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Eusebius of Caesarea was an early historian of the Church. In his Ecclesiastical History (written about A.D. 324) he discusses questions of canonicity in several places. His view of the Old Testament canon is described thus by Westcott:
Eusebius has left no express judgment on the contents of the Old Testament. In three places he quotes from Josephus, Melito and Origen, lists of the books (slightly differing) according to the Hebrew Canon. These he calls in the first place 'the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, undisputed among the Hebrews;' and again,'the acknowledged Scriptures of the Old Testament;' and, lastly, 'the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament.' In his Chronicle he distinctly separates the Books of Maccabees from the 'Divine Scriptures;' and elsewhere mentions Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom as 'controverted' books. On the other hand, like the older Fathers, he quotes in the same manner as the contents of the Hebrew Canon passages from Baruch and Wisdom. On the whole, it may be concluded that he regarded the Apocrypha of the Old Testament in the same light as the books in the New Testament, which were 'controverted and yet familiarly used by many.' The books of the Hebrew Canon alone were in his technical language 'acknowledged.' (Brooke Foss Westcott, The Bible in the Church: A Popular Account of the Collection and Reception of the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Churches [London: MacMillan and Co., 1896], p. 153.)
On the canon of the New Testament he expresses his opinion with much greater fulness than any preceding writer. I reproduce below three chapters from book 3 of his Ecclesiastical History, in the translation of M.C. McGiffert: The Church History of Eusebius, Translated with Prolegomena and Notes by the Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Ph.d., in the series A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, vol. 1 (1890). I also reproduce McGiffert's extensive notes to these chapters, to which I have made some additions in square brackets. For chapter 25, next to McGiffert's translation I have put the Greek text according to Burton, from Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History According to the Text of Burton, with an Introduction by William Bright 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881), minus the accents, and in paragraphs conforming to McGiffert's version. —M.D.M.
1. One epistle of Peter, that called the first, is acknowledged as genuine. 1 And this the ancient elders 2 used freely in their own writings as an undisputed work. 3 But we have learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon; 4 yet, as it has appeared profitable to many, it has been used with the other Scriptures. 5
2. The so-called Acts of Peter, 6 however, and the Gospel 7 which bears his name, and the Preaching 8 and the Apocalypse, 9 as they are called, we know have not been universally accepted, 10 because no ecclesiastical writer, ancient or modern, has made use of testimonies drawn from them. 11
3. But in the course of my history I shall be careful to show, in addition to the official succession, what ecclesiastical writers have from time to time made use of any of the disputed works, 12 and what they have said in regard to the canonical and accepted writings, 13 as well as in regard to those which are not of this class.
4. Such are the writings that bear the name of Peter, only one of which I know to be genuine 14 and acknowledged by the ancient elders. 15
5. Paul’s fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed. 16 It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, 17 saying that it is disputed 18 by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul. But what has been said concerning this epistle by those who lived before our time I shall quote in the proper place. 19 In regard to the so-called Acts of Paul, 20 I have not found them among the undisputed writings. 21
6. But as the same apostle, in the salutations at the end of the Epistle to the Romans, 22 has made mention among others of Hermas, to whom the book called The Shepherd 23 is ascribed, it should be observed that this too has been disputed by some, and on their account cannot be placed among the acknowledged books; while by others it is considered quite indispensable, especially to those who need instruction in the elements of the faith. Hence, as we know, it has been publicly read in churches, and I have found that some of the most ancient writers used it.
7. This will serve to show the divine writings that are undisputed as well as those that are not universally acknowledged.
1. This extract from Clement I have inserted here for the sake of the history and for the benefit of my readers. Let us now point out the undisputed writings of this apostle.
2. And in the first place his Gospel, which is known to all the churches under heaven, must be acknowledged as genuine. 1 That it has with good reason been put by the ancients in the fourth place, after the other three Gospels, may be made evident in the following way.
3. Those great and truly divine men, I mean the apostles of Christ, were purified in their life, and were adorned with every virtue of the soul, but were uncultivated in speech. They were confident indeed in their trust in the divine and wonder-working power which was granted unto them by the Saviour, but they did not know how, nor did they attempt to proclaim the doctrines of their teacher in studied and artistic language, but employing only the demonstration of the divine Spirit, which worked with them, and the wonder-working power of Christ, which was displayed through them, they published the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven throughout the whole world, paying little attention to the composition of written works.
4. And this they did because they were assisted in their ministry by one greater than man. Paul, for instance, who surpassed them all in vigor of expression and in richness of thought, committed to writing no more than the briefest epistles, 2 although he had innumerable mysterious matters to communicate, for he had attained even unto the sights of the third heaven, had been carried to the very paradise of God, and had been deemed worthy to hear unspeakable utterances there. 3
5. And the rest of the followers of our Saviour, the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples, and countless others besides, were not ignorant of these things. Nevertheless, of all the disciples 4 of the Lord, only Matthew and John have left us written memorials, and they, tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure of necessity.
6. For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, 5 and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence.
7. And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, 6 they say that John, who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry. 7
8. And this indeed is true. For it is evident that the three evangelists recorded only the deeds done by the Saviour for one year after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, 8 and indicated this in the beginning of their account.
9. For Matthew, after the forty days’ fast and the temptation which followed it, indicates the chronology of his work when he says: “Now when he heard that John was delivered up he withdrew from Judea into Galilee.” 9
10. Mark likewise says: “Now after that John was delivered up Jesus came into Galilee.” 10 And Luke, before commencing his account of the deeds of Jesus, similarly marks the time, when he says that Herod, “adding to all the evil deeds which he had done, shut up John in prison.” 11
11. They say, therefore, that the apostle John, being asked to do it for this reason, gave in his Gospel an account of the period which had been omitted by the earlier evangelists, and of the deeds done by the Saviour during that period; that is, of those which were done before the imprisonment of the Baptist. And this is indicated by him, they say, in the following words: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus”; 12 and again when he refers to the Baptist, in the midst of the deeds of Jesus, as still baptizing in ∆non near Salim; 13 where he states the matter clearly in the words: “For John was not yet cast into prison.” 14
12. John accordingly, in his Gospel, records the deeds of Christ which were performed before the Baptist was cast into prison, but the other three evangelists mention the events which happened after that time.
13. One who understands this can no longer think that the Gospels are at variance with one another, inasmuch as the Gospel according to John contains the first acts of Christ, while the others give an account of the latter part of his life. And the genealogy of our Saviour according to the flesh John quite naturally omitted, because it had been already given by Matthew and Luke, and began with the doctrine of his divinity, which had, as it were, been reserved for him, as their superior, by the divine Spirit. 15
14. These things may suffice, which we have said concerning the Gospel of John. The cause which led to the composition of the Gospel of Mark has been already stated by us. 16
15. But as for Luke, in the beginning of his Gospel, he states himself the reasons which led him to write it. He states that since many others had more rashly undertaken to compose a narrative of the events of which he had acquired perfect knowledge, he himself, feeling the necessity of freeing us from their uncertain opinions, delivered in his own Gospel an accurate account of those events in regard to which he had learned the full truth, being aided by his intimacy and his stay with Paul and by his acquaintance with the rest of the apostles. 17
16. So much for our own account of these things. But in a more fitting place we shall attempt to show by quotations from the ancients, what others have said concerning them.
