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pp. 354, 362
Acacian Council of Constantinople, pp. 357, 361, 369 . . 360 Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, p. 372. Death of Constantius,
361 Julian restores the exiled Bishops, p. 364
362 Council of Alexandria,
362 Schism of Antioch, p. 375
362 Semi-Arian Council of Lampsacus, p. 389
365 Fifty-nine Semi-Arian Bishops accept the Homousion, p. 390 366 Apollinaris, heresiarch, p. 227
369 Basil, Exarch of Cæsarea, p. 387
370 Death of Eudoxius, p. 392.
370 Eighty Catholic Clergy burned at sea, ibid.
370 Persecution of Catholics, p. 391
371 Athanasius excommunicates one of the dukes of Lybia, p. 386 371 Death of Athanasius, ibid.
373 Death of Valens, p. 391
378 Theodosius, Emperor, p. 393
379 Gregory Nazianzen at Constantinople, ibid.
379 Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, pp. 385, &c.
381 Sabbatius, Quarto-deciman, p. 17 .
THE SYRIAN SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY.
(Vide supra, p. 8.) Much has been written at home, and more has come to us from abroad, on the subject of the early Syrian theology, since this Volume was published. At that time, it was at Oxford considered a paradox to look to Antioch for the origin of a heresy which takes its name from an Alexandrian ecclesiastic, and which Mosheim had ruled to be one out of many instances of the introduction of Neo-Platonic ideas into the Christian Church. The Divinity Professor of the day, a learned and kind man, Dr. Burton, in talking with me on the subject, did but qualify his surprise at the view which I had taken, by saying
“Of course you have a right to your own opinion.” Since that time, it has become clear, from the works of Neander and others, that Arianism was but one out of various errors, traceable to one and the same mode of theologizing, and that mode, as well as the errors it originated, the characteristics of the Syrian school.
I have thought it would throw light on the somewhat meagre account of it at the beginning of this Volume, if I here added a passage on the same subject, as contained in one of my subsequent works!
The Churches of Syria and Asia Minor were the most intellectual portion of early Christendom. Alexandria was
Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," pp. 281. 323.
but one metropolis in a large region, and contained the philosophy of the whole Patriarchate; but Syria abounded in wealthy and luxurious cities, the creation of the Seleucidæ, where the arts and the schools of Greece had full opportunities of cultivation. For a time too,-for the first two hundred years, as some think,-Alexandria was the only See as well as the only School of Egypt; while Syria was divided into small dioceses, each of which had at first an authority of its own, and which, even after the growth of the Patriarchal power, received their respective bishops, not from the See of Antioch, but from their own metropolitan. In Syria too the schools were private, a circumstance which would tend both to diversity in religious opinion, and incaution in the expression of it; but the sole catechetical school of Egypt was the organ of the Church, and its Bishop could banish Origen for speculations which developed and ripened with impunity in Syria.
But the immediate source of that fertility in heresy, which is the unhappy distinction of the Syrian Church, was its celebrated Exegetical School. The history of that school is summed up in the broad characteristic fact, on the one hand that it devoted itself to the literal and critical interpretation of Scripture, and on the other that it gave rise first to the Arian and then to the Nestorian heresy. In all ages of the Church, her teachers have shown a disinclination to confine themselves to the mere literal interpretation of Scripture. Her most subtle and powerful method of proof, whether in ancient or modern times, is the mystical sense, which is so frequently used in doctrinal controversy as on many occasions to supersede any other. In the early centuries we find this method of interpretation to be the very ground for receiving
eveale the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Whether we betake ourselves to the Ante-nicene writers or the Nicene, certain texts will meet us, which do not obviously refer to that doctrine, yet are put forward as palmary proofs of it. On the other hand, if evidence be wanted of the connexion of heterodoxy and biblical criticism in that age, it is found in
the fact that, not long after their contemporaneous appearance in Syria, they are found combined in the person of Theodore of Heraclea, so called from the place both of his birth and his bishoprick, an able commentator and an active enemy of St. Athanasius, though a Thracian unconnected except by sympathy with the Patriarchate of Antioch. The case had been the same in a still earlier age ;—the Jews clung to the literal sense of the Old Testament and rejected the Gospel ; the Christian Apologists proved its divinity by means of the allegorical. The formal connexion of this mode of interpretation with Christian theology is noticed by Porphyry, who speaks of Origen and others as borrowing it from heathen philosophy, both in explanation of the Old Testament and in defence of their own doctrine. It may almost be laid down as an historical fact that the mystical interpretation and orthodoxy will stand or fall together.
This is clearly seen, as regards the primitive theology, by a recent writer, in the course of a Dissertation upon St. Ephrem. After observing that Theodore of Heraclea, Eusebius, and Diodorus gave a systematic opposition to the mystical interpretation, which had a sort of sanction from Antiquity and the orthodox Church, he proceeds; “Ephrem is not as sober in his interpretations, nor could he be, since he was a zealous disciple of the orthodox faith. For all those who are most eminent in such sobriety were as far as possible removed from the faith of the Councils. On the other hand, all who retained the faith of the Church never entirely dispensed with the spiritual sense of the Scriptures. For the Councils watched over the orthodox faith ; nor was it safe in those ages, as we learn especially from the instance of Theodore of Mopsuestia, to desert the spiritual for an exclusive cultivation of the literal method. Moreover, the allegorical interpretation, even when the literal sense was not injured, was also preserved; because in those times, when both heretics and Jews in controversy were stubborn in their objections to Christian doctrine, maintaining that the Messiah was yet to come, or denying the abrogation of the Sabbath and ceremonial law, or ridiculing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and especially that of Christ's Divine Nature, under such circumstances ecclesiastical writers found it to their purpose, in answer to such exceptions, violently to refer every part of Scripture by allegory to Christ and His Church ?."
The School of Antioch appears to have risen in the middle of the third century; but there is no evidence to determine whether it was a local institution, or, as is more probable, a discipline or method characteristic of the Syrian Church. Dorotheus is one of its earliest teachers; he is known as a Hebrew scholar, as well as a commentator on the sacred text, and he was the master of Eusebius of Cæsarea. Lucian, the friend of the notorious Paul of Samosata, and for three successive Episcopates after him a seceder from the Church, though afterwards a martyr in it, was the editor of a new edition of the Septuagint, and master of the chief original teachers of Arianism. Eusebius of Cæsarea, Asterius called the Sophist, and Eusebius of Emesa, Arians of the Nicene period, and Diodorus, a zealous opponent of Arianism, but the Master of Theodore of Mopsuestia, have all a place in the Exegetical School. St. Chrysostom and Theodoret, both Syrians, and the former the pupil of Diodorus, adopted the literal interpretation, though preserved from its abuse. But the principal doctor of the School was the master of Nestorius, that Theodore, who has just been mentioned, and who with his writings, and with the writings of Theodoret against St. Cyril, and the letter written by Ibas of Edessa to Maris, was condemned by the fifth Ecumenical Council. Ibas translated into Syriac, and Maris into Persian, the books of Theodore and Diodorus ; and in so doing they became the immediate instruments of the formation of the great Nestorian school and Church in farther Asia.
As many as ten thousand tracts of Theodore are said in this way to have been introduced to the knowledge of the Christians of Mesopotamia, Adiabene, Babylonia, and the
2 Lengerke, de Ephr. S. pp. 78-80. 3 Asseman. t. 3, p. 30, p. lxviii., &c.