Christianism ("Christianity"), Etc.


Subjects (abstracts): "Jesus"; Athenagoras; Minucius Felix; Theophilus; Constantine; etc.

from: Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100-400), Ramsay MacMullen, Yale U., 1984. [found 3/23/96].

"The very stark blacks and whites of this whole crude picture of Christianity, and the very unsteady focus on the role [and "life"?] of Jesus, are most striking.15 [see footnote 15, below]" [21].

[footnote] "15 That these various points had been made known is shown, I hope adequately, in MacMullen (1983) [Vigiliae Christianae 37 (1983)] 178–183. Add only, on Jesus in the theology being presented, the brief and curious paragraph in Athenag., Leg. 10, with really no explanation of Jesus' role [and "life"?]; his entire absence in Minucius Felix (striking at 29.6) and in Theophilus, Ad Autol. (striking at 1.12, 2.9, and 2.22); and his total unimportance [and his "life"?] for the one recent convert whose theology we can actually form some idea of, namely, Constantine. See Kraft (1955) [German] 60 and passim and Frend (1952) 153. " [131].

Following (217-221), are the above references to Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Theophilus, and Frend.

—— —— ——

from: Athenagoras Legatio ["c. 177" (Greek)] and De Resurrectione, Edited and Translated by William R. Schoedel, Oxford, 1972.

[Note: no "Jesus" or "Paul", in the Indexes].

"10. We have brought before you a God who is uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, and infinite, who can be apprehended by mind and reason alone, who is encompassed by light, beauty, spirit, and indescribable power, and who created, adorned, and now rules the universe through the Word that issues from him. I have given sufficient evidence that we are not atheists on the basis of arguments presenting this God as one.1

2. For we think there is also a Son of God. Now let no one think that this talk of God having a Son is ridiculous. For we have not come to our views on either God the Father or his Son as do the poets who create myths in which they present the gods as no better than men. On the contrary, the Son of God is the Word of the Father in Ideal Form and Energizing Power;2 for his likeness and through him all things came into existence, which presupposes that the Father and the Son are one. Now since the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son by a powerful unity of spirit, the Son of God is the mind and reason of the Father.

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3. If in your great wisdom you would like to know what 'Son' means, I will tell you in a few brief words: it means that he is the first begotten of the Father. The term is used not because he came into existence (for God, who is eternal mind, had in himself his Word or Reason from the beginning, since he was eternally rational) but because he came forth to serve as Ideal Form and Energizing Power for everything material which like an entity without qualities and...underlies things in a state characterized by the mixture of heavier and lighter elements.

4. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with this account. 'For the Lord', it says, 'made me the beginning of his ways for his works.' Further, this same holy Spirit, which is active in those who speak prophetically, we regard as an effluence of God which flows forth from him and returns like a ray of the sun.

5. Who then would not be amazed if he heard of men called atheists who bring forward God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit and who proclaim both their power in their unity and their diversity in rank. Nor does our TEACHING concerning the Godhead stop there, but we also say that there is a host of angels and ministers whom God, the Maker and Artificer of the world, set in their places through the Word that issues form him and whom he commanded to be concerned with the elements, the heavens, and the world with all that is in it and the good order of all that is in it. "

[21, 23].

[a Hocus-Pocus (early Christian apologetics) Classic!].

—— —— ——

from: Minucius Felix ["d. c. 250"], [Octavius], English Translation by Gerald H. Rendall, Harvard U., 1960 (1931).

[Note: no "Jesus" or "Paul", in the Index (for this book [2 book Index])].

[29.6] "Crosses again we neither worship nor set our hopes on.a You, who consecrate gods of wood, very possibly adore wooden crosses as being portions of your gods. [7] For what are your standards, and banners, and ensigns but gilded and decorated crosses? Your trophies of victory show not only the figure of a simple cross, but also of one crucified. [8] Quite true we see the sign of the cross naturally figured in a ship riding the swelling waves, or impelled by outspread oars; a cross-beam set up forms the sign of the cross; and so too does a man with outstretched hands devoutly offering worship to God. In this way the system of nature leans on the sign of the cross or your religion is shaped thereby. " [407].

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—— —— ——

from: Theophilus ["d. 180"] of Antioch ["Bishop of Antioch (by 170)" (Webster's Bio. Dict., 1995, 1018)] Ad Autolycum [Greek], Text and Translation by Robert M. Grant, Oxford, 1970. [Note: no standard Index].

[Excursus (Introduction)]

"The church historian Eusebius [c. 264 - 340] calls the work 'elementary' (Historia ecclesiastica iv. 24) and so it is, as compared with other Christian writings of Theophilus' own time. It has the merit, however, of showing the approach being taken toward theology and culture at Antioch in the latter years of the second century, and of indicating the remarkable diversity in Christian ideas. " ["ix"].

