The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme

The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme

Hugh W. Nibley

Reprinted by permission from Mormonism and Early Christianity, vol. 4 in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987),168—208.

A Somber Theme: Ever since Eusebius sought with dedicated zeal to prove the survival of the church by blazing a trail back to the apostles, the program of church history has been the same: “To give a clear and comprehensive, scientifically established view of the development of the visible institution of salvation founded by Christ.”1 To describe it—not to question it. By its very definition church history requires unquestioning acceptance of the basic proposition that the church did survive. One may write endlessly about The Infant Church, I’Eglise naissante, die Pflanzung der Kirche, etc., but one may not ask why the early Christians themselves described their church not as a lusty infant but as an old and failing woman; one may trace the triumphant spread of The Unquenchable Light through storm and shadow, but one may not ask why Jesus himself insisted that the Light was to be taken away.2 Church history seems to be resolved never to raise the fundamental question of survival as the only way of avoiding a disastrous answer, and the normal reaction to the question—did the church remain on earth?—has not been serious inquiry in a richly documented field, but shocked recoil from the edge of an abyss into which few can look without a shudder.3

Yet today that question is being asked again, as it has been in other times of stress and crisis, not with the journalistic flourish of Soltau’s Sind wir noch Christen? but with the cautious historical appraisal of an H. J. Schoeps, contemplating the age-old tension between eschatology and church with their conflicting ideas about the church’s future. Can it be that the repugnance of churchmen to eschatology and their coolness toward the authentic writings of the early Fathers are due in no small part to the dim view which the primitive Christians took of the prospects of the church?4 The purpose of this paper is to list briefly the principal arguments supporting the thesis that the church founded by Jesus and the apostles did not survive and was not expected to. We shall consider the fate of the church under three heads: (1) the declarations of the early Christians concerning what was to befall it; (2) their strange behavior in the light of those declarations; (3) the affirmations and denials, doubts and misgivings of the church leaders of a later day. Our theme is the Passing of the Church, our variations, designated below by Roman numerals, are a number of striking and often neglected facets of church history.

The Early Christian View: Christian apologists had a ready answer to those shallow-minded critics who made merry over Christ’s failure to convert the world and God’s failure to protect his saints from persecution and death: God does not work that way, it was explained, his rewards are on the other side, and his overwhelming intervention is reserved for the eschaton, until which all sorts of reverses can be expected—nihil enim est nobis promissum ad hanc vitam; the prospect of failure and defeat in the world, far from being incompatible with the gospel message, is an integral part of it.5

(I) Jesus announced in no uncertain terms that his message would be rejected by all men, as the message of the prophets had been before,6 and that he would soon leave the world to die in its sins and seek after him in vain.7 The Light was soon to depart, leaving a great darkness “in which no man can work” while “the prince of this world” would remain, as usual, in possession of the field.8 (II) In their turn the disciples were to succeed no better than their Lord: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”9 Like him they were to be “hated of all men,” going forth as sheep among wolves, “sent last as it were appointed unto death,”10 with the promise that as soon as they completed their mission the end would come.11

(III) But what of the church? Those who accepted the teaching were to suffer exactly the same fate as the Lord and the apostles; they were advised to “take the prophets for an example of suffering affliction and patience,” and to “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try” them, but rejoice rather to suffer as Christ did “in the flesh . . . that we may also be glorified together.”12 After them too the prince of this world was waiting to take over; they too were to be lambs among wolves, rejected as were the Master and the disciples: “The world knoweth us not because it knew him not.”13 Knowing that “whosoever will save his life must lose it,” they openly disavowed any expectation of success, individual or collective, in this world.14 (IV) As for the doctrine, it was to receive the same rough treatment, soon falling into the hands of worldly men who would “pervert the gospel of Christ” from a thing the world found highly obnoxious to something it was willing to embrace, for such has always been the fate of God’s revelations to men.15

(V) All this bodes ill for the “interval” between the Ascension and the Parousia; the Zwischenzeit was to be a bad time and a long one.16 What is more, it begins almost immediately, the apostles themselves calling attention to all the fatal signs, and marveling only that it has come so soon.17 As soon as the Lord departs there comes “the lord of this world, and hath nothing in me”; in the very act of casting out the Lord of the vineyard the usurpers seize it for themselves, to remain in possession until his return;18 no sooner does he sow his wheat than the adversary sows tares, and only when the Lord returns again can the grain be “gathered together,” i.e., into a church, the ruined field itself being not the church but specifically “the world.”19 After the sheep come the wolves, “not sparing the flock,” which enjoys no immunity (Acts 20:29); after sound doctrine come fables;20 after the charismatic gifts only human virtues (1 Corinthians 13:8, 13). The list is a grim one, but it is no more impressive than (VI) the repeated insistence that there is to be an end, not the end of the world, but “the consummation of the age.”21 It is to come with the completion of the missionary activities of the apostles, and there is no more firmly rooted tradition in Christendom than the teaching that the apostles completed the assigned preaching to the nations in their own persons and in their own time, so that the end could come in their generation.22

(VII) It was no imaginary end. When the saints were asked to “endure to the end,” that meant just one thing, as Tertullian observes—to suffer death.23 When the sorely pressed Christians need “a strong comfort,” the only comfort forthcoming is the promise of the resurrection and the assurance of salvation “whether we live or die.”24 Never is there any mention of relief on the way, of happy times ahead, of final victory for the cause, or of the consoling thought that generations yet unborn will call one blessed. Such assurances belong to a later age; the only encouragement the first Christians ever got is that given to soldiers making a last-ditch stand: they are ordered not to attack but “to have long patience,” grimly hanging on “to the end,” because only by so doing can they show their worthiness to inherit eternal life.25

But we are told not only of one but explicitly of two ways in which the ancient church was to make its exit. (VIII) For far more numerous than those true saints who were to give their lives as witnesses were those who were to succumb to the blandishments of false teachers. The fate of the vast majority of Christians was not to be overcome by a frontal attack—true martyrs were relatively few—but to be led astray by perverters.26 The spoilers do not destroy the vineyard, but “seize the inheritance” for themselves; we read of betrayal, disobedience, corruptions; of deceivers, perverters, traitors; of wresting the scriptures, denying the gifts, quenching the Spirit, turning love into hate, truth to fables, sheep to wolves; of embracing “another gospel,” and so forth. The offenders are not pagans but loudly professing Christians.27 As, once the prophets are dead, everyone paints their tombs with protestations of devotion, so “when the master of the house has risen up and shut the door,” shall the eager host apply for admission to his company—too late.28 The apostasy described in the New Testament is not desertion of the cause, but perversion of it, a process by which “the righteous are removed, and none perceives it.”29 The Christian masses do not realize what is happening to them; they are “bewitched” by a thing that comes as softly and insidiously as the slinging of a noose.30 It is an old familiar story, as Bultmann notes: “The preaching of Jesus does not hold out any prospect for the future of the people . . . The present people behave otherwise than its predecessors who had persecuted and killed the prophets . . . The message of Jesus does not contain any promise of the splendid future of Israel.”31 (IX) As is well known, the early Christians viewed the future with a mixture of fear and longing, of longing for the triumphant return of the Lord, but of deadly fear of the long and terrible rule of the Cosmoplanes that had to come first. So great is the dread of what they know lies ahead, that devout fathers of the church pray for the indefinite postponement of the Day of the Lord itself as the price of delaying the rule of darkness.32

(X) The Apostolic Fathers denounce with feeling the all too popular doctrine that God’s church simply cannot fail. All past triumphs, tribulations, and promises, they insist, will count for nothing unless the people now repent and stand firm in a final test that lies just ahead; God’s past blessings and covenants, far from being a guarantee of immunity (as many fondly believe) are the very opposite, for “the greater the knowledge we have received, the greater rather is the danger in which we lie.”33 The case of the Jews, to nothing of the fallen angels, should prove that we are never safe.34 God will surely allow his people to perish if they continue in the way they are going—he will hasten their dissolution: “Since I called and ye hearkened not . . . therefore I in my turn will laugh at your destruction . . . For there will come a time when you will call upon me and I shall not hear you.”35 The Apostolic Fathers compare the church to fallen Israel, and confirm their solemn warnings by citing the most lurid and uncompromising passages of scripture.36 (XI) They see the church running full speed in the wrong direction, and in great distress of mind plead with it to do an about-face “before it is too late,” as it soon will be.37 For their whole concern is not to make new converts, but rather “to save from perishing a soul that has already known Christ,” seeing to it that as many as possible pass “the fiery test ahead,” keep the faith that most are losing, and so reach the goal of glory beyond.38 They know that the names of Christ and Christian carry on, but find no comfort in that, since those names are being freely used by impostors and corrupters,39 whom “the many” are gladly following.40

(XII) The call to repentance of the Apostolic Fathers is a last call; they labor the doctrine of the Two Ways as offering to Christian society a last chance to choose between saving its soul by dying in the faith or saving its skin by coming to terms with the world.41 They have no illusions as to the way things are going: the church has lost the gains it once made, the people are being led by false teachers,42 there is little to hinder the fulfillment of the dread (and oft-quoted) prophecy, “the Lord shall deliver the sheep of his pasture and their fold and their tower to destructions.”43 The original tower with its perfectly cut and well-fitted stones is soon to be taken from the earth, and in its place will remain only a second-class tower of defective stones which could not pass the test.44 In the Visions of the Pastor of Hermas the church is represented as an old and failing lady—”because your spirit is old and already fading away”—who is carried out of the world; only in the world beyond does she appear as a blooming and ageless maiden.45 The Apostolic Fathers take their leave of a church not busily engaged in realizing the kingdom, but fast falling asleep; the lights are going out, the Master has departed on his long journey, and until he returns all shall sleep. What lies ahead is the “Wintertime of the Just,” the time of mourning for the Bridegroom, when men shall seek the Lord and not find him, and “seek to do good, but no longer be able to.”46

Strange Behavior: What the strangely negative behavior of the first Christians suggests is less the expectation of an immediate Parousia than the shutting up of the shop until a distant reopening. (XIII) It has often been noted that their public relations were the world’s worst, that they “could not and did not court publicity outside the movement.”47 In sharp contrast to the later church, they were convinced, as Hilary observes, that the church “could not be Christ’s unless the world hated it.”48 The disciples, following the example and precept of their Master, made no effort to win public sympathy and support.49 This hard and uncompromising attitude has puzzled observers in every age, and indeed it makes little sense in an institution seeking either to convert the world or to survive in it.50 None knew better than the Christians themselves that their intransigence had no survival value, and yet they went right on “turning the world upside down” and mortally offending respectable people.

