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  1. On Christ and Antichrist & The Refutation of All Heresies - Ebooks
  2. Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession
  3. Hippolytus Romanus
  5. On Christ and Antichrist & The Refutation of All Heresies

Pythagoras perished at Crotona in Italy having been burned along with his disciples. And he had this custom that when any one came to him as a disciple, he had to sell 1 That is, of course, Zoroaster. The account here given of his doctrines does not agree with what we know of them from other sources. The minimum date for his activity B. See the translator's Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, I, p. Cruice has rbv KdtTfxov pucriv Kara, "that the cosmos is a nature according to," etc.

But Aetius, de Placit. Diels Doxogr. But on being again set free, he mixed with the others and remained a disciple and took his meals along with them. But if he did not, he took back what belonged to him and was cast out. Now the Esoterics were called Pythagoreans and the others Pythagorists. And of his disciples who escaped the burning were Lysis and Archippus and Zamolxis, Pytha- goras' house-slave, who is said to have taught the Druids among the Celts to cultivate the Pythagorean philosophy.

And they say that Pythagoras learned numbers and measures from the Egyptians, and being struck with the plausible, imposing and with difficulty disclosed wisdom of the priests, p. About Empedodes. But Empedocles, born after these men, also said many things about the nature of demons, and how they being very many go about managing things upon the earth. He said that the beginning of the universe was Strife and Friendship and that the intellectual fire of the monad is God, and that all things were constructed from fire and will be resolved into fire.

But most of all he accepted the change into different bodies, saying : "For truly a boy I became, and a maiden, And bush, and bird of prey, and fish, A wanderer from the salt sea. It was these last and not the subjects of the Pharaohs who were given to mathematics and geometry, of which sciences they laid the foundations on which we have since built. Certain devotees of the Alexandrian god Serapis also shut themselves up in cells of the Serapeum, which they could hardly have done in any temple in Pharaonic times. Empedocles, c. About Heraditus. But Heraclitus of Ephesus, a physicist, bewailed all things, accusing the ignorance of all life and of all men, and pitying the life of mortals.

For he claimed that he knew all things and other men nothing. And like Empedocles he said that every place of ours was filled with evil things, and that these come as far as the moon extending from the place surrounding the earth, but go no further, since the whole place above the moon is very pure.

And after these came other physicists whose opinions we p- But since the school was by no means small, and many physicists afterwards sprang from these, all discoursing in different fashion on the nature of the universe, it seems also fit to us, now that we have set forth the philosophy derived from Pythagoras, to return in order of succession to the opinions of those who adhered to Thales, and after recounting the same to come to the ethical and logical philosophies, whereof Socrates founded the ethical and Aristotle the dialectic.

It should probably follow that on Lysis and Archippus, etc. The story of the shield is told by Diog.

On Christ and Antichrist & The Refutation of All Heresies - Ebooks

Has Hippolytus garbled this? About Anaximander. Now Anaximander was a hearer of Thales. He was Anaximander of Miletus, son of Praxiades.


And that this principle is eternal and grows not old and encompasses all the ordered worlds. And he says time is limited by birth, p. He said that the Boundless is a principle and element of the things that are and was the first to call it by the name of principle. But that there is an eternal movement towards Him wherein it happens that the heavens are born. And that its form is a watery cylinder 5 like a stone pillar ; and that we tread on one of its surfaces, but that there is another opposite to it.

And that the stars are a circle of fire distinct from the fire in the cosmos, but surrounded by air. And that certain fiery exhalations exist in those places where the stars appear, and by the obstruction of these exhalations come the eclipses. And that the moon appears sometimes waxing and sometimes waning through the obstruction or closing of her paths.

And that the circle of the sun is 27 times greater than that of the moon and that the sun is in the highest place in the heavens and the circles of the fixed p. And that the animals came into being in moisture evaporated by the sun. And that mankind was at the beginning very like another animal, to wit, a fish. And that winds come from the separation and condensation of the subtler atoms of the air 6 and rain from the earth giving back under the sun's heat what it gets from the clouds, 7 1 So Diog.

Anaximander, c. I, verbatim. He therefore believed in a plurality of worlds. It may here mean essence or being. A good discussion of the changes in the meaning of the word and its successors, vwoaTaais and TTpoawrrou, is to be found in Hatch, op. Cruice agrees. He was born in the 3rd year of the 42nd Olympiad. About Anaximenes. Anaximenes, who was also a Milesian, the son of Eurys- tratus, said that the beginning was a boundless air from which what was, is, and shall be and gods and divine things came into being, while the rest came from their descend- ants.

But that the condition of the air is such that when it is all over alike 2 it is invisible to the eye, but it is made perceptible by cold and heat, by damp and by motion. And that it is ever-moving, for whatever is changeable 3 changes not unless it be moved. For it appears different when condensed and rarefied. For when it diffuses into greater rarity fire is produced ; but when again halfway condensed into air, a cloud is formed from the air's p.

And that consequently the great rulers of formation are contraries, to wit, heat and cold. And that the earth is a flat surface borne up on the air in the same way as the sun and moon and the other stars. And that there are earth-like natures in the stars' place carried about with them. But he says that the 1 A. Benn, op. Diels, op. The majority are to be found in Simplicius' commentaries on Aristotle, Simplicius' source being, according to Diels, the fragments of Theophrastus' book on physics. See n. Cruice translates ob latitudinem, Macmahon " through expanse of space.

And because of their great distance, the stars give out no heat. And that p. Also that hail is produced when the water brought down from the clouds is frozen ; and snow when the same clouds are wetter when freezing. And lightning come when the clouds are forced apart by the strength of the winds j for when thus driven apart, there is a brilliant and fiery flash. Also that a rainbow is produced by the solar rays falling upon solidified air, and an earthquake from the earth's increasing in size by heating and cooling.

This then Anaximenes. He flourished about the 1st year of the 58th Olympiad. About Anaxagoras. After him was Anaxagoras of Clazomene, son of Hegesi- bulus. He said that the beginning of the universe was mind and matter, mind being the creator and matter that which came unto being.

He says, however, that the material principles are boundless, even the smallest of them. And that all things partake of movement, being p. And that the things in heaven were set in order by their circular motion. This is the feature of Anaxi- menes' teaching which seems to have most impressed the Greeks. This is more probable than the dates in our text. For Anaximenes' sources, mostly Aetius and Theo- phrastus, see Diels' conspectus mentioned in n. Macmahon says "orbicular," but it means if anything centripetal and centrifugal, as appears in next sentence. Also that the earth is flat in shape and remains suspended 2 through its great size, and from there being no void and because the air which is strongest bears up the upheld earth.

And that the sea exists from the moisture on the earth and the waters in it evaporating and then condensing in a hollow place ; 3 and that the sea is supposed to have come into being by this and from the rivers flowing into it. And the rivers, too, are established by the rains and the waters within the earth ; for the earth is hollow and holds water in its cavities.

But that the Nile increases in summer when the snows from the northern parts are carried down into it. And that the sun and moon and all the stars are burning stones and are carried about by the rotation of the aether. And that below p. And that the heat of the stars is not felt by us because of their great distance from the earth ; but yet their heat is not like that of the sun from their occupying a colder region.

Also that the moon is below the sun and nearer to us ; and that the size of the sun is greater than that of the Peloponnesus. And that the moon has no light of her own, but only one from the sun. And that the revolution of the stars takes place under the earth. Also that the moon is eclipsed when the earth stands in her way, and sometimes the stars which are below the moon, 4 and the sun when the moon stands in his way during new moons. And that both the sun and moon make turnings solstices when driven back by the air ; but that the moon turns often through not being able to master the cold.

