by Adolph (von)
translated and edited by James Moffatt
Second, enlarged and revised English edition;
Theological Translation Library, volumes 19-20
From the German, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten (1902, revised 1906, 1915, and finally 1924)
Book 3 (scanned by Moises
Amna Khwar; part edited by Liz Rosado; further editing by
Khwar, October 2004, and Chris Segal, Spring 2006)
MISSIONARIES: THE METHODS OF THE
THE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES
AND PROPHETS OR TEACHERS: THE INFORMAL MISSIONARIES)
BEFORE entering upon
proper, let us briefly survey the usage of the term “apostle,” in its
narrower senses, throughout the primitive Christian writings.\1/
Though it is only apostles of Christ who are to be considered, it may
observed that Paul spoke (2 Cor. 8.23) of ἀπόστολοι ἐκκλησιῶν,
and applied the title “apostle of the
Philippians” to Epaphroditus, who had conveyed to him a donation from
church (Philip. 2.25). In Heb. 3.1 Jesus is called “the apostle and
of our confession.” But in John 13.16 “apostle” is merely used as an
illustration: οὐκ ἔστι δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ,
οὐδὲ ἀρόστολος μείζων τοῦ πέμψαντος αὐτόν.
For the literature on this subject,
see my edition of the Didachê (Texte u.
Untersuchungen, vol. 2, 1884) and my Dogmengeschichte
I.3 (1894), pp. 153 f. [
1. In Matthew, Mark, and John, “apostle” is not a special and distinctive name for the inner circle of the disciples of Jesus. These are almost invariably described as “the twelve,”\2/ or the [] twelve disciples.\3/ As may be inferred from Matt. 19.28, the choice of this number probably referred to the twelve tribes of Israel.\4/ In my opinion the fact of their selection is historical, as is also the tradition that even during his lifetime Jesus once dispatched them to preach the gospel, and selected them with that end in view. At the same time, the primitive church honored them pre-eminently not as apostles but as the twelve disciples (chosen by Jesus). In John they are never called the apostles;\5/ in Matthew they are apparently called “the twelve apostles” (10.2) once,\6/ but this reading is a correction, Syr. Sin. giving “disciples.” At one place Mark writes “the apostles” (6.30), but this refers to their temporary missionary labors during the life of Jesus. All three evangelists are thus ignorant of “apostle” as a designation of the twelve: there is but one instance where the term is applied to them ad hoc.\7/
\2/ Matt. 10.5, 20.17, 26.14, 47; Mark (3.14), 4.10, 6.7, 9.35, 10.32, 11.11, 14.10, 17, 20, 43; John 6.67, 70, 71, 20.24.
\3/ Matt. 10.1, 11.1, 26.20. -- Add further the instances in which they are called “the eleven” (Mark 16.14) or “the eleven disciples” (Matt. 28.16).
This is explicitly stated in Barn. 8: oὖσιν δεκαδύο εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν φυλῶν ὕτι ιβ’
αἱ φυλαὶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ
(“They are twelve for a testimony to the tribes, for
there are twelve tribes in
\5/ This is a remarkable fact. In the Johannine epistles “apostle” never occurs at all. Yet these letters were composed by a man who, whatever he may have been, claimed and exercised apostolic authority over a large number of the churches, as is plain from the third epistle (see my study of it in the fifteenth volume of the Texte and Unlersuchungen, part 3). More on this point afterwards.
\6/ Not “the twelve” pure and simple. Elsewhere the term, “the twelve apostles,” occurs only in Apoc. 21.14, and there the “twelve” is not superfluous, as the Apocalypse uses “apostle” in a more general sense (see below).
\7/ The phrasing of Mark 3.14 (ἐποίησεν δώδεκα, ἵνα ὦσιν μετ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν καὶ ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν ἐκβάλλειν τὰ δαιμόνια) corresponds to the original facts of the case. The mission (within
2. With Paul it is quite otherwise. He never employs the term “the twelve” (for in 1 Cor. 15.5 he is repeating a formula of the primitive church),\8/ but confines himself to the idea of “apostles.” His terminology, however, is not unambiguous on this point. []
\8/ From the absence of the term “twelve” in Paul, one might infer (despite the gospels) that it did not arise till later; 1 Cor. 15.5, however, proves the reverse.
(a) He calls himself an apostle of Jesus Christ, and lays the greatest stress upon this fact.\9/ He became an apostle, as alone one could, through God (or Christ); God called him and gave him his apostleship,\10/ and his apostleship was proved by the work he did and by the way in which he did it.\11/
See the opening of all the Pauline epistles, except 1 and 2 Thess.,
and Philemon; also Rom. 1.5, 11.13, 1 Cor. 4.9, 9.1 f., 15.9 f., 2 Cor.
Gal. 1.17 (2.8). It may be doubted whether, in 1 Cor. 4.9 (δοκῶ, ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἐσχάτους ἀπέδειξεν ὡς ἐπιθανατίους), ἐσχάτους is to be taken as an
attribute of ἀποστόλους or as a predicative. I
former construction (see 1 Cor. 15.8 f.), and it seems to me
probable that the first person plural here is an epistolary plural.
\10/ Gal. 1.1 f., Rom. 1.5 (ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν). It is hard to say whether ἐλάβομεν is a real plural, and, if so, what apostles are here associated with Paul.
\11/ 1 Cor. 9.1, 2, 15.9 f., 2 Cor. 12.12, Gal. 1.2.
(b) His fellow-missionaries -- e.g., Barnabas and Silvanus -- are also apostles; not so, however, his assistants and pupils, such as Timothy and Sosthenes.\12/
\12/ 1 Cor. 9.4 f. and Gal. 2.9 prove that Barnabas was an apostle, whilst 1 Thess. 2.7 makes it very probable that Silvanus was one also. In the greetings of the Thessalonian and Philippian epistles Paul does not call himself an apostle, since he is associating himself with Timothy, who is never given this title (1 Thess. 2.7 need not be taken as referring to him). It is therefore quite correct to ascribe to him (as in 2 Tim. 4.5) the work of an evangelist. Apollos, too [see p. 79], is never called an apostle. As for εὐαγγελιστής, it is to be noted that, apart from 2 Timothy, it occurs twice in the New Testament; namely, in the We-journal in Acts (21.8, as a title of Philip, one of the seven), and in Ephes. 4.11, where the reason for evangelists being mentioned side by side with apostles is that the epistle is addressed to churches which had been founded by nonapostolic missionaries, and not by Paul himself -- just as the term οἱ ἀκούσαντες (sc. τὸν κύριον) is substituted for “apostles” in Heb. 2.3, because the readers for whom the epistle was originally designed had not received their Christianity from apostles.
(c) Others also -- probably, e.g., Andronicus and Junias\13/ -- are apostles. In fact, the term cannot be sharply restricted at all; for as God appoints prophets and teachers “in the church,” so also does he appoint apostles to be the front rank [] therein,\14/ and since such charismatic callings depend upon the church's needs, which are known to God alone, their numbers are not fixed. To the apostleship belong (in addition to the above mentioned call of God or Christ) the wonderful deeds which accredit it (2 Cor. 12.12) and a work of its own (1 Cor. 9.1-2), in addition to special rights.\15/ He who can point to such is an apostle. The very polemic against false apostles (2 Cor. 11.13) and “super-apostles” (2 Cor. 11.5, 12.11) proves that Paul did not regard the conception of “apostle” as implying any fixed number of persons, otherwise the polemic would have been differently put. Finally, a comparison of 1 Cor. 15.7 with verse 5 of the same chapter shows, with the utmost clearness, that Paul distinguished a circle of apostles which was wider than the twelve -- a distinction, moreover, which prevailed during the earliest period of the church and within Palestine.\16/
\13/ Rom. 16.7 (ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ); ἐν is probably (with Lightfoot, as against Zahn) to be translated “among” rather than “by,” since the latter would render the additional phrase rather superfluous and leave the precise scope of ἀπόστολοι unintelligible. If ἐν means “by,” this passage is to be correlated with those which use οἱ ἀπόστολοι for the original apostles, since in the present case this gives the simplest meaning to the words. At any rate, the οἳ refers to Andronicus and Junias, not to ἀποστόλοις. [Add note on Junias/Julia.]
\14/ 1 Cor. 12.28 f; Eph. 4.11. Even Eph. 2.20 and 3.5 could not be understood to refer exclusively to the so-called “original apostles,” otherwise Paul would simply be disavowing his own position.
\15/ It cannot be proved -- at least not with any great degree of probability -- from 1 Cor. 9.1 that one must have seen the Lord in order to be able to come forward as an apostle. The four statements are an ascending series (οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐλεύθερος; οὐκ εἰμὶ ἀπόστολος; οὐχὶ Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν ἑόρακα; οὐ τὸ ἔργον μου ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν κυρίῳ), as is proved by the relation of the second to the first. It is clear that the third and fourth statements are meant to attest the second, but it is doubtful if they contain an attestation which is absolutely necessary.
\16/ Cp. Origen, Hom. in Num., 27.11 (vol. 10 p. 353, ed. Lommatzsch): “In quo apostolus ostendit [sc. 1 Cor. 15.7) esse et alios apostolos exceptis illis duodecim.”
(d) But in a further, strict, sense of the term, “apostle” is reserved for those with whom he himself works,\17/ and here some significance attaches to the very chronological succession of those who were called to the apostleship (Rom. 16.7). The twelve who were called during the lifetime of Jesus fall to be considered as the oldest apostles;\18/ with their qualities and functions they [] form the pattern and standard for all subsequent apostles. Thus the twelve, and (what is more) the twelve as apostles, come to the front. As apostles Paul put them in front; in order to set the dignity of his own office in its true light, he embraced the twelve under the category of the original apostolate (thereby allowing their personal discipleship to fall into the background, in his terminology), and thus raised them above all other apostles, although not higher than the level which he claimed to occupy himself. That the twelve henceforth rank in history as the twelve apostles, and in fact as the apostles, was a result brought about by Paul; and, paradoxically enough, this was brought about by him in his very effort to fix the value of his own apostleship. He certainly did not work out this conception, for he neither could nor would give up the more general conception of the apostleship. Thus the term “apostle” is confined to the twelve only twice in Paul,\19/ and even in these passages the reference is not absolutely certain. They occur in the first chapter of Galatians and in 1 Cor. 9.5. Gal. 1.17 speaks of oἱ πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀπόστολοι (“those who were apostles before me”), where in all likelihood the twelve are alone to be understood. Yet the subsequent remark in verse 19 (ἕτερον τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον εἰ μὴ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου) shows that it was of no moment to Paul to restrict the conception rigidly. In 1 Cor 9.5 we read, μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν ἀδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιάγειν, ὡς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ Κηφᾶς; the collocation of λοιπῶν ἀποστολῶν with the Lord's brothers renders it very probable that Paul here is thinking of the twelve exclusively, and not of all the existing apostles, when he mentions “the apostles.” To sum up our results: Paul holds fast to the wider conception of the apostolate, but the twelve disciples form in his view its original nucleus.
\17/ 1 Cor. 9.2 and Gal. 9 (a Jewish and a Gentile apostolate); cp. also Rom. 11.13, ἐθνῶν ἀπόστολος. Peter (Gal. 2.8) has the ἀποστολὴ τ. περιτομῆς. Viewed ideally, there is only one apostolate, since there is only one church; but the concrete duties of the apostles vary.
\18/ The apostolate is the highest rank (1 Cor. 12.28); it follows that the main thing even about the twelve is the fact of their being apostles.
\19/ Apart from 1 Cor. 15.7 (cp. verse 5), where the twelve appear as the original nucleus of the apostles; probably also apart from Rom. 16.7 (cp. p. 321, note) and 1.5.
3. The terminology of Luke is determined as much by that of the primitive age (the Synoptic tradition) as by the post-Pauline. Following the former, he calls the chosen disciples of [] Jesus “the twelve,”\20/ or “the eleven;”\21/ but he reproduces the latter in describing these disciples almost invariably throughout Acts as simply “ the apostles” -- just as though there were no other\22/ apostles at all -- and in relating, in his gospel, how Jesus himself called them apostles (6.13). Accordingly, even in the gospel he occasionally calls them “the apostles.”\23/ This would incline one to assert that Luke either knew, or wished to know, of no apostles save the twelve; but the verdict would be precipitate, for in Acts 14.4, 14, he describes not merely Paul but also Barnabas as an apostle.\24/ Obviously, the terminology was not yet fixed by any means. Nevertheless it is surprising that Paul is only described as an “apostle” upon one occasion in the whole course of the book. He does not come\25/ under the description of the qualities requisite for the apostleship which Luke has in view in Acts 1.21 f., a description which became more and more normative for the next age. Consequently he cannot have been an apostle for Luke, except in the wider sense of the term.
\20/ Luke 8.1, 9.1, 12, 18.31, 22.3, 47; Acts 6.2. Only once, then, are they called by this title in Acts, and that in a place where Luke seems to me to be following a special source.
\21/ Luke 24.9, 33 (cp. Acts 2.14, Πέτρος σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα).
\22/ Acts 1.2, 2.37, 42-43, 4.33, 35, 36, 37, 5.2, 12, 18, 29, 40, 6.6, 8.1, 14.18, 9.27, 11.1, 15.2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 16.4. In the later chapters “apostle” no longer occurs at all. Once we find the expression of οἱ ἕνδεκα ὰπόστολοι (Acts 1.26).
\23/ Luke 9.10, 17.5, 22.14, 24.10. The gospel of Peter is more cautious; it speaks of μαθηταί (30), or of οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταί (59), but never of ἀπόστολοι. Similarly, the apocalypse of Peter (5) writes, ἡμεῖς οἱ δώδεκα μαθηταί.
\24/ With both Paul (see above) and Luke, then, the apostolic dignity of Barnabas is well established. -- In regard to the Seventy disciples Luke does speak of an ἀποστέλλειν and calls them “seventy other” apostles, in allusion to the twelve. Yet he does not call them explicitly apostles. Irenaeus (2.21.1), Tertullian (adv. Marc. 4.24), Origen (on Rom. 16.7), and other writers, however, describe them as apostles, and people who were conjectured to have belonged to the Seventy were also named apostles by a later age.
\25/ The apostle to be elected must have companied with Jesus from the date of John's baptism until the ascension; he must also have been a witness of the resurrection (cp. also Luke 14.48, Acts 1.8). (Paul simply requires an apostle to have “seen” the Lord.) This conception of the apostolate gradually displaced the original conception entirely, although Paul still retained his apostolic dignity as an exception to the rule.
4. The apocalypse of John mentions those who call themselves [] apostles and are not (2.2),\26/ which implies that they might be apostles. Obviously the writer is following the wider and original conception of the apostolate, The reference in 18.20 does not at least contradict this,\27/ any more than 21.14 (see above), although only the twelve are named here “apostles,” while the statement with its symbolic character has certainly contributed largely to win the victory for the narrower sense of the term.
\26/ Cp. (above) Paul's judgment on the false apostles.
\27/ Εὺφραίνου οὐρανὲ καὶ οἱ ἀποστόλοι καὶ οἱ προφῆται. For the collocation of the Old Testament prophets, cp. also Luke 11.49, 2 Pet. 3.2. But in our passage, as in Eph. 3.20, 3.5, 4.11, the writer very possibly means Christian prophets.
5. In First Peter and Second Peter (1.1), Peter is called an apostle of Jesus Christ. As for Jud. 17 and 2 Peter 3.2 (τὰ ῥήματα τὰ προειρημένα ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰηστοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὰ προειρημένα ῥήματα ὑπὸ τῶν ἁγίων προφητῶν καὶ ἡ τῶν ἀποστόλων ὑμῶν ἐντολὴ τοῦ κυρίου καὶ σωτῆρος), in the first passage it is certain, and in the second very likely, that only the twelve disciples are to be understood.
6. That the epistle of Clement uses “apostles” merely to denote the original apostles and Paul, is perfectly clear from 42.1 f. (the apostles chosen previous to the resurrection) and 47.4 (where Apollos, as ἀνὴρ δεδοκιμάσμενος παρ’ ἀποστόλοις, a man approved by the apostles, is definitely distinguished from the apostles); cp. also 5.3 and 44.1. For Clement's conception of the apostolate, see below. The epistle of Barnabas (5.9) speaks of the Lord's choice of his own apostles (ἴδιοι ἀπόστολοι), and therefore seems to know of some other apostles; in 8.3 the author only mentions the twelve “who preached to us the gospel of the forgiveness of sins\28/ and were empowered to preach the gospel,” without calling them expressly” apostles.”\29/ As the Preaching of Peter professes to be an actual composition of [] Peter, it is self-evident that whenever it speaks of apostles, the twelve are alone in view.\30/
\28/ Of οἱ ῥαντίζοντες παῖδες οἱ εὐαγγελισάμενοι ἡμῖν τὴν ἄφεσιν ᾀμαρτιῶν καὶ τὸν ἁγνισμὸν τῆς καρδίας, οἷς ἔδωκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τὴν ἐξουσίαν – οὖσιν δεκαδύο εἰς μαρτύριον τῶν φυλῶν, ὅτι δεκαδύο φυλαὶ τοῦ Ἰσραή’—εἰς τὸ κηρύδσσειν (“The children who sprinkle are those who preached to us the gospel of the forgiveness of sins and purification of heart; those whom he empowered to preach the gospel, being twelve in number for a testimony to the tribes -- since there are twelve tribes in Israel”).
\29/ As 5.9 shows, this is merely accidental.
\30/ See von Dobschütz in Texte u. Unters. 9.1. Jesus says in this Preaching: Ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς δώδεκα μαθητὰς κρίνας ἀξίους ἔμοῦ καὶ ἀποστόλους πιστοὺς ἡγησάμενος εἶναι, πέμπων ἐπὶ τὸν κόσμον εὐαγγελίσασθαι τοὺς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην ἀνθρώπους, κ.τ.λ. (“I have chosen you twelve disciples, judging you to be worthy of me and esteeming you to be faithful apostles, sending you out into the world to preach the gospel to all its inhabitants,” etc.).
7. The passage in Sim. 9.17.1 leaves it ambiguous whether Hermas meant by “apostles” the twelve or some wider circle. But the other four passages in which the apostles emerge (Vis. 3.5.1; Sim. 9.15.4, 16.5, 25.2) make it perfectly clear that the author had in view a wider, although apparently a definite, circle of persons, and that he consequently paid no special attention to the twelve (see below, Sect. 3, for a discussion upon this point and upon the collocation of apostles, bishops, and teachers, or of apostles and teachers). Similarly, the Didachê contemplates nothing but a wider circle of apostles. It certainly avows itself to be, as the title suggests, a διδαχὴ κυρίου διὰ τῶν ιβ’ ἀποστόλων (an instruction of the Lord given through the twelve apostles), but the very addition of the number in this title is enough to show that the book knew of other apostles as well, and 11.3-6 takes apostles exclusively in the wider sense of the term (details of this in a later section).
8. In the dozen or so passages where the word “apostle” occurs in Ignatius, there is not a single one which renders it probable that the word is used in its wider sense. On the contrary, there are several in which the only possible allusion is to the primitive apostles. We must therefore conclude that by “apostle” Ignatius simply and solely understood\31/ the twelve and Paul (Rom. 4.3). Any decision in the case of Polycarp (Ep. 6.3, 8.1) is uncertain, but he would hardly have occupied a different position from that of Ignatius. His church added to his name the title of an “apostolic and prophetic teacher” (Ep. Smyrn. 16.2).
\31/ Ignatius disclaims apostolic dignity for himself, in several passages of his epistles; which nevertheless is a proof that there was a possibility of one who had not been an original apostle being none the less an apostle.
This survey of the primitive usage of the word “apostle” [] shows that while two conceptions existed side by side, the narrower was successful in making headway against its rival.\32/
\32/ During the course of the second century it became more rare than ever to confer the title of “apostles” on any except the biblical apostles or persons mentioned as apostles in the Bible. But Clement of Rome is called an apostle by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 4.17. 105), and Quadratus is once called by this name.
One other preliminary inquiry is necessary before we can proceed to the subject of this chapter. We are to discuss apostles, prophets, and teachers as the missionaries or preachers of Christianity; the question is, whether this threefold group can be explained from Judaism.
Such a derivation is in any case limited by the fact that these classes did not form any triple group in Judaism, their close association being a characteristic of primitive Christianity. With regard to each group, the following details are to be noted: --
-- Jewish officials bearing this title are unknown to us until
destruction of the temple and the organization of the Palestinian
but it is extremely unlikely that no “apostles” previously existed,
Jews would hardly have created an official class of “apostles” after
appearance of the Christian apostles. At any rate, the fact was there,
beyond question, was the name\34/ -- i.e., of authoritative
collected contributions from the Diaspora for the temple and kept the
in touch with
The very restricted use of the word in classical (Attic) Greek is well
(Herod. 126.96.36.199; Hesychius: ἀπόστολος
· στρατηγὸς κατὰ πλοῦν πεμπόμενος). In the LXX.
the word occurs only in 1 Kings 14.6 (describing the prophet Abijah:
Hebrew <h> שלוה </h>).
Justin has to fall back on ἀποστέλλειν
in order to prove (Dial. 75) that the
prophets in the Old Testament were called άπόστολοι. Josephus calls Varus, the
head of a
Jewish deputation to
\34/ If Judaism had never known apostles, would Paul have spoken of “apostles” in 2 Cor. 8.23 and Phil. 2.25?
\35/ The passages have been printed above, on pp. 57 f.; χειροτονήσαντες denotes the apostolate (cp. Acts 13.3).
\36/ For this intercommunication see, e.g., Acts, 28.21: οὔτε γράμματα περὶ σοπῦ ἐδέξαμεθα ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας (say the Roman Jews, with regard to Paul) οὔτε παραγενόμενος τις τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἀπήγγειλεν. A cognate reference is that of 2 Cor. 3.1, to ἐπιστολαὶ συστατικαί.
(in Isa. 18.1 f.) proves that the chosen persons whom Justin thus
are to be identified with the “apostles” of Judaism. The passage has
already printed (cp. p. 59), but in view of its importance it may once
quoted: εὕρομεν ἐν τοῖς τῶν παλαιῶν συγγράμμασιν, ὡς
οἱ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ
οἰκοῦντες τοῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθνους ἱερεῖς καὶ πρεσβύτεροι
αὐτήν . . . .
ἀπόστολοι αὐτῶν ἐπιστολὰς βιβλίνας
ἐνδιαβάλλοντες λόγον. ἀποστόλους δὲ εἰσέτι καὶ
νῦν (so that the institution was
novelty) ἔθος ἐστὶν Ἰουδαίοις
primary function, therefore, which
Eusebius emphasized in the Jewish “ apostles “ of his own day, was
their duty of
conveying encyclical epistles issued by the central authority for
instruction and direction of the Diaspora. In the law-book (Theodosianus
Codex, 16.8.14), as is only natural, another side is presented: “Superstitionis indignae
archisynagogi sive presbyteri Judaeorum vel quos ipsi apostolos
qui ad exigendum aurum atque argentum a patriarcha certo tempore
diriguntur,” [] etc.
(“It is part of this worthless
superstition that the Jews have chiefs of their synagogues, or elders,
whom they call apostles, who are appointed by the patriarch at
season to collect gold and silver”). The same aspect is adduced, as the
indicates, by Julian (Epist. 25; Hertlein, p. 513), when he
speaks of “the
apostleship you talk about” (λεγομένη
παρ’ ὑμῖν ἀποστολή). Jerome (ad Gal.
remarks: “Usque hodie a patriarchis Judaeorum apostolos mitti” (“To
apostles are despatched by the Jewish patriarchs”). But we gain much
information from Epiphanius, who, in speaking of a certain Joseph (adv.
30.4), writes: οὗτος τῶν
παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἀξιωματικῶν
δὲ οὗτοι μετὰ
He tells (chap. 11) when this Joseph became an apostle (or, got the εὐκαρπία τῆς ἀποστολῆς), and then proceeds: καὶ μετ’
τὴν Κιλίκων γῆν
· ὅς ἀνελθὼν
Κιλικίας τὰ ἐπιδέκατα καὶ
παρὰ τῶν ἐν
. . . . ἐπεὶ
παρ’ αὐτοῖς, ὡς
ἀζανιτῶν . . . . καθαιρῶν
ἐνεκοτεῖτο, κ.τ.λ. (“He
was despatched with epistles to
\37/ The allusion is to Isa. 18.1-2, where the LXX. reads : οὐαὶ . . . . ὁ ἀποστέλλων ἐν θαλάσςῃ ὅμηρα καὶ ἐπιστολὰς βιβλίνας ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος, while Symmachus has not ὅμηρα but ἀποστόλους. Eusebius therefore refers this passage to the false “apostles” of Judaism, and the words πορεύσονται γὰρ ἄγγελοι κοῦφοι, κ.τ.λ., to the true apostles.
\38/ ”He belonged to the order of their distinguished men. These consist of men called “apostles’; they rank next to the patriarch, with whom they are associated and with whom they often spend whole nights and days taking counsel together and consulting him on matters concerning the law.”
Putting together these functions of the “apostles,”\39/ we get the following result. (1) They were consecrated persons of a very high rank; (2) they were sent out into the Diaspora to collect tribute for headquarters; (3) they brought encyclical letters with them, kept the Diaspora in touch with the center and informed of the intentions of the latter (or of the patriarch), received orders about any dangerous movement, and had to organize resistance to it; (4) they exercised certain powers of surveillance and discipline in the Diaspora ; and (5) on returning to their own country they formed a sort of council which aided the patriarch in supervising the interests of the law.
\39/ Up till now only one inscription has been discovered which mentions these apostles, viz., the epitaph of a girl of fourteen at Venosa: “ Quei dixerunt trenus duo apostuli et duo rebbites” (Hirschfeld, Bullett. dell Instit. di corrisp. archaeol. 1867, p. 152).
In view of all
this one can hardly deny a certain connection between these Jewish
the Christian. It was not simply that Paul\40/ and others had hostile
with them their very organization afforded a sort of type for the
apostleship, great as were the differences between the two. But, one
were not these differences too great? Were not the Jewish apostles just
financial officials? Well, at the very moment when the primitive
recognized Paul as an apostle, they set him also a financial task (Gal.
he was to collect money throughout the Diaspora for the church at
\40/ Was not Paul himself, in his pre-Christian days [cp. p. 59], a Jewish “apostle”? He bore letters which were directed against Christians in the Diaspora, and had assigned to him by the highpriests and Sanhedrin certain disciplinary powers (see Acts 8.2, 22.4 f., 26.10 f., statements which deserve careful attention).
\41/ We do not know whether there were also “apostles” among the disciples of John -- that narrow circle of the Baptist which, as the gospels narrate, was held together by means of fasting and special prayers; we merely know that adherents of this circle existed in the Diaspora (at Alexandria: Acts 18.24 f., and Ephesus: Acts 19.1 f.). Apollos (see above, p. 79) would appear to have been originally a regular missionary of John the Baptist's movement; but the whole narrative of Acts at this point is singularly colored and obscure.
These statements about the Jewish apostles have been contested by Monnier (op. cit. pp. 16 f.): “To prop up his theory, Harnack takes a text of Justin and fortifies it with another from Eusebius. That is, he proves the existence of an institution in the first century by means of a second-century text, and interprets the latter by means of a fourth-century writer. This is too easy.” But it is still more easy to let such confusing abstractions blind us to the reasons which in the present instance not only allow us but even make it obvious to explain the testimony of Justin by that of Eusebius, and again to connect it with what we know of the antichristian mission set on foot by the Jerusalemites, and of the false apostles in the time of Paul. I have not ignored the fact that we possess no direct evidence for the assertion that Jewish emissaries like Saul in the first century bore the name of “apostles.”
(2) Prophets. -- The common idea is that prophets had died out in Judaism long before the age of Jesus and the apostles, but the New Testament itself protests against this erroneous idea. Reference may be made especially to John the Baptist, who certainly was a prophet and was called a prophet; also to the prophetess Hanna (Luke 2.36), to Barjesus the Jewish prophet [] in the retinue of the pro-consul at Cyprus (Acts 13.7), and to the warnings against false prophets (Matt. 7.15, 24.11, 25, Mark 13.22, 1 John 4.1, 2 Pet. 2.1).
Besides, we are told that the Essenes possessed the gift of prophecy;\42/ of Theudas, as of the Egyptian,\43/ it is said, προφήτης ἔλεγεν εἶναι (“ he alleged himself to be a prophet,” Joseph. Antiq. 20.5.1); Josephus the historian played the prophet openly and successfully before Vespasian;\44/ Philo called himself a prophet, and in the Diaspora we hear of Jewish interpreters of dreams, and of prophetic magicians.\45/ What is still more significant, the wealth of contemporary Jewish apocalypses, oracular utterances, and so forth shows that, so far from being extinct, prophecy was in luxuriant bloom, and also that prophets were numerous, and secured both adherents and readers. There were very wide circles of Judaism who cannot have felt any surprise when a prophet appeared: John the Baptist and Jesus were hailed without further ado as prophets, and the imminent return of ancient prophets was an article of faith.\46/ From its earliest awakening, then, Christian prophecy was no novelty, when formally considered, but a phenomenon which readily coordinated itself with similar contemporary phenomena in Judaism. In both cases, too, the high value attached to the prophets follows as a matter of course, since they are the voice of God; recognized as genuine prophets, they possess an absolute authority in their preaching and counsels. They were not [] merely deemed capable of miracles, but even expected to perform them. It even seemed credible that a prophet could rise from the dead by the power of God; Herod and a section of the people were quite of opinion that Jesus was John the Baptist redivivus (see also Rev. 11.11).\47/
\42/ Cp. Josephus' Wars, 1.3.5, 2.7.3, 8.12; Antiq. 13.11.2, 15.10.5, 17.3.3.
