Adolf von Harnack, The "Sic et Non" of Stephanus Gobarus. Harvard Theological Review 16 (1923) pp.205-234.
ADOLF VON HARNACK
University of Berlin
In the older, as well as in the current, books on church history, and at some points in New Testament introduction, patristics, and the history of doctrine, a certain work is referred to under the name of "Stephanus Gobarus." The problems arising out of the quotations from this book are of great interest; but we are given virtually no information about the author beyond his name, and the book itself remains a complete mystery. Only the industry of Walch, in Part VIII of his "Entwurf einer vollständigen Historie der Ketzereien" (1778, pp. 877 ff.) has analyzed it, or, rather, made unsatisfactory and incorrect extracts from it, to which he has added a few observations of his own. With this exception, it seems as if ever since the tenth century scholars had entered into a conspiracy to maintain complete silence about this work, or at least to content themselves with a few scanty remarks.2
In the following pages I shall endeavor to come closer to the work and its author. I do not undertake to give a commentary, for that would require a book; but shall confine myself to the main points, going into detail only with reference to passages that relate to the literature of the first three centuries. |206
All we know about Gobarus is contained in Codex CCXXXII of the "Bibliotheca" of Photius (ed. Bekker); at least I have not yet succeeded in finding so much as his name in any other writer.3 Since Photius's excerpts are of moderate compass, it is desirable to give them in full; and in my translation I have condensed only a few passages where Photius is unduly verbose, together with certain unimportant formal statements and others where he repeats himself. Photius's opinions, reflections, and other additions are indicated by square brackets; to him are also due the epitheta ornantia (ὁ ἅγιος, ὁ ἐν ἁγίοις, ὁ μέγας, ὁ εὐλαβέστατος, οἱ ὅσιοι μυσταγωγοί, οἱ τῆς ἐκκλησίας διδάσκαλοι, κ. τ. λ.) attached to the names of ancient Fathers----at any rate we have no assurance that these come from Gobarus himself.
Read (ἀνεγνώσθη) the book of a certain Stephanus, a tritheist with the surname Gobarus.
[The book gives evidence of wide studies, but the result does not correspond to the great industry applied. The author evidently aimed rather at honor and fame than at usefulness. The number of chapters which he has elaborated, and which are contributions to general ecclesiastical questions,, amounts to almost fifty-two; a few, more special, chapters are added to these. The general ecclesiastical chapters comprise pairs of sentences, presented not only in pairs but as contradictory; yet the sentences are not substantiated by argument or proof-texts, but merely by the utterances, as the author holds, of divergent Fathers. Of these utterances one set maintain the view of the church, the other that which the church rejects. But the wrong view is cherished only in ancient utterances, or by men of ancient times, who had not yet accurately (πρὸς ἀκρίβειαν) weighed and tested everything, and indeed by some of these it is cherished only in the mistaken opinion of the compiler.4 On the other hand, the view of the church is supported by the testimonies of holy men who have arrived at the truth with complete precision (οἱ μάλιστα τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐξακριβώσαντες). The chapters in which the arrangement with double or contradictory utterances presents itself are as follows :]
(1) The "idiom" and the "character" and the "form" are the "hypostasis," but not so is the combination of being and "idiom," nor the "authypostatic." [The sayings first adduced by Gobarus maintain this; those next |207 given, the opposite, namely that the ''idiom" and the "form" and the "character" are not the "hypostasis" but the "character" of the hypostasis.]
(2) John the Baptist was conceived in October. ---- He was conceived in November.
(3) The conception of the Lord was announced to the Virgin in the first month, April, which the Hebrews call Nisan; and she bore our Lord Jesus Christ after nine months, that is on the 5th of January, in the middle of the night of the eighth day before the ides of January. ---- The Annunciation took place not in April but on the 25 th of March, and our Saviour was born, not on the 5th of January but on the eighth day before the calends of January.
(4) At the resurrection we shall receive the same body in every respect which we now have, without distinctive addition in respect of incorruptibility. ---- We shall not receive the same body as this corruptible one.
(5) We shall rise in the same form (σχῆμα).-----We shall rise in another form.
(6) In the resurrection every one will be of the same age as at his death. ----No, on the contrary even children will rise in mature form, and not rise all together but singly.5
(7) At the resurrection we shall receive a tenuous body, airy, ethereal, and spiritual. ---- No, rather one earthy, substantial, and solid (γήϊνον καὶ παχὺ καὶ ἀντίτυπον).
(8) The Deity has a form and soul like man; and the phrase "in the image" refers to his bodily appearance, with reference to which man was fashioned in the semblance of the archetype 6; and the angels have bodies like those of men; and from the being and nature of God the human soul has proceeded. ---- The Deity has not a form like man, neither is fashioned in a form at all; nothing of what is said above is true of him; neither are the angels corporeal beings, but are incorporeal; and the human soul does not proceed from the being and nature of God.
(9) Before the fall the human body was one thing, like a beam of light, they say; and after the fall it was another, as we have it now, a body of flesh, and this is what is meant by the "coats of skin." ---- The "coats of skin " do not mean our flesh.
(10) The just will rise from the dead first, and all beasts with them, and they will revel for a thousand years in eating and drinking and having children; and then will follow the general resurrection. ---- There is no preliminary resurrection of the just, nor any revelling for a thousand years, nor marriage.7
(11) After the resurrection paradise will be the abode of the just. ---- Not in paradise but in heaven; and paradise is neither in heaven nor on earth, but between the two.
(12) Paradise is the Jerusalem which is above, and it is in the third heaven, and the trees there are endowed with mind and have intelligence and logos, and man was thrust down thence to earth after the fall. ---- Paradise is not in the third heaven but on earth. |208
(13) The good things prepared for the just, eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man. ---- Hegesippus, however, an ancient and apostolic man (?), says in the fifth book of his Hypomnemata [I do not know how he arrived at this 8] that this is an idle saying, and that those who say it speak falsely, since the Scriptures and the Lord say, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear," etc.
(14) Those sinners who are given up to punishment are thereby purified of their wickedness and after their purification freed from punishment; moreover not all those given up to punishment are purified and freed, but only some. ---- No one [and this is the true view held by the church] is freed from punishment.
(15) To be burned and not consumed is an indestructible self-destruction.9 Titus, bishop of Bostra, however, writing against the Manichees, says in his first book: "How can destruction be destruction of itself? For it destroys solely and alone something else, not itself. But if it destroyed itself, it could not have subsisted from the start; for it will destroy itself, and will not so much 'be' as 'destroy' itself, for an indestructible 10 destruction is, by universal common sense, an impossible conception." [It is evident that this holy man calls "indestructible destruction" an impossibility in a different sense from that of the divinely inspired John. The latter understands by it a destruction that will last forever and will always continue, but the former thinks that destruction can not be indestructible, that is, cannot be passionlessness and indestructibility and a preserving force. Such being the relation of the two views, the author of the work before us, Gobarus, has not understood the different conceptions, and has set up the two propositions as contradictory.]
(16) The coining age 11 is the eighth. ---- It is the ninth.
(17) The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ after the resurrection was of tenuous consistency, spiritual and heavenly and light of weight and that could not be touched, and hence he could pass even through closed doors; while the palpable body, of gross consistency, is something other than that, solid and of different nature. ---- Our Lord Jesus, the Christ, after the resurrection had neither an impalpable body nor one of tenuous consistency, nor a spiritual body, but through his miraculous power, not because of the nature of his body, he passed through closed doors.
(18) Christ did not put off the flesh after the resurrection, but sits at the right hand of the Father in the flesh. ---- He will come to judge the quick and the dead not in the flesh but in a body answering to his divinity.
(19) Not in the flesh but in pure deity does the Lord come at his second advent. [Gobarus puts this as a "chapter," and adduces for it sayings of Titus, bishop of Bostra, but he neglects all the countless contrary sayings which he might have cited, mentioning none of them, and thereby, as |209 everywhere, exhibits his impiousness, which, denying the flesh, sliamelessly makes a dogmatic statement of "the one nature."]
(20) The body that cannot suffer and be wounded and die is of another nature and another kind than ours, and the perishable and mortal undergoes a transformation of nature when the change to imperishability and immortality befalls it.
