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Title: St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon
Author: Lightfoot, J. B. (Joseph Barber)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon" ***

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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_. Bold font is
delimited by the ‘=’ character. Superscripted and subscripted characters
are shown as ‘^2’ and ‘_{2}’ respectively. Emphasized words in Greek
are, by convention, printed using wider spacing (_gesperrt_). The ‘_’
character is used as a delimiter in this version, e.g. (μιμηταί _μου

The original text includes annotations on two Greek texts, the Epistle
to the Colossians, and an Epistle to Philemon. On each page, several
lines of Greek are accompanied by a double column of notations on key
words. It was not possible to follow that convention in this version,
given the nature of our medium.

Any hyphenations in the Greek text that occurred on page breaks have
been removed, and the word's end has been moved to the previous page. On
many occasions, a note appears on an earlier page than the text it
glosses. In this version, the notes have been arranged so that each
_follows_ the text to which it refers.

There are Greek inscriptions printed in an uncial font, and using a
lunate sigma (ϲ). These will appear here as ==μιμηταί μου γίνεϲθε==.
The occasional blackletter font appears here as ‘=blackletter

Footnotes have been moved to follow each paragraph, and are resequenced
to be unique across the text. Any internal references to those notes
have been modified as well.

The section entitled AD LAODICENSES presents the text of an apocryphal
letter from St Paul. Given the brevity of the text, these notes are
gathered after the letter.

The index includes references to both pages and to the verses of the two
Epistles included here. Those references to a verse may refer to either
the Greek itself, or to any of the notes on that verse.

Please consult the note at the end of this text for any other issues
that arose during its presentation.

                        THE EPISTLES OF ST PAUL.


                       THE FIRST ROMAN CAPTIVITY.


                       EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.


                          EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.


                      PRINTED BY C. J. CLAY, M.A.
                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

                               ST PAUL’S
                       EPISTLES TO THE COLOSSIANS
                                 AND TO

                            _A REVISED TEXT_




                         J. B. LIGHTFOOT, D.D.

                          CANON OF ST PAUL’S;

                          _MACMILLAN AND CO._

                        [_All Rights reserved._]


         ==μιμηταί μου γίνεϲθε καθὼϲ κἀγὼ χριϲτοῦ.==


              Παῦλος γενόμενος μέγιστος ὑπογραμμός.



       Οὐχ ὡς Παῦλος διατάσσομαι ὑμῖν· ἐκεῖνος ἀπόστολος,
       ἐγὼ κατάκριτος· ἐκεῖνος ἐλεύθερος, ἐγὼ δὲ μέχρι νῦν



     Οὔτε ἐγὼ οὔτε ἄλλος ὅμοιος ἐμοί δύναται κατακολουθῆσαι
            τῇ σοφίᾳ τοῦ μακαρίου καὶ ἐνδόξου Παύλου.




On the completion of another volume of my commentary, I wish again to
renew my thanks for the assistance received from previous labourers in
the same field. Such obligations must always be great; but it is not
easy in a few words to apportion them fairly, and I shall not make the
attempt. I have not consciously neglected any aid which might render
this volume more complete; but at the same time I venture to hope that
my previous commentaries have established my claim to be regarded as an
independent worker, and in the present instance more especially I have
found myself obliged to diverge widely from the treatment of my
predecessors, and to draw largely from other materials than those which
they have collected.

In the preface to a previous volume I expressed an intention of
appending to my commentary on the Colossian Epistle an essay on
‘Christianity and Gnosis.’ This intention has not been fulfilled in the
letter; but the subject enters largely into the investigation of the
Colossian heresy, where it receives as much attention as, at all events
for the present, it seems to require. It will necessarily come under
discussion again, when the Pastoral Epistles are taken in hand.

The question of the genuineness of the two epistles contained in this
volume has been deliberately deferred. It could not be discussed with
any advantage apart from the Epistle to the Ephesians, for the three
letters are inseparably bound together. Meanwhile however the doctrinal
and historical discussions will, if I mistake not, have furnished
answers to the main objections which have been urged; while the
commentary will have shown how thoroughly natural the language and
thoughts are, if conceived as arising out of an immediate emergency.
More especially it will have been made apparent that the Epistle to the
Colossians hangs together as a whole, and that the phenomena are
altogether adverse to any theory of interpolation such as that recently
put forward by Professor Holtzmann.

In the commentary, as well as in the introduction, it has been a chief
aim to illustrate and develope the theological conception of the Person
of Christ, which underlies the Epistle to the Colossians. The Colossian
heresy for instance owes its importance mainly to the fact that it
throws out this conception into bolder relief. To this portion of the
subject therefore I venture to direct special attention.

I cannot conclude without offering my thanks to Mr A. A. VanSittart who,
as on former occasions, has given his aid in correcting the proof sheets
of this volume; and to the Rev. J. J. Scott, of Trinity College, who has
prepared the index. I wish also to express my obligations to Dr
Schiller-Szinessy, of whose Talmudical learning I have freely availed
myself in verifying Frankel’s quotations and in other ways. I should add
however that he is not in any degree responsible for my conclusions and
has not even seen what I have written.

        _April 30, 1875_.



                       EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.



          I.   _The Churches of the Lycus_                    1–72

          II.  _The Colossian Heresy_                       73–113

               _On some points connected with the

               1. _The name Essene_                        114–119

               2. _Origin and Affinities of the            119–157

               3. _Essenism and Christianity_              158–179

          III. _Character and Contents of the Epistle_     180–194

     _TEXT AND NOTES_                                      197–311

          _On some Various Readings in the Epistle_        312–322

          _On the meaning of πλήρωμα_                      323–339

          _The Epistle from Laodicea_                      340–366

                          EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.

     _INTRODUCTION_                                        369–395

     _TEXT AND NOTES_                                      399–412

     _INDEX_                                               415–424

                       THE CHURCHES OF THE LYCUS.

[Sidenote: Situation of the three cities.]

Lying in, or overhanging, the valley of the Lycus, a tributary of the
Mæander, were three neighbouring towns, Laodicea, Hierapolis, and
Colossæ[1]. The river flows, roughly speaking, from east to west; but at
this point, which is some few miles above its junction with the Mæander,
its direction is more nearly from south-east to north-west[2]. Laodicea
and Hierapolis stand face to face, being situated respectively on the
southern and northern sides of the valley, at a distance of six
miles[3], and within sight of each other, the river lying in the open
plain between the two. The site of Colossæ is somewhat higher up the
stream, at a distance of perhaps ten or twelve miles[4] from the point
where the road between Laodicea and Hierapolis crosses the Lycus. Unlike
Laodicea and Hierapolis, which overhang the valley on opposite sides,
Colossæ stands immediately on the river-bank, the two parts of the town
being divided by the stream. The three cities lie so near to each other,
that it would be quite possible to visit them all in the course of a
single day.

Footnote 1:

  The following are among the most important books of travel relating to
  this district; Pococke _Description of the East and Some Other
  Countries_, Vol. II, Part II, London 1745; Chandler _Travels in Asia
  Minor_ etc., Oxford 1775; Leake _Tour in Asia Minor_, London 1824;
  Arundell _Discoveries in Asia Minor_, London 1834; Hamilton
  _Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus, and Armenia_, London 1842; Fellows
  _Asia Minor_, London 1839, _Discoveries in Lycia_, London 1840; de
  Tchihatcheff _Asie Mineure, Description Physique, Statistique et
  Archéologique_, Paris 1853 etc., with the accompanying Atlas (1860);
  de Laborde _Voyage de l’Asie Mineure_ (the expedition itself took
  place in 1826, but the date on the title-page is 1838, and the
  introduction was written in 1861); Le Bas _Voyage Archéologique en
  Grèce et en Asie Mineure_, continued by Waddington and not yet
  completed; Texier _Description de l’Asie Mineure_, Vol. I (1839). It
  is hardly necessary to add the smaller works of Texier and Le Bas on
  _Asie Mineure_ (Paris 1862, 1863) in Didot’s series _L’Univers_, as
  these have only a secondary value. Of the books enumerated, Hamilton’s
  work is the most important for the topography, etc.; Tchihatcheff’s
  for the physical features; and Le Bas and Waddington’s for the
  inscriptions, etc. The best maps are those of Hamilton and
  Tchihatcheff; to which should be added the _Karte von Klein-Asien_ by
  v. Vincke and others, published by Schropp, Berlin 1844.

  Besides books on Asia Minor generally, some works relating especially
  to the Seven Churches may be mentioned. Smith’s _Survey of the Seven
  Churches of Asia_ (1678) is a work of great merit for the time, and
  contains the earliest description of the sites of these Phrygian
  cities. It was published in Latin first, and translated by its author
  afterwards. Arundell’s _Seven Churches_ (1828) is a well-known book.
  Allom and Walsh’s _Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven
  Churches of Asia Minor illustrated_ (1850) gives some views of this
  district. Svoboda’s _Seven Churches of Asia_ (1869) contains 20
  photographs and an introduction by the Rev. H. B. Tristram. This is a
  selection from a larger series of Svoboda’s photographs, published

Footnote 2:

  The maps differ very considerably in this respect, nor do the
  statements of travellers always agree. The direction of the river, as
  given in the text, accords with the maps of Hamilton and Tchihatcheff,
  and with the accounts of the most accurate writers.

Footnote 3:

  _Anton. Itin._ p. 337 (Wesseling) gives the distance as 6 miles. See
  also Fellows _Asia Minor_ p. 283, Hamilton I. p. 514. The relative
  position of the two cities appears in Laborde’s view, pl. xxxix.

Footnote 4:

  I do not find any distinct notice of the distance; but, to judge from
  the maps and itineraries of modern travellers, this estimate will
  probably be found not very far wrong.

[Sidenote: Their neighbourhood and intercourse.]

Thus situated, they would necessarily hold constant intercourse with
each other. We are not surprised therefore to find them so closely
connected in the earliest ages of Christianity. It was the consequence
of their position that they owed their knowledge of the Gospel to the
same evangelist, that the same phases of thought prevailed in them, and
that they were exposed to the same temptations, moral as well as

[Sidenote: Physical forces at work.]

The physical features of the neighbourhood are very striking. Two potent
forces of nature are actively at work to change the face of the country,
the one destroying old land-marks, the other creating fresh ground.

[Sidenote: Frequent earthquakes.]

On the one hand, the valley of the Lycus was and is especially liable to
violent earthquakes. The same danger indeed extends over large portions
of Asia Minor, but this district is singled out by ancient writers[5]
(and the testimony of modern travellers confirms the statement[6]), as
the chief theatre of these catastrophes. Not once or twice only in the
history of Laodicea do we read of such visitations laying waste the city
itself or some flourishing town in the neighbourhood[7]. Though the
exterior surface of the earth shows no traces of recent volcanoes, still
the cavernous nature of the soil and the hot springs and mephitic
vapours abounding here indicate the presence of those subterranean
fires, which from time to time have manifested themselves in this work
of destruction.

Footnote 5:

  See especially Strabo xii. 8. 16 (p. 578) τὸ πολύτρητον τῆς χώρας καὶ
  _τὸ εὔσειστον_· εἰ γάρ τις ἄλλη, καὶ ἡ Λαοδίκεια εὔσειστος, καὶ
  τῆς πλησιοχώρου δὲ Κάρουρα.

Footnote 6:

  Thus Pococke (p. 71) in 1745 writes of Denizli, which is close to
  Laodicea, ‘The old town was destroyed about 25 years past by an
  earthquake, in which 12,000 people perished.’

Footnote 7:

  See below p. 38.

[Sidenote: Deposits of travertine.]

But, while the crust of the earth is constantly broken up by these
forces from beneath, another agency is actively employed above ground in
laying a new surface. If fire has its fitful outbursts of devastation,
water is only less powerful in its gradual work of reconstruction. The
lateral streams which swell the waters of the Lycus are thickly
impregnated with calcareous matter, which they deposit in their course.
The travertine formations of this valley are among the most remarkable
in the world, surpassing even the striking phenomena of Tivoli and
Clermont[8]. Ancient monuments are buried, fertile lands overlaid,
river-beds choked up and streams diverted, fantastic grottos and
cascades and archways of stone formed, by this strange capricious power,
at once destructive and creative, working silently and relentlessly
through long ages. Fatal to vegetation, these incrustations spread like
a stony shroud over the ground. Gleaming like glaciers on the hill-side
they attract the eye of the traveller at a distance of twenty miles[9],
and form a singularly striking feature in scenery of more than common
beauty and impressiveness.

Footnote 8:

  Tchihatcheff P. I. _Geogr. Phys. Comp._ p. 344 sq., esp. p. 353. See
  the references below, pp. 9 sq., 15.

Footnote 9:

  Fellows _Asia Minor_ p. 283.

[Sidenote: Produce and manufactures of the district.]

At the same time, along with these destructive agencies, the fertility
of the district was and is unusually great. Its rich pastures fed large
flocks of sheep, whose fleeces were of a superior quality; and the trade
in dyed woollen goods was the chief source of prosperity to these towns.
For the bounty of nature was not confined to the production of the
material, but extended also to the preparation of the fabric. The
mineral streams had chemical qualities, which were highly valued by the
dyer[10]. Hence we find that all the three towns, with which we are
concerned, were famous in this branch of trade. At Hierapolis, as at
Thyatira, the guild of the dyers appears in the inscriptions as an
important and influential body[11]. Their colours vied in brilliancy
with the richest scarlets and purples of the farther east[12]. Laodicea
again was famous for the colour of its fleeces, probably a glossy black,
which was much esteemed[13]. Here also we read of a guild of dyers[14].
And lastly, Colossæ gave its name to a peculiar dye, which seems to have
been some shade of purple, and from which it derived a considerable

Footnote 10:

  See note 13.

Footnote 11:

  Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ no. 3924 (at Hierapolis) τοῦτο τὸ ἡρῷον στεφανοῖ
  _ἡ ἐργασία τῶν βαφεών_. See Laborde’s view, pl. xxxv. In another
  inscription too (Le Bas and Waddington, no. 1687) there is mention of
  the purple-dyers, πορφυραβαφεῖς.

Footnote 12:

  Strabo xiii. 4. 14 (p. 630) ἔστι δὲ καὶ πρὸς βαφὴν ἐρίων θαυμαστῶς
  σύμμετρον τὸ κατὰ τὴν Ἱερὰν πόλιν ὕδωρ, ὤστε τὰ ἐκ τῶν ῥιζῶν βαπτόμενα
  ἐνάμιλλα εἴναι τοῖς ἐκ τῆς κόκκου καὶ τοῖς ἁλουργέσιν.

Footnote 13:

  Strabo xii. 8. 16 (p. 578) φέρει δ’ ὁ περὶ τὴν Λαοδίκειαν τόπος
  προβάτων ἀρετὰς οὐκ εἰς μαλακότητα μόνον τῶν ἐρίων, ᾖ καὶ τῶν Μιλησίων
  διαφέρει, ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰς τὴν κοραξὴν χρόαν, ὥστε καὶ προσοδεύονται
  λαμπρῶς ἀπ’ αὐτῶν, ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ Κολοσσηνοὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὁμωνύμου χρώματος,
  πλησίον οἰκοῦντες. For this strange adjective κοραξός (which seems to
  be derived from κόραξ and to mean ‘raven-black’) see the passages in
  Hase and Dindorf’s _Steph. Thes._ In Latin we find the form
  _coracinus_, Vitruv. viii. 3 § 14 ‘Aliis coracino colore,’ Laodicea
  being mentioned in the context. Vitruvius represents this as the
  natural colour of the fleeces, and attributes it to the water drunk by
  the sheep. See also Plin. _N. H._ viii. 48 § 73. So too Hieron. _adv.
  Jovin._ ii. 21 (II. p. 358) ‘Laodiceæ indumentis ornatus incedis.’ The
  ancient accounts of the natural colour of the fleeces in this
  neighbourhood are partially confirmed by modern travellers; e.g.
  Pococke p. 74, Chandler p. 228.

Footnote 14:

  Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3938 [ἡ ἐργασία] τῶν γναφέ[ων καὶ βαφέων τῶν]

Footnote 15:

  See the passage of Strabo quoted p. 4, note 13. The place gives its
  name to the colour, and not conversely, as stated in Blakesley’s
  Herod. vii. 113. See also Plin. _N. H._ xxi. 9 § 27, ‘In vepribus
  nascitur cyclaminum ... flos ejus _colossinus_ in coronas admittitur,’
  a passage which assists in determining the colour.

[Sidenote: 1. LAODICEA.]

[Sidenote: Its name and history.]

1. Of these three towns LAODICEA, as the most important, deserves to be
considered first. Laodice was a common name among the ladies of the
royal house of the Seleucidæ, as Antiochus was among the princes. Hence
Antiochia and Laodicea occur frequently as the designations of cities
within the dominions of the Syrian kings. Laodicea on the Lycus[16], as
it was surnamed to distinguish it from other towns so called, and more
especially perhaps from its near neighbour Laodicea Catacecaumene, had
borne in succession the names of Diospolis and Rhoas[17]; but when
refounded by Antiochus Theos (B.C. 261–246), it was newly designated
after his wife Laodice[18]. It is situated[19] on an undulating hill, or
group of hills, which overhangs the valley on the south, being washed on
either side by the streams of the Asopus and the Caprus, tributaries of
the Lycus[20]. Behind it rise the snow-capped heights of Cadmus, the
lofty mountain barrier which shuts in the south side of the main
valley[21]. [Sidenote: Its growing prosperity.] A place of no great
importance at first, it made rapid strides in the last days of the
republic and under the earliest Cæsars, and had become, two or three
generations before St Paul wrote, a populous and thriving city[22].
Among its famous inhabitants are mentioned the names of some
philosophers, sophists, and rhetoricians, men renowned in their day but
forgotten or almost forgotten now[23]. More to our purpose, as
illustrating the boasted wealth and prosperity of the city, which
appeared as a reproach and a stumblingblock in an Apostle’s eyes[24],
are the facts, that one of its citizens, Polemo, became a king and a
father of kings, and that another, Hiero, having accumulated enormous
wealth, bequeathed all his property to the people and adorned the city
with costly gifts[25]. To the good fortune of her principal sons, as
well as to the fertility of the country around, the geographer Strabo
ascribes the increase and prosperity of Laodicea. The ruins of public
buildings still bear testimony by their number and magnificence to the
past greatness of the city[26].

Footnote 16:

  ἐπὶ Λύκῳ, Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ no. 3938, Ptol. _Geogr._ v. 2, Tab.
  Peut. ‘laudicium pilycum’; πρὸς [τῷ] Λύκῳ, Eckhel _Num. Vet._ III. p.
  166, Strabo l.c., Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 5881, 5893; πρὸς Λύκον, Boeckh
  _Corp. Inscr._ 6478. A citizen was styled Λαοδικεὺς ἀπὸ Λύκου, Diog.
  Laert. ix. 12 § 116.

Footnote 17:

  Plin. _N. H._ v. 29.

Footnote 18:

  Steph. Byz. s.v., who quotes the oracle in obedience to which (ὡς
  ἐκέλευσε Ζεὺς ὑψιβρεμέτης) it was founded.

Footnote 19:

  For descriptions of Laodicea see Smith p. 250 sq., Pococke p. 71 sq.,
  Chandler p. 224 sq., Arundell _Seven Churches_ p. 84 sq., _Asia Minor_
  II. p. 180 sq., Fellows _Asia Minor_ 280 sq., Hamilton I. p. 514 sq.,
  Tchihatcheff P. I. p. 252 sq., 258 sq. See also the views in Laborde,
  pl. xxxix, Allom and Walsh II. p. 86, and Svoboda phot. 36–38.

  The modern Turkish name is Eskihissar, ‘the Old Castle,’ corresponding
  to the modern Greek, Paleókastro, a common name for the sites of
  ancient cities; Leake p. 251. On the ancient site itself there is no
  town or village; the modern city Denizli is a few miles off.

Footnote 20:

  The position of Laodicea with respect to the neighbouring streams is
  accurately described by Pliny _N.H._ v. 29 ‘Imposita est Lyco flumini,
  latera affluentibus Asopo et Capro’; see Tchihatcheff P. I. p. 258.
  Strabo xii. (l.c.) is more careless in his description (for it can
  hardly be, as Tchihatcheff assumes, that he has mistaken one of these
  two tributaries for the Lycus itself), ἐνταῦθα δὲ καὶ ὁ Κάπρος καὶ ὁ
  Λύκος συμβάλλε τῷ Μαιάνδρῳ ποταμῷ ποταμὸς εὐμεγέθης, where ἐνταῦθα
  refers to ὁ περὶ τὴν Λαοδίκειαν τόπος, and where by the junction of
  the stream with the Mæander must be intended the junction of the
  _combined_ stream of the Lycus and Caprus. On the coins of Laodicea
  (Eckhel III. p. 166, Mionnet IV. p. 330, ib. Suppl. VII. p. 587, 589)
  the Lycus and Caprus appear together, being sometimes represented as a
  wolf and a wild-boar. The Asopus is omitted, either as being a less
  important stream or as being less capable of symbolical
  representation. Of modern travellers, Smith (p. 250), and after him
  Pococke (p. 72), have correctly described the position of the streams.
  Chandler (p. 227), misled by Strabo, mistakes the Caprus for the Lycus
  and the Lycus for the Mæander. The modern name of the Lycus is Tchoruk

Footnote 21:

  The modern name of Cadmus is Baba-Dagh, ‘The father of mountains.’

Footnote 22:

  Strabo xii. l.c. ἡ δὲ Λαοδίκεια μικρὰ πρότερον ὀῦσα ἀύξησιν ἔλαβεν ἐφ’
  ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων πατέρων, καίτοι κακωθεῖσα ἐκ πολιορκίας ἐπὶ
  Μιθριδάτου τοῦ Ἐυπάτορος. Strabo flourished in the time of Augustus
  and the earlier years of Tiberius. The growing importance of Laodicea
  dates from before the age of Cicero: see p. 7.

Footnote 23:

  Strabo l.c.; Diog. Laert. ix. 11 § 106, 12 § 116; Philostr. _Vit.
  Soph._ i. 25; Eckhel _Doctr. Num. Vet._ III. p. 162, 163 sq.

Footnote 24:

  Rev. iii. 17; see below p. 43.

Footnote 25:

  Strabo l.c.

Footnote 26:

  The ruins of Laodicea have formed the quarry out of which the modern
  town of Denizli is built. Yet notwithstanding these depredations they
  are still very extensive, comprising an amphitheatre, two or three
  theatres, an aqueduct, etc. The amphitheatre was built by the
  munificence of a citizen of Laodicea only a few years after St Paul
  wrote, as the inscription testifies; Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ no. 3935.
  See especially Hamilton I. p. 515 sq., who describes these ruins as
  ‘bearing the stamp of Roman extravagance and luxury, rather than of
  the stern and massive solidity of the Greeks.’

[Sidenote: Its political rank, as the capital of a _conventus_.]

Not less important, as throwing light on the Apostolic history, is the
political status of Laodicea. Asia Minor under the Romans was divided
into districts, each comprising several towns and having its chief city,
in which the courts were held from time to time by the proconsul or
legate of the province, and where the taxes from the subordinate towns
were collected[27]. Each of these political aggregates was styled in
Latin _conventus_, in Greek διοίκησις—a term afterwards borrowed by the
Christian Church, being applied to a similar ecclesiastical aggregate,
and thus naturalised in the languages of Christendom as _diocese_. At
the head of the most important of these political dioceses, the
‘Cibyratic convention’ or ‘jurisdiction,’ as it was called, comprising
not less than twenty-five towns, stood Laodicea[28]. Here in times past
Cicero, as proconsul of Cilicia, had held his court[29]; hither at
stated seasons flocked suitors, advocates, clerks, sheriffs’-officers,
tax-collectors, pleasure-seekers, courtiers—all those crowds whom
business or leisure or policy or curiosity would draw together from a
wealthy and populous district, when the representative of the laws and
the majesty of Rome appeared to receive homage and to hold his
assize[30]. To this position as the chief city of the Cibyratic union
the inscriptions probably refer, when they style Laodicea the
‘metropolis[31].’ And in its metropolitan rank we see an explanation of
the fact, that to Laodicea, as to the centre of a Christian diocese
also, whence their letters would readily be circulated among the
neighbouring brotherhoods, two Apostles address themselves in
succession, the one writing from his captivity in Rome[32], the other
from his exile at Patmos[33].

Footnote 27:

  See Becker and Marquardt _Röm. Alterth._ III. 1. p. 136 sq.

Footnote 28:

  See Cic. _ad Att._ v. 21,‘Idibus Februariis ... forum institueram
  agere Laodiceæ Cibyraticum,’with the references in the next note:
  comp. also Plin. _N.H._ v. 29 ‘Una (jurisdictio) appellatur
  Cibyratica. Ipsum (i.e. Cibyra) oppidum Phrygiæ est. Conveniunt eo xxv
  civitates, celeberrima urbe Laodicea.’

  Besides these passages, testimony is borne to the importance of the
  Cibyratic ‘conventus’ by Strabo, xiii. 4 § 17 (p. 631), ἐν ταῖς
  μεγίσταις ἐξετάζεται διοικήσεσι τῆς Ἀσίας ἡ Κιβυρατική. It will be
  remembered also that Horace singles out the _Cibyratica negotia_
  (_Epist._ i. 6. 33) to represent Oriental trade generally. The
  importance of Laodicea may be inferred from the fact that, though the
  union was named after Cibyra, its head-quarters were from the first
  fixed at or soon afterwards transferred to Laodicea.

Footnote 29:

  See _ad Fam._ ii. 17, iii. 5, 7, 8, ix. 25, xiii. 54, 67, xv. 4; _ad
  Att._ v. 16, 17, 20, 21, vi. 1, 2, 3, 7. He visited Laodicea on
  several occasions, sometimes making a long stay there, and not a few
  of his letters are written thence. See especially his account of his
  work there, _ad Att._ vi. 2, ‘Hoc foro quod egi ex Idibus Februariis
  Laodiceæ ad Kalendas Maias omnium dioecesium, præter Ciliciæ,
  mirabilia quædam efficimus; ita multæ civitates, etc.’ Altogether
  Laodicea seems to have been second in importance to none of the cities
  in his province, except perhaps Tarsus. See also the notice, _in
  Verr._ Act. ii. I. c. 30.

Footnote 30:

  The description which Dion Chrysostom gives in his eulogy of Celænæ
  (Apamea Cibotus), the metropolis of a neighbouring ‘dioecesis,’
  enables us to realise the concourse which gathered together on these
  occasions: _Orat._ XXXV (II. p. 69) ξυνάγεται πλῆθος ἀνθρώπων
  δικαζομένων, δικαζόντων, ἡγεμόνων, ὑπηρετῶν, οἰκετῶν, κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 31:

  On this word see Becker and Marquardt l.c. p. 138 sq. It had lost its
  original sense, as the mother city of a colony. Laodicea is styled
  ‘metropolis’ on the coins, Mionnet IV. p. 321.

Footnote 32:

  Col. iv. 16 with the notes. See also below p. 37, and the introduction
  to the Epistle to the Ephesians.

Footnote 33:

  Rev. iii. 14.

[Sidenote: Its religious

On the religious worship of Laodicea very little special information
exists. Its tutelary deity was Zeus, whose guardianship had been
recognised in Diospolis, the older name of the city, and who, having
(according to the legend) commanded its rebuilding, was commemorated on
its coins with the surname Laodicenus[34]. Occasionally he is also
called Aseis, a title which perhaps reproduces a Syrian epithet of this
deity, ‘the mighty.’ If this interpretation be correct, we have a link
of connexion between Laodicea and the religions of the farther East—a
connexion far from improbable, considering that Laodicea was refounded
by a Syrian king and is not unlikely to have adopted some features of
Syrian worship[35].

Footnote 34:

  See Eckhel III. p. 159 sq. (passim), Mionnet IV. p. 315 sq., ib.
  Suppl. VII. p. 578 sq. (passim). In the coins commemorating an
  alliance with some other city Laodicea is represented by Zeus; e.g.
  Mionnet IV. pp. 320, 324, 331 sq., Suppl. VII. pp. 586, 589.

Footnote 35:

  ==αϲειϲ== or ==αϲειϲ λαοδικεων==. See Waddington _Voyage en Asie
  Mineure au point de vue Numismatique_ (Paris 1853) pp. 25, 26 sq. Mr
  Waddington adopts a suggestion communicated to him by M. de Longpérier
  that this word represents the Aramaic עזיזא ‘the strong, mighty,’
  which appears also in the Arabic ‘Aziz.’ This view gains some
  confirmation from the fact, not mentioned by Mr Waddington, that
  Ἄζιζος was an epithet of the Ares of Edessa: Julian _Orat._ iv; comp.
  Cureton _Spic. Syr._ p. 80, and see de Lagarde _Gesamm. Abhandl._ p.
  16. On the other hand this Shemitic word elsewhere, when adopted into
  Greek or Latin, is written Ἄζιζος or Azizus: see Garrucci in the
  _Archæologia_ XLIII. p. 45 ‘Tyrio Septimio Azizo,’ and Boeckh _Corp.
  Inscr._ 9893 Ἄζιζος Ἀγρίπα Σύρος. M. de Longpérier offers the
  alternative that ασειϲ, _i.e._ Ἀσίς, is equivalent to Ἀσιατικός. An
  objection to this view, stronger than those urged by Mr Waddington, is
  the fact that Ἀσίς seems only to be used as a feminine adjective. M.
  Renan points to the fact that this ζευς ασεις is represented with his
  hand on the horns of a goat, and on the strength of this coincidence
  would identify him with ‘the Azazel of the Semites’ (_Saint Paul_, p.
  359), though tradition and orthography alike point to some other
  derivation of Azazel (עזאזל).

[Sidenote: 2. HIERAPOLIS.]

[Sidenote: Its situation.]

2. On the north of the valley, opposite to the sloping hills which mark
the site of Laodicea, is a broad level terrace jutting out from the
mountain side and overhanging the plain with almost precipitous sides.
On this plateau are scattered the vast ruins of HIERAPOLIS[36]. The
mountains upon which it abuts occupy the wedge of ground between the
Mæander and the Lycus; but, as the Mæander above its junction with the
Lycus passes through a narrow ravine, they blend, when seen from a
distance, with the loftier range of the Mesogis which overhangs the
right bank of the Mæander almost from its source to its embouchure, and
form with it the northern barrier to the view, as the Cadmus range does
the southern, the broad valley stretching between. Thus Hierapolis may
be said to lie over against Mesogis, as Laodicea lies over against

Footnote 36:

  For descriptions of Hierapolis, see Smith p. 245 sq., Pococke p. 75
  sq., Chandler 229 sq., Arundell _Seven Churches_ p. 79 sq., Hamilton
  p. 517 sq., Fellows _Asia Minor_ p. 283 sq. For the travertine
  deposits see especially the description and plates in Tchihatcheff P.
  I. p. 345, together with the views in Laborde (pl. xxxii-xxxviii), and
  Svoboda (photogr. 41–47). Tchihatcheff repeatedly calls the place
  Hieropolis; but this form, though commonly used of other towns (see
  Steph. Byz. s.v. Ἱεραπόλις, Leake _Num. Hell._ p. 67), appears not to
  occur as a designation of the Phrygian city, which seems always to be
  written Hierapolis. The citizens however are sometimes called
  Ἱεροπολῖται on the coins.

  The modern name is given differently by travellers. It is generally
  called Pambouk-Kalessi, i.e. ‘cotton-castle,’ supposed to allude to
  the appearance of the petrifactions, though cotton is grown in the
  neighbourhood (Hamilton I. p. 517). So Smith, Pococke, Chandler,
  Arundell, Tchihatcheff, Waddington, and others. M. Renan says
  ‘_Tambouk_, et non _Pambouk, Kalessi_’ (_S. Paul_ p. 357). Laborde
  gives the word _Tambouk_ in some places and _Pambouk_ in others; and
  Leake says ‘Hierapolis, now called _Tabúk-Kale_ or _Pambuk-Kale_’ (p.

Footnote 37:

  Strabo xiii. 4. 14 (p. 629) says ὑπερβαλοῦσι δὲ τὴν Μεσωγίδα ...
  πόλεις εἰσὶ πρὸς μὲν τῇ Μεσωγὶδι καταντικρὺ Λαοδικείας Ἱερὰ πόλις,
  κ.τ.λ. He cannot mean that Hierapolis was situated immediately in or
  by the Mesogis (for the name does not seem ever to be applied to the
  mountains between the Lycus and Mæander), but that with respect to
  Laodicea it stood over against the Mesogis, as I have explained it in
  the text. The view in Laborde (pl. xxxix) shows the appearance of
  Hierapolis from Laodicea. Strabo had himself visited the place and
  must have known how it was situated. Some modern travellers however
  (e.g. Chandler and Arundell) speak of the plateau of Hierapolis as
  part of the Mesogis. Steiger (_Kolosser_ p. 33) gets over the
  difficulty by translating Strabo’s words, ‘near the Mesogis but on the
  opposite side (i.e. of the Mæander) is the Laodicean Hierapolis’ (to
  distinguish it from others of the name); but καταντικρὺ cannot be
  separated from Λαοδικείας without violence.

[Sidenote: Remarkable physical features.]

It is at Hierapolis that the remarkable physical features which
distinguish the valley of the Lycus display themselves in the fullest
perfection. Over the steep cliffs which support the plateau of the city,
tumble cascades of pure white stone, the deposit of calcareous matter
from the streams which, after traversing this upper level, are
precipitated over the ledge into the plain beneath and assume the most
fantastic shapes in their descent. At one time overhanging in cornices
fringed with stalactites, at another hollowed out into basins or broken
up with ridges, they mark the site of the city at a distance, glistening
on the mountain-side like foaming cataracts frozen in the fall.

[Sidenote: Their relation to the Apostolic history.]

But for the immediate history of St Paul’s Epistles the striking beauty
of the scenery has no value. It is not probable that he had visited this
district when the letters to the Colossians and Laodiceans were written.
Were it otherwise, we can hardly suppose, that educated under widely
different influences and occupied with deeper and more absorbing
thoughts, he would have shared the enthusiasm which this scenery
inspires in the modern traveller. Still it will give a reality to our
conceptions, if we try to picture to ourselves the external features of
that city, which was destined before long to become the adopted home of
Apostles and other personal disciples of the Lord, and to play a
conspicuous part—second perhaps only to Ephesus—in the history of the
Church during the ages immediately succeeding the Apostles.

[Sidenote: Hierapolis a famous watering-place.]

Like Laodicea, Hierapolis was at this time an important and a growing
city, though not like Laodicea holding metropolitan rank[38]. Besides
the trade in dyed wools, which it shared in common with the neighbouring
towns, it had another source of wealth and prosperity peculiar to
itself. The streams to which the scenery owes the remarkable features
already described, are endowed with valuable medicinal qualities, while
at the same time they are so copious that the ancient city is described
as full of self-made baths[39]. An inscription, still legible among the
ruins, celebrates their virtues in heroic verse, thus apostrophizing the

             Hail, fairest soil in all broad Asia’s realm;
             Hail, golden city, nymph divine, bedeck’d
             With flowing rills, thy jewels[40].

Coins of Hierapolis too are extant of various types, on which Æsculapius
and Hygeia appear either singly or together[41]. To this fashionable
watering-place, thus favoured by nature, seekers of pleasure and seekers
of health alike were drawn.

Footnote 38:

  On its _ecclesiastical_ title of metropolis, see below, p. 70, note

Footnote 39:

  Strabo l.c. οὕτω δ’ ἐστὶν ἄφθονον τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ ὕδατος ὥστε ἡ πόλις
  μεστὴ τῶν αὐτομάτων βαλανείων ἐστί.

Footnote 40:

  Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3909, Ἀσίδος εὐρείης προφερέστατον οὖδας
  ἁπάντων, χαίροις, χρυσόπολι Ἱεράπολι, πότνια Νυμφῶν, νάμασιν,
  ἀγλαΐῃσι, κεκασμένη.

Footnote 41:

  Mionnet IV. p. 297, 306, 307, ib. Suppl. VII. p. 567; Waddington
  _Voyage_ etc. p. 24.

[Sidenote: The magnificence of its ruins.]

To the ancient magnificence of Hierapolis its extant ruins bear ample
testimony. More favoured than Laodicea, it has not in its immediate
neighbourhood any modern town or village of importance, whose
inhabitants have been tempted to quarry materials for their houses out
of the memorials of its former greatness. Hence the whole plateau is
covered with ruins, of which the extent and the good taste are equally
remarkable; and of these the palæstra and the thermæ, as might be
expected, are among the more prominent.

[Sidenote: Its religious worship.]

A city, which combined the pursuit of health and of gaiety, had fitly
chosen as its patron deity Apollo, the god alike of medicine and of
festivity, here worshipped especially as ‘Archegetes,’ the Founder[42].
But more important, as illustrating the religious temper of this
Phrygian city, is another fact connected with it. [Sidenote: The
Plutonium.]In Hierapolis was a spot called the Plutonium, a hot well or
spring, from whose narrow mouth issued a mephitic vapour immediately
fatal to those who stood over the opening and inhaled its fumes. To the
mutilated priests of Cybele alone (so it was believed) an immunity was
given from heaven, which freed them from its deadly effects[43]. Indeed
this city appears to have been a chief centre of the passionate mystical
devotion of ancient Phrygia. But indications are not wanting, that in
addition to this older worship religious rites were borrowed also from
other parts of the East, more especially from Egypt[44]. By the
multitude of her temples Hierapolis established her right to the title
of the ‘sacred city,’ which she bore[45].

Footnote 42:

  Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3905, 3906; Mionnet iv. pp. 297, 301, 307, ib.
  Suppl. vii. p. 568, 569, 570. In coins struck to commemorate alliances
  with other cities, Hierapolis is represented by Apollo Archegetes:
  Mionnet IV. p. 303, ib. Suppl. VII. 572, 573, 574; Waddington _Voyage_
  etc. p. 25; and see Eckhel III. p. 156. On the meaning of
  _Archegetes_, under which name Apollo was worshipped by other cities
  also, who regarded him as their founder, see Spanheim on Callim.
  _Hymn. Apoll._ 57.

Footnote 43:

  Strabo l.c. He himself had seen the phenomenon and was doubtful how to
  account for the immunity of these priests, εἴτε θείᾳ προνοίᾳ ... εἴτε
  ἀντιδότοις τισὶ δυνάμεσι τούτου συμβαίνοντος. See also Plin. _N. H._
  ii. 93 § 95 ‘locum ... matris tantum magnæ sacerdoti innoxium.’ Dion
  Cass. (Xiphil.) lxviii. 27, who also witnessed the phenomenon, adds οὐ
  μὴν καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ συννοῆσαι ἔχω, λέγω δὲ ἅ τε εἶδον ὡς εἶδον
  καὶ ἃ ἤκουσα ὡς ἤκουσα. Ammian. Marc. xxiii. 6. 18 also mentions this
  marvel, but speaks cautiously, ‘ut asserunt quidam,’ and adds ‘quod
  qua causa eveniat, rationibus physicis permittatur.’ Comp. Anthol.
  VII. p. 190 Εἴ τις ἀπάγξασθαι μὲν ὀκνεῖ θανάτου δ’ ἐπιθυμεῖ, ἐξ Ἱερᾶς
  πόλεως ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ πιέτω; Stobæus _Ecl._ i. 34, p. 680. Laborde states
  (p. 83) that he discovered by experiment that the waters are sometimes
  fatal to animal life and sometimes perfectly harmless; and if this be
  substantiated, we have a solution of the marvel. Other modern
  travellers, who have visited the Plutonium, are Cockerell (Leake p.
  342), and Svoboda. In Svoboda’s work a chemical analysis of the waters
  is given.

Footnote 44:

  On a coin of Hierapolis, Pluto-Serapis appears seated, while before
  him stands Isis with a sistrum in her hand; Waddington _Voyage_ etc.
  p. 24. See also Mionnet IV. pp. 296, 305; Leake _Num. Hell._ p. 66.

  The worship of Serapis appears elsewhere in this neighbourhood. At
  Chonæ (Colossæ) is an inscription recording a vow to this deity; Le
  Bas _Asie Mineure_ inscr. 1693 b.

Footnote 45:

  Steph. Byz. s.v. ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱερὰ πολλὰ ἔχειν.

[Sidenote: The birth-place of Epictetus.]

Though at this time we have no record of famous citizens at Hierapolis,
such as graced the annals of Laodicea, yet a generation or two later she
numbered among her sons one nobler far than the rhetoricians and
sophists, the millionaires and princes, of whom her neighbour could
boast. The lame slave Epictetus, the loftiest of heathen moralists, must
have been growing up to manhood when the first rumours of the Gospel
reached his native city. Did any chance throw him across the path of
Epaphras, who first announced the glad-tidings there? [Sidenote:
Epictetus and Christianity.]Did he ever meet the great Apostle himself,
while dragging out his long captivity at Rome, or when after his release
he paid his long-promised visit to the valley of the Lycus? We should be
glad to think that these two men met together face to face—the greatest
of Christian, and the greatest of heathen preachers. Such a meeting
would solve more than one riddle. A Christian Epictetus certainly was
not; his Stoic doctrine and his Stoic morality are alike apparent: but
nevertheless his language presents some strange coincidences with the
Apostolic writings, which would thus receive an explanation[46]. It must
be confessed however, that of any outward intercourse between the
Apostle and the philosopher history furnishes no hint.

Footnote 46:

  See _Philippians_, pp. 312, 313.

[Sidenote: 3. COLOSSÆ.]

3. While the sites of Laodicea and Hierapolis are conspicuous, so that
they were early identified by their ruins, the same is not the case with
COLOSSÆ. [Sidenote: Difficulty of determining its site.]Only within the
present generation has the position of this once famous city been
ascertained, and even now it lacks the confirmation of any inscription
found _in situ_ and giving the name[47]. [Sidenote: Subterranean channel
of the Lycus.]Herodotus states that in Colossæ the river Lycus
disappears in a subterranean cave, emerging again at a distance of about
five stades[48]; and this very singular landmark--the underground
passage of a stream for half a mile—might be thought to have placed the
site of the city beyond the reach of controversy. But this is not the
case. In the immediate neighbourhood of the only ruins which can
possibly be identified with Colossæ, no such subterranean channel has
been discovered. But on the other hand the appearance of the river at
this point suggests that at one time the narrow gorge through which it
runs, as it traverses the ruins, was overarched for some distance with
incrustations of travertine, and that this natural bridge was broken up
afterwards by an earthquake, so as to expose the channel of the
stream[49]. This explanation seems satisfactory. If it be rejected, we
must look for the underground channel, not within the city itself, as
the words of Herodotus strictly interpreted require, but at some point
higher up the stream. In either case there can be little doubt that
these are the ruins of Colossæ. [Sidenote: Petrifying stream.]The fact
mentioned by Pliny[50], that there is in this city a river which turns
brick into stone, is satisfied by a side stream flowing into the Lycus
from the north, and laying large deposits of calcareous matter; though
in this region, as we have seen, such a phenomenon is very far from
rare. The site of Colossæ then, as determined by these considerations,
lies two or three miles north of the present town of Chonos, the
mediæval Chonæ, and some twelve miles east of Laodicea. The Lycus
traverses the site of the ruins, dividing the city into two parts, the
necropolis standing on the right or northern bank, and the town itself
on the left.

Footnote 47:

  See however a mutilated inscription (Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3956) with
  the letters ...==ηνων==, found near Chonæ.

Footnote 48:

  Herod. vii. 30 ἀπίκετο ἐς Κολοσσάς, πόλιν μεγάλην Φρυγίης, ἐν τῇ Λύκος
  ποταμὸς ἐς χάσμα γῆς ἐσβάλλων ἀφανίζεται, ἔπειτα διὰ σταδίων ὡς πέντε
  μάλιστά κῃ ἀναφαινόμενος ἐκδιδοῖ καὶ οὖτος ἐς τὸν Μαίανδρον.

Footnote 49:

  This is the explanation of Hamilton (I. p. 509 sq.), who (with the
  doubtful exception of Laborde) has the merit of having first
  identified and described the site of Colossæ. It stands on the Tchoruk
  Sú (Lycus) at the point where it is joined by two other streams, the
  Bounar Bashi Sú and the Ak-Sú. In confirmation of his opinion,
  Hamilton found a tradition in the neighbourhood that the river had
  once been covered over at this spot (p. 522). He followed the course
  of the Lycus for some distance without finding any subterranean
  channel (p. 521 sq.).

  It is difficult to say whether the following account in Strabo xii. 8
  § 16 (p. 578) refers to the Lycus or not; ὄρος Κάδμος ἐξ οὓ καὶ ὁ
  Λύκος ῥεῖ καὶ ἄλλος ὁμώνυμος τῷ ὄρει· τὸ πλέον δ’ οὗτος ὑπὸ γῆς ῥυὲις
  εἶτ’ ἀνακύψας συνέπεσεν εἰς ταὐτὸ τοῖς ἄλλοις ποταμοῖς, ἐμφαίνων ἅμα
  καὶ τὸ πολύτρητον τῆς χώρας καὶ τὸ εὔσειστον. If the Lycus is meant,
  may not συνέπεσεν imply that this remarkable feature had changed
  before Strabo wrote?

  Laborde (p. 103), who visited the place before Hamilton, though his
  account was apparently not published till later, fixes on the same
  site for Colossæ, but thinks that he has discovered the subterranean
  course of the Lycus, to which Herodotus refers, much higher up a
  stream, close to its source (‘à dix pas de cette source’), which he
  describes as ‘à deux lieues au nord de Colossæ.’ Yet in the same
  paragraph he says ‘Or il [Hérodote, exact cicerone] savait que _le
  Lycus disparaît près de Colossæ, ville considérable de la Phrygie_’
  (the italics are his own). He apparently does not see the vast
  difference between his _près de Colossæ_ thus widely interpreted and
  the precise ἐν τῇ of Herodotus himself. Obviously no great reliance
  can be placed on the accuracy of a writer, who treats his authorities
  thus. The subterranean stream which Laborde saw, and of which he gives
  a view (pl. xl), may possibly be the phenomenon to which Herodotus
  alludes; but if so, Herodotus has expressed himself very carelessly.
  On the whole Hamilton’s solution seems much more probable.

  Arundell’s account (_Seven Churches_ p. 98 sq., _Asia Minor_ p. 160
  sq.) is very confused, and it is not clear whether he has fixed on the
  right site for Colossæ; but it bears testimony to the existence of two
  subterranean courses of rivers, though neither of them is close enough
  to the city to satisfy Herodotus’ description.

Footnote 50:

  Plin. _N.H._ xxxi. 2 § 20. This is the Ak-Sú, which has strongly
  petrifying qualities.

[Sidenote: Its ancient greatness]

Commanding the approaches to a pass in the Cadmus range, and standing on
a great high-way communicating between Eastern and Western Asia, Colossæ
at an early date appears as a very important place. Here the mighty host
of Xerxes halted on its march against Greece; it is mentioned on this
occasion as ‘a great city of Phrygia[51].’ Here too Cyrus remained seven
days on his daring enterprise which terminated so fatally; the Greek
captain, who records the expedition, speaks of it as ‘a populous city,
prosperous and great[52].’ But after this time its glory seems to wane.
The political supremacy [Sidenote: and later decline.]of Laodicea and
the growing popularity of Hierapolis gradually drain its strength; and
Strabo, writing about two generations before St Paul, describes it as a
‘small town[53]’ in the district of which Laodicea was the capital. We
shall therefore be prepared to find that, while Laodicea and Hierapolis
both hold important places in the early records of the Church, Colossæ
disappears wholly from the pages of history. Its comparative
insignificance is still attested by its ruins, which are few and
meagre[54], while the vast remains of temples, baths, theatres,
aqueducts, gymnasia, and sepulchres, strewing the extensive sites of its
more fortunate neighbours, still bear witness to their ancient
prosperity and magnificence. It is not even mentioned by Ptolemy, though
his enumeration of towns includes several inconsiderable places[55].
Without doubt Colossæ was the least important Church, to which any
epistle of St Paul was addressed.

Footnote 51:

  Herod. vii. 30. See p. 14, note 48.

Footnote 52:

  Xen. _Anab._ i. 2. 6 ἐξελαύνει διὰ Φρυγίας ... εἰς Κολοσσάς, πόλιν
  οἰκουμένην, εὐδαίμονα καὶ μεγάλην.

Footnote 53:

  πόλισμα, Strabo xii. 8. 13 (p. 576). Plin. _N. H._ v. 32 § 41 writes
  ‘Phrygia ... oppida ibi celeberrima præter jam dicta, Ancyra, Andria,
  Celænæ, Colossæ,’ etc. The commentators, referring to this passage,
  overlook the words ’præter jam dicta,’ and represent Pliny as calling
  Colossæ ‘oppidum celeberrimum.’ Not unnaturally they find it difficult
  to reconcile this expression with Strabo’s statement. But in fact
  Pliny has already exhausted all the considerable towns, Hierapolis,
  Laodicea, Apamea, etc., and even much less important places than these
  (see v. 28, 29 § 29), so that only decayed and third-rate towns
  remain. The Ancyra here mentioned is not the capital of Galatia, but a
  much smaller Phrygian town.

Footnote 54:

  Laborde p. 102 ‘De cette grande célébrité de Colossæ il ne reste
  presque rien: ce sont des substructions sans suite, des fragments sans
  grandeur; les restes d’un théâtre de médiocre dimension, une acropole
  sans hardiesse,’ etc.

Footnote 55:

  _Geogr._ v. 2.

[Sidenote: Uncertain orthography of the name.]

And perhaps also we may regard the variation in the orthography of the
name as another indication of its comparative obscurity and its early
extinction. Are we to write _Colossæ_ or _Colassæ_? So far as the
evidence goes, the conclusion would seem to be that, while Colossæ alone
occurs during the classical period and in St Paul’s time, it was
afterwards supplanted by Colassæ, when the town itself had either
disappeared altogether or was already passing out of notice[56].

Footnote 56:

  All Greek writers till some centuries after the Christian era write it
  Κολοσσαί: so Herod. vii. 30, Xen. _Anab._ i. 2. 6, Strabo xii. 8. 13,
  Diod. xiv. 80, Polyæn. _Strat._ vii. 16. 1; though in one or more MSS
  of some of these authors it is written Κολασσαί, showing the tendency
  of later scribes. _Colossæ_ is also the universal form in Latin
  writers. The coins moreover, even as late as the reign of Gordian
  (A.D. 238–244) when they ceased to be struck, universally have
  ==κολοϲϲηνοι== (or ==κολοϲηνοι==); Mionnet IV. p. 267 sq.: see
  Babington _Numismatic Chronicle_ New series III. p. 1 sq., 6. In
  Hierocles (_Synecd._ p. 666, Wessel.) and in the _Apostolic
  Constitutions_ (vii. 46) Κολασσαί seems to be the original reading of
  the text, and in later Byzantine writers this form is common. If Prof.
  Babington (p. 3) were right in supposing that it is connected with
  κολοσσός, the question of the correct spelling might be regarded as
  settled; but in a Phrygian city over which so many Eastern nations
  swept in succession, who shall say to what language the name belonged,
  or what are its affinities?

  Thus, judging from classical usage, we should say that Κολοσσαί was
  the old form and that Κολασσαί did not supplant it till some time
  after St Paul’s age. This view is confirmed by a review of the
  authorities for the different readings in the New Testament.

  In the opening of the epistle (i. 1) the authorities for ἐν Κολοσσαῖς
  are overwhelming. It is read by אBDFGL (A is obliterated here and C is
  wanting); and in the Old Latin, Vulgate, and Armenian Versions. On the
  other hand ἐν Κολασσαῖς is read by KP. 17. 37. 47, and among the
  versions by the Memphitic and the Philoxenian Syriac (ܩܘܠܐܣܘܤ, though
  the marg. gives ==κολϲϲαιϲ==). In the Peshito also the present
  reading represents Κολασσαῖς, but as the vowel was not expressed
  originally and depends on the later pointing, its authority can hardly
  be quoted. The Thebaic is wanting here.

  In the _heading_ of the epistle however there is considerably more
  authority for the form in α. Κολασσαεις is the reading of AB^* KP. 37
  (Κολασαεις). 47. C is wanting here, but has Κολασσαεις in the
  subscription. On the other hand Κολοσσαεις (or Κολοσσαις) appears in
  אB^1 (according to Tregelles, but B^3 Tisch.; see his introd. p.
  xxxxviii) DFG (but G has left Κολασσαεις in the heading of one page,
  and Κολαοσαεις in another) L. 17 (Κολοσαεις), in the Latin Version,
  and in the margin of the Philoxenian Syriac. The readings of both
  Peshito and Philoxenian (text) here depend on the vocalisation; and
  those of other versions are not recorded. In the _subscription_ the
  preponderance of authority is even more favourable to Κολασσαεις.

  Taking into account the obvious tendency which there would be in
  scribes to make the title πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς or πρὸς Κολασσαεῖς conform
  to the opening ἐν Κολοσσαῖς or ἐν Κολασσαῖς, as shown in G, we seem to
  arrive at the conclusion that, while ἐν Κολοσσαῖς was indisputably the
  original reading in the opening, πρὸς Κολασσαεῖς was probably the
  earlier reading in the title. If so, the title must have been added at
  a somewhat later date; which is not improbable.

  Connected with this question is the variation in the adjectival form,
  -ηνός or -αεύς. Parallels to this double termination occur in other
  words; e.g. Δοκιμηνός, Δοκιμεύς; Λαοδικηνός, Λαοδικεύς; Νικαηνός,
  Νικαεύς; Σαγαλασσηνός, Σαγαλασσεύς, etc. The coins, while they
  universally exhibit the form in ο, are equally persistent in the
  termination -ηνός, ==κολοϲϲηνων==; and it is curious that to the
  form Κολοσσηνοί in Strabo xii. 8 § 16 (p. 578) there is a various
  reading Κολασσαεῖς. Thus, though there is no necessary connexion
  between the two, the termination -ηνός seems to go with the ο form,
  and the termination -αεύς with the α form.

  For the above reasons I have written confidently ἐν Κολοσσαῖς in the
  text, and with more hesitation πρὸς Κολασσαεῖς in the superscription.

[Sidenote: Ethnological relations of the three cities.]

Considered ethnologically, these three cities are generally regarded as
belonging to Phrygia. But as they are situated on the western border of
Phrygia, and as the frontier line separating Phrygia from Lydia and
Caria was not distinctly traced, this designation is not persistent[57].
Thus Laodicea is sometimes assigned to Caria, more rarely to Lydia[58];
and again, Hierapolis is described as half Lydian, half Phrygian[59]. On
the other hand I have not observed that Colossæ is ever regarded as
other than Phrygian[60], partly perhaps because the notices relating to
it belong to an earlier date when these several names denoted political
as well as ethnological divisions, and their limits were definitely
marked in consequence, but chiefly because it lies some miles to the
east of the other cities, and therefore farther from the doubtful border

Footnote 57:

  Strabo, xiii. 4. 12 (p. 628) τὰ δ’ ἑξῆς ἐπὶ τὰ νότια μέρη τοῖς τόποις
  τούτοις ἐμπλοκὰς ἔχει μέχρι πρὸς τὸν Ταῦρον, ὥστε καὶ τὰ Φρύγια καὶ τὰ
  Καρικὰ καὶ τὰ Λύδια καὶ ἔτι τὰ τῶν Μυσῶν δυσδιάκριτα εἶναι
  παραπίπτοντα εἰς ἄλληλα· εἰς δὲ τὴν σύγχυσιν ταύτην οὐ μικρὰ
  συλλαμβάνει τὸ τοὺς Ῥωμαίους μὴ κατὰ φῦλα διελεῖν αὐτούς κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 58:

  To _Phrygia_, Strabo xii. 8. 13 (p. 576), Polyb. v. 57, and so
  generally; to _Caria, Orac. Sibyll._ iii. 472 Καρῶν ἀγλαὸν ἄστυ, Ptol.
  v. 2, Philostr. _Vit. Soph._ i. 25 (though in the context Philostratus
  adds that at one time τῇ Φρυγίᾳ ξυνετάττετο); to _Lydia_, Steph. Byz.
  s.v. On the coins the city is sometimes represented as seated between
  two female figures ==φρυγια== and ==καρια==; Eckhel III. p. 160,
  comp. Mionnet IV. p. 329. From its situation on the confines of the
  three countries Laodicea seems to have obtained the surname
  _Trimitaria_ or _Trimetaria_, by which it is sometimes designated in
  later times: see below, p. 65, note 205, and comp. Wesseling, _Itin._
  p. 665.

Footnote 59:

  Steph. Byz. s.v. says μεταξὺ Φρυγίας καὶ Λυδίας πόλις. But generally
  Hierapolis is assigned to Phrygia: e.g. Ptol. v. 2, Vitruv. viii. 3 §

Footnote 60:

  Colossæ is assigned to Phrygia in Herod. vii. 30, Xen. _Anab._ i. 2.
  6, Strabo xii. 8. 13, Diod. xiv. 80, Plin. _N. H._ v. 32 § 41, Polyæn.
  _Strat._ vii. 16. 1.

[Sidenote: Their political relations.]

Phrygia however ceased to have any political significance, when this
country came under the dominion of the Romans. Politically speaking, the
three cities with the rest of the Cibyratic union belonged at this time
to Asia, the proconsular province[61]. As an _Asiatic_ Church
accordingly Laodicea is addressed in the Apocalyptic letter. To this
province they had been assigned in the first instance; then they were
handed over to Cilicia[62]; afterwards they were transferred and
re-transferred from the one to the other; till finally, before the
Christian era, they became a permanent part of Asia, their original
province. Here they remained, until the close of the fourth century,
when a new distribution of the Roman empire was made, and the province
of Phrygia Pacatiana created with Laodicea as its capital[63].

Footnote 61:

  After the year B.C. 49 they seem to have been permanently attached to
  ‘Asia’: before that time they are bandied about between Asia and
  Cilicia. These alternations are traced by Bergmann _de Asia provincia_
  (Berlin, 1846) and in _Philologus_ II. 4 (1847) p. 641 sq. See Becker
  and Marquardt _Röm. Alterth._ III. I. p. 130 sq. Laodicea is assigned
  to ‘Asia’ in Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 6512, 6541, 6626.

  The name ‘Asia’ will be used throughout this chapter in its political
  sense, as applying to the Roman province.

Footnote 62:

  Cic. _ad Fam._ xiii. 67 ‘ex provincia mea Ciliciensi, cui scis τρεῖς
  διοικήσεις Asiaticas [i.e. Cibyraticam, Apamensem, Synnadensem]
  attributas fuisse’; _ad Att._ v. 21 ‘mea expectatio Asiæ nostrarum
  diœcesium’ and ‘in hac mea Asia.’ See also above p. 7, notes 2, 3.

Footnote 63:

  3 Hierocles _Synecd._ p. 664 sq. (Wessel.): see below p. 69.

[Sidenote: Important Jewish settlement in this neighbourhood.]

The Epistle to the Colossians supposes a powerful Jewish colony in
Laodicea and the neighbourhood. We are not however left to draw this
inference from the epistle alone, but the fact is established by ample
independent testimony. When, with the insolent licence characteristic
of Oriental kings, Antiochus the Great transplanted two thousand
Jewish families from Babylonia and Mesopotamia into Lydia and
Phrygia[64],[Sidenote: Colony of Antiochus the Great.] we can hardly
doubt that among the principal stations of these new colonists would
be the two most thriving cities of Phrygia, which were also the two
most important settlements of the Syrian kings, Apamea and Laodicea,
the one founded by his grandfather Antiochus the First, the other by
his father Antiochus the Second. If the commercial importance of
Apamea at this time was greater (for somewhat later it was reckoned
second only to Ephesus among the cities of Asia Minor as a centre of
trade), the political rank of Laodicea stood higher[65]. When mention
is made of Lydia and Phrygia[66], this latter city especially is
pointed out by its position, for it stood near the frontier of the two
countries. A Jewish settlement once established, the influx of their
fellow-countrymen would be rapid and continuous. Accordingly under the
Roman domination we find them gathered here in very large
numbers.[Sidenote: Confiscations of Flaccus.] When Flaccus the
proprætor of Asia (B.C. 62), who was afterwards accused of
maladministration in his province and defended by Cicero, forbade the
contributions of the Jews to the temple-worship and the consequent
exportation of money to Palestine, he seized as contraband not less
than twenty pounds weight in gold in the single district of which
Laodicea was the capital[67]. Calculated at the rate of a half-shekel
for each man, this sum represents a population of more than eleven
thousand adult freemen[68]; for women, children, and slaves were
exempted. It must be remembered however, that this is only the sum
which the Roman officers succeeded in detecting and confiscating; and
that therefore the whole Jewish population would probably be much
larger than this partial estimate implies. The amount seized at
Apamea, the other great Phrygian centre, was five times as large as
this[69]. [Sidenote: Other evidence.]Somewhat later we have a document
purporting to be a decree of the Laodiceans, in which they thank the
Roman Consul for a measure granting to Jews the liberty of observing
their sabbaths and practising other rites of their religion[70]; and
though this decree is probably spurious, yet it serves equally well to
show that at this time Laodicea was regarded as an important centre of
the dispersion in Asia Minor. To the same effect may be quoted the
extravagant hyperbole in the Talmud, that when on a certain occasion
an insurrection of the Jews broke out in Cæsarea the metropolis of
Cappadocia, which brought down upon their heads the cruel vengeance of
king Sapor and led to a massacre of 12,000, ‘the wall of Laodicea was
cloven with the sound of the harpstrings’ in the fatal and premature
merriment of the insurgents[71]. This place was doubtless singled out,
because it had a peculiar interest for the Jews, as one of their chief
settlements[72]. It will be remembered also, that Phrygia is
especially mentioned among those countries which furnished their quota
of worshippers at Jerusalem, and were thus represented at the baptism
of the Christian Church on the great day of Pentecost[73].

Footnote 64:

  Joseph. _Antiq._ xii. 3, 4.

Footnote 65:

  Strabo xii. 8. 13 (p. 576) εἶτα Ἀπάμεια ἡ Κιβωτὸς λεγομένη καὶ
  Λαοδὶκεια αἵπερ εἰσὶ μέγισται τῶν κατὰ τὴν Φρυγίαν πόλεων. Below § 15
  (p. 577) he says Ἀπάμεια δ’ ἐστὶν ἐμπόριον μέγα τῆς ἰδίως λεγομένης
  Ἀσίας δευτερεῦον μετὰ τὴν Ἔφεσον. The relative importance of Apamea
  and Laodicea two or three generations earlier than St Paul may be
  inferred from the notices in Cicero; but there is reason for thinking
  that Laodicea afterwards grew more rapidly than Apamea.

Footnote 66:

  In Josephus l.c. the words are τὰ κατὰ τὴν Φρυγίαν καὶ Λυδίαν, the two
  names being under the vinculum of the one article: while immediately
  afterwards Lydia is dropped and Phrygia alone named, πέμψαι τινὰς ...
  εἰς Φρυγίαν.

Footnote 67:

  Cic. _pro Flacc._ 28 ‘Sequitur auri illa invidia Judaici.... Quum
  aurum Judæorum nomine quotannis ex Italia et ex omnibus provinciis
  Hierosolyma exportari soleret, Flaccus sanxit edicto ne ex Asia
  exportari liceret ... multitudinem Judæorum, flagrantem nonnumquam in
  concionibus, pro republica contemnere gravitatis summæ fuit.... Apameæ
  manifesto comprehensum ante pedes prætoris in foro expensum est auri
  pondo centum paullo minus ... Laodiceæ viginti pondo paullo amplius.’

  Josephus (_Antiq._ xiv. 7. 2), quoting the words of Strabo, πέμψας δὲ
  Μιθριδάτης εἰς Κῶ ἔλαβε ... τὰ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ὀκτακόσια τάλαντα,
  explains this enormous sum as composed of the temple-offerings of the
  Jews which they sent to Cos for safety out of the way of Mithridates.

Footnote 68:

  This calculation supposes (1) That the half-shekel weighs 110 gr; (2)
  That the Roman pound is 5050 gr; (3) That the relation of gold to
  silver was at this time as 12 : 1. This last estimate is possibly
  somewhat too high.

Footnote 69:

  The coinage of Apamea affords a striking example of Judaic influence
  at a later date. On coins struck at this place in the reigns of
  Severus, Macrinus, and the elder Philip, an ark is represented
  floating on the waters. Within are a man and a woman: on the roof a
  bird is perched; while in the air another bird approaches bearing an
  olive-branch in its claws. The ark bears the inscription νωε. Outside
  are two standing figures, a man and a woman (apparently the same two
  who have been represented within the ark), with their hands raised as
  in the attitude of prayer. The connexion of the ark of Noah with
  Apamea is explained by a passage in one of the Sibylline Oracles (i.
  261 sq.), where the mountain overhanging Apamea is identified with
  Ararat, and the ark (κιβωτός) is stated to have rested there. Whether
  this Apamea obtained its distinctive surname of Cibotus, the Ark or
  Chest, from its physical features, or from its position as the centre
  of taxation and finance for the district, or from some other cause, it
  is difficult to say. In any case this surname might naturally suggest
  to those acquainted with the Old Testament a connexion with the deluge
  of Noah; but the idea would not have been adopted in the coinage of
  the place without the pressure of strong Jewish influences. On these
  coins see Eckhel _Doctr. Num. Vet._ III. p. 132 sq., and the paper of
  Sir F. Madden in the _Numismatic Chronicle_ N. S. VI. p. 173 sq.
  (1866), where they are figured.

Footnote 70:

  Joseph. _Ant._ xiv. 10. 21.

Footnote 71:

  Talm. Babl. _Moëd Katon_ 26a, quoted by Neubauer, _La Géographie du
  Talmud_ p. 319, though he seems to have misunderstood the expression
  quoted in the text, of which he gives the sense, ‘Cette ville
  tremblait au bruit des flèches qu’on avait tirées.’

  It is probably this same Laodicea which is meant in another Talmudical
  passage, Talm. Babl. _Baba Metziah_ 84a (also quoted by Neubauer, p.
  311), in which Elijah appearing to R. Ishmael ben R. Jose, says ‘Thy
  father fled to Asia; flee thou to Laodicea,’ where Asia is supposed to
  mean Sardis.

Footnote 72:

  An inscription found at Rome in the Jewish cemetery at the Porta
  Portuensis (Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 9916) runs thus; ==ενθα . κιτε .
  αμμια . [ε]ιουδεα . απο . λαδικιαϲ.== κ.τ.λ. i.e. ἔνθα κεῖται Ἀμμία
  Ἰουδαία ἀπὸ Λαοδικείας. Probably Laodicea on the Lycus is meant.
  Perhaps also we may refer another inscription (6478), which mentions
  one Trypho from Laodicea on the Lycus, to a Jewish source.

Footnote 73:

  Acts ii. 10.

[Sidenote: Special attractions of Hierapolis.]

Mention has already been made of the traffic in dyed wools, which formed
the staple of commerce in the valley of the Lycus[74]. It may be
inferred from other notices that this branch of trade had a peculiar
attraction for the Jews[75]. If so, their commercial instincts would
constantly bring fresh recruits to a colony which was already very
considerable. But the neighbourhood held out other inducements besides
this. Hierapolis, the gay watering place, the pleasant resort of idlers,
had charms for them, as well as Laodicea the busy commercial city. At
least such was the complaint of stricter patriots at home. ‘The wines
and the baths of Phrygia,’ writes a Talmudist bitterly, ‘have separated
the ten tribes from Israel[76].’

Footnote 74:

  See p. 4.

Footnote 75:

  Acts xvi. 14. Is there an allusion to this branch of trade in the
  message to the Church of Laodicea, Rev. iii. 17 οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι σύ εἶ ὁ
  ... γυμνός· συμβουλεύω σοι ἀγοράσαι ... ἱμάτια λευκὰ ἵνα περιβάλῃ,
  κ.τ.λ.? The only other of the seven messages, which contains an
  allusion to the white garments, is addressed to the Church of Sardis,
  where again there might be a reference to the βάμμα Σαρδιανικόν
  (Arist. _Pax_ 1174, _Acharn._ 112) and the φοινικίδες Σαρδιανικαί
  (Plato Com. in Athen. II. p. 48 E) of the comic poets.

Footnote 76:

  Talm. Babl. _Sabbath_ 147 b, quoted by Neubauer _La Géographie du
  Talmud_ p. 317: see Wiesner _Schol. zum Babyl. Talm._ p. 259 sq., and
  p. 207 sq. On the word translated ‘baths,’ see Rapoport’s _Erech
  Millin_ p. 113, col. 1.

[Sidenote: St Paul had not visited the district when he wrote.]

There is no ground for supposing that, when St Paul wrote his Epistle to
the Colossians, he had ever visited the church in which he evinces so
deep an interest. Whether we examine the narrative in the Acts, or
whether we gather up the notices in the epistle itself, we find no hint
that he had ever been in this neighbourhood; but on the contrary some
expressions indirectly exclude the supposition of a visit to the

[Sidenote: What is meant by _Phrygia_ in St Luke?]

It is true that St Luke more than once mentions Phrygia as lying on St
Paul’s route or as witnessing his labours. But Phrygia was a vague and
comprehensive term; nor can we assume that the valley of the Lycus was
intended, unless the direction of his route or the context of the
narrative distinctly points to this south-western corner of Phrygia. In
neither of the two passages, where St Paul is stated to have travelled
through Phrygia, is this the case.

[Sidenote: 1. St Paul’s visit to Phrygia on his second missionary

1. On his second missionary journey, after he has revisited and
confirmed the churches of Pisidia and Lycaonia founded on his first
visit, he passes through ‘the Phrygian and Galatian country[77].’ I have
pointed out elsewhere that this expression must be used to denote the
region which might be called indifferently Phrygia or Galatia—the land
which had originally belonged to the Phrygians and had afterwards been
colonised by the Gauls; or the parts of either country which lay in the
immediate neighbourhood of this debatable ground[78]. This region lies
considerably north and east of the valley of the Lycus. Assuming that
the last of the Lycaonian and Pisidian towns at which St Paul halted was
Antioch, he would not on any probable supposition approach nearer to
Colossæ than Apamea Cibotus on his way to ‘the Phrygian and Galatian
country’, nor indeed need he have gone nearly so far westward as this.
And again on his departure from this region he journeys by Mysia to
Troas, leaving ‘Asia’ on his left hand and Bithynia on his right. Thus
the notices of his route conspire to show that his path on this occasion
lay far away from the valley of the Lycus.

Footnote 77:

  Acts xvi. 6 τὴν Φρυγίαν καὶ Γαλατικὴν χώραν, the correct reading. For
  this use of Φρυγίαν as an adjective comp. Mark i. 5 πᾶσα ἡ Ἰουδαία
  χώρα, Joh. iii. 22 εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν γῆν, Luke iii. 1 τῆς Ἰτουραίας καὶ
  Τραχωνίτιδος χώρας, Acts xiii. 14 Ἀντιόχειαν τὴν Πισιδίαν (the correct

Footnote 78:

  See _Galatians_, p. 18 sq., 22.

[Sidenote: 2. His visit on his third missionary journey.]

2. But if he was not brought into the neighbourhood of Colossæ on his
second missionary journey, it is equally improbable that he visited it
on his third. So far as regards Asia Minor, he seems to have confined
himself to revisiting the churches already founded; the new ground which
he broke was in Macedonia and Greece. Thus when we are told that during
this third journey St Paul after leaving Antioch ‘passed in order
through the Galatian country and Phrygia, confirming all the
disciples,’[79] we can hardly doubt that ‘the Galatian country and
Phrygia’ in this latter passage denotes essentially the same region as
‘the Phrygian and Galatian country’ in the former. The slight change of
expression is explained by the altered direction of his route. In the
first instance his course, as determined by its extreme limits—Antioch
in Pisidia its starting point, and Alexandria Troas its
termination—would be northward for the first part of the way, and thus
would lie on the border land of Phrygia and Galatia; whereas on this
second occasion, when he was travelling from Antioch in Syria to
Ephesus, its direction would be generally from east to west, and the
more strictly Galatian district would be traversed before the Phrygian.
If we suppose him to leave Galatia at Pessinus on its western border, he
would pass along the great highway—formerly a Persian and at this time a
Roman road—by Synnada and Sardis to Ephesus, traversing the heart of
Phrygia, but following the valleys of the Hermus and Cayster, and
separated from the Mæander and Lycus by the high mountain ranges which
bound these latter to the north[80].

Footnote 79:

  Acts xviii. 23.

Footnote 80:

  M. Renan (_Saint Paul_ pp. 51 sq., 126, 313) maintains that the
  Galatia of St Paul and St Luke is not the country properly so called,
  but that they are speaking of the Churches of Pisidian Antioch,
  Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, which lay within the _Roman province_ of
  Galatia. This interpretation of Galatia necessarily affects his view
  of St Paul’s routes (pp. 126 sq., 331 sq.); and he supposes the
  Apostle on his third missionary journey to have passed through the
  valley of the Lycus, without however remaining to preach the Gospel
  there (pp. 331 sq., 356 sq., 362). As Antioch in Pisidia would on this
  hypothesis be the farthest church in ‘Galatia and Phrygia’ which St
  Paul visited, his direct route from that city to Ephesus (Acts xviii.
  23, xix. 1) would naturally lie by this valley. I have already
  (_Galatians_ pp. 18 sq., 22) stated the serious objections to which
  this interpretation of ‘Galatia’ is open, and (if I mistake not) have
  answered most of M. Renan’s arguments by anticipation. But, as this
  interpretation nearly affects an important point in the history of St
  Paul’s dealings with the Colossians, it is necessary to subject it to
  a closer examination.

  Without stopping to enquire whether this view is reconcilable with St
  Paul’s assertion (Col. ii. 1) that these churches in the Lycus valley
  ‘had not seen his face in the flesh,’ it will appear (I think) that M.
  Renan’s arguments are in some cases untenable and in others may be
  turned against himself. The three heads under which they may be
  conveniently considered are: (i) The use of the name ‘Galatia’; (ii)
  The itinerary of St Paul’s travels; (iii) The historical notices in
  the Epistle to the Galatians.

  (i) On the first point, M. Renan states that St Paul was in the habit
  of using the _official_ name for each district and therefore called
  the country which extends from Antioch in Pisidia to Derbe ‘Galatia,’
  supporting this view by the Apostle’s use of Asia, Macedonia, and
  Achaia (p. 51). The answer is that the names of these elder provinces
  had very generally superseded the local names, but this was not the
  case with the other districts of Asia Minor where the provinces had
  been formed at a comparatively late date. The usage of St Luke is a
  good criterion. He also speaks of Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia; but at
  the same time his narrative abounds in historical or ethnographical
  names which have no official import; e.g. Lycaonia, Mysia, Pamphylia,
  Pisidia, Phrygia. Where we have no evidence, it is reasonable to
  assume that St Paul’s usage was conformable to St Luke’s. And again,
  if we consider St Luke’s account alone, how insuperable are the
  difficulties which this view of Galatia creates. The part of Asia
  Minor, with which we are immediately concerned, was comprised
  officially in the provinces of Asia and Galatia. On M. Renan’s
  showing, St Luke, after calling Antioch a city of Pisidia (xiii. 14)
  and Lystra and Derbe cities of Lycaonia (xiv. 6), treats all the
  three, together with the intermediate Iconium, as belonging to Galatia
  (xvi. 6, xviii. 23). He explains the inconsistency by saying that in
  the former case the narrative proceeds in detail, in the latter in
  masses. But if so, why should he combine a historical and ethnological
  name Phrygia with an official name Galatia in the same breath, when
  the two are different in kind and cannot be mutually exclusive?
  ‘Galatia and Asia,’ would be intelligible on this supposition, but not
  ‘Galatia and Phrygia.’ Moreover the very form of the expression in
  xvi. 6, ‘the Phrygian and Galatian country’ (according to the correct
  reading which M. Renan neglects) appears in its studied vagueness to
  exclude the idea that St Luke means the province of Galatia, whose
  boundaries were precisely marked. And even granting that the Christian
  communities of Lycaonia and Pisidia could by a straining of language
  be called Churches of Galatia, is it possible that St Paul would
  address them personally as ‘ye foolish Galatians’ (Gal. iii. 1)? Such
  language would be no more appropriate than if a modern preacher in a
  familiar address were to appeal to the Poles of Warsaw as ‘ye
  Russians,’ or the Hungarians of Pesth as ‘ye Austrians,’ or the Irish
  of Cork as ‘ye Englishmen.’

  (ii) In the itinerary of St Paul several points require consideration.
  (_a_) M. Renan lays stress on the fact that in Acts xvi. 6, xviii. 23,
  the order in which the names of Phrygia and Galatia occur is inverted.
  I seem to myself to have explained this satisfactorily in the text. He
  appears to be unaware of the correct reading in xvi. 6, τὴν Φρυγίαν
  καὶ Γαλατικὴν χώραν (see _Galatians_ p. 22), though it has an
  important bearing on St Paul’s probable route. (_b_) He states that
  Troas was St Paul’s aim (‘l’objectif de Saint Paul’) in the one case
  (xvi. 6), and Ephesus in the other (xviii. 23): consequently he argues
  that Galatia, properly so called, is inconceivable, as there was no
  reason why he should have made ‘this strange detour towards the
  north.’ The answer is that Troas was not his ‘objectif’ in the first
  instance, nor Ephesus in the second. On the first occasion St Luke
  states that the Apostle set out on his journey with quite different
  intentions, but that after he had got well to the north of Asia Minor
  he was driven by a series of divine intimations to proceed first to
  Troas and thence to cross over into Europe (see _Philippians_ p. 48).
  This narrative seems to me to imply that he starts for his further
  travels from some point in the western part of Galatia proper. When he
  comes to the borders of Mysia, he designs bearing to the left and
  preaching in Asia; but a divine voice forbids him. He then purposes
  diverging to the right and delivering his message in Bithynia; but the
  same unseen power checks him again. Thus he is driven forward, and
  passes by Mysia to the coast at Troas (Acts xvi. 6–8). Here all is
  plain. But if we suppose him to start, not from some town in Galatia
  proper such as Pessinus, but from Antioch in Pisidia, why should
  Bithynia, which would be far out of the way, be mentioned at all? On
  the second occasion, St Paul’s primary object is to revisit the
  Galatian Churches which he had planted on the former journey (xviii.
  23), and it is not till after he has fulfilled this intention that he
  goes to Ephesus. (_c_) M. Renan also calls attention to the difficulty
  of traversing ‘the central steppe’ of Asia Minor. ‘There was
  probably,’ he says, ‘at this epoch no route from Iconium to Ancyra,’
  and in justification of this statement he refers to Perrot, _de Gal.
  Rom. prov._ p. 102, 103. Even so, there were regular roads from either
  Iconium or Antioch to Pessinus; and this route would serve equally
  well. Moreover the Apostle, who was accustomed to ‘perils of rivers,
  perils of robbers, perils in the wilderness’ (2 Cor. xi. 26), and who
  preferred walking from Troas to Assos (Acts xx. 13) while his
  companions sailed, would not be deterred by any rough or unfrequented
  paths. But the facts adduced by Perrot do not lend themselves to any
  such inference, nor does he himself draw it. He cites an inscription
  of the year A.D. 82 which speaks of A. Cæsennius Gallus, the legate of
  Domitian, as a great road-maker throughout the Eastern provinces of
  Asia Minor, and he suggests that the existing remains of a road
  between Ancyra and Iconium may be part of this governor’s work. Even
  if the suggestion be adopted, it is highly improbable that no road
  should have existed previously, when we consider the comparative
  facility of constructing a way along this line of country (Perrot p.
  103) and the importance of such a direct route. (_d_) ‘In the
  conception of the author of the Acts,’ writes M. Renan, ‘the two
  journeys across Asia Minor are journeys of confirmation and not of
  conversion (Acts xv. 36, 41, xvi. 5, 6, xviii. 23).’ This statement
  seems to me to be only partially true. In both cases St Paul _begins_
  his tour by confirming churches already established, but in both he
  advances beyond this and breaks new ground. In the former he starts
  with the existing churches of Lycaonia and Pisidia and extends his
  labours to Galatia: in the latter he starts with the then existing
  churches of Galatia, and carries the Gospel into Macedonia and Achaia.
  This, so far as I can discover, was his general rule.

  (iii) The notices in the Galatian Epistle, which appear to M. Renan to
  favour his view, are these: (_a_) St Paul appears to have ‘had
  intimate relations with the Galatian Church, at least as intimate as
  with the Corinthians and Thessalonians,’ whereas St Luke disposes of
  the Apostle’s preaching in Galatia very summarily, unless the
  communities of Lycaonia and Pisidia be included. But the Galatian
  Epistle by no means evinces the same close and varied personal
  relations which we find in the letters to these other churches, more
  especially to the Corinthians. And again; St Luke’s history is more or
  less fragmentary. Whole years are sometimes dismissed in a few verses.
  The stay in Arabia which made so deep an impression on St Paul himself
  is not even mentioned: the three months’ sojourn in Greece, though
  doubtless full of stirring events, only occupies a single verse in the
  narrative (Acts xx. 3). St Luke appears to have joined St Paul after
  his visit to Galatia (xvi. 10); and there is no reason why he should
  have dwelt on incidents with which he had no direct acquaintance.
  (_b_) M. Renan sees in the presence of emissaries from Jerusalem in
  the Galatian Churches an indication that Galatia proper is not meant.
  ‘It is improbable that they would have made such a journey.’ But why
  so? There were important Jewish settlements in Galatia proper
  (_Galatians_ p. 9 sq.); there was a good road through Syria and
  Cilicia to Ancyra (_Itin. Anton._ p. 205 sq., _Itin. Hierosol._ p. 575
  sq. ed. Wessel.); and if we find such emissaries as far away from
  Jerusalem as Corinth (2 Cor. xi. 13, etc.), there is at least no
  improbability that they should have reached Galatia. (_c_) Lastly; M.
  Renan thinks that the mention of Barnabas (Gal. ii. 1, 9, 13) implies
  that he was personally known to the churches addressed, and therefore
  points to Lycaonia and Pisidia. But are we to infer on the same
  grounds that he was personally known to the Corinthians (1 Cor. ix.
  6), and to the Colossians (Col. iv. 10)? In fact the name of Barnabas,
  as a famous Apostle and an older disciple even than St Paul himself,
  would not fail to be well known in all the churches. On the other hand
  one or two notices in the Galatian Epistle present serious obstacles
  to M. Renan’s view. What are we to say for instance to St Paul’s
  statement, that he preached the Gospel in Galatia δι’ ἀσθένειαν τῆς
  σαρκός (iv. 13), i.e. because he was detained by sickness (see
  _Galatians_ pp. 23 sq., 172), whereas his journey to Lycaonia and
  Pisidia is distinctly planned with a view to missionary work? Why
  again is there no mention of Timothy, who was much in St Paul’s
  company about this time, and who on this showing was himself a
  Galatian? Some mention would seem to be especially suggested where St
  Paul is justifying his conduct respecting the attempt to compel Titus
  to be circumcised.

[Sidenote: The inference from]

Thus St Luke’s narrative seems to exclude any visit of the Apostle to
the Churches of the Lycus before his first [Sidenote: St Luke’s
narrative]Roman captivity. And this inference is confirmed by St Paul’s
own language to the Colossians.

[Sidenote: borne out by St Paul’s own language.]

He represents his knowledge of their continued progress, and even of
their first initiation, in the truths of the Gospel, as derived from the
report of others. He describes himself as _hearing_ of their faith in
Christ and their love to the saints[81]. He recalls the day when he
first _heard_ of their Christian profession and zeal[82]. .[Sidenote:
Silence of St Paul.]Though opportunities occur again and again where he
would naturally have referred to his direct personal relations with
them, if he had been their evangelist, he abstains from any such
reference. He speaks of their being instructed in the Gospel, of his own
preaching the Gospel, several times in the course of the letter, but he
never places the two in any direct connexion, though the one reference
stands in the immediate neighbourhood of the other[83]. Moreover, if he
had actually visited Colossæ, it must appear strange that he should not
once allude to any incident occurring during his sojourn there, for this
epistle would then be the single exception to his ordinary practice. And
lastly; in one passage at least, if interpreted in its natural sense, he
declares that the Colossians were personally unknown to him: ‘I would
have you know,’ he writes, ‘how great a conflict I have for you and them
that are in Laodicea and as many as have not seen my face in the

Footnote 81:

  Col. i. 4.

Footnote 82:

  i. 9 διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς, ἀφ’ ἥς ἡμέρας ἠκούσαμεν, οὐ παυόμεθα, κ.τ.λ.
  This corresponds to ver. 6 καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀφ’ ἧς ἡμέρας ἠκούσατε
  καὶ ἐπέγνωτε τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ. The day when they first
  heard the preaching of the Gospel, and the day when he first heard the
  tidings of this fact, are set against each other.

Footnote 83:

  e.g. i. 5–8, 21–23, 25, 28, 29. ii. 5, 6.

Footnote 84:

  ii. 1 θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ἡλίκον ἀγῶνα ἔχω ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν
  Λαοδικείᾳ καὶ ὅσοι οὐχ ἑώρακαν τὸ πρόσωπόν μου ἐν σαρκί, ἵνα
  παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν, συμβιβασθέντες κ.τ.λ. The question of
  interpretation is whether the people of Colossæ and Laodicea belong to
  the same category with the ὅσοι, or not. The latter view is taken by
  one or two ancient interpreters (e.g. Theodoret in his introduction to
  the epistle), and has been adopted by several modern critics. Yet it
  is opposed alike to grammatical and logical considerations. (1) The
  grammatical form is unfavourable; for the preposition ὑπὲρ is not
  repeated, so that all the persons mentioned are included under a
  vinculum. (2) No adequate sense can be extracted from the passage, so
  interpreted. For in this case what is the drift of the enumeration? If
  intended to be exhaustive, it does not fulfil the purpose; for nothing
  is said of others whom he had seen beside the Colossians and
  Laodiceans. If not intended to be exhaustive, it is meaningless; for
  there is no reason why the Colossians and Laodiceans especially should
  be set off against those whom he had not seen, or indeed why in this
  connexion those whom he had not seen should be mentioned at all. The
  whole context shows that the Apostle is dwelling on his spiritual
  communion with and interest in those with whom he has had no personal
  communications. St Jerome (_Ep._ cxxx. ad Demetr. § 2) has rightly
  caught the spirit of the passage; ‘Ignoti ad ignotam scribimus,
  dumtaxat juxta faciem corporalem. Alioquin interior homo pulcre sibi
  cognitus est illa notitia qua et Paulus apostolus Colossenses
  multosque credentium noverat quos ante non viderat.’ For parallels to
  this use of καὶ ὅσοι, see the note on the passage.

[Sidenote: Epaphras was the evangelist of this district.]

But, if he was not directly their evangelist, yet to him they were
indirectly indebted for their knowledge of the truth. Epaphras had been
his delegate to them, his representative in Christ. By Epaphras they had
been converted to the Gospel. This is the evident meaning of a passage
in the opening of the epistle, which has been much obscured by
misreading and mistranslation, and which may be paraphrased thus: ‘The
Gospel, which has spread and borne fruit throughout the rest of the
world, has been equally successful among yourselves. This fertile growth
has been manifested in you from the first day when the message of God’s
grace was preached to you, and accepted by you—preached not as now with
adulterations by these false teachers, but in its genuine simplicity by
Epaphras our beloved fellowservant; he has been a faithful minister of
Christ and a faithful representative of us, and from him we have
received tidings of your love in the Spirit’[85].

Footnote 85:

  i. 6 ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ ἔστιν καρποφορούμενον καὶ αὐξανόμενον, καθὼς
  καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀφ’ ἤς ἡμέρας ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐπέγνωτε τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν
  ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου ἡμῶν, ὅς
  ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν διάκονος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ καὶ δηλώσας ἡμῖν τὴν
  ὑμῶν ἀγάπην ἐν πνεύματι.

  The various readings which obscure the meaning are these. (i) The
  received text for καθὼς ἐμάθετε has καθὼς καὶ ἐμάθετε. With this
  reading the passage suggests that the instructions of Epaphras were
  _superadded to_, and so distinct from, the original evangelization of
  Colossæ; whereas the correct text identifies them. (ii) For ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν
  the received reading is ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν. Thus the fact that St Paul did not
  preach at Colossæ in person, but _through his representative_, is
  obliterated. In both cases the authority for the readings which I have
  adopted against the received text is overwhelming.

  The obscurity of rendering is in καθὼς [καὶ] ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ,
  translated in our English Version by the ambiguous expression, ‘as ye
  also learned of Epaphras.’ The true force of the words is, ‘according
  as ye were taught by Epaphras,’ being an explanation of ἐν ἀληθείᾳ.
  See the notes on the passage.]

[Sidenote: St Paul’s residence at Ephesus instrumental in their

How or when the conversion of the Colossians took place, we have no
direct information. Yet it can hardly be wrong to connect the event with
St Paul’s long sojourn at Ephesus. Here he remained preaching for three
whole years. It is possible indeed that during this period he paid short
visits to other neighbouring cities of Asia: [Sidenote: A.D. 54–57.] but
if so, the notices in the Acts oblige us to suppose these interruptions
to his residence in Ephesus to have been slight and infrequent[86]. Yet,
though the Apostle himself was stationary in the capital, the Apostle’s
influence and teaching spread far beyond the limits of the city and its
immediate neighbourhood. It was hardly an exaggeration when Demetrius
declared that ‘almost throughout all Asia this Paul had persuaded and
turned away much people’[87]. The sacred historian himself uses equally
strong language in describing the effects of the Apostle’s preaching;
‘All they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and
Greeks’[88]. In accordance with these notices, the Apostle himself in an
epistle written during this sojourn sends salutations to Corinth, not
from the Church of Ephesus specially, as might have been anticipated,
but from the ‘Churches of Asia’ generally[89]. St Luke, it should be
observed, ascribes this dissemination of the Gospel, not to journeys
undertaken by the Apostle, but to his preaching at Ephesus itself[90].
Thither, as to the metropolis of Western Asia, would flock crowds from
all the towns and villages far and near. Thence they would carry away,
each to his own neighbourhood, the spiritual treasure which they had so
unexpectedly found.

Footnote 86:

  See especially xx. 18 ‘Ye know, from the first day when I set foot on
  Asia, how I was with you _all the time_’, and ver. 31 ‘For three years
  _night and day I ceased not_ warning every one with tears.’ As it
  seems necessary to allow for a brief visit to Corinth (2 Cor. xii. 14,
  xiii. 1) during this period, other interruptions of long duration
  should not be postulated.

Footnote 87:

  Acts xix. 26.

Footnote 88:

  Acts xix. 10.

Footnote 89:

  1 Cor. xvi. 19 ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῆς Ἀσίας. In accordance
  with these facts it should be noticed that St Paul himself alluding to
  this period speaks of ‘Asia’, as the scene of his ministry (2 Cor. i.
  8, Rom. xvi. 5).

Footnote 90:

  Acts xix. 10 ‘disputing daily in the School of Tyrannus; and this
  continued for two years, so that all they which dwelt in Asia, etc.’

[Sidenote: Close alliance of these cities with Ephesus.]

Among the places thus represented at the Asiatic metropolis would
doubtless be the cities lying in the valley of the Lycus. The bonds of
amity between these places and Ephesus appear to have been unusually
strong. The _Concord of the Laodiceans and Ephesians_, the _Concord of
the Hierapolitans and Ephesians_, are repeatedly commemorated on medals
struck for the purpose[91]. [Sidenote: The work of Philemon and
Nymphas,] Thus the Colossians, Epaphras and Philemon, the latter with
his household[92], and perhaps also the Laodicean Nymphas[93], would
fall in with the Apostle of the Gentiles and hear from his lips the
first tidings of a heavenly life.

Footnote 91:

  λαοδικεων . εφεϲιων . ομονοια, Eckhel III. p. 165, Mionnet IV. p. 324,
  325, 331, 332, _Suppl._ VII. p. 583, 586, 589; ιεραπολειτων . εφεσιων
  . ομονοια, Eckhel III. p. 155, 157, Mionnet IV. p. 299, 300, 307,
  _Suppl._ VII. p. 569, 571, 572, 574, 575. See Steiger _Kolosser_ p.
  50, and comp. Krause _Civitat. Neocor._ § 20.

Footnote 92:

  Philem. 1, 2, 19.

Footnote 93:

  Col. iv. 15. On the question whether the name is _Nymphas_ or
  _Nympha_, see the notes there.

[Sidenote: but especially Epaphras.]

But, whatever service may have been rendered by Philemon at Colossæ, or
by Nymphas at Laodicea, it was to Epaphras especially that all the three
cities were indebted for their knowledge of the Gospel. Though he was a
Colossian by birth, the fervency of his prayers and the energy of his
love are represented as extending equally to Laodicea and
Hierapolis[94]. It is obvious that he looked upon himself as responsible
for the spiritual well-being of all alike.

Footnote 94:

  iv. 12, 13.

[Sidenote: St Paul still a stranger to this district.]

We pass over a period of five or six years. St Paul’s first captivity in
Rome is now drawing to a close. During this interval he has not once
visited the valley of the Lycus. He has, it is true, skirted the coast
and called at Miletus, which lies near the mouth of the Mæander; but,
though the elders of Ephesus were summoned to meet him there[95], no
mention is made of any representatives from these more distant towns.

Footnote 95:

  Acts xx. 16, 17.

[Sidenote: His imprisonment at Rome.]

I have elsewhere described the Apostle’s circumstances during his
residence in Rome, so far as they are known to us[96]. It is sufficient
to say here, that though he is still a prisoner, friends new and old
minister freely to his wants. Meanwhile the alienation of the Judaic
Christians is complete. Three only, remaining faithful to him, are
commemorated as honourable exceptions in the general desertion[97].

Footnote 96:

  See _Philippians_ p. 6 sq.

Footnote 97:

  Col. iv. 10, 11. See _Philippians_ p. 17 sq.

[Sidenote: Colossæ brought before his notice by two incidents.]

We have seen that Colossæ was an unimportant place, and that it had no
direct personal claims on the Apostle. We might therefore feel surprise
that, thus doubly disqualified, it should nevertheless attract his
special attention at a critical moment, when severe personal trials were
superadded to ‘the care of all the churches.’ But two circumstances, the
one affecting his public duties, the other private and personal,
happening at this time, conspired to bring Colossæ prominently before
his notice.

[Sidenote: 1. The mission of EPAPHRAS.]

1. He had received a visit from EPAPHRAS. The dangerous condition of the
Colossian and neighbouring churches had filled the mind of their
evangelist with alarm. A strange form of heresy had broken out in these
brotherhoods—a combination of Judaic formalism with Oriental mystic
speculation—and was already spreading rapidly. His distress was extreme.
He gratefully acknowledged and reported their faith in Christ and their
works of love[98]. But this only quickened his anxiety. He had ‘much
toil for them’; he was ‘ever wrestling in his prayers on their behalf,’
that they might stand fast and not abandon the simplicity of their
earlier faith[99]. He came to Rome, we may suppose, for the express
purpose of laying this state of things before the Apostle and seeking
his counsel and assistance.

Footnote 98:

  i. 4, 8.

Footnote 99:

  iv. 12, 13.

[Sidenote: 2. ONESIMUS a fugitive in Rome.]

2. But at the time when Epaphras paid this visit, St Paul was also in
communication with another Colossian, who had visited Rome under very
different circumstances. ONESIMUS, the runaway slave, had sought the
metropolis, the common sink of all nations[100], probably as a
convenient hiding place, where he might escape detection among its
crowds and make a livelihood as best he could. Here, perhaps
accidentally, perhaps through the intervention of Epaphras, he fell in
with his master’s old friend. The Apostle interested himself in his
case, instructed him in the Gospel, and transformed him from a
good-for-nothing slave[101] into a ‘faithful and beloved brother[102].’

Footnote 100:

  Tac. _An._ xv. 44.

Footnote 101:

  Philem. 11 τόν ποτέ σοι ἄχρηστον κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 102:

  Col. iv. 9; comp. Philem. 16.

[Sidenote: The Apostle despatches three letters simultaneously.]

This combination of circumstances called the Apostle’s attention to the
Churches of the Lycus, and more especially to Colossæ. His letters,
which had been found ‘weighty and powerful’ in other cases, might not be
unavailing now; and in this hope he took up his pen. Three epistles were
written and despatched at the same time to this district.


1. He addresses a special letter to the COLOSSIANS, written in the joint
names of himself and Timothy, warning them against the errors of the
false teachers. He gratefully acknowledges the report which he has
received of their love and zeal[103]. He assures them of the conflict
which agitates him on their behalf[104]. He warns them to be on their
guard against the delusive logic of enticing words, against the vain
deceit of a false philosophy[105]. [Sidenote: The theological and the
practical error of the Colossians.]The purity of their Christianity is
endangered by two errors, recommended to them by their heretical
leaders—the one theological, the other practical—but both alike
springing from the same source, the conception of matter as the origin
and abode of evil. Thus, regarding God and matter as directly
antagonistic and therefore apart from and having no communication with
each other, they sought to explain the creation and government of the
world by interposing a series of intermediate beings, emanations or
angels, to whom accordingly they offered worship. At the same time,
since they held that evil resided, not in the rebellious spirit of man,
but in the innate properties of matter, they sought to overcome it by a
rigid ascetic discipline, which failed after all to touch the springs of
action. [Sidenote: The proper corrective to both lies in the Christ of
the Gospel.]As both errors flowed from the same source, they must be
corrected by the application of the same remedy, the Christ of the
Gospel. In the Person of Christ, the one mediator between heaven and
earth, is the true solution of the theological difficulty. Through the
Life in Christ, the purification of the heart through faith and love, is
the effectual triumph over moral evil[106]. [Sidenote: References to
Epaphras.]St Paul therefore prescribes to the Colossians the true
teaching of the Gospel, as the best antidote to the twofold danger which
threatens at once their theological creed and their moral principles;
while at the same time he enforces his lesson by the claims of personal
affection, appealing to the devotion of their evangelist Epaphras on
their behalf[107].

Footnote 103:

  i. 3–9, 21 sq.

Footnote 104:

  ii. 1 sq.

Footnote 105:

  ii. 4, 8, 18.

Footnote 106:

  i. 1–20, ii. 9, iii. 4. The two threads are closely interwoven in St
  Paul’s refutation, as these references will show. The connexion of the
  two errors, as arising from the same false principle, will be
  considered more in detail in the next chapter.

Footnote 107:

  i. 7, iv. 12.

Of Epaphras himself we know nothing beyond the few but significant
notices which connect him with Colossæ[108]. He did not return to
Colossæ as the bearer of the letter, but remained behind with St
Paul[109]. As St Paul in a contemporary epistle designates him his
fellow-prisoner[110], it may be inferred that his zeal and affection had
involved him in the Apostle’s captivity, and that his continuance in
Rome was enforced. But however this may be, the letter was placed in the
hands of Tychicus, a native of proconsular Asia, probably of
Ephesus[111],[Sidenote: Tychicus and Onesimus accompany the letter.] who
was entrusted with a wider mission at this time, and in its discharge
would be obliged to visit the valley of the Lycus[112]. At the same time
he was accompanied by Onesimus, whom the Colossians had only known
hitherto as a worthless slave, but who now returns to them with the
stamp of the Apostle’s warm approval. St Paul says very little about
himself, because Tychicus and Onesimus would be able by word of mouth to
communicate all information to the Colossians[113]. [Sidenote: The
salutations.]But he sends one or two salutations which deserve a few
words of explanation. Epaphras of course greets his fellow-townsmen and
children in the faith. Other names are those of Aristarchus the
Thessalonian, who had been with the Apostle at Ephesus[114] and may
possibly have formed some personal connexion with the Colossians at that
time: Mark, against whom apparently the Apostle fears that a prejudice
may be entertained (perhaps the fact of his earlier desertion, and of St
Paul’s dissatisfaction in consequence[115], may have been widely known),
and for whom therefore he asks a favourable reception at his approaching
visit to Colossæ, according to instructions which they had already
received; and Jesus the Just, of whose relations with the Colossians we
know nothing, and whose only claim to a mention may have been his
singular fidelity to the Apostle at a critical juncture. Salutations
moreover are added from Luke and from Demas; and here again their close
companionship with the Apostle is, so far as we know, the sole cause of
their names appearing[116].

Footnote 108:

  For the reasons why Epaphras cannot be identified with Epaphroditus,
  who is mentioned in the Philippian letter, see _Philippians_ p. 60,
  note 4. The later tradition, which makes him bishop of Colossæ, is
  doubtless an inference from St Paul’s language and has no independent
  value. The further statement of the martyrologies, that he suffered
  martyrdom for his flock, can hardly be held to deserve any higher
  credit. His day is the 19th of July in the Western Calendar. His body
  is said to lie in the Church of S. Maria Maggiore at Rome.

Footnote 109:

  Col. iv. 12.

Footnote 110:

  Philem. 23 ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου. The word may possibly have a
  metaphorical sense (see _Philippians_ p. 11); but the literal meaning
  is more probable. St Jerome on Philem. 23 (VII. p. 762) gives the
  story that St Paul’s parents were natives of Giscala and, when the
  Romans invaded and wasted Judæa, were banished thence with their son
  to Tarsus. He adds that Epaphras may have been St Paul’s
  fellow-prisoner at this time, and have been removed with his parents
  to Colossæ. It is not quite clear whether this statement respecting
  Epaphras is part of the tradition, or Jerome’s own conjecture appended
  to it.

Footnote 111:

  Acts xx. 4, 2 Tim. iv. 12.

Footnote 112:

  See below, p. 37.

Footnote 113:

  Col. iv. 7–9.

Footnote 114:

  Acts xix. 29.

Footnote 115:

  Acts xiii. 13, xv. 37–39.

Footnote 116:

  Col. iv. 10–14.

[Sidenote: Charge respecting Laodicea.]

Lastly, the Laodiceans were closely connected with the Colossians by
local and spiritual ties. To the Church of Laodicea therefore, and to
the household of one Nymphas who was a prominent member of it, he sends
greeting. At the same time he directs them to interchange letters with
the Laodiceans; for to Laodicea also he had written. And he closes his
salutations with a message to Archippus, a resident either at Colossæ or
at Laodicea (for on this point we are left to conjecture), who held some
important office in the Church, and respecting whose zeal he seems to
have entertained a misgiving[117].

Footnote 117:

  iv. 15–17.

[Sidenote: 2. The LETTER TO PHILEMON.]

2. But, while providing for the spiritual welfare of the whole Colossian
Church, he did not forget the temporal interests of its humblest member.
Having attended to the solicitations of the evangelist Epaphras, he
addressed himself to the troubles of the runaway slave Onesimus. The
mission of Tychicus to Colossæ was a favourable opportunity of restoring
him to Philemon; for Tychicus, well known as the Apostle’s friend and
fellow-labourer, might throw the shield of his protection over him and
avert the worst consequences of Philemon’s anger. But, not content with
this measure of precaution, the Apostle himself writes to PHILEMON on
the offender’s behalf, recommending him as a changed man[118], and
claiming forgiveness for him as a return due from Philemon to himself as
to his spiritual father[119].

Footnote 118:

  Philem. 11, 16.

Footnote 119:

  ver. 19.

The salutations in this letter are the same as those in the Epistle to
the Colossians with the exception of Jesus Justus, whose name is
omitted[120]. Towards the close St Paul declares his hope of release and
intention of visiting Colossæ, and asks Philemon to ‘prepare a lodging’
for him[121].

Footnote 120:

  vv. 23, 24.

Footnote 121:

  ver. 22.

[Sidenote: 3. The CIRCULAR LETTER, of which a copy is sent to LAODICEA.]

3. But at the same time with the two letters destined especially for
Colossæ, the Apostle despatched a third, which had a wider scope. It has
been already mentioned that Tychicus was charged with a mission to the
Asiatic Churches. It has been noticed also that the Colossians were
directed to procure and read a letter in the possession of the
Laodiceans. These two facts are closely connected. The Apostle wrote at
this time a circular letter to the Asiatic Churches, which got its
ultimate designation from the metropolitan city and is consequently
known to us as the Epistle to the EPHESIANS[122]. It was the immediate
object of Tychicus’ journey to deliver copies of this letter at all the
principal centres of Christianity in the district, and at the same time
to communicate by word of mouth the Apostle’s special messages to
each[123]. Among these centres was Laodicea. Thus his mission brought
him into the immediate neighbourhood of Colossæ. But he was not charged
to deliver another copy of the circular letter at Colossæ itself, for
this Church would be regarded only as a dependency of Laodicea; and
besides he was the bearer of a special letter from the Apostle to them.
It was sufficient therefore to provide that the Laodicean copy should be
circulated and read at Colossæ.

Footnote 122:

  See the introduction to the epistle.

Footnote 123:

  Ephes. vi. 21, 22.

[Sidenote: Personal links connecting the three letters.]

Thus the three letters are closely related. Tychicus is the personal
link of connexion between the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the
Colossians; Onesimus between those to the Colossians and to Philemon.

For reasons given elsewhere[124], it would appear that these three
letters were written and despatched towards the close of [Sidenote:
Earthquake in the Lycus Valley.]the Apostle’s captivity, about the year
63. At some time not very distant from this date, a great catastrophe
overtook the cities of the Lycus valley. An earthquake was no uncommon
occurrence in this region[125]. But on this occasion the shock had been
unusually violent, and Laodicea, the flourishing and populous, was laid
in ruins. Tacitus, who is our earliest authority for this fact, places
it in the year 60 and is silent about the neighbouring towns[126].
Eusebius however makes it subsequent [Sidenote: Its probable date.]to
the burning of Rome (A.D. 64), and mentions Hierapolis and Colossæ also
as involved in the disaster[127]; while later writers, adopting the date
of Eusebius and including the three cities with him, represent it as one
of a series of divine judgments on the heathen world for the persecution
of the Christians which followed on the fire[128]. Having no direct
knowledge of the source from which Eusebius derived his information, we
should naturally be disposed to accept the authority of Tacitus for the
date, as more trustworthy. But, as indications occur elsewhere that
Eusebius followed unusually good authorities in recording these
earthquakes[129], it is far from improbable that he [Sidenote: Bearing
on the chronology of these letters.] gives the correct date[130]. In
this case the catastrophe was subsequent to the writing of these
letters. If on the other hand the year named by Tacitus be adopted, we
gain a subsidiary confirmation of the comparatively late date which I
have ventured to assign to these epistles on independent grounds; for,
if they had been written two years earlier, when the blow was recent, we
might reasonably have expected to find some reference to a disaster
which had devastated Laodicea and from which Colossæ cannot have escaped
altogether without injury. The additional fact mentioned by the Roman
historian, that Laodicea was rebuilt from her own resources without the
usual assistance from Rome[131], is valuable as illustrating a later
notice in the Apostolic writings[132].

Footnote 124:

  See _Philippians_ p. 29 sq.; where reasons are given for placing the
  Philippian Epistle at an earlier, and the others at a later stage in
  the Apostle’s captivity.

Footnote 125:

  See above, p. 3. Laodicea was visited by the following earthquakes in
  the ages preceding and subsequent to the Christian era.

  (1) Before about B.C. 125, _Orac. Sibyll._ iii. 471, if the date now
  commonly assigned to this Sibylline Oracle be correct, and if the
  passage is to be regarded as a prophecy after the event. In iii. 347
  Hierapolis is also mentioned as suffering in the same way; but it may
  be questioned whether the Phrygian city is meant.

  (2) About B.C. 12, Strabo xii. 8, p. 579, Dion Cass. liv. 30. Strabo
  names only Laodicea and Tralles, but Dion Cassius says ἡ Ἀσία τὸ ἔθνος
  ἐπικουρίας τινὸς διὰ σεισμοὺς μάλιστα ἐδεῖτο.

  (3) A.D. 60 according to Tacitus (_Ann._ xiv. 27); A.D. 64 or 65
  according to Eusebius (_Chron._ s.a.), who includes also Hierapolis
  and Colossæ. To this earthquake allusion is made in a Sibylline Oracle
  written not many years after the event; _Orac. Sibyll._ iv. 107 (see
  also v. 289, vii. 23).

  (4) Between A.D. 222 and A.D. 235, in the reign of Alexander Severus,
  as we learn from another Sibylline Oracle (xii. 280). On this occasion
  Hierapolis also suffered.

  This list will probably be found not to have exhausted all these
  catastrophes on record.

  The following earthquakes also are mentioned as happening in the
  neighbouring towns or in the district generally: the date uncertain,
  _Carura_ (Strabo xii. 8, p. 578); A.D. 17 the _twelve cities_,
  _Sardis_ being the worst sufferer (Tac. _Ann._ ii. 7, Plin. _N.H._ ii.
  86, Dion Cass. lvii. 17, Strabo xii. 8, p. 579); A.D. 23 _Cibyra_
  (Tac. _Ann._ iv. 13); A.D. 53 _Apamea_ (Tac. _Ann._ xii. 58): about
  A.D. 155, under Antoninus Pius, ‘Rhodiorum et _Asiæ_ oppida’ (Capitol.
  _Anton. Pius_ 9); A.D. 178, under M. Aurelius, _Smyrna_ and other
  cities (_Chron. Pasch._ I. p. 489, ed. Dind., Aristid. _Or._ xx, xxi,
  xli; see Clinton _Fast. Rom._ I. p. 176 sq., Hertzberg _Griechenland_
  etc. II. pp. 371, 410); A.D. 262, under Gallienus II (Trebell.
  _Gallien._ 5 ‘Malum tristius in _Asiæ_ urbibus fuit ... hiatus terræ
  plurimis in locis fuerunt, cum aqua salsa in fossis appareret,’ ib. 6
  ‘vastatam _Asiam_ ... elementorum concussionibus’). Strabo says (p.
  579) that _Philadelphia_ is more or less shaken daily (καθ’ ἡμέραν),
  and that _Apamea_ has suffered from numerous earthquakes.

Footnote 126:

  Tac. _Ann._ xiv. 27 ‘Eodem anno ex inlustribus Asiæ urbibus Laodicea,
  tremore terræ prolapsa, nullo a nobis remedio propriis opibus
  revaluit.’ The year is given ‘Nerone iv, Corn. Cosso consulibus’ (xiv.
  20). Two different writers, in _Smith’s Dictionary of Geography_ and
  _Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible_, s.v. Laodicea, place the
  destruction of Laodicea in the reign of Tiberius, confusing this
  earthquake with an earlier one (_Ann._ ii. 47). By this earlier
  earthquake ‘duodecim celebres Asiæ urbes conlapsæ,’ but their names
  are given, and not one is situated in the valley of the Lycus.

Footnote 127:

  Euseb. _Chron._ Ol. 210 (II. p. 154 sq., ed. Schöne) ‘In Asia tres
  urbes terræ motu conciderunt Laodicea Hierapolis Colossæ.’ The
  Armenian version and Jerome agree in placing it the next event in
  order after the fire at Rome (A.D. 64), though there is a difference
  of a year in the two texts. If the Sibylline Oracle, v. 317, refers to
  this earthquake, as seems probable, we have independent testimony that
  Hierapolis was involved in the catastrophe; comp. _ib._ v. 289.

Footnote 128:

  This is evidently the idea of Orosius, vii. 7.

Footnote 129:

  I draw this inference from his account of the earthquake in the reign
  of Tiberius. Tacitus (_Ann._ ii. 47) states that _twelve_ cities were
  ruined in one night, and records their names. Pliny also, who mentions
  this earthquake as ‘the greatest within the memory of man’ (_N.H._ ii.
  86), gives the same number. Eusebius however, _Chron._ Ol. 198 (II. p.
  146 sq., ed. Schöne), names _thirteen_ cities, coinciding with Tacitus
  as far as he goes, but including Ephesus also. Now a monument was
  found at Puteoli (see Gronov. _Thes._ _Græc. Ant._ VII. p. 433 sq.),
  and is now in the Museum at Naples (_Museo Borbonico_ XV, Tav. iv, v),
  dedicated to Tiberius and representing _fourteen_ female figures with
  the names of fourteen Asiatic cities underneath; these names being the
  same as those mentioned by Tacitus with the addition of Ephesus and
  Cibyra. There can be no doubt that this was one of those monuments
  mentioned by Apollonius quoted in Phlegon (_Fragm._ 42, Müller’s
  _Fragm. Hist. Græc._ III. p. 621) as erected to commemorate the
  liberality of Tiberius in contributing to the restoration of the
  ruined cities (see Eckhel _Doct. Num. Vet._ VI. 192 sq.). But no
  earthquake at Ephesus is mentioned by Tacitus. He does indeed speak of
  such a catastrophe as happening at Cibyra (_Ann._ iv. 13) six years
  later than the one which ruined the twelve cities, and of the relief
  which Tiberius afforded on this latter occasion as on the former. But
  we owe to Eusebius alone the fact that Ephesus also was seriously
  injured by an earthquake in the same year—perhaps not on the same
  night—with the twelve cities: and this fact is necessary to explain
  the monument. It should be added that Nipperdey (on Tac. _Ann._ ii.
  47) supposes the earthquake at Ephesus to have been recorded in the
  lost portion of the fifth book of the _Annals_ which comprised the
  years A.D. 29–31; but this bare hypothesis cannot outweigh the direct
  testimony of Eusebius.

Footnote 130:

  Hertzberg (_Geschichte Griechenlands unter der Herrschaft der Römer_,
  II. p. 96) supposes that Tacitus and Eusebius refer to two different
  events, and that Laodicea was visited by earthquakes twice within a
  few years, A.D. 60 and A.D. 65.

Footnote 131:

  Tac. _Ann._ xiv. 27, quoted above, p. 38, note 126. To this fact
  allusion is made in the feigned prediction of the Sibyllines, iv. 107
  Τλῆμον Λαοδίκεια, σὲ δὲ τρώσει ποτὲ σεισμὸς πρηνίξας, στήσει δὲ πάλιν
  πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν, where στήσει must be the 2nd person, ‘Thou wilt
  rebuild thy city with its broad streets.’ This Sibylline poem was
  written about the year 80. The building of the amphitheatre mentioned
  above (p. 6, note 6), would form part of this work of reconstruction.

Footnote 132:

  See below, p. 43.

[Sidenote: St Mark’s intended visit.]

It has been seen that, when these letters were written, St Mark was
intending shortly to visit Colossæ, and that the Apostle himself,
looking forward to his release, hoped at length to make a personal
acquaintance with these Churches, which hitherto he knew only through
the report of others. Whether St Mark’s visit was ever paid or not, we
have no means of determining[133]. Of St Paul himself it is reasonable
to assume, [Sidenote: St Paul probably visits Colossæ.] that in the
interval between his first and second Roman captivity he found some
opportunity of carrying out his design. At all events we find him at
Miletus, near to the mouth of the Mæander[134]; and the journey between
this place and Laodicea is neither long nor difficult.

Footnote 133:

  Two notices however imply that St Mark had some personal connexion
  with Asia Minor in the years immediately succeeding the date of this
  reference: (1) St Peter, writing to the Churches of Asia Minor, sends
  a salutation from St Mark (1 Pet. v. 13); (2) St Paul gives charge to
  Timothy, who appears to be still residing at Ephesus, to take up Mark
  and bring him to Rome (2 Tim. iv. 11 Μάρκον ἀναλαβὼν ἄγε μετὰ
  σεαυτοῦ). Thus it seems fairly probable that St Mark’s projected visit
  to Colossæ was paid.

Footnote 134:

  2 Tim. iv. 20. By a strange error Lequien (_Oriens Christ._ I. p. 833)
  substitutes Hierapolis for Nicopolis in Tit. iii. 12, and argues from
  the passage that the Church of Hierapolis was founded by St Paul.

[Sidenote: St John in Asia Minor.]

At the time of this visit—the first and last, we may suppose, which he
paid to the valley of the Lycus—St Paul’s direction of the Asiatic
Churches is drawing to a close. With his death they pass into the hands
of St John[135], who takes up his abode in Asia Minor. Of Colossæ and
Hierapolis we hear nothing more in the New Testament: but from his exile
in[Sidenote: The message to Laodicea.] Patmos the beloved disciple
delivers his Lord’s message to the Church of Laodicea[136]; a message
doubtless intended to be communicated also to the two subordinate
Churches, to which it would apply almost equally well.

Footnote 135:

  It was apparently during the interval between St Paul’s first
  captivity at Rome and his death, that St Peter wrote to the Churches
  of Asia Minor (1 Pet. i. 1). Whether in this interval he also visited
  personally the districts evangelized directly or indirectly by St
  Paul, we have no means of deciding. Such a visit is far from unlikely,
  but it can hardly have been of long duration. A copy of his letters
  would probably be sent to Laodicea, as a principal centre of
  Christianity in Proconsular Asia, which is among the provinces
  mentioned in the address of the First Epistle.

Footnote 136:

  Rev. iii. 14–21.

