserved, but in such a way that “evangelists” are inserted after “prophets,” and “pastors” added to “teachers” (preceding them, in fact, but constituting with them a single group or class).581581It does not follow that the “teachers” are to be considered identical with the “pastors,” because τοὺς δὲ does not immediately precede διδάσκαλους. The inference is merely that Paul or the author took both as comprising a single group. From these intercalated words it follows (1) that the author (or Paul) knew missionaries who did not possess the dignity of apostles,582582I have already tried (p. 321) to explain exactly why evangelists are mentioned in Ephesians. but that he did not place them immediately after the apostles, inasmuch as the collocation of “apostles and prophets” was a sort of noli me tangere (not so the collocation of “prophets and teachers”); (2) that he reckoned the leaders of an individual church (ποιμένες) among the preachers bestowed upon the church as a whole (the individual church in this way made its influence felt); (3) that he looks upon the teachers as persons belonging to a definite church, as is evident from the close connection of teachers with ποιμένες and the subsequent mention (though in 339collocation) of the former. The difference between the author of Ephesians and the author of the Didachê on these points, however, ceases to have any significance when one observes two things: (a) first, that even the latter places the ποιμένες (ἐπίσκοποι) of the individual church side by side with the teachers, and seeks to have like honor paid to them (xv. 1-2); and secondly (b), that he makes the permanent domicile of teachers in an individual church (xiii. 2) the rule, as opposed to any special appointment (whereas, with regard to prophets, domicile would appear, from xiii. 1, to have been the exception). It is certainly obvious that the Didachê's arrangement approaches more nearly than that of Ephesians to the arrangement given by Paul in Corinthians, but it would be more than hasty to conclude that the Didachê must therefore be older than the former epistle. We have already seen that the juxtaposition of the narrower conception of the apostolate with the broader is very early, and that the latter, instead of being simply dropped, kept pace for a time with the former. Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that passages like Acts xiii. 1, xi. 27, xxi. 10, etc., prove that although the prophets, and especially the teachers, had to serve the whole church with their gifts, they could possess, even in the earliest age, a permanent residence and also membership of a definite community, either permanently or for a considerable length of time. Hence at an early period they could be viewed in this particular light, without prejudice to their function as teachers who were assigned to the church in general.
As for Hermas, the most surprising observation suggested by the book is that the prophets are never mentioned, for all its enumeration of classes of preachers and superintendents in Christendom.583583In Sim. ix. 15. 4a Old Testament prophets are meant. In consequence of this, apostles and teachers ἀπόστολοι and διδάσκαλοι are usually conjoined.584584Cp. Sim., ix. 15, 4b: οἱ δὲ μ´ ἀπόστολοι καὶ διδάσκαλοι τοῦ κηρύγματος τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (“the forty are apostles and teachers of the preaching of the Son of God”); 16. 5: οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ διδάσκαλοι οἱ κηρύξαντες τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (” the apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God “); 25. 2: ἀπόστολοι καὶ διδάσκαλοι οἱ κηρύξαντες εἰς ὅλον τὸν κόσμον καὶ οἱ διδάξαντες σεμνῶς καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου (“apostles and teachers who preached to all the world, and taught soberly and purely the word of the Lord “). Vis., III. v. 1. (see below) is also relevant in this connection. Elsewhere the collocation of ἀπόστολος, διδάσκαλος occurs only in the Pastoral epistles (1 Tim. ii. 7, 2 Tim. i. 2); but these passages prove nothing, as Paul either is or is meant to be the speaker. Now as 340Hermas comes forward in the role of prophet, as his book contains one large section (Mand. xi) dealing expressly with false and genuine prophets, and finally as the vocation of the genuine prophet is more forcibly emphasized in Hermas than in any other early Christian writing and presupposed to be universal, the absence of any mention of the prophet in the “hierarchy” of Hermas must be held to have been deliberate. In short, Hermas passed over the prophets because he reckoned himself one of them. If this inference be true585585Lietzmann (Götting. Gelehrte Anz., 1905, vi. p. 486) proposes another explanation: “Apostles and teachers belong to the past generation for Hermas; he recognises a prophetic office also, but only in the Old Testament (Sim., ix. 15. 4). He does occupy himself largely with the activities of the true prophet, and feels he is one himself; but he conceives this προφητεύειν as a private activity which God's equipment renders possible, but which lacks any official character. So with his censor in the Muratorian Fragment.” Perhaps this is the right explanation of the difficulty. But can Hermas have really estimated the prophets like the Muratorian Fragmentist? we are justified in supplying “prophets “wherever Hermas names “apostles and teachers,” so that he too becomes an indirect witness to the threefold group of “apostles, prophets, teachers.”586586Hermas, like the author of the Didachê, knows nothing about “evangelists” as distinguished from “apostles”; he, too, uses the term “apostle” in its wider sense (see above, p. 326). In that case the conception expounded in the ninth similitude of the “Shepherd” is exactly parallel to that of the man who wrote the Didachê. Apostles (prophets) and teachers are the preachers appointed by God to establish the spiritual life of the churches; next to them come (chapters xxv.-xxvii.) the bishops and deacons.587587In conformity with the standpoint implied in the parable, the order is reversed in chapters xxvi.-xxvii.; for the proper order, see Vis., III. v. 1. On the other hand, the author alters this order in Vis., III. v. 1, where he writes:588588“The squared white stones that fit together in their joints, are the apostles and bishops and teachers and deacons who walked after the holiness of God and acted as bishops, teachers, and deacons, purely and soberly for the elect of God. Some have already fallen asleep, and others are still living.” οἱ μὲν οὖν λίθοι οἱ τετράγωνοι καὶ λευκοὶ καὶ συμφωνοῦντες ταῖς ἁρμογαῖς αὐτῶν, οὗτοι εἰσιν οἱ ἀπόστολοι 341(add καὶ προφῆται) καὶ ἐπίσκοποι καὶ διδάσκαλοι καὶ διάκονοι οἱ πορευθέντες κατὰ τὴν σεμνοτητα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπισκοπήσαντες καὶ διδάξαντες καὶ διακονήσαντες ἁγνῶς καὶ σεμνῶς τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς τοῦ θεοῦ, οἱ μὲν κεκοιμημένοι, οἱ δὲ ἔτι ὄντες According to the author of the Didachê also, the ἐπίσκοποι and διάκονοι are to be added to the ἀπόστολοι, προφῆται, and διδάσκαλοι, but the difference between the two writers is that Hernias has put the bishops, just as the author of Ephesians has put the ποιμένες, before the teachers. The reasons for this are unknown to us; all we can make out is that at this point also the actual organization of the individual communities had already modified the conception of the organization of the collective church which Hermas shared with the author of the Didachê.589589It is to be observed, moreover, that Sim. ix. speaks of apostles and teachers as of a bygone generation, whilst Vis. iii. declares that one section of the whole group have already fallen asleep, while the rest are still alive. We cannot, however, go into any further detail upon the important conceptions of Hermas.
Well then; one early source of Acts, Paul, Hermas, and the author of the Didachê all attest the fact that in the earliest Christian churches “those who spoke the word of God” (the λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ) occupied the highest position,590590So, too, the author of Hebrews. Compare also 1 Pet. iv. 11: εἴ τις λαλεῖ, ὡς λόγια θεοῦ· εἴ τις διακονεῖ, ὡς ἐξ ἰσχύος ἧς χορηγεῖ ὁ θεός [a passage which illustrates the narrative in Acts vi.]. and that they were subdivided into apostles, prophets, and teachers. They also bear evidence to the fact that these apostles prophets, and teachers were not esteemed as officials of an individual community, but were honored as preachers who had been appointed by God and assigned to the church as a whole. The notion that the regular preachers in the church were elected by the different churches is as erroneous as the other idea that they had their “office” transmitted to them through a human channel of some kind or other. So far as men worked together here, it was in the discharge of a direct command from the Spirit.
Finally, we have to consider more precisely the bearings of this conclusion, viz., that, to judge from the consistent testimony of the earliest records, the apostles, prophets, and teachers were allotted and belonged, not to any individual community, but to the church as a whole. By means of this feature Christendom 342possessed, amid all its scattered fragments, a certain cohesion and a bond of unity which has often been underestimated. These apostles and prophets, wandering from place to place, and received by every community with the utmost respect, serve to explain how the development of the church in different provinces and under very different conditions could preserve, as it did, such a degree of homogeneity. Nor have they left their traces merely in the scanty records, where little but their names are mentioned, and where witness is borne to the respect in which they were held. In a far higher degree their self-expression appears throughout a whole genre of early Christian literature, namely, the so-called catholic epistles and writings. It is impossible to understand the origin, spread, and vogue of a literary genre so peculiar and in many respects so enigmatic, unless one correlates it with what is known of the early Christian “apostles, prophets, and teachers.” When one considers that these men were set by God within the church—i.e., in Christendom as a whole, and not in any individual community, their calling being meant for the church collective—it becomes obvious that the so-called catholic epistles and writings, addressed to the whole of Christendom, form a genre in literature which corresponds to these officials, and which must have arisen at a comparatively early period. An epistle like that of James, addressed “to the twelve tribes of the dispersion,” with its prophetic passages (iv.-v.), its injunctions uttered even to presbyters (v. 14), and its emphatic assertions (v. 15 f.), this epistle, which cannot have come from the apostle James himself, becomes intelligible so soon as we think of the wandering prophets who, conscious of a divine calling which led them to all Christendom, felt themselves bound to serve the church as a whole. We can well understand how catholic epistles must have won great prestige, even although they were not originally distinguished by the name of any of the twelve apostles.591591This period, of course, was past and gone, when one of the charges levelled at the Montanist Themison was that he had written a catholic epistle and thus invaded the prerogative of the original apostles: see Apollonius (in Euseb., H.E., v. 18. 5)—Θεμίσων ἐτόλμησε, μιμούμενος τὸν ἀπόστολον, καθολικήν τινα συνταξάμενος ἐπιστολὴν κατηχεῖν τοὺς ἄμεινον αὐτοῦ πεπιστευκότας (“Themison ventured, in imitation of the apostles, to compose a catholic epistle for the instruction of people whose faith was better than his own”). 343Behind these epistles stood the teachers called by God, who were to be reverenced like the Lord himself. It would lead us too afar afield to follow up this view, but one may refer to the circulation and importance of certain “catholic” epistles throughout the churches, and to the fact that they determined the development of Christianity in the primitive period hardly less than the Pauline epistles. During the closing decades of the first century, and at the opening of the second, the extraordinary activity of these apostles, prophets, or teachers left a lasting memorial of itself in the “catholic” writings; to which we must add other productions like the “Shepherd” of Hermas, composed by an author of whom we know nothing except the fact that his revelations were to be communicated to all the churches. He is really not a Roman prophet; being a prophet, he is a teacher for Christendom as a whole.
