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Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times - Notes


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1. Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone (Dialogue with Trypho) 80, in PG 6:664.

2. Ibid. 45, in PG 6:572.

3. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 6, in PG 9:272.

4. Ibid. VI, 6, in PG 9:269.

5. Recognitiones Clementinae (Clementine Recognitions) II, 58, in PG 1:1276.

6. Irenaeus, Contra Haereses (Against Heresies) IV, 22, 2, in PG 7:1047, 259.

7. 2 Baruch 30:1; 85:15. A treatment of the Jewish doctrine may be found in August F. von Gall, Basileia tou Theou (Heidelberg: Winter, 1926), 303-8.

8. Ignatius, Epistola ad Philadelphenses (Epistle to the Philadelphians) 5, in PG 5:701.

9. St. Bruno notes the eagerness of the primitive Christians "to secure the salvation of a father or mother" who had died without hearing the gospel; Expositio in Epistolam I ad Corinthios (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 15, in PL 153:209. 10. Clementine Recognitions I, 52, in PG 1:1236.

11. Matthew 16:13-17; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21.

12. Matthew 16:17-19; also R. V. G. Tasker, "An Introduction to the Mss. of the New Testament," Harvard Theological Review, 41 (1948): 77. Such an obscure and puzzling text as Matthew 16:17-19 would be just the one to receive such helpful treatment.

13. See Adolf von Harnack, "Der Spruch uber Petrus als den Felsen der Kirche," in Sitzungsberichte der preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philologisch-Historische Klasse (1918), 637.

14. Luke 9:21.

15. As also in Matthew 16:21-28.

16. Eusebius, HE III, 39, 15; V, 8, 3, in PG 20:300, 449.

17. Eusebius, HE III, 24, 3-7, in PG 20:264-65; cf. Clementine Recognitions I, 21, in PG 1:1218: "Which things were indeed plainly spoken by Christ but are not plainly written; so much so that when they are read, they cannot be understood without an expounder."

18. Jacques-Paul Migne, ed., Scripturae Sacrae Cursus Completus, 25 vols. (Paris: Migne, 1840) 21:823-24; cf. 22:795-96, 106-7, suggests that the Lord commanded secrecy as to his true nature lest men afterwards beholding his death, "being offended by the infirmity of his flesh should lose their faith." As if all the disciples did not do that very thing, the lesson of the resurrection receiving particular force when it came as a rebuke to the doubters. Migne also gives his opinion only, that Christ withheld this information "lest people be offended at his calling himself the Son of God"--the last motive in the world to attribute to Jesus, whom the world hated because he made no concessions to its prejudices, the whole gospel being a "rock of offense."

19. 1 Peter 3:19; Tertullian, De Anima (On the Soul) VII, 35, 55, in PL 2:697-98, 753-54, 787-90; The Wisdom of Solomon 17:15; Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) 10:13; 69:28; Jerome, Commentarius in Osee (Commentary on Hosea) 1, 13, in PL 25:938: "a lower place in which the spirits are confined, either in rest or punishment, according to their deserts."

20. 4 Esdras 4:35-36; 7:75-99; cf. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XVIII, 1, 3.

21. Tertullian, On the Soul 55, in PL 2:790: "From the prison of death, thy blood is the key of admission to all paradise." He is speaking of the blood of the martyrs, with which they are baptized. It has been common at all periods of the church to speak of baptism as "the gate."

22. Isaiah 45:1.

23. Matthew 16:18.

24. Odes of Solomon 42:15-20.

25. Odes of Solomon 22:12, quoted at length in Carl Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu mit seinen Jungern nach der Auferstehung: Ein katholisch-apostolisches Sendschreiben des 2. Jarhhunderts (Leipzig: Hinrich, 1908), 565-66.

26. Ignatius, Epistle to the Philadelphians 9, in PG 5:836; the same combination as in Hermae Pastor (Shepherd of Hermas), Similitudo (Similitude) 9, 12, and 16, in PG 2:992, 996; cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 6, 46, in PG 9:269.

27. Thus Migne, Scripturae Sacrae Cursus Completus 21:814: "There is no doubt that 'the gates of hell' refers to all the power of the devil." He then proceeds to cite in support of this only the following: Psalm 147:13; Genesis 22:17; 24:60; Judges 5:8; 1 Kings 8:37; and Psalm 107:16, none of which refers to "all the powers of the devil," but every one of which refers to the real gates and the functions of gates.

28. Matthew 12:26-29; Luke 10:18; 11:18; 13:16; 22:31; Mark 3:23-27; John 12:34; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 2:13; John 14:4-6; 5:19; Ignatius, Epistola ad Ephesios (Epistle to the Ephesians), chs. 9, 17, 19, in PG 5:656, 657, 660, 745, 752-53.

29. 2 Corinthians 4:4.

30. John 12:31; 16:11.

31. Barnabas, Epistola Catholica (Catholic Epistle) 2, in PG 2:729-30.

32. 1 Enoch 20:2. This subject is fully treated by Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 547-48, 507, cf. 285-87.

33. John 12:31; 16:11; Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 849-80, 556, 573, 462, 571; Gall, Basileia tou Theou, 290-301, treats the subject at length.

