Sunday, October 3, 2010

Against Polycarp [Part Twenty Three]

So if as we suggest 'Marcion the heretic' was a late fiction developed after the initial falsifications to the hypomnemata of Polycarp, it might surprise people to learn that there is a strong possibility that it might not have been Irenaeus who developed that particular personage. For, while 'Marcion' certainly does appear in Book One of Irenaeus's Against Heresies there is very good reason for believing that it was added to Irenaeus's writings posthumously. The first reason for suggesting this is the fact that the author of the third century Philosophumena (generally presumed to be Irenaeus's student Hippolytus) employs much of the material from chapters 1 - 21 in Book One but did not know of Irenaeus's account of 'Marcion' in chapter 23. He uses a very different account to develop his knowledge of the Marcionite sect. Secondly, whoever identifiede "Pontius Pilate" as "the governor, who was the procurator of Tiberius Caesar" certainly wasn't Irenaeus who in Proof of the Apostolic Teaching specifically identifies Pilate as "the governor of Claudius Caesar." One would expect either author to say "Tiberius and Claudius" if either one of these sources thought Pilate's reign extended through both periods.

The point then is that there is strong reason to believe again that even Irenaeus's writings were subsequently reworked by some zealous disciple. Photius points to numerous 'errors' in the original lectures of Irenaeus. We have good reason to believe that the existing Against Heresies represents a compilation of many early 'lectures' mixed with other sources (Justin's Syntagma being one of the most common texts cited). So for instance, Tertullian seems to develop a Latin translation of an original lecture 'against the Valentinians' which does not include the followers of Mark as originally a Valentinian sect. The assumption that the Marcosians were 'of the school of Valentinus' comes as a direct result of the context of Book One of Against Heresies whose original shape is presumed to have been developed by Irenaeus himself. As the Marcosians follow the Valentinian material and the greater context of the work seems to be directed against 'Valentinians' the assumption has always been that the Marcosians were a 'Valentinian sect.' Yet this is very unlikely to actually be so given the striking number of parallels between the writings of Clement of Alexandria and what is said in Irenaeus's attack against the followers of Mark.

The most likely scenario is that the section on the 'Marcosians' is actually derived from an original lecture by Irenaeus against Italian members of the Alexandrian tradition of St. Mark. The only reason we identify the Marcosians as 'Valentinians' is because of the context that this original separate report 'against the followers of Mark' has now found itself - i.e. in the middle, or at the end of a long section 'against the followers of Valentinus.' So why did Irenaeus or the third century editor of his works wanted 'those of Mark' to always follow 'those of Valentinus'? This context strengthened the argument for Roman primacy by implication. For it was universally understood that 'Valentinus' came to Rome during the episcopate of Hyginus. Indeed as we have shown, the implications of Irenaeus's writings against the Valentinians in Book One made clear that Valentinus was the original fox (Gk. cerdo) referenced in the hypomnemata.

Yet there is clearly no explicit reference to Mark or Marcion in the hypomnemata original ascribed to Polycarp. In due course the third century Church Fathers begin to imply that 'Marcion' was somehow related to the story of Cerdo or that Marcion came after Valentinus, but these all develop as a result of the repackaging of Irenaeus's writings into Against Heresies. The reality is that if Valentinus came to Rome from anywhere during the reign of Hyginus it was from Alexandria, the See of Mark. Lucian of Samosata similarly tells us that our Polycarp similarly came from Alexandria to Rome. If Valentinus was a heretic from any tradition it was the ancient tradition associated with St. Mark in Egypt. The same would seem to be true of our stranger given that Lucian goes out of his way to say that he was initiated into the amazing aeskesis of the Egyptian community. The point is that arguing against Valentinus - or even Polycarp for that matter - and identifying them as heretics has the necessary effect of arguing for the antiquity of the Alexandrian Church and the tradition of St. Mark. This did little further the agenda of Roman primacy and Irenaeus and his subsequent editors knew this.

