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History of Dogma, Volume 1 (of 7)
by Adolph Harnack
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CHAPTER V

MARCION'S ATTEMPT TO SET ASIDE THE OLD TESTAMENT FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY, TO PURIFY TRADITION AND TO REFORM CHRISTENDOM ON THE BASIS OF THE PAULINE GOSPEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 367: Apelles, the disciple of Marcion, declared (Euseb. H. E. V. 13. 5) [Greek: sothesesthai tous epi ton estauromenon elpikotas, monon ean en ergois agathois euriskontai.]]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 398: Marcion must have spoken ex professo in his Antitheses about the Judaistic corruptions of Paul's Epistles and the Gospel. He must also have known Evangelic writings bearing the names of the original Apostles, and have expressed himself about them (Tertull. IV. 1-6).]

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI.

APPENDIX: THE CHRISTIANITY OF THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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