by Walter Bauer

Translated and supplemented under the direction of Robert A. Kraft
and Gerhard Kroedel (Philadelphia: Fortress 1971)
from the 2nd German edition edited and supplemented by Georg Strecker
(Tübingen: J.C.B.Mohr 1964 [original ed 1934]);
electronic edition periodically updated by Robert A. Kraft (since 1993)

C H A P T E R   F I V E :

Rome and Christianity Outside of Rome

Translated by Stephen Benko

[Previous: Chapter 4]

[[95]] [[*99]] [Ch. 5]

If we take <ts>1 Clement</ts> as our starting point for determining the position of Rome in the struggle between these outlooks, we immediately encounter a twofold difficulty. First, we must corroborate for ourselves the frequent claim that the main body of the letter has little or nothing to do with its clearly defined purpose. This is certainly the initial impression. R. Knopf states:

The Romans are extremely verbose in giving a great number of admonitions about the main issues of Christian conduct and life above and beyond the immediate occasion for the writing, so that one cannot see precisely what relationship these admonitions have to the real purpose of the letter; cf. especially the extensive first main section of the writing (4-38) and the summary in 62.1 f. . . . Over and above the immediate needs, he has produced a literary work of art which goes beyond the form of an actual letter and sketches the ideal of true Christian conduct for life in broad homiletical arguments and expositions.\1/
Indeed, it is easy to get the impression that by far the greater part of the letter serves only to increase its size, in order thereby to enhance its importance and forcefulness.

\1/ R. Knopf, <tm>Die Lehre der zwölf Apostel. Die zwei Clemensbriefe</tm>, HbNT, Ergänzungsband: Die apostolischen Väter 1 (1920): 42, 43.


For the person who keeps the question "why?" in view, the admission that, at least at first glance, he is faced with so much that is quite unexpected seems to me to make it imperative that he proceed with special care in attempting to determine the letter's purpose, [[96]] and not limit himself to considering [[*100]] only what appears on the surface. An author who admittedly presents such a quantity of material for which the reader is not prepared, and thereby consciously or unconsciously obscures his position, correspondingly could have been incomplete in what he actually says concerning the matter at hand. Such a suspicion should not be lightly dismissed. It is precisely with such a person that we have the least assurance that he reveals exhaustively and plainly his purposes and goals, particularly his basic motives.

This uncertainty in the evaluation of <ts>1 Clement</ts> as a source is all the more significant since, unfortunately, here again only one of the sides of the discussion is represented. (This is, for me, the second matter for concern.) We do not hear what the <lt>altera pars</lt> has to say (see above, xxi); and yet, in the interests of fairness, we really need to know what the members of the Corinthian community who were so severely attacked could adduce, and no doubt did present, in support of their position. However, the picture that faces us of the conditions in Corinth is sketched from the perspective of Rome, which was doubtless one-sided and based on self-interest -- to say the very least, a biased picture. Just as the modern interpreter would no longer dare to adopt, without hesitation, Paul's point of view in evaluating Paul's relationship to a community or to a person whom he has rebuked, since in such cases the Apostle to the Gentiles surely is partisan, such a procedure would seem to me to be equally illegitimate in the case of one postapostolic church interfering in the life of another.

What is it, then, that actually happened in Corinth? Youth, it is said, rebelled against age. "The point in question was solely a matter of cliques, not of principles."\2/ "The motive that precipitated the whole situation must therefore have been simply the desire for a realignment of the power structure"; and "at this point the Roman community, in full consciousness of the unity of the church, felt itself obliged to render a service of love, and thus intervened."\3/ The ecclesiastical "office" was in danger and Rome assumed the position [[97]] of a protective shield. But just as surely as Rome felt it important to appear in an utterly unselfish light, as fulfilling a divine responsibility, I am all the less inclined to believe [[*101]] that we have fully grasped the real situation by means of that approach. To acknowledge and accept such a picture, it seems to me, is to forgo an explanation. And it is just the sort of person who, as Lietzmann recently has done,\4/ correctly views this action of Rome as of extreme importance, who should not treat the cause of the action so relatively lightly. Also, at least in later times, Rome shows itself to be controlled and motivated more by a strong desire for power than by the sense of brotherly love and by a selfless sense of duty. Rome knows how to take advantage of the right moment to transform minutiae into major issues in order to make other churches spiritually subject to Rome and then to incorporate them organizationally into Rome's own sphere of influence.

