he arrived there under imperial escort. Justin Martyr arrived from Samaria and established a Christian philosophical school. Valentinus apparently came from Alexandria and did likewise. Only after some time did conflict with Justin's school disrupt toleration of the Valentinians,35 while Justin's pupil, Tatian, had meanwhile returned to his place of origin, Syria, where he was himself associated with heresy.

Marcion36 had been born in Pontus, at the commercial city and military centre of Sinope, had travelled throughout Asia and, around 140 ce, like Justin, settled in Rome. There, he generously donated the immense sum of 200,000 sesterces to the Christian community, money, however, which he was given back when a few years later he left the community again. Marcion established his own church, which spread out from Rome and survived for several centuries. The story of Marcion may be the first to illustrate what must have become a typical pattern: initially welcomed as a fellow Christian, only to find oneself creating one's own community when one's teaching was found unacceptable by others. The same kind of thing would happen to Montanists from Asia37 and to Theodotus from Byzantium, while at the turn of the century, Epigonus, who brought to Rome the ideas of Noetus of Smyrna, got a hearing from successive bishops38 and attracted followers who kept the controversy going in Rome for some time into the third century. Some groups in the capital were reluctant to accept others on grounds of doctrine or practice.

So the influx and outgoings of Christian commercial people, soldiers, civil servants, tourists, teachers, students, emigrants and immigrants created rows in Rome, and also between Roman Christians and those of other cities of the empire. In the mid-second century, debate arose about the date of the Easter celebration and the breaking of the fast beforehand.39 The issue concerned the question whether Christians should relate their Easter-dating to the Jewish calendar. Do they celebrate Pesach and commemorate the death ofJesus, as did the Quartodecimans who ended their fasting on the fourteenth of Nisan, or do they fast until the Sunday following the fourteenth of Nisan to celebrate Jesus' resurrection and victory over death and emphasise the distance between Christianity and Judaism? Divergence of practice and theology was certainly present in Rome itself, as Asian congregations in the capital followed the custom of their 'home' church, which was different from that of most Roman assemblies.

35 Lampe, Paul to Valentinus, 387-91.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment