Early Church Fathers
274 On this Defense of Origen, written jointly by Pamphilus and Eusebius, see above, p. 36.
275 The younger Gordian reigned from the summer of 238 until early in the year 244, when he was murdered by the soldiers, and succeeded by his praetorian prefect, Philip of Arabia, who took the name Marcus Julius Philippus, and reigned until 249, when he was conquered and succeeded by Decius. His son Philip, who was seven years old at the time of his father's accession, was immediately proclaimed Caesar and afterward given the title of Augustus. He bore the name Marcus Julius Philippus Severus, and was slain at the time of his father's death.
276 There has been much dispute as to Philip's relation to Christianity. Eusebius is the first one known to us to represent him as a Christian, and he gives the report only upon the authority of oral tradition (touton katexei logoj xristianon onta). Jerome (de vir. ill. 54) states explicitly that Philip was the first Christian emperor (qui primus de regibus Romanis christianus fuit), and this became common tradition in the Church. At the same time it must be noticed that Eusebius does not himself state that Philip was a Christian,-he simply records a tradition to that effect; and in his Vita Const. I. 3 he calls Constantine the first Christian emperor. Little reliance can be placed upon Jerome's explicit statement, for he seems only to be repeating as certain what Eusebius reported as possible. The only things known to us which can or could have been urged in support of the alleged fact that Philip was a Christian are his act recorded in this chapter and the letter written to him by Origen, as recorded in chap. 36. Moreover, it happens to be the fact that no heathen writer hints that he was a Christian, and we know that he celebrated games in Rome with pagan rites and great pomp. It seems, on the whole, probable that Philip showed himself favorable to Christianity, and perhaps superstitiously desired to gain the favor of the Christians' God, and hence went through some such process as Eusebius describes in this chapter, looking upon it merely as a sort of sacrifice to be offered to this God as he would offer other sacrifices to other gods. It is quite conceivable that he may have done this much, and this would be quite enough to start the report, after his death, that he had been a Christian secretly, if not openly; and from this to the tradition that he was unconditionally the first Christian emperor is but a step. Some ground for the common tradition must be assumed, but our sources do not warrant us in believing more than has been thus suggested as possible. For a full discussion of the question, see Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 494 sq.
277 Chrysostom (De St. Bab. c. Gentes. Tom. I.) and Leontius of Antioch (quoted in the Chron. pasch.) identify the bishop referred to here with Babylas, bishop of Antioch (see above, chap. 29, note 8). Eusebius' silence as to the name of the bishop looks as if he were ignorant on the matter, but there is nothing inherently improbable in the identification, which may therefore be looked upon as very likely correct.
278 That is, the place assigned to penitents: metanoiaj xwran. Christians who had committed flagrant transgressions were excluded from communion and required to go through a course of penance, more or less severe according to their offense, before they could be received again into the Church. In some cases they were excluded entirely from the services for a certain length of time; in other cases they were allowed to attend a part of the services, but in no case could they partake of the communion. In the fourth century a regular system of discipline grew up, and the penitents (paenitentes) were divided into various classes,-mourners, hearers, and kneelers; the first of whom were excluded entirely from the church, while the last two were admitted during a part of the service. The statement in the present case is of the most general character. Whether the place which he was obliged to take was without or within the church is not indicated. Upon the whole subject of ancient church discipline, see Bingham's Antiquites, Bk. XVI., and the article Penitence in Smith's Dict. of Christian Antiq.
279 On Heraclas, see chap. 3, note 2. The third year of Philip's reign extended from the summer of 246 to the summer of 247, so that if Heraclas became bishop in 232, he cannot have held office fully sixteen years. The agreement, however, is so close as to occasion no difficulty.
280 On Dionysius, see chap. 40, note 1.
281 tou kaq/ hmaj para pasi logou.
282 Since Origen was born in the year 185 or 186 this must have been as late as 245. Most if not all of the homilies of Origen, which are now preserved, were probably delivered after this time, and reported, as Eusebius says, by stenographers. The increasing boldness of the Christians referred to here was apparently due to their uncommonly comfortable condition under Philip.