\43/ Acts 21.38; Joseph. Antiq. 20.8.6; Wars, 2.13.5
\44/ Wars, 3.8.9; cp. Suet. Vespas. 5, and Dio Cass. 66.1.
Cp. Hadrian, Ep. ad Servian. (Vopisc. Saturn. 8.) --
of course, cite the gospel of pseudo-Matthew, ch. 13 (“et prophetae qui
\46/ Only it is quite true that the Sadducees would have nothing to do with prophets, and that a section of the strict upholders of the law would no longer hear of anything ranking beside the law. It stands to reason also that the priests and their party did not approve of prophets. After the completion of the canon there must have been a semi-official doctrine to the effect that the prophets were complete (cp. Ps. 74.9: τὰ σημεῖα ἡμῶν οὐκ εἴδομεν, οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι προφήτης, καὶ ἡμᾶς οὐ γνώσεται ἔτι, also 1 Macc. 4.46, 9.27, 14.41), and this conviction passed over into the church (cp. Murator. Fragm., “completo numero”); the [[333b]] book of Daniel was no longer placed among the prophets, and the later apocalypses were no longer admitted at all into the canon. Josephus is undoubtedly echoing a widely spread opinion when he maintains that the “succession of the prophets” is at an end (Apion. 1.8; cp. also Euseb. H.E. 3.10.4: “From the time of Artaxerxes to our own day all the events have been recorded, but they do not merit the same confidence as we repose in the events that preceded them, since there has not been during this time an exact succession of prophets” -- ἀπὸ δὲ Ἀραταξέρξου μέχρι τοῦ καθ’ ἡμᾶς χρόνου γέγραπται μὲν ἕκαστα, πίστεως δ’ οὐχ ὁμοίας ἠξίωται τοῖς πρὸ αὐτῶν, διὰ τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι τὴν τῶν προφητῶν ἀκριβῆ διαδοχήν). Julian, c. Christ. 198 C: τὸ παρ’ Ἑβραίοις [προφητικὸν πνεῦμα] ἐπέλιπεν (“ the prophetic spirit failed among the Hebrews “). But although the line of the “canonical” prophets had been broken off before the appearance of Jesus, prophecy need not therefore have been extinguished.
\47/ The saying of Jesus, that all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (Matt. 11.13), is very remarkable (see below); he appears to have been thinking of the cessation of prophecy, probably owing to the nearness of the end. But the word also admits of an interpretation which does not contemplate the cessation of prophecy.
Teachers. -- No words need be
wasted on the importance of the scribes and teachers in Judaism,
\48/ Schürer, Gesch. d. jud. Volkes, 2.(3) pp. 317 f. (Eng. trans. 2.1.317).
Thus the three members of the Christian group -- apostles, prophets, teachers -- were already to be met with in contemporary Judaism, where they were individually held in very high esteem. Still, they were not grouped together; otherwise the prophets would have been placed in a more prominent position. The grouping of these three classes, and the special development of the apostleship, were the special work of the Christian church. It was a work which had most vital consequences.
As we are essaying a study of the missionaries and teachers, let us take the Didachê into consideration.\49/
\49/ In what follows I have drawn upon the section in my larger edition of the Didachê (1884), which occupies pp. 93 f.
In the fourth chapter, where the author gathers up the special duties of Christians as members of the church, this counsel is put forward as the first commandment: τέκνον μοῦ, τοῦ λαλοῦντός σοι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ μνησθήσῃ νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, τιμήσεις δὲ αὐτὸν ὡς κύριον ὅθεν γὰρ ἡ κυριότης λαλεῖται, ἐκεῖ κύριός ἐστιν (“My son, thou shalt remember him that speaketh to thee the word of God by night and day; thou shalt honor him as the Lord. For whencesoever the lordship is lauded, there is the Lord present”).\50/ As is plain from the whole book (particularly from what is said in chap. 15 on the bishops and deacons), the writer knew only one class of people who were to be honored in the church, viz., those alone who preached the word of God in their capacity of ministri evangelii.\51/ []
\50/ Compare the esteem above mentioned in which the Jews held their teachers. Barnabas (19.9-10), in a passage parallel to that of the Didachê, writes: ἀγαπήσεις ὡς κόρην τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σου πάντα τὸν λαλοῦντά σοι τὸν λόν λόγον κυρίου, μνησθήςῃ ἡμέραν κρίσεως νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας: (“Thou shalt love as the apple of thine eye everyone who speaks to thee the word of the Lord; night and day shalt thou remember the day of judgment”).
\51/ The author of Hebrews also depicts the ἡγούμενοι more closely, thus: οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ (13.7). The expression ἡγούμενοι or προηγούμενοι (see also Heb. 13.17), which had a special vogue in the Roman church, [[335b]] although it is not unexampled elsewhere, did not become a technical expression in the primitive age; consequently it is often impossible to ascertain in any given case who are meant by it, whether bishops or teachers.
But who are these λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ in the Didachê? Not permanent, elected officials of an individual church, but primarily independent teachers who ascribed their calling to a divine command or charism. Among them we distinguish (1) apostles, (2) prophets, and (3) teachers. These preachers, at the time when the author wrote, and for the circle of churches with which he was familiar, were in the first place the regular missionaries of the gospel (apostles), in the second place the men who ministered to edification, and consequently sustained the spiritual life of the churches (prophets and teachers).\52/
\52/ According to chap. 15, bishops and deacons belong to the second class, in so far as they take the place of prophets and teachers in the work of edifying the church by means of oral instruction.
(1) They were not elected by the churches, as were bishops and deacons alone (15.1, χειροτονήσατε ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισκόπους καὶ διακόους). In 1 Cor. 12.28 we read: καὶ οὓς μὲν ἔθετο ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῆ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτον ἀποστόλους, δεύτερον προφήτας, τρίτον διδασκάλους (cp. Ephes. 4.11: καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους). The early source incorporated in Acts 13 gives a capital idea of the way in which this divine appointment is to be understood in the case of the apostles. In that passage we are told how after prayer and fasting five prophets and teachers resident in the church at Antioch (Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul) received instructions from the holy Spirit to despatch Barnabas and Saul as missionaries or apostles.\53/ We may assume that in other cases also the apostles could fall back on such an exceptional commission.\54/ [] The prophets were authenticated by what they delivered in the form of messages from the Holy Spirit, in so far as these addresses proved spiritually effective. But it is impossible to determine exactly how people were recognized as teachers. One clue seems visible, however, in Jas. 3.1, where we read: μὴ πολλοὶ διδάσκαλοι γίνεσθε, εἰδότες ὅτι μεῖζον κρίμα λημψόμεθα. From this it follows that to become a teacher was a matter of personal choice -- based, of course, upon the individual's consciousness of possessing a charisma. The teacher also ranked as one who had received the holy Spirit\55/ for his calling; whether he was a genuine teacher (Did. 13.2) or not, was a matter which, like the genuineness of the prophets (Did. 11.11, 13.1), had to be decided by the churches. Yet they merely verified the existence of a divine commission; they did not in the slightest degree confer any office by their action. As a rule, the special and onerous duties which apostles and prophets had to discharge (see below) formed a natural barrier against the intrusion of a crowd of interlopers into the office of the preacher or the missionary.
\53/ The dispatch of these two men appears to be entirely the work of the holy Spirit. Ἀφορίσατε δὴ μοι τὸν Βαρνάβαν καὶ Σαῦλον εἰς τὸ ἔργον ὃ προσκέκλημαι αὐτούς, says the Spirit. The envoys thus act simply as executive organs of the Spirit.
\54/ In the epistles to Timothy, Timothy is represented as an “evangelist,” i.e., as an apostle of the second class, but he is also the holder of a charismatic office. Consequently, just as in Acts 13, we find in 1.1.18 these words: ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν παρατίθεμαί σοι, τέκνον Τιμόθεε, κατὰ τὰς προαγούσας ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας; and in 4.14, the following: μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος, ὓ ἐδόθη σοι διὰ προφητείας [μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου].
\55/ This may probably be inferred even from 1 Cor. 14.26, where διδαχή follows ἀποκάλυψις, and it is made perfectly clear by Hermas who not only is in the habit of grouping ἀπόστολοι and διδάσκαλοι, but also (Sim. 9.25.2) writes thus of the apostles and teachers: “They taught the word of God soberly and purely . . . . even as also they had received the holy Spirit” (διδάξαντες σεμνῶ καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ . . . . καθῶς καὶ παρέλαβον τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον).
(2) The distinction of “apostles, prophets, and teachers” is very old, and was common in the earliest period of the church. The author of the Didachê presupposes that apostles, prophets, and teachers were known to all the churches. In 11.7 he specially mentions prophets; in 12.3 f. he names apostles and prophets, conjoining in 13.1-2 and 16.1-2 prophets and teachers (never apostles and teachers: unlike Hermas). The inference is that although this order -- “apostles, prophets, and teachers” -- was before his mind, the prophets and apostles formed in certain aspects a category by themselves, while in other aspects the prophets had to be ranked with the teachers (see below). This order is identical with that of Paul (1 Cor. 12.28), so that its origin is to be pushed back to the sixth decade of the first century; in fact, it goes back to a still earlier [] period, for in saying οὓς μὲν ἔθετο ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρῶτον ἀποστόλους, κ.τ.λ., Paul is thinking without doubt of some arrangement in the church which held good among Jewish Christian communities founded apart from his co-operation, no less than among the communities of Greece and Asia Minor.
This assumption is confirmed by Acts 11.27, 15.22, 32, and 13.1. f. In the first of these passages we hear of prophets who had migrated from the Jerusalem-church to the Antiochene;\56/ the third passage implies that five men, who are described as prophets and teachers, occupied a special position in the church at Antioch, and that two of their number were elected by them as apostles at the injunction of the Spirit (see above).\57/ Thus the apostolic vocation was not necessarily involved in the calling to be a prophet or teacher; it required for itself a further special injunction of the Spirit. From Acts 13.1 f. the order -- “apostles, prophets, teachers” -- follows indirectly but quite obviously; we have therefore evidence for it (as the notice may be considered historically reliable) in the earliest Gentile church and at a time which was probably not even one decade distant from the year of Paul's conversion.
\56/ On a temporary visit. One of them, Agabus, was permanently resident in Judaea about fifteen years later, but journeyed to meet Paul at Caesarea in order to bring him a piece of prophetic information (Acts 21.10 f.).
\57/ From the particles employed in the passage, it is probable that Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius were the prophets, while Manäen and Saul were the teachers. One prophet and one teacher were thus dispatched as apostles. As the older man, Barnabas at first took the lead (his prophetic gift may be gathered from the name assigned to him, “Barnabas” = υἱὸς παρακλήσεως [Acts 4.36]; for in 1 Cor. 14.3 we read, ὁ προφητεύων ἀνθρώποις λαλεῖ παράκλησιν).
A century may have elapsed between the event recorded in Acts 13.1 f. and the final editing of the Didachê. But intermediate stages are not lacking. First, we have the evidence of 1 Cor. (12.28),\58/ with two witnesses besides in Ephesians (whose [] evidence is all the more weighty if the epistle is not genuine) and Hermas. Yet neither of these witnesses is of supreme importance, inasmuch as both fail to present in its pristine purity the old class of the regular λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ as apostles, prophets, and teachers; both point to a slight modification of this class, owing to the organization of individual churches, complete within themselves, which had grown up on other bases.
\58/ Observe that after enumerating apostles, prophets, and teachers, Paul does not proceed to give any further category of persons with charismatic gifts, but merely adds charismatic gifts themselves; note further that he gives no classification of these gifts, but simply arranges them in one series with a double ἔπειτα, whereas the apostles, prophets, and teachers are enumerated in order with πρῶτον, δεύτερον, and τρίτον. The conclusion is that the apostolate, the prophetic office (not, speaking with tongues), and teaching were the only offices which made their occupants persons of rank in the church, whilst the δυνάμεις, ἰάματα, ἀντιλήμψεις, κ.τ.λ. conferred no special standing on those who were gifted with such charismata. [[338b]] Hence with Paul, too, it is the preaching of God's word which constitutes a position in the ἐκκλησία of God. This agrees exactly with the view of the author of the Didachê.
Like Did. 11.3, Eph. 2.20 and 3.5 associate apostles and prophets, and assign them an extremely high position. All believers, we are told, are built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, to whom, in the first instance, is revealed the secret that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs of the promise of Christ. That prophets of the gospel, and not of the Old Testament, are intended here is shown both by the context and by the previous mention of apostles. Now in the list at 4.11 the order “apostles, prophets, and teachers” is indeed preserved, but in such a way that “evangelists” are inserted after “prophets,” and “pastors” added to “teachers” (preceding them, in fact, but constituting with them a single group or class).\59/ From these intercalated words it follows (1) that the author (or Paul) knew missionaries who did not possess the dignity of apostles,\60/ but that he did not place them immediately after the apostles, inasmuch as the collocation of “apostles and prophets” was a sort of noli me tangere (not so the collocation of “prophets and teachers”); (2) that he reckoned the leaders of an individual church (ποιμένες) among the preachers bestowed upon the church as a whole (the individual church in this way made its influence felt); (3) that he looks upon the teachers as persons belonging to a definite church, as is evident from the close connection of teachers with ποιμένες and the subsequent mention (though in [] collocation) of the former. [[Note to editor – new paragraph here?]] The difference between the author of Ephesians and the author of the Didachê on these points, however, ceases to have any significance when one observes two things : (a) first, that even the latter places the ποιμένες (ἐπίσκοποι) of the individual church side by side with the teachers, and seeks to have like honor paid to them (15.1-2); and secondly (b), that he makes the permanent domicile of teachers in an individual church (13.9) the rule, as opposed to any special appointment (whereas, with regard to prophets, domicile would appear, from 13.1, to have been the exception). It is certainly obvious that the Didachê's arrangement approaches more nearly than that of Ephesians to the arrangement given by Paul in Corinthians, but it would be more than hasty to conclude that the Didachê must therefore be older than the former epistle. We have already seen that the juxtaposition of the narrower conception of the apostolate with the broader is very early, and that the latter, instead of being simply dropped, kept pace for a time with the former. Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that passages like Acts 13.1, 11.27, 21.10, etc., prove that although the prophets, and especially the teachers, had to serve the whole church with their gifts, they could possess, even in the earliest age, a permanent residence and also membership of a definite community, either permanently or for a considerable length of time. Hence at an early period they could be viewed in this particular light, without prejudice to their function as teachers who were assigned to the church in general.
\59/ It does not follow that the “teachers” are to be considered identical with the “pastors,” because τοὺς δὲ does not immediately precede διδάσκαλους. The inference is merely that Paul or the author took both as comprising a single group.
\60/ I have already tried (p. 321) to explain exactly why evangelists are mentioned in Ephesians.
As for Hermas, the most surprising observation suggested by the book is that the prophets are never mentioned, for all its enumeration of classes of preachers and superintendents in Christendom.\61/ In consequence of this, apostles and teachers (ἀπόστολοι and διδάσκαλοι) are usually conjoined.\62/ Now as [] Hermas comes forward in the rôle of prophet, as his book contains one large section (Mand. 11) dealing expressly with false and genuine prophets, and finally as the vocation of the genuine prophet is more forcibly emphasized in Hermas than in any other early Christian writing and presupposed to be universal, the absence of any mention of the prophet in the “hierarchy” of Hermas must be held to have been deliberate.
\61/ In Sim. 9.15.4a Old Testament prophets are meant.
\62/ Cp. Sin,., 9.15, 4b: οἱ δὲ μ’ ἀπόστολοι καὶ διδάσκαλοι τοῦ κηρύγματος τοῦ ὑιοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (“the forty are apostles and teachers of the preaching of the Son of God”); 16.5: οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ διδάσκαλοι οἱ κηρύξαντες τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ (“the apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God”); 25.2: ἀπόστολοι καὶ διδάσκαλοι οἱ κηρύξαντες εἰς ὅλον τὸν κόσμον καὶ οἱ διδάξαντες σεμνῶς καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου (“apostles and teachers who preached to [[340b]] all the world, and taught soberly and purely the word of the Lord”). Vis. 3.5.1 (see below) is also relevant in this connection. Elsewhere the collocation of “ἀπόστολοι, διδάσκαλος” occurs only in the Pastoral epistles (1 Tim. 2.7, 2 Tim. 1.11); but these passages prove nothing, as Paul either is or is meant to be the speaker.
In short, Hermas passed over the prophets because he reckoned himself one of them. If this inference be true\63/ we are justified in supplying “prophets” wherever Hermas names “apostles and teachers,” so that he too becomes an indirect witness to the threefold group of “apostles, prophets, teachers.”\64/ In that case the conception expounded in the ninth similitude of the “Shepherd” is exactly parallel to that of the man who wrote the Didachê. Apostles (prophets) and teachers are the preachers appointed by God to establish the spiritual life of the churches; next to them come (chapters 25-27) the bishops and deacons.\65/ On the other hand, the author alters this order in Vis., 3.5.1, where he writes:\66/ οἱ μὲν οὖν λίθοι οἱ τετράγωνοι καὶ λευκοὶ καὶ συμφωνοῦντες ταῖς ἁρμογαῖς αὐτῶν, οὗτοι εἰσιν οἱ ἀπόστολοι [] (add καὶ προφῆται) καὶ ἐπίσκοποι καὶ διδάσκαλοι καὶ διάκονοι οἱ πορευθέντες κατὰ τὴν σεμνότητα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπισκοπήσαντες καὶ διδύξαντες καὶ διακονήσαντες ἁγνῶς καὶ σεμνῶς τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς τοῦ θεοῦ, οἱ μὲν κεκοιμημένοι, οἱ δὲ ἔτι ὄντες. [[Note to editor – new paragraph here?]] According to the author of the Didachê also, the ἐπίσκοποι and διάκονοι are to be added to the ἀπόσολοι, προφῆται, and διδάσκαλοι, but the difference between the two writers is that Hernias has put the bishops, just as the author of Ephesians has put the ποιμένες, before the teachers. The reasons for this are unknown to us; all we can make out is that at this point also the actual organization of the individual communities had already modified the conception of the organization of the collective church which Hermas shared with the author of the Didachê.\67/
\63/ Lietzmann (Götting. Gelehrte Anz. 1905, 6. p. 486) proposes another explanation: “Apostles and teachers belong to the past generation for Hermas; he recognizes a prophetic office also, but only in the Old Testament (Sim. 9.15.4). He does occupy himself largely with the activities of the true prophet, and feels he is one himself; but he conceives this προφητεύειν as a private activity which God's equipment renders possible, but which lacks any official character. So with his censor in the Muratorian Fragment.” Perhaps this is the right explanation of the difficulty. But can Hermas have really estimated the prophets like the Muratorian Fragmentist?
\64/ Hermas, like the author of the Didachê, knows nothing about “evangelists” as distinguished from “apostles”; he, too, uses the term “apostle” in its wider sense (see above, p. 326).
\65/ In conformity with the standpoint implied in the parable, the order is reversed in chapters 26-27; for the proper order, see Vis. 3.5.1.
\66/ “The squared white stones that fit together in their joints, are the apostles and bishops and teachers and deacons who walked after the holiness of God and acted as bishops, teachers, and deacons, purely and soberly for the elect of God. Some have already fallen asleep, and others are still living.”
\67/ It is to be observed, moreover, that Sim. 9 speaks of apostles and teachers as of a bygone generation, whilst Vis. 3 declares that one section of the whole group have already fallen asleep, while the rest are still alive. We cannot, however, go into any further detail upon the important conceptions of Hermas.
Well then; one early source of Acts, Paul, Hermas, and the author of the Didachê all attest the fact that in the earliest Christian churches “those who spoke the word of God” (the λαλοῦντες τὸν λὀγον τοῦ θεοῦ occupied the highest position,\68/ and that they were subdivided into apostles, prophets, and teachers. They also bear evidence to the fact that these apostles, prophets, and teachers were not esteemed as officials of an individual community, but were honored as preachers who had been appointed by God and assigned to the church as a whole. The notion that the regular preachers in the church were elected by the different churches is as erroneous as the other idea that they had their “office” transmitted to them through a human channel of some kind or other. So far as men worked together here, it was in the discharge of a direct command from the Spirit.
\68/ So, too, the author of Hebrews. Compare also 1 Pet. 4.11: εἴ τις λαλεῖ, ὡς λόγια θεοῦ · εἴ τις διακονεῖ, ὡς ἐξ ἰσχύος ἧς χορηγεῖ ὁ θεὀς [a passage which illustrates the narrative in Acts 6].
Finally, we have to consider more precisely the bearings of this conclusion, viz., that, to judge from the consistent testimony of the earliest records, the apostles, prophets, and teachers were allotted and belonged, not to any individual community, but to the church as a whole. By means of this feature Christendom [] possessed, amid all its scattered fragments, a certain cohesion and a bond of unity which has often been underestimated. [[Note to editor – new paragraph here?]] These apostles and prophets, wandering from place to place, and received by every community with the utmost respect, serve to explain how the development of the church in different provinces and under very different conditions could preserve, as it did, such a degree of homogeneity. Nor have they left their traces merely in the scanty records, where little but their names are mentioned, and where witness is born to the respect in which they were held. In a far higher degree their self-expression appears throughout a whole genre of early Christian literature, namely, the so-called catholic epistles and writings. It is impossible to understand the origin, spread, and vogue of a literary genre so peculiar and in many respects so enigmatic, unless one correlates it with what is known of the early Christian “apostles, prophets, and teachers.” When one considers that these men were set by God within the church -- i.e., in Christendom as a whole, and not in any individual community, their calling being meant for the church collective -- it becomes obvious that the so-called catholic epistles and writings, addressed to the whole of Christendom, form a genre in literature which corresponds to these officials, and which must have arisen at a comparatively early period. An epistle like that of James, addressed “to the twelve tribes of the dispersion,” with its prophetic passages (4.-5), its injunctions uttered even to presbyters (5.14), and its emphatic assertions (5.15 f), this epistle, which cannot have come from the apostle James himself, becomes intelligible so soon as we think of the wandering prophets who, conscious of a divine calling which led them to all Christendom, felt themselves bound to serve the church as a whole. We can well understand how catholic epistles must have won great prestige, even although they were not originally distinguished by the name of any of the twelve apostles.\69/ [[Note to editor – new paragraph here?]] [] Behind these epistles stood the teachers called by God, who were to be reverenced like the Lord himself. It would lead us too afar afield to follow up this view, but one may refer to the circulation and importance of certain “catholic” epistles throughout the churches, and to the fact that they determined the development of Christianity in the primitive period hardly less than the Pauline epistles. During the closing decades of the first century, and at the opening of the second, the extraordinary activity of these apostles, prophets, or teachers left a lasting memorial of itself in the “catholic” writings; to which we must add other productions like the “Shepherd” of Hermas, composed by an author of whom we know nothing except the fact that his revelations were to be communicated to all the churches. He is really not a Roman prophet; being a prophet, he is a teacher for Christendom as a whole.
\69/ This period, of course, was past and gone, when one of the charges levelled at the Montanist Themison was that he had written a catholic epistle and thus invaded the prerogative of the original apostles: see Apollonius (in Euseb. H.E. 5.18.5) – Θεμίσων ἐτόλμησε, μιμούμενος τὸν ἀπόστολον, καθολικήν τινα συνταξάμενος ἐπιστολὴν κατηχεῖν τοὺς ἄμεινον αὐτοῦ πεπιστευκότας (“Themison ventured, in imitation of the apostles, to compose a catholic epistle for the instruction of people whose faith was better than his own”).
It has been remarked, not
Christendom came to have church officials -- as distinct from
officials of the communities -- only after the episcopate had been
as an organization intended to perpetuate the apostolate in such a way
every bishop was held, not simply to occupy an office in the particular
community, but to rank as a bishop of the catholic church (and, in this
to be a follower of the apostles). This observation is correct. But it
has to be
supplemented by the following consideration that in the earliest
forms of organization did arise which in one aspect afford an analogy
ecclesiastical office in later catholicism. For “those who spake the
God” (the λαλοῦντες
τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ) were catholic teachers (διδάσκαλοι καθολικοί).\70/ Yet []
even when these primitive teachers were slowly disappearing, a
commenced which ended in the triumph of the monarchical episcopate,
the recognition of the apostolic and catholic significance attaching to
episcopate. [[Note to editor –
preliminary stages in this development may be distinguished
Ephesians, Hernias, and the Didachê the permanent []
officials of the individual community are promoted to the class of
prophets, and teachers,” or already inserted among them. When this
the fundamental condition was provided which enabled the bishops at
secure the prestige of “apostles, prophets, and teachers.” If one looks
Cor. 12.28 [] or
Did. 13 (“the prophets
are your high-priests”), and then at the passages in Cyprian and the
of the following period, where the bishops are extolled as the
prophets, teachers, and high-priests of the church, one has
eyes the start and the goal of one of the most important developments
Christianity. In the case of prominent bishops like Polycarp of Smyrna,
had long ago been anticipated; for Polycarp was honored by his church
\70/ I shall at this point put together the sources which prove the threefold group.
The λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ (and they alone at first,
it would appear; i.e.,
apostles, prophets, and teachers) are the ἡγούμενοι or τετιμήμενοι
in the churches; this follows from (a) Did. 4.1, 11.3 f., 13, 15.1-2,
taken together; also (b) from Heb. 13.7, 17, 24, where the ἡγούμενοι are expressly described as λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ; probably (c) from Clem.
(2) Apostles, prophets, and teachers: cp. Paul (1 Cor. 12.28 f., where he tacks on δυνάμεις, χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, ἀντιλήψεις, κυβερνήσεις, γένη γλωσσῶν). When the fathers allude to this passage during later centuries, they do so as if the threefold group still held its own, oblivious often of the presence of the hierarchy. Novatian, after speaking of the apostles who had been comforted by the Paraclete, [[344b]] proceeds (de Trinit. 29): “Hic est qui prophetas in ecclesia constituit, magistro. erudite” (“This is he who places prophets in the church and instructs teachers “). Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. 18.27) will recognize no officials as essential to the church, not even bishops, except the persons mentioned in the above passage. Ambrose (Hexaëm, 3.12, 50) writes: “God has girt the vine as it were with a trench of heavenly precepts and the custody of angels; . . . . he has set in the church as it were a tower of apostles, prophets, and teachers, who are wont to safeguard the peace of the church” (“Circumdedit enim vineam velut vallo quodam caelestium praeceptorum et angelorum custodia . . . . posuit in ecclesia velut turrim apostolorum et prophetarum atque doctorum, qui solent pro ecclesiae pace praetendere”; see in Ps. 118, Sermo 22, ch. 15). Vincent of Lerin (Commonit. 37, 38) speaks of false apostles, false prophets, false teachers; in ch. 40, where one expects to hear of bishops, only apostles and prophets and teachers are mentioned. Paulinus of Nola (Opera, ed. Hartel, 1 p. 411 f.) addressed an inquiry to Augustine upon apostles, prophets and teachers, evangelists and pastors. He remarks very significantly: “In omnibus his diversis nominibus simile et prope unum doctrinae officium video fruisse tractatum” (“Under all these different names I see that a like and almost identical order of doctrine has been preserved”), and rightly assumes that the prophets cannot be those of the Old Testament, but must be Christian prophets.
(3) Prophets and teachers, who select apostles from their number (Acts 13.1).
(4) Apostles, prophets, and teachers: the Didachê (adding bishops and deacons).
(5) Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers: Ephes. 4.11.
(6) Apostles and teachers (prophets being purposely omitted), with bishops and deacons in addition: Hermas, Sim. 9.
(7) Apostles (prophets), bishops, teachers, deacons: Hermas, Vis. 3.
(8) Apostles, teachers, prophets: Clem. Hom. 11.35, μέμνησθε ἀπόστολον ἢ διδάσκαλον ἢ προφήτην.
(9) Apostles and prophets (the close connection of the two follows at an early period from Matt. 10.41): Rev. 18.20 (2.2, 20), Ephes. 2.20, 3.5, Did. 11.3. (According to Irenaeus, 3.2.4, John the Baptist was at once a prophet and an apostle: “et prophetae et apostoli locum habuit”; according to Hippolytus, de Antichr. 50, John the disciple was at once an apostle and prophet.) So the opponent of the Alogi, in Epiph. Haer. 51.35, etc.; cp. Didasc., de Charism. [Lagarde, Reliq. pp. 4,19 f.]: οἱ προφῆταιἐφ’ ἡμῶν προφητεύσαντες οὐ παρεξέτειναν ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς ἀποστόλοις (“our prophets did not measure themselves with the apostles”).
(10) Prophets and teachers: Acts 13.1 (2 Pet. 2.1), Did. 13.1-2, 14.1-2, Pseudo-Clem. de Virg. 1.11: “Ne multi inter vos sint doctores neque omnes sitis prophetae” (loc. cit. λόγος διδαχῆς ἢ προφητείας ἢ διακονίας). In the later literature, the combination (false prophets and false teachers) still occurs frequently; [[345b]] see, e.g., Orig., Hom. 2 in Ezek. (Lommatzsch, 14. pp. 33, 37), and Vincent of Lerin. loc. cit. 15.23. In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies Jesus himself is called “our teacher and prophet.”