[Sidenote: Correspondences between the Apocalypse and St Paul’s

The message communicated by St John to Laodicea prolongs the note which
was struck by St Paul in the letter to Colossæ. An interval of a very
few years has not materially altered the character of these Churches.
Obviously the same temper prevails, the same errors are rife, the same
correction must be applied.

[Sidenote: 1. The doctrine of the Person of Christ,]

1. Thus, while St Paul finds it necessary to enforce the truth that
Christ is the image of the invisible God, that in Him all the divine
fulness dwells, that He existed before all things, that through Him all
things were created and in Him all things are sustained, that He is the
primary source (ἀρχή) and has the pre-eminence in all things[137]; so in
almost identical language St John, speaking in the person of our Lord,
declares that He is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the primary
source (ἀρχή) of the creation of God[138]. Some lingering shreds of the
old heresy, we may suppose, still hung about these Churches, and instead
of ‘holding fast the Head’ they were even yet prone to substitute
intermediate agencies, angelic mediators, as links in the chain which
should bind man to God. They still failed to realise the majesty and
significance, the _completeness_, of the Person of Christ.

Footnote 137:

  Col. i. 15–18.

Footnote 138:

  Rev. iii. 14. It should be observed that this designation of our Lord
  (ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ), which so closely resembles the language
  of the Colossian Epistle, does not occur in the messages to the other
  six Churches, nor do we there find anything resembling it.

[Sidenote: and practical duties which follow upon it.]

And the practical duty also, which follows from the recognition of the
theological truth, is enforced by both Apostles in very similar
language. If St Paul entreats the Colossians to seek those things which
are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God[139], and in
the companion epistle, which also he directs them to read, reminds the
Churches that God raised them with Christ and seated them with him in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus[140]; in like manner St John gives this
promise to the Laodiceans in the name of his Lord: ‘He that overcometh,
I will grant to him to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame
and did sit with my Father in His throne[141]’.

Footnote 139:

  Col. iii. 1.

Footnote 140:

  Ephes. ii. 6 συνήγειρεν καὶ συνεκάθισεν κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 141:

  Rev. iii. 21 δώσω αὐτῷ καθίσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ, κ.τ.λ. Here again it must be
  noticed that there is no such resemblance in the language of the
  promises to the faithful in the other six Churches. This double
  coincidence, affecting the two ideas which may be said to cover the
  whole ground in the Epistle to the Colossians, can hardly, I think, be
  fortuitous, and suggests an acquaintance with and recognition of the
  earlier Apostle’s teaching on the part of St John.

[Sidenote: 2. Warning against lukewarmness.]

2. But again; after a parting salutation to the Church of Laodicea St
Paul closes with a warning to Archippus, apparently its chief pastor, to
take heed to his ministry[142]. Some signs of slackened zeal seem to
have called forth this rebuke. It may be an accidental coincidence, but
it is at least worthy of notice, that lukewarmness is the special sin
denounced in the angel of the Laodiceans, and that the necessity of
greater earnestness is the burden of the message to that Church[143]. As
with the people, so is it with the priest. The community takes its
colour from and communicates its colour to its spiritual rulers. The ‘be
zealous’ of St John is the counterpart to the ‘take heed’ of St Paul.

Footnote 142:

  Col. iv. 17.

Footnote 143:

  Rev. iii. 19. If the common view, that by the angel of the Church its
  chief pastor is meant, were correct, and if Archippus (as is very
  probable) had been living when St John wrote, the coincidence would be
  still more striking; see Trench’s _Epistles to the Seven Churches in
  Asia_, p. 180. But for reasons given elsewhere (Philippians p. 197
  sq.), this interpretation of the angels seems to me incorrect.

[Sidenote: 3. The pride of wealth denounced.]

3. Lastly; in the Apocalyptic message the pride of wealth is sternly
condemned in the Laodicean Church: ‘For that thou sayest I am rich and
have gotten me riches and have need of nothing, and knowest not that
thou art utterly wretched and miserable and beggarly and blind and
naked, I counsel thee to buy gold of me refined with fire, that thou
mayest have riches[144].’ This proud vaunt receives its best
illustration from a recent occurrence at Laodicea, to which allusion has
already been made. Only a very few years before this date an earthquake
had laid the city in ruins. Yet from this catastrophe she rose again
with more than her former splendour. [Sidenote: The vaunt of
Laodicea.]This however was not her chief title to respect. While other
cities, prostrated by a like visitation, had sought relief from the
concessions of the Roman senate or the liberality of the emperor’s
purse, it was the glory of Laodicea that she alone neither courted nor
obtained assistance, but recovered by her own resources. ‘Nullo a nobis
remedio,’ says the Roman historian, ‘propriis opibus revaluit[145].’
Thus she had asserted a proud independence, to which neither far-famed
metropolitan Ephesus, nor old imperial Sardis, nor her prosperous
commercial neighbours, Apamea and Cibyra, could lay claim[146]. No one
would dispute her boast that she ‘had gotten riches and had need of

Footnote 144:

  Rev. iii. 17, 18, where the correct reading with the repetition of the
  definite articles, ὁ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ὁ ἐλεινός, signifies the type, the
  embodiment of wretchedness, etc.

Footnote 145:

  Tac. Ann. xiv. 27.

Footnote 146:

  In all the other cases of earthquake which Tacitus records as
  happening in these Asiatic cities, Ann. ii. 47 (the twelve cities),
  iv. 13 (Cibyra), xii. 58 (Apamea), he mentions the fact of their
  obtaining relief from the Senate or the Emperor. On an earlier
  occasion Laodicea herself had not disdained under similar
  circumstances to receive assistance from Augustus: Strabo, xii. p.

[Sidenote: Pride of intellectual wealth.]

But is there not a second and subsidiary idea underlying the Apocalyptic
rebuke? The pride of intellectual wealth, we may well suspect, was a
temptation at Laodicea hardly less strong than the pride of material
resources. When St Paul wrote, the theology of the Gospel and the
comprehension of the Church were alike endangered by a spirit of
intellectual exclusiveness[147] in these cities. He warned them against
a vain philosophy, against a show of wisdom, against an intrusive mystic
speculation, which vainly puffed up the fleshly mind[148]. He tacitly
contrasted with this false intellectual wealth ‘the riches of the glory
of God’s mystery revealed in Christ[149],’ the riches of the full
assurance of understanding, the genuine treasures of wisdom and
knowledge[150]. May not the same contrast be discerned in the language
of St John? The Laodiceans boast of their enlightenment, but they are
blind, and to cure their blindness they must seek eye-salve from the
hands of the great Physician. They vaunt their wealth of knowledge, but
they are wretched paupers, and must beg the refined gold of the Gospel
to relieve their wants[151].

Footnote 147:

  See the next chapter of this introduction.

Footnote 148:

  Col. ii. 8, 18, 23.

Footnote 149:

  i. 27.

Footnote 150:

  ii. 2, 3.

Footnote 151:

  Comp. Eph. i. 18 ‘The _eyes of your understanding being enlightened_,
  that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the _riches of
  the glory of his inheritance_ in the saints.’

This is the last notice in the Apostolic records relating to the
Churches in the valley of the Lycus; but during the succeeding ages the
Christian communities of this district play a conspicuous part in the
struggles and the development of the Church. [Sidenote: The early
disciples settle in proconsular Asia]When after the destruction of
Jerusalem St John fixed his abode at Ephesus, it would appear that not a
few of the oldest surviving members of the Palestinian Church
accompanied him into ‘Asia,’ which henceforward became the head-quarters
of Apostolic authority. In this body of emigrants Andrew[152] and Philip
among the Twelve, Aristion and John the presbyter[153] among other
personal disciples of the Lord, are especially mentioned.

Footnote 152:

  _Canon Murator._ fol. 1, l. 14 (p. 17, ed. Tregelles), Cureton’s
  _Ancient Syriac Documents_ pp. 32, 34. Comp. Papias in Euseb. _H.E._
  iii. 39.

Footnote 153:

  Papias in Euseb. _H.E._ iii. 39.

[Sidenote: and especially at Hierapolis.]

Among the chief settlements of this Christian dispersion was Hierapolis.
This fact explains how these Phrygian Churches assumed a prominence in
the ecclesiastical history of the second century, for which we are
hardly prepared by their antecedents as they appear in connexion with St
Paul, and which they failed to maintain in the history of the later

Here at all events was settled Philip of Bethsaida[154], the [Sidenote:
Philip the Apostle with his daughters.] early friend and fellow-townsman
of St John, and the first Apostle who is recorded to have held
communication with the Gentiles[155]. Here he died and was buried; and
here after his decease lived his two virgin daughters, who survived to a
very advanced age and thus handed down to the second century the
traditions of the earliest days of the Church. A third daughter, who was
married, had settled in Ephesus, where her body rested[156]. [Sidenote:
Their traditions collected by Papias.]It was from the two daughters who
resided at Hierapolis, that Papias heard several stories of the first
preachers of the Gospel, which he transmitted to posterity in his

Footnote 154:

  Polycrates in Euseb. _H.E._ iii. 31, v. 24 Φίλιππον [τὸν] _τῶν
  δώδεκα ἀποστόλων_, ὃς κεκοίμηται ἐν Ἱεραπόλει, καὶ δύο θυγατέρες
  αὐτοῦ γεγηρακυῖαι παρθένοι, καὶ ἠ ἑτέρα αὐτοῦ θυγάτηρ ἐν ἁγίῳ πνεύματι
  πολιτευσαμένη, ἣ ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἀναπαύεται. To this third daughter the
  statement of Clement of Alexandria must refer, though by a common
  looseness of expression he uses the plural number (Euseb. _H.E._ iii.
  30), ἣ καὶ _τοὺς ἀποστόλους_ ἀποδοκιμάσουσι· Πέτρος μὲν γὰρ καὶ
  Φίλιππος ἐπαιδοποιήσαντο, Φίλιππος δὲ καὶ τὰς θυγατέρας ἀνδράσιν
  ἐξέδωκε. On the other hand in the _Dialogue between Caius and
  Proclus_, Philip the Evangelist was represented as residing at
  Hierapolis (Euseb. _H.E._ iii. 31) μετὰ τοῦτον δὲ προφήτιδες τέσσαρες
  αἱ Φίλιππου γεγένηνται ἐν Ἱεραπόλει τῇ κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν· ὁ τάφος αὐτῶν
  ἐστὶν ἐκεῖ, καὶ ὁ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν, where the mention of the _four_
  daughters _prophesying_ identifies the person meant (see Acts xxi. 8).
  Nothing can be clearer than that St Luke distinguishes Philip the
  Evangelist from Philip the Apostle; for (1) When the Seven are
  appointed, he distinctly states that this new office is created to
  relieve the Twelve of some onerous duties (Acts vi. 2–5). (2) After
  Philip the Evangelist has preached in Samaria, two of the Twelve are
  sent thither to convey the gifts of the Spirit, which required the
  presence of an Apostle (viii. 14–17). (3) When St Paul and his
  companions visit Philip at Cæsarea, he is carefully described as ‘the
  Evangelist, being one of the Seven’ (xxi. 8). As St Luke was a member
  of the Apostle’s company when this visit was paid, and stayed ‘many
  days’ in Philip’s house, the accuracy of his information cannot be
  questioned. Yet Eusebius (_H.E._ iii. 31) assumes the identity of the
  Apostle with the Evangelist, and describes the notice in the _Dialogue
  of Caius and Proclus_ as being ‘in harmony with (συνᾴδων)’ the
  language of Polycrates. And accordingly in another passage (_H.E._
  iii. 39), when he has occasion to mention the conversations of Papias
  with Philip’s daughters at Hierapolis, he again supposes them to be
  the same who are mentioned in the Acts.

  My reasons for believing that the Philip who lived at Hierapolis was
  not the Evangelist, but the Apostle, are as follows. (1) This is
  distinctly stated by the earliest witness, Polycrates, who was bishop
  of Ephesus at the close of the second century, and who besides claimed
  to have and probably had special opportunities of knowing early
  traditions. It is confirmed moreover by the notice in Clement of
  Alexandria, who is the next in order of time, and whose means of
  information also were good, for one of his earliest teachers was an
  Ionian Greek (_Strom._ I. 1, p. 322). (2) The other view depends
  solely on the authority of the _Dialogue of Caius and Proclus_. I have
  given reasons elsewhere for questioning the separate existence of the
  Roman presbyter Caius, and for supposing that this dialogue was
  written by Hippolytus bishop of Portus (_Journal of Philology_ I. p.
  98 sq., Cambridge, 1868). But however this may be, its author was a
  Roman ecclesiastic, and probably wrote some quarter of a century at
  least after Polycrates. In all respects therefore his authority is
  inferior. Moreover it is suspicious in form. It mentions four
  daughters instead of three, makes them all virgins, and represents
  them as prophetesses, thus showing a distinct aim of reproducing the
  particulars as given in Acts xxi. 9; whereas the account of Polycrates
  is divergent in all three respects. (3) A life-long friendship would
  naturally draw Philip the Apostle of Bethsaida after John, as it also
  drew Andrew. And, when we turn to St John’s Gospel, we can hardly
  resist the impression that incidents relating to Andrew and Philip had
  a special interest, not only for the writer of the Gospel, but also
  for his hearers (John i. 40, 43–46, vi. 5–8, xii. 20–22, xiv. 8, 9).
  Moreover the Apostles Andrew and Philip appear in this Gospel as
  inseparable companions. (4) Lastly; when Papias mentions collecting
  the sayings of the Twelve and of other early disciples from those who
  heard them, he gives a prominent place to these two Apostles τί
  Ἀνδρέας ... εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος, but there is no reference to Philip
  the Evangelist. When therefore we read later that he conversed with
  the daughters of Philip, it seems natural to infer that the Philip
  intended is the same person whom he has mentioned previously. It
  should be added, though no great value can be assigned to such
  channels of information, that the Acts of Philip place the Apostle at
  Hierapolis; Tischendorf, _Act. Apost. Apocr._ p. 75 sq.

  On the other hand, those who suppose that the Evangelist, and not the
  Apostle, resided at Hierapolis, account for the other form of the
  tradition by the natural desire of the Asiatic Churches to trace their
  spiritual descent directly from the Twelve. This solution of the
  phenomenon might have been accepted, if the authorities in favour of
  Philip the Evangelist had been prior in time and superior in quality.
  There is no improbability in supposing that both the Philips were
  married and had daughters.

Footnote 155:

  John xii. 20.

Footnote 156:

  See above p. 45, note 154.

Footnote 157:

  Euseb. _H.E._ iii. 39. This is the general reference for all those
  particulars respecting Papias which are derived from Eusebius.

This Papias had conversed not only with the daughters of Philip, but
also with at least two personal disciples of the Lord, Aristion and John
the presbyter. He made it his business to gather traditions respecting
the sayings of the Saviour and His Apostles; and he published a work in
five books, entitled _An Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord_, using
the information thus collected to illustrate the discourses, and perhaps
the doings, of Christ as recorded in the Gospels[158]. Among other
stories he related, apparently on the authority of these daughters of
Philip, how a certain dead man had been restored to life in his own day,
and how Justus Barsabas, who is mentioned in the Acts, had drunk a
deadly poison and miraculously escaped from any evil effects[159].

Footnote 158:

  See Westcott, _Canon_ p. 63. On the opinions of Papias and on the
  nature of his work, I may perhaps be allowed to refer to an article in
  the _Contemporary Review_ Aug. 1867, where I have collected and
  investigated all the notices of this father. The object of Papias’
  work was not to construct a Gospel narrative, but to interpret and
  illustrate those already existing. I ought to add that on two minor
  points, the martyrdom of Papias and the identity of Philip with the
  Evangelist, I have been led to modify my views since the article was

Footnote 159:

  Euseb. l.c. ὡς δὲ κατὰ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ὁ Παπίας γενόμενος διήγησιν
  παρειληφέναι θαυμασίαν ὑπὸ [ἀπο]; τῶν τοῦ Φιλίππου θυγατέρων
  μνημονεύει, τὰ νῦν σημειωτέον· νεκροῦ γὰρ ἀνάστασιν κατ’ αὐτὸν
  γεγονυῖαν ἱστορεῖ, καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἕτερον παράδοξον περὶ Ἰοῦστον τὸν
  ἐπικληθέντα Βαρσαβᾶν γεγονός κ.τ.λ. The information respecting the
  raising of the dead man might have come from the daughters of Philip,
  as the context seems certainly to imply, while yet the event happened
  in Papias’ own time (κατ’ αὐτόν). It will be remembered that even
  Irenæus mentions similar miracles as occurring in his own age (_Hær._
  ii. 32. 4). Eusebius does not say that the miraculous preservation of
  Justus Barsabas also occurred in the time of Papias.

[Sidenote: Life and teaching of PAPIAS.]

If we may judge by his name, PAPIAS was a native of Phrygia, probably of
Hierapolis[160], of which he afterwards became bishop, and must have
grown up to youth or early manhood before the close of the first
century. He is said to have suffered martyrdom at Pergamum about the
year 165; but there is good reason for distrusting this statement,
independently of any chronological difficulty which it involves[161].
Otherwise [Sidenote: Account of Eusebius.]he must have lived to a very
advanced age. Eusebius, to whom chiefly we owe our information
respecting him, was repelled by his millennarian views, and describes
him as a man of mean intelligence[162], accusing him of misunderstanding
the Apostolic sayings respecting the kingdom of Christ and thus
interpreting in a material sense expressions which were intended to be
mystical and symbolical. This disparaging account, though one-sided, was
indeed not altogether undeserved, for his love of the marvellous seems
to have overpowered his faculty of discrimination. But the adverse
verdict of Eusebius must be corrected by the more sympathetic language
of Irenæus[163], who possibly may have known him personally, and who
certainly must have been well acquainted with his reputation and

Footnote 160:

  Papias, or (as it is very frequently written in inscriptions) Pappias,
  is a common Phrygian name. It is found several times at Hierapolis,
  not only in inscriptions (Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ no. 3930, 3912 a add.)
  but even on coins (Mionnet IV. p. 301). This is explained by the fact
  that it was an epithet of the Hierapolitan Zeus (Boeckh 3817 Παπίᾳ Διῒ
  σωτῆρι), just as in Bithynia this same god was called Πάπας (Lobeck
  _Aglaoph._ p. 1048; see Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ III. p. 1051). Hence as
  the name of a mortal it is equivalent to the Greek Diogenes; e.g.
  Boeckh no. 3912 a add., Παπίας τοῦ Στράτωνος ὁ καλούμενος Διογένης. In
  an inscription at Trajanopolis we meet with it in a curious
  conjunction with other familiar names (Boeckh no. 3865 i add.) Παππίας
  Τροφίμου καὶ Τυχικῆς κ.τ.λ. (see Waddington on Le Bas, Inscr. no.
  718). This last belongs to the year A.D. 199. Other analogous Phrygian
  names are Ammias, Tatias (with the corresponding feminines), which
  with Latin terminations become Ammianus, Tatianus.

  Thus at Hierapolis the name Papias is derived from heathen mythology,
  and accordingly the persons bearing it on the inscriptions and coins
  are all heathens. It may therefore be presumed that our Papias was of
  Gentile origin. The inference however is not absolutely certain, since
  elsewhere it is found borne by Jews; see the Talmudical references in
  Zunz _Namen der Juden_ p. 16.

Footnote 161:

  _Chron. Pasch._ sub ann. 163 σὺν τῷ ἁγίῳ δὲ Πολυκάρπῳ καὶ ἄλλοι θ’ ἀπὸ
  Φιλαδελφείας μαρτυροῦσιν ἐν Σμύρνῃ· καὶ ἐν Περγάμῳ δὲ ἕτεροι, ἐν οἷς
  ἧν καὶ Παπίας καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοί, ὧν καὶ ἔγγραφα φέρονται τὰ μαρτύρια.
  See also the Syrian epitome of Euseb. _Chron._ (II. p. 216 ed. Schöne)
  ‘Cum persecutio in Asia esset, Polycarpos martyrium subiit et Papias,
  quorum martyria in libro (scripta) extant,’ but the Armenian version
  of the _Chronicon_ mentions only Polycarp, while Jerome says
  ‘Polycarpus et Pionius fecere martyrium.’ In his history (iv. 15)
  Eusebius, after quoting the _Martyrdom of Polycarp_ at length, adds ἐν
  τῇ αὐτῇ δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ γραφῇ καὶ _ἄλλα μαρτύρια συνῆπτο_ ... μεθ’
  ὧν καὶ Μητρόδωρος ... ἀνήρηται· τῶν γε μὴν τὸτε περιβοήτων μαρτύρων
  εἷς τις ἐγνωρίζετο _Πιόνιος_ ... ἑξῆς δὲ καὶ ἄλλων ἐν Περγάμῳ
  πόλει τῆς Ἀσίας ὑπομνήματα μεμαρτυρηκότων φέρεται, Κάρπου καὶ
  _Παπύλου_ καὶ γυναικὸς Ἀγαθονίκης κ.τ.λ. He here falls into the
  serious error of imagining that Metrodorus, Pionius, Carpus, Papylus,
  and the others were martyred under M. Aurelius, whereas we know from
  their extant Acts that they suffered in the Decian persecution. For
  the martyrdoms of Pionius and Metrodorus see _Act. SS. Bolland._ Feb.
  1; for those of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonica, _ib._ April 13. The
  Acts of the former, which are included in Ruinart (_Act. Sinc. Mart._
  p. 120 sq., 1689) are apparently the same which were seen by Eusebius.
  Those of the latter are a late compilation of the Metaphrast, but were
  probably founded on the earlier document. At all events the tradition
  of the persecution in which they suffered could hardly have been
  perverted or lost. Eusebius seems to have found their Acts bound up in
  the same volume with those of Polycarp, and without reading them
  through, to have drawn the hasty inference that they suffered at the
  same time. But notwithstanding the error, or perhaps owing to it, this
  passage in the Ecclesiastical History, by a confusion of the names
  Papias and Papylus, seems to have given rise to the statement
  respecting Papias in the Chronicon Paschale and in the Syrian epitome,
  as it obviously has misled Jerome respecting Pionius. If so, the
  martyrdom of Papias is a fiction, and he may have died a natural death
  at an earlier date; so that the not very serious difficulty of his
  longevity will disappear. The time of Polycarp’s martyrdom is fixed by
  various data as Easter A.D. 166 (see Clinton’s _Fast. Rom._ I. p.

Footnote 162:

  _H E._ iii. 39 σφόδρα σμικρὸς τὸν νοῦν. In another passage (iii. 36),
  as commonly read, Eusebius makes partial amends to Papias by calling
  him ἀνὴρ τὰ πάντα ὅτι μάλιστα λογιώτατος καὶ τῆς γραφῆς εἰδήμων, but
  this passage is found to be a spurious interpolation (see
  _Contemporary Review_ l.c. p. 12), and was probably added by some one
  who was acquainted with the work of Papias and desired to do him

Footnote 163:

  Iren. v. 33. 3, 4.

Much has been written respecting the relation of this writer to the
Canonical Gospels, but the discussion has no very direct bearing on our
special subject, and may be dismissed here[164]. One question however,
which has a real importance as affecting the progress of the Gospel in
these parts, has been raised by modern criticism and must not be passed
over in silence.

Footnote 164:

  See on this subject Westcott _Canon_ p. 64 sq.; _Contemporary Review_
  l.c. p. 12 sq.

[Sidenote: A modern hypothesis respecting Christianity in Asia Minor
           stated and discussed.]

It has been supposed that there was an entire dislocation and
discontinuity in the history of Christianity in Asia Minor at a certain
epoch; that the Apostle of the Gentiles was ignored and his teaching
repudiated, if not anathematized; and that on its ruins was erected the
standard of Judaism, around which with a marvellous unanimity deserters
from the Pauline Gospel rallied. Of this retrograde faith St John is
supposed to have been the great champion, and Papias a typical and
important representative[165].

Footnote 165:

  The theory of the Tübingen school may be studied in Baur’s
  _Christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte_ or in Schwegler’s
  _Nachapostolisches Zeitalter_. It has been reproduced (at least as far
  as regards the Asiatic Churches) by Renan _Saint Paul_ p. 366 sq.

The subject, as a whole, is too wide for a full investigation here. I
must content myself with occupying a limited area, showing not only the
historical baselessness, but the strong inherent improbability of the
theory, as applied to Hierapolis and the neighbouring churches. As this
district is its chief strong-hold, a repulse at this point must involve
its ultimate defeat along the whole line.

[Sidenote: The position of St John]

Of St John himself I have already spoken[166]. It has been shown that
his language addressed to these Churches is not only not opposed to St
Paul’s teaching, but presents remarkable coincidences with it. So far at
least the theory finds no support; and, when from St John we turn to
Papias, the case is not different. [Sidenote: and of Papias.]The
advocates of the hypothesis in question lay the chief stress of their
argument on the silence of Papias, or rather of Eusebius. Eusebius
quotes a passage from Papias, in which the bishop of Hierapolis mentions
collecting from trustworthy sources the sayings of certain Apostles and
early disciples; but St Paul is not named among them. He also gives
short extracts from Papias referring to the Gospels of St Matthew and St
Mark, and mentions that this writer made use of the first Epistle of St
John and the first Epistle of St Peter; but here again there is no
allusion to St Paul’s writings. Whether referring to the personal
testimony or to the Canonical writings of the Apostles, Papias, we are
reminded, is equally silent about St Paul.

Footnote 166:

  See above p. 41 sq.

On both these points a satisfactory answer can be given; but the two
cases are essentially different, and must be considered apart.

[Sidenote: 1. The traditions collected by Papias.]

(1) The range of _personal testimony_ which Papias would be able to
collect depended on his opportunities. Before he had grown up to
manhood, the personal reminiscences of St Paul would have almost died
out. The Apostle of the Gentiles had not resided more than three years
even at Ephesus, and seems to have paid only one brief visit to the
valley of the Lycus, even if he visited it at all. Such recollections of
St Paul as might once have lingered here would certainly be overshadowed
by and forgotten in the later sojourn of St John, which, beginning where
they ceased, extended over more than a quarter of a century. To St John,
and to those personal disciples of Christ who surrounded him, Papias and
his contemporaries would naturally and almost inevitably look for the
traditions which they so eagerly collected. This is the case with the
leading representative of the Asiatic school in the next generation,
Irenæus, whose traditions are almost wholly derived from St John and his
companions, while at the same time he evinces an entire sympathy with
the work and teaching of St Paul. But indeed, even if it had been
otherwise, the object which Papias had directly in view did not suggest
any appeal to St Paul’s authority. He was writing an ‘Exposition of the
Oracles of the Lord,’ and he sought to supplement and interpret these by
traditions of our Lord’s life, such as eyewitnesses only could give. St
Paul could have no place among those personal disciples of Christ, of
whom alone he is speaking in this preface to his work, which Eusebius

[Sidenote: 2. His references to the Canonical writings.]

(2) But, though we have no right to expect any mention of St Paul where
the appeal is to personal testimony, yet with quotations from or
references to the _Canonical writings_ the case, it may be argued, is
different. Here at all events we might look for some recognition of St
Paul. To this argument it would perhaps be a sufficient reply, that St
Paul’s Epistles do not furnish any matter which must necessarily have
been introduced into a work such as Papias composed. But the complete
and decisive answer is this; that the silence of Eusebius, so far from
carrying with it the silence of Papias, does not [Sidenote: No weight to
be attached to the silence of Eusebius.] even afford a presumption in
this direction. Papias may have quoted St Paul again and again, and yet
Eusebius would see no reason to chronicle the fact. His usage in other
cases is decisive on this point. The Epistle of Polycarp which was read
by Eusebius is the same which we still possess. Not only does it teem
with the most obvious quotations from St Paul, but in one passage it
directly mentions his writing to the Philippians[167]. Yet the
historian, describing its relation to the Canonical Scriptures, contents
himself with saying that it ‘employs some testimonies from the former
Epistle of Peter[168].’ Exactly similar is his language respecting
Irenæus also. Irenæus, as is well known, cites by name almost every one
of St Paul’s Epistles; yet the description which Eusebius gives under
this same head, after quoting this writer’s notices respecting the
history of the Gospels and the Apocalypse, is that ‘he mentions also the
first Epistle of John, alleging very many testimonies from it, and in
like manner also the former Epistle of Peter[169].’ There is every
reason therefore to suppose that Eusebius would deal with Papias as he
has dealt with Polycarp and Irenæus, and that, unless Papias had
introduced some curious fact relating to St Paul, it would not have
occurred to him to record mere quotations from or references to this
Apostle’s letters. It may be supposed that Eusebius records with a fair
amount of attention references to the Catholic Epistles in early
writers, because the limits of the Canon in this part were not
accurately fixed. On the other hand the Epistles of St Paul were
universally received and therefore did not need to be accredited by any
such testimony. But whatever may be the explanation, the fact is patent,
and it furnishes a complete answer to the argument drawn from his
silence in the case of Papias[170].

Footnote 167:

  § 3.

Footnote 168:

  _H.E._ iv. 14 ὁ γέ τοι Πολύκαρπος ἐν τῇ δηλωθείσῃ πρὸς Φιλιππησίους
  αὐτοῦ γραφῇ φερομένῃ εἰς δεῦρο κέχρηταί τισι μαρτυρίαις ἀπὸ τῆς Πέτρου
  προτέρας ἐπιστολῆς. This is all that Eusebius says with reference to
  Polycarp’s knowledge of the Canonical writings. It so happens that in
  an earlier passage (iii. 36) he has given an extract from Polycarp, in
  which St Paul’s name is mentioned; but the quotation is brought to
  illustrate the life of Ignatius, and the mention of the Apostle there
  is purely accidental.

Footnote 169:

  _H.E._ v. 8 μέμνηται δὲ καὶ τῆς Ἰωάννου πρώτης ἐπιστολῆς, μαρτύρια ἐξ
  αὐτῆς πλεῖστα εἰσφέρων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τῆς Πέτρου προτέρας.

Footnote 170:

  It is necessary to press this argument, because though it has never
  been answered and (so far as I can see) is quite unanswerable, yet
  thoughtful men, who have no sympathy with the Tübingen views of early
  Christian history, still continue to argue from the silence of
  Eusebius, as though it had some real significance. To illustrate the
  omissions of Eusebius I have given only the instances of Polycarp and
  Irenæus, because they are historically connected with Papias; but his
  silence is even more remarkable in other cases. Thus, when speaking of
  the epistle of the Roman Clement (_H.E._ iii. 38), he alludes to the
  coincidences with the Epistle to the Hebrews, but omits to mention the
  direct references to St Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians which
  is referred to by name, and is even silent about the numerous and
  patent quotations from the Epistle of St James.

[Sidenote: The views of Papias inferred from his associates.]

But, if the assumption has been proved to be baseless, have we any
grounds for saying that it is also highly improbable? Here it seems fair
to argue from the well-known to the unknown. Of the opinions of Papias
respecting St Paul we know absolutely nothing; of the opinions of
Polycarp and Irenæus ample evidence lies before us. _Noscitur a sociis_
is a sound maxim to apply in such a case. Papias was a companion of
Polycarp, and he is quoted with deference by Irenæus[171]. Is it
probable that his opinions should be diametrically opposed to those of
his friend and contemporary on a cardinal point affecting the very
conception of Christianity (for the rejection of St Paul must be
considered in this light)? or that this vital heterodoxy, if it existed,
should have escaped an intelligent critic of the next generation who had
the five books of his work before him, who himself had passed his early
life in Asia Minor, and who yet appeals to Papias as preserving the
doctrinal tradition which had been handed down from the Apostles
themselves to his own time? I say nothing of Eusebius himself, who, with
a distinct prejudice against Papias, accuses him of no worse heresy in
his writings than entertaining millennarian views.

Footnote 171:

  Iren. _Hær._ v. 33. 4.

[Sidenote: Millennarian views consistent with the recognition of St

It may indeed be confessed that a man like Papias, whose natural bent,
assisted by his Phrygian education, was towards sensuous views of
religion, would not be likely to appreciate the essentially spiritual
teaching of St Paul; but this proves nothing. The difference between
unconscious want of sympathy and conscious rejection is all important
for the matter in hand. The same charge might be brought against
numberless theologians, whether in the middle ages or in more modern
times, into whose minds it never entered to question the authority of
the Apostle and who quote his writings with the utmost reverence.
Neither in the primitive days of Christianity nor in its later stages
has the profession of Chiliastic views been found inconsistent with the
fullest recognition of St Paul’s Apostolic claims. In the early Church
Irenæus and Tertullian are notable instances of this combination; and in
our own age and country a tendency to millennarian speculations has been
commonly associated with the staunchest adherence to the fundamental
doctrines of St Paul.

[Sidenote: ABERCIUS probably his successor.]

As the successor of Papias and the predecessor of Claudius Apollinaris
in the see of Hierapolis, we may perhaps name ABERCIUS or AVIRCIUS[172].
His legendary Acts assign his episcopate to the reign of Marcus
Aurelius; and, though they are disfigured by extravagant fictions, yet
the date may perhaps be accepted, as it seems to be confirmed by other
evidence. An inscription on his tombstone recorded how he had paid one
[Sidenote: His journeys.] visit to the city of Rome, and another to the
banks of the Euphrates. These long journeys are not without parallels in
the lives of contemporary bishops. Polycarp of Smyrna visited Rome,
hoping to adjust the Paschal controversy; Melito of Sardis went as far
as Palestine, desiring to ascertain on the spot the facts relating to
the Canon of the Old Testament Scriptures. These or similar motives may
have influenced Abercius to undertake his distant journeys. If we may
assume the identification of this bishop with one Avircius Marcellus who
is mentioned in a contemporary document, he took an active interest in
the Montanist controversy, as from his position he was likely to do.

Footnote 172:

  The life of this Abercius is printed in the Bollandist _Acta
  Sanctorum_ Oct. 22. It may safely be pronounced spurious. Among other
  incidents, the saint goes to Rome and casts out a demon from Lucilla,
  the daughter of M. Aurelius and Faustina, at the same time compelling
  the demon to take up an altar from Rome and transport it through the
  air to Hierapolis. But these Acts, though legendary themselves,
  contain an epitaph which has the ring of genuineness and which seems
  to have suggested the story to the pious forger who invented the Acts.
  This very interesting memorial is given and discussed at length by
  Pitra, _Spicil. Solesm._ III. p. 532 sq. It is inscribed by one
  Abercius of Hierapolis on his tomb, which he erected during his
  life-time. He declares himself a disciple of the good shepherd, who
  taught him trustworthy writings (γράμματα πιστά) and sent him to visit
  queenly Rome, where he saw a people sealed with the bright seal [of
  baptism]. He recounts also a journey to Syria and the East, when he
  crossed the Euphrates. He says that faith served up to him as a
  banquet the ιχθυς from the fountain, giving him bread and wine. He
  states that he has reached his 72nd year. And he closes by threatening
  with severe penalties those who disturb his tomb. The resemblance of
  this inscription to others found _in situ_ in the cemetery at
  Hierapolis, after allowance made for the Christian element, is very
  striking. The commencement Ἐκλεκτῆς πόλεως closely resembles the form
  of another Hierapolitan inscription, Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3906; the
  enumeration of foreign tours has a counterpart in the monument of one
  Flavius Zeuxis which states that the deceased had made 72 voyages
  round the promontory of Malea to Italy (_ib._ 3920); and lastly, the
  prohibition against putting another grave upon his, and the imposition
  of fines to be paid to the treasury and the city if this injunction is
  violated, are echos of language which occurs again and again on
  tombstones in this city (_ib._ 3915, 3916, 3922, 3923, etc.). Out of
  this epitaph, which he found probably at Hierapolis, and which, as he
  himself tells us (§ 41), was in a much mutilated condition, the
  legend-writer apparently created his story, interpreting the queen, by
  which Abercius himself probably meant the city of Rome, to be the
  empress Faustina, with whom the saint is represented as having an
  interview, M. Aurelius himself being absent at the time on his German
  campaign. This view, that the epitaph is genuine and gave rise to the
  Acts, is also maintained by Garrucci (_Civiltà Cattolica_ 1856, I. p.
  683, II. p. 84, quoted in the _Acta Sanct._ l.c.), whose criticisms
  however are not always sound; and indeed as a whole it bears every
  mark of authenticity, though possibly it may contain some
  interpolations, which its mutilated condition would encourage.

  The inscription itself however does not tell us what office Abercius
  held or when he lived. There was a person of this name bishop of
  Hierapolis present at the Council of Chalcedon A.D. 451 (Labb. _Conc._
  IV. 862, 1204, 1341, 1392, 1496, 1744, ed. Coleti). But a chief pastor
  of the Church at this late date would have declared his office
  plainly; and the inscription points to a more primitive age, for the
  expressions are archaic and the writer seems to veil his profession of
  Christianity under language studiously obscure. The open profession of
  Christianity on inscriptions occurs at an earlier date in these parts
  than elsewhere. Already the word χριϲτιανοϲ or χρηϲτιανοϲ is found on
  tombstones of the third century; Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 3857 g, 3857 p,
  3865 l; see Renan _Saint Paul_ p. 363. Thus we are entirely at fault
  unless we accept the statement in the Acts.

  And it is not unreasonable to suppose that, so far as regards the date
  and office of Abercius, the writer of these Acts followed some
  adequate historical tradition. Nor indeed is his statement altogether
  without confirmation. We have evidence that a person bearing this name
  lived in these parts of Asia Minor, somewhere about this time. An
  unknown writer of a polemical tract against Montanism dedicates his
  work to one Avircius Marcellus, at whose instigation it was written.
  Eusebius (_H.E._ v. 16), who is our authority for this fact, relates
  that Montanism found a determined and formidable opponent in
  Apollinaris at Hierapolis and ‘several other learned men of that day
  with him,’ who left large materials for a history of the movement. He
  then goes on to say; ἀρχόμενος γοῦν τῆς κατ’ αὐτῶν γραφῆς _τῶν
  εἰρημένων δή τις_ ... προοιμιάζεται ... τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον· Ἐκ
  πλείστου ὅσου καὶ ἱκανωτάτου χρόνου, ἀγαπητὲ Ἀουίρκιε Μάρκελλε,
  ἐπιταχθεὶς ὑπὸ σοῦ συγγράψαι τινὰ λόγον κ.τ.λ., i.e. ‘One of the
  aforesaid writers at the commencement of his treatise against them
  (the Montanists) etc.’ May not the person here addressed be the
  Abercius of the epitaph?

  But if so, who is the writer that addresses him, and when did he live?
  Some MSS omit δή τις, and others substitute ἤδη, thus making
  Apollinaris himself the writer. But the words seem certainly to have
  been part of the original text, as the sense requires them; for if
  they are omitted, τῶν εἰρημένων must be connected with κατ’ αὐτῶν,
  where it is not wanted. Thus Eusebius quotes the writer anonymously;
  and those who assign the treatise to Apollinaris cannot plead the
  authority of the original text of the historian himself.

  But after all may it not have been written by Apollinaris, though
  Eusebius was uncertain about the authorship? He quotes in succession
  three συγγράμματα or treatises, speaking of them as though they
  emanated from the same author. The first of these, from which the
  address to Avircius Marcellus is quoted, might very well have been
  composed soon after the Montanist controversy broke out (as Eusebius
  himself elsewhere states was the case with the work of Apollinaris,
  iv. 27 κατὰ τῆς τῶν Φρυγῶν αἱρέσεως ... ὥσπερ ἐκφύειν ἀρχομένης); but
  the second and third distinctly state that they were written some time
  after the death of Montanus. May not Eusebius have had before him a
  volume containing a collection of tracts against Montanism ‘by
  Claudius Apollinaris and others,’ in which the authorship of the
  several tracts was not distinctly marked? This hypothesis would
  explain the words with which he prefaces his extracts, and would also
  account for his vague manner of quotation. It would also explain the
  omission of δή τις in some texts (the ancient Syriac version boldly
  substitutes the name of Apollinaris), and would explain how Rufinus,
  Nicephorus, and others, who might have had independent information,
  ascribed the treatise to this father. I have already pointed out how
  Eusebius was led into a similar error of connecting together several
  martyrologies and treating them as contemporaneous, because they were
  collected in the same volume (p. 48, note 161). Elsewhere too I have
  endeavoured to show that he mistook the authorship of a tract which
  was bound up with others, owing to the absence of a title (_Caius or
  Hippolytus?_ in the _Journal of Philology_ I. p. 98 sq.).

  On this hypothesis, Claudius Apollinaris would very probably be the
  author of the first of these treatises. If so, it would appear to have
  been written while he was still a presbyter, at the instigation of his
  bishop Avircius Marcellus whom he succeeded not long after in the see
  of Hierapolis.

  If on the other hand Eusebius has correctly assigned the first
  treatise to the same writer as the second and third, who must have
  written after the beginning of the third century, Avircius Marcellus
  to whom it is addressed cannot have held the see of Hierapolis during
  the reign of M. Aurelius (A.D. 161–180); and, if he was ever bishop of
  this city, must have been a successor, not a predecessor, of Claudius
  Apollinaris. In this case we have the alternative of abandoning the
  identification of this Avircius with the Hierapolitan bishop of the
  same name, or of rejecting the statement of the Acts which places his
  episcopate in this reign.

  The occurrence of the name Abercius in the later history of the see of
  Hierapolis (see p. 55) is no argument against the existence of this
  earlier bishop. It was no uncommon practice for the later occupants of
  sees to assume the name of some famous predecessor who lived in
  primitive or early times. The case of Ignatius at Antioch is only one
  of several examples which might be produced.

  There is some ground for supposing that, like Papias and Apollinaris,
  Abercius earned a place in literary history. Baronio had in his hands
  an epistle to M. Aurelius, purporting to have been written by this
  Abercius, which he obviously considered genuine and which he describes
  as ‘apostolicum redolens spiritum,’ promising to publish it in his
  Annals (_Martyr. Rom._ Oct. 22). To his great grief however he
  afterwards lost it (‘doluimus vehementer e manibus nostris elapsam
  nescio quomodo’), and was therefore unable to fulfil his promise
  (_Annal._ s. a. 163, n. 15). A βίβλος διδασκαλίας by Abercius is
  mentioned in the Acts (§ 39); but this, if it ever existed, was
  doubtless spurious.

[Sidenote: CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS bishop of Hierapolis.]

The literary character of the see of Hierapolis, which had been
inaugurated by Papias, was ably sustained by CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS. His
surname, which seems to have been common in these parts[173], may have
been derived from the patron deity of Hierapolis[174] and suggests a
Gentile origin. His intimate acquaintance with heathen literature, which
is mentioned by more than one ancient writer, points in the same
direction. During the reign of M. Aurelius he had already made himself a
name by his writings, and seems to have been promoted to the see of
Hierapolis before the death of that emperor[175].

Footnote 173:

  Some of the family, as we may infer from the monuments, held a high
  position in another Phrygian town. On a tablet at Æzani, on which is
  inscribed a letter from the emperor Septimius Severus in reply to the
  congratulations of the people at the elevation of Caracalla to the
  rank of Augustus (A.D. 198), we find the name of ==κλαυδιοϲ .
  απολλιναριοϲ . αυρηλιανοϲ==, Boeckh 3837 (see III. p. 1066 add.). In
  another inscription at the same place, the same or another member of
  the family is commemorated as holding the office of prætor for the
  second time, ==ϲτρατηγουντοϲ . το . β . κλ . απολλιναριου==; Boeckh
  3840, _ib._ p. 1067. See also the inscriptions 3842 c, 3846 z (_ib._
  pp. 1069, 1078) at the same place, where again the name Apollinarius
  occurs. It is found also at Appia no. 3857 b (_ib._ p. 1086). At an
  earlier date one Claudius Apollinaris appears in command of the Roman
  fleet at Misenum (Tac. _Hist._ iii. 57, 76, 77). The name occurs also
  at Hierapolis itself, Boeckh, no. 3915. ==π . αιλιοϲ . π . αιλιου .
  απολλιναριου . ιουλιανο[υ] . υιοϲ . ϲε[...] . απολλιναριϲ . μακεδων
  .== κ.τ.λ., which shows that both the forms, _Apollinaris_ and
  _Apollinarius_, by which the bishop of Hierapolis is designated, are
  legitimate. The former however is the correct Latin form, the latter
  being the Greek adaptation.

  More than a generation later than our Apollinaris, Origen in his
  letter to Africanus (_Op._ I. 30, Delarue) sends greeting to a bishop
  bearing this name (τὸν καλὸν ἡμῶν πάπαν Ἀπολινάριον), of whom nothing
  more is known.

Footnote 174:

  Apollo Archegetes; see above p. 12, note 42.

Footnote 175:

  Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 26, _Chron._ s. a. 171, 172, ‘Apollinaris Asianus,
  Hierapolitanus episcopus, insignis habetur.’

[Sidenote: His literary works.]

Of his works, which were very numerous, only a few scanty fragments have
survived[176]. The imperfect lists however, which have reached us, bear
ample testimony both to the literary activity of the man, and to the
prominence of the Church, over which he presided, in the great
theological and ecclesiastical controversies of the age.

Footnote 176:

  Collected in Routh’s _Reliquiæ Sacræ_ I. p. 159 sq., and quite
  recently in Otto’s _Corp. Apol. Christ._ IX. p. 479 sq.

[Sidenote: He takes part in the two chief controversies of the day.]

The two questions, which especially agitated the Churches of Asia Minor
during the last thirty years of the first century, were the celebration
of the Easter festival and the pretensions of the Montanist prophets. In
both disputes Claudius Apollinaris took an active and conspicuous part.

[Sidenote: 1. The Paschal question.]

1. The Paschal controversy, after smouldering long both here and
elsewhere, first burst into flames in the neighbouring Church of
Laodicea[178]. An able bishop of Hierapolis therefore must necessarily
have been involved in the dispute, even if he had been desirous of
avoiding it. What side Apollinaris took in the controversy the extant
fragments of his work do not by themselves enable us to decide; for they
deal merely with a subsidiary question which does not seriously affect
the main issue[179]. But we can hardly doubt that with Polycarp of
Smyrna and Melito of Sardis and Polycrates of Ephesus he defended the
practice which was universal in Asia[180], observing the Paschal
anniversary on the 14th Nisan whether it fell on a Friday or not, and
invoking the authority of St John at Ephesus, and of St Philip at his
own Hierapolis[181], against the divergent usage of Alexandria and
Palestine and the West.

Footnote 178:

  See below, p. 63.

Footnote 179:

  The main point at issue was whether the exact day of the month should
  be observed, as the Quartodecimans maintained, irrespective of the day
  of the week. The fragment of Apollinaris (preserved in the _Chron.
  Pasch._ p. 13) relates to a discrepancy which some had found in the
  accounts of St Matthew and St John.

Footnote 180:

  Eusebius represents the dioceses of ‘Asia’ and the neighbourhood, as
  absolutely unanimous; _H.E._ v. 23 τῆς Ασίας ἁπάσης αἱ παροικίαι, v.
  24 τῆς Ασίας πάσης ἅμα ταῖς ὁμόροις ἐκκλησίαις τὰς παροικίας. ‘Asia’
  includes all this district, as appears from Polycrates, _ib._

Footnote 181:

  See Polycrates of Ephesus in Euseb. _H.E._ v. 24.

[Sidenote: 2. Montanism.]

2. His writings on the Montanist controversy were still more famous, and
are recommended as an authority on the subject by Serapion of Antioch a
few years after the author’s death[182]. Though later than many of his
works[183], they were written soon after Montanus had divulged the
extravagance of his pretensions and before Montanism had attained its
complete development. If a later notice may be trusted, Apollinaris was
not satisfied with attacking Montanism in writing, but summoned at
Hierapolis a council of twenty-six bishops besides himself, where this
heresy was condemned and sentence of excommunication pronounced against
Montanus together with his adherent the pretended prophetess

Footnote 182:

  In Euseb. _H.E._ v. 19.

Footnote 183:

  Eusebius (_H.E._ iv. 27) at the close of his list of the works of
  Apollinarius gives καὶ _ἃ μετὰ ταῦτα_ συνέγραψε κατὰ τῆς [τῶν]
  Φρυγῶν αἱρέσεως μετ’ οὐ πολὺν καινοτομηθείσης χρόνον, τότε γε μὴν
  ὥσπερ ἐκφύειν ἀρχομένης, ἔτι τοῦ Μοντανοῦ ἅμα ταῖς αὐτοῦ
  ψευδοπροφήτισιν ἀρχὰς τῆς παρεκτροπῆς ποιουμένου, _i.e._ the vagaries
  of Montanus and his followers had already begun when Apollinaris
  wrote, but Montanism assumed a new phase shortly after.

Footnote 184:

  Included in the _Libellus Synodicus_ published by Pappus; see Labb.
  _Conc._ I. 615, ed. Coleti. Though this council is not mentioned
  elsewhere, there is no sufficient ground for questioning its
  authenticity. The important part taken by Apollinaris against the
  Montanists is recognised by Eusebius _H.E._ v. 16, πρὸς τὴν λεγομένην
  κατὰ Φρύγας ἅιρεσιν ὅπλον ἰσχυρὸν καὶ ἀκαταγώνιστον ἐπὶ τῆς Ἱεραπόλεως
  τὸν Ἀπολινάριον.

  After mentioning the council the compiler of this Synodicon speaks
  thus of the false prophets; οἳ καὶ βλασφήμως, ἤτοι δαιμονῶντες, καθώς
  φησιν ὁ αὐτὸς πατήρ [_i.e._ Ἀπολινάριος], τὸν βίον κατέστρεψαν, σὺν
  αὐτοῖς δὲ κατέκρινε καὶ Θεόδοτον τὸν σκυτέα. He evidently has before
  him the fragments of the anonymous treatises quoted by Eusebius
  (_H.E._ v. 16), as the following parallels taken from these fragments
  shew: ὡς ἐπὶ ἐνεργουμένῳ καὶ _δαιμονῶντι_ ... _βλασφημεῖν_
  διδάσκοντος τοῦ ἀπηυθαδισμένου πνεύματος ... _τὸν βιὸν
  καταστρέψαι_ Ἰούδα προδότου δίκην ... οἶον ἐπίτροπόν τινα
  _Θεόδοτον_ πολὺς αἱρεῖ λόγος ... τετελευτήκασι Μοντανός τε καὶ
  _Θεόδοτος_ και ἡ προειρημένη γυνή. Thus he must have had before
  him a text of Eusebius which omitted the words δή τις at the
  commencement, as they are omitted in some existing MSS (see above, p.
  56, note); and accordingly he ascribed all the treatises to
  Apollinaris. The parallels are taken from the first and second
  treatises; the first might have been written by Apollinaris, but the
  second was certainly not by his hand, as it refers to much later
  events (see above, p. 56).

  Hefele (_Conciliengeschichte_ I. p. 71) places the date of this
  council before A.D. 150. But if the testimony of Eusebius is worth
  anything, this is impossible; for he states that the writings of
  Claudius Apollinaris against the Montanists were later than his
  Apology to M. Aurelius (see p. 59, note 183), and this Apology was not
  written till after A.D. 174 (see p. 61, note 187). The chronology of
  Montanism is very perplexing, but Hefele’s dates appear to be much too
  early. The _Chronicon_ of Eusebius gives the rise of Montanism under
  A.D. 172 or 173, and this statement is consistent with the notices in
  his History. But if this date be correct, it most probably refers to
  Montanism as a distinct system; and the fires had probably been
  smouldering within the Church for some time before they broke out.

  It will be observed that the writer of the Synodicon identifies
  Theodotus the Montanist (see Euseb. _H.E._ v. 3) with Theodotus the
  leather-seller who was a Monarchian. There is no authority for this
  identification in Eusebius.

[Sidenote: His other hæresiological writings.]

Nor were his controversial writings confined to these two topics. In one
place he refuted the Encratites[185]; in another he upheld the orthodox
teaching respecting the true humanity of Christ[186]. It is plain that
he did not confine himself to questions especially affecting Asia Minor;
but that the doctrine and the practice of the Church generally found in
him a vigorous advocate, who was equally opposed to the novelties of
heretical teaching and the rigours of overstrained asceticism.

Footnote 185:

  Theodoret. _H.E._ i. 21.

Footnote 186:

  Socr. _H.E._ iii. 7.

Nor again did Apollinaris restrict himself to controversies carried on
between Christian and Christian. He appears alike as the champion of the
Gospel against attacks from without, and as the promoter of Christian
life and devotion within the pale of the Church. [Sidenote: His
apologetic] On the one hand he was the author of an apology addressed to
M. Aurelius[187], of a controversial treatise in five books against the
Greeks, and of a second in two books against the Jews[188]; on the other
we find mentioned among his [Sidenote: and didactic works.] writings a
work in two books _on Truth_, and a second _on Piety_, besides several
of which the titles have not come down to us[189]. He seems indeed to
have written on almost every subject which interested the Church of his
age. He was not only well versed in the Scriptures, but showed a wide
acquaintance with secular literature also[190]. His style is praised by
a competent judge[191], and his orthodoxy was such as to satisfy the
dogmatic precision of the post-Nicene age[192].

Footnote 187:

  Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 26, 27. He referred in this Apology to the incident
  of the so-called Thundering Legion, which happened A.D. 174; and as
  reported by Eusebius (_H.E._ v. 5), he stated that the legion was thus
  named by the emperor in commemoration of this miraculous thunderstorm.
  As a contemporary however, he must probably have known that the title
  _Legio Fulminata_ existed long before; and we may conjecture that he
  used some ambiguous expression implying that it was fitly so named
  (_e.g._ ἐπώνυμον τῆς συντυχίας), which Eusebius and later writers
  misunderstood; just as Eusebius himself (v. 24) speaks of Irenæus as
  φερώνυμός τις ὢν τῇ προσηγορίᾳ αὐτῷ τε τῷ τρόπῳ εἰρηνοποίος. Of the
  words used by Eusebius, οἰκείαν τῷ γεγονότι πρὸς τοῦ βασιλέως
  εἰληφέναι προσηγορίαν, we may suspect that οἰκείαν τῷ γεγονότι
  προσηγορίαν is an expression borrowed from Apollinaris himself, while
  πρὸς τοῦ βασιλέως εἰληφέναι gives Eusebius’ own erroneous
  interpretation of his author’s meaning.

  The name of this legion was _Fulminata_, not _Fulminatrix_, as it is
  often carelessly written out, where the inscriptions have merely
  FVLM.; see Becker and Marquardt _Röm. Alterth._ III. 2, p. 353.

Footnote 188:

  The words καὶ πρὸς Ἰουδαίους πρῶτον καὶ δεύτερον are omitted in some
  MSS and by Rufinus. They are found however in the very ancient Syriac
  version, and are doubtless genuine. Their omission is due to the
  homœoteleuton, as they are immediately preceded by καὶ περὶ
  ἀληθείας πρῶτον καὶ δεύτερον.

Footnote 189:

  A list of his works is given by Eusebius (_H.E._ iv. 27), who explains
  that there were many others which he had not seen. This list omits the
  work on the Paschal Feast, which is quoted in the _Chronicon Paschale_
  p. 13 (ed. Dind.), and the treatise _on Piety_, of which we know from
  Photius _Bibl._ 14.

Footnote 190:

  Theodoret. _Hær. Fab._ iii. 2 ἀνὴρ ἀξιὲπαινος καὶ πρὸς τῇ γνώσει τῶν
  θείων καὶ τὴν ἔξωθεν παιδείαν προσειληφώς. So too Jerome, _Ep._ 70 (I.
  p. 428, ed. Vallarsi), names him among those who were equally versed
  in sacred and profane literature.

Footnote 191:

  Photius l.c., ἀξιόλογος δὲ ὁ ἀνὴρ καὶ φράσει ἀξιολόγῳ κεχρημένος.

Footnote 192:

  Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 21, Jerome l.c., Theodoret. l.c., Socr. _H.E._ iii.

[Sidenote: Important bearing of these facts on the history of

These facts are not unimportant in their bearing on the question which
has been already discussed in relation to Papias. If there had been such
a discontinuity of doctrine and practice in the Church of Hierapolis as
the theory in question assumes, if the Pauline Gospel was repudiated in
the later years of the first century and rank Judaism adopted in its
stead, how can we explain the position of Apollinaris? Obviously a
counter-revolution must have taken place, which undid the effects of the
former. One dislocation must have been compensated by another. And yet
Irenæus knows nothing of these religious convulsions which must have
shaken the doctrine of the Church to its foundations, but represents the
tradition as one, continuous, unbroken, reaching back through the elders
of the Asiatic Churches, through Papias and Polycarp, to St John
himself—Irenæus who received his Christian education in Asia Minor, who
throughout life was in communication with the churches there, and who
had already reached middle age when this second revolution is supposed
to have occurred. The demands on our credulity, which this theory makes,
are enormous. And its improbability becomes only the more glaring, as we
extend our view.[Sidenote: Solidarity of the Church in the second
century.] For the _solidarity_ of the Church is the one striking fact
unmistakably revealed to us, as here and there the veil which shrouds
the history of the second century is lifted. Anicetus and Soter and
Eleutherus and Victor at Rome, Pantænus and Clement at Alexandria,
Polycrates at Ephesus, Papias and Apollinaris at Hierapolis, Polycarp at
Smyrna, Melito at Sardis, Ignatius and Serapion at Antioch, Primus and
Dionysius at Corinth, Pothinus and Irenæus in Gaul, Philippus and
Pinytus in Crete, Hegesippus and Narcissus in Palestine, all are bound
together by the ties of a common organization and the sympathy of a
common creed. The Paschal controversy is especially valuable, as showing
the limits of divergence consistent with the unity of the Church. The
study of this controversy teaches us to appreciate with ever increasing
force the pregnant saying of Irenæus that the difference of the usage
establishes the harmony of the faith[193].

Footnote 193:

  Iren. in Euseb. _H.E._ v. 24 ἡ διαφωνία τῆς νηστείας (the fast which
  preceded the Paschal festival) τὴν ὁμόνοιαν τῆς πίστεως συνίστησι.

[Sidenote: Activity of Laodicea.]

Though Laodicea cannot show the same intellectual activity as Hierapolis
during the second century, yet in practical energy she is not wanting.

[Sidenote: Martyrdom of Sagaris. c. A.D. 165.]

The same persecution, which, permitted if not encouraged by the imperial
Stoic, was fatal to Polycarp at Smyrna, deprived Laodicea also of her
bishop Sagaris[194]. The exact year in which he fell a martyr is not
known; but we can hardly be wrong in assuming that his death was nearly
coincident with those of Polycarp and his companions. His name appears
to have been held in great honour[195].

Footnote 194:

  Melito in Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 26 ἐπὶ Σερουιλλίου Παύλου ἀνθυπάτου τῆς
  Ἀσίας, ᾧ Σάγαρις καιρῷ ἐμαρτύρησεν, ἐγένετο ζήτησις πολλὴ ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ
  περὶ τοῦ πάσχα ἐμπεσόντος κατὰ καιρὸν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις, καὶ
  ἐγράφη ταῦτα (_i.e._ Melito’s own treatise on the Paschal festival).

Footnote 195:

  Besides Melito (l.c.), Polycrates of Ephesus refers to him with
  respect; Euseb. _H.E._ v. 24, τὶ δὲ δεῖ λέγειν Σάγαριν ἐπίσκοπον καὶ
  μάρτυρα, ὅς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ κεκοίμηται.

[Sidenote: Outbreak of the Paschal controversy.]

But while the Church of Laodicea was thus contending against foes
without, she was also torn asunder by feuds within. Coincident with the
martyrdom of Sagaris was the outburst of the Paschal controversy, of
which mention has been already made, and which for more than a century
and a half disturbed the peace of the Church, until it was finally laid
at rest by the Council of Nicæa. The Laodiceans would naturally regulate
their festival by the Asiatic or Quartodeciman usage, strictly observing
the day of the month and disregarding the day of the week. But a great
commercial centre like Laodicea must have attracted large crowds of
foreign Christians from Palestine or Egypt or Rome or Gaul, who were
accustomed to commemorate the Passion always on a Friday and the
Resurrection on a Sunday according to the western practice; and in this
way probably the dispute arose. The treatise _on the Paschal Festival_
by Melito of Sardis was written on this occasion to defend the Asiatic
practice. The fact that Laodicea became the head-quarters of the
controversy is a speaking testimony to the prominence of this Church in
the latter half of the second century.

[Sidenote: Hierapolis and Laodicea in later history.]

At a later date the influence of both Hierapolis and Laodicea has
sensibly declined. In the great controversies of the fourth s and fifth
centuries they take no conspicuous part. Among their bishops there is
not one who has left his mark on history. And yet their names appear at
most of the great Councils, in which they bear a silent part. [Sidenote:
The _Arian_ heresy. NICÆA A.D. 325.]At Nicæa Hierapolis was represented
by Flaccus[196], Laodicea by Nunechius[197]. They both acquiesced in its
decrees, and the latter as metropolitan published them throughout the
Phrygian Churches[198]. Soon after, both sees lapsed into Arianism.
[Sidenote: Philippopolis A.D. 347.] At the synod of Philippopolis,
composed of bishops who had seceded from the Council of Sardica, the
representatives of these two sees were present and joined in the
condemnation of the Athanasians. On this occasion Hierapolis was still
represented by Flaccus, who had thus turned traitor to his former
faith[199]. On the other hand Laodicea had changed its bishop twice
meanwhile. Cecropius had won the imperial favour by his abuse of the
orthodox party, and was first promoted to Laodicea, whence he was
translated to Nicomedia[200]. He was succeeded by Nonnius, who signed
the Arian decree at Philippopolis[201]. When these sees recovered their
orthodoxy we [Sidenote: CONSTANTINOPLE. A.D. 381.]] do not know; but it
is perhaps a significant fact, that neither is represented at the second
general Council, held at Constantinople [Sidenote: The _Nestorian_ and
_Eutychian_ heresies. EPHESUS. A.D. 431.] (A.D. 381)[202]. At the third
general Council, which met at Ephesus, Laodicea is represented by
Aristonicus, Hierapolis by Venantius[203]. Both bishops sign the decrees
condemning Nestorius. Again in the next Christological controversy which
agitated the Church the two sees bear their part. At the notorious
[Sidenote: Latrocinium. A.D. 449.] Robbers’ Synod, held also at Ephesus,
Laodicea was represented by another Nunechius, Hierapolis by Stephanus.
Both bishops committed themselves to the policy of Dioscorus and the
opinions of the heretic Eutyches[204]. Yet with the fickleness which
characterized these sees at an earlier date during the Arian
controversy, we find their representatives two years [Sidenote:
CHALCEDON. A.D. 451.] later at the Council of Chalcedon siding with the
orthodox party and condemning the Eutychian heresy which they had so
lately supported[205]. Nunechius is still bishop of Laodicea, and
reverses his former vote. Stephanus has been succeeded at Hierapolis by
Abercius, whose orthodoxy, so far as we know, had not been compromised
by any previous expression of opinion[206].

Footnote 196:

  Labb. _Conc._ II. 57, 62, ed. Coleti; Cowper’s _Syriac Miscellanies_
  p. 11, 28. It is remarkable that after Papias all the early bishops of
  Hierapolis of whom any notice is preserved, have Roman names; Avircius
  Marcellus (?), Claudius Apollinaris, Flaccus, Lucius, Venantius.

Footnote 197:

  Labb. _Conc._ II. 57, 62; Cowper’s _Syriac Miscellanies_ pp. 11, 28,
  34. He had also been present at the Synod of Ancyra held about A.D.
  314 (see _Galatians_ p. 34); _ib._ p. 41.

Footnote 198:

  Labb. _Conc._ II. 236.

Footnote 199:

  _ib._ 744.

Footnote 200:

  Athanas. _ad Episc. Ægypt._ 8 (_Op._ I. p. 219), _Hist. Arian. ad
  Mon._ 74 (_ib._ p. 307).

Footnote 201:

  Labb. _Conc._ II. 744.

Footnote 202:

  Cowper’s _Syriac Miscell._ p. 39.

Footnote 203:

  Labb. _Conc._ III. 1085, 1222, Mans. _Conc._ IV. 1367. The name of
  this bishop of Hierapolis is variously written, but Venantius seems to
  be the true orthography. For some unexplained reason, though present
  in person he signs by deputy. He had before subscribed the protest to
  Cyril against commencing the proceedings before the arrival of John of
  Antioch (Mans. _Conc._ V. 767), and perhaps his acquiescence in the
  decisions of the Council was not very hearty.

Footnote 204:

  Labb. _Conc._ IV. 892, 925, 928, 1107, 1170, 1171, 1185. In the Acts
  of this heretical council, as occasionally in those of the Council of
  Chalcedon, Laodicea is surnamed _Trimitaria_ (see above, p. 18, note
  2). Following Le Quien (_Or. Christ._ I. p. 835), I have assumed the
  Stephanus who was present at the _Latrocinium_ to have been bishop of
  the _Phrygian_ Hierapolis, though I have not found any decisive
  indication which Hierapolis is meant. On the other hand the bishop of
  the _Syrian_ Hierapolis at this time certainly bore the name Stephanus
  (Labb. _Conc._ IV. 727, 1506, [1550], 1644, 1836, V. 46); and the
  synod held under Stephanus A.D. 445, which Wiltsch (_Geography and
  Statistics of the Church_ I. p. 170, Eng. Trans.) assigns to our
  Hierapolis, belongs to the Syrian city of the same name, as the
  connexion with Perrha shews: Labb. _Conc._ IV. 727, 1644.

Footnote 205:

  Labb. _Conc._ IV. 853, 862, 1195, 1204, 1241, 1312, 1337, 1383, 1392,
  1444, 1445, 1463, 1480, 1481, 1496, 1501, 1505, 1716, 1732, 1736,
  1744, 1746, 1751.

Footnote 206:

  The bishops of both sees are addressed by the Emperor Leo in his
  letter respecting the Council of Chalcedon: but their replies are not
  preserved. Nunechius is still bishop of Laodicea; but Hierapolis has
  again changed hands, and Philippus has succeeded Abercius (Labb.
  _Conc._ IV. 1836 sq.). Nunechius of Laodicea was one of those who
  signed the decree against simony at the Council of Constantinople
  (A.D. 459): _Conc._ V. 50.

[Sidenote: Later vacillation of these sees.]

The history of these churches at a later date is such as might have been
anticipated from their attitude during the period of the first Four
General Councils. The sees of Laodicea and Hierapolis, one or both, are
represented at all the more important assemblies of the Church; and the
same vacillation and infirmity of purpose, which had characterized their
holders in the earlier councils, marks the proceedings of their later

Footnote 207:

  See for instance the tergiversation of Theodorus of Laodicea and
  Ignatius of Hierapolis in the matter of Photius and the 8th General

[Sidenote: Their comparative unimportance.]

But, though the two sees thus continue to bear witness to their
existence by the repeated presence of their occupants at councils and
synods, yet the real influence of Laodicea and Hierapolis on the Church
at large has terminated with the close of the second century. On one
occasion only did either [Sidenote: COUNCIL OF LAODICEA an exception.]
community assume a position of prominence. About the middle of the
fourth century a council was held at Laodicea[208]. It [Sidenote: Its
decree on the Canon.] was convened more especially to settle some points
of ecclesiastical discipline; but incidentally the assembled bishops
were led to make an order respecting the Canon of Scripture[209]. As
this was the first occasion in which the subject had been brought
formally before the notice of an ecclesiastical assembly this Council of
Laodicea secured a notoriety which it would not otherwise have obtained,
and to which it was hardly entitled by its constitution or its
proceedings. Its decrees were confirmed and adopted by later councils
both in the East and in the West[210].

Footnote 208:

  This council cannot have been held earlier than the year 344, as the
  7th canon makes mention of the Photinians, and Photinus did not
  attract notice before that year: see Hefele, _Conciliengesch._ I. p.
  722 sq. In the ancient lists of Councils it stands after that of
  Antioch (A.D. 341), and before that of Constantinople (A.D. 381). Dr
  Westcott (_History of the Canon_, p. 400) is inclined to place it
  about A.D. 363, and this is the time very generally adopted.

  Here however a difficulty presents itself, which has not been noticed
  hitherto. In the Syriac MS _Brit. Mus._ Add. 14,528, are lists of the
  bishops present at the earlier councils, including Laodicea (see
  Wright’s _Catalogue of the Syriac MSS in the British Museum_, DCCCVI,
  p. 1030 sq.). These lists have been published by Cowper (_Syriac
  Miscell._ p. 42 sq., _Analecta Nicæna_ p. 36), who however has
  transposed the lists of Antioch and Laodicea, so that he ascribes to
  the Antiochian Synod the names which really belong to the Laodicean.
  This is determined (as I am informed by Prof. Wright) by the position
  of the lists.

  The Laodicean list then, which seems to be imperfect, contains twenty
  names; and, when examined, it yields these results. (1) At least
  three-fourths of the names can be identified with bishops who sat at
  Nicæa, and probably the exceptions would be fewer, if in some cases
  they had not been obscured by transcription into Syriac and by the
  errors of copyists. (2) When identified, they are found to belong in
  almost every instance to Cœlesyria, Phœnicia, Palestine,
  Cilicia, and Isauria, whereas apparently not one comes from Phrygia,
  Lydia, or the other western districts of Asia Minor.

  Supposing that this is a genuine Laodicean list, we are led by the
  first result to place it as near in time as possible to the Council of
  Nicæa; and by the second to question whether after all the Syrian
  Laodicea may not have been meant instead of the Phrygian. On the other
  hand tradition is unanimous in placing this synod in the Phrygian
  town, and in this very Syriac MS the heading of the canons begins ‘Of
  the Synod of Laodicea of Phrygia.’ On the whole it appears probable
  that this supposed list of bishops who met at Laodicea belongs to some
  other Council. The Laodicean Synod seems to have been, as Dr Westcott
  describes it (l.c.), ‘A small gathering of clergy from parts of Lydia
  and Phrygia.’

  In a large mosaic in the Church at Bethlehem, in which all the more
  important Councils are represented, we find the following inscription;
  [Ἡ] ἁγία σύνοδος ἡ ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ τῆς Φρυγίας των κὲ ἐπισκόπων γέγονεν
  διὰ Μοντανὸν κὲ [τ]ὰ[ς] λοιπὰς ἑρέσεις· τού[τους] ὡς αἱρετικοὺς καὶ
  ἐχθροὺς τῆς ἀλεθείας ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος ἀνεθεμάτισεν (Ciampini _de Sacr.
  Ædif. a Constant. constr._ p. 156; comp. Boeckh _Corp. Inscr._ 8953).
  From its position we might infer that the synod to which this
  inscription refers was supposed to have taken place before the Council
  of Nicæa; and if so, it may have been one of those Asiatic synods held
  against Montanism at the end of the second or beginning of the third
  century. But, inasmuch as no record of any such synod is preserved
  elsewhere, we must probably refer it to the well-known Council of
  Laodicea in the fourth century. In this case however the description
  is not very correct, for though Montanism is incidentally condemned in
  the eighth canon, yet this condemnation was not the main object of the
  council and occupies a very subordinate place. The Bethlehem mosaics
  were completed A.D. 1169: see Boeckh _C. I._ 8736.

Footnote 209:

  The canons of this Council, 59 in number, will be found in Labb.
  _Conc._ I. 1530 sq., ed. Coleti. The last of these forbids the reading
  of any but ‘the Canonical books of the New and Old Testament.’ To this
  is often appended (sometimes as a 60th canon) a list of the Canonical
  books; but Dr Westcott has shown that this list is a later addition
  and does not belong to the original decrees of the council (_Canon_ p.
  400 sq.).

Footnote 210:

  By the Quinisextine Council (A.D. 692) in the East (Labb. _Conc._ VII.
  1345), and by the Synod of Aix-la-Chapelle (A.D. 789) in the West
  (_Conc._ IX. 10 sq.).

[Sidenote: Its decrees illustrate the Epistle to the Colossians.]

More important however for my special purpose, than the influence of
this synod on the Church at large, is the light which its canons throw
on the heretical tendencies of this district, and on the warnings of St
Paul in the Colossian Epistle. To illustrate this fact it will only be
necessary to write out some of these canons at length:

[Sidenote: Col. ii. 14, 16, 17.]

29. ‘It is not right for Christians to Judaize and abstain from labour
on the sabbath, but to work on this same day. They should pay respect
rather to the Lord’s day, and, if possible, abstain from labour on it as
Christians. But if they should be found Judaizers, let them be anathema
in the sight of Christ.’

[Sidenote: Col. ii. 18.]

35. ‘It is not right for Christians to abandon the Church of God and go
away and invoke angels (ἀγγέλους ὀνομάζειν)[211] and hold conventicles
(συνάξεις ποιεῖν); for these things are forbidden. If therefore any one
is found devoting himself to this secret idolatry, let him be anathema,
because he abandoned our Lord Jesus Christ and went after idolatry.’

Footnote 211:

  Theodoret about a century after the Laodicean Council, commenting on
  Col. ii. 18, states that this disease (τὸ πάθος) which St Paul
  denounces ‘long remained in Phrygia and Pisidia.’ ‘For this reason
  also,’ he adds, ‘a synod convened in Laodicea of Phrygia forbad by a
  decree the offering prayer to angels; and even to the present time
  oratories of the holy Michael may be seen among them and their
  neighbours.’ See also below p. 71, note 219. A curious inscription,
  found in the theatre at Miletus (Boeckh _C. I._ 2895), illustrates
  this tendency. It is an inscription in seven columns, each having a
  different planetary symbol, and a different permutation of the vowels
  with the same invocation ==αγιε . φυλατον . την . πολιν . μιληϲιων .
  και . πανταϲ . τουϲ . κατοικουνταϲ==, while at the common base is
  written ==αρχαγγελοι . φυλαϲϲεται . η . πολιϲ . μιληϲιων . και .
  παντεϲ . οι . κατ...== Boeckh writes, ‘Etsi hic titulus Gnosticorum
  et Basilidianorum commentis prorsus congruus est, tamen potuit ab
  ethnicis Milesiis scriptus esse; quare nolui eum inter Christianos
  rejicere, quum præsertim publicæ Milesiorum superstitionis documentum
  insigne sit.’ The idea of the seven hάγιοι, combined in the one
  αρχάγγελος, seems certainly to point to Jewish, if not Christian,
  influences: Rev. i. 4, iii. 1, iv. 5, v. 6.

36. ‘It is not right for priests or clergy to be magicians or enchanters
or mathematicians or astrologers[212], or to make safe-guards
(φυλακτήρια) as they are called, for such things are prisons
(δεσμωτήρια) of their souls[213]: and we have enjoined that they which
wear them be cast out of the Church.’

Footnote 212:

  Though there is no direct mention of ‘magic’ in the letter to the
  Colossians, yet it was a characteristic tendency of this part of Asia:
  Acts xix. 19, 2 Tim. iii. 8, 13. See the note on Gal. v. 20. The term
  μαθηματικοὶ is used in this decree in its ordinary sense of
  astrologers, soothsayers.

Footnote 213:

  A Play on the double sense of φυλακτήριον (1) a safeguard or amulet,
  (2) a guard-house.

37. ‘It is not right to receive from Jews or heretics the festive
offerings which they send about, nor to join in their festivals.’

38. ‘It is not right to receive unleavened bread from the Jews or to
participate in their impieties.’

It is strange, at this late date, to find still lingering in these
churches the same readiness to be ‘judged in respect of an holiday or a
new moon or a sabbath,’ with the same tendency to relinquish the hold of
the Head and to substitute ‘a voluntary humility and worshipping of
angels,’ which three centuries before had called forth the Apostle’s
rebuke and warning in the Epistle to the Colossians.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical status of Laodicea and Hierapolis.]

During the flourishing period of the Eastern Church, Laodicea appears as
the metropolis of the province of Phrygia Pacatiana, counting among its
suffragan bishoprics the see of Colossæ[214]. On the other hand
Hierapolis, though only six miles distant, belonged to the neighbouring
province of Phrygia Salutaris[215], whose metropolis was Synnada, and of
which it was one of the most important sees. The stream of the Lycus
seems to have formed the boundary line between the two ecclesiastical
provinces. At a later date Hierapolis itself was raised to metropolitan

Footnote 214:

  A list of the bishoprics belonging to this province at the time of the
  Council of Chalcedon is given, Labb. _Conc._ IV. 1501, 1716.

Footnote 215:

  _Conc._ IV. 1716, 1744.

Footnote 216:

  At the 5th and 6th General Councils (A.D. 553 and A.D. 680) Hierapolis
  is styled a metropolis (Labb. _Conc._ VI. 220, VII. 1068, 1097, 1117);
  and in the latter case it is designated metropolis of _Phrygia
  Pacatiana_, though this same designation is still given to Laodicea.
  Synnada retains its position as metropolis of _Phrygia Salutaris_.

  From this time forward Hierapolis seems always to hold metropolitan
  rank. But no notice is preserved of the circumstances under which the
  change was made. In the _Notitiæ_ it generally occurs twice—first as a
  suffragan see of Phrygia Salutaris, and secondly as metropolis of
  another Phrygia Pacatiana (distinct from that which has Laodicea for
  its metropolis): _Hieroclis Synecdemus et Notitiæ_ (ed. Parthey) Not.
  1, pp. 56, 57, 69, 73; Not. 3, pp. 114, 124; Not. 7, pp. 152, 161;
  Not. 8, pp. 164, 176, 180; Not. 9, pp. 193, 197; Not. 10, pp. 212,
  220. In this latter position it is placed quite out of the proper
  geographical order, thus showing that its metropolitan jurisdiction
  was created comparatively late. The number of dioceses in the province
  is generally given as 9; Nilus _ib._ p. 301. The name of the province
  is variously corrupted from Πακατιανῆς, e.g. Καππατιανῆς, Καππαδοκίας.
  Unless the ecclesiastical position of Hierapolis was altogether
  anomalous, as a province within a province, its double mention in the
  _Notitiæ_ must be explained by a confusion of its earlier and later

[Sidenote: Obscurity of Colossæ.]

But while Laodicea and Hierapolis held the foremost place in the records
of the early Church, and continued to bear an active, though
inconspicuous part, in later Christian history, Colossæ was from the
very first a cipher. The town itself, as we have seen, was already
waning in importance, when the Apostle wrote; and its subsequent decline
seems to have been rapid. Not a single event in Christian history is
connected with its name; and its very existence is only rescued from
oblivion, when at long intervals some bishop of Colossæ attaches his
signature to the decree of an ecclesiastical synod. The city ceased to
strike coins in the reign of Gordian (A.D. [Sidenote: It is supplanted
by Chonæ.] 238–244)[217]. It fell gradually into decay, being supplanted
by the neighbouring town Chonæ, the modern Chonos, so called from the
natural funnels by which the streams here disappear in underground
channels formed by the incrustations of travertine[218]. We may
conjecture also that its ruin was hastened by a renewed assault of its
ancient enemy, the earthquake[219]. It is commonly said that Chonæ is
built on the site of the ancient Colossæ; but the later town stands at
some distance from the earlier, as Salisbury does from Old Sarum. The
episcopal see necessarily followed the population; though for some time
after its removal to the new town the bishop still continued to use the
older title, with or without the addition of Chonæ by way of
explanation, till at length the name of this primitive Apostolic Church
passes wholly out of sight[220].

Footnote 217:

  See Mionnet IV. p. 269, Leake _Numism. Hellen._ p. 45.

Footnote 218:

  Joannes Curopalata p. 686 (ed. Bonn.) φήμη ... τοὺς Τούρκους
  ἀπαγγέλλουσα τὴν ἐν Χώναις πολιτείαν καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν περιβόητον ἐν
  θαύμασι καὶ ἀναθήμασι τοῦ ἀρχιστρατήγου ναὸν καταλαβεῖν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ...
  καὶ τὸ δὴ σχετλιώτερον, μηδὲ τὰς τοῦ χάσματος σήραγγας ἐν ᾧπερ οἱ
  παραρρέοντες ποταμοὶ ἐκεῖσε _χωνευόμενοι_ διὰ τῆς τοῦ
  ἀρχιστρατήγου παλαιᾶς ἐπιδημίας καὶ θεοσημίας ὡς διὰ πρανοῦς ἀστατοῦν
  τὸ ῥεῦμα καὶ λιὰν εὐδρομοῦν ἔχουσι, τοὺς καταπεφευγότας διατηρῆσαι,
  κ.τ.λ. The ‘worship of angels’ is curiously connected with the
  physical features of the country in the legend to which Curopalata
  refers. The people were in imminent danger from a sudden inundation of
  the Lycus, when the archangel Michael appeared and opened a chasm in
  the earth through which the waters flowed away harmlessly: Hartley’s
  _Researches in Greece_ p. 53. See another legend, or another version
  of the legend, in which the archangel interposes, in Laborde p. 103.

  It was the birth-place of Nicetas Choniates, one of the most important
  of the Byzantine historians, who thus speaks of it (_de Manuel_ vi. 2,
  p. 230, ed. Bonn.); Φρυγίαν τε καὶ Λαοδίκειαν διελθὼν ἀφικνεῖται ἐς
  Χώνας, πόλιν εὐδαίμονα καὶ μεγάλην, πάλαι τὰς Κολασσάς, τὲν ἐμοῦ τοῦ
  συγγραφέως πατρίδα, καὶ τὸν ἀρχαγγελικὸν ναὸν εἰσιὼν μεγέθει μέγιστον
  καὶ κάλλει κάλλιστον ὄντα καὶ θαυμασίας χειρὸς ἅπαντα ἔργον κ.τ.λ.,
  where a corrupt reading Παλασσὰς for Κολασσὰς has misled some. It will
  be remembered that the words πόλιν εὐδαίμονα καὶ μεγάλην are borrowed
  from Xenophon’s description of Colossæ (_Anab._ i. 2. 6): see above,
  p. 15, note 52.

  He again alludes to his native place, _de Isaac._ ii. 2, pp. 52, 3
  τοὺς Λαοδικεῖς δὲ Φρύγας μυριαχῶς ἐκάκωσεν, ὥσπερ καὶ τοὺς τῶν Χωνῶν
  τῶν ἐμῶν οἰκήτορας, and _Urbs Capta_ 16, p. 842, τὸ δὲ ἤν ἐμοῦ τοῦ
  συγγραφέως Νικήτα πατρὶς αἱ Χῶναι καὶ ἡ ἀγχιτέρμων ταύτῃ Φρυγικὴ

Footnote 219:

  Thus Hamilton (I. p. 514) reports that an earthquake which occurred at
  Denizli about a hundred years ago caused the inhabitants to remove
  their residences to a different locality, where they have remained
  ever since. Earthquakes have been largely instrumental in changing the
  sites of cities situated within the range of their influence.

Footnote 220:

  At the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) Nunechius of Laodicea
  subscribes ‘for the absent bishops under him,’ among whom is mentioned
  Ἐπιφανίου πόλεως Κολασσῶν (Labb. _Conc._ IV. 1501, ed. Coleti; comp.
  _ib._ 1745). At the Quinisextine Council (A.D. 692) occurs the
  signature of Κοσμᾶς ἐπίσκοπος πόλεως Κολασσαῆς (_sic_) Πακατιανῆς
  (_Conc._ VII. 1408). At the 2nd Council of Nicæa (A.D. 787) the name
  of the see is in a transition state; the bishop Theodosius (or
  Dositheus) signs himself sometimes Χωνῶν ἤτοι Κολασσῶν, sometimes
  Χωνῶν simply (_Conc._ VIII. 689, 796, 988, 1200, 1222, 1357, 1378,
  1432, 1523, 1533, in many of which passages the word Χωνῶν is grossly
  corrupted). At later Councils the see is called Χῶναι; and this is the
  name which it bears in the _Notitiæ_ (pp. 97, 127, 199, 222, 303, ed.

[Sidenote: Turkish conquest.]

The Turkish conquest pressed with more than common severity on these
districts. When the day of visitation came, the Church was taken by
surprise. Occupied with ignoble quarrels and selfish interests, she had
no ear for the voice of Him who demanded admission. The door was barred
and the knock unheeded. The long-impending doom overtook her, and the
golden candlestick was removed for ever from the Eternal Presence[221].

Footnote 221:

  For the remains of Christian churches at Laodicea see Fellows _Asia
  Minor_ p. 282, Pococke p. 74. A description of the three fine churches
  at Hierapolis is given in Fergusson’s _Illustrated Handbook of
  Architecture_ II. p. 967 sq.; comp. Texier _Asie Mineure_ I. p. 143.

                         THE COLOSSIAN HERESY.

[Sidenote: Two elements in the Colossian heresy.]

From the language of St Paul, addressed to the Church of Colossæ, we may
infer the presence of two disturbing elements which threatened the
purity of Christian faith and practice in this community. These elements
are distinguishable in themselves, though it does not follow that they
present the teaching of two distinct parties.

[Sidenote: 1. JUDAIC.]

1. A mere glance at the epistle suffices to detect the presence of
JUDAISM in the teaching which the Apostle combats. The observance of
sabbaths and new moons is decisive in this respect. The distinction of
meats and drinks points in the same direction[222]. Even the enforcement
of the initiatory rite of Judaism may be inferred from the contrast
implied in St Paul’s recommendation of the spiritual circumcision[223].

[Sidenote: 2. GNOSTIC.]

2. On the other hand a closer examination of its language shows that
these Judaic features do not exhaust the portraiture of the heresy or
heresies against which the epistle is directed. We discern an element of
theosophic speculation, which is alien to the spirit of Judaism proper.
We are confronted with a shadowy mysticism, which loses itself in the
contemplation of the unseen world. We discover a tendency to interpose
certain spiritual agencies, intermediate beings, between God and man, as
the instruments of communication and the objects of worship[224].
Anticipating the result which will appear more clearly hereafter, we may
say that along with its Judaism there was a GNOSTIC element in the false
teaching which prevailed at Colossæ.

Footnote 222:

  Col. ii. 16, 17, 21 sq.

Footnote 223:

  ii. 11.

Footnote 224:

  ii. 4, 8, 18, 23.

[Sidenote: Are these combined or separate?]

Have we then two heresies here, or one only? Were these elements
distinct, or were they fused into the same system? In other words, Is St
Paul controverting a phase of Judaism on the one hand, and a phase of
Gnosticism on the other; or did he find himself in conflict with a
Judæo-Gnostic heresy which combined the two[225]?

Footnote 225:

  The Colossian heresy has been made the subject of special
  dissertations by SCHNECKENBURGER _Beiträge zur Einleitung ins N. T._
  (Stuttgart 1832), and _Ueber das Alter der jüdischen Proselyten-Taufe,
  nebst einer Beilage über die Irrlehrer zu Colossä_ (Berlin 1828); by
  OSIANDER _Ueber die Colossischen Irrlehrer_ (_Tübinger Zeitschrift_
  for 1834, III. p. 96 sq.); and by RHEINWALD _De Pseudodoctoribus
  Colossensibus_ (Bonn 1834). But more valuable contributions to the
  subject will often be found in introductions to the commentaries on
  the epistle. Those of BLEEK, DAVIES, MEYER, OLSHAUSEN, STEIGER, and DE
  WETTE may be mentioned. Among other works which may be consulted are
  BAUR _Der Apostel Paulus_ p. 417 sq.; BOEHMER _Isagoge in Epistolam ad
  Colossenses_, Berlin 1829, p. 56 sq., p. 277 sq.; BURTON _Inquiry into
  the Heresies of the Apostolic Age_, Lectures IV, V; EWALD _Die
  Sendschreiben des Apostels Paulus_ p. 462 sq.; HILGENFELD _Der
  Gnosticismus u. das Neue Testament_ in the _Zeitschr. f. Wissensch.
  Theol._ XIII. p. 233 sq.; R. A. LIPSIUS in _Schenkels Bibel-Lexikon_,
  s.v. Gnosis; MAYERHOFF _Der Brief an die Colosser_ p. 107 sq.; NEANDER
  _Planting of the Christian Church_ I. p. 319 sq. (Eng. Trans.); DE
  PRESSENSÉ _Trois Premiers Siècles_ II. p. 194 sq.; STORR _Opuscula_
  II. p. 149 sq.; THIERSCH _Die Kirche im Apostolischen Zeitalter_ p.
  146 sq. Of all the accounts of these Colossian false teachers, I have
  found none more satisfactory than that of Neander, whose opinions are
  followed in the main by the most sober of later writers.

  In the investigation which follows I have assumed that the Colossian
  false teachers were Christians in some sense. The views maintained by
  some earlier critics, who regarded them as (1) Jews, or (2) Greek
  philosophers, or (3) Chaldean magi, have found no favour and do not
  need serious consideration. See Meyer’s introduction for an
  enumeration of such views. A refutation of them will be found in
  Bleek’s _Vorlesungen_ p. 12 sq.

[Sidenote: General reasons for supposing one heresy only, in which they
           are fused.]

On closer examination we find ourselves compelled to adopt the latter
alternative. The epistle itself contains no hint that the Apostle has
more than one set of antagonists in view; and the needless
multiplication of persons or events is always to be deprecated in
historical criticism. Nor indeed does the hypothesis of a single complex
heresy present any real difficulty. If the two elements seem
irreconcileable, or at least incongruous, at first sight, the
incongruity disappears on further examination. It will be shown in the
course of this investigation, that some special tendencies of religious
thought among the Jews themselves before and about this time prepared
the way for such a combination in a Christian community like the Church
of Colossæ[226]. Moreover we shall find that the Christian heresies of
the next succeeding ages exhibit in a more developed form the same
complex type, which here appears in its nascent state[227]; this later
development not only showing that the combination was historically
possible in itself, but likewise presupposing some earlier stage of its
existence such as confronts us at Colossæ.

Footnote 226:

  See below, p. 83 sq.

Footnote 227:

  See below, p. 107 sq.

[Sidenote: S. Paul’s language is decisive on this point.]

But in fact the Apostle’s language hardly leaves the question open. The
two elements are so closely interwoven in his refutation, that it is
impossible to separate them. He passes backwards and forwards from the
one to the other in such a way as to show that they are only parts of
one complex whole. On this point the logical connexion of the sentences
is decisive: ‘Beware lest any man make spoil of you through philosophy
and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the
world.... Ye were circumcised with a circumcision not made with
hands.... And you ... did He quicken, ... blotting out the handwriting
of ordinances which was against you.... Let no man therefore judge you
in meat or drink, or in respect of a holy day or a new moon or a
sabbath.... Let no man beguile you of your prize in a self-imposed
humility and service of angels.... If ye died with Christ from the
rudiments of the world, why ... are ye subject to ordinances ... which
things have a show of wisdom in self-imposed service and humility and
hard treatment of the body, but are of no value against indulgence of
the flesh[228].’ Here the superior wisdom, the speculative element which
is characteristic of Gnosticism, and the ritual observance, the
practical element which was supplied by Judaism, are regarded not only
as springing from the same stem, but also as intertwined in their
growth. And the more carefully we examine the sequence of the Apostle’s
thoughts, the more intimate will the connexion appear.

Footnote 228:

  Col. ii. 8–23. Hilgenfeld (_Der Gnosticismus_ etc. p. 250 sq.)
  contends strenuously for the separation of the two elements. He argues
  that ‘these two tendencies are related to one another as fire and
  water, and nothing stands in the way of allowing the author after the
  first side-glance at the Gnostics to pass over with ver. 11 to the
  Judaizers, with whom Col. ii. 16 sq. is exclusively concerned.’ He
  supposes therefore that ii. 8–10 refers to ‘pure Gnostics,’ and ii.
  16–23 to ‘pure Judaizers.’ To this it is sufficient to answer (1)
  That, if the two elements be so antagonistic, they managed
  nevertheless to reconcile their differences; for we find them united
  in several Judæo-Gnostic heresies in the first half of the second
  century, ξυνώμοσαν γάρ, ὄντες ἔχθιστοι τὸ πρίν, πῦρ καὶ θάλασσα, καὶ
  τὰ πίστ’ ἐδειξάτην; (2) That the two passages are directly connected
  together by τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου, which occurs in both vv. 8, 20;
  (3) That it is not a simple transition once for all from the Gnostic
  to the Judaic element, but the epistle passes to and fro several times
  from the one to the other; while no hint is given that two separate
  heresies are attacked, but on the contrary the sentences are connected
  in a logical sequence (e.g. ver. 9 ὅτι, 10 ὃς, 11 ἐν ᾧ, 12 ἐν ᾧ, 13
  καὶ, 16 οὖν). I hope to make this point clear in my notes on the

  The hypothesis of more than one heresy is maintained also by Heinrichs
  (Koppe N. T. VII. Part 2, 1803). At an earlier date it seems to be
  favoured by Grotius (notes on ii. 16, 21); but his language is not
  very explicit. And earlier still Calvin in his argument to the epistle
  writes, ‘Putant aliqui duo fuisse hominum genera, qui abducere
  tentarent Colossenses ab evangelii puritate,’ but rejects this view as
  uncalled for.

  The same question is raised with regard to the heretical teachers of
  the Pastoral Epistles, and should probably be answered in the same

[Sidenote: Gnosticism must be defined and described.]

Having described the speculative element in this complex heresy
provisionally as Gnostic, I purpose enquiring in the first place, how
far Judaism prior to and independently of Christianity had allied itself
with Gnostic modes of thought; and afterwards, whether the description
of the Colossian heresy is such as to justify us in thus classing it as
a species of Gnosticism. But, as a preliminary to these enquiries, some
definition of the word, or at least some conception of the leading ideas
which it involves, will be necessary. With its complex varieties and
elaborate developments we have no concern here: for, if Gnosticism can
be found at all in the records of the Apostolic age, it will obviously
appear in a simple and elementary form. Divested of its accessories and
presented in its barest outline, it is not difficult of

Footnote 229:

  The chief authorities for the history of Gnosticism are NEANDER
  _Church History_ II. p. 1 sq.; BAUR _Die Christliche Gnosis_
  (Tübingen, 1835); MATTER _Histoire Critique du Gnosticisme_ (2nd ed.,
  Strasbourg and Paris, 1843); R. A. LIPSIUS _Gnosticismus_ in Ersch u.
  Gruber _s.v._ (Leipzig, 1860); and for Gnostic art, KING _Gnostics and
  their Remains_ (London 1864).

[Sidenote: 1. Intellectual exclusiveness of Gnosticism.]

1. As the name attests[230], Gnosticism implies the possession of a
superior wisdom, which is hidden from others. It makes a distinction
between the select few who have this higher gift, and the vulgar many
who are without it. Faith, blind faith, suffices the latter, while
knowledge is the exclusive possession of the former. Thus it recognises
a separation of intellectual _caste_ in religion, introducing the
distinction of an esoteric and an exoteric doctrine, and interposing an
initiation of some kind or other between the two classes. In short it is
animated by the exclusive _aristocratic_ spirit[231], which
distinguishes the ancient religions, and from which it was a main
function of Christianity to deliver mankind.

Footnote 230:

  See esp. Iren. i. 6. 1 sq., Clem. Alex. Strom. ii. p. 433 sq.
  (Potter). On the words τέλειοι, πνευματικοί, by which they designated
  the possessors of this higher _gnosis_, see the notes on Col. i. 28,
  and Phil. iii. 15.

Footnote 231:

  See Neander l.c. p. 1 sq., from whom the epithet is borrowed.

[Sidenote: Speculative tenets of Gnosticism.]

2. This was its spirit; and the intellectual questions, on which its
energies were concentrated and to which it professed to hold the key,
were mainly twofold. How can the work of creation be explained? and, How
are we to account for the existence of evil[232]? To reconcile the
creation of the world and [Sidenote: Creation of the world, and
existence of evil.] the existence of evil with the conception of God as
the absolute Being, was the problem which all the Gnostic systems set
themselves to solve. It will be seen that the two questions cannot be
treated independently but have a very close and intimate connexion with
each other.

Footnote 232:

  The fathers speak of this as the main question about which the
  Gnostics busy themselves; _Unde malum?_ πόθεν ἡ κακία; Tertull. _de
  Præscr._ 7, _adv. Marc._ I. 2, Eus. _H.E._ v. 27; passages quoted by
  Baur _Christliche Gnosis_ p. 19. On the leading conceptions of
  Gnosticism see especially Neander, l.c. p. 9 sq.

[Sidenote: Existence of evil, how to be explained?]

The Gnostic argument ran as follows: Did God create the world out of
nothing, evolve it from Himself? Then, God being perfectly good and
creation having resulted from His sole act without any opposing or
modifying influence, evil would have been impossible; for otherwise we
are driven to the conclusion that God created evil.

[Sidenote: Matter the abode of evil.]

This solution being rejected as impossible, the Gnostic was obliged to
postulate some antagonistic principle independent of God, by which His
creative energy was thwarted and limited. This opposing principle, the
kingdom of evil, he conceived to be the world of matter. The precise
idea of its mode of operation varies in different Gnostic systems. It is
sometimes regarded as a dead passive resistance, sometimes as a
turbulent active power. But, though the exact point of view may shift,
the object contemplated is always the same. In some way or other evil is
regarded as residing in the material, sensible world. Thus Gnostic
speculation on the existence of evil ends in a dualism.

[Sidenote: Creation, how to be explained?]

This point being conceded, the ulterior question arises: How then is
creation possible? How can the Infinite communicate with the Finite, the
Good with the Evil? How can God act upon matter? God is perfect,
absolute, incomprehensible.

This, the Gnostic went on to argue, could only have been possible by
some self-limitation on the part of God. God must express Himself in
some way. There must be some evolution, some effluence, of Deity.
[Sidenote: Doctrine of emanations.] Thus the Divine Being germinates, as
it were; and the first germination again evolves a second from itself in
like manner. In this way we obtain a series of successive emanations,
which may be more or fewer, as the requirements of any particular system
demand. In each successive evolution the Divine element is feebler. They
sink gradually lower and lower in the scale, as they are farther removed
from their source; until at length contact with matter is possible, and
creation ensues. These are the emanations, æons, spirits, or angels, of
Gnosticism, conceived as more or less concrete and personal according to
the different aspects in which they are regarded in different systems.

[Sidenote: 3. Practical errors of Gnosticism.]

3. Such is the bare outline (and nothing more is needed for my immediate
purpose) of the speculative views of Gnosticism. But it is obvious that
these views must have exerted a powerful influence on the ethical
systems of their advocates, and thus they would involve important
practical consequences. If matter is the principle of evil, it is of
infinite moment for a man to know how he can avoid its baneful influence
and thus keep his higher nature unclogged and unsullied.

[Sidenote: Two opposite ethical rules.]

To this practical question two directly opposite answers were

Footnote 233:

  On this point see Clem. _Strom._ iii. 5 (p. 529) εἰς δύο διελόντες
  πράγματα ἁπάσας τὰς αἱρέσεις ἀποκρινώμεθα αὐτοῖς· ἢ γάρ τοι ἀδιαφόρως
  ζῆν διδάσκουσιν, ἢ τὸ ὑπέρτονον ἄγουσαι ἐγκράτειαν διὰ δυσσεβείας καὶ
  φιλαπεχθημοσύνης καταγγέλλουσι, with the whole passage which follows.
  As examples of the one extreme may be instanced the Carpocratians and
  Cainites: of the other the Encratites.

[Sidenote: (i) Rigid asceticism.]

(i) On the one hand, it was contended that the desired end might best be
attained by a rigorous abstinence. Thus communication with matter, if it
could not be entirely avoided, might be reduced to a minimum. Its
grosser defilements at all events would be escaped. The material part of
man would be subdued and mortified, if it could not be annihilated; and
the spirit, thus set free, would be sublimated, and rise to its proper
level. Thus the ethics of Gnosticism pointed in the first instance to a
strict _asceticism_.

[Sidenote: (ii) Unrestrained license.]

(ii) But obviously the results thus attained are very slight and
inadequate. Matter is about us everywhere. We do but touch the skirts of
the evil, when we endeavour to fence ourselves about by prohibitive
ordinances, as for instance, when we enjoin a spare diet or forbid
marriage. Some more comprehensive rule is wanted, which shall apply to
every contingency and every moment of our lives. Arguing in this way,
other Gnostic teachers arrived at an ethical rule directly opposed to
the former. ‘Cultivate an entire indifference,’ they said, ‘to the world
of sense. Do not give it a thought one way or the other, but follow your
own impulses. The ascetic principle assigns a certain importance to
matter. The ascetic fails in consequence to assert his own independence.
The true rule of life is to treat matter as something alien to you,
towards which you have no duties or obligations and which you can use or
leave unused as you like[234].’ In this way the reaction from rigid
asceticism led to the opposite extreme of unrestrained _licentiousness_,
both alike springing from the same false conception of matter as the
principle of evil.

Footnote 234:

  See for instance the description of the Carpocratians in Iren. i. 25.
  3 sq., ii. 32. 1 sq., Hippol. _Hær._ vii. 32, Epiphan. _Hær._ xxvii. 2
  sq.; from which passages it appears that they justified their moral
  profligacy on the principle that the highest perfection consists in
  the most complete contempt of mundane things.

[Sidenote: Original independence of Gnosticism and its subsequent
           connexion with Christianity.]

Gnosticism, as defined by these characteristic features, has obviously
no necessary connexion with Christianity[235]. Christianity would
naturally arouse it to unwonted activity, by leading men to dwell more
earnestly on the nature and power of evil, and thus stimulating more
systematic thought on the theological questions which had already
arrested attention. After no long time Gnosticism would absorb into its
system more or fewer Christian elements, or Christianity in some of its
forms would receive a tinge from Gnosticism. But the thing itself had an
independent root, and seems to have been prior in time. The
probabilities of the case, and the scanty traditions of history, alike
point to this independence of the two[236]. If so, it is a matter of
little moment at what precise time the name ‘Gnostic’ was adopted,
whether before or after contact with Christianity; for we are concerned
only with the growth and direction of thought which the name

Footnote 235:

  It will be seen from the description in the text, that Gnosticism (as
  I have defined it) presupposes only a belief in one God, the absolute
  Being, as against the vulgar polytheism. All its _essential_ features,
  as a speculative system, may be explained from this simple element of
  belief, without any intervention of specially Christian or even Jewish
  doctrine. Christianity added two new elements to it; (1) the idea of
  _Redemption_, (2) the person of _Christ_. To explain the former, and
  to find a place for the latter, henceforth become prominent questions
  which press for solution; and Gnosticism in its several developments
  undergoes various modifications in the endeavour to solve them.
  Redemption must be set in some relation to the fundamental Gnostic
  conception of the antagonism between God and matter; and Christ must
  have some place found for Him in the fundamental Gnostic doctrine of

  If it be urged that there is no authority for the name ‘Gnostic’ as
  applied to these pre-Christian theosophists, I am not concerned to
  prove the contrary, as my main position is not affected thereby. The
  term ‘Gnostic’ is here used, only because no other is so convenient,
  or so appropriate. See note 239, p. 81.

Footnote 236:

  This question will require closer investigation when I come to discuss
  the genuineness of the Epistle to the Colossians. Meanwhile I content
  myself with referring to Baur _Christliche Gnosis_ p. 29 sq. and
  Lipsius _Gnosticismus_ p. 230 sq. Both these writers concede, and
  indeed insist upon, the non-Christian basis of Gnosticism, at least so
  far as I have maintained it in the text. Thus for instance Baur says
  (p. 52), ‘Though Christian gnosis is the completion of gnosis, yet the
  Christian element in gnosis is not so essential as that gnosis cannot
  still be gnosis even without this element. But just as we can abstract
  it from the Christian element, so can we also go still further and
  regard even the Jewish as not strictly an essential element of
  gnosis.’ In another work (_Die drei ersten Jahrhunderte_, p. 167, 1st
  ed.) he expresses himself still more strongly to the same effect, but
  the expressions are modified in the second edition.

Footnote 237:

  We may perhaps gather from the notices which are preserved that,
  though the substantive γνῶσις was used with more or less precision
  even before contact with Christianity to designate the superior
  illumination of these opinions, the adjective γνωστικοί was not
  distinctly applied to those who maintained them till somewhat later.
  Still it is possible that pre-Christian Gnostics already so designated
  themselves. Hippolytus speaks of the Naassenes or Ophites as giving
  themselves this name; _Hær._ v. 6 μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἐπεκάλεσαν ἑαυτοὺς
  γνωστικοὺς, φάσκοντες μόνοι τὰ βάθη γινώσκειν; comp. §§ 8, 11. His
  language seems to imply (though it is not explicit) that they were the
  first to adopt the name. The Ophites were plainly among the earliest
  Gnostic sects, as the heathen element is still predominant in their
  teaching, and their Christianity seems to have been a later graft on
  their pagan theosophy; but at what stage in their development they
  adopted the name γνωστικοί does not appear. Irenæus (_Hær._ i. 25. 6)
  speaks of the name as affected especially by the Carpocratians. For
  the use of the substantive γνῶσις see 1 Cor. viii. 1, xiii. 2, 8, 1
  Tim. vi. 20, and the note on Col. ii. 3: comp. Rev. ii. 24 ὄιτινες οὐκ
  ἔγνωσαν τὰ βαθέα τοῦ Σατανᾶ, ὡς λέγουσιν (as explained by the passage
  already quoted from Hippol. _Hær._ v. 6; see _Galatians_, p. 298, note

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Its alliance with Judaism before Christianity.]

If then Gnosticism was not an offspring of Christianity, but a direction
of religious speculation which existed independently, we are at liberty
to entertain the question whether it did not form an alliance with
Judaism, contemporaneously with or prior to its alliance with
Christianity. There is at least no obstacle which bars such an
investigation at the outset. If this should prove to be the case, then
we have a combination which prepares the way for the otherwise strange
phenomena presented in the Epistle to the Colossians.

[Sidenote: The three sects of the Jews.]

Those, who have sought analogies to the three Jewish sects among the
philosophical schools of Greece and Rome, have compared the Sadducees to
the Epicureans, the Pharisees to the Stoics, and the Essenes to the
Pythagoreans. Like all historical parallels, this comparison is open to
misapprehension: but, carefully guarded, the illustration is pertinent
and instructive.

[Sidenote: Sadduceeism, purely negative.]

With the Sadducees we have no concern here. Whatever respect may be due
to their attitude in the earlier stages of their history, at the
Christian era at least they have ceased to deserve our sympathy; for
their position has become mainly _negative_. They take their stand on
denials—the denial of the existence of angels, the denial of the
resurrection of the dead, the denial of a progressive development in the
Jewish Church. In these negative tendencies, in the materialistic
teaching of the sect, and in the moral consequences to which it led, a
very rough resemblance to the Epicureans will appear[238].

Footnote 238:

  The name _Epicureans_ seems to be applied to them even in the Talmud;
  see Eisenmenger’s _Entdecktes Judenthum_ i. pp. 95, 694 sq.; comp.
  Keim _Geschichte Jesu von Nazara_ i. p. 281.

[Sidenote: Phariseeism and Essenism compared.]

The two _positive_ sects were the Pharisees and the Essenes. Both alike
were strict observers of the ritual law; but, while the Pharisee was
essentially _practical_, the tendency of the Essene was to _mysticism_;
while the Pharisee was a man of the world, the Essene was a member of a
brotherhood. In this respect the Stoic and the Pythagorean were the
nearest counterparts which the history of Greek philosophy and social
life could offer. These analogies indeed are suggested by Josephus

Footnote 239:

  For the Pharisees see Vit. 2 παραπλήσιός ἐστι τῇ παρ’ Ἕλλησι Στωϊκῇ
  λεγομένῃ: for the Essenes, _Ant._ xv. 10. 4 διαίτῃ χρώμενον τῇ παρ’
  Ἕλλησιν ὑπὸ Πυθαγόρου καταδεδειγμένῃ.

[Sidenote: Elusive features of Essenism.]

While the portrait of the Pharisee is distinctly traced and easily
recognised, this is not the case with the Essene. The Essene is the
great enigma of Hebrew history. Admired alike by Jew, by Heathen, and by
Christian, he yet remains a dim vague outline, on which the highest
subtlety of successive critics has been employed to supply a substantial
form and an adequate colouring. An ascetic mystical dreamy recluse, he
seems too far removed from the hard experience of life to be capable of

[Sidenote: A sufficiently distinct portrait of the sect attainable.]

And yet by careful use of the existing materials the portrait of this
sect may be so far restored, as to establish with a reasonable amount of
probability the point with which alone we are here concerned. It will
appear from the delineations of ancient writers, more especially of
Philo and Josephus, that the characteristic feature of Essenism was a
particular direction of mystic speculation, involving a rigid asceticism
as its practical consequence. Following the definition of Gnosticism
which has been already given, we may not unfitly call this tendency

[Sidenote: Main features of Essenism.]

Having anticipated the results in this statement, I shall now endeavour
to develope the main features of Essenism; and, while doing so, I will
ask my readers to bear in mind the portrait of the Colossian heresy in
St Paul, and to mark the resemblances, as the enquiry proceeds[240].

Footnote 240:

   The really important contemporary sources of information respecting
  the Essenes are JOSEPHUS, _Bell. Jud._ ii. 8. 2–13, _Ant._ xiii. 5. 9,
  xviii. 1. 5, _Vit._ 2 (with notices of individual Essenes _Bell. Jud._
  i. 3. 5, ii. 7. 3, ii. 20. 4, iii. 2. 1, _Ant._ xiii. 11. 2, xv. 10.
  4, 5); and PHILO, _Quod omnis probus liber_ § 12 sq. (II. p. 457 sq.),
  _Apol. pro Jud._ (II. p. 632 sq., a fragment quoted by Eusebius _Præp.
  Evang._ viii. 11 ). The account of the Therapeutes by the latter
  writer, _de Vita Contemplativa_ (II. p. 471 sq.), must also be
  consulted, as describing a closely allied sect. To these should be
  added the short notice of PLINY, _N.H._ v. 15. 17, as expressing the
  views of a Roman writer. His account, we may conjecture, was taken
  from Alexander Polyhistor, a contemporary of Sulla, whom he mentions
  in his prefatory elenchus as one of his authorities for this 5th book,
  and who wrote a work _On the Jews_ (Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i. 21, p.
  396, Euseb. _Præp. Ev._ ix. 17). Significant mention of the Essenes is
  found also in the Christian HEGESIPPUS (Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 22) and in
  the heathen DION CHRYSOSTOM (Synesius _Dion_ 3, p. 39). EPIPHANIUS
  (_Hær._ pp. 28 sq., 40 sq.) discusses two separate sects, which he
  calls _Essenes_ and _Ossæans_ respectively. These are doubtless
  different names of the same persons. His account is, as usual,
  confused and inaccurate, but has a certain value. All other
  authorities are secondary. HIPPOLYTUS, _Hær._ ix. 18–28, follows
  Josephus (_Bell. Jud._ ii. 8. 2 sq.) almost exclusively. PORPHYRY also
  (_de Abstinentia_, iv. II sq.) copies this same passage of Josephus,
  with a few unimportant exceptions probably taken from a lost work by
  the same author, πρὸς τοὺς Ἑλληνας, which he mentions by name.
  EUSEBIUS (_Præp. Evang._ viii. II sq., ix. 3) contents himself with
  quoting Philo and Porphyry. SOLINUS (_Polyh._ xxxv. 9 sq.) merely
  abstracts Pliny. TALMUDICAL and RABBINICAL passages, supposed to
  contain references to the Essenes, are collected by Frankel in the
  articles mentioned in a later paragraph; but the allusions are most
  uncertain (see the appendix to this chapter). The authorities for the
  history of the Essenes are the subject of an article by W. Clemens in
  the _Zeitschr. f. Wiss. Theol._ 1869, p. 328 sq.

  The attack on the genuineness of Philo’s treatise _De Vita
  Contemplativa_ made by Grätz (III. p. 463 sq.) has been met by Zeller
  (_Philosophie_, III. ii. p. 255 sq.), whose refutation is complete.
  The attack of the same writer (III. p. 464) on the genuineness of the
  treatise _Quod omnis probus liber_> Zeller considers too frivolous to
  need refuting (_ib._ p. 235). A refutation will be found in the
  above-mentioned article of W. Clemens (p. 340 sq.).

  Of modern writings relating to the Essenes the following may be
  especially mentioned; BELLERMANN _Ueber Essäer u. Therapeuten_, Berlin
  1821; GFRÖRER _Philo_ II. p. 299 sq.; DÄHNE _Ersch u. Gruber’s
  Encyklopädie_ s.v.; FRANKEL _Zeitschrift für die religiösen Interessen
  des Judenthums_ 1846 p. 441 sq., _Monatschrift für Geschichte u.
  Wissenschaft des Judenthums_ 1853 p. 30 sq., 61 sq.; BÖTTGER_Ueber den
  Orden der Essäer_, Dresden 1849; EWALD _Geschichte des Volkes Israel_
  IV. p. 420 sq., VII. p. 153 sq.; RITSCHL _Entstehung der
  Altkatholischen Kirche_ p. 179 sq. (ed. 2, 1857), and _Theologische
  Jahrbücher_ 1855, p. 315 sq.; JOST _Geschichte des Judenthums_ I. p.
  207 sq.; GRAETZ _Geschichte der Juden_ III. p. 79 sq., 463 sq. (ed. 2,
  1863); HILGENFELD _Jüdische Apocalyptik_ p. 245 sq., and _Zeitschr. f.
  Wiss. Theol._ X. p. 97 sq., XI. p. 343 sq., XIV. p. 30 sq.; WESTCOTT
  _Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible_ s.v.; GINSBURG _The Essenes_, London
  1864, and in _Kitto’s Cyclopædia_ s.v.; DERENBOURG _L’Histoire et la
  Géographie de la Palestine_ p. 166 sq., 460 sq.; KEIM _Geschichte Jesu
  von Nazara_ I. p. 282 sq.; HAUSRATH _Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte_
  I. p. 133 sq.; LIPSIUS _Schenkel’s Bibel Lexikon_ s.v.; HERZFELD
  _Geschichte des Volkes Israel_ II. 368 sq., 388 sq., 509 sq. (ed. 2,
  1863); ZELLER _Philosophie der Griechen_ III. 2. p. 234 sq. (ed. 2,
  1868); LANGEN _Judenthum in Palästina_ p. 190 sq.; LÖWY
  _Kritisch-talmudisches Lexicon_ s.v. (Wien 1863); WEISS _Zur
  Geschichte der jüdischen Tradition_ p. 120 sq. (Wien).

The Judaic element is especially prominent in the life and teaching of
the sect. The Essene was exceptionally rigorous in his observance of the
Mosaic ritual. In his strict abstinence [Sidenote: Observance of the
Mosaic law.] from work on the sabbath he far surpassed all the other
Jews. He would not light a fire, would not move a vessel, would not
perform even the most ordinary functions of life[241]. The whole day was
given up to religious exercises and to exposition of the
Scriptures[242]. His respect for the law extended also to the law-giver.
After God, the name of Moses was held in the highest reverence. He who
blasphemed his name was punished with death[243]. In all these points
the Essene was an exaggeration, almost a caricature, of the Pharisee.

Footnote 241:

  _B.J._ ii. 8. 9 φυλάσσονται ... ταῖς ἑβδόμασιν ἔργων ἐφάπτεσθαι
  διαφορώτατα Ἰουδαίων ἁπάντων· οὐ μόνον γὰρ τροφὰς ἑαυτοῖς πρὸ ἡμέρας
  μιᾶς παρασκευάζουσιν, ὡς μηδὲ πῦρ ἐναύοιεν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ
  σκεῦός τι μετακινῆσαι θαρῥοῦσιν κ.τ.λ. Hippolytus (_Hær._ ix. 25) adds
  that some of them do not so much as leave their beds on this day.

Footnote 242:

  Philo _Quod omn. prob. lib._ § 12. Of the Therapeutes see Philo _Vit.
  Cont._ § 3, 4.

Footnote 243:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 9 σέβας δὲ μέγιστον παρ’ αὐτοῖς μετὰ τὸν Θεὸν τὸ ὄνομα
  τοῦ νομοθέτου, κἂν βλασφημήσῃ τις εἰς τοῦτον (i.e. τὸν νομοθέτην),
  κολάζεσθαι θανάτῳ: comp. § 10.

[Sidenote: External elements superadded.]

So far the Essene has not departed from the principles of normal
Judaism; but here the divergence begins. In three main points we trace
the working of influences, which must have been derived from external

[Sidenote: 1. Rigid asceticism, in respect to]

1. To the legalism of the Pharisee, the Essene added an asceticism,
which was peculiarly his own, and which in many respects contradicted
the tenets of the other sect. The honourable, and even exaggerated,
estimate of marriage, which was characteristic of the Jew, and of the
Pharisee as the typical Jew, found no favour with the Essene[244].
[Sidenote: marriage,]Marriage was to him an abomination. Those Essenes
who lived together as members of an order, and in whom the principles of
the sect were carried to their logical consequences, eschewed it
altogether. To secure the continuance of their brotherhood they adopted
children, whom they brought up in the doctrines and practices of the
community. There were others however who took a different view. They
accepted marriage, as necessary for the preservation of the race. Yet
even with them it seems to have been regarded only as an inevitable
evil. They fenced it off by stringent rules, demanding a three years’
probation and enjoining various purificatory rites[245]. The conception
of marriage, as quickening and educating the affections and thus
exalting and refining human life, was wholly foreign to their minds.
Woman was a mere instrument of temptation in their eyes, deceitful,
faithless, selfish, jealous, misled and misleading by her passions.