34. Matthew 25:41; Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 548, 550, 576.

35. Romans 2:16; Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 23:24; 49:10; Ezekiel 28:2, etc.

36. The literary motif is frankly pagan, as in Dante. In folklore it is no less of popular pagan origin, cf. Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1934) G 303.25.19. Cf. Gall, Basileia tou Theou, 290-301.

37. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 572 cites a text of this in use in the Syrian Church as early as A.D. 340.

38. Gospel of Nicodemus 15; virtually the same dialogue is found in Ephraim and in a Descensus of the 2nd or 3rd century, K. von Tischendorf, Evangelia (Leipzig, 1876; reprinted Hildesheim: Olms, 1966), 394-97.

39. Harnack, "Der Spruch fiber Petrus als den Felsen der Kirche," 638-39.

40. 1 Corinthians 5:5; Luke 13:16.

41. For the best general treatment of this much-handled subject, see Samuel H. Hooke, ed., The Labyrinth (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1938).

42. Ignatius, Epistle to the Philadelphians 9, in PG 5:836; the "keys of the kingdom of the heavens" of Matthew 16:19 would be useless unless "the gates of hell" of the preceding verse were opened to give up their dead. Indeed, the first words of verse 19 show a wide variety of readings in the manuscripts, with a strong indication that Christ said, "I shall also give you the keys to the kingdom of the heavens."

43. The references to Prudentius and Seneca are given by F. J. E. Raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry (Oxford: Clarendon, 1937), 70.

44. Odes of Solomon 17:8-15.

45. Constantin yon Tischendorf, Synopsis Evangelica (Leipzig: Mendelssohn, 1864), xxxvi-xxxv, calls attention to the significant emphasis of the gospels of the time of this event as a continuation of the former.

46. Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 28-36.

47. Migne, Scripturae Sacrae Cursus Completus 21:837 explains that this is a Hebraism, simply the equivalent of "Peter said." Only he fails to note that verse 4 is an immediate continuation of verse 3. Even the Hebrew never uses "answered" for "spoke" with the first utterance in a story; of course, if Peter answered, he spoke--"answered" necessarily means "spoke," but it also necessarily means something more.

48. Matthew 17:5-6; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34.

49. Acts 1:9 following the Bezae (D) manuscript.

50. Matthew 17:9-13; Mark 9:9-13; Luke 9:36.

51.1 Peter 4:7; I John 2:18; James 5:7-11.

52.1 John 2:18.

53. Acts 3:21.

54. Matthew 13:10-15; Mark 4:10-13; Luke 8:9-10.

55. Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15.

56. Irenaeus, Against Heresies V, 36, in PG 7:1221-23.

57. Clementine Recognitions IV, 35-36, in PG 1:1330-32.

58. Thus St. Augustine doubts the idea of "many mansions," noting that there is but one house of God and but one salvation: there are no degrees of salvation, De Anima et Eius Origine (On the Soul and Its Origin) II, 10; III, 11, 13, in PL 44:503, 518, 520.59.1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12.

60. John 16:12: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now." Acts 10:41: "Not unto all the people, but unto witnesses chosen." Acts 15:28: "For it seemed good . . . to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things." Clementine Recognitions I, 21, in PG 1:1218: "Which things were plainly spoken but are not plainly written." Clementine Recognitions I, 23, 52, in PG 1:1236, 1282; III, 1: "I [Peter] . . . endeavor to avoid publishing the chief knowledge concerning the Supreme Divinity to unworthy ears," Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 7, 61, in PG 9:284; Eusebius, HE II, 1, 4-5 (citing Clement), in PG 20:136. Innumerable passages on this head might be cited.

61. Matthew 15:16; 28:17 (even after the resurrection, "some doubted"); Mark 9:32; 16:14; Luke 8:25; 9:45; 18:34; 24:16; John 2:22-24; 3:32; 6:36; 6:60-67; 7:5; 11:13; 12:16; 13:7; 16:25-33. This last is another lost teaching: in verse 25 the Lord promises that the time will come when he will speak plainly to the apostles; after three short verses, announcing nothing new, they declare: "now speakest thou plainly. . . . Now are we sure that thou knowest all things." What brought on such a change? What was it he told them? That we are not told.

62. Luke 24:27.

63. Luke 24:25.

64. Acts 1:3.

65. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 304-36.

66. Ibid., 201-8.

67. Ibid., 156-68, gives an extensive list of these; they were strictly orthodox, ibid., 168-72, 190, 204-5.

68. Ibid., 205: It was universally believed in the early church that "the last and highest revelations" were those given by the Lord after his

resurrection, and that these dealt with "the kingdom of God."

69. For references, PL 2:787-88, n. 70.

70. On various terms designating the spirit world, see Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. (New York: Harper, 1919), 1:21, n. 6; 2:46, n. 2. Others may be found scattered throughout Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu. The geographical hell first appears in Tertullian, On the Soul 55, in PL 2:787-88; in On the Soul 7, in PL 2:998, he notes that since suffering must be physical, the spirits in prison must have corporeal bodies; a true African, he cannot believe that mere detention of the spirit could cause suffering: it is matter alone that suffers, he says.