(11) Apostles and teachers (Hermas): 1 Tim. 2.7, 2 Tim. 1.11, Clem. Strom. 7.16.103: οἱ μακάριοι ἀπόστολοί τε καὶ διδάσκαλοι, Eclog. 23.
(12) Polycarp is described in the epistle of his church (16.2) as ἐν τοῖς καθ’ ἡμᾶς χρὸνοις διδάσκαλος ἀποστολικὸς καὶ προφητικός, γενόμενος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς ἐν Σμὐρνῃ καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας (cp. Acta Pion. 1: ἀποστολικὸς ἀνὴρ τῶν καθ’ ἡμᾶς γενόμενος.) Here the ancient and honorable predicates are conjoined and applied to a “bishop.” But it is plain that there was something wholly exceptional in an apostolic and prophetic teacher surviving “in our time.” The way in which Eusebius speaks is very noticeable (Mart. Pal. 11.1): of one group of twelve martyrs he says, they partook of προφητικοῦ τινος ἢ καὶ ἀποστολικοῦ χαρίσματος καὶ ἀριθμοῦ (a prophetic or apostolic grace and number).
(13) Alexander the Phrygian is thus described in the epistle from Lyons (Eus. H.E. 5.1.49): γνωστὸς σχεδὸν πᾶσι διὰ τὴν πρὸς θεὸν ἀγάπην καὶ παρρησίαν τοῦ λόγου · ἦν γὰρ καὶ οὐκ ἄμοιρος ἀποστολικοῦ χαρίσματος (“Well known to all on account of his love to God and boldness of speech -- for he was not without a share of apostolic grace”).
An admirable proof that the prophets were bestowed on the church as a whole, instead of on any individual congregation (that it was so with the apostles, goes without saying), is furnished by Valentinian circles (Excerpta ex Theodot. 24): “The Valentinians declare that the Spirit possessed by each individual of the prophets for service is poured out on all members of the church ; wherefore the tokens of the Spirit, i.e., healing and prophecy, are performed by the church” (λέγουσιν οἱ Οὐαλεντινιανοὶ ὅτι ὃ κατὰ εἷς τῶν προφητῶν ἔσχεν πνεῦμα ἐξαίρετον εἰς διακονίαν, τοῦτο ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐξεχύθη · διὸ καὶ τὰ σημεῖα τοῦ πνεύματος ἰάσεις καὶ προφητεῖαι διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐπιτελοῦνται). Compare the claims of the Montanist prophets and the history of the “Shepherd” of Hermas in the church.
The passage from the Eclogues of Clement, referred to under (11), reads as follows: ὥσπερ διὰ τοῦ σώματος ὁ σωτὴρ ἐλάλει καὶ ἰᾶτο, οὕτως καὶ πρότερον “διὰ τῶν προφητῶν,” νῦν δὲ “διὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ διδασκάλων” . . . . καὶ πάντοτε ἄνθρωπον ὁ φιλάνθρωπος ἐνδύεται θεὸς εἰς τὴν ἀνθρώπων σωτηρίαν, πρότερον μὲν τοὺς προφήτας, νῦν δὲ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν (“Even as the Savior spake and healed through his body, so did he formerly by the prophets and so does he now by the apostles and teachers. . . . . Everywhere the God who loves men equips man to save men, formerly the prophets and now the church”). This passage is very instructive; but, as is evident, the old threefold group is already broken up, the prophets being merely admitted and recognized as Old Testament prophets. I leave it an open question whether the πνευματικοί of Origen (de Orat. 28) are connected with our group of teachers. The τάξις προφητῶν μαρτύρων τε καὶ ἀποστόλων (Hipp. de Antichr. 59) is irrelevant in this connection.
As for the origin of the
group, we have shown that while its component parts existed in Judaism,
combination cannot be explained from such a quarter. One might be
trace it back to Jesus Christ himself, for he once sent out his
missionaries (apostles), and he seems (according to Matt. 10.41) to
of itinerant preaching prophets whom he set on foot. But the
historicity of the
latter passage is disputed;\71/ Jesus expressly denied the title
his disciples (Matt. 23.8); and an injunction such as that implied in
creation of this threefold group does not at all tally with the general
preaching of Jesus or with the tenor of his instructions. We must
assume that the rise of the threefold group and the esteem in which it
by the community at
\71/ I would point, not to the words of Matt. 11.13 (πάντες οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάννου ἐπροφήτευσαν), since that saying perhaps (see p. 333) covers a new type of prophets, but certainly to the situation in which Matt. 10.40 f. is uttered; the latter seems to presuppose the commencement and prosecution of missionary labors.
The Didachê begins by grouping together apostles and prophets (11.3), and directing that the ordinance of the gospel is to hold good as regards both of them; but in its later chapters it groups prophets and teachers together and is silent on the apostles. From this it follows, as has been already pointed out, that the prophets had something in common with apostles on the one hand and with teachers on the other. The former characteristic may be inferred from the expression κατὰ τὸ δόγμα τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, as well as from the detailed injunctions that follow.\72/ The “ordinance of the gospel” can mean only the rules which we read in Mark 6 (and parallels),\73/ and this assumption is corroborated by the fact that in Matt. 10, which puts together the instructions for apostles, itinerant prophets also are mentioned, who are supposed to be penniless. To be penniless, therefore, was considered absolutely essential for apostles and prophets; this is the view shared by 3 John, Origen, and Eusebius. John remarks that the missionaries wandered about and preached, without accepting anything from pagans. They must therefore have been instructed to “accept” from Christians. Origen (contra Cels. 3.9) writes: “Christians do all in their power to spread the faith all over the world. Some of them accordingly make it the business of their life to wander not only from city to city but from township to township and village to village, in order to gain fresh converts for the Lord. Nor could [] one say they do this for the sake of gain, since they often refuse to accept so much as the bare necessities of life; even if necessity drives them sometimes to accept a gift, they are content with getting their most pressing needs satisfied, although many people are ready to give them much more than that. [[Note to editor – new paragraph here?]] And if at the present day, owing to the large number of people who are converted, some rich men of good position and delicate high-born women give hospitality to the messengers of the faith, will any one venture to assert that some of the latter preach the Christian faith merely for the sake of being honored? In the early days, when great peril threatened the preachers of the faith especially, such a suspicion could not easily have been entertained; and even at the present day the discredit with which Christians are assailed by unbelievers outweighs any honor that some of their fellow-believers show to them.” Eusebius (H.E. 3.37) writes: “Very many of the disciples of that age (pupils of the apostles), whose heart had been ravished by the divine Word with a burning love for philosophy [i.e., asceticism], had first fulfilled the command of the Savior and divided their goods among the needy. Then they set out on long journeys, performing the office of evangelists, eagerly striving to preach Christ to those who as yet had never heard the word of faith, and to deliver to them the holy gospels. In foreign lands they simply laid the foundations of the faith. That done, they appointed others as shepherds, entrusting them with the care of the new growth, while they themselves proceeded with the grace and co-operation of God to other countries and to other peoples.” See, too, H.E. 5.10.2, where, in connection with the end of the second century, we read: “There were even yet many evangelists of the word eager to use their divinely inspired zeal, after the example of the apostles, to increase and build up the divine Word. One of these was Pantaenus” (ἔνθεον ζῆλον ἀποστολικοῦ μιμήματος συνεισφέρειν ἐπ’ αὐξήσει καὶ οἰκοδομῇ τοῦ θείου λόγου προμηθούμενοι, ὧν εἶς γενόμενος καὶ Πανταῖνος).\74/ The second essential for apostles, [] laid down by the Didachê side by side with poverty, namely, indefatigable missionary activity (no settling down), is endorsed by Origen and Eusebius also.\75/
\72/ “Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day, or, if need be, two; if he remains for three days, he is a false prophet. And on his departure let the apostle .receive nothing but bread, till he finds shelter; if he asks for money, he is a false prophet” (Πᾶς ὁ ἀπόστολος ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ὑμᾶς δεχθήτω ὡς κύριος · οὐ μενεῖ δὲ εἰ μὴ ἡμέραν μίαν · ἐὰν δὲ ᾖ χρεία, καὶ τὴν ἄλλην · τρεῖς δὲ ἐὰν μείνῃ, ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστίν · ἐξερχόμενος δὲ ὁ ἀπόστολος μηδὲν λαμβανέτω εἰ μὴ ἄρτον ἕως οὗ αὐλισθῇ · ἐὰν δὲ ἀργύριον αἰτῇ, ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστίν, 11.4-6).
\73/ Lietzmann (loc. cit. p. 486) objects that the words could not mean what apostles and prophets had to do, but simply how the community was to treat them. We are to think of passages like Matt. 10.40 f. But this view seems to me excluded by what follows (4 f.) in Did. 11. Here there is certainly an injunction to the community, but the latter is to make the δόγμα the norm for its treatment of these officials, the δόγμα laid down in the gospel; and this is to be found in Mark 6 (and parallels).
The word “evangelist” occurs in Ephes. 4.11, Acts 21.8, 2 Tim. 4.5, and
the Apost. Canons (ch. 19). Then it recurs in Tertull. de
Praescr. 4, and de Corona, 9
(Hippol. de Antichr.
56, calls Luke apostle and evangelist). [[349b]]
This proves that any distinction between apostles and evangelists was
drawn in the early ages of the church; on the contrary, the apostles
were frequently described as εὐαγγελισάμενοι
(cp. Gal. 1.8, Clem.
\75/ Apostles have merely to preach the word; that is literally their one occupation. This conception, which Acts 6.6 already illustrates, lasted as long as the era of the actual apostles was remembered. The Abgar-source, transcribed by Eusebius (H.E. 1.13), also confirms the idea that no apostle was to receive any money, and makes one notable addition to the duties of the apostolate. When Thaddaeus was summoned to preach God's word to a small group, he remarked: “I shall say nothing in the meantime, for I am sent to preach the word of God (κηρῦξαι) publicly. But assemble all thy citizens in the morning, and I will preach to them.”
The Didachê informs us that these itinerant missionaries were still called apostles at the opening of the second century. Origen and Eusebius assure us that they existed during the second century, and Origen indeed knows of such even in his own day; but the name of “apostle” was no longer borne,\76/ owing to the heightened reverence felt for the original apostles and also owing to the idea which gained currency even in the course of the second century, that the original apostles had already preached the gospel to the whole world. This idea prevented any subsequent missionaries from being apostles, since they were no longer the first to preach the gospel to the nations.\77/
\76/ It is, of course, merely by way of sarcasm that Cyprian speaks of Novatian's apostles (Ep. 40.24).
\77/ Naturally, Eusebius thus comes into conflict with his own conception of the situation; compare 2.3, 3.1-4, and 3.37.
We have already indicated how the extravagant estimate of the primitive apostles arose.\78/ Their labors were to be looked upon as snaking amends for the fact that Jesus Christ did not himself labor as a missionary in every land. Furthermore, the belief that the world was near its end produced, by a sort of inevitable process, the idea that the gospel had by this time been preached everywhere; for the end could not come until [] this universal proclamation had been accomplished, and the credit of this wonderful extension was assigned to the apostles.\79/ [[Note to editor – New paragraph here?]] On these grounds the prestige of the primitive apostles shot up to so prodigious a height, that their commission to the whole world was put right into the creed.\80/ We are no longer in a position nowadays to determine the degree of truth underlying the belief in the apostles' world-wide mission. In any case it must have been extremely slight, and any representation of the twelve apostles as a unity organized for the purpose of worldwide labors among the Gentile churches is to be relegated without hesitation to the province of legend.\81/
\78/ The idea of collective statements made by the apostles occurs as early as the Didachê (cp. its title), Jude and 2 Peter, and Justin (Apol. 1.62).
Cp. Tert. de Carne, 2: “Apostolorum erat tradere.” The idea of
apostolic tradition is primitive and not destitute of an historical
was first of all in
\80/ Details in my Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, 1.(3) pp. 153-156 [Eng. trans. 1 pp. 160 f.]; I shall return to the legends of the mission in Book 4. Chap. 1, but without attempting to exhaust the endless materials; all I shall do is to touch upon them. The most extreme and eccentric allusion to the importance of the twelve apostles occurs in the Pistis Sophia, ch. 7 (Schmidt, p. 7), where Jesus says to the twelve: “Be glad and rejoice, for when I set about making the world, I was in command of twelve powers from the very first (as I have told you from the beginning), which I had taken from the twelve saviors (σωτῆρες) of the treasure of light according to the commandment of the first mystery. These, then, I deposited in the womb of your mother, while I entered the world -- these that live now in your bodies. For these powers were given to you in the sight of all the world, since ye are to be the deliverers of the world, that ye may be able to endure . . . . the threats of the archons of the world, and the sufferings of the world, your perils and all your persecutions.” Compare ch. 8 (p. 9): “Be glad then and rejoice, for ye are blessed above all men on earth, since it is ye who are to be the deliverers of the world.” In Clement's Eclogues (c. 16) also the apostles are usually called σωτῆρες τῶν ἀνθρώπων (“saviors of men”). Origen calls them “kings” (Hom. 12.2, in Num. vol. 10. pp. 132 f.), and he does not reject the interpretation (de Princ. 2.8.5) of the saying “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” which made Jesus think of the apostles as his soul. The “multitudo credentium” are the body of Christ, the apostles are his soul!
\81/ It is worth noting that, according to the early Christian idea, the Mosaic law also had spread over the whole world. In their world-wide preaching, the apostles therefore came upon the results produced by that law (see, for example, the statements of Eusebius in the first book of his church-history).
we know next to nothing of any details concerning [] the
missionaries (apostles) and their labors during the second century;
names are lost, with the exception of Pantaenus, the Alexandrian
his mission to “
\82/ Cp. Hom. 11.4, in Num. vol. 10. p. 113: “Sicut in aliqua, verbi gratia, civitate, ubi nondum Christiani nati sunt, si accedat aliquis et docere incipiat, laboret, instruat, adducat ad fidem, et ipse postmodum its quos docuit princeps et episcopus fiat.”
Yet even though we cannot describe the labors of the apostles during the second century -- and by the opening of the third century only stragglers from this class were still to be met with -- the creation and the career of this heroic order form of themselves a topic of supreme interest. Their influence need not, of course, be overestimated. For, in the first place, we find the Didache primarily concerned with laying down rules to prevent abuses in the apostolic office; so that by the beginning of the second century, as we are not surprised to learn, it must have been already found necessary to guard against irregularity. In the second place, had apostles continued to play an important part in the second century, the stereotyped conception of the primitive apostles, with their fundamental and really exhaustive labors in the mission-field, could never have arisen at all or become so widely current. Probably, then, it is [] not too hazardous to affirm that the church really had never more than two apostles in the true sense of the term, one great and the other small, viz., Paul and Peter -- unless perhaps we add John of Ephesus. The chief credit for the spread of Christianity scarcely belongs to the other regular apostles, penniless and itinerant, otherwise we should have heard of them, or at least have learnt their names; whereas even Eusebius was as ignorant about them as we are to-day. The chief credit for the spread of Christianity is due to those who were not regular apostles, and also to the “teachers.”
Though the prophets,\83/ according to the Didachê and other witnesses, had also to be penniless like the apostles, they are not to be reckoned among the regular missionaries. Still, like the teachers, they were indirectly of importance to the mission, as their charismatic office qualified them for preaching the word of God, and, indeed, put them in the way of such a task. Their inspired addresses were listened to by pagans as well as by Christians, and Paul assumes (1 Cor. 14.24), not without reason, that the former were especially impressed by the prophet's harangue and by his power of searching the hearer's heart. Down to the close of the second century the prophets retained their position in the church;\84/ but the Montanist movement brought [] early Christian prophecy at once to a head and to an end. Sporadic traces of it are still to be found in later years,\85/ but such prophets no longer possessed any significance for the church; in fact, they were quite summarily condemned by the clergy as false prophets. [[Note to editor – New paragraph here?]] Like the apostles, the prophets occupied a delicate and risky position. It was easy for them to degenerate. The injunctions of the Didachê (ch. 11) indicate the sort of precautions which were considered necessary, even in the opening of the second century, to protect the churches against fraudulent prophets of the type sketched by Lucian in Proteus Peregrinus; and the latter volume agrees with the Didache, inasmuch as it describes Peregrinus in his prophetic capacity as now settled in a church, now itinerating in company with Christians who paid him special honor -- for prophets were not confined to any single church. Nor were even prophetesses awanting; they were to be met with inside the Catholic Church as well as among the gnostics in particular.\86/
In the Gentile church they were steadily differentiated from the seers
or μάντεις (cp. Hermas, Mand.
Fragm. 23 [ed.
\84/ Tertullian (de Praescr. 3) no longer reckons them as a special class: “Quid ergo, si episcopus, si diaconus, si vidua, si virgo, si doctor, si etiam martyr lapsus a regula fuerit?” (“What if a bishop, a deacon, a widow, a virgin, a teacher, or even a martyr, have fallen away from the rule of faith ?”). In a very ancient Christian fragment discovered by Grenfell and Hunt (The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 1, 1898, No. 5, pp. 8 f; ep. Sitzungsber. der Preuss. Akad. 1898, pp. 516 f.) these words occur: τὸ προφητικὸν μνεῦμα τὸ σωματεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς προφητικῆς τάξεως, ὃ ἔστιν τὸ σῶμα τῆς σαρκὸς Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τὸ μιγὲν τῇ ἀνθρωπότητι διὰ Μαρίας. The fragment perhaps belongs to Melito's last treatise περὶ προφητείας, but unfortunately it is so short and abrupt that no certain opinion is possible. For the expression ἡ προφητικὴ τάξις, cp. Serapion of Antioch's Ep. ad Cericum et Pontium (Eus. H.E. 5.19.2): ἡ ἐνέργεια τῆς ψευδοῦς ταύτης τάξεως τῆς ἐπιλεγομένης νέας προφητείας. The expression must have been common about 200 CE.
\85/ Cp. Firmilian in Cyprian's Epist. 75.10.
From the Coptic version of the Acta Pauli (Paul's
the Corinthian church) we find that the prophet of the Corinthian
church who is
mentioned there was not a man but a woman (named Theonoe, not Theonas).
prophetess, called Myrte, occurs in these Acts. Origen writes (Hom.
Judic. vol. 11. p. 250): “Though many judges in
The materials and sources available for a study of the early Christian prophets are extremely voluminous, and the whole subject is bound up with a number of questions which are still unsettled; for example, the relation of the Christian prophets to the numerous categories of the pagan prophets (Egyptian, Syrian, and Greek) who are known to us from the literature and inscriptions of the period, is a subject which has never yet been investigated.\87/ However, these materials are of no use for [] our immediate purpose, as no record of the missionary labors of the prophets is extant.
\87/ As impostors mingled here and there with the prophets, no sharp distinction can have existed. Celsus (Orig. c. Cels. 7.9.11) gives an extremely [[354b]] interesting description of the prophets, as follows : “There are many who, though they are people of no vocation, with the utmost readiness, and on the slightest occasion, both within and without the sacred shrines, behave as if they were seized by the prophetic ecstasy. Others, roaming like tramps throughout cities and camps, perform in the same fashion in order to excite notice. Each is wont to cry, each is glib at proclaiming, ‘I am God,’ ‘I am the Son of God’ (παῖς θεοῦ), or ‘I am the Spirit of God,’ ‘I have come because the world is on the verge of ruin, and because you, O men, are perishing in your iniquities. But I would save you, and ye shall see me soon return with heavenly power! Blessed is he who now honors me! All others I will commit to everlasting fire, cities and lands and their inhabitants. Those who will not now awake to the punishments awaiting them, shall repent and groan in vain one day. But those who believe in me, I will preserve eternally. . . . .’ These mighty threats are further mixed up with weird, half-crazy, and perfectly senseless words, in which no rational soul can discover any meaning, so obscure and unintelligible they are. Yet the first comer who is an idiot or an impostor can interpret them to suit his own fancy! . . . . These so-called prophets, whom more than once I have heard with my own ears, confessed their foibles to me, after I had exposed them, and acknowledged that they had themselves invented their incomprehensible jargon.”
The Didachê mentions teachers twice (13.2, 15.1-2), and, what is more, as a special class within the churches. Their ministry was the same as that of the prophets, a ministry of the word; consequently they belonged to the “honored” class, and, like the prophets, could claim to be supported. On the other hand, they were evidently not obliged to be penniless;\88/ nor did they wander about, but resided in a particular community.
\88/ When Origen, in the story told by Eusebius (H.E. 6.3), carried out the gospel saying, not to have two staves, etc., it was a voluntary resolve upon his part. Shortly before that, we are told how he purchased an annuity by selling his books, in order to free himself from all care about a livelihood.
statements are corroborated by such passages in our sources (see above,
f.) as group apostles, prophets, and teachers together, and further, by
series of separate testimonies which show that to be a teacher was a
in Christianity, and that the teacher enjoyed great repute not only in
second century, but partly also, as we shall see, in later years. First
the frequency with which we find authors protesting that they are not
in the capacity of teachers (or issuing instructions) proves how
the veneration paid to a []
teacher, and how he was accorded the right of issuing injunctions
universally valid and authoritative. [[Note
to editor –
New paragraph here?]] Thus Barnabas asserts : ἐγὼ δὲ οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος ἀλλ’ ὡς εἷς ὑμῶν ὑποδείξω (1.8, “I am no teacher, but
as one of
yourselves I will demonstrate”); and again, “Fain would I write many
but not as a teacher” (πολλὰ
δὲ θέλων γράφειν οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος, 4.9).\89/ Ignatius
explains, οὐ διατάσσομαι ὑμῖν ὡς ὤν τις . . . . (“I do not command
you as if I were somebody . . .
. I address you as my school-fellows,” ad Eph. 3.1);\90/ and
of Alexandria in the third century still writes (Ep. ad Basil.):
ἐγὼ δὲ οὐχ ὡς διδάσκαλος, ἀλλ’ ὡς μετὰ πάσης ἁπλότητος προσῆκον ἡμᾶς ἀλλήλοις διαλέγεσθαι (“I speak not as a teacher,
all the simplicity with which it befits us to address each other”).\91/
warning of the epistle of James (3.1): μὴ πολλοὶ διδάσκαλοι γίνεσθε, proves how this vocation
was coveted in the church, a
vocation of which Hermas pointedly remarks (Sim. 9.25.2) that
members had received the holy Spirit.\92/ Hermas also refers (Mand.
4.3.1) to a saying which he had heard from certain teachers with regard
and which the angel proceeds deliberately to endorse; this proves that
were teachers of high repute at Rome in the days of Hermas. [[Note to editor – New Paragraph here?]] [[added
514: A whole series of teachers is mentioned by Clement of Alexandria,
passage (Strom., 1.11) which also shows how international they were:
is meant to give a simple outline and sketch of those clear, vital
and of those blessed and truly notable men whom I have been privileged
Of these, one, an Ionian, was in
\89/ On the other hand, in 9.9 he writes: οἶδεν ὁ τὴν ἔμφυτον δωρεὰν τῆς διδαχῆς αὐτοῦ θέμενος ἐν ὑμῖν (“He knoweth, who hath placed in you the innate gift of his teaching”).
\90/ Note διατάσσομαι in this passage, the term used by Ignatius of the apostles (Trall, 3.3, Rom. 4.3; cp. Trall. 7.1, τὰ διατάγματα τῶν ἀποστόλων).
\91/ See further, Commodian, Instruct. 2.22.15: “Non sum ego doctor, sed lex docet”; 2.16.1: “Si quidem doctores, dum exspectant munera vestra aut timent personas, laxant singula vobis; et ego non doceo.”
\92/ Διδάσκαλοι οἱ διδάξαντες σεμνῶς καὶ ἁγνῶς τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου. . . . . καθὼς καὶ παρέλαβον τὸ μνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον.
\93/ Cp. Did. 11.10: προφήτης, εἰ ἃ διδάσκει οὐ ποιεῖ, ψευδοπροφήτης ἐστί (“If a prophet does not practise what he teaches, he is a false prophet”).
passage it is plain that there were still teachers (and prophets) in
churches, that the former ranked below the latter (or had to submit to
supervision), and that, as we see from the whole chapter, gross abuses
be dealt with in this order of the ministry. As was natural, this order
independent teachers who were in the service of the entire church
an early period prominent individuals who credited themselves with an
profound knowledge of the δικαιώματα
τοῦ θεοῦ (ordinances of God), and
addressed themselves, not to all and sundry, but to the advanced or
i.e., to any select body within Christendom. Insensibly, the
teaching also passed over into the profane, and this marked the
which Christian teachers as an institution had to undergo, and did
undergo, a []
change. It was inevitable that within
Christianity schools should be founded similar to the numerous
schools which had been established by Greek and Roman philosophers.
remain embedded, as it were, in Christianity; but they might also
readily in a sectarian direction, since this divisive tendency beset
whatsoever. Hence the efforts of itinerant Christian apologists who,
Justin\94/ and Tatian,\95/ set up schools in the larger towns; hence
establishments such as those of Rhodon and the two Theodoti at
the enterprise of many so-called “gnostics”;
hence, above all, the Alexandrian catechetical school (with its
Caesarea Palest.), whose origin, of course, lies buried in
the school of Lucian at Antioch (where we hear of Συλλουκιανισταί, i.e., a union similar
of the philosophic schools). But as a direct counterpoise to the danger
having the church split up into schools, and the gospel handed over to
secular culture, the acumen, and the [] ambition
of individual teachers,\98/ the consciousness of the church
its powers, and the word “school” became almost a term of reproach for
separatist ecclesiastical community.\99/ [[Note
editor – New paragraph here?]] Yet the “doctors” (διδάσκαλοι) -- I mean the
teachers who were privileged to speak during the service, although they
belong to the clergy -- did not become extinct all at once in the
indeed, they maintained their position longer than the apostles or the
prophets. From the outset they had been free from the “enthusiastic”
which characterized the latter and paved the way for their suppression.
Besides, the distinction of “milk” and “strong meat,” of different
σύνεσις, ἐπιστήμη, and γνῶσις, was always
indispensable.\100/ In consequence of this,
the διδάσκαλοι had
naturally to continue in the churches till the bulk of the
officials or priests came to possess the qualification of teachers, and
the bishop (together with the presbyters) assumed the task of educating
instructing the church. In several even of the large churches this
take place till pretty late, i.e., till the second half of the third [] century, or the
beginning of the fourth. [[Note to editor –
New paragraph here?]] Up to that
period “teachers” can still be traced here and there.\101/ Beside the
compact organization of the churches (with the bishops, the college of
presbyters, and the deacons) these teachers rose like pillars of some
edifice which the storm had spared. They did not fit into the new order
things, and it is interesting to notice how they are shifted from one
another. Tertullian's older\102/ (de Praescr. 3) is:
“bishop, deacon, widow,
virgin, teacher, martyr”! Instead of putting the teacher among
clergy, he thus ranks him among the spiritual heroes, and, what is
assigns him the second place amongst them, next to the martyrs -- for
of the list runs up to a climax. In the Acta Perpetuae et Felic.
as in the Acta Saturnini et Dativi (under Diocletian; cp.
Martyr. Ratisbon, 1859, p. 418), both of African origin, we come
title “presbyter doctor,” and from Cyprian (Ep. 29) we must also
that in some churches the teachers were ranked in the college of
and entrusted in this capacity with the duty of examining the
the other hand, in the account given by Hippolytus in Epiph. Haer.
(an account which refers to
Justin's are best known from the Acta Justini. He stands with
scholars before the judge Rusticus, who inquires, “Where do you meet?”
at first gives an evasive answer; his aim is to avoid any suggestion of
misleading idea that the Christians had a sacred spot for worship.
reply to the urgent demand, “Where dost thou assemble thy scholars?” he
ἐπάνω μένω τινὸς Μαρτίνου τοῦ Τιμωτίνου βαλανείου, καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον -- ἐπεδήμησα δὲ τῇ Ῥωμαίων πόλει τοῦτο δεύτερον – οὐ
γινώσκω ἄλλην τινὰ συνέλευσιν εἰ μὴ τὴν ἐκείνου (“I stay above a certain
the Timotinian bath, and during all the time -- for this is my second
Rome -- I know of no other meeting-place but this”). Justin had also a
\95/ On Tatian's school, which became sectarian, see Iren. 1.28: οἰήματι διδασκάλου ἐπαρθεὶς . . . . ἴδιον χαρακτῆρα διδασκαλείου συνεστήσατο. Tatian came from Justin's school.
For Rhodon, see Eus. H.E. 5.13 (he came from Tatian's school);
Theodoti, whose school became sectarian and then attempted to transform
into a church, see Eus. H.E. 5.28. Praxeas, who propagated his
Cp. Eus. H.E. 5.10: ἡγεῖτο
ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ τῆς τῶν πιστῶν αὐτόθι διατριβῆς τῶν ἀπὸ παιδείας ἀνὴρ ἐπιδοξότατος, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Πανταῖνος, ἐξ ἀρχαίου ἔθους διδασκαλείου τῶν ἱερῶν λόγων παρ’ αὐτοῖς συνεστῶτος (“The school of the
Hermas boasts that the good teachers (Sim. 9.25.2) “kept nothing at all back for
intent -- G: on such teachers as introduced G (strange doctrines),
Sim. 9.19.2-3, 8.6.5; Vis. 3.7.1. It is noticeable that
famous despatch of
The Theodotian church at
\100/ Cp. the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, Barnabas, etc., also Did. 11.2: διδάσκειν εἰς τὸ προσθεῖναι δικαιοσύνην καὶ γνῶσιν κυρίου (“Teach to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord”).