Footnote 244:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 2 γάμου μὲν ὑπεροψία παρ’ αὐτοῖς ... τὰς τῶν γυναίκων
  ἀσελγείας φυλασσόμενοι καὶ μηδεμίαν τηρεῖν πεπεισμένοι τὴν πρὸς ἕνα
  πίστιν, _Ant._ xviii. 1. 5; Philo _Fragm._ p. 633 γάμον παρῃτήσαντο
  μετὰ τοῦ διαφερόντως ἀσκεῖν ἐγκράτειαν· Ἐσσαίων γὰρ οὐδεις ἄγεται
  γυναῖκα, δίοτι φίλαυτον ἡ γυνὴ καὶ ζηλότυπον οὐ μετρίως καὶ δεινὸν
  ἀνδρὸς ἤθη παρασαλεῦσαι, with more to the same purpose. This
  peculiarity astonished the heathen Pliny, _N.H._ v. 15, ‘gens sola et
  in toto orbe præter ceteros mira, sine ulla femina, venere
  abdicata.... In diem ex æquo convenarum turba renascitur large
  frequentantibus.... Ita per sæculorum millia (incredibile dictu) gens
  æterna est, in qua nemo nascitur. Tam fœcunda illis aliorum vitæ
  pœnitentia est.’

Footnote 245:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 13. Josephus speaks of these as ἕτερον Ἐσσηνῶν τάγμα, ὃ
  δίαιταν μὲν καὶ ἔθη καὶ νόμιμα τοῖς ἄλλοις ὁμοφρονοῦν, διεστὸς δὲ τῇ
  κατὰ γάμον δόξῃ. We may suppose that they corresponded to the third
  order of a Benedictine or Franciscan brotherhood; so that, living in
  the world, they would observe the rule up to a certain point, but
  would not be bound by vows of celibacy or subject to the more rigorous
  discipline of the sect.

[Sidenote: meats and drinks,]

But their ascetic tendencies did not stop here. The Pharisee was very
careful to observe the distinction of meats lawful and unlawful, as laid
down by the Mosaic code, and even rendered these ordinances vexatious by
minute definitions of his own. But the Essene went far beyond him. He
drank no wine, he did not touch animal food. His meal consisted of a
piece of bread and a single mess of vegetables. Even this simple fare
was prepared for him by special officers consecrated for the purpose,
that it might be free from all contamination[246]. Nay, so stringent
were the rules of the order on this point, that when an Essene was
excommunicated, he often died of starvation, being bound by his oath not
to take food prepared by defiled hands, and thus being reduced to eat
the very grass of the field[247].

Footnote 246:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 5; see Philo’s account of the Therapeutes, _Vit. Cont._
  § 4 σιτοῦνται δὲ πολυτελὲς οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ ἄρτον εὐτελῆ· καὶ ὄψον ἅλες,
  οὓς οἱ ἀβροδιαιτότατοι παραρτύουσιν ὑσσώπῳ· ποτὸν ὕδωρ ναματιαῖον
  αὐτοῖς ἐστιν; and again more to the same effect in § 9: and compare
  the Essene story of St James in Hegesippus (Euseb. _H.E._ ii. 23)
  οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐκ ἔπιεν, οὐδὲ ἔμψυχον ἔφαγε. Their abstention from
  animal food accounts for Porphyry’s giving them so prominent a place
  in his treatise: see Zeller, p. 243.

Footnote 247:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 8.

[Sidenote: and oil for anointing.]

Again, in hot climates oil for anointing the body is almost a necessary
of life. From this too the Essenes strictly abstained. Even if they were
accidentally smeared, they were careful at once to wash themselves,
holding the mere touch to be a contamination[248].

Footnote 248:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 3 κηλῖδα δὲ ὑπολαμβάνουσι τὸ ἔλαιον κ.τ.λ.; Hegesippus
  l.c. ἔλαιον οὐκ ἠλείψατο.

[Sidenote: Underlying principle of this asceticism.]

From these facts it seems clear that Essene abstinence was something
more than the mere exaggeration of Pharisaic principles. The rigour of
the Pharisee was based on his obligation of obedience to an absolute
external law. The Essene introduced a new principle. He condemned in any
form the gratification of the natural cravings, nor would he consent to
regard it as moral or immoral only according to the motive which
suggested it or the consequences which flowed from it. It was in itself
an absolute evil. He sought to disengage himself, as far as possible,
from the conditions of physical life. In short, in the asceticism of the
Essene we seem to see the germ of that Gnostic dualism which regards
matter as the principle, or at least the abode, of evil.

[Sidenote: 2. Speculative tenets.]

2. And, when we come to investigate the speculative tenets of the sect,
we shall find that the Essenes have diverged appreciably from the common
type of Jewish orthodoxy.

[Sidenote: (i) Tendency to sun-worship.]

(i) Attention was directed above to their respect for Moses and the
Mosaic law, which they shared in common with the Pharisee. But there was
another side to their theological teaching. Though our information is
somewhat defective, still in the scanty notices which are preserved we
find sufficient indications that they had absorbed some foreign elements
of religious thought into their system. Thus at day-break they addressed
certain prayers, which had been handed down from their forefathers, to
the Sun, ‘as if entreating him to rise[249].’ They were careful also to
conceal and bury all polluting substances, so as not ‘to insult the rays
of the god[250].’ We cannot indeed suppose that they regarded the sun as
more than a symbol of the unseen power who gives light and life; but
their outward demonstrations of reverence were sufficiently prominent to
attach to them, or to a sect derived from them, the epithet of
‘Sun-worshippers[251],’ and some connexion with the characteristic
feature of Parsee devotion at once suggests itself. The practice at all
events stands in strong contrast to the denunciations of worship paid to
the ‘hosts of heaven’ in the Hebrew prophets.

Footnote 249:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 5 πρός γε μὴν τὸ θεῖον ἰδίως εὐσεβεῖς· πρὶν γὰρ ἀνασχεῖν
  τὸν ἥλιον οὐδὲν φθέγγονται τῶν βεβήλων, πατρίους δεώω τινας εἰς αὐτὸν
  εὐχάς, ὥσπερ ἱκετεύοντες ἀνατεῖλαι. Compare what Philo says of the
  Therapeutes, _Vit. Cont._ § 3 ἡλίου μὲν ἀνίσχοντος εὐημερίαν
  αἰτούμενοι τὴν ὄντως εὐημερίαν, φωτὸς οὐρανίου την δίανοιαν αὐτῶν
  ἀναπλησθῆναι, and _ib._ § 11. On the attempt of Frankel (_Zeitschr._
  p. 458) to resolve this worship, which Josephus states to be offered
  to the sun (εἰς αὐτόν), into the ordinary prayers of the Pharisaic Jew
  at day-break, see the appendix to this chapter.

Footnote 250:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 9 ὡς μὴ τὰς αὐγὰς ὑβρίζοιεν τοῦ θεοῦ. There can be no
  doubt, I think, that by τοῦ θεοῦ is meant the ‘sun-god’; comp. Eur.
  _Heracl._ 749 θεοῦ φαεσίμβροτοι αὐγαί, _Alc._ 722 τὸ φέγγος τοῦτο τοῦ
  θεοῦ, Appian _Præf._ 9 δυομένου τοῦ θεοῦ, _Lib._ 113 τοῦ θεοῦ περὶ
  δείλην ἑσπέραν ὄντος, _Civ._ iv. 79 δύνοντος ἄρτι τοῦ θεοῦ: comp.
  Herod. ii. 24. Dr Ginsburg has obliterated this very important touch
  by translating τὰς αὐγὰς τοῦ θεοῦ ‘the Divine rays’ (_Essenes_ p. 47).
  It is a significant fact that Hippolytus (_Hær._ ix. 25) omits the
  words τοῦ θεοῦ, evidently regarding them as a stumbling-block. How
  Josephus expressed himself in the original Hebrew of the _Bellum
  Judaicum_, it is vain to speculate: but the Greek translation was
  authorised, if not made, by him.

Footnote 251:

  Epiphan. _Hær._ xix. 2, xx. 3 Ὀσσηνοὶ δὲ μετέστησαν ἀπὸ Ἰουδαϊσμοῦ εἰς
  τὴν τῶν Σαμψαίων αἵρεσιν, liii. 1, 2 Σαμψαῖοι γὰρ ἑρμηνεύονται
  Ἡλιακοί, from the Hebrew שמש ‘the sun.’ The historical connexion of
  the Sampsæans with the Essenes is evident from these passages: though
  it is difficult to say what their precise relations to each other
  were. See the appendix.

[Sidenote: (ii) Resurrection of the body denied.]

(ii) Nor again is it an insignificant fact that, while the Pharisee
maintained the resurrection of the body as a cardinal article of his
faith, the Essene restricted himself to a belief in the immortality of
the soul. The soul, he maintained, was confined in the flesh, as in a
prison-house. Only when disengaged from these fetters would it be truly
free. Then it would soar aloft, rejoicing in its newly attained
liberty[252]. This doctrine accords with the fundamental conception of
the malignity of matter. To those who held this conception a
resurrection of the body would be repulsive, as involving a perpetuation
of evil.

Footnote 252:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 11 καὶ γὰρ ἕρρωται παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἥδε ἡ δόξα, φθαρτὰ μὲν
  εἶναι τὰ σώματα καὶ τὴν ὕλην οὐ μόνιμον αὐτοῖς, τὰς δὲ ψυχὰς ἀθανάτους
  ἀεὶ διαμένειν ... ἐπειδὰν δὲ ἀνεθῶσι τῶν κατὰ σάρκα δεσμῶν, οἷα δὴ
  μακρᾶς δουλείας ἀπηλλαγμένας, τότε χαίρειν καὶ μετεῶρους φέρεσθαι
  κ.τ.λ. To this doctrine the teaching of the Pharisees stands in direct
  contrast; _ib._ § 13: comp. also _Ant._ xviii. 1. 3, 5.

  Nothing can be more explicit than the language of Josephus. On the
  other hand Hippolytus (_Hær._ ix. 27) says of them ὁμολογοῦσι γὰρ καὶ
  τὴν σάρκα ἀναστήσεσθαι καὶ ἔσεσθαι ἀθάνατον ὃν τρόπον ἤδη ἀθάνατός
  ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή κ.τ.λ.; but his authority is worthless on this point, as
  he can have had no personal knowledge of the facts: see Zeller p. 251,
  note 2. Hilgenfeld takes a different view; _Zeitschr._ XIV. p. 49.

[Sidenote: (iii) Prohibition of sacrifices.]

(iii) But they also separated themselves from the religious belief of
the orthodox Jew in another respect, which would provoke more notice.
While they sent gifts to the temple at Jerusalem, they refused to offer
sacrifices there[253]. It would appear that the slaughter of animals was
altogether forbidden by their creed[254]. It is certain that they were
afraid of contracting some ceremonial impurity by offering victims in
the temple. Meanwhile they had sacrifices, bloodless sacrifices, of
their own. They regarded their simple meals with their accompanying
prayers and thanksgiving, not only as devotional but even as sacrificial
rites. Those who prepared and presided over these meals were their
consecrated priests[255].

Footnote 253:

  _Ant._ xviii. 1. 5 εἰς δὲ τὸ ἱερὸν ἀναθήματά τε στέλλοντες θυσίας οὐκ
  ἐπιτελοῦσι διαφορότητι ἁγνειῶν, ἃς νομίζοιεν, καὶ δι’ αὐτὸ εἰργόμενοι
  τοῦ κοινοῦ τεμενίσματος ἐφ’ αὑτῶν τὰς θυσίας ἐπιτελοῦσι. So Philo
  _Quod omn. prob. lib._ § 12 describes them as οὐ ζῷα καταθύοντες ἀλλ’
  ἱεροπρεπεῖς τὰς ἑαυτῶν διανοίας κατασκευάζειν ἀξιοῦντες.

Footnote 254:

  The following considerations show that their abstention should
  probably be explained in this way: (1) Though the language of Josephus
  may be ambiguous, that of Philo is unequivocal on this point; (2)
  Their abstention from the temple-sacrifices cannot be considered apart
  from the fact that they ate no animal food: see above p. 86, note 246.
  (3) The Christianized Essenes, or Ebionites, though strong Judaizers
  in many respects, yet distinctly protested against the sacrifice of
  animals; see Clem. _Hom._ iii. 45, 52, and comp. Ritschl p. 224. On
  this subject see also Zeller p. 242 sq., and the appendix to this

Footnote 255:

  _Ant._ xviii. 1. 5 ἱερεῖς τε [χειροτονοῦσι] διὰ ποίησιν σίτου τε καὶ
  βρωμάτων, _B.J._ ii. 8. 5 προκατεύχεται δὲ ὁ ἱερεὺς τῆς τροφῆς κ.τ.λ.;
  see Ritschl p. 181.

[Sidenote: (iv) Esoteric doctrine of angels.]

(iv) In what other respects they may have departed from, or added to,
the normal creed of Judaism, we do not know. But it is expressly stated
that, when a novice after passing through the probationary stages was
admitted to the full privileges of the order, the oath of admission
bound him ‘to conceal nothing from the members of the sect, and to
report nothing concerning them to others, even though threatened with
death; not to communicate any of their doctrines to anyone otherwise
than as he himself had received them; but to abstain from robbery, and
in like manner to guard carefully the books of their sect, and _the
names of the angels_[256].’ It may be reasonably supposed that more
lurks under this last expression than meets the ear. This esoteric
doctrine, relating to angelic beings, may have been another link which
attached Essenism to the religion of Zoroaster[257]. At all events we
seem to be justified in connecting it with the self-imposed service and
worshipping of angels at Colossæ: and we may well suspect that we have
here a germ which was developed into the Gnostic doctrine of æons or

Footnote 256:

  _B.J._ l.c. § 7 ὅρκους αὐτοῖς ὄμνυσι φρικώδεις ... μήτε κρύψειν τι
  τοὺς αἱρετιστὰς μήτε ἑτέροις αὐτῶν τι μηνύσειν, καὶ ἂν μέχρι θανάτου
  τὶς βιάζηται. πρὸς τούτοις ὀμνύουσι μηδενὶ μὲν μεταδοῦναι τῶν δογμάτων
  ἑτέρως ἢ ὡς αὐτὸς μετέλαβεν· ἀφέξεσθαι δὲ λῃστείας καὶ συντηρήσειν
  ὁμοίως τὰ τε τῆς αἱρέσεως αὐτῶν βιβλία καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων ὀνόματα.
  With this notice should be compared the Ebionite διαμαρτυρία, or
  protest of initiation, prefixed to the _Clementine Homilies_, which
  shows how closely the Christian Essenes followed the practice of their
  Jewish predecessors in this respect. See Zeller p. 254.

Footnote 257:

  See below, in the appendix.

[Sidenote: (v) Speculations on God and Creation.]

(v) If so, it is not unconnected with another notice relating to Essene
peculiarities. The Gnostic doctrine of intermediate beings between God
and the world, as we have seen, was intimately connected with
speculations respecting creation. Now we are specially informed that the
Essenes, while leaving physical studies in general to speculative idlers
(μετεωρολέσχαις), as being beyond the reach of human nature, yet
excepted from their general condemnation that philosophy which treats of
the existence of God and the generation of the universe[258].

Footnote 258:

  Philo _Omn. prob. lib._ § 12 (p. 458) τὸ δὲ φυσικὸν ὡς μεῖζον ἢ κατὰ
  ἀνθρωπίνην φύσιν μετεωρολέσχαις ἀπολιπόντες, πλὴν ὅσον αὐτοῦ περὶ
  ὑπάρξεως Θεοῦ καὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς γενέσεως φιλοσοφεῖται.

[Sidenote: (vi) Magical charms.]

(vi) Mention has been made incidentally of certain secret books peculiar
to the sect. The existence of such an apocryphal literature was a sure
token of some abnormal development in doctrine[259]. In the passage
quoted it is mentioned in relation to some form of angelology. Elsewhere
their skill in prediction, for which they were especially famous, is
connected with the perusal of certain ‘sacred books,’ which however are
not described[260]. But more especially, we are told that the Essenes
studied with extraordinary diligence the writings of the ancients,
selecting those especially which could be turned to profit for soul and
body, and that from these they learnt the qualities of roots and the
properties of stones[261]. This expression, as illustrated by other
notices, points clearly to the study of occult sciences, and recalls the
alliance with the practice of magical arts, which was a distinguishing
feature of Gnosticism, and is condemned by Christian teachers even in
the heresies of the Apostolic age.

Footnote 259:

  The word _Apocrypha_ was used originally to designate the secret books
  which contained the esoteric doctrine of a sect. The secondary sense
  ‘spurious’ was derived from the general character of these writings,
  which were heretical, generally Gnostic, forgeries. See Prof.
  Plumptre’s article _Apocrypha_ in Smith’s _Dictionary of the Bible_,
  and the note on ἀπόκρυφοι below, ii. 3.

Footnote 260:

  _B.J._ ii. 8. 12 εἰσὶ δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς οἳ καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα προγινώσκειν
  ὑπισχνοῦνται, βίβλοις ἱεραῖς καὶ διαφόροις ἁγνείαις καὶ προφητῶν
  ἀποφθέγμασιν ἐμπαιδοτριβούμενοι· σπάνιον δὲ, εἴποτε, ἐν ταῖς
  προαγορεύσεσιν ἀστοχήσουσιν. Dr Ginsburg (p. 49) translates βίβλοις
  ἱεραῖς ‘_the_ sacred Scripture,’ and προφητῶν ἀποφθέγμασιν ‘_the_
  sayings of _the_ prophets’; but as the definite articles are wanting,
  the expressions cannot be so rendered, nor does there seem to be any
  reference to the Canonical writings.

  We learn from an anecdote in _Ant._ xiii. II. 2, that the teachers of
  this sect communicated the art of prediction to their disciples by
  instruction. We may therefore conjecture that with the Essenes this
  acquisition was connected with magic or astrology. At all events it is
  not treated as a direct inspiration.

Footnote 261:

  _B.J._ ii. 8. 6 σπουδάζουσι δὲ ἐκτόπως περὶ τὰ τῶν παλαιῶν
  συγγράμματα, μάλιστα τὰ πρὸς ὠφέλειαν ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος ἐκλέγοντες·
  ἔνθεν αὐτοῖς πρὸς θεραπείαν παθῶν ῥίζαι τε ἀλεξιτήριοι καὶ λίθων
  ἰδιότητες ἀνερευνῶνται. This passage might seem at first sight to
  refer simply to the _medicinal_ qualities of vegetable and mineral
  substances; but a comparison with another notice in Josephus invests
  it with a different meaning. In _Ant._ viii. 2. 5 he states that
  Solomon, having received by divine inspiration the art of defeating
  demons for the advantage and healing of man (εἰς ὠφέλειαν καὶ
  θεραπείαν τοῖς ἀνθρῶποις), composed and left behind him charms
  (ἐπῳδάς) by which diseases were allayed, and diverse kinds of
  exorcisms (τρόπους ἐξορκώσεων) by which demons were cast out. ‘This
  mode of healing,’ he adds, ‘is very powerful even to the present day’;
  and he then relates how, as he was credibly informed (ἱστόρησα), one
  of his countrymen, Eleazar by name, had healed several persons
  possessed by demons in the presence of Vespasian and his sons and a
  number of officers and common soldiers. This he did by applying to the
  nose of the possessed his ring, which had concealed in it one of the
  _roots_ which Solomon had directed to be used, and thus drawing out
  the demon through the nostrils of the person smelling it. At the same
  time he adjured the evil spirit not to return, ‘making mention of
  Solomon and repeating the charms composed by him.’ On one occasion
  this Eleazar gave ocular proof that the demon was exorcized; and thus,
  adds Josephus, σαφὴς ἡ Σολομῶνος καθίστατο σύνεσις καὶ σοφία. On these
  books relating to the occult arts and ascribed to Solomon see
  Fabricius _Cod. Pseud. Vet. Test._ I. p. 1036 sq., where many curious
  notices are gathered together. Comp. especially Origen, _In Matth.
  Comm._ xxxv. § 110 (III. p. 910), Pseudo-Just. _Quæst._ 55.

  This interpretation explains all the expressions in the passage. The
  λίθων ἰδιότητες naturally points to the use of charms or amulets, as
  may be seen e.g. from the treatise, Damigeron _de Lapidibus_, printed
  in the _Spicil. Solemn._ III. p. 324 sq.: comp. King _Antique Gems_
  Sect. IV, _Gnostics and their Remains_. The reference to ‘the books of
  the ancients’ thus finds an adequate explanation. On the other hand
  the only expression which seemed to militate against this view,
  ἀλεξιτήριοι ῥίζαι, is justified by the story in the _Antiquities_. It
  should be added also that Hippolytus (_Hær._ ix. 22) paraphrases the
  language of Josephus so as to give it this sense; πάνυ δὲ
  _περιέργως_ ἔχουσι περὶ βοτάνας καὶ λίθους, _περιεργότεροι_
  ὄντες πρὸς τὰς τούτων ἐνεργείας, φάσκοντες μὴ μάτην ταῦτα γενονέναι.
  The sense which περίεργος (‘curiosus’) bears in Acts xix. 19 and
  elsewhere, referring to magical arts, illustrates its use here.

  Thus these Essenes were dealers in charms, rather than physicians. And
  yet it is quite possible that along with this practice of the occult
  sciences they studied the healing art in its nobler forms. The works
  of Alexander of Tralles, an eminent ancient physician, constantly
  recommend the use of such charms, of which some obviously come from a
  Jewish source and not improbably may have been taken from these
  Solomonian books to which Josephus refers. A number of passages from
  this and other writers, specifying charms of various kinds, are given
  in Becker and Marquardt _Rom. Alterth._ IV. p. 116 sq. See also
  Spencer’s note on Orig. _c. Cels._ p. 17 sq.

[Sidenote: 3. Exclusive spirit of Essenism.]

3. But the notice to which I have just alluded suggests a broader
affinity with Gnosticism. Not only did the theological speculations of
the Essenes take a Gnostic turn, but they guarded their peculiar tenets
with Gnostic reserve. They too had their esoteric doctrine which they
looked upon as the exclusive possession of the privileged few; their
‘mysteries’ which it was a grievous offence to communicate to the
uninitiated. This doctrine was contained, as we have seen, in an
apocryphal literature. Their whole organisation was arranged so as to
prevent the divulgence of its secrets to those without. The long period
of noviciate, the careful rites of initiation, the distinction of the
several orders[262] in the community, the solemn oaths by which they
bound their members, were so many safeguards against a betrayal of this
precious deposit, which they held to be restricted to the inmost circle
of the brotherhood.

Footnote 262:

  See especially _B.J._ ii. 8. 7, 10.

[Sidenote: The three notes of Gnosticism found in the Essenes.]

In selecting these details I have not attempted to give a finished
portrait of Essenism. From this point of view the delineation would be
imperfect and misleading: for I have left out of sight the nobler
features of the sect, their courageous endurance, their simple piety,
their brotherly love. My object was solely to call attention to those
features which distinguish it from the normal type of Judaism, and seem
to justify the attribution of Gnostic influences. And here it has been
seen that the three characteristics, which were singled out above as
distinctive of Gnosticism, reappear in the Essenes; though it has been
convenient to consider them in the reversed order. This Jewish sect
exhibits the same exclusiveness in the communication of its doctrines.
Its theological speculations take the same direction, dwelling on the
mysteries of creation, regarding matter as the abode of evil, and
postulating certain intermediate spiritual agencies as necessary links
of communication between heaven and earth. And lastly, its speculative
opinions involve the same ethical conclusions, and lead in like manner
to a rigid asceticism. If the notices relating to these points do not
always explain themselves, yet read in the light of the heresies of the
Apostolic age and in that of subsequent Judæo-Gnostic Christianity,
their bearing seems to be distinct enough; so that we should not be far
wrong, if we were to designate Essenism as Gnostic Judaism[263].

Footnote 263:

  I have said nothing of the Cabbala, as a development of Jewish thought
  illustrating the Colossian heresy: because the books containing the
  Cabbalistic speculations are comparatively recent, and if they contain
  ancient elements, it seems impossible to separate these from later
  additions or to assign to them even an approximate date. The
  Cabbalistic doctrine however will serve to show to what extent Judaism
  may be developed in the direction of speculative mysticism.

[Sidenote: How widely were the Essenes dispersed?]

But the Essenes of whom historical notices are preserved were
inhabitants of the Holy Land. Their monasteries were situated on the
shores of the Dead Sea. We are told indeed, that the sect was not
confined to any one place, and that members of the order were found in
great numbers in divers cities and villages[264]. But Judæa in one
notice, Palestine and Syria in another, are especially named as the
localities of the Essene settlements[265]. Have we any reason to suppose
that they were represented among the Jews of the Dispersion? In Egypt
indeed we find ourselves confronted with a similar ascetic sect, the
Therapeutes, who may perhaps have had an independent origin, but who
nevertheless exhibit substantially the same type of Jewish thought and
practice[266]. But the Dispersion of Egypt, it may be argued, was
exceptional; and we might expect to find here organisations and
developments of Judaism hardly less marked and various than in the
mother country. [Sidenote: Do they appear in Asia Minor?] What ground
have we for assuming the existence of this type in Asia Minor? Do we
meet with any traces of it in the cities of the Lycus, or in proconsular
Asia generally, which would justify the opinion that it might make its
influence felt in the Christian communities of that district?

Footnote 264:

  Philo _Fragm._ p. 632 οἰκοῦσι δὲ πολλὰς μὲν πόλεις τῆς Ἰουδαίας,
  πολλὰς δὲ κώμας, καὶ μεγάλους καὶ πολυανθρώπους ὁμίλους; Joseph.
  _B.J._ ii. 8. 4 μία δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτῶν πόλις, ἀλλ’ ἐν ἑκάστῃ
  κατοικοῦσι πολλοί. On the notices of the settlements and dispersion of
  the Essenes see Zeller p. 239.

Footnote 265:

  Philo names _Judæa_ in _Fragm._ p. 632; _Palestine_ and _Syria_ in
  _Quod omn. prob. lib._ 12 p. 457. Their chief settlements were in the
  neighbourhood of the Dead Sea. This fact is mentioned by the heathen
  writers Pliny (_N.H._ v. 15) and Dion Chrysostom (Synesius _Dio_ 3).
  The name of the ‘Essene gate’ at Jerusalem (_B.J._ v. 4. 2) seems to
  point to some establishment of the order close to the walls of that

Footnote 266:

  They are only known to us from Philo’s treatise _de Vita
  Contemplativa_. Their settlements were on the shores of the Mareotic
  lake near Alexandria. Unlike the Essenes, they were not gathered
  together in convents as members of a fraternity, but lived apart as
  anchorites, though in the same neighbourhood. In other respects their
  tenets and practices are very similar to those of the Essenes.

[Sidenote: How the term _Essene_ is to be understood.]

Now it has been shown that the colonies of the Jews in this
neighbourhood were populous and influential[267]; and it might be argued
with great probability that among these large numbers Essene Judaism
could not be unrepresented. But indeed throughout this investigation,
when I speak of the Judaism in the Colossian Church as Essene, I do not
assume a precise identity of origin, but only an essential affinity of
type, with the Essenes of the mother country. As a matter of history, it
may or may not have sprung from the colonies on the shores of the Dead
Sea; but as this can neither be proved nor disproved, so also it is
immaterial to my main [Sidenote: Probabilities of the case.] purpose.
All along its frontier, wherever Judaism became enamoured of and was
wedded to Oriental mysticism, the same union would produce substantially
the same results. In a country where Phrygia, Persia, Syria, all in turn
had moulded religious thought, it would be strange indeed if Judaism
entirely escaped these influences. Nor, as a matter of fact, are
indications wanting to show that it was not unaffected [Sidenote: Direct
indications.] by them. If the traces are few, they are at least as
numerous and as clear as with our defective information on the whole
subject we have any right to expect in this particular instance.

Footnote 267:

  See above, p. 19 sq.

[Sidenote: St Paul at Ephesus A.D. 54–57.]

When St Paul visits Ephesus, he comes in contact with certain strolling
Jews, exorcists, who attempt to cast out evil spirits[268]. Connecting
this fact with the notices of Josephus, from which we infer that
exorcisms of this kind were especially [Sidenote: Exorcisms and]
practised by the Essenes[269], we seem to have an indication of their
presence in the capital of proconsular Asia. If so, it is a significant
fact that in their exorcisms they employed the name of our Lord: for
then we must regard this as the earliest notice of those overtures of
alliance on the part of Essenism, which involved such important
consequences in the subsequent history of the Church[270]. It is also
worth observing, that the next incident in St Luke’s narrative is the
burning [Sidenote: magical books.] of their magical books by those whom
St Paul converted on this occasion[271]. As Jews are especially
mentioned among these converts, and as books of charms are ascribed to
the Essenes by Josephus, the two incidents, standing in this close
connexion, throw great light on the type of Judaism which thus appears
at Ephesus[272].

Footnote 268:

  Acts xix. 13 τῶν περιερχομένων Ἰουδαίων ἐξορκιστῶν.

Footnote 269:

  See above p. 91, note 261.

Footnote 270:

  On the later contact of Essenism with Christianity, see the appendix,
  and _Galatians_ p. 310 sq.

Footnote 271:

  There is doubtless a reference to the charms called Ἐφέσια γράμματα in
  this passage: see Wetstein ad loc., and the references in Becker and
  Marquardt _Röm. Alterth._ IV. p. 123 sq. But this supposition does not
  exclude the Jews from a share in these magical arts, while the context
  points to some such participation.

Footnote 272:

  I can only regard it as an accidental coincidence that the epulones of
  the Ephesian Artemis were called _Essenes_, Pausan. viii. 13. 1 τοὺς
  τῇ Ἀρτέμιδι ἱστιάτορας τῇ Ἐφεσίᾳ γινομένους, καλουμένους δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν
  πολιτῶν Ἐσσῆνας: see Guhl _Ephesiaca_ 106 sq. The _Etymol. Magn._ has
  Ἐσσήν: ὁ βασιλεὺς κατὰ Ἐφεσίους, and adds several absurd derivations
  of the word. In the sense of ‘a king’ it is used by Callimachus _Hymn.
  Jov. 66_ οὔ σε θεῶν ἐσσῆνα πάλιν θέσαν. It is probably not a Greek
  word, as other terms connected with the worship of the Ephesian
  Artemis (e.g. μεγάβυζος, a Persian word) point to an oriental or at
  least a non-Greek origin; and some have derived it from the Aramaic
  הסין _chasin_ ‘strong’ or ‘powerful.’ But there is no sufficient
  ground for connecting it directly with the name of the sect Ἐσσηνοί or
  Ἐσσαῖοι, as some writers are disposed to do (e.g. Spanheim on
  _Callim._ l.c., Creuzer _Symbolik_ IV. pp. 347, 349); though this view
  is favoured by the fact that certain ascetic practices were enjoined
  on these pagan ‘Essenes.’

[Sidenote: Sibylline Oracle A.D. 80.]

Somewhat later we have another notice which bears in the same direction.
The Sibylline Oracle, which forms the fourth book in the existing
collection, is discovered by internal evidence to have been written
about A.D. 80[273]. It is plainly a product of Judaism, but its Judaism
does not belong to the normal Pharisaic type. With Essenism it rejects
sacrifices, even regarding the shedding of blood as a pollution[274],
and with Essenism also it inculcates the duty of frequent washings[275].
Yet from other indications we are led to the conclusion, that this poem
was not written in the interests of Essenism properly so called, but
represents some allied though independent development of Judaism. In
some respects at all events its language seems quite inconsistent with
the purer type of Essenism[276]. But its general tendency is clear: and
of its locality there can hardly be a doubt. The affairs of Asia Minor
occupy a disproportionate space in the poet’s description of the past
and vision of the future. The cities of the Mæander and its
neighbourhood, among these Laodicea, are mentioned with emphasis[277].

Footnote 273:

  Its date is fixed by the following allusions. The temple at Jerusalem
  has been destroyed by Titus (vv. 122 sq.), and the cities of Campania
  have been overwhelmed in fire and ashes (vv. 127 sq.). Nero has
  disappeared and his disappearance has been followed by bloody contests
  in Rome (vv. 116 sq.); but his return is still expected (vv. 134 sq.).

Footnote 274:

  See vv. 27–30 οἳ νηοὺς μὲν ἅπαντας ἀποστρέψουσιν ἰδόντες, καὶ βωμοὺς,
  εἰκαῖα λίθων ἱδρύματα κωφῶν ἅιμασιν ἐμψύχων μεμιασμένα καὶ θυσίῃσι
  τετραπόδων κ.τ.λ. In an earlier passage vv. 8 sq. it is said of God,
  οὔτε γὰρ οἴκον ἔχει ναῷ λίθον ἱδρυθέντα κωφότατον νωδόν τε, βροτῶν
  πολυαλγέα λώβην.

Footnote 275:

  ver. 160 ἐν ποταμοῖς λούσασθε ὅλον δέμας αἐνάοισι. Another point of
  contact with the Essenes is the great stress on prayers before meals,
  ver. 26 εὐλογέοντες πρὶν πιέειν φαγέειν τε. Ewald (_Sibyll. Bücher_ p.
  46) points also to the prominence of the words εὐσεβεῖν, εὐσεβής,
  εὐσεβία (vv. 26, 35, 42, 45, 133, 148, 151, 162, 165, 181, 183) to
  designate the elect of God, as tending in the same direction. The
  force of this latter argument will depend mainly on the derivation
  which is given to the name _Essene_. See the appendix.

Footnote 276:

  Thus for instance, Ewald (l.c., p. 47) points to the tacit approval of
  marriage in ver. 33. I hardly think however that this passage, which
  merely condemns adultery, can be taken to imply so much. More
  irreconcilable with pure Essenism is the belief in the resurrection of
  the body and the future life on earth, which is maintained in vv. 176
  sq.; though Hilgenfeld (_Zeitschr._ XIV. p. 49) does not recognise the
  difficulty. See above p. 88. This Sibylline writer was perhaps rather
  a Hemerobaptist than an Essene. On the relation of the Hemerobaptists
  and Essenes see the appendix. Alexandre, _Orac. Sibyll._ (II. p. 323),
  says of this Sibylline Oracle, ‘Ipse liber haud dubie Christianus
  est,’ but there is nothing distinctly Christian in its teaching.

Footnote 277:

  vv. 106 sq., 145 sq.; see above p. 40, note 131. It begins κλῦθι λεὼς
  Ἀσίης μεγαλαυχέος Εὐρώπης τε.

[Sidenote: Phrygia and Asia congenial to this type of religion.]

And certainly the moral and intellectual atmosphere would not be
unfavourable to the growth of such a plant. The same district, which in
speculative philosophy had produced a Thales and a Heraclitus[278], had
developed in popular religion the worship of the Phrygian Cybele and
Sabazius and of the Ephesian Artemis[279]. Cosmological speculation,
mystic theosophy, religious fanaticism, all had their home here.
Associated with Judaism or with Christianity the natural temperament and
the intellectual bias of the people would take a new direction; but the
old type would not be altogether obliterated. Phrygia reared the hybrid
monstrosities of Ophitism[280]. She was the mother of Montanist
enthusiasm[281], and the foster-mother of Novatian rigorism[282]. The
syncretist, the mystic, the devotee, the puritan, would find a congenial
climate in these regions of Asia Minor.

Footnote 278:

  The exceptional activity of the forces of nature in these districts of
  Asia Minor may have directed the speculations of the Ionic school
  towards physics, and more especially towards cosmogony. In Heraclitus
  there is also a strong mystical element. But besides such broader
  affinities, I venture to call attention to special dicta of the two
  philosophers mentioned in the text, which curiously recall the tenets
  of the Judæo-Gnostic teachers. Thales declared (Diog. Laert. i. 27)
  τὸν κόσμον ἔμψυχον καὶ δαιμόνων πλήρη, or, as reported by Aristotle
  (_de An._ i. 5, p. 411), πάντα πλήρη θεῶν εἰ^ναι. In a recorded
  saying of Heraclitus we have the very language of a Gnostic teacher;
  Clem. Alex. _Strom._ v. 13, p. 699, _τὰ μὲν τῆς γνώσιος βάθη
  κρύπτειν_ ἀπιστίη ἀγαθή, καθ’ Ἡηράκλειτον· ἀπιστίη γὰρ διαφυγγάνει
  τὸ μὴ γινώσκεσθαι. See above pp. 77, 92.

Footnote 279:

  For the characteristic features of Phrygian religious worship see
  Steiger _Kolosser_ p. 70 sq.

Footnote 280:

  The prominence, which the Phrygian mysteries and Phrygian rites held
  in the syncretism of the Ophites, is clear from the account of
  Hippolytus _Hær._ v. 7 sq. Indeed Phrygia appears to have been the
  proper home of Ophitism. Yet the admixture of Judaic elements is not
  less obvious, as their name _Naassene_, derived from the Hebrew word
  for a serpent, shows.

Footnote 281:

  The name, by which the Montanists were commonly known in the early
  ages, was the sect of the ‘Phrygians’; Clem. _Strom._ vii. 17, p. 900
  αἱ δὲ [τῶν αἱρεσέων] ἀπὸ ἔθνους [προσαγορεύονται], ὡς ἡ τῶν Φρυγῶν
  (comp. Eus. _H.E._ iv. 27, v. 16, Hipp. _Hær._ viii. 19, x. 25). From
  οἱ (or ἡ) κατὰ Φρυγάς (Eus. _H.E._ ii. 25, v. 16, 18, vi. 20) comes
  the solœcistic Latin name _Cataphryges_.

Footnote 282:

  Socrates (iv. 28) accounts for the spread of Novatianism in Phrygia by
  the σωφροσύνη of the Phrygian temper. If so, it is a striking
  testimony to the power of Christianity, that under its influence the
  religious enthusiasm of the Phrygians should have taken this
  direction, and that they should have exchanged the fanatical orgiasm
  of their heathen worship for the rigid puritanism of the Novatianist.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Previous results summed up.]

It has thus been shown _first_, that Essene Judaism was Gnostic in its
character; and _secondly_, that this type of Jewish thought and practice
had established itself in the Apostolic age in those parts of Asia Minor
with which we are more directly concerned. It now remains to examine the
heresy of the [Sidenote: Is the Colossian heresy Gnostic?] Colossian
Church more nearly, and to see whether it deserves the name, which
provisionally was given to it, of Gnostic Judaism. Its Judaism all will
allow. Its claim to be regarded as Gnostic will require a closer
scrutiny. And in conducting [Sidenote: Three notes of Gnosticism.] this
examination, it will be convenient to take the three notes of Gnosticism
which have been already laid down, and to enquire how far it satisfies
these tests.

[Sidenote: 1. Intellectual exclusiveness.]

1. It has been pointed out that Gnosticism strove to establish, or
rather to preserve, an _intellectual oligarchy_ in religion. It had its
hidden wisdom, its exclusive mysteries, its privileged class.

Now I think it will be evident, that St Paul in this epistle [Sidenote:
St Paul contends for the universality of the Gospel,] feels himself
challenged to contend for the _universality_ of the Gospel. This indeed
is a characteristic feature of the Apostle’s teaching at all times, and
holds an equally prominent place in the epistles of an earlier date. But
the point to be observed is, that the Apostle, in maintaining this
doctrine, has changed the mode of his defence; and this fact suggests
that there has been a change in the direction of the attack. It is no
longer against national exclusiveness, but against intellectual
exclusiveness, that he contends. His adversaries do not now plead
ceremonial restrictions, or at least do not plead these alone: but they
erect an artificial barrier of spiritual privilege, even more fatal to
the universal claims of the Gospel, because more specious and more
insidious. It is not now against Jew as such, but against the Jew become
Gnostic, that he fights the battle of liberty. In other words; it is not
against Christian Pharisaism but against Christian Essenism that he
defends his position. Only in the light of such an antagonism can we
understand the emphatic iteration with which he claims to ‘warn _every_
man and teach _every_ man in _every_ wisdom, that he may present
[Sidenote: against the pretentions of an aristocracy of intellect.]
_every_ man perfect in Christ Jesus[283].’ It will be remembered that
‘wisdom’ in Gnostic teaching was the exclusive possession of the few; it
will not be forgotten that ‘perfection’ was the term especially applied
in their language to this privileged minority, as contradistinguished
from the common herd of believers; and thus it will be readily
understood why St Paul should go on to say that this universality of the
Gospel is the one object of his contention, to which all the energies of
his life are directed, and having done so, should express his intense
anxiety for the Churches of Colossæ and the neighbourhood, lest they
should be led astray by a spurious wisdom to desert the true
knowledge[284]. This danger also will enable us to appreciate a novel
feature in another passage of the epistle. While dwelling on the
obliteration of all distinctions in Christ, he repeats his earlier
contrasts, ‘Greek and Jew,’ ‘circumcision and uncircumcision,’
‘bondslave and free’; but to these he adds new words which at once give
a wider scope and a more immediate application to the lesson. In Christ
the existence of ‘barbarian’ and even ‘Scythian,’ the lowest type of
barbarian, is extinguished[285]. As culture, civilisation, philosophy,
knowledge, are no conditions of acceptance, so neither is their absence
any disqualification in the believer. The aristocracy of intellectual
discernment, which Gnosticism upheld in religion, is abhorrent to the
first principles of the Gospel.

Footnote 283:

  i. 28 νουθετούντες _πάντα_ ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες _πάντα_
  ἄνθρωπον ἐν _πάσῃ_ σοφίᾳ ἵνα παραστήσωμεν _πάντα_ ἄνθρωπον
  _τέλειον_ ἐν Χριστῷ κ.τ.λ. The reiteration has offended the
  scribes; and the first πάντα ἄνθρωπον is omitted in some copies, the
  second in others. For τέλειον see the note on the passage.

Footnote 284:

  The connexion of the sentences should be carefully observed. After the
  passage quoted in the last note comes the asseveration that this is
  the one object of the Apostle’s preaching (i. 29) εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ
  κ.τ.λ.; then the expression of concern on behalf of the Colossians
  (ii. 1) θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι ἡλίκον ἀγῶνα ἔχω _ὑπὲρ_ ὑμῶν
  κ.τ.λ.; then the desire that they may be brought (ii. 2) εἰς
  _πᾶν_ πλοῦτος τῆς _πληροφορίας_ τῆς συνέσεως, εἰς
  _ἐπίγνωσιν_ τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ; then the definition of this
  mystery (ii. 2, 3), Χριστοῦ ἐν ᾧ εἰσὶν _πάντες_ οἱ θησαυροὶ
  κ.τ.λ.; then the warning against the false teachers (ii. 4) τοῦτο λέγω
  ἵνα μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς παραλογίζηται κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 285:

  Col. iii. 11 after περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία the Apostle adds βάρβαρος,
  Σκύθης. There is nothing corresponding to this in the parallel
  passage, Gal. iii. 28.

[Sidenote: He contrasts the true wisdom with the false,]

Hence also must be explained the frequent occurrence of the words
‘wisdom’ (σοφία), ‘intelligence’ (σύνεσις), ‘knowledge’ (γνῶσις),
‘perfect knowledge’ (ἐπίγνωσις), in this epistle[286]. St Paul takes up
the language of his opponents, and translates it into a higher sphere.
The false teachers put forward a ‘philosophy,’ but it was only an empty
deceit, only a plausible display of false-reasoning[287]. They pretended
‘wisdom,’ but it was merely the profession, not the reality[288].
Against these pretentions the Apostle sets the true wisdom of the
Gospel. On its wealth, its fulness, its perfection, he is never tired of
dwelling[289]. The true wisdom, he would argue, is essentially spiritual
and yet essentially definite; while the false is argumentative, is
speculative, [Sidenote: and dwells on the veritable mystery.] is vague
and dreamy[290]. Again they had their rites of initiation. St Paul
contrasts with these the one universal, comprehensive mystery[291], the
knowledge of God in Christ. This mystery is complete in itself: it
contains ‘all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge hidden’ in
it[292]. Moreover it is offered to all without distinction: though once
hidden, its revelation is unrestricted, except by the waywardness and
disobedience of men. The esoteric spirit of Gnosticism finds no
countenance in the Apostle’s teaching.

Footnote 286:

  For σοφία see i. 9, 28, ii. 3, iii. 16, iv. 5; for σύνεσις i. 9, ii.
  2; for γνῶσις ii. 3; for ἐπίγνωσις i. 9, 10, ii. 2, iii. 10.

Footnote 287:

  ii. 4 πιθανολογία, ii. 8 κενὴ ἀπάτη.

Footnote 288:

  ii. 23 λόγον μὲν ἔχοντα σοφίας, where the μὲν suggests the contrast of
  the suppressed clause.

Footnote 289:

  e.g. i. 9, 28, iii. 16 ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ; ii. 2 τῆς πληροφορίας. For the
  ‘wealth’ of this knowledge compare i. 27, ii. 2, iii. 16; and see
  above p. 44.

Footnote 290:

  ii. 4, 18.

Footnote 291:

  i. 26, 27, ii. 2, iv. 3.

Footnote 292:

  ii. 2 ἐν ᾧ εἰσὶν πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς σοφίας καὶ τῆς γνώσεως
  ἀπόκρυφοι. For the meaning of ἀπόκρυφοι see above p. 90, and the note
  on the passage.

[Sidenote: 2. Speculative tenets.
           Cosmogony and theology.]

2. From the informing spirit of Gnosticism we turn to the speculative
tenets—the cosmogony and the theology of the Gnostic.

And here too the affinities to Gnosticism reveal themselves in the
Colossian heresy. We cannot fail to observe that the [Sidenote: St Paul
attacks the doctrine of angelic mediators,] Apostle has in view the
doctrine of intermediate agencies, regarded as instruments in the
creation and government of the world. Though this tenet is not
distinctly mentioned, it is tacitly assumed in the teaching which St
Paul opposes to it. Against the philosophy of successive evolutions from
the Divine nature, angelic mediators forming the successive links in the
chain which binds the finite to the Infinite, he sets the doctrine
[Sidenote: setting against it the doctrine of the Word Incarnate,] of
the one Eternal Son, the Word of God begotten before the worlds[293].
The angelology of the heretics had a twofold bearing; it was intimately
connected at once with cosmogony and with religion. Correspondingly St
Paul represents the mediatorial function of Christ as twofold: it is
exercised in the natural creation, and it is exercised in the spiritual
creation. In both these spheres His initiative is absolute, His control
is universal, His action is complete. By His agency the world of matter
was created and is sustained. He is at once the beginning and the
[Sidenote: as the reconciler of heaven and earth.] end of the material
universe; ‘All things have been created through Him and unto Him.’ Nor
is His office in the spiritual world less complete. In the Church, as in
the Universe, He is sole, absolute, supreme; the primary source from
which all life proceeds and the ultimate arbiter in whom all feuds are

Footnote 293:

  The two great Christological passages are i. 15–20, ii. 9–15. They
  will be found to justify the statements in this and the following
  paragraphs of the text. For the meaning of individual expressions see
  the notes on the passages.

[Sidenote: His relations to (1) Deity; as God manifested.]

On the one hand, in relation to Deity, He is the visible image of the
invisible God. He is not only the chief manifestation of the Divine
nature: He exhausts the Godhead manifested. In Him resides the totality
of the Divine powers and attributes. For this totality Gnostic teachers
had a technical [Sidenote: The _pleroma_ resides in Him.] term, the
_pleroma_ or _plenitude_[294]. From the pleroma they supposed that all
those agencies issued, through which God has at any time exerted His
power in creation, or manifested His will through revelation. These
mediatorial beings would retain more or less of its influence, according
as they claimed direct parentage from it or traced their descent through
successive evolutions. But in all cases this pleroma was distributed,
diluted, transformed and darkened by foreign admixture. They were only
partial and blurred images, often deceptive caricatures, of their
original, broken lights of the great central Light. It is not improbable
that, like later speculators of the same school, they found a place
somewhere or other in their genealogy of spiritual beings for the
Christ. If so, St Paul’s language becomes doubly significant. But this
hypothesis is not needed to explain its reference. In contrast to their
doctrine, he asserts and repeats the assertion, that the pleroma abides
absolutely and wholly in Christ as the Word of God[295]. The entire
light is concentrated in Him.

Footnote 294:

  See the detached note on πλήρωμα.

Footnote 295:

  i. 19 ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι, ii. 9 ἐν αὐτῷ
  κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς.

[Sidenote: (2) Created things; as absolute Lord.]

Hence it follows that, as regards created things, His supremacy must be
absolute. In heaven as in earth, over things immaterial as over things
material, He is king. Speculations on the nature of intermediate
spiritual agencies—their names, their ranks, their offices—were rife in
the schools of Judæo-Gnostic thought. ‘Thrones, dominations, princedoms,
virtues, powers’–these formed part of the spiritual nomenclature which
they had invented to describe different grades of angelic mediators.
Without entering into these speculations, the Apostle asserts that
Christ is Lord of all, the highest and the lowest, whatever rank they
may hold and by whatever name they are called[296], for they are parts
of creation and He is the source of creation. Through Him they became,
and unto Him they tend.

Footnote 296:

  See especially i. 16 εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε
  ἐξουσίαι κ.τ.λ., compared with the parallel passage in Eph. i. 21
  ὑπεράνω πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ εξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ κυριότητος καὶ
  παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένου κ.τ.λ. Compare also ii. 10 ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης
  ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας, and ii. 15 ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς
  ἐξουσίας κ.τ.λ.

[Sidenote: Angelolatry is therefore condemned]

Hence the worship of angels, which the false teachers inculcated, was
utterly wrong in principle. The motive of this angelolatry it is not
difficult to imagine. There was a show of humility[297], for there was a
confession of weakness, in this subservience to inferior mediatorial
agencies. It was held feasible to grasp at the lower links of the chain
which bound earth to heaven, when heaven itself seemed far beyond the
reach of man. The successive grades of intermediate beings were as
successive steps, by which man might mount the ladder leading up to the
throne of God. This carefully woven web of sophistry the Apostle tears
to shreds. The doctrine of the false teachers was based on confident
assumptions respecting angelic beings of whom they could know nothing.
It was moreover a denial of Christ’s twofold personality and His
[Sidenote: as a denial of His perfect mediation.] mediatorial office. It
follows from the true conception of Christ’s Person, that He and He
alone can bridge over the chasm between earth and heaven; for He is at
once the lowest and the highest. He raises up man to God, for He brings
down God to man. Thus the chain is reduced to a single link, this link
being the Word made flesh. As the _pleroma_ resides in Him, so is it
communicated to us through Him[298]. To substitute allegiance to any
other spiritual mediator is to sever the connexion of the limbs with the
Head, which is the centre of life and the mainspring of all energy
throughout the body[300].

Footnote 297:

  ii. 18 θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 298:

  ii. 10; comp. i. 9.

Footnote 300:

  ii. 18.

[Sidenote: The Apostle’s practical inference.]

Hence follows the practical conclusion, that, whatever is done, must be
done in the name of the Lord[301]. Wives must submit to their husbands
‘in the Lord’: children must obey their parents ‘in the Lord’: servants
must work for the masters as working ‘unto the Lord[302].’ This
iteration, ‘in the Lord,’ ‘unto the Lord,’ is not an irrelevant form of
words; but arises as an immediate inference from the main idea which
underlies the doctrinal portion of the epistle.

Footnote 301:

  iii. 17.

Footnote 302:

  iii. 18, 20, 23.

[Sidenote: 3. Moral results of Gnostic doctrine.]

3. It has been shown that the speculative tenets of Gnosticism might
lead (and as a matter of fact we know that they did lead) to either of
two practical extremes, to rigid asceticism or to unbridled license. The
latter alternative appears to some extent in the heresy of the Pastoral
Epistles[303], and still more plainly in those of the Catholic
Epistles[304] and the Apocalypse[305]. It is constantly urged by
Catholic writers as a reproach against later Gnostic sects[306].

Footnote 303:

  At least in 2 Tim. iii. 1–7, where, though the most monstrous
  developments of the evil were still future, the Apostle’s language
  implies that it had already begun. On the other hand in the picture of
  the heresy in 1 Tim. iv. 2 the ascetic tendency still predominates.

Footnote 304:

  2 Pet. ii. 10 sq., Jude 8.

Footnote 305:

  Apoc. ii. 14, 20–22.

Footnote 306:

  See the notes on Clem. Rom. _Ep._ ii. § 9.

[Sidenote: Asceticism of the Colossian heresy]

But the former and nobler extreme was the first impulse of the Gnostic.
To escape from the infection of evil by escaping from the domination of
matter was his chief anxiety. This appears very plainly in the Colossian
heresy. Though the prohibitions to which the Apostle alludes might be
explained in part by the ordinances of the Mosaic ritual, this
explanation will not cover all the facts. Thus for instance drinks are
mentioned as well as meats[307], though on the former the law of Moses
is silent. Thus again the rigorous denunciation, ‘Touch not, taste not,
handle not[308],’ seems to go very far beyond the Levitical enactments.
And moreover the _motive_ of these prohibitions [Sidenote: not explained
by its Judaism.] is Essene rather than Pharisaic, Gnostic rather than
Jewish. These severities of discipline were intended ‘to check
indulgence of the flesh[309].’ They professed to treat the body with
entire disregard, to ignore its cravings and to deny its wants. In
short; they betray a strong _ascetic_ tendency[310], of which normal
Judaism, as represented by the Pharisee, offers no explanation.

Footnote 307:

  ii. 16.

Footnote 308:

  ii. 21.

Footnote 309:

  ii. 23.

Footnote 310:

  Asceticism is of two kinds. There is the asceticism of dualism
  (whether conscious or unconscious), which springs from a false
  principle; and there is the asceticism of self-discipline, which is
  the training of the Christian athlete (1 Cor. ix. 27). I need not say
  that the remarks in the text apply only to the former.

[Sidenote: St Paul’s reply shows its Gnostic bearing.]

And St Paul’s answer points to the same inference. The difference will
appear more plainly, if we compare it with his treatment of Pharisaic
Judaism in the Galatian Church. This epistle offers nothing at all
corresponding to his language on that occasion; ‘If righteousness be by
law, then Christ died in vain’; ‘If ye be circumcised, Christ shall
profit you nothing’; ‘Christ is nullified for you, whosoever are
justified by law; ye are fallen from grace[311].’ The point of view in
fact is wholly changed. With these Essene or Gnostic Judaizers the
Mosaic law was neither the motive nor the standard, it was only the
starting point, of their austerities. Hence in replying the [Sidenote:
It is no longer the contrast of law and grace.] Apostle no longer deals
with law, as law; he no longer points the contrast of grace and works;
but he enters upon the _moral_ aspects of these ascetic practices. He
denounces them, as concentrating the thoughts on earthly and perishable
things[312]. He points out that they fail in their purpose, and are
found valueless against carnal indulgences[313]. In their place he
offers the true and only remedy against sin—the elevation of the inner
life in Christ, the transference of the affections into a higher
sphere[314], where the temptations of the flesh are powerless. Thus
dying with Christ, they will kill all their earthly members[315]. Thus
rising with Christ, they will be renewed in the image of God their

Footnote 311:

  Gal. ii. 21, v. 2, 4.

Footnote 312:

  ii. 8, 20–22.

Footnote 313:

  ii. 23 οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός: see the note on
  these words.

Footnote 314:

  iii. 1, 2.

Footnote 315:

  iii. 3, 5.

Footnote 316:

  iii. 10.

[Sidenote: The truth of the above result tested by]

In attempting to draw a complete portrait of the Colossian heresy from a
few features accidentally exhibited in St Paul’s epistle, it has been
necessary to supply certain links; and some assurance may not
unreasonably be required that this has not been done arbitrarily. Nor is
this security wanting. In all such cases the test will be twofold. The
result must be consistent with itself: and it must do no violence to the
historical conditions under which the phenomena arose.

[Sidenote: (1) Its inherent consistency and symmetry.]

1. In the present instance the former of these tests is fully satisfied.
The consistency and the symmetry of the result is its great
recommendation. The postulate of a Gnostic type brings the separate
parts of the representation into direct connexion. The speculative
opinions and the practical tendencies of the heresy thus explain, and
are explained by, each other. It is analogous to the hypothesis of the
comparative anatomist, who by referring the fossil remains to their
proper type restores the whole skeleton of some unknown animal from a
few bones belonging to different extremities of the body, and without
the intermediate and connecting parts. In the one case, as in the other,
the result is the justification of the postulate.

[Sidenote: (2) Its place in a historical sequence.]

2. And again; the historical conditions of the problem are carefully
observed. It has been shown already, that Judaism in the preceding age
had in one of its developments assumed a form which was the natural
precursor of the Colossian heresy. In order to complete the argument it
will be necessary to show that Christianity in the generation next
succeeding exhibited a perverted type, which was its natural outgrowth.
If this can be done, the Colossian heresy will take its proper place in
a regular historical sequence.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Continuance of this type of Judæo-Gnosticism in the

I have already pointed out, that the language of St John in the
Apocalypse, which was probably written within a few years of this
epistle, seems to imply the continuance in this district of the same
type of heresy which is here denounced by St Paul[317]. But the notices
in this book are not more definite than those of the Epistle to the
Colossians itself; and we are led to look outside the Canonical writings
for some more explicit evidence. Has early Christian history then
preserved any record of a distinctly Gnostic school existing on the
confines of the Apostolic age, which may be considered a legitimate
development of the phase of religious speculation that confronts us

Footnote 317:

  See above p. 41 sq.

[Sidenote: Heresy of Cerinthus.]

[Sidenote: His date and place.]

We find exactly the phenomenon which we are seeking in the heresy of
Cerinthus[318]. The time, the place, the circumstances, all agree. This
heresiarch is said to have been originally a native of Alexandria[319];
but proconsular Asia is allowed on all hands to have been the scene of
his activity as a teacher[320]. He lived and taught at the close of the
Apostolic age, that is, in the latest decade of the first century. Some
writers indeed make him an antagonist of St Peter and St Paul[321], but
their authority is not trustworthy, nor is this very early date at all
probable. But there can be no reasonable doubt that he was a
contemporary of St John, who was related by Polycarp to have denounced
him face to face on one memorable occasion[322], and is moreover said by
Irenæus to have written his Gospel with the direct object of confuting
his errors[323].

Footnote 318:

  The relation of Cerinthus to the Colossian heresy is briefly indicated
  by Neander _Planting of Christianity_ I. p. 325 sq. (Eng. Trans.). It
  has been remarked by other writers also, both earlier and later. The
  subject appeared to me to deserve a fuller investigation than it has
  yet received.

Footnote 319:

  Hippol. _Hær._ vii. 33 Αἰγυπτίων παιδείᾳ ἀσκηθείς, x. 21 ὁ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ
  ἀσκηθείς, Theodoret. _Hær. Fab._ ii. 3 ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ πλεîστον διατρίψας

Footnote 320:

  Iren. i. 26. 1 ‘et Cerinthus autem quidam ... in Asia docuit,’
  Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 1 ἐγένετο δὲ οὗτος ὁ Κήρινθος ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ
  διατρίβων, κἀκεῖσε τοῦ κηρύγματος τὴν ἀρχὴν πεποιημένος, Theodoret. 1.
  c. ὕστερον εἰς τὴν Ἀσίαν ἀφίκετο. The scene of his encounter with St
  John in the bath is placed at Ephesus: see below, note 322.

Footnote 321:

  Epiphanius (xxviii. 2 sq.) represents him as the ringleader of the
  Judaizing opponents of the Apostles in the Acts and Epistles to the
  Corinthians and Galatians. Philastrius (_Hær._ 36) takes the same

Footnote 322:

  The well-known story of the encounter between St John and Cerinthus in
  the bath is related by Irenæus (iii. 3. 4) on the authority of
  Polycarp, who appears from the sequence of Irenæus’ narrative to have
  told it at Rome, when he paid his visit to Anicetus; ὃς καὶ ἐπὶ
  Ἀνικήτου ἐπιδημήσας τῄ Ῥώμῃ πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν προειρημένων αἱρετικῶν
  ἐπέστρεψεν ... καὶ εἰσὶν οἱ ἀκηκοότες αὐτοû ὅτι Ἰωάννης κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 323:

  Iren. iii. II. 1.

[Sidenote: Cerinthus a link between Judaism and Gnosticism.]

‘Cerinthus,’ writes Neander, ‘is best entitled to be considered as the
intermediate link between the Judaizing and the Gnostic sects.’ ‘Even
among the ancients,’ he adds, ‘opposite reports respecting his doctrines
have been given from opposite points of view, according as the Gnostic
or the Judaizing element was exclusively insisted upon: and the dispute
on this point has been kept up even to modern times. In point of
chronology too Cerinthus may be regarded as representing the principle
in its transition from Judaism to Gnosticism[324].’

Footnote 324:

  _Church History_ II. p. 42 (Bohn’s Trans.).

[Sidenote: Judaism still prominent in his system]

Of his Judaism no doubt has been or can be entertained. The gross
Chiliastic doctrine ascribed to him[325], even though it may have been
exaggerated in the representations of adverse writers, can only be
explained by a Jewish origin. His conception of the Person of Christ was
Ebionite, that is Judaic, in its main features[326]. He is said moreover
to have enforced the rite of circumcision and to have inculcated the
observance of sabbaths[327]. It is related also that the Cerinthians,
like the Ebionites, accepted the Gospel of St Matthew alone[328].’

Footnote 325:

  See the _Dialogue of Caius and Proclus_ in Euseb. _H.E._ iii. 28,
  Dionysius of Alexandria, ib. vii. 25, Theodoret. l.c., Augustin.
  _Hær._ 8.

Footnote 326:

  See below p. 111.

Footnote 327:

  Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 4, 5, Philastr. _Hær._ 36, Augustin. l.c. The
  statements of these writers would not carry much weight in themselves;
  but in this instance they are rendered highly probable by the known
  Judaism of Cerinthus.

Footnote 328:

  Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 5, xxx. 14, Philastr. _Hær._ 36.

[Sidenote: though Gnosticism is already aggressive.]

At the same time, it is said by an ancient writer that his adherence to
Judaism was only partial[329]. This limitation is doubtless correct. As
Gnostic principles asserted themselves more distinctly, pure Judaism
necessarily suffered. All or nearly all the early Gnostic heresies were
Judaic; and for a time a compromise was effected which involved more or
less concession on either side. But the ultimate incompatibility of the
two at length became evident, and a precarious alliance was exchanged
for an open antagonism. This final result however was not reached till
the middle of the second century: and meanwhile it was a question to
what extent Judaism was prepared to make concessions for the sake of
this new ally. Even the Jewish Essenes, as we have seen, departed from
the orthodox position in the matter of sacrifices; and if we possessed
fuller information, we should probably find that they made still larger
concessions than this. Of the Colossian heretics we can only form a
conjecture, but the angelology and angelolatry attributed to them point
to a further step in the same direction. As we pass from them to
Cerinthus we are [Sidenote: Gnostic element in his teaching.] no longer
left in doubt; for the Gnostic element has clearly gained the ascendant,
though it has not yet driven its rival out of the field. Two
characteristic features in his teaching especially deserve
consideration, both as evincing the tendency of his speculations and as
throwing back light on the notices in the Colossian Epistle.

Footnote 329:

  Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 1 προσέχειν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ ἀπὸ μέρους.

[Sidenote: 1. His Gnostic Cosmogony]

1. His cosmogony is essentially Gnostic. The great problem of creation
presented itself to him in the same aspect; and the solution which he
offered was generically the same. The world, he asserted, was not made
by the highest God, but by an angel or power far removed from, and
ignorant of, this supreme Being[330]. Other authorities describing his
system speak not of a single power, but of powers, as creating the
universe[331]; but all alike represent this demiurge, or these
demiurges, as ignorant of the absolute God. It is moreover stated that
he held the Mosaic law to have been given not by the supreme God
Himself, but by this angel, or one of these angels, who created the

Footnote 330:

  Iren. i. 26. 1 ‘Non a primo Deo factum esse mundum docuit, sed a
  virtute quadam valde separata et distante ab ea principalitate quæ est
  super universa, et ignorante eum qui est super omnia Deum’; Hippol.
  _Hær._ vii. 33 ἔλεγεν οὐχ ὑπὸ τοῦ πρώτου Θεοῦ γεγονέναι τὸν κόσμον,
  ἀλλ’ ὑπὸ δυνάμέως τινος κεχωρισμένης τῆς ὑπὲρ τὰ ὅλα ἐξουσίας καὶ
  ἀγνοοῦσης τὸν ὑπὲρ πάντα Θεόν, x. 21 ὑπὸ δυνάμεώς τινος ἀγγελικῆς,
  πολὺ κεχωρισμένης καὶ διεστώσης τῆς ὑπὲρ τὰ ὅλα αὐθεντίας καὶ
  ἀγνοουσης τὸν ὑπὲρ πάντα Θεόν.

Footnote 331:

  Pseudo-Tertull. _Hær._ 3 ‘Carpocrates præterea hanc tulit sectam: Unam
  esse dicit virtutem in superioribus principalem, ex hac prolatos
  angelos atque virtutes, quos distantes longe a superioribus virtutibus
  mundum istum in inferioribus partibus condidisse.... Post hunc
  Cerinthus hæreticus erupit, similia docens. Nam et ipse mundum
  institutum esse ab illis dicit’; Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 1 ἕνα εἶναι
  τῶν ἀγγέλων τῶν τὸν κόσμον πεποιηκότων; Theodoret. H. F. ii. 3 ἕνα μὲν
  εἶναι τὸν τῶν ὅλων Θεόν, οὐκ αὐτὸν δὲ εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου δημιουργόν,
  ἀλλὰ δυνάμεις τινὰς κεχωρισμένας καὶ παντελῶς αὐτὸν ἀγνοούσας;
  Augustin. _Hær._ 8. The one statement is quite reconcilable with the
  other. Among those angels by whose instrumentality the world was
  created, Cerinthus appears to have assigned a position of preeminence
  to one, whom he regarded as the demiurge in a special sense and under
  whom the others worked; see Neander _Church History_ II. p. 43.

Footnote 332:

  Pseudo-Tertull. l.c.; Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii. 4 τὸν δεδωκότα νόμον ἕνα
  εἶναι τῶν ἀγγέλων τῶν τὸν κόσμον πεποιηκότων.

[Sidenote: and consequent angelology.]

From these notices it is plain that angelology had an important place in
his speculations; and that he employed it to explain the existence of
evil supposed to be inherent in the physical world, as well as to
account for the imperfections of the old dispensation. The ‘remote
distance’ of his angelic demiurge from the supreme God can hardly be
explained except on the hypothesis of _successive_ generations of these
intermediate agencies. Thus his solution is thoroughly Gnostic. At the
same time, as contrasted with later and more sharply defined Gnostic
systems, the Judaic origin and complexion of his cosmogony is obvious.
His intermediate agencies still retain the name and the personality of
angels, and have not yet given way to those vague idealities which, as
emanations [Sidenote: Angels of earlier and æons of later Gnostics.] or
æons, took their place in later speculations. Thus his theory is linked
on to the angelology of later Judaism founded on the angelic appearances
recorded in the Old Testament narrative. And again: while later Gnostics
represent the demiurge and giver of the law as antagonistic to the
supreme and good God, Cerinthus does not go beyond postulating his
ignorance. He went as far as he could without breaking entirely with the
Old Testament and abandoning his Judaic standing-ground.

[Sidenote: Cerinthus a link between the Colossian heresy and later

In these respects Cerinthus is the proper link between the incipient
gnosis of the Colossian heretics and the mature gnosis of the second
century. In the Colossian epistle we still breathe the atmosphere of
Jewish angelology, nor is there any trace of the _æon_ of later
Gnosticism[333]; while yet speculation is so far advanced that the
angels have an important function in explaining the mysteries of the
creation and government of the world. On the other hand it has not
reached the point at which we find it in Cerinthus. Gnostic conceptions
respecting the relation of the demiurgic agency to the supreme God would
appear to have passed through three stages. This relation was
represented first, as imperfect appreciation; next, as entire ignorance;
lastly, as direct antagonism. The second and third are the standing
points of Cerinthus and of the later Gnostic teachers respectively. The
first was probably the position of the Colossian false teachers. The
imperfections of the natural world, they would urge, were due to the
limited capacities of these angels to whom the demiurgic work was
committed, and to their imperfect sympathy with the supreme God; but at
the same time they might fitly receive worship as mediators between God
and man; and indeed humanity seemed in its weakness to need the
intervention of some such beings less remote from itself than the
highest heaven.

Footnote 333:

  I am quite unable to see any reference to the Gnostic conception of an
  _æon_ in the passages of the New Testament, which are sometimes quoted
  in support of this view, e.g., by Baur Paulus p. 428, Burton
  _Lectures_ p. 111 sq.

[Sidenote: 2. His Christology.]

2. Again the Christology of Cerinthus deserves attention from this point
of view. Here all our authorities are agreed. As a Judaizer Cerinthus
held with the Ebionites that Jesus was only the son of Joseph and Mary,
born in the natural way. As a Gnostic he maintained that the Christ
first descended in the form of a dove on the carpenter’s son at his
baptism; that He revealed to him the unknown Father, and worked miracles
through him: and that at length He took His flight and left him, so that
Jesus alone suffered and rose, while the Christ remained
impassible[334]. It would appear also, though this is not certain, that
he described this re-ascension of the Christ, as a return ‘to His own

Footnote 334:

  Iren. i. 26. 1, Hippol. _Hær._ vii. 33, x. 21, Epiphan. _Hær._ xxviii.
  1, Theodoret. _H. F._ ii. 3. The arguments by which Lipsius
  (_Gnosticismus_ pp. 245, 258, in Ersch u. Gruber; _Quellenkritik des
  Epiphanios_ p. 118 sq.) attempts to show that Cerinthus did not
  separate the Christ from Jesus, and that Irenæus (and subsequent
  authors copying him) have wrongly attributed to this heretic the
  theories of later Gnostics, seem insufficient to outweigh these direct
  statements. It is more probable that the system of Cerinthus should
  have admitted some foreign elements not very consistent with his
  Judaic standing point, than that these writers should have been
  misinformed. Inconsistency was a necessary condition of Judaic
  Gnosticism. The point however is comparatively unimportant as
  affecting my main purpose.

Footnote 335:

  Irenæus (iii. 11. 1), after speaking of Cerinthus and the Nicolaitans,
  proceeds ‘non, quemadmodum illi dicunt, alterum quidem fabricatorem
  (i.e. demiurgum), alium autem Patrem Domini: et alium quidem
  fabricatoris filium, alterum vero de superioribus Christum, quem et
  impassibilem perseverasse, descendentem in Jesum filium fabricatoris,
  et iterum _revolasse in suum pleroma_.’ The doctrine is precisely that
  which he has before ascribed to Cerinthus (i. 26. 1), but the mode of
  statement may have been borrowed from the Nicolaitans or from some
  later Gnostics. There is however no improbability in the supposition
  that Cerinthus used the word pleroma in this way; see the detached
  note on πλήρωμα below.

[Sidenote: Approach towards Cerinthian Christology in the Colossian

Now it is not clear from St Paul’s language what opinions the Colossian
heretics held respecting the person of our Lord; but we may safely
assume that he regarded them as inadequate and derogatory. The emphasis,
with which he asserts the eternal being and absolute sovereignty of
Christ, can hardly be explained in any other way. But individual
expressions tempt us to conjecture that the same ideas were already
floating in the air, which ultimately took form and consistency in the
tenets of Cerinthus. Thus, when he reiterates the statement that the
_whole_ pleroma abides _permanently_ in Christ[336], he would appear to
be tacitly refuting some opinion which maintained only mutable and
imperfect relations between the two. When again he speaks of the true
gospel first taught to the Colossians as the doctrine of ‘the Christ,
_even_ Jesus the Lord[337],’ his language might seem to be directed
against the tendency to separate the heavenly Christ from the earthly
Jesus, as though the connexion were only transient. When lastly he
dwells on the work of reconciliation, as wrought ‘through the blood of
Christ’s cross,’ ‘in the body of His flesh through death[338],’ we may
perhaps infer that he already discerned a disposition to put aside
Christ’s passion as a stumbling-block in the way of philosophical
religion. Thus regarded, the Apostle’s language gains force and point;
though no stress can be laid on explanations which are so largely

Footnote 336:

  i. 19, ii. 9. See above p. 102, note 295. On the force of κατοικεῖν
  see the note on the earlier of the two passages.

Footnote 337:

  ii. 6 παρελάβετε τὸν Χριστόν, Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον.

Footnote 338:

  i. 20, 22.

[Sidenote: The Gnosticism of the Colossians being vague and

But if so, the very generality of his language shows that these
speculations were still vague and fluctuating. The difference which
separates these heretics from Cerinthus may be measured by the greater
precision and directness in the Apostolic counter-statement, as we turn
from the Epistle to the Colossians to the Gospel of St John. In this
interval, extending over nearly a quarter of a century, speculation had
taken a definite shape. The elements of Gnostic theory, which were
before held in solution, had meanwhile crystallized around the facts of
the Gospel. Yet still we seem justified, even at the earlier date, in
speaking of these general ideas as Gnostic, guarding ourselves at the
same time against misunderstanding with the twofold caution, that we
here employ the term to express the simplest and most elementary
conceptions of this tendency of thought, and that we do not postulate
its use as a distinct designation of any sect or sects at this early
date. Thus limited, the view that the writer of this epistle is
combating a Gnostic heresy seems free from all objections, while it
appears necessary to explain his language; and certainly it does not, as
is sometimes imagined, place any weapon in the hands of those who would
assail the early date and Apostolic authorship of the epistle.


              _On some points connected with the Essenes._

                            THE NAME ESSENE.

[Sidenote: Various forms of the name in Greek.]

The name is variously written in Greek;

1. Ἐσσηνός: Joseph. _Ant._ xiii. 5. 9, xiii. 10. 6, xv. 10. 5, xviii. 1.
  2, 5, _B.J._ ii. 8. 2, 13, _Vit._ 2; Plin. _N.H._ v. 15. 17 (Essenus);
  Dion Chrys. in Synes. _Dion_ 3; Hippol. _Hær._ ix. 18, 28 (MS ἐσηνός);
  Epiphan. _Hær._ p. 28 sq, 127 (ed. Pet.).

2. Ἐσσαῖος: Philo II. pp. 457, 471, 632 (ed. Mang.); Hegesippus in
  Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 22; Porphyr. _de Abstin._ iv. 11. So too Joseph.
  _B.J._ ii. 7. 3, ii. 20. 4, iii. 2. 1; _Ant._ xv. 10. 4; though in the
  immediate context of this last passage he writes Ἐσσηνός, if the
  common texts may be trusted.

3. Ὀσσαῖος: Epiphan. _Hær._ pp. 40 sq., 125, 462. The common texts very
  frequently make him write Ὀσσηνός, but see Dindorf’s notes, Epiphan.
  _Op._ 1. pp. 380, 425. With Epiphanius the Essenes are a Samaritan,
  the Ossæans a Judaic sect. He has evidently got his information from
  two distinct sources, and does not see that the same persons are

4. Ιἐσσαῖος, Epiphan. _Hær._ p. 117. From the connexion the same sect
  again seems to be meant: but owing to the form Epiphanius conjectures
  (οἶμαι) that the name is derived from Jesse, the father of David.

[Sidenote: All etymologies to be rejected which derive the name.]

If any certain example could be produced where the name occurs in any
early Hebrew or Aramaic writing, the question of its derivation would
probably be settled; but in the absence of a single decisive instance a
wide field is opened for conjecture, and critics have not been backward
in availing themselves of the license. In discussing the claims of the
different etymologies proposed we may reject:

[Sidenote: (i) From the Greek;]

_First_: derivations from the Greek. Thus Philo connects the word with
ὅσιος ‘holy’: _Quod omn. prob._ 12, p. 457 Ἐσσαῖοι ... διαλέκτου
ἑλληνικῆς παρώνυμοι ὁσιότητος, § 13, p. 459 τῶν Ἐσσαίων ἢ ὁσίων,
_Fragm._ p. 632 καλοῦνται μὲν Ἐσσαῖοι, παρὰ τὴν ὁσιότητα, μοὶ δοκῶ
[δοκεῖ;], τῆς προσηγορίας ἀξιωθέντες. It is not quite clear whether
Philo is here playing with words after the manner of his master Plato,
or whether he holds a pre-established harmony to exist among different
languages by which similar sounds represent similar things, or whether
lastly he seriously means that the name was directly derived from the
Greek word ὅσιος. The last supposition is the least probable; but he
certainly does not reject this derivation ‘as incorrect’ (Ginsburg
_Essenes_ p. 27), nor can παρώνυμοι ὁσιότητος be rendered ‘from an
incorrect derivation from the Greek homonym _hosiotes_’ (ib. p. 32),
since the word παρώνυμος never involves the notion of _false_ etymology.
The amount of truth which probably underlies Philo’s statement will be
considered hereafter. Another Greek derivation is ἴσος, ‘companion,
associate,’ suggested by Rapoport, _Erech Millin_ p. 41. Several others
again are suggested by Löwy, s.v. Essäer, e.g. ἔσω from their esoteric
doctrine, or αἶσα from their fatalism. All such may be rejected as
instances of ingenious trifling, if indeed they deserve to be called

[Sidenote: (ii) From names of persons or places;]

_Secondly_: derivations from proper names whether of persons or of
places. Thus the word has been derived from _Jesse_ the father of David
(Epiphan. l.c.), or from one ישי Isai, the disciple of R. Joshua ben
Perachia who migrated to Egypt in the time of Alexander Jannæus (Löw in
_Ben Chananja_ i. p. 352). Again it has been referred to the town _Essa_
(a doubtful reading in Joseph. _Ant._ xiii. 15. 3) beyond the Jordan.
And other similar derivations have been suggested.

[Sidenote: From Hebrew roots not supplying the right consonants,]

_Thirdly_: etymologies from the Hebrew or Aramaic, which do not supply
the right consonants, or do not supply them in the right order. Under
this head several must be rejected;

אסר _āsar_ ‘to bind,’ Adler _Volkslehrer_ VI. p. 50, referred to by
  Ginsburg _Essenes_ p. 29.

חסיד _chāsīd_ ‘pious,’ which is represented by Ἀσιδαῖος (1 Macc. ii. 42
  (v. l.), vii. 13, 2 Macc. xiv. 6), and could not possibly assume the
  form Ἐσσαῖος or Ἐσσηνός. Yet this derivation appears in Josippon ben
  Gorion (iv. 6, 7, v. 24, pp. 274, 278, 451), who substitutes
  _Chasidim_ in narratives where the Essenes are mentioned in the
  original of Josephus; and it has been adopted by many more recent

סחא _s’āch_ ‘to bathe,’ from which with an _Aleph_ prefixed we might get
  אסהאי _as’chai_ ‘bathers’ (a word however which does not occur): Grätz
  _Gesch. der Juden_ iii. pp. 82, 468.

צנוע _tsanūaع_ ‘retired, modest,’ adopted by Frankel (_Zeitschrift_
  1846, p. 449, _Monatschrift_ II[. p. 32) after a suggestion by Löw.

[Sidenote: such as those which make _n_ part of the root.]

To this category must be assigned those etymologies which contain a ו as
the third consonant of the root; since the comparison of the parallel
forms Ἐσσαῖος and Ἐσσηνός shows that in the latter word the ν is only
formative. On this ground we must reject:

חסין _chāsīn_; see below under עשין.

חצן _chōtsen_ ‘a fold’ of a garment, and so supposed to signify the
περίζωμα or ‘apron’, which was given to every neophyte among the Essenes
(Joseph. _B.J._ ii. 8. 5, 7): suggested by Jellinek _Ben Chananja_ IV.
p. 374.

עשין _عāshīn_ ‘strong’: see Cohn in Frankel’s _Monatschrift_ VII. p.
271. This etymology is suggested to explain Epiphanius _Hær._ p. 40
τοῦτο δὲ τὸ γένος τῶν Ὀσσηνῶν ἑρμηνεύεται διὰ τῆς ἐκδόσεως τοῦ ὀνόματος
στιβαρὸν γένος (‘a sturdy race’). The name ‘Essene’ is so interpreted
also in Makrisi (de Sacy, _Chrestom. Arab._ I. p. 114, 306); but, as he
himself writes it with _Elif_ and not _Ain_, it is plain that he got
this interpretation from some one else, probably from Epiphanius. The
correct reading however in Epiphanius is Ὀσσαίων, not Ὀσσηνῶν; and it
would therefore appear that this father or his informant derived the
word from the Hebrew root עןו rather than from the Aramaic עשן. The
Ὀσσαῖοι would then be the עויס, and this is so far a possible
derivation, that the _n_ does not enter into the root. Another word
suggested to explain the etymology of Epiphanius is the Aramaic חסין
_chāsīn_ ‘powerful, strong’ (from הסן); but this is open to the same
objections as עשין.

[Sidenote: Other derivations considered:]

When all such derivations are eliminated as untenable or improbable,
considerable uncertainty still remains. The 1st and 3rd radicals might
be any of the gutturals א,ה,ח,ע; and the Greek ς, as the 2nd radical,
might represent any one of several Shemitic sibilants.

Thus we have the choice of the following etymologies, which have found
more or less favour.

[Sidenote: (1) אסיא ‘a physician’;]

(1) אסא _ăsā_ ‘to heal,’ whence אסיא _asyā_, ‘a physician.’ The Essenes
are supposed to be so called because Josephus states (_B.J._ ii. 8. 6)
that they paid great attention to the qualities of herbs and minerals
with a view to the healing of diseases (πρὸς θεραπείαν παθῶν). This
etymology is supported likewise by an appeal to the name θεραπευταί,
which Philo gives to an allied sect in Egypt (_de Vit. Cont._ § 1, II.
p. 471). It seems highly improbable however, that the ordinary name of
the Essenes should have been derived from a pursuit which was merely
secondary and incidental; while the supposed analogy of the Therapeutæ
rests on a wrong interpretation of the word. Philo indeed (l.c.), bent
upon extracting from it as much moral significance as possible, says,
θεραπευταὶ καὶ θεραπευτρίδες καλοῦνται, ἤτοι παρ’ ὅσον ἰατρικὴν
ἐπαγγέλλονται κρείσσονα τῆς κατὰ πόλεις ἡ μὲν γὰρ σώματα θεραπεύει
μόνον, ἐκείνη δὲ καὶ ψυχὰς κ.τ.λ.) ἢ παρ’ ὅσον ἐκ φύσεως καὶ τῶν ἱερῶν
νόμων ἐπαιδεύθησαν θεραπεύειν τὸ ὃν κ.τ.λ.: but the latter meaning alone
accords with the usage of the word; for θεραπευτής, used absolutely,
signifies ‘a worshipper, devotee,’ not ‘a physician, healer.’ This
etymology of Ἐσσαῖος is ascribed, though wrongly, to Philo by Asaria di
Rossi (_Meor Enayim_ 3, fol. 33 _a_) and has been very widely received.
Among more recent writers, who have adopted or favoured it, are
Bellermann (_Ueber Essäer u. Therapeuten_ p. 7), Gfrörer (_Philo_ II. p.
341), Dähne (_Ersch u. Gruber_, s.v.), Baur (_Christl. Kirche der drei
erst. Jahrh._ p. 20), Herzfeld (_Gesch. des Judenthums_ II. p. 371, 395,
397 sq.), Geiger (_Urschrift_ p. 126), Derenbourg (_L’Histoire et la
Géographie de la Palestine_ pp. 170, 175, notes), Keim (_Jesus von
Nazara_ I. p. 284 sq.), and Hamburger (_Real-Encyclopädie für Bibel u.
Talmud_, s.v.). Several of these writers identify the Essenes with the
Baithusians (ביהוסין) of the Talmud, though in the Talmud the
Baithusians are connected with the Sadducees. This identification was
suggested by di Rossi (l.c. fol. 33 _b_), who interprets ‘Baithusians’
as ‘the school of the Essenes’ (ביח איסיא): while subsequent writers,
going a step further, have explained it ‘the school of the physicians’
(ביח איסיא).

[Sidenote: (2) חזיא ‘a seer’;]

(2) חזא _chăzā_ ‘to see’, whence חזיא _chazyā_ ‘a seer’, in reference to
the prophetic powers which the Essenes claimed, as the result of ascetic
contemplation: Joseph. _B.J._ ii. 8. 12 εἰσὶ δὲ ἐν αὐτοῖς ὃι καὶ τὰ
μέλλοντα προγινώσκειν ὑπισχνοῦνται κ.τ.λ. For instances of such Essene
prophets see _Ant._ xiii. II. 2, xv. 10. 5, _B.J._ I. 3. 5, ii. 7. 3.
Suidas, s.v. Ἐσσαῖοι, says: θεωρίᾳ τὰ πολλὰ παραμένουσιν, ἔνθεν καὶ
Ἐσσαῖοι καλοῦνται, τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ ὀνόματος, τουτέστι, θεωρητικοί.
For this derivation, which was suggested by Baumgarten (see Bellermann
p. 10) and is adopted by Hilgenfeld (_Jüd. Apocal._ p. 278), there is
something to be said: but חזא is rather ὁρᾶν than θεωρεῖν; and thus it
must denote the result rather than the process, the _vision_ which was
the privilege of the few rather than the _contemplation_ which was the
duty of all. Indeed in a later paper (_Zeitschr_. XI. p. 346, 1868)
Hilgenfeld expresses himself doubtfully about this derivation, feeling
the difficulty of explaining the σς from the ז. This is a real
objection. In the transliteration of the LXX the ז is persistently
represented by ζ, and the צ by ς. The exceptions to this rule, where the
manuscript authority is beyond question, are very few, and in every case
they seem capable of explanation by peculiar circumstances.

[Sidenote: (3) עשה ‘to do’;]

(3) _عāsāh_ ‘to do,’ so that Ἐσσαῖοι would signify ‘the doers, the
observers of the law,’ thus referring to the strictness of Essene
practices: see Oppenheim in Frankel’s _Monatschrift_ VII. p. 272 sq. It
has been suggested also that, as the Pharisees were especially
designated the teachers, the Essenes were called the ‘doers’ by a sort
of antithesis: see an article in Jost’s _Annalen_ 1839, p. 145. Thus the
talmudic phrase אנשי מעשה, interpreted ‘men of practice, of good deeds,’
is supposed to refer to the Essenes (see Frankel’s _Zeitschrift_ III. p.
458, _Monatschrift_ II. p. 70). In some passages indeed (see Surenhuis
_Mishna_ III. p. 313) it may possibly mean ‘workers of miracles’ (as
ἔργον Joh. v. 20, vii. 21, x. 25, etc.); but in this sense also it might
be explained of the thaumaturgic powers claimed by the Essenes. (See
below, p. 126.) On the use which has been made of a passage in the
_Aboth_ of R. Nathan c. 37, as supporting this derivation, I shall have
to speak hereafter. Altogether this etymology has little or nothing to
recommend it.

I have reserved to the last the two derivations which seem to deserve
most consideration.

[Sidenote: (4) _chasyo_ ‘pious’;]

(4) ܚܤܝ _chasi_ (ܚܣܐ _ch’sē_) or ܚܣܝܐ _chasyo_, ‘pious,’ in Syriac. This
derivation, which is also given by de Sacy (_Chrestom. Arab._ I. p.
347), is adopted by Ewald (_Gesch. des V. Isr._ IV. p. 484, ed. 3, 1864,
VII. pp. 154, 477, ed. 2, 1859), who abandons in its favour another
etymology (הזן _chazzan_ ‘watcher, worshipper’ = θεραπευτής) which he
had suggested in an earlier edition of his fourth volume (p. 420). It is
recommended by the fact that it resembles not only in sound, but in
meaning, the Greek ὅσιος, of which it is a common rendering in the
Peshito (Acts ii. 27, xiii. 35, Tit. i. 8). Thus it explains the
derivation given by Philo (see above, p. 115), and it also accounts for
the tendency to write Ὀσσαῖος for Ἐσσαῖος in Greek. Ewald moreover
points out how an Essenizing Sibylline poem (_Orac. Sib._ iv; see above,
p. 96) dwells on the Greek equivalents, εὐσεβής, εὐσεβίη, etc. (vv. 26,
35, 42 sq., 148 sq., 162, 165 sq., 178 sq., ed. Alexandre), as if they
had a special value for the writer: see _Gesch._ VII. p. 154, _Sibyll.
Bücher_ p. 46. Lipsius (Schenkel’s _Bibel-Lexikon_, _s.v._) also
considers this the most probable etymology.

[Sidenote: (5) חשאים ‘silent ones.’]

(5) חשא _chāshā_ (also חשה) Heb., ‘to be silent’; whence חשאים
_chashshāīm_ ‘the silent ones,’ who meditate on mysteries. Jost (_Gesch.
d. Judenth._ I. p. 207) believes that this was the derivation accepted
by Josephus, since he elsewhere (_Ant._ iii. 7. 5, iii. 8. 9) writes out
חשן, _chōshen_ ‘the high-priest’s breast-plate’ (Exod. xxviii. 15 sq),
ἐσσήν or ἐσσήνης in Greek, and explains it σημαίνει, τοῦτο κατὰ τὴν
Ἑλλήνων γλῶτταν λογεῖον (i.e. the ‘place of oracles’ or ‘of reason’:
comp. Philo _de Mon._ ii. § 5, II. p. 226 καλεῖται λογεῖον ἐτύμως,
ἐπειδὴ τὰ ἐν οὐρανῷ πάντα λόγοις καὶ ἀναλογίαις δεδημιούργηται κ.τ.λ.),
as it is translated in the LXX. Even though modern critics should be
right in connecting חשן with the Arab. ﺣسن ‘pulcher fuit, ornavit’ (see
Gesen. _Thes._ p. 535, s.v.), the other derivation may have prevailed in
Josephus’ time. We may illustrate this derivation by Josephus’
description of the Essenes, _B.J._ ii. 8. 5 τοῖς ἔξωθεν ὡς μυστήριόν τι
φρικτὸν ἡ τῶν ἔνδον σιωπὴ καταφαίνεται; and perhaps this will also
explain the Greek equivalent θεωρητικοί, which Suidas gives for Ἐσσαῖοι.
The use of the Hebrew word חשאים in Mishna _Shekalim_ v. 6, though we
need not suppose that the Essenes are there meant, will serve to show
how it might be adopted as the name of the sect. On this word see Levy
_Chaldäisches Wörterbuch_ p. 287. On the whole this seems the most
probable etymology of any, though it has not found so much favour as the
last. At all events the rules of transliteration are entirely satisfied,
and this can hardly be said of the other derivations which come into
competition with it.


[Sidenote: The principle of the restoration.]

The ruling principle of the Restoration under Ezra was the isolation of
the Jewish people from all influences of the surrounding nations. Only
by the rigorous application of this principle was it possible to guard
the nationality of the Hebrews, and thus to preserve the sacred deposit
of religious truth of which this nationality was the husk. Hence the
strictest attention was paid to the Levitical ordinances, and more
especially to those which aimed at ceremonial purity. The principle,
which was thus distinctly asserted at the period of the national
revival, gained force and concentration at a later date from the active
antagonism to which the patriotic Jews were driven by the religious and
political aggressions of the Syrian kings. During the Maccabæan wars we
read of a party or sect [Sidenote: Rise of the Asidæans.] called the
_Chasidim_ or _Asidæans_ (Ἀσιδαῖοι), the ‘pious’ or ‘devout,’ who
zealous in their observance of the ceremonial law stoutly resisted any
concession to the practices of Hellenism, and took their place in the
van of the struggle with their national enemies, the Antiochene monarchs
(1 Macc. ii. 42, vii. 13, 2 Macc. xiv. 6). But, though their names
appear now for the first time, they are not mentioned as a newly formed
party; and it is probable that they had their origin at a much earlier

The subsequent history of this tendency to exclusiveness and isolation
is wrapt in the same obscurity. At a somewhat later date [Sidenote:
Pharisaism and Essenism traced to the same principle.] it is exhibited
in the _Pharisees_ and the _Essenes_; but whether these were
historically connected with the Chasidim as divergent offshoots of the
original sect, or whether they represent independent developments of the
same principle, we are without the proper data for deciding. The
principle itself appears in the name of the Pharisees, which, as
denoting ‘separation,’ points to the avoidance of all foreign and
contaminating influences. On the other hand the meaning of the name
_Essene_ is uncertain, for the attempt to derive it directly from
_Chasidim_ must be abandoned; but the tendency of the sect is
unmistakeable. If with the Pharisees ceremonial purity was a principal
aim, with the Essenes it was an absorbing passion. It was enforced and
guarded moreover by a special organization. While the Pharisees were a
sect, the Essenes were an order. Like the Pythagoreans in Magna Græcia
and the Buddhists in India before them, like the Christian monks of the
Egyptian and Syrian deserts after them, they were formed into a
religious brotherhood, fenced about by minute and rigid rules, and
carefully guarded from any contamination with the outer world.

[Sidenote: Foreign elements in Essenism.]

Thus the sect may have arisen in the heart of Judaism. The idea of
ceremonial purity was essentially Judaic. But still, when we turn to the
representations of Philo and Josephus, it is impossible to overlook
other traits which betoken foreign affinities. Whatever the Essenes may
have been in their origin, at the Christian era at least and in the
Apostolic age they no longer represented the current type of religious
thought and practice among the Jews. This foreign element has been
derived by some from the Pythagoreans, by others from the Syrians or
Persians or even from the farther East; but, whether Greek or Oriental,
its existence has until lately been almost universally allowed.

[Sidenote: Frankel’s theory well received,]

The investigations of Frankel, published first in 1846 in his
_Zeitschrift_, and continued in 1853 in his _Monatschrift_, have given a
different direction to current opinion. Frankel maintains that Essenism
was a purely indigenous growth, that it is only Pharisaism in an
exaggerated form, and that it has nothing distinctive and owes nothing,
or next to nothing, to foreign influences. To establish this point, he
disparages the representations of Philo and Josephus as coloured to suit
the tastes of their heathen readers, while in their place he brings
forward as authorities a number of passages from talmudical and
rabbinical writings, in which he discovers references to this sect. In
this view he is followed implicitly by some later writers, and has
largely influenced the opinions of others; while nearly all speak of his
investigations as throwing great light on the subject.

[Sidenote: but groundless and misleading.]

It is perhaps dangerous to dissent from a view which has found so much
favour; but nevertheless I am obliged to confess my belief that,
whatever value Frankel’s investigations may have as contributions to our
knowledge of Jewish religious thought and practice, they throw little or
no light on the Essenes specially; and that the blind acceptance of his
results by later writers has greatly obscured the distinctive features
of this sect. I cannot but think that any one, who will investigate
Frankel’s references and test his results step by step, will arrive at
the conclusion to which I myself have been led, that his talmudical
researches have left our knowledge of this sect where it was before, and
that we must still refer to Josephus and Philo for any precise
information respecting them.

[Sidenote: His double derivation of the name.]

Frankel starts from the etymology of the name. He supposes that Ἐσσαῖος,
Ἐσσηνός, represent two different Hebrew words, the former חסיד _chāsīd_,
the latter צנוע _tsanūaع_, both clothed in suitable Greek dresses[339].
Wherever therefore either of these words occurs, there is, or there may
be, a direct reference to the Essenes.

Footnote 339:

  _Zeitschrift_ p. 449 ‘Für _Essäer_ liegt, wie schon von anderen Seiten
  bemerkt wurde, das Hebr. חסיד, für _Essener_, nach einer Bemerkung des
  Herrn L. Löw im _Orient_, das Hebr. צנוע nahe’; see also pp. 454, 455;
  _Monatschrift_ p. 32.

[Sidenote: Fatal objections to it.]

It is not too much to say that these etymologies are impossible; and
this for several reasons. (1) The two words Ἐσσαῖος, Ἐσσηνός, are
plainly duplicate forms of the same Hebrew or Aramaic original, like
Σαμψαῖος and Σαμψηνός (Epiphan. _Hær._ pp. 40, 47, 127; and even
Σαμψίτης p. 46), Ναζωραῖος and Ναζαρηνός, Γιτταῖος and Γιττηνός (Steph.
Byz. s.v., Hippol. _Hær._ vi. 7), with which we may compare Βοστραῖος
and Βοστρηνός, Μελιταῖος and Μελιτηνός, and numberless other examples.
(2) Again; when we consider either word singly, the derivation offered
is attended with the most serious difficulties. There is no reason why
in Ἐσσαῖος the _d_ should have disappeared from _chasid_, while it is
hardly possible to conceive that tsanuaع should have taken such an
incongruous form as Ἐσσηνός. (3) And lastly; the more important of the
two words, _chasid_, had already a recognised Greek equivalent in
Ἀσιδαῖος; and it seems highly improbable that a form so divergent as
Ἐσσαῖος should have taken its place.

[Sidenote: Dependence of the theory on the derivation.]

Indeed Frankel’s derivations are generally, if not universally,
abandoned by later writers; and yet these same writers repeat his
quotations and accept his results, as if the references were equally
valid, though the name of the sect has disappeared. They seem to be
satisfied with the stability of the edifice, even when the foundation is
undermined. Thus for instance Grätz not only maintains after Frankel
that the Essenes ‘were properly nothing more than stationary or, more
strictly speaking, consistently logical (consequente) _Chasidim_,’ and
‘that therefore they were not so far removed from the Pharisees that
they can be regarded as a separate sect,’ and ‘accepts entirely these
results’ which, as he says, ‘rest on critical investigation’ (III. p.
463), but even boldly translates _chasiduth_ ‘the Essene mode of life’
(ib. 84), though he himself gives a wholly different derivation of the
word ‘Essene,’ making it signify ‘washers’ or ‘baptists’ (see above, p.
116). And even those who do not go to this length of inconsistency, yet
avail themselves freely of the passages where _chasid_ occurs, and
interpret it of the Essenes, while distinctly repudiating the

Footnote 340:

  e.g. Keim (p. 286) and Derenbourg (p. 166, 461 sq.), who both derive
  Essene from אסיא ‘a physician.’

[Sidenote: The term _chasid_ not applied specially to the Essenes.]

But, although Ἐσσαῖος or Ἐσσηνός is not a Greek form of _chasid_, it
might still happen that this word was applied to them as an epithet,
though not as a proper name. Only in this case the reference ought to be
unmistakeable, before any conclusions are based upon it. But in fact,
after going through all the passages which Frankel gives, it is
impossible to feel satisfied that in a single instance there is a direct
allusion to the Essenes. Sometimes the word seems to refer to the old
sect of the _Chasidim_ or _Asidæans_, as for instance when Jose ben
Joezer, who lived during the Maccabæan war, is called a _chasid_[341].
At all events this R. Jose is known to have been a married man, for he
is stated to have disinherited his children (_Baba Bathra_ 133 _b_); and
therefore he cannot have belonged to the stricter order of Essenes.
Sometimes it is employed quite generally to denote pious observers of
the ceremonial law, as for instance when it is said that with the death
of certain famous teachers the Chasidim ceased[342]. In this latter
sense the expression חסידים הראשונים, ‘the ancient or primitive
Chasidim’ (_Monatschr._ pp. 31, 62), is perhaps used; for these
primitive Chasidim again are mentioned as having wives and
children[343], and it appears also that they were scrupulously exact in
bringing their sacrificial offerings[344]. Thus it is impossible to
identify them with the Essenes, as described by Josephus and Philo. Even
in those passages of which most has been made, the reference is more
than doubtful. Thus great stress is laid on the saying of R. Joshua ben
Chananiah in Mishna _Sotah_ iii. 4, ‘The foolish _chasid_ and the clever
villain (חסיד שוטה ורשע ערום), etc., are the ruin of the world.’ But the
connexion points to a much more general meaning of _chasid_, and the
rendering in Surenhuis, ‘Homo pius qui insipiens, improbus qui astutus,’
gives the correct antithesis. So we might say that there is no one more
mischievous than the wrong-headed conscientious man. It is true that the
Gemaras illustrate the expression by examples of those who allow an
over-punctilious regard for external forms to stand in the way of deeds
of mercy. And perhaps rightly. But there is no reference to any
distinctive Essene practices in the illustrations given. Again; the
saying in Mishna _Pirke Aboth_ v. 10, ‘He who says Mine is thine and
thine is thine is [a] _chasid_ (שלי שלך ושלך שלך הסיד),’ is quoted by
several writers as though it referred to the Essene community of
goods[345]. But in the first place the idea of community of goods would
require ‘Mine is thine and thine is mine’: and in the second place, the
whole context, and especially the clause which immediately follows (and
which these writers do not give), ‘He who says Thine is mine and mine is
mine is wicked (רשע),’ show plainly that חסיד must be taken in its
general sense ‘pious,’ and the whole expression implies not reciprocal
interchange but individual self-denial.

Footnote 341:

  Mishna _Chagigah_ ii. 7; _Zeitschr._ p. 454, _Monatschr._ pp. 33, 62.
  See Frankel’s own account of this R. Jose in an earlier volume,
  _Monatschr._ I. p. 405 sq.

Footnote 342:

  _Zeitschr._ p. 457, _Monatschr._ p. 69 sq.; see below, p. 126.

Footnote 343:

  _Niddah_ 38 _a_; see Löwy s.v. Essäer.

Footnote 344:

  Mishna _Kerithuth_ vi. 3, _Nedarim_ 10 a; see _Monatschr._ p. 65.

Footnote 345:

  Thus Grätz (III. p. 81) speaking of the community of goods among the
  Essenes writes, ‘From this view springs the proverb; Every Chassid
  says; _Mine and thine belong to thee_ (not _me_)’ thus giving a turn
  to the expression which in its original connexion it does not at all
  justify. Of the existence of such a proverb I have found no traces. It
  certainly is not suggested in the passage of _Pirke Aboth_. Later in
  the volume (p. 467) Grätz tacitly alters the words to make them
  express reciprocation or community of goods, substituting ‘Thine is
  mine’ for ‘Thine is thine’ in the second clause; ‘The Chassid must
  have no property of his own, but must treat it as belonging to the
  Society (שלי שלך שלך שלי חסיד).’ At least, as he gives no reference, I
  suppose that he refers to the same passage. In this loose way he
  treats the whole subject. Keim (p. 294) quotes the passage correctly,
  but refers it nevertheless to Essene communism.

[Sidenote: Possible connexion of
           _chasid_ and _chasyo_

It might indeed be urged, though this is not Frankel’s plea, that
supposing the true etymology of the word Ἐσσαῖος, Ἐσσηνός, to be the
Syriac ܚܣܐ, ܚܣܝܐ, _ch’sē_, _chasyo_ (a possible derivation), _chasid_
might have been its Hebrew equivalent as being similar in sound and
meaning, and perhaps ultimately connected in derivation, the exactly
corresponding triliteral root חסא (comp. חום) not being in use in
Hebrew[346]. But before we accept this explanation we have a right to
demand some evidence which, if not demonstrative, is at least
circumstantial, that _chasid_ is used of the Essenes: and this we have
seen is not forthcoming. Moreover, if the Essenes had thus inherited the
name of the _Chasidim_, we should have expected that its old Greek
equivalent Ἀσιδαῖοι, which is still used later than the Maccabæan era,
would also have gone with it; rather than that a new Greek word Ἐσσαῖος
(or Ἐσσηνός) should have been invented to take its place. But indeed the
Syriac Version of the Old Testament furnishes an argument against this
convertibility of the Hebrew _chasid_ and the Syriac _chasyo_, which
must be regarded as [Sidenote: Usage is unfavourable to this view.]
almost decisive. The numerous passages in the Psalms, where the
expressions ‘My _chasidim_,’ ‘His _chasidim_,’ occur (xxx. 5, xxxi. 24,
xxxvii. 28, lii. 11, lxxix. 2, lxxxv. 9, xcvii. 10, cxvi. 15, cxxxii. 9,
cxlix. 9: comp. xxxii. 6, cxlix. 1, 5) seem to have suggested the
assumption of the name to the original Asidæans. But in such passages
חסיד is commonly, if not universally, rendered in the Peshito not by
ܚܣܐ, ܚܣܝܐ, but by a wholly different word ܙܕܝܩ _zadīk_. And again, in
the Books of Maccabees the Syriac rendering for the name Ἀσιδαῖοι,
_Chasidim_, is a word derived from another quite distinct root. These
facts show that the Hebrew _chasid_ and the Syriac _chasyo_ were not
practically equivalents, so that the one would suggest the other; and
thus all presumption in favour of a connexion between Ἀσιδαῖος and
Ἐσσαῖος is removed.

Footnote 346:

  This is Hitzig’s view (_Geschichte des Volkes Israel_ p. 427). He
  maintains that "they were called ‘_Hasidim_’ by the later Jews because
  the Syrian _Essenes_ means exactly the same as ‘_Hasidim_.’"

[Sidenote: Frankel’s second derivation]

Frankel’s other derivation צנוע, _tsanūaع_, suggested as an equivalent
to Ἐσσηνός, has found no favour with later writers, and indeed is too
far removed from the Greek form to be tenable. [Sidenote: _tsanuaع_

Nor do the passages quoted by him[347] require or suggest any allusion
to this sect. Thus in Mishna _Demai_, vi. 6, we are told that the school
of Hillel permits a certain license in a particular matter, but it is
added, ‘The צנועי of the school of Hillel followed the precept of the
school of Shammai.’ Here, as Frankel himself confesses, the Jerusalem
Talmud knows nothing about Essenes, but explains the word by בשדי, i.e.
‘upright, worthy[348]’; while elsewhere, as he allows[349], it must have
this general sense. Indeed the mention of the ‘school of Hillel’ here
seems to exclude the Essenes. In its comprehensive meaning it will most
naturally be taken also in the other passage quoted by Frankel,
_Kiddushin_ 71 _a_, where it is stated that the pronunciation of the
sacred name, which formerly was known to all, is now only to be divulged
to the צנועים, i.e. the discreet, among the priests; and in fact it
occurs in reference to the communication of the same mystery in the
immediate context also, where it could not possibly be treated as a
proper name; שצנוע ועניו ועומד בחצי ימיו, ‘who is _discreet_ and meek
and has reached middle age,’ etc.

Footnote 347:

  _Zeitschr_. pp. 455, 457; _Monatschr._ p. 32.

Footnote 348:

  _Monatschr._ p. 32.

Footnote 349:

  _Zeitschr._ p. 455.

[Sidenote: Other supposed etymologies in the Talmud. (1) _Asya_ ‘a

Of other etymologies, which have been suggested, and through which it
might be supposed the Essenes are mentioned by name in the Talmud, איסא,
_asya_, ‘a physician,’ is the one which has found most favour. For the
reasons given above (p. 117) this derivation seems highly improbable,
and the passages quoted are quite insufficient to overcome the
objections. Of these the strongest is in the Talm. Jerus. _Yoma_ iii. 7,
where we are told that a certain physician

[Sidenote: not supported by the passages quoted in its behalf.]

(אסי) offered to communicate the sacred name to R. Pinchas the son of
Chama, and the latter refused on the ground that he ate of the
tithes—this being regarded as a disqualification, apparently because it
was inconsistent with the highest degree of ceremonial purity[350]. The
same story is told with some modifications in Midrash _Qoheleth_ iii.
11[351]. Here Frankel, though himself (as we have seen) adopting a
different derivation of the word ‘Essene,’ yet supposes that this
particular physician belonged to the sect, on the sole ground that
ceremonial purity is represented as a qualification for the initiation
into the mystery of the Sacred Name. Löwy (l.c.) denies that the
allusion to the tithes is rightly interpreted: but even supposing it to
be correct, the passage is quite an inadequate basis either for
Frankel’s conclusion that this particular physician was an Essene, or
for the derivation of the word Essene which others maintain. Again, in
the statement of Talm. Jerus. _Kethuboth_ ii. 3, that correct
manuscripts were called books of אסי[352], the word _Asi_ is generally
taken as a proper name. But even if this interpretation be false, there
is absolutely nothing in the context which suggests any allusion to the
Essenes[353]. In like manner the passage from _Sanhedrin_ 99 _b_, where
a physician is mentioned[354], supports no such inference. Indeed, as
this last passage relates to the family of the _Asi_, he obviously can
have had no connexion with the celibate Essenes.

Footnote 350:

  Frankel _Monatschr._ p. 71: comp. Derenbourg p. 170 sq.

Footnote 351:

  See Löwy _Krit.-Talm. Lex._ s.v. Essäer.

Footnote 352:

  Urged in favour of this derivation by Herzfeld II. p. 398.

Footnote 353:

  The oath taken by the Essenes (Joseph. _B.J._ ii. 8. 7) συντηρήσειν
  ... τὰ τῆς αἱρέσεως αὐτῶν βιβλία can have nothing to do with accuracy
  in transcribing copies, as Herzfeld (II. pp. 398, 407) seems to think.
  The natural meaning of συντηρεῖν, ‘to keep safe or close’ and so ‘not
  to divulge’ (e.g. Polyb. xxxi. 6. 5 οὐκ ἐξέφαινε τὴν ἑαυτῆς γνώμην
  ἀλλὰ συνετήρει παρ’ ἑαυτῇ), is also the meaning suggested here by the

Footnote 354:

  The passage is adduced in support of this derivation by Derenbourg p.

[Sidenote: (2) _عasah_ ‘to do.’]

Hitherto our search for the name in the Talmud has been unsuccessful.
One possibility however still remains. The talmudical writers speak of
certain אנשי מעשה ‘men of deeds’; and if (as some suppose) the name
Essene is derived from עשה, have we not here the mention which we are
seeking? Frankel rejects the etymology, but presses the
identification[355]. The expression, he urges, is often used in
connexion with _chasidim_. It signifies ‘miracle workers,’ and therefore
aptly describes the supernatural powers supposed to be exercised by the
Essenes[356]. Thus we are informed in Mishna _Sotah_ ix. 15, that ‘When
R. Chaninah ben Dosa died, the men of deeds ceased; when R. Jose Ketinta
died, the chasidim ceased.’ In the Jerusalem Talmud however this mishna
is read, ‘With the death of R. Chaninah ben Dosa and R. Jose Ketinta the
chasidim ceased’; while the Gemara there explains R. Chaninah to have
been one of the מעשה אנשי. Thus, Frankel concludes, ‘the identity of
these with הסידים becomes still more plain.’ Now it seems clear that
this expression אנשי מעשה in some places cannot refer to miraculous
powers, but must mean ‘men of practical goodness,’ as for instance in
_Succah_ 51_a_, 53_a_; and being a general term expressive of moral
excellence, it is naturally connected with _chasidim_, which is likewise
a general term expressive of piety and goodness. Nor is there any reason
why it should not always be taken in this sense. It is true that stories
are told elsewhere of this R. Chaninah, which ascribe miraculous powers
to him[357], and hence there is a temptation to translate it
‘wonder-worker,’ as applied to him. But the reason is quite
insufficient. Moreover it must be observed that R. Chaninah’s wife is a
prominent person in the legends of his miracles reported in _Taanith_ 24
_b_; and thus we need hardly stop to discuss the possible meanings of
אנשי מעשה, since his claims to being considered an Essene are barred at
the outset by this fact[358].

Footnote 355:

  See _Zeitschr._ p 438, _Monatschr._ pp. 68–70.

Footnote 356:

  See above, p. 118.

Footnote 357:

  _Taanith_ 24_b_, _Yoma_ 53_b_; see Surenhuis _Mishna_ III. p. 313.

Footnote 358:

  In this and similar cases it is unnecessary to consider whether the
  persons mentioned might have belonged to those looser disciples of
  Essenism, who married (see above, p. 85): because the identification
  is meaningless unless they belonged to the strict order itself.

It has been asserted indeed by a recent author, that one very ancient
Jewish writer distinctly adopts this derivation, and as distinctly
states that the Essenes were a class of Pharisees[359]. If this were the
case, Frankel’s theory, though not his etymology, would receive a
striking confirmation: and it is therefore important to enquire on what
foundation the assertion rests.

Footnote 359:

  Ginsburg in Kitto’s _Cyclopædia_ s.v., I. p. 829: comp. _Essenes_ pp.
  22, 28.

[Sidenote: The authority for this derivation traced to an error.]

Dr Ginsburg’s authority for this statement is a passage from the _Aboth_
of Rabbi Nathan, c. 37, which, as he gives it, appears conclusive;
‘There are eight kinds of Pharisees ... and those Pharisees who live in
celibacy are Essenes.’ But what are the facts of the case? _First_; This
book was certainly not written by its reputed author, the R. Nathan who
was vice-president under the younger Gamaliel about A. D. 140. It may
possibly have been founded on an earlier treatise by that famous
teacher, though even this is very doubtful: but in its present form it
is a comparatively modern work. On this point all or almost all recent
writers on Hebrew literature are agreed[360]. _Secondly_; Dr Ginsburg
has taken the reading מחופתו עשאני, without even mentioning any
alternative. Whether the words so read are capable of the meaning which
he has assigned to them, may be highly questionable; but at all events
this cannot have been the original reading, as the parallel passages,
Babl. Sotah fol. 22_b_, Jerus. _Sotah_ v. 5, Jerus. _Berakhoth_ ix. 5,
(quoted by Buxtorf and Levy, s.v. פריש), distinctly prove. In Babl.
_Sotah_ l.c., the corresponding expression is מה הובתי ואעשנה ‘What is
my duty, and I will do it,’ and the passage in Jerus. _Berakhoth_ l.c.
is to the same effect. These parallels show that the reading מה הובתי
ואעשנה must be taken also in _Aboth_ c. 37, so that the passage will be
rendered, ‘The Pharisee _who says_, What is my duty, and I will do it.’
Thus the Essenes and celibacy disappear together. _Lastly_; Inasmuch as
Dr Ginsburg himself takes a wholly different view of the name Essene,
connecting it either with חצן ‘an apron,’ or with הסים ‘pious[361],’ it
is difficult to see how he could translate עשאני ‘Essene’ (from עשא ‘to
do’) in this passage, except on the supposition that R. Nathan was
entirely ignorant of the orthography and derivation of the word Essene.
Yet, if such ignorance were conceivable in so ancient a writer, his
authority on this question would be absolutely worthless. But indeed Dr
Ginsburg would appear to have adopted this reference to R. Nathan, with
the reading of the passage and the interpretation of the name, from some
other writer[362]. At all events it is quite inconsistent with his own
opinion as expressed previously.

Footnote 360:

  e.g. Geiger _Zeitschrift f. Jüdische Theologie_ VI. p. 20 sq.; Zunz
  _Gottesdienstliche Vorträge_ p. 108 sq.: comp. Steinschneider _Catal.
  Heb. Bibl. Bodl._ col. 2032 sq. These two last references are given by
  Dr Ginsburg himself.

Footnote 361:

  _Essenes_ p. 30; comp. _Kitto’s Cyclopædia_, s.v. Essenes.

Footnote 362:

  It is given by Landsberg in the _Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums_
  1862, no. 33, p. 459, a reference pointed out to me by a friend.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Are the Essenes alluded to, though not named, in the Talmud?]

But, though we have not succeeded in finding any direct mention of this
sect by name in the Talmud, and all the identifications of the word
Essene with diverse expressions occurring there have failed us on
examination, it might still happen that allusions to them were so
frequent as to leave no doubt about the persons meant. Their
organisation or their practices or their tenets might be precisely
described, though their name was suppressed. Such allusions Frankel
finds scattered up and down the Talmud in great profusion.

[Sidenote: (1) The _chaber_ or Associate.]

(1) He sees a reference to the Essenes in the חבורא _chăbūra_ or
‘Society,’ which is mentioned several times in talmudical writers[363].
The _chāber_ (הבר) or ‘Associate’ is, he supposes, a member of this
brotherhood. He is obliged to confess that the word cannot always have
this sense, but still he considers this to be a common designation of
the Essenes. The chaber was bound to observe certain rules of ceremonial
purity, and a period of probation was imposed upon him before he was
admitted. With this fact Frankel connects the passage in Mishna
_Chagigah_ ii. 5, 6, where several degrees of ceremonial purity are
specified. Having done this, he considers that he has the explanation of
the statement in Josephus (_B.J._ ii. 8. 7, 10), that the Essenes were
divided into four different grades or orders according to the time of
their continuance in the ascetic practices demanded by the sect.

Footnote 363:

  _Zeitschr_. p. 450 sq., _Monatschr._ pp. 31, 70.

[Sidenote: A passage in _Chagigah_ considered.]