(21) Every definition, if it is complete, preserves the nature of the things defined; but if anything is taken away from or added to the definition, the thing defined is dissolved. [These two chapters, as well as the 19th, consist of a single member, and do not contain any contrary statement.]
(22) The Logos of God is completely in the All and over the All, and. it is completely in the body which it united to itself hypostatically. In a word, the being and nature of deity fills all things physically and dynamically and energetically, and pervades everything that is, by virtue of the mingling in relation to the All. ----It is not so; but God is by his nature outside of the All; he is, however, in all through the powers which he possesses.
(23) Before the world came into existence God created the angels. ---- It is not so, rather on the first day of creation.
(24) The angels and demons have bodies. ----Neither the former nor the latter have bodies.
(25) Angels and rational souls and all intelligent creatures are by nature and in the order of nature imperishable. ---- On the contrary, not by nature but by grace are they immortal; God alone is so by nature.
(26) The angels that came down from heaven to earth had flesh and organs of reproduction, and coinpanying with the women they begat the giants and taught them arts and evil arts; but the giants, uniting themselves with beasts, begat horrible creatures in human form, and demons male and female, but those angels have their place of punishment where fire and hot springs start from the earth; and the souls of sinners become demons. ---- On the contrary, the fallen angels, being without flesh, did not themselves unite with the women, but through the medium of men, or rather neither themselves nor through the medium of men; and human souls do not change into demons.
(27) The heaven is spherical and revolves. ---- Neither is it spherical nor does it revolve.
(28) The Spirit which "brooded over the water" was the Holy Ghost. ----It was not the Holy Ghost, but one of the four elements.
(29) The Lord's Day is both the eighth and the first. ---- It is not.
(30) Human souls are rational bodies shaped like the external corporeal form and appearance of man. ---- The soul is incorporeal and not subject to bodily shapes.
(31) Souls existed before the foundation of the world and descended from heaven into bodies, such as Moses and the prophets, and Socrates and Plato, and John the Baptist, and the souls of the Apostles, but especially that of the Lord. ---- Souls were not in heaven before they had bodies, but entered upon existence at the time of origin of the body: the body preceded, then came the soul; or rather, there is neither priority nor posteriority, but simultaneity.
(32) God formed the body of Adam from earth. ----Not from earth, but from water and spirit. |210
(33) The breath which God breathed into Adam's face was temporal, and not, like the spirit, eternal.12 ---- It was not temporal, but an immortal soul.
(34) . . .,13 since man is composed of three parts, mind and soul and body, and no one of these was the inbreathed breath, but that was the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost did not become soul or mind, but made the soul.
(35) Earth and water and the other elements change into fruits and plants, and food changes into flesh and sinews and other parts of the body. ---- The earth does not change into plants and fruits, nor food into our body.
(36) After death the soul departs neither from the body nor from the grave. ---- The soul does not remain with the body nor in the grave. [Here, out of numberless easily found statements, Gobarus has adduced only those of Severian of Gabala and Irenaeus.]
(37) Every originated thing is corruptible and mortal, but by the will of God it persists as if indissoluble and incorruptible. ---- That which is by nature corruptible cannot be incorruptible by the will of God, for whoever affirms that contradicts himself, and ascribes to the Creator that which is impossible. [For this opinion he has quoted a statement of Justin Martyr;14 but with Greek opinion on this point a conflict had arisen, and he gives a refutation from Plato, who said; "Since you have been originated, you are by no means immortal or indissoluble; nevertheless, you will not be dissolved nor partake of death, for my will is stronger, of which you have partaken." The Martyr, refuting Plato's idea, shows that Plato, in introducing the demiurge, contradicts himself, and does not bring what he says into harmonious unity; for cither that which is originated must, by earlier definition, be corruptible, or else he makes a false statement who declares everything originated to be corruptible. Gobarus insists that the refutation of the Greek idea must serve also to overthrow the view of the church.]
(38) [He now returns to the propositions with one member and shows (of the whole series it is the 38th chapter) what Saint Eustathius, archbishop of Antioch, held concerning the incarnation of our Lord; then (39) what the most holy Cyril, Alexandrian high-priest, and next (40) what the doctors of the church thought about the saying, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, neither the angels nor the Son, but the Father only," and (41) what Severus thought about it.]
(42) [He now returns to the contrasted arrangement of utterances, and presents as his 42d chapter the statements] that our Lord Jesus, the Christ, was suckled by Mary, the Mother of God, ---- and that he was not suckled by her.
(43) "He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist." The Saviour applied this to himself. ---- No, to John the evangelist.
(44) Our Lord Jesus, the Christ, was crucified at the age of thirty years. ----Not thirty but thirty-three. ---- Not thirty-three but forty. ---- No, neither thirty nor forty, but still older, almost fifty.
(45) When the Lord handed to his disciples the mystery of the new covenant, he ate the passover prescribed by the law. ---- No, he did not then eat this passover. |211
(46) The brazen serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness was a type of the Lord. ---- No, not a type, but an antitype.
(47) He who cut off the ear of the high priest's servant was Thomas. ----No, it was not Thomas but Peter.
(48) In the time of the passion the Deity departed from the body of Christ. ---- The Deity departed neither from his soul nor from his body.
(49) The Saviour gave his blood as ransom for captive mankind to "the Enemy," since the latter had made that his condition. ---- On the contrary, not to "the Enemy" but to God and the Father did he offer it.
(50) Christ rose in a better and more wonderful fashion than the transfiguration on the mount. ----No, at the resurrection he did not change his body to correspond to the glory due him, but showed it such as it was before his death; the former is said by Cyril, the opposite by Dionysius of Alexandria.
(51) On the 12th day of the first month Mary anointed the Lord with ointment in the house of Simon the leper; on the 13th the Lord handed to his disciples the mystical Supper; on the 14th he suffered his saving passion; on the 15th he rose from the dead; and ascended on the 10th. ---- No, on the 14th he ate the mystical Supper, on the 15th he was crucified, and rose on the 10th. ---- Not so either, but on the third day, and on Sunday, the resurrection of the Lord took place, and after forty days he ascended.
(52) From the fifth evening, when the Lord handed the mystic Supper to his disciples, his body had been sacrificed.
[So far the author has treated with few exceptions of the general teachings and questions of the church, for the most part with contrasted utterances ----supplying both members of the antithesis, but framing besides a few chapters with single testimonies. From this point on, however, he takes up particular topics, eighteen in number:]
(1) What the views of Severus were on the mystagogues of the church; and (2) what his attitude was in his letter to Thomas, bishop of Germanicia, toward what had been said by Cyril and John of Antioch; and (3) that he did not approve the utterances of St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, on the apokatastasis, nor (4) Papias, bishop of Hierapolis and martyr, nor (5) Irenaeus, the saintly bishop of Lyons, in so far as these assert that the kingdom of heaven consists in the enjoyment of certain material foods.
(6) Basil, the saint, in many passages does not approve of St. Dionysius of Alexandria, especially in so far as he 15 leans toward the party of the Arians.16 Yet he apologizes for him as not moved by impious purpose, but as having been brought, by arguing against Sabellius, to the expression of bad views in the opposite direction; also he says that his language concerning the Spirit is not perfectly correct. (7) But the great Athanasius also makes a strong defense of Dionysius: "Dionysius," he says, "neither at any time held the views of Arius nor failed to see the truth; for neither was he charged with impiety by other bishops, nor did he use Arian language in his teaching." (8) But Theodoret too said the same of him. |212
(9) In addition he adduces testimonies as to the attitude of Theophilus and his synod toward St. John Chrysostom, (10) and what view Atticus and (11) Cyril took of this holy man; (12) what opinions the very discreet Isidore of Pelusium held concerning the Alexandrian bishops and St. John Chrysostom, how he complained of the former for his hatred of Chrysostom, but praised and admired the latter. (13) Severus, starting out to blame St. Isidore but having no good grounds, invented the charge of "Origenism," but again, convinced of the truth, withdrew it of his own accord.