(XIV) The first Christians maintained a strange and stubborn reticence on certain matters (including their beliefs about the Second Coming), even when their silence led to serious misunderstanding and persecution.51 Even among the members the teaching was carefully rationed, for it was not the trivia but the high and holy mysteries, the most prized things of the kingdom, that were carefully kept out of circulation,52 so that Origen can report no clear official teaching in his day “not only regarding minor matters, but on the very first principles of the gospel.”53 Critics and scholars since Celsus have been puzzled by this early Christian reticence on matters which, if the church was to carry on, should have been highly publicized.54 And while Christians since Irenaeus have categorically denied that any teachings of the apostolic church were withheld, they have done so only to avoid the alarming implications of the primitive Christian reticence.55

(XV) Consistent with the policy of reticence is the strict limitation placed on the missionary activities of Jesus and his disciples, both in time and place, and their firm rejection of the highly successful proselytizing methods of the Jews. In his recent study of this anomaly, Joachim Jeremias has concluded that while Jesus did indeed envisage a universal call to the nations, he thought of it as coming only at the eschaton and not at the time of his mortal mission, which clearly did not have world conversion as its objective.56

(XVI) No less striking is the conspicuous absence of any missionary organization in the apostolic church, and the complete indifference of the Apostolic Fathers to the great business of converting the world.57 Their prayer for the church is to be gathered out of the world, not spread abroad in it, and to be caught up into the kingdom, not to build it here.58

(XVII) Instead of settling down as the later Christians sensibly did to long-term projects of conversion, the early Christians were driven by the “keen sense of urgency and stress” that fills their writings. “The time is short” was the refrain, and the missionaries had only time to give a hasty warning message and be on their way. It seems, according to K. Holl, that the apostles went about their business ohne für die Zukunft zu sorgen—without a thought for the future.59 What strange missionaries! They never speak of the bright future ahead nor glory in its prospects, but seem quite prepared to accept the assurance that they would preach to a generation that would not hear them and that, as in the days of Noah, the end would follow hard upon their preaching.60

(XVIII) But if the early saints mention no glorious future for the church, when that should be their strongest comfort, they do shed abundant tears when they look ahead. If the fall of Jerusalem and the temple was to be the great opportunity for the church that later theologians insist it was, Christ and the early saints were not aware of it, for they give no indication of regarding the event as anything but tragic.61 Paul viewed the future of the church “with tears” as, according to early accounts, did other leaders.62 Apocryphal writings describe the apostles as weeping inconsolably when Jesus leaves them to their fates, and in turn the church shedding bitter tears for the loss of the apostles, that leaves it without guidance and counsel.63 Whatever their historical value, such accounts convincingly convey a mood, and Kirsopp Lake recommended Browning’s terrible Death in the Desert as the best background reading for understanding the state of mind of the church at the passing of the apostles—all is lost.64

(XIX) The failure of the apostles to leave behind them written instructions for the future guidance of the church has often been noted and sadly regretted. It is hard to conceive of such a colossal oversight if the founders had actually envisaged a long future for the church. The awkwardness of the situation is apparent from R. M. Grant’s explanation of it, namely, that the apostles “did not live to see the Church fully organized and at work.”65 As if they should wait until the work was completed before giving instructions for completing it! Actually the most tragic disorganization and confusion followed hard upon the passing of the apostles, according to Hegesippus, and as a direct result of it.66 Plainly the early leaders made no careful provision for the future, even as they “failed to compose anything that could properly be described as ‘church-history'” in spite of their great interest in times, seasons and dispensations, and the imperative need and accepted use of sacred history in the economy of religious organizations.67

(XX) Then there is the total neglect of education in the early church, which G. Bardy would justify with desperate logic, arguing that education for the young was neglected because the church got its membership from converts among the adult population—fiunt, non nascuntur Christiani.68 And were all those converts childless, and were there no children in the church for those three long centuries during which it was without schools? In view of the great emphasis placed on education by the church in the fourth century, its total neglect in the preceding centuries can only have been deliberate. Well might E. de Faye find it strange that Jesus “ne songe nullement à former une école de jeunes hommes qui . . . seraient les hérétiers de sa doctrine” (“does not think to form a school of young men who would be the heirs of his teaching”), for if there were to be heirs of the teaching such a provision was indispensable.69 Why no education, then? Actually the Apostolic Fathers were greatly concerned about education, warning their people against the bad education of the world, and chiding them for their neglect of the only education that counted—that which prepared the young for the next life.70

(XXI) Neglect of standard education was matched by an equally disturbing indifference to the social and political problems which would necessarily be of vital concern to any enduring social institution. For years liberal scholars sought to discover a social gospel where none was to be found, and it is indeed hard to believe that a religion of brotherly love could so persistently ignore the crying social ills of the day.71 But the Christians excused themselves with the explanation that more urgent business had priority—they had no time for such things.72 Why not, if the church was to continue? (XXII) And why should a permanent and growing church refuse to invest in lands and buildings? For a long time eminent churchmen endorsed the old Christian prejudice against the construction of sorely needed church buildings.73 But what could have been the original objection to anything as innocent and salutary as the building of a church? The early Christians tell us: the church cannot own real estate (they explain) because it is only here temporarily, and must never be allowed to forget that fact.74 (XXIII) Hans Lietzmann has shown that when “the Church sojourning at Rome” or elsewhere writes to “the Church sojourning at Corinth” or elsewhere it means that both churches are thought of only as temporary visitors in their cities; collectively and individually the church was here only on a brief pilgrimage. They were das wandernde Gottesvolk, strangers and pilgrims all, destined for but a short time upon the earth.75

Planned Martyrdom: The strongest argument for the survival of the church is the natural reluctance of men to accept defeat—even temporary defeat—for the work of God: “tot denique martyria in vacuum coronata?” cries Tertullian, ignoring Polycarp’s assurance that “all of these ran not in vain, because they are with the Lord in the place which is their due, with whom they also suffered. For they did not love this present world.”76 (XXIV) The loudly proclaimed objectives of the first martyrs do not include the future prosperity of the church. In bidding farewell to Jews and Gentiles Paul announces that his missions to them have been successful, not in terms of converts, but of clearing himself of a terrible responsibility: henceforth their blood is on their own heads; he has fulfilled his assignment successfully, for a crown awaits him—on the other side.77 “Thus it appears,” writes O. Cullmann, “that the coming of the Kingdom does not depend upon the success of this ‘preaching’ but only on the fact of the proclamation itself.”78 What does depend on the preaching is (1) the salvation of the preacher, who is under condemnation unless he bears witness and frees himself of “the blood of this generation,” and (2) the convicting of a wicked world which must be “without excuse” in the day of judgment.79 The preaching is not to convert the world but “for a witness”—martyria occurs more than six times as frequently as kerygma in the New Testament—and it has long been recognized that the primary qualification and calling of an apostle was to be an eye witness.”80 The calling of a witness is to preach to an unbelieving generation ripe for destruction, with the usual expectation (as the name “martyr” indicates) of being rejected and put to death.

(XXV) The strange indifference of the early martyrs to the future of a church for which later ages fondly believed they gave their lives has not received the comment it deserves. In a world in which a noble altruism was constantly on the lips of orators, in a society whose model citizen was that Pius Aeneas who promised his afflicted followers that grateful generations to come would call them blessed, and in a sect which placed brotherly love before all else, the Christian martyrs, unlike the pagan martyrs or Christian heroes of later times, never take comfort in the thought that others will profit by their sufferings, or that their deeds will be remembered and their names revered in ages to come. Ignatius, Andrew, and Perpetua will neither live nor die for the church, but talk of nothing but their personal glory with Christ hereafter, “for while he suffered for us, we suffer for ourselves.”81 This concept of martyrdom is the opposite of that which later prevailed, as Dionysius of Alexandria points out in a letter to Novatus, noting that whereas the early martyr was concerned “for his own soul alone . . . today the martyr thinks in terms of the whole Church.”82 Since the latter is the more humane and natural view, there must have been a very good reason for ignoring it. It could not have been that primitive Christians enjoyed suffering, for they did not;83 nor were they as self-centered even as the later Christians, who found in martyrdom the solace of matchless public acclaim and undying earthly renown.84 The very tears of the early leaders show plainly enough (as Chrysostom often observes) that they were genuinely concerned about the future. If, then, the martyrs refuse to think and speak in terms of a continuing church, it is not because they are peculiarly self-centered people, but simply because they see no future for the church.

(XXVI) So firmly fixed in the Christian mind is the conviction that every true Christian, every saint, is by very definition a martyr, that when persecutions ceased devout souls felt themselves cheated, and new ways and means of achieving martyrdom had to be devised, though they were never more than substitutes for the real thing.85 A telling argument for any sect seeking to prove its authenticity has ever been the claim to have more martyrs than the others,86 while the largest church of all at the peak of its power must needs describe itself in pathetic terms as a persecuted little band of saints—for tradition will not allow any other kind of church to be the true one.87 From the beginning the church is a community of martyrs, whose proper business is “nothing else than to study how to die”;88 and though “the final note is of the victory of God,” as C. T. Craig observes, before that happy culmination John “seems to have anticipated a universal martyrdom for the Church.”89

The Great Gap: That ominous gap in the records which comes just at the moment of transition from a world-hostile to a world-conditioned Christianity has recently received growing attention and a number of interesting labels, such as the lacuna, the eclipse, the void, the great vacuum, the narrows, the period of oblivion, etc.90 Brandon compares it to a tunnel “from which we emerge to find a situation which is unexpected in terms of the situation which went before.”91 (XXVII) The church, that is, which comes out of the tunnel is not the church that went into it. The great gap is more than a mere absence of documents; it is an abrupt break in the continuity of the church, so complete as to prove to Theodore Brandt that “the living faith cannot be transmitted from past ages,” which is at least an admission that it has not been.92 The early Christians knew they were approaching a tunnel; they were acutely aware of “the terrible possibility of apostasy for the church”—not merely of apostasy from it,93 and never doubted “the general apostasy which would precede the coming of the Messiah.”94 And the church of the next age is just as aware of having passed through the tunnel, and losing its more precious possessions in the process. (XXVIII) For after the passing of the apostles “le vide est immense” (“The void is immense”), since it was the presence of living witnesses that had made the original church what it was.95 Henceforth the “Elders” of old are referred to as a fabulous race of beings endowed with gifts, powers, and knowledge far exceeding anything found on earth any more, and mere proximity to the apostles and the elders becomes a special mark of sanctity and authority.96 As “the great lights went out” the most devoted Christians engaged in a wistful “Operation Salvage” to rescue what might still be saved of “those things which came by the living voices that yet remained.”97 What more eloquent commentary on the passing of the church?

