Saturday, May 29, 2010

Professor Boid Confirmed that the Audiani Might Have Their Name Derived From an Aramaic Root Meaning 'to Confess'

I am ALWAYS suspicious of the abilities of Patristic authors to invent heretics. The list of non-existent heretics continues to grow the more we put their heresiological writings under a microscope. There never was an 'Ebion' of the 'Ebionites.' There never as an Elxai of the 'Elchasites.' 'Marcion' was a back formation developed to explain away original Aramaic reports about 'those of Mark' (Aram. Marqione). The heretic 'Cerinthos' was invented out of some misunderstanding involving the Greek city of Corinth (Gr. Korinthos). Tertullian makes clear that those called 'Valentinians' deny there was ever a 'Valentinus' at the head of their tradition. There never was a second century heretic named 'Marcus' who came into women's houses and defiled them. There never was a sect who called themselves 'the Ophites' or 'Naasenes,' the 'Encratites,' the 'Docetae' and all the rest.

Even more disturbing is the tendency of later Fathers of the Church to attack those they disagreed with by claiming that they formed a 'recent sect' around a prominent leader in their community - viz. 'the Arians' (Arius was just a continuation of the original Origenist line of Patriarchs of Alexandria victimized by the usurper Alexander and his 'back room deal' with Hosius of Cordoba and the Emperor Constantine).

So it is that when we arrive at the story of a certain 'Audius' who came from Mesopotamia and started a schism claiming that the Nicene Church had fallen away from the original celebration of Easter (i.e. that it originally paralleled the Jewish custom of a seven day festival ending on the 21st of Nisan) we should be very suspicious.

While Epiphanius says that the sect has roots in Syria, Mesopotamia and Aramaic speaking regions he rolls the account of the sect together with a description of Arian 'resistance' to the Nicene formula. It is worth noting that Origen references the fact that the Alexandrian custom was exactly what was held by the Audians (i.e. the existence of a Christian 'Feast of Unleavened Bread' which differed in character from the Jewish celebration in its pronounced 'bitterness' before the eighth day). The Liber Pontificalis similarly echoes that the Alexandrian custom was established as early as the time of Victor of Rome who first fought against it.

My doubts about the existence of an 'Audius' are based on the fact that the name suspiciously resembles the universal Aramaic root for 'confession' which we see (thanks to the CAL website)

ʾwdʾh, ʾwdytʾ v.n.C confession

1 confession JLAtg, LJLA.
1 thanksgiving JLAtg.

ʾwdyyh v.n.C thanksgiving

1 thanksgiving Jud.
2 confession JBA.

hwdʾh n.f. confession

1 confession JLAtg.

mwdynw, mwdynwtʾ (mawdyānū, mawdyānūṯā) n.f. confession

1 confession Syr. --(a) witnessing to the faith, martyrdom Syr.
2 office of confessor Syr.

swmbwlwn n.m. confession

1 confession Syr.
2 annunciation Syr.

šwdyʾ (šuddāyā) v.n.D confession

1 confession Syr.
2 promise Syr.
3 (gram.) proposition Syr.

twdy, twdytʾ (tawdīṯā) n.f. praise

1 praise Syr.
2 thanks Syr.
3 confession Syr.
4 sect Syr.
5 religion Syr.

Now it is well established that the followers of Meletius of Lycopolis (who went on to sit in the Episcopal throne of Mark during the confusion that marked the great persecutions of Diocletian) identified itself by the name 'the Church of the Martyrs' inherently objecting to the reacceptance by other bishops of people who chose to avoid the risk of martyrdom. We know that Melitius' influence extended even so far away as Palestine and it is said that Melitius ordained Arius.

Could the existence of a 'Church of the Confessors' in the East be related to a 'Church of the Martyrs' in Egypt. I think so and I think it provides the context for the later Jacobite 'alliance' between the same two regions in the sixth century. More work is clearly needed but I think that we have the beginnings of an understanding for the continuing influence of Markan (or Marqione to use the Aramaic term) influence into the Islamic period.

But we all have to remember, the Dialogues of Adamantius, the writings of Ephrem the Syrian and other sources make clear, the name 'Marcionite' was IMPOSED on the sect from without. They referred to themselves simply as 'Christians' and had the exclusive right to this name in the East. One also imagines that this privilege was TAKEN AWAY from their Alexandrian brothers in the late second century unless 'modifications' were made to their original faith. As time went on, we must also suppose, these demands only increased until at the time of Constantine it was impossible to go along with them any more ...

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