17. But of the writings of John, not only his Gospel, but also the former of his epistles, has been accepted without dispute both now and in ancient times. 18 But the other two are disputed. 19
18. In regard to the Apocalypse, the opinions of most men are still divided. 20 But at the proper time this question likewise shall be decided from the testimony of the ancients. 21
|1. Ευλογον δ ενταυθα γενομενους ανακεφαλαιωσασθαι τας δηλωθεισας της καινης διαθηκης γραφας. και δη τακτεον εν πρωτοις την αγιαν των ευαγγελιων τετρακτυν, οις επεται η των πραξεων των αποστολων γραφη.||1. Since we are dealing with this subject it is proper to sum up the writings of the New Testament which have been already mentioned. First then must be put the holy quaternion of the Gospels; 2 following them the Acts of the Apostles. 3|
|2. Μετα δε ταυτην τας Παυλου καταλεκτεον επιστολας, αις εξης την φερομενην Ιωαννου προτεραν, και ομοιως την Πετρου κυρωτεον επιστολην. επι τουτοις τακτεον, ειγε φανειη, την αποκαλυψιν Ιωαννου, περι ης τα δοξαντα κατα καιρον εκθησομεθα. και ταυτα μεν εν ομολογουμενοις.||2. After this must be reckoned the epistles of Paul; 4 next in order the extant former epistle of John, 5 and likewise the epistle of Peter, 6 must be maintained. 6a After them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John, 7 concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time. 8 These then belong among the accepted writings. 9|
|3. Των δ αντιλεγομενων, γνωριμων δ ουν ομως τοις πολλοις, η λεγομενη Ιακωβου φερεται, και η Ιουδα, η τε Πετρου δευτερα επιστολη, και η ονομαζομενη δευτερα και τριτη Ιωαννου, ειτε του ευαγγελιστου τυγχανουσαι, ειτε και ετερου ομωνυμου εκεινω.||3. Among the disputed writings, 10 which are nevertheless recognized 11 by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James 12 and that of Jude, 13 also the second epistle of Peter, 14 and those that are called the second and third of John, 15 whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name.|
|4. Εν τοις νοθοις κατατεταχθω και των Παυλου πραξεων η γραφη, ο τε λεγομενος ποιμην, και η αποκαλυψις Πετρου. και προς τουτοις, η φερομενη Βαρναβα επιστολη, και των αποστολων αι λεγομεναι διδαχαι· ετι τε, ως εφην, η Ιωαννου αποκαλυψις, ει φανειη, ην τινες, ως εφην, αθετουσιν, ετεροι δε εγκρινουσι τοις ομολογουμενοις.||4. Among the rejected writings 16 must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, 17 and the so-called Shepherd, 18 and the Apocalypse of Peter, 19 and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, 20 and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; 21 and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, 22 but which others class with the accepted books. 23|
|5. Ηδη δ εν τουτοις τινες και το καθ εβραιους ευαγγελιον κατελεξαν, ω μαλιστα εβραιων οι τον Χριστον παραδεξαμενοι χαιρουσι. ταυτα μεν παντα των αντιλεγομενων αν ειη.||5. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, 24 with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books. 25|
|6. Αναγκαιως δε και τουτων ομως τον καταλογον πεποιημεθα, διακριναντες τας τε κατα την εκκλησιαστικην παραδοσιν αληθεις και απλαστους και ανωμολογημενας γραφας, και τας αλλας παρα ταυτας, ουκ ενδιαθηκους μεν, αλλα και αντιλεγομενας, ομως δε παρα πλειστοις των εκκλησιαστικων γιγνωσκομενας, ιν ειδεναι εχοιμεν αυτας τε ταυτας, και τας ονοματι των αποστολων προς των αιρετικων προφερομενας, ητοι ως Πετρου και Θωμα και Ματθια, η και τινων παρα τουτους αλλων ευαγγελια περιεχουσας, ως Ανδρεου και Ιωαννου και των αλλων αποστολων πραξεις, ων ουδεν ουδαμως εν συγγραμματι των κατα τας διαδοχας εκκλησιαστικων τις ανηρ εις μνημην αγαγειν ηξιωσεν.||6. But we have nevertheless felt compelled to give a catalogue of these also, distinguishing those works which according to ecclesiastical tradition are true and genuine and commonly accepted, 26 from those others which, although not canonical but disputed, 27 are yet at the same time known to most ecclesiastical writersówe have felt compelled to give this catalogue in order that we might be able to know both these works and those that are cited by the heretics under the name of the apostles, including, for instance, such books as the Gospels of Peter, 28 of Thomas, 29 of Matthias, 30 or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew 31 and John 32 and the other apostles, which no one belonging to the succession of ecclesiastical writers has deemed worthy of mention in his writings.|
|7. Πορρω δε που και ο της φρασεως παρα το ηθος το αποστολικον εναλλαττει χαρακτηρ· η τε γνωμη και η των εν αυτοις φερομενων προαιρεσις, πλειστον οσον της αληθους ορθοδοξιας απαδουσα, οτι δη αιρετικων ανδρων αναπλασματα τυγχανει, σαφως παριστησιν· οθεν ουδ εν νοθοις αυτα κατατακτεον, αλλ ως ατοπα παντη και δυσσεβη παραιτητεον.||7. And further, the character of the style is at variance with apostolic usage, and both the thoughts and the purpose of the things that are related in them are so completely out of accord with true orthodoxy that they clearly show themselves to be the fictions of heretics. 33 Wherefore they are not to be placed even among the rejected 34 writings, but are all of them to be cast aside as absurd and impious.|
1. The testimony of tradition is unanimous for the authenticity of the first Epistle of Peter. It was known to Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Papias, Hermas, &c. (the Muratorian Fragment, however, omits it), and was cited under the name of Peter by Irenæus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria, from whose time its canonicity and Petrine authorship were established, so that Eusebius rightly puts it among the homologoumena. Semler, in 1784, was the first to deny its direct Petrine authorship, and Cludius, in 1808, pronounced it absolutely ungenuine. The Tübingen School followed, and at the present time the genuineness is denied by all the negative critics, chiefly on account of the strong Pauline character of the epistle (cf. Holtzmann, Einleitung, p. 487 sqq., also Weiss, Einleitung, p. 428 sqq., who confines the resemblances to the Epistles to the Romans and to the Ephesians, and denies the general Pauline character of the epistle). The great majority of scholars, however, maintain the Petrine authorship. A new opinion, expressed by Harnack, upon the assumption of the distinctively Pauline character of the epistle, is that it was written during the apostolic age by some follower of Paul, and that the name of Peter was afterward attached to it, so that it represents no fraud on the part of the writer, but an effort of a later age to find an author for the anonymous epistle. In support of this is urged the fact that though the epistle is so frequently quoted in the second century, it is never connected with Peters name until the time of Irenæus. (Cf. Harnacks Lehre der Zwölf Apostel, p. 106, note, and his Dogmengeschichte, I. p. 278, note 2.) This theory has found few supporters.
2. οἱ πάλαι πρεσβύτεροι. On the use of the term “elders” among the Fathers, see below, chap. 39, note 6.
3. ὡς ἀναμφιλέκτῳ
4. οὐκ ἐνδιάθηκον μὲν εἶναι παρειλήφαμεν. The authorship of the second Epistle of Peter has always been widely disputed. The external testimony for it is very weak, as no knowledge of it can be proved to have existed before the third century. Numerous explanations have been offered by apologists to account for this curious fact; but it still remains almost inexplicable, if the epistle be accepted as the work of the apostle. The first clear references to it are made by Firmilian, Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia (third century), in his Epistle to Cyprian, §6 (Ep. 74, in the collection of Cyprians Epistles, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Am. ed., V. p. 391), and by Origen (quoted by Eusebius, VI. 25, below), who mentions the second Epistle as disputed. Clement of Alexandria, however, seems at least to have known and used it (according to Euseb. VI. 14). The epistle was not admitted into the Canon until the Council of Hippo, in 393, when all doubts and discussion ceased until the Reformation. It is at present disputed by all negative critics, and even by many otherwise conservative scholars. Those who defend its genuineness date it shortly before the death of Peter, while the majority of those who reject it throw it into the second century,—some as late as the time of Clement of Alexandria (e.g. Harnack, in his Lehre der Zwölf Apostel, p. 15 and 159, who assigns its composition to Egypt). Cf. Holtzmann, Einleitung, p. 495 sqq., and Weiss (who leaves its genuineness an open question), Einleitung, p. 436 sqq. For a defense of the genuineness, see especially Warfield, in the Southern Pres. Rev., 1883, p. 390 sqq., and Salmons Introduction to the N. T., p. 512 sqq.
5. Although disputed by many, as already remarked, and consequently not looked upon as certainly canonical until the end of the fourth century, the epistle was yet used, as Eusebius says, quite widely from the time of Origen on, e.g. by Origen, Firmilian, Cyprian, Hippolytus, Methodius, etc. The same is true, however, of other writings, which the Church afterward placed among the Apocrypha.
6. These πράξεις (or περίοδοι, as they are often called) Πέτρου were of heretical origin, according to Lipsius, and belonged, like the heretical Acta Pauli (referred to in note 20, below), to the collection of περίοδοι τῶν ἀποστόλων, which were ascribed to Lucius Charinus, and, like them, formed also, from the end of the fourth century, a part of the Manichean Canon of the New Testament. The work, as a whole, is no longer extant, but a part of it is preserved, according to Lipsius, in a late Catholic redaction, under the title Passio Petri. Upon these Acts of Peter, their original form, and their relation to other works of the same class, see Lipsius, Apocryphen Apostelgeschichten, II. I, p. 78 sq. Like the heretical Acta Pauli already referred to, this work, too, was used in the composition of the Catholic Acts of Paul and Peter, which are still extant, and which assumed their present form in the fifth century, according to Lipsius. These Catholic Acts of Peter and Paul have been published by Thilo (Acta Petri et Pauli, Halle, 1837), and by Tischendorf, in his Acta Apost. Apocr., p. 1–39. English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (Am. ed.), VIII. p. 477.
7. This Gospel is mentioned by Serapion as in use in the church of Rhossus (quoted by Eusebius, Bk. VI. chap. 12, below), but was rejected by him because of the heretical doctrines which it contained. It is mentioned again by Eusebius, III. 25, only to be rejected as heretical; also by Origen (in Matt. Vol. X. 17) and by Jerome (de vir. ill. 1), who follows Eusebius in pronouncing it an heretical work employed by no early teachers of the Christian Church. Lipsius regards it as probably a Gnostic recast of one of the Canonical Gospels. From Serapions account of this Gospel (see below, Bk. VI. chap. 12), we see that it differs from the Canonical Gospels, not in denying their truth, or in giving a contradictory account of Christs life, but rather in adding to the account given by them. This, of course, favors Lipsius hypothesis; and in any case he is certainly quite right in denying that the Gospel was an original work made use of by Justin Martyr, and that it in any way lay at the base of our present Gospel of Mark. The Gospel (as we learn from the same chapter) was used by the Docetæ, but that does not imply that it contained what we call Docetic ideas of Christs body (cf. note 8 on that chapter). The Gospel is no longer extant. See Lipsius, in Smith and Waces Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 712.
