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De Moor V:22: The Deity of the Son Defended, Part 2

Artist's Depiction of Cerinthus

Concerning the Cerinthians, AUGUSTINE, de Hæresibus, chapter VIII: The Cerinthians were affirming…that Jesus was merely a man. However, the same relate that the Christ joined Himself with the man Jesus, in the time of public administration of that office in the earth, and that Jesus was going to be abandoned in the time of suffering: see DANÆUS on Augustine, in the passage cited, page 925; ITTIG in his Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis, section I, chapter V, § 6; SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century I, chapter XIV, column 577; VITRINGA, Observationum sacrarum, book V, chapter X, § 7-9. Yet with this not hindering, that the Cerinthians are truly said to have denied the divinity of Christ, BUDDEUS with good reason contends, de Ecclesia Apostolica, chapter V, § 5, pages 407-422.

Concerning the Artemonists, who were also called Theodotiani, from Artemon and Theodotus of Byzantium, who was also called Σκυτεὺς/ Coriarius,[1] Heretics of the Second Century, who were expressly saying that Christ was only a man, ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον: see DANÆUS, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapters XXX, XXXIII, pages 951, 953, 954; SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century II, chapter VI, column 647; ITTIG, Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis primi et secundi Seculi, Section II, chapter XV. Danæus and Spanheim differ in this, that Danæus holds Theodotus as the primary disciple of Artemon, while Spanheim says that Artemon was the disciple of Theodotus. The latter opinion is supported by BULL, Judicio Ecclesiæ catholicæ, etc., chapter III, § 3, page 27, where he refers Artemon to the beginning of the third Century. But VITRINGA, Observationum sacrarum, book V, chapter X, § 8, treating of the Ebionites, contends, that no one before Theodotus absolutely denied the concurrence of the two Natures in Christ, by the authority of EUSEBIUS, who in Historia Ecclesiastica, book V, chapter XXVIII, page 196, in express language calls him τὸν σκυτέα Θεόδοτον ἀρχηγὸν καὶ πατέρα ταύτης τῆς ἀρνησιθέου ἀποστασίας, πρῶτον εἰπόντα ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν Χριστόν, Theodotus, the leather-worker, the leader and father to that God-denying apostasy, the first declaring Christ to be a mere man: that perhaps rests on a footing not so firm; since, 1. ITTIG, Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis primi et secundi Seculi, Section II, chapter XV, § 2, observes that the words just now related by Eusebius were indeed culled from an ancient author, whom Pearson gathers to have been the Roman Presbyter Caius or Gaius:[2] but, 2. Ittig adds that Caius errs from the truth in that, which he indicates, that Theodotus was the first to say that Christ was a mere man, since Ebion and Cerinthus had asserted the same already. Just as DANÆUS, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapters XXX, page 950a, similarly teaches, that this heresy concerning Christ as a ψιλῷ ἀνθρώπῳ, mere man, according to the opinion of Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria,[3] whose words are related by THEODORET, Historia Ecclesiastica, book I, chapter IV, was already raised by Ebion: indeed, that Alexander writes in this way in the passage cited, page 15, concerning the Arian heresy of the Exouconti, αὐτοὶ γὰρ—ἐστὲ οὐκ ἀγνοοῦντες, ὅτι ἡ—διδασκαλία, ἐβίωνός ἐστι καὶ ἀρτεμᾶ, καὶ ζῆλος τοῦ κατὰ ἀντιόχειαν παύλου τοῦ σαμοσατέως, for ye…are not ignorant, that the…teaching is of Ebion and Artemon, and rivals that of Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch. With which what things EUSEBIUS himself has concerning the Ebionites, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, chapter XXVII, are in perfect harmony. DANÆUS, on the place just now cited, adds, Nevertheless, it is not attributed to Ebion, but to Artemon, because he thus adorned the evil received from the former with the paints and colors of false arguments, so that he appears to be the author, not the heir and successor, of this doctrine. Now, that Theodotus of Byzantium was only the propagator of that, although a most diligent and keen defender of it…as it is able easily to be gathered out of Eusebius’ Historia, book V, chapter XXVIII. Compare what things upon this matter BULL, Judicio Ecclesiæ catholicæ, etc., chapter II, delivers at length concerning Ebion and the Ebionites; he then, in chapter III, § 1, ingeniously set forth another reason why Caius, in the passage cited in EUSEBIUS, had called Theodotus the first, who asserted that Christ was a ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον, mere man: But he maintained, in my opinion, that he was the first among the Christians, that is, the Christians of the Gentiles, to have asserted that doctrine; while the earlier assertors of that blasphemy generally championed Judaism under a Christian profession, and so were to be attached to the Synagogue rather than the Church, and were to be held as Jews more than Christians, or at least as those standing in the middle between both. Hence by others of the Ancients also the Ebionites were cast back into the Catalog of Jewish Heresies, and were distinguished from Heretics that arose in the Christian Church, etc. The same BULL, Judicio Ecclesiæ catholicæ, etc., chapter II, § 9, page 29, also indicates the reason why the Arians, who differ from the Ebionites, Artemonists, and Paulianists in this, that the Arians acknowledged the Pre-existence of Christ before His birth by Mary, indeed, before all ages, which is denied by the rest; yet in the placed cited of THEODORET and elsewhere are brought together with those other Heretics just now mention: namely, because the Ebionites, Artemonists, and Paulianists were condemned on account of a cause commont to them with the Arians, namely, that they denied our Savior to be God.

[1] That is, a Leather-worker. [2] Caius, Presbyter of Rome (early third century), was a Christian author, but only fragments of his work survive. [3] Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria (died c. 326), was the leader of the orthodox party at the Council of Nicea.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Sep 15, 2021

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