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Title: History of Dogma, Volume 1 (of 7)
Author: Harnack, Adolph, 1851-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Greek: To dogmatos onoma tês anthrôpinês echetai boulês te kai gnômês.
Hoti de touth' houtos echei, marturei men hikanôs hê dogmatikê tôn
iatrôn technê, martyrei de kai ta tôn philosophôn kaloumena dogmata.
Hoti de kai ta synklêto doxanta eti kai nun dogmata synklêtou legetai,
oudena agnoein oimai.]


Die Christliche Religion hat nichts in der Philosophie zu thun, Sie ist
ein machtiges Wesen für sich, woran die gesunkene und leidende
Menschheit von Zeit zu Zeit sich immer wieder emporgearbeitet hat, und
indem man ihr diese Wirkung zugesteht, ist sie über aller Philosophie
erhaben und bedarf von ihr keine Stütze.

Gesprache mit GOETHE von ECKERMANN,
2 Th p 39.











Ein theologisches Buch erhält erst dadurch einen Platz in der
Weltlitteratur, dass es Deutsch und Englisch gelesen werden kann. Diese
beiden Sprachen zusammen haben auf dem Gebiete der Wissenschaft vom
Christenthum das Lateinische abgelöst. Es ist mir daher eine grosse
Freude, dass mein Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte in das Englische
übersetzt worden ist, und ich sage dem Uebersetzer sowie den Verlegern
meinen besten Dank.

Der schwierigste Theil der Dogmengeschichte ist ihr Anfang, nicht nur
weil in dem Anfang die Keime für alle späteren Entwickelungen liegen,
und daher ein Beobachtungsfehler beim Beginn die Richtigkeit der ganzen
folgenden Darstellung bedroht, sondern auch desshalb, weil die Auswahl
des wichtigsten Stoffs aus der Geschichte des Urchristenthums und der
biblischen Theologie ein schweres Problem ist. Der Eine wird finden,
dass ich zu viel in das Buch aufgenommen habe, und der Andere zu
wenig--vielleicht haben Beide recht; ich kann dagegen nur anführen, dass
sich mir die getroffene Auswahl nach wiederholtem Nachdenken und
Experimentiren auf's Neue erprobt hat.

Wer ein theologisches Buch aufschlägt, fragt gewöhnlich zuerst nach dem
"Standpunkt" des Verfassers. Bei geschichtlichen Darstellungen sollte
man so nicht fragen. Hier handelt es sich darum, ob der Verfasser einen
Sinn hat für den Gegenstand den er darstellt, ob er Originales und
Abgeleitetes zu unterscheiden versteht, ob er seinen Stoff volkommen
kennt, ob er sich der Grenzen des geschichtlichen Wissens bewusst ist,
und ob er wahrhaftig ist. Diese Forderungen enthalten den kategorischen
Imperativ für den Historiker; aber nur indem man rastlos an sich selber
arbeitet, sind sie zu erfullen,--so ist jede geschichtliche Darstellung
eine ethische Aufgabe. Der Historiker soll in jedem Sinn _treu_ sein: ob
er das gewesen ist, darnach soll mann fragen.

_Berlin_, am 1. Mai, 1894.



No theological book can obtain a place in the literature of the world
unless it can be read both in German and in English. These two languages
combined have taken the place of Latin in the sphere of Christian
Science. I am therefore greatly pleased to learn that my "History of
Dogma" has been translated into English, and I offer my warmest thanks
both to the translator and to the publishers.

The most difficult part of the history of dogma is the beginning, not
only because it contains the germs of all later developments, and
therefore an error in observation here endangers the correctness of the
whole following account, but also because the selection of the most
important material from the history of primitive Christianity and
biblical theology is a hard problem. Some will think that I have
admitted too much into the book, others too little. Perhaps both are
right. I can only reply that after repeated consideration and experiment
I continue to be satisfied with my selection.

In taking up a theological book we are in the habit of enquiring first
of all as to the "stand-point" of the Author. In a historical work there
is no room for such enquiry. The question here is, whether the Author is
in sympathy with the subject about which he writes, whether he can
distinguish original elements from those that are derived, whether he
has a thorough acquaintance with his material, whether he is conscious
of the limits of historical knowledge, and whether he is truthful. These
requirements constitute the categorical imperative for the historian:
but they can only be fulfilled by an unwearied self-discipline. Hence
every historical study is an ethical task. The historian ought to be
faithful in every sense of the word; whether he has been so or not is
the question on which his readers have to decide.

_Berlin_, 1st May, 1894.



The task of describing the genesis of ecclesiastical dogma which I have
attempted to perform in the following pages, has hitherto been proposed
by very few scholars, and, properly speaking, undertaken by one only. I
must therefore crave the indulgence of those acquainted with the subject
for an attempt which no future historian of dogma can avoid.

At first I meant to confine myself to narrower limits, but I was unable
to carry out that intention, because the new arrangement of the material
required a more detailed justification. Yet no one will find in the
book, which presupposes the knowledge of Church history so far as it is
given in the ordinary manuals, any repertory of the theological thought
of Christian antiquity. The diversity of Christian ideas, or of ideas
closely related to Christianity, was very great in the first centuries.
For that very reason a selection was necessary; but it was required,
above all, by the aim of the work. The history of dogma has to give an
account, only of those doctrines of Christian writers which were
authoritative in wide circles, or which furthered the advance of the
development; otherwise it would become a collection of monographs, and
thereby lose its proper value. I have endeavoured to subordinate
everything to the aim of exhibiting the development which led to the
ecclesiastical dogmas, and therefore have neither, for example,
communicated the details of the gnostic systems, nor brought forward in
detail the theological ideas of Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, etc. Even a
history of Paulinism will be sought for in the book in vain. It is a
task by itself, to trace the aftereffects of the theology of Paul in the
post-Apostolic age. The History of Dogma can only furnish fragments
here; for it is not consistent with its task to give an accurate account
of the history of a theology the effects of which were at first very
limited. It is certainly no easy matter to determine what was
authoritative in wide circles at the time when dogma was first being
developed, and I may confess that I have found the working out of the
third chapter of the first book very difficult. But I hope that the
severe limitation in the material will be of service to the subject. If
the result of this limitation should be to lead students to read
connectedly the manual which has grown out of my lectures, my highest
wish will be gratified.

There can be no great objection to the appearance of a text-book on the
history of dogma at the present time. We now know in what direction we
have to work; but we still want a history of Christian theological ideas
in their relation to contemporary philosophy. Above all, we have not got
an exact knowledge of the Hellenistic philosophical terminologies in
their development up to the fourth century. I have keenly felt this
want, which can only be remedied by well-directed common labour. I have
made a plentiful use of the controversial treatise of Celsus against
Christianity, of which little use has hitherto been made for the history
of dogma. On the other hand, except in a few cases, I have deemed it
inadmissible to adduce parallel passages, easy to be got, from Philo,
Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Porphyry, etc.; for only a
comparison strictly carried out would have been of value here. I have
been able neither to borrow such from others, nor to furnish it myself.
Yet I have ventured to submit my work, because, in my opinion, it is
possible to prove the dependence of dogma on the Greek spirit, without
being compelled to enter into a discussion of all the details.

The Publishers of the Encyclopædia Britannica have allowed me to print
here, in a form but slightly altered, the articles on Neoplatonism and
Manichæism which I wrote for their work, and for this I beg to thank

It is now eighty-three years since my grandfather, Gustav Ewers, edited
in German the excellent manual on the earliest history of dogma by
Münter, and thereby got his name associated with the history of the
founding of the new study. May the work of the grandson be found not
unworthy of the clear and disciplined mind which presided over the
beginnings of the young science.

_Giessen_, 1st August, 1885.


In the two years that have passed since the appearance of the first
edition I have steadily kept in view the improvement of this work, and
have endeavoured to learn from the reviews of it that have appeared. I
owe most to the study of Weizsäcker's work, on the Apostolic Age, and
his notice of the first edition of this volume in the Göttinger gelehrte
Anzeigen, 1886, No. 21. The latter, in several decisive passages
concerning the general conception, drew my attention to the fact that I
had emphasised certain points too strongly, but had not given due
prominence to others of equal importance, while not entirely overlooking
them. I have convinced myself that these hints were, almost throughout,
well founded, and have taken pains to meet them in the new edition. I
have also learned from Heinrici's commentary on the Second Epistle to
the Corinthians, and from Bigg's "Lectures on the Christian Platonists
of Alexandria." Apart from these works there has appeared very little
that could be of significance for my historical account; but I have once
more independently considered the main problems, and in some cases,
after repeated reading of the sources, checked my statements, removed
mistakes and explained what had been too briefly stated. Thus, in
particular, Chapter II. §§ 1-3 of the "Presuppositions", also the Third
Chapter of the First Book (especially Section 6), also in the Second
Book, Chapter I. and Chapter II. (under B), the Third Chapter
(Supplement 3 and excursus on "Catholic and Romish"), the Fifth Chapter
(under 1 and 3) and the Sixth Chapter (under 2) have been subjected to
changes and greater additions. Finally, a new excursus has been added on
the various modes of conceiving pre-existence, and in other respects
many things have been improved in detail. The size of the book has
thereby been increased by about fifty pages. As I have been
misrepresented by some as one who knew not how to appreciate the
uniqueness of the Gospel history and the evangelic faith, while others
have conversely reproached me with making the history of dogma proceed
from an "apostasy" from the Gospel to Hellenism, I have taken pains to
state my opinions on both these points as clearly as possible. In doing
so I have only wrought out the hints which were given in the first
edition, and which, as I supposed, were sufficient for readers. But it
is surely a reasonable desire when I request the critics in reading the
paragraphs which treat of the "Presuppositions", not to forget how
difficult the questions there dealt with are, both in themselves and
from the nature of the sources, and how exposed to criticism the
historian is who attempts to unfold his position towards them in a few
pages. As is self-evident, the centre of gravity of the book lies in
that which forms its subject proper, in the account of the origin of
dogma within the Græco-Roman empire. But one should not on that account,
as many have done, pass over the beginning which lies before the
beginning, or arbitrarily adopt a starting-point of his own; for
everything here depends on where and how one begins. I have not
therefore been able to follow the well-meant counsel to simply strike
out the "Presuppositions."

I would gladly have responded to another advice to work up the notes
into the text; but I would then have been compelled to double the size
of some chapters. The form of this book, in many respects awkward, may
continue as it is so long as it represents the difficulties by which the
subject is still pressed. When they have been removed--and the smallest
number of them lie in the subject matter--I will gladly break up this
form of the book and try to give it another shape. For the friendly
reception given to it I have to offer my heartiest thanks. But against
those who, believing themselves in possession of a richer view of the
history here related, have called my conception meagre, I appeal to the
beautiful words of Tertullian; "Malumus in scripturis minus, si forte,
sapere quam contra."

_Marburg_, 24th December, 1887.


In the six years that have passed since the appearance of the second
edition I have continued to work at the book, and have made use of the
new sources and investigations that have appeared during this period, as
well as corrected and extended my account in many passages. Yet I have
not found it necessary to make many changes in the second half of the
work. The increase of about sixty pages is almost entirely in the first

_Berlin_, 31st December, 1893




§ 1. The Idea and Task of the History of Dogma


Limits and Divisions

Dogma and Theology

Factors in the formation of Dogma

Explanation as to the conception and task of the History of Dogma

§ 2. History of the History of Dogma

The Early, the Mediæval, and the Roman Catholic Church

The Reformers and the 17th Century

Mosheim, Walch, Ernesti

Lessing, Semler, Lange, Münscher, Baumgarten-Crusius, Meier Baur,
Neander, Kliefoth, Thomasius,

Nitzsch, Ritschl, Renan, Loofs


§ 1. Introductory

The Gospel and the Old Testament

The Detachment of the Christians from the Jewish Church

The Church and the Græco-Roman World

The Greek spirit an element of the Ecclesiastical Doctrine of Faith

The Elements connecting Primitive Christianity and the growing Catholic

The Presuppositions of the origin of the Apostolic Catholic Doctrine of

§ 2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own Testimony
concerning Himself

Fundamental Features




§ 3. The Common Preaching concerning Jesus Christ in the first
generation of believers.

General Outline

The faith of the first Disciples

The beginnings of Christology

Conceptions of the Work of Jesus

Belief in the Resurrection

Righteousness and the Law


The Self-consciousness of being the Church of God

Supplement 1. Universalism

Supplement 2. Questions as to the value of the Law; the four main
tendencies at the close of the Apostolic Age

Supplement 3. The Pauline Theology.

Supplement 4. The Johannine Writings

Supplement 5. The Authorities in the Church

§ 4. The current Exposition of the Old Testament and the Jewish hopes of
the future in their significance for the Earliest types of Christian

The Rabbinical and Exegetical Methods

The Jewish Apocalyptic literature

Mythologies and poetical ideas, notions of pre-existence and their
application to Messiah

The limits of the explicable Literature

§ 5. The Religious Conceptions and the Religious Philosophy of the
Hellenistic Jews in their significance for the later formulation of the

Spiritualising and Moralising of the Jewish Religion


The Hermeneutic principles of Philo

§ 6. The religious dispositions of the Greeks and Romans in the first
two centuries, and the current Græco-Roman philosophy of religion

The new religious needs and the old worship (Excursus on [Greek: theos])

The System of associations, and the Empire

Philosophy and its acquisitions

Platonic and Stoic Elements in the philosophy of religion

Greek culture and Roman ideas in the Church

The Empire and philosophic schools (the Cynics)



(1) The twofold conception of the blessing of Salvation in its
significance for the following period

(2) Obscurity in the origin of the most important Christian ideas and
Ecclesiastical forms

(3) Significance of the Pauline theology for the legitimising and
reformation of the doctrine of the Church in the following period







(1) The Communities and the Church

(2) The Foundations of the Faith; the Old Testament, and the traditions
about Jesus (sayings of Jesus, the _Kerygma_ about Jesus), the
significance of the "Apostolic"

(3) The main articles of Christianity and the conceptions of salvation.
The new law. Eschatology.

(4) The Old Testament as source of the knowledge of faith

(5) The knowledge of God and of the world, estimate of the world

(6) Faith in Jesus Christ

Jesus the Lord.

Jesus the Christ

Jesus the Son of God, the _Theologia Christi_

The Adoptian and the Pneumatic Christology

Ideas of Christ's work

(7) The Worship, the sacred actions, and the organisation of the

The Worship and Sacrifice

Baptism and the Lord's Supper

The organisation


The premises of Catholicism

Doctrinal diversities of the Apostolical Fathers


(1) The conditions for the rise of Gnosticism.

(2) The nature of Gnosticism

(3) History of Gnosticism and the forms in which it appeared

(4) The most important Gnostic doctrines


Characterisation of Marcion's attempt

(1) His estimate of the Old Testament and the god of the Jews

(2) The God of the Gospel

(3) The relation of the two Gods according to Marcion. The Gnostic woof
in Marcion's Christianity

(4)  The Christology

(5) Eschatology and Ethics

(6) Criticism of the Christian tradition, the Marcionite Church



(1) General conditions for the development of Jewish Christianity

(2) Jewish Christianity and the Catholic Church, insignificance of
Jewish Christianity, "Judaising" in Catholicism

Alleged documents of Jewish Christianity (Apocalypse of John, Acts of
the Apostles, Epistle to the Hebrews, Hegesippus)

History of Jewish Christianity

The witness of Justin

The witness of Celsus

The witness of Irenæus and Origen

The witness of Eusebius and Jerome

The Gnostic Jewish Christianity

The Elkesaites and Ebionites of Epiphanius

Estimate of the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Homilies, their want
of significance for the question as to the genesis of Catholicism and
its doctrine


I. On the different notions of Pre-existence.

II. On Liturgies and the genesis of Dogma.

III. On Neoplatonism Literature







§ 1. _The Idea and Task of the History of Dogma_.

1. The History of Dogma is a discipline of general Church History, which
has for its object the dogmas of the Church. These dogmas are the
doctrines of the Christian faith logically formulated and expressed for
scientific and apologetic purposes, the contents of which are a
knowledge of God, of the world, and of the provisions made by God for
man's salvation. The Christian Churches teach them as the truths
revealed in Holy Scripture, the acknowledgment of which is the condition
of the salvation which religion promises. But as the adherents of the
Christian religion had not these dogmas from the beginning, so far, at
least, as they form a connected system, the business of the history of
dogma is, in the first place, to ascertain the origin of Dogmas (of
Dogma), and then secondly, to describe their development (their

2. We cannot draw any hard and fast line between the time of the origin
and that of the development of dogma; they rather shade off into one
another. But we shall have to look for the final point of division at
the time when an article of faith logically formulated and
scientifically expressed, was first raised to the _articulus
constitutivus ecclesiæ_, and as such was universally enforced by the
Church. Now that first happened when the doctrine of Christ, as the
pre-existent and personal Logos of God, had obtained acceptance
everywhere in the confederated Churches as the revealed and fundamental
doctrine of faith, that is, about the end of the third century or the
beginning of the fourth. We must therefore, in our account, take this as
the final point of division.[1] As to the development of dogma, it seems
to have closed in the Eastern Church with the seventh Oecumenical
Council (787). After that time no further dogmas were set up in the East
as revealed truths. As to the Western Catholic, that is, the Romish
Church, a new dogma was promulgated as late as the year 1870, which
claims to be, and in point of form really is, equal in dignity to the
old dogmas. Here, therefore, the History of Dogma must extend to the
present time. Finally, as regards the Protestant Churches, they are a
subject of special difficulty in the sphere of the history of dogma; for
at the present moment there is no agreement within these Churches as to
whether, and in what sense, dogmas (as the word was used in the ancient
Church) are valid. But even if we leave the present out of account and
fix our attention on the Protestant Churches of the 16th century, the
decision is difficult. For, on the one hand, the Protestant faith, the
Lutheran as well as the Reformed (and that of Luther no less), presents
itself as a doctrine of faith which, resting on the Catholic canon of
scripture, is, in point of form, quite analogous to the Catholic
doctrine of faith, has a series of dogmas in common with it, and only
differs in a few. On the other hand, Protestantism has taken its stand
in principle on the Gospel exclusively, and declared its readiness at
all times to test all doctrines afresh by a true understanding of the
Gospel. The Reformers, however, in addition to this, began to unfold a
conception of Christianity which might be described, in contrast with
the Catholic type of religion, as a new conception, and which indeed
draws support from the old dogmas, but changes their original
significance materially and formally. What this conception was may still
be ascertained from those writings received by the Church, the
Protestant symbols of the 16th century, in which the larger part of the
traditionary dogmas are recognised as the appropriate expression of the
Christian religion, nay, as the Christian religion itself.[2]
Accordingly, it can neither be maintained that the expression of the
Christian faith in the form of dogmas is abolished in the Protestant
Churches--the very acceptance of the Catholic canon as the revealed
record of faith is opposed to that view--nor that its meaning has
remained absolutely unchanged.[3] The history of dogma has simply to
recognise this state of things, and to represent it exactly as it lies
before us in the documents.

But the point to which the historian should advance here still remains
an open question. If we adhere strictly to the definition of the idea of
dogma given above, this much is certain, that dogmas were no longer set
up after the Formula of Concord, or in the case of the Reformed Church,
after the decrees of the Synod of Dort. It cannot, however, be
maintained that they have been set aside in the centuries that have
passed since then; for apart from some Protestant National and
independent Churches, which are too insignificant and whose future is
too uncertain to be taken into account here, the ecclesiastical
tradition of the 16th century, and along with it the tradition of the
early Church, have not been abrogated in authoritative form. Of course,
changes of the greatest importance with regard to doctrine have appeared
everywhere in Protestantism from the 17th century to the present day.
But these changes cannot in any sense be taken into account in a history
of dogma, because they have not as yet attained a form valid for the
Church. However we may judge of these changes, whether we regard them as
corruptions or improvements, or explain the want of fixity in which the
Protestant Churches find themselves, as a situation that is forced on
them, or the situation that is agreeable to them and for which they are
adapted, in no sense is there here a development which could be
described as history of dogma.

These facts would seem to justify those who, like Thomasius and Schmid,
carry the history of dogma in Protestantism to the Formula of Concord,
or, in the case of the Reformed Church, to the decrees of the Synod of
Dort. But it may be objected to this boundary line; (1) That those
symbols have at all times attained only a partial authority in
Protestantism; (2) That as noted above, the dogmas, that is, the
formulated doctrines of faith have different meanings on different
matters in the Protestant and in the Catholic Churches. Accordingly, it
seems advisable within the frame-work of the history of dogma, to
examine Protestantism only so far as this is necessary for obtaining a
knowledge of its deviations from the Catholic dogma materially and
formally, that is, to ascertain the original position of the Reformers
with regard to the doctrine of the Church, a position which is beset
with contradictions. The more accurately we determine the relation of
the Reformers to Catholicism, the more intelligible will be the
developments which Protestantism has passed through in the course of its
history. But these developments themselves (retrocession and advance) do
not belong to the sphere of the history of dogma, because they stand in
no comparable relation to the course of the history of dogma within the
Catholic Church. As history of Protestant doctrines they form a peculiar
independent province of Church history.

As to the division of the history of dogma, it consists of two main
parts. The first has to describe the origin of dogma, that is, of the
Apostolic Catholic system of doctrine based on the foundation of the
tradition authoritatively embodied in the creeds and Holy scripture, and
extends to the beginning of the fourth century. This may be conveniently
divided into two parts, the first of which will treat of the
preparation, the second of the establishment of the ecclesiastical
doctrine of faith. The second main part, which has to portray the
development of dogma, comprehends three stages. In the first stage the
doctrine of faith appears as Theology and Christology. The Eastern
Church has never got beyond this stage, although it has to a large
extent enriched dogma ritually and mystically (see the decrees of the
seventh council). We will have to shew how the doctrines of faith formed
in this stage have remained for all time in the Church dogmas [Greek:
kat' exochên]. The second stage was initiated by Augustine. The doctrine
of faith appears here on the one side completed, and on the other
re-expressed by new dogmas, which treat of the relation of sin and
grace, freedom and grace, grace and the means of grace. The number and
importance of the dogmas that were, in the middle ages, really fixed
after Augustine's time, had no relation to the range and importance of
the questions which they raised, and which emerged in the course of
centuries in consequence of advancing knowledge, and not less in
consequence of the growing power of the Church. Accordingly, in this
second stage which comprehends the whole of the middle ages, the Church
as an institution kept believers together in a larger measure than was
possible to dogmas. These in their accepted form were too poor to enable
them to be the expression of religious conviction and the regulator of
Church life. On the other hand, the new decisions of Theologians,
Councils and Popes, did not yet possess the authority which could have
made them incontestable truths of faith. The third stage begins with the
Reformation, which compelled the Church to fix its faith on the basis of
the theological work of the middle ages. Thus arose the Roman Catholic
dogma which has found in the Vatican decrees its provisional settlement.
This Roman Catholic dogma, as it was formulated at Trent, was moulded in
express opposition to the Theses of the Reformers. But these Theses
themselves represent a peculiar conception of Christianity, which has
its root in the theology of Paul and Augustine, and includes either
explicitly or implicitly a revision of the whole ecclesiastical
tradition, and therefore of dogma also. The History of Dogma in this
last stage, therefore, has a twofold task. It has, on the one hand, to
present the Romish dogma as a product of the ecclesiastical development
of the middle ages under the influence of the Reformation faith which
was to be rejected, and on the other hand, to portray the conservative
new formation which we have in original Protestantism, and determine its
relation to dogma. A closer examination, however, shews that in none of
the great confessions does religion live in dogma, as of old. Dogma
everywhere has fallen into the background; in the Eastern Church it has
given place to ritual, in the Roman Church to ecclesiastical
instructions, in the Protestant Churches, so far as they are mindful of
their origin, to the Gospel. At the same time, however, the paradoxical
fact is unmistakable that dogma as such is nowhere at this moment so
powerful as in the Protestant Churches, though by their history they are
furthest removed from it. Here, however, it comes into consideration as
an object of immediate religious interest, which, strictly speaking, in
the Catholic Church is not the case.[4] The Council of Trent was simply
wrung from the Romish Church, and she has made the dogmas of that
council in a certain sense innocuous by the Vatican decrees.[5] In this
sense, it may be said that the period of development of dogma is
altogether closed, and that therefore our discipline requires a
statement such as belongs to a series of historical phenomena that has
been completed.

3. The church has recognised her faith, that is religion itself, in her
dogmas. Accordingly, one very important business of the History of Dogma
is to exhibit the unity that exists in the dogmas of a definite period,
and to shew how the several dogmas are connected with one another and
what leading ideas they express. But, as a matter of course, this
undertaking has its limits in the degree of unanimity which actually
existed in the dogmas of the particular period. It may be shewn without
much difficulty, that a strict though by no means absolute unanimity is
expressed only in the dogmas of the Greek Church. The peculiar character
of the western post-Augustinian ecclesiastical conception of
Christianity, no longer finds a clear expression in dogma, and still
less is this the case with the conception of the Reformers. The reason
of this is that Augustine, as well as Luther, disclosed a new conception
of Christianity, but at the same time appropriated the old dogmas.[6]
But neither Baur's nor Kliefoth's method of writing the history of dogma
has done justice to this fact. Not Baur's, because, notwithstanding the
division into six periods, it sees a uniform process in the development
of dogma, a process which begins with the origin of Christianity and has
run its course, as is alleged, in a strictly logical way. Not
Kliefoth's, because, in the dogmas of the Catholic Church which the East
has never got beyond, it only ascertains the establishment of one
portion of the Christian faith, to which the parts still wanting have
been successively added in later times.[7] In contrast with this, we may
refer to the fact that we can clearly distinguish three styles of
building in the history of dogma, but only three; the style of Origen,
that of Augustine, and that of the Reformers. But the dogma of the
post-Augustinian Church, as well as that of Luther, does not in any way
represent itself as a new building, not even as the mere extension of an
old building, but as a complicated rebuilding, and by no means in
harmony with former styles, because neither Augustine nor Luther ever
dreamed of building independently.[8] This perception leads us to the
most peculiar phenomenon which meets the historian of dogma, and which
must determine his method.

Dogmas arise, develop themselves and are made serviceable to new aims;
this in all cases takes place through Theology. But Theology is
dependent on innumerable factors, above all, on the spirit of the time;
for it lies in the nature of theology that it desires to make its object
intelligible. Dogmas are the product of theology, not inversely; of a
theology of course which, as a rule, was in correspondence with the
faith of the time. The critical view of history teaches this: first we
have the Apologists and Origen, then the councils of Nice and Chalcedon;
first the Scholastics, then the Council of Trent. In consequence of
this, dogma bears the mark of all, the factors on which the theology was
dependent. That is one point. But the moment in which the product of
theology became dogma, the way which led to it must be obscured; for,
according to the conception of the Church, dogma can be nothing else
than the revealed faith itself. Dogma is regarded not as the exponent,
but as the basis of theology, and therefore the product of theology
having passed into dogma limits, and criticises the work of theology
both past and future.[9] That is the second point. It follows from this
that the history of the Christian religion embraces a very complicated
relation of ecclesiastical dogma and theology, and that the
ecclesiastical conception of the significance of theology cannot at all
do justice to this significance. The ecclesiastical scheme which is here
formed and which denotes the utmost concession that can be made to
history, is to the effect that theology gives expression only to the
form of dogma, while so far as it is ecclesiastical theology, it
presupposes the unchanging dogma, i.e., the substance of dogma. But this
scheme, which must always leave uncertain what the form really is, and
what the substance, is in no way applicable to the actual circumstances.
So far, however, as it is itself an article of faith it is an object of
the history of dogma. Ecclesiastical dogma when put on its defence must
at all times take up an ambiguous position towards theology, and
ecclesiastical theology a corresponding position towards dogma; for they
are condemned to perpetual uncertainty as to what they owe each other,
and what they have to fear from each other. The theological Fathers of
dogma have almost without exception failed to escape being condemned by
dogma, either because it went beyond them, or lagged behind their
theology. The Apologists, Origen and Augustine may be cited in support
of this; and even in Protestantism, _mutatis mutandis_, the same thing
has been repeated, as is proved by the fate of Melanchthon and
Schleiermacher. On the other hand, there have been few theologians who
have not shaken some article of the traditional dogma. We are wont to
get rid of these fundamental facts by hypostatising the ecclesiastical
principle or the common ecclesiastical spirit, and by this normal
hypostasis, measuring, approving or condemning the doctrines of the
theologians, unconcerned about the actual conditions and frequently
following a hysteron-proteron. But this is a view of history which
should in justice be left to the Catholic Church, which indeed cannot
dispense with it. The critical history of dogma has, on the contrary, to
shew above all how an ecclesiastical theology has arisen; for it can
only give account of the origin of dogma in connection with this main
question. The horizon must be taken here as wide as possible; for the
question as to the origin of theology can only be answered by surveying
all the relations into which the Christian religion has entered in
naturalising itself in the world and subduing it. When ecclesiastical
dogma has once been created and recognised as an immediate expression of
the Christian religion, the history of dogma has only to take the
history of theology into account so far as it has been active in the
formation of dogma. Yet it must always keep in view the peculiar claim
of dogma to be a criterion and not a product of theology. But it will
also be able to shew how, partly by means of theology and partly by
other means--for dogma is also dependent on ritual, constitution, and
the practical ideals of life, as well as on the letter, whether of
Scripture, or of tradition no longer understood--dogma in its
development and re-expression has continually changed, according to the
conditions under which the Church was placed. If dogma is originally the
formulation of Christian faith as Greek culture understood it and
justified it to itself, then dogma has never indeed lost this character,
though it has been radically modified in later times. It is quite as
important to keep in view the tenacity of dogma as its changes, and in
this respect the Protestant way of writing history, which, here as
elsewhere in the history of the Church, is more disposed to attend to
differences than to what is permanent, has much to learn from the
Catholic. But as the Protestant historian, as far possible, judges of
the progress of development in so far as it agrees with the Gospel in
its documentary form, he is still able to shew, with all deference to
that tenacity, that dogma has been so modified and used to the best
advantage by Augustine and Luther, that its Christian character has in
many respects gained, though in other respects it has become further and
further alienated from that character. In proportion as the traditional
system of dogmas lost its stringency it became richer. In proportion as
it was stripped by Augustine and Luther of its apologetic philosophic
tendency, it was more and more filled with Biblical ideas, though, on
the other hand, it became more full of contradictions and less

This outlook, however, has already gone beyond the limits fixed for
these introductory paragraphs and must not be pursued further. To treat
_in abstracto_ of the method of the history of dogma in relation to the
discovery, grouping and interpretation of the material is not to be
recommended; for general rules to preserve the ignorant and half
instructed from overlooking the important, and laying hold of what is
not important, cannot be laid down. Certainly everything depends on the
arrangement of the material; for the understanding of history is to find
the rules according to which the phenomena should be grouped, and every
advance in the knowledge of history is inseparable from an accurate
observance of these rules. We must, above all, be on our guard against
preferring one principle at the expense of another in the interpretation
of the origin and aim of particular dogmas. The most diverse factors
have at all times been at work in the formation of dogmas. Next to the
effort to determine the doctrine of religion according to the _finis
religionis_, the blessing of salvation, the following may have been the
most important. (1) The conceptions and sayings contained in the
canonical scriptures. (2) The doctrinal tradition originating in earlier
epochs of the church, and no longer understood. (3) The needs of worship
and organisation. (4) The effort to adjust the doctrine of religion to
the prevailing doctrinal opinions. (5) Political and social
circumstances. (6) The changing moral ideals of life. (7) The so-called
logical consistency, that is the abstract analogical treatment of one
dogma according to the form of another. (8) The effort to adjust
different tendencies and contradictions in the church. (9) The endeavour
to reject once for all a doctrine regarded as erroneous. (10) The
sanctifying power of blind custom. The method of explaining everything
wherever possible by "the impulse of dogma to unfold itself," must be
given up as unscientific, just as all empty abstractions whatsoever must
be given up as scholastic and mythological. Dogma has had its history in
the individual living man and nowhere else. As soon as one adopts this
statement in real earnest, that mediæval realism must vanish to which a
man so often thinks himself superior while imbedded in it all the time.
Instead of investigating the actual conditions in which believing and
intelligent men have been placed, a system of Christianity has been
constructed from which, as from a Pandora's box, all doctrines which in
course of time have been formed, are extracted, and in this way
legitimised as Christian. The simple fundamental proposition that that
only is Christian which can be established authoritatively by the
Gospel, has never yet received justice in the history of dogma. Even the
following account will in all probability come short in this point; for
in face of a prevailing false tradition the application of a simple
principle to every detail can hardly succeed at the first attempt.

_Explanation as to the Conception and Task of the History of Dogma_.

No agreement as yet prevails with regard to the conception of the
history of dogma. Münscher (Handbuch der Christl. D.G. 3rd ed. I. p. 3
f.) declared that the business of the history of dogma is "To represent
all the changes which the theoretic part of the Christian doctrine of
religion has gone through from its origin up to the present, both in
form and substance," and this definition held sway for a long time. Then
it came to be noted that the question was not about changes that were
accidental, but about those that were historically necessary, that dogma
has a relation to the church, and that it represents a rational
expression of the faith. Emphasis was put sometimes on one of these
elements and sometimes on the other. Baur, in particular, insisted on
the first; V. Hofmann, after the example of Schleiermacher, on the
second, and indeed exclusively (Encyklop. der theol. p. 257 f.: "The
history of dogma is the history of the Church confessing the faith in
words"). Nitzsch (Grundriss der Christl. D.G. I. p. 1) insisted on the
third: "The history of dogma is the scientific account of the origin and
development of the Christian system of doctrine, or that part of
historical theology which presents the history of the expression of the
Christian faith in notions, doctrines and doctrinal systems." Thomasius
has combined the second and third by conceiving the history of dogma as
the history of the development of the ecclesiastical system of doctrine.
But even this conception is not sufficiently definite, inasmuch as it
fails to do complete justice to the special peculiarity of the subject.

Ancient and modern usage does certainly seem to allow the word dogma to
be applied to particular doctrines, or to a uniform system of doctrine,
to fundamental truths, or to opinions, to theoretical propositions or
practical rules, to statements of belief that have not been reached by a
process of reasoning, as well as to those that bear the marks of such a
process. But this uncertainty vanishes on closer examination. We then
see that there is always an authority at the basis of dogma, which gives
it to those who recognise that authority the signification of a
fundamental truth "_quæ sine scelere prodi non poterit_" (Cicero Quæst.
Acad. IV. 9). But therewith at the same time is introduced into the idea
of dogma a social element (see Biedermann, Christl. Dogmatik. 2. Edit.
I. p. 2 f.); the confessors of one and the same dogma form a community.

There can be no doubt that these two elements are also demonstrable in
Christian dogma, and therefore we must reject all definitions of the
history of dogma which do not take them into account. If we define it as
the history of the understanding of Christianity by itself, or as the
history of the changes of the theoretic part of the doctrine of religion
or the like, we shall fail to do justice to the idea of dogma in its
most general acceptation. We cannot describe as dogmas, doctrines such
as the Apokatastasis, or the Kenosis of the Son of God, without coming
into conflict with the ordinary usage of language and with
ecclesiastical law.

If we start, therefore, from the supposition that Christian dogma is an
ecclesiastical doctrine which presupposes revelation as its authority,
and therefore claims to be strictly binding, we shall fail to bring out
its real nature with anything like completeness. That which Protestants
and Catholics call dogmas, are not only ecclesiastical doctrines, but
they are also: (1) theses expressed in abstract terms, forming together
a unity, and fixing the contents of the Christian religion as a
knowledge of God, of the world, and of the sacred history under the
aspect of a proof of the truth. But (2) they have also emerged at a
definite stage of the history of the Christian religion; they show in
their conception as such, and in many details, the influence of that
stage, viz., the Greek period, and they have preserved this character in
spite of all their reconstructions and additions in after periods. This
view of dogma cannot be shaken by the fact that particular historical
facts, miraculous or not miraculous are described as dogmas; for here
they are regarded as such, only in so far as they have got the value of
doctrines which have been inserted in the complete structure of
doctrines and are, on the other hand, members of a chain of proofs,
viz., proofs from prophecy.

But as soon as we perceive this, the parallel between the ecclesiastical
dogmas and those of ancient schools of philosophy appears to be in point
of form complete. The only difference is that revelation is here put as
authority in the place of human knowledge, although the later
philosophic schools appealed to revelation also. The theoretical as well
as the practical doctrines which embraced the peculiar conception of the
world and the ethics of the school, together with their rationale, were
described in these schools as dogmas. Now, in so far as the adherents of
the Christian religion possess dogmas in this sense, and form a
community which has gained an understanding of its religious faith by
analysis and by scientific definition and grounding, they appear as a
great philosophic school in the ancient sense of the word. But they
differ from such a school in so far as they have always eliminated the
process of thought which has led to the dogma, looking upon the whole
system of dogma as a revelation and therefore, even in respect of the
reception of the dogma, at least at first, they have taken account not
of the powers of human understanding, but of the Divine enlightenment
which is bestowed on all the willing and the virtuous. In later times,
indeed, the analogy was far more complete, in so far as the Church
reserved the full possession of dogma to a circle of consecrated and
initiated individuals. Dogmatic Christianity is therefore a definite
stage in the history of the development of Christianity. It corresponds
to the antique mode of thought, but has nevertheless continued to a very
great extent in the following epochs, though subject to great
transformations. Dogmatic Christianity stands between Christianity as
the religion of the Gospel, presupposing a personal experience and
dealing with disposition and conduct, and Christianity as a religion of
cultus, sacraments, ceremonial and obedience, in short of superstition,
and it can be united with either the one or the other. In itself and in
spite of all its mysteries it is always intellectual Christianity, and
therefore there is always the danger here that as knowledge it may
supplant religious faith, or connect it with a doctrine of religion,
instead of with God and a living experience.

If then the discipline of the history of dogma is to be what its name
purports, its object is the very dogma which is so formed, and its
fundamental problem will be to discover how it has arisen. In the
history of the canon our method of procedure has for long been to ask
first of all, how the canon originated, and then to examine the changes
through which it has passed. We must proceed in the same way with the
history of dogma, of which the history of the canon is simply a part.
Two objections will be raised against this. In the first place, it will
be said that from the very first the Christian religion has included a
definite religious faith as well as a definite ethic, and that therefore
Christian dogma is as original as Christianity itself, so that there can
be no question about a genesis, but only as to a development or
alteration of dogma within the Church. Again it will be said, in the
second place, that dogma as defined above, has validity only for a
definite epoch in the history of the Church, and that it is therefore
quite impossible to write a comprehensive history of dogma in the sense
we have indicated.

As to the first objection, there can of course be no doubt that the
Christian religion is founded on a message, the contents of which are a
definite belief in God and in Jesus Christ whom he has sent, and that
the promise of salvation is attached to this belief. But faith in the
Gospel and the later dogmas of the Church are not related to each other
as theme and the way in which it is worked out, any more than the dogma
of the New Testament canon is only the explication of the original
reliance of Christians on the word of their Lord and the continuous
working of the Spirit; but in these later dogmas an entirely new element
has entered into the conception of religion. The message of religion
appears here clothed in a knowledge of the world and of the ground of
the world which had already been obtained without any reference to it,
and therefore religion itself has here become a doctrine which has,
indeed, its certainty in the Gospel, but only in part derives its
contents from it, and which can also be appropriated by such as are
neither poor in spirit nor weary and heavy laden. Now, it may of course
be shewn that a philosophic conception of the Christian religion is
possible, and began to make its appearance from the very first, as in
the case of Paul. But the Pauline gnosis has neither been simply
identified with the Gospel by Paul himself (1 Cor. III. 2 f.; XII. 3;
Phil. I. 18) nor is it analogous to the later dogma, not to speak of
being identical with it. The characteristic of this dogma is that it
represents itself in no sense as foolishness, but as wisdom, and at the
same time desires to be regarded as the contents of revelation itself.
Dogma in its conception and development is a work of the Greek spirit on
the soil of the Gospel. By comprehending in itself and giving excellent
expression to the religious conceptions contained in Greek philosophy
and the Gospel, together with its Old Testament basis; by meeting the
search for a revelation as well as the desire for a universal knowledge;
by subordinating itself to the aim of the Christian religion to bring a
Divine life to humanity as well as to the aim of philosophy to know the
world: it became the instrument by which the Church conquered the
ancient world and educated the modern nations. But this dogma--one
cannot but admire its formation or fail to regard it as a great
achievement of the spirit, which never again in the history of
Christianity has made itself at home with such freedom and boldness in
religion--is the product of a comparatively long history which needs to
be deciphered; for it is obscured by the completed dogma. The Gospel
itself is not dogma, for belief in the Gospel provides room for
knowledge only so far as it is a state of feeling and course of action,
that is a definite form of life. Between practical faith in the Gospel
and the historico-critical account of the Christian religion and its
history, a third element can no longer be thrust in without its coming
into conflict with faith, or with the historical data--the only thing
left is the practical task of defending the faith. But a third element
has been thrust into the history of this religion, viz., dogma, that is,
the philosophical means which were used in early times for the purpose
of making the Gospel intelligible have been fused with the contents of
the Gospel and raised to dogma. This dogma, next to the Church, has
become a real world power, the pivot in the history of the Christian
religion. The transformation of the Christian faith into dogma is indeed
no accident, but has its reason in the spiritual character of the
Christian religion, which at all times will feel the need of a
scientific apologetic.[10] But the question here is not as to something
indefinite and general, but as to the definite dogma formed in the first
centuries, and binding even yet.

This already touches on the second objection which was raised above,
that dogma, in the given sense of the word, was too narrowly conceived,
and could not in this conception be applied throughout the whole history
of the Church. This objection would only be justified, if our task were
to carry the history of the development of dogma through the whole
history of the Church. But the question is just whether we are right in
proposing such a task. The Greek Church has no history of dogma after
the seven great Councils, and it is incomparably more important to
recognise this fact than to register the theologoumena which were later
on introduced by individual Bishops and scholars in the East, who were
partly influenced by the West. Roman Catholicism in its dogmas, though,
as noted above, these at present do not very clearly characterise it, is
to-day essentially--that is, so far as it is religion--what it was 1500
years ago, viz., Christianity as understood by the ancient world. The
changes which dogma has experienced in the course of its development in
western Catholicism are certainly deep and radical: they have, in point
of fact, as has been indicated in the text above, modified the position
of the Church towards Christianity as dogma. But as the Catholic Church
herself maintains that she adheres to Christianity in the old dogmatic
sense, this claim of hers cannot be contested. She has embraced new
things and changed her relations to the old, but still preserved the
old. But she has further developed new dogmas according to the scheme of
the old. The decrees of Trent and of the Vatican are formally analogous
to the old dogmas. Here, then, a history of dogma may really be carried
forward to the present day without thereby shewing that the definition
of dogma given above is too narrow to embrace the new doctrines.
Finally, as to Protestantism, it has been briefly explained above why
the changes in Protestant systems of doctrine are not to be taken up
into the history of dogma. Strictly speaking, dogma, as dogma, has had
no development in Protestantism, inasmuch as a secret note of
interrogation has been here associated with it from the very beginning.
But the old dogma has continued to be a power in it, because of its
tendency to look back and to seek for authorities in the past, and
partly in the original unmodified form. The dogmas of the fourth and
fifth centuries have more influence to-day in wide circles of Protestant
Churches than all the doctrines which are concentrated around
justification by faith. Deviations from the latter are borne
comparatively easy, while as a rule, deviations from the former are
followed by notice to quit the Christian communion, that is, by
excommunication. The historian of to-day would have no difficulty in
answering the question whether the power of Protestantism as a Church
lies at present in the elements which it has in common with the old
dogmatic Christianity, or in that by which it is distinguished from it.
Dogma, that is to say, that type of Christianity which was formed in
ecclesiastical antiquity, has not been suppressed even in Protestant
Churches, has really not been modified or replaced by a new conception
of the Gospel. But, on the other hand, who could deny that the
Reformation began to disclose such a conception, and that this new
conception was related in a very different way to the traditional dogma
from that of the new propositions of Augustine to the dogmas handed down
to him? Who could further call in question that, in consequence of the
reforming impulse in Protestantism, the way was opened up for a
conception which does not identify Gospel and dogma, which does not
disfigure the latter by changing or paring down its meaning while
failing to come up to the former? But the historian who has to describe
the formation and changes of dogma can take no part in these
developments. It is a task by itself more rich and comprehensive than
that of the historian of dogma, to portray the diverse conceptions that
have been formed of the Christian religion, to portray how strong men
and weak men, great and little minds have explained the Gospel outside
and inside the frame-work of dogma, and how under the cloak, or in the
province of dogma, the Gospel has had its own peculiar history. But the
more limited theme must not be put aside. For it can in no way be
conducive to historical knowledge to regard as indifferent the peculiar
character of the expression of Christian faith as dogma, and allow the
history of dogma to be absorbed in a general history of the various
conceptions of Christianity. Such a "liberal" view would not agree
either with the teaching of history or with the actual situation of the
Protestant Churches of the present day: for it is, above all, of crucial
importance to perceive that it is a peculiar stage in the development of
the human spirit which is described by dogma. On this stage, parallel
with dogma and inwardly united with it, stands a definite psychology,
metaphysic and natural philosophy, as well as a view of history of a
definite type. This is the conception of the world obtained by antiquity
after almost a thousand years' labour, and it is the same connection of
theoretic perceptions and practical ideals which it accomplished. This
stage on which the Christian religion has also entered we have in no way
as yet transcended, though science has raised itself above it.[11] But
the Christian religion, as it was not born of the culture of the ancient
world, is not for ever chained to it. The form and the new contents
which the Gospel received when it entered into that world have only the
same guarantee of endurance as that world itself. And that endurance is
limited. We must indeed be on our guard against taking episodes for
decisive crises. But every episode carries us forward, and
retrogressions are unable to undo that progress. The Gospel since the
Reformation, in spite of retrograde movements which have not been
wanting, is working itself out of the forms which it was once compelled
to assume, and a true comprehension of its history will also contribute
to hasten this process.

1. The definition given above, p. 17: "Dogma in its conception and
development is a work of the Greek spirit on the soil of the Gospel,"
has frequently been distorted by my critics, as they have suppressed the
words "on the soil of the Gospel." But these words are decisive. The
foolishness of identifying dogma and Greek philosophy never entered my
mind; on the contrary, the peculiarity of ecclesiastical dogma seemed to
me to lie in the very fact that, on the one hand, it gave expression to
Christian Monotheism and the central significance of the person of
Christ, and, on the other hand, comprehended this religious faith and
the historical knowledge connected with it in a philosophic system. I
have given quite as little ground for the accusation that I look upon
the whole development of the history of dogma as a pathological process
within the history of the Gospel. I do not even look upon the history of
the origin of the Papacy as such a process, not to speak of the history
of dogma. But the perception that "everything must happen as it has
happened" does not absolve the historian from the task of ascertaining
the powers which have formed the history, and distinguishing between
original and later, permanent and transitory, nor from the duty of
stating his own opinion.

2. Sabatier has published a thoughtful treatise on "Christian Dogma: its
Nature and its Development." I agree with the author in this, that in
dogma--rightly understood--two elements are to be distinguished, the
religious proceeding from the experience of the individual or from the
religious spirit of the Church, and the intellectual or theoretic. But I
regard as false the statement which he makes, that the intellectual
element in dogma is only the symbolical expression of religious
experience. The intellectual element is itself again to be
differentiated. On the one hand, it certainly is the attempt to give
expression to religious feeling, and so far is symbolical; but, on the
other hand, within the Christian religion it belongs to the essence of
the thing itself, inasmuch as this not only awakens feeling, but has a
quite definite content which determines and should determine the
feeling. In this sense Christianity without dogma, that is, without a
clear expression of its content, is inconceivable. But that does not
justify the unchangeable permanent significance of that dogma which has
once been formed under definite historical conditions.

3. The word "dogmas" (Christian dogmas) is, if I see correctly, used
among us in three different senses, and hence spring all manner of
misconceptions and errors. By dogmas are denoted: (1) The historical
doctrines of the Church. (2) The historical facts on which the Christian
religion is reputedly or actually founded. (3) Every definite exposition
of the contents of Christianity is described as dogmatic. In contrast
with this the attempt has been made in the following presentation to use
dogma only in the sense first stated. When I speak, therefore, of the
decomposition of dogma, I mean by that, neither the historical facts
which really establish the Christian religion, nor do I call in question
the necessity for the Christian and the Church to have a creed. My
criticism refers not to the general genus dogma, but to the species,
viz., the defined dogma, as it was formed on the soil of the ancient
world, and is still a power, though under modifications.

2. _History of the History of Dogma._

The history of dogma as a historical and critical discipline had its
origin in the last century through the works of Mosheim, C. W. F. Walch,
Ernesti, Lessing and Semler. Lange gave to the world in 1796 the first
attempt at a history of dogma as a special branch of theological study.
The theologians of the Early and Mediæval Churches have only transmitted
histories of Heretics and of Literature, regarding dogma as
unchangeable.[12] This presupposition is so much a part of the nature of
Catholicism that it has been maintained till the present day. It is
therefore impossible for a Catholic to make a free, impartial and
scientific investigation of the history of dogma.[13] There have,
indeed, at almost all times before the Reformation, been critical
efforts in the domain of Christianity, especially of western
Christianity, efforts which in some cases have led to the proof of the
novelty and inadmissibility of particular dogmas. But, as a rule, these
efforts were of the nature of a polemic against the dominant Church.
They scarcely prepared the way for, far less produced a historical view
of, dogmatic tradition.[14] The progress of the sciences[15] and the
conflict with Protestantism could here, for the Catholic Church, have no
other effect than that of leading to the collecting, with great
learning, of material for the history of dogma, the establishing of the
_consensus patrum et doctorum_, the exhibition of the necessity of a
continuous explication of dogma, and the description of the history of
heresies pressing in from without, regarded now as unheard-of novelties,
and again as old enemies in new masks. The modern Jesuit-Catholic
historian indeed exhibits, in certain circumstances, a manifest
indifference to the task of establishing the _semper idem_ in the faith
of the Church, but this indifference is at present regarded with
disfavour, and, besides, is only an apparent one, as the continuous
though inscrutable guidance of the Church by the infallible teaching of
the Pope is the more emphatically maintained.[16]

It may be maintained that the Reformation opened the way for a critical
treatment of the history of dogma.[17] But even in Protestant Churches,
at first, historical investigations remained under the ban of the
confessional system of doctrine and were used only for polemics.[18]
Church history itself up to the 18th century was not regarded as a
theological discipline in the strict sense of the word, and the history
of dogma existed only within the sphere of dogmatics as a collection of
testimonies to the truth, _theologia patristica_. It was only after the
material had been prepared in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries
by scholars of the various Church parties, and, above all, by excellent
editions of the Fathers,[19] and after Pietism had exhibited the
difference between Christianity and Ecclesiasticism, and had begun to
treat the traditional confessional structure of doctrine with
indifference,[20] that a critical investigation was entered on.

The man who was the Erasmus of the 18th century, neither orthodox nor
pietistic, nor rationalistic, but capable of appreciating all these
tendencies, familiar with English, French and Italian literature,
influenced by the spirit of the new English Science,[21] while avoiding
all statements of it that would endanger positive Christianity. John
Lorenz Mosheim, treated Church history in the spirit of his great
teacher Leibnitz,[22] and by impartial analysis, living reproduction,
and methodical artistic form raised it for the first time to the rank of
a science. In his monographic works also, he endeavours to examine
impartially the history of dogma, and to acquire the historic
stand-point between the estimate of the orthodox dogmatists and that of
Gottfried Arnold Mosheim, averse to all fault-finding and polemic, and
abhorring theological crudity as much as pietistic narrowness and
undevout Illuminism, aimed at an actual correct knowledge of history, in
accordance with the principle of Leibnitz, that the valuable elements
which are everywhere to be found in history must be sought out and
recognised. And the richness and many-sidedness of his mind qualified
him for gaining such a knowledge. But his latitudinarian dogmatic
stand-point as well as the anxiety to awaken no controversy or endanger
the gradual naturalising of a new science and culture, caused him to put
aside the most important problems of the history of dogma and devote his
attention to political Church history as well as to the more indifferent
historical questions. The opposition of two periods which he endeavoured
peacefully to reconcile could not in this way be permanently set
aside.[23] In Mosheim's sense, but without the spirit of that great man,
C.W.F. Walch taught on the subject and described the religious
controversies of the Church with an effort to be impartial, and has thus
made generally accessible the abundant material collected by the
diligence of earlier scholars.[24] Walch, moreover, in the "Gedanken von
der Geschichte der Glaubenslehre," 1756, gave the impulse that was
needed to fix attention on the history of dogma as a special discipline.
The stand-point which he took up was still that of subjection to
ecclesiastical dogma, but without confessional narrowness. Ernesti in
his programme of the year 1759. "De theologiae historicae et dogmaticae
conjungendae necessitate," gave eloquent expression to the idea that
Dogmatic is a positive science which has to take its material from
history, but that history itself requires a devoted and candid study, on
account of our being separated from the earlier epochs by a complicated
tradition.[25] He has also shewn in his celebrated "Antimuratorius" that
an impartial and critical investigation of the problems of the history
of dogma, might render the most effectual service to the polemic against
the errors of Romanism. Besides, the greater part of the dogmas were
already unintelligible to Ernesti, and yet during his lifetime the way
was opened up for that tendency in theology, which prepared in Germany
by Chr. Thomasius, supported by English writers, drew the sure
principles of faith and life from what is called reason, and therefore
was not only indifferent to the system of dogma, but felt it more and
more to be the tradition of unreason and of darkness. Of the three
requisites of a historian, knowledge of his subject, candid criticism,
and a capacity for finding himself at home in foreign interests and
ideas, the Rationalistic Theologians who had outgrown Pietism and passed
through the school of the English Deists and of Wolf, no longer
possessed the first, a knowledge of the subject, to the same extent as
some scholars of the earlier generation. The second, free criticism,
they possessed in the high degree guaranteed by the conviction of having
a rational religion; the third, the power of comprehension, only in a
very limited measure. They had lost the idea of positive religion, and
with it a living and just conception of the history of religion.

In the history of thought there is always need for an apparently
disproportionate expenditure of power, in order to produce an advance in
the development. And it would appear as if a certain self-satisfied
narrow-mindedness within the progressing ideas of the present, as well
as a great measure of inability even to understand the past and
recognise its own dependence on it, must make its appearance, in order
that a whole generation may be freed from the burden of the past. It
needed the absolute certainty which Rationalism had found in the
religious philosophy of the age, to give sufficient courage to subject
to historical criticism the central dogmas on which the Protestant
system as well as the Catholic finally rests, the dogmas of the canon
and inspiration on the one hand, and of the Trinity and Christology on
the other. The work of Lessing in this respect had no great results. We
to-day see in his theological writings the most important contribution
to the understanding of the earliest history of dogma, which that period
supplies; but we also understand why its results were then so trifling.
This was due, not only to the fact that Lessing was no theologian by
profession, or that his historical observations were couched in
aphorisms, but because like Leibnitz and Mosheim, he had a capacity for
appreciating the history of religion which forbade him to do violence to
that history or to sit in judgment on it, and because his philosophy in
its bearings on the case allowed him to seek no more from his materials
than an assured understanding of them, in a word again, because he was
no theologian. The Rationalists, on the other hand, who within certain
limits were no less his opponents than the orthodox, derived the
strength of their opposition to the systems of dogma, as the Apologists
of the second century had already done with regard to polytheism, from
their religious belief and their inability to estimate these systems
historically. That, however, is only the first impression which one gets
here from the history, and it is everywhere modified by other
impressions. In the first place, there is no mistaking a certain
latitudinarianism in several prominent theologians of the rationalistic
tendency. Moreover, the attitude to the canon was still frequently, in
virtue of the Protestant principle of scripture, an uncertain one, and
it was here chiefly that the different types of rational supernaturalism
were developed. Then, with all subjection to the dogmas of Natural
religion, the desire for a real true knowledge was unfettered and
powerfully excited. Finally, very significant attempts were made by some
rationalistic theologians to explain in a real historical way the
phenomena of the history of dogma, and to put an authentic and
historical view of that history in the place of barren pragmatic or
philosophic categories.

The special zeal with which the older rationalism applied itself to the
investigation of the canon, either putting aside the history of dogma,
or treating it merely in the frame-work of Church history, has only been
of advantage for the treatment of our subject. It first began to be
treated with thoroughness when the historical and critical interests had
become more powerful than the rationalistic. After the important labours
of Semler which here, above all, have wrought in the interests of
freedom,[26] and after some monographs on the history of dogma,[27] S.G.
Lange for the first time treated the history of dogma as a special
subject.[28] Unfortunately, his comprehensively planned and carefully
written work, which shews a real understanding of the early history of
dogma, remains incomplete. Consequently, W. Münscher, in his learned
manual, which was soon followed by his compendium of the history of
dogma, was the first to produce a complete presentation of our
subject.[29] Münscher's compendium is a counterpart to Giesler's Church
history; it shares with that the merit of drawing from the sources,
intelligent criticism and impartiality, but with a thorough knowledge of
details it fails to impart a real conception of the development of
ecclesiastical dogma. The division of the material into particular
_loci_, which, in three sections, is carried through the whole history
of the Church, makes insight into the whole Christian conception of the
different epochs impossible, and the prefixed "General History of
Dogma," is far too sketchily treated to make up for that defect.
Finally, the connection between the development of dogma and the general
ideas of the time is not sufficiently attended to. A series of manuals
followed the work of Münscher, but did not materially advance the
study.[30] The compendium of Baumgarten Crusius,[31] and that of F.K.
Meier,[32] stand out prominently among them. The work of the former is
distinguished by its independent learning as well as by the discernment
of the author that the centre of gravity of the subject lies in the
so-called general history of dogma.[33] The work of Meier goes still
further, and accurately perceives that the division into a general and
special history of dogma must be altogether given up, while it is also
characterised by an accurate setting and proportional arrangement of the

The great spiritual revolution at the beginning of our century, which
must in every respect be regarded as a reaction against the efforts of
the rationalistic epoch, changed also the conceptions of the Christian
religion and its history. It appears therefore plainly in the treatment
of the history of dogma. The advancement and deepening of Christian
life, the zealous study of the past, the new philosophy which no longer
thrust history aside, but endeavoured to appreciate it in all its
phenomena as the history of the spirit, all these factors co-operated in
begetting a new temper, and accordingly, a new estimate of religion
proper and of its history. There were three tendencies in theology that
broke up rationalism; that which was identified with the names of
Schleiermacher and Neander, that of the Hegelians, and that of the
Confessionalists. The first two were soon divided into a right and a
left, in so far as they included conservative and critical interests
from their very commencement. The conservative elements have been used
for building up the modern confessionalism, which in its endeavours to
go back to the Reformers has never actually got beyond the theology of
the Formula of Concord, the stringency of which it has no doubt
abolished by new theologoumena and concessions of all kinds. All these
tendencies have in common the effort to gain a real comprehension of
history and be taught by it, that is, to allow the idea of development
to obtain its proper place, and to comprehend the power and sphere of
the individual. In this and in the deeper conception of the nature and
significance of positive religion, lay the advance beyond Rationalism.
And yet the wish to understand history, has in great measure checked the
effort to obtain a true knowledge of it, and the respect for history as
the greatest of teachers, has not resulted in that supreme regard for
facts which distinguished the critical rationalism. The speculative
pragmatism, which, in the Hegelian School, was put against the "lower
pragmatism," and was rigorously carried out with the view of exhibiting
the unity of history, not only neutralised the historical material, in
so far as its concrete definiteness was opposed, as phenomenon, to the
essence of the matter, but also curtailed it in a suspicious way, as may
be seen, for example, in the works of Baur. Moreover, the universal
historical suggestions which the older history of dogma had given were
not at all, or only very little regarded. The history of dogma was, as
it were, shut out by the watchword of the immanent development of the
spirit in Christianity. The disciples of Hegel, both of the right and of
the left, were, and still are, agreed in this watch-word,[35] the
working out of which, including an apology for the course of the history
of dogma, must be for the advancement of conservative theology. But at
the basis of the statement that the history of Christianity is the
history of the spirit, there lay further a very one-sided conception of
the nature of religion, which confirmed the false idea that religion is
theology. It will always, however, be the imperishable merit of Hegel's
great disciple, F. Chr. Baur, in theology, that he was the first who
attempted to give a uniform general idea of the history of dogma, and to
live through the whole process in himself, without renouncing the
critical acquisitions of the 18th century.[36] His brilliantly written
manual of the history of dogma, in which the history of this branch of
theological science is relatively treated with the utmost detail, is,
however, in material very meagre, and shews in the very first
proposition of the historical presentation an abstract view of
history.[37] Neander, whose "Christliche Dogmengeschichte," 1857, is
distinguished by the variety of its points of view, and keen
apprehension of particular forms of doctrine, shews a far more lively
and therefore a far more just conception of the Christian religion. But
the general plan of the work, (General history of dogma--_loci_, and
these according to the established scheme), proves that Neander has not
succeeded in giving real expression to the historical character of the
study, and in attaining a clear insight into the progress of the

Kliefoth's thoughtful and instructive, "Einleitung in die
Dogmengeschichte," 1839, contains the programme for the conception of
the history of dogma characteristic of the modern confessional theology.
In this work the Hegelian view of history, not without being influenced
by Schleiermacher, is so represented as to legitimise a return to the
theology of the Fathers. In the successive great epochs of the Church
several circles of dogmas have been successively fixed, so that the
respective doctrines have each time been adequately formulated.[39]
Disturbances of the development are due to the influence of sin. Apart
from this, Kliefoth's conception is in point of form equal to that of
Baur and Strauss, in so far as they also have considered the theology
represented by themselves as the goal of the whole historical
development. The only distinction is that, according to them, the next
following stage always cancels the preceding, while according to
Kliefoth, who, moreover, has no desire to give effect to mere
traditionalism, the new knowledge is added to the old. The new edifice
of true historical knowledge, according to Kliefoth, is raised on the
ruins of Traditionalism, Scholasticism, Pietism, Rationalism and
Mysticism. Thomasius (Das Bekenntniss der evang-luth. Kirche in der
Consequenz seines Princips, 1848) has, after the example of Sartorius,
attempted to justify by history the Lutheran confessional system of
doctrine from another side, by representing it as the true mean between
Catholicism and the Reformed Spiritualism. This conception has found
much approbation in the circles of Theologians related to Thomasius, as
against the Union Theology. But Thomasius is entitled to the merit of
having produced a Manual of the history of dogma which represents in the
most worthy manner,[40] the Lutheran confessional view of the history of
dogma. The introduction, as well as the selection and arrangement of his
material, shews that Thomasius has learned much from Baur. The way in
which he distinguishes between central and peripheral dogmas is,
accordingly, not very appropriate, especially for the earliest period.
The question as to the origin of dogma and theology is scarcely even
touched by him. But he has an impression that the central dogmas contain
for every period the whole of Christianity, and that they must therefore
be apprehended in this sense.[41] The presentation is dominated
throughout by the idea of the self-explication of dogma, though a
malformation has to be admitted for the middle ages;[42] and therefore
the formation of dogma is almost everywhere justified as the testimony
of the Church represented as completely hypostatised, and the outlook on
the history of the time is put into the background. But narrow and
insufficient as the complete view here is, the excellences of the work
in details are great, in respect of exemplary clearness of presentation,
and the discriminating knowledge and keen comprehension of the author
for religious problems. The most important work done by Thomasius is
contained in his account of the history of Christology.

In his outlines of the history of Christian dogma (Grundriss der
Christl. Dogmengesch. 1870), which unfortunately has not been carried
beyond the first part (Patristic period), F. Nitzsch, marks an advance
in the history of our subject. The advance lies, on the one hand, in the
extensive use he makes of monographs on the history of dogma, and on the
other hand, in the arrangement. Nitzsch has advanced a long way on the
path that was first entered by F.K. Meier, and has arranged his material
in a way that far excels all earlier attempts. The general and special
aspects of the history of dogma are here almost completely worked into
one,[43] and in the main divisions, "Grounding of the old Catholic
Church doctrine," and "Development of the old Catholic Church doctrine,"
justice is at last done to the most important problem which the history
of dogma presents, though in my opinion the division is not made at the
right place, and the problem is not so clearly kept in view in the
execution as the arrangement would lead one to expect.[44] Nitzsch has
freed himself from that speculative view of the history of dogma which
reads ideas into it. No doubt idea and motive on the one hand, form and
expression on the other, must be distinguished for every period. But the
historian falls into vagueness as soon as he seeks and professes to find
behind the demonstrable ideas and aims which have moved a period, others
of which, as a matter of fact, that period itself knew nothing at all.
Besides, the invariable result of that procedure is to concentrate the
attention on the theological and philosophical points of dogma, and
either neglect or put a new construction on the most concrete and
important, the expression of the religious faith itself. Rationalism has
been reproached with "throwing out the child with the bath," but this is
really worse, for here the child is thrown out while the bath is
retained. Every advance in the future treatment of our subject will
further depend on the effort to comprehend the history of dogma without
reference to the momentary opinions of the present, and also on keeping
it in closest connection with the history of the Church, from which it
can never be separated without damage. We have something to learn on
this point from rationalistic historians of dogma.[45] But progress is
finally dependent on a true perception of what the Christian religion
originally was, for this perception alone enables us to distinguish that
which sprang out of the inherent power of Christianity from that which
it has assimilated in the course of its history. For the historian,
however, who does not wish to serve a party, there are two standards in
accordance with which he may criticise the history of dogma. He may
either, as far as this is possible, compare it with the Gospel, or he
may judge it according to the historical conditions of the time and the
result. Both ways can exist side by side, if only they are not mixed up
with one another. Protestantism has in principle expressly recognised
the first, and it will also have the power to bear its conclusions; for
the saying of Tertullian still holds good in it; "Nihil veritas
erubescit nisi solummodo abscondi." The historian who follows this
maxim, and at the same time has no desire to be wiser than the facts,
will, while furthering science, perform the best service also to every
Christian community that desires to build itself upon the Gospel.

After the appearance of the first and second editions of this Work,
Loofs published, "Leitfaden für seine Vorlesungen über
Dogmengeschichte," Halle, 1889, and in the following year, "Leitfaden
zum Studium der Dogmengeschichte, zunächst für seine Vorlesungen,"
(second and enlarged edition of the first-named book). The work in its
conception of dogma and its history comes pretty near that stated above,
and it is distinguished by independent investigation and excellent
selection of material. I myself have published a "Grundriss der
Dogmengeschichte," 2 Edit, in one vol. 1893. (Outlines of the history of
dogma, English translation, Hodder and Stoughton). That this has not
been written in vain, I have the pleasure of seeing from not a few
notices of professional colleagues. I may mention the Church history of
Herzog in the new revision by Koffmane, the first vol. of the Church
history of Karl Müller, the first vol. of the Symbolik of Kattenbusch,
and Kaftan's work, "The truth of the Christian religion." Wilhelm
Schmidt, "Der alte Glaube und die Wahrheit des Christenthums," 1891, has
attempted to furnish a refutation in principle of Kaftan's work.

[Footnote 1: Weizsäcker, Gött. Gel. Anz. 1886, p. 823 f., says, "It is a
question whether we should limit the account of the genesis of Dogma to
the Antenicene period and designate all else as a development of that.
This is undoubtedly correct so long as our view is limited to the
history of dogma of the Greek Church in the second period, and the
development of it by the Oecumenical Synods. On the other hand, the
Latin Church, in its own way and in its own province, becomes productive
from the days of Augustine onwards; the formal signification of dogma in
the narrower sense becomes different in the middle ages. Both are
repeated in a much greater measure through the Reformation. We may
therefore, in opposition to that division into genesis and development,
regard the whole as a continuous process, in which the contents as well
as the formal authority of dogma are in process of continuous
development." This view is certainly just, and I think is indicated by
myself in what follows. We have to decide here, as so often elsewhere in
our account, between rival points of view. The view favoured by me has
the advantage of making the nature of dogma clearly appear as a product
of the mode of thought of the early church, and that is what it has
remained, in spite of all changes both in form and substance, till the
present day.]

[Footnote 2: See Kattenbusch. Luther's Stellung zu den ökumenischen
Symbolen, 1883.]

[Footnote 3: See Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus. I. p. 80 ff., 93 ff.
II. p. 60 f.: 88 f. "The Lutheran view of life did not remain pure and
undefiled, but was limited and obscured by the preponderance of dogmatic
interests. Protestantism was not delivered from the womb of the western
Church of the middle ages in full power and equipment, like Athene from
the head of Jupiter. The incompleteness of its ethical view, the
splitting up of its general conceptions into a series of particular
dogmas, the tendency to express its beliefs as a hard and fast whole;
are defects which soon made Protestantism appear to disadvantage in
comparison with the wealth of Mediæval theology and asceticism ... The
scholastic form of pure doctrine is really only the provisional, and not
the final form of Protestantism."]

[Footnote 4: It is very evident how the mediæval and old catholic dogmas
were transformed in the view which Luther originally took of them. In
this view we must remember that he did away with all the presuppositions
of dogma, the infallible Apostolic Canon of Scripture, the infallible
teaching function of the Church, and the infallible Apostolic doctrine
and constitution. On this basis dogmas can only be utterances which do
not support faith, but are supported by it. But, on the other hand, his
opposition to all the Apocryphal saints which the Church had created,
compelled him to emphasise faith alone, and to give it a firm basis in
scripture, in order to free it from the burden of tradition. Here then,
very soon, first by Melanchthon, a summary of _articuli fidei_ was
substituted for the faith, and the scriptures recovered their place as a
rule. Luther himself, however, is responsible for both, and so it came
about that very soon the new evangelic standpoint was explained almost
exclusively by the "abolition of abuses", and by no means so surely by
the transformation of the whole doctrinal tradition. The classic
authority for this is the Augsburg confession ("hæc fere summa est
doctrina apud suos, in qua cerni potest nihil inesse, quod discrepet a
scripturis vel ab ecclesia Catholica vel ab ecclesia Romana ... sed
dissensio est de quibusdam abusibus"). The purified catholic doctrine
has since then become the palladium of the Reformation Churches. The
refuters of the Augustana have justly been unwilling to admit the mere
"purifying," but have noted in addition that the Augustana does not say
everything that was urged by Luther and the Doctors (see Ficker, Die
Konfutation des Augsburgischen Bekenntnisse, 1891). At the same time,
however, the Lutheran Church, though not so strongly as the English,
retained the consciousness of being the true Catholics. But, as the
history of Protestantism proves, the original impulse has not remained
inoperative. Though Luther himself all his life measured his personal
Christian standing by an entirely different standard than subjection to
a law of faith; yet, however presumptuous the words may sound, we might
say that in the complicated struggle that was forced on him, he did not
always clearly understand his own faith.]

[Footnote 5: In the modern Romish Church, Dogma is, above all, a
judicial regulation which one has to submit to, and in certain
circumstances submission alone is sufficient, _fides implicita_. Dogma
is thereby just as much deprived of its original sense and its original
authority as by the demand of the Reformers, that every thing should be
based upon a clear understanding of the Gospel. Moreover, the changed
position of the Romish Church towards dogma is also shewn by the fact
that it no longer gives a plain answer to the question as to what dogma
is. Instead of a series of dogmas definitely defined, and of equal
value, there is presented an infinite multitude of whole and half
dogmas, doctrinal directions, pious opinions, probable theological
propositions, etc. It is often a very difficult question whether a
solemn decision has or has not already been taken on this or that
statement, or whether such a decision is still necessary. Everything
that must be believed is nowhere stated, and so one sometimes hears in
Catholic circles the exemplary piety of a cleric praised with the words
that "he believes more than is necessary." The great dogmatic conflicts
within the Catholic Church, since the Council of Trent, have been
silenced by arbitrary Papal pronouncements and doctrinal directions.
Since one has simply to accommodate oneself to these as laws, it once
more appears clear that dogma has become a judicial regulation,
administered by the Pope, which is carried out in an administrative way
and loses itself in an endless casuistry. We do not mean by this to deny
that dogma has a decided value for the pious Catholic as a Summary of
the faith. But in the Catholic Church it is no longer piety, but
obedience that is decisive. The solidarity with the orthodox Protestants
may be explained by political reasons, in order from political reasons
again, to condemn, where it is necessary, all Protestants as heretics
and revolutionaries.]

[Footnote 6: See the discussions of Biedermann (Christliche Dogmatik. 2
Ed. p. 150 f.) about what he calls the law of stability in the history
of religion.]

[Footnote 7: See Ritschl's discussion of the methods of the early
histories of dogma in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theologie. 1871, p. 181

[Footnote 8: In Catholicism, the impulse which proceeded from Augustine
has finally proved powerless to break the traditional conception of
Christianity, as the Council of Trent and the decrees of the Vatican
have shewn. For that very reason the development of the Roman Catholic
Church doctrine belongs to the history of dogma. Protestantism must,
however, under all circumstances be recognised as a new thing, which
indeed in none of its phases has been free from contradictions.]

[Footnote 9: Here then begins the ecclesiastical theology which takes as
its starting-point the finished dogma it strives to prove or harmonise,
but very soon, as experience has shewn, loses its firm footing in such
efforts and so occasions new crises.]

[Footnote 10: Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, Vol. I. p. 123. "Christianity
as religion is absolutely inconceivable without theology; first of all,
for the same reasons which called forth the Pauline theology. As a
religion it cannot be separated from the religion of its founder, hence
not from historical knowledge. And as Monotheism and belief in a world
purpose, it is the religion of reason with the inextinguishable impulse
of thought. The first gentile Christians therewith gained the proud
consciousness of a gnosis." But of ecclesiastical Christianity which
rests on dogma ready made, as produced by an earlier epoch, this
conception holds good only in a very qualified way; and of the vigorous
Christian piety of the earliest and of every period, it may also be said
that it no less feels the impulse to think against reason than with

[Footnote 11: In this sense it is correct to class dogmatic theology as
historical theology, as Schleiermacher has done. If we maintain that for
practical reasons it must be taken out of the province of historical
theology, then we must make it part of practical theology. By dogmatic
theology here, we understand the exposition of Christianity in the form
of Church doctrine, as it has been shaped since the second century. As
distinguished from it, a branch of theological study must be conceived
which harmonises the historical exposition of the Gospel with the
general state of knowledge of the time. The Church can as little
dispense with such a discipline as there can be a Christianity which
does not account to itself for its basis and spiritual contents.]

[Footnote 12: See Eusebius' preface to his Church History. Eusebius in
this work set himself a comprehensive task, but in doing so he never in
the remotest sense thought of a history of dogma. In place of that we
have a history of men "who from generation to generation proclaimed the
word of God orally or by writing," and a history of those who by their
passion for novelties, plunged themselves into the greatest errors.]

[Footnote 13: See for example, B. Schwane, Dogmengesch. d.
Vornicänischen Zeit, 1862, where the sense in which dogmas have no
historical side is first expounded, and then it is shewn that dogmas,
"notwithstanding, present a certain side which permits a historical
consideration, because in point of fact they have gone through
historical developments." But these historical developments present
themselves simply either as solemn promulgations and explications, or as
private theological speculations.]

[Footnote 14: If we leave out of account the Marcionite gnostic
criticism of ecclesiastical Christianity, Paul of Samosata and Marcellus
of Ancyra may be mentioned as men who, in the earliest period,
criticised the apologetic Alexandrian theology which was being
naturalised (see the remarkable statement of Marcellus in Euseb. C.
Marc. I.4: [Greek: to tou dogmatos onoma tês anthrôpinês echetai boulês
te kai gnômês k.t.l.] which I have chosen as the motto of this book). We
know too little of Stephen Gobarus (VI. cent.) to enable us to estimate
his review of the doctrine of the Church and its development (Photius
Bibl. 232). With regard to the middle ages (Abelard "Sic et Non"), see
Reuter, Gesch. der relig. Aufklärung im MA., 1875. Hahn Gesch, der
Ketzer, especially in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, 3 vols., 1845.
Keller, Die Reformation und die alteren Reform-Parteien, 1885.]

[Footnote 15: See Voigt, Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Alterthums.
2 vols., 1881, especially vol. II p. 1 ff. 363 ff. 494 ff. ("Humanism
and the science of history"). The direct importance of humanism for
illuminating the history of the middle ages is very little, and least of
all for the history of the Church and of dogma. The only prominent works
here are those of Saurentius Valla and Erasmus. The criticism of the
scholastic dogmas of the Church and the Pope began as early as the 12th
century. For the attitude of the Renaissance to religion, see
Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance. 2 vols., 1877.]

[Footnote 16: See Holtzmann, Kanon und Tradition, 1859, Hase, Handbuch
der protest. Polemik, 1878. Joh Delitszch, Das Lehrsystem der röm.
Kirche, 1875. New revelations, however, are rejected, and bold
assumptions leading that way are not favoured: See Schwane, above work
p. 11: "The content of revelation is not enlarged by the decisions or
teaching of the Church, nor are new revelations added in course of time
... Christian truth cannot therefore in its content be completed by the
Church, nor has she ever claimed the right of doing so, but always where
new designations or forms of dogma became necessary for the putting down
of error or the instruction of the faithful, she would always teach what
she had received in Holy scripture or in the oral tradition of the
Apostles." Recent Catholic accounts of the history of dogma are Klee,
Lehrbuch der D.G. 2 vols, 1837, (Speculative). Schwane, Dogmengesch. der
Vornicänischen Zeit, 1862, der patrist Zeit, 1869; der Mittleren Zeit,
1882. Bach, Die D.G. des MA. 1873. There is a wealth of material for the
history of dogma in Kuhn's Dogmatîk, as well as in the great
controversial writings occasioned by the celebrated work of Bellarmin;
Disputationes de controversiis Christianæ fidei adversus hujus temporis
hæreticos, 1581-1593. It need not be said that, in spite of their
inability to treat the history of dogma historically and critically,
much may be learned from these works, and some other striking monographs
of Roman Catholic scholars. But everything in history that is fitted to
shake the high antiquity and unanimous attestation of the Catholic
dogmas, becomes here a problem, the solution of which is demanded,
though indeed its carrying out often requires a very exceptional
intellectual subtlety.]

[Footnote 17: Historical interest in Protestantism has grown up around
the questions as to the power of the Pope, the significance of Councils,
or the Scripturalness of the doctrines set up by them, and about the
meaning of the Lord's supper, of the conception of it by the Church
Fathers; (see Oecolampadius and Melanchthon.) Protestants were too sure
that the doctrine of justification was taught in the scriptures to feel
any need of seeking proofs for it by studies in the history of dogma,
and Luther also dispensed with the testimony of history for the dogma of
the Lord's supper. The task of shewing how far and in what way Luther
and the Reformers compounded with history has not even yet been taken
up. And yet there may be found in Luther's writings surprising and
excellent critical comments on the history of dogma and the theology of
the Fathers, as well as genial conceptions which have certainly remained
inoperative; see especially the treatise "Von den Conciliis und
Kirchen," and his judgment on different Church Fathers. In the first
edition of the _Loci_ of Melanchthon we have also critical material for
estimating the old systems of dogma. Calvin's depreciatory estimate of
the Trinitarian and Christological Formula, which, however, he retracted
at a later period is well known.]

[Footnote 18: Protestant Church history was brought into being by the
Interim, Flacius being its father, see his Catalogus Testium Veritatis,
and the so called Magdeburg Centuries 1559-1574, also Jundt Les
Centuries de Magdebourg Paris, 1883 Von Engelhardt (Christenthum
Justins, p. 9 ff.) has drawn attention to the estimate of Justin in the
Centuries, and has justly insisted on the high importance of this first
attempt at a criticism of the Church Fathers Khefoth (Eml. in. d. D.G.
1839) has the merit of pointing out the somewhat striking judgment of A.
Hyperius on the history of dogma Chemnitz, Examen concilii Tridentini,
1565 Forbesius a Corse (a Scotsman) Instructiones historico-theologiæ de
doctrina Christiana 1645.]

[Footnote 19: The learning, the diligence in collecting, and the
carefulness of the Benedictines and Maurians, as well as of English
Dutch and French theologians, such as Casaubon, Vossius, Pearson,
Dallaus Spanheim, Grabe, Basnage, etc. have never since been equalled,
far less surpassed. Even in the literary historical and higher criticism
these scholars have done splendid work, so far as the confessional
dogmas did not come into question]

[Footnote 20: See especially, G. Arnold, Unpartheyische Kirchen- und
Ketzerhistorie, 1699, also Baur, Epochen der kirchlichen
Geschichtsschreibung p. 84 ff., Floring G. Arnold als Kirchenhistoriker
Darmstadt, 1883. The latter determines correctly the measure of Arnold's
importance. His work was the direct preparation for an impartial
examination of the history of dogma however partial it was in itself
Pietism, here and there, after Spener, declared war against scholastic
dogmatics as a hindrance to piety, and in doing so broke the ban under
which the knowledge of history lay captive.]

[Footnote 21: The investigations of the so-called English Deists about
the Christian religion contain the first, and to some extent a very
significant free-spirited attempt at a critical view of the history of
dogma (see Lechler, History of English Deism, 1841). But the criticism
is an abstract rarely a historical one. Some very learned works bearing
on the history of dogma were written in England against the position of
the Deists especially by Lardner; see also at an earlier time Bull,
Defensio fidei nic.]

[Footnote 22: Calixtus of Helmstadt was the forerunner of Leibnitz with
regard to Church history. But the merit of having recognised the main
problem of the history of dogma does not belong to Calixtus. By pointing
out what Protestantism and Catholicism had in common he did not in any
way clear up the historico-critical problem. On the other hand, the
_Consensus repetitus_ of the Wittenberg theologians shews what
fundamental questions Calixtus had already stirred.]

[Footnote 23: Among the numerous historical writings of Mosheim may be
mentioned specially his Dissert ad hist Eccles pertinentes 2 vols.
1731-1741, as well as the work "De rebus Christianorum ante Constantinum
M Commentarii," 1753; see also "Institutiones hist Eccl" last Edition,

[Footnote 24: Walch, "Entwurf einer vollständigen Historie der
Ketzereien, Spaltungen und Religionsstreitigkeiten bis auf die Zeiten
der Reformation." 11 Thle (incomplete), 1762-1785. See also his "Entwurf
einer vollständigen Historie der Kirchenversammlungen" 1759, as well as
numerous monographs on the history of dogma. Such were already produced
by the older Walch, whose "Histor. theol Einleitung in die
Religionsstreitigkeiten der Ev. Luth. Kirche," 5 vols. 1730-1739, and
"Histor.-theol. Einleit. in die Religionsstreitigkeiten welche
sonderlich ausser der Ev Luth. Kirche entstanden sind 5 Thle",
1733-1736, had already put polemics behind the knowledge of history (see
Gass. "Gesch. der protest. Dogmatik," 3rd Vol. p. 205 ff).]

[Footnote 25: Opusc. p. 576 f.: "Ex quo fit, ut nullo modo in
theologicis, quæ omnia e libris antiquis hebraicis, grascis, latinis
ducuntur, possit aliquis bene in definiendo versari et a peccatis multis
et magnis sibi cavere, nisi litteras et historiam assumat." The title of
a programme of Crusius, Ernesti's opponent, "De dogmatum Christianorum
historia cum probatione dogmatum non confundenda," 1770, is significant
of the new insight which was steadily making way.]

[Footnote 26: Semler, Einleitung zu Baumgartens evang. Glaubenslehre,
1759: also Geschichte der Glaubenslehre, zu Baumgartens Untersuch.
theol. Streitigkeiten, 1762-1764. Semler paved the way for the view that
dogmas have arisen and been gradually developed under definite
historical conditions. He was the first to grasp the problem of the
relation of Catholicism to early Christianity, because he freed the
early Christian documents from the fetters of the Canon. Schröckh
(Christl. Kirchengesch., 1786,) in the spirit of Semler described with
impartiality and care the changes of the dogmas.]

[Footnote 27: Rössler, Lehrbegriff der Christlichen Kirche in den 3
ersten Jahrh. 1775; also, Arbeiten by Burscher, Heinrich, Stäudlin,
etc., see especially, Löffler's "Abhandlung welche eine kurze
Darstellung der Entstehungsart der Dreieinigkeit enthält," 1792, in the
translation of Souverain's Le Platonisme devoilé, 1700. The question as
to the Platonism of the Fathers, this fundamental question of the
history of dogma, was raised even by Luther and Flacius, and was very
vigorously debated at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th
centuries, after the Socinians had already affirmed it strongly. The
question once more emerges on German soil in the church history of G.
Arnold, but cannot be said to have received the attention it deserves in
the 150 years that have followed (see the literature of the controversy
in Tzschirner, Fall des Heidenthums, p. 580 f.). Yet the problem was
first thrust aside by the speculative view of the history of

[Footnote 28: Lange. Ausführ. Gesch. der Dogmen, oder der Glaubenslehre
der Christl. Kirche nach den Kirchenväter ausgearbeitet. 1796.]

[Footnote 29: Münscher, Handb. d. Christl. D.G. 4 vols. first 6
Centuries 1797-1809; Lehrbuch, 1st Edit. 1811; 3rd. Edit. edited by v
Cölln, Hupfeld and Neudecker, 1832-1838. Planck's epoch-making work:
Gesch. der Veränderungen und der Bildung unseres protestantischen
Lehrbegriffs. 6 vols. 1791-1800, had already for the most part appeared.
Contemporary with Münscher are Wundemann, Gesch. d. Christl.
Glaubenslehren vom Zeitalter des Athanasius bis auf Gregor. d. Gr. 2
Thle. 1789-1799; Münter, Handbuch der alteren Christl. D.G. hrsg. von
Ewers, 2 vols. 1802-1804; Stäudlin, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik und
Dogmengeschichte, 1800, last Edition 1822, and Beck, Comment, hist.
decretorum religionis Christianæ, 1801.]

[Footnote 30: Augusti, Lehrb. d. Christl. D.G. 1805. 4 Edit. 1835.
Berthold, Handb. der D.G. 2 vols. 1822-1823. Schickedanz, Versuch einer
Gesch. d. Christl. Glaubenslehre etc. 1827. Ruperti, Geschichte der
Dogmen, 1831. Lenz, Gesch. der Christl. Dogmen. 2 parts. 1834-1835.
J.G.V. Engelhardt, Dogmengesch. 1839. See also Giesler, Dogmengesch. 2
vols. edited by Redepenning, 1855: also Illgen, Ueber den Werth der
Christl. D.G. 1817.]

[Footnote 31: Baumgarten Crusius, Lehrb. d. Christl. D.G. 1852: also
compendium d. Christl. D.G. 2 parts 1830-1846, the second part edited by

[Footnote 32: Meier, Lehrb. d. D.G. 1840. 2nd Edit. revised by G. Baur

[Footnote 33: The "Special History of Dogma" in Baumgarten Crusius, in
which every particular dogma is by itself pursued through the whole
history of the Church, is of course entirely unfruitful. But even the
opinions which are given in the "General History of Dogma," are
frequently very far from the mark, (Cf., e.g., § 14 and p. 67), which is
the more surprising as no one can deny that he takes a scholarly view of

[Footnote 34: Meier's Lehrbuch is formally and materially a very
important piece of work, the value of which has not been sufficiently
recognised, because the author followed neither the track of Neander nor
of Baur. Besides the excellences noted in the text, may be further
mentioned, that almost everywhere Meier has distinguished correctly
between the history of dogma and the history of theology, and has given
an account only of the former.]

[Footnote 35: Biedermann (Christl Dogmatik 2 Edit 1 vol. p. 332 f) says,
"The history of the development of the Dogma of the Person of Christ
will bring before us step by step the ascent of faith in the Gospel of
Jesus Christ to its metaphysical basis in the nature of his person."
This was the quite normal and necessary way of actual faith and is not
to be reckoned as a confused mixture of heterogeneous philosophical
opinions. The only thing taken from the ideas of contemporary philosophy
was the special material of consciousness in which the doctrine of
Christ's Divinity was at any time expressed. The process of this
doctrinal development was an inward necessary one.]

[Footnote 36: Baur, Lehrbuch der Christl D.G. 1847 3rd Edit. 1867, also
Vorles uber die Christl D.G. edited by F. Baur 1865-68. Further the
Monographs, "Ueber die Christl Lehre v.d. Versohnung in ihrergesch Entw.
1838." Ueber die Christl Lehre v.d. Dreieinigkeit u.d. Menschwerdung,
1841, etc. D.F. Strauss preceded him with his work Die Christl
Glaubenslehre in ihrer gesch Entw 2 vols 1840-41. From the stand-point
of the Hegelian right we have Marheineke Christl D.G. edited by Matthias
and Vatke 1849. From the same stand-point though at the same time
influenced by Schleiermacher Dorner wrote "The History of the Person of

[Footnote 37: See p. 63: "As Christianity appeared in contrast with
Judaism and Heathenism, and could only represent a new and peculiar form
of the religious consciousness in distinction from both reducing the
contrasts of both to a unity in itself, so also the first difference of
tendencies developing themselves within Christianity, must be determined
by the relation in which it stood to Judaism on the one hand, and to
Heathenism on the other." Compare also the very characteristic
introduction to the first volume of the Vorlesungen.]

[Footnote 38: Hagenbach's Manual of the history of dogma might be put
alongside of Neander's work. It agrees with it both in plan and spirit.
But the material of the history of dogma which it offers in
superabundance, seems far less connectedly worked out than by Neander.
In Shedd's history of Christian doctrine the Americans possess a
presentation of the history of dogma worth noting 2 vols 3 Edit 1883.
The work of Fr. Bonifas Hist des Dogmes 2 vols 1886 appeared after the
death of the author and is not important.]

[Footnote 39: No doubt Kliefoth also maintains for each period a stage
of the disintegration of dogma but this is not to be understood in the
ordinary sense of the word. Besides there are ideas in this introduction
which hardly obtain the approval of their author to-day.]

[Footnote 40: Thomasius' Die Christl. Dogmengesch. als Entwickel. Gesch.
des Kirchl. Lehrbegriffs. 2 vols. 1874-76. 2nd Edit intelligently and
carefully edited by Bonwetsch. and Seeberg, 1887. (Seeberg has produced
almost a new work in vol. II). From the same stand-point is the manual
of the history of dogma by H. Schmid, 1859, (in 4th Ed. revised and
transformed into an excellent collection of passages from the sources by
Hauck, 1887), as well as the Luther. Dogmatik (Vol. II 1864: Der
Kirchenglaube) of Kahnis, which, however, subjects particular dogmas to
a freer criticism.]

[Footnote 41: See Vol. 1. p. 14.]

[Footnote 42: See Vol. 1. p. 11. "The first period treats of the
development of the great main dogmas which were to become the basis of
the further development (the Patristic age). The problem of the second
period was, partly to work up this material theologically, and partly to
develop it. But this development, under the influence of the Hierarchy,
fell into false paths, and became partly, at least, corrupt (the age of
Scholasticism), and therefore a reformation was necessary. It was
reserved for this third period to carry back the doctrinal formation
which had become abnormal, to the old sound paths, and on the other
hand, in virtue of the regeneration of the Church which followed, to
deepen it and fashion it according to that form which it got in the
doctrinal systems of the Evangelic Church, while the remaining part
fixed its own doctrine in the decrees of Trent (period of the
Reformation)." This view of history, which, from the Christian
stand-point, will allow absolutely nothing to be said against the
doctrinal formation of the early Church, is a retrogression from the
view of Luther and the writers of the "Centuries," for these were well
aware that the corruption did not first begin in the middle ages.]

[Footnote 43: This fulfils a requirement urged by Weizsäcker (Jahrb. f.
Deutsche Theol 1866 p. 170 ff.)]

[Footnote 44: See Ritschl's Essay, "Ueber die Methode der älteren
Dogmengeschichte" (Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol. 1871 p. 191 ff.) in which
the advance made by Nitzsch is estimated, and at the same time, an
arrangement proposed for the treatment of the earlier history of dogma
which would group the material more clearly and more suitably than has
been done by Nitzsch. After having laid the foundation for a correct
historical estimate of the development of early Christianity in his work
"Entstehung der Alt-Katholischen Kirche", 1857, Ritschl published an
epoch-making study in the history of dogma in his "History of the
doctrine of justification and reconciliation" 2 edit. 1883. We have no
superabundance of good monographs on the history of dogma. There are few
that give such exact information regarding the Patristic period as that
of Von Engelhardt "Ueber das Christenthum Justin's", 1878, and Zahn's
work on Marcellus, 1867. Among the investigators of our age, Renan above
all has clearly recognised that there are only two main periods in the
history of dogma, and that the changes which Christianity experienced
after the establishment of the Catholic Church bear no proportion to the
changes which preceded. His words are as follows (Hist. des origin. du
Christianisme T. VII. p. 503 f.):--the division about the year 180 is
certainly placed too early, regard being had to what was then really
authoritative in the Church.--"Si nous comparons maintenant le
Christianisme, tel qu'il existait vers l'an 180, au Christianisme du IVe
et du Ve, siècle, au Christianisme du moyen âge, au Christianisme de nos
jours, nous trouvons qu'en réalité il s'est augmenté des très peu de
chose dans les siècles qui ont suivis. En 180, le Nouveau Testament est
clos: il ne s'y ajoutera plus un seul livre nouveau(?). Lentement, les
Épitres de Paul out conquis leur place à la suite des Evangiles, dans le
code sacré et dans la liturgie. Quant aux dogmes, rien n'est fixé; mais
le germe de tout existe; presque aucune idée n'apparaitra qui ne puisse
faire valoir des autorités du 1er et du 2e siècles. Il y a du trop, il y
a des contradictions; le travail théologique consistera bien plus à
émonder, à écarter des superfluités qu'à inventer du nouveau. L'Église
laissera tomber une foule de choses mal commencées, elle sortira de bien
des impasses. Elle a encore deux coeurs, pour ainsi dire; elle a
plusieurs têtes; ces anomalies tomberont; mais aucun dogme vraiment
original ne se formera plus." Also the discussions in chapters 28-34, of
the same volume. H. Thiersch (Die Kirche im Apostolischen Zeitalter,
1852) reveals a deep insight into the difference between the spirit of
the New Testament writers and the post-Apostolic Fathers, but he has
overdone these differences and sought to explain them by the
mythological assumption of an Apostasy. A great amount of material for
the history of dogma may be found in the great work of Böhringer, Die
Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen, oder die Kirchengeschichte in
Biographien. 2 Edit. 1864.]

[Footnote 45: By the connection with general church history we must,
above all, understand, a continuous regard to the world within which the
church has been developed. The most recent works on the history of the
church and of dogma, those of Renan, Overbeck (Anfänge der patristischen
Litteratur), Aube, Von Engelhardt (Justin), Kühn (Minucius Felix). Hatch
("Organization of the early church," and especially his posthumous work
"The influence of Greek ideas and usages upon the Christian Church,"
1890, in which may be found the most ample proof for the conception of
the early history of dogma which is set forth in the following pages),
are in this respect worthy of special note. Deserving of mention also is
R. Rothe, who, in his "Vorlesungen über Kirchengeschichte", edited by
Weingarten, 1875, 2 vols, gave most significant suggestions towards a
really historical conception of the history of the church and of dogma.
To Rothe belongs the undiminished merit of realising thoroughly the
significance of nationality in church history. But the theology of our
century is also indebted for the first scientific conception of
Catholicism, not to Marheineke or Winer, but to Rothe. (See Vol II. pp.
1-11 especially p. 7 f.). "The development of the Christian Church in
the Græco-Roman world was not at the same time a development of that
world by the Church and further by Christianity. There remained, as the
result of the process, nothing but the completed Church. The world which
had built it had made itself bankrupt in doing so." With regard to the
origin and development of the Catholic cultus and constitution, nay,
even of the Ethic (see Luthardt, Die antike Ethik, 1887, preface), that
has been recognised by Protestant scholars, which one always hesitates
to recognise with regard to catholic dogma: see the excellent remarks of
Schwegler, Nachapostolisches Zeitalter. Vol. 1. p. 3 ff. It may be hoped
that an intelligent consideration of early Christian literature will
form the bridge to a broad and intelligent view of the history of dogma.
The essay of Overbeck mentioned above (Histor. Zeitschrift. N. F. XII p.
417 ff.) may be most heartily recommended in this respect. It is very
gratifying to find an investigator so conservative as Sohm, now fully
admitting that "Christian theology grew up in the second and third
centuries, when its foundations were laid for all time (?), the last
great production of the Hellenic Spirit." (Kirchengeschichte im
Grundriss, 1888. p. 37). The same scholar in his very important
Kirchenrecht. Bd. I. 1892, has transferred to the history of the origin
of Church law and Church organization, the points of view which I have
applied in the following account to the consideration of dogma. He has
thereby succeeded in correcting many old errors and prejudices; but in
my opinion he has obscured the truth by exaggerations connected with a
conception, not only of original Christianity, but also of the Gospel in
general, which is partly a narrow legal view, partly an enthusiastic
one. He has arrived _ex errore per veritatem ad errorem_; but there are
few books from which so much may be learned about early church history
as from this paradoxical "Kirchenrecht."]



§ 1. _Introductory._

The Gospel presents itself as an Apocalyptic message on the soil of the
Old Testament, and as the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, and
yet is a new thing, the creation of a universal religion on the basis of
that of the Old Testament. It appeared when the time was fulfilled, that
is, it is not without a connection with the stage of religious and
spiritual development which was brought about by the intercourse of Jews
and Greeks, and was established in the Roman Empire; but still it is a
new religion because it cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. When the
traditional religion has become too narrow the new religion usually
appears as something of a very abstract nature; philosophy comes upon
the scene, and religion withdraws from social life and becomes a private
matter. But here an overpowering personality has appeared--the Son of
God. Word and deed coincide in that personality, and as it leads men
into a new communion with God, it unites them at the same time
inseparably with itself, enables them to act on the world as light and
leaven, and joins them together in a spiritual unity and an active

2. Jesus Christ brought no new doctrine, but he set forth in his own
person a holy life with God and before God, and gave himself in virtue
of this life to the service of his brethren in order to win them for the
Kingdom of God, that is, to lead them out of selfishness and the world
to God, out of the natural connections and contrasts to a union in love,
and prepare them for an eternal kingdom and an eternal life. But while
working for this Kingdom of God he did not withdraw from the religious
and political communion of his people, nor did he induce his disciples
to leave that communion. On the contrary, he described the Kingdom of
God as the fulfilment of the promises given to the nation, and himself
as the Messiah whom that nation expected. By doing so he secured for his
new message, and with it his own person, a place in the system of
religious ideas and hopes, which by means of the Old Testament were
then, in diverse forms, current in the Jewish nation. The origin of a
doctrine concerning the Messianic hope, in which the Messiah was no
longer an unknown being, but Jesus of Nazareth, along with the new
temper and disposition of believers was a direct result of the
impression made by the person of Jesus. The conception of the Old
Testament in accordance with the _analogia fidei_, that is, in
accordance with the conviction that this Jesus of Nazareth is the
Christ, was therewith given. Whatever sources of comfort and strength
Christianity, even in its New Testament, has possessed or does possess
up to the present, is for the most part taken from the Old Testament,
viewed from a Christian stand-point, in virtue of the impression of the
person of Jesus. Even its dross was changed into gold; its hidden
treasures were brought forth, and while the earthly and transitory were
recognised as symbols of the heavenly and eternal, there rose up a world
of blessings, of holy ordinances, and of sure grace prepared by God from
eternity. One could joyfully make oneself at home in it; for its long
history guaranteed a sure future and a blessed close, while it offered
comfort and certainty in all the changes of life to every individual
heart that would only raise itself to God. From the positive position
which Jesus took up towards the Old Testament, that is, towards the
religious traditions of his people, his Gospel gained a footing which,
later on, preserved it from dissolving in the glow of enthusiasm, or
melting away in the ensnaring dream of antiquity, that dream of the
indestructible Divine nature of the human spirit, and the nothingness
and baseness of all material things.[46] But from the positive attitude
of Jesus to the Jewish tradition, there followed also, for a generation
that had long been accustomed to grope after the Divine active in the
world, the summons to think out a theory of the media of revelation, and
so put an end to the uncertainty with which speculation had hitherto
been afflicted. This, like every theory of religion, concealed in itself
the danger of crippling the power of faith; for men are ever prone to
compound with religion itself by a religious theory.

3. The result of the preaching of Jesus, however, in the case of the
believing Jews, was not only the illumination of the Old Testament by
the Gospel and the confirmation of the Gospel by the Old Testament, but
not less, though indirectly, the detachment of believers from the
religious community of the Jews from the Jewish Church. How this came
about cannot be discussed here: we may satisfy ourselves with the fact
that it was essentially accomplished in the first two generations of
believers. The Gospel was a message for humanity even where there was no
break with Judaism: but it seemed impossible to bring this message home
to men who were not Jews in any other way than by leaving the Jewish
Church. But to leave that Church was to declare it to be worthless, and
that could only be done by conceiving it as a malformation from its very
commencement, or assuming that it had temporarily or completely
fulfilled its mission. In either case it was necessary to put another in
its place, for, according to the Old Testament, it was unquestionable
that God had not only given revelations, but through these revelations
had founded a nation, a religious community. The result, also, to which
the conduct of the unbelieving Jews and the social union of the
disciples of Jesus required by that conduct, led, was carried home with
irresistible power: believers in Christ are the community of God, they
are the true Israel, the [Greek: ekklêsia tou theou]: but the Jewish
Church persisting in its unbelief is the Synagogue of Satan. Out of this
consciousness sprang--first as a power in which one believed, but which
immediately began to be operative, though not as a commonwealth--the
christian church, a special communion of hearts on the basis of a
personal union with God, established by Christ and mediated by the
Spirit; a communion whose essential mark was to claim as its own the Old
Testament and the idea of being the people of God, to sweep aside the
Jewish conception of the Old Testament and the Jewish Church, and
thereby gain the shape and power of a community that is capable of a
mission for the world.

4. This independent Christian community could not have been formed had
not Judaism, in consequence of inner and outer developments, then
reached a point at which it must either altogether cease to grow or
burst its shell. This community is the presupposition of the history of
dogma, and the position which it took up towards the Jewish tradition
is, strictly speaking, the point of departure for all further
developments, so far as with the removal of all national and ceremonial
peculiarities it proclaimed itself to be what the Jewish Church wished
to be. We find the Christian Church about the middle of the third
century, after severe crisis, in nearly the same position to the Old
Testament and to Judaism as it was 150 or 200 years earlier.[47] It
makes the same claim to the Old Testament, and builds its faith and hope
upon its teaching. It is also, as before, strictly anti-national; above
all, anti-judaic, and sentences the Jewish religious community to the
abyss of hell. It might appear, then, as though the basis for the
further development of Christianity as a church was completely given
from the moment in which the first breach of believers with the
synagogue and the formation of independent Christian communities took
place. The problem, the solution of which will always exercise this
church, so far as it reflects upon its faith, will be to turn the
Old Testament more completely to account in its own sense, so as to
condemn the Jewish Church with its particular and national forms.

