by Walter Bauer

[German original, copyright J.C.B.Mohr, Tübingen, 1934]

Second German Edition
edited and supplemented by Georg Strecker
[Copyright J.C.B.Mohr, T&uumlbingen, 1964]

English Translation
edited and supplemented by Robert A. Kraft
and Gerhard Kroedel with a team from the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins
[Copyright Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1971]

Updated Electronic English Edition
by Robert A. Kraft
[Copyright Robert A. Kraft, 10 April 1993

Codes for electronic version:
<ts>...</ts> title of ancient source
<tm>...</tm> title of modern (monographic) work
<tp>...</tp> title of modern periodical or series
<ta>...</ta> title of modern anthology
<te>...</te> title of modern encyclopedia or dictionary
<au>...</au> author
<ed>...</ed> editor and/or translator
<gk>...</gk> Greek word(s); Beta Code adapted transliteration
<lt>...</lt> Latin word(s)
<sy>...</sy> Syriac word(s)
<hb>...</hb> Hebrew word(s); Kraft adapted transliteration
<co>...</co> Coptic word(s); Beta Code adapted transliteration
<gm>...</gm> German word(s)
<fr>...</fr> French word(s)
<it>...</it> Italian word(s)
[[*###]] page number in the German 2nd edition -- e.g. [[*210]]
[[###]] page number in the English Translation -- e.g. [[135]]
\#/ footnote number -- e.g. \7/
date\# edition number -- e.g. 1965\3
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[footnotes are doubly indented and shown in blue]


Foreword to the Second German Edition, by Georg Strecker       xi
Introduction to the English Edition, by Robert A. Kraft                xiii


by Walter Bauer

ET by John E. Steely (text) and Robert A. Kraft (notes)

General History since Alexander the Great     1-2
Earliest Christianity There: Sources and Their Value
      Eusebius and the Abgar Legend     2-12
      Edessene Chronicle to the Fourth Century     12-17
Reconstruction of Earliest Christian History
      "Orthodoxy" before Kûnê in the Fourth Century (Palût)     17-22
  Predecessors and Competitors of Palûtian Christianity:Marcion, Bardesanes,
      Mani, and Their Literature (<ts>Diatessaron</ts>, Pauline Epistles)     22-32
  Kûnê and the Emergence of a Powerful "Orthodoxy": Dissemination of the Abgar Legend, Attacks on Rival Groups,
      Vindication of Paul through <ts>Acts of Paul/"3 Corinthians"</ts>     32-43

ET by David Hay

Silence of Sources concerning "Orthodoxy" in the Earliest Period of Egyptian Christianity     44-49
Earliest Known Representatives and Literature: Syncretistic Gnostic Writings,
     <ts>Gospel of the Egyptians</ts> and <ts>Gospel of the Hebrews</ts>     49-53
Establishment of Ecclesiastical Christianity under Demetrius and His Successors     53-56
The Half-century before the Victory of Demetrius: Origen and Clement of Alexandria     56-60

ET by Gerhard Krodel

Ignatius and the Monepiscopate:     61-63
     The Situation in Christian Antioch     63-66
     and among His Addressees in Asia Minor     66-69
Polycarp, Smyrna, and Philippi     69-74
Thessalonica     74-76
Crete (based on Dionysius of Corinth)     76

ET by Gerhard Krodel

The Addressees in Rev. I-3, Ignatius, and I Peter     77-83
Ephesus and Western Asia Minor, and Jewish Christian Influence There     83-89
Other Anti-Heretical New Testament Writings:
     Jude, 2 Peter, Pastorals (and Pliny), 1-3 John     89-94

ET by Stephen Benko

Rome and Achaia: Corinth and <ts>1 Clement</ts>     95-106
Rome and the Opponents of Heresy in the Period between <ts>1 Clement</ts>
     and Dionysius of Corinth     106-108
Rome and Christianity in Alexandria and Antioch     108-110

