Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/709

This page needs to be proofread.
635

APOSTOLIC


635


APOSTOLIC


man Church, the first among the Apostolic Churclies (see also c. xxii).

II. The AjMUxjitic Argument of Irenaux and TerUil- lian. — The oldest Christian literature shows with great evidence that the first controversies amonc Christians were always decided by texts of the Old Testament, sayings of Our Lord, and the authority of the Ai)ostles. This last ground was very impor- tant in the c;ise of new questions on which there existed no explicit teaching of Christ. Tlierefore, it is easy to understand that the Apostolic Chvirches could not he lost siglit of in such controversies, and it may beef interest to point out the apologetic argu- ment of Irena'us and Tertullian, which is founded on the preservation of the Apostolic doctrine in the va- rious Apostolic Churclies. Irenieiis, having exposed, In the first two books of his great work, " Against the Heresies", the doctrines of the various Gnostic sects, and having shown their intrinsic absurdity, proceeds in the tliird Ijook to refute them by means of theological arguments, especially Scriptural ones. But before dealing with biblical proofs, lie attempts the other method of convincing heretics, namely, that which consists in appealing to the Catliolic tradition

E reserved in the churches through the succession of ishops. The gist of liis reasoning is: The churches being too numerous, it may be suHicient to examine into the doctrine of one, viz., of the Roman Church, or, at lea.st, of some of the oldest churches (III. ii, iii). He says: "Even if there is a controversy about a little question, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches in which the Apostles dwelt, and take from them the safe and trustworthy doc- trine?" (HI, iv, 1). Tertullian, with his character- istic energy, takes up the same argument in his fa- mous work "On Prescription Against Heretics". His general process of reasoning runs thus: Christ chose twelve Apostles to whom he communicated His doctrine. The Apostles preached this doctrine to the churclies they founded, and thence the same doctrine came to the more recent churches. Neither did the Apostles corrupt Christ's doctrine, nor have the Apostolic Churches corruptetl the preaching of the Apostles. Heresy is always posterior and, there- fore, erroneous. " We have to show, " he says (c. x.\i), "whether our doctrine ... is derived from Apos- tolic teaching, and whether, therefore, other doc- trines have their origin in a lie. We are in com- munion with the .\postolic Churches, because we have the same doctrine; that is the testimony of the truth (Coinmunicamus cum Ecclesiis ajxistolicis, quod nulla doctrina di versa; hoc est testimonium veri- tatis). In Tertulhan's writings against Marcion (IV, v) we find an application of this apologetic argu- ment. Having developed the historical argunier.t founded on the preservation, as a matter of fact, of the Apostolic doctrine in the chief Apostolic Churches, we must add that, besides it, such writers as Irenjcus and others used often also a dogmatic argument founded on the necessary preservation of Christian truth in the whole Church and in the Roman Church in particular. The two arguments are to be care- fully distinguished.

III. Ancient Statements Concerning Relics of the Apostles in Apostolic Churches. — The tomb of the Apostle, founder of the Church, was religiously ven- erated in .some of the Apostolic Churches, ius, e, g,. the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome, of St. John at Ephesus. A statement of Tertulhan's has given rise to some curious questions concerning relics of Apostles preserved in the .Vpostolic (Churches. "Travel" he writes in " De Prirscriptionibus" (c. xxxvi), "to the Apostolic Churches in which the seats of the Apostles still occupy their places [a;»«/ quas iit- soe adhuc cathedra ajmstolornm suis locis pr(tsident\. in which their authentic Epistles are still read, .sounding their voice and representing their face [apud (|uas


ipsa! authenticaj litterae eorum recitantur, sonantes vo- cem et repne.sentantes faciem uniuscujusque.] " The words "authentic epistles" might denote merely the epistles in the original text — the Greek (cf. TertuU. De Monogomia, c. xi); but here it Ls not the case, because in Tertulhan's time the Greek text of the canonical book.s wa.s still read nearly everywhere, and not in the Apostolic Churches only. We must take the emsloloe aullunticos to mean the autograplis of some Epistles of the Apostles. Indeed in later times we hear of recovered autographs of Apostolic writings in the controversies about tne Apostolic ori- gin of some Churches or about claims for metro- politan dignity. So the autograph of the Gospel of St. Matthew was said to have been found in Cyprus. (See E. Nestle, Einfiihrung in das griechische Neue Testament, Gottingen, 1899, 29, 30.) If the authvn- ticx epistolw are the Aiiostolic autograplis, the apo.s- tolic seats (ipsa adhuc cathedroe apostolorum) mean the seats in which the Apostles preached, and the expression is not metaphorical. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., VII, 19) relates that in his time the seat of St. James was as yet extant in Jerusalem. On old pictures of Apostles cf. Eusebius, ibid., VII, 18. Whether 6r not even the oldest of these statements are historically true remains still a mooted question. We regard it as useless to record what may be found on these topics in the vast amount of matter that makes up the apocryplial Acts of the Apostles and other legendary documents.

ScHEEBEN, in Kirchentei.; Winckler, Der Tradiiionn- beffriff des U rchrinlenlhuma but Tertullian (Munich, 1897); Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christenthums m den ersten drei J ahrhunderten {LeipnE, 1902); Duchesne, Hisloire ancienne de VifiHse (Pari-s, 1900), I. See Apos- tolic See; Apostles; and special articles under the names of the several Apostles.

HoNonf; Coppieteks.

Apostolic Church-Ordinance, a third-century pseudo-Apostolic collection of moral and hierarchical rules and instructions, compiled in the main from ancient Christian sources, first published in Ethiopic by Ludolf (with Latin translation) in the "Com- mentarius" to his "Historia Ethiopica" (Frankfort, 1091). It served as a law-code for the Eg^'ptian, Ethiopian, and Arabian churches, and rivalled in authority and esteem the Didache, under which name it sometimes went. Though of undoubted Greek origin, these canons are preserved largely in Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Syriac versions. The Apostolic Church-Ordinance was first iiublished in Greek by Prof. Biekell of Marburg (18-13) from a twelfth-century Greek manuscript discovered by him at Vienna (Geschiclite des Kirchenrechts, Gics.sen, 1813, I, 107-13'2). He also gave the code the name "Apostolische Kirchenordnung" by which it is gen- erally known, though in English it is usually called as above, sometimes Apostolic Church-Order, Apos- tolic Church-Directory, etc. The document, after a short introduction (i-iii) inspired by the "Letter of Barnaba-s ", is divided into two parts, the first of which (iv-xiv) is an evident adaptation of the first six chapters of the Didache, the moral precepts of which are attributed severally to the Apostles, each of whom, introduced by the formula "Jolin saj-s ", "Peter says ", etc., is represented as framing one or more of the ordinances. The second part (xv-xxx) treats in similar manner of the qualifica- tions for ordination or for the duties of different officers in the Church. The work was compiled in Egj'pt, or po.ssibly in Syria, in the third, or, at the latest, in the early part of the fourth, centurj-. Kiink assigns its compilation to the first half of the third century; Harnack to about the year 300. Who the compiler was cannot be conjectured, nor can it be determined what part he had in framing canons I.*! to:{0. Duchesne considers them largely the com- piler's own work; Kuiik thinks he drew upon at least