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§ 62. The Paschal Controversies.

I. The sources for the paschal controversies:

Fragments from Melito, Apollinarius, Polycrates, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, preserved in Euseb. H. E. IV. 3, 26; V. 23–25; VI. 13; The Chronicon Pasch. I. 12 sqq., a passage in the Philosophumena of Hippolytus, Lib. VIII. cap. 18 (p. 435, ed. Duncker & Schneidewin, 1859), a fragment from Eusebius in Angelo Mai’s Nova P. P. Bibl. T. IV. 2O9–216, and the Haeresies of Epiphanius, Haer. LXX. 1–3; LXX. 9.

II. Recent works, occasioned mostly by the Johannean controversy:

Weitzel: Die Christl. Passafeier der drei ersten Jahrh. Pforzheim, 1848 (and in the "Studien und Kritiken," 1848, No. 4, against Baur).

Baur: Das Christenthum der 3 ersten Jahrh. (1853). Tüb. 3rd ed. 1863, pp. 156–169. And several controversial essays against Steitz.

Hilgenfeld: Der Paschastreit und das Evang. Johannis (in "Theol. Jahrbücher" for 1849);Noch ein Wort über den Passahstreit (ibid. 1858); and Der Paschastreit der alten Kirche nach seiner Bedeutung für die Kirchengesch. und für die Evangelienforschung urkundlich dargestellt. Halle 1860 (410 pages).

Steitz: Several essays on the subject, mostly against Baur, in the "Studien u. Kritiken, "1856, 1857, and 1859; in the "Theol. Jahrbücher, "1857, and art. Passah in "Herzog’s Encycl." vol. XII. (1859), p. 149 sqq., revised in the new ed., by Wagenmann, XI. 270 sqq.

William Milligan: The Easter Controversies of the second century in their relation to the Gospel of St. John, in the "Contemporary Review" for Sept. 1867 (p. 101–118).

Emil Schürer: De Controversiis paschalibus sec. post Chr. soc. exortis, Lips. 1869. By the same: Die Paschastreitigkeiten des 2ten Jahrh., in Kahnis’ "Zeitschrift für Hist. Theol." 1870, pp. 182–284. Very full and able.

C. Jos. von Hefele (R.C.): Conciliengeschichte, I. 86–101 (second ed. Freib. 1873; with some important changes).

Abbé Duchesne: La question de la Pâque, in "Revue des questions historiques," July 1880.

Renan: L’église chrét. 445–451; and M. Aurèle, 194–206 (la question de la Páque.

Respecting the time of the Christian Passover and of the fast connected with it, there was a difference of observance which created violent controversies in the ancient church, and almost as violent controversies in the modern schools of theology in connection with the questions of the primacy of Rome, and the genuineness of John’s Gospel.328328    See note at the end of the section.28

The paschal controversies of the ante-Nicene age are a very complicated chapter in ancient church-history, and are not yet sufficiently cleared up. They were purely ritualistic and disciplinary, and involved no dogma; and yet they threatened to split the churches; both parties laying too much stress on external uniformity. Indirectly, however, they involved the question of the independence of Christianity on Judaism.329329    So Renan regards the controversy, Marc-Aurèle, p. 194, as a conflict between two kinds of Christianity. "le christianisme qui s’envisageait comme une suite du judaisme," and "le christianisme qui s’envisageait comme la destruction du judaisme."29

Let us first consider the difference of observance or the subject of controversy.

