The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries

by Adolph (von) Harnack
translated and edited by James Moffatt
Second, enlarged and revised English edition;
London: Williams and Norgate / New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908 (from the 2nd German 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)

[[being updated (also consulting the 4th German edition) and adapted by RAK for use in 2004 America; Greek needs to be inserted, etc.]

[Harnack bk3 ch4, 431- scanned by Moises Bassan, March 2004]




CHRISTIAN preaching aimed at winning souls and bringing 'individuals to God, "that the number of the elect might be made up," but from the very outset it worked through a com­munity and proposed to itself the aim of uniting all who believed in Christ. Primarily, this union was one which con­sisted of the disciples of Jesus. But, as we have already seen, these disciples were conscious of being the true Israel and the ecelesia of God. Such they held themselves to be. Hence they appropriated to themselves the form and well-knit frame of Judaism, spiritualizing it and strengthening it, so that by one stroke (we may say) they secured a firm and exclusive organization.

But while this organization, embracing all Christians on earth, rested in the first instance solely upon religious ideas, as a purely ideal conception it would hardly have remained effective for any length of time, had it not been allied to local organization. Christianity, at the initiative of the original apostles and the brethren of Jesus, began by borrowing this as well from Judaism, i.e., from the synagogue. Throughout the Diaspora the Christian communities developed at first out of the syna­gogues with their proselytes or adherents. Designed to be essentially a brotherhood, and springing out of the synagogue, the Christian society developed a local organization which was of double strength, superior to anything achieved by the societies

1 Cp. on this Von Dobschutz's Die urchristlichen Gemeinden (1902) [translated in this library under the title of Christian Life in the Primitive Church].



of Judaism.\1/ One extremely advantageous fact about these local organizations in their significance for Christianity may be added. It was this : every community was at once a unit, com­plete in itself; but it was also a reproduction of the collective church of God, and it had to recognize and manifest itself as - such.\2/

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

r 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.

2 We do not know how this remarkable conviction arose, but it lies perfectly plain upon the surface of the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. It did not originate in Judaism, since-to my knowledge-the individual Jewish synagogue did not look upon itself in this light. Nor did the conception spring up at a single stroke. Even in Paul two contradictory conceptions still lie unexplained 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 other hand his churches are at the same time his own creations, which consequently remain under his con­trol and training, and are in fact even threatened by hire with the rod. He is their father and their schoolmaster. Here the apostolic authority, and, what is more, the general and special authority, of the apostle as the founder of a church invade and delimit the authority of the individual community, since the latter has to respect and follow the rules laid down and enforced by the apostle throughout all his churches. This he had the right to expect. But, as we see from the epistles to the Corinthians, especially from 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 openly rebelling and asserting his independence, against the control of an apostle who attempts to rule the church by means of delegates. When Ignatius reached Asia not long afterwards, the idea of the sovereignty of the individual church had triumphed.

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.

Neophytes, of course, had to get accustomed or to be trained at first to a society of this kind. It ran counter to all the requirements exacted by any other cultus or holy rite from its devotees, however much the existing guild-life may have paved the way for it along several lines. That its object should be the common edification of the members, that the community was therefore 'to resemble a single body with many members, that every member was to be subordinate to the whole body, that one member was to suffer and rejoice with another, that Jesus Christ did not call individuals apart but built them up into a society in which the individual got his place-all these were lessons which had to be learnt. Paul's epistles prove how vigorously and unweariedly he taught them, and it is perhaps the weightiest feature both in Christianity and in the work of Paul that, so far from being overpowered, the impulse towards association was most powerfully intensified by the individualism which here attained its zenith. (For to what higher form can individualism rise than that reached by means of the dominant counsel, "Save thy soul"?) Brotherly love constituted the lever ; it was also the entrance into that most wealthy inherit­ance, the inheritance of the firmly organized church of Judaism. In addition to this there was also the wonderfully practical idea, to which allusion has already been made, of setting the collective church (as an ideal fellowship) and the individual community in such a relationship that whatever was true of the one could be predicated also of the other, the church of Corinth or of Ephesus, e.g., being the church of God. Quite apart from the content of these social formations, no statesman or politician can hesitate to admire and applaud the solution which was thus devised for one of the most serious problems of any large organization, viz., how to maintain intact the complete autonomy of the local communities and at the same time to knit them into a general nexus, possessed of strength and unity, which




should embrace all the empire and gradually develop also into a collective organization.

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.'

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 (x. 25). At first and indeed always there were naturally some people who imagined that one could secure the holy contents and blessings of

1 We possess no detailed account of the origin of any Christian community, for the narrative of Acts is extremely summary, and the epistles of Paul presuppose the existence of the various churches. Acts, indeed, is not interested in the local churches. It is only converted brethren that come within its ken ; its pages reflect but the onward rush of the Christian mission, till that mission is merged in the legal proceedings against Paul. The apocryphal Acts are of hardly any use. But from r Thessalonians, i Corinthians, and Acts we can infer one or two traits. Thus, while Paul invariably attaches himself to Jews, where such were to be found, and preaches in the synagogues, the actual result is that the small communities which thus arose are drawn mainly from "God-fearing" pagans, and upon the whole from pagans in general, not from Jews. Those who were first converted naturally stand in an important relation to the organization of the churches (Clem. Rom. xlii.: of aado'ToAoj KaTa xo5pas cal 7rdAELS Kfp110'voyTes

• . . . Kae(o-ravo, Ta.S arapxas a T&', SoKL/.L,ravTES TQ mve ar,, EIS ?. r,o,d,ous Kai SLaK6youS Twv ueAAdyTtoy 5LVTELietS=Preaching throughout the country districts and cities, the apostles . . . . appointed those who were their firstfruits, after proving them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons for those who were to believe) ; as we learn from i Thess. v. 12 f. and Phil. i. t, a sort of local superintendence at once arose in some of the communities. But what holds true of the Macedonian churches is by no means true of all the churches, at least during the initial period, for it is obvious that in Galatia and at Corinth no organization whatever existed for a decade, or even longer. The brethren submitted to a control of "the Spirit." In Acts XlV. 23 (xetpOTov4O-ayTEs abTOtS KaT' E'KKA71clay TpEOrf3vTEpous) the allusion may be accurate as regards one or two communities (cp. also Clem. Rom. xliv. ), but it is an extremely questionable statement if it is held to imply that the apostles regularly appointed officials in every locality, and that these were in all cases "presbyters." Acts only mentions church-officers at Jerusalem (xv. 4) and Ephesus (xx. 28, presbyters who are

invested with episcopal powers).



Christianity as one did those of Isis or the Magna Mater, and then withdraw. Or, in cases where people were not so short­sighted, 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.'


"Seek. what is of common profit to all," says Clement of home' (c. xlviii.). 11 Keep not apart by yourselves in secret," says Barnabas (iv. 10), "as if you were already justified, but meet together and confer upon the common weal." Similar passages are often to be met with. 2 The worship on Sunday ;s of course obligatory, but even at other times the brethren are expected to meet as often as possible. "Thou shalt seek out every day the company of the saints, to be refreshed by their words" (Did., iv. 2). "We are constantly in touch with one another," says Justin, after describing the Sunday worship (Apol., I. lxvii.), in order to show that this is not the only place of fellowship. Ignatius, 3 too, advocates over and over again more frequent meetings of the church ; in fact, his letters are written primarily for the purpose of binding the individual member as closely as possible to the community and thus

  \1/Cp. Tertullian, de I'uga, iii.: " 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 ").
\2/Herm., Sitnil., IX. xx.: oiTo, of by ,roAAots Kal aoud(Aals apa7paTE(aes Jµaeq6VpA6101 ab KOAAmzTal Tois 506AOIS TOo oeoo, axx' aaoa?avroyrai (" These, being involved in many different kinds of occupations, do not cleave to the servants of God, but go astray"); IX. xxvi. : yeyJp.evo! 4p7l LOetr, µ3/ KoAA(Vµevoi rots SotAoir TOD Beou", &AAa µovdCoyr€S AKOAAdouo-! Tas EaVTav >Vuxds (" Having become barren, they cleave not to the servants of God, but keep apart and so lose their own souls ").

\3/Cp. Ephes. xiii.:' oirOV8dCers ,rUKVdTEpOV OUVEpXEO.9aL EIS ebXapuQT(av, OeOu (" Endeavour to meet .more frequently for the praise of God ") ; Polyc. iv. trueVETEpOV rruvayayal ywea-Oavav ("Let meetings be held more frequently"); cp. also Magn. iv.




securing him against error, temptation, and apostasy. The means to this end is an increased significance attaching to the church. In the church alone all blessings are to be had, in its ordinances and organizations. It is only the church firmly equipped with bishop, presbyters, and deacons, with common worship and with sacraments, which is the creation of God.\1/ Consequently, beyond its pale nothing divine is to be found, there is 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 unless he is certificated by the church. The absolute subordination of Christians to the local community has never been more peremptorily demanded, the position of the local community itself has never been more eloquently laid down, than in these primitive documents. Their eager admonitions reveal the seriousness of the peril

\1/The common worship, with its centre 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 (iv. 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 comaiunicatores 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 ").



which threatened the individual Christian who should even in the slightest degree emancipate himself from the community; thereby he would fall a prey to the "errorists," or slip over into paganism. At this point even the heroes of the church were threatened by a peril, which is singled out also for notice. As men who had a special connection with Christ, and who were quite aware of this connection, they could not well be subject to orders from the churches ; but it. was recognized even at this early period that if they became "inflated" with pride and held aloof from the fellowship of the church, they might easily come to grief. Thus, when the haughty martyrs of Carthage and Rome, both during and after the Decian persecution, started cross-currents in the churches and began to uplift themselves against the officials, the great bishops finally resolved to reduce them under the laws common to the whole church.

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


The progress of the development of the juridical organization



from the firmly organized local church 1 to the provincial church,' 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.3 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 ; 4 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.5 Whether the Christian communities were as free creations as they were in the first century, whether they set

1 Christians described themselves at the outset as παροικουντεσ (" sojourners " ; cp. p. 252) ; the church was technically " the church sojourning in the city "( ἐκκλησία παροικοωσα την πόλιν ), but it rapidly became well defined, nor

did it by any means stand out as a structure destined to crumble away.

a 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.

3 Tert., de Prcescript. xx.: " Sic omnes [se. 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 ").

4 It revived, however, in the Western church.

5 Ever since the fall of the temple, however, the Jewish church had consciously and voluntarily withdrawn into itself more an(T more, and abjured the Greek spirit.


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.

Within the church-organization the most weighty and significant creation was that of the monarchical episcopate.1 It was the bishops, properly speaking, who held together the individual members of the churches; their rise marked the close of the period during which charismata and offices were in a state of mutual flux, the individual relying only upon God, hinmself, and spiritually endowed brethren. After the close of the second century bishops were the teachers, high priests, and udges of the church. Ignatius already had compared their position in the individual church to that of God in the church collective. But this analogy soon gave way to the formal quality which they acquired, first in Rome and the West, after the gnostic controversy. In virtue of this quality, they were regarded as representatives of the apostolic office. According to Cyprian, they were "judices vice Christi" (judges in Christ's room); and Origen, in spite of his unfortunate experience with bishops, had already written that "if kings are so called from reigning, then all 'who rule the churches of God deserve to be called kings" (" si reges a regendo dicuntur, omnes utique, qui ecclesias dei regunt, reges merito appellabuntur," Hom. xii. 2 in Num., vol. x. p. 133, Lomm.). On their conduct the churches depended almost entirely for weal or woe. As the office grew to maturity, it seemed like an original creation ; but this was simply because it drew to itself from all quarters both the powers and the forms of life.

The extent to which the episcopate, along with the other clerical offices which it controlled, formed the backbone of the

church,2 is shown by the fierce war waged against it by the  


1 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.
\2/ 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,"



state during 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 church of Athens (Eus., H.E., iv. 23) that while it had well-nigh fallen from the faith after the death of its martyred bishop Publius, its new bishop Quadratus had reorganized it and filled it with fresh zeal for the faith. In de Fuga, xi. Tertullian says that when the shepherds are poor creatures the flock is a prey to wild beasts, "as is never more the ease than when the clergy desert the church in a persecution" ("quod nunquam magis fit quam cum in persecutione destituitur a clero "). Cyprian (Ep. Iv. 11) tells how in the persecution bishop Trophimus had lapsed along with a large section of the church, and had offered sacrifice ; but on his return and penitence, the rest followed him, "qui onines regressuri ad ecclesiam non essent, nisi cum Trofimo comitante venissent" (" none of whom would have returned to the church, had they not had the companionship of '1'rophimus "). When Cyprian lingered in retreat during the persecution of Decius, the whole community threatened to lapse. Hence one can easily see the significance of the bishop for the church ; with him it fell, with him it stood,' and in these days a vacancy or interregnum meant a serious crisis for any church. Without being properly a missionary,


[[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 (III. xvii.) writes, apropos of Matt. xvii. 20, xxi. z 1 ('' 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."

\1/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 Afant., Ratisb., 1859, p. zor) : " 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 ; hut ,despise me, if I counsel what is perverse and mischievous. "-Hermas (Sine., IX. xxxi.) says of the


the bishop exercised a missionary function.' In particular, he preserved individuals from relapsing into paganism, while any bishop who really filled his post was the means of winning over n any fresh adherents. We have instances of this, e.g., in the cruse of Cyprian or of Gregory Thaumaturgus. The episcopal dignity was at once heightened and counterbalanced by the institution of the synods which arose in Greece and Asia (modelled possibly upon the federal diets),' and eventually were adopted by a large number of provinces after the opening of the third century. On the one hand, this association of the bishops entirely took away the rights of the laity, who found before very long, that it was no use now to leave their native church in order to settle down in another. Yet a synod, on the other hand, imposed restraints upon the arbitrary action of a bishop, by setting itself up as an ecclesiastical "forum publicum to which he was responsible. The correspondence of Cyprian resents several examples of individual bishops being thus arraigned by synods for arbitrary or evil conduct. Before very tong too (possibly from the very outset) the synod, this "representatio totius nominis Christiani, appeared to be a specially trustworthy organ of the holy Spirit. The synods which expanded in the course of the third century from provincial synods to larger councils, and which would seem to have anticipated Diocletian's redistribution of the empire in the East, naturally gave an extraordinary impetus to the prestige and authority of the church, and thereby heightened its powers


[[441b]] shegherds : "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").

I For a distingu:.shed missionary or teacher who had founded a church becoming its bishop, cp. Origen, Hom. xi. 4 in Num. [as printed above, p. 351].

a Cp. (trans. below, under " Asia Minor," § 9, in Book IV. Chap. IIL) Tertull., de Jejunio, xiii.: "Aguntur per Graecias (for the plural, cp. Eus., Vita Const., 'ii. ig)'illa certis in locis concilia ex universis ecclesiis, per quae et al tiora quaeque commune tractantur et ipsa repraesentatio totius nominis Christiani magna veneratione celebratur."



of attraction. Yet the entire synodal system really flourished in the East alone (and to some extent in Africa). In the ?Vest it no more blossomed than did the system of metropolitans, a fact which was of vital moment to the position of Rome and of the Roman bishop.'

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 2 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.

As important, if not even more important, was the tendency, which was in operation from the very first, to have all the Christians in a given locality united in a single community. As

r 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 Lubeck, Reichseinteilung and kirchliche Hierarchie des Orients his sum Ausgang des 4. Jahrhunderts, r9or). 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 vigour 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 A.D. 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.

\2/ Read before the Royal Prussian Academy of Science, on 28th Nov. tgoi (pp. r 186 f.).



Pauline epistles prove, house-churches were tolerated at the outset, (we do not know how long),' but obviously their position was (originally or very soon afterwards) that of members belong­ing to the local community as a whole. This original relation­ ship is, of course, as obscure to us as is the evaporation of such churches. Conflicts there must have been at first, and even attempts to set up a number of independent Christian Olao-oc in a city; the « schisms" at Corinth, combated by Paul, would seem to point in this direction. Nor is it quite certain whether, even after the formation of the monarchical episcopate, there were not cases here and there of two or more episcopal corn­pmnities existing in a single city. But even if this obtained in 'certain cases, their number must have been very small; nor do these avail to alter the general stamp of the Christian organiza­tiun throughout its various branches, i.e., the general constitution according to which every locality where Christians were to be ound had its own independent community, and only one community. 2 This organization, with its simplicity and natural­ess, proved itself extraordinarily strong. No doubt, the community was soon obliged to direct the full force of its

\1/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 house­chu.rches, see the relevant sections in Weizsacke's History of the Apostolic Age. llcbrews is most probably addressed to a special community in Rome. Schiele ha; recently tried to prove, for reasons that deserve notice, that the community in ,question was developed from the Συναδωδή των Εβραίων , for which there is inscrip­tloaal evidence at Rome (American Journal of Theology, 1905, pp. 290 f.), and I have tried to connect the epistle with Prisca and Aquila (Zeitsr fur die neuteςt. Wisς„-i., rgoo, pp. 16 f.). The one theory does not exclude the other.

2 The relation of the Christian διδασκαλεια to the local church (cp. above, p. 356) is wrapt in obscurity. We know of Justin's school, of Tatian's, Rhodon's, Theodotus's, Praxeas's, Epigonus's, and Cleomenes's in Rome, of the transition of

the Thedotian school into a church (the most interesting case of the kind known to us), of catechetical schools in Alexandria, of Hippolytus scorning the Christians in Rome who adhered to Callistus, i.e., the majority of the church (or a school), of
various gnostic schools, of Lucian's school at Antioch side by side with the church, etc. But this does not amount to a clear view of the situation, for we learn very little apart from the fact that such schools existed. Anyone might essay to prove that by the second half of the second century there was a general danger of the church being dissipated into nothing but schools. Anyone else might undertake to prove that even ordinary Christianity here and there deliber­ately assumed the character of a philosophic school in order to secure freedom and



anti-pagan exclusiveness against such brethren of its own number as refused submission to the church upon any pretext whatsoever. The sad passion for heresy-hunting, which prevailed among Christians as early as the second century, was not only a' result of their fanatical devotion to true doctrine, but quite as much an outcome of their rigid organization and of the exalted predicates c f honour, which they applied to themselves as "I the church of God." Here the reverse of the medal is to be seen. The community's valuation of itself, its claim to represent the ἐκκλησία τού θεού ("the church of God" or "the catholic church" in Corinth, Ephesus, etc.) prevented it ultimately from recognizing or tolerating any Christianity whatever outside its own boundaries.'


[[444b]] safeguard its interests against the state and a hostile society (as was the case, we cannot doubt, with some circles; cp. above, p. 364). Both attempts would bring in useful material, but neither would succeed in proving its thesis. So much is certain, however, that, during the second century and perhaps here and there throughout the third, as well, the "schools" spelt a certain danger for the unity of the episcopal organization of the churches, and that the episcopal church had succeeded, by the opening of. the third century, in rejecting the main dangers of the situation. The materials are scanty, but the question deserves investigation by itself.

I Celsus had already laid sharp stress on heresy-hunting and the passion with which Christians fought one another: 6AaQ071pouooty *is βλασφημουσιν εις αλλήλουs ούτοι πάνδεινα

ρητα και άρρητα, και ουκ &ν εΤξαιεν ουδέ καθ' δτιοϋν εis δμόοιαν πάντη αλλήλουτ αιοστυγοϋντεs (V. lxiii.: " These people utter all sorts of blasphemy, mentionable and unmentionable, against one another, nor will they give way in the smallest point for the sake of concord, hating each other with a perfect hatred ").





"In 1 Tim, iii. (where only bishops and deacons are mentioned) the apostle Paul has not forgotten the presbyters, for at first the same officials bore the name of ' presbyter' as well as that of bishop.' . . . Those who had the power of ordination and are now called' bishops' were not appointed to a single church but o a whole province, and bore the name of 'apostles.' Thus St Paul set Timothy over all Asia, and Titus over Crete. And plainly he also appointed other individuals to other provinces in the same way, each of whom was to take charge of a whole province, making circuits through all the churches, ordaining clergy for ecclesiastical work wherever it was necessary, solving any difficult questions which had arisen among them, setting them right by means of addresses on doctrine, treating sore sins in a salutary fashion, and in general discharging all the duties of a superintendent-all the towns, meanwhile, possessing the presbyters of whom I have spoken, men who ruled their respective churches. Thus in that early age there existed those who are now called bishops, but who were then called apostles, discharg­ing functions for a whole province which those who are nowadays ordained to the episcopate discharge for a single city and a single district. Such was the organization of the church in those days. But when the faith became widely spread, filling not merely towns, but also country districts with believers,

\1/Gk .: μέγισται δέ ου πόλεις μόνον αλλα και χϋιραι τϋιν πεπιστεοκότων ήσαν; Lat. version=repletae autem sunt non modo civitates credentium, sed regiones. Read , μεσταί therefore instead of μέγισται.



then, as the blessed apostles were now dead, came those who took charge of the whole [province]. They were not equal to their predecessors, however, nor could they certify themselves, as did the earlier leaders, by means of miracles, while in many other respects they showed their inferiority. Deeming it there­fore a burden to assume the title of i apostles,' they distributed the other titles [which had hitherto been synonymous], leaving that of ' presbyters' to the presbyters, and assigning that of ' bishops' to those who possessed the right of ordination, and who were consequently entrusted with leadership over all the church. These formed the majority, owing, in the first instance, to the necessity of the case, but subsequently also, on account of the generous spirit shown by those who arranged the ordinations.1 For at the outset there were but two, or at most three, bishops usually in a province-a state of matters which prevailed in most of the Western provinces until quite recently, and which may still be found in several, even at the present day. As time went on, however, bishops were ordained not merely in towns, but also in small districts, where there was really no need of anyone being yet invested with the episcopal office."