\2/ A. von Harnack, <tm>Einführung in die alte Kirchengeschichte</tm> (Leipzig: Hinichs, 1929), p. 92.

\3/ Lietzmann, <tm>History</tm> 1: 192.

\4/ Lietzmann, <tm>History</tm> 1: 194 f.


Consider, for example, the Easter dispute that was conjured up by Rome less than a century after <ts>1 Clement</ts>, and which "was occasioned by an insignificant difference in cultic practice"\5/ -- not that we judge it to be so minor by our standards, but it is evaluated by Irenaeus in just this way (in Eusebius EH 5.24.12 ff.). By the middle of the second century Rome had made an attempt to impose its will upon Asia, but held back from taking the final steps when the elderly Polycarp came to Rome in person. In 190 Victor, believing that Asia is isolated and regarding that fortress as easily assailable, advances with the heavy artillery of exclusion from church fellowship (EH 5.24.9). A little later we see Rome busy with measures designed to establish its influence in Egypt (see above, 55 f., 60). Then, in the middle of the third century, North Africa was the scene of a similarly motivated activity -- "the occasion appears to be even more insignificant and petty than in the case of the Easter disputes."\6/

\5/ So as not to fall victim to the danger of arbitrarily coloring the facts in favor of my arguments as the occasion demands, I follow here the presentation of Achelis, <tm>Christentum</tm> 2: 217-19.

\6/ Achelis, <tm>Christentum</tm> 2: 220.


It seems to me, therefore, that Rome takes action not when it is overflowing with love or when the great concerns of the faith are really in jeopardy, but when there is at least the opportunity of [[98]] enlarging its own sphere of influence. In this connection it certainly may be granted that, as far as Rome is concerned, its own interests coincide with the interests of the true faith and of genuine [[*102]] brotherly love. The earliest such opportunity presented itself to Rome, in my judgment, toward the end of the first century in Corinth. But what exactly was it in this congregation that called Rome into action? No doubt it was the fact that the internal discord greatly reduced the power of resistance of the Corinthian church, so that it seemed to be easy prey. But what were the factors that indicated to Rome what position to take in the Corinthian arena, in favor of one party and against the others?

Certainly it was not moral indignation over the irreverence of the young people and their lack of a brotherly and Christian community spirit that induced Rome to intervene and produced the voluminous writing of sixty-five chapters. In that case, Rome's expenditure of effort would be disproportionate to the occasion. Even the ecclesiastical "office" as such is not of a decisive significance for Rome. If the change in Corinth had turned things in a direction acceptable to Rome, then <ts>1 Clement</ts> also would have embraced the wisdom of the orthodox Ignatius (see above, 62 f., 68) that the bishop must be obeyed even if he is young and inexperienced since what matters is not his age but only that he functions in the place of God and of Christ. It is not the office that is in danger, but apparently the officers whom Rome desires, and that is why Rome intervenes in favor of the principle that the church officer cannot be removed. In such a situation, one cannot very well intercede for particular persons; it is much better and more convincing to argue for principles. It appears to me, therefore, that we ought to search for the specific occasion that prejudiced Rome so strongly against the turn of events in Corinth; events that recently received rather clear expression when the ecclesiastical offices were restaffed. Unfortunately, our letter does not express itself on this point with the desired clarity.

With reference to <ts>1 Clement</ts> 44.6 and the removal of the Corinthian presbyters mentioned there, Knopf states: "Unfortunately we are not told why."\7/ And Harnack is quite correct when he dismisses without further ado many things that <ts>1 Clement</ts> says in its characterization of the situation: [[99]]

To determine what the occasion and the nature of the quarrel and the purposes of the troublemakers were, one must disregard Clement's moralizing criticism and condemnation.\8/ [[*103]] When he warns against contentiousness and pride, against ambition, conceit and self-glory, when he characterizes the troublemakers as `rash and self-willed individuals' (<gk>prwsopa propeth kai auqadh</gk>, 1.1) and calls the schism `abominable and unholy' (<gk>miara kai anosios</gk>, 1.1), that need not be taken into consideration, for such reproaches are quite natural in the face of a definite schism.\9/
Such a statement acknowledges that we here encounter the all too familiar tune of the fighter against heresy (<gk>ai(resis</gk>). When jealousy and envy are designated as the motivating forces, one would think that he were hearing Tertullian or some other champion in the battle with heresy. And when <ts>1 Clement</ts> bases his position upon the strong and unshakable foundation of tradition -- God, Christ, the apostles, the leaders of the church\10/ -- he is employing a weapon that belongs to the favorite equipment in the same workshop.