The Christians of Asia Minor, following the Jewish chronology, and appealing to the authority of the apostles John and Philip, celebrated the Christian Passover uniformly on the fourteenth of Nisan (which might fall on any of the seven days of the week) by a solemn fast; they fixed the close of the fast accordingly, and seem to have partaken on the evening of this day, as the close of the fast, but indeed of the Jewish paschal lamb, as has sometimes been supposed,330330    By Mosheim (De rebus christ. ante Const. M Com., p. 435 sqq.) and Neander (in the first edition of his Church Hist., 1. 518, but not in the second I. 512, Germ. ed., I. 298 in Torrey’s translation). There is no trace of such a Jewish custom on the part of the Quartadecimani. This is admitted by Hefele (I. 87), who formerly held to three parties in this controversy; but there were only two.30 but of the communion and love-feast, as the Christian passover and the festival of the redemption completed by the death of Christ.331331    The celebration of the eucharist is not expressly mentioned by Eusebius, but may be inferred. He says (H. E. V. 23): "The churches of all Asia, guided by older tradition (ὡςἐκ παραδόσεωςἀρχαιοτέρας, older than that of Rome), thought that they were bound to keep the fourteenth day of the moon, on (or at the time of) the feast of the Saviour’s Passover (ἐπὶ τῆςτοῦ σωτηρίου πάσχα ἐορτῆς), that day on which the Jews were commanded to kill the paschal lamb; it being incumbent on them by all means to regulate the close of the fast by that day on whatever day of the week it might happen to fall."31 The communion on the evening of the 14th (or, according to the Jewish mode of reckoning, the day from sunset to sunset, on the beginning of the 15th) of Nisan was in memory of the last pascha supper of Christ. This observance did not exclude the idea that Christ died as the true paschal Lamb. For we find among the fathers both this idea and the other that Christ ate the regular Jewish passover with his disciples, which took place on the14th.332332    Justin M. Dial.c.111; Iren. Adv. Haer. II. 22, 3; Tert. De Bapt. 19; Origen, In Matth.; Epiph. Haer. XLII. St. Paul first declared Christ to be our passover (1 Cor. 5:7), and yet his companion Luke, with whom his own account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper agrees, represents Christ’s passover meal as takin, place on the 14th.32 From the day of observance the Asiatic Christians were afterwards called Quartadecimanians.333333    The ιδ ́=14, quarta decima. See Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5, where this day is prescribed for the celebration of the Passover. Hence ΤεσσαρεσκαιδεκατῖταιQuartodecimani, more correctly Quartadecimani. This sectarian name occurs in the canons of the councils of Laodicea, 364, Constantinople, 381, etc.33 Hippolytus of Rome speaks of them contemptuously as a sect of contentious and ignorant persons, who maintain that "the pascha should be observed on the fourteenth day of the first month according to the law, no matter on what day of the week it might fall."334334    Philosph. or Refutat. of all Haeres. VIII. 18.34 Nevertheless the Quartadecimanian observance was probably the oldest and in accordance with the Synoptic tradition of the last Passover of our Lord, which it commemorated.335335    So also Renan regards it, L’égl. Chrét., p. 445sq., but he brings it, like Baur, in conflict with the chronology of the fourth Gospel. He traces the Roman custom from the pontificate of Xystus and Telesphorus, a.d. 120.35

The Roman church, on the contrary, likewise appealing to early custom, celebrated the death of Jesus always on a Friday, the day of the week on which it actually occurred, and his resurrection always on a Sunday after the March full moon, and extended the paschal fast to the latter day; considering it improper to terminate the fast at an earlier date, and to celebrate the communion before the festival of the resurrection. Nearly all the other churches agreed with the Roman in this observance, and laid the main stress on the resurrection-festival on Sunday. This Roman practice created an entire holy week of solemn fasting and commemoration of the Lord’s passion, while the Asiatic practice ended the fast on the 14th of Nisan, which may fall sometimes several days before Sunday.

Hence a spectacle shocking to the catholic sense of ritualistic propriety and uniformity was frequently presented to the world, that one part of Christendom was fasting and mourning over the death of our Saviour, while the other part rejoiced in the glory of the resurrection. We cannot be surprised that controversy arose, and earnest efforts were made to harmonize the opposing sections of Christendom in the public celebration of the fundamental facts of the Christian salvation and of the most sacred season of the church-year.

The gist of the paschal controversy was, whether the Jewish paschal-day (be it a Friday or not), or the Christian Sunday, should control the idea and time of the entire festival. The Johannean practice of Asia represented here the spirit of adhesion to historical precedent, and had the advantage of an immovable Easter, without being Judaizing in anything but the observance of a fixed day of the month. The Roman custom represented the principle of freedom and discretionary change, and the independence of the Christian festival system. Dogmatically stated, the difference would be, that in the former case the chief stress was laid on the Lord’s death; in the latter, on his resurrection. But the leading interest of the question for the early Church was not the astronomical, nor the dogmatical, but the ritualistic. The main object was to secure uniformity of observance, and to assert the originality of the Christian festive cycle, and its independence of Judaism; for both reasons the Roman usage at last triumphed even in the East. Hence Easter became a movable festival whose date varies from the end of March to the latter part of April.