So if the original hypomnemata did mention Mark, didn't mention the Marcionites but ultimately - in its adulterated form - did argue that a fox entered the Roman 'hen house' of faith in the days of Hyginus, surely the author must have had a heretical sect in mind which did embody the evil traditional associated with sectarian teaching. It turns out that the sect that the original author of the Roman section took aim at was the 'Carpocratians' and their apparent leader in Rome, Marcellina. This group is interestingly identified with abominable sexual practices and elsewhere with the adulteration of the gospel. In order to completely put the whole passage in its proper context we go back to the pioneering work of Lawlor and his discussion of the original material.

A stock argument with controversial writers on the orthodox side was the recent origin of heresy, as contrasted with the deposit handed down from the apostles by the regular episcopal succession. This argument is applied by Hegesippus to the case of the Church of Jerusalem. He tells us that heresy first sprang into avowed existence there under the leadership of Thebuthis, in the time of Symeon. On the other hand, James the Just was the first bishop and a colleague of the apostles; Symeon succeeded him after a regular election with apostolic sanction. But here there comes into view a feature of the argument which is not found in other writers. We have seen that kinship with the Lord is prominent in the second group of fragments as rendering persons who could claim it liable to persecution. In both groups stress is laid upon it from another point of view. Relatives of Christ had special honour in the Church. They with the apostles were recognized as in a unique sense guardians of the deposit of truth. James the Just was the Lord's brother. Symeon was His cousin ; and he was chosen as bishop on this account. A Those who elected him were the surviving apostles and disciples of Christ, together with His kinsmen according to the flesh. The grandsons of Jude 'presided over every church as martyrs and of the Lord's kindred. Thus James and and Symeon seem to have been custodians of orthodox doctrine not more as bishops of Jerusalem than in virtue of their close relationship to Christ. Accordingly it was in the reign of Trajan — when the grandsons of Jude, possibly the last surviving near relatives of Christ, had passed away, when Symeon was crucified, when St. John was in extreme old age living at Ephesus, or already dead (Irenaeus ap. HE 3.23.3) - that heresy gained a firm foothold in the Christian community.

It must be observed that just at this point, when he has indicated the moment of the introduction of heterodox teaching, Hegesippus's sketch of the history of the Church of Jerusalem, and consequently the argument founded upon it, seems to have come to an end. For though Eusebius gives a list of the bishops up to the reign of Hadrian, and tells us that they were short-lived,(HE iv.5) and later on adds a list of their successors, (HE iv.6,4 v.12) he tells us nothing else about the fortunes of the Church from the reign of Trajan to the end of the second century, except the fact that after the siege under Hadrian it became a Gentile community. For the siege itself he seems to depend on Aristo of Pella. It is scarcely conceivable that if Hegesippus had carried his history beyond the death of Symeon Eusebius would not have used the material thus afforded. If I have with any measure of correctness interpreted the argument of Hegesippus based on the history of the Church of Jerusalem, we shall gain from it some help towards surmounting the difficulties which encompass the group of passages which must next claim our attention. It relates to a journey of the writer to Rome, in the course of which he made a stay of some length at Corinth. This journey would not have been recorded in the Memoirs if it had not supplied material for his polemic. And if Hegesippus used the knowledge acquired during his tour about the Church of Corinth or those of Rome and other cities as a basis of argument, we might expect that the argument founded upon it would be of much the same kind as that which he founded upon his fuller knowledge of the Church of Jerusalem.

The group with which we are now concerned is not a large one. Eusebius's contributions to our knowledge of it are almost confined to a single chapter of his History — Bk. iv, chap. 22. In that chapter we have a direct quotation from the Memoirs containing a succinct account of the journey. Eusebius tells us that it was preceded by some information about the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. Now from an earlier part of his work we learn that Hegesippus had written about the schism which was the occasion of the Epistle. Since the narrative of the schism would naturally precede the account of the letter which it called forth, we may count it as the first passage of the group. Of the second passage, containing ' some things ' about the Epistle, we have information independent of Eusebius. It included at least one quotation which, as we have seen, Epiphanius reproduces.

