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Article

Pieter W. van der Horst

In ancient literature (both Graeco-Roman and Jewish and Christian) as well as in epigraphic material (mainly Jewish), one finds references to persons or groups variously called theosebeis, sebomenoi, phoboumenoi (ton theon), metuentes (in Hebrew parlance yir’ei shamayim, “fearers of heaven [=God]”). Although in the past scholars sometimes assumed these terms to be just designations of pious persons in general,1 nowadays the prevalent opinion is that they often refer to a quite specific category: gentiles who sympathize with the Jewish religion.2 The evidence evinces the existence of non-Jewish groups or individuals on the fringes of local synagogues who were deeply interested in aspects of Judaism and observed ad libitum precepts of the Jewish law (Torah), for instance by keeping the Sabbath and attending synagogue services or adhering to some form of monotheism, without, however, formally converting to Judaism (in contrast to proselytes).In Greek and Latin literature of the imperial period, references to gentiles who were attracted to Judaism are rare. Juvenal the satirist ridicules gentiles who have themselves circumcised and revere the Law of Moses after their father had begun to observe the Sabbath (metuentem sabbata patrem) and to abstain from pork (Sat.

Article

Samuel James Beeching Barnish

Gregory (1) I, the Great, pope 590–604ce, of senatorial and papal family; probable prefect of Rome c.573; subsequently monk; deacon, 578; apocrisiarius (lit. ‘delegate’, a church official) at Constantinople, 579–585/6 (despite his poor Greek); then adviser to Pope Pelagius II. When pope, despite ill-health, he valiantly administered a Rome stricken by flood, plague, and famine, shrunken in population and isolated and threatened by Arian (see arianism) and pagan *Lombards. He reorganized papal estates for Rome's supply, centralizing their administration through appointments, paid imperial troops, appointed officers, and negotiated with the Lombards. He devotedly served the Byzantine empire as the ‘holy commonwealth’, but sometimes acted independently of emperor and exarchs. Warfare and political fragmentation limited his powers, but expectation of the Day of Judgement sharpened his sense of spiritual responsibility for the world. As churchman, he upheld ecclesiastical discipline in Italy and Dalmatia, maintained authority in the vicariate of Illyricum, restructured the dioceses of his dwindling patriarchate, and laboured to convert Jews and *pagan rustics.

Article

Gregory (2) of Nazianzus (329–89 ce), educated at Athens with *Basil of Caesarea, remained much more committed than his friend to the value of traditional paideia, a commitment powerfully expressed in his counterblast to the emperor Julian's cultural politics (Orations 4-5).Son of a bishop, he faced great difficulties in reconciling his ascetic ambitions with the career reserved for him in the local church establishment. He caused much embarrassment for his father when he ordained him presbyter, and for Basil when he consecrated him bishop of Sasima. In these and similar episodes Gregory refined the techniques of self-expression (oratorical, epistolary and poetic) which make him one of the most distinctive voices of his age.An early recruit to the campaign against *Arianism, he embarked on an eventful preaching mission at *Constantinople, which ended with his installation in the city's cathedral by *Theodosius (2) I.

Article

Gregory (3) of Nyssa (c. 330–95 ce), despite the insignificance of his Cappadocian see, became the most prominent public voice of eastern Christianity during the reign of *Theodosius (2) I: he delivered eulogies upon the emperor's wife and daughter at Constantinople, produced many doctrinal and exegetical treatises, and undertook ecclesiastical missions to Arabia, Jerusalem and elsewhere. For modern scholars, Gregory is of interest principally for the theological and philosophical profundity of his writings. No contemporary author combines so creatively the legacies of *Plato and *Origen, or produces so subtle a conception of trinitarian theology, of the human ‘grasp of faith’ or the scope of free will. He claims teaching authority for his sister Macrina with a biography and a Platonic dialogue, On the Soul. The influence exercised by his more challenging ideas, however, remains unclear.It is also difficult to relate Gregory's intellectual concerns to the development of his career. After education in Cappadocia (his elder brother *Basil of Caesarea was among his teachers) he married and became a rhetorician; his earliest work, On Virginity, reflects both conditions.

