Parable of the Young Rich Man and Christ: the use in the early Christian tradition

Egor Sergeevich Leontiev research assistant, Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of History (7/9 Universitetskaya emb., Saint Petersburg, Russia, 199034)
st077180@student.spbu.ru

Leontiev E. S. Parable of the Young Rich Man and Christ: the use in the early Christian tradition, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 100–111.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2023-12-100-111

Language: Russian

The article examines the gospel parable about the rich young man and Christ. Special attention is paid to how the parable is presented in the gospel texts themselves (from Matthew, Mark and Luke) — what are the common places and what are the differences: how is the interlocutor of Christ articulated, what should he do to get into the Kingdom of Heaven, wealth prevents this or not? The differences in interpretations of this story seem to have determined further lines of discussion about financial status of members of Christian communities, about acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The text analyzes how the apologists of the 1–3rd centuries AD (for example, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, etc.) refer to this material. Special attention is paid to how the various contexts in which the apologists existed determined their interpretation, their goals and objectives. We also tried to highlight the intellectual traditions that have developed around the understanding of wealth/poverty, to trace the ideological continuity within them and to show their relationship with other issues of early Christian thought (for example, about the nature of the soul).

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Key words: parable of the young rich man, early Christianity, poverty, wealth, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-leontiev-2023/

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«Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev phd in history, associate professor, Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of History (7/9 Universitetskaya nab., Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia)
a.panteleev@spbu.ru

Panteleev A. V. «Wealth is like a Snake»: Money, Martyrdom, Apostasy and Struggle for Power in Early Christian Tradition (1st – early 4th century), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 180–201.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-174-193

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the consideration of questions about how Church writers of the 1st – beginning of the 4th century perceived wealthy Christians, place of the rich Christians in the life of the community, and what dangers were associated with the possession of wealth. Main sources for analysis are the writings of the New Testament, the «Shepherd» of Hermas, the works of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian and Eusebius of Caesarea. The accusation of rich Christians of a tendency to apostasy, both during persecution and tranquility, is studied. For all these authors, the possession of wealth is a problem. In peace time, wealth distracts from the salvation of the soul and weakens faith, creating the illusion of well-being and security, and forces you to communicate with pagans beyond measure. In times of persecution, wealth tempts you to defect. This attitude is based on their personal practical experience. But apostasy was not the only cause of concern for church hierarchs and intellectuals. The rich Christians could disrupt the normal course of community life, demand special treatment for themselves because of the benefits they provided. There was also a second reason for dissatisfaction with the rich within the community — insubordination to the church authorities. If a rich layman was not satisfied with his position, he could strive for leadership by taking on the role of a priest, or move to a heretical group where it was easier to achieve the desired position. Finally, he could simply loosen his ties with the church without severing them completely.

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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, wealth, poverty, persecution, apostasy

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-panteleev-2023/

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Spiritual and Literary Precursors of Christian Writers in Roman North Africa: Urban Specifics

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev phd in history, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (R. Moika nab., 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Spiritual and Literary Precursors of Christian Writers in Roman North Africa: Urban Specifics, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 202–215.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2023-12-202-215

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Greco-Roman philosophical and literary tradition, which is based on the largest Christian writers of Roman North Africa: Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage and Arnobius as well as the educational system of Carthage in the 3rd century. Based on the material studied, it is concluded that, firstly, it is appropriate to speak not only about the broad regional specifics along the Greek EastLatin West line, but also about the features of the urban environment. It can be noted that in the study of the education system in the Roman Empire, Carthage is traditionally in the shadows, but the city had a strong rhetorical school that trained personnel for the entire region. Secondly, in the works of African Christian writers there is a certain ideological unity, which can be described as a commitment to a materialistic picture of the world, close to the philosophy of stoicism, which was based, it seems, on the unity of the educational space to which Christian authors belonged. At the same time, they themselves differ in origin and social status, their characters and literary temperament are different, their attitude to Greco-Roman philosophy is different as well as their interest in it. At the same time, the author of the article believes that the circle of their spiritual and literary predecessors generally coincides. These are the classics of Roman rhetoric — Varro, Cicero, Quintilian, and others, which to a certain extent leveled these differences. The influence of classical rhetoric can also be found in Christian criticism of traditional Roman paganism, which was a distinctive feature not only of church preaching, but also of individual philosophical schools.