But in the first place there is no reference direct or indirect to the
chaber, or indeed to any organisation of any kind, in the passage of
_Chagigah_. It simply contemplates different degrees of purification as
qualifying for the performance of certain Levitical rites in an
ascending scale. There is no indication that these lustrations are more
than temporary and immediate in their application; and not the faintest
hint is given of distinct orders of men, each separated from the other
by formal barriers and each demanding a period of probation before
admission from the order below, as was the case with the grades of the
Essene brotherhood described by Josephus. Moreover the orders in
Josephus are four in number[364], while the degrees of ceremonial purity
in _Chagigah_ are five. Frankel indeed is inclined to maintain that only
four degrees are intended in _Chagigah_, though this interpretation is
opposed to the plain sense of the passage. But, even if he should be
obliged to grant that the number of degrees is five[365], he will not
surrender the allusion to the Essenes, but meets the difficulty by
supposing (it is a pure hypothesis) that there was a fifth and highest
degree of purity among the Essenes, to which very few attained, and
which, as I understand him, is not mentioned by Josephus on this
account. But enough has already been said to show, that this passage in
_Chagigah_ can have no connexion with the Essenes and gives no
countenance to Frankel’s views.

Footnote 364:

  As the notices in Josephus (_B.J._ ii. 8) relating to this point have
  been frequently misunderstood, it may be well once for all to explain
  his meaning. The grades of the Essene order are mentioned in two
  separate notices, apparently, though not really, discordant. (1) In §
  10 he says that they are ‘divided into four sections according to the
  duration of their discipline’ (διῄρηνται κατὰ χρόνον τῆς ἀσκήσεως εἰς
  μοίρας τέσσαρας), adding that the older members are considered to be
  defiled by contact with the younger, i.e. each superior grade by
  contact with the inferior. So far his meaning is clear. (2) In § 8 he
  states that one who is anxious to become a member of the sect
  undergoes a year’s probation, submitting to discipline but ‘remaining
  outside.’ Then, ‘after he has given evidence of his perseverance (μετὰ
  τὴν τῆς καρτερίας ἐπίδειξιν), his character is tested for two years
  more; and, if found worthy, he is accordingly admitted into the
  society.’ A comparison with the other passage shows that these two
  years comprise the period spent in the second and third grades, each
  extending over a year. After passing through these three stages in
  three successive years, he enters upon the fourth and highest grade,
  thus becoming a perfect member.

  It is stated by Dr Ginsburg (_Essenes_ p. 12 sq., comp. Kitto’s
  _Cyclopædia_ s.v. p. 828) that the Essenes passed through eight stages
  ‘from the beginning of the noviciate to the achievement of the highest
  spiritual state,’ this last stage qualifying them, like Elias, to be
  forerunners of the Messiah. But it is a pure hypothesis that the
  Talmudical notices thus combined have anything to do with the Essenes;
  and, as I shall have occasion to point out afterwards, there is no
  ground for ascribing to this sect any Messianic expectations whatever.

Footnote 365:

  _Zeitschr._ p. 452, note.

[Sidenote: Difference between]

As this artificial combination has failed, we are compelled to fall back
on the notices relating to the chaber, and to ask whether [Sidenote: the
chaber and the Essene.] these suggest any connexion with the account of
the Essenes in Josephus. And the facts oblige us to answer this question
in the negative. Not only do they not suggest such a connexion, but they
are wholly irreconcilable with the account in the Jewish historian. This
association or confraternity (if indeed the term is applicable to an
organisation so loose and so comprehensive) was maintained for the sake
of securing a more accurate study and a better observance of the
ceremonial law. Two grades of purity are mentioned in connexion with it,
designated by different names and presenting some difficulties[366],
into which it is not necessary to enter here. A chaber, it would appear,
was one who had entered upon the second or higher stage. For this a
period of a year’s probation was necessary. The chaber enrolled himself
in the presence of three others who were already members of the
association. This apparently was all the formality necessary: and in the
case of a teacher even this was dispensed with, for being presumably
acquainted with the law of things clean and unclean he was regarded as
_ex officio_ a chaber. The chaber was bound to keep himself from
ceremonial defilements, and was thus distinguished from the _[عam
haarets_ or common people[367]; but he was under no external
surveillance and decided for himself as to his own purity. Moreover he
was, or might be a married man: for the doctors disputed whether the
wives and children of an associate were not themselves to be regarded as
associates[368]. In one passage, _Sanhedrin_ 41_a_, it is even assumed,
as a matter of course, that a woman may be an associate (חברה). In
another (_Niddah_ 33_b_)[369] there is mention of a Sadducee and even of
a Samaritan as a chaber. An organisation so flexible as this has
obviously only the most superficial resemblances with the rigid rules of
the Essene order; and in many points it presents a direct contrast to
the characteristic tenets of that sect.

Footnote 366:

  The entrance into lower grade was described as ‘taking בנפים’ or
  ‘wings.’ The meaning of this expression has been the subject of much
  discussion; see e.g. Herzfeld II. p. 390 sq., Frankel _Monatschr._ p.
  33 sq.

Footnote 367:

  The contempt with which a chaber would look down upon the vulgar herd,
  the _عam haarets_, finds expression in the language of the Pharisees,
  Joh. vii. 49 ὁ ὄχλος οὗτος ὁ μὴ γινώσκων τὸν νόμον ἐπάρατοί εἰσιν.
  Again in Acts iv. 13, where the Apostles are described as ἰδιῶται, the
  expression is equivalent to _عam haarets._ See the passages quoted in
  Buxtorf, _Lex._ p. 1626.

Footnote 368:

  All these particulars and others may be gathered from _Bekhoroth_ 30
  _b_, Mishna _Demai_ ii. 2, 3, Jerus. _Demai_ ii. 3, v. 1, Tosifta
  _Demai_ 2, _Aboth R. Nathan_ c. 41.

Footnote 369:

  See Herzfeld II. p. 386.

[Sidenote: (2) The _Bene hakkeneseth_.]

(2) Having discussed Frankel’s hypothesis respecting the chaber, I need
hardly follow his speculations on the _Bĕnē-hakkĕneseth_, בני הכנסח,
‘sons of the congregation’ (_Zabim_ iii. 2), in which expression
probably few would discover the reference, which he finds, to the lowest
of the Essene orders[370].

Footnote 370:

  _Monatschr._ p. 35.

[Sidenote: (3) The ‘holy congregation at Jerusalem’]

(3) But mention is also made of a ‘holy congregation’ or ‘assembly’ (עדה
קדישה קהלא קדישא) ‘in Jerusalem’; and, following Rapoport, Frankel sees
in this expression also an allusion to the Essenes[371]. The grounds for
this identification are, that in one passage (_Berakhoth_ 9_b_) they are
mentioned in connexion with prayer at day break, and in another (Midrash
_Qoheleth_ ix. 9) two persons are stated to belong to this ‘holy
congregation,’ because they divided their day into three parts, devoting
one-third to learning, another to prayer, and another to work. The first
notice would suit the Essenes very well, though the practice mentioned
was not so distinctively Essene as to afford any safe ground for this
hypothesis. Of the second it should be observed, that no such division
of the day is recorded of the Essenes, and indeed both Josephus (_B.J._
ii. 8. 5) and Philo (_Fragm._ p. 633) describe them as working from
morning till night with the single interruption of their mid-day
meal[372]. But in fact the identification is beset with other and more
serious difficulties. For this ‘holy congregation’ at Jerusalem is
mentioned long [Sidenote: not an Essene community.] after the second
destruction of the city under Hadrian[373], when on Frankel’s own
showing[374] the Essene society had in all probability ceased to exist.
And again certain members of it, e.g. Jose ben Meshullam (Mishna
_Bekhoroth_ iii. 3, vi. 1), are represented as uttering precepts
respecting animals fit for sacrifice, though we have it on the authority
of Josephus and Philo that the Essenes avoided the temple sacrifices
altogether. The probability therefore seems to be that this ‘holy
congregation’ was an assemblage of devout Jews who were drawn to the
neighbourhood of the sanctuary after the destruction of the nation, and
whose practices were regarded with peculiar reverence by the later

Footnote 371:

  _Zeitschr._ pp. 458, 461, _Monatschr._ pp. 32, 36.

Footnote 372:

  It is added however in Midrash _Qoheleth_ ix. 9 ‘Some say that they
  (the holy congregation) devoted the whole of the winter to studying
  the Scriptures and the summer to work.’

Footnote 373:

  _Monatschr._ p. 32.

Footnote 374:

  _Ib._ p. 70.

Footnote 375:

  See Derenbourg p. 175.

[Sidenote: (4) The _Vethikin_.]

(4) Neither can we with Frankel[376] discern any reference to the
Essenes in those ותיקיו _Vethikin_, ‘pious’ or ‘learned’ men (whatever
may be the exact sense of the word), who are mentioned in _Berakhoth_
9_b_ as praying before sunrise; because the word itself seems quite
general, and the practice, though enforced among the Essenes, as we know
from Josephus (_B.J._ ii. 8. 5), would be common to all devout and
earnest Jews. If we are not justified in saying that these ותיקיו were
not Essenes, we have no sufficient grounds for maintaining that they

Footnote 376:

  _Monatschr._ p. 32.

[Sidenote: (5) The ‘primitive elders.’]

(5) Nor again can we find any such reference in the זקנים or ‘primitive
elders[377].’ It may readily be granted that this term is used
synonymously, or nearly so, with הראשונים הסידים ‘the primitive
chasidim’; but, as we failed to see anything more than a general
expression in the one, so we are naturally led to take the other in the
same sense. The passages where the expression occurs (e.g. _Shabbath_
64_b_) simply refer to the stricter observances of early times, and do
not indicate any reference to a particular society or body of men.

Footnote 377:

  _Monatschr._ pp. 32, 68.

[Sidenote: (6) The ‘morning bathers.’]

(6) Again Frankel finds another reference to this sect in the טבלי שחרית
_Tōblē-shachărīth_, or ‘morning-bathers,’ mentioned in Tosifta _Yadayim_
c. 2[378]. The identity of these with the ἡμεροβαπτισταὶ of Greek
writers seems highly probable. The latter however, though they may have
had some affinities with Essene practices and tenets, are nevertheless
distinguished from this sect wherever they are mentioned[379]. But the
point to be observed is that, even though we should identify these
Toble-shacharith with the Essenes, the passage in Tosifta _Yadayim_, so
far from favouring, runs directly counter to Frankel’s view which
regards the Essenes as only a branch of Pharisees: for the two are here
represented as in direct antagonism. The Toble-shacharith say, ‘We
grieve over you, Pharisees, because you pronounce the (sacred) Name in
the morning without having bathed.’ The Pharisees retort, ‘We grieve
over you, Toble-shacharith, because you pronounce the Name from this
body in which is impurity.’

Footnote 378:

  _Ib._ p. 67.

Footnote 379:

  See below, p. 166.

[Sidenote: (7) The _Banaim_.]

(7) In connexion with the Toble-shacharith we may consider another name,
_Banāīm_ (בנאים), in which also Frankel discovers an allusion to the
Essenes[380]. In Mishna _Mikvaoth_ ix. 6 the word is opposed to בור
_bōr_, ‘an ignorant or stupid person’; and this points to its proper
meaning ‘the builders,’ i.e. the edifiers or teachers, according to the
common metaphor in Biblical language. The word is discussed in
_Shabbath_ 114 and explained to mean ‘learned.’ But, because in
_Mikvaoth_ it is mentioned in connexion with ceremonial purity, and
because in Josephus the Essenes are stated to have carried an ‘axe and
shovel’ (_B.J._ ii. 8. 7, 9), and because moreover the Jewish historian
in another place (_Vit._ 2) mentions having spent some time with one
Banus a dweller in the wilderness, who lived on vegetables and fruits
and bathed often day and night for the sake of purity, and who is
generally considered to have been an Essene; therefore Frankel holds
these Banaim to have been Essenes. This is a specimen of the misplaced
ingenuity which distinguishes Frankel’s learned speculations on the
Essenes. Josephus does [Sidenote: Josephus misinterpreted.] not mention
an ‘axe _and_ shovel,’ but an axe only (§ 7 ἀξινάριον), which he
afterwards defines more accurately as a spade (§ 9 τῇ σκαλίδι, τοιοῦτον
γάρ ἐστι τὸ διδόμενον ὑπ’ αὐτῶν ἀξινίδιον τοῖς νεοσυστάτοις) and which,
as he distinctly states, was given them for the purpose of burying
impurities out of sight (comp. Deut. xxiii. 12–14). Thus it has no
connexion whatever with any ‘building’ implement. And again, it is true
that Banus has frequently been regarded as an Essene, but there is
absolutely no ground for this supposition. On the contrary the narrative
of Josephus in his _Life_ seems to [Sidenote: Another derivation of
Banaim.] exclude it, as I shall have occasion to show hereafter[381]. I
should add that Sachs interprets Banaim ‘the bathers,’ regarding the
explanation in _Shabbath_ l.c. as a ‘later accommodation[382].’ This
seems to me very improbable; but, if it were conceded, the Banaim would
then apparently be connected not with the Essenes, but with the

Footnote 380:

  _Zeitschr._ p. 455.

Footnote 381:

  See below, p. 161.

Footnote 382:

  _Beiträge_ II. p. 199. In this derivation he is followed by Graetz
  (III. p. 82, 468) and Derenbourg (p. 166).

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Results of this investigation.]

From the preceding investigation it will have appeared how little
Frankel has succeeded in establishing his thesis that ‘the talmudical
sources are acquainted with the Essenes and make mention of them
constantly[383].’ We have seen not only that no instance of the name
Essene has been produced, but that all those passages which are supposed
to refer to them under other designations, or to describe their
practices or tenets, fail us on closer examination. In no case can we
feel sure that there is any direct reference to this sect, while in most
cases such reference seems to be excluded by the language or the
attendant circumstances[384]. Thus we are [Sidenote: Philo and Josephus
our main authorities.] obliged to fall back upon the representations of
Philo and Josephus. Their accounts are penned by eye-witnesses. They are
direct and explicit, if not so precise or so full as we could have
wished. The writers obviously consider that they are describing a
distinct and exceptional phenomenon. And it would be a reversal of all
established rules of historical criticism to desert the solid
standing-ground of contemporary history for the artificial combinations
and shadowy hypotheses, which Frankel would substitute in its place.

Footnote 383:

  _Monatschr._ p. 31.

Footnote 384:

  ‘The attempt to point out the Essenes in our patristic (i.e.
  rabbinical) literature,’ says Herzfeld truly (II. p. 397), ‘has led to
  a splendid hypothesis-hunt (_einer stattlichen Hypothesenjagd_).’

[Sidenote: Frankel’s depreciation of them is unreasonable, and explains

But here we are confronted with Frankel’s depreciation of these ancient
writers, which has been echoed by several later critics. They were
interested, it is argued, in making their accounts attractive to their
heathen contemporaries, and they coloured them highly for this
purpose[385]. We may readily allow that they would not be uninfluenced
by such a motive, but the concession does not touch the main points at
issue. This aim might have led Josephus, for example, to throw into bold
relief the coincidences between the Essenes and Pythagoreans; it might
even have induced him to give a semi-pagan tinge to the Essene doctrine
of the future state of the blessed (_B.J._ ii. 8. 11). But it entirely
fails to explain those peculiarities of the sect, which marked them off
by a sharp line from orthodox Judaism, and which fully justify the term
‘separatists’ as applied to them by a recent writer. In three main
features especially the portrait of the Essenes retains its distinctive
character unaffected by this consideration.

Footnote 385:

  _Monatschr._ p. 31.

[Sidenote: (i) The avoidance of sacrifices is not accounted for.]

(i) How, for instance, could this principle of accommodation have led
both Philo and Josephus to lay so much stress on their divergence from
Judaic orthodoxy in the matter of sacrifices? Yet this is perhaps the
most crucial note of heresy which is recorded of the Essenes. What was
the law to the orthodox Pharisee without the sacrifices, the
temple-worship, the hierarchy? Yet the Essene declined to take any part
in the sacrifices; he had priests of his own independently of the
Levitical priesthood. On Frankel’s hypothesis that Essenism is merely an
exaggeration of pure Pharisaism, no explanation of this abnormal
phenomenon can be given. Frankel does indeed attempt to meet the case by
some speculations respecting the red-heifer[386], which are so obviously
inadequate that they have not been repeated by later writers and may
safely be passed over in silence here. On this point indeed the language
of Josephus is not [Sidenote: The notices of Josephus and Philo
considered.] quite explicit. He says (Ant. xviii. 1. 5) that, though
they send offerings (ἀναθῆματα) to the temple, they perform no
sacrifices, and he assigns as the reason their greater strictness as
regards ceremonial purity (διαφορότητι ἁγνειῶν ἃς νομίζοιεν), adding
that ‘for this reason being excluded from the common sanctuary
(τεμενίσματος) they perform their sacrifices by themselves (ἐφ’ αὑτῶν
τὰς θυσίας ἐπιτελοῦσι).’ Frankel therefore supposes that their only
reason for abstaining from the temple sacrifices was that according to
their severe notions the temple itself was profaned and therefore unfit
for sacrificial worship. But if so, why should it not vitiate the
offerings, as well as the sacrifices, and make them also unlawful? And
indeed, where Josephus is vague, Philo is explicit. Philo (II. p. 457)
distinctly states that the Essenes being more scrupulous than any in the
worship of God (ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα θεραπευταὶ θεοῦ) do not sacrifice
animals (οὐ ζῶα καταθύοντες), but hold it right to dedicate their own
hearts as a worthy offering (ἀλλ’ ἱεροπρεπεῖς τὰς ἑαυτῶν διανοίας
κατασκευάζειν ἀξιοῦντες). Thus the greater strictness, which Josephus
ascribes to them, consists in the abstention from shedding blood, as a
pollution in itself. And, when he speaks of their substituting private
sacrifices, his own qualifications show that he does not mean the word
to be taken literally. Their simple meals are their sacrifices; their
refectory is their sanctuary; their president is their priest[387]. It
should be added also that, though we once hear of an Essene apparently
within the temple precincts (_B.J._ i. 3. 5, _Ant._ xiii. II. 2)[388],
no mention is ever made of one offering sacrifices. Thus it is clear
that with the Essene it was the sacrifices which polluted the temple,
and not the [Sidenote: Their statements confirmed by the doctrine of
Christian Essenes.] temple which polluted the sacrifices. And this view
is further recommended by the fact that it alone will explain the
position of their descendants, the Christianized Essenes, who condemned
the slaughter of victims on grounds very different from those alleged in
the Epistle to the Hebrews, not because they have been superseded by the
Atonement, but because they are in their very nature repulsive to God;
not because they have ceased to be right, but because they never were
right from the beginning.

Footnote 386:

  _Monatschr._ p. 64.

Footnote 387:

  _B.J._ ii. 8. 5 καθάπερ εἰς ἅγιόν τι τέμενος παραγίνονται τὸ
  δειπνητήριον: see also the passages quoted above p. 89, note 255.

Footnote 388:

  See below, p. 142.

It may be said indeed, that such a view could not be maintained without
impugning the authority, or at least disputing the integrity, of the Old
Testament writings. The sacrificial system is so bound up with the
Mosaic law, that it can only be rejected by the most arbitrary excision.
This violent process however, uncritical as it is, was very likely to
have been adopted by the Essenes[389]. As a matter of fact, it did
recommend itself to those Judaizing Christians who reproduced many of
the Essene tenets, and who both theologically and historically may be
regarded as the lineal [Sidenote: The Clementine Homilies justify this
doctrine by arbitrary excision of the Scriptures.] descendants of this
Judaic sect[390]. Thus in the _Clementine Homilies_, an Ebionite work
which exhibits many Essene features, the chief spokesman St Peter is
represented as laying great stress on the duty of distinguishing the
true and the false elements in the current Scriptures (ii. 38, 51, iii.
4, 5, 10, 42, 47, 49, 50, comp. xviii. 19). The saying traditionally
ascribed to our Lord, ‘Show yourselves approved money-changers’ (γίνεσθε
τραπεζῖται δόκιμοι), is more than once quoted by the Apostle as
enforcing this duty (ii. 51, iii. 50, xviii. 20). Among these false
elements he places all those passages which represent God as enjoining
sacrifices (iii. 45, xviii. 19). It is plain, so he argues, that God did
not desire sacrifices, for did He not kill those who lusted after the
taste of flesh in the wilderness? and, if the slaughter of animals was
thus displeasing to Him, how could He possibly have commanded victims to
be offered to Himself (iii. 45)? It is equally clear from other
considerations that this was no part of God’s genuine law. For instance,
Christ declared that He came to fulfil every tittle of the Law; yet
Christ abolished sacrifices (iii. 51). And again, the saying ‘I will
have mercy and not sacrifice’ is a condemnation of this practice (iii.
56). The true prophet ‘hates sacrifices, bloodshed, libations’; he
‘extinguishes the fire of altars’ (iii. 26). The frenzy of the lying
soothsayer is a mere intoxication produced by the reeking fumes of
sacrifice (iii. 13). When in the immediate context of these
denunciations we find it reckoned among the highest achievements of man
‘to know the _names of angels_, to drive away demons, to endeavour to
heal diseases by charms (φαρμακίαις), [Sidenote: Essene features in this
work.] and to find incantations (ἐπαοιδάς) against venomous serpents
(iii. 36)’; when again St Peter is made to condemn as false those
scriptures which speak of God swearing, and to set against them Christ’s
command ‘Let your yea be yea’ (iii. 55); we feel how thoroughly this
strange production of Ebionite Christianity is saturated with Essene

Footnote 389:

  Herzfeld (II. p. 403) is unable to reconcile any rejection of the Old
  Testament Scriptures with the reverence paid to Moses by the Essenes
  (_B.J._ ii. 8. 9, 10). The Christian Essenes however did combine both
  these incongruous tenets by the expedient which is explained in the
  text. Herzfeld himself suggests that allegorical interpretation may
  have been employed to justify this abstention from the temple

Footnote 390:

  See _Galatians_, p. 310 sq.

Footnote 391:

  Epiphanius (_Hær._ xviii. I, p. 38) again describes, as the account
  was handed down to him (ὡς ὁ εἰς ἡμᾶς ἐλθὼν περιέχει λόγος), the
  tenets of a Jewish sect which he calls the Nasareans, αὐτὴν δὲ οὐ
  παρεδέχετο τὴν πεντάτευχον, ἀλλὰ ὡμολόγει, μὲν τὸν Μωϋσέα, καὶ ὅτι
  ἐδέξατο νομοθεσίαν ἐπίστευεν, οὐ ταύτην δέ φησιν, ἀλλ’ ἑτέραν. ὅθεν τὰ
  μὲν πάντα φυλάττουσι τῶν Ἰουδαίωv Ἰουδαῖοι ὄντες, θυσίαν δὲ οὐκ ἔθυον
  οὔτε ἐμψύχων μετεῖχον, ἀλλὰ θέμιτον ἦν παρ’ αὐτοῖς τὸ κρεῶν
  μεταλαμβάνειν ἢ θυσιάζειν αὐτούς. ἔφασκον γὰρ πεπλάσθαι ταῦτα τὰ
  βιβλία καὶ μηδὲν τούτων ὑπὸ τῶν πατέρων γεγενῆσθαι. Here we have in
  combination all the features which we are seeking. The cradle of this
  sect is placed by him in Gilead and Bashan and ‘the regions beyond the
  Jordan.’ He uses similar language also (xxx. 18, p. 142) in describing
  the Ebionites, whom he places in much the same localities (naming Moab
  also), and whose Essene features are unmistakeable: οὔτε γὰρ δέχονται
  τὴν πεντάτευχον Μωϋσέως ὅλην ἀλλά τινα ῥήματα ἀποβάλλουσιν. ὅταν δὲ
  αὐτοῖς εἴπῃς περὶ ἐμψύχων βρώσεως κ.τ.λ. These parallels will speak
  for themselves.

[Sidenote: (ii) The Essene worship of the Sun cannot be explained away.]

(ii) Nor again is Frankel successful in explaining the Essene prayers to
the sun by rabbinical practices[392]. Following Rapoport, he supposes
that Josephus and Philo refer to the beautiful hymn of praise for the
creation of light and the return of day, which forms part of the
morning-prayer of the Jews to the present time[393], and which seems to
be enjoined in the Mishna itself[394]; and this view has been adopted by
many subsequent writers. But the language of Josephus is not satisfied
by this explanation. For he says plainly (_B.J._ ii. 8. 5) that they
addressed prayers to the sun[395], and it is difficult to suppose that
he has wantonly introduced a dash of paganism into his picture; nor
indeed was there any adequate motive for his doing so. Similarly Philo
relates of the Therapeutes (_Vit. Cont._ II, II. p. 485), that they
‘stand with their faces and their whole body towards the East, and when
they see that the sun is risen, holding out their hands to heaven they
pray for a happy day (εὐημερίαν) and for truth and for keen vision of
reason (ὀξυωπίαν λογισμοῦ).’ And here again it is impossible to overlook
the confirmation which these accounts receive from the history of
certain Christian heretics deriving their descent from this Judaic sect.
[Sidenote: The Sampsæans are an Essene sect,] Epiphanius (_Hær._ xix. 2,
xx. 3, pp. 40 sq., 47) speaks of a sect called the Sampsæans or
‘Sun-worshippers[396],’ as existing in his own time in Peræa on the
borders of Moab and on the shores of the Dead Sea. He describes them as
a remnant of the Ossenes (i.e. Essenes), who have accepted a spurious
form of Christianity and are neither Jews nor Christians. This debased
Christianity which they adopted is embodied, he tells us, in the
pretended revelation of the Book of Elchasai, and dates from the time of
Trajan[397]. Elsewhere (xxx. 3, p. 127) he seems to use the terms
Sampsæan, Ossene, and Elchasaite as synonymous (παρὰ τοῖς Σαμψηνοῖς καὶ
Ὀσσηνοῖς καὶ Ἐλκεσσαίοις καλουμένοις). Now we happen to know something
of this book of Elchasai, not only from Epiphanius himself (xix. 1 sq.,
p. 40 sq., xxx. 17, p. 141), but also from Hippolytus [Sidenote: as
appears from their sacred book of Elchesai.] (_Hær._ ix. 13 sq.) who
describes it at considerable length. From these accounts it appears that
the principal feature in the book was the injunction of frequent
bathings for the remission of sins (Hipp. _Hær._ ix. 13, 15 sq.). We are
likewise told that it ‘anathematizes immolations and sacrifices (θυσίας
καὶ (ιερουργίας) as being alien to God and certainly not offered to God
by tradition from (ἐκ) the fathers and the law,’ while at the same time
it ‘says that men ought to pray there at Jerusalem, where the altar was
and the sacrifices (were offered), prohibiting the eating of flesh which
exists among the Jews, and the rest (of their customs), and the altar
and the fire, as being alien to God’ (Epiphan. xix. 3, p. 42).
Notwithstanding, [Sidenote: Its Essene peculiarities.] we are informed
that the sect retained the rite of circumcision, the observance of the
sabbath, and other practices of the Mosaic law (Hipp. _Hær._ ix. 14;
Epiph. _Hær._ xix. 5, p. 43, comp. xxx. 17, p. 141). This inconsistency
is explained by a further notice in Epiphanius (l.c.) that they treated
the Scriptures in the same way as the Nasaræans[398]; that is, they
submitted them to a process of arbitrary excision, as recommended in the
Clementine Homilies, and thus rejected as falsifications all statements
which did not square with their own theory. Hippolytus also speaks of
the Elchasaites as studying astrology and magic, and as practising
charms and incantations on the sick and the demoniacs (§ 14). Moreover
in two formularies, one of expiation, another of purification, which
this father has extracted from the book, invocation is made to ‘the holy
spirits and the angels of prayer’ (§ 15, comp. Epiph. xix. 1). It should
be added that the word Elchasai probably signifies the ‘hidden
power’[399]; while the book itself directed that its mysteries should be
guarded as precious pearls, and should not be communicated to the world
at large, but only to the faithful few (Hipp. ix. 15, 17). It is hardly
necessary to call attention to the number of Essene features which are
here combined[400]. I would only remark that the value of the notice is
not at all diminished, but rather enhanced, by the uncritical character
of Epiphanius’ work; for this very fact prevents us from ascribing the
coincidences, which here reveal themselves, to this father’s own

Footnote 392:

  _Zeitschr._ p. 458.

Footnote 393:

  See Ginsburg _Essenes_ p. 69 sq.

Footnote 394:

  _Berakhoth_ i. 4; see Derenbourg, p. 169 sq.

Footnote 395:

  See above, p. 87, note 249.

Footnote 396:

  See above, p. 83.

Footnote 397:

  _Galatians_ p. 311 sq. See also below, p. 167.

Footnote 398:

  See p. 136, note 391.

Footnote 399:

  _Galatians_ p. 312, note 1. For another derivation see below, p. 167.

Footnote 400:

  Celibacy however is not one of these: comp. Epiphan. _Hær._ xix. 1 (p.
  40) ἀπεχθάνεται δὲ τῇ παρθενίᾳ, μισεῖ δὲ τὴν ἐγκράτειαν, ἀναγκάζει δὲ
  γάμον. In this respect they departed from the original principles of
  Essenism, alleging, as it would appear, a special revelation (ὡς δῆθεν
  ἀποκαλύψεως) in justification. In like manner marriage is commended in
  the Clementine Homilies.

[Sidenote: Doubtful bearing of this Sun-worship.]

In this heresy we have plainly the dregs of Essenism, which has only
been corrupted from its earlier and nobler type by the admixture of a
spurious Christianity. But how came the Essenes to be called Sampsæans?
What was the original meaning of this outward reverence which they paid
to the sun? Did they regard it merely as the symbol of Divine
illumination, just as Philo frequently treats it as a type of God, the
centre of all light (e.g. _de Somn._ i. 13 sq., I. p. 631 sq.), and even
calls the heavenly bodies ‘visible and sensible gods’ (_de Mund. Op._ 7,
I. p. 6)[401]? Or did they honour the light, as the pure ethereal
element in contrast to gross terrestrial matter, according to a
suggestion of a recent writer[402]? [Sidenote: The practice repugnant to
Jewish orthodoxy.]Whatever may have been the motive of this reverence,
it is strangely repugnant to the spirit of orthodox Judaism. In Ezek.
viii. 16 it is denounced as an abomination, that men shall turn towards
the east and worship the sun; and accordingly in _Berakhoth_ 7_a_, a
saying of R. Meir is reported to the effect that God is angry when the
sun appears and the kings of the East and the West prostrate themselves
before this luminary[403]. We cannot fail therefore to recognise the
action of some foreign influence in this Essene practice—whether Greek
or Syrian or Persian, it will be time to consider hereafter.

Footnote 401:

  The important place which the heavenly bodies held in the system of
  Philo, who regarded them as animated beings, may be seen from
  Gfrörer’s _Philo_ I. p. 349 sq.

Footnote 402:

  _Keim_ I. p. 289.

Footnote 403:

  See Wiesner Schol. zum _Babyl. Talm._ I. pp. 18, 20.

[Sidenote: (iii) The depreciation of marriage not accounted for.]

(iii) On the subject of marriage again, talmudical and rabbinical
notices contribute nothing towards elucidating the practices of this
sect. Least of all do they point to any affinity between the Essenes and
the Pharisees. The nearest resemblance, which Frankel can produce, to
any approximation in this respect is an injunction in Mishna _Kethuboth_
v. 8 respecting the duties of the husband in providing for the wife in
case of his separating from her, and this he ascribes to Essene
influences[404]; but this mishna does not express any approval of such a
separation. The direction seems to be framed entirely in the interests
of the wife: nor can I see that it is at all inconsistent, as Frankel
urges, with Mishna _Kethuboth_ vii. 1 which allows her to claim a
divorce under such circumstances. But however this may be, Essene and
Pharisaic opinion stand generally in the sharpest contrast to each other
with respect to marriage. The talmudic writings teem with passages
implying not only the superior sanctity, but even the imperative duty,
of marriage. The words ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen. i. 28) were
regarded not merely as a promise, but as a command, which was binding on
all. It is a maxim of the Talmud that ‘Any Jew who has not a wife is no
man’ (אינו אדם,) _Yebamoth_ 63_a_. The fact indeed is so patent, that
any accumulation of examples would be superfluous, and I shall content
myself with referring to _Pesachim_ 113_a_, _b_, as fairly illustrating
the doctrine of orthodox Judaism on this point[405]. As this question
affects the whole framework not only of religious, but also of social
life, the antagonism between the Essene and the Pharisee in a matter so
vital could not be overlooked.

Footnote 404:

  _Monatschr._ p. 37.

Footnote 405:

  Justin Martyr more than once taunts the Jewish rabbis with their
  reckless encouragement of polygamy. See _Dial._ 134, p. 363 D, τοῖς
  ἀσυνέτοις καὶ τυφλοῖς διδασκάλοις ὑμῶν, ὁίτινες καὶ μέχρι νῦν καὶ
  τέσσαρας καὶ πέντε ἔχειν ὑμᾶς γυναῖκας ἕκαστον συγχωροῦσι· καὶ ἐὰν
  εὔμορφόν τις ἰδὼν ἐπιθυμήσῃ αὐτῆς κ.τ.λ., _ib._ 141, p. 371 A, B,
  ὁποῖον πράττουσιν οἱ ἀπὸ τοῦ γένους ὑμῶν ἄνθρωποι, κατὰ πᾶσαν γῆν ἔνθα
  ἂν ἐπιδημήσωσιν ἢ προσπεμφθῶσιν ἀγόμενοι ὀνόματι γάμου γυναῖκας
  κ.τ.λ., with Otto’s note on the first passage.

[Sidenote: (iv) The Essene practice of magic still a difficulty.]

(iv) Nor again is it probable that the magical rites and incantations
which are so prominent in the practice of the Essenes would, as a rule,
have been received with any favour by the Pharisaic Jew. In Mishna
_Pesachim_ iv. 9 (comp. _Berakhoth_ 10_b_) it is mentioned with approval
that Hezekiah put away a ‘book of healings’; where doubtless the author
of the tradition had in view some volume of charms ascribed to Solomon,
like those which apparently formed part of the esoteric literature of
the Essenes[406]. In the same spirit in Mishna _Sanhedrin_ xi. 1 R.
Akiba shuts out from the hope of eternal life any ‘who read profane or
foreign (i.e. perhaps, apocryphal) books, and who mutter over a wound’
the words of Exod. xv. 26. On this point of difference however no great
stress can be laid. Though the nobler teachers among the orthodox Jews
set themselves steadfastly against the introduction of magic, they were
unable to resist the inpouring tide of superstition. In the middle of
the second century Justin Martyr alludes to exorcists and magicians
among the Jews, as though they were neither few nor obscure[407].
Whether these were a remnant of Essene Judaism, or whether such
practices had by this time spread throughout the whole body, it is
impossible to say; but the fact of their existence prevents us from
founding an argument on the use of magic, as an absolutely distinctive
feature of Essenism.

Footnote 406:

  See above, p. 91, note 261.

Footnote 407:

  _Dial._ 85, p. 311 C, ἤδη μέντοι οἱ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐπορκισταὶ τῇ τέχνῃ, ὥσπερ
  καὶ τὰ ἔθνη, χρώμενοι ἐξορκίζουσι καὶ θυμιάμασι καὶ καταδέσμοις

[Sidenote: General result.]

Other divergences also have been enumerated[408]; but, as these do not
for the most part involve any great principles, and refer only to
practical details in which much fluctuation was possible, they cannot
under any circumstances be taken as crucial tests, and I have not
thought it worth while to discuss them. But the antagonisms on which I
have dwelt will tell their own tale. In three respects more especially,
in the avoidance of marriage, in the abstention from the temple
sacrifices, and (if the view which I have adopted be correct) in the
outward reverence paid to the sun, we have seen that there is an
impassable gulf between the Essenes and the Pharisees. No known
influences within the sphere of Judaism proper will serve to account for
the position of the Essenes in these respects; and we are obliged to
look elsewhere for an explanation.

Footnote 408:

  Herzfeld, II. p. 392 sq.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Frankel has failed in establishing his point.]

It was shown above that the investigations of Frankel and others failed
to discover in the talmudical writings a single reference to the
Essenes, which is at once direct and indisputable. It has now appeared
that they have also failed (and this is the really important point) in
showing that the ideas and practices generally considered characteristic
of the Essenes are recognised and incorporated in these representative
books of Jewish orthodoxy; and thus the hypothesis that Essenism was
merely a type, though an exaggerated type, of pure Judaism falls to the

[Sidenote: Affinities between Essenes and Pharisees confined to the
           Judaic side.]

Some affinities indeed have been made out by Frankel and by those who
have anticipated or followed him. But these are exactly such as we might
have expected. Two distinct features combine to make up the portrait of
the Essene. The Judaic element is quite as prominent in this sect as the
non-Judaic. It could not be more strongly emphasized than in the
description given by Josephus himself. In everything therefore which
relates to the strictly Judaic side of their tenets and practices, we
should expect to discover not only affinities, but even close
affinities, in talmudic and rabbinic authorities. And this is exactly
what, as a matter of fact, we do find. The Essene rules respecting the
observance of the sabbath, the rites of lustration, and the like, have
often very exact parallels in the writings of more orthodox Judaism. But
I have not thought it necessary to dwell on these coincidences, because
they may well be taken for granted and my immediate purpose did not
require me to emphasize them.

[Sidenote: The divergence of the Essenes from the Pharisees gradual.]

And again; it must be remembered that the separation between Pharisee
and Essene cannot always have been so great as it appears in the
Apostolic age. Both sects apparently arose out of one great movement, of
which the motive was the avoidance of pollution[409]. The divergence
therefore must have been gradual. At the same time, it does not seem a
very profitable task to write a hypothetical history of the growth of
Essenism, where the data are wanting; and I shall therefore abstain from
the attempt. Frankel indeed has not been deterred by this difficulty;
but he has been obliged to assume his data by postulating that such and
such a person, of whom notices are preserved, was an Essene, and thence
inferring the character of Essenism at the period in question from his
recorded sayings or doings. But without attempting any such
reconstruction of history, we may fairly allow that there must have been
a gradual development; and consequently in the earlier stages of its
growth we should not expect to find that sharp antagonism between the
two sects, which the principles of the Essenes when fully matured would
involve. [Sidenote: Hence the possibility of their appearing in the
records of orthodox Judaism.] If therefore it should be shown that the
talmudical and rabbinical writings here and there preserve with approval
the sayings of certain Essenes, this fact would present no difficulty.
At present however no decisive example has been produced; and the
discoveries of Jellinek for instance[410], who traces the influence of
this sect in almost every page of _Pirke Aboth_, can only be regarded as
another illustration of the extravagance with which the whole subject
has been treated by a large section of modern Jewish writers. More to
the point is a notice of an earlier Essene preserved in Josephus
himself. We learn from this historian that one Judas, a member of the
sect, who had prophesied the death of Antigonus, saw this prince
‘passing by through the temple[411],’ when his prophecy was on the point
of fulfilment (about B.C. 110). At this moment Judas is represented as
sitting in the midst of his disciples, instructing them in the science
of prediction. The expression quoted would seem to imply that he was
actually teaching within the temple area. Thus he would appear not only
as mixing in the ordinary life of the Jews, but also as frequenting the
national sanctuary. But even supposing this to be the right explanation
of the passage, it will not present any serious difficulty. Even at a
later date, when (as we may suppose) the principles of the sect had
stiffened, the scruples of the Essene were directed, if I have rightly
interpreted the account of Josephus, rather against the sacrifices than
against the locality[412]. The temple itself, independently of its
accompaniments, would not suggest any offence to his conscience.

Footnote 409:

  See above, p. 120.

Footnote 410:

  _Orient_ 1849, pp. 489, 537, 553.

Footnote 411:

  _B.J._ i. 3. 5 παριόντα διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ. In the parallel narrative,
  _Ant._ xiii. II. 2, the expression is παριόντα τὸ ἱερόν, which does
  not imply so much; but the less precise notice must be interpreted by
  the more precise. Even then however it is not directly stated that
  Judas himself was within the temple area.

Footnote 412:

  See above, pp. 89, 134 sq.

[Sidenote: The approbation of Philo and Josephus is no evidence of

Nor again, is it any obstacle to the view which is here maintained, that
the Essenes are regarded with so much sympathy by Philo and Josephus
themselves. Even though the purity of Judaism might have been somewhat
sullied in this sect by the admixture of foreign elements, this fact
would attract rather than repel an eclectic like Philo, and a
latitudinarian like Josephus. The former, as an Alexandrian, absorbed
into his system many and diverse elements of heathen philosophy,
Platonic, Stoic, and Pythagorean. The latter, though professedly a
Pharisee, lost no opportunity of ingratiating himself with his heathen
conquerors, and would not be unwilling to gratify their curiosity
respecting a society with whose fame, as we infer from the notice of
Pliny, they were already acquainted.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: What was the foreign element in Essenism?]

But if Essenism owed the features which distinguished it from Pharisaic
Judaism to an alien admixture, whence were these foreign influences
derived? From the philosophers of Greece or from the religious mystics
of the East? On this point recent writers are divided.

[Sidenote: Theory of Neopythagorean influence.]

Those who trace the distinctive characteristics of the sect to Greece,
regard it as an offshoot of the Neopythagorean School grafted on the
stem of Judaism. This solution is suggested by the statement of
Josephus, that ‘they practise the mode of life which among the Greeks
was introduced (καταδεδειγμένῃ) by Pythagoras[413].’ It is thought to be
confirmed by the strong resemblances which as a matter of fact are found
to exist between the institutions and practices of the two.

[Sidenote: Statement of the theory by Zeller.]

This theory, which is maintained also by other writers, as for instance
by Baur and Herzfeld, has found its ablest and most persistent advocate
in Zeller, who draws out the parallels with great force and precision.
‘The Essenes,’ he writes, ‘like the Pythagoreans, desire to attain a
higher sanctity by an ascetic life; and the abstentions, which they
impose on themselves for this end, are the same with both. They reject
animal food and bloody sacrifices; they avoid wine, warm baths, and oil
for anointing; they set a high value on celibate life: or, so far as
they allow marriage, they require that it be restricted to the one
object of procreating children. Both wear only white garments and
consider linen purer than wool. Washings and purifications are
prescribed by both, though for the Essenes they have a yet higher
significance as religious acts. Both prohibit oaths and (what is more)
on the same grounds. Both find their social ideal in those institutions,
which indeed the Essenes alone set themselves to realise—in a corporate
life with entire community of goods, in sharply defined orders of rank,
in the unconditional submission of all the members to their superiors,
in a society carefully barred from without, into which new members are
received only after a severe probation of several years, and from which
the unworthy are inexorably excluded. Both require a strict initiation,
both desire [Sidenote: Zeller’s theory.] to maintain a traditional
doctrine inviolable; both pay the highest respect to the men from whom
it was derived, as instruments of the deity: yet both also love
figurative clothing for their doctrines, and treat the old traditions as
symbols of deeper truths, which they must extract from them by means of
allegorical explanation. In order to prove the later form of teaching
original, newly-composed writings were unhesitatingly forged by the one
as by the other, and fathered upon illustrious names of the past. Both
parties pay honour to divine powers in the elements, both invoke the
rising sun, both seek to withdraw everything unclean from his sight, and
with this view give special directions, in which they agree as well with
each other as with older Greek superstition, in a remarkable way. For
both the belief in intermediate beings between God and the world has an
importance which is higher in proportion as their own conception of God
is purer; both appear not to have disdained magic; yet both regard the
gift of prophecy as the highest fruit of wisdom and piety, which they
pique themselves on possessing in their most distinguished members.
Finally, both agree (along with the dualistic character of their whole
conception of the world ...) in their tenets respecting the origin of
the soul, its relation to the body, and the life after death[414]....’

Footnote 413:

  _Ant._ xv. 10. 4.

Footnote 414:

  Zeller _Philosophie der Griechen_, Th. III. Abth. 2, p. 281.

[Sidenote: Absence of distinctive Pythagorean features in the Essenes.]

This array of coincidences is formidable, and thus skilfully marshalled
might appear at first sight invincible. But a closer examination
detracts from its value. In the first place the two distinctive
characteristics of the Pythagorean philosophy are wanting to the
Essenes. The Jewish sect did not believe in the transmigration of souls;
and the doctrine of numbers, at least so far as our information goes,
had no place in their system. Yet these constitute the very essence of
the Pythagorean teaching. In the next place several of the coincidences
are more apparent than real. Thus [Sidenote: The coincidences are in
some cases only apparent,] for instance the demons who in the
Pythagorean system held an intermediate place between the Supreme God
and man, and were the result of a compromise between polytheism and
philosophy, have no near relation to the angelology of the Essenes,
which arose out of a wholly different motive. Nor again can we find
distinct traces among the Pythagoreans of any such reverence for the sun
as is ascribed to the Essenes, the only notice which is adduced having
no prominence whatever in its own context, and referring to a rule which
would be dictated by natural decency and certainly was not peculiar to
the Pythagoreans[415]. When these imperfect and (for the purpose)
valueless resemblances have been subtracted, the only basis on which the
theory of a direct affiliation can rest is withdrawn. All the remaining
coincidences are unimportant. Thus the respect paid to founders is not
confined to any one sect or any one age. The reverence of the Essenes
for Moses, and the reverence of the Pythagoreans for Pythagoras, are
indications of a common humanity, but not of a common philosophy. And
again the forgery of supposititious documents is unhappily not the badge
of any one school. The Solomonian books of the Essenes, so far as we can
judge from the extant notices, were about as unlike the tracts ascribed
to Pythagoras and his disciples by the Neopythagoreans as two such
forgeries could well be. All or nearly all that remains in common to the
Greek school and the Jewish sect after these deductions is [Sidenote:
and in others do not suggest any historical connexion.] a certain
similarity in the type of life. But granted that two bodies of men each
held an esoteric teaching of their own, they would secure it
independently in a similar way, by a recognised process of initiation,
by a solemn form of oath, by a rigid distinction of orders. Granted
also, that they both maintained the excellence of an ascetic life, their
asceticism would naturally take the same form; they would avoid wine and
flesh; they would abstain from anointing themselves with oil; they would
depreciate, and perhaps altogether prohibit, marriage. Unless therefore
the historical conditions are themselves favourable to a direct and
immediate connexion between the Pythagoreans and the Essenes, this
theory of affiliation has little to recommend it.

Footnote 415:

  Diog. Laert. viii. 17; see Zeller l.c. p. 282, note 5. The precept in
  question occurs among a number of insignificant details, and has no
  special prominence given to it. In the _Life of Apollonius_ by
  Philostratus (e.g. vi. 10) considerable stress is laid on the worship
  of the sun (Zeller l.c. p. 137, note 6); but the syncretism of this
  late work detracts from its value as representing Pythagorean

[Sidenote: Twofold objection to this theory.]

And a closer examination must pronounce them to be most unfavourable.
Chronology and geography alike present serious obstacles to any solution
which derives the peculiarities of the Essenes from the Pythagoreans.

[Sidenote: (i) Chronological facts are adverse.]

(i) The priority of time, if it can be pleaded on either side, must be
urged in favour of the Essenes. The Pythagoreans as a philosophical
school entirely disappear from history before the middle of the fourth
century before Christ. The last Pythagoreans were scholars of Philolaus
and Eurytus, the contemporaries of Socrates and Plato[416]. For nearly
two centuries after their extinction we hear [Sidenote: Disappearance of
the Pythagoreans.] nothing of them. Here and there persons like Diodorus
of Aspendus are satirised by the Attic poets of the middle comedy as
‘pythagorizers,’ in other words, as total abstainers and
vegetarians[417]; but the philosophy had wholly died or was fast dying
out. This is the universal testimony of ancient writers. It is not till
the first century before Christ, that we meet with any distinct traces
of a revival. In Alexander Polyhistor[418], a younger contemporary of
Sulla, for the first time we find references to certain writings, which
would seem to have emanated from this incipient Neopythagoreanism,
rather than from the elder school of Pythagoreans. And a little later
Cicero commends his friend Nigidius Figulus as one specially raised up
to revive the extinct philosophy[419]. But so slow or so chequered was
its progress, that a whole century after Seneca can still speak of the
[Sidenote: Priority of Essenism to Neopythagoreanism.] school as
practically defunct[420]. Yet long before this the Essenes formed a
compact, well-organized, numerous society with a peculiar system of
doctrine and a definite rule of life. We have seen that Pliny the elder
speaks of this celibate society as having existed ‘through thousands of
ages[421].’ This is a gross exaggeration, but it must at least be taken
to imply that in Pliny’s time the origin of the Essenes was lost in the
obscurity of the past, or at least seemed so to those who had not access
to special sources of information. If, as I have given reasons for
supposing[422], Pliny’s authority in this passage is the same Alexander
Polyhistor to whom I have just referred, and if this particular
statement, however exaggerated in expression, is derived from him, the
fact becomes still more significant. But on any showing the priority in
time is distinctly in favour of the Essenes as against the

Footnote 416:

  Zeller l.c. p. 68 (comp. I. p. 242). While disputing Zeller’s
  position, I have freely made use of his references. It is impossible
  not to admire the mastery of detail and clearness of exposition in
  this work, even when the conclusions seem questionable.

Footnote 417:

  Athen. iv. p. 161, Diog. Laert. viii. 37. See the index to Meineke
  _Fragm. Com._ s. vv. πυθαγορικός, etc. The words commonly used by
  these satirists are πυθαγορίζειν, πυθαγοριστής, πυθαγορισμός. The
  persons so satirized were probably in many cases not more Pythagoreans
  than modern teetotallers are Rechabites.

Footnote 418:

  Diog. Laert. viii. 24 sq.; see Zeller l.c. p. 74–78.

Footnote 419:

  Cic. _Tim._ I ‘sic judico, post illos nobiles Pythagoreos quorum
  disciplina _extincta est_ quodammodo, cum aliquot sæcula in Italia
  Siciliaque viguisset, hunc exstitisse qui illam _renovaret_.’

Footnote 420:

  Sen. _N.Q._ vii. 32 ‘Pythagorica illa invidiosa turbæ schola
  præceptorem non invenit.’

Footnote 421:

  _N.H._ v. 15. The passage is at which Josephus thinks it necessary to
  insert an account of the Essenes as already flourishing (_Ant._ xiii.
  5. 9), is prior to the revival of the Neopythagorean school. How much
  earlier the Jewish sect arose, we are without data for determining.

Footnote 422:

  See p. 83, note 240.

[Sidenote: The Essene tenets more developed than the Neopythagorean.]

And accordingly we find that what is only a tendency in the
Neopythagoreans is with the Essenes an avowed principle and a definite
rule of life. Such for instance is the case with celibacy, of which
Pliny says that it has existed as an institution among the Essenes _per
sæculorum millia_, and which is a chief corner-stone of their practical
system. The Pythagorean notices (whether truly or not, it is unimportant
for my purpose to enquire) speak of Pythagoras as having a wife and a
daughter[423]. Only at a late date do we find the attempt to represent
their founder in another light; and if virginity is ascribed to
Apollonius of Tyana, the great Pythagorean of the first Christian
century, in the fictitious biography of Philostratus[424], this
representation is plainly due to the general plan of the novelist, whose
hero is intended to rival the Founder of Christianity, and whose work is
saturated with Christian ideas. In fact virginity can never be said to
have been a Pythagorean principle, though it may have been an exalted
ideal of some not very early adherents of the school. And the same
remark applies to other resemblances between the Essene and
Neopythagorean teaching. The clearness of conception and the
definiteness of practice are in almost every instance on the side of the
Essenes; so that, looking to the comparative chronology of the two, it
will appear almost inconceivable that they can have derived their
principles from the Neopythagoreans.

Footnote 423:

  Diog. Laert. viii. 42.

Footnote 424:

  _Vit. Apoll._ i. 15 sq. At the same time Philostratus informs us that
  the conduct of his hero in this respect had been differently
  represented by others.

[Sidenote: (ii) Geographical difficulties in the theory.]

(ii) But the geographical difficulty also, which this theory of
affiliation involves, must be added to the chronological. The home of
the Essene sect is allowed on all hands to have been on the eastern
borders of Palestine, the shores of the Dead Sea, a region least of all
exposed to the influences of Greek philosophy. It is true that we find
near Alexandria a closely allied school of Jewish recluses, the
Therapeutes; and, as Alexandria may have been the home of
Neopythagoreanism, a possible link of connexion is here disclosed. But,
as Zeller himself has pointed out, it is not among the Therapeutes, but
among the Essenes, that the principles in question appear fully
developed and consistently carried out[425]; and therefore, if there be
a relation of paternity between Essene and Therapeute, the latter must
be derived from the former and not conversely. How then can we suppose
this influence of Neopythagoreanism brought to bear on a Jewish
community in the south-eastern border of Palestine? Zeller’s answer is
as follows[426]. Judæa was for more than a hundred and fifty years
before the Maccabean period under the sovereignty first of the Egyptian
and then of the Syrian Greeks. We know that at this time Hellenizing
influences did infuse themselves largely into Judaism: and what more
natural than that among these the Pythagorean philosophy and discipline
should have recommended itself to a section of the Jewish people? It may
be said in reply, that at all events the special locality of the Essenes
is the least favourable to such a solution: but, without pressing this
fact, Zeller’s hypothesis is open to two serious objections which
combined seem fatal to it, unsupported as it is by any historical
notice. First, this influence of Pythagoreanism is assumed to have taken
place at the very time when the Pythagorean school was practically
extinct: and secondly, it is supposed to have acted upon that very
section of the Jewish community, which was the most vigorous advocate of
national exclusiveness and the most averse to Hellenizing influences.

Footnote 425:

  l.c. p. 288 sq.

Footnote 426:

  l.c. p. 290 sq.

[Sidenote: The foreign element of Essenism to be sought in the East,]

It is not therefore to Greek but to Oriental influences that
considerations of time and place, as well as of internal character, lead
us to look for an explanation of the alien elements in Essene Judaism.
And have we not here also the account of any real coincidences which may
exist between Essenism and Neopythagoreanism? We should perhaps be
hardly more justified in tracing Neopythagoreanism directly to Essenism
than conversely (though, if we had no other alternative, this would
appear to be the more probable solution of the two): but were not both
alike due to substantially the same influences acting in different
degrees? [Sidenote: to which also Pythagoreanism may have been
indebted.]I think it will hardly be denied that the characteristic
features of Pythagoreanism, and especially of Neopythagoreanism, which
distinguish it from other schools of Greek philosophy, are much more
Oriental in type, than Hellenic. The asceticism, the magic, the
mysticism, of the sect all point in the same direction. And history
moreover contains indications that such was the case. There seems to be
sufficient ground for the statement that Pythagoras himself was indebted
to intercourse with the Egyptians, if not with more strictly Oriental
nations, for some leading ideas of his system. But, however this may be,
the fact that in the legendary accounts, which the Neopythagoreans
invented to do honour to the founder of the school, he is represented as
taking lessons from the Chaldeans, Persians, Brahmins, and others, may
be taken as an evidence that their own philosophy at all events was
partially derived from eastern sources[427].

Footnote 427:

  See the references in Zeller I. p. 218 sq.; comp. III. 2, p. 67.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But, if the alien elements of Essenism were borrowed not so much from
Greek philosophy as from Oriental mysticism, to what nation or what
religion was it chiefly indebted? To this question it is difficult, with
our very imperfect knowledge of the East at the Christian era, to reply
with any confidence. [Sidenote: Resemblances to Parsism.]Yet there is
one system to which we naturally look, as furnishing the most probable
answer. The Medo-Persian religion supplies just those elements which
distinguish the tenets and practices of the Essenes from the normal type
of Judaism. [Sidenote: (i) Dualism.](1) First; we have here a very
definite form of dualism, which exercised the greatest influence on
subsequent Gnostic sects, and of which Manicheism, the most mature
development of dualistic doctrine in connexion with Christianity, was
the ultimate fruit. For though dualism may not represent the oldest
theology of the Zend-Avesta in its unadulterated form, yet long before
the era of which we are speaking it had become the fundamental principle
of the Persian religion. [Sidenote: (ii) Sun-worship.](2) Again; the
Zoroastrian symbolism of light, and consequent worship of the sun as the
fountain of light, will explain those anomalous notices of the Essenes
in which they are represented as paying reverence to this luminary[428].
[Sidenote: (iii) Angelolatry.](3) Moreover; the ‘worship of angels’ in
the Essene system has a striking parallel in the invocations of spirits,
which form a very prominent feature in the ritual of the Zend-Avesta.
And altogether their angelology is illustrated, and not improbably was
suggested, by the doctrine of intermediate beings concerned in the
government of nature and of man, such as the Amshaspands, which is an
integral part of the Zoroastrian system[429]. [Sidenote: (iv) Magic.](4)
And once more; the magic, which was so attractive to the Essene, may
have received its impulse from the priestly caste of Persia, to whose
world-wide fame this form of superstition is indebted for its name.
[Sidenote: (v) Striving after purity.](5) If to these parallels I
venture also to add the intense striving after purity, which is the
noblest feature in the Persian religion, I do so, not because the
Essenes might not have derived this impulse from a higher source, but
because this feature was very likely to recommend the Zoroastrian system
to their favourable notice, and because also the particular form which
the zeal for purity took among them was at all events congenial to the
teaching of the Zend-Avesta, and may not have been altogether free from
its influences.

Footnote 428:

  Keim (_Geschichte Jesu von Nazara_ I. p. 303) refers to Tac.
  Hist. iii. 24 ‘Undique clamor; et _orientem solem_ (ita in Syria mos
  est) tertiani salutavere,’ as illustrating this Essene practice. The
  commentators on Tacitus quote a similar notice of the Parthians in
  Herodian iv. 15 _ἅμα δὲ ἡλίῳ ἀνίσχοντι ἐφάνη Ἀρτάβανος σὺν μεγίστῳ
  πλήθει στρατοῦ· ἀσπασάμενοι δὲ τὸν ἤλιον, ὡς ἔθος αὐτοῖς, οἱ βάρβαροι

Footnote 429:

  See e.g. _Vendidad_ Farg. xix; and the liturgical portions of the book
  are largely taken up with invocations of these intermediate beings.
  Some extracts are given in Davies’ _Colossians_ p. 146 sq.

[Sidenote: Other coincidences accidental.]

I have preferred dwelling on these broader resemblances, because they
are much more significant than any mere coincidence of details, which
may or may not have been accidental. Thus for instance the magi, like
the Essenes, wore white garments, and eschewed gold and ornaments; they
practised frequent lustrations; they avoided flesh, living on bread and
cheese or on herbs and fruits; they had different orders in their
society; and the like[430]. All these, as I have already remarked, may
be the independent out-growth of the same temper and direction of
conduct, and need not imply any direct historical connexion. Nor is
there any temptation to press such resemblances; for even without their
aid the general connexion seems to be sufficiently established[431].

Footnote 430:

  Hilgenfeld (_Zeitschrift_ x. p. 99 sq.) finds coincidences even more
  special than these. He is answered by Zeller (III. 2. p. 276), but
  defends his position again (_Zeitschrift_ xi. p. 347 sq.), though with
  no great success. Among other points of coincidence Hilgenfeld remarks
  on the axe (Jos. _B.J._ ii. 8. 7) which was given to the novices among
  the Essenes, and connects it with the ἀξινομαντεία (Plin. _N.H._
  xxxvi. 19) of the magi. Zeller contents himself with replying that the
  use of the axe among the Essenes for purposes of divination is a pure
  conjecture, not resting on any known fact. He might have answered with
  much more effect that Josephus elsewhere (§ 9) defines it as a spade
  or shovel, and assigns to it a very different use. Hilgenfeld has
  damaged his cause by laying stress on these accidental resemblances.
  So far as regards minor coincidences, Zeller makes out as good a case
  for his Pythagoreans, as Hilgenfeld for his magians.

Footnote 431:

  Those who allow any foreign Oriental element in Essenism most commonly
  ascribe it to Persia: e.g. among the more recent writers, Hilgenfeld
  (l.c.) and Lipsius _Schenkel’s Bibel-Lexikon_ s.v. Essäer p. 189.

[Sidenote: The destruction of the Persian empire not adverse]

But it is said, that the history of Persia does not favour the
hypothesis of such an influence as is here assumed. The destruction of
the Persian empire by Alexander, argues Zeller[432], and the subsequent
erection of the Parthian domination on its ruins, must have been fatal
to the spread of Zoroastrianism. From the middle of the third century
before Christ, when the Parthian empire was established, till towards
the middle of the third century of our era, when the Persian monarchy
and religion were once more restored[433], its influence must have been
reduced within the narrowest limits. [Sidenote: but favourable to the
spread of Parsism.] But does analogy really suggest such an inference?
Does not the history of the Jews themselves show that the religious
influence of a people on the world at large may begin just where its
national life ends? The very dispersion of Zoroastrianism, consequent on
the fall of the empire, would impregnate the atmosphere far and wide;
and the germs of new religious developments would thus be implanted in
alien soils. For in tracing Essenism to Persian influences I have not
wished to imply that this Jewish sect consciously incorporated the
Zoroastrian philosophy and religion as such, but only that Zoroastrian
ideas were infused into its system by more or less direct contact. And,
as a matter of fact, it seems quite certain that Persian ideas were
widely spread during this very interval, when the Persian nationality
was eclipsed. [Sidenote: Indications of its influence during this
period.]It was then that Hermippus gave to the Greeks the most detailed
account of this religion which had ever been laid before them[434]. It
was then that its tenets suggested or moulded the speculations of the
various Gnostic sects. It was then that the worship of the Persian
Mithras spread throughout the Roman Empire. It was then, if not earlier,
that the magian system took root in Asia Minor, making for itself (as it
were) a second home in Cappadocia[435]. It was then, if not earlier,
that the Zoroastrian demonology stamped itself so deeply on the
apocryphal literature of the Jews themselves, which borrowed even the
names of evil spirits[436] from the Persians. There are indeed abundant
indications that Palestine was surrounded by Persian influences during
this period, when the Persian empire was in abeyance.

Footnote 432:

  l.c. p. 275.

Footnote 433:

  See Gibbon _Decline and Fall_ c. viii, Milman _History of
  Christianity_ II. p. 247 sq. The latter speaks of this restoration of
  Zoroastrianism, as ‘perhaps the only instance of the vigorous revival
  of a Pagan religion.’ It was far purer and less Pagan than the system
  which it superseded; and this may account for its renewed life.

Footnote 434:

  See Müller _Fragm. Hist. Græc._ III. p. 53 sq. for this work of
  Hermippus περὶ Μάγων. He flourished about B.C. 200. See Max Müller
  _Lectures on the Science of Language_ 1st ser. p. 86.

Footnote 435:

  Strabo xv. 3. 15 (p. 733) Ἐν δὲ τῇ Καππαδοκίᾳ (πολὺ γὰρ ἐκεῖ τὸ τῶν
  Μάγων φῦλον, οἳ καὶ πύραιθοι καλοῦνται· πολλὰ δὲ καὶ τῶν Περσικῶν θεῶν
  ἱερά) κ.τ.λ.

Footnote 436:

  At least in one instance, Asmodeus (Tob. iii. 17); see M. Müller
  _Chips from a German Workshop_ I. p. 148 sq. For the different dates
  assigned to the book of Tobit see Dr Westcott’s article _Tobit_ in
  Smith’s _Dictionary of the Bible_ p. 1525.

Thus we seem to have ample ground for the view that certain alien
features in Essene Judaism were derived from the Zoroastrian religion.
[Sidenote: Are Buddhist influences also perceptible?]But are we
justified in going a step further, and attributing other elements in
this eclectic system to the more distant East? The monasticism of the
Buddhist will naturally occur to our minds, as a precursor of the
cenobitic life among the Essenes; and Hilgenfeld accordingly has not
hesitated to ascribe this characteristic of Essenism directly to
Buddhist influences[437]. But at the outset we are obliged to ask
whether history gives any such indication of the presence of Buddhism in
the West as this hypothesis requires. Hilgenfeld answers this question
in the affirmative. [Sidenote: Supposed Buddhist establishment at
Alexandria.]He points triumphantly to the fact that as early as the
middle of the second century before Christ the Buddhist records speak of
their faith as flourishing in Alasanda the chief city of the land of
Yavana. The place intended, he conceives, can be none other than the
great Alexandria, the most famous of the many places bearing the
name[438]. [Sidenote: The authority misinterpreted] In this opinion
however he stands quite alone. Neither Köppen[439], who is his authority
for this statement, nor any other Indian scholar[440], so far as I am
aware, for a moment contemplates this identification. Yavana, or Yona,
was the common Indian name for the Græco-Bactrian kingdom and its
dependencies[441]; and to this region we naturally turn. The Alasanda or
Alasadda therefore, which is here mentioned, will be one of several
Eastern cities bearing the name of the great conqueror, most probably
_Alexandria ad Caucasum_. But indeed I hardly think that, if Hilgenfeld
had referred to the original authority for the statement, the great
Buddhist history _Mahawanso_, he would have ventured to lay any stress
at all on this notice, as supporting his theory. [Sidenote: and wholly
untrustworthy in itself.]The historian, or rather fabulist (for such he
is in this earlier part of his chronicle), is relating the foundation of
the Mahá thúpo, or great tope, at Ruanwelli by the king Dutthagámini in
the year B.C. 157. Beyond the fact that this tope was erected by this
king the rest is plainly legendary. All the materials for the
construction of the building, we are told, appeared spontaneously as by
miracle—the bricks, the metals, the precious stones. The dewos, or
demons, lent their aid in the erection. In fact

                                  the fabric huge
                      Rose like an exhalation.

Priests gathered in enormous numbers from all the great Buddhist
monasteries to do honour to the festival of the foundation. One place
alone sent not less than 96,000. Among the rest it is mentioned that
‘Maha Dhammarakkito, théro (_i.e._ senior priest) of Yóna, accompanied
by 30,000 priests from the vicinity of Alasaddá, the capital of the Yóna
country, attended[442].’ It is obvious that no weight can be attached to
a statement occurring as part of a story of which the other details are
so manifestly false. An establishment of 30,000 Buddhist priests at
Alexandria would indeed be a phenomenon of which historians have shown a
strange neglect.

Footnote 437:

  _Zeitschrift_ X. p. 103 sq.; comp. XI. p. 351. M. Renan also (_Langues
  Sémitiques_ III. iv. 1, _Vie de Jésus_ p. 98) suggests that Buddhist
  influences operated in Palestine.

Footnote 438:

  X. p. 105 ‘was schon an sich, zumal in dieser Zeit, schwerlich
  Alexandria ad Caucasum, sondern nur Alexandrien in Aegypten bedeuten
  kann.’ Comp. XI. p. 351, where he repeats the same argument in reply
  to Zeller. This is a very natural inference from a western point of
  view; but, when we place ourselves in the position of a Buddhist
  writer to whom Bactria was Greece, the relative proportions of things
  are wholly changed.

Footnote 439:

  _Die Religion des Buddha_ I. p. 193.

Footnote 440:

  Comp. e.g. Weber _Die Verbindungen Indiens mit den Ländern im Westen_
  p.675 in the _Allgem. Monatschr. f. Wissensch. u. Literatur_,
  Braunschweig 1853; Lassen _Indische Alterthumskunde_ II. p. 236; Hardy
  _Manual of Budhism_ p. 516.

Footnote 441:

  For its geographical meaning in older Indian writers see Köppen _l.c._
  Since then it has entirely departed from its original signification,
  and Yavana is now a common term used by the Hindoos to designate the
  Mohammedans. Thus the Greek name has come to be applied to a people
  which of all others is most unlike the Greeks. This change of meaning
  admirably illustrates the use of Ἑλλην among the Jews, which in like
  manner, from being the name of an alien nation, became the name of an
  alien religion, irrespective of nationality: see the note on Gal. ii.

Footnote 442:

  _Mahawanso_ p. 171, Turnour’s translation.

[Sidenote: General ignorance of Buddhism in the West.]

Nor is the presence of any Buddhist establishment even on a much smaller
scale in this important centre of western civilization at all
reconcilable with the ignorance of this religion, which the Greeks and
Romans betray at a much later date[443]. For some centuries after the
Christian era we find that the information possessed by western writers
was most shadowy and confused; and in almost every instance we are able
to trace it to some other cause than the actual presence of Buddhists in
the Roman Empire[444]. [Sidenote: Strabo.]Thus Strabo, who wrote under
Augustus and Tiberius, apparently mentions the Buddhist priests, the
sramanas, under the designation _sarmanæ_, (Σαρμάνας)[445]; but he
avowedly obtains his information from Megasthenes, who travelled in
India somewhere about the year 300 B.C. and wrote a book on Indian
affairs. [Sidenote: Bardesanes.]Thus too Bardesanes at a much later date
gives an account of these Buddhist ascetics, without however naming the
founder of the religion; but he was indebted for his knowledge of them
to conversations with certain Indian ambassadors who visited Syria on
their way westward in the reign of one of the Antonines[446]. [Sidenote:
Clement of Alexandria.] Clement of Alexandria, writing in the latest
years of the second century or the earliest of the third, for the first
time[447] mentions Buddha by name; and even he betrays a strange
ignorance of this Eastern religion[448].

Footnote 443:

  How for instance, if any such establishment had ever existed at
  Alexandria, could Strabo have used the language which is quoted in the
  next note?

Footnote 444:

  Consistently with this view, we may allow that single Indians would
  visit Alexandria from time to time for purposes of trade or for other
  reasons, and not more than this is required by the rhetorical passage
  in Dion Chrysost. Or. xxxii (p. 373) ὁρῶ γὰρ ἔγωγε οὐ μόνον Ἕλληνας
  παρ’ ὑμῖν ... ἀλλὰ καὶ Βακτρίους καὶ Σκύθας καὶ Πέρσας καὶ Ἰνδῶν
  τινάς. The qualifying τινας shows how very slight was the
  communication between India and Alexandria. The mission of Pantænus
  may have been suggested by the presence of such stray visitors. Jerome
  (_Vir. Ill._ 36) says that he went ‘rogatus ab illius gentis legatis.’
  It must remain doubtful however, whether some other region than
  Hindostan, such as Æthiopia for instance, is not meant, when Pantænus
  is said to have gone to India: see Cave’s _Lives of the Primitive
  Fathers_ p. 188 sq.

  How very slight the communication was between India and the West in
  the early years of the Christian era, appears from this passage of
  Strabo XV. 1. 4 (p. 686); καὶ οἱ νῦν δὲ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου πλέοντες ἐμπορικοὶ
  τῷ Νείλῳ καὶ τῷ Ἀραβίῳ κόλπῳ μέχρι τῆς Ἰνδικῆς σπάνιοι μὲν καὶ
  περιπεπλεύκασι μέχρι τοῦ Γάγγου, καὶ οὗτοι δ’ ἰδιῶται καὶ οὐδὲν πρὸς
  ἱστορίαν τῶν τόπων χρῆσιμοι, after which he goes on to say that the
  only instance of Indian travellers in the West was the embassy sent to
  Augustus (see below p. 155), which came ἀφ’ ἑνὸς τόπου καὶ παρ’ ἑνὸς

  The communications between India and the West are investigated by two
  recent writers, Reinaud _Relations Politiques et Commerciales de
  l’Empire Romain avec l’Asie Centrale_, Paris 1863, and Priaulx _The
  Indian Travels of Apollonius of Tyana and the Indian Embassies to
  Rome_, 1873. The latter work, which is very thorough and satisfactory,
  would have saved me much labour of independent investigation, if I had
  seen it in time.

Footnote 445:

  Strabo XV. 1. 59, p. 712. In the MSS it is written Γαρμάνας, but this
  must be an error either introduced by Strabo’s transcribers or found
  in the copy of Megasthenes which this author used. This is plain not
  only from the Indian word itself, but also from the parallel passage
  in Clement of Alexandria (_Strom._ i. 15). From the coincidences of
  language it is clear that Clement also derived his information from
  Megasthenes, whose name he mentions just below. The fragments of
  Megasthenes relating to the Indian philosophers will be found in
  Müller _Fragm. Hist. Græc._ II. p. 437. They were previously edited by
  Schwanbeck, _Megasthenis Indica_ (Bonnæ 1846).

  For Σαρμᾶναι we also find the form Σαμαναῖοι in other writers; e.g.
  Clem. Alex. l.c., Bardesanes in Porphyr. _de Abstin._ iv. 17, Orig.
  _c. Cels._ i. 19 (I. p. 342). This divergence is explained by the fact
  that the Pali word _sammana_ corresponds to the Sanskrit _sramana_.
  See Schwanbeck, l.c. p. 17, quoted by Müller p. 437.

  It should be borne in mind however, that several eminent Indian
  scholars believe Megasthenes to have meant not Buddhists but Brahmins
  by his Σαρμάνας. So for instance Lassen _Rhein. Mus._ 1833, p. 180
  sq., _Ind. Alterth._ II. p. 700: and Prof. Max Müller (Pref. to
  Rogers’s _Translation of Buddhaghosha’s Parables_, London 1870, p.
  lii) says; ‘That Lassen is right in taking the Σαρμᾶναι, mentioned by
  Megasthenes, for Brahmanic, not for Buddhist ascetics, might be proved
  also by their dress. Dresses made of the bark of trees are not
  Buddhistic.’ If this opinion be correct, the earlier notices of
  Buddhism in Greek writers entirely disappear, and my position is
  strengthened. But for the following reasons the other view appears to
  me more probable: (1) The term _sramana_ is the common term for the
  Buddhist ascetic, whereas it is very seldom used of the Brahmin.

  (2) The Ζάρμανος (another form of _sramana_), mentioned below p. 156,
  note 450, appears to have been a Buddhist. This view is taken even by
  Lassen, _Ind. Alterth._ III. p. 60.

  (3) The distinction of Βραχμᾶνες and Σαρμᾶναι in Megasthenes or the
  writers following him corresponds to the distinction of Βραχμᾶνες and
  Σαμαναῖοι in Bardesanes, Origen, and others; and, as Schwanbeck has
  shown (l.c.), the account of the Σαρμᾶναι in Megasthenes for the most
  part is a close parallel to the account of the Σαμαναῖοι in Bardesanes
  (or at least in Porphyry’s report of Bardesanes). It seems more
  probable therefore that Megasthenes has been guilty of confusion in
  describing the dress of the Σαρμᾶναι, than that Brahmins are intended
  by the term.

  The Pali form, Σαμαναῖοι, as a designation of the Buddhists, first
  occurs in Clement of Alexandria or Bardesanes, whichever may be the
  earlier writer. It is generally ascribed to Alexander Polyhistor, who
  flourished B.C. 80–60, because his authority is quoted by Cyril of
  Alexandria (c. _Julian_. iv. p. 133) in the same context in which the
  Σαμαναῖοι are mentioned. This inference is drawn by Schwanbeck, Max
  Müller, Lassen, and others. An examination of Cyril’s language however
  shows that the statement for which he quotes the authority of
  Alexander Polyhistor does not extend to the mention of the Samanæi.
  Indeed all the facts given in this passage of Cyril (including the
  reference to Polyhistor) are taken from Clement of Alexandria
  (_Strom._ i. 15; see the next note), whose account Cyril has abridged.
  It is possible indeed that Clement himself derived the statement from
  Polyhistor, but nothing in Clement’s own language points to this.

Footnote 446:

  The narrative of Bardesanes is given by Porphyry _de Abst._ iv. 17.
  The Buddhist ascetics are there called Σαμαναῖοι (see the last note).
  The work of Bardesanes, recounting his conversations with these Indian
  ambassadors, is quoted again by Porphyry in a fragment preserved by
  Stobæus _Ecl._ iii. 56 (p. 141). In this last passage the embassy is
  said to have arrived ἐπὶ τῆς βασιλείας τῆς Ἀντωνίνου τοῦ ἐξ Ἐμισῶν, by
  which, if the words be correct, must be meant Elagabalus (A.D.
  218–222), the spurious Antonine (see Hilgenfeld _Bardesanes_ p. 12
  sq.). Other ancient authorities however place Bardesanes in the reign
  of one of the older Antonines; and, as the context is somewhat
  corrupt, we cannot feel quite certain about the date. Bardesanes gives
  by far the most accurate account of the Buddhists to be found in any
  ancient Greek writer; but even here the monstrous stories, which the
  Indian ambassadors related to him, show how little trustworthy such
  sources of information were.

Footnote 447:

  Except possibly Arrian, _Ind._ viii. 1, who mentions an ancient Indian
  king, Budyas (Βουδύας) by name; but what he relates of him is quite
  inconsistent with the history of Buddha, and probably some one else is

Footnote 448:

  In this passage (_Strom._ i. 15, p. 359) Clement apparently mentions
  these same persons three times, supposing that he is describing three
  different schools of Oriental philosophers. (1) He speaks of Σαμαναῖοι
  Βάκτρων (comp. Cyrill. Alex. l.c.); (2) He distinguishes two classes
  of Indian gymnosophists, whom he calls Σαρμᾶναι and Βραχμᾶναι. These
  are Buddhists and Brahmins respectively (see p. 153, note 445); (3) He
  says afterwards εἰσὶ δὲ τῶν Ἰνδῶν οἱ τοῖς Βοῦττα πειθόμενοι
  παραγγέλμασιν, ὃν δι’ ὑπερβολὴν σεμνότητος εἰς [ὡς?] θεὸν τετιμήκασι.
  Schwanbeck indeed maintains that Clement here intends to describe the
  same persons whom he has just mentioned as Σαρμᾶναι; but this is not
  the natural interpretation of his language, which must mean ‘There are
  also among the Indians those who obey the precepts of Buddha.’
  Probably Schwanbeck is right in identifying the Σαρμᾶναι with the
  Buddhist ascetics, but Clement appears not to have known this. In fact
  he has obtained his information from different sources, and so
  repeated himself without being aware of it. Where he got the first
  fact it is impossible to say. The second, as we saw, was derived from
  Megasthenes. The third, relating to Buddha, came, as we may
  conjecture, either from Pantænus (if indeed Hindostan is really meant
  by the India of his missionary labours) or from some chance Indian
  visitor at Alexandria.

  In another passage (_Strom._ iii. 7, p. 539) Clement speaks of certain
  Indian celibates and ascetics, who are called Σεμνοί. As he
  distinguishes them from the gymnosophists, and mentions the pyramid as
  a sacred building with them, the identification with the Buddhists can
  hardly be doubted. Here therefore Σεμνοί is a Grecized form of
  Σαμαναῖοι; and this modification of the word would occur naturally to
  Clement, because σεμνοί, σεμνεῖον, were already used of the ascetic
  life: e.g. Philo _de Vit. Cont._ 3 (p. 475 M) ἱερὸν ὃ καλεῖται
  σεμνεῖον καὶ μοναστήριον ἐν ᾧ μονοῦμενοι τὰ τοῦ σεμνοῦ βίου μυστήρια

[Sidenote: Hippolytus.]

Still later than this, Hippolytus, while he gives a fairly intelligent,
though brief, account of the Brahmins[449], says not a word about the
Buddhists, though, if he had been acquainted with their teaching, he
would assuredly have seen in them a fresh support to his theory of the
affinity between Christian heresies and pre-existing heathen
philosophies. [Sidenote: A Buddhist at Athens.]With one doubtful
exception—an Indian fanatic attached to an embassy sent by king Porus to
Augustus, who astonished the Greeks and Romans by burning himself alive
at Athens[450]–there is apparently no notice in either heathen or
Christian writers, which points to the presence of a Buddhist within the
limits of the Roman Empire, till long after the Essenes had ceased to

Footnote 449:

  _Hær._ i. 24.

Footnote 450:

  The chief authority is Nicolaus of Damascus in Strabo xv. i. 73 (p.
  270). The incident is mentioned also in Dion Cass. liv. 9. Nicolaus
  had met these ambassadors at Antioch, and gives an interesting account
  of the motley company and their strange presents. This fanatic, who
  was one of the number, immolated himself in the presence of an
  astonished crowd, and perhaps of the emperor himself, at Athens. He
  anointed himself and then leapt smiling on the pyre. The inscription
  on his tomb was Ζαρμανοχηγὰς Ἰνδὸς ἀπὸ Βαργόσης κατὰ τὰ πάτρια Ἰνδῶν
  ἔθη ἑαυτὸν ἀπαθανατίσας κεῖται. The tomb was visible at least as late
  as the age of Plutarch, who recording the self-immolation of Calanus
  before Alexander (_Vit. Alex._ 69) says, τοῦτο πολλοῖς ἔτεσιν ὕστερον
  ἄλλος Ἰνδὸς ἐν Ἀθήναις Καίσαρί συνὼν ἐποίησε, καὶ δείκνυται μέχρι νῦν
  τὸ μνημεῖον Ἰνδοῦ προσαγορευόμενον. Strabo also places the two
  incidents in conjunction in another passage in which he refers to this
  person, xv. 1. 4 (p. 686) ὁ κατακαύσας ἑαυτὸν Ἀθήνησι σοφιστὴς Ἰνδός,
  καθάπερ καὶ ὁ Κάλανος κ.τ.λ.

  The reasons for supposing this person to have been a Buddhist, rather
  than a Brahmin, are: (1) The name Ζαρμανοχηγὰς (which appears with
  some variations in the MSS of Strabo), being apparently the Indian
  _sramanakarja_, i.e. ‘teacher of the ascetics,’ in other words, a
  Buddhist priest; (2) The place Bargosa, i.e. Barygaza, where Buddhism
  flourished in that age. See Priaulx p. 78 sq. In Dion Cassius it is
  written Ζάρμαρος.

  And have we not here an explanation of 1 Cor. xiii. 3, if ἵνα
  καυθήσωμαι be the right reading? The passage, being written before the
  fires of the Neronian persecution, requires explanation. Now it is
  clear from Plutarch that the ‘Tomb of the Indian’ was one of the
  sights shown to strangers at Athens: and the Apostle, who observed the
  altar ==αγνωϲτωι θεωι==, was not likely to overlook the sepulchre
  with the strange inscription ==εαυτον απαθανατιϲαϲ κειται==. Indeed
  the incident would probably be pressed on his notice in his
  discussions with Stoics and Epicureans, and he would be forced to
  declare himself as to the value of these Indian self-immolations, when
  he preached the doctrine of self-sacrifice. We may well imagine
  therefore that the fate of this poor Buddhist fanatic was present to
  his mind when he penned the words καὶ ἐὰν παραδῶ τὸ σῶμά μου ...
  ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, οὐδὲν ὠφελοῦμαι. Indeed it would furnish an almost
  equally good illustration of the text, whether we read ἵν καυθήσωμαι
  or ἵνα καυχήσωμαι. Dion Cassius (l.c.) suggests that the deed was done
  ὑπὸ φιλοτιμίας or εἰς ἐπίδειζιν. How much attention these religious
  suicides of the Indians attracted in the Apostolic age (doubtless
  because the act of this Buddhist priest had brought the subject
  vividly before men’s minds in the West), we may infer from the speech
  which Josephus puts in the mouth of Eleazar (_B.J._ vii. 8. 7),
  βλέψωμεν εἰς Ἰνδοὺς τοὺς σοφίαν ἀσκέιν ὑπισχνουμένους ... οἱ δὲ ...
  _πυρὶ τὸ σῶμα παραδόντες_, ὅπως δὴ καὶ _καθαρωτάτην_
  ἀποκρίνωσι τοῦ σώματος τὴν ψυχήν, ὑμνούμενοι τελευτῶσι ... ἆρ’ οὖν οὐκ
  αἰδούμεθα χεῖρον Ἰνδῶν φρονοῦντες;

Footnote 451:

  In the reign of Claudius an embassy arrived from Taprobane (Ceylon);
  and from these ambassadors Pliny derived his information regarding the
  island, _N.H._ vi. 24. Respecting their religion however he says only
  two words ‘coli Herculem,’ by whom probably Rama is meant (Priaulx p.
  116). From this and other statements it appears that they were Tamils
  and not Singalese, and thus belonged to the non-Buddhist part of the
  island; see Priaulx p. 91 sq.

[Sidenote: The alleged coincidences prove nothing.]

And, if so, the coincidences must be very precise, before we are
justified in attributing any peculiarities of Essenism to Buddhist
influences. This however is far from being the case. They both exhibit a
well-organized monastic society: but the monasticism of the Buddhist
priests, with its systematized mendicancy, has little [Sidenote:
Monasticism.] in common with the monasticism of the Essene recluse,
whose life was largely spent in manual labour. [Sidenote:
Asceticism.]They both enjoin celibacy, both prohibit the use of flesh
and of wine, both abstain from the slaughter of animals. But, as we have
already seen, such resemblances prove nothing, for they may be explained
by the independent development of the same religious principles. One
coincidence, and one only, is noticed by Hilgenfeld, which at first
sight seems more striking and might suggest a historical connexion.
[Sidenote: Four orders and four steps.]He observes that the four orders
of the Essene community are derived from the four steps of Buddhism.
Against this it might fairly be argued that such coincidences of numbers
are often purely accidental, and that in the present instance there is
no more reason for connecting the four steps of Buddhism with the four
orders of Essenism than there would be for connecting the ten precepts
of Buddha with the Ten Commandments of Moses. But indeed a nearer
examination will show that the two have nothing whatever in common
except the number. The four steps or paths of Buddhism are not four
grades of an external order, but four degrees of spiritual progress on
the way to nirvana or annihilation, the ultimate goal of the Buddhist’s
religious aspirations. They are wholly unconnected with the Buddhist
monastic system, as an organization. A reference to the Buddhist notices
collected in Hardy’s _Eastern Monachism_ (p. 280 sq.) will at once
dispel any suspicion of a resemblance. A man may attain to the highest
of these four stages of Buddhist illumination instantaneously. He does
not need to have passed through the lower grades, but may even be a
layman at the time. Some merit obtained in a previous state of existence
may raise him _per saltum_ to the elevation of a rahat, when all earthly
desires are crushed and no future birth stands between him and nirvana.
[Sidenote: Buddhist influences seen first in Manicheism.]There remains
therefore no coincidence which would suggest any historical connexion
between Essenism and Buddhism. Indeed it is not till some centuries
later, when Manicheism starts into being, that we find for the first
time any traces of the influence of Buddhism on the religions of the

Footnote 452:

  Even its influence on Manicheism however is disputed in a learned
  article in the _Home and Foreign Review_ III. p. 143 sq. (1863), by Mr
  P. Le Page Renouf (see _Academy_ 1873, p. 399).


                       ESSENISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

[Sidenote: The theory which explains Christianity as an outgrowth of

It has become a common practice with a certain class of writers to
call Essenism to their aid in accounting for any distinctive features
of Christianity, which they are unable to explain in any other way.
Wherever some external power is needed to solve a perplexity, here is
the _deus ex machina_ whose aid they most readily invoke. Constant
repetition is sure to produce its effect, and probably not a few
persons, who want either the leisure or the opportunity to investigate
the subject for themselves, have a lurking suspicion that the Founder
of Christianity may have been an Essene, or at all events that
Christianity was largely indebted to Essenism for its doctrinal and
ethical teaching[453]. Indeed, when very confident and sweeping
assertions are made, it is natural to presume that they rest on a
substantial basis of fact. Thus for instance we are told by one writer
that Christianity is ‘Essenism alloyed with foreign elements’[454]:
while another, who however approaches the subject in a different
spirit, says; ‘It will hardly be doubted that our Saviour Himself
belonged to this holy brotherhood. This will especially be apparent,
when we remember that _the whole Jewish community_ at the advent of
Christ was divided into three parties, the Pharisees, the Sadducees,
and the Essenes, and that _every Jew had to belong to one of these
sects_. Jesus who in all things conformed to the Jewish law, and who
was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would
therefore naturally associate Himself with that order of Judaism which
was most congenial to his nature’.[455][Sidenote: tested by facts.]I
purpose testing these strong assertions by an appeal to facts.

Footnote 453:

  De Quincey’s attempt to prove that the Essenes were actually
  Christians (_Works_ VI p. 270 sq., IX p. 253 sq.), who used the
  machinery of an esoteric society to inculcate their doctrines ‘for
  fear of the Jews,’ is conceived in a wholly different spirit from the
  theories of the writers mentioned in the text; but it is even more
  untenable and does not deserve serious refutation.

Footnote 454:

  Grätz III p. 217.

Footnote 455:

  Ginsburg _Essenes_ p. 24.

[Sidenote: Our Lord need not have belonged to any sect.]

For the statements involved in those words of the last extract which I
have underlined, no authority is given by the writer himself; nor have I
been able to find confirmation of them in any quarter. On the contrary
the frequent allusions which we find to the vulgar herd, the ιδιῶται,
the _عam haarets_, who are distinguished from the disciples of the
schools[456], suggest that a large proportion of the people was
unattached to any sect. If it had been otherwise, we might reasonably
presume that our Lord, as one who ‘in all things conformed to the Jewish
law,’ would have preferred attaching Himself to the Pharisees who ‘sat
in Moses’ seat’ and whose precepts He recommended His disciples to
obey[457], rather than to the Essenes who in one important respect at
least—the repudiation of the temple sacrifices—acted in flagrant
violation of the Mosaic ordinances.

Footnote 456:

  See above, p. 130.

Footnote 457:

  Matt. xxiii. 2, 3.

[Sidenote: The argument from the silence of the New Testament answered.]

This preliminary barrier being removed, we are free to investigate the
evidence for their presumed connexion. And here we are met first with a
negative argument, which obviously has great weight with many persons.
Why, it is asked, does Jesus, who so unsparingly denounces the vices and
the falsehoods of Pharisees and Sadducees, never once mention the
Essenes by way of condemnation, or indeed mention them by name at all?
Why, except that He himself belonged to this sect and looked favourably
on their teaching? This question is best answered by another. How can we
explain the fact, that throughout the enormous mass of talmudical and
early rabbinical literature this sect is not once mentioned by name, and
that even the supposed allusions to them, which have been discovered for
the first time in the present century, turn out on investigation to be
hypothetical and illusory? The difficulty is much greater in this latter
instance; but the answer is the same in both cases. The silence is
explained by the comparative insignificance of the sect, their small
numbers and their retired habits. Their settlements were far removed
from the great centres of political and religious life. Their recluse
habits, as a rule, prevented them from interfering in the common
business of the world. Philo and Josephus have given prominence to them,
because their ascetic practices invested them with the character of
philosophers and interested the Greeks and Romans in their history; but
in the national life of the Jews they bore a very insignificant
part[458]. If the Sadducees, who held the highest offices in the
hierarchy, are only mentioned directly on three occasions in the
Gospels[459], it can be no surprise that the Essenes are not named at

Footnote 458:

  This fact is fully recognised by several recent writers, who will not
  be suspected of any undue bias towards traditional views of Christian
  history. Thus Lipsius writes (p. 190), ‘In the general development of
  Jewish life Essenism occupies a far more subordinate place than is
  commonly ascribed to it.’ And Keim expresses himself to the same
  effect (I. p. 305). Derenbourg also, after using similar language,
  adds this wise caution, ‘In any case, in the present state of our
  acquaintance with the Essenes, which is so imperfect and has no chance
  of being extended, the greatest prudence is required of science, if
  she prefers to be true rather than adventurous, if she has at heart
  rather to enlighten than to surprise’ (p. 461). Even Grätz in one
  passage can write soberly on this subject: ‘The Essenes had throughout
  no influence on political movements, from which they held aloof as far
  as possible’ (III. p. 86).

Footnote 459:

  These are (1) Matt. iii. 7; (2) Matt. xvi. 1 sq.; (3) Matt. xxii. 23
  sq., Mark xii. 18, Luke xx. 27.

[Sidenote: The positive arguments for a connexion may be twofold.]

As no stress therefore can be laid on the argument for silence, any
hypothesis of connexion between Essenism and Christianity must make good
its claims by establishing one or both of these two points: _first_,
that there is direct historical evidence of close intercourse between
the two; and _secondly_, that the resemblances of doctrine and practice
are so striking as to oblige, or at least to warrant, the belief in such
a connexion. If both these lines of argument fail, the case must be
considered to have broken down.

[Sidenote: 1. Absence of direct historical evidence of a connexion.]

1. On the former point it must be premised that the Gospel narrative
does not suggest any hint of a connexion. Indeed its general tenor is
directly adverse to such a supposition. From first to last Jesus and his
disciples move about freely, taking part in the common business, even in
the common recreations, of Jewish life. The recluse ascetic brotherhood,
which was gathered about the shores of the Dead Sea, does not once
appear above the Evangelists’ horizon. Of this close society, as such,
there is not the faintest indication. [Sidenote: Two individual cases
alleged.] But two individuals have been singled out, as holding an
important place either in the Evangelical narrative or in the Apostolic
Church, who, it is contended, form direct and personal links of
communication with this sect. These are John the Baptist and James the
Lord’s brother. The one is the forerunner of the Gospel, the first
herald of the Kingdom; the other is the most prominent figure in the
early Church of Jerusalem.

[Sidenote: (i) John the Baptist]

(i) John the Baptist was an ascetic. His abode was the desert; his
clothing was rough; his food was spare; he baptized his penitents.
Therefore, it is argued, he was an Essene. Between the premisses and the
conclusion however there is a broad gulf, which cannot very easily be
bridged over. [Sidenote: not an Essene.]The solitary independent life,
which John led, presents a type wholly different from the cenobitic
establishments of the Essenes, who had common property, common meals,
common hours of labour and of prayer. It may even be questioned whether
his food of locusts would have been permitted by the Essenes, if they
really ate nothing which had life (ἔμψυχον[460]). And again; his baptism
as narrated by the Evangelists, and their lustrations as described in
Josephus, have nothing in common except the use of water for a religious
purpose. When therefore we are told confidently that ‘his manner of life
was altogether after the Essene pattern[461],’ and that ‘he without
doubt baptized his converts into the Essene order,’ we know what value
to attach to this bold assertion. If positive statements are allowable,
it would be more true to fact to say that he could not possibly have
been an Essene. The rule of his life was _isolation_; the principle of
theirs, _community_[462].

Footnote 460:

  See above p. 86.

Footnote 461:

  Grätz III. p. 220.

Footnote 462:

  τὸ κοινωνητικόν, Joseph. _B.J._ ii. 8. 3. See also Philo _Fragm._ 632
  ὑπὲρ τοῦ κοινωφελοῦς, and the context.

[Sidenote: External resemblances to John in Banus,]

In this mode of life John was not singular. It would appear that not a
few devout Jews at this time retired from the world and buried
themselves in the wilderness, that they might devote themselves
unmolested to ascetic discipline and religious meditation. One such
instance at all events we have in Banus the master of Josephus, with
whom the Jewish historian, when a youth, spent three years in the
desert. This anchorite was clothed in garments made of bark or of
leaves; his food was the natural produce of the earth; he bathed day and
night in cold water for purposes of purification. To the careless
observer doubtless John and Banus would appear to be men of the same
stamp. In their outward mode of life there was perhaps not very much
difference[463]. The consciousness of a divine mission, the gift of a
prophetic insight, in John was the real and all-important distinction
between the two. [Sidenote: who was not an Essene.]But here also the
same mistake is made; and we not uncommonly find Banus described as an
Essene. It is not too much to say however, that the whole tenor of
Josephus’ narrative is opposed to this supposition[464]. He says that
when sixteen years old he desired to acquire a knowledge of the three
sects of the Jews before making his choice of one; that accordingly he
went through (διῆλθον) all the three at the cost of much rough
discipline and toil; that he was not satisfied with the experience thus
gained, and hearing of this Banus he attached himself to him as his
zealous disciple (ζηλωτὴς ἐγενόμην αὐτοῦ); that having remained three
years with him he returned to Jerusalem; and that then, being nineteen
years old, he gave in his adhesion to the sect of the Pharisees. Thus
there is no more reason for connecting this Banus with the Essenes than
with the Pharisees. The only natural interpretation of the narrative is
that he did not belong to any of the three sects, but represented a
distinct type of religious life, of which Josephus was anxious to gain
experience. And his hermit life seems to demand this solution, which the
sequence of the narrative suggests.

Footnote 463:

  Ewald (VI. p. 649) regards this Banus as representing an extravagant
  development of the school of John, and thus supplying a link between
  the real teaching of the Baptist and the doctrine of the
  Hemerobaptists professing to be derived from him.

Footnote 464:

  The passage is so important that I give it in full; Joseph. _Vit._ 2
  περὶ ἑκκαίδεκα δὲ ἔτη γενόμενος ἐβουλήθην τῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν αἱρέσεων
  ἐμπειρίαν λαβεῖν. τρεῖς δ’ εἰσὶν αὗται· Φαρισαίων μὲν ἡ πρώτη, καὶ
  Σαδδουκαίων ἡ δευτέρα, τρίτη δὲ ἡ Ἐσσηνῶν, καθὼς πολλάκις εἴπαμεν.
  οὕτως γὰρ ᾠόμην αἱρήσεσθαι τὴν ἀρίστην, εἰ πάσας καταμάθοιμι.
  σκληραγωγήσας γοῦν ἐμαυτὸν καὶ πολλὰ πονηθεὶς τὰς τρεῖς διῆλθον. καὶ
  μηδὲ τὴν ἐντεῦθεν ἐμπειρίαν ἱκανὴν ἐμαυτῷ νομίσας εἶναι, πυθόμενός
  τινα Βανοῦν ὄνομα κατὰ τὴν ἐρημίαν διατρίβειν, ἐσθῆτι μὲν ἀπὸ δένδρων
  χρώμενον, τροφὴν δὲ τὴν αὐτομάτως φυομένην προσφερόμενον, ψυχρῷ δὲ
  ὕδατι τὴν ἡμέραν καὶ τὴν νύκτα πολλάκις λουόμενον πρὸς ἁγνείαν,
  ζηλωτὴς ἐγενόμην αὐτοῦ. καὶ διατρίψας παρ’ αὐτῷ ἐνιαυτοὺς τρεῖς καὶ
  τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν τελειώσας εἰς τὴν πόλιν ὑπέστρεφον. ἐννεακαίδεκα δ’ ἔτη
  ἔχων ἠρξάμην τε πολιτεύεσθαι τῇ Φαρισαίων αἱρέσει κατακολουθῶν κ.τ.λ.

[Sidenote: General result.]

Of John himself therefore no traits are handed down which suggest that
he was a member of the Essene community. He was an ascetic, and the
Essenes were ascetics; but this is plainly an inadequate basis for any
such inference. Nor indeed is the relation of his asceticism to theirs a
question of much moment for the matter in hand; since this was the very
point in which Christ’s mode of life was so essentially different from
John’s as to provoke criticism and to point a contrast[465]. But the
later history of his real or supposed disciples has, or may seem to
have, some bearing on this investigation. [Sidenote: The
Hemerobaptists.]Towards the close of the first and the beginning of the
second century we meet with a body of sectarians called in Greek
_Hemerobaptists_[466], in Hebrew _Toble-shacharith_[467], ‘day’ or
‘morning bathers.’ What were their relations to John the Baptist on the
one hand, and to the Essenes on the other? Owing to the scantiness of
our information the whole subject is wrapped in obscurity, and any
restoration of their history must be more or less hypothetical; but it
will be possible at all events to suggest an account which is not
improbable in itself, and which does no violence to the extant notices
of the sect.

Footnote 465:

  Matt. ix. 14 sq., xi. 17 sq., Mark ii. 18 sq., Luke v. 33, vii. 31 sq.

Footnote 466:

  The word ἡμεροβαπτισταὶ is generally taken to mean ‘daily-bathers,’
  and this meaning is suggested by Apost. Const. vi. 6 οἵτινες, καθ’
  (εκάστην ἡμέραν ἐὰν μὴ βαπτίσωνται, οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, _ib._ 23 ἀντὶ
  καθημερινοῦ ἓν μόνον δοῦς βάπτισμα, Epiphan. _Hær._ xvii. 1 (p. 37) εἰ
  μή τι ἄπα καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν βαπτίζοιτό τις ἐν ὕδατι. But, if the
  word is intended as a translation of _Toble-shacharith_ ‘morning
  bathers,’ as it seems to be, it must signify rather ‘day-bathers’; and
  this is more in accordance with the analogy of other compounds from
  ἡμέρα, as ἡμερόβιος, ἡμεροδρόμος, ἡμεροσκόπος, etc.

  Josephus (_B.J._ ii. 8. 5) represents the Essenes as bathing, not at
  dawn, but at the fifth hour, just before their meal. This is hardly
  consistent either with the name of the _Toble-shacharith_, or with the
  Talmudical anecdote of them quoted above p. 132. Of Banus he reports
  (_Vit._ 2) that he ‘bathed often day and night in cold water.’

Footnote 467:

  See above p. 132.

[Sidenote: (_a_) Their relation to John the Baptist.]

(_a_) We must not hastily conclude, when we meet with certain persons at
Ephesus about the years A.D. 53, 54, who are described as ‘knowing only
the baptism of John,’ or as having been ‘baptized unto John’s
baptism[468],’ that we have here some early representatives of the
Hemerobaptist sect. [Sidenote: John’s disciples at Ephesus.]These were
Christians, though imperfectly informed Christians. Of Apollos, who was
more fully instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, this is stated in the
most explicit terms[469]. Of the rest, who owed their fuller knowledge
of the Gospel to St Paul, the same appears to be implied, though the
language is not free from ambiguity[470]. But these notices have an
important bearing on our subject; for they show how profoundly the
effect of John’s preaching was felt in districts as remote as
proconsular Asia, even after a lapse of a quarter of a century. With
these disciples it was the initial impulse towards Christianity; but to
others it represented a widely different form of belief and practice.
[Sidenote: Professed followers at a later date.]The Gospel of St John
was written, according to all tradition, at Ephesus in the later years
of the first century. Again and again the Evangelist impresses on his
readers, either directly by his own comments or indirectly by the course
of the narrative, the transient and subordinate character of John’s
ministry. He was not the light, says the Evangelist, but came to bear
witness of the light[471]. He was not the sun in the heavens: he was
only the waning lamp, which shines when kindled from without and burns
itself away in shining. His light might well gladden the Jews while it
lasted, but this was only ‘for a season[472].’ John himself lost no
opportunity of bearing his testimony to the loftier claims of
Jesus[473]. From such notices it is plain that in the interval between
the preaching of St Paul and the Gospel of St John the memory of the
Baptist at Ephesus had assumed a new attitude towards Christianity. His
name is no longer the sign of imperfect appreciation, but the watchword
of direct antagonism. John had been set up as a rival Messiah to Jesus.
In other words, this Gospel indicates the spread of Hemerobaptist
principles, if not the presence of a Hemerobaptist community, in
proconsular Asia, when it was written. In two respects these
Hemerobaptists distorted the facts of history. [Sidenote: The facts of
history distorted by them.]They perverted John’s teaching, and they
misrepresented his office. His baptism was no more a single rite, once
performed and initiating an amendment of life; it was a daily recurrence
atoning for sin and sanctifying the person[474]. He himself was no
longer the forerunner of the Messiah; he was the very Messiah[475].
[Sidenote: Spread of Hemerobaptist principles.]In the latter half of the
first century, it would seem, there was a great movement among large
numbers of the Jews in favour of frequent baptism, as the one
purificatory rite essential to salvation. Of this superstition we have
had an instance already in the anchorite Banus to whom Josephus attached
himself as a disciple. Its presence in the western districts of Asia
Minor is shown by a Sibylline poem, dating about A.D. 80, which I have
already had occasion to quote[476]. Some years earlier these sectarians
are mentioned by name as opposing James the Lord’s brother and the
Twelve at Jerusalem[477]. Nor is there any reason for questioning their
existence as a sect in Palestine during the later years of the Apostolic
age, though the source from which our information comes is legendary,
and the story itself a fabrication. But when or how they first connected
themselves with the name of John the Baptist, and whether this
assumption was made by all alike or only by one section of them, we do
not know. Such a connexion, however false to history, was obvious and
natural; nor would it be difficult to accumulate parallels to this false
appropriation of an honoured name. Baptism was the fundamental article
of their creed; and John was the Baptist of world-wide fame. [Sidenote:
A wrong use made of John’s name.]Nothing more than this was needed for
the choice of an eponym. From St John’s Gospel it seems clear that this
appropriation was already contemplated, if not completed, at Ephesus
before the first century had drawn to a close. In the second century the
assumption is recognised as a characteristic of these Hemerobaptists, or
Baptists, as they are once called[478], alike by those who allow and
those who deny its justice[479]. Even in our age the name of ‘John’s
disciples’ has been given, though wrongly given, to an obscure sect in
Babylonia, the Mandeans, whose doctrine and practice have some
affinities to the older sect, and of whom perhaps they are the
collateral, if not the direct, descendants[480].

Footnote 468:

  The former expression is used of Apollos, Acts xviii. 24; the latter
  of ‘certain disciples,’ Acts xix. 1.

Footnote 469:

  This appears from the whole narrative, but is distinctly stated in
  ver. 25, as correctly read, ἐδίδασκεν ἀκριβῶς τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, not
  τοῦ κυρίου as in the received text.

Footnote 470:

  The πιστεῦσαντες in xix. 1 is slightly ambiguous, and some expressions
  in the passage might suggest the opposite: but μαθητὰς seems decisive,
  for the word would not be used absolutely except of Christian
  disciples; comp. vi. 1, 2, 7, ix. 10, 19, 26, 38, and frequently.

Footnote 471:

  John i. 8.

Footnote 472:

  John v. 35 ἐκεῖνος ἧν ὁ λύχνος ὁ καιόμενος καὶ φαίνων κ.τ.λ. The word
  καίειν is not only ‘to burn,’ but not unfrequently also ‘to kindle, to
  set on fire,’ as e.g. Xen. _Anab._ iv. 4. 12 οἱ ἄλλοι ἀναστάντες πῦρ
  ἔκαιον, so that ὁ καιόμενος may mean either ‘which burns away’ or
  ‘which is lighted.’ With the former meaning it would denote the
  _transitoriness_, with the latter the _derivative character_, of
  John’s ministry. There seems no reason for excluding either idea here.
  Thus the whole expression would mean ‘the lamp which is kindled and
  burns away, and (only so) gives light.’ For an example of two verbs or
  participles joined together, where the second describes a result
  conditional upon the first, see 1 Pet. ii. 20 εἰ ἁμαρτάνοντες καὶ
  κολαφιζόμενοι ὑπομενεῖτε ... εἰ ἀγαθοποιοῦντες καὶ πάσχοντες
  ὑπομενεῖτε, 1 Thess. iv. 1 πῶς δεῖ περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀρέσκειν Θεῷ.

Footnote 473:

  See John i. 15–34, iii. 23–30, v. 33 sq.: comp. x. 41, 42. This aspect
  of St John’s Gospel has been brought out by Ewald _Jahrb. der Bibl.
  Wissensch._ III. p. 156 sq.; see also _Geschichte_ VII. p. 152 sq.,
  _die Johanneischen Schriften_ p. 13. There is perhaps an allusion to
  these ‘disciples of John’ in 1 Joh. v. 6 οὐκ ἐν τῷ ὕδατι μόνον, ἀλλ’
  ἐν τῷ ὕδατι καὶ ἐν τῷ ἅιματι· καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα κ.τ.λ.; comp. Acts i. 5,
  xi. 16, xix. 4.

Footnote 474:

  _Apost. Const._ vi. 6; comp. § 23. See p. 162, note 2.

Footnote 475:

  _Clem. Recogn._ i. 54 ‘ex discipulis Johannis, qui ... magistrum suum
  veluti Christum praedicarunt,’ _ib._ § 60 ‘Ecce unus ex discipulis
  Johannis adfirmabat Christum Johannem fuisse, et non Jesum; in tantum,
  inquit, ut et ipse Jesus omnibus hominibus et prophetis majorem esse
  pronuntiaverit Johannem etc.’; see also § 63.

Footnote 476:

  See above p. 96.

Footnote 477:

  _Clem. Recogn._ l.c. This portion of the Clementine Recognitions is
  apparently taken from an older Judaizing romance, the _Ascents of
  James_ (see _Galatians_ pp. 316, 349). Hegesippus also (in Euseb.
  _H.E._ iv. 22) mentions the Hemerobaptists in his list of Jewish
  sects; and it is not improbable that this list was given as an
  introduction to his account of the labours and martyrdom of St James
  (see Euseb. _H.E._ ii. 23). If so, it was probably derived from the
  same source as the notice in the Recognitions.

Footnote 478:

  They are called Baptists by Justin Mart. _Dial._ 10, p. 307 A. He
  mentions them among other Jewish sects, without however alluding to

Footnote 479:

  By the author of the _Recognitions_ (l.c.) who denies the claim; and
  by the author of the _Homilies_ (see below p. 166, note 482), who
  allows it.

Footnote 480:

  These Mandeans are a rapidly diminishing sect living in the region
  about the Tigris and the Euphrates, south of Bagdad. Our most exact
  knowledge of them is derived from Petermann (_Herzog’s
  Real-Encyklopädie_ s. vv. Mendäer, Zabier, and _Deutsche Zeitschrift_
  1854 p. 181 sq. 1856 p. 331 sq., 342 sq., 363 sq., 386 sq.) who has
  had personal intercourse with them; and from Chwolson (_die Ssabier u.
  der Ssabismus_ I. p. 100 sq.) who has investigated the Arabic
  authorities for their earlier history. The names by which they are
  known are (1) _Mendeans_, or more properly _Mandeans_, מנדייא
  _Mandāyē_, contracted from מנדא דחייא _Mandā dĕchāyē_ ‘the word of
  life.’ This is their own name among themselves, and points to their
  Gnostic pretentions. (2) _Sabeans, Tsabiyun_, possibly from the root
  צבע ‘to dip’ on account of their frequent lustrations (Chwolson I. p.
  110; but see _Galatians_ p. 312), though this is not the derivation of
  the word which they themselves adopt, and other etymologies have found
  favour with some recent writers (see Petermann _Herzog’s Real-Encykl_.
  Suppl. XVIII. p. 342 s.v. Zabier). This is the name by which they are
  known in the Koran and in Arabic writers, and by which they call
  themselves when speaking to others. (3) _Nasoreans_, נצורייא
  _Nātsōrāyē_. This term is at present confined to those among them who
  are distinguished in knowledge or in business. (4) ‘Christians of St
  John, or Disciples of St John’ (i.e. the Baptist). This name is not
  known among themselves, and was incorrectly given to them by European
  travellers and missionaries. At the same time John the Baptist has a
  very prominent place in their theological system, as the one true
  prophet. On the other hand they are not Christians in any sense.

  These Mandeans, the true Sabeans, must not be confused with the false
  Sabeans, polytheists and star-worshippers, whose locality is Northern
  Mesopotamia. Chwolson (I. p. 139 sq.) has shown that these last
  adopted the name in the 9th century to escape persecution from the
  Mohammedans, because in the Koran the Sabeans, as monotheists, are
  ranged with the Jews and Christians, and viewed in a more favourable
  light than polytheists. The name however has generally been applied in
  modern times to the false rather than to the true Sabeans.

[Sidenote: (_b_) Their relation to the Essenes.]

(_b_) Of the connexion between this sect and John the Baptist we have
been able to give a probable, though necessarily hypothetical account.
But when we attempt to determine its relation to the Essenes, we find
ourselves entangled in a hopeless mesh of perplexities. The notices are
so confused, the affinities so subtle, the ramifications so numerous,
that it becomes a desperate task to distinguish and classify these
abnormal Jewish and Judaizing heresies. [Sidenote: They were at first
distinct, if not antagonistic.] One fact however seems clear that,
whatever affinities they may have had originally, and whatever relations
they may have contracted afterwards with one another, the
Hemerobaptists, properly speaking, were not Essenes. The Sibylline poem
which may be regarded as in some respects a Hemerobaptist manifesto
contains, as we saw, many traits inconsistent with pure Essenism[481].
In two several accounts, the memoirs of Hegesippus and the Apostolic
Constitutions, the Hemerobaptists are expressly distinguished from the
Essenes[482]. In an early production of Judaic Christianity, whose
Judaism has a strong Essene tinge, the Clementine Homilies, they and
their eponym are condemned in the strongest language. The system of
syzygies, or pairs of opposites, is a favourite doctrine of this work,
and in these John stands contrasted to Jesus, as Simon Magus to Simon
Peter, as the false to the true; for according to this author’s
philosophy of history the manifestation of the false always precedes the
manifestation of the true[483]. And again, Epiphanius speaks of them as
agreeing substantially in their doctrines, not with the Essenes, but
with the Scribes and Pharisees[484]. His authority on such a point may
be worth very little; but connected with other notices, it should not be
passed over in silence. Yet, whatever may have been their differences,
the Hemerobaptists and the Essenes had one point of direct contact,
their belief in the moral efficacy of lustrations. When the temple and
polity were destroyed, the shock vibrated through the whole fabric of
Judaism, loosening and breaking up existing societies, and preparing the
way for new combinations. [Sidenote: But after the destruction of the
Temple]More especially the cessation of the sacrificial rites must have
produced a profound effect equally on those who, like the Essenes, had
condemned them already, and on those who, as possibly was the case with
the Hemerobaptists, had hitherto remained true to the orthodox ritual.
[Sidenote: there may have been a fusion.]One grave obstacle to friendly
overtures was thus removed; and a fusion, more or less complete, may
have been the consequence. At all events the relations of the Jewish
sects must have been materially affected by this great national crisis,
as indeed we know to have been the case. In the confusion which follows,
it is impossible to attain any clear view of their history. At the
beginning of the second century however this pseudo-baptist movement
received a fresh impulse from the pretended revelation of Elchesai,
which came from the farther East[485]. Henceforth Elchesai is the
prominent name in the history of those Jewish and Judaizing sects whose
proper home is east of the Jordan[486], and who appear to have
reproduced, with various modifications derived from Christian and
Heathen sources, the Gnostic theology and the pseudo-baptist ritual of
their Essene predecessors. It is still preserved in the records of the
only extant people who have any claim to be regarded as the religious
heirs of the Essenes. Elchesai is regarded as the founder of the sect of

Footnote 481:

  See p. 96 sq.

Footnote 482:

  Hegesipp. in Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 22, _Apost. Const._ vi. 6. So also the
  Pseudo-Hieronymus in the _Indiculus de Hæresibus_ (_Corp. Hæres._ I.
  p. 283, ed. Oehler).

Footnote 483:

  Clem. Hom. ii. 23 Ἰωάννης τις ἐγένετο ἡμεροβαπτιστής, ὃς καὶ τοῦ
  κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ κατὰ τὸν τῆς συζυγίας λόγον ἐγένετο πρόοδος. It is
  then stated that, as Christ had twelve leading disciples, so John had
  thirty. This, it is argued, was a providential dispensation—the one
  number represents the solar, the other the lunar period; and so they
  illustrate another point in this writer’s theory, that in the syzygies
  the true and the false are the male and female principle respectively.
  Among these 30 disciples he places Simon Magus. With this the doctrine
  of the Mandeans stands in direct opposition. They too have their
  syzygies, but John with them represents the true principle.

Footnote 484:

  _Hær._ xvii. 1 (p. 37) ἴσα τῶν γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων φρονοῦσα. But
  he adds that they resemble the Sadducees ‘not only in the matter of
  the resurrection of the dead, but also in their unbelief and in the
  other points.’

Footnote 485:

  See _Galatians_ p. 311 sq. on this Book of Elchesai.

Footnote 486:

  See above p. 137.

Footnote 487:

  See Chwolson I. p. 112 sq., II. p. 543 sq. The Arabic writer En-Nedim,
  who lived towards the close of the tenth century, says that the
  founder of the Sabeans (i.e. Mandeans) was _El-chasaich_ (الحسيح) the
  doctrine of two coordinate principles, the male and female. This
  notice, as far as it goes, agrees with the account of Elchesai or
  Elxai in Hippolytus (_Hær._ ix. 13 sq.) and Epiphanius (_Hær._ xix. 1
  sq.). But the derivation of the name Elchesai given by Epiphanius
  (_Hær._ xix. 2) δύναμις κεκαλυμμένη (חיל כסי) is different and
  probably correct (see _Galatians_ p. 312).

[Sidenote: (ii) James the Lord’s Brother]

(ii) But, if great weight has been attached to the supposed connexion of
John the Baptist with the Essenes, the case of James the Lord’s brother
has been alleged with still more confidence. Here, it is said, we have
an indisputable Essene connected by the closest family ties with the
Founder of Christianity. [Sidenote: invested with Essene
characteristics.]James is reported to have been holy from his birth; to
have drunk no wine nor strong drink; to have eaten no flesh; to have
allowed no razor to touch his head, no oil to anoint his body; to have
abstained from using the bath; and lastly to have worn no wool, but only
fine linen[488]. Here we have a description of Nazarite practices at
least and (must it not be granted) of Essene tendencies also.