Article

Gregory (4) Thaumaturgus was born of a prominent family of Neocaesarea, Pontus (formerly Cabeira; mod. Niksar). He studied law at *Berytus (Beirut), but when visiting *Caesarea (2) (Palestine) was converted to Christianity by *Origen (1). His parting panegyric of gratitude describes Origen's methods of instruction. On returning to Pontus he successfully preached Christianity as bishop of Neocaesarea. His memory was venerated a century later by *Basil of Caesarea and *Gregory (3) of Nyssa, the latter of whom wrote a Life on the basis of Pontic folk-traditions which ascribed to him extraordinary prodigies as ‘the wonder-worker’. Of particular interest, both for contemporary historical conditions and for the liturgical development of the 3rd-cent. Church, is the ‘Canonical Letter’ written in the aftermath of the Gothic invasions of Pontus in the mid-250s, in which various grades of penance were laid down for Christians who had exploited the invasions for their own advantage.

Article

Christa Gray

Hagiography is a problematic yet widely used term with varying connotations; it resists narrow definition. Outside the hagiographa of the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the books other than the Law and the Prophets), the concept is based on a core of Christian Greek and Latin works, from the 2nd to 5th century ce, which range from martyr accounts to monastic and episcopal biographies. A significant factor motivating their composition and reception is the cult of saints. Biblical heroes, especially Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself are the primary models, but non-Christian literary traditions, especially biographical and novelistic, are also important influences.Coined originally to indicate a group of books of the Old Testament (cf. TLL s.v. (h)agiographus, VI.3.2513.22–29), since the 19th century the term hagiography has been used for writings associated with and promoting the cult of saints, and more particularly for the biographical literature on ascetics, which took its starting point from .

Article

heresy  

Gillian Clark

The Greek word hairesis, ‘choice’ or ‘option’, was used for a school of thought in philosophy or medicine. Followers of one school often disagreed with the beliefs of other schools, but Christian authors are especially fierce in denouncing ‘heresy’. For them, hairesis is false belief about human beings in relation to God: it endangers the soul by departing from orthodoxia, ‘right thinking’, and it must be inspired by human arrogance or by demonic deception. Most information on heresies comes from opponents who listed and attacked them. *Eusebius (Hist. eccl.) presented heretics as an internal threat to the church, more dangerous than persecution. This influential model of orthodoxy resisting attack from heresies has been challenged, both by the rival suggestion that orthodoxy developed in response to heresies, and by efforts to reconstruct and reassess the arguments of heretics, helped especially by new discoveries of Gnostic and Manichaean texts.

Article

Philip Rousseau

Succeeding his hero Honoratus in 430 ce, Hilary presided over the most prestigious see of southern Gaul until his death in 449. Its aggrandizement was based on possession of a mint, a splendid circus, the residence of the praetorian prefect and, from 418, the meetings of the new council of the Seven Provinces. Competition with neighbouring Vienne intensified ambitions in the city and took a specifically ecclesiastical form from the time of Patroclus (d. 426), persisting long enough to benefit Caesarius at the end of the century (c.470–542).Hilary's career and writings illustrate the growing importance of the monastery of Lérins (of which he had been a member) and its impact on the pastoral life of the Gallic Church; a carefully preserved network of aristocratic families in Gaul, who deliberately extended their influence into the hierarchy of the Church, still in collaboration with secular peers; and the shifting tensions between the Church in Gaul and the bishop of Rome, especially during the pontificate of *Leo I (d.

Article

Henry Chadwick and M. J. Edwards

Hippolytus (2) c. 170–c. 236 ce, styled bishop of Portus and (probably) rival to Callistus of Rome (217–22), whom he reckoned a heretic because of his denial of the hypostatic identity of the Logos. (See further his Contra Noetum and Refutation bk. 9.) He died in exile in Sardinia under Maximinus' persecution. Though allegedly reconciled, he is more often named than quoted in later writing. A statue of him in Rome gives a list of his works, but the attribution of almost every work that goes under his name has been disputed. Book 1 of the Refutation of all Heresies (the Philosophumena) was once ascribed to Origen (1); books 4–10 were found in the last century, and, along with the De Universo and the Chronicle, are assigned by Nautin to one Josippus. The work yields valuable fragments of the Presocratic philosophers, but he assimilates them blatantly to the Christian heresies which he attempts to trace to them. The Chronicle extends to 234, and, like the massive Commentary on Daniel, was written to quench apocalyptic expectation.

