The sympathy of three successive bishops for monarchian views explains the seriousness with which both Tertullian and Hippolytus tackle the arguments. For alongside Tertullian's treatise must also be considered the work Contra Noetum that is described in the manuscript as a homily by Hippolytus, archbishop of Rome and martyr.26 The two works together bear witness to the nature of the arguments, and especially to the key proof-texts from scripture to which appeal was made. Both seem to be earlier than the account from the Refutatio omnium haeresium already reviewed, and it has been suggested that Hippolytus was indebted to Tertullian's work.
In these two works, then, we meet the theological arguments used by the opponents of the monarchians to refute their position. Several things are noticeable: (i) recourse to tradition, or the rule of faith, against what is treated as a novelty, a strange doctrine taught by strangers;27 (2) the centrality of scripture - for both sides, indeed - with exegesis and counter-exegesis, and appeals to proof-texts from both Old and New Testaments; (3) the exposition of logos theology as a means of holding together God's oneness and the requirement to acknowledge the 'economy'.
Tertullian's28 use of the word 'dispensation' (that is, dispensatio as the Latin equivalent the Greek oikonomia) may perhaps help to capture the meaning: it concerns God's providential 'arrangements', which dispose unity into trinity, creating a plurality without division. He draws attention to the one empire, and the fact that the emperor may share the sovereignty with his son as agent without that sovereignty being divided, even noting that provincial governors do not detract from the single monarchy. So God's monarchy is not divided by the fact that his agents are the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the angels are his ministers. Later29 he develops the notion that God was alone, yet not alone since he always had his 'reason' within, and this became 'discourse' when God spoke and so created. Thus there was the Word, the Son, a person, another beside God, yet never separated from God, and ofthe same 'substance', as the shoot is 'son of the root', the river 'son of the spring', the beam 'son of the
26 Butterworth, in his edition of Contra Noetum, provides a useful discussion of the critical arguments about this work, contesting the notion that it belonged to the missing Syntagma, an anti-heretical compendium from an earlier date than the Refutatio, and arguing that it is a homily in the 'diatribe' style. It is now widely accepted that the author is not the same as the author of the Refutatio: this author will be distinguished from the other by dropping the quotation marks, but, if Brent is right, this work too comes from someone in Hippolytus' school rather than Hippolytus himself.
27 Hipp. Noet. 1.1; Tert. Prax. 3; see ch. 23, above, for the rule of faith.
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