Book 6:1

Book VI.

Chapter I.–The Persecution under Severus.

When Severus began to persecute the churches, [1765] glorious
testimonies were given everywhere by the athletes of religion. This was
especially the case in Alexandria, to which city, as to a most
prominent theater, athletes of God were brought from Egypt and all
Thebais according to their merit, and won crowns from God through their
great patience under many tortures and every mode of death. Among these
was Leonides, who was called the father of Origen, [1766] and who was
beheaded while his son was still young. How remarkable the predilection
of this son was for the Divine Word, in consequence of his father’s
instruction, it will not be amiss to state briefly, as his fame has
been very greatly celebrated by many.

[1765] During the early years of the reign of Septimius Severus the
Christians enjoyed comparative peace, and Severus himself showed them
considerable favor. Early in the third century a change set in, and in
202 the emperor issued an edict forbidding conversions to Christianity
and to Judaism (Spartianus, in Severo, c. 16; cf. Tillemont, Hist. des
Emp. III. p. 58). The cause of this radical change of conduct we do not
know, but it is possible that the excesses of the Montanists produced a
reaction in the emperor’s mind against the Christians, or that the
rapidity with which Christianity was spreading caused him to fear that
the old Roman institutions would be overturned, and hence produced a
reaction against it. Why the Jews, too, should have been attacked, it
is hard to say,–possibly because of a new attempt on their part to
throw off the Roman yoke (see Spartianus, in Severo, c. 16); or perhaps
there underlay the whole movement a reaction in the emperor’s mind
toward the old Roman paganism (he was always superstitious), and
Judaism and Christianity being looked upon as alike opposed to it, were
alike to be held in check. The edict was aimed, not against those
already Christians, but only against new converts, the idea being to
prevent the further spread of Christianity. But the change in the
emperor’s attitude, thus published abroad, at once intensified all the
elements which were hostile to Christianity; and the popular disfavor,
which continued widespread and was continually venting itself in local
persecutions, now allowed itself freer rein, and the result was that
severe persecutions broke out, which were confined, however, almost
wholly to Egypt and North Africa. Our principal authorities for these
persecutions (which went on intermittently, during the rest of Severus’
reign) are the first twelve chapters of this book of Eusebius’ History,
and a number of Tertullian’s works, especially his De corona milites,
Ad Scap., and De fuga in persecutione.

[1766] We know very little about Origen’s father. The fame of the son
overshadowed that of the father, even though the latter was a martyr.
The phrase used in this passage to describe him has caused some
trouble. Leonides ho legomenos ‘Origenous pater. Taken in its usual
sense, the expression means ”said to be the father of Origen,” or the
”so-called father of Origen,” both of which appear strange, for there
can have been no doubt as to his identity. It seems better, with
Westcott, to understand that Eusebius means that Origen’s fame had so
eclipsed his father’s that the latter was distinguished as ”Leonides,
the father of Origen,” and hence says here, ”Leonides, who was known as
the father of Origen.” The name Leonides is Greek, and that he was of
Greek nationality is further confirmed by the words of Porphyry (quoted
in chap. 19, below), who calls Origen ”a Greek, and educated in Greek
literature.” Porphyry may simply have concluded from his knowledge of
Greek letters that he was a Greek by birth, and hence his statement
taken alone has little weight; but taken in conjunction with Leonides’
name, it makes it probable that the latter was at least of Greek
descent; whether a native of Greece or not we do not know. A late
tradition makes him a bishop, but there is no foundation for such a
report. From the next chapter we learn that Leonides’ martyrdom took
place in the tenth year of Severus (201-202 a.d.), which is stated also
by the Chron.

Chapter II.–The Training of Origen from Childhood. [1767]

1. Many things might be said in attempting to describe the life of the
man while in school; but this subject alone would require a separate
treatise. Nevertheless, for the present, abridging most things, we
shall state a few facts concerning him as briefly as possible,
gathering them from certain letters, and from the statement of persons
still living who were acquainted with him.

2. What they report of Origen seems to me worthy of mention, even, so
to speak, from his swathing-bands.

It was the tenth year of the reign of Severus, while Laetus [1768] was
governor of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and Demetrius [1769] had
lately received the episcopate of the parishes there, as successor of
Julian. [1770]

3. As the flame of persecution had been kindled greatly, [1771] and
multitudes had gained the crown of martyrdom, such desire for martyrdom
seized the soul of Origen, although yet a boy, that he went close to
danger, springing forward and rushing to the conflict in his eagerness.

4. And truly the termination of his life had been very near had not the
divine and heavenly Providence, for the benefit of many, prevented his
desire through the agency of his mother.

5. For, at first, entreating him, she begged him to have compassion on
her motherly feelings toward him; but finding, that when he had learned
that his father had been seized and imprisoned, he was set the more
resolutely, and completely carried away with his zeal for martyrdom,
she hid all his clothing, and thus compelled him to remain at home.

6. But, as there was nothing else that he could do, and his zeal beyond
his age would not suffer him to be quiet, he sent to his father an
encouraging letter on martyrdom, [1772] in which he exhorted him,
saying, ”Take heed not to change your mind on our account.” This may be
recorded as the first evidence of Origen’s youthful wisdom and of his
genuine love for piety.

7. For even then he had stored up no small resources in the words of
the faith, having been trained in the Divine Scriptures from childhood.
And he had not studied them with indifference, for his father, besides
giving him the usual liberal education, [1773] had made them a matter
of no secondary importance.

8. First of all, before inducting him into the Greek sciences, he
drilled him in sacred studies, requiring him to learn and recite every

9. Nor was this irksome to the boy, but he was eager and diligent in
these studies. And he was not satisfied with learning what was simple
and obvious in the sacred words, but sought for something more, and
even at that age busied himself with deeper speculations. So that he
puzzled his father with inquiries for the true meaning of the inspired

10. And his father rebuked him seemingly to his face, telling him not
to search beyond his age, or further than the manifest meaning. But by
himself he rejoiced greatly and thanked God, the author of all good,
that he had deemed him worthy to be the father of such a child.

11. And they say that often, standing by the boy when asleep, he
uncovered his breast as if the Divine Spirit were enshrined within it,
and kissed it reverently; considering himself blessed in his goodly
offspring. These and other things like them are related of Origen when
a boy.

12. But when his father ended his life in martyrdom, he was left with
his mother and six younger brothers when he was not quite seventeen
years old. [1774]

13. And the property of his father being confiscated to the royal
treasury, he and his family were in want of the necessaries of life.
But he was deemed worthy of Divine care. And he found welcome and rest
with a woman of great wealth, and distinguished in her manner of life
and in other respects. She was treating with great honor a famous
heretic then in Alexandria; [1775] who, however, was born in Antioch.
He was with her as an adopted son, and she treated him with the
greatest kindness.

14. But although Origen was under the necessity of associating with
him, he nevertheless gave from this time on strong evidences of his
orthodoxy in the faith. For when on account of the apparent skill in
argument [1776] of Paul,–for this was the man’s name,–a great
multitude came to him, not only of heretics but also of our people,
Origen could never be induced to join with him in prayer; [1777] for he
held, although a boy, the rule of the Church, [1778] and abominated, as
he somewhere expresses it, heretical teachings. [1779] Having been
instructed in the sciences of the Greeks by his father, he devoted him
after his death more assiduously and exclusively to the study of
literature, so that he obtained considerable preparation in philology
[1780] and was able not long after the death of his father, by devoting
himself to that subject, to earn a compensation amply sufficient for
his needs at his age. [1781]

[1767] This sixth book of Eusebius’ History is our chief source for a
knowledge of Origen’s life. His own writings give us little information
of a personal nature; but Eusebius was in a position to learn a great
deal about him. He had the advantage of personal converse with
surviving friends of Origen, as he tells us in this connection; he had
also a large collection of Origen’s epistles (he had himself made a
collection of more than one hundred of them, as he tells us in chap.
36); and he had access besides to official documents, and to works of
Origen’s contemporaries which contained references to him (see chap.
33). As a result, he was in a position to write a full and accurate
account of his life, and in fact, in connection with Pamphilus, he did
write a Defense of Origen in six books, which contained both an
exposition of his theology with a refutation of charges brought against
him, and a full account of his life. Of this work only the first book
is extant, and that in the translation of Rufinus. It deals solely with
theological matters. It is greatly to be regretted that the remaining
books are lost, for they must have contained much of the greatest
interest in connection with Origen’s life, especially that period of it
about which we are most poorly informed, his residence in Caesarea
after his retirement from Alexandria (see chap. 23). In the present
book Eusebius gives numerous details of Origen’s life, frequently
referring to the Defense for fuller particulars. His account is very
desultory, being interspersed with numerous notices of other men and
events, introduced apparently without any method, though undoubtedly
the design was to preserve in general the chronological order. There is
no part of Eusebius’ work which reveals more clearly the viciousness of
the purely chronological method breaking up as it does the account of a
single person or movement into numerous detached pieces, and thus
utterly destroying all historical continuity. It may be well,
therefore, to sum up in brief outline the chief events of Origen’s
life, most of which are scattered through the following pages. This
summary will be found below, on p. 391 sq. In addition to the notices
contained in this book, we have a few additional details from the
Defense, which have been preserved by Jerome, Rufinus, and Photius,
none of whom seems to have had much, if any, independent knowledge of
Origen’s life. Epiphanius (Haer. LXIII, and LXIV.) relates some
anecdotes of doubtful credibility. The Panegyric of Gregory
Thaumaturgus is valuable as a description of Origen’s method of
teaching, and of the wonderful influence which he possessed over his
pupils. (For outline of Origen’s life, see below, p. 391 sq.)

[1768] This Laetus is to be distinguished from Q. AEmilius Laetus,
praetorian prefect under Commodus, who was put to death by the Emperor
Didius Julianus, in 193; and from Julius Laetus, minister of Severus,
who was executed in 199 (see Dion Cassius, Bk. LXXIII. chap. 16, and
LXXV. chap. 10; cf. Tillemont, Hist. des emp. III. p. 21, 55, and 58).
The dates of Laetus’ rule in Egypt are unknown to us.

[1769] On the dates of Demetrius’ episcopacy, see Bk. V. chap. 22, note

[1770] On Julian, see Bk. V. chap. 9, note 2.

[1771] On the persecution, see more particularly chap. 1, note 1.

[1772] This epistle which was apparently extant in the time of
Eusebius, and may have been contained in the collection made by him
(see chap. 36), is now lost, and we possess only this sentence from it.

[1773] te ton enkuklion paidei& 139;. According to Liddell and Scott,
enk. paideia in later Greek meant ”the circle of those arts and
sciences which every free-born youth in Greece was obliged to go
through before applying to any professional studies; school learning,
as opposed to the business of life.” So Valesius says that the Greeks
understood by enk. mathemata the branches in which the youth were
instructed; i.e. mathematics, grammar, and rhetoric philosophy not
being included (see Valesius’ note in loco).

[1774] On the date of Origen’s birth, see note 1.

[1775] Of this Antiochene heretic Paul we know only what Eusebius tells
us here. His patroness seems to have been a Christian, and in good
standing in the Alexandrian church, or Origen would hardly have made
his home with her.

[1776] dia to dokoun hikanon en logo.

[1777] Redepenning (p. 189) refers to Origen’s In Matt. Comment.
Series, sec. 89, where it is said, melius est cum nullo orare, quam cum
malis orare.

[1778] phulEURtton exeti paidos kanona [two mss. kanonas] ekklesias.
Compare the words of the Apostolic Constitutions, VIII. 34: ”Let not
one of the faithful pray with a catechumen, no, not in the house; for
it is not reasonable that he who is admitted should be polluted with
one not admitted. Let not one of the godly pray with an heretic, no,
not in the house. For `what fellowship hath light with darkness?'”
Compare also the Apostolic Canons, 11, 12, and 45. The last reads: ”Let
a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who only prays with heretics, be
suspended; but if he also permit them to perform any part of the office
of a clergyman, let him be deprived.” Hefele (Conciliengesch. I. p.
815) considers this canon only a ”consistent application of apostolic
principles to particular cases,–an application which was made from the
first century on, and therefore very old.”

[1779] Redepenning (p. 190) refers to the remarks of Origen upon the
nature and destructiveness of heresy collected by Pamphilus (Fragm.
Apol. Pamph. Opp. Origen, IV. 694 [ed. Delarue]).

[1780] epi ta grammatikEUR

[1781] See below, p. 392.

Chapter III.–While still very Young, he taught diligently the Word of

1. But while he was lecturing in the school, as he tells us himself,
and there was no one at Alexandria to give instruction in the faith, as
all were driven away by the threat of persecution, some of the heathen
came to him to hear the word of God.

2. The first of them, he says, was Plutarch, [1782] who after living
well, was honored with divine martyrdom. The second was Heraclas,
[1783] a brother of Plutarch; who after he too had given with him
abundant evidence of a philosophic and ascetic life, was esteemed
worthy to succeed Demetrius in the bishopric of Alexandria.

3. He was in his eighteenth year when he took charge of the
catechetical school. [1784] He was prominent also at this time, during
the persecution under Aquila, [1785] the governor of Alexandria, when
his name became celebrated among the leaders in the faith, through the
kindness and goodwill which he manifested toward all the holy martyrs,
whether known to him or strangers.

4. For not only was he with them while in bonds, and until their final
condemnation, but when the holy martyrs were led to death, he was very
bold and went with them into danger. So that as he acted bravely, and
with great boldness saluted the martyrs with a kiss, oftentimes the
heathen multitude round about them became infuriated, and were on the
point of rushing upon him.

5. But through the helping hand of God, he escaped absolutely and
marvelously. And this same divine and heavenly power, again and again,
it is impossible to say how often, on account of his great zeal and
boldness for the words of Christ, guarded him when thus endangered.
[1786] So great was the enmity of the unbelievers toward him, on
account of the multitude that were instructed by him in the sacred
faith, that they placed bands of soldiers around the house where he

6. Thus day by day the persecution burned against him, so that the
whole city could no longer contain him; but he removed from house to
house and was driven in every direction because of the multitude who
attended upon the divine instruction which he gave. For his life also
exhibited right and admirable conduct according to the practice of
genuine philosophy.

7. For they say that his manner of life was as his doctrine, and his
doctrine as his life. [1787] Therefore, by the divine Power working
with him he aroused a great many to his own zeal.

8. But when he saw yet more coming to him for instruction, and the
catechetical school had been entrusted to him alone by Demetrius, who
presided over the church, he considered the teaching of grammatical
science inconsistent with training in divine subjects, [1788] and
forthwith he gave up his grammatical school as unprofitable and a
hindrance to sacred learning.

9. Then, with becoming consideration, that he might not need aid from
others, he disposed of whatever valuable books of ancient literature he
possessed, being satisfied with receiving from the purchaser four oboli
a day. [1789] For many years he lived philosophically [1790] in this
manner, putting away all the incentives of youthful desires. Through
the entire day he endured no small amount of discipline; and for the
greater part of the night he gave himself to the study of the Divine
Scriptures. He restrained himself as much as possible by a most
philosophic life; sometimes by the discipline of fasting, again by
limited time for sleep. And in his zeal he never lay upon a bed, but
upon the ground.

10. Most of all, he thought that the words of the Saviour in the Gospel
should be observed, in which he exhorts not to have two coats nor to
use shoes [1791] nor to occupy oneself with cares for the future.

11. With a zeal beyond his age he continued in cold and nakedness; and,
going to the very extreme of poverty, he greatly astonished those about
him. And indeed he grieved many of his friends who desired to share
their possessions with him, on account of the wearisome toil which they
saw him enduring in the teaching of divine things.

12. But he did not relax his perseverance. He is said to have walked
for a number of years never wearing a shoe, and, for a great many
years, to have abstained from the use of wine, and of all other things
beyond his necessary food; so that he was in danger of breaking down
and destroying his constitution. [1793]

13. By giving such evidences of a philosophic life to those who saw
him, he aroused many of his pupils to similar zeal; so that prominent
men even of the unbelieving heathen and men that followed learning and
philosophy were led to his instruction. Some of them having received
from him into the depth of their souls faith in the Divine Word, became
prominent in the persecution then prevailing; and some of them were
seized and suffered martyrdom.

[1782] Of this Plutarch we know only what Eusebius tells us here, and
in chap. 4, where he says that he was the first of Origen’s pupils to
suffer martyrdom. (On the date of the persecution in which he suffered,
see note 4).

[1783] Heraclas, brother of Plutarch, proved himself so good a pupil
that, when Origen later found the work of teaching too great for him to
manage alone, he made him his assistant, and committed the elementary
instruction to him (chap. 15). From chap. 19 we learn that he was for
years a diligent student of Greek philosophy (chap. 15 implies his
proficiency in it), and that he even went so far as to wear the
philosopher’s cloak all the time, although he was a presbyter in the
Alexandrian church. His reputation for learning became so great, as we
learn from chap. 31, that Julius Africanus went to Alexandria to see
him. In 231, when Origen took his departure from Alexandria, he left
the catechetical school in the charge of Heraclas (chap. 26), and in
231 or 232, upon the death of Demetrius (see Bk. V. chap. 22, note 4),
Heraclas became the latter’s successor as bishop of Alexandria (chaps.
26 and 29), and was succeeded in the presidency of the catechetical
school by Dionysius (chap. 29). According to chap. 35 he was bishop for
sixteen years and with this both versions of the Chron. agree, though
Jerome puts his accession two years too early–into the ninth year of
Alexander Severus instead of the eleventh–while giving at the same
time, quite inconsistently, the proper date for his death. Heraclas’
later relations to Origen are not quite clear. He was evidently, in
earlier years, one of his best friends, and there is no adequate ground
for the assumption, which is quite common, that he was one of those who
united with Bishop Demetrius in condemning him. It is true, no attempt
seems to have been made after he became bishop to reverse the sentence
against Origen, and to invite him back to Alexandria; but this does not
prove that Heraclas did not remain friendly to him; for even when
Dionysius (who kept up his relations with Origen, as we know from chap.
46) became bishop (a.d. 248), no such attempt seems to have been made,
although Origen was still alive and at the height of his power. The
fact that the greater part of the clergy of Alexandria and Egypt were
unfavorable to Origen, as shown by their condemnation of him, does not
imply that Heraclas could not have been elected unless he too showed
hostility to Origen; for Dionysius, who we know was not hostile, was
appointed at that time head of the catechetical school, and sixteen
years later bishop. It is true that Heraclas may not have sympathized
with all of Origen’s views, and may have thought some of them heretical
(his strict judgment of heretics is seen from Bk. VII. chap. 7), but
many even of the best of Origen’s friends and followers did likewise,
so that among his most devoted adherents were some of the most orthodox
Fathers of the Church (e.g. the two Gregories and Basil). That Heraclas
did not agree with Origen in all his opinions (if he did not, he may
not have cared to press his return to Alexandria) does not prove
therefore that he took part in the condemnatory action of the synod,
and that he was himself in later life hostile to Origen.

