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He then goes to Iconium.

(2) In Iconium (the Thekla-story) . Here the
well-known story of Thekla is placed, and on the
way to Iconium we are introduced to Demas and
Hermogenes, who are represented as Gnostics with
a peculiar doctrine of an &vdffTa<ns not of the flesh.
In Iconium Paul was entertained by Onesiphorus,
and preached in his house on Avda-racris and tjKpd-
reia, with the result that Thekla, the daughter of
Theokleia, abandoned her betrothal to Thamyris
and vowed herself to a life of virginity. Theokleia
and Thamyris therefore raised persecution against
Paul and Thekla. Paul was scourged and banished
from the town ; Thekla was condemned to be
burnt. From the flames she was miraculously
preserved, and went to Antioch, where she found
Paul. In Antioch her beauty attracted the atten-
tion of Alexander, a prominent Antiochian, and
her refusal to consent to his wishes led to her con-
demnation to the wild beasts. A lioness protected
her, but ultimately, after a series of miraculous
rescues, she was forced to jump into a pond full of
seals and committed herself to the water with the
baptismal formula. Ultimately the protection of
Queen Tryphsena and the sympathy of the women
of Antioch secured her pardon. She returned to
the house of Tryphasna and converted her and her



servants, and then followed Paul in man's clothing
to Myrrha. Then she returned to Iconium, and
finally died in Seleucia. The text of this whole
story is very defective in Coptic, but it is preserved
separately in Greek, and enough remains in the
Coptic to show that the Greek has kept fairly well
to the original story.

(3) In Myrrha. Thekla left Paul in Myrrha.
Here he healed of the dropsy a man named Hermo-
krates, who was baptized. But Hermippus the
elder son of Hermokrates was opposed to Paul,
and the younger son, Dion, died. The text is here
full of lacunse, but apparently Paul raised up Dion,
and punished Hermippus with blindness, but after-
wards healed and converted him. He then went
on to Sidon.

(4) In Sidon. On the road to Sidon there is an
incident connected with a heathen altar, and the
power of Christians over the demons or heathen
gods, but there is unfortunately a large lacuna in
the text. In Sidon there is an incident which
apparently is concerned with unnatural vice, and
Paul and other Christians were shut up in the
temple of Apollo. At the prayer of Paul the
temple was destroyed, but Paul was taken into
the amphitheatre. The text is defective, and the
manner of his rescue is not clear, but apparently
he made a speech and gained many converts, and
then went to Tyre.

(5) In Tyre. Only the beginning of the story-
is extant, but apparently the central feature is
the exorcism of demons and the curing of a dumb
child. After this there is a great lacuna, in which
Schmidt places various fragments dealing with the
question of the Jewish law ; and it appears possible
that the scene is moved to Jerusalem and that
Peter is also present.

(6) Paul in prison in the mines. In this incident
Paul appears as one of those condemned to work
in the mines (? in Macedonia), and he restores to
life a certain Phrontina. Presumably he ultimately
escaped from his imprisonment, but the text is
incomplete.

(7) In Philippi. The most important incident
connected with Philippi is a correspondence with
the Corinthians, dealing with certain heretical
views, of which the main tenets are (a) a denial
of the resurrection of the flesh; (6) the human
body is not the creation of God ; (c) the world is
not the creation of God ; (d) the government of
the universe is not in the hands of God ; (e) the
crucifixion was not that of Christ, but of a docetic
phantasm ; (f) Christ was not born of Mary, nor
was he of the seed of David.

(8) A farewell scene. The place in which this
scene is laid cannot be discerned from the frag-
ments which remain, but it contains a prophecy of
Paul's work in Rome, placed in the mouth of a
certain Cleobius.