But what is our authority for this description? The writer, from whom
the account is immediately taken, is the Jewish-Christian historian
Hegesippus, who flourished about A.D. 170. He cannot therefore have been
an eye-witness of the facts which he relates. [Sidenote: But the account
comes from untrustworthy sources.]And his whole narrative betrays its
legendary character. Thus his account of James’s death, which follows
immediately on this description, is highly improbable and melodramatic
in itself, and directly contradicts the contemporary notice of Josephus
in its main facts[489]. From whatever source therefore Hegesippus may
have derived his information, it is wholly untrustworthy. Nor can we
doubt that he was indebted to one of those romances with which the
Judaizing Christians of Essene tendencies loved to gratify the natural
curiosity of their disciples respecting the first founders of the
Church[490]. In like manner Essene portraits are elsewhere preserved of
the Apostles Peter[491] and Matthew[492], which represent them as living
on a spare diet of herbs and berries. I believe also that I have
elsewhere pointed out the true source of this description in Hegesippus,
and that it is taken from the ‘Ascents of James[493],’ a Judæo-Christian
work stamped, as we happen to know, with the most distinctive Essene
features[494]. But if we turn from these religious novels of Judaic
Christianity to earlier and more trustworthy sources of information—to
the Gospels or the Acts or the Epistles of St Paul—we fail to discover
the faintest traces of Essenism in James. [Sidenote: No Essene features
in the true portraits of James or of the earliest disciples.]‘The
historical James,’ says a recent writer, ‘shows Pharisaic but not Essene
sympathies[495].’ This is true of James, as it is true of the early
disciples in the mother Church of Jerusalem generally. The
temple-ritual, the daily-sacrifices, suggested no scruples to them. The
only distinction of meats, which they recognised, was the distinction of
animals clean and unclean as laid down by the Mosaic law. The only
sacrificial victims, which they abhorred, were victims offered to idols.
They took their part in the religious offices, and mixed freely in the
common life, of their fellow-Israelites, distinguished from them only in
this, that to their Hebrew inheritance they superadded the knowledge of
a higher truth and the joy of a better hope. It was altogether within
the sphere of orthodox Judaism that the Jewish element in the Christian
brotherhood found its scope. Essene peculiarities are the objects
neither of sympathy nor of antipathy. In the history of the infant
Church for the first quarter of a century Essenism is as though it were

Footnote 488:

  Hegesippus in Euseb. _H.E._ ii. 23.

Footnote 489:

  See _Galatians_ p. 348 sq.

Footnote 490:

  See _Galatians_ p. 311.

Footnote 491:

  _Clem. Hom._ xii. 6, where St Peter is made to say ἄρτῳ μόνῳ καὶ
  ἐλαίαις χρῶμαι, καὶ σπανίως λαχάνοις; comp. xv. 7 ὕδατος μόνου καὶ

Footnote 492:

  Clem. Alex. _Pædag._ ii. 1 (p. 174) σπερμάτων καὶ ἀκροδρύων καὶ
  λαχάνων ἄνευ κρεῶν μετελα.μβανεν.

Footnote 493:

  See _Galatians_ p. 349, note.

Footnote 494:

  Epiphanius (_Hær._ xxx. 16) mentions two points especially, in which
  the character of this work is shown: (1) It represented James as
  condemning the sacrifices and the fire on the altar (see above pp.
  134–136): (2) It published the most unfounded calumnies against St

Footnote 495:

  Lipsius, _Schenkel’s Bibel-Lexicon_, p. 191.

[Sidenote: Essene influences visible before the close of the Apostolic

But a time came, when all this was changed. Even as early as the year
58, when St Paul wrote to the Romans, we detect practices in the
Christian community of the metropolis, which may possibly have been due
to Essene influences[496]. Five or six years later, the heretical
teaching which threatened the integrity of the Gospel at Colossæ shows
that this type of Judaism was already strong enough within the Church to
exert a dangerous influence on its doctrinal purity. Then came the great
convulsion—the overthrow of the Jewish polity and nation. This was the
turning-point in the relations between Essenism and Christianity, at
least in Palestine. [Sidenote: Consequences of the Jewish war.]The
Essenes were extreme sufferers in the Roman war of extermination. It
seems probable that their organization was entirely broken up. Thus cast
adrift, they were free to enter into other combinations, while the shock
of the recent catastrophe would naturally turn their thoughts into new
channels. At the same time the nearer proximity of the Christians, who
had migrated to Peræa during the war, would bring them into close
contact with the new faith and subject them to its influences, as they
had never been subjected before[497]. But, whatever may be the
explanation, the fact seems certain, that after the destruction of
Jerusalem the Christian body was largely reinforced from their ranks.
The Judaizing tendencies among the Hebrew Christians, which hitherto had
been wholly Pharisaic, are henceforth largely Essene.

Footnote 496:

  Rom. xiv. 2, 21.

Footnote 497:

  See _Galatians_ p. 310 sq.

[Sidenote: 2. Do the resemblances favour the theory of a connexion?]

2. If then history fails to reveal any such external connexion with
Essenism in Christ and His Apostles as to justify the opinion that
Essene influences contributed largely to the characteristic features of
the Gospel, such a view, if tenable at all, must find its support in
some striking coincidence between the doctrines and practices of the
Essenes and those which its Founder stamped upon Christianity. This
indeed is the really important point; for without it the external
connexion, even if proved, would be valueless. The question is not
whether Christianity arose amid such and such circumstances, but how far
it was created and moulded by those circumstances.

[Sidenote: (i) Observance of the sabbath.]

(i) Now one point which especially strikes us in the Jewish historian’s
account of the Essenes, is their strict observance of certain points in
the Mosaic ceremonial law, more especially the ultra-Pharisaic rigour
with which they kept the sabbath. How far their conduct in this respect
was consistent with the teaching and practice of Christ may be seen from
the passages quoted in the parallel columns which follow:

‘Jesus went on the sabbath-day through the corn fields; and his
disciples began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat[498].... But when
the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, ‘Behold, thy disciples do that
which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath-day. But he said unto
them, Have ye not read what David did.... The sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord even of
the sabbath-day....’

‘It is lawful to do well on the sabbath-days’ (Matt. xii. 1–12; Mark ii.
23.-iii. 6; Luke vi. 1–11, xiv. 1–6. See also a similar incident in Luke
xiii. 10–17). ‘The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured; It is
the sabbath-day; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. But he
answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy
bed and walk.... Therefore the Jews did persecute Jesus and sought to
slay him, because he did these things on the sabbath-day. But Jesus
answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work, etc. (John v.
10–18; comp. vii. 22, 23).’ ‘And it was the sabbath-day when Jesus made
the clay, and opened his eyes.... Therefore said some of the Pharisees,
This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath-day (John ix.
14, 16).’

‘And they avoid ... touching any work (ἐφάπτεσθαι ἔργων) on the
sabbath-day more scrupulously than any of the Jews (διαφορώτατα Ἰουδαίων
ἁπάντων); for they do not venture so much as to move a vessel[499], nor
to perform the most necessary offices of life (_B.J._ ii. 8. 9).’

Footnote 498:

  Grätz (III. p. 233) considers this narrative an interpolation
  made from a Pauline point of view (‘eine paulinistische
  Tendenz-interpolation’). This theory of interpolation,
  interposing wherever the evidence is unfavourable, cuts up all
  argument by the roots. In this instance however Grätz is
  consistently carrying out a principle, which he broadly lays
  down elsewhere. He regards it as the great merit of Baur and his
  school, that they explained the origin of the Gospels by the
  conflict of two opposing camps, the Ebionite and the Pauline.
  ‘By this master-key,’ he adds, ‘criticism was first put in a
  position to test what is historical in the Gospels, and what
  bears the stamp of a polemical tendency (was einen tendentiösen
  polemischen Charakter hat). Indeed by this means the element of
  trustworthy history in the Gospels melts down to a minimum’
  (III. p. 224). In other words the judgment is not to be
  pronounced upon the evidence, but the evidence must be mutilated
  to suit the judgment. The method is not new. The sectarians of
  the second century, whether Judaic or anti-Judaic, had severally
  their ‘master-key.’ The master-key of Marcion was a conflict
  also—the antagonism of the Old and New Testaments. Under his
  hands the historical element in the New Testament dissolved
  rapidly. The master-key of the anti-Marcionite writer of the
  Clementine Homilies was likewise a conflict, though of another
  kind—the conflict of fire and water, of the sacrificial and the
  baptismal systems. Wherever sacrifice was mentioned with
  approval, there was a ‘Tendenz-interpolation’ (see above p.
  136). In this manner again the genuine element in the Old
  Testament melted down to a minimum.

Footnote 499:

  Grätz however (III. p. 228) sees a coincidence between Christ’s
  teaching and Essenism in this notice. Not to do him injustice, I will
  translate his own words (correcting however several misprints in the
  Greek): ‘For the connexion of Jesus with the Essenes compare moreover
  Mark xi. 16 καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἵνα τις διενέγκῃ σκεῦος διὰ τοῦ
  ἱεροῦ with Josephus _B.J._ ii. 8. 9 ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ σκεῦός τι μετακινῆσαι
  θαρροῦσιν οἵ Ἐσσαῖοἰ.’ He does not explain what this notice, which
  refers solely to the scrupulous observance of the sabbath, has to do
  with the profanation of the temple, with which the passage in the
  Gospel is alone concerned. I have seen Grätz’s history described as a
  ‘masterly’ work. The first requisites in a historian are accuracy in
  stating facts and sobriety in drawing inferences. Without these, it is
  difficult to see what claims a history can have to this honourable
  epithet: and in those portions of his work, which I have consulted, I
  have not found either.

[Sidenote: (ii) Lustrations and other ceremonial observances.]

(ii) But there were other points of ceremonial observance, in which the
Essenes superadded to the law. Of these the most remarkable was their
practice of constant lustrations. In this respect the Pharisee was
sufficiently minute and scrupulous in his observances; but with the
Essene these ablutions were the predominant feature of his religious
ritual. Here again it will be instructive to compare the practice of
Christ and His disciples with the practice of the Essenes.

‘And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled (that is
to say, unwashen) hands; for the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they
wash their hands oft (πυγμῇ), eat not...The Pharisees and scribes asked
him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the
elders.... But he answered ... Ye hypocrites, laying aside the
commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men....’

‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth the man.... Let them alone, they
be blind leaders of the blind....’

‘To eat with unwashen hands defileth not the man (Matt. xv. 1–20, Mark
vii. 1–23).’

‘So they wash their whole body (ἀπολούονται τὸ σῶμα) in cold water; and
after this purification (ἁγνείαν) ... being clean (καθαροὶ) they come to
the refectory (to dine).... And when they have returned (from their
day’s work) they sup in like manner (_B.J._ ii. 8. 5).’

‘After a year’s probation (the novice) is admitted to closer intercourse
(πρόσεισιν ἔγγιον τῇ διαίτῃ), and the lustral waters in which he
participates have a higher degree of purity (καὶ καθαρωτέρων τῶν πρὸς
ἁγνείαν ὑδάτων μεταλαμβάνει, § 7).’

‘It is a custom to wash after it, as if polluted by it (§ 9).’

‘And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed
before dinner (τοῦ ἀρίστου). And the Lord said unto him: Now do ye
Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter.... Ye fools
... behold all things are clean unto you (Luke xi. 38–41).’

‘Racked and dislocated, burnt and crushed, and subjected to every
instrument of torture ... to make them eat strange food (τι τῶν
ἀσυνήθων) ... they were not induced to submit (§ 10).’

‘Exercising themselves in ... divers lustrations (διαφόροις ἁγνείαις ...
ἐμπαιδοτριβούμενοι, § 12).’

[Sidenote: Avoidance of strangers.]

Connected with this idea of external purity is the avoidance of contact
with strangers, as persons who would communicate ceremonial defilement.
And here too the Essene went much beyond the Pharisee. The Pharisee
avoided Gentiles or aliens, or those whose profession or character
placed them in the category of ‘sinners’; but the Essene shrunk even
from the probationers and inferior grades of his own exclusive
community. Here again we may profitably compare the sayings and doings
of Christ with the principles of this sect.

‘And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with the publicans and
sinners they said unto the disciples, Why eateth your Master with the
publicans and the sinners....’ (Mark ii. 15 sq.; Matth. ix. 10 sq., Luke
v. 30 sq.)

‘They say ... a friend of publicans and sinners (Matth. xi. 19).’

‘The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth
sinners and eateth with them (Luke xv. 2).’

‘They all murmured saying that he was gone to be a guest with a man that
is a sinner (Luke xix. 7).’

‘Behold, a woman in the city that was a sinner ... began to wash his
feet with her tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head and
kissed his feet.... Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it,
he spake within himself saying, This man, if he had been a prophet,
would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him;
for she is a sinner (Luke vii. 37 sq.).’

‘And after this purification they assemble in a private room, where no
person of a different belief (τῶν ἑτεροδόξων, i.e. not an Essene) is
permitted to enter; and (so) being by themselves and clean (αὐτοὶ
καθαροὶ) they present themselves at the refectory (δειπνητήριον), as if
it were a sacred precinct (§ 5).’

‘And they are divided into four grades according to the time passed
under the discipline: and the juniors are regarded as so far inferior to
the seniors, that, if they touch them, the latter wash their bodies
clean (ἀπολούεσθαι), as if they had come in contact with a foreigner
(καθάπερ ἀλλοφύλῳ συμφυρέντας, § 10).’

In all these minute scruples relating to ceremonial observances, the
denunciations which are hurled against the Pharisees in the Gospels
would apply with tenfold force to the Essenes.

[Sidenote: (iii) Asceticism.]

(iii) If the lustrations of the Essenes far outstripped the enactments
of the Mosaic law, so also did their asceticism. I have given reasons
above for believing that this asceticism was founded on a false
principle, which postulates the malignity of matter and is wholly
inconsistent with the teaching of the Gospel[500]. But without pressing
this point, of which no absolutely demonstrative proof can be given, it
will be sufficient to call attention to the trenchant contrast in
practice which Essene habits present to the life of Christ. He who ‘came
eating and drinking’ and was denounced in consequence as ‘a glutton and
a wine-bibber’[501], [Sidenote: Eating and drinking.]He whose first
exercise of power is recorded to have been the multiplication of wine at
a festive entertainment, and whose last meal was attended with the
drinking of wine and the eating of flesh, could only have excited the
pity, if not the indignation, of these rigid abstainers. And again,
attention should be directed to another kind of abstinence, where the
contrast is all the more speaking, because the matter is so trivial and
the scruple so minute.

Footnote 500:

  See above p. 87.

Footnote 501:

  Matt. xi. 19, Luke vii. 34.

‘My head with oil thou didst not anoint (Luke vii. 46).’

‘Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head (Matt. vi. 17).’

‘And they consider oil a pollution (κηλῖδα), and though one is smeared
involuntarily, he rubs his body clean (σμήχεται τὸ σῶμα, § 3).’

And yet it has been stated that ‘the Saviour of the world ... showed
what is required for a holy life in the Sermon on the Mount by a
description of the Essenes[502].’

Footnote 502:

  Ginsburg _Essenes_ p. 14.

[Sidenote: Celibacy.]

But much stress has been laid on the celibacy of the Essenes; and our
Lord’s saying in Matt. xix. 12 is quoted to establish an identity of
doctrine. Yet there is nothing special in the language there used. Nor
is there any close affinity between the stern invectives against
marriage which Josephus and Philo attribute to the Essene, and the
gentle concession ‘He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.’
The best comment on our Lord’s meaning here is the advice of St
Paul[503], who was educated not in the Essene, but in the Pharisaic
school. Moreover this saying must be balanced by the general tenour of
the Gospel narrative. When we find Christ discussing the relations of
man and wife, gracing the marriage festival by His presence, again and
again employing wedding banquets and wedded life as apt symbols of the
highest theological truths, without a word of disparagement or rebuke,
we see plainly that we are confronted with a spirit very different from
the narrow rigour of the Essenes.

Footnote 503:

  1 Cor. vii. 26–31.

[Sidenote: (iv) Avoidance of the Temple sacrifices.]

(iv) But not only where the Essenes superadded to the ceremonial law,
does their teaching present a direct contrast to the phenomena of the
Gospel narrative. The same is true also of those points in which they
fell short of the Mosaic enactments. I have already discussed at some
length the Essene abstention from the temple sacrifices[504]. There can,
I think, be little doubt that they objected to the slaughter of
sacrificial victims altogether. But for my present purpose it matters
nothing whether they avoided the temple on account of the sacrifices, or
the sacrifices on account of the temple. Christ did neither. Certainly
He could not have regarded the temple as unholy; for his whole time
during his sojourns at Jerusalem was spent within its precincts. It was
the scene of His miracles, of His ministrations, of His daily
teaching[505]. And in like manner it is the common rendezvous of His
disciples after Him[506]. Nor again does He evince any abhorrence of the
sacrifices. On the contrary He says that the altar consecrates the
gifts[507]; He charges the cleansed lepers to go and fulfil the Mosaic
ordinance and offer the sacrificial offerings to the priests[508].
[Sidenote: Practice of Christ and His disciples.]And His practice also
is conformable to His teaching. He comes to Jerusalem regularly to
attend the great festivals, where sacrifices formed the most striking
part of the ceremonial, and He himself enjoins preparation to be made
for the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb. If He repeats the inspired
warning of the older prophets, that mercy is better than sacrifice[509],
this very qualification shows approval of the practice in itself. Nor is
His silence less eloquent than His utterances or His actions. Throughout
the Gospels there is not one word which can be construed as condemning
the sacrificial system or as implying a desire for its cessation until
everything is fulfilled.

Footnote 504:

  See p. 134 sq.

Footnote 505:

  Matt. xxi. 12 sq., 23 sq., xxiv. 1 sq., xxvi. 55, Mark xi. 11, 15 sq.,
  27, xii. 35, xiii. 1 sq., xiv. 49, Luke ii. 46, xix. 45, xx. 1 sq.,
  xxi. 37 sq., xxii. 53, John ii. 14 sq., v. 14, vii. 14, viii. 2, 20,
  59, x. 23, xi. 56, xviii. 20.

Footnote 506:

  Luke xxiv. 53, Acts ii. 46, iii. 1 sq., v. 20 sq., 42.

Footnote 507:

  Matt. xxiii. 18 sq.: comp. v. 23, 24.

Footnote 508:

  Matt. viii. 4, Mark i. 44, Luke v. 14.

Footnote 509:

  Matt. ix. 13, xii. 7.

[Sidenote: (v) Denial of the resurrection of the body.]

(v) This last contrast refers to the ceremonial law. But not wide is the
divergence on an important point of doctrine. The resurrection of the
body is a fundamental article in the belief of the early disciples. This
was distinctly denied by the Essenes[510]. However gross and sensuous
may have been the conceptions of the Pharisees on this point, still they
so far agreed with the teaching of Christianity, as against the Essenes,
in that the risen man could not, as they held, be pure soul or spirit,
but must necessarily be body and soul conjoint.

Footnote 510:

  See above p. 88.

[Sidenote: Some supposed coincidences considered.]

Thus at whatever point we test the teaching and practice of our Lord by
the characteristic tenets of Essenism, the theory of affinity fails.
There are indeed several coincidences on which much stress has been
laid, but they cannot be placed in the category of distinctive features.
They are either exemplifications of a higher morality, which may indeed
have been honourably illustrated in the Essenes, but is in no sense
confined to them, being the natural outgrowth of the moral sense of
mankind whenever circumstances are favourable. Or they are more special,
but still independent developments, which owe their similarity to the
same influences of climate and soil, though they do not spring from the
same root. To this latter class belong such manifestations as are due to
the social conditions of the age or nation, whether they result from
sympathy with, or from repulsion to, those conditions.

[Sidenote: Simplicity and brotherly love.]

Thus, for instance, much stress has been laid on the aversion to war and
warlike pursuits, on the simplicity of living, and on the feeling of
brotherhood which distinguished Christians and Essenes alike. But what
is gained by all this? It is quite plain that Christ would have approved
whatever was pure and lovely in the morality of the Essenes, just as He
approved whatever was true in the doctrine of the Pharisees, if any
occasion had presented itself when His approval was called for. But it
is the merest assumption to postulate direct obligation on such grounds.
It is said however, that the moral resemblances are more particular than
this. [Sidenote: Prohibition of oaths.]There is for instance Christ’s
precept ‘Swear not at all ... but let your communication be Yea, yea,
Nay, nay.’ Have we not here, it is urged, the very counterpart to the
Essene prohibition of oaths[511]? Yet it would surely be quite as
reasonable to say that both alike enforce that simplicity and
truthfulness in conversation which is its own credential and does not
require the support of adjuration, both having the same reason for
laying stress on this duty, because the leaders of religious opinion
made artificial distinctions between oath and oath, as regards their
binding force, and thus sapped the foundations of public and private
honesty[512]. And indeed this avoidance of oaths is anything but a
special badge of the Essenes. It was inculcated by Pythagoreans, by
Stoics, by philosophers and moralists of all schools[513]. When Josephus
and Philo called the attention of Greeks and Romans to this feature in
the Essenes, they were simply asking them to admire in these practical
philosophers among the ‘barbarians’ the realisation of an ideal which
their own great men had laid down. Even within the circles of Pharisaism
language is occasionally heard, which meets the Essene principle

Footnote 511:

  Jos. _B.J._ ii. 8. 6 πᾶν τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν ἰσχυρότερον ὅρκου· τὸ δὲ
  ὀμνύειν αὐτοῖς περιΐσταται, χεῖρόν τι τῆς ἐπιορκίας ὑπολαμβάνοντες·
  ἤδη γὰρ κατεγνῶσθαί φασι τὸν ἀπιστούμενον δίχα θεοῦ, Philo _Omn. prob.
  lib._ 12 (II. p. 458) τοῦ φιλοθέου δείγματα παρέχονται μυρία ... τὸ
  ἀνώμοτον κ.τ.λ. Accordingly Josephus relates (_Ant._ xv. 10. 4) that
  Herod the Great excused the Essenes from taking the oath of allegiance
  to him. Yet they were not altogether true to their principles; for
  Josephus says (_B.J._ ii. 8. 7), that on initiation into the sect the
  members were bound by fearful oaths (ὅρκους φρικώδεις) to fulfil
  certain conditions; and he twice again in the same passage mentions
  oaths (ὀμνύουσι, τοιούτοις ὅρκοις) in this connexion.

Footnote 512:

  On the distinctions which the Jewish doctors made between the validity
  of different kinds of oaths, see the passages quoted in Lightfoot and
  Schöttgen on Matt. v. 33 sq. The Talmudical tract _Shebhuoth_ tells
  its own tale, and is the best comment on the precepts in the Sermon on
  the Mount.

Footnote 513:

  See e.g. the passages in Wetstein on Matt. v. 37.

Footnote 514:

  _Baba Metsia_ 49 _a_. See also Lightfoot on Matt. v. 34.

[Sidenote: Community of goods.]

And again; attention has been called to the community of goods in the
infant Church of Christ, as though this were a legacy of Essenism. But
here too the reasonable explanation is, that we have an independent
attempt to realise the idea of brotherhood—an attempt which naturally
suggested itself without any direct imitation, but which was soon
abandoned under the pressure of circumstances. Indeed the communism of
the Christians was from the first wholly unlike the communism of the
Essenes. The surrender of property with the Christians was not a
necessary condition of entrance into an order; it was a purely voluntary
act, which might be withheld without foregoing the privileges of the
brotherhood[515]. And the common life too was obviously different in
kind, at once more free and more sociable, unfettered by rigid
ordinances, respecting individual liberty, and altogether unlike a
monastic rule.

Footnote 515:

  514: Acts v. 4.

Not less irrelevant is the stress, which has been laid on another point
of supposed coincidence in the social doctrines of the two communities.
[Sidenote: Prohibition of slavery.]The prohibition of slavery was indeed
a highly honourable feature in the Essene order[516], but it affords no
indication of a direct connexion with Christianity. It is true that this
social institution of antiquity was not less antagonistic to the spirit
of the Gospel, than it was abhorrent to the feelings of the Essene; and
ultimately the influence of Christianity has triumphed over it. But the
immediate treatment of the question was altogether different in the two
cases. The Essene brothers proscribed slavery wholly; they produced no
appreciable results by the proscription. The Christian Apostles, without
attempting an immediate and violent revolution in society, proclaimed
the great principle that all men are equal in Christ, and left it to
work. It did work, like leaven, silently but surely, till the whole lump
was leavened. In the matter of slavery the resemblance to the Stoic is
much closer than to the Essene[517]. The Stoic however began and ended
in barren declamation, and no practical fruits were reaped from his

Footnote 516:

  Philo _Omn. prob. lib._ § 12 (II. p. 458) δοῦλός τε παρ’ αὐτοῖς οἰδὲ
  εἶς ἐστιν ἀλλ’ ἐλεύθεροι πάντες κ.τ.λ., _Fragm._ II. p. 632 οὐκ
  ἀνδράποδον, Jos. _Ant._ xviii. I. 5 οὔτε δούλων ἐπιτηδεύουσι κτῆσιν.

Footnote 517:

  See for instance the passages from Seneca quoted in _Philippians_ p.

[Sidenote: Respect paid to poverty.]

Moreover prominence has been given to the fact, that riches are decried,
and a preference is given to the poor, in the teaching of our Lord and
His Apostles. Here again, it is urged, we have a distinctly Essene
feature. We need not stop to enquire with what limitations this
prerogative of poverty, which appears in the Gospels, must be
interpreted; but, quite independently of this question, we may fairly
decline to lay any stress on such a coincidence, where all other
indications of a direct connexion have failed. The Essenes, pursuing a
simple and ascetic life, made it their chief aim to reduce their
material wants as far as possible, and in doing so they necessarily
exalted poverty. Ascetic philosophers in Greece and Rome had done the
same. Christianity was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming the
equal rights of all men before God, of setting a truer standard of human
worth than the outward conventions of the world, of protesting against
the tyranny of the strong and the luxury of the rich, of redressing
social inequalities, if not always by a present compensation, at least
by a future hope. The needy and oppressed were the special charge of its
preachers. It was the characteristic feature of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven,’
as described by the prophet whose words gave the keynote to the
Messianic hopes of the nation, that the glad-tidings should be preached
to the poor[518]. The exaltation of poverty therefore was an absolute
condition of the Gospel.

Footnote 518:

  Is. lxi. I. εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, quoted in Luke iv. 18. There are
  references to this particular part of the prophecy again in Matt. xi.
  5, Luke vii. 22, and probably also in the beatitude μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί
  κ.τ.λ., Matt. v. 3, Luke vi. 20.

[Sidenote: The preaching of the Kingdom wrongly ascribed to the

The mention of the kingdom of heaven leads to the last point on which it
will be necessary to touch before leaving this subject. ‘The whole
ascetic life of the Essenes,’ it has been said, ‘aimed only at
furthering the _Kingdom of Heaven_ and the _Coming Age_.’ Thus John the
Baptist was the proper representative of this sect. ‘From the Essenes
went forth the first call that the Messiah must shortly appear, _The
kingdom of heaven is at_ _hand_’[519]. ‘The announcement of the kingdom
of heaven unquestionably went forth from the Essenes’[520]. For this
confident assertion there is absolutely no foundation in fact; and, as a
conjectural hypothesis, the assumption is highly improbable.

Footnote 519:

  Grätz _Gesch._ III. p. 219.

Footnote 520:

  _ib._ p. 470.

[Sidenote: The Essenes not prophets, but fortune-tellers.]

As fortune-tellers or soothsayers, the Essenes might be called prophets;
but as preachers of righteousness, as heralds of the kingdom, they had
no claim to the title. Throughout the notices in Josephus and Philo we
cannot trace the faintest indication of Messianic hopes. Nor indeed was
their position at all likely to foster such hopes[521]. The Messianic
idea was built on a belief in the resurrection of the body. The Essenes
entirely denied this doctrine. The Messianic idea was intimately bound
up with the national hopes and sufferings, with the national life, of
the Jews. The Essenes had no interest in the Jewish polity; they
separated themselves almost entirely from public affairs. [Sidenote:
They had no vivid Messianic expectations.]The deliverance of the
individual is the shipwreck of the whole, it has been well said, was the
plain watchword of Essenism[522]. How entirely the conception of a
Messiah might be obliterated, where Judaism was regarded only from the
side of a mystic philosophy, we see from the case of Philo. Throughout
the works of this voluminous writer only one or two faint and doubtful
allusions to a personal Messiah are found[523]. The philosophical tenets
of the Essenes no doubt differed widely from those of Philo; but in the
substitution of the individual and contemplative aspect of religion for
the national and practical they were united; and the effect in obscuring
the Messianic idea would be the same. When therefore it is said that the
prominence given to the proclamation of the Messiah’s kingdom is a main
link which connects Essenism and Christianity, we may dismiss the
statement as a mere hypothesis, unsupported by evidence and improbable
in itself.

Footnote 521:

  Lipsius Schenkel’s _Bibel-Lexikon_ s.v. Essäer p. 190, Keim _Jesus von
  Nazara_ I. p. 305. Both these writers express themselves very
  decidedly against the view maintained by Grätz. ‘The Essene art of
  soothsaying,’ writes Lipsius, ‘has absolutely nothing to do with the
  Messianic prophecy. ‘Of all this,’ says Keim,‘there is no trace.’

Footnote 522:

  Keim _l.c._

Footnote 523:

  How little can be made out of Philo’s Messianic utterances by one who
  is anxious to make the most possible out of them, may be seen from
  Gfrörer’s treatment of the subject, Philo I. p. 486 sq. The treatises
  which bear on this topic are the _de Præmiis et Pœnis_ (I. p. 408,
  ed. Mangey) and the _de Execrationibus_ (I. p. 429). They deserve to
  be read, if only for the negative results which they yield.



[Sidenote: The understanding of the heresy necessary.]

Without the preceding investigation the teaching of this epistle would
be very imperfectly understood; for its direction was necessarily
determined by the occasion which gave rise to it. Only when we have once
grasped the nature of the doctrine which St Paul is combating, do we
perceive that every sentence is instinct with life and meaning.

[Sidenote: The errors though twofold sprang from one root.]

We have seen that the error of the heretical teachers was twofold. They
had a false conception in theology, and they had a false basis of
morals. It has been pointed out also, that these two were closely
connected together, and had their root in the same fundamental error,
the idea of matter as the abode of evil and thus antagonistic to God.

[Sidenote: So the answer to both is in the same truth.]

As the two elements of the heretical doctrine were derived from the same
source, so the reply to both was sought by the Apostle in the same idea,
the conception of the Person of Christ as the one absolute mediator
between God and man, the true and only reconciler of heaven and earth.

But though they are thus ultimately connected, yet it will be necessary
for the fuller understanding of St Paul’s position to take them apart,
and to consider first the theological and then the ethical teaching of
the epistle.

[Sidenote: 1. The _theological_ teaching of the heretics.]

1. This Colossian heresy was no coarse and vulgar development of
falsehood. It soared far above the Pharisaic Judaism which St Paul
refutes in the Epistle to the Galatians. The questions in which it was
interested lie at the very root of our religious consciousness.
[Sidenote: Its lofty motive,]The impulse was given to its speculations
by an overwhelming sense of the unapproachable majesty of God, by an
instinctive recognition of the chasm which separates God from man, from
the world, from matter. Its energy was sustained by the intense yearning
after some mediation which might bridge over this chasm, might establish
inter-communion between the finite and the Infinite. Up to this point it
was deeply religious in the best sense of the term.

[Sidenote: but complete failure.]

The answer which it gave to these questions we have already seen. In two
respects this answer failed signally. On the one hand it was drawn from
the atmosphere of mystical speculation. It had no foundation in history,
and made no appeal to experience. On the other hand, notwithstanding its
complexity, it was unsatisfactory in its results; for in this plurality
of mediators none was competent to meet the requirements of the case.
God here and man there—no angel or spirit, whether one or more, being
neither God nor man, could truly reconcile the two. Thus as regards
credentials it was without a guarantee; while as regards efficiency it
was wholly inadequate.

[Sidenote: The Apostle’s answer is in the Person of Christ.]

The Apostle pointed out to the Colossians a more excellent way. It was
the one purpose of Christianity to satisfy those very yearnings which
were working in their hearts, to solve that very problem which had
exercised their minds. In Christ they would find the answer which they
sought. His life—His cross and resurrection—was the guarantee;
[Sidenote: The mediator in the world and in the Church.]His Person—the
Word Incarnate—was the solution. He alone filled up, He alone could fill
up, the void which lay between God and man, could span the gulf which
separated the Creator and creation. This solution offered by the Gospel
is as simple as it is adequate. To their cosmical speculations, and to
their religious yearnings alike, Jesus Christ is the true answer. In the
World, as in the Church, He is the one only mediator, the one only
reconciler. This two-fold idea runs like a double thread through the
fabric of the Apostle’s teaching in those passages of the epistle where
he is describing the Person of Christ.

It will be convenient for the better understanding of St Paul’s teaching
to consider these two aspects of Christ’s mediation apart—its function
in the natural and in the spiritual order respectively.

[Sidenote: (i) In the _Universe_.]

(i) The heresy of the Colossian teachers took its rise, as we saw, in
their cosmical speculations. It was therefore natural that the Apostle
in replying should lay stress on the function of the Word in the
creation and government of the world. This is the aspect of His work
most prominent in the first of the two distinctly Christological
passages. The Apostle there predicates of the Word, not only prior, but
absolute existence. All things were created through Him, are sustained
in Him, are tending towards Him. Thus He is the beginning, middle, and
end, of creation. This He is, because He is the very _image_ of the
Invisible God, because in Him dwells the _plenitude_ of Deity.

[Sidenote: Importance of this aspect of the Person of Christ,]

This creative and administrative work of Christ the Word in the natural
order of things is always emphasized in the writings of the Apostles,
when they touch upon the doctrine of His Person. It stands in the
forefront of the prologue to St John’s Gospel: it is hardly less
prominent in the opening of the Epistle to the Hebrews. His mediatorial
function in the Church is represented as flowing from His mediatorial
function in the world. With ourselves this idea has retired very much
into the background. Though in the creed common to all the Churches we
profess our belief in Him, as the Being ‘through whom all things were
created,’ yet in reality this confession seems to exercise very little
influence on our thoughts. And the loss is serious. How much our
theological conceptions suffer in breadth and fulness by the neglect, a
moment’s reflexion will show. How much more hearty would be the sympathy
of theologians with the revelations of science and the developments of
history, if they habitually connected them with the operation of the
same Divine Word who is the centre of all their religious aspirations,
it is needless to say. Through the recognition of this idea with all the
consequences which flow from it, as a living influence, more than in any
other way, may we hope to strike the chords of that ‘vaster music,’
which results only from the harmony of knowledge and faith, of reverence
and research.

[Sidenote: notwithstanding difficulties yet unsolved.]

It will be said indeed, that this conception leaves untouched the
philosophical difficulties which beset the subject; that creation still
remains as much a mystery as before. This may be allowed. But is there
any reason to think that with our present limited capacities the veil
which shrouds it ever will be or can be removed? The metaphysical
speculations of twenty-five centuries have done nothing to raise it. The
physical investigations of our own age from their very nature can do
nothing; for, busied with the evolution of phenomena, they lie wholly
outside this question, and do not even touch the fringe of the
difficulty. But meanwhile revelation has interposed and thrown out the
idea, which, if it leaves many questions unsolved, gives a breadth and
unity to our conceptions, at once satisfying our religious needs and
linking our scientific instincts with our theological beliefs.

[Sidenote: (ii) In the _Church_.]

(ii) But, if Christ’s mediatorial office in the physical creation was
the starting point of the Apostle’s teaching, His mediatorial office in
the spiritual creation is its principal theme. The cosmogonies of the
false teachers were framed not so much in the interests of philosophy as
in the interests of religion; and the Apostle replies to them in the
same spirit and with the same motive. If the function of Christ is
unique in the Universe, so is it also in the Church. [Sidenote: Its
absolute character.]He is the sole and absolute link between God and
humanity. Nothing short of His personality would suffice as a medium of
reconciliation between the two. Nothing short of His life and work in
the flesh, as consummated in His passion, would serve as an assurance of
God’s love and pardon. His cross is the atonement of mankind with God.
He is the Head with whom all the living members of the body are in
direct and immediate communication, who suggests their manifold
activities to each, who directs their several functions in subordination
to the healthy working of the whole, from whom they individually receive
their inspiration and their strength.

[Sidenote: Hence angelic mediations are fundamentally wrong.]

And being all this He cannot consent to share His prerogative with
others. He absorbs in Himself the whole function of mediation. Through
Him alone, without any interposing link of communication, the human soul
has access to the Father. Here was the true answer to those deep
yearnings after spiritual communion with God, which sought, and could
not find, satisfaction in the manifold and fantastic creations of a
dreamy mysticism. The worship of angels might have the semblance of
humility; but it was in fact a contemptuous defiance of the fundamental
idea of the Gospel, a flat denial of the absolute character of Christ’s
Person and office. It was a severance of the proper connexion with the
Head, an amputation of the disordered limb, which was thus disjoined
from the source of life and left to perish for want of spiritual

[Sidenote: Christ’s mediation in the Church justified by His mediation
           in the World.]

The language of the New Testament writers is beset with difficulties, so
long as we conceive of our Lord only in connexion with the Gospel
revelation: but, when with the Apostles we realise in Him the same
Divine Lord who is and ever has been the light of the whole world, who
before Christianity wrought first in mankind at large through the
avenues of the conscience, and afterwards more particularly in the Jews
through a special though still imperfect revelation, then all these
difficulties fall away. Then we understand the significance, and we
recognise the truth, of such passages as these: ‘No man cometh unto the
Father, but by me’: ‘There is no salvation in any other’; ‘He that
disbelieveth the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth
upon him[524].’ The exclusive claims advanced in Christ’s name have
their full and perfect justification in the doctrine of the Eternal

Footnote 524:

  Joh. xiv. 6, Acts iv. 12, Joh. iii. 36.

[Sidenote: Relation of the doctrine of the Word]

The old dispensation is primarily the revelation of the absolute
sovereignty of God. It vindicates this truth against two opposing forms
of error, which in their extreme types are represented by Pantheism and
Manicheism respectively. [Sidenote: to the monotheism of the Old
Testament.]The Pantheist identifies God with the world: the Manichee
attributes to the world an absolute existence, independent of God. With
the Pantheist sin ceases to have any existence: for it is only one form
of God’s working. With the Manichee sin is inherent in matter, which is
antagonistic to God. The teaching of the Old Testament, of which the
key-note is struck in the opening chapters of Genesis, is a refutation
of both these errors. God is distinct from the world, and He is the
Creator of the world. Evil is not inherent in God, but neither is it
inherent in the material world. Sin is the disobedience of intelligent
beings whom He has created, and whom He has endowed with a free-will,
which they can use or misuse.

[Sidenote: The New Testament is complementary to the Old.]

The revelation of the New Testament is the proper complement to the
revelation of the Old. It holds this position in two main respects. If
the Old Testament sets forth the absolute unity of God—His distinctness
from and sovereignty over His creatures—the New Testament points out how
He holds communion with the world and with humanity, how man becomes one
with Him. And again, if the Old Testament shows the true character of
sin, the New Testament teaches the appointed means of redemption. On the
one hand the monotheism of the Old Testament is supplemented by the
theanthropism[525] of the New. Thus the _theology_ of revelation is
completed. On the other hand, the hamartiology of the Old Testament has
its counterpart in the soteriology of the New. Thus the _economy_ of
revelation is perfected.

Footnote 525:

  I am indebted for the term _theanthropism_, as describing the
  substance of the new dispensation, to an article by Prof. Westcott in
  the _Contemporary Review_ IV. p. 417 (December, 1867); but it has been
  used independently, though in very rare instances, by other writers.
  The value of terms such as I have employed here in fixing ideas is
  enhanced by their strangeness, and will excuse any appearance of

  In applying the terms _theanthropism_ and _soteriology_ to the New
  Testament, as distinguished from the Old, it is not meant to suggest
  that the ideas involved in them were wholly wanting in the Old, but
  only to indicate that the conceptions, which were inchoate and
  tentative and subsidiary in the one, attain the most prominent
  position and are distinctly realised in the other.

[Sidenote: 2. The _ethical_ error of the heretics.]

2. When we turn from the theology of these Colossian heretics to their
ethical teaching, we find it characterised by the same earnestness. Of
them it might indeed be said that they did ‘hunger and thirst after
righteousness.’ [Sidenote: Their practical earnestness,]Escape from
impurity, immunity from evil, was a passion with them. But it was no
less true that notwithstanding all their sincerity they ‘went astray in
the wilderness’; ‘hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.’
By their fatal transference of the abode of sin from the human heart
within to the material world without, they had incapacitated themselves
from finding the true antidote. [Sidenote: but fundamental misconception
and consequent failure.] Where they placed the evil, there they
necessarily sought the remedy. Hence they attempted to fence themselves
about, and to purify their lives by a code of rigorous prohibitions.
Their energy was expended on battling with the physical conditions of
human life. Their whole mind was absorbed in the struggle with imaginary
forms of evil. Necessarily their character was moulded by the thoughts
which habitually engaged them. Where the ‘elements of the world,’ the
‘things which perish in the using[526],’ engrossed all their attention,
it could not fail but that they should be dragged down from the serene
heights of the spiritual life into the cloudy atmosphere which shrouds
this lower earth.

Footnote 526:

  ii. 20, 22.

[Sidenote: St Paul substitutes a principle for ordinances.]

St Paul sets himself to combat this false tendency. For negative
prohibitions he substitutes a positive principle; for special
enactments, a comprehensive motive. He tells them that all their
scrupulous restrictions are vain, because they fail to touch the springs
of action. If they would overcome the evil, they must strike at the root
of the evil. Their point of view must be entirely changed. They must
transfer themselves into a wholly new sphere of energy. This
transference is nothing less than a migration from earth to heaven—from
the region of the external and transitory to the region of the spiritual
and eternal[527]. For a code of rules they must substitute a principle
of life, which is one in its essence but infinite in its application,
which will meet every emergency, will control every action, will resist
every form of evil.

Footnote 527:

  iii. 1 sq.

[Sidenote: This principle is the heavenly life in Christ.]

This principle they have in Christ. With Him they have died to the
world; with Him they have risen to God. Christ, the revelation of God’s
holiness, of God’s righteousness, of God’s love, is light, is life, is
heaven. With Him they have been translated into a higher sphere, have
been brought face to face with the Eternal Presence. Let them only
realise this translation. It involves new insight, new motives, new
energies. They will no more waste themselves upon vexatious special
restrictions: for they will be furnished with a higher inspiration which
will cover all the minute details of action. They will not exhaust their
energies in crushing this or that rising desire but they will kill the
whole body[528] of their earthly passions through the strong arm of this
personal communion with God in Christ.

Footnote 528:

  ii. 11 ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, iii. 5 νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ
  μέλη with ver. 8 νυνὶ δὲ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ πάντα, and ver. 9
  ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον. See the notes on the several

[Sidenote: St Paul’s doctrine of faith and works considered in the light
           of this principle.]

When we once grasp this idea, which lies at the root of St Paul’s
ethical teaching, the moral difficulty which is supposed to attach to
his doctrine of faith and works has vanished. It is simply an
impossibility that faith should exist without works. Though in form he
states his doctrine as a relation of contrast between the two, in
substance it resolves itself into a question of precedence. Faith and
works are related as principle and practice. Faith—the repose in the
unseen, the recognition of eternal principles of truth and right, the
sense of personal obligations to an Eternal Being who vindicates these
principles—must come first. Faith is not an intellectual assent, nor a
sympathetic sentiment merely. It is the absolute surrender of self to
the will of a Being who has a right to command this surrender. It is
this which places men in personal relation to God, which (in St Paul’s
language) justifies them before God. For it touches the springs of their
actions; it fastens not on this or that detail of conduct, but extends
throughout the whole sphere of moral activity; and thus it determines
their character as responsible beings in the sight of God.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Christology of this epistle]

From the above account it will have appeared that the distinctive
feature of this epistle is its Christology. The doctrine of the Person
of Christ is here stated with greater precision and fulness than in any
other of St Paul’s epistles. It is therefore pertinent to ask (even
though the answer must necessarily be brief) what relation this
statement bears to certain other enunciations of the same doctrine;
[Sidenote: considered in relation to]to those for instance which occur
elsewhere in St Paul’s own letters, to those which are found in other
Apostolic writings, and to those which appear in the fathers of the
succeeding generations.

[Sidenote: 1. The Christology of St Paul’s earlier epistles]

1. The Christology of the Colossian Epistle is in no way different from
that of the Apostle’s earlier letters. It may indeed be called a
development of his former teaching, but only as exhibiting the doctrine
in fresh relations, as drawing new deductions from it, as defining what
had hitherto been left undefined, not as superadding any foreign element
to it. The doctrine is practically involved in the opening and closing
words of his earliest extant epistle: ‘The Church which is in God the
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’; ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you[529].’ The main conception of the Person of Christ, as
enforced in the Colossian Epistle, alone justifies and explains this
language, which otherwise would be emptied of all significance. And
again; it had been enunciated by the Apostle explicitly, though briefly,
in the earliest directly doctrinal passage which bears on the subject;
‘One Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and we through
Him[530].’ [Sidenote: the same in substance but]The absolute universal
mediation of the Son is declared as unreservedly in this passage from
the First Epistle to the Corinthians, as in any later statement of the
Apostle: and, [Sidenote: less fully developed]if all the doctrinal and
practical inferences which it implicitly involves were not directly
emphasized at this early date, it was because the circumstances did not
yet require explicitness on these points. New forms of error bring into
prominence new aspects of the truth. The heresies of Laodicea and
Colossæ have been invaluable to the later Church in this respect. The
Apostle himself, it is not too much to say, realised with ever
increasing force the manifoldness, the adaptability, the completeness of
the Christian idea, notwithstanding its simplicity, as he opposed it to
each successive development of error. The Person of Christ proved the
complete answer to false speculations at Colossæ, as it had been found
the sovereign antidote to false practices at Corinth. All these
unforeseen harmonies must have appeared to him, as they will appear to
us, fresh evidences of its truth.

Footnote 529:

  1 Thess. i. 1, v. 28.

Footnote 530:

  1 Cor. viii. 6 δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι’ αὐτοῦ. The expression δι’
  οὗ implies the conception of the Logos, even where the term itself is
  not used. See the dissertation on the doctrine of the Logos in the
  Apostolic writers.

[Sidenote: 2. The Christology of other Apostolic writings.]

[Sidenote: Their fundamental identity.]

2. And when we turn from St Paul to the other Apostolic writings which
dwell on the Person of Christ from a doctrinal point of view, we find
them enunciating it in language which implies the same fundamental
conception, though they may not always present it in exactly the same
aspect. More especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews first, and in the
Gospel of St John afterwards, the form of expression is identical with
the statement of St Paul. In both these writings the universe is said to
have been created or to exist _by_ or _through_ Him. This is the crucial
expression, which involves in itself all the higher conceptions of the
Person of Christ[531]. The Epistle to the Hebrews seems to have been
written by a disciple of St Paul immediately after the Apostle’s death,
and therefore within some five or six years from the date which has been
assigned to the Colossian letter. The Gospel of St John, if the
traditional report may be accepted, dates about a quarter of a century
later; but it is linked with our epistle by the fact that the readers
for whom it was primarily intended belonged to the neighbouring
districts of Proconsular Asia. Thus it illustrates, and is illustrated
by, the teaching of St Paul in this letter. More especially by the
emphatic use of the term _Logos_, which St Paul for some reason has
suppressed, it supplies the centre round which the ideas gather, and
thus gives unity and directness to the conception.

Footnote 531:

  Joh. i. 3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο κ.τ.λ., Heb. i. 2 δι’ οὗ καὶ
  ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας.

[Sidenote: Firmness of the apostolic idea.]

In the Christology of these Apostolic writings there is a firmness and
precision which leaves no doubt about the main conception present to the
mind of the writers. The idea of Christ as an intermediate being,
neither God nor man, is absolutely and expressly excluded. On the one
hand His humanity is distinctly emphasized. On the other He is
represented as existing from eternity, as the perfect manifestation of
the Father, as the absolute mediator in the creation and government of
the world.

[Sidenote: 3. The Christology of the succeeding ages.]

3. But, when we turn from these Apostolic statements to the writings of
succeeding generations, we are struck with the contrast[532]. A
vagueness, a flaccidity, of conception betrays itself in their language.

Footnote 532:

  The remarks on the theology of the Apostolic Fathers, as compared with
  the Apostles, in Dorner’s _Lehre von der Person Christi_ I. p. 130 sq.
  seem to me perfectly just and highly significant. See also de
  Pressensé _Trois Premiers Siècles_ II. p. 406 sq. on the unsystematic
  spirit of the Apostolic Fathers.

[Sidenote: Its looseness of conception.]

In the Apostolic Fathers and in the earlier Apologists we find indeed
for the most part a _practical_ appreciation of the Person of Christ,
which leaves nothing to be desired; but as soon as they venture upon any
directly dogmatic statement, we miss at once the firmness of grasp and
clearness of conception which mark the writings of the Apostles. If they
desire to emphasize the majesty of His Person, they not unfrequently
fall into language which savours of patripassianism[533]. If on the
other hand they wish to present Him in His mediatorial capacity, they
use words which seem to imply some divine being, who is God and yet not
quite God, neither Creator nor creature[534].

Footnote 533:

  See for instance the passages quoted in the note on Clem. Rom. 2 τὰ
  παθήματα αὐτοῦ.

Footnote 534:

  The unguarded language of Justin for instance illustrates the
  statement in the text. On the one hand Petavius, _Theol. Dogm._ de
  Trin. ii. 3. 2, distinctly accuses him of Arianism: on the other Bull,
  _Def. Fid. Nic._ ii. 4. 1 sq., indignantly repudiates the charge and
  claims him as strictly orthodox. Petavius indeed approaches the
  subject from the point of view of later Western theology and, unable
  to appreciate Justin’s doctrine of the Logos, does less than justice
  to this father; but nevertheless Justin’s language is occasionally
  such as no Athanasian could have used. The treatment of this father by
  Dorner (_Lehre_ I. p. 414 sq.) is just and avoids both extremes.

[Sidenote: The Apostolic idea applied in later ages.]

The Church needed a long education, before she was fitted to be the
expositor of the true Apostolic doctrine. A conflict of more than two
centuries with Gnostics, Ebionites, Sabellians, Arians, supplied the
necessary discipline. The true successors of the Apostles in this
respect are not the fathers of the second century, but the fathers of
the third and fourth centuries. In the expositors of the Nicene age we
find indeed technical terms and systematic definitions, which we do not
find in the Apostles themselves; but, unless I have wholly misconceived
the nature of the heretical teaching at Colossæ and the purport of St
Paul’s reply, the main idea of Christ’s Person, with which he here
confronts this Gnostic Judaism, is essentially the same as that which
the fathers of these later centuries opposed to the Sabellianism and the
Arianism of their own age. If I mistake not, the more distinctly we
realise the nature of the heresy, the more evident will it become that
any conception short of the perfect deity and perfect humanity of Christ
would not have furnished a satisfactory answer; and this is the reason
why I have dwelt at such length on the character of the Colossian false
teaching, and why I venture to call especial attention to this part of
my subject.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Style of this epistle.]

Of the style of the letter to the Colossians I shall have occasion to
speak hereafter, when I come to discuss its genuineness. It is
sufficient to say here, that while the hand of St Paul is unmistakable
throughout this epistle, we miss the flow and the versatility of the
Apostle’s earlier letters.

[Sidenote: Its ruggedness and compression,]

A comparison with the Epistles to the Corinthians and to the Philippians
will show the difference. It is distinguished from them by a certain
ruggedness of expression, a ‘want of finish’ often bordering on
obscurity. What account should be given of this characteristic, it is
impossible to say. The divergence of style is not greater than will
appear in the letters of any active-minded man, written at different
times and under different circumstances. The epistles which I have
selected for contrast suggest that the absence of all personal connexion
with the Colossian Church will partially, if not wholly, explain the
diminished fluency of this letter. [Sidenote: but essential vigour.]At
the same time no epistle of St Paul is more vigorous in conception or
more instinct with meaning. It is the very compression of the thoughts
which creates the difficulty. If there is a want of fluency, there is no
want of force. Feebleness is the last charge which can be brought
against this epistle.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Analysis.]

The following is an analysis of the epistle:

I. INTRODUCTORY (i. 1–13).

  (1) i. 1, 2. Opening salutation.

  (2) i. 3–8. Thanksgiving for the progress of the Colossians hitherto.

  (3) i. 9–13. Prayer for their future advance in knowledge and
          well-doing through Christ.

        [This leads the Apostle to speak of Christ as the only path of

II. DOCTRINAL (i. 13-ii. 3).

    The Person and Office of Christ.

  (1) i. 13, 14. Through the Son we have our deliverance, our

  (2) i. 15–19. The _Preeminence_ of the Son;

      (i) As the Head of the natural Creation, the Universe (i. 15–17);

      (ii) As the Head of the new moral Creation, the Church (i. 18).

      Thus He is first in all things; and this, because the pleroma has
        its abode in Him (i. 19).

  (3) i. 20-ii. 3. The _Work_ of the Son—a work of reconciliation;

      (i) Described generally (i. 20).

      (ii) Applied specially to the Colossians (i. 21–23).

      (iii) St Paul’s own part in carrying out this work. His sufferings
        and preaching. The ‘mystery’ with which he is charged (i.

        His anxiety on behalf of all (i. 28, 29): and more especially of
          the Colossian and neighbouring Churches (ii. 1–3).

        [This expression of anxiety leads him by a direct path to the
          next division of the epistle.]

III. POLEMICAL (ii. 4-iii. 4).

  Warning against errors.

  (1) ii. 4–8. The Colossians charged to abide in the truth of the
      Gospel as they received it at first, and not to be led astray by a
      strange philosophy which the new teachers offer.

  (2) ii. 9–15. The truth stated first positively and then negatively.

    [In the passage which follows (ii. 9–23) it will be observed how St
      Paul vibrates between the theological and practical bearings of
      the truth, marked α, β, respectively.]

    (i) _Positively._

      (α) The _pleroma_ dwells wholly in Christ and is communicated
        through Him (ii. 9, 10).

      (β) The true circumcision is a spiritual circumcision (ii. 11,

    (ii) _Negatively_. Christ has

      (β) annulled the law of ordinances (ii. 14);

      (α) triumphed over all spiritual agencies, however powerful (ii.

  (3) ii. 16-iii. 4. Obligations following thereupon.

    (i) Consequently the Colossians must not

      (β) either submit to ritual prohibitions (ii. 16, 17),

      (α) or substitute the worship of inferior beings for allegiance to
        the Head (ii. 18, 19).

    (ii) On the contrary this must henceforth be their rule:

      1. They have _died_ with Christ; and with Him they have died to
        their old life, to earthly _ordinances_ (ii. 20–23).

      2. They have _risen_ with Christ; and with Him they have risen to
        a new life, to heavenly _principles_ (iii. 1–4).

IV. HORTATORY (iii. 5-iv. 6).

  Practical application of this death and this resurrection.

  (1) iii. 5–12. _Comprehensive_ rules.

      (i) What vices are to be put off, being mortified in this death
        (iii. 5–11).

      (ii) What graces are to be put on, being quickened through this
        resurrection (iii. 12–17).

  (2) iii. 13-iv. 6. _Special_ precepts.

      (_a_) The obligations

          Of wives and husbands (iii. 18, 19);

          Of children and parents (iii. 20, 21);

          Of slaves and masters (iii. 22-iv. 1).

      (_b_) The duty of prayer and thanksgiving; with special
          intercession on the Apostle’s behalf (iv. 2–4).

      (_c_) The duty of propriety in behaviour towards the unconverted
          (iv. 5, 6).

V. PERSONAL (iv. 7–18).

  (1) iv. 7–9. Explanations relating to the letter itself.

  (2) iv. 10–14. Salutations from divers persons.

  (3) iv. 15–17. Salutations to divers persons. A message relating to

  (4) iv. 18. Farewell.


                            ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΛΑΣΣΑΕΙΣ.



                   YET NOT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD.



                      _Iste vas electionis
                      Vires omnes rationis
                        Humanæ transgreditur:
                      Super choros angelorum
                      Raptus, cœli secretorum
                        Doctrinis imbuitur._

                      _De hoc vase tam fecundo,
                      Tam electo et tam mundo,
                        Tu nos, Christe, complue;
                      Nos de luto, nos de fæce,
                      Tua sancta purga prece,
                        Regno tuo statue._


                            ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΛΑΣΣΑΕΙΣ.


I. 1, 2]

ΠΑΥΛΟΣ ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ, καὶ Τιμόθεος ὁ
ἀδελφός, ^2τοῖς ἐν Κολοσσαῖς >

1, 2. ‘PAUL, an apostle of Christ Jesus by no personal merit but by
God’s gracious will alone, and TIMOTHY, our brother in the faith, to the
consecrated people of God in Colossæ, the brethren who are stedfast in
their allegiance and faithful in Christ. May grace the well-spring of
all mercies, and peace the crown of all blessings, be bestowed upon you
from God our Father.’

1. ἀπόστολος] On the exceptional omission of this title in some of St
Paul’s epistles see Phil. i. 1. Though there is no reason for supposing
that his authority was directly impugned in the Colossian Church, yet he
interposes by virtue of his Apostolic commission and therefore uses his
authoritative title.

διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ] As in 1 Cor. i. 1, 2 Cor. i. 1, Ephes. i. 1, 2 Tim.
i. 1. These passages show that the words cannot have a polemical
bearing. If they had been directed against those who questioned his
Apostleship, they would probably have taken a stronger form. The
expression must therefore be regarded as a renunciation of all personal
worth, and a declaration of God’s unmerited grace; comp. Rom. ix. 16 ἄρα
οὖν οὐ τοῦ θέλοντος οὐδὲ τοῦ τρέχοντος ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἐλεῶντος θεοῦ. The same
words διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ are used in other connexions in Rom. xv. 32, 2
Cor. viii. 5, where no polemical reference is possible.

Τιμόθεος] The name of this disciple is attached to the Apostle’s own in
the heading of the Philippian letter, which was probably written at an
earlier stage in his Roman captivity. It appears also in the same
connexion in the Epistle to Philemon, but not in the Epistle to the
Ephesians, though these two letters were contemporaneous with one
another and with the Colossian letter. For an explanation of the
omission, see the introduction to that epistle.

In the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon the presence of
Timothy is forgotten at once (see Phil. i. 1). In this epistle the
plural is maintained throughout the thanksgiving (vv. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9),
but afterwards dropped, when the Apostle begins to speak in his own
person (i. 23, 24), and so he continues to the end. The exceptions (i.
28, iv. 3) are rather apparent than real.

ὁ ἀδελφός] Timothy is again designated simply ‘the brother’ in 2 Cor. i.
1, Philem. 1, but not in Heb. xiii. 23, where the right reading is τὸν
ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν. The same designation is used of Quartus (Rom. xvi. 23), of
Sosthenes (1 Cor. i. 1), of Apollos (1 Cor. xvi. 12); comp. 2 Cor. viii.
18, ix. 3, 5, xii. 18. As some designation seemed to be required, and as
Timothy could not be called an Apostle (see _Galatians_, p. 96, note 2),
this, as the simplest title, would naturally suggest itself.

2. Κολοσσαῖς] For the reasons why this form is preferred here, while
Κολασσαεῖς is adopted in the heading of the epistle, see above, p. 16


I. 3]

ἁγίοις καὶ πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ Θεοῦ
πατρὸς ἡμῶν.

^3Εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ Θεῷ [καὶ] πατρὶ τοῦ Κυρίου

ἁγίοις] ‘_saints_,’ i.e. the people consecrated to God, the Israel of
the new covenant; see the note on Phil. i. 1. This mode of address marks
the later epistles of St Paul. In his earlier letters (1, 2 Thess., 1, 2
Cor., Gal.) he writes τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. The change begins
with the Epistle to the Romans, and from that time forward the Apostle
always uses ἁγίοις in various combinations in addressing Churches (Rom.,
Phil., Col., Ephes.). For a similar phenomenon, serving as a
chronological mark, see the note on ἡ χάρις, iv. 18. The word ἁγίοις
must here be treated as a substantive in accordance with its usage in
parallel passages, and not as an adjective connected with ἀδελφοῖς. See
the next note.

καὶ πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς] This unusual addition is full of meaning. Some
members of the Colossian Church were shaken in their allegiance, even if
they had not fallen from it. The Apostle therefore wishes it to be
understood that, when he speaks of the saints, he means the true and
stedfast members of the brotherhood. In this way he obliquely hints at
the defection. Thus the words καὶ πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς are a supplementary
explanation of τοῖς ἁγίοις. He does not directly exclude any, but he
indirectly warns all. The epithet πιστὸς cannot mean simply ‘believing’;
for then it would add nothing which is not already contained in ἁγίοις
and ἀδελφοῖς. Its passive sense, ‘trustworthy, stedfast, unswerving,’
must be prominent here, as in Acts xvi. 15 εἰ κεκρίκατέ με πιστὴν τῷ
Κυρίῳ εἶναι. See _Galatians_ p. 155.

ἐν Χριστῷ] most naturally connected with both words πιστοῖς ἀδελφοῖς,
though referring chiefly to πιστοῖς; comp. Ephes. vi. 21 πιστὸς δίακονος
ἐν Κυρίῳ, 1 Tim. i. 2 γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει. For the expression πιστὸς
ἐν Χριστῷ, ἐν Κυρίῳ, see also 1 Cor. iv. 17, Ephes. i. 1. The Apostle
assumes that the Colossian brethren are ‘stedfast in Christ.’ Their
state thus contrasts with the description of the heretical teacher, who
(ii. 19) οὐ κρατεῖ τὴν κεφαλήν.

χάρις κ.τ.λ.] On this form of salutation see the note to 1 Thess. i. 1.

πατρὸς ἡμῶν] The only instance in St Paul’s epistles, where the name of
the Father stands alone in the opening benediction without the addition
of Jesus Christ. The omission was noticed by Origen (_Rom._ 1. § 8, IV.
p. 467), and by Chrysostom (_ad loc._ XI. p. 324, _Hom. in 2 Cor._ XXX,
x. p. 651). But transcribers naturally aimed at uniformity, and so in
many copies we find the addition καὶ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. The only
other exception to the Apostle’s usual form is in 1 Thessalonians, where
the benediction is shorter still, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη, and where
likewise the copyists have supplied words to lengthen it out in
accordance with St Paul’s common practice.

3–8. ‘We never cease to pour forth our thanksgiving to God the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ on your account, whensoever we pray to Him. We are
full of thankfulness for the tidings of the _faith_ which ye have in
Christ Jesus, and the _love_ which ye show towards all the people of
God, while ye look forward to the _hope_ which is stored up for you in
heaven as a treasure for the life to come. This hope was communicated to
you in those earlier lessons, when the Gospel was preached to you in its
purity and integrity—the one universal unchangeable Gospel, which was
made known to you, even as it was carried throughout the world,
approving itself by its fruits wheresoever it is planted. For, as
elsewhere, so also in you, these fruits were manifested from the first
day when ye received your lessons in, and apprehended the power of, the
genuine Gospel, which is not a law of ordinances but a dispensation of
grace, not a device of men but a truth of God. Such was the word
preached to you by Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant in our Master’s
household, who in our absence and on our behalf has ministered to you
the Gospel of Christ, and who now brings back to us the welcome tidings
of the love which ye show in the Spirit.’

3. εὐχαριστοῦμεν] See the notes on 1 Thess. i. 2.

πατρὶ] If the καὶ be omitted, as the balance of authorities appears to
suggest, the form of words here is quite exceptional. Elsewhere it runs
ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ Κυρίου, Rom. XV. 6, 2 Cor. i. 3, xi. 31, Ephes. i.
3 (v.l.), 1 Pet. i. 3; comp. Rev. i. 6: and in analogous cases, such as
ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν, the rule is the same. See the note on Clem. Rom.
§ 7. In iii. 17 however we have τῷ θεῷ πατρί, where the evidence is more
decisive and the expression quite as unusual. On the authorities for the
various readings here see the detached note.


I. 4, 5]

ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν προσευχόμενοι· ^4 ἀκούσαντες τὴν
πίστιν ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην [ἣν ἔχετε] εἰς πάντας τοὺς
ἁγίους, ^5 διὰ τὴν

πάντοτε κ.τ.λ.] We here meet the same difficulty about the connexion of
the clauses, which confronts us in several of St Paul’s opening
thanksgivings. The words πάντοτε and περὶ ὑμῶν must clearly be taken
together, because the emphasis of περὶ ὑμῶν would be inexplicable, if it
stood at the beginning of a clause. But are they to be attached to the
preceding or to the following sentence? The connexion with the previous
words is favoured by St Paul’s usual conjunction of εὐχαριστεῖν πάντοτε
(see the note on Phil. i. 3), and by the parallel passage οὐ παύομαι
εὐχαριστῶν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in Ephes. i. 16. Thus the words will mean ‘_We give
thanks for you always in our prayers_.’ For this absolute use of
προσευχόμενοι see Matt. vi. 7, Acts xvi. 25.

4. ἀκούσαντες] ‘_having heard_’ from Epaphras (ver. 8); for the Apostle
had no direct personal knowledge of the Colossian Church: see the
introduction, p. 27 sq.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] to be connected with τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν. The strict
classical language would require τὴν ἐν Χ. Ἰ., but the omission of the
article is common to the New Testament (e.g. ver. 8); see the note on 1
Thess. i. 1, and Winer § xx. p. 169 (ed. Moulton). The preposition ἐν
here and in the parallel passage, Ephes. i. 15, denotes the sphere in
which their faith moves, rather than the object to which it is directed
(comp. 1 Cor. iii. 5); for, if the object had been meant, the natural
preposition would have been ἐπὶ or εἰς (e.g. ii. 5). This is probably
the case also in the passages where at first sight it might seem
otherwise, e.g. 1 Tim. iii. 13, 2 Tim. iii. 15; for compare 2 Tim. i. 13
ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, where the meaning is
unambiguous. There is however authority in the LXX for the use of ἐν
with πίστις, πιστεύειν, to denote the object, in Jer. xii. 6, Ps.
lxxviii. 22, and perhaps in Mark i. 15, Rom. iii. 25, and (more
doubtfully still) in Joh. iii. 15.

ἣν ἔχετε] See the detached note on the various readings.

5. διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα] ‘_for the hope_,’ i.e. looking to the hope. The
following reasons seem decisive in favour of connecting διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα,
not with εὐχαριστοῦμεν, but with τὴν πίστιν κ.τ.λ., whether ἣν ἔχετε be
retained or not. (1) The great distance of εὐχαριστοῦμεν is against the
former connexion; (2) The following clause, ἣν προηκοῦσατε κ.τ.λ.,
suggests that the words διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα describe the motives of the
Colossians for well-doing, rather than the reasons of the Apostle for
thanksgiving: (3) The triad of Christian graces, which St Paul delights
to associate together, would otherwise be broken up. This last argument
seems conclusive; see especially the corresponding thanksgiving in 1
Thess. i. 3, μνημονεῦοντες ὑμῶν τοῦ ἔργου τῆς _πίστεως_ καὶ τοῦ
κόπου τῆς _ἀγάπης_ καὶ τῆς ὑπομονῆς τῆς _ἐλπίδος_ κ.τ.λ., with
the note there. The order is the same here, as there; and it is the
natural sequence. Faith rests on the past; love works in the present;
hope looks to the future. They may be regarded as the efficient,
material, and final causes respectively of the spiritual life. Compare
Polycarp _Phil._ 3 πίστιν ἥτις ἐστὶ μήτηρ πάντων ἡμῶν, ἐπακολουθούσης
τῆς ἐλπίδος, προαγούσης τῆς ἀγάπης.

The hope here is identified with the object of the hope: see the
passages quoted on Gal. v. 5. The sense of ἐλπίς, as of the
corresponding words in any language, oscillates between the subjective
feeling and the objective realisation; comp. Rom. viii. 24 τῇ γὰρ ἐλπίδι
ἐσώθημεν· ἐλπὶς δὲ βλεπομένη οὐκ ἔστιν ἐλπίς· ὃ γὰρ βλέπει τις κ.τ.λ.,
where it passes abruptly from the one to the other.


I. 6]

ἐλπίδα τὴν ἀποκειμένην ὑμῖν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἣν προηκούσατε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ
τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ^6 τοῦ παρόντος εἰς ὑμᾶς, καθὼς καὶ ἐν
παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστιν

τὴν ἀποκειμένην] ‘_which is stored up_.’ It is the θησαυρὸς ἐν οὐρανῷ of
the Gospels (Matt. vi. 20, 21, Luke xii. 34, xviii. 22).

προηκούσατε] ‘_of which ye were told in time past_.’ The preposition
seems intended to contrast their earlier with their later lessons—the
true Gospel of Epaphras with the false gospel of their recent teachers
(see the next note). The expression would gain force, if we might
suppose that the heretical teachers obscured or perverted the doctrine
of the resurrection (comp. 2 Tim. ii. 18); and their speculative tenets
were not unlikely to lead to such a result. But this is not necessary;
for under any circumstances the false doctrine, as leading them astray,
tended to cheat them of their hope; see ver. 23. The common
interpretations, which explain προ- as meaning either ‘before its
fulfilment’ or ‘before my writing to you,’ seem neither so natural in
themselves nor so appropriate to the context.

τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ εὐαγγελίου] ‘_the truth of the Gospel_,’ i.e. the true
and genuine Gospel as taught by Epaphras, and not the spurious
substitute of these later pretenders: comp. ver. 6 ἐν ἀληθείᾳ. See also
Gal. ii. 5, 14, where a similar contrast is implied in the use of ἡ
ἀληθεία τοῦ εὐαγγελίου.

6. τοῦ παρόντος εἰς ὑμᾶς ‘_which reached you_.’ The expression παρεῖναι
εἰς is not uncommon in classical writers; comp. παρεῖναι πρὸς in Acts
xii. 20, Gal. iv. 18, 20. So also εὑρεθῆναι εἰς (Acts viii. 40),
γενέσθαι εἰς (e.g. Acts xxv. 15), and even εἶναι εἰς (Luke xi. 7). See
Winer § l. p. 516 sq.

ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ] For a similar hyperbole see Rom. i. 8 ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ
κόσμῳ; comp. 1 Thess. i. 8, 2 Cor. ii. 14, ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. More lurks
under these words than appears on the surface. The true Gospel, the
Apostle seems to say, proclaims its truth by its universality. The false
gospels are the outgrowths of local circumstances, of special
idiosyncrasies; the true Gospel is the same everywhere. The false
gospels address themselves to limited circles; the true Gospel proclaims
itself boldly throughout the world. Heresies are at best ethnic: truth
is essentially catholic. See ver. 23 μὴ μετακινούμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος
τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ὁῦ ἠκούσατε, _τοῦ_ κηρυχθέντος _ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει_
τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν.


I. 6]

καρποφορούμενον καὶ αὐξανόμενον, καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, ἀφ’ ἧς ἡμέρας
ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐπέγνωτε τὴν χάριν τοῦ

ἐστὶν καρποφορούμενον] ‘_is constantly bearing fruit_.’ The fruit, which
the Gospel bears without fail in all soils and under every climate, is
its credential, its verification, as against the pretensions of spurious
counterfeits. The substantive verb should here be taken with the
participle, so as to express _continuity_ of present action; as in 2
Cor. ix. 12 οὐ μόνον ἐστὶν προσαναπληροῦσα κ.τ.λ., Phil. ii. 26 ἐπιποθῶν
ἦν. It is less common in St Paul than in some of the Canonical writers,
e.g. St Mark and St Luke; but probably only because he deals less in

Of the middle καρποφορεῖσθαι no other instance has been found. The voice
is partially illustrated by κωδωνοφορεῖσθαι, σιδηροφορεῖσθαι,
τυμπανοφορεῖσθαι, though, as involving a different sense of -φορεῖσθαι
‘to wear,’ these words are not exact parallels. Here the use of the
middle is the more marked, inasmuch as the active occurs just below
(ver. 10) in the same connexion, καρποφοροῦντες καὶ αὐξανόμενοι. This
fact however points to the force of the word here. The middle is
_intensive_, the active _extensive_. The middle denotes the inherent
energy, the active the external diffusion. The Gospel is essentially a
reproductive organism, a plant whose ‘seed is in itself.’ For this
‘dynamic’ middle see Moulton’s note on Winer § xxxviii. p. 319.

καὶ αὐξανόμενον] The Gospel is not like those plants which exhaust
themselves in bearing fruit and wither away. The external growth keeps
pace with the reproductive energy. While καρποφορούμενον describes the
inner working, αὐξανόμενον gives the outward extension of the Gospel.
The words καὶ αὐξανόμενον are not found in the received text, but the
authority in their favour is overwhelming.

καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν The comparison is thus doubled back, as it were, on
itself. This irregularity disappears in the received text, καὶ ἐστὶν
καρποφορούμενον καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, where the insertion of καὶ before
καρποφορούμενον straightens the construction. For a similar irregularity
see 1 Thess. iv. 1 παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν Κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ ἵνα, καθὼς παρελάβετε
παρ’ ἡμῶν τὸ πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀπέσκειν θεῷ, καθὼς καὶ
περιπατεῖτε, ἵνα περισσεῦητε μᾶλλον, where again the received text
simplifies the construction, though in a different way, by omitting the
first ἵνα and the words καθὼς καὶ περιπατεῖτε. In both cases the
explanation of the irregularity is much the same; the clause
reciprocating the comparison (here καθὼς καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, there καθὼς καὶ
περιπατεῖτε) is an afterthought springing out of the Apostle’s anxiety
not to withhold praise where praise can be given.

For the appearance of καὶ in both members of the comparison, καὶ ἐν
παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ ... καθὼς καὶ, comp. Rom. i. 13 καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν καθὼς καὶ ἐν
τοῖς λοιποῖς ἕθνεσιν; and in the reversed order below, iii. 13 καθὼς καὶ
ὁ Κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν, ὅυτως καὶ ὑμεῖς (with the note): see also Winer
liii. p. 549 (ed. Moulton). The correlation of the clauses is thus
rendered closer, and the comparison emphasized.

ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐπέγνωτε] The accusative is governed by both verbs equally,
‘Ye were instructed in and fully apprehended the grace of God.’ For this
sense of ἀκούειν see below, ver. 23. For ἐπιγινώσκειν as denoting
‘advanced knowledge, thorough appreciation,’ see the note on ἐπίγνωσις,
ver. 9.

τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ] St Paul’s synonyme for the Gospel. In Acts xx. 24 he
describes it as his mission to preach τὸ εὐαγγελίοντης χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ.
The true Gospel as taught by Epaphras was an offer of free grace, a
message from God; the false gospel, as superposed by the heretical
teachers, was a code of rigorous prohibitions, a system of human
devising. It was not χάρις but δόγματα (ii. 14); not τοῦ θεοῦ but τοῦ
κόσμου, τῶυ ἀνθρώπων (ii. 8, 20, 22). For God’s power and goodness it
substituted self-mortification and self-exaltation. The Gospel is called
ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ again in 2 Cor. vi. 1, viii. 9, with reference to the
same leading characteristic which the Apostle delights to dwell upon
(e.g. Rom. iii. 24, v. 15, Eph. ii. 5, 8), and which he here tacitly
contrasts with the doctrine of the later intruders. The false teachers
of Colossæ, like those of Galatia, would lead their hearers ἀθετεῖν τὴν
χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ (Gal. ii. 21); to accept their doctrine was ἐκπίπτειν τῆς
χάριτος (Gal. v. 4).


I. 7, 8]

Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, ^7καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου
ἡμῶν, ὅς ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν διάκονος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ^8 ὁ καὶ δηλώσας
ἡμῖν τὴν ὑμῶν ἀγάπην ἐν πνεύματι.

ἐν ἀληθείᾳ i.e. ‘in its genuine simplicity, without adulteration’: see
the note on τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ver. 5.

7. καθὼς ἐμάθετε] ‘_even as ye were instructed_ in it,’ the clause being
an explanation of the preceding ἐν ἀληθείᾳ; comp. ii. 7 καθὼς
ἐδιδάχθητε. On the insertion of καὶ before ἐμάθετε in the received text,
and the consequent obscuration of the sense, see above, p. 29 sq. The
insertion however was very natural, inasmuch as καθὼς καὶ is an ordinary
collocation of particles and has occurred twice in the preceding verse.

Ἐπαφρᾶ] On the notices of Epaphras, and on his work as the evangelist of
the Colossians, see above, p. 29 sq., p. 34 sq., and the note on iv. 12.

συνδούλου] See iv. 7. The word does not occur elsewhere in St Paul.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] As the evangelist of Colossæ, Epaphras had _represented_ St
Paul there and preached in his stead; see above, p. 30. The other
reading ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν might be interpreted in two ways: either (1) It might
describe the personal ministrations of Epaphras to St Paul as the
representative of the Colossians (see a similar case in Phil. ii. 25,
iv. 18), and so it might be compared with Philem. 13 ἵνα ὑπὲρ σοῦ μοι
διακονῇ; but this interpretation is hardly consistent with τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Or (2) It might refer to the preaching of Epaphras for the good of the
Colossians; but the natural construction in this case would hardly be
ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν (of which there is no direct example), but either ὑμῶν (Rom.
xv. 8) or ὑμῖν (1 Pet. i. 12). The balance of external authority however
is against it. Partly by the accidental interchange of similar sounds,
partly by the recurrence of ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν in the context (vv. 3, 9), and
partly also from ignorance of the historical circumstances, ὑμῶν would
readily be substituted for ἡμῶν. See the detached note on various

8. ὁ καὶ δηλώσας] ‘As he preached to you from us, so _also_ he brought
back to us from you the tidings, etc.’

ἐν πνεύματι] to be connected with τὴν ὑμῶν ἀγάπην. ‘The fruit of the
Spirit is love,’ Gal. v. 22. For the omission of the article, τὴν ἐν
πνεύματι, see the note on ver. 4.


I. 9]

^9Διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς, ἀφ’ ἧς ἡμέρας ἠκούσαμεν, οὐ παυόμεθα ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν
προσευχόμενοι καὶ αἰτούμενοι ἵνα πληρωθῆτε τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ θελήματος
αὐτοῦ ἐν

9–14. ‘Hearing then that ye thus abound in works of faith and love, we
on our part have not ceased, from the day when we received the happy
tidings, to pray on your behalf. And this is the purport of our
petitions; that ye may grow more and more in knowledge, till ye attain
to the perfect understanding of God’s will, being endowed with all
wisdom to apprehend His verities and all intelligence to follow His
processes, living in the mind of the Spirit—to the end that knowledge
may manifest itself in practice, that your conduct in life may be worthy
of your profession in the Lord, so as in all ways to win for you the
gracious favour of God your King. Thus, while ye bear fruit in every
good work, ye will also grow as the tree grows, being watered and
refreshed by this knowledge, as by the dew of heaven: thus will ye be
strengthened in all strength, according to that power which centres in
and spreads from His glorious manifestation of Himself, and nerved to
all endurance under affliction and all long-suffering under provocation,
not only without complaining, but even with joy: thus finally (for this
is the crown of all), so rejoicing ye will pour forth your thanksgiving
to the Universal Father, who prepared and fitted us all—you and us
alike—to take possession of the portion which His goodness has allotted
to us among the saints in the kingdom of light. Yea, by a strong arm He
rescued us from the lawless tyranny of Darkness, removed us from the
land of our bondage, and settled us as free citizens in our new and
glorious home, where His Son, the offspring and the representative of
His love, is King; even the same, who paid our ransom and thus procured
our redemption from captivity—our redemption, which (be assured) is
nothing else than the remission of our sins.’

9. Διὰ τοῦτο] ‘_for this cause_,’ i.e. ‘by reason of your progressive
faith and love,’ referring not solely to ὁ καὶ δηλώσας κ.τ.λ. but to the
whole of the preceding description. For διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς in an
exactly similar connexion, see 1 Thess. ii. 13; comp. Ephes. i. 15 διὰ
τοῦτο κἀγὼ κ.τ.λ. In all these cases the καὶ denotes the _response_ of
the Apostle’s personal feeling to the favourable character of the news;
‘we on our part.’ This idea of correspondence is still further
emphasized by the repetition of the same words: καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἀφ’ ἧς
ἡμέρας ἠκούσατε (ver. 6), καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφ’ ἧς ἡμέρας ἠκούσαμεν (ver. 9).

καὶ αἰτούμενοι] The words have an exact parallel in Mark xi. 24 (as
correctly read) πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε.

ἵνα] With words like προσεύχεσθαι, αἰτεῖσθαι, etc., the earlier and
stronger force of ἵνα, implying _design_, glides imperceptibly into its
later and weaker use, signifying merely _purport_ or _result_, so that
the two are hardly separable, unless one or other is directly indicated
by something in the context. See the notes on Phil. i. 9, and comp.
Winer § xliv. p. 420 sq.

τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν] A favourite word in the later epistles of St Paul; see
the note on Phil. i. 9. In all the four epistles of the first Roman
captivity it is an element in the Apostle’s opening prayer for his
correspondents’ well-being (Phil. i. 9, Ephes. i. 17, Philem. 6, and
here). The greater stress which is thus laid on the contemplative
aspects of the Gospel may be explained partly by St Paul’s personal
circumstances, partly by the requirements of the Church. His enforced
retirement and comparative leisure would lead his own thoughts in this
direction, while at the same time the fresh dangers threatening the
truth from the side of mystic speculation required to be confronted by
an exposition of the Gospel from a corresponding point of view.

The compound ἐπίγνωσις is an advance upon γνῶσις, denoting a larger and
more thorough knowledge. So Chrysostom here, ἔγνωτε, ἀλλὰ δεῖ τι καὶ
ἐπιγνῶναι. Comp. Justin Mart. _Dial._ 3. p. 221 A, ἡ παρέχουσα αὐτῶν τῶν
ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ τῶν θείων _γνῶσιν_, ἔπειτα τῆς τούτων θειότητος καὶ
δικαιοσύνης _ἐπίγνωσιν_. So too St Paul himself contrasts
γινώσκειν, γνῶσις, with ἐπιγινώσκειν, ἐπίγνωσις, as the partial with the
complete, in two passages, Rom. i. 21, 38, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. With this
last passage (ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι) compare Clem.
Alex. _Strom._ i. 17, p. 369, παρὰ τῶν Ἑβραϊκῶν προφητῶν _μέρη_ τῆς
ἀληθείας οὐ κατ’ _ἐπίγνωσιν_ λαβόντες, where κατ’ ἐπίγνωσιν is
commonly but wrongly translated ‘without proper recognition’ (comp.
Tatian _ad Græc._ 40). Hence also ἐπίγνωσις is used especially of the
knowledge of God and of Christ, as being the perfection of knowledge:
e.g. Prov. ii. 5, Hos. iv. 1, vi. 6, Ephes. i. 17, iv. 13, 2 Pet. i. 2,
8, ii. 20, Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii. 1, p. 173.


I. 10]

πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει πνευματικῇ, ^{10}περιπατῆσαι ἀξίως τοῦ Κυρίου εἰς
πᾶσαν ἀρέσκειαν· ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ

σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει] ‘_wisdom and intelligence_.’ The two words are
frequently found together: e.g. Exod. xxxi. 3, Deut. iv. 6, 1 Chron.
xxii. 12, 2 Chron. i. 10 sq., Is. xi. 2, xxix. 14, Dan. ii. 20, Baruch
iii. 23, 1 Cor. i. 19, Clem. Rom. 32. So too σοφοὶ καὶ συνετοί, Prov.
xvi. 21, Matt. xi. 25, and elsewhere. In the parallel passage, Eph. i.
8, the words are ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ φρονήσει, and the substitution of
φρόνησις for σύνεσις there is instructive. The three words are mentioned
together, Arist. _Eth. Nic._ i. 13, as constituting the intellectual
(διανοητικαὶ) virtues. Σοφία is mental excellence in its highest and
fullest sense; Arist. _Eth. Nic._ vi. 7 ἡ ἀκριβεστάτη τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ...
ὥσπερ κεφαλὴν ἔχουσα ἐπιστήμη τῶν τιμιωτάτων (see Waitz on Arist.
_Organ._ II. p. 295 sq.), Cicero _de Off._ i. 43 ‘princeps omnium
virtutum,’ Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii. 2, p. 181, τελεία ... ἐμπεριλαβοῦσα τὰ
ὅλα. The Stoic definition of σοφία, as ἐπιστήμη θείων καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ
τῶν τούτων αἰτιῶν, is repeated by various writers: e.g. Cic. _de Off._
ii. 5, Philo. _Congr. erud. grat._ 14, p. 530, [Joseph.] _Macc._ 2,
Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii. 2, p. 181, _Strom._ i. 5, p. 333, Aristob. in
Eus. _Præp. Ev._ xiii. 12 p. 667). And the glorification of σοφία by
heathen writers was even surpassed by its apotheosis in the Proverbs and
in the Wisdom of Solomon. While σοφία ‘wisdom’ is thus primary and
absolute (_Eth. Nic._ vi. 7 μὴ μόνον τὰ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχῶν εἰδέναι ἀλλὰ καὶ
περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἀληθεύειν), both σύνεσις ‘intelligence’ and φρόνησις
‘prudence’ are derivative and special (_Eth. Nic._ vi. 12 τῶν ἐσχάτων
καὶ τῶν καθ’ ἕκαστον). They are both applications of σοφία to details,
but they work on different lines; for, while σύνεσις is critical,
φρόνησις is practical; while σύνεσις apprehends the bearings of things,
φρόνησις suggests lines of action: see Arist. _Eth. Nic._ vi. 11 ἡ μὲν
γὰρ φρόνησις ἐπιτακτική ἐστιν ... ἡ δὲ σύνεσις κριτική. For σύνεσις see
2 Tim. ii. 7 _νόει_ ὃ λέγω, δώσει γάρ σοι ὁ Κύριος _σύνεσιν_
ἐν πᾶσιν. This relation of σοφία to σύνεσις explains why in almost every
case σοφία (σοφός) precedes σύνεσις (συνετός), where they are found
together, and also why in Baruch iii. 23 οἱ ἐκζητηταὶ τῆς συνέσεως, ὁδὸν
δὲ σοφίας οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, we find σύνεσις implying a tentative, partial,
approach to σοφία. The relation of σοφία to φρόνησις will be considered
more at length in the note on the parallel passage, Ephes. i. 8.

πνευματικῇ] The word is emphatic from its position. The false teachers
also offered a σοφία, but it had only a show of wisdom (ii. 23); it was
an empty counterfeit calling itself philosophy (ii. 8); it was the
offspring of vanity nurtured by the mind of the _flesh_ (ii. 18). See 2
Cor. i. 12 οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ, where a similar contrast is implied,
and 1 Cor. i. 20, ii. 5, 6, 13, iii. 19, where it is directly expressed
by σοφία τοῦ κόσμου, σοφία ἀνθρώπων, σοφία τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, ἀνθρωπίνη
σοφία, etc.

10. περιπατῆσαι ἀξίως κ.τ.λ.] So 1 Thess. ii. 12, Ephes. iv. i; comp.
Phil. i. 27. The infinitive here denotes the consequence (not
necessarily the purpose) of the spiritual enlightenment described in ἵνα
πληρωθῆτε κ.τ.λ.; see Winer § xliv. p. 399 sq. With the received text
_τοῦ_ περιπατῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἀξίως κ.τ.λ. the connexion might be
doubtful; but this reading is condemned by external evidence. The
emphasis of the sentence would be marred by the insertion of ὑμᾶς. The
end of all knowledge, the Apostle would say, is conduct.

τοῦ Κυρίου] i.e. ‘of Christ.’ In 1 Thess. ii. 12 indeed we have
περιπατεῖν ἀξίως τοῦ Θεοῦ; but St Paul’s common, and apparently
universal, usage requires us to understand ὁ Κύριος of Christ.

ἀρέσκειαν] i.e. ‘to please _God_ in all ways’; comp. 1 Thess. iv. 1 πῶς
δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καὶ αρέσκειν Θεῷ. As this word was commonly used to
describe the proper attitude of men towards God, the addition of τοῦ
Θεοῦ would not be necessary: Philo _Quis rer. div. her._ 24 (I. p. 490)
ὡς ἀποδεχομένου (τοῦ Θεοὖ τὰς ψυχῆς ἑκουσίου ἀρεσκείας, _de Abrah._ 25
(II. p. 20) τὰς πρὸς ἀρέσκειαν ὁρμάς, _de Vict. Off._ 8 (II. p. 257) διὰ
πασῶν ἰέναι τῶν εἰς ἀρέσκειαν ὁδῶν, with other passages quoted by
Loesner. Otherwise it is used especially of ingratiating oneself with a
sovereign or potentate, e.g. Polyb. vi. 2. 12; and perhaps in the higher
connexion, in which it occurs in the text, the idea of a king is still
prominent, as e.g. Philo _de Mund. Op._ 50 (I. p. 34) πάντα καὶ λέγειν
καὶ πράττειν ἐσπούδαζεν εἰς ἀρέσκειαν τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ βασιλέως. Towards
men this complaisance is always dangerous and most commonly vicious;
hence ἀρέσκεια is a bad quality in Aristotle [?] (_Eth. Eud._ ii. 3 τὸ
λίαν πρὸς ἡδονήν) as also in Theophrastus (_Char._ 5 οὐκ ἐπὶ τῷ βελτίστῳ
ἡδονῆς παρασκευαστική), but towards the King of kings no obsequiousness
can be excessive. The ἀρέσκεια of Aristotle and Theophrastus presents
the same moral contrast to the ἀρέσκεια here, as ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν to
Θεῷ ἀρέσκειν in such passages as 1 Thess. ii. 4, Gal. i. 10. Opposed to
the ἀρέσκεια commended here is ἀνθρωπαρέσκεια condemned below, iii. 22.

ἐν παντὶ κ.τ.λ.] i.e. ‘not only showing the fruits of your faith before
men (Matt. vii. 16), but yourselves growing meanwhile in moral stature
(Eph. iv. 13).’


I. 11]

ἀγαθῷ καρποφοροῦντες καὶ αὐξανόμενοι τῇ ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ Θεοῦ· ^{11}ἐν πάσῃ
δυνάμει δυναμούμενοι κατὰ τὸ

τῇ ἐπιγνώσει] ‘_by the knowledge_.’ The other readings, ἐν τῇ ἐπιγνώσει,
εἰς τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν, are unsuccessful attempts to define the construction.
The simple instrumental dative represents the knowledge of God as the
dew or the rain which nurtures the growth of the plant; Deut. xxxii. 2,
Hos. xiv. 5.

11. δυναμούμενοι] A word found more than once in the Greek versions of
the Old Testament, Ps. lxvii (lxviii). 29 (LXX), Eccles. x. 10 (LXX),
Dan. ix. 27 (Theod.), Ps. lxiv (lxv). 4 (Aq.), Job xxxvi. 9 (Aq.), but
not occurring elsewhere in the New Testament, except in Heb. xi. 34 and
as a various reading in Ephes. vi. 10. The compound ἐνδυναμοῦν however
appears several times in St Paul and elsewhere.

κατὰ τὸ κράτος] The power communicated to the faithful corresponds to,
and is a function of, the Divine might whence it comes. Unlike δύναμις
or ἰσχὺς, the word κράτος in the New Testament is applied solely to God.


I. 12]

κράτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν ὑπομονὴν καὶ μακροθυμίαν μετὰ χαρᾶς·
^{12} εὐχαριστοῦντες τῷ πατρὶ τῷ ἱκανώσαντι

                     12 τῷ ἱκανώσαντι _ὑμᾶς_.

τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ] The ‘glory’ here, as frequently, stands for the majesty
or the power or the goodness of God, as _manifested_ to men; e.g. Eph.
i. 6, 12, 17, iii. 16; comp. ver. 27, below. The δόξα, the bright light
over the mercy-seat (Rom. ix. 4), was a symbol of such manifestations.
God’s revelation of Himself to us, however this revelation may be made,
is the one source of all our highest strength (κατὰ τὸ κράτος κ.τ.λ.).

ὑπομονὴν καὶ μακροθυμίαν] ‘_endurance and long-suffering_.’ The two
words occur in the same context in 2 Cor. vi. 4, 6, 2 Tim. iii. 10,
James v. 10, 11, Clem. Rom. 58, Ign. _Ephes._ 3. They are distinguished
in Trench _Synon._ § liii. p. 184 sq. The difference of meaning is best
seen in their opposites. While ὑπομονὴ is the temper which does not
easily succumb under suffering, μακροθυμία is the self-restraint which
does not hastily retaliate a wrong. The one is opposed to _cowardice_ or
_despondency_, the other to _wrath_ or _revenge_ (Prov. xv. 18, xvi. 32;
see also the note on iii. 12). While ὑπομονὴ is closely allied to _hope_
(1 Thess. i. 3), μακροθυμία is commonly connected with _mercy_ (e.g.
Exod. xxxiv. 6). This distinction however, though it applies generally,
is not true without exception. Thus in Is. lvii. 15 μακροθυμία is
opposed to ὀλιγοψυχία, where we should rather have expected ὑπομονή; and
μακροθυμεῖν is used similarly in James v. 7.

μετὰ χαρᾶς] So James i. 2, 3, πᾶσαν _χαρὰν_ ἡγήσασθε ... ὅταν
πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις, γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς
πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονέν κ.τ.λ.: comp. 1 Pet. iv. 13, and see below
i. 24. This parallel points to the proper connexion of μετὰ χαρᾶς, which
should be attached to the preceding words. On the other hand some would
connect it with εὐχαριστοῦντες for the sake of preserving the balance of
the three clauses, ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ καρποφοροῦντες, ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει
δυναμούμενοι, μετὰ χαρᾶς εὐχαριστοῦντες; and this seems to be favoured
by Phil. i. 4 μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος: but when it is so
connected, the emphatic position of μετὰ χαρᾶς cannot be explained; nor
indeed would these words be needed at all, for εὐχαριστία is in itself
an act of rejoicing.

12. εὐχαριστοῦντες] most naturally coordinated with the preceding
participles and referred to the Colossians. The duty of thanksgiving is
more than once enforced upon them below, ii. 7, iii. 17, iv. 2; comp. 1
Thess. v. 18. On the other hand the first person ἡμᾶς, which follows,
has led others to connect εὐχαριστοῦντες with the primary verb of the
sentence, οὐ παυόμεθα ver. 9. But the sudden transition from the second
to the first person is quite after St Paul’s manner (see the note on ii.
13, 14, συνεζωοποίησεν ὑμᾶς ... χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν), and cannot create any

τῷ ἱκανώσαντι] ‘_who made us competent_’; comp. 2 Cor. iii. 6. On the
various readings see the detached note.


I. 13]

ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν μερίδα τοῦ κλήρου τῶν ἁγίων ἐν τῷ φωτί· ^{13}ὃς ἐρύσατο ἡμᾶς
ἐκ τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ

τὴν μερίδα τοῦ κλήρου] ‘_the parcel of the lot_,’ ‘the portion which
consists in the lot,’ τοῦ κλήρου being the genitive of apposition: see
Winer § lix. p. 666 sq., and comp. Ps. xv (xvi). 5 Κύριος μερὶς τῆς
κληρονομίας μου. In Acts viii. 21 μερὶς and κλῆρος are coordinated; in
Gen. xxxi. 14, Num. xviii. 20, Is. lvii. 6, μερὶς and κληρονομία. The
inheritance of Canaan, the allotment of the promised land, here presents
an analogy to, and supplies a metaphor for, the higher hopes of the new
dispensation, as in Heb. iii. 7-iv. 11. See also below, iii. 24 τὴν
ἀνταπόδοσιν τῆς κληρονομίας, and Ephes. i. 18. St Chrysostom writes, διὰ
τί _κλῆρον_ καλεῖ· δεικνὺς ὅτι οὐδὲις ἀπὸ κατορθωμάτων οἰκείων
βασιλείας τυγχάνει, referring to Luke xvii. 10. It is not won by us, but
allotted to us.

ἐν τῷ φωτί] best taken with the expression τὴν μερίδα κ.τ.λ. For the
omission of the definite article, [τὴν] ἐν τῷ φωτὶ, see above, vv. 2, 4,
8. The portion of the saints is situated in the kingdom of light. For
the whole context compare St Paul’s narrative in Acts xxvi. 18 τοῦ
ἐπιστρέψαι _ἀπὸ σκότους εἰς φῶς_ καὶ _τῆς ἐξουσίας_ τοῦ Σατανᾶ
ἐπὶ τὸν Θεόν, τοῦ λαβεῖν αὐτοὺς _ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν_ καὶ _κλῆρον ἐν
τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις_, where all the ideas and many of the expressions
recur. See also Acts xx. 32, in another of St Paul’s later speeches. As
a classical parallel, Plato _Resp._ vii. p. 518 A, ἔκ τε φωτὸς εἰς
σκότος μεθισταμένων καὶ ἐκ σκότους εἰς φῶς, is quoted.

13. ‘We were slaves in the land of darkness. God rescued us from this
thraldom. He transplanted us thence, and settled us as free colonists
and citizens in the kingdom of His Son, in the realms of light.’

ἐρύσατο] ‘_rescued, delivered us_’ by His strong arm, as a mighty
conqueror: comp. ii. 15 θριαμβεύσας. On the form ἐρύσατο see A.
Buttmann, p. 29: comp. Clem. Rom. 55, and see the note on ἐξερίζωσεν,
_ib._ 6.

ἐξουσίας] here ‘arbitrary power, tyranny.’ The word ἐξουσία properly
signifies ‘liberty of action’ (ἔξεστι), and thence, like the
corresponding English word ‘license,’ invokes two secondary ideas, of
which either may be so prominent as to eclipse the other; (1)
‘authority,’ ‘_delegated_ power’ (e.g. Luke xx. 2); or (2) ‘tyranny,’
‘lawlessness,’ ‘_unrestrained_ or _arbitrary_ power.’ For this second
sense comp. e.g. Demosth. _F.L._ p. 428 τὴν ἄγαν ταύτην ἐξουσίαν,
Xenoph. _Hiero_ 5 τῆς εἰς τὸ παρὸν ἐξουσίας ἕνεκα (speaking of tyrants),
Plut. _Vit. Eum._ 13 ἀνάγωγοι ταῖς ἐξουσίαις καὶ μαλακοὶ ταῖς διαίταις,
_Vit. Alex._ 33 τὴν ἐξουσίαν καὶ τὸν ὄγκον τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου δυνάμεως,
Herodian ii. 4 καθαίρεσιν τῆς ἀνέτου ἐξουσίας. This latter idea of a
capricious unruly rule is prominent here. The expression ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ
σκότους occurs also in Luke xxii. 53, where again the idea of disorder
is involved. The transference from darkness to light is here represented
as a transference from an arbitrary tyranny, an ἐξουσία, to a
well-ordered sovereignty, a βασιλεία. This seems also to be St
Chrysostom’s idea; for he explains τῆς ἐξουσίας by τῆς τυραννίδος,
adding χαλεπὸν καὶ τὸ ἀπλῶς εἶναι ὑπὸ τῷ διαβόλῳ· τὸ δὲ καὶ μετ’
ἐξουσίας, τοῦτο χαλεπώτερον.

μετέστησεν] ‘_removed_,’ when they were baptized, when they accepted
Christ. The image of μετέστησεν is supplied by the wholesale
transportation of peoples (ἀναστάτους or ἀνασπάστους ποιεῖν), of which
the history of oriental monarchies supplied so many examples. See
Joseph. _Ant._ ix. 11. 1 τοὺς οἰκήτορας αἰχμαλωτίσας μετέστησεν εἰς τὴν
αὐτοῦ βασιλείαν, speaking of Tiglath-Pileser and the Transjordanic


I. 13]

σκότους, καὶ μετέστησεν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς

τοῦ υἱοῦ] Not of inferior angels, as the false teachers would have it
(ii. 18), but of His own Son. The same contrast between a dispensation
of angels and a dispensation of the Son underlies the words here, which
is explicitly brought out in Heb. i. 1-ii. 8; see especially i. 2
ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ, compared with ii. 5 οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις ὑπέταξεν τὴν
οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν. Severianus has rightly caught the idea
underlying τοῦ υἱοῦ here; ὑπὸ τὸν κληρονόμον ἐσμέν, οὐχ ὑπὸ τοὺς

τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ] ‘_of His love_.’ As love is the essence of the Father
(1 Joh. iv. 8, 16), so is it also of the Son. The mission of the Son is
the revelation of the Father’s love; for as He is the μονογενής, the
Father’s love is perfectly represented in Him (see 1 Joh. iv. 9). St
Augustine has rightly interpreted St Paul’s words here, _de Trin._ XV.
19 (VIII. p. 993) ‘Caritas quippe Patris ... nihil est quam ejus ipsa
natura atque substantia ... ac per hoc filius caritatis ejus nullus est
alius quam qui de ejus substantia est genitus.’ Thus these words are
intimately connected with the expressions which follow, εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ
τοῦ ἀοράτου (ver. 15), and ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι
(ver. 19). The loose interpretation, which makes τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης
equivalent to τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἠγαπημένου, destroys the whole force of the

In the preceding verses we have a striking illustration of St Paul’s
teaching in two important respects. _First._ The reign of Christ has
already begun. His kingdom is a present kingdom. Whatever therefore is
_essential_ in the kingdom of Christ must be capable of realisation now.
There may be some exceptional manifestation in the world to come, but
this cannot alter its inherent character. In other words the sovereignty
of Christ is essentially a moral and spiritual sovereignty, which has
begun now and will only be perfected hereafter. _Secondly._
Corresponding to this, and equally significant, is his language in
speaking of individual Christians. He regards them as already rescued
from the power of darkness, as already put in possession of their
inheritance as saints. They are _potentially_ saved, because the
knowledge of God is itself salvation, and this knowledge is within their
reach. Such is St Paul’s constant mode of speaking. He uses the language
not of exclusion, but of comprehension. He prefers to dwell on their
potential advantages, rather than on their actual attainments. He hopes
to make them saints by dwelling on their calling as saints. See
especially Ephes. ii. 6 συνήγειρεν καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ κ.τ.λ.


I. 14]

ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ, ^14ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν·

                        14 ἐν ᾧ _ἔσχομεν_.

14. ἔχομεν] For the reading ἔσχομεν, which is possibly correct here, and
which carries out the idea enforced in the last note, see the detached
note on the various readings. In the parallel passage, Ephes. i. 7,
there is the same variation of reading.

τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν] ‘_ransom, redemption_.’ The image of a captive and
enslaved people is still continued: Philo _Omn. prob. lib._ 17 (II. p.
463) αἰχμάλωτος ἀπήχθη ... ἀπογνοὺς ἀπολύτρωσιν, Plut. _Vit. Pomp._ 24
πόλεων αἰχμαλώτων ἀπολυτρώσεις. The metaphor however has changed from
the victor who rescues the captive by force of arms (ver. 13 ἐρύσατο) to
the philanthropist who releases him by the payment of a ransom. The
clause which follows in the received text, διὰ τοῦ ἁίματος αὐτοῦ, is
interpolated from the parallel passage, Ephes. i. 7.

τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν] So in the parallel passage Ephes. i. 7 the
Apostle defines τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν as τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων. May not
this studied precision point to some false conception of ἀπολύτρωσις put
forward by the heretical teachers? Later Gnostics certainly perverted
the meaning of the term, applying it to their own formularies of
initiation. This is related of the Marcosians by Irenæus i. 13. 6 διὰ
τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν ἀκρατήτους καὶ ἀοράτους γίνεσθαι τῷ κριτῇ κ.τ.λ., i. 21.
1 ὅσοι γάρ εἰσι ταύτης τῆς γνώμης μυσταγωγοί, τοσαῦται καὶ ἀπολυτρώσεις,
_ib._ § 4 εἶναι δὲ τελείαν ἀπολύτρωσιν αὐτὴν τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ ἀρρήτου
μεγέθους (with the whole context), and Hippolytus _Hær._ vi. 41 λέγουσί
τι φωνῇ ἀρρήτῳ, ἐπιτιθέντες χεῖρα τῷ τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν λαβόντι κ.τ.λ.
(comp. ix. 13). In support of their nomenclature they perverted such
passages as the text, Iren. i. 21. 2 τὸν Παῦλον ῥητῶς φάσκουσι τὴν ἐν
Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἀπολύτρωσιν _πολλάκις_ μεμηνυκέναι. It seems not
improbable that the communication of similar mystical secrets, perhaps
connected with their angelology (ii. 18), was put forward by these
Colossian false teachers as an ἀπολύτρωσις. Compare the words in the
baptismal formula of the Marcosians as given in Iren. i. 21. 3 (comp.
Theodt. _Hær. Fab._ i. 9) εἰς ἕνωσιν καὶ ἀπολύτρωσιν καὶ κοινωνίαν τῶν
δυνάμεων, where the last words (which have been differently interpreted)
must surely mean ‘communion with the (spiritual) powers.’ Thus it is a
parallel to εἰς λύτρωσιν ἀγγελικήν, which appears in an alternative
formula of these heretics given likewise by Irenæus in the context; for
this latter is explained in Clem. Alex. _Exc. Theod._ p. 974, εἰς
λύτρωσιν ἀγγελικήν, τουτέστιν, ἣν καὶ ἄγγελοι ἔχουσιν. Any direct
historical connexion between the Colossian heretics and these later
Gnostics of the Valentinian school is very improbable; but the passages
quoted will serve to show how a false idea of ἀπολύτρωσις would
naturally be associated with an esoteric doctrine of angelic powers. See
the note on i. 28 ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον.


I. 15]

^{15}ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος

15 sq. In the passage which follows St Paul defines the Person of
Christ, claiming for Him the absolute supremacy,

  (1) In relation to the _Universe_, the _Natural_ Creation (vv. 15–17);

  (2) In relation to the _Church_, the new _Moral_ Creation (ver. 18);

and he then combines the two, ἵνα γένηται _ἐν πᾶσιν_ αὐτὸς
πρωτεύων, explaining this twofold sovereignty by the absolute indwelling
of the _pleroma_ in Christ, and showing how, as a consequence, the
reconciliation and harmony of all things must be effected in Him (vv.
19, 20).

As the idea of the _Logos_ underlies the whole of this passage, though
the term itself does not appear, a few words explanatory of this term
will be necessary by way of preface. The word λόγος then, denoting both
‘reason’ and ‘speech,’ was a philosophical term adopted by Alexandrian
Judaism before St Paul wrote, to express the _manifestation_ of the
Unseen God, the Absolute Being, in the creation and government of the
World. It included all modes by which God makes himself known to man. As
His _reason_, it denoted His purpose or design; as His _speech_, it
implied His revelation. Whether this λόγος was conceived merely as the
divine energy personified, or whether the conception took a more
concrete form, I need not stop now to enquire. A fuller account of the
matter will be found in the dissertation at the end of this volume. It
is sufficient for the understanding of what follows to say that
Christian teachers, when they adopted this term, exalted and fixed its
meaning by attaching to it two precise and definite ideas: (1) ‘The Word
is a Divine Person,’ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος; and
(2) ‘The Word became incarnate in Jesus Christ,’ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.
It is obvious that these two propositions must have altered materially
the significance of all the subordinate terms connected with the idea of
the λόγος; and that therefore their use in Alexandrian writers, such as
Philo, cannot be taken to _define_, though it may be brought to
_illustrate_, their meaning in St Paul and St John. With these cautions
the Alexandrian phraseology, as a providential preparation for the
teaching of the Gospel, will afford important aid in the understanding
of the Apostolic writings.

15–17. ‘He is the perfect image, the visible representation, of the
unseen God. He is the Firstborn, the absolute Heir of the Father,
begotten before the ages; the Lord of the Universe by virtue of
primogeniture, and by virtue also of creative agency. For in and through
Him the whole world was created, things in heaven and things on earth,
things visible to the outward eye and things cognisable by the inward
perception. His supremacy is absolute and universal. All powers in
heaven and earth are subject to Him. This subjection extends even to the
most exalted and most potent of angelic beings, whether they be called
Thrones or Dominations or Princedoms or Powers, or whatever title of
dignity men may confer upon them. Yes: He is first and He is last.
Through Him, as the mediatorial Word, the universe has been created; and
unto Him, as the final goal, it is tending. In Him is no before or
after. He is pre-existent and self-existent before all the worlds. And
in Him, as the binding and sustaining power, universal nature coheres
and consists.’

15. ὅς ἐστιν κ.τ.λ.] The Person of Christ is described _first_ in
relation more especially to Deity, as εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, and
_secondly_ in relation more especially to created things, as πρωτότοκος
πάσης κτίσεως. The fundamental conception of the Logos involves the idea
of _mediation_ between God and creation. A perverted view respecting the
nature of the mediation between the two lay, as we have seen, at the
root of the heretical teaching at Colossæ (p. 34, p. 101 sq., p. 181
sq.), and required to be met by the true doctrine of Christ as the
Eternal Logos.

εἰκών] ‘_the image_.’ This expression is used repeatedly by Philo, as a
description of the Logos; _de Mund. Op._ 8 (I. p. 6) τὸν ἀόρατον καὶ
νοητὸν θεῖον λόγον εἰκόνα λέγει Θεοῦ, _de Confus. ling._ 20 (I. p. 419)
τὴν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ, τὸν ἱερώτατον λόγον, _ib._ § 28 (I. p. 427) τῆς ἀϊδίου
εἰκόνος αὐτοῦ λόγου τοῦ ἱερωτάτου κ.τ.λ., _de Profug._ 19 (I. p. 561) ὁ
ὑπεράνω τούτων λόγος θεῖος ... αὐτὸς εἰκὼν ὑπάρχων Θεοῦ, _de Monarch._
ii. 5 (II. p. 225) λόγος δέ ἐστιν εἰκὼν Θεοῦ δι’ ὁῦ σύμπας ὁ κόσμος
ἐδημιουργεῖτο, _de Somn._ i. 41 (I. p. 656), etc. For the use which
Philo made of the text Gen. i. 26, 27, κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν, κατ’ εἰκόνα
Θεοῦ, see the note on iii. 10. Still earlier than Philo, before the idea
of the λόγος had assumed such a definite form, the term was used of the
Divine σοφία personified in Wisd. vii. 26 ἀπαύγασμα γάρ ἐστι φωτὸς
ἀϊδίου ... καὶ εἰκὼν τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοῦ. St Paul himself applies the
term to our Lord in an earlier epistle, 2 Cor. iv. 4 τῆς δόξης τοῦ
Χριστοῦ ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ (comp. iii. 18 τὴν αὐτὴνεἰκόνα
μεταμορφούμεθα). Closely allied to εὶκὼν also is χαρακτήρ, which appears
in the same connexion in Heb. i. 3 ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ
τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, a passage illustrated by Philo _de Plant._ 5 (I.
p. 332) σφραγῖδι Θεοῦ ἧς ὁ χαρακτήρ ἐστιν ἀΐδιος λόγος. See also Phil.
ii. 6 ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων.

Beyond the very obvious notion of _likeness_, the word εἰκών involves
two other ideas;

(1) _Representation._ In this respect it is allied to χαρακτήρ, and
differs from (ομοίωμα. In ὁμοίωμα the resemblance may be accidental, as
one egg is like another; but εἱκών implies an archetype of which it is a
_copy_, as Greg. Naz. _Orat._ 30 (I. p. 554) says ἅυτη γὰρ εἰκόνος φύσις
_μίμημα_ εἶναι τοῦ _ἀρχετύπου_. So too Io. Damasc. _de Imag._
i. 9 (I. p. 311) εἰκών ἐστιν ὁμοίωμα _χαρακτηρίζον_ τὸ
_πρωτότυπον_; comp. Philo _de Mund. Op. 23_ (I. p. 16). On this
difference see Trench _N. T. Synon._ § xv. p. 47. The εἰκὼν might be the
result of direct imitation (μιμητική) like the head of a sovereign on a
coin, or it might be due to natural causes (φυσική) like the parental
features in the child, but in any case it was _derived_ from its
prototype: see Basil. _de Spir. Sanct._ 18 § 45 (III. p. 38). The word
itself however does not necessarily imply _perfect_ representation. Thus
man is said to be the image of God; 1 Cor. xi. 7 εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα Θεοῦ
ὑπάρχων, Clem. Rom. 33 ἄνθρωπον ... τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα. Thus
again an early Judæo-Christian writer so designates the duly appointed
bishop, as the representative of the divine authority; _Clem. Hom._ iii.
62 ὡς εἰκόνα Θεοῦ προτιμῶντας. The idea of _perfection_ does not lie in
the word itself, but must be sought from the context (e.g. πᾶν τὸ
πλήρωμα ver. 19). The use which was made of this expression, and
especially of this passage, in the Christological controversies of the
fourth and fifth centuries may be seen from the patristic quotations in
Petav. _Theol. Dogm._ de Trin. ii. 11. 9 sq., vi. 5. 6.

(2) _Manifestation._ This idea comes from the implied contrast to τοῦ
_ἀοράτου_ Θεοῦ. St Chrysostom indeed maintains the direct opposite,
arguing that, as the archetype is invisible, so the image must be
invisible also, ἡ τοῦ ἀοράτου εἰκὼν καὶ αὐτὴ ἀόρατος καὶ ὁμοίως ἀόρατος.
So too Hilary _c. Const. Imp._ 21 (II. p. 378) ‘ut imago invisibilis
Dei, etiam per id quod ipse invisibilis est, invisibilis Dei imago
esset.’ And this was the view of the Nicene and post-Nicene fathers
generally. But the underlying idea of the εἰκών, and indeed of the λόγος
generally, is the manifestation of the hidden: comp. Philo _de Vit.
Moys._ ii. 12 (II. p. 144) εἰκὼν τῆς ἀοράτου φύσεως ἐμφανής. And adopted
into Christian theology, the doctrine of the λόγος expresses this
conception still more prominently by reason of the Incarnation; comp.
Tertull. _adv. Marc._ v. 19 ‘Scientes filium semper retro visum, si
quibus visus est in Dei nomine, ut imaginem ipsius,’ Hippol. _c. Noet._
7 διὰ γὰρ τῆς εἰκόνος ὁμοίας τυγχανούσης _εὔγνωστος_ ὁ πατὴρ
γίνεται, _ib._ § 12, 13, Orig. _in Ioann._ vi. § 2 (IV. p. 104). Among
the post-Nicene fathers too St Basil has caught the right idea, _Epist._
xxxviii. 8 (III. p. 121) ὁ τῆς εἰκόνος κατανοήσας κάλλος ἐν περινοίᾳ τοῦ
ἀρχετύπου γίνεται ... βλέπειν διὰ τούτου ἐκεῖνον ... τὸ ἀγέννητον κάλλος
ἐν τῷ γεννητῷ κατοπτεύσας. The Word, whether pre-incarnate or incarnate,
is the revelation of the unseen Father: comp. John i. 18 Θεὸν _οὐδεὶς
ἑώρακεν_ πώποτε· μονογενὴς Θεός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός,
ἐκεῖνος _ἐξηγήσατο_, xiv. 9, 10 _ὁ ἑωράκως ἐμὲ ἑώρακέν τὸν
πατέρα_· πῶς σὺ λέγεις, _Δεῖξον_ ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα; (compared with
vi. 46 οὐχ ὅτι τὸν πατέρα ἑώρακέν τις κ.τ.λ.). The epithet ἀοράτου
however must not be confined to the apprehension of the bodily senses,
but will include the cognisance of the inward eye also.

πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως] ‘_the First-born of all creation_.’ The word
πρωτότοκος has a twofold parentage:

(1) Like εἰκών it is closely connected with and taken from the
Alexandrian vocabulary of the Logos. The word however which Philo
applies to the λόγος is not πρωτότοκος but πρωτόγονος: _de Agric._ 12
(I. p. 308) προστησάμενος τὸν ὀρθὸν αὐτοῦ λόγον πρωτόγονον ὑίον, _de
Somn._ i. 37 (I. p. 653) ὁ πρωτόγονος αὐτοῦ θεῖος λόγος, _de Confus.
ling._ i. 28 (I. p. 427) σπουδαζέτω κοσμεῖσθαι κατὰ τὸν πρωτόγονον αὐτοῦ
λόγον: comp. _ib._ i. 14 (I. p. 414) τοῦτον πρεσβύτατον υἱὸν ὁ τῶν ὄντων
ἀνέτειλε πατήρ, ὃν ἑτέρωθι πρωτόγονον ὠνόμασε: and this designation
πρεσβύτατος υἱὸς is several times applied to the λόγος. Again in _Quis
rer. div. her._ § 24 (I. p. 489) the language of Exod. xiii. 2 ἁγίασόν
μοι πᾶν πρωτότοκον πρωτογενές κ.τ.λ. is so interpreted as to apply to
the Divine Word. These appellations, ‘the first-begotten, the eldest
son,’ are given to the Logos by Philo, because in his philosophy it
includes the original conception, the archetypal idea, of creation,
which was afterwards realised in the material world. Among the early
Christian fathers Justin Martyr again and again recognises the
application of the term πρωτότοκος to the Word; _Apol._ i. 23 (p. 68)
λόγος αὐτοῦ ὑπάρχων καὶ πρωτότοκος καὶ δύναμις, _ib._ § 46 (p. 83) τὸν
Χριστὸν πρωτότοκον τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶναι ... λόγον ὄντα οὗ πᾶν γένος ἀνθρώπων
μετέσχε, _ib._ § 33 (p. 75 C) τὸν λόγον ὃς καὶ πρωτότοκος τῷ Θεῷ ἐστι.
So too Theophilus _ad Antol._ ii. 22 τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ἐγέννησεν
προφορικόν, πρωτότοκον πάσης κτίσεως.