He was the first to determine the facts about eclipses and renewals of light. Hippolytus seems most frequently to use the word in this sense. For a description of this cavity see the Phcedo of Plato, c. I do not understand Roeper's suggested emendation as given by Cruice. So Macmahon. It clearly means here "shinings forth again," or "lightings up. And that the Milky Way was the reflection of the light of the stars which are not lighted up by the sun. And that the shooting stars P- And that winds are produced by the rarefaction of the air by the sun and by their drying up as they get towards the pole and are borne away from it.

And that thunderstorms are produced by heat falling upon the clouds. And that earthquakes come from the upper air falling upon that under the earth ; for when this last is moved, the earth upheld by it is shaken. And that animals at the beginning were produced from water, but thereafter from one another, and that males are born when the seed secreted from the right parts of the body adheres to the right parts of the womb and females when the opposite occurs. He flourished in the 1st year of the 88th Olympiad, about which time they say Plato was born.

About Archelaus. Archelaus was of Athenian race and the son of Apollo- dorus. He like Anaxagoras asserted the mixed nature of matter and agreed with him as to the beginning of things. But he said that a certain mixture 2 was directly inherent in mind, and that the source of movement is the separation from one another of heat and cold and that the p. Also that water when heated flows to the middle of the universe wherein heated air and earth are produced, of which one is borne aloft while the other remains below. And that the earth remains fixed and exists because of this and abides in the middle of the universe, of which, so to speak, it forms no part and which is delivered from the conflagration.

For Hippolytus' sources for his teaching, mainly Diog. But of what could the creative mind be com- pounded before anything else had come into being? Does he mean the heated air, and why should the earth form no part of the universe? Something is probably omitted here. And he says that the heaven is arched over us x and has made the air transparent and the earth dry. For that at first it was a pool ; since it was lofty at the horizon, but hollow in the middle.

And he brings forward as a proof of this hollowness, that the sun does not rise and set at the same time for all parts as must happen if the earth were level. And as to animals, he says that the earth first became heated in the lower part when the hot and cold mingled and man 2 and the other animals appeared. And all things were unlike one another and had the same diet, being nourished on p. And this endured for a little, but at last generation from one another arose, and man became distinct from the other animals and set up chiefs, laws, arts, cities and the rest.

And he says that mind is inborn in all animals alike. For that every body is supplied with 3 mind, some more slowly and some quicker than the others. Natural philosophy lasted then from Thales up to Arche- laus. Of this last Socrates was a hearer. But there are also many others putting forward different tenets concerning the Divine and the nature of the universe, whose opinions if we wished to set them all out would take a great mass of books.

But it would be best, after having recalled by name those of them who are, so to speak, the chorus-leaders of all who philosophized in later times and who have furnished starting-points for systems, to hasten on to what follows. About Parmenides. For truly Parmenides also supposed the universe to p.

Evidently Archelaus imagined a concave heaven fitting over the earth like a dish cover or an upturned boat or coracle. This was the Babylonian theory. Maspero, Hist. Many of the Ionian ideas about physics doubtless come from the same source. So Diog. About Leucippus. But Leucippus, a companion of Zeno, did not keep to the same opinion as Parmenides , but says that all things are boundless and ever- moving and that birth and change are unceasing.

And he says that fulness and the void are elements. And he says also that the ordered worlds came into being thus : when many bodies were crowded together p. But what that necessity may be he did not define. About Democritus. But Democritus was an acquaintance of Leucippus. This was Democritus of Abdera, son of Damasippus, 3 who met with many Gymnosophists among the Indians and with priests and astrologers 4 in Egypt and with Magi in Babylon.

But he speaks like Leucippus about elements, to wit, fulness and void, saying that the full is that which is but the void that which is not, and he said this because things are ever moving in the void. He said also that the ordered worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, but that in others both are 1 This sentence is said to have been interpolated. Sextus Empiricus, ubi cit. And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are p.

And that some ordered worlds are bare of animals and plants and of all water. And that in our cosmos the earth came into being first of the stars and that the moon is the lowest of the stars, and then comes the sun and then the fixed stars : but that the planets are not all at the same height. And he laughed at every- thing, as if all things among men deserved laughter. About Xenophanes. But Xenophanes of Colophon was the son of Ortho- menes. He first declared the incomprehensibility of all things, 3 saying thus : Although anyone should speak most definitely He nevertheless does not know, and it is a guess 4 which occurs about all things.

But he says that nothing is generated, or perishes or is p. But he says that God is eternal, and one and alike on every side, and finite and spherical in form, and conscious 5 in all His parts.

Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession

And that the sun is born every day from the gathering together of small particles of fire and that the earth is boundless and surrounded neither by air nor by heaven. And that there are boundless innumerable suns and moons and that all things are from the earth. Hippolytus says later in Book I p. If, as Sotion asserted, Xenophanes was a contemporary of Anaximander, he must have died two centuries before Pyrrho was born. Yet Mkos is surely a " guess. But Metrodorus said it was thanks to its trickling through the earth that the sea becomes salt. And Xenophanes opines that there was once a mixture of earth with the sea, and that in time it was freed from moisture, asserting in proof of this that shells are found in the centre of the land and on mountains, and that in the stone- quarries of Syracuse were found the impress of a fish and of seals, and in Paros the cast of an anchor below the surface of the rock 1 and in Malta layers of all sea-things.

And he says that these came when all things were of old time buried in mud, and that the impress of them dried in the mud ; but p. About Ecphantus. A certain Ecphantus, a Syracusan, said that a true knowledge of the things that are could not be got. But he defines, as he thinks, that the first bodies are indivisible and that there are three differences 3 between them, to wit, size, shape and power.

And the number of them is limited and not boundless ; but that these bodies are moved neither by weight nor by impact, but by a divine power which he calls p. Nous and Psyche. Now the pattern of this is the cosmos, wherefore it has become spherical in form by Divine power. And that the earth in the midst of the cosmos is moved round its own centre from west to east. About Hippo. But Hippo of Rhegium 5 said that the principles were cold, like water, and heat, like fire. And that the fire came from the water, and, overcoming the power of its parent, constructed the cosmos.

Perhaps " alternations. He is not alluded to again in the book. These things, then, we seem to have sufficiently set forth. Wherefore, as we have now separately run through the opinions of the physicists, it seems fitting that we return to Socrates and Plato, who most especially preferred the study of ethics. About Socrates. Now Socrates became a hearer of Archelaus the physi- cist, and giving great honour to the maxim "Know thyself" and having established a large school, held Plato to be the most competent of all his disciples. He left no writings behind him ; but Plato being impressed with all his p wisdom x established the teaching combining physics, ethics and dialectics.

But what Plato laid down is this : About Plato. Plato makes the principles of the universe to be God, matter and the model. He says that God is the maker and orderer of this universe and its Providence. Socrates, c. The ro'Se rb irav of the line above shows that Plato did not mean that the forethought extended to other worlds than this. The best edition still seems to be Bishop Poll's, Oxford, Alcinous' work was, as will appear, the main source from which Hippolytus drew his account of Plato's doctrines.

Not created ex nihilo, but made out of existing material as an architect makes a house. He said that God was without body or form and could only be comprehended by wise men ; but that matter is potentially body, but not yet actively. For that being itself without form or quality, it receives forms and qualities to become body. For, he says, it constructed itself out of itself. But in so far as body 3 is assumed to be composed of many qualities and ideas, it is so far begotten and perishable.

But some Platonists mixed together the two opinions making up some such parable as this : to wit, that, as a wagon can remain undestroyed for ever if repaired part by part, as even though the parts perish every time, the wagon remains complete ; so, the cosmos, although it perish part by part, is yet reconstructed and compensated for the parts taken away, and remains eternal.

Some again say that Plato declared God to be one, unbegotten and imperishable, as he says in the Laivs : P- " God, therefore, as the old story goes, holds the beginning and end and middle of all things that are. But others say that Plato thought that there are many gods without limitation 5 when he said, "God of gods, of whom I am the fashioner and father. Others again that he maintained the gods to be originated and that because they were originated they ought to perish utterly, but that by the will of God they remain imperishable as he says in the passage before quoted, " God of gods, of whom I am the fashioner and father, and who are formed by my will indissoluble.