So Theodore of Mopsuestia in his commentary upon First Timothy.' The assertion that " bishop " and '° presbyter " were identical in primitive ages occurs frequently about the year 400, but Theodore's statements in general are, to the best of my knowledge, unique ; they represent an attempt to depict the primitive organization of the church, and to explain the most important revolution which had taken place in the history of the church's constitution. Theodore's idea is, in brief, as follows. From the outset, he remarks-i.e. in the apostolic age, or by original apostolic institution-there was a monarchical office in the churches, to which pertained the right of ordination. This



  \1/Gk.: Sub tA.hv T7)v XpEfae TD irpaTOV, UBTEpoy Si: iral €orb OiAorilA.laS TNV sr0406PTWP ;

Ambition, it might be conjectured, would be mentioned as the motive at work, but in that case rrv 1roiobvrwv would require to be away. 4ixoriµfa therefore must mean " liberal spirit," and this is the interpretation given in the Latin version : " Postea vero et illis adiecti sunt alii liberalitate comm qui ordinationes faciebant." Dr Bischoff, however, proposes 7rapourov'vTwv for ,rotouvTwv.

a See Swete's Theodori episcapi Mopsuesteni in epp. L. Pa 4i comvuentarii, vol. ii. (1882), pp. 121 f.


office was one belonging to the provincial churches (each province lossessing a single superintendent), and its title was that of apostle." Individual communities, again, were governed by bishops (presbyters) and deacons. Once the apostles I (i.e. the original apostles) had died, however, a revolution took place. The motives assigned for this by Theodore are twofold : in the first place, the spread of the Christian religion, and in the second place, the weakness felt by the second generation of. the apostles themselves. The latter therefore resolved (i.) to abjure and thus abolish 2 the name of ii apostle," • and (ii.) to distribute the monarchical power, i.e., the right of ordination, among several persons' throughout a province. Hence the circumstance of two or three bishops existing in the same province-the term "bishop" being now employed in the sense of monarchical authority. That state of matters was the rule until quite recently in most of the Western provinces, and it still survives n several of them. In the East, however, it has not lasted. Partly owing to the. requirements of the case (i.e., the increase of Christianity throughout the provinces), partly owing to the "liberality" of the apostles,3 the number of the bishops has multiplied, so that not only towns, but even villages, have come to possess bishops, although there was no real need for such appointments.

We must in the first instance credit Theodore with being sensible of the fact that the organization of the primitive churches was originally on the broadest scale, and only cane down by degrees (to the local communities). Such was indeed the case. The whole was prior to the part. That is, the

' This is the first point of obscurity in Theodore's narrative. "The blessed apostles" are not all the men whom he has first mentioned as "apostles," but either the apostles in the narrowest sense of the term, or else these taken together with men like Timothy and Titus.

2 This has, to be supplied by the reader (which is the second obscure point) ; the text has merely Sapb voµfvaiTES T3iv ray a,roOT6hwv 9Xeiv apovrtyoplav. Theodore says nothing about what became of them after they gave up their nameand rights.

s This is the third point of obscurity in Theodore's statement. By ˘i?oTiµfa Twv aoiotvrwv it seems necessary to understand the generosity of the retiring apostles," and yet the process went on-according to Theodore himself-even after these apostles had long left the scene. 



organization effected by the apostles was in the first place universal ; its scope was the provinces of the church. It is Judwa, Sarnaria, Syria, Cilicia, Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, etc., that are present to the minds of the apostles, and figure in their writings. Just as, in the missions of the present day, outside sects capture " Brandenburg," " Saxony," and " Bavaria " by getting a firm foothold in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, and one or two important cities; just as they forthwith embrace the whole province in their thoughts and in some of the measures which they adopt, so was it then. Secondly, Theodore's observation upon the extension of the term "apostle" is in itself quite accurate. But it is just at this point, of course, that our doubts begin. It is inherently improbable that the apostles, i.e., the twelve together with Paul, appointed the other "apostles" (in the wider sense of the word) collectively; besides, it is contra­dicted by positive evidence to the contrary,' and Theodore's statement of it may be very simply explained as due to the pre- . conceived opinion that everything must ultimately run back to the apostles' institution. Further, the idea of each province having an apostle-bishop set over it is a conjecture which is based on no real evidence, and is contradicted by all that we know of the universal ecclesiastical nature of the apostolic office. Finally, we cannot check the statement which would bind up the right of ordination exclusively with the office of the apostle-bishop. In all these respects Theodore seems to have introduced into his sketch of the primitive churches' organization features which were simply current in his own day, as well as hazardous hypotheses. Moreover, we can still show how slender are the grounds on which his conjectures rest. Unless I am mistaken, he has nothing at his disposal in the shape of materials beyond the traditional idea, drawn from the pastoral epistles, of the position occupied by Timothy and Titus in the church, as well as the ecclesiastical notices and legends of the work of John in Asia.' All this he has generalized, evolving therefrom the

\1/Compare the remarks of Paul and the Didache upon apostles, prophets, and teachers. The apostles are appointed by God or " the Spirit."

2 It is ever, probable that he has particularly in mind, along with Tit. i. 5 f. and I Tim. iii. I f., the well-known passage in Clenm. Alex., Quis Dives Salvelu, (cp. Eus., H.E., III. xxiii.), since his delineation of the tasks pertaining to the



conception of a general appointment of "apostles" who are equivalent to "provincial bishops."' "Apostles" are equivalent "provincial bishops"; such is Theodore's conception, and the conception is a fantasy. Whether it contains any kernel of historical truth, we shall see later on. Meantime we must, in the first instance, follow up Theodore's statements a little further.

He is right in recognizing that any survey of the origin of the church's organization must be based upon the apostles and their missionary labours. We may add, the organization which arose during the mission and in consequence of the mission, would attempt to maintain itself even after local authorities and institu­tions had been called into being which asserted rights of their own. But the distinctive trait in Theodore's conception consists in the fact that he knows absolutely nothing of any originally constituted rights appertaining to local authorities. He has no eyes for all that the New Testament and the primitive Christian writings, as a whole, contain upon this point ; for even here, on his view, everything must have flowed from some apostolic injunction or concession-i.e., from above to below. He adduces, no doubt, tl " weakness " of the " apostles " in the second generation­ which is quite a remarkable statement, based on the cessation of miraculous gifts.2 But it was in virtue of their own resolve that the, apostles withdrew from the scene, distributing their


[[449b]] apostle-bishop coincides substantially with what is narrated of the work of John in that passage (§ 6 - ihrou µhy &t(rκ67rovs KwπαoT4to •w Y, htrou 80 IAas IKKAtlaίαs apfl4owy, IS7rau 51 KAJprp 9ya .y TLYa KAtjpoLOws'Tay Utr? TOV 7rVEUµaTOS o'71 LαLνOµsYwy

" Appointing bishops in some quarters, arranging the affairs of whole churches other quarters, and elsewhere selecting for the ministry some one of those indicated by the Spirit" ; cp. also the description of how John dealt with a

difficult case).

\1/Clem. Rom. xl. f. cannot have been present to his mind, for his remarkable and ingenious idea of the identity of "apostles" and "provincial bishops" would have been shattered by a passage in which it is quite explicitly asserted that the

apostles κaTa xeoper Kαl 7r6AElς 001P60-oowTES Kαl TOUS r 1rαKο6ovTes TIJ souAfiOEI Toil 6Eoi $αirT(SOVTES Ke8ISTαvos Taς atrapxaς akroy, aOKLfs O'eVTES Tip ,YE6fAaT,, GS

&0KdirοVS Kal araK6yous Try fAEAA6νTws irLO'Te4eryv (see above, p. 434), while xlii.

escribes a succession, not of apostles one after another, but of bishops.

\2/ It seems inevitable that we should take Theodore as holding that the cessa­of the miraculous power hitherto wielded by the apostles was a divine indica­tion that they were now to efface themselves.-It was a widely spread conviction (see Origen in several passages, which Theodore read with care) that the apostolic



power to other people ; for only there could the local church's authority originate! Such is his theory ; it is extremely in­genious, and dominated throughout by a magical conception of the apostolate. The local church-authority (or the monarchical and supreme episcopate) within the individual community owed its origin to the "apostolic " provincial authority, by means of a conveyance of power. During the lifetime of the apostles it was quite in a dependent position. Even after their de­parture, the supreme episcopal authority did not emerge at once within each complete community. On the contrary, says Theodore, it was only two or three towns in every province which at the outset possessed a bishop of their own (i.e., in the new sense of the term " bishop "). Not until a later date, and even then only by degrees, were other towns and even villages added to these original towns, while in the majority of provinces throughout the West the old state of matters prevailed, says Theodore, till quite recently. In some provinces it prevails at present.'

This theory about the origin of the local monarchical episcopate baffles all discussions We may say without any hesitation that Theodore had no authentic foundation for it whatever. Even when he might seem to be setting up at least the semblance of historic trustworthiness for his identification of "apostles" with "provincial bishops," by his reference to Timothy, Titus, and John, the testimony breaks down entirely. We are forced to ask, Who were these retiring apostles ? What sources have we for our knowledge of their resignation? How do we learn of this conveyance of authority which they are declared to have executed? These questions, we may say quite plainly,


[[450b]] power of working miracles ceased at some particular moment in their history. The power of working miracles and the apostles' power of working miracles are not, however, identical.

\1/Theodore seems to regard this original state of matters as the ideal. At any rate, he expresses his dislike for the village-episcopacy.

\2/ All the more so that Theodore goes into the question of how the individual community was ruled at first (whether by some local council or by a single presbyter-bishop). He says nothing, either, of the way in which the monarchical principle was reached in the individual community. We seem shut up to the

conjecture that in his view the individual communities were ruled by councils for several generations.




Theodore ought to have felt in duty bound to answer; for in what sources can we read anything of the matter? It was not without reason that Theodore veiled even the exact time at which this great renunciation took effect. We can only suppose that it was conceived to have occurred about the year :100 A.D 1'

At the same time there is no reason to cast aside the state­tnents of Theodore in toto. They start a whole set of questions to which historians have not paid sufficient attention, questions relating to the position of bishops in the local church, territorial or provincial bishops (if such there were), and metropolitans. To state the problem more exactly : Were there territorial (or provincial) bishops in the primitive Period? And was the territorial bishop perhaps older than the bishop of the local, church? Furthermore, did the two disparate systems of organization denoted by these offices happen to rise simultaneously, coming to terms with each other only at a later period ? Finally, was the metropolitan office, which is not visible till the second half of the second century, originally an older creation ? Can it have been merely the sequel of an earlier monarchical office which prevailed in the ecclesiastical provinces ? These questions are of vital moment to the history of the extension of Christianity, and in fact to the statistics of primitive Christianity ; for, sup­posing that it was the custom in many provinces to be content with one or two or three bishoprics for several generations, it would be impossible to conclude from the small number of bishoprics in certain provinces that Christianity was only scantily represented in these districts. The investigation of this question is all the more pressing, as Duchesne has recently (Pastes episcopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, i., 1894, pp. 86 f.) gone into it, referring -- ­although with caution -- to the statements of Theodore, and deducing far-reaching conclusions with regard to the organization of the churches in Gaul. We shall require, in the first instance,

1 Theodore adduces but one "proof" for his assertion that originally there Were only two or three bishoprics in every province. He refers to the situation in the West as this had existed up till recently, and as it still existed in some

quarters. But the question is whether he has correctly understood the circum­stances of the case, and whether these circumstances can really be linked on to what is alleged to have taken place about the year zoo.



to make ourselves familiar with his propositions' (pp. 1-59). I give the main conclusion in his own words.

P. 32: "Dans les pays situes a, quelque distance de la Medi­terranee et de la basse valle'e du Rhone, it ne s'est fonde aucune eglise (Lyon exceptee) avant le milieu du IIIe siecle environ."

Pp. 38 f.: " Il en resulte que, dans 1'ancienne Gaule celtique, avec ses grandes subdivisions en Belgique, Lyonnaise, Aquitaine et Germanie, une seule eglise existait au Ile siecle, celle de Lyon . .. . ce que nos documents nous apprennent, c'est que 1'eglise de Lyon etait, en dehors de la Narbonnaise, non la premiere, mais la seule. Tous les chretiens epars depuis le Rhin jusqu' auz' Pjjrendes 2 ne formaient qu'une seule communaute ; ils reconnais­saient un chef unique, l'dveque de Lyon."

P. 59: "Avant la fin du IIIe siecle-sauf toujours la region du bas Rhone et de la Mediterranee-peu d'eveches en Gaule et cela seulement dans les villes les plus importantes, A 1'origine, au premier siecle chretien pour notre pays (150-250), une seule eglise, celle de Lyon, reunissant dans un meme cercle d'action et de direction tous les groupes chretiens epars dans. les diverses provinces de la Celtique."

Duchesne reaches this conclusion by means of the following observations :­

1. No reliable evidence for a single Gallic bishopric, apart from that of Lyons, goes back beyond the middle of the third century.3 Nor do the episcopal lists, so far as they are relevant in this connection, take us any farther back. Verus of Vienne, e.g., who was present at the council of Arles in 314 A.n., is counted as the fourth bishop in these lists; which implies that the bishopric of Vienne could hardly have been founded before ± 250 A.D.

1 Duchesne, be it observed, only draws these conclusions for Gaul, nor has he yet said his last word upon the other provinces. I have reason to believe that his

verdict and my own are not very different ; hence in what follows I am attacking, not himself, but conclusions which may be drawn from his statements.

s The mention of the Pyrenees shows that Duchesne includes Aquitania and the extreme S.W. of France in the province of which Lyons is said to have formed the only bishopric.

s Arles alone was certainly in existence before 250 A. D., as the correspondence of Cyprian proves. But Arles lay in the provincia Narbonensis, which is excluded from our present purview.



2. The heading of the well-known epistle from Vienne and Lyons (Eus., H.E., v. 1) runs thus : of ev Btevvp Kai Aovy8ovvw J1c tag 7rapotKOVVTes So9Xoc Xpta-t oii (" the servants of Christ sojourning at Vienne and Lyons"). This heading re­sembles others, such as i e KXila-ia T0i Oeou st aapOLKovaua `Puitcr;V, or Koptv&ov, 43LXi7rarouc, E,uupvav, etc. (" the church of God sojourning at Rome, Corinth, Philippi, Smyrna'" etc.), and consequently represents both churches as a unity-at least upon that reading of the words which first suggests itself.'


3. In this epistle " Sanctus, deacon from Vienne, is mentioned -a phrase which would hardly be intelligible if it alluded to one of the-deacons of the bishop of Vienne, but which is per­fectly natural if Sanctus was the deacon who managed the i uchoate church of Vienne, as a delegate of the Lyons bishop. In that event Vienne had no bishop of its own.


4. Irenaeus in his great. work speaks of churches in Germany and also among the Iberians, the Celts, and the Libyans. Now it is a well-established fact that there were no organized churches, when he wrote, in Germany (i.e., in the military province, for free Germany is out of the question). When Irens us speaks of churches, lie must therefore mean churches which were not episcopal churches.2


5. Theodore testifies that till quite recently there had been only two or three bishops in the majority of the Western provinces, and that this state of matters still lasted in one or two of them. Now, as a large number of bishoprics can be. shown to have existed in southern and middle Italy, as well as in Africa, we are thrown back upon the other countries of the West. Strictly speaking, it is true, Theodore's evidence only covers his own period ; but it fits in admirably with our first four arguments, and it is in itself quite natural, that bishoprics were less numerous in the earlier than in the later



1 Certainly this argument is advanced with some caution (p. 40) : " Cette formule semble plutOt designer un groupe ecclesiastique que deux groupes ayant chacun son organization distincte : en tout cas, elle n'offre rien de contraire it l'indistinction

des deux eglises."

z It is in this way, I believe, that Duchesne's line of argument must be taken (pp. 4o f.). But its trend is not quite clear to my mind.




6. Eusebius mentions a letter from "the parishes in Gaul over which Irenaeus presided" (Twv KaTa UaXX1av 7raporKtwv ds Eipgvaios 67reo-KO7rec, H.E., v. 23). Now although, 7rapouKla usually means the diocese of a bishop, in which sense Eusebius actually employs it in this very chapter, we must nevertheless attach another meaning to it here. "Le verbe E7rto'KO7reIv ne saurait s'entendre d'une simple presidence comtne serait celle d'un metropolitain a la tete de son concile. Cette derniere ' situation est vise dans le meme passage d'Eusebe ; en parlant de 1'eveque Theophile, qui pr6sida celui du Pont, it se sert de 1'expression 7rpouTeraKTO." In the present instance, then, 7rapotKiat denote "groupes detaches, disperses, dune meme grande eglise "-" plusieurs groupes de chretiens, epars sur divers points du territoire, un seul centre ecclesiastique, un seul eveque, celui de Lyon."

7. Analogous phenomena (i.e., the existence of only one bishop at first and for some time to come) occur also in other large provinces, but the proof of this would lead us too far afield.' Duchesne contents himself with adducing a single instance which is especially decisive. The anonymous anti­Moutanist who wrote in 192-193 A.D. (Eus., HT:., v. 16) relates how on reaching Ancyra in Galatia he found the Pontic church (Ti,v Kara Ilov"OV eKKar/a •i av) absorbed and carried away by the

new prophecy. Now Ancyra does not lie in Pontus, and-" ce West pas des nouvelles de 1'eglise du Pont qu'il a eues a Ancyre, c'est ''eglise elle-7neme, ''eglise du Pont, qu'il y a reneontree." Hence it follows in all likelihood 2 that the church of Pontus had still its " chef-lieu " in Ancyra during the reign of Septimius

Severus (c. 200 A.D.).3

8. The extreme slowness with which bishoprics increased in


1 P. 42: "D'autres eglises que celle de Lyon ont eu d'abord un cercle de rayonnement tres etendu et ne se sont en quelque sorte subdivis6es qu'apres une indivision d'assez longue duree. Je ne veux pas entrer ici dans l'hittoire de l' vangelization de ''empire romain : cela m'entrainerait beaucoup trop loin. Il me serait facile de trouver en Syrie, en tgypte et ailleurs des termes de compar­aison assez interessants. Je les neglige pour me borner ii un seul exemple," etc.

2 Duchesne also mentions the allusions to Christians in Pontus which we find in Gregory Thaumaturgus.

3 This is the period, therefore, in which Duchesne places the anonymous anti­Montanist. In my opinion, it is rather too late.


Gaul is further corroborated by the council of Arles (314 A.D.), at which four provinces (la Germaine I., la Sequanaise, les es et Pennines, les Alpes Maritimes) were unrepresented. may be assumed that as yet they contained no autonomous churches whatever.'


Before examining these arguments in favour of the hypothesis that episcopal churches were in existence, which covered wide regions and a.number of. cities, and in fact several provinces together, let me add a further series of statements which appear also to tell in favour of it.


(1) Paul writes . . . . T[l eKKXga'lq. Toy Oeoy Tel outrtl eV Kopiv9W (TV, Tots ayiotc 7raa'ty Tots ovo-ty 7ev oan -r5 AXa'ca (2 Cor. i. 1).

(2) In the Ignatian epistles (c. 115 A.D.) not only is Antioch called n e'1' Evpi a.eKKXfTt a (" the church in Syria," Rom. ix., Magn. xiv., Trail. xiii.) absolutely, but Ignatius even describes himself as "the bishop of Syria" (ti e7rlo-KO7ros Euplac, Rom. ii.).


(3) Dionysius of Corinth writes a letter " to the church sojourning at Gortyna, with the rest of the churches in Crete,

  commending Philip their bishop" (Tj leKKAgala Til 7rapotKOUa'p fopTVVav dµa Tars Xot7rats KaTa Kp7/T)ly, ~lXt7r7rov e7rlTKOWOV aurwv a7ro&&X6uevoc.-Eus., HE., iv. 23. 5).


(4) The same author (op. cit., iv. 23. 6) writes a letter to the church sojourning in Amastris, together with those in Pontus, in which he alludes to Bacchylides and Elpistus as having incited him to write . . . . and mentions their bishop Palmas by name" (Tr eKKXgada Tp 7rapoucouo •p 'AµaTTpty dµa Tars KaTa IIoVTOV, BaKXuXidov µev Ka't 'EX7rio •T ov wTav alTOV E7rt To ypa*at 7rpoTpe*avTwv µeltvgµevos . . . e'rlo-KO7rov

·                   vrwv ovouaTt IlaXp.av v7rocTgaaivwv).