"He [Theophilus] does not mention Paul any more than he mentions Jesus.1"

[note this expression, and see following] [xiv].

"His [Theophilus] understanding of the work [and the "life"?] of Jesus Christ can be recovered only from allusions, for like other apologists of his time he never openly speaks of him. " [xvii].

[References from Ramsay MacMullen (217)]

"The Name Christian (continued from c. 1)

[1.12] 12. As for your ridiculing me when you call me a Christian, you do not know what you are saying. In the first place, what is anointed is sweet and useful, not ridiculous. What boat can be useful and seaworthy unless it is first caulked? What tower or house is attractive and useful unless it is whitewashed? What man on entering this life or being an athlete is not anointed with oil? What work of art or ornament can possess attractiveness unless it is greased and polished? Furthermore, the air and everything under heaven is anointed, so to speak, by light and spirit. Do you not want to be anointed with the oil of God? We are actually called Christians just because we are anointed with the oil of God. " [17].

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"Inspiration and Truth in the Prophets

[2.9] 9. The men of God, who were possessed by a holy Spirit and became prophets and were inspired and instructed by God himself, were taught by God and became holy and righteous. For this reason they were judged worthy to receive the reward of becoming instruments of God and containing Wisdom from him. Through Wisdom they spoke about the creation of the world and about everything else; for they also prophesied about pestilences and famines and wars. There were not just one or two of them but more at various times and seasons among the Hebrews, as well as the Sibyl among the Greeks. All of them were consistent with one another and with themselves, and they described events which had previously occurred, events in their own time, and events which are now being fulfilled in our times. For this reason we are persuaded that their predictions of coming events will prove correct, just as the former events took place exactly. " [39].

"How God 'Walked' in Paradise

[2.22] 22. You will ask me, 'You say that God must not be confined in a place; how then do you say that he walks in paradise?' Hear my reply. Indeed the God and Father of the universe is unconfined and is not present in a place, for there is no place of his rest [Isa. 66:1]. But his LOGOS, through whom he made all things, who is his Power and Wisdom [1 Cor. 1:24], assuming the role of the Father and Lord of the universe, was present in paradise in the role of God and conversed with Adam. For the divine scripture itself teaches us that Adam said that he 'heard the voice'. What is the 'VOICE' but the Logos of God, who is also his Son?—not as the poets and mythographers describe sons of gods begotten of sexual union, but as the TRUTH [(with Logos and Voice) a hocus-pocus favorite!] describes the Logos, always innate in the heart of God. For before anything came into existence he had this as his Counsellor, his own Mind and Intelligence. When God wished to make what he had planned to make, he generated this Logos [see #3, 45, 215.], making him external, as the firstborn of all creation [Col. 1:15]. He did not deprive himself of the Logos but generated the Logos and constantly converses with his Logos. Hence the holy scriptures and all those inspired by the Spirit teach us, and one of them, John, says, 'In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God' [John 1:1]. He shows that originally God was alone and the Logos was in him. Then he says, 'And the Logos was God; everything was made through him, and apart from him nothing was made' [John 1:1–3]. Since the Logos is God and derived his nature from God, whenever the Father of the universe wills to do so he sends him into some place where he is present and is heard and seen. He is sent by God and is present in a place. " [63, 65].

[a Hocus-Pocus (early Christian apologetics) Classic!].

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—— —— ——

from: The Donatist Church A Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa, W.H.C. Frend, Oxford, 1952.

[Reference from Ramsay MacMullen (217)]

[from footnote 6] "The tendency in the Emperor's [Constantine (Emperor 306 [312] -337)] other letters of this period on the Donatist controversy is to emphasize the need of conciliating the summus Deus, or the divinitas caelestis. References to Christ are conspicuously absent. The Emperor, moreover, is far from considering bishops as the exclusive judges in ecclesiastical disputes. " [153].


"Very little is known about this remarkable man [Donatus: (complex) "bishop of Carthage (313 - 347)" [Webster's Bio. Dict., 1995, 300]], who in Africa came to hold a position not unlike that achieved by his contemporary, Athanasius, in Egypt. IN DONATUS' CASE THE CATHOLIC DAMNATIO MEMORIAE HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE. His literary works have not survived [see #2, 28, 169.], we know little of his background, his personal appearance, his friendships, and his way of life.1 We do know that he was a great orator and leader of men; wherever he went the enthusiasm was such as to be remembered fifty years after his death.2" [153].

[Constantine] "'What more can be done by me,' he concludes, 'more in accord with my constant practice, and with the very office of a prince, than after expelling error and destroying rash opinions, to cause all men to agree together to follow true religion and simplicity of life, and to render to Almighty God the worship which is His due?'1....