\7/ Knopf, <tm>Clemensbriefe</tm>, p. 120.

\8/ And thereby also the reasons that could be inferred therefrom.

\9/ Harnack, <tm>Einführung</tm>, p. 91.

\10/ [See 1 Clem. 42-44.] Lietzmann, <tm>History</tm> 1: 193 f.


In view of the insufficient reasons supplied by the letter itself, it seems to me not inappropriate also to take into account differences of doctrine and life, if we wish to understand the origin of the new order in Corinth which was so painful to Rome. But in order to do this, it is necessary to pay attention also to the church history of Corinth during the period before and after Clement. In the capital city of Achaia, there had been diverse patters of Christianity from the very beginning. Alongside the personal disciples of Paul, who endeavored to preserve with fidelity the characteristic features of the proclamation of the Apostle to the Gentiles, stand the followers of Apollos and two kinds of Jewish Christians: (1) those who identify themselves with Cephas and, like their hero, hold fast to Jewish practice for themselves but do not demand the same from their uncircumcised brethren; and (2) the "Christ" group, who had the same requirements even for gentile Christians. Doubtless the latter group disappeared from Corinth in the postapostolic age (see above, 86 f.). But as far as the other parties are concerned, a change comparable to that which we have suspected for the Asia of the postapostolic [[100]] age (see above, 87 f.) probably took place in Corinth, conditioned by similar circumstances.

We have all the more reason to assume this, since such a change makes its appearance already in apostolic times. Already in 1 Corinthians, alongside the division which is identified by the names of the leaders, [[*104]] there appears also another division that coincides only partly with the first and that bears within itself the seeds of further development. From the very beginning, there existed in Corinth conflict between the strong and the weak, a conflict in which "gnostic" ideas and attitudes play a role.\11/ The strong proudly believe that since they possess gnosis and are pneumatics, "everything" is permissible, including the eating of food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8. 1 ff.; 10. 23 f.) and the unhesitating satisfaction of sexual desires (1 Cor. 6. 12 ff.). The Apocalypticist resisted the very same view of Christian freedom in heretical circles in Pergamum (Rev. 2.14) and Thyatira (2.20) -- the heretics teach the slaves of the Son of Man "to practice immorality and to enjoy food that has been sacrificed to idols." The same thing is characteristic of the Basilidians, according to Irenaeus (AH 1.24.5 [= 19.3]), and of the gnostics in general, according to Justin (<ts>Dial</ts>. 35. 1- 6).

\11/ Cf. H. Lietzmann, <tm>An die Korinther</tm> I/II, 4\3, HbNT 9 (1931): 38, 46.


With the observation that there were gnostics in Corinth whom the Apostle time and again rebukes with the argument that although everything may be permitted, not everything that is permitted is beneficial, I would now like to establish a connection between this and a doctrinal deviation that we also encounter in Corinth and for which Paul assumed just as little responsibility. Certain people there were maintaining that there is no resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15.12, 16, 29, 32). This too, is a trait which the churchmen of post-apostolic times never grow tired of branding as a heretical, and especially a gnostic degeneration: Polycarp (<ts>Phil.</ts> 7.1), Justin (<ts>Dial.</ts> 80.4; <ts>Resurr.</ts> 2)\12/ 2 Timothy 2.18, <ts>2 Clement</ts> 9.1. In the opinion of many, <ts>2 Clement</ts> comes from the area of Rome-Corinth. The apocryphal correspondence between Paul and the Corinthians in the <ts>Acts [[101]] of Paul</ts> \13/ portrays the Apostle to the Gentiles fighting two gnostic teachers in Corinth, whose preaching included the statement that there was no resurrection of the flesh. The detailed discussion of the question in <ts>1 Clement</ts> 23.1-27.7 proves to me that the same aberration also must have come to the attention of the author of that document as a shortcoming of the Corinthian Christians.

\12/ The authenticity of the preserved fragments of Justin's treatise "On The Resurrection" (see K. Holl, <tm>Fragmente vornicänischer Kirchenväter aus den Sacra Parallela</tm> [TU 20.2, 1899], pp. 36-49) has been widely disputed. For a recent, favorable treatment of the question, see P. Prigent, <tm>Justin et l'Ancien Testament</tm> (Paris: Gabalda, 1964), esp. pp. 50 ff.