1 A counter-argument is noticed by Duchesne. In Cypr., Ep. lxviii., we are told that Faustinus, the bishop of Lyons, wrote to Stephen the pope (c. 254 A.D.), not only in his own name but in that of " the rest of my fellow-bishops who hold office in the same province" ("ceteri coepiscopi nostri in eadem provincia con­stituti "). Duchesne admits that the earliest of the bishoprics (next to that of Lyons) may have been already in existence throughout the provincia Lugdunensis, but he considers that it is more natural to think of bishops on the lower Rhone and on the Mediterranean, i.e., in the provincia Narbonesis, which had had bishops

for a long while.



(5) In Eus., H.E., iii. 4. 6, we read that "Timothy is stated indeed to have been the first to obtain the episcopate of the parish in Ephesus, just as Titus did over the churches in Crete" ;

(TlµoOeos ye µiv rig ev 'Eoeo-cu 7rapotKias io'TOpetTat 7rpwTos Tr7v e7rto'KO7ri,v et'X77Xevat, iug Kai TLTOS Twv earl Kp75T)7s eKKX770'lwv).

(6) " In the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, Irenaeus sent despatches," etc. (o Eip77vaioc eK 7rpo (T w7rou

wv 7; y ecTO KaTa Tl ' 76 FaXXiav adeXOwy s7rto-TeAas, Eus., H.E., v. 24, 11); cp. vi. 46: Alovvolos TOis KaTa 'Apµeviav adeXoois eirt0'TeXXez, coy e'7re0 •K 07reue Mepou~av77s (" Dionysius despatched

a letter to the brethren in Armenia over whom Merozanes presided ").

"Demetrius had just then obtained the episcopate over the parishes in Egypt, in succession to Julian " (Twv 8e ev

AiyU'irTw 7rapocKLwv Ti7v 6710 - KO7rJIV V60)0 - Tl TO'Te µeTa ' IOVXIUVOU

A7ya77Tptos U'7r€LXijoei-Eus., H.E., vi. 2. 2).

(8) " Xystus . . . . was over the church of Rome, Demetri­anus . . . . over that of Antioch, Firmilianus over Caesarea in Cappadocia, and besides these Gregory and his brother Athenodorus over the churches in Pontus" (7-;7s tiev `Pwµaiwv

eKKX77O-las .... Z U0-ros, -rig 8e eir' 'A6TtoXeiac . . . . A77µ,7Tpl­avos, 4'lpµlXlavos 8e Katoapelac Ti7q Ka7r7ra8orcwv, Kai eir't TOUTOIS - raw Ka'ra HO6TOV eKKXflO •t wv I ' p?jyoptos Kal O TOVTOu a6eX0s 'AOrjvo8wpoc.-Eus., H.E., vii. 14).

(9) "Firmilianus was bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Gregory and his brother Athenodorus were pastors of the parishes in Pontes, and besides these Helenus of the parish in

Tarsus, with Nicomas of Iconium," etc. ( 4), lpµiXtavos µe6 Ti7s

Ka w ?ra8oKwv KawTapeias e7ri0'K'o7ros ?I v, I'p77yoptos 8e Kai 'A.O77vo&wpoc adeXq)oi TOW KaTa Ilov'rov 7rapoLKtwv 7rotµeves, Kai e7rt TOUTOISNEXevos 7* Jv Tapo •( P 7rapOlKlas, Kai Ntrcoµas T>)s ev

'I,coviw, etc.-Eus., H.E., vii. 28).

(10) "Meletius, bishop of the churches in Pontus" (MeXETtos

TW6 KaTa IIOVTOV eKKX770'iW6 e7rio-KO7ror.-''us., H.E., vii. 32. 26).

(11) "Basilides, bishop of the parishes in Pentapolis"

(Ba(rtXei8r7s o Ka-ra Ti7v Ilevea7roXty 7rapojKwV e7rio •K O7ros.­

Eus., H.E., vii. 26. 3).

(12) Signatures to council of Nicaea (ed. Gelzer et socii)



" Calabria-Marcus of Calabria ; Dardania-Dacus of Mace­donia; Thessaly-Claudianus of Thessaly and Cleonicus of Thebes; Pannonia-Domnus of Pannonia; Gothia-Theophilus of Gothia ; Bosporus - Cadmus of Bosporus (KaXa/3piac

Alapicos K. - Aap8avias - Aalcos MaKe8ovias • - Oeoro •a Xiac ' iXau&avos 0., KXeovIKOs 0 /3wv.-IIavvovias' Aoµvos IL ­ 1 ' oTOiaS' 6eoq(Xos P.-Boo •T opou Ka&µos B.).

(13) Apost. Constit., vii. 46: Kprjo - K77s Tiff KaTa I'aXaTtav Ee cXrjo twv, 'AKtAac 8e Kal NIK7]T77S TOW KQTa 'Ao-iav 7rapOIKIWV (" Crescens over the churches in Galatia, Aquila and Nicetes over the parishes in Asia").'

(14) Sozomen (vii. 19) declares that the Scythians had only a single, bishop, although their country contained many towns (cp. also Theodoret, H.E., iv. 31, where Bretanio is called the high priest, of all the towns in Scythia).

On, 1. I note that Duchesne's first argument is an argument from silence. Besides, it must be added that we have no writings in which any direct notice of the early Gothic bishoprics could be expected, so that the argument from silence hardly seems worthy of being taken into account in this connection. The one absolutely reliable piece of evidence (Cypr., Ep. lxviii.) 2

for the history of the Gothic church, which reaches us from the middle of the third century, is certainly touched upon by

Duchesne, but he has not done it full justice. This letter of  Cyprian to the Roman bishop Stephen, which aims at persuading

the latter to depose Marcian, the bishop of Arles, who held to Novatian's ideas, opens with the words : " Faustinus, our colleague, residing at Lyons, has repeatedly sent me information which I know you also have received both from him and also from he rest of our fellow-bishops established in the same province" (`° Faustinus collega noster Lugduni consistens semel adque iterum mihi scripsit significans ea quae etiam vobis scio utique nuntiata tam ab eo quam a ceteris coepiscopis nostris in eadem

' Merely for the sake of completeness let me add that the Liber Prcedestinalus mentions "Diodorus episc. Cretensis" (xii.), "Dioscurus Cretensis episc." (xx.), Craton episc. Syrorum" (xxxiii.), "Aphrodisius Hellesponti episc." (xlvii.), ' ` Basilius episc. Cappadociae " (xlviii. ), " Zeno Syrorum episc." (L), and Theodotus Cyprius episc." (lvi. ).

2 See above, page 455.



provincia constitutis "). It is extremely unlikely that by "eadem provincia" here we are meant to understand the provincia Narbonensis. For, in the first place, Lyons did not lie in that province ; in the second place, had the bishops of Narbonensis been themselves opponents of Marcian and desirous of getting rid of him, Cyprian's letter would have been couched in different terms, and it would hardly have been necessary for the three great Western bishops of Lyons, Carthage, and Rome to have intervened ; thirdly, Cyprian writes in ch. ii. (" Quapropter facere to oportet plenissimas litteras ad coepiscopos nostros in Gallia constitutos, ne ultra Marcianum pervicacem et superbum . . . . collegio nostro insultare patiantur ") : "Wherefore it behoves you to write at great length to our fellow-bishops established in Gaul, not to tolerate any longer the wanton and insolent insults heaped by Marcian . . . . upon our assembly"; and. in ch. iii. (" Dirigantur in provinciam et ad plebem Arelate consistentem a to litterae quibus abstento Marciano alius in loco eius substituatur ") : " Let letters be sent by you to the province and to the people residing at Arles, to remove Marcian, and put another person in his place." Obviously, then, it is a question . here of two (or three) letters, i.e., of one addressed to the bishops of Gaul, and of a second (or even a third) addressed not only to the "plebs Arelate consistens," but also to the "provincia " (which can only mean the provincia Narbonensis, in which Arles lay). It follows from this that the "coepiscopi nostri in Gallia constituti" (ii.) are hardly to be identified with the bishops of Narbonensis, which leads to the further conclusion that these "coepiscopi" are the bishops of the provincia Lugdunensis-a conclusion which in itself appears to be the most natural and obvious explanation of the passage. The provincia Lugdunensis thus had several bishops in the days of Cyprian, who were already gathered into one Synod,l and corresponded with Rome. We cannot make out from this passage how old these bishoprics were, but it is at any rate unlikely that all of them had just been founded. In this connection Duchesne also refers to the fact that bishop Verus of Vienne, who was present at the council

r This must be the meaning of Cyprian's phrase, " tam a Faustino quam a ceteris coepiscopis nostris in eadem provincia constitutis."

                                  ORGANIZATION AND THE EPISCOPATE 459

of Arles in 314, is counted in one ancient list as the fourth bishop of Vienne ; which makes the origin of the local bishopric fall hardly earlier than ± 250 A.D. But the list is not ancient. Besides, it is a questionable authority. And, even granting :hat it were reliable, it is quite arbitrary to assume a mean term of. eighteen years as the duration of an individual episcopate ; while, even supposing that such a calculation were accurate, it would simply follow that Vienne (although situated. in the provincia Narbonensis, where even Duchesne admits tat bishoprics had been founded in earlier days) did not receive her

bishopric till later. No inference could be drawn from this regarding the town of Lyons.

On 2. Duchesne holds that the heading of the letter (in Eus., H.E., v. 1: of ev Btevvll Kat Aovy8ovt(P Tqs I'aXAiaq arapoucovvres BouXot TOO Xpto - TOV) seems to describe the Christians of Vienne and Lyons as if they were a single church. But if such were the case, one would expect Lyons to be put ;first, since it was Lyons and not Vienne which had a bishop. Besides, the letter does not speak of e'KKA'iviat or eKKA7O"ia but .,of loiiAot XpwTov,, just as the, address of the letter mentions "the brethren in Asia and Phrygia" (oi KaTa riw 'ATiav Kai "pvyiav a6eX4)oi) and not "churches" at all. Hence nothing at all can be gathered from this passage regarding the organiza­tion of the local Christians. Though Vienne and Lyons belonged to different provinces, they lay very close together ; and as the same calamity had befallen the Christians of both places, one can quite understand how they write a letter in common on that subject.

On 3. "Their whole fury was aroused exceedingly against Sanctus the deacon from Vienne" (eveo-KrlV1eV , opyll ara(ra eGs ZayKTOV Tot 1 StaKOVOV afro Btevvns). It is possible to take this, with Duchesne, as referring to a certain Sanctus who managed the inchoate church of Vienne as a delegate of the Lyons bishop. But the explanation is far from certain. This sense of aTo is unusual (though not intolerable),2 and the words may quite well

So, rightly, Schwartz.

  2Cp. Eus., H.E., v. Ig : Alxws no(,rhwos'Io6A os R7rl AESEATOV ,OAWVEtas T7/s epgtefs b7rto,co7ros (" Aelius Publius Julius, bishop of Debeltum, a colony of



be rendered, "the deacon who came from Vienne" [sc. belonging to the church of Lyons].' But even supposing that Sanctus was described here as. the deacon of Vienne, it seems to me hasty and precarious to infer, with Duchesne, that Vienne had only a single deacon and no bishop (not even a presbyter) at all. Surely this is to build too much upon the article before StciKOVOV. Of course, it may be so ; we shall come back to this passage later on. Meantime, suffice it to say that the explicit descrip­tion of Pothinus in the letter as " entrusted with the bishopric of Lyons" (TIJv BLaKOViav Tits e7rLVKo7rsis Tics er' AovyBovvw vre'rrt0'Tevµevos), instead of as  "our bishop" or even " the bishop," does not tell in favour of the hypothesis that Lyons alone, and not Vienne, had a bishop at that period.

On 4. The passage from Iren., i. 10. f (Kai ouTe at eV I'epµavlats i8pvµevat EKKXsJc-lal aXawc vrevrL(rTeuKavty I aXXws wapa&Lr5Oao'LV, ouTe ev TaLLc 'I,3LJplaLc, ore ev KeXTOis, ouTe KaTa 7-ac avaToXttc ov'Te ev AL-16r-r(0, ore e'v At/3v' 1 oVTe at' Kara ' o a TOY KOa aov iSpvµevat = Nor did the churches planted in Germany hold any different faith or tradition, any more than do those in Iberia or in Gaul or in the East or in Egypt or in Libya or in the central region of the world) remains neutral if we read it and interpret it very sceptically. The language affords no clue to the way in which the churches in Germany and among the Celts were organized. But the most obvious interpretation is that these "churches" were just as entire and complete in themselves as the churches of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, and of all Europe, which are mentioned with them on the samelevel. At any rate, nothing can be inferred from this passage in support of Duchesne's opinion. It is a pure " petitio principii " to hold that complete churches could not have existed in Germany.

[[460b]] Thrace"). The parallel, of course, is not decisive, as Julius was at a gathering in Phrygia when he penned these words.

I Cp. what immediately follows-" against Attalus a native of Pergamum " (els "ArreXov Ilepyaµgvbv rrp y ipes), and also § 49 ('AXEjay&pos TnS, '3'pv~ µfu Tb yevos, lwrpbs Sb Tbv EacaTijµrjv=a certain Alexander, of Phrygian extraction, and a physician by profession). Neumann, in his Rom. Staat and die allSe,u. Kirche, i. (L8go), p. 30, writes thus: "As Sanctus, the deacon of Vienna, appears before the tribunal of the legate of Lyons, he must have been arrested in Lyons."



On 5. No weight attaches to Theodore's evidence regarding the primitive age. Yet even he presupposes that after the exit of the " apostles " ( =provincial bishops) each separate province had two or three bishops of its own, while Duchesne would prove that the three Gauls had merely one bishop between them or about a hundred years.

On 6. At first sight, this argument seems to be particularly conclusive, but on a closer examination it proves untenable, and n fact turns round in exactly an opposite direction. The expression TIOV KaTa . . . . eIeo'KOVret cannot, we are told, be

understood to mean episcopal dioceses over which Irenaeus resided as.:metropolitan; it merely denotes scattered groups of Christians (though in the immediate context n vrapoucla does mean an episcopal diocese), as ewto •K oireiv need only imply direct episcopal functions. Yet in H.E., vii. 26. 3, Eusebius describes Basilides as o KaTa Tijv IlevrawoXty orapoLKtwv eIrio •K ooros (see 11)), and Meletius. (H.E., vii. 302. 26 ; cp. (10)) as Twv Kara

;IIovrov eKKXno •L mv e,7rL0'KO7roS, and it is quite certain-even on the testimony of Eusebius himself-that there were several bishoprics at that period in Pentapolis and Pontus.' 'ETio-Ko'nroc

'Tupo1KUUV, therefore, denotes in this connection the position of naetropolitan,2 and it is in this sense that erapouKlac e7rtO KOt7reiy

must also be understood with reference to Irenseus. The latter, Eusebius meant, was metropolitan of the episcopal dioceses in Gaul. So far from proving, then, that about 100 A.D. there was only one bishop in Gaul, our passage proves the existence of several bishops.3


  \1/In this very chapter Eusebius mentions the bishopric of Berenice in Pentapolis.

\2/On Eus., H.E., vi. 2. 2, see below (p. 462).

\3/Thus the expression used by Eusebius in H.E., V. 24. t t (a Elpsjvalos EK

,rpo7rb,rov rbv hyE&TO Ka & T>]v ra W av &5eX0cii b,r TTELJras-cp. (6)) is also to be

understood as a reference to the metropolitan rank of Irenseus, since it is
employed as a simple equivalent for the above expression in v. 23. Probst
(hirchliche Disziplin in den drei ersten christlichen Jahrhunderten, p. 97) and
other scholars even go the length of including Gallic bishops among the
OxE oi, an interpretation which is not necessary, although it is possible, and
is on one strong piece of evidence in the "parishes" of v. 23.-The outcome
of both passages relating to Irenseus and Gaul is that it is impossible to ascertain
whether the Meruzanes mentioned in H.E. vi. 46 as the bishop of the Armenian
brethren was the sole local bishop at that period or the metropolitan. See on (6).



On 7. This argument is quite untenable. The church of Pontus, we are told, had its episcopal headquarters in the Galatian Ancyra about 200 A.D. ! But about 190 A.D. it already had a metropolitan of its own, for Eusebius mentions a writing sent during the Paschal controversy by 11 the bishops of Pontus over whom Palmas, as their senior, presided"" (Twv KaTa

IIOVTOV e7rt('Ko7rWV, WV IIaXµac wT apXawoTa-roc 7rpoaTeTaKTo, H.E., v. 23). How Duchesne could overlook this passage is all the more surprising, inasmuch as a little above he quotes from this very chapter. Besides, this Palmas, as we may learn from Dionysius of Corinth (in Eus., H.E., iv. 23. 6 ; see below, p. 463), seems to have stayed not in Ancyra but in Amastris. Further­more, in the passage in question To7rov (so Schwartz) must be read 1 instead of IIovTov, despite the Syriac version. II0'VTOV is meaningless here, even if the territorial bishop of Pontus resided at that time in Ancyra. Thus it is not in Pontus, but in Phrygia and Gaul, that we hear of Montanist agitations, and, moreover, one could not possibly have got acquainted with the church of Pontus in Ancyra, even if the latter place had been the residence of that church's head. Can one get acquainted in Alexandria nowadays with the church of Abyssinia?

On 8. Duchesne's final argument proves nothing, because it is uncertain whether the four recent provinces mentioned here had still no bishops by 314 A.D. Nothing can be based on the fact that they were not represented at Arles, for the representa­tion of churches at the great synods was always an extremely haphazard affair. But even supposing that these provinces were still without bishops of their own, this proves nothing with regard to Lyons.

\I have added to Duchesne's reasons fourteen other passages which appear to favour his hypothesis. Three of these (6), (10), (11) have been already noticed under 6., and our conclusion was that they were silent upon provincial bishops, being concerned

r npo0'pdTws yeyvtLeYos & ' AylcVpg T1]s raXaTfas Kal KaTaAa$(JY T7)Y KaTa Td,OY (not ndyTOY) lKKA7llrfav V7rll TfS YEAS TaU'T71S . . . . +EYS07rpoj7lTEfas SlmreopYAs.

µ4'8y (" When I was recently at Ancyra in Galatia, I found the local church quite upset by this novel form . . . . of false prophecy"). KaTa nd,Toy is in one other passage of Eusebius a mistake for KaTa adwTa Td,rov (iv. 15. 2).


[[463]] rather with metropolitans. It remains for us to review briefly the other eleven.

We must not infer from 2 Cor. i. 1 that, when Paul wrote this epistle, all the Christians of Achaia belonged to the church of Corinth. In Rom. xvi. 1 f. Paul mentions a certain Phoebe,
dlwKOVOS T7V eKKXsJTtac TsJT ev KeyXpeaic, speaking highly of her as having been a 7rpoT-raTtT 7roXXcuv Kai eaou auTov, so that, while many Christians scattered throughout Achaia may have a,,so belonged to the church at Corinth at that period, there was nevertheless a church at Cenchrem besides, which we have no reason to suppose was not independent.

    Ignatius's description. of himself as "bishop of Syria," and his description of the church of Antioch as j ev Evpla eKKXi/o'ia, appear to prove decisively that there was only one bishop then in Syria, viz., at Antioch (2). Yet in ad Phil. x. we read how some of the neighbouring churches sent bishops, others presbyters and deacons, to Antioch (wr Kai at' eyyto-Ta eKKXno-iac e7rep.. * av E7rurlc rove, at Se 7rp€O-IQUr€povT Kai SLOKOVOUT), which shows that

there were bishoprics I in Syria, and indeed in the immediate vicinity of Antioch, c. 115 A.D. The bishop of Antioch called himself "bishop of Syria" on account of his -metropolitan position.

From Eus., H.E., iv. 23. 5-6, it would appear that there was only a single bishop (3), (4), in Crete and in Pontus c. 170 A.D., inasmuch as Dionysius of Corinth designates Philip as bishop of Gortyna and the rest of the churches in Crete, and Palmas bishop of Amastris and the churches of Pontus. But whether the expression be attributed to Dionysius himself, or ascribed, as is more likely, to Eusebius, the fact remains that the same collec­tion of the letters of Dionysius contained one to the church of Cnossus in Crete, or to its bishop Pinytus (loc cit., § 7), while, as we have already seen (on 7), Palmas was not the sole bishop in Pontus. Philip and Palmas were therefore not provincial bishops but metropolitans, with other bishops at their side.

\1/Some of the bishoprics adjoining Antioch, of which Eusebius speaks in HE., vii. 30. 10 (hrfo'KOrrol Twv bµdpwv aypwv TE xal 7rdAewv), were therefore in existence by c. 115 A.D.-It seems to me impossible that Philadelphia is referred to in the expression of syylvTa EKKA7lvfal in Phil. x. (" the nearest churches"). Even Lightfoot refers it to Syria. To be quite accurate he ought to have said, " to the church in Antioch," as that church is mentioned just above.



The statement of Eusebius (5) that Titus was bishop of the Cretan churches is an erroneous inference from Titus i. 5 ; it is destitute of historical value.