The letter is of great interest in showing how the Emperor regarded the Christian Church. Constantine is in fact acting as though he were on a higher plane than the religious powers on earth, rather as God's own Vicar ["POWER IS GOD"! (see #7, 180; #6, 174)] than an ordinary mortal.2" [158].

—— —— ——

from: The Oxford Dictionary of The Christian Church, F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, eds., Oxford, 1974 (1957).

"ATHEISM (from Gk....[Greek word] 'without God'). The word was originally used in Greece of all those who, whether they believed in God or not, disbelieved in the official gods of the state. Of such men Socrates was the classic instance. In the Roman Empire the term was applied in a similar sense by the pagans to Christians, but sometimes Christians, like St. *Polycarp, would turn the term against their persecutors.

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Until the expression '*agnosticism' came into general use in the 19th cent., the term 'atheist' was used, at least popularly, to describe also those who thought of the existence of God as an unprovable thesis. " [102].

"ATHENAGORAS (2nd cent.), Christian *Apologist. He is described in the earliest MS. of his works as 'the Christian Philosopher of *Athens'. His 'Apology' [Legatio] or 'Supplication', addressed c. 177 to *Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, sought to rebut current calumnies against the Christians, viz. *atheism (cc. 4–30), Thyestian banquets and Oedipean incest (cc. 31–36). " [102].

"MINUCIUS FELIX (2nd or 3rd cent. ["d. c. 250"]), author of the 'Octavius'. Apparently an African, he wrote in Latin an elegant defence of Christianity in the form of a conversation between Octavius, a Christian, and Caecilius, a pagan, who was converted by the argument. The book refutes the common charges against Christians (see (*Persecutions), argues the case for monotheism and providence, and attacks pagan mythology, but says little of specifically Christian doctrines. " [920].

"THEOPHILUS, St. (later 2nd cent. ["d. 180"]), Bp. of *Antioch and one of the 'Christian *Apologists'. Of his writings only his 'Apology', in three books addressed to Autolycus, has survived. Its purpose was to set before the pagan world the Christian idea of God and the superiority of the doctrine of *creation [see: Encyclopedia of Creation Myths, ABC-CLIO, 1994, "Christian creation"; "Big bang theory" (see TFE #23, 87); etc.] over the immoral myths of the Olympian religion....He is also the first theologian to use the word *Triad'...[Greek word] of the Godhead. " [1364].

_ _ _

from: Dictionary of the New Testament, Xavier Lιon-Dufour, Translated from the second (revised) French edition [1978] by Terrence Prendergast, Harper & Row, 1980, 129.

'CARPENTER A word which improperly translates the Gk. tekton (from which "architect" comes), because woodworkers were almost unknown in Palestine. In its broad sense, the Gk. referred to a worker or craftsman who worked on a pre-existing material, whether of wood, stone or even metal: a "tailor" of stone, a mason, a sculptor, etc.1

1Wis 13:II; Sir 38:27; Is 40:19f.; Jer 10:3; Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3_.'

[Note: reference to this definition (carpenter): Most New Testament references apply the traditional Christian "Fudge" (and "spin", etc.), to support the orthodox ("Jesus" the "Carpenter") story.].

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_ _ _

["Jesus" of "Nazareth"]

from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, Oxford, 1974 (1957), 957.

"NAZARETH. The village in Galilee which was the home of the BVM and St. *Joseph, and where Christ was brought up and lived till the beginning of His ministry. It lies on a hill overlooking the valley of Esdraelon. It is not mentioned outside the NT.... " [See: #3, 48, 228.].

[for orthodox input, see: A. references from this citation (Oxford Dict. C.C., 1974, 957) B. The Anchor Bible Dict., 1992, V. 4, 1050-1051].

_ _ _

from: Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by T.K. Cheyne and J. Sutherland Black, Adam and Charles Black, Vol. III, 1902, 3362.

[Note: this is the conclusion, to this classic article, "Nazareth", by: T.K. Cheyne, Canon of Rochester].

"It is all the more necessary to confront the complex critical problem ["Nazareth", as the birthplace, residence, etc., of "Jesus"] bravely, because, in spite of the existence of rock-cut tombs up the hill, towards the W., we cannot perhaps venture to assert positively that there was a 'city called Nazareth' in Jesus' time. "

_ _ _

from: The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, Arthur Drews [1865 - 1935], Tr. Joseph McCabe, Arno, 1972 (Watts, 1912).


The historical Jesus is said to have been born in Nazareth [compare: (common choice) Bethlehem]. This, however, is, in turn, anything but certain. It may be a matter of chance that neither the Old Testament nor Josephus nor the Talmud mentions the place; and, except in the gospels, the name is unknown until the fourth century [Eusebius, Jerome, and Epiphanius]. But the statement of Weiss, that it "cannot be denied that it was firmly believed by the Christians of the first century that Jesus came from Nazareth" (p. 21), is wholly unjustified, and is based only on the unproved assumption that the gospels already existed then in their present form.' [200-201].