71. By this title we shall henceforth refer to the second-century Coptic manuscript found in 1895 and eked out by later texts, the whole edited and published by Carl Schmidt and Isaak Wajnberg, under the title Gesprache Jesu mit seinen Jungern nach der Auferstehung: Ein katholisch-apostolisches Sendschreiben des 2. Jahrhunderts, see above note 25. The passage cited is from pp. 89, 84-85 (xxii, xxi of the Coptic text).

72. See lexicons. In Plato's Timaeus XXIV (59) anapausis is an agreeable activity, devoid of any coercion.

73. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 74-75.

74. Ibid., 63, 66, 71-73.

75. Irenaeus, Epideixis (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching) 6, in PG 12:664; cf. Irenaeus, Against Heresies II, 20, 3, in PG 7:778.

76. Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 16, in PG 2:776.

77. Ignatius, Epistola ad Magnesios (Epistle to the Magnesians) 8, 1; 9, 2, in PG 5:765-66; Ignatius, Epistola ad Trallianos (Epistle to the Trallians) 8, in PG 5:788.

78. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 6, in PG 9:265.

79. Acta Thomae, 265, cited in Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 557-58.

80. Irenaeus, Against Heresies II, 20, 3, in PG 7:778.

81. Origen, Contra Celsum (Against Celsus) If, 56, in PG 11:885-88.

82. Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 5, in PG 6:488; 45, in PG 6:573.

83. Cited in Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 489: The logion states that the Lord visited the dead and brought the Fathers and prophets of old from a lower to a higher anapausis.

84. "Ordo promotionis, ordo resurrectionis." Irenaeus, Against Heresies V, 30, 1; V, 31, 1, in PG 7:1203-5, 1208; cf. Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 56 and 78, in PO 12:702, 717.

85. Clement of Alexandria, Ex Scripturis Profeticis Eclogae (Selections from the Prophetic Writings) 56-57, in PG 9:725. Prokope expresses the idea of a temporary rest even better than anapausis, cf. above note 72.

86. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 107, 2, in PG 9:328-29. 87. Philo, On Dreams 1, 23 (643).

88. Anselm, Homiliae (Homilies) 8, in PL 158:637.

89. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 86-87, 315.

90. Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 16, in PG 2:776. It was extremely common in the second and especially third centuries to "spiritualize" actual practices, e.g., baptism, marriage, feasting, etc., without in any way implying that the real thing was done away with.

91. Hippolytus, Demonstratio de Christo et Antichristo (On Christ and the Antichrist) 26, in PG 10:740.

92. De Elcanam et Annam fragment 4 (Hippolytus I, 2) quoted at length in Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 509.

93. Sibylline Oracles 8:310-11.

94. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 6, in PG 9:268.

95. Sirach 24:32, in Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 473.

96. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 473.

97. Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 4, 6, in PG 6:645; Irenaeus, Against Heresies III, 20, 4, in PG 7:945; IV, 22, in PG 7:1046; IV, 33, 1, in PG 7:1208; it is also cited by Jerome, Commentarius in Evangelium Mattheum (Commentary on Matthew) 4, 27, in PL 26: 213.

98. Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 4, 6, in PG 6:645; cf. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 4, 27, in PL 26:213.

99. Though he is inclined to separate the two traditions, Schmidt must nonetheless admit that the decensus and the kerygma are found inseparably joined from the first.

100. Acta Thomae, p. 265, in Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 558.

101. Odes of Solomon 42:14, 20.

102. Odes of Solomon 17:12, 15-16.

103. "And he was crucified, and went down to Hades, and broke through the barrier which till then had never been breached; and he awoke the dead, and went down alone, but came up with a great host toward his Father." Eusebius, HE I, 13, 19, citing the letter of Thaddeus to Abgar, one of the most ancient of all Christian documents.

104. Tertullian, On the Soul 55, in PL 2:788.

105. References in "Index Latinitatis," in PL 2:1372, s.v. "compos."

106. Irenaeus, Against Heresies IV, 33, in PG 7:1081.

107. Origen, Against Celsus II, 43, in PG 11:864-65.

108. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VI, 6, in PG 9:272.

109. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 49, 51.

110. Origen, In Lucam Homiliae (Homily on Luke) 4, in PG 12:1811.

111. Origen, Commentaria in Evangelium Joannis (Commentary on John) 2, 30, in PG 14:181.

112. Hippolytus, On Christ and the Antichrist 5, 45, in PG 10:764.

113. Thus in the Anglo-Saxon version, "Hollenfahrt Christi," in Richard Paul Wulker, Bibliothek der Angelsachsischen Poesie, 3 vols. (Leipzig: Wigands, 1897), 3.1:177.

114. Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes III, 9, 16; we are following the various texts given in Max Dressel, Patrum Apostolicorum Opera (Leipzig, 1863), 548-49, 631.

115. Codex Vaticanus 3848.

116. See note 114.

117. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata III, 6, in PG 9:268.

118. Ibid. II, 9, in PG 8:980; Clement cites the entire passage from Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 9, 16; he also quotes Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1-2; Romans 10:20-21; 2:14.

119. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 315; cf. 317-18: "Christ not only appears as a preacher in the lower world, but also as one administering baptism; and here, too, his activity runs parallel to his earthly mission." Cf. John 3:22-26; 4:1.