(2) The word πρωτότοκος had also another not less important link of
connexion with the past. The Messianic reference of Ps. lxxxix. 28, ἐγὼ
πρωτότοκον θήσομαι αὐτὸν κ.τ.λ., seems to have been generally allowed.
So at least it is interpreted by R. Nathan in _Shemoth Rabba_ 19, fol.
118. 4, ‘God said, As I made Jacob a first-born (Exod. iv. 22), so also
will I make king Messiah a first-born (Ps. lxxxix. 28).’ Hence ‘the
first-born’ ὁ πρωτότοκος (בכור), used absolutely, became a recognised
title of Messiah. The way had been paved for this Messianic reference of
πρωτότοκος by its prior application to the Israelites, as the
prerogative race, Exod. iv. 22 ‘Israel is my son, my first-born’: comp.
Psalm. Salom. xviii. 4 ἡ παιδεία σου ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς ὡς υἱὸν πρωτότοκον
μονογενῆ, 4 Esdr. vi. 58 ‘nos populus tuus, quem vocasti primogenitum,
unigenitum,’ where the combination of the two titles applied in the New
Testament to the Son is striking. Here, as elsewhere (see the note on
Gal. iii. 16 καὶ τοῖς σπέρμασιν κ.τ.λ.), the terms are transferred from
the race to the Messiah, as the representative, the embodiment, of the

As the Person of Christ was the Divine response alike to the
philosophical questionings of the Alexandrian Jew and to the patriotic
hopes of the Palestinian, these two currents of thought meet in the term
πρωτότοκος as applied to our Lord, who is both the true Logos and the
true Messiah. For this reason, we may suppose, as well as for others,
the Christian Apostles preferred πρωτότοκος to πρωτόγονος, which (as we
may infer from Philo) was the favourite term with the Alexandrians,
because the former alone would include the Messianic reference as well.

The main ideas then which the word involves are twofold; the one more
directly connected with the Alexandrian conception of the Logos, the
other more nearly allied to the Palestinian conception of the Messiah.

(1) _Priority_ to all creation. In other words it declares the absolute
pre-existence of the Son. At first sight it might seem that Christ is
here regarded as one, though the earliest, of created things. This
interpretation however is not required by the expression itself. The
fathers of the fourth century rightly called attention to the fact that
the Apostle writes not πρωτόκτιστος, but πρωτότοκος; e.g. Basil, _c.
Eunom._ iv (p. I. p. 292). Much earlier, in Clem. Alex. _Exc. Theod._ 10
(p. 970), though without any direct reference to this passage, the
μονογενὴς καὶ πρωτότοκος is contrasted with the πρωτόκτιστοι, the
highest order of angelic beings; and the word πρωτόκτιστος occurs more
than once elsewhere in his writings (e.g. _Strom._ v. 14, p. 699). Nor
again does the genitive case necessarily imply that the πρωτότοκος
Himself belonged to the κτίσις, as will be shown presently. And if this
sense is not required by the words themselves, it is directly excluded
by the context. It is inconsistent alike with the universal agency in
creation which is ascribed to Him in the words following, ἐν αὐτῷ
ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα, and with the absolute pre-existence and self-existence
which is claimed for Him just below, αὐτὸς ἔστιν πρὸ πάντων. We may add
also that it is irreconcileable with other passages in the Apostolic
writings, while it contradicts the fundamental idea of the Christian
consciousness. More especially the description πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως
must be interpreted in such a way that it is not inconsistent with His
other title of μονογενής, _unicus_, alone of His kind and therefore
distinct from created things. The two words express the same eternal
fact; but while μονογενής states it in itself, πρωτότοκος places it in
relation to the Universe. The correct interpretation is supplied by
Justin Martyr, _Dial._ § 100 (p. 326 D) πρωτότοκον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πρὸ
πάντων τῶν κτισμάτων. He does not indeed mention this passage, but it
was doubtless in his mind, for he elsewhere uses the very expression
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, _Dial._ § 85 (p. 311 B), § 138 (p. 367 D);
comp. also § 84 (p. 310 B), where the words πρωτότοκος τῶν πάντων
ποιημάτων occur.

(2) _Sovereignty_ over all creation. God’s ‘first-born’ is the natural
ruler, the acknowledged head, of God’s household. The right of
primogeniture appertains to Messiah over all created things. Thus in Ps.
lxxxix. 28 after πρωτότοκον θήσομαι αὐτὸν the explanation is added,
ὑψηλὸν παρὰ τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν τῆς γῆς, i.e. (as the original implies)
‘above all the kings of the earth.’ In its Messianic reference this
secondary idea of sovereignty predominated in the word πρωτότοκος, so
that from this point of view πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως would mean
‘Sovereign Lord over all creation by virtue of primogeniture.’ The
ἔθηκεν κληρόνομον πάντων of the Apostolic writer (Heb. i. 2) exactly
corresponds to the θήσομαι πρωτότοκον of the Psalmist (lxxxix. 28), and
doubtless was tacitly intended as a paraphrase and application of this
Messianic passage. So again in Heb. xii. 23, ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων, the
most probable explanation of the word is that which makes it equivalent
to ‘heirs of the kingdom,’ all faithful Christians being _ipso facto_
πρωτότοκοι, because all are kings. Nay, so completely might this idea of
dominion by virtue of priority eclipse the primary sense of the term
‘first-born’ in some of its uses, that it is given as a title to God
Himself by R. Bechai on the Pentateuch, fol. 124. 4, ‘Who is
_primogenitus mundi_,’ שהוא בכורי של עולם, i.e. ὅς ἐστιν πρωτότοκος τοῦ
κόσμου, as it would be rendered in Greek. In this same work again, fol.
74. 4, Exod. xiii. 2 is falsely interpreted so that God is represented
as calling Himself ‘primogenitus’: see Schöttgen p. 922. For other
instances of secondary uses of בכור in the Old Testament, where the idea
of ‘priority of birth’ is over-shadowed by and lost in the idea of
‘pre-eminence,’ see Job xviii. 13 ‘the first-born of death,’ Is. xiv. 30
‘the first-born of the poor’.

πάσης κτίσεως ‘_of all creation_,’ rather than ‘_of every created
thing_.’ The three senses of κτίσις in the New Testament; are (1)
creation, as the act of creating, e.g. Rom. i. 20 ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου:
(2) creation, as the aggregate of created things, Mark xiii. 19 ἀπ’
ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεός (where the parallel passage, Matt. xxiv.
21, has ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κόσμου), Rom. viii. 22 πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις συστενάζει: (3) a
creation, a single created thing, a creature, e.g. Rom. viii. 39 οὔτε
τις κτίσις ἑτέρα, Heb. iv. 13 οὐκ ἔστιν κτίσις ἀφανής. As κτίσις without
the definite article is sometimes used of the created world generally
(e.g. Mark xiii. 19), and indeed belongs to the category of anarthrous
nouns like κόσμος, γῆ, οὐρανός, etc. (see Winer § xix. p. 149 sq.), it
is best taken so here. Indeed πάσης κτίσεως, in the sense of πάντος
κτίσματος, would be awkward in this connexion; for πρωτότοκος seems to
require either a collective noun, or a plural πασῶν τῶν κτίσεων. In ver.
23 the case is different (see the note there). The anarthrous πᾶσα
κτίσις is found in Judith ix. 12 βασιλεῦ πασῆς κτίσεώς σου, while πᾶσα ἡ
κτίσις occurs in Judith xvi. 14, Mark xvi. 15, Rom. viii. 22, Clem. Rom.
19, _Mart. Polyc._ 14. For πᾶς, signifying ‘_all_,’ and not ‘_every_,’
when attached to this class of nouns, see Winer § xviii. p. 137.

The genitive case must be interpreted so as to include the full meaning
of πρωτότοκος, as already explained. It will therefore signify: ‘He
stands in the relation of πρωτότοκος to all creation,’ i.e. ‘He is the
Firstborn, and, as the Firstborn, the absolute Heir and sovereign Lord,
of all creation.’ The connexion is the same as in the passage of R.
Bechai already quoted, where God is called _primogenitus mundi_. Another
explanation which would connect the genitive with the first part of the
compound alone (πρωτό-), comparing Joh. i. 15, 30, πρῶτός μου ἦν, unduly
strains the grammar, while it excludes the idea of ‘heirship,

The history of the patristic exegesis of this expression is not without
a painful interest. All the fathers of the second and third centuries
without exception, so far as I have noticed, correctly refer it to the
Eternal Word and not to the Incarnate Christ, to the Deity and not to
the humanity of our Lord. So Justin _l.c._, Theophilus _l.c._, Clement
of Alexandria _Exc. Theod._ 7, 8, 19 (pp. 967, 973), Tertullian _adv.
Prax._ 7, _adv. Marc._ v. 19, Hippolytus _Hær._ x. 33, Origen _c. Cels._
vi. 47, 63, 64, _in Ioann._ i. § 22 (IV. p. 21), xix. § 5 (p. 305),
xxviii. § 14 (p. 392), Cyprian _Test._ ii. 1, Novatian _de Trin._ 16,
and the Synod of Antioch (Routh’s _Rel. Sacr._ III. pp. 290, 293). The
Arian controversy however gave a different turn to the exegesis of the
passage. The Arians fastened upon the expression πρωτότοκος πάσης
κτίσεως, and drew from it the inference that the Son was a created
being. The great use which they made of the text appears from the
document in Hilary, _Fragm. Hist._ Op. II. p. 644. The right answer to
this false interpretation we have already seen. Many orthodox fathers
however, not satisfied with this, transferred the expression into a new
sphere, and maintained that πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως describes the
Incarnate Christ. By so doing they thought to cut up the Arian argument
by the roots. As a consequence of this interpretation, they were obliged
to understand the κτίσις and the κτίζεσθαι in the context of the new
spiritual creation, the καινὴ κτίσις of 2 Cor. v. 17, Gal. vi. 15. Thus
interpreted, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως here becomes nearly equivalent to
πρωτότοκος ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς in Rom. viii. 29. The arguments alleged
in favour of this interpretation are mainly twofold: (1) That, if
applied to the Divine nature, πρωτότοκος would contradict μονογενὴς
which elsewhere describes the nature of the Eternal Son. But those who
maintained, and rightly maintained, that πρωτότοκος (Luke ii. 7) did not
necessarily imply that the Lord’s mother had other sons, ought not to
have been led away by this fallacy. (2) That πρωτότοκος in other
passages (e.g. Rom. viii. 29, Rev. i. 5, and just below, ver. 18) is
applied to the humanity of Christ. But elsewhere, in Heb. i. 6 ὅταν δὲ
πάλιν εἰσαγάγῃ τὸν πρωτότοκον κ.τ.λ., the term must almost necessarily
refer to the pre-existence of the Son; and moreover the very point of
the Apostle’s language in the text (as will be seen presently) is the
parallelism in the two relations of our Lord—His relation to the natural
creation, as the Eternal Word, and His relation to the spiritual
creation, as the Head of the Church—so that the same word (πρωτότοκος
πάσης κτίσεως ver. 15, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν ver. 18) is studiously
used of both. A false exegesis is sure to bring a nemesis on itself.
Logical consistency required that this interpretation should be carried
farther; and Marcellus, who was never deterred by any considerations of
prudence, took this bold step. He extended the principle to the whole
context, including even εὶκὼν τοῦ ἀοράτου Θεοῦ, which likewise he
interpreted of our Lord’s humanity. In this way a most important
Christological passage was transferred into an alien sphere; and the
strongest argument against Arianism melted away in the attempt to combat
Arianism on false grounds. The criticisms of Eusebius on Marcellus are
perfectly just: _Eccl. Theol._ i. 20 (p. 96) ταῦτα περὶ τῆς θεότητος τοῦ
υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, κἂν μὴ Μαρκέλλῳ δοκῇ, εἴρηται· οὐ γὰρ ἂν περὶ τῆς σαρκὸς
ἂν εἶπεν τοσαῦτα ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος κ.τ.λ.; comp. _ib._ ii. 9 (p. 67),
iii. 6 sq. (p. 175), _c. Marcell._ i. 1 (p. 6), i. 2 (p. 12), ii. 3 (pp.
43, 46 sq., 48). The objections to this interpretation are threefold:
(1) It disregards the history of the terms in their connexion with the
pre-Christian speculations of Alexandrian Judaism. These however, though
directly or indirectly they were present to the minds of the earlier
fathers and kept them in the right exegetical path, might very easily
have escaped a writer in the fourth century. (2) It shatters the
context. To suppose that such expressions as ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα
[τὰ] ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ [[τὰ] ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, or τὰ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ...
ἔκτισται, or τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν, refer to the work of the
Incarnation, is to strain language in a way which would reduce all
theological exegesis to chaos; and yet this, as Marcellus truly saw, is
a strictly logical consequence of the interpretation which refers
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως to Christ’s humanity. (3) It takes no account
of the cosmogony and angelology of the false teachers against which the
Apostle’s exposition here is directed (see above, pp. 101 sq., 110 sq.,
181 sq.). This interpretation is given by St Athanasius _c. Arian._ ii.
62 sq. (I. p. 419 sq.) and appears again in Greg. Nyss. _c. Eunom._ ii
(II. pp. 451–453, 492), _ib._ iii (II. p. 540–545), _de Perf._ (III. p.
290 sq.), Cyril Alex. _Thes._ 25, p. 236 sq., _de Trin. Dial._ iv. p.
517 sq., vi. p. 625 sq., Anon. _Chrysost. Op._ VIII. p. 223, appx.
(quoted as Chrysostom by Photius _Bibl._ 277). So too Cyril expresses
himself at the Council of Ephesus, Labb. _Conc._ III. p. 652 (ed.
Colet.). St Athanasius indeed does not confine the expression to the
condescension (συγκατάβασις) of the Word in the Incarnation, but
includes also a prior condescension in the Creation of the world (see
Bull _Def. Fid. Nic._ iii. 9. § 1, with the remarks of Newman _Select
Treatises of S. Athanasius_ I. pp. 278, 368 sq.). This double reference
however only confuses the exegesis of the passage still further, while
theologically it might lead to very serious difficulties. In another
work, _Expos. Fid._ 3 (I. p. 80), he seems to take a truer view of its
meaning. St Basil, who to an equally clear appreciation of doctrine
generally unites a sounder exegesis than St Athanasius, while mentioning
the interpretation which refers the expression to Christ’s human nature,
himself prefers explaining it of the Eternal Word; _c. Eunom._ iv (I. p.
292). Of the Greek commentators on this passage, Chrysostom’s view is
not clear; Severianus (Cram. _Cat._ p. 303) and Theodoret understand it
rightly of the Eternal Word; while Theodore of Mopsuestia (Cram. _Cat._
pp. 306, 308, 309, Rab. Maur. _Op._ VI. p. 511 sq. ed. Migne) expresses
himself very strongly on the opposite side. Like Marcellus, he carries
the interpretation consistently into the whole context, explaining ἐν
αὐτῷ to refer not to the original creation (κτίσις) but to the moral
re-creation (ἀνάκτισις), and referring εἰκών to the Incarnation in the
same way. At a later date, when the pressure of an immediate controversy
has passed away, the Greek writers generally concur in the earlier and
truer interpretation of the expression. Thus John Damascene (_de Orthod.
Fid._ iv. 8, I. p. 258 sq.), Theophylact (_ad loc._), and [OE]cumenius
(_ad loc._), all explain it of Christ’s Divine Nature. Among Latin
writers, there is more diversity of interpretation. While Marius
Victorinus (_adv. Arium_ i. 24, p. 1058, ed. Migne), Hilary of Poictiers
(_Tract. in ii Ps._ § 28 sq. I. p. 47 sq. _de Trin._ viii. 50, II. p.
248 sq.), and Hilary the commentator (_ad loc._), take it of the Divine
Nature, Augustine (_Expos. ad Rom._ 56, III. p. 914) and Pelagius (_ad
loc._) understand it of the Incarnate Christ. This sketch of the history
of the interpretation of the expression would not be complete without a
reference to another very different explanation. Isidore of Pelusium,
_Epist._ iii. 31 (p. 268), would strike out a new path of interpretation
altogether (εἰ καὶ δόξαιμί τισι καινοτέραν ἑρμηνίας ἀνατέμνειν ὁδόν),
and for the passive πρωτότοκος suggests reading the active πρωτοτόκος,
alluding to the use of this latter word in Homer (_Il._ xvii. 5 μήτηρ
πρωτοτόκος ... οὐ πρὶν εἰδυῖα τόκοιο: comp. Plat. _Theæt._ 151 C ὥσπερ
αἱ πρωτοτόκοι). Thus St Paul is made to say that Christ πρῶτον
τετοκέναι, τουτέστι, πεποιηκέναι τὴν κτίσιν.


I. 16]

πάσης κτίσεως· ^{16} ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα, [τὰ]

16. ὅτι κ.τ.λ.] We have in this sentence the justification of the title
given to the Son in the preceding clause, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως. It
must therefore be taken to explain the sense in which this title is
used. Thus connected, it shows that the πρωτότοκος Himself is not
included in πᾶσα κτίσις; for the expression used is not τὰ ἄλλα or τὰ
λοιπά, but τὰ πάντα ἐκτίσθη–words which are absolute and comprehensive,
and will admit no exception.

ἐν αὐτῷ] ‘_in Him_,’ as below ver. 17 ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν. For the
preposition comp. Acts xvii, 28 ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ ζῶμεν καὶ κινούμεθα καί
ἐσμεν. All the laws and purposes which guide the creation and government
of the Universe reside in Him, the Eternal Word, as their meeting-point.
The Apostolic doctrine of the Logos teaches us to regard the Eternal
Word as holding the same relation to the Universe which the Incarnate
Christ holds to the Church. He is the source of its life, the centre of
all its developments, the mainspring of all its motions. The use of ἐν
to describe His relations to the Church abounds in St Paul (e.g. Rom.
viii. 1, 2, xii. 5, xvi. 3, 7, 9, etc., 1 Cor. i. 30, iv. 15, 17, vii.
39, xv. 18, 22, etc.), and more especially in the Epistles to the
Colossians and Ephesians (e.g. below ii. 7, 10). In the present passage,
as in ver. 17, the same preposition is applied also to His relations to
the Universe; comp. Joh. i. 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν (more especially if we
connect the preceding ὃ γέγονεν with it).

Thus it is part of the parallelism which runs through the whole passage,
and to which the occurrence of πρωτότοκος in both relations gives the
key. The Judæo-Alexandrian teachers represented the Logos, which in
their view was nothing more than the Divine mind energizing, as the
τόπος where the eternal ideas, the νοητὸς κόσμος, had their abode; Philo
_de Mund. Op._ 4 (I. p. 4) ὅσαπερ ἐν ἐκείνῳ νόητα, _ib._ § 5 (p. 4) οὐδὲ
ὁ ἐκ τῶν ἰδεῶν κόσμος ἄλλον ἂν ἔχοι τόπον ἣ τὸν θεῖον λόγον τὸν ταῦτα
διακοσμήσαντα, _ib._ § 10 (p. 8) ὁ ἀσώματος κόσμος ... ἱδρυθεὶς ἐν τῷ
θείῳ λόγῳ; and see especially _de Migr. Abr._ I. p. 437) οἶκος ἐν ᾧ
διαιτᾶται ... ὅσα ἂν ἐνθυμήματα τέκη, ὥσπερ ἐν οἴκῳ τῷ λόγῳ διαθείς. The
Apostolic teaching is an enlargement of this conception, inasmuch as the
Logos is no longer a philosophical abstraction but a Divine Person: see
Hippol. _Hær._ x. 33 ἄιτιον τοῖς γινομένοις Λόγος ἦν, ἐν ἑαυτῷ φέρων τὸ
θέλειν τοῦ γεγεννηκότος ... ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὰς ἐν τῷ πατρὶ προεννοηθείσας
ἰδέας ὅθεν κελεύοντος πατρὸς γίνεσθαι κόσμον τὸ κατὰ ἒν Λόγος ἀπετελεῖτο
ἀρέσκων Θεῷ: comp. Orig. _in Ioann._ i. § 22, IV. p. 21.

ἐκτίσθη] The aorist is used here; the perfect below. Ἐκτίσθη describes
the definite historical act of creation; ἔκτισται the continuous and
present relations of creation to the Creator: comp. Joh. i. 3 χωρὶς
αὐτοῦ _ἐγένετο_ οὐδὲ ἔν with _ib._ _ὃ εγέονεν_, 1 Cor. ix. 22
ἐγενόμην τοῖς ἀσθένεσιν ἀσθενής with ib. τοῖς πᾶσιν γέγονα πάντα, 2 Cor.
xii. 17 μή τινα ὧν ἀπέσταλκα with ver. 18 καὶ συναπέστειλα τὸν ἀδελφόν,
1 Joh. iv. 9 τὸν μονογενῆ _ἀπέσταλκεν_ ὁ Θεὸς εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα
ζήσωμεν δι’ αὐτοῦ with ver. 10 ὅτι αὐτὸς ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς καὶ
_ἀπέστειλεν_ τὸν ὑιὸν αὐτοῦ.

τὰ πάντα] ‘_the universe of things_,’ not πάντα ‘all things severally,’
but τὰ πάντα ‘all things collectively.’ With very few exceptions,
wherever this phrase occurs elsewhere, it stands in a similar connexion;
see below, vv. 17, 20, iii. 11, Rom. xi. 36, 1 Cor. viii. 6, xi. 12,
xii. 6, xv. 27, 28, 2 Cor. v. 18, Eph. i. 10, 11, 23, iv. 10, Heb. i. 3,
ii. 8, Rev. iv. 11. Compare Rom. viii. 32 τὰ πάντα ἡμῖν χαρίσεται, 2
Cor. iv. 15 τὰ πάντα δι’ ὑμᾶς, with 1 Cor. iii. 22 ἔιτε κόσμος ... ὑμῶν;
and Phil. iii. 8 τὰ πάντα εζημιώθην with Matt. xvi. 26 ἐὰ τὸν κόσμον
ὅλον κερδήσῃ. Thus it will appear that τὰ πάντα is nearly equivalent to
‘the universe.’ It stands midway between πάντα and τὸ πᾶν. The last
however is not a scriptural phrase; for, while with τὰ πάντα it involves
the idea of connexion, it suggests also the unscriptural idea of
_self-contained_ unity, the great world-soul of the Stoic pantheist.


I. 16]

ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ [τὰ] ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τα

ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, κ.τ.λ.] This division of the universe is not the same
with the following, as if [τὰ] ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς were equivalent to τὰ
ἀόρατα and [τὰ] ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς to τὰ ὁρατά. It should rather be compared
with Gen. i. 1 ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν, ii. 1
συνετελέσθησαν ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ καὶ πᾶς ὁ κόσμος αὐτῶν, xiv. 19 ὃς
ἔκτισεν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν, Rev. x. 6 ὃς ἔκτισεν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ
ἐν αὐτῳ καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῃ. It is a classification by
_locality_, as the other is a classification by _essences_. Heaven and
earth together comprehend all space; and all things whether material or
immaterial are conceived for the purposes of the classification as
having their abode in space. Thus the sun and the moon would belong to
ὁρατά, but they would be ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς; while the human soul would be
classed among ἀόρατα but would be regarded as ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς; see below
ver. 20.

It is difficult to say whether τὰ ... τα should be expunged or retained.
The elements in the decision are; (1) The facility either of omission or
of addition in the first clause, owing to the termination of πάντα: (2)
The much greater authority for the omission in the first clause than in
the second. These two combined suggest that τὰ was omitted accidentally
in the first clause, and then expunged purposely in the second for the
sake of uniformity. On the other hand there is (3) The possibility of
insertion in both cases either for the sake of grammatical completeness
or owing to the parallel passages, ver. 20, Ephes. i. 10. On the whole
the reasons for their omission preponderate. At all events we can hardly
retain the one without the other.

τὰ ὀρατὰ κ.τ.λ.] ‘Things material and immaterial,’ or, according to the
language of philosophy, φαινόμενα and νούμενα: comp. Plato _Phæd._ 79 A
θῶμεν οὖν, εἰ βούλει, ἔφη, δύο εἴδη τῶν ὄντων, τὸ μὲν ὁρατόν, τὸ δὲ
ἀειδές, κ.τ.λ.


ἀόρατα, εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες, εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε

εἴτε κ.τ.λ.] ‘_whether they be thrones or lordships, etc._’ The
subdivision is no longer exhaustive. The Apostle singles out those
created beings that from their superior rank had been or might be set in
rivalry with the Son.

A comparison with the parallel passage Ephes. i. 21, ὑπεράνω πάσης ἀρχῆς
καὶ ἐξουσίας καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ κυριότητος καὶ παντὸς κ.τ.λ., brings out
the following points:

(1) No stress can be laid on the sequence of the names, as though St
Paul were enunciating with authority some precise doctrine respecting
the grades of the celestial hierarchy. The names themselves are not the
same in the two passages. While ἀρχή, ἐξουσία, κυριότης, are common to
both, θρόνος is peculiar to the one and δύναμις to the other. Nor again
is there any correspondence in the sequence. Neither does δύναμις take
the place of θρόνος, nor do the three words common to both appear in the
same order, the sequence being ἀρχ. ἐξ. [δύν.] κυρ. in Eph. i. 21, and
[θρόν.] κυρ. ἀρχ. ἐξ. here.

(2) An expression in Eph. i. 21 shows the Apostle’s _motive_ in
introducing these lists of names: for he there adds καὶ παντὸς ὀνόματος
ὀνομαζομένον οὐ μόνον ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι, i.e.
‘of every dignity or title (whether real or imaginary) which is
reverenced,’ etc.; for this is the force of παντὸς ὀνόματος ὀνομαζομένον
(see the notes on Phil. ii. 9, and Eph. _l.c._). Hence it appears that
in this catalogue St Paul does not profess to describe objective
realities, but contents himself with repeating subjective opinions. He
brushes away all these speculations without enquiring how much or how
little truth there may be in them, because they are altogether beside
the question. His language here shows the same spirit of impatience with
this elaborate angelology, as in ii. 18.

(3) Some commentators have referred the terms used here solely to
earthly potentates and dignities. There can be little doubt however that
their chief and primary reference is to the orders of the celestial
hierarchy, as conceived by these Gnostic Judaizers. This appears from
the context; for the words τὰ ἀόρατα immediately precede this list of
terms, while in the mention of πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα and in other expressions
the Apostle clearly contemplates the rivalry of _spiritual_ powers with
Christ. It is also demanded by the whole design and purport of the
letter, which is written to combat the worship paid to angels. The names
too, more especially θρόνοι, are especially connected with the
speculations of Jewish angelology. But when this is granted, two
questions still remain. First; are evil as well as good spirits
included, demons as well as angels? And next; though the primary
reference is to spiritual powers, is it not possible that the expression
was intended to be comprehensive and to include earthly dignities as
well? The clause added in the parallel passage, οὐ μόνον ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι
τούτῳ κ.τ.λ., encourages us thus to extend the Apostle’s meaning; and we
are led in the same direction by the comprehensive words which have
preceded here, [τὰ] ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς κ.τ.λ. Nor is there anything in the
terms themselves which bars such an extension; for, as will be seen, the
combination ἀπχαὶ καὶ ἐξουσίαι is applied not only to good angels but to
bad, not only to spiritual powers but to earthly. Compare Ignat.
_Smyrn._ 6 τὰ ἐπουράνια καὶ ἡ δόξα τῶν ἀγγέλων καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες ὀρατοί τε
καὶ ἀόρατοι.

Thus guided, we may paraphrase the Apostle’s meaning as follows: ‘You
dispute much about the successive grades of angels; you distinguish each
grade by its special title; you can tell how each order was generated
from the preceding; you assign to each its proper degree of worship.
Meanwhile you have ignored or you have degraded Christ. I tell you, it
is not so. He is first and foremost, Lord of heaven and earth, far above
all thrones or dominations, all princedoms or powers, far above every
dignity and every potentate—whether earthly or heavenly—whether angel or
demon or man—that evokes your reverence or excites your fear.’ See
above, pp. 103 sq.

Jewish and Judæo-Christian speculations respecting the grades of the
celestial hierarchy took various forms. In the _Testaments of the Twelve
Patriarchs_ (Levi 3), which as coming near to the Apostolic age supplies
a valuable illustration (see _Galatians_ p. 307 sq.), these orders are
arranged as follows: (1) θρόνοι, ἐξουσίαι, these two in the highest or
seventh heaven; (2) οἱ ἄγγελοι οἱ φέροντες τὰς ἀποκρίσεις τοῖς ἀγγέλοις
τοῦ προσώπου in the sixth heaven; (3) οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ προσώπου in the
fifth heaven; (4) οἱ ἄγιοι in the fourth heaven; (5) αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν
παρεμβολῶν in the third heaven; (6) τὰ πνεύματα τῶν ἐπαγωγῶν (i.e. of
visitations, retributions) in the second heaven: or perhaps the denizens
of the sixth and fifth heavens, (2) and (3), should be transposed. The
lowest heaven is not peopled by any spirits. In Origen _de Princ._ i. 5.
3, _ib._ i. 6. 2, I. pp. 66, 70 (comp. i. 8. 1, _ib._ p. 74), we have
five classes, which are given in an ascending scale in this order; (1)
angels (_sancti angeli_, τάξις ἀγγελική); (2) princedoms (_principatus_,
δύναμις ἀρχική, ἀρχαί); (3) powers (_potestates_, ἐξουσίαι); (4) thrones
(_throni vel sedes_, θρόνοι); (5) dominations (_dominationes_,
κυρίοτητες); though elsewhere, _in Ioann._ i. § 34, IV. p. 34, he seems
to have a somewhat different classification in view. In Ephrem Syrus
_Op. Syr._ I. p. 270 (where the translation of Benedetti is altogether
faulty and misleading) the ranks are these: (1) θεοί, θρόνοι,
κυριότητες; (2) ἀρχάγγελοι, ἀρχαί, ἐξουσίαι; (3) ἄγγελοι, δυνάμεις,
χερουβίμ, σεραφίμ; these three great divisions being represented by the
χιλίαρχοι, the ἐκατόνταρχοι, and the πεντηκόνταρχοι respectively in
Deut. i. 15, on which passage he is commenting. The general agreement
between these will be seen at once. This grouping also seems to underlie
the conception of Basil of Seleucia _Orat._ 39 (p. 207), who mentions
them in this order; θρόνοι, κυριότητες, ἀρχαί, ἐξουσίαι, δυνάμεις,
χερουβίμ, σεραφίμ. On the other hand the arrangement of the
pseudo-Dionysius, who so largely influenced subsequent speculations, is
quite different and probably later (Dion. Areop. _Op._ I. p. 75, ed.
Cord.); (1) θρόνοι, χερουβίμ, σεραφίμ; (2) ἐξουσίαι, κυριότητες,
δυνάμεις; (3) ἄγγελοι, ἀρχάγγελοι, ἀρχαι. But the earlier lists for the
most part seem to suggest as their common foundation a classification in
which θρόνοι, κυριότητες, belonged to the highest order, and ἀρχαί,
ἐξουσίαι to the next below. Thus it would appear that the Apostle takes
as an illustration the titles assigned to the two highest grades in a
system of the celestial hierarchy which he found current, and which
probably was adopted by these Gnostic Judaizers. See also the note on
ii. 18.

θρόνοι] In all systems alike these ‘thrones’ belong to the highest grade
of angelic beings, whose place is in the immediate presence of God. The
meaning of the name however is doubtful: (1) It may signify the
_occupants of thrones_ which surround the throne of God; as in the
imagery of Rev. iv. 4 κύκλοθεν τοῦ θρόνου θρόνοι εἴκοσι τέσσαρες (comp.
xi. 16, xx. 4). The imagery is there taken from the court of an earthly
king: see Jer. lii. 32. This is the interpretation given by Origen _de
Princ._ i. 5. 3 (p. 66), i. 6. 2 (p. 70) ‘judicandi vel regendi ...
habentes officium.’ Or (2) They were so called, as _supporting or
forming the throne of God_; just as the chariot-seat of the Almighty is
represented as resting on the cherubim in Ezek. i. 26, ix. 3, x. 1 sq.,
xi. 22, Ps. xviii. 10, 1 Chron. xxviii. 18. So apparently Clem. Alex.
_Proph. Ecl._ 57 (p. 1003) θρόνοι ἂν εἶεν ... διὰ τὸ ἀναπαύσθαι ἐν
αὐτοῖς τὸν Θεόν. From this same imagery of the prophet the later
mysticism of the Kabbala derived its name ‘wheels,’ which it gave to one
of its ten orders of Sephiroth. Adopting this interpretation, several
fathers identify the ‘thrones’ with the cherubim: e.g. Greg. Nyss. _ad
Eunom._ i (II. p. 349 sq.), Chrysost. _de Incompr. Nat._ iii. 5 (I. p.
467), Theodoret (_ad loc._), August. _in Psalm._ xcviii. § 3 (iv. p.
1061). This explanation was adopted also by the pseudo-Dionysius _de
Cœl. Hier._ 7 (I. p. 80), without however identifying them with the
cherubim; and through his writings it came to be generally adopted. The
former interpretation however is more probable; for (1) This highly
symbolical nomenclature accords better with a later stage of mystic
speculation, like the Kabbala; and (2) It seems natural to treat θρόνοι
as belonging to the same category with κυριότητες, ἀρχαί, ἐξουσίαι,
which are concrete words borrowed from different grades of human rank
and power. As implying _regal_ dignity, θρόνοι naturally stands at the
head of the list.

κυριότητες] ‘_dominations_,’ as Ephes. i. 21. These appear to have been
regarded as belonging to the first grade, and standing next in dignity
to the θρόνοι. This indeed would be suggested by their name.

ἀρχαί, ἐξουσίαι as Ephes. i. 21. These two words occur very frequently
together. In some places they refer to human dignities, as Luke xii. 11,
Tit. iii. 1 (comp. Luke xx. 20); in others to a spiritual hierarchy. And
here again there are two different uses: sometimes they designate good
angels, e.g. below ii. 10, Ephes. iii. 10; sometimes evil spirits, e.g.
ii. 15, Ephes. vi. 12: while in one passage at least (1 Cor. xv. 24)
both may be included. In Rom. viii. 38 we have ἀρχαὶ without ἐξουσίαι
(except as a v. l.), and in 1 Pet. iii. 22 ἐξουσίαι without ἀρχαί, in
connexion with the angelic orders.


I. 16]

ἐξουσίαι· τὰ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται·

δι’ αὐτοῦ κ.τ.λ.] ‘As all creation passed out from Him, so does it all
converge again towards Him.’ For the combination of prepositions see
Rom. xi. 36 ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα. He is not
only the ==α== but also the ==ω==, not only the ἀρχή but also the
τέλος of creation, not only the first but also the last in the history
of the Universe: Rev. xxii. 13. For this double relation of Christ to
the Universe, as both the initial and the final cause, see Heb. ii. 10
δι’ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα, where δι’ ὃν is nearly equivalent
to εἰς αὐτὸν of the text.

In the Judaic philosophy of Alexandria the preposition διὰ with the
genitive was commonly used to describe the function of the Logos in the
creation and government of the world; e.g. _de Cherub._ 35 (I. p. 162)
where Philo, enumerating the causes which combine in the work of
Creation, describes God as ὑφ’ οὗ, matter as ἐξ οὗ, and the Word as δι’
οὗ; comp. _de Mon._ ii. 5 (II. p. 225) λόγος ... δι’ οὗ σύμπας ὁ κόσμος
ἐδημιουργεῖτο. The Christian Apostles accepted this use of διὰ to
describe the mediatorial function of the Word in creation; e.g. John i.
3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο κ.τ.λ., _ib._ ver. 10 ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ
ἐγένετο, Heb. i. 2 δι’ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας. This mediatorial
function however has entirely changed its character. To the Alexandrian
Jew it was the work of a passive tool or instrument (_de Cherub._ l.c.
δι’ οὗ, _τὸ ἐργαλεῖον_, ὄργανον ... δι’ οὗ); but to the Christian
Apostle it represented a cooperating agent. Hence the Alexandrian Jew
frequently and consistently used the simple instrumental dative ᾧ to
describe the relation of the Word to the Creator, e.g. _Quod Deus
immut._ 12 (I. p. 281) ᾧ καὶ τὸν κόσμον εἰργάζετο, _Leg. All._ i. 9 (I.
p. 47) τῷ περιφανεστάτῳ καὶ τηλαυγεστάτῳ ἑαυτοῦ λόγῳ ῥήματι ὁ Θεὸς
ἀμφότερα ποιεῖ, comp. _ib._ iii. 31 (I. p. 106) ὁ λόγος ... ᾧ καθάπερ
ὀργάνῳ προσχρησάμενος. This mode of speaking is not found in the New

εἰς αὐτόν] ‘_unto Him_.’ As of the Father it is said elsewhere, 1 Cor.
viii. 6 ἐξ ὁῦ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, so here of the Son we read
τὰ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτόν. All things must find their
meeting-point, their reconciliation, at length in Him from whom they
took their rise—in the Word as the mediatorial agent, and through the
Word in the Father as the primary source. The Word is the final cause as
well as the creative agent of the Universe. This ultimate goal of the
present dispensation in time is similarly stated in several passages.
Sometimes it is represented as the birth-throe and deliverance of all
creation through Christ; as Rom. viii. 19 sq. αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις
ἐλευθερωθήσεται, πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις ... συνωδίνει. Sometimes it is the
absolute and final subjection of universal nature to Him; as 1 Cor. xv.
28 ὅταν ὑποταγῇ αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα. Sometimes it is the reconciliation of all
things through Him; as below, ver. 20 δι’ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα.
Sometimes it is the recapitulation, the gathering up in one head, of the
Universe in Him; as Ephes. i. 10 ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ
Χριστῷ. The image involved in this last passage best illustrates the
particular expression in the text εἰς αὐτόν ... ἔκτισται; but all alike
enunciate the same truth in different terms. The Eternal Word is the
goal of the Universe, as He was the starting-point. It must end in
unity, as it proceeded from unity: and the centre of this unity is
Christ. This expression has no parallel, and could have none, in the
Alexandrian phraseology and doctrine.


I. 17]

^{17}καὶ αὐτὸς ἔστιν πρὸ πάντων, καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ

17. καὶ αὐτος κ.τ.λ.] ‘_and HE IS before all things_’: comp. Joh. viii.
58 πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι, _ἐγὼ εἰμὶ_ (and perhaps also viii. 24, 28,
xiii. 19). The imperfect ἦν might have sufficed (comp. Joh. i. 1), but
the present ἔστιν declares that this pre-existence is absolute
existence. The ==αυτοϲ εϲτιν== here corresponds exactly to the ==εγω
ειμι== in St John, and this again is illustrated by Exod. iii. 14. The
verb therefore is not an enclitic, but should be accentuated ἔστιν. See
Basil _adv. Eunom._ iv (I. p. 294) ὁ ἀπόστολος εἰπών, Πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ
καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται, ὤφειλεν εἰπεῖν, Κὰι αὐτὸς _ἐγένετο_ πρὸ
πάντων, εἰπὼν δὲ, Καί αὐτὸς _ἔστι_ πρὸ πάντων, ἔδειξε τον μὲν ἀεὶ
ὄντα τὴν δὲ κτίσιν γενομένην. The αὐτός is as necessary for the
completeness of the meaning, as the ἔστιν. The one emphasizes the
_personality_, as the other declares the _pre-existence_. For this
emphatic αὐτός see again ver. 18; comp. Ephes. ii. 14, iv. 10, 11, 1
Joh. ii. 2, and esp. Rev. xix. 15 καὶ αὐτὸς ποιμανεῖ ... καὶ αὐτὸς
πατεῖ. The other interpretation which explains πρὸ πάντων of superiority
in rank, and not of priority in time, is untenable for several reasons.
(1) This would most naturally be expressed otherwise in Biblical
language, as ἐπὶ πάντων (e.g. Rom. ix. 5, Eph. iv. 6), or ὑπὲρ πάντα
(Eph. i. 22), or ὑπεράνω πάντων (Eph. i. 21, iv. 10). (2) The key to the
interpretation is given by the analogous words in the context, esp.
πρωτότοκος, vv. 15, 18. (3) Nothing short of this declaration of
absolute pre-existence would be adequate to introduce the statement
which follows, καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν.

πρὸ πάντων] ‘_before all things_.’ In the Latin it was translated ‘ante
omnes,’ i.e. thronos, dominationes, etc.; and so Tertullian _adv. Marc._
v. 19 ‘Quomodo enim ante omnes, si non ante omnia? Quomodo ante omnia,
si non primogenitus conditionis?’ But the neuter τὰ πάντα, standing in
the context before and after, requires the neuter here also.


I. 18]

συνέστηκεν. ^{18} καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος,

συνέστηκεν] ‘_hold together, cohere_.’ He is the principle of cohesion
in the universe. He impresses upon creation that unity and solidarity
which makes it a cosmos instead of a chaos. Thus (to take one instance)
the action of gravitation, which keeps in their places things fixed and
regulates the motions of things moving, is an expression of His mind.
Similarly in Heb. i. 3 Christ the Logos is described as φέρων τὰ πάντα
(_sustaining_ the universe) τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ. Here again the
Christian Apostles accept the language of Alexandrian Judaism, which
describes the Logos as the δεσμὸς of the Universe; e.g. Philo _de
Profug._ 20 (I. p. 562) ὅ τε γὰρ τοῦ ὄντος λόγος _δεσμὸς ὢν τῶν
ἁπάντων_ ... καὶ _σύνεχει_ τὰ μέρη πάντα καὶ σφίγγει καὶ κωλύει
αὐτὰ διαλύεσθαι καὶ διαρτᾶσθαι, _de Plant._ 2 (I. p. 331) _συνάγων_
τὰ μέρη πάντα καὶ σφίγγων· _δεσμὸν_ γὰρ αὐτὸν ἄρρηκτον τοῦ παντὸς ὁ
γεννήσας ἐποίει πατήρ, _Quis rer. div. her._ 38 (I. p. 507) λόγῳ
σφίγγεται θείῳ· κόλλα γάρ ἐστι καὶ _δεσμὸς_ οὗτος τὰ πάντα τῆς
οὐσίας ἐκπεπληρωκώς: and for the word itself see _Quis rer. div. her._
12 (I. p. 481) _συνέστηκε_ καὶ ζωπυρεῖται προνοίᾳ Θεοῦ, Clem. Rom.
27 ἐν λόγῳ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης αὐτοῦ συνεστήσατο τὰ πάντα. In the same
connexion σύγκειται is used, Ecclus. xliii. 26. The indices to Plato and
Aristotle amply illustrate this use of συνέστηκεν. This mode of
expression was common also with the Stoics.

18. ‘And not only does He hold this position of absolute priority and
sovereignty over the Universe—the natural creation. He stands also in
the same relation to the Church—the new spiritual creation. He is its
head, and it is His body. This is His prerogative, because He is the
source and the beginning of its life, being the First-born from the
dead. Thus in all things—in the spiritual order as in the natural—in the
Church as in the World—He is found to have the pre-eminence.’

The elevating influence of this teaching on the choicest spirits of the
subapostolic age will be seen from a noble passage in the noblest of
early Christian writings, _Epist. ad Diogn._ § 7 τὸν λόγον τὸν ἅγιον ...
ἀνθρώποις ἐνίδρυσε ... οὐ, καθάπερ ἄν τις εἰκάσειεν, ἀνθρώποις ὑπηρέτην
τινὰ πέμψας ἢ ἄγγελον ἢ ἄρχοντα ἤ τινα τῶν διεπόντων τὰ ἐπίγεια ἤ τινα
τῶν πεπιστευμένων τὰς ἐν οὐρανοῖς διοκήσεις, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸν τὸν τεχνίτην καὶ
δημιουργὸν τῶν ὅλων ... ᾧ πάντα διατέτακται καὶ διώρισται καὶ
ὑποτέτακται, οὐρανοὶ καὶ τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ κ.τ.λ.
See the whole context.

καὶ αὐτὸς] ‘_and He_,’ repeated from the preceding verse, to emphasize
the identity of the Person who unites in Himself these prerogatives: see
on ver. 17, and comp. ver. 18 αὐτός, ver. 19 δι’ αὐτοῦ. The Creator of
the World is also the Head of the Church. There is no blind ignorance,
no imperfect sympathy, no latent conflict, in the relation of the
demiurgic power to the Gospel dispensation, as the heretical teachers
were disposed consciously or unconsciously to assume (see above, p. 101
sq., p. 110 sq.), but an absolute unity of origin.

ἡ κεφαλή] ‘_the head_,’ the inspiring, ruling, guiding, combining,
sustaining power, the mainspring of its activity, the centre of its
unity, and the seat of its life. In his earlier epistles the relations
of the Church to Christ are described under the same image (1 Cor. xii.
12–27; comp. vi. 15, x. 17, Rom. xii. 4 sq.); but the Apostle there
takes as his starting-point the various functions of the members, and
not, as in these later epistles, the originating and controlling power
of the Head. Comp. i. 24, ii. 19, Eph. i. 22 sq., ii. 16, iv. 4, 12, 15
sq., v. 23, 30.


I. 18]

τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος

τῆς ἐκκλησίας] in apposition with τοῦ σώματος: comp. i. 24 τοῦ σώματος
αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία, Eph. i. 23.

ἀρχή] ‘_the origin_, _the beginning_.’ The term is here applied to the
Incarnate Christ in relation to the Church, because it is applicable to
the Eternal Word in relation to the Universe, Rev. iii. 14 ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς
κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ. The parallelism of the two relations is kept in view
throughout. The word ἀρχή here involves two ideas: (1) Priority in time;
Christ was the first-fruits of the dead, ἀπαρχή (1 Cor. xv. 20, 23): (2)
Originating power; Christ was also the source of life, Acts iii. 14 ὁ
ἀρχηγὸς τῆς ζωῆς; comp. Acts v. 31, Heb. ii. 10. He is not merely the
_principium principiatum_ but the _principium principians_ (see Trench
_Epistles to the Seven Churches_ p. 183 sq.). He rose first from the
dead, that others might rise through Him.

The word ἀρχή, like πρῶτος (see the note on Phil. i. 5), being absolute
in itself, does not require the definite article. Indeed the article is
most commonly omitted where ἀρχή occurs as a predicate, as will appear
from several examples to be gathered from the extracts in Plut. _Mor._
p. 875 sq., Stob. _Ecl. Phys._ i. 10. 12 sq. Comp. also Aristot. _Met._
x. 7, p. 1064, τὸ θεῖον ... ἂν εἴη πρώτη καὶ κυριωτάτη ἀρχή, Onatas in
Stob. _Ecl. Phys._ i. 2. 39 αὐτὸς γὰρ [θεὸς] ἀρχὰ καὶ πρᾶτον, Tatian.
_ad Græc._ 4 Θεὸς ... μόνος ἄναρχος ὢν καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπάρχων τῶν ὅλων ἀρχή,
Clem. Alex. _Strom._ iv. 25, p. 638, ὁ Θεὸς δὲ ἄναρχος, ἀρχὴ τῶν ὅλων
παντελής, ἀρχῆς ποιητικός, Method. _de Creat._ 3 (p. 100, ed. Jahn)
πάσης ἀρετῆς ἀρχὴν καὶ πηγὴν ... ἡγῇ τὸν Θεόν, pseudo-Dionys. _de Div.
Nom._ v. § 6 ἀρχὴ γάρ ἐστι τῶν ὄντων, § 10 πάντων οὖν ἀρχὴ καὶ τελευτὴ
τῶν ὄντων ὁ προών.

The text is read with the definite article, ἡ ἀρχή, in one or two
excellent authorities at least; but the obvious motive which would lead
a scribe to aim at greater distinctness renders the reading suspicious.

πρωτότοκος] Comp. Rev. i. 5 ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν
βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. His resurrection from the dead is His title to the
headship of the Church; for ‘the power of His resurrection’ (Phil. iii.
10) is the life of the Church. Such passages as Gen. xlix. 3, Deut. xxi.
17, where the πρωτότοκος is called ἀρχὴ τέκνων and superior privileges
are claimed for him as such, must necessarily be only very faint and
partial illustrations of the connexion between ἀρχὴ and πρωτότοκος here,
where the subject-matter and the whole context point to a fuller meaning
of the words. The words πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν here correspond to
πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως ver. 15, so that the parallelism between
Christ’s relations to the Universe and to the Church is thus emphasized.


I. 19]

ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων· ^{19} ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ
εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι,

ἵνα γένηται κ.τ.λ.] As He _is_ first with respect to the Universe, so it
was ordained that He should _become_ first with respect to the Church as
well. The _γένηται_ here answers in a manner to the _ἔστιν_ of
ver. 17. Thus ἔστιν and γένηται are contrasted as the absolute being and
the historical manifestation. The relation between Christ’s headship of
the Universe by virtue of His Eternal Godhead and His headship of the
Church by virtue of His Incarnation and Passion and Resurrection is
somewhat similarly represented in Phil. ii. 6 sq. ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὕαρχων
... μορφὴν δούλου λαβών ... γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου ...
_διὸ_ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν κ.τ.λ.

ἐν πᾶσιν] ‘_in all things_’ not in the Universe only but in the Church
also. Καὶ γάρ, writes Theodoret, ὡς Θεὸς, πρὸ πάντων ἐστὶ καὶ σὺν τῷ
πατρί ἐστι, καὶ ὡς ἄνθρωπος, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ τοῦ σώματος
κεφαλή. Thus ἐν πᾶσιν is neuter and not masculine, as it is sometimes
taken. Either construction is grammatically correct, but the context
points to the former interpretation here; and this is the common use of
ἐν πᾶσιν, e.g. iii. 11, Eph. i. 23, Phil. iv. 12. For the neuter compare
Plut. _Mor._ p. 9 σπεύδοντες τοὺς παῖδας ἐν πᾶσι τάχιον πρωτεῦσαι. On
the other hand in [Demosth.] _Amat._ p. 1416 κράτιστον εἶναι τὸ
πρωτεύειν ἐν ἅπασι the context shows that ἅπασι is masculine.

αὐτὸς] ‘_He Himself_’; see the note on καὶ αὐτὸς above.

19, 20. ‘And this absolute supremacy is His, because it was the Father’s
good pleasure that in Him all the plenitude of Deity should have its
home; because He willed through Him to reconcile the Universe once more
to Himself. It was God’s purpose to effect peace and harmony through the
blood of Christ’s cross, and so to restore all things, whatsoever and
wheresoever they be, whether on the earth or in the heavens.’

19. ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κ.τ.λ.] The eternal indwelling of the Godhead explains
the headship of the Church, not less than the headship of the Universe.
The resurrection of Christ, whereby He became the ἀρχὴ of the Church,
was the result of and the testimony to His deity; Rom. i. 4 τοῦ
ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ... ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν.

εὐδόκησεν] sc. ὁ Θεός, the nominative being understood; see Winer §
lviii. p. 655 sq., § lxiv. p. 735 sq.; comp. James i. 12 (the right
reading), iv. 6. Here the omission is the more easy, because εὐδοκία,
εὐδοκεῖν etc. (like θέλημα) are used absolutely of God’s good purpose,
e.g. Luke ii. 14 ἐν ἀνθρῶποις εὐδοκίας (or εὐδοκία), Phil. ii. 13 ὑπὲρ
τῆς εὐδοκίας, Clem. Rom. § 40 πάντα τὰ γινόμενα ἐν εὐδοκήσει; see the
note in Clem. Rom. § 2. For the expression generally comp. 2 Macc. xiv.
35 σύ, Κύριε, εὐδόκησας ναὸν τῆς σῆς κατασκηνώσεως ἐν ἡμῖν γενέσθαι. The
alternative is to consider πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα personified as the nominative;
but it is difficult to conceive St Paul so speaking, more especially as
with εὐδόκησεν personification would suggest personality. The πλήρωμα
indeed is personified in Clem. Alex. _Exc. Theod._ 43 (p. 979)
συναινέσαντος καὶ τοῦ πληρώματος, and in Iren. i. 2. 6 βουλῇ μιᾷ καὶ
γνώμῃ τὸ πᾶν πλήρωμα τῶν αἰώνων κ.τ.λ., i. 12. 4 πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα
ηὐδόκησεν [δι’ αὐτοῦ δοξάσαι τὸν πάτερα]; but the phraseology of the
Valentinians, to which these passages refer, cannot be taken as an
indication of St Paul’s usage, since their view of the πλήρωμα was
wholly different. A third interpretation is found in Tertullian _adv.
Marc._ v. 19, who translates ἐν αὐτῷ _in semetipso_, taking ὁ Χριστὸς as
the nominative to εὐδόκησεν: and this construction is followed by some
modern critics. But, though grammatically possible, it confuses the
theology of the passage hopelessly.

τὸ πλήρωμα] ‘_the plenitude_,’ a recognised technical term in theology,
denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes; comp. ii. 9.
See the detached note on πλήρωμα. On the relation of this statement to
the speculations of the false teachers at Colossæ see the introduction,
pp. 102, 112. Another interpretation, which explains τὸ πλήρωμα as
referring to the Church (comp. Ephes. i. 22), though adopted by several
fathers, is unsuited to the context and has nothing to recommend it.

κατοικῆσαι] ‘_should have its permanent abode_.’ The word occurs again
in the same connexion, ii. 9. The false teachers probably, like their
later counterparts, maintained only a partial and transient connexion of
the πλήρωμα with the Lord. Hence St Paul declares in these two passages
that it is not a παροικία but a κατοικία. The two words κατοικεῖν,
παροικεῖν, occur in the LXX as the common renderings of ישב and נור
respectively, and are distinguished as the _permanent_ and the
_transitory_; e.g. Gen. xxxvi. 44 (xxxvii. 1) κατῷκει δὲ Ἰακὼβ ἐν τῇ γῇ
οὗ παρῴκησεν ὁ πατήρ αὐτοῦ ἐν γῇ Χαναάν (comp. Hos. x. 5), Philo _Sacr.
Ab. et Ca._ 10 (I. p. 170 M) ὁ τοῖς ἐγκυκλίοις μόνοις ἐπανέχων παροικεῖ
σοφίᾳ, οὐ κατοικεῖ, Greg. Naz. _Orat._ xiv. (I. p. 271 ed. Caillau) τίς
τὴν κάτω σκηνὴν καὶ τὴν ἄνω πόλιν; τίς παροικίαν καὶ κατοικίαν; comp.
_Orat._ vii. (I. p. 200). See also the notes on Ephes. ii. 19, and on
Clem. Rom. § 1.


I. 20]

^{20}καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς

20. The false teachers aimed at effecting a partial reconciliation
between God and man through the interposition of angelic mediators. The
Apostle speaks of an absolute and complete reconciliation of universal
nature to God, effected through the mediation of the Incarnate Word.
Their mediators were ineffective, because they were neither human nor
divine. The true mediator must be both human and divine. It was
necessary that in Him all the plenitude of the Godhead should dwell. It
was necessary also that He should be born into the world and should
suffer as a man.

δι’ αὐτοῦ] i.e. τοῦ Χριστοῦ, as appears from the preceding ἐν αὐτῷ, and
the following διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ, [δι’ αὐτοῦ]. This
expression δι’ αὐτοῦ has been already applied to the Preincarnate Word
in relation to the Universe (ver. 16); it is now used of the Incarnate
Word in relation to the Church.

ἀποκαταλλάξαι] sc. εὐδόκησεν ὁ Θεός. The personal pronoun αὐτόν, instead
of the reflexive ἑαυτόν, is no real obstacle to this way of connecting
the words (see the next note). The alternative would be to take τὸ
πλήρωμα as governing ἀποκαταλλάξαι, but this mode of expression is harsh
and improbable.

The same double compound ἀποκαταλλάσσειν is used below, ver. 21 and
Ephes. ii. 16, in place of the usual καταλλάσσειν. It may be compared
with ἀποκατάστασις, Acts iii. 21. Tertullian, arguing against the
dualism of Marcion who maintained an antagonism between the demiurge and
the Christ, lays stress on the compound, _adv. Marc._ v. 19
‘_conciliari_ extraneo possent, _reconciliari_ vero non alii quam suo.’
The word ἀποκαταλλάσσειν corresponds to ἀπηλλοτριωμένους here and in
Ephes. ii. 16, implying a _restitution_ to a state from which they had
fallen, or which was potentially theirs, or for which they were
destined. Similarly St Augustine on Gal. iv. 5 remarks that the word
used of the υἱοθεσία is not _accipere_ (λαμβάνειν) but _recipere_
(ἀπολαμβάνειν). See the note there.

τὰ πάντα] The whole universe of things, material as well as spiritual,
shall be restored to harmony with God. How far this restoration of
universal nature maybe subjective, as involved in the changed
perceptions of man thus brought into harmony with God, and how far it
may have an objective and independent existence, it were vain to


I. 21]

αὐτόν, εἰρηνοποιήσας διὰ τοῦ ἅιματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ, δι’ αὐτοῦ ἔιτε
τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔιτε τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ^{21}καὶ ὑμᾶς ποτὲ ὄντας
ἀπήλλοτριωμένους καὶ >

εἰς αὐτόν] ‘_to Him_,’ i.e. ‘to Himself.’ The reconciliation is always
represented as made to the Father. The reconciler is sometimes the
Father Himself (2 Cor. v. 18, 19 ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ καταλλάξαντος ἡμᾶς
ἑαυτῷ διὰ Χριστοῦ ... Θεὸς ἐν Χριστῷ κόσμον καταλλάσσων ἑαυτῷ),
sometimes the Son (Ephes. ii. 16: comp. Rom. v. 10, 11). Excellent
reasons are given (Bleek _Hebr._ II. p. 69, A. Buttmann _Gramm._ p. 97)
for supposing that the reflexive pronoun ἑαυτοῦ etc. is never contracted
into αὐτοῦ etc. in the Greek Testament. But at the same time it is quite
clear that the oblique cases of the personal pronoun αὐτός are there
used very widely, and in cases where we should commonly find the
reflexive pronoun in classical authors: e.g. Ephes. i. 4, 5 ἐξελέξατο
ἡμᾶς ... εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον _αὐτοῦ_ ...
προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ὑιοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς _αὐτόν_. See
also the instances given in A. Buttmann p. 98. It would seem indeed that
αὐτοῦ etc. may be used for ἑαυτοῦ etc. in almost every connexion, except
where it is the direct object of the verb.

εἰρηνοποιήσας] The word occurs in the LXX, Prov. x. 10, and in Hermes in
Stob. _Ecl. Phys._ xli. 45. The substantive εἰρηνοποιός (see Matt. v. 9)
is found several times in classical writers.

δι’ αὐτοῦ] The external authority for and against these words is nearly
evenly balanced: but there would obviously be a tendency to reject them
as superfluous. They are a resumption of the previous δι’ αὐτοῦ. For
other examples see ii. 13 ὑμᾶς, Rom. viii. 23 καὶ αὐτοὶ, Gal. ii. 15, 16
ἡμεῖς, Ephes. i. 13 ἐν ᾧ καί, iii. 1, 14 τούτου χάριν, where words are
similarly repeated for the sake of emphasis or distinctness. In 2 Cor.
xii. 7 there is a repetition of ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι, where again it is
omitted in several excellent authorities.

21–23. ‘And ye too—ye Gentiles—are included in the terms of this peace.
In times past ye had estranged yourselves from God. Your hearts were
hostile to Him, while ye lived on in your evil deeds. But now, in
Christ’s body, in Christ’s flesh which died on the Cross for your
atonement, ye are reconciled to Him again. He will present you a living
sacrifice, an acceptable offering unto Himself, free from blemish and
free even from censure, that ye may stand the piercing glance of Him
whose scrutiny no defect can escape. But this can only be, if ye remain
true to your old allegiance, if ye hold fast (as I trust ye are holding
fast) by the teaching of Epaphras, if the edifice of your faith is built
on solid foundations and not reared carelessly on the sands, if ye
suffer not yourselves to be shifted or shaken but rest firmly on the
hope which ye have found in the Gospel—the one universal unchangeable
Gospel, which was proclaimed to every creature under heaven, of which I
Paul, unworthy as I am, was called to be a minister.’

21. ἀπηλλοτριωμένους] ‘_estranged_,’ not ἀλλοτρίους, ‘_strangers_’;
comp. Ephes. ii. 12, iv. 18. See the note on ἀποκαταλλάξαι ver. 20.


I. 22]

ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς, νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατηλλάγητε
^{22}ἐν τῷ σώματι τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ διὰ

                    21 νυνὶ δὲ _ἀποκατήλλαξεν._

ἐχθρούς] ‘_hostile_ to God,’ as the consequence of ἀπηλλοτριωμένους, not
‘_hateful_ to God,’ as it is taken by some. The active rather than the
passive sense of ἐχθρούς is required by the context, which (as commonly
in the New Testament) speaks of the sinner as reconciled to God, not of
God as reconciled to the sinner: comp. Rom. v. 10 εἰ γὰρ ἐχθροὶ ὄντες
κατηλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ κ.τ.λ. It is the mind of man, not the mind of God,
which must undergo a change, that a reunion may be effected.

τῇ διανοι|ᾳ] ‘_in your mind, intent_.’ For the dative of the part
affected compare Ephes. iv. 18 ἐσκοτωμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ, Luke i. 51
ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν. So καρδίᾳ, καρδίαις, Matt. v. 8, xi.
29, Acts vii. 51, 2 Cor. ix. 7, 1 Thess. ii. 17; φρεσίν, 1 Cor. xiv. 20.

ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις κ.τ.λ.] ‘_in_ the midst of, _in_ the performance of _your
wicked works_’; the same use of the preposition as e.g. ii. 23, iv. 2.

νυνί] Here, as frequently, νῦν (νυνί) admits an aorist, because it
denotes not ‘at the present _moment_,’ but ‘in the present
_dispensation_, the present _order of things_’: comp. e.g. ver. 26, Rom.
v. 11, vii. 6, xi. 30, 31, xvi. 26, Ephes. ii. 13, iii. 5, 2 Tim. i. 10,
1 Pet. i. 12, ii. 10, 25. In all these passages there is a direct
contrast between the old dispensation and the new, more especially as
affecting the relation of the Gentiles to God. The aorist is found also
in Classical writers, where a similar contrast is involved; e.g. Plato
_Symp._ 193 A πρὸ τοῦ, ὥσπερ λέγω, ἓν ἦμεν· νυνὶ δὲ διὰ τὴν ἀδικίαν
διῳκίσθημεν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, Isæus _de Cleon. her._ 20 τότε μὲν ... νυνὶ δὲ
... ἐβουλήθη.

ἀποκατηλλάγητε] The reasons for preferring this reading, though the
direct authority for it is so slight, are given in the detached note on
the various readings. But, whether ἀποκατηλλάγητε or ἀποκατήλλαξεν be
preferred, the construction requires explanation. If ἀποκατήλλαξεν be
adopted, it is perhaps best to treat δὲ as introducing the apodosis, the
foregoing participial clause serving as the protasis: ‘_And you, though
ye were once estranged ... yet now hath he reconciled_,’ in which case
the first ὑμᾶς will be governed directly by ἀποκατήλλαξεν; see Winer
_Gramm._ § liii. p. 553. If this construction be adopted, παραστῆσαι
ὑμᾶς will describe the result of ἀποκατήλλαξεν, ‘so as _to present
you_’; but ὁ Θεὸς will still be the nominative to ἀποκατήλλαξεν as in 2
Cor. v. 19. If on the other hand ἀποκατηλλάγητε be taken, it is best to
regard νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατηλλάγητε as a direct indicative clause substituted
for the more regular participial form νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκαταλλαγέντας for the
sake of greater emphasis: see the note on ver. 26 τὸ ἀποκεκρυμμένον ...
νῦν δὲ ἐφανερώθη. In this case παραστῆσαι will be governed directly by
εὐδόκησεν, and will itself govern ὑμα^ς πότε ὄντας κ.τ.λ., the second
ὑμᾶς being a repetition of the first; ‘_And you who once were estranged
... but now ye have been reconciled ... to present you_, I say, _holy
and without blemish_.’ For the repetition of ὑμᾶς, which was needed to
disentangle the construction, see the note on δι’ αὐτοῦ ver. 20.

22. τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ] It has been supposed that St Paul added these
words, which are evidently emphatic, with a polemical aim either; (1) To
combat docetism. Of this form of error however there is no direct
evidence till a somewhat later date: or (2) To combat a false
spiritualism which took offence at the doctrine of an atoning sacrifice.
But for this purpose they would not have been adequate, because not
explicit enough. It seems simpler therefore to suppose that they were
added for the sake of greater clearness, to distinguish the natural body
of Christ intended here from the mystical body mentioned just above ver.
18. Similarly in Ephes. ii. 14 ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ is used rather than ἐν
τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ, because σῶμα occurs in the context (ver. 16) of
Christ’s mystical body. The same expression, τὸ σῶμα τῆς σαρκός, which
we have here, occurs also below, ii. 11, but with a different emphasis
and meaning. There the emphasis is on τὸ σῶμα, the contrast lying
between the whole _body_ and a single _member_ (see the note); whereas
here τῆς σαρκὸς is the emphatic part of the expression, the antithesis
being between the _material_ and the _spiritual_. Compare also Ecclus.
xxiii. 16 ἄνθρωπος πόρνος ἐν σώματι σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ.

Marcion omitted τῆς σαρκὸς as inconsistent with his views, and explained
ἐν τῷ σώματι to mean the Church. Hence the comment of Tertullian _adv.
Marc._ v. 19, ‘utique in eo corpore, in quo mori potuit per carnem,
mortuus est, non per ecclesiam sed propter ecclesiam, corpus commutando
pro corpore, carnale pro spiritali.’


I. 23]

τοῦ θανάτου [αὐτοῦ], παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους
κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, ^{23} εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ
ἑδραῖοι καὶ μὴ μετακινούμενοι

παραστῆσαι] If the construction which I have adopted be correct, this is
said of God Himself, as in 2 Cor. iv. 14 ὁ ἐγέιρας τὸν Κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ
ἡμᾶς σὺν Ἰησοῦ ἐγερεῖ καὶ _παραστήσει_ σὺν ὑμῖν. This construction
seems in all respects preferable to connecting παραστῆσαι directly with
ἀποκατηλλάγητε and interpreting the words, _‘Ye have been reconciled so
that ye should present yourselves_ (ὑμᾶς) ... _before Him_.’ This latter
interpretation leaves the καὶ ὑμᾶς ποτὲ ὄντας κ.τ.λ. without a
government, and it gives to the second ὑμᾶς a reflexive sense (as if
ὑμᾶς αὐτοὺς or ἑαυτούς), which is at least harsh.

ἀμώμους] _‘without blemish_’ rather than ‘_without blame_,’ in the
language of the New Testament; see the noteon Ephes. i. 4. It is a
sacrificial word, like τέλειος, ὀλόκληρος, etc. The verb παριστάναι also
is used of presenting a sacrifice in Rom. xii. 1 _παραστῆσαι_ τὰ
σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν κ.τ.λ., Lev. xvi. 7 (v. l.): comp. Luke
ii. 22.

ἀνεγκλήτους] an advance upon ἀμώμους, ‘in whom not only no blemish is
found, but against whom no charge is brought’: comp. 1 Tim. vi. 14
ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπίλημπτον. The word ἀνέγκλητος occurs again in 1 Cor. i. 8,
1 Tim. iii. 10, Tit. i. 6, 7.

κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ] ‘_before Him_,’ i.e. ‘Himself,’ as in the parallel
passage, Ephes. i. 4; if the construction here adopted be correct. For
this use of the personal pronoun instead of the reflexive see the note
on εἰς αὐτόν, ver. 20. But does κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ refer to God’s future
judgment or His present approbation? The latter seems more probable,
both because the expression certainly has this meaning in the parallel
passage, Ephes. i. 4, and because κατενώπιαν, ἐνώπιον, κατέναντι, etc.,
are commonly so used; e.g. Rom. xiv. 22, 1 Cor. i. 29, 2 Cor. ii. 17,
iv. 2, vii. 12, xii. 19, etc. On the other hand, where the future
judgment is intended, a different expression is found, 2 Cor. v. 10
ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Thus God is here regarded, not as the
judge who tries the accused, but as the μωμοσκόπος who examines the
victims (Polyc. _Phil._ 4, see the note on Ephes. i. 4). Compare Heb.
iv. 12, 13 for a closely allied metaphor. The passage in Jude 24, στῆσαι
κατενώπιον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ ἀμώμους ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει, though perhaps
referring to final approval, is too different in expression to influence
the interpretation of Paul’s language here.

23. εἴ γε] On the force of these particles see Gal. iii. 4. They express
a pure hypothesis in themselves, but the indicative mood following
converts the hypothesis into a hope.

ἐπιμένετε] ‘_ye abide by, ye adhere to_,’ with a dative; the common
construction of ἐπιμένειν in St Paul: see the note on Phil. i. 24. In
this connexion τῇ πίστει is perhaps ‘_your_ faith,’ rather than ‘_the_

τεθεμελιωμένοι κ.τ.λ.] ‘_built on a foundation and so firm_’; not like
the house of the foolish man in the parable who built χωρὶς θεμελίου,
Luke vi. 49. For τεθεμελιωμένοι comp. Ephes. iii. 17. The consequence of
τεθεμελιωμένοι is ἑδραῖοι: Clem. Rom. 33 _ἥδρασεν_ ἐπὶ τὸν ἀσφαλῆ
τοῦ ἰδίου βουλήματος _θεμέλιον_. The words ἑδραῖος, ἑδράζω, etc.,
are not uncommonly applied to buildings, e.g. ἑδραίωμα 1 Tim. iii. 15.
Comp. Ign. _Ephes._ 10 ὑμεῖς ἑδραῖοι τῇ πίστει.

μὴ μετακινούμενοι] ‘_not constantly shifting_,’ a present tense; the
same idea as ἑδραῖοι expressed from the negative side, as in 1 Cor. xv.
58 ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε, ἀμετακίνητοι, Polyc. _Phil._ 10 ‘firmi in fide et


I. 23]

ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὗ ἠκούσατε, τοῦ κηρυχθέντος ἐν πάσῃ
κτίσει τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν, οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος.

τῆς ἐλπίδος κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the hope held out by the Gospel_,’ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
being a subjective genitive, as in Ephes. i. 18 ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως
(comp. iv. 4).

ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει] ‘_among every creature_,’ in fulfilment of the Lord’s
last command, Mark xvi. 15 κηρύξατε τὸ ευαγγέλιον πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει. Here
however the definitive article, though found in the received text, ἐν
πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει, must be omitted in accordance with the best authorities.
For the meanings of πᾶσα κτίσις, πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις, see the note on ver. 15.
The expression πᾶσα κτίσις must not be limited to man. The statement is
given in the broadest form, all creation animate and inanimate being
included, as in Rev. v. 13 _πᾶν κτίσμα_ ... καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς
_πάντα_ ἥκουσα λέγοντα κ.τ.λ. For the hyperbole ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει
compare 1 Thess. i. 8 ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. To demand statistical exactness in
such a context would be to require what is never required in similar
cases. The motive of the Apostle here is at once to emphasize the
universality of the genuine Gospel, which has been offered without
reserve to all alike, and to appeal to its publicity, as the credential
and guarantee of its truth: see the notes on ver. 6 ἐν παντὶ τῷ κόσμῳ
and on ver. 28 πάντα ἄνθρωπον.

οὖ ἐγενόμην κ.τ.λ.] Why does St Paul introduce this mention of himself
so abruptly? His motive can hardly be the assertion of his Apostolic
authority, for it does not appear that this was questioned; otherwise he
would have declared his commission in stronger terms. We can only answer
that impressed with the dignity of his office, as involving the offer of
grace to the Gentiles, he cannot refrain from magnifying it. At the same
time this mention enables him to link himself in bonds of closer
sympathy with the Colossians, and he passes on at once to his relations
with them: comp. Ephes. iii. 2–9, 1 Tim. i. 11 sq., in which latter
passage the introduction of his own name is equally abrupt.

ἐγὼ Παῦλος] i.e. ‘weak and unworthy as I am’: comp. Ephes. iii. 8 ἐμοὶ
τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέμω πάντων ἁγίων.


I. 24]

^{24}Νῦν χαίρω ἐν τοῖς παθήμασιν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, καὶ

24–27. ‘_Now_ when I see the full extent of God’s mercy, _now_ when I
ponder over His mighty work of reconciliation, I cannot choose but
rejoice in my sufferings. Yes, I Paul the persecutor, I Paul the feeble
and sinful, am permitted to supplement—I do not shrink from the word—to
supplement the afflictions of Christ. Despite all that He underwent, He
the Master has left something still for me the servant to undergo. And
so my flesh is privileged to suffer for His body—His spiritual body, the
Church. I was appointed a minister of the Church, a steward in God’s
household, for this very purpose, that I might administer my office on
your behalf, might dispense to you Gentiles the stores which His
bountiful grace has provided. Thus I was charged to preach without
reserve the whole Gospel of God, to proclaim the great mystery which had
remained a secret through all the ages and all the generations from the
beginning, but which now in these last times was revealed to His holy
people. For such was His good pleasure. God willed to make known to
them, in all its inexhaustible wealth thus displayed through the call of
the Gentiles, the glorious revelation of this mystery—Christ not the
Saviour of the Jews only, but Christ dwelling in _you_, Christ become to
_you_ the hope of glory.’

24. Νῦν χαίρω] A sudden outburst of thanksgiving, that he, who was less
than the least, who was not worthy to be called an Apostle, should be
allowed to share and even to supplement the sufferings of Christ. The
relative ὅς, which is found in some authorities, is doubtless the
repetition of the final syllable of δίακονος; but its insertion would be
assisted by the anxiety of scribes to supply a connecting link between
the sentences. The genuine reading is more characteristic of St Paul.
The abruptness, which dispenses with a connecting particle, has a
parallel in Tim. i. 12 χάριν ἔχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ κ.τ.λ.,
where also the common text inserts a link of connexion, καὶ χάριν ἔχω
κ.τ.λ. Compare also 2 Cor. vii. 9 νῦν χαίρω, οὐχ ὅτι κ.τ.λ., where again
there is no connecting particle.

The thought underlying νῦν seems to be this: ‘If ever I have been
disposed to repine at my lot, if ever I have felt my cross almost too
heavy to bear, yet _now_–now, when I contemplate the lavish wealth of
God’s mercy—now when I see all the glory of bearing a part in this
magnificent work—my sorrow is turned to joy.’


I. 24]

ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ

ἀνταναπληρῶ] ‘_I fill up on my part_’, ‘_I supplement_.’ The single
compound ἀναπληροῦν occurs several times (e.g. 1 Cor. xiv. 16, xvi. 17,
Gal. vi. 2); another double compound προσαναπληροῦν twice (2 Cor. ix.
12, xi. 9; comp. Wisd. xix. 4, v.l.); but ἀνταναπληροῦν only here in the
LXX or New Testament. For this verb compare Demosth. _de Symm._ p. 182
τούτων τῶν συμμοριῶν ἑκάστην διελεῖν κελεύω πέντε μέρη κατὰ δώδεκα
ἄνδρας, ἀνταναπληροῦντας _πρὸς τὸν εὐπορώτατον_ ἀεὶ τοὺς
ἀπορωτάτους (where τοὺς ἀπορωτάτους should be taken as the subject to
ἀνταναπληροῦντας), Dion Cass. xliv. 48 ἵν’ ὅσον ... ἐνέδει, τοῦτο ἐκ τῆς
_παρὰ τῶν ἄλλων_ συντελείας ἀνταναπληρωθῇ, Clem. Alex. _Strom._
vii. 12 p. 878 οὗτος ... τὴν _ἀποστολικὴν ἀπουσίαν_ ἀνταναπληροῖ,
Apollon. _Constr. Or._ i. 3 (p. 13 sq.) ἡ ἀντωνυμία ἀνταναπληροῦσα καὶ
τὴν θέσιν τοῦ ὀνόματος καὶ τὴν τάξιν τοῦ ῥήματος, Ptol. _Math. Comp._
vi. 9 (I. p. 435 ed. Halma) ἐπεὶ δ’ ἡ _μὲν ἐλλείπειν_ ἐποίει τὴν
ἀποκατάστασιν ἡ _δὲ πλεονάζειν_ κατά τινα συντυχίαν ἣν ἴσως καὶ ὁ
Ἵππαρχος ἀνταναπληρουμένην πως κατανενοήκει κ.τ.λ. The substantive
ἀνταναπλήρωσις occurs in Diog. Laert. x. 48. So too ἀνταναπλήθειν Xen.
_Hell._ ii. 4. 11, 12 ξυνετάξαντο, ὥστε _ἑμπλῆσαι τὴν ὁδόν_ ... οἱ
δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς φυλῆς ἀντανέπλησαν ... τὴν ὁδόν. Compare also ἀντανισοῦν
Themist. _Paraphr. Arist._ 43 B οὐδὲν κωλύει κατὰ ταὐτὸν _ἄλλοθί που
μεταβάλλειν_ ἀέρα εἰς ὕδωρ καὶ ἀντανισοῦσθαι τὸν σύμπαντα ὄγκον, and
ἀντανίσωμα Joseph. _Ant._ xviii. 9. 7. The meaning of ἀντὶ in this
compound will be plain from the passages quoted. It signifies that the
supply comes _from an opposite quarter_ to the deficiency. This idea is
more or less definitely expressed in the context of all the passages, in
the words which are spaced. The force of ἀνταναπληροῦν in St Paul is
often explained as denoting simply that the supply _corresponds in
extent_ to the deficiency. This interpretation practically deprives ἀντί
of any meaning, for ἀναπληροῦν alone would denote as much. If indeed the
supply had been the subject of the verb, and the sentence had run τὰ
παθήματά μου ἀνταναπληροῖ τὰ ὑστηρήματα κ.τ.λ., this idea might perhaps
be reached without sacrificing the sense of ἀντί; but in such a passage
as this, where one personal agent is mentioned in connexion with the
supply and another in connexion with the deficiency, the one forming the
subject and the other being involved in the object of the verb, the ἀντὶ
can only describe the correspondence of these personal agents. So
interpreted, it is eminently expressive here. The point of the Apostle’s
boast is that Christ the sinless Master should have _left_ something for
Paul the unworthy servant to suffer. The right idea has been seized and
is well expressed by Photius _Amphil._ 121 (I. p. 709 Migne) οὐ γὰρ
ἁπλῶς φησιν Ἀναπληρῶ, ἀλλ’ Ἀνταναπληρῶ, τουτέστιν, Ἀντὶ δεσπότου καὶ
διδασκάλου ὁ δοῦλος ἐγὼ καὶ μαθητὴς κ.τ.λ. Similar in meaning, though
not identical, is the expression in 2 Cor. i. 5, where the sufferings of
Christ are said to ‘overflow’ (περισσεύειν) upon the Apostle. The
theological difficulty which this plain and natural interpretation of
ἀνταναπληροῦν is supposed to involve will be considered in the note on
τῶν θλίψεων.

τὰ ὑστερήματα] ‘_the things lacking_.’ This same word ὑστέρημα
‘deficiency’ occurs with ἀναπληροῦν 1 Cor. xvi. 17, Phil. ii. 30, and
with προσαναπληροῦν 2 Cor. ix. 12, xi. 9. Its direct opposite is
περίσσευμα ‘abundance, superfluity,’ 2 Cor. viii. 13, 14; comp. Luke
xxi. 4. Another interpretation, which makes ὑστέρημα an antithesis to
προτέρημα, explaining it as ‘the later’ as opposed to the earlier
‘sufferings of Christ,’ is neither supported by the usage of the word
nor consistent with ἀνταναπληρῶ.

τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ] ‘_of the afflictions of Christ_,’ i.e. which
Christ endured. This seems to be the only natural interpretation of the
words. Others have explained them as meaning ‘the afflictions imposed by
Christ,’ or ‘the afflictions endured for Christ’s sake,’ or ‘the
afflictions which resemble those of Christ.’ All such interpretations
put a more or less forced meaning on the genitive. All alike ignore the
meaning of ἀντὶ in ἀνταναπληρῶ which points to a _distinction_ of
persons suffering. Others again suppose the words to describe St Paul’s
own afflictions regarded as Christ’s, because Christ suffers in His
suffering Church; e.g. Augustine _in Psalm._ cxlii. § 3 (IV. p. 1590)
‘Patitur, inquit, adhuc Christus pressuram, non in carne sua in qua
ascendit in cælum, sed in carne mea quæ adhuc laborat in terra,’ quoting
Gal. ii. 20. This last is a very favourite explanation, and has much to
recommend it. It cannot be charged with wresting the meaning of αἱ
θλίψεις τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Moreover it harmonizes with St Paul’s mode of
speaking elsewhere. But, like the others, it is open to the fatal
objection that it empties the first preposition in ἀνταναπληρῶ of any
force. The central idea in this interpretation is the _identification_
of the suffering Apostle with the suffering Christ, whereas ἀνταναπληρῶ
emphasizes the _distinction_ between the two. It is therefore
inconsistent with this context, however important may be the truth which
it expresses.

The theological difficulty, which these and similar explanations are
intended to remove, is imaginary and not real. There is a sense in which
it is quite legitimate to speak of Christ’s afflictions as _incomplete_,
a sense in which they may be, and indeed must be, _supplemented_. For
the sufferings of Christ may be considered from two different points of
view. They are either _satisfactoriæ_ or _ædificatoriæ_. They have their
sacrificial efficacy, and they have their ministerial utility. (1) From
the former point of view the Passion of Christ was the one full perfect
and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the
whole world. In this sense there could be no ὑστέρημα of Christ’s
sufferings; for, Christ’s sufferings being different _in kind_ from
those of His servants, the two are incommensurable. But in this sense
the Apostle would surely have used some other expression such as τοῦ
σταυροῦ (i. 20, Eph. ii. 16 etc.), or τοῦ θανάτου (i. 22, Rom. v. 10,
Heb. ii. 14, etc.), but hardly τῶν θλίψεων. Indeed θλίψις, ‘affliction,’
is not elsewhere applied in the New Testament in any sense to Christ’s
sufferings, and certainly would not suggest a sacrificial act. (2) From
the latter point of view it is a simple matter of fact that the
afflictions of every saint and martyr do supplement the afflictions of
Christ. The Church is built up by repeated acts of self-denial in
successive individuals and successive generations. They continue the
work which Christ began. They bear their part in the sufferings of
Christ (2 Cor. i. 7 κοινωνοὶ τῶν παθημάτων, Phil. iii. 10 κοινωνίαν τῶν
παθημάτων); but St Paul would have been the last to say that they bear
their part in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. This being so, St Paul
does not mean to say that his own sufferings filled up all the
ὑστερήματα, but only that they _went towards_ filling them up. The
present tense ἀνταναπληρῶ denotes an inchoate, and not a complete act.
These ὑστερήματα will never be fully supplemented, until the struggle of
the Church with sin and unbelief is brought to a close.

Thus the idea of expiation or satisfaction is wholly absent from this
passage; and with it is removed the twofold temptation which has beset
theologians of opposite schools. (1) On the one hand Protestant
commentators, rightly feeling that any interpretation which infringed
the completeness of the work wrought by Christ’s death must be wrong,
because it would make St Paul contradict himself on a cardinal point of
his teaching, have been tempted to wrest the sense of the words. They
have emptied ἀνταναπληρῶ of its proper force; or they have assigned a
false meaning to ὑστερήματα; or they have attached a non-natural sense
to the genitive τοῦ Χριστοῦ. (2) On the other hand Romanist
commentators, while protesting (as they had a right to do) against these
methods of interpretation, have fallen into the opposite error. They
have found in this passage an assertion of the merits of the saints, and
(as a necessary consequence) of the doctrine of indulgences. They have
not observed that, if the idea of vicarious satisfaction comes into the
passage at all, the satisfaction of St Paul is represented here as the
same in kind with the satisfaction of Christ, however different it may
be in degree; and thus they have truly exposed themselves to the
reproach which Estius indignantly repudiates on their behalf, ‘quasi
Christus non satis passus sit ad redemptionem nostram, ideoque
supplemento martyrum opus habeat; quod impium est sentire, quodque
Catholicos dicere non minus impie calumniantur hæretici.’ It is no part
of a commentator here to enquire generally whether the Roman doctrine of
the satisfaction of the saints can in any way be reconciled with St
Paul’s doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ. It is sufficient to say
that, so far as regards this particular passage, the Roman doctrine can
only be imported into it at the cost of a contradiction to the Pauline
doctrine. It is only fair to add however that Estius himself says, ‘quæ
quidem doctrina, etsi Catholica et Apostolica sit, atque aliunde satis
probetur, ex hoc tamen Apostoli loco nobis non videtur admodum solide
statui posse.’ But Roman Catholic commentators generally find this
meaning in the text, as may be seen from the notes of à Lapide.


I. 25]

 ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου ὑπὲρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία· ^{25}ἧς
ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ διάκονος κατὰ τὴν

τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ An antithesis of the Apostle’s own flesh and Christ’s
body. This antithetical form of expression obliges St Paul to explain
what he means by the body of Christ, ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία; comp. ver. 18.
Contrast the explanation in ver. 22 ἐν τῷ σώματι τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, and
see the note there.

25. τὴν οἰκονομίαν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_stewardship in the house of God_.’ The word
οἰκονομία seems to have two senses: (1) ‘The actual administration of a
household’; (2) ‘The office of the administrator.’ For the former
meaning see the note on Ephes. i. 10; for the latter sense, which it has
here, compare 1 Cor. ix. 17 οἰκονομίαν πεπίστευμαι, Luke xvi. 2–4,
Isaiah xxii. 19, 21. So the Apostles and ministers of the Church are
called οἰκονόμοι, 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2, Tit. i. 7: comp. 1 Pet. iv. 10.



οἰκονομίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι εἰς ὑμᾶς, πληρῶσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ
Θεοῦ, ^{26} τὸ μυστήριον τὸ ἀποκεκρυμμένον

εἰς ὑμᾶς] ‘_to youward_,’ i.e. ‘for the benefit of you, the Gentiles’;
εἰς ὑμᾶς being connected with τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, as in Ephes. iii. 2 τὴν
οἰκονομίαν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι εἰς ὑμᾶς; comp. Rom.
xv. 16 διὰ τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς τὸ εἶναί με
λειτουργὸν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ _εἰς τὰ ἔθνη_.

πληρῶσαι] ‘_to fulfil_,’ i.e. ‘to preach fully,’ ‘to give its complete
development to’; as Rom. xv. 19 ὥστε με ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ κύκλῳ μέχρι
τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ πεπληρωκέναι τὸ εὐαγγελίον τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Thus ‘the word of
God’ here is ‘the Gospel,’ as in most places (1 Cor. xiv. 36, 2 Cor. ii.
17, iv. 2, etc.), though not always (e.g. Rom. ix. 6), in St Paul, as
also in the Acts. The other interpretation, ‘to accomplish the promise
of God,’ though suggested by such passages as 1 Kings ii. 27 πληρωθῆναι
τὸ ῥῆμα Κυρίου, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21 πληρωθῆναι λόγον Κυρίου, etc., is
alien to the context here.

26. τὸ μυστήριον] This is not the only term borrowed from the ancient
mysteries, which St Paul employs to describe the teaching of the Gospel.
The word τέλειον just below, ver. 28, seems to be an extension of the
same metaphor. In Phil. iv. 12 again we have the verb μεμύημαι: and in
Ephes. i. 14 σφραγίζεσθαι is perhaps an image derived from the same
source. So too the Ephesians are addressed as Παύλου συμμύσται in Ign.
_Ephes._ 12. The Christian teacher is thus regarded as a ἱεροφάντης (see
Epict. iii. 21. 13 sq.) who initiates his disciples into the rites.
There is this difference however; that, whereas the heathen mysteries
were strictly confined to a narrow circle, the Christian mysteries are
freely communicated to all. There is therefore an intentional paradox in
the employment of the image by St Paul. See the notes on πάντα ἄνθρωπον
τέλειον below.

Thus the idea of _secresy_ or _reserve_ disappears when μυστήριον is
adopted into the Christian vocabulary by St Paul: and the word signifies
simply ‘a truth which was once hidden but now is revealed,’ ‘a truth
which without special revelation would have been unknown.’ Of the nature
of the truth itself the word says nothing. It may be transcendental,
incomprehensible, mystical, mysterious, in the modern sense of the term
(1 Cor. xv. 51, Eph. v. 32): but this idea is quite accidental, and must
be gathered from the special circumstances of the case, for it cannot be
inferred from the word itself. Hence μυστήριον is almost universally
found in connexion with words denoting revelation or publication; e.g.
ἀποκαλύπτειν, ἀποκάλυψις, Rom. xvi. 25, Ephes. iii. 3, 5, 2 Thess. ii.
7; γνωρίζειν Rom. xvi. 26, Ephes. i. 9, iii. 3, 10, vi. 19; φανεροῦν
Col. iv. 3, Rom. xvi. 26, 1 Tim. iii. 16; λαλεῖν iv. 3, 1 Cor. ii. 7,
xiv. 2; λέγειν, 1 Cor. xv. 51.

But the one special ‘mystery’ which absorbs St Paul’s thoughts in the
Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians is the free admission of the
Gentiles on equal terms to the privileges of the covenant. For this he
is a prisoner; this he is bound to proclaim fearlessly (iv. 3, Ephes.
vi. 19); this, though hidden from all time, was communicated to him by a
special revelation (Ephes. iii. 3 sq.); in this had God most signally
displayed the lavish wealth of His goodness (ver. 27, ii. 2 sq., Ephes.
i. 6 sq., iii. 8 sq.). In one passage only throughout these two epistles
is μυστήριον applied to anything else, Ephes. v. 32. The same idea of
the μυστήριον appears very prominently also in the thanksgiving (added
apparently later than the rest of the letter) at the end of the Epistle
to the Romans, xvi. 25 sq. μυστηρίου ... εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως εἰς πάντα
τὰ ἔθνη γνωρισθέντος.


I. 27]

ἀπὸ τῶν αἴωνων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν γενεῶν, νῦν δὲ ἐφανερώθη τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ,
^{27}οἷς ἠθέλησεν ὁ Θεὸς γνωρίσαι τί τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τοῦ μυστηρίου
τούτου ἐν τοῖς

ἀπὸ τῶν αἴωνων κ.τ.λ.] The preposition is doubtless temporal here, being
opposed to νῦν, as in the parallel passage, Ephes. iii. 9: comp. Rom.
xvi. 25 κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρίωυ _χρόνοις αἰωνίοις_ σεσιγημένου, 1
Cor. ii. 7 Θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην ἣν προώρισεν ὁ
Θεὸς _πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων_. So too ἀπ’ αἰῶνος, Acts iii. 21, xv. 18, Ps.
xcii. 3, etc.; ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, Matt. xiii. 35, xxv. 34, etc.

τῶν γενεῶν] An αἲων is made up of many γενεαί; comp. Ephes. iii. 21 εἰς
πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων, Is. li. 9 ὡς γενεὰ αἰῶνος (where
the Hebrew has the plural ‘generations’). Hence the order here. Not only
was this mystery unknown in remote periods of antiquity, but even in
recent generations. It came upon the world as a sudden surprise. The
moment of its revelation was the moment of its fulfilment.

27. ἠθέλησεν] ‘_willed_,’ ‘_was pleased_.’ It was God’s grace: it was no
merit of their own. See the note on i. 1 διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ.

νῦν δὲ κ.τ.λ.] An indicative clause is substituted for a participial,
which would otherwise have been more natural, for the sake of
emphasizing the statement; comp. ver. 22 νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατηλλάγητε, and see
Winer § lxiii. p. 717.

τὸ πλοῦτος] The ‘_wealth_ of God,’ as manifested in His dispensation of
grace, is a prominent idea in these epistles; comp. ii. 2, Ephes. i. 7,
18, iii. 8, 16; comp. Rom. xi. 33. See above p. 43 sq. St Paul uses the
neuter and the masculine forms indifferently in these epistles (e.g. τὸ
πλοῦτος Ephes. i. 7, ὁ πλοῦτος Ephes. i. 18), as in his other letters
(e.g. τὸ πλοῦτος 2 Cor. viii. 2, ὁ πλοῦτος Rom. ix. 23). In most
passages however there are various readings. On the neuter forms τὸ
πλοῦτος, τὸ ζῆλος, etc., see Winer § ix. p. 76.

τῆς δόξης] i.e. ‘of the glorious manifestation.’ This word in
Hellenistic Greek is frequently used of a bright light; e.g. Luke ii. 9
περίελαμψεν, Acts xxii. 11 τοῦ φωτός, 1 Cor. xv. 41 ἡλίου, σελήνης, etc.
2 Cor. iii. 7 τοῦ προσώπου [Μωυσέως]. Hence it is applied generally to a
divine _manifestation_, even where there is no physical accompaniment of
light; and more especially to the revelation of God in Christ (e.g. Joh.
i. 14, 2 Cor. iv. 4, etc.). The expression πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης occurs
again, Rom. ix. 23, Ephes. i. 18, iii. 16. See above ver. 11 with the


I. 28]

ἔθνεσιν, ὅ ἐστιν Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς δόξης· ^{28} ὃν ἡμεῖς
καταγγέλλομεν νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον

                             ^{27} ὅς ἐστιν.

ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] i.e. ‘as exhibited among the Gentiles.’ It was just
here that this ‘mystery,’ this dispensation of grace, achieved its
greatest triumphs and displayed its transcendant glory; φαίνεται μὲν γὰρ
καὶ ἐν ἑτεροις, writes Chrysostom, πολλῷ δὲ πλέον ἐν τούτοις ἡ πολλὴ τοῦ
μυστερίου δόξα. Here too was its _wealth_; for it overflowed all
barriers of caste or race. Judaism was ‘beggarly’ (Gal. iv. 9) in
comparison, since its treasures sufficed only for a few.

ὅ ἐστιν] The antecedent is probably τοῦ μυστηρίου; comp. ii. 2 τοῦ
μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ ἐν ᾧ εἰσιν πάντες κ.τ.λ.

Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν] ‘_Christ in you_,’ i.e. ‘you Gentiles.’ Not Christ, but
Christ given freely to the Gentiles, is the ‘mystery’ of which St Paul
speaks; see the note on μυστήριον above. Thus the various reading, ὃς
for ὅ, though highly supported, interferes with the sense. With Χριστὸς
ἐν ὑμῖν compare μεθ’ ἡμῶν Θεός Matt. i. 23. It may be a question
however, whether ἐν ὑμῖν means ‘_within you_’ or ‘_among you_.’ The
former is perhaps the more probable interpretation, as suggested by Rom.
viii. 10, 2 Cor. xiii. 5, Gal. iv. 19; comp. Ephes. iii. 17 κατοικῆσαι
τὸν Χριστὸν διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν.

ἡ ἐλπίς] comp. 1 Tim. i. 2; so ἡ [κοινὴ] ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν Ign. _Eph._ 21,
_Magn. Philad._ 5, etc., applied to our Lord.

28, 29. ‘This Christ we, the Apostles and Evangelists, proclaim without
distinction and without reserve. We know no restriction either of
persons or of topics. We admonish every man and instruct every man. We
initiate every man in all the mysteries of wisdom. It is our single aim
to present every man fully and perfectly taught in Christ. For this end
I train myself in the discipline of self-denial; for this end I commit
myself to the arena of suffering and toil, putting forth in the conflict
all that energy which He inspires, and which works in me so powerfully.’

28. ἡμεῖς] ‘_we_,’ the preachers; the same opposition as in 1 Cor. iv.
8, 10, ix. 11, 2 Cor. xiii. 5 sq., 1 Thess. ii. 13 sq., etc. The Apostle
hastens, as usual, to speak of the part which he was privileged to bear
in this glorious dispensation. He is constrained to magnify his office.
See the next note, and comp. ver. 23.


I. 28]

καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα
ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν Χριστῷ·

ὃν ἡμεῖς κ.τ.λ.] as in St Paul’s own language at Thessalonica, Acts
xvii. 3 ὃν ἐγὼ καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν, and at Athens, Acts xvii. 23 τοῦτο ἐγὼ
καταγγέλλω ὑμῖν, in both which passages, as here, emphasis is laid on
the person of the preacher.

νουθετοῦντες] ‘_admonishing_.’ The two words νουθετεῖν and διδάσκειν
present complementary aspects of the preacher’s duty, and are related
the one to the other, as μετάνοια to πίστις, ‘_warning_ to repent,
_instructing_ in the faith.’ For the relation of νουθετεῖν to μετάνοια
See Plut. _Mor._ p. 68 ἕνεστι τὸ νουθετοῦν καὶ μετάνοιαν ἐμποιοῦν, p.
452 ἡ νουθεσία καὶ ὁ ψόγος ἐμποιεῖ μετάνοιαν καὶ αἰσχύνην. The two verbs
νουθετεῖν and διδάσκειν are connected in Plato _Protag._ 323 D, _Legg._
845 B, Plut. _Mor._ p. 46 (comp. p. 39), Dion Chrys. _Or._ xxxiii. p.
369; the substantives διδαχὴ and νουθέτησις in Plato _Resp._ 399 B.
Similarly νουθετεῖν and πείθειν occur together in Arist. _Rhet._ ii. 18.
For the two functions of the preacher’s office, corresponding
respectively to the two words, see St Paul’s own language in Acts xx. 21
διαμαρτυρόμενος ... τὴν εἰς Θεὸν μετάνοιαν καὶ πίστιν εἰς τὸν Κύριον
ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν.

πάντα ἄνθρωπον] three times repeated for the sake of emphasizing the
_universality_ of the Gospel. This great truth, for which St Paul gave
his life, was now again endangered by the doctrine of an intellectual
exclusiveness taught by the Gnosticizers at Colossæ, as before it had
been endangered by the doctrine of a ceremonial exclusiveness taught by
the Judaizers in Galatia. See above pp. 77, 92, 98 sq. For the
repetition of πάντα compare especially 1 Cor. x. 1 sq., where πάντες is
five times, and _ib._ xii. 29, 30, where it is seven times repeated; see
also Rom. ix. 6, 7, xi. 32, 1 Cor. xii. 13, xiii. 7, xiv. 31, etc.
Transcribers have been offended at this characteristic repetition here,
and consequently have omitted πάντα ἄνθρωπον in one place or other.

ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ] The Gnostic spoke of a blind faith for the many, of a
higher γνῶσις for the few. St Paul declares that the fullest wisdom is
offered to all alike. The character of the teaching is as free from
restriction, as are the qualifications of the recipients. Comp. ii. 2, 3
πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς συνέσεως ... πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς
σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως.

παραστήσωμεν] See the note on παραστῆσαι, ver. 22.

τέλειον] So 1 Cor. ii. 6, 7 σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις ... Θεοῦ
σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην. In both these passages the
epithet τέλειος is probably a metaphor borrowed from the ancient
mysteries, where it seems to have been applied to the fully instructed,
as opposed to the novices: comp. Plato _Phædr._ 249 C τελέους ἀεὶ
τελετὰς τελούμενος τέλεος ὄντως μόνος γίγνεται... 250 B, C εἶδόν τε καὶ
ἐτελοῦντο τελετῶν ἣν θέμις λέγειν μακαριωτάτην ... μυούμενοί τε καὶ
ἐποπτεύοντες ἐν αὒγῇ καθαρᾷ, _Symp._ 209 E ταῦτα ... κἂν σὺ μυηθείης· τὰ
δὲ τέλεα καὶ ἐποπτικά ... οὐκ οἷ δ’ εἰ οἷός τ’ ἂν εἴης, Plut. _Fragm. de
An._ vi. 2 (v. p. 726 Wyttenb.) ὁ παντελὴς ἤδη καὶ μεμυημένος (with the
context), Dion Chrys. _Or._ xii. p. 203 τὴν ὁλόκληρον καὶ τῷ ὄντι
τελείαν τελετὴν μυούμενον; see Valcknaer on Eurip. _Hippol._ 25, and
Lobeck _Aglaoph._ p. 33 sq., p. 126 sq. Somewhat similarly in the LXX 1
Chron. xxv. 8 τελέιων καὶ μανθανόντων stands for ‘the teachers (or the
wise) and the scholars.’ So also in 2 Pet. i. 16 _ἐπόπται_
γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος we seem to have the same metaphor.
As an illustration it may be mentioned that Plato and Aristotle called
the higher philosophy ἐποπτικόν, because those who have transcended the
bounds of the material, οἷον ἐντελῆ [l. ἐν τελετῇ] τέλος ἔχειν
φιλοσοφίαν [φιλοσοφίας] νομίζουσι, Plut. _Mor._ 382 D, E. For other
metaphorical expressions in St Paul, derived from the mysteries, see
above on μυστήριον ver. 26. Influenced probably by this heathen use of
τέλειος, the early Christians applied it to the baptized, as opposed to
the catechumens: e.g. Justin _Dial._ 8 (p. 225 C) πάρεστιν ἐπιγνόντι σοι
τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τελείῳ γενομένῳ εὐδαιμονεῖν, _Clem. Hom._ iii.
29 ὑποχωρεῖν μοι κελεύσας, ὡς μήπω εἰληφότι τὸ πρὸς σωτηρίαν βάπτισμα,
τοῖς ἤδη τελείοις ἔφη κ.τ.λ., xi. 36 βαπτίσας ... ἤδη λοιπὸν τέλειον
ὄντα κ.τ.λ.; and for later writers see Suicer _Thes._ s. vv. τελειόω,
τελείωσις. At all events we may ascribe to its connexion with the
mysteries the fact that it was adopted by Gnostics at a later date, and
most probably by the Gnosticizers at this time, to distinguish the
possessors of the higher γνῶσις from the vulgar herd of believers: see
the passages quoted in the note on Phil. iii. 15. While employing the
favourite Gnostic term, the Apostle strikes at the root of the Gnostic
doctrine. The language descriptive of the heathen mysteries is
transferred by him to the Christian dispensation, that he may thus more
effectively contrast the things signified. The true Gospel also has its
mysteries, its hierophants, its initiation: but these are open to all
alike. In Christ every believer is τέλειος, for he has been admitted as
ἐπόπτης of its most profound, most awful, secrets. See again the note on
ἀπόκρυφοι, ii. 3.


I. 29]

^{29}εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν αὐτοῦ τὴν
ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἑμοὶ ἐν δυνάμει.

29. εἰς ὃ] i.e. εἰς τὸ παραστῆσαι πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον, ‘that I may
initiate all mankind in the fulness of this mystery,’ ‘that I may preach
the Gospel to all without reserve.’ If St Paul had been content to
preach an exclusive Gospel, he might have saved himself from more than
half the troubles of his life.

κοπιῶ] This word is used especially of the labour undergone by the
athlete in his training, and therefore fitly introduces the metaphor of
ἀγωνιζόμενος: comp. 1 Tim. iv. 10 εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα
(the correct reading), and see the passages quoted on Phil. ii. 16.

ἀγωνιζόμενος] ‘_contending in the lists_,’ the metaphor being continued
in the next verse (ii. 1), ἡλίκον ἀγῶνα; comp. iv. 12. These words ἀγών,
ἀγωνία, ἀγωνίζεσθαι, are only found in St Paul and the Pauline writings
(Luke, Hebrews) in the New Testament. They occur in every group of St
Paul’s Epistles. The use here most resembles 1 Thess. ii. 2 λαλῆσαι πρὸς
ὑμᾶς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι.

ἐνεργουμένην] Comp. Eph. iii. 20. For the difference between ἐνεργεῖν
and ἐνεργεῖσθαι see the note on Gal. v. 6.


II. 1, 2]

II. ^1 Θέλω γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι, ἡλίκον ἀγῶνα ἔχω ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ τῶν ἐν
Λαοδικίᾳ καὶ ὅσοι οὐχ ἑώρακαν τὸ πρόσωπόν μου ἐν σαρκί, ^2 ἵνα
παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι

II. 1–3. ‘I spoke of an _arena_ and a _conflict_ in describing my
apostolic labours. The image was not lightly chosen. I would have you
know that my care is not confined to my own direct and personal
disciples. I wish you to understand the magnitude of the struggle, which
my anxiety for you costs me—for you and for your neighbours of Laodicea
and for all who, like yourselves, have never met me face to face in the
flesh. I am constantly wrestling in spirit, that the hearts of all such
may be confirmed and strengthened in the faith; that they may be united
in love; that they may attain to all the unspeakable wealth which comes
from the firm conviction of an understanding mind, may be brought to the
perfect knowledge of God’s mystery, which is nothing else than
Christ—Christ containing in Himself all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge hidden away.’

1. Θέλω κ.τ.λ.] as in 1 Cor. xi. 3. The corresponding negative form, οὐ
θέλω [θέλομεν] ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, is the more common expression in St Paul;
Rom. i. 13, xi. 25, 1 Cor. x. 1, xii. 1, 2 Cor. i. 8, 1 Thess. iv. 13.

ἀγῶνα] The arena of the contest to which ἀγωνιζόμενος in the preceding
verse refers may be either outward or inward. It will include the
‘fightings without,’ as well as the ‘fears within.’ Here however the
inward struggle, the wrestling in prayer, is the predominant idea, as in
iv. 12 πάντοτε ἀγωνιζόμενος ὑπὲρ ὑμων ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς ἵνα σταθῆτε

τῶν ἐν Λαοδικίᾳ] The Laodiceans were exposed to the same doctrinal
perils as the Colossians: see above pp. 2, 41 sq. The Hierapolitans are
doubtless included in καὶ ὅσοι κ.τ.λ. (comp. iv. 13), but are not
mentioned here by name, probably because they were less closely
connected with Colossæ (see iv. 15 sq.), and perhaps also because the
danger was less threatening there.

καὶ ὅσοι κ.τ.λ.] ‘_and all who_, like yourselves, _have not seen_,
etc.’; where the καὶ ὅσοι introduces the whole class to which the
persons previously enumerated belong; so Acts iv. 6 Ἄννας ὁ ἀρχιερὲυς
καὶ Καΐαφας καὶ Ἴωαννης καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος _καὶ ὅσοι_ ἦσαν ἐκ γένους
ἀρχιερατικοῦ, Rev. xviii. 17 καὶ πᾶς κυβερνήτης καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἐπὶ τόπον
πλέων καὶ ναῦται _καὶ ὅσοι_ τὴν θάλασσαν ἐργάζονται. Even a simple
καὶ will sometimes introduce the general after the particular, e.g. Acts
v. 29 ὁ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι, Ar. _Nub._ 413 ἐν Ἀθηναίοις καὶ τοῖς
Ἕλλησι, etc.; see Kühner _Gramm._ § 521, II. p. 791. On the other hand
καὶ ὅσοι, occurring in an enumeration, sometimes introduces a different
class from those previously mentioned, as e.g. in Herod, vii. 185. As a
pure grammatical question therefore it is uncertain whether St Paul’s
language here implies his personal acquaintance with his correspondents
or the contrary. But in all such cases the sense of the context must be
our guide. In the present instance καὶ ὅσοι is quite out of place,
unless the Colossians and Laodiceans also were personally unknown to the
Apostle. There would be no meaning in singling out _individuals_ who
were known to him, and then mentioning comprehensively _all_ who were
unknown to him: see above p. 28, note 84. Hence we may infer from the
expression here, that St Paul had never visited Colossæ–an inference
which has been already shown (p. 23 sq.) to accord both with the
incidental language of this epistle elsewhere and with the direct
historical narrative of the Acts.

ἑώρακαν] For this ending of the 3rd pers. plur. perfect in -αν see Winer
§ xiii. p. 90. The received text reads ἑωράκασι. In this passage the ω
form has the higher support; but below in ver. 18 the preponderance of
authority favours ἑόρακεν rather than ἑώρακεν. On the use of the form in
ο see Buttmann _Ausf. Griech. Sprachl._ § 84, I. p. 325.

2. παρακληθῶσιν] ‘_encouraged_, _confirmed_,’ i.e. ‘comforted’ in the
older and wider meaning of the word, (‘confortati’), but not with its
modern and restricted sense: see παράκλησις Phil. ii. 1. For παρακαλεῖν
τὰς καρδίας comp. iv. 8, Ephes. vi. 22, 2 Thess. ii. 17.


II. 3]

αὐτῶν, συμβιβασθέντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ καὶ εἰς πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς
συνέσεως, εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίον τοῦ Θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ ^3ἐν ᾧ εἰσὶν
πάντες οἱ θησαυροὶ

αἱ καρδίαι] They met the Apostle heart to heart, though not face to
face. We have here the same opposition of καρδία and πρόσωπον as in 1
Thess. ii. 17, though less directly expressed; see ver. 5.

αὐτῶν] where we should expect ὑμῶν, but the substitution of the third
person for the second is suggested by the immediately preceding καὶ
ὅσοι. This substitution confirms the interpretation of καὶ ὅσοι already
given. Unless the Colossians are included in ὅσοι, they must be excluded
by αὐτῶν. Yet this exclusion is hardly conceivable in such a context.

συμβιβασθέντες] ‘_they being united_, _compacted_,’ for συμβιβάζειν must
here have its common meaning, as it has elsewhere in this and the
companion epistle: ver. 19 διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ...
συμβιβαζόμενον, Ephes. iv. 16 πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ
συμβιβαζόμενον. Otherwise we might be disposed to assign to this verb
here the sense which it always bears in the LXX (e.g. in Is. xl. 13, 14,
quoted in 1 Cor. ii. 16), ‘instructed, taught,’ as it is rendered in the
Vulgate. Its usage in the Acts is connected with this latter sense; e.g.
ix. 22 συμβιβάζων ‘proving,’ xvi. 10 συμβιβάζοντες ‘concluding’; and so
in xix. 33 συνεβίβασαν Ἀλέξανδρον (the best supported reading) can only
mean ‘instructed Alexander.’ For the different sense of the nominative
absolute see the note on iii. 16. The received text substitutes
συμβιβασθέντων here. ` ἐν ἀγάπῃ] for love is the σύνδεσμος (iii. 14) of

καὶ εἰς] ‘_and brought unto_,’ the thought being supplied from the
preceding συμβιβασθέντες, which involves an idea of motion, comp. Joh.
xx. 7 ἐντετυλιγμένον εἰς ἕνα τόπον.

πᾶν πλοῦτος] This reading is better supported than either πᾶν τὸ πλοῦτος
or πάντα πλοῦτον, while, as the intermediate reading, it also explains
the other two.

τῆς πληροφορίας] ‘_the full assurance_,’ for such seems to be the
meaning of the substantive wherever it occurs in the New Testament; 1
Thess. i. 5 ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ, Heb. vi. 11 πρὸς τὴν πληροφορίαν τῆς
ἐλπίδος, x. 22 ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πίστεως, comp. Clem. Rom. 42 μετὰ
πληροφορίας πνεύματος ἁγίου. With the exception of 1 Thess. i. 5
however, all the Biblical passages might bear the other sense ‘fulness’:
see Bleek on Heb. vi. 11. For the verb see the note on πεπληροφορημένοι
below, iv. 12.

ἐπίγνωσιν] See the note on i. 9.

τοῦ μυστηρίου κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the mystery of God_, even _Christ in whom_,
etc.,’ Χριστοῦ being in apposition with τοῦ μυστηρίου; comp. i. 27 τοῦ
μυστηρίου τούτου ... ὅ ἐστιν Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, 1 Tim. iii. 16 τὸ τῆς
εὐσεβείας μυστήριον, Ὅς ἐφανερώθη κ.τ.λ. The reasons for adopting the
reading τοῦ Θεοῦ Χριστοῦ are given in the detached note on various
readings. Other interpretations of this reading are; (1) ‘the God
Christ,’ taking Χριστοῦ in apposition with Θεοῦ; or (2) ‘the God of
Christ,’ making it the genitive after Θεοῦ: but both expressions are
without a parallel in St Paul. The mystery here is not ‘Christ,’ but
‘Christ as containing in Himself all the treasures of wisdom’; see the
note on i. 27 Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν. For the form of the sentence comp. Ephes.
iv. 15, 16 ἡ κεφαλή, Χριστὸς ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα κ.τ.λ.

3. πάντες] So πᾶν πλοῦτος ver. 2, πάσῃ σοφίᾳ ii. 28. These repetitions
serve to emphasize the character of the Gospel, which is as complete in
itself, as it is universal in its application.


II. 4]

τῆς σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως ἀπόκρυφοι. ^4τοῦτο

σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως] The two words occur together again Rom. xi. 33 ὦ
βάθος πλούτου καὶ σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως Θεοῦ, 1 Cor. xii. 8. They are found
in conjunction also several times in the LXX of Eccles. i. 7, 16, 18,
ii. 21, 26, ix. 10, where חבכוה is represented by σοφία and דעת by
γνῶσις. While γνῶσις is simply _intuitive_, σοφία is _ratiocinative_
also. While γνῶσις applies chiefly to the apprehension of truths, σοφία
superadds the power of reasoning about them and tracing their relations.
When Bengel on 1 Cor. xii. 8 sq. says, ‘Cognitio [γνῶσις] est quasi
visus; sapientia [σοφία] visus cum sapore,’ he is so far right; but when
he adds, ‘cognitio, rerum agendarum; sapientia, rerum aeternarum,’ he is
quite wide of the mark. Substantially the same, and equally wrong, is St
Augustine’s distinction _de Trin._ xii. 20, 25 (VIII. pp. 923, 926)
‘intelligendum est ad contemplationem sapientiam [σοφίαν], ad actionem
scientiam [γνῶσιν] pertinere ... quod alia [σοφία] sit intellectualis
cognitio aeternarum rerum, alia [γνῶσις] rationalis temporalium’ (comp.
xiv. 3, p. 948), and again _de Div. Quæst. ad Simpl._> ii. 2 § 3 (VI. p.
114) ‘ita discerni probabiliter solent, ut sapientia pertineat ad
intellectum æternorum, scientia vero ad ea quæ sensibus corporis
experimur.’ This is directly opposed to usage. In Aristotle _Eth. Nic._
i. 1 γνῶσις is opposed to πρᾶξις. In St Paul it is connected with the
apprehension of eternal mysteries, 1 Cor. xiii. 2 εἰδῶ τὰ μυστήρια πάντα
καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν. On the relation of σοφία to σύνεσις see above, i.

ἀπόκρυφοι] So 1 Cor. ii. 7 λαλοῦμεν Θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ, τὴν
ἀποκεκρυμμένην. As before in τέλειος (i. 28), so here again in ἀπόκρυφοι
the Apostle adopts a favourite term of the Gnostic teachers, only that
he may refute a favourite doctrine. The word _apocrypha_ was especially
applied to those esoteric writings, for which such sectarians claimed an
_auctoritas secreta_ (Aug. _c. Faust._ xi. 2, VIII. p. 219) and which
they carefully guarded from publication after the manner of their Jewish
prototypes the Essenes (see above p. 89 sq.): comp. Iren. i. 20. 1
ἀμύθητον πλῆθος ἀποκρύφων καὶ νόθων γραφῶν, Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i. 15
(p. 357) βίβλους ἀποκρύφους τἀνδρὸς τοῦδε οἱ τὴν Προδίκου μετιόντες
ἅιρεσιν _αὐχοῦσι_ κεκτῆσθαι, _ib._ iii. 4 (p. 524) ἐρρύη δὲ αὐτοῖς
τὸ δόγμα ἔκ τινος ἀποκρύφου. See also the application of the text Prov.
ix. 17 ἄρτων κρυφίων ἡδέως ἅψασθε to these heretics in _Strom._ i. 19
(p. 375). Thus the word _apocrypha_ in the first instance was an
honourable appellation applied by the heretics themselves to their
esoteric doctrine and their secret books; but owing to the general
character of these works the term, as adopted by orthodox writers, got
to signify ‘false,’ ‘spurious.’ The early fathers never apply it, as it
is now applied, to _deutero-canonical_ writings, but confine it to
_supposititious_ and _heretical_ works: see Smith’s _Dictionary of the
Bible_ s.v. In the text St Paul uses it καταχρηστικῶς, as he uses
μυστήριον. ‘All the richest treasures of that secret wisdom,’ he would
say, ‘on which you lay so much stress, are buried in Christ, and being
buried there are accessible to all alike who seek Him.’ But, while the
term ἀπόκρυφος is adopted because it was used to designate the secret
doctrine and writings of the heretics, it is also entirely in keeping
with the metaphor of the ‘treasure’; e.g. Is. xlv. 3 δώσω σοι θησαυροὺς
σκοτεινοὺς ἀποκρύφους, 1 Macc. i. 23 ἔλαβε τοὺς θησαυροὺς τοὺς
ἀποκρύφους, Dan. xi. 43 ἐν τοῖς ἀποκρύφοις τοῦ χρυσοῦ καὶ τοῦ αργύρου:
comp. Matt. xiii. 44.