ET by Robert F. Evans

Rome's Appeal to Apostles, Especially Peter,     111-118
     and to Apostolic Succession     118-121
Roman Influence through Teaching and Material Assistance     121-124
Roman-Corinthian Opportunism and Adaptability     124-129

ET by David Steinmetz

Types of Confrontation: Oral and Written Polemics     130-132
The Montanist Controversy as an Example     132-146

ET by Howard Bream and Robert L. Wilken

Preservation of the Literature
   Problem of Identifying Polemical Literature     147-148
   The Evidence from Eusebius and His Special Pleading for "Orthodox" Literature     149-158
   The Problem of Forgery, Falsification, and Public Exposure     158-168
   Significance and Influence of Literature     168-169
Concentration of Anti-heretical Literature in the Western Areas,
     and Paucity of Non-orthodox Polemical Literature     170-173
   Types of Literature (etc.) Used     173-190
Relative Numerical Strength of Orthodoxy and Heresy     190-194

ET by Paul J. Achtemeier

Old Testament: Its Role as a Formative Influence     195-202
Lord: Traditions about Jesus in General,     202-206
     and the Fourth Gospel in Particular     206-212
Apostles: In General     212-213
     and Paul in Particular     213-228

ET by John E. Steely and John J. O'Rourke

Centrality of Rome for Christian "Orthodoxy" and Its Victorious Expansion Eastward     229-232
Early Resistance to Christianity in the East and the Course of the Pauline Mission     232-235
Flexibility, Recalcitrance, and Syncretism: The Situation that Paved the Way for Roman Orthodoxy     235-240


by Georg Strecker

ET by Gerhard Krodel

Jewish Christianity in General: Problems and Perspectives     241-244
Legalistic, Greek-Speaking Jewish Christianity
   The <ts>Didascalia</ts>, an Indirect Witness     244-257
   The <ts>Kerygmata Petrou</ts> Source of the ps.-Clementines     257-271
   The Ecclesiastical Attitude and "Ebionism"     272-284
Conclusions     284-285

revised and augmented by Robert A. Kraft
Reviews and Notices of the Original Edition:
     Continental Protestant, English Language, Roman Catholic,
     Synthetic Summary of the Reviewers' Comments         286-297
Turner's Reply to Bauer         297-302
General Influence of the Book     302-303
   Ehrhardt's Positive Appraisal     303-306
   Contemporary German Scholarship     306-310
Summary and Prospectus     310-316

Comprehensive Index 317
[[x]] [[*v]]


In earliest Christianity, orthodoxy and heresy do not stand in relation to one another as primary to secondary, but in many regions heresy is the original manifestation of Christianity. In the present work, Walter Bauer\1/ has developed this thesis in a consistent fashion, and not only has called into question in a fundamental way the traditional understanding of the development of church history and the historical foundation of ecclesiastical-orthodox self-understanding, but at the same time has indicated new directions for ecumenical discussion. The unfavorable political situation was, above all, responsible for denying the book a wider influence. Thus in the field of international scholarship, W. Bauer is known far less for being the pioneer of the approach to church history presented herein than as the author of the <tm>Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament</tm>.\2/ Therefore, thanks are all the more due to the publisher for the decision to make the work available [[xii]] once again, and thereby to create the possibility of a new and more thorough appreciation.

\1/ On the person and work of Bauer, see the memorial issue NTS 9 (1962/63): 1-38 (with presentations by F. W. Gingrich, W. Schneemelcher, and E. Fascher); also "In Memoriam Walter Bauer," <tm>Theologische Literaturzeitung</tm> 86 (1961): 313-316 (addresses by W. Zimmerli and J. Jeremias at the funeral service). Bauer's bibliography can be found in <tm>Theologische Literaturzeitung</tm> 77 (1952): 501-504; and 86 (1961): 315 f. (compiled by C.-H. Hunzinger) and biographical information in the article "Bauer, W." in RGG\3, 1 (1957): 925 (by W. G. Kümmel).