120. The Gnostics would not tolerate the idea that any who lived under the Old Law could be saved, but instead they insisted that Christ went to the lower world and liberated only the enemies of the ancient prophets and patriarchs! Thus Theodoretus, Haereticae Fabulae (Heretical Tales) 1, 24, in PG 83:373, 376; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) 42, 4, in PG 41:700-701; Irenaeus, Against Heresies I, 27, 3, in PG 7:689.

121. Augustine, Epistolae (Letters) III, 89, 5, in PL 33:312; "Minister.. . non isle sed . . . ipse Christus qui baptizat." So likewise in Augustine, Contra Epistolam Parmeniani (Against the Letter of Parmenienus) II, 16, 35, in PL 43:77; Contra Litteras Petiliani Donatistae (Against the Writings of Petilianus the Donatist) III, 35, 40, in PL 43:368-69; Against the Donatists I, 18, 47, in PL 43:427; I, 21, 58, in PL 43:435.

122. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 133-35.

123. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 3 de Baptismo (Catechetical Lecture on Baptism) 4, in PG 33:429: "For since a man is two-fold, consisting of body and spirit, so must be the purification .... The water cleans the body, the spirit seals the soul." See also 418, in PG 33:432, 440, and Catechesis 13 de Christo Crucifixo et Sepulto (Catechetical Lecture on the Crucifixion and Burial of Christ) 21, in PG 33:797-800.

124. Tertullian, De Baptismo (On Baptism) 4, 7, in PL 1:1312, 1315-16.

125. Thus Fulgentius, Epistolae (Letters) 11, 4, in PL 65:379; Letters 12, 9, in PL 65:388: "Once one has died without the sacrament of baptism, he may not be baptized, because the spirit, to which belonged that will and faithful devotion (which justify baptism) has departed." Cf. Crisconius, Breviarium Canonicum (Canonical

Epitome) 247 in PL 88:925.

126.1 Corinthians 15:29; see below note 138.

127. Catholic commentators regard the status of living and dead as referring only to spiritual or eternal life. This completely ignores the fact that the dead receive a real baptism in water, no explanation being offered as to how the "mortui baptizandi erant [dead were to be baptized] ."

128. See below notes 157-60.

129. Origen, Homily on Luke 24, in PG 13:1864-65.

130. Albertus Magnus Ratisboneus, De Sacramento Eucharistiae (On the Eucharist) 6, 2, 1, cited by Elmhorst, in PL 58:1042, who gives a list of medieval writers holding the same opinion, PL 58:1043.

131. Tertullian, De Resurrectione (On the Resurrection) 48, in PL 2:864.

132. Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion) 5, 10, in PL 2:495.

133. Ambrose, Epistolae (Letters) I, 72, 18, in PL 16:1302; Ambrose (dubia), De Sacramentis (On the Sacrament), in PL 16:443; on the same subject, St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermones (Discourses) 171, in PL 52:647.

134. Tertullian, Against Marcion, 5, 10, in PL 2:526-27, cited in John Kaye, The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries Illustrated from the Writings of Tertullian (London: Farran, 1894), 272.

135. Epiphanius, Against Heresies I, 28, 6, in PG 41:384.

136. Irenaeus, Against Heresies III, 4, 2, in PG 7:855-56.

137. Epiphanius, Against Heresies I, 28, 6, in PG 41:384-85.

138. Ambrose, Commentaria in Epistolam I ad Corinthios (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians), in PL 17:280.

139. Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians 8, 1 and 9, 2, in PG 5:699, 765, 768, assumes like Paul that his readers know all about the work of baptism for the dead, as Schmidt demonstrates, Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 476.

140. Oecumenius, Commentaria in Epistolam I ad Corinthios (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 15, 29, in PG 118:877.

141. Peter the Venerable, Adversus Patrobrusianos Haereticos

(Against the Patrobrusian Heretics), in PL 189:831-32.

142. Ibid., in PL 189:832.

143. Oecumenius, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 15, 29, in PG 118:876-77.

144. W. Henry, "Bapteme des morts (Le)," in DACL 2:380.

145. Ibid.

146. St. Bruno, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 15, 29, in PL 153:209.

147. John of Damascene, In Epistolas ad Corinthios (Commentary on the Epistles to the Corinthians) 116, in PG 95:693.

148. Lanfranc, Commentarius in Epistolam B. Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios Primam (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 15, 29, in PL 150:210.

149. It was Henri Muller, in 1656; see Henry, "Bapteme des morts," 380.

150. John Chrysostom, In Epistolam I ad Corinthios Homilia (Homily on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 40, in PG 61:347.

151. Theophylactus, Expositio in Epistolam I ad Corinthios (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians) 15, 29, in PG 124:768.

152. Fulgentius, Letters 12, 9 (20), in PL 65:388.

153. Ibid., cf. PL 65:379.

154. Henry, "Bapteme des morts," 381, produces no laws or regulations against baptism for the dead, but cites as having the same force those specifically directed against baptism of the dead, e.g., Third Council of Carthage, in PL 140:734; Canon law 19, in PL 96:1049; cf. Theodoretus, Heretical Tales 1, 111, in PG 83:361, which they also cite.

155. Philastrius, Liber de Haeresibus (On Heresies) 49, in PL 12:1166; the Cataphrygians were a branch of the Montanists, noted, if nothing else, for their sobriety. Yet Philastrius mentions rumors of savage and bloody sacramental rites.