It has been remarked, not untruly,
that Christendom came to have church officials—as distinct from local officials
of the communities—only after the episcopate had been explained as an organization
intended to perpetuate the apostolate in such a way that every bishop was held,
not simply to occupy an office in the particular community, but to rank as a bishop
of the catholic church (and, in this sense, to be a follower of the apostles). This
observation is correct. But it has to be supplemented by the following consideration
that in the earliest age special forms of organization did arise which in one aspect
afford an analogy to ecclesiastical office in later catholicism. For “those who
spake the word of God” (the λαλοῦντες
τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ) were catholic
καθολικοί).592592 I shall at this point put together the sources which prove the threefold group. (1) The
λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ (and they alone at first,
it would appear; i.e., apostles, prophets, and teachers) are the
ἡγούμενοι or τετιμήμενοι
in the churches; this follows from (a) Did., iv. 1, xi. 3 f., xiii.,
xv. 1-2, when taken together; also (b) from Heb. xiii. 7, 17, 24, where the
ἡγούμενοι are expressly described as
λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ
probably (c) from Clem. Rom., i. 3, xxi. 6; (d) from
Acts xv. 22, 32, where the same persons are
called ἡγούμενοι and then
προφῆται and (e) from the “Shepherd”
(2) Apostles, prophets, and teachers: cp. Paul (1 Cor. xii. 28 f., where he tacks on δυνάμεις, χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, ἀντιλήμψεις, κυβερνήσεις, γένη γλωσσῶν. When the fathers allude to this passage during later centuries, they do so as if the threefold group still held its own, oblivious often of the presence of the hierarchy. Novatian, after speaking of the apostles who had been comforted by the Paraclete, proceeds (de Trinit., xxix.): “Hic est qui prophetas in ecclesia constituit, magistro erudit” (“This is he who places prophets in the church and instructs teachers “). Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech., xviii. 27) will recognize no officials as essential to the church, not even bishops, except the persons mentioned in the above passage. Ambrose (Hexaëm, iii. 12, 50) writes: “God has girt the vine as it were with a trench of heavenly precepts and the custody of angels; . . . . he has set in the church as it were a tower of apostles, prophets, and teachers, who are wont to safeguard the peace of the church” (“Circumdedit enim vineam velut vallo quodam caelestium praeceptorum et angelorum custodia . . . . posuit in ecclesia velut turrim apostolorum et prophetarum atque doctorum, qui solent pro ecclesiae pace praetendere”; see in Ps. cxviii., Sermo xxii., ch. 15). Vincent of Lerin (Commonit. 37, 38) speaks of false apostles, false prophets, false teachers; in ch. 40, where one expects to hear of bishops, only apostles and prophets and teachers are mentioned. Paulinus of Nola (Opera, ed. Hartel, i. p. 411 f.) addressed an inquiry to Augustine upon apostles, prophets and teachers, evangelists and pastors. He remarks very significantly: “In omnibus his diversis nominibus simile et prope unum doctrinae officium video fruisse tractatum” (“Under all these different names I see that a like and almost identical order of doctrine has been preserved”), and rightly assumes that the prophets cannot be those of the Old Testament, but must be Christian prophets.
(3) Prophets and teachers, who select apostles from their number (Acts xiii. 1).
(4) Apostles, prophets, and teachers: the Didachê (adding bishops and deacons).
(5) Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers: Ephes. iv. 11..
(6) Apostles and teachers (prophets being purposely omitted), with bishops and deacons in addition: Hermas, Sim., 9.
(7) Apostles (prophets), bishops, teachers, deacons: Hermas, Vis., iii.
(8) Apostles, teachers, prophets: Clem. Hom., xi. 35, μέμνησθε ἀπόστολον ἢ διδάσκαλον ἢ προφήτην.
(9) Apostles and prophets (the close connection of the two follows at an early period from Matt. x. 41): Rev. xviii. 20 (ii. 2, 20), Ephes. ii. 20, iii. 5, Did., xi. 3. (According to Irenæus, III. ii. 4, John the Baptist was at once a prophet and an apostle: “et prophetae et apostoli locum habuit”; according to Hippolytus, de Antichr., 50, John the disciple was at once an apostle and prophet.) So the opponent of the Alogi, in Epiph., Hær., 51. 35, etc.; cp. Didasc., de Charism. [Lagarde, Reliq., pp. 4, 19 f.]: οἱ προφῆται ἐφ᾽ ἡμῶν προφητεύσαντες οὐ παρεξέτειναν ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς ἀποστόλοις (“our prophets did not measure themselves with the apostles”).
(10)Prophets and teachers: Acts xiii. 1 (2 Pet. ii. 1), Did., xiii. 1-2, xiv. 1-2, Pseudo-Clem., de Virg., I. 11: “Ne multi inter vos sint doctores neque omnes sitis prophetae” (loc. cit., λόγος διδαχῆς ἢ προφητείας ἢ διακονίας). In the later literature, the combination (false prophets and false teachers) still occurs frequently; see, e.g., Orig., Hom. ii. in Ezek. (Lommatzsch, xiv. pp. 33, 37), and Vincent of Lerin., loc. cit., xv. 23. In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies Jesus himself is called “our teacher and prophet.”
(11) Apostles and teachers (Hermas): 1 Tim. ii. 7, 2 Tim. i. 11, Clem., Strom., vii. 16. 103: οἱ μακάριοι ἀπόστολοί τε καὶ διδάσκαλοι, Eclog. 23.
(12) Polycarp is described in the epistle of his church (xvi. 2) as ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χρὸνοις διδάσκαλος ἀποστολικὸς καὶ προφητικός, γενόμενος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς ἐν Σμύρνῃ καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας (cp. Acta Pion. 1: ἀποστολικὸς ἀνὴρ τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς γενόμενος). Here the ancient and honorable predicates are conjoined and applied to a “bishop.” But it is plain that there was something wholly exceptional in an apostolic and prophetic teacher surviving “in our time.” The way in which Eusebius speaks is very noticeable (Mart. Pal., xi. 1): of one group of twelve martyrs he says, they partook of προφητικοῦ τινος ἢ καὶ ἀποστολικοῦ χαρίσματος καὶ ἀριθμοῦ (a prophetic or apostolic grace and number).
(13) Alexander the Phrygian is thus described in the epistle from Lyons (Eus., H.E., v. 1. 49): γνωστὸς σχεδὸν πᾶσι διὰ τὴν πρὸς θεὸν ἀγάπην καὶ παρρησίαν τοῦ λόγου· ἦν γὰρ καὶ οὐκ ἄμοιρος ἀποστολικοῦ χαρίσματος (“Well known to all on account of his love to God and boldness of speech—for he was not without a share of apostolic grace”).
An admirable proof that the prophets were bestowed on the church as a whole, instead of on any individual congregation (that it was so with the apostles, goes without saying), is furnished by Valentinian circles (Excerpta ex Theodot., 24): “The Valentinians declare that the Spirit possessed by each individual of the prophets for service is poured out on all members of the church; wherefore the tokens of the Spirit, i.e., healing and prophecy, are performed by the church” (λέγουσιν οἱ Οὐαλεντινιανοί ὅτι ὃ κατὰ εἷς τῶν προφητῶν ἔσχεν πνεῦμα ἐξαίρετον εἰς διακονίαν, τοῦτο ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐξεχύθη· διὸ καὶ τὰ σημεῖα τοῦ πνεύματος ἰάσεις καὶ προφητεῖαι διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐπιτελοῦνται). Compare the claims of the Montanist prophets and the history of the “Shepherd” of Hermas in the church.
