Early Church Fathers
4 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.
5 On the dates of Demetrius' episcopacy, see Bk. V. chap. 22, note 4.
6 On Julian, see Bk. V. chap. 9, note 2.
7 On the persecution, see more particularly chap. 1, note 1.
8 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.
9 th twn egkuklliwn paideia. According to Liddell and Scott, egk. 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 egk. maqhmata the branches in which the youth were instructed; i.e. mathematics, grammar, and rhetoric philosophy not being included (see Valesius' note in loco).
10 On the date of Origen's birth, see note 1.
11 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.
12 dia to dokoun ikanon en logw.
13 Redepenning (p. 189) refers to Origen's In Matt. Comment. Series, sec. 89, where it is said, melius est cunt nullo orare, quart cum malis orare.
14 fulattwn eceti paidoj kanona [two mss. kanonaj] ekklhsiaj. 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?0'" 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 (Conciliengsch. 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."
15 Redepenning (p. 190) refers to the remarks of Origen upon the nature and destructivenes of heresy collected by Pamphilus (Fragm. Apol. Parmph. Opp. Origen, IV. 694 [ed. Delarue]).
16 epi ta grammataika.
17 See below, p. 392.
18 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'pupils to suffer martyrdom. (On the date of the persecution in which he suffered, see note 4).
19 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.
20 See below, p. 392.
21 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 (hgoumeno/) 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' death.
22 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.
23 oioj o logoj toioj o bioj 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).
24 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 Cruseè 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.
25 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.
26 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 §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.
27 See Matt. x. 11.
28 See Matt. vi. 34.
29 Greek: qwrac, properly "chest." Rufinus and Christophorsonus translate stomachum, and Valesius approves; but there is no authority for such a use of the term qwrac, so far as I can ascertain. The proper Greek term for stomach is stomaxoj, which is uniformly employed by Galen and other medical writers.
30 See the previous chapter, §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.
31 These two persons named Serenus, the first of whom was burned, the second beheaded, are known to us only from this chapter.
32 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 medivael martyrologies, but our authentic information is limited to what Eusebius tells us here.
33 Our authentic information of Hero is likewise limited to this account of Eusebius.
34 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, §2).
35 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.).
36 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.
37 Of Marcella, we know only that she was the mother of the more celebrated Potamiaena, and suffered martyrdom by fire.
38 The word sfragij, "seal," was very commonly used by the Fathers to signify baptism (see Suicer's Thesaurus).
39 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, §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.
40 On Pantaenus, see Bk. V. chap. 10, note 2.
41 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 Crusè. 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 natnrally 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.
42 In Stromata, Bk. I. chap. 21. On this and the other works of Clement, see chap. 13.
43 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 he 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 combinedand exegesis.
44 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.
45 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 §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.
46 Matt. xix. 12.
47 See chap. 23.
48 On the relations existing between Demetrius and Origen, see below, p. 394.