(9) The martyrdom of Paul. The last episode
gives an account of the martyrdom of Paul, and
the text of this is also preserved as a separate docu-
ment in Greek. According to it, Paul preached
without any hindrance, and there is no suggestion
that he was a prisoner. On one occasion, while he
was preaching, Patroclus, a servant of Nero, fell
from a window and was killed. Paul restored him,
and he was converted. When Nero heard of this
miracle, Patroclus acknowledged that he was the
soldier of the /3a<rt\ei>s Irj<rovs Xpwrij. Nero caused
him and other Christians to be arrested, condemned
Paul to be beheaded, and the other Christians to
be burnt. In prison Paul converted the prefect
Longinus and the centurion Cestus, and pro-
phesied to them life after death. Longinus and
Cestus were told to go to his grave on the next
day, when they would be baptized by Titus and
Luke. At his execution milk spurted from his



ACTS (APOCRYPHAL)



33



neck instead of blood, and afterwards he appeared
to Nero, who was so impressed that he ended the
persecution. The narrative ends with the baptism
of Longinus and Cestus at the grave of Paul.

The testimony of early writers to the Acts of
Paul. Since the discovery of the Coptic Acts,
which show that the 'Acts of Paul and Thekla'
is an extract fcdm the Acts of Paul, there is no
justification for doubting that Tertullian refers to
the Acts of Paul in de Baptismo, 17 :

'Quodsi qui Pauli perperam inscripta legrunt, exemplum
Theclae ad licentiam mulierum docendi tinguendique defendunt,
sciant in Asia presbyterum, qui earn scripturam construxit
quasi titulo Pauli de suo cumulans, convictum atque confessum
se id amore Pauli fecisse loco decessisse.'

This statement is extremely valuable, because it
gives us clear evidence as to the provenance of the
Acts, proves that it is not later than the 2nd
cent., and shows that it was composed in the
great Church, not in any heretical or Gnostic
sect.

Origen quotes the Acts in de Principiis, i. 2, 3,
and in in Johannem, xx. 12. In both cases he
gives the Acts of Paul definitely as the source of
his quotation, but neither passage is found in the
extant texts. He apparently regards the Acts as
only slightly inferior to the Canonical Scriptures.

Eusebius in HE iii. 25 ranks the Acts of Paul,
with the Shepherd of Hermas, Ep. of Barnabas,
the Apoc. of Peter, the Didache, and possibly the
Johannine Apocalypse, as among the vt>6a.. But
he does not appear to place it with the Acts of
Andrew and John and 'the other apostles' (per-
haps the Acts of Peter and Thomas) which are
&TOTTO. irdiri) teal dv<r<repi]. Hence he probably did
not regard the Acts of Paul as heretical.

In the Claromontane list of books of the OT
and NT the Acts of Paul comes at the end in the
company of ' Barnabae epistula, Johannis revelatio,
Actus Apostolorum, Pastor, Actus Pauli, Revela-
tio Petri,' which suggests somewhat the same judg-
ment as that of Eusebius.

From the Commentary of Hippolytus on Dn 3'
it seems clear that he regarded the Acts of Paul
as definitely historical and trustworthy. Com-
bating those who doubted the truth of the story of
Daniel in the lions' den, he says :

el yap irt<rrevo/aev on ITavAov eis firjpi'a KaToocptSeiTOS a^e
cir' avrbv 6 Ae'tov eis TOVJ 7ro6a? a.va.ire<riav jrepie'A.eix 6 *' ainov, ir<os



This incident is not extant in the Coptic texts,
but a full account, stated to be taken from the
UeptoSot UatiXov, is given by Nicephorus Callistus
(cf . Zahn, Gesch. d. NTKanons, ii. 2. p. 880 ff.), and
there is therefore no doubt but that Hippolytus re-
garded the Acts of Paul as little less than canonical.

Finally, the passage quoted above from Augus-
tine, c. Faust, xxx., makes it clear that in the
Church of Africa, as late as the time of Augustine,
the Acts of Paul was accepted as authoritative
and orthodox, even if not canonical.