But he accepts the nature of demons, and says some are good, and some bad. So Cruice. Alcinous, c. But others say that he makes it originated but imperishable 2 through God's will ; and yet others composite and originated and perishable. For he also supposes that there is a mixing-bowl for it, 3 and that it has a splendid p. But those who say that the soul is immortal are partly corroborated by those words wherein he says that there are judgments after death, and courts of justice in the house of Hades, and that the good meet with a good reward and that the wicked are subjected to punishments.

Others, however, say not, but that they obtain a place according to each one's deserts. And they call to witness that he says some souls are with Zeus, but that others of good men are going round with other gods, and that others abide in everlasting punishments, that is , so many as in this life have wrought evil and unjust deeds. Waking and sleep are without inter- mediates and so are all states like these. But there are those with intermediates like good and bad ; and inter- mediates like grey which is between black and white or some other colour.

I have taken that which makes the smallest alteration in Cruice's text. Hippolytus probably took it from Aristotle, to whom he also attributes it ; but I cannot find it in this writer either. A passage in Arist. And that these last are very often named intermediates also j for they can be used both well and ill. He says therefore that the virtues are extremes as to honour, but means as to sub- stance. For instance, he says that these are the four virtues, to wit, Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude, and that there follow on each of these two vices of excess and deficiency respectively.

Thus on Prudence follow thoughtlessness by deficiency and cunning by excess ; on Temperance, intemperance by deficiency and sluggishness by excess; on Justice, over-modesty by deficiency and greediness by excess ; and on Fortitude, p. But he says that happiness is likeness to God as far as possible. And that any one is like God when he becomes holy and just with intention.

For this he supposes to be the aim of the highest wisdom and virtue. For to the most beauti- ful thing in us, which is the soul, none would admit 1 So Alcinous, c. The other statements in this sentence seem to be Aristotle's rather than Plato's, Cf. The passage about the choice [of virtue] is in the Republic, X, C. How then does any one choose such an evil?

He does it, you would say, who is overcome by the pleasures of sense. Therefore this also is an involuntary action, if to overcome be a voluntary one. So that from all reasoning, reason proves injustice to be involuntary. About Aristotle. Aristotle, who was a hearer of this last, turned philosophy into a science and reasoned more strictly, affirming that the elements of all things are substance and accident. Cruice quotes the Greek text from Roeper in a note on p. IV, cc. The defi- nitions in no way bear the interpretation that Hippolytus here puts on them. In the Categories, which, whether by Aristotle or not, are not referred to by him in any of his extant works, it is said c.

The illustrations are in part found in Metaphysica, c. And that therefore Substance was such as God, man and every one of the things which can fall under the like defi- nition : but that as regards the accidents, Quality is seen in expressions like white or black ; Quantity in " 2 cubits or 3 cubits long or broad " ; Relation in " father " or " son " ; the Where in such as "Athens" or "Megara"; the When in such as " in the Xth Olympiad " ; for Possession in such as " to have acquired wealth " ; Action in such as " to write and generally to do anything " ; and Passion in such as " to be struck.

And he is in accord with Plato about most things save in the opinion about the soul. For Plato thinks it immortal ; but Aristotle that it remains behind after this life and that it is lost in the fifth Body which is assumed to exist along with the other four, to wit, fire, earth, water and air, but is more subtle than they and like a spirit.

Again, he says that the soul of the whole ordered world is eternal, but that the soul of man vanishes as we have said p. Now, he philosophized while delivering discourses in the Lyceum ; but Zeno in the Painted Porch. And Zeno's followers got their name from the place, i.

For their enquiries were con- 1 The famous " Quintessence. But see Diog. ArisL, c This then Aristotle. About the Stoics. The Stoics themselves also added to philosophy by the increased use of syllogisms, 2 and included it nearly all in definitions, Chrysippus and Zeno being here agreed in opinion. Who also supposed that God was the beginning of all things, and was the purest body, and that His providence extends through all things.

And they say that it is the same indeed with men. For even if they do not wish to follow, they will be wholly compelled to come to what has been foredoomed. And they say that the soul remains after death, and that 1 Hippolytus gives as is usual with him a more detailed account of Aristotle's doctrines on these points later.

He and his readers share a common theological vocabulary that makes it possible to see in the "signs of the times" a continuous gathering of the Antichrist's forces of evil. The approaching millennium thus will certainly have great psychological power in popular culture. Although for some it promises a bold new age of human achievement, for others it means redoubled vigilance for discerning, however camouflaged, the beast who will seize this moment in history to make his final assault.

The symbol of the Antichrist has played a surprisingly significant role in shaping Americans' self-understanding. Because they tend to view their nation as uniquely blessed by God, they have been especially Introduction 5 prone to demonize their enemies. Throughout their nation's history, they have suspected that those who oppose the American way must be in league with the Antichrist's confederation of evil. Their attempts to "name the Antichrist" consequently reveal much about their culture's latent hopes and fears.

Americans in the colonial era, for example, were certain that the Antichrist held special power over the Native Americans, whose pagan ways and prior ownership of the land threatened the successful completion of their efforts to build a new Zion in the west. Later in the colonial era, when nationalist sentiment grew stronger, it became clear that both the church and the king of England wielded the Antichrist's tyrannical power and so must be opposed at all costs.

Over the last two hundred years, the Antichrist has been repeatedly identified with such "threats" as modernism, Roman Catholicism, Jews, socialism, and the Soviet Union. Today, fundamentalist Christian writers see the Antichrist in such enemies as the Muslim world, feminism, rock music, and secular humanism.

The threat of the Antichrist's imminent takeover of the world's economy has also been traced to the formation of the European Economic Community, the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the fiber optics used in our television sets, and the introduction of universal product codes. In and through such efforts to name the Antichrist, there is an intriguing story of how many Americans go about establishing the symbolic boundaries that separate all that is holy and good from the powers of chaos that continually threaten to engulf them. The history of Americans' obsession with naming the Antichrist draws attention to their almost limitless capacity for mythologizing life.

With the help of biblical metaphors, many Americans are able to mythologize life by "seeing" that there are deeper powers at work behind the surface appearance of worldly events. Everyday life is viewed against a cosmic background in which the forces of good are continually embattled by the forces of evil. The problems and confusions that Americans face consequently can never be reduced to political, social, or economic causes. Instead, these are guerrilla tactics employed by Satan in his never-ending war against the people of God.

The Antichrist has generally been understood to be Satan's chief disciple or agent for deceiving humanity in the final days, and for this reason the symbolism surrounding these two mythic creatures overlaps a great deal. As we shall see in Chapter 1, the Antichrist's relationship to Satan is traditionally conceived in an analogy to the relationship between Christ and God: the incarnation into the human world of a son or mediating agent whose purpose is to secure—or thwart—the salvation of souls.

Just as Christ works through the church and other historical agencies to promote God's will on earth, the Antichrist assists Satan by working through various persons and social movements to spread chaos and to thwart the redemption of souls. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the lore surrounding the Antichrist, as distinct from 6 Naming the Antichrist Satan, is the relatively greater attention given to his presence in those ideas or events that threaten to seduce members of the believing community into adopting heretical beliefs or lifestyles.

The Antichrist is most vividly present in those moments when otherwise faithful persons are attracted to ideas that would gradually lead them to abandon unqestioning commitment to group orthodoxy. The efforts of various persons to name the Antichrist thus tend to mirror the internal struggles of individuals and communities to ward off doubt or ambiguity. The symbolism of the Antichrist receives its sense of overriding urgency from its close association with what are referred to as apocalyptic or millenarian beliefs.