\2/ [W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, <tm>A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: a Translation and Adaptation of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur, fourth revised and augmented edition, 1952</tm> (Chicago/Cambridge [Eng.]: University Press, 1957). A revised fifth German edition appeared in 1957, and materials for a revised English edition are being gathered.]


Just a few weeks before his unexpected death on 17 November, 1960, Walter Bauer had learned of the proposed new edition and, with kind words, expressed agreement with the plan and with the person of the reviser. The task that faced the undersigned [[*vi]] was first of all to correct typographical errors and other minor oversights, and to introduce such improvements as were envisioned by the author, according to his annotated copy.\3/ Apart from these additions, the text of the work has remained unchanged -- it was even possible to retain the same pagination. Secondly, it was necessary to deal with the current state of the discussion. This task is undertaken in a double appendix, so as not to infringe upon the character of the original work. Following the original plan, this supplementary material includes a more detailed consideration of Jewish Christianity, and, in addition, an account of the reception of the book. In both parts an effort has been made to indicate possibilities and directions for elaborating Bauer's position and to provide a critical evaluation of more recent investigations of similar orientation.\4/

\3/ [The addition of two footnotes (51 n. 31, 59 n. 59) and a reference to Josephus at the end of 153 n. 12 should be noted, as well as the inclusion of an index of modern authors.]

\4/ [The second appendix has been extensively revised and restructured by R. A. Kraft for this English edition.]


Thanks are expressed to all who have contributed to the production of this edition; in particular to Prof. D. Philip Vielhauer, from whose suggestion the form of the supplementary material essentially derives, and to Frau L. Bauer, who with constant, kindly assistance made accessible her husband's literary remains, and placed at my disposal the manuscript of the book, notes from three lectures that were delivered in September and October of 1933 on the same subject in Uppsala and Sondershausen, the author's annotated personal copy, and also his collection of reviews. My wife has assisted me in the expansion of the index and in reading proofs, and thus, with the others named, also deserves the thanks of the reader.

Georg Strecker
Bonn, September 1963 [[xiii]]


It is not surprising that Bauer's investigation of "orthodoxy" and "heresy" in early Christianity has had relatively little direct influence on the English-speaking world (see appendix 2) and, despite its obvious significance and its presence on reading lists for advanced study in Christian origins, never has been translated into English. The book was written for a rather limited audience -- it is not an introductory volume for the beginner, nor is it a synthesis of modern opinions about the subject matter, but was written for scholars, as an original, front-line contribution to the progress of historical investigation. Bauer presupposes that his readers are conversant with the subject matter at more than an elementary level (see below, xxiv f.). In short, this investigation originally was oriented toward an audience that would be difficult to find today outside the hallways and classrooms of the best institutions of higher learning.

There is also another reason that became increasingly obvious to those who contributed their time and energy in preparing this edition. Quite apart from the difficulty of the subject matter (particularly in chap. 1!), Bauer's German style presents a complex and frustrating problem for the translator who hopes to capture something of the "tone" or "flavor" of the original as well as representing accurately its content. Bauer writes in a dynamic and highly sophisticated manner, mixing precision with irony and even insinuation, pictorial language with careful presentation of the historical evidence, hypotheses and caveats with the subtle use of overstatement and understatement in cleverly nuanced expressions. His German is literary but [[xiv]] not necessarily formal. Long sentences with closely interrelated parts appear alongside brief, sometimes cryptic or oblique comments couched in clever, often scholarly German idiom. Frequently the presentation flows along rapidly in an exciting manner, despite the difficulties of the subject matter -- but its flow is such that the motion is difficult to capture in translation, and is sometimes even difficult to follow in the original, unless one is already completely steeped in the evidence being discussed and in Bauer's general orientation toward it! Nor is it easy to represent the variety and nuances of his choice of vocabulary -- e.g. some readers will perhaps cringe at such renderings as "ecclesiastical" for <gm>kirchlich</gm> and related words, but the overuse of "orthodox" to cover even that word group in addition to <gm>rechtgläubig</gm> and orthodox seemed less than fair to Bauer's intention. Hopefully his meaning will not be seriously obscured in such instances.