5. But the rule even for the Christian use of the Old Testament lay
originally in the living connection in which one stood with the Jewish
people and its traditions, and a new religious community, a religious
commonwealth, was not yet realised, although it existed for faith and
thought. If again we compare the Church about the middle of the third
century with the condition of Christendom 150 or 200 years before, we
shall find that there is now a real religious commonwealth, while at the
earlier period there were only communities who believed in a heavenly
Church, whose earthly image they were, endeavoured to give it expression
with the simplest means, and lived in the future as strangers and
pilgrims on the earth, hastening to meet the Kingdom of whose existence
they had the surest guarantee. We now really find a new commonwealth,
politically formed and equipped with fixed forms of all kinds. We
recognise in these forms few Jewish, but many Græco-Roman features, and
finally, we perceive also in the doctrine of faith on which this
commonwealth is based, the philosophic spirit of the Greeks. We find a
Church as a political union and worship institute, a formulated faith
and a sacred learning; but one thing we no longer find, the old
enthusiasm and individualism which had not felt itself fettered by
subjection to the authority of the Old Testament. Instead of
enthusiastic independent Christians, we find a new literature of
revelation, the New Testament, and Christian priests. When did these
formations begin? How and by what influence was the living faith
transformed into the creed to be believed, the surrender to Christ into
a philosophic Christology, the Holy Church into the _corpus permixtum_,
the glowing hope of the Kingdom of heaven into a doctrine of immortality
and deification, prophecy into a learned exegesis and theological
science, the bearers of the spirit into clerics, the brethren into laity
held in tutelage, miracles and healings into nothing, or into
priestcraft, the fervent prayers into a solemn ritual, renunciation of
the world into a jealous dominion over the world, the "spirit" into
constraint and law?

There can be no doubt about the answer: these formations are as old in
their origin as the detachment of the Gospel from the Jewish Church. A
religious faith which seeks to establish a communion of its own in
opposition to another, is compelled to borrow from that other what it
needs. The religion which is life and feeling of the heart cannot be
converted into a knowledge determining the motley multitude of men
without deferring to their wishes and opinions. Even the holiest must
clothe itself in the same existing earthly forms as the profane if it
wishes to found on earth a confederacy which is to take the place of
another, and if it does not wish to enslave, but to determine the
reason. When the Gospel was rejected by the Jewish nation, and had
disengaged itself from all connection with that nation, it was already
settled whence it must take the material to form for itself a new body
and be transformed into a Church and a theology. National and
particular, in the ordinary sense of the word, these forms could not be:
the contents of the Gospel were too rich for that; but separated from
Judaism, nay, even before that separation, the Christian religion came
in contact with the Roman world and with a culture which had already
mastered the world, viz., the Greek. The Christian Church and its
doctrine were developed within the Roman world and Greek culture in
opposition to the Jewish Church. This fact is just as important for the
history of dogma as the other stated above, that this Church was
continuously nourished on the Old Testament. Christendom was of course
conscious of being in opposition to the empire and its culture, as well
as to Judaism; but this from the beginning--apart from a few
exceptions--was not without reservations. No man can serve two masters;
but in setting up a spiritual power in this world one must serve an
earthly master, even when he desires to naturalise the spiritual in the
world. As a consequence of the complete break with the Jewish Church
there followed not only the strict necessity of quarrying the stones for
the building of the Church from the Græco-Roman world, but also the idea
that Christianity has a more positive relation to that world than to the
synagogue. And, as the Church was being built, the original enthusiasm
must needs vanish. The separation from Judaism having taken place, it
was necessary that the spirit of another people should be admitted, and
should also materially determine the manner of turning the Old Testament
to advantage.

6. But an inner necessity was at work here no less than an outer.
Judaism and Hellenism in the age of Christ were opposed to each other,
not only as dissimilar powers of equal value, but the latter having its
origin among a small people, became a universal spiritual power, which,
severed from its original nationality, had for that very reason
penetrated foreign nations. It had even laid hold of Judaism, and the
anxious care of her professional watchmen to hedge round the national
possession, is but a proof of the advancing decomposition within the
Jewish nation. Israel, no doubt, had a sacred treasure which was of
greater value than all the treasures of the Greeks,--the living God--but
in what miserable vessels was this treasure preserved, and how much
inferior was all else possessed by this nation in comparison with the
riches, the power, the delicacy and freedom of the Greek spirit and its
intellectual possessions. A movement like that of Christianity, which
discovered to the Jew the soul whose dignity was not dependent on its
descent from Abraham, but on its responsibility to God, could not
continue in the framework of Judaism however expanded, but must soon
recognise in that world which the Greek spirit had discovered and
prepared, the field which belonged to it: [Greek: eikotôs Ioudaiois men
nomos, Hellesi de philosophia mechris tês parousias enteuthen de hê
klêsis hê katholikê] [to the Jews the law, to the Greeks Philosophy, up
to the Parousia; from that time the catholic invitation.] But the Gospel
at first was preached exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel, and that which inwardly united it with Hellenism did not yet
appear in any doctrine or definite form of knowledge.

On the contrary, the Church doctrine of faith, in the preparatory stage,
from the Apologists up to the time of Origen, hardly in any point shews
the traces, scarcely even the remembrance of a time in which the Gospel
was not detached from Judaism. For that very reason it is absolutely
impossible to understand this preparation and development solely from
the writings that remain to us as monuments of that short earliest
period. The attempts at deducing the genesis of the Church's doctrinal
system from the theology of Paul, or from compromises between Apostolic
doctrinal ideas, will always miscarry; for they fail to note that to the
most important premises of the Catholic doctrine of faith belongs an
element which we cannot recognise as dominant in the New Testament,[48]
viz., the Hellenic spirit.[49] As far backwards as we can trace the
history of the propagation of the Church's doctrine of faith, from the
middle of the third century to the end of the first, we nowhere perceive
a leap, or the sudden influx of an entirely new element. What we
perceive is rather the gradual disappearance of an original element, the
Enthusiastic and Apocalyptic, that is, of the sure consciousness of an
immediate possession of the Divine Spirit, and the hope of the future
conquering the present; individual piety conscious of itself and
sovereign, living in the future world, recognising no external authority
and no external barriers. This piety became ever weaker and passed away:
the utilising of the Codex of Revelation, the Old Testament,
proportionally increased with the Hellenic influences which controlled
the process, for the two went always hand in hand. At an earlier period
the Churches made very little use of either, because they had in
individual religious inspiration on the basis of Christ's preaching and
the sure hope of his Kingdom which was near at hand, much more than
either could bestow. The factors whose co-operation we observe in the
second and third centuries, were already operative among the earliest
Gentile Christians. We nowhere find a yawning gulf in the great
development which lies between the first Epistle of Clement and the work
of Origen, [Greek: Peri archôn]. Even the importance which the
"Apostolic" was to obtain, was already foreshadowed by the end of the
first century, and enthusiasm always had its limits.[50] The most
decisive division, therefore, falls before the end of the first century;
or more correctly, the relatively new element, the Greek, which is of
importance for the forming of the Church as a commonwealth, and
consequently for the formation of its doctrine, is clearly present in
the churches even in the Apostolic age. Two hundred years, however,
passed before it made itself completely at home in the Gospel, although
there were points of connection inherent in the Gospel.

7. The cause of the great historical fact is clear. It is given in the
fact that the Gospel, rejected by the majority of the Jews, was very
soon proclaimed to those who were not Jews, that after a few decades the
greater number of its professors were found among the Greeks, and that,
consequently, the development leading to the Catholic dogma took place
within Græco-Roman culture. But within this culture there was lacking
the power of understanding either the idea of the completed Old
Testament theocracy, or the idea of the Messiah. Both of these essential
elements of the original proclamation, therefore, must either be
neglected or remodelled.[51] But it is hardly allowable to mention
details however important, where the whole aggregate of ideas, of
religious historical perceptions and presuppositions, which were based
on the old Testament, understood in a Christian sense, presented itself
as something new and strange. One can easily appropriate words, but not
practical ideas. Side by side with the Old Testament religion as the
presupposition of the Gospel, and using its forms of thought, the moral
and religious views and ideals dominant in the world of Greek culture
could not but insinuate themselves into the communities consisting of
Gentiles. From the enormous material that was brought home to the hearts
of the Greeks, whether formulated by Paul or by any other, only a few
rudimentary ideas could at first be appropriated. For that very reason,
the Apostolic Catholic doctrine of faith in its preparation and
establishment, is no mere continuation of that which, by uniting things
that are certainly very dissimilar, is wont to be described as "Biblical
Theology of the New Testament." Biblical Theology, even when kept within
reasonable limits, is not the presupposition of the history of dogma.
The Gentile Christians were little able to comprehend the controversies
which stirred the Apostolic age within Jewish Christianity. The
presuppositions of the history of dogma are given in certain fundamental
ideas, or rather motives of the Gospel, (in the preaching concerning
Jesus Christ, in the teaching of Evangelic ethics and the future life,
in the Old Testament capable of any interpretation, but to be
interpreted with reference to Christ and the Evangelic history), and in
the Greek spirit.[52]

8. The foregoing statements involve that the difference between the
development which led to the Catholic doctrine of religion and the
original condition, was by no means a total one. By recognising the Old
Testament as a book of Divine revelation, the Gentile Christians
received along with it the religious speech which was used by Jewish
Christians, were made dependent upon the interpretation which had been
used from the very beginning, and even received a great part of the
Jewish literature which accompanied the Old Testament. But the
possession of a common religious speech and literature is never a mere
outward bond of union, however strong the impulse be to introduce the
old familiar contents into the newly acquired speech. The Jewish, that
is, the Old Testament element, divested of its national peculiarity, has
remained the basis of Christendom. It has saturated this element with
the Greek spirit, but has always clung to its main idea, faith in God as
the creator and ruler of the world. It has in the course of its
development rejected important parts of that Jewish element, and has
borrowed others at a later period from the great treasure that was
transmitted to it. It has also been able to turn to account the least
adaptable features, if only for the external confirmation of its own
ideas. The Old Testament applied to Christ and his universal Church has
always remained the decisive document, and it was long ere Christian
writings received the same authority, long ere individual doctrines and
sayings of Apostolic writings obtained an influence on the formation of
ecclesiastical doctrine.

9. From yet another side there makes its appearance an agreement between
the circles of Palestinian believers in Jesus and the Gentile Christian
communities, which endured for more than a century, though it was of
course gradually effaced. It is the enthusiastic element which unites
them, the consciousness of standing in an immediate union with God
through the Spirit, and receiving directly from God's hand miraculous
gifts, powers and revelations, granted to the individual that he may
turn them to account in the service of the Church. The depotentiation of
the Christian religion, where one may believe in the inspiration of
another, but no longer feels his own, nay, dare not feel it, is not
altogether coincident with its settlement on Greek soil. On the
contrary, it was more than two centuries ere weakness and reflection
suppressed, or all but suppressed, the forms in which the personal
consciousness of God originally expressed itself.[53] Now it certainly
lies in the nature of enthusiasm, that it can assume the most diverse
forms of expression, and follow very different impulses, and so far it
frequently separates instead of uniting. But so long as criticism and
reflection are not yet awakened, and a uniform ideal hovers before one,
it does unite, and in this sense there existed an identity of
disposition between the earliest Jewish Christians and the still
enthusiastic Gentile Christian communities.

10. But, finally, there is a still further uniting element between the
beginnings of the development to Catholicism, and the original condition
of the Christian religion as a movement within Judaism, the importance
of which cannot be overrated, although we have every reason to complain
here of the obscurity of the tradition. Between the Græco-Roman world
which was in search of a spiritual religion, and the Jewish commonwealth
which already possessed such a religion as a national property, though
vitiated by exclusiveness, there had long been a Judaism which,
penetrated by the Greek spirit, was, _ex professo_, devoting itself to
the task of bringing a new religion to the Greek world, the Jewish
religion, but that religion in its kernel Greek, that is,
philosophically moulded, spiritualised and secularised. Here then was
already consummated an intimate union of the Greek spirit with the Old
Testament religion, within the Empire and to a less degree in Palestine
itself. If everything is not to be dissolved into a grey mist, we must
clearly distinguish this union between Judaism and Hellenism and the
spiritualising of religion it produced, from the powerful but
indeterminable influences which the Greek spirit exercised on all things
Jewish, and which have been a historical condition of the Gospel. The
alliance, in my opinion, was of no significance at all for the _origin_
of the Gospel, but was of the most decided importance, first, for the
propagation of Christianity, and then, for the development of
Christianity to Catholicism, and for the genesis of the Catholic
doctrine of faith.[54] We cannot certainly name any particular
personality who was specially active in this, but we can mention three
facts which prove more than individual references. (1) The propaganda of
Christianity in the Diaspora followed the Jewish propaganda and partly
took its place, that is, the Gospel was at first preached to those
Gentiles who were already acquainted with the general outlines of the
Jewish religion, and who were even frequently viewed as a Judaism of a
second order, in which Jewish and Greek elements had been united in a
peculiar mixture. (2) The conception of the Old Testament, as we find it
even in the earliest Gentile Christian teachers, the method of
spiritualising it, etc., agrees in the most surprising way with the
methods which were used by the Alexandrian Jews. (3) There are Christian
documents in no small number and of unknown origin, which completely
agree in plan, in form and contents with Græco-Jewish writings of the
Diaspora, as for example, the Christian Sibylline Oracles, and the
pseudo-Justinian treatise, "de Monarchia." There are numerous tractates
of which it is impossible to say with certainty whether they are of
Jewish or of Christian origin.

The Alexandrian and non-Palestinian Judaism is still Judaism. As the
Gospel seized and moved the whole of Judaism, it must also have been
operative in the non Palestinian Judaism. But that already foreshadowed
the transition of the Gospel to the non-Jewish Greek region, and the
fate which it was to experience there. For that non-Palestinian Judaism
formed the bridge between the Jewish Church and the Roman Empire,
together with its culture.[55] The Gospel passed into the world chiefly
by this bridge. Paul indeed had a large share in this, but his own
Churches did not understand the way he led them, and were not able on
looking back to find it.[56] He indeed became a Greek to the Greeks, and
even began the undertaking of placing the treasures of Greek knowledge
at the service of the Gospel. But the knowledge of Christ crucified, to
which he subordinated all other knowledge as only of preparatory value,
had nothing in common with Greek philosophy, while the idea of
justification and the doctrine of the Spirit (Rom. VIII), which together
formed the peculiar contents of his Christianity, were irreconcilable
with the moralism and the religious ideals of Hellenism. But the great
mass of the earliest Gentile Christians became Christians because they
perceived in the Gospel the sure tidings of the benefits and obligations
which they had already sought in the fusion of Jewish and Greek
elements. It is only by discerning this that we can grasp the
preparation and genesis of the Catholic Church and its dogma.

From the foregoing statements it appears that there fall to be
considered as presuppositions of the origin of the Catholic Apostolic
doctrine of faith, the following topics, though of unequal importance as
regards the extent of their influence:

(a) The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(b) The common preaching of Jesus Christ in the first generation of

(c) The current exposition of the Old Testament, the Jewish speculations
and hopes of the future, in their significance for the earliest types of
Christian preaching.[57]

(d) The religious conceptions, and the religious philosophy of the
Hellenistic Jews, in their significance for the later restatement of the

(e) The religious dispositions of the Greeks and Romans of the first two
centuries, and the current Græco-Roman philosophy of religion.

§ 2. _The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to His own testimony
concerning Himself._

I. The Fundamental Features.

The Gospel entered into the world as an apocalyptic eschatological
message, apocalyptical and eschatological not only in its form, but also
in its contents. But Jesus announced that the kingdom of God had already
begun with his own work, and those who received him in faith became
sensible of this beginning; for the "apocalyptical" was not merely the
unveiling of the future, but above all the revelation of God as the
Father, and the "eschatological" received its counterpoise in the view
of Jesus' work as Saviour, in the assurance of being certainly called to
the kingdom, and in the conviction that life and future dominion is hid
with God the Lord and preserved for believers by him. Consequently, we
are following not only the indications of the succeeding history, but
also the requirement of the thing itself, when, in the presentation of
the Gospel, we place in the foreground, not that which unites it with
the contemporary disposition of Judaism, but that which raises it above
it. Instead of the hope of inheriting the kingdom, Jesus had also spoken
simply of preserving the soul, or the life. In this one substitution
lies already a transformation of universal significance, of political
religion into a religion that is individual and therefore holy; for the
life is nourished by the word of God, but God is the Holy One.

The Gospel is the glad message of the government of the world and of
every individual soul by the almighty and holy God, the Father and
Judge. In this dominion of God, which frees men from the power of the
Devil, makes them rulers in a heavenly kingdom in contrast with the
kingdoms of the world, and which will also be sensibly realised in the
future æon just about to appear, is secured life for all men who yield
themselves to God, although they should lose the world and the earthly
life. That is, the soul which is pure and holy in connection with God,
and in imitation of the Divine perfection is eternally preserved with
God, while those who would gain the world, and preserve their life, fall
into the hands of the Judge who sentences them to Hell. This dominion of
God imposes on men a law, an old and yet a new law, viz., that of the
Divine perfection and therefore of undivided love to God and to our
neighbour. In this love, where it sways the inmost feeling, is presented
the better righteousness (better not only with respect to the Scribes
and Pharisees, but also with respect to Moses, see Matt. V.), which
corresponds to the perfection of God. The way to attain it is a change
of mind, that is, self-denial, humility before God, and heartfelt trust
in him. In this humility and trust in God there is contained a
recognition of one's own unworthiness; but the Gospel calls to the
kingdom of God those very sinners who are thus minded, by promising the
forgiveness of the sins which hitherto have separated them from God. But
the Gospel which appears in these three elements, the dominion of God, a
better righteousness embodied in the law of love, and the forgiveness of
sin, is inseparably connected with Jesus Christ; for in preaching this
Gospel Jesus Christ everywhere calls men to himself. In him the Gospel
is word and deed; it has become his food, and therefore his personal
life, and into this life of his he draws all others. He is the Son who
knows the Father. In him men are to perceive the kindness of the Lord;
in him they are to feel God's power and government of the world, and to
become certain of this consolation; they are to follow him the meek and
lowly, and while he, the pure and holy one, calls sinners to himself,
they are to receive the assurance that God through him forgiveth sin.

Jesus Christ has by no express statement thrust this connection of his
Gospel with his Person into the foreground. No words could have
certified it unless his life, the overpowering impression of his Person,
had created it. By living, acting and speaking from the riches of that
life which he lived with his Father, he became for others the revelation
of the God of whom they formerly had heard, but whom they had not known.
He declared his Father to be their Father and they understood him. But
he also declared himself to be Messiah, and in so doing gave an
intelligible expression to his abiding significance for them and for his
people. In a solemn hour at the close of his life, as well as on special
occasions at an earlier period, he referred to the fact that the
surrender to his Person which induced them to leave all and follow him,
was no passing element in the new position they had gained towards God
the Father. He tells them, on the contrary, that this surrender
corresponds to the service which he will perform for them and for the
many, when he will give his life a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
By teaching them to think of him and of his death in the breaking of
bread and the drinking of wine, and by saying of his death that it takes
place for the remission of sins, he has claimed as his due from all
future disciples what was a matter of course so long as he sojourned
with them, but what might fade away after he was parted from them. He
who in his preaching of the kingdom of God raised the strictest
self-examination and humility to a law, and exhibited them to his
followers in his own life, has described with clear consciousness his
life crowned by death as the imperishable service by which men in all
ages will be cleansed from their sin and made joyful in their God. By so
doing he put himself far above all others, although they were to become
his brethren; and claimed a unique and permanent importance as Redeemer
and Judge. This permanent importance as the Lord he secured, not by
disclosures about the mystery of his Person, but by the impression of
his life and the interpretation of his death. He interprets it, like all
his sufferings, as a victory, as the passing over to his glory, and in
spite of the cry of God-forsakenness upon the cross, he has proved
himself able to awaken in his followers the real conviction that he
lives and is Lord and Judge of the living and the dead.

The religion of the Gospel is based on this belief in Jesus Christ, that
is, by looking to him, this historical person, it becomes certain to the
believer that God rules heaven and earth, and that God, the Judge, is
also Father and Redeemer. The religion of the Gospel is the religion
which makes the highest moral demands, the simplest and the most
difficult, and discloses the contradiction in which every man finds
himself towards them. But it also procures redemption from such misery,
by drawing the life of men into the inexhaustible and blessed life of
Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world and called sinners to himself.

In making this attempt to put together the fundamental features of the
Gospel, I have allowed myself to be guided by the results of this Gospel
in the case of the first disciples. I do not know whether it is
permissible to present such fundamental features apart from this
guidance. The preaching of Jesus Christ was in the main so plain and
simple, and in its application so manifold and rich, that one shrinks
from attempting to systematise it, and would much rather merely narrate
according to the Gospel. Jesus searches for the point in every man on
which he can lay hold of him and lead him to the Kingdom of God. The
distinction of good and evil--for God or against God--he would make a
life question for every man, in order to shew him for whom it has become
this, that he can depend upon the God whom he is to fear. At the same
time he did not by any means uniformly fall back upon sin, or even the
universal sinfulness, but laid hold of individuals very diversely, and
led them to God by different paths. The doctrinal concentration of
redemption on sin was certainly not carried out by Paul alone; but, on
the other hand, it did not in any way become the prevailing form for the
preaching of the Gospel. On the contrary, the antitheses, night, error,
dominion of demons, death and light, truth, deliverance, life, proved
more telling in the Gentile Churches. The consciousness of universal
sinfulness was first made the negative fundamental frame of mind of
Christendom by Augustine.

II. Details.

1. Jesus announced the Kingdom of God which stands in opposition to the
kingdom of the devil, and therefore also to the kingdom of the world, as
a future Kingdom, and yet it is presented in his preaching as present;
as an invisible, and yet it was visible--for one actually saw it. He
lived and spoke within the circle of eschatological ideas which Judaism
had developed more than two hundred years before: but he controlled them
by giving them a new content and forcing them into a new direction.
Without abrogating the law and the prophets he, on fitting occasions,
broke through the national, political and sensuous eudæmonistic forms in
which the nation was expecting the realisation of the dominion of God,
but turned their attention at the same time to a future near at hand, in
which believers would be delivered from the oppression of evil and sin,
and would enjoy blessedness and dominion. Yet he declared that even now,
every individual who is called into the kingdom may call on God as his
Father, and be sure of the gracious will of God, the hearing of his
prayers, the forgiveness of sin, and the protection of God even in this
present life.[58] But everything in this proclamation is directed to the
life beyond: the certainty of that life is the power and earnestness of
the Gospel.

2. The conditions of entrance to the kingdom are, in the first place, a
complete change of mind, in which a man renounces the pleasures of this
world, denies himself, and is ready to surrender all that he has in
order to save his soul; then, a believing trust in God's grace which he
grants to the humble and the poor, and therefore hearty confidence in
Jesus as the Messiah chosen and called by God to realise his kingdom on
the earth. The announcement is therefore directed to the poor, the
suffering, those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, not to those
who live, but to those who wish to be healed and redeemed, and finds
them prepared for entrance into, and reception of the blessings of the
kingdom of God,[59] while it brings down upon the self-satisfied, the
rich and those proud of their righteousness, the judgment of obduracy
and the damnation of Hell.

3. The commandment of undivided love to God and the brethren, as the
main commandment, in the observance of which righteousness is realised,
and forming the antithesis to the selfish mind, the lust of the world,
and every arbitrary impulse,[60] corresponds to the blessings of the
Kingdom of God, viz., forgiveness of sin, righteousness, dominion and
blessedness. The standard of personal worth for the members of the King
is self-sacrificing labour for others, not any technical mode of worship
or legal preciseness. Renunciation of the world together with its goods,
even of life itself in certain circumstances, is the proof of a man's
sincerity and earnest in seeking the Kingdom of God; and the meekness
which renounces every right, bears wrong patiently, requiting it with
kindness, is the practical proof of love to God, the conduct that
answers to God's perfection.

4. In the proclamation and founding of this kingdom, Jesus summoned men
to attach themselves to him, because he had recognised himself to be the
helper called by God, and therefore also the Messiah who was
promised.[61] He gradually declared himself to the people as such by the
names he assumed,[62] for the names "Anointed," "King," "Lord," "Son of
David," "Son of Man," "Son of God," all denote the Messianic office, and
were familiar to the greater part of the people.[63] But though, at
first, they express only the call, office, and power of the Messiah, yet
by means of them and especially by the designation Son of God, Jesus
pointed to a relation to God the Father, then and in its immediateness
unique, as the basis of the office with which he was entrusted. He has,
however, given no further explanation of the mystery of this relation
than the declaration that the Son alone knoweth the Father, and that
this knowledge of God and Sonship to God are secured for all others by
the sending of the Son.[64] In the proclamation of God as Father,[65] as
well as in the other proclamation that all the members of the kingdom
following the will of God in love, are to become one with the Son and
through him with the Father,[66] the message of the realised kingdom of
God receives its richest, inexhaustible content: the Son of the Father
will be the first-born among many brethren.

5. Jesus as the Messiah chosen by God has definitely distinguished
himself from Moses and all the Prophets: as his preaching and his work
are the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, so he himself is not a
disciple of Moses, but corrects that law-giver; he is not a Prophet, but
Master and Lord. He proves this Lordship during his earthly ministry in
the accomplishment of the mighty deeds given him to do, above all in
withstanding the Devil and his kingdom,[67] and--according to the law of
the Kingdom of God--for that very reason in the service which he
performs. In this service Jesus also reckoned the sacrifice of his life,
designating it as a [Greek: lutron] which he offered for the redemption
of man.[68] But he declared at the same time that his Messianic work was
not yet fulfilled in his subjection to death. On the contrary, the close
is merely initiated by his death; for the completion of the kingdom will
only appear when he returns in glory in the clouds of heaven to
judgment. Jesus seems to have announced this speedy return a short time
before his death, and to have comforted his disciples at his departure,
with the assurance that he would immediately enter into a supramundane
position with God.[69]

6. The instructions of Jesus to his disciples are accordingly dominated
by the thought that the end, the day and hour of which, however, no one
knows, is at hand. In consequence of this, also, the exhortation to
renounce all earthly good takes a prominent place. But Jesus does not
impose ascetic commandments as a new law, far less does he see in
asceticism as such, sanctification[70]--he himself did not live as an
ascetic, but was reproached as a wine-bibber--but he prescribed a
perfect simplicity and purity of disposition, and a singleness of heart
which remains invariably the same in trouble and renunciation, in
possession and use of earthly good. A uniform equality of all in the
conduct of life is not commanded: "To whom much is given, of him much
shall be required." The disciples are kept as far from fanaticism and
overrating of spiritual results as from asceticism. "Rejoice not that
the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written
in heaven." When they besought him to teach them to pray, he taught them
the "Lord's prayer", a prayer which demands such a collected mind, and
such a tranquil, childlike elevation of the heart to God, that it cannot
be offered at all by minds subject to passion or preoccupied by any
daily cares.

7. Jesus himself did not found a new religious community, but gathered
round him a circle of disciples, and chose Apostles whom he commanded to
preach the Gospel. His preaching was universalistic inasmuch as it
attributed no value to ceremonialism as such, and placed the fulfilment
of the Mosaic law in the exhibition of its moral contents, partly
against or beyond the letter. He made the law perfect by harmonising its
particular requirements with the fundamental moral requirements which
were also expressed in the Mosaic law. He emphasised the fundamental
requirements more decidedly than was done by the law itself, and taught
that all details should be referred to them and deduced from them. The
external righteousness of Pharisaism was thereby declared to be not only
an outer covering, but also a fraud, and the bond which still united
religion and nationality in Judaism was sundered.[71] Political and
national elements may probably have been made prominent in the hopes of
the future, as Jesus appropriated them for his preaching. But from the
conditions to which the realising of the hopes for the individual was
attached, there already shone the clearer ray which was to eclipse those
elements, and one saying such as Matt. XXII. 21, annulled at once
political religion and religious politics.

_Supplement_ 1.--The idea of the inestimable inherent value of every
individual human soul, already dimly appearing in several psalms, and
discerned by Greek Philosophers, though as a rule developed in
contradiction to religion, stands out plainly in the preaching of Jesus.
It is united with the idea of God as Father, and is the complement to
the message of the communion of brethren realising itself in love. In
this sense the Gospel is at once profoundly individualistic and
Socialistic. The prospect of gaining life, and preserving it for ever,
is therefore also the highest which Jesus has set forth, it is not,
however, to be a motive, but a reward of grace. In the certainty of this
prospect, which is the converse of renouncing the world, he has
proclaimed the sure hope of the resurrection, and consequently the most
abundant compensation for the loss of the natural life. Jesus put an end
to the vacillation and uncertainty which in this respect still prevailed
among the Jewish people of his day. The confession of the Psalmist,
"Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon the earth that I
desire beside thee", and the fulfilling of the Old Testament
commandment, "Love thy neighbour as thyself", were for the first time
presented in their connection in the person of Jesus. He himself
therefore is Christianity, for the "impression of his person convinced
the disciples of the facts of forgiveness of sin and the second birth,
and gave them courage to believe in and to lead a new life." We cannot
therefore state the "doctrine" of Jesus; for it appears as a
supramundane life which must be felt in the person of Jesus, and its
truth is guaranteed by the fact that such a life can be lived.

_Supplement_ 2.--The history of the Gospel contains two great
transitions, both of which, however, fall within the first century; from
Christ to the first generation of believers, including Paul, and from
the first, Jewish Christian, generation of these believers to the
Gentile Christians, in other words: from Christ to the brotherhood of
believers in Christ, and from this to the incipient Catholic Church. No
later transitions in the Church can be compared with these in
importance. As to the first, the question has frequently been asked, Is
the Gospel of Christ to be the authority or the Gospel concerning
Christ? But the strict dilemma here is false. The Gospel certainly is
the Gospel of Christ. For it has only, in the sense of Jesus, fulfilled
its Mission when the Father has been declared to men as he was known by
the Son, and where the life is swayed by the realities and principles
which ruled the life of Jesus Christ. But it is in accordance with the
mind of Jesus and at the same time a fact of history, that this Gospel
can only be appropriated and adhered to in connection with a believing
surrender to the person of Jesus Christ. Yet every dogmatic formula is
suspicious, because it is fitted to wound the spirit of religion; it
should not at least be put before the living experience in order to
evoke it; for such a procedure is really the admission of the half
belief which thinks it necessary that the impression made by the person
must be supplemented. The essence of the matter is a personal life which
awakens life around it as the fire of one torch kindles another. Early
as weakness of faith is in the Church of Christ, it is no earlier than
the procedure of making a formulated and ostensibly proved confession
the foundation of faith, and therefore demanding, above all, subjection
to this confession. Faith assuredly is propagated by the testimony of
faith, but dogma is not in itself that testimony.

The peculiar character of the Christian religion is conditioned by the
fact that every reference to God is at the same time a reference to
Jesus Christ, and _vice versa_. In this sense the Person of Christ is
the central point of the religion, and inseparably united with the
substance of piety as a sure reliance on God. Such a union does not, as
is supposed, bring a foreign element into the pure essence of religion.
The pure essence of religion rather demands such a union; for "the
reverence for persons, the inner bowing before the manifestation of
moral power and goodness is the root of all true religion" (W.
Herrmann). But the Christian religion knows and names only one name
before which it bows. In this rests its positive character, in all else,
as piety, it is by its strictly spiritual and inward attitude, not a
positive religion alongside of others, but religion itself. But just
because the Person of Christ has this significance is the knowledge and
understanding of the "historical Christ" required: for no other comes
within the sphere of our knowledge. "The historical Christ" that, to be
sure, is not the powerless Christ of contemporary history shewn to us
through a coloured biographical medium, or dissipated in all sorts of
controversies, but Christ as a power and as a life which towers above
our own life, and enters into our life as God's Spirit and God's Word,
(see Herrmann, Der Verkehr des Christen mit Gott. 2. Edit. 1892, (i.e.,
"The Fellowship of the Christian with God", an important work included
in the present series of translations. Ed.) Kähler, Der sog. historische
Jesus und der geschichtliche biblische Christus, 1892). But historical
labour and investigation are needed in order to grasp this Jesus Christ
ever more firmly and surely.

As to the second transition, it brought with it the most important
changes, which, however, became clearly manifest only after the lapse of
some generations. They appear, first, in the belief in holy
consecrations, efficacious in themselves, and administered by chosen
persons; further, in the conviction, that the relation of the individual
to God and Christ is, above all, conditioned on the acceptance of a
definite divinely attested law of faith and holy writings; further, in
the opinion that God has established Church arrangements, observance of
which is necessary and meritorious, as well as in the opinion that a
visible earthly community is the people of a new covenant. These
assumptions, which formally constitute the essence of Catholicism as a
religion, have no support in the teaching of Jesus, nay, offend against
that teaching.

_Supplement_ 3.--The question as to what new thing Christ has brought,
answered by Paul in the words, "If any man be in Christ he is a new
creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new",
has again and again been pointedly put since the middle of the second
century by Apologists, Theologians and religious Philosophers, within
and without the Church, and has received the most varied answers. Few of
the answers have reached the height of the Pauline confession. But where
one cannot attain to this confession, one ought to make clear to oneself
that every answer which does not lie in the line of it is altogether
unsatisfactory; for it is not difficult to set over against every
article from the preaching of Jesus an observation which deprives it of
its originality. It is the Person, it is the fact of his life that is
new and creates the new. The way in which he called forth and
established a people of God on earth, which has become sure of God and
of eternal life; the way in which he set up a new thing in the midst of
the old and transformed the religion of Israel into _the religion_ that
is the mystery of his Person, in which lies his unique and permanent
position in the history of humanity.

_Supplement_ 4.--The conservative position of Jesus towards the
religious traditions of his people had the necessary result that his
preaching and his Person were placed by believers in the frame-work of
this tradition, which was thereby very soon greatly expanded. But,
though this way of understanding the Gospel was certainly at first the
only possible way, and though the Gospel itself could only be preserved
by such means (see § 1), yet it cannot be mistaken that a displacement
in the conception of the Person and preaching of Jesus, and a burdening
of religious faith, could not but forthwith set in, from which
developments followed, the premises of which would be vainly sought for
in the words of the Lord (see §§ 3, 4). But here the question arises as
to whether the Gospel is not inseparably connected with the
eschatological world-renouncing element with which it entered into the
world, so that its being is destroyed where this is omitted. A few words
may be devoted to this question. The Gospel possesses properties which
oppose every positive religion, because they depreciate it, and these
properties form the kernel of the Gospel. The disposition which is
devoted to God, humble, ardent and sincere in its love to God and to the
brethren, is, as an abiding habit, law, and at the same time, a gift of
the Gospel, and also finally exhausts it. This quiet, peaceful element
was at the beginning strong and vigorous, even in those who lived in the
world of ecstasy and expected the world to come. One may be named for
all, Paul. He who wrote 1 Cor. XIII. and Rom. VIII. should not, in spite
of all that he has said elsewhere, be called upon to witness that the
nature of the Gospel is exhausted in its world-renouncing, ecstatic and
eschatological elements, or at least, that it is so inseparably united
with these as to fall along with them. He who wrote those chapters, and
the greater than he who promised the kingdom of heaven to children, and
to those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness, he to whom
tradition ascribes the words: "Rejoice not that the spirits are subject
to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven"--both
attest that the Gospel lies above the antagonisms between this world and
the next, work and retirement from the world, reason and ecstasy,
Judaism and Hellenism. And because it lies above them it may be united
with either, as it originally unfolded its powers under the ruins of the
Jewish religion. But still more; it not only can enter into union with
them, it must do so if it is otherwise the religion of the living and is
itself living. It has only one aim; that man may find God and have him
as his own God, in order to gain in him humility and patience, peace,
joy and love. How it reaches this goal through the advancing centuries,
whether with the co-efficients of Judaism or Hellenism, of renunciation
of the world or of culture, of mysticism or the doctrine of
predestination, of Gnosticism or Agnosticism, and whatever other
incrustations there may yet be which can defend the kernel, and under
which alone living elements can grow--all that belongs to the centuries.
However each individual Christian may reckon to the treasure itself the
earthly vessel in which he hides his treasure; it is the duty and the
right, not only of the religious, but also of the historical estimate to
distinguish between the vessel and the treasure; for the Gospel did not
enter into the world as a positive statutory religion, and cannot
therefore have its classic manifestation in any form of its intellectual
or social types, not even in the first. It is therefore the duty of the
historian of the first century of the Church, as well as that of those
which follow, not to be content with fixing the changes of the Christian
religion, but to examine how far the new forms were capable of
defending, propagating and impressing the Gospel itself. It would
probably have perished if the forms of primitive Christianity had been
scrupulously maintained in the Church; but now primitive Christianity
has perished in order that the Gospel might be preserved. To study this
progress of the development, and fix the significance of the newly
received forms for the kernel of the matter, is the last and highest
task of the historian who himself lives in his subject. He who
approaches from without must be satisfied with the general view that in
the history of the Church some things have always remained, and other
things have always been changing.

_Literature._--Weiss. Biblical Theology of the New Testament. T. and T.
Clark. Wittichen. Beitr. z. bibl. Theol. 3. Thle. 1864-72.

Schüreer. Die Predigt Jesu in ihrem Verhaltniss z. A.T.u. z. Judenthum,

Wellhausen. Abriss der Gesch. Israels u. Juda's (Skizzen u. Vorarbeiten)
I. Heft. 1884.

Baldensperger. Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Licht der Messianischen
Hoffnungen seiner Zeit, 1888, (2 Aufl. 1891). The prize essays of
Schmoller and Issel, Ueber die Lehre vom Reiche Gottes im N. Test. 1891
(besides Gunkel in d. Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1893. N°. 2).

Wendt. Die Lehre Jesu. (The teaching of Jesus. T. and T. Clark. English

Joh. Weiss. Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes, 1892.

Bousset. Jesu Predigt in ihrem Gegensatz zum Judenthum, 1892.

C. Holtzman. Die Offenbarung durch Christus und das Neue Testament
(Zeitschr. f. Theol. und Kirche I. p. 367 ff.) The special literature in
the above work of Weiss, and in the recent works on the life of Jesus,
and the Biblical Theology of the New Testament by Beyschlag. (T.T.

§ 3. _The Common Preaching concerning Jesus Christ in the First
Generation of Believers._

Men had met with Jesus Christ and in him had found the Messiah. They
were convinced that God had made him to be wisdom and righteousness,
sanctification and redemption. There was no hope that did not seem to be
certified in him, no lofty idea which had not become in him a living
reality. Everything that one possessed was offered to him. He was
everything lofty that could be imagined. Everything that can be said of
him was already said in the first two generations after his appearance.
Nay, more: he was felt and known to be the ever living one, Lord of the
world and operative principle of one's own life. "To me to live is
Christ and to die is gain;" "He is the way, the truth and the life." One
could now for the first time be certain of the resurrection and eternal
life, and with that certainty the sorrows of the world melted away like
mist before the sun, and the residue of this present time became as a
day. This group of facts which the history of the Gospel discloses in
the world, is at the same time the highest and most unique of all that
we meet in that history; it is its seal and distinguishes it from all
other universal religions. Where in the history of mankind can we find
anything resembling this, that men who had eaten and drunk with their
Master should glorify him, not only as the revealer of God, but as the
Prince of life, as the Redeemer and Judge of the world, as the living
power of its existence, and that a choir of Jews and Gentiles, Greeks
and Barbarians, wise and foolish, should along with them immediately
confess that out of the fulness of this one man they have received grace
for grace? It has been said that Islam furnishes the unique example of a
religion born in broad daylight, but the community of Jesus was also
born in the clear light of day. The darkness connected with its birth is
occasioned not only by the imperfection of the records, but by the
uniqueness of the fact, which refers us back to the uniqueness of the
Person of Jesus.

But though it certainly is the first duty of the historian to signalise
the overpowering impression made by the Person of Jesus on the
disciples, which is the basis of all further developments, it would
little become him to renounce the critical examination of all the
utterances which have been connected with that Person with the view of
elucidating and glorifying it; unless he were with Origen to conclude
that Jesus was to each and all whatever they fancied him to be for their
edification. But this would destroy the personality. Others are of
opinion that we should conceive him, in the sense of the early
communities, as the second God who is one in essence with the Father, in
order to understand from this point of view all the declarations and
judgments of these communities. But this hypothesis leads to the most
violent distortion of the original declarations, and the suppression or
concealment of their most obvious features. The duty of the historian
rather consists in fixing the common features of the faith of the first
two generations, in explaining them as far as possible from the belief
that Jesus is Messiah, and in seeking analogies for the several
assertions. Only a very meagre sketch can be given in what follows. The
presentation of the matter in the frame-work of the history of dogma
does not permit of more, because as noted above, § 1, the presupposition
of dogma forming itself in the Gentile Church is not the whole
infinitely rich abundance of early Christian views and perceptions. That
presupposition is simply a proclamation of the one God and of Christ
transferred to Greek soil, fixed merely in its leading features and
otherwise very plastic, accompanied by a message regarding the future,
and demands for a holy life. At the same time the Old Testament and the
early Christian Palestinian writings with the rich abundance of their
contents, did certainly exercise a silent mission in the earliest
communities, till by the creation of the canon they became a power in
the Church.

I. The contents of the faith of the disciples,[72] and the common
proclamation which united them, may be comprised in the following
propositions. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised by the prophets.
Jesus after his death is by the Divine awakening raised to the right
hand of God, and will soon return to set up his kingdom visibly upon the
earth. He who believes in Jesus, and has been received into the
community of the disciples of Jesus, who, in virtue of a sincere change
of mind, calls on God as Father, and lives according to the commandments
of Jesus, is a saint of God, and as such can be certain of the
sin-forgiving grace of God, and of a share in the future glory, that is,
of redemption.[73]

A community of Christian believers was formed within the Jewish national
community. By its organisation, the close brotherly union of its
members, it bore witness to the impression which the Person of Jesus had
made on it, and drew from faith in Jesus and hope of his return, the
assurance of eternal life, the power of believing in God the Father and
of fulfilling the lofty moral and social commands which Jesus had set
forth. They knew themselves to be the true Israel of the Messianic time
(see § 1), and for that very reason lived with all their thoughts and
feelings in the future. Hence the Apocalyptic hopes which in manifold
types were current in the Judaism of the time, and which Jesus had not
demolished, continued to a great extent in force (see § 4). One
guarantee for their fulfilment was supposed to be possessed in the
various manifestations of the Spirit,[74] which were displayed in the
members of the new communities at their entrance, with which an act of
baptism seems to have been united from the very first[75], and in their
gatherings. They were a guarantee that believers really were the [Greek:
ekklêsia tou theou], those called to be saints, and, as such, kings and
priests unto God[76] for whom the world, death and devil are overcome,
although they still rule the course of the world. The confession of the
God of Israel as the Father of Jesus, and of Jesus as Christ and
Lord[77] was sealed by the testimony of the possession of the Spirit,
which as Spirit of God assured every individual of his call to the
kingdom, united him personally with God himself and became to him the
pledge of future glory[78].

2. As the Kingdom of God which was announced had not yet visibly
appeared, as the appeal to the Spirit could not be separated from the
appeal to Jesus as Messiah, and as there was actually nothing possessed
but the reality of the Person of Jesus, so in preaching all stress must
necessarily fall on this Person. To believe in him was the decisive
fundamental requirement, and, at first, under the presupposition of the
religion of Abraham and the Prophets, the sure guarantee of salvation.
It is not surprising then to find that in the earliest Christian
preaching Jesus Christ comes before us as frequently as the Kingdom of
God in the preaching of Jesus himself. The image of Jesus, and the power
which proceeded from it, were the things which were really possessed.
Whatever was expected was expected only from Jesus the exalted and
returning one. The proclamation that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand
must therefore become the proclamation that Jesus is the Christ, and
that in him the revelation of God is complete. He who lays hold of Jesus
lays hold in him of the grace of God, and of a full salvation. We
cannot, however, call this in itself a displacement: but as soon as the
proclamation that Jesus is the Christ ceased to be made with the same
emphasis and the same meaning that it had in his own preaching, and what
sort of blessings they were which he brought, not only was a
displacement inevitable, but even a dispossession. But every
dispossession requires the given forms to be filled with new contents.
Simple as was the pure tradition of the confession: "Jesus is the
Christ," the task of rightly appropriating and handing down entire the
peculiar contents which Jesus had given to his self-witnessing and
preaching was nevertheless great, and in its limit uncertain. Even the
Jewish Christian could perform this task only according to the measure
of his spiritual understanding and the strength of his religious life.
Moreover, the external position of the first communities in the midst of
contemporaries who had crucified and rejected Jesus, compelled them to
prove, as their main duty, that Jesus really was the Messiah who was
promised. Consequently, everything united to bring the first communities
to the conviction that the proclamation of the Gospel with which they
were entrusted, resolved itself into the proclamation that Jesus is the
Christ. The [Greek: didaskein têrein panta hota eneteilato ho Iêsous]
(teaching to observe all that Jesus had commanded), a thing of heart and
life, could not lead to reflection in the same degree, as the [Greek:
didaskein hoti outos estin ho christos tou theou] (teaching that this is
the Christ of God): for a community which possesses the Spirit does not
reflect on whether its conception is right, but, especially a missionary
community, on what the certainty of its faith rests.

The proclamation of Jesus as the Christ, though rooted entirely in the
Old Testament, took its start from the exaltation of Jesus, which again
resulted from his suffering and death. The proof that the entire Old
Testament points to him, and that his person, his deeds and his destiny
are the actual and precise fulfilment of the Old Testament predictions,
was the foremost interest of believers, so far as they at all looked
backwards. This proof was not used in the first place for the purpose of
making the meaning and value of the Messianic work of Jesus more
intelligible, of which it did not seem to be in much need, but to
confirm the Messiahship of Jesus. Still, points of view for
contemplating the Person and work of Jesus could not fail to be got from
the words of the Prophets. The fundamental conception of Jesus
dominating everything was, according to the Old Testament, that God had
chosen him and through him the Church. God had chosen him and made him
to be both Lord and Christ. He had made over to him the work of setting
up the Kingdom, and had led him through death and resurrection to a
supra-mundane position of sovereignty, in which he would soon visibly
appear and bring about the end. The hope of Christ's speedy return was
the most important article in the "Christology," inasmuch as his work
was regarded as only reaching its conclusion by that return. It was the
most difficult, inasmuch as the Old Testament contained nothing of a
second advent of Messiah. Belief in the second advent became the
specific Christian belief.

But the searching in the scriptures of the Old Testament, that is, in
the prophetic texts, had already, in estimating the Person and dignity
of Christ, given an important impulse towards transcending the
frame-work of the idea of the theocracy completed solely in and for
Israel. Moreover, belief in the exaltation of Christ to the right hand
of God, caused men to form a corresponding idea of the beginning of his
existence. The missionary work among the Gentiles, so soon begun and so
rich in results, threw a new light on the range of Christ's purpose and
work, and led to the consideration of its significance for the whole
human race. Finally, the self-testimony of Jesus summoned them to ponder
his relation to God the Father, with the presuppositions of that
relation, and to give it expression in intelligible statements.
Speculation had already begun on these four points in the Apostolic age,
and had resulted in very different utterances as to the Person and
dignity of Jesus (§ 4).[79]

3. Since Jesus had appeared and was believed on as the Messiah promised
by the Prophets, the aim and contents of his mission seemed already to
be therewith stated with sufficient clearness. Further, as the work of
Christ was not yet completed, the view of those contemplating it was,
above all, turned to the future. But in virtue of express words of
Jesus, and in the consciousness of having received the Spirit of God,
one was already certain of the forgiveness of sin dispensed by God, of
righteousness before him, of the full knowledge of the Divine will, and
of the call to the future Kingdom as a present possession. In the
procuring of these blessings not a few perceived with certainty the
results of the first advent of Messiah, that is, his work. This work
might be seen in the whole activity of Christ. But as the forgiveness of
sins might be conceived as _the_ blessing of salvation which included
with certainty every other blessing, as Jesus had put his death in
express relation with this blessing, and as the fact of this death so
mysterious and offensive required a special explanation, there appeared
in the foreground from the very beginning the confession, in 1 Cor. XV.
3: [Greek: paredôxa humin en prôtois, ho kai parelabon, hoti christos
apethanen huper tôn hamartion hêmon.] "I delivered unto you first of all
that which I also received, that _Christ died for our sins_." Not only
Paul, for whom, in virtue of his special reflections and experiences,
the cross of Christ had become the central point of all knowledge, but
also the majority of believers, must have regarded the preaching of the
death of the Lord as an essential article in the preaching of
Christ[80], seeing that, as a rule, they placed it somehow under the
aspect of a sacrifice offered to God. Still, there were very different
conceptions of the value of the death as a means of procuring salvation,
and there may have been many who were satisfied with basing its
necessity on the fact that it had been predicted, ([Greek: apethanen
kata tas graphas]: "he died for our sins _according to the
scriptures_"), while their real religious interests were entirely
centered in the future glory to be procured by Christ. But it must have
been of greater significance for the following period that, from the
first, a short account of the destiny of Jesus lay at the basis of all
preaching about him (see a part of this in 1 Cor. XV. 1-11). Those
articles in which the identity of the Christ who had appeared with the
Christ who had been promised stood out with special clearness, must have
been taken up into this report, as well as those which transcended the
common expectations of Messiah, which for that very reason appeared of
special importance, viz., his death and resurrection. In putting
together this report, there was no intention of describing the "work" of
Christ. But after the interest which occasioned it had been obscured,
and had given place to other interests, the customary preaching of those
articles must have led men to see in them Christ's real performance, his

4. The firm confidence of the disciples in Jesus was rooted in the
belief that he did not abide in death, but was raised by God. That
Christ had risen was, in virtue of what they had experienced in him,
certainly only after they had seen him, just as sure as the fact of his
death, and became the main article of their preaching about him.[82] But
in the message of the risen Lord was contained not only the conviction
that he lives again, and now lives for ever, but also the assurance that
his people will rise in like manner and live eternally. Consequently,
the resurrection of Jesus became the sure pledge of the resurrection of
all believers, that is of their real personal resurrection. No one at
the beginning thought of a mere immortality of the spirit, not even
those who assumed the perishableness of man's sensuous nature. In
conformity with the uncertainty which yet adhered to the idea of
resurrection in Jewish hopes and speculations, the concrete notions of
it in the Christian communities were also fluctuating. But this could
not affect the certainty of the conviction that the Lord would raise his
people from death. This conviction, whose reverse side is the fear of
that God who casts into hell, has become the mightiest power through
which the Gospel has won humanity.[83]

5. After the appearance of Paul, the earliest communities were greatly
exercised by the question as to how believers obtain the righteousness
which they possess, and what significance a precise observance of the
law of the Fathers may have in connection with it. While some would hear
of no change in the regulations and conceptions which had hitherto
existed, and regarded the bestowal of righteousness by God as possible
only on condition of a strict observance of the law, others taught that
Jesus as Messiah had procured righteousness for his people, had
fulfilled the law once for all, and had founded a new covenant, either
in opposition to the old, or as a stage above it. Paul especially saw in
the death of Christ the end of the law, and deduced righteousness solely
from faith in Christ, and sought to prove from the Old Testament itself,
by means of historical speculation, the merely temporary validity of the
law and therewith the abrogation of the Old Testament religion. Others,
and this view, which is not everywhere to be explained by Alexandrian
influences (see above p. 72 f.), is not foreign to Paul, distinguished
between spirit and letter in the Mosaic law, giving to everything a
spiritual significance, and in this sense holding that the whole law as
[Greek: nomos pneumatikos] was binding. The question whether
righteousness comes from the works of the law or from faith, was
displaced by this conception, and therefore remained in its deepest
grounds unsolved, or was decided in the sense of a spiritualised
legalism. But the detachment of Christianity from the political forms of
the Jewish religion, and from sacrificial worship, was also completed by
this conception, although it was regarded as identical with the Old
Testament religion rightly understood. The surprising results of the
direct mission to the Gentiles would seem to have first called forth
those controversies (but see Stephen) and given them the highest
significance. The fact that one section of Jewish Christians, and even
some of the Apostles, at length recognised the right of the Gentile
Christians to be Christians without first becoming Jews, is the clearest
proof that what was above all prized was faith in Christ and surrender
to him as the saviour. In agreeing to the direct mission to the Gentiles
the earliest Christians, while they themselves observed the law, broke
up the national religion of Israel, and gave expression to the
conviction that Jesus was not only the Messiah of his people, but the
redeemer of humanity.[84] The establishment of the universal character
of the Gospel, that is, of Christianity as a religion for the world,
became now, however, a problem, the solution of which, as given by Paul,
but few were able to understand or make their own.

6. In the conviction that salvation is entirely bound up with faith in
Jesus Christ, Christendom gained the consciousness of being a new
creation of God. But while the sense of being the true Israel was
thereby, at the same time, held fast, there followed, on the one hand,
entirely new historical perspectives, and on the other, deep problems
which demanded solution. As a new creation of God, [Greek: he ekklêsia
tou theou], the community was conscious of having been chosen by God in
Jesus before the foundation of the world. In the conviction of being the
true Israel, it claimed for itself the whole historical development
recorded in the Old Testament, convinced that all the divine activity
there recorded had the new community in view. The great question which
was to find very different answers, was how, in accordance with this
view, the Jewish nation, so far as it had not recognised Jesus as
Messiah, should be judged. The detachment of Christianity from Judaism
was the most important preliminary condition, and therefore the most
important preparation, for the Mission among the Gentile nations, and
for union with the Greek spirit.

_Supplement_ 1.--Renan and others go too far when they say that Paul
alone has the glory of freeing Christianity from the fetters of Judaism.
Certainly the great Apostle could say in this connection also: [Greek:
perissoteron autôn pantôn ekopiasa], but there were others beside him
who, in the power of the Gospel, transcended the limits of Judaism.
Christian communities, it may now be considered certain, had arisen in
the empire, in Rome for example, which were essentially free from the
law without being in any way determined by Paul's preaching. It was
Paul's merit that he clearly formulated the great question, established
the universalism of Christianity in a peculiar manner, and yet in doing
so held fast the character of Christianity as a positive religion, as
distinguished from Philosophy and Moralism. But the later development
presupposes neither his clear formulation nor his peculiar establishment
of universalism, but only the universalism itself.

_Supplement_ 2.--The dependence of the Pauline Theology on the Old
Testament or on Judaism is overlooked in the traditional contrasting of
Paulinism and Jewish Christianity, in which Paulinism is made equivalent
to Gentile Christianity. This theology, as we might _a priori_ suppose,
could, apart from individual exceptions, be intelligible as a whole to
born Jews, if to any, for its doctrinal presuppositions were strictly
Pharisaic, and its boldness in criticising the Old Testament, rejecting
and asserting the law in its historical sense, could be as little
congenial to the Gentile Christians as its piety towards the Jewish
people. This judgment is confirmed by a glance at the fate of Pauline
Theology in the 120 years that followed. Marcion was the only Gentile
Christian who understood Paul, and even he misunderstood him: the rest
never got beyond the appropriation of particular Pauline sayings, and
exhibited no comprehension especially of the theology of the Apostle, so
far as in it the universalism of Christianity as a religion is proved,
even without recourse to Moralism and without putting a new construction
on the Old Testament religion. It follows from this, however, that the
scheme "Jewish Christianity"-"Gentile Christianity" is insufficient. We
must rather, in the Apostolic age, at least at its close, distinguish
four main tendencies that may have crossed each other here and
there,[85] (within which again different shades appear). (1) The Gospel
has to do with the people of Israel, and with the Gentile world only on
the condition that believers attach themselves to the people of Israel.
The punctilious observance of the law is still necessary and the
condition on which the messianic salvation is bestowed (particularism
and legalism, in practice and in principle, which, however, was not to
cripple the obligation to prosecute the work of the Mission). (2) The
Gospel has to do with Jews and Gentiles: the first, as believers in
Christ, are under obligation as before to observe the law, the latter
are not; but for that reason they cannot on earth fuse into one
community with the believing Jews. Very different judgments in details
were possible on this stand-point; but the bestowal of salvation could
no longer be thought of as depending simply on the keeping of the
ceremonial commandments of the law[86] (universalism in principle,
particularism in practice; the prerogative of Israel being to some
extent clung to). (3) The Gospel has to do with both Jews and Gentiles;
no one is any longer under obligation to observe the law; for the law is
abolished (or fulfilled), and the salvation which Christ's death has
procured is appropriated by faith. The law (that is the Old Testament
religion) in its literal sense is of divine origin, but was intended
from the first only for a definite epoch of history. The prerogative of
Israel remains, and is shewn in the fact that salvation was first
offered to the Jews, and it will be shewn again at the end of all
history. That prerogative refers to the nation as a whole, and has
nothing to do with the question of the salvation of individuals
(Paulinism: universalism in principle and in practice, and Antinomianism
in virtue of the recognition of a merely temporary validity of the whole
law; breach with the traditional religion of Israel; recognition of the
prerogative of the people of Israel; the clinging to the prerogative of
the people of Israel was not, however, necessary on this stand-point:
see the epistle to the Hebrews and the Gospel of John). (4) The Gospel
has to do with Jews and Gentiles: no one need therefore be under
obligation to observe the ceremonial commandments and sacrificial
worship, because these commandments themselves are only the wrappings of
moral and spiritual commandments which the Gospel has set forth as
fulfilled in a more perfect form (universalism in principle and in
practice in virtue of a neutralising of the distinction between law and
Gospel, old and new; spiritualising and universalising of the law).[87]

_Supplement_ 3.--The appearance of Paul is the most important fact in
the history of the Apostolic age. It is impossible to give in a few
sentences an abstract of his theology and work; and the insertion here
of a detailed account is forbidden, not only by the external limits, but
by the aim of this investigation. For, as already indicated (§ 1), the
doctrinal formation in the Gentile Church is not connected with the
whole phenomenon of the Pauline theology, but only with certain leading
thoughts which were only in part peculiar to the Apostle. His most
peculiar thoughts acted on the development of Ecclesiastical doctrine
only by way of occasional stimulus. We can find room here only for a few
general outlines.[88]

(1) The inner conviction that Christ had revealed himself to him, that
the Gospel was the message of the crucified and risen Christ, and that
God had called him to proclaim that message to the world, was the power
and the secret of his personality and his activity. These three elements
were a unity in the consciousness of Paul, constituting his conversion
and determining his after-life. (2) In this conviction he knew himself
to be a new creature, and so vivid was this knowledge that he was
constrained to become a Jew to the Jews, and a Greek to the Greeks in
order to gain them. (3) The crucified and risen Christ became the
central point of his theology, and not only the central point, but the
one source and ruling principle. The Christ was not in his estimation
Jesus of Nazareth now exalted, but the mighty personal spiritual being
in divine form who had for a time humbled himself, and who as Spirit has
broken up the world of law, sin, and death, and continues to overcome
them in believers. (4) Theology therefore was to him, looking forwards,
the doctrine of the liberating power of the Spirit (of Christ) in all
the concrete relations of human life and need. The Christ who has
already overcome law, sin and death, lives as Spirit, and through his
Spirit lives in believers, who for that very reason know him not after
the flesh. He is a creative power of life to those who receive him in
faith in his redeeming death upon the cross, that is to say, to those
who are justified. The life in the Spirit, which results from union with
Christ, will at last reveal itself also in the body (not in the flesh).
(5) Looking backwards, theology was to Paul a doctrine of the law and of
its abrogation; or more accurately, a description of the old system
before Christ in the light of the Gospel, and the proof that it was
destroyed by Christ. The scriptural proof, even here, is only a
superadded support to inner considerations which move entirely within
the thought that that which is abrogated has already had its due, by
having its whole strength made manifest that it might then be
annulled,--the law, the flesh of sin, death: by the law the law is
destroyed, sin is abolished in sinful flesh, death is destroyed by
death. (6) The historical view which followed from this begins, as
regards Christ, with Adam and Abraham; as regards the law, with Moses.
It closes, as regards Christ, with the prospect of a time when he shall
have put all enemies beneath his feet, when God will be all in all; as
regards Moses and the promises given to the Jewish nation, with the
prospect of a time when all Israel will be saved. (7) Paul's doctrine of
Christ starts from the final confession of the primitive Church, that
Christ is with the Father as a heavenly being and as Lord of the living
and the dead. Though Paul must have accurately known the proclamation
concerning the historical Christ, his theology in the strict sense of
the word does not revert to it: but springing over the historical, it
begins with the pre-existent Christ (the Man from heaven), whose moral
deed it was to assume the flesh in self-denying love, in order to break
for all men the powers of nature and the doom of death. But he has
pointed to the words and example of the historical Christ in order to
rule the life in the Spirit. (8) Deductions, proofs, and perhaps also
conceptions, which in point of form betray the theology of the Pharisaic
schools, were forced from the Apostle by Christian opponents, who would
only grant a place to the message of the crucified Christ beside the
[Greek: dikaiosunê ex ergôn]. Both as an exegete and as a typologist he
appears as a disciple of the Pharisees. But his dialectic about law,
circumcision and sacrifice, does not form the kernel of his religious
mode of thought, though, on the other hand, it was unquestionably his
very Pharisaism which qualified him for becoming what he was. Pharisaism
embraced nearly everything lofty which Judaism apart from Christ at all
possessed, and its doctrine of providence, its energetic insistence on
making manifest the religious contrasts, its Messianic expectations, its
doctrines of sin and predestination, were conditions for the genesis of
a religious and Christian character such as Paul.[89] This first
Christian of the second generation is the highest product of the Jewish
spirit under the creative power of the Spirit of Christ. Pharisaism had
fulfilled its mission for the world when it produced this man. (9) But
Hellenism also had a share in the making of Paul, a fact which does not
conflict with his Pharisaic origin, but is partly given with it. In
spite of all its exclusiveness the desire for making proselytes,
especially in the Diaspora, was in the blood of Pharisaism. Paul
continued the old movement in a new way, and he was qualified for his
work among the Greeks by an accurate knowledge of the Greek translation
of the Old Testament, by considerable dexterity in the use of the Greek
language, and by a growing insight into the spiritual life of the
Greeks. But the peculiarity of his Gospel as a message from the Spirit
of Christ, which was equally near to and equally distant from every
religious and moral mode of thought among the nations of the world,
signified much more than all this. This Gospel--who can say whether
Hellenism had already a share in its conception--required that the
missionary to the Greeks should become a Greek and that believers should
come to know, "all things are yours, and ye are Christ's." Paul, as no
doubt other missionaries besides him, connected the preaching of Christ
with the Greek mode of thought; he even employed philosophic doctrines
of the Greeks as presuppositions in his apologetic,[90] and therewith
prepared the way for the introduction of the Gospel to the Græco-Roman
world of thought. But, in my opinion, he has nowhere allowed that world
of thought to influence his doctrine of salvation. This doctrine,
however, was so fashioned in its practical aims that it was not
necessary to become a Jew in order to appropriate it. (10) Yet we cannot
speak of any total effect of Paulinism, as there was no such thing. The
abundance of its details was too great and the greatness of its
simplicity too powerful, its hope of the future too vivid, its doctrine
of the law too difficult, its summons to a new life in the spirit too
mighty to be comprehended and adhered to even by those communities which
Paul himself had founded. What they did comprehend was its Monotheism,
its universalism, its redemption, its eternal life, its asceticism; but
all this was otherwise combined than by Paul. The style became Hellenic,
and the element of a new kind of knowledge from the very first, as in
the Church of Corinth, seems to have been the ruling one. The Pauline
doctrine of the incarnate heavenly Man was indeed apprehended; it fell
in with Greek notions, although it meant something very different from
the notions which Greeks had been able to form of it.

_Supplement_ 4.--What we justly prize above all else in the New
Testament is that it is a union of the three groups, Synoptic Gospels,
Pauline Epistles,[91] and Johannine writings, in which are expressed the
richest contents of the earliest history of the Gospel. In the Synoptic
Gospels and the epistles of Paul are represented two types of preaching
the Gospel which mutually supplement each other. The subsequent history
is dependent on both, and would have been other than it is had not both
existed alongside of each other. On the other hand, the peculiar and
lofty conception of Christ and of the Gospel, which stands out in the
writings of John, has directly exercised no demonstrable influence on
the succeeding development--with the exception of one peculiar movement,
the Montanistic, which, however, does not rest on a true understanding
of these writings--and indeed partly for the same reason that has
prevented the Pauline theology as a whole from having such an influence.
What is given in these writings is a criticism of the Old Testament as
religion, or the independence of the Christian religion, in virtue of an
accurate knowledge of the Old Testament through development of its
hidden germs. The Old Testament stage of religion is really transcended
and overcome in the Johannine Christianity, just as in Paulinism, and in
the theology of the epistle to the Hebrews. "The circle of disciples who
appropriated this characterisation of Jesus is," says Weizsäcker, "a
revived Christ-party in the higher sense." But this transcending of the
Old Testament religion was the very thing that was unintelligible,
because there were few ripe for such a conception. Moreover, the origin
of the Johannine writings is, from the stand-point of a history of
literature and dogma, the most marvellous enigma which the early history
of Christianity presents: Here we have portrayed a Christ who clothes
the indescribable with words, and proclaims as his own self-testimony
what his disciples have experienced in him, a speaking, acting, Pauline
Christ, walking on the earth, far more human than the Christ of Paul and
yet far more Divine, an abundance of allusions to the historical Jesus,
and at the same time the most sovereign treatment of the history. One
divines that the Gospel can find no loftier expression than John XVII.:
one feels that Christ himself put these words into the mouth of the
disciple, who gives them back to him, but word and thing, history and
doctrine are surrounded by a bright cloud of the suprahistorical. It is
easy to shew that this Gospel could as little have been written without
Hellenism, as Luther's treatise on the freedom of a Christian man could
have been written without the "Deutsche Theologie." But the reference to
Philo and Hellenism is by no means sufficient here, as it does not
satisfactorily explain even one of the external aspects of the problem.
The elements operative in the Johannine theology were not Greek
Theologoumena--even the Logos has little more in common with that of
Philo than the name, and its mention at the beginning of the book is a
mystery, not the solution of one[92]--but the Apostolic testimony
concerning Christ has created from the old faith of Psalmists and
Prophets, a new faith in a man who lived with the disciples of Jesus
among the Greeks. For that very reason, in spite of his abrupt
Anti-judaism, we must without doubt regard the Author as a born Jew.

_Supplement_ 5.--The authorities to which the Christian communities were
subjected in faith and life, were these: (1) The Old Testament
interpreted in the Christian sense. (2) The tradition of the Messianic
history of Jesus. (3) The words of the Lord: see the epistles of Paul,
especially 1 Corinthians. But every writing which was proved to have
been given by the Spirit had also to be regarded as an authority, and
every tested Christian Prophet and Teacher inspired by the Spirit could
claim that his words be received and regarded as the words of God.
Moreover, the twelve whom Jesus had chosen had a special authority, and
Paul claimed a similar authority for himself ([Greek: diataxeis tôn
apostolôn]). Consequently, there were numerous courts of appeal in the
earliest period of Christendom, of diverse kinds and by no means
strictly defined. In the manifold gifts of the spirit was given a fluid
element indefinable in its range and scope, an element which guaranteed
freedom of development, but which also threatened to lead the
enthusiastic communities to extravagance.

_Literature._--Weiss, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, 1884.
Beyschlag, New Testament Theology, 1892. Ritschl, Entstehung der
Alt-Katholischen Kirche, 2 Edit. 1857. Reuss, History of Christian
Theology in the Apostolic Age, 1864. Baur, The Apostle Paul, 1866.
Holsten, Zum Evangelium des Paulus und Petrus, 1868. Pfleiderer,
Paulinism, 1873: also, Das Urchristenthum, 1887. Schenkel, Das
Christusbild der Apostel, 1879. Renan, Origins of Christianity Vols.
II.-IV. Havet, Le Christianisme et ses orig. T, IV. 1884. Lechler, The
Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Age, 1885. Weizsäcker, The Apostolic Age,
1892. Hatch, Article "Paul" in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Everett, The
Gospel of Paul. Boston, 1893. On the origin and earliest history of the
Christian proofs from prophecy, see my "Texte und Unters. z. Gesch. der
Alt-Christl." Lit. I. 3, p. 56 f.

§ 4. _The Current Exposition of the Old Testament, and the Jewish hopes
of the future, in their significance for the earliest types of Christian

Instead of the frequently very fruitless investigations about
"Jewish-Christian," and "Gentile-Christian," it should be asked, What
Jewish elements have been naturalised in the Christian Church, which
were in no way demanded by the contents of the Gospel? have these
elements been simply weakened in course of the development, or have some
of them been strengthened by a peculiar combination with the Greek? We
have to do here, in the first instance, with the doctrine of Demons and
Angels, the view of history, the growing exclusiveness, the fanaticism;
and on the other hand, with the cultus, and the Theocracy, expressing
itself in forms of law.

1. Although Jesus had in principle abolished the methods of pedantry,
the casuistic treatment of the law, and the subtleties of prophetic
interpretation, yet the old Scholastic exegesis remained active in the
Christian communities above all the unhistorical local method in the
exposition of the Old Testament, both allegoristic and Haggadic; for in
the exposition of a sacred text--and the Old Testament was regarded as
such--one is always required to look away from its historical
limitations and to expound it according to the needs of the present.[93]
The traditional view exercised its influence on the exposition of the
Old Testament, as well as on the representations of the person, fate and
deeds of Jesus, especially in those cases where the question was about
the proof of the fulfilment of prophecy, that is, of the Messiahship of
Jesus. (See above § 3, 2). Under the impression made by the history of
Jesus it gave to many Old Testament passages a sense that was foreign to
them, and, on the other hand, enriched the life of Jesus with new facts,
turning the interest at the same time to details which were frequently
unreal and seldom of striking importance.[94]

2. The Jewish Apocalyptic literature, especially as it flourished since
the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and was impregnated with new elements
borrowed from an ethico-religious philosophy, as well as with Babylonian
and Persian myths (Greek myths can only be detected in very small
number), was not banished from the circles of the first professors of
the Gospel, but was rather held fast, eagerly read, and even extended
with the view of elucidating the promises of Jesus.[95] Though their
contents seem to have been modified on Christian soil, and especially
the uncertainty about the person of the Messiah exalted to victory and
coming to judgment,[96] yet the sensuous earthly hopes were in no way
repressed. Green fat meadows and sulphurous abysses, white horses and
frightful beasts, trees of life, splendid cities, war and bloodshed
filled the fancy,[97] and threatened to obscure the simple and yet, at
bottom, much more affecting maxims about the judgment which is certain
to every individual soul, and drew the confessors of the Gospel into a
restless activity, into politics, and abhorrence of the State. It was an
evil inheritance which the Christians took over from the Jews,[98] an
inheritance which makes it impossible to reproduce with certainty the
eschatological sayings of Jesus. Things directly foreign were mixed up
with them, and, what was most serious, delineations of the hopes of the
future could easily lead to the undervaluing of the most important gifts
and duties of the Gospel.[99]

3. A wealth of mythologies and poetic ideas was naturalised and
legitimised[100] in the Christian communities, chiefly by the reception
of the Apocalyptic literature, but also by the reception of artificial
exegesis and Haggada. Most important for the following period were the
speculations about Messiah, which were partly borrowed from expositions
of the Old Testament and from the Apocalypses, partly formed
independently, according to methods the justice of which no one
contested, and the application of which seemed to give a firm basis to
religious faith.

Some of the Jewish Apocalyptists had already attributed pre-existence to
the expected Messiah, as to other precious things in the Old Testament
history and worship, and, without any thought of denying his human
nature, placed him as already existing before his appearing in a series
of angelic beings.[101] This took place in accordance with an
established method of speculation, so far as an attempt was made thereby
to express the special value of an empiric object, by distinguishing
between the essence and the inadequate form of appearance, hypostatising
the essence, and exalting it above time and space. But when a later
appearance was conceived as the aim of a series of preparations, it was
frequently hypostatised and placed above these preparations even in
time. The supposed aim was, in a kind of real existence, placed, as
first cause, before the means which were destined to realise it on

Some of the first confessors of the Gospel, though not all the writers
of the New Testament, in accordance with the same method, went beyond
the declarations which Jesus himself had made about his person, and
endeavoured to conceive its value and absolute significance abstractly
and speculatively. The religious convictions (see § 3. 2): (1) That the
founding of the Kingdom of God on earth, and the mission of Jesus as the
perfect mediator, were from eternity based on God's plan of Salvation,
as his main purpose; (2) that the exalted Christ was called into a
position of Godlike Sovereignty belonging to him of right; (3) that God
himself was manifested in Jesus, and that he therefore surpasses all
mediators of the Old Testament, nay, even all angelic powers,--these
convictions with some took the form that Jesus pre-existed, and that in
him has appeared and taken flesh a heavenly being fashioned like God,
who is older than the world, nay, its creative principle.[103] The
conceptions of the old Teachers, Paul, the author of the Epistle to the
Hebrews, the Apocalypse, the author of the first Epistle of Peter, the
fourth Evangelist, differ in many ways when they attempt to define these
convictions more closely. The latter is the only one who has recognised
with perfect clearness that the premundane Christ must be assumed to be
[Greek: theos hôn en archê pros ton theon], so as not to endanger by
this speculation the contents and significance of the revelation of God
which was given in Christ. This, in the earliest period, was essentially
a religious problem, that is, it was not introduced for the explanation
of cosmological problems, (see, especially, Epistle to the Ephesians, I
Peter; but also the Gospel of John), and there stood peacefully beside
it, such conceptions as recognised the equipment of the man Jesus for
his office in a communication of the Spirit at his baptism,[104] or in
virtue of Isaiah VII., found the germ of his unique nature in his
miraculous origin.[105] But as soon as that speculation was detached
from its original foundation, it necessarily withdrew the minds of
believers from the consideration of the work of Christ, and from the
contemplation of the revelation of God which was given in the ministry
of the historical person Jesus. The mystery of the person of Jesus in
itself, would then necessarily appear as the true revelation.[106]

A series of theologoumena and religious problems for the future doctrine
of Christianity lay ready in the teaching of the Pharisees and in the
Apocalypses (see especially the fourth book of Ezra), and was really
fitted for being of service to it; e.g., doctrines about Adam, universal
sinfulness, the fall, predestination, Theodicy, etc., besides all kinds
of ideas about redemption. Besides these spiritual doctrines there were
not a few spiritualised myths which were variously made use of in the
Apocalypses. A rich, spiritual, figurative style, only too rich and
therefore confused, waited for the theological artist to purify, reduce
and vigorously fashion. There really remained very little of the
Cosmico-Mythological in the doctrine of the great Church.

_Supplement._--The reference to the proof from prophecy, to the current
exposition of the Old Testament, the Apocalyptic and the prevailing
methods of speculation, does not suffice to explain all the elements
which are found in the different types of Christian preaching. We must
rather bear in mind here that the earliest communities were
enthusiastic, and had yet among them prophets and ecstatic persons. Such
circumstances will always directly produce facts in the history. But, in
the majority of cases, it is absolutely impossible to account
subsequently for the causes of such productions, because their formation
is subject to no law accessible to the understanding. It is therefore
inadmissible to regard as proved the reality of what is recorded and
believed to be a fact, when the motive and interest which led to its
acceptance can no longer be ascertained.[107]

Moreover, if we consider the conditions, outer and inner, in which the
preaching of Christ in the first decades was placed, conditions which in
every way threatened the Gospel with extravagance, we shall only see
cause to wonder that it continued to shine forth amid all its wrappings.
We can still, out of the strangest "fulfilments", legends and
mythological ideas, read the religious conviction that the aim and goal
of history is disclosed in the history of Christ, and that the Divine
has now entered into history in a pure form.

_Literature._--The Apocalypses of Daniel, Enoch, Moses, Baruch, Ezra;
Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the time of Christ;
Baldensperger, in the work already mentioned. Weber, System der
Altsynagogalen palästinischen Theologie, 1880, Kuenen, Hibbert Lectures,
1883. Hilgenfeld, Die jüdische Apokalyptik, 1857. Wellhausen, Sketch of
the History of Israel and Judah, 1887. Diestel, Gesch. des A. T. in der
Christl. Kirche, 1869. Other literature in Schürer. The essay of Hellwag
in the Theol. Jahrb. von Baur and Zeller, 1848, "Die Vorstellung von der
Präexistenz Christi in der ältesten Kirche", is worth noting; also Joël,
Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des 2 Christl. Jahrhunderts,

§ 5. _The Religious Conceptions and the Religious Philosophy of the
Hellenistic Jews, in their significance for the later formulation of the

1. From the remains of the Jewish Alexandrian literature and the Jewish
Sibylline writings, also from the work of Josephus, and especially from
the great propaganda of Judaism in the Græco-Roman world, we may gather
that there was a Judaism in the Diaspora, for the consciousness of which
the cultus and ceremonial law were of comparatively subordinate
importance; while the monotheistic worship of God, apart from images,
the doctrines of virtue and belief in a future reward beyond the grave,
stood in the foreground as its really essential marks. Converted
Gentiles were no longer everywhere required to be even circumcised; the
bath of purification was deemed sufficient. The Jewish religion here
appears transformed into a universal human ethic and a monotheistic
cosmology. For that reason, the idea of the Theocracy as well as the
Messianic hopes of the future faded away or were uprooted. The latter,
indeed, did not altogether pass away; but as the oracles of the Prophets
were made use of mainly for the purpose of proving the antiquity and
certainty of monotheistic belief, the thought of the future was
essentially exhausted in the expectation of the dissolution of the Roman
empire, the burning of the world, and the eternal recompense. The
specific Jewish element, however, stood out plainly in the assertion
that the Old Testament, and especially the books of Moses, were the
source of all true knowledge of God, and the sum total of all doctrines
of virtue for the nations, as well as in the connected assertion that
the religious and moral culture of the Greeks was derived from the Old
Testament, as the source from which the Greek Poets and Philosophers had
drawn their inspiration.[108]

These Jews and the Greeks converted by them formed, as it were, a
Judaism of a second order without law, i.e., ceremonial law, and with a
minimum of statutory regulations. This Judaism prepared the soil for the
Christianising of the Greeks, as well as for the genesis of a great
Gentile Church in the empire, free from the law; and this the more that,
as it seems, after the second destruction of Jerusalem, the punctilious
observance of the law[109] was imposed more strictly than before on all
who worshipped the God of the Jews.[110]

The Judaism just portrayed, developed itself, under the influence of the
Greek culture with which it came in contact, into a kind of
Cosmopolitanism. It divested itself, as religion, of all national forms,
and exhibited itself as the most perfect expression of that "natural"
religion which the stoics had disclosed. But in proportion as it was
enlarged and spiritualised to a universal religion for humanity, it
abandoned what was most peculiar to it, and could not compensate for
that loss by the assertion of the thesis that the Old Testament is the
oldest and most reliable source of that natural religion, which in the
traditions of the Greeks had only witnesses of the second rank. The
vigour and immediateness of the religious feeling was flattened down to
a moralism, the barrenness of which drove some Jews even into Gnosis,
mysticism and asceticism.[111]

2. The Jewish Alexandrian philosophy of religion, of which Philo gives
us the clearest conception,[112] is the scientific theory which
corresponded to this religious conception. The theological system which
Philo, in accordance with the example of others, gave out as the Mosaic
system revealed by God, and proved from the Old Testament by means of
the allegoric exegetic method, is essentially identical with the system
of Stoicism, which had been mixed with Platonic elements and had lost
its Pantheistic materialistic impress. The fundamental idea from which
Philo starts is a Platonic one; the dualism of God and the world, spirit
and matter. The idea of God itself is therefore abstractly and
negatively conceived (God, the real substance which is not finite), and
has nothing more in common with the Old Testament conception. The
possibility, however, of being able to represent God as acting on
matter, which as the finite is the non-existent, and therefore the evil,
is reached, with the help of the Stoic [Greek: logos] as working powers
and of the Platonic doctrine of archetypal ideas, and in outward
connection with the Jewish doctrine of angels and the Greek doctrine of
demons, by the introduction of intermediate spiritual beings which, as
personal and impersonal powers proceeding from God, are to be thought of
as operative causes and as Archetypes. All these beings are, as it were,
comprehended in the Logos. By the Logos Philo understands the operative
reason of God, and consequently also the power of God. The Logos is to
him the thought of God and at the same time the product of his thought,
therefore both idea and power. But further, the Logos is God himself on
that side of him which is turned to the world, as also the ideal of the
world and the unity of the spiritual forces which produce the world and
rule in it. He can therefore be put beside God and in opposition to the
world; but he can also, so far as the spiritual contents of the world
are comprehended in him, be put with the world in contrast with God. The
Logos accordingly appears as the Son of God, the foremost creature, the
representative, Viceroy, High Priest, and Messenger of God; and again as
principle of the world, spirit of the world, nay, as the world itself.
He appears as a power and as a person, as a function of God and as an
active divine being. Had Philo cancelled the contradiction which lies in
this whole conception of the Logos, his system would have been
demolished; for that system with its hard antithesis of God and the
world, needed a mediator who was, and yet was not God, as well as world.
From this contrast, however, it further followed that we can only think
of a world-formation by the Logos, not of a world-creation.[113] Within
this world man is regarded as a microcosm, that is, as a being of Divine
nature according to his spirit, who belongs to the heavenly world, while
the adhering body is a prison which holds men captive in the fetters of
sense, that is, of sin.

The Stoic and Platonic ideals and rules of conduct (also the
Neo-pythagorean) were united by Philo in the religious Ethic as well as
in the Cosmology. Rationalistic moralism is surmounted by the injunction
to strive after a higher good lying above virtue. But here, at the same
time, is the point at which Philo decidedly goes beyond Platonism, and
introduces a new thought into Greek Ethics, and also in correspondence
therewith into theoretic philosophy. This thought, which indeed lay
altogether in the line of the development of Greek philosophy, was not,
however, pursued by Philo into all its consequences, though it was the
expression of a new frame of mind. While the highest good is resolved by
Plato and his successors into knowledge of truth, which truth, together
with the idea of God, lies in a sphere really accessible to the
intellectual powers of the human spirit, the highest good, the Divine
original being, is considered by Philo, though not invariably, to be
above reason, and the power of comprehending it is denied to the human
intellect. This assumption, a concession which Greek speculation was
compelled to make to positive religion for the supremacy which was
yielded to it, was to have far-reaching consequences in the future. _A
place was now for the first time provided in philosophy for a mythology
to be regarded as revelation._ The highest truths which could not
otherwise be reached, might be sought for in the oracles of the Deity;
for knowledge resting on itself had learnt by experience its inability
to attain to the truth in which blessedness consists. _In this very
experience the intellectualism of Greek Ethics was, not indeed
cancelled, but surmounted._ The injunction to free oneself from sense
and strive upwards by means of knowledge, remained; but the wings of the
thinking mind bore it only to the entrance of the sanctuary. Only
ecstasy produced by God himself was able to lead to the reality above
reason. The great novelties in the system of Philo, though in a certain
sense the way had already been prepared for them, are the introduction
of the idea of a philosophy of revelation and the advance beyond the
absolute intellectualism of Greek philosophy, an advance based on
scepticism, but also on the deep-felt needs of life. Only the germs of
these are found in Philo, but they are already operative. They are
innovations of world-wide importance: for in them the covenant between
the thoughts of reason on the one hand, and the belief in revelation and
mysticism on the other, is already so completed that neither by itself
could permanently maintain the supremacy. Thought about the world was
henceforth dependent, not only on practical motives, it is always that,
but on the need of a blessedness and peace which is higher than all
reason. It might, perhaps, be allowable to say that Philo was the first
who, as a philosopher, plainly expressed that need, just because he was
not only a Greek, but also a Jew.[114]

Apart from the extremes into which the ethical counsels of Philo run,
they contain nothing that had not been demanded by philosophers before
him. The purifying of the affections, the renunciation of sensuality,
the acquisition of the four cardinal virtues, the greatest possible
simplicity of life, as well as a cosmopolitan disposition are
enjoined.[115] But the attainment of the highest morality by our own
strength is despaired of, and man is directed beyond himself to God's
assistance. Redemption begins with the spirit reflecting on its own
condition; it advances by a knowledge of the world and of the Logos, and
it is perfected, after complete asceticism, by mystic ecstatic
contemplation in which a man loses himself, but in return is entirely
filled and moved by God.[116] In this condition man has a foretaste of
the blessedness which shall be given him when the soul, freed from the
body, will be restored to its true existence as a heavenly being.

This system, notwithstanding its appeal to revelation, has, in the
strict sense of the word, no place for Messianic hopes, of which nothing
but very insignificant rudiments are found in Philo. But he was really
animated by the hope of a glorious time to come for Judaism. The
synthesis of the Messiah and the Logos did not lie within his

3. Neither Philo's philosophy of religion, nor the mode of thought from
which it springs, exercised any appreciable influence on the first
generation of believers in Christ.[118] But its practical
ground-thoughts, though in different degrees, must have found admission
very early into the Jewish Christian circles of the Diaspora, and
through them to Gentile Christian circles also. Philo's philosophy of
religion became operative among Christian teachers from the beginning of
the second century,[119] and at a later period actually obtained the
significance of a standard of Christian theology, Philo gaining a place
among Christian writers. The systems of Valentinus and Origen presuppose
that of Philo. It can no longer, however, be shewn with certainty how
far the direct influence of Philo reached, as the development of
religious ideas in the second century took a direction which necessarily
led to views similar to those which Philo had anticipated (see § 6, and
the whole following account).

_Supplement._--The hermeneutic principles (the "Biblicalalchemy"), above
all, became of the utmost importance for the following period. These
were partly invented by Philo himself, partly traditional,--the Haggadic
rules of exposition and the hermeneutic principles of the Stoics having
already at an earlier period been united in Alexandria. They fall into
two main classes; "first, those according to which the literal sense is
excluded, and the allegoric proved to be the only possible one, and
then, those according to which the allegoric sense is discovered as
standing beside and above the literal sense."[120] That these rules
permitted the discovery of a new sense by minute changes within a word,
was a point of special importance.[121] Christian teachers went still
further in this direction, and, as can be proved, altered the text of
the Septuagint in order to make more definite what suggested itself to
them as the meaning of a passage, or in order to give a satisfactory
meaning to a sentence which appeared to them unmeaning or
offensive.[122] Nay, attempts were not wanting among Christians in the
second century--they were aided by the uncertainty that existed about
the extent of the Septuagint, and by the want of plain predictions about
the death upon the cross--to determine the Old Testament canon in
accordance with new principles; that is, to alter the text on the plea
that the Jews had corrupted it, and to insert new books into the Old
Testament, above all, Jewish Apocalypses revised in a Christian sense.
Tertullian (de cultu fem. I. 3,) furnishes a good example of the latter.
"Scio scipturam Enoch, quæ hunc ordinem angelis dedit, non recipi a
quibusdam, quia nee in armorium Judaicum admittitur ... sed cum Enoch
eadem scriptura etiam de domino prædicarit, a nobis quidem nihil omnino
reiciendum est quod pertinet ad nos. Et legimus omnem scripturam
ædificationi habilem divinitus inspirari. A Judæis potest jam videri
propterea reiecta, sicut et cetera fere quæ Christum sonant.... Eo
accedit quod Enoch apud Judam apostolum testimonium possidet." Compare
also the history of the Apocalypse of Ezra in the Latin Bible (Old
Testament). Not only the genuine Greek portions of the Septuagint, but
also many Apocalypses were quoted by Christians in the second century as
of equal value with the Old Testament. It was the New Testament that
slowly put an end to these tendencies towards the formation of a
Christian Old Testament.

To find the spiritual meaning of the sacred text, partly beside the
literal, partly by excluding it, became the watchword for the
"scientific" Christian theology which was possible only on this basis,
as it endeavoured to reduce the immense and dissimilar material of the
Old Testament to unity with the Gospel, and both with the religious and
scientific culture of the Greeks,--yet without knowing a relative
standard, the application of which would alone have rendered possible in
a loyal way the solution of the task. Here, Philo was the master; for he
first to a great extent poured the new wine into old bottles. Such a
procedure is warranted by its final purpose; for history is a unity. But
applied in a pedantic and stringently dogmatic way it is a source of
deception, of untruthfulness, and finally of total blindness.

_Literature._--Gefrörer, Das Jahr des Heils, 1838. Parthey, Das
Alexandr. Museum, 1838. Matter, Hist. de l'école d'Alex. 1840. Dähne,
Gesch. Darstellung der jüd.-alex. Religions-philos. 1834. Zeller, Die
Philosophie der Griechen, III. 2. 3rd Edition. Mommsen, History of Rome,
Vol. V. Siegfried, Philo von Alex. 1875. Massebieau, Le Classement des
Oeuvres de Philon. 1889. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889.
Drummond, Philo Judæus, 1888. Bigg, The Christian Platonists of
Alexandria, 1886. Schürer, History of the Jewish People. The
investigations of Freudenthal (Hellenistische Studien), and Bernays
(Ueber das phokylideische Gedicht; Theophrastos' Schrift über
Frömmigkeit; Die heraklitischen Briefe). Kuenen, Hibbert Lectures:
"Christian Theology could have made and has made much use of Hellenism.
But the Christian religion cannot have sprung from this source." Havet
thinks otherwise, though in the fourth volume of his "Origines" he has
made unexpected admissions.

§ 6. _The Religious Dispositions of the Greeks and Romans in the first
two centuries, and the current Græco-Roman Philosophy of Religion._

1. After the national religion and the religious sense generally in
cultured circles had been all but lost in the age of Cicero and
Augustus, there is noticeable in the Græco-Roman world from the
beginning of the second century a revival of religious feeling which
embraced all classes of society, and appears, especially from the middle
of that century, to have increased from decennium to decennium.[123]
Parallel with it went the not altogether unsuccessful attempt to restore
the old national worship, religious usages, oracles, etc. In these
attempts, however, which were partly superficial and artificial, the new
religious needs found neither vigorous nor clear expression. These needs
rather sought new forms of satisfaction corresponding to the wholly
changed conditions of the time, including intercourse and mixing of the
nations; decay of the old republican orders, divisions and ranks;
monarchy and absolutism and social crises; pauperism; influence of
philosophy on the domain of public morality and law; cosmopolitanism and
the rights of man; influx of Oriental cults into the West; knowledge of
the world and disgust with it. The decay of the old political cults and
syncretism produced a disposition in favour of monotheism both among the
cultured classes who had been prepared for it by philosophy, and also
gradually among the masses. Religion and individual morality became more
closely connected. There was developed a corresponding attempt at
spiritualising the worship alongside of and within the ceremonial forms,
and at giving it a direction towards the moral elevation of man through
the ideas of moral personality, conscience, and purity. The ideas of
repentance and of expiation and healing of the soul became of special
importance, and consequently such Oriental cults came to the front as
required the former and guaranteed the latter. But what was sought above
all, was to enter into an inner union with the Deity, to be saved by him
and become a partaker in the possession and enjoyment of his life. The
worshipper consequently longed to find a "præsens numen" and the
revelation of him in the cultus, and hoped to put himself in possession
of the Deity by asceticism and mysterious rites. This new piety longed
for health and purity of soul, and elevation above earthly things, and
in connection with these a divine, that is, a painless and eternal life
beyond the grave ("renatus in æternum taurobolio"). A world beyond was
desired, sought for and viewed with an uncertain eye. By detachment from
earthly things and the healing of its diseases (the passions) the freed,
new born soul should return to its divine nature and existence. It is
not a hope of immortality such as the ancients had dreamed of for their
heroes, where they continue, as it were, their earthly existence in
blessed enjoyment. To the more highly pitched self-consciousness this
life had become a burden, and in the miseries of the present, one hoped
for a future life in which the pain and vulgarity of the unreal life of
earth would be completely laid aside ([Greek: Enkrateia] and [Greek:
anastasis]). If the new moralistic feature stood out still more
emphatically in the piety of the second century, it vanished more and
more behind the religious feature, the longing after life[124] and after
a Redeemer God. No one could any longer be a God who was not also a

With all this Polytheism was not suppressed, but only put into a
subordinate place. On the contrary, it was as lively and active as ever.
For the idea of a _numen supremum_ did not exclude belief in the
existence and manifestation of subordinate deities. Apotheosis came into
currency. The old state religion first attained its highest and most
powerful expression in the worship of the emperor, (the emperor
glorified as "dominus ac deus noster",[126] as "præsens et corporalis
deus", the Antinous cult, etc.)., and in many circles an incarnate ideal
in the present or the past was sought, which might be worshipped as
revealer of God and as God, and which might be an example of life and an
assurance of religious hope. Apotheosis became less offensive in
proportion as, in connection with the fuller recognition of the
spiritual dignity of man, the estimate of the soul, the spirit, as of
supramundane nature, and the hope of its eternal continuance in a form
of existence befitting it, became more general. That was the import of
the message preached by the Cynics and the Stoics, that the truly wise
man is Lord, Messenger of God, and God upon the earth. On the other
hand, the popular belief clung to the idea that the gods could appear
and be visible in human form, and this faith, though mocked by the
cultured, gained numerous adherents, even among them, in the age of the

The new thing which was here developed, continued to be greatly obscured
by the old forms of worship which reasons of state and pious custom
maintained. And the new piety, dispensing with a fixed foundation,
groped uncertainly around, adapting the old rather than rejecting it.
The old religious practices of the Fathers asserted themselves in public
life generally, and the reception of new cults by the state, which was
certainly effected, though with many checks, did not disturb them. The
old religious customs stood out especially on state holidays, in the
games in honour of the Gods, frequently degenerating into shameless
immorality, but yet protecting the institutions of the state. The
patriot, the wise man, the sceptic, and the pious man compounded with
them, for they had not really at bottom outgrown them, and they knew of
nothing better to substitute for the services they still rendered to
society (see the [Greek: logos alêthês] of Celsus).

2. The system of associations, naturalised centuries before among the
Greeks, was developed under the social and political pressure of the
empire, and was greatly extended by the change of moral and religious
ideas. The free unions, which, as a rule, had a religious element and
were established for mutual help, support, or edification, balanced to
some extent the prevailing social cleavage, by a free democratic
organisation. They gave to many individuals in their small circle the
rights which they did not possess in the great world, and were
frequently of service in obtaining admission for new cults. Even the new
piety and cosmopolitan disposition seem to have turned to them in order
to find within them forms of expression. But the time had not come for
the greater corporate unions, and of an organised connection of
societies in one city with those of another we know nothing. The state
kept these associations under strict control. It granted them only to
the poorest classes (_collegia tenuiorum_) and had the strictest laws in
readiness for them. These free unions, however, did not in their
historical importance approach the fabric of the Roman state in which
they stood. That represented the union of the greater part of humanity
under one head, and also more and more under one law. Its capital was
the capital of the world, and also, from the beginning of the third
century, of religious syncretism. Hither migrated all who desired to
exercise an influence on the great scale: Jew, Chaldean, Syrian priest,
and Neoplatonic teacher. Law and Justice radiated from Rome to the
provinces, and in their light nationalities faded away, and a
cosmopolitanism was developed which pointed beyond itself, because the
moral spirit can never find its satisfaction in that which is realised.
When that spirit finally turned away from all political life, and after
having laboured for the ennobling of the empire, applied itself, in
Neoplatonism, to the idea of a new and free union of men, this certainly
was the result of the felt failure of the great creation, but it
nevertheless had that creation for its presupposition. The Church
appropriated piecemeal the great apparatus of the Roman state, and gave
new powers, new significance and respect to every article that had been
depreciated. But what is of greatest importance is that the Church by
her preaching would never have gained whole circles, but only
individuals, had not the universal state already produced a neutralising
of nationalities and brought men nearer each other in temper and

3. Perhaps the most decisive factor in bringing about the revolution of
religious and moral convictions and moods, was philosophy, which in
almost all its schools and representatives, had deepened ethics, and set
it more and more in the foreground. After Possidonius, Seneca,
Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius of the Stoical school, and men like
Plutarch of the Platonic, attained to an ethical view, which, though not
very clear in principle (knowledge, resignation, trust in God), is
hardly capable of improvement in details. Common to them all, as
distinguished from the early Stoics, is the value put upon the soul,
(not the entire human nature), while in some of them there comes clearly
to the front a religious mood, a longing for divine help, for redemption
and a blessed life beyond the grave, the effort to obtain and
communicate a religious philosophical therapeutic of the soul. From
the beginning of the second century, however, already announced itself
that eclectic philosophy based on Platonism which after two or three
generations appeared in the form of a school, and after three
generations more was to triumph over all other schools. The several
elements of the Neoplatonic philosophy, as they were already
foreshadowed in Philo, are clearly seen in the second century, viz., the
dualistic opposition of the divine and the earthly, the abstract
conception of God, the assertion of the unknowableness of God,
scepticism with regard to sensuous experience, and distrust with regard
to the powers of the understanding, with a greater readiness to examine
things and turn to account the result of former scientific labour;
further, the demand of emancipation from sensuality by means of
asceticism, the need of authority, belief in a higher revelation, and
the fusion of science and religion. The legitimising of religious fancy
in the province of philosophy was already begun. The myth was no longer
merely tolerated and re-interpreted as formerly, but precisely the
mythic form with the meaning imported into it was the precious
element.[128] There were, however, in the second century numerous
representatives of every possible philosophic view. To pass over the
frivolous writers of the day, the Cynics criticised the traditional
mythology in the interests of morality and religion.[129] But there were
also men who opposed the "ne quid nimis" to every form of practical
scepticism, and to religion at the same time, and were above all intent
on preserving the state and society, and on fostering the existing
arrangements which appeared to be threatened far more by an intrusive
religious than by a nihilistic philosophy.[130] Yet men whose interest
was ultimately practical and political, became ever more rare,
especially as from the death of Marcus Aurelius, the maintenance of the
state had to be left more and more to the sword of the Generals. The
general conditions from the end of the second century were favourable to
a philosophy which no longer in any respect took into real consideration
the old forms of the state.

The theosophic philosophy which was prepared for in the second
century,[131] was, from the stand-point of enlightenment and knowledge
of nature, a relapse: but it was the expression of a deeper religious
need, and of a self-knowledge such as had not been in existence at an
earlier period. The final consequences of that revolution in philosophy
which made consideration of the inner life the starting-point of thought
about the world, only now began to be developed. The ideas of a divine,
gracious providence, of the relationship of all men, of universal
brotherly love, of a ready forgiveness of wrong, of forbearing patience,
of insight into one's own weakness--affected no doubt with many
shadows--became, for wide circles, a result of the practical philosophy
of the Greeks as well as, the conviction of inherent sinfulness, the
need of redemption, and the eternal value and dignity of a human soul
which finds rest only in God. These ideas, convictions and rules, had
been picked up in the long journey from Socrates to Ammonius Saccas: at
first, and for long afterwards, they crippled the interest in a rational
knowledge of the world; but they deepened and enriched the inner life,
and therewith the source of all knowledge. Those ideas, however, lacked
as yet the certain coherence, but, above all, the authority which could
have raised them above the region of wishes, presentiments, and
strivings, and have given them normative authority in a community of
men. There was no sure revelation, and no view of history which could be
put in the place of the no longer prized political history of the nation
or state to which one belonged.[132] There was, in fact, no such thing
as certainty. In like manner, there was no power which might overturn
idolatry and abolish the old, and therefore one did not get beyond the
wavering between self-deification, fear of God, and deification of
nature. The glory is all the greater of those statesmen and jurists who,
in the second and third centuries, introduced human ideas of the Stoics
into the legal arrangements of the empire, and raised them to standards.
And we must value all the more the numerous undertakings and
performances, in which it appeared that the new view of life was
powerful enough in individuals to beget a corresponding practice even
without a sure belief in revelation.[133]

_Supplement._--For the correct understanding of the beginning of
Christian theology, that is, for the Apologetic and Gnosis, it is
important to note where they are dependent on Stoic, and where on
Platonic lines of thought. Platonism and Stoicism, in the second
century, appeared in union with each other: but up to a certain point
they may be distinguished in the common channel in which they flow.
Wherever Stoicism prevailed in religious thought and feeling, as for
example, in Marcus Aurelius, religion gains currency as _natural_
religion in the most comprehensive sense of the word. The idea of
revelation or redemption scarcely emerges. To this rationalism, the
objects of knowledge are unvarying, ever the same: even cosmology
attracts interest only in a very small degree. Myth and history are
pageantry and masks. Moral ideas (virtues and duties) dominate even the
religious sphere, which in its final basis has no independent authority.
The interest in psychology and apologetic is very pronounced. On the
other hand, the emphasis, which, in principle, is put on the contrast of
spirit and matter, God and the world, had for results: inability to rest
in the actual realities of the cosmos, efforts to unriddle the history
of the universe backwards and forwards, recognition of this process as
the essential task of theoretic philosophy, and a deep, yearning
conviction that the course of the world needs assistance. Here were
given the conditions for the ideas of revelation, redemption, etc., and
the restless search for powers from whom help might come, received here
also a scientific justification. The rationalistic apologetic interests
thereby fell into the background: contemplation and historical
description predominated.[134]

The stages in the ecclesiastical history of dogma, from the middle of
the first to the middle of the fifth century, correspond to the stages
in the history of the ancient religion during the same period. The
Apologists, Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus; the Alexandrians;
Methodius, and the Cappadocians; Dionysius, the Areopagite, have their
parallels in Seneca, Marcus Aurelius; Plutarch, Epictetus, Numenius;
Plotinus, Porphyry; Iamblichus and Proclus.

But it is not only Greek philosophy that comes into question for the
history of Christian dogma. The whole of Greek culture must be taken
into account. In his posthumous work, Hatch has shewn in a masterly way
how that is to be done. He describes the Grammar, the Rhetoric, the
learned Profession, the Schools, the Exegesis, the Homilies, etc., of
the Greeks, and everywhere shews how they passed over into the Church,
thus exhibiting the Philosophy, the Ethic, the speculative Theology, the
Mysteries, etc., of the Greeks, as the main factors in the process of
forming the ecclesiastical mode of thought.

But, besides the Greek, there is no mistaking the special influence of
Romish ideas and customs upon the Christian Church. The following points
specially claim attention: (1) The conception of the contents of the
Gospel and its application as "salus legitima," with the results which
followed from the naturalising of this idea. (2) The conception of the
word of Revelation, the Bible, etc., as "lex." (3) The idea of tradition
in its relation to the Romish idea. (4) The Episcopal constitution of
the Church, including the idea of succession, of the Primateship and
universal Episcopate, in their dependence on Romish ideas and
institutions (the Ecclesiastical organisation in its dependence on the
Roman Empire). (5) The separation of the idea of the "sacrament" from
that of the "mystery", and the development of the forensic discipline of
penance. The investigation has to proceed in a historical line,
described by the following series of chapters: Rome and Tertullian; Rome
and Cyprian; Rome, Optatus and Augustine; Rome and the Popes of the
fifth century. We have, to shew how, by the power of her constitution
and the earnestness and consistency of her policy, Rome a second time,
step by step, conquered the world, but this time the Christian

Greek philosophy exercised the greatest influence not only on the
Christian mode of thought, but also through that, on the institutions of
the Church. The Church never indeed became a philosophic school: but yet
in her was realised in a peculiar way, that which the Stoics and the
Cynics had aimed at. The Stoic (Cynic) Philosopher also belonged to the
factors from which the Christian Priests or Bishops were formed. That
the old bearers of the Spirit--Apostles, Prophets, Teachers--have been
changed into a class of professional moralists and preachers, who bridle
the people by counsel and reproof [Greek: nouthetein kai elenchein],
that this class considers itself and desires to be considered as a
mediating Kingly Divine class, that its representatives became "Lords"
and let themselves be called "Lords", all this was prefigured in the
Stoic wise man and in the Cynic Missionary. But so far as these several
"Kings and Lords" are united in the idea and reality of the Church and
are subject to it, the Platonic idea of the republic goes beyond the
Stoic and Cynic ideals, and subordinates them to it. But this Platonic
ideal has again obtained its political realisation in the Church through
the very concrete laws of the Roman Empire, which were more and more
adopted, or taken possession of. Consequently, in the completed Church
we find again the philosophic schools and the Roman Empire.