The passage from the Eclogues of Clement, referred to under (11), reads as follows: ὥσπερ διὰ τοῦ σώματος ὁ σωτὴρ ἐλάλει καὶ ἰᾶτο, οὕτως καὶ πρότερον “διὰ τῶν προφητῶν,” νῦν δὲ “διὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ διδασκάλων” . . . . καὶ πάντοτε ἄνθρωτον ὁ φιλάνθρωπος ἐνδύεται θεὸς εἰς τὴν ἀνθρώπων σωτηρίαν, πρότερον μέν τοὺς προφήτας, νῦν δὲ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν (“Even as the Saviour spake and healed through his body, so did he formerly by the prophets and so does he now by the apostles and teachers Everywhere the God who loves men equips man to save men, formerly the prophets and now the church”). This passage is very instructive; but, as is evident, the old threefold group is already broken up, the prophets being merely admitted and recognized as Old Testament prophets. I leave it an open question whether the πνευματικοί of Origen (de Orat., xxviii.) are connected with our group of teachers. The τάξις προφητῶν μαρτύρων τε καὶ ἀποστόλων (Hipp., de Antichr., 59) is irrelevant in this connection. Yet 344even when these primitive teachers were slowly disappearing, a development commenced which ended in the triumph of the monarchical episcopate, i.e., in the recognition of the apostolic and catholic significance attaching to the episcopate. The preliminary stages in this development may be distinguished wherever in Ephesians, Hermas, and the Didachê the permanent 345officials of the individual community are promoted to the class of apostles, prophets, and teachers,” or already inserted among them. When this happened, the fundamental condition was provided which enabled the bishops at last to secure the prestige of “apostles, prophets, and teachers.” If one looks at 1 Cor. xii. 28 346or Did. xiii. (“the prophets are your high-priests”), and then at the passages in Cyprian and the literature of the following period, where the bishops are extolled as the apostles, prophets, teachers, and high-priests of the church, one has before one's eyes the start and the goal of one of the most important developments in early Christianity. In the case of prominent bishops like Polycarp of Smyrna, the end had long ago been anticipated; for Polycarp was honored by his church and throughout Asia as an “apostolic and prophetic teacher.”
As for the origin of the threefold group, we have shown that while its component parts existed in Judaism, their combination cannot be explained from such a quarter. One might be inclined to trace it back to Jesus Christ himself, for he once sent out his disciples as missionaries (apostles), and he seems (according to Matt. x. 41) to have spoken of itinerant preaching prophets whom he set on foot. But the historicity of the latter passage is disputed;593593I would point, not to the words of Matt. xi. 13 (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάννου ἐπροφήτευσαν), since that saying perhaps (see p. 333) covers a new type of prophets, but certainly to the situation in which Matt. x. 40 f. is uttered; the latter seems to presuppose the commencement and prosecution of missionary labours. Jesus expressely denied the title “teacher” to his disciples (Matt. xxiii. 8); and an injunction such as that implied in the creation of this threefold group does not at all tally with the general preaching of Jesus or with the tenor of his instructions. We must therefore assume that the rise of the threefold group and the esteem in which it was held by the community at Jerusalem (and that from a very early period) were connected with the “Spirit” which possessed the community. Christian prophets are referred to in the context of Acts 2. (cp. verse 18); they made their appearance very soon (Acts iv. 36). Unfortunately, we do not know any further details, and the real origin of the enthusiastic group of “apostles, prophets, and teachers” is as obscure as that of the ecclesiastical group of “bishops, deacons, and presbyters,” or of the much later complex of the so-called inferior orders of the clergy. In each case it is a question of something consciously created, which starts from a definite point, although it may have sprung up under pressure exerted by the actual circumstances of the situation.347
The Didachê begins by grouping together apostles and prophets (xi. 3), and directing that the ordinance of the gospel is to hold good as regards both of them; but in its later chapters it groups prophets and teachers together and is silent on the apostles. From this it follows, as has been already pointed out, that the prophets had something in common with apostles on the one hand and with teachers on the other. The former characteristic may be inferred from the expression κατὰ τὰ δόγμα τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, as well as from the detailed injunctions that follow.594594“Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day, or, if need be, two; if he remains for three days, he is a false prophet. And on his departure let the apostle receive nothing but bread, till he finds shelter; if he asks for money, he is a false prophet” Πᾶς ὁ ἀπόστολος ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ὑμᾶς δεχθήτω ὡς κύριος· οὐ μενεῖ δὲ εἰ μὴ ἡμέραν μίαν· ἐὰν δὲ ᾖ χρεία, καὶ τὴν ἄλλην· τρεῖς δὲ ἐὰν μείνῃ, ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστίν· ἐξερχόμενος δὲ ὁ ἀπόστολος μηδὲν λαμβανέτω εἰ μὴ ἄρτον ἕως οὗ αὐλισθῇ· ἐὰν δὲ ἀργύριον αἰτῇ, ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστίν xi. 4-6). The “ordinance of the gospel” can mean only the rules which we read in Mark vi. (and parallels),595595Lietzmann (loc. cit., p. 486) objects that the words could not mean what apostles and prophets had to do, but simply how the community was to treat them. We are to think of passages like Matt. x. 40 f. But this view seems to me excluded by what follows (4 f.) in Did. xi. Here there is certainly an injunction to the community, but the latter is to make the δόγμα the norm for its treatment of these officials, the δόγμα laid down in the gospel; and this is to be found in Mark vi. (and parallels). and this assumption is corroborated by the fact that in Matt. x., which puts together the instructions for apostles, itinerant prophets also are mentioned, who are supposed to be penniless. To be penniless, therefore, was considered absolutely essential for apostles and prophets; this is the view shared by 3 John, Origen, and Eusebius. John remarks that the missionaries wandered about and preached, without accepting anything from pagans. They must therefore have been instructed to “accept” from Christians. Origen (contra Cels., III. ix.) writes: “Christians do all in their power to spread the faith all over the world. Some of them accordingly make it the business of their life to wander not only from city to city but from township to township and village to village, in order to gain fresh converts for the Lord. Nor could 348one say they do this for the sake of gain, since they often refuse to accept so much as the bare necessities of life; even if necessity drives them sometimes to accept a gift, they are content with getting their most pressing needs satisfied, although many people are ready to give them much more than that. And if at the present day, owing to the large number of people who are converted, some rich men of good position and delicate high-born women give hospitality to the messengers of the faith, will any one venture to assert that some of the latter preach the Christian faith merely for the sake of being honored? In the early days, when great peril threatened the preachers of the faith especially, such a suspicion could not easily have been entertained; and even at the present day the discredit with which Christians are assailed by unbelievers outweighs any honor that some of their fellow-believers show to them.” Eusebius (H.E., iii. 37) writes: “Very many of the disciples of that age (pupils of the apostles), whose heart had been ravished by the divine Word with a burning love for philosophy [i.e., asceticism], had first fulfilled the command of the Saviour and divided their goods among the needy. Then they set out on long journeys, performing the office of evangelists, eagerly striving to preach Christ to those who as yet had never heard the word of faith, and to deliver to them the holy gospels. In foreign lands they simply laid the foundations of the faith. That done, they appointed others as shepherds, entrusting them with the care of the new growth, while they themselves proceeded with the grace and co-operation of God to other countries and to other peoples.” See, too, H.E., v. 10. 2, where, in connection with the end of the second century, we read: “There were even yet many evangelists of the word eager to use their divinely inspired zeal, after the example of the apostles, to increase and build up the divine Word. One of these was Pantænus” (ἔνθεου ζῆλον ἀποστολικοῦ μιμήματος συνεισφέρειν ἐπ᾽ αὐξήσει καὶ οἰκοδομῇ τοῦ θείου λόγου προμηθούμενοι, ὧν εἷς γενόμενος καὶ Πανταῖνος).596596The word “evangelist” occurs in Ephes. iv. 2, Acts xxi. 8, 2 Tim. iv. 5, and then in the Apost. Canons (ch. 19). Then it recurs in Tertull., de Præscr., iv., and, de Corona, ix. (Hippol., de Antichr., 56, calls Luke apostle and evangelist). This proves that any distinction between apostles and evangelists was rarely drawn in the early ages of the church; on the contrary, the apostles themselves were frequently described as οἱ εὐαγγελισάμενοι (cp. Gal. i. 8, Clem. Rom., xliii. 1, and Polyc., Epist. vi. 3; in Barn. viii. 3 the twelve indeed, without the designation of “apostles,” are thus described). Eusebius calls the evangelists the imitators of the apostles, but in the earliest period they were held by most people simply to be apostles. The second essential for apostles, 349laid down by the Didachê side by side with poverty, namely, indefatigable missionary activity (no settling down), is endorsed by Origen and Eusebius also.5975977Apostles have merely to preach the word; that is literally their one occupation. This conception, which Acts vi. 6 already illustrates, lasted as long as the era of the actual apostles was remembered. The Abgar-source, transcribed by Eusebius (H.E., i. 13), also confirms the idea that no apostle was to receive any money, and makes one notable addition to the duties of the apostolate. When Thaddæus was summoned to preach God's word to a small group, he remarked “I shall say nothing in the meantime, for I am sent to preach the word of God (κηρῦξαι) publicly. But assemble all thy citizens in the morning, and I will preach to them.”
The Didachê informs us that these itinerant missionaries were still called apostles at the opening of the second century. Origen and Eusebius assure us that they existed during the second century, and Origen indeed knows of such even in his own day; but the name of “apostle” was no longer borne,598598It is, of course, merely by way of sarcasm that Cyprian speaks of Novatian's apostles (Ep. lv. 24). owing to the heightened reverence felt for the original apostles and also owing to the idea which gained currency even in the course of the second century, that the original apostles had already preached the gospel to the whole world. This idea prevented any subsequent missionaries from being apostles, since they were no longer the first to preach the gospel to the nations.599599Naturally, Eusebius thus comes into conflict with his own conception of the situation; compare ii. 3, iii. 1-4, and iii. 37.