283 Of the personal history of Celsus, the first great literary opponent of Christianity, we know nothing with certainty, nor did Origen know any more. He had heard that there were two persons of the same name, the one living in the time of Nero, the other, whom he identifies with his opponent. in the time of Hadrian and later, and both of them Epicurean philosophers (see contra Cels. I. 8). The work of Celsus, however, was clearly the work, not of an Epicurean, but of a Platonist, or at least of an eclectic philosopher, with a strong leaning toward Platonism. The author wrote about the middle of the second century, probably in the reign of Marcus Aurelius (Keim fixes the date of the work at 178 a.d.). The True Discourse (alhqhj logoj) is no longer extant, but it can be reconstructed in great part from Origen's reply to it. It is seen to have been one of the ablest and most philosophical attacks of ancient times, and to have anticipated a great many arguments urged against Christianity by modern unbelievers. Celsus was well acquainted with Christianity in its various forms and with its literature, and he set himself to work with all his learning and skill to compose a complete refutation of the whole thing. He writes apparently less from a religious than from a political motive. He was an ardent patriot, and considered paganism essential to the life of the State, and Christianity its necessary antagonist. He undertakes first to show that Christianity is historically untenable, and then that it is false from the standpoint of philosophy and ethics. It is noticeable that it is not his desire to exterminate Christianity completely, but to make peace with it; to induce the Christians to give up their claim to possess the only true religion, and, with all their high ethics and lofty ideals, to join hands with the upholders of the ancient religion in elevating the religious ideas of the people, and thus benefiting the state. When we look at his work in this light (and much misunderstanding has been caused by a failure to do this), we must admire his ability, and respect his motives. He was, however, by no means free from the superstitions and prejudices of his age. The most important book upon the work of Celsus is Keim's Celsus' Wahres Wort, Zürich, 1873, which reconstructs, from Origen's reply, Celsus' work, and translates and explains it. Origen's reply is philosophical and in parts very able, but it must be acknowledged that in many places he does not succeed in answering his opponent. His honesty, however, must be admired in letting his adversary always speak for himself. He attempts to answer every argument urged by Celsus, and gives the argument usually in Celsus' own words. The result is that the work is quite desultory in its treatment, and often weighted with unimportant details and tiresome repetitions. At the same time, it is full of, rich and suggestive thought, well worthy of Origen's genius, and shows a deep appreciation of the true spiritual nature of Christianity. The entire work of eight books is extant in the original Greek, and is printed in all editions of Origen's works (Lommatzsch, Vol. XX. p. 1-226), and is translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Am. ed. Vol. IV. 395-669. It was one of Origen's latest works, as we are told here by Eusebius, and was composed (as we learn from its preface) at the urgent request of Ambrose, to whom also it was dedicated.
284 The commentary on Matthew was written toward the close of Origen's life, as Eusebius informs us here, a fact which is confirmed by references in the work itself to many of his earlier commentaries. There are extant a single fragment from the first book (quoted in chap. 25, above), one from the second book (quoted in the Philocalia, chap. 6), and Books X.-XVII. entire in the original Greek, covering Matt. xiii. 36-xxii. 33. There are also extant numerous notes, which may have been taken, some of them from the commentary, and others from the homilies; and a Latin version of the commentary covering Matt. xvi. 13-xxvii. (See Lommatzsch, Vols. III.-V.). The catalogue of Jerome mentions twenty-five books and twenty-five homilies, and in the preface to his commentary on Matthew, Jerome states that he had read the twenty-five books, but elsewhere (in the prologue to his translation of Origen's homilies on Luke; Migne, VII. 219) he speaks of thirty-six (or twenty-six) books of the commentary, but this is doubtless a mistake (and so Vallarsi reads viginti quinque in the text). There is no reason to think that Origen wrote more than twenty-five books, which must have covered the whole Gospel (to judge from the portions extant). The books which are preserved contain much that is interesting and suggestive.
285 Jerome also mentions twenty-five books upon the twelve prophets (in duodecim Prophetas viginti quinque echghsewn Origenis volumina), of which he had found a copy in the library of Caesarea, transcribed by the hand of Pamphilus (de vir. ill. 75). The catalogue of Jerome enumerates two books on Hosea, two on Joel, six on Amos, one on Jonah, two on Micah, two on Mahum, three on Habakkuk, two on Zephaniah, one on Haggai, two on Zechariah, two on Malachi; but in the preface to his commentary on Malachi, Jerome mentions three books on that prophecy. Of all these books only one fragment of the commentary on Hosea is extant, being preserved in the Philocalia, c. 8.