[1784] See below, p. 392.

[1785] It is not clear from Eusebius’ language whether Aquila was
successor of Laetus as viceroy of Egypt (as Redepenning assumes
apparently quite without misgiving), or simply governor of Alexandria.
He calls Laetus (in chap. 2) governor of Alexandria and of all Egypt,
while Aquila is called simply governor of Alexandria. If this
difference were insisted on as marking a real distinction, then Aquila
would have to be regarded as the chief officer of Alexandria only, and
hence subordinate in dignity to the viceroy of Egypt. The term used to
describe his position (hegoumenon) is not, however the technical one
for the chief officer of Alexandria (see Mommsen, Provinces of the
Roman Empire; Scribner’s ed., II. p. 267 ff.), and hence his position
cannot be decided with certainty. In any case, whether he succeeded
Laetus, or was his subordinate, the dates of his accession to and
retirement from office are unknown, and hence the time at which the
persecutions mentioned took place cannot be determined with exactness.
We simply know that they occurred after 203 (for Origen had already
taken charge of the catechetical school, and some of his pupils
perished in the persecutions) and before 211, the date of Severus’

[1786] How it happened that Origen escaped the persecution, when,
according to Eusebius, he exposed himself so continually, and was so
hated by the heathen populace, we cannot tell. Eusebius ascribes it
solely to the grace of God here, and in chap. 4.

[1787] hoios ho logos toios ho bios was a Greek proverb. Compare the
words of Seneca, in Ep. 114 ad Lucilium, ”Apud Graecos in proverbium
cessit talis hominibus fuit oratio, qualis vita” (quoted by
Redepenning, p. 196).

[1788] This does not mean that he considered the study of grammar and
literature injurious to the Christian, or detrimental to his
theological studies. His opinion on that subject is clear enough from
all his writings and from his conduct as pictured in chaps. 18 and 19.
Nor does it on the other hand imply, as Cruse supposes, that up to this
time he had been teaching secular branches exclusively; but it means
simply that the demands upon him for instruction in the faith were so
great, now that the catechetical school had been officially entrusted
to him by Demetrius, that he felt that he could no longer continue to
teach secular literature as he had been doing, but must give up that
part of his work, and devote himself exclusively to instruction in
sacred things.

[1789] The obolus was a small Greek coin, equivalent to about three and
a half cents of our money. Four oboli a day could have been sufficient,
even in that age, only for the barest necessities of life. But with his
ascetic tendencies, these were all that Origen wished.

[1790] It was very common from the fourth century on (the writer knows
of no instances earlier than Eusebius) to call an ascetic mode of life
”philosophical,” or ”the life of a philosopher” (see S:2 of this
chapter, and compare Chrysostom’s works, where the word occurs very
frequently in this sense). Origen, in his ascetic practices, was quite
in accord with the prevailing Christian sentiment of his own and
subsequent centuries, which looked upon bodily discipline of an ascetic
kind, not indeed as required, but as commended by Christ. The growing
sentiment had its roots partly in the prevailing ideas of contemporary
philosophy, which instinctively emphasized strongly the dualism of
spirit and matter, and the necessity of subduing the latter to the
former, and partly in the increasing moral corruptness of society,
which caused those who wished to lead holy lives to feel that only by
eschewing the things of sense could the soul attain purity. Under
pressure from without and within, it became very easy to misinterpret
various sayings of Christ, and thus to find in the Gospels ringing
exhortations to a life of the most rigid asceticism. Clement of
Alexandria was almost the only one of the great Christian writers after
the middle of the second century who distinguished between the true and
the false in this matter. Compare his admirable tract, Quis dives
salvetur, and contrast the position taken there with the foolish
extreme pursued by Origen, as recorded in this chapter.

[1791] See Matt. x. 10

[1792] See Matt. vi. 34

[1793] Greek: thorax, properly ”chest.” Rufinus and Christophorsonus
translate stomachum, and Valesius approves; but there is no authority
for such a use of the term thorax, so far as I can ascertain. The
proper Greek term for stomach is stomachos, which is uniformly employed
by Galen and other medical writers.

Chapter IV.–The pupils of Origen that became Martyrs.

1. The first of these was Plutarch, who was mentioned just above.
[1794] As he was led to death, the man of whom we are speaking being
with him at the end of his life, came near being slain by his
fellow-citizens, as if he were the cause of his death. But the
providence of God preserved him at this time also.

2. After Plutarch, the second martyr among the pupils of Origen was
Serenus, [1795] who gave through fire a proof of the faith which he had

3. The third martyr from the same school was Heraclides, [1796] and
after him the fourth was Hero. [1797] The former of these was as yet a
catechumen, and the latter had but recently been baptized. Both of them
were beheaded. After them, the fifth from the same school proclaimed as
an athlete of piety was another Serenus, who, it is reported, was
beheaded, after a long endurance of tortures. And of women, Herais
[1798] died while yet a catechumen, receiving baptism by fire, as
Origen himself somewhere says.

[1794] See the previous chapter, S:2. The martyrdom of these disciples
of Origen took place under Aquila, and hence the date depends on the
date of his rule, which cannot be fixed with exactness, as remarked in
note 4 on the previous chapter.

[1795] These two persons named Serenus, the first of whom was burned,
the second beheaded, are known to us only from this chapter.

[1796] Of this Heraclides, we know only what is told us in this
chapter. He, with the other martyrs mentioned in this connection, is
commemorated in the mediaeval martyrologies, but our authentic
information is limited to what Eusebius tells us here.

[1797] Our authentic information of Hero is likewise limited to this
account of Eusebius.

[1798] Herais likewise is known to us from this chapter alone. It is
interesting to note that Origen’s pupils were not confined to the male
sex. His association with female catechumens, which his office of
instructor entailed upon him, formed one reason for the act of
self-mutilation which he committed (see chap. 8, S:2).

Chapter V.–Potamiaena. [1799]

1. Basilides [1800] may be counted the seventh of these. He led to
martyrdom the celebrated Potamiaena, who is still famous among the
people of the country for the many things which she endured for the
preservation of her chastity and virginity. For she was blooming in the
perfection of her mind and her physical graces. Having suffered much
for the faith of Christ, finally after tortures dreadful and terrible
to speak of, she with her mother, Marcella, [1801] was put to death by

2. They say that the judge, Aquila by name, having inflicted severe
tortures upon her entire body, at last threatened to hand her over to
the gladiators for bodily abuse. After a little consideration, being
asked for her decision, she made a reply which was regarded as impious.

3. Thereupon she received sentence immediately, and Basilides, one of
the officers of the army, led her to death. But as the people attempted
to annoy and insult her with abusive words, he drove back her
insulters, showing her much pity and kindness. And perceiving the man’s
sympathy for her, she exhorted him to be of good courage, for she would
supplicate her Lord for him after her departure, and he would soon
receive a reward for the kindness he had shown her.

4. Having said this, she nobly sustained the issue, burning pitch being
poured little by little, over various parts of her body, from the sole
of her feet to the crown of her head. Such was the conflict endured by
this famous maiden.

5. Not long after this Basilides, being asked by his fellow-soldiers to
swear for a certain reason, declared that it was not lawful for him to
swear at all, for he was a Christian, and he confessed this openly. At
first they thought that he was jesting, but when he continued to affirm
it, he was led to the judge, and, acknowledging his conviction before
him, he was imprisoned. But the brethren in God coming to him and
inquiring the reason of this sudden and remarkable resolution, he is
reported to have said that Potamiaena, for three days after her
martyrdom, stood beside him by night and placed a crown on his head and
said that she had besought the Lord for him and had obtained what she
asked, and that soon she would take him with her.

6. Thereupon the brethren gave him the seal [1802] of the Lord; and on
the next day, after giving glorious testimony for the Lord, he was
beheaded. And many others in Alexandria are recorded to have accepted
speedily the word of Christ in those times.

7. For Potamiaena appeared to them in their dreams and exhorted them.
But let this suffice in regard to this matter.

[1799] Potamiaena, one of the most celebrated of the martyrs that
suffered under Severus, is made by Rufinus a disciple of Origen, but
Eusebius does not say that she was, and indeed, in making Basilides the
seventh of Origen’s disciples to suffer, he evidently excludes
Potamiaena from the number. Quite a full account of her martyrdom is
given by Palladius in his Historia Lausiaca, chap. 3 (Migne’s Patr. Gr.
XXXIV. 1014), which contains some characteristic details not mentioned
by Eusebius. It appears from that account that she was a slave, and
that her master, not being able to induce her to yield to his passion,
accused her before the judge as a Christian, bribing him, if possible,
to break her resolution by tortures and then return her to him, or, if
that was not possible, to put her to death as a Christian. We cannot
judge as to the exact truth of this and other details related by
Palladius, but his history (which was written early in the fifth
century) is, in the main at least, reliable, except where it deals with
miracles and prodigies (cf. the article on Palladius of Helenopolis, in
the Dict. of Christ. Biog.).

[1800] Basilides is clearly reckoned here among the disciples of
Origen. The correctness of Eusebius’ statement has been doubted, but
there is no ground for such doubt, for there is no reason to suppose
that all of Origen’s pupils became converted under his instruction.

[1801] Of Marcella, we know only that she was the mother of the more
celebrated Potamiaena, and suffered martyrdom by fire.

[1802] The word sphragis, ”seal,” was very commonly used by the Fathers
to signify baptism (see Suicer’s Thesaurus).

Chapter VI.–Clement of Alexandria.

Clement [1803] having succeeded Pantaenus, [1804] had charge at that
time of the catechetical instruction in Alexandria, so that Origen
also, while still a boy, [1805] was one of his pupils. In the first
book of the work called Stromata, which Clement wrote, he gives a
chronological table, [1806] bringing events down to the death of
Commodus. So it is evident that that work was written during the reign
of Severus, whose times we are now recording.

[1803] This chapter has no connection with the preceding, and its
insertion at this point has no good ground, for Clement has been
already handled in the fifth book; and if Eusebius wished to refer to
him again in connection with Origen, he should have done so in chap. 3,
where Origen’s appointment as head of the catechetical school is
mentioned. (Redepenning, however, approves the present order; vol. I.
p. 431 sqq.) Rufinus felt the inconsistency, and hence inserted chaps.
6 and 7 in the middle of chap. 3, where the account of Origen’s
appointment by Demetrius is given. Valesius considers the occurrence of
this mention of Clement at this point a sign that Eusebius did not give
his work a final revision. Chap. 13 is inserted in the same abrupt way,
quite out of harmony with the context. Upon the life of Clement of
Alexandria, see Bk. V. chap. 11, note 1. The catechetical school was
vacant, as we learn from chap. 2, in the year 203, and was then taken
in charge by Origen, so that the ”that time” referred to by Eusebius in
this sentence must be carried back of the events related in the
previous chapters. The cause of Clement’s leaving the school was
probably the persecution begun by Severus in 202 (”all were driven away
by the threatening aspect of persecution,” according to chap. 3, S:1);
for since Origen was one of his pupils he can hardly have left long
before that time. That it was not unworthy cowardice which led Clement
to take his departure is clear enough from the words of Alexander in
chaps. 11 and 14, from the high reputation which he continued to enjoy
throughout the Church, and from his own utterances on the subject of
martyrdom scattered through his works.

[1804] On Pantaenus, see Bk. V. chap. 10, note 2.

[1805] Stephanus, Stroth, Burton, Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen,
following two important mss. and the translation of Rufinus, omit the
words paida onta ”while a boy.” But the words are found in all the
other codices (the chief witnesses of two of the three great families
of mss. being for them) and in Nicephorus. The manuscript authority is
therefore overwhelmingly in favor of the words, and they are adopted by
Valesius, Zimmermann, and Cruse. Rufinus is a strong witness against
the words but, as Redepenning justly remarks, having inserted this
chapter, as he did, in the midst of the description of Origen’s early
years (see note 1), the words paida onta would be quite superfluous and
even out of place, and hence he would naturally omit them. So far as
the probabilities of the insertion or omission of the words in the
present passage are concerned, it seems to me more natural to suppose
that a copyist, finding the words at this late stage in the account of
Origen’s life, would be inclined to omit them, than that not finding
them there he should, upon historical grounds (which he could have
reached only after some reflection), think that they ought to be
inserted. The latter would be not only a more difficult but also a much
graver step than the former. There seems, then, to be no good warrant
for omitting these words. We learn from chap. 3 that he took charge of
the catechetical school when he was in his eighteenth year, within a
year therefore after the death of his father. And we learn that before
he took charge of the school, all who had given instruction there had
been driven away by the persecution. Clement, therefore, must have left
before Origen’s eighteenth year, and hence the latter must have studied
with him before the persecution had broken up the school, and in all
probability before the death of Leonides. In any case, therefore, he
was still a boy when under Clement, and even if we omit the
words–”while a boy”–here, we shall not be warranted in putting his
student days into the period of his maturity, as some would do. Upon
this subject, see Redepenning, I. p. 431 sqq., who adduces still other
arguments for the position taken in this note which it is not necessary
to repeat here.

[1806] In Stromata, Bk. I. chap. 21. On this and the other works of
Clement, see chap. 13.

Chapter VII.–The Writer, Judas. [1807]

At this time another writer, Judas, discoursing about the seventy weeks
in Daniel, brings down the chronology to the tenth year of the reign of
Severus. He thought that the coming of Antichrist, which was much
talked about, was then near. [1808] So greatly did the agitation caused
by the persecution of our people at this time disturb the minds of

[1807] The mention of the writer Judas at this point seems, at first
sight, as illogical as the reference to Clement in the preceding
chapter. But it does not violate chronology as that did; and hence, if
the account of Origen’s life was to be broken anywhere for such an
insertion, there was perhaps no better place. We cannot conclude,
therefore, that Eusebius, had he revised his work, would have changed
the position of this chapter, as Valesius suggests (see the previous
chapter, note 1). Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 52) repeats Eusebius’ notice
of Judas, but adds nothing to it, and we know no more about him. Since
he believed that the appearance of Antichrist was at hand, he must have
written before the persecutions had given place again to peace, and
hence not long after 202, the date to which he extended his chronology.
Whether the work mentioned by Eusebius was a commentary or a work on
chronology is not clear. It was possibly an historical demonstration of
the truth of Daniel’s prophecies, and an interpretation of those yet
unfulfilled, in which case it combined history and exegesis.

[1808] It was the common belief in the Church, from the time of the
apostles until the time of Constantine, that the second coming of
Christ would very speedily take place. This belief was especially
pronounced among the Montanists, Montanus having proclaimed that the
parousia would occur before his death, and even having gone so far as
to attempt to collect all the faithful (Montanists) in one place in
Phrygia, where they were to await that event and where the new
Jerusalem was to be set up (see above, Bk. V. chap. 18, note 6). There
is nothing surprising in Judas’ idea that this severe persecution must
be the beginning of the end, for all through the earlier centuries of
the Church (and even to some extent in later centuries) there were
never wanting those who interpreted similar catastrophes in the same
way; although after the third century the belief that the end was at
hand grew constantly weaker.

Chapter VIII.–Origen’s Daring Deed.

1. At this time while Origen was conducting catechetical instruction at
Alexandria, a deed was done by him which evidenced an immature and
youthful mind, but at the same time gave the highest proof of faith and
continence. [1809] For he took the words, ”There are eunuchs who have
made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake,” [1810] in
too literal and extreme a sense. And in order to fulfill the Saviour’s
word, and at the same time to take away from the unbelievers all
opportunity for scandal,–for, although young, he met for the study of
divine things with women as well as men,–he carried out in action the
word of the Saviour.

2. He thought that this would not be known by many of his
acquaintances. But it was impossible for him, though desiring to do so,
to keep such an action secret.

3. When Demetrius, who presided over that parish, at last learned of
this, he admired greatly the daring nature of the act, and as he
perceived his zeal and the genuineness of his faith, he immediately
exhorted him to courage, and urged him the more to continue his work of
catechetical instruction.

4. Such was he at that time. But soon afterward, seeing that he was
prospering, and becoming great and distinguished among all men, the
same Demetrius, overcome by human weakness, wrote of his deed as most
foolish to the bishops throughout the world. But the bishops of Cesarea
and Jerusalem, who were especially notable and distinguished among the
bishops of Palestine, considering Origen worthy in the highest degree
of the honor, ordained him a presbyter. [1811]

5. Thereupon his fame increased greatly, and his name became renowned
everywhere, and he obtained no small reputation for virtue and wisdom.
But Demetrius, having nothing else that he could say against him, save
this deed of his boyhood, accused him bitterly, [1812] and dared to
include with him in these accusations those who had raised him to the

6. These things, however, took place a little later. But at this time
Origen continued fearlessly the instruction in divine things at
Alexandria by day and night to all who came to him; devoting his entire
leisure without cessation to divine studies and to his pupils.

7. Severus, having held the government for eighteen years, was
succeeded by his son, Antoninus. [1813] Among those who had endured
courageously the persecution of that time, and had been preserved by
the Providence of God through the conflicts of confession, was
Alexander, of whom we have spoken already [1814] as bishop of the
church in Jerusalem. On account of his pre-eminence in the confession
of Christ he was thought worthy of that bishopric, while Narcissus,
[1815] his predecessor, was still living.