(XXIX) At the same time a horde of deceivers “who up until then had been lurking in dark corners,” as soon as they saw that there were no more apostles left to call them to account, came boldly forth, each claiming that he alone had the gnosis which the Lord had secretly imparted to the apostles after the resurrection.98 Strangely, they met with no official opposition: the Fathers who oppose them emphatically disclaim any apostolic authority and, what is more, know of no one else who might have it.99 “Nous sommes incapable”, writes D. Busy, “d’expliquer comment, la terre entière se trouvant évangélisée, les prédicateurs de l’Evangile ont l’air de disparaître et laissent le champ libre aux faux méssies et aux faux prophétes; comme . . . la bête de la mer ne rencontre plus la moindre résistance.”100 (“We are unable to explain how, while the whole was being evangelized, the preachers of the gospel seem to disappear and leave the field free for false messiahs and false prophets; how . . . the beast of the sea does not meet the least resistance”.) The prophecy (2 Thessalonians 2:22) is no more puzzling than the event; for the second century, the great moment of transition, is no age of faith but “par excellence the age of Heresy.”101

It was not a case of reformers or schismatics attacking the main church—the problem was, since the Christians had always rejected with contempt the argument of mere numbers, to find the true church among a great number of sects, each claiming to be the one true original article and displaying facsimiles of ancient spiritual gifts, rites, and officers to prove it.102 Justin knows of no certain norm for distinguishing true Christians from false, and Irenaeus struggles manfully but vainly to discover one.103 While the perplexed masses asked embarrassing questions and flocked to the banner of any quack who gave promise of possessing the gifts and powers, especially prophecy, which it was commonly felt the church should have inherited,104 even the greatest churchmen hesitated and wavered, unable to resist the appeal of the old charismatic Christianity or to decide just where it was to be found.105 In the end, in Harnack’s words, “Gnosticism won half a victory,” for if the “Gnostics-so-called” had to default on electrifying promises which they could not fulfill, neither was any found to match their false claims with the genuine article, and the great surge of hope and enthusiasm that had carried the Gnostics on its crest subsided in disillusionment and compromise.106

(XXX) Still, the constant revival through the centuries of the old stock Gnostic claim that the one true apostolic church has by some miracle of survival come down to the possession of this or that group, is a perpetual reminder of the failure of subsequent Christianity to come up to the expectations of the first church.107 (XXXI) For the chronic discontent which haunts the Christian churches is by no means limited to the lunatic fringe. The vigorous beginnings of monasticism and pilgrimage were frankly attempts to return to the first order of the church, with its unworldly austerities and its spiritual manifestations, and as such were viewed by official Christianity as a clear vote of no-confidence—a rebuke and repudiation of the system.108

(XXXII) Modern students have agreed in describing the second generation of the church as a time of spiritual decline and low vitality, of torpor and exhaustion, “a dull period of feeble originality and a dearth of great personalities.”109 “Enfin,” writes G. Bardy, “c’est le tiedeur que domine.”110 Doctrinally it was a definite “Abfall vom Evangelium,” with the basic teachings altered and denatured beyond recognition.111 As “the understanding of the Spirit . . . became lost . . . and the Christian had to rely on his own powers,” that Christian became calculating, complacent, and respectable, in a word, all that the first Christian was not.112 The overall impression, Goguel reports, is “definitely one of decadence.”113

Yet the same voices that bring these charges against the second generation unanimously approve the new mentality as a necessary coming down out of the clouds, a new-found sobriety and maturity, a sensible acceptance of the facts of life, as “uplifted eyes . . . [turned back] to earth . . . to find their assurance in hard facts.”114 At last, we are told, the Christian could enjoy “what he had been missing so long, the consideration and respect of the outside world.”115 Only by scrapping the old “evangelical eschatology,” according to one Catholic authority, could “Christian morality and the Church itself . . . take on larger dimensions,” this being (according to another) a necessary step “towards wider horizons than those to which the Galilean nucleus had chosen to confine itself.”116 One may well ask how wider horizons and larger dimensions could be achieved by a Christianity admittedly “more hard and fast, less spontaneous, and in a sense, more cramped” than what had gone before; J. de Zwaan, who describes it thus, marvels “that the main stream of Gospel-tradition could pass through these narrows.”117 But the larger dimensions were the intellectual splendors of Hellenism, toward which the Gnostic agitation had hurried the feet of the church, the new Christian culture substituting erudition for inspiration, the rhetoric of the schools for the gift of tongues, a numerus episcoporum for the Spiritus per spiritalem hominem,118 and the orderly mechanics of ritual for the unpredictable operation of the spiritual gifts as “eschatological consciousness changed into sacramental piety.”119 “Christianity,” wrote Wilhelm Christ, “was squeezed into a system congenial to pagan-Greek-rationalist thought, and in that safe protective suit of armor was able to face up to the world; but in the process it had to sacrifice its noblest moral and spiritual forces.”120 In paying the stipulated price for survival, the church of the second century proved what the early church knew so well, that whosoever would save his life must lose it.121

(XXXIII) The sensational change from the first to the second generation of the church was not, as it is usually depicted, a normal and necessary step in a long steady process of evolution. It was radical and abrupt, giving the old Christianity when set beside the new “tout l’aspect d’une anomalie,” as Duchesne puts it—an anomaly so extreme that many scholars have doubted that the primitive church ever existed.122 “Rapidity of evolution explains the difference between the gospels and the second century,” we are assured.123 But rapidity is the sign not of evolution but of revolution, and the second-century upheaval was no part of a continuing trend at all, for after that one tremendous shift there are no more such changes of course in the way of the church: henceforward fundamental attitudes and concepts remain substantially unchanged.124 Eduard Norden has noted that early Christian literature had no literary predecessors and no successors, but appears as a completely alien intrusion into the classical tradition, an incongruous and unwelcome interruption, an indigestible lump which, however, disappears as suddenly as it came, leaving the schoolmen to resume operations as if nothing had happened.125 The march of civilization continued, but it was not the march of the church.

Arguments for Survival: The arguments put forth by those who would prove the survival of the church are enough in themselves to cast serious doubts upon it. (XXXIV) The first thing that strikes one is the failure of the ingenuity of scholarship to discover any serious scriptural support for the thesis. There are remarkably few passages in the Bible that yield encouragement even to the most determined exegesis, and it is not until centuries of discussion have passed that we meet with the now familiar interpretations of the “mustard seed” and “gates-of-hell” imagery, which some now hold to be eschatological teachings having no reference whatever to the success of the church on earth.126

The most effective assertions of survival are the rhetorical ones. We have already referred to the subtle use of such loaded terms as “the Infant Church,” “the Unquenchable Light,” etc., which merely beg the question. Equally effective is the “quand même” (“even though”) argument, which frankly admits the exceedingly dim prospects of the early church and the scant possibility of survival and then, without further explanation, announces in awed and triumphant tones: “But in spite of everything it did survive!” (XXXV) Survival is admittedly a miracle and a paradox; its very incredibility is what makes it so wonderful.127 Ecstatic assertion alone carries the day where any serious discussion of evidence would mark one a cavilling cynic. For this argument comes right out of the schools of rhetoric; its favorite image, that of the storm-tossed ship which somehow never sinks because it bears virtuous souls, is already a commonplace in the Roman schools of declamation.128 The thrilling voices that assure us that all the powers of evil rage in vain are not those of the early Fathers, but of imperial panegyrists and spell-binding bishops of another day, with their comforting pronouncements that God has, as it were, invested so heavily in his church that he simply would not think of letting it fail at this late date.129

The strongest support of this “facile and dangerous optimism” has always been the decisive fact of survival itself, as proven by the undiminished eminence of the Christian name; only, in fact, if one defines apostasy as “a more or less express renunciation” of that name can the survival of the church be taken for granted, as it generally is.130 But what is the authority of the Christian label when early apologists can declare that it has become meaningless being as freely employed by false as by true in their time, Christians?131 Or when the Apostolic Fathers protest that vast numbers “bear the name deceitfully”? Or when Jesus himself warns that “many shall come in my name,” and all of them falsely: “Believe none of them!”132

A favorite theme of fiction and drama has ever been the stirring victory of Christianity over all the powers and blandishments of paganism. But this was victory over a strawman, a papier-mâché dragon brought onto the stage to prove to a confused and doubting world that the right had been victorious after all.133 The early leaders worried constantly, and only, about the enemy within; paganism, long dead on its feet, the butt of the schoolmen for centuries, was not the real enemy at all. (XXXVI) There were, to be sure, areas of doctrine and ritual in which paganism did present a real threat, but precisely there the church chose to surrender to the heathen, the pious economy of whose splendid festivals and the proud preeminence of whose venerated schools became an integral part of the Christian heritage.134

Christians have often taken comfort in the axiom that it is perfectly unthinkable that God should allow his church to suffer annihilation, that he would certainly draw the line somewhere. This is the very doctrine of ultimate immunity against which the Apostolic Fathers thunder, and later fathers remind us that we may not reject the appalling possibility simply because it is appalling.135 (XXXVII) If wicked men can “kill the Prince of Peace,” and Belial enjoy free reign as “the prince of this world;” where is one to draw the line at what is unthinkable? For Hilary the suggestion that Jesus actually wept is baffling, paradoxical, and unthinkable—”yet he wept!”136 If “after the prophets came the false prophets, and after the Apostles the false apostles, and after the Christ the Antichrist,” is it unthinkable that the church should likewise have a dubious successor?137 After all, Christians like Jerome found it quite unthinkable that Rome could ever fall, and used identical arguments to affirm the ultimate impregnability of the church and the empire.138 The hollowness of the rhetorical arguments for sure survival has become apparent in times of world-calamity, when the orators themselves have, like Basil and Chrysostom, suddenly reverted to the all-but-forgotten idiom of apocalyptic and eschatology, and asked, “Is it not possible that the Lord has already deserted us entirely?”139 The question is the more revealing for being uttered with heavy reluctance and in times of deepest soul-searching.