286 These epistles to Philip and his wife Severa are no longer extant, nor can we form an accurate idea of their contents. We are reminded of Origen's interview with Mammaea, the mother of Alexander Severus, mentioned in chap. 21. Whether he wrote in response to a request from Philip is uncertain, but is not likely in view of the silence of Eusebius. It is possible that the favor shown by the emperor and his wife had led Origen to believe that they might be won for the faith, and there is nothing surprising in his addressing epistles to them with this idea. On Philip's relations to Christianity, see chap. 34, note 2.
287 This collection of Origen's epistles made by Eusebius is no longer extant. The catalogue of Jerome mentions "eleven books of letters in all; two books in defense of his works." Only two epistles are preserved entire,-the one to Julius Africanus (see chap. 31, note 1); the other to Gregory Thaumaturgus, written, apparently, soon after the departure of the latter from Caesarea (see chap. 30, note 1), for Gregory was, at the time it was written, still undecided as to the profession which he should follow. In addition to these two complete epistles, there are extant a sentence from a letter to his father (quoted in chap. 2); also a fragment of an epistle to some unknown person, describing the great zeal of his friend Ambrose (see chap. 18 note 1. The fragment is preserved by Suidas s. v. Wrigenhj); also a fragment defending his study of heathen philosophy (quoted in chap. 19, above); and two fragments in Latin, from a letter addressed to some Alexandrian friends, complaining of the alterations made by certain persons in the reports of disputations which he had held with them (see chap. 32, note 4. The one fragment is preserved by Jerome, in his Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 18; the other by Rufinus, in his apology for Origen). Of his epistles to Fabian and others no trace remains.
288 On Fabian, see chap. 29, note 4. We do not know when this letter to Fabian was written; but it been written in cannot have consequence of Origen's condemnation by the Alexandrian synods called by Demetrius, for they were held in 231 or 232, and Fabian did not become bishop until 236. There must have been some later cause,-perhaps a condemnation by a later synod of Alexandria, perhaps only the prevalence of a report that Origen was heterodox, which was causing serious suspicions in Rome and elsewhere. We know that the controversies which raged so fiercely about his memory began even before his death.
289 On this Defense, see above, p. 36.
290 The exact nature of the heresy which is here described by Eusebius is somewhat difficult to determine. It is disputed whether these heretics are to be reckoned with the qnhtopsuxitai (whom John of Damascus mentions in his de Haeres. c. 90, and to whom Augustine refers, under the name of Arabici, in his de Haeeres, c. 83), that is, those who taught the death of the soul with the body, or with the upnoyuxitai, who taught that the soul slept between the death and the resurrection of the body. Redepenning, in a very thorough discussion of the matter (II. 105 sq.), concludes that the heresy to which Eusebius refers grew up under Jewish influence, which was very strong in Arabia, and that it did not teach the death (as Eusebius asserts), but only the slumber of the soul. He reckons them therefore with the second, not the first, class mentioned. But it seems to me that Redepenning is almost hypercritical in maintaining that it is impossible that these heretics can have taught that the soul died and afterward was raised again; for it is no more impossible that they should have taught it than that Eusebius and others should have supposed that they did. In fact, there does not seem to be adequate ground for correcting Eusebius' statement, which describes heretics who must distinctly be classed with the qnhtopsuxitai mentioned later by John of Damascus. We do not know the date at which the synod referred to in this chapter was held. We only know that it was subsequent to the one which dealt with Beryllus, and therefore it must have been toward the close of Philip's reign.