(14) Further, the opinions of Hippolytus and Epiphanius concerning Nicolaus, one of the seven deacons, and their severe charges against him. Ignatius Theophorus,17 however, Clement, author of the Stromata, Eusebius Pamphili, and Theodoret of Cyrus, while they bring charges against the Nicolaitan sect, declare that Nicolaus himself was not a man of that kind.
(15) Hippolytus and Irenaeus say that the Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews is not by him, but Clement and Eusebius and many other theophoric fathers count it in among his other epistles and say that the aforesaid Clement translated it from the Hebrew.
(16) The great Athanasius of Alexandria approved Origen and Theognos-tus in many points of doctrine, Titus of Bostra does the same, and the theologian Gregory in his letters calls Origen "friend of beauty and goodness," and he of Nyssa brings him to remembrance with praise. But also Dionysius of Alexandria praises him in a letter addressed to him, as well as in a second letter, after Origen's death, to Theotecnus, bishop of Caesarea. And Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem and martyr, likewise in a letter to Origen, becomes most friendly. Theophilus and Epiphanius detest Origen.
(17) The opinion of the most holy Hippolytus on the sect of the Montanists, and that of St. Gregory of Nyssa.
[The above comprise the more special chapters. Once more he turns to a more general question, and cites statements on the theme] (18) that every departed soul has great advantage from the prayers and sacrifices and alms offered in his behalf; ---- on the contrary that it does not.
[As far as this we find that Gobarus brought his work.]18
§ 1. The Person and Work of Gobarus
Photius appears to know the author only from the work from which he presents excerpts (Στέφανός τις). The surname Gobarus bids us seek the author in Syria; at least he must have been held in repute among Syrian Monophysites; for the word is not Greek, and may probably be traced back to gebar (meaning 'man,' 'hero').19
The express designation of the author as a "tritheist" Photius may have derived from the work itself; but this is not evident from his excerpts.20 The designation makes it certain that the terminus a quo for the date of the work is to be set not long before the middle of the sixth century. The authors whom Gobarus quotes in his work 21 afford no certain indication of the province in which Gobarus worked and wrote. Walch (l. c, p. 883) feels justified in reckoning him among Egyptian teachers, "since he seems best acquainted with the Alexandrian controversies and church fathers." The observation is correct, but whether it suffices to determine the locality will have to be investigated.
It is evident from the whole nature and learned attitude of the book that Gobarus was what was called both in the sixth century and at other times a 'grammaticus.' It is possible indeed that the surname 'Gobarus' may be explained by this fact; perhaps it meant 'doctor irrefragabilis.' 22 In a search among the countless 'Stephani' with whom ours might be identified, Stephan Bar Sudaili is certainly not to be considered, because of his date and his peculiar doctrine; on the other hand it is tempting to suggest an identification with the Alexandrian sophist, Stephanus Niobes, the extreme Monophysite, concerning whom we have a certain amount of information from |214 Timotheus and Dionysius Telmaharensis,23 and who worked in the last third of the sixth century.24 But since the surnames are different and cannot be identified without violence, since furthermore no positive testimonies support the identification, and since it cannot be certainly proved that Gobarus thought precisely as did his namesake in matters of christology (even though I, 19 does suggest this), this identification is probably inadvisable.
The work from which Photius quotes bore no title ---- otherwise he would have mentioned it; moreover it contained nothing as to its purposes, and these are not obvious at first glance. Was it perchance mutilated at the beginning and perhaps also at the close? The latter as well as the former is abrupt, and Photius seems to have felt the abrupt conclusion (τὸν μὲν οὖν Γόβαρον μέχρι τούτων τῶν κεφαλαίων τὸν πόνον εὕρομεν ἀναδεξάμενον). But if he had been dealing with a doubly mutilated work, he would have so stated. Everything is explained if we assume that Photius had before him not a book from the hand of the author himself, but a compilation by another, possibly a disciple of Gobarus, who made this collection for himself and others on the basis of the master's lectures or disputations, perhaps with the latter's knowledge. This hypothesis is supported by the observation that, so far as we know, this unique work remained unnoticed down to Photius, while on the contrary one would have expected it to create the greatest sensation; and is confirmed by the lack of orderly arrangement which we observe in it.25 To be sure, disorder is by no means unfamiliar in the literature of question and response, nor is it surprising there, because the questions were answered as they came; in this work, however, the questions obviously serve a single definite purpose and are put by the author himself, or rather |215 they are not questions and answers at all, but theses and antitheses. Why then this lack of order? Or is the disorder purposed? Did Gobarus mean thereby to indicate that he could at will dip into the tradition and always find what he sought?
One further observation must be noted. Photius states at the outset that the work embraces about fifty-two chapters in theses and antitheses relating to general ecclesiastical controversies, ---- "about," because a few chapters of more special content (merikw&tera) are appended. Photius does not number the chapters; but there are in fact fifty-two. Yet in fact, after the fifty-second chapter, he quite unexpectedly informs us that there are eighteen further special chapters (ἰδικὰ κεφάλαια), and gives excerpts from these also. Did he fail to notice these in the beginning? We have no light on the matter.26 Photius's distinction, however, between general ecclesiastical controversies and special questions (which does not coincide with the other distinction between two-membered and one-membered chapters) is merely imposed externally upon the work, although according to Photius it is intended to explain the plan of the two parts. For, as Photius himself remarks, the first part contains not only several one-membered sections, but also numerous ἰδικὰ κεφάλαια, and the second part has a chapter (No. 18) dealing with a general ecclesiastical controversy. The distinction between the two parts ---- though it is not carried through consistently ---- lies rather in the fact that the second part contains numerous personally determined problems, including (1) a group of Severus's judgments upon older church fathers, and (2) contradictory judgments of the fathers on Dionysius of Alexandria, Chrysostom, Origen, the Nicolaitans, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Montanists. To these there are no parallels in the first part.
Since the work from which Photius made excerpts was probably not edited by the author himself; since it has no title; since it makes no direct statement of its purposes; since Photius likewise gave no account of these purposes; and, finally, since in the excerpts of the first and more extensive part it is |216 hardly ever stated which church fathers supported the thesis and which the antithesis, or on which side the author himself stands, it is uncommonly hard to reach a satisfactory notion of the author's purpose and of the man himself.
§ 2. Theological and Philosophical Position
To determine the theological position of Monophysite teachers of the sixth century is well known to be difficult, for the subject of christology had become extremely complicated. It was weighted down with theological, trinitarian, cosmological, anthropological, and eschatological questions, and the combinations led to differences of position, even with theologians who were on the main question not far apart. A teacher could thus stand on the extreme right in one group of questions and in others be "liberal." We must be constantly on our guard here against an undue requirement of "consistency."
In his introduction to the work of Gobarus Photius remarks that, of the theses and antitheses, one always contains the ecclesiastical view, the other, the view to be rejected. This assertion is misleading, both because in many cases there was no "ecclesiastical" view of the problem in question, and because it is often hard to say which the ecclesiastical view is. And it is very often obscure what Gobarus's own view is. The hypothesis that it is always the thesis or always the antithesis that contains his theology, breaks down; indeed, a careful reading speedily leads to the suspicion that in many chapters he was interested in neither the thesis nor the antithesis, but solely in the contradiction itself. The difficulty of discovering his own theological position from such evidence is plain.
Nevertheless it is possible to reach some clear conclusions with regard to Gobarus's theology and christology:
1. Photius terms him a "tritheist."
2. The famous Monophysite Severus was an authority of first rank for Gobarus. In I, 41 Gobarus sets his interpretation of the saying, "But of that day and hour," etc., over against that of all other teachers, whom Photius calls "the doctors of the church" (that is, the Chalcedonians). In II, 1-5 Gobarus |217 gives Severus's judgments on "the holy mystagogues of the church," 27 and on Cyril of Alexandria, John of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Papias, and Irenaeus; for no other teacher has he shown such clear preference. He does, to be sure, in II, 13 admit a change of opinion on the part of Severus, but he remarks that it came about δι̕ ἐαυτοῦ, and so is not to the discredit of the great teacher, since he allowed himself to be conquered by the truth.
