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*-Appendix 1: On the Problem of Jewish Christianity/

With some (aaron) comments:


by Georg Strecker Translated by Gerhard Kroedel- In the preceding investigation, Walter Bauer posed for himself the task of examining critically the widely held view that "for the period of Christian origins, ecclesiastical doctrine ... already represents what is primary, while heresies, on the other hand, somehow are a deviation from the genuine"  

  (aaron— I would once again ask for your patience as we pursue a very difficult subject—the precise identification of God’s peoples. And as per my usual habit, I am critiquing the works of others in order to communicate what I have come to recognize as an Eschatological Imperative. What we are attempting to accomplish in this brief study, is to better understand this complex relationship between “Jewish Christianity”, the early Gentile Christian Church, and God’s first peoples Israel. These problems that we are pointing out here for the Christian Church, are essentially the consequence of our failure to properly discern the complex identification of God’s peoples. Therefore, these writings are offered in support of THE AARON PAPERS-A STUDY IN COVENANT THEOLOGY-Thesis statement- along with its supporting documentation.

Now it is here that we must closely examine the history of “the Church”, her designation of “heresy”, and just how this term was so generously applied to the others.) 

“He (Walter Bauer) concluded that this understanding of history which has dominated ecclesiastical historiography since Eusebius is not correct, but that for broad areas the heresies were "primary." It is surprising that he did not buttress this conclusion in extenso with reference to the problem of Jewish Christianity. This is especially remarkable because here the generalization drawn by the ecclesiastically approved view of history would be most clearly open to refutation -- Jewish Christianity, according to the witness of the New Testament, stands at the beginning of the development of church history, so that it is not the gentile Christian "ecclesiastical doctrine" that represents what is primary, but rather a Jewish Christian theology.[1]

[1] H. Koch's review of Bauer (see below, p. 287) with reference to the "most ancient Jewish Christianity in Palestine": "Here also the dogmatically determined historiography of the heresiarchs accused the 'Ebionites' of apostasy or of relapse into Judaism while in reality they were merely the conservatives who did not go along with the Pauline-hellenistic developments".”[1] 

  (aaron— This last statement is quite astounding when we take just a small step back in our attempt to look at the larger picture of God’s Universal Reconciliation. Here, we are being forced to view the Christian Church in more of a pre-Gentile scenario—looking at the Jewish Christians as our predecessors rather than a selected group of rejected heretics. Any failure in understanding the assigned roles that God has established for His individual people groups throughout His whole Universal Reconciliation, makes the resulting understandings very tenuous at best. Even the last portion of footnote [1] describes the heart of this difficult understanding. These differences were all realities of the time, just as they continue to be realities even today. I believe that if one closely follows the Apostle Paul’s writings in the New Testament, even though he was the Apostle to the Gentiles, he still remained very hopeful for his kinsmen and always attempts to explain the eternal hope that yet awaits them.) 

 “This fact was forgotten quite early in the ecclesiastical heresiological tradition. The Jewish Christians usually were classified as "Ebionites" in the ecclesiastical catalogues of sects or else, in a highly one-sided presentation, they were deprecated as an insignificant minority by comparison with the "great church." Thus implicitly the idea of apostasy from the ecclesiastical doctrine also was applied to them.[2]

[2] Cf. among others Jerome Epistle 112.13: "As long as the Nazoreans want to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews nor Christians." See also below, 272 ff.[2]  

  (aaron— It is very clear that the early Church—the “great church” as it was referred to above, levied very harsh judgments upon the others who might be doctrinally different from their own views and opinions. Here it is referred to as “the ecclesiastical heresiological tradition”. This is, I believe, a very long name for one group claiming the authority to harshly judge the others, the outsiders, as apostates and heretics. The statement made in footnote [2] "As long as the Nazoreans want to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews nor Christians" could be seen as being very shortsighted at best. In that, there was absolutely no consideration being made for the difficult transition for the very first Christians who had come out of Judaism into the sect identified here as Jewish Christianity. This is an early glimpse of the natural problems that would exist between the various groups of God’s peoples. I would repeat that point—that these are the very same problems that exist yet today, especially within the Abrahamic religions. Our failure to understand the complexities involved in the identification of God’s peoples has given rise to this argument over the preeminence of one religion or denomination over another:)


The more recent treatments have for the most part followed the older pattern of ecclesiastical historiography without contradiction.[3]

[3] Cf. for example A. von Harnack, History of Dogma, 1 [ET by N. Buchanan from German 1894\3 ed.; London: Williams and Norgate, 1894; repr, New York: Dover, 1961): 290 f.; [= 4th German ed. of 1909, p. 313; but in this appendix on Jewish Christianity, Harnack does not point specifically to the year 70 as a watershed; see also p. 330 = ET 308 f.] cf. also H. Lietzman, History, 1: 183: after the destruction of Jerusalem "Jewish Christianity lacked not only a racial, but also a religious basis for its former claim, and thus was forgotten in the mainstream church. It sank into oblivion in the lonely deserts of east Jordan"; also O. Cullmann, ''Ebioniten'' RGG\3, 2 (1958): 297 f., speaks of a "process of retardation into a heretical sect"; M. Simon, Verus Israel: &EACUTEtude sur les relations entre Chrétiens et Juifs dans l'Empire Romain (135- 425) (Paris: Boccard, 1948; supplemented reprint 1964), p. 313, claims that "Jewish Christianity outside of Palestine, in view of its initial Israelite recruitment, represents only a rather sporadic phenomenon without much extent. In Palestine itself, the Ebionites are a minority in relation to the mainstream church, in uninterrupted regression and condemned by their position itself to disappear sooner or later." It is inexplicable that L. E. Elliott-Binns quotes this with approval (Galilean Christianity, Studies in Biblical Theology 16 [Chatham: SCM, 1956], p. 77 n. 4), even though he correctly recognizes the disparity between actual Jewish Christianity and the uniform characterization of it in the heresiological tradition (78; cf. also 50). The year 70 is usually regarded as the time of transition into the "sectarian situation" -- e.g. A. von Harnack, Mission\2, 1: 63; H.-J. Schoeps, Theologie und Geschichte des Judenchristentums (Tübingen: Mohr, 1949), p. 7; J. Munck, ''Jewish Christianity in post-Apostolic Times,'' NTS 6 (1959-60): 103-116. The influence of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple on Judaism and on Jewish Christianity is quite often overestimated. Such influence was small wherever Jewish Christianity, like diaspora Judaism, had come to be largely independent of the temple cult. Naturally, Jewish Christianity like "official" Judaism, was capable of adapting itself to the new situation. It has been demonstrated elsewhere that the tradition of the flight of the primitive Jerusalem community to Pella during the Jewish war is a legend without historical value and therefore may not be used in this connection; see G. Strecker, Das Judenchristentum in den Pseudoklementinen, TU 70 (1958), pp. 229 ff. The defense by Elliott-Binns of the historicity of that event (Galilean Christianity, pp. 65-71; in opposition to S. G. F. Brandon) cannot remove the fundamental doubts about the quality of the tradition. His thesis about a unification of the Jerusalem and Galilean communities in Pella (pp. 68f.) is pure speculation.{3] 

“From the fact that there is only a sparse tradition of Jewish Christian witnesses they incorrectly conclude that Jewish Christianity was actually insignificant, without taking into consideration that our knowledge is determined by the ecclesiastical tradition and that even the various titles of Jewish Christian literature[4] seem to demand some critical reservations with respect to the judgment of the mainstream church. Therefore no further justification is required for the attempt to apply Bauer's conception of history to Jewish Christianity as well.”

[4] Cf. G. Strecker, ''Ebioniten,'' RAC 4 (1959), pp. 492 ff.[4] 

(aaron— Even though—“The more recent treatments have for the most part followed the older pattern of ecclesiastical historiography without contradiction”, it would appear that there are at least some, Walter Bauer being one example, who are in favor of stopping this long train of historic events long enough to reexamine how we might relate to God’s first peoples Israel as well as those of the Jewish Christian sect. Though there might be some on the fringe that are willing to make this critical examination, I seriously doubt that “the great church” as a whole will also be as willing. Although, from my own inter-faith experience with the other religious sects, I believe that achieving any common understanding will still be a very long up-hill struggle for us all.

Additionally, I would like to comment on our present-day Jewish Christianity that is known as the Messianic Jewish Christian Sect. Though they believe in Yeshua-Messiah as the Son of God and the resurrected Savior, nevertheless, like their predecessors, they continue to hold many of the same Jewish traditions. Although there are probably many traditions to one degree or another, their practice of Saturday Sabbath worship would be one of the more obvious examples. And they, like the other Abrahamic religions, would believe that their form of worshipping Jehovah God is most correct.) 

“Jewish Christianity is, to be sure, a complex thing. It is found both in a Palestinian as well as a Hellenistic environment and it was subjected to various influences. Hellenistic Jewish Christianity does not represent a closed unity, but the transition from Jewish Christianity to gentile Christianity is fluid, as is shown on the one hand by the adoption of gentile Christian forms by Jewish Christians and on the other by the Judaizing of Christians from the gentile sphere. The latter process is not only to be assumed for the earliest period -- as a result of the direct effects of the Jewish synagogue upon the development of gentile Christianity -- but is also attested for the later period.[5]

[5] Cf. John Chrysostom Adversus Judaeos (PG 48, 844 and 849 f.); Simon, Verus Israel, 379 f. The large-scale work of J. Daniélou, Theology of Jewish Christianity [ET by J. A. Baker from the 1958 French; Chicago: Regnery, 1964) has a misleading title. That sort of Jewish Christianity, the theology of which it attempts to present, never existed as an entity that can be identified in terms of the history of religions. Actually, this book is an undoubtedly worthwhile presentation of Semitic (Jewish) forms of life and thought within Christian theology. But even in this respect the book is incomplete and has not taken into consideration Hellenistic analogies nor the problem of the history of tradition. For a critical evaluation, see the valuable review by A. Orbe, ''Une théologie du judéo-christianisme,'' Recherches de science religieuse 47 (1959): 544-549; in addition, Munck, ''Jewish Christianity,'' 108 ff. [{add RAK}][5] 

(aaron— This paragraph is filled with the rich truths that surround the development of the early Christian Church. But we need only look to Acts chapter fifteen to readily see these distinct differences that existed between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. It is very unfortunate that the Christian Church has failed to understand that these two distinct and separate Christian groups were never supposed to be the same! They were, by God’s design, of distinctively different offices, though with some overlapping characteristics. Now if they were supposed to have been the same as many contend, why were there two separate gospels dispensations given? Why was there a specific gospel dispensation given to Peter for the Circumcision, as well as a specific gospel dispensation given to Paul for the Uncircumcision? So when “the great church” made the decision that the Jewish Christian differences were some form of apostasy and thereby they judged them as heretics, they made a terrible mistake that has made absolute havoc of their whole theology. Consequently, with this flawed understanding that presently exists within “the great church”, it is not possible to correctly arrive at many necessary theological assumptions. Simply put, within the modern Christian Church there is no clear understanding of precisely who the peoples of God were, are, or will be. And I would also like to repeat this again a number of times-that a correct understanding of the complex identification of God’s peoples is an eschatological imperative for any correct theology.) 

“And to what extent can a boundary be drawn with precision between Palestinian and hellenistic Jewish Christianity? Further, there is the problem of genetic definition: if the Christians of Jewish descent are designated "Jewish Christians," it must be asked what criteria there are for so doing. Relationships at the level of the history of tradition should also be explored -- as, for example, between the later Jewish Christians and the primitive Jerusalem community or the Jewish Christianity of the New Testament.” 

(aaron— Now if one is able to grasp the larger picture of God’s Universal Reconciliation, and then begin to understand how all of the individual parts might best fit in together, then one will quickly recognize the futility of such an exercise in genetics as is being posed in the above statement. It is when we are able to ascertain the precise identification of God’s peoples, and the inclusive roles that God has intended for each part within this reconciliation, that the pure simplicity of God’s plan of redemption will become clearer to our understanding. And when considering the complexity that is involved in the identification of God’s peoples, the author here essentially says as much in his concluding statement:) 

“And is it possible to regard the Jewish Christianity of the New Testament as a unity? The testimony of the Pauline letters as well as the statements (admittedly questionable in particular instances) of the other New Testament writings suggest the opposite already in the early period.[6]

[6] In taking up the thesis proposed by W. Lütgert, W. Schmithals has indeed argued that besides Pauline Christianity, there existed a comprehensive counter-church of Jewish Christian gnosticism; see the bibliography given below, p. 307 [the shorter studies on Galatians, Philippians, and Romans have now appeared in revised form in Paulus und die Gnostiker, Theologische Forschung 35 (Hamburg: Evangelisher Verlag, 1965), along with an article on ''Die historische Situation der Thessalonicherbriefe''] -- on 1 Thessalonians, see also p. 64 n. 123 of the article on Galatians. [248] On the problem of Philippians, cf. also the investigation by H. Koester listed below, p. 308, which modifies the conclusions of Schmithals somewhat.[6] 

“A multitude of problems that go far beyond the restricted range of an "appendix" arise. Thus some limitations must be set.


We shall deal with the legalistic Jewish Christianity situated in Greek-speaking Syria, and will examine from the perspective of this investigation

(1)               the indirect witness of the Didascalia and then

(2)               the Jewish Christian Kerygmata Petrou ("Proclamations" or "Sermons of Peter"; abbreviated KP) source of the pseudo-Clementines, and compare our results with

(3)               the so-called ecclesiastical position, which in this instance means with the statements about Ebionitism made by the ecclesiastical heresiologists.


“1.The Didascalia. The author who, around the first half of the third century, wrote the Didascalia in Syria[7] claims that he is setting forth the "catholic doctrine" and that he represents the "catholic church, holy and perfect".”

[7] On this matter, see the following: P. Galtier, ''La date de la Didascalie des Apôtres,'' Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique 42 (1947): 315-351; B. Altaner, Patrology [ET by H. C. Graef from the German 1958 ed.; London: Nelson, 1960), p. 56 (see German 1960\6 ed. with A. Stuiber, p. 48); J. Quasten, Patrology 2: The Ante-Nicene Literature after Irenaeus (Utrecht: Spectrum, 1953), 147; G. Bardie, ''Didascalie des Apôtres,'' Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, 3 (Paris, 1955): 863-865; Harnack, Geschichte, 2 (Chronologie).2: 488 ff. (his suggestion of posf-Novatian interpolaions is not convincing). [In what follows, references to Didascalia are given according to its normal (broad) chapter divisions, with page and line from Connolly's ET (see below) and the equivalent passage from the Apostolic Constitutions (by book, section, and paragraph, following Funk's ed., listed below) appended in that order -- e.g. Didasc. 8 (80.21 = 2.27.7) means chapter 8 of Didascalia, material found on p. 80 line 21 of Connolly's ET, which parallels Apostolic Constitutions 2.27.7. The standard German translation by (H. Achelis and) J. Flemming, which is referred to by page and line in the original form of this appendix, has also been consulted at every point.] For the text of the Didascalia, reference has been made to the following editions and studies: P. Bötticher (P. de Lagarde), Didascalia apostololorum syriace (Leipzig, 1854); M. D. Gibson, The Didascalia Apostolorum in syriac, Horae Semiticae 1 (London, 1903); H. Achelis and J. Flemming, Die syriche Didaskalia, TU 10.2 (1904), with variant Syriac readings on pp. 225-235 [Achelis is responsible for the commentary on pp. 257-387; Flemming for the text, German translation, notes, and pp. 243-247]; F. X. Funk, Didascalia et Constitutiones Apostolorum (in two volumes, Paderborn, 1905; reprint (1960), a reconstruction of the text in Latin according to the Latin and Syriac evidence, and a comparison with the Apostolic Constitutions; R. H. Connolly, Didascalia Apostolorum: the Syriac version translated and accompanied by the Verona Latin fragments (Oxford: Clarendon, 1929), an ET of the Syriac text and comparison with the Latin fragments. Cf. also E. Tidner, Didascaliae Apostolorum Canonum Ecclesiasticorum Traditionis Apostolicae versiones Latinae, TU 75 (1963). [For an ET of the Ethiopic version, see J. M. Harden, The Ethiopic Didascalia (London: SPCK, 1920).][7] 

“The consciousness of catholicity appears to permeate the church of his time -- in any event it presents itself as such when the recommended practice of fasting is defended by reference to the custom "of all the faithful throughout the world", and becomes concrete in the dispute with the heretics, "who have erred by thinking that there are other churches" and "who with evil words blaspheme the catholic church which is the receptacle of the Holy Spirit".     

(aaron— We have been presented here, two separate heresies that are being defined for us in very clear language. The first heresy is against those, "who have erred by thinking that there are other churches". Then the second heresy is against those "who with evil words blaspheme the catholic church which is the receptacle of the Holy Spirit". Consequently, with this strong determination by “the great church” that no other church exists except their-own, there is obviously no room at all left here for the Jewish Christian sect /or any other denomination as a matter of fact.)