291 The Elkesites ('Elkesaitai) were not a distinct sect, but "a school scattered among all parties of the Judaeo-Christian Church." They are described by Hippolytus (Phil. IX. 8-12) and by Epiphanius (in chap. 19 among the Essenes, in 30 among the Ebionites, and in 53 among the Sampsaeans). We learn from Hippolytus that, in the time of Callistus or soon afterward, a certain Alcibiades, a native of Apameia in Syria, brought to Rome a book bearing the name of Elkesai ('Hlxasai), which purported to contain a revelation, made in the time of Trajan, by the Son of God and the Holy Spirit in the form of angels, and teaching the forgiveness of all sins, even the grossest, by means of belief in the doctrines of the book and baptism performed with certain peculiar rites. The controversy in regard to the forgiveness of gross sins committed after baptism was raging high at this time in Rome, and Hippolytus, who took the strict side, naturally opposed this new system of indulgence with the greatest vigor. Among other doctrines taught in the book, was the lawfulness of denying the faith in time of persecution, as told us by Origen in this chapter, and by Epiphanius in chap. 19. The book was strongly Ebionitic in its teaching, and bore striking resemblances to the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. Its exact relation to those writings has been disputed; but Uhlhorn (Homilien und Recognition des Clemens Romanus) has shown conclusively that it is older than the latter, and that it represents a type of Ebionitic Christianity less modified than the latter by the influence of Christianity. In agreement with the Ebionites, the Elkesites (as all those were called who accepted the teachings of the book, to whatever party they might belong) taught that Christ was a created being; and they also repudiated sacrifices, which compelled them to reject certain portions of the Old Testament (cf. Origen's statement just below). They likewise refused recognition to the apostle Paul, and ordained the observance of the Jewish law; but they went beyond the Clementines in teaching the necessity of circumcision and the repetition of baptism as a means to the forgiveness of sins. The origin of the name Elkesai has also been disputed. Hippolytus says it was the name of the man who was claimed to have received the revelation, and Epiphanius calls Elkesai a false prophet; but some critics have thought them mistaken, and have supposed that Elkesai must have been the name of the book, or of the angel that gave the revelation. It is more probable, however, as Salmon concludes, that it was the name of a man whom the book represented as receiving the revelation, but that the man was only an imaginary person, and not the real founder of the school, as Epiphanius supposed. The book cannot well be put back of the beginning of the third century, when it first began to be heard of in the Catholic Church. It claimed to have been for a century in secret circulation, but the claim is quite unfounded. Eusebius speaks of the heresy as extinguished in the very beginning, and it seems, in fact, to have played no prominent part in history; and yet it apparently lingered on for a long time in the East, for we hear of a sect in Arabia, as late as the tenth century, who counted El-Chasaiach as their founder (see Salmon's article, p. 98). See the work of Uhlhorn already mentioned; also Ritschl's Entstehung d. alt. Katholischen Kirche, p. 234 sq. (Ritschl holds that the Clementines are older than the book of Elkesai), and Hilgenfeld's Nov. Test. extra Can. rec. III. 153, where the extant fragments of the book are collected. See also Salmon's article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 95 sq.
292 On Origen's writings on the Psalms, see chap. 24, note 3. This fragment is the only portion of his homily on the eighty-second Psalm extant.
293 Alciabades, according to Hippolytus (see above, note 1).
294 The apostle Paul (see note 1).
295 Origen does not mention the baptism of the Elkesites, which is described at length by Hippolytus. It seems that both belief in the teachings of the book and baptism were necessary. It may be that in Origen's opinion the receiving of the book itself involved the peculiar baptism which it taught, and that, therefore, he thought it unnecessary to mention the latter.
296 Philip was defeated and slain near Verona, on June 17, 249 by the Pannonian legions who had compelled Decius, the envoy sent by Philip to quell a mutiny among them, to accept the title of Augustus. Philip's death made Decius emperor; and he reigned for a little over two years, when he perished in a campaign against the Goths. The cause given by Eusebius for the terrible persecution of Decius is quite incorrect. The emperor, who before his elevation was one of the most highly respected senators, seems to have been a man of noble character and of high aims. He was a thoroughgoing patriot and a staunch believer in the religion and laws of Rome. He saw the terrible state of corruption and decay into which the empire had fallen; and he made up his mind that it could be arrested only by restoring the ancient Roman customs, and by strengthening the ancient religion. He therefore revived the old censorship, hoping that the moral and social habits of the people might be improved under its influence; and he endeavored to exterminate the Christians, believing that thus the ancient purity of the state religion might be restored. It was no low motive of personal revenge or of caprice which prompted the persecution. We must recognize the fact that Decius was one of the best and noblest of the Roman emperors, and that he persecuted as a patriot and a believer in the religion of his fathers. He was the first one that aimed at the complete extermination of the Christians. He went systematically to work to put the religion out of existence; and the persecution was consequently both universal and of terrible severity, far more terrible than any that had preceded it. The edicts published by Decius early in. the year 250 are no longer extant; but we can gather from the notices, especially of Cyprian and Dionysius, that the effort was first made to induce Christians throughout the empire to deny their faith and return to the religion of the state, and only when large numbers of them remained obstinate did the persecution itself begin.