We have already indicated how the extravagant estimate of the primitive apostles arose.600600The idea of collective statements made by the apostles occurs as early as the Didachê (cp. its title), Jude and 2 Peter, and Justin (Apol., i. 62). Their labours were to be looked upon as making amends for the fact that Jesus Christ did not himself labour as a missionary in every land. Furthermore, the belief that the world was near its end produced, by a sort of inevitable process, the idea that the gospel had by this time been preached everywhere; for the end could not come until 350this universal proclamation had been accomplished, and the credit of this wonderful extension was assigned to the apostles.601601Cp. Tert., de Carne, ii.: “Apostolorum erat tradere.” The idea of the apostolic tradition is primitive and not destitute of an historical germ; it was first of all in Rome, and certainly under the influence of the genius of the city and the empire, that this idea was condensed and applied to the conception and theory of a tradition which transmitted itself through an apostolic succession. Afterwards this theory became the common possession of Christianity and constituted the idea of “catholicity.” Origen (cp. de Princ., iv. 9) defends it as confidently as Tertullian (“Regula et disciplina quam ab Jesu Christo traditam sibi apostoli per successionem posteris quoque suis sanctam ecclesiam docentibus tradiderunt”). On these grounds the prestige of the primitive apostles shot up to so prodigious a height, that their commission to the whole world was put right into the creed.602602Details in my Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, I.(3) pp. 153-156 [Eng. trans., i. pp. 160 f.); I shall return to the legends of the mission in Book IV. Chap. I., but without attempting to exhaust the endless materials; all I shall do is to touch upon them. The most extreme and eccentric allusion to the importance of the twelve apostles occurs in the Pistis Sophia, ch. 7 (Schmidt, p. 7), where Jesus says to the twelve: “Be glad and rejoice, for when I set about making the world, I was in command of twelve powers from the very first (as I have told you from the beginning), which I had taken from the twelve saviours (σωτῆρες) of the treasure of light according to the commandment of the first mystery. These, then, I deposited in the womb of your mother, while I entered the world—these that live now in your bodies. For these powers were given to you in the sight of all the world, since ye are to be the deliverers of the world, that ye may be able to endure . . . . the threats of the archons of the world, and the sufferings of the world, your perils and all your persecutions.” Compare ch. 8 (p. 9): “Be glad then and rejoice, for ye are blessed above all men on earth, since it is ye who are to be the deliverers of the world.” In Clement's Eclogues (c. 16) also the apostles are usually called σωτῆρες τῶν ἀνθρώπων (“saviours of men”). Origen calls them “kings” (Hom. xii. 2, in Num., vol. x. pp. 132 f. ), and he does not reject the interpretation (de Princ., ii. 8. 5) of the saying “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” which made Jesus think of the apostles as his soul; The “multitudo credentium” are the body of Christ, the apostles are his soul! We are no longer in a position nowadays to determine the degree of truth underlying the belief in the apostles' world-wide mission. In any case it must have been extremely slight, and any representation of the twelve apostles as a unity organized for the purpose of worldwide labours among the Gentile churches is to be relegated without hesitation to the province of legend.603603It is worth noting that, according to the early Christian idea, the Mosaic law also had spread over the whole world. In their world-wide preaching, the apostles therefore came upon the results produced by that law (see, for example, the statements of Eusebius in the first book of his church-history).
Unfortunately, we know next to nothing of any details concerning 351the missionaries (apostles) and their labours during the second century; their very names are lost, with the exception of Pantænus, the Alexandrian teacher, and his mission to “India” (Eus., H.E., v. 10). Perhaps we should look upon Papylus in the Acts of Carpus and Papylus as a missionary; for in his cross-examination he remarks: ἐν πάσῃ ἐπαρχία καὶ πόλει εἰσίν μου τέκνα κατὰ θεόν (ch. 32, “in every province and city I have children according to God”). Attalus in Lyons was probably a missionary also (Eus., H.E. v. 1). Neither of these cases is, however, beyond doubt. If we could attach any value to the romance of Paul and Thecla (in the Acta Pauli), one name would come up in this connection, viz., that of Thecla, the only woman who was honored with the title of ἡ ἀπόστολος. But it is extremely doubtful if any basis of fact, apart from the legend itself, underlies the veneration felt for her, although the legend itself may contain some nucleus of historic truth. Origen knows of cases within his own experience in which a missionary or teacher was subsequently chosen to be bishop by his converts,604604Cp. Hom. xi. 4, in Num., vol. x. p. 113: “Sicut in aliqua, verbi gratia, civitate, ubi nondum Christiani nati sunt, si accedat aliquis et docere incipiat, laboret, instruat, adducat ad fidem, et ipse postmodam its quos docuit princeps et episcopus fiat.” but the distinction between missionary and teacher had been blurred by this time, and the old triad no longer existed.
Yet even though we cannot describe the labours of the apostles during the second century—and by the opening of the third century only stragglers from this class were still to be met with—the creation and the career of this heroic order form of themselves a topic of supreme interest. Their influence need not, of course, be overestimated. For, in the first place, we find the Didachê primarily concerned with laying down rules to prevent abuses in the apostolic office; so that by the beginning of the second century, as we are not surprised to learn, it must have been already found necessary to guard against irregularity. In the second place, had apostles continued to play an important part in the second century, the stereotyped conception of the primitive apostles, with their fundamental and really exhaustive labours in the mission-field, could never have arisen at all or become so widely current. Probably, then, it is 352not too hazardous to affirm that the church really had never more than two apostles in the true sense of the term, one great and the other small, viz., Paul and Peter—unless perhaps we add John of Ephesus. The chief credit for the spread of Christianity scarcely belongs to the other regular apostles, penniless and itinerant, otherwise we should have heard of them, or at least have learnt their names; whereas even Eusebius was as ignorant about them as we are to-day. The chief credit for the spread of Christianity is due to those who were not regular apostles, and also to the “teachers.”
Though the prophets,605605In the Gentile church they were steadily differentiated from the seers or πάντεις (cp. Hermas, Mand., xi.; Iren. Fragm., 23 [ed. Harvey]: οὗτος οὐκέτι ὡς προφήτης ἀλλ᾽ ὡς μάντις λογισθήσεται. Still, the characteristics are not always distinctive or distinct. The faculty of prediction (“ aliquid praenuntiare”), e.g., belongs to the prophet as well as to the seer, according to Tertullian (de Carne, ii.). according to the Didachê and other witnesses, had also to be penniless like the apostles, they are not to be reckoned among the regular missionaries. Still, like the teachers, they were indirectly of importance to the mission, as their charismatic office qualified them for preaching the word of God, and, indeed, put them in the way of such a task. Their inspired addresses were listened to by pagans as well as by Christians, and Paul assumes (1 Cor. xiv. 24), not without reason, that the former were especially impressed by the prophet's harangue and by his power of searching the hearer's heart. Down to the close of the second century the prophets retained their position in the church;606606Tertullian (de Præscr., iii.) no longer reckons them as a special class: “Quid ergo, si episcopus, si diaconus, si vidua, si virgo, si doctor, si etiam martyr lapsus a regula fuerit?” (“What if a bishop, a deacon, a widow, a virgin, a teacher, or even a martyr, have fallen away from the rule of faith?”). In a very ancient Christian fragment discovered by Grenfell and Hunt (The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, I., 1898, No. 5, pp. 8 f.; ep. Sitzungsber. der Preuss. Akad., 1898, pp. 516 f.) these words occur: τὸ προφητικὸν πνεῦμα τὸ σωματεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς προφητικῆς τάξεως, ὃ ἔστιν τὸ σῶμα τῆς σαρκὸς Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τὸ μιγὲν τῇ ἀνθρωπότητι διὰ Μαρίας. The fragment perhaps belongs to Melito's last treatise περὶ προφητείας, but unfortunately it is so short and abrupt that no certain opinion is possible. For the expression ἡ προφητικὴ τάξις, Cp. Serapion of Antioch's Ep. ad Caricum et Pontium (Eus., H.E., v. 19. 2): ἡ ἐνέργεια τῆς ψευδοῦς ταύτης τάξεως τῆς ἐπιλεγομένης νέας προφητείας. The expression must have been common about 200 A.D. but the Montanist movement brought 353early Christian prophecy at once to a head and to an end. Sporadic traces of it are still to be found in later years,607607Cp. Firmilian in Cyprian's Epist. lxxv. 10. but such prophets no longer possessed any significance for the church; in fact, they were quite summarily condemned by the clergy as false prophets. Like the apostles, the prophets occupied a delicate and risky position. It was easy for them to degenerate. The injunctions of the Didachê (ch. xi.) indicate the sort of precautions which were considered necessary, even in the opening of the second century, to protect the churches against fraudulent prophets of the type sketched by Lucian in Proteus Peregrinus; and the latter volume agrees with the Didachê, inasmuch as it describes Peregrinus in his prophetic capacity as now settled in a church, now itinerating in company with Christians who paid him special honor—for prophets were not confined to any single church. Nor were even prophetesses awanting; they were to be met with inside the Catholic Church as well as among the gnostics in particular.608608From the Coptic version of the Acta Pauli (Paul's correspondence with the Corinthian church) we find that the prophet of the Corinthian church who is mentioned there was not a man but a woman (named Theonœ, not Theonas). Another prophetess, called Myrte, occurs in these Acts. Origen writes (Hom. v. 2, in Judic., vol. xi. p. 250): “Though many judges in Israel are said to have been men, none is mentioned as a prophet save Deborah. This very fact affords great comfort to the female sex, and incites them not to despair by any means of being capable of prophetic grace, despite the weakness of their sex; they are to understand and believe that purity of mind, not difference of sex, wins this grace” (Cum plurimi iudices viri in Israel fuisse referuntur, de nullo eorum dicitur quia propheta fuerit, nisi de Debbora muliere. praestat et in hoc non minimam consolationem mulierum sexui etiam prima ipsius literae facies, et provocat eas, ut nequaquam pro infirmitate sexus desperent, etiam prophetiae gratiae capaces se fieri posse, sed intelligant et credant quod meretur hanc gratiam puritas mentis non diversitas sexus).
