Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Did Irenaeus Identify Pontius Pilate as the governor of Claudius'? [Part Five]

Some parallel statements in Irenaeus to 'written documents' which contain parts of the formulation that puzzled Grant. In Book I of Against the Heresies a very similar formulation is developed:

The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one," and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven,, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send "spiritual wickednesses," and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory. As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it. [AH i.10.1,2]

In Book 2 another parallel to the puzzling formulation in Book 3 cited by Grant manifests itself:

Since, therefore, we know but in part, we ought to leave all sorts of [difficult] questions in the hands of Him who in some measure, [and that only,] bestows grace on us. That eternal fire, [for instance,] is prepared for sinners, both the Lord has plainly declared, and the rest of the Scriptures demonstrate. And that God fore-knew that this would happen, the Scriptures do in like manner demonstrate, since He prepared eternal fire from the beginning for those who were [afterwards] to transgress [His commandments]; but the cause itself of the nature of such transgressors neither has any Scripture informed us, nor has an apostle told us, nor has the Lord taught us. It becomes us, therefore, to leave the knowledge of this matter to God, even as the Lord does of the day and hour [of judgment], and not to rush to such an extreme of danger, that we will leave nothing in the hands of God, even though we have received only a measure of grace [from Him in this world]. But when we investigate points which are above us, and with respect to which we cannot reach satisfaction, that we should display such an extreme of presumption as to lay open God, and things which are not yet discovered, as if already we had found out, by the vain talk about emissions, God Himself, the Creator of all things, and to assert that He derived His substance from apostasy and ignorance, so as to frame an impious hypothesis in opposition to God.[ibid ii.27.7]

Lawlor has drawn our attention to the fact that in the very place in Hegesippus where the Roman succession manifests itself there is also a lengthy discussion of the Carpocratians which becomes the source of the slightly different reports of Irenaeus and Epiphanius on the sect. Interestingly another possible allusion to Grant's puzzling formulation appears at the end of Book II also in relation to the Carpocratians:

The fact indeed is, that they [Carpocratians] endeavour to learn none of these, although they maintain that it is incumbent on them to have experience of every kind of work; but, turning aside to voluptuousness, and lust, and abominable actions, they stand self-condemned when they are tried by their own doctrine. For, since they are destitute of all those [virtues] which have been mentioned, they will [of necessity] pass into the destruction of fire. These men, while they boast of Jesus as being their Master, do in fact emulate the philosophy of Epicurus and the indifference of the Cynics, [calling Jesus their Master,] who not only turned His disciples away from evil deeds, but even from [wicked] words and thoughts, as I have already shown. Again, while they assert that they possess souls from the same sphere as Jesus, and that they are like to Him, sometimes even maintaining that they are superior; while [they affirm that they were] produced, like Him, for the performance of works tending to the benefit and establishment of mankind, they are found doing nothing of the same or a like kind [with His actions], nor what can in any respect be brought into comparison with them [AH ii.32.2,3]

We will now cite Grant's puzzling formulation again as it appears next in our study of the contents of Against the Heresies:

In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth. [AH iii.3.3]

A little later in Book Three almost immediately after this reference Irenaeus again writes:

Would it not be necessary to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches? To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth, and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity, and wisdom. [AH iii.4.1,2]

Notice the inclusion of the reference to Jesus crucified under Pilate. Could Irenaeus be drawing from an original reference in Hegesippus which added the words 'under Claudius'?

I mentioned in another thread at a discussion group dealing with Irenaeus's use of 1 Clement that Irenaeus made the point that heretics SHOULD be killed by fire.

The connection between the killing of heretics and the puzzling formulation associated with 1 Clement in his writings makes it very likely he is actually citing Hegesippus again.