297 On Fabianus, bishop of Rome, see chap. 29, note 4.
298 After the martyrdom of Fabianus the church of Rome was without a bishop for about fourteen months. The bishopric of that church was naturally under Decius a place of the greatest danger. Cornelius became bishop in 251, probably in March, while Decius was away from the city. After the emperor's death, which took place in the following winter, Gallus renewed the persecution, and Cornelius with a large part of the church fled to Cività Vecchia, where he died in the summer of 253, according to Lipsius (the Liberian catalogue says 252, which is the commonly accepted date, but is clearly incorrect, as Lipsius has shown). Both versions of the Chron. are greatly confused at this point, and their statements are very faulty (Jerome's version assigning a reign of only fifteen months to Decius and two years and four months to Gallus). Eusebius, in Bk. VII. chap. 2, says that Cornelius held office "about three years," which is reasonably accurate, for he was actually bishop nearly two years and a half. It was during the episcopate of Cornelius that the Novatian schism took place (see chap. 43). Eight epistles from Cyprian to Cornelius are extant, and two from Cornelius to Cyprian. In chap. 43 Eusebius makes extended quotations from an epistle written by Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch, and mentions still others which are not preserved. In chap. 46 he refers to one against Novatian addressed to Dionysius of Alexandria, which is likewise lost.
299 On Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, see chap. 8, note 6.
300 The time of Mazabanes' accession is fixed approximately by the fact that Alexander's death took place in the persecution of Decius. His death is put by Eusebius (Bk. VII. chap. 14) in the reign of Gallienus (260-268), and with this the notice in the Chron. agrees, which assigns it to the year 265. Since his successor, Hymenaeus, was present at the council of Antioch, in which the case of Paul of Samosata was considered (see below, Bk. VII. chaps. 29 and 30), it will not do to put Mazabanes' death later than 265.
301 On Babylas, see chap. 29, note 8.
302 Eusebius gives the name of this bishop as Babioj, Jerome as Fabianus, and Syncellus as ylabianoj. The time of his accession is fixed by the death of Babylas in the persecution of Decius. He was bishop of Antioch while Cornelius was bishop of Rome, as we learn from the latter's epistle to him, quoted in chap. 43, below. From an epistle written by Dionysius of Alexandria to Cornelius of Rome (referred to in chap. 46), we learn that Fabius died while the latter was still bishop, i.e. before the summer of 253 (see note 3, above). The Chron. pasch. assigns three years to the episcopate of Fabius; and though we cannot place much reliance upon the figure, yet it leads us to think that he must have been bishop for some time,-at least more than a year,-and so we are inclined to put his death as late as possible. The Chron. puts the accession of his Successor Demetrianus in the year 254, which is too late, at least for the death of Fabius. We may conclude that the latter died probably in the year 253, or not long before. Harnack decides for the time between the fall of 252 and the spring of 253. Fabius, as we learn from the epistles addressed to him by Cornelius and Dionysius (see chaps. 43 and 44), was inclined to indorse Novarian and the rigoristid discipline favored by him. We know nothing more of the life or character of Fabius.
303 touj podaj upo tessara tou kolasthriou culou parathqeij diasthmata. Otto, in his edition of Justin's Apology (Corp. Apol. Christ. I. p. 204), says: culon erat truncus foramina habens, quibus pedes captivorum immitebantur, ut securius in carcere servarentur aut tormentis vexarentur ("a culon was a block, with holes in which the feet of captives were put, in order that they might be kept more securely in prison, or might be afflicted with tortures"). The farther apart the feet were stretched, the greater of course was the torture. Four spaces seems to have been the outside limit. Compare Bk. VIII. chap. 10, §8.
304 A tradition arose in later centuries that Origen died in the persecution of Decius (see Photius, Cod. 118); but this is certainly an error, for Eusebius cannot have been mistaken when he cites Origen's own letters as describing his sufferings during the persecution. e epistles referred to here are no longer extant. On Origen's epistles in general, see chap. 36, note 7.