From the time of Jesus, Christianity has been concerned with the expectation of the "end times" often known as eschatology from the Greek work eschaton, which means "the end". Jesus' message was unabashedly eschatological in that he announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that we must therefore waste no time before repenting our sins and preparing ourselves for the final judgment.

Jesus' references to the imminent end of the world as we know it were fairly straightforward pronouncements like those generally associated with the great Hebrew prophets who also called on us to repent our sins. The Hebrew Book of Daniel and the Christian Book of Revelation, however, add much more mystery to their predictions of the impending judgment. These and similar texts from the biblical era are referred to as apocalypticin nature the wordapocalypse comes from the Greek apokalypsis, which means "an unveiling or uncovering of truths that are ordinarily hidden".

The authors of these texts claim to have received special revelations that provide "inside information" concerning God's timetable and game plan for his final confrontation with Satan. Apocalyptic texts are usually filled with highly cryptic, indeed downright confusing, references to dragons, beasts, false prophets, angels, and other supernatural entities, all of whom have precise roles in the cataclysmic cycle of events through which God will move history to completion.

In Chapter One we trace the origins of apocalyptic thought in the Judeo-Christian tradition and the subsequent development of apocalyptic beliefs up to present-day Christian fundamentalism. According to contemporary fundamentalism, the final sequence of events will be triggered by what is called "the Rapture.

And the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" This Rapture will spare all who have previously embraced Christ as their Savior from the seven years of cata- Introduction 7 strophic events that beset on all those left behind on earth. It is predicted that these tribulations will begin with the rise to prominence of the Antichrist, who will be the leader of a ten-nation confederation.

The Antichrist will at first be embraced as a man of peace and spirituality owing to his great powers of deception. He will begin his demonic reign by seeming to be an ally of Israel in its political struggles with Russia and other northern nations. But after a period of three and a half years, he will withdraw his support from Israel and will enter the temple of Jerusalem and make it his political headquarters. In the meantime, , Jews and a large number of Gentiles will have realized the error of their ways and will accept Jesus as their savior. Nonetheless, these new converts will, unfortunately, have to face the full brunt of the Antichrist's persecution and torture.

Amid stupendous natural disasters such as floods, fires, plagues, and earthquakes, the Antichrist will gain total control over the earth's entire population and require that every person wear a mark or number in order to participate in the new world economy. It is prophesied that anyone who accepts this mark of the beast usually thought to be the number will receive eternal damnation. During these tumultuous events, Christ will appear in the heavens and return to earth in all his glory.

He will lead the forces of good into the climactic Battle of Armageddon in which he will slay the Antichrist and cast him into a lake of fire.

Hippolytus Romanus

It will then be Christ's privileged act to bind Satan and to throw him into a bottomless pit where he will remain for a thousand years. This thousand-year period during which Satan is bound constitutes the glorious millennium, from which the term millennial faith is derived as a synonym for Christian apocalyptic belief.

It is described as an age in which the faithful will enjoy ageless bodies and inhabit a world of peace and plenty. For reasons that are unclear, God will permit Satan to be "loosed" at the end of this thousand-year period for one last desperate effort to lure unfaithful souls. After tolerating this final gasp of blasphemy and perdition, God will cast Satan into the lake of fire with the Antichrist, where they will be tormented for the rest of eternity. At this point the earth will be purified by fire and replaced by a "new heaven and a new earth" in which the redeemed will enjoy the glories of eternity.

This apocalyptic worldview is based on a style of thinking that is wholly alien to the scientific spirit of modern intellectual thought. Apocalyptic belief, for example, presupposes a literal interpretation of ancient biblical writings and postulates an overtly supranaturalist vision of reality in which angelic beings are expected to intervene in worldly events. Those who believe in the imminent threat posed by the Antichrist are thus in a "cognitive minority. This 8 Naming the Antichrist is, of course, precisely their point and helps us understand their obsession with seeking out invisible enemies.

Under assault from secularist culture, fundamentalist Christian groups are forced to demarcate the boundaries separating them from their modernist adversaries. The community of believers must be helped to avoid temptations to cross over into more ambiguous intellectual territory, by understanding the dire consequences of apostasy. To this extent, fundamentalism requires believing in a treacherous enemy whose existence gives these boundarysetting behaviors a sense of urgency.

As historians Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby observed, it is critical to the survival of fundamentalist groups that they continually "name, dramatize, and even mythologize their enemies. The biblical prophecies concerning the Antichrist "provide fundamentalists with a cosmic enemy, imbue fundamentalist boundarysetting and purity-preserving activities with an apocalyptic urgency, and foster a crisis mentality that serves both to intensify missionary efforts and to justify extremism.

Certain psychological and cultural functions are served by a worldview that encourages people to see themselves as actors in a "dramatic eschatology," an eschatological drama unfolding in the mind of God and assuring them of final victory over those who would oppose or even differ from them. Michael Barkun, for example, argued that apocalyptic thought emerges as an attempt to explain and understand the meaning of disasters, both natural and human made.

But a paranoiac delusion does not cease to be so because it is shared by so many individuals, nor yet because those individuals have real and ample grounds for regarding themselves as victims of oppression. Nonetheless, his views are shared by many. In his The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Hofstadter examines a continuing subculture in American life that views conspiracy as the motive force of history.

The distinctive feature of the paranoid outlook is that it views history as "a conspiracy, set in motion by demonic forces. The paranoid sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values.

What is at stake in the conflict with this enemy is the final confrontation between absolute good and absolute evil. Hence there can be no compromise, no retreat. Yet as Hofstadter perceptively notes regarding the paranoid style, this "enemy seems to be on many counts a projection of the self: both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him.

The Antichrist, it seems, almost invariably embodies those alluring traits and qualities that at a deeper level threaten to seduce even the "true believer" into apostasy. As Cohn's and Hofstadter's assessments of apocalyptic thought make clear, any attempt to interpet Americans' portrayals of the Antichrist will reflect the author's own assumptions about historical interpretation, human nature, and social-historical change. It is, therefore, important that my readers understand that I regard intellectual history as a discipline that must alternate between two distinct but complementary modes of interpretation.

First, intellectual history must appreciate the way in which ideas and texts come to have a life of their own. That is, we cannot overlook the fact that belief in the Antichrist is part of a literary and theological tradition that is itself capable of influencing a person's or even a historical epoch's self-understanding.

This tradition is, moreover, transmitted through a variety of cultural institutions that are relatively immune to the kinds of social or economic forces that a Cohn or a Hofstadter insist on seeing as central to an explanation of why individuals are "driven" to apocalyptic belief. Apocalyptic belief has attracted adherents for more than two thousand years and in almost every kind of cultural context imaginable. Concern with the Antichrist has existed in periods of both relative tranquillity and social upheaval, in persons who have paranoid tendencies 10 Naming the Antichrist and in those with stable personalities, in people with great hostility toward minorities or foreigners and in people who welcome cultural diversity.

Intellectual historians cannot overlook the autonomous power of scriptural texts to structure Americans' thoughts about the world. For example, many Americans whose anti-Semitic prejudices would otherwise make them political opponents of Jews have instead become ardent supporters of Israel, principally because of Israel's ostensible role in "Bible prophecy. Biblical passages put hard and fast limitations on the kinds of inferences that can be made about the nature and activity of the feared agent of Satan.

For this reason, intellectual history must be careful not to overlook the most obvious factor responsible for various acts of "naming the Antichrist. As a humanistic discipline, historical analysis assumes that all cultural phenomena, including religion, are the expressions of humanity's efforts to construct an intelligible system of ideas and meanings. An important goal of intellectual history is thus to shed some light on the ways in which various sociological, economic, and psychological conditions prompt us to accept some ideas as palpably true while rejecting others as either irrelevant or sheer nonsense.

