De Moor V:22: The Deity of the Son Defended, Part 3

Advancing to the third Century, our AUTHOR makes mention of the Samosatenians or Paulianists, concerning whom AUGUSTINE, de Hæresibus, chapter XLIV, speaks, The Paulianists, following Paul of Samosata, say that Christ was not always God, but assert His beginning, when He was born of Mary, and do not regard Him as anything more than a man. That was once the heresy of a certain Artemon: but, when he had died, it was renewed by Paul: and afterwards it was so confirmed by Photinus that they are more commonly called Photinians than Paulianists. That Paul was Bishop of Antioch, called Samosatenus after his ancestral city, Samosata, which was the capital of Commagenian Syria,[1] otherwise known as Euphratean Syria. The time of the rising of that heresy falls into that of the Emperor Gallienus,[2] with the third Century turning toward its end, not long after the Sabellian heresy. Soon two Synods were held at Antioch against this Samosatenus, the first which happened in the year 264 under Gallienus, at which he was heard and acquitted; the second in the year 270 under Aurelian,[3] at which he was condemned and deposed. Concerning the Heresy of the Samosatenians, and its agreement with the Sabellian Heresy, or how it differs from the same, see DANÆUS, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapter XLIV, pages 965, 966; SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century III, chapter VII, § 4, columns 750, 751; WALCH, Miscellaneis Sacris, book I, Exercitation V, § 2-5.

Being about to pass over to the fourth Century, our AUTHOR, and we with him, pass over the Arians, who were treated in § 9 of this Chapter; but he makes mention of the Photinians, whose error is already apparent to us from those things which we just now heard, when we spoke of the Samosatenians, Augustine relate: namely, they were in a similar manner asserting that Christ was only a man, ψιλὸν ἄνθρωπον, having a beginning to His existence from the Virgin Mary, before which the Son of God did not exist. The Photinians have their name from Photinus, on account of his error called σκοτεινῷ/skoteinus/obscure by an elegant change of his name, as a child of darkness rather than light: he was born in Galatia, a man of talent, excelling in ability and eloquence, Bishop, not of Smyrna, as Isidore wrote in a ramble, but of Sirmium in Illyricum.[4] Photinus was condemned on account of his heresy, not already at Nicea, as Danæus received from an incorrectly understood Ruffinus, against the chronology, since at the time of the Council of Nicea the heresy of Photinus had not yet become known, as Ittig observes in his Historia Photini, § 17-19: but at a Synod of Antioch in the year 345, a Synod of Mediolanum in 347, Synods of Sirmium in 349 and 351, and by the latter Synod he was deposed: concerning the heresy of Photinus and the Photinians see DANÆUS, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapter XLV, pages 966, 967; SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century IV, chapter X, § 2, columns 889, 890, chapter XI, § 3, columns 911, 914, 915; and ITTIG, who explains this business at greater length, Heptade Dissertatione post Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis, Dissertation VI, which relates the History of Photinus, pages 426-466: add WALCH, Miscellaneis Sacris, book I, Exercitation V, § 6, pages 128, 129.

[1] That is, Northern Syria. [2] Gallienus reigned from 253 to 268. [3] Aurelian reigned from 270 to 275. [4] Illyricum was a Roman Province, stretching from north-western Greece to north-eastern Italy.

29 views1 comment