“In opposition to them, it is necessary to preserve the catholicity of the church by making a clear break with them and to deal with the believers who have fallen away to their side either by excluding them from the church's fellowship or by converting them from their error. The author supports the "catholic doctrine" which he represents through the apostolic claim made by his work in its title and in the fiction of apostolic authorship that it maintains throughout. Thereby he gains a legitimization that could not be achieved on the basis of his own authority, and at the same time his work acquires a universality corresponding to the presupposed missionary activity of the apostles. On the surface, it seems that the catholic ideal has been widely realized. In opposition to the dangers of heresy, a firmly established episcopal office guarantees the purity of the church.[8]

[8] Cf. the instructions for the office of bishop in chapter 4 (28 ff. = 2.1-6). It is significant that the admonition which is characteristic for the Didascalia, to use church discipline with moderation, is justified by reference to the dangers that threaten the outsiders from the side the heresies (7 [64.28 ff. = 2.21.2]).[8] 

(aaron— By establishing their monarchical episcopate power base system, “the great church” assumes and assured absolute control for themselves. They have theorized that their “established Episcopal office guarantees the purity of the church”. And although this might be all well and good on the surface, with their desire to keep the church pure, they have an obvious tendency towards exclusivity. It could be understood here that their claim of monarchical episcopate for “the great church” is nothing more than a self-imposed ruling authority within what they interpret as the Church. It is obvious that whoever holds the power gets to establish the rules.) 

“The reference to the "holy scriptures" is a polemical thrust at the heresies -- it is a familiar indication of a "catholic" self-understanding.[9]

[9] Didasc. 20 (172.12 = 5.7.14), 24 (204.12 = 6.12.2), 25 (212.39 = 6.14[18].7), 26 (242.13 f. and 244.7 ff. = 6.21[27].1 and 2); cf. Bauer, above, 195 ff.[9] 

“Even the triadic structure of the credo fits into this framework.[10]

[10] Didasc. 19 (167.3 ff. = 5.6.10), 24 (204.10 ff. = 6.12.1), 26 (255.13 ff. = 6.23[30].8 -- cf. the codices!) -- in pointed confrontation with the heretics; cf. especially the passage listed from 24, where the short form of the credo is attached to an implicit warning against the heresies.[10] 

“Thus in the Didascalia the claim of catholicity and the claim of orthodoxy go hand in hand. But are we dealing with anything more than a claim?  

“It is true that when the author speaks about traveling Christians he makes a distinction between adherents of the church and heretics, but the question remains completely open as to how extensive is the ecclesiastical background referred to here.  

“Considering the forms in which the "catholic doctrine" of the Didascalia appears, it is striking that it diverges significantly from the character of "orthodoxy" with which we are familiar. To be sure a monarchial episcopate is presupposed, but the concept of succession that was for the most part simply taken for granted in the mainstream church of the third century is not mentioned. This is all the more surprising since the apostolic fiction maintained by the book plainly requires such a basis for the Episcopal office.[11]

[11] Cf. Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, p. 270. The more or less contemporary "basic writing" that underlies the ps.- Clementines (see below, 258), on the other hand, reports the installation of Clement or of Zachaeus by the apostle Peter on the basis of a supposed order for the Episcopal consecration -- ps.-Clementine Epistle of Clement to James [ET in ANF 8: 218- 222), Hom. 3.60 ff., Rec. 3.65 f. (cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 97 ff.). On this problem, see also [250] W. Ullmann, ''The Significance of the Epistula Clementis in the Pseudo-Clementines,'' Journal of Theological Studies 11 (1960): 295-317; this is an expansion of the presentation, ''Some Remarks on the Significance of the Epistula Clementis in the Pseudo-Clementines,'' Studia Patristica 4, TU 79 (1961): 330- 337. According to Ullmann the Epistle of Clement to James, which is in the form of a testament of Peter to Clement, endeavors to establish the legal basis for the transmission of Peter's authority to the papacy (''Remarks,'' 334 and elsewhere). Ullmann correctly recognizes that the Epistle of Clement to James presupposes the concept of apostolic succession, but he is wrong in his contention that the reference to the Roman community determines the character of the letter. From the viewpoint of literary analysis, the Epistle derives from the author of the "basic writing" behind the ps.-Clementines.  

Correspondingly, its content relates directly to the ps.- Clementine story. As an introduction to the work, this epistle was fashioned in connection with the other introductory writing, the Epistle of Peter to James (below, 260 n. 57), and attempts to prepare for the significance of the speeches of Peter that are referred to in what follows, and at the same time to indicate that the journeys of Peter and Clement ended in Rome. Herein lies the purpose of the Epistle of Clement to James, not in the establishing of a foundation for the Roman claim, of which no indications are found elsewhere in the Clementine romance. How little the Roman claim lies in the background is disclosed through a comparison with the Episcopal installation of Zachaeus in Caesarea; Zachaeus is also the successor of Peter (Hom. 3.60.1, ant' emou!), and is even legitimated through being an eyewitness (Hom. 3.63.1). [11] 

“The use of the New Testament scriptures also is striking. The stereotyped reference to the "holy scriptures" is expanded as an exhortation to read "the holy scriptures and the gospel of God", or "the law, the book of the ~ngs and the prophets, and the gospel" or even "law, prophets, and gospel".  

“The designation "gospel" apparently means the gospel literature, which is the most important part of the New Testament canon for the author.[12]

[12] Achelis (-Flemming), Didaskalia, p. 333. In Didascalia 8 (81.29 f. = 2.25.1) the introductory formula ["in David and in all the prophets and in the gospel also, our savior prays for our sins..."] alludes to an episode from the story of Jesus (cf. Luke 23.34 [and the similar "gospel" material about how "our savior made intercession for sinners before his father," found in Didasc. 6 (52.14 ff. = 2.16.1); cf. also 24 (212.10 f. = 6.14[18].4)]), just as elsewhere the "gospel" introduces only synoptic material, and not quotations from the canonical epistles (the "apostolos"). [But see n. 14 below on possible "gospel" material from John.][12] 

“The gospel of Matthew is preferred.[13]

[13] Cf. Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, pp. 318 ff. [and Connolly, Didascalia, lxx ff.]. Matthew is the only gospel cited by name (21 [182.11 = 5.14.11] -- "but in the gospel of Matthew it is written thus..."). This introductory formula can hardly be the result of an interpolation as was suggested by Connolly (ad loc. and p. lxxi); rather, it is confirmed by the content of the quotation. Reference is made to Matt. 28.1 f., which is part of the material peculiar to Matthew, and the quotation from Matt. 12.40 that follows has been shown to belong to the Matthean redactional material (see G. Strecker, Der Weg der Gerechtigkeit: Untersuchungen zur Theologie des Matthäus, FRLANT 82 [1962]: 103 f.).[13] 

“But acquaintance with the gospel of Mark is not to be ruled out, and knowledge of Luke and of John is highly probable.[14] 

[14] Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, pp. 319 ff. [and Connolly, lxx f.]. According to Harnack, Geschichte, 2 (Chronologie).2: 492 f., the gospel of John was "not used as an evangelical platform," but the testimonies adduced by Achelis (pp. 241 and 320) should not be belittled. With a high degree of probability John 6.38 f. (in 11 [118.3 ff. = 2.55.2]), 7.24   (in 11 [114.23 f. =2.51.1]), and 12.25 (in combination with Matt. 10.39, in 19 [166.16 f. = 5.6.7]) are cited. Therefore one also will have to favorably evaluate allusions to John 13.4 f. and 14 f. in Didasc. 16 (150.10 ff. and 16 = 3.13.4 f. ["in the gospel"!]). To be sure, the Syriac manuscript Harrisianus does not contain a translation of this passage. However, this omission includes the larger context and is insignificant in view of the numerous omissions in this manuscript. Finally, the possibility also must be left open that the pericope concerning the adulteress in Didasc. 8 (76.16 ff. = 2.24.3) was accessible to the author because it was included in his copy of the Fourth Gospel (cf. certain manuscripts of John 7.53 ff.) -- contrary to Achelis(-Flemming), 319, and Connolly, lxxi f. Even though Papias and the Gospel of the Hebrews transmitted a similar narrative, according to the report of Eusebius (EH 3.39.17), there is still no proof that the Didascalia is dependent on them. The fact that the notice of Eusebius and the Didascalia agree in avoiding the word "adulteress" is not a sufficient argument. Against this hypothesis it can be argued (1) that no other connections can be established between the Didascalia on the one hand and Papias and/or the Gospel of the Hebrews on the other -- for the latter, such connections are not to be expected since the Gospel of the Hebrews is native to Egypt and not to Syria; and (2) that the content of the pericope as it was known to Papias and to the Gospel of the Hebrews cannot be determined any longer, but verbal agreements exist in part between Didascalia and John 7.53 ff.[14] 

“Thus caution is in order with respect to the conjecture that the author made use of a harmony of the gospels[15]

[15] Harnack, Geschichte, 2 (Chronologie).2: 494.[15] 

“-- in view of the freedom of the manner of quotation and the citation of mixed texts from Old and New Testament writings, the use of such a harmony can hardly be established. This holds true with one exception.

It is almost universally recognized that the author either directly or indirectly used the so-called Gospel of Peter,[16] a compilation based on the canonical gospels. 

[16] Cf. [Connolly, Didascalia, lxxv ff.;] C. Maurer in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 1: 179 ff.; L. Vaganay, L'évangile de Pierre\2 (Paris: Gabalda, 1930), pp. 167-169; Harnack, Bruchstücke des Evangeliums und der Apokalypse des Petrus, TU 9.2 (1893\2). Harnack also attempts, without much success to trace John 7.53 ff. back to the Gospel of Peter; cf. on the contrary Vaganay, pp. 186 f.[16] 

“The surprising agreements in the account of Jesus' passion can hardly be explained otherwise, particularly the statement that it was Herod, not the procurator Pilate, who had Jesus crucified, but also in a more general way the exoneration of Pilate that immediately precedes this passage, the dating of the resurrection of Jesus in the night preceding Sunday, and the emphasis upon fasting during holy week.[17] 

[17] Compare Didasc. 21 (190.6 ff. = 5.19.6), "thus it is fitting for you to fast on Friday and Saturday and also to take your vigil and watch on Saturday," and Gospel of Peter 5.27, "on account of all these things we fasted and sat there and cried night and day until Sabbath." See also below, 250 n. 26.[17] 

“The casual manner in which this gospel is used (formulas of citation do not occur[18]) is all the more significant since we are dealing with the gospel of "Syrian-Antiochian heretics" and Serapion of Antioch already devoted an official refutation to the book.[19]

[18] With the possible exception of 21 (183.4 ff. = 5.14.14-15), where the relationship to the Gospel of Peter is not entirely clear ["and he said to us, teaching us, 'Are you fasting...?'" These words are spoken in the presence of Levi after the resurrection -- cf. Gospel of Peter 14.60 and n. 25 below].[18] 

[19] EH 6.12 (see above, 115); Zahn, Geschichte, 1.1: 177- 179, and 2: 743 ff.; Harnack, Geschichte, 1.1: 11.[19] 

“As the Didascalia shows, Serapion's judgment was not able to prevail very quickly throughout the area of the Syrian church. The outlook of its author with respect to what may be considered "catholic doctrine" is rather different from that of the occupant of the bishop's throne in Antioch.[20] 

[20] Eusebius, on the other hand, later included the Gospel of Peter among the heretical writings; EH 3.3.2 and 3.25.6 ff.[20] 

“We will bypass the question of Didascalia's relation to the rest of the canon[21] and also the problem of its use of so-called agrapha, in which it does not go beyond the bounds of what is common in patristic literature of the third century.[22] 

[21] The number of canonical New Testament writings presupposed by Didascalia is not as extensive as Achelis had affirmed (Didaskalia, pp. 321 ff.). In addition to the four gospels, the Gospel of Peter, and the book of Acts, there is clear acquaintance with some Pauline epistles, especially the Pastorals (Achelis, pp. 322 f.; [cf. Connolly, lxii]). But in regard to the remaining canonical works, judgment must be reserved. The idea that the author knew Hebrews is not supported by any real evidence. Nor is it demonstrable that his Pauline corpus comprised fourteen letters, as Achelis supposed (323; [cf. Connolly, lxxii]). Knowledge of the catholic Epistles is also questionable. The parallel between Didascalia 12 (122.29 ff. = 2.58.4) and James 2.2 f. does not prove that James is being cited because, as Achelis himself acknowledged (322), it is precisely the colorful statements of the version in James that are absent from Didascalia. It is self-evident that use of 1 John cannot be inferred from the fact that the Johannine gospel is quoted. Only for a knowledge of 1 Peter is there some basis: Didascalia 1 (2.6 = 1. introduction) seems to refer to 1 Pet. 1.2, Didasc. 4 (32.26 = 2.3.3) to 1 Pet. 4.8, and Didasc. 9 (86.1 f. = 2.26.1) to 1 Pet. 2.9 (Achelis, 322; [Connolly, lxxii]).  

There is no denying the existence of these parallels. Moreover, the material in Didasc. 4 is presented as a direct quotation. But surprisingly, the quotation is said to be spoken by the "Lord," so that one must ask whether this logion was actually transmitted to the author of the Didascalia as part of 1 Peter, or whether it may not have been independent of that document. This supposed evidence also is compromised by the discovery that the passage ultimately derives from an Old Testament text (Prov. 10.12) even though the wording in Didasc. 4 is closer to the text of 1 Peter [253] than to that of the Old Testament. The same applies to the material in Didasc. 9, where the text that supposedly is cited (1 Pet. 2.9) actually is an indirect quotation of Exod. 19.6 and 23.22 (LXX). As was true in the case of Didasc. 4, the wording of Didasc. 9 is closer to the New Testament text than to the Old Testament. But this is hardly decisive. The text in question appears in a series of ecclesiological predications, which were well known and probably orally transmitted. The same is true of Didasc. 1, where the wording of 1 Pet. 1.2 is not reproduced exactly either. The conclusion that the author of Didascalia knew 1 Peter is not compelling, to say the least. Finally, with reference to the Apocalypse [cf. Connolly, lxxiii], even Achelis recognized that the few allusions do not go beyond the stock of commonly used liturgical formulae in the ancient church (323 f.). There is thus no reason for assuming that the author of the Didascalia knew and used the Apocalypse.[21] 

[22] Cf. Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, pp. 336 ff; [Connolly, lxxiii; and above, n. 12].[22] 

“But in connection with what has been said, we must refer to the relation of the author of the Didascalia to Judaism.[23]

[23] Details in Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, p. 361; C. Schmidt, Studien zu den Pseudo-Klementinen, TU 46.1 (1929): 252; L. Goppelt, Christentum und Judentum im ersten und zweiten Jahrhundert (Gutersloh: Bertelsmann, 1954), pp. 205-207. [Cf. also Connolly, lxxxviii f.][23] 

“Of course, one should not overestimate the evidence that will be cited here. The fact that the author speaks of the Jews as "brothers" in chapter 21 is based on the Old Testament[24] and perhaps goes back to a literary source that could also have contained the idea of intercessory fasting for the brethren from the Jewish people.[25]

[24] The former passage continues: "For even if they hate you, we must call them brothers, for thus it is written for us in Isaiah, 'Call those who hate and despise you "brothers," because the name of the Lord is praised'" (Isa. 66.5).[24] 

[25] In terms of its content, Didasc. 21 (180.29 f. = 5.13.1, "when you fast, pray and intercede for those who are perishing, as we also did when our savior suffered") has parallels in the Gospel of Peter 5.27 (see above, 248 n. 17). The later citation in Disasc. 21 (183.5ff. = 5.14.15) seems to be a resumption of the same tradition, which Achelis already claimed was part of the Gospel of Peter (327) -- "but he [the Lord] said to us, teaching us, 'would that you not fast these days for my sake; or do I have need that you should afflict your soul? [cf. Isa. 58.4-5].