[1809] This act of Origen’s has been greatly discussed, and some have
even gone so far as to believe that he never committed the act, but
that the report of it arose from a misunderstanding of certain
figurative expressions used by him (so, e.g., Boehringer, Schnitzer,
and Baur). There is no reason, however, to doubt the report, for which
we have unimpeachable testimony, and which is in itself not at all
surprising (see the arguments of Redepenning, I. p. 444 sqq.). The act
was contrary to the civil law (see Suetonius, Domitian, c. 7; and cf.
Justin Martyr, Apol. I. 29), and yet was a very common one; the
existence of the law itself would alone prove what we know from many
sources to have been the fact. Nor was Origen alone among the
Christians (cf. e.g. Origen, In Matt., XV. 1, the passage of Justin
Martyr referred to above, and also the first canon of the Council of
Nicaea, the very existence of which proves the necessity of it). It was
natural that Christians, seeking purity of life, and strongly ascetic
in their tendencies, should be influenced by the actions of those about
them, who sought thus to be freed from the domination of the passions,
and should interpret certain passages of the Bible as commending the
act. Knowing it to be so common, and knowing Origen’s character, as
revealed to us in chap. 3, above (to say nothing of his own writings),
we can hardly be surprised that he performed the act. His chief motive
was undoubtedly the same as that which actuated him in all his ascetic
practices, the attainment of higher holiness through the subjugation of
his passions, and the desire to sacrifice everything fleshly for the
sake of Christ. Of course this could not have led him to perform the
act he did, unless he had entirely misunderstood, as Eusebius says he
did, the words of Christ quoted below. But he was by no means the only
one to misunderstand them (see Suicer’s Thesaurus, I. 1255 sq.).
Eusebius says that the requirements of his position also had something
to do with his resolve. He was obliged to teach both men and women, and
both day and night (as we learn from S:7), and Eusebius thinks he would
naturally desire to avoid scandal. At the same time, this motive can
hardly have weighed very heavily, if at all, with him; for had his
giving instruction in this way been in danger of causing serious
scandal, other easier methods of avoiding such scandal might have been
devised, and undoubtedly would have been, by the bishop. And the fact
is, he seems to have wished to conceal the act, which is inconsistent
with the idea that he performed it for the sake of avoiding scandal. It
is quite likely that his intimate association with women may have had
considerable to do with his resolve, because he may have found that
such association aroused his unsubdued passions, and therefore felt
that they must be eradicated, if he was to go about his duties with a
pure and single heart. That he afterward repented his youthful act, and
judged the words of Christ more wisely, is clear from what he says in
his Comment. in Matt. XV. 1. And yet he never outgrew his false notions
of the superior virtue of an ascetic life. His act seems to have caused
a reaction in his mind which led him into doubt and despondency for a
time; for Demetrius found it necessary to exhort him to cherish
confidence, and to urge him to continue his work of instruction.
Eusebius, while not approving Origen’s act, yet evidently admired him
the more for the boldness and for the spirit of self-sacrifice shown in
its performance.

[1810] Matt. xix. 12.

[1811] See chap. 23.

[1812] On the relations existing between Demetrius and Origen, see
below, p. 394.

[1813] Septimius Severus died on February 4, 211, after a reign of a
little more than seventeen years and eight months, and was succeeded by
his two sons, Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Bassianus (commonly
known by his nickname Caracalla, which, however, was never used in
official documents or inscriptions), and Lucius, or Publius, Septimius
Geta. Eusebius mentions here only the former, giving him his official
name, Antoninus.

[1814] Eusebius makes a slip here, as this is the first time he has
mentioned Alexander in his Church History. He was very likely under the
impression that he had mentioned him just above, where he referred to
the bishops of Caesarea and Jerusalem. He does refer to him in his
Chron., putting his appointment as assistant bishop into the second
year of Caracalla (Armen. fourth year), and calling him the
thirty-fifth bishop of Jerusalem (Armen. thirty-sixth). In Bk. V. chap.
12 of the History (also in the Chron.) we are told that Narcissus was
the thirtieth bishop of Jerusalem. The number thirty-five for Alexander
(the number thirty-six of the Armen. is a mistake, and is set right in
connection with Alexander’s successor, who is also called the
thirty-sixth) is made out by counting the three bishops mentioned in
chap. 10, and then reckoning the second episcopate of Narcissus (see
the same chapter) as the thirty-fourth. We learn from chap. 14 that
Alexander was an early friend of Origen’s, and a fellow-pupil in the
school of Clement. We know him next as bishop of some church in
Cappadocia (chap. 11; see note 2 on that chapter), whence he was called
to be assistant bishop of Jerusalem (see the same chapter). From this
passage, compared with chap. 11, we learn that Alexander was imprisoned
during the persecutions, and the Chron. gives the year of his
”confession” as 203 a.d. But from chap. 11 we learn that he wrote while
still in prison to the church of Antioch on occasion of the appointment
of Asclepiades to the episcopate there. According to the Chron.
Asclepiades did not become bishop until 211; and though this may not be
the exact date, yet it cannot be far out of the way (see chap. 11, note
6); and hence, if Alexander was a confessor in 203, he must have
remained in prison a number of years, or else have undergone a second
persecution. It is probable either that the date 203 is quite wrong, or
else that he suffered a second time toward the close of Severus’ reign;
for the persecution, so far as we know, was not so continuous during
that reign as to keep one man confined for eight years. Our knowledge
of the persecutions in Asia Minor at this time is very limited, but
they do not seem to have been of great severity or of long duration.
The date of Alexander’s episcopate in Cappadocia it is impossible to
determine, though as he was a fellow-pupil of Origen’s in Alexandria,
it cannot have begun much, if any, before 202. The date of his
translation to the see of Jerusalem is likewise uncertain. The Chron.
gives the second year of Caracalla (Armen. fourth). The connection in
which Eusebius mentions it in chap. 11 makes it look as if it took
place before Asclepiades’ accession to the see of Antioch; but this is
hardly possible, for it was his firmness under persecution which
elevated him to the see of Jerusalem (according to this passage), and
it is apparently that persecution which he is enduring when Asclepiades
becomes bishop. We find no reason, then, for correcting the date of his
translation to Jerusalem given by the Chron. At any rate, he was bishop
of Jerusalem when Origen visited Palestine in 216 (see chap. 19, S:17).
In 231 he assisted at the ordination of Origen (see chap. 23, note 6),
and finally perished in prison during the Decian persecution (see
chaps. 39 and 46). His friendship for Origen was warm and steadfast
(cf., besides the other passages referred to, chap. 27). The latter
commemorates the loveliness and gentleness of his character in his
first Homily on 1 Samuel, S:1. He collected a valuable library in
Jerusalem, which Eusebius made use of in the composition of his History
(see chap. 20). This act shows the literary tastes of the man. Of his
epistles only the five fragments preserved by Eusebius (chaps. 11, 14,
and 19) are now extant. Jerome (de vir. ill. 62) says that other
epistles were extant in his day; and he relates, on the authority of an
epistle written pro Origene contra Demetrium, that Alexander had
ordained Origen juxta testimonium Demetri. This epistle is not
mentioned by Eusebius, but in spite of Jerome’s usual dependence upon
the latter, there is no good reason to doubt the truth of his statement
in this case (see below, p. 396).

[1815] On Narcissus, see the next three chapters, and also Bk. V. chap.
12, note 1.

Chapter IX.–The Miracles of Narcissus.

1. The citizens of that parish mention many other miracles of
Narcissus, on the tradition of the brethren who succeeded him; among
which they relate the following wonder as performed by him.

2. They say that the oil once failed while the deacons were watching
through the night at the great paschal vigil. Thereupon the whole
multitude being dismayed, Narcissus directed those who attended to the
lights, to draw water and bring it to him.

3. This being immediately done he prayed over the water, and with firm
faith in the Lord, commanded them to pour it into the lamps. And when
they had done so, contrary to all expectation by a wonderful and divine
power, the nature of the water was changed into that of oil. A small
portion of it has been preserved even to our day by many of the
brethren there as a memento of the wonder. [1816]

4. They tell many other things worthy to be noted of the life of this
man, among which is this. Certain base men being unable to endure the
strength and firmness of his life, and fearing punishment for the many
evil deeds of which they were conscious, sought by plotting to
anticipate him, and circulated a terrible slander against him.

5. And to persuade those who heard of it, they confirmed their
accusations with oaths: one invoked upon himself destruction by fire;
another the wasting of his body by a foul disease; the third the loss
of his eyes. But though they swore in this manner, they could not
affect the mind of the believers; because the continence and virtuous
life of Narcissus were well known to all.

6. But he could not in any wise endure the wickedness of these men; and
as he had followed a philosophic [1817] life for a long time, he fled
from the whole body of the Church, and hid himself in desert and secret
places, and remained there many years. [1818]

7. But the great eye of judgment was not unmoved by these things, but
soon looked down upon these impious men, and brought on them the curses
with which they had bound themselves. The residence of the first, from
nothing but a little spark falling upon it, was entirely consumed by
night, and he perished with all his family. The second was speedily
covered with the disease which he had imprecated upon himself, from the
sole of his feet to his head.

8. But the third, perceiving what had happened to the others, and
fearing the inevitable judgment of God, the ruler of all, confessed
publicly what they had plotted together. And in his repentance he
became so wasted by his great lamentations, and continued weeping to
such an extent, that both his eyes were destroyed. Such were the
punishments which these men received for their falsehood.

[1816] This miracle is related by Eusebius upon the testimony, not of
documents, but of those who had shown him the oil, which was preserved
in Jerusalem down to that time; hoi tes paroikias politai…historousi,
he says. His travels had evidently not taught him to disbelieve every
wonderful tale that was told him.

[1817] See above, chap. 3, note 9.

[1818] The date of Narcissus’ retirement we have no means of

Chapter X.–The Bishops of Jerusalem.

Narcissus having departed, and no one knowing where he was, those
presiding over the neighboring churches thought it best to ordain
another bishop. His name was Dius. [1819] He presided but a short time,
and Germanio succeeded him. He was followed by Gordius, [1820] in whose
time Narcissus appeared again, as if raised from the dead. [1821] And
immediately the brethren besought him to take the episcopate, as all
admired him the more on account of his retirement and philosophy, and
especially because of the punishment with which God had avenged him.

[1819] Of these three bishops, Dius, Germanio, and Gordius, we know
nothing more than is told us here. Syncellus assigns eight years to
Dius, four to Germanio, and five to Sardianus, whom he names instead of
Gordius. Epiphanius reports that Dius was bishop until Severus (193
a.d.), and Gordius until Antonine (i.e. Caracalla, 211 a.d.). But no
reliance is to be placed upon these figures or dates, as remarked
above, Bk. V. chap. 12, note 2.

[1820] Eusebius and Epiphanius give Tordios, and Jerome, Gordius; but
the Armenian has Gordianus, and Syncellus, Sardianos. What became of
Gordius when Narcissus reappeared we do not know. He must have died
very speedily, or some compromise would have been made, as it seems,
which would have rendered the appointment of Alexander as assistant
bishop unnecessary.

[1821] Literally, ”as if from a resurrection” (hosper ex anabioseos).

Chapter XI.–Alexander.

1. But as on account of his great age Narcissus was no longer able to
perform his official duties, [1822] the Providence of God called to the
office with him, by a revelation given him in a night vision, the
above-mentioned Alexander, who was then bishop of another parish.

2. Thereupon, as by Divine direction, he journeyed from the land of
Cappadocia, where he first held the episcopate, to Jerusalem, in
consequence of a vow and for the sake of information in regard to its
places. [1824] They received him there with great cordiality, and would
not permit him to return, because of another revelation seen by them at
night, which uttered the clearest message to the most zealous among
them. For it made known that if they would go outside the gates, they
would receive the bishop foreordained for them by God. And having done
this, with the unanimous consent of the bishops of the neighboring
churches, they constrained him to remain.

3. Alexander, himself, in private letters to the Antinoites, [1825]
which are still preserved among us, mentions the joint episcopate of
Narcissus and himself, writing in these words at the end of the

4. ”Narcissus salutes you, who held the episcopate here before me, and
is now associated with me in prayers, being one hundred and sixteen
years of age; and he exhorts you, as I do, to be of one mind.”

These things took place in this manner. But, on the death of Serapion,
[1826] Asclepiades, [1827] who had been himself distinguished among the
confessors [1828] during the persecution, succeeded to the episcopate
of the church at Antioch. Alexander alludes to his appointment, writing
thus to the church at Antioch:

5. ”Alexander, a servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ, to the blessed
church of Antioch, greeting in the Lord. The Lord hath made my bonds
during the time of my imprisonment light and easy, since I learned
that, by the Divine Providence, Asclepiades, who in regard to the true
faith is eminently qualified, has undertaken the bishopric of your holy
church at Antioch.”

6. He indicates that he sent this epistle by Clement, [1829] writing
toward its close as follows:

”My honored brethren, [1830] I have sent this letter to you by Clement,
the blessed presbyter, a man virtuous and approved, whom ye yourselves
also know and will recognize. Being here, in the providence and
oversight of the Master, he has strengthened and built up the Church of
the Lord.”

[1822] The extreme age of Narcissus at this time is evident from the
fact that Alexander, writing before the year 216 (see note 4), says
that Narcissus is already in his 116th year. The translation of
Alexander to Jerusalem must have taken place about 212 (see chap. 8,
note 6), and hence Narcissus was now more than 110 years old. The
appointment of Alexander as Narcissus’ assistant involved two acts
which were even at that time not common, and which were later forbidden
by canon; first the translation of a bishop from one see to another,
and secondly the appointment of an assistant bishop, which made two
bishops in one city. The Apost. Canons (No. 14) ordain that ”a bishop
ought not to leave his own parish and leap to another, although the
multitude should compel him, unless there be some good reason forcing
him to do this, as that he can contribute much greater profit to the
people of the new parish by the word of piety; but this is not to be
settled by himself, but by the judgment of many bishops and very great
supplication.” It has been disputed whether this canon is older or
younger than the fifteenth canon of Nicaea, which forbids
unconditionally the practice of translation from one see to another.
Whichever may be the older, it is certain that even the Council of
Nicaea considered its own canon as liable to exceptions in certain
cases, for it translated Eustathius from Beraea to Antioch (see
Sozomen, H. E. I. 2). The truth is, the rule was established–whether
before or for the first time at the Council of Nicaea–chiefly in order
to guard against the ambition of aspiring men who might wish to go from
a smaller to a greater parish, and to prevent, as the Nicene Canon
says, the many disorders and quarrels which the custom of translation
caused; and a rule formed on such grounds of expediency was of course
liable to exception whenever the good of the Church seemed to demand
it, and therefore, whether the fourteenth Apostolic Canon is more
ancient than the Nicene Council or not, it certainly embodies a
principle which must long have been in force, and which we find in fact
acted upon in the present case; for the translation of Alexander takes
place ”with the common consent of the bishops of the neighboring
churches,” or, as Jerome puts it, cunctis in Palestina episcopis in
unum congregatis, which is quite in accord with the provision of the
Apostolic Canons. There were some in the early Church who thought it
absolutely unlawful under any circumstances for a bishop to be
translated (cf. Jerome’s Ep. ad Oceanum; Migne, Ep. 69, S:5), but this
was not the common view, as Bingham (Antiq. VI. 4. 6) well observes,
and instances of translation from one see to another were during all
these centuries common (cf. e.g. Socrates, H. E. VII. 36), although
always of course exceptional, and considered lawful only when made for
good and sufficient reasons. To say, therefore, with Valesius that
these Palestinian bishops violated a rule of the Church in translating
Alexander is too strong. They were evidently unconscious of anything
uncanonical, or even irregular in their action, though it is clear that
they regarded the step as too important to be taken without the
approval of all the bishops of the neighborhood. In regard to assistant
bishops, Valesius correctly remarks that this is the first instance of
the kind known to us, but it is by no means the only one, for the
following centuries furnish numerous examples; e.g. Theotecnus and
Anatolius in Caesarea (see below, Bk. VII. chap. 32), Maximus and
Macarius in Jerusalem (see Sozomen, H. E. II. 20); and so in Africa
Valerius of Hippo had Augustine as his coadjutor (Possidius, Vita. Aug.
chap. 8; see Bingham’s Antiq. II. 13. 4 for other instances and for a
discussion of the whole subject). The principle was in force from as
early as the third century (see Cyprian to Cornelius, Ep. 40, al. 44
and to Antonianus, Ep. 51, al. 55) that there should be only one bishop
in a city, and we see from the works of various Fathers that this rule
was universally accepted at an early date. The eighth canon of Nicaea
refers to this principle in passing as if it were already firmly
established, and the council evidently did not think it necessary to
promulgate a special canon on the subject. Because of this principle,
Augustine hesitated to allow himself to be ordained assistant bishop of
Hippo; and although his scruples were overcome at the time, he
afterward, upon learning of the Nicene Canon, considered the practice
of having a coadjutor illegal and refused to ordain one for himself.
But, as the instances referred to above and many others show, not all
the Church interpreted the principle as rigidly as Augustine did, and
hence under certain circumstances exceptions were made to the rule, and
were looked upon throughout the Church as quite lawful. The existence
of two bishops in one city as a matter of compromise, for the sake of
healing a schism, formed one common exception to the general principle
(see Bingham, II. 13. 2), and the appointment of coadjutors, as in the
present case, formed another.

[1823] Of what city in Cappadocia Alexander was bishop we are not told
by Eusebius, nor by our other ancient authorities. Valesius (note on
this passage) and Tillemont (Hist. eccles. III. p. 415) give
Flaviopolis or Flaviadis as the name of the city (upon the authority of
Basilicon, Jur. Graeco-Rom. Tom. I. p. 295, according to Tillemont).
But Flaviopolis was a city of Cilicia, and hence Tillemont conjectures
that it had once been taken from Cappadocia and attached to Cilicia,
and that its inhabitants retained the memory of Alexander, their early
bishop. The report seems to rest upon a very slender foundation; but
not having access to the authority cited, I am unable to form an
opinion as to the worth of the tradition.

[1824] euches kai ton topon historias heneken.

[1825] ‘Antinoeia (Antinoe or Antinooepolis) was a city of Egypt
founded by Hadrian in honor of Antinous (see Bk. IV. chap. 8, note 3).
This is the first mention of a church there, but its bishops were
present at more than one council in later centuries (see Wiltsch’s
Geography and Statistics, p. 59, 196, 473). This letter must have been
written between 212, at about which time Alexander became Narcissus’
coadjutor (see chap. 8, note 6), and 216, when Origen visited Palestine
(see chap. 19, note 23). For at the time of that visit Alexander is
said to have been bishop of Jerusalem, and no mention is made of
Narcissus, who must therefore have been already dead (see Bk. V. chap.
12, note 1). The fragments of Alexander’s epistles quoted in this
chapter are given in Routh’s Rel. Sacrae, II. p. 161 sq., and in
English in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 154.