According to the habitual terminology of Eusebius (7), Twv de ev Aiyti7ri i arapouctwv TiW e7rtawo7rifv TOTE Ofµr*Tptos /76A7 et describes Demetrius as a metropolitan, not as a provincial bishop (see above, on (6)). Other evidence, discussed by Lightfoot (in his Commentary on Philippians, 3rd ed., pp. 228 f.), would seem to render it probable that Demetrius was really the only bishop (in the monarchical sense) in Egypt in 188-189 A.D. ; but this fact is no proof whatever that the Alexandrian bishop was a " provincial " bishop, for it does not preclude the possibility that, while Demetrius was the first monarchical bishop in Alexandria itself, Egypt in general did not contain any churches up till then except those which were superintended by presbyters or deacons. The whole circum­stances of the situation are of course extremely obscure. Nevertheless, it does look as if Demetrius and his successor Heraclas were the first bishops (in the proper sense of the term), and as if they ordained similar bishops (Demetrius ordained three, and Heraclas twenty) for Egypt. It is perfectly possible, no doubt, but at the same time it is incapable of proof, that the Egyptian churches were in a dependent position towards the Alexandrian church at a time when Alexandria itself had as yet no bishop of its own.

In both of the passages (8) and (9) where Gregory and Athenodorus are described as bishops of the Pontic church, the dual number shows that we have to do neither with provincial' nor with metropolitan bishops. Eusebius is expressing himself vaguely, perhaps because he did not know the bishoprics of the two men.

In Eus., H.E., viii. 13. 4-5, two bishops who happen to bear the same name (" Silvanus ") are described as bishops of the churches 11 round Emesa," or round "Gaza" (12). There can be no question of provincial bishops here, however, as we know that these districts contained a large number of bishoprics. The position of matters can be understood from the history of Emesa and Gaza, both of which long remained pagan towns ;



we are told that they would not tolerate a Christian bishop. Bishops, therefore, were unable to reside in either place. But 13s the groups of Christian villages in the vicinity had bishops or themselves (so essential did the episcopal organization seem to Eastern Christians), there were probably bishops in partibus in/idelium for Emesa and Gaza, although otherwise they were territorial bishops, over quite a limited range of territory.

As regards provincial bishops, it seems possible to cite the signatures to the council of Nicaea (13), viz., the five instances n which the 'name of the province accompanies that of the bishop. These are Calabria, Thessaly, Pannonia, Gothia, and tie Bosphorus.' But in the case of Thessaly, bishop Claudianus of rhessaly is accompanied by bishop Cleonicus of Thebes, so that the former was not a provincial bishop but a metropolitan. Besides, it is quite certain that Calabria and Pannonia had more than one bishop in 325 A.D., although only the metro­politans of these provinces were present at Nicaea (as indeed

, as also the case with Africa, whose metropolitan alone was in attendance). Thus only Gothia and the Bosphorus are left. But as these lay outside the Roman empire, and as quite a unique set of conditions prevailed throughout these regions, the local situation there cannot form any standard for estimating the organization of churches inside the empire. The bishops above mentioned may have been the only bishops there.

No value whatever attaches to the statements of the Apost. Constit. (14) and of the Liber Predestinatus. The former are based, so far as regards the first half of them, upon an arbitrary deduction from f Tim. iv. 10, while their second half is utterly futile, since several Asiatic city bishoprics are mentioned in the context. The latter statement is a descrip­tion of metropolitans (i.e., so far as any idea whatever can be ascribed to the forger), as is proved abundantly by the entry, ', Basilius, bishop of Cappadocia." Finally, the communication of Sozomen (15), which he himself describes as a curiosity, refers to a barbarian country.

\1/The signature aapSavfas 0 Adios MaKESovtas is obscure, and must therefore be set aside.



The result is, therefore, that the alleged evidence for the hypothesis of provincial bishops instead of local (city) bishops and metropolitans throughout the empire, yields no proof at all. Out of all the material which we have examined, nothing is left to support this conjecture. The sole outcome of it is the un-. important possibility that in 178 A.D. (and even till about the middle of the third century), Vienne had no independent bishop of its own. Even this conjecture, as has been shown, is far from necessary, while it is opposed by the definite testimony of Eusebius, who knew of a letter from the parishes of Gaul c. 190 A.n.t And even supposing it were to the point, we should have to suppose that the Christians in Vienne were numbered, not by hundreds, but merely by dozens, about the year 178, i.e., some decades later still.

It is certain (cp. pp. 432 f.) that an internal tension prevailed between two forms of organization during the first two gener­ations of the Christian propaganda. These forms were (1) the church as a missionary church, created by a missionary or apostle, whose work it remained ; and (2) the church as a local church, complete in itself, forming thus an image and expression of the church in heaven. As the creation of an apostolic missionary, the church was responsible to its founder, dependent

  \1/If there were several (episcopal) parishes in Gaul c. 190 A.D., Vienne would also form one such parish. The hypothesis that a number of bishoprics existed in middle and northern Gaul in the days of Irenaeus is confirmed by the fact that Irenseus (in a passage i. io, to which I shall return) speaks, not of Christians in Germany, but of " the churches founded in Germany." Would he have spoken of them if these churches had not had any bishops ? While, if they did possess bishops of their own,-and according to iii. 3. 1, the episcopal succession reaching back to the apostles could be traced in every individual church,-then how should there have been still no bishops in middle and northern Gaul?

The passage iii. 3. t runs thus : " Traditionem apostolorum in toto mundo rnanifestatam, in omni ecclesia adest perspicere omnibus qui vera velint videre, et habemus annumerare eos qui ab apostolis instituti sunt episcopi in ecclesiis et successiones eorum usque ad nos. . . . Sed quoniam valde longum est, in hoc tali volumine omnium ecclesiarum enumerare successions," etc. (" All who desire to see facts can clearly see the tradition of the apostles, which is manifest all over the world, in every church ; we are also able to enumerate those whom the apostles appointed as bishops in the churches, as well as to recount their line of succession down to our own day      Since, however, in a volume of this kind it would take up great space to enumerate the various lines of succession throughout all the churches," etc. ).


upon him, and obliged to maintain the principles which he invariably laid down in the course of his activity as a founder of various churches. As a compact local church, again, it was responsible for itself, with no one over it save the Lord in heaven. Through the person of its earthly founder, it stood in a'real relationship to. the other churches which he had founded. 13ut as a local church it stood by itself, and any connection with other churches was quite a voluntary matter.

That the founders themselves desired the churches to be independent, is perfectly clear in the case of Paul, and we have no reason to believe that other founders of churches took another view (cp. the Roman church). No doubt they still continued to give pedagogic counsels to the churches, and in fact to act as guardians to them. But this was exceptional ; it was not the i.ule. The Spirit moved them to such action, and their apostolic authority justified them in it, while the unfinished state of the communities seemed to demand it.' And in the primitive decision upon the length of time that an apostle could remain in a community, as in similar cases,, the communities secured, ipso facto, a means of self-protection within their own juris­ diction. Probably the perfected organization of the Jerusalem church became, mutatis mutandis, a pattern for all and sundry Christian communities were not "churches of Paul" or "of Peter" (eKKX'lo- at llattXov, IIe.rpov) ; each was a "church of

God" (eKKX7cria -r-ou 19609)­

The third epistle of John affords one clear proof that conflicts did occur between the community and its local management upon the one hand and the "apostles" on the other. This same John (or, in the view of many critics, a different person) does not impart his counsels to the Asiatic communities directly. He makes the "Spirit" utter them. He proclaims, not his own coming with a view to punish them, but the coming of the Lord as their judge. But we need not enter more particularly into these circumstances and conditions. The point is that the apostolic authority soon faded ; nor was it transmuted as a


  \1/What they did, the churches also did themselves in certain circumstances. Thus,, the Roman church exhorted, and in fact acted as guardian to, the Corinthian church in one sore crisis (c. 96 A.D.).



whole, for all that passed over to the monarchical episcopate was but a limited portion of its contents.

The apostolic authority and praxis meant a certain union of several communities in a single group. When it vanished, this association also disappeared. But another kind of tie was now provided for the communities of a single province by their provincial association, and proofs of this are given by the Pauline epistles and the Apocalypse of John. The epistle to the Galatians, addressed to all the Christian communities of Galatia, falls to be considered in this aspect, and much more besides, Paul's range of missionary activity was regulated by the pro­vinces; Asia, Macedonia, Achaia, etc., were ever in his mind's eye. He prosecutes the great work of his collection by massing together the communities of a single province, and the so-called epistle " to the Ephesians " is addressed, as many scholars opine, to a large number of the Asiatic communities. John writes to the churches of Asia.' Even at an earlier period a letter had been sent (Acts xv.) from Jerusalem to the churches of Syria and Cilicia.2 The communities of Judaea were so closely bound up with that of Jerusalem, as to give rise to the hypothesis (Zahn, Forschungen, vi. p. 800) that the ancient episcopal list of Jerusalem, which contains a surprising number of names, is a conflate list of the Jerusalem bishops and of those from the other Christian communities in Palestine. Between the apostolic age and c. 180 A.D., when we first get evidence of provincial church synods, similar proofs of union among the provincial churches are not infrequent. Ignatius is concerned, not only for the church of Antioch, but for that of Syria ; Dionysius of Corinth writes to the communities of Crete and to those in Pontus ; the brethren of Lyons write to those in Asia and Phrygia ; the Egyptian communities form a sphere complete in itself, and the churches of Asia present themselves to more than Irenaeus as a unity.

Not in all cases did a definite town, such as the capital,

1 By addressing himself also to the church at Laodicea, he passes on into the neighbouring district of Phrygia. But the other six churches are all Asiatic.

s The collocation of Christians from several large provinces in 1 Peter is re­markable. But as the address of this letter has been possibly drawn up artificially, I do not take it here into account.


become the headquarters which dominated the ecclesiastical province. No doubt Jerusalem (while it lasted), Antioch,1 Corinth,2 Rome, Carthage, and Alexandria formed not merely the centres of their 'respective provinces, but in part extended heir sway still more widely, both in virtue of their importance as large cities, and also on account of the energetic Christianity which they displayed.3 Yet Ephesus, for example, did not become for a long while the ecclesiastical metropolis of Asia in .he full sense of the term ; Smyrna and other cities competed with it for this honour.4 In Palestine, Aelia (Jerusalem) and Ctesarea stood side by side. Certain provinces, like Galatia and extensive, districts of Cappadocia, had no outstanding towns

1 Cp. the very significant address in Acts XV. 23: of &ado-TO? or Kal Of ,rpoo-$ivrepol .leA rol TOTS KaT& TiV.'APTUIXelav Kal UpfaJ' Kal KrXudev aSei4O&s. For our present purpose, it does not matter whether the letter is genuine or not.

  \2/According to the extract from the correspondence of Dionysius of Corinth, given by Eusebius (HE., IV. 23), the bishop of Corinth seems to have stood in a ,different relation to the churches of Lacedaemon and Athens from that in which e stood towards communities lying outside Greece.
\3/This requires no proof, as regards Rome. But the church of Jerusalem also pushed far beyond Palestine ; it gave Paul serious trouble in the Diaspora, and tried even to balk his plans. In the third century bishop Firmilian set up the "observations" of the Gentile Christian church at Jerusalem against those of )tome, thereby attributing to the former a certain prestige outside Palestine for the church at large. The bishop of Antioch, again, reached as far as Cilicia, Mesopotamia, and Persia ; the bishop of Carthage as far as Mauretania ; the bishop of Alexandria as far as Pentapolis. Cp. the second canon of the Council of Constantinople (381), which prohibits a bishop or metropolitan from invading another diocese, but at the same time expressly makes an exception of "barbarian" districts, on the ground of ancient use and wont (Tar Sl &v To7s )9ap)3aplKOl$ y Fevo*rw TOU B€OU r:KKh'n0'far OlKOVOi460_0ar xpb KaTa TbV KpaTboaoev ovr~Beav Trov ,raTEpwv.-The sphere of Alexandria's influence, however, several times embraced Palestine and Syria, even prior to Athanasius, Cyril, and Dioscorus. It is very remarkable, e.g., that no fewer than three Alexandrians -- Eusebius, Anatolius, and Gregory-occupied the see of Laodicea (Syr.) at the close of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries (Eus., H.E., vii. 32 ; Philostorgius, viii. 17). There was already a sort of prescriptive right which afterwards passed into the division of the patriarchate. Thus, in the intercourse of, the churches the Roman bisnop already, represented all the West (including illyria afterwards) ; while the bishop of Antioch, as well as the bishop of Alexandria, seem to have had the prescriptive privilege of attending to the entire East. Apart from this privilege, however, the spheres of Alexandria (South) and Antioch (Middle and North) respectively. were delimited. Caesarea (Cappadocia) and Ephesus now attained positions of some independence.

4 All this was connected, of course, with the political organization of Asia.



at all, and when we are told that in the provinces of Pontus; Numidia, and Spain the oldest bishop always presided at the episcopal meetings, the inference is that no single city could have enjoyed a position of superiority to the others from the ecclesiastical standpoint.

But the question now arises, whether the "metropolitans," I who had been long in existence before they were recognized by the law of the church or attained their rights and authority, in any way repressed the tendency towards the increase of inde­pendent communities within a province ; and further, whether, in the interests of their own power, the bishops also made any attempt to retard the organization of new independent com­ munities under episcopal government. In itself, such a course of action would not be surprising. For wherever authority and rights develop, ambition and the love of power invariably are unchained.

In order to solve this problem, we must first of all premise that the tendency of early Christianity to form complete, independent communities, under episcopal government, was extremely strong. 2

1 A learned treatise in Russian has just been published on the metropolitans by P. Giduljanow (Die Metropoliten in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten des Christen. tuns, Moscow, 1905), which also contains ample material for ecclesiastical geography, besides a coloured map of "The Eastern Half of the Roman Empire during the First Three Christian Centuries." Special reference is made to the ecclesiastical arrangements and spheres in their relation to the political framework.

s As Ignatius cannot conceive of a community existing at all without a bishop, so Cyprian also judges that a bishop is absolutely necessary to every community ; without him its very being appears to break up (see especially Ep. lxvi. 5). The tendencies voiced by Ignatius in his epistles led to every Christian community in a locality, however small it might be, securing a bishop, and we have every reason to suppose that the practice which already obtained in Syria and Asia cor­responded to these tendencies. From the outset we observe that local churches spring into life on all sides, as opposed to uncertain transient unions, and while Christians might and did group themselves in other forms (e.g., mere guilds of worship and schools of thought), these were invariably attacked and suppressed. Neighbouring cities, like Laodicea, Colossc, and Hierapolis, had churches of their own from the very first. So had the seaport of Corinth, as early as the days of Paul, while the localities closely "adjacent to" Antioch (Syr.) had churches of their own in Trajan's reign (Ignat., ad Phil. x.), and not long afterwards we have evidence of village churches also. Then, as soon as we hear of the monar. chical episcopate, it is in relation to small communities. The localities which lay near Antioch had their own bishops, and two decades afterwards we find a bishop quartered in the Phrygian village of Comana (Eus., H.E., v. 16). The Nicene



Furthermore, I do not know of a single case, from the first three centuries; which would suggest any tendency, either upon the part
f metropolitans or of bishops, to curb the independent organiza­tion of the churches. Not till after the opening of the fourth century does the conflict against the chor-episcopate 1 commence ; at least there are no traces of. it, so far as I know, )revious to that period. Then it is also that-according to our sources-the bishops begin their attempt to prohibit the erection of bishoprics in the villages, as well as to secure the discontinuance of bishoprics in small neighbouring townships -- all with the view of increasing their own dioceses. 2

Furthermore, we have not merely an "argumentum e silentio " before us here. On the contrary, after surveying (as we shall do in Book IV.) the Christian churches which can be traced circa 325 A.D., we see that it is quite impossible for any tendency to have prevailed throughout the large majority of the Roman provinces which checked the formation of bishoprics, inasmuch as almost all the churches in question can be proved to have been episcopal. We conclude, then, that wherever communities,


[[471b]] Council was attended by village bishops from Syria, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, and lsauria, who had the same rights as the town bishops. In the so-called 9/ostolu Constitutions (middle of second century) we read : " If the number of men be small, and twelve persons cannot be found at one place, who are entitled to elect a bishop, let application be made to any of the nearest churches which is well established, so that three chosen men may be sent who shall carefully a$certaih who is worthy," etc. Which assumes that even in such cases a complete i episcopal church is the outcome. We must therefore assume that it was the ule in some at least, and probably in many, of the provinces to give every com­munity a bishop. Thus the number of the local churches or communities would practically be equivalent to the number of bishoprics.

\1/Cp. Gillmann, Das Institut der Chorbischope im Orient (1903). The names of these' clergy are Xwpsafo'icoaoc, 6afo-coao, rmv Zcypwv (?v Ta - is sc racs ~ rais x6pus), oroXXEaroupyof [i.e., of the town bishops]. Originally, as the name lsfoxorot shows, they stood alongside of the town bishops ; but as a real dis­ttpct on'-was drawn from the outset between the bishop of a provincial capital and the bishops of other towns, so a country bishop always was inferior to his colleagues in the towns, and indeed often occupied a position of real dependence a them (cp. Gillmann, pp. 30 f.).

\2/The chor-episcopi were first of all declassed by their very name ; then they were deprived of certain rights retained by the town bishops, including especially the! right of ordination. Finally, they were suppressed. The main stages of this struggle throughout the East are seen in the following series of decisions. Canon xiii. of the Council of Ancyra (314 A. D.) : Xwpem r,cd,rovs µ,} ?{Ervac ,rpr r$ur.pous J &arcdvous XE,porovE?v ("Chor-episcopi are not allowed to elect





episcopally governed, were scanty, Christians were also scanty upon the whole; while, if a town had no bishop at all, the number of local Christians was insigniant. Certainly during the course of the Christian mission, in several cases, whole decades passed without more than one bishop in a province or in an extensive tract of country. We might also conjecture, a priori, that wherever a district was uncultivated or destitute of towns -as on the confines of the empire and beyond them-years passed without a single bishop being appointed, the scattered local Christians being superintended by the bishop of the nearest town, which was perhaps far away. It is quite credible that, even after a fully equipped hierarchy had been set up in such an outlying district, this bishop should have retained certain rights of supervision-for it is a question here, not simply of personal desire for power, but of rights which had been already acquired. Still, it is well-nigh impossible for us nowadays to gain any clear insight into circumstances of this kind, since after the second century all such cases were treated

[[472b]] presbyters or deacons "). Canon xiii. of the Council of Neo-Coesarea : o1 XwpewJa.

KOTO' slot µEV EIS TU7COY T (ZV Ep801AROVTa' 0S &l QUAAEtTOupyol ata T*V Twou 1JV

T)V EIS robs ,rTwXObS 7rpov˘EpOVOt Tt/AWIAEVOL (" The chor-episcopi are indeed on

the pattern of the Seventy, and they are to have the honour of making the oblation, as fellow - labourers, on account of their devotion to the poor "). Canon viii. of the Council of Antioch (341 A.D.) : " Country priests are not' to issue letters of peace [i.e., certificates) ; they are only to forward letters to the neighbouring bishop. Blameless chor-episcopi, however, can grant letters of peace." Ibid., canon x.: " Even if bishops in villages and country districts, the so-called chor-episcopi, have been consecrated as bishops, they must recognize the limits of their position. Let them govern the churches under their sway and be content with this charge and care, appointing lectors and sub-deacons and exorcists ; let them be satisfied with expediting such business, but never dare to ordain priest or deacon without the bishop of the town to whom the rural bishop and the district itself belong. Should anyone dare to contravene these orders, he shall be deprived of the position which he now holds. A rural bishop shall be appointed by the bishop of the town to which he belongs" (cp. on this, Gillmann, pp. go f.). Canon vi. of the Council of Sardica (343 A.D.): "Licentia vero danda non est ordinandi episcopum aut in vico aliquo aut in modica civitate, cui sufficit onus presbyter, quia non est necesse ibi episcopum fieri, ne vilescat nomen episcopi et auctoritas. non debent illi ex alia provincia invitati facere episcopum, nisi aut in his civitatibus, quae epis­copos habuerunt, aut si qua talis aut tam populosa est civitas, quae mereatur habere episcopum"(the contemporary Greek version does not correspond to the original ; its closing part runs thus : dAA' of Tis iirapXfas elrlowo,rot 4V rawrats

Tais 7rJAEtrt KaoiQTiiV E7riar ,roes bgpffAOVtrty, Erea Kal 7rp&epov ETIiyXawo, yeyovfi-s


  and recorded from the standpoint of a dogmatic theory of ecclesiastical polity-the theory that the right of ordination was a monopoly of the original apostles, and consequently that all  bishoprics were to be traced back, either directly to them, or to men whom they had themselves appointed. The actual facts of the great mission promoted by Antioch (as far as Persia, eastwards), Alexandria (into the Thebais, Libya, Pentapolis, and eventually Ethiopia), and Rome seemed to corroborate this theory. The authenticated instances from ancient history (for we have no detailed knowledge of the osphorus or of Gothia) permit us to infer, e.g., that the power of ordination possessed by the bishop of Alexandria extended over four provinces. Still, as has been remarked already, the original local conditions remain obscure. It is relevant also at this point to notice the tradition, possibly an authentic one, that the first bishop of Edessa was consecrated by the bishop of Antioch (Doctr. Addcei, p. 50), and that the ersian church was for a long while dependent upon the

[[473b]] (QK07rot'. EI 8E. Etllpf0'KOITO O1fTw 7rA71edv000- A TtS &v 7roxx(P apt8uj Aaov ,r6A7s, r i((av a1T V Kal &toKol6s vo,4Ceaeat, \appav'Tw). " It is absolutely forbidden

rdain a bishop in any village or small town for which a single presbyter is sullicient-for it is needless to ordain bishops there-lest the name and authority f bishops be lowered. Bishops called in from another province ought not to appoint any bishop except in those cities where there were bishops previously ; or if any city contains a population large enough to merit a see, then let one be founded there." Canon lvii. of the Council of Laodicea : " In villages and .country districts no bishops shall be appointed, but only visitors (7rsptobevraf), p r shall those already appointed act without the consent of the city bishop." By the opening of the fifth century this process had gone to such a length that &zomen (HE., vii. 1g) notes, as a curiosity, that "there are cases where in other nations bishops do the work of priests in villages, as I myself have seen m Arabia and Cyprus and in Phrygia among the Novatians and Montanists"

lv 6AAo[s iOvEofv EQTty 87x71 Kal &v Kd Aats diriaKotrat lepoo"vTay airs Tap& 'Apapiots al Kt rpots 9yvwv Kal Tap& Tols iv 4'pvyfaus NavaTtavo?s Kal MovTavto-Ta?s. (According­ to Theodore of Mopsuestia-see Swete's ed., vol. ii. p. 44-this was still force about the year 40o in the district which he supervised, much to his disgust). In Northern Africa, upon the other hand, no action was taken against the smaller bishops. Augustine himself (Ep. cclxi.) erected a new bishopric within his own diocese, whilst even after the year 40o it is plain that the number of bishoprics in Northern Africa went on multiplying. We may take it that in provinces where the village bishoprics were numerous (i.e., in the majority of e provinces of Asia Minor, besides Syria and Cyprus), the total number of bishoprics did not materially increase after 325 A. D. Probably, indeed, it even diminished.




church of Antioch, from which it drew its metropolitans.' When this was in force, the imperial church had already firmly embraced the theory that episcopal ordination could only be perpetuated within the apostolic succession.

