You have urged me, Dexter, to follow the example of Tranquillus in giving a systematic account of ecclesiastical writers, and to do for our writers what he did for the illustrious men of letters among the Gentiles, namely, to briefly set before you all those who have published any memorable writing on the Holy Scriptures, from the time of our Lord's passion until the fourteenth year of the Emperor Theodosius. A similar work has been done by Hermippus the peripatetic, Antigonus Carystius, the learned Satyrus, and most learned of all, Aristoxenus the Musician, among the Greeks, and among the Latins by Varro, Santra, Nepos, Hyginus, and by him through whose example you seek to stimulate us—Tranquillus.
But their situation and mine is not the same, for they, opening the old histories and chronicles could as if gathering from some great meadow, weave some small crown at least for their work. As for me, what shall I do, who, having no predecessor, have, as the saying is, the worst possible master, namely myself, and yet I must acknowledge that Eusebius Pamphilus in the ten books of his Church History has been of the utmost assistance, and the works of various among those of whom we are to write, often testify to the dates of their authors. And so I pray the Lord Jesus, that what your Cicero, who stood at the summit of Roman eloquence, did not scorn to do, compiling in his Brutus, a catalogue of Latin orators, this I too may accomplish in the enumeration of ecclesiastical writers, and accomplish in a fashion worthy of the exhortation which you made. But if, perchance any of those who are yet writing have been overlooked by me in this volume, they ought to ascribe it to themselves, rather than to me, for among those whom I have not read, I could not, in the first place, know those who concealed their own writings, and, in the second place, what is perhaps well known to others, would be quite unknown to me in this out-of-the-way corner of the earth. But surely when they are distinguished by their writings, they will not very greatly grieve over any loss in our non-mention of them. Let Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian learn, rabid as they are against Christ, let their followers, they who think the Church has had no philosophers or orators or men of learning, learn how many and what sort of men founded, built and adorned it, and cease to accuse our faith of such rustic simplicity, and recognize rather their own ignorance.
Simon Peter the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion — the believers in circumcision, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia— pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. He wrote two epistles which are called Catholic, the second of which, on account of its difference from the first in style, is considered by many not to be by him. Then too the Gospel according to Mark, who was his disciple and interpreter, is ascribed to him. On the other hand, the books, of which one is entitled his Acts, another his Gospel, a third his Preaching, a fourth his Revelation, a fifth his
Judgment are rejected as apocryphal.
James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book, after our Lord's passion at once ordained by the apostles bishop of Jerusalem, wrote a single epistle, which is reckoned among the seven Catholic Epistles and even this is claimed by some to have been published by some one else under his name, and gradually, as time went on, to have gained authority. Hegesippus, who lived near the apostolic age, in the fifth book of his Commentaries, writing of James, says
After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees.
He says also many other things, too numerous to mention. Josephus also in the 20th book of his Antiquities, and Clement in the 7th of his Outlines mention that on the death of Festus who reigned over Judea, Albinus was sent by Nero as his successor. Before he had reached his province, Ananias the high priest, the youthful son of Ananus of the priestly class, taking advantage of the state of anarchy, assembled a council and publicly tried to force James to deny that Christ is the son of God. When he refused Ananius ordered him to be stoned. Cast down from a pinnacle of the temple, his legs broken, but still half alive, raising his hands to heaven he said, Josephus records the tradition that this James was of so great sanctity and reputation among the people that the downfall of Jerusalem was believed to be on account of his death. He it is of whom the apostle Paul writes to the Galatians that
No one else of the apostles did I see except James the brother of the Lord, and shortly after the event the Acts of the apostles bear witness to the matter. The Gospel also which is called the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and which I have recently translated into Greek and Latin and which also Origen often makes use of, after the account of the resurrection of the Saviour says,
but the Lord, after he had given his grave clothes to the servant of the priest, appeared to James (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he drank the cup of the Lord until he should see him rising again from among those that sleep) and again, a little later, it says
'Bring a table and bread,' said the Lord. And immediately it is added,
He brought bread and blessed and broke and gave to James the Just and said to him, 'my brother eat your bread, for the son of man is risen from among those that sleep.' And so he ruled the church of Jerusalem thirty years, that is until the seventh year of Nero, and was buried near the temple from which he had been cast down. His tombstone with its inscription was well known until the siege of Titus and the end of Hadrian's reign. Some of our writers think he was buried in Mount Olivet, but they are mistaken.
Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek, though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Cæsarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Berœa, a city of Syria, who use it. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Saviour quotes the testimony of the Old Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the Hebrew. Wherefore these two forms exist
Out of Egypt have I called my son, and
for he shall be called a Nazarene.
Jude the brother of James, left a short epistle which is reckoned among the seven catholic epistles, and because in it he quotes from the apocryphal boo of Enoch it is rejected by many. Nevertheless by age and use it has gained authority and is reckoned among the Holy Scriptures.
Paul, formerly called Saul, an apostle outside the number of the twelve apostles, was of the tribe of Benjamin and the town of Giscalis in Judea. When this was taken by the Romans he removed with his parents to Tarsus in Cilicia. Sent by them to Jerusalem to study law he was educated by Gamaliel, a most learned man whom Luke mentions. But after he had been present at the death of the martyr Stephen and had received letters from the high priest of the temple for the persecution of those who believed in Christ, he proceeded to Damascus, where constrained to faith by a revelation, as it is written in the Acts of the apostles, he was transformed from a persecutor into an elect vessel. As Sergius Paulus Proconsul of Cyprus was the first to believe in his preaching, he took his name from him because he had subdued him to faith in Christ, and having been joined by Barnabas, after traversing many cities, he returned to Jerusalem and was ordained apostle to the Gentiles by Peter, James and John. And because a full account of his life is given in the Acts of the Apostles, I only say this, that the twenty-fifth year after our Lord's passion, that is the second of Nero, at the time when Festus Procurator of Judea succeeded Felix, he was sent bound to Rome, and remaining for two years in free custody, disputed daily with the Jews concerning the advent of Christ. It ought to be said that at the first defence, the power of Nero having not yet been confirmed, nor his wickedness broken forth to such a degree as the histories relate concerning him, Paul was dismissed by Nero, that the gospel of Christ might be preached also in the West. As he himself writes in the second epistle to Timothy, at the time when he was about to be put to death dictating his epistle as he did while in chains;
At my first defence no one took my part, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their account. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me; that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and that all the Gentiles might hear, and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion — clearly indicating Nero as lion on account of his cruelty. And directly following he says
The Lord delivered me from the mouth of the lion and again shortly martyrdom was near at hand, for in the same epistle he announced
for I am already being offered and the time of my departure is at hand. He then, in the fourteenth year of Nero on the same day with Peter, was beheaded at Rome for Christ's sake and was buried in the Ostian way, the twenty-seventh year after our Lord's passion. He wrote nine epistles to seven churches: To the Romans one, To the Corinthians two, To the Galatians one, To the Ephesians one, To the Philippians one, To the Colossians one, To the Thessalonians two; and besides these to his disciples, To Timothy two, To Titus one, To Philemon one. The epistle which is called the Epistle to the Hebrews is not considered his, on account of its difference from the others in style and language, but it is reckoned, either according to Tertullian to be the work of Barnabas, or according to others, to be by Luke the Evangelist or Clement afterwards bishop of the church at Rome, who, they say, arranged and adorned the ideas of Paul in his own language, though to be sure, since Paul was writing to Hebrews and was in disrepute among them he may have omitted his name from the salutation on this account. He being a Hebrew wrote Hebrew, that is his own tongue and most fluently while the things which were eloquently written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek and this is the reason why it seems to differ from other epistles of Paul. Some read one also to the Laodiceans but it is rejected by everyone.
Barnabas the Cyprian, also called Joseph the Levite, ordained apostle to the Gentiles with Paul, wrote one Epistle, valuable for the edification of the church, which is reckoned among the apocryphal writings. He afterwards separated from Paul on account of John, a disciple also called Mark, none the less exercised the work laid upon him of preaching the Gospel.
Luke a physician of Antioch, as his writings indicate, was not unskilled in the Greek language. An adherent of the apostle Paul, and companion of all his journeying, he wrote a Gospel, concerning which the same Paul says,
We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches and to the Colossians
Luke the beloved physician salutes you, and to Timothy
Luke only is with me. He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul's sojourn at Rome, that is to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city. Therefore the Acts of Paul and Thecla and all the fable about the lion baptized by him we reckon among the apocryphal writings, for how is it possible that the inseparable companion of the apostle in his other affairs, alone should have been ignorant of this thing. Moreover Tertullian who lived near those times, mentions a certain presbyter in Asia, an adherent of the apostle Paul, who was convicted by John of having been the author of the book, and who, confessing that he did this for love of Paul, resigned his office of presbyter. Some suppose that whenever Paul in his epistle says
according to my gospel he means the book of Luke and that Luke not only was taught the gospel history by the apostle Paul who was not with the Lord in the flesh, but also by other apostles. This he too at the beginning of his work declares, saying
Even as they delivered unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. So he wrote the gospel as he had heard it, but composed the Acts of the apostles as he himself had seen. He was buried at Constantinople to which city, in the twentieth year of Constantius, his bones together with the remains of Andrew the apostle were transferred.