3. II, 13, however, proves that Gobarus was no Origenist,28 and that consequently in the Origenistic controversies he is not to be reckoned among the apologists of the famous theologian. He even considers it a reproach to be an Origenist.29
4. Chapters I, 19, 20, with one member each, show that in regard to the body of Christ Gobarus taught "that the immortal body of Christ, incapable of suffering or of being wounded, is of another nature and another kind than ours, further that Christ will come again, not in the flesh, but on the contrary in pure deity, and finally that the perishable and mortal (i.e. our flesh), will undergo an essential transformation when the change to imperishability and immortality befalls it." In connection with the second of these statements Photius remarks that in support of it Gobarus has adduced only sayings of Titus of Bostra, neglecting the countless contrary sayings, "here, as everywhere, revealing his impiousness, which by shamelessly and dogmatically denying the flesh gives expression to 'the one nature.'" Evidently Gobarus represents the same view as the Emperor Justinian, Stephanus Niobes, and others with reference to the incorruptibility of Christ's body and its merely relative homogeneousness with our body (first statement), and further the doctrine of Johannes Philoponus that everything created (including the human body) really perishes, being fqarto&n, and attains imperishability only through an essential transformation (re-creation), as |218 set forth in the third statement.30 By I, 37 the doctrine of Gobarus is made still clearer. Following Pseudo-Justin (Cohortatio 23) in his polemic against Plato (Timaeus 41 B)----whom he misunderstands ---- he asserts that God by his will can not make imperishable the naturally perishable, even God's omnipotence being powerless in the face of this contradictory antilogy. A real re-creation is necessary ---- exactly as Philoponus teaches.
5. Gobarus was an Aristotelian; for (a) the proof that in spite of the doctrine just sketched the resurrection of the body can nevertheless be held could only be successfully advanced by the means of Aristotelian philosophy; (b) the chapters I, 21 and 37 (likewise I, 1 and 15) reveal this philosophy clearly, and the whole work (including its tritheism) dwells in the cool scientific atmosphere of Aristotle.31
6. The affinity with Philoponus having been established ---- by tritheism, by the doctrines of the body and the resurrection, and by Aristotelianism, we recall the fact that this teacher composed a work Peri\ tou~ pa&sxa with the purpose of proving, on the basis of the Gospel of John, that the mystical Supper was not the passover supper, but that it took place on the 13th day of the month and that Jesus was crucified on the 14th. With this I, 45b, 51a, (52) should be compared; we see that on this question, too, Gobarus agreed with Philoponus.
7. On the basis of I, 19, 20, we may also claim I, 4b, 5b, 7a, 10b, 17a, 18b, 48b, 50a, as representing the opinion of Gobarus. This makes his theological position still clearer.
It thus appears that as a philosopher Gobarus was an Aristotelian, as a theologian he stood very close to Philoponus, but also to that other famous Monophysite, Severus, whose position was markedly different from that of Philoponus. Origen he rejected. It is worth mentioning that Photius did not repudiate as heretical any of the fathers cited by Gobarus. The latter, |219 although a Monophysite, must have succeeded in giving his work such a form that Chalcedonian orthodoxy could not completely reject it. But, as is well known, the "heresy" of Monophysitism was a ticklish thing in the Eastern Empire in the sixth century.
§ 3. The Date of the Work
From Photius's introduction it appears that Gobarus cited "ancient" and "later" fathers. So far as we can judge from the excerpts, the oldest were Ignatius (but it is Pseudo-Ignatius that is cited), Hegesippus, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria; the latest was Severus of Antioch, a leader of the Monophysites.32 Since Severus figures as an authority side by side with the ancient fathers, he cannot have been still alive; his death falls about the year 540. But this date brings us no new information beyond what has been established above, namely, that the terminus a quo is to be set shortly before the middle of the sixth century. Let us look further.
1. The teacher upon whom Gobarus is most dependent, Philoponus, was not mentioned by name in the work. That may be definitely affirmed; for if Photius had found this man in Gobarus among the "fathers," he would, with his deep repugnance to "Mataioponus " (see Photius, Bibl. LV, LXXV, XXI, XXIII), have animadverted upon this. Nor may it be asserted that Gobarus failed to mention Philoponus because the latter passed with Chalcedonian orthodoxy as a heretic, for not until much later, at the sixth Council, was he condemned as such. We can only infer that Philoponus was not mentioned by Gobarus because he was still alive.33 Since Philoponus attacked the patriarch of Constantinople, Johannes Scholasticus (565-577), he was certainly still living about the year 570. Hence our work is to be assigned to the period ca. 540 to ca. 570 (or even later).34 |220
2. Gobarus regarded Origenism (II, 13) as an actual heresy. This renders it probable that he wrote after the fifth Council, and presumably brings the terminus a quo for our work to the years 553-ca. 570 (ca. 580?).35
3. It is striking that no reference to tritheism is made in the work (unless perhaps in I, 1 ?), while nevertheless the sole theological characterization which Photius makes of Gobarus is "tritheist." Now it will appear in the sequel that the chief intent of the work was to overthrow church tradition as such. In a Monophysite who revered Severus and claimed to be a conservative this purpose can have been evoked only by some strongly felt dogmatic aim (or by some burning ecclesiastical question of the day). No aim of that kind is to be gathered from the work itself; hence the probability that Gobarus's purpose was the defence of tritheism by overthrowing tradition in general, and that for this reason he said nothing of tritheism itself. In that case the work probably belongs to the time of Justin II (565-578).36 This dating combines excellently with the one given above, and we thus gain for our work the date 565 -ca. 570, or, in case Philoponus attained a very advanced age and Gobarus took part in the earliest stages of the tritheistic controversy, 553-ca. 580. The date ca. 600, given in many books, |221 lacks, so far as I know, all foundation. Of the dogma of energies and wills, which came to the front as early as about 600, no trace is found in the work. It remains surprising that our book is not mentioned in the work of John of Ephesus; but it has already been remarked that we are but imperfectly acquainted with John's work and that the work of Gobarus was probably not "edited." 37
§ 4. Plan, Contents, and Purpose of the Work
The peculiar character of the work resides in the fact, first, that it shows little trace of arrangement and order; secondly, that it does not contain a statement of its purpose; thirdly, that according to Photius's testimony the author refrained both from dogmatic reflections and from citing biblical proof-texts; and, fourthly, that he merely put together citations from the church fathers, usually in theses and antitheses. Which church fathers Gobarus cited, almost entirely eludes our inquiry so far as the first and larger part of the work is concerned, for in only a few places has Photius named them in his short excerpts. In I, 13, he mentions Hegesippus's Hypomnenata; in I, 15, 19, Titus of Bostra (Against the Manichees); in I, 36, Severian of Gabala and Irenaeus; in I, 37, Pseudo-Justin (Cohortatio); in I, 38-41, Eustathius of Antioch, Cyril of Alexandria, "the doctors of the church," Severus of Antioch; in I, 50, Cyril and Dionysius of Alexandria. In these few cases the mention of the names had its motive in special considerations in the mind of Photius. In the second and shorter part, the situation is different. Here all the fathers whom Gobarus cited are named by Photius, except |222 in II, 18. He had to name them here, because it was a matter of ἰδικὰ κεφάλαια.38
It therefore remains obscure on what scale, or with what thoroughness, Gobarus adduced citations from the church fathers in the first part. But if his procedure was here as thorough as in II, 14 (concerning the Nicolaitans), we must form a very favorable judgment of his erudition, for in this instance he has mentioned with approximate completeness all the fathers who in any way came into consideration on this question. And Photius in his introduction has paid tribute to the author's industry. |223
With reference to their subject-matter the chapters may be divided into the following groups:
(1) Christology and the life of Jesus, I, 1-3, 17-20, 22, 38-52.
(2) The doctrine of the resurrection and eschatology, I, 4-7, 10-16, 36, 37; II, 18.
(3) The doctrine of the being of God, of man, and of creation, I, 8, 9, 23-35.
(4) Logic, I, 21.
(5) Judgments on men of the church, and on controversies connected with their names, and related matters, II, 1-17.