(XXXVIII) How deeply rooted in Christian thinking was the belief that the church would pass away is seen in the remarkable insistence of the orators of the fourth century that the great victory of the church which at that time took everyone by surprise was actually a restoration of the church, which had passed away entirely: “We of the church were not half-dead but wholly dead and buried in our graves,” the apostasy and the age of darkness had actually come as predicted, and were now being followed, as prophesied, by a new day of restoration.140 Here was an explanation that fitted the traditional view of the future: the church, it was explained, is like the moon, a thing that disappears and reappears from time to time.141 But if the fourth-century triumph was really that “restitution of all things” foretold by the apostle (Acts 3:21), it could only betoken the arrival of the eschaton, and so the orators duly proclaimed the dawn of the millennial day and the coming of the New Jerusalem.142

(XXXIX) One of the most significant things about “the glorious and unexpected triumph of the Church” was precisely that it was unexpected; everybody was surprised and puzzled by it.143 It was not what people had been taught to expect, and the remedy for their perplexity was a bold revamping of the story: “The facts speak for themselves,” is Chrysostom’s appeal,144 and Eusebius sets his hand to a new kind of church history, with success—easy, inevitable success—as his theme.145 Traditional concepts were quickly and radically overhauled. The familiar Two Ways were no longer the ways of light and darkness lying before Israel or the church, but the way of the church itself, Our church, versus the way of the opposition, whoever they might be.146 “To endure to the end” no longer meant to suffer death but the opposite—to outlive one’s persecutors and enjoy one’s revenge.147 The old warnings and admonitions were given a new and optimistic twist: “As it was in the days of Noah” now meant that all was well, since “the rains did not come until Noah was safely in the Ark”;148 “No man knows the hour” becomes a cura solicitudinis, a comforting assurance that there was plenty of time and no need to worry;149 “this generation shall not pass away” really meant that the generations of the church would never pass away.150 It did not disturb a generation bred on rhetoric to be told that Peter heard with amazement that one should forgive seventy times seven, that being an announcement of the future generations that should believe.151 Nor did it seem overbold to explain the prediction that the apostles should be hated of all men as a rhetorical exaggeration;152 or to interpret the Lord’s prediction that men would seek him in vain as proof of his presence in the church, which would render any searching a waste of time, i.e., vain;153 for it is not the Lord but the devil who comes “as a thief in the night.”154

One might fill a book with examples of such bold and clever rhetoric: the presence of wolves in the church simply fulfills the millennial promise that the wolf and the lamb shall graze together;155 tares in the church are a sign of its divinity, since it must embrace all men, good and bad, to be God’s church.156 What really happened was that the sheep promptly routed the wolves and the wheat overcame the tares—not the other way around!157 It was easy to show that all the bad predictions were duly fulfilled—on the heads of the Jews—while all the good promises made to them were properly meant for the Christians. The tears of the apostles were actually the happiest of omens for the church, exciting in all beholders, by a familiar rhetorical trick, those feelings of pity and devotion which would guarantee unflinching loyalty to the cause forever.158 It is fascinating to see how Chrysostom can turn even the most gloomy and depressing reference to the future of the church into a welcome promise of survival: the very fact that the ancient saints worried about things to come proves that there was to be a future, and so—delightful paradox! —they had nothing to worry about!159 If it can be said of the orating bishops that “the true size and color of every object is falsified by the exaggerations of their corrupt eloquence,”160 it must also be noted that these were not wanton or irresponsible men, but devoted leaders desperately desirous of assuring themselves and their people of the unassailable integrity of the church: John Chrysostom repeatedly declares that the church is higher, holier, and (above all) more enduring than heaven itself.161 He could do that (on the authority of Luke 21:33) without a blush because rhetoric had transferred the church into a glorious abstraction, a noble allegory, and as such an eternal, spiritual, indestructible entity.162 On the other hand he had to do it to meet the importunities of those who beset him night and day “unceasingly and everlastingly” with searching and embarrassing questions as to whether the church still possessed those things which in the beginning certified its divinity.163

(XL) Where no rhetorical cunning could bridge the gap between the views of the fourth century and those of the early church, the latter were frankly discounted as suitable to a state of immaturity beyond which the church had happily progressed, emancipated from the “childish tales and vaporings of old grandmothers.”164 The learned fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries boast that the wise and noble who shunned the primitive church are now safe in a bosom of a Christian society which preaches and practices things that would have frightened off the rude converts of an earlier day,165 and invoke the eloquence of Demosthenes against the simplicitatem rusticam of the literal minded.166 This has been the official line ever since, and modern churchmen duly shudder at the thought of being “at the mercy of the primitive Church, its teachings, its life, its understanding,”167 and congratulate themselves on having outgrown the “fond imaginings of the Apostles.”168

The Dilemma: Ever since the recent “rediscovery of the importance of eschatology within the New Testament”169 scholars have been faced, we are told, with a choice between eschatology and history—tertium non datur. (“there is no third choice”)170 Actually there has always been a third choice, namely to accept the passing of the church as the fulfillment of prophecy in history. But that, of course, is exactly what church history will not allow: “Modern New Testament critics,” writes R. M. Grant, “insist on the priority of the Church to its written records.”171 The church must be rescued at all price. For that reason it has been necessary to ignore Jeremias’ simple and obvious solution to the “vollendeter Widerspruch” (“complete contradiction”) between the conflicting missionary policies of the early church: the limited preaching belongs to one act of the play, the world preaching to another.172 This is a thing that Christians will not concede, for if the church is to remain on the scene, the drama must be one act or none.173

To preserve this hypothetical unity students have ascribed to the first Christians a fantastic one-package view of the future in which all the culminating events of prophecy are fulfilled at a single stupendous blow, “gathering up into one great climax the many judgments the . . . prophets had foretold.”174 When the great event failed to transpire, the great delay turned the great expectation into the great fiasco (the terms are not ours!), the church passing through the great disappointment to the real fulfillment, the great triumphal procession of the kingdom through the world. Such an unflattering view of the founders’ foresight is forced on the experts by a constitutional inability to think of the church as anything but a permanent and growing institution.175 It was this very attitude, it will be recalled, toward his own church that made it impossible for Trypho the Jew to accept Justin’s complicated Messianic history.

But though the “great misunderstanding” theory has the merit of preserving the integrity of the church, it gravely jeopardizes the integrity of its founders while failing to give due consideration to certain peculiar and significant facts, viz., that the early Christians did not predict an immediate culmination of everything, but viewed the future down a long vista of prophetic events having more than one “end”;176 that not a single verse of scripture calls for an immediate Parousia or end of the world;177 that there is a notable lack of evidence for any early Christian disappointment or surprise at the failure of the Parousia.178 While the enemies of the church exploited every absurdity and inconsistency in its position and made merry over “Jesus the King who never ruled,” they never played up what should have been the biggest joke of all—the feverish, hourly expectation of the Lord who never came. For R. Eisler this strange silence is nothing less than “the most astonishing of all historical paradoxes.”179 But what makes it such is only the refusal of the evidence to match the conventional pattern of church history: if there are no signs whatever of blasted hopes and expectations, we can only conclude that there were no such expectations. There were indeed Christians who looked for an immediate coming of the Lord and asked, “Where are the signs of his coming?” but they are expressly branded by the early leaders as false Christians, just as the virgins who expected the quick return of the Master, who “delayed his coming,” were the foolish ones.180

Students of church history have long been taught that whereas the primitive saints, living in an atmosphere of feverish expectation, looked forward momentarily to the end of everything, the later Christians gradually sobered up and learned to be more realistic. Exactly the opposite was the case, for while there is no evidence that the sober first Christians thought the end of the world was at hand, there is hardly a later theologian who does not think so: “From the days of the early church, through the vicissitudes of the lengthening middle centuries, into the twilight of the medieval day, the conviction of the world’s end . . . was part and parcel of Christian thought.”181 It had to be the end of the world, because the end of the church was inadmissible. Yet such was not the case with the first Christians, thoroughly at home with the idea that divine things, while they are preexistent and eternal, are taken away from the earth and restored again from time to time.182 If the church comes and goes like the moon, it is only with reference to this temporal world where all things are necessarily temporary.183 A great deal of attention has been given in recent years to early Christian and Jewish concepts of time and history. The present tendency is to treat the church as existing “sub specie aeternitatis, et pourtant dans le temps” (“sub specie aeternitatis, and yet in time”) as a supernatural and eschatological entity, “eine Schöpfung von oben her” (“a creation from above”).184 This releases it from earthly bonds, as does Ambrose’s declaration that the civitas “which lives forever, because it cannot die,” desires only to leave the earth in all possible haste and be caught up, literally as Elijah was, into heaven.185

To escape the dark interval between the apostles and the Parousia, scholars have bored two exits. The one recognizes a catastrophe ahead but postpones it to a vague and distant future,186 while the other admits that it was near at hand but insists that the damage was not so bad after all.187 Thus both convictions of the early church, that the end was near and that it was to be disastrous, receive reluctant confirmation—for no one suggests that only a distant and partial disruption was expected. There is a third escape hatch, around which there has been much milling and crowding in recent years, but it seems to be only a false door, a semantic exercise in which the conflicting claims of eschatology and history are simply placed side by side and declared reconciled in various ingenious and symbolic ways. If this vast literature of doubletalk, “bewildering in its variety,”188 shows any perceptible trend, it is an inclination to have eschatology, since it can no longer be brushed aside, swallowed alive by the church: “The Church is an ‘eschatological community,’ since she is the New Testament, the ultimate and final . . . The doctrine of Christ finds its fulness and completion in the doctrine of the Church, i.e. of ‘the Whole Christ.'”189 Such language actually seeks to de-eschatologize eschatology by making “mythical and timeless what they [the early Christians] regarded to be real and temporal.”190

More to the point is the searching question of Schoep with which we began this survey, whether after all the real church may not have been left behind in the march of history: “Waren sie am Ende doch die wahren Erben, auch wenn sie untergingen?” (“at the end were they the real heirs, even if they perished?”)191 We have indicated above some of the reasons for suggesting that the church, like its founder, his apostles, and the prophets before them, came into the world, did the works of the Father, and then went out of the world, albeit with a promise of return. Some aspects of the problem, at least, deserve closer attention than students have hitherto been willing to give them.