Passing now to Eusebius's direct quotation from that section of the Memoirs which immediately followed the notice of Clement's letter, we find indications that it is not a single fragment, but a collection of two or more. Eusebius here, as in other extracts from Hegesippus, omits passages which do not suit his purpose, without directing attention to the fact that he has done so. He begins this quotation with a sentence to the effect that the Church of Corinth remained orthodox to the time of Bishop Primus. And then he proceeds, 'with whom (οἷς) I made acquaintance (συνέμίξα) on my voyage to Rome.' The relative - 'with whom' has no antecedent. Thus we have reason to suspect a lacuna between, the first and second clauses of the transcript. Our suspicion is confirmed when we turn to the paraphrase of the passage given earlier in the chapter. In it Eusebius says that Hegesippus made the acquaintance (συνεμίξείεν) of very many (πλεῖστοις) bishops on his way to Rome, and found all of them orthodox This would be a gross exaggeration if only Primus of Corinth had been visited by Hegesippus ; scarcely less so if Eusebius intended to include the three bishops of Rome subsequently mentioned. Before the relative clause there must therefore have been a passage m which appeared the names of many bishops. It probably contained much more, but how much, or of what kind, it is vain to speculate.

Having stated that he stayed with the Corinthians for a good while, and was refreshed by their orthodoxy, the quotation goes on to relate that he reached Rome and ' made a succession-list' (or, as some will have it, "remained there") up to the episcopate of Anicetus, 'whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus', proceeds Hegesippus, ' Soter succeeds, and after him Eleutherus.' Then comes the remark, 'In every succession and in every (the doctrine) is such as the law and the prophets and the Lord proclaim.' Here several reflections suggest themselves. The extreme brevity of the notice of the Roman as compared with that of the Corinthian Church is surprising. For the latter included much to which Eusebius barely alludes, and apparently some things to which he does not even allude. Then the character of the notice is peculiar. In the single sentence quoted by Eusebius an act of Hegesippus after his arrival at Rome is mentioned, and the names of three successive bishops are given; but. there is nothing more. There is not a word which could have contributed anything to his contention against the heretics. Most remarkable of all is the absence of any special commendation of the Church of Rome for orthodoxy, such as that which had been bestowed on the Church of Corinth. Por the next sentence does not relate specially to Rome. It is a summing up of the experience of Hegesippus throughout the entire period of his travels. It speaks of every city and every succession as being sound in the faith.

Only the scantiest allusion is made to Hegesippus's remarks about Clement's Epistle. The historian has no interest in them; they are referred to, not for their own sake, but merely for the purpose of indicating the place in the Memoirs of the passages on which he desires to fix attention. He says nothing at all about the schism at Corinth ... But again, the remark that the Church of Corinth was orthodox till the time of Primus recalls the parallel statement that the Church of Jerusalem was a virgin, untainted by false teaching, up to the time of Symeon. The parallel may extend further. It is commonly assumed that Primus was bishop of Corinth when Hegesippus journeyed to Eome, and that he was one of the bishops (he is sometimes spoken of as if he were the only one) whose acquaintance Hegesippus made on the voyage. But there is no warrant for the hypothesis in the extant fragments of the travel narrative. We cannot be sure that he was still bishop when Hegesippus touched at Corinth, but even if he was, it is quite possible that he was mentioned, and that the survey of the history of the Corinthian Church ended with him, because in his days Thebuthis introduced false doctrine. And lastly, at Jerusalem the bishops and relatives of the Lord were the guardians of the faith. In like manner these fragments show that in Corinth and other western cities, according to the view of Hegesippus, the bishops — for here obviously kinship with the Lord was out of the question — were invested with the same trust. And thus his intercourse with many bishops in the West provided him with a fresh argument against heresy. Wherever he went he found the rulers of the churches professing a doctrine identical with his own. Orthodoxy was maintained, to use the language of a later age, not only semper but ubique et ab omnibus.

Before leaving the fragments preserved by Eusebius it may be well to say a word about a reading which has given rise to much discussion - the words διαδοχὴν ἐποιησ€μην ... Since it seems now to be a commonly held opinion that Hegesippus wrote διαδοχὴν ἐποιησ€μην or some similar phrase, it may be well to point out that in two other places he expresses the sense which such a phrase is supposed to convey, and that in neither does he use a periphrasis. He remained with the Corinthians many days and in telling us so he writes συνδιετριψα. (HE 4.22.2) In an earlier passage he tells us that after taking up their abode at Pella the Christians of Jerusalem 'remained there'. And again he seems to have used the verb διατρίβειν.(Epiph Haer 29.7; 30.2)

Meanwhile, an attempt must be made to recover some passages of the Memoirs to which Eusebius makes no reference. We again invoke the aid of Epiphanius. We have already seen that he quotes from them a few words of the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. This quotation is made in Haer. 27.6. Let us see whether there is any indication in the context that he made further use of the book which is thus proved to have been open before him while he wrote.