The classification under the first three groups as given above is, however, modern, and hardly in accord with the views of Gobarus himself, for in all three are included chapters which in the view of that age were closely related, treating as they do the question as to the nature and mutual relation of the divine and the human, of the psychical and the corporeal, of the celestial and the earthly, of the uncreated and the created, of |224 the imperishable and the perishable. If we allow to this question the extraordinary latitude that it possessed in the cosmological and the nearly related christological speculation of the time, then the following chapters belong more or less closely together: I, 1, 4-15, 17-20, 22-26, 28-43, 48, 50 (probably also 45, 51, 52, and the chapter on logic, I, 21). Thus in the first part only eight chapters 39 remain which no art can contrive to subordinate to that main topic, viz., I, 2, 3, 16, 27, 44, 46,40 47, and 49. To these are to be added the seventeen κεφάλαια ἰδικά of the second part, together with chapter II, 18.
With reference to these twenty-six pieces of utterly varied content there can be no doubt that Gobarus adduced them solely for the purpose of showing how the church fathers contradict each other; for what other motive can be discovered for this juxtaposition of unrelated topics? With reference, however, to the forty-four first-mentioned pieces it is equally beyond doubt that,, parallel with the main interest of discrediting tradition by laying bare its contradictions, a second interest was present. The author desired, namely, to enounce the Aristotelian-Monophysite conception (represented by Philoponus) of the relation of the uncreated to the created (of the indestructible to the perishable), and so to give expression to the appropriate doctrine of the incarnation and of the one nature of the Redeemer (with special reference to his body).41 Photius himself reproaches Gobarus here with partisan choice of his witnesses and with misunderstanding (I, 15, 19, 36, 37).42 |225
The aims of the work are thus disclosed. In an ecclesiastical controversial question ---- presumably that of tritheism ---- the tritheist Gobarus, confronted by the very embarrassing appeal of his opponents to the authority of tradition,43 resorted to the violent expedient of discrediting tradition itself, and in the process he gave vigorous expression to his Aristotelian-Monophysite theology and christology.
* * *
The work of Gobarus is unique in the whole literature of the Greek church. When one considers what tradition signifies in the Greek church, and that the whole dogma is built up on traditional proof,44 the boldness of Gobarus is amazing. From |226 the time of the heretic Marcion no one in the church had undertaken any such thing. It was precisely in the tritheistic controversy that the chief rôle was played by proof from the testimonies of the fathers 45 ---- and just at that moment Gobarus wrote his "Sic et Non," and uncovered the contradictions to be found in the works of the most celebrated church fathers.
How did he come to do it? Where did he get the courage and the capacity for such an undertaking? It is to be remembered that since the end of the fifth century Aristotelianism had regained ascendancy in learned study. Gobarus believed in the controlling significance of ratio and dialectic, looked with scorn upon the traditionalists, and believed himself able to dispense with their weapons. This is where Gobarus belongs; but he alone among the teachers of the church was consistent. The others clung to the principle, "ratio et autoritas", but Gobarus took his stand on ratio alone, and annihilated tradition. How much this meant in that age, we can scarcely realize today. Nor do we know whether Gobarus made his murderous book accessible to wider circles or only communicated it to friends and disciples; the boldest are not always the most courageous, and we hear nothing of a controversy, and consequently nothing of a success. The further fact is important, and shows his caution, that he formulated no conclusions; he simply let the facts speak for themselves by placing them side by side in the form of theses and antitheses. Thus he remained protected as to his own person, and further proved his caution by not exposing himself to criticism in the collection and combination of his patristic citations. Photius has scarcely anywhere found occasion to reproach him with partisanship, still less with untrustworthiness or falsification. He assumed the mask of a calm "reviewer," but who can doubt that he intended to discredit tradition in all fields by demonstrating its contradictions with reference to the doctrines of God and Christ, of the perishable and the imperishable, of heaven, paradise, and hell, of the Bible, history, and chronology? |227
Many things have been repeated in history, including the history of ecclesiastical thought; but so perfect a parallel as that between Abaelard, with his work "Sic et Non," 46 and Gobarus and his nameless work is not likely to be found again. In one hundred and fifty-eight chapters Abaelard, without adding anything or drawing conclusions of his own, combines theses and antitheses in reference to the most varied doctrines ---- with precisely the same purpose as Gobarus, to undermine the authority of tradition and so clear the way for the royal ratio, that is, for doubt and science (Wissenschaft). But it was because at the opening of the twelfth century the situation of thought was much like that of the sixth century, that this second Gobarus then appeared. Since the middle of the eleventh century Aristotelianism with its ratio and its confidence in dialectic had again been on the scene, opposing the musty "science" that relied on tradition, exactly as it had opposed it in the sixth century in the person of Gobarus.47 The only difference is that Abaelard placed at the head of his work a "Preface " which is a masterpiece of courage and shrewdness, and at the same time a supreme achievement of mediaeval thought.48
That Abaelard was ignorant of the work of Gobarus makes their agreement the more striking,49 and serves to enhance confidence in the conclusion that in the two cases alike the inner logic of the development of events has led through the |228 intervention of Aristotelianism to the same phenomena. It even happens that a few chapters are alike in content : cf. Abaelard, chapter 23 ("quod 'Spiritus domini ferebatur super aquas' intelligendum sit de Spiritu Sancto, et non") with Gobarus I, 28; Abaelard, chapter 46 (the angels created before the world, et non) with Gobarus I, 23, etc.
"Hoc genus literarum [the patristic tradition] non cum credendi necessitate, sed cum judicandi libertate legendum est " ---- this liberating utterance of Abaelard (Praefatio, p. 14) expresses, we may be sure, the opinion of Gobarus as well.
Gobarus's Contributions to the Exegesis of New Testament Passages and to the Church History of the first three Centuries
(a) New Testament.
On I, 2: According to the traditional reckoning based on Luke 1, 26, etc., the Baptist was born on the 24th of June, and was conceived on the 24th of September. This corresponds to December 25 as the date for the birth of Jesus. If the fifth (sixth) of January is taken for the birth of Jesus, and John's birth put six months earlier, the conception of John will be moved forward into October. Thus neither thesis nor antithesis here contemplates December 25 as the date of the birth of Jesus. This is very remarkable. Those who shifted the conception of John to November proceeded from January 6 as the date of the birth of Jesus (conception on the 6th of April) and reckoned back not six, but only five, months, because Luke 1, 26 says that Gabriel was sent to Mary in the sixth month. This brought them to the month of November. So far as I know, such a calculation does not appear elsewhere in the tradition.
On I, 3: The two familiar dates for the birth of Jesus stand here, just as they stood opposed to each other in the fourth, and the third, century.
On I, 10: The thousand years belong to the Apocalypse of John, the resurrection of beasts to Isaiah 11; but the revelling |229 for one thousand years and marriage go back to Papias or his sources of information in Asia Minor. Cerinthus (Eusebius, H. E. iii. 28) was certainly not cited by Gobarus, since the latter left heretics unnoticed.
On I, 15: Photius has not adduced the antithesis here, for he forthwith criticizes the thesis; but in the antithesis the eternity of the punishments of hell must have been affirmed, with an appeal to the Apocalypse, in which endless punishment is taught.
On I, 43 (Matthew 11, 11): The application of mikro&teroj to Jesus is found in many fathers ; with that to John the Evangelist I am not otherwise acquainted. It is a curiosity, and bears witness to the special esteem for the Evangelist; perhaps it is to be found among the Syrians.
On I, 44 (Jesus' age) : It is interesting at so late a date to meet with the view that Jesus lived to be almost fifty; the idea goes back to Irenaeus, whom Gobarus had read (Adv. haer. ii. 22 and Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, chapter 74, on the basis of John 8, 57 and the testimony of the Asia Minor presbyters).
On I, 45 : This relates to the well-known question on which the Synoptics and John part company; Philoponus accepted the date as given by John.
On I, 46 (John 3, 14) : This, like chapters 44, 45, 47, relates to passages from the Gospel of John, which the Monophysites specially esteemed (see above, on I, 43). The interpretation of the brazen serpent received much attention from the fathers, and with precisely the formulation of the problem here given. On I, 47: So far as I know, the tradition that it was Thomas who struck off Malchus's ear is not found elsewhere. The statement perhaps stood as a gloss in a Synoptic gospel (John alone mentions Peter) ; and presumably in Greater Syria, for in this patriarchate Thomas played the chief rôle.