The materials and sources available for a study of the early Christian prophets are extremely voluminous, and the whole subject is bound up with a number of questions which are still unsettled; for example, the relation of the Christian prophets to the numerous categories of the pagan prophets (Egyptian, Syrian, and Greek) who are known to us from the literature and inscriptions of the period, is a subject which has never yet been investigated.609609As impostors mingled here and there with the prophets, no sharp distinction can have existed. Celsus (Orig., c. Cels. VII., ix., xi.) gives an extremely interesting description of the prophets, as follows: “There are many who, though they are people of no vocation, with the utmost readiness, and on the slightest occasion, both within and without the sacred shrines, behave as if they were seized by the prophetic ecstasy. Others, roaming like tramps throughout cities and camps, perform in the same fashion in order to excite notice. Each is wont to cry, each is glib at proclaiming, ‘I am God,' ‘I am the Son of God' (παῖς θεοῦ), or ‘I am the Spirit of God,' ‘I have come because the world is on the verge of ruin, and because you, O men, are perishing in your iniquities. But I would save you, and ye shall see me soon return with heavenly power! Blessed is he who now honors me! All others I will commit to everlasting fire, cities and lands and their inhabitants. Those who will not now awake to the punishments awaiting them, shall repent and groan in vain one day. But those who believe in me, I will preserve eternally. . . . .' These mighty threats are further mixed up with weird, half-crazy, and perfectly senseless words, in which no rational soul can discover any meaning, so obscure and unintelligible they are. Yet the first comer who is an idiot or an impostor can interpret them to suit his own fancy! . . . . These so-called prophets, whom more than once I have heard with my own ears, confessed their foibles to me, after I had exposed them, and acknowledged that they had themselves invented their incomprehensible jargon.” However, these materials are of no use for 354our immediate purpose, as no record of the missionary labours of the prophets is extant.
The Didachê mentions teachers twice (xiii. 2, xv. 1-2), and, what is more, as a special class within the churches. Their ministry was the same as that of the prophets, a ministry of the word; consequently they belonged to the “honored” class, and, like the prophets, could claim to be supported. On the other hand, they were evidently not obliged to be penniless;610610When Origen, in the story told by Eusebius (H.E., vi. 3), carried out the gospel saying, not to have two staves, etc., it was a voluntary resolve upon his part. Shortly before that, we are told how he purchased an annuity by selling his books, in order to free himself from all care about a livelihood. nor did they wander about, but resided in a particular community.
These statements are corroborated by such passages in our sources (see above, pp. 336 f.) as group apostles, prophets, and teachers together, and further, by a series of separate testimonies which show that to be a teacher was a vocation in Christianity, and that the teacher enjoyed great repute not only in the second century, but partly also, as we shall see, in later years. First of all, the frequency with which we find authors protesting that they are not writing in the capacity of teachers (or issuing instructions) proves how serious was the veneration paid to a 355 true teacher, and how he was accorded the right of issuing injunctions that were universally valid and authoritative. Thus Barnabas asserts: ἐγὼ δὲ οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος ἀλλ᾽ ὡς εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν ὑποδείξω (i. 8, “I am no teacher, but as one of yourselves I will demonstrate”); and again, “Fain would I write many things, but not as a teacher” πολλὰ δὲ θέλων γράφειν οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος, iv. 9).611611On the other hand, in ix. 9 he writes: οἶδεν ὁ τὴν ἔμφυτον δωρεὰν τῆς διδαχῆς αὐτοῦ θέμενος ἐν ἡμῖν (“He knoweth, who hath placed in you the innate gift of his teaching”). Ignatius explains, οὐ διατάσσομαι ὑμῖν ὡς ὤν τις . . . . προσλαλῶ ὑμῖν ὡς συνδιδασκαλίταις μου (“I do not command you as if I were somebody . . . . I address you as my school-fellows,” ad Eph., iii. 1);612612Note διατάσσομαι in this passage, the term used by Ignatius of the apostles (Trall., iii. 3, Rom., iv. 3; cp. Trall., vii. 1, τὰ διατάγματα τῶν ἀποστόλων). and Dionysius of Alexandria in the third century still writes (Ep. ad Basil.): ἐγὼ δὲ οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς μετὰ πάσης ἁπλότητος προσῆκον ἡμᾶς ἀλλήλοις διαλέγεσθαι (“I speak not as a teacher, but with all the simplicity with which it befits us to address each other”).613613See further, Commodian, Instruct., ii. 22. 15: “Non sum ego doctor, sed lex docet”; ii. 16. 1: “Si quidem doctores, dum exspectant munera vestra aut timent personas, laxant singula vobis; et ego non doceo.” The warning of the epistle of James (iii. 1): μὴ πολλοὶ διδάσκαλοι γίνεσθε, proves how this vocation was coveted in the church, a vocation of which Hermas pointedly remarks (Sim., IX. xxv. 2) that its members had received the holy Spirit.614614Διδάσκαλοι οἱ διδάξαντες σεμνῶς καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου . . . . καθὼς καὶ παρέλαβον τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. Hermas also refers (Mand., IV. iii. 1) to a saying which he had heard from certain teachers with regard to baptism, and which the angel proceeds deliberately to endorse; this proves that there were teachers of high repute at Rome in the days of Hermas. An elaborate charge to teachers is given in the pseudo-Clementine Epist. de Virginitate (I. 11): “Doctores esse volunt et disertos sese ostendere . . . . neque adtendunt ad id quod dicit [Scriptura]: ‘Ne multi inter vos sint doctores, fratres, neque omnes sitis prophetæ.' . . . . Timeamus ergo iudicium quod imminet doctoribus; grave enim vero iudicium subituri sunt doctores illi, qui docent615615Cp. Did., xi. 10: προφήτης, εἰ ἃ διδάσκει οὐ ποιεῖ, ψευδοπρφήτης ἐστί (“If a prophet does not practise what he teaches, he is a false prophet”). et non faciunt, et illi 356qui Christi nomen mendaciter assumunt dicuntque se docere veritatem, at circumcursant et temere vagantur seque exaltant atque gloriantur in sententia carnis suae. . . . . Verumtamen si accepisti sermonem scientiae aut sermonem doctrinae aut prophetias aut ministerii, laudetur deus . . . . illo igitur charismate, quod a deo accepisti (sc. χαρίσματι διδαχῆς illo inservi fratribus pneumaticis, prophetis, qui dignoscant dei esse verba ea, quae loqueris, et enarra quod accepisti charisma in ecclesiastico conventu ad aedificationem fratrum tuorum in Christo” (“They would be teachers and show off their learning. . . . . and they heed not what the Scripture saith: ‘Be not many teachers, my brethren, and be not all prophets.' . . . . Let us therefore dread that judgment which hangs over teachers. For indeed a severe judgment shall those teachers undergo who teach but do not practise, as also those who falsely take on themselves the name of Christ, and say they are speaking the truth, whereas they gad round and wander rashly about and exalt themselves and glory in the mind of their flesh. . . . . But if thou hast received the word of knowledge, or of teaching, or of prophecy, or of ministry, let God be praised. . . . . Therefore with that spiritual gift received from God, do thou serve thy brethren the spiritual ones, even the prophets who detect that thy words are the words of God; and publish the gift thou hast received in the assembly of the church to edify thy brethren in Christ”). From this passage it is plain that there were still teachers (and prophets) in the churches, that the former ranked below the latter (or had to submit to a certain supervision), and that, as we see from the whole chapter, gross abuses had to be dealt with in this order of the ministry. As was natural, this order of independent teachers who were in the service of the entire church produced at an early period prominent individuals who credited themselves with an exceptionally profound knowledge of the δικαιώματα τοῦ θεοῦ (ordinances of God), and consequently addressed themselves, not to all and sundry, but to the advanced or educated, i.e., to any select body within Christendom. Insensibly, the charismatic teaching also passed over into the profane, and this marked the point at which Christian teachers as an institution had to undergo, and did undergo, a 357change. It was inevitable that within Christianity schools should be founded similar to the numerous contemporary schools which had been established by Greek and Roman philosophers. They might remain embedded, as it were, in Christianity; but they might also develop very readily in a sectarian direction, since this divisive tendency beset any school whatsoever. Hence the efforts of itinerant