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I. SYMBOLUM APOSTOLICUM. (a) FORMA RECEPTA.4242 The Latin and Greek texts of the Apostles' Creed are taken from the Psalterium Græcum et Romanum, erroneously ascribed to Pope Gregory the Great, first published from a MS. preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, by Archbishop Ussher: De Romanæ Ecclesiæ Symbolo Apostolico vetere, London, 1647. I used the Geneva edition, 1722, pp. 6, 7. The MS. is written in two parallel columns, the one Latin, the other Greek, but the Greek likewise in Latin characters. The same text is given by Hahn, Biblioth. der Symb. p. 10, and Heutley (in Greek), Harmonia Symb. pp. 81–83. The Latin text agrees with the creed of Pirminius (d. 758) in Heurtley, p. 71. Caspari discovered and published four other Greek translations from mediæval MSS. with slight variations, Vol. III. pp. 11 sqq.
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem; Creatorem cæli et terræ.
Πιστεύω εἰς ΘΕΟΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΑ, παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς.
Et in Jesum Christum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum; qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine; passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus; descendit ad inferna; 4343 See Footnote 45. tertia die resurrexit a mortuis; ascendit ad cælos; sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis; inde venturus (est) judicare vivos et mortuos.
Καὶ (εἰς) ἸΗΣΟΥΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ, υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ, τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν, τὸν συλληφθέντα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου, γεννηθέντα ἐκ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου, παθόντα ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, σταυρωθέντα, θανόντα, καὶ ταφέντα, κατελθόντα εἰς τὰ κατώτατα ,4444 See Footnote 45. τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστάντα ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς, καθεζόμενον ἐν δεξιᾷ θεοῦ πατρὸς παντοδυνάμου, ἐκαῖθεν ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum; sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem; remissionem peccatorum; carnis resurrectionem; vitam æternam. Amen.
Πιστεύω εἰς τὸ ΠΝΕΥΜΑ ΤΟ ἍΓΙΟΝ, ἁγίαν καθολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ἁγίων κοινωνίαν, ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν, σαρκὸς ἀνάστασιν, ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Ἀμήν.
I. THE APOSTLES' CREED. (a) RECEIVED FORM.
I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only (begotten) Son our Lord; who was
conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he
descended into hell [Hades, spirit-world];4545
Descendit ad inferna
(other Latin copies:
the inhabitants of the spirit-world; so also
in the Athanasian Symbol),
εἰς τὰ κατώτατα
εἰς τὸν ᾅδην
descended into Hades. This clause was unknown in the older creeds, though believed in the Church, and was transferred into
the Roman symbol after the fifth century, probably from that of Aquilcia, A.D. 390, where it first appears among Latin creeds,
as we learn from Rufinus. In the East it is found before in Arian creeds (about 360). After this we meet it again in the Creed
Venantius Fortunatus, A.D. 590, who had the Creed of Rufinus before him. The words
and inferna, taken from
Eph. iv. 9, correspond here to the
, which occurs eleven times in the Greek Testament, viz.,
Matt. xi. 23;
Luke x. 15;
Acts ii. 27, 31;
1 Cor. xv. 55;
Rev. i. 18;
xx. 13, 14,
and is always incorrectly translated hell in the English Version, except in
1 Cor. xv. 55.
Hades signifies, like the Hebrew Sheol, the unseen spirit-world, the abode of all the departed, both the righteous
and wicked; while hell (probably from the Saxon word helan, to cover, to conceal), at least in modern
usage, is a much narrower conception, and signifies the state and place of eternal damnation, like the Hebrew gehenna,
which occurs twelve times in the Greek Testament, and is so translated in the English Bible, viz.,
Matt. v. 22, 29, 30;
xxiii. 15, 33;
Mark ix. 43, 45, 47;
Luke xii. 5;
James iii. 6. The American editions of
the Book of Common Prayer leave it optional with the minister to use, in
the Creed, hell, or the place of
departed spirits; but it would be much better to restore or popularize the Greek Hades. The current translation,
hell, is apt to mislead, and excludes the important fact—the only one which we certainly know of the
—that Christ was in Paradise in the time between the
crucifixion and the resurrection, according to his own declaration to the penitent thief,
Luke xxiii. 43. Some connect the
descent into Hades with the resurrection in one article; while others, on the contrary, connect it with the preceding article
placing a (,) after buried. It forms rather a separate article, and should be included in (;), as above.
The clause has been explained in three different ways: 1. It is identical with sepultus (Rufinus), or means 'continued in the state of death and under the power of death' till the resurrection (Westminster divines). This makes it a useless repetition in figurative language. 2. It signifies the intensity of Christ's sufferings on the cross, where he tasted the pain of hell for sinners (Calvin and the Heidelberg Catechism). This is inconsistent with the order of the clause between death and resurrection. 3. An actual self-manifestation of Christ after the crucifixion to all the departed spirits, Luke xxiii. 43; Acts ii. 27, 31; 1 Pet. iii. 18, 19; iv.6; comp. Eph. iv. 8, 9; Col. ii. 15; Phil. ii. 10; Rev. i. 18. As such the descent is a part of the universality of the scheme of redemption, and forms the transition from the state of humiliation to the state of exaltation. This is the historical explanation, according to the belief of the ancient Church, but leaves much room for speculation concerning the object and effect of the descent. the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body [flesh];4646 'Resurrection of the body.' The older English translations of the Creed had the literal rendering flesh ( caro , σάρξ ), by which the ancient Church protested against spiritualistic conceptions of the Gnostics. But this may be misunderstood in a grossly materialistic sense, while the resurrection of the body is unobjectionable; comp. 1 Cor. xv. 50. According to Heurtley, l.c. p. 147, the change of flesh into body was first made 1543, in 'The necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man,' set forth by Henry VIII.; but in the Interrogative Creed, used at Baptism and at the Visitation of the Sick, flesh is retained. and the life everlasting. Amen.
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