Editorial Modifications in This Edition.
A philosophy of translation -- and also of scholarly serviceability -- underlies this English edition. Translations can be only more or less adequate, and the editors are fully aware of the fact that there will remain room for improvement at various places throughout the volume. This English edition does not aim at "popularization" of the original style (e.g. long sentences are seldom chopped up or radically recast at the expense of Bauer's precision), but attempts to be as faithful as possible to both the content and the "tone" of the original. At the same time, it attempts to increase the potential usefulness of the book for English readers both in the classroom and in the study by a variety of means:

(1) The pagination of the original has been retained wherever possible by the use of bracketed bold type numbers inserted into the text at the appropriate places. Thus there should be little difficulty in using this edition to locate material referred to in earlier publications based on the two German editions (except for the footnotes which have been renumbered, and for appendix 2, which has been extensively revised).

(2) English translations (or equivalents) have been supplied for all non-English material (ancient or modern ) found in Bauer- Strecker, apart from a few Latin or Greek phrases included in standard English dictionaries. It should be noted, however, that although this edition may note the existence of an available ET (English translation) of mateial which Bauer (or Strecker) cites, the ET of that material which is supplied has been made especially for this volume [[xv]] with particular regard to the use made of the material in the German edition. This applies to modern as well as to ancient literature (cf. e.g. 44 and n.1 there). With some exceptions, the Greek, Latin, and Syriac words and passages found in Bauer-Strecker also are retained in this edition (Greek and Syriac in transliteration), and sometimes an ancient text has been expanded or supplied by the editors to help clarify the argument (e.g. xxiii n.1). In most instances, the ancient sources are referred to by English forms of their titles, rather than Latin or Greek -- a practice not without its frustrations, especially for the scholar!

(3) In the case of ancient texts, an attempt has been made to refer to standard editions in current use as well as to convenient ETs as available. For texts to which frequent reference is made in various parts of the book, this bibliographical information is included under the appropriate listing in the index; otherwise it is supplied in footnotes at the place of occurrence. Nevertheless, the reader/user will find that such tools as the patrologies of Altaner and/or Quasten, or for the less traveled paths of chap. 1, the <tm>Short Introduction</tm> by Wright, will be indispensable for following the presentation in all its detail (see the index).

(4) Where ETs or new editions of modern works mentioned by Bauer-Strecker are known to the editors, they have been included (or sometimes substituted) in the footnotes. Occasionally references to recent discoveries relevant for Bauer's argument also are added (e.g. 42 n.99).

(5) In general, the original footnote procedures have been modified considerably so that cross-references and brief references to ancient sources appear in the text itself, while longer references that might tend to interrupt the presentation unduly are contained in footnotes along with references to modern literature, parenthetical comments, supplementary information, and the like ( see e.g. 2 n.3 for an example of reshuffling and revision). Full bibliographical information normally is provided at the initial reference to modern works; thereafter, the author's name and a short title appear. The index is so constructed as to facilitate locating such bibliographical data.

Use of Brackets.
It has proved difficult consistently to alert the reader to the presence of such editorial adjustments at their numerous occurrences in this edition. For some changes, it has seemed unnecessary to do so -- e.g. the addition of cross- references, substitution [[xvi]] of an English edition for a German title (cf. e.g. 17 n.34, where Bauer referred to the German translation of Burkitt's book!), explicit mention of certain biblical references implied by Bauer's treatment (e.g. 234). Instances of substantial editorial additions, however, consistently have been designated by the use of brackets; certain minor supplements also are so marked. But where brackets occur within direct quotations (e.g. 3) or within parentheses, it is not to be assumed that expansion by the American editors is present; on the contrary, such instances usually represent a normal use of brackets under those conditions, and have no special significance.