\101/ Cp. Bonwetsch's remarks on Melito (Festschrift f. Oettingen, 1898, p. 51) “The teachers still occupy a prominent position in the church, alongside of the bishop. Together with him, they constitute the fixed order of the church. The same monition applies to both, that they nourish themselves on sacred knowledge and be heavenly minded. Teachers are also described as experts in Scripture, and tenants of the teacher's chair, who are exposed by their position to the danger of self-assumption. The bishops also occupy the teacher's chair, as the same passages show; but the teachers were able to retain their special position alongside of them, perhaps because not all bishops as yet possessed the teaching gift.”
\102/ In de Praescr. 14, the “doctor” is also mentioned.
\103/ Cyprian (loc. cit.) also speaks of “doctones audientium,” but it is impossible to determine the relationship which he implies between these and the readers. As catechists, the doctors were now and then ranked among the clergy, and, in fact, in the college of presbyters. As against Lagarde, no comma is to be placed in Clem. Homil. 3.71 after πρεσβυτέρους: τιμᾶτε πρεσβυτέρους κατηχητάς, διακόνους χρησίμους, χήρας εὖ βεβιωκυίας (cp. above, p. 158).
This item of
information reaches us from
\104/ And in those of Clement. According to Quis Div. Salv. 41, the Christian is to choose for himself a teacher who shall watch over him as a confessor. In Paed. 3.12.97 Clement discusses the difference between a pedagogue and a teacher, placing the latter above the former.
\105/ Here “spiritalis” (γνωστικός, πνευματικός) is in contrast to the teachers as well as to the priests. According to Clement of Alexandria, the “spiritual” person is apostle, prophet, and teacher, superior to all earthly dignitaries -- a view which Origen also favors.
\106/ “For even in the church, priests and doctors can beget children, even as he who wrote Gal. 4.19, and again in another place 1 Cor. 4.15. Therefore such doctors of the church refrain from begetting offspring, when they find an irresponsive audience!”
\107/ Eus. H.E. 6.19. Their arguments prove that the right of “laymen” (for the teachers were laymen) to speak at services of worship had become extinct throughout Egypt, Palestine, and most of the provinces, for the two bishops friendly to this proposal had to bring evidence for the practice from a distance, and from comparatively remote churches. They write thus: “Wherever people are to be found who are able to profit the brethren, they are exhorted by the holy bishops to give addresses to the congregation; as, for example, Euelpis has been invited by Neon in Laranda, Paulinus by Celsus in Iconium, and Theodorus by Atticus in Synnada, all of whom are our blessed brethren. Probably this has also been done in other places unknown to us.” The three persons mentioned in this passage are the last of the “ancient” teachers who are known to us.
In this connection reference may perhaps be made to the important
Alexander, bishop of
\109/ On this order and office, originally a charismatic one, which under certain circumstances embraced the further duty of explaining the Scriptures, cp. the evidence I have stated in Texte u. Untersuch. 2.5, pp. 57 f., “On the Origin of the Readership and the other Lower Orders” [Eng. trans. in Sources of the Apostolic Canons, by Wheatley and Owen (Messrs A. & C. Black)].
The early teachers
of the church were missionaries as well;\110/ pagans as well as
entered their schools and listened to their teaching. We have definite
information upon this point in the case of Justin (see above), but
delivered [] his
“Address” in order to
inform the pagan public that he had become a Christian teacher, and we
similar tradition of the missionary work done by the heads of the
catechetical school in the way of teaching. [[Note
editor – New paragraph here?]] Origen, too, had pagan hearers
instructed in the elements of Christian doctrine (cp. Eus. H.E.
indeed, it is well known that even Julia Mamtea, the queen-mother, had
brought to Antioch that she might listen to his lectures (Eus. H.E.
6.21). Hippolytus also wrote her a treatise, of which fragments have
preserved in a Syriac version. When one lady of quality in
\110/ Tertullian complains that the heretical teachers, instead of engaging in mission work, merely tried to win over catholic Christians; cp. de Praescr. 42: “De verbi autem administratione quid dicam, cum hoc sit negotium haereticis, non ethnicos convertendi, sed nostros evertendi. Ita fit, ut ruinas facilius operentur stantium aedificiorum quam exstructionern iacentium ruinarum” (“But concerning the ministry of the word, what shall I say? for heretics make it their business not to convert pagans but to subvert our people. . . . . Thus they can effect the ruin of buildings which are standing more easily than the erection of ruins that lie low”). See also adv. Marc 2.1. I shall return to this complaint later on.
It was the task of apologists and teachers to exhibit the Christian
its various stages, and to prove it. Rhodon (Eus. H.E. 5.13)
says of the
gnostic Apelles: διδάσκαλος
εἶναι λέγων οὐκ ἤδει τὸ διδασκόμενον ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ κρατύνειν (“Though calling himself a
teacher, he knew not how to
confirm what he taught’). “Non difficile est doctori,” says Cyprian (Ep.73.3),
“vera et legitima insinuare ei qui haeretica pravitate damnata et
veritate comperta ad hoc venit -at discat, ad hoc discit ut vivat” (“It
hard for a teacher to instil what is true and genuine into the mind of
who, having condemned heretical evil and learnt the church's truth,
learn, and learns [[364b]]
in order that he
may live”). Everyone knows the importance of apologetic to the
Judaism, and Christians entered on a rich inheritance at this and at
points, since their teachers were able to take over the principles and
of Jewish apologetic. Directly or indirectly, most of the Christian
probably depended on Philo and the apologetic volumes of selections
Alexandrian Judaism as well as philosophical compendia of criticisms
mythology. As for the dissemination of apologies throughout the church,
Justin's at least was read very soon in very different sections of the
Irenaeus knew it in
The apologists set themselves a number of tasks, emphasizing and elucidating now one, now another aspect of the truth. They criticized the legal procedure of the state against Christians; they contradicted the revolting charges, moral and political, with which they were assailed; they criticized the pagan mythology and the state-religion; they defined, in very different ways, their attitude to Greek philosophy, and tried [] partly to side with it, partly to oppose it;\112/ they undertook an analysis of ordinary life, public and private ; they criticized the achievements of culture and the sources as well as the consequences of conventional education. Still further, they stated the essence of Christianity, its doctrines of God, providence, virtue, sin, and retribution, as well as the right of their religion to lay claim to revelation and to uniqueness. They developed the Logos-idea in connection with Jesus Christ, whose ethics, preaching, and victory over demons they depicted. Finally, they tried to furnish proofs for the metaphysical and ethical content of Christianity, to rise from a mere opinion to a reasoned conviction, and at the same time -- by means of the Old Testament -- to prove that their religion was not a mere novelty but the primitive religion of mankind.\113/ The most important of these proofs included those drawn from the fulfilment of prophecy, from the moral energy of the faith, from its enlightenment of the reason, and from the fact of the victory over demons.
\112/ Three different attitudes to Greek philosophy were adopted: it contained real elements of truth, due to the working of the Logos; or these were plagiarized from the Old Testament; or they were simply demonic replicas of the truth, as in the case of pagan mythology.
\113/ Literary fabrications, which were not uncommon in other departments (cp. the interpolation in Josephus, etc.), played a rôle of their own here. But the forgeries which appeared in the second century seem to me to be for the most part of Jewish origin. In the third century things were different.
The apologists also engaged in public discussions with pagans (Justin, Apol. 2, and the Cynic philosopher Crescens; Minucius Felix and Octavius) and Jews (Justin, Dial. with Trypho; Tertull. adv. Jud. 1). In their writings some claimed the right of speaking in the name of God and truth; and although (strictly speaking) they do not belong to the charismatic teachers, they describe themselves as “taught of God.”\114/
\114/ Compare, e.g., Aristides, Apol. 2: “God himself granted me power to speak about him wisely.” Diogn. Ep. 1: τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καὶ τὸ λέγειν καὶ τὸ ἀκούειν ἡμῖν χορηγοῦντος αἰτοῦμαι δοθῆναι ἐμοὶ μὲν εἰπεῖν οὕτως, κ.τ.λ. (“God, who supplies us both with speech and hearing, I pray to grant me utterance so as,” etc.).
The schools established by these teachers could only be regarded by the public and the authorities as philosophic schools; [] indeed, the apologists avowed themselves to be philosophers\115/ and their doctrine a philosophy,\116/ so that they participated here and there in the advantages enjoyed by philosophic schools, particularly in the freedom of action they possessed. This never can have lasted any time, however. Ere long the Government was compelled to note that the preponderating element in these schools was not scientific but practical, and that they were the outcome of the illegal “religio Christiana.”\117/
\115/ Some of them even retained the mantle of the philosopher; at an early period in the church Justin was described as “philosopher and martyr.”
\116/ Τὶ γαρ, says Justin's (Dial. c. Tryph. 1) Trypho, a tropos of contemporary philosophy, οὐκ οἱ φιλόσοφοι περὶ θεοῦ τὸν ἅπαντα ποιοῦνται λόγον, καὶ περὶ μοναρχίας αὐτοῖς καὶ προνοίας αἱ ζητήσεις γίγνονται ἑκάστοτε; ἢ οὺ τοῦτο ἔργον ἐστὶ φιλοσοφίας, ἐξετάζειν περὶ τοῦ θειόυ; (“Why not? do not the philosophers make all their discourses turn upon the subject of God, and are they not always engaged in questions about his sole rule and providence? Is not this the very business of philosophy, to inquire concerning the Godhead?”). Cp. Melito's phrase, ἡ καθ’ ἡμᾶς φιλοσοφία. Similarly others.
\117/ The apologists, on the one hand, complain that pagans treat Christianity at best as a human philosophy, and on the other hand claim that, as such, Christianity should be conceded the liberty enjoyed by a philosophy. Tertullian (Apol. 46. f.) expatiates on this point at great length; Plainly, the question was one of practical moment, the aim of Christians being to retain, as philosophic schools and as philosophers, at least some measure of freedom, when a thoroughgoing recognition of their claims could not be insisted upon. “Who forces a philosopher to sacrifice or take an oath or exhibit useless lamps at ? No one. On the contrary, they pull down your gods openly, and in their writings arraign your religious customs, and you applaud them for it! Most of them even snarl at the Caesars.” The number of sects in Christianity also confirmed well-disposed opponents in the belief that they had to deal with philosophic schools (c. 47).
“Plures efficimur quotiens metimur a vobis; semen est sanguis Christianorum . . . . illa ipsa obstinatio, quam exprobratis magistra est” – so Tertullian cries to the authorities (Apol. 1: “The oftener we are mown down by you, the larger grow our numbers. The blood of Christians is a seed…That very obstinacy which you reprobate is our instructress”). The most numerous and successful missionaries of the Christian religion were not the regular teachers but Christians themselves, in virtue of their loyalty and courage. How little we hear of the former and their results! How much we hear of the effects [] produced by the latter! [[Note to editor – New paragraph here?]] Above all, every confessor and martyr was a missionary; he not merely confirmed the faith of those who were already won, but also enlisted new members by his testimony and his death. Over and again this result is noted in the Acts of the martyrs, though it would lead us too far afield to recapitulate such tales. While they lay in prison, while they stood before the judge, on the road to execution, and by means of the exccution itself, they won people for the faith. Ay, and even after death. One contemporary document (cp. Euseb. 6.5) describes how Potamitena, an Alexandrian martyr during the reign of Septimius Severus, appeared immediately after dcath even to non-Christians in the city, and how they were converted by this vision. This is by no means incredible. The executions of the martyrs (legally carried out, of course) must have made an impression which startled and stirred wide circles of people, suggesting to their minds the question: Who is to blame, the condemned person or the judge?\118/ Looking at the earnestness, the readiness for sacrifice, and the steadfastness of these Christians, people found it difficult to think that they were to blame. Thus it was by no means an empty phrase, when Tertullian and others like him asserted that the blood of Christians was a seed.
\118/ In the ancient epistle of the Smyrniote church on the death of Polycarp, we already find Polycarp a subject of general talk among the pagans. In the Vita Cypriani (ch. 1), also, there is the following allusion: “Non quo aliquem gentilium lateat tanti viri vita” (“Not that the life of so great a man can be unknown to any of the heathen”).
Nevertheless, it was not merely the confessors and martyrs who were missionaries. It was characteristic of this religion that everyone who seriously confessed the faith proved of service to its propaganda.\119/ Christians are to “let their light shine, that pagans may see their good works and glorify the Father in heaven.” If this dominated all their life, and if they lived [] according to the precepts of their religion, they could not be hidden at all; by their very mode of living they could not fail to preach their faith plainly and audibly.\120/ Then there was the conviction that the day of judgment was at hand, and that they were debtors to the heathen. Furthermore, so far from narrowing Christianity, the exclusiveness of the gospel was a powerful aid in promoting its mission, owing to the sharp dilemma which it involved.
\119/ “Bonum huius sectae usu iam et de commercio innotuit,” says Tertullian (Apol. 46) very distinctly (“The worth of this sect is now well known for its benefits as well as from the intercourse of life”); de Pallio, 6: “Elinguis philo sophia vita contenta est” (“Life is content with even a tongueless philosophy”). What Tertullian makes the pallium say (ch. 5) is true of Christians (cp. above, p. 310). Compare also what has been already specified in Book 2, Chap. 4, and what is stated afterwards in Chap. 4 of this Book.
\120/ In the Didasc. Apost. (cp. Achelis in Texte u. Untersuchungen, 25.2 pp. 276, 80, 76 f.) we find that the church-widows made proselytes.
hesitate to believe that the great mission of Christianity was in
accomplished by means of informal missionaries. Justin says so quite
explicitly. What won him over was the impression made by the moral life
he found among Christians in general. How this life stood apart from
pagans even in the ordinary round of the day, how it had to be or ought
to be a
constant declaration of the gospel -- all this is vividly
Tertullian in the passage where he adjures his wife not to marry a
husband after he is dead (ad Uxor. 2.4-6). We may safely assume,
that women did play a leading role in the spread of this religion (see
Book 4, Chap. 2). But it is impossible to see in any one class of
the church the chief agents of the Christian propaganda. In particular,
cannot think of the army in this connection. Even in the army there
no doubt, but it was not easy to combine Christianity and military
Previous to the reign of
[Harnack bk3 ch1, 369- scanned by Moises Bassan, March 2004]
TRAVELLING: THE EXCHANGE OF LETTERS AND LITERATURE\122/
Cp. Zahn's Weltkehr and Kirche während der drei ersten
(1877); Ramsay in Expositor, vol. 8, Dec. 1903, pp. 401 f. (“Travel and
Correspondence among the Early Christians”) [also reproduced in his Letters
to the Seven Churches, 1904, ch. 1], his Church: in the Roman
364 f., and his article on “Travel” in Hastings' Dictionary of the
“It is the simple truth that travelling, whether for business or for
was contemplated and performed under the empire with an indifference,
confidence, and, above all, certainty which were unknown in after
until the introduction of steamers and the consequent increase in ease
sureness of communication.” Compare the direct and indirect evidence of
Acts, Pliny, Appian, Plutarch, Epictetus, Aristides, etc. lren. 4.30.3:
pacem habet per Romanos, et nos sine timore in viis ambulamus et
voluerimus” (“The world enjoys peace, thanks to the Romans, and we can
by road and sea wherever we wish, unafraid”). One merchant boasts, in
inscription on a tomb at
THE apostles, as well as
many of the
prophets, travelled unceasingly in the interests of their mission. The
of Paul from Antioch to Rome, and probably to Spain, lie in the clear
history, but -- to judge from his letters -- his fellow-workers and
were also continually on the []
partly along with him, and partly on their own account.\123/ One thinks
especially of that missionary couple, Aquila and Priscilla. To study
in detail the journeys of Paul and the rest of these missionaries would
too far afield, nor would it be relevant to our immediate purpose. Paul
that the Spirit of God drove him on, revealing his route and
this did not supersede the exercise of deliberation and reflection in
mind, and evidences of the latter may be found repeatedly throughout
travels. Peter also journeyed as a missionary; he too reached
Read the sixteenth chapter of Romans in particular, and see what a
Paul's acquaintances were in
However, what interests us at present is not so much the travels of the regular missionaries as the journeys undertaken by other prominent Christians, -from which we may learn the vitality of personal communication and intercourse throughout the early centuries. In this connection the Roman church became surprisingly prominent. The majority of the Christians with whose travels we are acquainted made it their goal.\124/
\124/ See Caspari, Quellen z. Taufsymbol, vol. 3 (1875).
Hegesippus, Julius Africanus, and Origen were Christian teachers who
specially travelled men, i.e., men who had gone over a large number of
churches. Justin, who came from
Abercius turned up at
The following notable
journeyed from abroad to
apostolic age is left out of account. It is very probable, I think,
Magus also really came to
Euelpistus and Hierax, however, were probably involuntary travellers;
to have come to
motives prompted a journey to
after the middle of the second century, Melito of Sardes journeyed to
As for the exchange of letters,\129/ I must content myself with noting the salient points. Here, too, the Roman church occupies the foreground. We know of the following letters and despatches issued from it: --
\129/The churches also communicated to each other the Eucharist. The earliest evidence is that of Irenaeus in the letter to Victor of Rome (Eus. H.E. 5.24.15).
Among the non-Roman letters are to be noted: those of Ignatius to the Asiatic churches and to Rome, that written by Polycarp of Smyrna to Philippi and other churches in the neighborhood, the large collection of those written by Dionysius of Corinth (to Athens, Lacedaemon, Nicomedia, Crete, Pontus, Rome), the large collections of Origen's letters (no longer extant), of Cyprian's (to the African churches, to Rome, Spain, Gaul, Cappadocia), and of Novatian's (to a very large number of churches throughout all Christendom: no longer extant), and of those written by Dionysius of Alexandria (preserved in fragments).\130/ Letters were sent from Cappadocia, Spain, and Gaul to Cyprian (Rome) ; the synod which gathered in Antioch to deal with Paul of Samosata, wrote to all the churches of Christendom ; and Alexander of Alexandria, as well [] as Arius, wrote letters to a large number of churches in the Eastern empire.\131/
He even wrote to the brethren in
\131/ Evidence for all these letters will be found in my Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur, vol. 1.
The more important Christian writings also circulated with astonishing rapidity.\132/ Out of the wealth of material at our disposal, the following instances may be adduced: --
\132/ On this point also I may refer to my History of the literature, where the ancient testimony for each writing is carefully catalogued. Down to about the reign of Commodus the number of Christian writings is not very striking, if one leaves out the heretical productions; but when the latter are included, as they must be, it is very large.
writings of the Roman Hippolytus were circulated throughout the East.
large number of Christian writings were gathered from all parts of the
the library at
\133/Compare on this point the two tables, given in my Litteratur-Geschichte, vol. 1 pp. 883-886, of “Early Christian Greek Writings in old Latin Versions,” and “Early Christian Greek Writings in old Syriac Versions.” No writing is translated into a foreign language until it appears to be indispensable for the purposes of edification or of information. Compare, in the light of this, the extraordinary amount of early Christian literature which was translated at an early period into Latin or Syriac. It is particularly interesting to ascertain what writings were rendered into Latin as well as into Syriac. Their number was considerable, and this forms an unerring aid in answering the question, which of the early Christian writings were most widely circulated and most influential. Very little was translated into Greek from Latin (Tertullian's Apology, Cyprian's epistles) in the pre-Constantine period.
data are merely intended to give an approximate idea of how vital was
intercourse, personal and epistolary and literary, between the various
churches, and also between prominent teachers of the day. It is not
exaggerate the significance of this fact foission and propaganda of
Christianity. The co-operation, the brotherliness, and moreover [] the mental activity
of Christians, are
patent in this connection, and they were powerful levers in the
-the cause. Furthermore, they must have made a powerful impression on
outside spectator, besides guaranteeing a certain unity in the
the religion and ensuring the fact that when a Christian passed from
to the West, or from one distant church to another, he never felt
stranger. Down to the age of
So far as I
know, the technical side of the spread of early Christian literature
yet been investigated, and any results that can be reached are far from
numerous.\134/ We must realize, however, that a large number of these
not excluding the oldest and most important of them, together with
almost all the
epistolary literature, was never “edited” in the technical sense of the
never, at any rate, until after some generations []
had passed. There were no editions of the New Testament (or of the
Origen (i.e., the Theodotian), although Marcion's New Testament
deserves to be
called a critical revision and edition, while revised editions.were
those early fathers who bewailed the falsification of the Bible texts
gnostics. For the large majority of early Christian writings the
the library at
Cp. however, what Sulpicius Severus (Dial. 1.23, in the light of
says of his little volume on “The Life of S. Martin.” Postumianus, the
interrogator, says: “Nunquam a dextera mea liber iste discedit. nam si
agnoscis, ecce -- et aperit librum qui veste latebat -- en ipsum! hic
inquit, terra ac marl comes, hic in peregrinatione tota socius et
fuit. sed referam tibi sane, quo liber iste penetrarit, et quam nullus
orbe terrarum locus sit, ubi non nrateria tam felicis historiae
teneatur. primus eum Romanae urbi vir studiossimus tui Paulinus
cum tota certatim urbe raperetur, exultantes librarios vidi, quad nihil
quaestiosius haberetur, siquidem nihil ilia promptius, nihil carius
hic navigationis meae cursmn longe ante' praegressus, cum ad Africam
per totam Carthaginem legebatur. solus cum Cyrenensis ille presbyter
habebat, sed me largiente descripsit. nam quid ego de
Unedited or unpublished writings were naturally exposed in a special degree to the risk of falsification. The church fathers are full of complaints on this score. Yet even those which were edited were not preserved with due care.\135/ []
\135/ To give one or two instances. Dionysius of Corinth found that his letters were circulating in falsified shape even during his own lifetime; lie comforts himself naively with the thought that even the Scriptures shared the same fate (so, apropos of Origen's writings, Sulpic. Sever. Dial. 1.7). Irenaeus adjures all future copyists of his works not to corrupt them, and to copy out his adjuration (Eus. H.E. 5.20). But the most striking proof of the prevailing uncertainty in texts is afforded by the fact that only a century and a half after Cyprian an attempt was actually made to set aside all his letters on the baptism of heretics as forgeries. Augustine's remarks on the matter are quite as remarkable (Ep. 93.38). He regards the hypothesis as possible, though he does not agree with it: “Non desunt, qui hoc Cyprianum prorsus non sensisse contendant, sed, sub eius nomine a praesumptoribus atque mendacibus fuisse confictum. neque enim sic potuit integritas atque notitia litterarum unius quamlibet inlustris episcopi custodivi quemadmodum scriptura canonica tot linguarum litteris et ordine ac succession celebrationis [[378b]] ecclesiasticae custoditur, contra, quam tamen non defuerat qui sub nominibus apostoloruni multa confingerent frustra quidem, quia illa sic commendata, sic celebrata, sic nota est” (“There are, indeed, some people who assert that Cyprian did not hold such opinions at all, but that the correspondence has been composed in his name by daring forgers. For the writings of a bishop, however distinguished, could not indeed be preserved in their integrity, like the holy canonical Scriptures, by ecclesiastical order and use and regular succession -- though even here there have actually been people who issued many fabrications under the names of apostles. It was useless, however, for Scripture was too well attested, too well known, too familiar, to permit of them succeeding in their designs”). -- How Tertullian fared with the second edition of his anti-Marcion, he tells us himself: “Hanc compositionem nondum exemplariis suffectam fraude tune fratris, dehinc apostatae, amisi, qui forte descripserat quaedam mendosissime et exhibuit frequentiae” (“I lost it, before it was finally published, by the fraud of one who was then a Christian brother but afterwards apostatized. He happened to have transcribed part of it very inaccurately, and then he published it”). -- The author of the Life of Polycarp observes that the works, sermons, and letters of that writer were pilfered during the persecution by the knavery of unbelievers.
To what extent the literature of Christianity fell into the hands of its opponents, is a matter about which we know next to nothing. Tertullian speaks quite pessimistically on the point (de Testim. 1), and Norden's verdict is certainly true (Kunstprosa, pp. 517 f.): “We cannot form too low an estimate of the number of pagans who read the New Testament. . . . . I believe I am correct in saying that pagans only read the New Testament when they wanted to refute it.” Celsus furnished himself with quite a considerable Christian library, in which he studied deeply before he wrote against the Christians; but it is merely a rhetorical phrase, when Athenagoras assumes (Suppl, 9) that the emperors knew the Old Testament. The attitude of the apologists to the Scriptures, whether they are quoting them or not, shows that they do not presuppose any knowledge of their contents (Norden, loc. cit.). Writings of Origen were read by the Neoplatonist philosophers, who had also in their hands the Old Testament, the gospels, and the Pauline epistles. We may say the same of Porphyry and Arnelius. One great obstacle to the diffusion of the Scriptures lay in the Greek version, which was inartistic and offensive (from the point of view of style),\136/ but still more in [] the old Latin version of the Bible, which in many parts was simply intolerable. How repellent must have been the effect produced, for example, by reading (Baruch 2.29) “Dicens: si non audieritis vocis ineae, si sonos magnos hagininis iste avertatur in minima in gentibus, hubi dispergain ibi.”\137/ Nor could Christianity in the West boast of writers whose work penetrated far into the general literature of the age, at a time when Origen and his pupils were forcing an entrance for themselves. Lactantius, whose evidence is above suspicion,\138/ observes that in Latin society Christians were still considered “stulti” (Instit. 5.1 f.),\139/ and personally vouches for the lack of suitable and skilled teachers and authors; Minucius Felix and Tertullian could not secure “satis celebritatis,” whilst, for all his admirable qualities as a speaker and writer, Cyprian “is unable to satisfy those who are ignorant of all but the words of our religion, since his language is mystical and designed only for the ears of the faithful. In short, the learned of this world who chance to [] become acquainted with his writings are in the habit of deriding him. I myself once heard a really cultured person call him ‘Coprianus’ [dung-man] by the change of a single letter in his name, as if he had bestowed on old wives' fables a polished intellect which was capable of better things” (“placere ultra verba sacramentum ignorantibus non potest, quoniam mystica hunt quae locutus est et ad id praeparata, ut a solis fidelibus audiantur: denique a doctis huius saeculi, quibus forte scripta eius innotuerant, derideri solet. audivi ego quendam hominem sane disertum, qui eum immutata una litera ‘Coprianum’ vocaret, quasi quod elegans ingenium et melioribus rebus aptum ad aniles fabulas contulisset”).
\136/ Nearly all the apologists (cp. even Clem. Alex. Protrept. 8.77) tried to justify the “unadorned” style of the prophets, and thus to champion the defect. Origen (Hom. 8.1, in Jesum Nave, vol. 11 P. 74) observes: “We appeal to you, O readers of the sacred books, riot to hearken to their contents with weariness [[379b]] and disdain for what seems to be their unpleasing method of narration” (“Deprecamur vos, O auditores sacroruni voluminum, non cum taedio vel fastidio ea quae leguntur, audire pro co quod minus delectabilis eorum videtur esse narration”); cp. Hom. 8.1, in Levit. vol. 9 p. 313, de Princip. 4.1.7, 4.26 [the divine nature of the Bible all the more plain from its defective literary style], Cohort. ad Graec. 35-36, 38.
\137/Even the Greek text, of course, is unpleasing: λέγωv · ἐὰν μὴ ἀκoύσητε τῆs φωνῆς μου, εἰ μὴv ἡ βόμβησιs ἡ μεγάλη ἡ πολλὴ αὕτη ἀποστρέψει εἰς μικρὰν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνοσιν οὗ διασπερῶ αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ. On the style of the New Testament, cp. Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa (1898), pp. 516 f. (“Educated people could not but view the literary records of the Christians as stylistic monstrosities”). -- Arnobius (1.58) writes of the Scriptures: “They were written by illiterate and uneducated men, and therefore are not readily to be credited” (“Ab indoctis hominibus et rudibus scripta suit et idcirco non swat facili auditione credenda”). When he writes (1.59): “Barbarismis, soloecismis obsitae sunt res vestrae et vitioruni deformitate pollutae” (“Your narratives are overrun by barbarisms and solecisms, and disfigured by monstrous blunders”), he is reproducing pagan opinions upon the Bible. Compare the remarks of Sulpicius Severus, and the reasons which led him to compose his Chronicle of the World; also Augustine's Confess. 3.5 (9). The correspondence between Paul and Seneca was fabricated in order to remove the obstacles occasioned by the poor style of Paul's letters in the Latin version (cp. my Litt. Geschichte, 1 p. 765).
\138/ No doubt he is anxious to bring out his own accomplishments.
\139/Cp. on this the extremely instructive treatise “ad Paganos” in the pseudo-August. Quaest. in Vet. et Nov. Test. No. 114. Underlying it is the charge of stupidity levelled at Christians, who are about thirty times called “stulti.” The author naturally tries to prove that it is the pagans who are the stupid folk.
In the Latin West, although Minucius Felix and Cyprian (ad Donatum) wrote in a well-bred style, Christian literature had but little to do with the spread of the Christian religion; in the East, upon the contrary, it became a factor of great importance from the third century onwards.