The history of the controversy divides itself into three acts.

1. The difference came into discussion first on a visit of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, to Anicetus, bishop of Rome, between a.d. 150 and 155.336336    Renan (l.c., p. 447) conjectures that Trenaeus and Florinus accompanied Polycarp on that journey to Rome. Neander and others give a wrong date, 162. Polycarp died in 155, see § 19, p. 51, The pontificate of Anicetus began in 154 or before.36 It was not settled; yet the two bishops parted in peace, after the latter had charged his venerable guest to celebrate the holy communion in his church. We have a brief, but interesting account of this dispute by Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp, which is as follows:337337    In a fragment of a letter to the Roman bishop Victor, preserved by Eusebius, H. E. V. c. 24 (ed. Heinichen, I. 253).37

"When the blessed Polycarp sojourned at Rome in the days of Anicetus, and they had some little difference of opinion likewise with regard to other points,338338    καὶ περὶ ἅλλων τινῶν μικρὰ σχόντες (orἔχοντες) πρὸς ἀλλήλους38 they forthwith came to a peaceable understanding on this head [the observance of Easter], having no love for mutual disputes. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe339339    μὴ τηρεῖν, i.e. the fourteenth of Nisan, as appears from the connection and from ch. 23. The τηρεῖν consisted mainly in fasting, and probably also the celebration of the eucharist in the evening. It was a technical term for legal observances, Comp. John 9:16.39 inasmuch as he [Pol.] had always observed with John, the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles, with whom he had associated; nor did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe Gr. (threi’n) who said that he was bound to maintain the custom of the presbyters (=bishops) before him. These things being so, they communed together; and in the church Anicetus yielded to Polycarp, out of respect no doubt, the celebration of the eucharist Gr. (thVn eujcaristivan), and they separated from each other in peace, all the church being at peace, both those that observed and those that did not observe [the fourteenth of Nisan], maintaining peace."

This letter proves that the Christians of the days of Polycarp knew how to keep the unity of the Spirit without uniformity of rites and ceremonies. "The very difference in our fasting," says Irenaeus in the same letter, "establishes the unanimity in our faith."

2. A few years afterwards, about a.d. 170, the controversy broke out in Laodicea, but was confined to Asia, where a difference had arisen either among the Quartadecimanians themselves, or rather among these and the adherents of the Western observance. The accounts on this interimistic sectional dispute are incomplete and obscure. Eusebius merely mentions that at that time Melito of Sardis wrote two works on the Passover.340340    H. E. IV. 26.40 But these are lost, as also that of Clement of Alexandria on the same topic.341341    With the exception of a few fragments in the Chrenicon Paschale.41 Our chief source of information is Claudius Apolinarius (Apollinaris),342342    Eusebius spells his name Ἀπολινάριος (IV. 21 and 26, 27, ree Heinichen’s ed.), and so do Photius, and the Chron. Pachale in most MSS. But the Latins spell his name Apollinaris. He lived under Marcus Aurelius (161-180), was an apologist and opponent of Montanism which flourished especially in Phrygia, and must not be confounded with one of the two Apollinarius or Apollinaris, father and son, of Laodicea in Syria, who flourished in the fourth century.42 bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, in two fragments of his writings upon the subject, which have been preserved in the Chronicon Paschale.343343    Ed. Dindorf I. 13; in Routh’s Reliquiae Sacrae I.p. 160. Quoted and discussed by Milligan, l.c. p. 109 sq.43 These are as follows:

"There are some now who, from ignorance, love to raise strife about these things, being guilty in this of a pardonable offence; for ignorance does not so much deserve blame as need instruction. And they say that on the fourteenth [of Nisan] the Lord ate the paschal lamb (τὸ πρόβατον ἔφαγε) with his disciples, but that He himself suffered on the great day of unleavened bread344344    If this is the genuine Quartadecimanian view, it proves conclusively that it agreed with the Synoptic chronology as to the day of Christ’s death, and that Weitzel and Steitz are wrong on this point.44 [i.e. the fifteenth of Nisan]; and they interpret Matthew as favoring their view from which it appears that their view does not agree with the law,345345    Since according to the view of Apolinarius, Christ as the true fulfillment of the law, must have died on the 14th, the day of the legal passover.45 and that the Gospels seem, according to them, to be at variance.346346    This seems to be the meaning of στασιάζειν δοκεῖ, κατ’ αὐτούς, τὰ εὐαγγέλια, inter se pugnare, etc. On the assumption namely that John fixes the detail of Christ on the fourteenth of Nisan, which, however, is a point in dispute. The opponents who started from the chronology of the Synoptists, could retort this objections.46

The Fourteenth is the true Passover of the Lord, the great sacrifice, the. Son of God347347    The same argument is urged in the fragments of Hippolytus in the Chronicon Paschale. But that Jesus was the true Paschal Lamb is a doctrine in which all the churches were agreed.47 in the place of the lamb ... who was lifted up upon the horns of the unicorn ... and who was buried on the day of the Passover, the stone having been placed upon his tomb."

Here Apolinarius evidently protests against the Quartadecimanian practice, yet simply as one arising from ignorance, and not as a blameworthy heresy. He opposes it as a chronological and exegetical mistake, and seems to hold that the fourteenth, and not the fifteenth, is the great day of the death of Christ as the true Lamb of God, on the false assumption that this truth depends upon the chronological coincidence of the crucifixion and the Jewish passover. But the question arises: Did he protest from the Western and Roman standpoint which had many advocates in the East,348348    So Baur (p. 163 sq.) and the Tübingen School rightly maintain.48 or as a Quartadecimanian?349349    As Weitzel, Steitz, and Lechler assume in opposition to Baur.49 In the latter case we would be obliged to distinguish two parties of Quartadecimanians, the orthodox or catholic Quartadecimanians, who simply observed the 14th Nisan by fasting and the evening communion, and a smaller faction of heretical and schismatic Quartadecimanians, who adopted the Jewish practice of eating a paschal lamb on that day in commemoration of the Saviour’s last passover. But there is no evidence for this distinction in the above or other passages. Such a grossly Judaizing party would have been treated with more severity by a catholic bishop. Even the Jews could no more eat of the paschal lamb after the destruction of the temple in which it had to be slain. There is no trace of such a party in Irenaeus, Hippolytus350350    In the passage of the Philosoph. above quoted and in the fragments of the Paschal Chronicle.50 and Eusebius who speak only of one class of Quartadecimanians.351351    Epiphanius, it is true, distinguishes different opinions among the Quartadecimanians (Haer. L. cap. 1-3 Contra Quartadecimanas), but be makes no mention of the practice of eating a Paschal lamb, or of any difference in this chronology of the death of Christ.51

Hence we conclude that Apolinarius protests against the whole Quartadecimanian practice, although very mildly and charitably. The Laodicean controversy was a stage in the same controversy which was previously discussed by Polycarp and Anicetus in Christian charity, and was soon agitated again by Polycrates and Victor with hierarchical and intolerant violence.

3. Much more important and vehement was the third stage of the controversy between 190 and 194, which extended over the whole church, and occasioned many synods and synodical letters.352352    Eusebius, H. E., V. 23-25.52 The Roman bishop Victor, a very different man from his predecessor Anicetus, required the Asiatics, in an imperious tone, to abandon their Quartadecimanian practice. Against this Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, solemnly protested in the name of a synod held by him, and appealed to an imposing array of authorities for their primitive custom. Eusebius has preserved his letter, which is quite characteristic.