Mark the disciple and interpreter of Peter wrote a short gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome embodying what he had heard Peter tell. When Peter had heard this, he approved it and published it to the churches to be read by his authority as Clemens in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes and Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, record. Peter also mentions this Mark in his first epistle, figuratively indicating Rome under the name of Babylon
She who is in Babylon elect together with you salutes you and so does Mark my son. So, taking the gospel which he himself composed, he went to Egypt and first preaching Christ at Alexandria he formed a church so admirable in doctrine and continence of living that he constrained all followers of Christ to his example. Philo most learned of the Jews seeing the first church at Alexandria still Jewish in a degree, wrote a book on their manner of life as something creditable to his nation telling how, as Luke says, the believers had all things in common at Jerusalem, so he recorded that he saw was done at Alexandria, under the learned Mark. He died in the eighth year of Nero and was buried at Alexandria, Annianus succeeding him.
John, the apostle whom Jesus most loved, the son of Zebedee and brother of James, the apostle whom Herod, after our Lord's passion, beheaded, most recently of all the evangelists wrote a Gospel, at the request of the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics and especially against the then growing dogma of the Ebionites, who assert that Christ did not exist before Mary. On this account he was compelled to maintain His divine nativity. But there is said to be yet another reason for this work, in that when he had read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he approved indeed the substance of the history and declared that the things they said were true, but that they had given the history of only one year, the one, that is, which follows the imprisonment of John and in which he was put to death. So passing by this year the events of which had been set forth by these, he related the events of the earlier period before John was shut up in prison, so that it might be manifest to those who should diligently read the volumes of the four Evangelists. This also takes away the discrepancy which there seems to be between John and the others. He wrote also one Epistle which begins as follows
That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes and our hands handled concerning the word of life which is esteemed of by all men who are interested in the church or in learning. The other two of which the first is
The elder to the elect lady and her children and the other presbyter to the memory of whom another sepulchre is shown at Ephesus to the present day, though some think that there are two memorials of this same John the evangelist. We shall treat of this matter in its turn when we come to Papias his disciple. In the fourteenth year then after Nero Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenæus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the time of the Emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord's passion and was buried near the same city.
Hermas whom the apostle Paul mentions in writing to the Romans
Salute Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren that are with them is reputed to be the author of the book which is called Pastor and which is also read publicly in some churches of Greece. It is in fact a useful book and many of the ancient writers quote from it as authority, but among the Latins it is almost unknown.
Philo the Jew, an Alexandrian of the priestly class, is placed by us among the ecclesiastical writers on the ground that, writing a book concerning the first church of Mark the evangelist at Alexandria, he writes to our praise, declaring not only that they were there, but also that they were in many provinces and calling their habitations monasteries. From this it appears that the church of those that believed in Christ at first, was such as now the monks desire to imitate, that is, such that nothing is the peculiar property of any one of them, none of them rich, none poor, that patrimonies are divided among the needy, that they have leisure for prayer and psalms, for doctrine also and ascetic practice, that they were in fact as Luke declares believers were at first at Jerusalem. They say that under Caius Caligula he ventured to Rome, whither he had been sent as legate of his nation, and that when a second time he had come to Claudius, he spoke in the same city with the apostle Peter and enjoyed his friendship, and for this reason also adorned the adherents of Mark, Peter's disciple at Alexandria, with his praises. There are distinguished and innumerable works by this man: On the five books of Moses, one book Concerning the confusion of tongues, one book On nature and invention, one book On the things which our senses desire and we detest, one book On learning, one book On the heir of divine things, one book On the division of equals and contraries, one book On the three virtues, one book On why in Scripture the names of many persons are changed, two books On covenants, one book On the life of a wise man, one book Concerning giants, five books That dreams are sent by God, five books of Questions and answers on Exodus, four books On the tabernacle and the Decalogue, as well as books On victims and promises or curses, On Providence, On the Jews, On the manner of one's life, On Alexander, and That dumb beasts have right reason, and That every fool should be a slave, and On the lives of the Christians, of which we spoke above, that is, lives of apostolic men, which also he entitled, On those who practice the divine life, because in truth they contemplate divine things and ever pray to God, also under other categories, two On agriculture, two On drunkenness. There are other monuments of his genius which have not come to our hands. Concerning him there is a proverb among the Greeks Plato followed Philo, or Philo, Plato, so great is the similarity of ideas and language.
Lucius Annæus Seneca of Cordova, disciple of the Stoic Sotion and uncle of Lucan the Poet, was a man of most continent life, whom I should not place in the category of saints were it not that those Epistles of Paul to Seneca and Seneca to Paul, which are read by many, provoke me. In these, written when he was tutor of Nero and the most powerful man of that time, he says that he would like to hold such a place among his countrymen as Paul held among Christians. He was put to death by Nero two years before Peter and Paul were crowned with martyrdom.
Josephus, the son of Matthias, priest of Jerusalem, taken prisoner by Vespasian and his son Titus, was banished. Coming to Rome he presented to the emperors, father and son, seven books On the captivity of the Jews, which were deposited in the public library and, on account of his genius, was found worthy of a statue at Rome. He wrote also twenty books of Antiquities, from the beginning of the world until the fourteenth year of Domitian Cæsar, and two of Antiquities against Appion, the grammarian of Alexandria who, under Caligula, sent as legate on the part of the Gentiles against Philo, wrote also a book containing a vituperation of the Jewish nation. Another book of his entitled, On all ruling wisdom, in which the martyr deaths of the Maccabeans are related is highly esteemed. In the eighth book of his Antiquities he most openly acknowledges that Christ was slain by the Pharisees on account of the greatness of his miracles, that John the Baptist was truly a prophet, and that Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the apostle. He wrote also concerning the Lord after this fashion:
In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be lawful to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him and the sect of Christians, so named from Him, exists to the present day.
Justus, of Tiberias of the province Galilee, also attempted to write a History of Jewish affairs and certain brief Commentaries on the Scriptures but Josephus convicts him of falsehood. It is known that he wrote at the same time as Josephus himself.
Clement, of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says
With Clement and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life, the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle. He wrote, on the part of the church of Rome, an especially valuable Letter to the church of the Corinthians, which in some places is publicly read, and which seems to me to agree in style with the epistle to the Hebrews which passes under the name of Paul but it differs from this same epistle, not only in many of its ideas, but also in respect of the order of words, and its likeness in either respect is not very great. There is also a second Epistle under his name which is rejected by earlier writers, and a Disputation between Peter and Appion written out at length, which Eusebius in the third book of his Church history rejects. He died in the third year of Trajan and a church built at Rome preserves the memory of his name unto this day.
Ignatius, third bishop of the church of Antioch after Peter the apostle, condemned to the wild beasts during the persecution of Trajan, was sent bound to Rome, and when he had come on his voyage as far as Smyrna, where Polycarp the pupil of John was bishop, he wrote one epistle To the Ephesians, another To the Magnesians, a third To the Trallians, a fourth To the Romans, and going thence, he wrote To the Philadelphians and To the Smyrneans and especially To Polycarp, commending to him the church at Antioch. In this last he bore witness to the Gospel which I have recently translated, in respect of the person of Christ saying,
I indeed saw him in the flesh after the resurrection and I believe that he is, and when he came to Peter and those who were with Peter, he said to them
Behold! Touch me and see me how that I am not an incorporeal spirit and straightway they touched him and believed. Moreover it seems worth while inasmuch as we have made mention of such a man and of the Epistle which he wrote to the Romans, to give a few
From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and by sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, that is to say soldiers who guard me and who only become worse when they are well treated. Their wrong doing, however is my schoolmaster, but I am not thereby justified. May I have joy of the beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them ready; I will even coax them to devour me quickly that they may not treat me as they have some whom they have refused to touch through fear. And if they are unwilling, I will compel them to devour me. Forgive me my children, I know what is expedient for me. Now do I begin to be a disciple, and desire none of the things visible that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Let fire and cross and attacks of wild beasts, let wrenching of bones, cutting apart of limbs, crushing of the whole body, tortures of the devil—let all these come upon me if only I may attain unto the joy which is in Christ.
When he had been condemned to the wild beasts and with zeal for martyrdom heard the lions roaring, he said
I am the grain of Christ. I am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts that I may be found the bread of the world. He was put to death the eleventh year of Trajan and the remains of his body lie in Antioch outside the Daphnitic gate in the cemetery.