THE INVASION OF DOMESTIC LIFE
ANYONE who inquires about the missionary methods in general must be referred to what has been said in our Second Book (pp. 86 f.). For the missionary preaching includes the missionary methods. The one God, Jesus Christ as Son and Lord according to apostolic tradition, future judgment and the resurrection -- these truths were preached. So was the gospel of the Savior and of salvation, of love and charity. The new religion was stated and verified as Spirit and power, and also as the power to lead a new moral life, and to practise self-control. News was brought to men of a divine revelation to which humanity must yield itself by faith. A new people, it was announced, had now appeared which was destined to embrace all nations; withal a primitive, sacred book was handed over, in which the world's history was depicted from the first day to the last.
In 1 Cor. 1-2. Paul expressly states that he gave a central place to the proclamation of the crucified Christ. He summed up everything in this preaching; that is, he proclaimed Christ as the Savior who wiped sins away. But preaching of this kind implies that he began by revealing and bringing home to his hearers their own impiety and unrighteousness (ἀσέβεια καὶ ἀδικέια), otherwise the preaching of redemption could never have secured a footing or done its work at all. Moreover, as the decisive proof of men's impiety and unrighteousness, Paul adduced their ignorance regarding God and also regarding idolatry, an ignorance for which they themselves were to blame. To prove that this was their own fault, he appealed to the conscience [] of his hearers, and to the remnant of divine knowledge which they still possessed. The opening of the epistle to the Romans (chaps. 1-3) may therefore be considered to represent the way in which Paul began his missionary preaching. First of all, he brought his hearers to admit “we are sinners, one and all.” Then he led them to the cross of Christ, where he developed the conception of the cross as the power and the wisdom of God. And interwoven with all this, in characteristic fashion, lay expositions of the flesh and the Spirit, with allusions to the approaching judgment.
So far as we can judge, it was Paul who first threw into such sharp relief the significance of Jesus Christ as a Redeemer, and made this the central point of Christian preaching. No doubt, the older missionaries had also taught and preached that Christ died for sins (1 Cor. 15.3); but in so far as they addressed Jews, or people who had for some time been in contact with Judaism, it was natural that they should confine themselves to preaching the imminence of judgment, and also to proving from the Old Testament that the crucified Jesus was to return as judge and as the Lord of the messianic kingdom. Hence quite naturally they could summon men to acknowledge him, to join his church, and to keep his commandments.
We need not doubt that this was the line taken at the outset, even for many people of pagan birth who had already become familiar with some of the contents and characteristics of the Old Testament. The Petrine speeches in Acts are a proof of this. As for the missionary address, ascribed to Paul in ch. 13, it is plainly a blend of this popular missionary preaching with the Pauline manner; but in that model of a mission address to educated people which is preserved in ch. 17.\140/ the Pauline manner of missionary preaching is perfectly distinct, in spite of what seems to be one vital difference. First we have an exposition of the true doctrine of God, whose main aspects are successively presented (monotheism, spirituality, omnipresence and omnipotence, creation and providence, the unity of the human race and their religious capacities, spiritual worship). The state of mankind hitherto is described as “ignorance,” and therefore [] to be repented of; God will overlook it. But the new era has dawned: an era of repentance and judgment, involving faith in Jesus Christ, who has been sent and raised by God and who is at once redeemer and judge.\141/ Many of the more educated missionaries, and particularly Luke himself, certainly preached in this fashion, as is proved by the Christian apologies and by writings like the “Preaching of Peter.” Christian preaching was bent on arousing a feeling of godlessness and unrighteousness; it also worked upon the natural consciousness of God; but it was never unaccompanied by references to the coming judgment.
\140/ The address in 14.15 f. is akin to this.
\141/ Whatever be the origin of the address in Acts 17.22-31 and the whole narrative of Paul's preaching at Athens, it remains the most wonderful passage in the book of Acts; in a higher sense (and probably in a strictly historical sense, at some vital points) it is full of truth. No one should have failed especially to recognize how closely the passage fits into the data which can be gathered from 1 Cor. 1 f. and Rom. 1 f., with regard to the missionary preaching of Paul. The following points may be singled out: --
(a) According to Acts 17.18, “Jesus and the Resurrection” were decidedly put in the front rank of Paul's preaching. This agrees with what may be inferred from 1 Cor. 1 f.
As Rom. 1.19 f. and 2.14 f. prove, the exposition of man's natural
God formed a cardinal feature in the missionary preaching of Paul. It
most of the space in the address at
(c) In this address the Judgeship of Jesus is linked on directly to the “ignorance” which has replaced the primitive knowledge of God (καθότι ἔστησεν ἡμέραν ἐν ᾗ μέλλει κρίνειν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἐν ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὥρισεν), precisely as Rom. 2.14 f. is followed by ver. 16 (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὅτε κρίνει ὁ θεὸς τὰ κρυπτὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων διὰ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ).
(d) According to the Athenian address, between the time of “ignorance” and the future judgment there is a present interval which is characterized by the offer of saving faith (ver. 31). The genuinely Pauline character of this idea only needs to be pointed out.
(e) The object of this saving faith is the risen Jesus (ver. 31) -- a Pauline idea of which again no proof is necessary.
The one point at which the Athenian address diverges from the missionary preaching which we gather from the Pauline letters, is the lack of prominence assigned by the former to the guilt of mankind. Still, it is clear enough that their “ignorance” is implicitly condemned, and the starting-point of the address (ὃ ἀγνοοῦντες εὐσεβεῖτε, τοῦτο ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν) made it almost impossible to lay any greater emphasis upon the negative aspect of the matter.
Several important features of Paul's work as a pioneer missionary may be also recognised in 1 Thessalonians (cp. Acts 20.18 f.). But it does not come within the scope of the present volume to enter more fully into such details.
The address put into the mouth of Paul by the “Acta Pauli” [] (Acta Theclae, 5-6) is peculiar and quite un-Pauline (compare, however, the preaching of Paul before Nero). Strictly speaking, it cannot even be described as a missionary address at all. The apostle speaks in beatitudes, which are framed upon those of Jesus but developed ascetically. A more important point is that the content of Christian preaching is described as “the doctrine of the generation and resurrection of the Beloved” (διδασκαλία τῆς τε γεννήσεως καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ ἠγαπημένου), and as “the message of self-control and of resurrection” (λόγος τῆς έγκρατείας καὶ ἀναστάσεως).\142/
\142/ A brief and pregnant missionary address, delivered by an educated Christian, is to be found in the Acta Apollonii (36. f.). The magistrate's demand for a brief statement of Christianity is met thus : οὗτος ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὡς ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ κατὰ πάντα δίκαιος καὶ πεπληρωμένος θείᾳ σοφίᾳ, φιλανθρώπως ἐδίδαξεν ἡμᾶς τίς ὁ τῶν ὅλων θεὸς καὶ τί τέλος ἀρετῆς ἐπὶ σεμνὴν πολιτείαν ἁρμόζον πρὸς τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ψυχάς · ὃς διὰ τοῦ παθεῖν ἔπαυσεν τὰς αρχὰς τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν (“This Jesus Christ our Savior, on becoming man in Judaea, being just in all respects and filled with divine wisdom, taught us -- in his love for men -- who was the God of all, and what was that end of virtue which promoted a holy life and was adapted to the souls of men; by his sufferings he stopped the springs of sin”). Then follows a list of all the virtues, including the duty of honoring the emperor, with faith in the immortality of the soul and in retribution; all of these were taught by Jesus μετὰ πολλῆς ἀποδείξεως. Like the philosophers and just men before him, however, Jesus was persecuted and slain by “the lawless,” even as one of the Greeks had also said that the just man would be tortured, spat upon, bound, and finally crucified. As Socrates was unjustly condemned by the Athenian sycophants, so did certain wicked persons vilify and condemn our Teacher and Savior, just as already they had done to the prophets who foretold his coming, his work, and his teaching (προεῖπον ὅτι τοιοῦτός τις ἀφίξεται πάντα δίκαιος καὶ ἐνάρετος, ὃς εἰς πάντας εὖ ποιήσας ἀνθρώπους e’π’ ἀρετῇ πείσει σέβειν τὸν πάντων θεόν, ὃν ἡμεῖς φθάσαντες τιμῶμεν, ὅτι ἐμάθομεν σεμνὰς ἐντολὰς ἂς οὐκ ᾔδειυεν, καὶ οὐ πεπλανήμεθα: they predicted that “such an one will come, absolutely righteous and virtuous, who in beneficence to all men shall persuade them to reverence that God of all men whom we now by anticipation honor, because we have learnt holy commands which we knew not, and have not been deceived”).
The effect of connected discourses, so far as regards the Christian mission, need not be overestimated; in every age a single stirring detail that moves the heart is of greater weight than a long sermon. The book of Acts describes many a person being converted all at once, by a sort of rush. And the description is not unhistorical. Paul was converted, not by a missionary, but by means of a vision. The Ethiopian treasurer was led to believe in Jesus by means of Isaiah 53, and how many persons [] may have found this chapter a bridge to faith! Thecla was won over from paganism by means of the “word of virginity and prayer” (λόγος τῆς παρθενίας καὶ τῆς προσευχῆς, Acta Theclae, ch. 7), a motive which is so repeatedly mentioned in the apocryphal Acts that its reality and significance cannot be called in question. Asceticism, especially in the sexual relationship, did prevail in wide circles at that period, as an outcome of the religious syncretism. The apologists had good grounds also for declaring that many were deeply impressed and eventually convinced by the exorcisms which the Christians performed, while we may take it for granted that thousands were led to Christianity by the stirring proclamation of judgment, and of judgment close at 'hand. Besides, how many simply succumbed to the authority of the Old Testament, with the light thrown on it by Christianity! Whenever a proof was required, here was this book all ready.\143/
\143/ Strictly speaking, we have no mission-literature, apart from the fragments of the “Preaching of Peter” or the Apologies, and the range of the latter includes those who are already convinced of Christianity. The New Testament, in particular, does not contain a single missionary work. The Synoptic gospels must not be embraced under this category, for they are catechetical works, intended for the instruction of people who are already acquainted with the principles of doctrine, and who require to have their faith enriched and confirmed (cp. Luke 1.4). One might with greater reason describe the Fourth gospel as a missionary work; the prologue especially suggests this view. But even here the description would be inapplicable. Primarily, at any rate, even the Fourth gospel has Christian readers in view, for it is certainly Christians and not pagans who are addressed in 20.31. Acts presents us with a history of missions; such was the deliberate intention of the author. But ch. 1.8 states what is merely the cardinal, and by no means the sole, theme of the book.
mission was reinforced and actively advanced by the behavior of
and women. Paul often mentions this, and in 1 Pet. 3.1 we read that men
not believe the Word are to be won over without a word by means of the
of their wives.\144/ The moral life of Christians appealed [] to a man like Justin
with peculiar force,
and the martyrdotns made a wide impression. It was no rare occurrence
outsiders to be struck in such a way that on the spur of the moment
suddenly turned to Christianity. But we know of no cases in which
desired to win, or actually did win, adherents by means of the
they dispensed. We are quite aware that impostors joined the church in
profit by the brotherly kindness of its members; but even pagans never
Christianity with using money as a missionary bribe. What they did
that Christians won credulous people to their religion with their words
doom, and that they promised the heavy-laden a vain support, and the
unlawful pardon. In the third century the channels of the mission among
masses were multiplied. At one moment in the crisis of the struggle
gnosticism it looked as if the church could only continue
by prohibiting any intercourse with that devil's courtesan, philosophy;
et idiotae,” indeed, shut their ears firmly against all learning.\145/
a Tertullian found himself compelled to oppose this standpoint, while
pseudo-Clementine Homilies made a vigorous attack upon the methods of
substitute dreams and visions
for instruction and doctrine. That, they urge, is the method\146/ of
Magus! Above all, it was the catechetical
\144/Details upon Christian women follow in Book 4 Chap. 2. But here we may set down the instructive description of a Christian woman's daily life, from the pen of Tertullian (ad Uxor. 2.4 f.). Its value is increased by the fact that the woman described is married to a pagan.
“If a vigil has to be attended, the husband, the first thing in the morning, makes her an appointment for the baths; if it is a fast-day, he holds a banquet on that very day. If she has to go out, household affairs of urgency at once come in the way. For who would be willing to let his wife go through one street after another to other men's houses, and indeed to the poorer cottages, in order to visit [[386b]] the brethren? Who would like to see her being taken from his side by some duty of attending a nocturnal gathering? At Easter time who will quietly tolerate her absence all the night? Who will unsuspiciously let her go to the Lord's Supper, that feast which they heap such calumnies upon? Who will let her creep into gaol to kiss the martyrs' chains? or even to meet any one of the brethren for the holy kiss? or to bring water for the saints' feet? If a brother arrives from abroad, what hospitality is there for him in such an alien house, if the very larder is closed to one for whom the whole storeroom ought to be thrown open! . . . . Will it pass unnoticed, if you make the sign of the cross on your bed or on your person f or when you blow away with a breath some impurity? or even when you rise by night to pray? Will it not look as if you were trying to engage in some work of magic? Your husband will not know what it is that you eat in secret before you taste any food.” The description shows us how the whole daily life of a Christian was to be a confession of Christianity, and in this sense a propaganda of the mission as well.
adv. Prax. 3: “Simplices quique, ne dixerim imprudentes et
maior semper credentium pars est” (“The simple -- I do not call them
or unlearned -- who are always the majority”); cp. de Resurr.
Hippolytus, at the beginning of the third century, calls Zephyrinus,
\146/ See Homil. 17.14-19, where censure is passed on the view that it is safer “to learn by means of an apparition than from the clearness of truth itself” (ὑπὸ ὀπτασίας ἀκούειν ἢ παρ’ αὐτῆς ἐναρyείας, 14); ὁ ὀπτασίᾳ πιστεύων, we read, ἢ ὁράματι καὶ ἐνυπνὶῳ ἀγνοεῖ τίνι πιστεύει (“He who believes in an apparition or vision and dreams, does not know in whom he is believing”). Cp. 17: καὶ ἀσεβεῖς ὁράματα καὶ ἐνύπνια ἀληθῆ βλέπουσιν . . . . τῷ εὐσεβεῖ ἐμφύτῳ καὶ καθαρῷ ἀναβλύξει τῷ νῷ τὸ ἀλήθες, οὐκ ὀνείρῳ σπουδαζόμενον, ἀλλὰ συνέσει ἀγαθοῖς διδόμενον (“Even impious men have true visions and dreams . . . . but truth bubbles up to the natural and pure mind of the pious ; it is not worked up through dreams, but vouchsafed to the good through their understanding”). In [[character]] 18 Peter explains that his own confession (Matt. 16) first became precious to himself when Jesus told him it was the Father who had allowed him to participate in this revelation. Τὸ ἔξωθεν δι’ ὀπτασιῶν καὶ ἐνυπνίων δηλωθῆναί τι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀποκαλύψεως ἀλλὰ ὀργῆς (“The declaration of anything external by means of apparitions and dreams is the mark, not of revelation, but of wrath divine”). In [[character]] 19 a negative answer is given to the question “whether anyone can be rendered fit for instruction by means of an apparition” (εἴ τις δι’ ὀπτασίαν πρὸς διδασκαλίαν σοφισθῆναι δύναται).
a newcomer was admitted into the Christian church he was baptized. This
roris perfusio,” Lactant. 4.15), whose beginnings lie wrapt in
certainly was not introduced in order to meet the pagan
craving for the
mysteries, but as a matter of fact it is impossible to think of any
action which would prove more welcome to that craving than baptism with
touching simplicity. The mere fact of []
such a rite was a great comfort in itself, for few indeed could be
with a purely spiritual religion. The ceremony of the individual's
and emergence from the water served as a guarantee that old things were
washed away and gone, leaving him a new man. The utterance of the name
or of the three names of the Trinity during the baptismal act brought
candidate into the closest union with them; it raised him to God
Speculations on the mystery at once commenced.\147/ Immersion was held
to be a
death; immersion in relation to Christ was a dying with him, or an
into his death; the water was the symbol of his blood. Paul himself
doctrine, but he rejected the speculative notions of the Corinthians (1
1.13 f.) by which they further sought to bring the person baptized into
mysterious connection with the person who baptizes. It is remarkakle
thanks God that personally he had only baptized a very few people in
ideas were bound up from the very first with baptism; cp. the baptism ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν at
“Fiunt, non nascuntur Christiani”; men are not born Christians, but made Christians. This remark of Tertullian (Apol. 18)\148/ may have applied to the large majority even after the middle of the second century, but thereafter a companion feature arose in the shape of the natural extension of Christianity through parents to their children. Subsequently to that period the practice [] of infant baptism was also inaugurated; at least we are unable to get certain evidence for it at an earlier date.\149/ But whether infants or adults were baptized, baptism in either case was held to be a mystery which involved decisive consequences of a natural and supernatural kind. The general conviction was that baptism effectually cancelled all past sins of the baptized person, apart altogether from the degree of moral sensitiveness on his own part; he rose from his immersion a perfectly pure and perfectly holy man. Now this sacrament played an extremely important role in the mission of this church. It was an act as intelligible as it was consoling; the ceremony itself was not so unusual as to surprise or scandalize people like circumcision or the taurobolium, and yet it was something tangible, something to which they could attach themselves.\150/ [] Furthermore, if one added the story of Jesus being baptized by John -- a story which was familiar to everyone, since the gospel opened with it -- not merely was a fresh field thrown open for profound schemes and speculations, but, thanks to the precedent of this baptism of Jesus, the baptism to which every Christian submitted acquired new unction and a deeper content. As the Spirit had descended upon Jesus at his own baptism, so God's Spirit hovered now upon the water at every Christian's baptism, converting it into a bath of regeneration and renewal. How much Tertullian has already said about baptism in his treatise de Baptisrno! Even that simple Christian, Hermas, sixty years previous to Tertullian, cannot say enough on the topic of baptism; the apostles, he exclaims, went down into the underworld and there baptized those who had fallen asleep long ago.
\148/ Cp. de Testim. 1: “Fieri non nasci solet christiana anima” Those born in Christian homes are called “vernaculi ecclesiae” (cp. de Anima, 51).
\149/ Here, too, I am convinced that the saying holds true, “Ab initio sic non erat.”
\150/ At the same time, of course, people of refined feeling were shocked by the rite of baptism and the declaration involved in it, that all sins were now wiped out. Porphyry, whose opinion in this matter is followed by Julian, writes thus in Macarius Magnes (4.19): “We must feel amazed and truly concerned about our souls, if a man thus shamed and polluted is to stand out clean after a single immersion, if a man whose life is stained by so much debauchery, by adultery, fornication, drunkenness,, theft, sodomy, murder by poisoning, and many another shameful and detestable vice -- if such a creature, I say, is lightly set free from it all, throwing off the whole guilt as a snake sheds its old scales, merely because he has been baptized and has invoked the name of Christ. Who will not commit misdeeds, mentionable and unmentionable, who will not do things which can neither be described nor tolerated, if he learns that he can get quit of all these shameful offences merely by believing and getting baptized, and cherishing the hope that he will hereafter find forgiveness with him who is to judge the living and the dead? Assertions of this kind cannot but lead to sin on the part of anyone who understands them. They teach men constantly to be unrighteous. They lead one to understand that they proscribe even the discipline of the law and righteousness itself, so that these have no longer any power at all against unrighteousness. They introduce a lawless life into an ordered world. They raise it to the rank of a first principle, that a man has no longer to shun godlessness at all -- if by the simple act of baptism he gets rid of a mass of innumerable sins. Such, then, is the position of matters with regard to this boastful fable.” But is Porphyry quite candid in this detestation of sacraments and their saving efficiency in general, as well as in his description of the havoc wrought upon morals by baptism? As to the latter point, it is of course true that the practice of postponing baptism became more and more common, even as early as the second century, in order to evade a thorough-going acceptance of the Christian life, and yet to have the power of sinning with impunity (cp., e.g., Tert. de Paenit. 6). Even strict teachers advised it, or at least did not dissuade people from it, so awful seemed the responsibility of baptism. No safe means could be found for wiping off post-baptismal [[390b]] sins. Yet this landed them in a sore dilemma, of which they were themselves quite conscious. They had to fall in with the light-minded! Cp. Tertullian, loc. cit. and de Baptismo; at a later date, the second book of Augustine's Confessions. Justin, however, declares that baptism is only for those who have actually ceased to sin (Apol. 1.61 f.).
It was as a mystery that the Gentile church took baptism from the very first,\151/ as is plain even from the history of the way in which the sacrament took shape. People were no longer satisfied with the simple bath of baptism. The rite was amplified; new ceremonies were added to it; and, like all the mysteries, the holy transaction underwent a development. Gradually the new ceremonies asserted their own independence, by a process which also is familiar. In the treatise I have just mentioned, Tertullian exhibits this development at an advanced stage,\152/ but [] on the main issue there was little or no alteration; baptism was essentially the act by which past sins were entirely cancelled.
\151/ This sacrament was not, of course, performed in secret at the outset, nor indeed for some time to come. It is not until the close of the second century that the secrecy of the rite commences, partly for educative reasons, partly because more and more stress came to be laid on the nature of baptism as a mystery. The significance attaching to the correct ritual as such is evident as early as the Didachê (7), where we read that in the first instance running water is to be used in baptism; failing that, cold standing water; failing that, warm water; failing a sufficient quantity even of that, mere sprinkling is permissible. The comparative freedom of such regulations was not entirely abolished in later ages, but it was scrupulously restricted. Many must have doubted the entire efficacy of baptism by sprinkling, or at least held that it required to be supplemented.
\152/ On the conception and shaping of baptism as a mystery, see Anrich's Das antike Mysterienwesen in seinem Einfluss auf das Christentum (1894), pp. 84 f., 168 f., 179 f., and Wobbermin's Religionsgeschich. Studien z. Frage d. Beeinflussung [[391b]] des Urchristentums durch das antike Mysterienwesen (1896), pp. 143 f. The latter discusses σφραγίς, σφραγίξειν, φωτισμός, φωτίζειν, and σύμβολον, the technical baptismal terms. The mysteries are exhibited in greatest detail by the Pistis Sophia.
It was a mysterium salutare, a saving mystery; but it was also a mysterium tremendimi, an awful mystery, for the church had no second means of grace like baptism. The baptized person must remain pure, or (as 9. Clem., e.g., puts it) “keep the seal pure and intact.” Certain sects attempted to introduce repeated baptism, but they never carried their point; baptism, it was steadily maintained, could never be repeated. True, the sacrament of penance gradually arose, by means of which the grace lost after baptism could be restored. Despite this, however, there was a growing tendency in the third century to adopt the custom of postponing baptism until immediately before death, in order to make the most of this comprehensive means of grace.
No less important than
was the preparation for it, here the spiritual aspect of the Christian
reached its highest expression; here its moral and social force was
shown. The Didachê at once corroborates and elucidates the
information which we possess with regard to this point in the previous
The pagan who desired to become a Christian was not baptized there and
When his heart had been stirred by the broad outlines of the preaching
of the one
God and the Lord Jesus Christ as savior and redeemer, he was then
will and law of God, and what was meant by renouncing idolatry. No
doctrines were laid down, but the “two ways” were put before him in a
comprehensive and thoroughgoing fashion; every sin was tracked to its
lurking-place within. He had to renounce all sins and assent to the law
nor was he baptized until the church was convinced that he knew the
and desired to follow it (Justin, Apol. I.67: λοῦσαι τὸν
πεπεισμένον καὶ συγκατατεθειμένον, “to wash him who is
convinced and who
has assented to our teaching”).\153/ The Jewish synagogue had already
drawn [] up a
catechism for proselytes and made
morality the condition of religion; it had already instituted a
religion. Christianity took this up and deepened it. In so doing it was
actuated by the very strongest motives, for otherwise it could not
itself against the varied forms of “idolatry” or realize its cherished
being the holy
\153/ Cp. Orig. c. Cels. 3.51: “Having previously tested, as far as possible, the hearts of those who desire to become their hearers, and having given them [[392b]] preliminary instruction by themselves, Christians admit them into the community whenever they evince adequate evidence of their desire to lead a virtuous life. Certain persons are entrusted by Christians with the duty of investigating and testing the life and conduct of those who come forward, in order to prevent people of evil behavior from entering the community, and at the same time to extend a hearty welcome to people of a different stamp, and to improve them day by day.”
\154/ Cp. the Testimonia of Cyprian.
Origen distinctly remarks (3.53) that the moral and mental training of
catechumens and of young adherents of the faith varied according to the
requirements of their position and the amount of their knowledge. After
Holtzmann, in his essay on “The Catechising of the
It is deeply to
be deplored that the first three centuries yield no biographies
conversion or the inner rise and growth of any Christian personality.
It is not
as if such documents had perished: they were never written. We do not
the inner history of Paul up to the day on which he reached
How deeply must
conversion have driven its wedge into marriage and domestic life! What
amount of strain, dispeace, and estrangement conversion must have
one member was a Christian while another clung to the old religion!
shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child: children
rise up against their parents and have them put to death.” “I came not
peace on earth, but a sword. For I came to set a man at variance with
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law
her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who
or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10.21, 34-37). These
prophecies, says Tertullian (Scorp. 9), []
were fulfilled in none of the apostles; therefore they apply to us.
enim apostolorum aut fratrem aut patrem passus est traditorem, quod
iam nostri” (“None of the apostles was betrayed by father or brother, as
most of us to-day are”). Cp. ch. 11: “We are betrayed by our next
Justin (Dial. 35) says the same “We are put to death by our
father, the neighbor, the son, the friend, the brother, the husband,
are imperilled; if they seek to maintain discipline, they are in danger
being denounced” (Apol. 2.1). “If anyone,” says Clement (Quis
“has a godless father or brother or son, who would be a hindrance to
an obstacle to the higher life, he must not associate with him or share
position; he must abjure the fleshly tie on account of the spiritual
In the Recognitions of Clement (2.29) we read: “In unaquaque
inter credentem et non credentem coeperit esse diversitas, necessario
fit, incredulis quidem contra fidem dimicantibus, fidelibus vero in
errorem veterem et peccatorum vitia confutantibus” (“When differences
any household between a believer and an unbeliever, an inevitable
arises, the unbelievers fighting against the faith, and the faithful
their old error and sinful vices”). Eusebius (Theophan. 4.12)
Luke 12.51 f.: “Further, we see that no word of man, whether
poet, Greek or barbarian, has ever had the force of these words,
rules the entire world, breaking up every household, parting and
generations, so that some think as he thinks whilst others find
opposed to him.” A very meagre record of these tragedies has come down
The orator Aristides (Orat. 46) alludes to them in a passage
come up before us later on. Justin (Apol. 2) tells us of an
\156/ He continues (ch. 23): “Suppose it is a lawsuit. Suppose your father were to appear to you and say, ‘I begot you, I reared you. Follow me, join me in wickedness, and obey not the law of Christ,’ and so on, as any blasphemer, dead by nature, would say.”
\157/ Tertullian distinctly says (ad Uxor. 2.5) that heathen husbands held their wives in check by the fact that they could denounce them at any moment.
The scenes between Perpetua\158/ and her father are most affecting. He tried at first to bring her back by force,\159/ and then besought her with tears and entreaties (ch. 5)\160/ The crowd called out to the martyr Agathonikê, “Have pity on thy son!” But she replied, “He has God, and God is able to have pity on his own.” Pagan spectators of the execution of [] Christians would cry out pitifully: “Et puto liberos habet. nam est illi societas in penatibus coniunx, et tamen nec vinculo pignerum cedit nec obsequio pietatis abductus a proposito suo deficit” (Novat. de Laude Mart. 15: “Yet I believe the man he has a wife, at home. In spite of this, however, he does not yield to the bond of his offspring, nor withdraw from his purpose under the constraint of family affection”). “Uxorem iam pudicam inaritus iam non zelotypus, filium iam subiectum pater retro patiens abdicavit, servum iam fidelem dominus olim mitis ab oculis relegavit” (Tert. Apol. 3: “Though jealous no longer, the husband expels his wife who is now chaste; the son, now obedient, is disowned by his father who was formerly lenient; the master, once so mild, cannot bear the sight of the slave who is now faithful”). Similar instances occur in many of the Acts of the Martyrs.\161/ Genesius (Ruinart, p. 312), for example, says that he cursed his Christian parents and relatives. But the reverse also happened. When Origen was young, and in fact little more than a lad, he wrote thus to his father, who had been thrown into prison for his faith: “See that you do not change your mind on our account” (Eus. H.E. 6.2).\162/ [] In how many cases the husband was a pagan and the wife a Christian (see below, Book 4 Chap. 2). Such a relationship may have frequently\163/ been tolerable, but think of all the distress and anguish involved by these marriages in the majority of cases. Look at what Arnobius says (2.5): “Malunt solvi conjuges matrintoniis, exheredari a parentibus liberi quam fidem rumpere Christianam et salutaris militiae sacramenta deponere” (“Rather than break their Christian troth or throw aside the oaths of the Christian warfare, wives prefer to be divorced, children to be disinherited”).
\158/ “Honeste nata, liberaliter instituta, matronaliter nupta, habens patrem et matrem et fratres duos, alterum aeque catechuminum, et filium infantem ad ubera” (“A woman of respectable birth, well educated, a married matron, with a father, mother, and two brothers alive, one of the latter being, like herself, a catechumen, and with an infant son at the breast”).
\159/ “Tunc pater mittit se in me, ut oculos mihi erueret, sed vexavit tantum . . . . tunc paucis diebus quod caruissem patrem, domino gratias egi et refrigeravi absentia illius” (“Then my father flung himself upon me as if he would tear out my eyes. But he only distressed me . . . . then a few days after my father had left me, I thanked the Lord, and his absence was a consolation to me”, ch. 3.