8. This Preaching of Peter (Κήρυγμα Πέτρου, Prædicatio Petri), which is no longer extant, probably formed a part of a lost Preaching of Peter and Paul (cf. Clement of Alexandria, Strom. VI. 5, and Lactantius, Inst. IV. 21). It was mentioned frequently by the early Fathers, and a number of fragments of it have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria, who quotes it frequently as a genuine record of Peters teaching. (The fragments are collected by Grabe in his Spic. Patr. I. 55–71, and by Hilgenfeld in his N. T. extra Can. rec., 2d ed., IV. p. 51 sqq.). It is mentioned twice by Origen (in Johan. XIII. 17, and De Princ. Præf. 8), and in the latter place is expressly classed among spurious works. It was probably, according to Lipsius, closely connected with the Acts of Peter and Paul mentioned in note 6, above. Lipsius, however, regards those Acts as a Catholic adaptation of a work originally Ebionitic, though he says expressly that the Preaching is not at all of that character, but is a Petro-Pauline production, and is to be distinguished from the Ebionitic κηρύγματα. It would seem therefore that he must put the Preaching later than the original of the Acts, into a time when the Ebionitic character of the latter had been done away with. Salmon meanwhile holds that the Preaching is as old as the middle of the second century and the most ancient of the works recording Peters preaching, and hence (if this view be accepted) the Ebionitic character which Lipsius ascribes to the Acts did not (if it existed at all) belong to the original form of the record of Peters preaching embodied in the Acts and in the Preaching. The latter (if it included also the Preaching of Paul, as seems almost certain) appears to have contained an account of some of the events of the life of Christ, and it may have been used by Justin. Compare the remarks of Lipsius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. I. p. 28 (Cath. Adaptations of Ebionitic Acts), and Salmons article on the Preaching of Peter, ibid. IV. 329.
9. The Apocalypse of Peter enjoyed considerable favor in the early Church and was accepted by some Fathers as a genuine work of the apostle. It is mentioned in the Muratorian Fragment in connection with the Apocalypse of John, as a part of the Roman Canon, and is accepted by the author of the fragment himself; although he says that some at that time rejected it. Clement of Alexandria, in his Hypotyposes (according to Eusebius, IV. 14, below), commented upon it, thus showing that it belonged at that time to the Alexandrian Canon. In the third century it was still received in the North African Church (so Harnack, who refers to the stichometry of the Codex Claramontanus). The Eclogæ or Prophetical Selections of Clement of Alexandria give it as a genuine work of Peter (§§41, 48, 49, p. 1000 sq., Potters ed.), and so Methodius of Tyre (Sympos. XI. 6, p. 16, ed. Jahn, according to Lipsius). After Eusebius time the work seems to have been universally regarded as spurious, and thus, as its canonicity depended upon its apostolic origin (see chap. 24, note 19), it gradually fell out of the Canon. It nevertheless held its place for centuries among the semi-scriptural books, and was read in many churches. According to Sozomen, H. E. VII. 19, it was read at Easter, which shows that it was treated with especial respect. Nicephorus in his Stichometry puts it among the Antilegomena, in immediate connection with the Apocalypse of John. As Lipsius remarks, its “lay-recognition in orthodox circles proves that it could not have had a Gnostic origin, nor otherwise have contained what was offensive to Catholic Christians” (see Lipsius, Dict. of Christ. Biog. I. p. 130 sqq.). Only a few fragments of the work are extant, and these are given by Hilgenfeld, in his Nov. Test. extra Can. receptum, IV. 74 sq., and by Grabe, Spic. Patr. I. 71 sqq.
10. οὐδ᾽ ὅλως ἐν καθολικαῖς ἴσμεν παραδεδομένα
11. Eusebius exaggerates in this statement. The Apocalypse of Peter was in quite general use in the second century, as we learn from the Muratorian Fragment; and Clement (as Eusebius himself says in VI. 14) wrote a commentary upon it in connection with the other Antilegomena.
12. τῶν ἀντιλεγομένων
13. περὶ τῶν ἐνδιαθήκων καὶ ὁμολογουμένων
14. ὡν μόνην μίαν γνησίαν εγνων.
15. As above; see note 2.
16. The thirteen Pauline Epistles of our present Canon, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. These formed for Eusebius an absolutely undisputed part of the Canon (cf. chap. 25, below, where he speaks of them with the same complete assurance), and were universally accepted until the present century. The external testimony for all of them is ample, going back (the Pastoral Epistles excepted) to the early part of the second century. The Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians have never been disputed (except by an individual here and there, especially during the last few years in Holland), even the Tübingen School accepting them as genuine works of Paul. The other epistles have not fared so well. The genuineness of Ephesians was first questioned by Usteri in 1824 and De Wette in 1826, and the Tübingen School rejected it. Scholars are at present greatly divided; the majority of negative critics reject it, while many liberal and all conservative scholars defend it. Colossians was first attacked by Mayerhoff in 1838, followed by the whole Tübingen School. It fares to-day somewhat better than Ephesians. It is still, however, rejected by many extreme critics, while others leave the matter in suspense (e.g. Weizsäcker in his Apostolisches Zeitalter). Since 1872, when the theory was proposed by Holtzmann, some scholars have held that our present Epistle contains a genuine Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, of which it is a later revision and expansion. Baur and the Tübingen School were the first to attack Philippians as a whole, and it too is still rejected by many critics, but at the same time it is more widely accepted than either Ephesians or Colossians (e.g. Weizsäcker and even Hilgenfeld defend its genuineness). Second Thessalonians was first attacked by Schmidt in 1801, followed by a number of scholars, until Baur extended the attack to the first Epistle also. Second Thessalonians is still almost unanimously rejected by negative critics, and even by some moderates, while First Thessalonians has regained the support of many of the former (e.g. Hilgenfeld, Weizsäcker, and even Holtzmann), and is entirely rejected by comparatively few critics. Philemon—which was first attacked by Baur—is quite generally accepted, but the Pastoral Epistles are almost as generally rejected, except by the regular conservative school (upon the Pastorals, see Bk. II. chap. 22, note 8, above). For a concise account of the state of criticism upon each epistle, see Holtzmanns Einleitung. For a defense of them all, see the Einleitung of Weiss.
17. τινες ἠθετήκασι. That the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul is now commonly acknowledged, and may be regarded as absolutely certain. It does not itself lay any claim to Pauline authorship; its theology and style are both non-Pauline; and finally, external testimony is strongly against its direct connection with Paul. The first persons to assign the epistle to Paul are Pantænus and Clement of Alexandria (see below, Bk. VI. chap. 14), and they evidently find it necessary to defend its Pauline authorship in the face of the objections of others. Clement, indeed, assumes a Hebrew original, which was translated into Greek by Luke. Origen (see below, Bk. VI. chap. 25) leaves its authorship undecided, but thinks it probable that the thoughts are Pauls, but the diction that of some one else, who has recorded what he heard from the apostle. He then remarks that one tradition assigned it to Clement of Rome, another to Luke. Eusebius himself, in agreement with the Alexandrians (who, with the exception of Origen, unanimously accept the Pauline authorship), looks upon it as a work of Paul, but accepts Clement of Alexandrias theory that it was written in Hebrew, and thinks it probable that Clement of Rome was its translator (see chap. 38, below). In the Western Church, where the epistle was known very early (e.g. Clement of Rome uses it freely), it is not connected with Paul until the fourth century. Indeed, Tertullian (de pudicit. 20) states that it bore the name of Barnabas, and evidently had never heard that it had been ascribed to any one else. The influence of the Alexandrians, however, finally prevailed, and from the fifth century on we find it universally accepted, both East and West, as an epistle of Paul, and not until the Reformation was its origin again questioned. Since that time its authorship has been commonly regarded as an insoluble mystery. Numerous guesses have been made (e.g. Luther guessed Apollos, and he has been followed by many), but it is impossible to prove that any of them are correct. For Barnabas, however, more can be said than for any of the others. Tertullian expressly connects the epistle with him; and its contents are just what we should expect from the pen of a Levite who had been for a time under Pauls influence, and yet had not received his Christianity from him; its standpoint, in fact, is Levitic, and decidedly non-Pauline, and yet reveals in many places the influence of Pauline ideas. Still further, it is noticeable that in the place where the Epistle to the Hebrews is first ascribed to Paul, there first appears an epistle which is ascribed (quite wrongly; see below, chap. 25, note 20) to Barnabas. May it not be (as has been suggested by Weiss and others) that the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews was originally accepted in Alexandria as the work of Barnabas, but that later it was ascribed to Paul; and that the tradition that Barnabas had written an epistle, which must still have remained in the Church, led to the ascription of another anonymous epistle to him? We seem thus most easily to explain the false ascription of the one epistle to Paul, and the false ascription of the other to Barnabas. It may be said that the claims of both Barnabas and Apollos have many supporters, while still more attempt no decision. In regard to the canonicity of the epistle there seems never to have been any serious dispute, and it is this fact doubtless which did most to foster the belief in its Pauline authorship from the third century on. For the criterion of canonicity more and more came to be looked upon as apostolicity, direct or indirect. The early Church had cared little for such a criterion. In only one place does Eusebius seem to imply that doubts existed as to its canonicity,—in Bk. VI. chap. 13, where he classes it with the Book of Wisdom, and the Epistles of Barnabas, Clement, and Jude, among the Antilegomena. But in view of his treatment of it elsewhere it must be concluded that he is thinking in that passage not at all of its canonicity, but of its Pauline authorship, which he knows is disputed by some, and in reference to which he uses the same word, ἀντιλέγεσθαι, in the present sentence. Upon the canonicity of the epistle, see still further chap. 25, note 1. For a discussion of the epistle, see especially the N. T. Introductions of Weiss and Holtzmann.
