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EXCURSUS I

“FRIENDS” (οἱ φίλοι).

The name φίλοι (οἰκεῖοι) τοῦ θεοῦ (“amici dei,” “cari deo”) was frequently used as a self-designation by Christians, though it was not strictly a technical term. It went back735735Cp. Jas. ii. 23 with the editors notes. The prophets occasionally shared this title, cp. Hippolyt., Philos., x. 33: δίκαιοι ἄνδρες γεγένηνται φίλοι θεοῦ· οὗτοι προφῆται κέκληνται (“Just men have become friends of God, and these are named prophets”). Justin gives the name of Χριστοῦ φίλοι (“Christ's friends”) to the prophets who wrote the Old Testament (Dial. viii.). John the Baptist is φίλος Ἰησοῦ (John iii. 29). Cp. Eus., Demonstr., i. 5. to the predicate of Abraham, who was called “the Friend of God” in Jewish tradition. It signified that every individual Christian stood in the same relation to God as Abraham736736Later, of course, it was applied pre-eminently to martyrs and confessors:—Ephes. ii. 19: οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι, ἀλλ᾽ ἐστὲ συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῠ; Valentinus (in Clem., Strom., vi. 6. 52): λαὸς ὁ ἠγαπημένου, ὁ φιλούμενος καὶ φιλῶν αὐτόν; Clem., Protrept., xii. 122: εἰ κοινὰ τὰ φίλων, θεοφιλὴς δὲ ὁ ἄνθρωποr τῷ Θεῷ—καὶ γὰρ οὖν φίλος μεσιτεύοντος τοῦ λόγου—γίνεται δὴ οὖν τὰ πάντα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ὅτι τὰ πάντα τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ κοινὰ ἀμφοῖν τοῖν φιλοῖν τὰ πάντα, τοῦ φεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; Pædag., i. 3: φίλος ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῷ θεῷ (for the sake of the way in which he was created; so that all human beings are friends of God); Origen, de Princ., I. 6. 4: “amici dei”; Tertullian, de Pænit. ix. (the martyrs, ‘cari dei'); Cyprian, ad Demetr. xii. (“cari deo”), and pseudo-Clem., Recogn., i. 24: “Ex prima voluntate iterum voluntas; post haec mundus; ex mundo tempus; ex hoc hominum multitudo; ex multitudine electio amicorum, ex quorum unanimitate pacificum construitur dei regnum”; pseudo-Cypr., de Sing. Cler. 27: “amici dei.” had done. According to two passages in the gospels,737737Luke xii. 4: λέγω ὐμῖν, τοῖς φίλοις μου; John xv. 13 f.: ὐμεῖς φίλοι μού ἐστε, ἐὰν ποιῆτε ἃ ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν. οὐκέτι λέγω ὑμᾶς δούλους . . . . ὑμᾶς δὲ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐγνώρισα ὑμῖν. Hence the disciples are γνώριμοι of Jesus (Clem., Paed., i. 5, beginning; Iren., iv. 13. 4 “In eo quod amicos dicit suos discipulos, manifeste ostendit se esse verbum Dei, quem et Abraham . . . . sequens amicus factus est dei . . . . quoniam amicitia dei συγχωρητική ἐστι τῆς ἀθανασίας τοῖς ἐπιλαβοῦσιν αὐτήν”). Perhaps the words quoted by Clement (Quis Dives, xxxiii.: δώσω οῦ μόνον τοῖς φίλοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς φίλοις τῶν φίλων) are an apocryphal saying of Jesus, but their origin is uncertain (cp. Jülicher in Theol. Lit. Zeitung, 1894, No. 1). An inscription has been found in Isaura Nova with the legend φίλτατοs ό μακάριοs ό θεού φίλος (cp. A. M. Ramsay in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xxiv., 1904, p. 264, “The Early Christian Art of Isaura Nova”). Jesus called his 420disciples his “friends.” But in after-years this title (or that of of οἱ γνώριμοι) was rarely used.