[1826] On Serapion, see Bk. V. chap. 19, note 1.

[1827] The Chron. puts the accession of Asclepiades in the first year
of Caracalla (211 a.d.). Harnack (Zeit des Ignatius, p. 47) believes
that this notice rests upon better knowledge than the notices of most
of the Antiochian bishops, because in this case the author departs from
the artificial scheme which he follows in the main. But Harnack
contends that the date is not quite correct, because Alexander, who
suffered under Severus, was still in prison when Asclepiades became
bishop, and therefore the latter’s accession must be put back into
Severus’ reign. He would fix, therefore, upon about 209 as the date of
it, rightly perceiving that there is good reason for thinking the
Chron. at least nearly correct in its report, and that in any case his
accession cannot be carried back much beyond that, because it is quite
probable (from the congratulations which Alexander extends to the
church of Antioch) that there had been a vacancy in that church for
some time after the death of Serapion (a thing not at all unnatural in
the midst of the persecutions of the time), while Serapion was still
alive as late as 203 (see Bk. V. chap. 19, note 1). But it seems to me
that there is no good ground for making any alteration in the date
given by the Chron., for we know that at the very end of Severus’ reign
the persecution broke out again with considerable severity, and that it
continued, at least in Africa, for some time after Caracalla’s
accession (see Tertullian’s ad Scap.). The general amnesty issued by
Caracalla after the murder of his brother Geta in 212 (see Dion
Cassius, LXXVII. 3) seems first to have put a definitive end to the
persecutions. There is therefore no ground for confining Alexander’s
imprisonment to the reign of Severus. It may well have run into the
time of Caracalla, and hence it is quite possible that Asclepiades did
not become bishop until after the latter became emperor, so that it is
not necessary to correct the date of the Chron. It is impossible to
determine with certainty the length of Asclepiades’ episcopate (see
chap. 21, note 6). Of Asclepiades himself we know no more than is told
us in this chapter. He seems to have been a man of most excellent
character, to judge from Alexander’s epistle. That epistle, of course,
was written immediately after Asclepiades’ appointment.

[1828] Literally ”confessions” (homologiais).

[1829] On Clement of Alexandria, see above, Bk. V. chap. 11.

[1830] kurioi mou adelphoi.

Chapter XII.–Serapion and his Extant Works.

1. It is probable that others have preserved other memorials of
Serapion’s [1831] literary industry, [1832] but there have reached us
only those addressed to a certain Domninus, who, in the time of
persecution, fell away from faith in Christ to the Jewish will-worship;
[1833] and those addressed to Pontius and Caricus, [1834]
ecclesiastical men, and other letters to different persons, and still
another work composed by him on the so-called Gospel of Peter. [1835]

2. He wrote this last to refute the falsehoods which that Gospel
contained, on account of some in the parish of Rhossus [1836] who had
been led astray by it into heterodox notions. It may be well to give
some brief extracts from his work, showing his opinion of the book. He
writes as follows:

3. ”For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the other apostles as
Christ; but we reject intelligently the writings falsely ascribed to
them, knowing that such were not handed down to us.

4. When I visited you I supposed that all of you held the true faith,
and as I had not read the Gospel which they put forward under the name
of Peter, I said, If this is the only thing which occasions dispute
among you, let it be read. But now having learned, from what has been
told me, that their mind was involved in some heresy, I will hasten to
come to you again. Therefore, brethren, expect me shortly.

5. But you will learn, brethren, from what has been written to you,
that we perceived the nature of the heresy of Marcianus, [1837] and
that, not understanding what he was saying, he contradicted himself.

6. For having obtained this Gospel from others who had studied it
diligently, namely, from the successors of those who first used it,
whom we call Docetae [1838] (for most of their opinions are connected
with the teaching of that school [1839] ) we have been able to read it
through, and we find many things in accordance with the true doctrine
of the Saviour, but some things added to that doctrine, which we have
pointed out for you farther on.” So much in regard to Serapion.

[1831] On Serapion, see Bk. V. chap. 19, note 1.

[1832] The Greek reads: tou de Sarapionos tes peri logous askeseos kai
alla men eikos sozesthai par’ eterois hupomnemata

[1833] Of this Domninus we know only what is told us here. It is
suggested by Daniell (in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. IV. 630) that this
shows that the prohibition uttered by Severus against the Jews ”must
have been soon relaxed, if it ever was enforced.” But in regard to this
it must be said, in the first place, that Severus’ decree was not
levelled against the Jews, but only against conversion to
Judaism,–against the fieri, not the esse, Judaeos. The object of the
edict was not to disturb the Jews in the exercise of their national
faith, but to prevent their proselyting among the non-Jewish residents
of the empire. If Domninus, therefore, fell from Christianity into
Judaism on account of the persecution, it seems highly probable that he
was simply a converted Jew, who gave up now, in order to avoid
persecution, his new faith, and again practised the religion of his
fathers. Nothing, therefore, can be concluded from Domninus’ case as to
the strictness with which Severus’ law was carried out, even if we
suppose Domninus to have fallen from Christianity into Judaism. But it
must be remarked, in the second place, that it is by no means certain
that Eusebius means to say that Domninus fell into Judaism, or became a
Jew. He is said to have fallen into ”Jewish will-worship” (ekpeptokota
epi ten ‘Ioudaiken ethelothreskeian). The word ethelothreskeia occurs
for the first time in Col. ii. 23, and means there an ”arbitrary,
self-imposed worship” (Ellicott), or a worship which one ”affects”
(Cremer). The word is used there in connection with the Oriental
theosophic and Judaistic errors which were creeping into the churches
of Asia Minor at the time the epistle was written, and it is quite
possible that the word may be used in the present case in reference to
the same class of errors. We know that these theosophizing and
Judaizing tendencies continued to exert considerable influence in Asia
Minor and Syria during the early centuries, and that the Ebionites and
the Elcesaites were not the only ones affected by them (see Harnack,
Dogmengesch. I. 218 sq.). The lapse of any one into Ebionism, or into a
Judaizing Gnosticism, or similar form of heresy–a lapse which cannot
have been at all uncommon among the fanatical Phrygians and other
peoples of that section–might well be called a lapse into ”Jewish
will-worship.” We do not know where Domninus lived, but it is not
improbable that Asia Minor was his home, and that he may have fallen
under the influence of Montanism as well as of Ebionism and Judaizing
Gnosticism. I suggest the possibility that his lapse was into heresy
rather than into Judaism pure and simple, for the reason that it is
easier, on that ground, to explain the fact that Serapion addressed a
work to him. He is known to us only as an opponent of heresy, and it
may be that Domninus’ lapse gave him an opportunity to attack the
heretical notions of these Ebionites, or other Judaizing heretics, as
he had attacked the Montanists. It seems to the writer, also, that it
is thus easier to explain the complex phrase used, which seems to imply
something different from Judaism pure and simple.

[1834] See Bk. V. chap. 19, note 4.

[1835] On the so-called ”Gospel of Peter,” see Bk. III. chap. 3, note

[1836] Rhossus, or Rhosus, was a city of Syria, lying on the Gulf of
Issus, a little to the northwest of Antioch.

[1837] This Marcianus is an otherwise unknown personage, unless we are
to identify him, as Salmon suggests is possible, with Marcion. The
suggestion is attractive, and the reference to Docetae gives it a show
of probability. But there are serious objections to be urged against
it. In the first place, the form of the name, Markianos instead of
Markion. The two names are by no means identical. Still, according to
Harnack, we have more than once Markianoi and Markianistai for
Markionistai (see his Quellenkritik d. Gesch. d. Gnosticismus, p. 31
sqq.). But again, how can Marcion have used, or his name been in any
way connected with, a Gospel of Peter? Finally, the impression left by
this passage is that ”Marcianus” was a man still living, or at any rate
alive shortly before Serapion wrote, for the latter seems only recently
to have learned what his doctrines were. He certainly cannot have been
so ignorant of the teachings of the great ”heresiarch” Marcion. We
must, in fact, regard the identification as improbable.

[1838] By Docetism we understand the doctrine that Christ had no true
body, but only an apparent one. The word is derived from dokeo, ”to
seem or appear.” The belief is as old as the first century (cf. 1 John
iv. 2; 2 John 7), and was a favorite one with most of the Gnostic
sects. The name Docetae, however, as a general appellation for all
those holding this opinion, seems to have been used first by Theodoret
(Ep. 82). But the term was employed to designate a particular sect
before the end of the second century; thus Clement of Alexandria speaks
of them in Strom. VII. 17, and Hippolytus (Phil. VIII. 8. 4, and X. 12;
Ante-Nicene Fathers, Amer. ed.), and it is evidently this particular
sect to which Serapion refers here. An examination of Hippolytus’
account shows that these Docetae did not hold what we call Docetic
ideas of Christ’s body; in fact, Hippolytus says expressly that they
taught that Christ was born, and had a true body from the Virgin (see
Phil. VIII. 3). How the sect came to adopt the name of Docetae we
cannot tell. They seem to have disappeared entirely before the fourth
century, for no mention of them is found in Epiphanius and other later
heresiologists. As was remarked above, Theodoret uses the term in a
general sense and not as the appellation of a particular sect, and this
became the common usage, and is still. Whether there was anything in
the teaching of the sect to suggest the belief that Christ had only an
apparent body, and thus to lead to the use of their specific name for
all who held that view, or whether the general use of the name Docetae
arose quite independently of the sect name, we do not know. The latter
seems more probable. The Docetae referred to by Hippolytus being a
purely Gnostic sect with a belief in the reality of Christ’s body, we
have no reason to conclude that the ”Gospel of Peter” contained what we
call Docetic teaching. The description which Serapion gives of the
gospel fits quite well a work containing some such Gnostic speculations
as Hippolytus describes, and thus adding to the Gospel narrative rather
than denying the truth of it in any part. He could hardly have spoken
as he did of a work which denied the reality of Christ’s body. See, on
the general subject, Salmon’s articles Docetae and Docetism in the
Dict. of Christ. Biog.

[1839] The interpretation of these last two clauses is beset with
difficulty. The Greek reads toutesti para ton diadochon ton
katarxamenon autou, ohus Doketas kaloumen, (ta gar phronemata ta
pleiona ekeinon esti tes didaskalias), k.t.l. The words ton
katarxamenon autou are usually translated ”who preceded him,” or ”who
led the way before him”; but the phrase hardly seems to admit of this
interpretation, and moreover the autou seems to refer not to Marcianus,
whose name occurs some lines back, but to the gospel which has just
been mentioned. There is a difficulty also in regard to the reference
of the ekeinon, which is commonly connected with the words tes
didaskalias, but which seems to belong rather with the phronemata and
to refer to the diadochon ton katarxamenon. It thus seems necessary to
define the tes didaskalias more closely, and we therefore venture, with
Closs, to insert the words ”of that school,” referring to the Docetae
just mentioned.

Chapter XIII.–The Writings of Clement. [1840]

1. All the eight Stromata of Clement are preserved among us, and have
been given by him the following title: ”Titus Flavius Clement’s
Stromata of Gnostic Notes on the True Philosophy.” [1841]

2. The books entitled Hypotyposes [1842] are of the same number. In
them he mentions Pantaenus [1843] by name as his teacher, and gives his
opinions and traditions.

3. Besides these there is his Hortatory Discourse addressed to the
Greeks; [1844] three books of a work entitled the Instructor; [1845]
another with the title What Rich Man is Saved? [1846] the work on the
Passover; [1847] discussions on Fasting and on Evil Speaking; [1848]
the Hortatory Discourse on Patience, or To Those Recently Baptized;
[1849] and the one bearing the title Ecclesiastical Canon, or Against
the Judaizers, [1850] which he dedicated to Alexander, the bishop
mentioned above.

4. In the Stromata, he has not only treated extensively [1851] of the
Divine Scripture, but he also quotes from the Greek writers whenever
anything that they have said seems to him profitable.

5. He elucidates the opinions of many, both Greeks and barbarians. He
also refutes the false doctrines of the heresiarchs, and besides this,
reviews a large portion of history, giving us specimens of very various
learning; with all the rest he mingles the views of philosophers. It is
likely that on this account he gave his work the appropriate title of
Stromata. [1852]

6. He makes use also in these works of testimonies from the disputed
Scriptures, [1853] the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, [1854] and of
Jesus, the son of Sirach, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, [1855] and
those of Barnabas, [1856] and Clement [1857] and Jude. [1858]

7. He mentions also Tatian’s [1859] Discourse to the Greeks, and speaks
of Cassianus [1860] as the author of a chronological work. He refers to
the Jewish authors Philo, [1861] Aristobulus, [1862] Josephus, [1863]
Demetrius, [1864] and Eupolemus, [1865] as showing, all of them, in
their works, that Moses and the Jewish race existed before the earliest
origin of the Greeks.

8. These books abound also in much other learning. In the first of them
[1866] the author speaks of himself as next after the successors of the

9. In them he promises also to write a commentary on Genesis. [1867] In
his book on the Passover [1868] he acknowledges that he had been urged
by his friends to commit to writing, for posterity, the traditions
which he had heard from the ancient presbyters; and in the same work he
mentions Melito and Irenaeus, and certain others, and gives extracts
from their writings.

[1840] On the life of Clement, see Bk. V. chap. 11, note 1. He was a
very prolific writer, as we can gather from the list of works mentioned
in this chapter. The list is repeated by Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 38)
and by Photius (Cod. 109-111), the former of whom merely copies from
Eusebius, with some mistakes, while the latter copies from Jerome, as
is clear from the similar variations in the titles given by the last
two from those given by Eusebius, and also by the omission in both
their lists of one work named by Eusebius (see below, note 10).
Eusebius names ten works in this chapter. In addition to these there
are extant two quotations from a work of Clement entitled peri
pronoias. There are also extant two fragments of a work peri psuches.
In the Instructor, Bk. II. chap. 10, Clement refers to a work On
Continence (ho peri enkrateias) as already written by himself, and
there is no reason to doubt that this was a separate work, for the
third book of the Stromata (to which Fabricius thinks he refers), which
treats of the same subject, was not yet written. The work is no longer
extant. In the Instructor, Bk. III. chap. 8, Clement speaks of a work
which he had written On Marriage (ho gamikos logos). It has been
thought possible that he may have referred here to his discussion of
the same subject in Bk. II. chap. 10 of the same work (see the Bishop
of Lincoln’s work on Clement, p. 7), but it seems more probable that he
referred to a separate work now lost. Potter, p. 1022, gives a fragment
which is possibly from this work. In addition to these works, referred
to as already written, Clement promises to write on First Principles
(peri archon; Strom. III. 3, IV. 1, 13, V. 14, et al.); on Prophecy
(Strom. I. 24, IV. 13, V. 13); on Angels (Strom. VI. 13); on the Origin
of the World (Strom. VI. 18),–perhaps a part of the proposed work on
First Principles, and perhaps to be identified with the commentary on
Genesis, referred to below by Eusebius (see note 28),–Against Heresies
(Strom. IV. 13), on the Resurrection (Instructor, I. 6, II. 10). It is
quite possible that Clement regarded his promises as fulfilled by the
discussions which he gives in various parts of the Stromata themselves,
or that he gave up his original purpose.

[1841] Clement’s three principal works, the Exhortation to the Greeks
(see below, note 5), the Instructor (note 6), and the Stromata, form a
connected series of works, related to one another (as Schaff says) very
much as apologetics, ethics, and dogmatics. The three works were
composed in the order named. The Stromata (Stromateis) or Miscellanies
(said by Eusebius in this passage to bear the title ton kata ten alethe
philosophian gnostikon hupomnemEURton stromateis) are said by Eusebius
and by Photius (Cod. 109) to consist of eight books. Only seven are now
extant, although there exists a fragment purporting to be a part of the
eighth book, but which is in reality a portion of a treatise on logic,
while in the time of Photius some reckoned the tract Quis dives
salvetur as the eighth book (Photius, Cod. 111). There thus exists no
uniform tradition as to the character of the lost book, and the
suggestion of Westcott seems plausible, that at an early date the
logical introduction to the Hypotyposes was separated from the
remainder of the work, and added to some mss. of the Stromata as an
eighth book. If this be true, the Stromata consisted originally of only
seven books, and hence we now have the whole work (with the exception
of a fragment lost at the beginning). The name Stromateis, ”patchwork,”
sufficiently indicates the character of the work. It is without
methodical arrangement, containing a heterogeneous mixture of science,
philosophy, poetry, and theology, and yet is animated by one idea
throughout,–that Christianity satisfies the highest intellectual
desires of man,–and hence the work is intended in some sense as a
guide to the deeper knowledge of Christianity, the knowledge to be
sought after by the ”true Gnostic.” It is full of rich thoughts mingled
with worthless crudities, and, like nearly all of Clement’s works,
abounds in wide and varied learning, not always fully digested. The
date at which the work was composed may be gathered from a passage in
Bk. I. chap. 21, where a list of the Roman emperors is closed with a
mention of Commodus, the exact length of whose reign is given, showing
that he was already dead, but also showing apparently that his
successor was still living. This would lead us to put the composition
at least of the first book in the first quarter of the year 193. It
might of course be said that Pertinax and Didius Julianus are omitted
in this list because of the brevity of their reigns, and this is
possible, since in his own list he gives the reigns of the emperors
simply by years, omitting Otho and Vitellius. The other list which he
quotes, however, gives every emperor, with the number of years, months,
and even days of each reign, so that there is no reason, at least in
that list, for the omission of Pertinax and Didius Julianus. It seems
probable that, under the influence of that exact list, and of the
recentness of the reigns of the two emperors named, Clement can hardly
have omitted them if they had already ruled. We can say with absolute
certainty, however, only that the work was written after 192. Clement
left Alexandria in 202, or before, and this, as well as the rest of his
works, was written in all probability before that time at the latest.
The standard edition of Clement’s works is that of Potter, Oxford,
1715, in two vols. (reprinted in Migne’s Patr. Gr., Vols. VIII. and
IX.). Complete English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Amer.
ed., Vol. II. On his writings, see especially Westcott’s article in the
Dict. of Christ. Biog. and for the literature on the subject Schaff’s
Ch. Hist. II. 781.