There are also instances, of course, in which, during the third century (for, apart from Egypt, no sure proofs can be adduce at an earlier period),, Christian communities arose in country districts which were superintended by presbyters or even by deacons alone, instead of by a bishop. Such cases, however, are by no means numerous.2 They are infrequent till in and after the age of Diocletian.a Previous to that period, so far as I know, there was but one large district in which presbyterial organization was indeed the rule, viz., Egypt. Yet, as has beeii already observed, the circumstances of Egypt are extremely obscure. It is highly probable that for a considerable length of time there were no monarchical bishops at all in that country, the separate churches being grouped canton-wise and super­intended by presbyters. Gradually the episcopal organization extended itself during the course of the third century, yet even in the fourth century there were still large village churches which had no bishop. We must, however, be on our guard

1 Hoffmann, Auseiige aus syrischen Ahten persischer Mdrtyrer (r88o), p. 46 and Uhlemann, Zeitschrift f. d. hist. Theol. (x861), p. 15. But the primitive history of Christianity in Persia lies wrapt in obscurity or buried in legend.

2 No case is known, so far as I am aware, during the pre-Constantine period in Northern Africa. One might infer, from epistles i. and lviii. of Cyprian, that there were no bishops at Furni and Thibaris, but from Sentent. Episcop. (59 and 37) it is evident that even these churches were ruled by one bishop. Probably the see was vacant when Cyprian wrote epistle i. ; but this hypothesis is needless so far as regards epistle 'viii. The reference to Cypr., Efi. lxviii. 5, is extremely insecure. It is unlikely that even in Middle and Lower Italy churches existed without bishops during the third century. We must not use OP. 4 and 7 of the letter written by Firmilian of Iconium (Cypr., Ep. lxxv.) as an argument in favour of churches without bishops, surprising as is the expression " praepositi" or "prae­sident maiores natu." There was such a church at the village of Malus near Ancyra (see Acta Mart. Theoaot., 11. 12), but the evidence is - almost worthless, as the Acta in question are not contemporary.

3 We must not, of course, include cases in which presbyters, or presbyters and deacons, ruled a community during an episcopal vacancy. Even though they employed language which can only be described as episcopal (cp. the eighth document of the Roman clergy among Cyprian's letters), they were simply regents ; see Ep. xxx. 8, " We thought that no new step should be taken before a bishop was appointed" (ante constitutionem episcopi nihil innovandum putavimus).



against drawing conclusions from Egypt and applying them to any of the other Roman provinces. It has been inferred, from the subscriptions to the Acts of the synod of Elvira, that some Spanish towns, which were merely represented by presbyters at he;;synod, did not possess any bishops of their own. This may so, but the very Acts of the synod clearly show how pre­orious is the inference ; for, while many presbyters subscribed ,these Acts, it can be proved that in almost every case the town c h rches which they represented did possess a bishop. The latter was prevented from being present at the synod, and, like 'ih&Roman bishop, he had himself represented by a presbyter or eputation of the clergy. Nevertheless it is indisputable, on the mind of the sixty-seventh canon of Elvira (" si quis diaconus gens plebem sine episcopo vel presbytero," etc.), that there e e churches in Spain which had not a bishop or even a resbyter, although we know as little about the number of such arches as about the-conditions which prevented the appoint­ e it of a bishop or presbyter. In any case, the management of

church by a deacon must have always been the exception mainly an emergency. measure in the days of persecution), since was unlawful for him to perform the holy sacrifice (see the bfteenth canon of Arles). It is impossible to decide whether the evrt X t'ptot arperr, & repoc mentioned in the thirteenth canon o Neo-Coesarea mean independent presbyters in country churches, r' presbyters who had a chor-episcopus over them. Possibly the latter is the true interpretation, since we must assume a specially vigorous development of the chor-episcopate in the neighbouring vountry of Cappadocia, which sent no fewer than five chor­„;:x15iscopi to the council of Nictea. On the other hand, it follows roan the Testament of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste that there were churches in the adjoining district of Armenia which were ruled by a presbyter, and in which no chor-episcopate seems to ave existed (cp. Gillmann, p. 36). Armenia, however, was a ontier province, and we cannot transfer its peculiar circum­ stances- en masse to the provinces of Pontus and Cappadocia. The " priests in the country," mentioned in the eighth canon of Antioch (341 A.D.), are certainly priests who had supreme authority in their local spheres, but the synod of Antioch was




held in the post-Constantine period, and the circumstances of 341 A.D. do not furnish any absolute rule for those of an earlier age. It is natural to suppose that the contemporary organiza­tion of the cantons in Gaul,' which hindered the development of towns, proved also an obstacle to the thorough organization of the episcopal system ; hence one might conjecture that imper­fectly organized churches were numerous in that country (as in England). But on this point we know absolutely nothing. Besides, even in the second century there was a not inconsider­able number of towns in Gaul where the local conditions were substantially the same as those which prevailed in the other Roman towns.2

It is impossible, therefore, to prove that for whole decades there were territorial or provincial bishops who ruled over a number of dependent Christian churches in the towns; we thus rather assume that if bishops actually did wield episcopal rights in a number of towns, it was in towns where only an infinitesimal number of Christians resided within the walls. Anyone who asserts the contrary with regard to some provinces cannot be refuted. I admit that. But the burden of proof rests with him. The assertion, for example, that Autun, Rheims, Paris, etc., had a fairly large number of Christians by the year 240 or thereabouts, while the local Christian churches had no bishop, cannot be proved incorrect, in the strict sense of the term. We have no materials for such a proof. 'But all analogy favours the conclusion : if the Christians in Autun, Rheims, Paris, etc., were so numerous circa 240 A.n., then they had bishops ; if they had no bishops, then they were few and far between. In my opinion, we may put it thus : (1) It is

\1/See Mommsen's Rdm. Gesch., v. 8i f. [Eng. trans., i. 92 f.], and also Mar­quardt's Roni. Staatsverwaltung, i. 7 f.

\2/Two systems prevailed in the civil government, as regards the country districts ; the latter were either placed under the jurisdiction of a neighbouring town or assigned magistrates of their own (see Hatch- Harnack, Gesellsehaftsve fassung der christlichen Kirchen, p. 202). The latter corresponded to the chor-episcopate, the former to the direct episcopal jurisdiction and administration of the town bishop. The blending of the two systems, with more or less independent country presbyters and reserved rights on the part of the bishop, was the latest development. Its earliest stage falls within the second half of the third century. A number of small localities were often united into a commune, whose centre was called Aiyrpoaw da.


quite possible, indeed it is extremely likely (ep. the evidence of Arian), that before the middle of the third century there ere' already some other episcopal, churches in Gaul, even apart orrm the "province" ; (2) if Lyons was really the sole episcopal

&llreh of the country, then there was only an infinitesimal limber of Christians in Gaul outside that city.

We come back now to one of Theodore's remarks. At the outset," he wrote, "there were but two or three bishops, as a rule, in a province-a state of matters which prevailed in most of the  Western provinces till quite recently, and which may  still be found in several, even at the present day." This is a statement which yields us no information whatever. Theodore did not know any more than we moderns know about the state of matters « at the outset." The assertion that there were not more than two or three' bishops in the majority of the Western provinces G° till quite recently," is positively erroneous, and it only proves how small was Theodore's historical know­ledge of the Western churches ; finally, while the information that several Western provinces even yet had no more than two or three bishops, is accurate, it is irrelevant, since we know, 

even apart from Theodore's testimony, that the number of bishoprics in the Roman provinces adjoining the large northern :frontier of the empire, as well as in England, was but small. But this scantiness of contemporary bishoprics did not denote an

earlier (and subsequently suspended) phase of the church's organi­zation tenaciously maintaining itself. What it denoted was a
result of the local conditions of the population and also the rarity of Christians in those districts. So far, of course, these local circmstances resembled those in which Christianity subsisted from the very outset over all the empire, when the Christians -- and ­the Romans-of the region lived still in the Diaspora.

At this point we might conclude by saying that the striking historical paragraph of Theodore does not cast a single ray of truth upon the real position of affairs. But in the course of our study we have over and again touched upon the special position of the metropolitan, or leading bishop of the province.\1/

\1/Augustine once (Rh. xxii. 4) remarks of the Carthaginian church in relation the churches of the province ; " Si ab una ecclesia inchoanda est medicina [i.e.,



It is perfectly clear, from a number of passages, that th metropolitan was frequently described in the time of Eusebius simply as " the bishop of the province." The leading bishop was thus described even as early as Dionysius of Corinth or Ignatius himself. With regard to the history of the extension of Christianity-in so far as we are concerned to determine the volume of tendency.making for the formation of independent churches-the bearing of this fact is really neutral. But it is not neutral with regard to our conception of the course taken b the history of ecclesiastical organization. Unluckily our sources here fail us for the most part. The uncertain glimpses they afford do not permit us to obtain any really historical ideaa o the situation, or even to reconstruct any course of developmen along this line. How old is the metropolitan ? Is his position connected with a power of ordination which originally parse from one man to another in the province? Does the origin o the metropolitan's authority go back to a time when the apostles still survived? Was there any connection between them ? And are we to distinguish between one bishop and another, so that in earlier age there would be bishops who did not ordain, or who were merely the vicars of a head bishop ? 1 To all these questions we are probably to return a negative answer in general, though an affirmative may perhaps be true in one or two cases. Certainty we cannot reach. At least, in spite of repeated efforts, I have not myself succeeded in gaining any sure footing. Frequently the facts of the situation may have operated quite as strongly as the rights of the case ; i.e., an

[[478b]] the suppression of an abuse], sicut videtur audaciae mutare conari quod Cartha­giniensis ecclesia tenet, sic magnae impudentiae est velle servare quod Carthagini­ensis ecclesia correxit." This would represent a widely spread opinion, held long before the fourth century, with regard to the authority of the metropolitan church.

I We are led to put this question by learning that injunctions were laid down in the fourth century, which delimited the ordination rights of the chor-episcopi (see above, p. 471). Does this restriction go back to an earlier age? Hardly to one much earlier, though Gillmann (p. 521) is right in holding that the decisins of Ancyra and Neo-Caesarea did not come with the abruptness of a pistol-shot ;' they codified what had previously been the partial practice of wide circles in the church. We must therefore look back as far as the period beginning with the edict of Gallienus. But we know nothing as to whether the country bishop was in any respect subordinate to the city bishop from the first (especially in the natter of ordination). A priori, it is unlikely that he was.



individual bishop may have exercised rights at first, and for a considerable period, without possessing any title thereto, but simply as the outcome of a strong position held either on personal grounds or on account of the civic repute and splendour of his town churches.' The state provincial organization and 'ministration, with the importance which it lent to individual

ns, may have also begun here and there to affect the powers f individual bishops in individual provinces by way of aggran­izenient.2 But all this pertains, probably, to the sphere of ose elements in the situation which we may term "irrational," ements which do not admit of generalization or of any articular application to ecclesiastical rights and powers within e primitive age. No evidence for the definition of the metro­litan's right of jurisdiction can be found earlier than the

in which the synodal organization had defined itself, and presupposition of such a right lay in the sturdy iude­ndence, the substantial equality, and the closely knit union 11 the bishops in any given province. All the " prelim­ nary stages " lie enveloped in mist. And the scanty rays which struggle through may readily prove deceptive will-o'­e-wisps.

These investigations into the problems connected with the History of the extension of Christianity lead to the following
result, viz,, that the number of bishoprics in the individual rovinces of the Roman empire affords a criterion, which is essentially reliable, for estimating the strength of the Christian


I One recollects at this point, e.g., the second epistle of Cyprian, mentioned already on pp. 175, which tells how the Carthaginian church was prepared to ndertake the support of an erstwhile teacher of the dramatic art, if his own hurch was not in a position to do so. It is clear that the Carthaginian church or bishop would acquire a superior position amid the sister provincial churches, if cases of this kind occurred again and again. Compare also the sixty-second epistle, in which the Carthaginian church not only subscribes 100,000 sesterces -)wards the emancipation of Christians in Africa who had been carried off captives by'the barbarians, but also expresses herself ready to send still more in case of need [cp, pp. 175 f., 301]. It is well known that the repute of the Roman church and its bishops was increased by such donations, which were bestowed frequently even on remote churches.

\2/The instructive investigations of Liibeck (" Reichseinteilung and kirchliche

Hierarchic des Orients," in Kirchengeschichiliche Studien, herausgeg. von Kndpfler,

Schzors, and Sdralek, Bd. v. Heft 4, lgol) afford many suggestions on this point.



movement. The one exception is Egypt. Apart from that province, we may say that Christian communities, not episco­pal ly organized, were quite infrequent throughout the East an the West alike during the years that elapsed between Antonitlus Pius and Constantine.' Not only small towns, but villages also had bishops. Cyprian was practically right when he wrote to Antonian (EP. Iv. 24): " lam pridem per omnes provincias et per,

  \1/Previous to the middle of the third century I do not know of a single case (leaving out Egypt). All the evidence that has been gathered from the older period simply shows that there were Christians in the country, or that country people here and there came in to worship in the towns ; evidently they had no place of worship at home, and consequently no presbyters. Furthermore the original character of the presbyter's office, a character which can be traced duwu into the third century, excludes any differentiation among the individual, indepen­dent presbyters, each of whom was a presbyter as being the member of a college and nothing more (cp. also Hatch-Harnack, Gesellschaft. der christlichen Kirchesn, pp. 76 f., 200 f. ; the right of presbyters to baptize was originally a transmitted right and nothing more. Hatch refers the rise of parishes also to a later time). I should conjecture that the organization of presbyterial village churches began first of all when the town congregation in the largest towns had been divided into presbyters' and deacons' districts, and when the individual presbyters had thus become relatively independent. In Rome this distribution emerged rather later than the middle of the third century, and originally- it sprang from the division into civic quarters (not the synagogue). The necessity of having clergy appointed for the country, even where there were no bishops, emerged further throughout the East wherever a martyr's grave or even a churchyard had to be looked after (cp. the Testament of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste). Again, we know from the history of Gregory Thaumaturgus and other sources (cp. the Acta Theodoti Ancyr.) that after the middle of the third century the great movement had begun which sought to appropriate and consecrate as Christian the sacred sites and cults of paganism throughout the country, as well as to build shrines for the relics of the saints. In these cases also a presbyter, or at least a deacon, was required, in order to take care of the sanctuary. Finally, the severe persecutions of Decius, Valerian, Diocletian, and Maximinus Daza drove thousands of Christians to take refuge in the country ; the last-named emperor, moreover, deliberately endeavoured to eject Christians from the towns, and condemned thousands to hard labour in the mines throughout the country. We know, thanks to the information of Dionysius of Alexandria and Eusebius, that in such cases communities sprang up in the country districts for the purpose of worship ; naturally these were without a bishop, unless one happened to be among their number. It may be supposed that all these circumstances combined to mature the organization of presbyterial communities, an organization which subsequently, under the countenance of the town bishops, entered upon a victorious course of rivalry with the old chor-episco­pate. Frequently, however, in the country the nucleus lay, not in the community, but in the, sacred sites-and such were in existence even before the adoption and consecration of pagan ones, in the shape of martyrs' graves and churchyards, These considerations lead me to side with Thomassin in the controversy between


 [[insert p. 481 here]]



episcopally organized are to be found throughout the third century, they are to be considered as having retained the primitive organization-this hypothesis, I repeat, is not mere] y­incapable of proof, but incorrect. Such non-episcopal village churches are plainly recent churches, which are managed, not b a college of presbyters, but by one or two presbyters. They are « country parishes " whose official « presbyters " have nothin in common with the members of the primitive college of presbyters except the name. Here I would again recall hogs Egypt forms the exception to the rule, inasmuch as large Christian churches throughout Egypt still continue to be governed by the collegiate system down to the middle of the third century. Nothing prevents us, in this connection, from supposing that these churches did hold tenaciously to the primitive form of ecclesiastical organization. Yet alongside of the presbyters in Egypt, even &u c rKaXoe would seem also to have had some share in the administration of the churches (Dionys. Alex., in Eus., H.E., vii. 24).



BEFORE general synods and patriarchs arose within the church, prior even to the complete development of the metropolitan system, there was a catholic confederation which embraced the ioajority of the Christian churches in the East and the West alike. It came into being during the gnostic controversies; it assumed a relatively final shape during the Montanist contro­versy ; and its headquarters were at Rome. The federation had no written constitution. It did not possess one iota of common statutes. Nevertheless, it was a fact. Its common. denominator consisted of the apostles' creed, the apostolic canon, and belief n the apostolical succession of the episcopate. Indeed, long before these were generally recognized as the common property of the churches, the maintenance of this body of doctrine constituted a certain unity by itself. Externally, this unity manifested itself in inter-communion, the brotherly welcome extended to travellers and wanderers, the orderly notification of any changes in ecclesiastical offices, and also the representation of churches at synods beyond the bounds of their own provinces and the forwarding of contributions. What was at first done .spontaneously-and as a result of this, in many cases, both arbitrarily and uselessly-became a matter of regular prescriptive right, carried out along fixed lines of its own.

The fact of this catholic federation was of very great moment to the spread of the church. The Christian was at home everywhere, and he could feel himself at home, thanks to this inter-communion. He was protected and controlled


wherever he went. The church introduced, as it were, a new franchise anion her members. In the very era when Caracalla

bestowed Roman citizenship upon the provincials-a con­cession which amounted to very little, and which failed to

achieve its ends-the catholic citizenship became a significant reality.




FROM the close of the first century the Roman church was in a position of practical primacy over Christendom. It had gained this position as the church of the metropolis, as the church of Peter and Paul, as the community which had done most for the cutholicizing and unification of the churches, and above all as the church which was not only vigilant and alert but ready' to aid any poor or suffering church throughout the empire with gifts.' The question now rises, Was this church not also specially active in the Christian mission, either from the first or at certainn epochs of the pre-Constantine period ? Our answer must be in the negative. Any relevant evidence on this point plainly belongs to legends with a deliberate purpose and of ate origin. All the stories about Peter founding churches in Vestern and Northern Europe (by means of delegates and subordinates) are pure fables. Equally fabulous is the mass of siuiilar legends about the early Roman bishops, e.g., the legend Qf Eleutherus and Britain. The sole residuum of truth is the tradition, underlying the above-mentioned legend, that Rome and Eclessa were in touch about 200 A.D. This fragment of informa­tion is isolated, but, so far as I can see, it is trustworthy. We nnist not infer from it, however, that any deliberate missionary tnoveuient had been undertaken by Rome. The Christianizing

\1/Evidence is forthcoming from the second and the third centuries, for Corinth, Arabia, Cappadocia, and Mesopotamia (cp. above, pp. 157, 185, 376 ; and below, Book IV.). In a still larger number of cases Rome intervened with her advice and opinion.