156. See above note 114.

157. It is precisely in ordering the apostles "to tell no man that thing" that the Lord tells them how he is presently to be put to death. Mark 8:30-31; Luke 9:21-22; Matthew 16:20-21. The injunction to secrecy is the same in the "gates of hell" discussion as on the Mount, when "they kept it close and told no man in those days," Luke 10:36, since they were commanded to "tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." Matthew 17:9; the same in Mark 9:9.

158. Eusebius, HE II, 1, 4-5, in PG 20:136.

159. Eusebius describes as the purpose of his history "to record the successions of the holy apostles... down to the present, and to tell . . . what individuals in the most prominent positions eminently governed and presided over the church." HE I, 1, 1. The "most prominent" offices in the church of his own day he regards as four great bishoprics of Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria, which are the main lines of succession from the apostles, yet he is unable to furnish an instance in which "the gnosis" is given to one of these. Tertullian is very clear and specific in this matter: "You are reversing and altering the manifest intention of the Lord in endowing Peter personally . . . for he says . . . 'I shall give to thee the keys,' not to the Church, and: 'Whatsoever thou shalt loosen or thou shalt bind,' not whatsoever they shall loosen or they shall bind." He then goes on to show that Peter's authority was not "handed down," but if it still exists in the church must come by direct revelation and not through the mere episcopal office (sed Ecclesia Spiritus per spiritalem hominem, non ecclesia numerus episcoporum). Tertullian, De Pudicitia (On Modesty) 21, in PL 2:1078-80.

160. Thus Romans 11:33, noting Romans 2:17-20 that the Jewish law preserves but a shadow (morphosis) of the gnosis; 1 Corinthians 8:7: "Not in everyone is the gnosis" which is (12:8) "given through the spirit" to particular individuals; in 1 Corinthians 13:2 it is described as the most rare and wonderful of attainments, in 1 Corinthians 13:8 it is predicted that "it shall vanish away." It is an inspired thing, 1 Corinthians 14:6, known to the world only very indirectly by its effect on the lives of the Saints. God "making known the odor (osmen) of the gnosis of Him through us in every place," 2 Corinthians 2:14. It is the gnosis that sets Paul apart from other teachers, 2 Corinthians 11:6. The love of Christ is the greatest of all things, since it excels even the gnosis, he tells the Ephesians (3:19); and to the Philippians (3:8) he says that all earthly things are as nothing compared to the value of the gnosis of Jesus Christ. The gnosis is again described, Colossians 2:2-3, as a treasure and a mystery, hidden in Christ, and a thing which must be carefully guarded and not exposed to "that which is falsely called the gnosis," 1 Timothy 6:20.

161. John 20:9.

162. Acts 10:41.

163. Ignatius, Epistle to the Philadelphians 8, in PG 5:833.

164. Robert Eisler, Iesous Basileus ou Basileusas (Heidelberg: Winter, 1930) 1: xxix-xxxiv, 298, 353.

165. John 3:12.

166. Instances in which an actual limitation is placed on the preaching of the gospel are very numerous in the scriptures, e.g., Matthew 7:6-7; 11:14-15, 25-28; 13:11-16; 13:34-36; 19:11; 24:3; Mark 4:9-12; 9:33-34; 11:33; Luke 8:10; 9:36, 43-45; 10:21-23; 12:41; 18:34; 22:67-71; John 1:11-12; 3:11-12; 6:60-66; 8:43-44; 10:24-27; 16:12-18, 25, 29-30; Acts 10:41; 15:28; 19:2; 20:20; 28:26-27; Romans 6:19; 11:30-34; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 3:1-3; 7:25; 14:2, 9-10; 14:22; 15:34; 2 Corinthians 1:13; 3:3; 12:2-5; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:1-5; Colossians 1:26; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:16; 2 John 1:12.

167. In this connection should be cited the much-discussed remark of Jesus to the Pharisees (Luke 17:20-21) that the kingdom of God was in their midst, but that it was not for them to see. The word rendered "observation" in the King James version has in all contexts the meaning of an intense, expectant watch, a spying out (parateresis)-much stronger than mere observation, so Christ tells the Pharisees that no matter how hard they look (paratereo always means to look very hard) they will not see the kingdom, which in fact (idou gar) is already among them. The word "within" (entos) can only be rendered so when used with a singular noun; here it is used with the plural and must of course be read "among" or (literally) "in the midst of." This has often been pointed out by scholars ever since the Renaissance. But the more philosophical and sentimental, if less accurate, King James version is usually preferred as avoiding embarrassing questions of doctrine.

168. Eusebius, HE III, 32, 7-8, in PG 20:284.

169. 1 Timothy 6:20.

170. First the apostles themselves should depart ("God hath sent forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death"), and then would come the wolves, against whom the flock is denied immunity, 1 Corinthians 4:9-15; Acts 20:29-31, God himself sending "a strong delusion" (2 Thessalonians 2:11, the "falling away" of verse 3 shows that this applies to the church), since they would not endure sound doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

171.1 Corinthians 13:8; the King James version correctly preserves the future indicative; the independent "whether" (eite) implies, "to whatever degree they exist," i.e., it is indefinite; but there is nothing indefinite about the result clause: whatever their present status these three are to be taken away.