Editorial Responsibility.
Almost without exception, the substantive editorial additions are the responsibility of R. A. Kraft, who has prepared the final form of the manuscript for the press and has attempted to standardize such things as footnote form and to reduce as much as possible any obvious inconsistencies in translation and style. It was the primary editorial responsibility of G. Krodel to check the work of the individual translators for accuracy of their understanding of the German. Translating is, for the most part, a thankless task -- and a difficult one if done carefully. Great appreciation is due to the translation team for their unselfish efforts.

The comprehensive index at the end of the volume is an experiment aimed at facilitating efficient use of the book. It includes not only such expected matters as subject and author entries, but also lists abbreviations and provides reference to editions and ETs of ancient sources cited frequently throughout the book. For less frequently cited sources, the material normally appears at the initial footnote reference. The index also is intended as a bibliographical tool for modern works cited, since it directs the user to the appropriate footnote (usually the first mentioned) in which such data is included.

Backgound of the Translation, Acknowledgements.
This English edition of Bauer represents the work of a team of translators from the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins (PSCO). In the spring of 1966, the seminar members voted to devote the forthcoming year to a study of Bauer's book, under the cochairmanship of J. Reumann (Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia) and R. A. Kraft. Concurrently, a subcommittee was formed to produce a translation of the volume, with Krodel and Kraft designated as final editors. [[xvii]] Negotiations with Fortress Press were opened immediately, and by the time the 1966/67 seminar commenced in the fall, Fortress Press had committed itself to the project and was negotiating for translation rights from the German publisher. Originally, it was proposed that two volumes be published: (1) a translation of the original 1934 edition of Bauer, and (2) a volume of supplementary studies including the material added by Strecker in the 1964 edition. Although this plan was abandoned in deference to the wishes of the German editor, it was agreed that the second appendix could be revised for the purposes of this edition, with added attention to the impact of Bauer's book in the English- speaking world.

Meanwhile, it was discovered that John E. Steely of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary had been at work independently on a translation of the book. When he learned of the PSCO project, he made his rough draft translation available (extending through the opening pages of appendix 1, without footnotes) and agreed to cooperate as a member of the team in seeing the project through to its completion. His draft proved useful not only as an extra checkpoint in editing the work of the team, but was used as the basic translation for two chapters of this edition. The translation team generously agreed that any monetary profit from the book should be channelled through the PSCO for the establishment of a series of scholarly publications dealing with Christian origins apart from New Testament proper.

Appreciation is due to Fortress Press for encouraging this project and undertaking to publish it, and to the many members and friends of the PSCO who became involved at various levels -- including a special debt to Niel J. McEleney of St. Paul's College in Washington D.C. for working through the final draft and offering several valuable suggestions. Professor Strecker also deserves thanks for making himself available by mail, especially in connection with the revision of the second appendix. Finally, for the often thankless task of transforming complicated handwritten materials into the final product presented here, mention should be made of those who, like Joan Krodel and the secretaries from the Department of Religious Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, contributed their time and talents.

Robert A. Kraft, for the editors and the translation team
July l970 [[xxi]] [[*1]]


by Walter Bauer

"Orthodoxy" and "heresy": we all know what enormous importance is attached to these two concepts for the history of our religion. Usually, however, investigation of this subject tends to focus upon the later epochs. The period of Christian origins is, as a rule, passed over rather briefly. Of course, the "errors" combatted in the earliest literature of Christianity are described and investigated from various points of view, with this or that result. But this is usually done with implicit, or even explicit, assent to the view that any such divergence really is a corruption of Christianity.