  \2/A considerable amount of the relevant material is collected in my History of Dogma, I.(') pp. 455 f. (Eng. trans., vol. ii. pp. T49-168), under the title of "Catholic and Roman."



of Edessa was a spontaneous result. Abgar the king may indeed have spoken to the local bishop when he was at Ronin, and a letter which purports to be from Eleutherus to Abgar might also be historical. The Roman bishop may perhaps have had some influence in the catholicizing of Edessa and the bishops of Osrhoene. But a missionary movement in any sense of the term is out of the question. Furthermore, if Rome had under­taken any organized mission to Northern Africa (or Spain, or Gaul, or Upper Italy) we would have found echoes of it, at least in Northern Africa. Yet in the latter country, when Tertullian lived, people only knew that while the Roman church had an apostolic origin, their own had not; consequently the " auctoritas " of the former church must be recognized. Possibly this contains a reminiscence of the fact that Christianity reached Carthage by way of Rome, but even this is not quite certain. Unknown sowers sowed the first seed of the Word in Carthage also; they were commissioned not by man but by God. By the second century their very names had perished from men's memory.

The Roman church must not be charged with dereliction of duty on this score. During the first centuries there is no evidence whatever for organized missions by individual churches; such were not on the horizon. But it was a cardinal duty to "strengthen the brethren," and this duty Rome amply dis­charged.




WE have already discussed (pp. 57 f.) the first systematic opposition offered to Christianity and its progress, viz., the Jewish counter-mission initiated from Jerusalem. This expired with the fall of Jerusalem, or rather, as it would seem, not earlier than the reign of Hadrian. Yet its influence continued

operate for long throughout the empire, in the shape of malicious charges levelled by the Jews against the Christians. The synagogues, together with individual Jews, carried on the struggle against Christianity by acts of hostility and by inciting hostility. 1

We cannot depict in detail the counter-movements on the part of the state, as these appear in its persecutions of the


1 Cp. the martyrdom of Polycarp or of Pionius. In the Martyr. Cononis the magistrate says to the accused: Tf 7r11avao-8e, 6ev8pw7rov Osbv 1Jy0VT€S, Kal TOvTOY 9io8ay7j j wS Eua80v 7rapa'IOVsafwv a.Kpl.B&S, Kal Tf Tb 7EYOS aVTOV Kal ilea cpeseitaTo ifi EBv€, abTWV Kal 7r&S awe'oauev aTaupw8E(s' 7rpoKoµfuavT€s yap aVTOV r& v7ro u'ljµaTa [? ?] e7rav/yvwo~av pot (von Gebhardt's Acta Mart. Selecta, p, 131)

Why do ye err, calling a man God, and that too a man who died a violent death? For so have I learnt acdurately from the Jews, both as to his race and his mani. festation to their nation and his death by crucifixion. They brought forward his Memoirs and read them out to me." In his polemical treatise, Celsus makes a Jew come forward against- the Christians-and this reflected the actual state of matters. Any pagans who wished to examine Christianity closely and critically, had first of all to get information from the Jews. On the other hand, as has been already shown (pp. 66 f.), the Christians did not fail to condemn the Jews most severely. The instance narrated by liippolytus (P/ilos, ix. 12) apropos of the Roman Christian Callistus, is certainly remarkable, but none the less symp­tomatic. In order to secure a genuine martyrdom, Callistus posted himself on Sabbath at a synagogue and derided the Jews.




church.' All that need be done here is to bring out some of the leading points, with particular reference to the significance, both negative and positive, which the persecutions possessed for the Christian mission.

Once Christianity presented itself in the eyes of the law and the authorities as a religion distinct from that of Judaism, its character as a religio illicit' was assured. No express decree was needed to make this plain. In fact, the "non licet" was rather the presupposition underlying all the imperial rescripts . against Christianity. After the Neronic persecution, which was probably 2 instigated by the Jews (see above, p. 58), though it neither extended beyond Rome nor involved further con­sequences, Trajan enacted that provincial governors were to use their own discretion, repressing any given case,' but declining to ferret Christians out.4 Execution was their fate if, when suspected of lese-nu&W as well as of sacrilege,-' they stubbornly refused to sacrifice before the images of the gods of the emperor, thereby avowing themselves guilty of the former crime. On the cotta of the Cwsars, and on this point alone, the state and the church came into collision." The apologists are really incorrect in asserting that the Name itself (11 nomen ipsum ") was visited with death. At least, the statement only becomes correct when

  \1/See Neumann's Der r •d mische Staw and die allg. Kirche, ii i 8go ; Mommsen, "Der Religionsfrevel nach ram. Recht" (in the Hist. Zeilschr., vol. lxiv. [N. S. vol. xxviii.], part 3, PP- 3 8 9 - 429; Ilarnack on "Christenverfolgung" in the Pr al. Deal III. , ' ; Weiss, C11"islenverfolgungen (1899) ; and Linsenmayer's Die Bekamfifungdes Clcristentums durclr den rdm. Staat ( 1 9 0 5)­

2 Without this hypothesis it is scarcely possible, in my opinion, to understand the persecution. Cp. my essay in Texte u. Unser"., xxviii. 2 (19o5).

3 Trajan approves Pliny's procedure in executing Christians who, upon being charged before him, persistently refused to sacrifice. But he adds, "nothing can be laid down as a general principle, to serve as a fixed rule of procedure" (" in universurn aliquid quad quasi certain formam habeas constitui non potest ").
\4/This did not, of course, exclude criminal procedure in certain cases at the dis­cretion of the governor. Even during the second century special regulations were enacted for the treatment of Christians. For a true appreciation of the repressive and the criminal procedure, cp. Augar in Texte u. Unlers., xxviii. 4 (1905).

5 "Atheism" ; cp. my essay in Texte u. Unlet-s. (ibid.).

  \6/Tert., Afiol, x. : "Sacrilegii et majestatis rei convenimur, summa haec causa, immo tots est " (" We are arraigned for sacrilege and treason ; that is the head and front, nay, the sum total of our offence"). But the "sacrilegiunr" was hardly to be distinguished practically from "majestas."


COUNTER-MOVEMENTS              489

we add the corollary that this judicial principle was adopted simply because the authorities found that no true adherent of his sect would ever offer sacrifice.' He was therefore an atheist and an enemy of the state.

Down to the closing year of the reign of Marcus Aurenus, ,he imperial rescripts with which we are acquainted were riesigned, not to protect the Christians, but to safeguard the administration of justice and the police against the encroach­npents of an anti-Christian mob,2 as well as against the excesses of local councils who desired to evince their loyalty in a cheap fashion by taking measures against Christians. Anonymous accusations had been already prohibited by Trajan. Hadrian ]ad rejected the attempts of the Asiatic diet, by means of popular petitions, to press governors into severe measures against the Christians. Pius in a number of rescripts interdicted all "novelties" in procedure; beyond the injunctions that Christians were not to be sought out (" quaerendi non sunt "), and that those who abjured their faith were to go scot-free, no step was to be taken. During this period, accusations preferred by private individuals came to be more and more restricted, both' in criminal procedure as a whole, and in trials for trenson. Even public opinion' was becoming more and more adverse to t em.. And all this told in favour of Christianity. Most governors or magistrates recognized that there was no occasion for them to interfere with Christians ; convinced of their real harmlessness, they let them go their own way. Naturally, the higher any person stood in public life, the greater risk he ran

\1/ Pliny (Ep 6 xcvi. 5) : " Quorum nihil posse cogi dicuntur qui suns re ver' Christian" (" Things which no real Christian, it is said, can be made to do").

  \2/Observe that society and the populace down to about Caracalla's reign (and during that reign) were keenly opposed to Christianity ; the state had actually to curb their zeal. Thereafter, the 'fanaticism of the rabble and the aversion of a section of society steadily declined. People likely began to get accustomed to the fapt of the new religion's existence. Tertullian (Scar;'. i.) says that the " ethnici de melioribus" (the better sort of pagans) asked : " Siccine tractari sectam nemini molestam? perire homines sine causa?" (" Is a harmless sect to be treated thus?

re men to die for no reason?"). This meant that Roman emperors and governors of pagan disposition had to redouble their vigilance.

  \3/Tertullian does declare (Apol. ii.) that "every man is a soldier against traitors and public enemies" ("in reos majestatis et publicos hostes omnis homo miles t"), but he ii referring to open criminals, not to suspected persons.




of coming into collision with the authorities on the score of his Christian faith. Only on the lowest level of society, in fact, did this danger become at all equally grave, since life was not' really of very much account to people of that class. People belonging to the middle classes, again, were left unmolested upon the whole ; that is, unless any conspiracy succeeded in haling them before a magistrate. Down to the middle of the' • third century, this large middle class furnished but a very small number of martyrs. Irenaeus writes (about 185 A.D. ; see above,: p. 369) : " Mundus pacem habet per Romanos, et nos [Christiani]j sine timore in via ambulamus et navigamus quocunique volu­erimus." erimus." Soldiers, again, were promptly detected whenever they made any use of their Christian faith in public. So were all Christians who belonged to the numerous domains of the emperors.

Apart from the keen anti-Christian temper of a few pro­consuls and the stricter surveillance of the city-prefects, this continued to be the prevailing attitude of the state down to the days of Decius, i.e., to the year 249. During this long' interval, however, three attempts at a more stringent policy were made. "Attempts" is the only term we can use in this connection, for all three lost their effect comparatively soon. Marcus Aurelius impressed upon magistrates and governors the duty of looking more strictly after extravagances in religion, including those of Christianity. The results of this rescript appear in the persecution of 176-180 A.D. ; but when Commodus came to the throne, the edict fell into abeyance. - Then, in 202 A.D., Septimius Severus forbade conversions to Christianity, which of course involved orders to keep a stricter watch on Christians in general. As the persecutions of the neophytes and catechumens in °202--203 attest, the rescript was not issued idly; yet before long it too was relaxed. Finally, Maximinus Thrax ordered the clergy to be executed, which implied the duty of hunting them out-in itself a fundamental innovation in the imperial policy. Outside Rome, however, it is unlikely that this order was put into practice, save in a few provinces, although we do not know what were the obstacles to its enforcement. Down to the days of Maximinus Thrax [[491]]

the clergy do not appear to have attracted much more notice than the laity, and the edict of Maximinus did not strike many of them down. Still, it was significant. Plainly, the state had now become alive to the influential position occupied by the Christian clergy.

These attempts at severity were of brief duration. But the comparative favour shown to Christianity, upon the other hand, by Commodus, Alexander Severus, and Philip the Arabian led to a steady improvement in the prospects of Christianity with the passage of every decade.

Viewed externally, then, the persecutions up to the middle of the third century were not so grave as is commonly represented. f)rigen expressly states that the number of the martyrs during this period was small; they could easily be counted.' A glance ,tit Carthage and Northern Africa (as seen in the writings of Tertullian) bears out this observation. Up till 180 A.D. there were. no local martyrs at all ; up to the time of Tertullian's death there were hardly more than a couple of dozen, even when Numidia and Mauretania are included in the survey. .And these were always people whom the authorities simply made an example of. Yet it would be a grave error to imagine that the position of Christians was quite tolerable. No doubt they were able, as a matter of fact, to settle down within the empire, but the sword of Damocles hung over every Christian's neck, and at any given moment he was sorely tempted to deny

  \1/Cp, c. Cels. III. viii. It is also significant that he expressly declares the last days would be heralded by general persecutions, whereas hitherto there had been only partial persecutions: "Nunquam quidem cbnsenserunt omnes gentes adversus Christians ; • cum autem contigerint quae Christus praedixit, tunc quasi succendendi sunt omnes a quibusdam gentilibus incipientibus Christianos culpare, ut tune fiant persecutions iam non ex parte sicut ante, sed generaliter ubique adversus populum dei" (Comment. Ser. in Matt. xxxix., vol. iv. P. 270, ed. Lommatzsch)="Never, indeed, have all nations combined against Christians. But when the events predicted by Christ come to pass, then all must be as it were inflamed by some of the heathen who begin to charge Christians, so that perse­cutions then occur universally against all God's people, instead of here and there, as hitherto has been the case" (cp. also p. 2yr). Not to exaggerate Origen's remark about the small number of the martyrs, cp. Iren. iv. 33. 9: "Ecclesia omni in loco multitudinem martyrum in omni tempore praemittit ad patrem" ("The church in every place and at all times sends on a multitude of martyrs before her to the Father").



his faith, since denial meant freedom from all molestation. The Christian apologists complained most of the latter evil, and their complaint was just. The premium set by the state upbu denial of one's faith was proof positive, to their mind, that the administration of justice was controlled by demonic influence.

Despite the small number of martyrs, we are not to underrate the courage requisite for becoming a Christian and behaving as a Christian. We are specially bound to extol the staunch adherence of the martyrs to their principles. By the word or the deed of a moment, they might have secured exemption from their punishment, but they preferred death to a base immunity.'

The illicit nature of Christianity unquestionably constitute([ a serious impediment to its propaganda, and it is difficult to saj whether ' the attractiveness of all forbidden objects and theu heroic bearing of the martyrs compensated for this drawback. It is an obstacle which the Christians themselves rarely mention; they dwell all the more upon the growth which accrued to them ever and anon from the martyrdoms.' All over, indeed, history'

  \1/Martyrs and confessors, of course, were extravagantly honoured in the churches, and the prospect of "eternal" glory might allure several (Marcus Aurelius condemns the readiness of Christians for martyrdom as pure fanaticism and vainglory; cp. also Lucian's Proteus Peregrinas). The confessors were assigned a special relationship to Christ. As they had attached themselves to him, so he had thereby attached himself to them. They were already accepted, already saved ; Christ gave utterance through their lips henceforth. Furthermore, they had a claim to be admitted into the ranks of the clergy (oldest passage on this in Tertullian, µ'e . Fuga, xi.) ; and on important ecclesiastical occasions, especially on all matters relat­ing to penitence, their decision had to be accepted (cp., e.g., Tert., ad Mart. i., where they restore the excommunicated). It was not easy to differ from them. The blood shed by martyrs was held to possess an expiatory value like the blood of Christ (cp., e.g., Origen, Hom. xxiv. t in Nuns. Vol. X. P. 293, Hom. Vii. 2. in judic. vol. xi. P. 267). Even in Tertullian's day there were hymns to the martyrs (cp. de Score. vii : "cantatur et exitus rpartyrum "). On the other hand, we must not forget how the Christians themselves depreciated martyrdom when the martyrs did not belong to their own party in the church. How the opponents of the Montanists scoffed and sneered at the Montanist confessors ! And how meanly Tertullian speaks (e.g., in de Ieiun. xii.), towards the end of his life, about the catholic martyrs I Think of Tertullian on Praxeas the confessor, of Hippolytus on Callistus the confessor, of Cyprian on martyrs who were disagreeable to him ! And sneers were not all. They spoke of vainglory in this connection, just as Marcus Aurelius did.

\2/Cp., e.g., Justin, Apt. ii. 12 (where he admits that the Christian martyrdoms helped to convert him), Dial. cx. ; Tert., Apol. 1.; Lact., Inst., v. t9 ; and August., Epist. iii.


COUNTER-MOVEMENTS              493

shows us that it is the "religio pressa" which invariably waxes strong and large. Persecution serves as an excellent means of promoting expansion.'

From the standpoint of morals, the position of living under a sword which fell but rarely, constituted a serious peril. Christians could go on feeling that they were a persecuted flock. Yet as a rule they were nothing of the kind. Theoreti­ 1a'ay, they could credit themselves with all the virtues of iism, and yet these were seldom put to the proof. They could represent themselves as raised above the world, and yet they were constantly bending before it. As the early Christian literature shows, this unhealthy state of matters led to undesir­able consequences.2

\1/ Reference must be made, however, to the fact that even among Christians there were certain circles which eschewed open confession and martyrdom for _gG,od reasons. Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian (Score. i.) mention the Valentinians and some other gnostics in this connection. But obviously there  were, some in the church who shared this view.

"Nesciunt simplices animae," they held, "quid quomodo scriptum sit, obi et quando et coram, quibus conflten­ed vanitas, ammo dementia pro deo mots dum, nisi quod nee simplicitas ista,, u': qui me salvum facial. sic is occidet, qui salvum facere debebit 7 semel Christos

pro nobis obiit, semel occisus est, ne occideremur. si vicem repent, nom et idle salutem de mea nece expectat? an dens hominem sanguinem flagitat, maxime si-taurorum et hircorum recusal? certe peccatoriS paenitentiam mavult quam mortem" (" The simple souls do not know what is written, or the meaning of what is written, about where and when and before whom we must make confession; all they know is that to die for God, who preserves me, is not simple artlessness but folly and madness ! Shall he slay me, who ought to preserve me 7 Christ died c ce for us, was killed once, that we should not die. If he requires this in return, does he look for salvation from my death? Or does God, who refuses the blood otbulls and goats, demand the blood of men? Assuredly he would rather have the sinner repent than die.") They also said (ch. xv.) that the word of Jesus about confessing  him does not apply to a human tribunal but to that of the heavenly ones  ("aeons) through whose sphere the soul rises up after death ("Non in terns confi­;endu˘i aped homines, minus veto, ne dens humanum sanguinem sitiat nec Christos vicem passions, quasi et ipse de ea salutem consecuturus, exposcat").

\2/This does not even take into account the clandestine arrangements made with

al authorities, or the intrigues and corruption that went on. From Tertullian's tmatisd de Ficka we learn that Christian churches in Africa frequently paid moneys to the local funds--i.e., of course, to the local authorities-to ensure that their tuembers were left unmolested. The authorities themselves often advised this. C1 Tert., Apol, xxvii.: "Datis consilium, quo vobis abutamur" (" You advise us to take unfair advantage of you ") ; and ad Scap. iv.: " inc us Severus [the proconsul] Thysdri ipse dedit remedium, quomodo responderent Christiani, ut dimitti possent" (" Cincius Severus himself pointed out the remedy at Thysdrus, showing how Christians should answer so as to get acquitted ").



The development went on apace between 259 and 303. From the days when Gallienus ruled alone, Gallienus who restored to Christianity the very lands and churches which Valerian had confiscated, down to the nineteenth year of Diocletian, Christians enjoyed a halcyon immunity which was almost equivalent to u manifesto of toleration.' Aurelian's attempt at repression never got further than a beginning, and no one followed it up the emperor and his officials, like Diocletian the reformer subsequently, had other business to attend to. It was during' this period that the great expansion of the Christian religion took place. For a considerable period Christians had held property and estates (in the name, I presume, of men of straw); now they could come before the public fearlessly,' as if they were a recognized body.3

Between 249 and 258, however, two chief and severe per­secutions of Christians took place, those under Decius and Valerian, while the last and fiercest began in February of 303, The former lasted only for a year, but they sufficed to spread fearful havoc among the churches. The number of the apostates was much larger, very much larger indeed, than the number of. the martyrs. The rescript of Decius, a brutal stroke which was quite unworthy of any statesman, compelled at one blow all Christians, including even women and children, to return to their old religion or else forfeit their lives. Valerian's rescripts were the work of a statesman. They dealt merely with the clergy, with people of good position, and with members of the court ; all other Christians were let alone, provided that they refrained from worship. Their lands and churches were,

\1/ From the fragments of Porphyry's polemical treatise, and indeed from his writings as a whole, we see how Christians were recognized (in contemporary society) as a well-known party which had no longer to fear any violence.

We do not know under what title they came forward.

3 Cp. the pagan (Porphyry) in Macar. Magnes., iv. 21 : of Xpto - Ttavol µtµov­tsEyot ras KaTaOKcv&s TNV va@v lA ylo-roes ofKOVs oi, o oµoi,,rty ("The Christianss erect large buildings, in imitation of the temple-fabrics "). So previously Caecilius, Minuc. ix.: " Per universum orbem sacraria ista taeterrima impiae coitionis adolescunt " ('0 All over the world the utterly foul rites of that impious union are flourishing apace"). For details on church-building, see below.-The epithet of Xpu rTtavts occurs quite openly for the first time, so far as I am aware, in the year 279 upon a tomb in Asia Minor (see Cumont, Les Inscr, claret. de i'Asie mineure, p. 11 ).


[[495]] however, confiscated.' The tragic fate of both emperors " mortes persecutorum!") put a stop to their persecutions. Both had essayed the extirpation of the Christian church, the onnr by the shortest possible means, the other by more indirect methods.2 But in both cases the repair of the church was effected promptly and smoothly, while the wide gaps in its membership were soon filled up again, once the rule was laid down that even apostates could be reinstated.