\13/ ET by R. McL. Wilson in Hennecke-Schneemelcher 2:374 ff.; for the text, see above 42 n. 99.


If Paul already had rejected the "strong," with whose approach (food sacrificed to idols, immorality, denial of the resurrection) the Jewish Christians in question could sympathize even less than he, [[*105]] the subsequent development (once again, compare the analogous situation in Asia; above 86f.) must have taken place in such a way that the genuine successors of the original Paul and Cephas parties gradually drew closer to each other, so that finally they would merge to produce "orthodoxy," in opposition to the gnosticizing Christians in whom perhaps the spirit of the syncretistic Alexandrian Apollos continued to flourish. It seems quite natural to me that the former group, which could regard itself as the embodiment of the apostolic past of the Corinthian church, and which could lay claim to the reputations of Paul and Peter, took charge from the very outset. However, it is equally clear that the longer time went on, the less it could rely upon the majority of the faithful. Already at the time of Paul, the "strong" had become an extremely noteworthy factor. And it can hardly be doubted that they won a much greater number of adherents from the hellenistic world than the other groups, whose Jewish Christian wing would increasingly be pushed into the background. Thus it appears to be a natural consequence of the changed state of affairs that eventually the minority rule of the "old" became intolerable to the "young," so that they, inspired and led by particularly determined and ambitious persons (<ts>1 Clem.</ts> 47.6), brought about a fundamental change and instituted a unified take-over of the church offices in accord with their own point of view.

This development, however, touched a sensitive spot with reference to the interests of Rome. Now the community in the metropolis nearest to Rome -- indeed, that important body of Christians with which, in general, Rome had the closest communications -- was about to break away from Rome completely. But for Rome, this involved [[102]] the danger of total isolation, because the farther one traveled toward the East, the less Christianity conformed to Rome's approach. As far as we can tell, during the first century the Christian religion had developed in the world capital without any noticeable absorption of "gnostic" material; for even if the ascetic ideal which was so highly regarded by the "weak" of Rome (Rom. 14.1 ff.)\14/ belongs to this category, that was and remained the way of life only of a minority. The course of events was gradually moving Corinth farther and farther from Rome, and when with the removal of the older generation of presbyters,\15/ the gulf [[*106]] threatened to become unbridgeable, Rome risked making the attempt to turn back the wheel -- an action that held all the more promise of success since there was a powerful minority in Corinth upon which Rome could rely because their religious and ecclesiastical aims, and in several cases their personal desires as well, were completely in line with the Roman efforts.


\14/ See H. Lietzmann, <tm>An die Römer</tm> \4, HbNT 8 (1933), pp. 114 ff.

\15/ According to 1 Clem. 44.6 only "some" elders had been removed. Apparently, then, the flow [[*106]] of events already had reached the point where representatives of the new line were being inducted into office. These, of course, would not be affected by the reorganization, and probably should be regarded as the leaders of the "young."


To some extent, then, <ts>1 Clement</ts> describes the situation satisfactorily, as seen from Rome's perspective. Presbyters of venerable age, rooted in the apostolic past of their church, actually have been forced to retire and have been replaced by younger counterparts. Ambition and other human weaknesses doubtless also played a role. But this alone would not have caused Rome to intervene. Rather, we must search after the actual causes of the disturbances in Corinth, for these also constitute the real grounds for Rome's position. And I cannot find a more satisfactory answer to this question than the one we attempted above, based on the history of Christianity in Corinth. If marked traits of gnosis are passed over in silence by <ts>1 Clement</ts>, one should take into consideration that we are in the extreme Christian West and in the first century. Another warning that was issued abroad by Christian Rome around the same time, namely 1 Peter, does not show any knowledge of a distinct type of false belief in the sense of a later time -- this is in marked contrast to 2 Peter. But that does not make it any easier for Rome to accept the change in [[103]] Corinth. Rome feels that Corinth now will orient itself officially toward the East, and in so doing will dissociate itself from the West. The attempt to use the opposition between orthodoxy and heresy as a means of understanding <ts>1 Clement</ts> and its background finds support from the earliest users of this document of whom we are aware. Polycarp, who is thoroughly familiar with <ts>1 Clement</ts>,\16/is an anti-heretically oriented church leader whose life finds its main fulfillment in the struggle against the heretics. The same can be said about Dionysius of Corinth who refers to <ts> 1 Clement</ts> in tones of highest respect (in Eusebius EH 4.23.11). [[*107]] And his contemporary, Hegesippus, a churchman and foe of gnosis like the two already mentioned, after some remarks about <ts>1 Clement</ts> declares happily on the basis of personal impressions in Corinth and in Rome: "The church of the Corinthians continued in the true doctrine up to the time when Primus was bishop of Corinth.\17/ When I traveled by ship to Rome I stayed with them, and had conversations with them for several days during which we rejoiced together over the true doctrine" (in Eusebius EH 4.22.1 f.). Here <ts>1 Clement</ts> is interpreted as a call to orthodoxy with which the Corinthians complied for a long time.