_Literature._--Besides the older works of Tzschirner, Döllinger,
Burckhardt, Preller, see Friedländer, Darstellungen aus der Sittengesch.
Roms. in der Zeit von August bis zum Ausgang der Antonine, 3 Bd. Aufl.
Boissier, La Religion Romaine d'Auguste aux Antonins, 2 Bd. 1874.
Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire before 170. London, 1893.
Réville, La Religion à Rome sous les Sévères, 1886. Schiller, Geschichte
der Röm. Kaiserzeit, 1883. Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, 3 Bde.
1878. Foucart, Les Associations Relig. chez les Grecs, 1873. Liebeman,
Z. Gesch. u. Organisation d. Röm. Vereinswesen, 1890. K.J. Neumann, Der
Röm. Staat und die allg. Kirche, Bd. I. 1890. Leopold Schmidt, Die Ethik
der alten Griechen, 2 Bd. 1882. Heinrici, Die Christengemeinde Korinth's
und die religiösen Genossenschaften der Griechen, in der Ztschr. f.
wissensch. Theol. 1876-77. Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and
Usages upon the Christian Church. Buechner, De neocoria, 1888.
Hirschfeld, Z. Gesch. d. röm. Kaisercultus. The Histories of Philosophy
by Zeller, Erdmann, Ueberweg, Strümpell, Windelband, etc. Heinze, Die
Lehre vom Logos in der Griech. Philosophie, 1872. By same Author, Der
Eudämonismus in der Griech. Philosophie, 1883. Hirzel, Untersuchungen zu
Cicero's philos. Schriften, 3 Thle. 1877-1883. These investigations are
of special value for the history of dogma, because they set forth with
the greatest accuracy and care, the later developments of the great
Greek philosophic schools, especially on Roman soil. We must refer
specially to the discussions on the influence of the Roman on the Greek
Philosophy. Volkmann, Die Rhetorik der Griechen und Römer, 1872.


Perhaps the most important fact for the following development of the
history of Dogma, the way for which had already been prepared in the
Apostolic age, is the twofold conception of the aim of Christ's
appearing, or of the religious blessing of salvation. The two
conceptions were indeed as yet mutually dependent on each other, and
were twined together in the closest way, just as they are presented in
the teaching of Jesus himself; but they began even at this early period
to be differentiated. Salvation, that is to say, was conceived, on the
one hand, as sharing in the glorious kingdom of Christ soon to appear,
and everything else was regarded as preparatory to this sure prospect;
on the other hand, however, attention was turned to the conditions and
to the provisions of God wrought by Christ, which first made men capable
of attaining that portion, that is, of becoming sure of it. Forgiveness
of sin, righteousness, faith, knowledge, etc., are the things which come
into consideration here, and these blessings themselves, so far as they
have as their sure result life in the kingdom of Christ, or more
accurately eternal life, may be regarded as salvation. It is manifest
that these two conceptions need not be exclusive. The first regards the
final effect as the goal and all else as a preparation, the other
regards the preparation, the facts already accomplished by Christ and
the inner transformation of men as the main thing, and all else as the
natural and necessary result. Paul, above all, as may be seen especially
from the arguments in the epistle to the Romans, unquestionably favoured
the latter conception and gave it vigorous expression. The peculiar
conflicts with which he saw himself confronted, and, above all, the
great controversy about the relation of the Gospel and the new
communities to Judaism, necessarily concentrated the attention on
questions as to the arrangements on which the community of those
sanctified in Christ should rest, and the conditions of admission to
this community. But the centre of gravity of Christian faith might also
for the moment be removed from the hope of Christ's second advent, and
would then necessarily be found in the first advent, in virtue of which
salvation was already prepared for man, and man for salvation (Rom.
III.-VIII.). The dual development of the conception of Christianity
which followed from this, rules the whole history of the Gospel to the
present day. The eschatological view is certainly very severely
repressed, but it always breaks out here and there, and still guards the
spiritual from the secularisation which threatens it. But the
possibility of uniting the two conceptions in complete harmony with each
other, and on the other hand, of expressing them antithetically, has
been the very circumstance that has complicated in an extraordinary
degree the progress of the development of the history of dogma. From
this follows the antithesis, that from that conception which somehow
recognises salvation itself in a present spiritual possession, eternal
life in the sense of immortality may be postulated as final result,
though not a glorious kingdom of Christ on earth; while, conversely, the
eschatological view must logically depreciate every blessing which can
be possessed in the present life.

It is now evident that the theology, and, further, the Hellenising, of
Christianity, could arise and has arisen in connection, not with the
eschatological, but only with the other conception. Just because the
matters here in question were present spiritual blessings, and because,
from the nature of the case, the ideas of forgiveness of sin,
righteousness, knowledge, etc., were not so definitely outlined in the
early tradition, as the hopes of the future, conceptions entirely new
and very different, could, as it were, be secretly naturalised. The
spiritual view left room especially for the great contrast of a
religious and a moralistic conception, as well as for a frame of mind
which was like the eschatological in so far as, according to it, faith
and knowledge were to be only preparatory blessings in contrast with the
peculiar blessing of immortality, which of course was contained in them.
In this frame of mind the illusion might easily arise that this hope of
immortality was the very kernel of those hopes of the future for which
old concrete forms of expression were only a temporary shell. But it
might further be assumed that contempt for the transitory and finite as
such, was identical with contempt for the kingdom of the world which the
returning Christ would destroy.

The history of dogma has to shew how the old eschatological view was
gradually repressed and transformed in the Gentile Christian
communities, and how there was finally developed and carried out a
spiritual conception in which a strict moralism counterbalanced a
luxurious mysticism, and wherein the results of Greek practical
philosophy could find a place. But we must here refer to the fact, which
is already taught by the development in the Apostolic age, that
Christian dogmatic did not spring from the eschatological, but from the
spiritual mode of thought. The former had nothing but sure hopes and the
guarantee of these hopes by the Spirit, by the words of prophecy and by
the apocalyptic writings. One does not think, he lives and dreams, in
the eschatological mode of thought; and such a life was vigorous and
powerful till beyond the middle of the second century. There can be no
external authorities here; for one has at every moment the highest
authority in living operation in the Spirit. On the other hand, not only
does the ecclesiastical christology essentially spring from the
spiritual way of thinking, but very specially also the system of
dogmatic guarantees. The co-ordination of [Greek: logos theou, didachê
kuriou, kêrygma tôn dôdeka apostolôn] [word of God, teaching of the
Lord, preaching of the twelve Apostles], which lay at the basis of all
Gentile Christian speculation almost from the very beginning, and which
was soon directed against the enthusiasts, originated in a conception
which regarded as the essential thing in Christianity, the sure
knowledge which is the condition of immortality. If, however, in the
following sections of this historical presentation, the pervading and
continuous opposition of the two conceptions is not everywhere clearly
and definitely brought into prominence, that is due to the conviction
that the historian has no right to place the factors and impelling ideas
of a development in a clearer light than they appear in the development
itself. He must respect the obscurities and complications as they come
in his way. A clear discernment of the difference of the two conceptions
was very seldom attained to in ecclesiastical antiquity, because they
did not look beyond their points of contact, and because certain
articles of the eschatological conception could never be suppressed or
remodelled in the Church. Goethe (Dichtung und Wahrheit, II. 8,) has
seen this very clearly. "The Christian religion wavers between its own
historic positive element and a pure Deism, which, based on morality, in
its turn offers itself as the foundation of morality. The difference of
character and mode of thought shew themselves here in infinite
gradations, especially as another main distinction cooperates with them,
since the question arises, what share the reason, and what the feelings,
can and should have in such convictions." See, also, what immediately

2. The origin of a series of the most important Christian customs and
ideas is involved in an obscurity which in all probability will never be
cleared up. Though one part of those ideas may be pointed out in the
epistles of Paul, yet the question must frequently remain unanswered,
whether he found them in existence or formed them independently, and
accordingly the other question, whether they are exclusively indebted to
the activity of Paul for their spread and naturalisation in Christendom.
What was the original conception of baptism? Did Paul develop
independently his own conception? What significance had it in the
following period? When and where did baptism in the name of the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit arise, and how did it make its way in Christendom?
In what way were views about the saving value of Christ's death
developed alongside of Paul's system? When and how did belief in the
birth of Jesus from a Virgin gain acceptance in Christendom? Who first
distinguished Christendom, as [Greek: ekklêsia tou theou], from Judaism,
and how did the concept [Greek: ekklêsia] become current? How old is the
triad: Apostles, Prophets and Teachers? When were Baptism and the Lord's
Supper grouped together? How old are our first three Gospels? To all
these questions and many more of equal importance there is no sure
answer. But the greatest problem is presented by Christology, not indeed
in its particular features doctrinally expressed, these almost
everywhere may be explained historically, but in its deepest roots as it
was preached by Paul as the principle of a new life (2 Cor. V. 17), and
as it was to many besides him the expression of a personal union with
the exalted Christ (Rev. II. 3). But this problem exists only for the
historian who considers things only from the outside, or seeks for
objective proofs. Behind and in the Gospel stands the Person of Jesus
Christ who mastered men's hearts, and constrained them to yield
themselves to him as his own, and in whom they found their God. Theology
attempted to describe in very uncertain and feeble outline what the mind
and heart had grasped. Yet it testifies of a new life which, like all
higher life, was kindled by a Person, and could only be maintained by
connection with that Person. "I can do all things through Christ who
strengtheneth me." "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." These
convictions are not dogmas and have no history, and they can only be
propagated in the manner described by Paul, Gal. I. 15, 16.

3. It was of the utmost importance for the legitimising of the later
development of Christianity as a system of doctrine, that early
Christianity had an Apostle who was a theologian, and that his Epistles
were received into the canon. That the doctrine about Christ has become
the main article in Christianity is not of course the result of Paul's
preaching, but is based on the confession that Jesus is the Christ. The
theology of Paul was not even the most prominent ruling factor in the
transformation of the Gospel to the Catholic doctrine of faith, although
an earnest study of the Pauline Epistles by the earliest Gentile
Christian theologians, the Gnostics, and their later opponents, is
unmistakable. But the decisive importance of this theology lies in the
fact that, as a rule, it formed the boundary and the foundation--just as
the words of the Lord himself--for those who in the following period
endeavoured to ascertain original Christianity, because the Epistles
attesting it stood in the canon of the New Testament. Now, as this
theology comprised both speculative and apologetic elements, as it can
be thought of as a system, as it contained a theory of history and a
definite conception of the Old Testament, finally, as it was composed of
objective and subjective ethical considerations and included the
realistic elements of a national religion (wrath of God, sacrifice,
reconciliation, Kingdom of glory), as well as profound psychological
perceptions and the highest appreciation of spiritual blessings, the
Catholic doctrine of faith as it was formed in the course of time,
seemed, at least in its leading features, to be related to it, nay,
demanded by it. For the ascertaining of the deep-lying distinctions,
above all for the perception that the question in the two cases is about
elements quite differently conditioned, that even the method is
different, in short, that the Pauline Gospel is not identical with the
original Gospel and much less with any later doctrine of faith, there is
required such historical judgment and such honesty of purpose not to be
led astray in the investigation by the canon of the New Testament,[136]
that no change in the prevailing ideas can be hoped for for long years
to come. Besides, critical theology has made it difficult, to gain an
insight into the great difference that lies between the Pauline and the
Catholic theology, by the one-sided prominence it has hitherto given to
the antagonism between Paulinism and Judaistic Christianity. In contrast
with this view the remark of Havet, though also very one-sided, is
instructive, "Quand on vient de relire Paul, on ne peut méconnaître le
caractère élevé de son oeuvre. Je dirai en un mot, qu'il a agrandi dans
une proportion extraordinaire l'attrait que le judaïsme exerçait sur le
monde ancien" (Le Christianisme, T. IV. p. 216). That, however, was only
very gradually the case and within narrow limits. The deepest and most
important writings of the New Testament are incontestably those in which
Judaism is understood as religion, but spiritually overcome and
subordinated to the Gospel as a new religion,--the Pauline Epistles, the
Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Gospel and Epistle of John. There is set
forth in these writings a new and exalted world of religious feelings,
views and judgments, into which the Christians of succeeding centuries
got only meagre glimpses. Strictly speaking, the opinion that the New
Testament in its whole extent comprehends a unique literature is not
tenable; but it is correct to say that between its most important
constituent parts, and the literature of the period immediately
following there is a great gulf fixed.

But Paulinism especially has had an immeasurable and blessed influence
on the whole course of the history of dogma, an influence it could not
have had, if the Pauline Epistles had not been received into the canon.
Paulinism is a religious and Christocentric doctrine, more inward and
more powerful than any other which has ever appeared in the Church. It
stands in the clearest opposition to all merely natural moralism, all
righteousness of works, all religious ceremonialism, all Christianity
without Christ. It has therefore become the conscience of the Church,
until the Catholic Church in Jansenism killed this her conscience. "The
Pauline reactions describe the critical epochs of theology and the
Church."[137] One might write a history of dogma as a history of the
Pauline reactions in the Church, and in doing so would touch on all the
turning points of the history. Marcion after the Apostolic Fathers;
Irenæus, Clement and Origen after the Apologists; Augustine after the
Fathers of the Greek Church;[138] the great Reformers of the middle ages
from Agobard to Wessel in the bosom of the mediæval Church; Luther after
the Scholastics; Jansenism after the council of Trent:--Everywhere it
has been Paul, in these men, who produced the Reformation. Paulinism has
proved to be a ferment in the history of dogma, a basis it has never
been.[139] Just as it had that significance in Paul himself, with
reference to Jewish Christianity, so it has continued to work through
the history of the Church.

[Footnote 46: The Old Testament of itself alone could not have convinced
the Græco-Roman world. But the converse question might perhaps be raised
as to what results the Gospel would have had in that world without its
union with the Old Testament. The Gnostic Schools and the Marcionite
Church are to some extent the answer. But would they ever have arisen
without the presupposition of a Christian community which recognised the
Old Testament?]

[Footnote 47: We here leave out of account learned attempts to expound
Paulinism. Nor do we take any notice of certain truths regarding the
relation of the Old Testament to the New, and regarding the Jewish
religion, stated by the Antignostic church teachers, truths which are
certainly very important, but have not been sufficiently utilised.]

[Footnote 48: There is indeed no single writing of the new Testament
which does not betray the influence of the mode of thought and general
conditions of the culture of the time which resulted from the
Hellenising of the east: even the use of the Greek translation of the
Old Testament attests this fact. Nay, we may go further, and say that
the Gospel itself is historically unintelligible, so long as we compare
it with an exclusive Judaism as yet unaffected by any foreign influence.
But on the other hand, it is just as clear that, specifically, Hellenic
ideas form the presuppositions neither for the Gospel itself, nor for
the most important New Testament writings. It is a question rather as to
a general spiritual atmosphere created by Hellenism, which above all
strengthened the individual element, and with it the idea of completed
personality, in itself living and responsible. On this foundation we
meet with a religious mode of thought in the Gospel and the early
Christian writings, which so far as it is at all dependent on an earlier
mode of thought, is determined by the spirit of the Old Testament
(Psalms and Prophets) and of Judaism. But it is already otherwise with
the earliest Gentile Christian writings. The mode of thought here is so
thoroughly determined by the Hellenic spirit that we seem to have
entered a new world when we pass from the synoptists, Paul and John, to
Clement, Barnabas, Justin or Valentinus. We may therefore say,
especially in the frame-work of the history of dogma, that the Hellenic
element has exercised an influence on the Gospel first on Gentile
Christian soil, and by those who were Greek by birth, if only we reserve
the general spiritual atmosphere above referred to. Even Paul is no
exception; for in spite of the well-founded statements of Weizsäcker
(Apostolic Age, vol. I. Book 11) and Heinrici (Das 2 Sendschreiben an
die Korinthier, 1887, p. 578 ff), as to the Hellenism of Paul, it is
certain that the Apostle's mode of religious thought, in the strict
sense of the word, and therefore also the doctrinal formation peculiar
to him, are but little determined by the Greek spirit. But it is to be
specially noted that as a missionary and an Apologist he made use of
Greek ideas (Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians). He was not afraid
to put the Gospel into Greek modes of thought. To this extent we can
already observe in him the beginning of the development which we can
trace so clearly in the Gentile Church from Clement to Justin, and from
Justin to Irenæus.]

[Footnote 49: The complete universalism of salvation is given in the
Pauline conception of Christianity. But this conception is singular.
Because: (1) the Pauline universalism is based on a criticism of the
Jewish religion as religion, including the Old Testament, which was not
understood and therefore not received by Christendom in general. (2)
Because Paul not only formulated no national anti-Judaism, but always
recognised the prerogative of the people of Israel as a people. (3)
Because his idea of the Gospel, with all his Greek culture, is
independent of Hellenism in its deepest grounds. This peculiarity of the
Pauline Gospel is the reason why little more could pass from it into the
common consciousness of Christendom than the universalism of salvation,
and why the later development of the Church cannot be explained from
Paulinism. Baur, therefore, was quite right when he recognised that we
must exhibit another and more powerful element in order to comprehend
the post-Pauline formations. In the selection of this element, however,
he has made a fundamental mistake, by introducing the narrow national
Jewish Christianity, and he has also given much too great scope to
Paulinism by wrongly conceiving it as Gentile Christian doctrine. One
great difficulty for the historian of the early Church is that he cannot
start from Paulinism, the plainest phenomenon of the Apostolic age, in
seeking to explain the following development, that in fact the premises
for this development are not at all capable of being indicated in the
form of outlines, just because they were too general. But, on the other
hand, the Pauline Theology, this theology of one who had been a
Pharisee, is the strongest proof of the independent and universal power
of the impression made by the Person of Jesus.]

[Footnote 50: In the main writings of the New Testament itself we have a
twofold conception of the Spirit. According to the one he comes upon the
believer fitfully, expresses himself in visible signs, deprives men of
self-consciousness, and puts them beside themselves. According to the
other, the spirit is a constant possession of the Christian, operates in
him by enlightening the conscience and strengthening the character, and
his fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc. (Gal. V.
22). Paul above all taught Christians to value these fruits of the
spirit higher than all the other effects of his working. But he has not
by any means produced a perfectly clear view on this point: for "he
himself spoke with more tongues than they all." As yet "Spirit" lay
within "Spirit." One felt in the spirit of sonship a completely new gift
coming from God and recreating life, a miracle of God; further, this
spirit also produced sudden exclamations--"Abba, Father;" and thus
shewed himself in a way patent to the senses. For that very reason, the
spirit of ecstasy and of miracle appeared identical with the spirit of
sonship. (See Gunkel, Die Wirkungen d. h. Geistes nach der populären
Anschauung der Apostol. Zeit. Göttingen, 1888).]

[Footnote 51: It may even be said here that the [Greek: athanasia (zôê
aiônios)], on the one hand, and the [Greek: ekklêsia], on the other,
have already appeared in place of the [Greek: Basileia tou theou], and
that the idea of Messiah has been finally replaced by that of the Divine
Teacher and of God manifest in the flesh.]

[Footnote 52: It is one of the merits of Bruno Bauer (Christus und die
Cäsaren, 1877), that he has appreciated the real significance of the
Greek element in the Gentile Christianity which became the Catholic
Church and doctrine, and that he has appreciated the influence of the
Judaism of the Diaspora as a preparation for this Gentile Christianity.
But these valuable contributions have unfortunately been deprived of
their convincing power by a baseless criticism of the early Christian
literature, to which Christ and Paul have fallen a sacrifice. Somewhat
more cautious are the investigations of Havet in the fourth volume of Le
Christianisme, 1884; Le Nouveau Testament. He has won great merit by the
correct interpretation of the elements of Gentile Christianity
developing themselves to catholicism, but his literary criticism is
often unfortunately entirely abstract, reminding one of the criticism of
Voltaire, and therefore his statements in detail are, as a rule,
arbitrary and untenable. There is a school in Holland at the present
time closely related to Bruno Bauer and Havet, which attempts to banish
early Christianity from the world. Christ and Paul are creations of the
second century: the history of Christianity begins with the passage of
the first century into the second--a peculiar phenomenon on the soil of
Hellenised Judaism in quest of a Messiah. This Judaism created Jesus
Christ just as the later Greek religious philosophers created their
Saviour (Apollonius, for example). The Marcionite Church produced Paul
and the growing Catholic Church completed him. See the numerous
treatises of Loman, the Verisimilia of Pierson and Naber (1886), and the
anonymous English work "Antiqua Mater" (1887), also the works of Steck
(see especially his Untersuchung über den Galaterbrief). Against these
works see P.V. Schmidt's, "Der Galaterbrief," 1892. It requires a deep
knowledge of the problems which the first two centuries of the Christian
Church present, in order not to thrust aside as simply absurd these
attempts, which as yet have failed to deal with the subject in a
connected way. They have their strength in the difficulties and riddles
which are contained in the history of the formation of the Catholic
tradition in the second century. But the single circumstance that we are
asked to regard as a forgery such a document as the first Epistle of
Paul to the Corinthians, appears to me, of itself, to be an unanswerable
argument against the new hypotheses.]

[Footnote 53: It would be a fruitful task, though as yet it has not been
undertaken, to examine how long visions, dreams and apocalypses, on the
one hand, and the claim of speaking in the power and name of the Holy
Spirit, on the other, played a _rôle_ in the early Church; and further
to shew how they nearly died out among the laity, but continued to live
among the clergy and the monks, and how, even among the laity, there
were again and again sporadic outbreaks of them. The material which the
first three centuries present is very great. Only a few may be mentioned
here: Ignat. ad. Rom. VII. 2; ad. Philad. VII; ad Eph. XX. 1, etc.; 1
Clem. LXIII. 2; Martyr. Polyc.; Acta Perpet. et Felic; Tertull de animo
XLVII.; "Major pæne vis hominum e visionibus deum discunt." Orig. c.
Celsum. i. 46: [Greek: polloi hosperei akontes proselêluthasi
christianismô, pneumatos tinos trepsantos ... kai phantasiôsantos autous
hupar ê onar] (even Arnobius was ostensibly led to Christianity by a
dream). Cyprian makes the most extensive use of dreams, visions, etc.,
in his letters, see for example Ep. XI. 3-5; XVI. 4 ("præter nocturnas
visiones per dies quoque impletur apud nos spiritu sancto puerorum
innocens aetas, quæ in ecstasi videt," etc.); XXXIX. 1; LXVI 10 (very
interesting: "quamquam sciam somnia ridicula et visiones ineptas
quibusdam videri, sed utique illis, qui malunt contra sacerdotes credere
quam sacerdoti, sed nihil mirum, quando de Joseph fratres sui dixerunt:
ecce somniator ille," etc.). One who took part in the baptismal
controversy in the great Synod of Carthage writes, "secundum motum animi
mei et spiritus sancti." The enthusiastic element was always evoked with
special power in times of persecution, as the genuine African
martyrdoms, from the second half of the third century, specially shew.
Cf. especially the passio Jacobi, Mariani, etc. But where the enthusiasm
was not convenient it was called, as in the case of the Montanists,
dæmonic. Even Constantine operated with dreams and visions of Christ
(see his Vita).]

[Footnote 54: As to the first, the recently discovered "Teaching of the
Apostles" in its first moral part, shews a great affinity with the moral
philosophy which was set up by Alexandrian Jews and put before the Greek
world as that which had been revealed: see Massebieau, L'enseignement
des XII. Apôtres, Paris, 1884, and in the Journal "Le Temoignage," 7
Febr. 1885. Usener, in his Preface to the Ges. Abhandl. Jacob Bernays',
which he edited, 1885, p.v.f., has, independently of Massebieau, pointed
out the relationship of chapters 1-5 of the "Teaching of the Apostles"
with the Phocylidean poem (see Bernays' above work, p. 192 ff.). Later
Taylor, "The teaching of the twelve Apostles", 1886, threw out the
conjecture that the Didache had a Jewish foundation, and I reached the
same conclusion independently of him: see my Treatise: Die Apostellehre
und die judischen beiden Wege, 1886.]

[Footnote 55: It is well known that Judaism at the time of Christ
embraced a great many different tendencies. Beside Pharisaic Judaism as
the stem proper there was a motley mass of formations which resulted
from the contact of Judaism with foreign ideas, customs, and
institutions (even with Babylonian and Persian), and which attained
importance for the development of the predominant church as well as for
the formation of the so-called gnostic Christian communions. Hellenic
elements found their way even into Pharisaic theology. Orthodox Judaism
itself has marks which shew that no spiritual movement was able to
escape the influence which proceeded from the victory of the Greeks over
the east. Besides who would venture to exhibit definitely the origin and
causes of that spiritualising of religions and that limitation of the
moral standard of which we can find so many traces in the Alexandrian
age? The nations who inhabited the eastern shore of the Mediterranean
sea had from the fourth century B.C. a common history and therefore had
similar convictions. Who can decide what each of them acquired by its
own exertions and what it obtained through interchange of opinions? But
in proportion as we see this we must be on our guard against jumbling
the phenomena together and effacing them. There is little meaning in
calling a thing Hellenic, as that really formed an element in all the
phenomena of the age. All our great political and ecclesiastical parties
to-day are dependent on the ideas of 1789 and again on romantic ideas.
It is just as easy to verify this as it is difficult to determine the
measure and the manner of the influence for each group. And yet the
understanding of it turns altogether on this point. To call Pharisaism
or the Gospel or the old Jewish Christianity Hellenic is not paradox but

[Footnote 56: The Acts of the Apostles is in this respect a most
instructive book. It as well as the Gospel of Luke is a document of
Gentile Christianity developing itself to Catholicism; Cf. Overbeck in
his Commentar z Apostelgesch. But the comprehensive judgment of Havet in
the work above mentioned (IV. p. 395) is correct: "L hellenisme tient
assez peu de place dans le N.T. du moins l hellenisme voulu et reflechi.
Ces livres sont ecrits en grec et leurs auteurs vivaient en pays grec,
il y a donc eu chez eux infiltration des idees et des sentiments
helleniques, quelquefois même l imagination hellenique y a pénetre comme
dans le 3 evangile et dans les Actes. Dans son ensemble le N.T. garde le
caractere d un livre hebraique. Le christianisme ne commence avoir une
litterature et des doctrines vraiment helleniques qu au milieu du second
siecle. Mais il y avait un judaisme celui d Alexandrie qui avait faite
alliance avec l hellenisme avant meme qu il y eut des chretiens."]

[Footnote 57: The right of distinguishing (b) and (c) may be contested.
But if we surrender this we therewith surrender the right to distinguish
kernel and husk in the original proclamation of the Gospel. The dangers
to which the attempt is exposed should not frighten us from it for it
has its justification in the fact that the Gospel is neither doctrine
nor law.]

[Footnote 58: Therewith are, doubtless, heavenly blessings bestowed in
the present. Historical investigation has, notwithstanding, every reason
for closely examining whether, and in how far, we may speak of a present
for the Kingdom of God, in the sense of Jesus. But even if the question
had to be answered in the negative, it would make little or no
difference for the correct understanding of Jesus' preaching. The Gospel
viewed in its kernel is independent of this question. It deals with the
inner constitution and mood of the soul.]

[Footnote 59: The question whether, and in what degree, a man of himself
can earn righteousness before God is one of those theoretic questions to
which Jesus gave no answer. He fixed his attention on all the gradations
of the moral and religious conduct of his countrymen as they were
immediately presented to him, and found some prepared for entrance into
the kingdom of God, not by a technical mode of outward preparation, but
by hungering and thirsting for it, and at the same time unselfishly
serving their brethren. Humility and love unfeigned were always the
decisive marks of these prepared ones. They are to be satisfied with
righteousness before God, that is, are to receive the blessed feeling
that God is gracious to them as sinners, and accepts them as his
children. Jesus, however, allows the popular distinction of sinners and
righteous to remain, but exhibits its perverseness by calling sinners to
him and by describing the opposition of the righteous to his Gospel as a
mark of their godlessness and hardness of heart.]

[Footnote 60: The blessings of the kingdom were frequently represented
by Jesus as a reward for work done. But this popular view is again
broken through by reference to the fact that all reward is the gift of
God's free grace.]

[Footnote 61: Some Critics--most recently Havet, Le Christianisme et ses
origines, 1884. T. IV. p. 15 ff.--have called in question the fact that
Jesus called himself Messiah. But this article of the Evangelic
tradition seems to me to stand the test of the most minute
investigation. But, in the case of Jesus, the consciousness of being the
Messiah undoubtedly rested on the certainty of being the Son of God,
therefore of knowing the Father and being constrained to proclaim that

[Footnote 62: We can gather with certainty from the Gospels that Jesus
did not enter on his work with the announcement: Believe in me for I am
the Messiah. On the contrary, he connected his work with the baptising
movement of John, but carried that movement further, and thereby made
the Baptist his forerunner (Mark I. 15: [Greek: peplêrôtai ho kairos kai
êngiken hê basileia tou theou, metanoeite kai pisteuete en tôi
euaggeliôi]). He was in no hurry to urge anything that went beyond that
message, but gradually prepared, and cautiously required of his
followers an advance beyond it. The goal to which he led them was to
believe in him as Messiah without putting the usual political
construction on the Messianic ideal.]

[Footnote 63: Even "Son of Man" probably means Messiah: we do not know
whether Jesus had any special reason for favouring this designation
which springs from Dan. VII. The objection to interpreting the word as
Messiah really resolves itself into this, that the disciples (according
to the Gospels) did not at once recognise him as Messiah. But that is
explained by the contrast of his own peculiar idea of Messiah with the
popular idea. The confession of him as Messiah was the keystone of their
confidence in him, inasmuch as by that confession they separated
themselves from old ideas.]

[Footnote 64: The distinction between the Father and the Son stands out
just as plainly in the sayings of Jesus, as the complete obedient
subordination of the Son to the Father. Even according to John's Gospel,
Jesus finishes the work which the Father has given him, and is obedient
in everything even unto death. He declares Matt. XIX. 17: [Greek: heis
estin ho agathos]. Special notice should be given to Mark XIII. 32,
(Matt. XXIV. 36). Behind the only manifested life of Jesus, later
speculation has put a life in which he wrought, not in subordination and
obedience, but in like independence and dignity with God. That goes
beyond the utterances of Jesus even in the fourth Gospel. But it is no
advance beyond these, especially in the religious view and speech of the
time, when it is announced that the relation of the Father to the Son
lies beyond time. It is not even improbable that the sayings in the
fourth Gospel referring to this, have a basis in the preaching of Jesus

[Footnote 65: Paul knew that the designation of God as the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, was the new Evangelic confession. Origen was the
first among the Fathers (though before him Marcion) to recognise that
the decisive advance beyond the Old Testament stage of religion, was
given in the preaching of God as Father; see the exposition of the
Lord's prayer in his treatise _De oratione_. No doubt the Old Testament,
and the later Judaism knew the designation of God as Father; but it
applied it to the Jewish nation, it did not attach the evangelic meaning
to the name, and it did not allow itself in any way to be guided in its
religion by this idea.]

[Footnote 66: See the farewell discourses in John, the fundamental ideas
of which are, in my opinion, genuine, that is, proceed from Jesus.]

[Footnote 67: The historian cannot regard a miracle as a sure given
historical event: for in doing so he destroys the mode of consideration
on which all historical investigation rests. Every individual miracle
remains historically quite doubtful, and a summation of things doubtful
never leads to certainty. But should the historian, notwithstanding, be
convinced that Jesus Christ did extraordinary things, in the strict
sense miraculous things, then, from the unique impression he has
obtained of this person, he infers the possession by him of supernatural
power. This conclusion itself belongs to the province of religious
faith: though there has seldom been a strong faith which would not have
drawn it. Moreover, the healing miracles of Jesus are the only ones that
come into consideration in a strict historical examination. These
certainly cannot be eliminated from the historical accounts without
utterly destroying them. But how unfit are they of themselves, after
1800 years, to secure any special importance to him to whom they are
attributed, unless that importance was already established apart from
them. That he could do with himself what he would, that he created a new
thing without overturning the old, that he won men to himself by
announcing the Father, that he inspired without fanaticism, set up a
kingdom without politics, set men free from the world without
asceticism, was a teacher without theology, at a time of fanaticism and
politics, asceticism and theology, is the great miracle of his person,
and that he who preached the Sermon on the Mount declared himself in
respect of his life and death, to be the Redeemer and Judge of the
world, is the offence and foolishness which mock all reason.]

[Footnote 68: See Mark X. 45.--That Jesus at the celebration of the
first Lord's supper described his death as a sacrifice which he should
offer for the forgiveness of sin, is clear from the account of Paul.
From that account it appears to be certain, that Jesus gave expression
to the idea of the necessity and saving significance of his death for
the forgiveness of sins, in a symbolical ordinance (based on the
conclusion of the covenant, Exod. XXIV. 3 ff., perhaps, as Paul
presupposes, on the Passover), in order that His disciples by repeating
it in accordance with the will of Jesus, might be the more deeply
impressed by it. Certain observations based on John VI., on the supper
prayer in the Didache, nay, even on the report of Mark, and supported at
the same time by features of the earliest practice in which it had the
character of a real meal, and the earliest theory of the supper, which
viewed it as a communication of eternal life and an anticipation of the
future existence, have for years made me doubt very much whether the
Pauline account and the Pauline conception of it, were really either the
oldest, or the universal and therefore only one. I have been
strengthened in this suspicion by the profound and remarkable
investigation of Spitta (z. Gesch. u. Litt. d. Urchristenthums: Die
urchristl. Traditionen ü. den Urspr. u. Sinnd. Abendmahls, 1893). He
sees in the supper as not instituted, but celebrated by Jesus, the
festival of the Messianic meal, the anticipated triumph over death, the
expression of the perfection of the Messianic work, the symbolic
representation of the filling of believers with the powers of the
Messianic kingdom and life. The reference to the Passover and the death
of Christ was attached to it later, though it is true very soon. How
much is thereby explained that was hitherto obscure--critical,
historical, and dogmatico-historical questions--cannot at all be stated
briefly. And yet I hesitate to give a full recognition to Spitta's
exposition: the words 1 Cor. XI. 23: [Greek: egô gar parelabon apo tou
kuríou, ho kaì paredoka humin k.t.l.] are too strong for me. Cf.
besides, Weizsäcker's investigation in "The Apostolic Age." Lobstein, La
doctrine de la s. cène. 1889. A. Harnack i.d. Texten u. Unters. VII. 2.
p. 139 ff. Schürer, Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1891, p. 29 ff. Jülicher Abhandl. f
Weizsäcker, 1892, p. 215 ff.]

[Footnote 69: With regard to the eschatology, no one can say in detail
what proceeds from Jesus, and what from the disciples. What has been
said in the text does not claim to be certain, but only probable. The
most important, and at the same time the most certain point, is that
Jesus made the definitive fate of the individual depend on faith,
humility and love. There are no passages in the Gospel which conflict
with the impression that Jesus reserved day and hour to God, and wrought
in faith and patience as long as for him it was day.]

[Footnote 70: He did not impose on every one, or desire from every one
even the outward following of himself: see Mark V. 18-19. The "imitation
of Jesus", in the strict sense of the word, did not play any noteworthy
rôle either in the Apostolic or in the old Catholic period.]

[Footnote 71: It is asserted by well-informed investigators, and may be
inferred from the Gospels (Mark XII. 32-34; Luke X. 27, 28), perhaps
also from the Jewish original of the Didache, that some representatives
of Pharisaism, beside the pedantic treatment of the law, attempted to
concentrate it on the fundamental moral commandments. Consequently, in
Palestinian and Alexandrian Judaism at the time of Christ, in virtue of
the prophetic word and the Thora, influenced also, perhaps, by the Greek
spirit which everywhere gave the stimulus to inwardness, the path was
indicated in which the future development of religion was to follow.
Jesus entered fully into the view of the law thus attempted, which
comprehended it as a whole and traced it back to the disposition. But he
freed it from the contradiction that adhered to it, (because, in spite
of and alongside the tendency to a deeper perception, men still
persisted in deducing righteousness from a punctilious observance of
numerous particular commandments, because in so doing they became
self-satisfied, that is, irreligious, and because in belonging to
Abraham they thought they had a claim of right on God). For all that, so
far as a historical understanding of the activity of Jesus is at all
possible, it is to be obtained from the soil of Pharisaism, as the
Pharisees were those who cherished and developed the Messianic
expectations, and because, along with their care for the Thora, they
sought also to preserve, in their own way, the prophetic inheritance. If
everything does not deceive us, there were already contained in the
Pharisaic theology of the age, speculations which were fitted to modify
considerably the narrow view of history, and to prepare for
universalism. The very men who tithed mint, anise and cummin, who kept
their cups and dishes outwardly clean, who, hedging round the Thora,
attempted to hedge round the people, spoke also of the sum total of the
law. They made room in their theology for new ideas which are partly to
be described as advances, and on the other hand, they have already
pondered the question even in relation to the law, whether submission to
its main contents was not sufficient for being numbered among the people
of the covenant (see Renan: _Paul_). In particular the whole sacrificial
system, which Jesus also essentially ignored, was therewith thrust into
the background. Baldensperger (Selbstbewusstsein Jesu. p. 46) justly
says. "There lie before us definite marks that the certainty of the
nearness of God in the Temple (from the time of the Maccabees) begins to
waver, and the efficacy of the temple institutions to be called in
question. Its recent desecration by the Romans, appears to the author of
the Psalms of Solomon (II. 2) as a kind of Divine requital for the sons
of Israel, themselves having been guilty of so grossly profaning the
sacrificial gifts. Enoch calls the shewbread of the second Temple
polluted and unclean. There had crept in among the pious a feeling of
the insufficiency of their worship, and from this side the Essenic
schism will certainly represent only the open outbreak of a disease
which had already begun to gnaw secretly at the religious life of the
nation": see here the excellent explanations of the origin of Essenism
in Lucius (Essenism 75 ff. 109 ff.) The spread of Judaism in the world,
the secularization and apostacy of the priestly caste, the desecration
of the Temple, the building of the Temple at Leontopolis, the perception
brought about by the spiritualising of religion in the empire of
Alexander the Great, that no blood of beast can be a means of
reconciling God--all these circumstances must have been absolutely
dangerous and fatal, both to the local centralisation of worship, and to
the statutory sacrificial system. The proclamation of Jesus (and of
Stephen) as to the overthrow of the Temple, is therefore no absolutely
new thing, nor is the fact that Judaism fell back upon the law and the
Messianic hope, a mere result of the destruction of the Temple. This
change was rather prepared by the inner development. Whatever point in
the preaching of Jesus we may fix on, we shall find, that--apart from
the writings of the Prophets and the Psalms, which originated in the
Greek Maccabean periods--parallels can be found only in Pharisaism, but
at the same time that the sharpest contrasts must issue from it.
Talmudic Judaism is not in every respect the genuine continuance of
Pharisaic Judaism, but a product of the decay which attests that the
rejection of Jesus by the spiritual leaders of the people had deprived
the nation, and even the Virtuosi of Religion of their best part (see
for this the expositions of Kuenen "Judaismus und Christenthum", in his
(Hibbert) lectures on national religions and world religions). The ever
recurring attempts to deduce the origin of Christianity from Hellenism,
or even from the Roman Greek culture, are there also rightly, briefly
and tersely rejected. Also the hypotheses, which either entirely
eliminate the person of Jesus or make him an Essene, or subordinate him
to the person of Paul, may be regarded as definitively settled. Those
who think they can ascertain the origin of Christian religion from the
origin of Christian Theology will, indeed, always think of Hellenism:
Paul will eclipse the person of Jesus with those who believe that a
religion for the world must be born with a universalistic doctrine.
Finally, Essenism will continue in authority with those who see in the
position of indifference which Jesus took to the Temple worship, the
main thing, and who, besides, create for themselves an "Essenism of
their own finding." Hellenism, and also Essenism, can of course indicate
to the historian some of the conditions by which the appearance of Jesus
was prepared and rendered possible; but they explain only the
possibility, not the reality of the appearance. But this with its
historically not deducible power is the decisive thing. If some one has
recently said that "the historical speciality of the person of Jesus" is
not the main thing in Christianity, he has thereby betrayed that he does
not know how a religion that is worthy of the name is founded,
propagated, and maintained. For the latest attempt to put the Gospel in
a historical connection with Buddhism (Seydel, Das Ev von Jesus in
seinen Verhältnissen zur Buddha-Sage, 1882: likewise, Die Buddha-Legende
und das Leben Jesu, 1884), see, Oldenburg, Theol. Lit-Z'g 1882. Col. 415
f. 1884. 185 f. However much necessarily remains obscure to us in the
ministry of Jesus when we seek to place it in a historical
connection,--what is known is sufficient to confirm the judgment that
his preaching developed a germ in the religion of Israel (see the
Psalms) which was finally guarded and in many respects developed by the
Pharisees, but which languished and died under their guardianship. The
power of development which Jesus imported to it was not a power which he
himself had to borrow from without; but doctrine and speculation were as
far from him as ecstasy and visions. On the other hand, we must remember
we do not know the history of Jesus up to his public entrance on his
ministry, and that therefore we do not know whether in his native
province he had any connection with Greeks.]

[Footnote 72: See the brilliant investigations of Weizsäcker (Apost.
Zeitalter. p. 36) as to the earliest significant names,
self-designations, of the disciples. The twelve were in the first place
"[Greek: mathêtai]," (disciples and family-circle of Jesus, see also the
significance of James and the brethren of Jesus), then witnesses of the
resurrection and therefore Apostles; very soon there appeared beside
them, even in Jerusalem, Prophets and Teachers.]

[Footnote 73: The Christian preaching is very pregnantly described in
Acts XXVIII. 31. as [Greek: kêrussein tên Basileian tou Theou, kai
didaskein ta peri tou Iêsou Christou].]

[Footnote 74: On the spirit of God (of Christ) see note, p. 50. The
earliest Christians felt the influence of the spirit as one coming on
them from without.]

[Footnote 75: It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted
baptism, for Matth. XXVIII. 19, is not a saying of the Lord. The reasons
for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition
that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving
commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is
foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority in the Apostolic
age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On
the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles
into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly
probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also
baptised. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was
continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and
his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John
IV. 2, Jesus himself baptised not, but his disciples under his
superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace
back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it _ex
necessitate salutis_, though it is credible that tradition is correct
here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was [Greek: eis aphesin hamartiôn],
and indeed [Greek: eis to onoma christou] (1 Cor. I. 13; Acts XIX. 5).
We cannot make out when the formula, [Greek: eis to onoma tou patros,
kai tou huiou, kai tou hagiou pneumatos], emerged. The formula [Greek:
eis to onoma] expresses that the person baptised is put into a relation
of dependence on him into whose name he is baptised. Paul has given
baptism a relation to the death of Christ, or justly inferred it from
the [Greek: eis aphesin hamartiôn]. The descent of the spirit on the
baptised very soon ceased to be regarded as the necessary and immediate
result of baptism; yet Paul, and probably his contemporaries also,
considered the grace of baptism and the communication of the spirit to
be inseparably united. See Scholten. Die Taufformel. 1885. Holtzman, Die
Taufe im N.T. Ztsch. f. wiss. Theol. 1879.]

[Footnote 76: The designation of the Christian community as [Greek:
ekklêsia] originates perhaps with Paul, though that is by no means
certain; see as to this "name of honour," Sohm, Kirchenrecht, Vol. I. p.
16 ff. The words of the Lord, Matt. XVI. 18; XVIII. 17, belong to a
later period. According to Gal. I. 22, [Greek: tais en christo] is added
to the [Greek: tais ekklêsiais tês Ioudaias]. The independence of every
individual Christian in, and before God is strongly insisted on in the
Epistles of Paul, and in the Epistle of Peter, and in the Christian
portions of Revelations: [Greek: epoiêsen hêmas basileian, hiereis tôi
theo kai patri autou].]

[Footnote 77: Jesus is regarded with adoring reverence as Messiah and
Lord, that is, these are regarded as the names which his Father has
given him. Christians are those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ (1 Cor. I. 2): every creature must bow before him and confess him
as Lord (Phil. II. 9): see Deissmann on the N.T. formula "in Christo

[Footnote 78: The confession of Father, Son and Spirit is therefore the
unfolding of the belief that Jesus is the Christ: but there was no
intention of expressing by this confession the essential equality of the
three persons, or even the similar relation of the Christian to them. On
the contrary, the Father, in it, is regarded as the God and Father over
all, the Son as revealer, redeemer and Lord, the Spirit as a possession,
principle of the new supernatural life and of holiness. From the
Epistles of Paul we perceive that the Formula Father, Son and Spirit
could not yet have been customary, especially in Baptism. But it was
approaching (2 Cor. XIII. 13).]

[Footnote 79: The Christological utterances which are found in the New
Testament writings, so far as they explain and paraphrase the confession
of Jesus as the Christ and the Lord, may be almost entirely deduced from
one or other of the four points mentioned in the text. But we must at
the same time insist that these declarations were meant to be
explanations of the confession that "Jesus is the Lord," which of course
included the recognition that Jesus by the resurrection became a
heavenly being (see Weizsäcker in above mentioned work, p. 110) The
solemn protestation of Paul, 1 Cor. XII. 3 [Greek: dio gnôrizo humin
hoti oudeis en pneumati theou lalôn legei ANATHEMA IÊSOUS, kai oudeis
dunatai eipein KURIOS IÊSOUS ei mê en pneumati hagiô] (cf. Rom. X. 9),
shews that he who acknowledged Jesus as the Lord, and accordingly
believed in the resurrection of Jesus, was regarded as a full-born
Christian. It undoubtedly excludes from the Apostolic age the
independent authority of any christological dogma besides that
confession and the worship of Christ connected with it. It is worth
notice, however, that those early Christian men who recognised
Christianity as the vanquishing of the Old Testament religion (Paul, the
Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, John) all held that Christ was a
being who had come down from heaven.]

[Footnote 80: Compare in their fundamental features the common
declarations about the saving value of the death of Christ in Paul, in
the Johannine writings, in 1st Peter, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and
in the Christian portions of the book of Revelation: [Greek: tô agapônti
hêmas kai lusanti hêmas ek tôn hamartiôn en tôi haimati autou, autô hê
doxa]: Compare the reference to Isaiah LIII. and the Passover lamb: the
utterances about the "lamb" generally in the early writings: see
Westcott, The Epistles of John, p. 34 f.: The idea of the blood of
Christ in the New Testament.]

[Footnote 81: This of course could not take place otherwise than by
reflecting on its significance. But a dislocation was already completed
as soon as it was isolated and separated from the whole of Jesus, or
even from his future activity. Reflection on the meaning or the causes
of particular facts might easily, in virtue of that isolation, issue in
entirely new conceptions.]

[Footnote 82: See the discriminating statements of Weizsäcker,
"Apostolic Age", p. 1 f., especially as to the significance of Peter as
first witness of the resurrection. Cf. 1 Cor. XV. 5 with Luke XXIV. 34:
also the fragment of the "Gospel of Peter" which unfortunately breaks
off at the point where one expects the appearance of the Lord to Peter.]

[Footnote 83: It is often said that Christianity rests on the belief in
the resurrection of Christ. This may be correct, if it is first declared
who this Jesus Christ is, and what his life signifies. But when it
appears as a naked report to which one must above all submit, and when
in addition, as often happens, it is supplemented by the assertion that
the resurrection of Christ is the most certain fact in the history of
the world, one does not know whether he should marvel more at its
thoughtlessness or its unbelief. We do not need to have faith in a fact,
and that which requires religious belief, that is, trust in God, can
never be a fact which would hold good apart from that belief. The
historical question and the question of faith must therefore be clearly
distinguished here. The following points are historically certain: (1)
That none of Christ's opponents saw him after his death. (2) That the
disciples were convinced that they had seen him soon after his death.
(3) That the succession and number of those appearances can no longer be
ascertained with certainty. (4) That the disciples and Paul were
conscious of having seen Christ not in the crucified earthly body, but
in heavenly glory--even the later incredible accounts of the appearances
of Christ, which strongly emphasise the reality of the body, speak at
the same time of such a body as can pass through closed doors, which
certainly is not an earthly body. (5) That Paul does not compare the
manifestation of Christ given to him with any of his later visions, but,
on the other hand, describes it in the words (Gal. I. 15): [Greek: hote
eudokêsen ho theos apokalupsai ton huion autou en emoi], and yet puts it
on a level with the appearances which the earlier Apostles had seen.
But, as even the empty grave on the third day can by no means be
regarded as a certain historical fact, because it appears united in the
accounts with manifest legendary features, and further because it is
directly excluded by the way in which Paul has portrayed the
resurrection 1 Cor. XV. it follows: (1) That every conception which
represents the resurrection of Christ as a simple reanimation of his
mortal body, is far from the original conception, and (2) that the
question generally as to whether Jesus has risen, can have no existence
for any one who looks at it apart from the contents and worth of the
Person of Jesus. For the mere fact that friends and adherents of Jesus
were convinced that they had seen him, especially when they themselves
explain that he appeared to them in heavenly glory, gives, to those who
are in earnest about fixing historical facts not the least cause for the
assumption that Jesus did not continue in the grave.

History is therefore at first unable to bring any succour to faith here.
However firm may have been the faith of the disciples in the appearances
of Jesus in their midst, and it was firm, to believe in appearances
which others have had is a frivolity which is always revenged by rising
doubts. But history is still of service to faith; it limits its scope
and therewith shews the province to which it belongs. The question which
history leaves to faith is this: Was Jesus Christ swallowed up of death,
or did he pass through suffering and the cross to glory, that is, to
life, power and honour. The disciples would have been convinced of that
in the sense in which Jesus meant them to understand it, though they had
not seen him in glory (a consciousness of this is found in Luke XXIV. 26
[Greek: ouchi tauta edei pathein ton christon kai eiselthein eis tên
doxan autou], and Joh. XX. 29 [Greek: hoti eôrakas me pepisteukas,
makarioi hoi mê idontes kai pisteusantas]) and we might probably add,
that no appearances of the Lord could permanently have convinced them of
his life, if they had not possessed in their hearts the impression of
his Person. Faith in the eternal life of Christ and in our own eternal
life is not the condition of becoming a disciple of Jesus, but is the
final confession of discipleship. Faith has by no means to do with the
knowledge of the form in which Jesus lives, but only with the conviction
that he is the living Lord. The determination of the form was
immediately dependent on the most varied general ideas of the future
life, resurrection, restoration, and glorification of the body, which
were current at the time. The idea of the rising again of the body of
Jesus appeared comparatively early, because it was this hope which
animated wide circles of pious people for their own future. Faith in
Jesus, the living Lord, in spite of the death on the cross, cannot be
generated by proofs of reason or authority, but only to-day in the same
way as Paul has confessed of himself [Greek: hote eudokêsen ho theos
apokalupssai ton huion autou en emoi]. The conviction of having seen the
Lord was no doubt of the greatest importance for the disciples and made
them Evangelists, but what they saw cannot at first help us. It can only
then obtain significance for us when we have gained that confidence in
the Lord which Peter has expressed in Mark VIII. 29. The Christian even
to-day confesses with Paul [Greek: ei en tê zôê tautê en christô
êlpikotes esmen monon, eleeisteroi pantôn anthropôn esmen]. He believes
in a future life for himself with God because he believes that Christ
lives. That is the peculiarity and paradox of Christian faith. But these
are not convictions that can be common and matter of course to a deep
feeling and earnest thinking being standing amid nature and death, but
can only be possessed by those who live with their whole hearts and
minds in God, and even they need the prayer, I believe, help thou mine
unbelief. To act as if faith in eternal life and in the living Christ
was the simplest thing in the world, or a dogma to which one has just to
submit, is irreligious. The whole question about the resurrection of
Christ, its mode and its significance, has thereby been so thoroughly
confused in later Christendom, that we are in the habit of considering
eternal life as certain, even apart from Christ. That, at any rate, is
not Christian. It is Christian to pray that God would give the Spirit to
make us strong to overcome the feelings and the doubts of nature and
create belief in an eternal life through the experience of dying to
live. Where this faith obtained in this way exists, it has always been
supported by the conviction that the Man lives who brought life and
immortality to light. To hold fast this faith is the goal of life, for
only what we consciously strive for is in this matter our own. What we
think we possess is very soon lost.]

[Footnote 84: Weizsäcker (Apostolic Age, p. 73) says very justly: "The
rising of Judaism against believers put them on their own feet. They saw
themselves for the first time persecuted in the name of the law, and
therewith for the first time it must have become clear to them, that in
reality the law was no longer the same to them as to the others. Their
hope is the coming kingdom of heaven, in which it is not the law, but
their Master from whom they expect salvation. Everything connected with
salvation is in him. But we should not investigate the conditions of the
faith of that early period, as though the question had been laid before
the Apostles whether they could have part in the Kingdom of heaven
without circumcision, or whether it could be obtained by faith in Jesus,
with or without the observance of the law. Such questions had no
existence for them either practically or as questions of the school. But
though they were Jews, and the law which even their Master had not
abolished, was for them a matter of course, that did not exclude a
change of inner position towards it, through faith in their Master and
hope of the Kingdom. There is an inner freedom which can grow up
alongside of all the constraints of birth, custom, prejudice, and piety.
But this only comes into consciousness, when a demand is made on it
which wounds it, or when it is assailed on account of an inference drawn
not by its own consciousness, but only by its opponents."]

[Footnote 85: Only one of these four tendencies--the Pauline, with the
Epistle to the Hebrews and the Johannine writings which are related to
Paulinism--has seen in the Gospel the establishment of a new religion.
The rest identified it with Judaism made perfect, or with the Old
Testament religion rightly understood. But Paul, in connecting
Christianity with the promise given to Abraham, passing thus beyond the
law, that is, beyond the actual Old Testament religion, has not only
given it a historical foundation, but also claimed for the Father of the
Jewish nation a unique significance for Christianity. As to the
tendencies named 1 and 2, see Book I. chap. 6.]

[Footnote 86: It is clear from Gal. II. 11 ff. that Peter then and for
long before occupied in principle the stand-point of Paul: see the
judicious remarks of Weizsäcker in the book mentioned above, p. 75 f.]

[Footnote 87: These four tendencies were represented in the Apostolic
age by those who had been born and trained in Judaism, and they were
collectively transplanted into Greek territory. But we cannot be sure
that the third of the above tendencies found intelligent and independent
representatives in this domain, as there is no certain evidence of it.
Only one who had really been subject to it, and therefore understood it,
could venture on a criticism of the Old Testament religion. Still, it
may be noted that the majority of non-Jewish converts in the Apostolic
age, had probably come to know the Old Testament beforehand--not always
the Jewish religion, (see Havet, Le Christianisme, T. IV. p. 120: "Je ne
sais s'il y est entré, du vivant de Paul, un seul païen: je veux dire un
homme, qui ne connût pas déjà, avant d'y entrer, le judaïsme et la
Bible"). These indications will shew how mistaken and misleading it is
to express the different tendencies in the Apostolic age and the period
closely following by the designations "Jewish Christianity-Gentile
Christianity." Short watchwords are so little appropriate here that one
might even with some justice reverse the usual conception, and maintain
that what is usually understood by Gentile Christianity (criticism of
the Old Testament religion) was possible only within Judaism, while that
which is frequently called Jewish Christianity is rather a conception
which must have readily suggested itself to born Gentiles superficially
acquainted with the Old Testament.]

[Footnote 88: The first edition of this volume could not appeal to
Weizsäcker's work, Das Apostolische Zeitalter der Christlichen Kirche,
1886, (second edition translated in this series). The author is now in
the happy position of being able to refer the readers of his imperfect
sketch to this excellent presentation, the strength of which lies in the
delineation of Paulinism in its relation to the early Church, and to
early Christian theology (p. 79-172). The truth of Weizsäcker's
expositions of the inner relations (p. 85 f.), is but little affected by
his assumptions concerning the outer relations, which I cannot
everywhere regard as just. The work of Weizsäcker as a whole is, in my
opinion, the most important work on Church history we have received
since Ritschl's "Entstehung der alt-katholischen Kirche." (2 Aufl.

[Footnote 89: Kabisch, _Die Eschatologie des Paulus_, 1893, has shewn
how strongly the eschatology of Paul was influenced by the later
Pharisaic Judaism. He has also called attention to the close connection
between Paul's doctrine of sin and the fall, and that of the Rabbis.]

[Footnote 90: Some of the Church Fathers (see Socr. H. E. III. 16) have
attributed to Paul an accurate knowledge of Greek literature and
philosophy: but that cannot be proved. The references of Heinrici (2
Kor.-Brief. p. 537-604) are worthy of our best thanks; but no certain
judgment can be formed about the measure of the Apostles' Greek culture,
so long as we do not know how great was the extent of spiritual ideas
which were already precipitated in the speech of the time.]

[Footnote 91: The epistle to the Hebrews and the first epistle of Peter,
as well as the Pastoral epistles belong to the Pauline circle; they are
of the greatest value because they shew that certain fundamental
features of Pauline theology took effect afterwards in an original way,
or received independent parallels, and because they prove that the
cosmic Christology of Paul made the greatest impression and was
continued. In Christology, the epistle to the Ephesians in particular,
leads directly from Paul to the pneumatic Christology of the
post-apostolic period. Its non-genuineness is by no means certain to

[Footnote 92: In the Ztschr. für Theol und Kirche, II. p. 189 ff. I have
discussed the relation of the prologue of the fourth Gospel to the whole
work and endeavoured to prove the following: "The prologue of the Gospel
is not the key to its comprehension. It begins with a well-known great
object, the Logos, re-adapts and transforms it--implicitly opposing
false Christologies--in order to substitute for it Jesus Christ, the
[Greek: monogenês theos], or in order to unveil it as this Jesus Christ.
The idea of the Logos is allowed to fall from the moment that this takes
place." The author continues to narrate of Jesus only with the view of
establishing the belief that he is the Messiah, the son of God. This
faith has for its main article the recognition that Jesus is descended
from God and from heaven; but the author is far from endeavouring to
work out this recognition from cosmological, philosophical
considerations. According to the Evangelist, Jesus proves himself to be
the Messiah, the Son of God, in virtue of his self-testimony, and
because he has brought a full knowledge of God and of life--purely
supernatural divine blessings (Cf. besides, and partly in opposition,
Holtzmann, i.d. Ztschr. f. wissensch. Theol. 1893). The author's
peculiar world of theological ideas, is not, however, so entirely
isolated in the early Christian literature as appears on the first
impression. If, as is probable, the Ignatian Epistles are independent of
the Gospel of John, further, the Supper prayer in the Didache, finally,
certain mystic theological phrases in the Epistle of Barnabas, in the
second epistle of Clement, and in Hermas, a complex of Theologoumena may
be put together, which reaches back to the primitive period of the
Church, and may be conceived as the general ground for the theology of
John. This complex has on its side a close connection with the final
development of the Jewish Hagiographic literature under Greek

[Footnote 93: The Jewish religion, especially since the (relative) close
of the canon, had become more and more a religion of the Book.]

[Footnote 94: Examples of both in the New Testament are numerous. See,
above all, Matt. I. 11. Even the belief that Jesus was born of a Virgin
sprang from Isaiah VII. 14. It cannot, however, be proved to be in the
writings of Paul (the two genealogies in Matt. and Luke directly exclude
it: according to Dillmann, Jahrb. f. protest. Theol. p. 192 ff. Luke I.
34, 35 would be the addition of a redactor); but it must have arisen
very early, as the Gentile Christians of the second century would seem
to have unanimously confessed it (see the Romish Symbol, Ignatius,
Aristides, Justin, etc.) For the rest, it was long before theologians
recognised in the Virgin birth of Jesus more than fulfilment of a
prophecy, viz., a fact of salvation. The conjecture of Usener, that the
idea of the birth from a Virgin is a heathen myth which was received by
the Christians, contradicts the entire earliest development of Christian
tradition which is free from heathen myths, so far as these had not
already been received by wide circles of Jews, (above all, certain
Babylonian and Persian Myths), which in the case of that idea is not
demonstrable. Besides, it is in point of method not permissible to stray
so far when we have near at hand such a complete explanation as Isaiah
VII. 14. Those who suppose that the reality of the Virgin birth must be
held fast, must assume that a misunderstood prophecy has been here
fulfilled (on the true meaning of the passage see Dillmann (Jesajas, 5
Aufl. p. 69): "of the birth by a Virgin (i.e., of one who at the birth
was still a Virgin.) the Hebrew text says nothing ... Immanuel as
beginning and representative of the new generation, from which one
should finally take possession of the king's throne"). The application
of an unhistorical local method in the exposition of the Old
Testament--Haggada and Rabbinic allegorism--may be found in many
passages of Paul (see, e.g., Gal. III. 16, 19; IV. 22-31; 1 Cor. IX. 9;
X. 4; XI. 10; Rom. IV. etc.).]

[Footnote 95: The proof of this may be found in the quotations in early
Christian writings from the Apocalypses of Enoch, Ezra, Eldad and Modad,
the assumption of Moses and other Jewish Apocalypses unknown to us. They
were regarded as Divine revelations beside the Old Testament; see the
proofs of their frequent and long continued use in Schürer's "History of
the Jewish people in the time of our Lord." But the Christians in
receiving these Jewish Apocalypses did not leave them intact, but
adapted them with greater or less Christian additions (see Ezra, Enoch,
Ascension of Isaiah). Even the Apocalypse of John is, as Vischer (Texte
u. Unters. 3 altchristl. lit. Gesch. Bd. II. H. 4) has shown, a Jewish
Apocalypse adapted to a Christian meaning. But in this activity, and in
the production of little Apocalyptic prophetic sayings and articles (see
in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and in those of Barnabas and Clement)
the Christian labour here in the earliest period seems to have exhausted
itself. At least we do not know with certainty of any great Apocalyptic
writing of an original kind proceeding from Christian circles. Even the
Apocalypse of Peter which, thanks to the discovery of Bouriant, we now
know better, is not a completely original work as contrasted with the
Jewish Apocalypses.]

[Footnote 96: The Gospel reliance on the Lamb who was slain, very
significantly pervades the Revelation of John, that is, its Christian
parts. Even the Apocalypse of Peter shews Jesus Christ as the comfort of
believers and as the Revealer of the future. In it (v. 3,) Christ says;
"Then will God come to those who believe on me, those who hunger and
thirst and mourn, etc."]

[Footnote 97: These words were written before the Apocalypse of Peter
was discovered. That Apocalypse confirms what is said in the text.
Moreover, its delineation of Paradise and blessedness are not wanting in
poetic charm and power. In its delineation of Hell, which prepares the
way for Dante's Hell, the author is scared by no terror.]

[Footnote 98: These ideas, however, encircled the earliest Christendom
as with a wall of fire, and preserved it from a too early contact with
the world.]

[Footnote 99: An accurate examination of the eschatological sayings of
Jesus in the synoptists shews that much foreign matter is mixed with
them (see Weiffenbach, Der Wiederkunftsgedanke Jesu, 1875). That the
tradition here was very uncertain because influenced by the Jewish
Apocalyptic, is shewn by the one fact that Papias (in Iren. V. 33)
quotes as words of the Lord which had been handed down by the disciples,
a group of sayings which we find in the Apocalypse of Baruch, about the
amazing fruitfulness of the earth during the time of the Messianic

[Footnote 100: We may here call attention to an interesting remark of
Goethe. Among his Apophthegms (no. 537) is the following: "Apocrypha: It
would be important to collect what is historically known about these
books, and to shew that these very Apocryphal writings with which the
communities of the first centuries of our era were flooded, were the
real cause why Christianity at no moment of political or Church history
could stand forth in all her beauty and purity." A historian would not
express himself in this way, but yet there lies at the root of this
remark a true historical insight.]

[Footnote 101: See Schürer, History of the Jewish people. Div. II. vol.
II. p. 160 f., yet the remarks of the Jew Trypho in the dialogue of
Justin shew that the notions of a pre-existent Messiah were by no means
very widely spread in Judaism. (See also Orig. c. Cels. I. 49: "A Jew
would not at all admit that any Prophet had said, the Son of God will
come: they avoided this designation and used instead the saying: the
anointed of God will come"). The Apocalyptists and Rabbis attributed
pre-existence, that is, a heavenly origin to many sacred things and
persons, such as the Patriarchs, Moses, the Tabernacle, the Temple
vessels, the city of Jerusalem. That the true Temple and the real
Jerusalem were with God in heaven and would come down from heaven at the
appointed time, must have been a very wide-spread idea, especially at
the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and even earlier than that
(see Gal. IV. 26; Rev. XXI. 2; Heb. XII. 22). In the Assumption of Moses
(c. 1) Moses says of himself: Dominus invenit me, qui ab initio orbis
terrarum præparatus sum, ut sim arbiter ([Greek: mesitês]) testamenti
illius ([Greek: tês diathêkês autou]). In the Midrasch Bereschith rabba
VIII. 2. we read, "R. Simeon ben Lakisch says, 'The law was in existence
2000 years before the creation of the world.'" In the Jewish treatise
[Greek: Proseuchê Iôsêph], which Origen has several times quoted, Jacob
says of himself (ap. Orig. tom. II. in Joann. C. 25. Opp. IV. 84):
"[Greek: ho gar lalôn pros humas, egô Iakôb kai Isrêl, angelos theou
eimi egô kai pneuma archikon kai Abraam kai Isaak proektisthêsan pro
pantos ergou, egô de Iakob ... egô prôtogonos pantos zôos zôoumenou hupo
theou]." These examples could easily be increased. The Jewish
speculations about Angels and Mediators, which at the time of Christ
grew very luxuriantly among the Scribes and Apocalyptists, and
endangered the purity and vitality of the Old Testament idea of God,
were also very important for the development of Christian dogmatics. But
neither these speculations, nor the notions of heavenly Archetypes, nor
of pre-existence, are to be referred to Hellenic influence. This may
have co-operated here and there, but the rise of these speculations in
Judaism is not to be explained by it; they rather exhibit the Oriental
stamp. But, of course, the stage in the development of the nations had
now been reached, in which the creations of Oriental fancy and Mythology
could be fused with the ideal conceptions of Hellenic philosophy.]

[Footnote 102: The conception of heavenly ideals of precious earthly
things followed from the first naive method of speculation we have
mentioned, that of a pre-existence of persons from the last. If the
world was created for the sake of the people of Israel, and the
Apocalyptists expressly taught that, then it follows, that in the
thought of God Israel was older than the world. The idea of a kind of
pre-existence of the people of Israel follows from this. We can still
see this process of thought very plainly in the shepherd of Hermas, who
expressly declares that the world was created for the sake of the
Church. In consequence of this he maintains that the Church was very
old, and was created before the foundation of the world. See Vis. I. 2.
4; II. 4. 1 [Greek: Diati oun presbutera] (scil.) [Greek: hê ekklêsia:
Hoti, phêsin, pantôn prôte ektisthê dia touto presbutera, kai dia tautên
ho kosmos katêrtisthê]. But in order to estimate aright the bearing of
these speculations, we must observe that, according to them, the
precious things and persons, so far as they are now really manifested,
were never conceived as endowed with a double nature. No hint is given
of such an assumption; the sensible appearance was rather conceived as a
mere wrapping which was necessary only to its becoming visible, or,
conversely, the pre-existence or the archetype was no longer thought of
in presence of the historical appearance of the object. That pneumatic
form of existence was not set forth in accordance with the analogy of
existence verified by sense, but was left in suspense. The idea of
"existence" here could run through all the stages which, according to
the Mythology and Meta-physic of the time, lay between what we now call
"valid," and the most concrete being. He who nowadays undertakes to
justify the notion of pre-existence, will find himself in a very
different situation from these earlier times, as he will no longer be
able to count on shifting conceptions of existence. See Appendix I. at
the end of this Vol. for a fuller discussion of the idea of

[Footnote 103: It must be observed here that Palestinian Judaism,
without any apparent influence from Alexandria, though not independently
of the Greek spirit, had already created a multitude of intermediate
beings between God and the world, avowing thereby that the idea of God
had become stiff and rigid. "Its original aim was simply to help the God
of Judaism in his need." Among these intermediate beings should be
specially mentioned the Memra of God (see also the Shechina and the

[Footnote 104: See Justin Dial. 48. fin: Justin certainly is not
favourably disposed towards those who regard Christ as a "man among
men," but he knows that there are such people.]

[Footnote 105: The miraculous genesis of Christ in the Virgin by the
Holy Spirit and the real pre-existence are of course mutually exclusive.
At a later period, it is true, it became necessary to unite them in

[Footnote 106: There is the less need for treating this more fully here,
as no New Testament Christology has become the direct starting-point of
later doctrinal developments. The Gentile Christians had transmitted to
them, as a unanimous doctrine, the message that Christ is the Lord who
is to be worshipped, and that one must think of him as the Judge of the
living and the dead, that is, [Greek: hôs peri theou]. But it certainly
could not fail to be of importance for the result that already many of
the earliest Christian writers, and therefore even Paul, perceived in
Jesus a spiritual being come down from heaven ([Greek: pneuma]) who was
[Greek: en morphê theou], and whose real act of love consisted in his
very descent.]

[Footnote 107: The creation of the New Testament canon first paved the
way for putting an end, though only in part, to the production of
Evangelic "facts" within the Church. For Hermas (Sim. IX. 16) can relate
that the Apostles also descended to the under world and there preached.
Others report the same of John the Baptist. Origen in his homily on 1
Kings XXVII. says that Moses, Samuel and all the Prophets descended to
Hades and there preached. A series of facts of Evangelic history which
have no parallel in the accounts of our Synoptists, and are certainly
legendary, may be put together from the epistle of Barnabas, Justin, the
second epistle of Clement, Papias, the Gospel to the Hebrews, and the
Gospel to the Egyptians. But the synoptic reports themselves, especially
in the articles for which we have only a solitary witness, shew an
extensive legendary material, and even in the Gospel of John, the free
production of facts cannot be mistaken. Of what a curious nature some of
these were, and that they are by no means to be entirely explained from
the Old Testament, as for example, Justin's account of the ass on which
Christ rode into Jerusalem, having been bound to a vine, is shewn by the
very old fragment in one source of the Apostolic constitutions (Texte u.
Unters II. 5. p. 28 ff.); [Greek: hote êtpsen ho didaskalos ton arton
kai to potêrion kai êulogêsen auta legôn touto esti to sôma mou kai to
haima, ouk epetrepse tautais] (the women) [Greek: sustênai hêmin ...
Martha eipen dia Mariam, hoti eiden autên meidiôsan. Maria eipen ouketi
egelasa]. Narratives such as those of Christ's descent to Hell and
ascent to heaven, which arose comparatively late, though still at the
close of the first century (see Book I. Chap 3) sprang out of short
formulæ containing an antithesis (death and resurrection, first advent
in lowliness, second advent in glory: descensus de coelo, ascensus in
c[oe]lum; ascensus in coelum, descensus ad inferna) which appeared to be
required by Old Testament predictions, and were commended by their
naturalness. Just as it is still, in the same way naively inferred: if
Christ rose bodily he must also have ascended bodily (visibly?) into

[Footnote 108: The Sibylline Oracles, composed by Jews, from 160 B.C. to
189 A.D. are specially instructive here: See the Editions of Friedlieb.
1852; Alexandre, 1869; Rzach, 1891. Delaunay, Moines et Sibylles dans
l'antiquité judéo-grecque, 1874. Schürer in the work mentioned above.
The writings of Josephus also yield rich booty, especially his apology
for Judaism in the two books against Apion. But it must be noted that
there were Jews, enlightened by Hellenism, who were still very zealous
in their observance of the law. "Philo urges most earnestly to the
observance of the law in opposition to that party which drew the extreme
inferences of the allegoristic method, and put aside the outer legality
as something not essential for the spiritual life. Philo thinks that by
an exact observance of these ceremonies on their material side, one will
also come to know better their symbolical meaning" (Siegfried, Philo, p.

[Footnote 109: Direct evidence is certainly almost entirely wanting
here, but the indirect speaks all the more emphatically: see § 3,
Supplements 1, 2.]

[Footnote 110: The Jewish propaganda, though by no means effaced, gave
way very distinctly to the Christian from the middle of the second
century. But from this time we find few more traces of an enlightened
Hellenistic Judaism. Moreover, the Messianic expectation also seems to
have somewhat given way to occupation with the law. But the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as other Jewish terms certainly played
a great rôle in Gentile and Gnostic magical formulæ of the third
century, as may be seen, e.g., from many passages in Origen c. Celsum.]

[Footnote 111: The prerogative of Israel was for all that clung to;
Israel remains the chosen people.]

[Footnote 112: The brilliant investigations of Bernays, however, have
shewn how many-sided that philosophy of religion was. The proofs of
asceticism in this Hellenistic Judaism are especially of great interest
for the history of dogma (See Theophrastus' treatise on piety). In the
eighth Epistle of Heraclitus, composed by a Hellenistic Jew in the first
century, it is said (Bernays, p. 182). "So long a time before, O
Hermodorus, saw thee that Sibyl, and even then thou wert" [Greek: eide
se pro posoutou aiônos, Ermodôre hê Sibulla ekeinê, kai tote êstha].
Even here then the notion is expressed that foreknowledge and
predestination invest the known and the determined with a kind of
existence. Of great importance is the fact that even before Philo, the
idea of the wisdom of God creating the world and passing over to men had
been hypostatised in Alexandrian Judaism (see Sirach, Baruch, the wisdom
of Solomon, Enoch, nay, even the book of Proverbs). But so long as the
deutero-canonical Old Testament, and also the Alexandrine and
Apocalyptic literature continue in the sad condition in which they are
at present, we can form no certain judgment and draw no decided
conclusions on the subject. When will the scholar appear who will at
length throw light on these writings, and therewith on the section of
inner Jewish history most interesting to the Christian theologian? As
yet we have only a most thankworthy preliminary study in Schürer's great
work, and beside it particular or dilettante attempts which hardly shew
what the problem really is, far less solve it. What disclosures even the
fourth book of the Maccabees alone yields for the connection of the Old
Testament with Hellenism!]

[Footnote 113: "So far as the sensible world is a work of the Logos, it
is called [Greek: neôteros huios] (quod deus immut. 6. I.277), or
according to Prov. VIII. 22, an offspring of God and wisdom: [Greek: hê
de paradexamêne to tou theou sperma telesphorois ôdisi ton monon kai
agapêton aisthêton huion apekuêse ton de ton kosmon] (de ebriet 8 I. 361
f). So far as the Logos is High Priest his relation to the world is
symbolically expressed by the garment of the High Priest, to which
exegesis the play on the word [Greek: kosmos], as meaning both ornament
and world, lent its aid." This speculation (see Siegfried. Philo, 235)
is of special importance; for it shews how closely the ideas [Greek:
cosmos] and [Greek: logos] were connected.]

[Footnote 114: Of all the Greek Philosophers of the second century,
Plutarch of Chäronea, died c. 125 A.D., and Numenius of Apamea, second
half of the second century, approach nearest to Philo; but the latter of
the two was undoubtedly familiar with Jewish philosophy, specially with
Philo, and probably also with Christian writings.]

[Footnote 115: As to the way in which Philo (see also 4 Maccab. V. 24)
learned to connect the Stoic ethics with the authority of the Torah, as
was also done by the Palestinian Midrash, and represented the Torah as
the foundation of the world, and therewith as the law of nature: see
Siegfried, Philo, p. 156.]

[Footnote 116: Philo by his exhortations to seek the blessed life, has
by no means broken with the intellectualism of the Greek philosophy, he
has only gone beyond it. The way of knowledge and speculation is to him
also the way of religion and morality. But his formal principle is
supernatural and leads to a supernatural knowledge which finally passes
over into sight.]

[Footnote 117: But everything was now ready for this synthesis so that
it could be, and immediately was, completed by Christian philosophers.]

[Footnote 118: We cannot discover Philo's influence in the writings of
Paul. But here again we must remember that the scripture learning of
Palestinian teachers developed speculations which appear closely related
to the Alexandrian, and partly are so, but yet cannot be deduced from
them. The element common to them must, for the present at least, be
deduced from the harmony of conditions in which the different nations of
the East were at that time placed, a harmony which we cannot exactly

[Footnote 119: The conception of God's relation to the world as given in
the fourth Gospel is not Philonic. The Logos doctrine there is therefore
essentially not that of Philo (against Kuenen and others. See p. 93).]

[Footnote 120: Siegfried (Philo. p. 160-197) has presented in detail
Philo's allegorical interpretation of scripture, his hermeneutic
principles and their application. Without an exact knowledge of these
principles we cannot understand the Scripture expositions of the
Fathers, and therefore also cannot do them justice.]

[Footnote 121: See Siegfried, Philo. p. 176. Yet, as a rule, the method
of isolating and adapting passages of scripture, and the method of
unlimited combination were sufficient.]

[Footnote 122: Numerous examples of this may be found in the epistle of
Barnabas (see c. 4-9), and in the dialogue of Justin with Trypho (here
they are objects of controversy, see cc. 71-73, 120), but also in many
other Christian writings, (e.g., Clem. ad. Cor. VIII. 3; XVII. 6; XXIII.
3, 4; XXVI. 5; XLVI. 2; 2 Clem. XIII. 2). These Christian additions were
long retained in the Latin Bible, (see also Lactantius and other Latins:
Pseudo-Cyprian de aleat. 2 etc.), the most celebrated of them is the
addition "a ligno" to "dominus regnavit" in Psalm XCVI., see Credner,
Beiträge II. The treatment of the Old Testament in the epistle of
Barnabas is specially instructive, and exhibits the greatest formal
agreement with that of Philo. We may close here with the words in which
Siegfried sums up his judgment on Philo. "No Jewish writer has
contributed so much as Philo to the breaking up of particularism, and
the dissolution of Judaism. The history of his people, though he
believed in it literally, was in its main points a didactic allegoric
poem for enabling him to inculcate the doctrine that man attains the
vision of God by mortification of the flesh. The law was regarded by him
as the best guide to this, but it had lost its exclusive value, as it
was admitted to be possible to reach the goal without it, and it had,
besides, its aim outside itself. The God of Philo was no longer the old
living God of Israel, but an imaginary being who, to obtain power over
the world, needed a Logos by whom the palladium of Israel, the unity of
God, was taken a prey. So Israel lost everything which had hitherto
characterised her."]

[Footnote 123: Proofs in Friedländer, Sittengeschichte, vol. 3.]

[Footnote 124: See the chapter on belief in immortality in Friedländer.
Sittengesch. Roms. Bde. 3. Among the numerous mysteries known to us,
that of Mythras deserves special consideration. From the middle of the
second century the Church Fathers saw in it, above all, the caricature
of the Church. The worship of Mithras had its redeemer, its mediator,
hierarchy, sacrifice, baptism and sacred meal. The ideas of expiation,
immortality, and the Redeemer God, were very vividly present in this
cult, which of course, in later times, borrowed much from Christianity:
see the accounts of Marquardt, Réville, and the Essay of Sayous, Le
Taurobole in the Rev. de l'Hist. des Religions, 1887, where the earliest
literature is also utilised. The worship of Mithras in the third century
became the most powerful rival of Christianity. In connection with this
should be specially noted the cult of Æsculapius, the God who helps the
body and the soul; see my essay "Medicinisches aus der ältesten
Kirchengeschichte," 1892. p. 93 ff.]

[Footnote 125: Hence the wide prevalence of the cult of Æsculapius.]

[Footnote 126: Dominus in certain circumstances means more than deus;
see Tertull. Apol. It signifies more than Soter: see Irenæus I. 1. 3:
[Greek: ton sôtêra legousin, oude gar kurion onomazein auton
thelousin--kurios] and [Greek: despotês] are almost synonymous. See
Philo. Quis. rer. div. heres. 6: [Greek: sunônuma tauta einai legetai].]

[Footnote 127: We must give special attention here to the variability
and elasticity of the concept [Greek: theos], and indeed among the
cultured as well as the uncultured (Orig. prolegg. in Psalm, in Pitra,
Anal. T. II. p. 437, according to a Stoic source; [Greek: kat' allon de
tropon legesthai theon zôion athanaton logikon opoudaion, hôste pasan
asteian psychên theon huparchein, kan periechêtai, allôs de legesthai
theon to kath' auto on zôion athanaton hôs ta en anthrôpois
periechomenas psychas mê huparchein theous]). They still regarded the
Gods as passionless, blessed men living for ever. The idea therefore of
a [Greek: theopoiêsis], and on the other hand, the idea of the
appearance of the Gods in human form presented no difficulty (see Acts
XIV. 11; XXVIII. 6). But philosophic speculation--the Platonic, as well
as in yet greater measure the Stoic, and in the greatest measure of all
the Cynic--had led to the recognition of something divine in man's
spirit ([Greek: pneuma, nous]). Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations
frequently speaks of the God who dwells in us. Clement of Alexandria
(Strom. VI. 14. 113) says: [Greek: houtôs dunamin labousa kuriakên hê
psychê meletai einai theos, kakon men ouden allo plên agnoias einai
nomizousa.] In Bernays' Heraclitian Epistles, pp. 37 f. 135 f., will be
found a valuable exposition of the Stoic (Heraclitian) thesis and its
history, that men are Gods. See Norden, Beiträge zur Gesch. d. griech.
Philos. Jahrb. f. klass Philol. XIX. Suppl. Bd. p. 373 ff., about the
Cynic Philosopher who, contemplating the life and activity of man
([Greek: kataskopos]), becomes its [Greek: episkopos], and further
[Greek: kurios, angelos theou, theos en anthrôpois]. The passages which
he adduces are of importance for the history of dogma in a twofold
respect. (1) They present remarkable parallels to Christology (one even
finds the designations, [Greek: kurios, angelos, kataskopos, episkopos,
theos] associated with the philosophers as with Christ, e.g., in Justin;
nay, the Cynics and Neoplatonics speak of [Greek: episkopoi daimones]);
cf. also the remarkable narrative in Laertius VI. 102, concerning the
Cynic Menedemus; [Greek: houtos, katha phêsin Hippobotos, eis tosos ton
terateias êlasen, hôste Erinuos analabon schêma perieiei, legôn
episkopos aphichthai ex Haidou tôn hamartomenon, hopôs palin katiôn
tasta apangelloi tois ekei, daimosin.] (2) They also explain how the
ecclesiastical [Greek: episkopoi] came to be so highly prized, inasmuch
as these also were from a very early period regarded as mediators
between God and man, and considered as [Greek: en anthrôpois theoi].
There were not a few who in the first and second centuries, appeared
with the claim to be regarded as a God or an organ inspired and chosen
by God (Simon Magus [cf. the manner of his treatment in Hippol. Philos.
VI. 8: see also Clem. Hom. II. 27], Apollonius of Tyana (?), see further
Tacitus Hist. II. 51: "Mariccus.... iamque adsertor Galliarum et deus,
nomen id sibi indiderat"; here belongs also the gradually developing
worship of the Emperor: "dominus ac deus noster." cf. Augustus,
Inscription of the year 25; 24 B.C. in Egypt [where the Ptolemies were
for long described as Gods] [Greek: Huper Kaisaros Autokrattoros theou]
(Zeitschrift fur Aegypt. Sprache. XXXI Bd. p. 3). Domitian: [Greek:
theos Adrianos], Kaibel Inscr. Gr. 829. 1053. [Greek: theos Seouêros
Eusebês]. 1061--the Antinouscult with its prophets. See also Josephus on
Herod Agrippa. Antiq. XIX 8. 2. (Euseb. H. E. II. 10). The flatterers
said to him, [Greek: theon prosagoreuontes; ei kai mechri nun hôs
anthrôpon ephobêthêmen, alla tounteuthen kreittona se thnêtês tês
phuseôs homologoumen.] Herod himself, § 7, says to his friends in his
sickness: [Greek: ho theos humin egô êdê katastrephein epitattomai ton
bion ... ho klêtheis athanatos huph' hêmôn êdê thanein apagomai]). On
the other hand, we must mention the worship of the founder in some
philosophic schools, especially among the Epicureans Epictetus says
(Moral. 15), Diogenes and Heraclitus and those like them are justly
called Gods. Very instructive in this connection are the reproaches of
the heathen against the Christians, and of Christian partisans against
one another with regard to the almost divine veneration of their
teachers. Lucian (Peregr. II) reproaches the Christians in Syria for
having regarded Peregrinus as a God and a new Socrates. The heathen in
Smyrna, after the burning of Polycarp, feared that the Christians would
begin to pay him divine honours (Euseb. H. E. IV. 15 41). Cæcilius in
Minucius Felix speaks of divine honours being paid by Christians to
priests (Octav. IX. 10). The Antimontanist (Euseb. H. E. V. 18. 6)
asserts that the Montanists worship their prophet and Alexander the
Confessor as divine. The opponents of the Roman Adoptians (Euseb. H. E.
V. 28) reproach them with praying to Galen. There are many passages in
which the Gnostics are reproached with paying Divine honours to the
heads of their schools, and for many Gnostic schools (the Carpocratians,
for example) the reproach seems to have been just. All this is extremely
instructive. The genius, the hero, the founder of a new school who
promises to shew the certain way to the _vita beata_, the emperor, the
philosopher (numerous Stoic passages might be noted here) finally, man,
in so far as he is inhabited by [Greek: nous]--could all somehow be
considered as [Greek: theoi], so elastic was this concept. All these
instances of Apotheosis in no way endangered the Monotheism which had
been developed from the mixture of Gods and from philosophy; for the one
supreme Godhead can unfold his inexhaustible essence in a variety of
existences, which, while his creatures as to their origin, are parts of
his essence as to their contents. This Monotheism does not yet exactly
disclaim its Polytheistic origin. The Christian, Hermas, says to his
Mistress (Vis. I 1. 7) [Greek: ou pantote se hôs thean hegêsamên], and
the author of the Epistle of Diognetus writes (X. 6), [Greek: tauta tois
epideomenois chorêgôn], (i.e., the rich man) [Greek: theos ginetai tôn
lambanontôn]. That the concept [Greek: theos] was again used only of one
God, was due to the fact that one now started from the definition "qui
vitam æternam habet," and again from the definition "qui est super omnia
et originem nescit." From the latter followed the absolute unity of God,
from the former a plurality of Gods. Both could be so harmonised (see
Tertull. adv. Prax. and Novat. de Trinit.) that one could assume that
the God, _qui est super omnia_, might allow his monarchy to be
administered by several persons, and might dispense the gift of
immortality and with it a relative divinity.]

[Footnote 128: See the so-called Neopythagorean philosophers and the
so-called forerunners of Neoplatonism (Cf. Bigg, The Platonists of
Alexandria, p. 250, as to Numenius). Unfortunately, we have as yet no
sufficient investigation of the question what influence, if any, the
Jewish Alexandrian Philosophy of religion had on the development of
Greek philosophy in the second and third centuries. The answering of the
question would be of the greatest importance. But at present it cannot
even be said whether the Jewish philosophy of religion had any influence
on the genesis of Neoplatonism. On the relation of Neoplatonism to
Christianity and their mutual approximation, see the excellent account
in Tzschirner, Fall des Heidenthums, pp. 574-618. Cf. also Réville, La
Religion à Rome, 1886.]

[Footnote 129: The Christians, that is the Christian preachers, were
most in agreement with the Cynics (see Lucian's Peregrinus Proteus),
both on the negative and on the positive side; but for that very reason
they were hard on one another (Justin and Tatian against Crescens)--not
only because the Christians gave a different basis for the right mode of
life from the Cynics, but above all, because they did not approve of the
self-conscious, contemptuous, proud disposition which Cynicism produced
in many of its adherents. Morality frequently underwent change for the
worse in the hands of Cynics, and became the morality of a "Gentleman,"
such as we have also experience of in modern Cynicism.]

[Footnote 130: The attitude of Celsus, the opponent of the Christians,
is specially instructive here.]

[Footnote 131: For the knowledge of the spread of the idealistic
philosophy the statement of Origen (c. Celsum VI. 2) that Epictetus was
admired not only by scholars, but also by ordinary people who felt in
themselves the impulse to be raised to something higher, is well worthy
of notice.]

[Footnote 132: This point was of importance for the propaganda of
Christianity among the cultured. There seemed to be given here a
reliable, because revealed, Cosmology and history of the world--which
already contained the foundation of everything worth knowing. Both were
needed and both were here set forth in closest union.]

[Footnote 133: The universalism as reached by the Stoics is certainly
again threatened by the self-righteous and self-complacent distinction
between men of virtue, and men of pleasure, who, properly speaking, are
not men. Aristotle had already dealt with the virtuous élite in a
notable way. He says (Polit. 3. 13. p. 1284), that men who are
distinguished by perfect virtue should not be put on a level with the
ordinary mass, and should not be subjected to the constraints of a law
adapted to the average man. "There is no law for these elect, who are a
law to themselves."]

[Footnote 134: Notions of pre-existence were readily suggested by the
Platonic philosophy; yet this whole philosophy rests on the fact that
one again posits the thing (after stripping it of certain marks as
accidental, or worthless, or ostensibly foreign to it) in order to
express its value in this form, and hold fast the permanent in the
change of the phenomena.]

[Footnote 135: See Tzschirn. i.d. Ztschr. f. K.-Gesch. XII. p. 215 ff.
"The genesis of the Romish Church in the second century." What he
presents is no doubt partly incomplete, partly overdone and not proved:
yet much of what he states is useful.]

[Footnote 136: What is meant here is the imminent danger of taking the
several constituent parts of the canon, even for historical
investigation, as constituent parts, that is, of explaining one writing
by the standard of another and so creating an artificial unity. The
contents of any of Paul's epistles, for example, will be presented very
differently if it is considered by itself and in the circumstances in
which it was written, or if attention is fixed on it as part of a
collection whose unity is presupposed.]

[Footnote 137: See Bigg, The Christian Platonist of Alexandria, pp. 53,
283 ff.]

[Footnote 138: Reuter (August. Studien, p. 492) has drawn a valuable
parallel between Marcion and Augustine with regard to Paul.]

[Footnote 139: Marcion of course wished to raise it to the exclusive
basis, but he entirely misunderstood it.]





[Greek: Ean murious paidagôgous echête en christôi all' ou pollous

1 Cor IV. 15.

Eine jede Idee tritt als ein fremder Gast in die Erscheinung, und wie
sie sich zu realisiren beginnt, ist sie kaum von Phantasie und
Phantasterei zu unterscheiden.

GOETHE, Sprüche in Prosa, 566





The first century of the existence of Gentile Christian communities is
particularly characterised by the following features:

I. The rapid disappearance of Jewish Christianity.[140]

II. The enthusiastic character of the religious temper; the Charismatic
teachers and the appeal to the Spirit.[141]

III. The strength of the hopes for the future, Chiliasm.[142]

IV. The rigorous endeavour to fulfil the moral precepts of Christ, and
truly represent the holy and heavenly community of God in abstinence
from everything unclean, and in love to God and the brethren here on
earth "in these last days."[143]

V. The want of a fixed doctrinal form in relation to the abstract
statement of the faith, and the corresponding variety and freedom of
Christian preaching on the basis of clear formulæ and an increasingly
rich tradition.

VI. The want of a clearly defined external authority in the communities,
sure in its application, and the corresponding independence and freedom
of the individual Christian in relation to the expression of the ideas,
beliefs and hopes of faith.[144]

VII. The want of a fixed political union of the several communities with
each other--every _ecclesia_ is an image complete in itself, and an
embodiment of the whole heavenly Church--while the consciousness of the
unity of the holy Church of Christ which has the spirit in its midst,
found strong expression.[145]

VIII. A quite unique literature in which were manufactured facts for the
past and for the future, and which did not submit to the usual literary
rules and forms, but came forward with the loftiest pretensions.[146]

IX. The reproduction of particular sayings and arguments of Apostolic
Teachers with an uncertain understanding of them.[147]

X. The rise of tendencies which endeavoured to hasten in every respect
the inevitable process of fusing the Gospel with the spiritual and
religious interests of the time, viz., the Hellenic, as well as attempts
to separate the Gospel from its origins and provide for it quite foreign
presuppositions. To the latter belongs, above all, the Hellenic idea
that knowledge is not a charismatic supplement to the faith, or an
outgrowth of faith alongside of others, but that it coincides with the
essence of faith itself.[148]

The sources for this period are few, as there was not much written, and
the following period did not lay itself out for preserving a great part
of the literary monuments of that epoch. Still we do possess a
considerable number of writings and important fragments,[149] and
further important inferences here are rendered possible by the monuments
of the following period, since the conditions of the first century were
not changed in a moment, but were partly, at least, long preserved,
especially in certain national Churches and in remote communities.[150]

_Supplement._--The main features of the message concerning Christ, of
the matter of the Evangelic history, were fixed in the first and second
generations of believers, and on Palestinian soil. But yet, up to the
middle of the second century, this matter was in many ways increased in
Gentile Christian regions, revised from new points of view, handed down
in very diverse forms, and systematically allegorised by individual
teachers. As a whole, the Evangelic history certainly appears to have
been completed at the beginning of the second century. But in detail,
much that was new was produced at a later period--and not only in
Gnostic circles--and the old tradition was recast or rejected.[151]

[Footnote 140: This fact must have been apparent as early as the year
100. The first direct evidence of it is in Justin (Apol. I. 53).]

[Footnote 141: Every individual was, or at least should have been
conscious, as a Christian, of having received the [Greek: pneuma theou],
though that does not exclude spiritual grades. A special peculiarity of
the enthusiastic nature of the religious temper is that it does not
allow reflection as to the authenticity of the faith in which a man
lives. As to the Charismatic teaching, see my edition of the Didache
(Texte u Unters. II 1. 2 p. 93 ff.).]

[Footnote 142: The hope of the approaching end of the world and the
glorious kingdom of Christ still determined men's hearts; though
exhortations against theoretical and practical scepticism became more
and more necessary. On the other hand, after the Epistles to the
Thessalonians, there were not wanting exhortations to continue sober and

[Footnote 143: There was a strong consciousness that the Christian
Church is, above all, a union for a holy life, as well as a
consciousness of the obligation to help one another, and use all the
blessings bestowed by God in the service of our neighbours. Justin (2
Apol. in Euseb. H. E. IV. 17. 10) calls Christianity [Greek: to
didaskalion tes theias aretes].]

[Footnote 144: The existing authorities (Old Testament, sayings of the
Lord, words of Apostles) did not necessarily require to be taken into
account; for the living acting Spirit, partly attesting himself also to
the senses, gave new revelations. The validity of these authorities
therefore held good only in theory, and might in practice be completely
set aside (cf. above all, the Shepherd of Hermas).]

[Footnote 145: Zahn remarks (Ignatius, v. A. p. VII.): "I do not believe
it to be the business of that province of historical investigation which
is dependent on the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers as main
sources, to explain the origin of the universal Church in any sense of
the term; for that Church existed before Clement and Hermas, before
Ignatius and Polycarp. But an explanatory answer is needed for the
question, by what means did the consciousness of the 'universal Church'
so little favoured by outer circumstances, maintain itself unbroken in
the post-Apostolic communities?" This way of stating it obscures, at
least, the problem which here lies before us, for it does not take
account of the changes which the idea "universal Church" underwent up to
the middle of the third century--besides, we do not find the title
before Ignatius. In so far as the "universal Church" is set forth as an
earthly power recognisable in a doctrine or in political forms, the
question as to the origin of the idea is not only allowable, but must be
regarded as one of the most important. On the earliest conception of the
"Ecclesia" and its realisation, see the fine investigations of Sohm
"Kirchenrecht," I. p. i ff., which, however, suffer from being a little

[Footnote 146: See the important essay of Overbeck: Ueber die Anfänge d.
patrist. Litteratur (Hist. Ztschr. N. F. Bd. XII pp. 417-472). Early
Christian literature, as a rule, claims to be inspired writing. One can
see, for example, in the history of the resurrection in the recently
discovered Gospel of Peter (fragment) how facts were remodelled or

[Footnote 147: The writings of men of the Apostolic period, and that
immediately succeeding, attained in part a wide circulation, and in some
portions of them, often of course incorrectly understood, very great
influence. How rapidly this literature was diffused, even the letters,
may be studied in the history of the Epistles of Paul, the first Epistle
of Clement, and other writings.]

[Footnote 148: That which is here mentioned is of the greatest
importance; it is not a mere reference to the so-called Gnostics. The
foundations for the Hellenising of the Gospel in the Church were already
laid in the first century (50-150).]

[Footnote 149: We should not over-estimate the extent of early Christian
literature. It is very probable that we know, so far as the titles of
books are concerned, nearly all that was effective, and the greater
part, by very diverse means, has also been preserved to us. We except,
of course, the so-called Gnostic literature of which we have only a few
fragments. Only from the time of Commodus, as Eusebius, H. E. V. 21. 27,
has remarked, did the great Church preserve an extensive literature.]

[Footnote 150: It is therefore important to note the locality in which a
document originates, and the more so the earlier the document is. In the
earliest period, in which the history of the Church was more uniform,
and the influence from without relatively less, the differences are
still in the background. Yet the spirit of Rome already announces itself
in the Epistle of Clement, that of Alexandria in the Epistle of
Barnabas, that of the East in the Epistles of Ignatius.]

[Footnote 151: The history of the genesis of the four Canonical Gospels,
or the comparison of them, is instructive on this point. Then we must
bear in mind the old Apocryphal Gospels, and the way in which the
so-called Apostolic Fathers and Justin attest the Evangelic history, and
in part reproduce it independently, the Gospels of Peter, of the
Egyptians, and of Marcion; the Diatesseron of Tatian; the Gnostic
Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, etc. The greatest gap in our knowledge
consists in the fact, that we know so little about the course of things
from about the year 61 to the beginning of the reign of Trajan. The
consolidating and remodelling process must, for the most part, have
taken place in this period. We possess probably not a few writings which
belong to that period; but how are we to prove this, how are they to be
arranged? Here lies the cause of most of the differences, combinations
and uncertainties; many scholars, therefore, actually leave these 40
years out of account, and seek to place everything in the first three
decennia of the second century.]



On account of the great differences among those who, in the first
century, reckoned themselves in the Church of God, and called themselves
by the name of Christ,[152] it seems at first sight scarcely possible to
set up marks which would hold good for all, or even for nearly all, the
groups. Yet the great majority had one thing in common, as is proved,
among other things, by the gradual expulsion of Gnosticism. The
conviction that they knew the supreme God, the consciousness of being
responsible to him (Heaven and Hell), reliance on Jesus Christ, the hope
of an eternal life, the vigorous elevation above the world--these are
the elements that formed the fundamental mood. The author of the Acts of
Thecla expresses the general view when he (c. 5-7) co-ordinates [Greek:
ton tou christou logon] with [Greek: logos theou peri enkateias, kai
anastaseôs]. The following particulars may here be specified.[153]

I. The Gospel, because it rests on revelation, is the sure manifestation
of the supreme God, and its believing acceptance guarantees salvation
([Greek: sôteria]).

II. The essential content of this manifestation (besides the revelation
and the verification of the oneness and spirituality of God),[154] is,
first of all, the message of the resurrection and eternal life ([Greek:
anastasis zôê aiônios]), then the preaching of moral purity and
continence ([Greek: enkrateia]), on the basis of repentance toward God
([Greek: metanoia]), and of an expiation once assured by baptism, with
eye ever fixed on the requital of good and evil.[155]

III. This manifestation is mediated by Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour
([Greek: sôtêr]) sent by God "in these last days," and who stands with
God himself in a union special and unique, (cf. the ambiguous [Greek:
pais theou], which was much used in the earliest period). He has brought
the true and full knowledge of God, as well as the gift of immortality
[Greek: gnôsis kai zôê], or [Greek: gnôsis tês zôês], as an expression
for the sum of the Gospel. See the supper prayer in the Didache, c. IX.
an X.; [Greek: eucharistoumen soi, pater hêmôn huper tês zôês kai
gnôseôs hês egnôrisas hêmin dia Iêsou tou paidos sou], and is for that
very reason the redeemer ([Greek: sôtêr] and victor over the demons) on
whom we are to place believing trust. But he is, further, in word and
walk the highest example of all moral virtue, and therefore in his own
person the law for the perfect life, and at the same time the
God-appointed lawgiver and judge.[156]

IV. Virtue as continence, embraces as its highest task, renunciation of
temporal goods and separation from the common world; for the Christian
is not a citizen, but a stranger on the earth, and expects its
approaching destruction.[157]

V. Christ has committed to chosen men, the Apostles (or to one Apostle),
the proclamation of the message he received from God; consequently,
their preaching represents that of Christ himself. But, besides, the
Spirit of God rules in Christians, "the Saints." He bestows upon them
special gifts, and, above all, continually raises up among them Prophets
and spiritual Teachers who receive revelations and communications for
the edification of others, and whose injunctions are to be obeyed.

VI. Christian Worship is a service of God in spirit and in truth (a
spiritual sacrifice), and therefore has no legal ceremonial and
statutory rules. The value of the sacred acts and consecrations which
are connected with the cultus, consists in the communication of
spiritual blessings. (Didache X., [Greek: hêmin de echarisô, despota,
pneumatikên trophên kai poton kai zôên aiônion dia tou paidos sou]).

VII. Everything that Jesus Christ brought with him, may be summed up in
[Greek: gnôsis kai zôê], or in the knowledge of immortal life.[158] To
possess the perfect knowledge was, in wide circles, an expression for
the sum total of the Gospel.[159]

VIII. Christians, as such, no longer take into account the distinctions
of race, age, rank, nationality and worldly culture, but the Christian
community must be conceived as a communion resting on a divine election.
Opinions were divided about the ground of that election.

IX. As Christianity is the only true religion, and as it is no national
religion, but somehow concerns the whole of humanity, or its best part,
it follows that it can have nothing in common with the Jewish nation and
its contemporary cultus. The Jewish nation in which Jesus Christ
appeared, has, for the time at least, no special relation to the God
whom Jesus revealed. Whether it had such a relation at an earlier period
is doubtful (cf. here, e.g., the attitude of Marcion, Ptolemæus the
disciple of Valentinus, the author of the Epistle of Barnabas, Aristides
and Justin); but certain it is that God has now cast it off, and that
all revelations of God, so far as they took place at all before Christ,
(the majority assumed that there had been such revelations and
considered the Old Testament as a holy record), must have aimed solely
at the call of the "new people", and in some way prepared for the
revelation of God through his Son.[160]

[Footnote 152: See, as to this, Celsus in Orig. III. 10 ff. and V. 59

[Footnote 153: The marks adduced in the text do not certainly hold good
for some comparatively unimportant Gnostic groups, but they do apply to
the great majority of them, and in the main to Marcion also.]

[Footnote 154: Most of the Gnostic schools know only one God, and put
all emphasis on the knowledge of the oneness, supramundaneness, and
spirituality of this God. The Æons, the Demiurgus, the God of matter, do
not come near this God though they are called Gods. See the testimony of
Hippolytus c. Noet. 11; [Greek: kai gar pantes apekleisthêsan eis touto
akontes eipein hoti to pan eis hena anatrechei ei oun ta panta eis hena
anatrechei kai kata thualentinon kai kata Markiôna, Kêrinthon te kai
pasan tên ekeinôn phluarian, kai akontes eis touto periepesan, hina ton
hena homologêsôsin aition tôn pantôn houtôs oun suntrechousin kai autoi
mê thelontes tê alêtheia hena theon legein poiêsanta hôs êthelêsen].]

