Untrustworthy Teachings of the Early fATHERS

But if, on the one hand, they were sufficiently acquainted with the different religious systems of their neighbors to have enabled them to build a new religion alleged to be distinct from all others, their ignorance of the Old Testament itself, let alone the more complicated questions of Grecian metaphysics, is now found to have been deplorable. "So, for instance, in Matthew xxvii. 9 f., the passage from Zechariah xi. 12, 13, is attributed to Jeremiah," says the author of Supernatural Religion. "In Mark i. 2, a quotation from Malachi iii. 1, is ascribed to Isaiah. In 1 Corinthians, ii. 9, a passage is quoted as Holy Scripture, which is not found in the Old

** "Codex Nazarxus," p. 57; "Sod, the Son of the Man," p. 59. ff "Hundert und ein Frage," p. xvii.; Dunlap, "Sod, the Son of the Man," p. 87; the author, who quotes Nork, says that parts of the "Midrashim" and the "Targum" of Onkelos, antedate the "New Testament."

Testament at all, but which is taken, as Origen and Jerome state, from an apocryphal work, The Revelation of Elias (Origen; Tract. xxxv.), and the passage is similarly quoted by the so-called Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (xxxiv.). How reliable are the pious Fathers in their explanations of divers heresies may be illustrated in the case of Epiphanius, who mistook the Pythagorean sacred Tetrad, called in the Valentinian Gnosis, Kol-Arbas, for a heretic leader. * What with the involuntary blunders, and deliberate falsifications of the teachings of those who differed in views with them; the canonization of the mythological Aura Placida (gentle breeze), into a pair of Christian martyrs — St. Aura and St. Placida;+ the deification of a spear and a cloak, under the names of SS. Longimus and Amphibolus;} and the Patristic quotations from prophets, of what was never in those

* Writing upon Ptolem^us and Heracleon, the author of "Supernatural Religion" (vol. ii., p. 217) says that "the inaccuracy of the Fathers keeps pace with their want of critical judgment," and then proceeds to illustrate this particularly ridiculous blunder committed by Epiphanius, in common with Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Philostrius. "Mistaking a passage of Irenxus, 'Adv. H^r.,' i., p. 14, regarding the Sacred Tetrad (Kol-Arbas), Hippolytus supposes Irenxus to refer to another heretic leader." He at once treats the Tetrad as such a leader named "Colarbasus," and after dealing (vi., 4) with the doctrines of Secundus, and Ptolem^us, and Heracleon, he proposes, §5, to show, "what are the opinions held by Marcus and Colarbasus," these two being, according to him, the successors of the school of Valentinus (cf. Bunsen, "Hippolytus, U. S. Zeit," p. 54 f.; "Ref. Omn. Hxr,," iv., § 13). f See Godf. Higgins, "Anacalypsis."

J Inman, "Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism," p. 84.

prophets at all; one may well ask in blank amazement whether the so-called religion of Christ has ever been other than an incoherent dream, since the death of the Great Master.

So malicious do we find the holy Fathers in their unrelenting persecution of pretended "hxresies, "§ that we see them telling, without hesitation the most preposterous untruths, and inventing entire narratives, the better to impress their own otherwise unsupported arguments upon ignorance. If the mistake in relation to the tetrad had at first originated as a simple consequence of an unpremeditated blunder of Hippolytus, the explanations of Epiphanius and others who fell into the same absurd error** have a less innocent look. When Hippolytus gravely denounces the great heresy of the Tetrad, Kol-Arbas, and states that the imaginary Gnostic leader is, "Kolarbasus, who endeavors to explain religion by measures and numbers,"++ we may simply smile. But when Epiphanius, with abundant indignation, elaborates upon the theme, "which is Heresy XV," and pretending to be thoroughly acquainted with the subject, adds: "A certain Heracleon follows after Colarbasus, which is Heresy XVI,"}}

§ Meaning — holding up of different views.

** "This absurd mistake," remarks the author of "Supernatural Religion," vol. ii., p. 218, "shows how little these writers knew of the Gnostics of whom they wrote, and how the one ignorantly follows the other." ff "Ref. Omn. Hxr.," iv., §13.

JJ Epiph., "Hxr.," xxxvi., § 1, p. 262 (quoted in "Supernatural Religion"). See Volkmar's "Die Colarbasus-gnosis" in Niedner's "Zeitschr. Hist. Theol."

then he lays himself open to the charge of deliberate falsification.

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