19. See Bk. VI. chaps. 14, 20, 25.
20. These πράξεις are mentioned also in chap. 25, below, where they are classed among the νόθοι, implying that they had been originally accepted as canonical, but were not at the time Eusebius wrote widely accepted as such. This implies that they were not, like the works which he mentions later in the chapter, of an heretical character. They were already known to Origen, who (De Prin. I. 2, 3) refers to them in such a way as to show that they were in good repute in the Catholic Church. They are to be distinguished from the Gnostic περίοδοι or πράξεις Παύλου, which from the end of the fourth century formed a part of the Manichean canon of the New Testament, and of which some fragments are still extant under various forms. The failure to keep these Catholic and heretical Acta Pauli always distinct has caused considerable confusion. Both of these Acts, the Catholic and the heretical, formed, according to Lipsius (Apokr. Apostelgeschichten, II. 1, p. 305 sq.) one of the sources of the Catholic Acts of Peter and Paul, which in their extant form belong to the fifth century. For a discussion of these Catholic Acts of Paul referred to by Eusebius, see Lipsius, ibid., p. 70 sq.
21. οὐδὲ μὴν τὰς λεγομένας αὐτοῦ πράξεις ἐν ἀναμφιλέκτοις παρείληφα
22. Rom. xvi. 14. The greater part of this last chapter of Romans is considered by many a separate epistle addressed to Ephesus. This has been quite a common opinion since 1829, when it was first broached by David Schulz (Studien und Kritiken, p. 629 sq.), and is accepted even by many conservative scholars (e.g. Weiss), while on the other hand it is opposed by many of the opposite school. While Aquila and Priscilla, of Rom. 16.3, and Epænetus, of Rom. 16.5, seem to point to Ephesus, and the fact that so many personal friends are greeted, leads us to look naturally to the East as Pauls field of labor, where he had formed so many acquaintances, rather than to Rome, where he had not been; yet on the other hand such names as Junias, Narcissus, Rufus, Hermas, Nereus, Aristobulus, and Herodion point strongly to Rome. We must, however, be content to leave the matter undecided, but may be confident that the evidence for the Ephesian hypothesis is certainly, in the face of the Roman names mentioned, and of universal tradition (for which as for Eusebius the epistle is a unit), not strong enough to establish it.
23. The Shepherd of Hermas was in circulation in the latter half of the second century, and is quoted by Irenæus (Adv. Hær. IV. 20. 2) as Scripture, although he omits it in his discussion of Scripture testimonies in Bk. III. chap. 9 sqq., which shows that he considered it not quite on a level with regular Scripture. Clement of Alexandria and Origen often quote it as an inspired book, though the latter expressly distinguishes it from the canonical books, admitting that it is disputed by many (cf. De Prin. IV. 11). Eusebius in chap. 25 places it among the νόθοι or spurious writings in connection with the Acts of Paul and the Apocalypse of Peter. According to the Muratorian Fragment it was “written very recently in our times in the city of Rome by Hermas, while his brother, Bishop Pius, sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time.” This shows the very high esteem in which the work was held in that age. It was very widely employed in private and in public, both in the East and the West, until about the fourth century, when it gradually passed out of use. Jerome (de vir. ill. 10) says that it was almost unknown among the Latins of his time. As to the date and authorship of the Shepherd opinions vary widely. The only direct testimony of antiquity is that of the Muratorian Fragment, which says that it was written by Hermas, the brother of Pius, during the episcopacy of the latter (139–154 A.D.). This testimony is accepted by the majority of scholars, most of whom date the book near the middle of the second century, or at least as late as the reign of Hadrian. This opinion received not long ago what was supposed to be a strong confirmation from the discovery of the fact that Hermas in all probability quoted from Theodotions version of Daniel (see Horts article in the Johns Hopkins University Circular, December, 1884), which has been commonly ascribed to the second century. But it must now be admitted that no one knows the terminus a quo for the composition of Theodotians version, and therefore the discovery leaves the date of Hermas entirely undetermined (see Schürer, Gesch. des jüdischen Volkes, II. p. 709). Meanwhile Eusebius in this connection records the tradition, which he had read, that the book was written by the Hermas mentioned in Romans xvi. This tradition, however, appears to be no older than Origen, with whom it is no more than a mere guess. While in our absence of any knowledge as to this Hermas we cannot absolutely disprove his claim (unless we prove decisively the late date of the book), there is yet no ground for accepting it other than a mere coincidence in a very common name. In Vis. II. 4. 3 Hermas is told to give one copy of his book to Clement. From this it is concluded by many that the author must have been contemporary with the well-known Roman Clement, the author of the Epistle to the Corinthians. While this appears very likely, it cannot be called certain in the face of evidence for a considerably later date. Internal testimony helps us little, as there is nothing in the book which may not have been written at the very beginning of the second century, or, on the other hand, as late as the middle of it. Zahn dates it between 97 and 100, and assigns it to an unknown Hermas, a contemporary of the Roman Clement, in which he is followed by Salmon in a very clear and keen article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. Critics are unanimously agreed that the book was written in Rome. It consists of three parts, Visions, Mandates, and Similitudes, and is of the nature of an apocalypse, written for the purpose of reforming the life of the Church, which seemed to the author to have become very corrupt. The work (especially the last part) is in the form of an allegory, and has been compared to the Pilgrims Progress. Opinions are divided as to whether it is actually founded upon visions and dreams of the author, or is wholly a fiction. The former opinion seems to be the more probable.
Until recent years only a Latin translation of Hermas was known. In 1856 the first Greek edition was issued by Anger and Dindorf, being based upon a Mt. Athos MS. discovered shortly before by Simonides. Of the ten leaves of the MS. the last was lost; three were sold by Simonides to the University of Leipsic, and the other six were transcribed by him in a very faulty manner. The Sinaitic Codex has enabled us to control the text of Simonides in part, but unfortunately it contains only the Visions and a small part of the Mandates. All recent editions have been obliged to take the faulty transcription of Simonides as their foundation. In 1880 the six leaves of the Athos Codex, which had been supposed to be lost, and which were known only through Simonides transcription, were discovered by Lambros at Mt. Athos, and in 1888 A Collation of the Athos Codex of the Shepherd of Hermas by Dr. Spyr Lambros was issued in English translation by J. A. Robinson, at Cambridge, England. We thus have now a reliable Greek text of nine-tenths of the Shepherd of Hermas. Hilgenfeld, in his last edition (1887) of his Novum Test. Extra Can. Rec., published also a Greek text of the lost part of the work, basing it upon a pretended transcription by Simonides from the lost Athos MS. But this has been conclusively shown to be a mere fraud on the part of Simonides, and we are therefore still without any MS. authority for the Greek text of the close of the work. Cf. Robinsons introduction to the Collation of Lambros mentioned above, and Harnacks articles in the Theol. Literaturzeitung (1887). The most useful edition of the original is that of Gebhardt and Harnack, Patrum Apost. Opera, Fasc. III. (Lips. 1877). The work is translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II. The literature upon the subject is very extensive, but the reader should examine especially the Prolegomena of Harnack in his edition. Cf. Zahns Hirt des Hermas (1868), and the article by Salmon in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 912 sqq. Cf. also chap. 24, note 20, in regard to the reasons for the non-canonicity of the Shepherd.
1. The testimony of antiquity,—both orthodox and heretical,—to the authenticity of John’s Gospel is universal, with the exception of a single unimportant sect of the second century, the Alogi, who denied the Johannine authorship on account of the Logos doctrine, which they rejected, and very absurdly ascribed the Gospel to the Gnostic Cerinthus; though its absolute opposition to Cerinthus’ views is so apparent that Irenæus (III. 11. 1) even supposed John to have written the Gospel against Cerinthus. The writings of the second century are full of the spirit of John’s Gospel, and exhibit frequent parallels in language too close to be mistaken; while from the last quarter of the second century on it is universally and expressly ascribed to John (Theophilus of Antioch and the Muratorian Fragment being the first to name him as its author). The Church never entertained a doubt of its authenticity until the end of the seventeenth century, when it was first questioned by the English Deists; but its genuineness was vindicated, and only scattering and occasional attacks were made upon it until the rise of the Tübingen school, since which time its authenticity has been one of the most fiercely contested points in apostolic history. Its opponents have been obliged gradually to throw back the date of its origin, until now no sensible critic thinks of assigning it to a time later than the early part of the second century, which is a great gain over the position of Baur and his immediate followers, who threw it into the latter half of the century. See Schaff’s Ch. Hist. I. 701-724 for a full defense of its authenticity and a comprehensive account of the controversy; also p. 406-411 for the literature of the subject. For the most complete summary of the external evidence, see Ezra Abbott’s The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 1880. Among recent works, compare Weiss’ Leben Jesu, I. 84-124, and his N. T. Einleitung, 586-620, for a defense of the Gospel, and upon the other side Holtzmann’s Einleitung, 413-460, and Weizsäcker’s Apost. Zeitalter, p. 531-558.
2. Overbeck remarks that Eusebius in this passage is the first to tell us that Paul wrote no more than what we have in the canon. But this is a mistake, for Origen (quoted by Eusebius in VI. 25, below) states it just as distinctly as Eusebius does. The truth is, neither of them says it directly, and yet it is clear enough when this passage is taken in connection with chapter 3, that it is what Eusebius meant, and the same idea underlies the statement of the Muratorian Fragment. Of course this does not prove that Paul wrote only the epistles which we have (which is indeed contrary to fact), but it shows what the idea of the early Church was.