[1842] The Hypotyposes (hupotuposeis), or Outlines (Eusebius calls them
hoi epigegrammenoi hupotuposeon autou logoi), are no longer extant,
though fragments have been preserved. The work (which was in eight
books, according to this passage) is referred to by Eusebius, in Bk. I.
chap. 12 (the fifth book), in Bk. II. chap. 1 (the sixth and seventh
books), in Bk. II. chaps. 9 and 23 (the seventh book), chap. 15 (the
sixth book), in Bk. V. chap. 11, and in Bk. VI. chap. 14 (the book not
specified). Most of these extracts are of a historical character, but
have to do (most of them, not all) with the apostolic age, or the New
Testament. We are told in chap. 14 that the work contained abridged
accounts of all the Scriptures, but Photius (Cod. 109) says that it
seems to have dealt only with Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms,
Ecclesiastes, the epistles of Paul, and the Catholic epistles (ho de
holos skopos hosanei hermeneiai tunchEURnousi tes Gegeseos k.t.l.).
Besides the detached quotations there are extant three series of
extracts which are supposed to have been taken from the Hypotyposes.
These are The Summaries from Theodotus, The Prophetic Selections, and
the Outlines on the Catholic Epistles. On these fragments, which are
very corrupt and desultory, see Westcott in the Dict. of Christ. Biog.
They discuss all sorts of doctrines, and contain the interpretations of
the most various schools, and it is not always clearly stated whether
Clement himself adopts the opinion given, or whether he is simply
quoting from another for the purpose of refuting him. Photius condemns
parts of the Hypotyposes severely, but it seems, from these extracts
which we have, that he may have read the work, full as it was of the
heretical opinions of other men and schools, without distinguishing
Clement’s own opinions from those of others, and that thus he may
carelessly have attributed to him all the wild notions which he
mentions. These extracts as well as the various references of Eusebius
show that the work, like most of the others which Clement wrote,
covered a great deal of ground, and included discussions of a great
many collateral subjects. It does not seem, in fact, to have been much
more systematic than the Instructor or even the Stromata. It seems to
have been intended as a part of the great series, of which the
Exhortation, Instructor, and Stromata were the first three. If so, it
followed them. We have no means of ascertaining its date more exactly.

[1843] Pantaenus, see above, Bk. V. chap. 10, note 1.

[1844] The Exhortation to the Greeks (ho logos protreptikos pros
;’Ellenas), the first of the series of three works mentioned in note 2,
is still extant in its entirety. It is called by Jerome (de vir. ill.
chap. 38) Adversus Gentes, liber unus, but, as Westcott remarks, it was
addressed not to the Gentiles in general, but to the Greeks, as its
title and its contents alike indicate. The general aim of the book is
to ”prove the superiority of Christianity to the religions and
philosophies of heathendom,” and thus to lead the unbeliever to accept
it. It is full of Greek mythology and speculation, and exhibits, as
Schaff says, almost a waste of learning. It was written before the
Instructor, as we learn from a reference to it in the latter (chap. 1).
It is stated above (Bk. V. chap. 28, S:4), by the anonymous writer
against the Artemonites, that Clement wrote (at least some of his
works) before the time of Victor of Rome (i.e. before 192 a.d.), and
hence Westcott concludes that this work was written about 190, which
cannot be far out of the way.

[1845] The Instructor (ho paidagogos, or, as Eusebius calls it here,
treis te oi tou epigegrammenou paidagogou), is likewise extant, in
three books. The work is chiefly of a moral and practical character,
designed to furnish the new convert with rules for the proper conduct
of his life over against the prevailing immoralities of the heathen.
Its date is approximately fixed by the fact that it was written after
the Exhortation to which it refers, and before the Stromata, which
refers to it (see Strom. VI. 1).

[1846] The Quis Dives Salvetur? as it is called (tis ho sozomenos
plousios), is a brief tract, discussing the words of Christ in Mark x.
17 sqq. It is still extant, and contains the beautiful story of John
and the robber, quoted by Eusebius in Bk. III. chap. 23. It is an
eloquent and able work; and when compared with the prevailing notions
of the Church of his day, its teaching is remarkably wise and
temperate. It is moderately ascetic, but goes to no extremes, and in
this furnishes a pleasing contrast to the writings of most of the
Fathers of Clement’s time.

[1847] to peri tou pEURscha sungramma. This work is no longer extant,
nor had Photius seen it, although he reports that he had heard of it.
Two fragments of it are found in the Chronicon Paschale, and are given
by Potter. The work was composed, according to S:9, below, at the
instigation of friends, who urged him to commit to writing the
traditions which he had received from the ancient presbyters. From Bk.
IV. chap. 26, we learn that it was written in reply to Melito’s work on
the same subject (see notes 5 and 23 on that chapter); and hence we may
conclude that it was undertaken at the solicitation of friends who
desired to see the arguments presented by Melito, as a representative
of the Quartodeciman practice, refined. The date of the work we have no
means of ascertaining, for Melito’s work was written early in the
sixties (see ibid.).

[1848] dialexeis peri nesteias kai peri katalalias. Photius knew both
these works by report (the second under the title peri kakologias), but
had not seen them. Jerome calls the first de jejunio disceptatio, the
second de obtrectatione liber unus. Neither of them is now extant; but
fragments of the second have been preserved, and are given by Potter.

[1849] ho protreptikos eis hupomonen e pros tous neosti bebaptismenous.
This work is mentioned neither by Jerome nor by Photius, nor has any
vestige of it been preserved, so far as we know.

[1850] ho epigegrammenos kanon ekklesiastikos, e pros tous
‘Ioudaizontas. Jerome: de canonibus ecclesiasticis, et adversum eos,
qui Judaeorum sequuntur errorum. Photius mentions the work; calling it
peri kanonon ekklesiastikon, but he had not himself seen it. It is no
longer extant, but a few fragments have been preserved, and are given
by Potter. Danz (De Eusebio, p. 90) refers to Clement’s Stromata, lib.
VI. p. 803, ed. Potter, where he says that ”the ecclesiastical canon is
the agreement or disagreement of the law and the prophets with the
testament given at the coming of Christ.” Danz concludes accordingly
that in this work Clement wished to show to those who believed that the
teaching of the law and the prophets was not only different from, but
superior to the teachings of the Christian faith,–that is, to the
Judaizers,–that the writers of the Old and New Testaments were in full
harmony. This might do, were it not for the fact that the work is
directed not against Jews, but against Judaizers, i.e. Judaizing
Christians. A work to prove the Old and New Testament in harmony with
each other could hardly have been addressed to such persons, who must
have believed them in harmony before they became Christians. The truth
is, the phrase kanon ekklesiastikos is used by the Fathers with a great
variety of meanings, and the fact that Clement used it in one sense in
one of his works by no means proves that he always used it in the same
sense. It is more probable that the work was devoted to a discussion of
certain practices or modes of living in which the Judaizers differed
from the rest of the Church Catholic, perhaps in respect to feasts
(might a reference to the Quartodeciman practice have been perhaps
included?), fasts and other ascetic practices, observance of the Jewish
Sabbaths, &c. This use of the word in the sense of regula was very
common (see Suicer’s Thesaurus). The work was dedicated, according to
Eusebius, to the bishop Alexander, mentioned above in chap. 8 and
elsewhere. This is sufficient evidence that it was written considerably
later than the three great works already referred to. Alexander was a
student of Clement’s; and since he was likewise a fellow-pupil of
Origen’s (see chap. 8, note 6), his student days under Clement must
have extended at least nearly to the time when Clement left Alexandria
(i.e. in or before 202. a.d.). But Clement of course cannot have
dedicated a work to him while he was still his pupil, and in fact we
shall be safe in saying that Alexander must have gained some prominence
before Clement would be led to dedicate a work to him. We think
naturally of the period which Clement spent with him while he was in
prison and before he became bishop of Jerusalem (see chap. 11). It is
quite possible that Clement’s residence in Cappadocia with Alexander
had given him such an acquaintance with Judaizing heresies and
practices that he felt constrained to write against them, and at the
same time had given him such an affection for Alexander that he
dedicated his work to him.

[1851] Literally, ”made a spreading” (katEURstrosin pepoietai).
Eusebius here plays upon the title of the work (Stromateis).

[1852] See note 2.

[1853] antilegomenon graphon. On the Antilegomena, see Bk. III. chap
25, note 1.

[1854] The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Sirach were two Old
Testament apocryphal books. The Church of the first three centuries
made, on the whole, no essential difference between the books of the
Hebrew canon and the Apocrypha. We find the Fathers, almost without
exception, quoting from both indiscriminately. It is true that
catalogues were made by Melito, Origen, Athanasius, and others, which
separated the Apocrypha from the books of the Hebrew canon; but this
represented theory simply, not practice, and did not prevent even
themselves from using both classes as Scripture. Augustine went so far
as to obliterate completely all distinction between the two, in theory
as well as in practice. The only one of the early Fathers to make a
decided stand against the Apocrypha was Jerome; but he was not able to
change the common view, and the Church continued (as the Catholic
Church continues still) to use them all (with a few minor exceptions)
as Holy Scripture.

[1855] On the Epistle to the Hebrews, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17.

[1856] On the Epistle of Barnabas, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 20.

[1857] The Epistle of Clement, see Bk. III. chap. 16, note 1.

[1858] On the Epistle of Jude, see Bk. II. chap. 23, note 47.

[1859] On Tatian and his works, see Bk. IV. chap. 29, note 1.

[1860] This Cassianus is mentioned twice by Clement: once in Strom. I.
21, where Clement engages in a chronological study for the purpose of
showing that the wisdom of the Hebrews is older than that of the
Greeks, and refers to Cassian’s Exegetica and Tatian’s Address to the
Greeks as containing discussions of the same subject; again in Strom.
III. 13 sqq., where he is said to have been the founder of the sect of
the Docetae, and to have written a work, De continentia or De castitate
(peri enkrateias e peri eunouchias), in which he condemned marriage.
Here, too, he is associated with Tatian. He seems from these references
to have been, like Tatian, an apologist for Christianity, and also like
him to have gone off into an extreme asceticism, which the Church
pronounced heretical (see Bk. IV. chap. 29, note 4). Whether he was
personally connected with Tatian, or is mentioned with him by Clement
simply because his views were similar, we do not know, nor can we fix
the date at which he lived. Neither of his works referred to by Clement
is now extant. Jerome (de vir. ill. chap. 38) mentions the work which
Eusebius speaks of here, but says that he had not been able to find a
copy of it. It is called by Clement, in the passage referred to here by
Eusebius, ‘Exegetikoi, and so Eusebius calls it in his Praef. Evang. X.
12, where he quotes from Clement. But here he speaks of it as a
chronographia, and Jerome transcribes the word without translating it.
We can gather from Clement’s words (Strom. I. 21) that the work of
Cassianus dealt largely with chronology, and hence Eusebius’ reference
to it under the name chronographia is quite legitimate.

[1861] On Philo and his works, see Bk. II. chaps. 4, 5, 17 and 18.

[1862] The Aristobulus referred to here was an Alexandrian Jew and
Peripatetic philosopher (see the passages in Clement and Eusebius
referred to below), who lived in the second century b.c., and was the
author of Commentaries upon the Mosaic Law, the chief object of which
was to prove that Greek philosophy was borrowed from the books of Moses
(see Clement, Strom. V. 14, who refers only to Peripatetic philosophy,
which is too narrow). The work is referred to by Clement of Alexandria
(in his Stromata, I. 15; V. 14; VI. 3, &c.), by Eusebius (in his Praep.
Evang. VII. 14; VIII. 9, 10; XIII. 12, &c.), by Anatolius (as quoted by
Eusebius below, in Bk. VII. chap. 32), and by other Fathers. The work
is no longer extant, but Eusebius gives two considerable fragments of
it in his Praep. Evang. VIII. 10, and XIII. 12. See Schuerer’s Gesch.
d. juedischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu, II. p. 760 sq. Schuerer
maintains the authenticity of the work against the attacks of many
modern critics.

[1863] On Josephus and his works, see Bk. III. chap. 9.

[1864] Demetrius was a Grecian Jew, who wrote, toward the close of the
third century b.c., a History of Israel, based upon the Scripture
records, and with especial reference to chronology. Demetrius is
mentioned by Josephus (who, however, wrongly makes him a heathen;
contra Apionem, I. 23), by Clement of Alexandria, and by Eusebius. His
work is no longer extant, but fragments of it are preserved by Clement
(Strom. I. 21) and by Eusebius (Praep. Evang. IX. 21 and 29). See
Schuerer, ibid. p. 730 sq.

[1865] Eupolymus was also a Jewish historian, who wrote about the
middle of the second century b.c., and is possibly to be identified
with the Eupolymus mentioned in 1 Macc. viii. 17. He wrote a History of
the Jews, which is referred to under various titles by those that
mention it, and which has consequently been resolvent into three
separate works by many scholars, but without warrant, as Schuerer has
shown. The work, like that of Aristobulus, was clearly designed to show
the dependence of Greek philosophy upon Hebrew wisdom (see Clement’s
Strom. I. 23). It is no longer extant, but fragments have been
preserved by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. I. 21, which gives us data
for reckoning the time at which Eupolymus wrote, and I. 23) and by
Eusebius (Praep. Evang. IX. 17, 26, 30-34, and probably 39). See
Schuerer ibid. p. 732 sq.

[1866] Eusebius is apparently still referring to Clement’s Stromata. In
saying that Clement hon en to proto peri heautou deloi hos zngista tes
ton apostolon genomenou diadoches, he was perhaps thinking of the
passage in Strom. I. 1, where Clement says, ”They [i.e. his teachers],
preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine, derived directly from
the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it
from the fathers (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to
us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds.” Clement in
this passage does not mean to assert that his teachers were immediate
disciples of the apostles, but only that they received the traditions
of the apostles in direct descent from their immediate disciples.
Eusebius’ words are a little ambiguous, but they seem to imply that he
thought that Clement was a pupil of immediate disciples of the
apostles, which Clement does not assert in this passage, and can hardly
have asserted in any passage, for he was in all probability born too
late to converse with those who had seen any of the apostles.

[1867] In his Stromata (VI. 18) Clement refers to a work on the origin
of the world, which was probably to form a part of his work On
Principles. This is perhaps the reference of which Eusebius is thinking
when he says that Clement in the Stromata promises eis ten Genesin
hupomnematieisthein. If so, Eusebius’ words, which imply that Clement
promised to write a commentary on Genesis, are misleading.

[1868] On this work, see note 8.

Chapter XIV.–The Scriptures mentioned by Him.

1. To sum up briefly, he has given in the Hypotyposes [1869] abridged
accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books,
[1870] –I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas
[1871] and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter. [1872]

2. He says that the Epistle to the Hebrews [1873] is the work of Paul,
and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that
Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence
the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts.

3. But he says that the words, Paul the Apostle, were probably not
prefixed, because, in sending it to the Hebrews, who were prejudiced
and suspicious of him, he wisely did not wish to repel them at the very
beginning by giving his name.

4. Farther on he says: ”But now, as the blessed presbyter said, since
the Lord being the apostle of the Almighty, was sent to the Hebrews,
Paul, as sent to the Gentiles, on account of his modesty did not
subscribe himself an apostle of the Hebrews, through respect for the
Lord, and because being a herald and apostle of the Gentiles he wrote
to the Hebrews out of his superabundance.”

5. Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the
earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following

6. The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first.
The Gospel according to Mark [1874] had this occasion. As Peter had
preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the
Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him
for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And
having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it.

7. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor
encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external
[1875] facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his
friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”
[1876] This is the account of Clement.

8. Again the above-mentioned Alexander, [1877] in a certain letter to
Origen, refers to Clement, and at the same time to Pantaenus, as being
among his familiar acquaintances. He writes as follows:

”For this, as thou knowest, was the will of God, that the ancestral
friendship existing between us should remain unshaken; nay, rather
should be warmer and stronger.

9. For we know well those blessed fathers who have trodden the way
before us, with whom we shall soon be; [1878] Pantaenus, the truly
blessed man and master, and the holy Clement, my master and benefactor,
and if there is any other like them, through whom I became acquainted
with thee, the best in everything, my master and brother.” [1879]

10. So much for these matters. But Adamantius, [1880] –for this also
was a name of Origen,–when Zephyrinus [1881] was bishop of Rome,
visited Rome, ”desiring,” as he himself somewhere says, ”to see the
most ancient church of Rome.”

11. After a short stay there he returned to Alexandria. And he
performed the duties of catechetical instruction there with great zeal;
Demetrius, who was bishop there at that time, urging and even
entreating him to work diligently for the benefit of the brethren.

[1869] See the previous chapter, note 3.

[1870] On the Antilegomena of Eusebius, and on the New Testament canon
in general, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 1.

[1871] On the Epistle of Barnabas, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 20.

[1872] On the Apocalypse of Peter, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 9.

[1873] On the Epistle to the Hebrews, see above, Bk. III. chap. 3, note

[1874] On the composition of the Gospel of Mark, see Bk. II. chap. 15,
note 4, and with this statement of Clement as to Peter’s attitude
toward its composition, compare the words of Eusebius in S:2 of that
chapter, and see the note upon the passage (note 5).

[1875] ta somatikEUR.

[1876] See Bk. III. chap. 24, note 7.

[1877] Mentioned already in chaps. 8 and 11.

[1878] We see from this sentence that at the time of the writing of
this epistle both Pantaenus and Clement were dead. The latter was still
alive when Alexander wrote to the Antiochenes (see chap. 11), i.e.
about the year 211 (see note 5 on that chapter). How much longer he
lived we cannot tell. The epistle referred to here must of course have
been written at any rate subsequent to the year 211, and hence while
Alexander was bishop of Jerusalem. The expression ”with whom we shall
soon be” (pros hous met’ oligon esometha) seems to imply that the
epistle was written when Alexander and Origen were advanced in life,
but this cannot be pressed.

[1879] It is from this passage that we gather that Alexander was a
student of Clement’s and a fellow-pupil of Origen’s (see chap. 8, note
6, and chap. 2, note 1). The epistle does not state this directly, but
the conclusion seems sufficiently obvious.