305 Dionysius the Great (Eusebius in the preface to Bk. VII. calls him o megaj 'Alecandrewn episkopoj) was born toward the close of the second century (he was an aged man, between 260 and 265, as we learn from Bk. VII. chap 27), studied under Origen, and succeeded Heraclas as principal of the catechetical school in Alexandria (see above, chap. 29) in the year 231 or 231 (see chap. 3, note 2). In the third year of Philip's reign (246-247) he succeeded Heraclas as bishop of Alexandria, according to chap. 35, above. Whether he continued to preside over the catechetical school after he became bishop we do not know. Dittrich (p. 4 sq.) gives reasons for thinking that he did, which render it at least probable. He was still living when the earlier synods, in which the case of Paul of Samosata was considered, were held (i.e. between 260 and 264; see Bk. VII. chap. 27, note 4), but he was dead before the last one met, i.e. before 265 a.d. (see Bk. VII. chap. 29, note 1). Dionysius is one of the most prominent, and at the same time pleasing, figures of his age. He seems to have been interested less in speculative than in practical questions, and yet he wrote an important work On Nature, which shows that he possessed philosophical ability, and one of his epistles contains a discussion of the authorship of the Apocalypse, which is unsurpassed in the early centuries as an example of keen and yet judicious and well-balanced literary criticism (see Bk. VII. chap. 25). His intellectual abilities must, therefore, not be underrated, but it is as a practical theologian that he is best known. He took an active part in all the controversies of his time, in the Novatian difficulty in which the re-admission of the lapsed was the burning question; in the controversy as to the re-baptism of heretics; and in the case of Paul of Samosata. In all he played a prominent part, and in all he seems to have acted with groat wisdom and moderation (see chaps. 44 sq., Bk. VII. chaps. 5, 7 sq., chap. 27). He was taken prisoner during the persecution of Decius, but made his escape (see the present chapter). In the persecution of Valerian he was banished (see Bk. VII. chap. 11), but returned to Alexandria after the accession of Gallienus (see Bk. VII. chap. 21). His conduct during the persecutions exposed him to adverse criticism, and he defended himself warmly against the accusations of a bishop Germanus, in an epistle, portions of which are quoted in this chapter and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. The writings of Dionysius were chiefly in the form of epistles, written for some practical purpose. Of such epistles he wrote a great many, and numerous fragments are extant, preserved chiefly by Eusebius. Being called forth by particular circumstances, they contain much information in regard to contemporary events, and are thus an important historical source, as Eusebius wisely perceived. Such epistles are quoted, or mentioned, in chaps. 41, 44, 45, and 46 of this book, and in Bk. VII. chaps. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26. For particulars in regard to them, see the notes on those chapters. In addition to his epistles a work, On Promises, is referred to by Eusebius in Bk. VII. chap. 28, and in Bk. VII. chaps. 24 and 25, where extracts from it are quoted (see Bk. VII. chap. 24, note 1); also a commentary on the beginning of Ecclesiastes in Bk. VII. chap. 26, and in the same chapter a work in four books against Sabellius, addressed to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, in which he defends himself against the charge of tritheism, brought by some Sabellian adversaries. He was able to clear himself of all suspicion of heresy in the matter, though it is quite clear that he had carried the subordinationism of Origen to a dangerous extreme. The attack upon him led him to be more careful in his statements, some of which were such as in part to justify the suspicions of his adversaries. Athanasius defended his orthodoxy in a special work, De Sententiis Dionysii, and there can be no doubt that Dionysius was honestly concerned to preserve the divinity of the Son; but as in the case of Eusebius of C`sarea, and of all those who were called upon to face Sabellianism, his tendency was to lay an over-emphasis upon the subordination of the Son (see above, p. 11 sq.). For further particulars in regard to this work, see the chapter referred to, note 4. Upon Dionysius' views of the Trinity, see Dittrich, p. 91 sq. Besides the writings referred to, or quoted by Eusebius, there should be mentioned an important canonical epistle addressed to Basilides, in which the exact time of the expiration of the lenten fast is the chief subject of discussion (still extant, and printed by Pitra, Routh, and others, and translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers; see Dittrich, p. 46 sq.). There are yet a few other fragments of Dionysius' writings, extant in various mss., which it is not necessary to mention here. See Dittrich, p. 130. The most complete collection of the extant fragments of his writings is that of Migne, Patr. Gr. X. 1233 sq., to which must be added Pitra's Spic. Solesm. I. 15 sq. English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 87-120. The most complete work upon Dionysius is the monograph of Dietrich, Dionysius der Grosse, Freiburg, i. Br. 1867.