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[the name Jesus]

'Now, in Isaiah vii [:14], the "son of the virgin" is named Emmanuel, and this is translated "God with us. " This is also the meaning of the name Jesus, since in Matthew i, 21, the son of Mary receives this name, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel. " In the Septuagint [Greek ("virtually complete" "132 B.C. " [Oxford Dict. C.C., 1974, 1260])] as we know, Jesus is the Greek form ["The Greek form of a list of OT characters". (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1968, V. III, 284 [see: 284-293 (Drews; Robertson; etc.)])] of the Hebrew Jeschua, which in turn is the same as Jehoschua or Joshua.' [195].

[Introduction to the subject. Complex: variant spellings, origins, etc.].

_ _ _

from: The Worship of Augustus Caesar, Derived from a Study of Coins, Monuments, Calendars, Aeras and Astronomical and Astrological Cycles, The Whole Establishing A New Chronology and Survey of History and Religion, by Alexander Del Mar, New York, Cambridge Encyclopedia Co., 1900. [found 4/28/96]. [See: #2, 17-40].

'A.D. 1, Rome.—The Christian aera, which, as now used, began at midnight between December 31, B.C. I, and January 1, A.D. I. The year (not the day) of this aera is attributed to Dionysius Exiguus [see #3, 43, 207.], a Scythian monk and astrologer, who, it is claimed, flourished during the reign of Justinian I., and computed this year from the paschal cycle which began B.C. 8 and ended A.D. 524, but who is much more likely to have flourished during the reign of Justinian II., A.D. 705, because no evidence has been adduced to prove that the aera was employed before December 1, A.D. 781, during the pontificate of Hadrian I. Bury's "Later Roman Empire," II, 504.' [187].

"The Christian aera is based on the Nativity of Jesus Christ at Bethlehem in Judea, which, according to the gospels, occurred during the procuratorship of Cyrenius ["Cyrenius" = Quirinius], or Quirinus [A.D. 6], and the reign of Herod [died B.C. 4], while the Roman tax levy of Augustus was in progress and at a period of the year when the flocks were feeding in the fields. " [187].

"Numerous attempts have been made to sychronise these dates, but with so little success that Scaliger [Joseph Justus Scaliger 1540 - 1609] regarded the determination of the Nativity as beyond the skill of man. The Natal Day has been celebrated in various ages on Martinmas, Whitsuntide, Jesus Day, Palalia, Easter, the Vernal Equinox, Caesar's Day, the Feast of Tabernacles, and Brumalia, or Christmas; the last one now superceding all the others. " [187-188].

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"Greswell, F.C., I, 536, says the Nativity occurred April 5th, but he does not say that it was ever celebrated on that day. In order to bring the Nativity within the reign of Herod, Archbishop Usher computed that it occurred in B.C. 4, that being the year in which Herod died. " [188]. [compare: #4, 111, 458.].

"A.D. 14, Rome.—August 29th ["Aug. 19" (Rolfe)]. Death and bodily Ascension [? days after death] to heaven of Augustus [63 B.C. - 14 A.D. (First Roman Emperor 27 B.C. - 14 A.D.)] Divus Filius (Son of God), this having been his official title, which is stamped on his coins and is employed by Horace, Ovid, Virgil, Manilius, Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus, Censorinus, and indeed all the writers of the Augustan period. The Ascension was sworn to as having been actually witnessed in effigy [Augustus was cremated] by Numericus Atticus, a senator and noble of the Praetorian order. Suetonius [c. 69 - after 122], Aug., 100. " [188].

[See: #2, 30, 177., 178.; #3, 70, 372.].

'40 B.C.—Advent. Virgil; Fourth Eclogue [see #3, 65]. Premature closure [symbol of peace] of temple of Janus. Title "Son of God" stamped on coins [of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (44 B.C.) (Augustus 27 B.C.)] [see #2, 20-22] of this year.' [188]. [See: #7, 186, 188 (Sons of Gods)].

[See: Roman Coins, J.P.C. Kent, Thames and Hudson, 1978

(1973 German), plates 30-42, text 18-21].

_ _ _

from: Imperial Rome, Moses Hadas, Time-Life Books, 1965. [found 4/12/96].

[Reproduction (color) 170-"171"] "Christ and the Apostles are seen in a fresco from a Roman catacomb. As in most Christian painting until the Middle Ages, Christ is portrayed clean-shaven, for the Romans [note reason: "for the Romans"!] regarded beards as the mark of barbarians. " ["171"].

[See: #8, 205 (Christ), 200-203 (Apostles)].

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