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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, Carthage, education

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-kargaltsev-2023/

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Epistle of Bishop John of Antioch to Firmus, Bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia. Translation and commentary

Nikolay Andreevich Vinogradov phd student, junior researcher, department of historical and theoretical studies, (Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Leninsky Prospekt, 32А, 119334)
nicolayvin@gmail.com

Vinogradov N. A. Epistle of Bishop John of Antioch to Firmus, Bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia. Translation and commentary, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2023, vol. 12, pp. 278–301.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2023-12-278-301

Language: Russian

The article examines the letter of John of Antioch to Firmus of Caesarea, in which the bishop of Antioch urges Firmus to take the side of the «Easterners» on the eve of the Council of Ephesus in 431. The letter was written in the midst of the intra-church conflict of the 5th century (so-called «Christological dispute»), which was based on the differences in views on the nature of Christ in the theological schools of the East. The aggravation of the conflict between the Alexandrian and Constantinople cathedrae in the early fifth century led to the formation of church-political «parties» holding opposing views. This is the first translation of the letter from Latin into Russian. It is accompanied by a historical and philological commentary that reveals the details of the formation of such «parties» and the peculiarities of the relationship between bishops with different points of view on Christology.

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Key words: late Antiquity, Early Christianity, Late Antique Epistolography, Council of Ephesus, Christological dispute, Episcopate, Late Roman Empire

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-vinogradov-2023/

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Slaves in early Christian communities basing on the North African hagiography

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev PhD in History, senior lecturer, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 48/20a, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186)
akargaltsev@herzen.spb.ru

Kargaltsev A. V. Slaves in early Christian communities basing on the North African hagiography, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 11, pp. 150–159.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-150-159

Language: Russian

The article is devoted to the analysis of the phenomenon of slavery in the writings of early Christian authors. The main attention is paid to hagiographic monuments, where the well-known maxim of the Apostle Paul that «there is neither slave nor free» (Gal. 3:28) is analyzed. It is seen not only in the traditional background of opposing the biblical ideal of social equality and the harsh truth of the life of ancient society, where slavery was the basis of economic life, but also in the light of the position of believers on the eve of suffering for the faith. This ideal seemed to find a comprehensive embodiment. It is noted that it was in the Church of North Africa, as Tertullian testifies, that the problem of slavery was no longer perceived as exclusively social and was leveled by the Christian faith. Slavery was condemned as such, since Christians themselves were servants of God, and in the pagan world it was no worse than all other social vices. The «Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity» mentions the slaves of Felicity and Revocat, but the content of the monument only emphasizes that their fate is one with their masters. In other hagiographic monuments of Roman Africa of the 3rd c. the social status of Christian heroes is completely ignored, which only emphasizes that only on the eve of martyrdom, being in prison, filled with sincere and deep faith, they could achieve the social ideal of the the Apostle Paul. Thus, the problem of the duality of social life, which obviously burdened the believers, is removed, which, among other things, explains both the popularity of martyrdom and Tertullian’s opinion that the real Church is the Church of martyrs.

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Key words: earlier Christianity, hagiography, slavery, Roman Empire, North Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/en/en-kargaltsev-2022/

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The martydom of Potamiaena and Basilides (Eus. HE, VI, 5)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev, PhD in history, assistant professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Mendeleevskaya linia, dom 5, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034)
a.panteleev@spbu.ru
alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev A. D. The martydom of Potamiaena and Basilides (Eus. HE, VI, 5) , Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2012, vol. 1, pp. 100–115.