But for the sake of your brothers you did it, and you will do it on these days on which you fast, on the fourth [day] of the week [= Wednesday] and on Friday, for all time'" [see also above, n. 18]. The possibility that a source lies behind this material becomes more probable in view of the way it differs from its present context; it refers to fasting on Wednesday and Friday, [254] but immediately thereafter Didasc. 21 (183.18 ff. = 5.14.17) speaks of fasting during the holy week, from Monday "till the night after the Sabbath." With respect to the designation of the Jews as "brothers" it follows that it was originally contained in the source which was either closely related to or identical with the Gospel of Peter (above, and n. 18), and was placed into the larger context by the author of the Didascalia. Accordingly, it is on the basis of this source used in chap. 21 (180.29 f. = 5.13.1, and 183.5 ff. = 5.14.15) that the intercession was made to relate to the Jewish people even in the subsequent treatment (184.22 = 5.14.22, 185.3 ff. = 5.14.24, 185.10 f. = 5.15.1), without being limited to them, as is clear from the earlier reference to gentile unbelievers (180.10-181.1 = 5.12.4-5.13.1).[25] 

“Behind it lies an understanding of the history of salvation that concentrates primarily upon the past and less upon the current situation. Nevertheless, this assessment of Judaism also has a root in the author's present experience, as is indicated by the fact that the Didascalia betrays a detailed acquaintance with Jewish customs and teachings. The following examples will suffice: the unusual etymological derivation of the Jewish name from the Hebrew root YDH in chapter 13 (126.22 = 2.60.3 -- "'Jew' means 'confession'"); the precise presentation of Jewish Sabbath customs;[26] 

[26] Didasc. 21 (191.4 ff. = 5.20.1 ff.). However, the injunction for Sabbath observance "you shall not lift your foot to do any work, nor shall you speak a word with your mouth" (191.16 ff. = 5.20.5) is not derived from a Jewish tractate (Achelis) but from Isa. 58.13; see Connolly, lxxviii [following Funk, ad loc.].[26] 

“the distinction between the Passover and the feast of the unleavened bread,[27] 

[27] Didasc. 21 (192.18 = 5.20.10); cf. Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, p. 361; Josephus Antiq. 3.(10.5.)248 f.[27] 

“the dating of the lament over the destruction of Jerusalem on the ninth of Ab.[28] 

[28] Didasc. 21 (191.23 = 5.20.6), it is true that a clear distinction between Jewish and Jewish Christian influence cannot always be made. Thus some of the texts that have been cited may have derived from Jewish Christian influence (see below). Nevertheless, the distinction itself should not be abandoned -- it is suggested by the author of Didascalia when on the one hand he can speak of the "Jews" (13 [126.22=2.60.3] or of "the people" (21 [189.19, 190.26 f., 191.7 ff. = 5.19.2 and 9, 5.20.2 ff.], etc.), and on the other of the "dear brothers" who came "from the people [and] became believers" (26 [233.7 f. = 6.18 (23).11]).[28] 

“These are statements which one may not explain simply by assuming that the author had been of Jewish origin. Such a hypothesis cannot be based upon observations that in reality do nothing more than to identify various items of information.[29] 

[29] Contrary to Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, pp. 384 f., and Quasten, Patrology, 2: 147. Even though the author knows of a replacement of Israel by the church in the development of salvation history (21 and 23; see above, 249 f.), he does not reveal any special sympathy for the fate of the Jewish people -- in contrast to Rom. 9-11, for example.[29] 

(aaron— There is a supposition that is being made here in the Didascalia—“the author knows of a replacement of Israel by the church in the development of salvation history”, that is somewhat misleading in our understanding of the relationship between God’s first peoples Israel and the Christian Church. But then the author here rightly points to Romans chapters 9-11 as a contrast to this replacement theology proposition that we find in Didascalia.) 

“Hence it is more probably the case that there was an active relationship between Christians and Jews in the author's world. Even though with regard to particulars the question of the extent to which such a contact contributed significantly to the development of the outlook of the author and the practice of his community must remain open,[30] 

[30] Goppelt, Christentum und Judentum, p. 206, states that the instructions to the bishop, the "juridical functions," and the community's "simple ideal for living" are examples of the "high estimation" for the "Jewish tradition." But with respect to the orders of office and community the author is primarily dependent on Christian traditions as is indicated, for example, by his extensive use of the pastoral Epistles.[30] 

“it is quite clear that the Syrian environment of the Didascalia supports an intensive influence of Jewish thought and conceptual material.  

“The "catholic doctrine" of the Didascalia unfolds itself in the controversy with the "heresies." This problem is treated in chapter 23, "On Heresies and Schisms". Already at the beginning of the Didascalia the problem of heresy is mentioned,[31] and it is called to mind repeatedly in what follows.[32] 

[31] Didasc. 5 (38.1 = 2.6.17). The sinners have "fallen into the pernicious corruption of the heresies concerning which the decisive word is (still) to be spoken."[31] 

[32] Didasc. 7 (64.28 ff. = 2.21.3), 12 (120.32 = 2.58.1), 13 (128.16 = 2.62.3), 23 (194 ff. = 6.1.1 ff.), 25 (210.20 ff. = 6.14[18].1).[32]

“The heresies form a constant danger to the church. Hence the warning at the start of chapter 23,  

"guard yourselves against all hateful, reprehensible, and abominable heresies and flee them as you would a blazing fire", and the instruction in chapter to have no fellowship with the heretics.  

“Nor are references to the frightful ultimate fate of the heretics lacking in these contexts.  

Apparently the author presupposes the existence of a number of heresies. 

“This is not merely part of the fictitious character of this work, with its apostolic claim addressed to the church's past, present, and future, but is also based on actual experiences (cf. chaps. 7 and 12, above n. 32).  

“What actual picture emerges?

Following a general warning about heresies in chapter 23, the author presents the "beginning of heresies," namely, the appearance of Simon Magus from his confrontation with the apostles in Jerusalem (!) to the macabre contest of the miracle workers (Simon Magus and Peter) in Rome. Of course, this does not permit us to draw an inference as to the present situation of the author. The presentation is rather reminiscent of the accounts of the apocryphal acts of the apostles.[33] 

[33] Cf. Lipsius, Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, 2: 59 ff., 321, 328 (but here the text of the Didascalia is regarded as an abbreviation of the report found in Apostolic Constitutions 6.9). Hegesippus already associated Cleobios with Simon Magus (Eusebius EH 4.22.5; cf. Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, p. 32; F. X. Funk, Die Apostolichen Konstitutionen (Rottenburg, 1891), p. 74, [and also his Didascalia 1: 317 f.].[33] 

But even the summary presentation of the heresies that follows in Didasc. 23 is not immune to criticism. In a very schematic manner "all heresies" are accused of rejecting "the law and the prophets," blaspheming "God almighty," and denying the resurrection.  

(aaron— once again we are given definition to heresy. Here it is said—‘In a very schematic manner "all heresies" are accused of rejecting "the law and the prophets," blaspheming "God almighty," and denying the resurrection.’ Now it is not clear if one must be guilty of all of these to be considered a heretic or just be guilty of any one of them. Most likely the latter would be the case. Nevertheless, it would more than appear that the heretics of that era were identified most likely on the basis of their association with a different religious group outside of “the great church”.) 

“In addition there are the false teachings of particular groups -- "many of them taught that a man should not marry, and said that if one did not marry, that would constitute sanctification"; -- others of them taught that a man should eat no meat ...". These assertions, like the preceding portrayal of the heresy of Simon Magus, do not seem to presuppose the existence of an actual situation of controversy, but remain remarkably schematic and lack concreteness. Similarly, they are taken up again only in brief summary statements, without the addition of more specific information.[34]

[34] Cf. Didasc. 24 (202.23-204.4 = 6.11.1-2, 204.9 ff. = 6.12.1), 26 (240.22 ff. = 6.20[24].1).[34] 

“Apparently the author follows an established pattern of presentation that does not reveal any connection with his own situation. This leads to a further observation -- the false teachings to which Didascalia refers can be identified with the Gnostic~~theological ideas opposed by the "great church."[35]

[35] It suffices to refer to the summary treatments of Hilgenfeld, especially with regard to the teaching of the Syrian Gnostic Credo (Ketzergeschichte, pp. 316 ff. and especially 332 f.). According to Harnack, the characterization found in Didascalia conforms to "the Marcionites" (Marcion\2, p. 341*). However, it is difficult to make a distinction between Gnostic and Marcionite outlooks here, as is often true with such isolated assertions. Against Harnack it can be argued that Marcion does not seem to have rejected explicitly the idea of an eschatological resurrection; and further, that in our passage the Didascalia ascribes the prohibition of marriage and of eating meat not to one single group but to different heretical groups.[35] 

“But in the actual body of the Didascalia Gnostic influences can be confirmed neither in a positive nor in a negative (antithetical) manner.  

“The heresiological statements summarize material formulated and transmitted in the church tradition.  

“It is a different matter with the last part of the heresiological characterization that is given in Didasc. 2~ -- "others said that one should abstain only from the flesh of swine, and should eat what the law declares to be clean, and ought to be circumcised according to the law".  

(aaron— This controversy over which requirements in the Law were to be practiced by the Gentile Christians was, I believe, clearly explained for us in Acts 15:1-35—the first Jerusalem Conference. But the things that “the great church” seemed to have overlooked in these teachings, is the evident differences between the practices associated with the Jewish Christians on the one hand and the practices associated with the Gentile Christians on the other. The required practices for each were never designed to be the same. Then the thought that the Gentile Christian practices were to replace the Jewish Christian practices, is not quite as simple as it might appear to the casual observer. I do not believe that one will find a single instruction within the Holy Bible that excuses the Jews from following the requirements of the Law. I am speaking especially about the initiatory rite of circumcision for those of Jewish descent.) 

“In contrast to the Gnostic rejection of the Old Testament, the ceremonial law of the Old Testament is here expressly acknowledged as binding. In a subsequent section the author will apply to the above-mentioned "heresy" a notion peculiar to him concerning the "second legislation". This makes it likely that the former passage contains a reflection of a concrete situation. While the question may remain open whether this notice originally was attached to the older traditional formulation -- the above-mentioned repetition of the basic wording in chapter 24 would support this -- or whether it was composed by the author, it is certain that the author connects the relevant doctrinal position to the present.

Thus we are here provided with the clue by means of which we can reconstruct the "heresy" opposed by the author of the Didascalia. It has already become clear that the heretical group under discussion is not to be characterized as a vegetarian Jewish Christianity that rejected marriage, the eating of meat, and the Old Testament, such as is attested by Epiphanius.[36] 

[36] Cf. Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, pp. 355 f.; Schoeps, Theologie, pp. 179 n. 3, and 191.[36] 

“Instead, the fundamental acknowledgment of the Old Testament law is assured. Of course, the author can also clothe his polemic in the kind of Old Testament terminology that does not allow us to recognize its actual setting. The assertion that in the true law "no distinctions with regard to food, no burning of incense, no sacrifices and burnt offerings" were mentioned can be regarded only as literary decoration at a time subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem.[37] 

[37] Cf. also Didasc. 9 (98.15 ff. = 2.35.1), and perhaps 26 (216.3 f. = 6.15.1, and 252.3 f. = 6.22[28].1)?[37] 

“But in other respects the dependence on the Old Testament still can refer to current situations. The ritual baths after sexual contamination; reflect Lev. 15.16 ff. without being derived in a literary sense from that passage. The explicit nature of the controversy and also the direct or indirect address to the heretics indicate a current situation.  

The observance of the Sabbath is also counted among the characteristic features of the heretics, as the context attests; probably this is true also of circumcision, to which not only the last part of the statement quoted above refers but also the emphatically positive description of ecclesiastical life, "spiritual circumcision of the heart"; "Uncircumcision").  

(aaron— We are given additional elements involved in defining heretical acts. Which in this case is simply referring to the Law—such as the Jewish practice of physical circumcision. But what becomes most interesting here, is this final statement—‘the emphatically positive description of ecclesiastical life, "spiritual circumcision of the heart"; "Uncircumcision").’ I wonder, do I understand this statement correctly? That they are supposing here that the "spiritual circumcision of the heart" = Uncircumcision"?

Without any reservations, that speculative statement that "spiritual circumcision of the heart" = Uncircumcision", being completely void of any direct support from the Holy Scriptures, is totally in error! The reason for their error, is because they are simply addressing this complex invisible disposition from God—the circumcised heart that is applicable to both the Old and New Testaments dispensations, from just a Gentile Christian perspective.) 

“Finally, it is possible that the observance of the Old Testament food laws is to be included here, although it is mentioned only in the summary passages in chapters 23-24. According to Connolly and W. C. van Unnik,[38]  

the heretics of the Didascalia were "Judaizing Christians" who had adopted some aspects of Jewish observance but not the totality of Jewish regulations.

[38] Van Unnik, ''De beteeknis van de mozaische vet voor de kerk van Christus volgens de syrische Didascalie,'' Nederlandisch Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenes 31 (1939): 65-100. [Connolly, lxxxiii, does not explicitly argue for such an interpretation, despite Strecker's claim, but seems to leave the question open.][38]

(aaron— This statement “According to Connolly and W. C. van Unnik,[38]  

the heretics of the Didascalia were "Judaizing Christians" who had adopted some aspects of Jewish observance but not the totality of Jewish regulations” continues to be true with respect to the Messianic Jewish sect of today. As this sect  believes that "Judaizing Christians" is only putting the Gentile Christians on the right path.)

“Therefore they did not actually live in association with Judaism and are not to be designated as Jewish Christians.[39] 

[39] Van Unnik, ''Beteeknis,'' pp. 95 ff. Cf. similarly J. Thomas, Mouvement baptiste, pp. 406 f.; Simon, Verus Israel, pp. 362 ff.[39]

“But while it cannot be denied that Syriac Christianity exhibits strong Judaizing tendencies, one should not connect the people addressed in the Didascalia with such trends. Since they are interested in Jewish observances, they are explicitly designated "heretics,"[40]  

[40] Didasc. 23 (202.17 ff. = 6.10.4), 24 (203.23 ff. = 6.11.1 f.); in 26, compare also 242.6 = 6.21(27).1 with 240.22 ff. = 6.20(24).1.[40]

a verdict which would be extraordinary with respect to Judaizing Christians, whose basic mistake did not so much involve questions of faith as questions of ecclesiastical discipline. The same can be said with reference to their practice of circumcision, which provides tight bonds to Judaism and goes far beyond mere "Judaizing."[41]

[41] The objection that no christological heresy is mentioned (van Unnik, ''Beteeknis,'' p. 96) does not carry much weight, because first of all it is doubtful whether the author of the Didascalia, in view of his very practical purpose, would even be aware of such a deviation; second, it is not impossible that the Jewish Christians who are addressed were in agreement with the community of the Didascalia in christological matters.[41]  

“Therefore, the deduction is more likely that we are dealing here with Jewish Christians. It is not accidental that the author, at the beginning of his instruction about the "second legislation" (or "repetition of the law") in chapter 26, spoke to those who "from among the people have turned to faith in God our savior Jesus Christ", just as in chapter 21 he also interpreted the quotation from Isaiah 9.1 f. by referring it to the church made up of Jews and gentiles. In spite of the apparent close connection between the Jewish Christian "heretics" and the community of the author, it is not to be assumed that they actually belong to the community of the Didascalia.[42] 

[42] Contrary to Schmidt, Studien, pp. 253, 260.[42] 

“It is striking that where the order of the congregation and its spiritual life is especially treated, a Jewish Christian peril is not mentioned.  

Controversies concerning the authority of the bishop and the other office holders would hardly be absent in the event of a struggle within the community.  

The question of how "catholic doctrine" is to defend itself against heresy is not concerned with the problem of the inner life of the community, but the community is presupposed as a self-contained entity that seeks to defend itself against sin and apostasy.  

(aaron— We can, in a very limited sense here, define the early Church’s attitude on heresy with the self-identification as this—“community is presupposed as a self-contained entity that seeks to defend itself against sin and apostasy”. Thus, heresy, in its very basic sense, is simply determined in the eye of the beholders as they identify the sin and apostasy that is being perceived within the others by them. So one can easily see how convenient it becomes to identify some individuals or groups as heretics. Then highest on this ladder of importance, is the authority that is requisitioned by the “great church”. This is best seen in this quote—“Controversies concerning the authority of the bishop and the other office holders would hardly be absent in the event of a struggle within the community.” It was precisely this idea that this—“community is presupposed as a self-contained entity that seeks to defend itself against sin and apostasy”, that would naturally lead to their imposed judgments upon the outsiders as apostates and heretics. And this same attitude continues on even into today’s Church. That is, some within the “great church” would say that if you do not submit to our self-proclaimed sovereign authority you are automatically judged as a heretic. According to their established rules, you have fallen away from the true faith that they have claimed for themselves.) 

The Jewish Christian "heretics" stand outside the community of the Didascalia. With this result we have reached a point of departure for the question concerning the relationship between heresy and Catholicism in the world of the Didascalia. Apparently a complete separation was not involved; rather the previously mentioned contacts permit the assumption of a lively relationship in which the leading role of "catholic doctrine" was not considered to lie incontestable. The powerful language with which the faithful are warned against "heresy" in chapter 23 is eloquent proof of this. The statements made by the author about the form and content of the Jewish Christian "heresy" make it seem questionable that it formed an actual sect.[43] 

[43] Cf. Didasc. 26 (240.1 = 16.19[24].3) -- they live "in the dispersion among the gentiles." Of course, this also applies to Judaism after the year 135. But the context refers to Jewish Christianity.[43] 

“It is instructive to note that it is in his confrontation with his Jewish Christian opponents that the author develops the theory, so central for the Didascalia, of the "second legeslation" (or "repetition of the law") -- i.e. the contrasting of the Old Testament decalogue [= the "real" law] with the ceremonial rules (the deuterosis or "second legislation") which had been added after the generation in the wilderness worshipped the golden calf.  

