« Ninian, British missionary bsp Noetus, a native of Smyrna Nomus, leading personage at Constantinople »

Noetus, a native of Smyrna

Noetus, a native of Smyrna according to 761Hippolytus; of Ephesus according to Epiphanius (Haer. 57), probably by a mistake, as his narrative is in other respects wholly derived from Hippolytus. From Asia Minor also Praxeas, some years before, had imported into Rome the views which Noetus taught. Hippolytus traces the origin of the Patripassian heresy at Rome to Noetus, who in his opinion derived it from the philosophy of Heraclitus (Refutation, lib. ix. cc. 3–5, cf. x. 23). Noetus came to Rome, where he converted Epigonus and Cleomenes. He was summoned before the council of Roman presbyters, and interrogated about his doctrines. He denied at first that he had taught that "Christ was the Father, and that the Father was born and suffered and died," but his adherents increasing in number, he acknowledged before the same council, when summoned a second time, that he had taught the views attributed to him. "The blessed presbyters called him again before them and examined him. But he stood out against them, saying, 'What evil am I doing in glorifying one God?' And the presbyters replied to him, 'We too know in truth one God, we know Christ, we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the dead, and these things which we have learned we allege.' Then after examining him they expelled him from the church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride, that he established a school." Cf. Routh's Reliq. Sac. t. iv. 243–248. As to his date, Hippolytus tells us "he lived not long ago," Lipsius and Salmon think this very treatise was used by Tertullian in his tract against Praxeas [HIPPOLYTUS ROMANUS], while Hilgenfeld and Harnack date Tertullian's work between a.d. 206 and 210. This would throw the treatise of Hippolytus back to c. 205. From its language and tone, we conclude that Noetus was then dead, a view which Epiphanius (Haer. 57, c. 1) expressly confirms, saying that he and his brother both died soon after their excommunication and were buried without Christian rites. The period of his teaching at Rome must then have been some few years previous to 205. But Hippolytus in his Refutation of Heresies gives us a farther note of time, telling us in ix. 2 that it was when Zephyrinus was managing the affairs of the church that the school of Noetus was firmly established at Rome and that Zephyrinus connived at its establishment through bribes. We cannot, however, fix the date of his excommunication and death more closely than c. 200. Hippolytus (x. 23) tells us that some Montanists adopted the views of Noetus. He seems to have written some works, from which Hippolytus often quotes.

[G.T.S.]

« Ninian, British missionary bsp Noetus, a native of Smyrna Nomus, leading personage at Constantinople »





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