3. See 2 Cor. xii. 2-4.
4. The majority of the MSS., followed by Burton, Schwegler, and Laemmer, read διατριβῶν instead of μαθητῶν; and Burton therefore translates, sed tamen ex his omnibus sole Matthæus et Joannes nobis reliquerunt commentarios de vita et sermonibus Domini, “but of all these only Matthew and John have left us commentaries on the life and conversations of the Lord.” Two important MSS., however, read μαθητῶν, and this is confirmed by Rufinus and adopted by Heinichen, Closs, and Cruse.
5. That Matthew wrote a gospel in Hebrew, although denied by many, is at present the prevailing opinion among scholars, and may be accepted as a fact both on account of its intrinsic probability and of the testimony of the Fathers, which begins with the statement of Papias, quoted by Eusebius in chap. 39, below, is confirmed by Irenæus (III. 1. 1, quoted below, V. 8, §2),—whether independently of Papias or not, we cannot say,—by Pantænus (but see below, Bk. V. chap. 10), by Origen (see below, VI. 25), by Jerome (de vir. ill. 3),—who says that a copy of it still existed in the library at Cæsarea,—and by Epiphanius (Hær. XXIX. 9). The question as to the relation of this Hebrew original to our present Greek Matthew is much more difficult. That our Greek Matthew is a mere translation of the original Hebrew was once a prevailing theory, but is now completely abandoned. That Matthew himself wrote both is a common conservative position, but is denied by most critical scholars, many of whom deny him the composition even of the Hebrew original. Upon the theory that the original Hebrew Matthew was identical with the “Gospel according to the Hebrews,” see chap. 27, note 8. Upon the synoptic problem, see above, II. 15, note 4; and see the works mentioned there for a discussion of this original Matthew, and in addition the recent works by Gla, Original-Sprache des Matt. Evang., 1887, and Resch, Agrapha, Leipzig, 1889.
The very natural reason which Eusebius gives for the composition of Matthew’s Gospel—viz. that, when on the point of going to other nations, he committed it to writing, and thus compensated them for the loss of his presence—occurs in none of the earlier reports of the composition of the Gospel which we now possess. It was probably a fact which he took from common tradition, as he remarks in the previous sentence that tradition says “they undertook it from necessity.”
6. Upon the date and authorship of the Gospel of Luke, see above, chap. 4, notes 12 and 15. Upon Mark, see Bk. II. chap. 15, note 4.
7. No writer before Eusebius’ time, so far as is known, assigned the reason given by him for the composition of John’s Gospel. Jerome, de vir. ill. chap. 9, repeats the view, combining with it the anti-heretical purpose. The indefinite expression, “they say,” shows that Eusebius was recording tradition commonly received in his time, and does not involve the authority of any particular writer. This object—viz. the supplementing and filling out of the accounts of the Synoptists—is assumed as the real object by some modern scholars; but it is untenable, for though the book serves this purpose to a great extent, the author’s real aim was much higher,—viz. the establishment of belief in the Messiahship and divinity of Christ (John xx. 31 sqq.),—and he chose his materials accordingly. The Muratorian Fragment says, “The Fourth Gospel is that of John, one of the disciples. When his fellow-disciples and bishops entreated him, he said, ‘Fast ye now with me for the space of three days, and let us recount to each other whatever may be revealed to us.’ On the same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should narrate all things in his own name as they called them to mind.” Irenæus (III. 11. 1) supposes John to have written his Gospel as a polemic against Cerinthus. Clement of Alexandria, in his Hypotyposes (quoted by Eusebius, VI. 14), says that John wrote a spiritual Gospel, as a supplement to the other Gospels, which had sufficiently described the external facts. The opinion of Eusebius is very superficial. Upon examination of the Gospels it will be seen that, of the events which John relates independently of the synoptists, but a small portion occurred before the imprisonment of John the Baptist. John’s Gospel certainly does incidentally supplement the Synoptists in a remarkable manner, but not in any such intentional and artificial way as Eusebius supposes. Compare Weiss’ Einleitung, p. 602 sqq., and Schaff’s Ch. Hist. II. p. 680 sqq.
8. The Synoptic Gospels certainly give the impression that Christ’s public ministry lasted but a single year; and were it not for the additional light which John throws upon the subject, the one year ministry would be universally accepted, as it was by many of the early Fathers,—e.g. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Lactantius, &c. John, however, expressly mentions three, perhaps four, passovers, so that Christ’s ministry lasted either two or three years. Upon comparison of the Synoptists with John, it will be seen that the events which they record are not all comprised within a single year, as Eusebius thought, but that they are scattered over the whole period of his ministry, although confined to his work in Galilee up to the time of his last journey to Judea, six months before his crucifixion. The distinction between John and the Synoptists, as to the events recorded, is therefore rather that of place than of time: but the distinction is not absolute.
9. Matt. iv. 12.
10. Mark i. 14.
11. Luke iii. 20.
12. John ii. 11. The arguments of Eusebius, whether original or borrowed from his predecessors, are certainly very ingenious, and he makes out apparently quite a strong case for his opinion; but a careful harmony of the four Gospels shows that it is untenable.
13. John iii. 23.
14. John 3.24.
15. Eusebius approaches here the opinion of Clement of Alexandria, mentioned in note 7, above, who considered John’s Gospel a spiritual supplement to the others,—a position which the Gospel certainly fills most admirably.
16. See Bk. II. chap. 15.
17. See Luke i. 1-4. Eusebius puts the case more strongly than Luke himself. Luke does not say that others had rashly undertaken the composition of their narratives, nor does he say that he himself writes in order to free his readers from the uncertain suppositions of others; but at the same time the interpretation which Eusebius gives is, though not an exact, yet certainly a natural one, and we have no right to accuse him, as has been done, of intentional falsification of the text of the Gospel. Eusebius also augments Luke’s statement by the mention of the source from which the latter gained his knowledge, viz., “from his intimacy and stay with Paul, and from his acquaintance with the rest of the apostles.” If Eusebius intended to convey the impression that Luke said this, he is of course inexcusable, but we have no reason to suppose this to be the case. It is simply the explanation on the part of Eusebius of an indefinite statement of Luke’s by a fact which was universally assumed as true. That he was adding to Luke’s own account probably never occurred to him. He does not pretend to quote Luke’s exact words.
18. The testimony to the first Epistle of John goes hand in hand with that to the fourth Gospel (cf. note 1, above). But we can find still clearer trace of the Epistle in the early part of the second century than of the Gospel (e.g. in Polycarp’s Epistle, where traces of the Gospel are wanting; and so, too, in Papias, according to chap. 39, below). The writings of the second century are full of the spirit of the Epistle as well as of the Gospel and exhibit frequent parallels in language too close to be mistaken. The first express testimony as to its authorship occurs in the Muratorian Fragment. The first systematic attack upon the Epistle was made by Bretschneider, in 1820, in connection with the attack upon the Gospel. The Tübingen school likewise rejected both. Before Bretschneider there had been a few critics (e.g. Lange, 1797) who had rejected the Epistle while accepting the Gospel, and since then a few have accepted the Epistle while rejecting the Gospel; but these are exceptional cases. The Gospel and Epistle have almost universally, and quite rightly, been regarded as the work of the same author, and may be said to stand or fall together. Cf. the works cited in note 1, and also Westcott’s Epistles of St. John. (On the use of πρότερα instead of πρώτη, see p. 388, note.)
19. The Muratorian Fragment expressly ascribes two epistles to John. Citations from the second Epistle appear first in Irenæus, though he does not distinguish it from the first. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II. 15) quotes from 1 John under the formula “John says in his larger Epistle,” showing that he knew of a second. The lack of citations from the second and third Epistles is easily explained by their brevity and the minor importance of their doctrinal contents. The second and third Epistles belong to the seven Antilegomena. Origen cites the first Epistle often, the second and third never, and of the latter he says “not all agree that they are genuine” (quoted by Eusebius, VI. 25), and apparently he himself did not consider them of apostolic origin (cf. Weiss’ Einleitung, p. 87). Origen’s treatment of the Catholic Epistles was implicitly followed by his pupil Dionysius and by succeeding generations. Eusebius himself does not express his own judgment in the matter, but simply records the state of tradition which was a mere repetition of Origen’s position in regard to them. Jerome (de vir. ill. 9 and 18) says that most writers ascribe them to the presbyter John—an opinion which evidently arose upon the basis of the author’s self-designation in 2 John. 1:1, 3 John. 1:1, and some modern critics (among them Reuss and Wieseler) have done the same. Eusebius himself in the next chapter implies that such an opinion existed in his day, though he does not express his own view on the matter. He placed them, however, among the Antilegomena. (On the presbyter John, see below chap. 39, note 4.) That the two epistles fell originally into the class of Antilegomena was due doubtless to the peculiar self-designation mentioned, which seemed to distinguish the author from the apostle, and also to their private and doctrinally unimportant character. But in spite of the slight external testimony to the epistles the conclusion of Weiss seems correct, that “inasmuch as the second and third clearly betray the same author, and inasmuch as the second is related to the first in such a manner that they must either be by the same author or the former be regarded as an entirely aimless imitation of the latter, so everything favors the ascription of them both to the author of the first, viz. to the apostle.” (ibid. p. 469.)