\16/ Cf. Lightfoot, <tm>Apostolic Fathers</tm>\2 1 (<tm>S. Clement of Rome</tm>).1 (1890): 149-52.

\17/ This refers to the time at which Hegesippus writes. Concerning subsequent developments he can say nothing. Thus "abiding in the true doctrine" stands in contrast to the unpleasant condition of earlier circumstances, in which <ts>1 Clement</ts> successfully intervened.


Finally, we have Irenaeus (AH 3.3.3 [= 3.3.2]), who first reports that Clement had seen the apostles and heard their preaching with his own ears. Irenaeus continues:

When during his [Clement's] time of office a not insignificant discord arose among the brethren in Corinth, the church in Rome sent a very lengthy letter to the Corinthians urgently admonishing them to be at peace with each other, to renew their faith, and to proclaim the tradition which they recently received from the apostles: that there is one almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, creator of man, the one who brought about the deluge and called Abraham; the one who brought the people out of the land of Egypt; the one who spoke with Moses, who ordained the law, and who sent the prophets; and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. Those who so desire can learn from this writing [i.e. <ts>1 Clement</ts>] that this is the God proclaimed by [[104]] the churches as the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus can gain insight into the apostolic tradition of the church, for the letter is older than those present false teachers who deceitfully claim that there is another God superior to the Demiurge and creator of all things.

Thus the situation with respect to the schism in Corinth has been corrected through a "renewal of the faith" and reference to the tradition of apostolic teaching of which Rome claims to be the guardian. Irenaeus sees the anti-heretical thrust of <ts>1 Clement</ts> especially in the frequent use of the Old Testament and in the praise of the almighty creator God. [[*108]]

If we take to heart the hint which is given here and which comes from a man who had good Roman connections, then it seems to me that we can understand the essential content of <ts>1 Clement</ts> much better than before, because we can see it in its proper context. In its positive exposition of the common faith of the church, markedly moralistic in approach and based on the Old Testament and the sayings of the Lord, <ts>1 Clement</ts> offers the best refutation of any gnostic-tainted Christianity -- soberly objective and free of the temptation to probe into the "depths of the godhead." In any event, Rome's intervention had a decisive effect. Rome succeeded in imposing its will on Corinth. How completely Rome cast its spell over the capital of Achaia is shown by the letter of bishop Dionysius of Corinth to the Roman Bishop Soter (175-182), in which Dionysius mentions <ts>1 Clement</ts> as well as a letter which was sent by Soter to the Corinthians, as follows: "Today we celebrated a holy Lord's day in which we read your [i.e. Soter's] letter, which we shall always read for our admonition just as we read the earlier one which came to us through Clement" (EH 4.23.11). We have no reason to question that this advantageous turn of events in favor of Rome was brought about by that action of the Roman church which is connected with the name of Clement. Not only is Corinth, in the time of Dionysius, conscious of this; Clement also lives on in the grateful memory of the Romans as the one who knows how to conduct successful correspondence with the churches abroad (<ts>Hermas</ts> 8 [= Vis.2.4].3). For them he is to such a great extent the churchman who is also respected abroad that we meet the still markedly Roman figure of Clement also in the Orient where "the church" later receives her orders. The <ts>Apostolic Constitutions</ts>, which were produced in the East in the fourth [[105]] century, based on older writings, claim to be composed by "Clement, bishop and citizen of the Romans."\18/ Probably this esteem was ultimately based in what Clement actually achieved for his church. We can also explain the old story about Peter and Clement, known already to Origen,\19/ [[*109]] in the light of Rome's endeavor also to send eastward that leader who had been victorious in the conquest of Corinth.\20/ At any rate, his image was powerful enough that anonymous literary productions became attached to it. The so-called <ts>Second Letter of Clement</ts> is already considered to be a product of Clement by the first Christian who mentions it (Eusebius EH 3.38.4).