172. 1 Corinthians 13:9-13. The King James "and now abideth" is very weak in comparison to the Greek nuni de menei, etc.: "but now these three remain." "These" is the proper subject of the verb, which, since the subject is neuter, should be translated in the plural.

173. Luke 11:52.

174. Romans 2:20.

175. Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 3, in PG 5:1008.

176. Clement, Epistola I ad Corinthios (First Epistle to the Corinthians) 47, in PG 1:308; neither are they under Clement's authority, as the Roman Catholics claim, for we learn in the introduction that this letter is written at the request of the Corinthians, and we know from the other apostolic letters that it was common for bishops to communicate with other congregations than their own if those congregations requested letters. Decisive in this matter is the remark at the end of section 46 of this epistle in PG 1:305: "Your falling out has turned many aside, has plunged many into despair, caused many to vacillate, and brought sorrow to us all, and your disorder (statis) is chronic (epimonos)." From this and other sections (3, 14, 16, 46, in PG 1:213-16, 236-37, 240-41, 305) it is clear that the evil is far advanced and has been going on for some time; yet it is not until he receives a request from the Corinthians themselves that Clement presumes to give them words of advice, which would not possibly be the case had he the right and duty to intervene in Corinthian affairs. When like crises arose in Rome, Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, and Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, laid down the law to the Roman congregation even more emphatically than Clement spoke to the Corinthians, Irenaeus, Against Heresies III, 3, 4, in PG 7:85-88; Eusebius, HE V, 24-28, in PG 20:493-517.

177. Ignatius, Epistola ad Romanos (Epistle to the Romans) 4, in PG 5:689.

178. Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians 5, in PG 5:781; cf. 3, in PG 5:780: "Shall I . . . reach such a pitch of presumption . . . as to issue commands to you as if I were an Apostle?" Here is a man who obviously knows the difference between a bishop and an apostle; for Ignatius was "the third Bishop of Antioch after Peter."

179. August Neander, Antignostikus, Geist des Tertullians und Einleitung in dessen Schriften (Berlin: Dummler, 1849), 3-14.

180. Among Gnostic teachings condemned by Irenaeus and later adopted by the Catholic church are celibacy, Against Heresies I, 24, 2, in PG 7:675; veneration of images, ibid., I, 25, 6, in PG 7:685-86; allegorical interpretation of the scriptures, ibid., If, 27, 1, in PG 7:802-3; proof by demonstration, ibid., II, 22, 6, in PG 7:785; appeal to philosophy and use of philosophic terms, ibid., II, 14, 2 and 7, in PG 7: 750, 754; transubstantiation of water into blood, ibid., I, 13, 2, in PG 7:579; extreme unction, ibid., I, 11, 5, in PG 7:665; use of chrism, ibid., I, 13, 2, in PG 7:644; vileness of the flesh, ibid., I, 15, 4, in PG 7: 683-84; irresistible Grace, ibid., I, 25, 5, in PG 7:685; the incomprehensibility of God, ibid., II, 2, 4, in PG 7:714. This is not to say that these were all taken over from the Gnostics, but rather from the same source that supplied the Gnostics: the popular teachings of the day.

181. Irenaeus expresses this idea: "Even if the Apostles had possessed hidden mysteries . . . they would certainly have transmitted them to those to whom they committed the churches." Against Heresies III, 3, 1, in PG 7:848. Against this we have the word of those men themselves, given in our preceding paragraph, that they did not share all the knowledge of the apostles and that they did not pass on what knowledge they did share.

182. Eusebius, HE III, 24, 5, in PG 20:264-65: Besides Paul "the other disciples of our Savior were not ignorant of the same things, both the twelve Apostles and the Seventy, and besides them a great many others. Nevertheless out of all the things the Lord did, only Matthew and John left records, and they only wrote down what they were forced to, according to the report .... The three evangelists [the Synoptics] only wrote an account of his doings for one year."

183. 1 Peter 4:6-7.

184. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 116-18.

185. Thus Bishop John Kaye of Lincoln, Ecclesiastical History, 276: "The promise of the Holy Spirit, made by Christ to the Church, precludes the possibility of an universal defection from the true faith." Apparently the good bishop is oblivious to the fact that the promise of the spiritual gifts to accompany the Holy Spirit--prophecy, tongues, etc.--precludes the possibility of any modern church possessing it. The fact that the scripture is the sole source of "revelation" in all the synods and councils of the Christian church cancels any claim it might make to being the recipient of the promised Paraclete.

186. Both Apostles and Apostolic Fathers are careful to point out to the church that even the angels "kept not their first estate." 2 Peter 2:4-22; Jude 1:5-19; Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians 39, in PG 1:285; Ignatius, Epistola ad Smyrnaeos (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans) 6, in PG 5:847; as a warning that no one is ever out of danger, typical is the statement of Clement, Epistola II ad Corinthios (Second Epistle to the Corinthians) 4, in PG 1:336: "For the Lord said, 'Even though ye were gathered together to my very bosom, should you fail to keep my commandments I would cast you away.'" The Jews, the covenant people who lost the covenant, are repeatedly mentioned as an object lesson to the Christians: thus Barnabas, Catholic Epistle 4, in PG 2: 734: "Beware lest resting at ease as being God's chosen ones, we fall asleep in our sins .... And especially take heed when you observe what marvelous signs and wonders were had among the Jews, in spite of which God deserted."

