Episode 39 has dropped, St. Hippolytus of Rome and the Trinitarian Controversy in Rome

This week’s episode can be found here.

The passage I read at the berginning,

St. Hippolytus of Rome on the Incarnation of the Son of God

And if you please, we say that the Word was the first-born of God, who came down from heaven to the blessed Mary, and was made a first-born man in her womb, in order that the first-born of God might be manifested in union with a first-born man.

            When they brought Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord, they offered the oblations of purification. For if the gifts of purification according to the law were offered for Him, in this indeed He was made under the law. But the Word was not subject to the law … since He is the law Himself; neither did God need sacrifices of purification, for He purifies and sanctifies all things at once in a moment. But though He took to Himself the frame of man as He received it from the Virgin, and was made under the law, and was thus purified after the manner of the first-born, it was not because He needed this ceremonial that He underwent its services, but only for the purpose of redeeming from the bondage of the law those who were sold under the judgment of the curse.

From Fragments on St. Luke’s Gospel

St. Hippolytus and his criticisms of the positions of
the Pope’s of Rome, Zephyrinus and Callixtus

Callistus attempted to confirm this heresy — a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne. Now this man moulded to his purpose Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. And inasmuch as Zephyrinus was accessible to bribes, and covetous, Callistus, by luring him through presents, and by illicit demands, was enabled to seduce him into whatever course of action he pleased. And so it was that Callistus succeeded in inducing Zephyrinus to create continually disturbances among the brethren, while he himself took care subsequently, by knavish words, to attach both factions in good-will to himself. And, at one time, to those who entertained true opinions, he would in private allege that they held similar doctrines (with himself), and thus make them his dupes; while at another time he would act similarly towards those (who embraced) the tenets of Sabellius. But Callistus perverted Sabellius himself, and this, too, though he had the ability of rectifying this heretic’s error. For (at any time) during our admonition Sabellius did not evince obduracy; but as long as he continued alone with Callistus, he was wrought upon to relapse into the system of Cleomenes by this very Callistus, who alleges that he entertains similar opinions to Cleomenes. Sabellius, however, did not then perceive the knavery of Callistus; but he afterwards came to be aware of it, as I shall narrate presently.

Now Callistus brought forward Zephyrinus himself, and induced him publicly to avow the following sentiments: I know that there is one God, Jesus Christ; nor except Him do I know any other that is begotten and amenable to suffering. And on another occasion, when he would make the following statement: The Father did not die, but the Son. Zephyrinus would in this way continue to keep up ceaseless disturbance among the people. And we, becoming aware of his sentiments, did not give place to him, but reproved and withstood him for the truth’s sake. And he hurried headlong into folly, from the fact that all consented to his hypocrisy — we, however, did not do so— and called us worshippers of two gods, disgorging, independent of compulsion, the venom lurking within him. It would seem to us desirable to explain the life of this heretic, inasmuch as he was born about the same time with ourselves, in order that, by the exposure of the habits of a person of this description, the heresy attempted to be established by him may be easily known, and may perchance be regarded as silly, by those endued with intelligence. This Callistus became a martyr at the period when Fuscianus was prefect of Rome, and the mode of his martyrdom was as follows.
From, A Refutation of All Heresies. Book IX.

On Callixtus and Noetus

But in like manner, also, Noetus, being by birth a native of Smyrna, and a fellow addicted to reckless babbling, as well as crafty withal, introduced (among us) this heresy which originated from one Epigonus. It reached Rome, and was adopted by Cleomenes, and so has continued to this day among his successors. Noetus asserts that there is one Father and God of the universe, and that He made all things, and was imperceptible to those that exist when He might so desire. Noetus maintained that the Father then appeared when He wished; and He is invisible when He is not seen, but visible when He is seen. And this heretic also alleges that the Father is unbegotten when He is not generated, but begotten when He is born of a virgin; as also that He is not subject to suffering, and is immortal when He does not suffer or die. When, however, His passion came upon Him, Noetus allows that the Father suffers and dies. And the Noetians suppose that this Father Himself is called Son, (and vice versa,) in reference to the events which at their own proper periods happen to them severally.

Callistus corroborated the heresy of these Noetians, but we have already carefully explained the details of his life. And Callistus himself produced likewise a heresy, and derived its starting-points from these Noetians — namely, so far as he acknowledges that there is one Father and God, viz., the Creator of the universe, and that this (God) is spoken of, and called by the name of Son, yet that in substance He is one Spirit. For Spirit, as the Deity, is, he says, not any being different from the Logos, or the Logos from the Deity; therefore this one person, (according to Callistus,) is divided nominally, but substantially not so. He supposes this one Logos to be God, and affirms that there was in the case of the Word an incarnation. And he is disposed (to maintain), that He who was seen in the flesh and was crucified is Son, but that the Father it is who dwells in Him. Callistus thus at one time branches off into the opinion of Noetus, but at another into that of Theodotus, and holds no sure doctrine. These, then, are the opinions of Callistus.
From Against All Heresies, Book X

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About Gary Cyril Jenkins

Professor of History
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