Polycarp disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna was chief of all Asia, where he saw and had as teachers some of the apostles and of those who had seen the Lord. He, on account of certain questions concerning the day of the Passover, went to Rome in the time of the emperor Antoninus Pius while Anicetus ruled the church in that city. There he led back to the faith many of the believers who had been deceived through the persuasion of Marcion and Valentinus, and when Marcion met him by chance and said
Do you know us he replied, persecution after Nero, in the presence of the proconsul holding court at Smyrna and all the people crying out against him in the Amphitheater, he was burned. He wrote a very valuable Epistle to the Philippians which is read to the present day in the meetings in Asia.
Papias, the pupil of John, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, wrote only five volumes, which he entitled Exposition of the words of our Lord, in which, when he had asserted in his preface that he did not follow various opinions but had the apostles for authority, he said
I considered what Andrew and Peter said, what Philip, what Thomas, what James, what John, what Matthew or any one else among the disciples of our Lord, what also Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord had said, not so much that I have their books to read, as that their living voice is heard until the present day in the authors themselves. It appears through this catalogue of names that the John who is placed among the disciples is not the same as the elder John whom he places after Aristion in his enumeration. This we say moreover because of the opinion mentioned above, where we record that it is declared by many that the last two epistles of John are the work not of the apostle but of the presbyter.
He is said to have published a Second coming of Our Lord or Millennium. Irenæus and Apollinaris and others who say that after the resurrection the Lord will reign in the flesh with the saints, follow him. Tertullian also in his work On the hope of the faithful, Victorinus of Petau and Lactantius follow this view.
Quadratus, disciple of the apostles, after Publius bishop of Athens had been crowned with martyrdom on account of his faith in Christ, was substituted in his place, and by his faith and industry gathered the church scattered by reason of its great fear. And when Hadrian passed the winter at Athens to witness the Eleusinian mysteries and was initiated into almost all the sacred mysteries of Greece, those who hated the Christians took opportunity without instructions from the Emperor to harass the believers. At this time he presented to Hadrian a work composed in behalf of our religion, indispensable, full of sound argument and faith and worthy of the apostolic teaching. In which, illustrating the antiquity of his period, he says that he has seen many who, oppressed by various ills, were healed by the Lord in Judea as well as some who had been raised from the dead.
Aristides a most eloquent Athenian philosopher, and a disciple of Christ while yet retaining his philosopher's garb, presented a work to Hadrian at the same time that Quadratus presented his. The work contained a systematic statement of our doctrine, that is, an Apology for the Christians, which is still extant and is regarded by philologians as a monument to his genius.
Agrippa surnamed Castor, a man of great learning, wrote a strong refutation of the twenty-four volumes which Basilides the heretic had written against the Gospel, disclosing all his mysteries and enumerating the prophets Barcabbas and Barchob and all the other barbarous names which terrify the hearers, and his most high God Abraxas, whose name was supposed to contain the year according to the reckoning of the Greeks. Basilides died at Alexandria in the reign of Hadrian, and from him the Gnostic sects arose. In this tempestuous time also, Cochebas leader of the Jewish faction put Christians to death with various tortures.
Hegesippus who lived at a period not far from the Apostolic age, writing a History of all ecclesiastical events from the passion of our Lord, down to his own period, and gathering many things useful to the reader, composed five volumes in simple style, trying to represent the style of speaking of those whose lives he treated. He says that he went to Rome in the time of Anicetus, the tenth bishop after Peter, and continued there till the time of Eleutherius, bishop of the same city, who had been formerly deacon under Anicetus. Moreover, arguing against idols, he wrote a history, showing from what error they had first arisen, and this work indicates in what age he flourished. He says,
They built monuments and temples to their dead as we see up to the present day, such as the one to Antinous, servant to the Emperor Hadrian, in whose honour also games were celebrated, and a city founded bearing his name, and a temple with priests established. The Emperor Hadrian is said to have been enamoured of Antinous.
Justin, a philosopher, and wearing the garb of philosopher, a citizen of Neapolis, a city of Palestine, and the son of Priscus Bacchius, laboured strenuously in behalf of the religion of Christ, insomuch that he delivered to Antoninus Pius and his sons and the senate, a work written Against the nations, and did not shun the ignominy of the cross. He addressed another book also to the successors of this Antoninus, Marcus Antoninus Verus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Another volume of his Against the nations, is also extant, where he discusses the nature of demons, and a fourth against the nations which he entitled, Refutation and yet another On the sovereignty of God, and another book which he entitled, Psaltes, and another On the Soul, the Dialogue against the Jews, which he held against Trypho, the leader of the Jews, and also notable volumes Against Marcion, which Irenæus also mentions in the fourth book Against heresies, also another book Against all heresies which he mentions in the Apology which is addressed to Antoninus Pius. He, when he had held διατριβάς in the city of Rome, and had convicted Crescens the cynic, who said many blasphemous things against the Christians, of gluttony and fear of death, and had proved him devoted to luxury and lusts, at last, accused of being a Christian, through the efforts and wiles of Crescens, he shed his blood for Christ.
Melito of Asia, bishop of Sardis, addressed a book to the emperor Marcus Antoninus Verus, a disciple of Fronto the orator, in behalf of the Christian doctrine. He wrote other things also, among which are the following: On the passover, two books, one book On the lives of the prophets, one book On the church, one book On the Lord's day, one book On faith, one book On the psalms (?) one On the senses, one On the soul and body, one On baptism, one On truth, one On the generation of Christ, On His prophecy one On hospitality and another which is called the Key— one On the devil, one On the Apocalypse of John, one On the corporeality of God, and six books of Eclogues. Of his fine oratorical genius, Tertullian, in the seven books which he wrote against the church on behalf of Montanus, satirically says that he was considered a prophet by many of us.
Theophilus, sixth bishop of the church of Antioch, in the reign of the emperor Marcus Antoninus Verus composed a book Against Marcion, which is still extant, also three volumes To Autolycus and one Against the heresy of Hermogenes and other short and elegant treatises, well fitted for the edification of the church. I have read, under his name, commentaries On the Gospel and On the proverbs of Solomon which do not appear to me to correspond in style and language with the elegance and expressiveness of the above works.
Apollinaris, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, flourished in the reign of Marcus Antoninus Verus, to whom he addressed a notable volume in behalf of the faith of the Christians. There are extant also five other books of his Against the Nations, two On truth and Against the Cataphrygians written at the time when Montanus was making a beginning with Prisca and Maximilla.
Dionysius, bishop of the church of Corinth, was of so great eloquence and industry that he taught not only the people of his own city and province but also those of other provinces and cities by his letters. Of these one is To the Lacedæmonians, another To the Athenians, a third To the Nicomedians, a fourth To the Cretans, a fifth To the church at Amastrina and to the other churches of Pontus, a sixth To the Gnosians and to Pinytus bishop of the same city, a seventh To the Romans, addressed to Soter their bishop, an eighth To Chrysophora a holy woman. He flourished in the reign of Marcus Antoninus Verus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus.
Pinytus of Crete, bishop of the city of Gnosus, wrote to Dionysius bishop of the Corinthians, an exceedingly elegant letter in which he teaches that the people are not to be forever fed on milk, lest by chance they be overtaken by the last day while yet infants, but that they ought to be fed also on solid food, that they may go on to a spiritual old age. He flourished under Marcus Antoninus Verus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus.
Tatian who, while teaching oratory, won not a little glory in the rhetorical art, was a follower of Justin Martyr and was distinguished so long as he did not leave his master's side. But afterwards, inflated by a swelling of eloquence, he founded a new heresy which is called that of the Encratites, the heresy which Severus afterwards augmented in such wise that heretics of this party are called Severians to the present day. Tatian wrote besides innumerable volumes, one of which, a most successful book Against the nations, is extant, and this is considered the most significant of all his works. He flourished in the reign of Marcus Antoninus Verus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus.
Philip bishop of Crete, that is of the city of Gortina, whom Dionysius mentions in the epistle which he wrote to the church of the same city, published a remarkable book Against Marcion and flourished in the time of Marcus Antoninus Verus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus.
Musanus, not inconsiderable among those who have written on ecclesiastical doctrine, in the reign of Marcus Antoninus Verus wrote a book to certain brethren who had turned aside from the church to the heresy of the Encratites.
Modestus also in the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus wrote a book Against Marcion which is still extant. Some other compositions pass under his name but are regarded by scholars as spurious.
Bardesanes of Mesopotamia is reckoned among the distinguished men. He was at first a follower of Valentinus and afterwards his opponent and himself founded a new heresy. He has the reputation among the Syrians of having been a brilliant genius and vehement in argument. He wrote a multitude of works against almost all heresies which had come into existence in his time. Among these a most remarkable and strong work is the one which he addressed to Marcus Antoninus On fate, and many other volumes On persecution which his followers translated from the Syriac language into Greek. If indeed so much force and brilliancy appears in the translation, how great it must have been in the original.
