« Alms Alogi Alombrados »


ALOGI, ɑ̄l´o-jî (Gk. alogoi): A name coined by Epiphanius (Haer., li.) to designate certain people whom he treats as a distinct sect. The account which he gives agrees with that of Philaster (Haer., lx.), because both depend on the Syntagma of Hippolytus. Epiphanius can not have known of them by either oral tradition or personal contact; he speaks of them as a phenomenon of the past, of the time when Montanism vexed the Church of Asia Minor, and is unable to give any answer to the most obvious questions in regard to them. Before his time they have no more definite name than “the heretics who reject the writings of John.” Epiphanius was uncertain whether they rejected the epistles of John, and Hippolytus had referred only to their criticism of the Gospel and the Apocalypse. The former justifies the name “Alogi” by the assertion that the sect did not accept the Logos proclaimed by John; but the grounds which he quotes from them for their rejection of the Johannine writings, equally with the indications of Hippolytus and Philaster, fail to support this view of their critical attitude; indeed, in another place Epiphanius contradicts himself. His consequent association of the Theodotians with the Alogi is thus only one of his groundless fancies.

Epiphanius quotes a number of their assertions, e.g., that the books in question were written not by John, but by Cerinthus, and are unworthy to be received in the Church; that they do not agree with the works of the other apostles; and that the Apocalypse is absurd in numerous particulars. The determining motive of their criticism can not be made out from his fragmentary indications. If the name “Alogi” and the notion that this motive was a rejection of the Christology of the fourth Gospel are demonstrably groundless inventions of Epiphanius, which moreover fail to explain the contemptuous tone of the sect toward the Apocalypse, it is all the more noteworthy that he not only places them in chronological and geographical relation to the Montanists of Asia Minor, but attributes to them also a denial of the existence of the charismata in the Church. If he has here, as a comparison with Irenæus (III. xi. 9) shows, repeated confusedly the thoughts of Hippolytus, it follows that the latter found in the passage of Irenæus referred to an argument against the Alogi, although Irenæus’s context only requires him to deal with their rejection of the fourth Gospel and not of the Apocalypse. Thus it may be taken as the opinion of Irenæus and Hippolytus that these other wise orthodox people, in their opposition to the Montanists, sought to withdraw from the latter the supports which they found for their doctrine of the Paraclete in the Gospel of John and for their millenarianism in the Apocalypse. The rejection of the Johannine books by the Alogi is evidence that these books were generally received; their ascription to Cerinthus, a contemporary of John, of the belief that they were written in John’s life time. This ascription need not involve any special reference to the actual teaching of Cerinthus, which, according to the more trustworthy authority of Irenæus, Hippolytus, and the pseudo-Tertullian (Haer., x.), bore no resemblance to that of the apostle.

(T. Zahn).

Bibliography: The sources are indicated in the text. Consult: Harnack, Litteratur, II. i. 376 sqq., 670-671, 689-691, 692, 695; T. Zahn, Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, i. 220-262, ii. 47, 50, 236, 967-991, 1021, Leipsic, 1890-91; idem, Forschungen, v. 35-43, 1892; Neander, Christian Church, i. 526, 583, 682; Moeller, Christian Church, i. 158, 223, 233; DB, ii. 701, iii. 537, iv. 240; G. P. Fisher, Some Remarks on the Alogi, in Papers of the American Society of Church History, vol. ii., pt. 1, pp. 1-9, New York, 1890.

« Alms Alogi Alombrados »
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