At the beginning of the same paragraph Epiphanius speaks of one Marcellina, a follower of Carpocrates, who taught in Rome under Anicetus. In doing so he evidently uses the very words of his authority ; for what he says is this:

'A certain Marcellina who had been led into error by them [the disciples of Carpocrates] paid us a visit some time ago. She was the ruin of a great number of persons in the time of Anicetus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Pius and his predecessors.'

The words 'paid us a visit' are evidently taken over from a contemporary document, the phraseology of which Epiphanius, with a carelessness of which we find other examples in the Panarion, has forgotten to alter so as to make it suit its new environment. Further, if the next sentence is from the same document it would seem that it was written after, though not very long after, the episcopate of Anicetus. And the expression 'bishop of Rome' may perhaps indicate that the writer was not Roman. That Epiphanius believed that he was in Rome when he was visited by Marcellina, and that the visit was paid under Anicetus, becomes plain when we glance at the next page, where he repeats the information in a somewhat different form. 'In the times, as we have said, of Anicetus, the above-named Marcellina having come to Rome,' The record which Epiphanius uses in this place seems, therefore, to have come from the pen of some stranger who was in Rome in the time of Anicetus, and to have been written not long after the death of that bishop. Now if we are to believe Eusebius Hegesippus came to Rome under Anicetus. Epiphanius then quoting from the Memoirs? The suggestion is at least plausible.

But there is other evidence in favour of it. The statement about Marcellina is found also in the chapter about the the Carpocratians in Irenaeus's work Against Heresies? Now the whole of that chapter has obviously a close connexion with the passage of Epiphanius m which the notice of Marcellina occurs. In both we are told

(1) that the Carpocratians 'sealed' members of their sect by branding them on the right ear,
(2) that Marcellina made many converts under Anicetus,
(3) that the Carpocratians were called Gnostics,
(4) that they had images of Christ painted or formed of 'other material ', which were said to have been made by Pilate while Christ was on earth,
(5) that these images were placed beside images of philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato, nd Aristotle.and
(6) that they were venerated with Gentile rites.

But Epiphanius certainly did not here borrow from Irenaeus. Irenaeus says that Marcellina came 'to Rome', Epiphanius that she came 'to us'. A late writer copying Irenaeus could not have substituted the latter for the former. And Epiphanius adds some particulars which are not in Irenaeus and which he can scarcely have invented. He mentions the instruments with which the branding was performed, expands the 'other material' of Irenaeus into 'gold and silver and other material ', and he refers at the end of the passage to the doctrine of the Carpocratians that salvation was of the soul only and not of the body. Thus it remains that Irenaeus and Epiphanius based their statements on a common document. No work, except the Memoirs of Hegesippus, can be suggested which fulfils the necessary conditions of time and place.

Attention may be called to another point of contact between this passage of Epiphanius and the Memoirs. Hegesippus, like the author of Epiphanius's source, classed the Carpocratians among the Gnostics, and it seems to be implied by Eusebius that they were one of the heretical sects against which he contended. But we may go further. In the same context, and shortly before he comes to to name Hegesippus as one of the champions of the faith against heretics, Eusebius makes reference to the chapter of Irenaeus on the Carpocratians : 'Irenaeus also writes that contemporary with these (Saturninus and Basilides) was Carpocrates, the father of another heresy called that of the Gnostics.' Whence did he borrow this description of Carpocrates? Not, certainly, from Irenaeus; for he says no more than that the followers of Carpocrates called themselves Gnostics. But in the parallel passage Epiphanius tells us that 'thence— ie from the teaching of Marcellina at Rome or perhaps from the Carpocratians generally — has come the origin (ἀρχή) of those who are called Gnostics '.(Haer 27.6) In tracing the origin of Gnosticism to the teaching of Carpocrates did Epiphanius follow the source more exactly than Irenaeus? And in dubbing him 'the father of the heresy called that of the Gnostics ' does Eusebius echo the same phrase?  If so, we have an indication that the source was known to Eusebius and was in fact the Memoirs. That ἀρχή (or a cognate) was actually the word used by Hegesippus may appear likely if we recall the words in which he speaks of the first entrance of heresy into the Church of Jerusalem (Greek text cited from Church History 4.22.4). In the present passage all that is meant may perhaps be that the arrival of Marcellina marked the beginning of Gnostic teaching in Rome, just as the conduct of of Thebuthis marked the beginning of 'vain doctrine' in Jerusalem, though Eusebius in both cases has given the words a wider significance.