On I, 51, 52: Since no antithesis stands in chapter 52, we must assume that Gobarus himself shared the view held by Monophysites, that the sacrifice of the body of Christ took place in the breaking of the bread at the celebration of the Last Supper. ---- With reference to the last dates in the history of |230 Jesus Gobarus states not merely two, but three views, the third being that of the church. The other two have this in common, that the resurrection is assigned to the day after the crucifixion; but they differ in two other points: (1) the first follows John, the second the Synoptics; (2) the first puts the ascension one day after the resurrection, the second is silent about it. Both the dating of the resurrection but one day after the crucifixion and the dating of the ascension one day after the resurrection are otherwise unknown, or at most there are only uncertain testimonies for the assignment of the resurrection to the day after the crucifixion; see W. Bauer, Das Leben Jesu im Zeitalter der Neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 1909, pp. 158 ff., 253 ff., 306 ff., and E. Preuschen in the Protestantische Realencyclopädie, XIV, pp. 725 ff. I cannot here enter upon an investigation of these remarkable statements of dates, and will merely remark that those who assigned the resurrection to the day after the crucifixion followed a peculiar reckoning of the nights. On II, 14: In the question of the tradition concerning the Nicolaitans Gobarus has not only apprehended the salient point but also cited almost all the material (noting even the passage hidden away in Pseudo-Ignatius, Trall. 11, who, it should be noted, was read with special diligence among the Monophysites, and regarded as a high authority). Of the witnesses for the innocence of the Nicolaitans only Const. Apost. vi. 8 is lacking. It is to be further observed that Gobarus has produced the witnesses in proper chronological order. Whether Hippolytus's Syntagma or his Refutatio is meant can not be decided. The question whether the deacon Nicolaus himself turned into a wild Gnostic was destined to disquiet the church more and more.
On II, 15 (Epistle to the Hebrews) : It is remarkable that Gobarus entirely omits the view that this epistle, in its extant form, was written by Paul. That not only Hippolytus and Irenaeus but also the Latin tradition concerning the epistle receives no mention from him was to be expected. The failure of Hippolytus to accept Hebrews as a Pauline epistle, can be shown from Eusebius, II. E. vi. 20 and Photius, Bibliotheca XLVIII; in both cases the name Hippolytus is wrongly |231 interchanged with the name Caius ; Gobarus is thus independent of Eusebius. That Irenaeus did not reckon the epistle a part of the New Testament, we know indirectly; Gobarus, however, must have had positive information that Irenaeus recognized only thirteen Pauline epistles, otherwise he could not have expressed himself so definitely. The statement about Eusebius came from H. E. iii. 38; and the slip of the pen (confusing the Roman and the Alexandrian Clement) is thereby explained. Gobarus has combined Eusebius's statement with that of the Alexandrian Clement, although they do not entirely agree in their views about the origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
After I, 40, 41, Gobarus gave the interpretation of the doctors of the church and Severus for the difficult passage in Matthew 24, 36; unfortunately Photius has given us neither the interpretations nor the names of these doctors.
(b) Fathers of the First Centuries.
On II, 4 : Severus of Antioch still knew the work of Papias, unless he derived from Irenaeus v. 33, 3 f. the statement that according to Papias the kingdom of heaven consists in the enjoyment of certain material foods. This derivation is, however, very probable, since (II, 5) Severus mentioned Irenaeus in the same breath with Papias. From I, 10 it follows (see above) that Gobarus was acquainted with Papias, but here too the acquaintance may have been merely indirect.
On I, 13 : From the historical point of view the most interesting statement made by Gobarus is the quotation from Hegesippus. It reads: τὰ ἡτοιμασμένα τοῖς δικαίος ἀγαθὰ οὔτε ὀφθαλμὸς εἶδεν οὔτε οὖς ἤκουσεν οὔτε ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου ἀνέβη. Ἡγήσιππος μέντοι, ἀρχαῖός τε ἀνὴρ καὶ ἀποστολικός, 50 ἐν τῷ πέμπτῳ τῶν Ψ̔πομνημάτων, 51 μάτην μὲν εἰρῆσθαι ταῦτα λέγει, καὶ καταψεύδεσθαι τοὺς ταῦτα φαμένους, τῶν τε θείων γραφῶν καὶ τοῦ κυρίου λέγοντος· Μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὑμῶν οἱ βλέποντες καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν τὰ ἀκούοντα, καψ̀ ἑξἥς. The statement "in the fifth book" gives to the quotation a special degree of certainty. That Hegesippus |232 attacked Paul 52 is extremely unlikely, first because he gives the citation in a form different from that of Paul 53 in 1 Corinthians 2, 9, secondly because he speaks of more than one who use (or misuse) the saying, and finally because in Paul himself it is a quotation, and we know numerous passages in which it is cited as a word of Scripture or of the Lord.54 The real state of things can only be as follows: Hegesippus had in mind in his polemic heretics who misused the saying for their celestial fantasies, and did not remember that it is found in Paul as well. But Gobarus knew the saying only as Pauline, and, finding it rejected in Hegesippus, seized on it in order to show that even an ancient and apostolic man had contradicted an apostle. Could there be a stronger testimony to the uncertainty of tradition? Whether Gobarus had the citation at first or second hand, cannot be certainly determined; but the exactness of the formula of citation favors the former assumption.
On I, 36: That Gobarus made direct or indirect use of Irenaeus, see above on I, 44, II, 4 f., 15; but from I, 36 it follows that he also mentioned a view of Irenaeus as to the abode of the soul after its departure from the body. The reference is to Irenaeus v. 31, 2: αἱ ψυχαὶ ἀπέρχονται εἰς τὸν ἀόραντον τόπον τὸν ὡρισμένον αὐταῖς ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, κτλ.
On II, 17: Among the quotations from Hippolytus is found also his judgment on Montanism, at least it is stated that this was different from that of Gregory of Nyssa. Since Gregory, like Basil, did not concede the validity of the Montanists' baptism, Hippolytus must have acknowledged it, which, in the light of Refutatio viii. 19, is very probable.
On I, 9, 12, 14, 31; II, 3-5,16: So far as we can see, Gobarus never quoted Origen as a witness for a thesis or antithesis. The |233 chapters here grouped together relate to teachings of Origen which were supported by orthodox teachers also (especially by Gregory of Nyssa). ---- I, 12: Since Origen taught that after the fall man was thrust down from paradise (situated in the third heaven), he must also have taught that "the trees of paradise are endowed with reason and with intelligence and logos," although I do not recall having read this in Origen. (Is it perhaps to be found in Gregory of Nyssa?) -----I, 14: The doctrine that punishments purify, and that finally even the wicked, having been purified by their punishments, are redeemed, is as much the teaching of Origen as is the doctrine of the preexistence of souls, the doctrine of the investment with flesh after the soul's fall (I, 30), the view that the "skins" are the bodies (I, 9), and the doctrine of apocatastasis, for which Gobarus (II, 3) cites Gregory of Nyssa. It is worthy of note that in I, 31 the souls of Moses, the prophets, Socrates, Plato, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and, above all, that of the Lord are enumerated as eminent souls ---- a "liberal" grouping which is certainly that of Origen, but which Gobarus must have read also in Gregory of Nyssa or in some other admittedly orthodox admirer of Origen. ---- The catalogue of Origen's partisans and opponents in II, 16 gives us no new information (but see the following paragraph) ; it is based in part on Eusebius's Church History (see Alexander of Jerusalem, Eus., H. E. vi. 14).
On I, 50; II, 6-8, 16: Our knowledge of the literary activity of Dionysius of Alexandria is really enlarged by Gobarus. That Dionysius addressed a letter to his old teacher Origen at the time of the latter's martyrdom (II, 16) is, indeed, mentioned by Eusebius (H. E. vi. 46) ; similarly the judgments (II, 6, 7) of Athanasius, Basil (compare the thorough exposition in Feltoe, "The Letters and Other Remains of Dionysius of Alexandria," 1904), and Theodoret (II, 8) on Dionysius are well known; but only from Gobarus (II, 16) do we learn that Dionysius wrote to Theotecnus of Caesarea in praise of Origen, and further, that he taught that the body in which the risen Lord appeared was of the same nature as before (I, 50), and hence not yet transformed into its future glory, nor such as it was at the |234 transfiguration. In what work (or letter) Dionysius taught this, cannot be determined. (If I am not mistaken, Feltoe has overlooked this statement.) It is surprising to meet this realistic view in an Alexandrian.