The most severe and prolonged of all the persecutions was the last, the so-called persecution under Diocletian. It lasted Largest and raged most fiercely in the east and south-east throughout the domain of Maximinus Daza; it burned with equal fierceness, but for a shorter period, throughout the jurisdiction of Galerius; while over the domain of Maximianus and' his successors its vigour was less marked, though it was still very grievous. Throughout the West it came to little. It began with imperial rescripts, modelled upon the statesman­like edict of Valerian, but even surpassing it in adroitness. Presently, however, these degenerated into quite a different forrn, which, although covered by the previous edicts of Decius, outdid them in pitiless ferocity throughout the East. Daza alone had recourse to preventive measures of a positive character. lie had Acts of Pilate fabricated and circulated in all directions (especially throughout schools), which were drawn up in order to misrepresent Jesus ; 3 on the strength of confessions extorted


1 The state never attacked the religion of private individuals. All it waged war i,p~n was the refusal to perform the ceremonies of the cultus. Cp. the pregnant statement of the Acta Cypriani, i.: "Sacratissimi imperatores praeceperunt, eos qui Romanam religionem non colunt, debere Romanas caerimonias recognoscere" (''The most sacred Roman emperors enjoined that those who did not adhere to the Roman religion should recognize the Roman rites "). It was on principle therefore that Valerian and Diocletian attempted to stamp out Christian worship.

q Obviously, they saw that the procedure hitherto adopted was absurd, and that it had failed to harm the church. They rightly judged that Christians must be exterminated, if they were not to be let alone. " They must be sought out and 1,unshed " (" Quaerendi et puniendi sunt ").

s "Even the school teachers were to lecture on these zealously to their pupils, instead of upon the usual scholastic subjects ; they were also to see that they were Isarnt by heart." "Children at school repeated the names of Jesus and of Pilate ,very day, and also recited the Acts of Pilate, which were composed in order to deride us,"




from Christians, he revived the old, abominable charges brought against them, and had these published far and wide in every city by the authorities (Eus., H.E., i. 9 ; ix. 5. 7) ; he got a high official of the state to compose a polemical treatise against Christianity; ' he invited cities to bring before, him anti-Christian petitions ; 2 finally-and this was the keenest stroke of all-he attempted to revive and reorganize all the cults, headed of course by that of the Cwsars, upon the basis of the new classification of the provinces, in order to render them a stronger and more attractive counterpoise to Christianity.' " He ordered temples to be built in every city, and enacted the careful restoration of such as had collapsed through age; he also established idolatrous priests in all districts and towns, placing a high priest over them in every province, some official who had distinguished himself in some line of public service. This man was also furnished with a military guard of honour.'` Eus., HE., viii. 14; see ix. 4 : " Idolatrous priests were now appointed in every town, and Maxitninus further appointed high priests himself. For the latter position he chose men` of distinction in public life, who had gained high credit in all the offices they had filled. They showed great zeal, too, for the worship of those gods." Ever since the close of the second century the synodal organization of the church, with its metropolitans, had been moulded on the provincial diets of the empire-i.e., the latter formed the pattern of the former. But so much more thoroughly had it been worked out, that now, after the lapse of a century, the state attempted itself to 'copy this synodal organization with its priesthood so firmly centralized and so distinguished for moral character. Perhaps this was the greatest, at any rate it was the most conspicuous, triumph of the church prior to Constantine.

The extent of the apostasy which immediately ensued, is

i The emperor himself is probably concealed behind Hierocles.

3 The cities were subservient to this command ; cp, the inscription of Arycanda and Eus., If. E., ix. 7.

Julian simply copied him in all these measures. The moving spirit of the whole policy was Theoteknus (Eus., H.E., ix. 2 f.), for we cannot attribute it to an emperor who was himself a barbarian and abandoned to the most debased forms of excess.

COUNTER-MOVEMENTS              497

unknown, but it must have been extremely large. When Constantine conquered Maxentius, however, and when Daza succumbed before Constantine and Licinius, as did Licinius in the end before Constantine, the persecution was over.' During its closing years the 'churches had everywhere recovered from their initial panic ; both inwardly and outwardly they had gained in strength. Thus when Constantine stretched out his royal hand, he found a church which was not prostrate and despondent but well-knit, with a priesthood which the per­seeution had only served to purify. He had not to raise the church from the dust, otherwise that politician would have hwrdly stirred a finger : on the contrary, the church confronted him, bleeding from many a wound, but unbent and vigorous. All the counteractive measures of the state had proved of no avail besides, of course, these were no longer supported by public opinion at the opening of the fourth century, as they had-been during the second. Then, the state had to curb the fanaticism of public feeling against the Christians ; now, few urere to be found whoo countenanced hard measures of the state gainst the church. Gallienus himself had, on his deathbed, to revoke the edicts of persecution, and his rescript, which was unkindly phrased (Eus., HE., viii. 17), was ultimately replaced h) Constantine's great and gracious decree of toleration (Eus., ILE., x. 5 ; Lact., de 11fort. xlviii.).


Several examples have been already given (in Book II., Chapters IV. And VI.) of the way in which Christians were thought of by Greek and Roman society and by the common people during the second century. 2 Opinions of a more friendly nature were not common. No doubt, remarks like these were


\1/Licinius was driven in the end to become a persecutor of the Christians, by his opposition to Constantine (cp. the conclusion of Eusebius's Church History and his Vita Cmut., i. adfin., ii. ad nut.). Among his laws, that bearing upon the management of prisons (to which allusion has been made already ; cp. p,-164) deserves notice (cp. Eus., H.E., x. 8), as do the rescripts against the nutual intercourse of bishops, the holding of synods, the promiscuous attendance of nien and women at worship, and the instruction of women by the bishops ( Vita Const., i. 51. 53).

2 A complete survey is given in my Gesch. der altchristl. Litt„ i. pp. 865 f.




to be heard : " Gaius Seius is a capital fellow. Only, he's a Christian! " I'm astonished that Lucius Titius, for all his knowledge, has suddenly turned Christian" (Tert., Apol. iii.).­ "So-and-so thinks of life and of God just as we do, but he mingles Greek ideas with foreign fables" (Eus., II.L., vi. 19).' They were reproached with being inconceivably credulous and absolutely devoid of judgment, with being detestably idle (" contemptissma inertia") and useless for practical affairs (" infructuositas in negotiis ").2 These, however, were the least serious charges brought against them. The general opinion was that Christian doctrine and ethics, with their absurdities and pretensions,3 were unworthy of any one who was free and cultured (so Porphyry especially) .4

r This is Porphyry's opinion of Origen. It deserves to be quoted in full, for its unique character. "Some Christians, . . instead of abandoning the Jewish scriptures, have addressed themselves to the task of explaining them. These explanations are neither coherent and consistent, nor do they harmonize with the text ; instead of furnishing us with a defence of these foreign sects they rather give us praise and approbation of their doctrines. They produce expositions which boast of what Moses says unambiguously, as if it were obscure and intricate, and attach thereto divine influence as to oracles full of hidden mysteries. . This sort of absurdity can be seen in the case of a man whom I met in my youth [at Caesarea], and who at that time was very famous, as he still is by his writings. I mean Origen, whose fame is widely spread among the teachers of these doctrines, He was a pupil of Ammonius, the greatest philosopher of our day, and-so far as knowledge was concerned-he had gained much from the instruction of his teacher. But in the right conduct of life he went directly against Ammonius. . . Educated as a Greek among Greeks, he diverged to barbarous impudence. To this he devoted himself and his attainments ; for while he lived outwardly like a Christian, in this irregular fashion, he was a Greek in his conception of life and of God, mixing Greek ideas with foreign fables. Plato was his constant companion. He had also the works of Numenius, Cronius, Apollophanes, Longinus, Moderatus, Nikomachus, and the most eminent Pythagoreans constantly in his hands, He also used the writings of the Stoic Chreremon and of Cornutus. Thence he derived the allegorical method of exegesis common in the Greek mysteries, and applied it to the Jewish scriptures."

2 Cp. the charge brought against the consul, T. Flavius Clemens (in Suelonius). Tert., Apol4 xlii.: " Infructuosi in negotiis dicimur." What Tertullian makes the cloak say (de Pallio, v. ; cp. above, p. 306) is to be understood as a Christian's utterance. The heathen retorted that this was "ignavia."

s Cp. Tert., de Scorp. vii.: " funesta religio, lugubres ritus, ara rogus, pollinctor sacerdos" (the deadly religion, the mournful ceremonies, the altar-pyre, and the undertaker-priest).

·                    No one takes the trouble, the apologists complain, to find out what Christi­anity really is (Tert., Apol, i. f.) ; even a pagan thinker would be condemned forth­



The majority, educated and uneducated alike, were still snore hostile in the second century. In the foreground of their calumnies stood the two charges of CEdipodean incest and Thyestean banquets, together with that of foreign, out­landish customs, and also of high treason. Moreover, there were clouds of other accusations in the air. Christians,' it, was reported, were magicians and atheists ; they worshipped

god with an ass's head, and adored the cross, the sun, or the genitalia of their priests (Tert., Apol. xvi., and the parallels in Minucius).2 It was firmly believed that they were magicians, that they had control over wind and weather, that they commanded plagues and famines, and had influence over the sacrifices.3 " Christians to the lions "-this was the cry of


[[499b]] with if he propounded ideas which agree with those of Christianity. Cp. Tert., de Testint. i. " Ne suis quidem magistris alias probatissimis atque lectissimis fidem nclinavit humana de incredulitate duritia, sicubi in argumenta Christianae de­fensionis impingunt. tune vani poetae . . .. tune philosophi duri, cum veritates fores pulsant. hactenus sapiens et prudens habebitur qui prope Christianum pro­nuntiaverit, cum, si quid prudentiae aut sapientiae affectaverit seu caerimonias despuens seu saeculum revincens pro Christiano denotetur " [" The hardness of the human heart in its unbelief prevents them even from crediting their own teachers (who otherwise are highly approved and most excellent), whenever they touch upon any arguments which favour Christianity. Then are the poets vain, . . then are the philosophers senseless, when they knock at the gates of truth. Any­one who goes the length of almost proclaiming Christian ideas will be held to be wise and sagacious so far; he will be branded as a Christian if he affect wisdom and knowledge in order to scoff at their rites or to expose the age "). Christian writings were not read. "Tanto abest ut nostris literis annuant homines, ad quas nenio venit nisi iam Christianus" (Tert., loc. cit.: "Far less do men assent to our writings; nay, none comes to them unless he is a Christian already").

\1/ Christ himself was held to be a magician ; cp. evidence on this point from Justin to Commodian.

2 It is not difficult to trace the origin of these calumnies. The ass's head came, as Tertullian himself was aware, from the Histories of Tacitus, and referred originally to the Jews. They were doubtless worshippers of the sun, because they turned to the east in prayer. The third libel was of course based upon the attitude assumed at confession.

  3Emphasis was often laid also upon the empty and terrible chimeras circulated by Christians (Minuc. v.). Origen (Comment. Ser. in Mattlt& xxxix., vol. iv. P. 270, Lomm.) : " Scimus et spud nos terrae motum factum in locis quibusdam et factas fuisse quasdam ruinas, ita ut, qui erant impii extra fidem, causam terrae motus dicerent Christianos, propter quod et persecutiones passae

nt ecclesiae et incensae sunt ; non solum autem illi, sed et qui videbantur prudentes, talia in publico dicerent quia propter Christianos fiunt gravissimi terrae motus" (" We know, too, that there have been earthquakes in our midst,




the mob.' And even when people were less rash and cruel, they could not get over the fact that it seemed mere pride and mad­ness to abandon the religion of one's ancestors.2 Treatises against Christianity were not common in the second or even in the third century, but there may have been controversial debates. A Cynic philosopher named Crescens attacked Justin in public, though he seems to have done no more than echo the popular charges against Christianity. Fronto's attack moved almost entirely upon the same level, if it be the case that h arguments have been borrowed in part by the pagan C:ecilius in Minucius Felix. Lucian merely trifled with the question of Christianity. He was no more than a reckless, though au acute, ,journalist. The orator Aristides, again, wrote upon Christianity with ardent contempt,3 while the treatise of


[[500b]] with several ruinous results, so that the impious unbelievers declared that Christians were to blame for the earthquakes. Hence the churches have suffered persecutions and been burnt. And not only such people, but others who seemed really sensible gave open expression to the opinion that Christians are the cause of the fearful earthquakes "). Similar allusions often occur in Tertullian. The ferr of Christians influencing the sacrifices played some part in the initial persecution of Diocletian.

I " Christianos ad leones ! " Tertullian recalls this fearful shout no fewer than four times (Apol. xl., de Spectac. xxvii., de Exhort. xii., de Resurr. xxiii.).

2 Cp. Clem. Alex., Protrept., x. 89. aAA' EK aaTEpwv, ˘aTE, ,rapa3Eboµivor itµiv Egos avaTpElEly o)K EGAoyov ("But, you say, it is discreditable to overturn the custom handed down to us from our fathers "). The author of the pseudo, Justin Cohort, ad Griecos goes into this argument with particular thoroughness (cp. i., xiv., xxxv.-xxxvi.).

s Orat. xlvi. He defends "the Greek nationality against the Christian and philosophic cosmopolitanism." To him, Christians are despisers of Hellenism (cp. Bernays, Ges. Abhandl., ii. p. 364). How a man like Tatian must have irritated him 1 Neumann (Derrom. Stoat u. die allgem. Kirche, p. 36) thus recapitu­lates the charge of Aristides (though Lightfoot, in his Ignatius, vol. i. p. 517, thinks that it is the Cynics who are pilloried); "People who themselves are simply of no account venture to slander a Demosthenes, while solecisms at least, if nothing more, are to be found in every one of their own words. Despicable creatures themselves, they despise others; they pride themselves on their virtues, but never practise them ; they preach self-control, and are lustful. Community of interests is their name for robbery, philosophy for ill-will, and poverty for an indifference to the good things of life. Moreover, they degrade themselves by their avarice. Impudence is dubbed freedom by them, malicious talk becomes openness forsooth, the acceptance of charity is humanity. Like the godless folk in Palestine, they combine servility with sauciness. They have severed themselves deliberately from the Greeks, or rather from all that is good in the world. Incap. able of co-operating for any useful end wMtsoever, they yet are masters of the art


[[501]] Hierocles, which is no longer extant, is described by Eusebius as extremely trivial. Celsus and Porphyry alone remain, of Christianity's opponents.' Only two men ; but they were a host in themselves.

They resembled one another in the seriousness with which they undertook their task, in the pains they spent on it, in the h ftiness of their designs, and in their literary skill. The great dditterence between them lay in their religious standpoint. Celsus's interest centres at bottom in the Roman empire.2' He is a religious man because the empire needs religion, and also because every educated man is responsible for its religion. It is hard to say what his own conception of the world amounts to. lint for all the hues it assumes, it is never coloured like that of Cicero or of Seneca. For Celsus is an agnostic above all things,3


[[501b]] of undermining a household and setting its members by the ears. Not a word, not, an idea, not a deed of theirs has ever borne fruit. They take no part in ,rganizing festivals, nor do they pay honour to the gods. They occupy no seats on civic councils, they' never comfort the sad, they never reconcile those who are :v: variance, they do nothing for the advancement of the young, or indeed of any­liody. They take no thought for style, but creep into a corner and talk stupidly. 't 'hey are venturing already on the cream of Greece and calling themselves ' philosophers' ! As if changing the name meant anything ! As if that could of iiself turn a Thersites into a Hyacinthus or a Narcissus !"

  \1/Lactantius professes to know that "plurimi et multi" wrote in Greek and Lgtin against the Christians in Diocletian's reign (Instit., v. 4), but even he adduces only one anonymous writer besides Hierocles. Occasionally a single i,aerateur who was hostile to Christianity stirred up a local persecution, as, e.g., was probably the case with Crescens the Cynic philosopher at Rome. Even kefore the edict of Decius a persecution had broken out in Alexandria, of which 1)ionysius (in Eus., H.E., vi. 41. t) writes as follows: oiK birl Tou $ao'iXuKOi

rpouT4y1Aaro$ 6 Siwyµas aap' itµiv JptaTo, &AAb y ~ ap SAov EvlavTlW apotAa$e, Kal ~~(IaTRS b H0.KWV Tit irdAEi TaVT7 j.CaVTiS Kal T'Oif)TulS, ioTLs EKEtYOS ,!Y, EKfY'rt0'E Kal xapwpµ1oE Ka8' i/hWV Ta r,\J81; TCP Eevwy, sir T9}V Esr(XWptOV ab OUS &s,o,&a, sovfaY

ivapplafoas ("Our persecution did not begin with the imperial decree, but preceded that decree by a whole year. The prophet and framer of evil for this city, whoever he was, previously stirred up and aroused against us the pagan multitude, reviving in' them the superstition of their country").

\2/We can only surmise about his personality and circumstances. He represented the noble, patriotic, and intelligent bureaucracy of Rome, about which we know ;o little otherwise.

  \3/The same sort of attitude is adopted by the pagan Csecilius (in Min. Felix, v. f.), a sceptic who approves of religion in general, but who entertains grave doubts about a universal providence. " Amid all this uncertainty, your best and noblest 'course is to accept the teaching of your forebears, to honour the religious customs which have been handed down to you, and humbly to adore the deities



so that he appreciates the relative validity of idealism apart from any stiffening of Stoicism, just as he appreciates the relative validity of every national religion, and even of mytho­ logy itself. Porphyry,' on the other hand, is a thinker pure and simple, as well as a distinguished critic. And he is not merely a religious philosopher of the Platonic school, but a man of deeply religious temperament, for whom all thought tends to pass into the knowledge of God, and in that knowledge to gain its goal.


Our first impression is that Celsus has not a single good word to say for Christianity. He re-occupies the position taken by its opponents in the second century ; only, he is too fair and noble an adversary to repeat their abominable charges. To him Christianity, this bastard progeny of Judaism 2 -itself the basest of all national religions-appears to have been nothing but an absurd and sorry tragedy from its birth down to his own day. He is perfectly aware of the internal differences between Christians, and he is familiar with the various stages of develop­ment in the history of their religion. These are cleverly employed in order to heighten the impression of its instability. He plays off the sects against the catholic church, the primitive age against the present, Christ against the apostles, the various revisions of the Bible against the trustworthiness of the text, and so forth, although, of course, he admits that the whole thing was quite as bad at first as it is at present. Even Christ is not exempted from this criticism. What is valuable in his teaching was borrowed from the philosophers ; the rest, i.e., whatever is characteristic of himself, is error and deception, so much futile

[[502b]] whom your fathers taught you not to know but, first and foremost, to fear." Chap. vii. then runs in quite a pious current.

  \1/Born at Tyre. His original name was Malchus, so that he was a Semite (for Malchus as a Christian name in the vicinity of Caesarea (Pal.) during Valerian's reign, cp. Eus., HE., vii, 12).

  \2/Like Porphyry and Julian at a later period, however, Celsus lets Judaism alone, because it was a national religion. Apropos of an oracle of Apollo against the Christians, Porphyry observes : " In his quidem irremediabile sententiae Christianorum rnanifestavit Apollo, quoniam Judaei suscipiunt deum magis quarn isti " (10 In these verses Apollo exposed the incurable corruption of Christians, since it is the Jews, said he, more than the Christians, who recognize God "),

Aug., de Civil. Dei, xix. 26.


[[503]] mythology. In the hands of those deceived deceivers, the apostles, this was still further exaggerated ; faith in the resur­rection rests upon nothing better than the evidence of a deranged woman, and from that day to this the mad folly has gone on increasing and exercising its power-for the assertion, which is flung out at one place, that it would speedily be swept out of existence, is retracted on a later page. Christianity, in short, is an anthropomorphic myth of the very worst type. Christian belief in providence is a shameless insult to the Deity-a chorus of frogs, forsooth, squatting in a bog and croaking, « For our sakes was the world created" !

But there is another side to all this. The criticism of Celsus brings out some elements of truth which deserve to be considered ; and further, wherever the critic bethinks himself of religion, he betrays throughout his volume an undercurrent of feeling which far from being consonant with his fierce verdict. For although he shuts his eyes to it, apparently unwilling to admit that Christianity could be, and had already been, stated reasonably, he cannot get round that fact ; indeed-unless we are quite deceived-he has no intention whatever of concealing it from the penetrating, reader. Since there has really to be such a thing as religion, since it is really a necessity, the agnosticism of Celsus leads him to make a concession which does. not differ materially from the Christian conception of God. He cannot take objection to much in the ethical counsels of Jesus-his censure of them as a plagiarism being simply the result of perplexity. And when Christians assert that the Logos is the Son of God, what can Celsus do but express his own agreement with this dictum ? Finally, the whole book culminates in a warm patriotic appeal to Christians not to withdraw from the common regime, but to lend their aid in order to enable the emperor to maintain the vigour of the empire with all its ideal benefits.' Law and piety must be upheld against their inward and external foes ! Surely we can read between

r In several of the proceedings against Christians the magistrate expresses his concern lest the exclusiveness of Christians excite anarchy ; cp., e.g., the Ada Fructuosi Tart-ac.. ii.: "Qui audiuntur, qui timentur, qui adorantur, si dii non coluntur nee imperatorum vultus adorantur?"




 the lines. Claim no special position for yourselves, says Celsus, in effect, to Christians ! Don't rank yourselves on the same
level as the empire! On these terms we are willing to tolerate you and your religion. At bottom, in fact, the "True Word" of Celsus is nothing more than a political pamphlet, a thinly disguised overture for peace.\1/

A hundred years later, when Porphyry wrote against the Christians, a great change had come over the situation. Christianity had become a power. It had taken a Greek shape, but "the foreign myths" were still retained, of course, while in most cases at least it had preserved its sharp distinc­tion between the creator and the creation, or between God and nature, as well as its doctrine of the incarnation and its paradoxical assertions of an end for the world and of the . resurrection. This was where Porphyry struck in, that great philosopher of the ancient world. He was a pupil of Plotinus and Longinus. For years he had been engaged in keen controversy at Rome with teachers of the church and gnostics, realizing to the full that the matter at stake was God himself and the treasure possessed by mankind, viz., rational religious truth. Porphyry knew nothing of political ideals. The empire had indeed ceased to fill many people with enthusiasm. Its restorer had not yet arrived upon the scene, and religious philosophy was living meanwhile in a State which it wished to begin and rebuild. Porphyry himself retired to Sicily, where he wrote his fifteen books " Against the Christians." This work, which was " answered " by four leading teachers of the church (Methodius, p usebius, Apollinarius, and Philostorgius), perished, together with his other polemical treatises, owing to the victory of the church and by order of the emperor. All that we possess is a number of fragments, of which the most numerous and impor­tant occur in Macarius Magnes. For I have no doubt whatever that Porphyry is the pagan philosopher in that author's " Apocriticus." 2

\1/Caecilius, too, was in the last resort a politician and a patriot, since he defended the old religion by asserting that "by means of it Rome has won the world" (lYlin Felix V .,.).