The stress thus laid on ἀπόκρυφοι will explain its position. It is not
connected with εἰσιν, but must be taken apart as a secondary predicate:
comp. ver. 10 ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, iii. 1 οὗ ὁ Χριστός ἐστιν ἐν
δεξιᾷ τοῦ Θεοῦ καθήμενος, James i. 17 πᾶν δώρημα τέλειον ἄνωθέν ἐστιν,
καταβαῖνον κ.τ.λ.

4–7. ‘I do not say this without a purpose. I wish to warn you against
any who would lead you astray by specious argument and persuasive
rhetoric. For I am not an indifferent spectator of your doings. Although
I am absent from you in my flesh, yet I am present with you in my
spirit. I rejoice to behold the orderly array and the solid phalanx
which your faith towards Christ presents against the assaults of the
foe. I entreat you therefore not to abandon the Christ, as you learnt
from Epaphras to know Him, even Jesus the Lord, but to walk still in Him
as heretofore. I would have you firmly rooted once for all in Him. I
desire to see you built up higher in Him day by day, to see you growing
ever stronger and stronger through your faith, while you remain true to
the lessons taught you of old, so that you may abound in it, and thus
abounding may pour forth your hearts in gratitude to God the giver of


II. 5]

#λέγω, ἵνα μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς παραλογίζηται ἐν πιθανολογίᾳ· ^5εἰ γὰρ καὶ τῇ
σαρκὶ ἄπειμι, ἀλλὰ τῷ πνεύματι σὺν

4. τοῦτο λέγω κ.τ.λ.] ‘I say all this to you, lest you should be led
astray by those false teachers who speak of another knowledge, of other
mysteries.’ In other connexions τοῦτο λέγω will frequently refer to the
words following (e.g. Gal. iii. 17, 1 Cor. i. 12); but with ἵνα it
points to what has gone before, as in Joh. v. 34 ταῦτα λέγω ἵνα ὑμεῖς

The reference in τοῦτο λέγω extends over vv. 1–3, and involves two
statements; (1) The declaration that all knowledge is comprehended in
Christ, vv. 2, 3; (2) The expression of his own personal anxiety that
they should remain stedfast in this conviction, vv. 1, 2. This last
point explains the language which follows, εἰ γὰρ καὶ τῇ σαρκὶ κ.τ.λ.

παραλογίζηται] ‘_lead you astray by false reasoning_’, as in Daniel xiv.
7 μηδέις σε παραλογιζέσθω (LXX): comp. James i. 22, Ign. _Magn._ 3. It
is not an uncommon word either in the LXX or in classical writers. The
system against which St Paul here contends professed to be a φιλοσοφία
(ver. 8) and had a λόγον σοφίας (ver. 23).

ἐν πιθανολογίᾳ] The words πιθανολογεῖν (Arist. _Eth. Nic._ i. 1),
πιθανολογία (Plat. _Theæt._ 162 E), πιθανολογικός (Epictet. i. 8. 7),
occur occasionally in classical writers, but do not bear a bad sense,
being most frequently opposed to ἀπόδειξις, as probable argument to
strict mathematical demonstration. This contrast probably suggested St
Paul’s language in 1 Cor. ii. 4 οὐκ ἐν _πειθοῖς_ σοφίας
_λόγοις_ ἀλλ’ ἐν _ἀποδείξει_ πνεύματος κ.τ.λ., and may
possibly have been present to his mind here.

5. ἀλλὰ] frequently introduces the apodosis after εἰ or εἰ καὶ in St
Paul; e.g. Rom. vi. 5, 1 Cor. ix. 2, 2 Cor. iv. 16, v. 16, xi. 6, xiii.
4 (v. l.).

τῷ πνεύματι] ‘_in my spirit_’, not ‘_by the Spirit_’. We have here the
common antithesis of flesh and spirit, or body and spirit: comp. 1 Cor.
v. 3 ἀπὼν τῷ σώματι, παρὼν δὲ τῷ πνεύματι. St Paul elsewhere uses
another antithesis, προσώπῳ and καρδίᾳ, to express this same thing; 1
Thess. ii. 17.

χαίρων καὶ βλέπων] ‘_rejoicing and beholding_’. This must not be
regarded as a logical inversion. The contemplation of their orderly
array, though it might have been first the cause, was afterwards the
consequence, of the Apostle’s rejoicing. He looked, because it gave him
satisfaction to look.


II. 6]

ὑμῖν εἰμί, χαίρων καὶ βλέπων ὑμῶν τὴν τάξιν καὶ τὸ στερέωμα τῆς εἰς
Χριστὸν πίστεως ὑμῶν. ^6ὡς οὖν παρελάβετε τὸν Χριστόν, Ἰησοῦν τὸν
Κύριον, ἐν αὐτῷ περιπατεῖτε,

τὴν τάξιν] ‘_your orderly array_’, a military metaphor: comp. e.g. Xen.
_Anab._ i. 2. 18 ἰδοῦσα τὴν λαμπρότητα καὶ τὴν τάξιν τοῦ στρατεύματος
ἐθαύμασε, Plut. _Vit. Pyrrh._ 16 κατιδὼν τάξιν τε καὶ φυλακὰς καὶ κόσμον
αὐτῶν καὶ τὸ σχῆμα τῆς στρατοπεδείας ἐθαύμασε. The enforced
companionship of St Paul with the soldiers of the prætorian guard at
this time (Phil. i. 13) might have suggested this image. At all events
in the contemporary epistle (Ephes. vi. 14 sq.) we have an elaborate
metaphor from the armour of a soldier.

τὸ στερέωμα] ‘_solid front_, _close phalanx_’, a continuation of the
metaphor: comp. 1 Macc. ix. 14 εἶδεν Ἰούδας ὅτι Βακχίδης καὶ τὸ στερέωμα
τῆς παρεμβολῆς ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς. Somewhat similar are the expressions
στερεοῦν τὸν πόλεμον 1 Macc. x. 50, κατὰ τὴν στερέωσιν τῆς μάχης Ecclus.
xxviii. 10. For the connexion here compare 1 Pet. v. 9 ἀντίστητε στερεοὶ
τῇ πίστει, Acts xvi. 5 ἐστερεοῦντο τῇ πίστει.

6. ὡς οὖν παρελάβετε κ.τ.λ.] i.e. ‘Let your conviction and conduct be in
perfect accordance with the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel as it
was taught to you’. For this use of παρελάβετε ‘ye received from your
teachers, were instructed in’, comp. 1 Cor. xv. 1, 3, Gal. i. 9, Phil.
iv. 9, 1 Thess. ii. 13, iv. 1, 2 Thess. iii. 6. The word παραλαμβάνειν
implies either ‘to receive as transmitted’, or ‘to receive for
transmission’: see the note on Gal. i. 12. The ὡς of the protasis
suggests a οὕτως in the apodosis, which in this case is unexpressed but
must be understood. The meaning of ὡς παρελάβετε here is explained by
the καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ in i. 7; see the note there, and comp.
below ver. 7 καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε.

τὸν Χριστόν] ‘_the Christ_’, rather than ‘the Gospel’, because the
central point in the Colossian heresy was the subversion of the true
idea of the Christ.

Ἰησοῦν τὸν Κύριον] ‘even _Jesus the Lord_’, in whom the true conception
of the Christ is realised: comp. Ephes. iv. 20, 21, ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως
ἐμάθετε _τὸν Χριστόν_, εἴγε αὐτὸν ἠκούσατε καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ἐδιδάχθητε,
_καθώς ἐστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ_, where the same idea is more
directly expressed. The genuine doctrine of the Christ consists in (1)
the recognition of the historical person _Jesus_, and (2) the acceptance
of Him as _the Lord_. This doctrine was seriously endangered by the
mystic theosophy of the false teachers. The same order which we have
here occurs also in Ephes. iii. 11 ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ ἡμῶν (the
correct reading).

7. ἐρριζωμένοι] Two points may be noticed here; (1) The expressive
change of tenses; ἐρριζωμένοι ‘firmly rooted’ _once for all_,
ἐποικοδομούμενοι, βεβαιούμενοι, ‘built up and strengthened’ _from hour
to hour_. (2) The rapid transition of metaphor, περιπατεῖτε,
ἐρῥιζωμένοι, ἐποικοδομούμενοι, the path, the tree, the building: comp.
Ephes. iii. 17 ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ τεθεμελιωμένοι. The metaphors of the
plant and the building occur together in 1 Cor. iii. 9 Θεοῦ γεώργιον,
Θεοῦ οἰκοδομή. The transition in this passage is made easier by the fact
that ῥιζοῦν (Plut. _Mor._ 321 D), ἐκριζοῦν (Jer. i. 10, 1 Macc. v. 51),
πρόρριζος (Jos. _B.J._ vii. 8. 7), etc., are not uncommonly used of
cities and buildings.


II. 7]

^7ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ ἐποικοδομούμενοι ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ βεβαιούμενοι τῇ πίστει,
καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε, περισσεύοντες ἐν αὐτῇ ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ.

ἐποικοδομούμενοι] ‘_being built up_,’ as in 1 Cor. iii. 10–14. After
this verb we might have expected ἐπ’ αὐτῷ or ἐπ’ αὐτόν (1 Cor. iii. 12)
rather than ἐν αὐτῷ; but in this and the companion epistle Christ is
represented rather as the binding element than as the foundation of the
building: e.g. Ephes. ii. 20 ἐποικοδομηθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ τῶν
ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν, ὄντος _ἀκρογωνιαίου_ αὐτοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ,
_ἐν_ ᾧ πᾶσα [ἡ] οἰκοδομὴ αὔξει εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον _ἐν_ Κυρίῳ,
_ἐν_ ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσθε. The ἐπὶ in ἐποικοδομεῖν does not
necessarily refer to the original foundation, but may point to the
continued progress of the building by successive layers, as e.g.
[Aristot.] _Rhet. ad Alex._ 4 (p. 1426) ἐποικοδομοῦντα τὸ ἕτερον ὡς ἐπὶ
τὸ ἕτερον αὔξειν. Hence ἐποικοδομεῖν is frequently used absolutely, ‘_to
build up_’ (e.g. Jude 20, Polyb. iii. 27, 4), as here. The repetition of
ἐν αὐτῷ emphasizes the main idea of the passage, and indeed of the whole

τῇ πίστει] ‘_by your faith_’, the dative of the instrument; comp. Heb.
xiii. 9 καλὸν γὰρ χάριτι βεβαιοῦσθαι τὴν καρδίαν. Faith is, as it were,
the cement of the building: comp. Clem. Rom. 22 ταῦτα πάντα βεβαιοῖ ἡ ἐν
Χριστῷ πίστις.

καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε] i.e. ‘remaining true to the lessons which you received
from Epaphras, and not led astray by any later pretenders’: comp. i. 6,
7 ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ.

ἐν αὐτῇ κ.τ.λ.] The same ending occurs in iv. 2. Thanksgiving is the end
of all human conduct, whether exhibited in words or in works. For the
stress laid on thanksgiving in St Paul’s epistles generally, see the
note on Phil. iv. 6. The words εὐχάριστος, εὐχαριστεῖν, εὐχαριστία,
occur in St Paul’s writings alone of the Apostolic epistles. In this
epistle especially the duty of thanksgiving assumes a peculiar
prominence by being made a refrain, as here and in iii. 15, 17, iv. 2:
see also i. 12.


II. 8]

^8 Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ

                      8. μή τις _ἔσται ὑμᾶς_.

8–15. ‘Be on your guard; do not suffer yourselves to fall a prey to
certain persons who would lead you captive by a hollow and deceitful
system, which they call philosophy. They substitute the traditions of
men for the truth of God. They enforce an elementary discipline of
mundane ordinances fit only for children. Theirs is not the Gospel of
Christ. In Christ the entire fulness of the Godhead abides for ever,
having united itself with man by taking a human body. And so in Him—not
in any inferior mediators—ye have your life, your being, for ye are
filled from His fulness. He, I say, is the Head over all spiritual
beings—call them principalities or powers or what you will. In Him too
ye have the true circumcision—the circumcision which is not made with
hands but wrought by the Spirit—the circumcision which divests not of a
part only but of the whole carnal body—the circumcision which is not of
Moses but of Christ. This circumcision ye have, because ye were buried
with Christ to your old selves beneath the baptismal waters, and were
raised with Him from those same waters to a new and regenerate life,
through your faith in the powerful working of God who raised Him from
the dead. Yes, you—you Gentiles who before were dead, when ye walked in
your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your unchastened carnal
heathen heart—even you did

God quicken into life together with Christ; then and there freely
forgiving all of us—Jews and Gentiles alike—all our transgressions; then
and there cancelling the bond which stood valid against us (for it bore
our own signature), the bond which engaged us to fulfil all the law of
ordinances, which was our stern pitiless tyrant. Ay, this very bond hath
Christ put out of sight for ever, nailing it to His cross and rending it
with His body and killing it in His death. Taking upon Him our human
nature, He stripped off and cast aside all the powers of evil which
clung to it like a poisonous garment. As a mighty conqueror He displayed
these His fallen enemies to an astonished world, leading them in triumph
on His cross.’

8. Βλέπετε κ.τ.λ.] The form of the sentence is a measure of the
imminence of the peril. The usual construction with βλέπειν μὴ is a
conjunctive; e.g. in Luke xxi. 8 βλέπετε μὴ πλανηθῆτε. Here the
substitution of an indicative shows that the danger is real; comp. Heb.
iii. 12 βλέπετε μήποτε ἔσται ἕν τινι ὑμῶν καρδία πονηρὰ ἀπιστίας. For
other instances of μὴ with a future indicative comp. Mark xiv. 2 μήποτε
ἔσται θόρυβος, Rom. xi. 21 μήπως οὐδὲ σοῦ φείσεται; and see Winer § lvi.
p. 631 sq.

τις] This indefinite τις is frequently used by St Paul, when speaking of
opponents whom he knows well enough but does not care to name: see the
note on Gal. i. 7. Comp. Ign. _Smyrn._ 5 ὅν _τινες_ ἀγνοοῦντες
ἀρνοῦνται ... τὰ δὲ ὀνόματα αὐτῶν, ὄντα ἄπιστα, οὐκ ἔδοξέ μοι ἐγγράψαι.

συλαγωγῶν] ‘_makes you his prey_, carries you off body and soul’. The
word appears not to occur before St Paul, nor after him, independently
of this passage, till a late date: e.g. Heliod. _Aeth._ x. 35 οὗτός
ἐστιν ὁ τὴν ἐμὴν θυγάτερα συλαγωγήσας. In Tatian _ad Græc._ 22 ὑμεῖς δὲ
ὑπὸ τούτων συλαγωγεῖσθε it seems to be a reminiscence of St Paul. Its
full and proper meaning, as appears from the passages quoted, is not ‘to
despoil,’ but ‘to carry off as spoil’, in accordance with the analogous
compounds, δουλαγωγεῖν, σκευαγωγεῖν. So too the closely allied word
λαφυραγωγεῖν in Plut. _Mor._ p. 5 πόλεμος γὰρ οὐ λαφυραγωγεῖ ἀρετήν,
_Vit. Galb._ 5 τὰ μὲν Γαλατῶν, ὅταν ὑποχείριοι γένωνται,
λαφυραγωγήσεσθαι. The Colossians had been rescued from the bondage of
darkness; they had been transferred to the kingdom of light; they had
been settled there as free citizens (i. 12, 13); and now there was
danger that they should fall into a state worse than their former
slavery, that they should be carried off as so much booty. Comp. 2 Tim.
iii. 6 αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια.

For the construction ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν see the notes on Gal. i. 7, iii.
21. The former passage is a close parallel to the words here, εἰ μή
τινές εἰσιν οἱ ταράσσοντες ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ. The expression ὁ συλαγωγῶν gives
a directness and individuality to the reference, which would have been
wanting to the more natural construction ὃς συλαγωγήσει.

διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας κ.τ.λ.] ‘_through his philosophy which is an empty
deceit_’. The absence of both preposition and article in the second
clause shows that κενῆς ἀπάτης describes and qualifies φιλοσοφίας.
Clement therefore (_Strom._ vi. 8, p. 771) had a right to contend that
St Paul does not here condemn ‘philosophy’ absolutely. The φιλοσοφία καὶ
κενὴ ἀπάτη of this passage corresponds to the ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις of 1
Tim. vi. 20.

But though ‘philosophy’ is not condemned, it is disparaged by the
connexion in which it is placed. St Chrysostom’s comment is not
altogether wrong, ἐπειδὴ δοκεῖ σεμνὸν εἶναι τὸ τῆς φιλοσοφίας, προσέθηκε
καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης. The term was doubtless used by the false teachers
themselves to describe their system. Though essentially Greek as a name
and as an idea, it had found its way into Jewish circles. Philo speaks
of the Hebrew religion and Mosaic law as ἡ πάτριος φιλοσοφία (_Leg. ad
Cai._ 23, II. p. 568, _de Somn._ ii. 18, I. p. 675) or ἡ Ἰουδαϊκὴ
φιλοσοφία (_Leg. ad Cai._ 33, II. p. 582) or ἡ κατὰ Μω"υσῆν φιλοσοφία
(_de Mut. Nom._ 39, I. p. 612). The system of the Essenes, the probable
progenitors of the false teachers at Colossæ, he describes as ἡ δίχα
περιεργείας Ἑλληνικῶν ὀνομάτων φιλοσοφία (_Omn. prob. lib._ 13, II. p.
459). So too Josephus speaks of the three Jewish sects as τρεῖς
φιλοσοφίαι (_Ant._ xviii. 1. 2, comp. _B.J._ ii. 8. 2). It should be
remembered also, that in this later age, owing to Roman influence, the
term was used to describe practical not less than speculative systems,
so that it would cover the ascetic life as well as the mystic theosophy
of these Colossian heretics. Hence the Apostle is here flinging back at
these false teachers a favourite term of their own, ‘their vaunted
_philosophy_, which is hollow and misleading’.

The word indeed could claim a truly noble origin; for it is said to have
arisen out of the humility of Pythagoras, who called himself ‘a lover of
wisdom’, μηδένα γὰρ εἶναι σοφὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀλλ’ ἢ Θεόν (Diog. Laert.
Proœm. § 12; comp. Cic. _Tusc._ v. 3). In such a sense the term would
entirely accord with the spirit and teaching of St Paul; for it bore
testimony to the insufficiency of the human intellect and the need of a
revelation. But in his age it had come to be associated generally with
the idea of subtle dialectics and profitless speculation; while in this
particular instance it was combined with a mystic cosmogony and
angelology which contributed a fresh element of danger. As contrasted
with the power and fulness and certainty of revelation, all such
philosophy was ‘foolishness’ (1 Cor. i. 20). It is worth observing that
this word, which to the Greeks denoted the highest effort of the
intellect, occurs here alone in St Paul, just as he uses ἀρετή, which
was their term to express the highest moral excellence, in a single
passage only (Phil. iv. 8; see the note there). The reason is much the
same in both cases. The Gospel had deposed the terms as inadequate to
the higher standard, whether of knowledge or of practice, which it had

On the attitude of the fathers towards philosophy, while philosophy was
a living thing, see Smith’s _Dictionary of the Bible_ s.v. Clement, who
was followed in the main by the earlier Alexandrian fathers, regards
Greek philosophy not only as a preliminary training (προπαιδεία) for the
Gospel, but even as in some sense a covenant (διαθήκη) given by God to
the Greeks (_Strom._ i. 5, p. 331, vi. 5, p. 761, _ib._ § 8, p. 771
sq.). Others, who were the great majority and of whom Tertullian may be
taken as an extreme type, set their faces directly against it, seeing in
it only the parent of all heretical teaching: e.g. _de Anim._ 2, 3,
_Apol._ 46, 47. In the first passage, referring to this text, he says,
‘Ab apostolo jam tunc philosophia concussio veritatis providebatur’; in
the second he asks, ‘Quid simile philosophus et Christianus?’ St Paul’s
speech at Athens, on the only occasion when he is known to have been
brought into direct personal contact with Greek philosophers (Acts xvii.
18), shows that his sympathies would have been at least as strong with
Clement’s representations as with Tertullian’s.


II. 8]

τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης, κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν

κατὰ κ.τ.λ.] The false teaching is described (1) As regards its
source–‘the traditions of _men_’; (2) As regards its subject matter–‘the
rudiments of _the world_’.

τὴν παράδοσιν κ.τ.λ.] Other systems, as for instance the ceremonial
mishna of the Pharisees, might fitly be described in this way (Matt.
xv. 2 sq., Mark vii. 3 sq.): but such a description was peculiarly
appropriate to a mystic theosophy like this of the Colossian false
teachers. The teaching might be oral or written, but it was
essentially esoteric, essentially traditional. It could not appeal to
sacred books which had been before all the world for centuries. The
Essenes, the immediate spiritual progenitors of these Colossian
heretics, distinctly claimed to possess such a source of knowledge,
which they carefully guarded from divulgence; _B.J._ ii. 8. 7
συντηρήσειν ὁμοίως τά τε τῆς αἱρέσεως αυτῶν βιβλία καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων
ὀνόματα (see above pp. 89, 90 sq., 95). The various Gnostic sects,
their direct or collateral spiritual descendants, almost without
exception traced their doctrines to a similar source: e.g. Hippol.
_Hær._ v. 7 ἃ φησὶ _παραδεδωκέναι_ Μαριάμνῃ τὸν Ἰάκωβον τοῦ
Κυρίου τὸν ἀδελφόν, vii. 20 φασὶν εἰρηκέναι Ματθίαν αὐτοῖς λόγους
ἀποκρύφους οὓς ἤκουσε παρὰ τοῦ σωτῆρος, Clem. Alex. _Strom._ vii. 17
(p. 898) καθάπερ ὁ Βασιλείδης, κἂν Γλαυκίαν ἐπιγράφηται διδάσκαλον, ὡς
αὐχοῦσιν αὐτοί, τὸν Πέτρου ἑρμηνέα· ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ Οὐαλεντῖνον Θεοδᾶ
διακηκοέναι φέρουσιν, γνώριμος δὲ οὗτος ἐγεγόνει Παύλου. So too a
later mystic theology of the Jews, which had many affinities with the
teaching of the Christianized Essenes at Colossæ, was self-designated
_Kabbala_ or ‘tradition’, professing to have been handed down orally
from the patriarchs. See the note on ἀπόκρυφοι, ii. 3.


II. 8]

τῶν ἀνθρώπων, κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου,

τὰ στοιχεῖα] ‘_the rudiments_, _the elementary teaching_’; comp. ver.
20. The same phrase occurs again Gal. iv. 3 (comp. ver. 9). As στοιχεῖα
signifies primarily ‘the letters of the alphabet’, so as a secondary
meaning it denotes ‘rudimentary instruction’. Accordingly it is
correctly interpreted by Clement _Strom._ vi. 8 (p. 771) Παῦλος ... οὐκ
ἔτι παλινδρομεῖν ἀξιοῖ ἐπὶ τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν φιλοσοφίαν, στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου
τάυτην ἀλληγορῶν, στοιχειωτικήν τινα οὖσαν (i.e. elementary) καὶ
προπαιδείαν τῆς ἀληθείας (comp. _ib._ vi. 15, p. 799), and by Tertullian
_adv. Marc._ v. 19 ‘_secundum elementa mundi_, non secundum cælum et
terram dicens, sed secundum literas seculares’. A large number of the
fathers however explained the expression to refer to the heavenly bodies
(called στοιχεῖα), as marking the seasons, so that the observance of
‘festivals and new-moons and sabbaths’ was a sort of bondage to them. It
would appear from Tertullian’s language that Marcion also had so
interpreted the words. On this false interpretation see the note on Gal.
iv. 3. It is quite out of place here: for (1) The context suggests some
_mode of instruction_, e.g. τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων here, and
δογματίζεσθε in ver. 20; (2) The keeping of days and seasons is quite
subordinate to other external observances. The rite of circumcision
(ver. 11), and the distinction of meats (ver. 21) respectively, are
placed in close and immediate connexion with τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου in
the two places where it occurs, whereas the observance of days and
seasons (ver. 16) stands apart from either.

τοῦ κόσμου] ‘_of the world_’, that is, ‘belonging to the sphere of
material and external things’. See the notes on Gal. iv. 3, vi. 14.

‘In Christ’, so the Apostle seems to say, ‘you have attained the liberty
and the intelligence of manhood; do not submit yourselves again to a
rudimentary discipline fit only for children (τὰ στοιχεῖα). In Christ
you have been exalted into the sphere of the Spirit: do not plunge
yourselves again into the atmosphere of material and sensuous things
(τοῦ κόσμου).’


II. 9, 10]

καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν· ^9ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος
σωματικῶς, ^{10}καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ

οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν] ‘_not after Christ_’. This expression is wide in
itself, and should be interpreted so as to supply the negative to both
the preceding clauses; ‘Christ is neither the author nor the substance
of their teaching: not the author, for they listen to human traditions
(κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων); not the substance, for they replace
Him by formal ordinances (κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου) and by angelic

9 sq. In explaining the true doctrine which is ‘after Christ’, St Paul
condemns the two false principles, which lay at the root of this
heretical teaching; (1) The _theological_ error of substituting inferior
and created beings angelic mediators for the divine Head Himself (vv. 9,
10); and (2) The _practical_ error of insisting upon ritual and ascetic
observances, as the foundation of their moral teaching (vv. 11–14).
Their theological speculations and their ethical code alike were at
fault. On the intimate connexion between these two errors, as springing
out of a common root, the Gnostic dualism of these false teachers, see
the introduction, pp. 33 sq., 79, 87, 180 sq.

ὅτι κ.τ.λ.] The Apostle justifies the foregoing charge that this
doctrine was not κατὰ Χριστόν; ‘In Christ dwells the whole pleroma, the
entire fulness of the Godhead, whereas they represent it to you as
dispersed among several spiritual agencies. Christ is the one
fountain-head of all spiritual life, whereas they teach you to seek it
in communion with inferior creatures.’ The same truths have been stated
before (i. 14 sq.) more generally and they are now restated with direct
and immediate reference to the heretical teaching.

κατοικεῖ] ‘_has its fixed abode_’. On the force of this compound in
relation to the false teaching, see the note on i. 19.

πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα] ‘_all the plenitude_’, ‘the totality of the divine
powers and attributes’. On this theological term see i. 19, and the
detached note at the end of the epistle.

τῆς θεότητος] ‘_of the Godhead_’. ‘Non modo divinæ virtutes, sed ipsa
divina natura’, writes Bengel. For the difference between θέοτης
‘_deitas_’, the essence, and θειότης ‘_divinitas_’, the quality, see
Trench _N. T. Syn._ § ii. p. 6. The different force of the two words may
be seen by a comparison of two passages in Plutarch, _Mor._ p. 857 A
πᾶσιν Αἰγυπτίοις θειότητα πολλὴν καὶ δικαιοσύνην μαρτυρήσας (where it
means a divine inspiration or faculty, and where no one would have used
θεότητα), and _Mor._ 415 C ἐκ δὲ ἡρώων εἰς δαίμονας αἱ βελτίονες ψυχαὶ
τὴν μεταβολὴν λαμβάνουσιν, ἐκ δὲ δαιμόνων ὀλίγαι μὲν ἔτι χρόνῳ πολλῷ δι’
ἀρετῆς καθαρθεῖσαι παντάπασι θεότητος μετέσχον (where θειότητος would be
quite out of place, because all δαίμονες without exception were θεῖοι,
though they only became θεοί in rare instances and after long probation
and discipline). In the New Testament the one word occurs here alone,
the other in Rom. i. 20 alone. So also τὸ θεῖον, a very favourite
expression in Greek philosophy, is found once only, in Acts xvii. 29,
where it is used with singular propriety; for the Apostle is there
meeting the heathen philosophers on their own ground and arguing with
them in their own language. Elsewhere he instinctively avoids a term
which tends to obscure the idea of a personal God. In the Latin
versions, owing to the poverty of the language, both θέοτης and θείοτης
are translated by the same term _divinitas_; but this was felt to be
inadequate, and the word _deitas_ was coined at a later date to
represent θέοτης: August. _de Civ. Dei_ vii. § 1, VII. p. 162 (quoted in
Trench) ‘Hanc divinitatem vel, ut sic dixerim, _deitatem_: nam et hoc
verbo uti jam nostros non piget, ut de Græco expressius transferant id
quod illi θεότητα appellant etc.’

σωματικῶς] ‘_bodily-wise_’, ‘_corporeally_’, i.e. ‘assuming a bodily
form, becoming incarnate’. This is an addition to the previous statement
in i. 19 ἐν αυτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι. The indwelling of
the pleroma refers to the Eternal Word, and not to the Incarnate Christ;
but σωματικῶς is added to show that the Word, in whom the pleroma thus
had its abode from all eternity, crowned His work by the Incarnation.
Thus while the main statement κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος of St
Paul corresponds to the opening sentence ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θὲον καὶ
Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος of St John, the subsidiary adverb σωματικῶς of St Paul
has its counterpart in the additional statement καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο
of St John. All other meanings which have been assigned to σωματικῶς
here, as ‘wholly’ (Hieron. _in Is._ xi. 1 sq., IV. p. 156, ‘nequaquam
per partes, ut in ceteris sanctis’), or ‘really’ (Aug. _Epist._ cxlix,
II. p. 513 ‘Ideo corporaliter dixit, quia illi umbratiliter
seducebant’), or ‘essentially’ (Hilar. _de Trin._ viii. 54, II. p. 252
‘Dei ex Deo significat veritatem etc.’, Cyril. Alex. in Theodoret. _Op._
V. p. 34 τουτέστιν, οὐ σχετικῶς, Isid. Pelus. _Ep._ iv. 166 ἀντὶ τοῦ
οὐσιωδῶς), are unsupported by usage. Nor again can the body be
understood of anything else but Christ’s human body; as for instance of
the created World (Theod. Mops. in Rab. _Op._ VI. p. 522) or of the
Church (Anon. in Chrysost. _ad loc._). According to these two last
interpretations τὸ πλήρομα τῆς θεότητος is taken to mean the Universe
(‘universam naturam repletam ab eo’) and the Church (τὴν ἐκκλησίαν
πεπληρωμένην ὑπὸ τῆς θεότητος αὐτοῦ, see Ephes. i. 23) respectively,
because either of these may be said to reside in Him, as the source of
its life, and to stand to Him in the relation of the body to the head
(σωματικῶς). But these forced interpretations have nothing to recommend

St Paul’s language is carefully guarded. He does not say ἐν σώματι, for
the Godhead cannot be confined to any limits of space; nor σωματοειδῶς,
for this might suggest the unreality of Christ’s human body; but
σωματικῶς, ‘in bodily wise’, ‘with a bodily manifestation’. The relation
of σωματικῶς to the clause which it qualifies will depend on the
circumstances of the case: comp. e.g. Plut. _Mor._ p. 424 E λέιπεται
τοίνυν τὸ μέσον οὐ τοπικῶς ἀλλὰ σωματικῶς λέγεσθαι, i.e. ‘ratione
corporis habita’, Athan. _Exp. Fid._ 4 (I. p. 81) ἑκάτερα τοίνυν τὰ περὶ
τὸ κτίσμα ῥητὰ σωματικῶς εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν γέγραπται, i.e. ‘secundum
corpus’, Ptolem. in Epiphan. _Hær._ xxxiii. 5 κατὰ μὲν τὸ φαινόμενον καὶ
σωματικῶς ἐκτελεῖσθαι ἀνῃρέθη.

10. καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ] ‘_and ye are in Him_’, where ἐστὲ should be
separated from the following πεπληρωμένοι; comp. John xvii. 21, Acts
xvii. 28. True life consists in union with Him, and not in dependence on
any inferior being; comp. ver. 19 οὐ κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν, ἐξ ὁῦ κ.τ.λ.


II. 10]

πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ

πεπληρωμένοι] ‘_being fulfilled_’, with a direct reference to the
preceding πλήρωμα; ‘Your fulness comes from His fulness; His πλήρωμα is
transfused into you by virtue of your incorporation in Him’. So too John
i. 16 ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, Ephes. iii. 19 ἵνα
πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, iv. 13 εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ
πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, comp. Ign. _Ephes._ init. τῇ εὐλογημένῃ ἐν
μεγέθει Θεοῦ πατρὸς πληρώματι. Hence also the Church, as ideally
regarded, is called the πλήρωμα of Christ, because all His graces and
energies are communicated to her; Ephes. i. 23 ἥτις ἐστὶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ,
τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου.

ὅς] For the various reading ὅ see the detached note. It was perhaps a
correction made on the false supposition that ἐν αὐτῷ referred to the
πλήρωμα. At all events it must be regarded as an impossible reading; for
the image would be altogether confused and lost, if the πλήρωμα were
represented as the head. And again ἡ κεφαλὴ is persistently said
elsewhere of Christ; i. 18, ii. 19, Ephes. i. 22, iv. 15, v. 23. Hilary
_de Trin._ ix. 8 (II. p. 264) explains the ὅ as referring to the whole
sentence τὸ εἶναι ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένους, but this also is an
inconceivable sense. Again it has been suggested that ὅ ἐστιν (like
τουτέστιν) may be taken as equivalent to _scilicet_ (comp. Clem. _Hom._
viii. 22); but this would require τῇ κεφαλῇ, even if it were otherwise
admissible here.


II. 11]

ἐξουσίας· ^{11}ἐν ᾧ καὶ περιετμήθητε περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ,

ἡ κεφαλὴ] The image expresses much more than the idea of sovereignty:
the head is also the centre of vital force, the source of all energy and
life: see the note on ver. 19.

πάσης ἀρχῆς κ.τ.λ.] ‘_of every principality and power_’, and therefore
of those angelic beings whom the false teachers adopted as mediators,
thus transferring to the inferior members the allegiance due to the
Head: comp. ver. 18 sq. For ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας, see the note on i. 16.

11. The previous verses have dealt with the theological tenets of the
false teachers. The Apostle now turns to their practical errors; ‘You do
not need the circumcision of the flesh; for you have received the
circumcision of the heart. The distinguishing features of this higher
circumcision are threefold. (1) It is not external but inward, not made
with hands but wrought by the Spirit. (2) It divests not of a part only
of the flesh, but of the whole body of carnal affections. (3) It is the
circumcision not of Moses or of the patriarchs, but of Christ’. Thus it
is distinguished, as regards _first_ its character, _secondly_ its
extent, and _thirdly_ its author.

περιετμήθητε] The moment at which this is conceived as taking place is
defined by the other aorists, συνταφέντες, συνηγέρθητε, etc., as the
time of their baptism, when they ‘put on Christ’.

ἀχειροποιήτῳ] i.e. ‘immaterial’, ‘spiritual’, as Mark xiv. 58, 2 Cor. v.
1. So χειροποίητος, which is used in the N. T. of material temples and
their furniture (Acts vii. 48, xvii. 24, Heb. ix. 11, 24, comp. Mark
_l.c._), and of the material circumcision (Ephes. ii. 11 τῆς λεγομένης
περιτομῆς ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου). In the LXX χειροποίητα occurs
exclusively as a rendering of idols (אלילם, e.g. Lev. xxvi. 1, Is. ii.
18, etc.), false gods (אלהים Is. xxi. 9, where perhaps they read
אלילים), or images (חמנים Lev. xxvi. 30), except in one passage, Is.
xvi. 12, where it is applied to an idol’s sanctuary. Owing to this
association of the word the application which we find in the New
Testament would sound much more depreciatory to Jewish ears than it does
to our own; e.g. ἐν χειροποιήτοις κατοικεῖ in St Stephen’s speech, where
the force of the passage is broken in the received text by the
interpolation of ναοῖς.

For illustrations of the typical significance of circumcision, as a
symbol of purity, see the note on Phil. iii. 3.

ἐν τῇ κ.τ.λ.] The words are chosen to express the _completeness_ of the
spiritual change. (1) It is not an ἔκδυσις nor an ἀπόδυσις, but an
ἀπέκδυσις. The word ἀπέκδυσις is extremely rare, and no earlier
instances of it are produced; see the note on ver. 15 ἀπεκδυσάμενος. (2)
It is not a single member but the whole body, which is thus cast aside;
see the next note. Thus the idea of completeness is brought out both in
the energy of the action and in the extent of its operation, as in iii.
9 ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν παλαιὸν _ἄνθρωπον_.


II. 12]

ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ,
^{12}συνταφέντες αὐτῷ ἐν

τοῦ σώματος κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the whole body_ which consists _of the flesh_’,
i.e. ‘the body with all its corrupt and carnal affections’; as iii. 5
νεκρώσατε οὖν _τὰ μέλη_. For illustrations of the expression see
Rom. vi. 6 ἵνα καταργηθῇ τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, vii. 24 τοῦ σώματος τοῦ
θανάτου τούτου, Phil. iii. 21 τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν. Thus τὸ σῶμα
τῆς σαρκός here means ‘the fleshly body’ and not ‘the entire mass of the
flesh’; but the contrast between the whole and the part still remains.
In i. 22 the same expression τὸ σῶμα τῆς σαρκός occurs, but with a
different emphasis and meaning: see the note there.

The words τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, inserted between τοῦ σώματος and τῆς σαρκός in
the received text, are clearly a gloss, and must be omitted with the
vast majority of ancient authorities.

12. Baptism is the grave of the old man, and the birth of the new. As he
sinks beneath the baptismal waters, the believer buries there all his
corrupt affections and past sins; as he emerges thence, he rises
regenerate, quickened to new hopes and a new life. This it is, because
it is not only the crowning act of his own faith but also the seal of
God’s adoption and the earnest of God’s Spirit. Thus baptism is an image
of his participation both in the death and in the resurrection of
Christ. See _Apost. Const._ iii. 17 ἡ κατάδυσις τὸ συναποθανεῖν, ἡ
ἀνάδυσις τὸ συναναστῆναι. For this twofold image, as it presents itself
to St Paul, see especially Rom. vi. 3 sq.

ἐν τῷ βαπτισμῷ] ‘_in the act of baptism_’. A distinction seems to be
observed elsewhere in the New Testament between βάπτισμα ‘baptism’
properly so called, and βαπτισμός ‘lustration’ or ‘washing’ of divers
kinds, e.g. of vessels (Mark vii. 4, [8,] Heb. ix. 10). Even Heb. vi. 2
βαπτισμῶν διδαχῆς, which at first sight might seem to be an exception to
this rule, is perhaps not really so (Bleek _ad loc._). Here however,
where the various readings βαπτισμῷ and βαπτίσματι appear in
competition, the preference ought probably to be given to βαπτισμῷ as
being highly supported in itself (see the detached note on various
readings) and as the less usual word in this sense. There is no _a
priori_ reason why St Paul should not have used βαπτισμός with this
meaning, for it is so found in Josephus _Ant._ xviii. 5. 2 βαπτισμῷ
συνιέναι (of John the Baptist). Doubtless the form βάπτισμα was more
appropriate to describe the one final and complete act of Christian
baptism, and it very soon obtained exclusive possession of the ground in
Greek; but in St Paul’s age the other form βαπτισμός may not yet have
been banished. In the Latin Version _baptisma_ and _baptismus_ are used
indiscriminately: and this is the case also with the Latin fathers. The
substantive ‘baptism’ occurs so rarely in any sense in St Paul (only
Rom. vi. 4, Eph. iv. 5, besides this passage), or indeed elsewhere in
the N. T. of Christian baptism (only in 1 Pet. iii. 21), that we have
not sufficient data for a sound induction. So far as the two words have
any inherent difference of meaning, βαπτισμός denotes rather the act in
process and βάπτισμα the result.


II. 12]

τῷ βαπτισμῷ, ἐν ᾧ καὶ συνηγέρθητε διὰ τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ Θεοῦ
τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ [τῶν]

                           12. τῷ βαπτίσματι.

ἐν ᾧ] i.e. βαπτισμῷ. Others would understand Χριστῷ for the sake of
the parallelism with ver. 11 ἐν hῷ καὶ ... εν ᾧ καί. But this
parallelism is not suggested by the sense: while on the other hand
there is obviously a very close connexion between συνταφέντες and
συνηγέρθητε as the two complementary aspects of baptism; comp. Rom.
vi. 4 sq. _συνετάφημεν_ αὐτῷ διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος ἵνα ὥσπερ
_ἐγέρθη_ Χριστὸς ... ὅυτως καὶ ἡμεῖς ... εἰ γὰρ σύμφυτοι
γεγόναμεν τῷ ὁμοίωματι _τοῦ θανάτου_ αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ καὶ _τῆς
ἀναστάσεως_ ἐσόμεθα, 2 Tim. ii. 11 εἰ γὰρ _συναπεθάνομεν_, καὶ
_συνζήσομεν_. In fact the idea of Χριστῷ must be reserved for
συνηγέρθητε where it is wanted, ‘_ye were raised together with Him_’.

διὰ τῆς πίστεως κ.τ.λ.] ‘_through your faith in the operation_,’
ἐνεργείας being the objective genitive. So St Chrysostom, πίστεως ὅλον
ἐστίν· ἐπιστεύσατε ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐγεῖραι, καὶ οὕτως ἠγέρθητε. Only
by a belief in the resurrection are the benefits of the resurrection
obtained, because only so are its moral effects produced. Hence St Paul
prays that he may ‘know the _power_ of Christ’s resurrection’ (Phil.
iii. 10). Hence too he makes this the cardinal article in the
Christian’s creed, ‘If thou ... believest in thy heart that God raised
Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’ (Rom. x. 9). For the influence
of Christ’s resurrection on the moral and spiritual being, see the note
on Phil. _l.c._ Others take τῆς ἐνεργείας as the subjective genitive,
‘faith which comes from the operation etc.’, arguing from a mistaken
interpretation of the parallel passage Ephes. i. 19 (where κατὰ τῆν
ἐνέργειαν should be connected, not with τοὺς πιστεύοντας, but with τί τὸ
ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος κ.τ.λ.). The former explanation however yields a
better sense, and the genitive after πίστις far more commonly describes
the object than the source of the faith, e.g. Rom. iii. 22, 26, Gal.
iii. 22, Ephes. iii. 12, Phil. i. 27, iii. 9, 2 Thess. ii. 13.

13. In the sentence which follows it seems necessary to assume a change
of subject. There can be little doubt that ὁ Θεὸς is the nominative to
συνεζωοποίησεν: for (1) The parallel passage Ephes. ii. 4, 5 directly
suggests this. (2) This is uniformly St Paul’s mode of speaking
elsewhere. It is always God who ἐγέιρει, συνεγέιρει, ζωοποιεῖ,
συνζωοποιεῖ, etc., with or in or through Christ. (3) Though it might be
possible to assign σὺν αὐτῷ to the subject of συνεζωοποίησεν (see the
note on i. 20), yet a reference to some other person is more natural.
These reasons seem to decide the subject of συνεζωοποίησεν. But at the
same time it appears quite impossible to continue the same subject, ὁ
Θεός, to the end of the sentence. No grammatical meaning can be assigned
to ἀπεκδυσάμενος, by which it could be understood of God the Father. We
must suppose therefore that a new subject, ὁ Χριστός, is introduced
meanwhile, either with ἦρκεν or with ἀπεκδυσάμενος itself; and of the
two the former seems the easier point of transition. For a similar
instance of abrupt transition, which is the more natural owing to the
intimate connexion of the work of the Son with the work of the Father,
see e.g. i. 17 sq.

καὶ ὑμᾶς] i.e. ‘you Gentiles’. This will appear from a study of the
parallel passages iii. 7, 8, Ephes. i. 13, ii. 1 sq., 11, 13, 17, 22,
iii. 2, iv. 17; see the notes on Ephes. i. 13, and on τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ just


II. 13]

νεκρῶν· ^{13}καὶ ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς ὄντας τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ
τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν, συνεζωοποίησεν

τοῖς παραπτώμασιν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_by reason of your transgressions etc._’ The
παραπτώματα are the actual definite transgressions, while the ἀκροβυστία
τῆς σαρκός is the impure carnal disposition which prompts to them. For
the dative comp. Ephes. ii. 1, 5, where the same expression occurs; see
Winer _Gramm._ § xxxi. p. 270. On the other hand in Rom. vi. 11 νεκροὺς
μὲν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, ζῶντας δὲ τῷ Θεῷ, the dative has a wholly different
meaning, as the context shows. The ἐν of the received text, though
highly supported, is doubtless an interpolation for the sake of
grammatical clearness.

τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ κ.τ.λ.] The external fact is here mentioned, not for its
own sake but for its symbolical meaning. The outward uncircumcision of
the Gentiles is a type of their unchastened carnal mind. In other words,
though the literal meaning is not excluded, the spiritual reference is
most prominent, as appears from ver. 11 ἐν τῆι ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος.
Hence Theodore’s comment, ἀκροβυστίαν (ἐκάλεσεν) τὸ περικεῖσθαι ἔτι τὴν
θνητότητα. At the same time the choice of the expression shows that the
Colossian converts addressed by St Paul were mainly Gentiles.

συνεζωοποίησεν] It has been questioned whether the life here spoken of
should be understood in a spiritual sense of the regeneration of the
moral being, or in a literal sense of the future life of immortality
regarded as conferred on the Christian potentially now, though only to
be realised hereafter. But is not such an issue altogether superfluous?
Is there any reason to think that St Paul would have separated these two
ideas of life? To him the future glorified life is only the continuation
of the present moral and spiritual life. The two are the same in
essence, however the accidents may differ. Moral and spiritual
regeneration is salvation, is life.

ὑμᾶς] The pronoun is repeated for the sake of emphasis. The omission in
some good copies is doubly explained; (1) By the desire to simplify the
grammar; (2) By the wish to relieve the awkwardness of the close
proximity between ὑμᾶς and ἡμῖν. This latter consideration has led a few
good authorities to substitute ἡμᾶς for ὑμᾶς, and others to substitute
ὑμῖν for ἡμῖν. For instances of those emphatic repetitions in St Paul
see the note on i. 20 δι’ αὐτοῦ.

σὺν αὐτῳ] ‘with Christ’, as in Ephes. ii. 5 συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ Χριστῷ. On
the inadmissibility of the reading ἁυτῷ see the note on εἰς αὐτὸν i. 20.

χαρισάμενος] ‘_having forgiven_’, as in Luke vii. 42 sq., 2 Cor. ii. 7,
10, xii. 13, Ephes. iv. 32; see also the note on iii. 13 below. The idea
of sin as a debt incurred to God (Matt. vi. 12 τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, comp.
Luke xi. 4) underlies this expression, as it does also the commoner term
for pardon, ἄφεσις ‘remission’. The image is carried out in the
cancelled bond, ver. 14.

ἡμῖν] The person is changed; ‘not to you Gentiles only, but to us all
alike’. St Paul is eager to claim his share in the transgression, that
he may claim it also in the forgiveness. For other examples of the
change from the second to the first person, see i. 10–13, iii. 3, 4,
Ephes. ii. 2, 3, 13, 14, iv. 31, 32, v. 2 (the correct reading), 1
Thess. v. 5, where the motive of the change is similar. See also Gal.
iii. 25, 26, iv. 5, 6, where there is the converse transition.


II. 14]

ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ, χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ παραπτώματα, ^{14}ἐξαλείψας τὸ
καθ’ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς

14. ἐξαλέιψας] ‘_having cancelled_’. The word ἐξαλέιφειν, like
διαγράφειν, signifying ‘to blot out, to erase’, is commonly opposed to
ἐγγράφειν ‘to enter a name, etc.’; e.g. Arist. _Pax_ 1181, Lysias _c.
Nicom._ p. 183, Plato _Resp._ vi. p. 501 B. More especially is it so
used in reference to an _item_ in an account, e.g. Demosth. _c.
Aristog._ i. p. 791 ἐγγράφονται πάντες οἱ ὀφλισκάνοντες ... ἐξαλήλιπται
τὸ ὄφλημα.

τὸ καθ’ ἡμῶν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the bond standing against us_’. The word
χειρόγραφον, which means properly an autograph of any kind, is used
almost exclusively for a note of hand, a bond or obligation, as having
the ‘sign-manual’ of the debtor or contractor: e.g. Tobit v. 3 (comp.
ix. 5) ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ τὸ χειρόγραφον, Plut. _Mor._ p. 829 A τῶν χειρογράφων
καὶ συμβολαίων. It is more common in Latin than in Greek, e.g. Cic.
_Fam._ vii. 18 ‘Misi cautionem chirographi mei’, Juv. _Sat._ xvi. 41
‘Debitor aut sumptos pergit non reddere nummos, vana supervacui dicens
chirographa ligni’ (comp. xiii. 137). Hence chirographum,
chirographarius, are frequent terms in the Roman law-books; see Hesse
_Handlexicon zu den Quellen des römischen Rechts_ s.v. p. 74.

In the case before us the Jewish people might be said to have signed the
contract when they bound themselves by a curse to observe all the
enactments of the law (Deut. xxvii. 14–26; comp. Exod. xxiv. 3); and the
primary reference would be to them. But ἡμῖν, ἡμῶν, seem to include
Gentiles as well as Jews, so that a wider reference must be given to the
expression. The δόγματα therefore, though referring primarily to the
Mosaic ordinances, will include all forms of positive decrees in which
moral or social principles are embodied or religious duties defined; and
the ‘bond’ is the moral assent of the conscience, which (as it were)
signs and seals the obligation. The Gentiles, though ‘not having a law,
are a law to themselves’, ὅιτινες ἐνδείκνυνται τὸ ἔργον τοῦ νόμου
_γραπτὸν_ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν, _συμμαρτυρούσης_ αὐτων τῆς
συνειδήσεως, Rom. ii. 14, 15. See the notes on Gal. ii. 19, iv. 11.
Comp. Orig. _Hom. in Gen._ xiii. 4 (II. p. 96).

τοῖς δόγμασιν] ‘_consisting in ordinances_’: comp. Ephes. ii. 15 τὸν
νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν. The word δόγμα is here used in its proper
sense of a ‘decree’, ‘ordinance’, corresponding to δογματίζεσθε below,
ver. 20. This is its only sense in the N. T.; e.g. Luke ii. 1, Acts
xvii. 7, of the Emperor’s decrees; Acts xvi. 4 of the Apostolic
ordinances. Here it refers especially to the Mosaic law, as in Joseph.
_Ant._ xv. 5. 3 τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν δογμάτων καὶ τὰ ὁσιώτατα τῶν ἐν τοῖς
νόμοις, Philo _Leg. All._ i. 16 (I. p. 54) διατήρησις τῶν ἁγίων
δογμάτων, 3 Macc. i. 3 τῶν πατρίων δογμάτων. Comp. Iren. _Fragm._ 38 (p.
855 Stieren) where, immediately after a reference to our text, τοῖς τῶν
Ἰουδαίων δόγμασι προσέρχεσθαι is opposed to πνευματικῶς λειτουργεῖν. In
the parallel passage, Ephes. ii. 15, this is the exclusive reference;
but here (for reasons explained in the last note) it seems best to give
the term a secondary and more extensive application.

The dative is perhaps best explained as governed by the idea of
γεγραμμένον involved in χειρόγραφον (comp. Plat. _Ep._ vii. p. 243 A τὰ
γεγραμμένα τύποις); as in 1 Tim. ii. 6 τὸ μαρτύριον καιροῖς ἰδίοις,
where καιροῖς depends on an implied μεμαρτυρημένον. Otherwise it is
taken as closely connected with καθ’ ἡμῶν, ‘the bond which was in force
against us by reason of the ordinances’: see Winer § xxxi. p. 273, A.
Buttmann p. 80. Possibly an ἐν has dropped out of the text before τοῖς
δόγμασιν, owing to the similar ending ==χειρογραφονεν== (comp. Ephes.
ii. 15); but, if so, the omission must date from the earliest age, since
no existing authorities exhibit any traces of such a reading; see the
note on ver. 18 ἃ ἑόρακεν, and comp. Phil. ii. 1 εἴ τις σπλάγχνα.

A wholly different interpretation however prevails universally among
Greek commentators both here and in Ephes. ii. 15. They take τοῖς
δόγμασιν, ἐν δόγμασιν, to mean the ‘doctrines or precepts of the
Gospel’, and so to describe the instrument by which the abrogation of
the law was effected. So Chrysostom, Severianus, Theodore of Mopsuestia,
and Theodoret, followed by the later commentators [OE]cumenius and
Theophylact. Strangely enough they do not allude to the correct
interpretation; nor (with the exception of the passage ascribed to
Irenæus which is quoted above) have I found any distinct traces of it in
any Greek father. The grammatical difficulty would be taken to favour
this interpretation, which moreover was characteristic of the age when
the battle of creeds was fought. But it has been universally abandoned
by modern interpreters, as plainly inappropriate to the context and also
as severing the substantive δόγμα here from the verb δογματίζειν in ver.
20. The Latin fathers, who had either _decretis_ or _sententiis_ in
their version, were saved from this false interpretation; e.g. Hilar.
_de Trin._ i. 12 (II. p. 10), ix. 10 (II. p. 265 sq.), Ambros. _Apol.
Dav._ 13 (I. p. 698), _de Fid._ iii. 2 (II. p. 499), August. _de Pecc.
Mer._ i. 47 (X. p. 26): though they very commonly took τοῖς δόγμασιν, ἐν
δόγμασιν, to refer to the decree of condemnation. Jerome however on
Ephes. ii. 15 (VII. p. 581) follows the Greeks. The later Christian
sense of δόγμα, meaning ‘doctrine’, came from its secondary classical
use, where it was applied to the authoritative and categorical
‘sentences’ of the philosophers: comp. Just. Mart. _Apol._ i. 7 (p. 56
D) οἱ ἐν Ἕλλησι τὰ αὐτοῖς ἀρεστὰ δογματίσαντες ἐκ παντὸς τῷ ἑνὶ ὀνόματι
φιλοσοφίας προσαγορεύονται, καίπερ τῶν δογμάτων ἐναντίων ὄντων, Cic.
_Acad._ ii. 9 ‘de suis decretis quæ philosophi vocant δόγματα’, Senec.
_Epist._ xcv. 10 ‘Nulla ars contemplativa sine decretis suis est, quæ
Græci vocant _dogmata_, nobis vel _decreta_ licet adpellare vel _scita_
vel _placita_’. See the indices to Plutarch, Epictetus, etc., for
illustrations of the use of the term. There is an approach towards the
ecclesiastical meaning in Ignat. _Magn._ 13 βεβαιωθῆναι ἐν τοῖς δόγμασιν
τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων, Barnab. § 1 τρία οὖν δόγματά ἐστιν Κυρίου
(comp. § 9, 10).


II. 14]

δόγμασιν, ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν· καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ

ὃ ἦν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_which was directly opposed to us_’. The former
expression, τὸ καθ’ ἡμῶν, referred to the _validity_ of the bond; the
present, ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν, describes its _active hostility_. It is
quite a mistake to suppose that the first preposition in ὑπεναντίος
mitigates its force, as in ὑποδήλωσις, ὑπόλευκος, ὑπομαίνομαι,
ὑποσημαίνειν, etc. Neither in classical writers nor in the LXX has the
word any shade of this meaning. It is very commonly used for instance,
of things which are directly antagonistic and mutually exclusive: e.g.
Aristot. _de Gen. et Corr._ i. 7 (p. 323) Δημόκριτος ... φησὶ ... τὸ
αὐτὸ καὶ ὅμοιον εἶναι τό τε ποιοῦν καὶ τὸ πάσχον ... ἐοίκασι δὲ οἱ
τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον λέγοντες ὑπεναντία (i.e. self-contradictory) φαίνεσθαι
λέγειν· αἴτιον δὲ τῆς ἐναντιολογίας κ.τ.λ., [Plato] _Alcib. Sec._ 138 C
ΣΩ. Τὸ μαίνεσθαι ἆρα ὑπεναντίον σοι δοκεῖ τῷ φρονεῖν; ΑΛ. Πάνυ μὲν
οὖν.... 139 B ΣΩ. Καὶ μὴν δύο γε ὑπεναντία ἑνὶ πράγματι πῶς ἂν εἴη;
(i.e. how can one thing have two direct opposites?), where the whole
argument depends on this sense of ὑπεναντίος. In compounds with ὑπὸ the
force of the preposition will generally be determined by the meaning of
the other element in the compound; and, as ἐναντίος (ἔναντι) implies
locality, a local sense is communicated to ὑπό. Thus ὑπεναντίος may be
compared with ὑπαλλάσσειν, ὑπαντᾶν, ὑπαντιάζειν, ὑποτρέχειν (Xen.
_Cyrop._ i. 2. 12 ληστὰς ὑποδραμεῖν, ‘to hunt down’), ὑπελάυνειν (Xen.
_Anab._ i. 8. 15 ὑπελάσας ὡς συναντῆσαι, ‘riding up’), ὑφιστάναι (Polyb.
i. 50. 6 ὑπέστησε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ναῦν ἀντίπρωρον τοῖς πολεμίοις, ‘he brought
up’ his own ship). With this meaning, ‘over against,’ ‘close in upon,’
the preposition does not weaken but enhance the force of ἐναντίος, so
that the compound will denote ‘direct,’ ‘close,’ or ‘persistent

καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_and He_, i.e. Christ, _hath taken it away_’.
There is a double change in this clause: (1) The participles
(χαρισάμενος, ἐξαλέιψας) are replaced by a finite verb. (2) The aorists
(συνεζωοποίησεν, χαρισάμενος, ἐξαλέιψας) are replaced by a perfect. The
substitution of ᾖρεν for ἦρκεν in some copies betrays a consciousness on
the part of the scribes of the dislocation produced by the new tense. As
a new subject, ὁ Χριστός, must be introduced somewhere (see the note on
ver. 13), the severance thus created suggests this as the best point of
transition. The perfect ἦρκεν, ‘He hath removed it’, is suggested by the
feeling of relief and thanksgiving, which rises up in the Apostle’s mind
at this point. For the strong expression ἄιρειν ἐκ [τοῦ] μέσου, ‘to
remove and put out of sight’, comp. LXX Is. lvii. 2, Epictet. iii. 3.
15, Plut. _Mor._ p. 519 D; so 2 Thess. ii. 7 ἐκ μέσου γένηται.


II. 15]

τοῦ μέσου, προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ· ^{15}ἀπεκδυσάμενος

προσηλώσας κ.τ.λ.] ‘The abrogation was even more emphatic. Not only was
the writing erased, but the document itself was torn up and cast aside.’
By προσηλώσας is meant that the law of ordinances was nailed to the
cross, rent with Christ’s body, and destroyed with His death: see the
notes on Gal. vi. 14 δι’ οὗ [τοῦ] σταυροῦ ἑμοὶ κόσμος (the world, the
sphere of material ordinances) ἐσταύρωται κἀγὼ κόσμῳ, where the idea is
the same. It has been supposed that in some cities the abrogation of a
decree was signified by running a nail through it and hanging it up in
public. The image would thus gain force, but there is no distinct
evidence of such a custom.

15. ἀπεκδυσάμενος κ.τ.λ.] This word appears not to occur at all before
St Paul, and rarely if ever after his time, except in writers who may be
supposed to have his language before them; e.g. Hippol. _Hær._ i. 24
ἀπεκδυσάμενον τὸ σῶμα ὃ περικεῖται. In Joseph. _Ant._ vi. 14. 2 ἀπεκδὺς
is only a variation for μετεκδὺς which seems to be the correct reading.
The word also appears in some texts of Babrius _Fab._ xviii. 3, but it
is merely a conjectural emendation. Thus the occurrence of ἀπεκδύεσθαι
here and in iii. 9, and of ἀπέκδυσις above in ver. 11, is remarkable;
and the choice of an unusual, if not a wholly new, word must have been
prompted by the desire to emphasize the _completeness_ of the action.
The force of the double compound may be inferred from a passage of
Lysias, where the two words ἀποδύεσθαι and ἐκδύεσθαι occur together; _c.
Theomn._ i. 10 (p. 117) φάσκων θοιμάτιον ἀποδεδύσθαι ἢ τὸν χιτωνίσκον
ἐκδεδύσθαι. Here however the sense of ἀπεκδυσάμενος is difficult. The
meaning generally assigned to it, ‘having spoiled, stripped of their
arms’, disregards the middle voice. St Jerome is chiefly responsible for
this common error of interpretation: for in place of the Old Latin
‘exuens se’, which was grammatically correct, he substituted
‘exspolians’ in his revised version. In his interpretation however he
was anticipated by the commentator Hilary, who read ‘exuens’ for ‘exuens
se’ in his text. Discarding this sense, as inconsistent with the voice,
we have the choice of two interpretations.

(1) The common interpretation of the Latin fathers, ‘_putting off_ the
body’, thus separating ἀπεκδυσάμενος from τὰς ἀρχὰς κ.τ.λ. and
understanding τὴν σάρκα or τὸ σῶμα with it; comp. 2 Cor. v. 3
ἐνδυσάμενοι. So Novat. _de Trin._ 16 ‘exutus carnem’; Ambros. _Expos.
Luc._ v. § 107 (I. p. 1381) ‘exuens se carnem’, comp. _de Fid._ iii. 2
(II. p. 499); Hilar. _de Trin._ i. 13 (II. p. 10) ‘exutus carnem’ (comp.
ix. 10, p. 265), x. 48 (p. 355) ‘spolians se carne’ (comp. ix. 11, p.
266); Augustin. _Epist._ 149 (II. p. 513) ‘exuens se carne’, etc. This
appears to have been the sense adopted much earlier in a Docetic work
quoted by Hippol. _Hær._ viii. 10 ψυχὴ ἐκέινη ἐν τῷ σώματι τραφεῖσα,
ἀπεκδυσαμένη τὸ σῶμα καὶ προσηλώσασα πρὸς τὸ ξύλον καὶ θριαμβεύσασα
κ.τ.λ. It is so paraphrased likewise in the Peshito Syriac and the
Gothic. The reading ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὴν σάρκα καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας (omitting
τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ), found in some ancient authorities, must be a corruption
from an earlier text, which had inserted the gloss τὴν σάρκα after
ἀπεκδυσάμενος, while retaining τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ, and which seems to have
been in the hands of some of the Latin fathers already quoted. This
interpretation has been connected with a common metaphorical use of
ἀποδύεσθαι, signifying ‘to strip’ and so ‘to prepare for a contest’;
e.g. Plut. _Mor._ 811 E πρὸς πᾶσαν ἀποδύομενοι τὴν πολιτικὴν πρᾶξιν,
Diod. Sic. ii. 29 ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν ἀποδύντες. The serious objection to
this rendering is, that it introduces an isolated metaphor which is not
explained or suggested by anything in the context.

(2) The common interpretation of the Greek fathers; ‘_having stripped
off and put away the powers_ of evil’, making ἀπεκδυσάμενος govern τὰς
ἀρχὰς κ.τ.λ. So Chrysostom, Severianus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and
Theodoret. This also appears to have been the interpretation of Origen,
_in Matt._ xii. § 25 (III. p. 544), _ib._ § 40 (p. 560), _in Ioann._ vi.
§ 37 (IV. p. 155), _ib._ xx. § 29 (p. 356), though his language is not
explicit, and though his translators, e.g. _in Libr. Ies. Hom._ vii. § 3
(II. p. 413), make him say otherwise. The meaning then will be as
follows. Christ took upon Himself our human nature with all its
temptations (Heb. iv. 15). The powers of evil gathered about Him. Again
and again they assailed Him; but each fresh assault ended in a new
defeat. In the wilderness He was tempted by Satan; but Satan retired for
the time baffled and defeated (Luke iv. 13 ἀπέστη ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι
καιροῦ). Through the voice of His chief disciple the temptation was
renewed, and He was entreated to decline His appointed sufferings and
death. Satan was again driven off (Matt. xvi. 23 ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου,
Σατανᾶ, σκάνδαλον εἶ ἐμοῦ: comp. Matt. viii. 31). Then the last hour
came. This was the great crisis of all, when ‘the power of darkness’
made itself felt (Luke xxii. 53 _ἡ ἐξουσία_ τοῦ σκότους; see above
i. 13), when the prince of the world asserted his tyranny (Joh. xii. 30
_ὁ ἄρχων_ τοῦ κόσμου). The final act in the conflict began with the
agony of Gethsemane; it ended with the cross of Calvary. The victory was
complete. The enemy of man was defeated. The powers of evil, which had
clung like a Nessus robe about His humanity, were torn off and cast
aside for ever. And the victory of mankind is involved in the victory of
Christ. In His cross we too are divested of the poisonous clinging
garments of temptation and sin and death; τῷ ἀποθέσθαι τὴν θνητότητα,
says Theodore, ἣν ὑπὲρ τῆς κοινῆς ἀφεῖλεν εὐεργεσίας, ἀπεδύσατο κἀκείνων
(i.e. τῶν ἀντικειμένων δυνάμεων) τὴν αὐθεντείαν ᾗπερ ἐκέχρηντο καθ’
ἡμῶν. For the image of the garments comp. Is. lxiv. 6, but especially
Zech. iii. 1 sq., ‘And he showed me Joshua the high-priest standing
before the angel of the Lord and _Satan standing at his right hand to
resist him_. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O
Satan.... Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments.... And He
answered and spake unto those that stood before Him saying _Take away
the filthy garments_ from him. And unto him He said Behold, _I have
caused thine iniquity to pass from thee_’. In this prophetic passage the
image is used of His type and namesake, the Jesus of the Restoration,
not in his own person, but as the high-priest and representative of a
guilty but cleansed and forgiven people, with whom he is identified. For
the metaphor of ἀπεκδυσάμενος more especially, see Philo _Quod det. pot.
ins._ 13 (I. p. 199) ἐξαναστάντες δὲ καὶ διερεισάμενοι τὰς ἐντέχνους
αὐτῶν περιπλοκὰς εὐμαρῶς _ἐκδυσόμεθα_, where the image in the
context is that of a wrestling bout.

This interpretation is grammatical; it accords with St Paul’s teaching;
and it is commended by the parallel uses of the substantive in ver. 11
ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, and of the verb in iii. 9
ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν πάλαιον ἄνθρωπον κ.τ.λ. The ἀπέκδυσις accomplished in
us when we are baptized into His death is a counterpart to the ἀπέκδυσις
which He accomplished by His death. With Him indeed it was only the
temptation, with us it is the sin as well as temptation; but otherwise
the parallel is complete. In both cases it is a divestiture of the
powers of evil, a liberation from the dominion of the flesh. On the
other hand the common explanation ‘spoiling’ is not less a violation of
St Paul’s usage (iii. 9) than of grammatical rule.


II. 15]

τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας ἐδειγμάτισεν

τὰς ἀρχὰς κ.τ.λ.] What powers are especially meant here will appear from
Ephes. vi. 12 πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας
τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας κ.τ.λ. See the note
on i. 16.

ἐδειγμάτισεν] ‘_displayed_’, as a victor displays his captives or
trophies in a triumphal procession: Hor. _Epist._ i. 17. 33 ‘captos
ostendere civibus hostes’. The word is extremely rare; Matt. i. 19 μὴ
θέλων αὐτὴν δειγματίσαι (where it ought probably to be read for the more
common word παραδειγματίσαι), _Act. Paul. et Petr._ 33 ἔλεγε πρὸς τὸν
λαὸν ἵνα μὴ μόνον ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ Σίμωνος ἀπάτης φύγωσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ
δειγματίσουσιν αὐτόν. Nowhere does the word convey the idea of ‘making
an example’ (παραδειγματίσαι) but signifies simply ‘to display, publish,
proclaim’. In the context of the last passage we have as the
consequence, ὥστε πάντας τοὺς εὐλαβεῖς ἄνδρας βδελύττεσθαι Σίμωνα τὸν
μάγον καὶ ἀνόσιον αὐτὸν _καταγγέλλειν_, i.e. to _proclaim_ his
impieties. The substantive occurs on the Rosetta stone l. 30 (Boeckh,
_C. I._ 4697) τῶν συντετελεσμένων τὰ πρὸς τὸν δειγματισμὸν διάφορα.


II. 15]

ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ.

ἐν παρρησίᾳ] ‘_boldly_’, not ‘_publicly_’. As παρρησία is
‘unreservedness, plainness of speech’ (παν-ρησία, its opposite being
ἀρρησία ‘silence’), so while applied still to language, it may be
opposed either (1) to ‘fear’, as John vii. 13, Acts iv. 29, or (2) to
‘ambiguity, reserve’, Joh. xi. 14, xvi. 25, 29; but ‘misgiving,
apprehension’ in some form or other seems to be always the correlative
idea. Hence, when it is transferred from words to actions, it appears
always to retain the idea of ‘confidence, boldness’; e.g. 1 Macc. iv. 18
λήψετε τὰ σκ^υλα μετὰ παρῥησίας, _Test. xii. Patr._ Rub. 4 οὐκ εἶχον
παρῥησίαν ἀτενίσαι εἰς πρόσωπον Ἰακώβ, Jos. _Ant._ ix. 1O. 4 ὑπ’
αἰσχύνης τε τοῦ συμβεβηκότος δεινοῦ καὶ τοῦ μηκέτ’ αὐτῷ παρῥησίαν εἶναι.
The idea of publicity may sometimes be connected with the word as a
secondary notion, e.g. in Joh. vii. 4, where ἐν παρρησίᾳ εἶναι ‘to
assume a bold attitude’ is opposed to ἐν κρυπτῷ ποιεῖν (comp. xviii.
20); but it does not displace the primary sense.


II. 16]

^{16}Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει καὶ ἐν πόσει ἢ >

                            16. ἢ ἐν πόσει.

θριαμβεύσας] ‘_leading them in triumph_’, the same metaphor as in 2 Cor.
ii. 14 τῷ πάντοτε θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ κ.τ.λ., where it is
wrongly translated in the A. V. ‘causeth us to triumph’. Here however it
is the defeated powers of evil, there the subjugated persons of men, who
are led in public, chained to the triumphal car of Christ. This is the
proper meaning and construction of θριαμβεύειν, as found elsewhere. This
verb takes an accusative (1) of the person over whom the triumph is
celebrated, e.g. Plut. _Vit. Arat._ 54 τοῦτον Αἰμίλιος ἐθριάμβευσε,
_Thes. et Rom. Comp._ 4 βασιλεῖς ἐθριάμβευσε: (2) of the spoils
exhibited in the triumph, e.g. Tatian _c. Græc._ 26 παύσασθε λόγους
ἀλλοτρίους θριαμβεύοντες καί, ὥσπερ ὁ κολοιός, οὐκ ἰδίοις ἐπικοσμούμενοι
πτεροῖς: (3) more rarely of the substance of the triumph, e.g. _Vit.
Camill._ 30 ὁ δὲ Κάμιλλος ἐθριάμβευσε ... τὸν ἀπολωλυίας σωτῆρα πατρίδος
γενόμενον, i.e. ‘in the character of his country’s saviour’. The passive
θριαμβεύεσθαι is ‘to be led in triumph’, ‘to be triumphed over’, e.g.
_Vit. C. Marc._ 35. So the Latins say ‘triumphare aliquem’ and

ἐν αὐτῷ] i.e. τῷ σταυρῷ: comp. Ephes. ii. 16 ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς
ἀμφοτέρους ... διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ. The violence of the metaphor is its
justification. The paradox of the crucifixion is thus placed in the
strongest light—triumph in helplessness and glory in shame. The
convict’s gibbet is the victor’s car.

16–19. ‘Seeing then that the bond is cancelled, that the law of
ordinances is repealed, beware of subjecting yourselves to its tyranny
again. Suffer no man to call you to account in the matter of eating or
drinking, or again of the observance of a festival or a new moon or a
sabbath. These are only shadows thrown in advance, only types of things
to come. The substance, the reality, in every case belongs to the Gospel
of Christ. The prize is now fairly within your reach. Do not suffer
yourselves to be robbed of it by any stratagem of the false teachers.
Their religion is an officious humility which displays itself in the
worship of angels. They make a parade of their visions, but they are
following an empty phantom. They profess humility, but they are puffed
up with their vaunted wisdom, which is after all only the mind of the
flesh. Meanwhile they have substituted inferior spiritual agencies for
the One true Mediator, the Eternal Word. Clinging to these lower
intelligences, they have lost their hold of the Head; they have severed
their connexion with Him, on whom the whole body depends; from whom it
derives its vitality, and to whom it owes its unity, being supplied with
nourishment and knit together in one by means of the several joints and
attachments, so that it grows with a growth which comes from God

16 sq. The two main tendencies of the Colossian heresy are discernible
in this warning (vv. 16–19), as they were in the previous statement (vv.
9–15). Here however the order is reversed. The practical error, an
excessive ritualism and ascetic rigour, is first dealt with (vv. 16,
17); the theological error, the interposition of angelic mediators,
follows after (vv. 18, 19). The first is the substitution of a shadow
for the substance; the second is the preference of an inferior member to
the head. The reversal of order is owing to the connexion of the
paragraphs; the opening subject in the second paragraph being a
continuation of the concluding subject in the first, by the figure
called chiasm: comp. Gal. iv. 5.

κρινέτω] not ‘_condemn you_’, but ‘_take you to task_’; as e.g. Rom.
xiv. 3 sq. The judgment may or may not end in an acquittal; but in any
case it is wrong, since these matters ought not to be taken as the basis
of a judgment.

ἐν βρώσει κ.τ.λ.] ‘_in eating and in drinking_’; Rom. xiv. 17 οὐ γάρ
ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ βρῶσις καὶ πόσις, ἀλλὰ δικαιοσύνη κ.τ.λ., Heb.
ix. 10 ἐπὶ βρώμασιν καὶ πόμασιν καὶ διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς, δικαίωματα
σαρκός, comp. 1 Cor. viii. 8 βρῶμα δὲ ἡμᾶς οὐ παραστήσει τῷ Θεῷ κ.τ.λ.
The first indication that the Mosaic distinctions of things clean and
unclean should be abolished is given by our Lord Himself: Mark vii. 14
sq. (the correct reading in ver. 19 being καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα).
They were afterwards formally annulled by the vision which appeared to
St Peter: Acts x. 11 sq. The ordinances of the Mosaic law applied almost
exclusively to meats. It contained no prohibitions respecting drinks
except in a very few cases; e.g. of the priests ministering in the
tabernacle (Lev. x. 9), of liquids contained in unclean vessels etc.
(Lev. xi. 34, 36), and of Nazarite vows (Num. vi. 3). These directions,
taken in connexion with the rigid observances which the later Jews had
grafted on them (Matt. xxiii. 24), would be sufficient to explain the
expression, when applied to the Mosaic law by itself, as in Heb. _l.c._
The rigour of the Colossian false teachers however, like that of their
Jewish prototypes the Essenes, doubtless went far beyond the injunctions
of the law. It is probable that they forbad wine and animal food
altogether: see the introduction pp. 86, 104 sq. For allusions in St
Paul to similar observances not required by the law, see Rom. xiv. 2 ὁ
δὲ ἀσθενῶν λάχανα ἐσθίει, ver. 21 καλὸν τὸ μὴ φαγεῖν κρέα μηδὲ πιεῖν
οἶνον κ.τ.λ., 1 Tim. iv. 2, 3 κωλυόντων ... ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων ἃ ὁ Θεὸς
ἔκτισεν κ.τ.λ., Tit. i. 14 μὴ προσέχοντες ... ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων ...
πάντα καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς. The correct reading seems to be _καὶ_
ἐν πόσει, thus connecting together the words between which there is a
natural affinity. Comp. Philo _Vit. Moys._ i. § 33 (II. p. 110)
δεσποίναις χαλεπαῖς συνεζευγμένου βρώσει καὶ πόσει, Ign. _Trall._ 2 οὐ
γὰρ βρωμάτων καὶ ποτῶν εἰσὶν διάκονοι.


II. 17]

ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νεομηνίας ἢ σαββάτων, ^{17}ἅ ἐστιν σκὶα

                            17 ὅ ἐστιν σκιὰ.

ἐν μέρει] ‘_in the matter of_,’ etc.; comp. 2 Cor. iii. 10, ix. 3 ἐν τῷ
μέρει τούτῳ. The expression seems originally to mean ‘in the division or
category’, and in classical writers most commonly occurs in connexion
with such words as τιθέναι, ποιεῖσθαι, ἀριθμεῖν, etc.: comp. Demosth.
_c. Aristocr._ § 148 ὅσα ... στρατίωτης ὢν ἐν σφενδονήτου καὶ ψιλοῦ
μέρει ... ἐστράτευται, i.e. ‘in the capacity of.’ Hence it gets to
signify more widely, as here, ‘with respect to’, ‘by reason of’: comp.
Philo _Quod det. pot. ins._ § 2 (I. p. 192) ἐν μέρει λόγου τοῦ
προκόπτοντος κατὰ τὸν πάτερα κοσμοῦνται, _in Flacc._ 20 (II. p. 542) ὅσα
ἐν μέρει χάριτος καὶ δωρεᾶς ἔλαβον. But Ælian _V. H._ viii. 3 κρίνοντες
ἕκαστον ἐν τῷ μέρει φόνου, quoted by the commentators, is a false
parallel: for φόνου is there governed by κρίνοντες and ἐν τῷ μέρει means
‘in his turn’.

ἑορτῆς κ.τ.λ.] The same three words occur together, as an exhaustive
enumeration of the sacred times among the Jews, in 1 Chron. xxiii. 31, 2
Chron. ii. 4, xxxi. 3, Ezek. xlv. 17, Hos. ii. 11, Justin _Dial._ 8, p.
226; comp. Is. i. 13, 14. See also Gal. iv. 10 ἡμέρας παρατηρεῖσθε καὶ
μῆνας καὶ καιροὺς καὶ ἐνιαυτούς, where the first three words correspond
to the three words used here, though the order is reversed. The ἑορτή
here, like the καιροί there, refers chiefly to the _annual_ festivals,
the passover, pentecost, etc. The νεομηνία here describes more precisely
the _monthly_ festival, which is there designated more vaguely as μῆνες.
The σάββατα here gives by name the _weekly_ holy-day, which is there
indicated more generally by ἡμέραι.

νεομηνίας] See Num. xxviii. 11 sq. The forms νεομηνία and νουμηνία seem
to be used indifferently in the common dialect, though the latter is
more common. In the Attic νουμηνία alone was held to be correct; see
Lobeck _Phryn._ p. 148. On the whole the preference should perhaps be
given to νεομηνίας here, as supported by some authorities which are
generally trustworthy in matters of orthography, and as being the less
usual form in itself.

σαββάτων] ‘_a sabbath-day_’, not, as the A.V., ‘_sabbath days_’; for the
coordinated words ἑορτῆς, νεομηνίας, are in the singular. The word
σάββατα is derived from the Aramaic (as distinguished from the Hebrew)
form שבתא, and accordingly preserves the Aramaic termination in α. Hence
it was naturally declined as a plural noun, σάββατα, σαββάτων. The
general use of σάββατα, when a single sabbath-day was meant, will appear
from such passages as Jos. _Ant._ i. 1. 1 ἄγομεν τὴν ἡμέραν,
προσαγορεύοντες αὐτὴν σάββατα, _ib._ iii. 10. 1 ἑβδόμην ἡμέραν ἥτις
σάββατα καλεῖται, Plut. _Mor._ 169 C Ἰουδαῖοι σαββάτων ὄντων ἐν
ἀγνάμπτοις καθεζόμενοι, _ib._ 671 F οἶμαι δὲ καὶ τὴν τῶν σαββάτων ἑορτὴν
μὴ παντάπασιν ἀπροσδίονυσον εἶναι, Hor. _Sat._ i. 9. 69 ‘hodie tricesima
sabbata’. In the New Testament σάββατα is only once used distinctly of
more than a single day, and there the plurality of meaning is brought
out by the attached numeral; Acts xvii. 2 ἐπὶ σάββατα τρία.

On the observance of days and seasons see again Gal. iv. 10, Rom. xiv.
5, 6. A strong anti-Judaic view on the subject is expressed in the
_Epist. ad Diogn._ § 4. Origen _c. Cels._ viii. 21, 22, after referring
to Thucyd. i. 70 μήτε ἑορτὴν ἄλλο τι ἡγεῖσθαι ἢ τὸ τὰ δέοντα πρᾶξαι,
says ὁ τέλειος, ἀεὶ ἐν τοῖς λόγοις ὢν καὶ τοῖς ἔργοις καὶ τοῖς
διανοήμασι τοῦ τῇ φύσει κυρίου λόγου Θεοῦ, ἀεί ἐστιν αὐτοῦ ἐν ταῖς
ἡμέραις καὶ ἀεὶ ἄγει κυριακὰς ἡμέρας, and he then goes on to explain
what is the παρασκευή, the πάσχα, the πεντεκοστή, of such a man. The
observance of sacred times was an integral part of the old dispensation.
Under the new they have ceased to have any value, except as a means to
an end. The great principle that ‘the sabbath was made for man and not
man for the sabbath’, though underlying the Mosaic ordinances, was first
distinctly pronounced by our Lord. The setting apart of special days for
the service of God is a confession of our imperfect state, an avowal
that we cannot or do not devote our whole time to Him. Sabbaths will
then ultimately be superseded, when our life becomes one eternal
sabbath. Meanwhile the Apostle’s rebuke warns us against attributing to
any holy days whatever a meaning and an importance which is alien to the
spirit of the New Covenant. Bengel on the text writes, ‘Sabbatum non
laudatur, non imperatur; dominica memoratur, non præcipitur. Qui
profundius in mundi negotiis hærent, his utilis et necessarius est dies
definitus: qui semper sabbatizant, majori libertate gaudent’. Yes: but
these last are just they who will most scrupulously restrict their
liberty, so as ἀπρόσκοποι γίνεσθαι.

17. Two ideas are prominent in this image. (1) The contrast between the
ordinances of the Law and the teaching of the Gospel, as the shadow and
the substance respectively; Philo _de Conf. ling._ 37 (I. p. 434)
νομίσαντας τὰ μὲν ῤητὰ τῶν χρησμῶν σκιάς τινας ὡσανεὶ _σωμάτων_
εἶναι, Joseph. _B.J._ ii. 2. 5 σκιὰν αἰτησόμενος βασιλείας ἧς ἥρπασεν
ἑαυτῷ τὸ σῶμα; comp. Philo _in Flacc._ 19 (II. p. 541) σκιὰ πραγμάτων
ἄρ’ ἦσαν, οὐ πράγματα. (2) The conception of the shadow as thrown before
the substance (ἡ δὲ σκιὰ προτρέχει τοῦ σώματος, says a Greek
commentator), so that the Law was a type and presage of the Gospel; Heb.
x. 1 σκιὰν ἔχων ὁ νόμος τῶν μελλόντων ἀγαθῶν (comp. viii. 5). Thus it
implies both the _unsubstantiality_ and the _supersession_ of the Mosaic

ἅ] ‘_which things_’, whether distinctions of meats or observances of
times. If the other reading ὅ be taken, it will refer to the preceding
sentence generally, as if the antecedent were ‘the whole system of


II. 18]

τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ. ^{18}μηδεὶς

τὸ δὲ σῶμα κ.τ.λ.] As the shadow belonged to Moses, so ‘_the substance
belongs to Christ_’; i.e. the reality, the antitype, in each case is
found in the Christian dispensation. Thus the passover typifies the
atoning sacrifice; the unleavened bread, the purity and sincerity of the
true believer; the pentecostal feast, the ingathering of the first
fruits; the sabbath, the rest of God’s people; etc.

18. The Christian’s career is the contest of the stadium (δρόμος, Acts
xx. 24, 2 Tim. iv. 7); Christ is the umpire, the dispenser of the
rewards (2 Tim. iv. 8); life eternal is the bay wreath, the victor’s
prize (βραβεῖον, 1 Cor. ix. 24, Phil. iii. 14). The Colossians were in a
fair way to win this prize; they had entered the lists duly; they were
running bravely: but the false teachers, thrusting themselves in the
way, attempted to trip them up or otherwise impede them in the race, and
thus to rob them of their just reward. For the idea of καταβραβεύετω
compare especially Gal. v. 7 ἐτρέχετε καλῶς· τίς ὑμᾶς ἐνέκοψεν κ.τ.λ.


II. 18]

ὑμᾶς καταβραβευέτω θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ

καταβραβευέτω] ‘_rob of the prize, the_ βραβεῖον’; comp. Demosth. _Mid._
p. 544 (one of the documents) ἐπιστάμεθα Στράτωνα ὑπὸ Μειδίου
_καταβραβευθέντα_ καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὰ δίκαια ἀτιμωθέντα, which
presents a close parallel to the use of καταβραβεύειν here. See also
Eustath. _in Il._ i. 403 sq. (p. 43) καταβραβεύει αὐτόν, ὥς φασιν οἱ
πάλαιοι, ib. _Opusc._ 277, etc. The false teachers at Colossæ are not
regarded as umpires nor as successful rivals, but simply as persons
frustrating those who otherwise would have won the prize. The word
καταβραβεύειν is wide enough to include such. The two compounds
καταβραβεύειν and παραβραβεύειν (Plut. _Mor._ p. 535 C οἱ
παραβραβεύοντες ἐν τοῖς ἀγῶσι) only differ in this respect, that
_deprivation_ is the prominent idea in the former word and _trickery_ in
the latter. Jerome, _Epist._ cxxi. _ad Algas._ (I. p. 879), sets down
this word, which he wrongly interprets ‘bravium accipiat adversum vos’,
as one of St Paul’s Cilicisms. The passages quoted (whether the document
in the Midias be authentic or not) are sufficient to show that this
statement is groundless.

θέλων ἐν] ‘_taking delight in_’, ‘_devoting himself to_’. The expression
is common in the LXX, most frequently as a translation of חפץ ב״, 1
Sam.חפץ xviii. 22, 2 Sam. xv. 26, 1 Kings x. 9, 2 Chron. ix. 8, Ps. cxi.
1, cxlvi. 10, but in one passage of רצה ב״, 1 Chron. xxviii. 4. So too
_Test. xii. Patr._ Asher 1 ἐὰν οὖν ἡ ψυχὴ θέλῃ ἐν καλῷ. Comp. also 1
Macc. iv. 42 θελητὰς νόμου, and see ἐθελοθρησκεία below. Against this
construction no valid objection has been urged. Otherwise θέλων is taken
absolutely, and various senses have been assigned to it, such as
‘imperiously’ or ‘designedly’ or ‘wilfully’ or ‘gladly, readily’; but
these are either unsupported by usage or inappropriate to the context.
Leclerc (_ad loc._) and Bentley (_Crit. Sacr._ p. 59) conjectured
θέλγων; Toup (_Emend. in Suid._ II. p. 63) more plausibly ἐλθών; but the
passages quoted show that no correction is needed.

ταπεινοφροσύνῃ] Humility is a vice with heathen moralists, but a virtue
with Christian Apostles; see the note on Phil. ii. 3. In this passage,
which (with ver. 23) forms the sole exception to the general language of
the Apostles, the divergence is rather apparent than real. The
disparagement is in the accompaniments and not in the word itself.
Humility, when it becomes self-conscious, ceases to have any value; and
self-consciousness at least, if not affectation, is implied by θέλων ἐν.
Moreover the character of the ταπεινοφροσύνη in this case is further
defined as θρησκεία τῶν ἀγγέλων, which was altogether a perversion of
the truth.


II. 18]

θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἃ ἑόρακεν ἐμβατεύων, εἰκῇ φυσιούμενος

θρησκείᾳ] This word is closely connected with the preceding by the
vinculum of the same preposition. There was an officious parade of
humility in selecting these lower beings as intercessors, rather than
appealing directly to the throne of grace. The word refers properly to
the external rites of religion, and so gets to signify an
over-scrupulous devotion to external forms; as in Philo _Quod det. pot.
ins._ 7 (i. p. 195) θρησκείαν ἀντὶ ὁσίοτητος ἡγούμενος, Plut. _Vit.
Alex._ 2 δοκεῖ καὶ τὸ θρησκεύειν ὄνομα ταῖς _κατακόροις_ γενέσθαι
καὶ _περιέργοις_ ἱερουργίαις: comp. Acts xxvi. 5, and see the
well-known remarks of Coleridge on James i. 26, 27, in _Aids to
Reflection_ p. 14. In the LXX θρησκεύειν, θρησκεία, together occur four
times (Wisd. xi. 16, xiv. 16, 18, 27), and in all these examples the
reference is to idolatrous or false worship. Indeed generally the usage
of the word exhibits a tendency to a bad sense.

τῶν ἀγγέλων] For the angelology and angelolatry of these Colossian false
teachers, more especially in its connexion with Essene teaching, see the
introduction, pp. 89 sq., 101 sq., 110, 181 sq. For the prominence which
was given to angelology in the speculations of the Jews generally, see
the _Preaching of Peter_ quoted in Clem. Alex. _Strom._ vi. 5 (p. 760)
μηδὲ κατὰ Ἰουδαίους σέβεσθε, καὶ γὰρ εκεῖνοι ... οὐκ ἐπίστανται
λατρεύοντες ἀγγέλοις καὶ ἀρχαγγέλοις, Celsus in Orig. _c. Cels._ v. 6
(i. p. 580) πρῶτον οὖν τῶν Ἰουδαίων θαυμάζειν ἄξιον, εἰ τὸν μὲν οὐρανὸν
καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷδε ἀγγέλους σέβουσι κ.τ.λ., comp. _ib._ i. 26 (p. 344).
From Jews it naturally spread to Judaizing Christians; e.g. _Clem. Hom._
iii. 36 ἀγγέλων ὀνόματα γνωρίζειν, viii. 12 sq., _Test. xii. Patr._ Levi
3 (quoted above on i. 16). The interest however extended to more
orthodox circles, as appears from the strange passage in Ignat. _Trall._
5 μὴ οὐ δύναμαι τὰ ἐπουράνια γράψαι; ... δύναμαι νοεῖν τὰ ἐπουράνια καὶ
τὰς τοποθεσίας τὰς ἀγγελικὰς καὶ τὰς συστάσεις τὰς ἀρχοντικάς κ.τ.λ. Of
angelology among Gnostic sects see Iren. ii. 30. 6, ii. 32. 5, Orig. _c.
Cels._ vi. 30 sq. (I. p. 653), Clem. Alex. _Exc. Theod._ p. 970 sq.,
_Pistis Sophia_ pp. 2, 19, 23, etc.

ἃ ἑόρακεν κ.τ.λ.] literally ‘_invading what he has seen,_’ which is
generally explained to mean ‘parading’ or ‘poring over his visions’. For
this sense of ἐμβατεύειν, which takes either a genitive or a dative or
an accusative, comp. Philo _de Plant. Noe_ ii. 19 (i. p. 341) οἱ
προσωτέρω χωροῦντες τῶν ἐπιστημῶν καὶ ἐπὶ πλέον ἐμβατεύοντες αὐταῖς, 2
Macc. ii. 30 τὸ μὲν ἐμβατεύειν καί περὶ πάντων ποιεῖσθαι λόγον καὶ
πολυπραγμονεῖν ἐν τοῖς κατὰ μέρος. At a later date this sense becomes
common, e.g. Nemesius _de Nat. Hom._ p. 64 (ed. Matthæi) οὐρανὸν
ἐμβατεύει τῇ θεωρίᾳ. In Xen. _Symp._ iv. 27 ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ βιβλίῷ ἀμφότεροι
ἐμβατεύετέ τι, the reading may be doubtful. But though ἃ ἑόρακεν singly
might mean ‘his visions’, and ἐμβατεύων ‘busying himself with’, the
combination ‘invading what he has seen’, thus interpreted, is so harsh
and incongruous as to be hardly possible; and there was perhaps some
corruption in the text prior to all existing authorities (see the note
on Phil. ii. 1 for a parallel case). Did the Apostle write )έωρᾳ (or
αἴωρᾳ) κενεμβατεύων? In this case the existing text ==αεωρακενεμ
βατευων== might be explained partly by an attempt to correct the form
)εώρᾳ into αἰώρᾳ or conversely, and partly by the perplexity of
transcribers when confronted with such unusual words. This reading had
suggested itself to me independently without the knowledge that, so far
as regards the latter word, it had been anticipated by others in the
conjecture ἃ ἑώρα (or ἃ ἑώρακεν) κενεμβατεύων. The word κενεμβατεῖν ‘to
walk on emptiness’, ‘to tread the air’, and so metaphorically (like
αἐροβατεῖν, αἰθεροβατεῖν, αἰθερεμβατεῖν, etc.) ‘to indulge in vain
speculations’, is not an uncommon word. For its metaphorical sense
especially see Plut. _Mor._ p. 336 F οὕτως ἐρέμβετο κενεμβατοῦν καὶ
σφαλλόμενον ὑπ’ ἀναρχίας τὸ μέγεθος αὐτῆς, Basil. _Op._ I. p. 135 τὸν
νοῦν ... μυρία πλανηθέντα καὶ πολλὰ κενεμβατήσαντα κ.τ.λ., _ib._ I. p.
596 σοῦ δὲ μὴ κενεμβατέιτω ὁ νοῦς, Synes. _de Insomn._ p. 156 οὔτε γὰρ
κενεμβατοῦντας τοὺς λόγους ἐξήνεγκαν. Though the precise form
κενεμβατεύειν does not occur, yet it is unobjectionable in itself. For
the other word which I have ventured to suggest, ἐώρᾳ or αἰώρᾳ, see
Philo _de Somn._ ii. 6 (I. p. 665) _ὑποτυφούμενος_ ὑπ’ αἰώρας
φρενῶν καὶ _κενοῦ_ φυσήματος, _ib._ § 9 (p. 667) τὴν ἐπ’
_αἰώρας_ φορουμένην _κενὴν_ δόξαν, _Quod Deus immut._ § 36 (I.
p. 298) ὡσπερ ἐπ’ αἰώρας τινὸς ψευδοῦς καὶ ἀβεβαίου δόξης φορεῖσθαι
_κατὰ κενοῦ βαίνοντα_. The first and last passages more especially
present striking parallels, and show how germane to St Paul’s subject
these ideas of ‘suspension or balancing in the air’ (ἐώρα or αἰώρα) and
‘treading the void’ (κενεμβατεύειν) would be, as expressing at once the
spiritual pride and the emptiness of these speculative mystics; see also
_de Somn._ ii. 2 (p. 661) ἐμφαίνεται καὶ τὸ τῆς _κενῆς_ δόξης, ἐφ’
ἣν, ὡς ἐφ’ ἅρμα, διὰ τὸ κοῦφον _ἀναβαίνει, φυσώμενος_ καὶ μετέωρον
_ᾐωρηκὼς_ ἑαυτόν. The substantive, ἐώρα or αἰώρα, is used sometimes
of the instrument for suspending, sometimes of the position of
suspension. In this last sense it describes the poising of a bird, the
floating of a boat on the waters, the balancing on a rope, and the like.
Hence its expressiveness when used as a metaphor.

In the received text a negative is inserted, ἃ μὴ ἑώρακεν ἐμβατεύων.
This gives a very adequate sense ‘_intruding into those things which he
has not seen_’; οὐ γὰρ εἶδεν ἀγγέλους, says Chrysostom, καὶ οὕτω
διάκειται ὡς ἰδών: comp. Ezek. xiii. 3 οὐὰι τοῖς προφητεύουσιν ἀπὸ
καρδίας αὐτῶν καὶ τὸ καθόλου μὴ βλέπουσιν. But, though the difficulty is
thus overcome, this cannot be regarded as the original reading of the
text, the authorities showing that the negative was an after insertion.
See the detached note on various readings.

For the form ἑόρακεν, which is better supported here than ἑώρακεν, see
the note on ii. 1.


II. 19]

ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, ^{19}καὶ οὐ

εἰκῇ φυσιούμενος] ‘_vainly puffed up_.’ Their profession of humility was
a cloke for excessive pride: for, as St Paul says elsewhere (1 Cor.
viii. 1), ἡ γνῶσις φυσιοῖ. It may be questioned whether εἰκῇ should be
connected with the preceding or the following words. Its usual position
in St Paul, before the words which it qualifies (Rom. xiii. 4, 1 Cor.
xv. 2, Gal. iv. 11; there is an exceptional reason for the exceptional
position in Gal. iii. 4), points to the latter construction.

τοῦ νοὸς κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the mind of his flesh_’, i.e. unenlightened by the
Spirit; comp. Rom. viii. 7 τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκός. It would seem that the
Apostle is here taking up some watchword of the false teachers. They
doubtless boasted that they were directed ὑπὸ τοῦ νόος. Yes, he answers,
but it is ὁ νοῦς τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν. Compare Rev. ii. 24, where the
favourite Gnostic boast γινώσκειν τὰ βαθέα is characterized by the
addition of τοῦ Σατανᾶ (see _Galatians_ p. 298 note 3). Comp. August.
_Conf._ x. 67 ‘Quem invenirem qui me reconciliaret tibi? Ambiendum mihi
fuit ad angelos? Qua prece? quibus sacramentis? Multi conantes ad te
redire, neque per se ipsos valentes, sicut audio, tentaverunt hæc et
inciderunt in desiderium curiosarum visionum et digni habiti sunt
illusionibus. Elati enim te quærebant doctrinæ fastu, etc.’

19. οὐ κρατῶν] ‘_not holding fast_.’ This is the most common
construction and meaning of κρατεῖν in the New Testament; e.g. Mark vii.
8 _ἀφέντες_ τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ _κρατεῖτε_ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν
ἀνθρώπων; comp. Cant. iii. 4 ἑῦρον ὃν ἠγάπησεν ἡ ψυχή μου, ἐκράτησα
αὐτὸν καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκα αὐτόν.


II. 19]

κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν, ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν

τὴν κεφαλήν] ‘_the Head_’ regarded as a title, so that a person is at
once suggested, and the relative which follows is masculine, ἐξ οὗ;
comp. the parallel passage, Ephes. iv. 16 ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλή, Χριστὸς ἐξ
οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα κ.τ.λ. The supplication and worship of angels is a
substitution of inferior members for the Head, which is the only source
of spiritual life and energy. See the introduction pp. 34, 78, 101 sq.,
181 sq.

διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_through the junctures and ligaments_.’ Galen,
when describing the structure of the human frame, more than once
specifies the elements of union as twofold: the body owes its
compactness partly to the _articulation_, partly to the _attachment_;
e.g. _Op._ II. p. 734 (ed. Kühn) ἔστι δὲ ὁ τρόπος τῆς συνθέσεως αὐτῶν
διττὸς κατὰ γένος, ὁ μὲν ἕτερος κατὰ _ἄρθρον_, ὁ δὲ ἕτερος κατὰ
_σύμφυσιν_. Similarly, though with a more general reference,
Aristotle speaks of two kinds of union, which he describes as ἁφή
‘contact’ and σύμφυσις ‘cohesion’ respectively; _Metaph._ iv. 4 (p.
1014) διαφέρει δὲ _σύμφυσις ἁφῆς_· ἕνθα μὲν γὰρ οὐθὲν παρὰ τὴν ἁφὴν
ἕτερον ἀνάγκη εἶναι, ἐν δὲ τοῖς συμπεφύκοσιν ἐστί τι ἓν τὸ αὐτὸ ἐν
ἀμφοῖν ὃ ποιεῖ ἀντὶ τοῦ ἅπτεσθαι συμπεφυκέναι καὶ εἶναι ἓν κ.τ.λ.,
_Phys. Ausc._ iv. 6 (p. 213) τούτοις ἁφή ἐστιν· σύμφυσις δέ, ὅταν ἄμφω
ἐνεργείᾳ ἓν γένωνται (comp. _ib._ v. 3, p. 227), _Metaph._ x. 3 (p.
1071) ὅσα ἐστιν ἁφῇ καὶ μὴ συμφύσει. The relation of contiguous surfaces
and the connexion of different parts together effect structural unity.
This same distinction appears in the Apostle’s language here. Contact
and attachment are the primary ideas in ἁφαί and σύνδεσμοι respectively.

Of the function of ἁφή, ‘contact’, in physiology (περὶ ἁφῆς τῆς ἐν τοῖς
φυσικοῖς) Aristotle speaks at some length in one passage, _de Gen. et
Corr._ i. 6 (p. 322 sq.). It may be mentioned, as illustrating St Paul’s
image, that Aristotle in this passage lays great stress on the mutual
sympathy and influence of the parts in contact, describing them as
παθητικὰ καὶ ποιητικά and as κινητικὰ καὶ κινητὰ ὑπ’ ἀλληλῶν. Elsewhere,
like St Paul here, he uses the plural αἱ ἁφαί; _de Cælo_ i. 11 (p. 280)
τὸ ἄνευ φθορᾶς ὁτὲ μὲν ὂν ὁτὲ δὲ μὴ ὄν, οἷον τὰς ἁφάς, ὅτι ἄνευ τοῦ
φθείρεσθαι πρότερον οὖσαι ὕστερον οὐκ εἰσίν, _de Gen. et Corr._ i. 8 (p.
326) ὄυτε γὰρ _κατὰ τὰς ἁφὰς_ ἐνδέχεται διιέναι διὰ τῶν διαφανῶν
ὄυτε διὰ τῶν _πόρων_, _ib._ § 9 (p. 327) εἰ γὰρ διακρίνεσθαι


II. 19]

καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συνβιβαζόμενον

κατὰ τὰς _ἁφάς_, ὥσπερ φασί τινες, κἂν μήπω ᾖ διηρημένον, ἔσται
διηρημένον· δυνατὸν γὰρ διαιρεθῆναι: comp. [Plat.] _Axioch._ p. 365 A
συνειλεγμένον τὰς ἁφὰς καὶ τῷ σώματι ῥωμαλέον. It is quite clear from
these passages of Aristotle, more especially from the distinction of
ἁφαί and πόροι, that αἱ ἁφαί are the joinings, the junctures. When
applied to the human body they would be ‘joints,’ provided that we use
the word accurately of the relations between contiguous limbs, and not
loosely (as it is often used) of the parts of the limbs themselves in
the neighbourhood of the contact. Hippocrates indeed used ἁφαί as a
physiological term in a different sense, employing it as a synonyme for
ἅμματα i.e. the fasciculi of muscles (see Galen _Op._ XIX. p. 87), but
this use was quite exceptional and can have no place here. Thus αἱ ἁφαί
will be almost a synonyme for τὰ ἄρθρα, differing however (1) as being
more wide and comprehensive, and (2) as not emphasizing so strongly the
_adaptation_ of the contiguous parts.

The considerations just urged seem decisive as to the meaning of the
word. Some eminent modern critics however explain αἱ ἁφαί to be ‘the
senses’, following Theodoret on Ephes. iv. 16 ἁφὴν δὲ τὴν ἄισθησιν
προσηγόρευσεν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ αὕτη μία τῶν πέντε αἰσθήσεων, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ
μέρους τὸ πᾶν ὠνόμασε. St Chrysostom had led the way to this
interpretation, though his language is less explicit than Theodoret’s.
To such a meaning however there are fatal objections. (1) This sense of
ἁφή is wholly unsupported. It is true that touch lies at the root of all
sensations, and that this fact was recognised by ancient physiologists:
e.g. Aristot. _de Anim._ i. 13 (p. 435) ἄνευ μὲν γὰρ ἁφῆς οὐδεμίαν
ἐνδέχεται ἄλλην ἄισθησιν ἔχειν. But here the connexion ends; and unless
more cogent examples not hitherto adduced are forthcoming, we are
justified in saying that αἱ ἁφαί could no more be used for αἱ αἰσθήσεις,
than in English ‘the touches’ could be taken as a synonyme for ‘the
senses.’ (2) The image would be seriously marred by such a meaning. The
ἁφαί and σύνδεσμοι would no longer be an exhaustive description of the
elements of union in the anatomical structure; the conjunction of things
so incongruous under the vinculum of the same article and preposition,
_διὰ τῶν_ ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων, would be unnatural; and the intrusion
of the ‘senses’ would be out of place, where the result specified is the
supply of nourishment (ἐπιχορηγούμενον) and the compacting of the parts
(συμβιβαζόμενον). (3) All the oldest versions, the Latin, the Syriac,
and the Memphitic, explain it otherwise, so as to refer in some way to
the connexion of the parts of the body; e.g. in the Old Latin it is
rendered _nexus_ here and _junctura_ in Ephes. iv. 16.

συνδέσμων] ‘_bands_,’ ‘_ligaments_.’ The Greek σύνδεσμος, like the
English ‘ligament,’ has a general and a special sense. In its general
and comprehensive meaning it denotes any of the connecting bands which
strap the body together, such as muscles or tendons or ligaments
properly so called; in its special and restricted use it is a ‘ligament’
in the technical sense; comp. Galen _Op._ IV. p. 369 σύνδεσμος γάρ
ἐστιν, ὁ γοῦν ἰδίως, οὐ κοινῶς ὀνομαζόμενος, σῶμα νευρῶδες ἐξ ὀστοῦ μὲν
ὁρμώμενον πάντως διαπεφυκὸς δὲ ἢ εἰς ὀστοῦν ἢ εἰς μῦν. Of the σύνδεσμοι
or ligaments properly so called Galen describes at length the several
functions and uses, more especially as binding and holding together the
διαρθρώσεις; _Op._ I. 236, II. 268, 739, III. 149, IV. 2, etc., comp.
Tim. Locr. _de An. Mund._ p. 557 συνδέσμοις ποττὰν κίνασιν τοῖς νεύροις
συνᾶψε τὰ ἄρθρα (_Opusc. Mythol._ etc. ed. Gale). In our text indeed
σύνδεσμοι must be taken in its comprehensive sense; but the relation of
the ἁφαί to the σύνδεσμοι in St Paul still remains the same as that of
the διαρθρώσεις to the σύνδεσμοι in Galen.

ἐπιχορηγούμενον κ.τ.λ.] The two functions performed by the ἁφαί and
σύνδεσμοι are _first_ the supply of nutriment etc. (ἐπιχορηγούμενον),
and _secondly_ the compacting of the frame (συνβιβαζόμενον). In other
words they are the communication of life and energy, and the
preservation of unity and order. The _source_ of all (ἐξ οὗ) is Christ
Himself the Head; but the _channels_ of communication (διὰ τῶν κ.τ.λ.)
are the different members of His body, in their relation one to another.
For ἐπιχορηγούμενον ‘bountifully furnished’ see the note on Gal. iii. 5.
Somewhat similarly Aristotle speaks of σῶμα κάλλιστα πεφυκὸς καὶ
κεχορηγημένον, _Pol._ iv. 1 (p. 1288). For examples of χορηγία applied
to functions of the bodily organs, see Galen _Op._ III. p. 617 ἐν ταῖς
εἰσπνοαῖς χορηγίᾳ ψυχρᾶς ποίοτητος, Alex. _Probl._ i. 81 τὸ πλεῖστον τῆς
τροφῆς ἐξυδαρούμενον χορηγεῖται πρὸς γένεσιν τοῦ πάθους. For
συνβιβαζόμενον, ‘joined together, compacted’, see the note on ii. 2. In
the parallel passage, Ephes. iv. 16, this part of the image is more
distinctly emphasized, συναρμολούμενον καὶ συνβιβαζόμενον. The
difference corresponds to the different aims of the two epistles. In the
Colossian letter the vital connexion with the Head is the main theme; in
the Ephesian, the unity in diversity among the members.


II. 20]

αὔξει τὴν αὔυξησιν τοῦ Θεοῦ. ^{20}εἰ ἀπεθάνετε σὺν Χριστῷ

αὔξει τὴν αὕξησιν κ.τ.λ.] By the two-fold means of contact and
attachment nutriment has been diffused and structural unity has been
attained, but these are not the ultimate result; they are only
intermediate processes; the end is _growth_. Comp. Arist. _Metaph._ iv.
4 (p. 1014) _αὔξησιν ἔχειδ’_ ἑτέρου τῷ _ἅπτεσθαι_ καὶ
_συμπεφυκέναι_ ... διαφέρει δὲ σύμφυσις ἁφῆς, where growth is
attributed to the same two physiological conditions as here.

τοῦ Θεοῦ] i.e. ‘which partakes of God, which belongs to God, which has
its abode in God.’ Thus the finite is truly united with the Infinite;
the end which the false teachers strove in vain to compass is attained;
the Gospel vindicates itself as the true theanthropism, after which the
human heart is yearning and the human intellect is feeling. See above p.
183 sq. With this conclusion of the sentence contrast the parallel
passage Ephes. iv. 16 τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος _ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν
ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ_, where again the different endings are determined by
the different motives of the two epistles.

The discoveries of modern physiology have invested the Apostle’s
language with far greater distinctness and force than it can have worn
to his own contemporaries. Any exposition of the nervous system more
especially reads like a commentary on his image of the relations between
the body and the head. At every turn we meet with some fresh
illustration which kindles it with a flood of light. The volition
communicated from the brain to the limbs, the sensations of the
extremities telegraphed back to the brain, the absolute mutual sympathy
between the head and the members, the instantaneous paralysis ensuing on
the interruption of continuity, all these add to the completeness and
life of the image. But the following passages will show how even ancient
scientific speculation was feeling after those physiological truths
which the image involves; Hippocr. _de Morb. Sacr._ p. 309 (ed Foese)
κατὰ ταῦτα νομίζω τὸν ἐγκέφαλον δύναμιν πλείστην ἔχειν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ...
οἱ δὲ ὀφθαλμοὶ καὶ τὰ οὔατα καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες καὶ οἱ πόδες, οἷα
ἂν ὁ ἐγκέφαλος γινώσκῃ, τοιαῦτα ὑπηρετοῦσι ... ἐς δὲ τὴν σύνεσιν ὁ
_ἐγκέφαλος_ ἐστὶν ὁ διαγγέλλων ... διότι φημὶ τὸν ἐγκέφαλον εἶναι
τὸν ἑρμηνεύοντα τὴν σύνεσιν, αἱ δὲ _φρένες_ ἄλλως ὄνομα ἔχουσι τῇ
τύχῃ κεκτημένον ... λέγουσι δέ τινες ὡς φρονέομεν τῇ _καρδίῃ_ καὶ
τὸ ἀνίωμενον τοῦτο ἐστι καὶ τὸ φροντίζον· τὸ δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἔχει ... τῆς
... φρονήσιος οὐδετέρῳ μέτεστιν ἀλλὰ πάντων τουτέων ὁ ἐγκέφαλος αἴτιός
ἐστιν ... πρῶτος αἰσθάνεται ὁ ἐγκέφαλος τῶν ἐν τῷ σώματι ἐνεόντων (where
the theory is mixed up with some curious physiological speculations),
Galen _Op._ I. 235 αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ ἐγκέφαλος ὅτι μὲν ἀρχὴ τοῖς νεύροις ἅπασι
τῆς δυνάμεώς ἐστιν, ἐναργῶς ἐμάθομεν ... πότερον δὲ ὡς αὐτὸς τοῖς
νεύροις, οὕτω ἐκέινῳ πάλιν ἕτερόν τι μόριον ἐπιπέμπει, ἢ πηγή τις αὐτῶν
ἐστίν, ἔτ’ ἄδηλον, _ib._ IV. p. 11 ἀρχὴ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν (i.e. τῶν νεύρων)
ὁ ἐγκέφαλός ἐστι, καὶ τὰ πάθη εἰς αὐτὸν φέρει, οἷον εἰς ἄρουράν τινα τῆς
λογιστικῆς ψυχῆς· ἔκφυσις δ’ ἐντεῦθεν, οἷον πρέμνου τινὸς εἰς δένδρον
ἀνήκοντος μέγα, ὁ νωτιαῖός ἐστι μυελὸς ... σύμπαν δ’ οὕτω τὸ σῶμα
μεταλαμβάνει δι’ αὐτῶν πρώτης μὲν καὶ μάλιστα κινήσεως, ἐπὶ τάυτῃ δ’
αἰσθήσεως, XIV. p. 313 hάυτη γὰρ (i.e. ἡ κεφαλή) καθάπερ τις ἀκρόπολίς
ἐστι τοῦ σώματος καὶ τῶν τιμιωτάτων καὶ ἀναγκαιοτάτων ἀνθρώποις
αἰσθήσεων οἰκητήριον. Plato had made the head the central organ of the
reason (_Tim._ 69 sq.: see Grote’s _Plato_ III. pp. 272, 287,
_Aristotle_ II. p. 179 sq.), if indeed the speculations of the Timæus
may be regarded as giving his serious physiological views; but he had
postulated other centres of the emotions and appetites, the heart and
the abdomen. Aristotle, while rightly refusing to localize the mind as
mind, had taken a retrograde step physiologically, when he transferred
the centre of sensation from the brain to the heart; e.g. _de Part.
Anim._ ii. 10 (p. 656). Galen, criticizing his predecessors, says of
Aristotle δῆλός ἐστι κατεγνωκὼς μὲν αὐτοῦ (i.e. τοῦ ἐγκεφάλοὐ τελέαν
ἀχρηστίαν, φανερῶς δ’ ὁμολογεῖν αἰδούμενος (_Op._ III. p. 625). The
Stoics however (Ζήνων καὶ Χρύσιππος ἅμα τῷ σφετέρῳ χορῷ παντί) were even
worse offenders; and in reply to them more especially Galen elsewhere
discusses the question πότερον ἐγκέφαλος ἢ καρδία τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔχει, _Op._
V. p. 213 sq. Bearing in mind all this diversity of opinion among
ancient physiologists, we cannot fail to be struck in the text not only
with the correctness of the image but also with the propriety of the
terms; and we are forcibly reminded that among the Apostle’s most
intimate companions at this time was one whom he calls ‘the beloved
physician’ (iv. 14).

20–23. ‘You died with Christ to your old life. All mundane relations
have ceased for you. Why then do you—you who have attained your
spiritual manhood—submit still to the rudimentary discipline of
children? Why do you—you who are citizens of heaven—bow your necks
afresh to the tyranny of material ordinances, as though you were still
living in the world? It is the same old story again; the same round of
hard, meaningless, vexatious prohibitions, ‘Handle not,’ ‘Taste not,’
‘Touch not.’ What folly! When all these things—these meats and drinks
and the like—are earthly, perishable, wholly trivial and unimportant!
They are used, and there is an end of them. What is this, but to draw
down upon yourselves the denunciations uttered by the prophet of old?
What is this but to abandon God’s word for precepts which are issued by
human authority and inculcated by human teachers? All such things have a
show of wisdom, I grant. There is an officious parade of religious
devotion, an eager affectation of humility; there is a stern ascetic
rigour, which ill-treats the body; but there is nothing of any real
value to check indulgence of the flesh.’

20. From the theological tenets of the false teachers the Apostle turns
to the ethical—from the objects of their worship to the principles of
their conduct. The baptism into Christ, he argues, is death to the
world. The Christian has passed away to another sphere of existence.
Mundane ordinances have ceased to have any value for him, because his
mundane life has ended. They belong to the category of the perishable;
he has been translated to the region of the eternal. It is therefore a
denial of his Christianity to subject himself again to their tyranny, to
return once more to the dominion of the world. See again the note on
iii. 1.

εἰ ἀπεθάνετε] ‘_if ye died_, when ye were baptized into Christ.’ For
this connexion between baptism and death see the notes on ii. 11, iii.
3. This death has many aspects in St Paul’s teaching. It is not only a
dying _with_ Christ, 2 Tim. ii. 11 εἰ γὰρ συναπεθάνομεν; but it is also
a dying to or from something. This is sometimes represented as _sin_,
Rom. vi. 2 ὁίτινες ἀπεθάνομεν τῇ _ἁμαρτίᾳ_ (comp. vv. 7, 8);
sometimes as _self_, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15 ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον ... ἵνα οἱ
ζῶντες μήκετι _ἑαυτοῖς_ ζῶσιν; sometimes as the _law_, Rom. vii. 6
κατηργήθημεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἀποθανόντες, Gal. ii. 19 διὰ νόμου νόμῳ
ἀπέθανον; sometimes still more widely as the _world_, regarded as the
sphere of all material rules and all mundane interests, so here and iii.
3 ἀπεθάνετε γάρ. In all cases St Paul uses the aorist ἀπέθανον, never
the perfect τέθνηκα; for he wishes to emphasize the one absolute
_crisis_, which was marked by the change of changes. When the aorist is
wanted, the compound verb ἀποθνήσκειν is used; when the perfect, the
simple verb θήσκειν; see Buttmann _Ausf. Gramm._ § 114. This rule holds
universally in the Greek Testament.