Developed by such theorists as Max Weber, Karl Mannheim, and Peter Berger, the sociological approach to the history of ideas illustrates how beliefs and ideas can explain, correct, or complete otherwise unmet sociological or psychological needs. These are important considerations when trying to understand why belief in the Antichrist becomes more prominent in one period of history than in another. They also help us understand how the Antichrist's identity keeps changing from generation to generation and why there is so much urgency associated with efforts to warn others of the Antichrist's presence, even though the logic of scripture dictates a more resigned attitude toward the inevitable fulfillment of divine providence.

Sociological and psychological perspectives assist us in discerning why beliefs about the Antichrist's efforts to seduce people into apostasy so often mirror a person's or community's internal struggles with belief. We should remind ourselves that what distinguishes the humanities as academic disciplines is their interest in interpretation.

The whole point of humanistic inquiry, particularly historical inquiry, is to explicate meanings that are not overtly present in a text, a historical event, or a person's self-awareness. A judicious use of social, economic, and psychological perspectives that make such an explication possible is thus an indispensable part of the interpretive process. Readers should be warned that this book is not intended to be an encyclopedic cataloging of every mention of the Antichrist by an Ameri- Introduction 11 can author or lecturer.

It is instead a narrative history of the American obsession with rnythologizing life in apocalyptic terms. Topics and authors have been selected for treatment largely for their ability to illuminate the human drama entailed in efforts to "name the Antichrist. The first chapter discusses the origins and development of the Antichrist legend in Western intellectual history. The letters 1 and 2 John were written by a person or persons who envisaged his readers as threatened by a heresy.

What made this false teaching so dangerous was that it was promulgated by a group of charismatic Christians whose spiritual enthusiasm was drawing many to their heretical views. Calling them the Antichrists, this biblical author s provided a term that would soon symbolize the ultimate enemy of the true church. This term, moreover, had clear connections with the developing apocalyptic tradition whose major homiletic function was to encourage audiences to remain faithful despite temptations to embrace unorthodox ideas or morals. In this chapter we trace how the symbol of Antichrist emerged as central to this apocalyptic tradition and how it was elaborated upon from the earliest days of Christianity through the Middle Ages.

Chapter Two describes the migration of the Antichrist legend across the Atlantic. Convinced that salvation history was moving from east to west, the early American colonists knew themselves to be on God's "errand into the wilderness. As fate had it, however, this errand repeatedly fell on hard times. The first legions of the Antichrist to be reckoned with were the pagan Native Americans and the Catholic French. This fiendish power of iniquity later attacked the very heart of this community of saints by inspiring internal discord in the form of such self-styled dissenters as Anne Hutchison, Roger Williams, and the infamous witches of Salem.

No sooner were these threats dispatched than the colonists began to discover that both the Church of England and the whole institution of monarchy were merely the instruments through which the Antichrist sought to exercise his tyranny over the fledgling new Zion in the west. Apocalyptic rhetoric from influential clergy provided a religious imperative for colonists to sever their ties with England and launch themselves headstrong into the building of a new nation under God.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, Protestant Americans were largely in accord that the power of divine providence was with them. The third chapter discusses what is often referred to as "the Second Great Awakening," in which popular opinion was galvanized around the be- 12 Naming the Antichrist lief that moral resolve alone is sufficient to bring about salvation and the regeneration of society. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants confidently set about the task of constructing an empire that they believed would in and of itself inaugurate the millennium.

This view, known as postmillennialism, touts the power of concerted human effort to perfect the earth in expectation of—and prior to—Christ's final return. Those in the consensus culture knew full well what agencies of the Antichrist still stood in their way: non-Protestants, immigrants, intemperance, the city, and—at least to Northerners—the institution of slavery.

Members of the Protestant establishment largely eschewed apocalyptic imagery and rhetoric and instead sought to rid their nation of these final blights through a variety of social reform movements. Yet even as the Protestant mainstream forged ahead in its crusade for a Christian commonwealth, new religious voices were championing the premillennial form of apocalyptic thought, in which Christ was expected to return to earth in order to defeat the Antichrist personally.

The Mormons and Millerites later to emerge as the Seventh-Day Adventists appeared on the American religious scene as forerunners of the revival of premillennial and apocalyptic understandings of the Antichrist tradition. Chapter Four takes up the growth of premillennial thought in the fundamentalist movement of the twentieth century. By the late s, modernism had hit full stride.

Rapid advances in the natural sciences, the emergence of the social sciences such as psychology and sociology, and the startling discoveries of biblical scholarship combined to create a new intellectual climate that fostered secular humanism. Many conservative Christians, however, were quick to recognize the work of the Prince of Apostasy in these seductive teachings.

By a new coalition of premillennial Protestants emerged with a fully articulated and biblically based chronology for the end times. Known as fundamentalists, they were called upon to do "battle royal" for Christ in his urgent quest to eradicate the modernist, secularist, and humanistic forms in which the Antichrist proudly paraded across American intellectual life.

Chapter Five follows the development of this crusade as it extended beyond modernism to battle the confederacy of social, economic, and racial forces that seemingly was aimed at the dissolution of God's chosen America. The s and s witnessed a new intensification of efforts to name the Antichrist as Americans vented their latent fears and prejudices in relentless displays of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and antisocialism.

Hate mongers like Gerald L. Smith, Carl Mclntire, Gerald Winrod, and the Ku Klux Klansmen all used apocalyptic imagery to identify the diabolic nature of the many enemies who conspired against the glorious culture forged by God-loving Protestants. The kinds of ethnic hatred and pious hyperpatriotism that surfaced in the Antichrist rhetoric of the s, s, and s have certainly stayed with us. Ronald Reagan's and Pat Robertson's references to the Introduction 13 Soviet Union as the Evil Empire and Protestant clergy's recent denunciation of Muslim leaders such as Saddam Hussein are ready examples of the continuing popular appeal of Antichrist imagery in American thought.

Chapter Six examines these and other contemporary efforts to find the camouflaged conspirators plotting the overthrow of Christian civilization. The creation of the modern state of Israel in and the formation of the European Economic Community strike many evangelicals as indisputable fulfillments of biblical prophecy concerning the end days. If the end is indeed so near, the Antichrist—or at least his allied conspirators who are preparing the way—must already be among us.

And, it seems, he is in the form of the United Nations, ecumenical religious bodies such as the National Council of Churches, feminism, rock music, secular humanism, New Age religions, universal product codes, and the fiber optics in our television sets sending live signals from our living rooms directly to the Antichrist's headquarters. The story of the American Antichrist is varied and fascinating. It reveals a legacy of powerful religious emotion directed toward those persons or social forces that challenge the boundaries of theological orthodoxy.

This book concludes by inquiring into the nature and meaning of this historical obsession. Americans' enduring tendency to mythologize life in the categories of apocalyptic thought is, as our narrative will show, laden with social and psychological significance. By projecting Americans' doubts and uncertainties onto a demonic "other," the act of naming the Antichrist protects their personal and collective sensibilities from the frailties of human existence.

We do not know with any certainty just who wrote them, when, or where. But their conviction that the end of the world was near and that Christians must fend off the feared Antichrist soon earned them an authoritative place in Christian thought. These letters are striking in their depiction of the urgency felt by early Christians as they prepared for the final judgment. The author was alert to the anxieties aroused by the expectation that Christ would return at any moment to pronounce this final judgment.

It was imperative that someone define Christian faith clearly so that believers might be careful not to stray accidentally into heresy and thereby cost themselves eternal salvation. Both 1 and 2 John respond to this need for erecting definite theological boundaries and warn their audiences against adopting beliefs that, however popular or alluring, would lead them into heresy just as they approached the final hour. In particular, these letters condemn the beliefs and spirituality espoused by a relatively affluent group of Christians who had separated from the main community.