\18/ On Clement as a writer and author of church orders, see Harnack, <tm>Geschichte</tm> 1.2, 942 f., and Hennecke in Hennecke\2, pp. 554 f. and p. 143. [See also Lightfoot, <tm>Apostolic Fathers</tm>\2 1 (<tm>S. Clement of Rome</tm>). 1, chap. 2 on Apostolic Constitutions, see below 244 n. 7.]

\19/ <ts>Commentary on Genesis</ts> = <ts>Philocalia</ts> 23 [at the end; J. A. Robinson expresses doubt that this material from the ps. Clementine tradition actually was quoted by Origen -- see p. 1 of his ed. of the Philocalia (Cambridge University Press, 1893)]; <ts>Commentary on Matthew</ts>, series 77 (to 26.6-13); cf. Harnack, <tm>Geschichte</tm> 1.1, 219-221.

\20/ On Rome's desire to gain infiuence in the East, see below, 106-109.


Just as one should not underestimate the success of Rome which at that time established toward the dangerous Orient a bulwark that has never been taken away, neither should one suppose it to have been greater than it really was. If we have already refused to permit our conclusions about Smyrna to be applied directly to Asia, or those concerning Hierapolis to Phrygia (above, 70 f. and 72), we must now resist the temptation to consider Corinth to be representative of Achaia. On the contrary, we need to recognize that apart from its capital city of Corinth, Christian Greece remained hostile toward Rome. The very proximity of Macedonia (see above, 72-75) should make this suggestion seem all the more reasonable. Dionysius of Corinth tries to gain a foothold in the churches of Lacedaemonia and Athens by means of letters whose subject matter is instruction in the orthodox doctrine or encouragement to faith and gospel-centered conduct (EH 4.23.2-3) -- and one can imagine what these conceptions mean in the mouth of the devoted servant of Rome. But the results can not have been particularly significant. For although very soon afterward, as a result of the paschal controversies, synods and assemblies of bishops convened in Pontus and Gaul, which agreed with the assembly of bishops which met for the same reason in Rome [[106]] (EH 5.23.3; see above, 75), we hear of nothing similar for Achaia. Not that the local bishop, Bacchyllus, had not taken great pains to bring about a common declaration in favor of Rome; but he was not successful. At least this is what I must conclude is meant when Eusebius, after enumerating the provinces which supported Rome, goes on to say that there is also a personal letter from Bacchyllus, bishop of Corinth, concerning this matter (EH 5.23.4). Eusebius, who like his native land Palestine is favorable to Rome, certainly did not eliminate materials from the tradition to the detriment of that church. [[*110]]

Furthermore, we know that Achaia, in contrast to Rome, did not support Demetrius in his action against Origen. Jerome states this explicitly (see above, 55). Origen had been in Greece shortly before this (EH 6.23.4), but he did not visit the capital, which was under Roman influence; instead, he went to Athens (Jerome <ts>Illustrious Men</ts> 54) where he received a more favorable reception than earlier in Rome (see above, 55). Although Jerome makes no other claim except that Origen used this opportunity to fight against many heresies, Eusebius knows only of "urgent ecclesiastical affairs" that brought him there. And that can be taken in quite another sense than pro-Roman or anti- heretical.