[Footnote 155: Continence was regarded as the condition laid down by God
for the resurrection and eternal life. The sure hope of this was for
many, if not for the majority, the whole sum of religion, in connection
with the idea of the requital of good and evil which was now firmly
established. See the testimony of the heathen Lucian, in Peregrinus

[Footnote 156: Even where the judicial attributes were separated from
God (Christ) as not suitable, Christ was still comprehended as the
critical appearance by which every man is placed in the condition which
belongs to him. The Apocalypse of Peter expects that God himself will
come as Judge (see the Messianic expectations of Judaism, in which it
was always uncertain whether God or the Messiah would hold the

[Footnote 157: Celsus (Orig. c. Celsum, V. 59) after referring to the
many Christian parties mutually provoking and fighting with each other,
remarks (V. 64) that though they differ much from each other, and
quarrel with each other, you can yet hear from them all the
protestation, "The world is crucified to me and I to the world." In the
earliest Gentile Christian communities brotherly love for reflective
thought falls into the background behind ascetic exercises of virtue, in
unquestionable deviation from the sayings of Christ, but in fact it was
powerful. See the testimony of Pliny and Lucian, Aristides, Apol. 15,
Tertull Apol. 39.]

[Footnote 158: The word "life" comes into consideration in a double
sense, viz., as soundness of the soul, and as immortality. Neither, of
course, is to be separated from the other. But I have attempted to shew
in my essay, "Medicinisches aus der ältesten Kirchengesch" (1892), the
extent to which the Gospel in the earliest Christendom was preached as
medicine and Jesus as a Physician, and how the Christian Message was
really comprehended by the Gentiles as a medicinal religion. Even the
Stoic philosophy gave itself out as a soul therapeutic, and Æsculapius
was worshipped as a Saviour-God; but Christianity alone was a religion
of healing.]

[Footnote 159: Heinrici, in his commentary on the epistles to the
Corinthians, has dealt very clearly with this matter; see especially
(Bd. II. p. 557 ff.) the description of the Christianity of the
Corinthians: On what did the community base its Christian character? It
believed in one God who had revealed himself to it through Christ,
without denying the reality of the hosts of gods in the heathen world (1
VIII. 6). It hoped in immortality without being clear as to the nature
of the Christian belief in the resurrection (1 XV.) It had no doubt as
to the requital of good and evil (1 IV. 5; 2 V. 10; XI. 15: Rom. II. 4),
without understanding the value of self-denial, claiming no merit, for
the sake of important ends. It was striving to make use of the Gospel as
a new doctrine of wisdom about earthly and super-earthly things, which
led to the perfect and best established knowledge (1 I. 21: VIII. 1). It
boasted of special operations of the Divine Spirit, which in themselves
remained obscure and non-transparent, and therefore unfruitful (1 XIV.),
while it was prompt to put aside as obscure, the word of the Cross as
preached by Paul (2. IV. 1 f). The hope of the near Parousia, however,
and the completion of all things, evinced no power to effect a moral
transformation of society We herewith obtain the outline of a conviction
that was spread over the widest circles of the Roman Empire "Naturam si
expellas furca, tamen usque recurret."]

[Footnote 160: Nearly all Gentile Christian groups that we know, are at
one in the detachment of Christianity from empiric Judaism; the
"Gnostics," however, included the Old Testament in Judaism, while the
greater part of Christians did not. That detachment seemed to be
demanded by the claims of Christianity to be the one, true, absolute and
therefore oldest religion, foreseen from the beginning. The different
estimates of the Old Testament in Gnostic circles have their exact
parallels in the different estimates of Judaism among the other
Christians; cf. for example, in this respect, the conception stated in
the Epistle of Barnabas with the views of Marcion, and Justin with
Valentinus. The particulars about the detachment of the Gentile
Christians from the Synagogue, which was prepared for by the inner
development of Judaism itself, and was required by the fundamental fact
that the Messiah, crucified and rejected by his own people, was
recognised as Saviour by those who were not Jews, cannot be given in the
frame-work of a history of dogma; though, see Chaps. III. IV. VI. On the
other hand, the turning away from Judaism is also the result of the mass
of things which were held in common with it, even in Gnostic circles.
Christianity made its appearance in the Empire in the Jewish propaganda.
By the preaching of Jesus Christ who brought the gift of eternal life,
mediated the full knowledge of God, and assembled round him in these
last days a community, the imperfect and hybrid creations of the Jewish
propaganda in the empire were converted into independent formations.
These formations were far superior to the synagogue in power of
attraction, and from the nature of the case would very soon be directed
with the utmost vigour against the synagogue.]



§ 1. _The Communities and the Church._

The confessors of the Gospels, belonging to organised communities who
recognised the Old Testament as the Divine record of revelation, and
prized the Evangelic tradition as a public message for all, to which, in
its undiluted form, they wished to adhere truly and sincerely, formed
the stem of Christendom both as to extent and importance.[163] The
communities stood to each other in an outwardly loose, but inwardly firm
connection, and every community by the vigour of its faith, the
certainty of its hope, the holy character of its life, as well as by
unfeigned love, unity and peace, was to be an image of the holy Church
of God which is in heaven, and whose members are scattered over the
earth. They were further, by the purity of their walk and an active
brotherly disposition, to prove to those without, that is to the world,
the excellence and truth of the Christian faith.[164] The hope that the
Lord would speedily appear to gather into his Kingdom the believers who
were scattered abroad, punishing the evil and rewarding the good, guided
these communities in faith and life. In the recently discovered
"Teaching of the Apostles" we are confronted very distinctly with ideas
and aspirations of communities that are not influenced by Philosophy.

The Church, that is the totality of all believers destined to be
received into the kingdom of God (Didache, 9. 10), is the holy Church,
(Hermas) because it is brought together and preserved by the Holy
Spirit. It is the one Church, not because it presents this unity
outwardly, on earth the members of the Church are rather scattered
abroad, but because it will be brought to unity in the kingdom of
Christ, because it is ruled by the same spirit and inwardly united in a
common relation to a common hope and ideal. The Church, considered in
its origin, is the number of those chosen by God,[165] the true
Israel,[166] nay, still more, the final purpose of God, for the world
was created for its sake.[167] There were in connection with these
doctrines in the earliest period, various speculations about the Church:
it is a heavenly Æon, is older than the world, was created by God at the
beginning of things as a companion of the heavenly Christ;[168] its
members form the new nation which is really the oldest nation,[169] it
is the [Greek: laos ho tou agapêmenou ho philoumenos kai philon
auton],[170] the people whom God has prepared "in the Beloved,"[171]
etc. The creation of God, the Church, as it is of an antemundane and
heavenly nature, will also attain its true existence only in the Æon of
the future, the Æon of the kingdom of Christ. The idea of a heavenly
origin, and of a heavenly goal of the Church, was therefore an essential
one, various and fluctuating as these speculations were. Accordingly,
the exhortations, so far as they have in view the Church, are always
dominated by the idea of the contrast of the kingdom of Christ with the
kingdom of the world. On the other hand, he who communicated knowledge
for the present time, prescribed rules of life, endeavoured to remove
conflicts, did not appeal to the peculiar character of the Church. The
mere fact, however, that from nearly the beginning of Christendom, there
were reflections and speculations not only about God and Christ, but
also about the Church, teaches us how profoundly the Christian
consciousness was impressed with being a new people, viz., the people of
God.[172] These speculations of the earliest Gentile Christian time
about Christ and the Church, as inseparable correlative ideas, are of
the greatest importance, for they have absolutely nothing Hellenic in
them, but rather have their origin in the Apostolic tradition. But for
that very reason the combination very soon, comparatively speaking,
became obsolete or lost its power to influence. Even the Apologists made
no use of it, though Clement of Alexandria and other Greeks held it
fast, and the Gnostics by their Æon "Church" brought it into discredit.
Augustine was the first to return to it.

The importance attached to morality is shewn in _Didache_ cc. 1-6, with
parallels[173]. But this section and the statements so closely related
to it in the pseudo phocylidean poem, which is probably of Christian
origin, as well as in Sibyl, II. v. 56, 148, which is likewise to be
regarded as Christian, and in many other Gnomic paragraphs, shews at the
same time, that in the memorable expression and summary statement of
higher moral commandments, the Christian propaganda had been preceded by
the Judaism of the Diaspora, and had entered into its labours. These
statements are throughout dependent on the Old Testament wisdom, and
have the closest relationship with the genuine Greek parts of the
Alexandrian Canon, as well as with Philonic exhortations. Consequently,
these moral rules, the two ways, so aptly compiled and filled with such
an elevated spirit, represent the ripest fruit of Jewish as well as of
Greek development. The Christian spirit found here a disposition which
it could recognise as its own. It was of the utmost importance, however,
that this disposition was already expressed in fixed forms suitable for
didactic purposes. The young Christianity therewith received a gift of
first importance. It was spared a labour in a legion, the moral, which
experience shews, can only be performed in generations, viz, the
creation of simple fixed impressive rules, the labour of the Catechist.
The sayings of the Sermon on the Mount were not of themselves sufficient
here. Those who in the second century attempted to rest in these alone
and turned aside from the Judaeo-Greek inheritance, landed in Marcionite
or Encratite doctrines.[174] We can see, especially from the Apologies
of Aristides (c. 15), Justin and Tatian (see also Lucian), that the
earnest men of the Græco-Roman world were won by the morality and active
love of the Christians.

§ 2. _The Foundations of the Faith._

The foundations of the faith--whose abridged form was, on the one hand,
the confession of the one true God, [Greek: monos alethinos theos],[175]
and of Jesus, the Lord, the Son of God, the Saviour[176] and also of the
Holy Spirit, and on the other hand, the confident hope of Christ's
kingdom and the resurrection--were laid on the Old Testament interpreted
in a Christian sense together with the Apocalypses,[177] and the
progressively enriched traditions about Jesus Christ ([Greek: he
parodosis--ho paradotheis logos--ho kanôn tês alêtheías] or [Greek: tês
paradoseôs--hê pistis--ho kanôn tês pisteôs--ho dotheisa pistis--to
kêrygma--ta didagmata tou christou--hê didachê--ta mathêmata], or
[Greek: to mathêma]).[178] The Old Testament revelations and oracles were
regarded as pointing to Christ; the Old Testament itself, the words of
God spoken by the Prophets, as the primitive Gospel of salvation, having
in view the new people, which is, however, the oldest, and belonging to
it alone.[179] The exposition of the Old Testament, which, as a rule,
was of course read in the Alexandrian Canon of the Bible, turned it into
a Christian book. A historical view of it, which no born Jew could in
some measure fail to take, did not come into fashion, and the freedom
that was used in interpreting the Old Testament,--so far as there was a
method, it was the Alexandrian Jewish--went the length of even
correcting the letter and enriching the contents.[180]

The traditions concerning Christ on which the communities were based,
were of a twofold character. First, there were words of the Lord, mostly
ethical, but also of eschatological content, which were regarded as
rules, though their expression was uncertain, ever changing, and only
gradually assuming a fixed form. The [Greek: didagmata tou christou] are
often just the moral commandments.[181] Second, the foundation of the
faith, that is, the assurance of the blessing of salvation, was formed
by a proclamation of the history of Jesus concisely expressed, and
composed with reference to prophecy.[182] The confession of God the
Father Almighty, of Christ as the Lord and Son of God, and of the Holy
Spirit,[183] was at a very early period in the communities, united with
the short proclamation of the history of Jesus, and at the same time, in
certain cases, referred expressly to the revelation of God (the Spirit)
through the prophets.[184] The confession thus conceived had not
everywhere obtained a fixed definite expression in the first century (c.
50-150). It would rather seem that, in most of the communities, there
was no exact formulation beyond a confession of Father, Son and Spirit,
accompanied in a free way by the historical proclamation.[185] It is
highly probable, however, that a short confession was strictly
formulated in the Roman community before the middle of the second
century,[186] expressing belief in the Father, Son and Spirit, embracing
also the most important facts in the history of Jesus, and mentioning
the Holy Church, as well as the two great blessings of Christianity, the
forgiveness of sin, and the resurrection of the dead ([Greek: aphesis
hamartiôn, sarkos anastasis][187]). But, however the proclamation might
be handed down, in a form somehow fixed, or in a free form, the
disciples of Jesus, the (twelve) Apostles, were regarded as the
authorities who mediated and guaranteed it. To them was traced back in
the same way everything that was narrated of the history of Jesus, and
everything that was inculcated from his sayings.[188] Consequently, it
may be said, that beside the Old Testament, the chief court of appeal in
the communities was formed by an aggregate of words and deeds of the
Lord;--for the history and the suffering of Jesus are his deed: [Greek:
ho Iêsous hupemeinen pathein, k.t.l.]--fixed in certain fundamental
features, though constantly enriched, and traced back to apostolic

The authority which the Apostles in this way enjoyed, did not, in any
great measure, rest on the remembrance of direct services which the
twelve had rendered to the Gentile Churches: for, as the want of
reliable concrete traditions proves, no such services had been rendered,
at least not by the _twelve_. On the contrary, there was a theory
operative here regarding the special authority which the twelve enjoyed
in the Church at Jerusalem, a theory which was spread by the early
missionaries, including Paul, and sprang from the _a priori_
consideration that the tradition about Christ, just because it grew up
so quickly,[190] must have been entrusted to eye-witnesses who were
commissioned to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world, and who
fulfilled that commission. The _a priori_ character of this assumption
is shewn by the fact that--with the exception of reminiscences of an
activity of Peter and John among the [Greek: ethnê], not sufficiently
clear to us[191]--the twelve, as a rule, are regarded as a _college_, to
which the mission and the tradition are traced back.[192] That such a
theory, based on a dogmatic construction of history, could have at all
arisen, proves that either the Gentile Churches never had a living
relation to the twelve, or that they had very soon lost it in the rapid
disappearance of Jewish Christianity, while they had been referred to
the twelve from the beginning. But even in the communities which Paul
had founded and for a long time guided, the remembrance of the
controversies of the Apostolic age must have been very soon effaced, and
the vacuum thus produced filled by a theory which directly traced back
the _status quo_ of the Gentile Christian communities to a tradition of
the twelve as its foundation. This fact is extremely paradoxical, and is
not altogether explained by the assumptions that the Pauline-Judaistic
controversy had not made a great impression on the Gentile Christians,
that the way in which Paul, while fully recognising the twelve, had
insisted on his own independent importance, had long ceased to be really
understood, and that Peter and John had also really been missionaries to
the Gentiles. The guarantee that was needed for the "teaching of the
Lord" must, finally, be given not by Paul, but only by chosen
eye-witnesses. The less that was known about them, the easier it was to
claim them. The conviction as to the unanimity of the twelve, and as to
their activity in founding the Gentile Churches, appeared in these
Churches as early as the urgent need of protection against the serious
consequences of unfettered religious enthusiasm and unrestrained
religious fancy. This urgency cannot be dated too far back. In
correspondence therewith, the principle of tradition in the Church
(Christ, the twelve Apostles) in the case of those who were intent on
the unity and completeness of Christendom, is also very old. But one
passed logically from the Apostles to the disciples of the Apostles,
"the Elders," without at first claiming for them any other significance
than that of reliable hearers (Apostoli et discentes ipsorum). In coming
down to them, one here and there betook oneself again to real historical
ground, disciples of Paul, of Peter, of John.[193] Yet even here legends
with a tendency speedily got mixed with facts, and because, in
consequence of this theory of tradition, the Apostle Paul must needs
fall into the background, his disciples also were more or less
forgotten. The attempt which we have in the Pastoral Epistles remained
without effect, as regards those to whom these epistles were addressed.
Timothy and Titus obtained no authority outside these epistles. But so
far as the epistles of Paul were collected, diffused, and read, there
was created a complex of writings which at first stood beside the
"Teaching of the Lord by the twelve Apostles", without being connected
with it, and only obtained such connection by the creation of the New
Testament, that is, by the interpolation of the Acts of the Apostles,
between Gospels and Epistles.[194]

§ 3. _The Main Articles of Christianity and the Conceptions of
Salvation. Eschatology._

1. The main articles of Christianity were (1) belief in God the [Greek:
despotês], and in the Son in virtue of proofs from prophecy, and the
teaching of the Lord as attested by the Apostles; (2) discipline
according to the standard of the words of the Lord; (3) baptism; (4) the
common offering of prayer, culminating in the Lord's Supper and the holy
meal, (5) the sure hope of the nearness of Christ's glorious kingdom. In
these appears the unity of Christendom, that is, of the Church which
possesses the Holy Spirit.[195] On the basis of this unity Christian
knowledge was free and manifold. It was distinguished as [Greek: sophia,
sunesis, epistême, gnôsis (tôn dikaiômatôn)], from the [Greek: logos
theou tês pisteôs], the [Greek: klêsis tês epangelias] and the [Greek:
entolai tês didachês] (Barn. 16. 9, similarly Hermas). Perception and
knowledge of Divine things was a Charism possessed only by individuals,
but like all Charisms it was to be used for the good of the whole. In so
far as every actual perception was a perception produced by the Spirit,
it was regarded as important and indubitable truth, even though some
Christians were unable to understand it. While attention was given to
the firm inculcation and observance of the moral precepts of Christ, as
well as to the awakening of sure faith in Christ, and while all
waverings and differences were excluded in respect of these, there was
absolutely no current doctrine of faith in the communities, in the sense
of a completed theory, and the theological speculations of even closely
related Christian writers of this epoch, exhibit the greatest
differences.[196] The productions of fancy, the terrible or consoling
pictures of the future pass for sacred knowledge, just as much as
intelligent and sober reflections, and edifying interpretation of Old
Testament sayings. Even that which was afterwards separated as Dogmatic
and Ethics was then in no way distinguished.[197] The communities gave
expression in the cultus, chiefly in the hymns and prayers, to what they
possessed in their God and their Christ; here sacred formulæ were
fashioned and delivered to the members.[198] The problem of surrendering
the world in the hope of a life beyond was regarded as the practical
side of the faith, and the unity in temper and disposition resting on
faith in the saving revelation of God in Christ, permitted the highest
degree of freedom in knowledge, the results of which were absolutely
without control as soon as the preacher or the writer was recognised as
a true teacher, that is, inspired by the Spirit of God.[199] There was
also in wide circles a conviction that the Christian faith, after the
night of error, included the full knowledge of everything worth knowing,
that precisely in its most important articles it is accessible to men of
every degree of culture, and that in it, in the now attained truth, is
contained one of the most essential blessings of Christianity. When it
is said in the Epistle of Barnabas (II. 2. 3); [Greek: tês písteôs hêmôn
eisìn boêthoì phobos kai hupomonê, ta de summachounta hêmìn makrothumía
kai enkrateia; toutôn menontôn ta pros kurion hagnôs, suneuphrainontai
autois sophia, sunesis, epistêmê, gnôsis], knowledge appears in this
classic formula to be an essential element in Christianity, conditioned
by faith and the practical virtues, and dependent on them. Faith takes
the lead, knowledge follows it: but of course in concrete cases it could
not always be decided what was [Greek: logos tês pistêôs], which
implicitly contained the highest knowledge, and what the special [Greek:
gnôsis]; for in the last resort the nature of the two was regarded as
identical, both being represented as produced by the Spirit of God.

2. The conceptions of Christian salvation, or of redemption, were
grouped around two ideas, which were themselves but loosely connected
with each other, and of which the one influenced more the temper and the
imagination, the other the intellectual faculty. On the one hand,
salvation, in accordance with the earliest preaching, was regarded as
the glorious kingdom which was soon to appear on earth with the visible
return of Christ, which will bring the present course of the world to an
end, and introduce for a definite series of centuries, before the final
judgment, a new order of all things to the joy and blessedness of the
saints.[200] In connection with this the hope of the resurrection of the
body occupied the foreground[201]. On the other hand, salvation appeared
to be given in the truth, that is, in the complete and certain knowledge
of God, as contrasted with the error of heathendom and the night of sin,
and this truth included the certainty of the gift of eternal life, and
all conceivable spiritual blessings.[202] Of these the community, so far
as it is a community of saints, that is, so far as it is ruled by the
Spirit of God, already possesses forgiveness of sins and righteousness.
But, as a rule, neither blessing was understood in a strictly religious
sense, that is to say, the effect of their religious sense was narrowed.
The moralistic view, in which eternal life is the wages and reward of a
perfect moral life wrought out essentially by one's own power, took the
place of first importance at a very early period. On this view,
according to which the righteousness of God is revealed in punishment
and reward alike, the forgiveness of sin only meant a single remission
of sin in connection with entrance into the Church by baptism,[203] and
righteousness became identical with virtue. The idea is indeed still
operative, especially in the oldest Gentile-Christian writings known to
us, that sinlessness rests upon a new creation (regeneration) which is
effected in baptism;[204] but, so far as dissimilar eschatological hopes
do not operate, it is everywhere in danger of being supplanted by the
other idea, which maintains that there is no other blessing in the
Gospel than the perfect truth and eternal life. All else is but a sum of
obligations in which the Gospel is presented as a new law. The
christianising of the Old Testament supported this conception. There was
indeed an opinion that the Gospel, even so far as it is a law,
comprehends a gift of salvation which is to be grasped by faith [Greek:
nomos aneu zugou anankês,[205] nomos t. eleutherias],[206] Christ
himself the law;[207] but this notion, as it is obscure in itself, was
also an uncertain one and was gradually lost. Further, by the "law" was
frequently meant in the first place, not the law of love, but the
commandments of ascetic holiness, or an explanation and a turn were
given to the law of love, according to which it is to verify itself
above all in asceticism.[208]

The expression of the contents of the Gospel in the concepts [Greek:
epangelia (zôê aiônios) gnôsis (alêtheia) nomos (enkrateia)], seemed
quite as plain as it was exhaustive, and the importance of faith which
was regarded as the basis of hope and knowledge and obedience in a holy
life, was at the same time in every respect perceived.[209]

_Supplement_ 1.--The moralistic view of sin, forgiveness of sin, and
righteousness, in Clement, Barnabas, Polycarp and Ignatius, gives place
to Pauline formulæ; but the uncertainty with which these are reproduced,
shews that the Pauline idea has not been clearly seen.[210] In Hermas,
however, and in the second Epistle of Clement, the consciousness of
being under grace, even after baptism, almost completely disappears
behind the demand to fulfil the tasks which baptism imposes.[211] The
idea that serious sins, in the case of the baptised, no longer should or
can be forgiven, except under special circumstances, appears to have
prevailed in wide circles, if not everywhere.[212] It reveals the
earnestness of those early Christians and their elevated sense of
freedom and power; but it might be united either with the highest moral
intensity, or with a lax judgment on the little sins of the day. The
latter, in point of fact, threatened to become more and more the
presupposition and result of that idea--for there exists here a fatal
reciprocal action.

_Supplement_ 2.--The realisation of salvation--as [Greek: basileia tou
theou] and as [Greek: aphtharsia]--being expected from the future, the
whole present possession of salvation might be comprehended under the
title of vocation ([Greek: klêsis]) see, for example, the second Epistle
of Clement. In this sense _gnosis_ itself was regarded as something only

_Supplement_ 3.--In some circles the Pauline formula about righteousness
and salvation by faith alone, must, it would appear, not infrequently
(as already in the Apostolic age itself) have been partly misconstrued,
and partly taken advantage of as a cloak for laxity. Those who resisted
such a disposition, and therefore also the formula in the post-Apostolic
age, shew indeed by their opposition how little they have hit upon or
understood the Pauline idea of faith: for they not only issued the
watchword "faith and works" (though the Jewish ceremonial law was not
thereby meant), but they admitted, and not only hypothetically, that one
might have the true faith even though in his case that faith remained
dead or united with immorality. See, above all, the Epistle of James and
the Shepherd of Hermas; though the first Epistle of John comes also into
consideration (III. 7: "He that doeth righteousness is righteous").[213]

_Supplement_ 4.--However similar the eschatological expectations of the
Jewish Apocalyptists and the Christians may seem, there is yet in one
respect an important difference between them. The uncertainty about the
final consummation was first set aside by the Gospel. It should be noted
as highly characteristic of the Jewish hopes of the future, even of the
most definite, how the beginning of the end, that is, the overthrow of
the world-powers and the setting up of the earthly kingdom of God, was
much more certainly expressed than the goal and the final end. Neither
the general judgment, nor what we, according to Christian tradition,
call heaven and hell, should be described as a sure possession of Jewish
faith in the primitive Christian period. It is only in the Gospel of
Christ, where everything is subordinated to the idea of a higher
righteousness and the union of the individual with God, that the general
judgment and the final condition after it are the clear, firmly grasped
goal of all meditation. No doctrine has been more surely preserved in
the convictions and preaching of believers in Christ than this. Fancy
might roam ever so much and, under the direction of the tradition,
thrust bright and precious images between the present condition and the
final end, the main thing continued to be the great judgment of the
world, and the certainty that the saints would go to God in heaven, the
wicked to hell. But while the judgment, as a rule, was connected with
the Person of Jesus himself (see the Romish Symbol: the words [Greek:
kritês zôntôn kai nekrôn], were very frequently applied to Christ in the
earliest writings), the moral condition of the individual, and the
believing recognition of the Person of Christ were put in the closest
relation. The Gentile Christians held firmly to this. Open the Shepherd,
or the second Epistle of Clement, or any other early Christian writing,
and you will find that the judgment, heaven and hell, are the decisive
objects. But that shews that the moral character of Christianity as a
religion is seen and adhered to. The fearful idea of hell, far from
signifying a backward step in the history of the religious spirit, is
rather a proof of its having rejected the morally indifferent point of
view, and of its having become sovereign in union with the ethical

§ 4. _The Old Testament as Source of the Knowledge of Faith._[214]

The sayings of the Old Testament, the word of God, were believed to
furnish inexhaustible material for deeper knowledge. The Christian
prophets were nurtured on the Old Testament, the teachers gathered from
it the revelation of the past, present and future (Barn. 1. 7), and were
therefore able as prophets to edify the Churches; from it was further
drawn the confirmation of the answers to all emergent questions, as one
could always find in the Old Testament what he was in search of. The
different writers laid the holy book under contribution in very much the
same way; for they were all dominated by the presupposition that this
book is a Christian book, and contains the explanations that are
necessary for the occasion. There were several teachers, e.g., Barnabas,
who at a very early period boasted of finding in it ideas of special
profundity and value--these were always an expression of the
difficulties that were being felt. The plain words of the Lord as
generally known, did not seem sufficient to satisfy the craving for
knowledge, or to solve the problems that were emerging;[215] their
origin and form also opposed difficulties at first to the attempt to
obtain from them new disclosures by re-interpretation. But the Old
Testament sayings and histories were in part unintelligible, or in their
literal sense offensive; they were at the same time regarded as
fundamental words of God. This furnished the conditions for turning them
to account in the way we have stated. The following are the most
important points of view under which the Old Testament was used. (1) The
Monotheistic cosmology and view of nature were borrowed from it (see,
for example, 1 Clem.). (2) It was used to prove that the appearance and
entire history of Jesus had been foretold centuries, nay, thousands of
years beforehand, and that the founding of a new people gathered out of
all nations had been predicted and prepared for from the very
beginning.[216] (3) It was used as a means of verifying all principles
and institutions of the Christian Church,--the spiritual worship of God
without images, the abolition of all ceremonial legal precepts, baptism,
etc. (4) The Old Testament was used for purposes of exhortation
according to the formula _a minori ad majus_; if God then punished and
rewarded this or that in such a way, how much more may we expect, who
now stand in the last days, and have received the [Greek: klêsis tês
epangelías]. (5) It was proved from the Old Testament that the Jewish
nation is in error, and either never had a covenant with God or has lost
it, that it has a false apprehension of God's revelations, and therefore
has, now at least, no longer any claim to their possession. But beyond
all this, (6) there were in the Old Testament books, above all, in the
Prophets and in the Psalms, a great number of sayings--confessions of
trust in God and of help received from God, of humility and holy
courage, testimonies of a world-overcoming faith and words of comfort,
love and communion--which were too exalted for any cavilling, and
intelligible to every spiritually awakened mind. Out of this treasure
which was handed down to the Greeks and Romans, the Church edified
herself, and in the perception of its riches was largely rooted the
conviction that the holy book must in every line contain the highest

The point mentioned under (5) needs, however, further explanation. The
self-consciousness of the Christian community of being the people of
God, must have been, above all, expressed in its position towards
Judaism, whose mere existence--even apart from actual assaults--
threatened that consciousness most seriously. A certain antipathy of the
Greeks and Romans towards Judaism co-operated here with a law of
self-preservation. On all hands, therefore, Judaism as it then existed
was abandoned as a sect judged and rejected by God, as a society of
hypocrites,[217] as a synagogue of Satan,[218] as a people seduced by an
evil angel,[219] and the Jews were declared to have no further right to
the possession of the Old Testament. Opinions differed, however, as to
the earlier history of the nation and its relation to the true God.
While some denied that there ever had been a covenant of salvation
between God and this nation, and in this respect recognised only an
intention of God,[220] which was never carried out because of the
idolatry of the people, others admitted in a hazy way that a relation
did exist; but even they referred all the promises of the Old Testament
to the Christian people.[221] While the former saw in the observance of
the letter of the law, in the case of circumcision, sabbath, precepts as
to food, etc., a proof of the special devilish temptation to which the
Jewish people succumbed,[222] the latter saw in circumcision a sign[223]
given by God, and in virtue of certain considerations acknowledged that
the literal observance of the law was for the time God's intention and
command, though righteousness never came from such observance. Yet even
they saw in the spiritual the alone true sense, which the Jews had
denied, and were of opinion that the burden of ceremonies was a
pædagogic necessity with reference to a people stiff-necked and prone to
idolatry, i.e., a defence of monotheism, and gave an interpretation to
the sign of circumcision which made it no longer a blessing, but rather
the mark for the execution of judgment on Israel.[224]

Israel was thus at all times the pseudo-Church. The older people does
not in reality precede the younger people, the Christians, even in point
of time; for though the Church appeared only in the last days, it was
foreseen and created by God from the beginning. The younger people is
therefore really the older, and the new law rather the original
law.[225] The Patriarchs, Prophets, and men of God, however, who were
favoured with the communication of God's words, have nothing inwardly in
common with the Jewish people. They are God's elect who were
distinguished by a holy walk, and must be regarded as the forerunners
and fathers of the Christian people.[226] To the question how such holy
men appeared exclusively, or almost exclusively, among the Jewish
people, the documents preserved to us yield no answer.

§ 5. _The Knowledge of God and of the World. Estimate of the World._

The knowledge of faith was, above all, the knowledge of God as one,
supramundane, spiritual,[227] and almighty ([Greek: pantokratôr]); God
is creator and governor of the world and therefore the Lord.[228] But as
he created the world a beautiful ordered whole (monotheistic view of
nature)[229] for the sake of man,[230] he is at the same time the God of
goodness and redemption ([Greek: theos sôtêr]), and the true faith in
God and knowledge of him as the Father,[231] is made perfect only in the
knowledge of the identity of the God of creation and the God of
redemption. Redemption, however, was necessary, because at the beginning
humanity and the world alike fell under the dominion of evil
demons,[232] of the evil one. There was no universally accepted theory
as to the origin of this dominion; but the sure and universal conviction
was that the present condition and course of the world is not of God,
but is of the devil. Those, however, who believed in God, the almighty
creator, and were expecting the transformation of the earth, as well as
the visible dominion of Christ upon it, could not be seduced into
accepting a dualism in principle (God and devil: spirit and matter).
Belief in God, the creator, and eschatological hopes, preserved the
communities from the theoretic dualism that so readily suggested itself,
which they slightly touched in many particular opinions, and which
threatened to dominate their feelings. The belief that the world is of
God and therefore good, remained in force. A distinction was made
between the present constitution of the world, which is destined for
destruction, and the future order of the world which will be a glorious
"restitutio in integrum." The theory of the world as an articulated
whole which had already been proclaimed by the Stoics, and which was
strengthened by Christian monotheism, would not, even if it had been
known to the uncultured, have been vigorous enough to cope with the
impression of the wickedness of the course of this world, and the
vulgarity of all things material. But the firm belief in the omnipotence
of God, and the hope of the world's transformation grounded on the Old
Testament, conquered the mood of absolute despair of all things visible
and sensuous, and did not allow a theoretic conclusion, in the sense of
dualism in principle, to be drawn from the practical obligation to
renounce the world, or from the deep distrust with regard to the flesh.

§ 6. _Faith in Jesus Christ._

1. As surely as redemption was traced back to God himself, so surely was
Jesus ([Greek: ho sôtêr hêmôn]) held to be the mediator of it. Faith in
Jesus was therefore, even for Gentile Christians, a compendium of
Christianity. Jesus is mostly designated with the same name as God,[233]
[Greek: ho kurios (hêmôn)], for we must remember the ancient use of this
title. All that has taken place or will take place with reference to
salvation, is traced back to the "Lord." The carelessness of the early
Christian writers about the bearing of the word in particular
cases,[234] shews that in a religious relation, so far as there was
reflection on the gift of salvation, Jesus could directly take the place
of God. The invisible God is the author, Jesus the revealer and
mediator, of all saving blessings. The final subject is presented in the
nearest subject, and there is frequently no occasion for expressly
distinguishing them, as the range and contents of the revelation of
salvation in Jesus coincide with the range and contents of the will of
salvation in God himself. Yet prayers, as a rule, were addressed to God:
at least, there are but few examples of direct prayers to Jesus
belonging to the first century (apart from the prayers in the Act. Joh.
of the so-called Leucius). The usual formula rather reads: [Greek: theôi
exomologoumetha dia 'I. Chr.--theôi doxa dio 'I. Chr].[235]

2. As the Gentile Christians did not understand the significance of the
idea that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the designation "[Greek:
christos]" had either to be given up in their communities, or to subside
into a mere name.[236] But even where, through the Old Testament, one
was reminded of the meaning of the word, and allowed a value to it, he
was far from finding in the statement that Jesus is the Lord's anointed,
a clear expression of the dignity peculiar to him. That dignity had
therefore to be expressed by other means. Nevertheless the
eschatological series of ideas connected the Gentile Christians very
closely with the early Christian ideas of faith, and therefore also with
the earliest ideas about Jesus. In the confession that God chose[237]
and prepared[238] Jesus, that Jesus is the Angel[239] and the servant of
God,[240] that he will judge the living and the dead,[241] etc.,
expression is given to ideas about Jesus, in the Gentile Christian
communities, which are borrowed from the thought that he is the Christ
called of God and entrusted with an office.[242] Besides, there was a
very old designation handed down from the circle of the disciples, and
specially intelligible to Gentile Christians, though not frequent and
gradually disappearing, viz., "the Master."[243]

3. But the earliest tradition not only spoke of Jesus as [Greek: kurios,
sôtêr], and [Greek: didaskalos], but as "[Greek: ho huios tou theou]",
and this name was firmly adhered to in the Gentile Christian
communities.[244] It followed immediately from this that Jesus belongs
to the sphere of God, and that, as is said in the earliest preaching
known to us,[245] one must think of him "[Greek: hôs peri theou]." This
formula describes in a classic manner the indirect "theologia Christi"
which we find unanimously expressed in all witnesses of the earliest
epoch.[246] We must think about Christ as we think about God, because,
on the one hand, God had exalted him, and committed to him as Lord,
judgment over the living and the dead, and because, on the other hand,
he has brought the knowledge of the truth, called sinful men, delivered
them from the dominion of demons, and hath led, or will lead them, out
of the night of death and corruption to eternal life. Jesus Christ is
"our faith", "our hope", "our life", and in this sense "our God." The
religious assurance that he is this, for we find no wavering on this
point, is the root of the "theologia Christi"; but we must also remember
that the formula "[Greek: theos]" was inserted beside "[Greek: kurios],"
that the "dominus ac deus," was very common at that time,[247] and that
a Saviour [Greek: sôtêr] could only be represented somehow as a Divine
being.[248] Yet Christ never was, as "[Greek: theos]," placed on an
equality with the Father,[249]--monotheism guarded against that. Whether
he was intentionally and deliberately identified with Him the following
paragraph will shew.

4. The common confession did not go beyond the statements that Jesus is
the Lord, the Saviour, the Son of God, that one must think of him as of
God, that dwelling now with God in heaven, he is to be adored as [Greek:
prostatês kai boêthos tês astheneias], and as [Greek: archiereus tôn
prosphorôn hêmôn] [as guardian and helper of the weak and as High Priest
of our oblations], to be feared as the future Judge, to be esteemed most
highly as the bestower of immortality, that he is our hope and our
faith. There are found rather, on the basis of that confession, very
diverse conceptions of the Person, that is, of the nature of Jesus,
beside each other,[250] which collectively exhibit a certain analogy
with the Greek theologies, the naive and the philosophic.[251] There was
as yet no such thing here as ecclesiastical "doctrines" in the strict
sense of the word, but rather conceptions more or less fluid, which were
not seldom fashioned _ad hoc._[252] These may be reduced collectively to
two.[253] Jesus was either regarded as the man whom God hath chosen, in
whom the Deity or the Spirit of God dwelt, and who, after being tested,
was adopted by God and invested with dominion, (Adoptian
Christology);[254] or Jesus was regarded as a heavenly spiritual being
(the highest after God) who took flesh, and again returned to heaven
after the completion of his work on earth (pneumatic Christology).[255]
These two Christologies which are, strictly speaking, mutually
exclusive--the man who has become a God, and the Divine being who has
appeared in human form--yet came very near each other when the Spirit of
God implanted in the man Jesus was conceived as the pre-existent Son of
God,[256] and when, on the other hand, the title, Son of God, for that
pneumatic being, was derived only from the miraculous generation in the
flesh; yet both these seem to have been the rule.[257] Yet, in spite of
all transitional forms, the two Christologies may be clearly
distinguished. Characteristic of the one is the development through
which Jesus is first to become a Godlike Ruler,[258] and connected
therewith, the value put on the miraculous event at the baptism; of the
other, a naive docetism.[259] For no one as yet thought of affirming two
natures in Jesus:[260] the Divine dignity appeared rather, either as a
gift,[261] or the human nature ([Greek: sarx]) as a veil assumed for a
time, or as the metamorphosis of the Spirit.[262] The formula that Jesus
was a mere man ([Greek: psilos anthrôpos]), was undoubtedly always, and
from the first, regarded as offensive.[263] But the converse formulæ,
which identified the person of Jesus in its essence with the Godhead
itself, do not seem to have been rejected with the same decision.[264]
Yet such formulæ may have been very rare, and even objects of suspicion,
in the leading ecclesiastical circles, at least until after the middle
of the second century we can point to them only in documents which
hardly found approbation in wide circles. The assumption of the
existence of at least one heavenly and eternal spiritual being beside
God, was plainly demanded by the Old Testament writings, as they were
understood; so that even those whose Christology did not require them to
reflect on that heavenly being were forced to recognise it.[265] The
pneumatic Christology, accordingly, meets us wherever there is an
earnest occupation with the Old Testament, and wherever faith in Christ
as the perfect revealer of God, occupies the foreground, therefore not
in Hermas, but certainly in Barnabas, Clement, etc. The future belonged
to this Christology, because the current exposition of the Old Testament
seemed directly to require it, because it alone permitted the close
connection between creation and redemption, because it furnished the
proof that the world and religion rest upon the same Divine basis,
because it was represented in the most valuable writings of the early
period of Christianity, and finally, because it had room for the
speculations about the Logos. On the other hand, no direct and natural
relation to the world and to universal history could be given to the
Adoptian Christology, which was originally determined eschatologically.
If such a relation, however, were added to it, there resulted formulæ
such as that of two Sons of God, one natural and eternal, and one
adopted, which corresponded neither to the letter of the Holy
Scriptures, nor to the Christian preaching. Moreover, the revelations of
God in the Old Testament made by Theophanies, must have seemed, because
of this their form, much more exalted than the revelations made through
a man raised to power and glory, which Jesus constantly seemed to be in
the Adoptian Christology. Nay, even the mysterious personality of
Melchisedec, without father or mother, might appear more impressive than
the Chosen Servant, Jesus, who was born of Mary, to a mode of thought
which, in order to make no mistake, desired to verify the Divine by
outer marks. The Adoptian Christology, that is, the Christology which is
most in keeping with the self-witness of Jesus (the Son as the chosen
Servant of God), is here shewn to be unable to assure to the Gentile
Christians those conceptions of Christianity which they regarded as of
highest value. It proved itself insufficient when confronted by any
reflection on the relation of religion to the cosmos, to humanity, and
to its history. It might, perhaps, still have seemed doubtful about the
middle of the second century, as to which of the two opposing formulæ
"Jesus is a man exalted to a Godlike dignity", and "Jesus is a divine
spiritual being incarnate", would succeed in the Church. But one only
needs to read the pieces of writing which represent the latter thesis,
and to compare them, say, with the Shepherd of Hermas, in order to see
to which view the future must belong. In saying this, however, we are
anticipating; for the Christological reflections were not yet vigorous
enough to overcome enthusiasm and the expectation of the speedy end of
all things, and the mighty practical tendency of the new religion to a
holy life did not allow any theory to become the central object of
attention. But, still, it is necessary to refer here to the
controversies which broke out at a later period; for the pneumatic
Christology forms an essential article, which cannot be dispensed with,
in the expositions of Barnabas, Clement and Ignatius, and Justin shews
that he cannot conceive of a Christianity without the belief in a real
pre-existence of Christ. On the other hand, the liturgical formulæ, the
prayers, etc., which have been preserved, scarcely ever take notice of
the pre-existence of Christ. They either comprise statements which are
borrowed from the Adoptian Christology, or they testify in an
unreflective way to the Dominion and Deity of Christ.

5. The ideas of Christ's work which were influential in the
communities--Christ as Teacher: creation of knowledge, setting up of the
new law; Christ as Saviour: creation of life, overcoming of the demons,
forgiveness of sins committed in the time of error,--were by some, in
conformity with Apostolic tradition and following the Pauline Epistles,
positively connected with the death and resurrection of Christ, while
others maintained them without any connection with these events. But one
nowhere finds independent thorough reflections on the connection of
Christ's saving work with the facts proclaimed in the preaching, above
all, with the death on the cross and the resurrection as presented by
Paul. The reason of this undoubtedly is that in the conception of the
work of salvation, the procuring of forgiveness fell into the
background, as this could only be connected by means of the notion of
sacrifice, with a definite act of Jesus, viz., with the surrender of his
life. Consequently, the facts of the destiny of Jesus combined in the
preaching, formed, only for the religious fancy, not for reflection, the
basis of the conception of the work of Christ, and were therefore by
many writers, Hermas, for example, taken no notice of. Yet the idea of
suffering freely accepted, of the cross and of the blood of Christ,
operated in wide circles as a holy mystery, in which the deepest wisdom
and power of the Gospel must somehow lie concealed.[266] The peculiarity
and uniqueness of the work of the historical Christ seemed, however, to
be prejudiced by the assumption that Christ, essentially as the same
person, was already in the Old Testament the Revealer of God. All
emphasis must therefore fall on this--without a technical reflection
which cannot be proved--that the Divine revelation has now, through the
historical Christ, become accessible and intelligible to all, and that
the life which was promised will shortly be made manifest.[267]

As to the facts of the history of Jesus, the real and the supposed, the
circumstance that they formed the ever repeated proclamation about
Christ gave them an extraordinary significance. In addition to the birth
from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, the death, the resurrection, the
exaltation to the right hand of God, and the coming again, there now
appeared more definitely the ascension to heaven, and also, though more
uncertainly, the descent into the kingdom of the dead. The belief that
Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after the resurrection, gradually
made way against the older conception, according to which resurrection
and ascension really coincided, and against other ideas which maintained
a longer period between the two events. That probably is the result of a
reflection which sought to distinguish the first from the later
manifestations of the exalted Christ, and it is of the utmost importance
as the beginning of a demarcation of the times. It is also very probable
that the acceptance of an actual _ascensus in coelum_, not a mere
_assumptio_, was favourable to the idea of an actual descent of Christ
_de coelo_, therefore to the pneumatic Christology and vice versa. But
there is also closely connected with the _ascensus in coelum_, the
notion of a _descensus ad inferna_, which commended itself on the ground
of Old Testament prediction. In the first century, however, it still
remained uncertain, lying on the borders of those productions of
religious fancy which were not able at once to acquire a right of
citizenship in the communities.[268]

One can plainly see that the articles contained in the _Kerygma_ were
guarded and defended in their reality ([Greek: kat' alêtheian]) by the
professional teachers of the Church, against sweeping attempts at
explaining them away, or open attacks on them.[269] But they did not yet
possess the value of dogmas, for they were neither put in an
indissoluble union with the idea of salvation, nor were they stereotyped
in their extent, nor were fixed limits set to the imagination in the
concrete delineation and conception of them.[270]

§ 7. _The Worship, the Sacred Ordinances, and the Organisation of the

It is necessary to examine the original forms of the worship and
constitution, because of the importance which they acquired in the
following period even for the development of doctrine.

1. In accordance with the purely spiritual idea of God, it was a fixed
principle that only a spiritual worship is well pleasing to Hun, and
that all ceremonies are abolished, [Greek: hina ho kainos nomos tou
kuriou hêmôn Iêsou Christou mê anthropôpoiêton echêi tên
prosphoran].[271] But as the Old Testament and the Apostolic tradition
made it equally certain that the worship of God is a sacrifice, the
Christian worship of God was set forth under the aspect of the spiritual
sacrifice. In the most general sense it was conceived as the offering of
the heart and of obedience, as well as the consecration of the whole
personality, body and soul (Rom XIII. 1) to God.[272] Here, with a
change of the figure, the individual Christian and the whole community
were described as a temple of God.[273] In a more special sense, prayer
as thanksgiving and intercession,[274] was regarded as the sacrifice
which was to be accompanied, without constraint or ceremony, by fasts
and acts of compassionate love.[275] Finally, prayers offered by the
worshipper in the public worship of the community, and the gifts brought
by them, out of which were taken the elements for the Lord's supper, and
which were used partly in the common meal, and partly in support of the
poor, were regarded as sacrifice in the most special sense ([Greek:
prosphora, dôra]).[276] For the following period, however, it became of
the utmost importance, (1) that the idea of sacrifice ruled the whole
worship, (2) that it appeared in a special manner in the celebration of
the Lord's supper, and consequently invested that ordinance with a new
meaning, (3) that the support of the poor, alms, especially such alms as
had been gained by prayer and fasting, was placed under the category of
sacrifice (Heb. XIII. 16), for this furnished the occasion for giving
the widest application to the idea of sacrifice, and thereby
substituting for the original Semitic Old Testament idea of sacrifice
with its spiritual interpretation, the Greek idea with its
interpretation.[277] It may, however, be maintained that the changes
imposed on the Christian religion by Catholicism, are at no point so
obvious and far-reaching, as in that of sacrifice, and especially in the
solemn ordinance of the Lord's supper, which was placed in such close
connection with the idea of sacrifice.

2. When in the "Teaching of the Apostles," which may be regarded here as
a classic document, the discipline of life in accordance with the words
of the Lord, Baptism, the order of fasting and prayer, especially the
regular use of the Lord's prayer, and the Eucharist are reckoned the
articles on which the Christian community rests, and when the common
Sunday offering of a sacrifice made pure by a brotherly disposition, and
the mutual exercise of discipline are represented as decisive for the
stability of the individual community,[278] we perceive that the general
idea of a pure spiritual worship of God has nevertheless been realised
in definite institutions, and that, above all, it has included the
traditional sacred ordinances, and adjusted itself to them as far as
that was possible.[279] This could only take effect under the idea of
the symbolical, and therefore this idea was most firmly attached to
these ordinances. But the symbolical of that time is not to be
considered as the opposite of the objectively real, but as the
mysterious, the God produced ([Greek: mystêrion]) as contrasted with the
natural, the profanely clear. As to Baptism, which was administered in
the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, though Cyprian, Ep. 73. 16-18,
felt compelled to oppose the custom of baptising in the name of Jesus,
we noted above (Chap. III. p. 161 f.) that it was regarded as the bath
of regeneration, and as renewal of life, inasmuch as it was assumed that
by it the sins of the past state of blindness were blotted out.[280] But
as faith was looked upon as the necessary condition,[281] and as on the
other hand, the forgiveness of the sins of the past was in itself deemed
worthy of God,[282] the asserted specific result of baptism remained
still very uncertain, and the hard tasks which it imposed, might seem
more important than the merely retrospective gifts which it
proffered.[283] Under such circumstances the rite could not fail to lead
believers about to be baptized, to attribute value here to the
mysterious as such.[284] But that always creates a state of things which
not only facilitates, but positively prepares for the introduction of
new and strange ideas. For neither fancy nor reflection can long
continue in the vacuum of mystery. The names [Greek: sphragis] and
[Greek: phôtismos], which at that period came into fashion for baptism,
are instructive, inasmuch as neither of them is a direct designation of
the presupposed effect of baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and as
besides, both of them evince a Hellenic conception. Baptism in being
called the seal,[285] is regarded as the guarantee of a blessing, not as
the blessing itself, at least the relation to it remains obscure; in
being called enlightenment,[286] it is placed directly under an aspect
that is foreign to it. It would be different if we had to think of
[Greek: phôtismos] as a gift of the Holy Spirit, which is given to the
baptised as real principle of a new life and miraculous powers. But the
idea of a necessary union of baptism with a miraculous communication of
the Spirit, seems to have been lost very early, or to have become
uncertain, the actual state of things being no longer favourable to
it;[287] at any rate, it does not explain the designation of baptism as
[Greek: phôtismos].

As regards the Lord's Supper, the most important point is that its
celebration became more and more the central point, not only for the
worship of the Church, but for its very life as a Church. The form of
this celebration, the common meal, made it appear to be a fitting
expression of the brotherly unity of the community (on the public
confession before the meal, see Didache, 14, and my notes on the
passage). The prayers which it included presented themselves as vehicles
for bringing before God, in thanksgiving and intercession, every thing
that affected the community; and the presentation of the elements for
the holy ordinance was naturally extended to the offering of gifts for
the poor brethren, who in this way received them from the hand of God
himself. In all these respects, however, the holy ordinance appeared as
a sacrifice of the community, and indeed, as it was also named, [Greek:
eucharistia], sacrifice of thanksgiving.[288] As an act of sacrifice,
_termini technici_ which the Old Testament applied to sacrifice could be
applied to it, and all the wealth of ideas which the Old Testament
connects with sacrifice, could be transferred to it. One cannot say that
anything absolutely foreign was therewith introduced into the ordinance,
however doubtful it may be whether in the idea of its founder the meal
was thought of as a sacrificial meal. But it must have been of the most
wide-reaching significance, that a wealth of ideas was in this way
connected with the ordinance, which had nothing whatever in common,
either with the purpose of the meal as a memorial of Christ's
death,[289] or with the mysterious symbols of the body and blood of
Christ. The result was that the one transaction obtained a double value.
At one time it appeared as the [Greek: prosphora] and [Greek: thusia] of
the Church,[290] as the pure sacrifice which is presented to the great
king by Christians scattered over the world, as they offer to him their
prayers, and place before him again what he has bestowed in order to
receive it back with thanks and praise. But there is no reference in
this to the mysterious words that the bread and wine are the body of
Christ broken, and the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of sin.
These words, in and of themselves, must have challenged a special
consideration. They called forth the recognition in the sacramental
action, or rather in the consecrated elements, of a mysterious
communication of God, a gift of salvation, and this is the second
aspect. But on a purely spiritual conception of the Divine gift of
salvation, the blessings mediated through the Holy Supper could only be
thought of as spiritual (faith, knowledge, or eternal life), and the
consecrated elements could only be recognised as the mysterious vehicles
of these blessings. There was yet no reflection on the distinction
between symbol and vehicle; the symbol was rather regarded as the
vehicle, and vice versa. We shall search in vain for any special
relation of the partaking of the consecrated elements to the forgiveness
of sin. That was made impossible by the whole current notions of sin and
forgiveness. That on which value was put was the strengthening of faith
and knowledge, as well as the guarantee of eternal life, and a meal in
which there was appropriated not merely common bread and wine, but a
[Greek: trophê pneumatikê], seemed to have a bearing upon these. There
was as yet little reflection; but there can be no doubt that thought
here moved in a region bounded, on the one hand, by the intention of
doing justice to the wonderful words of institution which had been
handed down, and on the other hand, by the fundamental conviction that
spiritual things can only be got by means of the Spirit.[291] There was
thus attached to the Supper the idea of sacrifice, and of a sacred gift
guaranteed by God. The two things were held apart, for there is as yet
no trace of that conception, according to which the body of Christ
represented in the bread[292] is the sacrifice offered by the community.
But one feels almost called upon here to construe from the premises the
later development of the idea, with due regard to the ancient Hellenic
ideas of sacrifice.

3. The natural distinctions among men, and the differences of position
and vocation which these involve, were not to be abolished in the
Church, notwithstanding the independence and equality of every
individual Christian, but were to be consecrated: above all, every
relation of natural piety was to be respected. Therefore the elders also
acquired a special authority, and were to receive the utmost deference
and due obedience. But, however important the organisation that was
based on the distinction between [Greek: presbuteroi] and [Greek:
neoteroi], it ought not to be considered as characteristic of the
Churches, not even where there appeared at the head of the community a
college of chosen elders, as was the case in the greater communities and
perhaps soon everywhere. On the contrary, only an organisation founded
on the gifts of the Spirit [Greek: charismata], bestowed on the Church
by God,[293] corresponded to the original peculiarity of the Christian
community. The Apostolic age therefore transmitted a twofold
organisation to the communities. The one was based on the [Greek:
diakonia tou logou], and was regarded as established directly by God;
the other stood in the closest connection with the economy of the
church, above all with the offering of gifts, and so with the
sacrificial service. In the first were men speaking the word of God,
commissioned and endowed by God, and bestowed on Christendom, not on a
particular community, who as [Greek: apostoloi, prophêtai], and [Greek:
didaskaloi] had to spread the Gospel, that is to edify the Church of
Christ. They were regarded as the real [Greek: hêgoumenoi] in the
communities, whose words given them by the Spirit all were to accept in
faith. In the second were [Greek: episkopoi], and [Greek: diakonoi],
appointed by the individual congregation and endowed with the charisms
of leading and helping, who had to receive and administer the gifts, to
perform the sacrificial service (if there were no prophets present), and
take charge of the affairs of the community.[294] It lay in the nature
of the case that as a rule the [Greek: episkopoi], as independent
officials, were chosen from among the elders, and might thus coincide
with the chosen [Greek: presbyteroi]. But a very important development
takes place in the second half of our epoch. The prophets and
teachers--as the result of causes which followed the naturalising of the
Churches in the world--fell more and more into the background, and their
function, the solemn service of the word, began to pass over to the
officials of the community, the bishops, who already played a great rôle
in the public worship. At the same time, however, it appeared more and
more fitting to entrust one official, as chief leader (superintendent of
public worship), with the reception of gifts and their administration,
together with the care of the unity of public worship, that is, to
appoint one bishop instead of a number of bishops, leaving, however, as
before, the college of presbyters, as [Greek: proistamenoi tês
ekklêsias], a kind of senate of the community.[295] Moreover, the idea
of the chosen bishops and deacons as the antitypes of the Priests and
Levites, had been formed at an early period in connection with the idea
of the new sacrifice. But we find also the idea, which is probably the
earlier of the two, that the prophets and teachers, as the commissioned
preachers of the word, are the priests. The hesitancy in applying this
important allegory must have been brought to an end by the disappearance
of the latter view. But it must have been still more important that the
bishops, or bishop, in taking over the functions of the old [Greek:
lalountes ton logon], who were not Church officials, took over also the
profound veneration with which they were regarded as the special organs
of the Spirit. But the condition of the organisation in the communities
about the year 140, seems to have been a very diverse one. Here and
there, no doubt, the convenient arrangement of appointing only one
bishop was carried out, while his functions had not perhaps been
essentially increased, and the prophets and teachers were still the
great spokesmen. Conversely, there may still have been in other
communities a number of bishops, while the prophets and teachers no
longer played regularly an important rôle. A fixed organisation was
reached, and the Apostolic episcopal constitution established, only in
consequence of the so-called Gnostic crisis, which was epoch-making in
every respect. One of its most important presuppositions, and one that
has struck very deep into the development of doctrine must, however, be
borne in mind here. As the Churches traced back all the laws according
to which they lived, and all the blessings they held sacred, to the
tradition of the twelve Apostles, because they regarded them as
Christian only on that presupposition, they also in like manner, as far
as we can discover, traced back their organisation of presbyters, i.e.,
of bishops and deacons, to Apostolic appointment. The notion which
followed quite naturally, was that the Apostles themselves had appointed
the first church officials.[296] That idea may have found support in
some actual cases of the kind, but this does not need to be considered
here; for these cases would not have led to the setting up of a theory.
But the point in question here is a theory, which is nothing else than
an integral part of the general theory, that the twelve Apostles were in
every respect the middle term between Jesus and the present Churches
(see above, p. 158). This conception is earlier than the great Gnostic
crisis, for the Gnostics also shared it. But no special qualities of the
officials, but only of the Church itself, were derived from it, and it
was believed that the independence and sovereignty of the Churches were
in no way endangered by it, because an institution by Apostles was
considered equivalent to an institution by the Holy Spirit, whom they
possessed, and whom they followed. The independence of the Churches
rested precisely on the fact that they had the Spirit in their midst.
The conception here briefly sketched, was completely transformed in the
following period by the addition of another idea--that of Apostolic
succession,[297] and then became, together with the idea of the specific
priesthood of the leader of the Church, the most important means of
exalting the office above the community.[298]


This review of the common faith and the beginnings of knowledge, worship
and organisation, in the earliest Gentile Christianity, will have shewn
that the essential premises for the development of Catholicism were
already in existence before the middle of the second century, and before
the burning conflict with Gnosticism. We may see this, whether we look
at the peculiar form of the _Kerygma_, or at the expression of the idea
of tradition, or at the theology with its moral and philosophic
attitude. We may therefore conclude that the struggle with Gnosticism
hastened the development, but did not give it a new direction. For the
Greek spirit, the element which was most operative in Gnosticism, was
already concealed in the earliest Gentile Christianity itself: it was
the atmosphere which one breathed; but the elements peculiar to
Gnosticism were for the most part rejected.[299] We may even go back a
step further (see above, pp. 41, 76). The great Apostle to the Gentiles
himself, in his epistle to the Romans, and in those to the Corinthians,
transplanted the Gospel into Greek modes of thought. He attempted to
expound it with Greek ideas, and not only called the Greeks to the Old
Testament and the Gospel, but also introduced the Gospel as a leaven
into the religious and philosophic world of Greek ideas. Moreover, in
his pneumatico-cosmic Christology he gave the Greeks an impulse towards
a theologoumenon, at whose service they could place their whole
philosophy and mysticism. He preached the foolishness of Christ
crucified, and yet in doing so, proclaimed the wisdom of the
nature-vanquishing Spirit, the heavenly Christ. From this moment was
established a development which might indeed assume very different
forms, but in which all the forces and ideas of Hellenism must gradually
pass over to the Gospel. But even with this the last word has not been
said; on the contrary, we must remember that the Gospel itself belonged
to the fulness of the times, which is indicated by the inter-action of
the Old Testament and the Hellenic religions (see above, pp. 41, 56).

The documents which have been preserved from the first century of the
Gentile Church are, in their relation to the history of Dogma, very
diverse. In the Didache we have a Catechism for Christian life,
dependent on a Jewish Greek Catechism, and giving expression to what was
specifically Christian in the prayers, and in the order of the Church.
The Epistle of Barnabas, probably of Alexandrian origin, teaches the
correct, Christian, interpretation of the Old Testament, rejects the
literal interpretation and Judaism as of the devil, and in Christology
essentially follows Paul. The Romish first Epistle of Clement, which
also contains other Pauline reminiscences (reconciliation and
justification) represents the same Christology, but it set it in a
moralistic mode of thought. This is a most typical writing in which the
spirit of tradition, order, stability, and the universal ecclesiastical
guardianship of Rome is already expressed. The moralistic mode of
thought is classically represented by the Shepherd of Hermas, and the
second Epistle of Clement, in which, besides, the eschatological element
is very prominent. We have in the Shepherd the most important document
for the Church Christianity of the age, reflected in the mirror of a
prophet who, however, takes into account the concrete relations. The
theology of Ignatius is the most advanced, in so far as he, opposing the
Gnostics, brings the facts of salvation into the foreground, and directs
his Gnosis not so much to the Old Testament as to the history of Christ.
He attempts to make Christ [Greek: kata pneuma] and [Greek: kata sarka]
the central point of Christianity. In this sense his theology and speech
is Christocentric, related to that of Paul and the fourth Evangelist,
(specially striking is the relationship with Ephesians), and is strongly
contrasted with that of his contemporaries. Of kindred spirit with him
are Melito and Irenæus, whose forerunner he is. He is related to them as
Methodius at a later period was related to the classical orthodox
theology of the fourth and fifth centuries. This parallel is
appropriate, not merely in point of form: it is rather one and the same
tendency of mind which passes over from Ignatius to Melito, Irenæus,
Methodius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa (here, however, mixed with
Origenic elements), and to Cyril of Alexandria. Its characteristic is
that not only does the person of Christ as the God-man form the central
point and sphere of theology, but also that all the main points of his
history are mysteries of the world's redemption. (Ephes. 19). But
Ignatius is also distinguished by the fact that behind all that is
enthusiastic, pathetic, abrupt, and again all that pertains to
liturgical form, we find in his epistles a true devotion to Christ
([Greek: ho theos mou]). He is laid hold of by Christ: Cf. Ad. Rom. 6:
[Greek: ekeinon zêtô, ton hyper hêmôn apothanonta, ekeinon thelô ton di'
hêmas anastanta]; Rom. 7: [Greek: ho emos erôs estaurôtai kai ouk estin
en emoi pur philoulon]. As a sample of his theological speech and his
rule of faith, see ad. Smyrn. 1: [Greek: enoêsa humas katêrtismenous en
akinêtô pistei, hôsper kathêlômenous en tô staurô tou kuriou Iêsou
Christou sarki te kai pneumati kai hêdrasmenous en agapê en tô haimati
Christou, peplêrophorêmenous eis ton kuriou hêmôn, alêthôs onta ek
genous Dabid kata sarka, huion theou kata thelêma kai dunamin theou,
gegenêmenon alêthôs ek parthenou, bebaptismenon hypo Iôannou, hina
plêrôthê pasa dikaiosunê hup' autou, alêthôs epi Pontiou Pilatou kai
Hêrôdou tetrarchou kathêlômenon huper hêmôn en sarki--aph' hou karpou
hêmeis, apo tou theomakaritou autou pathous--hina arê sussêmon eis tous
aiônas dia tês anastaseôs eis tous agious kai pistous autou eite en
Ioudaious eite en ethnesin en heni sômati tês ekklêsias autou]. The
Epistle of Polycarp is characterised by its dependence on earlier
Christian writings (Epistles of Paul, 1 Peter, 1 John), consequently, by
its conservative attitude with regard to the most valuable traditions of
the Apostolic period. The _Kerygma_ of Peter exhibits the transition
from the early Christian literature to the apologetic (Christ as [Greek:
nomos] and as [Greek: logos]).

It is manifest that the lineage, "Ignatius, Polycarp, Melito, Irenæus",
is in characteristic contrast with all others, has deep roots in the
Apostolic age, as in Paul and in the Johannine writings, and contains in
germ important factors of the future formation of dogma, as it appeared
in Methodius, Athanasius, Marcellus, Cyril of Jerusalem. It is very
doubtful therefore, whether we are justified in speaking of an Asia
Minor theology. (Ignatius does not belong to Asia Minor.) At any rate,
the expression, Asia Minor-Romish Theology, has no justification. But it
has its truth in the correct observation, that the standards by which
Christianity and Church matters were measured and defined, must have
been similar in Rome and Asia Minor during the second century. We lack
all knowledge of the closer connections. We can only again refer to the
journey of Polycarp to Rome, to that of Irenæus by Rome to Gaul, to the
journey of Abercius and others (cf. also the application of the
Montanist communities in Asia Minor for recognition by the Roman
bishop). In all probability, Asia Minor, along with Rome, was the
spiritual centre of Christendom from about 60-200: but we have but few
means for describing how this centre was brought to bear on the
circumference. What we do know belongs more to the history of the Church
than to the special history of dogma.

_Literature._--The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers. See the
edition of v. Gebhardt, Harnack, Zahn, 1876. Hilgenfeld, Nov. Test.
extra Can. recept. fasc. IV. 2 edit. 1884, has collected further remains
of early Christian literature. The Teaching of the twelve Apostles.
Fragments of the Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter (my edition, 1893). Also
the writings of Justin and other apologists, in so far as they give
disclosures about the faith of the communities of his time, as well as
statements in Celsus [Greek: Alêthês Logos], in Irenæus, Clement of
Alexandria, and Tertullian. Even Gnostic fragments may be cautiously
turned to profit. Ritschl, Entstehung der altkath. Kirche 2 Aufl. 1857.
Pfleiderer, Das Urchristenthum, 1887. Renan, Origins of Christianity,
vol. V. V. Engelhardt, Das Christenthum Justin's, d. M. 1878, p. 375 ff.
Schenkel, Das Christusbild der Apostel, etc., 1879. Zahn, Gesch. des
N.-Tlichen Kanons, 2 Bde. 1888. Behm, Das Christliche Gesetzthum der
Apostolischen Väter (Zeitschr. f. kirchl. Wissensch. 1886). Dorner,
History of the doctrine of the Person of Christ, 1845. Schultz, Die
Lehre von der Gottheit Christi, 1881, p. 22 ff. Höfling. Die Lehre der
ältesten Kirche vom Opfer, 1851. Höfling, Das Sacrament d. Taufe, 1848.
Kahnis, Die Lehre vom Abendmahl, 1851. Th. Harnack, Der Christliche
Gemeindegottedienst im Apost. u. Altkath. Zeitalter, 1854. Hatch,
Organisation of the Early Church, 1883. My Prolegomena to the Didache
(Texte u. Unters. II. Bd. H. 1, 2). Diestel, Gesch. des A.T. in der
Christi. Kirche, 1869. Sohm, Kirchenrecht, 1892, Monographs on the
Apostolic Fathers: on 1 Clem.: Lipsius, Lightfoot (most accurate
commentary), Wrede; on 2 Clem.: A. Harnack (Ztschr. f. K. Gesch. 1887);
on Barnabas: J. Müller; on Hermas: Zahn, Hückstädt, Link; on Papias:
Weiffenbach, Leimbach, Zahn, Lightfoot; on Ignatius and Polycarp:
Lightfoot (accurate commentary) and Zahn; on the Gospel and Apocalypse
of Peter: A. Harnack: on the Kerygma of Peter: von Dobschütz; on Acts of
Thecla: Schlau.

[Footnote 162: The statements made in this chapter need special
forbearance, especially as the selection from the rich and motley
material--cf. only the so-called Apostolic Fathers--the emphasising of
this, the throwing into the background of that element, cannot here be
vindicated. It is not possible, in the compass of a brief account, to
give expression to that elasticity and those oscillations of ideas and
thoughts which were peculiar to the Christians of the earliest period.
There was indeed, as will be shewn, a complex of tradition in many
respects fixed, but this complex was still under the dominance of an
enthusiastic fancy, so that what at one moment seemed fixed, in the next
had disappeared. Finally, attention must be given to the fact that when
we speak of the beginnings of knowledge, the members of the Christian
community in their totality are no longer in question, but only
individuals who of course were the leaders of the others. If we had no
other writings from the times of the Apostolic Fathers than the first
Epistle of Clement and the Epistle of Polycarp, it would be
comparatively easy to sketch a clear history of the development
connecting Paulinism with the old-Catholic Theology as represented by
Irenæus, and so to justify the traditional ideas. But besides these two
Epistles which are the classic monuments of the mediating tradition, we
have a great number of documents which shew us how manifold and
complicated the development was. They also teach us how careful we
should be in the interpretation of the post-Apostolic documents that
immediately followed the Pauline Epistles, and that we must give special
heed to the paragraphs and ideas in them, which distinguish them from
Paulinism. Besides, it is of the greatest importance that those two
Epistles originated in Rome and Asia Minor, as these are the places
where we must seek the embryonic stage of old-Catholic doctrine.
Numerous fine threads, in the form of fundamental ideas and particular
views, pass over from the Asia Minor theology of the post-Apostolic
period into the old-Catholic theology.]

[Footnote 163: The Epistle to the Hebrews (X. 25), the Epistle of
Barnabas (IV. 10), the Shepherd of Hermas (Sim. IX. 26, 3), but
especially the Epistles of Ignatius and still later documents, shew that
up to the middle of the second Century, and even later, there were
Christians who, for various reasons, stood outside the union of
communities, or wished to have only a loose and temporary relation to
them. The exhortation: [Greek: epi to auto sunerchomenoi sunzêteite peri
tou koinê sumpherontos] (see my note on Didache, XVI. 2, and cf.) for
the expression the interesting State Inscription which was found at
Magnesia on the Meander. Bull, Corresp. Hellen 1883, p. 506: [Greek:
apagoreuo mête sunerchesthai tous artokokous kat' hetairian mête
parestêkotas thrasunesthai, peitharchein de pantôs tois huper tou koinê
sumpherontos epitattomenois k.t.l.] or the exhortation: [Greek:
kollasthe tois hagiois, hoti hoi kollômenoi autois hagiasthêsontai] (1
Clem. 46. 2, introduced as [Greek: graphê]) runs through most of the
writings of the post-Apostolic and pre-catholic period. New doctrines
were imported by wandering Christians who, in many cases, may not
themselves have belonged to a community, and did not respect the
arrangements of those they found in existence, but sought to form
conventicles. If we remember how the Greeks and Romans were wont to get
themselves initiated into a mystery cult, and took part for a long time
in the religious exercises, and then, when they thought they had got the
good of it, for the most part or wholly to give up attending, we shall
not wonder that the demand to become a permanent member of a Christian
community was opposed by many. The statements of Hermas are specially
instructive here.]

[Footnote 164: "Corpus sumus," says Tertullian at a time when this
description had already become an anachronism, "de conscientia
religionis et disciplinæ unitate et spei foedere." (Apol. 39: cf. Ep.
Petri ad Jacob. I.: [Greek: eis theos, eis nomos, mia elpis]). The
description was applicable to the earlier period, when there was no such
thing as a federation with political forms, but when the consciousness
of belonging to a community and of forming a brotherhood ([Greek:
adelphotês]) was all the more deeply felt: See, above all, 1 Clem ad
Corinth., the Didache (9-15), Aristides, Apol 15: "and when they have
become Christians, they call them (the slaves) brethren without
hesitation ... for they do not call them brethren according to the
flesh, but according to the spirit and in God;" cf. also the statements
on brotherhood in Tertullian and Minucius Felix (also Lucian). We have
in 1 Clem. I. 2, the delineation of a perfect Christian Church. The
Epistles of Ignatius are specially instructive as to the independence of
each individual community: 1 Clem. and Didache, as to the obligation to
assist stranger communities by counsel and action, and to support the
travelling brethren. As every Christian is a [Greek: paroikos] so every
community is a [Greek: paroikousa tên polin] but it is under obligation
to give an example to the world, and must watch that "the name be not
blasphemed." The importance of the social element in the oldest
Christian communities, has been very justly brought into prominence in
the latest works on the subject (Renan, Heinrici, Hatch). The historian
of dogma must also emphasise it, and put the fluid notions of the faith
in contrast with the definite consciousness of moral tasks. See 1 Clem.
47-50; Polyc. Ep. 3; Didache 1 ff.; Ignat. ad Eph. 14, on [Greek: agapê]
as the main requirement Love demands that everyone "[Greek: zêtei to
koinôpheles pasin kai mê to heautou]" (1 Clem. 48. 6, with parallels;
Didache 16. 3; Barn. 4. 10; Ignatius).]

[Footnote 165: 1 Clem. 59. 2. in the Church prayer; [Greek: hopôs ton
arithmon ton katêrithmênon tôn eklektôn autou en holô tôi kosmô
diaphulaxê athrauston ho dêmiourgos tôn hapantôn dia tou êgapêmenou
paidos autou Iêsou Christou].]

[Footnote 166: See 1 Clem., 2 Clem., Ignatius (on the basis of the
Pauline view; but see also Rev. II. 9).]

[Footnote 167: See Hermas (the passage is given above, p. 103, note).]

[Footnote 168: See Hermas Vis. I-III. Papias. Fragm. VI. and VII. of my
edition. 2 Clem. 14: [Greek: poiountes to thelêma tou patros hêmôn
esometha ek tês ekklêsias tês prôtês tês pneumatikês, tês pro hêliou kai
selênês ektismenes.... ekklêsia zôsa sôma esti Christou legei gar hê
graphê epoiêsen ho theos ton anthrôpon arsen kai thêlu. to arsen estin
ho Christos, to thêlu hê ekklêsia].]

[Footnote 169: See Barn. 13 (2 Clem. 2).]

[Footnote 170: See Valentinus in Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 52. "Holy Church",
perhaps also in Marcion, if his text (Zahn. Gesch. des N.T.-lichen
Kanons, II. p. 502) in Gal. IV. 21, read: [Greek: hêtis estin mêtêr
humôn, gennôsa eis hên epengeilametha hagian ekklêsian].]

[Footnote 171: Barn. 3. 6.]

[Footnote 172: We are also reminded here of the "tertium genus." The
nickname of the heathen corresponded to the self-consciousness of the
Christians (see Aristides, Apol).]

[Footnote 173: See also the letter of Pliny the paragraphs about
Christian morality, in the first third part of Justin's apology and
especially the apology of Aristides c. 15. Aristides portrays
Christianity by portraying Christian morality. The Christians know and
believe in God the creator of heaven and of earth, the God by whom all
things consist, i.e. in him from whom they have received the
commandments which they have written in their hearts commandments, which
they observe in faith and in the expectation of the world to come. For
this reason they do not commit adultery, nor practise unchastity, nor
bear false witness, nor covet that with which they are entrusted or what
does not belong to them, etc. Compare how in the Apocalypse of Peter
definite penalties in hell are portrayed for the several forms of

[Footnote 174: An investigation of the Greco Jewish Christian literature
of norms and moral rules commencing with the Old Testament doctrine of
wisdom on the one hand and the Stoic collections on the other then
passing beyond the Alexandrian and Evangelic norms up to the Didache,
the Pauline tables of domestic duties, the Sibylline sayings,
Phocylides, the Neopythagorean rules and to the norms of the enigmatic
Sextus, is still an unfulfilled task. The moral rules of the Pharisaic
Rabbis should also be included.]

[Footnote 175: Herm. Mand. I. has merely fixed the Monotheistic
confession [Greek: proton pantôn pisteuson, hoti eis estin ho theos, ho
ta panta ktisas kai katartisas k.t.l.] See Praed Petri in Clem Strom VI.
6, 48, VI. 5, 39. Aristides gives in c. 2 of his Apology the preaching
of Jesus Christ but where he wishes to give a short expression of
Christianity he is satisfied with saying that Christians are those who
have found the one true God. See e.g. c. 15.

Christians have found the truth. They know and believe in God the
creator of heaven and of earth by whom all things consist and from whom
all things come who has no other god beside him and from whom they have
received commandments which they have written on their hearts,
commandments which they observe in faith and in expectation of the world
to come. It is interesting to note how Origen Comm. in Joh. XXXII. 9 has
brought the Christological Confession into approximate harmony with that
of Hermas. First Mand. I. is verbally repeated and then it is said
[Greek: chrê de kai pisteuein, hoti kurios Iêsous Christos kai pase tê
peri autou kata tên theotêta kai tên anthropôteta alêtheia dei de kai
eis to hagion pisteuein pneuma, kai hoti autexousioi ontes kolazometha
men eph' hois hamartanomen timômetha de eph' hois eu prattomen].]

[Footnote 176: Very instructive here is 2 Clem. ad Corinth. 20, 5
[Greek: to monô theo aorato, patri tês alêtheias, tô exatosteilanti
hêmin ton sôtêra kai archêgon tês aphtharsias, di' ou kai ephanerôsen
hêmin tên alêtheian kai tên epouranion zôên, autô he doxa]. On the Holy
Spirit see previous note.]

[Footnote 177: They were quoted as [Greek: hê graphê, ta biblia], or
with the formula [Greek: ho theos (kurios) legei, gegraptai]. Also Law
and Prophets. Law Prophets and Psalms. See the original of the first six
books of the Apostolic Constitutions.]

[Footnote 178: See the collection of passages in Patr. App. Opp. edit.
Gebhardt. 1. 2 p. 133, and the formula, Diogn. 11: [Greek: apostolôn
genomenos mathêtês ginomai didaskalos ethnôn, ta paradothenta axiôs
hupêretôn ginomenois alêtheias mathêtais]. Besides the Old Testament and
the traditions about Jesus (Gospels), the Apocalyptic writings of the
Jews, which were regarded as writings of the Spirit, were also drawn
upon. Moreover, Christian letters and manifestoes proceeding from
Apostles, prophets, or teachers, were read. The Epistles of Paul were
early collected and obtained wide circulation in the first half of the
second century; but they were not Holy Scripture in the specific sense,
and therefore their authority was not unqualified.]

[Footnote 179: Barn. 5. 6, [Greek: hoi prophetai, apo tou kuriou
echontes tên charin, eis auton eprophêteusan]. Ignat. ad Magn. 8. 2. cf.
also Clem. Paedag. I. 7. 59: [Greek: ho gar autos houtos paidagôgos tote
men "phobêthêsê kurion ton theon elegen, hêmin de agapêseis kurion ton
theon sou" tarênesen. dia touto kai entelletai hêmin "pausasthe apo tôn
ergôn humôn" tôn palaiôn hamartiôn, "mathete kalon poiein, ekklinon apo
kakou kai poiêson agathon, êgapêsas dikaiosunên, emisêsas anomian" hautê
mou hê nea diathêkê palaìoi kecharagmenê grammati].]

[Footnote 180: See above § 5, p. 114 f.]

[Footnote 181: See my edition of the Didache. Prolegg. p. 32 ff.; Rothe,
"De disciplina arcani origine," 1841.]

[Footnote 182: The earliest example is 1 Cor. XI. 1 f. It is different
in 1 Tim. III. 16, where already the question is about [Greek: to tês
eusebeias mystêrion]. See Patr. App. Opp. 1. 2. p. 134.]

[Footnote 183: Father, son, and spirit: Paul; Matt XXVIII. 19; 1 Clem.
ad. Cor. 58. 2 (see 2. 1. f.; 42. 3; 46. 6); Didache 7; Ignat. Eph. 9.
1; Magn. 13. 1. 2.; Philad. inscr.; Mart. Polyc. 14. 1. 2; Ascens. Isai.
8 18:9. 27:10. 4:11. 32ff;, Justin _passim_; Montan. ap. Didym. de
trinit. 411; Excerpta ex Theodot. 80; Pseudo Clem. de virg. 1 13. Yet
the omission of the Holy Spirit is frequent, as in Paul, or the Holy
Spirit is identified with the Spirit of Christ. The latter takes place
even with such writers as are familiar with the baptismal formula.
Ignat. ad Magn. 15; [Greek: kektêmenoi adiakriton pneuma, hos estin
Iêsous Christos.].]

[Footnote 184: The formulæ run: "God who has spoken through the
Prophets," or the "Prophetic Spirit," etc.]

[Footnote 185: That should be assumed as certain in the case of the
Egyptian Church, yet Caspari thinks he can shew that already Clement of
Alexandria presupposes a symbol.]

[Footnote 186: Also in the communities of Asia Minor (Smyrna); for a
combination of Polyc. Ep. c. 2 with c. 7, proves that in Smyrna the
[Greek: paradotheis logos] must have been something like the Roman
Symbol, see Lightfoot on the passage; it cannot be proved that it was
identical with it. See, further, how in the case of Polycarp the moral
element is joined on to the dogmatic. This reminds us of the Didache and
has its parallel even in the first homily of Aphraates.]

[Footnote 187: See Caspari, Quellen z. Gesch. des Taufsymbols, III. p. 3
ff. and Patr. App. Opp. 1. 2. p 115-142. The old Roman Symbol reads:
[Greek: Pisteuô eis theon patera pantokratora, kai eis Christon Iêsoun
(ton) huion autou ton monogenê], (on this word see Westcott's Excursus
in his commentary on 1st John) [Greek: ton kurion hêmôn ton gennêthenta
ek pneumatos hagiou kai Marias tês parthenou, ton epi Pontiou Pilatou
staurôthenta kai taphenta; tê tritê hêmerai anastanta ek nekrôn,
anabanta eis tous ouranous, kathêmenon en dexia tou patros, hothen
erchetai krinai zôntas kai nekrous. kai eis pneuma hagion, hagian
ekklêsian, aphesin hamartiôn sarkos anastasin, amên]. To estimate this
very important article aright we must note the following: (1) It is not
a formula of doctrine, but of confession. (2) It has a liturgical form
which is shewn in the rhythm and in the disconnected succession of its
several members, and is free from everything of the nature of polemic.
(3) It tapers off into the three blessings, Holy Church, forgiveness of
sin, resurrection of the body, and in this as well as in the fact that
there is no mention of [Greek: gnôsis (alêtheia) kai zôê aiônos], is
revealed an early Christian untheological attitude. (4) It is worthy of
note, on the other hand, that the birth from the Virgin occupies the
first place, and all reference to the baptism of Jesus, also to the
Davidic Sonship, is wanting. (5) It is further worthy of note, that
there is no express mention of the death of Jesus, and that the
Ascension already forms a special member (that is also found elsewhere,
Ascens. Isaiah, c. 3. 13. ed. Dillmann. p. 13. Murator. Fragment, etc.).
Finally, we should consider the want of the earthly Kingdom of Christ
and the mission of the twelve Apostles, as well as, on the other hand,
the purely religious attitude, no notice being taken of the new law.
Zahn (Das Apostol. Symbolum, 1893) assumes, "That in all essential
respects the identical baptismal confession which Justin learned in
Ephesus about 130, and Marcion confessed in Rome about 145, originated
at latest somewhere about 120." In some "unpretending notes" (p. 37 ff.)
he traces this confession back to a baptismal confession of the Pauline
period ("it had already assumed a more or less stereotyped form in the
earlier Apostolic period"), which, however, was somewhat revised, so far
as it contained, for example, "of the house of David", with reference to
Christ. "The original formula, reminding us of the Jewish soil of
Christianity, was thus remodelled, perhaps about 70-120, with retention
of the fundamental features, so that it might appear to answer better to
the need of candidates for baptism, proceeding more and more from the
Gentiles.... This changed formula soon spread on all sides. It lies at
the basis of all the later baptismal confessions of the Church, even of
the East. The first article was slightly changed in Rome about 200-220."
While up till then, in Rome as everywhere else, it had read [Greek:
pisteuô eis hena theon pantokratora], it was now changed in [Greek:
pisteuô eis theon patera pantokratora]. This hypothesis, with regard to
the early history of the Roman Symbol, presupposes that the history of
the formation of the baptismal confession in the Church, in east and
west, was originally a uniform one. This cannot be proved; besides, it
is refuted by the facts of the following period. It presupposes
secondly, that there was a strictly formulated baptismal confession
outside Rome before the middle of the second century, which likewise
cannot be proved; (the converse rather is probable, that the fixed
formulation proceeded from Rome.) Moreover, Zahn himself retracts
everything again by the expression "more or less stereotyped form;" for
what is of decisive interest here is the question, when and where the
fixed sacred form was produced. Zahn here has set up the radical thesis
that it can only have taken place in Rome between 200 and 220. But
neither his negative nor his positive proof for a change of the Symbol
in Rome at so late a period is sufficient. No sure conclusion as to the
Symbol can be drawn from the wavering _regulæ fidei_ of Irenæus and
Tertullian which contain the "unum"; further, the "unum" is not found in
the western provincial Symbols, which, however, are in part earlier than
the year 200. The Romish correction must therefore have been
subsequently taken over in the provinces (Africa?). Finally, the formula
[Greek: theon patera pantokratora] beside the more frequent [Greek:
theon pantokratora] is attested by Irenæus, I. 10. 1, a decisive
passage. With our present means we cannot attain to any direct knowledge
of Symbol formation before the Romish Symbol. But the following
hypotheses, which I am not able to establish here, appear to me to
correspond to the facts of the case and to be fruitful: (1) There were,
even in the earliest period, separate _Kerygmata_ about God and Christ:
see the Apostolic writings, Hermas, Ignatius, etc. (2) The _Kerygma_
about God was the confession of the one God of creation, the almighty
God. (3) The _Kerygma_ about Christ had essentially the same historical
contents everywhere, but was expressed in diverse forms: (a) in the form
of the fulfilment of prophecy, (b) in the form [Greek: kata sarka, kata
pneuma], (c) in the form of the first and second advent, (d) in the
form, [Greek: katabas-anabas]; these forms were also partly combined.
(4) The designations "Christ", "Son of God" and "Lord"; further, the
birth from the Holy Spirit, or [Greek: kata pneuma], the sufferings (the
practice of exorcism contributed also to the fixing and naturalising of
the formula "crucified under Pontius Pilate"), the death, the
resurrection, the coming again to judgment, formed the stereotyped
content of the _Kerygma_ about Jesus. The mention of the Davidic
Sonship, of the Virgin Mary, of the baptism by John, of the third day,
of the descent into Hades, of the _demonstratio veræ carnis post
resurrectionem_, of the ascension into heaven and the sending out of the
disciples, were additional articles which appeared here and there. The
[Greek: sarka labon], and the like, were very early developed out of the
forms (b) and (d). All this was already in existence at the transition
of the first century to the second. (5) The proper contribution of the
Roman community consisted in this, that it inserted the _Kerygma_ about
God and that about Jesus into the baptismal formula, widened the clause
referring to the Holy Spirit, into one embracing Holy Church,
forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body, excluded theological
theories in other respects, undertook a reduction all round, and
accurately defined everything up to the last world. (6) The western
_regulæ fidei_ do not fall back exclusively on the old Roman Symbol, but
also on the earlier freer _Kerygmata_ about God and about Jesus which
were common to the east and west; not otherwise can the _regulæ fidei_
of Irenæus and Tertullian, for example, be explained. But the symbol
became more and more the support of the _regula_. (7) The eastern
confessions (baptismal symbols) do not fall back directly on the Roman
Symbol, but were probably on the model of this symbol, made up from the
provincial _Kerygmata_, rich in contents and growing ever richer,
hardly, however, before the third century. (8) It cannot be proved, and
it is not probable, that the Roman Symbol was in existence before
Hermas, that is, about 135.]

[Footnote 188: See the fragment in Euseb. H. E. III. 39, from the work
of Papias.]

[Footnote 189: [Greek: Didachê kurion dia tôn ib' apostolôn] (Did.
inscr.) is the most accurate expression (similarly 2 Pet. III. 2).
Instead of this might be said simply [Greek: ho kurios] (Hegesipp.).
Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E. IV. 22. 3; See also Steph. Gob.) comprehends
the ultimate authorities under the formula: [Greek: hôs ho nomos
kêrussei kai hoi prophêtai kai ho kurios], just as even Pseudo Clem de
Virg. I. 2: "Sicut ex lege ac prophetis et a domino nostro Jesu Christo
didicimus." Polycarp (6.3) says: [Greek: kathôs autos eneteilato kaì hoi
euangelisamenoi hêmas apostoloi kai hoi prophêtai hoi prokêruxantes tên
eleusin tou kuriou hêmôn]. In the second Epistle of Clement (14. 2) we
read: [Greek: ta biblia] (O.T.) [Greek: kai hoi apostoloi, to
euangelion] may also stand for [Greek: ho kurios]; (Ignat., Didache. 2
Clem. etc.). The Gospel, so far as it is described, is quoted as [Greek:
ta apomnêmoneumata t. apostolôn] (Justin, Tatian), or on the other hand,
as [Greek: hai kuriakai graphai], (Dionys. Cor. in Euseb. H. E. IV. 23.
12: at a later period in Tertull. and Clem. Alex.). The words of the
Lord, in the same way as the words of God, are called simply [Greek: ta
logia (kuriaka)]. The declaration of Serapion at the beginning of the
third century (Euseb., H. E. VI. 12. 3): [Greek: hêmeis kai Petron kai
tous allous apostolous apodechometha hôs Christon], is an innovation in
so far as it puts the words of the Apostles fixed in writing and as
distinct from the words of the Lord, on a level with the latter. That
is, while differentiating the one from the other, Serapion ascribes to
the words of the apostles and those of the Lord equal authority. But the
development which led to this position, had already begun in the first
century. At a very early period there were read in the communities,
beside the Old Testament, Gospels, that is collections of words of the
Lord, which at the same time contained the main facts of the history of
Jesus. Such notes were a necessity (Luke 1.4; [Greek: hina epignôs peri
hôn katêchêthês logôn tên asphaleian]), and though still indefinite and
in many ways unlike, they formed the germ for the genesis of the New
Testament. (See Weiss, Lehrb. d. Einleit in d. N. T. p. 21 ff.). Further
there were read Epistles and Manifestoes by apostles, prophets and
teachers, but, above all, Epistles of Paul. The Gospels at first stood
in no connection with these Epistles, however high they might be prized.
But there did exist a connection between the Gospels and the [Greek: ap'
archês autoptais kai hupêretais tou logou], so far as these mediated the
tradition of the Evangelic material, and on their testimony rests the
_Kerygma_ of the Church about the Lord as the Teacher, the crucified and
risen One. Here lies the germ for the genesis of a canon which will
comprehend the Lord and the Apostles, and will also draw in the Pauline
Epistles. Finally, Apocalypses were read as Holy Scriptures.]

[Footnote 190: Read, apart from all others, the canonical Gospels, the
remains of the so-called Apocryphal Gospels, and perhaps the Shepherd of
Hermas: see also the statements of Papias.]

[Footnote 191: That Peter was in Antioch follows from Gal. II.; that he
laboured in Corinth, perhaps before the composition of the first epistle
to the Corinthians, is not so improbable as is usually maintained (1
Cor.; Dionys. of Corinth); that he was at Rome even is very credible.
The sojourn of John in Asia Minor cannot, I think, be contested.]

[Footnote 192: See how in the three early "writings of Peter" (Gospel,
Apocalypse, _Kerygma_) the twelve are embraced in a perfect unity. Peter
is the head and spokesman for them all.]

[Footnote 193: See Papias and the Reliq. Presbyter, ap. Iren., collecta
in Patr. Opp. I. 2, p. 105: see also Zahn, Forschungen. III., p. 156 f.]

[Footnote 194: The Gentile-Christian conception of the significance of
the twelve--a fact to be specially noted--was all but unanimous (see
above Chap. II.): the only one who broke through it was Marcion. The
writers of Asia Minor, Rome and Egypt coincide in this point. Beside the
Acts of the Apostles, which is specially instructive, see 1 Clem. 42;
Barn 5. 9, 8. 3: Didache inscr.; Hermas, Vis. III. 5, 11; Sim. IX. 15,
16, 17, 25; Petrusev-Petrusapok. Præd. Petr. ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48;
Ignat. ad Trall. 3; ad Rom 4; ad Philad. 5; Papias; Polyc., Aristides;
Justin _passim_; inferences from the great work of Irenæus, the works of
Tertull. and Clem. Alex; the Valentinians. The inference that follows
from the eschatological hope, that the Gospel has already been preached
to the world, and the growing need of having a tradition mediated by
eye-witnesses co-operated here, and out of the twelve who were in great
part obscure, but who had once been authoritative in Jerusalem and
Palestine, and highly esteemed in the Christian Diaspora from the
beginning, though unknown, created a court of appeal, which presented
itself as not only taking a second rank after the Lord himself, but as
the medium through which alone the words of the Lord became the
possession of Christendom, as he neither preached to the nations nor
left writings. The importance of the twelve in the main body of the
Church may at any rate be measured by the facts, that the personal
activity of Jesus was confined to Palestine, that he left behind him
neither a confession nor a doctrine, and that in this respect the
tradition tolerated no more corrections. Attempts which were made in
this direction, the fiction of a semi-Gentile origin of Christ, the
denial of the Davidic Sonship, the invention of a correspondence between
Jesus and Abgarus, meetings of Jesus with Greeks, and much else, belong
only in part to the earliest period, and remained as really inoperative
as they were uncertain (according to Clem. Alex., Jesus himself is the
Apostle to the Jews; the twelve are the Apostles to the Gentiles in
Euseb. H. E. VI. 141). The notion about the twelve Apostles evangelising
the world in accordance with the commission of Jesus, is consequently to
be considered as the means by which the Gentile Christians got rid of
the inconvenient fact of the merely local activity of Jesus (compare how
Justin expresses himself about the Apostles: their going out into all
the world is to him one of the main articles predicted in the Old
Testament, Apol. 1. 39; compare also the Apology of Aristides, c. 2, and
the passage of similar tenor in the Ascension of Isaiah, where the
"adventus XII. discipulorum" is regarded as one of the fundamental facts
of salvation, c. 3. 13, ed. Dillmann, p 13, and a passage such as Iren.
fragm. XXIX. in Harvey II., p. 494, where the parable about the grain of
mustard seed is applied to the [Greek: logos epouranios] and the twelve
Apostles; the Apostles are the branches [Greek: hup' hôn kladôn
skepasthentes hoi pantes hôs ornea hupo kalian sunelthonta metelabon tês
ex autôn proerchomenês edôdimou kai epouraniou trophês] Hippol. de
Antichr. 61. Orig. c. Cels. III. 28). This means, as it was empty of
contents, was very soon to prove the most convenient instrument for
establishing ever new historical connections, and legitimising the
_status quo_ in the communities. Finally, the whole catholic idea of
tradition was rooted in that statement which was already, at the close
of the first century, formulated by Clement of Rome (c. 42): [Greek: hoi
apostoloi hêmin euêngelisthêsan apo tou kuriou Iêsou Christou, Iêsous ho
christos apo tou theou exepemphthê. ho christos oun apo tou theou, kai
hoi apostoloi apo tou Christou; egenonto oun amphotera eutaktôs ek
thelêmatos theou, k.t.l.] Here, as in all similar statements which
elevate the Apostles into the history of revelation, the unanimity of
all the Apostles is always presupposed, so that the statement of Clem.
Alex. (Strom VII., 17, 108: [Greek: mia hê pantôn gegone tôn apostolôn
hôsper didaskalia houtôs de kai hê paradosis], see Tertull., de præscr.
32: "Apostoli non diversa inter se docuerent," Iren. alii), contains no
innovation, but gives expression to an old idea: That the twelve
unitedly proclaimed one and the same message, that they proclaimed it to
the world, that they were chosen to this vocation by Christ, that the
communities possess the witness of the Apostles as their rule of conduct
(Excerp. ex Theod. 25 [Greek: hosper hupo tôn zôdion hê genesis
dioikeitai houtôs hupo tôn apostolôn hê anagennêsis]) are authoritative
theses which can be traced back as far as we have any remains of
Gentile-Chnstian literature. It was thereby presupposed that the
unanimous _kerygma_ of the twelve Apostles which the communities possess
as [Greek: kanôn tês paradoseôs] (1 Clem. 7), was public and accessible
to all. Yet the idea does not seem to have been everywhere kept at a
distance that besides the _kerygma_ a still deeper knowledge was
transmitted by the Apostles or by certain Apostles to particular
Christians who were specially gifted. Of course we have no direct
evidence of this, but the connection in which certain Gnostic unions
stood at the beginning with the communities developing themselves to
Catholicism and inferences from utterances of later writers (Clem. Alex.
Tertull.), make it probable that this conception was present in the
communities here and there even in the age of the so-called Apostolic
Fathers. It may be definitely said that the peculiar idea of tradition
([Greek: theos--christos--hoi dodeka apostoloi--ekklêsiai]) in the
Gentile Churches is very old but that it was still limited in its
significance at the beginning and was threatened (1) by a wider
conception of the idea 'Apostle' (besides, the fact is important that
Asia Minor and Rome were the very places where a stricter idea of
Apostle made its appearance. See my Edition of the Didache, p. 117), (2)
by free prophets and teachers moved by the Spirit, who introduced new
conceptions and rules and whose word was regarded as the word of God,
(3) by the assumption not always definitely rejected, that besides the
public tradition of the _kerygma_ there was a secret tradition. That
Paul as a rule was not included in this high estimate of the Apostles is
shewn by this fact among others, that the earlier Apocryphal Acts of the
Apostles are much less occupied with his person than with the rest of
the Apostles. The features of the old legends which make the Apostles in
their deeds, their fate, nay even in appearance as far as possible,
equal to the person of Jesus himself deserve special consideration (see,
for example the descent of the Apostles into hell in Herm. Sim. IX. 16),
for it is just here that the fact above established that the activity of
the Apostles was to make up for the want of the activity of Jesus
himself among the nations stands clearly out (See Acta Johannis ed. Zahn
p 246 [Greek: ho eklexamenos hêmas eis apostolên ethnôn ho ekpempsas
hêmas eis tên oikoumenen theos ho deixas heauton dia tôn apostolôn] also
the remarkable declaration of Origen about the Chronicle of Phlegon
[Hadrian], that what holds good of Christ, is in that Chronicle
transferred to Peter; finally we may recall to mind the visions in which
an Apostle suddenly appears as Christ). Between the judgment of value
[Greek: hêmeis tous apostolous apodechometha hôs Christon] and those
creations of fancy in which the Apostles appear as gods and demigods
there is certainly a great interval but it can be proved that there are
stages lying between these extreme points. It is therefore permissible
to call to mind here the oldest Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles although
they may have originated almost completely in Gnostic circles (see also
the Pistis Sophia which brings a metaphysical theory to the
establishment of the authority of the Apostles, p. 11, 14; see Texte u
Unters VII. 2 p. 61 ff.). Gnosticism here as frequently elsewhere is
related to common Christianity as excess progressing to the invention of
a myth with a tendency to a historical theorem determined by the effort
to maintain one's own position; cf. the article from the _kerygma_ of
Peter in Clem. Strom. VI. 6, 48 [Greek: Exelexamên humas dôdeka
mathêtas, k.t.l.] the introduction to the basal writing of the first 6
books of the Apostolic Constitutions and the introduction to the
Egyptian ritual, [Greek: kata keleusin tou kuriou humôn k.t.l.] Besides
it must be admitted that the origin of the idea of tradition and its
connection with the twelve is obscure; what is historically reliable
here has still to be investigated, even the work of Seufert (Der Urspr.
u. d. Bedeutung des Apostolats in der christl Kirche der ersten zwei
Jahrhunderte, 1887) has not cleared up the dark points. We will perhaps
get more light by following the important hint given by Weizsäcker
(Apost. Age p. 13 ff.) that Peter was the first witness of the
resurrection, and was called such in the _kerygma_ of the communities
(see 1 Cor. XV., 5 Luke XXIV. 34). The twelve Apostles are also further
called [Greek: hoi peri ton Petron] (Mrc. fin. in L Ign. ad Smyrn. 3,
cf. Luke VIII. 45, Acts II. 14, Gal. I. 18 f., 1 Cor. XV. 5), and it is
a correct historical reminiscence when Chrysostom says (Hom. in Joh.
88), [Greek: ho Petros ekêritos ên tôn apostolôn kai stoma tôn mathêtôn
kai koruphê tou chorou.] Now as Peter was really in personal relation
with important Gentile-Christian communities, that which held good of
him, the recognized head and spokesman of the twelve, was perhaps
transferred to these. One has finally to remember that besides the
appeal to the twelve there was in the Gentile Churches an appeal to
Peter and Paul (but not for the evangelic _kerygma_) which has a certain
historical justification, cf. Gal. II. 8, 1 Cor. I. 12 f., IX. 5, 1
Clem. Ign. ad Rom. 4 and the numerous later passages. Paul in claiming
equality with Peter, though Peter was the head and mouth of the twelve
and had himself been active in mission work, has perhaps contributed
most towards spreading the authority of the twelve. It is notable how
rarely we find any special appeal to John in the tradition of the main
body of the Church. For the middle of the 2nd century the authority of
the twelve Apostles may be expressed in the following statements: (1)
They were missionaries for the world, (2) They ruled the Church and
established Church Offices, (3) They guaranteed the true doctrine (a) by
the tradition going back to them, (b) by writings, (4) They are the
ideals of Christian life, (5) They are also directly mediators of
salvation--though this point is uncertain.]

[Footnote 195: See Didache c. 1-10, with parallel passages.]

[Footnote 196: Cf., for example, the first epistle of Clement to the
Corinthians with the Shepherd of Hermas. Both documents originated in

[Footnote 197: Compare how dogmatic and ethical elements are inseparably
united in the Shepherd, in first and second Clement, as well as in
Polycarp and Justin.]

[Footnote 198: Note the hymnal parts of the Revelation of John, the
great prayer with which the first epistle of Clement closes, the "carmen
dicere Christo quasi deo," reported by Pliny, the eucharist prayer in
the [Greek: Didachê], the hymn 1 Tim. III. 16, the fragments from the
prayers which Justin quotes, and compare with these the declaration of
the anonymous writer in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 5, that the belief of the
earliest Christians in the Deity of Christ might be proved from the old
Christian hymns and odes. In the epistles of Ignatius the theology
frequently consists of an aimless stringing together of articles
manifestly originating in hymns and the cultus.]

[Footnote 199: The prophet and teacher express what the Spirit of God
suggests to them. Their word is therefore God's word, and their
writings, in so far as they apply to the whole of Christendom, are
inspired, holy writings. Further, not only does Acts XV. 22 f. exhibit
the formula [Greek: edoxen tôi pneumati tôi hagiôi kai hêmin] (see
similar passages in the Acts), but the Roman writings also appeal to the
Holy Spirit (1 Clem. 63. 2): likewise Barnabas, Ignatius, etc. Even in
the controversy about the baptism of heretics a Bishop gave his vote
with the formula: "secundum motum animi mei et spiritus sancti" (Cypr.
Opp. ed. Hartel, I. p. 457).]

