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Our first argument against the genuineness of the book is founded upon its very plan and fundamental idea. It professes to be a “refutation of all heresies;" and the aim of the author is to show that the opinions of the heretics were not original with themselves, but had been before propounded by the heathen philosophers. He makes extracts from both the philosophers and the heretics, compares the two, and, supposing the heresies to be derived from the philosophers, he therefore infers that they are untenable. This mode of procedure bespeaks much more the ideas of philosophy held by an Irenæus or a Tertullian, than by an Origen. That a doctrine was to be found in one of the old philosophers was, with Origen, anything but an evidence of its falsity: on the contrary, his own system received its character, to a very great extent, from those same philosophers. In the second place, the author of the book gives a short sketch of his own dogmatic system, which is not at all in harmony with that of Origen. On the one hand, it lacks some of Origen's peculiar views (e. g., the doctrine of the fall of souls, the trokaTáoTaois); and, on the other, it gives other doctrines (e. g., a Trinity and an anthropology) precisely opposed to Origen's. In a word, whatever philosophical culture and method the book may show, it is not that of Origen. The style, moreover, is remarkably unlike that of Origen.
M. Miller appeals to a passage of Origen's in Eusebius, (vi, 19,) but he applies it incorrectly. Origen does not speak, in that passage, of this treatise, or of any single treatise of his own, but of his course of study in general.
We think it may be held as a matter established, therefore, that Origen was not the author of this book. But it is equally clear that the author was contemporary with Origen. He places himself in that age, and all his statements harmonize with this view. Taking him, then, accordingly, to have lived in the first quarter of the third century, at the time of Zephyrinus, Bishop of Rome, and of Callistus, we should be led, by Eusebius, to identify him with the learned Presbyter CAIUS, or with HIPPOLYTUS. It is easily shown, however, that Caius could not have been the author of the book, for he was specially distinguished for his writings against Cerinthus, and for his peculiar views in regard to that Gnostic leader; while our author has nothing of his own to offer about Cerinthus, and borrows all that he does say, (and that is not much) word for word, from Irenæus. Caius ascribed the Apocalypse to Cerinthus--our author assigns it to the Apostle John. The former was a strenuous opponent of the sensual Chiliasm; the latter, while he blames much in Montanism, does not include Chiliasm under it, and indeed it is more than probable that he was a friend of that doctrine. On the
other hand, there are many reasons for ascribing the work before us to HIPPOLYTUS. From the titles of his many exegetical works, it may be inferred that he was originally from the East, perhaps from Antioch. He is shown to have been skilled in astronomy by his Easter-cycle of sixteen years, which was deemed to be of sufficient importance to immortalize him, as appears from the marble monument dug up in the neighbourhood of Rome in 1551, with his image seated on a chair, with cycles of sixteen years engraved in Greek letters. Eusebius and Jerome mention also many polemical treatises of his. He appears to have dwelt in Rome as presbyter, and finally to have suffered martyrdom. Prudentius narrates the martyrdom of the Presbyter Hippolytus, and can hardly refer to any other than the well-known writer of that name. This martyr, according to Prudentius, had been a Novatian;* but in view of death repented of his schism, and exhorted his followers to return to the bosom of the Church.
Let us see now what parallels we can find for this account in the history, as far as we can gather it, of the author of the work before
It is highly probable, in the first place, that he was of oriental origin: he sets forth the doctrine of the Trinity in its oriental form; he shows peculiar acquaintance with the oriental sects, and is, in fact, for many of them the only voucher. He shows that he had busied himself much with astronomy and astrology, and was acquainted with the technical language and the peculiar theories of the astronomers and astrologers; e. g., Ptolemy, whom he ridicules for his bold hypotheses, while at the same time he makes use of his formulas for astronomical calculations. He is, moreover, at enmity with the bishops of Rome, and writes especially against them on those very points on account of which Novatian separated from the Church. He supports the theory, that no person who had committed deadly sin could be re-admitted into the bosom of the Church without defiling it, and denounces Zephyrinus and Callistus not only for false doctrine but for loose discipline.
These internal evidences go strongly to prove that Hippolytus was the author of the book. But other and confirmatory proofs are not wanting. The author states that he had written a book Concerning the substance of the universe (περί της του παντός ουσίας). Now this very title is given among the list of the works of Hippolytus, engraved upon the statue above referred to as having been disinterred near Rome. Photius knew this book, and ascribed it to Caius; apparently on no other ground, however, than the fact that the name of Caius was marked upon the margin of the manuscript by the transcriber. The Monophysite Gobarus, in the sixth century, cites some passages from a manuscript which he ascribes to Hippolytus: these passages are to be found in the book before us. All these considerations taken together give so high a degree of probability to the theory that Hippolytus was the real author of the book, as to bear down all that can be said on the opposite side.
* No historical grounds for this statement are given.
To give our readers some idea of the value of this newly-discovered work to our knowledge of antiquity, and to show that it must be especially welcome in the present stage of inquiry and criticism in early Church history, a single statement may suffice. We obtain from it a collection of new fragments from Empedocles, Heraclitus, and other philosophers; a number of important illustrations of ancient mythology; and, especially, a rich exhibition of astrology and the magic arts, as practised by the pagans, and borrowed from them, according to the statements of the book, by the Gnostic heretics. It sets forth the laws of stellar influence
the bodies and souls of men; the horoscope, and the modes of casting it; the tricks of the professors of magic, and their explanations on natural grounds.