[1880] The name Adamantius (‘AdamEURntios from adEURmas
unconquerable,hence hard, adamantine) is said by Jerome (Ep. ad Paulam,
S:3; Migne’s ed. Ep. XXXIII.) to have been given him on account of his
untiring industry, by Photius (Cod. 118) on account of the invincible
force of his arguments, and by Epiphanius (Haer. LXIV. 74) to have been
vainly adopted by himself. But Eusebius’ simple statement at this point
looks rather as if Adamantius was a second name which belonged to
Origen from the beginning, and had no reference to his character. We
know that two names were very common in that age. This opinion is
adopted by Tillemont, Redepenning, Westcott, and others, although many
still hold the opposite view. Another name, Chalcenterus, given to him
by Jerome in the epistle already referred to, was undoubtedly, as we
can see from the context, applied to him by Jerome, because of his
resemblance to Didymus of Alexandria (who bore that surname) in his
immense industry as an author.

[1881] On Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome, see Bk. V. chap. 28, note 5. He
was bishop from about 198, or 199, to 217. This gives considerable
range for the date of Origen’s visit to Rome, which we have no means of
fixing with exactness. There is no reason for supposing that Eusebius
is incorrect in putting it among the events occurring during
Caracalla’s reign (211-217). On the other hand, it must have taken
place before the year 216, for in that year Origen went to Palestine
(see chap. 19, note 23) and remained there some time. Whether Origen’s
visit was undertaken simply from the desire to see the church of Rome,
as Eusebius says, or in connection with matters of business, we cannot

[1882] On Demetrius’ relations to Origen, see chap. 8, note 4.

Chapter XV.–Heraclas. [1883]

1. But when he saw that he had not time for the deeper study of divine
things, and for the investigation and interpretation of the Sacred
Scriptures, and also for the instruction of those who came to him,–for
coming, one after another, from morning till evening to be taught by
him, they scarcely gave him time to breathe,–he divided the multitude.
And from those whom he knew well, he selected Heraclas, who was a
zealous student of divine things, and in other respects a very learned
man, not ignorant of philosophy, and made him his associate in the work
of instruction. He entrusted to him the elementary training of
beginners, but reserved for himself the teaching of those who were
farther advanced.

[1883] On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2.

Chapter XVI.–Origen’s Earnest Study of the Divine Scriptures.

1. So earnest and assiduous was Origen’s research into the divine words
that he learned the Hebrew language, [1884] and procured as his own the
original Hebrew Scriptures which were in the hands of the Jews. He
investigated also the works of other translators of the Sacred
Scriptures besides the Seventy. [1885] And in addition to the
well-known translations of Aquila, [1886] Symmachus, [1887] and
Theodotion, [1888] he discovered certain others which had been
concealed from remote times,–in what out-of-the-way corners I know
not,–and by his search he brought them to light. [1889]

2. Since he did not know the authors, he simply stated that he had
found this one in Nicopolis near Actium [1890] and that one in some
other place.

3. In the Hexapla [1891] of the Psalms, after the four prominent
translations, he adds not only a fifth, but also a sixth and seventh.
[1892] He states of one of these that he found it in a jar in Jericho
in the time of Antoninus, the son of Severus.

4. Having collected all of these, he divided them into sections, and
placed them opposite each other, with the Hebrew text itself. He thus
left us the copies of the so-called Hexapla. He arranged also
separately an edition of Aquila and Symmachus and Theodotion with the
Septuagint, in the Tetrapla. [1893]

[1884] Origen’s study of the Hebrew, which, according to Jerome (de
vir. ill. chap. 54), was ”contrary to the custom of his day and race,”
is not at all surprising. He felt that he needed some knowledge of it
as a basis for his study of the Scriptures to which he had devoted
himself, and also as a means of comparing the Hebrew and Greek texts of
the Old Testament, a labor which he regarded as very important for
polemical purposes. As to his familiarity with the Hebrew it is now
universally conceded that it was by no means so great as was formerly
supposed. He seems to have learned only about enough to enable him to
identify the Hebrew which corresponded with the Greek texts which he
used, and even in this he often makes mistakes. He sometimes confesses
openly his lack of critical and independent knowledge of the Hebrew
(e.g. Hom. in Num. XIV. 1; XVI. 4). He often makes blunders which seem
absurd, and yet in many cases he shows considerable knowledge in regard
to peculiar forms and idioms. His Hebrew learning was clearly
fragmentary and acquired from various sources. Cf. Redepenning, I. p.
365 sq.

[1885] On the LXX, see Bk. V. chap. 8, note 31.

[1886] Aquila is first mentioned by Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. III. 21. 1,
quoted by Eusebius, Bk. V. chap. 8, above), who calls him a Jewish
proselyte of Pontus; Epiphanius says of Sinope in Pontus. Tradition is
uniform that he was a Jewish proselyte, and that he lived in the time
of Hadrian, or in the early part of the second century according to
Rabbinic tradition. He produced a Greek translation of the Old
Testament, which was very slavish in its adherence to the original,
sacrificing the Greek idiom to the Hebrew without mercy, and even
violating the grammatical structure of the former for the sake of
reproducing the exact form of the latter. Because of its faithfulness
to the original, it was highly prized by the Rabbinic authorities, and
became more popular among the Jews in general than the LXX. (On the
causes of the waning popularity of the latter, see note 8, below.)
Neither Aquila’s version, nor the two following, are now extant; but
numerous fragments have been preserved by those Fathers who saw and
used Origen’s Hexapla.

[1887] Symmachus is said by Eusebius, in the next chapter, to have been
an Ebionite; and Jerome agrees with him (Comment. in Hab., lib. II. c.
3), though the testimony of the latter is weakened by the fact that he
wrongly makes Theodotion also an Ebionite (see next note). It has been
claimed that Symmachus was a Jew, not a Christian; but Eusebius’ direct
statement is too strong to be set aside, and is corroborated by certain
indications in the version itself, e.g. in Dan. ix. 26, where the word
christos, which Aquila avoids, is used. The composition of his version
is assigned by Epiphanius and the Chron. paschale to the reign of
Septimius Severus (193-211); and although not much reliance is to be
placed upon their statements, still they must be about right in this
case, for that Symmachus’ version is younger than Irenaeus is rendered
highly probable by the latter’s omission of it where he refers to those
of Theodotion and Aquila; and, on the other hand, it must of course
have been composed before Origen began his Hexapla. Symmachus’ version
is distinguished from Aquila’s by the purity of its Greek and its
freedom from Hebraisms. The author’s effort was not slavishly to
reproduce the original, but to make an elegant and idiomatic Greek
translation, and in this he succeeded very well, being excellently
versed in both languages, though he sometimes sacrificed the exact
sense of the Hebrew, and occasionally altered it under the influence of
dogmatic prepossessions. The version is spoken very highly of by
Jerome, and was used freely by him in the composition of the Vulgate.
For further particulars in regard to Symmachus’ version, see the Dict.
of Christ. Biog. III. p. 19 sq.

[1888] It has been disputed whether Theodotion was a Jew or a
Christian. Jerome (de vir. ill. 54, and elsewhere) calls him an
Ebionite; in his Ep. ad Augustin. c. 19 (Migne’s ed. Ep. 112), a Jew;
while in the preface to his commentary on Daniel he says that some
called him an Ebionite, qui altero genere Judaeus est. Irenaeus (Adv.
Haer. III. 21. 1) and Epiphanius (de mens. et pond. 17) say that he was
a Jewish proselyte, which is probably true. The reports in regard to
his nationality are conflicting. The time at which he lived is
disputed. The Chron. paschale assigns him to the reign of Commodus, and
Epiphanius may also be urged in support of that date, though he commits
a serious blunder in making a second Commodus, and is thus led into
great confusion. But Theodotion, as well as Aquila, is mentioned by
Irenaeus, and hence must be pushed back well into the second century.
It has been discovered, too, that Hermas used his version (see Hort’s
article in the Johns Hopkins University Circular, December, 1884),
which obliges us to throw it back still further, and Schuerer has
adduced some very strong reasons for believing it older than Aquila’s
version (see Schuerer’s Gesch. d. Juden im Zeitalter Jesu, II. p. 709).
Theodotion’s version, like Aquila’s, was intended to reproduce the
Hebrew more exactly than the LXX did. It is based upon the LXX,
however, which it corrects by the Hebrew, and therefore resembles the
former much more closely than Theodotion’s does. We have no notices of
the use of this version by the Jews. Aquila’s version (supposing it
younger than Theodotion’s) seems to have superseded it entirely.
Theodotion’s translation of Daniel, however, was accepted by the
Christians, instead of the LXX Daniel, and replacing the latter in all
the mss. of the LXX, has been preserved entire. Aside from this we have
only such fragments as have been preserved by the Fathers that saw and
used the Hexapla. It will be seen that the order in which Eusebius
mentions the three versions here is not chronological. He simply
follows the order in which they stand in Origen’s Hexapla (see below,
note 8). Epiphanius is led by that order to make Theodotion’s version
later than the other, which is quite a mistake, as has been seen. For
further particulars in regard to the versions of Aquila and Theodotion,
and for the literature of the subject, see Schuerer, ibid. p. 704 sq.

[1889] We know very little about these anonymous Greek versions of the
Old Testament. Eusebius’ words (”which had been concealed from remote
times,” ton pEURlai lanthanousas chronon) would lead us to think them
older than the versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. One of
them, Eusebius tells us, was found at Nicopolis near Actium, another in
a jar at Jericho, but where the third was discovered he did not know.
Jerome (in his Prologus in expos. Cant. Cant. sec. Originem; Origen’s
works, ed. Lommatzsch, XIV. 235) reports that the ”fifth edition”
(quinta editio) was found in Actio litore; but Epiphanius, who seems to
be speaking with more exact knowledge than Jerome, says that the
”fifth” was discovered at Jericho and the ”sixth” in Nicopolis, near
Actium (De mens. et pond. 18). Jerome calls the authors of the ”fifth”
and ”sixth” Judaicos translatores, which according to his own usage
might mean either Jews or Jewish Christians (see Redepenning, p. 165),
and at any rate the author of the ”sixth” was a Christian, as is clear
from his rendering of Heb. iii. 13: exelthes tou sosai ton laon sou dia
‘Iesou tou christou. The ”fifth” is quoted by Origen on the Psalms,
Proverbs, Song of Songs, minor prophets, Kings, &c.; the ”sixth,” on
the Psalms, Song of Songs, and Habakkuk, according to Field, the latest
editor of the Hexapla. Whether these versions were fragmentary, or were
used only in these particular passages for special reasons, we do not
know. Of the ”seventh” no clear traces can be discovered, but it must
have been used for the Psalms at any rate, as we see from this chapter.
As to the time when these versions were found we are doubtless to
assign the discovery of the one at Nicopolis near Actium to the visit
made by Origen to Greece in 231 (see below, p. 396). Epiphanius, who in
the present case seems to be speaking with more than customary
accuracy, puts its discovery into the time of the emperor Alexander
(222-235). The other one, which Epiphanius calls the ”fifth,” was
found, according to him, in the seventh year of Caracalla’s reign (217)
”in jars at Jericho.” We know that at this time Origen was in Palestine
(see chap. 19, note 23), and hence Epiphanius’ report may well be
correct. If it is, he has good reason for calling the latter the
”fifth,” and the former the ”sixth.” The place and time of the
discovery of the ”seventh” are alike unknown. For further particulars
in regard to these versions, see the prolegomena to Field’s edition of
the Hexapla, the article Hexapla in the Dict. of Christ. Biog., and
Redepenning, II. 164 sq.

[1890] Nicopolis near Actium, so designated to distinguish it from a
number of other cities bearing the same name, was a city of Epirus,
lying on the northern shore of the Ambracian gulf, opposite the
promontory of Actium.

[1891] Origen’s Hexapla (ta hexapla, to hexaploun, to hexaselidon, the
first form being used by Eusebius in this chapter) was a polyglot Old
Testament containing the Hebrew text, a transliteration of it in Greek
letters (important because the Hebrew text was unpointed), the versions
of Aquila, of Symmachus, of the LXX, and of Theodotion, arranged in six
columns in the order named, with the addition in certain places of a
fifth, sixth, and even seventh Greek version (see Jerome’s description
of it, in his Commentary on Titus, chap. 3, ver. 9). The parts which
contained these latter versions were sometimes called Octapla (they
seem never to have borne the name nonapla.) The order of the columns
was determined by the fact that Aquila’s version most closely resembled
the Hebrew, and hence was put next to it, followed by Symmachus’
version, which was based directly upon the Hebrew, but was not so
closely conformed to it; while Theodotion’s version, which was based
not upon the Hebrew, but upon the LXX, naturally followed the latter.
Origen’s object in undertaking this great work was not scientific, but
polemic; it was not for the sake of securing a correct Hebrew text, but
for the purpose of furnishing adequate means for the reconstruction of
the original text of the LXX, which in his day was exceedingly corrupt.
It was Origen’s belief, and he was not alone in his opinion (cf. Justin
Martyr’s Dial. with Trypho, chap. 71), that the Hebrew Old Testament
had been seriously altered by the Jews, and that the LXX (an inspired
translation, as it was commonly held to be by the Christians) alone
represented the true form of Scripture. For two centuries before and
more than a century after Christ the LXX stood in high repute among the
Jews, even in Palestine, and outside of Palestine had almost completely
taken the place of the original Hebrew. Under the influence of its
universal use among the Jews the Christians adopted it, and looked upon
it as inspired Scripture just as truly as if it had been in the
original tongue. Early in the second century (as Schuerer points out)
various causes were at work to lessen its reputation among the Jews.
Chief among these were first, the growing conservative reaction against
all non-Hebraic culture, which found its culmination in the Rabbinic
schools of the second century; and second, the ever-increasing
hostility to Christianity. The latter cause tended to bring the LXX
into disfavor with the Jews, because it was universally employed by the
Christians, and was cited in favor of Christian doctrines in many cases
where it differed from the Hebrew text, which furnished less support to
the particular doctrine defended. It was under the influence of this
reaction against the LXX, which undoubtedly began even before the
second century, that the various versions already mentioned took their
rise. Aquila especially aimed to keep the Hebrew text as pure as
possible, while making it accessible to the Greek-speaking Jews, who
had hitherto been obliged to rely upon the LXX. It will be seen that
the Christians and the Jews, who originally accepted the same
Scriptures, would gradually draw apart, the one party still holding to
the LXX, the other going back to the original; and the natural
consequence of this was that the Jews taunted the Christians with using
only a translation which did not agree with the original, and therefore
was of no authority, while the Christians, on the other hand, accused
the Jews of falsifyng their Scriptures, which should agree with the
more pure and accurate LXX. Under these circumstances, Origen conceived
the idea that it would be of great advantage to the Christians, in
their polemics against the Jews, to know more accurately than they did
the true form of the LXX text, and the extent and nature of its
variations from the Hebrew. As the matter stood everything was
indefinite, for no one knew to exactly what extent the two differed,
and no one knew, in the face of the numerous variant texts, the precise
form of the LXX itself (cf. Redepenning, II. p. 156 sq.). The Hebrew
text given by Origen seems to have been the vulgar text, and to have
differed little from that in use to-day. With the LXX it was different.
Here Origen made a special effort to ascertain the most correct text,
and did not content himself with giving simply one of the numerous
texts extant, for he well knew that all were more or less corrupt. But
his method was not to throw out of the text all passages not well
supported by the various witnesses, but rather to enrich the text from
all available sources, thus making it as full as possible. Wherever,
therefore, the Hebrew contained a passage omitted in the LXX, he
inserted in the latter the translation of the passage, taken from one
of the other versions, marking the addition with ”obeli”; and wherever,
on the other hand, the fullest LXX text which he had contained more
than the Hebrew and the other versions combined, he allowed the
redundant passage to stand, but marked it with asterisks. The Hexapla
as a whole seems never to have been reproduced, but the LXX text as
contained in the fifth column was multiplied many times, especially
under the direction of Pamphilus and Eusebius (who had the original ms.
at Caesarea), and this recension came into common use. It will be seen
that Origen’s process must have wrought great confusion in the text of
the LXX; for future copyists, in reproducing the text given by Origen,
would be prone to neglect the critical signs, and give the whole as the
correct form of the LXX; and critical editors to-day find it very
difficult to reach even the form of the LXX text used by Origen. The
Hexapla is no longer extant. When the Caesarean ms. of it perished we
do not know. Jerome saw it, and made large use of it, but after his
time we have no further trace of it, and it probably perished with the
rest of the Caesarean library before the end of the seventh century,
perhaps considerably earlier. Numerous editions have been published of
the fragments of the Hexapla, taken from the works of the Fathers, from
Scholia in mss. of the LXX, and from a Syriac version of the Hexaplar
LXX, which is still in large part extant. The best edition is that of
Field, in two vols., Oxford, 1875. His prolegomena contain the fullest
and most accurate information in regard to the Hexapla. Comp. also
Taylor’s article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog., and Redepenning, II. p.
156 sq. Origen seems to have commenced his great work in Alexandria.
This is implied by the account of Eusebius, and is stated directly by
Epiphanius (Haer. LXIV. 3), who says that this was the first work which
he undertook at the solicitation of Ambrose (see chap. 18). We may
accept this as in itself quite probable, for there could be no better
foundation for his exegetical labors than just such a piece of critical
work, and the numerous scribes furnished him by Ambrose (see chap. 18)
may well have devoted themselves largely to this very work, as
Redepenning remarks. But the work was by no means completed at once.
The time of his discovery of the other versions of the Old Testament
(see above, note 6) in itself shows that he continued his labor upon
the great edition for many years (the late discovery of these versions
may perhaps explain the fact that he did not use them in connection
with all the books of the Old Testament?); and Epiphanius (de mens. et
pond. 18) says that he was engaged upon it for twenty-eight years, and
completed it at Tyre. This is quite likely, and will explain the fact
that the ms. of the work remained in the Caesarean library. Field,
however, maintains that our sources do not permit us to fix the time or
place either of the commencement or of the completion of the work with
any degree of accuracy (see p. xlviii. sq.).