It was imperative that others not be led astray by these 14 Antichrist: The History of an Idea 15 renegade Christians, who appeared to be genuinely inspired by God but whom the author knew to be guilty of the gravest heresies. Both 1 and 2 John tell their readers that these false prophets were empowered by "the spirit of the antichrist.

Boundary Setting in the Johannine Epistles The letters 1, 2, and 3 John are examples of written communications passing among different Christian groups around the turn of the first century. It is clear from these letters that at this time there was a great deal of confusion about what could and could not be considered part of Christian faith.

There is, however, no consensus among scholars as to who wrote these pastoral letters. According to church tradition, all three were written in Ephesus by the apostle John, who is also said to have written the Gospel of John. This is, however, almost certainly not the case. In addition, stylistic differences in 1 John strongly suggest that it is the work of at least two different writers, and it also seems probable that 2 and 3 John were written by yet another author.

All three letters seem to be familiar with the contents of the Gospel of John, and their author s apparently used the familiar practice of adopting the pseudonym of John to garner authority for their writings and to show their commitment to what is often called the Johannine doctrinal tradition. Kenneth Grayston gives us a plausible reconstruction of the situation that elicited these early Christian writings. The dissident group insisted instead on participating fully in the world about them and argued that holiness did not require withdrawing from the affairs of the world.

It is also clear that this group possessed a great deal of spiritual charisma. Their prophetic gifts had already brought them some degree of popularity "the world listens to them" , and in all likelihood their bold spirituality aroused the jealousy of the larger community. The dissidents further claimed to have been anointed by the Spirit, just as Jesus had been.

The implication, then, was that they lived in the light and directly participated in divine nature. Because they believed that they had direct and unmediated access to God, they rejected the emerging Christian doctrine that only Jesus could mediate between humans and God. Indeed, the historical Jesus was more or less irrelevant to their 16 Naming the Antichrist version of Christianity, which put the major emphasis on each person undergoing the experience of being directly anointed by the Spirit.

As a consequence they no longer felt bound by the doctrines or structured fellowship that the author s of these letters believed were central to Christian faith. The first letter of John addresses the embattled community with a comforting reminder of Jesus' role in mediating the forgiveness of their sins: "My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins. And by this [belief] we may be sure that we know him" The author of 1 John thus makes it clear that there are distinct doctrinal boundaries beyond which one cannot stray and remain a Christian.

Those who do stray beyond these boundaries no longer belong to the world of God. He then proceeds to the issue at hand and explains why these former members of the community must be shunned despite their alluring lifestyle, their inspiring spirituality, and their attractive theological notions. They are nonconformists, they are the antichrists. Their beliefs reveal that they were never true Christians in the first place "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. The author reminds his readers that even though these renegades will try to deceive them, they must be secure in the knowledge that the time of judgment is at hand and that steadfast faith will be rewarded.

The author here is alluding to a tradition concerning the appearance of the Antichrist, with which he assumes his readers are familiar. We will never know, however, precisely what tradition he had in mind. Subsequent generations of readers have assumed that he was referring to the dreaded figures mentioned in other biblical materials, such as Daniel or Revelation. These apocalyptic texts use the imagery of beasts, dragons, or monsters to describe the ultimate eschatological adversary that must be defeated by the Son of Man before the establishment of the millennium.

But this is supposition, and no such references are explicit in the text. On the contrary: The term antichristos lacks the definite article that would designate the well-known or widely anticipated figure. The word antichrist is used three times in 1 John and once in 2 John and nowhere else in scripture.

In addition, the author not only refers to the Antichrist as an opponent of Christ rather than the opponent but also uses the word in the plural, by designating all the dissenting members of the community as antichrists. We thus should be skeptical of the customary assumption that the Johannine antichrist is simply one variant of the long-established, widespread expectation of an intensely evil adversary such as is found in Revelation and believed in by later Antichrist: The History of an Idea 17 Christians.

The Johannine antichrist refers to apostate humans rather than a supernatural beast, such as was common in ancient myths depicting a dragon of chaos that opposes the creative deity. It "names" not an evil supernatural entity but humans whose manifest spirituality and growing popularity are causing resentment and jealousy. If the author who first used the term antichrist had any mythic figure in mind, he certainly did not develop it any further. Rather, his principal concern was to attack those who were undermining the community's theological purity.

According to 1 John, what is to be dreaded about the Antichrist is not the unleashing of awesome destruction but the fomenting of heresy. This heresy, moreover, did not come from unconverted Jews or Gentiles but from Christians themselves! For this reason, the author of 1 John warns his readers to test all beliefs, even those of persons who claim that the Spirit abides in them.

He is consequently not concerned with measuring alleged inner spirituality but with testing consistency of belief with the emerging tradition. The test, we are told, is a doctrinal one. Its purpose is to identify and separate out those who do not conform to the community's doctrinal standards: "This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son" The word antichrist is not found elsewhere in or out of Christian circles and may well have been invented by the author to dramatize the apostasy of diverging theological beliefs.

In Greek, to be "anti" something indicates a claim to be in opposition to it, to be equivalent to it, or to be a substitute for it. This was an important theological point at the time because it counteracted the so-called docetic heresy according to which Jesus was actually a spirit and had only appeared to take on an actual human body.

The dissident community seems to have held this view. The author's third reference to the antichrist develops this point: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.

Instead, the antichrists were already about him in the form of persons who had been members of the believing community but had left it in order to teach doctrines that now threatened to seduce others into leaving as well. The 18 Naming the Antichrist closest biblical parallels to this development of the Antichrist are Mark , which claims, "False christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible the elect," or Peter , which warns of false teachers in the community who "bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who brought them.

As Charles Brdman pointed out, what made these "false teachers" all the more dangerous was the fact that they moved in the best circles of society and were of pleasing personality—and were all of this while claiming to be Christians. The heresy they represented was thus both theological and communal; they threatened to seduce even more members into a mode of thinking and living that was "of the world" rather than of separatist faith.

To prevent his readers from straying closer to this alluring boundary, 1 John sharply contrasts the regions of God with those of "the world": "Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us.


By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of errors" 4: 4—6. The message is clear. Christians should not listen to the reasoning or wisdom of the world, no matter how tempting it may be to do so; they should instead listen only to God. At stake is the promise of salvation. Immediately after warning of the deceptions of the Antichrist, the author of 2 John cautions his readers to "look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward. Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son" Christians are therefore wise to shun all those who might lure them into apostasy.

Thus God accomplished his purpose. But wishing to try them individually, as he feared lest, by taking counsel together, they might conceal the truth of the Scriptures by their interpretation, he separated them from one another, and commanded all of them to write the same translation. He did this for all the books. But when they came together in the presence of Ptolemy, and compared their several translations, God was glorified , and the Scriptures were recognized as truly divine. For all of them had rendered the same things in the same words and with the same names from beginning to end, so that the heathen perceived that the Scriptures had been translated by the inspiration of God.

On Christ and Antichrist & The Refutation of All Heresies

And this was nothing wonderful for God to do, who, in the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar , when the Scriptures had been destroyed, and the Jews had returned to their own country after seventy years, afterwards, in the time of Artaxerxes, king of the Persians , inspired Ezra the priest , of the tribe of Levi, to relate all the words of the former prophets , and to restore to the people the legislation of Moses.

After Antoninus had been emperor for nineteen years, Commodus received the government. In his first year Julian became bishop of the Alexandrian churches, after Agripinnus had held the office for twelve years. A school of sacred learning, which continues to our day, was established there in ancient times, and as we have been informed, was managed by men of great ability and zeal for divine things. They say that he displayed such zeal for the divine Word, that he was appointed as a herald of the Gospel of Christ to the nations in the East, and was sent as far as India.

For indeed there were still many evangelists of the Word who sought earnestly to use their inspired zeal , after the examples of the apostles , for the increase and building up of the Divine Word. It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ , he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles , had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they had preserved till that time.