Article

Little is known of the life of John of Damascus, save what can be deduced from his taciturn writings and a few references to him in chronicles; the later Greek life is unreliable. He seems to have come from a family in Damascus that had for several generations been in charge of fiscal matters; his grandfather, in Arabic Mansur ibn Sarjun, had apparently retained his position during the regime changes in the first half of the 7th century ce (Roman–Persian–Roman–Arab) and had been succeeded by John’s father, with whom John was initially employed. Most likely around 705, John left the service of the caliph and became a monk in or near Jerusalem (traditionally, but a late tradition, at the monastery of Mar Saba in the Judaean desert). He remained there for the rest of his life. For a time he seems to have been close to the patriarch of Jerusalem, John V (d. 735). He opposed the iconoclasm of the Byzantine emperors in three treatises (or one treatise, twice revised), the first from around 730. His opposition was known in Constantinopolitan circles (though not much of the detail of the treatises, perhaps); at the Synod of Hiereia in 754, he was anathematized, under his Arabic name, Mansur, along with Germanus of Constantinople and George of Cyprus, as already dead (“The Trinity has deposed the three of them”1).

Article

Anthony Briggman

Irenaeus (b. c. 135) was installed as bishop of Lyons after a severe persecution of the churches of Lyons and Vienne took the life of his episcopal predecessor, Pothinus. He was not a native of Roman Gaul, but rather migrated from Asia Minor, where in his younger days he heard the Apostle John teach. Irenaeus’ opposition to Valentinian and Marcionite theologies often casts him as one of the great polemicists of the early Church, but he was also one of the great theologians of the early tradition. Eusebius of Caesarea credits Irenaeus with various treatises, but only two have come down to us: a short work entitled Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, and the work for which he is best known, A Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So-Called—more commonly referred to as Against Heresies. His death is usually dated to the early years of the 3rd century. He is commemorated as a martyr, but evidence for his martyrdom is late.

Article

Isidore Isidorus (2) Hispalensis, bishop of Seville (c.600–36), came from a Roman family of considerable influence in Visigothic *Spain (see goths): his brother Leander was his predecessor at Seville (c.577–c.600). He is the author of numerous theological and historical works including a Chronica maiora, continuing the Chronicle of *Jerome, a Historia Gothorum, written in 624 and subsequently revised with additions on the *Vandals and Sueves, De natura rerum, and Quaestiones in Vetus Testamentum. He was also concerned greatly with linguistic issues, as in the Differentiae and the Synonyma, and above all in his final work, the incomplete Etymologiae, which was edited into twenty books by Braulio, bishop of Saragossa (631–51). This last encyclopaedic text dealt with the liberal arts, medicine, law, religion, language, human geography, nature, etc. It drew extensively on earlier writers, and, having an enormous circulation, was one of the main routes by which classical learning was transmitted to the Middle Ages.

Article

E. D. Hunt

An account of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 381–4 ce (including visits to Egypt, Sinai, and Mesopotamia), written from Constantinople for a western audience described as ‘sorores’, probably a circle of pious Christian laywomen in Spain or Gaul to which Egeria belonged. Although the text displays admiration for eastern monks, it is only later tradition which makes Egeria herself a nun. The sole MS, apart from fragments, was discovered at Arezzo in 1884. The text is incomplete, but provides detailed information about the Church liturgy of Jerusalem and the holy places, as well as a record of the pilgrim's journey to biblical sites in the Sinai peninsula and elsewhere in the Holy Land, and to the monks and martyr-shrines of Edessa. Egeria's ‘late’ Latin makes her text of interest to philologists. See pilgrimage.

Article

Martin J. Brooke

A Spanish priest of noble family, born at Eliberri in *Baetica, the first exponent of *biblical epic, and arguably the earliest poet to use an established classical genre to treat explicitly Christian subject-matter. His Evangeliorum libri IV was written somewhat before 330 ce, and narrates the contents of the Gospels, particularly St Matthew's, in 3,311 hexameter verses. *Jerome praised the boldness of the undertaking and its fidelity to its source.

Article

Born into a Christian family at Stridon in *Dalmatia, he was educated at Rome at the school of Aelius *Donatus, and later studied rhetoric. During a stay at Trier (*Augusta Treverorum), where he had probably intended to enter imperial service, his *Christianity took on greater meaning, and around 372, fired with ascetic zeal, he set out for the east. After two years or more at *Antioch, he finally withdrew to the region of *Chalcis in *Syria to undertake the more contemplative life of a monk (though the traditional picture of desert solitude and extreme hardship is exaggerated). Here he began to learn Hebrew, with immense consequences for biblical scholarship. But after no more than a year or so he returned to Antioch, where he was ordained priest. Back in Rome in 382, he quickly won the confidence of Pope *Damasus, at whose request he commenced work on what was to become the core of the *Vulgate version of the Bible.