The date of the Acts of Paul. The testimony oi
early writers furnishes a safe terminus ad quern
The Acts must be earlier than Tertullian's de
Baptismo. The precise date of this tractate is
uncertain, but at the latest it is only a few years
later than A.D. 200, so that the Acts must at al"
events belong to the 2nd century. The question
is whether it is a great deal or a very little
earlier. Schmidt is influenced by the frequent use
of the canonical Acts and the Pastoral Epistles to
choose a date not much earlier than 180 ; on the
other hand, Harnack thinks that the complete
silence as to the Montanist movement, or anything
which could be construed as anti-Montanist po-
lemics, points to a date earlier than 170. Between
these two positions a choice is difficult t probably
we cannot really say more than that between 160
VOL. i. 3



and 200 is the most likely period for the compo-
ition of the Acts of Paul. (See especially C.
Schmidt, Ada Pauli, 176 ff., where the whole
question is thoroughly discussed, and reference
made to the literature bearing on the subject.)

The theology of the Acts of Paul. From the theo-
ogical point of view the Acts of Paul has excep-
;ional value as giving a presentment of the ordinary
Christianity of Asia at the end of the 2nd cent.,
undisturbed by polemical or other special aims.

So far as the doctrine of God is concerned, the
reaching of the Acts is quite simple it is that
there is one God, and his Son, Jesus Christ,'
which is sometimes condensed into the statement
:hat there is no other God save Jesus Christ alone,
tt is thus in no sense Arian or Ebionite, but at
;he same time distinctly not Nicene. It is also
definitely not Gnostic^ for the Supreme God is also
the Creator, and the instigator if not the agent of
redemption. The general view which is implied is
that the world was created good, and man was
;iven the especial favour of being the son of God.
This sonship was broken by the Fall, instigated
by the serpent. From that moment history be-
came a struggle between God, who was repairing
the evil of the Fall, through His chosen people
Israel and through the prophets, and the prince
of this world, who resisted His efforts, had pro-
claimed himself to be God (in this way heathen re-
ligion was explained), and had bound all humanity
to him by the lusts of the flesh. The result of
this process was the existence of dyvaxria. and ir\dvi)
followed by tf>0opd t &Ka.6ap<rla, fjSov^ J and Bdvaros, and
the need of an ultimate judgment of God, which
would destroy all that was contaminated. But
in His mercy God had sent His Holy Spirit into
Mary, in order in this way, by becoming flesh, to
destroy the dominion of evil over flesh. This Holy
Spirit was (as in Justin Martyr) identical with the
spirit which had spoken through the Jewish
prophets, so that the Christian faith rested through-
out on the Spirit, which had given the prophets to
the Jews and later on had been incarnate in the
Christ who had given the gospel. It should be
noted that there is no attempt to distinguish be-
tween the Logos and the Spirit. 'Father, Son,
and Spirit' is a formula which seems to mean
Father, Spirit or Logos, and the Son or Incarnate
Spirit. It is clear that this is the popular theolo-jy
out of which the Sabellian and Arian controversies
can best be explained. For the reconstruction of
late 2nd cent. Christology in popular circles the
Acts of Paul is of unique value. There is also
a marked survival of primitive eschatological
interest : the expectation of the coming of Christ,
and the establishment of a glorious kingdom in
which Christians will share, is almost central.
The means whereby Christians ensure this result
are asceticism and baptism. The latter is prob-
ably the necessary moment, and is habitually
called the <r<pa7/j; but asceticism is equally
necessary, and involves an absolute abstinence
from all sexual relations, even in marriage.
There is no trace of any institution of repentance
for sin after baptism; for this reason, baptism
appears usually to be postponed, and in these re-
spects the Acts of Paul agrees more closely with
Tertullian than with Hermas. ^The Eucharist is
primarily a meal of the community, and the theol-
ogy underlying it is not clearly expressed : the
most remarkable feature is that here, as in all the
other Apocryphal Acts, water takes the place of
wine. This feature used to be regarded as Gnostic,
but in view of more extended knowledge of the
Acts as a whole this opinion is untenable.

