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Barnabas, Epistle of

(220 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] The writer of this treatise, written in the form of a letter, (CPG I 1050), who belongs to the so-called  Apostolic Fathers, does not give his name. The MSS as well as Christian theologians of the 2nd/3rd cents. like  Clemens and  Origenes (who regarded the letter as καθολικὴ ἐπιστολή: c. Cels. 1,63) state that the author is  Barnabas, the travelling companion of St. Paul. The first part (chs. 2-16) interprets holy Scripture (= the OT) in terms of God, Christ and the new people of…

Priscillianus, Priscillianism

(1,193 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
Spanish ascetic and Christian theologian of Late Antiquity; term used for the ascetic movement he founded. [German version] I. Life of Priscillianus and history of Priscillianism A great deal of P.' biography remains unknown and has been distorted by a hostile tradition. P. was probably born prior to AD 350; he is believed to have been from a wealthy Spanish family. His training in rhetoric indicates an education befitting his class. In connection with his decision to lead an ascetic life, he chose to be baptized as an a…

Pacianus

(130 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] After AD 343, bishop of Barcinona (modern Barcelona), died before 393; of his life practically nothing is known. Three letters from him to the Novatian Sympronianus survive, in which he opposes Novatianism (Novatianus) (CPL 561), also a pamphlet Paraenesis sive Exhortatorius Libellus ad Paenitentiam ( Exhortation to Penitence, CPL 562) and a Sermo de Baptismo ( Sermon on Baptism, CPL 563). A Cerv(ul)us ('Stag') against the pagan celebration of the new year, mentioned by Hieronymus  (Vir. ill. 106), is lost. The author was well educated and t…

Doketai

(403 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (δοκηταί; dokētaí). With this generic term or τῶν ... δοκιτῶν αἵρεσις ( tôn ... dokitôn haíresis, Theod. Epist. 82,1) ancient Christian theologians from the middle of the 5th cent., as also recent academic research, designated various points of view that (in the minds of their critics at any rate) call into question or even repudiate the real humanity of  Jesus Christ and postulate a ‘pseudo-body’. Opponents of  Ignatius of Antioch maintained for example that Christ had only appeared to suffer (…

Pectorius inscription

(202 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] Inscription (IG XIV 2525 = SEG 29, 825 = [1]) on a marble panel discovered in 1839 at Augustodunum/ Autun. It consists of three elegiac distychs (V. 1-6) and five hexameters (V. 7-11). Alongside the Abercius inscription, it is one of the most significant examples of ancient Christian epigraphy; in its current form, it constitutes a funerary inscription commissioned by one Pectorius for his mother. The first six verses form the acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣΕ, so it must be assumed that this section of text is incompletely preserved ([1] ventures a completion: ἰχθύς/ ichthýs, ἐλπίς/ elpís…

Victricius

(212 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] Born c. AD 340; after his conversion to the Christian faith, between 360 and 363 he ended his military service (according to Paul. Nol. epist. 18,7, at any rate, with detailed description of the circumstances) and c. 380/386 became bishop of Ratomagus (modern Rouen). Letters to him from Paulinus [5] of Nola (Epist. 18 and 37) and from the Roman bishop Innocentius I ([1. vol. 1, 286]: a liber regularum) from this period survive. The focus of his work was the battle against Homoean theology in the Imperial church (Trinity III; Arianism), the advanc…

Sermon, Homily

(1,744 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] I. General remarks, concept and origins The term sermon refers to a type of speech (Greek ὁμιλία/ homilía, Latin sermo) given, beginning in the 2nd cent. AD, as part of an ancient Christian religious service (Cult, Cultus IV) following readings from the Holy Scriptures (Bible). The sermon dealt either with topics of the readings or with the current feast or festal period of the liturgical year, but also and increasingly with saints (B). Methods of interpretation that had been generally introduced (e…

Apostles, Letters of the

(262 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] The Letters of the Apostles are ancient Christian ‘epistles’ attributed to an ἀπόστολος ( apóstolos): a) those that were included in the NT  canon in the first four cents. and b) those that belong to the  apocryphal literature: thus, 1. the pseudo-Pauline Laodicene Epistle, which is found in many Latin Bible MSS; 2. the correspondence between Paul and the Corinthians; 3. the correspondence between  Seneca and Paul; 4. the Epistle of pseudo-Titus ‘On the State of Chastity’; 5. the Epistula Petri, also from the correspondence preserved in the  Nag Hammadi G…

Cyprianus

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] [1] C. Gallus Heptateuch poet see  Heptateuch poet Markschies, Christoph (Berlin) [2] C. Thascius Caecili(an)us From AD 248/9 bishop of Carthago [German version] A. Biography Caecilius Cyprianus qui et Thascius (his transmitted name, combining his original Punic cognomen Thascius C. with a newly adopted Christian cognomen after his godfather Caecilianus, according to Pontius, vita 4 -- or rather Caecilius, according to Jer. Vir. ill. 67 [1. 110, n. 1]) was the son of wealthy parents. Prior to his conversion t…

Athenagoras

(198 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἀθηναγόρας; Athēnagóras) From Athens (2nd cent. AD). From this author surely comes an apologia bearing the inscription πρεσβεία ( presbeía) to the Emperors  Marcus Aurelius and  Commodus (CPG I 1070; [1]); whether the work mentioned at the end of this text, about the resurrection (§ 37), is identical to the one handed down in Paris. graec. 451 (CPG I 1071), is controversial. In addition to critical voices, which attribute this identification as well as the statement ‘Philosopher from Athens’ in the…