At this time Clement, being trained with him in the divine Scriptures at Alexandria, became well known. He had the same name as the one who anciently was at the head of the Roman church, and who was a disciple of the apostles. It seems to me that he alludes to the same person also in the first book of his Stromata, when, referring to the more conspicuous of the successors of the apostles whom he had met, he says:. This work is not a writing artfully constructed for display; but my notes are stored up for old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness; an image without art, and a rough sketch of those powerful and animated words which it was my privilege to hear, as well as of blessed and truly remarkable men.

There were others in the East, one of them an Assyrian, the other a Hebrew in Palestine. But when I met with the last, — in ability truly he was first — having hunted him out in his concealment in Egypt , I found rest. These men, preserving the true tradition of the blessed doctrine, directly from the holy apostles , Peter and James and John and Paul , the son receiving it from the father but few were like the fathers , have come by God's will even to us to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. At this time Narcissus was the bishop of the church at Jerusalem, and he is celebrated by many to this day.

He was the fifteenth in succession from the siege of the Jews under Adrian. We have shown that from that time first the church in Jerusalem was composed of Gentiles , after those of the circumcision , and that Marcus was the first Gentile bishop that presided over them. After him the succession in the episcopate was: first Cassianus; after him Publius; then Maximus; following them Julian; then Gaius; after him Symmachus and another Gaius, and again another Julian; after these Capito and Valens and Dolichianus; and after all of them Narcissus, the thirtieth in regular succession from the apostles.

At this time Rhodo, a native of Asia, who had been instructed, as he himself states, by Tatian , with whom we have already become acquainted, having written several books, published among the rest one against the heresy of Marcion. He says that this heresy was divided in his time into various opinions; and while describing those who occasioned the division, he refutes accurately the falsehoods devised by each of them.

Therefore also they disagree among themselves, maintaining an inconsistent opinion. For Apelles , one of the herd, priding himself on his manner of life and his age, acknowledges one principle, but says that the prophecies are from an opposing spirit, being led to this view by the responses of a maiden by name Philumene, who was possessed by a demon.

But others, among whom are Potitus and Basilicus, hold to two principles, as does the mariner Marcion himself. These following the wolf of Pontus , and, like him, unable to fathom the division of things, became reckless, and without giving any proof asserted two principles. Others, again, drifting into a worse error , consider that there are not only two, but three natures. Of these, Syneros is the leader and chief, as those who defend his teaching say. The same author writes that he engaged in conversation with Apelles. He speaks as follows:.

For the old man Apelles , when conversing with us, was refuted in many things which he spoke falsely ; whence also he said that it was not at all necessary to examine one's doctrine, but that each one should continue to hold what he believed. For he asserted that those who trusted in the Crucified would be saved, if only they were found doing good works. But as we have said before, his opinion concerning God was the most obscure of all. For he spoke of one principle, as also our doctrine does.

When I said to him, Tell me how you know this or how can you assert that there is one principle, he replied that the prophecies refuted themselves, because they have said nothing true ; for they are inconsistent, and false, and self-contradictory. But how there is one principle he said that he did not know , but that he was thus persuaded. As I then adjured him to speak the truth , he swore that he did so when he said that he did not know how there is one unbegotten God , but that he believed it. Thereupon I laughed and reproved him because, though calling himself a teacher, he knew not how to confirm what he taught.

In the same work, addressing Callistio, the same writer acknowledges that he had been instructed at Rome by Tatian. And he says that a book of Problems had been prepared by Tatian , in which he promised to explain the obscure and hidden parts of the divine Scriptures. Rhodo himself promises to give in a work of his own solutions of Tatian 's problems.

But this Apelles wrote many things, in an impious manner, of the law of Moses , blaspheming the divine words in many of his works, being, as it seemed, very zealous for their refutation and overthrow. The enemy of God's Church, who is emphatically a hater of good and a lover of evil , and leaves untried no manner of craft against men, was again active in causing strange heresies to spring up against the Church.

For some persons , like venomous reptiles, crawled over Asia and Phrygia, boasting that Montanus was the Paraclete, and that the women that followed him, Priscilla and Maximilla, were prophetesses of Montanus. Others, of whom Florinus was chief, flourished at Rome. He fell from the presbyterate of the Church , and Blastus was involved in a similar fall. They also drew away many of the Church to their opinion, each striving to introduce his own innovations in respect to the truth. Against the so-called Phrygian heresy , the power which always contends for the truth raised up a strong and invincible weapon, Apolinarius of Hierapolis, whom we have mentioned before, and with him many other men of ability, by whom abundant material for our history has been left.

A certain one of these, in the beginning of his work against them, first intimates that he had contended with them in oral controversies. Having for a very long and sufficient time, O beloved Avircius Marcellus, been urged by you to write a treatise against the heresy of those who are called after Miltiades, I have hesitated till the present time, not through lack of ability to refute the falsehood or bear testimony for the truth , but from fear and apprehension that I might seem to some to be making additions to the doctrines or precepts of the Gospel of the New Testament , which it is impossible for one who has chosen to live according to the Gospel , either to increase or to diminish.

But being recently in Ancyra in Galatia, I found the church there greatly agitated by this novelty, not prophecy , as they call it, but rather false prophecy , as will be shown.

Orthodox Christian Identity in America (Part 1 of 2) by Very Rev. Fr. John H. Erickson

Therefore, to the best of our ability, with the Lord's help, we disputed in the church many days concerning these and other matters separately brought forward by them, so that the church rejoiced and was strengthened in the truth , and those of the opposite side were for the time confounded, and the adversaries were grieved. The presbyters in the place, our fellow presbyter Zoticus of Otrous also being present, requested us to leave a record of what had been said against the opposers of the truth.

We did not do this, but we promised to write it out as soon as the Lord permitted us, and to send it to them speedily. Having said this with other things, in the beginning of his work, he proceeds to state the cause of the above-mentioned heresy as follows:. Their opposition and their recent heresy which has separated them from the Church arose on the following account.

There is said to be a certain village called Ardabau in that part of Mysia, which borders upon Phrygia. There first, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy , he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.

Some of those who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon , and was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets. In consequence of this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence. Thus by artifice, or rather by such a system of wicked craft, the devil , devising destruction for the disobedient, and being unworthily honored by them, secretly excited and inflamed their understandings which had already become estranged from the true faith.

And he stirred up besides two women , and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked wildly and unreasonably and strangely, like the person already mentioned. And the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and gloried in him, and puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises. But sometimes he rebuked them openly in a wise and faithful manner, that he might seem to be a reprover.

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

Having related these things at the outset, and continued the refutation of their delusion through his entire work, in the second book he speaks as follows of their end:. Or has any of them been seized and crucified for the Name? Truly not. Or has one of these women ever been scourged in the synagogues of the Jews , or stoned? No; never anywhere.

But by another kind of death Montanus and Maximilla are said to have died. For the report is that, incited by the spirit of frenzy, they both hung themselves; not at the same time, but at the time which common report gives for the death of each. And thus they died, and ended their lives like the traitor Judas.

So also, as general report says, that remarkable person, the first steward, as it were, of their so-called prophecy , one Theodotus — who, as if at sometime taken up and received into heaven, fell into trances, and entrusted himself to the deceitful spirit — was pitched like a quoit, and died miserably. They say that these things happened in this manner. But as we did not see them, O friend, we do not pretend to know. Perhaps in such a manner, perhaps not, Montanus and Theodotus and the above-mentioned woman died.

He says again in the same book that the holy bishops of that time attempted to refute the spirit in Maximilla, but were prevented by others who plainly co-operated with the spirit. And let not the spirit, in the same work of Asterius Urbanus, say through Maximilla, 'I am driven away from the sheep like a wolf. I am not a wolf. I am word and spirit and power.