Far the best statement of the theology of the Acts is in C.
Schmidt's Acta Paidi, 183 ff. This also gives full references to
earlier literature.



34



ACTS (APOCRYPHAL)



ACTS (APOCRYPHAL)



2. The Acts of Peter. The Acts of Peter is
no longer extant in a complete form. ' But, apart
from late paraphrastic recensions, which re-edit
older material in a form more agreeable to Catholic
taste, three documents exist, two of them in a
fragmentary form, which probably represent por-
tions of the original Acts. These are (1) a Coptic
text of a Ilpdfeiy Hirpov, (2) the Codex Vercellensis,
or A d us Petri cum Simone, and (3) a Greek text of
the Martyrium Petri.

(1) The Coptic IIpdeis Tltrpov. This fragment
was found by C. Schmidt at the end of the Gnostic
Papyrus P. 8502 in the Egyptian Museum at
Berlin (Sitzungsber. d. K. Preuss. Akad. xxxvi.
[1896] 839 ff .), and published by him in Die alien
Petrusakten, Leipzig, 1903. This relates the story
of Peter's paralyzed daughter. At the beginning
of the incident, Peter, who had been twitted with
the paralysis of his daughter in spite of his powers
of miraculous healing, cured her for a short time,
and then restored her paralytic condition. Having
thus shown his power, he explained that she had
originally been paralyzed in answer .to his own
prayer, in order to preserve her virginity, which
was threatened by a certain Ptolemaeus. By this
miracle Ptolemseus had been converted to Christi-
anity, and dying soon afterwards left land to
Peter's daughter, which Peter sold, giving the
proceeds of it to the poor.

(2) The Codex Vercellensis (Bibliothec. capitul.
Vercellensis, cviii. 1). This MS contains either an
extract from or a recension of the last part of the
Acts. It begins by describing Paul's departure from
Rome to Spain, and the arrival of Simon Magus,
who makes Aricia his headquarters. Meanwhile,
however, Peter, who had finished 'the twelve years
which the Lord had enjoined on him' (on this
legend see esp. Harnack's Expansion of Christian-
ity, i. [1904] 48 n.) ? was directed to go to Rome to
oppose Simon. Simon, who was first in Rome,
perverted Marcellus, a convert of Paul; and, as
soon as Peter arrived, a contest was waged for his
faith on the question of the respective powers of
Simon and Peter to raise the dead. In this con-
test, which is long drawn out, Peter was successful,
and Simon retreated. Later on, the latter made
an effort to restore his reputation by flying in the
air, but the prayer of Peter caused him to fall and
break his thigh. He was carried to Aricia and
thence to Terracina, where he died.

The story then relates the events which led up
to the martyrdom of Peter. The main reason was
the decision of the converted concubines of Agrippa
the prefect to refuse any further intercourse with
him, and the similar conduct of Xanthippe the
wife of Albinus, a friend of Nero, and of many
other wives who all left their husbands. Peter
was warned of the anger of Agrippa, and at first
was persuaded by the Christians to leave Rome.
At this point the Codex Vercellensis is defective,
but the missing incidents can be restored from the
Martyrium Petri, which overlaps the Codex Ver-
cellensis. From this it appears that Peter on his
departure from Rome was arrested by a vision of
Christ going to Rome and saying, 'I am going to
Rome to be crucified.' Peter therefore applied
this vision to himself, and went back to Rome,
where he was crucified by the orders of the prefect
Agrippa. Here the Codex Vercellensis is again
extant, and runs parallel with the Martyrium to
the end. Peter at his own request was crucified
head downwards, in order to fulfil the saying of
the Lord, 'Si non feceritis dextram tamquam
sinistram, et sinistram ut dextram, et quae sunt
sursum tamquam deorsum, et quae retro sunt tam-
quam ab ante, non intrabitis in regna coelorum'
a saying which is also found in the Gospel of
the Egyptians. After Peter's death Marcellus took