Christian apologists who, like Justin616616Justin's are best known from the Acta Justini. He stands with his scholars before the judge Rusticus, who inquires, “Where do you meet?” Justin at first gives an evasive answer; his aim is to avoid any suggestion of the misleading idea that the Christians had a sacred spot for worship. Then, in reply to the urgent demand, “Where dost thou assemble thy scholars?” he declares: ἐγὼ ἐπάνω μένω τινὸς Μαρτίνου τοῦ Τιμωτίνου βαλανείου, καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον—ἐπεδήμησα δὲ τῇ Ῥωμαίων πόλει τοῦτο δεύτερον—οὐ γινώσκω ἄλλην τινὰ συνέλευσιν εἰ μὴ τὴν ἐκείνου (“I stay above a certain Martinus at the Timotinian bath, and during all the time—for this is my second visit to Rome—I know of no other meeting-place but this”). Justin had also a school at Ephesus. and Tatian,617617On Tatian's school, which became sectarian, see Iren., i. 28: οἰήματι διδασ. κάλου ἐπαρθεὶς . . . . ἴδιον χαρακτῆρα διδασκαλείου συνεστήσατο. Tatian came from Justin's school. set up schools in the larger towns; hence scholastic establishments such as those of Rhodon and the two Theodoti at Rome;618618For Rhodon, see Eus., H.E., v. 13 (he came from Tatian's school); for the Theodoti, whose school became sectarian and then attempted to transform itself into a church, see Eus., H.E., v. 28. Praxeas, who propagated his doctrine in Asia, Rome, and Carthage, is called a “doctor” by Tertullian; cp. also the schools of Epigonus, Cleomenes, and Sabellius, in Rome. hence the enterprise of many so-called “gnostics”; hence, above all, the Alexandrian catechetical school (with its offshoots in Cæsarea Palest.), whose origin, of course, lies buried in obscurity,619619Cp. Eus., H.E., v. 10: ἡγεῖτο ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ τῆς τῶν πιστῶν αὐτόθι διατριβῆς τῶν ἀπὸ παιδείας ἀνὴρ ἐπιδοξότατος, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Πανταῖνος, ἐξ ἀρχαίου ἔθους διδασκαλείου τῶν ἱερῶν λόγων παῤ αὐτοῖς συνεστῶτος (“The school of the faithful in Alexandria was under the charge of a man greatly distinguished for his learning; his name was Pantunus. A school of sacred letters has been in existence there from early days, and still survives”). Jerome (Vir. Illust., 36) remarks: “Alexandriae Marco evangelista instituente semper ecclesiastici fuere doctores” (“There have always been ecclesiastical teachers instituted by Mark the evangelist at Alexandria”); Clem., Strom., I. i. 2. and the school of Lucian at Antioch (where we hear of Συλλουκιανισταί, i.e., a union similar to those of the philosophic schools). But as a direct counterpoise to the danger of having the church split up into schools, and the gospel handed over to the secular culture, the acumen, and the 358ambition of individual teachers,620620Hermas boasts that the good teachers (Sim., ix. 25. 2) “kept nothing at all back for evil intent—μηδὲν ὅλως ἐνοσφισαντο εἰς ἐπιθυμίαν πονηράν on such teachers as introduced διδαχαὶ ξέναι (strange doctrines), however, see Sim., ix. 19. 2-3, viii. 6. 5; Vis., iii. 7. 1. It is noticeable that in the famous despatch of Constantine to Alexandria, which was intended to quiet the Arian controversy, the emperor holds up the practice of the philosophic schools as an example to the disputants (Eus., Vita Const., ii. 71); still, he does so in a way that shows plainly that nothing lay farther from him than any idea of the church as a philosophic school: ἵνα μικρῷ παραδείγματι τὴν ὑμετέραν σύνεσιν ὑπομνήσαιμι, ἴστε δήπου καὶ τοὺς φιλοσόφους αὐτοὺς ὡς ἑνὶ μὲν ἅπαντες δόγματι συντίθενται, πολλάκις δὲ ἐπειδὰν εἴ τινι τῶν ἀποφάσεων μέρει διαφωνῶσιν, εἰ καὶ τῇ τῆς ἐπιστήμης ἀρετῇ χωρίζονται, τῇ μέντοι τοῦ δόγματος ἑνώσει πάλιν εἰς ἀλλήλους συμπνέουσιν (“Let me recall to your minds a slight example of what I mean. You know, of course, that while the philosophers all agree in one principle, they often differ in details of their argument. Yet, for all their disagreement upon the virtue of knowledge, the unity of their principles seems to reconcile them once more”). The distinction drawn between it ἡ χωρίζουσα τῆς ἐπιστήμης ἀρετή and ἡ τοῦ δόγματος ἕνωσις is interesting. the consciousness of the church finally asserted its powers, and the word “school” became almost a term of reproach for a separatist ecclesiastical community.621621The Theodotian church at Rome was dubbed a school by its opponents (cp. Euseb., H.E., v. 28); Hippolytus inveighs against the church of Callistus, his opponent, as a διδασκαλεῖον (Philos., ix. 12, p. 458. 9; p. 462. 42); and Rhodon similarly mentions a Marcionite διδασκαλεῖον (Eus., H.E., v. 13. 4). Yet the “doctors” (διδάσκαλοι)—I mean the charismatic teachers who were privileged to speak during the service, although they did not belong to the clergy—did not become extinct all at once in the communities; indeed, they maintained their position longer than the apostles or the prophets. From the outset they had been free from the “enthusiastic” element which characterized the latter and paved the way for their suppression. Besides, the distinction of “milk” and “strong meat,” of different degrees of Christian σοφία, σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη and γνῶσις, was always indispensable.622622Cp. the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, Barnabas, etc., also Did. xi. 2. : διδάσκειν εἰς τὸ προσθεῖναι δικαοσύνην καὶ γνῶσιν κυρίου (“Teach to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord “). In consequence of this, the διδάσκαλοι had naturally to continue in the churches till the bulk of the administrative officials or priests came to possess the qualification of teachers, and until the bishop (together with the presbyters) assumed the task of educating and instructing the church. In several even of the large churches this did not take place till pretty late, i.e., till the second half of the third 359century, or the beginning of the fourth. Up to that period “teachers” can still be traced here and there.623623Cp. Bonwetsch's remarks on Melito (Festschrift f. Oettingen, 1898, p. 51) “The teachers still occupy a prominent position in the church, alongside of the bishop. Together with him, they constitute the fixed order of the church. The same monition applies to both, that they nourish themselves on sacred knowledge and be heavenly minded. Teachers are also described as experts in Scripture, and tenants of the teacher's chair, who are exposed by their position to the danger of self-assumption. The bishops also occupy the teacher's chair, as the same passages show; but the teachers were able to retain their special position alongside of them, perhaps because not all bishops as yet possessed the teaching gift.” Beside the new and compact organization of the churches (with the bishops, the college of presbyters, and the deacons) these teachers rose like pillars of some ruined edifice which the storm had spared. They did not fit into the new order of things, and it is interesting to notice how they are shifted from one place to another. Tertullian's order624624In de Præscr., xiv. , the “doctor” is also mentioned. (de Præscr., iii.) is: “bishop, deacon, widow, virgin, teacher, martyr”! Instead of putting the teacher among the clergy, he thus ranks him among the spiritual heroes, and, what is more, assigns him the second place amongst them, next to the martyrs—for the order of the list runs up to a climax. In the Acta Perpetuæ et Felic., as well as in the Acta Saturnini et Dativi (under Diocletian; cp. Ruinart's Acta Martyr., Ratisbon, 1859, p. 418), both of African origin, we come across the title “presbyter doctor,” and from Cyprian (Ep. xxix.) we must also infer that in some churches the teachers were ranked in the college of presbyters, and entrusted in this capacity with the duty of examining the readers.625625Cyprian (loc. cit.) also speaks of “doctores audientium,” but it is impossible to determine the relationship which he implies between these and the readers. As catechists, the doctors were now and then ranked among the clergy, and, in fact, in the college of presbyters. As against Lagarde, no comma is to be placed in Clem. Homil. III. 71 after πρεσβυτέρους: τιμᾶτε πρεσβυτέρους κατηχητάς, διακόνους χρησίμους, χήρας εὖ βεβιωκυίας (as (cp. above, p. 158). On the other hand, in the account given by Hippolytus in Epiph., Hær., xlii. 2 (an account which refers to Rome in the days of Marcion), the teachers stand beside the presbyters (not inside the college of presbyters): οἱ ἑπιεικεῖς πρεσβύτεροι καὶ διδάσκαλοι, a position which is still theirs in Egyptian villages after the middle of the third century. Dionysius of Alexandria (Eus., H.E., vii. 24. 6), speaking of 360his sojourn in such villages, observes, “I called together the presbyters and teachers of the brethren in the villages” (συνεκάλεσα τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους καὶ διδασκάλους τῶν ἐν ταῖς κώμαις ἀδελφῶν). As there were no bishops in these localities at that period, it follows that the teachers still shared with the presbyters the chief position in these village churches.