In Book 4 there is another possible allusion to same material:

If, however, it were truly one Father who confers rest, and another God who has prepared the fire, their sons would have been equally different; one, indeed, sending [men] into the Father's kingdom, but the other into eternal fire. But inasmuch as one and the same Lord has pointed out that the whole human race shall be divided at the judgment, "as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats," and that to some He will say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom which has been prepared for you," but to others, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which My Father has prepared for the devil and his angels,"one and the same Father is manifestly declared "making peace and creating evil things," preparing fit things for both; as also there is one Judge sending both into a fit place, as the Lord sets forth in the parable of the tares and the wheat, where He says, "As therefore the tares are gathered together, and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather from His kingdom everything that offendeth, and those who work iniquity, and shall send them into a furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." The Father, therefore, who has prepared the kingdom for the righteous, into which the Son has received those worthy of it, is He who has also prepared the furnace of fire, into which these angels commissioned by the Son of man shall send those persons who deserve it, according to God's command.

... Inasmuch as the Lord has said that there are certain angels of the devil, for whom eternal fire is prepared; and as, again, He declares with regard to the tares, "The tares are the children of the wicked one," it must be affirmed that He has ascribed all who are of the apostasy to him who is the ringleader of this transgression. But He made neither angels nor men so by nature. For we do not find that the devil created anything whatsoever, since indeed he is himself a creature of God, like the other angels. For God made all things, as also David says with regard to all things of the kind: "For He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created."

Since, therefore, all things were made by God, and since the devil has become the cause of apostasy to himself and others, justly does the Scripture always term those who remain in a state of apostasy "sons of the devil" and "angels of the wicked one" (maligni). For [the word] "son," as one before me has observed, has a twofold meaning: one [is a son] in the order of nature, because he was born a son; the other, in that he was made so, is reputed a son, although there be a difference between being born so and being made so. For the first is indeed born from the person referred to; but the second is made so by him, whether as respects his creation or by the teaching of his doctrine. For when any person has been taught from the mouth of another, he is termed the son of him who instructs him, and the latter [is called] his father. According to nature, then -that is, according to creation, so to speak--we are all sons of God, because we have all been created by God. But with respect to obedience and doctrine we are not all the sons of God: those only are so who believe in Him and do His will. And those who do not believe, and do not obey His will, are sons and angels of the devil, because they do the works of the devil. And that such is the case He has declared in Isaiah: "I have begotten and brought up children, but they have rebelled against Me." And again, where He says that these children are aliens: "Strange children have lied unto Me." According to nature, then, they are [His] children, because they have been so created; but with regard to their works, they are not His children.
 [AH iv.40.2; 41.2]

Finally in Book V we read yet another possible allusion to this formulation: 

Let those persons, therefore, who blaspheme the Creator, either by openly expressed words, such as the disciples of Marcion, or by a perversion of the sense [of Scripture], as those of Valentinus and all the Gnostics falsely so called, be recognised as agents of Satan by all those who worship God; through whose agency Satan now, and not before, has been seen to speak against God, even Him who has prepared eternal fire for every kind of apostasy. For he did not venture to blaspheme his Lord openly of himself; as also in the beginning he led man astray through the instrumentality of the serpent, concealing himself as it were from God. Truly has Justin remarked: That before the Lord's appearance Satan never dared to blaspheme God, inasmuch as he did not yet know his own sentence, because it was contained in parables and allegories; but that after the Lord's appearance, when he had clearly ascertained from the words of Christ and His apostles that eternal fire has been prepared for him as he apostatized from God of his own free-will, and likewise for all who unrepentant continue in the apostasy, he now blasphemes, by means of such men, the Lord who brings judgment [upon him] as being already condemned, and imputes the guilt of his apostasy to his Maker, not to his own voluntary disposition. Just as it is with those who break the laws, when punishment overtakes them: they throw the blame upon those who frame the laws, but not upon themselves. In like manner do those men, filled with a satanic spirit, bring innumerable accusations against our Creator, who has both given to us the spirit of life, and established a law adapted for all; and they will not admit that the judgment of God is just. Wherefore also they set about imagining some other Father who neither cares about nor exercises a providence over our affairs, nay, one who even approves of all sins.