The term οἱ φίλοι is to be distinguished from that of φίλοι τοῦ θεοῦ (χριστοῦ). Did Christians also call each other “friends”? We know the significance which came to attach to friendship in the schools of Greek philosophy. No one ever spoke more nobly and warmly of friendship than Aristotle. Never was it more vividly realized than in the schools of the Pythagoreans and the Epicureans. If the former went the length of a community of goods, the Samian sage outstripped them with his counsel, “Put not your property into a common holding, for that implies a mutual distrust. And if people distrust each other, they cannot be friends” (μὴ κατατίθεοθαι τὰς οὐσίας εἰς τὸ κοινὸν· ἀπιστούντων γὰρ τὸ τοιοῦτον· εἰ δ᾽ ἀπίστων, οὐδὲ φίλων). The intercourse of Socrates with his scholars—scholars who were at the same time his friends—furnished a moving picture of friendship. Men could not forget how he lived with them, how he laboured for them and was open to them up to the very hour of his death, and how everything he taught them came home to them as a friend's counsel. The Stoic ethic, based on the absence of any wants in the perfect wise man, certainly left no room for friendship, but (as is often the case) the Stoic broke through the theory of his school at this point, and Seneca was not the only Stoic moralist who glorified friendship and showed how it was a moral necessity to life. No wonder that the Epicureans, like the Pythagoreans before them, simply called themselves “friends.” It formed at once the simplest and the deepest expression for that inner bond of life into which men found themselves transplanted when they entered the fellowship of the school. No matter whether it was the common reverence felt for the master, or the community of sentiment and aspiration among the members, or the mutual aid owed by each individual to his 421fellows—the relationship in every case was covered by the term of “the friends.” We should expect to find that Christians also called themselves “the friends.” But there is hardly any passage bearing this out. ‘In one of the “we” sections in Acts (xxvii. 3) we read that Paul the prisoner was permitted τρὸς τοὺς φίλούς πορευθέντι ἐπιμέλειαs τυχεῖν. Probably οἱ φίλοι here means not special friends of the apostle, but Christians in general (who elsewhere are always called in Acts of οἱ ἀδελφοί) . But this is the only passage in the primitive literature which can be adduced. Luke, with his classical culture, has permitted himself this once to use the classical designation. In 3 John 15 (ἀσπάζονταί σε οἱ φιλοι· ἀσπάζου τοὺς φίλους κατ᾽ ὄνομα) it is most likely that special friends are meant, not all the Christians at Ephesus and at the place where the letter is composed. Evidently the natural term οἱ φίλοι did not gain currency in the catholic church, owing to the fact that οἱ ἀδελφοί (cp. above, pp. 405 f.) was preferred as being still more inward and warm. In gnostic circles, on the other hand, which arose subsequently under the influence of Greek philosophy, οἱ φίλοι seems to have been used during the second century. Thus Valentinus wrote a homily περὶ φίλων (cp. Clem., Strom., vi. 6. 52); Epiphanius, the son of Carpocrates, founded a Christian communistic guild after the model of the Pythagoreans, and perhaps also after the model of the Epicurean school and its organization (Clem., Strom. iii. 5-9); while the Abercius-inscription, which is probably gnostic, tells how faith furnished the fish as food for (τοῖς) φίλοις. Clement of Alexandria would have had no objection to describe the true gnostic circle as “friends.” It is he who preserves the fine saying (Quis Dives, xxxii.): “The Lord did not say [in Luke xvi. 9] give, or provide, or benefit, or aid, but make a friend. And friendship springs, not from a single act of giving, but from invariable relief vouchsafed and from long intercourse” (οὐ μὴ οὐδ᾽ εἶτεν ὁ κύριος, Δος, ἢ ΙΙαράσχες, ἢ Ἐυεργέτησον, ἢ Βοήθησαν· φίλον δὲ ποιῆσαι· ὁ δὲ φίλος οὐκ ἐκ μίας δόσεως γίνεταί, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ὅλης ἀναπαύσεως καὶ συνουσίας μακρᾶς).

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