20. The Apocalypse is one of the best authenticated books of the New Testament. It was used by Papias and others of the earliest Fathers, and already by Justin Martyr was expressly ascribed to the apostle John. (Compare also the epistle of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne, Eusebius, V. 1.) Tradition, so far as we have it, is unanimous (with the exception of the Alogi, an insignificant heretical sect of the second century, who attributed the Apocalypse as well as the Gospel to Cerinthus. Caius is not an exception: see below, chap. 28, note 4) in ascribing the Apocalypse to the apostle John, until Dionysius of Alexandria, who subjected the book to severe literary criticism (see below, Bk. VII. chap. 25), and upon the assumption of the genuineness of the Gospel and the first Epistle, doubted its authenticity on account of its divergence from these writings both in spirit and in style. He says (VII. 25, §2) that some others before him had denied the Johannine authorship and ascribed the book to Cerinthus, but the way in which he speaks of them shows that there cannot have been a ruling tradition to that effect. He may have referred simply to the Alogi, or he may have included others of whom we do not know. He himself rejects this hypothesis, and supposes the books to have been written by some John, not the apostle (by what John he does not decide), and does not deny the inspiration and prophetic character of the book. Dionysius was led to exercise criticism upon the Apocalypse (which was as well supported by tradition as any book of the New Testament) from dogmatic reasons. The supposed sensuous and materialistic conceptions of the Apocalypse were offensive to the spiritualizing tendencies of the Alexandrian school, and the offensiveness increased with time. Although Dionysius held the work as inspired and authoritative, yet his position would lead logically to the exclusion of the Apocalypse from the canon, just as Hermas had been already excluded, although Origen held it to be inspired and authoritative in the same sense in which Dionysius held the Apocalypse to be,—i.e. as composed by an apostle’s pupil, not by an apostle. Apocalyptic literature did not belong properly to the New Testament, but rather to the prophetic portion of the Old Testament; but the number of the Old Testament prophets was already complete (according to the Muratorian Fragment), and therefore no prophetic writing (e.g. Hermas) could find a place there; nor, on the other hand, could it be made a part of the New Testament, for it was not apostolic. The same was true of the Apocalypse of Peter, and the only thing which kept the Apocalypse of John in the canon was its supposed apostolic authorship. It was received as a part of the New Testament not because it was apocalyptic, but because it was apostolic, and thus the criticism of Dionysius would lead logically to its rejection from the canon. John’s Apocalypse is the only New Testament book cited by Justin as γραφή (so also by the Epistle of Vienne and Lyons, Eusebius, V. 1), and this because of its prophetic character. It must have been (according to their opinion) either a true prophecy (and therefore inspired by the Holy Spirit) or a forgery. Its authenticity being accepted, the former alternative necessarily followed, and it was placed upon a line with the Old Testament prophets, i.e. with the γραφή. After Dionysius’ time doubts of its authenticity became quite widespread in the Eastern Church, and among the doubters was Eusebius, who evidently wished to ascribe it to the mysterious presbyter John, whose existence he supposed to be established by Papias in a passage quoted in chap. 39, §4, below (compare the note on the passage). Eusebius’ treatment of the book is hesitating. He evidently himself discredited its apostolic authority, but at the same time he realized (as a historian more keenly than Dionysius the theologian) the great weight of external testimony to its authenticity, and therefore he gives his readers the liberty (in the next chapter) of putting it either with the Homologoumena or with the νόθοι. It legitimately belonged among the Homologoumena, but Dionysius’ attitude toward it doubtless led Eusebius to think that it might at some time in the future be thrown out of the canon, and of course his own objections to its contents and his doubts as to its apostolicity caused him to contemplate such a possibility not without pleasure (see the next chapter, note 1). In chapter 18, above, he speaks of it as the “so-called” Apocalypse of John, but in other places he repeats many testimonies in favor of its authenticity (see the next note), and only in chapter 39 does he state clearly his own opinion in the matter, which even there he does not press as a fixed conviction. The reason for the doubts of the book’s genuineness on the part of Eusebius and so many others lay evidently most of all in objections to the contents of the book, which seemed to favor chiliasm, and had been greatly abused for the advancement of the crassest chiliastic views. Many, like Dionysius of Alexandria were no doubt influenced also by the idea that it was impossible that the Gospel and the Apocalypse could be the works of one author, and they preferred to sacrifice the latter rather than the former. The book has found objectors in almost every age of the Church, but has continued to hold its place in the canon (its position was never disturbed in the Western Church, and only for some two or three centuries after Eusebius in parts of the Eastern Church) as an authentic work of the apostle John. The Tübingen school exalted the Apocalypse to the honorable position of one of the five genuine monuments of the apostolic age, and from it as a basis conducted their attacks upon the other Johannine writings. The more modern critical school is doubtful about it as well as the rest of the Johannine literature, and the latest theory makes the Apocalypse a Jewish document in a Christianized form (see above, chap. 18, note 1). Compare especially Holtzmann’s Einleitung, p. 411-413, and Weiss’ Einleitung, p. 93.
21. See Bk. VII. chap. 25, where Eusebius quotes a lengthy discussion of the Apocalypse by Dionysius of Alexandria. He also cites opinions favorable to the authenticity of the Apocalypse from Justin (in IV. 18, below), Theophilus (IV. 24), Irenæus (V. 8), and Origen (VI. 25), but such scattered testimonies can hardly be regarded as the fulfillment of the definite promise which he makes in this passage.
1. This chapter is the only place in which Eusebius attempts to treat the canon systematically, and in it he is speaking purely as an historian, not as a critic. He is endeavoring to give an accurate statement of the general opinion of the orthodox Church of his day in regard to the number and names of its sacred books. He does not, in this passage, apply to the various works any criterion of canonicity further than their acceptance as canonical by the orthodox Church. He simply records the state of the canon; he does not endeavor to form a canon. He has nothing to do, therefore, with the nature and origin of the books which the church accepts. As remarked by Weiss (Einleitung in das N. T., p. 96), the influence of Eusebius in the formation of the canon is very commonly overestimated. He contributed himself very little; his office was to record the usage of the church of his age, not to mould it.
The church whose judgment he takes is, in the main, the church of the Orient, and in that church at this time all the works which we now call canonical (and only those) were already commonly accepted, or were becoming more and more widely accepted as such. From the standpoint, then, of canonicity, Eusebius divided the works which he mentions in this chapter into two classes: the canonical (including the Homologoumena and the Antilogomena) and the uncanonical (including the νόθοι and the ἀναπλάσματα αὶρετικῶν ἀνδρῶν). But the νόθοι he connects much more closely with the Homologoumena and Antilegomena than with the heretical works, which are, in fact, separated from all the rest and placed in a class by themselves. What, then, is the relation of the Homologoumena, Antilegomena, and νόθοι to each other, as Eusebius classifies them? The crucial point is the relation of the νόθοι to the ἀντιλεγόμενα. Lücke (Ueber den N. T. Kanon des Eusebius, p. 11 sq.) identified the two, but such identification is impossible in this passage. The passages which he cites to confirm his view prove only that the word Antilegomena is commonly employed by Eusebius in a general sense to include all disputed works, and therefore, of course, the νόθοι also; that is, the term Antilegomena is ordinarily used, not as identical with νόθοι, but as inclusive of it. This, however, establishes nothing as to Eusebius’ technical use of the words in the present passage, where he is endeavoring to draw close distinctions. Various views have been taken since Lücke’s time upon the relation of these terms to each other in this connection; but, to me at least, none of them seem satisfactory, and I have been led to adopt the following simple explanation. The Antilegomena, in the narrower sense peculiar to this summary, were works which, in Eusebius’ day, were, as he believed, commonly accepted by the Eastern Church as canonical, but which, nevertheless, as he well knew, had not always been thus accepted, and, indeed, were not even then universally accepted as such. The tendency, however, was distinctly in the direction of their ever-wider acceptance. On the other hand, the νόθοι were works which, although they had been used by the Fathers and were quoted as γραφὴ by some of them, were, at this time, not acknowledged as canonical. Although perhaps not universally rejected from the canon, yet they were commonly so rejected, and the tendency was distinctly in the direction of their ever-wider rejection. Whatever their merit, and whatever their antiquity and their claims to authenticity, Eusebius could not place them among the canonical books. The term νόθοι, then, in this passage, must not be taken, as it commonly is, to mean spurious or unauthentic, but to mean uncanonical. It is in this sense, as against the canonical Homologoumena and Antilegomena, that Eusebius, as I believe, uses it here, and his use of it in this sense is perfectly legitimate. In using it he passes no judgment upon the authenticity of the works referred to; that, in the present case, is not his concern. As an historian he observed tendencies, and judged accordingly. He saw that the authority of the Antilegomena was on the increase, that of the νόθοι on the decrease, and already he could draw a sharp distinction between them, as Clement of Alexandria could not do a century before. The distinction drawn has no relation to the authenticity or original authority of the works of the two classes, but only to their canonicity or uncanonicity at the time Eusebius wrote.