If the Father, then, does not exercise judgment, [it follows] that judgment does not belong to Him, or that He consents to all those actions which take place; and if He does not judge, all persons will be equal, and accounted in the same condition. The advent of Christ will therefore be without an object, yea, absurd, inasmuch as [in that case] He exercises no judicial power. For "He came to divide a man against his father, and the daughter against the mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law;" and when two are in one bed, to take the one, and to leave the other; and of two women grinding at the mill, to take one and leave the other: [also] at the time of the end, to order the reapers to collect first the tares together, and bind them in bundles, and burn them with unquenchable fire, but to gather up the wheat into the barn;and to call the lambs into the kingdom prepared for them, but to send the goats into everlasting fire, which has been prepared by His Father for the devil and his angels. And why is this? Has the Word come for the ruin and for the resurrection of many? For the ruin, certainly, of those who do not believe Him, to whom also He has threatened a greater damnation in the judgment-day than that of Sodom and Gomorrah; but for the resurrection of believers, and those who do the will of His Father in heaven. If then the advent of the Son comes indeed alike to all, but is for the purpose of judging, and separating the believing from the unbelieving, since, as those who believe do His will agreeably to their own choice, and as, [also] agreeably to their own choice, the disobedient do not consent to His doctrine; it is manifest that His Father has made all in a like condition, each person having a choice of his own, and a free understanding; and that He has regard to all things, and exercises a providence over all, "making His sun to rise upon the evil and on the good, and sending rain upon the just and unjust."

And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God. He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. Now, good things are eternal and without end with God, and therefore the loss of these is also eternal and never-ending. It is in this matter just as occurs in the case of a flood of light: those who have blinded themselves, or have been blinded by others, are for ever deprived of the enjoyment of light. It is not, [however], that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of blindness, but it is that the blindness itself has brought calamity upon them: and therefore the Lord declared, "He that believeth in Me is not condemned," that is, is not separated from God, for he is united to God through faith. On the other hand, He says, "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God;" that is, he separated himself from God of his own accord. "For this is the condemnation, that light is come into this world, and men have loved darkness rather than light. For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that he has wrought them in God."
 [AH v.26,2 - 27,2]

In short, I am spending the day puzzling whether Hegesippus might be the source of a reference which (a) included a reference to Jesus being crucified under Pilate the governor of Claudius and (b) all the rest of the formulation which puzzled Grant.

Here is the solution I propose.  

I am starting wonder if whatever Irenaeus read in Hegessipus was the source of the Catholic Creed. Here are some later formulations:

elements found in the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (c. 215 AD);

Do you believe in God the Father All Governing? Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, Who was begotten by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died (and was buried) and rose the third day living from the dead, and ascended into the heavens, and sat down on the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the living and the dead? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church and in the resurrection of the body?

elements found in the Creed of Marcellus (340 AD);

I believe in God, All Governing; And in Christ Jesus His only begotten Son, our Lord, Who was begotten of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried, Who rose from the dead on the third day, ascending to the heavens and taking His seat at the Father's right hand, whence He shall come to judge both the living and the dead; And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, life everlasting.

elements found in the Creed of Rufinus (c. 404 AD);

I believe in God the Father almighty, invisible and impassable; And in Christ Jesus, His only Son, our Lord, Who was born by the Holy Spirit from Mary the Virgin, crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried. He descended to hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead, He ascended to heaven, where He sits at the Father's right hand and from whence He will come to judge both living and dead;
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of this flesh.

The major difference between Irenaeus's source and the later material is the emphasis on a judgement by fire which - when we really think about it - is very much a Polycarpian obsession.

My guess is that this υπομνηματα formulated by Polycarp in the name of Josephus (Hegesippus) is the source also of the apostolic creed. Hence Irenaeus's reference at one point to the preamble "the Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith" This points the finger again at Polycarp as the source of the material. One would think if Irenaeus were just going to make up a big lie he'd just identify it as a 'apostolic formulation.' The reason he doesn't is because this υπομνηματα were widely read (cf Clement of Alexandria). They must have been almost the first handbook of orthodoxy using the Carpocratians as the enemies of the first Church in Jerusalem. The formulation was picked up by Clement by his use of the same text.

