Pieter W. van der Horst
Samuel James Beeching Barnish
John F. Matthews
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.
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
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.
Henry Chadwick and M. J. Edwards
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.
Isidore Isidorus (2) Hispalensis, bishop of Seville (c.600–36), came from a Roman family of considerable influence in Visigothic *Spain (see
E. D. Hunt
An account of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 381–4