Victor, thirteenth bishop of Rome, wrote, On the Paschal Controversy and some other small works. He ruled the church for ten years in the reign of the Emperor Severus.
Irenæus, a presbyter under Pothinus the bishop who ruled the church of Lyons in Gaul, being sent to Rome as legate by the martyrs of this place, on account of certain ecclesiastical questions, presented to Bishop Eleutherius certain letters under his own name which are worthy of honour. Afterwards when Pothinus, nearly ninety years of age, received the crown of martyrdom for Christ, he was put in his place. It is certain too that he was a disciple of Polycarp, the priest and martyr, whom we mentioned above. He wrote five books Against heresies and a short volume, Against the nations and another On discipline, a letter to Marcianus his brother On preaching, a book of Various treatises; also to Blastus, On schism, to Florinus On monarchy or That God is not the author of evil, also an excellent Commentary on the Ogdoad at the end of which indicating that he was near the apostolic period he wrote
I adjure you whosoever shall transcribe this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by his glorious advent at which He shall judge the quick and the dead, that you diligently compare, after you have transcribed, and amend it according to the copy from which you have transcribed it and also that you shall similarly transcribe this adjuration as you find it in your pattern. Other works of his are in circulation to wit: to Victor the Roman bishop On the Paschal controversy in which he warns him not lightly to break the unity of the fraternity, if indeed Victor believed that the many bishops of Asia and the East, who with the Jews celebrated the passover, on the fourteenth day of the new moon, were to be condemned. But even those who differed from them did not support Victor in his opinion. He flourished chiefly in the reign of the Emperor Commodus, who succeeded Marcus Antoninus Verus in power.
Pantaenus, a philosopher of the stoic school, according to some old Alexandrian custom, where, from the time of Mark the evangelist the ecclesiastics were always doctors, was of so great prudence and erudition both in scripture and secular literature that, on the request of the legates of that nation, he was sent to India by Demetrius bishop of Alexandria, where he found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, had preached the advent of the Lord Jesus according to the gospel of Matthew, and on his return to Alexandria he brought this with him written in Hebrew characters. Many of his commentaries on Holy Scripture are indeed extant, but his living voice was of still greater benefit to the churches. He taught in the reigns of the emperor Severus and Antoninus surnamed Caracalla.
Rhodo, a native of Asia, instructed in the Scriptures at Rome by Tatian whom we mentioned above, published many things especially a work Against Marcion in which he tells how the Marcionites differ from one another as well as from the church and says that the aged Apelles, another heretic, was once engaged in a discussion with him, and that he, Rhodo, held Apelles up to ridicule because he declared that he did not know the God whom he worshipped. He mentioned in the same book, which he wrote to Callistion, that he had been a pupil of Tatian at Rome. He also composed elegant treatises On the six days of creation and a notable work Against the Phrygians. He flourished in the reigns of Commodus and Severus.
Clemens, presbyter of the Alexandrian church, and a pupil of the Pantaenus mentioned above, led the theological school at Alexandria after the death of his master and was teacher of the Catechetes. He is the author of notable volumes, full of eloquence and learning, both in sacred Scripture and in secular literature; among these are the Stromata, eight books, Hypotyposes eight books, Against the nations one book, On pedagogy three books, On the Passover, Disquisition on fasting and another book entitled, What rich man is saved? One book On Calumny, On ecclesiastical canons and against those who follow the error of the Jews, one book which he addressed to Alexander bishop of Jerusalem. He also mentions in his volumes of Stromata the work of Tatian Against the nations which we mentioned above and a Chronography of one Cassianus, a work which I have not been able to find. He also mentioned certain Jewish writers against the nations, one Aristobulus and Demetrius and Eupolemus who after the example of Josephus asserted the primacy of Moses and the Jewish people. There is a letter of Alexander the bishop of Jerusalem who afterwards ruled the church with Narcissus, on the ordination of Asclepiades the confessor, addressed to the Antiochians congratulating them, at the end of which he says
these writings honoured brethren I have sent to you by the blessed presbyter Clement, a man illustrious and approved, whom you also know and with whom now you will become better acquainted a man who, when he had come hither by the special providence of God, strengthened and enlarged the church of God. Origen is known to have been his disciple. He flourished moreover during the reigns of Severus and his son Antoninus.
Miltiades of whom Rhodo gives an account in the work which he wrote against Montanus, Prisca and Maximilla, wrote a considerable volume against these same persons, and other books Against the nations and the Jews and addressed an Apology to the then ruling emperors. He flourished in the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Commodus.
Apollonius, an exceedingly talented man, wrote against Montanus, Prisca and Maximilla a notable and lengthy volume, in which he asserts that Montanus and his mad prophetesses died by hanging, and many other things, among which are the following concerning Prisca and Maximilla,
if they denied that they have accepted gifts, let them confess that those who do accept are not prophets and I will prove by a thousand witnesses that they have received gifts, for it is by other fruits that prophets are shown to be prophets indeed. Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet stain her eyelids with antimony? Is a prophet adorned with fine garments and precious stones? Does a prophet play with dice and tables? Does he accept usury? Let them respond whether this ought to be permitted or not, it will be my task to prove that they do these things. He says in the same book, that the time when he wrote the work was the fortieth year after the beginning of the heresy of the Cataphrygians. Tertullian added to the six volumes which he wrote On ecstasy against the church a seventh, directed especially against Apollonius, in which he attempts to defend all which Apollonius refuted. Apollonius flourished in the reigns of Commodus and Severus.
Serapion, ordained bishop of Antioch in the eleventh year of the emperor Commodus, wrote a letter to Caricus and Pontius on the heresy of Montanus, in which he said
that you may know moreover that the madness of this false doctrine, that is the doctrine of a new prophecy, is reprobated by all the world, I have sent to you the letters of the most holy Apollinaris bishop of Hierapolis in Asia. He wrote a volume also to Domnus, who in time of persecution went over to the Jews, and another work on the gospel which passes under the name of Peter, a work to the church of the Rhosenses in Cilicia who by the reading of this book had turned aside to heresy. There are here and there short letters of his, harmonious in character with the ascetic life of their author.
Apollonius, a Roman senator under the emperor Commodus, having been denounced by a slave as a Christian, gained permission to give a reason for his faith and wrote a remarkable volume which he read in the senate, yet none the less, by the will of the senate, he was beheaded for Christ by virtue of an ancient law among them, that Christians who had once been brought before their judgment seat should not be dismissed unless they recanted.
Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, the city formerly called Turris Stratonis, in the reign of the emperor Severus wrote, in conjunction with other bishops, a synodical letter of great utility against those who celebrated the passover with the Jews on the fourteenth day of the month.
Polycrates bishop of the Ephesians with other bishops of Asia who in accordance with some ancient custom celebrated the passover with the Jews on the fourteenth of the month, wrote a synodical letter against Victor bishop of Rome in which he says that he follows the authority of the apostle John and of the ancients. From this we make the following brief quotations, We therefore celebrate the day according to usage, inviolably, neither adding anything to nor taking anything from it, for in Asia lie the remains of the greatest saints of those who shall rise again on the day of the Lord, when he shall come in majesty from heaven and shall quicken all the saints, I mean Philip one of the twelve apostles who sleeps at Hierapolis and his two daughters who were virgins until their death and another daughter of his who died at Ephesus full of the Holy Spirit. And John too, who lay on Our Lord's breast and was his high priest carrying the golden frontlet on his forehead, both martyr and doctor, fell asleep at Ephesus and Polycarp bishop and martyr died at Smyrna. Thraseas of Eumenia also, bishop and martyr, rests in the same Smyrna. What need is there of mentioning Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who sleeps in Laodicea and the blessed Papyrus and Melito, eunuch in the Holy Spirit, who, ever serving the Lord, was laid to rest in Sardis and there awaits his resurrection at Christ's advent. These all observed the day of the passover on the fourteenth of the month, in nowise departing from the evangelical tradition and following the ecclesiastical canon. I also, Polycrates, the least of all your servants, according to the doctrine of my relatives which I also have followed (for there were seven of my relatives bishops indeed and I the eighth) have always celebrated the passover when the Jewish people celebrated the putting away of the leaven. And so brethren being sixty-five years old in the Lord and instructed by many brethren from all parts of the world, and having searched all the Scriptures, I will not fear those who threaten us, for my predecessors said
It is fitting to obey God rather than men. I quote this to show through a small example the genius and authority of the man. He flourished in the reign of the emperor Severus in the same period as Narcissus of Jerusalem.
Heraclitus in the reign of Commodus and Severus wrote commentaries on the Acts and Epistles.
Candidus under the above mentioned emperors published most admirable treatises On the six days of creation.
Appion under the emperor Severus likewise wrote treatises On the six days of creation.