[Footnote 200: The so-called Chiliasm--the designation is unsuitable and
misleading--is found wherever the Gospel is not yet Hellenised (see, for
example, Barn. 4. 15; Hermas; 2 Clem.; Papias [Euseb. III. 39]; [Greek:
Didachê], 10. 16; Apoc. Petri; Justin. Dial. 32, 51, 80, 82, 110, 139;
Cerinthus), and must be regarded as a main element of the Christian
preaching (see my article "Millenium" in the Encycl. Brit.) In it lay
not the least of the power of Christianity in the first century, and the
means whereby it entered the Jewish propaganda in the Empire and
surpassed it. The hopes springing out of Judaism were at first but
little modified, that is, only so far as the substitution of the
Christian communities for the nation of Israel made modification
necessary. In all else even the details of the Jewish hopes of the
future were retained, and the extra-canonical Jewish Apocalypses (Esra,
Enoch, Baruch, Moses, etc.) were diligently read alongside of Daniel.
Their contents were in part joined on to sayings of Jesus and they
served as models for similar productions (here therefore an enduring
connection with the Jewish religion is very plain). In the Christian
hopes of the future as in the Jewish eschatology may be distinguished
essential and accidental fixed and fluid elements. To the former belong:
(1) the notion of a final fearful conflict with the powers of the world
which is just about to break out [Greek: to teleion skandalon engiken],
(2) belief in the speedy return of Christ, (3) the conviction that after
conquering the secular power (this was variously conceived as God's
Ministers as that which restrains--2 Thess. II. 6, as a pure kingdom of
Satan see the various estimates in Justin, Melito, Irenæus and
Hippolytus) Christ will establish a glorious kingdom on the earth and
will raise the saints to share in that kingdom, and (4) that he will
finally judge all men. To the fluid elements belong the notions of the
Antichrist or of the secular power culminating in the Antichrist as well
as notions about the place, the extent, and the duration of Christ's
glorious kingdom. But it is worthy of special note that Justin regarded
the belief that Christ will set up his kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it
will endure for 1000 years, as a necessary element of orthodoxy, though
he confesses he knew Christians who did not share this belief, while
they did not like the pseudo Christians reject also the resurrection of
the body (the promise of Montanus that Christ's kingdom would be let
down at Pepuza and Tymion is a thing by itself and answers to the other
promises and pretensions of Montanus). The resurrection of the body is
expressed in the Roman Symbol while very notably the hope of Christ's
earthly kingdom is not there mentioned (see above p. 157). The great
inheritance which the Gentile Christian communities received from
Judaism is the eschatological hopes along with the Monotheism assured by
revelation and belief in providence. The law as a national law was
abolished. The Old Testament became a new book in the hands of the
Gentile Christians. On the contrary the eschatological hopes in all
their details and with all the deep shadows which they threw on the
state and public life were at first received and maintained themselves
in wide circles pretty much unchanged and only succumbed in some of
their details--just as in Judaism--to the changes which resulted from
the constant change of the political situation. But these hopes were
also destined in great measure to pass away after the settlement of
Christianity on Græco-Roman soil. We may set aside the fact that they
did not occupy the foreground in Paul, for we do not know whether this
was of importance for the period that followed. But that Christ would
set up the kingdom in Jerusalem, and that it would be an earthly kingdom
with sensuous enjoyments--these and other notions contend on the one
hand with the vigorous antijudaism of the communities, and on the other
with the moralistic spiritualism, in the pure carrying out of which the
Gentile Christians in the East at least increasingly recognised the
essence of Christianity. Only the vigorous world renouncing enthusiasm
which did not permit the rise of moralistic spiritualism and mysticism,
and the longing for a time of joy and dominion that was born of it,
protected for a long time a series of ideas which corresponded to the
spiritual disposition of the great multitude of converts only at times
of special oppression. Moreover the Christians in opposition to Judaism
were, as a rule, instructed to obey magistrates whose establishment
directly contradicted the judgment of the state contained in the
Apocalypses. In such a conflict however that judgment necessarily
conquers at last which makes as little change as possible in the
existing forms of life. A history of the gradual attenuation and
subsidence of eschatologlcal hopes in the II.-IV. centuries can only be
written in fragments. They have rarely--at best by fits and
starts--marked out the course. On the contrary if I may say so they only
gave the smoke, for the course was pointed out by the abiding elements
of the Gospel, trust in God and the Lord Christ, the resolution to a
holy life, and a firm bond of brotherhood. The quiet gradual change, in
which the eschatologlcal hopes passed away fell into the background or
lost important parts, was on the other hand a result of deep reaching
changes in the faith and life of Christendom. Chiliasm as a power was
broken up by speculative mysticism and on that account very much later
in the West than in the East. But speculative mysticism has its centre
in christology. In the earliest period this as a theory belonged more to
the defence of religion than to religion itself. Ignatius alone was able
to reflect on that transference of power from Christ which Paul had
experienced. The disguises in which the apocalyptic eschatologlcal
prophecies were set forth belonged in part to the form of this
literature (in so far as one could easily be given the lie if he became
too plain or in so far as the prophet really saw the future only in
large outline) partly it had to be chosen in order not to give political
offence. See Hippol. comm. in Daniel (Georgiades, p. 49, 51. [Greek:
noein opheilomen ta kata kairon sumbainonta kai eidotas siôpan]), but
above all Constantine orat. ad s. coetum 19, on some verses of Virgil
which are interpreted in a Christian sense but that none of the rulers
in the capital might be able to accuse their author of violating the
laws of the state with his poetry or of destroying the traditional ideas
of the procedure about the gods he concealed the truth under a veil.
That holds good also of the Apocalyptists and the poets of the Christian
Sibylline sayings.]

[Footnote 201: The hope of the resurrection of the body (1 Clem. 26. 3
[Greek: anasteseis ten sarka mou tauten], Herm. Sim. V. 7. 2 [Greek:
blepe mêtote anabê epi tên kardian sou tên sarka sou tautên phthartên
einai]. Barn. 5. 6 f., 21. 1, 2 Clem. 9. 1 [Greek: kai mê legetô tis
humôn oti hautê hê sarx ou krinetai oude anistatai]. Polyc. Ep. 7. 2,
Justin Dial. 80, etc.) finds its place originally in the hope of a share
in the glorious kingdom of Christ. It therefore disappears or is
modified wherever that hope itself falls into the background. But it
finally asserted itself through out and became of independent importance
in a new structure of eschatologlcal expectations in which it attained
the significance of becoming the specific conviction of Christian faith.
With the hope of the resurrection of the body was originally connected
the hope of a happy life in easy blessedness under green trees in
magnificent fields with joyous feeding flocks and flying angels clothed
in white. One must read the Revelation of Peter the Shepherd or the Acts
of Perpetua and Felicitas in order to see how entirely the fancy of many
Christians and not merely of those who were uncultured dwelt in a
fairyland in which they caught sight now of the Ancient of days and now
of the Youthful Shepherd Christ. The most fearful delineations of the
torments of Hell formed the reverse side to this. We now know through
the Apocalypse of Peter, how old these delineations are.]

[Footnote 202: The perfect knowledge of the truth and eternal life are
connected in the closest way (see p. 144, note 1) because the Father of
truth is also Prince of life (see Diognet. 12: [Greek: oude gar zôê aneu
gnôseôs oude gnôsis asphalês aneu zôês alêthous dio plêsion ekateron
pephyteutai], see also what follows). The classification is a Hellenic
one, which has certainly penetrated also into Palestinian Jewish
theology. It may be reckoned among the great intuitions, which in the
fulness of the times, united the religious and reflective minds of all
nations. The Pauline formula, "Where there is forgiveness of sin, there
also is life and salvation", had for centuries no distinct history. But
the formula, "Where there is truth, perfect knowledge, there also is
eternal life", has had the richest history in Christendom from the
beginning. Quite apart from John, it is older than the theology of the
Apologists (see, for example, the Supper prayer in the Didache, 9. 10,
where there is no mention of the forgiveness of sin, but thanks are
given, [Greek: huper tês gnôseôs kai pisteôs kai athanasias hês
egnôrisen hêmin ho theos dia Iêsou], or [Greek: huper tês zôês kai
gnôseôs], and 1 Clem. 36. 2: [Greek: dia touto êthelêsen ho despotes tês
athanatou gnôseôs hêmas geusasthai]). It is capable of a very manifold
content, and has never made its way in the Church without reservations,
but so far as it has we may speak of a hellenising of Christianity. This
is shewn most clearly in the fact that the [Greek: athanasia], identical
with [Greek: aphtharsia] and [Greek: zôê aiônios], as is proved by their
being often interchanged, gradually supplanted the [Greek: basileia tou
theou] ([Greek: christou]) and thrust it out of the sphere of religious
intuition and hope into that of religious speech. It should also be
noted, at the same time, that in the hope of eternal life which is
bestowed with the knowledge of the truth, the resurrection of the body
is by no means with certainty included. It is rather added to it (see
above) from another series of ideas. Conversely, the words [Greek: zôên
aiônion] were first added to the words [Greek: sarkos anastasin] in the
western Symbols at a comparatively late period, while in the prayers
they are certainly very old.]

[Footnote 203: Even the assumption of such a remission is fundamentally
in contradiction with moralism; but that solitary remission of sin was
not called in question, was rather regarded as distinctive of the new
religion, and was established by an appeal to the omnipotence and
special goodness of God, which appears just in the calling of sinners.
In this calling, grace as grace is exhausted (Barn. 5. 9; 2 Clem. 2.
4-7). But this grace itself seems to be annulled, inasmuch as the sins
committed before baptism were regarded as having been committed in a
state of ignorance (Tertull. de bapt. I.: delicta pristinæ cæcitatis),
on account of which it seemed worthy of God to forgive them, that is, to
accept the repentance which followed on the ground of the new knowledge.
So considered, everything, in point of fact, amounts to the gracious
gift of knowledge, and the memory of the saying, "Jesus receiveth
sinners", is completely obscured. But the tradition of this saying and
many like it, and above all, the religious instinct, where it was more
powerfully stirred, did not permit a consistent development of that
moralistic conception. See for this, Hermas, Sim. V. 7. 3: [Greek: perì
tôn proterôn agnoêmatôn tôi theôi monôi dunaton iasin dounai; autou gar
esti pasa exousia]. Præd. Petri ap. Clem. Strom. VI. 6. 48: [Greek: hosa
en agnoia tis humôn epoiêsen mê eidôs saphôs ton theon, ean epignous
metanoêsêi, panta autôi aphethêsetai ta hamartêmata]. Aristides, Apol.
17: "The Christians offer prayers (for the unconverted Greeks) that they
may be converted from their error. But when one of them is converted he
is ashamed before the Christians of the works which he has done. And he
confesses to God, saying: 'I have done these things in ignorance.' And
he cleanses his heart, and his sins are forgiven him, because he had
done them in ignorance, in the earlier period when he mocked and jeered
at the true knowledge of the Christians." Exactly the same in Tertull.
de pudic. so. init. The statement of this same writer (1. c. fin),
"Cessatio delicti radix est veniæ, ut venia sit pænitentiæ fructus", is
a pregnant expression of the conviction of the earliest Gentile

[Footnote 204: This idea appears with special prominence in the Epistle
of Barnabas (see 6. 11. 14); the new formation ([Greek: anaplassein])
results through the forgiveness of sin. In the moralistic view the
forgiveness of sin is the result of the renewal that is spontaneously
brought about on the ground of knowledge shewing itself in penitent

[Footnote 205: Barn. 2. 6, and my notes on the passage.]

[Footnote 206: James I. 25.]

[Footnote 207: Hermas. Sim. VIII. 3. 2; Justin Dial. II. 43; Præd. Petri
in Clem., Strom. I. 29. 182; II. 15. 68.]

[Footnote 208: Didache, c. 1., and my notes on the passage (Prolegg. p.
45 f.).]

[Footnote 209: The concepts, [Greek: epangelia, gnôsis, nomos], form the
Triad on which the later catholic conception of Christianity is based,
though it can be proved to have been in existence at an earlier period.
That [Greek: pistis] must everywhere take the lead was undoubted, though
we must not think of the Pauline idea of [Greek: pistis]. When the
Apostolic Fathers reflect upon faith, which, however, happens only
incidentally, they mean a holding for true of a sum of holy traditions,
and obedience to them, along with the hope that their consoling contents
will yet be fully revealed. But Ignatius speaks like a Christian who
knows what he possesses in faith in Christ, that is, in confidence in
him. In Barn. 1, Polyc. Ep. 2, we find "faith, hope, love"; in Ignatius,
"faith and love." Tertullian, in an excellent exposition, has shewn how
far patience is a temper corresponding to Christian faith (see besides
the Epistle of James).]

[Footnote 210: See Lipsius De Clementis R. ep. ad. Cor. priore disquis.
1855. It would be in point of method inadmissible to conclude from the
fact that in 1 Clem. Pauline formulæ are relatively most faithfully
produced, that Gentile Christianity generally understood Pauline
theology at first, but gradually lost this understanding in the course
of two generations.]

[Footnote 211: Formally: [Greek: têrêsate tên sarka agnên kai tên
sphragida aspilon] (2 Clem. 8. 6).]

[Footnote 212: Hermas (Mand. IV. 3) and Justin presuppose it. Hermas of
course sought and found a way of meeting the results of that idea which
were threatening the Church with decimation; but he did not question the
idea itself. Because Christendom is a community of saints which has in
its midst the sure salvation, all its members--this is the necessary
inference--must lead a sinless life.]

[Footnote 213: The formula, "righteousness by faith alone", was really
repressed in the second century; but it could not be entirely destroyed:
see my Essay, "Gesch. d. Seligkeit allein durch den Glauben in der alten
K." Ztsch. f. Theol. u Kirche. I. pp. 82-105.]

[Footnote 214: The only thorough discussion of the use of the Old
Testament by an Apostolic Father, and of its authority, that we possess,
is Wrede's "Untersuchungen zum 1 Clemensbrief" (1891). Excellent
preliminary investigations, which, however, are not everywhere quite
reliable, may be found in Hatch's Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889. Hatch
has taken up again the hypothesis of earlier scholars, that there were
very probably in the first and second centuries systematised extracts
from the Old Testament (see p. 203-214). The hypothesis is not yet quite
established (see Wrede, above work, p. 65), but yet it is hardly to be
rejected. The Jewish catechetical and missionary instruction in the
Diaspora needed such collections, and their existence seem to be proved
by the Christian Apologies and the Sybilline books.]

[Footnote 215: It is an extremely important fact that the words of the
Lord were quoted and applied in their literal sense (that is chiefly for
the statement of Christian morality) by Ecclesiastical authors, almost
without exception, up to and inclusive of Justin. It was different with
the theologians of the age, that is the Gnostics, and the Fathers from

[Footnote 216: Justin was not the first to do so, for it had already
been done by the so-called Barnabas (see especially c. 13) and others.
On the proofs from prophecy see my Texte und Unters. Bd. I. 3. pp.
56-74. The passage in the Praed. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 15. 128) is
very complete: [Greek: Hêmis anaptixantes tas biblous tas eichomen tôn
prophêtôn, ha men dia parabolôn ha de dia ainigmatôn, ha de authentikôs
kai autolexei ton Christon Iêsoun onomazontôn, euromen kai tên parousian
autou kai ton thanaton kai ton stauron kai tas loipas kolaseis pasas,
hosas epoiêsan autô hoi Ioudaioi, kai tên egersin kai tên eis ouranous
analêpsin pro tou Hiersoluma krithênai, kathôs egegrapto tauta panta ha
edei auton pathein kai met' auton ha estai; tauta oun epignontes
episteusamen tô theô dia tôn gegrammennôn eis auton.] With the help of
the Old Testament the teachers dated back the Christian religion to the
beginning of the human race, and joined the preparations for the
founding of the Christian community with the creation of the world. The
Apologists were not the first to do so, for Barnabas and Hermas, and
before these, Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and others
had already done the same. This was undoubtedly to the cultured classes
one of the most impressive articles in the missionary preaching. The
Christian religion in this way got a hold which the others--with the
exception of the Jewish--lacked. But for that very reason, we must guard
against turning it into a formula, that the Gentile Christians had
comprehended the Old Testament essentially through the scheme of
prediction and fulfilment. The Old Testament is certainly the book of
predictions, but for that very reason the complete revelation of God
which needs no additions and excludes subsequent changes. The historical
fulfilment only proves to the world the truth of those revelations. Even
the scheme of shadow and reality is yet entirely out of sight. In such
circumstances the question necessarily arises, as to what independent
meaning and significance Christ's appearance could have, apart from that
confirmation of the Old Testament. But, apart from the Gnostics, a
surprisingly long time passed before this question was raised, that is
to say, it was not raised till the time of Irenæus.]

[Footnote 217: See [Greek: Didachê], 8.]

[Footnote 218: See the Revelation of John II. 9; III. 9; but see also
the "Jews" in the Gospels of John and of Peter. The latter exonerates
Pilate almost completely, and makes the Jews and Herod responsible for
the crucifixion.]

[Footnote 219: See Barn. 9. 4. In the second epistle of Clement the Jews
are called: [Greek: hoi dokiountes echein theon], cf. Præd. Petri in
Clem., Strom. VI. 5. 41: [Greek: mêde kata Ioudaious sebesthe, kai gar
ekeinoi monoi oiomenoi ton theon gignôskein ouk epistantai, latreuontes
angelois kai archangelois, mênì kai selênê, kaì ean mê selênê phanêi,
sabbaton ouk agousi to legomenon prôton, oude neomênian agousin, oude
azuma, oude heortên, oude megalên hêmera]. (Cf. Diognet. 34.) Even
Justin does not judge the Jews more favourably than the Gentiles, but
less favourably; see Apol I. 37, 39, 43, 34, 47, 53, 60. On the other
hand, Aristides (Apol. c. 14, especially in the Syrian text) is much
more friendly disposed to the Jews and recognises them more. The words
of Pionius against and about the Jews, in the "Acta Pionii," c. 4, are
very instructive.]

[Footnote 220: Barn. 4. 6. f.; 14. 1 f. The author of Præd. Petri must
have had a similar view of the matter.]

[Footnote 221: Justin in the Dialogue with Trypho.]

[Footnote 222: Barn. 9 f. It is a thorough misunderstanding of Barnabas'
position towards the Old Testament to suppose it possible to pass over
his expositions, c. 6-10, as oddities and caprices, and put them aside
as indifferent or unmethodical. There is nothing here unmethodical, and
therefore nothing arbitrary. Barnabas' strictly spiritual idea of God,
and the conviction that all (Jewish) ceremonies are of the devil, compel
his explanations. These are so little ingenious conceits to Barnabas
that, but for them, he would have been forced to give up the Old
Testament altogether. The account, for example, of Abraham having
circumcised his slaves would have forced Barnabas to annul the whole
authority of the Old Testament if he had not succeeded in giving it a
particular interpretation. He does this by combining other passages of
Genesis with the narrative, and then finding in it no longer
circumcision, but a prediction of the crucified Christ.]

[Footnote 223: Barn. 9. 6: [Greek: all' ereis, kai mên peritetmêtai ho
laos eis sphragida].]

[Footnote 224: See the expositions of Justin in the Dial. (especially,
16, 18, 20, 30, 40-46); Von Engelhardt, "Christenthum Justin's", p. 429,
ff. Justin has the three estimates side by side. (1) That the ceremonial
law was a pædagogic measure of God with reference to a stiff-necked
people, prone to idolatry. (2) That it--like circumcision--was to make
the people conspicuous for the execution of judgment, according to the
Divine appointment. (3) That in the ceremonial legal worship of the Jews
is exhibited the special depravity and wickedness of the nation. But
Justin conceived the Decalogue as the natural law of reason, and
therefore definitely distinguished it from the ceremonial law.]

[Footnote 225: See Ztschr fur K.G. I., p. 330 f.]

[Footnote 226: This is the unanimous opinion of all writers of the
post-Apostolic age. Christians are the true Israel; and therefore all
Israel's predicates of honour belong to them. They are the twelve
tribes, and therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the Fathers of the
Christians. This idea, about which there was no wavering, cannot
everywhere be traced back to the Apostle Paul. The Old Testament men of
God were in a certain measure Christians. See Ignat. Magn. 8. 2: [Greek:
hoi prophêtai kata Christon Iêsoun ezêsan].]

[Footnote 227: God was naturally conceived and represented as corporeal
by uncultured Christians, though not by these alone, as the later
controversies prove (e.g., Orig. contra Melito; see also Tertull. De
anima). In the case of the cultured, the idea of a corporeality of God
may be traced back to Stoic influences; in the case of the uncultured,
popular ideas co-operated with the sayings of the Old Testament
literally understood, and the impression of the Apocalyptic images.]

[Footnote 228: See Joh. IV. 22, [Greek: hêmeis proskunoumen ho oidamen].
1 Clem. 59. 3, 4, Herm. Mand. I., Præd Petri in Clem., Strom. VI. 5. 9
[Greek: ginôskete hoti eis theos estin, hos archên pantôn epoiêsen, kai
telous exousian echôn]. Aristides Apol. 15 (Syr) "The Christians know
and believe in God, the creator of heaven and of earth." Chap. 16
"Christians as men who know God pray to him for things which it becomes
him to give and them to receive." Similarly Justin: "From very many old
Gentile Christian writings we hear it as a cry of joy 'We know God the
Almighty, the night of blindness is past'" (see, e.g., 2 Clem. c. 1).
God is [Greek: despotês], a designation which is very frequently used
(it is rare in the New Testament). Still more frequently do we find
[Greek: kurios]. As the Lord and Creator God is also called the Father
(of the world) so 1 Clem. 19. 2 [Greek: ho patêr kai ktistês tou
sumpantos kosmou]; 35. 3 [Greek: dêmiourgos kai patêr tôn aiônôn]. This
use of the name Father for the supreme God was as is well known familiar
to the Greeks, but the Christians alone were in earnest with the name.
The creation out of nothing was made decidedly prominent by Hermas, see
Vis. I. 1. 6 and my notes on the passage. In the Christian Apocrypha, in
spite of the vividness of the idea of God, the angels play the same rôle
as in the Jewish, and as in the current Jewish speculations. According
to Hermas, e.g., all God's actions are mediated by special angels, nay
the Son of God himself is represented by a special angel, viz. Michael,
and works by him. But outside the Apocalypses there seems to have been
little interest in the good angels.]

[Footnote 229: See, for example 1 Clem. 20.]

[Footnote 230: This is frequent in the Apologists, see also Diogn. 10.
2; but Hermas, Vis. II. 4. 1 (see also Cels. ap Orig. IV. 23) says
[Greek: dia tên ekklêsian ho kosmos katêrtisthê] (cf. I. 1. 6 and my
notes on the passage). Aristides (Apol. 16) declares it as his
conviction that "the beautiful things, that is, the world are maintained
only for the sake of Christians," see besides the words (I. c.), "I have
no doubt that the earth continues to exist (only) on account of the
prayers of the Christians." Even the Jewish Apocalyptists wavered
between the formulæ, that the world was created for the sake of man and
for the sake of the Jewish nation. The two are not mutually exclusive.
The statement in the Eucharistic prayer of Didache, 9. 3 [Greek: ektisas
ta panta heneken tou onomatos sou] is singular.]

[Footnote 231: God is named the Father, (1) in relation to the Son (very
frequent) (2) as Father of the world (see above) (3) as the merciful one
who has proved his goodness, declared his will and called Christians to
be his sons (1 Clem. 23. 1, 29. 1, 2 Clem. 1. 4, 8. 4, 10. 1, 14. 1, see
the index to Zahn's edition of the Ignatian Epistles, Didache, 1. 5, 9.
2, 3, 10. 2). The latter usage is not very common, it is entirely
wanting for example in the Epistle of Barnabas. Moreover God is also
called [Greek: patêr tês alêtheias] as the source of all truth (2 Clem.
3. 1, 20. 5 [Greek: theos to alêtheias]). The identity of the Almighty
God of creation with the merciful God of redemption is the tacit
presupposition of all declarations about God in the case of both the
cultured and the uncultured. It is also frequently expressed (see above
all the Pastoral Epistles), most frequently by Hermas (Vis. 1. 3. 4) so
far as the declaration about the creation of the world is there united
in the closest way with that about the creation of the Holy Church. As
to the designation of God in the Roman Symbol as the "Father Almighty,"
that threefold exposition just given, may perhaps allow it.]

[Footnote 232: The present dominion of evil demons or of one evil demon,
was just as generally presupposed as man's need of redemption, which was
regarded as a result of that dominion. The conviction that the world's
course (the [Greek: politeia en tô kosmô], the Latins afterwards used
the word Sæculum) is determined by the devil, and that the dark one
(Barnabas) has dominion, comes out most prominently where eschatological
hopes obtain expression. But where salvation is thought of as knowledge
and immortality, it is ignorance and frailty from which men are to be
delivered. We may here also assume with certainty that these, in the
last instance, were traced back by the writers to the action of demons.
But it makes a very great difference whether the judgment was ruled by
fancy which saw a real devil everywhere active, or whether, in
consequence of theoretic reflection, it based the impression of
universal ignorance and mortality on the assumption of demons who have
produced them. Here again we must note the two series of ideas which
intertwine and struggle with each other in the creeds of the earliest
period, the traditional religious series resting on a fanciful view of
history--it is essentially identical with the Jewish Apocalyptic, see,
for example Barn 4--and the empiric moralistic, (see 2 Clem. 1. 2-7, as
a specially valuable discussion, or Praed. Petri in Clem, Strom. VI. 5,
39, 40), which abides by the fact that men have fallen into ignorance,
weakness and death (2 Clem. 1. 6 [Greek: ho bios hêmôn holos allo ouden
ên ei mê thanatos]). But perhaps, in no other point, with the exception
of the [Greek: anastasis sarkos] has the religious conception remained
so tenacious as in this and it decidedly prevailed, especially in the
epoch with which we are now dealing. Its tenacity may be explained,
among other things, by the living impression of the polytheism that
surrounded the communities on every side. Even where the national gods
were looked upon as dead idols--and that was perhaps the rule, see
Praed. Petri. I. c, 2 Clem. 3. 1, Didache, 6--one could not help
assuming that there were mighty demons operative behind them, as
otherwise the frightful power of idolatry could not be explained. But on
the other hand, even a calm reflection and a temper unfriendly to all
religious excess must have welcomed the assumption of demons who sought
to rule the world and man. For by means of this assumption which was
wide-spread even among the Greeks, humanity seemed to be unburdened, and
the presupposed capacity for redemption could therefore be justified in
its widest range. From the assumption that the need of redemption was
altogether due to ignorance and mortality there was but one step, or
little more than one step, to the assumption that the need of redemption
was grounded in a condition of man for which he was not responsible,
that is, in the flesh. But this step which would have led either to
dualism (heretical Gnosis) or to the abolition of the distinction
between natural and moral, was not taken within the main body of the
Church. The eschatological series of ideas with its thesis that death
evil and sin entered into humanity at a definite historical moment when
the demons took possession of the world drew a limit which was indeed
overstepped at particular points but was in the end respected. We have
therefore the remarkable fact that, on the one hand, early Christian
(Jewish) eschatology called forth and maintained a disposition in which
the Kingdom of God, and that of the world, (Kingdom of the devil) were
felt to be absolutely opposed (practical dualism), while, on the other
hand, it rejected theoretic dualism. Redemption through Christ, however,
was conceived in the eschatological Apocalyptic series of ideas as
essentially something entirely in the future, for the power of the devil
was not broken, but rather increased (or it was virtually broken in
believers and increased in unbelievers), by the first advent of Christ,
and therefore the period between the first and second advent of Christ
belongs to [Greek: houtos ho aiôn] (see Barn. 2. 4; Herm. Sim 1; 2 Clem.
6. 3: [Greek: estin de houtos ho aiôn kai ho mellôn duo echthroi; houtos
legei moicheian kai phthoran kai philargourian kai apatên, ekeinos de
toutois apostassetai], Ignat. Magn. 5. 2). For that very reason, the
second coming of Christ must, as a matter of course, be at hand, for
only through it could the first advent get its full value. The painful
impression that nothing had been outwardly changed by Christ's first
advent (the heathen, moreover, pointed this out in mockery to the
suffering Christians), must be destroyed by the hope of his speedy
coming again. But the first advent had its independent significance in
the series of ideas which regarded Christ as redeeming man from
ignorance and mortality; for the knowledge was already given, and the
gift of immortality could only of course be dispensed after this life
was ended, but then immediately. The hope of Christ's return was
therefore a superfluity, but was not felt or set aside as such, because
there was still a lively expectation of Christ's earthly Kingdom.]

[Footnote 233: No other name adhered to Christ so firmly as that of
[Greek: kurios]; see a specially clear evidence of this, Novatian de
trinit. 30, who argues against the Adoptian and Modalistic heretics
thus: "Et in primis illud retorquendum in istos, qui duorum nobis deorum
controversiam facere præsumunt. Scriptum est, quod negare non possunt:
'Quoniam unus est dominus.' De Christo ergo quid sentiunt? Dominum esse,
aut illum omnino non esse? Sed dominum illum omnino non dubitant. Ergo
si vera est illorum ratiocinatio, jam duo sunt domini." On [Greek:
kurios--despotês], see above, p. 119, note.]

[Footnote 234: Specially instructive examples of this are found in the
Epistle of Barnabas and the second Epistle of Clement. Clement (Ep. 1)
speaks only of faith in God.]

[Footnote 235: See 1 Clem. 59-61. [Greek: Didachê], c. 9. 10. Yet
Novatian (de trinit. 14) exactly reproduces the old idea, "Si homo
tantummodo Christus, cur homo in orationibus mediator invocatur, cum
invocatio hominis ad præstandam salutem inefficax judicetur." As the
Mediator, High Priest, etc., Christ is of course always and everywhere
invoked by the Christians, but such invocations are one thing and formal
prayer another. The idea of the congruence of God's will of salvation
with the revelation of salvation which took place through Christ, was
further continued in the idea of the congruence of this revelation of
salvation with the universal preaching of the twelve chosen Apostles
(see above, p. 162 ff.), the root of the Catholic principle of
tradition. But the Apostles never became "[Greek: hoi kurioi]" though
the concepts [Greek: didachê (logos) kuriou, didachê (kêrugma) tôn
apostolôn] were just as interchangeable as [Greek: logos theou] and
[Greek: logos christou]. The full formula would be [Greek: logos theou
dia Iêsou Christou dia tôn apostolôn]. But as the subjects introduced by
[Greek: dia] are chosen and perfect media, religious usage permitted the

[Footnote 236: In the epistle of Barnabas "Jesus Christ" and "Christ"
appear each once, but "Jesus" twelve times: in the Didache "Jesus
Christ" once, "Jesus" three times. Only in the second half of the second
century, if I am not mistaken, did the designation "Jesus Christ", or
"Christ", become the current one, more and more crowding out the simple
"Jesus." Yet the latter designation--and this is not surprising--appears
to have continued longest in the regular prayers. It is worthy of note
that in the Shepherd there is no mention either of the name Jesus or of
Christ. The Gospel of Peter also says [Greek: ho kurios] where the other
Gospels use these names.]

[Footnote 237: See 1 Clem. 64: [Greek: ho theos, ho eklexamenos ton
kurion Iêsoun Christon kai hêmas di' autou eis laon periousion dôê,
k.t.l.] (It is instructive to note that wherever the idea of election is
expressed, the community is immediately thought of, for in point of fact
the election of the Messiah has no other aim than to elect or call the
community; Barn. 3. 6: [Greek: ho laos hon hêtoimasen en tô êgapêmenôi
autou]). Herm. Sim. V. 2: [Greek: eklexamenos doulon tina piston kai
euareston] V. 6. 5. Justin, Dial. 48: [Greek: mê arneisthai hoti houtos
estin ho Christos, ean phainêtai hôs anthrôpos ex anthrôpon gennêtheis
kai eklogê genomenos eis to Christon einai apodeiknuêtai].]

[Footnote 238: See Barn. 14. 5: [Greek: Iêsous eis touto hêtoimasthê,
hina ... hêmas lutrôsamenos ek tou skotous diathêtai en hêmin diathêkên
logôi]. The same word concerning the Church, I. c. 3. 6. and 5. 7:
[Greek: autos eautô ton laon ton kainon etoimazôn] 14 6.]

[Footnote 239: "Angel" is a very old designation for Christ (see
Justin's Dial.) which maintained itself up to the Nicean controversy,
and is expressly claimed for him in Novatian's treatise "de trinit." 11.
25 ff. (the word was taken from Old Testament passages which were
applied to Christ). As a rule, however, it is not to be understood as a
designation of the nature, but of the office of Christ as such, though
the matter was never very clear. There were Christians who used it as a
designation of the nature, and from the earliest times we find this idea
contradicted (see the Apoc. Sophoniæ, ed. Stern, 1886, IV. fragment, p
10: "He appointed no Angel to come to us, nor Archangel, nor any power,
but he transformed himself into a man that he might come to us for our
deliverance." Cf. the remarkable parallel, ep. ad. Diagn. 7. 2: ...
[Greek: ou, kathaper an tis eikaseien anthrôpos, hypêretên tina pempsas
ê angelon ê archonta ê tina tôn diepontôn ta epigeia hê tina tôn
pepisteumenôn tas en ouranois dioikêseis, all' auton ton technitên kai
dêmiourgon tôn holôn. k.t.l.]). Yet it never got the length of a great
controversy and as the Logos doctrine gradually made way, the
designation "Angel" became harmless and then vanished.]

[Footnote 240: [Greek: Pais] (after Isaiah): this designation,
frequently united with [Greek: Iêsous] and with the adjectives [Greek:
hagios] and [Greek: êgapêmenos] (see Barn. 3, 6; 4, 3; 4, 8; Valent. ap.
Clem. Alex., Strom. VI. 6. 52, and the Ascensio Isaiae), seems to have
been at the beginning a usual one. It sprang undoubtedly from the
Messianic circle of ideas, and at its basis lies the idea of election.
It is very interesting to observe how it was gradually put into the
background and finally abolished. It was kept longest in the liturgical
prayers: see 1 Clem. 59. 2; Barn. 61. 9. 2; Acts iii. 13, 26; iv. 27,
30; Didache, 9. 2. 3; Mart. Polyc. 14. 20; Act. Pauli et Theclæ, 17, 24;
Sibyl. I. v. 324, 331, 364; Diogn. 8, 9, 10: [Greek: ho hagapêtos pais]
9; also Ep. Orig. ad Afric. init; Clem. Strom. VII. 1. 4: [Greek: ho
monogenês pais], and my note on Barn 6. 1. In the Didache (9. 2) Jesus
as well as David is in one statement called "Servant of God." Barnabas,
who calls Christ the "Beloved", uses the same expression for the Church
(4. 1. 9); see also Ignat ad Smyrn. inscr.]

[Footnote 241: See the old Roman Symbol and Acts X. 42; 2 Tim. IV. 1;
Barn. 7. 2; Polyc. Ep. 2. 1; 2 Clem. 2. 1; Hegesipp. in Euseb. H. E.
III. 20, 6: Justin Dial. 118]

[Footnote 242: There could of course be no doubt that Christ meant the
"anointed" (even Aristides Apol. 2 fin., if Nestle's correction is
right, Justin's Apol. 1. 4 and similar passages do not justify doubt on
that point). But the meaning and the effect of this anointing was very
obscure. Justin says (Apol. II. 6) [Greek: Christos men kata to
kechristhai kai kosmêsai ta panta di autou ton theon legetai] and
therefore (see Dial. 76 fin.) finds in this designation an expression of
the cosmic significance of Christ.]

[Footnote 243: See the Apologists: Apost. K.O. (Texte. v. Unters. II. 5,
p. 25) [Greek: proorôntas tous logous tou didaskalou hêmôn], ibid, p. 28
[Greek: ote êtêsen ho didaskalos ton arton], ibid. p. 30 [Greek:
proelegen ote edidasken], Apost. Constit. (original writing) III. 6
[Greek: autos ho didaskalos hêmôn kai kurios], III. 7 [Greek: ho kurios
kai didaskalos hêmôn eipen], III. 19, III. 20, V. 12, 1 Clem. 13. 1
[Greek: tôn logôn tou kuriou Iêsou hous elalêsen didaskôn], Polyc. Ep. 2
[Greek: mnêmoneuontes hôn eipen ho kurios didaskôn], Ptolem. ad Floram 5
[Greek: hê didaskalia tou sôtêros].]

[Footnote 244: The baptismal formula which had been naturalised
everywhere in the communities at this period preserved it above all. The
addition of [Greek: idios prôtotokos] is worthy of notice. [Greek:
Monogenês] (= the only begotten and also the beloved) is not common, it
is found only in John, in Justin, in the Symbol of the Romish Church and
in Mart. Polyc. (Diogn. 10. 3).]

[Footnote 245: The so-called second Epistle of Clement begins with the
words [Greek: Adelphoi outôs dei hêmas phronein peri Iêsou hôs peri
theou, hôs peri kritou zôntôn kai nekrôn] (this order in which the Judge
appears as the higher is also found in Barn. 7. 2), [Greek: kai ou dei
hêmas mikra phronein peri tês sôtêrias hêmôn; en tô gar phronein hêmas
mikra peri autou mikra kai elpizomen labein]. This argumentation (see
also the following verses up to II. 7) is very instructive, for it shews
the grounds on which the [Greek: phronein peri autou ôs peri theou] was
based H. Schultz (L. v. d. Gottheit Christi, p. 25 f.) very correctly
remarks. In the second Epistle of Clement and in the Shepherd the
Christological interest of the writer ends in obtaining the assurance,
through faith in Christ as the world ruling King and Judge that the
community of Christ will receive a glory corresponding to its moral and
ascetic works.]

[Footnote 246: Pliny in his celebrated letter (96) speaks of a "Carmen
dicere Christo quasi deo" on the part of the Christians. Hermas has no
doubt that the Chosen Servant, after finishing his work, will be adopted
as God's Son, and therefore has been destined from the beginning,
[Greek: eis exousian megalên kai kuriotêta], Sim. V. 6. 1. But that
simply means that he is now in a Divine sphere and that one must think
of him as of God. But there was no unanimity beyond that. The formula
says nothing about the nature or constitution of Jesus. It might indeed
appear from Justin's dialogue that the direct designation of Jesus as
[Greek: theos] (not as [Greek: o theos]) was common in the communities,
but not only are there some passages in Justin himself to be urged
against this but also the testimony of other writers. [Greek: Theos],
even without the article, was in no case a usual designation for Jesus.
On the contrary, it was always quite definite occasions which led them
to speak of Christ as of a God or as God. In the first place there were
Old Testament passages such as Ps. XLV. 8, CX. 1 f. etc. which as soon
as they were interpreted in relation to Christ led to his getting the
predicate [Greek: theos]. These passages, with many others taken from
the Old Testament, were used in this way by Justin. Yet it is very well
worth noting that the author of the Epistle of Barnabas avoided this
expression in a passage which must have suggested it (12, 10, 11 on Ps.
CX. 4) The author of the Didache calls him "[Greek: o theos Dabid]" on
the basis of the above psalm. It is manifestly therefore in liturgical
formulæ of exalted paradox or living utterances of religious feeling
that Christ is called God. See Ignat. ad Rom. 6. 3, [Greek: epitrepsate
moi mimêtên einai tou pathous tou theou mou] (the [Greek: mou] here
should be observed), ad Eph. 1. 1 [Greek: anazôpurêsantes en aimati
theou], Tatian Orat. 13 [Greek: diakonos tou peponthotos theou]. As to
the celebrated passage 1 Clem. ad Cor. 2. 10 [Greek: ta pathêmata autou]
(the [Greek: autou] refers to [Greek: theos]) we may perhaps observe
that that [Greek: o theos] stands far apart. However, such a
consideration is hardly in place. The passages just adduced shew that
precisely the union of suffering (blood, death) with the concept
"God"--and only this union--must have been in Christendom from a very
early period, see Acts XX. 28 [Greek: tên ekklæsian tou theou hên
periepoiêsato dia tou haimatos tou idiou], and from a later period
Melito, Fragm (in Routh Rel Sacra I. 122), [Greek: ho theos peponthen
hupo dexias Israêlitidos], Anonym ap Euseb H. E. V. 28 11, [Greek: ho
eusplanchnos theos kai kurios hêmôn Iêsous Christos ouk ebouleto
apolesthai martura tôn idiôn pathêmatôn], Test XII. Patriarch. (Levi. 4)
[Greek: epi tô pathei tou hupsistou]; Tertull. de carne 5, "passiones
dei," ad Uxor. II. 3: "sanguine dei." Tertullian also speaks frequently
of the crucifying of God, the flesh of God, the death of God. (see
Lightfoot, Clem. of Rome, p. 400, sq.). These formulæ were first
subjected to examination in the Patripassian controversy. They were
rejected by Athanasius for example in the fourth century (cf. Apollin.
II. 13, 14, Opp. I. p. 758) [Greek: pôs oun gegraphate hoti theos ho dia
sarkos pathôn kai anastas, ... oudamou de haima theou dicha sarkos
paradedôkasin hai graphai ê theon dia sarkos pathonta kai anastanta].
They continued in use in the west and became of the utmost significance
in the christological controversies of the fifth century. It is not
quite certain whether there is a theologia Christi in such passages as
Tit. II. 13, 2 Pet. I. 1 (see the controversies on Rom. IX. 5). Finally
[Greek: theos] and Christus were often interchanged in religious
discourse (see above). In the so called second Epistle of Clement (c. 1.
4) the dispensing of right knowledge is traced back to Christ. It is
said of him that like a Father, he has called us children, he has
delivered us, he has called us into existence out of non-existence and
in this God himself is not thought of. Indeed he is called (2. 2. 3) the
hearer of prayer and the controller of history, but immediately thereon
a saying of the Lord is introduced as a saying of God (Matt. IX. 13). On
the contrary Isaiah XXIX. 13 is quoted (3. 5) as a declaration of Jesus,
and again (13. 4) a saying of the Lord with the formula [Greek: legei o
theos]. It is Christ who pitied us (3. 1, 16. 2), he is described simply
as the Lord who hath called and redeemed us (5. 1, 8. 2, 9. 5 etc). Not
only is there frequent mention of the [Greek: entolai] ([Greek:
entalmata]) of Christ, but 6. 7 (see 14. 1) speak directly of a [Greek:
poiein to thelêma tou Christou]. Above all, in the entire first division
(up to 9. 5) the religious situation is for the most part treated as if
it were something essentially between the believer and Christ. On the
other hand, (10. 1), the Father is he who calls (see also 16. 1), who
brings salvation (9. 7), who accepts us as Sons (9. 10; 16. 1); he has
given us promises (11. 1, 6. 7.); we expect his kingdom, nay, the day of
his appearing (12. 1 f.; 6. 9; 9. 6; 11. 7; 12. 1). He will judge the
world, etc.; while in 17. 4. we read of the day of Christ's appearing,
of his kingdom and of his function of Judge, etc. Where the preacher
treats of the relation of the community to God, where he describes the
religious situation according to its establishment or its consummation,
where he desires to rule the religious and moral conduct, he introduces,
without any apparent distinction, now God himself, and now Christ. But
this religious view, in which acts of God coincide with acts of Christ,
did not, as will be shewn later on, influence the theological
speculations of the preacher. We have also to observe that the
interchanging of God and Christ is not always an expression of the high
dignity of Christ, but, on the contrary, frequently proves that the
personal significance of Christ is misunderstood, and that he is
regarded only as the dependent revealer of God. All this shews that
there cannot have been many passages in the earliest literature where
Christ was roundly designated [Greek: theos]. It is one thing to speak
of the blood (death, suffering) of God, and to describe the gifts of
salvation brought by Christ as gifts of God, and another thing to set up
the proposition that Christ is a God (or God). When, from the end of the
second century, one began to look about in the earlier writings for
passages [Greek: en hois theologeitai ho christos], because the matter
had become a subject of controversy, one could, besides the Old
Testament, point only to the writings of authors from the time of Justin
(to apologists and controversialists) as well as to Psalms and odes (see
the Anonym. in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 4-6). In the following passages of
the Ignatian Epistles "[Greek: theos]" appears as a designation of
Christ; he is called [Greek: ho theos hæmôn] in Ephes. inscript.; Rom.
inscr. bis 3. 2; Polyc. 8. 3; Eph. 1. 1, [Greek: haima theou]; Rom. 6.
3, [Greek: to pathos tou theou mou]; Eph. 7. 2, [Greek: en sarki
genomenos theos], in another reading, [Greek: en anthrôpô theos], Smyrn.
I. 1, I. Chr. [Greek: ho theos ho outôs humas sophisas]. The latter
passage, in which the relative clause must he closely united with
"[Greek: ho theos]", seems to form the transition to the three passages
(Trall. 7. 1; Smyrn. 6. 1; 10. 1), in which Jesus is called [Greek:
theos] without addition. But these passages are critically suspicious,
see Lightfoot _in loco_. In the same way the "deus Jesus Christus" in
Polyc. Ep. 12. 2, is suspicious, and indeed in both parts of the verse.
In the first, all Latin codd. have "dei filius," and in the Greek codd.
of the Epistle, Christ is nowhere called [Greek: theos]. We have a keen
polemic against the designation of Christ as [Greek: theos] in Clem.
Rom. Homil. XVI. 15 sq.; [Greek: Ho Petros apekrithæ ho kurios hæmôn
oute theous einai ephthenxato para ton ktisanta ta panta oute heauton
theon einai anægoreusen, huion de theou tou ta panta diakosmæsantos ton
eiponta auton eulogôs emakarisen, kai o Simôn apekrinato; ou dokei soi
oun ton apo theou theon einai, kai ho Petros ephæ: pôs touto einai
dunatai, phrason hæmin, touto gar hæmeis eipein soi ou dunametha, hoti
mæ hækousamen par' autou.]]

[Footnote 247: On the further use of the word [Greek: theos] in
antiquity, see above, § 8, p. 120 f.; the formula "[Greek: theos ek
theou]" for Augustus, even 24 years before Christ's birth; on the
formula "dominus ac deus", see John XX. 28; the interchange of these
concepts in many passages beside one another in the anonymous writer
(Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 11). Domitian first allowed himself to be called
"dominus ac deus." Tertullian, Apol. 10. 11, is very instructive as to
the general situation in the second century. Here are brought forward
the different causes which then moved men, the cultured and the
uncultured, to give to this or that personality the predicate of
Divinity. In the third century the designation of "dominus ac deus
noster" for Christ, was very common, especially in the west (see
Cyprian, Pseudo-Cyprian, Novatian; in the Latin Martyrology a Greek
[Greek: ho kurios] is also frequently so translated). But only at this
time had the designation come to be in actual use even for the Emperor.
It seems at first sight to follow from the statements of Celsus (in
Orig. c. Cels. III. 22-43) that this Greek had and required a very
strict conception of the Godhead; but his whole work shews how little
that was really the case. The reference to these facts of the history of
the time is not made with the view of discovering the "theologia
Christi" itself in its ultimate roots--these roots lie elsewhere, in the
person of Christ and Christian experience; but that this experience,
before any technical reflection, had so easily and so surely substituted
the new formula instead of the idea of Messiah, can hardly be explained
without reference to the general religious ideas of the time.]

[Footnote 248: The combination of [Greek: theos] and [Greek: sôtêr] in
the Pastoral Epistles is very important. The two passages in the New
Testament in which perhaps a direct "theologia Christi" may be
recognised, contain likewise the concept [Greek: sôtêr]; see Tit. II.
13; [Greek: prosdechomenoi tên makarian elpida kai epiphaneian tês doxês
tou megalou theou kai sôtêros hêmôn Christou Iêsou] (cf. Abbot, Journal
of the Society of Bibl. Lit., and Exeg. 1881. June. p. 3 sq.): 2 Pet. I.
1: [Greek: en dikaiosunêi tou theou hêmôn kai sôtêros 'I. Chr.]. In both
cases the [Greek: hêmôn] should be specially noted. Besides, [Greek:
theos sôtêr] is also an ancient formula.]

[Footnote 249: A very ancient formula ran "[Greek: theos kai theos
huios]" see Cels. ap. Orig II. 30; Justin, frequently: Alterc. Sim. et
Theoph. 4, etc. The formula is equivalent to [Greek: theos monogenês]
(see Joh. I. 18).]

[Footnote 250: Such conceptions are found side by side in the same
writer. See, for example, the second Epistle of Clement, and even the

[Footnote 251: See § 6, p. 120. The idea of a [Greek: theopoiêsis] was
as common as that of the appearances of the gods. In wide circles,
however, philosophy had long ago naturalised the idea of the [Greek:
logos tou theou]. But now there is no mistaking a new element
everywhere. In the case of the Christologies which include a kind of
[Greek: theopoiêsis], it is found in the fact that the deified Jesus was
to be recognised not as a Demigod or Hero, but as Lord of the world,
equal in power and honour to the Deity. In the case of those
Christologies which start with Christ as the heavenly spiritual being,
it is found in the belief in an actual incarnation. These two articles,
as was to be expected, presented difficulties to the Gentile Christians,
and the latter more than the former.]

[Footnote 252: This is usually overlooked. Christological doctrinal
conceptions are frequently constructed by a combination of particular
passages, the nature of which does not permit of combination. But the
fact that there was no universally recognised theory about the nature of
Jesus till beyond the middle of the second century, should not lead us
to suppose that the different theories were anywhere declared to be of
equal value, etc., therefore more or less equally valid; on the
contrary, everyone, so far as he had a theory at all, included his own
in the revealed truth. That they had not yet come into conflict is
accounted for, on the one hand, by the fact that the different theories
ran up into like formulæ, and could even frequently be directly carried
over into one another, and on the other hand, by the fact that their
representatives appealed to the same authorities. But we must, above
all, remember that conflict could only arise after the enthusiastic
element, which also had a share in the formation of Christology, had
been suppressed, and problems were felt to be such, that is, after the
struggle with Gnosticism, or even during that struggle.]

[Footnote 253: Both were clearly in existence in the Apostolic age.]

[Footnote 254: Only one work has been preserved entire which gives clear
expression to the Adoptian Christology, viz., the Shepherd of Hermas
(see Sim. V. and IX. 1. 12). According to it, the Holy Spirit--it is not
certain whether he is identified with the chief Archangel--is regarded
as the pre-existent Son of God, who is older than creation, nay, was
God's counsellor at creation. The Redeemer is the virtuous man [Greek:
sarx] chosen by God, with whom that Spirit of God was united. As he did
not defile the Spirit, but kept him constantly as his companion, and
carried out the work to which the Deity had called him, nay, did more
than he was commanded, he was in virtue of a Divine decree adopted as a
son and exalted to [Greek: megalê exousia kai kuriotês]. That this
Christology is set forth in a book which enjoyed the highest honour and
sprang from the Romish community, is of great significance. The
representatives of this Christology, who in the third century were
declared to be heretics, expressly maintained that it was at one time
the ruling Christology at Rome and had been handed down by the Apostles.
(Anonym, in Euseb. H. E. V. 28. 3, concerning the Artemonites: [Greek:
phasi tous men proterous hapantas kai autous tous apostolous
pareilêphenai te kaì dedidachenai tauta, ha nun houtoi legousi, kai
tetêrêsthai tên alêtheian tou kêrygmatos mechri tôn chronôn tou Biktoros
... apo tou diadochon auto Zephurinou parakecharachthai tên alêtheian]).
This assertion, though exaggerated, is not incredible after what we find
in Hermas. It cannot, certainly, be verified by a superficial
examination of the literary monuments preserved to us, but a closer
investigation shews that the Adoptian Christology must at one time have
been very widespread, that it continued here and there undisturbed up to
the middle of the third century (see the Christology in the Acta
Archelai. 49, 50), and that it continued to exercise great influence
even in the fourth and fifth centuries (see Book II. c. 7). Something
similar is found even in some Gnostics, e.g., Valentinus himself (see
Iren. I. 11. 1: [Greek: kai ton Christon de ouk apo tôn en tôi plêrômati
aiônôn probeblêsthai, alla hupo tês mêtros, éxô de genomenês, kata tên
gnômên tôn kreittonôn apokekuêsthai meta skias tinos. Kai touton men,
hate arrena huparchontaf, apokopsanta huph' heautou tên skian,
anadramein eis to plêroma]. The same in the Exc. ex Theodot §§ 22, 23,
32, 33), and the Christology of Basilides presupposes that of the
Adoptians. Here also belongs the conception which traces back the
genealogy of Jesus to Joseph. The way in which Justin (Dialog. 48, 49,
87 ff.) treats the history of the baptism of Jesus, against the
objection of Trypho that a pre-existent Christ would not have needed to
be filled with the Spirit of God, is instructive. It is here evident
that Justin deals with objections which were raised within the
communities themselves to the pre-existence of Christ, on the ground of
the account of the baptism. In point of fact, this account (it had,
according to very old witnesses, see Resch, Agrapha Christi, p. 307,
according to Justin, for example, Dial. 88. 103, the wording: [Greek:
hama tôi anabênai auton apo tou potamou tou Iordanou, tês phônês autou
lechtheisês huios mou ei ss, egô sêmeron gegennêka se]; see the Cod. D.
of Luke. Clem. Alex, etc.) forms the strongest foundation of the
Adoptian Christology, and hence it is exceedingly interesting to see how
one compounds with it from the second to the fifth century, an
investigation which deserves a special monograph. But, of course, the
edge was taken off the report by the assumption of the miraculous birth
of Jesus from the Holy Spirit, so that the Adoptians in recognising
this, already stood with one foot in the camp of their opponents. It is
now instructive to see here how the history of the baptism, which
originally formed the beginning of the proclamation of Jesus' history,
is suppressed in the earliest formulæ, and therefore also in the Romish
Symbol, while the birth from the Holy Spirit is expressly stated. Only
in Ignatius (ad Smyrn. I; cf. ad Eph. 18. 2) is the baptism taken into
account in the confession; but even he has given the event a turn by
which it has no longer any significance for Jesus himself (just as in
the case of Justin, who concludes from the _resting_ of the Spirit in
his fulness upon Jesus, that there will be no more prophets among the
Jews, spiritual gifts being rather communicated to Christians; compare
also the way in which the baptism of Jesus is treated in Joh. I.).
Finally, we must point out that in the Adoptian Christology, the
parallel between Jesus and all believers who have the Spirit and are
Sons of God, stands out very clearly (Cf. Herm. Sim. V. with Mand. III.
V. 1; X. 2; most important is Sim. V. 6. 7). But this was the very thing
that endangered the whole view. Celsus, I. 57, addressing Jesus, asks;
"If thou sayest that every man whom Divine Providence allows to be born
(this is of course a formulation for which Celsus alone is responsible),
is a son of God, what advantage hast thou then over others?" We can see
already in the Dialogue of Justin, the approach of the later great
controversy, whether Christ is Son of God [Greek: kata gnômên], or
[Greek: kata phusin], that is, had a pre-existence: "[Greek: kai gar
eisi tines], he says, [Greek: apo tou humeterou genous homologountes
auton Christon einai, anthrôpon de ex anthrôpôn genomenon
apophainomenoi, hois ou suntithemai]" (c. 48).]

[Footnote 255: This Christology which may be traced back to the Pauline,
but which can hardly have its point of departure in Paul alone, is found
also in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the writings of John,
including the Apocalypse, and is represented by Barnabas, 1 and 2 Clem.,
Ignatius, Polycarp, the author of the Pastoral Epistles, the Authors of
Praed. Petri, and the Altercatio Jasonis et Papisci, etc. The Classic
formulation is in 2 Clem. 9. 5: [Greek: Christos ho kurios ho sôsas
hêmas ôn men to prôton pneuma egeneto sarx kai houtôs hêmas ekalesen].
According to Barnabas (5. 3), the pre-existent Christ is [Greek: pantos
tou kosmou kurios]: to him God said, [Greek: apo katabolês kosmou], "Let
us make man, etc." He is (5. 6) the subject and goal of all Old
Testament revelation. He is [Greek: ouxi huios anthrôpou all: huios tou
theou, tupôi de en sarki phanerôtheís] (12. 10); the flesh is merely the
veil of the Godhead, without which man could not have endured the light
(5. 10). According to 1 Clement, Christ is [Greek: to skêptron tês
melagosunês tou theou] (16. 2), who if he had wished could have appeared
on earth [Greek: en kompôi alazoneias], he is exalted far above the
angels (32), as he is the Son of God ([Greek: pathêmata tou theou], 2.
1); he hath spoken through the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (22. 1).
It is not certain whether Clement understood Christ under the [Greek:
logos megalosunês tou theou] (27. 4). According to 2 Clem., Christ and
the church are heavenly spiritual existences which have appeared in the
last times. Gen. I. 27 refers to their creation (c. 14; see my note on
the passage: We learn from Origen that a very old Theologoumenon
identified Jesus with the ideal of Adam, the church with that of Eve).
Similar ideas about Christ are found in Gnostic Jewish Christians); one
must think about Christ as about God (I. 1). Ignatius writes (Eph. 7-2):
[Greek: Eis, iatros estin sarkikos te kai pneumatikos, gennêtos kai
agennêtos, en sarki genomenos theos, en thanatôi zôê alêthinê, kai ek
Marias kai ek theou, prôton pathaetos kai tote apathês Iêsous Christos
ho kurios hêmôn]. As the human predicates stand here first, it might
appear as though, according to Ignatius, the man Jesus first became God
([Greek: ho theos hêmôn], Cf. Eph. inscr.: 18. 2). In point of fact, he
regards Jesus as Son of God only by his birth from the Spirit; but on
the other hand, Jesus is [Greek: aph' henos patros proelthôn] (Magn. 7.
2), is [Greek: lógos theoû] (Magn. 8. 2,) and when Ignatius so often
emphasises the truth of Jesus' history against Docetism (Trall. 9. for
example), we must assume that he shares the thesis with the Gnostics
that Jesus is by nature a spiritual being. But it is well worthy of
notice that Ignatius, as distinguished from Barnabas and Clement, really
gives the central place to the historical Jesus Christ, the Son of God
and the Son of Mary, and his work. The like is found only in Irenæus.
The pre-existence of Christ is presupposed by Polycarp. (Ep 7. 1); but,
like Paul, he strongly emphasises a real exaltation of Christ (2. 1).
The author of Præd. Petri calls Christ the [Greek: logos] (Clem. Strom.
I. 29, 182). As Ignatius calls him this also, as the same designation is
found in the Gospel, Epistles, and Apocalypse of John (the latter a
Christian adaptation of a Jewish writing), in the Act. Joh. (see Zahn,
Acta Joh. p. 220), finally, as Celsus (II. 31) says quite generally,
"The Christians maintain that the Son of God is at the same time his
incarnate Word", we plainly perceive that this designation for Christ
was not first started by professional philosophers (see the Apologists,
for example, Tatian, Orat. 5, and Melito Apolog. fragm. in the Chron.
pasch. p. 483, ed. Dindorf: [Greek: Christos ôn theou logos pro aiônôn].
We do not find in the Johannine writings such a Logos speculation as in
the Apologists, but the current expression is taken up in order to shew
that it has its truth in the appearing of Jesus Christ. The ideas about
the existence of a Divine Logos were very widely spread; they were
driven out of philosophy into wide circles. The author of the Alterc.
Jas. et Papisci conceived the phrase in Gen I. 1, [Greek: en archê], as
equivalent to [Greek: en huiôi (Christôi)] Jerome. Quæst. hebr. in Gen.
p. 3; see Tatian Orat. 5: [Greek: theos ên en archêi tên de archên logou
dunamin pareilêphamen]. Ignatius (Eph. 3) also called Christ [Greek: hê
gnómê tou patros] (Eph. 17: [Greek: hê gnôsis tou theou]); that is a
more fitting expression than [Greek: logos]. The subordination of Christ
as a heavenly being to the Godhead, is seldom or never carefully
emphasised, though it frequently comes plainly into prominence. Yet the
author of the second Epistle of Clement does not hesitate to place the
pre-existent Christ and the pre-existent church on one level, and to
declare of both that God created them (c. 14). The formulæ [Greek:
phanerousthai en sarki], or, [Greek: gignesthai sarx], are
characteristic of this Christology. It is worthy of special notice that
the latter is found in all those New Testament writers, who have put
Christianity in contrast with the Old Testament religions, and
proclaimed the conquest of that religion by the Christian, viz., Paul,
John, and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.]

[Footnote 256: Hermas, for example, does this (therefore Link;
Christologie des Hermas, and Weizsäcker, Gott Gel. Anz. 1886, p. 830,
declare his Christology to be directly pneumatic): Christ is then
identified with this Holy Spirit (see Acta. Archel. 50), similarly
Ignatius (ad. Magn. 15): [Greek: kektêmenoi adiakriton pneuma, hos estin
Iêsous Christos.] This formed the transition to Gnostic conceptions on
the one hand, to pneumatic Christology on the other. But in Hermas the
real substantial thing in Jesus Christ is the [Greek: sarx].]

[Footnote 257: Passages may indeed be found in the earliest Gentile
Christian literature, in which Jesus is designated Son of God,
independently of his human birth and before it (so in Barnabas, against
Zahn), but they are not numerous. Ignatius very clearly deduces the
predicate "Son" from the birth in the flesh. Zahn, Marcellus, p. 216

[Footnote 258: The distinct designation "[Greek: theopoiêsis]" is not
found, though that may be an accident. Hermas has the thing itself quite
distinctly (See Epiph. c. Alog. H. 51. 18: [Greek: nomizontes apo Marias
kai deuro Christon auton kaleisthai kai huion theou, kai einai men
proteron psilon anthrôpon, kata prokopên de eilêphenai tên tou huiou tou
theou prosêgorian]). The stages of the [Greek: prokopê] were undoubtedly
the birth, baptism and resurrection. Even the adherents of the pneumatic
Christology, could not at first help recognising that Jesus, through his
exaltation, got more than he originally possessed. Yet in their case,
this conception was bound to become rudimentary, and it really did so.]

[Footnote 259: The settlement with Gnosticism prepared a still always
uncertain end for this naive Docetism. Apart from Barn. 5. 12, where it
plainly appears, we have to collect laboriously the evidences of it
which have not accidentally either perished or been concealed. In the
communities of the second century there was frequently no offence taken
at Gnostic docetism (see the Gospel of Peter. Clem. Alex., Adumbrat in
Joh. Ep. I. c. 1, [Zahn, Forsch. z. Gesch. des N. T.-lichen Kanons, III.
p. 871]; "Fertur ergo in traditionibus, quoniam Johannes ipsum corpus,
quod erat extrinsecus, tangens manum suam in profunda misisse et
duritiam carnis nullo modo reluctatam esse, sed locum manui præbuisse
discipuli." Also Acta Joh. p. 219, ed. Zahn). In spite of all his
polemic against "[Greek: dokêsis]" proper, one can still perceive a
"moderate docetism" in Clem. Alex., to which indeed certain narratives
in the Canonical Gospels could not but lead. The so-called Apocryphal
literature (Apocryphal Gospels and Acts of Apostles), lying on the
boundary between heretical and common Christianity, and preserved only
in scanty fragments and extensive alterations, was, it appears,
throughout favourable to Docetism. But the later recensions attest that
it was read in wide circles.]

[Footnote 260: Even such a formulation as we find in Paul (e.g., Rom. I.
3 f. [Greek: kata sarka--kata pneuma]), does not seem to have been often
repeated (yet see 1 Clem. 32. 21). It is of value to Ignatius only, who
has before his mind the full Gnostic contrast. But even to him we cannot
ascribe any doctrine of two natures: for this requires as its
presupposition, the perception that the divinity and humanity are
equally essential and important for the personality of the Redeemer
Christ. Such insight, however, presupposes a measure and a direction of
reflection which the earliest period did not possess. The expression
"[Greek: duo ousiai Christou]" first appears in a fragment of Melito,
whose genuineness is not, however, generally recognised (see my Texte u.
Unters. I. 1. 2. p. 257). Even the definite expression for Christ
[Greek: theos ôn homou te kai anthrôpos] was fixed only in consequence
of the Gnostic controversy.]

[Footnote 261: Hermas (Sim. V. 6. 7) describes the exaltation of Jesus,
thus: [Greek: hina kai hê sarx hautê, douleusasa tôi pneumati amemptôs,
schaêi topon tina kataskênôseôs, kai mê doxêi ton misthon tês douleias
autês apolôlekenai]. The point in question is a reward of grace which
consists in a position of rank (see Sim. V. 6. 1). The same thing is
manifest from the statements of the later Adoptians. (Cf. the teaching
of Paul Samosata).]

[Footnote 262: Barnabas, e. g., conceives it as a veil (5. 10: [Greek:
ei gar mê êlthen en sarki, oud' an pôs hoi anthrôpoi esôthêsan blepontes
auton, hote ton mellonta mê einai hêlion emblepontes ouk ischusousin eis
tas aktinas autou antophthalmêsai]). The formulation of the Christian
idea in Celsus is instructive (c. Cels VI. 69): "Since God is great and
not easily accessible to the view, he put his spirit in a body which is
like our own, and sent it down in order that we might be instructed by
it." To this conception corresponds the formula: [Greek: erchesthai
(phanerousthai) en sarki] (Barnabas, frequently; Polyc. Ep. 7. 1). But
some kind of transformation must also have been thought of (See 2 Clem.
9. 5. and Celsus IV. 18: "Either God, as these suppose, is really
transformed into a mortal body...." Apoc. Sophon. ed. Stern. 4 fragm. p.
10; "He has transformed himself into a man who comes to us to redeem
us"). This conception might grow out of the formula [Greek: sarx
egeneto] (Ignat. ad. Eph. 7, 2 is of special importance here). One is
almost throughout here satisfied with the [Greek: sarx] of Christ, that
is the [Greek: alêtheía tês sarkos], against the Heretics (so Ignatius,
who was already anti-gnostic in his attitude). There is very seldom any
mention of the humanity of Jesus. Barnabas (12). the author of the
Didache (c. 10. 6. See my note on the passage), and Tatian questioned
the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, which was strongly emphasised by Ignatius;
nay, Barnabas even expressly rejects the designation "Son of Man" (12.
10; [Greek: ide palin Iêsous, ouchì huios anthrôpou alla huios tou
theou, tupo de en sarki phanerôtheis]). A docetic thought, however, lies
in the assertion that the spiritual being Christ only assumed human
flesh, however much the reality of the flesh may be emphasised. The
passage 1 Clem. 49. 6, is quite unique: [Greek: to haima autou edôken
huper hêmôn Iêsous Christos ... kai tên sarka huper tês sarkos hêmôn kai
tên psuchên huper tôn psuchôn humôn]. One would fain believe this an
interpolation; the same idea is first found in Irenæus. (V. 1. 1).]

[Footnote 263: Even Hermas docs not speak of Jesus as [Greek: anthrôpos]
(see Link). This designation was used by the representatives of the
Adoptian Christology only after they had expressed their doctrine
antithetically and developed it to a theory, and always with a certain
reservation. The "[Greek: anthrôpos Christos Iêsous]" in 1 Tim. II. 5 is
used in a special sense. The expression [Greek: anthrôpos] for Christ
appears twice in the Ignatian Epistles (the third passage Smyrn. 4. 2:
[Greek: autou me endunamountos tou teleiou anthrôpou genomenou], apart
from the [Greek: genoménou], is critically suspicious, as well as the
fourth, Eph. 7. 2; see above), in both passages, however, in connections
which seem to modify the humanity; see Eph. 20. 1: [Greek: oikonomia eis
ton kainon anthrôpon Iêsoun Christon], Eph. 20. 2: [Greek: tôi huiôi
anthrôpou kai huiôi theou].]

[Footnote 264: See above p. 185, note; p. 189, note. We have no sure
evidence that the later so-called Modalism (Monarchianism) had
representatives before the last third of the second century; yet the
polemic of Justin, Dial. 128, seems to favour the idea, (the passage
already presupposes controversies about the personal independence of the
pre-existent pneumatic being of Christ beside God; but one need not
necessarily think of such controversies within the communities; Jewish
notions might be meant, and this, according to Apol. I. 63, is the more
probable). The judgment is therefore so difficult, because there were
numerous formulæ in practical use which could be so understood, as if
Christ was to be completely identified with the Godhead itself (see
Ignat. ad Eph. 7. 2, besides Melito in Otto Corp. Apol. IX. p. 419. and
Noëtus in the Philos. IX. 10, p. 448). These formulæ may, in point of
fact, have been so understood, here and there, by the rude and
uncultivated. The strongest again is presented in writings whose
authority was always doubtful: see the Gospel of the Egyptians (Epiph.
H. 62. 2), in which must have stood a statement somewhat to this effect:
[Greek: ton auton einai patera, ton auton einai huion, ton auton einai
hagion pneuma], and the Acta Joh. (ed. Zahn, p. 220 f., 240 f.: [Greek:
ho agathos hêmôn theos ho eusplanchnos, ho eleêmôn, ho hagios, ho
katharos, ho amiantos, ho monos, ho heis, ho ametablêtos, ho eilikrinês,
ho adolos, ho mê orgizomenos, ho pasês hêmin legomenês ê nooumenês
prosêgorias anôteros kai hupsêloteros hêmôn theos Iêsous]). In the Act.
Joh. are found also prayers with the address [Greek: thee Iêsou Christe]
(pp. 242. 247). Even Marcion and a part the Montanists--both bear
witness to old traditions--put no value on the distinction between God
and Christ; cf. the Apoc. Sophon. A witness to a naive Modalism is found
also in the Acta Pionii 9: "Quem deum colis? Respondit: Christum Polemon
(judex): Quid ergo? iste alter est? [the co-defendant Christians had
immediately before confessed God the Creator] Respondit: Non; sed ipse
quem et ipsi paullo ante confessi sunt;" cf. c. 16. Yet a reasoned
Modalism may perhaps be assumed here. See also the Martyr Acts; e.g.,
Acta Petri, Andræ, Pauli et Dionysiæ I (Ruinart, p. 205): [Greek: hêmeis
oi Christon ton basilea echomen, hoti alêthinos theos estin kai poiêtês
ouranou kai gês kai thalassês]. "Oportet me magis deo vivo et vero. regi
sæculorum omnium Christo, sacrificium offerre." Act. Nicephor. 3 (p.
285). I take no note of the Testament of the twelve Patriarchs, out of
which one can, of course, beautifully verify the strict Modalistic, and
even the Adoptian Christology. But the Testamenta are not a primitive or
Jewish Christian writing which Gentile Christians have revised, but a
Jewish writing christianised at the end of the second century by a
Catholic of Modalistic views. But he has given us a very imperfect work,
the Christology of which exhibits many contradictions. It is instructive
to find Modalism in the theology of the Simonians, which was partly
formed according to Christian ideas; see Irenæus I. 23. I. "hic igitur a
multis quasi deus glorificatus est, et docuit semetipsum esse qui inter
Judæos quidem quasi filius apparuerit, in Samaria autem quasi pater
descenderit, in reliquis vero gentibus quasi Spiritus Sanctus

[Footnote 265: That is a very important fact which clearly follows from
the Shepherd. Even the later school of the Adoptians in Rome, and the
later Adoptians in general, were forced to assume a divine hypostasis
beside the Godhead, which of course sensibly threatened their
Christology. The adherents of the pneumatic Christology partly made a
definite distinction between the pre-existent Christ and the Holy Spirit
(see, e.g., 1 Clem. 22. 1), and partly made use of formulæ from which
one could infer an identity of the two. The conceptions about the Holy
Spirit were still quite fluctuating; whether he is a power of God, or
personal, whether he is identical with the pre-existent Christ, or is to
be distinguished from him, whether he is the servant of Christ (Tatian
Orat. 13), whether he is only a gift of God to believers, or the eternal
Son of God, was quite uncertain. Hermas assumed the latter, and even
Origen (de princip. præf. c. 4) acknowledges that it is not yet decided
whether or not the Holy Spirit is likewise to be regarded as God's Son.
The baptismal formula prevented the identification of the Holy Spirit
with the pre-existent Christ, which so readily suggested itself. But so
far as Christ was regarded as a [Greek: pneuma], his further demarcation
from the angel powers was quite uncertain, as the Shepherd of Hermas
proves (though see 1 Clem. 36). For even Justin, in a passage, no doubt,
in which his sole purpose was to shew that the Christians were not
[Greek: atheoi], could venture to thrust in between God, the Son and the
Spirit, the good angels as beings who were worshipped and adored by the
Christians (Apol. 1. 6 [if the text be genuine and not an
interpolation]; see also the Suppl. of Athanagoras). Justin, and
certainly most of those who accepted a pre-existence of Christ,
conceived of it as a real pre-existence. Justin was quite well
acquainted with the controversy about the independent quality of the
power which proceeded from God. To him it is not merely, "Sensus, motus,
affectus dei", but a "personalis substantia" (Dial. 128).]

[Footnote 266: See the remarkable narrative about the cross in the
fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and in Justin, Apol. 1. 55.]

[Footnote 267: We must, above all things, be on our guard here against
attributing dogmas to the churches, that is to say, to the writers of
this period. The difference in the answers to the question, How far and
by what means, Jesus procured salvation? was very great, and the
majority undoubtedly never at all raised the question, being satisfied
with recognising Jesus as the revealer of God's saving will (Didache,
10. 2: [Greek: eucharistoi men soi, pater hagie, huper tou agiou
onomatos sou, ou kateskênôsas en tais kardiais hêmôn kai huper tês
gnôseôs kai pisteôs kai athanasias, hês egnôrisas hêmin dia Iêsou tou
paidos sou]), without reflecting on the fact that this saving will was
already revealed in the Old Testament. There is nowhere any mention of a
saving work of Christ in the whole Didache, nay, even the _Kerygma_
about him is not taken notice of. The extensive writing of Hermas shews
that this is not an accident. There is absolutely no mention here of the
birth, death, resurrection, etc., of Jesus, although the author in Sim.
V had an occasion for mentioning them. He describes the work of Jesus as
(1) preserving the people whom God had chosen. (2) purifying the people
from sin, (3) pointing out the path of life and promulgating the Divine
law (c. c. 5. 6). This work however, seems to have been performed by the
whole life and activity of Jesus; even to the purifying of sin the
author has only added the words: [Greek: (kai autos tas hamartias autôn
ekatharise) polla kopiasas kai pollous kopous êntlêkôs] (Sim. V. 6. 2).
But we must further note that Hermas held the proper and obligatory work
of Jesus to be only the preservation of the chosen people (from demons
in the last days, and at the end), while in the other two articles he
saw a performance in excess of his duty, and wished undoubtedly to
declare therewith, that the purifying from sin and the giving of the law
are not, strictly speaking, integral parts of the Divine plan of
salvation, but are due to the special goodness of Jesus (this idea is
explained by Moralism). Now, as Hermas, and others, saw the saving
activity of Jesus in his whole labours, others saw salvation given and
assured in the moment of Jesus' entrance into the world, and in his
personality as a spiritual being become flesh. This mystic conception,
which attained such wide-spread recognition later on, has a
representative in Ignatius, if one can at all attribute clearly
conceived doctrines to this emotional confessor. That something can be
declared of Jesus, [Greek: kata pneuma] and [Greek: kata sarka]--this is
the mystery on which the significance of Jesus seems to Ignatius
essentially to rest, but how far is not made clear. But the [Greek:
pathos (haima, stauros)] and [Greek: anastasis] of Jesus are to the same
writer of great significance, and by forming paradoxical formulæ of
worship, and turning to account reminiscences of Apostolic sayings, he
seems to wish to base the whole salvation brought by Christ on his
suffering and resurrection (see Lightfoot on Eph. inscr. Vol. II. p.
25). In this connection also, he here and there regards all articles of
the _Kerygma_ as of fundamental significance. At all events, we have in
the Ignatian Epistles the first attempt in the post-Apostolic
literature, to connect all the theses of the _Kerygma_ about Jesus as
closely as possible with the benefits which he brought. But only the
will of the writer is plain here, all else is confused, and what is
mainly felt is that the attempt to conceive the blessings of salvation
as the fruit of the sufferings and resurrection, has deprived them of
their definiteness and clearness. In proof we may adduce the following:
If we leave out of account the passages in which Ignatius speaks of the
necessity of repentance for the Heretics, or the Heathen, and the
possibility that their sins may be forgiven (Philad. 3. 2:8. 1; Smyrn.
4. 1: 5-3; Eph. 10. 1), there remains only one passage in which the
forgiveness of sin is mentioned, and that only contains a traditional
formula (Smyrn 7. 1: [Greek: sarx Iêsou Christou, hê huper tôn hamartiôn
hêmôn pathousa]). The same writer, who is constantly speaking of the
[Greek: pathos] and [Greek: anastasis] of Christ, has nothing to say, to
the communities to which he writes, about the forgiveness of sin. Even
the concept "sin", apart from the passages just quoted, appears only
once, viz., Eph 14. 2: [Greek: oudeis pistin epangellomenos hamartanei].
Ignatius has only once spoken to a community about repentance (Smyrn. 9.
1). It is characteristic that the summons to repentance runs exactly as
in Hermas and 2 Clem., the conclusion only being peculiarly Ignatian. It
is different with Barnabas, Clement and Polycarp. They (see 1 Clem. 7.
4:12, 7:21, 6:49 6; Barn. 5. 1 ff.) place the forgiveness of sin
procured by Jesus in the foreground, connect it most definitely with the
death of Christ, and in some passages seem to have a conception of that
connection, which reminds us of Paul. But this just shews that they are
dependent here on Paul (or on 1st Peter), and on a closer examination we
perceive that they very imperfectly understand Paul, and have no
independent insight into the series of ideas which they reproduce. That
is specially plain in Clement. For in the first place, he everywhere
passes over the resurrection (he mentions it only twice, once as a
guarantee of our own resurrection, along with the Phoenix and other
guarantees, 24. 1, and then as a means whereby the Apostles were
convinced that the kingdom of God will come, 42. 3). In the second
place, he in one passage declares that the [Greek: charis metanoias] was
communicated to the world through the shedding of Christ's blood (7. 4.)
But this transformation of the [Greek: aphesis hamartiôn] into [Greek:
charis metanoias] plainly shews that Clement had merely taken over from
tradition the special estimate of the death of Christ as procuring
salvation; for it is meaningless to deduce the [Greek: charis metanoias]
from the blood of Christ. Barnabas testifies more plainly that Christ
behoved to offer the vessel of his spirit as a sacrifice for our sins
(4. 3; 5. 1), nay, the chief aim of his letter is to harmonise the
correct understanding of the cross, the blood, and death of Christ in
connection with baptism, the forgiveness of sin, and sanctification
(application of the idea of sacrifice). He also unites the death and
resurrection of Jesus (5. 6: [Greek: autos de hina kataergêsêi ton
thanaton kai tên ek nekrôn anastasin deixêi, hoti en sarki edei auton
phanerôthênai, hupemeinen, hina kai tois patrasin tên epangellian apodôi
kai autos heautôi ton laon ton kainon hetoimazôn epideixêi, epi tês gês
ôn. hoti tên anastasin autos poiêsas krinei]): but the significance of
the death of Christ is for him at bottom, the fact that it is the
fulfilment of prophecy. But the prophecy is related, above all, to the
significance of the tree, and so Barnabas on one occasion says with
admirable clearness (5. 13); [Greek: autos de êthelêsen houtô pathein;
edei gar hina epi xulou pathêi]. The notion which Barnabas entertains of
the [Greek: sarx] of Christ suggests the supposition that he could have
given up all reference to the death of Christ, if it had not been
transmitted as a fact and predicted in the Old Testament. Justin shews
still less certainty. To him also, as to Ignatius, the cross (the death)
of Christ is a great, nay, the greatest mystery, and he sees all things
possible in it (see Apol. 1. 35, 55). He knows, further, as a man
acquainted with the Old Testament, how to borrow from it very many
points of view for the significance of Christ's death, (Christ the
sacrifice, the Paschal lamb; the death of Christ the means of redeeming
men; death as the enduring of the curse for us; death as the victory
over the devil; see Dial 44. 90, 91, 111, 134). But in the discussions
which set forth in a more intelligible way the significance of Christ,
definite facts from the history have no place at all, and Justin nowhere
gives any indication of seeing in the death of Christ more than the
mystery of the Old Testament, and the confirmation of its
trustworthiness. On the other hand, it cannot be mistaken that the idea
of an individual righteous man being able effectively to sacrifice
himself for the whole, in order through his voluntary death to deliver
them from evil, was not unknown to antiquity. Origen (c. Celsum 1. 31)
has expressed himself on this point in a very instructive way. The
purity and voluntariness of him who sacrifices himself are here the main
things. Finally, we must be on our guard against supposing that the
expressions [Greek: sôrtia, apolutrôsis] and the like, were as a rule
related to the deliverance from sin. In the superscription of the
Epistle from Lyons, for example, (Euseb. H. E V. 1. 3: [Greek: hoi autên
tês apolutrôseôs hêmin pistin kai elpida echontes]) the future
redemption is manifestly to be understood by [Greek: apolutrôsis].]

[Footnote 268: On the Ascension, see my edition of the Apost. Fathers I.
2, p. 138. Paul knows nothing of an Ascension, nor is it mentioned by
Clement, Ignatius, Hermas, or Polycarp. In no case did it belong to the
earliest preaching. Resurrection and sitting at the right hand of God
are frequently united in the formulæ (Eph. I. 20; Acts. II. 32 ff.)
According to Luke XXIV. 51, and Barn. 15. 9, the ascension into heaven
took place on the day of the resurrection (probably also according to
Joh. XX. 17; see also the fragment of the Gosp. of Peter), and is hardly
to be thought of as happening but once (Joh. III. 13; VI 62; see also
Rom. X. 6 f.; Eph. IV. 9 f; 1 Pet. III. 19 f.; very instructive for the
origin of the notion). According to the Valentinians and Ophites, Christ
ascended into heaven 18 months after the resurrection (Iren. I. 3. 2;
30. 14); according to the Ascension of Isaiah, 545 days (ed. Dillmann,
pp. 43. 57 etc.); according to Pistis Sophia 11 years after the
resurrection. The statement that the Ascension took place 40 days after
the resurrection is first found in the Acts of the Apostles. The
position of the [Greek: anelêmphthê en doxêi], in the fragment of an old
Hymn, 1 Tim. III. 16, is worthy of note, in so far as it follows the
[Greek: ôphthê angelois, ekêruchthê en ethnesin, episteuthê en kosmôi].
Justin speaks very frequently of the Ascension into heaven (see also
Aristides). It is to him a necessary part of the preaching about Christ.
On the descent into hell, see the collection of passages in my edition
of the Apost. Fathers, III. p. 232. It is important to note that it is
found already in the Gospel of Peter ([Greek: ekêruxas tois koimômenois,
nai]), and that even Marcion recognised it (in Iren. I. 27. 31), as well
as the Presbyter of Irenæus (IV. 27. 2), and Ignatius (ad Magn. 9. 3),
see also Celsus in Orig. II. 43. The witnesses to it are very numerous,
see Huidekoper, "The belief of the first three centuries concerning
Christ's Mission to the under-world." New York, 1876.]

[Footnote 269: See the Pastoral Epistles, and the Epistles of Ignatius
and Polycarp.]

[Footnote 270: The "facts" of the history of Jesus were handed down to
the following period as mysteries predicted in the Old Testament, but
the idea of sacrifice was specially attached to the death of Christ,
certainly without any closer definition. It is very noteworthy that in
the Romish baptismal confession, the Davidic Sonship of Jesus, the
baptism, the descent into the under-world, and the setting up of a
glorious Kingdom on the earth, are not mentioned. These articles do not
appear even in the parallel confessions which began to be formed. The
hesitancy that yet prevailed here with regard to details, is manifest
from the fact, for example, that instead of the formula, "Jesus was born
of ([Greek: ek]) Mary," is found the other, "He was born through
([Greek: dia]) Mary" (see Justin, Apol. I. 22. 31-33, 54, 63; Dial. 23.
43, 45. 48, 57. 54, 63, 66, 75, 85, 87, 100, 105, 120, 127), Iren. (I.
7. 2) and Tertull. (de carne 20) first contested the [Greek: dia]
against the Valentinians.]

[Footnote 271: This was strongly emphasised see my remarks on Barn. 2.
3. The Jewish cultus is often brought very close to the heathen by
Gentile Christian writers: Praed. Petri (Clem. Strom. VI. 5. 41) [Greek:
kainôs ton theon dia tou Christou sebometha]. The statement in Joh. IV.
24, [Greek: pneuma ho theos kai tous proskunountas auton en pneumati kai
alêtheias dei proskunein], was for long the guiding principle for the
Christian worship of God.]

[Footnote 272: Ps. LI. 19 is thus opposed to the ceremonial system
(Barn. 2. 10). Polycarp consumed by fire is (Mart. 14. 1) compared to a
[Greek: krios episêmos ek megalou poimniou eis prosphoran olokautôma
dekton tôi theôi hêtoimasmenon].]

[Footnote 273: See Barn. 6. 15, 16, 7-9, Tatian Orat. 15, Ignat. ad.
Eph. 9. 15, Herm Mand. V. etc. The designation of Christians as priests
is not often found.]

[Footnote 274: Justin, Apol. I. 9. Dial. 117 [Greek: hoti men oun kai
euchai ka eucharistiai, hupo tôn axiôn ginomenai teleiai monai kai
euarestoi eisi tôi theôi thusiai kai autos phêmi], see also still the
later Fathers: Clem. Strom. VII. 6. 31: [Greek: hêmeis di euchês timômen
ton theon kai tautên tên thusian aristên kai hagiôtatên meta dikaiosunês
anapempomen tôi dikaiôi logôi], Iren. III. 18. 3, Ptolem ad. Floram. 3:
[Greek: prosphoras prospherein prosetaxen hêmin ho sôtêr alla ouchi tas
di alogôn zôôn hê toutôn tôn dômiamatôn alla dia pneumatikôn ainôn kai
doxôn kai eucharistias kaì dia tês eis tous plêsion koinônias kai

[Footnote 275: The Jewish regulations about fastings together with the
Jewish system of sacrifice were rejected, but on the other hand, in
virtue of words of the Lord, fasts were looked upon as a necessary
accompaniment of prayer and definite arrangements were already made for
them (see Barn. 3, Didache 8, Herm. Sim. V. 1. ff). The fast is to have
a special value from the fact that whatever one saved by means of it is
to be given to the poor (see Hermas and Aristides, Apol. 15, "And if any
one among the Christians is poor and in want, and they have not overmuch
of the means of life, they fast two or three days in order that they may
provide those in need with the food they require"). The statement of
James I. 27 [Greek: thrêskeia kathara kai amiantos para tô theô kai
patri hautê estin episkeptesthai orphanous kai chêras en tê thlipsei
autôn], was again and again inculcated in diverse phraseology (Polycarp
Ep. 4, called the Widows [Greek: thusiastêrion] of the community). Where
moralistic views preponderated as in Hermas and 2 Clement good works
were already valued in detail, prayers, fasts, alms appeared separately,
and there was already introduced especially under the influence of the
so-called deutero-canonical writings of the Old Testament the idea of a
special meritoriousness of certain performances in fasts and alms (see 2
Clem. 16. 4). Still the idea of the Christian moral life as a whole
occupied the foreground (see Didache cc. 1-5) and the exhortations to
love God and one's neighbour, which as exhortations to a moral life were
brought forward in every conceivable relation, supplemented the general
summons to renounce the world just as the official diaconate of the
churches originating in the cultus, prevented the decomposition of them
into a society of ascetics.]

[Footnote 276: For details, see below in the case of the Lord's Supper.
It is specially important that even charity, through its union with the
cultus, appeared as sacrificial worship (see e.g. Polyc. Ep. 4. 3).]

[Footnote 277: The idea of sacrifice adopted by the Gentile Christian
communities, was that which was expressed in individual prophetic
sayings and in the Psalms, a spiritualising of the Semitic Jewish
sacrificial ritual which, however, had not altogether lost its original
features. The entrance of Greek ideas of sacrifice cannot be traced
before Justin. Neither was there as yet any reflection as to the
connection of the sacrifice of the Church with the sacrifice of Christ
upon the cross.]

[Footnote 278: See my Texte und Unters. z Gesch. d. Altchristl. Lit. II.
1. 2, p. 88 ff., p. 137 ff.]

[Footnote 279: There neither was a "doctrine" of Baptism and the Lord's
Supper, nor was there any inner connection presupposed between these
holy actions. They were here and there placed together as actions by the

[Footnote 280: Melito, Fragm. XII. (Otto. Corp. Apol. IX. p. 418).
[Greek: Duo sunestê ta aphesin hamartêmatôn parechomena, pathos dia
Xriston kai baptisma].]

[Footnote 281: There is no sure trace of infant baptism in this epoch;
personal faith is a necessary condition (see Hermas, Vis. III. 7. 3;
Justin, Apol. 1. 61). "Prius est prædicare posterius tinguere" (Tertull.
"de bapt." 14).]

[Footnote 282: On the basis of repentance. See Praed. Petri in Clem.
Strom. VI. 5. 43, 48.]

[Footnote 283: See especially the second Epistle of Clement; Tertull.
"de bapt." 15: "Felix aqua quæ semel abluit, quas ludibrio peccatoribus
non est."]

[Footnote 284: The sinking and rising in baptism, and the immersion,
were regarded as significant, but not indispensable symbols (see
Didache. 7). The most important passages for baptism are Didache 7;
Barn. 6. 11; 11. 1. 11 (the connection in which the cross of Christ is
here placed to the water is important; the tertium comp. is that
forgiveness of sin is the result of both); Herm. Vis. III. 3, Sim. IX 16.
Mand. IV. 3 ([Greek: hetera metanoia ouk estin ei mê ekeinê, hote eis
hudôr katebêmen kai elabomen aphesin hamartiôn hêmôn tôn proteron]); 2
Clem. 6. 9; 7. 6; 8. 6. Peculiar is Ignat. ad. Polyc. 6. 2: [Greek: to
baptisma humôn menetô hôs hopla]. Specially important is Justin, Apol.
I. 61. 65. To this also belong many passages from Tertullian's treatise
"de bapt."; a Gnostic baptismal hymn in the third pseudo-Solomonic ode
in the Pistis Sophia, p. 131, ed. Schwartze; Marcion's baptismal formula
in Irenæus 1. 21. 3. It clearly follows from the seventh chapter of the
Didache, that its author held that the pronouncing of the sacred names
over the baptised, and over the water, was essential, but that immersion
was not; see the thorough examination of this passage by Schaff, "The
oldest church manual called the teaching of the twelve Apostles" pp.
29-57. The controversy about the nature of John's baptism in its
relation to Christian baptism, is very old in Christendom; see also
Tertull. "de bapt." 10. Tertullian sees in John's baptism only a baptism
to repentance, not to forgiveness.]

[Footnote 285: In Hermas and 2 Clement. The expression probably arose
from the language of the mysteries: see Appuleius, "de Magia", 55:
"Sacrorum pleraque initia in Græcia participavi. Eorum quædam signa et
monumenta tradita mihi a sacerdotibus sedulo conservo." Ever since the
Gentile Christians conceived baptism (and the Lord's Supper) according
to the mysteries, they were of course always surprised by the parallel
with the mysteries themselves. That begins with Justin. Tertullian, "de
bapt." 5, says: "Sed enim nationes extraneæ, ab omni intellectu
spiritalium potestatum eadem efficacia idolis suis subministrant. Sed
viduis aquis sibi mentiuntur. Nam et sacris quibusdam per lavacrum
initiantur, Isidis alicujus aut Mithræ; ipsos etiam deos suos
lavationibus efferunt. Ceterum villas, domos, templa totasque urbes
aspergine circumlatæ aquæ; expiant passim. Certe ludis Apollinaribus et
Eleusiniis tinguuntur, idque se in regenerationem et impunitatem
periuriorum suorum agere præsumunt. Item penes veteres, quisquis se
homicidio infecerat, purgatrices aquas explorabat." De praescr. 40:
"Diabolus ipsas quoque res sacramentorum divinorum idolorum mysteriis
æmulatur. Tingit et ipse quosdam, utique credentes et fideles suos;
expositionem delictorum de lavacro repromittit. et si adhuc memini,
Mithras signat illic in frontibus milites suos, celebrat et panis
oblationem et imaginem resurrectionis inducit ... summum pontificem in
unius nuptiis statuit, habet et virgines, habet et continentes." The
ancient notion that matter has a mysterious influence on spirit, came
very early into vogue in connection with baptism. We see that from
Tertullian's treatise on baptism and his speculations about the power of
the water (c. 1 ff.). The water must, of course, have been first
consecrated for this purpose (that is, the demons must be driven out of
it). But then it is holy water with which the Holy Spirit is united, and
which is able really to cleanse the soul. See Hatch, "The influence of
Greek ideas, etc.," p. 19. The consecration of the water is certainly
very old: though we have no definite witnesses from the earliest period.
Even for the exorcism of the baptised before baptism I know of no
earlier witness than the Sentent. LXXXVII. episcoporum (Hartel. Opp.
Cypr. I. p. 450, No. 37: "primo per manus impositionem in exorcismo,
secundo per baptismi regenerationem").]

[Footnote 286: Justin is the first who does so (I. 61). The word comes
from the Greek mysteries. On Justin's theory of baptism, see also I. 62.
and Von Engelhardt, "Christenthum Justin's," p. 102 f.]

[Footnote 287: Paul unites baptism and the communication of the Spirit;
but they were very soon represented apart, see the accounts in the Acts
of the Apostles, which are certainly very obscure, because the author
has evidently never himself observed the descent of the Spirit, or
anything like it. The ceasing of special manifestations of the Spirit in
and after baptism, and the enforced renunciation of seeing baptism
accompanied by special shocks, must be regarded as the first stage in
the sobering of the churches.]

[Footnote 288: The idea of the whole transaction of the Supper as a
sacrifice, is plainly found in the Didache, (c. 14), in Ignatius, and,
above all, in Justin (I. 65 f.) But even Clement of Rome presupposes it,
when in (cc. 40-44) he draws a parallel between bishops and deacons and
the Priests and Levites of the Old Testament, describing as the chief
function of the former (44. 4) [Greek: prospherein ta dôra]. This is not
the place to enquire whether the first celebration had, in the mind of
its founder, the character of a sacrificial meal; but, certainly, the
idea, as it was already developed at the time of Justin, had been
created by the churches. Various reasons tended towards seeing in the
Supper a sacrifice. In the first place, Malachi I. 11, demanded a solemn
Christian sacrifice: see my notes on Didache, 14. 3. In the second
place, all prayers were regarded as sacrifice, and therefore the solemn
prayers at the Supper must be specially considered as such. In the third
place, the words of institution [Greek: touto poieite], contained a
command with regard to a definite religious action. Such an action,
however, could only be represented as a sacrifice, and this the more
that the Gentile Christians might suppose that they had to understand
[Greek: poiein] in the sense of [Greek: thuein]. In the fourth place,
payments in kind were necessary for the "agapæ" connected with the
Supper, out of which were taken the bread and wine for the Holy
celebration; in what other aspect could these offerings in the worship
be regarded than as [Greek: prosphorai] for the purpose of a sacrifice?
Yet the spiritual idea so prevailed that only the prayers were regarded
as the [Greek: thusia] proper, even in the case of Justin (Dial. 117).
The elements are only [Greek: dôra, prosphorai] which obtain their value
from the prayers, in which thanks are given for the gifts of creation
and redemption, as well as for the holy meal, and entreaty is made for
the introduction of the community into the Kingdom of God (see Didache,
9. 10). Therefore, even the sacred meal itself is called [Greek:
eucharistia] (Justin, Apol. I. 66: [Greek: hê trophê hautê chaleitai
par' hêmin eucharistia]). Didache, 9. 1; Ignat., because it is [Greek:
trophê eucharistêtheisa]. It is a mistake to suppose that Justin already
understood the body of Christ to be the object of [Greek: poiein], and
therefore thought of a sacrifice of this body (I. 66). The real
sacrificial act in the Supper consists rather, according to Justin, only
in the [Greek: eucharistian poiein], whereby the [Greek: koinos artos]
becomes the [Greek: artos tês eucharistias]. The sacrifice of the Supper
in its essence, apart from the offering of alms, which in the practice
of the Church was closely united with it, is nothing but a sacrifice of
prayer: the sacrificial act of the Christian here also is nothing else
than an act of prayer (see Apol. I. 13, 65-67; Dial. 28, 29, 41, 70,

[Footnote 289: Justin lays special stress on this purpose. On the other
hand, it is wanting in the Supper prayers of the Didache, unless c. 9. 2
be regarded as an allusion to it.]

[Footnote 290: The designation [Greek: thusia] is first found in the
Didache, c. 14.]

[Footnote 291: The Supper was regarded as a "Sacrament" in so far as a
blessing was represented in its holy food. The conception of the nature
of this blessing as set forth in John VI. 27-58, appears to have been
the most common. It may be traced back to Ignatius, ad Eph. 20.2:
[Greek: hena arton klôntes hos estin pharmakon athanasias, antidotos tou
mê apothanein alla zên en Iêsou Christou dia pantos]. Cf Didache, 10.3:
[Greek: hêmin echarisô pneumatikên trophên kai poton kai zôên aiônion],
also 10.21: [Greek: eucharistoumen soi huper tês gnôseôs kai pisteos kai
athanasias]. Justin Apol. 1. 66: [Greek: ek tês trophês tautês haima kai
sarkes kata metabolên trephontai hêmôn kata metabolên] that is, the
holy food, like all nourishment, is completely transformed into our
flesh; but what Justin has in view here is most probably the body of the
resurrection. The expression, as the context shews, is chosen for the
sake of the parallel to the incarnation). Iren. IV. 18. 5; V. 2. 2 f. As
to how the elements are related to the body and blood of Christ,
Ignatius seems to have expressed himself in a strictly realistic way in
several passages, especially ad. Smyr. 7-1: [Greek: eucharistias kai
proseuchês apechontai dia to mê homologein, tên eucharistian sarka einai
tou sôtêros hêmôn Iêsou Christou, tên huper tôn hamartion hêmôn
pathousan]. But many passages shew that Ignatius was far from such a
conception, and rather thought as John did. In Trall. 8, faith is
described as the flesh, and love as the blood of Christ; in Rom. 7, in
one breath the flesh of Christ is called the bread of God, and the blood
[Greek: agapê aphthartos]. In Philad. 1, we read: [Greek: haima I. Chr.
hêtis estin chara aiônios kai paramonos]. In Philad. 5, the Gospel is
called the flesh of Christ, etc. Höfling is therefore right in saying
(Lehre v. Opfer, p. 39): "The Eucharist is to Ignatius [Greek: sarx] of
Christ, as a visible Gospel, a kind of Divine institution attesting the
content of [Greek: pistis], viz., belief in the [Greek: sarx pathousa],
an institution which is at the same time, to the community, a means of
representing and preserving its unity in this belief." On the other
hand, it cannot be mistaken that Justin (Apol. I. 66) presupposed the
identity, miraculously produced by the Logos, of the consecrated bread
and the body he had assumed. In this we have probably to recognise an
influence on the conception of the Supper, of the miracle represented in
the Greek Mysteries: [Greek: Ouch hôs koinon arton oude koinon poma
tauta lambanomen, all' hon tropon dia logou theou sarkopoiêtheis Iêsous
Christos ho sôtêr hêmôn kai sarka kaì haima huper sôtêrias hêmôn eschen,
houtôs kai tên di' euchês logou tou par' autou eucharistêtheisan
trophên, ex ês haima ka sarkes kata metabolen trephontai hemôn, ekeinou
tou sarkopoiethentos Iêsou kai sarka kai haima edidachthêmen einai] (See
Von Otto on the passage). In the Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. p. 117 ff., I
have shewn that in the different Christian circles of the second
century, water and only water was often used in the Supper instead of
wine, and that in many regions this custom was maintained up to the
middle of the third century (see Cypr. Ep. 63). I have endeavoured to
make it further probable, that even Justin in his Apology describes a
celebration of the Lord's Supper with bread and water. The latter has
been contested by Zahn, "Bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, in the
early Church," 1892, and Jülicher, Zur Gesch. der Abendmahlsfeier in der
aeltesten Kirche (Abhandl. f Weiszacker, 1892, p. 217 ff.]

[Footnote 292: Ignatius calls the thank-offering the flesh of Christ,
but the concept "flesh of Christ" is for him itself a spiritual one. On
the contrary, Justin sees in the bread the actual flesh of Christ, but
does not connect it with the idea of sacrifice. They are thus both as
yet far from the later conception. The numerous allegories which are
already attached to the Supper (one bread equivalent to one community;
many scattered grains bound up in the one bread, equivalent to the
Christians scattered abroad in the world, who are to be gathered
together into the Kingdom of God; one altar, equivalent to one assembly
of the community, excluding private worship, etc.), cannot as a group be
adduced here.]

[Footnote 293: Cf. for the following my arguments in the larger edition
of the "Teaching of the Apostles" Chap 5, (Texte u. Unters II. 1. 2).
The numerous recent enquiries (Loening, Loofs, Réville etc.) will be
found referred to in Sohm's Kirchenrecht. Vol. I. 1892, where the most
exhaustive discussions are given.]

[Footnote 294: That the bishops and deacons were, primarily, officials
connected with the cultus, is most clearly seen from 1 Clem. 40-44, but
also from the connection in which the 14th Chap. of the Didache stands
with the 15th (see the [Greek: oun], 15. 1) to which Hatch in
conversation called my attention. The [Greek: philoxenia], and the
intercourse with other communities (the fostering of the "unitas")
belonged, above all, to the affairs of the church. Here, undoubtedly,
from the beginning lay an important part of the bishop's duties. Ramsay
("The Church in the Roman Empire," p. 361 ff.) has emphasised this point
exclusively, and therefore one-sidedly. According to him, the
monarchical Episcopate sprang from the officials who were appointed _ad
hoc_ and for a time, for the purpose of promoting intercourse with other

[Footnote 295: Sohm (in the work mentioned above) seeks to prove that
the monarchical Episcopate originated in Rome and is already presupposed
by Hermas. I hold that the proof for this has not been adduced, and I
must also in great part reject the bold statements which are fastened on
to the first Epistle of Clement. They may be comprehended in the
proposition which Sohm, p. 158, has placed at the head of his discussion
of the Epistle. "The first Epistle of Clement makes an epoch in the
history of the organisation of the Church. It was destined to put an end
to the early Christian constitution of the Church." According to Sohm
(p. 165), another immediate result of the Epistle was a change of
constitution in the Romish Church, the introduction of the monarchical
Episcopate. That, however, can only be asserted, not proved; for the
proof which Sohm has endeavoured to bring from Ignatius' Epistle to the
Romans and the Shepherd of Hermas, is not convincing.]

[Footnote 296: See, above all, 1 Clem. 42, 44, Acts of the Apostles,
Pastoral Epistles, etc.]

[Footnote 297: This idea is Romish. See Book II. chap, 11 C.]

[Footnote 298: We must remember here, that besides the teachers, elders,
and deacons, the ascetics (virgins, widows, celibates, abstinentes) and
the martyrs (confessors) enjoyed a special respect in the Churches, and
frequently laid hold of the government and leading of them. Hermas
enjoins plainly enough the duty of esteeming the confessors higher than
the presbyters (Vis. III. 1. 2). The widows were soon entrusted with
diaconal tasks connected with the worship, and received a corresponding
respect. As to the limits of this there was, as we can gather from
different passages, much disagreement. One statement in Tertullian shews
that the confessors had special claims to be considered in the choice of
a bishop (adv. Valent. 4: "Speraverat Episcopatum Valentinus, quia et
ingenio poterat et eloquio. Sed alium ex martyrii praerogativa loci
potitum indignatus de ecclesia authenticae regulæ abrupit"). This
statement is strengthened by other passages; see Tertull. de fuga; 11.
"Hoc sentire et facere omnem servum dei oportet, etiam minoris loci, ut
maioris fieri possit, si quem gradum in persecutionis tolerantia
ascenderit"; see Hippol in the Arab. canons, and also Achelis, Texte u.
Unters VI. 4. pp. 67, 220; Cypr. Epp. 38. 39. The way in which
confessors and ascetics, from the end of the second century, attempted
to have their say in the leading of the Churches, and the respectful way
in which it was sought to set their claims aside, shew that a special
relation to the Lord, and therefore a special right with regard to the
community, was early acknowledged to these people, on account of their
achievements. On the transition of the old prophets and teachers into
wandering ascetics, later into monks, see the Syriac Pseudo-Clementine
Epistles, "de virginitate," and my Abhandl i d. Sitzungsberichten d. K.
Pr. Akad. d. Wissensch. 1891, p. 361 ff.]

[Footnote 299: See Weizsäcker, Gött Gel. Anz. 1886, No. 21, whose
statements I can almost entirely make my own.]