\160/ “Supervenit de civitate pater meus, consumptus taedio et adscendit ad me, ut me deiiceret dicens: Filia, miserere canis meis, miserere patri, si dignus sum a te pater vocari; si his te manibus ad hunc florem aetatis provexi, si to praeposui omnibus fratribus tuis; ne me dederis in dedecus hominum. aspice fratres tuos, aspice matrem tuam et materteram, aspice filium tuum, qui post to vivere non poterit . . . . haec dicebat quasi pater pro sua pietate, basians mihi manus, et se ad pedes meos jactans et lacrimans me iam non filiam nominabat, sed dominam” (“Then my father arrived from the city, worn out with anxiety. He came up to me in order to overthrow my resolve, saying, ‘Daughter, have pity on my grey hairs; have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be called your father; if with these hands I have brought you up to this bloom of life, if I have preferred you to all your brothers, hand me not over to the scorn of men. Consider your brothers, your mother, your aunt, your son who will not be able to survive you.’ . . . . So spake my father in his affection, kissing my hands and throwing himself at my feet, and calling me with tears not daughter, but lady”). Cp. 6: “Cum staret pater ad me deiciendam jussus est ab Hilariano (the judge) proici, et virga percussus est. et doluit mihi casus patri mei, quasi ego fuissem percussa: sic dolui pro senecta eius misera” (“As my father stood there to cast me down from my faith, Hilarianus ordered him to be thrown on his face and beaten with rods; and my father's ill case grieved me as if it had been my own, such was my grief for his pitiful old age”); also 9: “Intrat ad me pater consumptus taedio et coepit parbam suam evellere et in terrain mittere et prosternere se in faciem et inproperare armis suis et dicere tanta verba quae moverent universam creaturam” (“My father came in to me, worn out with anxiety, and began to tear his beard and to fling himself on the earth, and to throw himself on his face and to reproach his years, and utter such words as might move all ereation”).
\161/ During the persecution of Diocletian, Christian girls of good family (from Thessalonica) ran off and wandered about, without their fathers’ knowledge, for weeks together in the mountains (“Acta Agapes, Chionke, Irenes,” in Ruinart's Acta Mart. Ratisbon, 1859, p. 426). How bitterly does the aristocratic Fortunatianus complain before the judge, in the African Acts of Saturninus and Dativus (dating from Diocletian's reign; cp. above, p. 363), that Dativus crept into the house and converted his (the speaker's) sister to Christianity during the absence of her father, and then actually took her with him to Abitini (Ruinart, p. 417). Compare the scene between the Christian soldier Marcianus and his wife, a woman of pagan opinions, in the Acts of Marcianus and Nicander (Ruinart, p. 572). When her husband goes off to be executed, the woman cries: “Vae miserae mihi! non mihi respondes? miserator esto mei, domine; aspice filium tuum dulcissimum, convertere ad nos, noli nos spernere. Quid festinas? quo tendis? cur nos odisti?” (“Ah, woe is me! will you not answer me? pity me, sir. Look at your darling son. Turn round to us; ah, scorn us not. Why hasten off? Whither do you go? Why hate us?”) See also the Acta Irenai, ch. 3. (op. cit. p. 433), where parents and wife alike adjure the young bishop of Sirmium not to sacrifice his life. -- Of the martyr Dionysia we read (in Eus. H.E. 6.41.18): ἡ πολύπαις μέν, οὐχ ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον δὲ ἀγαπήσασα ἑαυτῆς τὰ τέκνα (“She had a large family, but she loved not her own children above the Lord”).
\162/ Cp. Daria, the wife of Nicander, in the Acts of Marcianus and Nicander, who exhorted her husband to stand firm. Also the Acts of Maximilianus, where the martyr is encouraged by his father, who rejoices in the death of his son; and [[398b]] further, the Acta Jacobi et Mariani (Ruinart, p. 273), where the mother of Marianus exults in her son's death as a martyr.
\163/ As, e.g., in the case of Augustine's home; cp. his Confess. 1.11(17)[[??]]: “Iam [as a boy] credebam et mater et omnis domus, nisi pater solus, qui tamen non evicit in me ius maternae pietatis, quominus in Christum crederem” (“Already I believed, as did my mother and the whole household except my father; yet he did not prevail over the power of my mother's piety to prevent me believing in Christ”). Augustine's father is described as indifferent, weak, and quite superficial.
A living faith requires no special “methods” for its propagation; on it sweeps over every obstacle; even the strongest natural affections cannot overpower it. But it is only to a very limited extent that the third century can be regarded in this ideal aspect. From that date Christianity was chiefly influential as the monotheistic religion of mysteries and as a powerful church which embraced holy persons, holy books, a holy doctrine, and a sanctifying cultus. She even stooped to meet the needs of the masses in a way very different from what had hitherto been followed; she studied their traditional habits of worship and their polytheistic tendencies by instituting and organizing festivals, deliverers, saints, and local sacred sites, after the popular fashion. In this connection the missionary method followed by Gregory Thaumaturgus (to which we have already referred on p. 315) is thoroughly characteristic; by consenting to anything, by not merely tolerating but actually promoting a certain syncretism, it achieved, so far as the number of converts was concerned, a most brilliant success. In the following Book (Chap. 3, sect. 3.9B) detailed information will be given upon this point.
[Harnack bk3 ch3, 399- scanned by Moises Bassan, March 2004]
THE NAMES OF CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS
JESUS called those who
him “disciples” (μαθηταί); he called himself the “teacher”\164/
historically certain), while those whom he had gathered addressed him
teacher,\165/ and described themselves as disciples (just as the
John the Baptist were also termed disciples of John). From this it
the relation of Jesus to his disciples during his lifetime was
by the conception of Messiah, but by that of teacher. As yet the
dignity of Jesus -- only to be revealed at his return -- remained a
faith still dimly grasped. Jesus himself did not claim it openly until
\164/ The saying addressed to the disciples in Matt. 23.8 (ὑμεῖς μὴ κληθῆτε ῥαββεί · εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος, πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε) is very noticeable. One would expect μαθηταί instead of ἀδελφοί here; but the latter is quite appropriate, for Jesus is seeking to emphasize the equality of all his disciples and their obligation to love one another. It deserves notice, however, that the apostles were not termed “teachers,” or at least very rarely, with the exception of Paul.
\165/ Parallel to this is the term ἐπιστάτης, which occurs more than once in Luke.
After the resurrection his disciples witnessed publicly and confidently to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, but they still continued to call themselves “disciples” -- which proves how tenacious names are when once they have been affixed. The twelve confidants of Jesus were called “the twelve disciples” (or, “the twelve”).\166/ From Acts (cp. 1, 6, 9, 11, 13-16, 18, 21) we learn that although, strictly speaking, “disciples” [] had ceased to be applicable, it was retained by Christians for one or two decades as a designation of themselves, especially by the Christians of Palestine.\167/ Paul never employed it, however, and gradually, one observes, the name of οἱ μαθηταί (with the addition of τοῦ κυρίον ) came to be exclusively applied to personal disciples of Jesus, i.e., in the first instance to the twelve, and thereafter to others, also,\168/ as in Papias, Irenaeus, etc. In this way it became a title of honor for those who had themselves seen the Lord (and also for Palestinian Christians of the primitive age in general?), and who could therefore serve as evidence against heretics who subjected the person of Jesus to a docetic decomposition. Confessors and martyrs during the second and third centuries were also honored with this high title of “disciples of the Lord.” They too became, that is to say, personal disciples of the Lord. Inasmuch as they attached themselves to him by their confession and he to them (Matt. 10.32), they were promoted to the same rank as the primitive personal disciples of Jesus; they were as near the Lord in glory as were the latter to him during his earthly sojourn.\169/ []
\166/ Οἱ μαθηταί [“the disciples”] is not a term exclusively reserved for the twelve in the primitive age. All Christians were called by this name. The term ἡ μαθήτρια [“the (female) disciple”] also occurs (cp. Acts 9.36, and Gosp. Pet. 50).
In Acts 21.16 a certain Mnason is called ἀρχαῖος μαθητής [“and
early disciple” (RSV)], which implies perhaps that he is to be
as a personal disciple of Jesus, and at any rate that he was a disciple
first generation. One also notes that, according to the source employed
Epiphanius (Haer. 29.7), μαθηταί was the name of the Christians
\168/ Is not a restriction of the idea voiced as early as Matt. 10.42 (ὃς ἂν ποτίςῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ)?
\169/ During the period subsequent to Acts it is no longer possible, so far as I know, to prove the use of μαθηταί (without the addition of τοῦ κυρίου or χριστοῦ) as a term used by all adherents of Jesus to designate themselves; that is, if we leave out of account, of course, all passages -- and they are not altogether infrequent -- in which the word is not technical. Even with the addition of τοῦ κυρίου, the term ceases to be a title for Christians in general by the second century. -- One must not let oneself he misled by late apochryphal books, nor by the apologists of the second century. The latter often describe Christ as their teacher, and themselves (or Christians generally) as disciples, but this has no connection, or at best an extremely loose connection, with the primitive terminology. It is moulded, for apologetic reasons, upon the terminology of the philosophic schools, just as the apologists chose to talk about “dogmas” of the Christian teaching, and “theology” (see my Dogmensgeschichte, 1.(3) pp. 482 f.; Eng. trans. 2.176 f.). As everyone is aware, the apologists knew perfectly well that, strictly speaking, Christ was not a teacher, but rather lawgiver (νομοθέτης), law (νόμος), Logos (λόγος ), Savior (σωτήρ), and judge (κριτής), [[401b]] so that an expression like κυριακὴ διδασκαλία, or “the Lord's instructions” (apologists and Clem. Strom. 6.15.124, 6.18.165, 7.10.57, 7.15.90, 7.18.165), is not to be adduced as a proof that the apologists considered Jesus to be really their teacher. Rather more weight would attach to διδαχὴ κυρίου (the title of the well-known early catechism), and passages like 1 Clem. 13.1 (τῶν λόγων τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ οὓς ἐλάλησεν διδάσκων = the word of the Lord Jesus which he spoke when teaching); Polyc. 2 (μνημονεύοντες ὧ εἶπεν ὁ κύριος διδάσκων = remembering what the Lord said as he taught); Ptolem. ad Flor. 5 (ἡ διδασκαλία τοῦ σωτῆρος); and Apost. Constit. p. 25 (Texte u. Unters. 2, part 5 – προορῶντας τοὺς λόγους τοῦ διδασκάλον ἡμῶν = the words of our teacher); p. 28 (ὅτε ᾔτησεν ὁ διδάσκαλος τὸν ἄρτον = when the teacher asked for bread); p. 30 (προέλεγεν ὅτε ἐδίδασκεν = he foretold when he taught). But, apropos of these passages, we have to recollect that the Apostolic Constitutions is a work of fiction, which makes the apostles its spokesmen (thus it is that Jesus is termed ὁ διδάσκαλος in the original document underlying the Constitutions, i.e., the disciples call him by this name in the fabricated document). -- There are numerous passages to prove that martyrs and confessors were those, and those alone, to whom the predicate of “disciples of Jesus” was attached already, in the present age, since it was they who actually followed and imitated Jesus. Compare, e.g., Ignat. ad Ephes. 1 (ἐλπίζω ἐπιτυχεῖν ἐν Ῥώμη θηριομαχμ Ἱνα ἐπιτυχεῖν δυνηθῶ μαθητὴς εἶναι, = my hope is to succeed in fighting with beasts at Rome, so that I may succeed in being a disciple); ad Rom. 4 (τότε ἔσομαι μαθητὴς ἀληθὴς τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅτε οὐδὲ τὸ σῶμά μου ὁ κόσμος ὄψεται = then shall I be a true disciple of Christ, when the world no longer sees my body); ad Rom. 5 (ἐν τοῖς ἀδικήμασιν αὐτῶν μᾶλλον μαθητεύομαι = through their misdeeds I became more a disciple than ever); Mart. Polyc. 17 (τὸν μἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ προσκυνοῦμεν, τοὺς δὲ μάρτυρας ὡς μαθητὰς καὶ μιμητὰς τοῦ κυρίου ἀγαπῶμεν = we worship the Son of God, and love the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord). When Novatian founded his puritan church, he seems to have tried to resuscitate the idea of every Christian being a disciple and imitator of Christ.
The term “disciples” fell into disuse, because it no longer expressed the relationship in which Christians now found themselves placed. It meant at once too little and too much. Consequently other terms arose, although these did not in every instance become technical.
The Jews, in the first instance, gave their renegade compatriots special names of their own, in particular “Nazarenes,” “Galileans,” and perhaps also “Poor” (though it is probably quite correct to take this as a self-designation of Jewish Christians, since “Ebionim” in the Old Testament is a term of respect). But these titles really did not prevail except in small circles. “Nazarenes” alone enjoyed and for long retained a somewhat extensive circulation.\170/ []
The first disciples of Jesus were called Galileans (cp. Acts 1.11,
primarily was a geographical term to denote their origin, but was also [[402b]] intended to heap
scorn on the disciples
as semi-pagans. The name rarely became a technical term, however.
once employed it for Christians (Arrian, Diss. 4.7.6). Then
resurrected it (Greg. Naz. Oral. 4: καινατομεῖ ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς περὶ τὴν προσηyορίαν, Γαλιλαίους ἀντὶ Χριστιανῶν ὀνομάσας τε καὶ καλεῖσθαι νομοθετήσας . . . . ὄνομα [Γαλιλαῖοι] τῶν οὐk εἰωθότων) and employed it as a
abuse, although in this as in other points he was only following in the
footsteps of Maximinus Daza, or of his officer Theoteknus, an opponent
Christianity (if this Theoteknus is to be identified with Daza's
(according to the Acta
T heodoti Ancyrani, c.
31) dubbed Theodotus προστάτης
τῶν Γαλιλαίων, or “the
ringleader of the Galileans.” These Acta, however, are
Julian. We may assume that the Christians were already called
the anti-Christian writings which Daza caused to be circulated. The Philopatris
of pseudo-Lucian, where “Galileans” also occurs, has nothing whatever
with our present purpose; it is merely a late Byzantine forgery. With
description of Christians as “Galileans,” however, we may compare the
title of “Phrygians”
given to the Montanists. -- Τhe name “Ebiοnites” (or poor) is not quite
obvious. Possibly the Christian believers got this name from their
opponents simply because they were poor, and accepted the
More probably, however, the Palestinian Christians called themselves by
name on the basis of the Old Testament. Recently, Hilgenfeld has
church-fathers, Tertullian, Epiphanius (Haer. 30.18), etc., in
that the Ebionites must be traced back to a certain Ebion who founded
Dalman also advocates this derivation. Technically, the Christians were
described as “the poor” throughout the empire; the passage in Minuc. Octav.
36, is not evidence enough to establish such a theory. The term
“Nazarenes” or “Nazoreans”
(a Jewish title for all Jewish Christians, according to Jerome, Ep.
and a common Persian and Mohammedan title for Christians in general)
first of all in Acts 24.5, where Paul is described by Tertullian the
πρωτοστάτης τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως. As Jesus himself is
called ὁ Nαζωραῖος in the gospels, there seems
to be no
doubt that his adherents were so named by their opponents; it is
though not unexampled. The very designation of Jesus as ό Ναζωραῖος is admittedly a problem.
Did the title
come really from Ναζαρέτ
(Ναζαρά) the town?
Furthermore, Matt. 2.23 presents a real difficulty. And finally,
knows a pre-Christian sect of Jewish Nazarenes (Haer. 18; their
pre-Christian origin is repeated in ch. 29.6) in Galaaditis, Basanitis,
other trans-Jordanic districts. They had distinctive traits of their
Epiphanius (Haer. 29) distinguishes them from the Jewish
of the same name as well as from the Nasireans (cp. Haer.
observing (between 20 and 21, at the conclusion of'his first book) that
Christians were at first called Nazoreans by the Jews. Epiphanius
informing us that before Christians got their name at
called themselves “God's people,” “
\171/ So far as I know, no title was ever derived from the name of “Jesus” in the primitive days of Christianity. -- On the question whether Christians adopted the name of “Friends” as a technical title, see the first Excursus at the close of this chapter.
\172/ Cp. Minuc. Felix, 11. “Elect” is opposed to οἱ πολλοί . Hence the latter is applied by Papias to false Christians (Eus. H.E. 3.39), and by Heracleon the gnostic, on the other hand, to ordinary Christians (Clem. Strom. 4.9.73)
\173/ Cp. the New Testament, and especially the “Shepherd” of Hermas.
From the usage and vocabulary of Paul, Acts, and later writings,\174/ it follows that “believers” (πιστοί) was a technical [] term. In assuming the name of “believers” (which originated, we may conjecture, on the soil of Gentile Christianity), Christians felt that the decisive and cardinal thing in their religion was the message which had made them what they were, a message which was nothing else than the preaching of the one God, of his son Jesus Christ, and of the life to come.
Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff is perhaps right in adducing also Min.
14, where Caecilius calls Octavius “pistorum praecipuus et postremus
philosophus” (“chief of believers and lowest of philosophers”).
does not mean [[404b]]
“millers,” but is
equivalent to πιστῶν.
The pagan in Macarius Magnes (3.17) also calls Christians ἡ τῶν πιστῶν φρατρία. From Celsus also
conclude that the term πιστοί was technical (Orig. c. Cels.
pagans employed it as an opprobrious name for their opponents, though
Christians wore it as a name of honor; they were people of mere “belief” instead of people of
intelligence and knowledge, i.e., people who were not only credulous
believed what was absurd (see Lucian's verdict on the Christians in Proteus
Peregrinus). -- In
three characteristic titles, however, are those of “saints,”
“brethren,” and “the
They are the usual expressions in Paul, but he was by no means the
employ them; on the contrary, he must have taken them over from the
Christian communities in
\176/The actual and sensible guarantee of holiness lay in the holy media, the “charismata,” and the power of expelling demons. The latter possessed not merely a real but a personal character of their own. For the former, see 1 Cor . 7.14: ἡγίασται ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ ἄπιστος ἐν τῆ γυναικί, καὶ ἡγίασται ἡ γυνὴ ἡ ἅπιστος ἐν τῷ ἀδελφῷ · ἐπεὶ ἄρα τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν ἀκάθαρτά ἐστιν, νῦν δὲ ἅγιά ἐστιν .
\177/ But Gregory Thaumaturgus still calls Christians in general “the saints,” in the seventh of his canons.
\178/ The church formed by Novatian in the middle of the third century called itself “the pure” (καθαροί), but we cannot tell whether this title was an original formation or the resuscitation of an older name. I do not enter into the question of the names taken by separate Christian sects and circles (such as the Gnostics, the Spiritualists, etc.).
Closely bound up with the name of “saints” was that of “brethren” (and “sisters”), the former denoting the Christians' relationship to God and to the future life (or βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, the kingdom of God), the latter the new relationship in which they felt themselves placed towards their fellow-men, and, above all, towards their fellow-believers (cp. also the not infrequent title of “brethren in the Lord”). After Paul, this title became so common that the pagans soon grew familiar with it, ridiculing and besmirching it, but unable, for all that, to evade the impression which it made. For the term did correspond to the conduct of Christians.\179/ They termed themselves a brotherhood [] (ἀδελφότης; cp. 1 Pet. 2.17, 5.9, etc.) as well as brethren (ἀδεκφοί), and to realize how fixed and frequent was the title, to realize how truly it answered to their life and conduct,\180/ one has only to study, not merely the New Testament writings (where Jesus himself employed it and laid great emphasis upon it\181/), but Clemens Romanus, the Didachê, and the writings of the apologists.\182/ Yet even the name of “the brethren,” though it outlived that of “the saints,” lapsed after the close\183/ of the third century ; or rather, it was only ecclesiastics who really continued to call each other “brethren,”\184/ and when a priest gave the title of “brother” to a layman, it denoted a special mark of honor.\185/ “Brethren” (“fraters”) survived only in [] sermons, but confessors were at liberty to address ecclesiastics and even bishops by this title (cp. Cypr. Ep. 53).\186/
\179/ See the opinions of pagans quoted by the apologists, especially Tertull. Apo1. [[406b]] 39, and Minuc. Octav. 9, 31, with Lucian's Prot. Peregrines. Tertullian avers that pagans were amazed at the brotherliness of Christians: “See how they love one another!” -- In pagan guilds the name of “brother” is also found, but so far as I am aware, it is not common. From Acts 22.5, 28.21, we must infer that the Jews also called each other “brethren,” but the title cannot have had the significance for them that it possessed for Christians. Furthermore, as Jewish teachers call their pupils “children” (or “sons” and “daughters”), and are called by them in turn “father,” these appellations also occur very frequently in the relationship between the Christian apostles and teachers and their pupils (cp. the numerous passages in Paul, Barnabas, etc.).
\180/ Details on this point, as well as on the import of this fact for the Christian mission, in Book 2 Chap. 3.
\181/ /Cp. Matt. 23.8 (see above, p. 399), and 12.48, where Jesus says of the disciples, ἰδοὺ ἡ μητήρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου. Thus they are not merely brethren, but his brethren. This was familiar to Paul (cp. Rom. 8.29, πρωτότοκος ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς), but afterwards it became rare, though Tertullian does call the flesh “the sister of Christ” (de Resurr. 9, cp. de Carne, 7).
\182/Apologists of a Stoic cast, like Tertullian (Apol. 39), did not confine the name of “brethren” to their fellow-believers, but extended it to all men “Fratres etiam vestri sumus, lure naturae matris unius” (“We are your brethren also in virtue of our common mother Nature”).
\183/ It still occurs, though rarely, in the third century; cp., e.g., Hippolytus in the Philosophumena, and the Acta Pionii, 9. Theoretically, of course, the name still survived for a considerable time; cp., e.g., Lactant. Div. Inst. 5.15: “Nec alia causa est cur nobis invicem fratrum nomen impertiamus, nisi quia pares esse nos credimus” [p. 168]; August. Ep. 23.1: “Non te latet praeceptum esse nobis divinitus, ut etiam eis qui negant se fratres nostros esse dicamus, fratres nostri estis.”
\184/ By the third century, however, they had also begun to style each other “dominus.”
\185/ Eusebius describes, with great delight, how the thrice-blessed emperor addressed the bishops and Christian people, in his numerous writings, as ἀδελφοὶ καὶ συνθεράποντεs (Vita Const. 3.24).
\186/ The gradual restriction of “brethren” to the clergy and the confessors is the surest index of the growing organization and privileges of the churches.
Christians in the apostolic age felt themselves to be “saints” and
and, in this sense, to be the true Israel and at the same time God's
creation,\187/ they required a solemn title to bring out their complete
divinely appointed character and unity. As “brotherhood” (ἀδελφότης
, see above) was too one-sided, the name they chose was
that of “church” or
\187/ On the titles of “a new people” and “a third race,” see Book 2 Chap. 6.
Paul evidently found it in circulation; the Christian communities in
\189/ This may be inferred from the Pauline usage of the term itself, apart from the fact that the particular application of all such terms is invariably later than their general meaning. In Acts 12.1, Christians are first described as οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας.
קהל (usually rendered ἐκκλησία in LXX.) denotes the community in
God, and consequently is more sacred than the profaner עדה regularly
translated by συναγωγή in the LXX.).
The acceptance of ἐκκλησία
is thus intelligible for the same reason as that of “
\191/ Connected with the term ἐκκλησία is the term ὁ λαός, which frequently occurs as a contrast to τὰ ἔθνη. It also has, of course, Old Testament associations of its own.
\192/ On the employment of this term by Christians, see my note on Herm. Mand. 11. It was not nervously eschewed, but it never became technical, except in one or two cases. On the other hand, it is said of the Jewish Christians in Epiph. Haer. 30.18, “They have presbyters and heads of synagogues. They call their church a synagogue and not a church; they are proud of no name but Christ’s” (πρεσβυτέρους οὗτοι ἔχουσι καὶ ἀρχισυναγώγους · συναγωγὴν δὲ οὗτοι καλοῦσι τὴν ἑαυτῶν έκκλησίαν καὶ οὐχὶ έκκλησίαν · τῷ Χριστῷ δὲ ὀνόματι μόνον σεμνύνονται). Still, one may doubt if the Jewish Christians really forswore the name קהל (ἐκκλησία); that they called their gatherings and places of meeting συναγωγαί, may be admitted.
\193/ The ecclesia is in heaven, created before the world, the Eve of the heavenly Adam, the Bride of Christ, and in a certain sense Christ himself. These Pauline ideas were never lost sight of. In Hermas, in Papias, in Second Clement, in Clement of Alexandria, etc., they recur. Tertullian writes (de Paenit. 10): “In uno et altero Christus est, ecclesia vero Christus. ergo cum to ad fratrum genua protendis, Christum contrectas, Christum exoras” (“In a company of one or two Christ is, but the Church is Christ. Hence, when you throw yourself at your brother's knee, you touch Christ with your embrace, you address your entreaties to Christ”).
\194/ The self-designation of Christians as “strangers and sojourners” became almost technical in the first century (cp. the epistles of Paul, 1 Peter, and [[409b]] Hebrews), while παροικία (with παροικεῖν = to sojourn) became actually a technical term for the individual community in the world (cp. also Herm. Simil. 1, on this).
\195/ Till far down into the third century (cp. the usage of Cyprian) the word “secta” was employed by Christians quite ingenuously to denote their fellowship. It was not technical, of course, but a wholly neutral term.
During the course of the second century the term ἐκκλησία acquired the attribute of “catholic” (in addition to that of “holy”). This predicate does not contain anything which implies a secularisation of the church, for “catholic” originally meant Christendom as a whole in contrast to individual churches (ἐκκλησία καθολική=πᾶσα ἡ ἐκκλησία). The conception of “all the churches” is thus identical with that of “the church in general.” But a certain dogmatic element did exist from the very outset in the conception of the general church, as the idea was that this church had been diffused by the apostles over all the earth. Hence it was believed that only what existed everywhere throughout the church could be true, and at the same time absolutely true, so that the conceptions of “all Christendom,” “Christianity spread over all the earth,” and “the true church,” came to be regarded at a pretty early period as identical. In this way the term “catholic” acquired a pregnant meaning, and one which in the end was both dogmatic and political. As this was not innate but an innovation, it is not unsuitable to speak of pre-catholic and catholic Christianity. The term “catholic church” occurs first of all in Ignatius (Smyrn. 8.2 : ὅπου ἂν φανῇ ὁ ἐπίσκοτος, ἐκεῖ τὸ τλῆθος ἔστω · ὥσπερ ὅπου ἂν ᾖ Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς, ἐκεῖ ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία), who writes: “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; just as wherever Christ Jesus is, there is the catholic church.” Here, however, the words do not yet denote a new conception of the church, in which it is represented as an empirical and authoritative society. In Mart. Polyc. Inscr. 16.2, 19.2, the word is probably an interpolation (“catholic” being here equivalent to “orthodox”: ἡ ἐν Σμύρνῃ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία). From Iren. 3.15.2 (“Valentiniani eos qui stmt ab ecclesia ‘communes’ et ‘ecclesiasticos’ dicunt”=“The Valentinians called those who [] belong to the Church by the name of ‘communes’ and ‘ecclesiastici’”) it follows that the orthodox Christians were called “catholics” and “ecclesiastics “ at the period of the Valentinian heresy.\196/ Irenaeus himself does not employ the term; but the thing is there (cp. 1.10.2; 2.9.1, etc.; similarly Serapion in Euseb. H.E. 5.19, πᾶσα ἡ ἐν κόσμῳ ἀδελφότης). After the Mart. Polyc. the term “catholic,” as a description of the orthodox and visible church, occurs in the Muratorian fragment (where “catholica” stands without “ecclesia” at all, as is frequently the case in later years throughout the West), in an anonymous anti-Montanist writer (Eus. H.E. 5 16.9), in Tertullian (e.g., de Praescript. 26, 30; adv. Marc. 4.4, 3.22), in Clem. Alex (Strom. 7.17, 106 f.), in Hippolytus (Philos. 9.12), in Mart. Pionii (188.8.131.52), in Pope Cornelius (Cypr. Epist. 49.2), and in Cyprian. The expression “catholica traditio” occurs in Tertullian (de Monog. 2), “fides catholica” in Cyprian (Ep. 25), κανῶν καθολικός in Mart. Polyc. (Mosq. ad fin.), and Cyprian (Ep. 70.1), and “catholica fides et religio” in Mart. Pionii (18). Elsewhere the word appears in different connections throughout the early Christian literature. In the Western symbols the addition of “catholica” crept in at a comparatively late period, i.e., not before the third century. In the early Roman symbol it does not occur.
\196/ Ἐκκλησιαστικοί, however, was also a term for orthodox Christians as opposed to heretics during the third century. This is plain from the writings of Origen; cp. Horn. in Luc. 16, vol. 5. P. 143 (“ego quia opto esse ecclesiasticus et non ab haeresiarcha aliquo, sed a Christi vocabulo nuncupari”), Hom. in Jesaiam 7, vol. 13. p. 291, Hom. in Ezech. 2.2, vol. 14. P. 34 (“dicor ecclesiasticus”), Hom. in Ezech. 3.4, vol. 14. p. 47 (“ecclesiastici,” as opposed to Valentinians and the followers of Basilides), Hom. in Ezech. 6.8, vol, 14. p. 90 (cp. 120), etc.