Sextus in the reign of the emperor Severus wrote a book On the resurrection.
Arabianus under the same emperor published certain small works relating to christian doctrine.
Judas, discussed at length the seventy weeks mentioned in Daniel and wrote a Chronography of former times which he brought up to the tenth year of Severus. He is convicted of error in respect of this work in that he prophesied that the advent of Anti-Christ would be about his period, but this was because the greatness of the persecutions seemed to forebode the end of the world.
Tertullian the presbyter, now regarded as chief of the Latin writers after Victor and Apollonius, was from the city of Carthage in the province of Africa, and was the son of a proconsul or Centurion, a man of keen and vigorous character, he flourished chiefly in the reign of the emperor Severus and Antoninus Caracalla and wrote many volumes which we pass by because they are well known to most. I myself have seen a certain Paul an old man of Concordia, a town of Italy, who, while he himself was a very young man had been secretary to the blessed Cyprian who was already advanced in age. He said that he himself had seen how Cyprian was accustomed never to pass a day without reading Tertullian, and that he frequently said to him,
Give me the master, meaning by this, Tertullian. He was presbyter of the church until middle life, afterwards driven by the envy and abuse of the clergy of the Roman church, he lapsed to the doctrine of Montanus, and mentions the new prophecy in many of his books.
He composed, moreover, directly against the church, volumes: On modesty, On persecution, On fasts, On monogamy, six books On ecstasy, and a seventh which he wrote Against Apollonius. He is said to have lived to a decrepit old age, and to have composed many small works, which are not extant.
Origen, surnamed Adamantius, a persecution having been raised against the Christians in the tenth year of Severus Pertinax, and his father Leonidas having received the crown of martyrdom for Christ, was left at the age of about seventeen, with his six brothers and widowed mother, in poverty, for their property had been confiscated because of confessing Christ. When only eighteen years old, he undertook the work of instructing the Catechetes in the scattered churches of Alexandria. Afterwards appointed by Demetrius, bishop of this city, successor to the presbyter Clement, he flourished many years. When he had already reached middle life, on account of the churches of Achaia, which were torn with many heresies, he was journeying to Athens, by way of Palestine, under the authority of an ecclesiastical letter, and having been ordained presbyter by Theoctistus and Alexander, bishops of Cæsarea and Jerusalem, he offended Demetrius, who was so wildly enraged at him that he wrote everywhere to injure his reputation. It is known that before he went to Cæsarea, he had been at Rome, under Bishop Zephyrinus. Immediately on his return to Alexandria he made Heraclas the presbyter, who continued to wear his philosopher's garb, his assistant in the school for catechetes. Heraclas became bishop of the church of Alexandria, after Demetrius. How great the glory of Origen was, appears from the fact that Firmilianus, bishop of Cæsarea, with all the Cappadocian bishops, sought a visit from him, and entertained him for a long while. Sometime afterwards, going to Palestine to visit the holy places, he came to Cæsarea and was instructed at length by Origen in the Holy Scriptures. It appears also from the fact that he went to Antioch, on the request of Mammaea, mother of the Emperor Alexander, and a woman religiously disposed, and was there held in great honour, and sent letters to the Emperor Philip, who was the first among the Roman rulers, to become a christian, and to his mother, letters which are still extant. Who is there, who does not also know that he was so assiduous in the study of Holy Scriptures, that contrary to the spirit of his time, and of his people, he learned the Hebrew language, and taking the Septuagint translation, he gathered the other translations also in a single work, namely, that of Aquila, of Ponticus the Proselyte, and Theodotian the Ebonite, and Symmachus an adherent of the same sect who wrote commentaries also on the gospel according to Matthew, from which he tried to establish his doctrine. And besides these, a fifth, sixth, and seventh translation, which we also have from his library, he sought out with great diligence, and compared with other editions. And since I have given a list of his works, in the volumes of letters which I have written to Paula, in a letter which I wrote against the works of Varro, I pass this by now, not failing however, to make mention of his immortal genius, how that he understood dialectics, as well as geometry, arithmetic, music, grammar, and rhetoric, and taught all the schools of philosophers, in such wise that he had also diligent students in secular literature, and lectured to them daily, and the crowds which flocked to him were marvellous. These, he received in the hope that through the instrumentality of this secular literature, he might establish them in the faith of Christ.
It is unnecessary to speak of the cruelty of that persecution which was raised against the Christians and under Decius, who was mad against the religion of Philip, whom he had slain,— the persecution in which Fabianus, bishop of the Roman church, perished at Rome, and Alexander and Babylas, Pontifs of the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch, were imprisoned for their confession of Christ. If any one wishes to know what was done in regard to the position of Origen, he can clearly learn, first indeed from his own epistles, which after the persecution, were sent to different ones, and secondly, from the sixth book of the church history of Eusebius of Cæsarea, and from his six volumes in behalf of the same Origen.
He lived until the time of Gallus and Volusianus, that is, until his sixty-ninth year, and died at Tyre, in which city he also was buried.
Ammonius, a talented man of great philosophical learning, was distinguished at Alexandria, at the same time. Among many and distinguished monuments of his genius, is the elaborate work which he composed On the harmony of Moses and Jesus, and the Gospel canons, which he worked out, and which Eusebius of Cæsarea, afterwards followed. Porphyry falsely accused him of having become a heathen again, after being a Christian, but it is certain that he continued a Christian until the very end of his life.
Ambrosius, at first a Marcionite but afterwards set right by Origen, was deacon in the church, and gloriously distinguished as confessor of the Lord. To him, together with Protoctetus the presbyter, the book of Origen, On martyrdom was written. Aided by his industry, funds, and perseverance, Origen dictated a great number of volumes. He himself, as befits a man of noble nature, was of no mean literary talent, as his letters to Origen indicate. He died moreover, before the death of Origen, and is condemned by many, in that being a man of wealth, he did not at death, remember in his will, his old and needy friend.
Trypho, pupil of Origen, to whom some of his extant letters are addressed, was very learned in the Scriptures, and this many of his works show here and there, but especially the book which he composed On the red heifer in Deuteronomy, and On the halves, which with the pigeon and the turtledoves were offered by Abraham as recorded in Genesis.
Minucius Felix, a distinguished advocate of Rome, wrote a dialogue representing a discussion between a Christian and a Gentile, which is entitled Octavius, and still another work passes current in his name, On fate, or Against the mathematicians, but this although it is the work of a talented man, does not seem to me to correspond in style with the above mentioned work. Lactantius also mentions this Minucius in his works.
Gaius, bishop of Rome, in the time of Zephyrinus, that is, in the reign of Antoninus, the son of Severus, delivered a very notable disputation Against Proculus, the follower of Montanus, convicting him of temerity in his defence of the new prophecy, and in the same volume also enumerating only thirteen epistles of Paul, says that the fourteenth, which is now called, To the Hebrews, is not by him, and is not considered among the Romans to the present day as being by the apostle Paul.
Beryllus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia, after he had ruled the church gloriously for a little while, finally lapsed into the heresy which denies that Christ existed before the incarnation. Set right by Origen, he wrote various short works, especially letters, in which he thanks Origen. The letters of Origen to him, are also extant, and a dialogue between Origen and Beryllus as well, in which heresies are discussed. He was distinguished during the reign of Alexander, son of Mammaea, and Maximinus and Gordianus, who succeeded him in power.
Hippolytus, bishop of some church (the name of the city I have not been able to learn) wrote A reckoning of the Paschal feast and chronological tables which he worked out up to the first year of the Emperor Alexander. He also discussed the cycle of sixteen years, which the Greeks called ἐ κκαιδεκαετηρίδα and gave the cue to Eusebius, who composed on the same Paschal feast a cycle of nineteen years, that is ἐ ννεακαιδεκαετηρίδα . He wrote some commentaries on the Scriptures, among which are the following: On the six days of creation, On Exodus, On the Song of Songs, On Genesis, On Zechariah, On the Psalms, On Isaiah, On Daniel, On the Apocalypse, On the Proverbs, On Ecclesiastes, On Saul, On the Pythonissa, On the Antichrist, On the resurrection, Against Marcion, On the Passover, Against all heresies, and an exhortation On the praise of our Lord and Saviour, in which he indicates that he is speaking in the church in the presence of Origen. Ambrosius, who we have said was converted by Origen from the heresy of Marcion, to the true faith, urged Origen to write, in emulation of Hyppolytus, commentaries on the Scriptures, offering him seven, and even more secretaries, and their expenses, and an equal number of copyists, and what is still more, with incredible zeal, daily exacting work from him, on which account Origen, in one of his epistles, calls him his
Alexander, bishop of Cappadocia, desiring to visit the Holy Land, came to Jerusalem, at the time when Narcissus, bishop of this city, already an old man, ruled the church. It was revealed to Narcissus and many of his clergy, that on the morning of the next day, a bishop would enter the city, who should be assistant on the sacerdotal throne. And so it came to pass, as it was predicted, and all the bishops of Palestine being gathered together, Narcissus himself being especially urgent, Alexander took with him the helm of the church of Jerusalem. At the end of one of his epistles, written to the Antinoites On the peace of the church, he says
Narcissus, who held the bishopric here before me, and now with me exercises his office by his prayers, being about a hundred and sixteen years old, salutes you, and with me begs you to become of one mind. He wrote another also To the Antiocheans, by the hand of Clement, the presbyter of Alexandria, of whom we spoke above, another also To Origen, and In behalf of Origen against Demetrius, called forth by the fact that, according to the testimony of Demetrius, he had made Origen presbyter. There are other epistles of his to different persons. In the seventh persecution under Decius, at the time when Babylas of Antioch was put to death, brought to Cæsarea and shut up in prison, he received the crown of martyrdom for confessing Christ.