Proaeresius

(154 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (Προαιρέσιος/ Pro(h)airésios). Christian Sophist (cf. Second Sophistic), born c. AD 276 in Caesarea (Cappadocia) to an Armenian family; studied in Antioch [1] and Athens (Eunap. VS 10,3,3-9), where he was subsequently a celebrated teacher for many years, reflecting the continuity of the education provided there. His provenience from Asia Minor apparently attracted students particularly from that part of the Roman Empire. Constans [1] honoured him numerous times; as a Christian, he did not…

Christian Palestinian language and literature

(627 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] A. Language Christian Palestinian is a dialect of  Aramaic, more precisely of Western Aramaic, to which belong Nabataean, Palmyrenian, Judaeo-Aramaic, Samaritan and the still extant New Western Aramaic (Maalūla linguistic enclave near Damascus, Syria). As it uses one of the older Syriac- (i.e. Estrangelō, in reality στρογγύλη; stroggýlē) related scripts, in the non-German language area it tends to be called Syro-Palestinian, although it lies closer to the Judaeo-Palestinian Aramaic of some targumim than to classical Syriac. It was evidently used in…

Papias

(159 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (Παπίας; Papías). Bishop or congregational leader in his home town of Hierapolis [1]. In around AD 125/130, he wrote an 'Exegesis of the oracles of the Lord in five books' (Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως συγγράμματα πέντε), of which only fragments remain. The information contained in the foreword on the authors of the NT (Eus. HE 3,39,15f.) is significant but controversial. However, P. preferred the oral Jesus tradition; according to Eirenaeus [2] (different in Eusebius [7]), he was a student of Iohannes [1] and a ‘ companion’ (ἑταῖρος) of Polycarpus (Iren. Adversus h…

Polycarpus of Smyrna

(540 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
(Πολύκαρπος/ Polýkarpos). [German version] I. Life P. was one of the most important figures among the second generation of Christian teachers, who still had contact with the members of the first, 'apostolic' generation (Eirenaeus [2] according to Eus. HE 5,20,6). He is described as bishop of Smyrna in the correspondence of Ignatius [1] (Ignatius, Epistula ad Magnesios 15), while another letter is addressed to bishop P. himself ( Epistula ad Polycarpum). He was evidently regarded not only as a representative of the congregations of Asia Minor, but also as a guardia…

Hermas, Hermae Pastor

(628 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] The work ‘The shepherd of H.’ (Greek only Ποιμήν; Poimḗn, Latin Liber pastoris nuntii paenitentiae or Liber Hermae prophetae) is a Christian prophetic script with the stylistic character of an  apocalypse but not wholly corresponding to this genre. The work places H. among the  Apostolic Fathers. The title ‘Shepherd’ (Ποιμήν) for the entire work appeared in the Canon Muratori, a substantial index of canons (more likely dated end of the 2nd cent. than the 4th cent.: l. 74), but it refers only to the second part of the work (visio 5 to sim…

Pachomius

(296 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (Παχώμιος; Pachmios). P. was born in AD 292, probably in Latopolis/Esna, and died of the plague in AD 346. He is regarded as the founder of cenobitic monasticism in Egypt and the author of the first regulations for monks. The Pachomian monastic community, which he founded, is called koinóbion (in the sense of koinōnía, 'community') throughout the Vita prima [2. 24]. P. was born into a pagan Egyptian family and converted to Christianity around the age of twenty when he enrolled in the army. He was baptised after he had returned to the tow…

Heraclas

(196 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] Before his conversion to the Christian faith H. took lessons from the Platonic philosopher  Ammonius [9] Saccas (Euseb. Hist. eccl. 6,19,13) with his brother Plutarchus, who later died a martyr's death. After five years of instruction he met  Origenes there as a fellow student and then visited his class in Alexandria (Euseb. Hist. eccl. 6,3,2). At a certain point Origen made H. responsible for the beginning students (Euseb. Hist. eccl. 6,15). H. himself was a celebrated teacher (Euseb. Hist. eccl. 6,31,2) and apparently belonged to the presbyters who…

Agape

(299 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (ἀγάπη; agápē) In the NT (Jud 12) agápē is also used for the ‘love feast’ if it is an occasion of brotherly love (Tert. Apol. 39,16: agápē is equal to dilectio). Tertullian described a communal meal of the congregation comparable to ancient sacral meals. Since  Ignatius ( c. AD 110) admonished the community in Smyrna not to hold the agape without the bishop, he was probably referring to a joint celebration of the Eucharist with the ordinary meal as documented by Paul for Corinth (1 Cor 11,20-34) and which was in part custom until the 5th …

Antiochene School

(216 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] This modern name describes a group of theologians who worked as exegetes. A true bond as a school can only be demonstrated for theologians who temporarily resided in Antiochia between c. 350 and c. 430, e.g.,  Diodorus of Tarsus, his students  Theodorus of Mopsuestia,  Iohannes Chrysostomos and their (?) student  Theodoretus of Cyrrhus. The characteristics of this school are apparent in its exegetical work, such as the methodological prologues of a commentary on the Psalms attributed to Diodorus (CPG 2,3818): int…

Carmen contra paganos

(123 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] The Parisian Cod. Lat. 8084 of Prudentius transmits in fol. 156r-158v 122 v. an anonymous defamatory poem (CPL 1431), directed against a praefectus ( urbis or praetorio orientis), presumably Virius Nicomachus  Flavianus [2] the Elder, but alternatively perhaps  Vettius Agorius Praetextatus. The text is not only a Christian reaction to the pagan Roman renaissance under  Symmachus, but also a testimony of the Christian reception of Virgil. The Carmen contra paganos belongs to the genre of apologetic poetry, and makes interesting references to the pag…
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