This interpretation will help us to understand the peculiar way in which Eusebius treats the Apocalypse, and thus his treatment of it becomes an argument in favor of the interpretation. He puts it, first among the Homologoumena with an εἴγε φανείη, and then among the νόθοι with an εἴ φανείη. No one, so far as I know, has explained why it should be put among the νόθοι as an alternative to the Homologoumena, instead of among the Antilegomena, which, on the common interpretation of the relation of the classes, might be naturally expected. If the view presented is correct, the reason is clear. The Antilegomena were those works which had been disputed, but were becoming more and more widely accepted as canonical. The Apocalypse could not under any circumstances fall into this class, for the doubts raised against it in the orthodox Church were of recent date. It occupied, in fact, a peculiar position, for there was no other work which, while accepted as canonical, was doubted in the present more than in the past. Eusebius then must either put it into a special class or put it conditionally into two different classes, as he does. If the doubts should become so widespread as to destroy its canonicity, it would fall naturally into the νόθοι, for then it would hold the same position as the other works of that class. As an historian, Eusebius sees the tendency and undoubtedly has the idea that the Apocalypse may eventually, like the other Christian works of the same class (the Shepherd, the Apocalypse of Peter, etc.), become one of the νόθοι, one of the works which, formerly accepted, is at length commonly denied to be canonical: and so, as an historian, he presents the alternative. The Apocalypse was the only work in regard to which any doubt could exist.
Eusebius’ failure to mention explicitly in this passage the Epistle to the Hebrews, has caused considerable misunderstanding. The explanation, if the view presented be adopted, is simple. Eusebius included it, I believe, among the epistles of Paul, and did not especially mention it, simply because there was no dispute about its canonicity. Its Pauline authorship had been widely disputed as Eusebius informs us elsewhere, and various theories had been proposed to account for it; but its canonicity had not been doubted in the orthodox Church, and therefore doubts as to the authorship of it did not in the least endanger its place among the Homologoumena, as used here in a technical sense; and since Eusebius was simply stating the works of each class, not discussing the nature and origin of those works, he could, in perfect fairness, include it in Paul’s epistles (where he himself believed it belonged) without entering upon any discussion of it.
Another noticeable omission is that of the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. All efforts to find a satisfactory reason for this are fruitless. It should have been placed among the νόθοι with the Epistle of Barnabas, etc., as Eusebius’ treatment of it in other passages shows. It must be assumed, with Holtzmann, that the omission of it was nothing more nor less than an oversight.
Eusebius, then, classifies the works mentioned in this chapter upon two principles: first, in relation to canonicity, into the canonical and the uncanonical; and secondly, in relation to character, into the orthodox (Homologoumena, Antilegomena, which are canonical, and νόθοι, which are uncanonical), and heterodox (which are not, and never have been, canonical, never have been accepted as of use or authority). The Homologoumena and Antilegomena, then, are both canonical and orthodox, the ἀναπλάσματα αἱρετικῶν ἀνδρῶν are neither canonical nor orthodox, while the νόθοι occupy a peculiar position, being orthodox but not canonical. The last-named are much more closely related to the canonical than to the heterodox works, because when the canon was a less concrete and exact thing than it had at length become, they were associated with the other orthodox works as, like them, useful for edification and instruction. With the heretical works they had never been associated, and possessed in common with them only the negative characteristic of non-canonicity. Eusebius naturally connects them closely with the former, and severs them completely from the latter. The only reason for mentioning the latter at all was the fact that they bore the names of apostles, and thus might be supposed, as they often had been—by Christians, as well as by unbelievers—to be sacred books like the rest. The statement of the canon gives Eusebius an opportunity to warn his readers against them.
Upon Eusebius’ New Testament Canon, see especially the work of Lücke referred to above, also Westcott’s Canon of the New Testament, 5th ed., p. 414 sq., Harnack’s Lehre der Zwölf Apostel, p. 6 sq., Holtzmann’s Einleitung in das N.T., p. 154 sq., and Weiss’ Einleitung, p. 92 sq.
The greater part of the present note was read before the American Society of Church History in December, 1888, and is printed in Vol. I. of that Society’s papers, New York, 1889, p. 251 sq.
2. On Matthew, see the previous chapter, note 5; on Mark, Bk. II. chap. 15, note 4; on Luke, Bk. III. chap. 4, notes 12 and 15; on John, the previous chapter, note 1.
3. See above, chap. 4, note 14.
4. See chap. 3, note 16. Eusebius evidently means to include the Epistle to the Hebrews among Paul’s epistles at this point, for he mentions it nowhere else in this chapter (see above, note 1).
5. See the previous chapter, note 18.
6. See chap. 3, note 1.
7. See the previous chapter, note 20. Upon Eusebius’ treatment in this chapter of the canonicity of the Apocalypse, see note 1, above.
8. Compare the previous chapter, note 21.
9. ἐν ὁμολογουμένοις
10. τῶν ἀντιλεγομένων
12. See Bk. II. chap. 23, note 46. [In Bk. II chap. 23 Eusebius writes, "These things are recorded in regard to James, who is said to be the author of the first of the so-called Catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude, which is also one of the seven so-called Catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches."]
13. See ibid. note 47.
14. See above, chap. 3, note 4.
15. See the previous chapter, note 19.
16. ἐν τοῖς νόθοις.
17. See above, chap. 3, note 20.
18. ibid. note 23.
19. ibid. note 9.
20. The author of the so-called Epistle of Barnabas is unknown. No name appears in the epistle itself, and no hints are given which enable us to ascribe it to any known writer. External testimony, without a dissenting voice, ascribes it to Barnabas, the companion of Paul. But this testimony, although unanimous, is neither very strong nor very extensive. The first to use the epistle is Clement of Alexandria, who expressly and frequently ascribes it to Barnabas the companion of Paul. Origen quotes from the epistle twice, calling it the Epistle of Barnabas, but without expressing any judgment as to its authenticity, and without defining its author more closely. Jerome (de vir. ill. 6) evidently did not doubt its authenticity, but placed it nevertheless among the Apocrypha, and his opinion prevailed down to the seventeenth century. It is difficult to decide what Eusebius thought in regard to its authorship. His putting it among the νόθοι here does not prove that he considered it unauthentic (see note 1, above); nor, on the other hand, does his classing it among the Antilegomena just below prove that he considered it authentic, but non-apostolic, as some have claimed. Although, therefore, the direct external testimony which we have is in favor of the apostolic Barnabas as its author, it is to be noticed that there must have existed a widespread doubt as to its authenticity, during the first three centuries, to have caused its complete rejection from the canon before the time of Eusebius. That this rejection arose from the fact that Barnabas was not himself one of the twelve apostles cannot be. For apostolic authorship was not the sole test of canonicity, and Barnabas stood in close enough relation to the apostles to have secured his work a place in the canon, during the period of its gradual formation, had its authenticity been undoubted. We may therefore set this inference over against the direct external testimony for Barnabas’ authorship. When we come to internal testimony, the arguments are conclusive against “the Levite Barnabas” as the author of the epistle. These arguments have been well stated by Donaldson, in his History of Christian Literature, I. p. 204 sqq. Milligan, in Smith and Wace’s Dict. of Christ. Biog., endeavors to break the force of these arguments, and concludes that the authenticity of the epistle is highly probable; but his positions are far from conclusive, and he may be said to stand almost alone among modern scholars. Especially during the last few years, the verdict against the epistle’s authenticity has become practically unanimous. Some have supposed the author to have been an unknown man by the name of Barnabas: but this is pure conjecture. That the author lived in Alexandria is apparently the ruling opinion, and is quite probable. It is certain that the epistle was written between the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and the time of Clement of Alexandria: almost certain that it was written before the building of Ælia Capitolina; and probable that it was written between 100 and 120, though dates ranging all the way from the beginning of Vespasian’s reign to the end of Hadrian’s have been, and are still, defended by able scholars. The epistle is still extant in a corrupt Greek original and in an ancient Latin translation. It is contained in all the editions of the Apostolic Fathers (see especially Gebhardt and Harnack’s second edition, 1876, and Hilgenfeld’s edition of 1877). An English translation is given in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I. p. 133 sqq. For the most important literature, see Schaff, Ch. Hist. II. p. 671 sqq., and Gebhardt and Harnack’s edition, p. xl. sqq.
21. τῶν ἀποστόλων αἰ λεγόμεναι διδαχαί. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Διδαχὴ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων, a brief document in sixteen chapters, was published in 1884 by Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, from a MS. discovered by him in the Jerusalem convent in Constantinople in 1873. The discovery threw the whole theological world into a state of excitement, and the books and articles upon the subject from America and from every nation in Europe have appeared by the hundred. No such important find has been made for many years. The light which the little document has thrown upon early Church history is very great, while at the same time the questions which it has opened are numerous and weighty. Although many points in regard to its origin and nature are still undecided, the following general positions may be accepted as practically established. It is composed of two parts, of which the former (chaps. 1-6) is a redaction of an independent moral treatise, probably of Jewish origin, entitled the Two Ways, which was known and used in Alexandria, and there formed the basis of other writings (e.g. the Epistle of Barnabas, chaps. 18-21, and the Ecclesiastical Canons) which were at first supposed to have been based upon the Teaching itself. (Bryennios, Harnack, and others supposed that the Teaching was based upon Barnabas, but this view has never been widely accepted.) This (Jewish) Two Ways which was in existence certainly before the end of the first century (how much earlier we do not know) was early in the second century (if not before) made a part of a primitive church manual, viz. our present Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The Two Ways, both before and at the time of (perhaps after) its incorporation into the Teaching, received important additions, partly of a Christian character. The completed Teaching dates from Syria, though this is denied by many writers (e.g. by Harnack), who prefer, upon what seem to me insufficient grounds, Egypt as the place of composition. The completed Teaching formed the basis of a part of the seventh book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which originated in Syria in the fourth century. The most complete and useful edition is that of Schaff (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 3d ed., New York, 1889), which contains the Greek text with English translation and a very full discussion of the work itself and of the various questions which are affected by its discovery. Harnack’s important edition Die Lehre der zwölff Apostel (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchrist. Lit., II. 1 and 2, 1884) is still the standard German work upon the subject, though it represents many positions in regard to the origin and history of the work which have since been proved incorrect, and which he himself has given up. His article in Herzog, 2d ed., XVII. 656 sqq. and his Die Apostel-Lehre und die jüdischen Beiden Wege, 1886, should therefore be compared with his original work. Schaff’s book contains a very complete digest of the literature down to the close of 1888. As to the position which the Teaching occupied in the canon we know very little, on account of the very sparing use of it made by the early Fathers. Clement of Alexandria cites it once as Scripture (γραφή), but no other writer before the time of Eusebius treats it in the same way, and yet Eusebius’ mention of it among the νόθοι shows that it must have enjoyed a wide circulation at some time and have been accepted by at least a portion of the Church as a book worthy to be read in divine service, and thus in a certain sense as a part of the canon. In Eusebius’ time, however, its canonicity had been denied (though according to Athanasius Fest. Ep. 39, it was still used in catechetical instruction), and he was therefore obliged to relegate it to a position among the νόθοι. Upon Eusebius’ use of the plural διδαχαί, see the writer’s article in the Andover Review, April, 1886, p. 439 sq.