Julius Africanus, whose five volumes On Chronology, are yet extant, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who succeeded Macrinus, received a commission to restore the city of Emmaus, which afterwards was called Nicopolis. There is an epistle of his to Origen, On the question of Susanna, where it is contended that this story is not contained in the Hebrew, and is not consistent with the Hebrew etymology in respect of the play on
prinos and prisai,
schinos and schisai. In reply to this, Origen wrote a learned epistle. There is extant another letter of his, To Aristides, in which he discusses at length the discrepancies, which appear in the genealogy of our Saviour, as recorded by Matthew and Luke.
Geminus, presbyter of the church at Antioch, composed a few monuments of his genius, flourishing in the time of the Emperor Alexander and Zebennus, bishop of his city, especially at the time at which Heraclas was ordained Pontiff of the church at Alexandria.
Theodorus, afterwards called Gregory, bishop of Neocæsarea in Pontus, while yet a very young man, in company with his brother Athenodorus, went from Cappadocia to Berytus, and thence to Cæsarea in Palestine, to study Greek and Latin literature. When Origen had seen the remarkable natural ability of these men, he urged them to study philosophy, in the teaching of which he gradually introduced the matter of faith in Christ, and made them also his followers. So, instructed by him for five years, they were sent back by him to their mother. Theodorus, on his departure, wrote a panegyric of thanks to Origen, and delivered it before a large assembly, Origen himself being present. This panegyric is extant at the present day.
He wrote also a short, but very valuable, paraphrase On Ecclesiastes, and current report speaks of other epistles of his, but more especially of the signs and wonders, which as bishop, he performed to the great glory of the churches.
Cornelius, bishop of Rome, to whom eight letters of Cyprian are extant, wrote a letter to Fabius, bishop of the church at Antioch, On the Roman, Italian, and African councils, and another On Novatian and those who had fallen from the faith, a third On the acts of the council, and a fourth very prolix one to the same Fabius, containing the causes of the Novatian heresy and an anathema of it. He ruled the church for two years under Gallus and Volusianus. He received the crown of martyrdom for Christ, and was succeeded by Lucius.
Cyprian of Africa, at first was famous as a teacher of rhetoric, and afterwards on the persuasion of the presbyter Caecilius, from whom he received his surname, he became a Christian, and gave all his substance to the poor. Not long after he was inducted into the presbytery, and was also made bishop of Carthage. It is unnecessary to make a catalogue of the works of his genius, since they are more conspicuous than the sun.
Pontius, deacon of Cyprian, sharing his exile until the day of his death, left a notable volume On the life and death of Cyprian.
Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, as presbyter had charge of the catechetical school under Heraclas, and was the most distinguished pupil of Origen. Consenting to the doctrine of Cyprian and the African synod, on the rebaptizing of heretics, he sent many letters to different people, which are yet extant; He wrote one to Fabius, bishop of the church at Antioch, On penitence, another To the Romans, by the hand of Hippolytus, two letters To Xystus, who had succeeded Stephen, two also To Philemon and Dionysius, presbyters of the church at Rome, and another To the same Dionysius, afterwards bishop of Rome; and To Novatian, treating of their claim that Novatian had been ordained bishop of Rome, against his will. The beginning of this epistle is as follows:
Dionysius to Novatian, his brother greeting. If you have been ordained unwillingly, as you say, you will prove it, when you shall willingly retire.
There is another epistle of his also To Dionysius and Didymus, and many Festal epistles on the passover, written in a declamatory style, also one to the church of Alexandria On exile, one To Hierax, bishop in Egypt, and yet others On mortality, On the Sabbath, and On the gymnasium, also one To Hermammon and others On the persecution of Decius, and two books Against Nepos the bishop, who asserted in his writings a thousand years reign in the body. Among other things he diligently discussed the Apocalypse of John, and wrote Against Sabellius and To Ammon, bishop of Bernice, and To Telesphorus, also To Euphranor, also four books To Dionysius, bishop of Rome, to the Laodiceans On penitence, to Origen On martyrdom, to the Armenians On penitence, also On the order of transgression, to Timothy On nature, to Euphranor On temptation, many letters also To Basilides, in one of which he asserts that he also began to write commentaries on Ecclesiastes. The notable epistle which he wrote against Paul of Samosata, a few days before his death is also current. He died in the twelfth year of Gallienus.
Novatianus, presbyter of Rome, attempted to usurp the sacerdotal chair occupied by Cornelius, and established the dogma of the Novatians, or as they are called in Greek, the Cathari, by refusing to receive penitent apostates. Novatus, author of this doctrine, was a presbyter of Cyprian. He wrote, On the passover, On the Sabbath, On circumcision, On the priesthood, On prayer, On the food of the Jews, On zeal, On Attalus, and many others, especially, a great volume On the Trinity, a sort of epitome of the work of Tertullian, which many mistakenly ascribe to Cyprian.
Malchion, the highly gifted presbyter of the church at Antioch, who had most successfully taught rhetoric in the same city, held a discussion with Paul of Samosata, who as bishop of the church at Antioch, had introduced the doctrine of Artemon, and this was taken down by short hand writers. This dialogue is still extant, and yet another extended epistle written by him, in behalf of the council, is addressed to Dionysius and Maximus, bishops of Rome and Alexandria. He flourished under Claudius and Aurelianus.
Archelaus, bishop of Mesopotamia, composed in the Syriac language, a book of the discussion which he held with Manichaeus, when he came from Persia. This book, which is translated into Greek, is possessed by many.
He flourished under the Emperor Probus, who succeeded Aurelianus and Tacitus.
Anatolius of Alexandria, bishop of Laodicea in Syria, who flourished under the emperors Probus and Carus, was a man of wonderful learning in arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic. We can get an idea of the greatness of his genius from the volume which he wrote On the passover and his ten books On the institutes of arithmetic.
Victorinus, bishop of Pettau, was not equally familiar with Latin and Greek. On this account his works though noble in thought, are inferior in style. They are the following: Commentaries On Genesis, On Exodus, On Leviticus, On Isaiah, On Ezekiel, On Habakkuk, On Ecclesiastes, On the Song of Songs, On the Apocalypse of John, Against all heresies and many others. At the last he received the crown of martyrdom.
Pamphilus the presbyter, patron of Eusebius bishop of Cæsarea, was so inflamed with love of sacred literature, that he transcribed the greater part of the works of Origen with his own hand and these are still preserved in the library at Cæsarea. I have twenty-five volumes of Commentaries of Origen, written in his hand, On the twelve prophets which I hug and guard with such joy, that I deem myself to have the wealth of Croesus. And if it is such joy to have one epistle of a martyr how much more to have so many thousand lines which seem to me to be traced in his blood. He wrote an Apology for Origen before Eusebius had written his and was put to death at Cæsarea in Palestine in the persecution of Maximinus.
Pierius, presbyter of the church at Alexandria in the reign of Carus and Diocletian, at the time when Theonas ruled as bishop in the same church, taught the people with great success and attained such elegance of language and published so many treatises on all sorts of subjects (which are still extant) that he was called Origen Junior. He was remarkable for his self-discipline, devoted to voluntary poverty, and thoroughly acquainted with the dialectic art. After the persecution, he passed the rest of his life at Rome. There is extant a long treatise of his On the prophet Hosea which from internal evidence appears to have been delivered on the vigil of Passover.
Lucianus, a man of great talent, presbyter of the church at Antioch, was so diligent in the study of the Scriptures, that even now certain copies of the Scriptures bear the name of Lucian. Works of his, On faith, and short Epistles to various people are extant. He was put to death at Nicomedia for his confession of Christ in the persecution of Maximinus, and was buried at Helenopolis in Bithynia.
Phileas a resident of that Egyptian city which is called Thmuis, of noble family, and no small wealth, having become bishop, composed a finely written work in praise of martyrs and arguing against the judge who tried to compel him to offer sacrifices, was beheaded for Christ during the same persecution in which Lucianus was put to death at Nicomedia.