down his body and buried it in his own tomb, after
costly embalming. But Peter appeared to him in
a vision and rebuked him for not having obeyed the
precept ' Let the dead bury their dead.' Finally,
the narrative explains that Nero was angry with
Agrippa because he wished to have inflicted worse
tortures on Peter, but, while he was planning
further persecution of the Christians, he was de-
terred by a vision of an angel, so that Peter was
the last martyr of that persecution. The Codex
ends with the obviously corrupt line 'actus Petri
apostoli explicuerunt cum pace et Simonis amen.'
Lipsius (Acta Apocrypha, p. 103) suggests with
great probability that 'et Simonis' is a misplaced
gloss. In this case the 'actus P. apostoli explicu-
erunt. Amen,' would be the conclusion of the
original Acts of Peter, of which the Codex Ver-
cellensis is an extract, giving the Roman episode
and martyrdom.

(3) The Martyrium Petri. The text of this early
extract from the Acts of Peter is preserved in two
MSS. (a) Cod. Patmiensis 48 (9th cent.). .This
was copied by C. Krumbacher in 1885 and published
by Lipsius in 1886 in the Jahrbucher fur Protest.
Theologie, pp. 86-106. (6) Cod. Athous Vatoped.
79 (lOth-llth cent.). This was copied by Ph.
Meyer and published by Lipsius in his Ada
Apocrypha. There are also Slavonic and Coptic
(Sahidic) versions, the latter preserved directly in
three fragments and indirectly in Arabic and
Ethiopic translations (see further Lipsius, Act.
Apocr. h'v f.). Lipsius thinks that the Patmos
MS is the best. The contents of the Martyrium
are the same as the second part of the Codex
Vercellensis, beginning with Simon's flight hi the
air, and from the comparison of the Codex with
the Greek Martyrium it is possible that the
original form of this part of the ancient Acta can
be reconstructed with some probability.

The place of origin of the Acts of Peter. There
is no unanimity among critics as to the community
in which the Acts of Peter was first produced.
There is of course a natural tendency to consider
in the first place the possibility that the document
is Roman. In favour of this view the most com-
plete statement is that of Erbes (' Petrus nicht in
Rom, sondern in Jerusalem gestorben,' ZKG xxii.
1, pp. 1-47 and 2, pp. 161-231). He lays special
emphasis on the fact that the writer is acquainted
with the entrance to Rome both from the sea and
by road, and knows that the paved way from
Putepli to Rome is bad to walk upon and jars the
pilgrims who use it. He also emphasizes the
correctness of the narrative in placing the contest
between Peter and Simon Magus in the Forum
Julium, on the ground that, according to Appian
(de BeUo Civili, ii. 102), this forum was especially
reserved for disputes and closed to commerce. He
makes other points of a similar nature, but not of
so striking a character.

Against this it is urged by Harnack (AUchristl.
Lilteraturgesch. ii. 559) and Zahn (Gesch. des NT
Kanons, ii. 841) that the local references to Rome
are really very small, and do not give more know-
ledge than was easily accessible to any one in the
2nd or 3rd century. For instance, that Aricia and
Terracina are towns not far from Rome is a fact
which must have been quite generally known.

Other arguments seem to point to Asia rather
than Rome for the composition of the Acts. Apart
from the OT and NT, the books which clearly
were made use of by the redactor of the Acts of
Peter are the Acts of Paul and the Acts of John.
Now we know with tolerable certainty that the
Acts of Paul was written in Asia, and it is usually
thought that the Acts of John came from Ephesus
or the neighbourhood. It is, therefore, not im-
probable that the Acts of Peter came from the



ACTS (APOCRYPHAL)



ACTS (APOCRYPHAL)



35



same district. Other possibilities are Antioch or
Jerusalem, but there is less to be said in favour of
these than either Rome or Asia.