[1892] Valesius remarks that there is an inconsistency here, and that
it should be said ”not only a fifth and sixth, but also a seventh.” All
the mss. and versions, however, support the reading of the text, and we
must therefore suppose the inconsistency (if there is one, which is
doubtful) to be Eusebius’ own, not that of a scribe.

[1893] Greek: en tois tetraplois epikataskeuEURsas. The last word
indicates that the Tetrapla was prepared after, not before, the Hexapla
(cf. Valesius in hoc loco), and Redepenning (p. 175 sq.) gives other
satisfactory reasons for this conclusion. The design seems to have been
simply to furnish a convenient abridgment of larger work, fitted for
those who did not read Hebrew; that is, for the great majority of
Christians, even scholars.

Chapter XVII.–The Translator Symmachus. [1894]

As to these translators it should be stated that Symmachus was an
Ebionite. But the heresy of the Ebionites, as it is called, asserts
that Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary, considering him a mere man,
and insists strongly on keeping the law in a Jewish manner, as we have
seen already in this history. [1895] Commentaries of Symmachus are
still extant in which he appears to support this heresy by attacking
the Gospel of Matthew. [1896] Origen states that he obtained these and
other commentaries of Symmachus on the Scriptures from a certain
Juliana, [1897] who, he says, received the books by inheritance from
Symmachus himself.

[1894] On Symmachus, see the previous chapter, note 4.

[1895] In Bk. III. chap. 27. For a discussion of Ebionism, see the
notes on that chapter.

[1896] On the attitude of the Ebionites toward the Canonical Gospel of
Matthew (to which of course Eusebius here refers), see ibid. note 8.
All traces of this work and of Symmachus’ ”other interpretations of
Scripture” (allon eis tas graphas hermeneion), mentioned just below,
have vanished. We must not include Symmachus’ translation of the Old
Testament in these other works (as has been done by Huet and others),
for there is no hint either in this passage or in that of Palladius
(see next note) of a reference to that version, which was, like those
of Aquila and Theodotion, well known in Origen’s time (see the previous

[1897] This Juliana is known to us only from this passage and from
Palladius, Hist. Laus. 147. Palladius reports, on the authority of an
entry written by Origen himself, which he says he found in an ancient
book (en palaiotEURto bibli& 251; stichero), that Juliana was a virgin
of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and that she gave refuge to Origen in the
time of some persecution. If this account is to be relied upon,
Origen’s sojourn in the lady’s house is doubtless to be assigned, with
Huet, to the persecution of Maximinus (235-238; see below, chap. 28,
note 2). It must be confessed, however, that in the face of the
absolute silence of Eusebius and others, the story has a suspicious

Chapter XVIII.–Ambrose.

1. About this time Ambrose, [1898] who held the heresy of Valentinus,
[1899] was convinced by Origen’s presentation of the truth, and, as if
his mind were illumined by light, he accepted the orthodox doctrine of
the Church.

2. Many others also, drawn by the fame of Origen’s learning, which
resounded everywhere, came to him to make trial of his skill in sacred
literature. And a great many heretics, and not a few of the most
distinguished philosophers, studied under him diligently, receiving
instruction from him not only in divine things, but also in secular

3. For when he perceived that any persons had superior intelligence he
instructed them also in philosophic branches–in geometry, arithmetic,
and other preparatory studies–and then advanced to the systems [1900]
of the philosophers and explained their writings. And he made
observations and comments upon each of them, so that he became
celebrated as a great philosopher even among the Greeks themselves.

4. And he instructed many of the less learned in the common school
branches, [1901] saying that these would be no small help to them in
the study and understanding of the Divine Scriptures. On this account
he considered it especially necessary for himself to be skilled in
secular and philosophic learning. [1902]

[1898] Of the early life of Ambrose, the friend of Origen, we know
nothing. We learn from Origen’s Exhortatio ad Martyr. c. 14, and
Jerome’s de vir. ill. c. 56, that he was of a wealthy and noble family
(cf. chap. 23 of this book), and from the Exhort. ad Mart. c. 36, that
he probably held some high official position. Eusebius says here that
he was for some time a Valentinian, Jerome that he was a Marcionite,
others give still different reports. However that was, the authorities
all agree that he was converted to the orthodox faith by Origen, and
that he remained devoted to him for the rest of his life. From chap. 23
we learn that he urged Origen to undertake the composition of
commentaries on the Scriptures, and that he furnished ample pecuniary
means for the prosecution of the work. He was also himself a diligent
student, as we gather from that chapter (cf. also Jerome, de vir. ill.
c. 56). From chap. 28 we learn that he was a confessor in the
persecution of Maximinus (Jerome calls him also a deacon), and it seems
to have been in Caesarea or its neighborhood that he suffered, whither
he had gone undoubtedly on account of his affection for Origen, who was
at that time there (cf. the Exhort. c. 41). He is mentioned for the
last time in the dedication and conclusion of Origen’s Contra Celsum,
which was written between 246 and 250 (see chap. 36, below). Jerome
(l.c.) states that he died before Origen, so that he cannot have lived
long after this. He left no writings, except some epistles which are no
longer extant. Jerome, however, in his Ep. ad Marcellam, S:1 (Migne’s
ed., Ep. 43), attributes to Ambrose an epistle, a fragment of which is
extant under the name of Origen (to whom it doubtless belongs) and
which is printed in Lommatzsch’s edition of Origen’s works, Vol. XVII.
p. 5. Origen speaks of him frequently as a man of education and of
literary tastes and devoted to the study of the Scriptures, and Jerome
says of himnon inelegantis ingenii fuit, sicut ejus ad Origenen
epistolae indicio sunt (l.c.). The affection which Origen felt for him
is evinced by many notices in his works and by the fact that he
dedicated to him the Exhortatio ad Martyr., on the occasion of his
suffering under Maximinus. It was also at Ambrose’s solicitation that
he wrote his great work against Celsus, which he likewise dedicated to

[1899] On Valentinus, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 11, note 1.

[1900] Greek, aireseis

[1901] enkuklia grEURmmata; ”the circle of those arts and sciences
which every free-born youth in Greece was obliged to go through before
applying to any professional studies” (Liddell and Scott, defining enk.

[1902] On Origen’s education, see p. 392, below.

Chapter XIX.–Circumstances Related of Origen.

1. The Greek philosophers of his age are witnesses to his proficiency
in these subjects. We find frequent mention of him in their writings.
Sometimes they dedicated their own works to him; again, they submitted
their labors to him as a teacher for his judgment.

2. Why need we say these things when even Porphyry, [1903] who lived in
Sicily in our own times and wrote books against us, attempting to
traduce the Divine Scriptures by them, mentions those who have
interpreted them; and being unable in any way to find a base accusation
against the doctrines, for lack of arguments turns to reviling and
calumniating their interpreters, attempting especially to slander
Origen, whom he says he knew in his youth.

3. But truly, without knowing it, he commends the man; telling the
truth about him in some cases where he could not do otherwise; but
uttering falsehoods where he thinks he will not be detected. Sometimes
he accuses him as a Christian; again he describes his proficiency in
philosophic learning. But hear his own words:

4. ”Some persons, desiring to find a solution of the baseness of the
Jewish Scriptures rather than abandon them, have had recourse to
explanations inconsistent and incongruous with the words written, which
explanations, instead of supplying a defense of the foreigners, contain
rather approval and praise of themselves. For they boast that the plain
words of Moses are enigmas, and regard them as oracles full of hidden
mysteries; and having bewildered the mental judgment by folly, they
make their explanations.” Farther on he says:

5. ”As an example of this absurdity take a man whom I met when I was
young, and who was then greatly celebrated and still is, on account of
the writings which he has left. I refer to Origen, who is highly
honored by the teachers of these doctrines.

6. For this man, having been a hearer of Ammonius, [1904] who had
attained the greatest proficiency in philosophy of any in our day,
derived much benefit from his teacher in the knowledge of the sciences;
but as to the correct choice of life, he pursued a course opposite to

7. For Ammonius, being a Christian, and brought up by Christian
parents, when he gave himself to study and to philosophy straightway
conformed to the life required by the laws. But Origen, having been
educated as a Greek in Greek literature, went over to the barbarian
recklessness. [1905] And carrying over the learning which he had
obtained, he hawked it about, in his life conducting himself as a
Christian and contrary to the laws, but in his opinions of material
things and of the Deity being like a Greek, and mingling Grecian
teachings with foreign fables. [1906]

8. For he was continually studying Plato, and he busied himself with
the writings of Numenius [1907] and Cronius, [1908] Apollophanes,
[1909] Longinus, [1910] Moderatus, [1911] and Nicomachus, [1912] and
those famous among the Pythagoreans. And he used the books of Chaeremon
[1913] the Stoic, and of Cornutus. [1914] Becoming acquainted through
them with the figurative interpretation of the Grecian mysteries, he
applied it to the Jewish Scriptures.” [1915]

9. These things are said by Porphyry in the third book of his work
against the Christians. [1916] He speaks truly of the industry and
learning of the man, but plainly utters a falsehood (for what will not
an opposer of Christians do?) when he says that he went over from the
Greeks, [1917] and that Ammonius fell from a life of piety into heathen

10. For the doctrine of Christ was taught to Origen by his parents, as
we have shown above. And Ammonius held the divine philosophy unshaken
and unadulterated to the end of his life. [1918] His works yet extant
show this, as he is celebrated among many for the writings which he has
left. For example, the work entitled The Harmony of Moses and Jesus,
and such others as are in the possession of the learned.

11. These things are sufficient to evince the slander of the false
accuser, and also the proficiency of Origen in Grecian learning. He
defends his diligence in this direction against some who blamed him for
it, in a certain epistle, [1919] where he writes as follows:

12. ”When I devoted myself to the word, and the fame of my proficiency
went abroad, and when heretics and persons conversant with Grecian
learning, and particularly with philosophy, came to me, it seemed
necessary that I should examine the doctrines of the heretics, and what
the philosophers say concerning the truth.

13. And in this we have followed Pantaenus, [1920] who benefited many
before our time by his thorough preparation in such things, and also
Heraclas, [1921] who is now a member of the presbytery of Alexandria. I
found him with the teacher of philosophic learning, with whom he had
already continued five years before I began to hear lectures on those
subjects. [1922]

14. And though he had formerly worn the common dress, he laid it aside
and assumed and still wears the philosopher’s garment; [1923] and he
continues the earnest investigation of Greek works.”

He says these things in defending himself for his study of Grecian

15. About this time, while he was still at Alexandria, a soldier came
and delivered a letter from the governor of Arabia [1924] to Demetrius,
bishop of the parish, and to the prefect of Egypt who was in office at
that time, requesting that they would with all speed send Origen to him
for an interview. Being sent by them, he went to Arabia. And having in
a short time accomplished the object of his visit, he returned to

16. But sometime after a considerable war broke out in the city, [1925]
and he departed from Alexandria. And thinking that it would be unsafe
for him to remain in Egypt, he went to Palestine and abode in Caesarea.
While there the bishops of the church in that country [1926] requested
him to preach and expound the Scriptures publicly, although he had not
yet been ordained as presbyter. [1927]

17. This is evident from what Alexander, [1928] bishop of Jerusalem and
Theoctistus [1929] of Caesarea, wrote to Demetrius [1930] in regard to
the matter, defending themselves thus:

”He has stated in his letter that such a thing was never heard of
before, neither has hitherto taken place, that laymen should preach in
the presence of bishops. I know not how he comes to say what is plainly

18. For whenever persons able to instruct the brethren are found, they
are exhorted by the holy bishops to preach to the people. Thus in
Laranda, Euelpis by Neon; and in Iconium, Paulinus by Celsus; and in
Synada, Theodorus by Atticus, our blessed brethren. [1931] And probably
this has been done in other places unknown to us.”

He was honored in this manner while yet a young man, not only by his
countrymen, but also by foreign bishops. [1932]

19. But Demetrius sent for him by letter, and urged him through members
and deacons of the church to return to Alexandria. So he returned and
resumed his accustomed duties.

[1903] Porphyry, one of the most distinguished of the Neo-Platonists,
disciple, biographer, and expounder of Plotinus, was born in 232 or 233
in the Orient (perhaps at Tyre), and at the age of thirty went to Rome,
where he came into connection with Plotinus, and spent a large part of
his life. He was a man of wide and varied learning; and though not an
original thinker, he was a clear and vigorous writer and expounder of
the philosophy of Plotinus. It may be well, at this point, to say a
word about that remarkable school or system of philosophy, of which
Plotinus was the greatest master and Porphyry the chief expounder.
Neo-Platonism was the most prominent phenomenon of the age in the
philosophic world. The object of the Neo-Platonists was both
speculative and practical: on the one side to elaborate an eclectic
system of philosophy which should reconcile Platonism and
Aristotelianism, and at the same time do justice to elements of truth
in other schools of thought; on the other side, to revivify and
strengthen the old paganism by idealizing and purifying it for the sake
of the philosophers, and at the same time by giving it a firmer
philosophic basis than it had hitherto possessed. Neo-Platonism, taken
as a whole, has therefore both a philosophic and a religious motive. It
may be defined in the briefest terms, in its philosophic aspect, as an
eclectic revival of Greek metaphysics (especially
Platonic-Aristotelian), modified by the influence of Oriental
philosophy and of Christianity; in its religious aspect, as an attempt
to restore and regenerate paganism by means of philosophy. In its
earlier and better days, the philosophic element greatly
predominated,–in fact, the religious element may be said to have been,
in large part, a later growth; but gradually the latter came more and
more into the foreground, until, under Jamblichus (d. 330 a.d.), the
chief master of the Syrian school, Neo-Platonism degenerated into a
system of religious mysteries, in which theurgic practices played a
prominent part. Under Proclus (d. 485), the great master of the
Athenian school, the philosophic element was again emphasized; but
Aristotelianism now gained the predominance, and the system became a
sort of scholastic art, and gradually degenerated into pure formalism,
until it finally lost all influence. The extent of the influence which
Christianity exerted upon Neo-Platonism is a greatly disputed point. We
shall, perhaps, come nearest the truth if we say that its influence was
in the main not direct, but that it was nevertheless real, inasmuch as
it had introduced problems up to that time undiscussed, with which
Neo-Platonism busied itself; in fact, it may almost be said that
Neo-Platonism was at first little more than (Aristotelian-) Platonism
busying itself with the new problems of salvation and redemption which
Christianity had thrown into the world of thought. It was un-Christian
at first (it became under Porphyry and later Neo-Platonists
anti-Christian), because it solved these problems in a way different
from the Christian way. This will explain the fact that all through,
whether in the more strictly philosophic system of Plotinus, or in the
more markedly religious and theurgic system of Jamblichus, there ran a
vein of mysticism, the conception of an intimate union with the supreme
God as the highest state to which man can attain. Porphyry, with whom
we are at present concerned, was eminently practical in his thinking.
The end of philosophy with him was not knowledge, but holiness, the
salvation of the soul. He recommended a moderate asceticism as a chief
means of freeing the soul from the bonds of matter, and thus permitting
it to rise to union with God. At the same time, he did not advise the
neglect of the customary religious rites of Paganism, which might aid
in the elevation of the spirit of man toward the deity. It was with
Porphyry that Neo-Platonism first came into direct conflict with
Christianity, and its enmity against the latter goes far to explain the
increasing emphasis which he and the Neo-Platonists who followed him
laid upon religious rites and practices. Its philosophy, its solution
of the great problems of the age, was essentially and radically
different from that of Christianity; and although at first they might
run alongside one another as independent schools, without much thought
of conflict, it was inevitable that in time the rivalry, and then the
active hostility, should come. Neo-Platonism, like Christianity, had a
solution of the great problem of living to offer to the world,–in an
age of unexampled corruption, when thoughtful men were all seeking for
a solution,–and each was essentially exclusive of the other. The
attack, therefore, could not be long delayed. Porphyry seems to have
begun it in his famous work in fifteen books, now lost, which was
answered in extenso by Methodius of Tyre, Eusebius, and Apolinarius of
Laodicea. The answers, too, have perished; but from extant fragments we
are able to see that Porphyry’s attack was very learned and able. He
endeavored to point out the inconsistencies in the sacred narrative, in
order to discredit its divine origin. At the same time, he treated
Christ with the greatest respect, and ranked him very high as a sage
(though only human), and found much that was good in his teaching.
Augustine (De consensu Evang. I. 15) says that the Neo-Platonists
praised Christ, but railed at his disciples (cf. Eusebius’ words in
this chapter). Porphyry was a very prolific writer; but only a few of
his works are now extant, chief among them the aphormai pros ta
noetEUR, or Sententiae, a brief but comprehensive exposition of his
philosophic system. We learn from this chapter that he had met Origen
when very young (he was but about twenty when Origen died); where, we
do not know. He lived to be at least sixty-eight years old (see his
Vita Plot. 23), and Suidas says that he died under Diocletian, i.e.
before 305 a.d. On Porphyry and Neo-Platonism in general, see the great
works of Vacherot (Hist. critique de l’Ecole d’Alexandrie) and Simon
(Hist. de l’Ecole d’Alexandrie); also Zeller’s Philosophie der
Griechen, and especially Erdmann’s History of Philosophy (Engl. trans.,
London, 1889).

[1904] Of the life of Ammonius Saccas, the ”father of Neo-Platonism”
very little is known. He is said by Suidas (s. v. Origenes) and by
Ammianus Marcellinus to have been a porter in his youth and to have
gained his second name from his occupation. That he was of Christian
parents and afterward embraced paganism is stated in this passage by
Porphyry, though Eusebius (S:10, below) and Jerome assert that he
remained a Christian. From all that we know of the teachings of
Ammonius Saccas as reported to us by Plotinus and other Neo-Platonists,
we cannot imagine him to have remained a Christian. The only solution
of the difficulty then is to suppose Eusebius (whom Jerome follows) to
have confounded him with a Christian of the same name who wrote the
works which Eusebius mentions (see note 16). Ammonius was an
Alexandrian by birth and residence, and died in 243. His teaching was
of a lofty and noble character, to judge from Plotinus’ descriptions,
and as a teacher he was wonderfully fascinating. He numbered among his
pupils Herennius, Longinus, the pagan Origen, and Plotinus. The
Christian Origen also studied under him for a time, according to this
passage. He wrote nothing (according to the Vita Plot, c. 20), and
hence we have to rely solely upon the reports of his disciples and
successors for our knowledge of his system. It is difficult in the
absence of all direct testimony to ascertain his teaching with
exactness. Plotinus claims to give only what he learned from Ammonius,
but it is evident, from his disagreement in many points with others of
Ammonius’ disciples, that the system taught by him was largely modified
by his own thinking. It is clear that Ammonius, who undoubtedly took
much from his great master, Numenius, endeavored to reconcile Plato and
Aristotle, thus laying the basis for the speculative eclecticism of
Neo-Platonism, while at the same time there must have been already in
his teaching the same religious and mystical element which was present
to some extent in all his disciples, and which played so large a part
in Neo-Platonism.