The fact that in Greece Rome found its influence limited to Corinth does not at all mean that it had not made any efforts to gain more new territory for itself and for its interpretation of Christianity. To be sure, around the middle of the second century many serious difficulties arose for Rome in its own house. It is enough to refer to the names of Marcion and Valentinus to indicate what it was that soon restricted considerably Rome's outward expansion, limited its powers, and kept Rome within rather definite bounds. Nevertheless, behind Dionysius of Corinth with his efforts for Greece, Crete and certain northern areas of Asia Minor, stands ecclesiastical Rome. Generally speaking, whenever we see fighters of heresy at work in the time between Clement and Dionysius of Corinth, their connections with Rome are quite clear and quite close. Papias is perhaps the only one concerning whom we have no direct evidence from the sources that he had personal contact with the world capital. In the highly fragmentary tradition about him and his life, nothing is said about [[107]] him ever having left his Phrygian homeland.\21/ Of course, it would be hard to imagine that the energetic collector of old traditions who has consciously evaluated book wisdom as less valuable than living communication with the hearers of tradition (in Eusebius, EH 3.39.4) would have been permanently fettered to one spot. And even if he had not personally been in Rome, he had a clear connection with Rome in another way. His friend Polycarp (Irenaeus AH 5.33.4) stood near enough to the world capital; and both churchmen held in high regard 1 Peter, that proclamation with which [[*111]] Rome had made inroads into the major part of Asia Minor.\22/ Furthermore, we find among the traditions concerning the gospels collected by Papias some that are clearly of Roman origin. Although the name of Rome does not occur in the report of Eusebius about what Papias relates concerning the "elder's" account of the origin of Mark's gospel (EH 3.39.15), it does appear quite soon in this context in Irenaeus (AH 3.1.1 [= 3.1.2]), a theologian dependent upon Papias, and even more unmistakably in Clement of Alexandria (in his lost "Outlines", see EH 6.14.6 f.). Elsewhere, Eusebius makes it clear that in his judgement Clement of Alexandria is only repeating the opinion of Papias (EH 2.15, esp. 2). In accord with this is the fact that the old gospel prologues also claim that Mark, the interpreter of Peter, wrote his gospel in Italy.\23/ Not only is the presence of Mark (Col. 4.10; Philem. 24; cf. 2 Tim. 4.11), like that of Peter,\24/ already attested in Rome during the apostolic age, but both personalities appear to be so closely associated in Rome already in the first century that I can hardly doubt that it was here that the origin of Mark's gospel was first attributed to the influence of Peter, and that the "elder" derived from this source what he passed on to Papias.

\21/ Cf. Zahn, <tm>Forschungen</tm> 6: 109.

\22/ Papias' use of the document is described in EH 3.39.17; for Polycarp's use, see his <ts>letter to the Philippians</ts>, as Eusebius also noted in EH 4.14.9.

\23/ Harnack, <tm>Evangelien-Prologe</tm>, pp. 5 f. [= 324 f.].

\24/ H. Lietzmann, <tm>Petrus und Paulus in Rom: Liturgiche und archäologiche Studien</tm>\2 (Berlin/Leipzig, 1927).


Hegesippus, who dedicated his life to the fight against heresy, traveled by way of Corinth to Rome in order to take up residence there for an extended period of time (EH 4.22.1-3; see above, 103). Justin spent the major portion of his Christian life in Rome, whence he attacked the heretics, both at home and abroad, orally and in [[108]] writing. Rhodon of Asia Minor, who fought Marcion, Apelles, and Tatian, had been a pupil of Tatian in Rome when the latter was still considered orthodox (EH 5.13.1,8).\25/ Perhaps Miltiades also, the enemy of the Valentinians and Montanists, whom the so-called <ts>Little Labyrinth</ts> lists between Justin and Tatian (EH 5.28.4), [[*112]] and Tertullian places after Justin and before Irenaeus (<ts>Against the Valentinians</ts> 5),\26/ belonged to the same circle.

\25/ I will refrain from attempting to infer from the names of particular heresy fighters such as Agrippa Castor, Modestus, or Musanus, that they had Roman connections.

\26/ O. Bardenhewer, <tm>Geschichite</tm>\2 1: 284.


As we see here the lines running from Rome to the East and from the main representatives of orthodoxy back again to Rome, the case of Corinth becomes all the more instructive in showing that the Roman church took a special interest in gaining influence over communities located in the great metropolitan centers. In Corinth, Rome was able to do this in an extensive and conclusive way as early as the year 100; in Alexandria, this only happened in a more limited manner more than one hundred years later (see above, 55 f., 60), which is highly significant in relation to the situation in Christian Egypt at an earlier period. Rome did not wait for such a long time voluntarily and gladly. In another metropolis of the ancient world she apparently intervened much sooner, in spite of the fact that heresy had the upper hand there. Nevertheless, the situation in Antioch (see above, 63-67) was different and more favorable, insofar as here there was an orthodox minority with which cooperation seemed to be possible. In the capital of Syria the attempt to refute and to defeat the heretics becomes apparent to us with Ignatius. But at once, it seems to me, we also sense the desire of Rome to strengthen the forces of orthodoxy and ecclesiastical Christianity. A particularly fortunate circumstance shows it is also at work here, about twenty years after the Corinthian campaign. We can hardly value highly enough the fact that in addition to his letters to the Asians, we also possess from the pen of the Antiochene martyr-bishop a letter to the church of Rome from which a great deal can be learned for our purposes. It gives us some insight into the methods used by Rome to open Antioch to Rome's influence.