The date of the Acts of Peter. The terminus ad
quern is some time earlier than Commodian the
African Christian poet, who was clearly acquainted
with both the Acts of Paul and the Acts of Peter,
probably in a Latin version, and appears to have
regarded them as undoubted history (cf. esp.
Commodian, Carmen Apologeticum, 623 ff .) . Com-
modian is generally supposed to have written c.
A.D. 250, so that some years earlier than this (to
allow for the spread of the Acts, their translation,
and the growth of their prestige) is the earliest
possible date. The terminus a quo is more diffi-
cult to find. It is generally conceded that the
date 165 adopted by Lipsius (Apokr. Apostel-
gesch., ii. 1, p. 275) is too early, and opinion usually
fixes on the decennium either side of the year 200
as the most probable for the writing of the Acts.
Harnack thinks that early in the 3rd cent, is the
most probable time (Altchr. Lit., ii. 553 ff .), but
Erbes and C. Schmidt incline rather to the end of
the 2nd century. The most important argument
is concerned with the compassionate attitude to-
wards the lapsi, which is very marked in the
Acts. Harnack thinks that this is not intelligible
until 230, while Erbes and Schmidt maintain that
in the light of the Shepherd of Hermas a much
earlier date is possible. Obviously this sort of
reasoning is somewhat tentative, and it is ap-
parently not possible at present to say more than
that 180-230 seems to be the half-century within
which the composition ought probably to be placed.

The sources used by the Acts of Peter. Apart
from the OT and NT, both of which the writer
uses freely and accepts as equally inspired, the
use can clearly be traced of the following books,
(a) The Acts of Paul. Apart from various smaller
points of contact, the whole account of the martyr-
dom of Peter is clearly based on the martyrdom
of Paul. The whole subject is worked out in
full detail by C. Schmidt in his Petrusakten
(p. 82 ff .) ; but it should be added that there is per-
haps still room for doubt whether that portion
of the Codex Vercellensis which deals with Paul
really belongs to the Acts of Peter, and is not an
addition made by the redactor who formed the
excerpt, rather than by the author of the Acts
itself. The fullest statement of this possibility is
given by Harnack (TU xx. 2 [1900], p. 103 ff .),
and a discussion tending to negative his conclu-
sions is to be found in Schmidt's Petrusakten, 82 f .
(6) The Acts of John. The frequent verbal
dependence of the Acts of Peter on the Acts of
John is demonstrated by the long list of parallel
passages given by M. R. James in Apocrypha
Anecdota, ii. p. xxivff. James, however, thought
at that time that this list proved the identity of
authorship of the two books; but Schmidt has
shown conclusively that the facts must be ex-
plained as due to dependence rather than to
identity of authorship. His most telling argument
is the large use of the OT and NT made by the
Acts of Peter as contrasted with then 1 very limited
use in the Acts of John. (c) Schmidt also argues
that the Acts used the K-f/pvyfM Hh-pov. Probably
he is right, but our knowledge of the TL-fipvy/M is
too small to enable the question to be satisfactorily
settled.

The theology of the Acts of Peter. In general
the account given above of the theology of the
Acts of Paul will serve also for the Acts of Peter.
But in some passages which depend on the Acts of
John there is an appearance of a pronounced
Modalism or almost of Docetism. Lipsius and
others, who believed, with Zahn and James, that
the Acts of Peter was written by the author of



the Acts of John, used to think that these passages
pointed to a heretical and Gnostic origin. But
Harnack (Altchr. Lit. ii. 560 ff.) and Schmidt
(Petrusakten, p. Ill ff.) have argued very forcibly
that this is not the case, and that the Acts of
Peter represents the popular Christianity of the
end of the 2nd cent, rather than any Gnostic
sect.

No complete edition of the text exists : the Codex Vercellensia
and the Greek text of the Martyrium are critically edited by
R. A. Lipsius in Acta Apocrypha, i. [Leipzig, 1891] ; the Coptic
IIpa eis IleTpou by C. Schmidt, Die alien Petrusakten (TU xxiv.
1) , Leipzig, 1903. Very important is the treatment of Harnack



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