§ 1. _The Conditions for the Rise of Gnosticism._

The Christian communities were originally unions for a holy life, on the
ground of a common hope, which rested on the belief that the God who has
spoken by the Prophets has sent his Son Jesus Christ, and through him
revealed eternal life, and will shortly make it manifest. Christianity
had its roots in certain facts and utterances, and the foundation of the
Christian union was the common hope, the holy life in the Spirit
according to the law of God, and the holding fast to those facts and
utterances. There was, as the foregoing chapter will have shewn, no
fixed Didache beyond that.[300] There was abundance of fancies, ideas,
and knowledge, but these had not yet the value of being the religion
itself. Yet the belief that Christianity guarantees the perfect
knowledge, and leads from one degree of clearness to another, was in
operation from the very beginning. This conviction had to be immediately
tested by the Old Testament, that is, the task was imposed on the
majority of thinking Christians, by the circumstances in which the
Gospel had been proclaimed to them, of making the Old Testament
intelligible to themselves, in other words, of using this book as a
Christian book, and of finding the means by which they might be able to
repel the Jewish claim to it, and refute the Jewish interpretation of
it. This task would not have been imposed, far less solved, if the
Christian communities in the Empire had not entered into the inheritance
of the Jewish propaganda, which had already been greatly influenced by
foreign religions (Babylonian and Persian, see the Jewish Apocalypses),
and in which an extensive spiritualising of the Old Testament religion
had already taken place. This spiritualising was the result of a
philosophic view of religion, and this philosophic view was the outcome
of a lasting influence of Greek philosophy and of the Greek spirit
generally on Judaism. In consequence of this view, all facts and sayings
of the Old Testament in which one could not find his way, were
allegorised. "Nothing was what it seemed, but was only the symbol of
something invisible. The history of the Old Testament was here
sublimated to a history of the emancipation of reason from passion." It
describes, however, the beginning of the historical development of
Christianity, that as soon as it wished to give account of itself, or to
turn to advantage the documents of revelation which were in its
possession, it had to adopt the methods of that fantastic syncretism. We
have seen above that those writers who made a diligent use of the Old
Testament, had no hesitation in making use of the allegorical method.
That was required not only by the inability to understand the verbal
sense of the Old Testament, presenting diverging moral and religious
opinions, but, above all, by the conviction, that on every page of that
book Christ and the Christian Church must be found. How could this
conviction have been maintained, unless the definite concrete meaning of
the documents had been already obliterated by the Jewish philosophic
view of the Old Testament?

This necessary allegorical interpretation, however, brought into the
communities an intellectual philosophic element, a _gnosis_, which was
perfectly distinct from the Apocalyptic dreams, in which were beheld
angel hosts on white horses, Christ with eyes as a flame of fire,
hellish beasts, conflict and victory.[301] In this [Greek: gnôsis],
which attached itself to the Old Testament, many began to see the
specific blessing which was promised to mature faith, and through which
it was to attain perfection. What a wealth of relations, hints, and
intuitions seemed to disclose itself, as soon as the Old Testament was
considered allegorically, and to what extent had the way been prepared
here by the Jewish philosophic teachers! From the simple narratives of
the Old Testament had already been developed a theosophy, in which the
most abstract ideas had acquired reality, and from which sounded forth
the Hellenic canticle of the power of the Spirit over matter and
sensuality, and of the true home of the soul. Whatever in this great
adaptation still remained obscure and unnoticed, was now lighted up by
the history of Jesus, his birth, his life, his sufferings and triumph.
The view of the Old Testament as a document of the deepest wisdom,
transmitted to those who knew how to read it as such, unfettered the
intellectual interest which would not rest until it had entirely
transferred the new religion from the world of feelings, actions and
hopes, into the world of Hellenic conceptions, and transformed it into a
metaphysic. In that exposition of the Old Testament which we find, for
example, in the so-called Barnabas, there is already concealed an
important philosophic, Hellenic element, and in that sermon which bears
the name of Clement (the so-called second Epistle of Clement),
conceptions such as that of the Church, have already assumed a bodily
form and been joined in marvellous connections, while, on the contrary,
things concrete have been transformed into things invisible.

But once the intellectual interest was unfettered, and the new religion
had approximated to the Hellenic spirit by means of a philosophic view
of the Old Testament, how could that spirit be prevented from taking
complete and immediate possession of it, and where, in the first
instance, could the power be found that was able to decide whether this
or that opinion was incompatible with Christianity? This Christianity,
as it was, unequivocally excluded all polytheism, and all national
religions existing in the Empire. It opposed to them the one God, the
Saviour Jesus, and a spiritual worship of God. But, at the same time, it
summoned all thoughtful men to knowledge, by declaring itself to be the
only true religion, while it appeared to be only a variety of Judaism.
It seemed to put no limits to the character and extent of the knowledge,
least of all to such knowledge as was able to allow all that was
transmitted to remain, and at the same time, abolish it by transforming
it into mysterious symbols. That really was the method which every one
must and did apply who wished to get from Christianity more than
practical motives and super-earthly hopes. But where was the limit of
the application? Was not the next step to see in the Evangelic records
also new material for spiritual interpretations, and to illustrate from
the narratives there, as from The Old Testament, the conflict of the
spirit with matter, of reason with sensuality? Was not the conception
that the traditional deeds of Christ were really the last act in the
struggle of those mighty spiritual powers whose conflict is delineated
in the Old Testament, at least as evident as the other, that those deeds
were the fulfilment of mysterious promises? Was it not in keeping with
the consciousness possessed by the new religion of being the universal
religion, that one should not be satisfied with mere beginnings of a new
knowledge, or with fragments of it, but should seek to set up such
knowledge in a complete and systematic form, and so to exhibit the best
and universal system of life as also the best and universal system of
knowledge of the world? Finally, did not the free and yet so rigid forms
in which the Christian communities were organised, the union of the
mysterious with a wonderful publicity, of the spiritual with significant
rites (baptism and the Lord's Supper), invite men to find here the
realisation of the ideal which the Hellenic religious spirit was at that
time seeking, viz., a communion which in virtue of a Divine revelation,
is in possession of the highest knowledge, and therefore leads the
holiest life, a communion which does not communicate this knowledge by
discourse, but by mysterious efficacious consecrations, and by revealed
dogmas? These questions are thrown out here in accordance with the
direction which the historical progress of Christianity took. The
phenomenon called Gnosticism gives the answer to them.[302]

§ 2. _The Nature of Gnosticism._

The Catholic Church afterwards claimed as her own those writers of the
first century (60-160) who were content with turning speculation to
account only as a means of spiritualising the Old Testament, without,
however, attempting a systematic reconstruction of tradition. But all
those who in the first century undertook to furnish Christian practice
with the foundation of a complete systematic knowledge, she declared
false Christians, Christians only in name. Historical enquiry cannot
accept this judgment. On the contrary, it sees in Gnosticism a series of
undertakings, which in a certain way is analogous to the Catholic
embodiment of Christianity, in doctrine, morals, and worship. The great
distinction here consists essentially in the fact that the Gnostic
systems represent the acute secularising or hellenising of Christianity,
with the rejection of the Old Testament,[303] while the Catholic system,
on the other hand, represents a gradual process of the same kind with
the conservation of the Old Testament. The traditional religion on
being, as it were, suddenly required to recognise itself in a picture
foreign to it, was yet vigorous enough to reject that picture; but to
the gradual, and one might say indulgent remodelling to which it was
subjected, it offered but little resistance, nay, as a rule, it was
never conscious of it. It is therefore no paradox to say that
Gnosticism, which is just Hellenism, has in Catholicism obtained half a
victory. We have, at least, the same justification for that
assertion--the parallel may be permitted--as we have for recognising a
triumph of 18th century ideas in the first Empire, and a continuance,
though with reservations, of the old regime.

From this point of view the position to be assigned to the Gnostics in
the history of dogma, which has hitherto been always misunderstood, is
obvious. _They were, in short, the Theologians of the first
century._[304] They were the first to transform Christianity into a
system of doctrines (dogmas). They were the first to work up tradition
systematically. They undertook to present Christianity as the absolute
religion, and therefore placed it in definite opposition to the other
religions, even to Judaism. But to them the absolute religion, viewed in
its contents, was identical with the result of the philosophy of
religion for which the support of a revelation was to be sought. They
are therefore those Christians who, in a swift advance, attempted to
capture Christianity for Hellenic culture, and Hellenic culture for
Christianity, and who gave up the Old Testament in order to facilitate
the conclusion of the covenant between the two powers, and make it
possible to assert the absoluteness of Christianity.--But the
significance of the Old Testament in the religious history of the world,
lies just in this, that, in order to be maintained at all, it required
the application of the allegoric method, that is, a definite proportion
of Greek ideas, and that, on the other hand, it opposed the strongest
barrier to the complete hellenising of Christianity. Neither the sayings
of Jesus, nor Christian hopes, were at first capable of forming such a
barrier. If, now, the majority of Gnostics could make the attempt to
disregard the Old Testament, that is a proof that, in wide circles of
Christendom, people were at first satisfied with an abbreviated form of
the Gospel, containing the preaching of the one God, of the resurrection
and of continence, a law and an ideal of practical life.[305] In this
form, as it was realised in life, the Christianity which dispensed with
"doctrines" seemed capable of union with every form of thoughtful and
earnest philosophy, because the Jewish foundation did not make its
appearance here at all. But the majority of Gnostic undertakings may
also be viewed as attempts to transform Christianity into a theosophy,
that is, into a revealed metaphysic and philosophy of history, with a
complete disregard of the Jewish Old Testament soil on which it
originated, through the use of Pauline ideas,[306] and under the
influence of the Platonic spirit. Moreover, comparison is possible
between writers such as Barnabas and Ignatius, and the so-called
Gnostics, to the effect of making the latter appear in possession of a
completed theory, to which fragmentary ideas in the former exhibit a
striking affinity.

We have hitherto tacitly presupposed that in Gnosticism the Hellenic
spirit desired to make itself master of Christianity, or more correctly
of the Christian communities. This conception may be, and really is
still contested. For according to the accounts of later opponents, and
on these we are almost exclusively dependent here, the main thing with
the Gnostics seems to have been the reproduction of Asiatic
Mythologoumena of all kinds, so that we should rather have to see in
Gnosticism a union of Christianity with the most remote Oriental cults
and their wisdom. But with regard to the most important Gnostic systems
the words hold true, "The hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is
the voice of Jacob." There can be no doubt of the fact, that the
Gnosticism which has become a factor in the movement of the history of
dogma, was ruled in the main by the Greek spirit, and determined by the
interests and doctrines of the Greek philosophy of religion,[307] which
doubtless had already assumed a syncretistic character. This fact is
certainly concealed by the circumstance that the material of the
speculations was taken now from this, and now from that Oriental
religious philosophy, from astrology and the Semitic cosmologies. But
that is only in keeping with the stage which the religious development
had reached among the Greeks and Romans of that time.[308] The cultured,
and these primarily come into consideration here, no longer had a
religion in the sense of a national religion, but a philosophy of
religion. They were, however, in search of a religion, that is, a firm
basis for the results of their speculations, and they hoped to obtain it
by turning themselves towards the very old Oriental cults, and seeking
to fill them with the religious and moral knowledge which had been
gained by the Schools of Plato and of Zeno. The union of the traditions
and rites of the Oriental religions, viewed as mysteries, with the
spirit of Greek philosophy is the characteristic of the epoch. The
needs, which asserted themselves with equal strength, of a complete
knowledge of the All, of a spiritual God, a sure, and therefore very old
revelation, atonement and immortality, were thus to be satisfied at one
and the same time. The most sublimated spiritualism enters here into the
strangest union with a crass superstition based on Oriental cults. This
superstition was supposed to insure and communicate the spiritual
blessings. These complicated tendencies now entered into Christianity.

We have accordingly to ascertain and distinguish in the prominent
Gnostic schools, which, in the second century on Greek soil, became an
important factor in the history of the Church, the Semitic-cosmological
foundations, the Hellenic philosophic mode of thought, and the
recognition of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. Further, we
have to take note of the three elements of Gnosticism, viz., the
speculative and philosophical, the mystic element connection with
worship, and the practical, ascetic. The close connection in which these
three elements appear,[309] the total transformation of all ethical into
cosmological problems, the upbuilding of a philosophy of God and the
world on the basis of a combination of popular Mythologies, physical
observations belonging to the Oriental (Babylonian) religious
philosophy, and historical events, as well as the idea that the history
of religion is the last act in the drama-like history of the Cosmos--all
this is not peculiar to Gnosticism, but rather corresponds to a definite
stage of the general development. It may, however, be asserted that
Gnosticism anticipated the general development, and that not only with
regard to Catholicism, but also with regard to Neo-platonism, which
represents the last stage in the inner history of Hellenism.[310] The
Valentinians have already got as far as Jamblichus.

The name Gnosis, Gnostics, describes excellently the aims of Gnosticism,
in so far as its adherents boasted of the absolute knowledge, and faith
in the Gospel was transformed into a knowledge of God, nature and
history. This knowledge, however, was not regarded as natural, but in
the view of the Gnostics was based on revelation, was communicated and
guaranteed by holy consecrations, and was accordingly cultivated by
reflection supported by fancy. A mythology of ideas was created out of
the sensuous mythology of any Oriental religion, by the conversion of
concrete forms into speculative and moral ideas, such as "Abyss,"
"Silence," "Logos," "Wisdom," "Life," while the mutual relation and
number of these abstract ideas were determined by the data supplied by
the corresponding concretes. Thus arose a philosophic dramatic poem,
similar to the Platonic, but much more complicated, and therefore more
fantastic, in which mighty powers, the spiritual and good, appear in an
unholy union with the material and wicked, but from which the spiritual
is finally delivered by the aid of those kindred powers which are too
exalted to be ever drawn down into the common. The good and heavenly
which has been drawn down into the material, and therefore really
non-existing, is the human spirit, and the exalted power who delivers it
is Christ. The Evangelic history as handed down is not the history of
Christ, but a collection of allegoric representations of the great
history of God and the world. Christ has really no history. His
appearance in this world of mixture and confusion is his deed, and the
enlightenment of the spirit about itself is the result which springs out
of that deed. This enlightenment itself is life. But the enlightenment
is dependent on revelation, asceticism and surrender to those mysteries
which Christ founded, in which one enters into communion with a _præsens
numen_, and which in mysterious ways promote the process of raising the
spirit above the sensual. This rising above the sensual is, however, to
be actively practised. Abstinence therefore, as a rule, is the
watchword. Christianity thus appears here as a speculative philosophy
which redeems the spirit by enlightening it, consecrating it, and
instructing it in the right conduct of life. The Gnosis is free from the
rationalistic interest in the sense of natural religion. Because the
riddles about the world which it desires to solve are not properly
intellectual, but practical, because it desires to be in the end [Greek:
gnôsis sôtêrías], it removes into the region of the suprarational the
powers which are supposed to confer vigour and life on the human spirit.
Only a [Greek: mathêsis], however, united with [Greek: mystagogía],
resting on revelation, leads thither, not an exact philosophy. Gnosis
starts from the great problem of this world, but occupies itself with a
higher world, and does not wish to be an exact philosophy, but a
philosophy of religion. Its fundamental philosophic doctrines are the
following: (1) The indefinable, infinite nature of the Divine primeval
Being exalted above all thought. (2) Matter as opposed to the Divine
Being, and therefore having no real being, the ground of evil. (3) The
fulness of divine potencies, Æons, which are thought of partly as
powers, partly as real ideas, partly as relatively independent beings,
presenting in gradation the unfolding and revelation of the Godhead, but
at the same time rendering possible the transition of the higher to the
lower. (4) The Cosmos as a mixture of matter with divine sparks, which
has arisen from a descent of the latter into the former, or, as some
say, from the perverse, or, at least, merely permitted undertaking of a
subordinate spirit. The Demiurge, therefore, is an evil, intermediate,
or weak, but penitent being; the best thing therefore in the world is
aspiration. (5) The deliverance of the spiritual element from its union
with matter, or the separation of the good from the world of sensuality
by the Spirit of Christ which operates through knowledge, asceticism,
and holy consecration: thus originates the perfect Gnostic, the man who
is free from the world, and master of himself, who lives in God and
prepares himself for eternity. All these are ideas for which we find the
way prepared in the philosophy of the time, anticipated by Philo, and
represented in Neoplatonism as the great final result of Greek
philosophy. It lies in the nature of the case that only some men are
able to appropriate the Christianity that is comprehended in these
ideas, viz., just as many as are capable of entering into this kind of
Christianity, those who are spiritual. The others must be considered as
non-partakers of the Spirit from the beginning, and therefore excluded
from knowledge as the _profanum vulgus_. Yet some, the Valentinians, for
example, made a distinction in this _vulgus_, which can only be
discussed later on, because it is connected with the position of the
Gnostics towards Jewish Christian tradition.

The later opponents of Gnosticism preferred to bring out the fantastic
details of the Gnostic systems, and thereby created the prejudice that
the essence of the matter lay in these. They have thus occasioned modern
expounders to speculate about the Gnostic speculations in a manner that
is marked by still greater strangeness. Four observations shew how
unhistorical and unjust such a view is, at least with regard to the
chief systems. (1) The great Gnostic schools, wherever they could,
sought to spread their opinions. But it is simply incredible that they
should have expected of all their disciples, male and female, an
accurate knowledge of the details of their system. On the contrary, it
may be shewn that they often contented themselves with imparting
consecration, with regulating the practical life of their adherents, and
instructing them in the general features of their system.[311] (2) We
see how in one and the same school, for example, the Valentinian, the
details of the religious metaphysic were very various and changing. (3)
We hear but little of conflicts between the various schools. On the
contrary, we learn that the books of doctrine and edification passed
from one school to another.[312] (4) The fragments of Gnostic writings
which have been preserved, and this is the most important consideration
of the four, shew that the Gnostics devoted their main strength to the
working out of those religious, moral, philosophical and historical
problems, which must engage the thoughtful of all times.[313] We only
need to read some actual Gnostic document, such as the Epistle of
Ptolemæus to Flora, or certain paragraphs of the Pistis Sophia, in order
to see that the fantastic details of the philosophic poem can only, in
the case of the Gnostics themselves, have had the value of liturgical
apparatus, the construction of which was not of course a matter of
indifference, but hardly formed the principal interest. The things to be
proved, and to be confirmed by the aid of this or that very old
religious philosophy, were certain religious and moral fundamental
convictions, and a correct conception of God, of the sensible, of the
creator of the world, of Christ, of the Old Testament, and the evangelic
tradition. Here were actual dogmas. But how the grand fantastic union of
all the factors was to be brought about, was, as the Valentinian school
shews, a problem whose solution was ever and again subjected to new
attempts.[314] No one to-day can in all respects distinguish what to
those thinkers was image and what reality, or in what degree they were
at all able to distinguish image from reality, and in how far the magic
formulæ of their mysteries were really objects of their meditation. But
the final aim of their endeavours, the faith and knowledge of their own
hearts which they instilled into their disciples, the practical rules
which they wished to give them, and the view of Christ which they wished
to confirm them in, stand out with perfect clearness. Like Plato, they
made their explanation of the world start from the contradiction between
sense and reason, which the thoughtful man observes in himself. The
cheerful asceticism, the powers of the spiritual and the good which were
seen in the Christian communities, attracted them and seemed to require
the addition of theory to practice. Theory without being followed by
practice had long been in existence, but here was the as yet rare
phenomenon of a moral practice which seemed to dispense with that which
was regarded as indispensable, viz., theory. The philosophic life was
already there; how could the philosophic doctrine be wanting, and after
what other model could the latent doctrine be reproduced than that of
the Greek religious philosophy?[315] That the Hellenic spirit in
Gnosticism turned with such eagerness to the Christian communities and
was ready even to believe in Christ in order to appropriate the moral
powers which it saw operative in them, is a convincing proof of the
extraordinary impression which these communities made. For what other
peculiarities and attractions had they to offer to that spirit than the
certainty of their conviction (of eternal life), and the purity of their
life? We hear of no similar edifice being erected in the second century
on the basis of any other Oriental cult--even the Mithras cult is
scarcely to be mentioned here--as the Gnostic was on the foundation of
the Christian.[316] The Christian communities, however, together with
their worship of Christ, formed the real solid basis of the greater
number and the most important of the Gnostic systems, and in this fact
we have, on the very threshold of the great conflict, a triumph of
Christianity over Hellenism. The triumph lay in the recognition of what
Christianity had already performed as a moral and social power. This
recognition found expression in bringing the highest that one possessed
as a gift to be consecrated by the new religion, a philosophy of
religion whose end was plain and simple, but whose means were mysterious
and complicated.

§ 3. _History of Gnosticism and the forms in which it appeared._

In the previous section we have been contemplating Gnosticism as it
reached its prime in the great schools of Basilides and Valentinus, and
those related to them,[317] at the close of the period we are now
considering, and became an important factor in the history of dogma. But
this Gnosticism had (1) preliminary stages, and (2) was always
accompanied by a great number of sects, schools and undertakings which
were only in part related to it, and yet, reasonably enough, were
grouped together with it.

To begin with the second point, the great Gnostic schools were flanked
on the right and left by a motley series of groups which at their
extremities can hardly be distinguished from popular Christianity on the
one hand, and from the Hellenic and the common world on the other.[318]
On the right were communities such as the Encratites, which put all
stress on a strict asceticism, in support of which they urged the
example of Christ, but which here and there fell into dualistic
ideas.[319] There were further, whole communities which, for decennia,
drew their views of Christ from books which represented him as a
heavenly spirit who had merely assumed an apparent body.[320] There were
also individual teachers who brought forward peculiar opinions without
thereby causing any immediate stir in the Churches.[321] On the left
there were schools such as the Carpocratians, in which the philosophy
and communism of Plato were taught, the son of the founder and second
teacher Epiphanes honoured as a God (at Cephallenia), as Epicurus was in
his school, and the image of Jesus crowned along with those of
Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle.[322] On this left flank are, further,
swindlers who take their own way, like Alexander of Abonoteichus,
magicians, soothsayers, sharpers and jugglers, under the sign-board of
Christianity, deceivers and hypocrites who appear using mighty words
with a host of unintelligible formulæ, and take up with scandalous
ceremonies, in order to rob men of their money and women of their
honour.[323] All this was afterwards called "Heresy" and "Gnosticism,"
and is still so called.[324] And these names may be retained, if we will
understand by them nothing else than the world taken into Christianity,
all the manifold formations which resulted from the first contact of the
new religion with the society into which it entered. To prove the
existence of that left wing of Gnosticism is of the greatest interest
for the history of dogma, but the details are of no consequence. On the
other hand, in the aims and undertakings of the Gnostic right, it is
just the details that are of greatest significance, because they shew
that there was no fixed boundary between what one may call common
Christian and Gnostic Christian. But as Gnosticism, in its contents,
extended itself from the Encratites and the philosophic interpretation
of certain articles of the Christian proclamation, as brought forward
without offence by individual teachers in the communities, to the
complete dissolution of the Christian element by philosophy, or the
religious charlatanry of the age, so it exhibits itself formally also in
a long series of groups which comprised all imaginable forms of unions.
There were churches, ascetic associations, mystery cults, strictly
private philosophic schools,[325] free unions for edification,
entertainments by Christian charlatans and deceived deceivers, who
appeared as magicians and prophets, attempts at founding new religions
after the model and under the influence of the Christian, etc. But,
finally, the thesis that Gnosticism is identical with an acute
secularising of Christianity, in the widest sense of the word, is
confirmed by the study of its own literature. The early Christian
production of Gospel and Apocalypses was indeed continued in Gnosticism
yet so that the class of "Acts of the Apostles" was added to them, and
that didactic, biographic and "belles lettres," elements were received
into them, and claimed a very important place. If this makes the Gnostic
literature approximate to the profane, that is much more the case with
the scientific theological literature which Gnosticism first produced.
Dogmatico-philosophic tracts, theologico-critical treatises, historical
investigations and scientific commentaries on the sacred books, were,
for the first time in Christendom, composed by the Gnostics, who in part
occupied the foremost place in the scientific knowledge, religious
earnestness and ardour of the age. They form, in every respect, the
counterpart to the scientific works which proceeded from the
contemporary philosophic schools. Moreover, we possess sufficient
knowledge of Gnostic hymns and odes, songs for public worship, didactic
poems, magic formulæ, magic books, etc., to assure us that Christian
Gnosticism took possession of a whole region of the secular life in its
full breadth, and thereby often transformed the original forms of
Christian literature into secular.[326] If, however, we bear in mind how
all this at a later period was gradually legitimised in the Catholic
Church, philosophy, the science of the sacred books, criticism and
exegesis, the ascetic associations, the theological schools, the
mysteries, the sacred formulæ, the superstition, the charlatanism, all
kinds of profane literature, etc., it seems to prove the thesis that the
victorious epoch of the gradual hellenising of Christianity followed the
abortive attempts at an acute hellenising.

The traditional question as to the origin and development of Gnosticism,
as well as that about the classification of the Gnostic systems, will
have to be modified in accordance with the foregoing discussion. As the
different Gnostic systems might be contemporary, and in part were
undoubtedly contemporary, and as a graduated relation holds good only
between some few groups, we must, in the classification, limit ourselves
essentially to the features which have been specified in the foregoing
paragraph, and which coincide with the position of the different groups
to the early Christian tradition in its connection with the Old
Testament religion, both as a rule of practical life, and of the common

As to the origin of Gnosticism, we see how, even in the earliest period,
all possible ideas and principles foreign to Christianity force their
way into it, that is, are brought in under Christian rules, and find
entrance, especially in the consideration of the Old Testament.[328] We
might be satisfied with the observation that the manifold Gnostic
systems were produced by the increase of this tendency. In point of fact
we must admit that in the present state of our sources, we can reach no
sure knowledge beyond that. These sources, however, give certain
indications which should not be left unnoticed. If we leave out of
account the two assertions of opponents, that Gnosticism was produced by
demons[329] and--this, however, was said at a comparatively late
period--that it originated in ambition and resistance to the
ecclesiastical office, the episcopate, we find in Hegesippus, one of the
earliest writers on the subject, the statement that the whole of the
heretical schools sprang out of Judaism or the Jewish sects; in the
later writers, Irenæus, Tertullian and Hippolytus, that these schools
owe most to the doctrines of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Zeno,
etc.[330] But they all agree in this, that a definite personality, viz.,
Simon the Magician, must be regarded as the original source of the
heresy. If we try it by these statements of the Church Fathers, we must
see at once that the problem in this case is limited--certainly in a
proper way. For after Gnosticism is seen to be the acute secularising of
Christianity the only question that remains is, how are we to account
for the origin of the great Gnostic schools, that is, whether it is
possible to indicate their preliminary stages. The following may be
asserted here with some confidence: Long before the appearance of
Christianity, combinations of religion had taken place in Syria and
Palestine,[331] especially in Samaria, in so far, on the one hand, as
the Assyrian and Babylonian religious philosophy, together with its
myths, as well as the Greek popular religion, with its manifold
interpretations, had penetrated as far as the eastern shore of the
Mediterranean, and been accepted even by the Jews, and, on the other
hand, the Jewish Messianic idea had spread and called forth various
movements.[332] The result of every mixing of national religions,
however, is to break through the traditional, legal and particular
forms.[333] For the Jewish religion syncretism signified the shaking of
the authority of the Old Testament by a qualitative distinction of its
different parts, as also doubt as to the identity of the supreme God
with the national God. These ferments were once more set in motion by
Christianity. We know that in the Apostolic age there were attempts in
Samaria to found new religions, which were in all probability influenced
by the tradition and preaching concerning Jesus. Dositheus, Simon Magus,
Cleobius, and Menander appeared as Messiahs or bearers of the Godhead,
and proclaimed a doctrine in which the Jewish faith was strangely and
grotesquely mixed with Babylonian myths, together with some Greek
additions. The mysterious worship, the breaking up of Jewish
particularism, the criticism of the Old Testament, which for long had
had great difficulty in retaining its authority in many circles, in
consequence of the widened horizon and the deepening of religious
feeling, finally, the wild syncretism, whose aim, however, was a
universal religion, all contributed to gain adherents for Simon.[334]
His enterprise appeared to the Christians as a diabolical caricature of
their own religion, and the impression made by the success which
Simonianism gained by a vigorous propaganda even beyond Palestine into
the West, supported this idea.[335] We can therefore understand how,
afterwards, all heresies were traced back to Simon. To this must be
added that we can actually trace in many Gnostic systems the same
elements which were prominent in the religion proclaimed by Simon (the
Babylonian and Syrian), and that the new religion of the Simonians, just
like Christianity, had afterwards to submit to be transformed into a
philosophic, scholastic doctrine.[336] The formal parallel to the
Gnostic doctrines was therewith established. But even apart from these
attempts at founding new religions, Christianity in Syria, under the
influence of foreign religions and speculation on the philosophy of
religion, gave a powerful impulse to the criticism of the law and the
prophets which had already been awakened. In consequence of this, there
appeared, about the transition of the first century to the second, a
series of teachers, who, under the impression of the Gospel, sought to
make the Old Testament capable of furthering the tendency to a universal
religion, not by allegorical interpretation, but by a sifting criticism.
These attempts were of very different kinds. Teachers such as Cerinthus,
clung to the notion that the universal religion revealed by Christ was
identical with undefined Mosaism, and therefore maintained even such
articles as circumcision and the Sabbath commandment, as well as the
earthly kingdom of the future. But they rejected certain parts of the
law, especially, as a rule, the sacrificial precepts, which were no
longer in keeping with the spiritual conception of religion. They
conceived the creator of the world as a subordinate being distinct from
the supreme God, which is always the mark of a syncretism with a
dualistic tendency; introduced speculations about Æons and angelic
powers, among whom they placed Christ, and recommended a strict
asceticism. When, in their Christology, they denied the miraculous
birth, and saw in Jesus a chosen man on whom the Christ, that is, the
Holy Spirit, descended at the baptism, they were not creating any
innovation, but only following the earliest Palestinian tradition. Their
rejection of the authority of Paul is explained by their efforts to
secure the Old Testament as far as possible for the universal
religion.[337] There were others who rejected all ceremonial
commandments as proceeding from the devil, or from some intermediate
being, but yet always held firmly that the God of the Jews was the
supreme God. But alongside of these stood also decidedly anti-Jewish
groups, who seem to have been influenced in part by the preaching of
Paul. They advanced much further in the criticism of the Old Testament
and perceived the impossibility of saving it for the Christian universal
religion. They rather connected this religion with the cultus-wisdom of
Babylon and Syria, which seemed more adapted for allegorical
interpretations, and opposed this formation to the Old Testament
religion. The God of the Old Testament appears here at best as a
subordinate Angel of limited power, wisdom and goodness. In so far as he
was identified with the creator of the world, and the creation of the
world itself was regarded as an imperfect or an abortive undertaking,
expression was given both to the anti-Judaism and to that religious
temper of the time, which could only value spiritual blessing in
contrast with the world and the sensuous. These systems appeared more or
less strictly dualistic, in proportion as they did or did not accept a
slight co-operation of the supreme God in the creation of man; and the
way in which the character and power of the world-creating God of the
Jews was conceived, serves as a measure of how far the several schools
were from the Jewish religion and the Monism that ruled it. All possible
conceptions of the God of the Jews, from the assumption that he is a
being supported in his undertakings by the supreme God, to his
identification with Satan, seem to have been exhausted in these schools.
Accordingly, in the former case, the Old Testament was regarded as the
revelation of a subordinate God, in the latter as the manifestation of
Satan, and therefore the ethic--with occasional use of Pauline
formula--always assumed an antinomian form, compared with the Jewish
law, in some cases antinomian even in the sense of libertinism.
Correspondingly, the anthropology exhibits man as bipartite, or even
tripartite, and the Christology is strictly docetic and anti-Jewish. The
redemption by Christ is always, as a matter of course, related only to
that element in humanity which has an affinity with the Godhead.[338]

It is uncertain whether we should think of the spread of these doctrines
in Syria in the form of a school, or of a cultus; probably it was both.
From the great Gnostic systems as formed by Basilides and Valentinus
they are distinguished by the fact, that they lack the peculiar
philosophic, that is Hellenic element, the speculative conversion of
angels and Æons into real ideas, etc. We have almost no knowledge of
their effect. This Gnosticism has never directly been a historical
factor of striking importance, and the great question is whether it was
so indirectly.[339] That is to say, we do not know whether this Syrian
Gnosticism was, in the strict sense, the preparatory stage of the great
Gnostic schools, so that these schools should be regarded as an actual
reconstruction of it. But there can be no doubt that the appearance of
the great Gnostic schools in the Empire, from Egypt to Gaul, is
contemporaneous with the vigorous projection of Syrian cults westwards,
and therefore the assumption is suggested, that the Syrian Christian
syncretism was also spread in connection with that projection, and
underwent a change corresponding to the new conditions. We know
definitely that the Syrian Gnostic, Cerdo, came to Rome, wrought there,
and exercised an influence on Marcion. But no less probable is the
assumption that the great Hellenic Gnostic schools arose spontaneously,
in the sense of having been independently developed out of the elements
to which undoubtedly the Asiatic cults also belonged, without being
influenced in any way by Syrian syncretistic efforts. The conditions for
the growth of such formations were nearly the same in all parts of the
Empire. The great advance lies in the fact that the religious material
as contained in the Gospel, the Old Testament, and the wisdom connected
with the old cults, was philosophically, that is, scientifically,
manipulated by means of allegory, and the aggregate of mythological
powers translated into an aggregate of ideas. The Pythagorean and
Platonic, more rarely the Stoic philosophy, were compelled to do service
here. Great Gnostic schools, which were at the same time unions for
worship, first enter into the clear light of history in this form, (see
previous section), and on the conflict with these, surrounded as they
were by a multitude of dissimilar and related formations, depends the
progress of the development.[340]

We are no longer able to form a perfectly clear picture of how these
schools came into being, or how they were related to the Churches. It
lay in the nature of the case that the heads of the schools, like the
early itinerant heretical teachers, devoted attention chiefly, if not
exclusively, to those who were already Christian, that is, to the
Christian communities.[341] From the Ignatian Epistles, the Shepherd of
Hermas (Vis. III. 7. 1; Sim. VIII. 6. 5; IX. 19. and especially 22) and
the Didache (XI. 1. 2) we see that those teachers who boasted of a
special knowledge, and sought to introduce "strange" doctrines, aimed at
gaining the entire churches. The beginning, as a rule, was necessarily
the formation of conventicles. In the first period therefore, when there
was no really fixed standard for warding off the foreign
doctrines--Hermas is unable even to characterise the false
doctrines--the warnings were commonly exhausted in the exhortation:
[Greek: kollasthe tois hagiois, hoti hoi kollômenoi autois
hagiasthêsontai] ["connect yourselves with the saints, because those who
are connected with them shall be sanctified"]. As a rule, the doctrines
may really have crept in unobserved, and those gained over to them may
for long have taken part in a two-fold worship, the public worship of
the churches, and the new consecration. Those teachers must of course
have assumed a more aggressive attitude who rejected the Old Testament.
The attitude of the Church, when it enjoyed competent guidance, was one
of decided opposition towards unmasked or recognised false teachers. Yet
Irenæus' account of Cerdo in Rome shews us how difficult it was at the
beginning to get rid of a false teacher.[342] For Justin, about the year
150, the Marcionites, Valentinians, Basilideans and Saturninians, are
groups outside the communities, and undeserving of the name
"Christians."[343] There must therefore have been at that time, in Rome
and Asia Minor at least, a really perfect separation of those schools
from the Churches (it was different in Alexandria). Notwithstanding,
this continued to be the region from which those schools obtained their
adherents. For the Valentinians recognised that the common Christians
were much better than the heathen, that they occupied a middle position
between the "pneumatic" and the "hylic", and might look forward to a
kind of salvation. This admission, as well as their conforming to the
common Christian tradition, enabled them to spread their views in a
remarkable way, and they may not have had any objection in many cases,
to their converts remaining in the great Church. But can this community
have perceived everywhere and at once, that the Valentinian distinction
of "psychic" and "pneumatic" is not identical with the scriptural
distinction of children and men in understanding? Where the organisation
of the school (the union for worship) required a long time of probation,
where degrees of connection with it were distinguished, and a strict
asceticism demanded of the perfect, it followed of course that those on
the lower stage should not be urged to a speedy break with the
Church.[344] But after the creation of the catholic confederation of
churches, existence was made more and more difficult for these schools.
Some of them lived on somewhat like our freemason-unions, some, as in
the East, became actual sects (confessions), in which the wise and the
simple now found a place, as they were propagated by families. In both
cases they ceased to be what they had been at the beginning. From about
210, they ceased to be a factor of the historical development, though
the Church of Constantine and Theodosius was alone really able to
suppress them.

4. _The most important Gnostic Doctrines._

We have still to measure and compare with the earliest tradition those
Gnostic doctrines which, partly at once and partly in the following
period, became important. Once more, however, we must expressly refer to
the fact, that the epoch-making significance of Gnosticism for the
history of dogma, must not be sought chiefly in the particular
doctrines, but rather in the whole way in which Christianity is here
conceived and transformed. The decisive thing is the conversion of the
Gospel into a doctrine, into an absolute philosophy of religion, the
transforming of the _disciplina Evangelii_ into an asceticism based on a
dualistic conception, and into a practice of mysteries.[345] We have now
briefly to shew, with due regard to the earliest tradition, how far this
transformation was of positive or negative significance for the
following period, that is, in what respects the following development
was anticipated by Gnosticism, and in what respects Gnosticism was
disavowed by this development.[346]

(1) Christianity, which is the only true and absolute religion, embraces
a revealed system of doctrine (positive).

(2) This doctrine contains mysterious powers, which are communicated to
men by initiation (mysteries).

(3) The revealer is Christ (positive), but Christ alone, and only in his
historical appearance--no Old Testament Christ (negative); this
appearance is itself redemption: the doctrine is the announcement of it
and of its presuppositions (positive).[347]

(4) Christian doctrine is to be drawn from the Apostolic tradition,
critically examined. This tradition lies before us in a series of
Apostolic writings, and in a secret doctrine derived from the Apostles,
(positive).[348] As exoteric it is comprehended in the _regula fidei_
(positive),[349] as esoteric it is propagated by chosen teachers.[350]

(5) The documents of revelation (Apostolic writings), just because they
are such, must be interpreted by means of allegory, that is, their
deeper meaning must be extracted in this way (positive).[351]

(6) The following may be noted as the main points in the Gnostic
conception of the several parts of the _regula fidei_.

(a) The difference between the supreme God and the creator of the world,
and therewith the opposing of redemption and creation, and therefore the
separation of the Mediator of revelation from the Mediator of

(b) The separation of the supreme God from the God of the Old Testament,
and therewith the rejection of the Old Testament, or the assertion that
the Old Testament contains no revelations of the supreme God, or at
least only in certain parts.[353]

(c) The doctrine of the independence and eternity of matter.

(d) The assertion that the present world sprang from a fall of man, or
from an undertaking hostile to God, and is therefore the product of an
evil or intermediate being.[354]

(e) The doctrine, that evil is inherent in matter, and therefore is a
physical potence.[355]

(f) The assumption of Æons, that is, real powers and heavenly persons in
whom is unfolded the absoluteness of the Godhead.[356]

(g) The assertion that Christ revealed a God hitherto unknown.

(h) The doctrine that in the person of Jesus Christ--the Gnostics saw in
it redemption, but they reduced the person to the physical nature--the
heavenly Æon, Christ, and the human appearance of that Æon must be
clearly distinguished, and a "distincte agere" ascribed to each.
Accordingly, there were some, such as Basilides, who acknowledged no
real union between Christ and the man Jesus, whom, besides, they
regarded as an earthly man. Others, e.g., part of the Valentinians,
among whom the greatest differences prevailed--see Tertull. adv. Valent.
39--taught that the body of Jesus was a heavenly psychical formation,
and sprang from the womb of Mary only in appearance. Finally, a third
party, such as Saturninus, declared that the whole visible appearance of
Christ was a phantom, and therefore denied the birth of Christ.[357]
Christ separates that which is unnaturally united, and thus leads
everything back again to himself; in this redemption consists (full
contrast to the notion of the [Greek: anakephalaiôsis]).

(i) The conversion of the [Greek: ekklêsia] (it was no innovation to
regard the heavenly Church as an Æon) into the college of the pneumatic,
who alone, in virtue of their psychological endowment, are capable of
Gnosis and the divine life, while the others, likewise in virtue of
their constitution, as hylic perish. The Valentinians, and probably many
other Gnostics also, distinguished between pneumatic, psychic and hylic.
They regarded the psychic as capable of a certain blessedness, and of a
corresponding certain knowledge of the supersensible, the latter being
obtained through Pistis, that is, through Christian faith.[358]

(k) The rejection of the entire early Christian eschatology, especially
the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and Christ's
Kingdom of glory on the earth, and, in connection with this, the
assertion that the deliverance of the spirit from the sensuous can be
expected only from the future, while the spirit enlightened about itself
already possesses immortality, and only awaits its introduction into the
pneumatic pleroma.[359]

In addition to what has been mentioned here, we must finally fix our
attention on the ethics of Gnosticism. Like the ethics of all systems
which are based on the contrast between the sensuous and spiritual
elements of human nature, that of the Gnostics took a twofold direction.
On the one hand, it sought to suppress and uproot the sensuous, and thus
became strictly ascetic (imitation of Christ as motive of
asceticism;[360] Christ and the Apostles represented as ascetics);[361]
on the other hand, it treated the sensuous element as indifferent, and
so became libertine, that is, conformed to the world. The former was
undoubtedly the more common, though there are credible witnesses to the
latter; the _frequentissimum collegium_ in particular, the Valentinians,
in the days of Irenæus and Tertullian, did not vigorously enough
prohibit a lax and world-conforming morality;[362] and among the Syrian
and Egyptian Gnostics there were associations which celebrated the most
revolting orgies.[363] As the early Christian tradition summoned to a
strict renunciation of the world and to self-control, the Gnostic
asceticism could not but make an impression at the first; but the
dualistic basis on which it rested could not fail to excite suspicion as
soon as one was capable of examining it.[364]

_Literature._--The writings of Justin (his syntagma against heresies has
not been preserved), Irenæus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Clement of
Alexandria, Origen, Epiphanius, Philastrius and Theodoret; cf. Volkmar,
Die Quellen der Ketzergeschichte, 1885.

Lipsius, Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanios, 1875; also Die Quellen der
ältesten Ketzergeschichte, 1875.

Harnack, Zur Quellenkritik d. Gesch. d. Gnostic, 1873 (continued i. D.
Ztschr. f. d. hist. Theol. 1874, and in Der Schrift de Apellis gnosi
monarch. 1874).

Of Gnostic writings we possess the book Pistis Sophia, the writings
contained in the Coptic Cod. Brucianus, and the Epistle of Ptolemy to
Flora; also numerous fragments, in connection with which Hilgenfeld
especially deserves thanks, but which still require a more complete
selecting and a more thorough discussion (see Grabe, Spicilegium T. I.
II. 1700. Heinrici, Die Valentin. Gnosis, u. d. H. Schrift, 1871).

On the (Gnostic) Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, see Zahn, Acta Joh.
1880, and the great work of Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten,
I. Vol., 1883; II. Vol., 1887. (See also Lipsius, Quellen d. röm.
Petrussage, 1872).

Neander, Genet. Entw. d. vornehmsten gnostischen Systeme, 1818.

Matter, Hist. crit. du gnosticisme, 2 Vols., 1828.

Baur, Die Christl. Gnosis, 1835.

Lipsius, Der Gnosticismus, in Ersch. und Gruber's Allg. Encykl. 71 Bd.

Moeller, Geschichte d. Kosmologie i. d. Griech. K. his auf Origenes.

King, The Gnostics and their remains, 1873.

Mansel, The Gnostic heresies, 1875.

Jacobi, Art. "Gnosis" in Herzog's Real Encykl. 2nd Edit.

Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums, 1884, where the
more recent, special literature concerning individual Gnostics is

Lipsius, Art. "Valentinus" in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography.

Harnack, Art. "Valentinus" in the Encycl. Brit.

Harnack, Pistis Sophia in the Texte und Unters. VII. 2.

Carl Schmidt, Gnostische Schriften in koptischer Sprache aus dem Codex
Brucianus (Texte und Unters. VIII. 1. 2).

Joël, Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des 2 Christl.
Jahrhunderts, 2 parts, 1880, 1883.

Renan, History of the Origins of Christianity. Vols. V. VI. VII.

[Footnote 300: We may consider here once more the articles which are
embraced in the first ten chapters of the recently discovered [Greek:
Didachê tôn apostolôn], after enumerating and describing which, the
author continues (II. 1): [Greek: hos an oun elthôn didachêi umas tauta
panta ta proeirêmena, dexasthe auton].]

[Footnote 301: It is a good tradition, which designates the so-called
Gnosticism, simply as Gnosis, and yet uses this word also for the
speculations of non-Gnostic teachers of antiquity (e.g., of Barnabas).
But the inferences which follow have not been drawn. Origen says truly
(c. Celsus III. 12) "As men, not only the labouring and serving classes,
but also many from the cultured classes of Greece, came to see something
honourable in Christianity, sects could not fail to arise, not simply
from the desire for controversy and contradiction, but because several
scholars endeavoured to penetrate deeper into the truth of Christianity.
In this way sects arose, which received their names from men who indeed
admired Christianity in its essence, but from many different causes had
arrived at different conceptions of it."]

[Footnote 302: The majority of Christians in the second century belonged
no doubt to the uncultured classes, and did not seek abstract knowledge,
nay, were distrustful of it; see the [Greek: logos alêthês] of Celsus,
especially III. 44, and the writings of the Apologists. Yet we may infer
from the treatise of Origen against Celsus that the number of
"Christiani rudes" who cut themselves off from theological and
philosophic knowledge, was about the year 240 a very large one; and
Tertullian says (Adv. Prax. 3): "Simplices quique, ne dixerim
imprudentes et idiotæ, quæ major semper credentium pars est," cf. de
jejun. 11: "Major pars imperitorum apud gloriosissimam multitudinem

[Footnote 303: Overbeck (Stud. z. Gesch. d. alten Kirche. p. 184) has the
merit of having first given convincing expression to this view of

[Footnote 304: The ability of the prominent Gnostic teachers has been
recognised by the Church Fathers: see Hieron. Comm in Osee. II. 10, Opp.
VI. i: "Nullus potest haeresim struere, nisi qui ardens ingenii est et
habet dona naturæ quæ a deo artifice sunt creata: talis fuit Valentinus,
tails Marcion, quos doctissimos legimus, talis Bardesanes, cujus etiam
philosophi admirantur ingenium." It is still more important to see how
the Alexandrian theologians (Clement and Origen) estimated the exegetic
labours of the Gnostics, and took account of them. Origen undoubtedly
recognised Herakleon as a prominent exegete, and treats him most
respectfully even where he feels compelled to differ from him. All
Gnostics cannot, of course, be regarded as theologians. In their
totality they form the Greek society with a Christian name.]

[Footnote 305: Otherwise the rise of Gnosticism cannot at all be

[Footnote 306: Cf. Bigg, "The Christian Platonists of Alexandria," p.
83: "Gnosticism was in one respect distorted Paulinism."]

[Footnote 307: Joel, "Blick in die Religionsgesch." Vol. I. pp. 101-170,
has justly emphasised the Greek character of Gnosis, and insisted on the
significance of Platonism for it. "The Oriental element did not always
in the case of the Gnostics, originate at first hand, but had already
passed through a Greek channel."]

[Footnote 308: The age of the Antonines was the flourishing period of
Gnosticism. Marquardt (Römische Staatsverwaltung Vol. 3, p. 81) says of
this age: "With the Antonines begins the last period of the Roman
religious development in which two new elements enter into it. These are
the Syrian and Persian deities, whose worship at this time was prevalent
not only in the city of Rome, but in the whole empire, and, at the same
time, Christianity, which entered into conflict with all ancient
tradition, and in this conflict exercised a certain influence even on
the Oriental forms of worship."]

[Footnote 309: It is a special merit of Weingarten (Histor. Ztschr. Bd
45. 1881. p. 441 f.) and Koffmane (Die Gnosis nach ihrer Tendenz und
Organisation, 1881) to have strongly emphasised the mystery character of
Gnosis, and in connection with that, its practical aims. Koffmane,
especially, has collected abundant material for proving that the
tendency of the Gnostics was the same as that of the ancient mysteries,
and that they thence borrowed their organisation and discipline. This
fact proves the proposition that Gnosticism was an acute hellenising of
Christianity. Koffmane has, however, undervalued the union of the
practical and speculative tendency in the Gnostics, and, in the effort
to obtain recognition for the mystery character of the Gnostic
communities, has overlooked the fact that they were also schools. The
union of mystery-cultus and school is just, however, their
characteristic. In this also they prove themselves the forerunners of
Neoplatonism and the Catholic Church. Moehler in his programme of 1831
(Urspr. d. Gnosticismus Tubingen), vigorously emphasised the practical
tendency of Gnosticism, though not in a convincing way. Hackenschmidt
(Anfange des katholischen Kirchenbegriffs, p. 83 f.) has judged

[Footnote 310: We have also evidence of the methods by which ecstatic
visions were obtained among the Gnostics, see the Pistis Sophia, and the
important rôle which prophets and Apocalypses played in several
important Gnostic communities (Barcoph and Barcabbas, prophets of the
Basilideans; Martiades and Marsanes among the Ophites; Philumene in the
case of Apelles; Valentinian prophecies, Apocalypses of Zostrian,
Zoroaster, etc.) Apocalypses were also used by some under the names of
Old Testament men of God and Apostles.]

[Footnote 311: See Koftmane, before-mentioned work, p. 5 f.]

[Footnote 312: See Fragm. Murat. V. 81 f.; Clem. Strom. VII. 17. 108;
Orig. Hom. 34. The Marcionite Antitheses were probably spread among
other Gnostic sects. The Fathers frequently emphasise the fact that the
Gnostics were united against the church: Tertullian de præscr 42: "Et
hoc est, quod schismata apud hæreticos fere non sunt, quia cum sint, non
parent. Schisma est enim unitas ipsa." They certainly also delight in
emphasising the contradictions of the different schools; but they cannot
point to any earnest conflict of these schools with each other. We know
definitely that Bardasanes argued against the earlier Gnostics, and
Ptolemæus against Marcion.]

[Footnote 313: See the collection, certainly not complete, of Gnostic
fragments by Grabe (Spicileg.) and Hilgenfeld (Ketzergeschichte). Our
books on the history of Gnosticism take far too little notice of these
fragments as presented to us, above all, by Clement and Origen, and
prefer to keep to the doleful accounts of the Fathers about the
"Systems", (better in Heinrici: Valent. Gnosis, 1871). The vigorous
efforts of the Gnostics to understand the Pauline and Johannine ideas,
and their in part surprisingly rational and ingenious solutions of
intellectual problems, have never yet been systematically estimated. Who
would guess, for example, from what is currently known of the system of
Basilides, that, according to Clement, the following proceeds from him,
(Strom. IV. 12. 18): [Greek: hôs autos phêsin ho Basileidês, en meros ek
tou legomenou thelêmatos tou theou hupeilêphamen, to êgapêkenai hapanta.
hoti logon aposôzousi pros to pan hapanta; heteron de to mêdenos
epithumein, kai to triton misein mêde hen], and where do we find, in the
period before Clement of Alexandria, faith in Christ united with such
spiritual maturity and inner freedom as in Valentinians, Ptolemæus and

[Footnote 314: Testament of Tertullian (adv. Valent. 4) shews the
difference between the solution of Valentinus, for example, and his
disciple Ptolemæus. "Ptolemæus nomina et numeros Æonum distinxit in
personales substantias, sed extra deum determinatas, quas Valentinus in
ipsa summa divinitatis ut sensus et affectus motus incluserat." It is,
moreover, important that Tertullian himself should distinguish this so

[Footnote 315: There is nothing here more instructive than to hear the
judgments of the cultured Greeks and Romans about Christianity, as soon
as they have given up the current gross prejudices. They shew with
admirable clearness, the way in which Gnosticism originated. Galen says
(quoted by Gieseler, Church Hist. 1. 1. 41): "Hominum plerique orationem
demonstrativam continuam mente assequi nequeunt, quare indigent, ut
instituantur parabolis. Veluti nostro tempore videmus, homines illos,
qui Christian! vocantur, fidem suam e parabolis petiisse. Hi tamen
interdum talia faciunt, qualia qui vere philosophantur. Nam quod mortem
contemnunt, id quidem omnes ante oculos habemus; item quod verecundia
quadam ducti ab usu rerum venerearum abhorrent. Sunt enim inter eos
feminæ et viri, qui per totam vitam a concubitu abstinuerint; sunt etiam
qui in animis regendis coërcendisque et in accerrimo honestatis studio
eo progressi sint, ut nihil cedant vere philosophantibus." Christians,
therefore, are philosophers without philosophy. What a challenge for
them to produce such, that is to seek out the latent philosophy! Even
Celsus could not but admit a certain relationship between Christians and
philosophers. But as he was convinced that the miserable religion of the
Christians could neither include nor endure a philosophy, he declared
that the moral doctrines of the Christians were borrowed from the
philosophers (I. 4). In course of his presentation (V. 65; VI. 12.
15-19, 42; VII. 27-35) he deduces the most decided marks of
Christianity, as well as the most important sayings of Jesus from
(misunderstood) statements of Plato and other Greek philosophers. This
is not the place to shew the contradictions in which Celsus was involved
by this. But it is of the greatest significance that even this
intelligent man could only see philosophy where he saw something
precious. The whole of Christianity from its very origin appeared to
Celsus (in one respect) precisely as the Gnostic systems appear to us,
that is, these really are what Christianity as such seemed to Celsus to
be. Besides, it was constantly asserted up to the fifth century that
Christ had drawn from Plato's writings. Against those who made this
assertion, Ambrosius (according to Augustine, Ep. 31. c. 8) wrote a
treatise which unfortunately is no longer in existence.]

[Footnote 316: The Simonian system at most might be named, on the basis
of the syncretistic religion founded by Simon Magus. But we know little
about it, and that little is uncertain. Parallel attempts are
demonstrable in the third century on the basis of various "revealed"
fundamental ideas ([Greek: hê ek logíôn philosophia]).]

[Footnote 317: Among these I reckon those Gnostics whom Irenæus (I.
29-31) has portrayed, as well as part of the so-called Ophites, Peratæ,
Sethites and the school of the Gnostic Justin (Hippol. Philosoph. V.
6-28). There is no reason for regarding them as earlier or more Oriental
than the Valentinians, as is done by Hilgenfeld against Baur, Möller,
and Gruber (the Ophites, 1864). See also Lipsius, "Ophit. Systeme", i.
d. Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol. 1863. IV, 1864, I. These schools claimed for
themselves the name Gnostic (Hippol. Philosoph. V. 6). A part of them,
as is specially apparent from Orig. c. Celsum. VI., is not to be
reckoned Christian. This motley group is but badly known to us through
Epiphanius, much better through the original Gnostic writings preserved
in the Coptic language. (Pistis Sophia and the works published by Carl
Schmidt Texte u. Unters. Bd. VIII.). Yet these original writings belong,
for the most part, to the second half of the third century (see also the
important statements of Porphyry in the Vita Plotini, c. 16), and shew a
Gnosticism burdened with an abundance of wild speculations, formulæ,
mysteries, and ceremonial. However, from these very monuments it becomes
plain that Gnosticism anticipated Catholicism as a ritual system (see

[Footnote 318: On Marcion, see the following Chapter.]

[Footnote 319: We know that from the earliest period (perhaps we might
refer even to the Epistle to the Romans) there were circles of ascetics
in the Christian communities who required of all, as an inviolable law,
under the name of Christian perfection, complete abstinence from
marriage, renunciation of possessions, and a vegetarian diet. (Clem.
Strom. III. 6. 49: [Greek: hupo diabolou tautên paradidosthai
dogmatizousi, mimeisthai d' autous hoi megalanchoi phasi ton kurion mête
gêmanta, mête ti en tôi kosmôi ktêsamenon, mallon para allous nenoêkenai
to euangelion kauchomenoi].--Here then, already, imitation of the poor
life of Jesus, the "Evangelic" life, was the watchword. Tatian wrote a
book, [Greek: peri tou kata ton sôtêra katartismou], that is, on
perfection according to the Redeemer: in which he set forth the
irreconcilability of the worldly life with the Gospel). No doubt now
existed in the Churches that abstinence from marriage, from wine and
flesh, and from possessions, was the perfect fulfilling of the law of
Christ ([Greek: bastazein holon ton zugon tou kuriou]). But in wide
circles strict abstinence was deduced from a special charism, all
boastfulness was forbidden, and the watchword given out: [Greek: hoson
dunasai hagneuseis], which may be understood as a compromise with the
worldly life as well as a reminiscence of a freer morality (see my notes
on Didache, c. 6; 11, 11 and Prolegg. p. 42 ff.). Still, the position
towards asceticism yielded a hard problem, the solution of which was
more and more found in distinguishing a higher and a lower though
sufficient morality, yet repudiating the higher morality as soon as it
claimed to be the alone authoritative one. On the other hand, there were
societies of Christian ascetics who persisted in applying literally to
all Christians the highest demands of Christ, and thus arose, by
secession, the communities of the Encratites and Severians. But in the
circumstances of the time even they could not but be touched by the
Hellenic mode of thought, to the effect of associating a speculative
theory with asceticism, and thus approximating to Gnosticism. This is
specially plain in Tatian, who connected himself with the Encratites,
and in consequence of the severe asceticism which he prescribed, could
no longer maintain the identity of the supreme God and the creator of
the world (see the fragments of his later writings in the Corp. Apol. ed
Otto. T. VI.). As the Pauline Epistles could furnish arguments to either
side, we see some Gnostics such as Tatian himself, making diligent use
of them, while others such as the Severians, rejected them. (Euseb. H.
E. IV. 29. 5, and Orig. c. Cels. V. 65). The Encratite controversy was,
on the one hand, swallowed up by the Gnostic, and on the other hand,
replaced by the Montanistic. The treatise written in the days of Marcus
Aurelius by a certain Musanus (where?) which contains warnings against
joining the Encratites (Euseb. H. E. IV. 28) we unfortunately no longer

[Footnote 320: See Eusebius, H. E. VI. 12. Docetic elements are apparent
even in the fragment of the Gospel of Peter recently discovered.]

[Footnote 321: Here, above all, we have to remember Tatian, who in his
highly praised Apology, had already rejected altogether the eating of
flesh (c. 23) and set up very peculiar doctrines about the spirit,
matter, and the nature of man (c. 12 ff.). The fragments of the
Hypotyposes of Clem. of Alex. show how much one had to bear in some
rural Churches at the end of the second century.]

[Footnote 322: See Clem. Strom III. 2. 5; [Greek: Epiphanês, huios
Karpokratous, ezêse ta panta etê heptakaideka kai theos en Samêi tês
Kephallênias tetimêtai, entha autôi hieron rutôn lithôn, bômoi, temenê,
mouseion, ôikodomêtai te kai kathierôtai, kai suniontes eis to hieron
hoi Kaphallênes kata noumênian genethlion apotheôsin thuousin Epiphanei,
spendousi te kai euôchountai kai humnoi legontai]. Clement's quotations
from the writings of Epiphanes shew him to be a pure Platonist: the
proposition that property is theft is found in him. Epiphanes and his
father, Carpocrates, were the first who attempted to amalgamate Plato's
State with the Christian ideal of the union of men with each other.
Christ was to them, therefore, a philosophic Genius like Plato, see
Irenæus I. 25. 5: "Gnosticos autem se vocant, etiam imagines, quasdam
quidem depictas, quasdam autem et de reliqua materia fabricatas
habent..... et has coronant, et proponent eas cum imaginibus mundi
philosophorum, videlicet cum imagine Pythagoræ et Platonis et
Aristotelis et reliquorum, et reliquam observationem circa eas similiter
ut gentes faciunt."]

[Footnote 323: See the "Gnostics" of Hermas, especially the false
prophet whom he portrays, Mand. XI., Lucian's Peregrinus, and the
Marcus, of whose doings Irenæus (I. 13. ff.) gives such an abominable
picture. To understand how such people were able to obtain a following
so quickly in the Churches, we must remember the respect in which the
"prophets" were held (see Didache XI.). If one had once given the
impression that he had the Spirit, he could win belief for the strangest
things, and could allow himself all things possible (see the
delineations of Celsus in Orig. c. Cels. VII. 9. 11). We hear frequently
of Gnostic prophets and prophetesses, see my notes on Herm. Mand. XI. 1
and Didache XI. 7. If an early Christian element is here preserved by
the Gnostic schools, it has undoubtedly been hellenised and secularised
as the reports shew. But that the prophets altogether were in danger of
being secularised is shewn in Didache XI. In the case of the Gnostics
the process is again only hastened.]

[Footnote 324: The name Gnostic originally attached to schools which had
so named themselves. To these belonged, above all, the so-called
Ophites, but not the Valentinians or Basilideans.]

[Footnote 325: Special attention should be given to this form, as it
became in later times of the very greatest importance for the general
development of doctrine in the Church. The sect of Carpocrates was a
school. Of Tatian Irenæus says (I. 28. 1): [Greek: Tatianos Ioustinou
acroatês gegonais ... meta de tên ekeinou marturian apostas tês
ekklêsias, oiêmati didaskalon epartheis ... idion charaktêr didaskaleiou
sunestêsato]. Rhodon (in Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 4) speaks of a Marcionite
[Greek: didaskaleion]. Other names were, "Collegium" (Tertull. ad Valen
1), "Secta", the word had not always a bad meaning, [Greek: hairesis,
ekklêsia] (Clem. Strom. VII. 16. 98, on the other hand, VII. 15. 92:
Tertull. de præscr. 42: plerique nec Ecclesias habent), [Greek: thiasos]
(Iren. I. 13. 4, for the Marcosians). [Greek: sunagôgê, sustêma,
diatribê, hai athrôpinai sunêluseis], factiuncula, congregatio,
conciliabulum, conventiculum. The mystery-organisation most clearly
appears in the Naassenes of Hippolytus, the Marcosians of Irenæus, and
the Elkasites of Hippolytus, as well as in the Coptic-Gnostic documents
that have been preserved. (See Koffmane, above work, pp. 6-22).]

[Footnote 326: The particulars here belong to church history. Overbeck
("Ueber die Anfänge der patristischen Litteratur" in d. hist. Ztschr. N.
F. Bd. XII. p. 417 ff.) has the merit of being the first to point out
the importance, for the history of the Church, of the forms of
literature as they were gradually received in Christendom. Scientific,
theological literature has undoubtedly its origin in Gnosticism. The Old
Testament was here, for the first time, systematically and also in part,
historically criticised; a selection was here made from the primitive
Christian literature; scientific commentaries were here written on the
sacred books (Basilides and especially the Valentinians, see Heracleon's
comm. on the Gospel of John [in Origen]); the Pauline Epistles were also
technically expounded; tracts were here composed on dogmatico-philosophic
problems (for example, [Greek: peri dikaiosunês--peri prosphuous
psuchês--êthika--peri enkrateias hê peri eunouchias]), and systematic
doctrinal systems already constructed (as the Basilidean and
Valentinian); the original form of the Gospel was here first transmuted
into the Greek form of sacred novel and biography (see, above all, the
Gospel of Thomas, which was used by the Marcosians and Naassenes, and
which contained miraculous stories from the childhood of Jesus); here,
finally, psalms, odes and hymns were first composed (see the Acts of
Lucius, the psalms of Valentinus, the psalms of Alexander the disciple
of Valentinus, the poems of Bardesanes). Irenæus, Tertullian and
Hippolytus have indeed noted, that the scientific method of
interpretation followed by the Gnostics, was the same as that of the
philosophers (e.g., of Philo). Valentinus, as is recognised even by the
Church Fathers, stands out prominent for his mental vigour and religious
imagination, Heracleon for his exegetic theological ability, Ptolemy for
his ingenious criticism of the Old Testament and his keen perception of
the stages of religious development (see his Epistle to Flora in
Epiphanius, hær. 33. c. 7). As a specimen of the language of Valentinus
one extract from a homily may suffice (in Clem. Strom. IV. 13. 89).
[Greek: Ap archês athanatoi este kai tekna zôês este aiônias, kai ton
thanaton êthelete merisasthai eis heautous, hina dapanêsête auton kai
analôsête, kai apothanê ho thanatos en humin kai di' humôn, hotan gar
ton men kosmon luête, autoi de mê kataluêsthe, kurieuete tês kriseôs kai
tês phthoras apasês.] Basilides falls into the background behind
Valentinus and his school. Yet the Church Fathers, when they wish to
summarise the most important Gnostics, usually mention Simon Magus,
Basilides, Valentinus, Marcion (even Apelles). On the relation of the
Gnostics to the New Testament writings, and to the New Testament, see
Zahn, Gesch. des N. T-lichen Kanons I. 2, p. 718.]

[Footnote 327: Baur's classification of the Gnostic systems, which rests
on the observation of how they severally realised the idea of
Christianity as the absolute religion, in contrast to Judaism and
Heathenism, is very ingenious, and contains a great element of truth.
But it is insufficient with reference to the whole phenomenon of
Gnosticism, and it has been carried out by Baur by violent

[Footnote 328: The question, therefore, as to the time of the origin of
Gnosticism, as a complete phenomenon, cannot be answered. The remarks of
Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E. IV. 22) refer to the Jerusalem Church, and have
not even for that the value of a fixed datum. The only important
question here is the point of time at which the expulsion or secession
of the schools and unions took place in the different national

[Footnote 329: Justin Apol. 1. 26.]

[Footnote 330: Hegesippus in Euseb. H. E. IV. 22, Iren. II. 14. 1 f.,
Tertull. de præscr. 7, Hippol. Philosoph. The Church Fathers have also
noted the likeness of the cultus of Mithras and other deities.]

[Footnote 331: We must leave the Essenes entirely out of account here,
as their teaching, in all probability, is not to be considered
syncretistic in the strict sense of the word, (see Lucius, "Der
Essenismus", 1881), and as we know absolutely nothing of a greater
diffusion of it. But we need no names here, as a syncretistic, ascetic
Judaism could and did arise everywhere in Palestine and the Diaspora.]

[Footnote 332: Freudenthal's "Hellenistische Studien" informs us as to
the Samaritan syncretism; see also Hilgenfeld's "Ketzergeschichte", p.
149 ff. As to the Babylonian mythology in Gnosticism, see the statements
in the elaborate article, "Manichaismus", by Kessler (Real-Encycl. für
protest. Theol., 2 Aufl.).]

[Footnote 333: Wherever traditional religions are united under the badge
of philosophy a conservative syncretism is the result, because the
allegoric method, that is, the criticism of all religion, veiled and
unconscious of itself, is able to blast rocks and bridge over abysses.
All forms may remain here, under certain circumstances, but a new spirit
enters into them. On the other hand, where philosophy is still weak, and
the traditional religion is already shaken by another, there arises the
critical syncretism in which either the gods of one religion are
subordinated to those of another, or the elements of the traditional
religion are partly eliminated and replaced by others. Here, also, the
soil is prepared for new religious formations, for the appearance of
religious founders.]

[Footnote 334: It was a serious mistake of the critics to regard Simon
Magus as a fiction, which, moreover, has been given up by Hilgenfeld
(Ketzergeschichte, p. 163 ff.). and Lipsius (Apocr Apostelgesch 11.
1),--the latter, however, not decidedly. The whole figure, as well as
the doctrines attributed to Simon (see Acts of the Apostles, Justin,
Irenæus, Hippolytus), not only have nothing improbable in them, but suit
very well the religious circumstances which we must assume for Samaria.
The main point in Simon is his endeavour to create a universal religion
of the supreme God. This explains his success among the Samaritans and
Greeks. He is really a counterpart to Jesus, whose activity can just as
little have been unknown to him as that of Paul. At the same time, it
cannot be denied, that the later tradition about Simon was the most
confused and biassed imaginable, or that certain Jewish Christians at a
later period may have attempted to endow the magician with the features
of Paul in order to discredit the personality and teaching of the
Apostle. But this last assumption requires a fresh investigation.]

[Footnote 335: Justin, Apol. I. 26: [Greek: kai schedon pantes men
Samareis, oligoi de kai en allois ethnesin, hôs ton prôton theon Simôna
homologountes, ekeinon kai proskunousin] (besides the account in the
Philos and Orig. c. Cels i. 57; VI. 11). The positive statement of
Justin that Simon came even to Rome (under Claudius) can hardly be
refuted from the account of the Apologist himself, and therefore not at
all (See Renan, "Antichrist").]

[Footnote 336: We have it as such in the [Greek: Megalê Apophasis] which
Hippolytus (Philosoph. VI. 19. 20) made use of. This Simonianism may
perhaps have been related to the original, as the doctrines of the
Christian Gnostics to the Apostolic preaching.]

[Footnote 337: The Heretics opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians may
belong to these. On Cerinthus, see Polycarp, in Iren. III. 3. 2, Irenæus
(I. 26. I.; III. 11. 1), Hippolytus and the redactions of the Syntagma,
Cajus in Euseb. III. 28. 2, Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, p. 411 ff. To
this category belong also the Ebionites and Elkasites of Epiphanius (See
Chap. 6).]

[Footnote 338: The two Syrian teachers, Saturninus and Cerdo, must in
particular be mentioned here. The first (See Iren I. 24. 1. 2, Hippolyt.
and the redactions of the Syntagma) was not strictly speaking a dualist,
and therefore allowed the God of the Old Testament to be regarded as an
Angel of the supreme God, while at the same time he distinguished him
from Satan. Accordingly, he assumed that the supreme God co-operated in
the creation of man by angel powers--sending a ray of light, an image of
light, that should be imitated as an example and enjoined as an ideal.
But all men have not received the ray of light. Consequently, two
classes of men stand in abrupt contrast with each other. History is the
conflict of the two. Satan stands at the head of the one, the God of the
Jews at the head of the other. The Old Testament is a collection of
prophecies out of both camps. The truly good first appears in the Æon
Christ, who assumed nothing cosmic, did not even submit to birth. He
destroys the works of Satan (generation, eating of flesh), and delivers
the men who have within them a spark of light The Gnosis of Cerdo was
much coarser. (Iren. I. 27. 1, Hippolyt. and the redactions). He
contrasted the good God and the God of the Old Testament as two primary
beings. The latter he identified with the creator of the world.
Consequently, he completely rejected the Old Testament and everything
cosmic and taught that the good God was first revealed in Christ. Like
Saturninus he preached a strict docetism; Christ had no body, was not
born, and suffered in an unreal body. All else that the Fathers report
of Cerdo's teaching has probably been transferred to him from Marcion,
and is therefore very doubtful.]

[Footnote 339: This question might perhaps be answered if we had the
Justinian Syntagma against all heresies; but, in the present condition
of our sources, it remains wrapped in obscurity. What may be gathered
from the fragments of Hegesippus, the Epistles of Ignatius, the Pastoral
Epistles and other documents, such as, for example, the Epistle of Jude,
is in itself so obscure, so detached, and so ambiguous, that it is of no
value for historical construction.]

[Footnote 340: There are, above all, the schools of the Basilideans,
Valentinians and Ophites. To describe the systems in their full
development lies, in my opinion, outside the business of the history of
dogma and might easily lead to the mistake that the systems as such were
controverted, and that their construction was peculiar to Christian
Gnosticism. The construction, as remarked above, is rather that of the
later Greek philosophy, though it cannot be mistaken that, for us, the
full parallel to the Gnostic systems first appears in those of the
Neoplatonists. But only particular doctrines and principles of the
Gnostics were really called in question, their critique of the world, of
providence, of the resurrection, etc.; these therefore are to be adduced
in the next section. The fundamental features of an inner development
can only be exhibited in the case of the most important, viz., the
Valentinian school. But even here, we must distinguish an Eastern and a
Western branch. (Tertull. adv. Valent. I.: "Valentiniani frequentissimum
plane collegium inter hæreticos." Iren. I. 1.; Hippol. Philos. VI. 35;
Orig. Hom. II. 5 in Ezech. Lomm. XIV. p. 40: "Valentini robustissima

[Footnote 341: Tertull. de præscr. 42: "De verbi autem administratione
quid dicam, cum hoc sit negotium illis, non ethnicos convertendi, sed
nostros evertendi? Hanc magis gloriam captant, si stantibus ruinam, non
si jacentibus elevationem operentur. Quoniam et ipsum opus eorum non de
suo proprio ædificio venit, sed de veritatis destructione; nostra
suffodiunt, ut sua ædificent. Adime illis legem Moysis et prophetas et
creatorem deum, accusationem eloqui non habent." (See adv. Valent. I
init.). This is hardly a malevolent accusation. The philosophic
interpretation of a religion will always impress those only on whom the
religion itself has already made an impression.]

[Footnote 342: Iren. III. 4. 2: [Greek: Kerdôn eis tên ekklêsian elthôn
kai exomologoumenos, houtôs dietelete, pote men lathrodidaskalôn pote de
palin exomologoumenos, pote de eleggomenos eph hois edidaske kakôs, kai
aphistamenos tês tôn adelphôn sunodias], see, besides, the valuable
account of Tertull. de præscr. 30. The account of Irenæus (I. 13) is
very instructive as to the kind of propaganda of Marcus, and the
relation of the women he deluded to the Church. Against actually
recognised false teachers the fixed rule was to renounce all intercourse
with them (2 Joh. 10. 11, Iren. ep. ad. Florin on Polycarp's procedure,
in Euseb. H. E. V. 20. 7; Iren. III. 3. 4) But how were the heretics to
be surely known?]

[Footnote 343: Among those who justly bore this name he distinguishes
those [Greek: Hoi orthognômenes kata panta christanoi eisin] (Dial.

[Footnote 344: Very important is the description which Irenæus (III. 15.
2) and Tertullian have given of the conduct of the Valentinians as
observed by themselves (adv. Valent. 1). "Valentiniani nihil magis
curant quam occultare, quod prædicant; si tamen prædicant qui occultant.
Custodiæ officium conscientiæ officium est (a comparison with the
Eleusinian mysteries follows.) Si bona fide quæras, concreto vultu,
suspenso supercilio, Altum est, aiunt. Si subtiliter temptes per
ambiguitates bilingues communem fidem adfirmant. Si scire te subostendas
negant quidquid agnoscunt. Si cominus certes, tuam simplicitatem sua
cæde dispergunt. Ne discipulis quidem propriis ante committunt quam suos
fecerint. Habent artificium quo prius persuadeant quam edoceant." At a
later period Dionysius of Alex, (in Euseb. H. E. VII. 7) speaks of
Christians who maintain an apparent communion with the brethren, but
resort to one of the false teachers (cf. as to this Euseb. H. E. VI. 2.
13). The teaching of Bardesanes influenced by Valentinus, who, moreover,
was hostile to Marcionitism, was tolerated for a long time in Edessa (by
the Christian kings), nay, was recognised. The Bardesanites and the
"Palutians" (catholics) were differentiated only after the beginning of
the third century.]

[Footnote 345: There can be no doubt that the Gnostic propaganda was
seriously hindered by the inability to organise and discipline churches,
which is characteristic of all philosophic systems of religion. The
Gnostic organisation of schools and mysteries was not able to contend
with the episcopal organisation of the churches; see Ignat. ad Smyr. 6.
2; Tertull de præscr. 41. Attempts at actual formations of churches were
not altogether wanting in the earliest period; at a later period they
were forced on some schools. We have only to read Iren. III. 15. 2 in
order to see that these associations could only exist by finding support
in a church. Irenæus expressly remarks that the Valentinians designated
the common Christians [Greek: katholikoi] (communes) [Greek: kai
ekklêsiastikoi], but that they, on the other hand, complained that "we
kept away from their fellowship without cause, as they thought like

[Footnote 346: The differences between the Gnostic Christianity and that
of the Church, that is, the later ecclesiastical theology, were fluid,
if we observe the following points. (1) That even in the main body of
the Church, the element of knowledge was increasingly emphasised, and
the Gospel began to be converted into a perfect knowledge of the world
(increasing reception of Greek philosophy, development of [Greek:
pístis] to [Greek: gnôsis]). (2) That the dramatic eschatology began to
fade away. (3) That room was made for docetic views, and value put upon
a strict asceticism. On the other hand, we must note: (1) That all this
existed only in germ or fragments within the great Church during the
flourishing period of Gnosticism. (2) That the great Church held fast to
the facts fixed in the baptismal formula (in the _Kerygma_), and to the
eschatological expectations, further, to the creator of the world as the
supreme God, to the unity of Jesus Christ, and to the Old Testament, and
therefore rejected dualism. (3) That the great Church defended the unity
and equality of the human race, and therefore the uniformity and
universal aim of the Christian salvation. (4) That it rejected every
introduction of new, especially of Oriental Mythologies, guided in this
by the early Christian consciousness and a sure intelligence. A deeper,
more thorough distinction between the Church and the Gnostic parties
hardly dawned on the consciousness of either. The Church developed
herself instinctively into an imperial Church, in which office was to
play the chief rôle. The Gnostics sought to establish or conserve
associations in which the genius should rule, the genius in the way of
the old prophets or in the sense of Plato, or in the sense of a union of
prophecy and philosophy. In the Gnostic conflict, at least at its close,
the judicial priest fought with the virtuoso and overcame him.]

[Footnote 347: The absolute significance of the person of Christ was
very plainly expressed in Gnosticism (Christ is not only the teacher of
the truth, but the manifestation of the truth), more plainly than where
he was regarded as the subject of Old Testament revelation. The
pre-existent Christ has significance in some Gnostic schools, but always
a comparatively subordinate one. The isolating of the person of Christ,
and quite as much the explaining away of his humanity, is manifestly out
of harmony with the earliest tradition. But, on the other hand, it must
not be denied that the Gnostics recognised redemption in the historical
Christ: Christ personally procured it (see under 6. h.).]

[Footnote 348: In this thesis, which may be directly corroborated by the
most important Gnostic teachers, Gnosticism shews that it desires _in
thesi_ (in a way similar to Philo) to continue on the soil of
Christianity as a positive religion. Conscious of being bound to
tradition, it first definitely raised the question, what is
Christianity? and criticised and sifted the sources for an answer to the
question. The rejection of the Old Testament led it to that question and
to this sifting. It may be maintained with the greatest probability,
that the idea of a canonical collection of Christian writings first
emerged among the Gnostics (see also Marcion). They really needed such a
collection, while all those who recognised the Old Testament as a
document of revelation, and gave it a Christian interpretation, did not
at first need a new document, but simply joined on the new to the old,
the Gospel to the Old Testament. From the numerous fragments of Gnostic
commentaries on New Testament writings which have been preserved, we see
that these writings there enjoyed canonical authority, while at the same
period, we hear nothing of such authority, nor of commentaries in the
main body of Christendom (see Heinrici, "Die Valentinianische Gnosis", u.
d. h. Schrift, 1871). Undoubtedly, sacred writings were selected
according to the principle of apostolic origin. This is proved by the
inclusion of the Pauline Epistles in the collections of books. There is
evidence of such having been made by the Naassenes, Peratæ,
Valentinians, Marcion, Tatian, and the Gnostic Justin. The collection of
the Valentinians, and the Canon of Tatian must have really coincided
with the main parts of the later Ecclesiastical Canon. The later
Valentinians accommodated themselves to this Canon, that is, recognised
the books that had been added (Tertull. de præscr. 38). The question as
to who first conceived and realised the idea of a Canon of Christian
writings, Basilides or Valentinus or Marcion or whether this was done by
several at the same time, will always remain obscure, though many things
favour Marcion. If it should even be proved that Basilides (see Euseb.
H. E. IV. 7. 7) and Valentinus himself, regarded the Gospels only as
authoritative yet the full idea of the Canon lies already in the fact of
their making these the foundation and interpreting them allegorically.
The question as to the extent of the Canon afterwards became the subject
of an important controversy between the Gnostics and the Catholic
Church. The Catholics throughout took up the position that their Canon
was the earlier, and the Gnostic collection the corrupt revision of it
(they were unable to adduce proof, as is attested by Tertullian's de
præscr.) But the aim of the Gnostics to establish themselves on the
uncorrupted apostolic tradition gathered from writings was crossed by
three tendencies, which, moreover, were all jointly operative in the
Christian communities and are therefore not peculiar to Gnosticism. (1)
By faith in the continuance of prophecy, in which new things are always
revealed by the Holy Spirit (the Basilidean and Marcionite prophets).
(2) By the assumption of an esoteric secret tradition of the Apostles
(see Clem. Strom. VII. 17. 106, 108, Hipp. Philos. VII. 20, Iren. I. 25.
5, III. 2. 1, Tertull. de præscr. 25. Cf. the Gnostic book [Greek:
Pistis Sophia], which in great part is based on doctrines said to be
imparted by Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection). (3) By the
inability to oppose the continuous production of Evangelic writings in
other words by the continuance of this kind of literature and the
addition of Acts of the Apostles (Gospel of the Egyptians (?), other
Gospels, Acts of John, Thomas, Philip etc. We know absolutely nothing
about the conditions under which these writings originated the measure
of authority which they enjoyed or the way in which they gained that
authority). In all these points which in Gnosticism hindered the
development of Christianity to the religion of a new book the Gnostic
schools shew that they stood precisely under the same conditions as the
Christian communities in general (see above Chap. 3 § 2). If all things
do not deceive us, the same inner development may be observed even in
the Valentinian school, as in the great Church viz. the production of
sacred Evangelic and Apostolic writings, prophecy and secret gnosis,
falling more and more into the background, and the completed Canon
becoming the most important basis of the doctrine of religion. The later
Valentinians (see Tertull. de præscr. and adv. Valent.) seem to have
appealed chiefly to this Canon, and Tatian no less (about whose Canon
see my Texte u Unters I. 1. 2. pp. 213-218). But finally we must refer
to the fact that it was the highest concern of the Gnostics to furnish
the historical proof of the Apostolic origin of their doctrine by an
exact reference to the links of the tradition (see Ritschl Entstehung
der altkath Kirche 2nd ed. p. 338 f.). Here again it appears that
Gnosticism shared with Christendom the universal presupposition that the
valuable thing is the Apostolic origin (see above p. 160 f.), but that
it first created artificial chains of tradition, and that this is the
first point in which it was followed by the Church (see the appeals to
the Apostle Matthew, to Peter and Paul, through the mediation of
"Glaukias," and "Theodas," to James and the favourite disciples of the
Lord, in the case of the Naassenes, Ophites, Basilideans and
Valentinians, etc., see, further, the close of the Epistle of Ptolemy to
Flora in Epiphan H. 33. 7 [Greek: Mathaesae exês kai tên toutou archên
te ka kennêsin, axioumenê tês apostolikês paradoseos. hê ek diadochês
kai hêmeis pareilêphamen meta kairou] [sic] [Greek: kanonisai pantas
tous logous têi tou sôtêros didaskalia], as well as the passages adduced
above under (2)). From this it further follows that the Gnostics may have
compiled their Canon solely according to the principle of Apostolic
origin. Upon the whole we may see here how foolish it is to seek to
dispose of Gnosticism with the phrase lawless fancies. On the contrary,
the Gnostics purposely took their stand on the tradition, nay they were
the first in Christendom who determined the range, contents and manner
of propagating the tradition. They are thus the first Christian

[Footnote 349: Here also we have a point of unusual historical
importance. As we first find a new Canon among the Gnostics so also
among them (and in Marcion) we first meet with the traditional complex
of the Christian _Kerygma_ as a doctrinal confession (_regula fidei_),
that is, as a confession which, because it is fundamental, needs a
speculative exposition, but is set forth by this exposition as the
summary of all wisdom. The hesitancy about the details of the _Kerygma_,
only shews the general uncertainty which at that time prevailed. But
again, we see that the later Valentinians completely accommodated
themselves to the later development in the Church (Tertull. adv. Valent.
I: communem fidem adfirmant) that is attached themselves, probably even
from the first, to the existing forms, while in the Marcionite Church a
peculiar _regula_ was set up by a criticism of the tradition. The
_regula_ as a matter of course, was regarded as Apostolic. On Gnostic
_regulæ_ see Iren. I. 21. 5, 31. 3, II. præf. II. 19. 8, III. II. 3,
III. 16. 1, 5, Ptolem. ap Epiph. h. 33. 7, Tertull. adv Valent. I. 4, de
præscr. 42, adv Marc. I. 1, IV. 5, 17, Ep. Petri ad Jacob in Clem. Hom.
c. 1. We still possess in great part verbatim the _regula_ of Apelles,
in Epiphan II. 44, 2 Irenæus (I. 7. 2) and Tertull (de carne. 20) state
that the Valentinian _regula_ contained the formula, '[Greek:
gennêthenta dia Marias]', see on this p. 203. In noting that the two
points so decisive for Catholicism the Canon of the New Testament and
the Apostolic _regula_ were first, in the strict sense, set up by the
Gnostics on the basis of a definite fixing and systematising of the
oldest tradition we may see that the weakness of Gnosticism here
consisted in its inability to exhibit the publicity of tradition and to
place its propagation in close connection with the organisation of the

[Footnote 350: We do not know the relation in which the Valentinians
placed the public Apostolic _regula fidei_ to the secret doctrine
derived from one Apostle. The Church in opposition to the Gnostics
strongly emphasised the publicity of all tradition. Yet afterwards
though with reservations, she gave a wide scope to the assumption of a
secret tradition.]

[Footnote 351: The Gnostics transferred to the Evangelic writings, and
demanded as simply necessary, the methods which Barnabas and others used
in expounding the Old Testament (see the samples of their exposition in
Irenæus and Clement. Heinrici, l. c.). In this way, of course, all the
specialties of the systems may be found in the documents. The Church at
first condemned this method (Tertull. de præscr. 17-19. 39; Iren. I. 8.
9), but applied it herself from the moment in which she had adopted a
New Testament Canon of equal authority with that of the Old Testament.
However, the distinction always remained, that in the confrontation of
the two Testaments with the views of getting proofs from prophecy, the
history of Jesus described in the Gospels was not at first allegorised.
Yet afterwards, the Christological dogmas of the third and following
centuries demanded a docetic explanation of many points in that

[Footnote 352: In the Valentinian, as well as in all systems not
coarsely dualistic, the Redeemer Christ has no doubt a certain share in
the constitution of the highest class of men, but only through
complicated mediations. The significance which is attributed to Christ
in many systems for the production or organisation of the upper world,
may be mentioned. In the Valentinian system there are several mediators.
It may be noted that the abstract conception of the divine primitive
Being seldom called forth a real controversy. As a rule, offence was
taken only at the expression.]

[Footnote 353: The Epistle of Ptolemy to Flora is very instructive here.
If we leave out of account the peculiar Gnostic conception, we have
represented in Ptolemy's criticism the later Catholic view of the Old
Testament, as well as also the beginning of a historical conception of
it. The Gnostics were the first critics of the Old Testament in
Christendom. Their allegorical exposition of the Evangelic writings
should be taken along with their attempts at interpreting the Old
Testament literally and historically. It may be noted, for example, that
the Gnostics were the first to call attention to the significance of the
change of name for God in the Old Testament; see Iren. II. 35.. 3. The
early Christian tradition led to a procedure directly the opposite.
Apelles, in particular, the disciple of Marcion, exercised an
intelligent criticism on the Old Testament, see my treatise, "de Apellis
gnosi." p. 71 sq., and also Texte u. Unters VI. 3. p. 111 ff. Marcion
himself recognised the historical contents of the Old Testament as
reliable, and the criticism of most Gnostics only called in question its
religious value.]

[Footnote 354: Ecclesiastical opponents rightly put no value on the
fact, that some Gnostics advanced to Pan-Satanism with regard to the
conception of the world, while others beheld a certain _justitia
civilis_ ruling in the world. For the standpoint which the Christian
tradition had marked out, this distinction is just as much a matter of
indifference, as the other, whether the Old Testament proceeded from an
evil, or from an intermediate being. The Gnostics attempted to correct
the judgment of faith about the world and its relation to God, by an
empiric view of the world. Here again they are by no means
"visionaries", however fantastic the means by which they have expressed
their judgment about the condition of the world, and attempted to
explain that condition. Those, rather are "visionaries" who give
themselves up to the belief that the world is the work of a good and
omnipotent Deity, however apparently reasonable the arguments they
adduce. The Gnostic (Hellenistic) philosophy of religion, at this point,
comes into the sharpest opposition to the central point of the Old
Testament Christian belief, and all else really depends on this.
Gnosticism is antichristian so far as it takes away from Christianity
its Old Testament foundation, and belief in the identity of the creator
of the world with the supreme God. That was immediately felt and noted
by its opponents.]

[Footnote 355: The ecclesiastical opposition was long uncertain on this
point. It is interesting to note that Basilides portrayed the sin
inherent in the child from birth, in a way that makes one feel as though
he were listening to Augustine (see the fragment from the 23rd book of
the [Greek: Exêgêtika] in Clem., Strom. VI. 12. 83). But it is of great
importance to note how even very special later terminologies, dogmas,
etc., of the Church, were in a certain way anticipated by the Gnostics.
Some samples will be given below; but meanwhile we may here refer to a
fragment from Apelles' Syllogisms in Ambrosius (de Parad. V. 28): "Si
hominem non perfectum fecit deus, unusquisque autcm per industriam
propriam perfectionem sibi virtutis adsciscit: nonne videtur plus sibi
homo adquirere, quam ei deus contulit?" One seems here to be transferred
into the fifth century.]

[Footnote 356: The Gnostic teaching did not meet with a vigorous
resistance even on this point, and could also appeal to the oldest
tradition. The arbitrariness in the number, derivation and designation
of the Æons was contested. The aversion to barbarism also co-operated
here, in so far as Gnosticism delighted in mysterious words borrowed
from the Semites. But the Semitic element attracted as well as repelled
the Greeks and Romans of the second century. The Gnostic terminologies
within the Æon speculations were partly reproduced among the Catholic
theologians of the third century; most important is it that the Gnostics
have already made use of the concept "[Greek: homoousios]"; see Iren.,
I. 5. 1: [Greek: alla to men pneumatikon mê dedunêsthai autên morphôsai,
epeidê homoousion hupêrchen autêi] (said of the Sophia): L. 5. 4,
[Greek: kaì touton einai ton kat' eikona kai homoiôsin gegonota; kat'
eikona men ton hulikon huparchein, paraplêsion men, all' ouch homoousion
tôi theôi kath' homoiôsin de ton psuchikon.] I. 5. 5: [Greek: to de
kuêma tês mêtros tês "Achamôth", homoousion huparchon têi mêtri.] In all
these cases the word means "of one substance." It is found in the same
sense in Clem., Hom. 20. 7: See also Philos. VII. 22; Clem., Exc. Theod.
42. Other terms also which have acquired great significance in the
Church since the days of Origen, (e.g., [Greek: agennêtos]), are found
among the Gnostics, see Ep. Ptol. ad Floram, 5; and Bigg. (1. c. p. 58,
note 3) calls attention to the appearance [Greek: trias] in Excerpt. ex.
Theod. § 80, perhaps the earliest passage.]

[Footnote 357: The characteristic of the Gnostic Christology is not
Docetism, in the strict sense, but the doctrine of the two natures, that
is, the distinction between Jesus and Christ, or the doctrine that the
Redeemer as Redeemer was not a man. The Gnostics based this view on the
inherent sinfulness of human nature, and it was shared by many teachers
of the age without being based on any principle (see above, p. 195 f.).
The most popular of the three Christologies briefly characterised above
was undoubtedly that of the Valentinians. It is found, with great
variety of details, in most of the nameless fragments of Gnostic
literature that have been preserved, as well as in Apelles. This
Christology might be accommodated to the accounts of the Gospels and the
baptismal confession (how far is shewn by the _regula_ of Apelles, and
that of the Valentinians may have run in similar terms). It was taught
here that Christ had passed through Mary as a channel; from this
doctrine followed very easily the notion of the Virginity of Mary,
uninjured even after the birth--it was already known to Clem. Alex.
(Strom. VII. 16. 93). The Church also, later on, accepted this view. It
is very difficult to get a clear idea of the Christology of Basilides,
as very diverse doctrines were afterwards set up in his school as is
shewn by the accounts. Among them is the doctrine, likewise held by
others, that Christ in descending from the highest heaven took to
himself something from every sphere through which he passed. Something
similar is found among the Valentinians, some of whose prominent leaders
made a very complicated phenomenon of Christ, and gave him also a direct
relation to the demiurge. There is further found here the doctrine of
the heavenly humanity, which was afterwards accepted by ecclesiastical
theologians. Along with the fragments of Basilides the account of Clem.
Alex. seems to me the most reliable. According to this, Basilides taught
that Christ descended on the man Jesus at the baptism. Some of the
Valentinians taught something similar: the Christology of Ptolemy is
characterised by the union of all conceivable Christology theories. The
different early Christian conceptions may be found in him. Basilides did
not admit a real union between Christ and Jesus; but it is interesting
to see how the Pauline Epistles caused the theologians to view the
sufferings of Christ as necessarily based on the assumption of sinful
flesh, that is, to deduce from the sufferings that Christ has assumed
sinful flesh. The Basilidean Christology will prove to be a peculiar
preliminary stage of the later ecclesiastical Christology. The
anniversary of the baptism of Christ was to the Basilideans, as the day
of the [Greek: epiphaneia], a high festival day (see Clem., Strom. I.
21. 146): they fixed it for the 6th (2nd) January. And in this also the
Catholic Church has followed the Gnosis. The real docetic Christology as
represented by Saturninus (and Marcion) was radically opposed to the
tradition, and struck out the birth of Jesus, as well as the first 30
years of his life. An accurate exposition of the Gnostic Christologies,
which would carry us too far here, (see especially Tertull., de carne
Christi), would shew, that a great part of the questions which occupy
Church theologians till the present day, were already raised by the
Gnostics; for example, what happened to the body of Christ after the
resurrection? (see the doctrines of Apelles and Hermogenes); what
significance the appearance of Christ had for the heavenly and Satanic
powers? what meaning belongs to his sufferings, although there was no
real suffering for the heavenly Christ, but only for Jesus? etc. In no
other point do the anticipations in the Gnostic dogmatic stand out so
plainly (see the system of Origen; many passages bearing on the subject
will be found in the third and fourth volumes of this work, to which
readers are referred). The Catholic Church has learned but little from
the Gnostics, that is, from the earliest theologians in Christendom, in
the doctrine of God and the world, but very much in Christology, and who
can maintain that she has ever completely overcome the Gnostic doctrine
of the two natures, nay, even Docetism? Redemption viewed in the
historical person of Jesus, that is, in the appearance of a Divine being
on the earth, but the person divided and the real history of Jesus
explained away and made inoperative, is the signature of the Gnostic
Christology--this, however, is also the danger of the system of Origen
and those systems that are dependent on him (Docetism) as well as, in
another way, the danger of the view of Tertullian and the Westerns
(doctrine of two natures). Finally, it should be noted that the Gnosis
always made a distinction between the supreme God and Christ, but that,
from the religious position, it had no reason for emphasising that
distinction. For to many Gnostics, Christ was in a certain way the
manifestation of the supreme God himself, and therefore in the more
popular writings of the Gnostics (see the Acta Johannis) expressions are
applied to Christ which seem to identify him with God. The same thing is
true of Marcion and also of Valentinus (see his Epistle in Clem., Strom.
II. 20. 114: [Greek: eis de estin agathos. ou parousia hê dia tou huiou
phanerôsis]). This Gnostic estimate of Christ has undoubtedly had a
mighty influence on the later Church development of Christology. We
might say without hesitation that to most Gnostics Christ was a [Greek:
pneuma homoousion tôi patri]. The details of the life, sufferings and
resurrection of Jesus are found in many Gnostics, transformed,
complemented and arranged in the way in which Celsus (Orig., c. Cels. I.
II.) required for an impressive and credible history. Celsus indicates
how everything must have taken place if Christ had been a God in human
form. The Gnostics in part actually narrate it so. What an instructive
coincidence! How strongly the docetic view itself was expressed in the
case of Valentinus, and how the exaltation of Jesus above the earthly
was thereby to be traced back to his moral struggle, is shewn in the
remarkable fragment of a letter (in Clem., Strom. III. 7. 59): [Greek:
Panta hupomeinas êgkratês tên theotêta Iêsous eirgazeto. êsthien gar kai
apien idiôs ouk apodidous ta brômata, tosautê ên autôi tês egkrateias
dunamis, hôste kai mê phtharênai tên trophên en autôi epei to
phtheresthai autos ouk eichen]. In this notion, however, there is more
sense and historical meaning than in that of the later ecclesiastical

[Footnote 358: The Gnostic distinction of classes of men was connected
with the old distinction of stages in spiritual understanding, but has
its basis in a law of nature. There were again empirical and
psychological views--they must have been regarded as very important, had
not the Gnostics taken them from the traditions of the philosophic
schools--which made the universalism of the Christian preaching of
salvation, appear unacceptable to the Gnostics. Moreover, the
transformation of religion into a doctrine of the school, or into a
mystery cult, always resulted in the distinction of the knowing from the
_profanum vulgus_. But in the Valentinian assumption that the common
Christians as psychical occupy an intermediate stage, and that they are
saved by faith, we have a compromise which completely lowered the Gnosis
to a scholastic doctrine within Christendom. Whether and in what way the
Catholic Church maintained the significance of Pistis as contrasted with
Gnosis, and in what way the distinction between the knowing (priests)
and the laity was there reached, will be examined in its proper place.
It should be noted, however, that the Valentinian, Ptolemy, ascribes
freedom of will to the psychic (which the pneumatic and hylic lack), and
therefore has sketched by way of by-work a theology for the psychical
beside that for the pneumatic, which exhibits striking harmonies with
the exoteric system of Origen. The denial by Gnosticism of free will,
and therewith of moral responsibility, called forth very decided
contradiction. Gnosticism, that is, the acute hellenising of
Christianity, was wrecked in the Church on free will, the Old Testament
and eschatology.]

[Footnote 359: The greatest deviation of Gnosticism from tradition
appears in eschatology, along with the rejection of the Old Testament
and the separation of the creator of the world from the supreme God.
Upon the whole our sources say very little about the Gnostic
eschatology. This, however, is not astonishing; for the Gnostics had not
much to say on the matter, or what they had to say found expression in
their doctrine of the genesis of the world, and that of redemption
through Christ. We learn that the _regula_ of Apelles closed with the
words: [Greek: aneptê eis ouranon hothen kai hêke], instead of [Greek:
hothen erchetai krinai zôntas kai nekrous]. We know that Marcion, who
may already be mentioned here, referred the whole eschatological
expectations of early Christian times to the province of the god of the
Jews, and we hear that Gnostics (Valentinians) retained the words
[Greek: sarkos anastasin], but interpreted them to mean that one must
rise in this life, that is perceive the truth (thus the "resurrectio a
mortuis", that is, exaltation above the earthly, took the place of the
"resurrectio mortuorum"; See Iren. II. 31. 2: Tertull., de resurr.
carnis, 19). While the Christian tradition placed a great drama at the
close of history, the Gnostics regard the history itself as the drama,
which virtually closes with the (first) appearing of Christ. It may not
have been the opinion of all Gnostics that the resurrection has already
taken place, yet for most of them the expectations of the future seem to
have been quite faint, and above all without significance. The life is
so much included in knowledge, that we nowhere in our sources find a
strong expression of hope in a life beyond (it is different in the
earliest Gnostic documents preserved in the Coptic language), and the
introduction of the spirits into the Pleroma appears very vague and
uncertain. But it is of great significance that those Gnostics who,
according to their premises, required a real redemption from the world
as the highest good, remained finally in the same uncertainty and
religious despondency with regard to this redemption, as characterised
the Greek philosophers. A religion which is a philosophy of religion
remains at all times fixed to this life, however strongly it may
emphasise the contrast between the spirit and its surroundings, and
however ardently it may desire redemption. The desire for redemption is
unconsciously replaced by the thinker's joy in his knowledge, which
allays the desire (Iren. III. 15. 2: "Inflatus est iste [scil. the
Valentinian proud of knowledge] neque in coelo, neque in terra putat se
esse, sed intra Pleroma introisse et complexum jam angelum suum, cum
institorio et supercilio incedit gallinacei elationem habens....
Plurimi, quasi jam perfecti, semetipsos spiritales vocant, et se nosse
jam dicunt eum qui sit intra Pleroma ipsorum refrigerii locum"). As in
every philosophy of religion, an element of free thinking appears very
plainly here also. The eschatological hopes can only have been
maintained in vigour by the conviction that the world is of God. But we
must finally refer to the fact, that even in eschatology, Gnosticism
only drew the inferences from views which were pressing into Christendom
from all sides, and were in an increasing measure endangering its hopes
of the future. Besides, in some Valentinian circles, the future life was
viewed as a condition of education, as a progress through the series of
the (seven) heavens; i.e., purgatorial experiences in the future were
postulated. Both afterwards, from the time of Origen, forced their way
into the doctrine of the Church (purgatory, different ranks in heaven),
Clement and Origen being throughout strongly influenced by the
Valentinian eschatology.]

[Footnote 360: See the passage Clem. Strom. III. 6, 49, which is given
above, p. 238.]

[Footnote 361: Cf. the Apocryphal Acts of Apostles and diverse legends
of Apostles (e.g., in Clem. Alex.).]

[Footnote 362: More can hardly be said: the heads of schools were
themselves earnest men. No doubt statements such as that of Heracleon
seem to have led to laxity in the lower sections of the collegium:
[Greek: homologian einai tên men en têi pistei kai politeiai. tên de en
phônêi; hê mên oun en phônêi homologia kai epi tôn exousiôn ginetai, hên
monên homologian hêgountai einai hoi polloi, ouch hugiôs dunantai de
tautên tên homologian kai hoi hupokritai homologein.]]

[Footnote 363: See Epiph. h. 26, and the statements in the Coptic
Gnostic works. (Schmidt, Texte u Unters. VIII. 1. 2, p. 566 ff.).]

