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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…

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…

Fortunat(ian)us

(124 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] F., an African, held office in 342-368/370 as bishop of  Aquileia. According to Jerome he wrote a gospel commentary Titulis ordinatis brevi sermone rusticoque (Jer. Vir. ill. 97,1) under Constantius [2] II (337-361). Perhaps three smaller fragments have been preserved (CPL 104); Jerome used the work for his own Matthew commentary (Praef.: PL 26,200 and Ep. 10,3). F. received  Athanasius in Aquileia in 345 but then pressured  Liberius of Rome to be lenient towards the Homoean movement ( Arianism) under e…

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…

Abgar Legend

(327 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] The Abgar legend is a pseudepigraphic correspondence between  Jesus of Nazareth and king Abgar V. Ukkāmā (= the Black; Tac. Ann. 12,12,2) of Edessa, who ruled the kingdom of Osroene from 4 BC to AD 50. The oldest version in  Eusebius, who allegedly found the letters in the Edessene archives and translated them from Syriac (H.E. 1,13,6-21). A. supposedly heard of Jesus' healing and invited him to Edessa to be healed by him. In his answer Jesus praised the king as blessed but would …

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…

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…

Sozomenus

(363 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] Salamanes Hermeias (Σῳζομενός/ Sōizomenós, Σαλαμάνης Ἑρμείας/ Salamánēs Hermeías), probably born in Bethelea near Gaza (possibly modern Bait Lāhiyā) into a well-to-do Christian family (cf. Phot. Cod. 30; Sozom. Hist. eccl. 5,15,14). The dates of his birth and death cannot be determined. The Palestinian and partially monastic context of his youth (Monasticism) characterizes his Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία/ Ekklēsiastikḕ Historía or 'History of the Church' (= HC; Sozom. Hist. eccl. 1,1,19), which was written between AD 439 and 450. After 425, …

Collectio Avellana

(126 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] Between 556 and 561 a private collection was made in Rome of 243 letters from the pope and the emperor, emperor's edicts and rescripts, official reports, synodal decrees and creeds (inventory with evidence [1. 274-281]). The name of the collection derives from a MS earlier kept in the Umbrian monastery Santa Croce di Fonte Avellana; it is today kept in Rome (Vat. Lat. 4916). The inventory goes back to a (lost) document, which constituted a semi-official product of the Church polit…

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…

Philostorgius

(207 words)

Author(s): Markschies, Christoph (Berlin)
[German version] (Φιλοστόργιος; Philostórgios). The Church historian P. was born around AD 368 in Borissus/Cappadocia and remained a layman throughout his life. From 388 on he lived in Constantinople and expanded through travel the good education he had received. Of significance for his theological views was an encounter with his countryman Eunomius, whose neo-Arianism influenced his theology (Arianism B.3.; he rejected the concept of 'Anomoean' [3. 65,11-14 et passim]). Fragments of his history of the Arian controversy are found notably in the Passio of Artemius [2] [1. 169…
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