Arnobius was a most successful teacher of rhetoric at Sicca in Africa during the reign of Diocletian, and wrote volumes Against the nations which may be found everywhere.
Firmianus, known also as Lactantius, a disciple of Arnobius, during the reign of Diocletian summoned to Nicomedia with Flavius the Grammarian whose poem On medicine is still extant, taught rhetoric there and on account of his lack of pupils (since it was a Greek city) he betook himself to writing. We have a Banquet of his which he wrote as a young man in Africa and an Itinerary of a journey from Africa to Nicomedia written in hexameters, and another book which is called The Grammarian and a most beautiful one On the wrath of God, and Divine institutes against the nations, seven books, and an Epitome of the same work in one volume, without a title, also two books To Asclepiades, one book On persecution, four books of Epistles to Probus, two books of Epistles to Severus, two books of Epistles to his pupil Demetrius and one book to the same On the work of God or the creation of man. In his extreme old age he was tutor to Crispus Cæsar a son of Constantine in Gaul, the same one who was afterwards put to death by his father.
Eusebius bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine was diligent in the study of Divine Scriptures and with Pamphilus the martyr a most diligent investigator of the Holy Bible. He published a great number of volumes among which are the following: Demonstrations of the Gospel twenty books, Preparations for the Gospel fifteen books, Theophany five books, Church history ten books, Chronicle of Universal history and an Epitome of this last. Also On discrepancies between the Gospels, On Isaiah, ten books, also Against Porphyry, who was writing at that same time in Sicily as some think, twenty-five books, also one book of Topics, six books of Apology for Origen, three books On the life of Pamphilus, other brief works On the martyrs, exceedingly learned Commentaries on one hundred and fifty Psalms, and many others. He flourished chiefly in the reigns of Constantine the Great and Constantius. His surname Pamphilus arose from his friendship for Pamphilus the martyr.
Reticius bishop of Autun, among the Aedui, had a great reputation in Gaul in the reign of Constantine. I have read his commentaries On the Song of Songs and another great volume Against Novatian but besides these, I have found no works of his.
Methodius, bishop of Olympus in Lycia and afterwards of Tyre, composed books Against Porphyry written in polished and logical style also a Banquet of the ten virgins, an excellent work On the resurrection, against Origen and On the Pythonissa and On free will, also against Origen. He also wrote commentaries On Genesis and On the Song of Songs and many others which are widely read. At the end of the recent persecution or, as others affirm, in the reign of Decius and Valerianus, he was crowned with martyrdom at Chalcis in Greece.
Juvencus, a Spaniard of noble family and presbyter, translating the four gospels almost verbally in hexameter verses, composed four books. He wrote some other things in the same metre relating to the order of the sacraments. He flourished in the reign of Constantinus.
Eustathius, a Pamphilian from Side, bishop first of Berœa in Syria and then of Antioch, ruled the church and, composing many things against the doctrine of the Arians, was driven into exile under the emperor Constantius into Trajanopolis in Thrace where he is until this day. Works of his are extant On the soul, On ventriloquism Against Origen and Letters too numerous to mention.
Marcellus, bishop of Ancyra, flourished in the reign of Constantinus and Constantius and wrote many volumes of various Propositions and especially against the Arians. Works of Asterius and Apollinarius against him are current, which accuse him of Sabellianism. Hilary too, in the seventh book of his work Against the Arians, mentions him as a heretic, but he defends himself against the charge through the fact that Julius and Athanasius bishops of Rome and Alexandria communed with him.
Athanasius bishop of Alexandria, hard pressed by the wiles of the Arians, fled to Constans emperor of Gaul. Returning thence with letters and, after the death of the emperor, again taking refuge in flight, he kept in hiding until the accession of Jovian, when he returned to the church and died in the reign of Valens. Various works by him are in circulation; two books Against the nations, one Against Valens and Ursacius, On virginity, very many On the persecutions of the Arians, also On the titles of the Psalms and Life of Anthony the monk, also Festal epistles and other works too numerous to mention.
Anthony the monk, whose life Athanasius bishop of Alexandria wrote a long work upon, sent seven letters in Coptic to various monasteries, letters truly apostolic in idea and language, and which have been translated into Greek. The chief of these is To the Arsenoites. He flourished during the reign of Constantinus and his sons.
Basil bishop of Ancyra, [a doctor of] medicine, wrote a book Against Marcellus and on virginity and some other things— and in the reign of Constantius was, with Eustathius of Sebaste, primate of Macedonia.
Theodorus, bishop of Heraclea in Thrace, published in the reign of the emperor Constantius commentaries On Matthew and John, On the Epistles and On the Psalter. These are written in a polished and clear style and show an excellent historical sense.
Eusebius of Emesa, who had fine rhetorical talent, composed innumerable works suited to win popular applause and writing historically he is most diligently read by those who practise public speaking. Among these the chief are, Against Jews, Gentiles and Novatians and Homilies on the Gospels, brief but numerous. He flourished in the reign of the emperor Constantius in whose reign he died, and was buried at Antioch.
Triphylius, bishop of Ledra or Leucotheon, in Cyprus, was the most eloquent man of his age, and was distinguished during the reign of Constantius. I have read his Commentary on the Song of Songs. He is said to have written many other works, none of which have come to our hand.
Donatus, from whom the Donatians arose in Africa in the reigns of the emperors Constantinus and Constantius, asserted that the scriptures were given up to the heathen by the orthodox during the persecution, and deceived almost all Africa, and especially Numidia by his persuasiveness. Many of his works, which relate to his heresy, are extant, including On the Holy Spirit, a work which is Arian in doctrine.
Asterius, a philosopher of the Arian party, wrote, during the reign of Constantius, commentaries On the Epistle to the Romans, On the Gospels and On the Psalms, also many other works which are diligently read by those of his party.
Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari, was sent by Liberius the bishop, with Pancratius and Hilary, clergy of the Roman church, to the emperor Constantius, as legates for the faith. When he would not condemn the Nicene faith as represented by Athanasius, sent again to Palestine, with wonderful constancy and willingness to meet martyrdom, he wrote a book against the emperor Constantius and sent it to be read by him, and not long after he returned to Cagliari in the reign of the emperor Julian and died in the reign of Valentinian.
Eusebius, a native of Sardinia, at first a lector at Rome and afterwards bishop of Vercelli, sent by the emperor Constantius to Scythopolis, and afterwards to Cappadocia, on account of his confession of the faith, returned to the church under the emperor Julian and published the Commentaries of Eusebius of Cæsarea on the Psalms, which he had translated from Greek into Latin, and died during the reign of Valentian and Valens.
Fortunatianus, an African by birth, bishop of Aquilia during the reign of Constantius, composed brief Commentaries on the gospels arranged by chapters, written in a rustic style, and is held in detestation because, when Liberius bishop of Rome was driven into exile for the faith, he was induced by the urgency of Fortunatianus to subscribe to heresy.
Acacius, who, because he was blind in one eye, they nicknamed
the one-eyed, bishop of the church of Cæsarea in Palestine, wrote seventeen volumes On Ecclesiastes and six of Miscellaneous questions, and many treatises besides on various subjects. He was so influential in the reign of the emperor Constantius that he made Felix bishop of Rome in the place of Liberius.
Serapion, bishop of Thmuis, who on account of his cultivated genius was found worthy of the surname of Scholasticus, was the intimate friend of Anthony the monk, and published an excellent book Against the Manichaeans, also another On the titles of the Psalms, and valuable Epistles to different people. In the reign of the emperor Constantius he was renowned as a confessor.
Hilary, a bishop of Poitiers in Aquitania, was a member of the party of Saturninus bishop of Arles. Banished into Phrygia by the Synod of Beziérs he composed twelve books Against the Arians and another book On Councils written to the Gallican bishops, and Commentaries on the Psalms that is on the first and second, from the fifty-first to the sixty-second, and from the one hundred and eighteenth to the end of the book. In this work he imitated Origen, but added also some original matter. There is a little book of his To Constantius which he presented to the emperor while he was living in Constantinople, and another On Constantius which he wrote after his death and a book Against Valens and Ursacius, containing a history of the Ariminian and Selucian Councils and To Sallust the prefect or Against Dioscurus, also a book of Hymns and mysteries, a commentary On Matthew and treatises On Job, which he translated freely from the Greek of Origen, and another elegant little work Against Auxentius and Epistles to different persons. They say he has written On the Song of Songs but this work is not known to us. He died at Poictiers during the reign of Valentinianus and Valens.
Victorinus, an African by birth, taught rhetoric at Rome under the emperor Constantius and in extreme old age, yielding himself to faith in Christ wrote books against Arius, written in dialectic style and very obscure language, books which can only be understood by the learned. He also wrote Commentaries on the Epistles.