This item of information reaches us from Egypt; and, unless all signs deceive us, we find that in Egypt generally, and especially at Alexandria, the institution of teachers survived longest in juxtaposition with the episcopal organization of the churches (though their right to speak at services of worship had expired; see below). Teachers still are mentioned frequently in the writings of Origen,626626And in those of Clement. According to Quis Div. Salv. xli., the Christian is to choose for himself a teacher who shall watch over him as a confessor. In Paed. III. 12. 97 Clement discusses the difference between a pedagogue and a teacher, placing the latter above the former. and what is more, the “doctores” constitute for him, along with the “sacerdotes,” quite a special order, parallel to that of priests within the church. He speaks of those “who discharge the office of teachers wisely in our midst” c. Cels., IV. lxxii.), and of “doctores ecclesiae” (Hom. XIV. in Gen., vol. ii. p. 97). In Hom. II. in Num. (vol. ii. p. 278) he remarks: “It often happens that a man of low mind, who is base and of an earthly spirit, creeps up into the high rank of the priesthood or into the chair of the doctorate, while he who is spiritual and so free from earthly ties that he can prove all things and yet himself be judged by no man—he occupies the rank of an inferior minister, or is even left among the common throng” (“Nam saepe accidit, ut is qui humilem sensum gerit et abiectum et qui terrena sapit, excelsum sacerdotii gradum vel cathedram doctores insideat, et ille qui spiritualis est et a terrena conversatione tam liber ut possit examinare omnia et ipse a nemine iudicari, vel inferioris ministerii ordinem teneat vel etiam in plebeia multitudine relinquatur “).627627Here “spiritalis” (γνωστικός, πνευματικός) is in contrast to the teachers as well as to the priests. According to Clement of Alexandria, the “spiritual” person is apostle, prophet, and teacher, superior to all earthly dignitaries—a view which Origen also favours. In Hom. VI. in Levit. (vol. ix. p. 219) we read: “Possunt enim et in ecclesia sacerdotes et 361doctores filios generare sicut et ille qui dicebat (Gal. iv. 19), et iterum alibi dicit (1 Cor. iv. 15). Isti ergo doctores ecclesiae in huiusmodi generationibus procreandis aliquando constrictis femoralibus utuntur et abstinent a generando, cum tales invenerint auditores, in quibus sciant se fructum habere non posse!”628628“For even in the church, priests and doctors can beget children, even as he who wrote Gal. iv. 19, and again in another place 1 Cor. iv. 15. Therefore such doctors of the church refrain from begetting offspring, when they find an irresponsive audience!” These passages from Origen, which might be multiplied (see, e.g., Hom. II. in Ezek. and Hom. III. for the difference between magistri and presbyteri), show that during the first thirty years of the third century there still existed at Alexandria an order of teachers side by side with the bishop, the presbyters, and the deacons. But indeed we scarcely need the writings of Origen at all. There is Origen himself, his life, his lot—and that is the plainest evidence of all. For what was the man himself but a διδάσκαλος τῆς ἐκκλησίας, busily travelling as a teacher upon endless missions, in order to impress true doctrine on the mind, or to safeguard it? What was the battle of his life against that “ambitious” and utterly uneducated bishop Demetrius, but the conflict of an independent teacher of the church with the bishop of an individual community? And when, in the course of this conflict, which ended in a signal triumph for the hierarchy, a negative answer was given to this question among other things, viz., whether the “laity” could give addresses in the church, in presence of the bishops, was not the affirmative answer, which was still given by bishops like Alexander and Theoktistus, who pointed to the primitive usage,629629Eus., H.E., vi. 19. Their arguments prove that the right of “laymen” (for the teachers were laymen) to speak at services of worship had become extinct throughout Egypt, Palestine, and most of the provinces, for the two bishops friendly to this proposal had to bring evidence for the practice from a distance, and from comparatively remote churches. They write thus: “Wherever people are to be found who are able to profit the brethren, they are exhorted by the holy bishops to give addresses to the congregation; as, for example, Euelpis has been invited by Neon in Laranda, Paulinus by Celsus in Iconium, and Theodorus by Atticus in Synnada, all of whom are our blessed brethren. Probably this has also been done in other places unknown to us.” The three persons mentioned in this passage are the last of the “ancient” teachers who are known to us. simply the final echo of an organization of the Christian churches older 362and more venerable than the clerical organization which was already covering all the field? During the course of the third century, thc “teachers” were thrust out of the church, i.e., out of the service;630630In this connection reference may perhaps be made to the important statement of Alexander, bishop of Alexandria (in Theodoret's H.E., i. 3), that Lucian remained outside the church at Antioch (ἀποσυνάγωγος)) during the regime of three bishops. Lucian was the head of a school. some of them may have even been fused with the readers.631631On this order and office, originally a charismatic one, which under certain circumstances embraced the further duty of explaining the Scriptures, cp. the evidence I have stated in Texte u. Untersuch., ii. 5, pp. 57 f., “On the Origin of the Readership and the other Lower Orders” [Eng. trans. in Sources of the Apostolic Canons, by Wheatley and Owen (Messrs A. & C. Black)]. No doubt, the order of teachers had developed in such a way as to incur at a very early stage the exceptionally grave risk of sharply Hellenizing and thus secularizing Christianity. The 8[8a?KaXot of the third century may have been very unlike the &8c ,, caXot who had ranked as associates of the prophets. But Hellenizing was hardly the decisive reason for abolishing the order of teachers in the churches; here, as elsewhere, the change was due to the episcopate with its intolerance of any office that would not submit to its strict control and allow itself to be incorporated in the simple and compact organization of thc hierarchy headed by the bishop. After the middle of the third century, not all, but nearly all, the teachers of the church were clerics, while the instruction of the catechumens was undertaken either by the bishop himself or by a presbyter. The organizing of the catechetical system gradually put an end to the office of independent teachers.
The early teachers of the church were missionaries as well;632632Tertullian complains that the heretical teachers, instead of engaging in mission work, merely tried to win over catholic Christians; cp. de Præscr., xlii.: “De verbi autem administratione quid dicam, cum hoc sit negotium haereticis, non ethnicos convertendi, sed nostros evertendi. Ita fit, ut ruinas facilius operentur stantium aedificiorum quam exstructionem iacentium ruinarum” (“But concerning the ministry of the word, what shall I say? for heretics make it their business not to convert pagans but to subvert our people. . . . . Thus they can effect the ruin of buildings which are standing more easily than the erection of ruins that lie low”). See also adv. Marc., ii. 1. I shall return to this complaint later on. a pagans as well as catechumens entered their schools and listened to their teaching. We have definite information upon this point in the case of Justin (see above), but Tatian also delivered 363his “Address” in order to inform the pagan public that he had become a Christian teacher, and we have a similar tradition of the missionary work done by the heads of the Alexandrian catechetical school in the way of teaching. Origen, too, had pagan hearers whom he instructed in the elements of Christian doctrine (cp. Eus., H.E., vi. 3); indeed, it is well known that even Julia Mamæa, the queen-mother, had him brought to Antioch that she might listen to his lectures (Eus., H.E., vi. 21). Hippolytus also wrote her a treatise, of which fragments have been preserved in a Syriac version. When one lady of quality in Rome was arraigned on a charge of Christianity, her teacher Ptolemæus (διδύσκαλος ἐκείνης τῶν Χριστιανῶν μαθημάτων γενόμενος) was immediately arrested also (Justin, Apol., II. 2). In the African Acta Saturnini et Dativi, dating from Diocletian's reign, we read (Ruinart's Acta Mart., Ratisbon, 1859, p. 417) the following indictment of the Christian Dativus, laid by Fortunatianus (“vir togatus”) with regard to his sister who had been converted to Christianity: “This is the fellow who during our father's absence, while we were studying here, perverted our sister Victoria, and took her away from the glorious state of Carthage with Secunda and Restituta as far as the colony of Abitini; he never entered our house without beguiling the girls' minds with some wheedling arguments” (“Hic est qui per absentiam patris noster, nobis hic studentibus, sororem nostram Victoriam seducens, hinc de splendidissima Carthaginis civitate una cum Secunda et Restituta ad Abitinensem coloniam secum usque perduxit, quique nunquam domum nostram ingressus est, nisi tunc quando quibusdam persuasionibus puellares animos illiciebat”). This task also engaged the whole activity of the Christian apologists. The effects upon the inner growth of Christianity we may estimate very highly.633633It was the task of apologists and teachers to exhibit the Christian faith in its various stages, and to prove it. Rhodon (Eus., H.E., v. 13) says of the gnostic Apelles: διδάσκαλος εἶναι λέγων οὐκ ἤδει τὸ διδασκόμενον ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ κρατύνειν (“Though calling himself a teacher, he knew not how to confirm what he taught”). “Non difficile est doctori,” says Cyprian (Ep. lxxiii. 3), “vera et legitima insinuare ei qui haeretica pravitate damnata et ecclesiastica veritate comperta ad hoc venit ut discat, ad hoc discit ut vivat” (“It is not hard for a teacher to instil what is true and genuine into the mind of a man who, having condemned heretical evil and learnt the church's truth, comes to learn, and learns in order that he may live”). Everyone knows the importance of apologetic to the propaganda of Judaism, and Christians entered on a rich inheritance at this and at other points, since their teachers were able to take over the principles and material of Jewish apologetic. Directly or indirectly, most of the Christian apologists probably depended on Philo and the apologetic volumes of selections made by Alexandrian Judaism as well as philosophical compendia of criticisms upon ancient mythology. As for the dissemination of apologies throughout the church, Justin's at least was read very soon in very different sections of the church; Irenæus knew it in Gaul, Tertullian in Carthage, probably Athenagoras in Athens and Theophilus in Antioch. By the end of the second century Tertullian had a whole corpus of apologetic writings at his command; cp. de Testim., i.: “Nonnulli quidem, quibus de pristina litteratura et curiositatis labor et memoriae tenor perseveravit, ad eum modum opuscula penes nos condiderunt, commemorantes et contestificantes in singula rationem et originem et traditionem et argumenta sententiarum, per quae recognosci possit nihil nos aut novum aut portentosum suscepisse, de quo non etiam communes et publicae litterae ad suffragium nobis patrocinentur, si quid aut erroris eiecimus aut aequitatis admisimus” (“Some, indeed, who have busied themselves inquisitively with ancient literature, and kept it in their memories, have published works of this very kind which we possess. In these they record and attest the exact nature, origin, tradition, and reasons of their opinions, from which it is plain that we have not admitted any novelty or extravagance, for which we cannot claim the support of ordinary and familiar writings; this applies alike to our exclusion of error and to our admission of truth”). But we know 364nothing of the scale on which they worked among pagans. We have no information as to whether the apologies really reached those to whom they were addressed, notably the emperors; or, whether the educated public took any notice of them. Tertullian bewails the fact that only Christians read Christian literature (“ad nostras litteras nemo venit nisi iam Christianus,” de Testim., i.), and this would be true of the apologies as well. Celsus, so far as I know, never takes them into account, though there were a number of them extant in his day. He only mentions the dialogue of Aristo of Pella; but that cannot have been typical, otherwise it would have been preserved.