We now come to the name “Christians,” which became the cardinal title of the faith. The Roman authorities certainly employed it from the days of Trajan downwards (cp. Pliny and the rescripts, the “cognitiones de Christianis”), and probably even forty or fifty years earlier (1 Pet. 4.16; Tacitus), whilst it was by this name that the adherents of the new religion were known among the common people (Tacitus; cp. also the well known passage in Suetonius). []
has told us where this name arose. After describing the foundation of
(Gentile Christian) church at
In my opinion, the doubts cast by Baur and Lipsius upon this statement
book of Acts are not of serious weight. Adjectival formations in -
ιανος are no
doubt Latin, and indeed late Latin, formations (in Kühner-Blass's grammar they
are not so
much as noticed); but even in the first century they must have
Greek vernacular by means of ordinary intercourse. In the New Testament
we find Ἡρωδιανοί (Mark 3.6, 12.13, Matt.
Justin writes Mαpκιαvoί, Οὐαλεντινιανοί, Βασιλιδιανοί,
35), and similar formations are of frequent occurrence subsequently. If
wishes to be very circumspect, one may conjecture that the name was
coined by the Roman magistrates in
\198/The reason why he did not speak out clearly was perhaps because the pagan origin of the name was already felt by him to be a drawback. But it is not necessary to assume this.
\199/ Possibly they intended the name originally to be written “Chrestus” (not “Christus”), an error which was widely spread among opponents of Christianity during the second century; cp. Justin's Apol. 1.4., Theophil. ad Autol. 1.1, Tert. Apol. 3, Lact. Instit. 4.7.5, with Suetonius, Claud. 25, and Tacitus (see below). But this conjecture is not necessary, although pagans had a pretty common proper name in “Chrestus” (but no “Christus”), and they may have thought from the very first that a man of this name was the founder of the sect.
\200/ “Christians” therefore simply means adherents of a man called Christ. Cp. Aristides, Apol. 2: οἱ Χριστιανοὶ γενεαλογοῦνται ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Eusebius Demonstr. 1.5) gives another explanation of the name: “The friends of God [[412b]] under the old covenant are called χριστοί as we are called Χριστιανοί.” Which is, of course, erroneous. Justin (Dial. 63 ) writes: καὶ ὅτι τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύουσιν, ὡς οὖσι μιᾷ ψυχῇ ἐν μιᾷ συναγωγῇ καὶ μιᾷ ὲκκλησίᾳ, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς θυγατρί, τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ ἐξ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ γενομένῃ καὶ μετασχούσῃ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ -- Χριστιανοὶ γὰρ πάντες καλούμεθα -- [εἴρηται], ὁμοίως φανερῶς οἱ λόγοι κηρύσσωοι, κ.τ.λ. (“The word of God addresses those who believe in him as being of one soul, in one assembly, and in one church, as to a daughter, to the church born of his name and partaking of his name-for we are all called Christians: so the words proclaim,” etc.). Trypho answers (164) : ἔστω ὑμῖν, τῶν ἐξ ἐθνῶν, κύριος καὶ Χριστὸς καὶ θεὸς yνωριζόμενος, ὡς αἱ γραφαὶ σημαίνουσιν, οἵτινες καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ Χριστιανοὶ καλεῖσθαι πάντες ἐσχήκατε · ἡμεῖς δὲ, τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καὶ αὐτὸν τοῦτον ποιήσαντος λατρευταὶ ὄντες, οὐ δεόμεθα τῆς ὁμολογίας αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ τῆς προσκυνήσεως (“Let him be recognised by you Gentiles who have been all called Christians from his name, as Lord and Christ and God; but we, who are servants of the God who made this Christ, do not need to confess him or to worship him”). Origen, Hom. in Luc. 16. vol. 5 p. 143: “Opto a Christi vocabulo nuncupari et habere nomen quod benedicitur super terram, et cupio tam opere quam sensu et esse et dici Christianus” (I wish to be called by the name of Christ and to have the name which is blessed over the earth. I long to be and to be called a Christian, in spirit and in deed).
\201/ 1 Pet. 4.16 μή τις ὑμῶν πασχέτω ὡς φονεὺς ἢ κλέπτης . . . . εἰ δὲ ὡς Χριστιανός, referring obviously to official tituli criminum. In Acts 26.28 Agrippa observes, ἐν ὀλίγῳ με πείθεις Χριστιανὸν ποιῆσαι.
\202/ He employs it even as an adjective (Trall. 6: Χριστιανή τροφή = Christian food), and coins the new term Χριστιανισμός (Magn. 10, Rom. 3, Philad. 6).
\203/ Luke, too, was probably an Antiochene by birth (cp. the Argmnentum to his gospel, and also Eusebius), so that in this way he knew the origin of, the name.
\204/ Apol. 3: “Quid novi, si aliqua disciplina de magistro cognomenturn sectatoribus suisinducits nonne philosophi de autoribus suis nuncupantur Platonici, Epicurei, Pythagorici?” (“Is there anything novel in a sect drawing a name for [[413b]] its adherents from its master? Are not philosophers called after the founder of their philosophies-Platonists, Epicureans, and Pythagoreans?”)
A word in closing on the well-known passage from Tacitus (Annal. 15.44). It is certain that the persecution mentioned here was really a persecution of Christians (and not of Jews), the only doubtful point being whether the use of “Christiani” (“quos per flagitia invisos vulgus Christianos appellabat“) is not a hysteron proteron. Yet even this doubt seems to me unjustified. If Christians were called by this name in Antioch about 40-45 CE, there is no obvious reason why the name should not have been known in Rome by 64 CE, even although the Christians did not spread it themselves, but were only followed by it as by their shadow. Nor does Tacitus (or his source) aver that the name was used by Christians for their own party: he says the very opposite; it was the people who thus described them. Hitherto, however, the statement of Tacitus has appeared rather unintelligible, for he begins by ascribing the appellation of “Christians” to the common people, and then goes on to relate that the “autor nominis,” or author of the name, was Christ, in which case the common people did a very obvious and natural thing when they called Christ's followers” Christians. Why, then, does Tacitus single out the appellation of “Christian” as a popular epithet? This is an enigma which I once proposed to solve by supposing that the populace gave the title to Christians in an obscene or opprobrious sense. I bethought myself of “crista,” or of the term “panchristarii,” which (so far as I know) occurs only once in Arnobius, 2.38 “Quid fullones, lanarios, ph ygiones, cooos, panchristarios, muliones, lenones, lanios, meretrices (What of the fullers, wool-workers, enibroiderers, cooks, confectioners, muleteers, pimps, butchers, prostitutes)?” Tacitus, we might conjecture, meant to suggest this meaning, while at the same time he explained the real origin of the term in question. But this hypothesis was unstable, and in my judgment the enigma has now been solved by means of a fresh collation of the Tacitus MS. (see G. Andresen, Wochenschr. f. klass. Philologie, 1902, No. 28, col. 780 f.), which shows, as I am convinced from the facsimile, that the original reading was “Chrestianos,” and that this was subsequently [] corrected (though “Christus” and not “Chrestus “ is the term employed ad loc.). This clears up the whole matter. The populace, as Tacitus says, called this sect “Chrestiani,” while he himself is better informed (like Pliny, who also writes “Christian”), and silently corrects the mistake in the spelling of the names, by accurately designating its author (actor nominis) as “Christus.” Blass had anticipated this solution by a conjecture of his own in the passage under discussion, and the event has proved that he was correct. The only point which remains to be noticed is the surprising tense of “appellabat.” Why did not Tacitus write “appellat,” we may ask? Was it because he wished to indicate that everyone nowadays was well aware of the origin of the name?\205/
\205/ Lietzmann (Gött. Gel. Anzeig. No. 6, 1905, p. 488), thinks that this interpretation is too ingenious. “Tacitus simply means to say that Nero punished the so-called Christians ‘qui per flagitia invisi erant,’ but, in his usual style, he links this to another clause, so that the tense of the ‘erant’ is taken over into an inappropriate connection with the ‘appellabat.’ Whereupon follows, quite appropriately, an historical remark on the origin and nature of the sect in question.” But are we to suppose that the collocation of this “inappropriate” tense with the change from Christiani to Christus is accidental?
One name still falls to be considered, a name which of course never became really technical, but was (so to speak) semi-technical; I mean that of στρατιώτης Χριστοὺ (miles Christi, a soldier of Christ).\206/ With Paul this metaphor had already become so common that it was employed in the most diverse ways; compare the great descriptions in 2 Cor. 10.3-6 (στρατευόμεθα – τὰ ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας – πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὀχυρωμάτων – λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντε s – αἰχμαλωτίζοντες), and the elaborate sketch in Ephes. 6.10-18, with 1 Thess. 5.8 and 1 Cor. 9.7, 11.8; note also how Paul describes his fellow prisoners as “fellow-captives” (Rom. 16.7; Col. 4.10; Philemon 23), and his fellow-workers as “fellow-soldiers” (Phil. 2.25; Philemon 2). We come across the same figure again in the pastoral epistles (1 Tim. 1.18: ἵνα στρατεύῃ τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν; 2 Tim. 2.3 f.: συνκακοπάθησον ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰ. Χ. οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ [] βίου πραγματείας, ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέςῃ. ἐὰν δὲ ἀθλήςῃ τις, οὐ στεφανοῦταί ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήςῃ; 2 Tim. 3.6: αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια). Two military principles were held as fixed, even within the first century, for apostles and missionaries. (1) They had the right to be supported by others (their converts or churches). (2) They must not engage in civil pursuits. Thereafter the figure never lost currency,\207/ becoming so naturalized,\208/ among the Latins especially (as a title for the martyrs pre-eminently, but also for Christians’ in general), that “soldiers of Christ” (milites Christi) almost became a technical term with them for Christians; cp. the writings of Tertullian, and particularly the correspondence of Cyprian – where hardly one letter fails to describe Christians as “soldiers of God” (milites dei), or “soldiers of Christ” (milites Christi), and where Christ is also called the “imperator” of Christians.\209/ The preference shown for this figure by [] Christians of the West, and their incorporation of it in definite representations, may be explained by their more aggressive and at the same time thoroughly practical temper. The currency lent to the figure was reinforced by the fact that “sacranietitum” in the West (i.e., any μυστήριον or mystery, and also anything sacred) was an extremely common term, while baptism in particular, or the solemn vow taken at baptism, was also designated a “sacramentum.” Being a military term (= the military oath), it made all Western Christians feel that they must be soldiers of Christ, owing to their sacrament, and the probability is, as has been recently shown (by Zahn, Neue kirchl. Zeitschrift, 1899, pp. 28 f.), that this usage explains the description of the pagans as “pagani.” It can be demonstrated that the latter term was already in use (during the early years of Valentinian I; cp. Theodos. Cod. 16.2.18) long before the development of Christianity had gone so far as to enable all non-Christians to be termed “villagers”; hence the title must rather be taken in the sense of “civilians” (for which there is outside evidence) as opposed to “milites” or soldiers. Non-Christians are people who have not taken the oath of service to God or Christ, and who consequently have no part in the sacrament (“Sacramentum ignorantes,” Lactant.)! They are mere “pagani.”\210/ []
\206/ Since the first edition of the present work appeared, I have treated this subject at greater length in my little book upon Militia Christi: the Christian Religion and the Military Profession during the First Three Centuries (1905).
\207/ Cp., e.g., Ignat. ad Polyc. 6 (a passage in which the technical Latinisms are also very remarkable): ἀρέσκετε ᾧ στρατεύεσθε, ἀφ’ οὗ καὶ τὰ ὀψώνια κομίσεσθε · μήτις ὑμῶν δεσέρτωρ εὑρεθῇ · τὸ βάπτισμα ὑμῶν μενέτω ὡς ὅπλα, ἡ πίστις ὡς περικεφαλαία, ἡ ἀγάπη ὡς δόρυ, ἡ ὑπομονὴ ὡς πανοπλία · τὰ δεπόσιτα ὑμῶν τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν, ἵνα τὰ ἀκκεπτα ὑμῶν ἄξια κομίσησθε (“Please him for whom ye fight, and from whom ye shall receive your pay. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism abide as your shield, your faith as a helmet, your love as a spear, your patience as a panoply. Let your actions be your deposit, that ye may receive your due assets”); cp. also ad Smyrn. 1 (ἵνα ἄρῃ σύσσημον εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, “that he might raise an ensign to all eternity”).
\208/Clemens Romanus's work is extremely characteristic in this light, even by the end of the first century. He not only employs military figures (e.g., 21: μή λιποτακτεῖν ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ = we are not to be deserters from his will; cp. 28: τῶν αὐτομολούντων ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ = running away from him), but (37) presents the Roman military service as a model and type for Christians: στρατευσώμεθα οὖν, ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, μετὰ πάσης ἐκτενείας ἐν τοῖς ἀμώμοις προστάγμασιν αὐτοῦ · κατανοήοωμεν τοὺς στρατευομένους τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ήμῶν · πῶς εὐτάκτως, πῶς εὐείκτως, πῶs ὑποτεταyμένως ἐπιτελοῦσιν τὰ διατασσόμενα · οὐ πάντες εἰσὶν ἔπαρχοι οὐδὲ χιλίαρχοι οὐδὲ ἑκατόνταρχοι οὐδὲ πεντακὀνταρχοι οὐδὲ τὸ καθεξῆς, ἀλλ’ ἕκαστος ἐω τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι τὰ ἐπιτασσόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων ἐπιτελεῖ (“Let us then enlist, brethren, in his flawless ordinances with entire earnestness. Let us mark those who enlist under our commanders, how orderly, how readily, how obediently, they carry out their injunctions; all of them are not prefects or captains over a hundred men, or over fifty, or so forth, but every man in his proper rank carries out the orders of the king and the commanders“).
Cp. Ep. 15.1 (to the martyrs and confessors): “
For the interpretation of paganus as “pagan” we cannot appeal to
Corona, 11 (perpetiendum pro deo, quod aeque fides pagana condixit
God we must endure what even civic loyalty has also borne; apud Jesum
est paganus fidelis, quam paganus est miles fidelis = with Jesus the
citizen is a soldier, just as the faithful soldier is a citizen; cp.
Pallio, 4), for “fides [[417b]]
here means, not pagan faith or loyalty (as one might suppose), but the
faith in those who do not belong to the military profession, i.e., in
ate civilians. The subsequent discussion makes this clear, and it also
that “paganus” was commonly used to mean “civilian.” In fact, this
can be proved from seven passages in Tacitus. It passed from the
language into that of ordinary people in the course of the first two
The ordinary- interpretation of the term (= villagers) rests on the
of Ulphilas (so still, Schubert, Lehrbuch d. Kirchengeschichte,
477), who has similarly coined the term “heathen” (from pagus), and
also on the
later Latin church-fathers, who explain “pagani” as “villagers” (cp.
Orosius, adv. Paganes, praef. c. 9:
“Pagani alieni a civitate dei ex locorum
agrestium conpitis et pagis pagani vocantur”). Wilh. Schulze, however (cp. Berliner
Sitzungsberichte, 1905, July 6), holds that the term “heathen” in
has nothing to do-with “heathen,” but is a loan-word (ἔθνος), which was pronounced also
ἕθνος, as the Coptic and Armenian
transliteration shows. Even were this derivation shown to be incorrect,
Ulphilas nor any of the later Latin fathers could fix the original
meaning of “paganus.”
None of them knew its original sense. About 300 CE -- to leave out the
inscription in C.I.L. 10.2, 7112 -- the non-Christian religions
not as yet be designated as “peasant” or “rural” religions. All doubts
have been set at rest if the address of Commodian's so-called Carmen
Apologeticum had run “adversus paganes” (as Gennadius, de Vir.
15, suggests), but unfortunately the only extant manuscript lacks any
The military figure originated (prior to the inferences drawn from the
in the West) in the great struggle which every Christian had to wage
Satan and the demons (Eph. 6.12: οὐκ
ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰs ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοῦς κοσμοκράτορους τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις). Once the state assumed a
attitude towards Christians, the figure of the military calling and
naturally arose also in this connection. God looks down, says Cyprian (Ep.
76.4), upon his troops: “Gazing down on us amid the conflict of his
approves those who are willing, aids the fighters, crowns the
(“In congressione nominis sui desu per spectans volentes
dimicantes, vincentes coronat,” etc.). Nor are detailed descriptions of
military figure awanting ; cp., e.g., the seventy-seventh letter
Cyprian (ch. 2): “Tu tuba canens dei milites, caelestibus armis
congressionis proelium excitasti et in acie prima, spiritali gladio
interfecisti, agmina quoque fratrum hinc et inde verhis tuis
invidiae inimico undique tenderentur et cadavera ipsius publici hostis
concisi calcarentur” (“As a sounding trumpet, thou hast roused the
God, equipped with heavenly armor, for the shock of battle, and in the
forefront thou hast slain the devil with the sword of the Spirit; on
and on that thou hast marshalled the lines of the brethren by thy
that snares might be laid in all directions for the foe, the sinews of
common enemy be severed, and carcases trodden under foot”). The African
the Martyrs are full of military expressions and metaphors; see, e.g.,
Saturnini et Dativi, 15 (Ruinart, Acta Mart. p. 420). It is
impossible to prove, as it is inherently unlikely, that the “milites”
exercised any influence upon the Christian conceptions of Christianity
conflict. These “milites” of Mithra were simply one of the seven stages
Mithraism, and we must never regard as direct borrowings from a pagan
ideas which were [[418b]]
spread all over
the church at a primitive period of its existence. On the other hand,
likely that Christians in the Roman army desired the same treatment and
consideration which was enjoyed by adherents of Mithra in the same
Hence the action of the soldier described by Tertullian in the de
The above-mentioned essay of Schulze is now printed in the Sitzungsberichte
d. Preuss. Akad. d. Wiss. 1905, pp. 726 f, 747 f (“Greek Loan-Words
Gothic”). He acknowledges (1) that “pagani” cannot have been adopted by
Christians in order to describe “pagans” as people dwelling in the
he proves carefully and conclusively that the term “heathen” in
nothing to do with heathen, but is a loan-word (ἔθνος). Non-Christians were
called “pagani”as “sacramentum ignorantes” (Lactant. 5.1), or because
“far from the city of
Pagans in part caught up the names of Christians as they [] heard them on the latter's lips,\211/ but of course they used most commonly the title which they had coined themselves, viz., that of “Christians.” Alongside of this we find nicknames and sobriquets like “Galileans,” “ass-worshippers” (Tert. Apol. 16, cp. Minut.), “magicians” (Acta Theclae, Tertull.), “Third race,” “filth“ (copra, cp. Commod. Carm. Apolog. 612, Lact. 5.1.27), “sarmenticii” and “semi-axii” (stake-bound, faggot circled; Tert. Apol. 1).\212/
\211/ Celsus, for instance, speaks of the church as “the great church” (to distinguish it from the smaller Christian sects).
\212/ Terms drawn derisively from the methods of death inflicted upon Christians.
Closely bound up with the “names” of Christians is the discussion of the question whether individual Christians got new names as Christians, or how Christians stood with regard to ordinary pagan names during the first three centuries. The answer to this will be found in the second Excursus appended to the present chapter.
“FRIENDS” (οἱ φίλοι).
THE name φίλοι (οἰκεῖοι) τοῦ θεοῦ (“amici dei,” “cari deo”) was frequently used as a self-designation by Christians, though it was not strictly a technical term. It went back\213/ to the predicate of Abraham, who was called “the Friend of God” in Jewish tradition. It signified that every individual Christian stood in the same relation to God as Abraham\214/ had done. According to two passages in the gospels,\215/ Jesus called his [] disciples his “friends.” But in after-years this title (or that of of οἱ γνώριμοι) was rarely used.
\213/ Cp. Jas. 2.23 with the editors’ notes. The prophets occasionally shared this title, cp. Hippolyt. Philos. 10.33: δίκαιοι ἄνδρες γεγένηνται φίλοι θεοῦ · οὗτοι προφῆται κέκληνται (“Just men have become friends of God, and these are named prophets”). Justin gives the name of Χριστοῦ φίλοι (“Christ's friends”) to the prophets who wrote the Old Testament (Dial. 8). John the Baptist is φίλος Ἰησοῦ (John 3.29). Cp. Eus. Demonstr. 1.5.
\214/ Later, of course, it was applied pre-eminently to martyrs and confessors: Ephes. 2.19: οὐκέτι έστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι, ἀλλ’ ἐστὲ συμπολῖται τὼν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ; Valentinus (in Clem. Strom. 6.6.52): λαὸς ὁ ὴγαπημένου, ὁ φιλούμενος καὶ φιλῶν αὐτόν; Clem. Ρrotrept. 12.122 : εἰ κοινὰ τὰ φίλων, θεοφιλὴς δὲ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῷ θεῷ -- καὶ γὰρ οὖν φίλος μεσιτεύοντος τοῦ λόγουγίνεται δὴ οὖν τὰ πάντα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ὅτι τὰ πάντα τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ κοινὰ ἀμφοῖν τοῖν φιλοῖν τὰ πάντα, τοῦ φεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; Ρaedag. 1.3: φίλος ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῷ θεῷ (for the sake of the way in which he was created; so that all human beings are friends of God); Origen, de Princ. 1.6.4: “amici dei”; Tertullian, de Paenit. 9 (the martyrs, “cari dei“); Cyprian, ad Demetr. 12 (“cari deo”), and pseudo-Clem. Recogn. 1.24: “Ex prima voluntate iterum voluntas; post haec mundus; ex mundo tempus; ex hoc hominum multitudo; ex multitudine electio amicorum, ex quorum unanimitate pacificum construitur dei regnum“; pseudo-Cypr. de Sing. Cler. 27: “amici dei.”
\215/ Luke 12.4: λέγω ὑμῖν, τοῖς φίλου μου; Jοhn 15.13 f: ὑμεῖς φίλοι μού ἐστε, ἐὰν ποιῆτε ἃ ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖκ. οὐκέτι λέγω ὑμᾶς δούλους . . . . ὑμᾶς δὲ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐγνώρισα ὑμῖν. Hence the disciples are γνώριμοι of Jesus (Clem. Paed. 1.5, beginning; Iren. 4.13.4 “In eo quod amicos dicit suos discipulos, manifeste ostendit se esse verbum Dei, quern et Abraham . . . . sequens amicus factus est dei . . . quoniam amicitia [[420b]] dei συγχωρητική ἐστι τῆs ἀθανασίας τοῖς ἐπιλαβοῦσιν αὐτήν”). Perhaps the words quoted by Clement (Quis Dives 33: δώσω οῦ μόνον τοῖς φίλοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς φίλου τῶν φίλων) are an apocryphal saying of Jesus, but their origin is uncertain (cp. Jülicher in Theol. Lit. Zeitung, 1894, No. 1). An inscription has been found in Isaura Nova with the legend φίλτατος ὁ μακάριοs ὁ θεοῦ φίλος (cp. A. M. Ramsay in Journal of Hellenic Studies, 24, 1904, p. 264, “The Early Christian Art of Isaura Nova”).
The term οἱ φίλοι is to be distinguished from that of φίλοι τοῦ θεοῦ (χριστοῦ). Did Christians also call each other “friends”? We know the significance which came to attach to friendship in the schools of Greek philosophy. No one ever spoke more nobly and warmly of friendship than Aristotle. Never was it more vividly realized than in the schools of the Pythagoreans and the Epicureans. If the former went the length of a community of goods, the Samian sage outstripped them with his counsel, “Put not your property into a common holding, for that implies a mutual distrust. And if people distrust each other, they cannot be friends” (μὴ κατατίθεοθαι τὰs οὐσίαs εἰς τὸ κοινὸν · ἀπιστούντων γὰρ τὸ τοιοῦτον · εἰ δ’ ἀπίστων, οὐδὲ φίλων). The intercourse of Socrates with his scholars -- scholars who were at the same time his friends -- furnished a moving picture of friendship. Men could not forget how' he lived with them, how he labored for them and was open to them up to the very hour of his death, and how everything he taught them came home to them as a friend's counsel. The Stoic ethic, based on the absence of any wants in the perfect wise man, certainly left no room for friendship, but (as is often the case) the Stoic broke through the theory of his school at this point, and Seneca was not the only Stoic moralist who glorified friendship and showed how it was a moral necessity to life. No wonder that the Epicureans, like the Pythagoreans before them, simply called themselves “friends.” It formed at once the simplest and the deepest expression for that inner bond of life into which men found themselves transplanted when they entered the fellowship of the school. No matter whether it was the common reverence felt for the master, or the community of sentiment and aspiration among the members, or the mutual aid owed by each individual to his [] fellows -- the relationship in every case was covered by the term of “ the friends.”
should expect to find that Christians also called themselves “the
there is hardly any passage bearing this out. In one of the “we”
Acts (27.3) we read that Paul the prisoner was permitted τρὸς τοὺς φίλους πορευθέντι ἐπιμέλειας τυχεῖν. Probably οἱ φίλοι here means not
of the apostle, but Christians in general (who elsewhere are always
Acts of οἱ
ἀδελφοί). But this is the
in the primitive literature which can be adduced. Luke, with his
culture, has permitted himself this once to use the classical
designation. In 3
John 15 (ἀσπάζονταί
σε οἱ φιλοι
· ἀσπάζου τοὺς
it is most likely that special friends are meant, not all the
DOES the use of Christian names taken from the Bible go back to the first three centuries? In answering this question, we come upon several instructive data.
Upon consulting the earliest
Acts in our possession, those of the North African synod in 256 CE
in Cyprian's works), we find that while the names of the eighty seven
who voted there are for the most part Latin, though a considerable
Greek, not one Old Testament name occurs. Only two are from the New
viz., Peter (No. 72) and Paul (No. 47). Thus, by the middle of the
century pagan names were still employed quite freely throughout
Now this is remarkable! Here was the primitive church exterminating every vestige of polytheism in her midst, tabooing pagan mythology as devilish, living with the great personalities [] of the Bible and upon their words, and yet freely employing the pagan names which had been hitherto in vogue! The problem becomes even harder when one recollects that the Bible itself contains examples of fresh names being given,\216/ that surnames and alterations of a name were of frequent occurrence in the Roman empire (the practice, in fact, being legalized by the emperor Caracalla in 212 for all free men), and that a man's name in antiquity was by no means regarded by most people as a matter of indifference.
\216/ Thus in the gospels we read of Jesus calling Simon “Kephas” and the sons of Zebedee “Boanerges” In Acts 4.36 we are told that the Apostles named a man called Joseph “Barnabas” (Saulus Paulus does not come under this class).
We may be inclined to seek various reasons for this indifference displayed by the primitive Christians towards names. We may point to the fact that a whole series of pagan names must have been rendered sacred from the outset by the mere fact of distinguished Christians having borne them. We may further recollect how soon Christians got the length of strenuously asserting that there was nothing in a name. Why, from the days of Trajan onwards they were condemned on account of the mere name of “Christian” without anyone thinking it necessary to inquire if they had actually committed any crime! On the other hand, Justin, Athenagoras, and Tertullian, as apologists of Christianity, emphasize the fact that the name is a hollow vessel, that there can be no rational “charge brought against words,” -- “except, of course,” adds Tertullian, “when a name sounds barbarian or ill-omened, or when it contains some insult or impropriety!” “Ill-omened”! But had “daemonic” names like Saturninus, Serapion, and Apollonius no evil connotation upon the lips of Christians, and did not Christians, again, attach a healing virtue to the very language of certain formulas (e.g., the utterance of the name of Jesus in exorcisms), just as the heathen did? No; surely this does not serve to explain the indiflerence felt by Christians towards mythological titles. But if not, then how are we to explain it?
any other answer can be given to the question than this, that the
custom of the world in which people were living proved stronger than
reflections of their own. At []
times, new names have encountered a powerful resistance in the plea,
none of thy kindred that is called by this name” (Luke 1.61). The
that people retained the old names, just as they had to endorse or to
much that was of the world, so long as they were in the world. It was
while to alter the name which one found oneself bearing. Why, everyone,
called Apollonius or Serapion, had already got a second, distinctive,
abiding name in baptism, the name of “Christian.” Each individual
that as a proper name. In the Acts of Carpus (during the reign of
Aurelius) the magistrate asked the accused, “What is thy name?” The
“My first and fore-most name is that of ‘Christian’; but if thou
wordly name as well, I am called ‘Carpus.’” The “worldly” name was kept
it did not count, so to speak, as the real name. In the account of the
\217/ Similarly Eusebius (Mart. Pal. p. 82, ed. Violet): “The confessors, when asked by the judge where they came from, forbore to speak of their home on earth, but gave their true heavenly home, saying, We belong to the Jerusalem which is above” (cp. also, in Eugipii epist. ad Pascasium, 9, how St Severin describes his origin). Augustine also is evidence for the use of “Christianus” as a proper name. Looking back on his childhood (though he was not baptized till he was a man), he writes: “In ecclesia mihi nomen Christi infanti est inditum” (Confess. 6, 4.5).