[Footnote 364: There arose in this way an extremely difficult
theoretical problem, but practically a convenient occasion for throwing
asceticism altogether overboard, with the Gnostic asceticism, or
restricting it to easy exercises. This is not the place for entering
into the details. Shibboleths, such as [Greek: pheugete ou tas phuseis
alla tas gnômas tôn kakôn], may have soon appeared. It may be noted
here, that the asceticism which gained the victory in Monasticism, was
not really that which sprang from early Christian, but from Greek
impulses, without, of course, being based on the same principle.
Gnosticism anticipated the future even here. That could be much more
clearly proved in the history of the worship. A few points which are of
importance for the history of dogma may be mentioned here: (1) The
Gnostics viewed the traditional sacred actions (Baptism and the Lord's
Supper) entirely as mysteries, and applied to them the terminology of
the mysteries (some Gnostics set them aside as psychic); but in doing so
they were only drawing the inferences from changes which were then in
process throughout Christendom. To what extent the later Gnosticism in
particular was interested in sacraments, may be studied especially in
the Pistis Sophia and the other Coptic works of the Gnostics, which Carl
Schmidt has edited; see, for example, Pistis Sophia, p. 233. "Dixit
Jesus ad suos [Greek: mathêtas; amên] dixi vobis, haud adduxi quidquam
in [Greek: kosmon] veniens nisi hunc ignem et hanc aquam et hoc vinum et
hunc sanguinem." (2) They increased the holy actions by the addition of
new ones, repeated baptisms (expiations), anointing with oil, sacrament
of confirmation [Greek: apolutrôsis]; see, on Gnostic sacraments, Iren.
I. 20, and Lipsius, Apokr. Apostelgesch. I. pp. 336-343, and cf. the
[Greek: puknôs metanosusi] in the delineation of the Shepherd of Hermas.
Mand. XI. (3) Marcus represented the wine in the Lord's Supper as actual
blood in consequence of the act of blessing: see Iren., I. 13.2: [Greek:
potêria oinô kekramena prospoioumenos eucharistein kai epi pleon
ekteinôn ton logon tês epiklêseôs, porphurea kai eruthra anaphainesthai
poiei, hôs dokein tên apo tôn huper ta hola charin to haima to heautês
stazein en ekeinô tô potêriô dia tês epiklêseôs autou, kai
huperimeiresthai tous parontas ex ekeinou geusasthai tou pomatos, hina
kai eis autous epombrêsê hê dia tou magou toutou klêizomenê charis.]
Marcus was indeed a charlatan; but religious charlatanry afterwards
became very earnest, and was certainly taken earnestly by many adherents
of Marcus. The transubstantiation idea, in reference to the elements in
the mysteries, is also plainly expressed in the Excerpt. ex. Theodot. §
82: [Greek: kai ho artos kai to elaion agiazetai tê dunamei tou onomatos
ou ta auta onta kata to phainomenon dia elêphthê, alla du amei eis
dunamin pneumatikên metabeblêtai] (that is, not into a new
super-terrestrial material, not into the real body of Christ, but into a
spiritual power) [Greek: outôs kai to hudôr kai to exorkizomenon kai to
baptisma ginomenon ou monon chôrei to cheiron, alla kai agiasmon
proslambanei]. Irenæus possessed a liturgical handbook of the
Marcionites, and communicates many sacramental formula from it (I. c. 13
sq). In my treatise on the Pistis Sophia (Texte u. Unters. VII. 2. pp.
59-94) I think I have shewn ("The common Christian and the Catholic
elements of the Pistis Sophia") to what extent Gnosticism anticipated
Catholicism as a system of doctrine and an institute of worship. These
results have been strengthened by Carl Schmidt (Texte u. Unters. VIII.
1. 2). Even purgatory, prayers for the dead, and many other things,
raised in speculative questions and definitely answered, are found in
those Coptic Gnostic writings, and are then met with again in
Catholicism. One general remark may be permitted in conclusion. The
Gnostics were not interested in apologetics, and that is a very
significant fact. The [Greek: pneuma] in man was regarded by them as a
supernatural principle, and on that account they are free from all
rationalism and moralistic dogmatism. For that very reason they are in
earnest with the idea of revelation, and do not attempt to prove it or
convert its contents into natural truths. They did endeavour to prove
that their doctrines were Christian, but renounced all proof that
revelation is the truth (proofs from antiquity). One will not easily
find in the case of the Gnostics themselves, the revealed truth
described as philosophy, or morality as the philosophic life. If we
compare therefore, the first and fundamental system of Catholic
doctrine, that of Origen, with the system of the Gnostics, we shall find
that Origen, like Basilides and Valentinus, was a philosopher of
revelation, but that he had besides a second element which had its
origin in apologetics.]



Marcion cannot be numbered among the Gnostics in the strict sense of the
word.[365] For (1) he was not guided by any speculatively scientific, or
even by an apologetic, but by a soteriological interest.[366] (2) He
therefore put all emphasis on faith, not on Gnosis.[367] (3) In the
exposition of his ideas he neither applied the elements of any Semitic
religious wisdom, nor the methods of the Greek philosophy of
religion.[368] (4) He never made the distinction between an esoteric and
an exoteric form of religion. He rather clung to the publicity of the
preaching, and endeavoured to reform Christendom, in opposition to the
attempts at founding schools for those who knew and mystery cults for
such as were in quest of initiation. It was only after the failure of
his attempts at reform that he founded churches of his own, in which
brotherly equality, freedom from all ceremonies, and strict evangelical
discipline were to rule.[369] Completely carried away with the novelty,
uniqueness and grandeur of the Pauline Gospel of the grace of God in
Christ, Marcion felt that all other conceptions of the Gospel, and
especially its union with the Old Testament religion, was opposed to,
and a backsliding from the truth.[370] He accordingly supposed that it
was necessary to make the sharp antitheses of Paul, law and gospel,
wrath and grace, works and faith, flesh and spirit, sin and
righteousness, death and life, that is the Pauline criticism of the Old
Testament religion, the foundation of his religious views, and to refer
them to two principles, the righteous and wrathful god of the Old
Testament, who is at the same time identical with the creator of the
world, and the God of the Gospel, quite unknown before Christ, who is
only love and mercy.[371] This Paulinism in its religious strength, but
without dialectic, without the Jewish Christian view of history, and
detached from the soil of the Old Testament, was to him the true
Christianity. Marcion, like Paul, felt that the religious value of a
statutory law with commandments and ceremonies, was very different from
that of a uniform law of love.[372] Accordingly, he had a capacity for
appreciating the Pauline idea of faith; it is to him reliance on the
unmerited grace of God which is revealed in Christ. But Marcion shewed
himself to be a Greek, influenced by the religious spirit of the time,
by changing the ethical contrast of the good and legal into the contrast
between the infinitely exalted spiritual and the sensible which is
subject to the law of nature, by despairing of the triumph of good in
the world and, consequently, correcting the traditional faith that the
world and history belong to God, by an empirical view of the world and
the course of events in it,[373] a view to which he was no doubt also
led by the severity of the early Christian estimate of the world. Yet to
him systematic speculation about the final causes of the contrast
actually observed, was by no means the main thing. So far as he himself
ventured on such a speculation he seems to have been influenced by the
Syrian Cerdo. The numerous contradictions which arise as soon as one
attempts to reduce Marcion's propositions to a system, and the fact that
his disciples tried all possible conceptions of the doctrine of
principles, and defined the relation of the two Gods very differently,
are the clearest proof that Marcion was a religious character, that he
had in general nothing to do with principles, but with living beings
whose power he felt, and that what he ultimately saw in the Gospel was
not an explanation of the world, but redemption from the
world,[374]--redemption from a world, which even in the best that it can
offer, has nothing that can reach the height of the blessing bestowed in
Christ.[375] Special attention may be called to the following

1. Marcion explained the Old Testament in its literal sense and rejected
every allegorical interpretation. He recognised it as the revelation of
the creator of the world and the god of the Jews, but placed it, just on
that account, in sharpest contrast to the Gospel. He demonstrated the
contradictions between the Old Testament and the Gospel in a voluminous
work (the [Greek: antitheseis]).[376] In the god of the former book he
saw a being whose character was stern justice, and therefore anger;
contentiousness and unmercifulness. The law which rules nature and man
appeared to him to accord with the characteristics of this god and the
kind of law revealed by him, and therefore it seemed credible to him
that this god is the creator and lord of the world ([Greek:
kosmokratôr]). As the law which governs the world is inflexible, and
yet, on the other hand, full of contradictions, just and again brutal,
and as the law of the Old Testament exhibits the same features, so the
god of creation was to Marcion a being who united in himself the whole
gradations of attributes from justice to malevolence, from obstinacy to
inconsistency.[377] Into this conception of the creator of the world,
the characteristic of which is that it cannot be systematised, could
easily be fitted the Syrian Gnostic theory which regards him as an evil
being, because he belongs to this world and to matter. Marcion did not
accept it in principle,[378] but touched it lightly and adopted certain
inferences.[379] On the basis of the Old Testament and of empirical
observation, Marcion divided men into two classes, good and evil, though
he regarded them all, body and soul, as creatures of the demiurge. The
good are those who strive to fulfil the law of the demiurge. These are
outwardly better than those who refuse him obedience. But the
distinction found here is not the decisive one. To yield to the
promptings of Divine grace is the only decisive distinction, and those
just men will shew themselves less susceptible to the manifestation of
the truly good than sinners. As Marcion held the Old Testament to be a
book worthy of belief, though his disciple, Apelles, thought otherwise,
he referred all its predictions to a Messiah whom the creator of the
world is yet to send, and who, as a warlike hero, is to set up the
earthly kingdom of the "just" God.[380]

2. Marcion placed the good God of love in opposition to the creator of
the world.[381] This God has only been revealed in Christ. He was
absolutely unknown before Christ,[382] and men were in every respect
strange to him.[383] Out of pure goodness and mercy, for these are the
essential attributes of this God who judges not and is not wrathful, he
espoused the cause of those beings who were foreign to him, as he could
not bear to have them any longer tormented by their just and yet
malevolent lord.[384] The God of love appeared in Christ and proclaimed
a new kingdom (Tertull., adv. Marc. III. 24. fin.). Christ called to
himself the weary and heavy laden,[385] and proclaimed to them that he
would deliver them from the fetters of their lord and from the world. He
shewed mercy to all while he sojourned on the earth, and did in every
respect the opposite of what the creator of the world had done to men.
They who believed in the creator of the world nailed him to the cross.
But in doing so they were unconsciously serving his purpose, for his
death was the price by which the God of love purchased men from the
creator of the world.[386] He who places his hope in the Crucified can
now be sure of escaping from the power of the creator of the world, and
of being translated into the kingdom of the good God. But experience
shews that, like the Jews, men who are virtuous according to the law of
the creator of the world, do not allow themselves to be converted by
Christ; it is rather sinners who accept his message of redemption.
Christ, therefore, rescued from the under-world, not the righteous men
of the Old Testament (Iren. I. 27. 3), but the sinners who were
disobedient to the creator of the world. If the determining thought of
Marcion's view of Christianity is here again very clearly shewn, the
Gnostic woof cannot fail to be seen in the proposition that the good God
delivers only the souls, not the bodies of believers. The antithesis of
spirit and matter, appears here as the decisive one, and the good God of
love becomes the God of the spirit, the Old Testament god the god of the
flesh. In point of fact, Marcion seems to have given such a turn to the
good God's attributes of love, and incapability of wrath, as to make Him
the apathetic, infinitely exalted Being, free from all affections. The
contradiction in which Marcion is here involved is evident, because he
taught expressly that the spirit of man is in itself just as foreign to
the good God as his body. But the strict asceticism which Marcion
demanded as a Christian, could have had no motive, without the Greek
assumption of a metaphysical contrast of flesh and Spirit, which in fact
was also apparently the doctrine of Paul.

3. The relation in which Marcion placed the two Gods, appears at first
sight to be one of equal rank.[387] Marcion himself, according to the
most reliable witnesses, expressly asserted that both were uncreated,
eternal, etc. But if we look more closely we shall see that in Marcion's
mind there can be no thought of equality. Not only did he himself
expressly declare that the creator of the world is a self-contradictory
being of limited knowledge and power, but the whole doctrine of
redemption shews that he is a power subordinate to the good God. We need
not stop to enquire about the details, but it is certain that the
creator of the world formerly knew nothing of the existence of the good
God, that he is in the end completely powerless against him, that he is
overcome by him, and that history in its issue with regard to man, is
determined solely by its relation to the good God. The just god appears
at the end of history, not as an independent being, hostile to the good
God, but as one subordinate to him,[388] so that some scholars, such as
Neander, have attempted to claim for Marcion a doctrine of one
principle, and to deny that he ever held the complete independence of
the creator of the world, the creator of the world being simply an angel
of the good God. This inference may certainly be drawn with little
trouble, as the result of various considerations, but it is forbidden by
reliable testimony. The characteristic of Marcion's teaching is just
this, that as soon as we seek to raise his ideas from the sphere of
practical considerations to that of a consistent theory, we come upon a
tangled knot of contradictions. The theoretic contradictions are
explained by the different interests which here cross each other in
Marcion. In the first place, he was consciously dependent on the Pauline
theology, and was resolved to defend everything which he held to be
Pauline. Secondly, he was influenced by the contrast in which he saw the
ethical powers involved. This contrast seemed to demand a metaphysical
basis, and its actual solution seemed to forbid such a foundation.
Finally, the theories of Gnosticism, the paradoxes of Paul, the
recognition of the duty of strictly mortifying the flesh, suggested to
Marcion the idea that the good God was the exalted God of the spirit,
and the just god the god of the sensuous, of the flesh. This view, which
involved the principle of a metaphysical dualism, had something very
specious about it, and to its influence we must probably ascribe the
fact that Marcion no longer attempted to derive the creator of the world
from the good God. His disciples who had theoretical interests in the
matter, no doubt noted the contradictions. In order to remove them, some
of these disciples advanced to a doctrine of three principles, the good
God, the just creator of the world, the evil god, by conceiving the
creator of the world sometimes as an independent being, sometimes as one
dependent on the good God. Others reverted to the common dualism, God of
the spirit and god of matter. But Apelles, the most important of
Marcion's disciples, returned to the creed of the one God ([Greek: mia
archê]), and conceived the creator of the world and Satan as his angels,
without departing from the fundamental thought of the master, but rather
following suggestions which he himself had given.[389] Apart from
Apelles, who founded a Church of his own, we hear nothing of the
controversies of disciples breaking up the Marcionite church. All those
who lived in the faith for which the master had worked--viz., that the
laws ruling in nature and history, as well as the course of common
legality and righteousness, are the antitheses of the act of Divine
mercy in Christ, and that cordial love and believing confidence have
their proper contrasts in self-righteous pride and the natural religion
of the heart,--those who rejected the Old Testament and clung solely to
the Gospel proclaimed by Paul, and finally, those who considered that a
strict mortification of the flesh and an earnest renunciation of the
world were demanded in the name of the Gospel, felt themselves members
of the same community, and to all appearance allowed perfect liberty to
speculations about final causes.

4. Marcion had no interest in specially emphasising the distinction
between the good God and Christ, which according to the Pauline
Epistles, could not be denied. To him Christ is the manifestation of the
good God himself.[390] But Marcion taught that Christ assumed absolutely
nothing from the creation of the Demiurge, but came down from heaven in
the 15th year of the Emperor Tiberius, and after the assumption of an
apparent body, began his preaching in the synagogue of Capernaum.[391]
This pronounced docetism which denies that Jesus was born, or subjected
to any human process of development,[392] is the strongest expression of
Marcion's abhorrence of the world. This aversion may have sprung from
the severe attitude of the early Christians toward the world, but the
inference which Marcion here draws, shews, that this feeling was, in his
case, united with the Greek estimate of spirit and matter. But Marcion's
docetism is all the more remarkable that, under Paul's guidance, he put
a high value on the fact of Christ's death upon the cross. Here also is
a glaring contradiction which his later disciples laboured to remove.
This much, however, is unmistakable, that Marcion succeeded in placing
the greatness and uniqueness of redemption through Christ in the
clearest light and in beholding this redemption in the person of Christ,
but chiefly in his death upon the cross.

5. Marcion's eschatology is also quite rudimentary. Yet be assumed with
Paul that violent attacks were yet in store for the Church of the good
God on the part of the Jewish Christ of the future, the Antichrist. He
does not seem to have taught a visible return of Christ, but, in spite
of the omnipotence and goodness of God, he did teach a twofold issue of
history. The idea of a deliverance of all men, which seems to follow
from his doctrine of boundless grace, was quite foreign to him. For this
very reason, he could not help actually making the good God the judge,
though in theory he rejected the idea, in order not to measure the will
and acts of God by a human standard. Along with the fundamental
proposition of Marcion, that God should be conceived only as goodness
and grace, we must take into account the strict asceticism which he
prescribed for the Christian communities, in order to see that that idea
of God was not obtained from antinomianism. We know of no Christian
community in the second century which insisted so strictly on
renunciation of the world as the Marcionites. No union of the sexes was
permitted. Those who were married had to separate ere they could be
received by baptism into the community. The sternest precepts were laid
down in the matter of food and drink. Martyrdom was enjoined; and from
the fact that they were [Greek: talaipôroi kai misoumenoi] in the world,
the members were to know that they were disciples of Christ.[393] With
all that, the early Christian enthusiasm was wanting.

6. Marcion defined his position in theory and practice towards the
prevailing form of Christianity, which, on the one hand, shewed
throughout its connection with the Old Testament, and, on the other,
left room for a secular ethical code, by assuming that it had been
corrupted by Judaism, and therefore needed a reformation.[394] But he
could not fail to note that this corruption was not of recent date, but
belonged to the oldest tradition itself. The consciousness of this moved
him to a historical criticism of the whole Christian tradition.[395]
Marcion was the first Christian who undertook such a task. Those
writings to which he owed his religious convictions, viz., the Pauline
Epistles, furnished the basis for it. He found nothing in the rest of
Christian literature that harmonised with the Gospel of Paul. But he
found in the Pauline Epistles hints which explained to him this result
of his observations. The twelve Apostles whom Christ chose did not
understand him, but regarded him as the Messiah of the god of
creation.[396] And therefore Christ inspired Paul by a special
revelation, lest the Gospel of the grace of God should be lost through
falsifications.[397] But even Paul had been understood only by few (by
none?). His Gospel had also been misunderstood, nay, his Epistles had
been falsified in many passages,[398] in order to make them teach the
identity of the god of creation and the God of redemption. A new
reformation was therefore necessary. Marcion felt himself entrusted with
this commission, and the church which he gathered recognised this
vocation of his to be the reformer.[399] He did not appeal to a new
revelation such as he presupposed for Paul. As the Pauline Epistles and
an authentic [Greek: euangelion kuriou] were in existence, it was only
necessary to purify these from interpolations, and restore the genuine
Paulinism which was just the Gospel itself. But it was also necessary to
secure and preserve this true Christianity for the future. Marcion, in
all probability, was the first to conceive and, in great measure, to
realise the idea of placing Christendom on the firm foundation of a
definite theory of what is Christian--but not of basing it on a
theological doctrine--and of establishing this theory by a fixed
collection of Christian writings with canonical authority.[400] He was
not a systematic thinker; but he was more, for he was not only a
religious character, but at the same time a man with an organising
talent, such as has no peer in the early Church. If we think of the
lofty demands he made on Christians, and, on the other hand, ponder the
results that accompanied his activity, we cannot fail to wonder.
Wherever Christians were numerous about the year 160, there must have
been Marcionite communities with the same fixed but free organisation,
with the same canon and the same conception of the essence of
Christianity, pre-eminent for the strictness of their morals and their
joy in martyrdom.[401] The Catholic Church was then only in process of
growth, and it was long ere it reached the solidity won by the
Marcionite church through the activity of one man, who was animated by a
faith so strong that he was able to oppose his conception of
Christianity to all others as the only right one, and who did not shrink
from making selections from tradition instead of explaining it away. He
was the first who laid the firm foundation for establishing what is
Christian, because, in view of the absoluteness of his faith,[402] he
had no desire to appeal either to a secret evangelic tradition, or to
prophecy, or to natural religion.

_Remarks._--The innovations of Marcion are unmistakable. The way in
which he attempted to sever Christianity from the Old Testament was a
bold stroke which demanded the sacrifice of the dearest possession of
Christianity as a religion, viz., the belief that the God of creation is
also the God of redemption. And yet this innovation was partly caused by
a religious conviction, the origin of which must be sought not in
heathenism, but on Old Testament and Christian soil. For the bold
Anti-judaist was the disciple of a Jewish thinker, Paul, and the origin
of Marcion's antinomianism may be ultimately found in the prophets. It
will always be the glory of Marcion in the early history of the Church
that he, the born heathen, could appreciate the religious criticism of
the Old Testament religion as formerly exercised by Paul. The
antinomianism of Marcion was ultimately based on the strength of his
religious feeling, on his personal religion as contrasted with all
statutory religion. That was also its basis in the case of the prophets
and of Paul, only the statutory religion which was felt to be a burden
and a fetter was different in each case. As regards the prophets, it was
the outer sacrificial worship, and the deliverance was the idea of
Jehovah's righteousness. In the case of Paul, it was the pharisaic
treatment of the law, and the deliverance was righteousness by faith. To
Marcion it was the sum of all that the past had described as a
revelation of God: only what Christ had given him was of real value to
him. In this conviction he founded a Church. Before him there was no
such thing in the sense of a community, firmly united by a fixed
conviction, harmoniously organised, and spread over the whole world.
Such a Church the Apostle Paul had in his mind's eye, but he was not
able to realise it. That in the century of the great mixture of religion
the greatest apparent paradox was actually realised: namely, a Paulinism
with two Gods and without the Old Testament; and that this form of
Christianity first resulted in a church which was based not only on
intelligible words, but on a definite conception of the essence of
Christianity as a religion, seems to be the greatest riddle which the
earliest history of Christianity presents. But it only seems so. The
Greek, whose mind was filled with certain fundamental features of the
Pauline Gospel (law and grace), who was therefore convinced that in all
respects the truth was there, and who on that account took pains to
comprehend the real sense of Paul's statements, could hardly reach any
other results than those of Marcion. The history of Pauline theology in
the Church, a history first of silence, then of artificial
interpretation, speaks loudly enough. And had not Paul really separated
Christianity as religion from Judaism and the Old Testament? Must it not
have seemed an inconceivable inconsistency, if he had clung to the
special national relation of Christianity to the Jewish people, and if
he had taught a view of history in which for pædagogic reasons indeed,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort had appeared as one so
entirely different? He who was not capable of translating himself into
the consciousness of a Jew, and had not yet learned the method of
special interpretation, had only the alternative, if he was convinced of
the truth of the Gospel of Christ as Paul had proclaimed it, of either
giving up this Gospel against the dictates of his conscience, or
striking out of the Epistles whatever seemed Jewish. But in this case
the god of creation also disappeared, and the fact that Marcion could
make this sacrifice proves that this religious spirit, with all his
energy, was not able to rise to the height of the religious faith which
we find in the preaching of Jesus.

In basing his own position and that of his church on Paulism, as he
conceived and remodelled it, Marcion connected himself with that part of
the earliest tradition of Christianity which is best known to us, and
has enabled us to understand his undertaking historically as we do no
other. Here we have the means of accurately indicating what part of this
structure of the second century has come down from the Apostolic age and
is really based on tradition, and what does not. Where else could we do
that? But Marcion has taught us far more. He does not impart a correct
understanding of early Christianity, as was once supposed, for his
explanation of that is undoubtedly incorrect, but a correct estimate of
the reliability of the traditions that were current in his day alongside
of the Pauline. There can be no doubt that Marcion criticised tradition
from a dogmatic stand-point. But would his undertaking have been at all
possible, if at that time a reliable tradition of the twelve Apostles
and their teaching had existed and been operative in wide circles? We
may venture to say no. Consequently, Marcion gives important testimony
against the historical reliability of the notion that the common
Christianity was really based on the tradition of the twelve Apostles.
It is not surprising that the first man who clearly put and answered the
question, "What is Christian?" adhered exclusively to the Pauline
Epistles, and therefore found a very imperfect solution. When more than
1600 years later the same question emerged for the first time in
scientific form, its solution had likewise to be first attempted from
the Pauline Epistles, and therefore led at the outset to a one-sidedness
similar to that of Marcion. The situation of Christendom in the middle
of the second century was not really more favourable to a historical
knowledge of early Christianity, than that of the 18th century, but in
many respects more unfavourable. Even at that time, as attested by the
enterprise of Marcion, its results, and the character of the polemic
against him, there were besides the Pauline Epistles, no reliable
documents from which the teaching of the twelve Apostles could have been
gathered. The position which the Pauline Epistles occupy in the history
of the world is, however, described by the fact that every tendency in
the Church which was unwilling to introduce into Christianity the power
of Greek mysticism, and was yet no longer influenced by the early
Christian eschatology, learned from the Pauline Epistles a Christianity
which, as a religion, was peculiarly vigorous. But that position is
further described by the fact that every tendency which courageously
disregards spurious traditions, is compelled to turn to the Pauline
Epistles, which, on the one hand, present such a profound type of
Christianity, and on the other, darken and narrow the judgment about the
preaching of Christ himself, by their complicated theology. Marcion was
the first, and for a long time the only Gentile Christian who took his
stand on Paul. He was no moralist, no Greek mystic, no Apocalyptic
enthusiast, but a religious character, nay, one of the few pronouncedly
typical religious characters whom we know in the early Church before
Augustine. But his attempt to resuscitate Paulinism is the first great
proof that the conditions under which this Christianity originated do
not repeat themselves, and that therefore Paulinism itself must receive
a new construction if one desires to make it the basis of a Church. His
attempt is a further proof of the unique value of the Old Testament to
early Christendom, as the only means at that time of defending Christian
monotheism. Finally, his attempt confirms the experience that a
religious community can only be founded by a religious spirit who
expects nothing from the world.

Nearly all ecclesiastical writers, from Justin to Origen, opposed
Marcion. He appeared already to Justin as the most wicked enemy. We can
understand this, and we can quite as well understand how the Church
Fathers put him on a level with Basilides and Valentinus, and could not
see the difference between them. Because Marcion elevated a better God
above the god of creation, and consequently robbed the Christian God of
his honour, he appeared to be worse than a heathen (Sentent. episc.
LXXXVII., in Hartel's edition of Cyprian, I. p. 454; "Gentiles quamvis
idola colant, tamen summum deum patrem creatorem cognoscunt et
confitentur [!]; in hunc Marcion blasphemat, etc."), as a blaspheming
emissary of demons, as the first-born of Satan (Polyc., Justin,
Irenæus). Because he rejected the allegoric interpretation of the Old
Testament, and explained its predictions as referring to a Messiah of
the Jews who was yet to come, he seemed to be a Jew (Tertull., adv.
Marc. III.). Because he deprived Christianity of the apologetic proof
(the proof from antiquity) he seemed to be a heathen and a Jew at the
same time (see my Texte u. Unters. I. 3, p. 68; the antitheses of
Marcion became very important for the heathen and Manichæan assaults on
Christianity). Because he represented the twelve Apostles as unreliable
witnesses, he appeared to be the most wicked and shameless of all
heretics. Finally, because he gained so many adherents, and actually
founded a church, he appeared to be the ravening wolf (Justin, Rhodon),
and his church as the spurious church. (Tertull., adv. Marc. IV. 5). In
Marcion the Church Fathers chiefly attacked what they attacked in all
Gnostic heretics, but here error shewed itself in its worst form. They
learned much in opposing Marcion (see Bk. II.). For instance, their
interpretation of the _regula fidei_ and of the New Testament received a
directly Antimarcionite expression in the Church. One thing, however,
they could not learn from him, and that was how to make Christianity
into a philosophic system. He formed no such system, but he has given a
clearly outlined conception, based on historic documents, of
Christianity as the religion which redeems the world.

_Literature._--All anti-heretical writings of the early Church, but
especially Justin, Apol. I. 26, 58; Iren. I. 27; Tertull., adv. Marc.
I-V.; de præscr.; Hippol., Philos.; Adamant., de recta in deum fidei;
Epiph. h. 42; Ephr. Syr.; Esnik. The older attempts to restore the
Marcionite Gospel and Apostolicum have been antiquated by Zahn's
Kanonsgeschichte, l. c. Hahn (Regimonti, 1823) has attempted to restore
the Antitheses. We are still in want of a German monograph on Marcion
(see the whole presentation of Gnosticism by Zahn, with his Excursus, l.
c.). Hilgenfeld, Ketzergesch. p. 316 f. 522 f.; cf. my works, Zur
Quellenkritik des Gnosticismus, 1873; de Apelles Gnosis Monarchia, 1874;
Beiträge z. Gesch. der Marcionitischen Kirchen (Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol.
1876). Marcion's Commentar zum Evangelium (Ztschr. f. K. G. Bd. IV. 4).
Apelles Syllogismen in the Texte u. Unters. VI. H. 3. Zahn, die Dialoge
des Adamantius in the Ztschr. f. K.-Gesch. IX. p. 193 ff. Meyboom,
Marcion en de Marcionieten, Leiden, 1888.

[Footnote 365: He belonged to Pontus and was a rich shipowner: about 139
he came to Rome already a Christian, and for a short time belonged to
the church there. As he could not succeed in his attempt to reform it,
he broke away from it about 144. He founded a church of his own and
developed a very great activity. He spread his views by numerous
journeys and communities bearing his name very soon arose in every
province of the Empire (Adamantius, de recta in deum fide, Origen Opp.
ed Delarue 1. p. 809, Epiph. h. 42. p. 668, ed. Oehler). They were
ecclesiastically organised (Tertull., de præscr. 41. and adv. Marc. IV.
5) and possessed bishops, presbyters, etc. (Euseb. H. E. IV. 15. 46: de
Mart. Palæst. X. 2; Les Bas and Waddington Inscript, Grecq. et Latines
rec. en Grêce et en Asie Min. Vol. III. No. 2558). Justin (Apol. 1. 26)
about 150 tells us that Marcion's preaching had spread [Greek: kata pan
genos anthrôpôn] and by the year 155, the Marcionites were already
numerous in Rome (Iren. III. 34). Up to his death however Marcion did
not give up the purpose of winning the whole of Christendom and
therefore again and again sought connection with it (Iren. I. c.;
Tertull., de præscr. 30), likewise his disciples (see the conversation
of Apelles with Rhodon in Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 5. and the dialogue of the
Marcionites with Adamantius). It is very probable that Marcion had fixed
the ground features of his doctrine and had laboured for its propagation
even before he came to Rome. In Rome the Syrian Gnostic Cerdo had a
great influence on him, so that we can even yet perceive, and clearly
distinguish the Gnostic element in the form of the Marcionite doctrine
transmitted to us.]

[Footnote 366: "Sufficit," said the Marcionites, "unicum opsus deo
nostro quod hominem liberavit summa et præcipua bonitate sua" (Tertull.
adv. Marc. I. 17).]

[Footnote 367: Apelles, the disciple of Marcion, declared (Euseb. H. E.
V. 13. 5) [Greek: sôthêsesthai tous epi ton estaurômenon êlpikotas,
monon ean en ergois agathois euriskôntai.]]

[Footnote 368: This is an extremely important point. Marcion rejected
all allegories (See Tertull. adv. Marc. II. 19. 21, 22, III. 5. 6, 14,
19, IV. 15. 20, V. 1, Orig. Comment. in Matth. T. XV. 3, Opp. III. p.
655, in ep. ad. Rom. Opp. IV. p. 494 sq., Adamant. Sect. I., Orig. Opp.
I. pp. 808, 817, Ephr. Syrus. hymn. 36., Edit. Benedict p. 520 sq.) and
describes this method as an arbitrary one. But that simply means that he
perceived and avoided the transformation of the Gospel into Hellenic
philosophy. No philosophic formulæ are found in any of his statements
that have been handed down to us. But what is still more important, none
of his early opponents have attributed to Marcion a system as they did
to Basilides and Valentinus. There can be no doubt that Marcion did not
set up any system (the Armenian Esnik first gives a Marcionite system
but that is a late production, see my essay in the Ztschr. f. wiss.
Theol. 1896, p. 80 f.). He was just as far from having any apologetic or
rationalistic interest; Justin (Apol. I. 58) says of the Marcionites
[Greek: apodeixin mêdemian peri hôn legousin echousin alla alogôs hôs
hupo lukou arnes sunêrpasmenoi k.t.l.]. Tertullian again and again casts
in the teeth of Marcion that he has adduced no proof. See I. 11 sq.,
III. 2. 3, 4, IV. 11: "Subito Christus subito et Johannes Sic sunt omnia
apud Marcionem quæ suum et plenum habent ordinem apud creatorem." Rhodon
(Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 4) says of two prominent genuine disciples of
Marcion [Greek: mê euriskontes tên diairesin tôn pragmatôn hôs oude
ekeinos duo archas apephênanto psilôs ka anapodeiktôs]. Of Apelles the
most important of Marcion's disciples, who laid aside the Gnostic
borrows of his master, we have the words (1. c) [Greek: mê dein holôs
exetazein ton logon all' hekaston hôs pepisteuke diamenein Sôthêsesthai
var tous eti ton estarômenon êlpikotas apephaineto monon ean en ergois
agathois heuriskôntai. to de pôs esti mia archê mê ginôskein elegen
houtô de kineisthai monon. mê epistasthai pôs eîs estin agennêtos theos
touto de pisteuein]. It was Marcion's purpose therefore to give all
value to faith alone to make it dependent on its own convincing power
and avoid all philosophic paraphrase and argument. The contrast in which
he placed the Christian blessing of salvation has in principle nothing
in common with the contract in which Greek philosophy viewed the _summum
bonum_. Finally it may be pointed out that Marcion introduced no new
elements (Æons, Matter, etc.) into his evangelic views and leant on no
Oriental religious science. The later Marcionite speculations about
matter (see the account of Esnik) should not be charged upon the master
himself as is manifest from the second book of Tertullian against
Marcion. The assumption that the creator of the world created it out of
a _materia subjacens_ is certainly found in Marcion (see Tertull. 1. 15,
Hippol. Philos. X. 19) but he speculated no further about it and that
assumption itself was not rejected, for example, by Clem. Alex. (Strom.
II. 16. 74, Photius on Clement's Hypotyposes). Marcion did not really
speculate even about the good God, yet see Tertull. adv. Marc. I. 14.
15, IV. 7: "Mundus ille superior--coelum tertium."]

[Footnote 369: Tertull., de præscr. 41. sq.; the delineation refers
chiefly to the Marcionites (see Epiph. h. 42. c. 3. 4, and Esnik's
account), on the Church system of Marcion, see also Tertull., adv. Marc.
I. 14, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29: III. 1, 22: IV. 5, 34: V. 7, 10, 15, 18.]

[Footnote 370: Marcion himself originally belonged to the main body of
the Church, as is expressly declared by Tertullian and Epiphanius, and
attested by one of his own letters.]

[Footnote 371: Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 2, 19: "Separatio legis et
evangelii proprium et principale opus est Marcionis ... ex diversitate
sententiarum utriusque instrumenti diversitatem quoque argumentatur
deorum." II. 28, 29: IV. 1. I. 6: "dispares deos, alterum, judicem,
ferum, bellipotentem; alterum mitem, placidum et tantummodo bonum atque
optimum." Iren. I. 27. 2.]

[Footnote 372: Marcion maintained that the good God is not to be feared.
Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 27: "Atque adeo præ se ferunt Marcionitæ quod
deum suum omnino non timeant. Malus autem, inquiunt, timebitur; bonus
autem diligitur." To the question why they did not sin if they did not
fear their God, the Marcionites answered in the words of Rom. VI. 1. 2.
(l. c).]

[Footnote 373: Tertull., adv. Marc. I. 2; II. 5.]

[Footnote 374: See the passage adduced, p. 266, note 2, and Tertull, I.
19: "Immo inquiunt Marcionitæ, deus noster, etsi non ab initio, etsi non
per conditionem, sed per semetipsum revelatus est in Christi Jesu." The
very fact that different theological tendencies (schools) appeared
within Marcionite Christianity and were mutually tolerant, proves that
the Marcionite Church itself was not based on a formulated system of
faith. Apelles expressly conceded different forms of doctrine in
Christendom, on the basis of faith in the Crucified and a common holy
ideal of life (see p. 267).]

[Footnote 375: Tertull., I, 13. "Narem contrahentes impudentissimi
Marcionitæ convertuntur ad destructionem operum creatoris. Nimirum,
inquiunt, grande opus et dignum deo mundus?" The Marcionites (Iren., IV.
34. 1) put the question to their ecclesiastical opponents, "Quid novi
attulit dominus veniens?" and therewith caused them no small

[Footnote 376: On these see Tertull. I. 19; II. 28. 29; IV. 1, 4, 6;
Epiph. Hippol., Philos. VII. 30; the book was used by other Gnostics
also (it is very probable that 1 Tim. VI. 20, an addition to the
Epistle--refers to Marcion's Antitheses). Apelles, Marcion's disciple,
composed a similar work under the title of "Syllogismi." Marcion's
Antitheses, which may still in part be reconstructed from Tertullian,
Epiphanius, Adamantius, Ephraem, etc., possessed canonical authority in
the Marcionite church, and therefore took the place of the Old
Testament. That is quite clear from Tertull., I. 19 (cf. IV. 1):
Separatio legis et Evangelii proprium et principale opus est Marcionis,
nee poterunt negare discipuli ejus, quod in summo (suo) instrumento
habent, quo denique initiantur et indurantur in hanc hæresim.]

[Footnote 377: Tertullian has frequently pointed to the contradictions
in the Marcionite conception of the god of creation. These
contradictions, however, vanish as soon as we regard Marcion's god from
the point of view that he is like his revelation in the Old Testament.]

[Footnote 378: The creator of the world is indeed to Marcion "malignus",
but not "malus."]

[Footnote 379: Marcion touched on it when he taught that the "visibilia"
belonged to the god of creation, but the "invisibilia" to the good God
(I. 16). He adopted the consequences, inasmuch as he taught docetically
about Christ, and only assumed a deliverance of the human soul.]

[Footnote 380: See especially the third book of Tertull., adv. Marcion.]

[Footnote 381: "Solius bonitatis", "deus melior", were Marcion's
standing expressions for him.]

[Footnote 382: "Deus incognitus" was likewise a standing expression.
They maintained against all attacks the religious position that, from
the nature of the case, believers only can know God, and that this is
quite sufficient (Tertull., 1. 11).]

[Footnote 383: Marcion firmly emphasised this and appealed to passages
in Paul; see Tertull., I. 11, 19, 23: "scio dicturos, atquin hanc esse
principalem et perfectam bonitatem, cum sine ullo debito familiaritatis
in extraneos voluntaria et libera effunditur, secundum quam inimicos
quoque nostros et hoc nomine jam extraneos deligere jubeamur." The
Church Fathers therefore declared that Marcion's good God was a thief
and a robber. See also Celsus, in Orig. VI. 53.]

[Footnote 384: See Esnik's account, which, however, is to be used

[Footnote 385: Marcion has strongly emphasised the respective passages
in Luke's Gospel: see his Antitheses, and his comments on the Gospel, as
presented by Tertullian (l. IV).]

[Footnote 386: That can be plainly read in Esnik, and must have been
thought by Marcion himself, as he followed Paul (see Tertull., l. V. and
I. 11). Apelles also emphasised the death upon the cross. Marcion's
conception of the purchase can indeed no longer be ascertained in its
details. But see Adamant., de recta in deum fide, sect. I. It is one of
his theoretic contradictions that the good God who is exalted above
righteousness should yet purchase men.]

[Footnote 387: Tertull. I. 6: "Marcion non negat creatorem deum esse."]

[Footnote 388: Here Tertull., I. 27, 28, is of special importance; see
also II. 28: IV. 29 (on Luke XII. 41-46): IV. 30. Marcion's idea was
this. The good God does not judge or punish; but He judges in so far as
he keeps evil at a distance from Him: it remains foreign to Him.
"Marcionitæ interrogati quid fiet peccatori cuique die illo? respondent
abici illum quasi ab oculis." "Tranquilitas est et mansuetudinis
segregare solummodo et partem ejus cum infidelibus ponere." But what is
the end of him who is thus rejected? "Ab igne, inquiunt, creatoris
deprehendetur." We might think with Tertullian that the creator of the
world would receive sinners with joy: but this is the god of the law who
punishes sinners. The issue is twofold: the heaven of the good God, and
the hell of the creator of the world. Either Marcion assumed with Paul
that no one can keep the law, or he was silent about the end of the
"righteous" because he had no interest in it. At any rate, the teaching
of Marcion closes with an outlook in which the creator of the world can
no longer be regarded as an independent god. Marcion's disciples (see
Esnik) here developed a consistent theory: the creator of the world
violated his own law by killing the righteous Christ, and was therefore
deprived of all his power by Christ.]

[Footnote 389: Schools soon arose in the Marcionite church, just as they
did later on in the main body of Christendom (see Rhodon in Euseb, H. E.
V. 13. 2-4). The different doctrines of principles which were here
developed (two, three, four principles; the Marcionite Marcus's doctrine
of two principles in which the creator of the world is an evil being,
diverges furthest from the Master), explain the different accounts of
the Church Fathers about Marcion's teaching. The only one of the
disciples who really seceded from the Master, was Apelles (Tertull., de
præscr. 30). His teaching is therefore the more important, as it shews
that it was possible to retain the fundamental ideas of Marcion without
embracing dualism. The attitude of Apelles to the Old Testament is that
of Marcion, in so far as he rejects the book. But perhaps he somewhat
modified the strictness of the Master. On the other hand, he certainly
designated much in it as untrue and fabulous. It is remarkable that we
meet with a highly honoured prophetess in the environment of Apelles: in
Marcion's church we hear nothing of such, nay, it is extremely important
as regards Marcion, that he has never appealed to the Spirit and to
prophets. The "sanctiores feminæ" Tertull. V. 8, are not of this nature,
nor can we appeal even to V. 15. Moreover, it is hardly likely that
Jerome ad Eph. III. 5, refers to Marcionites. In this complete disregard
of early Christian prophecy, and in his exclusive reliance on literary
documents, we see in Marcion a process of despiritualising, that is, a
form of secularisation peculiar to himself. Marcion no longer possessed
the early Christian enthusiasm as, for example, Hermas did.]

[Footnote 390: Marcion was fond of calling Christ "Spiritus salutaris."
From the treatise of Tertullian we can prove both that Marcion
distinguished Christ from God, and that he made no distinction (see, for
example, I. 11, 14; II. 27; III. 8, 9, 11; IV. 7). Here again Marcion
did not think theologically. What he regarded as specially important was
that God has revealed himself in Christ, "per semetipsum." Later
Marcionites expressly taught Patripassianism, and have on that account
been often grouped with the Sabellians. But other Christologies also
arose in Marcion's church, which is again a proof that it was not
dependent on scholastic teaching, and therefore could take part in the
later development of doctrines.]

[Footnote 391: See the beginning of the Marcionite Gospel.]

[Footnote 392: Tertullian informs us sufficiently about this. The body
of Christ was regarded by Marcion merely as an "umbra", a "phantasma."
His disciples adhered to this, but Apelles first constructed a
"doctrine" of the body of Christ.]

[Footnote 393: The strict asceticism of Marcion and the Marcionites is
reluctantly acknowledged by the Church Fathers; see Tertull., de præscr.
30: "Sanctissimus magister"; I. 28, "carni imponit sanctitem." The
strict prohibition of marriage: I. 29: IV. 11, 17, 29, 34, 38: V. 7, 8,
15. 18; prohibition of food: I. 14; cynical life: Hippol., Philos. VII.
29; numerous martyrs: Euseb. H. E. V. 16, 21. and frequently elsewhere.
Marcion named his adherents (Tertull. IV. 9 36) "[Greek: suntalaipôroi
kai summisoumenoi]." It is questionable whether Marcion himself allowed
the repetition of baptism; it arose in his church. But this repetition
is a proof that the prevailing conception of baptism was not sufficient
for a vigorous religious temper.]

[Footnote 394: Tertull. I. 20. "Aiunt, Marcionem non tam innovasse
regulam separatione legis et evangelii quam retro adulteratam
recurasse." See the account of Epiphanius, taken from Hippolytus, about
the appearance of Marcion in Rome (h. 42. 1, 2).]

[Footnote 395: Here again we must remember that Marcion appealed neither
to a secret tradition, nor to the "Spirit," in order to appreciate the
epoch-making nature of his undertaking.]

[Footnote 396: In his estimate of the twelve Apostles Marcion took as
his standpoint Gal. II. See Tertull. I. 20: IV. 3 (generally IV. 1-6),
V. 3; de præscr. 22. 23. He endeavoured to prove from this chapter that
from a misunderstanding of the words of Christ, the twelve Apostles had
proclaimed a different Gospel than that of Paul; they had wrongly taken
the Father of Jesus Christ for the god of creation. It is not quite
clear how Marcion conceived the inward condition of the Apostles during
the lifetime of Jesus (See Tertull. III. 22: IV. 3. 39). He assumed that
they were persecuted by the Jews as the preachers of a new God. It is
probable, therefore, that he thought of a gradual obscuring of the
preaching of Jesus in the case of the primitive Apostles. They fell back
into Judaism; see Iren. III. 2. 2. "Apostolos admiscuisse ea quæ sunt
legalia salvatoris verbis"; III. 12. 12: "Apostoli quæ sunt Judæorum
sentientes scripserunt" etc.; Tertull. V. 3: "Apostolos vultis Judaismi
magis adfines subintelligi." The expositions of Marcion in Tertull. IV.
9, 11, 13, 21, 24, 39: V. 13. shew that he regarded the primitive
Apostles as out and out real Apostles of Christ.]

[Footnote 397: The call of Paul was viewed by Marcion as a manifestation
of Christ, of equal value with His first appearance and ministry; see
the account of Esnik. "Then for the second time Jesus came down to the
lord of the creatures in the form of his Godhead, and entered into
judgment with him on account of his death.... And Jesus said to him:
'Judgment is between me and thee, let no one be judge but thine own
laws.... hast thou not written in this thy law, that he who killeth
shall die?' And he answered, 'I have so written' ... Jesus said to him,
'Deliver thyself therefore into my hands' ... The creator of the world
said, 'Because I have slain thee I give thee a compensation, all those
who shall believe on thee, that thou mayest do with them what thou
pleasest.' Then Jesus left him and carried away Paul, and shewed him the
price, and sent him to preach that we are bought with this price, and
that all who believe in Jesus are sold by this just god to the good
one." This is a most instructive account; for it shews that in the
Marcionite schools the Pauline doctrine of reconciliation was
transformed into a drama, and placed between the death of Christ and the
call of Paul, and that the Pauline Gospel was based, not directly on the
death of Christ upon the cross, but on a theory of it converted into
history. On Paul as the one apostle of the truth; see Tertull. I. 20:
III. 5, 14: IV. 2 sq.: IV. 34: V. 1. As to a Marcionite theory that the
promise to send the Spirit was fulfilled in the mission of Paul, an
indication of the want of enthusiasm among the Marcionites, see the
following page, note 2.]

[Footnote 398: Marcion must have spoken _ex professo_ in his Antitheses
about the Judaistic corruptions of Paul's Epistles and the Gospel. He
must also have known Evangelic writings bearing the names of the
original Apostles, and have expressed himself about them (Tertull. IV.

[Footnote 399: Marcion's self-consciousness of being a reformer, and the
recognition of this in his church is still not understood, although his
undertaking itself and the facts speak loud enough. (1) The great
Marcionite church called itself after Marcion (Adamant., de recta in
deum fide. I. 809; Epiph. h. 42, p. 668, ed. Oehler: [Greek: Markiôn sou
to onoma epikeklêntai hoi upo sou êpatêmenoi, hôs seauton kêruxantos kai
ouchi Christon]. We possess a Marcionite inscription which begins:
[Greek: sunagôgê Markiônistôn]). As the Marcionites did not form a
school, but a church, it is of the greatest value for shewing the
estimate of the master in this church, that its members called
themselves by his name. (2) The Antitheses of Marcion had a place in the
Marcionite canon (see above, p. 270). This canon therefore embraced a
book of Christ, Epistles of Paul, and a book of Marcion, and for that
reason the Antitheses were always circulated with the canon of Marcion.
(3) Origen (in Luc. hom. 25. T. III. p. 962) reports as follows:
"Denique in tantam quidam dilectionis audaciam proruperunt, ut nova
quædam et inaudita super Paulo monstra confingerent. Alli enim aiunt,
hoc quod scriptum est, sedere a dextris salvatoris et sinistris, de
Paulo et de Marcione dici, quod Paulus sedet a dextris, Marcion sedet a
sinistris. Porro alii legentes: Mittam vobis advocatum Spiritum
veritatis, nolunt intelligere tertiam personam a patre et filio, sed
Apostolum Paulum." The estimate of Marcion which appears here is
exceedingly instructive. (4) An Arabian writer, who, it is true, belongs
to a later period, reports that Marcionites called their founder
"Apostolorum principem." (5) Justin, the first opponent of Marcion,
classed him with Simon Magus and Menander, that is, with demonic
founders of religion. These testimonies may suffice.]

[Footnote 400: On Marcion's Gospel see the Introductions to the New
Testament and Zahn's Kanonsgeschichte, Bd. I., p. 585 ff. and II., p.
409. Marcion attached no name to his Gospel, which, according to his own
testimony, he produced from the third one of our Canon (Tertull, adv.
Marc. IV. 2, 3, 4). He called it simply [Greek: euangelion (kuriou)],
but held that it was the Gospel which Paul had in his mind when he spoke
of his Gospel. The later Marcionites ascribed the authorship of the
Gospel partly to Paul, partly to Christ himself, and made further
changes in it. That Marcion chose the Gospel called after Luke should be
regarded as a makeshift; for this Gospel, which is undoubtedly the most
Hellenistic of the four Canonical Gospels, and therefore comes nearest
to the Catholic conception of Christianity, accommodated itself in its
traditional form but little better than the other three to Marcionite
Christianity. Whether Marcion took it for a basis because in his time it
had already been connected with Paul (or really had a connection with
Paul), or whether the numerous narratives about Jesus as the Saviour of
sinners, led him to recognise in this Gospel alone a genuine kernel, we
do not know.]

[Footnote 401: The associations of the Encratites and the community
founded by Apelles stood between the main body of Christendom and the
Marcionite church. The description of Celsus (especially V. 61-64 in
Orig.) shews the motley appearance which Christendom presented soon
after the middle of the second century. He there mentions the
Marcionites, and a little before (V. 59), the "great Church." It is very
important that Celsus makes the main distinction consist in this, that
some regarded their God as identical with the God of the Jews, whilst
others again declared that "theirs was a different Deity who is hostile
to that of the Jews, and that it was he who had sent the Son." (V. 61).]

[Footnote 402: One might be tempted to comprise the character of
Marcion's religion in the words, "The God who dwells in my breast can
profoundly excite my inmost being. He who is throned above all my powers
can move nothing outwardly." But Marcion had the firm assurance that God
has done something much greater than move the world: he has redeemed men
from the world, and given them the assurance of this redemption, in the
midst of all oppression and enmity which do not cease.]



1. Original Christianity was in appearance Christian Judaism, the
creation of a universal religion on Old Testament soil. It retained
therefore, so far as it was not hellenised, which never altogether took
place, its original Jewish features. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
was regarded as the Father of Jesus Christ, the Old Testament was the
authoritative source of revelation, and the hopes of the future were
based on the Jewish ones. The heritage which Christianity took over from
Judaism, shews itself on Gentile Christian soil, in fainter or
distincter form, in proportion as the philosophic mode of thought
already prevails, or recedes into the background.[403] To describe the
appearance of the Jewish, Old Testament, heritage in the Christian
faith, so far as it is a religious one, by the name Jewish Christianity,
beginning at a certain point quite arbitrarily chosen, and changeable at
will, must therefore necessarily lead to error, and it has done so to a
very great extent. For this designation makes it appear as though the
Jewish element in the Christian religion were something accidental,
while it is rather the case that all Christianity, in so far as
something alien is not foisted into it, appears as the religion of
Israel perfected and spiritualised. We are therefore not justified in
speaking of Jewish Christianity, where a Christian community, even one
of Gentile birth, calls itself the true Israel, the people of the twelve
tribes, the posterity of Abraham; for this transfer is based on the
original claim of Christianity and can only be forbidden by a view that
is alien to it. Just as little may we designate Jewish Christian the
mighty and realistic hopes of the future which were gradually repressed
in the second and third centuries. They may be described as Jewish, or
as Christian; but the designation Jewish Christian must be rejected; for
it gives a wrong impression as to the historic right of these hopes in
Christianity. The eschatological ideas of Papias were not Jewish
Christian, but Christian; while, on the other hand, the eschatological
speculations of Origen were not Gentile Christian, but essentially
Greek. Those Christians who saw in Jesus the man chosen by God and
endowed with the Spirit, thought about the Redeemer not in a Jewish
Christian, but in a Christian manner. Those of Asia Minor who held
strictly to the 14th of Nisan as the term of the Easter festival, were
not influenced by Jewish Christian, but by Christian or Old Testament,
considerations. The author of the "Teaching of the Apostles," who has
transferred the rights of the Old Testament priests with respect to the
first fruits, to the Christian prophets, shews himself by such
transference not as a Jewish Christian, but as a Christian. There is no
boundary here; for Christianity took possession of the whole of Judaism
as religion, and it is therefore a most arbitrary view of history which
looks upon the Christian appropriation of the Old Testament religion,
after any point, as no longer Christian, but only Jewish Christian.
Wherever the universalism of Christianity is not violated in favour of
the Jewish nation, we have to recognise every appropriation of the Old
Testament as Christian. Hence this proceeding could be spontaneously
undertaken in Christianity, as was in fact done.

2. But the Jewish religion is a national religion, and Christianity
burst the bonds of nationality, though not for all who recognised Jesus
as Messiah. This gives the point at which the introduction of the term
"Jewish Christianity" is appropriate.[404] It should be applied
exclusively to those Christians who really maintained in their whole
extent, or in some measure, even if it were to a minimum degree, the
national and political forms of Judaism and the observance of the Mosaic
law in its literal sense, as essential to Christianity, at least to the
Christianity of born Jews, or who, though rejecting these forms,
nevertheless assumed a prerogative of the Jewish people even in
Christianity (Clem., Homil. XI. 26: [Greek: ean ho allophulos ton nomon
praxêi, Ioudaios estin, mê praxas de Hellên]; "If the foreigner observe
the law he is a Jew, but if not he is a Greek.")[405] To this Jewish
Christianity is opposed, not Gentile Christianity, but the Christian
religion, in so far as it is conceived as universalistic and
anti-national in the strict sense of the term (Presupp. § 3), that is,
the main body of Christendom in so far as it has freed itself from
Judaism as a nation.[406]

It is not strange that this Jewish Christianity was subject to all the
conditions which arose from the internal and external position of the
Judaism of the time; that is, different tendencies were necessarily
developed in it, according to the measure of the tendencies (or the
disintegrations) which asserted themselves in the Judaism of that time.
It lies also in the nature of the case that, with one exception, that of
Pharisaic Jewish Christianity, all other tendencies were accurately
parallelled in the systems which appeared in the great, that is,
anti-Jewish Christendom. They were distinguished from these, simply by a
social and political, that is, a national element. Moreover, they were
exposed to the same influences from without as the synagogue, and as the
larger Christendom, till the isolation to which Judaism as a nation,
after severe reverses condemned itself, became fatal to them also.
Consequently, there were besides Pharisaic Jewish Christians, ascetics
of all kinds who were joined by all those over whom Oriental religious
wisdom and Greek philosophy had won a commanding influence (see above,
p. 242 f.)

In the first century these Jewish Christians formed the majority in
Palestine, and perhaps also in some neighbouring provinces. But they
were also found here and there in the West.

Now the great question is, whether this Jewish Christianity as a whole,
or in certain of its tendencies, was a factor in the development of
Christianity to Catholicism. This question is to be answered in the
negative, and quite as much with regard to the history of dogma as with
regard to the political history of the Church. From the stand-point of
the universal history of Christianity, these Jewish Christian
communities appear as rudimentary structures which now and again, as
objects of curiosity, engaged the attention of the main body of
Christendom in the East, but could not exert any important influence on
it, just because they contained a national element.

The Jewish Christians took no considerable part in the Gnostic
controversy, the epoch-making conflict which was raised within the pale
of the larger Christendom about the decisive question, whether, and to
what extent, the Old Testament should remain a basis of Christianity,
although they themselves were no less occupied with the question.[407]
The issue of this conflict in favour of that party which recognised the
Old Testament in its full extent as a revelation of the Christian God,
and asserted the closest connection between Christianity and the Old
Testament religion, was so little the result of any influence of Jewish
Christianity, that the existence of the latter would only have rendered
that victory more difficult, unless it had already fallen into the
background, as a phenomenon of no importance.[408] How completely
insignificant it was is shewn not only by the limited polemics of the
Church Fathers, but perhaps still more by their silence, and the new
import which the reproach of Judaising obtained in Christendom after the
middle of the second century. In proportion as the Old Testament, in
opposition to Gnosticism, became a more conscious and accredited
possession in the Church, and at the same time, in consequence of the
naturalising of Christianity in the world, the need of regulations,
fixed rules, statutory enactments etc., appeared as indispensable, it
must have been natural to use the Old Testament as a holy code of such
enactments. This procedure was no falling away from the original
anti-Judaic attitude, provided nothing national was taken from the book,
and some kind of spiritual interpretation given to what had been
borrowed. The "apostasy" rather lay simply in the changed needs. But one
now sees how those parties in the Church, to which for any reason this
progressive legislation was distasteful, raised the reproach of
"Judaising,"[409] and further, how conversely the same reproach was
hurled at those Christians who resisted the advancing hellenising of
Christianity, with regard, for example, to the doctrine of God,
eschatology, Christology, etc.[410] But while this reproach is raised,
there is nowhere shewn any connection between those described as
Judaising Christians and the Ebionites. That they were identified
off-hand is only a proof that "Ebionitism" was no longer known. That
"Judaising" within Catholicism which appears, on the one hand, in the
setting up of a Catholic ceremonial law (worship, constitution, etc.),
and on the other, in a tenacious clinging to less hellenised forms of
faith and hopes of faith, has nothing in common with Jewish
Christianity, which desired somehow to confine Christianity to the
Jewish nation.[411] Speculations that take no account of history may
make out that Catholicism became more and more Jewish Christian. But
historical observation, which reckons only with concrete quantities, can
discover in Catholicism, besides Christianity, no element which it would
have to describe as Jewish Christian. It observes only a progressive
hellenising, and in consequence of this, a progressive spiritual
legislation which utilizes the Old Testament, a process which went on
for centuries according to the same methods which had been employed in
the larger Christendom from the beginning.[412] Baur's brilliant attempt
to explain Catholicism as a product of the mutual conflict and
neutralising of Jewish and Gentile Christianity, (the latter according
to Baur being equivalent to Paulinism) reckons with two factors, of
which, the one had no significance at all, and the other only an
indirect effect, as regards the formation of the Catholic Church. The
influence of Paul in this direction is exhausted in working out the
universalism of the Christian religion, for a Greater than he had laid
the foundation for this movement, and Paul did not realise it by himself
alone. Placed on this height Catholicism was certainly developed by
means of conflicts and compromises, not, however, by conflicts with
Ebionitism, which was to all intents and purposes discarded as early as
the first century, but as the result of the conflict of Christianity
with the united powers of the world in which it existed, on behalf of
its own peculiar nature as the universal religion based on the Old
Testament. Here were fought triumphant battles, but here also
compromises were made which characterise the essence of Catholicism as
Church and as doctrine.[413]

A history of Jewish Christianity and its doctrines does not therefore,
strictly speaking, belong to the history of dogma, especially as the
original distinction between Jewish Christianity and the main body of
the Church lay, as regards its principle, not in doctrine, but in
policy. But seeing that the opinions of the teachers in this Church
regarding Jewish Christianity, throw light upon their own stand-point,
also that up till about the middle of the second century Jewish
Christians were still numerous and undoubtedly formed the great majority
of believers in Palestine,[414] and finally, that attempts--unsuccessful
ones indeed--on the part of Jewish Christianity to bring Gentile
Christians under its sway, did not cease till about the middle of the
third century, a short sketch may be appropriate here.[415]

Justin vouches for the existence of Jewish Christians, and distinguishes
between those who would force the law even on Gentile-Christians, and
would have no fellowship with such as did not observe it, and those who
considered that the law was binding only on people of Jewish birth, and
did not shrink from fellowship with Gentile Christians who were living
without the law. How the latter could observe the law and yet enter into
intercourse with those who were not Jews, is involved in obscurity, but
these he recognises as partakers of the Christian salvation and
therefore as Christian brethren, though he declares that there are
Christians who do not possess this large heartedness. He also speaks of
Gentile Christians who allowed themselves to be persuaded by Jewish
Christians into the observance of the Mosaic law, and confesses that he
is not quite sure of the salvation of these. This is all we learn from
Justin,[416] but it is instructive enough. In the first place, we can
see that the question is no longer a burning one: "Justin here
represents only the interests of a Gentile Christianity whose stability
has been secured." This has all the more meaning that in the Dialogue
Justin has not in view an individual Christian community, or the
communities of a province, but speaks as one who surveys the whole
situation of Christendom.[417] The very fact that Justin has devoted to
the whole question only one chapter of a work containing 142, and the
magnanimous way in which he speaks, shew that the phenomena in question
have no longer any importance for the main body of Christendom.
Secondly, it is worthy of notice that Justin distinguishes two
tendencies in Jewish Christianity. We observe these two tendencies in
the Apostolic age (Presupp. § 3); they had therefore maintained
themselves to his time. Finally, we must not overlook the circumstance
that he adduces only the [Greek: ennomos politeia], "legal polity," as
characteristic of this Jewish Christianity. He speaks only incidentally
of a difference in doctrine, nay, he manifestly presupposes that the
[Greek: didagmata Christou], "teachings of Christ," are essentially
found among them just as among the Gentile Christians; for he regards
the more liberal among them as friends and brethren.[418]

The fact that, even then, there were Jewish Christians here and there
who sought to spread the [Greek: ennomos politeia] among Gentile
Christians, has been attested by Justin and also by other contemporary
writers.[419] But there is no evidence of this propaganda having
acquired any great importance. Celsus also knows Christians who desire
to live as Jews according to the Mosaic law (V. 61), but he mentions
them only once, and otherwise takes no notice of them in his delineation
of, and attack on, Christianity. We may perhaps infer that he knew of
them only from hearsay, for he simply enumerates them along with the
numerous Gnostic sects. Had this keen observer really known them he
would hardly have passed them over, even though he had met with only a
small number of them.[420] Irenæus placed the Ebionites among the
heretical schools,[421] but we can see from his work that in his day
they must have been all but forgotten in the West.[422] This was not yet
the case in the East. Origen knows of them. He knows also of some who
recognise the birth from the Virgin. He is sufficiently intelligent and
acquainted with history to judge that the Ebionites are no school, but
as believing Jews are the descendants of the earliest Christians, in
fact he seems to suppose that all converted Jews have at all times
observed the law of their fathers. But he is far from judging of them
favourably. He regards them as little better than the Jews ([Greek:
Ioudaioi kai hoi oligô diapherontes autôn Ebiônaioi], "Jews and
Ebionites who differ little from them"). Their rejection of Paul
destroys the value of their recognition of Jesus as Messiah. They appear
only to have assumed Christ's name, and their literal exposition of the
Scripture is meagre and full of error. It is possible that such Jewish
Christians may have existed in Alexandria, but it is not certain. Origen
knows nothing of an inner development in this Jewish Christianity.[423]
Even in Palestine, Origen seems to have occupied himself personally with
these Jewish Christians, just as little as Eusebius.[424] They lived
apart by themselves and were not aggressive. Jerome is the last who
gives us a clear and certain account of them.[425] He, who associated
with them, assures us that their attitude was the same as in the second
century, only they seem to have made progress in the recognition of the
birth from the Virgin and in their more friendly position towards the
Church.[426] Jerome at one time calls them Ebionites and at another
Nazarenes, thereby proving that these names were used synonymously.[427]
There is not the least ground for distinguishing two clearly marked
groups of Jewish Christians, or even for reckoning the distinction of
Origen and the Church Fathers to the account of Jewish Christians
themselves, so as to describe as Nazarenes those who recognised the
birth from the Virgin, and who had no wish to compel the Gentile
Christians to observe the law, and the others as Ebionites. Apart from
syncretistic or Gnostic Jewish Christianity, there is but one group of
Jewish Christians holding various shades of opinion, and these from the
beginning called themselves Nazarenes as well as Ebionites. From the
beginning, likewise, one portion of them was influenced by the existence
of a great Gentile Church which did not observe the law. They
acknowledged the work of Paul and experienced in a slight degree
influences emanating from the great Church.[428] But the gulf which
separated them from that Church did not thereby become narrower. That
gulf was caused by the social and political separation of these Jewish
Christians, whatever mental attitude, hostile or friendly, they might
take up to the great Church. This Church stalked over hem with iron
feet, as over a structure which in her opinion was full of
contradictions throughout ("Semi-christiani"), and was disconcerted
neither by the gospel of these Jewish Christians nor by anything else
about them.[429] But as the Synagogue also vigorously condemned them,
their position up to their extinction was a most tragic one. These
Jewish Christians, more than any other Christian party, bore the
reproach of Christ.

The Gospel, at the time when it was proclaimed among the Jews, was not
only law, but theology, and indeed syncretistic theology. On the other
hand, the temple service and the sacrificial system had begun to lose
their hold in certain influential circles.[430] We have pointed out
above (Presupp. §§. 1. 2. 5) how great were the diversities of Jewish
sects, and that there was in the Diaspora, as well as in Palestine
itself, a Judaism which, on the one hand, followed ascetic impulses, and
on the other, advanced to a criticism of the religious tradition without
giving up the national claims. It may even be said that in theology the
boundaries between the orthodox Judaism of the Pharisees and a
syncretistic Judaism were of an elastic kind. Although religion, in
those circles, seemed to be fixed in its legal aspect, yet on its
theological side it was ready to admit very diverse speculations, in
which angelic powers especially played a great rôle.[431] That
introduced into Jewish monotheism an element of differentiation, the
results of which were far-reaching. The field was prepared for the
formation of syncretistic sects. They present themselves to us on the
soil of the earliest Christianity, in the speculations of those Jewish
Christian teachers who are opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians, and
in the Gnosis of Cerinthus (see above, p. 246). Here cosmological ideas
and myths were turned to profit. The idea of God was sublimated by both.
In consequence of this, the Old Testament records were subjected to
criticism, because they could not in all respects be reconciled with the
universal religion which hovered before men's minds. This criticism was
opposed to the Pauline in so far as it maintained, with the common
Jewish Christians, and Christendom as a whole, that the genuine Old
Testament religion was essentially identical with the Christian. But
while those common Jewish Christians drew from this the inference that
the whole of the Old Testament must be adhered to in its traditional
sense and in all its ordinances, and while the larger Christendom
secured for itself the whole of the Old Testament by deviating from the
ordinary interpretation, those syncretistic Jewish Christians separated
from the Old Testament, as interpolations, whatever did not agree with
their purer moral conceptions and borrowed speculations. Thus, in
particular, they got rid of the sacrificial ritual, and all that was
connected with it, by putting ablutions in their place. First the
profanation, and afterwards, the abolition of the temple worship, after
the destruction of Jerusalem, may have given another new and welcome
impulse to this by coming to be regarded as its Divine confirmation
(Presupp. § 2). Christianity now appeared as purified Mosaism. In these
Jewish Christian undertakings we have undoubtedly before us a series of
peculiar attempts to elevate the Old Testament religion into the
universal one, under the impression of the person of Jesus; attempts,
however, in which the Jewish religion, and not the Jewish people, was to
bear the costs by curtailment of its distinctive features. The great
inner affinity of these attempts with the Gentile Christian Gnostics has
already been set forth. The firm partition wall between them, however,
lies in the claim of these Jewish Christians to set forth the pure Old
Testament religion, as well as in the national Jewish colouring which
the constructed universal religion was always to preserve. This national
colouring is shewn in the insistence upon a definite measure of Jewish
national ceremonies as necessary to salvation, and in the opposition to
the Apostle Paul, which united the Gnostic Judæo-Christians with the
common type, those of the strict observance. How the latter were related
to the former, we do not know, for the inner relations here are almost
completely unknown to us.[432]

Apart from the false doctrines opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians,
and from Cerinthus, this syncretistic Jewish Christianity which aimed at
making itself a universal religion, meets us in tangible form only in
three phenomena:[433] in the Elkesaites of Hippolytus and Origen, in the
Ebionites with their associates of Epiphanius, sects very closely
connected, in fact to be viewed as one party of manifold shades,[434]
and in the activity of Symmachus.[435] We observe here a form of
religion as far removed from that of the Old Testament as from the
Gospel, subject to strong heathen influences, not Greek, but Asiatic,
and scarcely deserving the name "Christian," because it appeals to a new
revelation of God which is to complete that given in Christ. We should
take particular note of this in judging of the whole remarkable
phenomenon. The question in this Jewish Christianity is not the
formation of a philosophic school, but to some extent the establishment
of a kind of new religion, that is, the completion of that founded by
Christ, undertaken by a particular person basing his claims on a
revealed book which was delivered to him from heaven. This book which
was to form the complement of the Gospel, possessed, from the third
century, importance for all sections of Jewish Christians so far as
they, in the phraseology of Epiphanius, were not Nazarenes.[436] The
whole system reminds one of Samaritan Christian syncretism;[437] but we
must be on our guard against identifying the two phenomena, or even
regarding them as similar. These Elkesaite Jewish Christians held fast
by the belief that Jesus was the Son of God, and saw in the "book" a
revelation which proceeded from him. They did not offer any worship to
their founder,[438] that is, to the receiver of the "book," and they
were, as will be shewn, the most ardent opponents of Simonianism.[439]

Alcibiades of Apamea, one of their disciples, came from the East to Rome
about 220-230, and endeavoured to spread the doctrines of the sect in
the Roman Church. He found the soil prepared, inasmuch as he could
announce from the "book" forgiveness of sins to all sinful Christians,
even the grossest transgressors, and such forgiveness was very much
needed. Hippolytus opposed him, and had an opportunity of seeing the
book and becoming acquainted with its contents. From his account and
that of Origen we gather the following: (1) The sect is a Jewish
Christian one, for it requires the [Greek: nomou politeia] (circumcision
and the keeping of the Sabbath), and repudiates the Apostle Paul; but it
criticises the Old Testament and rejects a part of it. (2) The objects
of its faith are the "Great and most High God", the Son of God (the
"Great King"), and the Holy Spirit (thought of as female); Son and
Spirit appear as angelic powers. Considered outwardly, and according to
his birth, Christ is a mere man, but with this peculiarity, that he has
already been frequently born and manifested ([Greek: pollakis
gennêthenta kai gennômenon pephênenai kai phuesthai, allassonta geneseis
kai metensômatoumenon], cf. the testimony of Victorinus as to
Symmachus). From the statements of Hippolytus we cannot be sure whether
he was identified with the Son of God,[440] at any rate the assumption
of repeated births of Christ shews how completely Christianity was meant
to be identified with what was supposed to be the pure Old Testament
religion. (3) The "book" proclaimed a new forgiveness of sin, which, on
condition of faith in the "book" and a real change of mind, was to be
bestowed on every one, through the medium of washings, accompanied by
definite prayers which are strictly prescribed. In these prayers appear
peculiar Semitic speculations about nature ("the seven witnesses:
heaven, water, the holy spirits, the angels of prayer, oil, salt,
earth"). The old Jewish way of thinking appears in the assumption that
all kinds of sickness and misfortune are punishments for sin, and that
these penalties must therefore be removed by atonement. The book
contains also astrological and geometrical speculations in a religious
garb. The main thing, however, was the possibility of a forgiveness of
sin, ever requiring to be repeated, though Hippolytus himself was unable
to point to any gross laxity. Still, the appearance of this sect
represents the attempt to make the religion of Christian Judaism
palatable to the world. The possibility of repeated forgiveness of sin,
the speculations about numbers, elements, and stars, the halo of
mystery, the adaptation to the forms of worship employed in the
"mysteries", are worldly means of attraction which shew that this Jewish
Christianity was subject to the process of acute secularization. The
Jewish mode of life was to be adopted in return for these concessions.
Yet its success in the West was of small extent and short-lived.

Epiphanius confirms all these features, and adds a series of new ones.
In his description, the new forgiveness of sin is not so prominent as in
that of Hippolytus, but it is there. From the account of Epiphanius we
can see that these syncretistic Judæo-Christian sects were at first
strictly ascetic and rejected marriage as well as the eating of flesh,
but that they gradually became more lax. We learn here that the whole
sacrificial service was removed from the Old Testament by the Elkesaites
and declared to be non-Divine, that is non-Mosaic, and that fire was
consequently regarded as the impure and dangerous element, and water as
the good one.[441] We learn further, that these sects acknowledged no
prophets and men of God between Aaron and Christ, and that they
completely adapted the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew to their own views.[442]
In addition to this book, however, (the Gospel of the 12 Apostles),
other writings, such as [Greek: Periodoi Petrou dia Klêmentos,
Anabathmoi Iakôbou] and similar histories of Apostles, were held in
esteem by them. In these writings the Apostles were represented as
zealous ascetics, and, above all, as vegetarians, while the Apostle Paul
was most bitterly opposed. They called him a Tarsene, said he was a
Greek, and heaped on him gross abuse. Epiphanius also dwells strongly
upon their Jewish mode of life (circumcision, Sabbath), as well as their
daily washings,[443] and gives some information about the constitution
and form of worship of these sects (use of baptism: Lord's Supper with
bread and water). Finally, Epiphanius gives particulars about their
Christology. On this point there were differences of opinion, and these
differences prove that there was no Christological dogma. As among the
common Jewish Christians, the birth of Jesus from the Virgin was a
matter of dispute. Further, some identified Christ with Adam, others saw
in him a heavenly being ([Greek: anôthen on]), a spiritual being, who
was created before all, who was higher than all angels and Lord of all
things, but who chose for himself the upper world; yet this Christ from
above came down to this lower world as often as he pleased. He came in
Adam, he appeared in human form to the patriarchs, and at last appeared
on earth as a man with the body of Adam, suffered, etc. Others again, as
it appears, would have nothing to do with these speculations, but stood
by the belief that Jesus was the man chosen by God, on whom, on account
of his virtue, the Holy Spirit--[Greek: hoper estin ho Christos]--
descended at the baptism.[444] (Epiph. h. 30. 3, 14, 16). The account
which Epiphanius gives of the doctrine held by these Jewish Christians
regarding the Devil, is specially instructive (h. 30. 16): [Greek: Duo
de tinas sunistôsin ek theou tetagmenous, ena men ton Christon, ena de
ton diabolon. kai ton men Christon legousi tou mellontos aiônos
eilêphenai ton klêron, ton de diabolon touton pepisteusthai on aiôna, ek
prostagês dêthen tou pantokratopos kata aitêsin ekaterôn autôn]. Here we
have a very old Semitico-Hebraic idea preserved in a very striking way,
and therefore we may probably assume that in other respects also, these
Gnostic Ebionites preserved that which was ancient. Whether they did so
in their criticism of the Old Testament, is a point on which we must not
pronounce judgment.

We might conclude by referring to the fact that this syncretistic Jewish
Christianity, apart from a well-known missionary effort at Rome, was
confined to Palestine and the neighbouring countries, and might consider
it proved that this movement had no effect on the history and
development of Catholicism,[445] were it not for two voluminous writings
which still continue to be regarded as monuments of the earliest epoch
of syncretistic Jewish Christianity. Not only did Baur suppose that he
could prove his hypothesis about the origin of Catholicism by the help
of these writings, but the attempt has recently been made on the basis
of _the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Homilies_, for these are the
writings in question, to go still further and claim for Jewish
Christianity the glory of having developed by itself the whole doctrine,
worship and constitution of Catholicism, and of having transmitted it to
Gentile Christianity as a finished product which only required to be
divested of a few Jewish husks.[446] It is therefore necessary to
subject these writings to a brief examination. Everything depends on the
time of their origin, and the tendencies they follow. But these are just
the two questions that are still unanswered. Without depreciating those
worthy men who have earnestly occupied themselves with the
Pseudo-Clementines,[447] it may be asserted, that in this region
everything is as yet in darkness, especially as no agreement has been
reached even in the question of their composition. No doubt such a
result appears to have been pretty nearly arrived at as far as the time
of composition is concerned, but that estimate (150-170, or the latter
half of the second century) not only awakens the greatest suspicion, but
can be proved to be wrong. The importance of the question for the
history of dogma does not permit the historian to set it aside, while,
on the other hand, the compass of a manual does not allow us to enter
into an exhaustive investigation. The only course open in such
circumstances is briefly to define one's own position.

1. The Recognitions and Homilies, in the form in which we have them, do
not belong to the second century, but at the very earliest to the first
half of the third. There is nothing, however, to prevent our putting
them a few decades later.[448]

2. They were not composed in their present form by heretical Christians,
but most probably by Catholics. Nor do they aim at forming a theological
system,[449] or spreading the views of a sect. Their primary object is
to oppose Greek polytheism, immoral mythology, and false philosophy, and
thus to promote edification.[450]

3. In describing the authors as Catholic, we do not mean that they were
adherents of the theology of Irenæus or Origen. The instructive point
here rather, is that they had as yet no fixed theology, and therefore
could without hesitation regard and use all possible material as means
of edification. In like manner, they had no fixed conception of the
Apostolic age, and could therefore appropriate motley and dangerous
material. Such Christians, highly educated and correctly trained too,
were still to be found, not only in the third century, but even later.
But the authors do not seem to have been free from a bias, inasmuch as
they did not favour the Catholic, that is, the Alexandrian apologetic
theology which was in process of formation.

4. The description of the Pseudo-Clementine writings, naturally derived
from their very form, as "edifying, didactic romances for the refutation
of paganism", is not inconsistent with the idea, that the authors, at
the same time, did their utmost to oppose heretical phenomena,
especially the Marcionite church and Apelles, together with heresy and
heathenism in general, as represented by Simon Magus.

5. The objectionable materials which the authors made use of were
edifying for them, because of the position assigned therein to Peter,
because of the ascetic and mysterious elements they contained, and the
opposition offered to Simon, etc. The offensive features, so far as they
were still contained in these sources, had already become unintelligible
and harmless. They were partly conserved as such and partly removed.

6. The authors are to be sought for perhaps in Rome, perhaps in Syria,
perhaps in both places, certainly not in Alexandria.

7. The main ideas are: (1) The monarchy of God. (2) the syzygies (weak
and strong). (3) Prophecy (the true Prophet). (4) Stoical rationalism,
belief in providence, good works. [Greek: Philanthrôpia], etc.--Mosaism.
The Homilies are completely saturated with stoicism, both in their
ethical and metaphysical systems, and are opposed to Platonism, though
Plato is quoted in Hom. XV. 8, as [Greek: Hellênôn sophistia] (a wise
man of the Greeks). In addition to these ideas we have also a strong
hierarchical tendency. The material which the authors made use of was in
great part derived from syncretistic Jewish Christian tradition, in
other words, those histories of the Apostles were here utilised which
Epiphanius reports to have been used by the Ebionites (see above). It is
not probable, however, that these writings in their original form were
in the hands of the narrators; the likelihood is that they made use of
them in revised forms.

8. It must be reserved for an accurate investigation to ascertain
whether those modified versions which betray clear marks of Hellenic
origin, were made within syncretistic Judaism itself, or whether they
are to be traced back to Catholic writers. In either case, they should
not be placed earlier than about the beginning of the third century, but
in all probability one or two generations later still.

9. If we adopt the first assumption, it is most natural to think of that
propaganda which, according to the testimony of Hippolytus and Origen,
Jewish Christianity attempted in Rome in the age of Caracalla and
Heliogabalus, through the medium of the Syrian, Alcibiades. This
coincides with the last great advance of Syrian cults into the West, and
is, at the same time, the only one known to us historically. But it is
further pretty generally admitted that the immediate sources of the
Pseudo-Clementines already presuppose the existence of Elkesaite
Christianity. We should accordingly have to assume that in the West,
this Christianity made greater concessions to the prevailing type, that
it gave up circumcision and accommodated itself to the Church system of
Gentile Christianity, at the same time withdrawing its polemic against

10. Meanwhile the existence of such a Jewish Christianity is not as yet
proved, and therefore we must reckon with the possibility that the
remodelled form of the Jewish Christian sources, already found in
existence by the revisers of the Pseudo-Clementine Romances, was solely
a Catholic literary product. In this assumption, which commends itself
both as regards the aim of the composition and its presupposed
conditions, we must remember that, from the third century onwards,
Catholic writers systematically corrected, and to a great extent
reconstructed, the heretical histories which were in circulation in the
churches as interesting reading, and that the extent and degree of this
reconstruction varied exceedingly, according to the theological and
historical insight of the writer. The identifying of pure Mosaism with
Christianity was in itself by no means offensive when there was no
further question of circumcision. The clear distinction between the
ceremonial and moral parts of the Old Testament, could no longer prove
an offence after the great struggle with Gnosticism.[451] The strong
insistence upon the unity of God, and the rejection of the doctrine of
the Logos, were by no means uncommon in the beginning of the third
century; and in the speculations about Adam and Christ, in the views
about God and the world and such, like, as set before us in the
immediate sources of the Romances, the correct and edifying elements
must have seemed to outweigh the objectionable. At any rate, the
historian who, until further advised, denies the existence of a Jewish
Christianity composed of the most contradictory elements, lacking
circumcision and national hopes, and bearing marks of Catholic and
therefore of Hellenic influence, judges more prudently than he who
asserts, solely on the basis of Romances which are accompanied by no
tradition and have never been the objects of assault, the existence of a
Jewish Christianity accommodating itself to Catholicism which is
entirely unattested.

11. Be that as it may, it may at least be regarded as certain that the
Pseudo-Clementines contribute absolutely nothing to our knowledge of the
origin of the Catholic Church and doctrine, as they shew at best in
their immediate sources a Jewish Christianity strongly influenced by
Catholicism and Hellenism.

12. They must be used with great caution even in seeking to determine
the tendencies and inner history of syncretistic Jewish Christianity. It
cannot be made out with certainty, how far back the first sources of the
Pseudo-Clementines date, or what their original form and tendency were.
As to the first point, it has indeed been said that Justin, nay, even
the author of the Acts of the Apostles, presupposes them, and that the
Catholic tradition of Peter, in Rome, and of Simon Magus, are dependent
on them (as is still held by Lipsius); but there is so little proof of
this adduced, that in Christian literature up to the end of the second
century (Hegesippus?) we can only discover very uncertain traces of
acquaintance with Jewish Christian historical narrative. Such
indications can only be found, to any considerable extent, in the third
century, and I do not mean to deny that the contents of the Jewish
Christian histories of the Apostles contributed materially to the
formation of the ecclesiastical legends about Peter. As is shewn in the
Pseudo-Clementines, these histories of the Apostles especially opposed
Simon Magus and his adherents (the new Samaritan attempt at a universal
religion), and placed the authority of the Apostle Peter against them.
But they also opposed the Apostle Paul, and seem to have transferred
Simonian features to Paul, and Pauline features to Simon. Yet it is also
possible that the Pauline traits found in the magician were the outcome
of the redaction, in so far as the whole polemic against Paul is here
struck out, though certain parts of it have been woven into the polemic
against Simon. But probably the Pauline features of the magician are
merely an appearance. The Pseudo-Clementines may, to some extent, be
used, though with caution, in determining the doctrines of syncretistic
Jewish Christianity. In connection with this we must take what
Epiphanius says as our standard. The Pantheistic and Stoic elements
which are found here and there must of course be eliminated. But the
theory of the genesis of the world from a change in God himself (that is
from a [Greek: probolê]), the assumption that all things emanated from
God in antitheses (Son of God--Devil; heaven--earth; male--female; male
and female prophecy), nay, that these antitheses are found in God
himself (goodness, to which corresponds the Son of God--punitive
justice, to which corresponds the Devil), the speculations about the
elements which have proceeded from the one substance, the ignoring of
freedom in the question about the origin of evil, the strict adherence
to the unity and absolute causality of God, in spite of the dualism, and
in spite of the lofty predicates applied to the Son of God--all this
plainly bears the Semitic-Jewish stamp.

We must here content ourselves with these indications. They were meant
to set forth briefly the reasons which forbid our assigning to
syncretistic Jewish Christianity, on the basis of the Pseudo-
Clementines, a place in the history of the genesis of the Catholic
Church and its doctrine.

Bigg, The Clementine Homilies (Studia Biblica et Eccles. II. p. 157
ff.), has propounded the hypothesis that the Homilies are an Ebionitic
revision of an older Catholic original (see p. 1841: "The Homilies as we
have it, is a recast of an orthodox work by a highly unorthodox editor."
P. 175: "The Homilies are surely the work of a Catholic convert to
Ebionitism, who thought he saw in the doctrine of the two powers the
only tenable answer to Gnosticism. We can separate his Catholicism from
his Ebionitism, just as surely as his Stoicism"). This is the opposite
of the view expressed by me in the text. I consider Bigg's hypothesis
well worth examining, and at first sight not improbable; but I am not
able to enter into it here.

[Footnote 403: The attitude of the recently discovered "Teaching of the
twelve Apostles" is strictly universalistic, and hostile to Judaism as a
nation, but shews us a Christianity still essentially uninfluenced by
philosophic elements. The impression made by this fact has caused some
scholars to describe the treatise as a document of Jewish Christianity.
But the attitude of the Didache is rather the ordinary one of
universalistic early Christianity on the soil of the Græco-Roman world.
If we describe this as Jewish Christian, then from the meaning which we
must give to the words "Christian" and "Gentile Christian", we tacitly
legitimise an undefined and undefinable aggregate of Greek ideas, along
with a specifically Pauline element, as primitive Christianity, and this
is perhaps not the intended, but yet desired, result of the false
terminology. Now, if we describe even such writings as the Epistle of
James and the Shepherd of Hermas as Jewish Christian, we therewith
reduce the entire early Christianity, which is the creation of a
universal religion on the soil of Judaism, to the special case of an
indefinable religion. The same now appears as one of the particular
values of a completely indeterminate magnitude. Hilgenfeld (Judenthum
und Juden-christenthum, 1886; cf. also Ztschr f. wiss. Theol. 1886, II.
4) advocates another conception of Jewish Christianity in opposition to
the following account. Zahn, Gesch. des N.T-lich. Kanons, II. p. 668 ff.
has a different view still.]

[Footnote 404: Or even Ebionitism; the designations are to be used as

[Footnote 405: The more rarely the right standard has been set up in the
literature of Church history, for the distinction of Jewish
Christianity, the more valuable are those writings in which it is found.
We must refer, above all, to Diestel, Geschichte des A. T. in der
Christl. Kirche, p. 44, note 7.]

[Footnote 406: See Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1883. Col. 409 f. as to the attempt
of Joël to make out that the whole of Christendom up to the end of the
first century was strictly Jewish Christian, and to exhibit the complete
friendship of Jews and Christians in that period ("Blicke in die
Religionsgesch." 2 Abth. 1883). It is not improbable that Christians
like James, living in strict accordance with the law, were for the time
being respected even by the Pharisees in the period preceding the
destruction of Jerusalem. But that can in no case have been the rule. We
see from, Epiph., h. 29. 9. and from the Talmud, what was the custom at
a later period.]

[Footnote 407: There were Jewish Christians who represented the position
of the great Church with reference to the Old Testament religion, and
there were some who criticised the Old Testament like the Gnostics.
Their contention may have remained as much an internal one, as that
between the Church Fathers and Gnostics (Marcion) did, so far as Jewish
Christianity is concerned. There may have been relations between Gnostic
Jewish Christians and Gnostics, not of a national Jewish type, in Syria
and Asia Minor, though we are completely in the dark on the matter.]

[Footnote 408: From the mere existence of Jewish Christians, those
Christians who rejected the Old Testament might have argued against the
main body of Christendom and put before it the dilemma: either Jewish
Christian or Marcionite. Still more logical indeed was the dilemma:
either Jewish, or Marcionite Christian.]

[Footnote 409: So did the Montanists and Antimontanists mutually
reproach each other with Judaising (see the Montanist writings of
Tertullian). Just in the same way the arrangements as to worship and
organisation, which were ever being more richly developed, were
described by the freer parties as Judaising, because they made appeal to
the Old Testament, though, as regards their contents, they had little in
common with Judaism. But is not the method of claiming Old Testament
authority for the regulations rendered necessary by circumstances nearly
as old as Christianity itself? Against whom the lost treatise of Clement
of Alexandria "[Greek: kanôn ekklêsiastikos hê pros tous Ioudaizontas]"
(Euseb., H. E. VI. 13. 3) was directed, we cannot tell. But as we read,
Strom., VI. 15, 125, that the Holy Scriptures are to be expounded
according to the [Greek: ekklêsiastikos kanôn], and then find the
following definition of the Canon: [Greek: kanôn de ekklêsiastikos hê
sunôdia kai sumphônia nomon te kai prophêtôn tê kata tên tou kuriou
parousian paradidomenêi diathêkêi], we may conjecture that the Judaisers
were those Christians, who, in principle, or to some extent, objected to
the allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament. We have then to
think either of Marcionite Christians or of "Chiliasts," that is, the
old Christians who were still numerous in Egypt about the middle of the
third century (see Dionys. Alex, in Euseb., H. E. VII. 24). In the first
case, the title of the treatise would be paradoxical. But perhaps the
treatise refers to the Quarto-decimans, although the expression [Greek:
kanôn ekklêsiastikos] seems too ponderous for them (see, however, Orig.,
Comm. in Matth. n. 76, ed. Delarue III. p. 895) Clement may possibly
have had Jewish Christians before him. See Zahn, Forschungen, vol. III.
p. 37 f.]

[Footnote 410: Cases of this kind are everywhere, up to the fifth
century, so numerous that they need not be cited. We may only remind the
reader that the Nestorian Christology was described by its earliest and
its latest opponents as Ebionitic.]

[Footnote 411: Or were those western Christians Ebionitic who, in the
fourth century still clung to very realistic Chiliastic hopes, who, in
fact, regarded their Christianity as consisting in these?]

[Footnote 412: The hellenising of Christianity went hand in hand with a
more extensive use of the Old Testament; for, according to the
principles of Catholicism, every new article of the Church system must
be able to legitimise itself as springing from revelation. But, as a
rule, the attestation could only be gathered from the Old Testament,
since religion here appears in the fixed form of a secular community.
Now the needs of a secular community for outward regulations gradually
became so strong in the Church as to require palpable ceremonial rules.
But it cannot be denied, that from a certain point of time, first by
means of the fiction of Apostolic constitutions (see my edition of the
Didache, Prolegg. p. 239 ff.), and then without this fiction, not,
however, as a rule, without reservations, ceremonial regulations were
simply taken over from the Old Testament. But this transference (See Bk.
II.) takes place at a time when there can be absolutely no question of
an influence of Jewish Christianity. Moreover, it always proves itself
to be catholic by the fact that it did not in the least soften the
traditional anti-Judaism. On the contrary, it attained its full growth
in the age of Constantine. Finally, it should not be overlooked that at
all times in antiquity, certain provincial churches were exposed to
Jewish influences, especially in the East and in Arabia, that they were
therefore threatened with being Judaised, or with apostasy to Judaism,
and that even at the present day, certain Oriental Churches shew tokens
of having once been subject to Jewish influences (see Serapion in Euseb,
H. E. VI. 12. 1, Martyr. Pion., Epiph. de mens. et pond. 15. 18; my
Texte u. Unters. I. 3. p. 73 f., and Wellhausen, Skizzen und
Vorarbeiten, Part. 3. p. 197 ff.; actual disputations with Jews do not
seem to have been common, though see Tertull. adv. Jud. and Orig. c.
Cels. I. 45, 49, 55: II. 31. Clement also keeps in view Jewish
objections.) This Jewish Christianity, if we like to call it so, which
in some regions of the East was developed through an immediate influence
of Judaism on Catholicism, should not, however, be confounded with the
Jewish Christianity which is the most original form in which
Christianity realised itself. This was no longer able to influence the
Christianity which had shaken itself free from the Jewish nation (as to
futile attempts, see below), any more than the protecting covering
stripped from the new shoot, can ever again acquire significance for the

[Footnote 413: What is called the ever-increasing legal feature of
Gentile Christianity and the Catholic Church is conditioned by its
origin, in so far as its theory is rooted in that of Judaism
spiritualised and influenced by Hellenism. As the Pauline conception of
the law never took effect and a criticism of the Old Testament religion
which is just law neither understood nor ventured upon in the larger
Christendom--the forms were not criticised, but the contents
spiritualised--so the theory that Christianity is promise and spiritual
law is to be regarded as the primitive one. Between the spiritual law
and the national law there stand indeed ceremonial laws, which, without
being spiritually interpreted, could yet be freed from the national
application. It cannot be denied that the Gentile Christian communities
and the incipient Catholic Church were very careful and reserved in
their adoption of such laws from the Old Testament, and that the later
Church no longer observed this caution. But still it is only a question
of degree for there are many examples of that adoption in the earliest
period of Christendom. The latter had no cause for hurry in utilizing
the Old Testament so long as there was no external or internal policy or
so long as it was still in embryo. The decisive factor lies here again
in enthusiasm and not in changing theories. The basis for these was
supplied from the beginning. But a community of individuals under
spiritual excitement builds on this foundation something different from
an association which wishes to organise and assert itself as such on
earth. (The history of Sunday is specially instructive here, see Zahn,
Gesch. des Sonntags, 1878, as well as the history of the discipline of
fasting, see Linsenmayr, Entwickelung der Kirchl Fastendisciplin, 1877,
and Die Abgabe des Zehnten. In general, Cf. Ritschl Entstehung der
Altkath Kirche 2 edit. pp. 312 ff., 331 ff., 1 Cor. IX. 9, may be

[Footnote 414: Justin. Apol. I. 53, Dial. 47, Euseb. H. E. IV. 5, Sulpic
Sev. Hist. Sacr. II. 31, Cyrill. Catech. XIV. 15. Important testimonies
in Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Jerome.]

[Footnote 415: No Jewish Christian writings have been transmitted to us
even from the earliest period, for the Apocalypse of John, which
describes the Jews as a synagogue of Satan, is not a Jewish Christian
book (III. 9 especially shews that the author knows of only one covenant
of God, viz. that with the Christians). Jewish Christian sources lie at
the basis of our synoptic Gospels, but none of them in their present
form is a Jewish Christian writing. The Acts of the Apostles is so
little Jewish Christian, its author seemingly so ignorant of Jewish
Christianity, at least so unconcerned with regard to it that to him the
spiritualised Jewish law, or Judaism as a religion which he connects as
closely as possible with Christianity, is a factor already completely
detached from the Jewish people (see Overbeck's Commentar z Apostelgesch
and his discussion in the Ztschr f wiss. Theol. 1872 p. 305 ff.)
Measured by the Pauline theology we may indeed, with Overbeck, say of
the Gentile Christianity, as represented by the author of the Acts of
the Apostles, that it already has germs of Judaism, and represents a
falling off from Paulinism; but these expressions are not correct,
because they have at least the appearance of making Paulinism the
original form of Gentile Christianity. But as this can neither be proved
nor believed, the religious attitude of the author of the Acts of the
Apostles must have been a very old one in Christendom. The Judaistic
element was not first introduced into Gentile Christianity by the
opponents of Paul, who indeed wrought in the national sense, and there
is even nothing to lead to the hypothesis that the common Gentile
Christian view of the Old Testament and of the law should be conceived
as resulting from the efforts of Paul and his opponents, for the
consequent effect here would either have been null, or a strengthening
of the Jewish Christian thesis. The Jewish element, that is the total
acceptance of the Jewish religion _sub specie aeternitatis et Christi_,
is simply the original Christianity of the Gentile Christians itself
considered as theory. Contrary to his own intention, Paul was compelled
to lead his converts to this Christianity, for only for such
Christianity was "the time fulfilled" within the empire of the world.
The Acts of the Apostles gives eloquent testimony to the pressing
difficulties which under such circumstances stand in the way of a
historical understanding of the Gentile Christians in view of the work
and the theology of Paul. Even the Epistle to the Hebrews is not a
Jewish Christian writing, but there is certainly a peculiar state of
things connected with this document. For, on the one hand, the author
and his readers are free from the law; a spiritual interpretation is
given to the Old Testament religion, which makes it appear to be
glorified and fulfilled in the work of Christ; and there is no mention
of any prerogative of the people of Israel. But, on the other hand,
because the spiritual interpretation, as in Paul, is here teleological,
the author allows a temporary significance to the cultus as literally
understood, and therefore, by his criticism he conserves the Old
Testament religion for the past, while declaring that it was set aside,
as regards the present, by the fulfilment of Christ. The teleology of
the author, however, looks at everything only from the point of view of
shadow and reality, an antithesis which is at the service of Paul also,
but which in his case vanishes behind the antithesis of law and grace.
This scheme of thought, which is to be traced back to a way of looking
at things which arose in Christian Judaism, seeing that it really
distinguishes between old and new, stands midway between the conception
of the Old Testament religion entertained by Paul, and that of the
common Gentile Christian as it is represented by Barnabas. The author of
the Epistle to the Hebrews undoubtedly knows of a twofold covenant of
God. But the two are represented as stages, so that the second is
completely based on the first. This view was more likely to be
understood by the Gentile Christians than the Pauline, that is, with
some seemingly slight changes, to be recognised as their own. But even
it at first fell to the ground, and it was only in the conflict with the
Marcionites that some Church Fathers advanced to views which seem to be
related to those of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Whether the author of
this Epistle was a born Jew or a Gentile--in the former case he would
far surpass the Apostle Paul in his freedom from the national claims--we
cannot, at any rate, recognise in it a document containing a conception
which still prizes the Jewish nationality in Christianity, nay, not even
a document to prove that such a conception was still dangerous.
Consequently, we have no Jewish Christian memorial in the New Testament
at all, unless it be in the Pauline Epistles. But as concerns the early
Christian literature outside the Canon, the fragments of the great work
of Hegesippus are even yet by some investigators claimed for Jewish
Christianity. Weizsäcker (Art "Hegesippus" in Herzog's R. E. 2 edit) has
shewn how groundless this assumption is. That Hegesippus occupied the
common Gentile Christian position is certain from unequivocal testimony
of his own. If, as is very improbable, we were obliged to ascribe to him
a rejection of Paul, we should have to refer to Eusebius, H. E. IV. 29.
5. ([Greek: Seuêrianoi blasphêmountes Paulon ton apostolon athetousin
autou tas epistolas mêde tas praxeis tôn apostolôn katadechomenoi], but
probably the Gospels; these Severians therefore, like Marcion,
recognised the Gospel of Luke, but rejected the Acts of the Apostles),
and Orig. c. Cels. V. 65: ([Greek: eisi gar tines haireseis tas Paulou
epistolas tou apostolou mê prosiemenai hôsper Ebiônaioi amphoteroi kai
hoi kaloumenoi Enkratêtai]). Consequently, our only sources of knowledge
of Jewish Christianity in the post-Pauline period are merely the
accounts of the Church Fathers, and some additional fragments (see the
collection of fragments of the Ebionite Gospel and that to the Hebrews
in Hilgenfeld, Nov. Test, extra can. rec. fasc. IV. Ed 2, and in Zahn,
l. c. II. p 642 ff.). We know better, but still very imperfectly,
certain forms of the syncretistic Jewish Christianity, from the
Philosoph. of Hippolytus and the accounts of Epiphanius, who is
certainly nowhere more incoherent than in the delineation of the Jewish
Christians, because he could not copy original documents here, but was
forced to piece together confused traditions with his own observations.
See below on the extensive documents which are even yet as they stand,
treated as records of Jewish Christianity, viz., the Pseudo-Clementines.
Of the pieces of writing whose Jewish Christian origin is controverted,
in so far as they may be simply Jewish, I say nothing.]

[Footnote 416: As to the chief localities where Jewish Christians were
found, see Zahn, Kanonsgesch. II. p. 648 ff.]

[Footnote 417: Dialogue 47.]

[Footnote 418: Yet it should be noted that the Christians who, according
to Dial. 48, denied the pre-existence of Christ and held him to be a
man, are described as Jewish Christians. We should read in the passage
in question, as my recent comparison of the Parisian codex shews,
[Greek: apo tou umeterou genous]. Yet Justin did not make this a
controversial point of great moment.]

[Footnote 419: The so-called Barnabas is considerably older than Justin.
In his Epistle (4. 6) he has in view Gentile Christians who have been
converted by Jewish Christians, when he utters a warning against those
who say [Greek: hoti a diathêkê ekeinon] (the Jews) [Greek: kai hêmôn
(estin)]. But how great the actual danger was cannot be gathered from
the Epistle. Ignatius in two Epistles (ad Magn. 8-10, ad Philad. 6. 9)
opposes Jewish Christian intrigues, and characterises them solely from
the point of view that they mean to introduce the Jewish observance of
the law. He opposes them with a Pauline idea (Magn. 8 1: [Greek: ei gar
mechri nun kata nomon. Ioudaismon zômen homologoumen charin mê
eilêphenai]), as well as with the common Gentile Christian assumption
that the prophets themselves had already lived [Greek: kata Christon].
These Judaists must be strictly distinguished from the Gnostics whom
Ignatius elsewhere opposes (against Zahn, Ignat. v. Ant. p. 356 f.). The
dangers from this Jewish Christianity cannot have been very serious,
even if we take Magn. 11. 1, as a phrase. There was an active Jewish
community in Philadelphia (Rev. III. 9), and so Jewish Christian plots
may have continued longer there. At the first look it seems very
promising that in the old dialogue of Aristo of Pella, a Hebrew
Christian, Jason, is put in opposition to the Alexandrian Jew, Papiscus.
But as the history of the little book proves, this Jason must have
essentially represented the common Christian and not the Ebionite
conception of the Old Testament and its relation to the Gospel, etc; see
my Texte u. Unters. I. 1 2. p. 115 ff.; I. 3 p. 115-130. Testimony as to
an apostasy to Judaism is occasionally though rarely given; see Serapion
in Euseb., H. E. VI. 12, who addresses a book to one Domninus, [Greek:
ekpeptôkota para ton tou diôgmou kairon apo tês eis Christon pisteôs epi
tên Ioudaikên ethelothrêskeian]; see also Acta Pionii, 13. 14. According
to Epiphanius, de mens. et pond. 14, 15, Acquila, the translator of the
Bible, was first a Christian and then a Jew. This account is perhaps
derived from Origen, and is probably reliable. Likewise according to
Epiphanius (l. c. 17. 18), Theodotion was first a Marcionite and then a
Jew. The transition from Marcionitism to Judaism (for extremes meet) is
not in itself incredible.]

[Footnote 420: It follows from c. Cels II. 1-3, that Celsus could hardly
have known Jewish Christians.]

[Footnote 421: Iren. I. 26. 2; III 11. 7; III. 15. 1, 21. 1; IV. 33. 4;
V. 1. 3. We first find the name Ebionæi, the poor, in Irenæus. We are
probably entitled to assume that this name was given to the Christians
in Jerusalem as early as the Apostolic age, that is, they applied it to
themselves (poor in the sense of the prophets and of Christ, fit to be
received into the Messianic kingdom). It is very questionable whether we
should put any value on Epiph. h. 30. 17.]

[Footnote 422: When Irenæus adduces as the points of distinction between
the Church and the Ebionites, that besides observing the law and
repudiating the Apostle Paul, the latter deny the Divinity of Christ and
his birth from the Virgin, and reject the New Testament Canon (except
the Gospel of Matthew), that only proves that the formation of dogma has
made progress in the Church. The less was known of the Ebionites from
personal observation, the more confidently they were made out to be
heretics who denied the Divinity of Christ and rejected the Canon. The
denial of the Divinity of Christ and the birth from the Virgin was, from
the end of the second century, regarded as the Ebionite heresy _par
excellence_, and the Ebionites themselves appeared to the Western
Christians, who obtained their information solely from the East, to be a
school like those of the Gnostics, founded by a scoundrel named Ebion
for the purpose of dragging down the person of Jesus to the common
level. It is also mentioned incidentally, that this Ebion had commanded
the observance of circumcision and the Sabbath; but that is no longer
the main thing (see Tertull, de carne 14, 18, 24: de virg. vel. 6: de
præscr. 10. 33; Hippol, Syntagma, (Pseudo-Tertull, 11; Philastr. 37;
Epiph. h. 30); Hippol, Philos. VII. 34. The latter passage contains the
instructive statement that Jesus by his perfect keeping of the law
became the Christ). This attitude of the Western Christians proves that
they no longer knew Jewish Christian communities. Hence it is all the
more strange that Hilgenfeld (Ketzergesch. p. 422 ff.) has in all
earnestness endeavoured to revive the Ebion of the Western Church

[Footnote 423: See Orig. c. Cels II. 1; V. 61, 65; de princip. IV. 22;
hom. in Genes. III. 15 (Opp. II. p. 65); hom. in Jerem XVII. 12 (III. p.
254); in Matth. T. XVI. 12 (III. p. 494), T. XVII. 12 (III. p. 733); cf.
Opp. III. p. 895; hom in XVII. (III. p. 952). That a portion of the
Ebionites recognised the birth from the Virgin was according to Origen
frequently attested. That was partly reckoned to them for righteousness
and partly not, because they would not admit the pre-existence of
Christ. The name "Ebionites" is interpreted as a nickname given them by
the Church ("beggarly" in the knowledge of scripture, and particularly
of Christology).]

