Saturday, November 24, 2012

More Evidence That There Was a Counil of Ancyra in the Second Century to Condemn Heretics

Eusebius in his Church History taking evidence from the writings of one Apolinarius of Hierapolis writes:
in the beginning of his work against them (= the Montanists) first intimates that he had contended with them in oral controversies. He commences his work in this manner:"

But being recently in Ancyra in Galatia, I found the church there greatly agitated by this novelty, not prophecy, as they call it, but rather false prophecy, as will be shown. Therefore, to the best of our ability, with the Lord’s help, we disputed in the church many days concerning these and other matters separately brought forward by them, so that the church rejoiced and was strengthened in the truth, and those of the opposite side were for the time confounded, and the adversaries were grieved.   The presbyters in the place, our fellow-presbyter Zoticus of Otrous also being present, requested us to leave a record of what had been said against the opposers of the truth. We did not do this, but we promised to write it out as soon as the Lord permitted us, and to send it to them speedily.

Having said this with other things, in the beginning of his work, he proceeds to state the cause of the above-mentioned heresy as follows ...

Apolinarius is cited and an account of the Montanists follows, with the these closing words which are quite significant:

But those of the Phrygians that were deceived were few in number. And the arrogant spirit taught them to revile the entire universal Church under heaven, because the spirit of false prophecy received neither honor from it nor entrance into it. For the faithful in Asia met often in many places throughout Asia to consider this matter, and examined the novel utterances and pronounced them profane, and rejected the heresy, and thus these persons were expelled from the Church and debarred from communion. 

Just to summarize - (a) the writer - Apolinarius - is in Ancyra and (b) he references many 'meetings' in Asia to (c) condemn the heretics and excommunicate them.  How can it be denied that the existence of a 'second century Council of Ancyra' as referenced in the Syriac Chronicles is a complete invention?  There has to be something to this.

Furthermore it is worth noting that the esteemed Robert McQueen Grant in his Second Century Christianity: Revised and Expanded a Collection of Fragments identifies Apolinarius's visit as to a 'conference in Ancyra.'  Hickes and Butler similarly speak of him attending "a great conference held at Ancyra." Selwyn dates this conference to 145 CE.  Taylor speaks of "the Council of Ancyra in Galatia, to suppress the errors of Montanus" in 163 CE.

In a similar manner Tertullian in the early third century speaks of the "Shepherd" of Hermas as having been judged apocryphal "by every Council of churches," and still more emphatically in the following passage: "There are held besides, throughout the Greek world, those Councils in fixed spots composed of whole Churches ; whereby both all the higher themes are handled in common and the representation itself of the whole Christian name takes place with great veneration."

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