Peregrinus, called Proteus
Peregrinus (1), called Proteus, an apostate from Christianity
and a Cynic philosopher of the 2nd cent., whose history has been satirically
told by Lucian. That Lucian's work is not a romance is amply shown by the account
of Peregrinus in Aulus Gellius, Noct. Attic. viii. 3, and xii. 11. Other
writers, pagan and Christian alike, of the same age, mention him: e.g.
Tatian, Orat. adv. Graec. c. 25; Athenagoras, pro Christian. c.
26, who tells us of his statue at Parium; Maximus Tyrius, Diss. iii.;
Tertull. ad Mart. c. 4; and Eusebius in his Chronicon (ii. 178
seq. ed. Schöne); cf. also I. Sörgel, Lucian's Stellung zum Christenthum,
(1875); Schiller's Geschichte der Kaiserzeit, p. 685; and Bernays' tract
Lucian u. die Kyniker (Berlin, 1879). The story of Peregrinus is therefore
a very valuable illustration
829of the life of the 2nd cent. He was
born at Parium on the Hellespont, where he committed various crimes, including
parricide. He escaped justice by transferring his property to the municipality
and then passed over to Palestine, where he became a Christian, and, according
to Lucian's account, a bishop or at least a presbyter. He was imprisoned for
the faith, and Lucian's words are a valuable and truthful description of the
conduct of the Christians towards confessors generally. Crowds attended at the
prison and ministered to Peregrinus, bribing the gaolers to obtain admission.
The "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" takes elaborate precautions against wandering
apostles and prophets, who desired only to make gain of the gospel. Such a false
apostle was Peregrinus. His real character was, however, discovered, and he
was excommunicated. He then became a Cynic philosopher, a sect which Lucian
specially abhorred, and resided at Rome. He made use of the licence permitted
them to abuse the emperor himself, but was speedily expelled by the prefect
Urbis. He next passed into Greece, and there, to obtain a greater notoriety,
burned himself alive at the Olympic games at the 236th Olympiad
a.d. 165. Cf.
Strabo, xv. i. 73; Dion Cassius, liv. 9; and Lightfoot On Colossians,
p. 394. Dr. Lightfoot has elaborately discussed the relations between the stories
of Peregrinus and St. Ignatius (SS. Ignatius and Polycarp, t. i. pp.
129, 133, 331, 450, ii. pp. 206, 213, 306, 356; cf. Salmon's Introd. to the
N.T. pp. 522, 650). [LUCIAN.]