“The Passing of the Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme” first appeared in Church History, 20 (June 1961): 131—154. It was reprinted under the title “The Passing of the Primitive Church” in When the Lights Went Out (Salt Lake City: Deseret 1970): 1—32. This article also appeared in BYU Studies 16 (1975): 139—64.


1.   Karl Bihlmeyer, Kirchengeschichte (Paderborn: Schönigh, 1951), 1. Teil, 1—2.

2.   “There is always danger of a metaphor once adopted becoming the master instead of the servant,” writes E. A. Payne, commenting on K. S. Latourette’s “Unquenchable Light” in “The Modern Expansion of the Church: Some Reflections on Dr. Latourette’s Conclusions,” Journal of Theological Studies 47 (1946): 151.

3.   While suspecting the worst, the Fathers could not bring themselves to admit it, according to John Kaye, Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries, Illustrated from the Writings of Tertullian (London: Farran, 1894), 48—51. See note 139 below.

4.   The tension is discussed by René Marlé, “Le Christ de la foi et le Jésus de l’Histoire,” Études 302 (1959): 67—76. Cf. Robert M. Grant, “The Appeal to the Early Fathers,” Journal of Theological Studies, n.s. 11 (1960): 14, 23.

5.   Arnobius, Adversus Gentes (Against the Heathen) 2, 76, in PL 5:934a; 2 Corinthians 4:8—18; Tertullian, Ad Scapulam (To Scapula) 1, in PL 1:775—80; Cyprian, Epistolae (Letters) 56, in PL 4:362.

6.   Matthew 17:12; 21:37—39; 23:31—37; Mark 12:6—8; Luke 17:25; John 1:5, 10—11; 3:11—12, 19, 32; 5:38, 40—47; 7:7; 8:19, 23—24, 37—38, 40—47; 15:22—25; cf, Acts 3:13—15.

7.   Matthew 9:15; Luke 9:41; 13:25—27; 17:22; John 12:33—34; 12:35—36; 13:33; 14:30; 16:16; cf. Acts 3:21.

8.   John 9:4—5; 14:30. Evil triumphs from Abel to the eschaton: Matthew 23:35—39; 17:12; Luke 11:51; Recognitiones Clementinae (Clementine Recognitions) 3, 61, in PG 1:1208.

9.   Matthew 10:24—25; Mark 13:13; Luke 10:16; John 15:18—21; 17:14; Acts 28:26—27; Frederick C. Grant, “The Mission of the Disciples,” Journal of Biblical Literature 35 (1916): 293—314.

10.   Matthew 10:16—22, 28; 24:9; Mark 3:9; Luke 10:3; John 16:1, 2, 33; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Clement, Epistola I ad Corinthios (First Epistle to the Corinthians) 5, in PG 3:217—20.

11.   Matthew 24:14; 28:20; Mark 13:10. Notes 17 and 21 below.

12.   James 5:10—11; 1 Peter 1:6—7, 24; 4:12—14; Romans 8.

13.   1 John 3:1; 1 Peter 5:1; John 17:25.

14.   Matthew 16:24—26; 2 Corinthians 4:8—16; Philippians 3:1—21; Luke 12:22—34.

15.   Jude 4—11, 16—19; Matthew 13:13—30; Romans 1:16—32; 2 Corinthians 11:3—4; 2 Thessalonians 2:7—12; 1 Timothy 4:1—3; 6:20—21; 2 Timothy 4:3—4; 2 Peter 2:1—22.

16.   It ends only with the second coming, Matthew 13:30, 39—43; Mark 12:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Didache 16; Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone (Dialogue with Trypho) 51, 2, in PG 6:588—89.

17.   1 John 3:1; John 17:25; 1 Peter 5:8.

18.   John 14:30; Matthew 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14.

19.   Matthew 13:24—30, 38. Both syllegein and synagogein are used.

20.   2 Timothy 4:2—4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9—12; Romans 1:21—31,

21.   Matthew 24:14; cf. 10:23; 28:20, where aeon refers to that particular age, Oscar Cullmann, “Eschatology and Missions in the New Testament,” in William D. Davies & D. Daube, eds., The Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), 417; cf. Niels Wilhelm Messel, Die Einheitlichkeit der jüdischen Eschatologie (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1915), 61—69, 44—50. See note 182 below.

22.   Mark 13:9—10; Acts 2:16—17, 33; Origen, Commentaria in Evangelium Secundum Matthaeum (Commentary on Matthew) 39, in PG 13:1655B, concludes that, strictly speaking, jam finem venisse; so also John Chrysostom, In Epistolam ad Hebraeos (On the Epistle to the Hebrews) 21, 3, in PG 63:152.

23.   Tertullian, Adversus Gnosticos Scorpiace (Scorpiace) 9—10, in PL 2:162—67; 13—15, in PL 2:171—75; Ignatius, Epistola ad Polycarpum (Epistle to Polycarp) 3, in PL 5:709; Epistola ad Ephesios (Epistle to the Ephesians) 9, in PL 5:652.

24.   Hebrews 6:11; Philippians 3:8—10; 1 Peter 1:4—6, 9; Clement, Epistola II ad Corinthios (Second Epistle to the Corinthians) 5, 2—4 in PG 1:336; Barnabas, Epistola Catholica (Catholic Epistle) 8, 6, in PG 2:748; Justin, Apologia pro Christianis (Apology) 1, 57, in PG 6:413—16.

25.   Mark 13:34—37; 1 Peter 4:12—13. Like soldiers, each to remain at his post, Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 37, in PG 1:281—84; 21, in PG 1:256; Tertullian, Liber ad Martyres (To the Martyrs) 3, in PL 1:707—9; cf. Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 5, in PG 1:217—20; Ignatius, Epistle to Polycarp 3, in PL 5:709—10; Epistola ad Magnesios (Epistle to the Magnesians) 5, in PG 5:761—64; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 2, 1, in PG 2:729—30.

26.   “Ita ut pauci remaneant certantes pro veritate usque ad finem, qui et salvandi sunt soli.” Origen, Commentary on Matthew 24, in PG 13:1654D. There were few martyrs; G. de Ste. Croix, “Aspects of the ‘Great’ Persecution,” Harvard Theological Review 47 (1954): 104, and countless betrayers, W. H. Frend, “Failure of the Persecutions in the Roman Empire,” Past and Present 16 (November 1959): 15—16.

27.   Early sources speak of two factions within the church, and of the “seducers” completely exterminating the righteous party, Carl Schmidt, Gespräche Jesu mit seinen Jüngern (Leipzig: Hinrich, 1919), in TU 43: 196—98; cf. Samuel G. F. Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church (London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1951), 54.

28.   Luke 13:25—30; Matthew 23:29. There is a time limit to the promise, Hebrews 12:17, and “when the tower is finished, you will wish to do good, and will have no opportunity,” Pastor Hermae (Shepherd of Hermas), Visio (Visions) 3, 9, in PG 2:907.

29.   Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 110, in PG 6:729; Hilary, Contra Constantium Imperatorem (Against the Emperor Constantius) 4, in PL 10:581B.

30.   Galatians 3:1—4. Ignatius describes the corruption with striking imagery as of pleasing and plausible wolves, Epistola ad Philadelphenses (Epistle to the Philadelphians) 2, in PG 5:697—708, a goodly label on a bottle of poison, a deadly drug mixed with sweet wine, Epistola ad Trallianos (Epistle to the Trallians) 6, in PG 5:679—80, counterfeit coin, Epistle to the Magnesians 5, in PG 5:647—48, cleverly baited hooks, ibid., 11, in PG 5:653—56, etc.

31.   Bultmann, “History and Eschatology in the New Testament,” New Testament Studies 1 (1954): 7—8.

32.   A mixture of “Freude, Sehnsucht, und bange Furcht,” Rudolf Knopf, Die Zukunftshoffnungen des Urchristentums (Tübingen: Mohr, 1907), 7—11. Cf. Didache 16.

33.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 41, 4, in PG 1:289—92; ‘The last stumbling-block approaches,” Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 4, 3 and 9, in PG 2:731—34; Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 7, 1, in PG 1:221—25; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 7—8, in PG 1:337—41; Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 2, 2, in PG 2:897; 4, 1, in PG 2:909.

34.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 15, 4—6, in PG 1: 237—40; 8, in PG 1:225—28; 39, in PG 1:285—88; 57, in PG 1:324—26; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 6, in PG 1:336—37; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 4—5, in PG 2:731—37; 13—14, in PG 2:765—69.

35.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 57—58, in PG 1:324—28. The promise of the Paraclete is no guarantee, Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 6, 9, in PG 1:336—37.

36.   So Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 3—7, in PG 1:213—25; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 2—6, in PG 2:729—44; 16, in PG 2:773—76; Constitutiones Apostolicae (Apostolic Constitutions) 7, 32, in PG 1:1621; Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones (Divine Institutes) VII, 17, in PL 6:1008—9.

37.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 1, in PG 1:201; 3, in PG 1:213; 19, in PG 1:248; 41, in PG 1:289; 47, in PG 1:305—8; 52, in PG 1:316; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 2, in PG 2:729; Ignatius, Epistle to the Ephesians 17, in PG 5:749—52; Epistle to the Philadelphians 2, in PG 5:820; Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 2, 2, in PG 2:897; 3, 9, in PG 2:907; Similitudo (Similitudes) 7, in PG 2:969—72; 9, 21 and 25—26, in PG 2:999—1002; 10, 1, in PG 2:1009.

38.   Didache 10:5; Ignatius, Epistle to Polycarp 1, 2, in PG 5:861—64; Epistle to the Ephesians 17, in PG 5:749—52; Epistle to the Philadelphians 1, in PG 5:820; Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 9, 14, in PG 2:917; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 2, 1, in PG 2:729; 21, in PG 2:779—81.

