« Florentius, chief minister of state at Constantinople Florinus, presbyter at Rome Fortunatus, bp. of Poictiers »

Florinus, presbyter at Rome

Florinus (1), for some time in the latter half of the 2nd cent. a presbyter at Rome, deprived for falling into heresy. He is known from two notices (v. 15, 20) in Eusebius, taken from writings of Irenaeus against Florinus. One is an interesting fragment of a letter to Florinus, in which Irenaeus records his youthful recollections of Polycarp, representing how that bishop, whose good opinion Florinus had once been anxious to gain, would have been shocked at his present opinions. The fragment contains unmistakable internal evidence of genuineness. The title of the letter to Florinus was On Monarchy, or that God is not the Author of Evil, and Eusebius remarks that Florinus seems to have maintained the opposite opinion. Later writers have naturally followed the report of Eusebius. Philaster (79) refers to an unnamed heretic, who taught that things which God made were in their own nature evil. Augustine (66) calls the anonymous heretic Florinus and, with little probability, makes him the founder of a sect of Floriniani. He probably arrived at this result by combining the notice in Eusebius with Philaster's mention in another place of Floriani. The work of Irenaeus which we possess does not mention Florinus, and has no trace of the letter, nor does Tertullian, in dealing with the same subject, employ the letter to Florinus. If Florinus ever in a heretical sense made God the author of evil, his errors afterwards took the opposite direction, and he became a Valentinian. In reply to him Irenaeus composed his work On the Ogdoad. If the controversy of Irenaeus with Florinus was earlier than the publication of the treatise on heresies, we should expect some trace of it therein; and the fact that, after the publication of a treatise dealing so fully with Valentinianism, a separate treatise on the Ogdoad was necessary, may point to the controversy having arisen later. In favour of the later date is also the fact that there is extant a Syriac fragment (Harvey, ii. 457), purporting to be an extract from a letter of Irenaeus to Victor of Rome concerning Florinus, a presbyter, who was a partisan of the error of Valentinus, and had published an abominable book. Florinus is not named by Epiphanius, Philaster, or Pseudo-Tertullian who has so many notices of Roman heretics; and it is likely, therefore, that he was not named in the earlier work of Hippolytus, nor in the lectures of Irenaeus, on which that work was founded; he is not named in the later work of Hippolytus, nor by Tertullian. This silence is not easily explained if either Florinus or any school of Floriniani were any source of danger after his exposure by Irenaeus. (cf. Zahn, Forschungen, iv. 233-308).

[G.S.]

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« Florentius, chief minister of state at Constantinople Florinus, presbyter at Rome Fortunatus, bp. of Poictiers »





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