Although it cannot be established as probable that the author himself constructed this theory in dependence upon a Jewish Christian theological concept,[44] since a corresponding interpretation of the Old Testament had long been used even in ecclesiastical circles in the controversy with Judaism,[45] its pointed application to the Jewish Christian situation shows that the Jewish Christian "heretics" had a special importance in the world of the Didascalia

[44] Contrary to Schmidt, Studien, pp. 262 ff., and Schoeps, Theologie, p. 180. The theory of false pericopes, which is found in the "KP" document of the ps.-Clementines (see above, 244, and below, 257 f.), cannot be considered as a predecessor since it shows no dependence on Exod. 32; nor does it contrast two stages of written law, but rather, contrasts the falsification of the law with the oral revelation of "the true prophet" (see Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 162 ff.). The criticism of the Old Testament in the Didascalia comes somewhat closer to the Jewish Christian "AJ II" source of the ps.-Clementines [= Rec. 1.33-44.2 and 53.4\b-71, according to Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 221-254, and in Hennecke- Schneemelcher, 2: 106], which like the Didascalia sees the starting point of the outdated legislation in the veneration of the golden calf by the generation in the desert (Rec. 1.36), and holds that sacrifice is replaced by baptism (1.39). However, the author of the Didascalia thinks, among other things, of the elimination of the ritual baths through Christian baptism (cf. 26 [224.17 f. = 6.17(22).1, and 248.10ff. = 6.21(27).7]), while for the "AJ II" source the Jewish ritual laws of purification do not belong to the "second legislation." [For an extended discussion of the concept deuterwsis or "second legislation" in the Didascalia, see Connolly, lvii-lxix.][44]

[45] As is pointed out correctly by van Unnik, ''Beteeknis,'' pp. 86-95.[45] 

“We can even go a step further; the fact that the author addresses the Jewish Christian "heretics" with the term "dear brothers" can now no longer be understood as a self-evident ~~caVtatio Lcnccole)itiac [attempt to gain good will] resulting from pastoral concern, but can also include the acknowledgment that the Jewish Christian "heresy" actually predominates. The reckoning of the dates for fasting as observed in the author's community is expressly traced back to the reckoning by "believing Hebrews". Since the designation "believers" in a similar context means only Christians and not Jews, this statement can only be referred to Jewish Christians.[46]  

(aaron— This statement—“ Since the designation "believers" in a similar context means only Christians and not Jews, this statement can only be referred to Jewish Christians” is a prime example of the problem that we might encounter with our faulted understanding concerning the complex identification of God’s peoples. That is, when defining God’s peoples in the visible realm, the “believer” could be from either the Jewish community or the Gentile community. But when defining God’s peoples in the invisible sense, all of these “believers” in that realm must be identified as Jews, the Circumcision, and a part of Israel—the Israel of God.) 

[46] It could be argued that the proceeding sentence, "begin [your fasting] when your brothers who are of the people keep the Passover" (187.7 f. = 5.17.1), already should be considered as a reference to the Jewish Christian opponents. This accords with the reading in Epiphanius (Her. 70.10.2 -- oi( adelfoi u(mwn oi( ek peritomhs), which, however, is regarded as doubtful by Connolly (note, ad loc.), following Funk (Didascalia 2: 7). That the author of the Didascalia recognized the connection between the Jewish Christian practice of fasting and the Jewish practice is revealed also by the instructions, "thus you must fast when that people is celebrating the Passover" (21 [192.16 f. = 5.20.10]). Therefore a serious objection against the available textual tradition cannot be raised.

[The point being argued by Funk and Connolly is that Epiphanius has paraphrased the original Syriac, which they accept as a satisfactory text.][46] 

(aaron— Once again, this last statement is very interesting as it is making a contrast between Christians and Jews—“Since the designation "believers" in a similar context means only Christians and not Jews, this statement can only be referred to Jewish Christians.” To make the statement that the Jews are not “believers”, is, in all reality, attempting to define God’s peoples from only the Gentile Christian perspective. To begin, we must be reminded that this term ”believer” does not appear anywhere in the Holy Bible. Believer has become a strong Christian term that in some cases, is very divisive as well. Even throughout Christianity up to this day, the definition of what a “believer” is remains in the measured eye of the beholder. I do not believe that it is intended for us to understand that the Jews did not believe in the Creator God, but that the Jews, by God’s intentional design, did not believe in Jesus as the Christ. But I ask this, do we turn a blind eye to the sovereign will of God that He directed towards His first peoples Israel? If we do, we are as blinded as are the Jews. For us to expect God’s first peoples Israel to respond to the Messiah in the same way as does the Christian Church, we have failed to receive the prophetic truths given by Jesus for Israel’s marked distinction from the Christian Church. For the progress of the Gospel in fulfillment of God’s promise to father Abraham: that through his seed all of the families of the earth would be blessed, God’s first peoples Israel were, by God‘s sovereign design, blinded to the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Ref.Mat.13: Then looking particularly at verses 10-17; Isa.6:9-10; 1Pe.1:1-12)

“The influence of the Jewish Christian "heresy" on the "catholic" ecclesiastical orientation of the Didascalia is evident there. The author presupposes Jewish Christian influences. Furthermore, he considers the possibility that the "heretics" might accept those who have been excluded from the church or that they themselves might even take part in the worship in his community.[47] 

[47] Didasc. 12 (120.31 f. = 2.58.1). The fact that these statements are formulated in the plural ("heresies") does not, in view of the tremendous influence of the Jewish Christians, exclude the possibility that they are primarily under consideration.[47] 

As a result, the notion that the "heretical" Jewish Christians were the ones who separated themselves from the church seems much less probable than that the church of the Didascalia itself was faced with the task of separating itself from the "heretics."[48]  

[48] Cf. also Achelis(-Flemming), Didaskalia, p. 357.[48]

The opposite view is no longer as self-evident as the heresiological outlook would like to imagine, and it is not difficult to conclude that in this part of Syria, Jewish Christianity occupied a dominant "orthodox" position superior to "Catholicism."

(aaron— I would like to briefly comment on this statement—“As a result, the notion that the "heretical" Jewish Christians were the ones who separated themselves from the church seems much less probable than that the church of the Didascalia itself was faced with the task of separating itself from the "heretics.” This suggestion that the Jewish Christians separated themselves from “the great church” would seem to be the common practice on how “the great church” generally positions their opposition. They cast the others as apostates and heretics simply because they might resist their monarchical rule and pattern of domination. And in addition to the Jewish Christians being tagged as heretics, this same practice continues even today with respect any form of Christianity, especially the Protestants, that are not submissive to the early Christian Church and their monarchical rule. By using this inventive practice of judging any and all opposition as apostates and heretics, they have made Christianity more of an exclusive religion rather than an inclusive one. They act a bit like the Pharisees that Jesus talked about in Mat.23:13—They shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you go not in yourselves, nor do you allow them that are entering to go in.

But then can you imagine removing the very foundation of “the great church” out from her midst? That is, it is a fact that the very earliest constituents of “the church” were almost entirely Jewish Christians. So tell me this, how has the group that originally participated in the formation of “the church”, suddenly become heretics within their-own Church? I believe that I would have to call that—usurping complete control of the situation. To sight the Jewish Christians as heretics is almost hilarious if it were not such a serious matter. Because by falling into this grievous error, “the great church” as it is known around the world, is blindly wandering in this wilderness of misunderstanding. That is, “the great church” lacks the specific understanding when it comes to the complex identification of God’s peoples. Which becomes painfully evident when we observe their judgment of the Jews and the Jewish Christians as heretics.)



The "Kerygmata Petrou" Source

 “We would not be able to draw this conclusion with confidence if we were not in the position of being able to appeal to a direct witness for Jewish Christianity in Greek speaking Syria. The Kerygmata Petrou source (= KP, "Proclamations of Peter --) contained in the "basic writing" that underlies the pseudo-Clementines contains a Jewish Christian theology that is approximately contemporaneous with the author of the Didascalia or perhaps a few decades earlier. This document, which was literary in character but can be reconstructed only in part, is especially valuable for our inquiry since we cannot assume that it was literarily dependent on the Didascolia or vice versa, in spite of their geographical proximity.[49] 

[49] Cf. above, 256 n. 44; Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 215 n. 2.[49] 

“KP is a pseudo-Petrine treatise. It contains material about             (1) the "true prophet," how he passed through the world, and his relationship to the hostile female prophecy; also about

(2) the exposition of the law by the "true prophet" with material about the "false pericopes"; connected with this are                          (3) anti-Pauline statements, which attempt to show Paul as an opponent of Peter and as one who was not approved by James, the representative of the true doctrine and bishop of Jerusalem; finally                          (4) material about baptism is given in which the strongly legalistic character of the work becomes evident.[50] 

[50] For a treatment of various details as well as a reconstruction of the "basic writing" and the KP source, cf. Strecker Judenchristentum, passim. A summary presentation with selected texts in translation is found in Strecker ''The Kerygmata Petrou,'' in Hennecke-Schneemelcher 2, 102-127 [in the same volume, see also J. Irmscher's introduction to the ps- Clementines on 532-535].[50] 

(aaron— I would like to briefly comment on number(3) “anti-Pauline statements, which attempt to show Paul as an opponent of Peter and as one who was not approved by James, the representative of the true doctrine and bishop of Jerusalem”.

Even though I have touched on this subject a number of times before, because of it importance to “the church”, I would like to visit it yet once again. It is only from our observation of the apostles Peter along side the apostle Paul, that we can begin to understand the intended differences between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. These intended differences that are best explained in Paul’s letter to the Galatians—where we must direct our concentration especially onto chapter four. It is there that we are told that these two apostles were assigned two distinctively different tasks. The apostle Peter was assigned to the gospel dispensation to the Circumcision, and the apostle Paul was assigned the gospel dispensation to the Uncircumcision. Now it is important for us to understand, that these two dispensations were never intended to be exactly the same: otherwise Peter would never have separated himself from the Gentiles when his Jewish brethren came from Jerusalem. Then at the very same time, it is obvious that the Jewish Christians who were still holding to some of their traditional practices from Judaism were never directly rebuked for their Jewish practices by anyone from the Jerusalem Church. Nor is there any rebuke for this liturgical blending by the Jews that is found within the Holy Scriptures themselves. It would seem that the liberating letter for the Gentile Christians that was composed and sent from the Jerusalem Church [Acts 15], was intended to explain some of these transitional differences between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. Which is the first official rebuke of the Jewish leaders for their open attempt at Judaizing these early Gentile converts: Telling them that they had to be circumcised and keep the [dietary] Law.) 

“An important piece of evidence for establishing geographical lines and orientation in terms of the history of theology is the testimony a writing gives with respect to the New Testament canon. The KP source is acquainted with the four canonical gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, Galatians and 1 Corinthians.[51] 

[51] Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 218.[51] 

“It is significant that neither the catholic epistles nor the Apocalypse are known. Thus there is a basic distinction between the attitude of the Kerygmata and the situation that obtained in the West and in wide areas of the East at that time, in which the catholic epistles were in use and the validity of the Apocalypse was only partially contested.[52] 

[52] Cf., among others, J. Leipoldt, Die Entstehung des neutestamentlichen Kanons, 1 (Leipzig, 1907): 58 f.[52] 

“However, even at a later period these writings were slow to find acceptance in northern and eastern Syria.[53] 

[53] Zahn, Geschichte, 1: 373 ff.; Leipoldt, Entstehung, pp. 74, 222; Bauer, Der Apostolos der Syrer, pp. 76 f.[53] 

“Even the Didascalia does not yet show acquaintance with the catholic epistles and the Apocalypse, as was noted above. This establishes a relation between the KP document and the Didascalia, and confirms the view that both are to be placed in a Syrian locale.

It is noteworthy that, in contrast to the assumption of the ecclesiastical heresiologists,[54] the Jewish Christian Kerygmata show no knowledge of a Jewish Christian gospel.[55] 

[54] Cf. Irenaeus AH 1.26.2 (= 1.22), on the Ebionite use of "Matthew"; below, 277 f.[54]

[55] G. Quispel (''L'évangile selon Thomas et les Clémentines,'' Vigiliae Christianae, 12 [1958]: 181-196) attempted to prove that a Jewish Christian gospel cited respectively in the so-called Gospel of Thomas and in the ps.-Clementines. [262] However, this attempt is not convincing. It presupposes that the ps-Clementine quotations from scripture disclose the use of an apocryphal Jewish Christian gospel (cf. the contrary view in Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 117 ff.), and takes into consideration neither the literary stratification of the ps.-Clementine romance nor the demonstrably free manner of handling scriptural evidence on the part of the ps.-Clementine editor. Contrary to Quispel, cf. also A. F. J. Klijn, ''A Survey of the Researches into the Western Text of the Gospel and Acts (1949-1959), Part 2,'' Novum Testamentum, 3 (1959): 176 f.: E. Haenchen, ''Literatur zum Thomasevangelium,'' Theologiche Rundschau, 27 (1961): 165, 168.[55] 

“herein the Kerygmata stand even closer to the "catholic" tradition than does the Didascalia which, as we have seen, shows a positive relationship to the apocryphal Gospel of Peter in spite of Serapion's negative verdict. This and the fact that the Kerygmara quote as a matter of course the four gospels that later became canonized is a fundamental argument for the view that the Jewish Christianity represented by the Kerygmata had not cut itself off from the "great church," but lived in a situation in which it could candidly accept the development toward the New Testament canon.  

(aaron— It is interesting that the New Testament canon is thought of as a Gentile development?) 

“This can be corroborated through another line of approach. When we take into consideration the fact that the Pauline letters and the book of Acts are not quoted with approval in the KP document,[56]

[56] It is true that in Hom. 3.53.3 we find the influence of a reading which is also attested in Acts 3.22 f. But the parallel passage in Rec. 1.36.2 differs. Thus it is not impossible that the (alleged) influence of Acts is to be attributed to a later stratum of tradition in the development of the ps.- Clementine romance. On the problem of anti-Paulinism, see below, 263 f.[56] 

“it would appear that only the Old Testament and the four gospels are quoted as holy scripture. This is without precedent in Greek-speaking Syria around the year 200, but has a striking parallel in the canon of the Edessene Christians, who besides the Old Testament, used only the four gospels, and these in the harmonized form found in Tatian's Diatessaron. Of course the Kerygmata are not to be assigned to Edessene Christianity; they were not originally written in Syriac and betray no acquaintance with the Diatessaron. But this parallel probably can enable us to fix more precisely their geographical position and their place in the spectrum of the history of theology -- it makes it clear that the Jewish Christianity of the KP was located on the dividing line between Greek and Edessene Syria. This type of Jewish Christianity is a witness for the history of the development of the New Testament canon in this region. It is subject to the fluctuation which is characteristic of the formation of the New Testament canon in the developing mainstream church. This fundamental openness toward a line of development taken by the "great church" is especially significant since the milieu in which the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata emerged also presupposes influences that are non-ecclesiastical -- namely, Jewish and pagan. That Judaism is an important factor in the environment of the author can already be learned from the prefixed "Epistle of Peter to James" (= EP ) which serves as an introduction to KP[57]

[57] [This Epistula Petri (= EP ) and another short document called the Contestatio or ''Testimony Regarding the Recipients of the Epistle'' were prefixed to KP already in the "basic writing" behind the ps.-Clementines, according to Strecker. See his treatment in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 2: 102-115 which includes an ET (by G. Ogg) of these two introductory writings; see also above, 184 n. 78.][57] 

“and explicitly presents the followers of Moses (EP 1.2) as an example to the disciples of Jesus (EP 2.1). It becomes obvious that behind EP there is not only an appeal to history (Moses handing over his teaching office to the seventy, Num. 11.25), and not only a literary fiction (the reference to a Jewish Christian body of seventy brethren should probably be considered such, based on Luke 10.l), but there are actual references to contemporary Judaism. Thus it is expressly stated that Judaism could serve as an example "to this very day" (EP 1.3), and the document goes beyond biblical allusions in mentioning particular details of a Jewish mode of instruction such as the Jewish confessional formula and especially the idea of the "contradictions of the scriptures," which are brought into harmony by means of a Jewish "guiding principle" or rule (EP 1.4 f.). This derives from a Judaism which is not really "official" but rather "heretical," from which other statements of the KP documents also come, such as the explanation of the theory of false pericopes in particular.[58] 

[58] Cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 166ff.[58] 

“It is also characteristic of KP that its Jewish Christian self- understanding affirms the continuity between ancient Israel and Judaism- not only because the followers of Moses serve as an example in EP, but also because the figure of the true prophet Jesus is important in this connection.  

“He is to guarantee the continuity between the old and the new Israel (Hom. 8.57), and thus on the basis of this coordination of contents which finds no essential conflict between the law of Moses and the proclamation of the "true prophet," the teaching of Moses and the message of Jesus are identified.[59] 

[59] Cf. EP 2.5, Hom. 9.19.3 etc.; Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 151 f., 163 ff. The nature of the Judaism confronted by the Kerygmata cannot be dealt with in detail here. That it does not refer to the Essenic Judaism of the Qumran sect has been shown elsewhere: see Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 215 ff. [cf. J. A. Fitzmyer, ''The Qumran Scrolls, the Ebtonites, and their Literature,'' Theological Studies, 16 (1955): 335-372 (reprinted in K. Stendahl, The Scrolls and the New Testament [New York: Harper, 1957], pp. 208-231)]; contrary to Schoeps, Theologie, pp. 252 ff., 316, and also Urgemeinde-judenchristentum-Gnosis (1956), pp. 68 ff.; K. Schubert, ''Die [264] jüdischen und jüdenchristlichen Sekten im Lichte des Handschriftenfundes von 'En Fes^cha,'' Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, 74 (1952): 1 ff.; O. Cullmann, ''Die neuentdeckten Qumrantexte und das Judenchristentum der Pseudoklementinen,'' Neutestamentliche Studien für R. Bultmann, ZNW Betheft 21 (1954): 35 ff.; K. Rudolph, Die Mandäer 1, Prolegomena: Das Mandäerproblem, FRLANT 74 (1960): 226 f. and passim. The Qumran texts are, however, an important witness for the diversity of Judaism in the period of the New Testament and earlier.[59] 

It is only logical that with such a common foundation, contact with Judaism would also be maintained. The absence of an anti-Jewish polemic, which was so freely practiced in the "great church" of the same period,[60] also suggests that the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata existed in close relationship to Judaism.  