39.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 15, in PG 1:237; 30, in PG 1:269—72; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 3—4. In PG 1:333—36; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 10, 4, in PG 2:752—56; Ignatius, Epistle to the Ephesians 15, in PG 5:657; 7, in PG 5:649; Epistle to the Magnesians 4, in PG 5:648; Epistle to the Trallians 6, in PG 5:680; Polycarp, Epistola ad Philippenses (Epistle to the Philippians) 10, in PG 5:1013; Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 1, 3, in PG 2:893—96; Similitudes 9, 13, in PG 2:991; 9, 21, in PG 2:999.

40.   Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 7, in PG 5:1012; Shepherd of Hermas, Mandatum (Mandates) 11, 1, in PG 2:943.

41.   Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians 5, in PG 5:648; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 6, in PG 1:336—37; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 5, in PG 2:733; 18, in PG 2:776; see Kirsopp Lake’s note on the Shepherd of Hermas in his Apostolic Fathers, Loeb ed, (1912), 2:21, n. 1; reprinted Classic Library Series, vols. 9, 10 in two vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970).

42.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 1, in PG 1:201—8; 3, in PG 1:213—16; 19, in PG 1:248; 24, in PG 1:260—61; Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians 7, in PG 5:764—65; Epistle to the Ephesians 9, 5, in PG 5:713; 17, in PG 5:749—52; Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 3, 3, in PG 2:901; 10, in PG 2:907. Cf. Testament of Hezekiah 2:3B—4:18 in OTP 2:159—61.

43.   Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 16, in PG 2:771—76; Didache 16:3; Enoch 89; 56; 66—67; Logion 14, in “Prétendues sentences de Jésus,” in PO 4:176—77; cf. “Le Salut—les vieux sages,” in PO 9:227—28.

44.   Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 3, 3—7, in PG 2:901—6.

45.   Ibid., 3, 11—13, in PG 2:907—10.

46.   Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 3, in PG 2:955; 4, in PG 2: 955—58; 9, in PG 2:979—1010; Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 58, in PG 5:328; Eusebius, HE III, 31, 3, in PG 20:280—81; V, 24, 2, in PG 20:493—508.

47.   A. D. Nock, “The Vocabulary of the New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature 52 (1933): 135.

48.   Hilary, Liber contra Auxentium (Against Auxentius) 4, in PL 10:611B.

49.   K. Holl, “Urchristentum und Religionsgeschichte,” Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie 2 (1924): 403—5; Suzanne de Dietrich, Le Dessein de Dieu, 2nd ed. (Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestle, 1948), 19, finds only one case, Mark 5:19, in which Christ did not avoid publicity.

50.   Origen, Contra Celsum (Against Celsus) 2, 76, in PG 11:848; 4, 28, in PG 11:1068; Minucius Felix, Octavius 7—11, in PL 3:262—81; Lactantius, Divine Institutes V, 7, in PL 6:991.

51.   Minucius Felix, Octavius 9—10, in PL 3:270—76; Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 52, in PG 6:589—92 (the Parousia a secret); 90, 2, in PG 6:689—92; Tertullian, Apologeticus adversus Gentes pro Christianis (Apology) 7, in PL 1:358—62; Clementine Recognitions 1, 52, in PG 1:1236; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1, 12, in PG 8:753; 5, 10, in PG 9:93—101.

52.   Matthew 13:9—17; Clementine Recognitions 2, 60, in PG 1:1264; 3, 1, in PG 1:1281—82; Tertullian, De Praescriptionibus (The Prescription against Heretics) 25—26, in PL 2:43—46; Origen, Against Celsus 1, 1, 1—7, in PG 11:651—69; Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians 5, in PG 5:781—84.

53.   Origen, Peri Archon (On First Things) 1, 2, in PG 11:130—45; 1, 4, in PG 11:155; 1, 6—8, in PG 11:165—83.

54.   Origen, Against Celsus 2, 70, in PG 11:905—8; Albert Schweitzer, Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung (Tübingen: Mohr, 1951), 396. This is an edition of the earlier Von Reimarus zu Wrede; cf. English translation, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York: Macmillan, 1961). Herman Gunkel, Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verständnis des Neuen Testaments (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1903), 78—79; Kirsopp Lake, Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper, 1937), 37.

55.   Irenaeus, Contra Haereses (Against Heresies) IV, 33, 7, in PG 7:1076—77; 11, 27, 1—3, in PG 7:802, insists that nothing has been lost, cf. I, 8, 1, in PG 7:519, etc., yet speaks with awe of the knowledge of the apostles, I, 13, 6, in PG 7:588; III, 2, 2, in PG 7:847, which Ignatius implies far exceeds his own, Epistle to the Ephesians 3, in PG 5:645; Epistle to the Magnesians 5, in PG 5:648; Epistola ad Romanos (Epistle to the Romans) 4, in PG 5:689. Later fathers were intrigued by the great unwritten knowledge of the apostles, Gottfried Thomasius, Die christliche Dogmengeschichte als Entwicklungsgeschichte des kirchlichen Lehrbegriffs, 2nd ed. (Erlangen: Deichert, 1886—89), vol. 1, Dogmengeschichte der alten Kirche (Erlangen: Deichert, 1886), 209, 297—98.

56.   Joachim Jeremias, Jesu Verheissung für die Vö1ker (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1956), 15—16, 61—62 = Jesus’ Promise to the Nations, tr. S. H. Hooke (London: SCM Press, 1958).

57.   Albert Dufourcq, Epoque syncrétiste. Histoire de la fondation de 1’église, la révolution religieuse (Paris: Blond, 1909), 220; Jeremias, Jesu Verheissung für die Vö1ker, 17, 21, 60—61. Note 38 above.

58.   Diclache 10:5; Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans 7, in PG 5:693: “deuro pros ton patera”—literally.

59.   Discussed by Olof Linton, Das Problem der Urkirche in der neueren Forschung (Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksell, 1932), 198—200.

60.   Robert Eisler, Iesous Basileus ou Basileusas, 2 vols. (Heidelberg: Winter, 1930), 2:237.

61.   Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church, 7—11.

62.   Homiliae Clementinae XI, 16, 21, in PG 2:384A; Hippolytus, De Consummatione Mundi (spuria) (On the Consummation of the World) 10—11, in PG 10:913A-C; Athanasius, Vita Antonii (Life of Antony) 82, in PG 26:957.

63.   Acta Pilati 15, in PO 9:108—9; James Rendell Harris, Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, 28, 33, 35, 38; A. W. Wallis Budge, Contendings of the Apostles 2 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1899—1901) 2:62, 53—55, 59.

64.   Lake, Introduction to the New Testament, 62.

65.   Robert M. Grant, Second Century Christianity (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1946), 9.

66.   Eusebius, HE III, 32, 7—8, in PG 20:281—84.

67.   Robert L, P. Milburn, Early Christian Interpretations of History (London: Black, 1954), 25—26.

68.   Gustave Bardy, in Revue des Sciences Religieuses 12 (1932): 1, quoting Tertullian, Apology 18, 4, in PL 1:362—65.

69.   Eugéne de Faye, Étude sur les origines des églises de I’age apostolique (Paris: Leroux, 1909), 111.

70.   E.g., Shepherd of Hermas, Visions 1, 3, in PG 2:891—93; 2, 2, in PG 2:895—97; 3, 9, in PG 2:897; Similitudes 9, 19, in PG 2:997; Mandates 11—12, in PG 2:943; Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 21, in PG 1:256. Cf. Eusebius, HE V, 28, in PG 20:512; Clementine Recognitions 1, 1—5, in PG 1:1207—9.

71.   See Marlé, “Le Christ de la Foi et le Jésus de l’Histoire,” 67—76.

72.   Origen, Against Celsus 8, 72 and 74, in PG 11:1624—29; Tertullian, Apology 38, in PL 1:526—31; Apostolic Constitutions 7, 39, in PG 1:1037—40; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 2, in PG 2:729; 4, in PG 2:731; 1 Corinthians 7:29—32.

73.   Origen, Against Celsus 8, 17—20, in PG 11:1540—49; Zeno, Liber (Commentary) 1, Tractatus (Tractate) 14, in PL 11:354B—358A; Minucius Felix, Octavius 10, in PL 3:274; Jerome, Epistolae (Letters) 130, 15, in PL 22:1119A; Arnobius, Against the Heathen 6, 1, in PL 5:1162B.

74.   Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 1, 1, in PG 2:951; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 5, in PG 1:336; Cyprian, Liber de Mortalitate (Treatise on Mortality) 25, in PL 4:623B.

75.   Hans Lietzmann, Geschichte der alten Kirche (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1932—34) 2:41—42 = A History of the Early Church, vol. 2, The Founding of the Church Universal, tr. Bertram Woolf (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1950); Ernst Käsemann, Das wandernde Gottesvolk (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1939), 51—52.

76.   Tertullian, The Prescription against Heretics 27—29, in PL 2:46—48; Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 9, in PG 5:1012—13.

77.   Acts 17:6; 2 Timothy 4:6—8. Conversion not the object, 1 Corinthians 1:17.

78.   Oscar Cullman, in Davies & Daube, Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology, 415.

79.   1 Corinthians 9:16; John 15:22; Matthew 23:34—35; 27:25; Luke 11:49—51; Acts 5:28; 18:6; Clementine Recognitions 1, 8, in PG 1:1211, “tacere non possumus.”

80.   Oscar Cullman, Urchristentum und Gottesdienst (Zürich: Zwingli, 1950), 39—56.

81.   Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans 6—8, in PG 5:691—94; Epistle to the Ephesians; 11, 1, in PG 5:654; Passio s. Perpetuae 6; 18; 21. Quote from Apostolic Constitutions V, 5, in PG 1:833.

82.   Eusebius, HE VI, 45, in PG 20:633.

83.   Tertullian, Apology 1, in PL 1:305—8; Cyprian, Treatise on Mortality 12, in PL 4:611—12.

84.   Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa (Leipzig: Teubner, 1898) 2:418—19, contrasts the early and later Christian concepts of martyrdom. The transition is clear in Cyprian, who must warn, “non martyres Evangelium faciant,” Letters 24 (22), in PL 4:293A.

85.   Cyprian, Letters 8, in PL 4:255A; De Duplici Martyrio (On the Twofold Martyrdom) 35, in PL 4:982A; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata IV, 7, in PG 8:1268—80; Leo, Sermo 47, 1, in PL 54:295B—C.