Still more rich and valuable, in a different field, is its exhibition of heretical theories, and of the internal evils and discords of the Catholic Church. It also throws light upon the Gnostic system, and in this respect is next in value to the treatise of Irenæus. Names, and even facts, are here given of which we knew absolutely nothing before; while others, that were held to be as unimportant as they were obscure, are brought out into light and prominence, illuminating many dark nooks of Church history. The book tells us of a Gnostic, by name Justin, of whom we had not before heard; and describes at length Monoïmaos and the Peraticians, of whom we knew only the names. The Simonians, and the strange, fragmentary, and enigmatical ideas generally attributed to Simon Magus, are here treated with something approaching to orderly and clear connexion. The book gives us also much information in regard to the strange and widely-diffused sect of the Ophites; it throws new light upon the notions and history of Basilides, perhaps the acutest of the Gnostics, who was known to us before only from scanty fragments; and it gives much instructive information with regard to Valentinus and his school. Of Marcion, and his interesting follower Apelles, we gather little new knowledge-much to our regret. We learn much more about the history and usages of the sect of the Elkesaites, who spread from Syria and Parthia even to Rome. The account given of them by Epiphanius is well pieced out in this work of Hippolytus. In this, as in other cases, the writer cites from writings of those heretics which he himself had read, and so gives us new and accurate information on the Gnostic literature. His book has this advantage (for us at least) over those of Epiphanius and Irenæus, that he is very sparing of his own remarks, and allows the opposing parties to speak for themselves. Among his Gnostic fragments are a number of poetical ones, which will be of great service to the history of hymnology. To the Noetians or Patripassians, as a contemporary and restless sect, he devotes special attention. He depicts their influence upon the Roman bishops, Zephyrinus and Callistus, and sketches the condition of the existing Church at Rome, in a way full of instruction, especially as our knowledge of that period (the beginning of the third century) may be said to be confined almost entirely to a list of the names of the bishops. We learn that even at this period there had arisen great difficulties and disputes within the Church of Rome with regard to the doctrine of the Trinitydifficulties, the origin of which we have been heretofore accustomed to refer to the period of Dionysius of Rome and Dionysius of Alexandria. On the one side were the Theodotians, Unitarians, or Monarchians, who held (somewhat like Paul of Samosata) that Christ was only a man of supernatural origin and enlightenment; on the other, the Patripassians, who held Christ to be the Father incarnate. To this last view Zephyrinus, and especially Callistus, inclined. Nay, we make the further discovery that Sabellius was already active at this period, that he appeared in Rome, and was excommunicated by Callistus. It was not the interest of Callistus, in spite of his favour for the ouoouolov, to be deemed a Sabellian. The Church held that God was in Christ, yet that it was the Son who suffered, not the Father. The Church recognised the designation of Christ, according to John's Gospel, as the Logos incarnate; but deemed that the strict subordination of the Logos to the Father, as taught by the orientals and by the author of the book before us, included too little of the ouoouolov, removing the equality of the Father and the Son. We thus see clearly from whence sprung the strenuous support which Rome gave to the ouoouolov in the later periods of the third century, and in the Arian controversy. The controversy (or something very like it) had been gone over in her midst before. It is clear that the prevailing tendency of the Church, at the earlier date of which we speak, was to set forth the deity of Christ most emphatically; in fact, two of its bishops in succession were called Patripassians. This fact completely invalidates the hypothesis of the new Tübingen School, that the prevailing ideas concerning Christ at Rome were akin to those of the Ebionites and Theodotians; viz., that he was simply a man filled with the Spirit of God. Those
who advocate this hypothesis, assert further, that St. John's Gospel was not written by the apostle, but appeared towards the end of the second century, bringing out the doctrine of the Logos in opposition to the Judaizing view of Christ. The work before us affords new grounds of opposition to this species of criticism; for, in the first place, it shows that the doctrine of the Logos existed in the Church of Rome as a well-known tradition in the beginning of the third century, and that the question then was not whether the Logos were Christ, but what degree of deity dwelt in the Logos. Again: the book cites a passage from the Gnostic Basilides, in which John i, 9 is quoted, and another in which John ii, 4 is appealed to. Now Basilides lived and wrote under Hadrian, and was a younger contemporary of the apostles. This is the oldest testimony to John's Gospel that we possess-older than that of Justin Martyr, which is thereby confirmed. Let us hear no more, then, that this Gospel was written after the middle of the second century.
That part of the work before us which treats of the morals of the Roman Church, and of its clergy, is full of interest. Hippolytus censures them for unchastity, and casts it up to them as a great reproach that many, even of the higher orders of clergy, were married some of them more than once. His account of Callistus throws so much light upon the state of society and of religion in Rome, at the time, that we cite it at some length, from a translation furnished in the article before spoken of:-“Callistus was the domestic servant of a certain Carpophorus, a Christian in the household of Cæsar. Carpophorus intrusted to him, as a fellow Christian, a considerable sum of money, instructing him to lend it out at interest. Callistus set up a bank for loans (Tpáteca) in what is called the Piscina Publica. At his bank, in process of time, many pledges of widows and poor brethren were deposited, on the credit of the name of Carpophorus. But Callistus, having made away with the whole, fell into difficulties. His proceedings were soon made known to Carpophorus, who immediately said that he would call upon him for his accounts. When Callistus knew this, dreading the danger with which he was threatened by his master, he ran away towards the sea; and finding a ship in the port ready to set sail to the place of her destination, got on board and engaged his passage. He could not, however, escape detection; there were those who instantly communicated his flight to Carpophorus Carpophorus hastened to the harbour, and endeavoured to get on board the ship. She was in the middle of the harbour; the captain slackened her course, and Callistus, recognising his master, became desperate and leaped into the sea. But the sailors, jumping into the boats, took him up against his will.