[60] Cf. e.g. Justin, Dialogue; Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos. In contrast to Matt. 23.25 f., the critique of Pharisaic attitudes is not applied to the totality of the Pharisees in the Kerygmata (Hom.1 11.29.1).[60] 

(aaron— I would like to comment on the above statement as it might pertain to the complex identification of God’s peoples.

First, this “continuity between the old and the new Israel” is, I believe, somewhat misleading at best. The erroneous assumption that is being made here is that “the great church” is this new Israel. And without any direct support in the canonical Scriptures for this crucial interpretation, one must conclude that their assumptions may not be completely accurate. In that, this “new Israel” that they refer to here, has actually been in existence long before the beginning of “the great church” itself. Then it is from the Apostle Paul’s letters that we can begin to recognize this “new Israel” for what it actually is.

This eternal “Israel of God” is that hidden or invisible part of God’s peoples—the invisible body that contains the Messianic priests of God. We must understand that this “Israel of God” that is always hidden in God has existed since the beginning of time itself.) 

“This corresponds to the situation regularly encountered with Jewish Christianity, which normally grew from the soil of Palestinian or hellenistic Judaism. The Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata was also in close contact with paganism. Even though the fictitious nature of the introductory epistle should not be underestimated, on the basis of Peter's plea "not to pass on to any one of the gentiles the books of the Kerygmara, not even to a member of our own tribe before he has passed probation" (EP 1.2, 3.1), we may conjecture that the author's situation brought him into confrontation with gentiles. Perhaps this is true also of the statement that "some of the gentiles" have rejected Peter's "lawful" proclamation (EP 2.3). 

(aaron— It is very interesting that “the great church” has claimed the Apostle Peter as the first leader of their sect, when, according to some New Testament writings, Peter was the Apostle to the Jewish Christians. Galatians 2:7-9 (NKJV) “[7] But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter [8] (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles”),  [9] and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.)  

“It becomes especially clear from the baptismal instruction of the Kerygmata (Hom. 11.21-33 and parallel material) included in the discourses of Peter at Tripolis (Hom. 8-l1~ = Rec. 4-6). Just as the external framework, which was part of the "basic document," presupposes a gentile audience (Hom. 11.1.1 f.), the content of the baptismal instruction does likewise. It alludes to the polytheistic cult of idols (Hom. 11.21.4, Il.3l.1, etc.), which if also characterized by "lust" (epithymia -- Hom. 11.26.1; cf. l1.ll.S, 11.15.1 and 4 ff., etc.). It contains the demand for the adoption of ritual cleansings, which it presupposes are not being observed by the hearers.[61] 

[61] Hom. 11.28. But Hom. 11.30.2 states, on the contrary, that the hearers observed "things that pertain to purity" (ta ths a(gneias merh) during the time of idolatry. A(gneia apparently must be understood in a wider sense. It does not designate ritual practices but signifies an ethical attitude (cf. Hom. 11.31 ff.).[61] 

“Accordingly, it is the gentile populace (not the Jewish) that is the main objective of the Jewish Christian missionary activity. [265]

The fact that the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata carried on its discussion with both Jewish and gentile parties, coupled with the realization that the KP document reflects tendencies at work in the development of the canon of the ecclesiastical mainstream, should not encourage us to draw far-reaching inferences concerning an actual or even simply a geographical classification of KP within the sphere of the ecclesiastical mainstream. And even though a basic openness toward the tendencies at work in the development of the New Testament canon of the ecclesiastical mainstream is evident, the form and the content of the Jewish Christian theology of the Kerygmata are not determined by a confrontation with the "great church."  

“Though the teaching on baptism in the KP document provides an insight into the practices of the Jewish Christian mission to gentiles, it is characteristic that this missionary activity does not reveal opposition on the part of a mainstream mission. 

(aaron— It would appear that when all things are being considered within God’s Universal Reconciliation, very little has really changed. All of the individual associates within God’s Universal Reconciliation believe that they are most correct in their administrative or ecclesiastical understanding. Even in today’s environment, the Jewish Christians would like to Judaize the Gentile Christians and the Gentile Christians are doing their very best to proselytize the Jewish Christians. Many within the Christian Church have wrongly concluded that the Old Testament peoples of God are no longer the recipients of God’s grace and mercy—that they must come through the Christian Church to receive that grace. But from my observations of God’s first peoples within the book of Romans, that exclusive thought may not be completely accurate.)  

The Jewish Christian theological tenets of the Kerygmata do not imply a polemical attitude toward the "great church." Apparently a serious controversy with the representatives of the "great church" has not (yet) taken place.  

“It was not necessary because the real p~er in the discussion was not the "great church" and because, as has been said, the formation of this type of Jewish Christianity took place primarily in a Jewish and pagan setting.

It should, of course, be asked whether the anti-Paulinism of the KP document contains a polemic against the "great church."[62] 

[62] In my opinion it is an assured result of scholarship that the Kerygmata originally polemicized against Paul alone, and not in some sort of combined fashion against Simon-Paul or Marcion-Paul (cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 187 ff., 154 n. 1). The suggestion has recently been made by W. Schmithals [266] that from the very beginning the polemic was directed against Simon-Paul (Das kirchliche Apostelamt,FRLANT 79 [1961], p. 153 n. 305; p. 198 n. 481). But this does not take into consideration the problems involved in reconstructing the Jewish Christian element in the ps.-Clementines. One must begin with an analysis of the introductory writings, the Epistula Petri and the Contestatio (see above, 260 n. 57). They show no demonstrable confusion of the "hostile man" (ekqros anqropos, EP 2.3) with Simon Magus, but the identification with Paul is evident in the allusions to Gal. 2.11 ff. (EP 2.4).[62] 

“One could get that impression from the Epistula Petri. Here Peter says that already in his lifetime some of the gentiles have rejected his "lawful preaching" since they "have preferred the lawless and senseless teaching of the hostile man" (EP 2.3 f.). This material seems to reflect a later development, subsequent to Peter's death. This becomes even clearer in Peter's prediction: "But if they falsely assert such a thing while I am still alive, how much more will those who come later venture to do so after my death" (EP 2.7). One must conclude that the author is aware of Pauline teachings in his immediate environment or its wider setting. But this conclusion is as far as one can go in this respect, for the anti-Paulinism of the Kerygmata does not reveal an actual controversy taking place between the ecclesiastical mainstream and Jewish Christianity. The author remains bound to his sources, the Pauline letters and the picture of Paul in Acts. His knowledge derives essentially from literary sources. This is also indicated by particular references that have the appearance of citations.[63]

[63] Cf. the examples listed in Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 218.[63] 

“The anti-Pauline statements of the Kerygmata thus can confirm that the Jewish Christianity of KP did have access to the writings of the mainstream church but they do not lead us back to an actual controversy. From a formal point of view, their purpose is to give color to the apostolic fiction of Peter's doctrinal discourses as expressed especially in the reference to the controversy between Peter and Paul in Antioch.[64] 

[64] EP 2.4; Hom. 17.19; Gal. 2.11 ff.[64] 

“With reference to content, their purpose is the explication of the Jewish Christian self-understanding. The pseudo-Petrine doctrinal discourses as a whole are not directed primarily against Pauline thought, but their anti-Paulinism should be interpreted as a specific expression of the Jewish Christian legalistic system.[65] 

[65] The warning against false "prophets, apostles, and teachers" as well as the admonition to accept only messengers who have been approved by the "bishop" James (Hom. 11.35.3-6 and par.) could be construed as indicating the presence of a current polemic. But this warning also is related to the basically literary anti-Paulinism (the sequence of offices is paralleled in 1 Cor. 12.28). Furthermore, the motif of James is related to the apostolic fiction and cannot be transferred to the period [267] of the author. Even here, the contemporization indicates nothing more than the presence of a legalistic self-understanding.[65] 

“From this perspective the picture of the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata comes into focus. If the references to the Pauline letters and to Acts are set aside as a literary matter, then the relationship to the "great church" can be defined with more precision. There appears to exist no direct interconnection nor any genetic dependence, but the structural elements of the theology of the Kerygmata must be attributed to an earlier independent Jewish Christian tradition. This follows from the fact that the citation of gospel texts is made in a rather unpretentious manner with such introductory formulas as: "For thus the prophet has sworn to us saying" (Hom. 11.26.2), "for he said thus" (EP 2.5), "and when he said" (Hom. 3.50.2), etc. Apparently the readers made regular use of the gospel writings being cited. Insofar as the author is explaining the theology of the Kerygmata by means of the citations,[66] 

[66] The quotations from the gospels underline the validity of the law (EP 2.5), the doctrine of the falsified pericopes in the scriptures (Hom. 3.50.1), the anti-Paulinism (Hom. 11.18.1), and the teaching on baptism with its related injunctions to purity (Hom. 11.26.2, 11.29.2).[66] 

“he is not resorting directly to the tradition of the "great church"; rather, the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata presupposes a tradition which may have developed in the region bordering Osr?enian Syria, and which paralleled in part that stream of tradition represented on the other side by the "great church."  

(aaron— This distinction that is being made here between the Jewish Christians of the Kerygmata and the “Great Church” is very interesting indeed. In light of the fact that the “Great Church” is Jewish in origin—in that the entire belief system of Christianity is of the Jews and Jesus our Lord was a Jew as well. So if this is in fact the case, why does the “Great Church” seem to place themselves in concert against the Jewish Christians that they have labeled as heretics?) 

“How much the theology of this Jewish Christianity must be considered to be fundamentally autonomous is further indicated by its teaching on baptism. On the one hand this appears against the background of Gnostic dualism. The original materialism of this dualism is taken over by the Kerygmata, with some modifications, but it is still assumed that the "drst birth" (prit~ gcnisis), the natural origin of man, is identical with enslavement to lust (epithymia, Hom. 11.26 and par.). This recalls the deprecation of the cosmos in Gnostic systems.[67]

[67] Cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 158, 199 f.[67] 

“But at the same time a Judaistic interpretation is also apparent -- the task of the Spirit at baptism is not related to a sacramental event but rather to the evaluation of the good deeds of the baptized. The Spirit "offers the good works of the baptized as gifts to God" (Horn. 11.26.3 and par.). Not the act of baptism but man's ethically related "fear" (phobos) brings about the rebirth -- i.e. the exchange of man's natural destiny for "being born to God" (Hom. 11.26.1, 11.27.2 and par.). Therefore in the last analysis the rationale for the act of baptism consists solely in the divine command (Hom. 11.26.1 and par.). This peculiar doctrine of baptism also leads to the baptismal exhortation (Hom. 11.27.3 ff. and par.), which is clearly distinguished from the unique baptismal instruction that precedes by its directions concerning ritual baths of purification (Hom. 11.28.2, 11.30.1). This distinction is also indicated by the specific terminology used: while the Baptisma or the passive voice baptisqhnai are regularly used for the act of baptism, the lustrations are designated by kathareuein or loutr~ plunein;[68]

[68] Hom. 11.28.1 ff.; also Hom. 11.30.1 f., 11.33.4 (baptizesqai or baptisqeish). K. Rudolph also called attention to this termiological distinction, but at the same time he emphasized the unity of baptism and lustrations because the significance [268] of the water as "a vehicle of divine power" is present in both (Die Mandäer 1, 241; cf. 235). Since KP does not really seem to attest a magical-sacramental character for the baptismal act, it would be more accurate to speak of a moralistic understanding as the common basis for baptism and lustrations. This also distinguishes the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata from the views of baptism and lustrations held by the Elchasaites and Mandaeans. Moreover, the Book of Elchasai also distinguishes between baptism and lustrations (cf. Strecker, ''Elkesai,'' RAC 4 [1959]: 1181), and thus reveals its originally Christian nature; cf. also below, 269. [For ET of the fragments of the "Book of Elchasai," see Hennecke- Schneemelcher, 2: 745-750, by J. Irmscher and R. McL. Wilson.][68] 

“and while baptism as an act of initiation is connected with "rebirth" (Hom. 11.24.2, 11.26.1 B; Contestatio 1.2) with the phrase "living water" appearing in this context (hyd~r ;~n; Hom. 11.26.2 and 4; Contestatio 1.2), this designation is not applied to the lustrations which can be repeated. It is apparent that directions of this sort have no parallels in mainstream gentile Christian practices, but express the genuine Jewish Christian character of the material.[69] 

[69] For Jewish ritual baths cf. Babylonian Talmud Berakot 2lb (3.4); Josephus Against Apion 2.203; W. Brandt Die jüdischen Baptismen, ZAW Betheft 18 (1910): 44 f., 52, 55; A. Oepke ''louw'' TDNT 4: 300 f. = TWbNT 4: 303 f.[69] 

(aaron— I would caution the reader concerning the hint here, namely “rebirth”,  to what is generally understood as assumed “baptismal regeneration”.) 

“The KP source also bases its injunctions for the ritual baths on the Old Testament Jewish law (cf. Lev. 15.24, 18.19) or on the instructions of the "true prophet" who summons men to surpass the pharisaic way of life (Hom. 11.28.1, 11.29.1 ff.; cf. Matt. 23.25 f.).

The consequences of the Peculiar Jewish Christian legalistic outlook are not fully developed in the Kerygmata. Baptism serves as the sole rite of initiation, not circumcision.[70] 

[70] This was correctly emphasized by E. Molland, ''La circoncision, le baptême et l'autorité du décret apostolique (Actes XV 28 sq.) dans les milieux judéo-chrétiens des pseudo- Clémentines,'' Studia Theologica, 9 (1955): 1-39 [repr. in Molland, Opuscala Patristica (Oslo, 1970)], against Schoeps (Theologie, pp. 115, 138). Molland's position with respect to source analysis, however, is untenable; it follows O. Cullman (Le problème littéraire et historique du roman pseudo- clémentin [Paris, 1930]) in positing a "Journeys of Peter" source (Periodoi Petrou) between the "basic writing" and KP, but fails to recognize that the demonstrable multiplicity of special sources behind the "basic writing" makes it necessary to stratify the tradition further at this point.[70]

(aaron— It is important to point out that even though the early Jewish Christians recognized that—“Baptism serves as the sole rite of initiation, not circumcision”, growing up under the Jewish Law, they would probably have already participated in both of these initiatory rites—similar to Jesus.) 

“But Contestatio 1.1 advises that the books of Peter's proclamations be transmitted only to a "circumcised and believing" candidate for the teaching office.  

(aaron— Even though this is consistent with Peter's assigned gospel dispensation to the Circumcision, by listening to the language used in Contestatio 1.1, it does seem very reminiscent of the Acts 15:1-35 dispute with some of the Pharisees from the Jerusalem Church.) 

“This, however, does not imply that circumcision had the function of a rite of initiation, since the immediate context does not deal with the introduction into the community, nor with baptism, but only with the transmission of the books. 

“Furthermore, the earlier statement in EP 3.1, which has the same purpose, does not mention any requirement of circumcision. Although the supposed evidence in Contestatio 1.1 also may permit the conclusion that the author knew of circumcised persons who were members of the Christian community, it seems that this passage should be understood primarily as a literary intensification of the rule found in EP 3.1, and that inferences of a more far-reaching sort cannot be drawn. Since statements corresponding to this cannot be demonstrated elsewhere in KP, it is probably correct to suppose that in the Jewish Christianity represented by the Kerygmata baptism has taken the place of circumcision. 

(aaron— To come to this rash conclusion—“Since statements corresponding to this cannot be demonstrated elsewhere in KP, it is probably correct to suppose that in the Jewish Christianity represented by the Kerygmata baptism has taken the place of circumcision” could be one of the principal reasons for this schism between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. Before we replace one initiatory rite with another, I believe that it is important for us to consider these God established initiatory rites of circumcision and baptism with respect to our Lord Jesus Christ. First, it is important to note that our Lord personally participated in both of these rites. And the fact that the Circumcision as a people have not cease to exist as a people should give us pause here as well. Then once again by remembering that the Apostle Peter was given the gospel dispensation to the Circumcision should give us even greater concern. God’s first peoples Israel did not cease to exist as God’s peoples, nor did the practice of circumcision as their initiatory rite cease to exist. Without the God given visible example, we cannot precisely understand the invisible.) 

However, this does not imply that the Jewish Christian practice of baptism has been borrowed from the ecclesiastical mainstream, although the parallelism with ecclesiastical baptism extends beyond the mere act -- if baptism is performed, according to the mysterious circumlocution, "in the thrice-blessed name," it is hardly possible that any formula other than the ecclesiastical triadic formula is meant.[71] 

[71] Epi th trismakaria eponomasia,Hom. 11.26.3. In Hom. 11.26.2, according to the extant text, Matt. 28.19 is expressly quoted along with John 3.5. This citation of Matthew belongs to a later stage of the tradition. The parallel passage in Rec. 6.9 shows that the triadic formula of Matt. 28.19 is not yet found in the "basic writing." But even in the earlier form of the quotation (in Hom. 11.26.2) the influence of Matthew's gospel seems to be present in the phrase "you will never enter the kingdom of the heavens" (ou mh eiselqhte . . . twn ouranwn), which reflects Matt. 5.20 (cf. John 3.3 and 5, and the variants].[71] 

(aaron— Are we not talking about two distinctively different baptisms in “the church”? There is reasonable certainty that John’s baptism, which is the baptism that our Lord received from John at the Jordan and probably received by many of the first century Jews and Jewish Christians as well. But as far as the New Testament relates, it was not originally accompanied with “the mysterious circumlocution, in the thrice-blessed name”. I would imagine that the latter would have become efficacious only after “the great Church” had received the Gospel of Matthew. But one must not conclude that John’s baptism was not efficacious—besides being an initiatory rite, it was surely performed upon the recipient for the remission of their sins.) 