306 This Germanus, as we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, was a bishop of some see, unknown to us, who had accused Dionysius of cowardice in the face of persecution. In the present instance Dionysius undertakes to refute his calumnies, by recounting accurately his conduct during the persecutions. It must be remembered that the letter is a defense against accusations actually made, or we shall misunderstand it, and misinterpret Dionysius' motives in dwelling at such length upon the details of his own sufferings. The epistle, a part of which is quoted in this chapter, and a part in Bk. VII. chap. 11, was written, as we learn from the latter chapter, §18, while the persecution of Valerian was still in progress, and recounts his experiences during the persecutions of Decfus and of Valerian. The fragment quoted in the present chapter is devoted to the persecution of Decius, the other fragment to the persecution of Valerian. The letter is said to have been written proj Germanon. This might be translated either to or against Germanus. Analogy would lead us to think the former translation correct, for all the epistles mentioned are said to have been written proj one or another person, and it is natural, of course, to expect the name of the person addressed to be given. I have therefore translated the word thus, as is done in all the versions. At the same time it must be noticed that Germanus is spoken of in the epistle (especially in §18 sq. of the other chapter) not as if he were the person addressed, but as he were the person complained of to others; and, moreover, a letter of defense sent to him alone would probably have little effect, and would fail to put an end to the calumnies which must have found many ready ears. It seems, in fact, quite probable that the epistle was rather a public than a private one, and that while it was nominally addressed to Germanus, it was yet intended for a larger public, and was written with that public in view. This will explain the h eculiar manner in which Germanus is referred to. Certainly it is ard to think he would have been thus mentioned in a personal letter.
307 Sabinus, an otherwise unknown personage, seems to have been prefect of Egypt at this time, as Aemilianus was during the persecution of Valerian, according to Bk. VII. chap. 11.
308 One of the frumentarii milites, or military commissaries, who were employed for various kinds of business, and under the emperors especially as detectives or secret spies.
309 mh euriskwn. It is not meant that the frumentarius could not find the house, but that he did not think to go to the house at all, through an error of judgment ("being smitten with blindness"), supposing that Dionysius would certainly be elsewhere.
310 oi paidej. This is taken by many scholars to mean "children," and the conclusion is drawn by them that Dionysius was a married man. Dittrich translates it "pupils," supposing that Dionysius was still at the head of the catechetical school, and that some of his scholars lived with him, as was quite common. Others translate "servants," or "domestics." I have used the indefinite word" attendants" simply, because the paidej may well have included children, scholars, servants, and others who made up his family and constituted, any or all of them, his attendants. As shown in note 8, the word at any rate cannot be confined in the present case to servants.
311 Strabo (Bk. XVII. chap. 1) mentions a small town called Taposiris, situated in the neighborhood of Alexandria.
312 We know nothing about this Timothy, except that Dionysius addressed to him his work On Nature, as reported by Eusebius in VII. 26. He is there called Timwqeoj o paij. Dionysius can hardly have addressed a book to one of his servants, and hence we may conclude that Timothy was either Dionysius' son (as Westcott holds) or scholar (as 'Dittrich believes). It is reasonable to think him one of the paidej, with others of whom Dionysius was arrested, as recorded just above. It is in that case of course necessary to give the word as used there some other, or at least some broader sense than "servants."
313 Greek echndrapodismenouj, meaning literally "reduced to slavery." The context, however, does not seem to justify such a rendering, for the reference is apparently only to the fact that they were captured. Their capture, had they not been released, would have resulted probably in death rather than in slavery.
314 These four men are known to us only as companions of Dionysius during the persecution of Decius, as recorded here and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. From that chapter, §23, we learn that Caius and Peter were alone with Dionysius in a desert place in Libya, after being carried away by the rescuing party mentioned here. From §3 of the same chapter we learn that Faustus was a deacon, and that he was with Dionysius also during the persecution of Valerian, and from §26 that he suffered martyrdom at a great age in the Diocletian persecution. See also Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 11.
315 As we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, §23, this rescuing party carried Dionysius to a desert place in Libya, where he was left with only two companions until the persecution ceased.