And by the spirit let him compel those to confess him who were then present for the purpose of proving and reasoning with the talkative spirit, — those eminent men and bishops , Zoticus, from the village Comana, and Julian, from Apamea, whose mouths the followers of Themiso muzzled, refusing to permit the false and seductive spirit to be refuted by them. Again in the same work, after saying other things in refutation of the false prophecies of Maximilla, he indicates the time when he wrote these accounts, and mentions her predictions in which she prophesied wars and anarchy.

Their falsehood he censures in the following manner:. And has not this been shown clearly to be false? For it is today more than thirteen years since the woman died, and there has been neither a partial nor general war in the world; but rather, through the mercy of God , continued peace even to the Christians. These things are taken from the second book. I will add also short extracts from the third book, in which he speaks thus against their boasts that many of them had suffered martyrdom :. When therefore they are at a loss, being refuted in all that they say, they try to take refuge in their martyrs , alleging that they have many martyrs , and that this is sure evidence of the power of the so-called prophetic spirit that is with them.

But this, as it appears, is entirely fallacious. For some of the heresies have a great many martyrs ; but surely we shall not on that account agree with them or confess that they hold the truth. And first, indeed, those called Marcionites, from the heresy of Marcion , say that they have a multitude of martyrs for Christ; yet they do not confess Christ himself in truth.

When those called to martyrdom from the Church for the truth of the faith have met with any of the so-called martyrs of the Phrygian heresy , they have separated from them, and died without any fellowship with them, because they did not wish to give their assent to the spirit of Montanus and the women. In this work he mentions a writer, Miltiades, stating that he also wrote a certain book against the above-mentioned heresy. After quoting some of their words, he adds:. Having found these things in a certain work of theirs in opposition to the work of the brother Alcibiades, in which he shows that a prophet ought not to speak in ecstasy , I made an abridgment.

A little further on in the same work he gives a list of those who prophesied under the new covenant, among whom he enumerates a certain Ammia and Quadratus , saying:. But the false prophet falls into an ecstasy , in which he is without shame or fear. Beginning with purposed ignorance , he passes on, as has been stated, to involuntary madness of soul. They cannot show that one of the old or one of the new prophets was thus carried away in spirit. Neither can they boast of Agabus , or Judas, or Silas, or the daughters of Philip, or Ammia in Philadelphia , or Quadratus , or any others not belonging to them.

And again after a little he says: For if after Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia , as they assert, the women with Montanus received the prophetic gift, let them show who among them received it from Montanus and the women. For the apostle thought it necessary that the prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the final coming. But they cannot show it, though this is the fourteenth year since the death of Maximilla.

He writes thus. But the Miltiades to whom he refers has left other monuments of his own zeal for the Divine Scriptures , in the discourses which he composed against the Greeks and against the Jews , answering each of them separately in two books. And in addition he addresses an apology to the earthly rulers, in behalf of the philosophy which he embraced. As the so-called Phrygian heresy was still flourishing in Phrygia in his time, Apollonius also, an ecclesiastical writer, undertook its refutation, and wrote a special work against it, correcting in detail the false prophecies current among them and reproving the life of the founders of the heresy.

But hear his own words respecting Montanus :. His actions and his teaching show who this new teacher is. This is he who taught the dissolution of marriage; who made laws for fasting ; who named Pepuza and Tymion, small towns in Phrygia, Jerusalem, wishing to gather people to them from all directions; who appointed collectors of money; who contrived the receiving of gifts under the name of offerings; who provided salaries for those who preached his doctrine, that its teaching might prevail through gluttony. He writes thus concerning Montanus ; and a little farther on he writes as follows concerning his prophetesses: We show that these first prophetesses themselves, as soon as they were filled with the Spirit , abandoned their husbands.

How falsely therefore they speak who call Prisca a virgin. Afterwards he says: Does not all Scripture seem to you to forbid a prophet to receive gifts and money? When therefore I see the prophetess receiving gold and silver and costly garments, how can I avoid reproving her? So also Themiso, who was clothed with plausible covetousness , could not endure the sign of confession, but threw aside bonds for an abundance of possessions. Yet, though he should have been humble on this account, he dared to boast as a martyr , and in imitation of the apostle, he wrote a certain catholic epistle, to instruct those whose faith was better than his own, contending for words of empty sound, and blaspheming against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church.

And again concerning others of those honored among them as martyrs , he writes as follows:. Not to speak of many, let the prophetess herself tell us of Alexander, who called himself a martyr , with whom she is in the habit of banqueting, and who is worshipped by many. We need not mention his robberies and other daring deeds for which he was punished, but the archives contain them. Which of these forgives the sins of the other?

Does the prophet the robberies of the martyr , or the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For we will show that those whom they call prophets and martyrs gather their gain not only from rich men, but also from the poor , and orphans , and widows. But if they are confident, let them stand up and discuss these matters, that if convicted they may hereafter cease transgressing. For the fruits of the prophet must be tried; 'for the tree is known by its fruit. Afterwards, having falsely declared for the name of the Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful that were there.

And his own parish, from which he came, did not receive him, because he was a robber. Those who wish to learn about him have the public records of Asia. And yet the prophet with whom he spent many years knows nothing about him! Exposing him, through him we expose also the pretense of the prophet. We could show the same thing of many others. But if they are confident, let them endure the test. Again, in another part of his work he speaks as follows of the prophets of whom they boast:. If they deny that their prophets have received gifts, let them acknowledge this: that if they are convicted of receiving them, they are not prophets.

And we will bring a multitude of proofs of this. But it is necessary that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me, does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet stain his eyelids? Does a prophet delight in adornment? Does a prophet play with tables and dice? Does a prophet lend on usury? Let them confess whether these things are lawful or not; but I will show that they have been done by them.

This same Apollonius states in the same work that, at the time of his writing, it was the fortieth year since Montanus had begun his pretended prophecy. And he says also that Zoticus, who was mentioned by the former writer, when Maximilla was pretending to prophesy in Pepuza, resisted her and endeavored to refute the spirit that was working in her; but was prevented by those who agreed with her. He mentions also a certain Thraseas among the martyrs of that time. He speaks, moreover, of a tradition that the Saviour commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of John, and he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised by John himself in Ephesus.

He also adds other things by which he fully and abundantly exposes the error of the heresy of which we have been speaking. These are the matters recorded by Apollonius. Serapion, who, as report says, succeeded Maximinus at that time as bishop of the church of Antioch , mentions the works of Apolinarius against the above-mentioned heresy. And he alludes to him in a private letter to Caricus and Pontius, in which he himself exposes the same heresy , and adds the following words:. That you may see that the doings of this lying band of the new prophecy , so called, are an abomination to all the brotherhood throughout the world, I have sent you writings of the most blessed Claudius Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.

In the same letter of Serapion the signatures of several bishops are found, one of whom subscribes himself as follows:. I, Aurelius Cyrenius, a witness , pray for your health.

  • Irenaeus - Wikipedia.
  • Criticism of Christianity.
  • Tracts and Treatises of John de Wycliffe - Online Library of Liberty.
  • Online Library of Liberty;
  • Church History (Book V).

As God lives in the heavens, the blessed Sotas in Anchialus desired to cast the demon out of Priscilla, but the hypocrites did not permit him. And the autograph signatures of many other bishops who agreed with them are contained in the same letter. For Florinus seemed to be defending this opinion. At the close of the treatise we have found a most beautiful note which we are constrained to insert in this work. It runs as follows:. I adjure you who may copy this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ , and by his glorious advent when he comes to judge the living and the dead, to compare what you shall write, and correct it carefully by this manuscript, and also to write this adjuration , and place it in the copy.

These things may be profitably read in his work, and related by us, that we may have those ancient and truly holy men as the best example of painstaking carefulness. These doctrines, O Florinus, to speak mildly, are not of sound judgment.