On I, 37: Gobarus cited the infrequently quoted Cohortatio of (Pseudo-) Justin (chapter 23; there from a passage from Plato), perhaps under the name Ἔλεγχος (see my Altchristliche Literatur-Geschichte, II, 2, pp. 151 ff.).
[Footnotes moved to the end]
1. 1 This title I have supplied. The manuscript tradition gives only the name of the author.
2. 2 Cave does not mention the writer, and there is no article on him in either the Protestant or the Catholic Realencyclopädie, or in the Dictionary of Christian Biography. In Fabricius-Harles, vol. X, p. 757, we find only a misleading list of the authors named in Photius's extracts from the work; and Krumbacher barely alludes to it. Bardenhewer (Patrologie, 2d ed., 1901, p. 479) says: "Among the famous writers of the tritheistic party [for this 'fame' I have found no evidence, unless it be the surname 'Gobarus'] was numbered Stephanus Gobarus, about 600 [for this date there is no evidence], now known only through extracts from his chief work [but we know of no other works] in Photius."
3. 3 He is not found either in Leontius or in Severus (although not all the writings of Severus are accessible in print). Mention of him is lacking also in the church histories of Evagrius and of John of Ephesus (although we do not possess the whole of the latter's great work). In later writers also my search has so far been in vain. For a possible identification, see below.
4. 4 That is, of Gobarus.
5. 5 καὶ οὐκ ἀθρόον πάντες, ἀλλὰ παρὰ μέρος. I am not sure about the understanding of this sentence.
6. 6 That is, God.
7. 7 That is, for the risen.
8. 8 This remark is by Photius, since he never makes Gobarus speak in the first person.
9. 9 I am not quite sure of the translation; τὸ καίεσθαι καὶ μὴ κατακαίεσθαι φθοράν ἐστιν ἄφθαρτον φθείρεσθαι.
10. 10 And hence eternal.
11. 11 Walch (l. c. p. 881) renders ὁ μέλλων αἰών by "the coming century," a translation which seems to me impossible.
12. 12 The reading should be: καὶ οὐχ ὡς τὸ πνεῦμα αἰώνοις (Mss. αἰώνιον).
13. 13 ὅτι οὐ πρόσκαιρος ἦν οὔτε ψυχή, ἀλλὰ νοῦς: corrupt text, but how emend it?
14. 14 He refers to Pseudo-Justin, Cohortatio.
15. 15 That is, Basil.
16. 16 μάλιστα δὲ ἐν οἷς τὸ ἀριανῶν ἔθνος ἐπερείδεται. I am not sure of the translation I have given; τῷ ἔθνει would be expected.
17. 17 Pseudo-Ignatius.
18. 18 While the numbers 1-52 are certain (since Photius counted up the total, and in one instance  has given the number of the chapter), in the second half of the book the reader is in doubt as to how to arrive at the number 18 given by Photius. The system adopted above for numbering the single pieces is not satisfactory, but I can find no better one. The surmise that chapters were here missing, I have considered, and rejected.
19. 19 Nevertheless the 'o' is not satisfactorily explained.
20. 20 Yet the designation may have been based on I, 1. (References to the fifty-two chapters of Gobarus's first, and "general," series are denoted by I; those to the eighteen chapters of his second, and "more special," series by II.)
21. 21 Photius has named comparatively few of these in his extracts.
22. 22 Gobarus's reputation must, however, have been limited to a local circle; otherwise he and his work could not have remained in such obscurity.
23. 23 For Dionysius Telmaharensis consult Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis, II, pp. 72 ff.
24. 24 Cf. Walch, 1. c, pp. 778 ff.; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, II. (2d ed), pp. 575 f.; Krüger, Protestantische Realencyklopädie, XIII, pp. 400 f. He became the founder of the Niobites (Adiaphorites), who attributed to Christ in the strictest sense only one nature.
25. 25 In some places cognate material is grouped together; but this is the exception rather than the rule.
26. 26 On the great difficulty in the numbering here see what has been said above.
27. 27 This designation is due to Photius, not to Gobarus; what men are actually meant is uncertain.
28. 28 From II, 16 this is not evident.
29. 29 This inference is to be drawn also from II, 3-5 : in matters of eschatology Gobarus took a correct intermediate position, rejecting both apocatastasis and chiliasm.
30. 30 See Walch, 1. c, VIII, pp. 771 ff., Schönfelder, Die Kirchengeschichte des Johannes von Ephesus, 1862, pp. 301 ff., Dictionary of Christian Biography, III, pp. 425 ff. The controversy as to the resurrection ended about the year 582.
31. 31 The preference for Titus of Bostra (I, 15, 19; II, 16) likewise certainly results from the latter's Antiochian and rational, Aristotelian character, as does perhaps the preference (if one may call it such) for Severian of Gabala (I, 36).
32. 32 That Photius did not reject Clement is not surprising. Thomas of Germanicia, Severus's letter to whom is mentioned in II, 2, was banished in 520 under Justin I as a Monophysite. He died in exile at Samosata about 541. Severus's letter to him is preserved (Wright, Catalogue, pp. 730, 567).
33. 33 Philoponus's literary activity began at latest in the year 529.
34. 34 The obscurity which long covered the date of Philoponus has been dispelled by recent investigations (Ritter, Geschichte der Philosophie, VI, pp. 501 ff.; Stöckl, in Wetzer and Weite, Kirchenlexikon, VI, columns 1748ff.; Dictionary of Christian Biography, p. 420). Nevertheless the year of his death can be given only approximately. The tradition that he was still alive in the first quarter of the seventh century as a contemporary of Georgius Pisides or of the emperor Heraclius is incompatible with the certainly determined dates.
35. 35 For the course of the Origenistic controversies see Diekamp, Die Origenistischen Streitigkeiten im 6. Jahrhundert und das 5. allgemeine Konzil, 1899; and Jülicher's review, Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1900, No. 6.
36. 30 Cf. Schönfelder, 1. c, pp. 267 ff. ("der Tritheistenstreit"; the author has paid scant attention to chronology) ; Dictionary of Christian Biography, p. 426. The beginnings of the Aristotelian-tritheistic movement (Askusnages) fall in the first half of Justinian's reign, and Philoponus taught his tritheism before 550, but only under Justin II did matters develop into a public controversy which agitated the church, and into that memorable disputation between the two groups of Monophysite teachers (the tritheists and the antitritheists) which the orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Johannes Scholasticus, held by order of the emperor (Photius, Bibliotheca XXIV; Evagrius, H. E., v. 4). By a chance coincidence one spokesman of the antitritheistic party was named Stephanus.
37. 37 Where Gobarus is to be looked for, remains problematical. Statistically a preponderance of references in the citations relate to Alexandria in Egypt; but since almost all these cases relate to great ecclesiastical persons and actions (Origen, Dionysius, Athanasius, Theophilus, Cyril), and since we do not know whether Gobarus's citations are at first or second hand, the result is after all a non liquet. Nevertheless the interest in Isidore of Pelusium inclines the balance in favor of Egypt, and the close relationship to Philoponus supports this conjecture. On the other hand, the surname Gobarus points to Syria, as has been said above. The question is of slight importance, for the reason that in the second half of the sixth century the Syrian and the Alexandrian Monophysites maintained an intimate intercourse with one another, and there were always many Syrians in Alexandria.
38. 38 The Catalogue of Fabricius-Harles has confused the fathers (and other persons) actually quoted by Gobarus and those only mentioned in his citations, with the result of a distorted image. In the following paragraphs the two groups are distinguished.