This is why the writings of Ignatius are of such extreme importance [[109]] to us, because the ecclesiastical history of a later time leaves us almost completely in the dark with regard to the early period at Antioch. What, strictly speaking, has been included in the work of Eusebius from the life of the Antiochian church up to the time of Theophilus, who held office toward the end of the second century? We must admit that there is practically nothing. And the reserve which borders on silence on the part of the ecclesiastical historian [[*113]] in this case is perhaps even more shocking than it was with regard to Mesopotamia (see above, 8 f.) and Egypt (see above, 45 f.). One should think that when the bishop of Caesarea undertook to write a church history he would have had the greatest interest in the past of the church of Antioch, which was founded in earliest apostolic times and situated in the nearby metropolis. In fact his interest does appear in the form of his attempt to provide a list of bishops also for this church, as had been done for Rome, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Unfortunately, however, his interest in Antioch's earliest history is practically exhausted in this sort of attempt, as far as we can tell; and if his interest was not exhausted, the material which he possessed or found worthy of relating was.

We have already discussed what an examination of the bishop lists reveals -- little enough and all quite uncertain (see above, 63 f.). All we need to add here is that the mention of bishop Ignatius leads to an account about him, his fate and his letters, with quotations from the latter (EH 3.36). Nevertheless that yields almost nothing about Antioch itself, and nothing at all that we could not also gather from the Ignatian writings, which evidently are Eusebius' only source in spite of the fact that he calls their author "still highly esteemed by a great many" (EH 3.36.2). If we take the added assertion that Ignatius was second in the succession from Peter to hold the bishop's chair (see below, 115 f.) for what it really is -- an untrustworthy feature in the growth of ecclesiastical tradition - - then we have dealt with everything that Eusebius has to report about that period of the earliest church history of Antioch which he examines with the greatest detail. Apart from this, we find that Acts 11.20-30 is utilized (EH 2.3.3), a passage that is also echoed a couple of other times; we hear that Luke came from Antioch (EH 3.4.6);\27/ and we can read [[110]] a small section from Justin's longer <ts>Apology</ts> (26.4) that refers to Menander as a successful heretic in Antioch (EH 3.26.3). Then when we hear that Saturninus had been an Antiochean (EH 4.7.3), we have compiled everything that relates to the time before Theophilus -- that is, the first 150 years of Christianity there.

\27/ The ancient prologues to the gospels also know this; see Harnack, <tm>Evangelien-Prologe</tm>, pp. 5 f. [= 324 f.].


In what other way is it possible to explain this sort of reporting, except to suppose that the recollections concerning the beginning [[*114]] have been forced through a narrow sieve which held back the main item? One need not speak directly of ecclesiastical censorship, for even before censorship became unilaterally effective the decay of tradition already had set in and had progressed rapidly. In the conflict between the two hostile parties, orthodoxy and heresy, the witnesses to the earliest history often were ground down and have disappeared. Each movement tried to blot from public memory that which was unfavorable to itself, to check its further distribution and propagation; this tendency became a most successful ally to those circumstances which in themselves already threatened the survival of a literature that was issued in such very small quantities and in such a perishable form. We know something of Ignatius because he wrote his letters in Asia and for (Rome and) Asia, where they were soon taken over by the faithful hands of Polycarp who supervised their reproduction and circulation (Polycarp <ts>Phil.</ts> 13.2). These were extraordinarily favorable circumstances. If Ignatius had fought the heretics in Antioch itself by means of some sort of polemical treatise, I am convinced that this would have perished just as surely as did so many other documents of antiquity which were issued in the struggle with heresy.

The fortunate circumstances mentioned above have rescued this informant for us, and thus a solitary light flashes forth in the darkness and illuminates a limited area. Within this area we are seeking to obtain information about those things that we can still more or less clearly recognize concerning the methods used by Rome to draw other churches into its sphere of influence. What we are still in a position to discover concerning the attitude of Rome toward Antioch is by no means limited to this particular case, but has a general significance. We would do well, therefore, to incorporate this piece of information from the primitive Christian history of Antioch into a larger context (see below, 113 f.).

//End Ch.5//

[Next: Chapter 6]