  \2/At best we must leave it an open question whether a plagiarism has been per. petrated upon Porphyry.


[[505]] This work of Porphyry is perhaps the most ample and thoroughgoing treatise which has ever been written against ,Christianity. It earned for its author the titles of 71 v-rwv 3uT,uevETTaTOS Kai 7roXeµwraToc ("most malicious and hostile of all"), " hostis dei, veritatis inimicus, sceleratarum artium magister" (God's enemy, a foe to truth, a master of accursed arts), and so forth.' But, although our estimate can only be msed on fragments, it is not too much to say that the con­troversy between the philosophy of religion and Christianity lies to-day in the very position in which Porphyry placed it. Even at this time of day Porphyry remains unanswered. teally he is unanswerable, unless one is prepared first of all to agree with him and proceed accordingly to reduce Christianity to its quintessence. In the majority of his positive statements he was correct, while in his negative criticism of what represented itself in the third century to be Christian doctrine, he was certainly as often right as wrong. In matters of detail he betrays a good deal of ignorance, and he forgets standards of criticism which elsewhere he has at his command.

The weight which thus attaches to his work is due to the fact that it was based upon a series of very thoroughgoing studies of the Bible, and that it was undertaken from the religious standpoint. Moreover, it must be conceded that the author's aim was neither to be impressive nor to persuade or take the reader by surprise, but to give a serious and accurate refutation of Christianity. He wrought in the bitter sweat of his brow-this idealist, who was convinced that whatever was refuted would collapse. Accordingly, he confined his attention o what he deemed the cardinal points of the controversy. These four points were as follows:-He desired to demolish he myths of Christianity, i.e., to prove that, in so far as they

  \1/Augustine, however, called him " the noble philosopher, the great philosopher. of the Gentiles, the most learned of philosophers, although the keenest foe to Christians" ("philosophus nobilis, magnus gentilium philosophus, doctissimus philosophorum, quamvis Christianorum acerrimus inimicus," de Civit. Dei, xix. 22). ,gmpare the adjectives showered on him by Jerome : "Fool, impious, blasphemer, math shameress, a sycophant, a calumniator of the, church, a mad dog attacking Christ",(" Stultus, impius, blasphemus, vesanus, impudens, sycophantes, calum­

tor ecclesiae, rabidus adversus Christum canis ").





were derived from the Old and New Testaments, they were historicallyy untenable, since these sources were themselves turbid and full of contradictions. He did not reject the Bible in toto as a volume of lies. On the contrary, he valued a great deal of it as both true and divine. Nor did he identify the Christ of the gospels with the historical Christ.' For the latter he entertained a deep regard, which rose to the pitch of a religion. But with relentless powers of criticism he showed .in scores of cases that if certain traits in the gospels were held to be historical, they could not possibly be genuine, and that they blurred and distorted the figure of Christ. He dealt similarly with the ample materials which the church put together from the Old Testament as "prophecies of Christ." But; the most interesting part of his criticism is unquestionably that passed upon Paul. If there are any lingering doubts in the mind as to whether the apostle should be credited, in the last instance, to Jewish instead of to Hellenistic Christianity, these doubts may be laid to rest by a study of Porphyry. This

  \1/It is only in a modified sense, therefore, that he can be described as an ' opponent" of Christianity. As Wendland very truly puts it, in his Christentunt u. Heltenismus (1902), p. 12, "The fine remarks of Porphyry in the third book of his aepl ris tic Aoylwv PLxooopias (pp. 180 f., Wolff), remarks to which theo­logians have not paid attention, show how from the side of Neoplatonism also attempts were made to bring about a mutual understanding and reconciliation." "Praeter opinionem," says Porphyry (cp. August., de Civit. Dei, xix. 23), "pro fecto quibusdam videatur esse quod dicturi sumus. Christum enim dii piissimum pronuntiaverunt et immortalem factum et cum bona praedicatione eius merninerunt, Christianos vero pollutos et contaminatos et errore implicatos esse dicunt" (" What I am going to say may indeed appear extraordinary to some people. The gods have declared Christ to have been most pious ; he has become immortal, and by them his memory is cherished. Whereas the Christians are a polluted secs, contaminated and enmeshed in error"). Origen (Cels., I. xv., IV. Ii.) tells how Numenius, the Pythagorean philosopher, quoted the Jewish scriptures with deep respect, interpreting them allegorically (Clem. Alex., Strom., i. 22. 150, indeed ascribes to him the well-known saying that Plato is simply Moses Atticizing­ Tt ydp EQTL nxdTwv ~ Mwvaiis cTTLHfCwv ; cp. also Hesych. Miles. in Miiller''i; Fragm. Hist. Gr., iv. 175, and Suidas, s. v. "Novyjjvios," with the more cautious remarks of Eusebius in his Preep., xi. 9. 8-r8, 25). Amelius the Platonist, a con­temporary of Origen, quoted the gospel of John with respect (Eus., Prap., xi. 19. r) ; cp. August., de Civ it. Dei, x. 29: " Initium evangelii secundum Johannens quidam Platonicus aureis litteris conscribendum et per omnes ecclesias in loci; eminentissimis proponendum esse dicebat " (" A certain Platonist used to say that the opening of John's gospel should be inscribed in golden letters and set up in the most prominent places of every church " }.


[[507]] critic, a Hellenist of the first water, feels keener antipathy to Paul than to any other Christian. Paul's dialectic is totally unintelligible to him, and he therefore deems it both sophistical and deceitful. Paul's proofs resolve themselves for him into fiat contradictions, whilst in the apostle's personal testimonies lie sees merely an unstable, rude, and insincere rhetorician, who is a foe to all noble and liberal culture. It is from the hostile criticism of Porphyry that we learn for the first time what highly cultured Greeks found so obnoxious in the idiosyncrasies ,f Paul. In matters of detail he pointed to much that was really offensive ; but although the offence in Paul almost always `vanishes so soon as the critic adopts a different standpoint, Porphyry never lighted upon that standpoint.'

Negative criticism upon the historical character of the Christian religion, however, merely paved the way for Porphyry's full critical onset upon the three doctrines of the ,faith which he regarded as its most heinous errors. The first of these was the Christian doctrine of creation, which separated the world from God, maintained its origin within time, and excluded any reverent, religious view of the universe as a whole. In rejecting this he also rejected the doctrine of the world's overthrow as alike irrational and irreligious ; the one was involved in the other. He then directed his fire against the doctrine of the Incarnation,, arguing that the Christians made a false separation (by their doctrine of a creation in time) and

The apostle Paul began to engage the attention of pagans as well. This comes e.g., in the cross-examinations of the Egyptian governor Culcianus (shortly after 303 A.D.), as is confirmed by the two discussions between him and Phileas and Dioscorus (cp. Quentin, "Passio S. Dioscuri" in .final Boll., vol. xxv., 1905, PP. 321 f.), discussions which otherwise are quite independent of each other. In the latter Culcianus asks, "Was Paul a god ? " In the former he asks, "He did not immolate himself?" Further, "Paul was not a persecutor?" "Paul was not an uneducated person? He was not a Syrian? He did not dispute in Syriac?" (To which Phileas replies, "He was a Hebrew; he disputed in Greek, and held wisdom to be the chief thing.") Finally, "Perhaps you are going to claim that he excelled Plato?" I know of nothing like this in other cross­examinations, and I can only conjecture, with Quentin, that it is an authentic trait. At that period, about the beginning of the Diocletian persecution, the Scriptures were ordered to be given up. The very fact of this order shows that the state had come to recognize their importance, and this in turn presupposes, as it promoted, a certain acquaintance with their contents.



a false union (by their doctrine of the incarnation) between God and the world. Finally, there was the opposition he offered; to the Christian doctrine of the resurrection.

On these points Porphyry was inexorable, warring against Christianity as against the worst of mankind's foes ; but in every other respect he was quite at one with the Christian. philosophy of religion,, and was perfectly conscious of this unity. And in his day the Christian philosophy of religion was no longer entirely inexorable on the points just mentioned; it made great efforts to tone down its positions for the benefit of Neoplatonism, as well as to vindicate its scientific (and therefore its genuinely Hellenic) character.

How close 1 the opposing forces already stood to one another ! Indeed, towards the end of his life Porphyry seems to have laid greater emphasis upon the points which he held in common with the speculations of Christianity ; 2 the letter he addressed to his wife Marcella might almost have been written by a Christian. 3

In the work of Porphyry Hellenism wrote its testament with regard to Christianity-for Julian's polemical treatise savoured

r This is particularly clear from the Neoplatonic works which were translated into Latin, and which came into the possession of Augustine (Confess., vii. 9). He owed a great deal to them, although he naturally conceals part of his debt. He admits frankly that the ideas of John i. 1-5, 9, 10, 13, 16, and Phil. ii. 6, were contained in these volumes.

2 The magical; thaunraturgic element which Porphyry, for all his clear, scientific intellect, held in honour, was probably allowed to fall into the background while he attacked the Christians. But his Christian opponents took note of it. Here, indeed, was one point on which they were the more enlightened of the two parties, so far as they were not already engulfed themselves in the cult of relics and bones. The characterization of Porphyry which Augustine gives in the de Civit. Dei (x. 9) is admirable: "Nana et Porphyrius quandam quasi purgationem aninae per theurgian, cunctanter tamen et pudibunda quodam modo disputation, promitlit, reversionem vero ad deum hanc artem praestare cuiquam negat, ut videas eum inter vitium sacrilegae curiositatis et philosophiae professionenr sententiis alternan. tibus fuctuare" (" For even Porphyry holds out the prospect of some kind of purgation of the soul by aid of theurgy ; though he does so with some hesitation' and shame, denying that this art can secure for anyone a return to God. Thus you can detect his judgment vacillating between the profession of philosophy and an art which he feels to be both sacrilegious and presumptuous ").

s The Christian charm of the letter corns from the pagan basis of the Sextus sayings which are preserved in the Christian recension ; cp. my Chronzologie, ii. 2, pp. 190 f.               .,

COUNTER-MOVEMENTS              509

more of a retrograde movement. The church managed to get the testament ignored and invalidated, but not until she had four times answered its contentions. It is an irreparable loss that these replies have not come down to us, though it is hardly a loss so far as their authors are concerned.

We have no information regarding the effect produced by the work, beyond what may be gathered from the horror displayed by the fathers of the church. Yet even a literary work of superior excellence could hardly have won the day. The religion of the church had become a world-religion by the lime, that Porphyry wrote, and no professor can wage war successfully against such religions, unless his hand grasps the sword of the reformer as well as the author's pen.

[[extra space]]

The daily intercourse of Christians and pagans is not to be estimated, even in Tertullian's age, from the evidence supplied Iry-episodes of persecution. It is unnecessary to read between the lines of his ascetic treatises, for numerous passages show, inv­oluntarily but unmistakably, that as a rule everything went on smoothly in their mutual relationships. People lived together, bought and sold, entertained each other, and even intermarried. In later days it was certainly not easy to distinguish absolutely between a Christian and a non-Christian in daily life. Many u Christian belonged to 11 society " (see Book IV. Chap. II.), and the number of those who took umbrage at the faith steadily diminished. Julius Africanus was the friend of Alexander 3everus and Abgar. Hippolytus corresponded with the empress. Origen had a position in the world of scholarship, where he enjoyed great repute. Paul of Samosata, who was a bishop, formed an influential and familar figure in the city of Antioch. The leading citizens of Carthage-who do not seem to have been Christians-were friends of Cyprian, according to the latter's I?iography (ch. xiv.), and even when he lay in prison they were true to him. « Meantime a large number of eminent people assembled, people, too, of high rank and good family as well as of excellent position in this world. All of these, for the sake of their old friendship with Cyprian, advised him to beat a retreat. And to make their advice substantial, they further offered him



places to which he might retire" (" Conveniebant interim plures egregii et clarissimi ordinis et sanguinis, sed et saeculi nobilitate generosi, qui propter amicitiatn eius antiquam secessum subinde suaderent, et ne parum esset nuda suadela, etiam loca in quite secederet offerebant "). Arnobius, Lactantius, and several others were philosophers and teachers of repute. Yet all this cannot obscure the fact that, even by the opening of the fourth century, Christianity still found the learning of the ancient world, so far as that survived, in opposition to itself. One swallow does not make a summer. One Origen, for all his following, could not avail to change the real posture of affairs. Origen's Christianity was passed over as an idiosyncrasy; it commended itself to but a small section of contemporary scholars ; and while people learned criticism, erudition, and philosophy from him, they shut their eyes to his religion. Nor were matters otherwise till the middle of the fourth century. Learning continued to be "pagan." It was the great theologians of Cappadocia and, to a more limited extent, those of Antioch (though the latter, judged by modern standards, were more scientific than the former), who were the first to inaugurate a change in this respect, albeit within well-defined limits. They were followed in this by Augustine. Throughout the East, ancient learning really never came to terms at all with Christianity, not even by the opening of the fifth century ; but, on the other hand, it was too weak to be capable of maintaining itself side by side with the church in her position of privilege, and consequently it perished by degrees. By the time that it died, however, Christianity had secured possession of a segment, which was by no means inconsiderable, of the circle of human learning.


Hergenrother (Handbuch der allgem. Kirchengesch., i. pp. 109 f.) has drawn up, with care and judgment, a note of twenty causes for the expansion of Christianity, together with as many causes which must have operated against it. The survey is not without value, but it does not clear up the problem. If the missionary preaching of Christianity in word and deed embraced [[511]] all that we have attempted to state in Book II., and if it was allied to forces such as those which have come under our notice in Book III., then it is hardly possible to name the collective reasons for the success, or for the retardation, of the movement. Still less can one think of grading them, or of determining their relative importance one by one. Finally, one has always to recollect not only the variety of human aptitudes and needs and culture, but also the development which the missionary preach­ing of Christianity itself passed through, between the initial stage and the close of the third century.

Reflecting more closely upon this last-named consideration, oue'realizes that the question here has not been correctly put, and also that it does not admit of any simple, single answer. At the opening of the mission we have Paul and some anonymous apostles. They preach the unity of God and the near advent of judgment, bringing tidings to mankind of Jesus Christ, who ad recently been crucified, as the Son of God, the Judge, the

aviour. Almost every statement here seems paradoxical and upsetting. Towards the close of our epoch, there was prob­ably' hardly one regular missionary at work. The scene was oCcupied by a powerful church with an impressive cultus of its own, with priests, and with sacraments, embracing a system of doctrine and a philosophy of religion which were capable of competing on successful terms with any of their rivals.

This church exerted a missionary influence in virtue of her very ccaystence, inasmuch as she came forward to represent the con­aammation of all previous movements in the history of religion. Aazd to this church the human race round the basin of the Jfediter­a'anean belonged without exception, about the year 300, in so far a.v the religion, morals, and higher attainments of these nations hare' of any, consequence. The paradoxical, the staggering e ements in Christianity were still there. Only, they were set ui a broad frame of what was familiar and desirable and "natural"; they were' clothed in a vesture of mysteries which made people either glad to welcome any strange, astonishing item in the religion, or at least able to put up with it.'

\1/ Alongside of the church in its developed form, one man may perhaps be mentioned who did more than all the rest put together for the mission of Christi-





Thus, in the first instance at any rate, our question must not run, « How did Christianity win over so many Greeks an(] Romans as to become ultimately the strongest religion in point of numbers?" The proper form of our query must be, '° How did Christianity express itself, so as inevitably to become the religion for the world, tending more and more to displace other religions, and drawing men to itself as to a magnet?" For ate answer to this question we must look partly to the history of Chris­tian dogma and of the Christian cultus. For the problem does not. lie solely within the bounds of the history of Christian missions, and although we have kept it in view throughout the present work, it is impossible within these pages to treat it exhaustively.

One must first of all answer this question by getting some idea of the particular shape assumed by Christianity as missionary force about the year 50, the year 100, the year 15U, the year 200, the year 250, and the year 300 respectively. before we can think of raising the further question as to what, forces may have been dominant in the Christian propaganda at any one of these six epochs. Neither, of course, must we over­look the difference between the state of matters in the East and in the West, as well as in several groups of provinces. Anil even were one to fulfil all these preliminary conditions, on,, could not proceed to refer to definite passages as authoritative for a solution of the problem. All over, one has to deal with considerations which are of a purely general character. I must leave it to others to exhibit these considerations­with the caveat that it is easy to disguise the inevitable un­certainties that meet us in this field by means of the pedantrti which falls back on rubrical headings. The results of any' survey will be trustworthy only in so far as they amount to such commonplaces as, e.g., that the distinctively religious element was a stronger factor in-the mission at the outset than at a later period, that a similar remark applies to the charitable


[[512b]] anity among the learned classes, not only during his lifetime, but still more afttI his death. I mean Origen. He was the "Synzygus" of the Eastern church in the third century. The abiding influence of the man may be gathered, two centuries after he died, from the pages of Socrates the church historian. He domiciled the religion of the church in Hellenism (for thinkers and cultured people), so far as such a domicile was possible.


COUNTER-MOVEMENTS              513

and economic element in Christianity, that the conflict with poly­theism attracted some people and offended others, that the same tray be said of the rigid morality, and so forth.

From the very outset Christianity came forward with a spirit of universalism, by dint of which it laid hold of the entire life of man in all its functions, throughout its heights and depths, in all its feelings, thoughts, and actions. This guaranteed its triumph. In and with its universalism, it also declared that the Jesus whom -it preached' was the Logos. To him it referred everything that could possibly be deemed of human value, and rom him it carefully excluded whatever belonged to the purely natural sphere. From the very first it embraced humanity and he world, despite the small number of the elect whom it con­emplated. Hence it was that those very powers of attraction, by means of which it was enabled at once to absorb and to subordinate the whole of Hellenism, had a new light thrown upon them. They appeared almost in the light of a necessary eature in that age. Sin and foulness it put far from itself. But otherwise it built itself up by the aid of any element what­soever that was still capable of vitality (above all, by means of a powerful organization). Such elements it crushed as rivals and conserved as materials of its own life. It could do so for one reason-a reason which no one voiced, and of which no one was conscious, yet which every truly pious member of the church expressed in his own life. The reason was, that Christianity, viewed in its essence, was something simple, something which could blend with coefficients of the most diverse nature, something which, in fact, sought out all such coefficients. For Christianity, iu its simplest terms, meant God as the Father, the Judge and the Redeemer of men, revealed in and through Jesus Christ.

And was not this religion bound to conquer? Alongside of other religions it could not hold its own for any length of time ; still less could it succumb. Yes, victory was inevitable. It had to prevail. All the motives which operated in its extension are as nothing when taken one by one, in face of the propaganda which it exercised by means of its own development from Paul o Origen, a development which maintained withal an exclusive attitude towards polytheism and idolatry of every kind.


                            ADDENDA TO VOLUME I

P. 57, note 2, add : " We cannot at this point enter into the very complicated question of Paul's reputation in the Gentile church. The highest estimate of him prevailed among the Marcionites. Origen, after declaring that they held that Paul sat on Christ's right hand in heaven, with Mareion on his left, adds : ' Porro alii legentes : Mittam vobis advocatum spiritum veritatis, vdlunt intellegere apostolum Paulum' ( Hom. xxv. in Lucam, vol. v. pp. 181 f., ed. Lomm.). Even were these people supposed to belong to the Catholic church-which I think unlikely-this con­ception would not be characteristic of the great church. It would be rather abnormal."

P. 57, line 5 from top, add the following note : "The persecu­tion of king Herod now began. It was directed against the twelve (Acts xii.). He made an example of James the son of Zebedee, whom he caused to be executed (why, we do not know). Then lie had Peter put in prison, and, although the latter escaped death, he had to leave Jerusalem. This took place in the twelfth year after the death of Christ. Thereafter only individual apostles are to be found at Jerusalem. Peter was again there at
the Apostolic Council (so called). Paul makes his agreement not with the eleven, however, but simply with Peter, James the Lord's brother, and John. Where were the rest? Were they no longer in Jerusalem? or did they not count on such an occasion ? "

                 P. 355, line 23 from top, after "Hermas" add: "A whole series of teachers is mentioned by Clement of Alexandria, in a passage (Strom., i. 11) which also shows how international they were: 'My work is meant to give a simple outline and sketch of those clear, vital discourses and of those blessed and truly notable men whom I have been privileged to hear. Of these, one, an Ionian, was in Greece ; two others were in Magna Graecia-one of them came from Coele-Syria, the other from Egypt. Others, again, I met in the East : one came from Assyria, the other was a Hebrew by birth, in Palestine. When I came across the last (though in im­portance he was first of all), I found rest. I found him concealed in Egypt, that Sicilian bee.'"


 //end of Harnack book 3//