I noticed that much has been written about these passages I just cited as being early representations of the Creed:

Irenaeus is equally clear and emphatic on this point. The two following creeds he represents as being the verbatim report of the traditions handed down by the Apostles to their successors in the sees of Rome and elsewhere. "One God, Maker of heaven and earth, announced by the Law and the prophets; and one Christ the Son of God." "One God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, framer of man; who brought on the flood, and called Abraham.who led the people out of the land of Egypt, who conversed with Moses who ordained the Law and sent the Prophets, who prepared fire for the devil and his angels. That he is set forth by the Churches as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, those who will may learn from the letter itself, and discern the Apostolic tradition of the Church, the Epistle (Clement of Rome to the Corinthians) being more ancient than our present false teachers and devisers of another God, above the artificer and creator of all things that exist." It may be noticed in this primary Creed that the article in respect to the Father is very much elaborated ; that the article in respect to Jesus Christ merely mentions Jesus Christ as God's Son, not as God, or Creator; and that any mention of the Holy Ghost is wholly wanting. The full significance of this observation will be grasped when we remember that Irenaeus repeats this Creed with slight alterations, more than forty times, the relation between the three articles being always the same.

Irenaeus speaks on the point at issue still more distinctly: "And that neither by angels, nor by any other virtue, but by God the Father alone, were made things both visible and invisible, and all things whatsoever." On this point Irenaeus quotes Justin, as agreeing with him : "I could not have believed the Lord himself if he anounced another God beside the Creator, because from the one God who both created the world and formed us, and contains and governs all things, the Only- begotten Son came unto us gathering together into himself the work of his own hands, my faith in him is firm, and my love to the Father immovable ; both being God's gift unto us." In view of all these passages it would seem that in the opinion of Irenaeus the Father, not the Son, was the Creator. 
[Guthrie The Message p. 25 - 26]

The point of course is that my suspicions seem to be confirmed. Grant was stuck on the idea that Irenaeus should have been citing material from 1Clement but instead we find a primitive credal formula attributed to Polycarp but within the context of a work known to Eusebius as the υπομνηματα of Hegesippus.

As I noted what is always being cited by Irenaeus, Eusebius and Epiphanius is a kind of introduction of cover letter to the main work. The contents of the υπομνηματα are always referenced as if these words belonged to a secondary epistle attached to the front of the work. The letter was clearly seemed to come from the hand of the author of the υπομνηματα. Yet there must have been some ambiguity. Irenaeus identifies the author as Polycarp, Clement as Josephus, Eusebius as Hegesippus and Epiphanius doesn't only references the text as υπομνηματα if at all.

The introductory letter must have been the first clear exposition of the faith that was known to the whole Church. It was dated to the seventy seven year after the destruction of the temple (a mystical number) or the tenth year of Antoninus (147 CE).

The identification of Jesus being crucified by Pilate and Herod under Claudius MUST HAVE APPEARED here and confirms what we cited in Smith earlier - i.e. that Irenaeus got his information from Polycarp in a lost written source. We have now determined the source of that information.

Yet, as always, another question still remains - why would someone fix a letter which mentions (a) the travels of the author from Corinth (b) his arrival at Rome (c) his association with the Jerusalem Church (d) his establishment of two episcopal lists for Rome and Jerusalem (e) a lengthy condemnation of the Carpocratians identified as the first gnostics and (f) the earliest formulation of the Apostle's Creed BE FIXED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIVE BOOKS OF JEWISH WAR?

The answer must have something to do with the author of the υπομνηματα taking issue with the implicit (theological) conclusions of Justus's Chronicle. In other words, now on the seventy seventh anniversary of the destruction HERE IS THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION of the event that proved Christianity which agrees with the gospels and holy scriptures of the Catholic Church all written in the name of Josephus the paradigmatic 'repentant Jew' (who symbolized the correct POV for Judaism after the recent catastrophe of the bar Kochba revolt). 

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