Article

William Hugh Clifford Frend and M. J. Edwards

Justin Martyr (c. 100–165 ce), a Christian *apologist, flourished under *Antoninus Pius and died a martyr in Rome after his condemnation as a Christian (see christianity) by the *praefectus urbiQ. *Iunius Rusticus. At the beginning of his First Apology he tells us that he was born at Flavia Neapolis (the ancient Shechem in Samaria) of *pagan parents. He seems never to have been attracted to Judaism, though he knows seven Jewish sects (Trypho 80. 4). His account of his early disappointments in philosophy (Trypho 3 ff.) is conventional, but he was certainly a Platonist (see plato(1)) when converted to Christianity. The Stoics (see stoicism) he knew and admired, but more for their lives than for their teachings, and his conversion owed much to the constancy of Christian confessors (2 Apol. 12).After leaving *Samaria, he set up a small school in Rome, and wrote two apologies, nominally directed to Antoninus Pius.

Article

Lucy Grig

The Kalends of January was a festival that involved both official and private celebrations and rituals; its durability as a new year festival into Late Antiquity and beyond is striking.

January 1 was the beginning of the consular year (from the mid-2nd century onwards, codified in the reform of the calendar under Julius Caesar),1 and marked by the public consultation of the auguries and the procession of the new consuls to the Capitol for the customary vows and sacrifices.2 During the imperial period vows of loyalty to the emperor were made by the senate,3 the army,4 and provincials on this date.5 As part of the extension of the period of Kalends celebration, the making of yearly vota publica, originally on January 1, became fixed on January 3.6 Strenae (“good luck presents”) were given both to and by the emperor, as well as being shared by individuals more broadly.

Article

James Stevenson and M. J. Edwards

Lactantius (Lucius Caelius (Caecilius ?) Firmianus also called Lactantius), c.240–c.320 ce, a native of North Africa, pupil of *Arnobius, one of the Christian apologists (see christianity). Under *Diocletian he was officially summoned to teach rhetoric at *Nicomedia; the date of his conversion is uncertain, but is earlier than the persecution of 303, when his Christianity caused him to lose his position at Nicomedia. He remained there until he moved to the west in 305; in extreme old age he was tutor (c.317) to Crispus, eldest son of *Constantine I.Of Lactantius' numerous works on various subjects, only his Christian writings survive. He began these after the outbreak of the persecution. The De opificio Dei demonstrates providence from the construction of the human body. The Divinae institutiones (303–13), begun as a reply to attacks on *Christianity by the philosopher and official Hierocles, was intended to refute all opponents past, present, and future.

Article

Samuel James Beeching Barnish

As deacon, though an unoriginal theologian, he influenced Popes Celestine I and Sixtus III on doctrine, and served in secular diplomacy. As pope, he purged Manichaeans (see manichaeism) from Rome, in partnership with senate and emperor, and attacked Pelagians (see pelagius) and *Priscillianists. He intervened against Eutychian Monophysitism, opposing the council of Ephesus (449), which had spurned his Christological manifesto; this Tome was accepted at Chalcedon (451). He annulled Chalcedon's equation of Rome and Constantinople, but improved contact with Constantinople, establishing an apocrisiarius (secretary). Proclaiming the authority of St. Peter, through interventions and administrative restructurings, and despite worsening communications, he strengthened papal power in the Balkans and crumbling western provinces. (However, *Valentinian III's grant of primacy throughout the west (445) implies imperial supremacy.) His buildings, iconography, liturgies, cult of St. Peter, and encouragement of charity and observance of the Christian calendar enhanced Rome's sacred status. Confronting *Attila (451) and *Gaiseric (454), he helped to turn back the Huns and minimize the *Vandal sack.

Article

Peter Heather

Libanius, born at *Antioch (1) (ce 314), died there (c.393), was a pagan Greek rhetorician whose writings embodied many of the traditional ideals and aspirations of elite life in the eastern Roman Mediterranean at a time when some its basic patterns were facing profound transformation. He belonged to a wealthy Antiochene curial family (see decuriones), and after a careful education at home was sent to study in Athens (336–40). Thereafter he taught *rhetoric successively at *Constantinople (340/1–346) and at *Nicomedia. Recalled to Constantinople by Constantius II, he was offered but declined a chair of rhetoric at Athens; in 354 he accepted a salaried chair of rhetoric in Antioch, where he passed the rest of his life. His pupils numbered many distinguished pagans and Christians alike: John Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia almost certainly, *Basil and *Gregory (2) of Nazianzus probably, and *Ammianus Marcellinus possibly.