"We," wrote the Ephesian bishop to the Roman pope and his church, "We observe the genuine day; neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom. For in Asia great lights353353    Μεγάλα στοιχεῖα in the sense of stars used Ep. ad Diog. 7; Justin Dial.c. 23 (τὰ οὐράνια στοιχεῖα).53 have fallen asleep, which shall rise again in the day of the Lord’s appearing, in which he will come with glory from heaven, and will raise up all the saints: Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters; his other daughter, also, who having lived under the influence of the Holy Spirit, now likewise rests in Ephesus; moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord,354354    ὁ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος τοῦ κυρίου ἀναπεσών. Comp. John 1. 3: 25; 21: 20, This designation, as Renan admits Marc-Aurèle, p. 196, note 2), implies that Polycrates acknowledged the Gospel of John as genuine.54 who was also a priest, and bore the sacerdotal plate,355355    τὸ πέταλον.On this singular expression, which is probably figurative for priestly holiness, see vol. 1. p. 431, note 1.55 both a martyr and teacher; he is buried in Ephesus. Also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr of Eumenia, who sleeps in Smyrna. Why should I mention Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who sleeps in Laodicea; moreover, the blessed Papirius, and Melito, the eunuch [celibate], who lived altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who now rests in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, in which he shall rise from the dead. All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.

"Moreover, I, Polycrates, who am the least of you, according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people of the Jews threw away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, am now sixty-five years in the Lord, who having conferred with the brethren throughout the world, and having studied the whole of the Sacred Scriptures, am not at all alarmed at those things with which I am threatened, to intimidate me. For they who are greater than I have said, ’we ought to obey God rather than men.’ ... I could also mention the bishops that were present, whom you requested me to summon, and whom I did call; whose names would present a great number, but who seeing my slender body consented to my epistle, well knowing that I did not wear my gray hairs for nought, but that I did at all times regulate my life in the Lord Jesus."356356    Euseb. V. 24 (ed. Heinichen, 1. p. 250 sqq).56

Victor turned a deaf ear to this remonstrance, branded the Asiatics as heretics, and threatened to excommunicate them.357357    He is probably the author of the pseudo-Cypranic homily against dice players (De Aleatoribus), which assumes the tone of the papal encyclical.57

But many of the Eastern bishops, and even Irenaeus, in the name of the Gallic Christians, though he agreed with Victor on the disputed point, earnestly reproved him for such arrogance, and reminded him of the more Christian and brotherly conduct of his predecessors Anicetus, Pius, Hyginus, Telesphorus, and Xystus, who sent the eucharist to their dissenting brethren. He dwelt especially on the fraternal conduct of Anicetus to Polycarp. Irenaeus proved himself on this occasion, as Eusebius remarks, a true peacemaker, and his vigorous protest seems to have prevented the schism.

We have from the same Irenaeus another utterance on this controversy,358358    In the third fragment discovered by Pfaff, probably from his book against Blastus. See Opera. ad. Stieren, I. 887.58 saying: "The apostles have ordered that we should ’judge no one in meat or in drink, or in respect to a feast-day or a new moon or a sabbath day’ (Col. 2:16). Whence then these wars? Whence these schisms? We keep the feasts, but in the leaven of malice by tearing the church of God and observing what is outward, in order to reject what is better, faith and charity. That such feasts and fasts are displeasing to the Lord, we have heard from the Prophets." A truly evangelical sentiment from one who echoes the reaching of St. John and his last words: "Children, love one another."

4. In the course of the third century the Roman practice gained ground everywhere in the East, and, to anticipate the result, was established by the council of Nicaea in 325 as the law of the whole church. This council considered it unbecoming, in Christians to follow the usage of the unbelieving, hostile Jews, and ordained that Easter should always be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon succeeding the vernal equinox (March 21), and always after the Jewish passover.359359    In the Synodical letter which the fathers of Nicaea addressed to the churches of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis (Socrates, H. E. l.c. 9), it is said: "We have also gratifying intelligence to communicate to you relating to the unity of judgment on the subject of the most holy feast of Easter; ...that all the brethren in the East who have heretofore kept this festival at the same time as the Jews, will henceforth conform to the Romans and to us, and to all who from the earliest time have observed our period of celebrating Easter." Eusebius; reports (Vita Const. III. 19) that especially the province of Asia acknowledged the decree. He thinks that only God and the emperor Constantine could remove this, ; evil of two conflicting celebrations of Easter.59 If the full moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter-day is the Sunday after. By this arrangement Easter may take place as early as March 22, or as late as April 25.