[1905] to bEURrbaron tolmema. Porphyry means to say that Origen was
originally a heathen, and was afterward converted to Christianity; but
this is refuted by the universal tradition of antiquity, and is clearly
a mistake, as Eusebius (who calls it a ”falsehood”) remarks below.
Porphyry’s supposition, in the absence of definite knowledge, is not at
all surprising, for Origen’s attainments in secular learning were such
as apparently only a pagan youth could or would have acquired.

[1906] On Origen’s Greek culture, see p. 392, and also his own words
quoted below in S:12 sq.

[1907] Numenius was a philosopher of Syria, who lived about the middle
of the second century, and who exerted great influence over Plotinus
and others of the Neo-Platonists. He was, perhaps, the earliest of the
Orientalizing Greek philosophers whose thinking was affected by the
influence of Christian ideas, and as such occupies an important place
in the development of philosophy, which prepared the way for
Neo-Platonism. His object seems to have been to reconcile Pythagoras
and Plato by tracing the doctrines of the latter back to the former,
and also to exhibit their agreement with Jewish and other Oriental
forms of thought. It is significant that he was called by the Church
Fathers a Pythagorean, and that he himself called Plato a
Greek-speaking Moses (cf. Erdmann’s Hist. of Phil. I. p. 236). He was a
prolific writer, but only fragments of his works are extant. Numerous
extracts from the chief of them (peri tagathou) have been preserved by
Eusebius in his Praep. Evang. (see Heinichen’s ed. Index I.).

[1908] Of Cronius, a celebrated Pythagorean philosopher, apparently a
contemporary of Numenius, and closely related to him in his thinking,
we know very little. A brief account of him is given by Porphyry in his
Vita Plot. 20.

[1909] The Apollophanes referred to here was a Stoic philosopher of
Antioch who lived in the third century b.c., and was a disciple of
Ariston of Chios. None of his writings are extant.

[1910] Longinus was a celebrated philosopher and rhetorician of Athens,
who was born about 213 and died in 273 a.d. He traveled widely in his
youth, and was for a time a pupil of Ammonius Saccas at Alexandria; but
he remained a genuine Platonist, and seems not to have been influenced
by the eclecticism of the Neo-Platonists. He was a man of marked
ability, of the broadest culture, and a thorough master of Greek style.
Of his numerous writings we possess a large part of one beautiful work
entitled peri hupsous (often published), and fragments of some others
(e.g. in Eusebius’ Praep. Evang. XV. 21). Longinus was the teacher of
Porphyry before the latter went to Rome to study under Plotinus.
Porphyry has made a mistake in classing Longinus with those other
philosophers whose works Origen studied. He was a younger contemporary
of Origen, and cannot even have studied with Ammonius until after
Origen had left Alexandria. It is possible, of course, that Origen in
later life read some of his works; but Porphyry evidently means that
the works of all the philosophers, Longinus among them, had an
influence upon Origen’s intellectual development. Heinichen reads
‘Albinou instead of Longinou in his text, on the assumption that
Porphyry cannot possibly have written Longinou; but the latter word has
the support of all the mss. and versions, and there is no warrant for
making the change. We must simply conclude that Porphyry, who, of
course, is not pretending to give an exact list of all the
philosophical works which Origen had read, classes Longinus, the
celebrated philosopher, along with the rest, as one whose works such a
student of Greek philosophy as Origen must have read, without thinking
of the serious anachronism involved.

[1911] Moderatus was a distinguished Pythagorean philosopher of the
first century after Christ, whose works (no longer extant) were not
without influence over some of the Neo-Platonists.

[1912] Nicomachus was a Pythagorean of the first (or second?) century
after Christ, who gained great fame as a mathematician and exerted
considerable influence upon European studies in the fifteenth century.
Two of his works, one on arithmetic and the other on music, are extant,
and have been published.

[1913] Chaeremon was a Stoic philosopher and historian of Alexandria
who lived during the first century after Christ. He was for a time
librarian at the Serapeum in Alexandria, and afterward went to Rome to
become a tutor of Nero. His chief writings were a history of Egypt, a
work on Hieroglyphics, and another on Comets (mentioned by Origen in
his Contra Cels. I. 59). He also wrote on grammatical subjects. His
works, with the exception of a fragment of the first, are no longer
extant. Cf. Eusebius’ Praef. Evang. V. 10, and Suidas,s.v. ‘Origenes.

[1914] Cornutus a distinguished Stoic philosopher, lived and taught in
Rome during the reign of Nero, and numbered among his pupils and
friends the poet Persius. Most of his numerous works have perished, but
one on the Nature of the Gods is still extant in a mutilated form (see
Gall’s Opuscula). See Suidas (s.v. Kornoutos) and Dion Cassius, XLII.

[1915] Origen was not the first to interpret the Scriptures
allegorically. The method began among the Alexandrian Jews some time
before the Christian era, the effort being made to reconcile the Mosaic
revelation with Greek philosophy, and to find in the former the
teachings of the latter. This effort appears in many of the apocryphal
books, but the great exponent of the method was the Alexandrian Philo.
It was natural that the early Christians, especially in Alexandria,
should be influenced by this already existing method of interpretation,
which enabled them to make of the Old Testament a Christian book, and
to find in it all the teachings of the Gospel. Undoubtedly the Old
Testament owes partly to this principle of interpretation its adoption
by the Christian Church. Had it been looked upon as the Jewish
Scriptures only, containing Jewish national history, and in large part
Jewish national prophecy, it could never have retained its hold upon
the early Church, which was so bitterly hostile to all that savored of
Judaism. The early Gentile Christians were taught from the beginning by
Jewish Christians who could not do otherwise than look upon their
national Scriptures as divine, that those Scriptures contained
prophecies of Jesus Christ, and hence those Gentile Christians accepted
them as divine. But it must be remembered that they could of course
have no meaning to these Gentile Christians except as they did prophesy
of Christian things or contain Christian teaching. They could not be
content to find Christian prophecy in one part and only Jewish history
or Jewish prophecy in another part. It must all be Christian if it was
to have any meaning to them. In this emergency the allegorical method
of interpretation, already practiced upon the Old Testament by the
Alexandrian Jews, came to their assistance and was eagerly adopted. The
so-called epistle of Barnabus is an early and most significant instance
of its use. With Clement of Alexandria the matter first took scientific
shape. He taught that two senses are everywhere to be assumed; that the
verbal sense is only for babes in the faith, and that the allegorical
sense alone leads to true spiritual knowledge. With Origen allegorical
interpretation reached its height. He taught a threefold sense of
Scripture, corresponding to body, soul, and spirit. Many voices were
raised against his interpretation, but they were directed against his
particular explanations of the meaning of passages, seldom against his
method. In the early centuries Alexandria remained the chief center of
this kind of exegesis, while Antioch became in the fifth century the
seat of a school of exegetes who emphasized rather the grammatical and
historical interpretation of Scripture over against the extremes of the
Alexandrian teachers. And yet even they were not entirely free from the
vicious methods of the age, and, moreover, errors of various kinds
crept in to lessen their influence, and the allegorical method finally
prevailed almost universally; and it has not even yet fully lost its
hold. This method of Scripture interpretation has, as Porphyry says,
its analogy in the methods of the Greek philosophers during the
centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. It became early the
custom for philosophers, scandalized by the licentious stories of their
gods, to interpret the current myths allegorically and refer them to
the processes of nature. Homer and others of the ancient poets were
thus made by these later philosophers to teach philosophies of nature
of which they had never dreamed. With the Neo-Platonists this method
reached its highest perfection, and while the Christian teachers were
allegorizing the Old Testament Scriptures, these philosophers were
transforming the popular myths into records of the profoundest physical
and spiritual processes. Porphyry saw that the method of pagans and
Christians was the same in this respect, and he may be correct in
assigning some influence to these writings in the shaping of Origen’s
thinking, but the latter was an allegorist before he studied the
philosophers to whom Porphyry refers (cf. chap. 2, S:9, above), and
would have been an allegorist had he never studied them. Allegory was
in that age in the atmosphere of the Church as well as of the
philosophical school.

[1916] On this great work of Porphyry, see note 1.

[1917] See note 3.

[1918] This is certainly a mistake on Eusebius’ part (see above, note
2), in which he is followed by Jerome (de vir. ill. c. 55). Against the
identification of the Christian Ammonius, whose works are mentioned by
Eusebius and Jerome, with Ammonius Saccas, may be urged first the fact
that the teaching of Ammonius Saccas, as known to us from Porphyry’s
Vita Plotini and from other Neo-Platonic sources, is not such as could
have emanated from a Christian; and, in the second place, the fact that
the Christian Ammonius, according to Eusebius, was the author of more
than one important work, while Longinus (as quoted by Porphyry in the
Vita Plot. c. 20) says explicitly that Ammonius Saccas wrote nothing.
It is clear from Eusebius’ words that his sole reason for supposing
that Ammonius Saccas remained a Christian is the existence of the
writings to which he refers; and it is quite natural that he and others
should erroneously attribute the works of an unknown Christian of
Alexandria, named Ammonius, to the celebrated Alexandrian philosopher
of the same name, especially since it was known that the latter had
been a Christian in his youth, and that he had been Origen’s teacher in
his mature years. We know nothing about the life of the Christian
Ammonius, unless he be identified with the presbyter Ammonius of
Alexandria, who is said by Eusebius to have perished in the persecution
of Diocletian. The identification is possible; but even if it be
accepted, we are helped very little, for is only the death, not the
life, of the presbyter Ammonius with which Eusebius acquaints us.
Ammonius’ writings, whoever he may have been, were well known in the
Church. Eusebius mentions here his work On the Harmony of Moses and
Jesus (peri tes Mouseos kai ‘Iesou sumphonias), and in an epistle
addressed to Carpianus (see above, p. 38 sq.) speaks of a Diatessaron
or Harmony of the Four Gospels (to dia tessEURron euangelion), composed
by Ammonius. Jerome mentions both these works (de vir. ill. 55), the
latter under the title Evangelici Canones. He refers to these Canones
again in his preface to the Four Gospels (Migne’s ed., Vol. X. 528);
and so does Victor of Capua. The former work is no longer extant, nor
have we any trace of it. But there is extant a Latin translation of a
Diatessaron which was made by Victor of Capua, and which was formerly,
and is still, by many scholars supposed to be a version of this work of
Ammonius. By others it is thought to be a translation of Tatian’s
Diatessaron. For further particulars, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 29, note

[1919] The names of the persons to whom this epistle was addressed we
do not know, nor can we ascertain the exact time when it was composed,
though it must have been written before Heraclas became bishop of
Alexandria, and indeed, we may assume, while Origen was in Alexandria,
and still engaged in the study which he defends in the epistle, i.e.,
if Eusebius is correct in the order of events, before 216 a.d. (see
note 23).

[1920] On Pantaenus, see Bk. V. chap. 10, note 1.

[1921] On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2.

[1922] ekeinon ton logon.

[1923] See above, Bk. IV. chap. 11, note 21.

[1924] The words used to designate the official who sent for Origen (ho
tes ‘Arabias hegoumenos) lead us to think him a Roman, and governor of
the Roman province of Arabia, which was formed by the Emperor Trajan in
the year 106, and which comprised only the northern part of the
peninsula. We know no particulars of this visit of Origen to that
province, but that he was remembered and held in honor by the people is
proved by chaps. 33 and 37, which record that he was summoned thither
twice to assist in settling doctrinal difficulties.

[1925] In the sixth year of his reign (216 a.d.) Caracalla visited
Alexandria, and improved the occasion to take bloody vengeance upon the
inhabitants of the city, from whom had emanated a number of satirical
and cutting comments upon the murder of his brother Geta. He instituted
a horrible butchery, in which young and old, guilty and innocent,
perished, and in which scholars were objects of especial fury. (See
Herodian, IV. 8, 9, and Dion Cassius, LXXVII. 22-24, and cf. Tillemont,
Hist. des Emp. III. p. 115 sq.) This was undoubtedly the occasion,
referred to here, which caused Origen to flee from the city and retire
to Palestine.

[1926] hoi tede episkopoi. The tede must refer to Palestine, not to
Caesarea, for ”bishops” are spoken of, not ”bishop.”

[1927] In the apostolic age, and the generations immediately
succeeding, it was the privilege of every Christian to take part in the
public meetings of the Church in the way of teaching or prophesying,
the only condition being the consciousness of guidance by the Spirit
(see 1 Cor. xiii.). We cannot call this teaching and prophesying
preaching in our sense of the term. The services seem rather to have
resembled our ”open prayer-meetings.” Gradually, as the services became
more formal and stereotyped, a stated address by the ”president” (as
Justin calls him) became a regular part of the service (see Justin’s
Apol. I. 67), and we may assume that the liberty of teaching or
prophesying in the public meetings did not now belong to all the
members as it had in the beginning. The sermon, in our sense of the
word, seems to have been a slow growth, but a direct development from
this exhortation of the president mentioned by Justin. The confinement
of the speaking (or preaching) to a single individual,–the
leader,–which we see in Justin, is what we find in subsequent
generations quite generally established. It becomes, in time, the
prerogative of the bishop to preach, and this prerogative he confers
upon his presbyters also (not universally, but in most cases), while
deacons and laymen are almost everywhere excluded from the right. We
see from the present chapter, however, that the custom was not the same
in all parts of the Church in the time of Origen. The principle had
evidently before this become firmly established in Alexandria that only
bishops and presbyters should preach. But in Palestine no such rule was
recognized as binding. At the same time, it is clear enough that it was
exceptional even there for laymen to preach (in the presence of their
bishops), for Alexander in his epistle, instead of saying that laymen
preach everywhere and of right, cites particular instances of their
preaching, and says that where they are qualified they are especially
requested by the bishops to use their gifts; so that the theory that
the prerogative belonged of right to the bishop existed there just as
truly as in Alexandria. Origen of course knew that he was acting
contrary to the custom (if not the canon) of his own church in thus
preaching publicly, and yet undoubtedly he took it for granted that he
was perfectly right in doing what these bishops requested him to do in
their own dioceses. They were supreme in their own churches, and he
knew of nothing, apparently, which should hinder him from doing what
they approved of, while in those churches. Demetrius, however, thought
otherwise, and considered the public preaching of an unordained man
irregular, in any place and at any time. Whether jealousy of Origen’s
growing power had anything to do with his action it is difficult to say
with certainty. He seems to have treated Origen in a perfectly friendly
way after his return; and yet it is possible that the difference of
opinion on this point, and the reproof given by Demetrius, may not have
been wholly without influence upon their subsequent relations, which
became in the end so painful (see chap. 8, note 4).

[1928] On Alexander, see chap. 8, note 6.

[1929] Theoctistus, bishop of Caesarea, seems to have been one of the
most influential bishops of the East in his day, and played a prominent
part in the controversy which arose in regard to Novatus, as we learn
from chap. 46 of this book and from chap. 5 of the next. He was also a
firm friend of Origen’s for many years (see chap. 27), probably until
the latter’s death. We do not know the dates of his accession and of
his death, but we find him already bishop in the year 216, and still
bishop at the time of the episcopate of Stephen of Rome (254-257; see
Bk. VII. chap. 5), but already succeeded by Domnus, when Xystus was
bishop of Rome (257-258; see Bk. VII. chap. 14). We must, therefore,
put his death between 255 and 258.

[1930] Eusebius is apparently mistaken in stating that this epistle was
addressed to Demetrius, for the latter is spoken of throughout the
epistle in the third person. It seems probable that Eusebius has made a
slip and said ”to Demetrius” when he meant to say ”concerning

[1931] Of the persons mentioned here by the Palestinian bishops in
support of their conduct, Neon, bishop of Laranda in Lycaonia, Celsus,
bishop of Iconium, and Atticus, bishop of Synada in Phrygia, together
with the laymen Euelpis, Paulinus, and Theodore, we know only the

[1932] ou pros monon ton sunethon, alla kai ton epi xenes episkopon.
sunethon seems here to have the sense of ”countrymen” or (bishops) ”of
his own country” over against the epi xenes, rather than the meaning
”friends” or ”acquaintances,” which is more common.

Chapter XX.–The Extant Works of the Writers of that Age.

1. There flourished many learned men in the Church at that time, whose
letters to each other have been preserved and are easily accessible.
They have been kept until our time in the library at AElia, [1933]
which was established by Alexander, who at that time presided over that
church. We have been able to gather from that library material for our
present work.

2. Among these Beryllus [1934] has left us, besides letters and
treatises, various elegant works. He was bishop of Bostra in Arabia.
Likewise also Hippolytus, [1935] who presided over another church, has
left writings.

3. There has reached us also a dialogue of Caius, [1936] a very learned
man, which was held at Rome under Zephyrinus, [1937] with Proclus, who
contended for the Phrygian heresy. In this he curbs the rashness and
boldness of his opponents in setting forth new Scriptures. He mentions
only thirteen epistles of the holy apostle, not counting that to the
Hebrews [1938] with the others. And unto our day there are some among
the Romans who do not consider this a work of the apostle.

[1933] AElia, the city built by Hadrian upon the site of Jerusalem (see
Bk. IV. chap. 6). We do not know the subsequent history of this library
of Alexander, but it had already been in existence nearly a hundred
years when Eusebius examined it.

[1934] On Beryllus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia, see chap. 33.

[1935] On Hippolytus, see chap. 22.

[1936] On Caius and his discussion with Proclus, see Bk. II. chap. 25,
notes 7 and 8.

[1937] Zephyrinus was bishop of Rome from 198 or 199 to 217. See Bk. V.
chap. 28, note 5.

[1938] On the Epistle to the Hebrews and the opinions of the early
Church in regard to its authorship, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17.