The apologists set themselves a number of tasks, emphasizing and elucidating now one, now another aspect of the truth. They criticized the legal procedure of the state against Christians; they contradicted the revolting charges, moral and political, with which they were assailed; they criticized the pagan mythology and the state-religion; they defined, in very different ways, their attitude to Greek philosophy, and tried 365partly to side with it, partly to oppose it;634634Three different attitudes to Greek philosophy were adopted: it contained real elements of truth, due to the working of the Logos; or these were plagiarized from the Old Testament; or they were simply demonic replicas of the truth, as in the case of pagan mythology. they undertook an analysis of ordinary life, public and private; they criticized the achievements of culture and the sources as well as the consequences of conventional education. Still further, they stated the essence of Christianity, its doctrines of God, providence, virtue, sin, and retribution, as well as the right of their religion to lay claim to revelation and to uniqueness. They developed the Logos-idea in connection with Jesus Christ, whose ethics, preaching, and victory over demons they depicted. Finally, they tried to furnish proofs for the metaphysical and ethical content of Christianity, to rise from a mere opinion to a reasoned conviction, and at the same time—by means of the Old Testament—to prove that their religion was not a mere novelty but the primitive religion of mankind.635635Literary fabrications, which were not uncommon in other departments (cp. the interpolation in Josephus, etc.), played a rôle of their own here. But the forgeries which appeared in the second century seem to me to be for the most part of Jewish origin. In the third century things were different. The most important of these proofs included those drawn from the fulfilment of prophecy, from the moral energy of the faith, from its enlightenment of the reason, and from the fact of the victory over demons.
The apologists also engaged in public discussions with pagans (Justin, Apol. II., and the Cynic philosopher Crescens; Minucius Felix and Octavius) and Jews (Justin, Dial. with Trypho; Tertull., adv. Jud., i.). In their writings some claimed the right of speaking in the name of God and truth; and although (strictly speaking) they do not belong to the charismatic teachers, they describe themselves as “taught of God.”636636Compare, e.g., Aristides, Apol. ii.: “God himself granted me power to speak about him wisely.” Diogn., Ep. 1: τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καὶ τὸ λέγειν καὶ τὸ ἀκούειν ἡμῖν χορηγοῦντος αἰτοῦμαι δοθῆναι ἐμοὶ μὲν εἰπεῖν οὕτως, κ.τ.λ. (“God, who supplies us both with speech and hearing, I pray to grant me utterance so as,” etc.).
The schools established by these teachers could only be regarded by the public and the authorities as philosophic schools; 366indeed, the apologists avowed themselves to be philosophers637637Some of them even retained the mantle of the philosopher; at an early period in the church Justin was described as “philosopher and martyr.” and their doctrine a philosophy,638638Τὶ γάρ, says Justin's (Dial. c. Tryph., i.) Trypho, a tropos of contemporary philosophy, οὐχ οἱ φιλόσοφοι περὶ θεοῦ τὸν ἅπαντα ποιοῦνται λόγον, καὶ περὶ μοναρχίας αὐτοῖς καὶ προνοίας αἱ ζητήσεις γίγνονται ἑκάστοτε; ἢ οὺ τοῦτο ἔργον ἐστὶ φιλοσοφίας, ἐξετάζειν περὶ τοῦ θειόυ; (“Why not? do not the philosophers make all their discourses turn upon the subject of God, and are they not always engaged in questions about his sole rule and providence? Is not this the very business of philosophy, to inquire concerning the Godhead?”). Cp. Melito's phrase, ἡ καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς φιλοσοφία Similarly others. so that they participated here and there in the advantages enjoyed by philosophic schools, particularly in the freedom of action they possessed. This never can have lasted any time, however. Ere long the Government was compelled to note that the preponderating element in these schools was not scientific but practical, and that they were the outcome of the illegal “religio Christiana.”639639The apologists, on the one hand, complain that pagans treat Christianity at best as a human philosophy, and on the other hand claim that, as such, Christianity should be conceded the liberty enjoyed by a philosophy. Tertullian (Apol., xlvi. f.) expatiates on this point at great length; Plainly, the question was one of practical moment, the aim of Christians being to retain, as philosophic schools and as philosophers, at least some measure of freedom, when a thoroughgoing recognition of their claims could not be insisted upon. “Who forces a philosopher to sacrifice or take an oath or exhibit useless lamps at noon? No one. On the contrary, they pull down your gods openly, and in their writings arraign your religious customs, and you applaud them for it! Most of them even snarl at the Cæsars.” The number of sects in Christianity also confirmed well-disposed opponents in the belief that they had to deal with philosophic schools (c. xlvii.).
“Plures efficimur quotiens metimur a vobis; semen est sanguis Christianorum . . . . illa ipsa obstinatio, quam exprobratis magistra est”—so Tertullian cries to the authorities (Apol. 1.: “The oftener we are mown down by you, the larger grow our numbers. The blood of Christians is a seed. . . . . That very obstinacy which you reprobate is our instructress”). The most numerous and successful missionaries of the Christian religion were not the regular teachers but Christians themselves, in virtue of their loyalty and courage. How little we hear of the former and their results! How much we hear of the effects 367 produced by the latter! Above all, every confessor and martyr was a missionary; he not merely confirmed the faith of those who were already won, but also enlisted new members by his testimony and his death. Over and again this result is noted in the Acts of the martyrs, though it would lead us too far afield to recapitulate such tales. While they lay in prison, while they stood before the judge, on the road to execution, and by means of the execution itself, they won people for the faith. Ay, and even after death. One contemporary document (cp. Euseb. vi. 5) describes how Potamiæna, an Alexandrian martyr during the reign of Septimius Severus, appeared immediately after dcath even to non-Christians in the city, and how they were converted by this vision. This is by no means incredible. The executions of the martyrs (legally carried out, of course) must have made an impression which startled and stirred wide circles of people, suggesting to their minds the question: Who is to blame, the condemned person or the judge?640640In the ancient epistle of the Smyrniote church on the death of Polycarp, we already find Polycarp a subject of general talk among the pagans. In the Vita Cypriani (ch. i.), also, there is the following allusion: “Non quo aliquem gentilium lateat tanti viri vita” (“Not that the life of so great a man can be unknown to any of the heathen”). Looking at the earnestness, the readiness for sacrifice, and the steadfastness of these Christians, people found it difficult to think that they were to blame. Thus it was by no means an empty phrase, when Tertullian and others like him asserted that the blood of Christians was a seed.
Nevertheless, it was not merely the confessors and martyrs who were missionaries. It was characteristic of this religion that everyone who seriously confessed the faith proved of service to its propaganda.641641“Bonum huius sectae usu iam et de commercio innotuit,” says Tertullian (Apol., xlvi.) very distinctly (“The worth of this sect is now well known for its benefits as well as from the intercourse of life”); de Pallio, vi.: “Elinguis philosophia vita contenta est” (” Life is content with even a tongueless philosophy”). What Tertullian makes the pallium say (ch. v.) is true of Christians (cp. above, p. 310). Compare also what has been already specified in Book II. Chap. IV., and what is stated afterwards in Chap. IV. of this Book. Christians are to “let their light shine, that pagans may see their good works and glorify the Father in heaven.” If this dominated all their life, and if they lived 368according to the precepts of their religion, they could not be hidden at all; by their very mode of living they could not fail to preach their faith plainly and audibly.642642In the Didasc. Apost. (cp. Achelis in Texte u. Untersuchungen, xxv. 2. pp. 276, 80, 76 f.) we find that the church-widows made proselytes. Then there was the conviction that the day of judgment was at hand, and that they were debtors to the heathen. Furthermore, so far from narrowing Christianity, the exclusiveness of the gospel was a powerful aid in promoting its mission, owing to the sharp dilemma which it involved.
We cannot hesitate to believe that the great mission of Christianity was in reality accomplished by means of informal missionaries. Justin says so quite explicitly. What won him over was the impression made by the moral life which he found among Christians in general. How this life stood apart from that of pagans even in the ordinary round of the day, how it had to be or ought to be a constant declaration of the gospel—all this is vividly portrayed by Tertullian in the passage where he adjures his wife not to marry a pagan husband after he is dead (ad Uxor., II. iv.-vi.). We may safely assume, too, that women did play a leading role in the spread of this religion (see below, Book IV. Chap. II.). But it is impossible to see in any one class of people inside the church the chief agents of the Christian propaganda. In particular, we cannot think of the army in this connection. Even in the army there were Christians, no doubt, but it was not easy to combine Christianity and military service. Previous to the reign of Constantine, Christianity cannot possibly have been a military religion, like Mithraism and some other cults.643643Africa is the only country where we may feel inclined to conjecture that the relations between Christianity and the army were at all intimate.369
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