Immediately after his first notice of Marcellina Epiphanius proceeds to give a list of the bishops of Rome, beginning with the 'apostles and bishops, Peter and Paul', and ending with Clement. Then comes a long digression about Clement, which has nothing to do with his main subject, the Carpocratian heresy. Near the end of the digression he mentions incidentally that the two bishops who followed next after the apostles, Linus and Cletus, ruled each for twelve years. Then he once more sets out the order of succession of the bishops, this time carrying it on to Anicetus, and resumes his account of the Carpocratians with a repetition in different words of what he had already said about Marcellina. Thus he returns to the document of which he had made use at the beginning of the paragraph.

The list of Roman bishops, part of which Epiphanius writes down twice, is taken from a document, and was not compiled by Epiphanius himself. This fact is betrayed, once more, by the carelessness of Epiphanius. The list, on repetition, ends with the name of Anicetus, on which follows, 'who has been already mentioned above in the catalogue.' Now there is in the Panarion no catalogue of bishops which can be referred to here The obvious inference is that Epiphanius took his list from a writing in which its position was considerably earlier than the note, and that he has transcribed the latter, not observing that the omission of the katalogos from its proper place rendered it unmeaning.

Further, most readers of this passage will probably agree with. Harnack when he says that the list of bishops and the episode of Marcellina are inseparably connected. They must have been taken from the same document. Hence, if the foregoing argument is sound the former as well as the latter comes from the Memoirs of Hegesippus. Thus we may account for the presence of such irrelevant matter as a list of the bishops of Rome in a passage whose subject is the heresy of Carpocrates. The account of the Carpocratians, including the sentences about Marcellina, was in the Memoirs inserted in the katalogos was not the mere list of names which the word might seem to import, The name of each bishop was associated with some account of his period of office. This inference is supported by the fact that Epiphanius tells us, no doubt relying on his katalogos hat Linus and Cletus each ruled the Church for twelve years. It is supported also by the digression about Clement. This is really a digression within a digression. Epiphanius breaks off his discourse about the Carpocratians to give the list of bishops, and he breaks off the list when he reaches Clement to explain the difficulty about his place in the succession. It is natural to suppose that something in the catalogue itself suggested this fresh interruption. This can have been nothing else than an assertion that he was a contemporary of the apostles and was appointed bishop by St. Peter. The repetition of the former statement in successive clauses J leaves the impression that it was, as it were, the text of the discourse, and the use of a Hegesippan phrase (Greek text cited) in the latter is significant.

If all this is true the katalogos which Epiphanius had in his hands must have been a kind of history of the early Roman Church not at all unlike the history of the early Church of Jerusalem which Hegesippus incorporated in his Memoirs. Two special features of resemblance between the two may be pointed out. As in the Memoirs the manner of the appointment to the episcopate of James and Symeon is dwelt upon, so here the appointment of Clement by St. Peter while he and St. Paul were still alive is recorded. And as there the introduction of heresy into Jerusalem by Thebuthis under Symeon is recounted, so here the introduction of Gnosticism into Rome by Marcellina under Anicetus is duly noted, and apparently dealt with at some length.

The conclusion to which we seem to be irresistibly led by all these circumstances is that the whole of this paragraph of the Panarion of Epiphanius, excepting only the argument about Clement, is directly based on a passage of Hegesippus's Memoirs. This conclusion is supported by the high authority of Lightfoot, who, indeed, was the first to suggest it. [Hugh Jackson Lawlor Eusebiana p. 62 - 83]

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