But if we follow such a procedure, and simply agree with the judgment of the anti-heretical fathers for the post-New Testament period, do we not all too quickly become dependent upon the vote of but one party -- that party which perhaps as much through favorable circumstances as by its own merit eventuaIly was thrust into the foreground, and which possibly has at its disposal today the more powerful, and thus the more prevalent voice, only because the chorus of others has been muted? Must not the historian, like the judge, preside over the parties and maintain as a primary principle the dictum <lt>audiatur et altera pars</lt> [let the other side also be heard]? When one side cannot, because of anxiety, confusion, or clumsiness, gain proper recognition, is it not the obligation of the judge -- and, <lt>mutatis mutandis</lt> of the historian -- to assist it, as best he can, to unfold its case instead of simply submitting to the mental agility and firmness, the sagacity and loquacity of the other? Does either judge or historian dare to act as though whatever cannot be read and understood by everyone as part of the public records never existed, and thus is unimportant for passing sentence? [[xxii]]

In our day and age, there is no longer any debate [[*2]] that in terms of a scientific approach to history, the New Testament writings cannot be understood properly if one now looks back on them from the end of the process of canonization as sacred books, and prizes them as constituent parts of the celestial charter of salvation, with all the attendant characteristics. We have long since become accustomed to undertanding them in terms of their own time -- the gospels as more or less successfuI attempts to relate the life of Jesus; the Pauline letters as occasional writings, connected with specific and unrepeatable situations, and having spatial as well as temporal limitations to their sphere of authority. We must also approach the "heretics" in the same way. We need to understand them also in terms of their own time, and not to evaluate them by means of ecclesiastical doctrine which was developing, or which later became a ready-made norm.

We can determine adequately the significance the "heretics" possessed for nascent and developing Christianity only when we, insofar as it is possible, place ourselves back into the period in which they went about their business, and without hesitation cast all our preconceived ideas aside. We must remain open to all possibilities. What constitutes "truth" in one generation can be out of date in the next -- through progress, but also through retrogression into an earlier position. The actual situation in one region may not obtain in another, and indeed, may never have had general currency.

Perhaps -- I repeat, perhaps -- certain manifestations of Christian life that the authors of the church renounce as "heresies" originally had not been such at all, but, at least here and there, were the only form of the new religion -- that is, for those regions they were simply "Christianity." The possibility also exists that their adherents constituted the majority, and that they looked down with hatred and scorn on the orthodox, who for them were the false believers. I do not say this in order to introduce some special use of language for the investigations which follow, so that "orthodoxy" designates the preference of the given majority, while "heresy" is characterized by the fact that only the minority adhere to it. Majority and minority can change places and then such a use of language, which would be able to represent this change only with difficulty, would easily lead to obscurities and misunderstandings. No, even in this book, "orthodoxy" and "heresy" will refer to what one customarily and [[*3]] usually [[xxiii]] understands them to mean. There is only this proviso, that we will not hear the two of them discussed by the church -- that is, by the one party -- but by history.

In order to exclude from the outset all modern impressions and judgments, I will proceed from the view concerning the heretics and their doctrines which was cherished already in the second century by the ancient church, and will test its defensibility in hopes of discovering, by means of such a critical procedure, a route to the goal. The ecclesiastical position includes roughly the following main points:

(1) Jesus reveals the pure doctrine to his apostles, partly before his death, and partly in the forty days before his ascension.

(2) After Jesus' final departure, the apostles apportion the world among themselves, and each takes the unadulterated gospel to the land which has been allotted him.

(3) Even after the death of the disciples the gospel branches out further. But now obstacles to it spring up within Christianity itself. The devil cannot resist sowing weeds in the divine wheatfield -- and he is successful at it. True Christians blinded by him abandon the pure doctrine. This development takes place in the following sequence: unbelief, right belief, wrong belief. There is scarcely the faintest notion anywhere that unbelief might be changed directly into what the church calls false belief. No, where there is heresy, orthodoxy must have preceded. For example, Origen puts it like this: "All heretics at first are believers; then later they swerve from the rule of faith."\1/

\1/ <ts>Commentary on the Song of Songs</ts>, 3 (to Cant. 2.2): <lt>omnes enim haeretici primo ad credulitatem veniunt, et post haec ab itinere fidei et dogmatum veritate declinant</lt> (ed. W. A. Baehrens, GCS 33 (1925); ET by R. P. Lawson, ACW 26 (1957]), See also the fragment from Origen on Proverbs (to 2.16), ed. Lommatzsch 13,228 (= PG 13, 28 f.). Tertullian speaks similarly at the end of <ts>Prescription against Heretics</ts> 36 in his analogy of the wild olive (or fig) tree (= heresy) which springs from a cultivated seed (= orthodox doctrine).