187. As an authoritative statement of this point of view we may cite Alfred Fawkes, "The Development of Christian Institutions and Beliefs," Harvard Theological Review 10 (1917): 144: "The belief in the literal and immediate Coming of Christ is the key to the Church of the First Age." He discusses the subject at length.

188.1 Peter 1:5-6, 20; 4:7, 12 speaks of an immediate end. 2 Peter 4:4-12: They say, "Where is the promise of his coming? . . . all things continue as they were. . . . But, beloved, be not ignorant of this, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years. . . . The Lord is not slack concerning his promise."

189. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.

190. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7.

191. Acts 20:31.

192. 1 John 2:18: "Even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."

193. Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 3 and 4, in PG 2:955-56. As to Mark 13:34, "the absence of the Lord of the vineyard is the time that must pass until his coming." Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes 5, 5, in PG 2:961-62.

194. Didache 16:3-8.

195. Matthew 24:5, 6, 8, 13.

196. 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

197. 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

198. Galatians 1:6.

199. 2 Timothy 1:15.

200. In Clement, Second Epistle to the Corinthians 5, in PG 1:335, the Lord tells the Apostles: "'Ye shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves.' And Peter answered him and said unto him, 'What then if the wolves shall tear the lambs to pieces?' Jesus said to Peter: 'The lambs have no cause after they are dead to fear the wolves; and in like manner fear ye not them that kill you.' "This passage is typical in its absolute refusal to grant the church the slightest glimmer of hope in the matter of earthly success. Ignatius' entire Epistle to the Romans is a document of profoundest pessimism. He takes no comfort in the church and expresses no interest in her future, but wishes only to die; a less helpful attitude could not be imagined, but the saint explains that he is sick of living "among men" and seeks joy and illumination that come from the presence of the Lord: was it living "among men" to live in the church? and was there no joy or illumination to be enjoyed any longer in the church on this earth? Ignatius answers in the negative.

201. It is easy looking backward to claim that the blood of the martyrs was meant to guarantee the integrity of the church for all time; but the evidence is exhaustive that the martyrs themselves never thought of their sufferings in such terms. It cannot be too emphatically repeated that the survival of the Christian name, far from proving the survival of the church and the gospel, may be taken for evidence of the very opposite, since the Lord and the apostles repeatedly pointed out that the "deceiver of the world" would come in Christ's name. All apostolic writers describe the great danger to the church as coming from within it, and never express the slightest concern about the activities of those outside. That victory of the church over paganism, in which the ministry are wont to glory, is thus seen to be a hollow victory indeed, since paganism as such presented no danger. Such pagan writings as Cicero's De Divinatione are far more devastating attacks upon the old state religion than anything ever produced by a Christian writer.

202. John 9:4.

203. Irenaeus, Against Heresies II, 32, 4, in PG 7:828-29.

204. Tertullian, On Modesty 21, in PL 2:1077-82, noting that the power to do miracles and that of forgiving sins have the same source, observes, "If the blessed Apostles enjoyed such power it was by a special gift of God .... and not by virtue of any special training .... Show me then some examples of such power today, and I will concede your right to forgive sins. But if you claim your authority simply by virtue of your office . . . and cannot show the power of Apostle or Prophet, you must be lacking in the authority you claim." On Matthew 9:4: "If the Lord himself took such pains to put his power to the proof, not presuming to forgive sins without a power great enough to heal the sick, certainly I may not claim power to forgive sins without at least an equivalent demonstration of divine power."

205. For evidence we refer the reader to the extensive indices of the Patrologiae, wherein few subjects are more extensively treated than baptism.

206. Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 150, in PG 6:664.

207. Their doubts are discussed by Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 519-20.

208. Irenaeus, Against Heresies V, 32, 1, in PG 7:1210.

209. Ibid. V, 35, 3, in PG 7:1220.

210. The Aquileian, Athanasian, and some Eastern versions of the Apostles' Creed contain the phrase which is further defended by Augustine and (in the late sixth century) by Venatius Fortunatus, according to Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom 1:21, n. 6; even the Roman creed adopted the clause, 1:19. Rufinus (Bishop of Aquileia A.D. 410-415} interprets the phrase as being simply equivalent to "he was buried," Commentarius in Symbolum Apostolorum (Commentary on the Creed of the Apostles), in PL 21:356, but then cites a number of scripture passages which he regards as supporting a literal interpretation, ibid., in PL 21:363-64. The Arminensian and Acacian versions of the creed both contain the phrase "descended to the regions beneath the earth," Socrates, HE II, 37, and II, 41, in PG 67: 305, 348. As late as the twelfth century the anonymous writer of a Symboli Apostolici Explanatio (Explanation of the Apostolic Creed), in PL 213:734, includes the clause and the comment: "He descended to the lower regions that he might liberate the saints who were there by the first penalties (debita) of death."

211. Schmidt, Gesprache Jesu, 25-27; 521, 541. Origen is the first to conclude that no one who lived before Christ can possibly enjoy full salvation, a doctrine in which the persuasion of pagan philosophy is stronger than scripture, Homiliae in Librum Regum (Homilies on the Book of Kings) 2, in PL 12:1013-28.