[Footnote 424: Eusebius knows no more than Origen (H. E. III. 27),
unless we specially credit him with the information that the Ebionites
keep along with the Sabbath also the Sunday. What he says of Symmachus,
the translator of the Bible, and an Ebionite, is derived from Origen (H.
E. VI. 17). The report is interesting, because it declares that
Symmachus _wrote_ against Catholic Christianity, especially against the
Catholic Gospel of Matthew (about the year 200). But Symmachus is to be
classed with the Gnostics, and not with the common type of Jewish
Christianity (see below). We have also to thank Eusebius (H. E. III. 5.
3) for the information that the Christians of Jerusalem fled to Pella,
in Peræa, before the destruction of that city. In the following period
the most important settlements of the Ebionites must have been in the
countries east of the Jordan, and in the heart of Syria (see Jul. Afric.
in Euseb. H. E. I. 7. 14; Euseb. de loc. hebr. in Lagarde, Onomast p.
301; Epiph., h. 29. 7; h. 30. 2). This fact explains how the bishops in
Jerusalem and the coast towns of Palestine came to see very little of
them. There was a Jewish Christian community in Beroea with which Jerome
had relations (Jerom., de Vir inl 3).]

[Footnote 425: Jerome correctly declares (Ep. ad. August. 122 c. 13,
Opp. I. p. 746), "(Ebionitæ) credentes in Christo propter hoc solum a
patribus anathematizati sunt, quod legis cæremonias Christi evangelio
miscuerunt, et sic nova confessi sunt, ut vetera non omitterent."]

[Footnote 426: Ep. ad August. l. c.: "Quid dicam de Hebionitis, qui
Christianos esse se simulant? usque hodie per totas orientis synagogas
inter Judæos(!) hæresis est, que dicitur Minæorum et a Pharisæis nunc
usque damnatur, quos vulgo Nazaræos nuncupant, qui credunt in Christum
filium dei natum de Virgine Maria et eum dicunt esse, qui sub pontio
Pilato passus est et resurrexit, in quem et nos credimus; sed dum volunt
et Judæi esse et Christiani, nec Judæi sunt nec Christiani." The
approximation of the Jewish Christian conception to that of the
Catholics shews itself also in their exposition of Isaiah IX. 1. f. (see
Jerome on the passage). But we must not forget that there were such
Jewish Christians from the earliest times. It is worthy of note that the
name Nazarenes, as applied to Jewish Christians, is found in the Acts of
the Apostles XXIV. 5, in the Dialogue of Jason and Papiscus, and then
first again in Jerome.]

[Footnote 427: Zahn, l. c. p. 648 ff. 668 ff. has not convinced me of
the contrary, but I confess that Jerome's style of expression is not
everywhere clear.]

[Footnote 428: Zahn, (l. c.) makes a sharp distinction between the
Nazarenes, on the one side, who used the Gospel of the Hebrews,
acknowledged the birth from the Virgin, and in fact the higher
Christology to some extent, did not repudiate Paul, etc., and the
Ebionites on the other, whom he simply identifies with the Gnostic
Jewish Christians, if I am not mistaken. In opposition to this, I think
I must adhere to the distinction as given above in the text and in the
following: (1) Non-Gnostic, Jewish Christians (Nazarenes, Ebionites) who
appeared in various shades, according to their doctrine and attitude to
the Gentile Church, and whom, with the Church Fathers, we may
appropriately classify as strict or tolerant (exclusive or liberal). (2)
Gnostic or syncretistic Judæo-Christians who are also termed Ebionites.]

[Footnote 429: This Gospel no doubt greatly interested the scholars of
the Catholic Church from Clement of Alexandria onwards. But they have
almost all contrived to evade the hard problem which it presented. It
may be noted, incidentally, that the Gospel of the Hebrews, to judge
from the remains preserved to us, can neither have been the model nor
the translation of our Matthew, but a work independent of this, though
drawing from the same sources, representing perhaps to some extent an
earlier stage of the tradition. Jerome also knew very well that the
Gospel of the Hebrews was not the original of the canonical Matthew, but
he took care not to correct the old prejudice. Ebionitic conceptions,
such as that of the female nature of the Holy Spirit, were of course
least likely to convince the Church Fathers. Moreover, the common Jewish
Christians hardly possessed a Church theology, because for them
Christianity was something entirely different from the doctrine of a
school. On the Gospel of the Hebrews, see Handmann (Texte u. Unters V.
3), Resch, Agrapha (I. c. V. 4), and Zahn, 1. c. p. 642 ff.]

[Footnote 430: We have as yet no history of the sacrificial system, and
the views as to sacrifice in the Græco-Roman epoch, of the Jewish
Nation. It is urgently needed.]

[Footnote 431: We may remind readers of the assumptions, that the world
was created by angels, that the law was given by angels, and similar
ones which are found in the theology of the Pharisees Celsus (in Orig.
I. 26; V. 6) asserts generally that the Jews worshipped angels, so does
the author of the Prædicatio Petri, as well as the apologist Aristides.
Cf Joel, Blicke in die Religionsgesch I. Abth, a book which is certainly
to be used with caution (see Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1881. Coll. 184 ff.).]

[Footnote 432: No reliance can be placed on Jewish sources, or on Jewish
scholars, as a rule. What we find in Joël, l. c. I. Abth. p. 101 ff. is
instructive. We may mention Grätz, Gnosticismus und Judenthum
(Krotoschin, 1846), who has called attention to the Gnostic elements in
the Talmud, and dealt with several Jewish Gnostics and Antignostics, as
well as with the book of Jezira. Grätz assumes that the four main
dogmatic points in the book Jezira, viz., the strict unity of the deity,
and, at the same time, the negation of the demiurgic dualism, the
creation out of nothing with the negation of matter, the systematic
unity of the world and the balancing of opposites, were directed against
prevailing Gnostic ideas.]

[Footnote 433: We may pass over the false teachers of the Pastoral
Epistles, as they cannot be with certainty determined, and the
possibility is not excluded that we have here to do with an arbitrary
construction; see Holtzman, Pastoralbriefe, p. 150 f.]

[Footnote 434: Orig. in Euseb. VI. 38; Hippol., Philos. IX. 13 ff., X.
29; Epiph., h. 30, also h. 19, 53; Method, Conviv. VIII. 10. From the
confused account of Epiphanius who called the common Jewish Christians
Nazarenes, the Gnostic type Ebionites and Sampsæi, and their Jewish
forerunners Osseni, we may conclude, that in many regions where there
were Jewish Christians they yielded to the propaganda of the Elkesaite
doctrines, and that in the fourth century there was no other
syncretistic Jewish Christianity besides the various shades of

[Footnote 435: I formerly reckoned Symmachus, the translator of the
Bible, among the common Jewish Christians; but the statements of
Victorinus Rhetor on Gal. I. 19. II. 26 (Migne T. VIII. Col. 1155, 1162)
shew that he has a close affinity with the Pseudo-Clementines, and is
also to be classed with the Elkesaite Alcibiades. "Nam Jacobum apostolum
Symmachiani faciunt quasi duodecimum et hunc secuntur, qui ad dominum
nostrum Jesum Christum adjungunt Judaismi observationem, quamquam etiam
Jesum Christum fatentur; dicunt enim eum ipsum Adam esse et esse animam
generalem, et aliæ hujusmodi blasphemiæ." The account given by Eusebius,
H. E. VI. 17 (probably on the authority of Origen, see also Demonstr.
VII. I) is important: [Greek: Tôn ge men hermêneutôn autôn dê toutôn
histeon, Ebiônaion ton Summachon gegonenai ... kai hupomnêmata de tou
Summachou eiseti nun pheretai, hen ois dokei pros to kata Matuaion
apoteinomenos euaggelion tên dedêlômenên airesin kratunein.] Symmachus
therefore adopted an aggressive attitude towards the great Church, and
hence we may probably class him with Alcibiades who lived a little
later. Common Jewish Christianity was no longer aggressive in the second

[Footnote 436: Wellhausen (l. c. Part III. p. 206) supposes that Elkesai
is equivalent to Alexius. That the receiver of the "book" was a
historical person is manifest from Epiphanius' account of his
descendants (h. 19. 2; 53. 1). From Hipp, Philosoph. IX. 16, p. 468, it
is certainly probable, though not certain, that the book was produced by
the unknown author as early as the time of Trajan. On the other hand,
the existence of the sect itself can be proved only at the beginning of
the third century, and therefore we have the possibility of an
ante-dating of the "book." This seems to have been Origen's opinion.]

[Footnote 437: Epiph. (h. 53. 1) says of the Elkesaites: [Greek: oute
christianoi huparchontes oute Ioudaioi oute Ellênes, alla meson aplôs
uparchontes.] He pronounces a similar judgment as to the Samaritan sects
(Simonians), and expressly (h. 30. 1) connects the Elkesaites with

[Footnote 438: The worship paid to the descendants of this Elkesai,
spoken of by Epiphanius, does not, if we allow for exaggerations, go
beyond the measure of honour which was regularly paid to the descendants
of prophets and men of God in the East. Cf. the respect enjoyed by the
blood relations of Jesus and Mohammed.]

[Footnote 439: If the "book" really originated in the time of Trajan,
then its production keeps within the frame-work of common Christianity,
for at that time there were appearing everywhere in Christendom revealed
books which contained new instructions and communications of grace. The
reader may be reminded, for example, of the Shepherd of Hermas. When the
sect declared that the "book" was delivered to Elkesai by a male and a
female angel, each as large as a mountain, that these angels were the
Son of God and the Holy Spirit, etc., we have, apart from the fantastic
colouring, nothing extraordinary.]

[Footnote 440: It may be assumed from Philos. X. 29, that, in the
opinion of Hippolytus, the Elkesaites identified the Christ from above
with the Son of God, and assumed that this Christ appeared on earth in
changing and purely human forms, and will appear again ([Greek: auton
metangizomenon en sômasi pollois pollakis, kai nun de en tô Iêsou,
homoiôs pote men ek tou theou gegenêsthai, pote de pneuma gegonenai,
pote de ek parthenou, pote de ou kai toutou de metepeita aei en sômati
metangizesthai kai en pollois kata kairous deiknusthai]). As the
Elkesaites (see the account by Epiphanius) traced back the incarnations
of Christ to Adam, and not merely to Abraham, we may see in this view of
history the attempt to transform Mosaism into the universal religion.
But the Pharisitic theology had already begun with these
Adam-speculations, which are always a sign that the religion in Judaism
is feeling its limits too narrow. The Jews in Alexandria were also
acquainted with these speculations.]

[Footnote 441: In the Gospel of these Jewish Christians Jesus is made to
say (Epiph. h. 30. 16) [Greek: êlthon katalusai tas thusias, kai ean mê
pausêsthe tou thuein, ou pausetai aph' humôn hê orgê]. We see the
essential progress of this Jewish Christianity within Judaism, in the
opposition in principle to the whole sacrificial service (vid. also
Epiph., h. 19. 3).]

[Footnote 442: On this new Gospel see Zahn, Kanongesch II. p. 724 ff.]

[Footnote 443: It is incorrect to suppose that the lustrations were
meant to take the place of baptism, or were conceived by these Jewish
Christians as repeated baptisms. Their effect was certainly equal to
that of baptism. But it is nowhere hinted in our authorities that they
were on that account made equivalent to the regular baptism.]

[Footnote 444: The characteristic here, as in the Gentile Christian
Gnosis, is the division of the person of Jesus into a more or less
indifferent medium, and into the Christ. Here the factor constituting
his personality could sometimes be placed in that medium, and sometimes
in the Christ spirit, and thus contradictory formulæ could not but
arise. It is therefore easy to conceive how Epiphanius reproaches these
Jewish Christians with a denial, sometimes of the Divinity, and
sometimes of the humanity of Christ (see h. 30. 14).]

[Footnote 445: This syncretistic Judaism had indeed a significance for
the history of the world, not, however, in the history of Christianity,
but for the origin of Islam. Islam, as a religious system, is based
partly on syncretistic Judaism (including the Zabians, so enigmatic in
their origin), and, without questioning Mohammed's originality, can only
be historically understood by taking this into account. I have
endeavoured to establish this hypothesis in a lecture printed in MS
form, 1877. Cf. now the conclusive proofs in Wellhausen, l. c. Part III.
p. 197-212. On the Mandeans, see Brandt, Die Mandäische Religion, 1889;
(also Wellhausen in d. deutschen Lit. Ztg., 1890 No. 1. Lagarde i. d.
Gött. Gel. Anz., 1890, No. 10).]

[Footnote 446: See Bestmann, Gesch. der Christl. Sitte Bd. II. 1 Part:
Die juden-christliche Sitte, 1883; also, Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1883. Col. 269
ff. The same author, Der Ursprung des Katholischen Christenthums und des
Islams, 1884; also Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1884, Col. 291 ff.]

[Footnote 447: See Schliemann, Die Clementinen etc. 1844; Hilgenfeld,
Die Clementinischen Recogn. u. Homil, 1848; Ritschl, in d Allg
Monatschrift f. Wissensch. u. Litt., 1852. Uhlhorn, Die Homil. u.
Recogn., 1854; Lehmann, Die Clement. Schriften, 1869; Lipsius, in d.
Protest. K. Ztg., 1869, p. 477 ff.; Quellen der Römische Petrussage,
1872. Uhlhorn, in Herzog's R. Encykl. (Clementinen) 2 Edit. III. p. 286,
admits: "There can be no doubt that the Clementine question still
requires further discussion. It can hardly make any progress worth
mentioning until we have collected better the material, and especially
till we have got a corrected edition with an exhaustive commentary." The
theory of the genesis, contents and aim of the pseudo-Clementine
writings, unfolded by Renan (Orig. T. VII. p. 74-101) is essentially
identical with that of German scholars. Langen (die Clemensromane, 1890)
has set up very bold hypotheses, which are also based on the assumption
that Jewish Christianity was an important church factor in the second
century, and that the pseudo-Clementines are comparatively old

[Footnote 448: There is no external evidence for placing the
pseudo-Clementine writings in the second century. The oldest witness is
Origen (IV. p. 401, Lommatzsch); but the quotation: "Quoniam opera bona,
quæ fiunt ab infidelibus, in hoc sæculo iis prosunt," etc., is not found
in our Clementines, so that Origen appears to have used a still older
version. The internal evidence all points to the third century (canon,
composition, theological attitude, etc.) Moreover, Zahn (Gött. Gel. Anz.
1876. No. 45) and Lagarde have declared themselves in favour of this
date; while Lipsius (Apokr. Apostelgesch II. 1) and Weingarten
(Zeittafeln, 3 Edit. p. 23) have recently expressed the same opinion.
The Homilies presuppose (1) Marcion's Antitheses, (2) Apelles'
Syllogisms, (3) perhaps Callistus' edict about penance (see III. 70),
and writings of Hippolytus (see also the expression [Greek: episkopos
episkopôn], Clem. ep. ad Jacob I, which is first found in Tertull, de
pudic I.) (4) The most highly developed form of polemic against heathen
mythology. (5) The complete development of church apologetics, as well
as the conviction that Christianity is identical with correct and
absolute knowledge. They further presuppose a time when there was a lull
in the persecution of Christians, for the Emperor, though pretty often
referred to, is never spoken of as a persecutor, and when the cultured
heathen world was entirely disposed in favour of an eclectic monotheism.
Moreover, the remarkable Christological statement in Hom. XVI. 15, 16.
points to the third century, in fact probably even presupposes the
theology of Origen; Cf. the sentence: [Greek: tou patros to mê
gegennêsthai estin, huiou de to gegennêsthai gennêton de agennêtô ê kai
autogennêtô ou sunkrinetai.] Finally, the decided repudiation of the
awakening of Christian faith by visions and dreams, and the polemic
against these is also no doubt of importance for determining the date;
see XVII. 14-19. Peter says, § 18: [Greek: to adidaktôs aneu optasias
kai oneirôn mathein apokalupsis estin], he had already learned that at
his confession (Matt. XVI.). The question, [Greek: ei tis di optasian
pros didaskalian sophisthênai dunatai], is answered in the negative, §

[Footnote 449: This is also acknowledged in Koffmane. Die Gnosis, etc,
p. 33].

[Footnote 450: The Homilies, as we have them, are mainly composed of the
speeches of Peter and others. These speeches oppose polytheism,
mythology and the doctrine of demons, and advocate monotheism, ascetic
morality and rationalism. The polemic against Simon Magus almost appears
as a mere accessory.]

[Footnote 451: This distinction can also be shewn elsewhere in the
Church of the third century. But I confess I do not know how Catholic
circles got over the fact that, for example, in the third book of the
Homilies many passages of the old Testament are simply characterised as
untrue, immoral and lying. Here the Homilies remind one strongly of the
Syllogisms of Apelles, the author of which, in other respects, opposed
them in the interest of his doctrine of creating angels. In some
passages the Christianity of the Homilies really looks like a syncretism
composed of the common Christianity, the Jewish Christianity,
Gnosticism, and the criticism of Apelles. Hom. VIII. 6-8 is also highly


_On the Conception of Pre-existence._

On account of the importance of the question we may be here permitted to
amplify a few hints given in Chap. II., § 4, and elsewhere, and to draw
a clearer distinction between the Jewish and Hellenic conceptions of

According to the theory held by the ancient Jews and by the whole of the
Semitic nations, everything of real value, that from time to time
appears on earth has its existence in heaven. In other words it exists
with God, that is, God possesses a knowledge of it; and for that reason
it has a real being. But it exists beforehand with God in the same way
as it appears on earth, that is with all the material attributes
belonging to its essence. Its manifestation on earth is merely a
transition from concealment to publicity ([Greek: Phanerousthai]). In
becoming visible to the senses, the object in question assumes no
attribute that it did not already possess with God. Hence its material
nature is by no means an inadequate expression of it, nor is it a second
nature added to the first. The truth rather is that what was in heaven
before is now revealing itself upon earth, without any sort of
alteration taking place in the process. There is no _assumptio naturæ
novæ_, and no change or mixture. The old Jewish theory of pre-existence
is founded on the religious idea of the omniscience and omnipotence of
God, that God to whom the events of history do not come as a surprise,
but who guides their course. As the whole history of the world and the
destiny of each individual are recorded on his tablets or books, so also
each thing is ever present before him. The decisive contrast is between
God and the creature. In designating the latter as "foreknown" by God,
the primary idea is not to ennoble the creature, but rather to bring to
light the wisdom and power of God. The ennobling of created things by
attributing to them a pre-existence is a secondary result (see below).

According to the Hellenic conception, which has become associated with
Platonism, the idea of pre-existence is independent of the idea of God;
it is based on the conception of the contrast between spirit and matter,
between the infinite and finite, found in the cosmos itself. In the case
of all spiritual beings, life in the body or flesh is at bottom an
inadequate and unsuitable condition, for the spirit is eternal, the
flesh perishable. But the pre-temporal existence, which was only a
doubtful assumption as regards ordinary spirits, was a matter of
certainty in the case of the higher and purer ones. They lived in an
upper world long before this earth was created, and they lived there as
spirits without the "polluted garment of the flesh." Now if they
resolved for some reason or other to appear in this finite world, they
cannot simply become visible, for they have no "visible form." They must
rather "assume flesh", whether they throw it about them as a covering,
or really make it their own by a process of transformation or mixture.
In all cases--and here the speculation gave rise to the most exciting
problems--the body is to them something inadequate which they cannot
appropriate without adopting certain measures of precaution, but this
process may indeed pass through all stages, from a mere seeming
appropriation to complete union. The characteristics of the Greek ideas
of pre-existence may consequently be thus expressed. First, the objects
in question to which pre-existence is ascribed are meant to be ennobled
by this attribute. Secondly, these ideas have no relation to God.
Thirdly, the material appearance is regarded as something inadequate.
Fourthly, speculations about _phantasma_, _assumptio naturæ humanæ_,
_transmutatio_, _mixtura_, _duæ naturæ_, etc., were necessarily
associated with these notions.

We see that these two conceptions are as wide apart as the poles. The
first has a religious origin, the second a cosmological and
psychological, the first glorifies God, the second the created spirit.

However, not only does a certain relationship in point of form exist
between these speculations, but the Jewish conception is also found in a
shape which seems to approximate still more to the Greek one.

Earthly occurrences and objects are not only regarded as "foreknown" by
God before being seen in this world, but the latter manifestation is
frequently considered as the copy of the existence and nature which they
possess in heaven, and which remains unalterably the same, whether they
appear upon earth or not. That which is before God experiences no
change. As the destinies of the world are recorded in the books, and God
reads them there, it being at the same time a matter of indifference, as
regards this knowledge of his, when and how they are accomplished upon
earth, so the Tabernacle and its furniture, the Temple, Jerusalem, etc.,
are before God, and continue to exist before him in heaven, even during
their appearance on earth and after it.

This conception seems really to have been the oldest one. Moses is to
fashion the Temple and its furniture according to the pattern he saw on
the Mount (Exod. XXV. 9. 40; XXVI. 30; XXVII. 8; Num. VIII. 4). The
Temple and Jerusalem exist in heaven, and they are to be distinguished
from the earthly Temple and the earthly Jerusalem; yet the ideas of a
[Greek: Phanerousthai] of the thing which is in heaven and of its copy
appearing on earth, shade into one another and are not always clearly

The classing of things as original and copy was at first no more meant
to glorify them than was the conception of a pre-existence they
possessed within the knowledge of God. But since the view which in
theory was true of everything earthly, was, as is naturally to be
expected, applied in practice to nothing but valuable objects--for
things common and ever recurring give no impulse to such
speculations--the objects thus contemplated were ennobled, because they
were raised above the multitude of the commonplace. At the same time the
theory of original and copy could not fail to become a starting-point
for new speculations, as soon as the contrast between the spiritual and
material began to assume importance among the Jewish people.

That took place under the influence of the Greek spirit; and was perhaps
also the simultaneous result of an intellectual or moral development
which arose independently of that spirit. Accordingly, a highly
important advance in the old ideas of pre-existence appeared in the
Jewish theological literature belonging to the time of the Maccabees and
the following decades. To begin with, these conceptions are now applied
to persons, which, so far as I know, was not the case before this
(individualism). Secondly, the old distinction of original and copy is
now interpreted to mean that the copy is the inferior and more
imperfect, that in the present æon of the transient it cannot be
equivalent to the original, and that we must therefore look forward to
the time when the original itself will make its appearance, (contrast of
the material and finite and the spiritual).

With regard to the first point, we have not only to consider passages in
Apocalypses and other writings in which pre-existence is attributed to
Moses, the patriarchs, etc., (see above, p. 102), but we must, above
all, bear in mind utterances like Ps. CXXXIX. 15, 16. The individual
saint soars upward to the thought that the days of his life are in the
book of God, and that he himself was before God, whilst he was still
un-perfect. But, and this must not be overlooked, it was not merely his
spiritual part that was before God, for there is not the remotest idea
of such a distinction, but the whole man, although he is [Hebrew:
bashar] (flesh).

As regards the second point, the distinction between a heavenly and an
earthly Jerusalem, a heavenly and an earthly Temple, etc., is
sufficiently known from the Apocalypses and the New Testament. But the
important consideration is that the sacred things of earth were regarded
as objects of less value, instalments, as it were, pending the
fulfilment of the whole promise. The desecration and subsequent
destruction of sacred things must have greatly strengthened this idea.
The hope of the heavenly Jerusalem comforted men for the desecration or
loss of the earthly one. But this gave at the same time the most
powerful impulse to reflect whether it was not an essential feature of
this temporal state, that everything high and holy in it could only
appear in a meagre and inadequate form. Thus the transition to Greek
ideas was brought about. The fulness of the time had come when the old
Jewish ideas, with a slightly mythological colouring, could amalgamate
with the ideal creations of Hellenic philosophers.

These, however, are also the general conditions which gave rise to the
earliest Jewish speculations about a personal Messiah, except that, in
the case of the Messianic ideas within Judaism itself, the adoption of
specifically Greek thoughts, so far as I am able to see, cannot be made

Most Jews, as Trypho testifies in Justin's Dialogue, 49, conceived the
Messiah as a man. We may indeed go a step further and say that no Jew at
bottom imagined him otherwise; for even those who attached ideas of
pre-existence to him, and gave the Messiah a supernatural background,
never advanced to speculations about assumption of the flesh,
incarnation, two natures and the like. They only transferred in specific
manner to the Messiah the old idea of pre-terrestrial existence with
God, universally current among the Jews. Before the creation of the
world the Messiah was hidden with God, and, when the time is fulfilled,
he makes his appearance. This is neither an incarnation nor a
humiliation, but he appears on earth as he exists before God, viz., as a
mighty and just king, equipped with all gifts. The writings in which
this thought appears most clearly are the Apocalypse of Enoch (Book of
Similitudes, Chap. 46-49) and the Apocalypse of Esra (Chap. 12-14).
Support to this idea, if anything more of the kind had been required,
was lent by passages like Daniel VII. 13 f. and Micah, V. 1. Nowhere do
we find in Jewish writings a conception which advances beyond the notion
that the Messiah is the man who is with God in heaven; and who will make
his appearance at his own time. We are merely entitled to say that, as
the same idea was not applied to all persons with the same certainty, it
was almost unavoidable that men's minds should have been led to
designate the Messiah as the man from heaven. This thought was adopted
by Paul (see below), but I know of no _Jewish_ writing which gave clear
expression to it.

Jesus Christ designated himself as the Messiah, and the first of his
disciples who recognised him as such were native Jews. The Jewish
conceptions of the Messiah consequently passed over into the Christian
community. But they received an impulse to important modifications from
the living impression conveyed by the person and destiny of Jesus. Three
facts were here of pre-eminent importance. First, Jesus appeared in
lowliness, and even suffered death. Secondly, he was believed to be
exalted through the resurrection to the right hand of God, and his
return in glory was awaited with certainty. Thirdly, the strength of a
new life and of an indissoluble union with God was felt issuing from
him, and therefore his people were connected with him in the closest

In some old Christian writings found in the New Testament and emanating
from the pen of native Jews, there are no speculations at all about the
pre-temporal existence of Jesus as the Messiah, or they are found
expressed in a manner which simply embodies the old Jewish theory and is
merely distinguished from it by the emphasis laid on the exaltation of
Jesus after death through the resurrection. 1. Pet. I. 18 ff. is a
classic passage: [Greek: elutrôthête timiô haimati hôs amnou amômou kai
aspilou Christou, proegnôsmenou men pro katabolês kosmou, phanerôthentos
de ep' eschatou tôn chronôn di' humas tous di autou pistous eis theon
ton egeiranta autou ek nekrôn kai doxan autô donta, hôste tên pistin
humôn kai elpida einai eis theon]. Here we find a conception of the
pre-existence of Christ which is not yet affected by cosmological or
psychological speculation, which does not overstep the boundaries of a
purely religious contemplation, and which arose from the Old Testament
way of thinking, and the living impression derived from the person of
Jesus. He is "foreknown (by God) before the creation of the world", not
as a spiritual being without a body, but as a Lamb without blemish and
without spot; in other words, his whole personality together with the
work which it was to carry out, was within God's eternal knowledge. He
"was manifested in these last days for our sake", that is, he is now
visibly what he already was before God. What is meant here is not an
incarnation, but a _revelatio_. Finally, he appeared in order that our
faith and hope should now be firmly directed to the living God, _that_
God who raised him from the dead and gave him honour. In the last clause
expression is given to the specifically Christian thought, that the
Messiah Jesus was _exalted_ after crucifixion and death: from this,
however, no further conclusions are drawn.

But it was impossible that men should everywhere rest satisfied with
these utterances, for the age was a theological one. Hence the paradox
of the suffering Messiah, the certainty of his glorification through the
resurrection, the conviction of his specific relationship to God, and
the belief in the real union of his Church with him did not seem
adequately expressed by the simple formulæ [Greek: proegnôsmenos,
phanerôtheis]. In reference to all these points, we see even in the
oldest Christian writings, the appearance of formulæ which fix more
precisely the nature of his pre-existence, or in other words his
heavenly existence. With regard to the first and second points there
arose the view of humiliation and exaltation, such as we find in Paul
and in numerous writings after him. In connection with the third point
the concept "Son of God" was thrust into the foreground, and gave rise
to the idea of the image of God (2 Cor. IV. 4; Col. I. 15; Heb. I. 2;
Phil. II. 6). The fourth point gave occasion to the formation of theses,
such as we find in Rom. VIII. 29: [Greek: prôtotokos en pollois
adelphois], Col. I. 18: [Greek: prôtotokos ek tôn nekrôn] (Rev. I. 5),
Eph. II. 6 [Greek: sunêgeiren kai sunekathisen en tois epouraniois hêmas
en Christô Iêsou], I. 4: [Greek: ho theos exelexato hêmas en Christô pro
katabolês kosmou], I. 22: [Greek: ho theos edôken ton Christon kephalên
huper panta tê ekklêsia hêtis estin to sôma autou] etc. This purely
religious view of the Church, according to which all that is predicated
of Christ is also applied to his followers, continued a considerable
time. Hermas declares that the Church is older than the world, and that
the world was created for its sake (see above, p. 103), and the author
of the so-called 2nd Epistle of Clement declares (Chap. 14) [Greek: ...
esometha ek tês ekklêsias tês prôtês tês pneumatikês, tês pro hêliou kai
selênês hektismenês ... ouk oiomai de humas agnoein, hoti ekklêsia zôsa
sôma esti Christou. legei gar hêgraphê. Epoiêsen ho theos ton anthrôpon
arsen kai thêlu. to arsen estin ho Christos to thêlu hê ekklêsia.] Thus
Christ and his Church are inseparably connected. The latter is to be
conceived as pre-existent quite as much as the former; the Church was
also created before the sun and the moon, for the world was created for
its sake. This conception of the Church illustrates a final group of
utterances about the pre-existent Christ, the origin of which might
easily be misinterpreted unless we bear in mind their reference to the
Church. In so far as he is [Greek: proegnôsmenos pro katabolês kosmou],
he is the [Greek: archê tês ktiseôs tou theou] (Rev. III. 14), the
[Greek: prôtotokos pasês ktiseôs] etc. According to the current
conception of the time, these expressions mean exactly the same as the
simple [Greek: proegnôsmenos pro katabolês kosmou], as is proved by the
parallel formulæ referring to the Church. Nay, even the further advance
to the idea that the world was created by him (Cor. Col. Eph. Heb.) need
not yet necessarily be a [Greek: metabasis eis allo genos]; for the
beginning of things [Greek: archê] and their purpose form the real force
to which their origin is due (principle [Greek: archê]). Hermas indeed
calls the Church older than the world simply because "the world was
created for its sake."

All these further theories which we have quoted up to this time need in
no sense alter the original conception, so long as they appear in an
isolated form and do not form the basis of fresh speculations. They may
be regarded as the working out of the original conception attaching to
Jesus Christ, [Greek: proegnôsmenos pro katabolês kosmou, phanerôtheis
k.t.l.]; and do not really modify this religious view of the matter.
Above all, we find in them as yet no certain transition to the Greek
view which splits up his personality into a heavenly and an earthly
portion; it still continues to be the complete Christ to whom all the
utterances apply. But, beyond doubt, they already reveal the strong
impulse to conceive the Christ that had appeared as a divine being. He
had not been a transitory phenomenon, but has ascended into heaven and
still continues to live. This post-existence of his gave to the ideas of
his pre-existence a support and a concrete complexion which the earlier
Jewish theories lacked.

We find the transition to a new conception in the writings of Paul. But
it is important to begin by determining the relationship between his
Christology and the views we have been hitherto considering. In the
Apostle's clearest trains of thought everything that he has to say of
Christ hinges on his death and resurrection. For this we need no proofs,
but see, more especially Rom. I. 3 f.: [Greek: peri tou huiou autou, tou
genomenou ek spermatos Daueid kata sarka, tou horisthentos huiou theou
en dunamei kata pneuma agiôsunês ek anastaseôs nekrôn, Iêsou Christou
tou kuriou hêmôn]. What Christ became and his significance for us now
are due to his death on the cross and his resurrection. He condemned sin
in the flesh and was obedient unto death. Therefore he now shares in the
[Greek: doxa] of God. The exposition in 1 Cor. XV. 45, also ([Greek: ho
eschatos Adam eis pneuma Zôopoioun, all' ou prôton to pneumatikon alla
to psuchikon, epeita to pneumatikon. ho prôtos anthrôpos ek gês choikos
ho deuteros anthrôpos ex ouranou]) is still capable of being understood,
as to its fundamental features, in a sense which agrees with the
conception of the Messiah, as [Greek: kat' exochên,] the man from heaven
who was hidden with God. There can be no doubt, however, that this
conception as already shewn by the formulæ in the passage just quoted,
formed to Paul the starting-point of a speculation, in which the
original theory assumed a completely new shape. The decisive factors in
this transformation were the Apostle's doctrine of "spirit and flesh",
and the corresponding conviction that the Christ who is not be known
"after the flesh", is a spirit, namely, the mighty spiritual being
[Greek: pneuma zôopoioun], who has condemned sin in the flesh, and
thereby enabled man to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.

According to one of the Apostle's ways of regarding the matter, Christ,
after the accomplishment of his work, became the [Greek: pneuma
zôopoioun] through the resurrection. But the belief that Jesus always
stood before God as the heavenly man, suggested to Paul the other view,
that Christ was always a "spirit", that he was sent down by God, that
the flesh is consequently something inadequate and indeed hostile to
him, that he nevertheless assumed it in order to extirpate the sin
dwelling in the flesh, that he therefore humbled himself by appearing,
and that this humiliation was the deed he performed.

This view is found in 2 Cor. VIII. 9: [Greek: Iêsous Christos di' humas
eptôcheusen plousios ôn]; in Rom. VIII. 3: [Greek: ho theos ton heautou
huion pempsas en homoiômati sarkos hamartias kai peri hamartias
katekrine tên hamartian en tê sarki]; and in Phil. II. 5 f.: [Greek:
Christos Iêsous en morphê theou huparchôn ... heauton ekenôsen morphên
doulon labôn, en homoiômati anthrôpôn genomenos, kai schêmati heuretheis
hôs anthrôpos etapeinôsen heauton k.t.l.] In both forms of thought Paul
presupposes a real exaltation of Christ. Christ receives after the
resurrection more than he ever possessed ([Greek: to onoma to huper pan
onoma]). In this view Paul retains a historical interpretation of
Christ, even in the conception of the [Greek: pneuma Christos]. But
whilst many passages seem to imply that the work of Christ began with
suffering and death, Paul shews in the verses cited, that he already
conceives the appearance of Christ on earth as his moral act, as a
humiliation, purposely brought about by God and Christ himself, which
reaches its culminating point in the death on the cross. Christ, the
divine spiritual being, is sent by the Father from heaven to earth, and
of his own free will he obediently takes this mission upon himself. He
appears in the [Greek: homoiôma sarkos amartias], dies the death of the
cross, and then, raised by the Father, ascends again into heaven in
order henceforth to act as the [Greek: kurios zôntôn] and [Greek:
nekrôn] and to become to his own people the principle of a new life in
the spirit.

Whatever we may think about the admissibility and justification of this
view, to whatever source we may trace its origin and however strongly we
may emphasise its divergencies from the contemporaneous Hellenic ideas,
it is certain that it approaches very closely to the latter; for the
distinction of spirit and flesh is here introduced into the concept of
pre-existence, and this combination is not found in the Jewish notions
of the Messiah.

Paul was the first who limited the idea of pre-existence by referring it
solely to the spiritual part of Jesus Christ, but at the same time gave
life to it by making the pre-existing Christ (the spirit) a being who,
even during his pre-existence, stands independently side by side with

He was also the first to designate Christ's [Greek: sarx] as "assumpta",
and to recognise its assumption as in itself a humiliation. To him the
appearance of Christ was no mere [Greek: phanerousthai], but a [Greek:
kenousthai, tapeinousthai] and [Greek: ptôcheuein].

These outstanding features of the Pauline Christology must have been
intelligible to the Greeks, but, whilst embracing these, they put
everything else in the system aside. [Greek: Christos ho kurios ho sôsas
hêmas, hôn men to prôton pneuma, egeneto sarx kai houtôs hêmas
ekalesen], says 2 Clem. (9. 5), and that is also the Christology of 1
Clement, Barnabas and many other Greeks. From the sum total of
Judæo-Christian speculations they only borrowed, in addition, the one
which has been already mentioned: the Messiah as [Greek: proegnôsmenos
pro katabolês kosmou] is for that very reason also [Greek: hê archê tês
ktiseôs tou theou], that is the beginning, purpose and principle of the
creation. The Greeks, as the result of their cosmological interest,
embraced this thought as a fundamental proposition. The complete Greek
Christology then is expressed as follows: [Greek: Christos, ho sôsas
hêmas, hôn men to prôton pneuma kai pasês ktiseôs archê, egeneto sarx
kai houtôs hêmas ekalesen]. _That is the fundamental theological and
philosophical creed on which the whole Trinitarian and Christological
speculations of the Church of the succeeding centuries are built, and it
is thus the root of the orthodox system of dogmatics_; for the notion
that Christ was the [Greek: archê pasês ktiseôs] necessarily led in some
measure to the conception of Christ as the Logos. For the Logos had long
been regarded by cultured men as the beginning and principle of the

With this transition the theories concerning Christ are removed from
Jewish and Old Testament soil, and also that of religion (in the strict
sense of the word), and transplanted to the Greek one. Even in his
pre-existent state Christ is an independent power existing side by side
with God. The pre-existence does not refer to his whole appearance, but
only to a part of his essence; it does not primarily serve to glorify
the wisdom and power of the God who guides history, but only glorifies
Christ, and thereby threatens the monarchy of God.[453] The appearance
of Christ is now an "assumption of flesh", and immediately the intricate
questions about the connection of the heavenly and spiritual being with
the flesh simultaneously arise and are at first settled by the theories
of a naive docetism. But the flesh, that is the human nature created by
God, appears depreciated, because it was reckoned as something
unsuitable for Christ, and foreign to him as a spiritual being. Thus the
Christian religion was mixed up with the refined asceticism of a
perishing civilization, and a foreign substructure given to its system
of morality, so earnest in its simplicity.[454] But the most
questionable result was the following. Since the predicate "Logos",
which at first, and for a long time, coincided with the idea of the
reason ruling in the cosmos, was considered as the highest that could be
given to Christ, the holy and divine element, namely, the power of a new
life, a power to be viewed and laid hold of in Christ, was transformed
into a cosmic force and thereby secularised.

In the present work I have endeavoured to explain fully how the doctrine
of the Church developed from these premises into the doctrine of the
Trinity and of the two natures. I have also shewn that the imperfect
beginnings of Church doctrine, especially as they appear in the Logos
theory derived from cosmology, were subjected to wholesome
corrections--by the Monarchians, by Athanasius, and by the influence of
biblical passages which pointed in another direction. Finally, the Logos
doctrine received a form in which the idea was deprived of nearly all
cosmical content. Nor could the Hellenic contrast of "spirit" and
"flesh" become completely developed in Christianity, because the belief
in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and in the admission of the flesh
into heaven, opposed to the principle of dualism a barrier which Paul as
yet neither knew nor felt to be necessary. The conviction as to the
resurrection of the flesh proved the hard rock which shattered the
energetic attempts to give a completely Hellenic complexion to the
Christian religion.

The history of the development of the ideas of pre-existence is at the
same time the criticism of them, so that we need not have recourse to
our present theory of knowledge which no longer allows such
speculations. The problem of determining the significance of Christ
through a speculation concerning his natures, and of associating with
these the concrete features of the historical Christ, was originated by
Hellenism. But even the New Testament writers, who appear in this
respect to be influenced in some way by Hellenism, did not really
speculate concerning the different natures, but, taking Christ's
spiritual nature for granted, determined his religious significance by
his moral qualities--Paul by the moral act of humiliation and obedience
unto death, John by the complete dependence of Christ upon God and hence
also by his obedience, as well as the unity of the love of Father and
Son. There is only one idea of pre-existence which no empiric
contemplation of history and no reason can uproot. This is identical
with the most ancient idea found in the Old Testament, as well as that
prevalent among the early Christians, and consists in the religious
thought that God the Lord directs history. In its application to Jesus
Christ, it is contained in the words we read in 1 Pet. I. 20: [Greek:
proegnôsmenos men pro katabolês kosmou, phanerôtheis de di' humas tous
di' autou pistous eis theon ton egeiranta auton ek nekrôn kai doxan
autôi donta, hôste tên pistin humôn kai elpida einai eis theon].

[Footnote 452: These hints will have shewn that Paul's theory occupies a
middle position between the Jewish and Greek ideas of pre-existence. In
the canon, however, we have another group of writings which likewise
gives evidence of a middle position with regard to the matter, I mean
the Johannine writings. If we only possessed the prologue to the Gospel
of John with its "[Greek: en archê ên ho logos]," the "[Greek: panta di'
autou egeneto]" and the "[Greek: ho logos sarx egeneto]" we could indeed
point to nothing but Hellenic ideas. But the Gospel itself, as is well
known, contains very much that must have astonished a Greek, and is
opposed to the philosophical idea of the Logos. This occurs even in the
thought, "[Greek: ho logos sarx egeneto]," which in itself is foreign to
the Logos conception. Just fancy a proposition like the one in VI. 44,
[Greek: oudeis dunatai elthein pros me, ean mê ho patêr ho pempsas me
elkusê auton], or in V. 17. 21, engrafted on Philo's system, and
consider the revolution it would have caused there. No doubt the
prologue to some extent contains the themes set forth in the
presentation that follows, but they are worded in such a way that one
cannot help thinking the author wished to prepare Greek readers for the
paradox he had to communicate to them, by adapting his prologue to their
mode of thought. Under the altered conditions of thought which now
prevail, the prologue appears to us the mysterious part, and the
narrative that follows seems the portion that is relatively more
intelligible. But to the original readers, if they were educated Greeks,
the prologue must have been the part most easily understood. As nowadays
a section on the nature of the Christian religion is usually prefixed to
a treatise on dogmatics, in order to prepare and introduce the reader,
so also the Johannine prologue seems to be intended as an introduction
of this kind. It brings in conceptions which were familiar to the
Greeks, in fact it enters into these more deeply than is justified by
the presentation which follows; for the notion of the incarnate Logos is
by no means the dominant one here. Though faint echoes of this idea may
possibly be met with here and there in the Gospel--I confess I do not
notice them--the predominating thought is essentially the conception of
Christ as the Son of God, who obediently executes what the Father has
shewn and appointed him. The works which he does are allotted to him,
and he performs them in the strength of the Father. The whole of
Christ's farewell discourses and the intercessory prayer evince no
Hellenic influence and no cosmological speculation whatever, but shew
the inner life of a man who knows himself to be one with God to a
greater extent than any before him, and who feels the leading of men to
God to be the task he had received and accomplished. In this
consciousness he speaks of the glory he had with the Father before the
world was (XVII. 4 f.; [Greek: egô se edoxasa epi tês gês, to ergon
teleiôsas ho dedôkas moi hina poiêsô; kai nun doxason me su, pater, para
seautô tê doxê hê eichon pro tou ton kosmon einai, para soi]). With this
we must compare verses like III. 13: [Greek: oudeis anabebêken eis ton
ouranon ei mê ho ek tou ouranou katabas, ho huios tou anthrôpou], and
III. 31: [Greek: ho anôthen erchomenos epanô pantôn estin. ho ôn ek tês
gês ek tês gês estin kai ek tês gês lalei ho ek tou ouranou erchomenos
epanô pantôn estin] (see also I. 30: VI. 33, 38, 41 f. 50 f. 58, 62:
VIII. 14, 58; XVII. 24). But though the pre-existence is strongly
expressed in these passages, a separation of [Greek: pneuma (logos)] and
[Greek: sarx] in Christ is nowhere assumed in the Gospel except in the
prologue. It is always Christ's whole personality to which every sublime
attribute is ascribed. The same one who "can do nothing of himself", is
also the one who was once glorious and will yet be glorified. This idea,
however, can still be referred to the [Greek: proegnosmenos pro
katabolês kosmon], although it gives a peculiar [Greek: doxa] with God
to him who was foreknown of God, and the oldest conception is yet to be
traced in many expressions, as, for example, I. 31: [Greek: kagô ouk
êdein auton, all' hina phanerôthæ tô Israêl dia touto êlthon], V. 19:
[Greek: ou duvatai ho uios poiein aph' eautou ouden an mê ti blepê ton
patera poiountai], V. 36: VIII. 38: [Greek: ha egô heôraka para tô patri
lalô], VIII. 40: [Greek: tên alêtheian humin lelalêka hên êkousa para
tou theou], XII. 49: XV. 15: [Greek: panta ha êxousa para tou patros mou
egnôrisa humin.]]

[Footnote 453: This is indeed counterbalanced in the fourth Gospel by
the thought of the complete community of love between the Father and the
Son, and the pre-existence and descent of the latter here also tend to
the glory of God. In the sentence "God so loved the world" etc., that
which Paul describes in Phil. II. becomes at the same time an act of
God, in fact the act of God. The sentence "God is love" sums up again
all individual speculations, and raises them into a new and most exalted

[Footnote 454: If it had been possible for speculation to maintain the
level of the Fourth Gospel, nothing of that would have happened; but
where were there theologians capable of this?]


_Liturgy and the Origin of Dogma._

The reader has perhaps wondered why I have made so little reference to
Liturgy in my description of the origin of dogma. For according to the
most modern ideas about the history of religion and the origin of
theology, the development of both may be traced in the ritual. Without
any desire to criticise these notions, I think I am justified in
asserting that this is another instance of the exceptional nature of
Christianity. For a considerable period it possessed no ritual at all,
and the process of development in this direction had been going on, or
been completed, a long time before ritual came to furnish material for
dogmatic discussion.

The worship in Christian Churches grew out of that in the synagogues,
whereas there is no trace of its being influenced by the Jewish Temple
service (Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chrétien, p. 45 ff.). Its oldest
constituents are accordingly prayer, reading of the scriptures,
application of scripture texts, and sacred song. In addition to these we
have, as specifically Christian elements, the celebration of the Lord's
Supper, and the utterances of persons inspired by the Spirit. The latter
manifestations, however, ceased in the course of the second century, and
to some extent as early as its first half. The religious services in
which a ritual became developed were prayer, the Lord's Supper and
sacred song. The Didache had already prescribed stated formulæ for
prayer. The ritual of the Lord's Supper was determined in its main
features by the memory of its institution. The sphere of sacred song
remained the most unfettered, though here also, even at an early
period--no later in fact than the end of the first and beginning of the
second century--a fixed and a variable element were distinguished; for
responsory hymns, as is testified by the Epistle of Pliny and the still
earlier Book of Revelation, require to follow a definite arrangement.
But the whole, though perhaps already fixed during the course of the
second century, still bore the stamp of spirituality and freedom. It was
really worship in spirit and in truth, and this and no other was the
light in which the Apologists, for instance, regarded it. Ritualism did
not begin to be a power in the Church till the end of the second
century; though it had been cultivated by the "Gnostics" long before,
and traces of it are found at an earlier period in some of the older
Fathers, such as Ignatius.

Among the liturgical fragments still preserved to us from the first
three centuries two strata may be distinguished. Apart from the
responsory hymns in the Book of Revelation, which can hardly represent
fixed liturgical pieces, the only portions of the older stratum in our
possession are the Lord's Prayer, originating with Jesus himself and
used as a liturgy, together with the sacramental prayers of the Didache.
These prayers exhibit a style unlike any of the liturgical formulæ of
later times; the prayer is exclusively addressed to God, it returns
thanks for knowledge and life; it speaks of Jesus the [Greek: pais
theou] (Son of God) as the mediator; the intercession refers exclusively
to the Church, and the supplication is for the gathering together of the
Church, the hastening of the coming of the kingdom and the destruction
of the world. No direct mention is made of the death and resurrection of
Christ. These prayers are the peculiar property of the Christian Church.
It cannot, however, be said that they exercised any important influence
on the history of dogma. The thoughts contained in them perished in
their specific shape; the measure of permanent importance they attained
in a more general form, was not preserved to them through these prayers.

The second stratum of liturgical pieces dates back to the great prayer
with which the first Epistle of Clement ends, for in many respects this
prayer, though some expressions in it remind us of the older type
([Greek: dia tou êgapêmenou paidos sou Iêsoun Christou], "through thy
beloved son Jesus Christ "), already exhibits the characteristics of the
later liturgy, as is shewn, for example, by a comparison of the
liturgical prayer in the Constitutions of the Apostles (see Lightfoot's
edition and my own). But this piece shews at the same time that the
liturgical prayers, and consequently the liturgy also, sprang from those
in the synagogue, for the similarity is striking. Here we find a
connection resembling that which exists between the Jewish "Two Ways"
and the Christian instruction of catechumens. If this observation is
correct, it clearly explains the cautious use of historical and dogmatic
material in the oldest liturgies--a precaution not to their
disadvantage. As in the prayers of the synagogue, so also in Christian
Churches, all sorts of matters were not submitted to God or laid bare
before Him, but the prayers serve as a religious ceremony, that is, as
adoration, petition and intercession. [Greek: Su ei ho theos monos kai
Iêsous Christos ho pais sou kai hêmeis laos sou kai probata tês nomês
sou], (thou art God alone and Jesus Christ is thy son, and we are thy
people and the sheep of thy pasture). In this confession, an expressive
Christian modification of that of the synagogue, the whole liturgical
ceremony is epitomised. So far as we can assume and conjecture from the
scanty remains of Ante-Nicene liturgy, the character of the ceremony was
not essentially altered in this respect. Nothing containing a specific
dogma or theological speculation was admitted. The number of sacred
ceremonies, already considerable in the second century (how did they
arise?), was still further increased in the third; but the accompanying
words, so far as we know, expressed nothing but adoration, gratitude,
supplication, and intercession. The relations expressed in the liturgy
became more comprehensive, copious and detailed; but its fundamental
character was not changed. The history of dogma in the first three
centuries is not reflected in their liturgy.



_The historical significance and position of Neoplatonism._

The political history of the ancient world ends with the Empire of
Diocletian and Constantine, which has not only Roman and Greek, but also
Oriental features. The history of ancient philosophy ends with the
universal philosophy of Neoplatonism, which assimilated the elements of
most of the previous systems, and embodied the result of the history of
religion and civilisation in East and West. But as the Roman Byzantine
Empire is at one and the same time a product of the final effort and the
exhaustion of the ancient world, so also Neoplatonism is, on one side,
the completion of ancient philosophy, and, on another, its abolition.
Never before in the Greek and Roman theory of the world did the
conviction of the dignity of man and his elevation above nature, attain
so certain an expression as in Neoplatonism; and never before in the
history of civilisation did its highest exponents, notwithstanding all
their progress in inner observation, so much undervalue the sovereign
significance of real science and pure knowledge as the later
Neoplatonists did. Judged from the stand-point of pure science, of
empirical knowledge of the world, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
marks a momentous turning-point, the post-Aristotelian a retrogression,
the Neoplatonic a complete declension. But judging from the stand-point
of religion and morality, it must be admitted that the ethical temper
which Neoplatonism sought to beget and confirm, was the highest and
purest which the culture of the ancient world produced. This necessarily
took place at the expense of science: for on the soil of polytheistic
natural religions, the knowledge of nature must either fetter and
finally abolish religion, or be fettered and abolished by religion.
Religion and ethic, however, proved the stronger powers. Placed between
these and the knowledge of nature, philosophy, after a period of
fluctuation, finally follows the stronger force. Since the ethical
itself, in the sphere of natural religions, is unhesitatingly conceived
as a higher kind of "nature", conflict with the empirical knowledge of
the world is unavoidable. The higher "physics", for that is what
religious ethics is here, must displace the lower or be itself
displaced. Philosophy must renounce its scientific aspect, in order that
man's claim to a supernatural value of his person and life may be

It is an evidence of the vigour of man's moral endowments that the only
epoch of culture which we are able to survey in its beginnings, its
progress, and its close, ended not with materialism, but with the most
decided idealism. It is true that in its way this idealism also denotes
a bankruptcy; as the contempt for reason and science, and these are
contemned when relegated to the second place, finally leads to
barbarism, because it results in the crassest superstition, and is
exposed to all manner of imposture. And, as a matter of fact, barbarism
succeeded the flourishing period of Neoplatonism. Philosophers
themselves no doubt found their mental food in the knowledge which they
thought themselves able to surpass; but the masses grew up in
superstition, and the Christian Church, which entered on the inheritance
of Neoplatonism, was compelled to reckon with that and come to terms
with it. Just when the bankruptcy of the ancient civilisation and its
lapse into barbarism could not have failed to reveal themselves, a
kindly destiny placed on the stage of history barbarian nations, for
whom the work of a thousand years had as yet no existence. Thus the fact
is concealed, which, however, does not escape the eye of one who looks
below the surface, that the inner history of the ancient world must
necessarily have degenerated into barbarism of its own accord, because
it ended with the renunciation of this world. There is no desire either
to enjoy it, to master it, or to know it as it really is. A new world is
disclosed for which everything is given up, and men are ready to
sacrifice insight and understanding, in order to possess this world with
certainty; and, in the light which radiates from the world to come, that
which in this world appears absurd becomes wisdom, and wisdom becomes

Such is Neoplatonism. The pre-Socratic philosophers, declared by the
followers of Socrates to be childish, had freed themselves from
theology, that is, the mythology of the poets, and constructed a
philosophy from the observation of nature, without troubling themselves
about ethics and religion. In the systems of Plato and Aristotle physics
and ethics were to attain to their rights, though the latter no doubt
already occupied the first place; theology, that is popular religion,
continues to be thrust aside. The post-Aristotelian philosophers of all
parties were already beginning to withdraw from the objective world.
Stoicism indeed seems to fall back into the materialism that I prevailed
before Plato and Aristotle; but the ethical dualism which dominated the
mood of the Stoic philosophers, did not in the long run tolerate the
materialistic physics; it sought and found help in the metaphysical
dualism of the Platonists, and at the same time reconciled itself to the
popular religion by means of allegorism, that is, it formed a new
theology. But it did not result in permanent philosophic creations. A
one-sided development of Platonism produced the various forms of
scepticism which sought to abolish confidence in empirical knowledge.
Neoplatonism, which came last, learned from all schools. In the first
place, it belongs to the series of post-Aristotelian systems and, as the
philosophy of the subjective, it is the logical completion of them. In
the second place, it rests on scepticism; for it also, though not at the
very beginning, gave up both confidence and pure interest in empirical
knowledge. Thirdly, it can boast of the name and authority of Plato; for
in metaphysics it consciously went back to him and expressly opposed the
metaphysics of the Stoics. Yet on this very point it also learned
something from the Stoics; for the Neoplatonic conception of the action
of God on the world, and of the nature and origin of matter, can only be
explained by reference to the dynamic pantheism of the Stoics. In other
respects, especially in psychology, it is diametrically opposed to the
Stoa, though superior. Fourthly, the study of Aristotle also had an
influence on Neoplatonism. That is shewn not only in the philosophic
methods of the Neoplatonists, but also, though in a subordinate way, in
their metaphysics. Fifthly, the ethic of the Stoics was adopted by
Neoplatonism, but this ethic necessarily gave way to a still higher view
of the conditions of the spirit. Sixthly and finally, Christianity also,
which Neoplatonism opposed in every form (especially in that of the
Gnostic philosophy of religion), seems not to have been entirely without
influence. On this point we have as yet no details, and these can only
be ascertained by a thorough examination of the polemic of Plotinus
against the Gnostics.

Hence, with the exception of Epicureanism, which Neoplatonism dreaded as
its mortal enemy, every important system of former times was drawn upon
by the new philosophy. But we should not on that account call
Neoplatonism an eclectic system in the usual sense of the word. For in
the first place, it had one pervading and all predominating interest,
the religious; and in the second place, it introduced into philosophy a
new supreme principle, the super-rational, or the super-essential. This
principle should not be identified with the "Ideas" of Plato or the
"Form" of Aristotle. For as Zeller rightly says: "In Plato and Aristotle
the distinction of the sensuous and the intelligible is the strongest
expression for belief in the truth of thought; it is only sensuous
perception and sensuous existence whose relative falsehood they
presuppose; but of a higher stage of spiritual life lying beyond idea
and thought, there is no mention. In Neoplatonism, on the other hand, it
is just this super-rational element which is regarded as the final goal
of all effort, and the highest ground of all existence; the knowledge
gained by thought is only an intermediate stage between sensuous
perception and the super-rational intuition; the intelligible forms are
not that which is highest and last, but only the media by which the
influences of the formless original essence are communicated to the
world. This view therefore presupposes not merely doubt of the reality
of sensuous existence and sensuous notions, but absolute doubt,
aspiration beyond all reality. The highest intelligible is not that
which constitutes the real content of thought, but only that which is
presupposed and earnestly desired by man as the unknowable ground of his
thought." Neoplatonism recognised that a religious ethic can be built
neither on sense-perception nor on knowledge gained by the
understanding, and that it cannot be justified by these; it therefore
broke both with intellectual ethics and with utilitarian morality. But
for that very reason, having as it were parted with perception and
understanding in relation to the ascertaining of the highest truth, it
was compelled to seek for a new world and a new function in the human
spirit, in order to ascertain the existence of what it desired, and to
comprehend and describe that of which it had ascertained the existence.
But man cannot transcend his psychological endowment. An iron ring
incloses him. He who does not allow his thought to be determined by
experience falls a prey to fancy, that is, thought, which cannot be
suppressed, assumes a mythological aspect: superstition takes the place
of reason, dull gazing at something incomprehensible is regarded as the
highest goal of the spirit's efforts, and every conscious activity of
the spirit is subordinated to visionary conditions artificially brought
about. But that every conceit may not be allowed to assert itself, the
gradual exploration of every region of knowledge according to every
method of acquiring it, is demanded as a preliminary--the Neoplatonists
did not make matters easy for themselves,--and a new and mighty
principle is set up which is to bridle fancy, viz., _the authority of a
sure tradition_. This authority must be superhuman, otherwise it would
not come under consideration; it must therefore be divine. On divine
disclosures, that is revelations, must rest both the highest
super-rational region of knowledge and the possibility of knowledge
itself. In a word, the philosophy which Neoplatonism represents, whose
final interest is the religious, and whose highest object is the
super-rational, must be a _philosophy of revelation_.

In the case of Plotinus himself and his immediate disciples, this does
not yet appear plainly. They still shew confidence in the objective
presuppositions of their philosophy, and have, especially in psychology,
done great work and created something new. But this confidence vanishes
in the later Neoplatonists. Porphyry, before he became a disciple of
Plotinus, wrote a book [Greek: peri tês eklogiôn philosophia]; as a
philosopher he no longer required the "[Greek: logia]." But the later
representatives of the system sought for their philosophy revelations of
the Godhead. They found them in the religious traditions and cults of
all nations. Neoplatonism learned from the Stoics to rise above the
political limits of nations and states, and to widen the Hellenic
consciousness to a universally human one. The spirit of God has breathed
throughout the whole history of the nations, and the traces of divine
revelation are to be found everywhere. The older a religious tradition
or cultus is, the more worthy of honour, the more rich in thoughts of
God it is. Therefore the old Oriental religions are of special value to
the Neoplatonists. The allegorical method of interpreting myths, which
was practised by the Stoics in particular, was accepted by Neoplatonism
also. But the myths, spiritually explained, have for this system an
entirely different value from what they had for the Stoic philosophers.
The latter adjusted themselves to the myths by the aid of allegorical
explanation; the later Neoplatonists, on the other hand, (after a
selection in which the immoral myths were sacrificed, see, e.g. Julian)
regarded them as _the proper material and sure foundation of
philosophy_. Neoplatonism claims to be not only the absolute
_philosophy_, completing all systems, but, at the same time, the
absolute _religion_, confirming and explaining all earlier religions. A
rehabilitation of all ancient religions is aimed at (see the philosophic
teachers of Julian and compare his great religious experiment); each was
to continue in its traditional form, but, at the same time, each was to
communicate the religious temper and the religious knowledge which
Neoplatonism had attained, and each cultus is to lead to the high
morality which it behoves man to maintain. In Neoplatonism the
psychological fact of the longing of man for something higher, is
exalted to the all-predominating principle which explains the world.
Therefore the religions, though they are to be purified and
spiritualised, become the foundation of philosophy. The Neoplatonic
philosophy therefore presupposes the religious syncretism of the third
century, and cannot be understood without it. The great forces which
were half unconsciously at work in this syncretism, were reflectively
grasped by Neoplatonism. It is the final fruit of the developments
resulting from the political, national and religious syncretism which
arose from the undertakings of Alexander the Great, and the Romans.

Neoplatonism is consequently a stage in the history of religion; nay,
its significance in the history of the world lies in the fact that it is
so. In the history of science and enlightenment it has a position of
significance only in so far as it was the necessary transition stage
through which humanity had to pass, in order to free itself from the
religion of nature and the depreciation of the spiritual life, which
oppose an insurmountable barrier to the highest advance of human
knowledge. But as Neoplatonism in its philosophical aspect means the
abolition of ancient philosophy, which, however, it desired to complete,
so also in its religious aspect it means the abolition of the ancient
religions which it aimed at restoring. For in requiring these religions
to mediate a definite religious knowledge, and to lead to the highest
moral disposition, it burdened them with tasks to which they were not
equal, and under which they could not but break down. And in requiring
them to loosen, if not completely destroy, the bond which was their only
stay, namely, the political bond, it took from them the foundation on
which they were built. But could it not place them on a greater and
firmer foundation? Was not the Roman Empire in existence, and could the
new religion not become dependent on this in the same way as the earlier
religions had been dependent on the lesser states and nations? It might
be thought so, but it was no longer possible. No doubt the political
history of the nations round the Mediterranean, in their development
into the universal Roman monarchy, was parallel to the spiritual history
of these nations in their development into monotheism and a universal
system of morals; but the spiritual development in the end far
outstripped the political: even the Stoics attained to a height which
the political development could only partially reach. Neoplatonism did
indeed attempt to gain a connection with the Byzantine Roman Empire: one
noble monarch, Julian, actually perished as a result of this endeavour:
but even before this the profounder Neoplatonists discerned that their
lofty religious philosophy would not bear contact with the despotic
Empire, because it would not bear any contact with the "world" (plan of
the founding of Platonopolis). Political affairs are at bottom as much a
matter of indifference to Neoplatonism as material things in general.
The idealism of the new philosophy was too high to admit of its being
naturalised in the despiritualised, tyrannical and barren creation of
the Byzantine Empire, and this Empire itself needed unscrupulous and
despotic police officials, not noble philosophers. Important and
instructive, therefore, as the experiments are, which were made from
time to time by the state and by individual philosophers, to unite the
monarchy of the world with Neoplatonism, they could not but be

But, and this is the last question which one is justified in raising
here, why did not Neoplatonism create an independent religious
community? Since it had already changed the ancient religions so
fundamentally, in its purpose to restore them, since it had attempted to
fill the old naive cults with profound philosophic ideas, and to make
them exponents of a high morality, why did it not take the further step
and create a religious fellowship of its own? Why did it not complete
and confirm the union of gods by the founding of a church which was
destined to embrace the whole of humanity, and in which, beside the one
ineffable Godhead, the gods of all nations could have been worshipped?
Why not? The answer to this question is at the same time the reply to
another, viz., why did the Christian church supplant Neoplatonism?
Neoplatonism lacked three elements to give it the significance of a new
and permanent religious system. Augustine in his confessions (Bk. VII.
18-21) has excellently described these three elements. First and above
all, it lacked a religious founder; secondly, it was unable to give any
answer to the question, how one could permanently maintain the mood of
blessedness and peace: thirdly, it lacked the means of winning those who
could not speculate. The "people" could not learn the philosophic
exercises which it recommended as the condition of attaining the
enjoyment of the highest good; and the way on which even the "people"
can attain to the highest good was hidden from it. Hence these "wise and
prudent" remained a school. When Julian attempted to interest the common
uncultured man in the doctrines and worship of this school, his reward
was mockery and scorn.

Not as philosophy and not as a new religion did Neoplatonism become a
decisive factor in history, but, if I may say so, as a frame of
mind.[455] The feeling that there is an eternal highest good which lies
beyond all outer experience and is not even the intelligible, this
feeling, with which was united the conviction of the entire
worthlessness of everything earthly, was produced and fostered by
Neoplatonism. But it was unable to describe the contents of that highest
being and highest good, and therefore it was here compelled to give
itself entirely up to fancy and aesthetic feeling. Therefore it was
forced to trace out "mysterious ways to that which is within", which,
however, led nowhere. It transformed thought into a dream of feeling; it
immersed itself in the sea of emotions; it viewed the old fabled world
of the nations as the reflection of a higher reality, and transformed
reality into poetry; but in spite of all these efforts it was only able,
to use the words of Augustine, to see from afar the land which it
desired. It broke this world into fragments; but nothing remained to it,
save a ray from a world beyond, which was only an indescribable

And yet the significance of Neoplatonism in the history of our moral
culture has been, and still is, immeasurable. Not only because it
refined and strengthened man's life of feeling and sensation, not only
because it, more than anything else, wove the delicate veil which even
to-day, whether we be religious or irreligious, we ever and again cast
over the offensive impression of the brutal reality, but, above all,
because it begat the consciousness that the blessedness which alone can
satisfy man, is to be found somewhere else than in the sphere of
knowledge. That man does not live by bread alone, is a truth that was
known before Neoplatonism; but it proclaimed the profounder truth, which
the earlier philosophy had failed to recognise, that man does not live
by knowledge alone. Neoplatonism not only had a propadeutic significance
in the past, but continues to be, even now, the source of all the moods
which deny the world and strive after an ideal, but have not power to
raise themselves above æsthetic feeling, and see no means of getting a
clear notion of the impulse of their own heart and the land of their

       *       *       *       *       *

_Historical Origin of Neoplatonism._

The forerunners of Neoplatonism were, on the one hand, those Stoics who
recognise the Platonic distinction of the sensible and supersensible
world, and on the other, the so-called Neopythagoreans and religious
philosophers, such as Posidonius, Plutarch of Chæronea, and especially
Numenius of Apamea.[456] Nevertheless, these cannot be regarded as the
actual Fathers of Neoplatonism; for the philosophic method was still
very imperfect in comparison with the Neoplatonic, their principles were
uncertain, and the authority of Plato was not yet regarded as placed on
an unapproachable height. The Jewish and Christian philosophers of the
first and second centuries stand very much nearer the later Neoplatonism
than Numenius. We would probably see this more clearly if we knew the
development of Christianity in Alexandria in the second century. But,
unfortunately, we have only very meagre fragments to tell us of this.
First and above all, we must mention Philo. This philosopher, who
interpreted the Old Testament religion in terms of Hellenism, had, in
accordance with his idea of revelation, already maintained that the
Divine Original Essence is supra-rational, that only ecstasy leads to
Him, and that the materials for religious and moral knowledge are
contained in the oracles of the Deity. The religious ethic of Philo, a
combination of Stoic, Platonic, Neopythagorean and Old Testament gnomic
wisdom, already bears the marks which we recognise in Neoplatonism. The
acknowledgment that God was exalted above all thought, was a sort of
tribute which Greek philosophy was compelled to pay to the national
religion of Israel, in return for the supremacy which was here granted
to the former. The claim of positive religion to be something more than
an intellectual conception of the universal reason, was thereby
justified. Even religious syncretism is already found in Philo; but it
is something essentially different from the later Neoplatonic, since
Philo regarded the Jewish cult as the only valuable one, and traced back
all elements of truth in the Greeks and Romans to borrowings from the
books of Moses.

The earliest Christian philosophers, especially Justin and Athenagoras,
likewise prepared the way for the speculations of the later
Neoplatonists by their attempts, on the one hand, to connect
Christianity with Stoicism and Platonism, and on the other, to exhibit
it as supra-Platonic. The method by which Justin, in the introduction to
the Dialogue with Trypho, attempts to establish the Christian knowledge
of God, that is, the knowledge of the truth, on Platonism, Scepticism
and "Revelation", strikingly reminds us of the later methods of the
Neoplatonists. Still more is one reminded of Neoplatonism by the
speculations of the Alexandrian Christian Gnostics, especially of
Valentinus and the followers of Basilides. The doctrines of the
Basilidians(?) communicated by Hippolytus (Philosoph. VII. c. 20 sq.),
read like fragments from the didactic writings of the Neoplatonists:
[Greek: Epei ouden ên ouch hulê, ouk ousia, ouk anousion, ouch haploun,
ou suntheton, ouk anoêton, ouk anaisthêton, ouk anthrôpos ... ouk ôn
theos anoêtôs, anaisthêtôs aboulôs aproairetôs, apathôs, anepithumêtios
kosmon êthelêse poiêsai ... Houtôs ouk ôn theos epoiêse kosmon ouk onta
ex ouk ontôn, katabalomenos kai hupostêsas sperma ti en echon pasan en
heautô tês tou kosmou panspermian.] Like the Neoplatonists, these
Basilidians did not teach an emanation from the Godhead, but a dynamic
mode of action of the Supreme Being. The same can be asserted of
Valentinus who also places an unnamable being above all, and views
matter not as a second principle, but as a derived product. The
dependence of Basilides and Valentinus on Zeno and Plato is, besides,
undoubted. But the method of these Gnostics in constructing their mental
picture of the world and its history, was still an uncertain one. Crude
primitive myths are here received, and naively realistic elements
alternate with bold attempts at spiritualising. While therefore,
philosophically considered, the Gnostic systems are very unlike the
finished Neoplatonic ones, it is certain that they contained almost all
the elements of the religious view of the world, which we find in

But were the earliest Neoplatonists really acquainted with the
speculations of men like Philo, Justin, Valentinus and Basilides? were
they familiar with the Oriental religions, especially with the Jewish
and the Christian? and, if we must answer these questions in the
affirmative, did they really learn from these sources?

Unfortunately, we cannot at present give certain, and still less
detailed answers to these questions. But, as Neoplatonism originated in
Alexandria, as Oriental cults confronted every one there, as the Jewish
philosophy was prominent in the literary market of Alexandria, and that
was the very place where scientific Christianity had its headquarters,
there can, generally speaking, be no doubt that the earliest
Neoplatonists had some acquaintance with Judaism and Christianity. In
addition to that, we have the certain fact that the earliest
Neoplatonists had discussions with (Roman) Gnostics (see Carl Schmidt,
Gnostische Schriften in koptischer Sprache, pp. 603-665), and that
Porphyry entered into elaborate controversy with Christianity. In
comparison with the Neoplatonic philosophy, the system of Philo and the
Gnostics appears in many respects an anticipation, which had a certain
influence on the former, the precise nature of which has still to be
ascertained. But the anticipation is not wonderful, for the religious
and philosophic temper which was only gradually produced on Greek soil,
existed from the first in such philosophers as took their stand on the
ground of a revealed religion of redemption. Iamblichus and his
followers first answer completely to the Christian Gnostic schools of
the second century; that is to say, Greek philosophy, in its immanent
development, did not attain till the fourth century the position which
some Greek philosophers, who had accepted Christianity, had already
reached in the second. The influence of Christianity--both Gnostic and
Catholic--on Neoplatonism was perhaps very little at any time, though
individual Neoplatonists since the time of Amelius employed Christian
sayings as oracles, and testified their high esteem for Christ.

_Sketch of the History and Doctrines of Neoplatonism._

Ammonius Saccas (died about 245), who is said to have been born a
Christian, but to have lapsed into heathenism, is regarded as the
founder of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria. As he has left no
writings, no judgment can be formed as to his teaching. His disciples
inherited from him the prominence which they gave to Plato and the
attempts to prove the harmony between the latter and Aristotle. His most
important disciples were; Origen the Christian, a second heathen Origen,
Longinus, Herennius, and, above all, Plotinus. The latter was born in
the year 205, at Lycopolis in Egypt, laboured from 224 in Rome, and
found numerous adherents and admirers, among others the Emperor Galienus
and his consort, and died in lower Italy about 270. His writings were
arranged by his disciple, Porphyry, and edited in six Enneads.

The Enneads of Plotinus are the fundamental documents of Neoplatonism.
The teaching of this philosopher is mystical, and, like all mysticism,
it falls into two main portions. The first and theoretic part shews the
high origin of the soul, and how it has departed from this its origin.
The second and practical part points out the way by which the soul can
again be raised to the Eternal and the Highest. As the soul with its
longings aspires beyond all sensible things and even beyond the world of
ideas, the Highest must be something above reason. The system therefore
has three parts. I. The Original Essence. II. The world of ideas and the
soul. III. The world of phenomena. We may also, in conformity with the
thought of Plotinus, divide the system thus: A. The supersensible world
(1. The Original Essence; 2. the world of ideas; 3. the soul). B. The
world of phenomena. The Original Essence is the One in contrast to the
many; it is the Infinite and Unlimited in contrast to the finite; it is
the source of all being, therefore the absolute causality and the only
truly existing; but it is also the Good, in so far as everything finite
is to find its aim in it and to flow back to it. Yet moral attributes
cannot be ascribed to this Original Essence, for these would limit it.
It has no attributes at all; it is a being without magnitude, without
life, without thought; nay, one should not, properly speaking, even call
it an existence; it is something above existence, above goodness, and at
the same time the operative force without any substratum. As operative
force the Original Essence is continually begetting something else,
without itself being changed or moved or diminished. This creation is
not a physical process, but an emanation of force; and because that
which is produced has any existence only in so far as the originally
Existent works in it, it may be said that Neoplatonism is dynamical
Pantheism. Everything that has being is directly or indirectly a
production of the "One." In this "One" everything so far as it has
being, is Divine, and God is all in all. But that which is derived is
not like the Original Essence itself. On the contrary, the law of
decreasing perfection prevails in the derived. The latter is indeed an
image and reflection of the Original Essence, but the wider the circle
of creations extends the less their share in the Original Essence. Hence
the totality of being forms a gradation of concentric circles which
finally lose themselves almost completely in non-being, in so far as in
the last circle the force of the Original Essence is a vanishing one.
Each lower stage of being is connected with the Original Essence only by
means of the higher stages; that which is inferior receives a share in
the Original Essence only through the medium of these. But everything
derived has one feature, viz., a longing for the higher; it turns itself
to this so far as its nature allows it.

The first emanation of the Original Essence is the [Greek: Nous]; it is
a complete image of the Original Essence and archetype of all existing
things; it is being and thought at the same time, World of ideas and
Idea. As image the [Greek: Nous] is equal to the Original Essence, as
derived it is completely different from it. What Plotinus understands by
[Greek: Nous] is the highest sphere which the human spirit can reach
([Greek: kosmos noêtos]) and at the same time pure thought itself.

The soul which, according to Plotinus, is an immaterial substance like
the [Greek: Nous],[457] is an image and product of the immovable [Greek:
Nous]. It is related to the [Greek: Nous] as the latter is to the
Original Essence. It stands between the [Greek: Nous] and the world of
phenomena. The [Greek: Nous] penetrates and enlightens it, but it itself
already touches the world of phenomena. The [Greek: Nous] is undivided,
the soul can also preserve its unity and abide in the [Greek: Nous]; but
it has at the same time the power to unite itself with the material
world and thereby to be divided. Hence it occupies a middle position. In
virtue of its nature and destiny it belongs, as the single soul (soul of
the world), to the supersensible world; but it embraces at the same time
the many individual souls; these may allow themselves to be ruled by the
[Greek: Nous], or they may turn to the sensible and be lost in the

The soul, an active essence, begets the corporeal or the world of
phenomena. This should allow itself to be so ruled by the soul that the
manifold of which it consists may abide in fullest harmony. Plotinus is
not a dualist like the majority of Christian Gnostics. He praises the
beauty and glory of the world. When in it the idea really has dominion
over matter, the soul over the body, the world is beautiful and good. It
is the image of the upper world, though a shadowy one, and the
gradations of better or worse in it are necessary to the harmony of the
whole. But, in point of fact, the unity and harmony in the world of
phenomena disappear in strife and opposition. The result is a conflict,
a growth and decay, a seeming existence. The original cause of this lies
in the fact that a substratum, viz., matter, lies at the basis of
bodies. Matter is the foundation of each ([Greek: to bathos hekastou hê
hulê]); it is the obscure, the indefinite, that which is without
qualities, the [Greek: mê on]. As devoid of form and idea it is the
evil, as capable of form the intermediate.

The human souls that are sunk in the material have been ensnared by the
sensuous, and have allowed themselves to be ruled by desire. They now
seek to detach themselves entirely from true being, and striving after
independence fall into an unreal existence. Conversion therefore is
needed, and this is possible, for freedom is not lost.

Now here begins the practical philosophy. The soul must rise again to
the highest on the same path by which it descended: it must first of all
return to itself. This takes place through virtue which aspires to
assimilation with God and leads to Him. In the ethics of Plotinus all
earlier philosophic systems of virtue are united and arranged in
graduated order. Civic virtues stand lowest, then follow the purifying,
and finally the deifying virtues. Civic virtues only adorn the life, but
do not elevate the soul as the purifying virtues do; they free the soul
from the sensuous and lead it back to itself and thereby to the [Greek:
Nous]. Man becomes again a spiritual and permanent being, and frees
himself from every sin, through asceticism. But he is to reach still
higher; he is not only to be without sin, but he is to be "God." That
takes place through the contemplation of the Original Essence, the One,
that is through ecstatic elevation to Him. This is not mediated by
thought, for thought reaches only to the [Greek: Nous], and is itself
only a movement. Thought is only a preliminary stage towards union with
God. The soul can only see and touch the Original Essence in a condition
of complete passivity and rest. Hence, in order to attain to this
highest, the soul must subject itself to a spiritual "Exercise." It must
begin with the contemplation of material things, their diversity and
harmony, then retire into itself and sink itself in its own essence, and
thence mount up to the [Greek: Nous], to the world of ideas; but, as it
still does not find the One and Highest Essence there, as the call
always comes to it from there: "We have not made ourselves" (Augustine
in the sublime description of Christian, that is, Neoplatonic
exercises), it must, as it were, lose sight of itself in a state of
intense concentration, in mute contemplation and complete forgetfulness
of all things. It can then see God, the source of life, the principle of
being, the first cause of all good, the root of the soul. In that moment
it enjoys the highest and indescribable blessedness; it is itself, as it
were, swallowed up by the deity and bathed in the light of eternity.

Plotinus, as Porphyry relates, attained to this ecstatic union with God
four times during the six years he was with him. To Plotinus this
religious philosophy was sufficient; he did not require the popular
religion and worship. But yet he sought their support. The Deity is
indeed in the last resort only the Original Essence, but it manifests
itself in a fulness of emanations and phenomena. The [Greek: Nous] is,
as it were, the second God; the [Greek: logoi], which are included in
it, are gods; the stars are gods, etc. A strict monotheism appeared to
Plotinus a poor thing. The myths of the popular religion were
interpreted by him in a particular sense, and he could justify even
magic, soothsaying and prayer. He brought forward reasons for the
worship of images, which the Christian worshippers of images
subsequently adopted. Yet, in comparison with the later Neoplatonists,
he was free from gross superstition and wild fanaticism. He cannot, in
the remotest sense, be reckoned among the "deceivers who were themselves
deceived," and the restoration of the ancient worships of the Gods was
not his chief aim.

Among his disciples the most important were Amelius and Porphyry.
Amelius changed the doctrine of Plotinus in some points, and even made
use of the prologue of the Gospel of John. Porphyry has the merit of
having systematized and spread the teaching of his master, Plotinus. He
was born at Tyre, in the year 233; whether he was for some time a
Christian is uncertain; from 263-268 he was a pupil of Plotinus at Rome;
before that he wrote the work [Greek: peri tês ek logiôn philosophias],
which shews that he wished to base philosophy on revelation; he lived a
few years in Sicily (about 270) where he wrote his "fifteen books
against the Christians"; he then returned to Rome where he laboured as a
teacher, edited the works of Plotinus, wrote himself a series of
treatises, married, in his old age, the Roman Lady Marcella, and died
about the year 303. Porphyry was not an original, productive thinker,
but a diligent and thorough investigator, characterized by great
learning, by the gift of an acute faculty for philological and
historical criticism, and by an earnest desire to spread the true
philosophy of life, to refute false doctrines, especially those of the
Christians, to ennoble man and draw him to that which is good. That a
mind so free and noble surrendered itself entirely to the philosophy of
Plotinus and to polytheistic mysticism, is a proof that the spirit of
the age works almost irresistibly, and that religious mysticism was the
highest possession of the time. The teaching of Porphyry is
distinguished from that of Plotinus by the fact that it is still more
practical and religious. The aim of philosophy, according to Porphyry,
is the salvation of the soul. The origin and the guilt of evil lie not
in the body, but in the desires of the soul. The strictest asceticism
(abstinence from cohabitation, flesh and wine) is therefore required in
addition to the knowledge of God. During the course of his life Porphyry
warned men more and more decidedly against crude popular beliefs and
immoral cults. "The ordinary notions of the Deity are of such a kind
that it is more godless to share them than to neglect the images of the
gods." But freely as he criticised the popular religions, he did not
wish to give them up. He contended for a pure worship of the many gods,
and recognised the right of every old national religion, and the
religious duties of their professors. His work against the Christians is
not directed against Christ, or what he regarded as the teaching of
Christ, but against the Christians of his day and against the sacred
books which, according to Porphyry, were written by impostors and
ignorant people. In his acute criticism of the genesis or what was
regarded as Christianity in his day, he spoke bitter and earnest truths,
and therefore acquired the name of the fiercest and most formidable of
all the enemies of Christians. His work was destroyed (condemned by an
edict of Theodosius II. and Valentinian, of the year 448), and even the
writings in reply (by Methodius, Eusebius, Apollinaris, Philostorgius,
etc.,) have not been preserved. Yet we possess fragments in Lactantius,
Augustine, Macarius Magnes and others, which attest how thoroughly
Porphyry studied the Christian writings and how great his faculty was
for true historical criticism.

Porphyry marks the transition to the Neoplatonism which subordinated
itself entirely to the polytheistic cults, and which strove, above all,
to defend the old Greek and Oriental religions against the formidable
assaults of Christianity. Iamblichus, the disciple of Porphyry (died
330), transformed Neoplatonism "from a philosophic theorem into a
theological doctrine." The doctrines peculiar to Iamblichus can no
longer be deduced from scientific, but only from practical motives. In
order to justify superstition and the ancient cults, philosophy in
Iamblichus becomes a theurgic, mysteriosophy, spiritualism. Now appears
that series of "Philosophers", in whose case one is frequently unable to
decide whether they are deceivers or deceived, "decepti deceptores," as
Augustine says. A mysterious mysticism of numbers plays a great rôle.
That which is absurd and mechanical is surrounded with the halo of the
sacramental; myths are proved by pious fancies and pietistic
considerations with a spiritual sound; miracles, even the most foolish,
are believed in and are performed. The philosopher becomes the priest of
magic, and philosophy an instrument of magic. At the same time, the
number of Divine Beings is infinitely increased by the further action of
unlimited speculation. But this fantastic addition which Iamblichus
makes to the inhabitants of Olympus, is the very fact which proves that
Greek philosophy has here returned to mythology, and that the religion
of nature was still a power. And yet no one can deny that, in the fourth
century, even the noblest and choicest minds were found among the
Neoplatonists. So great was the declension, that this Neoplatonic
philosophy was still the protecting roof for many influential and
earnest thinkers, although swindlers and hypocrites also concealed
themselves under this roof. In relation to some points of doctrine, at
any rate, the dogmatic of Iamblichus marks an advance. Thus, the
emphasis he lays on the idea that evil has its seat in the will, is an
important fact; and in general the significance he assigns to the will
is perhaps the most important advance in psychology, and one which could
not fail to have great influence on dogmatic also (Augustine). It
likewise deserves to be noted that Iamblichus disputed Plotinus'
doctrine of the divinity of the human soul.

The numerous disciples of Iamblichus (Aedesius, Chrysantius, Eusebius,
Priscus, Sopater, Sallust and especially Maximus, the most celebrated)
did little to further speculation; they occupied themselves partly with
commenting on the writings of the earlier philosophers (particularly
Themistius), partly as missionaries of their mysticism. The interests
and aims of these philosophers are best shewn in the treatise "De
mysteriis Ægyptiorum." Their hopes were strengthened when their disciple
Julian, a man enthusiastic and noble, but lacking in intellectual
originality, ascended the imperial throne, 361 to 363. This emperor's
romantic policy of restoration, as he himself must have seen, had,
however, no result, and his early death destroyed ever hope of
supplanting Christianity.

But the victory of the Church, in the age of Valentinian and Theodosius,
unquestionably purified Neoplatonism. The struggle for dominion had led
philosophers to grasp at and unite themselves with everything that was
hostile to Christianity. But now Neoplatonism was driven out of the
great arena of history. The Church and its dogmatic, which inherited its
estate, received along with the latter superstition, polytheism, magic,
myths and the apparatus of religious magic. The more firmly all this
established itself in the Church and succeeded there, though not without
finding resistance, the freer Neoplatonism becomes. It does not by any
means give up its religious attitude or its theory of knowledge, but it
applies itself with fresh zeal to scientific investigations and
especially to the study of the earlier philosophers. Though Plato
remains the divine philosopher, yet it may be noticed how, from about
400, the writings of Aristotle were increasingly read and prized.
Neoplatonic schools continue to flourish in the chief cities of the
empire up to the beginning of the fifth century, and in this period they
are at the same time the places where the theologians of the Church are
formed. The noble Hypatia, to whom Synesius, her enthusiastic disciple,
who was afterwards a bishop, raised a splendid monument, taught in
Alexandria. But from the beginning of the fifth century ecclesiastical
fanaticism ceased to tolerate heathenism. The murder of Hypatia put an
end to philosophy in Alexandria, though the Alexandrian school
maintained itself in a feeble form till the middle of the sixth century.
But in one city of the East, removed from the great highways of the
world, which had become a provincial city and possessed memories which
the Church of the fifth century felt itself too weak to destroy, viz.,
in Athens, a Neoplatonic school continued to flourish. There, among the
monuments of a past time, Hellenism found its last asylum. The school of
Athens returned to a more strict philosophic method and to learned
studies. But as it clung to religious philosophy and undertook to reduce
the whole Greek tradition, viewed in the light of Plotinus' theory, to a
comprehensive and strictly articulated system, a philosophy arose here
which may be called scholastic. For every philosophy is scholastic which
considers fantastic and mythological material as a _noli me tangere_,
and treats it in logical categories and distinctions by means of a
complete set of formulæ. But to these Neoplatonists the writings of
Plato, certain divine oracles, the Orphic poems, and much else which
were dated back to the dim and distant past, were documents of standard
authority, and inspired divine writings. They took from them the
material of philosophy, which they then treated with all the instruments
of dialectic.

The most prominent teachers at Athens were Plutarch (died 433), his
disciple Syrian (who, as an exegete of Plato and Aristotle, is said to
have done important work, and who deserves notice also, because he very
vigorously emphasised the freedom of the will), but, above all, Proclus
(411-485). Proclus is the great scholastic of Neoplatonism. It was he
"who fashioned the whole traditional material into a powerful system
with religious warmth and formal clearness, filling up the gaps and
reconciling the contradictions by distinctions and speculations,"
"Proclus," says Zeller, "was the first who, by the strict logic of his
system, formally completed the Neoplatonic philosophy and gave it, with
due regard to all the changes it had undergone since the second century,
that form in which it passed over to the Christian and Mohammedan middle
ages." Forty-four years after the death of Proclus the school of Athens
was closed by Justinian (in the year 529); but in the labours of Proclus
it had completed its work, and could now really retire from the scene.
It had nothing new to say; it was ripe for death, and an honourable end
was prepared for it. The words of Proclus, the legacy of Hellenism to
the Church and to the middle ages, attained an immeasurable importance
in the thousand years which followed. They were not only one of the
bridges by which the philosophy of the middle ages returned to Plato and
Aristotle, but they determined the scientific method of the next thirty
generations, and they partly produced, partly strengthened and brought
to maturity the mediæval Christian mysticism in East and West.

The disciples of Proclus, Marinus, Asclepiodotus, Ammonius, Zenodotus,
Isidorus, Hegias, Damascius, are not regarded as prominent. Damascius
was the last head of the school at Athens. He, Simplicius, the masterly
commentator on Aristotle, and five other Neoplatonists, migrated to
Persia after Justinian had issued the edict closing the school. They
lived in the illusion that Persia, the land of the East, was the seat of
wisdom, righteousness and piety. After a few years they returned with
blasted hopes to the Byzantine kingdom.

At the beginning of the sixth century Neoplatonism died out as an
independent philosophy in the East; but almost at the same time, and
this is no accident, it conquered new regions in the dogmatic of the
Church through the spread of the writings of the pseudo-Dionysius; it
began to fertilize Christian mysticism, and filled the worship with a
new charm.

In the West, where, from the second century, we meet with few attempts
at philosophic speculation, and where the necessary conditions for
mystical contemplation were wanting, Neoplatonism only gained a few
adherents here and there. We know that the rhetorician, Marius
Victorinus, (about 350) translated the writings of Plotinus. This
translation exercised decisive influence on the mental history of
Augustine, who borrowed from Neoplatonism the best it had, its
psychology, introduced it into the dogmatic of the Church, and developed
it still further. It may be said that Neoplatonism influenced the West
at first only through the medium or under the cloak of ecclesiastical
theology. Even Boethius--we can now regard this as certain--was a
Catholic Christian. But in his mode of thought he was certainly a
Neoplatonist. His violent death in the year 525, marks the end of
independent philosophic effort in the West. This last Roman philosopher
stood indeed almost completely alone in his century, and the philosophy
for which he lived was neither original, nor firmly grounded and
methodically carried out.

_Neoplatonism and Ecclesiastical Dogmatic._

The question as to the influence which Neoplatonism had on the history
of the development of Christianity, is not easy to answer; it is hardly
possible to get a clear view of the relation between them. Above all,
the answers will diverge according as we take a wider or a narrower view
of so-called "Neoplatonism." If we view Neoplatonism as the highest and
only appropriate expression for the religious hopes and moods which
moved the nations of Græco-Roman Empire from the second to the fifth
centuries, the ecclesiastical dogmatic which was developed in the same
period, may appear as a younger sister of Neoplatonism which was
fostered by the elder one, but which fought and finally conquered her.
The Neoplatonists themselves described the ecclesiastical theologians as
intruders who appropriated Greek philosophy, but mixed it with foreign
fables. Hence Porphyry said of Origen (in Euseb., H. E. VI. 19): "The
outer life of Origen was that of a Christian and opposed to the law;
but, in regard to his views of things and of the Deity, he thought like
the Greeks, inasmuch as he introduced their ideas into the myths of
other peoples." This judgment of Porphyry is at any rate more just and
appropriate than that of the Church theologians about Greek philosophy,
that it had stolen all its really valuable doctrines from the ancient
sacred writings of the Christians. It is, above all, important that the
affinity of the two sides was noted. So far, then, as both
ecclesiastical dogmatic and Neoplatonism start from the feeling of the
need of redemption, so far as both desire to free the soul from the
sensuous, so far as they recognise the inability of man to attain to
blessedness and a certain knowledge of the truth without divine help and
without a revelation, they are fundamentally related. It must no doubt
be admitted that Christianity itself was already profoundly affected by
the influence of Hellenism when it began to outline a theology; but this
influence must be traced back less to philosophy than to the collective
culture, and to all the conditions under which the spiritual life was
enacted. When Neoplatonism arose ecclesiastical Christianity already
possessed the fundamental features of its theology, that is, it had
developed these, not by accident, contemporaneously and independent of
Neoplatonism. Only by identifying itself with the whole history of Greek
philosophy, or claiming to be the restoration of pure Platonism, was
Neoplatonism able to maintain that it had been robbed by the church
theology of Alexandria. But that was an illusion. Ecclesiastical
theology appears, though our sources here are unfortunately very meagre,
to have learned but little from Neoplatonism even in the third century,
partly because the latter itself had not yet developed into the form in
which the dogmatic of the church could assume its doctrines, partly
because ecclesiastical theology had first to succeed in its own region,
to fight for its own position and to conquer older notions intolerable
to it. Origen was quite as independent a thinker as Plotinus; but both
drew from the same tradition. On the other hand, the influence of
Neoplatonism on the Oriental theologians was very great from the fourth
century. The more the Church expressed its peculiar ideas in doctrines
which, though worked out by means of philosophy, were yet unacceptable
to Neoplatonism (the christological doctrines), the more readily did
theologians in all other questions resign themselves to the influence of
the latter system. The doctrines of the incarnation, of the resurrection
of the body, and of the creation of the word, in time formed the
boundary lines between the dogmatic of the Church and Neoplatonism; in
all else ecclesiastical theologians and Neoplatonists approximated so
closely that many among them were completely at one. Nay, there were
Christian men, such as Synesius, for example, who in certain
circumstances were not found fault with for giving a speculative
interpretation of the specifically Christian doctrines. If in any
writing the doctrines just named are not referred to, it is often
doubtful whether it was composed by a Christian or a Neoplatonist. Above
all, the ethical rules, the precepts of the right life, that is,
asceticism, were always similar. Here Neoplatonism in the end celebrated
its greatest triumph. It introduced into the church its entire
mysticism, its mystic exercises, and even the magical ceremonies, as
expounded by Iamblichus. The writings of the pseudo-Dionysius contain a
Gnosis in which, by means of the doctrines of Iamblichus and doctrines
like those of Proclus, the dogmatic of the church is changed into a
scholastic mysticism with directions for practical life and worship. As
the writings of this pseudo-Dionysius were regarded as those of
Dionysius the disciple of the Apostle, the scholastic mysticism which
they taught was regarded as apostolic, almost as a divine science. The
importance which these writings obtained first in the East, then from
the ninth or the twelfth century also in the West, cannot be too highly
estimated. It is impossible to explain them here. This much only may be
said, that the mystical and pietistic devotion of to-day, even in the
Protestant Church, draws its nourishment from writings whose connection
with those of the pseudo-Areopagitic can still be traced through its
various intermediate stages.

In antiquity itself Neoplatonism influenced with special directness one
Western theologian, and that the most important, viz., Augustine. By the
aid of this system Augustine was freed from Manichæism, though not
completely, as well as from scepticism. In the seventh Book of his
confessions he has acknowledged his indebtedness to the reading of
Neoplatonic writings. In the most essential doctrines, viz., those about
God, matter, the relation of God to the world, freedom and evil,
Augustine always remained dependent on Neoplatonism; but at the same
time, of all theologians in antiquity he is the one who saw most clearly
and shewed most plainly wherein Christianity and Neoplatonism are
distinguished. The best that has been written by a Father of the Church
on this subject, is contained in Chapters 9-21 of the seventh Book of
his confessions.

The question why Neoplatonism was defeated in the conflict with
Christianity, has not as yet been satisfactorily answered by historians.
Usually the question is wrongly stated. The point here is not about a
Christianity arbitrarily fashioned, but only about Catholic Christianity
and Catholic theology. This conquered Neoplatonism after it had
assimilated nearly everything it possessed. Further, we must note the
place where the victory was gained. The battle-field was the empire of
Constantine, Theodosius and Justinian. Only when we have considered
these and all other conditions, are we entitled to enquire in what
degree the specific doctrines of Christianity contributed to the
victory, and what share the organisation of the church had in it.
Undoubtedly, however, we must always give the chief prominence to the
fact that the Catholic dogmatic excluded polytheism in principle, and at
the same time found a means by which it could represent the faith of the
cultured mediated by science as identical with the faith of the
multitude resting on authority.

In the theology and philosophy of the middle ages, mysticism was the
strong opponent of rationalistic dogmatism; and, in fact, Platonism and
Neoplatonism were the sources from which in the age of the Renaissance
and in the following two centuries, empiric science developed itself in
opposition to the rationalistic dogmatism which disregarded experience.
Magic, astrology, alchemy, all of which were closely connected with
Neoplatonism, gave an effective impulse to the observation of nature
and, consequently, to natural science, and finally prevailed over formal
and barren rationalism Consequently, in the history of science,
Neoplatonism has attained a significance and performed services of which
men like Iamblichus and Proclus never ventured to dream. In point of
fact, actual history is often more wonderful and capricious than legends
and fables.

_Literature_--The best and fullest account of Neoplatonism, to which I
have been much indebted in preparing this sketch, is Zeller's, Die
Philosophie der Griechen, III. Theil, 2 Abtheilung (3 Auflage, 1881) pp.
419-865. Cf. also Hegel, Gesch. d. Philos. III. 3 ff. Ritter, IV. pp.
571-728: Ritter et Preller, Hist. phil. græc. et rom. § 531 ff. The
Histories of Philosophy by Schwegler, Brandis, Brucker, Thilo,
Strümpell, Ueberweg (the most complete survey of the literature is found
here), Erdmann, Cousin, Prantl. Lewes. Further: Vacherot, Hist, de
l'ecole d'Alexandria, 1846, 1851. Simon, Hist, de l'école d'Alexandria,
1845. Steinhart, articles "Neuplatonismus", "Plotin", "Porphyrius",
"Proklus" in Pauly, Realencyclop. des klass. Alterthums. Wagenmann,
article "Neuplatonismus" in Herzog, Realencyklopädie f. protest. Theol.
T. X. (2 Aufl.) pp. 519-529. Heinze, Lehre vom Logos, 1872, p. 298 f.
Richter, Neuplatonische Studien, 4 Hefte.

Heigl, Der Bericht des Porphyrios über Ongenes, 1835. Redepenning,
Origenes I. p. 421 f. Dehaut, Essai historique sur la vie et la doctrine
d'Ammonius Saccas, 1836. Kirchner, Die Philosophie des Plotin, 1854.
(For the biography of Plotinus, cf. Porphyry, Eunapius, Suidas; the
latter also in particular for the later Neoplatonists). Steinhart, De
dialectica Plotini ratione, 1829, and Meletemata Plotiniana, 1840.
Neander, Ueber die welthistorische Bedeutung des 9'ten Buchs in der
2'ten Enneade des Plotinos, in the Abhandl. der Berliner Akademie, 1843.
p. 299 f. Valentiner, Plotin u.s. Enneaden, in the Theol. Stud. u.
Kritiken, 1864, H. 1. On Porphyrius, see Fabricius, Bibl. gr. V. p. 725
f. Wolff, Porph. de philosophia ex oraculis haurienda librorum reliquiæ,
1856. Müller, Fragmenta hist. gr. III. 688 f. Mai, Ep. ad Marcellam,
1816. Bernays, Theophrast. 1866. Wagenmann, Jahrbücher für Deutsche
Theol. Th. XXIII. (1878) p. 269 f. Richter, Zeitschr. f. Philos. Th.
LII. (1867) p. 30 f. Hebenstreit, de Iamblichi doctrina, 1764. Harless,
Das Buch von den ägyptischen Mysterien, 1858. Meiners, Comment. Societ.
Gotting IV. p. 50 f. On Julian, see the catalogue of the rich literature
in the Realencyklop. f. prot Theol. Th. VII. (2 Aufl.) p. 287, and
Neumann, Juliani libr. c. Christ, quæ supersunt, 1880. Hoche, Hypatia,
in "Philologus" Th. XV. (1860) p. 435 f. Bach, De Syriano philosopho,
1862. On Proclus, see the Biography of Marinus and Freudenthal in
"Hermes" Th. XVI. p. 214 f. On Boethius, cf. Nitzsch, Das System des
Boëthius, 1860. Usener, Anecdoton Holderi, 1877.

On the relation of Neoplatonism to Christianity and its significance in
the history of the world, cf. the Church Histories of Mosheim, Gieseler,
Neander, Baur; also the Histories of Dogma by Baur and Nitzsch. Also
Löffler, Der Platonismus der Kirchenväter, 1782. Huber, Die Philosophic
der Kirchenväter, 1859. Tzschirner, Fall des Heidenthums, 1829.
Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantin's des Grossen, p. 155 f. Chastel, Hist.
de la destruction du Paganisme dans l'empire d'Orient, 1850. Beugnot,
Hist. de la destruction du Paganisme en Occident, 1835. E. V. Lasaulx,
Der Untergang des Hellenismus, 1854. Bigg, The Christian Platonists of
Alexandria 1886. Réville, La réligion à Rome sous les Sévères, 1886.
Vogt, Neuplatonismus und Christenthum, 1836. Ullmann, Einfluss des
Christenthums auf Porphyrius, in Stud, und Krit., 1832 On the relation
of Neoplatonism to Monasticism, cf. Keim, Aus dem Urchristenthum, 1178,
p. 204 f. Carl Schmidt, Gnostische Schriften in Koptischer Sprache, 1892
(Texte u. Unters. VIII. I. 2). See, further, the Monographs on Origen,
the later Alexandrians, the three Cappadocians, Theodoret, Synesius,
Marius Victorinus, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus, Scotus Erigena
and the Mediæval Mystics. Special prominence is due to: Jahn, Basilius
Plotinizans, 1838. Dorner, Augustinus, 1875. Bestmann, Qua ratione
Augustinus notiones philos. Græcæ adhibuerit, 1877. Loesche, Augustinus
Plotinizans, 1881. Volkmann, Synesios, 1869. On the after effects of
Neoplatonism on Christian Dogmatic, see Ritschl, Theologie und
Metaphysik. 2 Aufl. 1887.

[Footnote 455: Excellent remarks on the nature of Neoplatonism may be
found in Eucken, Gött. Gel. Anz., 1 März, 1884 p. 176 ff.: this sketch
was already written before I saw them. "We find the characteristic of
the Neoplatonic epoch in the effort to make the inward, which till then
had had alongside of it an independent outer world as a contrast, the
exclusive and all-determining element. The movement which makes itself
felt here, outlasts antiquity and prepares the way for the modern
period; it brings about the dissolution of that which marked the
culminating point of ancient life, that which we are wont to call
specifically classic. The life of the spirit, till then conceived as a
member of an ordered world and subject to its laws, now freely passes
beyond these bounds, and attempts to mould, and even to create, the
universe from itself. No doubt the different attempts to realise this
desire reveal, for the most part, a deep gulf between will and deed;
usually ethical and religious requirements of the naive human
consciousness must replace universally creative spiritual power, but all
the insufficient and unsatisfactory elements of this period should not
obscure the fact that, in one instance, it reached the height of a great
philosophic achievement, in the case of Plotinus."]

[Footnote 456: Plotinus, even in his lifetime, was reproached with
having borrowed most of his system from Numenius. Porphyry, in his "Vita
Plotini", defended him against this reproach.]

[Footnote 457: On this sort of Trinity, see Bigg, "The Christian
Platonists of Alexandria," p. 248 f.]

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