This view is so deeply rooted, and so widely held, that it applies even to such personalities as Mani, who is supposed to have been a presbyter of the church and a valiant warrior against both Jews and pagans, but then left the church because he took it as a personal offence that his students received such scanty recognition (see below, 39). In general, it is an opinion of orthodoxy that only impure motives drive the heretic from the church -- indeed, this must be so if [[xxiv]] the evil one is at the bottom of it all. Already Hegesippus, who was in Rome around the year 160, asserts that after the martyr's death of James the Just, Thebutis had begun to corrupt the church, which until then had been a pure virgin, [[*4]] through false belief, because he had not succeeded James as the leader of the Jerusalem community (EH 4.22.46). We hear similar things about Valentinus (below, 39 n.91, and 128), Marcion,\2/ and Bardesanes (below, 38 f.).

\2/ [Epiphanius <ts>Her.</ts> 42. 1.8; see also Tertullian <ts>Prescription against Heretics</ts>30 and <ts>Against Marcion</ts>4.4, and the <ts>Edessene Chronicle</ts>6 (below pp. 14 ff., 38).]


(4) Of course, right belief is invincible. In spite of all the efforts of Satan and his instruments, it repels unbelief and false belief, and extends its victorious sway ever further.

Scholarship has not found it difficult to criticize these convictions. It knows that the ecclesiastical doctrine was not yet present with James; likewise, that the twelve apostles by no means played the role assigned to them out of consideration for the purity and revealed nature of ecclesiastical dogma. Further, historical thinking that is worthy of this name refuses to employ here the correlatives "true" and "untrue," "bad" and "good." It is not easily convinced of the moral inferiority attributed to the heretics. It recognizes there the same embarrassed, and thus artificial, claim that emanated from Jewish Christianity when it asserted that Paul had sued for the hand of the high priest's daughter and, when it was denied him, began to rage against Torah (Epiphanius <ts>Her.</ts> 30.16).

Sooner or later, however, a point is reached at which criticism bogs down. For my tastes, it all too easily submits to the ecclesiastical opinion as to what is early and late, original and dependent, essential and unimportant for the earliest history of Christianity. If my impression is correct, even today the overwhelmingly dominant view remains that for the period of Christian origins, ecclesiastical doctrine (of course, only as this pertains to a certain stage in its development) already represents what is primary, while heresies, on the other hand somehow are a deviation from the genuine. I do not mean to say that this point of view must be false, but neither can I regard it as self-evident or even demonstrated and clearly established. Rather, we are confronted here with a problem that merits our attention.

In this way, the subject of my book is defined more precisely, and I am left free to bypass much else that also could be treated under [[xxv]] the title I have selected. For example, I do not intend to present once again a description of the tenets of the ancient heresies, but I presuppose that they are well known, along with many other things. We live in a time that demands concise discussion, and repetition of what already has been presented in a suitable manner [[*5]] should not be tolerated. Therefore, he who opens this book in hopes of finding therein a convenient synopsis of what fellow-scholars already have contributed to this or to that aspect of the theme will be disappointed.

As we turn to our task, the New Testament seems to be both too unproductive and too much disputed to be able to serve as a point of departure. The majority of its anti-heretical writings cannot be arranged with confidence either chronologically or geographically; nor can the more precise circumstances of their origin be determined with sufficient precision. It is advisable, therefore, first of all to interrogate other sources concerning the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy, so that, with the insights that may be gained there, we may try to determine the time and place of their origins. I have chosen to begin with Edessa and Egypt so as to obtain a glimpse into the emergence and the original condition of Christianity in regions other than those that the New Testament depicts as affected by this religion.

//End of Introductory Materials//

[Next: Chapter 1]