DOI: 10.24411/2308-0698-2012-00002

Language: Russian

The story about young woman Potamiaena, who lived in Alexandria, and the warrior Basilides was told by Eusebius of Caesarea in Church History (6, 5) and Palladius in Lausiac History (3). There’re some differences between these versions in the dating and circumstances, and Palladius said nothing about Basilides. Despite Palladius’ indication of the IV century, we think that both authors reported on the same Alexandrian martyr of the beginning of the 3rd century. These events could occur between 206 and 210; this is indicated by the name of the prefect of Egypt. The cruel execution of Potamiaena — her body was burned with boiling tar — although not characteristic for early martyrdoms, but it is not impossible. Neither Potamiaena nor Basilides were directly connected with Origen, but Eusebius included this story in his narrative about the youth of Alexandrian theologian. Particular attention was paid to the history of Basilides’ conversion and its comparison with a similar story in the Martyrdom of Perpetua. The history of Basilides’ conversion under the influence of a dream, when Potamiaena appeared to him, looks quite organic not only for the Christian, but also for the pagan tradition of that time. The voluntary confession of Christianity by Basilides wasn’t indicate of Montanism. This story is the first significant testimony of the martyrs of Alexandria and one of the few authentic narratives of the persecution of Christians before the start of the persecution of Decius.

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Key words: early Christianity, hagiography, persecutions, Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea

Permanent link: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-a-d-2012-en/

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«Some of the heresies have a great many martyrs»: Martyrdom in the non-orthodox Christianity (II–III cent.)

Panteleev Alexey Dmitrievich, PhD, assistant professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Saint-Petersburg, Russia)

a.panteleev@spbu.ru

alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev A. D. «Some of the heresies have a great many martyrs»: Martyrdom in the non-orthodox Christianity (II–III cent.), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2014, vol. 3, pp. 234–249.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2014-00011

Language: Russian

This article is a collection of evidences of Christian authors on martyrdom among the 2–3rd century heretics. The main examined groups are Montanists (Quintus (Mart. Pol. 3), Themiso (Eus. HE V, 18, 5), Alexander (Eus. HE V, 18, 6), Eutychian (Mart. Pionii, 11, 2)), Marcionites (Metrodorus (Mart. Pionii, 21, 5–6; Eus. IV, 15, 46), Asclepius (Eus. Mart. Pal. 10, 3)), Monarchians (Praxeas (Tert. Adv. Prax. 1)) and the Gnostics. The first three groups recognized the importance of martyrdom; Gnostics, on the contrary, believed that it wasn’t necessary. Martyrdom played a important role in intra-Church controversy: the presence of the martyrs was to reliably evidence of a true doctrine. Orthodox historical and polemical tradition (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and others) preserved only a few names of martyrs among heretics and almost all references to them are provided with notes and comments aimed to humble their claim to title of martyr or confessor. It can be assumed that in reality their number was greater, and in the polemical literature belonging to heretical groups Church martyrs were similarly criticized. However, according to the author, appearance of Marcionites’ presbyter Metrodorus in “Martyrdom of Pionius” wasn’t due to internal church controversy, but disputes with the Jews. Jews tried to entice away fallen Christians, and this fact became reason for big and angry Pionius’ speech. Marcionites were in the same position, in addition, their doctrine originally was of anti-Jewish character. The presence of a common enemy can explain reference to Metrodorus and hint at his possible salvation (Mart. Pionii 21, 6).
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Key words: early Christianity, persecutions, martyrdom, montanism, Marcion, gnosticism, polemic

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-2014-en/

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Christian-Jewish Polemics in the 2nd–3rd centuries and Necromancy (Mart. Pionii 13–14)

Aleksey Dmitrievich Panteleev, PhD in history, assistant professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Mendeleevskaya linia, dom 5, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034)

a.panteleev@spbu.ru

alpant@hotmail.com

Panteleev  A. D. Christian-Jewish Polemics in the II–III centuries and Necromancy (Mart. Pionii 13–14), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2015, vol. 4, pp. 158–197.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2015-00009

Language: Russian

The article deals with the passage of the “Martyrdom of Pionios the Presbyter and his com-panions” (BHG 1546), where the martyr called Christians who came to him in prison to remain faithful to Christ and not to succumb to the Jews seeking to convert them to their religion. He paid special attention to claim of the Jews that they were able to raise Christ by means of necromancy, and He appeared before them like a common criminal or self-murderer (biothanes). This is compared with a story about raising of Samuel by the witch of Endor for king Saul (1 Sam. 28). The belief in necromancy in the Ancient East and in the Ancient World provided the basis for the credibility of the story both for the Jews and the Christians, but it could be interpreted in different ways. This story attracted attention of Justin, Tertullian, Origenes, Zeno of Verona, st. Ambrose, Augustin, Eustathius of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Evagrius Ponticus and others. Some authors thought, that it was true and it was Samuel himself, the second group decided that it was Samuel, but he raised by the will of the God, and the third group claimed that it was daemon of hell. Pionios linked these two stories for controversy with the Jewish propaganda and preventing apostasy from Christianity. It was necessary both for those who resisted in the time of persecution and for apostates. Pionios said that forced apostasy was the venial sin, but voluntary avoidance of true faith is deadly sin.
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Key words: Early Christianity, persecutions, martyrdom, necromancy, Martyrdom of Pionios