316 I read fabion with the majority of the mss., and with Valesius, Stroth, Burton, Closs, and Crusae, preferring to adopt the same spelling here that is used in the other passages in which the same bishop is mentioned. A number of mss. read fabianon, which is supported by Rufinus, and adopted by Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen. On Fabius, bishop of Antioch, see chap. 39, note 7. The time of his episcopate stated in that note fixes the date of this epistle within narrow limits, viz. between 250 and the spring of 253. The whole tone of the letter and the discussion of the readmission of the lapsed would lead us to think that the epistle was written after the close of the persecution, but in §20, Dioscorus is said to be still among them, waiting for "a longer and more severe conflict," which seems to imply that the persecution, if not raging at the time, was at least expected to break out again soon. This would lead us to think of the closing months of Decius' reign, i.e. late in the year 251, and this date finds confirmation in the consideration that the epistle (as we learn from chap. 44) was written after the breaking out of the Novatian schism, and apparently after the election of Novatian as opposition bishop, for Fabius can hardly have sided with him against his bishop, so long as he was only a presbyter. Doubtless Novatian's official letter, announcing his election, had influenced Fabius. But Novation was elected bishop in 251, probably in the summer or early fall; at least, some months after Cornelius' accession which took place in February, 251. It seems, from chap. 44, that Fabius was inclined to side with Novatian, and to favor his rigoristic principles. This epistle was written (as we learn from chap. 42, §6) with the express purpose of leading him to change his position and to adopt more lenient principles in his treatment of the lapsed. It is with this end in view that Dionysius details at such length in this chapter the sufferings of the martyrs. He wishes to impress upon Fabius their piety and steadfastness, in order to beget greater respect for their opinions. Having done this, he states that they who best understood the temptations to which the persecuted were exposed, had received the lapsed, when repentant, into fellowship as before (see chap. 42, note 6). Dionysius' own position in the matter comes out very clearly in this epistle. He was in full sympathy with the milder treatment of the lapsed advocated in Rome and in Carthage by Cornelius and Cyprian.
317 The edict of Decius was published early in the year 250, and therefore the persecution in Alexandria, according to Dionysius, began in 249, while Philip was still emperor. Although the latter showed the Christians favor, yet it is not at all surprising that this local persecution should break out during his reign. The peace which the Christians were enjoying naturally fostered the growth of the Church, and the more patriotic and pious of the heathen citizens of the empire must necessarily have felt great solicitude at its constant increase, and the same spirit which led Decius to persecute would lead many such persons to desire to persecute when the opportunity offered itself; and the closing months of Philip's reign were so troubled with rebellions and revolutions that he had little time, and perhaps less inclination, to interfere in such a minor matter as a local persecution of Christians. The common people of Alexandria were of an excitable and riotous disposition, and it was always easy there to stir up a tumult at short notice and upon slight pretexts.
318 o kakwn th polei tanth mantiz kai poihthz The last word is rendered "poet" by most translators, and the rendering is quite possible; but it is difficult to understand why Dionysius should speak of this person's being a poet, which could have no possible connection with the matter in hand. It seems better to take poihthj in its common sense of "maker," or "author," and to suppose Dionysius to be thinking of this man, not simply as the prophet of evils to the city, but also as their author, in that he "moved and aroused against us the masses of the heathen."
319 Of the various martyrs and confessors mentioned in this chapter, we know only what is told us by Dionysius in this epistle.
320 Heb. x. 34. Upon the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, see Bk. III. chap. 3, note 17; and upon Eusebius' opinion in the matter, see Bk. III. chap. 25, note 1.
321 We know that the closing months of Philip's reign were troubled with seditions in various quarters; but Dionysius is our only authority for this particular one, unless it be connected, as some think, with the revolt which Zosimus describes as aroused in the Orient by the bad government of Philip's brother, who was governor there, and by excessive taxation (see Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 272).
322 This refers to the death of Philip and the accession of Decius. The hostile edicts of the latter seem not to have been published until some months after his accession, i.e. early in 250. But his hostility to Christianity might have been known from the start, and it might have been understood that he would persecute as soon as he had attended to the other more important matters connected with his accession.
323 Matt. xxiv. 24. Eusebius reads skandalisai; Matthew, plansqai or planhsai.
324 i.e. to sacrifice.
325 oi dhmsosieuontej upo twn pracewn hgonto. Every officer of the government under the imperial regimen was obliged to sacrifice to the Gods upon taking office, and also to sacrifice at stated times during his term of office, and upon special occasions, or in connection with the performance of important official duties. He might thus be called upon in his official capacity frequently to offer sacrifices, and a failure to perform this part of his duties was looked upon as sacrilege and punished as a crime against the state. Christian officials, therefore, were always in danger of suffering for their religion unless the were allowed as a special favor, to omit the sacrifices, as was often the case under those emperors who were more favorably inclined toward Christianity. A private citizen was never obliged to sacrifice except in times of persecution, when he might be ordered to do so as a test. But an official could not carry out fully all the duties of his position without sacrificing. This is one reason why many of the Christians avoided public office, and thus drew upon themselves the accusation of a lack of patriotism (cf. Origen, Contra Cels. VI. 5 sq., and Tertullian's Apol. c. 42); and it is also one reason why such Christians as happened to be in office were always the first to suffer under a hostile emperor.