This one name satisfied people till about the middle of the third century; along with it they were content to bear the ordinary names of this world “as though they bore them not.” Even surnames with a Christian meaning are extremely rare. It is the exception, not the rule, to find a man like Bishop Ignatius calling himself by the additional Christian title of Theophorus at the opening of the second century.\218/ The change first came a little before the middle of the third century. And [] the surprising thing is that the change, for which the way had been slowly paved, came, not in an epoch of religious elevation, but rather in the very period during which the church was corning to terms with the world on a larger scale than she had previously done. In the days when Christians bore pagan names and nothing more, the dividing line between Christianity and the world was drawn much more sharply than in the days when they began to call themselves Peter and Paul! As so often is the case, the forms made their appearance just when the spirit was undermined. The principle of “nomen est omen” was not violated. It remained extraordinarily significant. For the name indicates that one has to take certain measures in order to keep hold of something that is in danger of disappearing.
\218/ Other surnames (which were not Christian) also occur among Christians; cp. Tertull. ad Scapulam, 4: “Proculus Christianus, qui Torpacion cognominabatur.” Similar cases were not unusual at that time, The Christian soldier Tarachus (Acta Tarachi in Ruinart's Acta Martyr. Ratisbon 1859, p. 452) says: “My parents called me Tarachus, and when I became a soldier I was called Victor” (“a parentibus dicor Tarachus, et cum militarem nominatus sum Victor”). Cyprian (according to Jerome, de Vir. Illustr. 48) called himself Caecilius after the priest who was the means of his conversion; besides that he bore the surname of Thascius, so that his full name ran, “ Caecilius Cyprianus qui et Thascius “ (Ep. 62, an epistle which is written to a Christian called “Florentius qui et Puppianus “). Cumont (Les Inscr. chrét. de l’ Asie mineure, p. 22) has collected a series of examples from the inscriptions, some of which are undoubtedly Christian: Γέρων ὁ καὶ Κυριακός, Ἄτταλος ἐπίκλην Ἡσάΐας, Optatina Resticia Pascasia, M. Czecilius Saturninus qui et Eusebius, Valentina ancilla quae et Stephana, Ascia vel Maria. Of the forty martyrs of Sebaste two bear double names of this kind, viz., Λεόντιος ὁ καὶ Θεόκτιστος Βικράτιος ὁ καὶ Βιβιανόs. In The Martyrdom of St Conon we find a Ναόδωρος ὁ καὶ Ἀπελλῆς. The martyr Achatius says, “I am called Agathos-angelus” (“vocor Agathos-angelus “).
In many cases people may not have been conscious of this. On the contrary, three reasons were operative. One of these I have already mentioned, viz., the frequent occurrence throughout the empire (even among pagans) of alteration in a name, and also of surnames being added, after the edict of Caracalla (in 212 CE). The second lay in the practice of infant baptism, which was now becoming quite current. As a name was conferred upon the child at this solemn act, it naturally seemed good to choose a specifically Christian name. Thirdly and lastly, and -- we may add -- chiefly, the more the church entered the world, the more the world also entered the church. And with the wofd there entered more and snore of the old pagan superstition that “nomen est omen,” the dread felt for words, and, moreover, the old propensity for securing deliverers, angels, [] and spiritual heroes upon one's side, together with the “pious” belief that one inclined a saint to be one's protector and patron by taking his name. Such a form of superstition has never been quite absent from Christianity, for even the primitive Christians were not merely Christians but also Jews, Syrians, Asiatics, Greeks, or Romans. But then it was controlled by other moods or movements of the Spirit. During the third century, however, the local strain again rose to the surface. People no longer called their children Bacchylus or Arphrodisius with the same readiness, it is true. But they began to call themselves Peter and Paul in the same sense as the pagans called their children Dionysius and Serapion.
The process of displacing mythological by Christian names was carried out very slowly. It was never quite completed, for not a few of the former gradually became Christian, thanks to some glorious characters who had borne them; in this way, they entirely lost their original meaning. One or two items from the history of this process may be adduced at this point in our discussion.
At the very time when we find only two biblical names (those of Peter and Paul) in a list of eighty-seven episcopal names, bishop Dionysius of Alexandria writes that Christians prefer to call their children Peter and Paul.\219/ It was then also that Christian changes\220/ of name began to be common. It is noted (in Eus. H.E. 6.30) that Gregory Thaumaturgus exchanged the name of Theodore for Gregory, but this instance is not quite clear.\221/ We are told that a certain Sabina, during the [] reign of Decius (in 250 CE) called herself Theodota when she was asked at her trial what was her name.\222/ In the Acta of a certain martyr called Balsamus (311 CE), the accused cries “According to my paternal name I am Balsamus, but according to the spiritual name which I received at baptism, I am Peter.”\223/ Interesting, too, is the account given by Eusebius (Mart. Pal. 11.7 f) of five Egyptian Christians who were martyred during the Diocletian persecution. They all bore Egyptian names. But when the first of them was questioned by the magistrate, he replied not with his own name but with that of an Old Testament prophet. Whereupon Eusebius observes, “This was because they had assumed such names instead of the names given them by their parents, names probably derived from idols; so that one could hear them calling themselves Elijih,\224/ Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel, and Daniel, thus giving themselves out to be Jews in the spiritual sense, even the true and genuine Israel of God, not merely by their deeds, but by the names they bore.”
\219 In Eus. H.E. 7.25.14: ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ Παῦλος πολὺς καὶ δὴ καὶ ὁ Πέτρος ἐν τοῖς τῶν πιστῶν παισὶν ὀνομάζεται (“Even as the children of the faithful are often called after Paul and also after Peter”). This is corroborated by an inscription from the third century (de Rossi, in Bullett. di archaeol. crist. 1867, p. 6): DMM. ANNEO. PAVLO. PETRO. M. ANNEVS. PAVLVS: FILIO. CARISSIMO. The inscription is additionally interesting on account of the fact that Seneca came from this gens.
\220/ It has been asserted that Pomponia Graecina retained or assumed the name of Lucina as a Christian (de Rossi, Roma Sotterr. 1 p. 319, 2 pp. 362, etc.), but this is extremely doubtful. -- Changes of name were common among the Jews as well as in the Diaspora (see C.I.G. vol. 4. No. 9905: “Beturia Paula -- que bixit ann. 86 meses 6 proselyta ann. 16 nomine Sara mater synagogarum Campi et Bolumni”).
\221/ Did he call himself Gregory as an “awakened” man?
\222/ Cp. Acta Pionii, 9; this instance, however, is hardly relevant to our purpose, as Pionius instructed Sabina to call herself Theodota, in order to prevent herself from being identified.
\223/ Three martyrs at Lampsacus are called Peter, Paul, and Andrew (cp. Ruinart's Acta Martyr. 1850, pp. 205 f.).
\224/ See Mart. Pal. 10.1, for a martyr of this name.
Obviously, the ruling idea here is not yet that of patron saints; the prophets are selected as models, not as patrons. Even the change of name itself is still a novelty. This is borne out by the festal epistles of Athanasius in the fourth century, which contain an extraordinary number of Christian names, almost all of which are the familiar pagan names (Greek or Egyptian). Biblical names are still infrequent, although in one passage, writing.of a certain Gelous Hierakatnmon, Athanasius does remark that “out of shame he took the name of Eulogius in addition to his own name.”\225/
\225/ Festal Epistles, ed. by Larsow (p. 80).
It is very
remarkable that down to the middle of the fourth century Peter and Paul
about the only New Testament names to be met with, while Old Testament
again are so rare that the above case of the five Egyptians who had
prophetic names must be considered an exception to the rule. [] Even the name of
John, so far as I know,
only began to appear within the fourth century, and that slowly. On the
hand, we must not here adduce a passage from Dionysius of Alexandria,
been already under review. He certainly writes: “In my opinion, many
[in the apostolic] had the same name as John, for out of love for him,
and emulating him, and desirous of being loved by the Lord even as he
assumed the same surname, just as many of the children of the faithful
called Peter and Paul.” But what Dionysius says here about the name of
simply a conjecture with regard to the apostolic age, while indirectly,
plainly enough, he testifies that Christians in his own day were called
and Paul, but not John.\226/ This preference assigned to the name of
apostolic leaders throughout the East and West alike is
it is endorsed by a passage from Eustathius, the bishop of Antioch, who
contemporary of Athanasius. “Many Jews,” he writes, “call themselves
patriarchs and prophets, and yet are guilty of wickedness. Many
Greeks call themselves Peter and Paul, and yet behave in a most
fashion.” Evidently the Old Testament names were left as a rule to the
while Peter and Paul continue apparently to be the only New Testament
which are actually in use. This state of matters lasted till the second
the fourth century.\228/ As the saints, prophets, [] patriarchs, angels,
etc., henceforth took
the place of the dethroned gods of paganism, and as the stories of
were transformed into stories of the saints, the supersession of
names now commenced in real earnest.\229/ Now, for the first time,
often light upon names like John, James, Andrew, Simon, and Mary,
though much more rarely is the West -- names from the Old Testament, At
close of the fourth century, Chrysostom, e.g. (ep. Hom. 52, in
vol. 60.365), exhorts
the believers to call their children after the saints, so that the
serve them as examples of virtue. But in giving this counsel he does
mention its, most powerful motive, a motive disclosed by Theodoret,
\226/ No older evidence is available. It is no proof to the contrary of what we have said, that the father of the Roman bishop Anicetus is said to have been called “John”; for, apart from the untrustworthiness of the notice (in the Liber Pontif.), he must have been a Syrian, and certainly he was not called after the apostle. According to the Acta Johannis (Prochorus), Basilius and Charis called the child given them by means of John, after the apostle's name, but these Acts belong to the post-Constantine age.
It is not certain that where “Paul” is found as a Christian name it
referred to the great apostle. But “Paul” was rather more common than
even yet. We find it first of all as the name of a gnostic Christian of
Antioch, who stayed with young Origen at the house of a wealthy lady in
The bishops who attended the council of Nicoea got their names between
290. Of the 237 names which have come down to us, six-sevenths are
names; there are even some like Aphrodisius, Orion, etc. About 18 names
but neutral as regards any distinctively Christian value, [[429b]] e.g. Eusebius (five
Theodorus, Theodotus, Diodorus, Theophilus; of these, however, Pistus
both times from the
\229/ The thirtieth of the Arabic canons of Nicaea is unauthentic and late: “Fideles nomina gentilium filiis suis non imponant ; sed potius omnis natio Christianorum suit nominibus utatur, ut gentiles suis utuntur, imponanturque nomina Christianorum secundum scripturam in baptismo” (“Let not the faithful give pagan names to their children, Rather let the whole Christian people use its own names, as pagans use theirs, giving children at baptism the names of Christians according to the Scripture”).
\230/ Graec. affect. curat. 8. p. 923, ed. Schulze.
bk3 ch4, 431 -- scanned by Moises Bassan, March 2004]
ORGANIZATION OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, AS
BEARING UPON THE CHRISTIAN MISSION\231/
Cp. on this Von Dobschütz's Die urchristlichen Gemeinden (1902)
[translated in this library under the title of Christian Life in
preaching aimed at winning souls and bringing individuals to God, “that
number of the elect might be made up,” but from the very outset it
through a community and proposed to itself the aim of uniting all who
in Christ. Primarily, this union was one which consisted of the
Jesus. But, as we have already seen, these disciples were conscious of
But while this
organization, embracing all Christians on earth, rested in the first
solely upon religious ideas, as a purely ideal conception it would
remained effective for any length of time, had it not been allied to local
organization. Christianity, at the initiative of the original
the brethren of Jesus, began by borrowing this as well from Judaism,
the synagogue. Throughout the Diaspora the Christian communities
first out of the synagogues with their proselytes or adherents. Designed
be essentially a brotherhood, and springing out of the synagogue, the
society developed a local organization which was of double strength, superior
to anything achieved by the societies []
of Judaism.\232/ One extremely advantageous fact about these local
organizations in their significance for Christianity may be added. It
every community was at once a unit, complete in itself; but it was also
reproduction of the collective
\232/ We cannot discuss the influence which the Greek and Roman guilds may have exercised upon Christianity. In any case, it can only have affected certain forms, not the essential fact itself or its fixity.
We do not know how this remarkable conviction arose, but it lies
plain upon the surface of the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. It did
originate in Judaism, since -- to my knowledge -- the individual Jewish
synagogue did not look upon itself in this light. Nor did the
up at a single stroke. Even in Paul two contradictory conceptions still
together: while, on the one hand, he regards each community, so to
speak, as a “church
of God,” sovereign, independent, and responsible for itself, on the
his churches are at the same time his own creations, which consequently
under his control and training, and are in fact even threatened by hire
the rod. He is their father and their schoolmaster. Here the apostolic
authority, and, what is more, the general and special authority, of the
as the founder of a church invade and delimit the authority of the
community, since the latter has to respect and follow the rules laid
enforced by the apostle throughout all his churches. This he had the
expect. But, as we see from the epistles to the Corinthians, especially
the second, conflicts were inevitable. Then again in 3 John we have an
important source of information, for here the head of a local church is
rebelling and asserting his independence, against the control of an
attempts to rule the church by means of delegates. When Ignatius
Such a religious and social organization, destitute of any political or national basis and yet embracing the entire private life, was a novel and unheard of thing upon the soil of Greek and Roman life, where religious and social organizations only existed as a rule in quite a rudimentary form, and where they lacked any religious control of life as a whole. All that people could think of in this connection was one or two schools of philosophy, whose common life was also a religious life. But here was a society which united fellow-believers, who were resident in any city, in the closest of ties, presupposing a relationship which was assumed as a matter of course to last through life itself, furnishing its members not only with holy unction administered once and for all or from time to time, but with a daily bond which provided them with spiritual benefits [] and imposed duties on them, assembling them at first daily and then weekly, shutting them off from other people, uniting them in a guild of worship, a friendly society, and an order with a definite line of life in view, besides teaching them to consider themselves as the community of God.
of course, had to get accustomed or to be trained at first to a society
kind. It ran counter to all the requirements exacted by any other
holy rite from its devotees, however much the existing guild-life may
paved the way for it along several lines. That its object should be the
edification of the members, that the community was therefore to
single body with many members, that every member was to be subordinate
whole body, that one member was to suffer and rejoice with another,
Christ did not call individuals apart but built them up into a society
the individual got his place -- all these were lessons which had to be
epistles prove how vigorously and unweariedly he taught them, and it is
the weightiest feature both in Christianity and in the work of Paul
far from being overpowered, the impulse towards association was most
intensified by the individualism which here attained its zenith. (For
higher form can individualism rise than that reached by means of the
counsel, “Save thy soul”?) Brotherly love constituted the lever; it was
the entrance into that most wealthy inheritance, the inheritance of the
What a sense of stability a creation of this kind must have given the individual! What powers of attraction it must have exercised, as soon as its objects came to be understood! It was this, and not any evangelist, which proved to be the most effective missionary. In fact, we may take it for granted that the mere existence and persistent activity of the individual Christian communities did more than anything else to bring about the extension of the Christian religion.\234/
We possess no detailed account of the origin of any Christian
the narrative of Acts is extremely summary, and the epistles of Paul
the existence of the various churches. Acts, indeed, is not interested
local churches. It is only converted brethren that come within its ken;
pages reflect but the onward rush of the Christian mission, till that
is merged in the legal proceedings against Paul. The apocryphal Acts
hardly any use. But from 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, and Acts we
one or two traits. Thus, while Paul invariably attaches himself to
such were to be found, and preaches in the synagogues, the actual
that the small communities which thus arose are drawn mainly from
pagans, and upon the whole from pagans in general, not from Jews. Those
were first converted naturally stand in an important relation to the
organization of the churches (Clem.
Hence also the injunction, repeated over and again, “Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” -- “as some do,” adds the epistle to the Hebrews (10.25). At first and indeed always there were naturally some people who imagined that one could secure the holy contents and blessings of [] Christianity as one did those of Isis or the Magna Mater, and then withdraw. Or, in cases where people were not so short-sighted, levity, laziness, or weariness were often enough to detach a person from the society. A vainglorious sense of superiority and of being able to dispense with the spiritual aid of the society was also the means of inducing many to withdraw from fellowship and from the common worship. Many, too, were actuated by fear of the authorities; they shunned attendance at public worship, to avoid being recognized as Christians.\235/
\235/ Cp. Tertullian, de Fuga, 3: “Timide conveniunt in ecclesiam: dicitis enim, quoniam incondite convenimus et simul convenimus et complures concurrimus in ecclesiam, quaerimur a nationibus et timemus, ne turbentur nationes” (“They gather to church with trembling. For, you say, since we assemble in disorder, simultaneously, and in great numbers, the heathen make inquiries, and we are afraid of stirring them up against us”).
what is of common profit to all,” says Clement of Rome (c. 48). “Keep
by yourselves in secret,” says Barnabas (4.10), “as if you were already
justified, but meet together and confer upon the common weal.” Similar
are often to be met with.\236/ The worship on Sunday; s of course
but even at other times the brethren are expected to meet as often as
“Thou shalt seek out every day the company of the saints, to be
their words” (Did. 4.2). “We are constantly in touch with one
says Justin, after describing the Sunday worship (Apol. 1.67),
to show that this is not the only place of fellowship. Ignatius,\237/
advocates over and over again more frequent meetings of the church; in
his letters are written primarily for the purpose of binding the
member as closely as possible to the community and thus [] securing him against
error, temptation, and apostasy.
The means to this end is an increased significance attaching to the
the church alone all blessings are to be had, in its ordinances and
organizations. It is only the church firmly equipped with bishop,
and deacons, with common worship and with sacraments, which is the
God.\238/ Consequently, beyond its pale nothing divine is to be found,
nothing save error and sin; all clandestine meetings for worship are
also to be
eschewed, and no teacher who starts up from outside is to get a hearing
he is certificated by the church. The absolute subordination of
the local community has never been more peremptorily demanded, the
the local community itself has never been more eloquently laid down,
these primitive documents. Their eager admonitions reveal the
the peril [] which
individual Christian who should even in the slightest degree emancipate
from the community; thereby he would fall a prey to the “errorists,” or
over into paganism. At this point even the heroes of the church were
by a peril, which is singled out also for notice. As men who had a
connection with Christ, and who were quite aware of this connection,
not well be subject to orders from the churches; but it was recognized
this early period that if they became “inflated” with pride and held
the fellowship of the church, they might easily come to grief. Thus,
haughty martyrs of
\236/ Herm. Simil. 9.20: οὗτοι οἱ ἐν πολλοῖς καὶ ποικίλαις πραγματείαις ἐμπεφυρμένοι οὐ κολλῶνται τοῖς δούλοις τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλ’ ἀποπλανῶνται (“ These, being involved in many different kinds of occupations, do not cleave to the servants of God, but go astray”); 9.26: γενόμενοι ἐρημώδεις, μὴ κολλὠμεωοι τοῖς δούλοις τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ μονάζοντες ἀπολλύουσι τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς (“Having become barren, they cleave not to the servants of God, but keep apart and so lose their own souls”).
\237/ Cp. Ephes. 13: σπουδάζετε πυκνότερον συνέρχεσθαι εἰς εὐχαριστίαν, θεοῦ (“Endeavour to meet more frequently for the praise of God”); Polyc. 4: πυκνότερον συναγωγαὶ γινέσθωσαν (“Let meetings be held more frequently”); cp. also Magn. 4.
\238/ The common worship, with its center in the celebration of the Supper, is the cardinal point. No other cultus could point to such a ceremony, with its sublimity and unction, its brotherly feeling and many-sidedness. Here every experience, every spiritual need, found nourishment. The collocation of prayer, praise, preaching, and the reading of the Word was modelled upon the worship of the synagogue, and must already have made a deep impression upon pagans; but with the addition of the feast of the Lord's supper, an observance was introduced which, for all its simplicity, was capable of being regarded, as it actually was regarded, from the most diverse standpoints. It was a mysterious, divine gift of knowledge and of life; it was a thanksgiving, a sacrifice, a representation of the death of Christ, a love-feast of the brotherhood, a support for the hungry and distressed. No single observance could well be more than that, and it preserved this character for long, even after it had passed wholly into the region of the mysterious. The members of the church took home portions of the consecrated bread, and consumed them during the week. I have already (pp. 150 f) discussed the question how far the communities in their worship were also unions for charitable support, and how influential must have been their efforts in this direction. -- A whole series of testimonies, from Pliny to Arnobius (4.36), proves that the preaching to which people listened every Sunday bore primarily on the inculcation of morality: “In conventiculis summus orator deus, pax cunctis et venia postulatur magistratibus exercitibus regibus familiaribus inimicis, adhuc vitam degentibus et resolutis corporum vinctione, in quibus aliud auditor nihil nisi quod humanos faciat, nisi quod mites, verecundos, pudicos, castos, familiaris communicatores rei et cum omnibus vobis solidae germanitatis necessitudine copulatos” (“At our meetings prayers are offered to Almighty God, peace and pardon are asked for all in authority, for soldiers, kings, friends, enemies, those still in life, and those freed from the bondage of the flesh ; at these gatherings nothing is said except what makes people humane, gentle, modest, virtuous, chaste, generous in dealing with their substance, and closely knit to all of you within the bonds of brotherhood”).
While the individual Christian had a position of his own within the organization of the church, he thereby lost, however, a part of his autonomy along with his fellows. The so-called Montanist controversy was in the last resort not merely a struggle to secure a stricter mode of life as against a laxer, but also the struggle of a more independent religious attitude and activity as against one which was prescribed and uniform. The outstanding personalities, the individuality of certain people, had to suffer in order that the majority might not become unmanageable or apostates. Such has always been the case in human history. It is inevitable. Only after the Montanist conflict did the church, as individual and collective, attain the climax of its development; henceforth it became an object of desire, coveted by everyone who was on the look-out for power, inasmuch as it had extraordinary forces at its disposal. It now bound the individual closely to itself; it held him, bridled him, and dominated his religious life in all directions. Yet it was not long before the monastic movement originated, a movement which, while it recognized the church in theory (doubt upon this point being no longer possible), set it aside in actual practice.
The progress of the development of the juridical organization [] from the firmly organized local church\239/ to the provincial church,\240/ from that again to the larger league of churches, a league which realized itself in synods covering many provinces, and finally from that league to the collective church, which of course was never quite realized as an organization, though it was always present in idea -- this development also contributed to the strengthening of the Christian self-consciousness and missionary activity.\241/ It was indeed a matter of great moment to be able to proclaim that this church not only embraced humanity in its religious conceptions, but also presented itself to the eye as an immense single league stretching from one side of the empire to another, and, in fact, stretching beyond even these imperial boundaries. This church arose through the co-operation of the Christian ideal with the empire, and thus every great force which operated in this sphere had also its part to play in the building up of the church, viz., the universal Christian idea of a bond of humanity (which, at root, of course, meant no more than a bond between the scattered elect throughout mankind), the Jewish church, and the Roman empire. The last named, as has been rightly pointed out, became bankrupt over the church;\242/and the same might be said of the Jewish church, whose powers of attraction ceased for a large circle of people so soon as the Christian church had developed, the latter taking, them over into its own life.\243/ Whether the Christian communities were as free creations as they were in the first century, whether they set [] up external ordinances as definite and a union as comprehensive as was the case in the third century -- in either case these communities exerted a magnetic force on thousands, and thus proved of extraordinary service to the Christian mission.
\239/ Christians described themselves at the outset as παροικοῦντεσ (“sojourners”; cp. p. 252); the church was technically “the church sojourning in the city” (ἡ ἐκκλησία ἡ παροικοῦσα τὴν πόλιν), but it rapidly became well defined, nor did it by any means stand out as a structure destined to crumble away.
\240/ How far this ascent, when viewed from other premises which are equally real, corresponded to a descent, may be seen from the first Excursus to this chapter.
\241/ Tert. de Praescript. 20: “Sic omnes [sc. ecclesiae] primae et omnes apostolicae, dum una omnes, probant unitatem communicatio pacis et appellatio fraternitatis et contesseratio hospitalis, quae iura non alio natio regit quam eiusdem sacramenti una traditio” (“Thus all are primitive and all apostolic, since they are all alike certified by their union in the communion of peace, the title of brotherhood, and the interchange of hospitable friendship -- rights whose only rule is the one tradition of the same mystery in all”).
\242/ It revived, however, in the Western church.
\243/ Ever since the fall of the temple, however, the Jewish church had consciously and voluntarily withdrawn into itself more and more, and abjured the Greek spirit.
church-organization the most weighty and significant creation was that
monarchical episcopate.\244/ It was the bishops, properly speaking, who
together the individual members of the churches; their rise marked the
the period during which charismata and offices were in a state of
the individual relying only upon God, hinmself, and spiritually endowed
brethren. After the close of the second century bishops were the
priests, and udges of the church. Ignatius already had compared their
in the individual church to that of God in the church collective. But
analogy soon gave way to the formal quality which they
\244/ I leave out of account here all the preliminary steps. It was with the monarchical episcopate that this office first became a polder in Christendom, and it does not fall within the scope of the present sketch to investigate the initial stages -- a task of some difficulty, owing to the fragmentary nature of the sources and the varieties of the original organization throughout the different churches.
The extent to
which the episcopate, along with the other clerical offices which it
controlled, formed the backbone of the church,\245/ is shown by the
waged against it by the []
the third century (Maximinus Thrax, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian, Daza,
Licinius), as well as from many isolated facts. In the reign of Marcus
Aurelius, Dionysius of Corinth tells the
\245/ Naturally, it came more and more to mean a position which was well-pleasing to God and specially dear to him; this is implied already in the term “priest,” [[440b]] which became current after the close of the second century. Along with the higher class of heroic figures (ascetics, virgins, confessors), the church also possessed a second upper class of clerics, as was well known to pagans in the third century. Thus the pagan in Macarius Magnes (3.17) writes, apropos of Matt. 17.20, 21.21 ('”Have faith as a grain of mustard-seed”): “He who has not so much faith as this is certainly unworthy of being reckoned among the brotherhood of the faithful ; so that the majority of Christians, it follows, are not to be counted among the faithful, and in fact even among the bishops and presbyters there is not one who deserves this name.”
\246/ This is the language also of the heathen judge to bishop Achatius: “a shield and succourer of the region of Antioch” (“scutum quoddam ac refugium Antiochiae regionis”; Ruinart, Acta Mart. Ratisb. 1859, p. 201): “Veniet tecum [i.e., if you return to the old gods] omnis populus, ex tuo pendet arbitirio” (“All the people will accompany you, for they hang on your decision”), The bishop answers of course: “Illi omnes non meo nutu, sed dei praecepto reguntur; audiant me itaque, si iusta persuadeam, sin vero perversa et nocitura, contemnant” (“They are ruled, not by my beck and call, but all of them by God's counsel; wherefore let them hearken to me, if I persuade them to what is right ; but despise me if I counsel what is perverse and mischievous.” -- Hermas (Sim. 9.31) says of the [[441b]] shepherds: “Sin aliqua e pecoribus dissipate invenerit dominus, vae erit pastoribus. quod si ipsi pastores dissipati reperti fuerint, quid respondebunt pro pecoribus his? numquid dicunt, a pecore se vexatos? non credetur illis. incredibilis enim res est, pastorem pati posse a pecore “ (“But if the master finds any of the sheep scattered, woe to the shepherds. For if the shepherds themselves be found scattered, how will they answer for these sheep? Will they say that they were themselves worried by the flock? Then they will not be believed, for it is absurd that a shepherd should; be injured by his sheep”).
\247/ For a distinguished missionary or teacher who had founded a church becoming its bishop, cp. Origen, Hom. 11.4 in Num. [as printed above, p. 351].
Cp. (trans. below, under “
\249/ I do not enter here into the development of the constitution in detail, although by its close relation to the divisions of the empire it has many vital points of contact with the history of the Christian mission (see Lübeck, Reichseinteilung and kirchliche Hierarchie des Orients his sum Ausgang des 4. Jahrhunderts, 1901). I simply note that the ever-increasing dependence of the Eastern Church upon the redistributed empire (a redistribution which conformed to national boundaries) imperilled by degrees the unity of the Church and the universalism of Christianity. The church began by showing harmony and vigor in this sphere of action, but centrifugal influences soon commenced to play upon her, influences which are perceptible as early as the Paschal controversy of 190 CE between Rome and Asia, which are vital by the time of the controversy over the baptism of heretics, and which finally appear as disintegrating forces in the fourth and fifth centuries. In the West the Roman bishop knew how to restrain them admirably, evincing both tenacity and clearness of purpose.
One other problem has finally to be considered at this point, a problem which is of great importance for the statistics of the church. It is this: how strong was the tendency to create independent forms within the Christian communities, i.e., to form complete episcopal communities? Does the number of communities which were episcopally organized actually denote the number of the communities in general, or were there, either as a rule or in a large number of provinces, any considerable number of communities which possessed no bishops of their own, but had only presbyters or deacons, and depended upon an outside bishop? The following Excursus\250/ is devoted to the answering of this important question. Its aim is to show that the creation of complete episcopal communities was the general rule in most provinces (excluding Egypt) down to the middle of the third century, however small might be the number of Christians in any locality, and however insignificant might be the locality itself.
Read before the
if not even more important, was the tendency, which was in operation
very first, to have all the Christians in a given locality united in a
community. As []
the Pauline epistles
prove, house-churches were tolerated at the outset, (we do not know how
long),\251/ but obviously their position was (originally or very soon
afterwards) that of members belonging to the local community as a
original relationship is, of course, as obscure to us as is the
such churches. Conflicts there must have been at first, and even
set up a number of independent Christian θίασοι in
a city; the “schisms” at
\251/We cannot determine how long they lasted, but after the New Testament we hear next to nothing of them -- which, by the way, is an argument against all attempts, to relegate the Pauline epistles to the second century. For the house churches, see the relevant sections in Weizsäcke's History of the Apostoli