(a) Fathers cited by Gobarus (whether at first or second hand cannot be determined) :
Alexander of Jerusalem (probably taken from Eusebius's Church History), II, 16
Athanasius, II, 7, 16
Atticus of Constantinople, II, 10
Basil, II, 6
Clement of Alexandria, II, 14, 15 (probably quoting from Eusebius)
Cyril of Alexandria, I, 39, 50 and II, 11
Dionysius of Alexandria, I, 50 and II, 16
"The doctors of the church," I, 40
Epiphanius, II, 14, 16
Eusebius of Caesarea, II, 14, 15
Eustathius of Antioch, I, 38
Gregory of Nazianzus, II, 16
Gregory of Nyssa, II, 16, 17
Hegesippus, I, 13
Hippolytus, II, 14, 15, 17
Pseudo-Ignatius, II, 14
Irenaeus, I, 36, 44 and II, 15
Isidore of Pelusium, II, 12
Pseudo-Justin, I, 37
Severian of Gabala, I, 36
Severus of Antioch, I, 41 and II, 1-5, 13
Theodoret, II, 8, 14
Theophilus of Alexandria, II, 9, 16
Titus of Bostra, I, 15, 19 and II, 16.
The Apostle John is cited in I, 15 and 43, as are the Apostles Peter and Thomas in I, 47, John the Baptist in I, 2, the Mother of God in I, 3 and 42, and another Mary in I, 51. Photius says in his introduction that for the "non-ecclesiastical" half of his sentences Gobarus had cited only (?) ancient fathers as authorities (in accordance with contemporary use of language he means pre-constantinian fathers). Thus we should probably have had many other citations from lost ancient writings, as well as that from Hegesippus, if Photius's excerpt were more detailed. As it is, we can only show that of pre-constantinian fathers Gobarus cited Hegesippus, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Alexander of Jerusalem, Hippolytus, and Dionysius of Alexandria (besides Pseudo-Ignatius and Pseudo-Justin).
(b) Fathers and other persons mentioned in Gobarus's citations:
Bishops of Alexandria, II, 12
Clement of Rome, II, 15
Dionysius of Alexandria, II, 6-8
Gregory of Nyssa, II, 3
Irenaeus, II, 6
Isidore of Pelusium, II, 13
John of Antioch, II, 2
The Montanists, II, 17
"Mystagogues of the church," II, 1
Nicolaus and the Nicolaitans, II, 14
Origen, II, 13 and 16
Papias, II, 4
Sabellius, II, 6
Theognostus, II, 16
Theotecnus, II, 16
Thomas of Germanicia, II, 2.
Furthermore, Socrates, I, 31; Plato, I, 31 and 37. In I, 31 Moses, the prophets, Socrates, Plato, John the Baptist, and the Apostles are cited together. The Epistle to the Hebrews is mentioned in II, 15.
39. 39 For even such a question as, for instance, that mentioned in I, 42, whether Mary suckled the Lord or not, is in the last analysis not only a question touching Mary (virginitas post partum), but also a question pertaining to the problem of the incarnation and the relation of the divine to the human. Similarly some mystery is certainly concealed behind I, 43, and at the bottom of the passover problem (I, 45, 51, 52) lies ultimately the problem of the body of Christ, and behind this the problem of the imperishable and the perishable.
40. 40 Back of these two also may have lain for the author a problem of metaphysical christology.
41. 41 This is shown in particular by the chapters in which Gobarus has given theses only, without antitheses.
42. 42 If Gobarus had been guided exclusively by the purpose of discrediting tradition, it would remain obscure why in two-thirds of the cases he selected the contradictory utterances of tradition from a single field, however extensive.
43. 43 In the second century there were indeed highly esteemed fathers who were tritheists; but they did not intend to be such ---- and they were subordinationists. The tri-theists of the sixth century had great difficulty in maintaining their ground in the face of tradition.
44. 44 See my Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, II (4th ed., 1909), pp. 84 ff. Even so cautious a work as the Commonitorium of Vincent of Lerinum could not have been written in the East, for the idea of tradition was even more rigid here than in the West. Even the greatest theologian of the East and father of theological science in the Greek church took his stand firmly on the ground of ecclesiastical tradition. No one was permitted to depart from it. When the great Cappadocians were forced to recognize that there was no certain proof from tradition for the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Ghost, they invented for this doctrine a παράδοσις ἄγραφος, being unable to believe that a tradition could be lacking. From the fifth century on the proof from tradition became the most important proof, for the biblical and the speculative proof yielded precedence to it. In the controversy that lasted for centuries between the orthodox party and the Monophysites and between the Monophysites among themselves, proof from tradition dominated all endeavors. Ere long mutual recrimination naturally broke out, with charges of partisan bias in the selection of evidence, of the misinterpretation, and even the falsification and invention of evidence. Thus Philoponus was reproached (Photius, Bibliotheca LXXV) with misusing for his tritheism the utterances of the fathers, in particular of Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil, Athanasius, and Cyril; John of Ephesus tells us (Church History v. 10) that the tritheists had "put together a great book out of the living body of those writings of the holy fathers which they supposed to confirm and corroborate their heresy." "That," says John, "is what the law forbids: 'That which is torn with beasts he shall not eat' (Lev. 22, 8). So they too tore away dead members out of the discussions (arguments) of the holy fathers, thinking to prove that these likewise taught and enounced a number of deities and many gods, like the heathen." Especially interesting is the story told of Severus of Antioch (in Anastasius, Hodegos 6). It is said that in order to escape from the patristic proof-passages quoted by his opponents, which he was not able to refute, he repudiated these passages as forgeries in his work "Philalethes" (against John of Caesarea). This work was so highly esteemed by his adherents that they placed it even above the Gospel of John, and accepted only such utterances of the fathers as Severus had approved.
45. 45 Cf. the preceding note.
46. 46 Petri Abaelardi "Sic et Non" primum integrum ed. Henke et Lindenkohl, 1851.
47. 47 Hence the judgment upon the work: "aeternis tenebris potius dignum quam luce" (Martène et Durand, Thesaurus nov. anecdotorum, V, Praefatio).
48. 48 Cf. the opening sentence: "Cum in tanta verborum multitudine nonnulla etiam Sanctorum dicta non solum ab invicem diversa, verum etiam invicem adversa videntur," etc., and this from the concluding sentences: "Philosophus ille omnium perspicacissimus Aristoteles in praedicamento 'ad aliquid' adhortatur dicens: 'Fortasse autem difficile est de hujusmodi rebus confidenter declarare, nisi pertractatae sint saepe; dubitare autem de singulis non erit inutile.' "
49. 49 One difference between Abaelard and Gobarus consists in the fact that the latter has also included in the scope of his antithetical work the mutually contradictory judgments of the fathers on leading persons and circumstances of church history. Abaelard refrained from this. But on the other hand both were careful not to quote in their citations "apocryphal" sayings (Abaelard, Praefatio, p. 17), and, like Gobarus, Abaelard too let Holy Writ alone; indeed, he expressly emphasized its certainty in contrast to tradition (Praefatio, pp. 10 ff.). The suggestions in Abaelard's preface as to how the contradictions of tradition can be obviated are of no great consequence.
50. 50 This characterization of Hegesippus must be due to Gobarus; Photius had no cause to characterize him in this way.
51. 51 The following words: οὐκ οἶδ̕ ὅτι καὶ παθών, belong to Photius (see above).
52. 52 It was formerly held that this confirmed the Jewish Christianity of Hegesippus; but Hegesippus was not a Jewish Christian.
53. 53 Neither τοῖς δικαίοις nor τὰ ἀγαθά is found in the verse from Paul.
54. 54 Cf. Resch, Agrapha, 1889, pp. 102 ff., 154 ff.; also his Agrapha, 1906, pp. 25 ff.; Zahn, Forschungen, VI (1900), pp. 247 ff. τὰ ἀγαθά is also found in this saying in Athanasius, De virginitate 18, and in Origen, Hom. xviii. 15 in Jerem.; in Origen are also the words οἱ δίκαιοι; see also Const. Apost. vii. 32 and Epiphanius, Haer. 64, 69. On the apocryphal sayings compare also Acta Petri Vercell., p. 98 (ed. Lipsius) and my discussion in Texte und Untersuchungen, XLII, Heft 4, pp. 43, 49.
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