86.   So Asterius Urbanus, Fragmenta contra Montanistas (Against the Montanists), frg. 3; 6; 8, in PG 10:149B, 153A—B.

87.   So Optatus, De Schismate Donatistarum (On the Donatist Schism) 17; 24—26, in PL 11:968—69, 979B—986A.

88.   Cyprian, Epistola ad Fortunatum (Letter to Fortunatus), Praefatio, in PL 4:678—82.

89.   Clarence T. Craig, The Beginnings of Christianity (New York: Abingdon—Cokesbury, 1943), 328.

90.   Pieter A. van Stempvoort, “Het onstaan van het Kerkbegrip en de oudste Kerkorganisatie,” in J. H. Waszink et al., eds., Het Oudste Christendom en de antieke Cultuur, 2 vols. (Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink, 1951), 2:331; Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church, 9—11. The imagery goes back to Eusebius, HE I, 1, 3, in PG 20:48—53.

91.   Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church, 10; Eduard Schwartz, Kaiser Constantin und die christliche Kirche (Leipzig: Teubner, 1913), 17—18; Hans Lietzmann, Kleine Schriften (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1958—62) 1:97.

92.   Theodore Brandt, Die Kirche im Wandel der Zeit (Leipzig: MBK-Verlag, 1933), 79.

93.   E. C. Blackman, “The Task of Exegesis,” in Davies & Daube, Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology, 13.

94.   Gustave Bardy, La conversion au christianisme (Paris: Aubier, 1949), 296.

95.   Dufourcq, Epoque syncritiste. Histoire de la fondation de l’Église, 250; Maurice Goguel, Les premiers temps de 1’Église (Neuchatel: Delachaux et Niestlé, 1949), 139; and Maurice Goguel, “La seconde génération chrétienne,” Revue de I’Histoire des Religions 136 (1949): 36—37.

96.   Eusebius, HE III, 37, in PG 20:292—93; III, 39, in PG 20:292—302; Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 47, in PG 1:305—8; Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 3, in PG 5:1008; Ignatius, Epistle to the Romans 5, in PG 5:809—12; Irenaeus, Against Heresies III, 3, 4, in PG 7:851; Methodius, Ex Libro de Resurrectione (From the Treatise on Resurrection) 6, in PG 18:313B.

97.   Eusebius, HE III, 39, 1—4, in PG 20:297; V, 10, 4, in PG 20:453—56; XI, 3—5, in PG 20:456—57; Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 82, in PG 6:669—72; Origen, Against Celsus II, 8, in PG 11:805—8.

98.   Eusebius, HE III, 32, 7—8, in PG 20:281—86; II, 1, 3, in PG 20:140—41; Irenaeus, Against Heresies I, in PG 7:437—45.

99.   Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 3, in PG 5:1008; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle I, 5, in PG 2:727; the case of Ignatius is discussed by Jean Réville, “Études sur les origines de le’épiscopat,” Revue de I’histoire religieuse 22 (1890): 285—88.

100.   D. Busy, in Recherches de science religieuse 24 (1934): 431.

101.   Bardy, La conversion au christianisme, 306; Grant, Second Century Christianity, 9—18.

102.   “Singuli quique coetus haereticorum se potissimum Christianos, et suam esse Catholicam Ecclesiam putant,” Lactantius, Divine Institutes IV, 30, in PL 6:540—44; Eusebius, HE V, 13—18, in PG 20:460—81; Sozomen, HE V, 9, in PG 67:1237—40; V, 20, in PG 67:1277—80; VI, 26, in PG 67:1361—66; VIII, 20, in PG 67:1568—70, etc. Origen, Against Celsus III, 10—12, in PG 11:932—36.

103.   Justin, Apology 8, in PG 66:338—40; Dialogue with Trypho 35, in PG 6:549—53; 42, in PG 6:565; 80, in PG 6:664—80; cf. Origen, Against Celsus VI, 11, in PG 11:1305—8.

104.   Eusebius, HE V, 16, in PG 20:464—72; Justin, Quaestiones (Inquiries), nos. 100, 5, in PG 6:1344—45, 1256AB.

105.   Sulpicius Severus, Historia Sacra (Sacred History) II, 46, in PL 20:155; II, 50, in PL 20:157—58. Eusebius worried too, Walther Völker, “Von welchen Tendenzen liess sich Eusebius bei Abfassung seiner ‘Kirchengeschichte’ leiten?” Vigiliae Christianae 4 (1950): 170—71.

106.   Adolf von Harnack, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, 5th ed. 3 vols. (Tübingen: Mohr, 1931), 1:250; Eusebius, HE V, 15—16, in PG 20:172—73.

107.   The Reformation itself attempted revival of “prophetic, eschatological Christianity,” Heinrich Bornkamm, Grundriss zum Studium der Kirchengeschichte (Gatersloh: Bertelsmann, 1949), 63.

108.   Adolf von Harnack, Das Mönchtum (Giessen: Ricken, 1895), passim. The church fathers did not encourage pilgrimages, Bernard Kötting, Peregrinnatio Religiosa (Münster: Regensberg, 1950), 421

109.   Goguel, Les premiers temps de l’église, 34, 180, 192—94.

110.   Bardy, La conversion au christianisme, 304; so Lietzmann, Geschichte der alten Kirche 1:226; Harnack, Das Mönchtum, 25.

111.   Robert Frick, “Die Geschichte des Reich-Gottes-Gedankens,” ZNTW, Beiheft 6 (1928): 154, 152—55; Goguel, Les premiers temps de l’église, 35; Harnack, Das Mönchtum, 25.

112.   Bultmann, “History and Eschatology in the New Testament,” 15.

113.   Goguel, Les premiers temps de l’église, 191.

114.   Milburn, Early Christian Interpretations of History, 26.

115.   Gustave Bardy, L’Église et les derniers Romains (Paris: Laffont, 1948), 48.

116.   F.-M. Braun, “Où en est l’eschatologie du Nouveau Testament,” Revue Biblique 49 (1940): 53; Henri Leclercq, “Églises,” in DACL 4:2281.

117.   J. de Zwaan, “Some Remarks on the ‘Church Idea’ in the Second Century,” in Aux sources de la tradition Chrétienne, Mélanges offerts à M. Maurice Goguel à l’occasion de son soixante-dixiéme anniversaire (Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestlé, 1950), 278.

118.   Tertullian, De Pudicitia (On Modesty) 21, in PL 2:1080B.

119.   Bultmann, “History and Eschatology in the New Testament,” 15.

120.   Wilhelm Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Literatur, 6th ed. 2 vols. (Munich: Beck, 1912—20) 2:2:955.

121.   “In the end therefore, it was the Christian doctrine and practice which underwent the change, and society which remained,” Kirsopp Lake, “The Shepherd of Hermas and Christian Life in Rome in the Second Century,” Harvard Theological Review 4 (1911): 25.

122.   L. Duchesne, Origenes du culte chrétien 2nd ed. (Paris: Thorin, 1898), 52—53 (5th ed. [1920], 55).

123.   Lake, Introduction to the New Testament, 22; Dufourcq, Epoque syncrétiste. Histoire de la fondation de 1’église, 221.

124.   Goguel, Les premiers temps de l’église, 209; Reinhold Seeberg, Textbook of the History of Doctrines, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1952) 1:118; Karl Adam, Das Wesen des Katholizismus (Düsseldorf: Schwann, 1934), 194 = The Spirit of Catholicism, tr. D. McCann (London: Sheed & Ward, 1929).

125.   Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa 2:479—81.

126.   Linton, Das Problem der Urkirche in der neueren Forschung, 160, 164—66; O. Kuss, “Zur Senfkornparabel,” Theologie und Glaube 41 (1951): 40—46; Jeremias, Jesu Verheissung für die Völker, 58—59; cf, English ed., 68—69.

127.   So Bardy, La conversion au christianisme, 6; Bornkamm, Grundriss zum Studium der Kirchengeschichte, 20.

128.   Stanley Bonner, Roman Declamation (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1949), 59.

129.   “Animae emptae a Christo non potuerunt vendi,” Optatus, On the Donatist Schism 3, 11, in PL 11:1024—25; E. Fascher, “Dynamis Theou,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 19 (1938): 108; Chrysostom exposes the fallacy, In Epistolam ad Galatas Commentarius (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians) 3, 2, in PG 61:649—50.

130.   Bardy, La conversion au christianisme, ch. 8 entire. Refuted by John Chrysostom, On the Epistle to the Hebrews 5, Homily 8, in PG 63:73, and Salvianus, De Gubernatione Dei (On the Government of God) IV, 1, 61.

131.   Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 35, in PG 6:549—53; Origen, Against Celsus III, 12, in PG 11:933—36.

132.   Matthew 7:22; 24:5; Mark 9:39; 13:6; Luke 21:8; Acts 17:15.

133.   E.g., the gloating attacks on the dead Julian, Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa 2:563.

134.   Ibid., 2:460—62, 465, 476—77, 529—32, 680—83; Frend, “Failure of the Persecutions in the Roman Empire,” 12.

135.   Hippolytus, Fragmenta in Danielem (Fragments on Daniel) 5, 7, in PG 10:681B; Demonstratio de Christo et Antichristo (On Christ and the Antichrist) 29, 57—58, in PG 10:749B, 776B—777A; On the Consummation of the World 11, in PG 10:913C.

136.   Hilary, De Trinitate (On the Trinity) 10, 55, in PL 10:387.

137.   Quote is from John Chrysostom, Commentary on Matthew 46, 1, in PG 58:476.

138.   Johannes Straub, “Christliche Geschichtesapologetik in der Krisis des römischen Reiches,” Historia 1 (1950): 64.

139.   Basil the Great, Epistolae (Letters) 150, 2, no. 139, in PG 32:584A. Tertullian, The Prescription against Heretics 27—28, in PL 2:46—47, must console himself with the argument of numbers. Even before Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel) 1, 3, in PG 21:33, Hegesippus sought to reassure himself that there was an absolute continuity, according to L. Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris: Thorin, 1886—92) 1:1, who vainly seeks the same assurance, Henri Leclercq, “Historiens du Christianisme,” DACL 6:2697.