“But according to what has been said it is evident that the witnesses for the baptismal practice do not stand in contradiction to the independent character of the Kerygmata, but they enable us to recognize the stream of tradition that is common to the Kerygmata and to the "great church," just as was true of the use of the "canonical" gospel writings.

Can we conclude from all this that the Jewish Christianity of the KP document was not a sectarian conventicle -- that it cannot be considered as a sectarian minority that stood over against an orthodox majority?[72]

[72] Cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 215.[72] 

“K. Rudolph has disputed these results and affirmed a close relationship to the so-called baptizing sects on the grounds that in his view the "living water" in the Kerygmata stands in opposition to the fire, baptism by water is in contrast to sacrifices, and ritual baths play an important role.[73] 

[73] Rudolph, Die Mandäer, 1: 240.[73] 

“However, his argumentation does not really take into account the problem of the literary criticism of the ps.-Clementines, but he endeavors to take his point of departure from the "contents of the entire complex insofar as they are instructive for our purposes."[74] 

[74] Rudolph, Die Mandäer, 1: 240 n. 1. E. S. Drower also is content to state: "My own interest in the Homilies is, of course, confined to similarities found in them [270] to the secret teaching of the Nazoreans" (The Secret Adam: A Study of Nasorean Gnosis [Oxford: Clarendon, 1960], pp. 45 n. 1, 88 ff.). Similarly P. Beskow (Rex Gloriae: The Kingship of Christ in the Early Church [Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell, 1962]) does not wish to contribute to the "confusion" concerning the question of the sources of the ps.-Clementines by introducing a "new basis for source division" (256). One would hardly have expected such a major undertaking in an investigation dealing with the kingship of Christ. But it is not unreasonable to require that even this type of investigation should at least take a position worthy of the name on the problem of the ps.- Clementine sources. In its present form Breskow's work itself contributes to the "goodly measure of confusion" on this subject insofar as this author, in spite of his failure to take a position on the source critical problem, thinks he is in a position to make the straightforward claim, as startling as it is unfounded, that "it is sufficient for our purposes to point out that in one section of PsC there is a deposit of Greek speculation, which has nothing whatever to do with more or less hypothetical 'Ebionite' concepts" (256).[74] 

“On the contrary, it is necessary to stress that this sort of approach does not do justice to the complicated stratification of traditions reflected in the ps.-Clementines, and overlooks the fact that the specific meaning of the supposed Jewish Christian "contents" varies with each changing situation in the history of tradition -- thus the "contents" can be identified only by means of literary-| critical classification. But even apart from the methodological problem, Rudolph's thesis is open to serious objections. Although the antithesis between baptism and sacrifice appears not only in the "AJ II" source of the ps.-Clementines (in Rec. 1.39 and 55; see above, 256 n. 44), but is also found in Rec. 1.48.5, the latter is part of a context (Rec. 1.44.3-53.4a) in which the author of the "basic writing" gathered together heterogeneous materials. Thus one would obviously suppose that the passage in Recognitions 1.48.5 had been influenced not by the KP source but by the context (Rec. 1.39 belongs to "AJ II").

This assumption is confirmed by the fact that the KP document does not contain such an antithesis between baptism and sacrifice elsewhere. The rejection of temple sacrifices found in the Kerygmata is not relevant to the present problem.[75] 

[75] In reply to Rudolph, Die Mandäer, 1: 240 n. 4.[75] 

“And finally it is doubtful on principle that the antithesis between sacrifice and baptism constitutes a sufficient criterion for connecting the KP document with the "baptizing sects," since this sort of direct relationship cannot be affirmed for the "AJ II" source, in spite of the admitted antithesis, and since the antithesis between baptism and sacrifice is not clearly evidenced in the literature of the actual baptizing sects.[76] 

[76] It should be noted that the "AJ II" source speaks of a contrast between a single act of baptism over against sacrifice and not of an antithesis between various ritual baths and the sacrificial cult (cf. also Rec. 1.55 and 69 f.). This indicates a Christian [271] background. Wherever ritual baths were practiced alongside baptism within the Christian sphere, a careful distinction is made (cf. above, 265 f.). The antithesis of ritual baths and sacrificial cult presupposes another environment, namely, a Jewish world of ideas; it is not even generally found among the baptizing sects, and what evidence exists is ambiguous (for the Essenes cf. Josephus Antiq. 18.[1.5.]19; for the Book of Elchasai [above, 265 n. 68], Epiphanius anius Her. 19.3.6 f. -- but is this from the Elchasaites?). This sort of contrast is not present in the Jewish Christian literature of the ps.-Clementines.[76] 

“An allusion to the practice of the baptizing sects could perhaps be seen in the notion of the "daily baths of Peter," if it were possible to trace this idea back to the KP document.[77] 

[77] So. K. Rudolph, Die Mandäer, 1: 240, n. 5.[77] 

“But this cannot be demonstrated. First of all, the pseudo-Clementines do not speak of "daily" baths of Peter. The "basic writing" only mentions occasional baths (Hom. 8.2.5, 10.26.2 and par.). The editor of the Homilies- recension has elaborated on this motif in secondary fashion, but still has not understood it in the sense of "daily" baths (cf. Hom. 10.1.2, 11.1.1, 14.3.1; etc.). It is only in Epiphanius that such a reference occurs (Her. 30.2.4, 30.15.3, 30.16.1, 30.21.1), which is a typical example of the liberties he takes with his sources.

Secondly, it is clear that the notion of "Peter's baths" cannot be traced back to the KP source, but is a legitimate part of the narrative framework of the Clement romance. Thus it would seem plausible that the idea was inserted by the author of the "basic writing" since he is responsible for the narrative of the romance.

This is consistent with the archaizing manner of presentation used by the author of the - basic writing," who also employs Judaizing features elsewhere.[78]

[78] Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 213, 257 f.[78]  

“Of course, it cannot be denied that the KP document refers to injunctions for ritual baths. But it has already been shown that in the Kerygmata the ritual baths are distinguished from baptism proper and that they reflect not a Gnostic but a genuinely Jewish background.[79]

[79] Above, 267 f. Rudolph has demonstrated that Jewish commandments for ritual baths are also known in Mandaeanism (Die Mandäer, 2, Der Kult [1961]: 109 ff.). Beyond that, he sought to establish that the Mandaean baptism could, in the final analysis, be traced back to Jewish ritual baths (402). This hypothesis is rather daring, since unambiguous examples of the repetition of the Mandaean baptismal bath are not given (if we ignore the modern reports, which can hardly be utilized as evidence for the more ancient period). This criticism should not detract from the significance of Rudolph's work. Without doubt, his detailed presentation of recent literature and the results of his discussions on particular problems of basic importance make this investigation one of the most valuable contributions to the present state of Mandaean studies.[79] 

“These baths do not go beyond the Jewish sphere of thought and therefore cannot be used as an argument to show that the Kerygmata belongs in the same category as the so-called baptizing sects.

The Book of Ekhasai serves as a counter-example. Its injunctions for ritual baths depend not so much on Jewish as on Christian presuppositions, and its demand for a baptismal bath for "grievous sinners" (Hippolytus Ref. 9.15.1 f.) and for baths at time of sickness can with more justification be considered elements of a baptizing sect.[80]  

[80] Strecker, ''Elchesai,'' cols. 1171 ff. E. Peterson (''Die Behandlung der Tollwut bei den Elchasaiten nach Hippolyt,'' Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis [New York: Herder, 1959], pp. 221-235; a revised form of ''Le traitement de la rage par les Elkésai+tes d'après Hippolyte,'' Recherche de science religieuse, 34 [1947]: 232-238) has attempted to prove that the lustrations of the Elchasaites were not intended to avert sicknesses, but that sicknesses named in the Book of Elchasai symbolize sin. "Madness" (Ref. 9.15.4) is to be understood as "concupiscence" (227 ff.). But Peterson's proposal leaves unanswered the question of why the Book of Elchasai can in other places refer to sexual sins without circumlocution (Hippolytus Ref. 9.15.1 and 3) if in fact it spoke symbolically in this passage. Furthermore, Peterson did not take into consideration the fact that in the Elchasaite traditions cited by Epiphanius, lustrations against sicknesses also are mentioned (Epiphanius Her. 30.17.4). Finally, Hippolytus quotes another fragment in which Elchasai's injunctions to ritual baths are explicitly directed to sick people (Ref. 9.16.1). In the original form of his essay, Peterson attributed this last passage to an interpolator (237), which must be taken as an admission of the weakness of his approach. The fact that this interpretation is not repeated in his revised version is no improvement, since he does not provide an alternative solution.[80]

“Finally, the notion of "living water" does not provide grounds for a real argument. The expression does occur in Gnostic literature,[81] 

[81] Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 202.[81] 

“but nothing can be made of this fact because one should in principle make a differentiation between baptizing the Gnostic circles, and only in particular instances can an identity be established.[82] 

[82] Contrary to Rudolph, Die Mandäer, 1: 245; 2: 379.[82] 

“Moreover, the notion is not limited to Gnosticism, but is met also in the ecclesiastical milieu,[83] 

[83] Didache 7; perhaps also Barnabas 11,11, etc.; T. Klauser, ''Taufet in lebendigem Wasser! Zum religions-und kulturgeschichtlichen Verständnis von Didache 7, 1-3,'' Pisciculi (Festschift for F. J. Dölger, Münster, 1939), pp. 157-164.[83] 

“quite apart from the fact that in the KP source this expression appears exclusively in connection with the water of baptism and is not used in relation to ritual baths. In conclusion it can be said that Rudolph's attempt to postulate a sectarian situation for the Jewish Christianity of the KP by connecting it with the so-called baptizing sects is not convincing. We can now affirm with greater assurance that the Jewish Christianity of the Kerygmata should be understood in the context of Bauer's hypothesis.[84] 

[84] Only the historical problem is posed here. A dogmatically conditioned definition of the concept of "heresy" would not advance the historical analysis. This must also be said of H. Köster's article ''Häretiker im Urchristentum'' (RGG\3, 3 [1959]: 17-21; see below, 307 n. 21), which takes its point of departure from the "faith of the community in the revelation of God that took place once and for all" and considers as "heretical" (1) an overemphasis on the time-bound historical character of the revelation or, (2) the absolutizing of the transcendent content of the revelation (18). However, Köster's presentation of the "heretics" is not based on this theological point of departure but proceeds phenomenologically on the basis of statements by New Testament writers concerning the Christian groups which are opposed to them (18 ff.). This discrepancy can be interpreted as constituting an indirect admission that sufficient criteria for the historical application of the theological concept cannot be developed, but rather that the historical phenomenon of "heresy" resists theological classification. This also is evidence for the correctness of Bauer's thesis. If the theological definition of heresy were consistently applied to the whole New Testament and were not used simply to describe anti-ecclesiastical groups, this would not only lead to difficulties, but the problem would also be raised as to what extent the theology of the New Testament writers or of the traditions used by them should be exempt from the concept of "heresy" in that sense. Against such a schematic application of a theological understanding we could also point to the usage of ai(resis in the New Testament, which does not yet suggest the later heresiological-dogmatical meaning.[84]


The relations to the "great church" are primarily on a literary level and there is no indication of an active confrontation. Rather this Jewish Christianity has its own theology, independent of mainstream Christianity, which precludes the possibility that it is "sectarian in nature. The widespread notion that Jewish Christianity separated itself from the "great church" and subsequently led a cloistered existence as a sect must be revised. It is much more probable that in the world from which the Kerygmata derives, Jewish Christianity was the sole representative of Christianity and the problem of its relationship to the "great church" had not yet arisen. This conclusion is indirectly supported by Bauer's recognition that other parts of Syria also served as the original homeland for non-ecclesiastical gnosic groups, and the situation did not indicate the prior presence of ecclesiastical orthodoxy. It is also supported by the witness of the Didascalia which, as has been demonstrated above, reflects confrontations between a "catholic" community and a Jewish Christianity that apparently enjoyed unrestricted prominence in Syria up to that time. This verdict stands even if the Jewish Christians addressed in the Didascalia are not to be identified with the community of the author of KP. The evidence of the Didascalia confirms from the ecclesiastical viewpoint the situation of Syrian Jewish Christianity as it is presented in the Kerygmata. In this part of Syria around the end of the second and beginning of the third century Jewish Christianity is independent of the "great church," and has an appearance that does not conform to the usual heresiological characterization.

(aaron— This last statement is quite profound with respect to the relationship between Jewish Christianity and the “great church”. It is refreshing to see the evidence of a Jewish presence in the formation of the Christian Church. Might we understand that Gentile Christianity sprang out from Jewish Christianity, and then for a time they might have coexisted along side one-another? Both groups belonging, yet according to New Testament writings, they were quite different in their practiced ceremonies. One might say that the Jewish Christians represent the transitioning group from Judaism to Christinaity.) 



The Ecclesiastical Attitude and "Ebionism"

 “In the heresiological classifications Jewish Christianity has a well established position under the rubric "Ebionites." In the older secondary literature the Hebrew equivalent of this name ('ebionim = "poor"] was traced back to a messianic self-designation of the primitive community.[85] 

[85] E.g. Holl, Gesammelte Aufsätze 2: 60; Lietzmann, An die Römer, 122 ff.[85] 

“However, while this explanation seems quite plausible at first sight, it cannot be verified. In the Pauline letters those references to the "poor" (ptwxoi) which relate to the situation of the Jerusalem community and have been interpreted in the above sense do not demonstrably require anything but a literal interpretation. They are not messianological in nature.[86]   

[86] Rom. 15.26, Gal. 2.10. E. Bammel's attempt to the contrary is not convincing. His argument that the expression ptwxoi in Rom. 15.26 could not have the literal meaning "poor" because "then it is inconceivable that the collection would be continued after the need for it had disappeared" (TDNT 6, 909 = TWbNT 6, 909.5 f.) is not decisive because it has not been proven that the reason for the collection was a specific emergency in Jerusalem - - Acts 11.27-30 cannot be used in support of this thesis (Strecker, ''Die sogenannte Zweite Jerusalemreise des Paulus,'' ZNW 53 [1962]: 67-77). It is not impossible, on the contrary, that the collection resulted from a general concern for the socially deprived, and that the Jerusalem authorities would have added legal overtones to its accomplishment. When in Rom. 15.26 ton hagion appears as partitive genitive describing tous ptochous ("the poor from among the saints"), this certainly does not convey a "general meaning" which "would not definitely exclude non-Christian Jerusalem" (Bammel, TDNT 6, 909 = TWbNT 6, 908.33 f.; G. Klein also disagrees, ''Die Verleugnung des Petrus'' ZTK 58 [1961]: 320, n. 5; this essay has been reprinted in Reconstruktion und Interpretation: Gesammelte Aufsätze zum Neuen Testament [Munchen: Kaiser, 1969]), but employs the eschatological designation of the community that is frequent in Paul ("saints" -- Rom. 1.7, 1 Cor. 1.2, 2 Cor. 1.1, etc.). Thus ptwxoi refers to only one group within the community and not to the community as a whole, and a literal interpretation of "poor" is the most logical. This can also be demonstrated for Gal. 2.10 (A. Oepke, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater\2, Theologische Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament 9 [Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1960], p. 54), and is confirmed by 2 Cor. 9.12 (ta u(sterhmata [!] twn a(giwn),[86] 

“Even if it is admitted that at an early period a broad stream of piety based on a Jewish ideal of poverty found acceptance in Christianity,[87] 

[87] Cf. e.g. Luke 6.20 f., 12.13 ff., 16.19 ff.; James 1.9 ff., 2.5 ff., 5.1 ff., etc.; M. Dibelius, Der Brief des Jakobus, Meyer Kommentar 15 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1956; expanded by H. Greeven, 1957\9, 1964\11, etc.), p. 37 ff.[87] 

“there is no reason to assume that the earliest community as a whole followed that ideal. The reports in Acts about a general continuity of goods in the Jerusalem community are largely legendary or else Lukan generalizations of non-typical isolated episodes.[88] 

[88] Acts 2.44 f., 4.36 f., 5.1 ff.; E. Haenchen, Die Apostelgeschichte, Meyer Kommentar 3 (1961), ad loc. Epiphanius later traced the name of the Ebionites back to the community of goods in the earliest community of Acts 4-5 (Her. 30.17.2). [See also J. A. Fitzmyer, ''Jewish Christianity in Acts in the Light of the Qumran Scrolls'' in Studies in Luke-Acts, ed. L. E. Keck and J. L. Martyn (1961) p. 244.][88] 

The title Ebionaioi appears first in Irenaeus (AH 1.26.2 [= 1.22]), and even if it was already used as a fixed designation for the sect prior to Irenaeus, as is probable, it does not date back to earliest Christian times with that meaning since it does not occur at all in Justin's statements about Jewish Christianity (Dialog. 47). Therefore it is not probable that it was originally used as a general Jewish Christian self-designation; instead,

we assume that the name was originally applied to a specific Jewish Christian group which felt especially obligated to uphold the Jewish ideal of poverty. Later the title was transformed by the heresiologists into a general designation for "sectarian" Jewish Christianity. Such a schematic procedure corresponds to the usual heresiological pattern, as will become clear. Thus critical discretion with regard to the data of the church fathers is mandatory as we proceed to investigate their accounts in detail.  

