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§ 184. Caius of Rome.


Euseb.: H. E. II. 25; III. 28, 31; VI. 20. Hieron.: De Vir. ill. 59. Theodor.: Fa b. Haer. II. 3; III. 2. Photius: Biblioth. Cod. 48. Perhaps also Martyr. Polyc., c. 22, where a Caius is mentioned as a pupil or friend of Irenaeus.

Routh: Rel. S. II. 125–158 (Comp. also I. 397–403). Bunsen: Analecta Ante-Nicaena I. 409 sq. Caspari: Quellen etc., III. 330, 349, 374 sqq. Harnack in Herzog,2 III. 63 sq. Salmon in Smith and Wace I. 384–386. Comp. also Heinichen’s notes on Euseb. II. 25 (in Comment. III. 63–67), and the Hippolytus liter., § 183, especially Döllinger. (250 sq.) and Volkmar. (60–71).


Among the Western divines who, like Irenaeus and Hippolytus, wrote exclusively in Greek, must be mentioned Caius who flourished during the episcopate of Zephyrinus in the first quarter of the third century. He is known to us only from a few Greek fragments as an opponent of Montanism and Chiliasm. He was probably a Roman presbyter. From his name,14441444    The name, however, was common, and the New Testament mentions four Caii (Acts 19:29; 20:4; Rom. 16:24; 1 Cor. 1:14; 3 John 1), Eusebius five.444 and from the fact that he did not number Hebrews among the Pauline Epistles, we may infer that he was a native of Rome or at least of the West. Eusebius calls him a very learned churchman or ecclesiastic author at Rome,14451445    ἀνὴρ ἐκκλησιαστικόςand λογιώτατος (II. 25 and VT. 20). The former term does not necessarily imply an office, but is rendered by Valesius vir catholicus, by Heinichen (Euseb. Com. III. 64) ein rechtgläubiger Schriftsteller.445 and quotes four times his disputation with Proclus (Gr. ), the leader of one party of the Montanists.14461446    No doubt the same with the "Proculus noster" commended by Tertullian, Adv. Val. 5. Comp. Jerome (C. 59): "Proculum Montani sectatorem." His followers were Trinitarians; another party of the Montanists were Monarchians446 He preserves from it the notice that Philip and his four prophetic daughters are buried at Hierapolis in Phrygia, and an important testimony concerning the monuments or trophies (Gr. ) of Peter and Paul, the founders of the Roman church, on the Vatican hill and the Ostian road.

This is nearly all that is certain and interesting about Caius. Jerome, as usual in his catalogue of illustrious men, merely repeats the, statements of Eusebius, although from his knowledge of Rome we might expect some additional information. Photius, on the strength of a marginal note in the MS. of a supposed work of Caius On the Universe, says that he was a "presbyter of the Roman church during the episcopate of Victor and Zephyrinus, and that he was elected bishop of the Gentiles ( )." He ascribes to him that work and also The Labyrinth, but hesitatingly. His testimony is too late to be of any value, and rests on a misunderstanding of Eusebius and a confusion of Caius with Hippolytus, an error repeated by modern critics.14471447    See above § 183, p. 762 sq.447 Both persons have so much in common—age, residence, title—that they have been identified (Caius being supposed to be simply the praenomen of Hippolytus).14481448    So Lightfoot in the "Journal of Philology," I. 98. and Salmon, l. c. p. 386.448 But this cannot be proven; Eusebius clearly distinguishes them, and Hippolytus was no opponent of Chiliasm, and only a moderate opponent of Montanism; while Caius wrote against the Chiliastic dreams of Cerinthus; but he did not deny, as has been wrongly inferred from Eusebius, the Johannean authorship of the Apocalypse; he probably meant pretended revelations ( ) of that heretic. He and Hippolytus no doubt agreed with the canon of the Roman church, which recognized thirteen epistles of Paul (excluding Hebrews) and the Apocalypse of John.

Caius has been surrounded since Photius with a mythical halo of authorship, and falsely credited with several works of Hippolytus, including the recently discovered Philosophumena. The Muratorian fragment on the canon of the New Testament was also ascribed to him by the discoverer (Muratori, 1740) and recent writers. But this fragment is of earlier date (a.d. 170), and written in Latin, though perhaps originally in Greek. It is as far as we know the oldest Latin church document of Rome, and of very great importance for the history of the canon.14491449    See the document and the discussion about the authorship in Routh. I. 398 sqq., the article of Salmon in Smith and Wace III. 1000 sqq., and the different works on the Canon. Most of the writers on the subject, including Salmon, regard the fragment as a translation from a Greek original, since all other documents of the Roman Church down to Zephyrinus and Hippolytus are in Greek. Hilgenfeld and P. de Lagarde have attempted a re-translation. But Hesse (Das Murator. Fragment, Giessen, 1873, p. 25-39), and Caspari (Quellen, III. 410 sq.) confidently assert the originality of the Latin for the reason that the re-translation into the Greek does not clear up the obscurities. The Latin barbarisms occur also in other Roman writers. Caspari, however, thinks that it was composed by an African residing in Rome, on the basis of in older Greek document of the Roman church. He regards it as the oldest ecclesiastical document in the Latin language ("das älteste in lateinischer Sprache geschriebene originale kirchliche Schriftstück").449



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