22. ἀθετοῦσιν. See the previous chapter, note 20.
23. τοῖς ὁμολογουμένοις. See note 1, above.
24. This Gospel, probably composed in Hebrew (Aramaic), is no longer extant, but we possess a few fragments of it in Greek and Latin which are collected by Grabe, Spic. I. 15-31, and by Hilgenfeld, N. T. Extra Can. rec. II. The existing material upon which to base a judgment as to the nature of the lost Gospel and as to its relation to our canonical gospels is very limited. It is certain, however, that it cannot in its original form have been a working over of our canonical Matthew (as many have thought); it contains too many little marks of originality over against our Greek Matthew to admit of such a supposition. That it was, on the other hand, the original of which our Greek Matthew is the translation is also impossible; a comparison of its fragments with our Matthew is sufficient to prove this. That it was the original source from which Matthew and Luke derived their common matter is possible—more cannot be said. Lipsius (Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. 709-712) and Westcott (Hist. of the Canon, p. 515 sqq.) give the various quotations which are supposed to have been made from it. How many of them are actually to be traced back to it as their source is not certain. It is possible, but not certain, that Papias had seen it (see chap. 39, note 28), possible also that Ignatius had, but the passage relied on to establish the fact fails to do so (see chap. 36, note 14). It was probably used by Justin (see Westcott, ibid. p. 516, and Lipsius, ibid. p. 712), undoubtedly by Hegesippus (see below, Bk. IV. chap. 22), and was perhaps known to Pantænus (see below, Bk. V. chap. 10, note 8). Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II. 9) and Origen (in Johan. II. 6 and often) are the first to bear explicit testimony to the existence of such a gospel. Eusebius also was personally acquainted with it, as may be gathered from his references to it in III. 39 and IV. 22, and from his quotation in (the Syriac version of) his Theophany, IV. 13 (Lee’s trans. p. 234), and in the Greek Theophany, §22 (Migne, VI. 685). The latter also shows the high respect in which he held the work. Jerome’s testimony in regard to it is very important, but it must be kept in mind that the gospel had undergone extensive alterations and additions before his time, and as known to him was very different from the original form (cf. Lipsius, ibid. p. 711), and therefore what he predicates of it cannot be applied to the original without limitation. Epiphanius has a good deal to say about it, but he evidently had not himself seen it, and his reports of it are very confused and misleading. The statement of Lipsius, that according to Eusebius the gospel was reckoned by many among the Homologoumena, is incorrect; ἐν τούτοις refers rather to the νόθοι among which its earlier acceptance by a large part of the Church, but present uncanonicity, places it by right. Irenæus expressly states that there were but four canonical gospels (Adv. Hær. III. 2, 8), so also Tertullian (Adv. Marc. IV. 5), while Clement of Alexandria cites the gospel with the same formula which he uses for the Scriptures in general, and evidently looked upon it as, if not quite, at least almost, on a par with the other four Gospels. Origen on the other hand (in Johan. II. 6, Hom. in Jer. XV. 4, and often) clearly places it upon a footing lower than that of the four canonical Gospels. Upon the use of the gospel by the Ebionites and upon its relation to the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, see chap. 27, note 8.
The literature upon the Gospel according to the Hebrews is very extensive. Among recent discussions the most important are by Hilgenfeld, in his Evangelien nach ihrer Entstehung (1854); in the Zeitschrift f. wiss. Theol., 1863, p. 345 sqq.; in his N. T. extra Canon. rec. (2d ed. 1884); and in his Einleitung z. N. T. (1875); by Nicholson, The Gospel according to the Hebrews (1879); and finally, a very thorough discussion of the subject, which reached me after the composition of the above note, by Handmann, Das Hebräer-Evangelium (Gebhardt and Harnack’s Texte und Untersuchungen, Bd. V. Heft 3, Leipzig, 1888). This work gives the older literature of the subject with great fullness. Still more recently Resch’s Agrapha (ibid. V. 4, Leipzig, 1889) has come to hand. It discusses the Gospel on p. 322 sq.
25. τῶν ἀντιλεγομένων
27. οὐκ ἐνδιαθήκους μὲν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀντιλεγομένας. Eusebius, in this clause, refers to the νόθοι, which, of course, while distinguished from the canonical Antilegomena, yet are, like them, disputed, and hence belong as truly as they to the more general class of Antilegomena. This, of course, explains how, in so many places in his History, he can use the words νόθοι and ἀντιλεγόμενα interchangeably (as e.g. in chap. 31, §6). In the present passage the νόθοι, as both uncanonical and disputed, are distinguished from the canonical writings,—including both the universally accepted and the disputed,—which are here thrown together without distinction. The point to be emphasized is that he is separating here the uncanonical from the canonical, without regard to the character of the individual writings within the latter class.
28. See chap. 3, note 5.
29. The Gospel of Thomas is of Gnostic origin and thoroughly Docetic. It was written probably in the second century. The original Gnostic form is no longer extant, but we have fragmentary Catholic recensions of it in both Latin and Greek, from which heretical traits are expunged with more or less care. The gospel contained many very fabulous stories about the childhood of Jesus. It is mentioned frequently by the Fathers from Origen down, but always as an heretical work. The Greek text is given by Tischendorf, p. 36 sqq., and an English translation is contained in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 395-405. See Lipsius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 703-705.
30. This gospel is mentioned by Origen (Hom. in Lucam I.), by Jerome (Præf. in Matt.), and by other later writers. The gospel is no longer extant, though some fragments have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria, e.g. in Strom. II. 9, Strom. III. 4 (quoted below in chap. 30), and Strom. VII. 13, which show that it had a high moral tone and emphasized asceticism. We know very little about it, but Lipsius conjectures that it was “identical with the παραδόσεις Ματθίου which were in high esteem in Gnostic circles, and especially among the Basilidæans.” See Lipsius, ibid. p. 716.
31. Eusebius so far as we know is the first writer to refer to these Acts. But they are mentioned after him by Epiphanius, Philaster, and Augustine (see Tischendorf’s Acta Apost. Apoc. p. xl.). The Acts of Andrew (Acta Andræ) were of Gnostic origin and circulated among that sect in numerous editions. The oldest extant portions (both in Greek and somewhat fragmentary) are the Acts of Andrew and Matthew (translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 517-525) and the Acts of Peter and Andrew (ibid. 526-527). The Acts and Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Andrew (ibid. 511-516), or the so-called Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaia concerning the Passion of Andrew, is a later work, still extant in a Catholic recension in both Greek and Latin. The fragments of these three are given by Tischendorf in his Acta Apost. Apoc. p. 105 sqq. and 132 sqq., and in his Apocal. Apoc. p. 161 sq. See Lipsius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. I. p. 30.
32. Eusebius is likewise, so far as we know, the first writer to refer to these Acts. But they are afterward mentioned by Epiphanius, Photius, Augustine, Philaster, &c. (see Tischendorf, ibid. p. lxxiii.). They are also of Gnostic origin and extant in a few fragments (collected by Thilo, Fragmenta Actum S. Johannis a Leucio Charino conscriptorum, Halle, 1847). A Catholic extract very much abridged, but containing clear Gnostic traits, is still extant and is given by Tischendorf, Acta Apost. Apoc. p. 266 sq. (translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 560-564).
The last two works mentioned belong to a collection of apocryphal Acts which were commonly ascribed to Leucius, a fictitious character who stands as the legendary author of the whole of this class of Gnostic literature. From the fourth century on, frequent reference is made to various Gnostic Acts whose number must have been enormous. Although no direct references are made to them before the time of Eusebius, yet apparent traces of them are found in Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, &c., which make it probable that these writers were acquainted with them, and it may at any rate be assumed as established that many of them date from the third century and some of them even from the second century. See Salmon’s article Leucius in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. III. 703-707, and Lipsius’ article in the same work, I. 28.
33. αἱρετικῶν ἀνδρῶν ἀναπλάσματα
34. ἐν νόθοις.
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