“After the first part of his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, which deals with the transitory value of Jewish ceremonial law, Justin speaks of the divine majesty of Jesus in a second section. At the intersection of these two major sections there is an excursus criticizing those Christians who combine the observance of the Jewish law with faith in Christ. Trypho's question, whether a member of the Jewish people can be saved if he believes in Jesus as the Christ but also observes the Mosaic commandments is answered as follows:

(1)               Jewish Christians can be saved if they hold fast to the Jewish law without demanding such observance from others nor regarding it to be necessary for salvation (47.1) -- this is Justin's view, even though there are gentile Christians who reject any social contact with Jewish Christians (47.2).

(2)               Jewish Christians who force their gentile brothers to keep Jewish observances or who withhold fellowship from them are not acknowledged as true Christians by Justin (47-3)-

(3)               For those who have been misled by Jewish Christians to accept Jewish observances, salvation is possible if they hold fast to the confession of Christ (47.4a).

(4)               Christians who have turned to Judaism and forsaken faith in Christ and who are not converted prior to their death will not be saved (47.4b).

(5)               The descendants of Abraham who live in accordance with the Jewish law and who are not converted to Christ, but in their synagogues curse the believers in Christ will not be saved (47.5).


(aaron— There is no offense or disrespect intended by me here in these comments, nor would I deride any of God’s ministers of the Word, but I would define these five statements by Justin as simply the Gentile Christian perspectives of God’s Universal Reconciliation. The last portion of the first statement clearly demonstrates the anti-Semitic attitude that was evident in early Gentile Christianity. And it is sad that same attitude continues on in some quarters of Christianity even today.

Then it would seem by the forth and fifth statements, that all those of Israel—the Circumcision, and the Jews, who do not convert to Christianity, according to Justin, will not be saved. Though I fully understand that there are many within Christianity who hold to this same idea that Justin has expressed here, I personally do not believe that the Holy Bible teaches that form of exclusivity within God’s Universal Reconciliation. What must be ascertained here is the method and scope of salvation throughout the Old Testament era, and the established validity of God’s promises to His first peoples Israel—especially those found in the book of Romans.)

“In spite of its logical arrangement this list cannot be attributed to mere abstraction. It presupposes actual knowledge about the "Jewish" attitude. This is demonstrated not only by the concluding reference to the Jewish "eighteen benedictions" ($emoneh Esreh)[89]

[89] On this subject, see H. Strack-P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, 1 (München: Beck, 1926): 406 ff.; 4 (1928): 208 f.; K. G. Kuhn, Achtzehngebet und Vaterunser und der Reim (1950).[89] 

“but also by the fact that in other passages, Justin also is well-informed about Judaism,[90]

[90] E.g. on Jewish teachings concerning the Messiah in Dial. 8; A. von Harnack, Judentum und Judenchristentum in Justin’s Dialog mit Trypho. . . , TU 39.1 (1913), passim.[90] 

“not the least of which are the statements that according to Jewish Christian theology Christ had been a "man from among men" (48.4) and "had been elected" to be Messiah-Christ (48.3, 49.1). From Justin's data the following can be discovered about the form and the self-understanding of the Jewish Christianity known to him. The general mark of identification relates to Jewish observances, namely the observance of circumcision and Sabbath (47.2), of months and purification (cf. 46.2). Of course, sacrifice is no longer part of Jewish cultic practice, as is stated elsewhere (46.2). Justin's witness about the large variety of beliefs and practices within Jewish Christian theology is significant. The indefinite formulation "for there are also some" (kai gar eisi tines, 48.4) already indicates that an adoptionistic Christology was not a general feature of all Jewish Christian circles. In fact, the presence of a preexistence Christology in Jewish Christian literature can be demonstrated.[91] 

[91] Jerome Commentary on Genesis 1.l; ps.-Clementine Rec. 1.43 f.; Strecker, ''Ebioniten,'' col. 497.[91] 

“On the other hand, an adoptionistic christological confession is considered possible also among gentile Christians (48.4). Above all, there were different approaches to the gentile mission -- legalistic Jewish Christianity wavers between a basically tolerant attitude that grants gentile Christians freedom from the law (47.1 f.), and another attitude that expects gentile Christians to maintain Jewish observances also (47.3).  

(aaron— I would like to comment on this last part—“Above all, there were different approaches to the gentile mission -- legalistic Jewish Christianity wavers between a basically tolerant attitude that grants gentile Christians freedom from the law (47.1 f.), and another attitude that expects gentile Christians to maintain Jewish observances also (47.3).”

Now this Jewish attitude is very understandable from the perspective of the necessary transition in God’s Universal Reconciliation as was brought out best in Acts chapter fifteen. That is, since the Jews were the original peoples of God, they would certainly have a tendency to hold to their original traditions. And then by understanding the New Testament writings concerning the intended difficulties that would confront God’s first peoples during this transition (Mat.13), their natural confusion here should not be at all surprising.)

“The heresiological situation reflected in this account is somewhat clearer. In the gentile Christian church the appraisal of legalistic Jewish Christianity apparently has not yet advanced beyond the stage of expressing a personal point of view. This is indicated by the introductory words "as it seems to me" and also by the extremely personal tone of Justin's statements in general,[92] and his references to other possible points of view. 

[92] "I am of the opinion" (apofainomai, 47.2, 4, 5), "I am not in agreement" (egw ou sunainos eimi, 47.2), "I do not accept" (ouk apodexomai, 47.3), "I suspect" (u(polambanw, 47.4).[92] 

(aaron— The uncertainties that are reflected here in [92] is the natural response when one approaches a very complex situation. The transition from Judaism to Christianity is not an easy thing to understand or to explain.) 

“There is nothing to indicate the existence of a developed heresiological stance, or even an official ecclesiastical differentiation. Nor is there evidence that Jewish Christians were classified with other 'Heretical" groups. A basic tolerance is possible in which the norm of behavior depend on the attitude of the Jewish Christians, with the principle that the person excluded from the church's fellowship is the one who excludes himself (47.2f.). It is therefore quite consistent that the concept heresies is not applied to Jewish Christians. Here Justin's assessment of Jewish Christianity differs greatly from his presentation of other religious groups. The parties of Judaism are designated "heresies" (62.3, 80.4). Above all, gnostics and Marcionites are numbered among the heresies (Dial. 35.3, 51.2, 80.3 f.; Apol. 26.8). If Justin's Syntagma described "all heresies"[93]

[93] Apology 26.8 suntagma kata paswn twn genenhmenwn ai(resewn suntetagmenon.[93] 

“it would not have included heretics of Jewish Christian provenance, but probably dealt primarily with Gnostic-Marcionite teachings.[94]

[94] Apol. 26 names the heretics Simon (Magus), Menander, and Marcion.[94]  

“The author Hegesippus is quoted by Eusebius as an outstanding representative of the correct doctrine (EH 4.21 f.) whose travels, by his own admission, were aimed at confirming that "the law, the prophets, and the Lord" possess authority "in every transmission of doctrine[95] and in every city" (EH 4.22.3). 

[95] This is the meaning of diadoxh; for a discussion and bibliography cf. Altaner, Patrology, 149 f. (see the German 6th ed. with A. Stuiber, p. 118), and above 196 n. 2.[95]

“To the extent that the preserved fragments permit us to recognize the outline of his own conception, Hegesippus shows parallels to Justin's heresiological thought in a surprising way. The danger that threatens the church originates primarily from Gnostics (EH 4.22.5; see above, 189). The concept heresies is applied to Jewish groups,[96] 

[96] EH 2.23.8f., tines oun twn e(pta hairesewn twn en tw law...; cf. 4.22.5. The names of the seven Jewish heresies are found in EH 4.22.7; cf. also 3.23.3 and 6 (also 3.19 and 3.32.2).[96] 

“but a corresponding characterization of Jewish Christianity is lacking. The name "Ebionite" apparently is unknown to him, and the problem of the relationship between Jewish Christianity and orthodoxy is never raised. The absence of that sort of question is not necessarily due to the Jewish Christian tradition in which Hegesippus undoubtedly stands, which even permits him to view the Jerusalem community as the authentic prototype of orthodoxy (EH 3.32, 4.22.4). For our purposes, his witness is all the more valuable since it cannot be demonstrated that he was dependent on Justin.[97] 

[97] Cf. Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, pp. 30 ff., contrary to A. von Harnack, Zur Quellenkritik der Geschichte des Gnostizismus (1873), pp. 36 ff.[97] 

“Thus, with Justin, Hegesippus is an important informant concerning the openness of the heresiological situation in the second half of the second century. Justin's literary influence is noticeable in the writings of Ireneaeus, in which Justin's work against Marcion is cited (AH 4.6.2 [=4.11.2]) and Justin's literary heritage has also been utilized in general.[98] 

[98] Cf. AH 5.26.2 (= 5.26.3) -- is this material taken from Justin's Syntagma? See Bardenhewer, Geschichte\2, 1: 407. [On the general problem of Justin's lost Syntagma, see P. Prigent, Justin et l'Ancien Testament (Paris: Gabalda, 1964).][98] 

“It is therefore all the more surprising that Irenaeus' reports concerning the Ebionites do not refer back to the position taken by Justin to which we have already referred. Irenaeus describes the "Ebionaet" in AH 1.26.2 [= 1.22], subsequent to the heresiological characterization of Cerinthus (26.1 [= 21]) and prior to the treatment of the Nicolaitans (26.3 [= 23]), Cerdo (27.1 [= 24]), and Marcion (27.2 ff. [= 25.1-2]). They are said to acknowledge the creator God, possess a Christology similar to Cerinthus and Carpocrates,[99] and use only "the gospel according to Matthew.

[99] The "non" must be deleted; it disturbs the meaning of the text which apparently intended first to emphasize the contrast between Ebionites and Cerinthus-Carpocrates, and then the agreement with them. The deletion is confirmed by Hippolytus Ref. 7.34 (ta de peri ton xriston o(moios tw Khrinqw kai Karpokratei muqeuousin) and also through Irenaeus' desciption of Ebionite christology in AH 3.21.1 (= 3.23) and 5.1.3. [279] The reading could have originated through assimilation to the preceding "dominum" (cf. Harvey's note, ad loc.).[99]

The apostle Paul is rejected by them as an apostate from the law. They have their own peculiar interpretation of the "prophecies" (prophetica), practice circumcision, and also observe the Jewish law in general.  

(aaron— As we observe the transition there at that early time from Judaism to Christianity, we can especially notice the evident difficulties for many from both of these communities. Interestingly, even today, anyone with minimal contact with those who are from either Judaism or Islam, will encounter the same types of problems and the same types of challenging questions. As we see sighted in the next portion with their interpretation of “virgin” in Isa.7:14. In that, from my own personal experience in recent months—as to this dispute over “virgin” or “young maiden”, this same argument between these Abrahamic religious groups is still going on yet today:) 

“No doubt, this description is influenced by the immediate context -e.g. in the emphasis on God's creatorhood. But it is also clear that the statements which in part are rather general in tone presuppose a concrete tradition not only in the reference to the similar christological ideas of Cerinthus and Carpocrates but also in the other reports, even though at first glance they may seem to be rather unintelligible. The statements receive partial explanation through the other passages: In AH 3.21.1 [=3.23]) Irenaeus mentions that the Jewish translators Theodotion and Aquila do not read parqenos (- 'virgin")[100] in Isa. 7.14 but neanis ("young woman") 

[100] This is the reading of the "Septuagint"; cf. the detailed discussion of this passage in Justin Dial. 43 f., 66 ff. (esp. 84).[100]

“and that the "Ebionites," who regard Jesus as a natural son of Joseph, follow them (cf. also 3.21.9 [= 3.29]). Here a "natural Christology" is clearly repohed as the christological position of the Ebionites (cf. 5.1.3). This confirms the reference back to Cerinthus and Carpocrates (1.26.2 [= 1.22]) for whom the notion of a natural birth of Jesus is also asserted (1.25.1 [= 1.20] and 1.26.1 [= 1.21.1]). Perhaps this Christology can shed new light upon the obscure remark about the "peculiar interpretation of the prophets" among the Ebionites (1.26.2 [=1.22]). Is Irenaeus thinking of the interpretation of Isaiah 7.14 along the lines of an Ebionite Christology? For support one could refer to Symmachus' translation, which like that of Theodotion and Aquila reads neanis -- if indeed Symmachus had been a Jewish Christian.[101]

[101] Cf. Origen's Hexapla; Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, p. 440. According to Eusebius EH 6.17, Symmachus was a Jewish Christian; this is supported by Harnack, Geschichte, 1.1: 209-212; 2.1: 165 f.; History of Dogma, 1: 305, n. 1 (= 5th German ed., 1: 327 n. 1); Schoeps, Theologie, passim. But according to Epiphanius, Symmachus had been a Samaritan who defected to Judaism (On Weights and Measures 16). [For a survey of the subject, see H. B. Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek (Cambridge: University Press 1902\2, supplemented ed. by R. Ottley, 1914, repr. KTAV 1968), pp. 49-53; also S. Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), pp. 94-99.][101] 

“AH 3.11.7 [= 3.11.10]) contains a brief notice about the gospel of Matthew which was the sole gospel used by the Ebionites and, as Irenaeus remarks, contradicts their specific Christology. Obviously, Irenaeus is thinking of the canonical gospel with its doctrine of the virgin birth in the infancy narrative (Matt. 1.18 ff.) which cannot be brought into harmony with an adoptionist Christology. But it must be asked whether such a contradiction ought to be postulated for Jewish Christianity? It can only be claimed if the Ebionites mentioned by Irenaeus actually used the canonical Matthew. But it is more probable that behind the phrase "gospel according to Matthew" is hidden another gospel writing similar to the canonical gospel or perhaps even dependent on it, but not identical with it. This is true of the so-called Gospel of the Ebionites which, according to Epiphanius, was a mutilated Matthaean gospel.[102] 

[102] Epiphanius Her. 29.9.4, 30.13.2, 30.14.2; cf. P. Vielhauer on ''Jewish-Christian Gospels'' in Hennecke- Schneemelcher 1: 117 ff.[102] 

“The infancy narratives are lacking in the latter, so that the assumption of a contradiction is resolved if we suppose that Irenaeus' notice reflects some confusion. That Irenaeus could have confused the Gospel of the Ebionites with the canonical Matthew is conceivable since he does not have independent knowledge of the Ebionites. The fact that his report contains only a few concrete details that are frequently repeated[103] points in the same direction. 

[103] AH 5.1.3 deserves notice as a further reference to the Ebionite christological confession. Here the comment is offered that instead of a "mixture of the heavenly wine" (commixtio vini caelestis) the Ebionites accept "only worldly water" [solam aquam saecularem [?] -- on the textual problem cf. the editions of Stieren or Harvey, ad loc.). Epiphanius later speaks of a Jewish Christian meal with unleavened bread and water (Her. 30.16.1). However, one must question whether our passage ought to be interpreted in the light of Epiphanius' information or whether commonly held Christian notions about a meal with water have, in secondary fashion, here been transferred to Jewish Christianity (cf. G. Gentz, ''Aquarii,'' RAC 1 (1950): 574 f.). There is danger of over-interpreting this section since its thrust is to be understood christologically and not sacramentally. AH 4.33.4 (= 4.52.1) also deserves notice with its general pronouncement of judgment against the Ebionites. The anti-Pauline passage in AH 3.15.1 to which Hilgenfeld refers (Ketzergeschichte, p. 421, n. 711) is not relevant to this discussion, as is indicated by its immediate and its wider context.[103] 

“Basically, his reports can be reduced to the information which is explicitly or implicitly contained in 1.26.2 [= 1.22]. This would suggest that Irenaeus had used a fixed source corresponding most nearly to that passage, from which the remaining references are also taken. In favor of this assumption is the fact that the name "Ebionites" is first attested in Irenaeus, where it seems to be taken for granted as the designation for legalistic Jewish Christianity. Irenaeus probably found this name in the suggested source.  

“This is not the place to inquire into the more comprehensive question as to the source materials from which Irenaeus' report about the Ebionites is derived. No detailed argumentation is necessary to show that this source cannot be identified with the Syntagma of Justin. The name Ebionites as well as the content of Irenaeus' report and its heresiological presuppositions are completely alien to Justin. This difference in outlook marks a development in the patristic evaluation of Jewish Christianity. The complex nature of Jewish Christianity, which was self-evident to Justin, is now no longer seen. Jewish Christianity now is classified as a self-contained unit alongside of other groups. The designation Ebionaioi, which probably originated in a concrete situation and was not a general label, has become the name of a sect. The term loses its original theological significance and is degraded to a heresiological technical term. A tendency toward schematization, which becomes characteristic of subsequent heresiology, comes into operation.