Apollinarus, bishop of Laodicea, in Syria, the son of a presbyter, applied himself in his youth to the diligent study of grammar, and afterwards, writing innumerable volumes on the Holy Scriptures, died in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius. There are extant thirty books by him Against Porphyry, which are generally considered as among the best of his works.
Gregory, bishop of Elvira, in Baetica, writing even to extreme old age, composed various treatises in mediocre language, and an elegant work On Faith. He is said to be still living.
Pacianus, bishop of Barcelona, in the Pyrenees Mountains, a man of chaste eloquence, and as distinguished by his life as by his speech, wrote various short works, among which are The Deer, and Against the Novatians, and died in the reign of Emperor Theodosian, in extreme old age.
Photinus, of Gallograecia, a disciple of Marcellus, and ordained bishop of Sirmium, attempted to introduce the Ebionite heresy, and afterwards having been expelled from the church by the Emperor Valentinianus, wrote many volumes, among which the most distinguished are Against the nations, and To Valentinianus.
Didymus, of Alexandria, becoming blind while very young, and therefore ignorant of the rudiments of learning, displayed such a miracle of intelligence as to learn perfectly dialectics and even geometry, sciences which especially require sight. He wrote many admirable works: Commentaries on all the Psalms, Commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John, On the doctrines, also two books Against the Arians, and one book On the Holy Spirit, which I translated in Latin, eighteen volumes On Isaiah, three books of commentaries On Hosea, addressed to me, and five books On Zechariah, written at my request, also commentaries On Job, and many other things, to give an account of which would be a work of itself. He is still living, and has already passed his eighty-third year.
Optatus the African, bishop of Milevis, during the reign of the Emperors Valentinianus and Valens, wrote in behalf of the Catholic party six books against the calumny of the Donatian party, in which he asserts that the crime of the Donatists is falsely charged upon the catholic party.
Acilius Severus of Spain, of the family of that Severus to whom Lactantius' two books of Epistles are addressed, composed a volume of mingled poetry and prose which is a sort of guide book to his whole life. This he called Calamity or Trial. He died in the reign of Valentinianus.
Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem often expelled by the church, and at last received, held the episcopate for eight consecutive years, in the reign of Theodosius. Certain Catachetical lectures of his, composed while he was a young man, are extant.
Euzoius, as a young man, together with Gregory, bishop of Nazianzan, was educated by Thespesius the rhetorician at Cæsarea, and afterwards when bishop of the same city, with great pains attempted to restore the library, collected by Origen and Pamphilus, which had already suffered injury. At last, in the reign of the Emperor Theodosian, he was expelled from the church. Many and various treatises of his are in circulation, and one may easily become acquainted with them.
Epiphanius, bishop of Salamina in Cyprus, wrote books Against all heresies and many others which are eagerly read by the learned, on account of their subject matter, and also by the plain people, on account of their language. He is still living, and in his extreme old age composes various brief works.
Ephraim, deacon of the church at Edessa, composed many works in the Syriac language, and became so distinguished that his writings are repeated publicly in some churches, after the reading of the Scriptures.
I once read in Greek a volume by him On the Holy Spirit, which some one had translated from the Syriac, and recognized even in translation, the incisive power of lofty genius. He died in the reign of Valens.
Basil, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, the city formerly called Mazaca, composed admirable carefully written books Against Eunomius, a volume On the Holy Spirit, and nine homilies On the six days of creation, also a work On asceticism and short treatises on various subjects. He died in the reign of Gratianus.
Gregory, bishop of Nazianzen, a most eloquent man, and my instructor in the Scriptures, composed works, amounting in all to thirty thousand lines, among which are On the death of his brother Cæsarius, On charity, In praise of the Maccabees, In praise of Cyprian, In praise of Athanasius, In praise of Maximus the philosopher after he had returned from exile. This latter however, some superscribe with the pseudonym of Herona, since there is another work by Gregory, upbraiding this same Maximus, as if one might not praise and upbraid the same person at one time or another as the occasion may demand. Other works of his are a book in hexameter, containing, A discussion between virginity and marriage, two books Against Eunomius, one book On the Holy Spirit, and one Against the Emperor Julian. He was a follower of Polemon in his style of speaking. Having ordained his successor in the bishopric, during his own life time, he retired to the country where he lived the life of a monk and died, three years or more ago, in the reign of Theodosius.
Lucius, bishop of the Arian party after Athanasius, held the bishopric of the church at Alexandria, until the time of the Emperor Theodosius, by whom he was deposed. Certain festal epistles of his, On the passover are extant, and a few short works of Miscellaneous propositions.
Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus enjoyed a great reputation while he was still presbyter of Antioch. Commentaries of his On the epistles are extant, as well as many other works in the manner of Eusebius the great of Emesa, whose meaning he has followed, but whose eloquence he could not imitate on account of his ignorance of secular literature.
Eunomius, bishop of Cyzicus and member of the Arian party, fell into such open blasphemy in his heresy, as to proclaim publicly what the others concealed. He is said to be still living in Cappadocia, and to write much against the church. Replies to him have been made by Apollinarius, Didymus, Basil of Cæsarea, Gregory Nazianzen, and Gregory of Nyssa.
Priscillianus, bishop of Abila, belonged to the party of Hydatius and Ithacius, and was put to death at Trèves by the tyrant Maximus. He published many short writings, some of which have reached us. He is still accused by some, of being tainted with Gnosticism, that is, with the heresy of Basilides or Mark, of whom Irenæus writes, while his defenders maintain that he was not at all of this way of thinking.
Latronianus, of Spain, a man of great learning, and in the matter of versification worthy to be compared with the poets of ancient time, was also put to death at Trèves with Priscillianus, Felicissimus, Julianus, and Euchrotia, coöriginators with him of schism. Various fruits of his genius written in different metres are extant.
Tiberianus, the Baetican, in answer to an insinuation that he shared the heresy of Priscillian, wrote an apology in pompous and mongrel language. But after the death of his friends, overcome by the tediousness of exile, he changed his mind, as it is written in Holy Scripture
the dog returned to his vomit, and married a nun, a virgin dedicated to Christ.
Ambrose a bishop of Milan, at the present time is still writing. I withhold my judgment of him, because he is still alive, fearing either to praise or blame lest in the one event, I should be blamed for adulation, and in the other for speaking the truth.
Evagrius, bishop of Antioch, a man of remarkably keen mind, while he was yet presbyter read me various treatises on various topics, which he had not yet published. He translated also the Life of the blessed Anthony from the Greek of Athanasius into our language.
Ambrose of Alexandria, pupil of Didymus, wrote a long work On doctrines against Apollinaris, and as some one has lately informed me, Commentaries on Job. He is still living.
Gregory bishop of Nyssa, the brother of Basil of Cæsarea, a few years since read to Gregory Nazianzan and myself a work against Eunomius. He is said to have also written many other works, and to be still writing.
Theotimus, bishop of Tomi, in Scythia, has published brief and epigrammatical treatises, in the form of dialogues, and in olden style. I hear that he is now writing other works.
Sophronius, a man of superlative learning, wrote while yet a lad, In praise of Bethlehem and recently a notable volume, On the overthrow of Serapis, and also to Eustachius, On virginity, and a Life of Hilarion the monk. He rendered short works of mine into Greek in a very finished style, the Psalter also, and the Prophets, which I translated from Hebrew into Latin.
I, Jerome, son of Eusebius, of the city of Strido, which is on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia and was overthrown by the Goths, up to the present year, that is, the fourteenth of the Emperor Theodosius, have written the following: Life of Paul the monk, one book of Letters to different persons, an Exhortation to Heliodorus, Controversy of Luciferianus and Orthodoxus, Chronicle of universal history, 28 homilies of Origen on Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which I translated from Greek into Latin, On the Seraphim, On Osanna, On the prudent and the prodigal sons, On three questions of the ancient law, Homilies on the Song of Songs two, Against Helvidius, On the perpetual virginity of Mary, To Eustochius, On maintaining virginity, one book of Epistles to Marcella, a consolatory letter to Paula On the death of a daughter, three books of Commentaries on the epistle of Paul to the Galatians, likewise three books of Commentaries on the epistle to the Ephesians, On the epistle to Titus one book, On the epistle to Philemon one, Commentaries on Ecclesiastes, one book of Hebrew questions on Genesis, one book On places in Judea, one book of Hebrew names, Didymus on the Holy Spirit, which I translated into Latin one book, 39 homilies on Luke On Psalms 10 to 16, seven books, On the captive Monk, The Life of the blessed Hilarion. I translated the New Testament from the Greek, and the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and how many Letters I have written To Paula and Eustochium I do not know, for I write daily. I wrote moreover, two books of Explanations on Micah, one book On Nahum, two books On Habakkuk, one On Zephaniah, one On Haggai, and many others On the prophets, which are not yet finished, and which I am still at work upon.
Source. Translated by Ernest Cushing Richardson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2708.htm>.
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