Henceforth the Quartadecimanians were universally regarded as heretics, and were punished as such. The Synod of Antioch, 341, excommunicated them. The Montanists and Novatians were also cleared with the Quartadecimanian observance. The last traces of it disappeared in the sixth century.

But the desired uniformity in the observance of Easter was still hindered by differences in reckoning the Easter Sunday according to the course of the moon and the vernal equinox, which the Alexandrians fixed on the 21st of March, and the Romans on the 18th; so that in the year 387, for example, the Romans kept Easter on the 21st of March, and the Alexandrians not till the 25th of April. In the West also the computation changed and caused a renewal of the Easter controversy in the sixth and seventh centuries. The old British, Irish and Scotch Christians, and the Irish missionaries on the Continent adhered to the older cycle of eighty-four years in opposition to the later Dionysian or Roman cycle of ninety-five years, and hence were styled "Quartadecimanians "by their Anglo-Saxon and Roman opponents, though unjustly; for they celebrated Easter always on a Sunday between the 14th and the 20th of the mouth (the Romans between the 15th and 21st). The Roman practice triumphed. But Rome again changed the calendar under Gregory XIII. (a.d. 1583). Hence even to this day the Oriental churches who hold to the Julian and reject the Gregorian calendar, differ from the Occidental Christians in the time of the observance of Easter.

All these useless ritualistic disputes might have been avoided if, with some modification of the old Asiatic practice as to the close of the fast, Easter, like Christmas, had been made an immovable feast at least as regards the week, if not the day, of its observance.


The bearing of this controversy on the Johannean origin of the fourth Gospel has been greatly overrated by the negative critics of the Tübingen School. Dr. Baur, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Straus (Leben Jesu, new ed. 1864, p. 76 sq.), Schenkel, Scholten, Samuel Davidson, Renan (Marc-Aurèle, p. 196), use it as a fatal objection to the Johannean authorship. Their argument is this: "The Asiatic practice rested on the belief that Jesus ate the Jewish Passover with his disciples on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, and died on the 15th; this belief is incompatible with the fourth Gospel, which puts the death of Jesus, as the true Paschal Lamb, on the 14th of Nisan, just before the regular Jewish Passover; therefore the fourth Gospel cannot have existed when the Easter controversy first broke out about a.d. 160; or, at all events, it cannot be the work of John to whom the Asiatic Christians so confidently appealed for their paschal observance."

But leaving out of view the early testimonies for the authenticity of John, which reach back to the first quarter of the second century, the minor premise is wrong, and hence the conclusion falls. A closer examination of the relevant passages of John leads to the result that he agrees with the Synoptic account, which puts the last Supper on the 14th, and the crucifixion on the 15th of Nisan. (Comp. on this chronological difficulty vol. I. 133 sqq.; and the authorities quoted there, especially John Lightfoot, Wieseler, Robinson, Lange, Kirchner, and McClellan.)

Weitzel, Steitz, and Wagenmann deny the inference of the Tübingen School by disputing the major premise, and argue that the Asiatic observance (in agreement with the Tübingen school and their own interpretation of John’s chronology) implies that Christ died as the true paschal lamb on the 14th, and not on the 15th of Nisan. To this view we object: 1) it conflicts with the extract from Apolinarius in the Chronicon Paschale as given p. 214. 2) There is no contradiction between the idea that Christ died as the true paschal lamb, and the Synoptic chronology; for the former was taught by Paul (1 Cor. 5:7), who was quoted for the Roman practice, and both were held by the fathers; the coincidence in the time being subordinate to the fact. 3) A contradiction in the primitive tradition of Christ’s death is extremely improbable, and it is much easier to conform the Johannean chronology to the Synoptic than vice versa.

It seems to me that the Asiatic observance of the 14th of Nisan was in commemoration of the last passover of the Lord, and this of necessity implied also a commemoration of his death, like every celebration of the Lord’s Supper. In any case, however, these ancient paschal controversies did not hinge on the chronological question or the true date of Christ’s death at all but on the week-day and the manner of its annual observance. The question was whether the paschal communion should be celebrated on the 14th of Nisan, or on the Sunday of the resurrection festival, without regard to the Jewish chronology.

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