140.   Eusebius, HE X, 4, 12—16, in PG 20:857—60; VIII, 1, 8—ii, in PG 20:740—44; VIII, 1—3, in PG 20:744; cf. Sozomen, HE III, 17, in PG 67:1093—96. The church was overcome by its own sins, Cyprian, Letters 7, in PL 4:246—51, cf. Liber de Lapsis, (Book on the Apostates), in PL 4:478—510. On the Restoration motif, see Michael S. Seidlmayer, “Rom und Romgedanke im Mittelalter,” Saeculum 7 (1956): 405—7; John Edwin Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship, 3 vols. (New York: Hafner, 1958) 1:513—14.

141.   Ambrose, Hexaemeron 4, 32, in PL 14:217—18; Methodius, Convivium Decem Virginum (Banquet of the Ten Virgins) 6, in PG 18:148B; Jerome, Commentarius in Isaiam Prophetam (Commentary on Isaiah) 18, 66, in PL 24:699—702; Lactantius, Divine Institutes V, 7, in PL 6:570—71.

142.   Discussed by this writer, Hugh W. Nibley, “The Unsolved Loyalty Problem: Our Western Heritage,” Western Political Quarterly 6 (1953): 641—46.

143.   The surprise is expressed by John Chrysostom, Expositio in Psalmos (Exposition on Psalms) 148, 4, in PG 55:483—84, and Contra Judaeos et Gentiles, quod Christus Sit Deus (Against the Jews and the Gentiles, that Christ is God) 12, in PG 48:829—30; cf. the perplexity in Justin, Inquiries, 74, in PG 6:1316A.

144.   John Chrysostom, Sermo antequam Iret in Exsilium (Discourse before Going into Exile) 1, 2, in PG 52:429—30; In Illud, Vidi Dominum, Homilia (Homily on the Verse “I Have Seen the Lord”) 4, 2, in PG 56:121.

145.   Völker, “‘Tendenzen in Eusebius’ ‘Kirchengeschichte,'” 161—80. J. Burckhardt calls Eusebius “the first thoroughly dishonest historian,” cited by Moses Hadas, “The Conversion of Constantine,” Jewish Quarterly Review 41 (1950): 423.

146.   See Nibley, “The Unsolved Loyalty Problem: Our Western Heritage,” 644—46.

147.   Lactantius, Divine Institutes V, 24, in PL 6:630.

148.   Eusebius, Commentarius in Lucam (Commentary on Luke) 27, 27, in PG 24:584D—585A.

149.   Hilary, Commentarius in Matthaeum (Commentary on Matthew) 26, 4, in PL 9:1057B.

150.   Eusebius, Commentary on Luke 13, 32, in PG 24:601D—604A.

151.   John Chrysostom, De Decem Millium Talentorum Debitore Homilia (Homily on the Man Who Owed Ten Thousand Talents) 3, in PG 51:21B.

152.   First suggested by Origen, Commentary on Matthew 39, in PG 13:1653D.

153.   Hilary, Commentary on Matthew 25, 8, in PL 9:1055.

154.   Ibid. 26, 6, in PL 9:1058B.

155.   Eusebius, Commentarius in Isaiam Prophetam (Commentary on Isaiah) 11, 6, in PG 24:172C—173A.

156.   Optatus, On the Donatist Schism 7, 2, in PL 11:1085B—1086A.

157.   A favorite theme with Chrysostom, e.g., Homily on the Verse ‘I Have Seen the Lord” 4, 4, 2, in PG 56:121; Sermo post Reditum ab Exsilio (Discourse Following the Return from Exile) 2, in PG 52:440, 442; Sermo lpsius Severiani de Pace, in PG 52:425; cf. Athanasius II, Homilia de Semente (Homily on the Seed) 5, in PG 28:149C.

158.   John Chrysostom, De Novern Diebus (On the Nine Days) 6, in PC 56:277—78; Basil, Homilia de Gratiarum Actione 4, in PC 31:228A; Hilary, On the Trinity X, 39—43, in PL 10:374—77.

159.   Chrysostom, On the Nine Days 6, in PG 56:277—78.

160.   Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2 vols. (New York: The Modern Library, 1932), ch. 26, note 101; 1:941.

161.   John Chrysostom, De Capto Eutropio et de Divitiarum Vanitate (On the Capture of Eutropius and the Vanity of Wealth) 1, 6, in PG 52:397—98, 402; Cum de Expulsione lpsius Sancti Joannes Ageretur, in PG 52:433; Exposition on the Psalms 147, 4, in PG 55:483; Homily on the Verse “I Have Seen the Lord” 4, 2, in PG 56:121; Commentary on Matthew 54, 2, in PG 58:535; ibid., 77, 1, in PG 58:702.

162.   Chrysostom, In Epistolam I ad Corinthios Homilia (Homily on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 32, 1, in PG 61:265; 6, 3—4, in PG 61:51—53.

163.   Chrysostom, De Sancta Pentecoste Homilia (Homily on the Holy Pentecost) 1, 4, in PG 50:459, 453; De Laudibus Sancti Pauli Apostoli Homilia (Homilies on the Praise of St. Paul the Apostle) 4, in PG 50:488; In Inscriptionem Actorum (Inscription on the Acts) 2, 3, in PG 51:81—82; cf. 85; Homily on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 32, 2, in PG 61:265; In Colossenses Homilia (Homily on Colossians) 3, 8, in PG 62:358—59, etc.

164.   Chrysostom, Exposition on Psalms 110, 4, in PG 55:285; Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 54, 1, in PL 24:516B; 13, in PL 24:627B—629A; Origen, Against Celsus IV, 80, in PG 11:1152—53; De Principiis II, 4, 3, in PG 11:201—3.

165.   Athanasius, Oratio de Incarnatione Verbi Dei (Oration on the Incarnation of the Word) 53, in PG 25:189; Jerome, Letters 66, 4, in PL 22:641; Commentary on Isaiah 60, 1, in PL 24:588D—589A.

166.   Jerome, Contra Ioannem Hierosolymitanum (Against John the Jerusalemite) 11—12, in PL 23:38OC—381C.

167.   K. Stendahl, “Implications of Form-Criticism and Tradition-Criticism for Biblical Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 77 (1958): 34.

168.   A. C. Cotter, “The Eschatological Discourse,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 1 (1939): 205.

169.   N. A. Dahl, “Christ, Creation, and the Church,” in Davies & Daube, The Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology, 422.

170.   Schweitzer, Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung, 375.

171.   Robert M. Grant, “‘Development’ in Early Christian Doctrine,” Journal of Religion 39 (1959): 121.

172.   Jeremias, Jesu Verheissung für die Völker, 47.

173.   So Johannes Weiss, “Das Problem der Entestehung des Christentums,” Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 16 (1913): 435.

174.   Alfred Fawkes, “The Development of Christian Institutions and Beliefs,” Harvard Theological Review 10 (1917): 115—16.

175.   Linton, Das Problem der Urkirche, 121, 159.

176.   A. Feuillet, “La Synthése Eschatologique de Saint Matthieu,” Revue Biblique 57 (1950): 180—211; Millar Burrows, An Outline of Biblical Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1946), 199—201.

177.   Van Stempvoort, “Het ontstaan van het Kerkbegrip en de oudste Kerkorganisatie,” 250; T. F. Glasson, “The Kerygma: Is Our Version Correct,” in Hibbert Journal 51 (1953); 129, 131—32; Frederick A. M. Spencer, “The Second Advent According to the Gospels,” Church Quarterly Review 126 (1938): 6.

178.   Goguel, “La seconde génération chrétienne,” 190; G. Bornkamm, In Memoriam Ernst Lohmeyer (Stuttgart: Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1951), 116, 118, 121; E. Stauffer, “Agnostos Christos,” in Davies & Daube, The Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology, 281—82.

179.   Eisler, Iesous Basileus 1:26; cf. S. Franck, “Le Royaume de Dieu et Le Monde,” Dieu Vivant 7 (1951): 17—34.

180.   Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 23, in PG 1:236; Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 11—12, in PG 2:344—48; Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 4, 16, in PG 2:731—33; cf. Luke 18:7.

181.   R. C. Petry, “Medieval Eschatology and St. Francis of Assisi,” Church History 9 (1940): 55; F. Bäthgen, Der Engelpapst (Halle: Nieymeyer, 1933), 76.

182.   The old dispensation theory: Origen, Against Celsus IV, 11—12; in PG 11:1039—41; Milburn, Early Christian Interpretations of History, 29—31. The Jews had lost and regained the temple more than once.

183.   Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) III, 2, 6, in PG 42:784; Lactantius, Divine Institutes IV, 1, in PL 6:447—51.

184.   H. Clavier, “Probléme du Rite et du Mythe dans le quatriéme Evangile,” Revue d’Histoire et Philosophie Religeuses 31 (1951): 292; Linton, Das Problem der Urkirchen in der neueren Forschung, 132—33; Dahl, “Christ, Creation and the Church,” 422—43.

185.   Ambrose, Expositio in Lucam (Commentary on Luke) 2, 88, in PL 15:1667—68; John Chrysostom, Homilia in Apostolicum Dictum: Hoc Scitote, Quod in Novissimis Diebus Erunt Tempora Gravia (Homily on the Apostolic Saying: “This Know Also, that in the Last Days Perilous Times Shall Come” [2 Timothy 3:1]) 5, in PG 56:276.

186.   Origen, Commentary on Matthew 56, in PG 13:1688D, attacks this view, held by M. Brunec, in Verbum Domini (1952), 265, 269, 277, 323—24.

187.   Hippolytus, On the Consummation of the World 24—25, in PG 10;937B—C.

188.   F. F. Bruce, “Eschatology,” London Quarterly and Holborn Review 183 (1958): 99, with a survey of the literature, 101—3.

189.   G. Florovsky, “Eschatology in the Patristic Age,” Studia Patristica 2, in Texte und Untersuchungen 64 (1957): 235—38.

190.   Oscar Cullman, “Rudolf Bultmann’s Concept of Myth and the New Testament,” Concordia Theological Monthly 27 (1956): 24; M. Burrows, “Thy Kingdom Come,” Journal of Biblical Literature 74 (1955): 2, 1—18.

191.   H. J. Schoep, “Die ebionitische Wahrheit des Christentums,” in Davies & Daube, Background of the New Testament and Its Eschatology, 123.