In Ref. 7.34, Hippolytus is largely dependent on Irenaeus' report.[104] 

[104] It is assumed that Hippolytus wrote this work; see also Harnack, Geschichte, 2 (Chronologie). 2: 211, n. 2. The frequently noted attempts of P. Nautin (Hippolyte et Josipe [Paris, 1947] and Hippolyte, Contre les hérésies. &EACUTEtude et édition critique [Paris, 1949]) to attribute Hippolytus' literary activity to an almost unknown Josippus or to an equally little known Hippolytus lead to even greater difficulties than those involved in the objections Batiffol once raised against the commonly accepted literary-historical judgment concerning Hippolytus (Anciennes littératures chrétiennes: La littérature grecque [Paris, 1897], pp. 156 f.). Contrary to Nautin cf., among others, M. Richard in Mélanges de science religieuse, 5-10 (1948-1953) and Recherches de science religieuse, 43 (1953): 379 ff.; H. Elfers, ''Neue Untersuchungen über die Kirchenordnung Hippolytus von Rom,'' Abhandlungen über Theologie und Kirche, Festschrift for K. Adam, ed. M. Reding (Düsseldorf, 1952), pp. 181-198. [For further bibliography on the discussion, see Altaner, Patrology, p. 185, and Quasten, Patrology, 2: 169.][104] 

“His claim that the Ebionites acknowledge God as creator together with the explicit comparison of the Ebionites with the heretics Cerinthus and Carpocrates and the summary statement about "Jewish customs" are reminiscent of Irenaeus, AH 1.26.2 [= 1.22]. Even his subsequent observations only appear to go beyond what is found in Irenaeus. Hippolytus' reflections on the elevation of Jesus to the position of Messiah-Christ add nothing really new but merely transfer to the Ebionites what Irenaeus said about Cerinthus or Carpocrates.[105] 

[105] The distinction between "Jesus" and "Christ" as well as the idea of his adoption are found in Irenaeus' treatment of Cerinthus (AH 1.26.1 (= 1.21]; cf. the reference in 1.26.2 [= 1.22]; a relationship to Jewish Christianity is already attested in Justin Dial. 48.3-49.1). On the other hand, the anthropological significance of the adoption [i.e. anyone who lives as Jesus did can become "Christ"] derives from the report about Carpocrates (AH 1.25.1 [= 1.20.1]; Hippolytus Ref. 7.32.3).[105] 

For the remainder, Hippolytus has introduced into his discussion terminology and concepts from the Pauline doctrine of justification. Of course, this does not represent an independent tradition, but it expresses the intention to theologize and conceptualize which characterizes the whole of Hippolytus' "Philosophumena" (cf. Ref. preface.lI). The Epitome of the work repeats the same material in abbreviated form -- the sketch of Ebionite tenets derived from Irenaeus and Hippolytus' owm Paulinizing judgment (Ref. 10.22). Finally, it is also significant that for Hippolytus the sequence of heresies immediately preceding his section on Ebionites corresponds to Irenaeus' schema. Thus the genesis of this material in terms of its literary history is not problematic.

On the other hand it is remarkable that in the next chapter, Refutation 7.35, "Ebion" is mentioned as the supposed hero from whom the Ebionites derived their name. This is the first appearance of that name in the heresiological literature and it cannot be traced back to Irenaeus. Where did this name originate, for which there is obviously no historical basis?[106] 

[106] Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, pp. 436 ff., shows unusual confidence in the reports of the church fathers when he accepts as genuine a monotheistic tract which, according to the witness of Anastasius (seventh century), was attributed to Ebion.[106] 

“Reference could be made to Lipsius' witnesses for the Syntagma of Hippolytus,[107] 

[107] [R. A. Lipsius, Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanios (Vienna, 1865).][107] 

“which likewise mention "Ebion": Pseudo-Tertullian Against Heresies 48 (11); Epiphanius Heresy 30.1 f; and Filaster Heresy 37 (9). But since E. Schwartz's brilliant explanations[108] 

[108] Schwartz, ''Zwei Predigten Hippolyts,'' Sitzungsberichte der Bayrichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 3 (München, 1936): 36 ff.[108] 

“this attestation has become questionable: Filaster probably used Epiphanius; Pseudo- Tertullian is still "an unknown quantity which first must be solved" (p. 38); and the treatment in Epiphanius is demonstrably confused while the sources he employed still have not been identified.[109] 

[109] On the indiscriminate use of the ps.-Clementines by Epiphanius, cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, pp. 265 f., and ''Elkesai,'' 1175 f. Indeed, on the basis of the reports on the Nazoraeans M. Black asserts that Epiphanius' treatment is trustworthy (The Scrolls and Christian Origins: Studies in the Jewish Background of the New Testament [New York: Scribner's, 1961], pp. 67 ff.). But his argument only shows in exemplary fashion that Epiphanius' literary efforts are capable of producing such an impression.[109] 

“In order to answer our question, therefore, it would be better not to make use of Lipsius' threefold attestation. Nevertheless, it should be discussed whether this designation could derive from the Syntagma. Tertullian, who also refers to "Ebion,"[110] encourages this possibility. 

[110] On the Flesh of Christ 14, 18, 24; On the Veiling of Virgins 6.1; Prescription Against Heretics 33.5 and 10 f.[110] 

“It is therefore impossible to regard Hippolytus' Refutation as the place of origin for this name since Tertullian belongs to an earlier period.

“Since Tertullian also made use of local Roman tradition elsewhere[111]

[111] Cf. e.g. Harnack, Marcion\2, p. 17*.[111]

“the possibility cannot be excluded that he was here under the direct or indirect influence of the Syntagma which was composed much earlier than the writing of the Refutation and perhaps immediately after the appearance of Noëtus in Rome.[112]

[112] According to Photius (Library, codex 121) Hippolytus' Syntagma covered thirty-two heresies beginning with the Dositheans and ending with the adherents of Noëtus. Its time of composition should be fixed considerably before the Refutation since according to the preface to book one of the Refutation, the earlier draft was written "some time ago" (palai). The grounds for Harnack's dating of the Syntagma (Geschichte 2 [Chronologie]. 2: 223: during the first decade of the third century) are convincing only insofar as the work could not have appeared after 210. Since Photius applied the word biblidarion to the Syntagma, it follows that it was small in size and (contrary to the widely held assumption) could not have contained Hippolytus' Homily against the Heresy of Noëtus, as has been demonstrated conclusively by Schwartz (''Zwei Predigten,'' 37).[112] 

“This possibility is supported by the fact that in the immediate context, also without any parallel in Irenaeus, Hippolytus deals with the Byzantian Theodotus who appeared in Rome and was excommunicated by Bishop Victor.[113] 

[113] Ref. 7.9 and 35, 10.23; Eusebius EH 5.28.6; Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, p. 611.[113] 

“Theodotus is mentioned also in chapter 3 of Hippolytus' homily against Noëtus.[114] 

[114] [Ed. by Schwartz, ''Zwei Predigten''; cf. also Migne PG 10.817. ET by S. Salmond in ANF 5: 223-231.][114] 

“Both the excommunication of Theodotus and the composition of the writing against Noëtus suit the time of origin of the Syntagma. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that Refutation 7.35 as a whole is based on the Syntagma. Perhaps we may go one step further and assume that it was Hippolytus himself who, on the basis of false etymology, conjectured that the founder of the sect had been a person named "Ebion." The context even seems to indicate how this misunderstanding could have arisen. While Hippolytus deals with "Ebionites" in Refutation 7.34, depending on Irenaeus, the name -- Ebion" occurs in 7.35, in the chapter that goes back to the Syntagma, and is juxtaposed with the names of "Cerinthus" and Mheodotus." Therefore, it would seem that the name originated in the Syntagma by means or a somewhat automatic assimilation to other founders of sects –

apart from the other argument based on the fact that Hippolytus provides the earliest attestation of this name. The foundation for the later heresiological treatment of Ebionitism has been provided by Irenaeus and Hippolytus. Henceforth, the doctrine and the practice of Jewish Christians will be reported in a stereotyped manner. Observance of Jewish customs, rejection of Paul, a "natural Christology," and derivation from a certain "Ebion" as founder of the sect -- all of this is subsumed under the concept hairesis t~n Ebi~nai~n, "Ebionite heresy." By being identified as "Ebionism," Jewish Christianity becomes an established heresiological entity which is treated in the one place provided in the catalogue of sects. The heresiologists who are supposed to have used Hippolytus' Syntagma can confirm this. The individual details that they have to offer are nothing but assimilations to the extant heresiological material, and cannot claim to be derived from firsthand knowledge (cf. Pseudo-Tertullian and Filaster). This also applies to Epiphanius. The comparison with other heresies mentioned by name (Her. 30.1) is just as much a secondary literary embellishment as the seemingly significant reference to "the earliest" Ebionite position (ta prita), which introduced a line of development in Ebionite christological outlook stretching from a "natural" (30.2) to an Elchasaitic Christology (30.3 and 17), but is really a literary device whereby the diverse sources and disorganized bits of information are held together. This indicates, to be sure, that in distinction from other heresiologists, Epiphanius had access to sources hitherto unknown in the West, but it also shows that he did not really understand the significance of these bits of information, but rather grouped them according to a general heresiological point of view in which matters of detail are not differentiated.[115]

[115] On the heresiological outlook of Epiphanius, cf. P. Fraenkel, ''Histoire sainte et hérésie chez &EACUTEpiphane de Salamine,'' Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 12 (1962): 175-191. Unfortunately Fraenkel does not follow Bauer's approach.[115]

“Origen's evidence also agrees at first with the heresiological reporting. Jewish observances (Homily 3.5 on Genesis), rejection of Paul (e.g. Against Celsus 5.65 and Homily 17.2 on Jeremiah), and [[ET 283]] natural Christology (Homily 17 on Luke) also are typical characteristics of the Ebionites according to Origen.  

“He can also designate them as "heretics" (Against Celsus 5.65). However, it is remarkable that Origen does not reflect the heresiological pattern in other respects -- e.g. the common stereotyped comparison with Cerinthus and Carpocrates is not made. It is also characteristic of Origen to interpret the name of the Ebionites ironically as indicating "the poverty of their spirit."[116] 

[116] On First Principles 4.3.8; Against Celsus 2.1, and passim. This interpretation probably originated with Origen himself. It agrees with his knowledge of Hebrew and is not found prior to him but appears rather frequently afterward. Cf. Strecker, Judenchristentum, p. 123.[116] 

“What is especially important is the new information he provides. Origen knows of Jewish Christians who teach that Jesus was born in a natural way [285] but he is also aware of others who acknowledge the virgin birth (Against Celsus 5.61; Commentary on Matthew, 17.12). He is informed about their literal interpretation of the Bible (Commentary on Matthew, 11.12), and also about their celebration of the Passover (Commentary on Matthew, series 79). His reports apparently are based at least in part on his own substantiated observation. He is aware that the Jewish Christian rejection of Paul continues "to this day" (HomiS 19 on Jeremiah). And there is other evidence to confirm that the Christology of Jewish Christians cannot be limited to the notion of Jesus' natural birth, but also has room for declarations concerning his preexistence.[117]

[117] Strecker, ''Ebioniten,'' col. 496 f.[117]

The idea that Origen's knowledge of Jewish Christianity was based on personal observation explains his exceptional attitude of openness.  

“Origen admits that Jewish Christian theology was more complex than would be possible according to the heresiological pattern.  

“Even Eusebius, who elsewhere follows Origen's presentation for the most part, by no means remains within the limits of the heresiological pattern, but is also aware (perhaps on the basis of personal observation) of Jewish Christians who live in Kokaba,[118] 

[118] Onomasticon (ed. Klostermann, GCS, 11.1 [1904], 172); [cf. Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, pp. 426 n. 715, 428 n. 734 (cf. n. 731)].[118] 

“and he knows "Ebionites" who celebrate the Lord's day as well as the Sabbath.[119] 

[119] EH 3.27.5; cf. Apostolic Constitutions 7.23.[119] 

The reporting of Origen and Eusebius differs from the usual heresiological approach not only by virtue of its factual knowledge; chronological and geographic differences are also reflected.  

Whereas Origen and Eusebius attest that in the eastern church the complexity of Jewish Christianity is still acknowledged (even if only with regard to particular details) in the third and fourth century,

the western church had already forced Jewish Christianity into a fixed heresiological pattern by the end of the second and beginning of the third century.

This pattern was the result of a gradual development since the relatively open position of Justin, (and of Hegesippus), was replaced around the end of the second century by the typically heresiological approach.  

It is clear from the witness of Origen and Eusebius that even after standardization took place in the West, the East remained open with respect to the actual situation.

It was not until much later that the final transfer of the heresiological pattern in the East seems to have become possible. Epiphanius can be named as the first witness to this development. 

Theodoret and the later fathers, who wrote in complete dependence on their predecessors, mark the ultimate victory of the heresiological outlook.[120] 

[120] In several respects, Jerome occupies a unique position. He has connections with both East and West. As is well known, his information is no more reliable than that of Epiphanius. We cannot deal with it in more detail here.[120]

Walter Bauer had established that the early opponents of heresy, from Clement to Dionysius of Corinth, stood in close relation to Rome (see above, 106 ff.). It can now be added that this is also true with respect to the heresiological approach itself. The Roman character of Justin's literary endeavors is well known, in spite of his Samaritan origin and his sojourn in Asia Minor. Even though it may be supposed that his source material comes partly from the East, it was given its ultimate shape in Rome.  

Bauer showed in detail the connections between Hegesippus and Rome (above, 103, 107). This Roman orientation is especially true of Irenaeus, the first ecclesiastical author of whose systematic heresiological activity we have knowledge. His account of the heresies grew out of the ecclesiastical situation at Lyons -out of his struggle with Valentinian gnosticism. His journey to see Eleutherus of Rome (Eusebius EH 5.4) and his entry into the Passover controversy through his letter to Bishop Victor (EH 5.24.10 ff.) are sufficient evidence for recognizing the strong ties by which he and his community felt themselves bound to the Roman ecclesiastical position. 

And that Hippolytus represents Roman tradition does not need to be argued, in spite of his actual alienation from the official incumbent of the Roman Episcopal chair and his corresponding enumeration among the schismatics. Without any doubt, systematically practiced heresiology begins in Rome.

The later penetration into the East of the heresiological attitude toward Jewish Christianity indicates that a Roman principle gained "ecumenical" validity.

 In this respect, Bauer's claims receive substantial confirmation. The variations in configuration and success of the heresiological point of view corroborate the results gained from the direct and indirect evidence for Jewish Christianity in Syria -- namely, that the situation with regard to Jewish Christianity is complex, both in terms of its own theological frame of thought and also in its relationship to the "great church."

This complexity contradicts the heresiological pattern. And to the extent that later Jewish Christianity can be uncovered, even greater variety is encountered there.[121]  

[121] There are few witnesses, the Jewish Christian gospels cannot [287] be dated with sufficient certainty, and the reports of Jerome and Epiphanius are unreliable even when they deal with the contemporary situation rather than with past events. On the activity of Jewish Christian groups on into Islamic times, cf. A. Schlatter, ''Die Entwicklung des jüdischen Christentums zum Islam,'' Evangelisches Missionsmagazin, 62 (1918): 251-264; Harnack, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte\4, 2 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1909; repr. Darmstadt, 1964): 534 ff. [this appendix on Islam is not included in the ET, History of Dogma, 4 (1898)]; Schoeps, Theologie, pp. 334-342; Strecker, ''Elkesai,'' col. 1177..3[121]

The simplistic, [287] dogmatically determined classification of Jewish Christianity as a heresy which confronts the "great church" as a homogeneous unit does not do justice to the complex situation existing within legalistic Jewish Christianity.

Walter Bauer's opinion that "the Judaists so became a heresy, rejected with conviction by the gentile Christians," and that the Jewish Christians were "repulsed" by gentile Christianity (above, 236f.) needs to be corrected.

Not only is there "significant diversity" within the gentile Christian situation, but the same holds true for Jewish Christianity.

“The fact that Jewish Christianity was a polymorphic (complex) entity and that a heresiological principle emanating from Rome could succeed against it only gradually provides not only a correcting supplement, but above all an additional substantiation of Bauer's historical perspective.

(aaron— As we close this brief look at Appendix-1, I am very appreciative of Walter Bower for his diligent effort to sort through these complex issues within the early Christian Church. Then his giving this open challenge to the Gentile Church—“the great Church” to correct their past errors is unfortunately still open. Yet I am even more concerned, because today’s Christian Church continues on with precisely the same distorted understanding of Judaism and Jewish Christianity.

As far reaching as it might seem, without a proper understanding of the complexities that are involved in the identification of God’s peoples it is impossible to achieve any correct understanding of Theology. Then it is precisely this necessary understanding that is missing throughout this entire paper, as well as within the whole of today’s Christian Church—“the great church”.)


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  All text copyright © 2005 aaron. All rights reserved.  Photos, unless otherwise credited, are the property of the auth, all rights reserved.  Originally posted February 24, 2004.  Revised: February 20, 2009.