Augustine, On the Soul and Its Origin 9, in PL 44:480-81.

213. Ibid., in PL 44:188-89, 503, 518, 520.

214. Ibid., in PL 44:120, 140, 188-89.

215. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, scene 2, 82-83.

216. Augustine, Contra Julianum Pelagianum (Against Julian the Pelagian) 57, in PL 45:1596-97.

217. Ambrose, in PL 55:235.

218. Basilius, Liber de Spiritu Sancto (Writings on the Holy Spirit) 10, 26, in PG 32:113.

219. Gregory of Nyssen, On Baptism, in PG 46:424.

220. Gennadius, De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus (On Church Doctrines) 74, in PL 58:997. This doctrine precludes any belief in the "baptism of desire," a vague device by which modern Catholics attempt to provide baptism for the unbaptized. No one could be more eligible for such a baptism than the pure and desirous catechumen, whom Gennadius describes as lost.

221. Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes IX, 16, 6-7.

222. Augustine, Epistolae (Letters) III, 164, in PL 33:708-18. Augustine finds it "absurd" to believe that one who lacked faith in life can "believe on Christ in hell," ibid., in PL 33:714. As to those who were disobedient in the time of Noah, 1 Peter 3:20, the scripture does not say that they ever lived in the flesh! Ibid., in PL 33:713. By such rationalizations Augustine upholds a doctrine which he describes as "hard" (durum), ibid., in PL 33:712.

223. Raby, Christian-Latin Poetry, 117.

Ad Maronis mausoleum

ductus fudit super eum

piae rorem lacrimae


Quem te, dixit, rededissem

si te vivum invenissem,

poetarum maxime!


("When brought to Vergil's tomb he shed the dew of a tender tear over him, saying, 'If I had found you alive, of all poets I would have restored you.' ") See Domenico Comparetti, Vergil in the Middle Ages, tr. E. F. M. Benecke (New York: Macmillan, 1895), 98.

225. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto IV, 712, 31-45. The poet says (43-45) that "great sorrow seized his heart" at the sight, for he knew many of the sufferers to be "people of great worth ."

226. Ibid., 52-63.

227. Gennadius Massiliensis, De Fide ad Petrum Diaconum (To Peter the Deacon on Faith) 3, folio 159, cited in PL 58:1043.

228. Fulgentius, De Fide (On Faith) 38 (Reg. 35), in PL 65:704.

229. Cited by Elmhurst, Notae in Librum de Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus (Notes on the Book of Church Doctrines), in PL 58:1043.

230. A common formula, thus Hippolytus, On Christ and the Antichrist 26, in PG 10:748.

231. Prof. Sidney B. Sperry brings to my attention the Coptic rendering of "gates of hell" as "the gates of Amente," The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Southern Dialect, 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1911), 1:172-73. This is the well-known Egyptian word meaning "the West" and hence "the realm of the dead," Kurt H. Sethe, "Untersuchungen uber die agyptischen Zahlworter," Zeitschrift fur agyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 47 (1910): 31; it retains both meanings also in Coptic, see William Speigelberg, Koptisches Handworterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter, 1921), 5, 25; also in Spiegelberg, "The God Panepi," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 12 (1926): 35, where it has nothing to do with Satan or the devil. It is a fact of decisive importance that the earliest translators of the New Testament, and those nearest to the primitive church in time and in knowledge, chose this word instead of those expressions (such as te or noun) which mean "hell" in the bad tyrannical sense. Amente is simply the land of the dead, and regularly a word of good omen.

232. Henry, "Bapteme des morts," 381.

233. Augustine, De Baptismo contra Donatistas (Against the Donatists on Baptism) 4, 24, in PL 43:175.

234. Augustine, Sermones (Sermons) 294, 11 and 18, in PL 38: 1342, 1346.

235. Augustine, In Johannis Evangelium (On the Gospel of John), in PL 35:1511.

236. "Minister.. . non iste sed . . . ipse Christus qui baptizat," Augustine, Letters II, 89, in PL 33:311-12.

237. Augustine, On the Gospel of John, in PL 35:1419, 1428, 1437; Augustine, Against the Writings of Petilianus the Donatist III, 35, 40, in PL 43:368-69; III, 40, 46, in PL 43:371-72.

238. Pius X, Codex Juris Canonici (Rome: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1918), can. 793.

239. Ibid., can. 742, 746, 747, 758, 762; these rules allow for two types of baptism which differ widely in their manner of being carried out.

240. As an example which we failed to include in the preceding article, a belated citation from the ninth century Bishop Aimon (Haymon) of Halberstadt may be allowed at this point. Speaking of the primitive church, he says: "If their loved ones (friend or relative: propinquus) happened to depart this life without the grace of baptism, some living person would be baptized in his name: and they believed that the baptism of the living would profit the dead." The bishop must deny, of course, that Paul approved the practice, and has the usual difficulty explaining why the apostle chose an improper practice to illustrate and support (ut suadeat et ostendat) his doctrine. Haymon Halberstatensis, Expositio Sancti Pauli in Epistolam I ad Corinthios (Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians), in PL 117:598.

(See Basic Beliefs; Teachings About Temples; Baptism for the Dead home page; The Doctrinal Exclusion: Lesser Arguments)

Mormonism and Early Christianity, Ch. 4

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