II. 20]

ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχέιων τοῦ κόσμου, τί ὡς ζῶντες ἐν κόσμῳ

ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων κ.τ.λ.] i.e. ‘from the rudimentary, disciplinary,
ordinances, whose sphere is the mundane and sensuous’: see the note on
ver. 8. For the pregnant expression ἀποθανεῖν ἀπὸ comp. Gal. v. 4
κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ (so too Rom. vii. 2, 6), 2 Cor. xi. 3 φθαρῇ ...
ἀπὸ τῆς ἁπλότητος, and see A. Buttmann p. 277 note.


II. 21, 22]

δογματίζεσθε; ^{21}Μὴ ἅψῃ μηδὲ γεύσῃ μηδὲ θίγῃς ^{22}ἅ

δογματίζεσθε] ‘_are ye overridden with precepts, ordinances_.’ In the
LXX the verb δογματίζειν is used several times, meaning ‘to issue a
decree,’ Esth. iii. 9, 1 Esdr. vi. 33, 2 Macc. x. 8, xv. 36, 3 Macc. iv.
11. Elsewhere it is applied most commonly to the precepts of
philosophers; e.g. Justin _Apol._ i. 7 οἱ ἐν Ἕλλησι τὰ αὐτοῖς ἀρεστὰ
_δογματίσαντες_ ἐκ παντὸς τῷ ἑνὶ ὀνόματι _φιλοσοφίας_
προσαγορεύονται (comp. § 4), Epict. iii. 7. 17 sq. εἰ θέλεις εἶναι
φιλόσοφος ... δογματίζων τὰ αἰσχρά. Here it would include alike the
δόγματα of the Mosaic law (ver. 14) and the δόγματα of the ‘philosophy’
denounced above (ver. 8). Both are condemned; the one as superseded
though once authoritative, the other as wholly vexatious and
unwarrantable. Examples are given in the following verse, μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ.
For the construction here, where the more remote object, which would
stand in the dative with the active voice (2 Macc. x. 8 ἐδογμάτισαν ...
τῷ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἔθνει), becomes the nominative of the passive, compare
χρηματίζεσθαι Matt. ii. 12, 22, διακονεῖσθαι Mark x. 45, and see Winer §
xxxix. p. 326, A. Buttmann p. 163, Kühner § 378, II. p. 109.

21. Μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ.] The Apostle disparagingly repeats the prohibitions of
the false teachers in their own words, ‘Handle not, neither taste,
neither touch.’ The rabbinical passages quoted in Schöttgen show how
exactly St Paul’s language reproduces, not only the spirit, but even the
form, of these injunctions. The Latin commentators, Hilary and Pelagius,
suppose these prohibitions to be the Apostle’s own, thus making a
complete shipwreck of the sense. So too St Ambrose _de Noe et Arca_ 25
(I. p. 267), _de Abr._ i. 6 (I. p. 300). We may infer from the language
of St Augustine who argues against it, that this was the popular
interpretation in his day: _Epist._ cxix. (II. p. 512) ‘tanquam
præceptum putatur apostoli, nescio quid tangere, gustare, attaminare,
prohibentis.’ The ascetic tendency of the age thus fastened upon a
slight obscurity in the Greek and made the Apostle recommend the very
practices which he disparaged. For a somewhat similar instance of a
misinterpretation commonly received see the note on τοῖς δόγμασιν ver.
14. Jerome however (I. p. 878) had rightly interpreted the passage,
illustrating it by the precepts of the Talmud. At a still earlier date
Tertullian, _Adv. Marc._ v. 19, gives the correct interpretation.

These prohibitions relate to defilement contracted in divers ways by
contact with impure objects. Some were doubtless reenactments of the
Mosaic law; while others would be exaggerations or additions of a
rigorous asceticism, such as we find among the Essene prototypes of
these Colossian heretics, e.g. the avoidance of oil, of wine, or of
flesh-meat, the shunning of contact with a stranger or a religious
inferior, and the like; see pp. 85 sq. For the religious bearing of this
asceticism, as springing from the _dualism_ of these heretical teachers,
see above pp. 79, 104 sq.


II. 22]

ἐστιν πάντα εἰς φθορὰν τῇ ἀποχρήσεἰ, κατὰ τὰ

ἅψῃ] The difference between ἅπτεσθαι and θιγγάνειν is not great, and in
some passages where they occur together, it is hard to distinguish them:
e.g. Exod. xix. 12 προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς τοῦ ἀναβῆναι εἰς τὸ ὄρος καὶ
_θιγεῖν_ τι αὐτοῦ· πᾶς ὁ _ἁψάμενος_ τοῦ ὄρους θανάτῳ
τελευτήσει, Eur. _Bacch._ 617 οὔτ’ _ἔθιγεν_ οὔθ’ _ἣψαθ’_ ἡμῶν,
Arist. _de Gen. et Corr._ i. 8 (p. 326) διὰ τί οὐ γίγνεται
_ἁψάμενα_ ἕν, ὥσπερ ὕδωρ ὕδατος ὅταν _θίγη_|; Dion Chrys.
_Or._ xxxiv. (II. p. 50) οἱ δ’ ἐκ παρέργου προσίασιν ἁπτόμενοι μόνον τοῦ
πράγματος, ὥσπερ οἱ σπονδῆς θιγγάνοντες, Themist. _Paraphr. Arist._ 95
τὴν δὲ ἁφὴν αὐτῶν ἅπτεσθαι τῶν αἰσθητῶν _ἀναγκαῖον_· καὶ γὰρ
τοὔνομα αὐτῆς ἐκ τοῦ _ἅπτεσθαι_ καὶ _θιγγάνειν_. But ἅπτεσθαι
is the stronger word of the two. This arises from the fact that it
frequently suggests, though it does not necessarily involve, the idea of
a voluntary or conscious effort, ‘to take hold of’–a suggestion which is
entirely wanting to the colourless word θιγγάνειν; comp. Themist.
_Paraphr. Arist._ 94 ἡ τῶν ζώων _ἁφὴ_ κρίσις ἐστὶ καὶ ἀντίληψις τοῦ
_θιγγάνοντος_. Hence in Xen. _Cyrop._ i. 3. 5 ὅτι σε, φάναι, ὁρῶ,
ὅταν μὲν τοῦ ἄρτου ἅψῃ, εἰς οὐδὲν τὴν χεῖρα ἀποψώμενον, ὅταν δὲ τούτων
τινὸς _θίγῃς_, εὐθὺς ἀποκαθαίρει τὴν χεῖρα εἰς τὰ χειρόμακτρα
κ.τ.λ. Thus the words chosen in the Latin Versions, _tangere_ for
ἅπτεσθαι and _attaminare_ or _contrectare_ for θιγεῖν, are unfortunate,
and ought to be transposed. Our English Version, probably influenced by
the Latin, has erred in the same direction, translating ἅπτεσθαι by
‘touch’ and θιγεῖν by ‘handle’. Here again they must be transposed.
‘Handle’ is too strong a word for either; though in default of a better
it may stand for ἅπτεσθαι, which it more nearly represents. Thus the two
words ἅψῃ and θίγῃς being separate in meaning, γεύσῃ may well interpose;
and the three together will form a descending series, so that, as Beza
(quoted in Trench _N. T. Syn._ § xvii. p. 57) well expresses it,
‘decrescente semper oratione, intelligatur crescere superstitio’.

On the other hand ἅψῃ has been interpreted here as referring to the
relation of husband and wife, as e.g. in 1 Cor. vii. 1 γυναικὸς μὴ
ἅπτεσθαι; and the prohibition would then be illustrated by the teaching
of the heretics in 1 Tim. iv. 3 κωλύοντων γαμεῖν. But, whatever
likelihood there may be that the Colossian false teachers also held this
doctrine (see above p. 85 sq.), it nowhere appears in the context, and
we should not expect so important a topic to be dismissed thus
cursorily. Moreover θιγγάνειν is used as commonly in this meaning as
ἅπτεσθαι (see Gataker _Op. Crit._ p. 79, and examples might be
multiplied); so that all ground for assigning it to ἅπτεσθαι especially
is removed. Both ἅπτεσθαι and θιγγάνειν refer to defilement incurred
through the sense of touch, though in different degrees; ‘Handle not,
nor yet taste, nor even touch.’

22. ‘Only consider what is the real import of this scrupulous avoidance.
Why, you are attributing an inherent value to things which are fleeting;
you yourselves are citizens of eternity, and yet your thoughts are
absorbed in the perishable’.

ἅ] ‘_which things_’, i.e. the meats and drinks and other material
objects, regarded as impure to the touch. The antecedent to ἅ is
implicitly involved in the prohibitions μὴ ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ.

ἐστιν εἰς φθορὰν] ‘_are destined for corruption_’. For similar
expressions see Acts viii. 20 ἔιη εἰς ἀπωλείαν (comp. ver. 23 εἰς χολὴν
πικρίας καὶ σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας ... ὄντἀ, 2 Πετ. ιι. 12 [Γρεεκ:
γεγεννημένα ... εἰς ἅλωσιν καὶ φθοράν. For the word φθορά, involving the
idea of ‘decomposition’, see the note on Gal. vi. 8. The expression here
corresponds to εἰς ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκβάλλεται (ἐκπορεύεταἰ, Matt. xv. 17, Mark
vii. 19.

τῇ ἀποχρήσει] ‘_in the consuming_’. While the verb ἀποχρῶμαι is common,
the substantive ἀπόχρησις is extremely rare: Plut. _Mor._ p. 267 F
χαίρειν ταῖς τοιάυταις ἀποχρήσεσι καὶ συστολαῖς τῶν περιττῶν (i.e. ‘by
such modes of consuming and abridging superfluities’), Dion. Hal. _A.
R._ i. 58 ἐν ἀποχρήσει γῆς μοίρας. The unusual word was chosen for its
expressiveness: the χρῆσις here was an ἀπόχρησις; the things could not
be used without rendering them unfit for further use. The subtlety of
the expression in the original cannot be reproduced in any translation.

On the other hand the clause is sometimes interpreted as a continuation
of the language of the ascetic teachers; ‘Touch not things which all
lead to ruin by their abuse’. This interpretation however has nothing to
recommend it. It loses the point of the Apostle’s argument; while it
puts upon εἶναι εἰς φθοράν a meaning which is at least not natural.

κατὰ κ.τ.λ.] connected directly with vv. 20, 21, so that the words ἅ
ἐστιν ... τῇ ἀποχρήσει are a parenthetical comment.


II. 22]

ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων·

τὰ ἐντάλματα κ.τ.λ.] The absence of both preposition and article before
διδασκαλίας shows that the two words are closely connected. They are
placed here in their proper order; for ἐντάλματα describes the source of
authority and διδασκαλίας the medium of communication. The expression is
taken ultimately from Isaiah xxix. 13, where the words run in the LXX,
μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων καὶ διδασκαλίας.
The Evangelists (Matt. xv. 9, Mark vii. 7), quoting the passage,
substitute in the latter clause διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα

The coincidences in St Paul’s language here with our Lord’s words as
related in the Gospels (Matt. xv. 1–20, Mark vii. 1–23) are striking,
and suggest that the Apostle had this discourse in his mind. (1) Both
alike argue against these vexatious ordinances from the _perishableness_
of meats. (2) Both insist upon the indifference of such things in
themselves. In Mark vii. 19 the Evangelist emphasizes the importance of
our Lord’s words on this occasion, as practically abolishing the Mosaic
distinction of meats by declaring all alike to be clean (καθαρίζων; see
the note on ver. 16). (3) Both alike connect such ordinances with the
practices condemned in the prophetic denunciation of Isaiah.


II. 23]

^{23}ἅτινά ἐστιν λόγον μὲν ἔχοντα σοφίας ἐν ἐθελοθρησκείᾳ

23. ‘All such teaching is worthless. It may bear the semblance of
wisdom; but it wants the reality. It may make an officious parade of
religious service; it may vaunt its humility; it may treat the body with
merciless rigour; but it entirely fails in its chief aim. It is
powerless to check indulgence of the flesh.’

ἅτινα] ‘_which sort of things_’. Not only these particular precepts, μὴ
ἅψῃ κ.τ.λ., but all precepts falling under the same category are
condemned. For this force of ἅτινα as distinguished from ἅ, see the
notes on Gal. iv. 24, v. 19, Phil. iv. 3. The antecedent here is not
ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας κ.τ.λ., but the prohibitions given in ver. 21.

λόγον μὲν κ.τ.λ.] ‘_having a reputation for wisdom_’, but not the
reality. The corresponding member, which should be introduced by δέ, is
suppressed; the oppositive clause being postponed and appearing later in
a new form, οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι κ.τ.λ. Such suppressions are common in
classical writers, more especially in Plato; see Kühner § 531, II. p.
813 sq., Jelf § 766, and comp. Winer § lxiii. p. 719 sq. St Jerome
therefore is not warranted in attributing St Paul’s language here to
‘imperitia artis grammaticæ’ (_Epist._ cxxi, _Op._ II. p. 884). On the
contrary it is just the license which an adept in a language would be
more likely to take than a novice.

In this sentence λόγον ἔχοντα σοφίας is best taken as a single
predicate, so that ἐστιν is disconnected from ἔχοντα. Otherwise the
construction ἐστιν ἔχοντα (for ἔχει) would be supported by many
parallels in the Greek Testament; see Winer § xlv. p. 437.

The phrase λόγον ἔχειν τινος, so far as I have observed, has four
meanings. (A) Two as applied to the _thinking subject_. (i) ‘To take
account of, to hold in account, to pay respect to’: e.g. Æsch. _Prom._
231 βροτῶν δὲ τῶν ταλαιπώρων λόγον οὐκ ἔσχεν οὐδένα, Demosth. _de
Coron._ § 199 )έιπερ ἢ δόξης ἢ προγόνων ἢ τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος εἶχε
λόγον, Plut. _Vit. Philop._ 18 πῶς ἄξιον ἐκέινου λόγον ἔχειν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς
κ.τ.λ. (ii) ‘To possess the reason or account or definition of’, ‘to
have a scientific knowledge of’; Plato _Gorg._ p. 465 A τέχνην δὲ αὐτὴν
οὔ φημι εἶναι ἀλλ’ ἐμπειρίαν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχει λόγον οὐδένα hῶν προσφέρει,
ὁποῖα ἄττα τὴν φύσιν ἐστίν, and so frequently. These two senses are
recognised by Aristotle, _Eth. Nic._ i. 13 (p. 1102), where he
distinguishes the meaning of the expressions ἔχειν λόγον τοῦ πατρὸς ἢ
τῶν φίλων and ἔχειν λόγον τῶν μαθητικῶν. (B) Two as applied to the
_object of thought_. (iii) ‘To have the credit or reputation of’, as
here. This sense of ἔχειν λόγον, ‘to be reputed’, is more commonly found
with an infinitive: e.g. Plato _Epin._ 987 B αὑτὸς Ἀφροδίτης εἶναι
σχέδον ἔχει λόγον. (iv) ‘To fulfil the definition of, to possess the
characteristics, to have the nature of’; e.g. Philo _Vit. Cont._ 4 (II.
p. 477) ἑκάτερον δὲ πηγῆς λόγον ἔχον, Plut. _Mor._ p. 637 D τὸ δὲ ὢον
οὔτε ἀρχῆς ἔχει λόγον, οὐ γὰρ ὑφίσταται πρῶτον, οὔτε ὅλου φύσιν, ἀτελὲς
γάρ ἐστιν, ib. 640 F δεῖ πρὸς τὸ ἐμφυτεύομενον χώρας λόγον ἔχειν τὸ
δεξόμενον. The senses of λόγον ἔχειν with other constructions, or as
used absolutely, are very various, e.g. ‘to be reasonable’, ‘to hold
discourse’, ‘to bear a ratio’, etc., but do not come under consideration
here. Nor again does such an expression as Plut. _Mor._ p. 550 C μήτε
τὸν λόγον ἔχων τοῦ νομοθέτου, ‘not being in possession of, not knowing,
the intention of the legislator’; for the definite article removes it
from the category of the cases considered.


καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ [καὶ] ἀφειδείᾳ σώματος, οὐκ

ἐν ἐθελοθρησκείᾳ] ‘_in volunteered_, self-imposed, officious,
supererogatory _service_’. One or both of these two ideas, (i)
‘excessive readiness, officious zeal,’ (ii) ‘affectation, unreality,’
are involved in this and similar compounds; e.g. ἐθελοδουλεία,
ἐθελοκάκησις, ἐθελοκίνδυνος, ἐθελοκωφέιν, ἐθελορήτωρ, ἐθελοπρόξενος:
these compounds being used most frequently, though not always (as this
last word shows), in a bad sense. This mode of expression was
naturalised in Latin, as appears from Augustine _Epist._ cxlix. 27 (II.
p. 514) ‘Sic enim et vulgo dicitur qui divitem affectat thelodives, et
qui sapientem thelosapiens, et cetera hujusmodi’. Epiphanius, when
writing of the Pharisees, not content with the word here supplied by St
Paul, coins a double compound ἐθελοπερισσοθρησκεία, _Hær._ i. 16 (p.

ταπεινοφροσύνῃ] The word is here disparaged by its connexion, as in ver.
18 (see the note there). The force of ἐθελο- may be regarded as carried
on to it. Real genuine ταπεινοφροσύνη is commended below; iii. 12.

ἀφειδείᾳ σώματος] ‘_hard treatment of the body_’. The expression
ἀφειδεῖν τοῦ σώματος is not uncommon, being used most frequently, not as
here of ascetic discipline, but rather of courageous exposure to
hardship and danger in war, e.g. Lysias _Or. Fun._ 25, Joseph. _B.J._
iii. 7. 18, Lucian _Anach._ 24, Plut. _Vit. Pericl._ 10; in Plut. _Mor._
p. 137 C however of a student’s toil, and _ib._ p. 135 E, more generally
of the rigorous demands made by the soul on the body. The substantive
ἀφέιδεια or ἀφειδία does not often occur. On the forms in -εια and -ία
derived from adjectives in -ης see Buttmann _Ausf. Gramm._ § 119, II. p.
416 sq. The great preponderance of manuscript authority favours the form
ἀφειδείᾳ here: but in such questions of orthography the fact carries
less weight than in other matters. The καὶ before ἀφειδείᾳ should
probably be omitted; in which case ἀφειδείᾳ becomes an instrumental
dative, explaining λόγον ἔχοντα σοφίας. While the insertion would
naturally occur to scribes, the omission gives more point to the
sentence. The ἐθελοθρησκεία καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνη as the religious elements
are thus separated from the ἀφείδεια σώματος as the practical rule.


ἐν τιμῇ τινὶ πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός.

οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ κ.τ.λ.] ‘yet _not_ really _of any value to remedy indulgence
of the flesh_.’ So interpreted the words supply the oppositive clause to
λόγον μὲν ἔχοντα σοφίας, as the presence of the negative οὐκ naturally
suggests. If the sentence had been undisturbed, this oppositive clause
would naturally have been introduced by δέ, but the interposition of ἐν
ἐθελοθρησκείᾳ κ.τ.λ. has changed its form by a sort of attraction. For
this sense of ἐν τιμῇ comp. Lucian _Merc. cond._ 17 τὰ καινὰ τῶν
ὑποδημάτων ἐν τιμῇ τινι καὶ ἐπιμελείᾳ ἐστίν: similarly Hom. _Il._ ix.
319 ἐν δὲ ἰῇ τιμῇ κ.τ.λ. The preposition πρός, like our English ‘_for_’,
when used after words denoting utility, value, sufficiency, etc., not
uncommonly introduces the object to _check_ or _prevent_ or _cure_ which
the thing is to be employed. And even though utility may not be directly
expressed in words, yet if the idea of a something to be _remedied_ is
present, this preposition is freely used notwithstanding. See Isocr.
_Phil._ 16 (p. 85) πρὸς τοὺς βαρβάρους χρήσιμον, Arist. _H. A._ iii. 21
(p. 522) συμφέρει πρὸς τὰς διαρῥοίας ἡ τοιάυτη μάλιστα, _de Respir._ 8
(p. 474) ἀνάγκη γίνεσθαι κατάψυξιν, εἰ μέλλει τεύξεσθαι σωτηρίας· τοῦτο
γὰρ βοηθεῖ πρὸς τάυτην τὴν φθοράν, Lucian _Pisc._ 27 χρήσιμον γοῦν καὶ
πρὸς ἐκέινους τὸ τοιοῦτον, Galen _Op._ XII. p. 399 χρωμένῳ γε τίνι πρὸς
τὸ πάθος ἀρκτέιῳ στέατι, π. 420 [Γρεεκ: τοῦ δόντος αὐτὰ πρὸς ἀλωπεκίας
φαλακρώσεις κ.τ.λ., p. 430 συνέθηκαν ... φάρμακα πρὸς ῥεούσας τρίχας, p.
476 βραχυτάτην ἔχοντι δύναμιν ὡς πρὸς τὸ προκέιμενον σύμπτωμα, p. 482
τοῦτο δὲ καὶ πρὸς τὰ ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ σώματι ἐξανθήματα σφόδρα χρήσιμόν ἐστιν,
p. 514 χρηστέον δὲ πᾶσι τοῖς ἀναγεγραμμένοις βοηθήμασι πρὸς τὰς
γινομένας δι’ ἕγκαυσιν κεφαλαλγίας, p. 601 κάλλιστον πρὸς αὐτὴν φάρμακον
ἐγχέομενον νάρδινον μύρον. These examples from Galen are only a few out
of probably some hundreds, which might be collected from the treatise in
which they occur, the _de Compositione Medicamentorum_.

The language, which the Colossian false teachers would use, may be
inferred from the account given by Philo of a Judaic sect of mystic
ascetics, who may be regarded, not indeed as their direct, but as their
collateral ancestors (see p. 86, note 246, p. 94), the Therapeutes of
Egypt; _de Vit. Cont._ § 4 (II. p. 476 sq.) τρυφῶσιν ὑπὸ _σοφίας_
ἑστίωμενοι πλουσίως καὶ ἀφθόνως _τὰ δόγματα_ χορηγούσης, ὡς καὶ ...
_μόλις_ δι’ ἓξ ἡμερῶν _ἀπογεύεσθαι_ τροφῆς ἀναγκαίας ...
σιτοῦνται δὲ ... ἄρτον εὐτελῆ, καὶ ὄψον ἅλες ... πότον ὕδωρ ναματιαῖον
αὐτοῖς ἐστίν ... _πλησμονὴν_ ὡς ἐχθρόν τε καὶ ἐπίβουλον
ἐκτρεπόμενοι ψυχῆς καὶ σώματος. St Paul apparently has before him some
similar exposition of the views of the Colossian heretics, either in
writing or (more probably) by report from Epaphras. In reply he
altogether denies the claims of this system to the title of σοφία; he
disputes the value of these δόγματα; he allows that this πλησμονή is the
great evil to be checked, the fatal disease to be cured; but he will not
admit that the remedies prescribed have any substantial and lasting

The interpretation here offered is not new, but it has been strangely
overlooked or despised. The passages adduced will I trust show the
groundlessness of objections which have been brought against it owing to
the use of the preposition; and in all other respects it seems to be far
preferable to any rival explanation which has been suggested. The
favourite interpretations in ancient or modern times divide themselves
into two classes, according to the meaning assigned to πρὸς πλησμονὴν
τῆς σαρκός. (1) It is explained in a good sense: ‘to satisfy the
reasonable wants of the body’. In this case οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινί is
generally interpreted, ‘_not_ holding it (the body) _in any honour_’. So
the majority of the fathers, Greek and Latin. This has the advantage of
preserving the continuity of the words οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι πρὸς πλησμονὴν
κ.τ.λ.: but it assigns an impossible sense to πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκός. For
πλησμονή always denotes ‘repletion’, ‘surfeiting’, ‘excessive
indulgence’, and cannot be used of a reasonable attention to the
physical cravings of nature; as Galen says, _Op._ XV. p. 113 πάντων
εἰωθότων οὐ μόνον ἰατρῶν ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Ἑλλήνων τὸ τῆς πλησμονῆς
ὄνομα μᾶλλόν πως ἐπιφέρειν _ταῖς ὑπερβολαῖς τῆς συμμέτρου
ποσότητος_: and certainly neither the Apostle nor the Colossian
ascetics were likely to depart from this universal rule. To the long
list of passages quoted in Wetstein may be added such references as
Philo _Leg. ad. Cai._ § 1 (II. p. 546), _Clem. Hom._ viii. 15, Justin
_Dial._ 126, Dion. Alex. in Euseb. _H.E._ vii. 25; but they might be
increased to any extent. (2) A bad sense is attached to πλησμονή, as
usage demands. And here two divergent interpretations have been put
forward. (i) The proper continuity of the sentence is preserved, and the
words οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινὶ πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός are regarded as an
exposition of the doctrine of the false teachers from _their own point
of view_. So Theodore of Mopsuestia, οὐ τίμιον νομίζοντας τὸ διὰ πάντων
πληροῦν τὴν σάρκα, ἀλλὰ γὰρ μᾶλλον αἱρουμένους ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν πολλῶν διὰ
τὴν τοῦ νόμου παράδοσιν. This able expositor however is evidently
dissatisfied, for he introduces his explanation with the words ἀσαφὲς
μέν ἐστι, βούλεται δὲ εἰπεῖν κ.τ.λ.; and his explanation has not been
adopted by others. Either the sentence, so interpreted, becomes flat and
unmeaning, though it is obviously intended to clinch the whole matter;
or the Apostle is made to confirm the value of the very doctrines which
he is combating. (ii) The sentence is regarded as discontinuous; and it
is interpreted, ‘_not of any real value_’ (or ‘_not_ consisting _in
anything commendable_’, or ‘_not_ holding the body _in any honour_’) but
‘_tending to gratify the carnal_ desires’ (or ‘mind’). This in some form
or other is almost universally adopted by modern interpreters, and among
the ancients is found in the commentator Hilary. The objections to it
are serious. (α) The dislocation of the sentence is inexplicable. There
is no indication either in the grammar or in the vocabulary that a
separate and oppositive clause begins with πρὸς πλησμονὴν κ.τ.λ., but on
the contrary everything points to an unbroken continuity. (β) The sense
which it attaches to πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκός is either forced and unnatural,
or it makes the Apostle say what he could not have said. If πλησμονὴ τῆς
σαρκός could have the sense which Hilary assigns to it, ‘sagina carnalis
sensus traditio humana est’, or indeed if it could mean ‘the _mind_ of
the flesh’ in any sense (as it is generally taken by modern
commentators), this is what St Paul might well have said. But obviously
πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκός conveys a very different idea from such expressions
as τὸ φυσιοῦσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκός (ver. 18) or τὸ φρόνημα τῆς
σαρκός (Rom. viii. 6, 7), which include pride, self-sufficiency, strife,
hatred, bigotry, and generally everything that is earth-bound and
selfish. On the other hand, if πλησμονὴ τῆς σαρκός be taken in its
natural meaning, as applying to coarse sensual indulgences, then St Paul
could not have said without qualification, that this rigorous asceticism
conduced πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός. Such language would defeat its own
object by its extravagance.


III. 1]

III. ^1Εἰ οὖν συνηγέρθητε τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἄνω ζητεῖτε, οὗ ὁ Χριστός ἐστιν
ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ Θεοῦ καθήμενος·

III. 1–4. ‘If this be so; if ye were raised with Christ, if ye were
translated into heaven, what follows? Why you must realise the change.
All your aims must centre in heaven, where reigns the Christ who has
thus exalted you, enthroned on God’s right hand. All your thoughts must
abide in heaven, not on the earth. For, I say it once again, you have
nothing to do with mundane things: you _died_, died once for all to the
world: you are living another life. This life indeed is hidden now: it
has no outward splendour as men count splendour; for it is a life with
Christ, a life in God. But the veil will not always shroud it. Christ,
our life, shall be manifested hereafter; then ye also shall be
manifested with Him and the world shall see your glory’.

1. εἰ οὖν συνηγέρθητε κ.τ.λ.] ‘_If then ye were raised_’, not ‘_have
been raised_’. The aorist συνηγέρθητε, like ἀπεθάνετε (ii. 20), refers
to their baptism; and the εἰ οὖν here is a resumption of the εἰ in ii.
20. The sacrament of baptism, as administered in the Apostolic age,
involved a twofold symbolism, a death or burial and a resurrection: see
the note on ii. 12. In the rite itself these were represented by two
distinct acts, the disappearance beneath the water and the emergence
from the water: but in the change typified by the rite they are two
aspects of the same thing, ‘like the concave and convex in a circle’, to
use an old simile. The negative side—the death and burial—implies the
positive side—the resurrection. Hence the form of the Apostle’s
resumption, εἰ ἀπεθάνετε, εἰ _οὖν_ συνηγέρθητε.

The change involved in baptism, if truly realised, must pervade a man’s
whole nature. It affects not only his practical conduct, but his
intellectual conceptions also. It is nothing less than a removal into a
new sphere of being. He is translated from earth to heaven; and with
this translation his point of view is altered, his standard of judgment
is wholly changed. Matter is to him no longer the great enemy; his
position towards it is one of absolute neutrality. Ascetic rules, ritual
ordinances, have ceased to have any absolute value, irrespective of
their effects. All these things are of the earth, earthy. The material,
the transitory, the mundane, has given place to the moral, the eternal,
the heavenly.

τὰ ἄνω ζητεῖτε κ.τ.λ.] ‘Cease to concentrate your energies, your
thoughts, on mundane ordinances, and realise your new and heavenly life,
of which Christ is the pole-star’.

ἐν δεξιᾷ κ.τ.λ.] ‘_being seated on the right hand of God_’, where
καθήμενος must not be connected with ἐστιν; see the note on ἀπόκρυφοι,
ii. 3. This participial clause is pertinent and emphatic, for the
session of Christ implies the session of the believer also; Ephes. ii.
4–6 ὁ δὲ Θεός ... ἡμᾶς ... συνεζωοποίησεν ... καὶ συνήγειρεν καὶ
_συνεκάθισεν_ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ κ.τ.λ.; comp.
Rev. iii. 21 ὁ νικῶν, δώσω αὐτῷ καθίσαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ μου, ὡς
κἀγὼ ἐνίκησα καὶ ἐκάθισα μετὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ αὐτοῦ, in the
message addressed to the principal church of this district: see above p.
42. Βαβαί, says Chrysostom, ποῦ τὸν νοῦν ἀπήγαγε τὸν ἡμέτερον; πῶς
φρονήματος αὐτοὺς ἐπλήρωσε μεγάλου; οὐκ ἤρκει Τὰ ἄνω εἰπεῖν, οὐδὲ, Οὗ ὁ
Χριστός ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ τί; Ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ Θεοῦ καθήμενος. ἐκεῖθεν λοιπὸν τὴν
γῆν ὁρᾶν παρεσκεύαζε.


III. 2, 3]

^2τὰ ἄνω φρονεῖτε, μὴ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. ^3ἀπεθάνετε γάρ, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν
κέκρυπται σὺν τῷ Χριστῷ ἐν τῷ Θεῷ·

2. τὰ ἄνω] The same expression repeated for emphasis; ‘You must not only
_seek_ heaven; you must also _think_ heaven.’ For the opposition of τὰ
ἄνω and τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς in connexion with φρονεῖν, comp. Phil. iii. 19,
20 οἱ τὰ _ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες_, ἡμῶν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα _ἐν οὐρανοῖς
ὑπάρχει_; see also Theoph. _ad Autol._ ii. 17. Extremes meet. Here
the Apostle points the antithesis to controvert a Gnostic asceticism: in
the Philippian letter he uses the same contrast to denounce an Epicurean
sensualism. Both alike are guilty of the same fundamental error; both
alike concentrate their thoughts on material, mundane things.

3. ἀπεθάνετε] ‘_ye died_’ in baptism. The aorist ἀπεθάνετε denotes the
past act; the perfect κέκρυπται the permanent effects. For ἀπεθάνετε see
the notes on ii. 12, 20.

κέκρυπται] ‘_is hidden_, is buried out of sight, to the world’. The
Apostle’s argument is this: ‘When you sank under the baptismal water,
you disappeared for ever to the world. You rose again, it is true, but
you rose only to God. The world henceforth knows nothing of your new
life, and (as a consequence) your new life must know nothing of the
world.’ ‘Neque Christum’, says Bengel, ‘neque Christianos novit mundus;
ac ne Christiani quidem plane seipsos’; comp. Joh. xiv. 17–19 τὸ πνεῦμα
τῆς ἀληθείας ὃ ὁ κόσμος οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, ὅτι _οὐ θεωρεῖ αὐτὸ οὐδὲ
γινώσκει_ αὐτὸ, ὑμεῖς [δὲ] γινώσκετε αὐτό ... ὁ κόσμος με οὐκ ἔτι
θεωρεῖ ὑμεῖς δὲ θεωρεῖτέ με· _ὅτι ἐγὼ ζῶ, καὶ ὑμεῖς ζήσετε_.


III. 4]

^4ὅταν ὁ Χριστὸς φανερωθῇ, ἡ ζειωὴ ἡμῶν, τότε καὶ ὑμεῖς σὺν αὐτῷ
φανερωθήσεσθε ἐν δόξῃ.

                          4 ἡ ζωὴ _ὑμῶν_.

4. ὁ Χριστὸς] A fourth occurrence of the name of Christ in this context;
comp. ver. 2 τῷ Χριστῷ, ὁ Χριστός, ver. 3 σὺν τῷ Χριστῷ. A pronoun would
have been more natural, but less emphatic.

ἡ ζωὴ ἡμῶν] This is an advance on the previous statement, ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν
κέκρυπται σὺν τῷ Χριστῷ, in two respects: (1) It is not enough to have
said that the life is shared _with_ Christ. The Apostle declares that
the life _is_ Christ. Comp. 1 Joh. v. 12 ὁ ἔχων τὸν ὑὶον ἔχει τὴν ζώην,
Ign. _Ephes._ 7 ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή (of Christ), _Smyrn._ 4 Ἰησοῦς
Χριστὸς τὸ ἀληθινὸν ἡμῶν ζῆν, _Ephes._ 3 Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς τὸ ἀδιάκριτον
ἡμῶν ζῆν, _Magn._ 1 Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ διαπαντὸς ἡμῶν ζῆν. (2) For ὑμῶν
is substituted ἡμῶν. The Apostle hastens to include himself among the
recipients of the bounty. For this characteristic transition from the
second person to the first see the note on ii. 13. The reading ὑμῶν here
has very high support, and on this account I have given it as an
alternative; but it is most probably a transcriber’s correction, for the
sake of uniformity with the preceding.

τότε καὶ ὑμεῖς κ.τ.λ.] ‘The veil which now shrouds your higher life from
others, and even partly from yourselves, will then be withdrawn. The
world which persecutes, despises, ignores now, will then be blinded,
with the dazzling glory of the revelation’. Comp. 1 Joh. iii. 1, 2 ὁ
κόσμος οὐ γινώσκει ἡμᾶς, ὅτι οὐκ ἔγνω αὐτόν. ἀγαπητοί, νῦν τέκνα Θεοῦ
ἐσμέν, καὶ οὔπω ἐφανερώθη τί ἐσομεθα· οἵδαμεν ὅτι ἐὰν φανερωθῇ, ὅμοιοι
αὐτῷ ἐσόμεθα κ.τ.λ., Clem. Rom. 50 οἳ φανερωθήσονται (or φανεροὶ
ἔσονται) ἐν τῇ ἐπισκοπῇ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

ἐν δόξῃ] Joh. xvii. 22 τὴν δόξαν ἣν δέδωκάς μοι, δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, Rom.
viii. 17 ἵνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν.


III. 5]

^5Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· πορνείαν, ἀκαθαρσίαν, πάθος,
ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν, καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν,

5–11. ‘So then realise this death to the world; kill all your earthly
members. Is it fornication, impurity of whatever kind, passion, evil
desire? Or again, is it that covetousness which makes a religion, an
idolatry, of greed? Do not deceive yourselves. For all these things
God’s wrath will surely come. In these sins ye, like other Gentiles,
indulged in times past, when your life was spent amidst them. But now
everything is changed. Now you also must put away not this or that
desire, but all sins whatsoever. Anger, wrath, malice, slander, filthy
abuse; banish it from your lips. Be not false one to another in word or
deed; but cast off for ever the old man with his actions, and put on the
new, who is renewed from day to day, growing unto perfect knowledge and
refashioned after the image of his Creator. In this new life, in this
regenerate man, there is not, there cannot be, any distinction of Greek
or Jew, of circumcision or uncircumcision; there is no room for
barbarian, for Scythian, for bond or free. Christ has displaced, has
annihilated, all these; Christ is Himself all things and in all things’.

5. The false doctrine of the Gnostics had failed to check sensual
indulgence (ii. 23). The true doctrine of the Apostle has power to kill
the whole carnal man. The substitution of a comprehensive principle for
special precepts—of the heavenly life in Christ for a code of minute
ordinances—at length attains the end after which the Gnostic teachers
have striven, and striven in vain.

νεκρώσατε οὖν] i.e. ‘Carry out this principle of _death_ to the world
(ii. 20 ἀπεθάνετε, iii. 3 ἀπεθάνετε), and kill everything that is
mundane and carnal in your being’.

τὰ μέλη κ.τ.λ.] Each person has a twofold moral personality. There is in
him the ‘old man’, and there is in him also ‘the new’ (vv. 9, 10). The
old man with all his members must be pitilessly slain. It is plain that
τὰ μέλη here is used, like ἄνθρωπος in ver. 9, not physically, but
morally. Our actual limbs may be either τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς or τὰ ἐν τοῖς
οὐράνοις, according as they are made instruments for the world or for
Christ: just as we—our whole being—may identify ourselves with the
παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος or with the νέος ἄνθρωπος of our twofold potentiality.
For this use of the physical, as a symbol of the moral of which it is
the potential instrument, compare Matt. v. 29 sq. εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ
δεξιὸς σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν κ.τ.λ.

I have ventured to punctuate after τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Thus πορνείαν κ.τ.λ.
are prospective accusatives, which should be governed directly by some
such word as ἀπόθεσθε. But several dependent clauses interpose; the last
of these incidentally suggests a contrast between the past and the
present; and this contrast, predominating in the Apostle’s mind, leads
to an abrupt recasting of the sentence, _νυνὶ δὲ_ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ
ὑμεῖς _τὰ πάντα_ in disregard of the original construction. This
opposition of ποτέ and νῦν has a tendency to dislocate the construction
in St Paul, as in i. 22 νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατηλλάγητε (or ἀποκατήλλαξεν), i. 26
νῦν δὲ ἐφανέρωθη: see the note on this latter passage. For the whole run
of the sentence (the parenthetic relative clauses, the contrast of past
and present, and the broken construction) compare Ephes. ii. 1–5 καὶ
ὑμᾶς ... ἐν αἷς ποτέ ... ἐν οἷς καὶ ... ποτε ... ὁ δὲ Θεός ... καὶ ὄντας
ἡμᾶς συνεζωοποίησεν.

With the common punctuation the interpretation is equally awkward,
whether we treat τὰ μέλη and πορνείαν κ.τ.λ. as in direct apposition, or
as double accusatives, or in any other way. The case is best put by
Severianus, σάρκα καλεῖ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, ἧς καὶ τὰ μέλη καταριθμεῖ ... ὁ
παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπός ἐστιν τὸ φρόνημα τὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας, μέλη δὲ αὐτοῦ αἱ
πράξεις τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων; but this is an evasion of the difficulty, which
consists in the direct apposition of the instruments and the activities,
from whatever point they are viewed.

πορνείαν κ.τ.λ.] The general order is from the less comprehensive to the
more comprehensive. Thus πορνεία is a special kind of uncleanness, while
ἀκαθαρσία is uncleanness in any form, Ephes. v. 3 πορνεία δὲ καὶ
ἀκαθαρσία πᾶσα; comp. Gal. v. 19 πορνεία, ἀκαθαρσία, ἀσέλγεια, with the
note there. Thus again πάθος, though frequently referring to this class
of sins (Rom. i. 26, 1 Thess. iv. 5), would include other base passions
which do not fall under the category of ἀκαθαρσία, as for instance
gluttony and intemperance.

πάθος, ἐπιθυμίαν] The two words occur together in 1 Thess. iv. 5 μὴ ἐν
πάθει ἐπιθυμίας. So in a passage closely resembling the text, Gal. v. 24
οἱ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τὴν σάρκα ἐστάυρωσαν σὺν τοῖς παθήμασιν καὶ ταῖς
ἐπιθυμίαις. The same vice may be viewed as a πάθος from its passive and
an ἐπιθυμία from its active side. The word ἐπιθυμία is not used here in
the restricted sense which it has e.g. in Arist. _Eth. Nic._ ii. 4,
where it ranges with anger, fear, etc., being related to πάθος as the
species to the genus (see Gal. l.c. note). In the Greek Testament
ἐπιθυμία has a much more comprehensive sense; e.g. Joh. viii. 44 τὰς
ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. Here, if anything, ἐπιθυμία is
wider than πάθος. While πάθος includes all ungovernable affections,
ἐπιθυμία κακή reaches to all evil longings. Ἰδού, says Chrysostom,
γενικῶς τὸ πᾶν εἶπε· πάντα γὰρ ἐπιθυμία κακή, βασκανία, ὀργή, λύπη. The
epithet is added because ἐπιθυμία is capable of a good sense: comp. 1
Cor. x. 6 ἐπιθυμητὰς κακῶν.

καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν] ‘_and_ especially _covetousness_’. Impurity and
covetousness may be said to divide between them nearly the whole domain
of human selfishness and vice; ‘Si avaritia prostrata est, exsurgit
libido’ (Cypr. _de Mort._ 3). The one has been already dealt with; the
other needs now to be specially denounced; comp. Ephes. v. 3 πορνεία δὲ
καὶ ἀκαθαρσία πᾶσα ἢ πλεονεξία. ‘Homo extra Deum’, says Bengel (on Rom.
i. 29), ‘quærit pabulum in creatura materiali vel per voluptatem vel per
avaritiam.’ Comp. _Test. xii Patr._ Jud. 18 φυλάξασθε οὖν, τέκνα μου,
ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τῆς φιλαργυρίας ... ὅτι ταῦτα ἀφιστᾷ νόμου Θεοῦ.
Similarly Lysis Pythag. 4 (_Epistol. Græc._ p. 602, ed. Hercher)
ὀνομάξαιμι δ’ ἂν αὐτῶν [i.e. the vices] πρᾶτον ἐπελθὼν τὰς ματέρας,
ἀκρασίαν τε καὶ πλεονεξίαν· ἄμφω δὲ πολύγονοι πεφύκαντι. It must be
remembered that πλεονεξία is much wider than φιλαργυρία (see Trench _N.
T. Syn._ § xxiv, p. 77 sq.), which itself is called ῥίζα πάντων τῶν
κακῶν (1 Tim. vi. 10).

The attempt to give πλεονεξία here and in other passages the sense of
‘impurity’ (see e.g. Hammond on Rom. i. 29) is founded on a
misconception. The words πλεονεκτεῖν, πλεονεξία, will sometimes be used
in relation to sins of uncleanness, because such may be acts of
injustice also. Thus adultery is not only impurity, but it is robbery
also: hence 1 Thess. iv. 6 τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ
πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ (see the note there). In other passages again
there will be an accidental connexion; e.g. Ephes. iv. 19 εἰς ἐργασίαν
ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ, i.e. ‘with greediness’, ‘with entire
disregard for the rights of others’. But no where do the words in
themselves suggest this meaning. Here the particles καὶ τὴν show that a
new type of sin is introduced with πλεονεξίαν: and in the parallel
passage Ephes. v. 3 (quoted above) the same distinction is indicated by
the change from the conjunctive particle καί to the disjunctive ἤ. It is
an error to suppose that this sense of πλεονεξία is supported by Clem.
Alex. _Strom._ iii. 12 (p. 551 sq.) ὡς γὰρ ἡ πλεονεξία πορνεία λέγεται,
τῇ αὐταρκείᾳ ἐναντιουμένη. On the converse error of explaining ἀκαθαρσία
to mean ‘greediness’, ‘covetousness’, see the note on 1 Thess. ii. 3.


III. 6]

ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρεία, ^6δι’ ἃ ἐρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ

ἥτις κ.τ.λ.] ‘_for it is idolatry_’: comp. Ephes. v. 5 πλεονέκτης, ὅ (or
ὅς) ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης, Polyc. _Phil._ 11 ‘Si quis non abstinuerit se ab
avaritia, ab idololatria coinquinabitur’ (see _Philippians_ p. 63 on the
misunderstanding of this passage). The covetous man sets up another
object of worship besides God. There is a sort of religious purpose, a
devotion of the soul, to greed, which makes the sin of the miser so
hateful. The idea of avarice as a _religion_ may have been suggested to
St Paul by our Lord’s words, Matt. vi. 24 οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ
μαμωνᾷ, though it is a mistake to suppose that Mammon was the name of a
Syrian deity. It appears however elsewhere in Jewish writers of this and
later ages: e.g. Philo _de Mon._ i. 2 (II. p. 214 sq.) πανταχόθεν μὲν
ἀργύριον καὶ χρυσίον ἐκπορίζουσι, τὸ δὲ πορισθὲν ὡς ἄγαλμα θεῖον ἐν
ἀδύτοις θησαυροφυλακοῦσιν (with the whole context), and _Shemoth Rabba_
fol. 121. 3 ‘Qui opes suas multiplicat per fœnus, ille est
idololatra’ (with other passages quoted by Wetstein and Schöttgen on
Ephes. v. 5). St Chrysostom, _Hom. in Johann. lxv_ (VIII. p. 392 sq.),
enlarges on the cult of wealth—the consecration of it, the worship paid
to it, the sacrifices demanded by it: ἡ δὲ φιλαργυρία λέγει, Θῦσόν μοι
τὴν σαυτοῦ ψυχήν, καὶ πείθει· ὁρᾷς ὅιους ἔχει βωμούς, οἷα δέχεται θύματα
(p. 393). The passage in _Test. xii Patr._ Jud. 18 ἡ φιλαργυρία πρὸς
ἔιδωλα ὁδηγεῖ is no real parallel to St Paul’s language, though at first
sight it seems to resemble it. For ἥτις, ‘seeing that it’, see the note
on Phil. iv. 3.

6, 7. δι’ ἅ κ.τ.λ.] The received text requires correction in two points.
(1) It inserts the words ἐπὶ τοὺς ὑιοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας after τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Though this insertion has preponderating support, yet the words are
evidently interpolated from the parallel passage, Ephes. v. 6 διὰ ταῦτα
γὰρ ἐρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς ὑιοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας. We are
therefore justified in rejecting them with other authorities, few in
number but excellent in character. See the detached note on various
readings. When the sentence is thus corrected, the parallelism of δι’ ἅ
... εν οἷς καί ... may be compared with Ephes. i. 11 ἐν hῷ καὶ
ἐκληρώθημεν ... ἐν hῷ καὶ ὑμεῖς ... ἐν hῷ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε,
and ii. 21, 22 ἐν hῷ πᾶσα [ἡ] οἰκοδομὴ ... ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς
συνοικοδομεῖσθε. (2) The vast preponderance of authority obliges us to
substitute τούτοις for αὐτοῖς.

6. ἐρχεται] This may refer either to the present and continuous
dispensation, or to the future and final judgment. The present ἐρχεσθαι
is frequently used to denote the _certainty_ of a future event, e.g.
Matt. xvii. 11, Joh. iv. 21, xiv. 3, whence ὁ ἐρχόμενος is a designation
of the Messiah: see Winer § xl. p. 332.


III. 7, 8]

τοῦ Θεοῦ· ^7ἐν οἷς καὶ ὑμεῖς περιεπατήσατέ ποτε, ὅτε ἐζῆτε ἐν τούτοις·
^8νυνὶ δὲ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ πάντα,

ἐν οἷς κ.τ.λ.] The clause ἐπὶ τοὺς ὑιοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας having been
struck out, ἐν οἷς must necessarily be neuter and refer to the same as
δι’ ἅ. Independently of the rejection of the clause, this neuter seems
more probable in itself than the masculine: for (1) The expression
περιπατεῖν ἐν is most commonly used of things, not of persons,
especially in this and the companion epistle; iv. 5, Ephes. ii. 2, 10,
iv. 17, v. 2; (2) The Apostle would hardly denounce it as a sin in his
Colossian converts that they ‘walked _among_ the sons of disobedience’;
for the Christian, though not of the world, is necessarily in the world:
comp. 1 Cor. v. 10. The apparent parallel, Ephes. ii. 3 ἐν οἷς καὶ ἡμεῖς
πάντες ἀνεστράφημέν ποτε ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν (where οἷς
seems to be masculine), does not hold, because the addition ἐν ταῖς
ἐπιθυμίαις κ.τ.λ. makes all the difference. Thus the rejection of the
clause, which was decided by textual considerations, is confirmed by
exegetical reasons.

7. καὶ ὑμεῖς] ‘_ye_, like the other heathen’ (i. 6 καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν), but in
the next verse καὶ ὑμεῖς is rather ‘ye yourselves’, ‘ye notwithstanding
your former lives’.

ὅτε ἐζῆτε κ.τ.λ.] ‘When _ye_ lived in this atmosphere of sin, when ye
had not yet died to the world’.

ἐν τούτοις] ‘_in these things_.’ We should have expected αὐτοῖς, but
τούτοις is substituted as more emphatic and condemnatory: comp. Ephes.
v. 6 διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ ἐρχεται κ.τ.λ. The two expressions ζῆν ἐν and
περιπατεῖν ἐν involve two distinct ideas, denoting the condition of
their life and the character of their practice respectively. Their
conduct was conformable to their circumstances. Comp. Gal. v. 25 εἰ
ζῶμεν πνεύματι, πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν.

8. The errors of the past suggest the obligations of the present. Thus
the Apostle returns to the topic with which the sentence commenced. But
the violence of the contrast has broken up the grammar of the sentence:
see the note on ver. 5.

τὰ πάντα] ‘not only those vices which have been specially named before
(ver. 5), but _all_ of whatever kind.’ The Apostle accordingly goes on
to specify sins of a wholly different type from those already mentioned,
sins of uncharitableness, such as anger, detraction, malice, and the


III. 9]

ὀργήν, θυμόν, κακίαν, βλασφημίαν, αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν·
^9μὴ ψεύδεσθε εἰς ἀλλήλους· ἀπεκδυσάμενοι

ὀργήν, θυμόν] ‘_anger_, _wrath_’. The one denotes a more or less settled
feeling of hatred, the other a tumultuous outburst of passion. This
distinction of the two words was fixed chiefly by the definitions of the
Stoics: Diog. Laert. vii. 114 ὁ δὲ θυμός ἐστιν ὀργὴ ἀρχομένη. So
Ammianus θὺμος μέν ἐστι πρόσκαιρος, ὀργὴ δὲ πολυχρόνιος μνησικακία,
Greg. Naz. _Carm._ 34 (II. p. 612) θυμὸς μέν ἐστιν ἀθρόος ζέσις φρενός,
ὀργὴ δὲ θυμὸς ἐμμένων. They may be represented in Latin by _ira_ and
_furor_; Senec. _de Ira_ ii. 36 ‘Ajacem in mortem egit furor, in furorem
ira’, and Jerome in Ephes. iv. 31 ‘Furor incipiens ira est’: see Trench
_N. T. Syn._ § xxxvii, p. 123 sq. On other synonymes connected with
θυμός and ὀργή see the note on Ephes. iv. 31.

κακίαν] ‘_malice_’, or ‘_malignity_’, as it may be translated in default
of a better word. It is not (at least in the New Testament) vice
generally, but the vicious nature which is bent on _doing harm to
others_, and is well defined by Calvin (on Ephes. iv. 31) ‘animi
pravitas, quæ _humanitati et æquitati_ est opposita’. This will be
evident from the connexion in which it appears, e.g. Rom. i. 29, Eph.
iv. 31, Tit. iii. 3. Thus κακία and πονηρία (which frequently occur
together, e.g. 1 Cor. v. 8) only differ in so far as the one denotes
rather the vicious disposition, the other the active exercise of it. The
word is carefully investigated in Trench _N. T. Syn._ § xi. p. 35 sq.

βλασφημίαν] ‘_evil speaking_, _railing_, _slandering_’, as frequently,
e.g. Rom. iii. 8, xiv. 16, 1 Cor. iv. 13 (v.l.), x. 30, Ephes. iv. 31,
Tit. iii. 2. The word has the same twofold sense, ‘evil speaking’ and
‘blasphemy’, in classical writers, which it has in the New Testament.

αἰσχρολογίαν] ‘_foul-mouthed abuse_’. The word, as used elsewhere, has
two meanings: (1) ‘_Filthy-talking_’, as defined in Clem. Alex. _Pæd._
ii. 6 (p. 189 sq.), where it is denounced at length: comp. Arist. _Pol._
vii. 17, Epict. _Man._ 33, Plut. _Mor._ 9, and so commonly; (2)
‘_Abusive language_’, as e.g. Polyb. viii. 13. 8, xii. 13. 3, xxxi. 10.
4. If the two senses of the word had been quite distinct, we might have
had some difficulty in choosing between them here. The former sense is
suggested by the parallel passage Ephes. v. 4 αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία ἤ
εὐτραπελία; the second by the connexion with βλασφημία here. But the
second sense is derived from the first. The word can only mean ‘abuse’,
when the abuse is ‘foul-mouthed’. And thus we may suppose that both
ideas, ‘filthiness’ and ‘evil-speaking’, are included here.

9. ἀπεκδυσάμενοι κ.τ.λ.] ‘_putting off_’. Do these aorist participles
describe an action coincident with or prior to the ψεύδεσθε? In other
words are they part of the command, or do they assign the reason for the
command? Must they be rendered ‘putting off’, or ‘seeing that ye did (at
your baptism) put off’? The former seems the more probable
interpretation: for (1) Though both ideas are found in St Paul, the
imperative is the more usual; e.g. Rom. xiii. 12 sq. ἀποθώμεθα οὖν τὰ
ἐργα τοῦ σκότους, ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός ... ἐνδύσασθε τὸν
Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, Ephes. vi. 11 ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν with ver.
14 στῆτε οὖν ... ἐνδυσάμενοι κ.τ.λ., 1 Thess. V. 8 νήφωμεν ἐνδυσάμενοι
κ.τ.λ. The one exception is Gal. iii. 27 ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν
ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε. (2) The ‘putting on’ in the parallel
passage, Ephes. iv. 24, is imperative, not affirmative, whether we read
ἐνδύσασθαι or ἐνδύσασθε. (3) The participles here are followed
immediately by an imperative in the context, ver. 12 ἐνδύσασθε οὖν,
where the idea seems to be the same. For the synchronous aorist
participle see Winer § xlv. p. 430. St Paul uses ἀπεκδυσάμενοι,
ἐνδυσάμενοι (not ἀπεκδύομενοι, ἐνδύομενοι), for the same reason for
which he uses ἐνδύσασθε (not ἐνδύεσθε), because it is a thing to be done
_once for all_. For the double compound ἀπεκδύεσθαι see the notes on ii.
11, 15.


III. 10, 11]

τὸν παλαὶον ἄνθρωπον σὺν ταῖς πράξεσιν αὐτοῦ, ^{10}καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν
νέον, τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν κατ’ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν·

παλαὶον ἄνθρωπον] as Rom. vi. 6, Ephes. iv. 22. With this expression
compare ὁ ἔξω, ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, Rom. vii. 22, 2 Cor. iv. 16, Ephes. iii.
16; ὁ κρυπτὸς τῆς καρδίας ἄνθρωπος, 1 Pet. iii. 4; ὁ μικρός μου
ἄνθρωπος, ‘my insignificance’, Polycr. in Euseb. _H.E._ v. 24.

10. τὸν νέον κ.τ.λ.] In Ephes. iv. 24 it is ἐνδύσασθαι _τὸν καινὸν_
ἄνθρωπον. Of the two words νέος and καινός, the former refers solely to
time, the other denotes quality also; the one is new as being _young_,
the other new as being _fresh_: the one is opposed to long duration, the
other to effeteness; see Trench _N. T. Syn._ § lx. p. 206. Here the idea
which is wanting to νέος, and which καινὸς gives in the parallel
passage, is more than supplied by the addition τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον κ.τ.λ.

The νέος or καινὸς ἄνθρωπος in these passages is not Christ Himself, as
the parallel expression Χριστὸν ἐνδύσασθαι might suggest, and as it is
actually used in Ign. _Ephes._ 20 εἰς τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον Ἰησοῦν
Χριστόν, but the regenerate man formed after Christ. The idea here is
the same as in καινὴ κτίσις, 2 Cor. v. 17, Gal. vi. 15: comp. Rom. vi. 4
καινότης ζωῆς, Barnab. 16 ἐγενόμεθα καινοί, πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς κτιζόμενοι.

τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον] ‘_which is_ ever _being renewed_’. The force of
the present tense is explained by 2 Cor. iv. 16 ὁ ἔσω ἡμῶν [ἄνθρωπος]
ἀνακαινοῦται _ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ_. Compare also the use of the
tenses in the parallel passage, Ephes. iv. 22 sq. ἀποθέσθαι,
_ἀνανεοῦσθαι_, ἐνδύσασθαι. For the opposite see Ephes. iv. 22 τὸν
παλαὶον ἄνθρωπον τὸν _φθειρόμενον_ κ.τ.λ.

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν] ‘_unto perfect knowledge_’, the true knowledge in Christ,
as opposed to the false knowledge of the heretical teachers. For the
implied contrast see above pp. 44, 99 sq. (see the notes on i. 9, ii.
3), and for the word ἐπίγνωσις the note on i. 9. The words here are to
be connected closely with ἀνακαινούμενον: comp. Heb. vi. 6 πάλιν
_ἀνακαινίζειν_ εἰς μετάνοιαν.

κατ’ εἰκόνα κ.τ.λ.] The reference is to Gen. i. 26 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός
Ποίησωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν κ.τ.λ.; comp. ver. 28 κατ’
εἰκόνα Θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν. See also Ephes. iv. 24 τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον
τὸν κατὰ Θὲον κτισθέντα. This reference however does not imply an
identity of the creation here mentioned with the creation of Genesis,
but only an analogy between

the two. The spiritual man in each believer’s heart, like the primal man
in the beginning of the world, was created after God’s image. The καινὴ
κτίσις in this respect resembles the ἀρχαία κτίσις. The pronoun αὐτὸν
cannot be referred to anything else but the νέος ἄνθρωπος, the
regenerate man; and the aorist κτίσαντος (compare κτισθέντα in the
parallel passage Ephes. iv. 24) refers to the time of this ἀναγέννησις
in Christ. See Barnab. 6 _ἀνακαινίσας_ ἡμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἀφέσει τῶν
ἁμαρτιῶν ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς ἄλλον τύπον ... ὡσὰν δὴ _ἀναπλάσσοντος_
αὐτοῦ ἡμᾶς, after which Gen. i. 26 is quoted. The new birth was a
recreation in God’s image; the subsequent life must be a deepening of
this image thus stamped upon the man.

The allusion to Genesis therefore requires us to understand τοῦ
κτίσαντος of God, and not of Christ, as it is taken by St Chrysostom and
others; and this seems to be demanded also by the common use of ὁ
κτίσας. But if Christ is not ὁ κτίσας, may He not be intended by the
εἰκῶν τοῦ κτίσαντος? In favour of this interpretation it may be urged
(1) That Christ elsewhere is called the εἰκὼν of God, i. 15, 2 Cor. iv.
4; (2) That the Alexandrian school interpreted the term in Gen. i. 26 as
denoting the Logos; thus Philo _de Mund._ Op. 6 (I. p. 5 M) τὸ ἀρχέτυπον
παράδειγμα, ἰδέα τῶν ἰδεῶν ὁ Θεοῦ λόγος (comp. ib. §§ 7, 23, 24, 48),
_Fragm._ II. p. 625 M θνητὸν γὰρ οὐδὲν ἀπεικονισθῆναι πρὸς τὸν ἀνωτάτω
καὶ πατέρα τῶν ὅλων ἐδύνατο, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸν δεύτερον Θὲον ὅς ἐστιν
ἐκέινου λόγος κ.τ.λ. _Leg. Alleg._ i. 31, 32 (I. p. 106 sq.). Hence
Philo speaks of the first man as εἰκὼν εἰκόνος (_de Mund. Op._ 6), and
as παγκάλου παραδέιγματος πάγκαλον μίμημα (ib. § 48). A pregnant meaning
is thus given to κατὰ, and κατ’ εἰκόνα is rendered ‘after the fashion
(or pattern) of the Image’. But this interpretation seems very
improbable in St Paul; for (1) In the parallel passage Ephes. iv. 24 the
expression is simply κατὰ Θεόν, which may be regarded as equivalent to
κατ’ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος here; (2) The Alexandrian explanation of Gen.
i. 26 just quoted is very closely allied to the Platonic doctrine of
ideas (for the εἰκών, so interpreted, is the archetype or ideal pattern
of the sensible world), and thus it lies outside the range of those
conceptions which specially recommended the Alexandrian terminology of
the Logos to the Apostles, as a fit vehicle for communicating the truths
of Christianity.

11. ὅπου] i.e. ‘in this regenerate life, in this spiritual region into
which the believer is transferred in Christ.’


III. 11]

οὐκ ἕνι Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία,

οὐκ ἕνι] ‘Not only does the distinction not exist, but it _cannot_
exist.’ It is a mundane distinction, and therefore it has disappeared.
For the sense of ἕνι, negativing not merely the fact but the
possibility, see the note on Gal. iii. 28.

Ἕλλην κ.τ.λ.] Comparing the enumeration here with the parallel passage
Gal. iii. 28, we mark this difference. In Galatians the abolition of all
distinctions is stated in the broadest way by the selection of three
typical instances; religious prerogative (Ἰουδαῖος, Ἕλλην), social caste
(δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος), natural sex (ἄρσεν, θῆλυ). Here on the other hand
the examples are chosen with special reference to the immediate
circumstances of the Colossian Church. (1) The Judaism of the Colossian
heretics is met by Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος, and as it manifested itself
especially in enforcing circumcision, this is further emphasized by
περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία (see above, p. 73). (2) Their Gnosticism again
is met by βάρβαρος, Σκύθης. They laid special stress on intelligence,
penetration, gnosis. The Apostle offers the full privileges of the
Gospel to barbarians and even barbarians of the lowest type (see p. 99
sq.). In Rom. i. 14, the division Ἕλλησίν τε καὶ βαρβαροῖς is almost
synonymous with σοφοῖς τε καὶ ἀνόητοις. (3) Special circumstances,
connected with an eminent member of the Church of Colossæ, had directed
his attention at this moment to the relation of masters and slaves.
Hence he cannot leave the subject without adding δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος,
though this has no special bearing on the Colossian heresy. See above p.
33, and the note on iii. 22, together with the introduction to the
Epistle to Philemon.

περιτομὴ κ.τ.λ.] Enforcing and extending the lesson of the previous
clause. This abolition of distinctions applies to religious privilege,
not only as inherited by birth (Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος), but also as assumed
by adoption (περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία). If it is no advantage to be born
a Jew, it is none to become as a Jew; comp. 1 Cor. vii. 19, Gal. v. 6,
vi. 15.


III. 11]

βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πάντα

βάρβαρος] To the Jew the whole world was divided into Ἰουδαῖοι and
Ἕλληνες, the privileged and unprivileged portions of mankind, religious
prerogative being taken as the line of demarcation (see notes Gal. ii.
3). To the Greek and Roman it was similarly divided into Ἕλληνες and
βάρβαροι, again the privileged and unprivileged portion of the human
race, civilization and culture being now the criterion of distinction.
Thus from the one point of view the Ἕλλην is contrasted
disadvantageously with the Ἰουδαῖος, while from the other he is
contrasted advantageously with the βάρβαρος. Both distinctions are
equally antagonistic to the Spirit of the Gospel. The Apostle declares
both alike null and void in Christ. The twofold character of the
Colossian heresy enables him to strike at these two opposite forms of
error with one blow.

The word βάρβαρος properly denoted one who spoke an inarticulate,
stammering, unintelligible language; see Max Müller _Lectures on the
Science of Language_ 1st ser. p. 81 sq., 114 sq., Farrar _Families of
Speech_ p. 21: comp. 1 Cor. xiv. 11. Hence it was adopted by Greek
exclusiveness and pride to stigmatize the rest of mankind, a feeling
embodied in the proverb πᾶς μὴ Ἕλλην βάρβαρος (Servius on Verg. _Æn._
ii. 504); comp. Plato _Polit._ 262 E τὸ μὲν Ἑλληνικὸν ὡς hὲν ἀπὸ πάντων
ἀφαιροῦντες χωρίς, σύμπασι δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοις γένεσιν ... βάρβαρον μιᾷ
κλήσει προσέιποντες αὐτὸ κ.τ.λ., Dionys. Hal. _Rhet._ xi. 5 διπλοῦν δὲ
τὸ ἔθνος, Ἕλλην ἢ βάρβαρος κ.τ.λ. So Philo _Vit. Moys._ ii. 5 (II. p.
138) speaks of τὸ ἥμισυ τμῆμα τοῦ ἀνθρώπων γένους, τὸ βαρβαρικόν, as
opposed to τὸ Ἑλληνικόν. It is not necessary to suppose that they
adopted it from the Egyptians, who seem to have called non-Egyptian
peoples _berber_ (see Sir G. Wilkinson in Rawlinson’s Herod. ii. 158);
for the onomatopœia will explain its origin independently, Strabo
xiv. 2. 28 (p. 662) οἶμαι δὲ τὸ βάρβαρον κατ’ ἀρχὰς ἐκπεφωνῆσθαι οὕτως
κατ’ ὀνοματοποιίαν ἐπὶ τῶν δυσεκφόρως καὶ σκληρῶς καὶ τραχέως λαλούντων,
ὡς τὸ βατταρίζειν κ.τ.λ. The Latins, adopting the Greek culture, adopted
the Greek distinction also, e.g. Cic. _de Fin._ ii. 15 ‘Non solum Græcia
et Italia, sed etiam omnis barbaria’: and accordingly Dionysius, _Ant.
Rom._ i. 69, classes the Romans with the Greeks as distinguished from
the ‘barbarians’—this twofold division of the human race being taken for
granted as absolute and final. So too in v. 8, having mentioned the
Romans, he goes on to speak of οἱ ἄλλοι Ἕλληνες. The older Roman poets
however, writing from a Greek point of view, (more than half in irony)
speak of themselves as _barbari_ and of their country as _barbaria_;
e.g. Plaut. _Mil. Glor._ ii. 2. 58 ‘poeta barbaro’ (of Nævius), _Asin._
Prol. II. ‘Maccus vortit barbare’, _Pœn._ iii. 2. 21 ‘in barbaria

In this classification the Jews necessarily ranked as ‘barbarians’. At
times Philo seems tacitly to accept this designation (_Vit. Moys._
l.c.); but elsewhere he resents it, _Leg. ad Cai._ 31 (II. p. 578) ὑπὸ
φρονήματος, ὡς μὲν ἕνιοι τῶν διαβαλλόντων ἔιποιεν ἂν, βαρβαρικοῦ, ὡς δ’
ἔχει τὸ ἀληθές, ἐλευθερίου καὶ εὐγενοῦς. On the other hand the Christian
Apologists with a true instinct glory in the ‘barbarous’ origin of their
religion: Justin _Apol._ i. 5 (p. 56 A) ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν βαρβάροις ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ
τοῦ Λόγου μορφωθέντος καὶ ἀνθρώπου γενομένου, ib. § 46 (p. 83 D) ἐν
βαρβάροις δὲ Ἀβράαμ κ.τ.λ., Tatian. _ad Græc._ 29 γραφαῖς τισὶν ἐντυχεῖν
βαρβαρικαῖς, ib. 31 τὸν δὲ (Μωυσῆν) πάσης βαρβάρου σοφίας ἀρχηγόν, ib.
35 τῆς καθ’ ἡμᾶς βαρβάρου φιλοσοφίας. By glorying in the name they gave
a practical comment on the Apostle’s declaration, that the distinction
of Greek and barbarian was abolished in Christ. In a similar spirit
Clem. Alex. _Strom._ i. 16 (p. 361) endeavours to prove that οὐ μόνον
φιλοσοφίας ἀλλὰ καὶ πάσης σχεδὸν τέχνης εὑρετὰι βάρβαροι.

‘Not till that word _barbarian_’, writes Prof. Max Müller (l.c. p. 118),
‘was struck out of the dictionary of mankind and replaced by _brother_,
not till the right of all nations of the world to be classed as members
of one genus or kind was recognised, can we look even for the first
beginnings of our science. This change was effected by Christianity....
_Humanity_ is a word which you look for in vain in Plato or Aristotle;
the idea of mankind as one family, as the children of one God, is an
idea of Christian growth: and the science of mankind, and of the
languages of mankind, is a science which, without Christianity, would
never have sprung into life. When people had been taught to look upon
all men as brethren, then and then only, did the variety of human speech
present itself as a problem that called for a solution in the eyes of
thoughtful observers: and I therefore date the real beginning of the
science of language from the first day of Pentecost.... The common
origin of mankind, the differences of race and language, the
susceptibility of all nations of the highest mental culture, these
become, in the new world in which we live, problems of scientific,
because of more than scientific interest’. St Paul was the great
exponent of the fundamental principle in the Christian Church which was
symbolized on the day of Pentecost, when he declared, as here, that in
Christ there is neither Ἕλλην nor βάρβαρος, or as in Rom. i. 14 that he
himself was a debtor equally Ἕλλησίν τε καὶ βαρβάροις.

The only other passage in the New Testament (besides those quoted) in
which βάρβαρος occurs is Acts xxviii. 2, 4, where it is used of the
people of Melita. If this Melita be Malta, they would be of Phœnician

Σκύθης] the lowest type of barbarian. There is the same collocation of
words in Dionys. Halic. _Rhet._ xi. 5, 6 πατήρ, βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, νέος,
Æsch. _c. Ctes._ 172 Σκύθης, βάρβαρος, ἑλληνίζων τῇ φωνῇ (of
Demosthenes). The savageness of the Scythians was proverbial. The
earlier Greek writers indeed, to whom _omne ignotum_ was _pro
magnifico_, had frequently spoken of them otherwise (see Strabo vii. 3.
7 sq., p. 300 sq.). Æschylus for instance called them ἔυνομοι Σκύθαι,
_Fragm._ 189 (comp. _Eum._ 703). Like the other Hyperboreans, they were
a simple, righteous people, living beyond the vices and the miseries of
civilisation. But the common estimate was far different, and probably
far more true: e.g. 3 Macc. vii. 5 νόμου Σκυθῶν ἀγριωτέραν ... ὠμότητα
(comp. 2 Macc. iv. 47), Joseph. _c. Ap._ ii. 37 Σκύθαι ... βραχὺ τῶν
θηρίων διαφέροντες, Philo _Leg. ad Cai._ 2 (II p. 547) Σαρματῶν γένη καὶ
Σκυθῶν, ἅπερ οὐχ ἧττον ἐξηγρίωται τῶν Γερμανικῶν, Tertull. _adv. Marc._
i. 1 ‘Scytha tetrior’. In _Vit. Moys._ ii. 4 (I. p. 137) Philo seems to
place the Egyptians and the Scythians at the two extremes in the scale
of barbarian nations. The passages given in Wetstein from classical
writers are hardly less strong in the same direction. Anacharsis the
Scythian is said to have retorted ἑμοὶ δὲ πάντες Ἕλληνες σκυθίζουσιν,
Clem. _Strom._ i. 16 (p. 364).

The Jews had a special reason for their unfavourable estimate of the
Scythians. In the reign of Josiah hordes of these northern barbarians
had deluged Palestine and a great part of Western Asia (Herod. i.
103–106). The incident indeed is passed over in silence in the
historical books; but the terror inspired by these invaders has found
expression in the prophets (Ezek. xxxviii, xxxix, Jer. i. 13 sq., vi. 1
sq.), and they left behind them a memorial in the Greek name of
Beth-shean, Σκυθῶν πόλις (Judith iii. 10, 2 Macc. xii. 29: comp. Judges
i. 27 LXX) or Σκυθόπολις, which seems to have been derived from a
settlement on this occasion (Plin. _N.H._ v. 16; see Ewald. _Gesch._
III. p. 689 sq., Grove s.v. _Scythopolis_ in Smith’s _Bibl. Dict._).

Hence Justin, _Dial._ § 28 (p. 246 A), describing the largeness of the
new dispensation, says κἂν Σκύθης ᾖ τις ἢ Πέρσης, ἔχει δὲ τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ
γνῶσιν καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ φυλάσσει τὰ αἴωνια δίκαια ... φίλος
ἐστὶ τῷ Θεῷ, where he singles out two different but equally low types of
barbarians, the Scythians being notorious for their ferocity, the
Persians for their licentiousness (Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ i. 7, p. 131,
_Strom._ iii. 2, p. 515, and the Apologists generally). So too the
Pseudo-Lucian, _Philopatris_ 17, satirising Christianity, ΚΡ. τόδε εἶπε,
εἰ καὶ τὰ τῶν Σκυθῶν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἐγχαράτουσι. ΤΡ. πάντα, εἰ τύχοι γε
χρηστὸς καὶ ἐν ἔθνεσι. From a misconception of this passage in the
Colossians, heresiologers distinguished four main forms of heresy in the
pre-Christian world, βαρβαρισμός, σκυθισμός, ἑλληνισμός, ἰουδαϊσμός; so
Epiphan. _Epist. ad. Acac._ 2 σαφῶς γὰρ περὶ τούτων τῶν τεσσάρων
αἱρέσεων ὁ ἀπόστολος ἐπιτεμὼν ἔφη, Ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ οὐ βάρβαρος, οὐ
Σκύθης, οὐχ Ἕλλην, οὐκ Ἰουδαῖος, ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις: comp. _Hær._ i. 4, 7
sq., I. p. 5, 8 sq., _Anaceph._ II. pp. 127, 129 sq.

τὰ πάντὰ κ.τ.λ.] ‘_Christ is all things and in all things._’ Christ has
dispossessed and obliterated all distinctions of religious prerogative
and intellectual preeminence and social caste; Christ has substituted
Himself for all these; Christ occupies the whole sphere of human life
and permeates all its developments; comp. Ephes. i. 23 τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν
πᾶσιν πληρουμένου. For τὰ πάντα, which is stronger than οἱ πάντες, see
Gal. iii. 22 συνέκλεισεν ἡ γραφὴ τὰ πάντα ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν with the note. In
this passage ἐν πᾶσιν is probably neuter, as in 2 Cor. xi. 6, Phil. iv.
12, 1 Tim. iii. II, 2 Tim. ii. 7, iv. 5, Ephes. iv. 6, vi. 16.

In the parallel passage Gal. iii. 28 the corresponding clause is πάντες
ὑμεῖς ἑῖς ἐστὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. The inversion here accords with a chief
motive of the epistle, which is to assert the absolute and universal
supremacy of Christ; comp. i. 17 sq., ii. 10 sq., 19. The two parts of
the antithesis are combined in our Lord’s saying, Joh. xiv. 20 ὑμεῖς ἐν
ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν.


III. 12]

καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν Χριστός. ^{12}ἐνδύσασθε οὖν, ὡς ἐκλεκτοὶ

12–15. ‘Therefore, as the elect of God, as a people consecrated to His
service and specially endowed with His love, array yourselves in hearts
of compassion, in kindliness and humility, in a gentle and yielding
spirit. Bear with one another: forgive freely among yourselves. As your
Master forgave you His servants, so ought ye to forgive your
fellow-servants. And over all these robe yourselves in love; for this is
the garment which binds together all the graces of perfection. And let
the one supreme umpire in your hearts, the one referee amidst all your
difficulties, be the peace of Christ, which is the destined goal of your
Christian calling, in which is realised the unity belonging to members
of one body. Lastly of all; show your gratitude by your thanksgiving.’

12. ἐνδύσασθε οὖν] ‘_Put on therefore_’, as men to whom Christ has
become all in all. The incidental mention of Christ as superseding all
other relations gives occasion to this argumentative οὖν: comp. iii. 1,

ὡς ἐκλεκτοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ] ‘_as elect ones of God._’ Comp. Rom. viii. 33,
Tit. i. 1. In the Gospels κλητοί and ἐκλεκτοί are distinguished as an
outer and an inner circle (Matt. xxii. 14 πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοί,
ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί), κλητοί being those summoned to the privileges of
the Gospel and ἐκλεκτοί those appointed to final salvation (Matt. xxiv.
22, 24, 31, Mark xiii. 20, 22, 27, Luke xviii. 7). But in St Paul no
such distinction can be traced. With him the two terms seem to be
coextensive, as two aspects of the same process, κλητοί having special
reference to the goal and ἐκλεκτοί to the starting-point. The same
persons are ‘called’ to Christ, and ‘chosen out’ from the world. Thus in
1 Thess. i. 4 εἰδότες τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν κ.τ.λ. the word clearly denotes
election to Church-membership. Thus also in 2 Tim. ii. 10, where St Paul
says that he endures all things διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς, adding ἵνα καὶ αὐτὸι
σωτηρίας τύχωσιν κ.τ.λ., the uncertainty implied in these last words
clearly shows that election to final salvation is not meant. In the same
sense he speaks of an individual Christian as ‘elect’, Rom. xvi. 13. And
again in 1 Cor. i. 26, 27 βλέπετε τὴν κλῆσιν ὑμῶν ... τὰ μῶρα τοῦ κόσμου
ἐξελέξατο, the words appear as synonymes. The same is also the usage of
St Peter. Thus in an opening salutation he addresses whole Christian
communities as ἐκλεκτοί (1 Pet. i. 1; comp. v. 13 ἡ συνεκλεκτὴ ἐν
Βαβυλῶνι, i.e. probably ἐκκλησία), as St Paul under similar
circumstances (Rom. i. 6, 7, 1 Cor. i. 2) designates them κλητοί; and in
another passage (2 Pet. i. 10) he appeals to his readers to make their
κλῆσις and ἐκλογή sure. The use of ἐκλεκτός in 2 Joh. 1. 13 is
apparently the same; and in Apoc. xvii. 14 οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ κλητοὶ καὶ
ἐκλεκτοὶ καὶ πιστοί this is also the case, as we may infer from the
addition of πιστοί, which points to those who have been _true_ to their
‘calling and election’. Thus the Gospels stand alone in this respect. In
fact ἐκλογή denotes election by God not only to final salvation, but to
_any_ special privilege or work, whether it be (1) Church-membership, as
in the passages cited from the epistles; or (2) The work of preaching,
as when St Paul (Acts ix. 15) is called σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς, the object of
the ‘election’ being defined in the words following, τοῦ βαστάσαι τὸ
ὄνομά μου ἐνώπιον [τῶν] ἐθνῶν τε καὶ βασιλέων κ.τ.λ.; or (3) The
Messiahship, 1 Pet. ii. 4, 6; or (4) The fatherhood of the chosen
people, as in the case of Isaac and Jacob, Rom. ix. 11; or (5) The
faithful remnant under the theocracy, Rom. xi. 5, 7, 28. This last
application presents the closest analogy to the idea of final salvation:
but even here St Paul treats κλῆσις and ἐκλογή as coextensive, Rom. xi.
28, 29 κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐκλογὴν ἀγαπητοὶ διὰ τοὺς πατέρας· ἀμεταμέλητα γὰρ τὰ
χαρίσματα καὶ ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ Θεοῦ.


III. 12]

τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἅγιοι [καὶ] ἠγαπημένοι, σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ,

ἅγιοι κ.τ.λ.] These are not to be taken as vocatives, but as predicates
further defining the meaning of ἐκλεκτοί. All the three terms ἐκλεκτοί,
ἅγιοι, ἠγαπημένοι, are transferred from the Old Covenant to the New,
from the Israel after the flesh to the Israel after the Spirit. For the
two former comp. 1 Pet. ii. 9 γένος ἐκλεκτόν ... ἔθνος ἅγιον; and for
the sense of ἅγιοι, ‘the consecrated people of God’, see the note on
Phil. i. 1. For the third word, ἠγαπημένοι, see Is. v. 1 Ἄσω δὴ τῷ
ἠγαπημένῳ κ.τ.λ., Hos. ii. 25 τὴν οὐκ ἠγαπημένην ἠγαπημένην (as quoted
in Rom. ix. 25). In the New Testament it seems to be used always of the
objects of _God’s_ love: e.g. 1 Thess. i. 4 εἰδοτές, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι
ὑπὸ Θεοῦ, τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν, 2 Thess. ii. 13 ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ
Κυρίου (comp. Jude 1); and so probably Rev. xx. 9 τὴν πόλιν τὴν
ἠγαπημένην. For the connexion of God’s election and God’s love see Rom.
xi. 28 (quoted above), 1 Thess. _l.c._ The καὶ is omitted in one or two
excellent copies (though it has the great preponderance of authorities
in its favour), and it is impossible not to feel how much the sentence
gains in force by the omission, ἐκλεκτοὶ Θεοῦ, ἅγιοι, )ηγαπημένοι; comp.
1 Pet. ii. 6.

σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ] ‘_a heart of pity_’. For the meaning of σπλάγχνα see
the note on Phil. i. 8, and for the whole expression comp. σπλάγχνα
ἐλέους Luke i. 78, _Test. xii Patr._ Zab. 7, 8.


III. 12]

χρηστότητα, ταπεινοφροσύνην, πρά"υτητα, μακροθυμίαν·

χρηστότητα κ.τ.λ.] The two words χρηστότης and ταπεινοφροσύνη,
‘kindliness’ and ‘humility’, describe the Christian _temper of mind_
generally, and this in two aspects, as it affects either (1) our
relation to others (χρηστότης), or (2) our estimate of self
(ταπεινοφροσύνη). For χρηστότης see the note on Gal. v. 22; for
ταπεινοφροσύνη, the note on Phil. ii. 3.

πρά"υτητα κ.τ.λ.] These next two words, πρά"υτης and μακροθυμία, denote
the _exercise_ of the Christian temper in its outward bearing towards
others. They are best distinguished by their opposites. πρά"υτης is
opposed to ‘rudeness, harshness’, ἀγρίοτης (Plato _Symp._ 197 D),
χαλεπότης (Arist. _H. A._ ix. i); μακροθυμία to ‘resentment, revenge,
wrath,’ ὀργή (Prov. xvi. 32), ὀξυχολία (Herm. _Mand._ v. 1, 2). For the
meaning of μακροθυμία see above, on i. 11; for the form of πρά"υτης
(πράοτης), on Gal. v. 23. The words are discussed in Trench _N. T. Syn._
§ xlii. p. 140 sq., § xliii. p. 145 sq., § liii. p. 184 sq. They appear
in connexion Ephes. iv. 2, Ign. _Polyc._ 6 μακροθυμήσατε οὖν μετ’
ἀλλήλων ἐν πρά"υτητι.


III. 13]

^{13}ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων, καὶ χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς,

13. ἀλλήλων, ἑαυτοῖς] The pronoun is varied, as in Ephes. iv. 32 γίνεσθε
εἰς _ἀλλήλους_ χρηστοί ... χαριζόμενοι _ἑαυτοῖς_ κ.τ.λ., 1
Pet. iv. 8–10 τὴν εἰς _ἑαυτοὺς_ ἀγάπην ἐκτενῆ ἔχοντες ... φιλόξενοι
εἰς _ἀλλήλους_ ... εἰς ἑαυτοὺς αὐτὸ [τὸ χάρισμα] διακονοῦντες. The
reciprocal ἑαυτῶν differs from the reciprocal ἀλλήλων in emphasizing the
idea of _corporate unity_: hence it is more appropriate here (comp.
Ephes. iv. 2, 32) with χαριζόμενοι than with ἀνεχόμενοι; comp. Xen.
_Mem._ iii. 5. 16 ἀντὶ μὲν τοῦ συνεργεῖν _ἑαυτοῖς_ τὰ συμφέροντα,
ἐπηρέαζουσιν _ἀλλήλοις_, καὶ φθονοῦσιν _ἑαυτοῖς_ μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς
ἄλλοις ἀνθρώποις ... καὶ προαιροῦνται μᾶλλον οὕτω κερδαίνειν ἀπ’
_ἀλλήλων_ ἢ συνωφελοῦντες _αὑτούς_, where the propriety of the
two words in their respective places will be evident; and ib. ii. 7. 12
ἀντὶ ὑφορωμένων ἑαυτὰς ἡδέως _ἀλλήλας_ hέωρων, where the variation
is more subtle but not less appropriate. For instances of this use of
ἑαυτῶν see Bleek _Hebräerbrief_ iii. 13 (p. 453 sq.), Kühner _>Griech.
Gramm._ § 455 (II. p. 497 sq.).

χαριζόμενοι] i.e. ‘forgiving’; see the note on ii. 13. An _a fortiori_
argument lurks under the use of ἑαυτοῖς (rather than ἀλλήλοις): if
Christ forgave them, much more should they forgive _themselves_.


III. 14]

ἐάν τις πρός τινα ἔχῃ μομφήν· καθὼς καὶ ὁ Κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν, οὕτως
καὶ ὑμεῖς· ^{14}ἐπὶ πᾶσιν δὲ τούτοις

μομφήν] ‘_a complaint_’. As μέμφεσθαι is ‘to find _fault_ with’,
referring most commonly to errors of omission, so μομφή here is regarded
as a _debt_, which needs to be remitted. The rendering of the A. V. ‘a
quarrel’ (= querela) is only wrong as being an archaism. The phrase
μομφὴν ἔχειν occurs several times in classical Greek, but generally in
poetry: e.g. Eur. _Orest._ 1069, Arist. _Pax_ 664.

καθὼς καὶ κ.τ.λ.] This must not be connected with the preceding words,
but treated as an independent sentence, the καθὼς καί being answered by
the οὕτως καί. For the presence of καί in both clauses of the comparison
see the note on i. 6. The phenomenon is common in the best classical
writers, e.g. Xen. _Mem._ i. 6. 3 ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἐργων οἱ
διδάσκαλοι ... οὕτω καὶ σύ κ.τ.λ.; see the references in Heindorf on
Plato _Phædo_ 64 C, _Sophist._ 217 B, and Kühner _Griech. Gramm._ § 524
(II. p. 799).

ὁ Κύριος] This reading, which is better supported than ὁ Χριστός, is
also more expressive. It recalls more directly the lesson of the parable
which enforces the duty of fellow-servant to fellow-servant; Matt.
xviii. 27 σπλαγχνισθὲις δὲ ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκέινου ἀπέλυσεν αὐτὸν
καὶ τὸ δάνειον ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ κ.τ.λ.: comp. below iv. 1 εἰδότες ὅτι καὶ
ὑμεῖς ἔχετε κύριον ἐν οὐρανῷ. The reading Χριστὸς perhaps comes from the
parallel passage Ephes. iv. 32 χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἐν
Χριστῷ ἐχαρίσατο ἡμῖν (or ὑμῖν).

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς] sc. χαρίζεσθε ἑαυτοῖς.

14. ἐπὶ πᾶσιν] ‘_over and above all these_’, comp. Luke iii. 20
προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν. In Luke xvi. 26, Ephes. vi. 16, the
correct reading is probably ἐν πᾶσιν. Love is the outer garment which
holds the others in their places.


III. 15]

τὴν ἀγάπην, ὅ ἐστιν σύνδεσμος τῆς τελείοτητος. ^{15}καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ
Χριστοῦ βραβεύετω ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, εἰς ἣν καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν ἑνὶ
σώματι. καὶ εὐχάριστοι

τὴν ἀγάπην] sc. ἐνδύσασθε, from ver. 12.

ὅ] ‘_which thing_’, i.e. ‘love’; comp. Ephes. v. 5 πλεονέκτης, ὅ ἐστιν
εἰδωλολάτρης, Ign. _Rom._ 7 ἅρτον Θεοῦ θέλω, ὅ ἐστιν σὰρξ Χριστοῦ,
_Magn._ 10 μετάβάλεσθε εἰς νέαν ζύμην ὅ ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, _Trall._ 7
ἀνακτήσασθε ἑαυτοὺς ἐν πίστει ὅ ἐστιν σὰρξ τοῦ Κυρίου. Though there are
various readings in the passages of the Ignatian Epistles, the ὅ seems
to be right in every case. These instances will show that ὅ may be
referred to τὴν ἀγάπην alone. Otherwise we might suppose the antecedent
to be τὸ ἐνδυσασθαι τὴν ἀγάπην, but this hardly suits the sense. The
common reading ἥτις is obviously a scribe’s correction.

σύνδεσμος κ.τ.λ.] ‘_the bond of perfection_’, i.e. the power, which
unites and holds together all those graces and virtues, which together
make up perfection. Πάντα ἐκεῖνα, says Chrysostom, hάυτη συσφίγγει· ὅπερ
ἂν εἴπῃς ἀγαθόν, τάυτης ἀπούσης οὐδέν ἐστιν ἀλλὰ διαρρεῖ: comp. Clem.
Rom. 49 τὸν δεσμὸν τῆς ἀγαπῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ τίς δύναται ἐξηγήσασθαι; Thus the
Pythagoreans (Simplic. _in Epictet._ p. 208 A) περισσῶς τῶν ἄλλων ἀρετῶν
τὴν φιλίαν ἐτίμων καὶ σύνδεσμον αὐτὴν πασῶν τῶν ἀρετῶν ἔλεγον. So too
Themist. _Orat._ i. (p. 5 C) βασιλικὴ (ἀρετὴ) παρὰ τὰς ἄλλας εἰς ἣν
ξυνδοῦνται καὶ αἱ λοιπαί, ὥσπερ εἰς μίαν κορυφὴν ἀνημμέναι. The word
will take a genitive either of the object bound or of the binding force:
e.g. Plato _Polit._ 310 A τοῦτον θειότερον εἶναι τὸν ξύνδεσμον ἀρετῆς
μερῶν φύσεως ἀνόμοιων καὶ ἐπὶ τἀναντία φερομένων, where the ἀρετὴ ξυνδεῖ
and the μέρη φύσεως ξυνδεῖται. We have an instance of the one genitive
(the objective) here, of the other (the subjective) in Ephes. iv. 3 ἐν
τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης (see the note there).

Another explanation makes σύνδεσμος = σύνθεσις here, ‘the bundle, the
totality’, as e.g. Herodian. iv. 12 πάντα τὸν σύνδεσμον τῶν ἐπιστολῶν
(comp. Ign. _Trall._ 3 σύνδεσμον ἀποστόλων); but this unusual metaphor
is highly improbable and inappropriate here, not to mention that we
should expect the definite article ὁ σύνδεσμος in this case. With either
interpretation, the function assigned to ἀγάπη here is the same as when
it is declared to be πλήρωμα νόμου, Rom. xiii. 10 (comp. Gal. v. 14).
See also the all-embracing office which is assigned to it in 1 Cor.

15. ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ Χριστοῦ] ‘_Christ’s peace_’, which He left as a legacy
to His disciples: Joh. xiv. 27 εἰρήνην ἀφίημι ὑμῖν, εἰρήνην _τὴν
ἐμὴν_ δίδωμι ὑμῖν; comp. Ephes. ii. 14 αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν
with the context. The common reading ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ Θεοῦ has a parallel in
Phil. iv. 7.

βραβεύετω] ‘_be umpire_’, for the idea of a contest is only less
prominent here, than in βραβεῖον 1 Cor. ix. 24, Phil. iii. 14 (see the
note there). Στάδιον ἕνδον ἐποίησεν ἐν τοῖς λογισμοῖς, writes
Chrysostom, καὶ ἀγῶνα καὶ ἄθλησιν καὶ βραβευτήν. Wherever there is a
conflict of motives or impulses or reasons, the peace of Christ must
step in and decide which is to prevail; Μὴ θυμὸς βραβεύετω, says
Chrysostom again, μὴ φιλονεικία, μὴ ἀνθρωπίνη εἰρήνη· ἡ γὰρ ἀνθρωπίνη
εἰρήνη ἐκ τοῦ ἀμύνεσθαι γίνεται, ἐκ τοῦ μηδὲν πάσχειν δεινόν.

For this metaphor of some one paramount consideration acting as umpire,
where there is a conflict of internal motives, see Polyb. ii. 35. 3 ἅπαν
τὸ γιγνόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν Γαλάτων θυμῷ μᾶλλον ἢ _λογισμῷ_ βραβεύεσθαι,
Philo _de Migr. Abr._ 12 (I[. p. 446) πορεύεται ὁ ἄφρων δι’ ἀμφοτέρων
θυμοῦ τε καὶ ἐπιθυμίας )αὲι ... τὸν ἡνίοχον καὶ βραβευτὴν λόγον ἀποβαλών
(comp. _de Ebriet._ 19, I. p. 368), Jos. B. J. vi. 2. 6 ἐβράβευε τὰς
τόλμας ὁ ... φόβος. Somewhat similarly τύχη (Polyb. xxvii. 14. 4) or
φύσις (Athen. xv. p. 670 A) are made βραβεύειν. In other passages, where
ὁ Θεὸς or τὸ θεῖον is said βραβεύειν, this implies that, while man
proposes, God _disposes_. In Philo ἀλήθεια βραβεύουσα (_Qui rer. div.
her._ 19, I. p. 486) is a rough synonyme for ἀλήθεια δικάζουσα (_de
Abrah._ 14, II. p. 10, etc.): and in Josephus (_Ant._ vi. 3. 1) δικάζειν
and βραβεύειν are used together of the same action. In all such cases it
appears that the idea of a _decision_ and an _award_ is prominent in the
word, and that it must not be taken to denote simply _rule_ or _power_.

εἰς ἣν κ.τ.λ.] Comp. 1 Cor. vii. 15 ἐν δὲ εἰρήνῃ κέκληκεν ἡμᾶς ὁ Θεός.

ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι] ‘As ye were called as members of one body, so let there
be one spirit animating that body’: Ephes. iv. 4 hὲν σῶμα καὶ hὲν
πνεῦμα. This passage strikes the keynote of the companion Epistle to the
Ephesians (see esp. ii. 16 sq., iv. 3 sq.).

εὐχάριστοι] ‘And to crown all forget yourselves in thanksgiving towards
God’: see the notes on i. 12, ii. 7. The adjective εὐχάριστος, though
not occurring elsewhere in the Greek Bible, is not uncommon in classical
writers, and like the English ‘grateful’, has two meanings; either (1)
‘pleasurable’ (e.g. Xen. _Cyr._ ii. 2. 1); or (2) ‘thankful’ (e.g.
Boeckh _C. I._ no. 1625), as here.


III. 16]

γίνεσθε. ^{16}Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐνοικέιτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίως ἐν πάσῃ
σοφίᾳ· διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες

16, 17. ‘Let the inspiring word of Christ dwell in your hearts,
enriching you with its boundless wealth and endowing you with all
wisdom. Teach and admonish one another with psalms, with hymns of
praise, with spiritual songs of all kinds. Only let them be pervaded
with grace from heaven. Sing to God in your hearts and not with your
lips only. And generally; whatever ye do, whether in word or in deed,
let everything be done in the name of Jesus Christ. And (again I repeat
it) pour out your thanksgiving to God the Father through Him’.

16. Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ] ‘_the word of Christ_’, τοῦ Χριστοῦ being the
subjective genitive, so that Christ is the speaker. Though ὁ λόγος τοῦ
Θεοῦ and ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου occur frequently, ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ is
found here only. There seems to be no direct reference in this
expression to any definite body of truths either written or oral, but ὁ
λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ denotes the presence of Christ in the heart, as an
inward monitor: comp. 1 Joh. ii. 14 ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν μένει, with
_ib._ i. 10 ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν, and so perhaps Acts xviii.
5 συνέιχετο τῷ λόγῳ (the correct reading).

ἐν ὑμῖν] ‘_in your hearts_’, not ‘_among you_’; comp. Rom. viii. 9, 11
τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα ἐν ὑμῖν, 2 Tim. i. 5, 14, and Lev. xxvi. 12, as
quoted in 2 Cor. vi. 16, ἐνοικήσω ἐν αὐτοῖς.

πλουσίως] See above p. 43 sq., and the note on i. 27.

ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ] ‘_in every kind of wisdom_’. It seems best to take these
words with the preceding clause, though Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii. 4 (p.
194) attaches them to what follows. For this position of ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ,
at the end of the sentence to which it refers, comp. i. 9, Ephes. i. 8.
The connexion here adopted is also favoured by the parallel passage
Ephes. v. 18, 19 (see the note below). Another passage i. 28
νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ
has a double bearing: while the _connexion_ favours our taking ἐν πάσῃ
σοφίᾳ here with the following words, the _order_ suggests their being
attached to the preceding clause.

διδάσκοντες κ.τ.λ.] The participles are here used for imperatives, as
frequently in hortatory passages, e.g. Rom. xii. 9 sq., 16 sq., Ephes.
iv. 2, 3, Hebr. xiii. 5, 1 Pet. ii. 12[?], iii. 1, 7, 9, 15, 16. It is
not, as some insist, that the participle itself has any imperatival
force; nor, as maintained by others, that the construction should be
explained by the hypothesis of a preceding parenthesis or of a verb
substantive understood or by any other expedient to obtain a regular
grammatical structure (see Winer, § xlv. p. 441 sq., § lxii. p. 707, §
lxiii. p. 716, § lxiv. p. 732). But the absolute participle, being (so
far as regards mood) neutral in itself, takes its colour from the
general complexion of the sentence. Thus it is sometimes indicative
(e.g. 2 Cor. vii. 5, and frequently), sometimes imperative (as in the
passages quoted), sometimes optative (as above, ii. 2, 2 Cor. ix. 11,
comp. Ephes. iii. 17). On the distinction of διδάσκειν and νουθετεῖν see
the note on i. 28; they describe respectively the positive and the
negative side of instruction. On the reciprocal ἑαυτούς see the note on
iii. 13.


III. 16]

ἑαυτοὺς ψαλμοῖς ὕμνοις ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς ἐν τῇ

ψαλμοῖς κ.τ.λ.] to be connected with the preceding sentence, as
suggested by Ephes. v. 18 sq. ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, λαλοῦντες
ἑαυτοῖς [ἐν] ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὑμνοῖς καὶ ᾠδαῖς [πνευματικαῖς], ᾄδοντες καὶ
ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ Κυρίῳ. The datives describe the instruments
of the διδαχή and νουθεσία.

The three words ψαλμός, ὕμνος, ᾠδή, are distinguished, so far as they
are distinguishable, in Trench _N.T. Syn._ § lxxviii. p. 279 sq. They
are correctly defined by Gregory Nyssen _in Psalm._ c. iii (I. p. 295)
ψαλμὸς μέν ἐστιν ἡ διὰ τοῦ ὀργάνου τοῦ μουσικοῦ μελωδία, ᾠδὴ δὲ ἡ διὰ
στόματος γενομένη τοῦ μέλους μετὰ ῥημάτων ἐπιφώνησις ... ὕμνος δὲ ἡ ἐπὶ
τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν ἡμῖν ἀγαθοῖς ἀνατιθεμένη τῷ Θεῷ εὐφημία; see also
Hippol. p. 191 sq. (ed. de Lagarde). In other words, while the leading
idea of ψαλμός is a musical accompaniment and that of ὕμνος praise to
God, ᾠδή is the general word for a song, whether accompanied or
unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any other subject. Thus it was
quite possible for the same song to be at once ψαλμός, ὕμνος, and ᾠδή.
In the text the reference in ψαλμοῖς, we may suppose, is specially,
though not exclusively (1 Cor. xiv. 26), to the Psalms of David, which
would early form part of the religious worship of the Christian
brotherhood. On the other hand ὕμνοις would more appropriately designate
those hymns of praise which were composed by the Christians themselves
on distinctly Christian themes, being either set forms of words or
spontaneous effusions of the moment. The third word ᾠδαῖς gathers up the
other two, and extends the precept to all forms of song, with the
limitation however that they must be πνευματικαί. St Chrysostom treats
ὕμνοι here as an advance upon ψαλμοί, which in one aspect they are; οἱ
ψαλμοί, he says, πάντα ἔχουσιν, ὁι δὲ ὕμνοι πάλιν οὐδὲν ἀνθρώπινον· ὅταν
ἐν τοῖς ψαλμοῖς μάθῃ, _τότε_ καὶ ὕμνους εἴσεται, ἅτε θείοτερον

Psalmody and hymnody were highly developed in the religious services of
the Jews at this time: see Philo _in Flacc._ 14 (II. p. 535) πάννυχοι δὲ
διατελέσαντες ἐν ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς, _de Vit. Cont._ § 3 (II. p. 476)
ποιοῦσιν ᾄσματα καὶ ὕμνους εἰς Θεὸν διὰ παντοίων μέτρων καὶ μελῶν, ἃ
ῥυθμοῖς σεμνοτέροις ἀναγκαίως χαράττουσι, § 10 (p. 484) ὁ ἀναστὰς ὕμνον
ᾄδει πεποιημένον εἰς τὸν Θεόν, ἢ καινὸν αὐτὸς πεποιηκὼς ἢ ἀρχαῖόν τινα
τῶν πάλαι ποιητῶν· μέτρα γὰρ καὶ μέλη καταλελοίπασι πολλὰ ἐπῶν
τριμέτρων, προσοδίων, ὕμνων, παρασπονδείων, παραβωμίων, στασίμων,
χορικῶν, στροφαῖς πολυστρόφοις εὖ διαμεμετρημένων κ.τ.λ., § 11 (p. 485)
ᾄδουσι πεποιημένους εἰς τὸν Θεὸν ὕμνους πολλοῖς μέτροις καὶ μέλεσι
κ.τ.λ., with the whole context. They would thus find their way into the
Christian Church from the very beginning. For instances of singing hymns
or psalms in the Apostolic age see Acts iv. 24, xvi. 25, 1 Cor. xiv. 15,
26. Hence even in St Paul’s epistles, more especially his later
epistles, fragments of such hymns appear to be quoted; e.g. Ephes. v. 14
(see the note there). For the use of hymnody in the early Church of the
succeeding generations see Plin. _Epist._ x. 97 ‘Ante lucem convenire,
carmenque Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem,’ Anon. [Hippolytus] in
Euseb. _H.E._ v. 28 ψαλμοὶ δὲ ὅσοι καὶ ᾠδὰι ἀδελφῶν ἀπ’ _)αρχῆς_
ὑπὸ πιστῶν γραφεῖσαι τὸν Λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν Χριστὸν ὑμνοῦσι
θεολογοῦντες. The reference in the text is not solely or chiefly to
public worship as such. Clem. Alex. _Pæd._ ii. 4 (p. 194) treats it as
applying to social gatherings; and again Tertullian says of the agape,
_Apol._ 39 ‘Ut quisque de scripturis sanctis vel de proprio ingenio
potest, provocatur in medium Deo canere,’ and of the society of husband
and wife, _Ad Uxor._ ii. 8 ‘Sonant inter duos psalmi et hymni, et mutuo
provocant quis melius Domino suo cantet.’ On the psalmody etc. of the
early Christians see Bingham _Antiq._ xiv. c. 1, and especially Probst
_Lehre und Gebet_ p. 256 sq.

ἐν τῇ χάριτι] ‘_in_ God’s _grace_’; comp. 2 Cor. i. 12 οὐκ ἐν σοφία
σαρκικῇ ἀλλ’ ἐν χάριτι Θεοῦ. These words are perhaps best connected with
the preceding clause, as by Chrysostom. Thus the parallelism with ἐν
πάσῃ σοφίᾳ is preserved. The correct reading is ἐν τῇ χάριτι, not ἐν
χάριτι. For ἡ χάρις, ‘divine grace’, see Phil. i. 7 συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς
χάριτος with the note. The definite article seems to exclude all lower
senses of χάρις here, such as ‘acceptableness’, ‘sweetness’ (see iv. 6).
The interpretation ‘with gratitude’, if otherwise tenable (comp. 1 Cor.
x. 30), seems inappropriate here, because the idea of thanksgiving is
introduced in the following verse.


III. 17, 18]

χάριτι, ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ Θεῷ· ^{17}καὶ πᾶν ὅ τι ἐὰν
ποιῆτε ἐν λόγῳ ἢ ἐν ἔργῳ, πάντα ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, εὐχαριστοῦντες
τῷ Θεῷ πατρὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ.

^{18}Αἱ γυναῖκες, ὑποτάσσεσθε τοῖς ἀνδράσιν, ὡς ἀνῆκεν

ἄδοντες κ.τ.λ.] This external manifestation must be accompanied by the
inward emotion. There must be the thanksgiving of the heart, as well as
of the lips; comp. Ephes. v. 19 ἄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ
(probably the correct reading), where τῇ καρδίᾳ ‘_with_ the heart’
brings out the sense more distinctly.

17. πᾶν ὅ τι κ.τ.λ.] This is probably a nominative absolute, as Matt. x.
32 πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ὁμολογήσει ... ὁμολογήσω κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ (comp. Luke xii.
8), Luke xii. 10 πᾶς ὃς ἐρεῖ λόγον ... ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ, John xvii. 2 πᾶν
ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ, δώσῃ _αὐτοῖς_ κ.τ.λ.; comp. Matt. vii. 24 (v.l.).

πάντα] sc. ποιεῖτε, as the following εὐχαριστοῦντες suggests; comp. ver.

ἐν ὀνόματι κ.τ.λ.] This is the great practical lesson which flows from
the theological teaching of the epistle. Hence the reiteration of Κυρίῳ,
ἐν Κυρίῳ, etc., vv. 18, 20, 22, 23, 24. See above p. 104.

εὐχαριστοῦντες] On this refrain see the notes on i. 12, ii. 7.

τῷ Θεῷ πατρὶ] This, which is quite the best authenticated reading, gives
a very unusual, if not unique, collocation of words, the usual form
being either ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατήρ or Θεὸς πατήρ. The καί before πατρί in the
received text is an obvious emendation. See the note on i. 3, and the
appendix on various readings.

18–21. ‘Ye wives, be subject to your husbands, for so it becomes you in
Christ. Ye husbands, love and cherish your wives, and use no harshness
towards them. Ye children, be obedient to your parents in all things;
for this is commendable and lovely in Christ. Ye parents, vex not your
children, lest they lose heart and grow sullen’.

18 sq. These precepts, providing for the conduct of Christians in
private households, should be compared with Ephes. v. 22–vi. 9, 1 Pet.
ii. 18–iii. 7, Tit. ii. 1 sq.; see also Clem. Rom. 1, Polyc. _Phil._ 4

Αἱ γυναῖκες] ‘_Ye wives_’, the nominative with the definite article
being used for a vocative, as frequently in the New Testament, e.g.
Matt. xi. 26, Mark v. 41, Luke viii. 54; see Winer § xxix. p. 227 sq.
The frequency of this use is doubtless due to the fact that it is a
reproduction of the Hebrew idiom. In the instances quoted from classical
writers (see Bernhardy _Syntax_ p. 67) the address is not so directly
vocative, the nominative being used rather to _define_ or _select_ than
to _summon_ the person in question.

τοῖς ἀνδράσιν] The ἰδίοις of the received text may have been inserted
(as it is inserted also in Ephes. v. 24) from Ephes. v. 22, Tit. ii. 5,
1 Pet. iii. 1, 5, in all which passages this same injunction occurs. The
scribes however show a general fondness for this adjective; e.g. Mark
xv. 20, Luke ii. 3, Acts i. 19, Ephes. iv. 28, 1 Thess. ii. 15, iv. 11.


III. 19–22]

ἐν Κυρίῳ. ^{19}Οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας καὶ μὴ πικραίνεσθε πρὸς
αὐτάς. ^{20}Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν κατὰ πάντα· τοῦτο γὰρ
εὐάρεστόν ἐστιν ἐν Κυρίῳ. ^{21}Οἱ πατέρες, μὴ ἐρεθίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν,
ἵνα μὴ ἀθυμῶσιν. ^{22}Οἱ δοῦλοι, ὑπακούετε κατὰ πάντα

ἀνῆκεν] The imperfect, as Ephes. v. 4 ἃ οὐκ ἀνῆκεν (the correct
reading); comp. _Clem. Hom._ Contest. 3 τοῦδε μὴ μεταδοῦναι χάριν, ὡς οὐ
προσῆκεν, Xen. _de Re Equestr._ xii. 14 ἃ ἱππάρχῳ προσῆκεν εἰδέναι τε
καὶ πράττειν; and see D’Orville on Charito viii. 2 (p. 699 sq.). The
common uses of the imperfect ἔδει, ἔπρεπεν, etc., in classical writers
do not present a very exact parallel; for they imply that the thing
which ought to have been done has been left undone. And so we might
interpret Acts xxii. 22 οὐ γὰρ καθῆκεν αὐτὸν ζῆν (the correct reading).
Here however there can hardly be any such reference; and the best
illustration is the English past tense ‘ought’ (= ‘owed’), which is used
in the same way. The past tense perhaps implies an essential _à priori_
obligation. The use of χρῆν, ἔχρην, occasionally approximates to this;
e.g. Eur. _Andr._ 423.

The idea of ‘propriety’ is the link which connects the primary meaning
of such words as ἀνήκειν, προσήκειν, καθήκειν, ‘aiming at or pertaining
to’, with their ultimate meaning of moral obligation. The word ἀνήκειν
occurs in the New Testament only here and in the contemporary epistles,
Ephes. v. 4, Philem. 8.

ἐν Κυρίῳ] probably to be connected with ὡς ἀνῆκεν, rather than with
ὑποτάσσεσθε; comp. ver. 20 εὐάρεστόν ἐστιν ἐν Κυρίῳ.

19. μὴ πικραίνεσθε κ.τ.λ.] ‘_show no bitterness, behave not harshly_’;
comp. Lynceus in Athen. vi. p. 242 C πικρανθείη πρός τινα τῶν συζώντων,
Joseph. _Ant._ v. 7. I δεινῶς πρὸς τοὺς τοῦ δικαίου προϊσταμένους
ἐκπικραινόμενος, Plut. _Mor._ p. 457 A πρὸς γύναια διαπικραίνονται. So
also πικραίνεσθαι ἐπί τινα in the LXX, Jerem. xliv (xxxvii). 15, 3 Esdr.
iv. 31. This verb πικραίνεσθαι and its compounds occur frequently in
classical writers.

20. κατὰ πάντα] as ver. 22. The rule is stated absolutely, because the
exceptions are so few that they may be disregarded.

εὐάρεστόν ἐστιν] ‘_is well pleasing, commendable_’. The received text
supplies this adjective with a dative of reference τῷ Κυρίῳ (from Ephes.
v. 10), but ἐν Κυρίῳ is unquestionably the right reading. With the
reading thus corrected εὐάρεστον, like ἀνῆκεν ver. 18, must be taken
absolutely, as perhaps in Rom. xii. 2 τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θἑοῦ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ
εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον: comp. Phil. iv. 8 ὅσα σεμνά ... ὅσα προσφιλῆ. The
qualification ἐν Κυρίῳ implies ‘as judged by a Christian standard’, ‘as
judged by those who are members of Christ’s body.’

21. ἐρεθίζετε] ‘_provoke, irritate_’. The other reading παροργίζετε has
higher support, but is doubtless taken from the parallel passage, Ephes.
vi. 4. ‘Irritation’ is the first consequence of being too exacting with
children, and irritation leads to moroseness (ἀθυμία). In 2 Cor. IX. 2
ἐρεθίζειν is used in a good sense and produces the opposite result, not
despondency but energy.

ἀθυμῶσιν] ‘_lose heart, become spiritless_’, i.e. ‘go about their task
in a listless, moody, sullen frame of mind’. ‘_Fractus animus_’, says
Bengel, ‘pestis juventutis’. In Xen. _Cyr._ i. 6. 13 ἀθυμία is opposed
to προθυμία, and in Thuc. ii. 88 and elsewhere ἀθυμεῖν is opposed to


III. 23]

τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις, μὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοδουλείᾳ ὡς ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι, ἀλλ’ ἐν
ἁπλότητι καρδίας, φοβούμενοι τὸν Κύριον. ^{23}ὃ ἐὰν ποιῆτε, ἐκ ψυχῆς
ἐργάζεσθε ὡς

                        22. ἐν ὀφθαλμοδουλείαις.

22.–iv. 1. ‘Ye slaves, be obedient in all things to the masters set over
you in the flesh, not rendering them service only when their eyes are
upon you, as aiming merely to please men, but serving in all sincerity
of heart, as living in the sight of God and standing in awe of Him. And
in every thing that ye do, work faithfully and with all your soul, as
labouring not for men, but for the great Lord and Master Himself;
knowing that ye have a Master, from whom ye will receive the glorious
inheritance as your recompense, whether or not ye may be defrauded of
your due by men. Yes, Christ is your Master and ye are his slaves. He
that does a wrong shall be requited for his wrong-doing. I say not this
of slaves only, but of masters also. There is no partiality, no respect
of persons, in God’s distribution of rewards and punishments. Therefore,
ye masters, do ye also on your part deal justly and equitably by your
slaves, knowing that ye too have a Master in heaven’.

22. Οἱ δοῦλοι] The relations of masters and slaves, both here and in the
companion epistle (Ephes. vi. 5–9), are treated at greater length than
is usual with St Paul. Here especially the expansion of this topic,
compared with the brief space assigned to the duties of wives and
husbands (vv. 18, 19), or of children and parents (vv. 20, 21), deserves
to be noticed. The fact is explained by a contemporary incident in the
Apostle’s private life. His intercourse with Onesimus had turned his
thoughts in this direction. See above, p. 33, and the introduction to
the Epistle to Philemon: comp. also the note on ver. 11.

ὀφθαλμοδουλείᾳ] ‘_eye-service_’, as Ephes. vi. 6: comp. _Apost. Const._
iv. 12 μὴ ὡς ὀφθαλμόδουλος ἀλλ’ ὡς φιλοδέσποτος. This happy expression
would seem to be the Apostle’s own coinage. At least there are no traces
of it earlier. Compare ἐθελοθρησκεία ii. 23. The reading ὀφθαλμοδουλείᾳ
is better supported than ὀφθαλμοδουλείαις, though the plural is rendered
slightly more probable in itself by its greater difficulty.

ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι] again in Ephes. vi. 6. It is a LXX word, Ps. lii. 6,
where the Greek entirely departs from the Hebrew: comp. also
ἀνθρωπαρεσκεῖν Ign. _Rom._ 2, ἀνθρωπαρέσκεια Justin _Apol._ i. 2 (p. 53
E). So ὀχλοαρέσκης or ὀχλόαρεσκος, Timo Phlias. in Diog. Laert. iv. 42
(vv. 11.).

ἁπλότητι καρδίας] as in Ephes. vi. 5, i.e. ‘with _undivided_ service’; a
LXX expression, 1 Chron. xxix. 17, Wisd. i. 1.

τὸν Κύριον] ‘_the_ one _Lord_ and Master’, as contrasted with τοῖς κατὰ
σάρκα κυρίοις: the idea being carried out in the following verses. The
received text, by substituting τὸν Θεόν, blunts the edge of the

23. ἐργάζεσθε] i.e. ‘do it diligently’, an advance upon ποιητε.

οὐκ ἀνθρώποις] For the use of οὐ rather than μὴ in antitheses, see Winer
§ lv. p. 601 sq. The negative here is wholly unconnected with the
imperative, and refers solely to τῷ Κυρίῳ.


III. 24, 25]

τῷ Κυρίῳ, καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώποις,] ^{24}εἰδότες ὅτι ἀπὸ Κυρίου ἀπολήμψεσθε τὴν
ἀνταπόδοσιν τῆς κληρονομίας· τῷ Κυρίῳ Χριστῷ δουλεύετε· ^{25}ὁ γὰρ ἀδικῶν
κομίσεται ὃ

24. ἀπὸ Κυρίου ‘However you may be treated by your earthly masters, you
have still _a_ Master who will recompense you.’ The absence of the
definite article here (comp. iv. 1) is the more remarkable, because it
is studiously inserted in the context, vv. 22–24, τὸν Κύριον, τῷ Κυρίῳ,
τῷ Κυρίῳ. In the parallel passage Ephes. vi. 8 it is παρὰ Κυρίου: for
the difference between the two see Gal. i. 12.

τὴν ἀνταπόδοσιν] ‘_the just recompense_’, a common word both in the lxx
and in classical writers, though not occurring elsewhere in the New
Testament; comp. ἀνταπόδομα Luke xiv. 12, Rom. xi. 9. The double
compound involves the idea of ‘exact requital’.

τῆς κληρονομίας] ‘_which consists in the inheritance_’, the genitive of
apposition: see the note on τὴν μερίδα τοῦ κλήρου, i. 12. There is a
paradox involved in this word: elsewhere the δοῦλος and the κληρονόμος