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/panteleev-2015-en/

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Roman rite of devotio and Early Christian martyrdom: a comparative study

Andrey Vladimirovich Vasil’ev PhD in history, The Classical Gymnasium of St. Petersburg, School N 610 (Maluy prospect Petrogradskoy storonu, dom 9, corpus 6, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 197198), Ander-Vaas@yandex.ru

Vasil’ev A. V. Roman rite of devotio and Early Christian martyrdom: a comparative study, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2015, vol. 4, pp. 116–135.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2015-00007

Language: Russian

The rite of the self-devotion of a Roman together with the enemy’s army to the infernal gods for the sake of victory occurred twice in the Roman history and both times was connected with the Decii family. The religious meaning of this rite is still discussed. Some historians consider it as one of the typical vows (votum), a sort of a promise to bring the gods one’s life instead of the victory over the enemy. Others think it was a self-consecration (consecratio) of a Roman general. The author represents some contemporary interpretations of the rite. He also marks out some details that might help to comprehend this ritual as a particular and individual one and make it impossible to attribute it to one of the known types of Roman religious rites. Besides, the paper deals with some features in the ancient authors’ descriptions of this rite that draw it together with the phenomenon of the Early Christian martyrdom, well-known from the hagiographic literature and other Christian writings of the 1st–3rd  centuries. The ideas of sacrifice and glory which is attained through the sacrifice are present in the descriptions of the both forms of the death with dignity. Both phenomena can be characterized by accompanying afflatus and the transformation of the person influenced by the forthcoming voluntary death. Aristocratic character of the devotio ritual wasn’t an obstacle for the use of its image by the Christian writers. This may prove that the Early Christian community was quite familiar with the  ancient culture. Comparing two forms of self-sacrifice the author concludes that they were characterized by the common motive of the individual choice which was usual for different forms of “noble death” in antiquity.
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Key words: Rome, religion, devotio, Early Christianity, martyrdom

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/vasilev-2015-en/

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«Сonfitentium dignitas, a desertoribus et profugis recessisse»: Novatian’s schism

Alekaey Vital’evich Kargaltsev, PhD in history, senior lecturer, Theological Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (der. Kolbino, 25a, Leningrad region, Vsevolozhsk district, Russia, 188680)

kargaltsev@gmail.com

Kargaltsev A. V. «Сonfitentium dignitas, a desertoribus et profugis recessisse»: Novatian’s schism, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2017, vol. 6, pp. 150–166.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2017-00008

Language: Russian

The Novatian schism is a unique phenomenon of the early Church, because the followers of the Roman presbyter were not condemned as heretics, and the schism itself lasted for several centuries. The split arose after the persecution of Decius (249-251) as a result of the confrontation between the moderate party led by Pope Cornelius and the devotional party of the Roman community led by Novatian on the question of repentance for the apostates. The schism quickly moved beyond Italy, and Cyprian of Carthage, Dionysius of Alexandria and the bishops of other centers of the Mediterranean joined the controversy. The author it was the struggle for a martyr and a confessor, because both the rigorists and their opponents, whose authority was undermined during the persecution, sought support from the most impeccable part of the clergy and laity in the eyes of believers. Novatian’s schism comparing the nature of its origin and its driving forces could be compared to the split of the Donatists. However, the fate of these movements was different: Notatian’s follows retained the status of moderate fighters for the purity of church discipline, while donatists entered into an open confrontation with the official church. This seems to have been caused by different status of martyrs and confessors in Africa and Italy. His administrative talent of Cyprian of Carthage and his appeal to the highest authority of the local council made it possible to discredit the local rigorists and attract the confessors to his side, while Pope Cornelius’s attempts to act from the position of the authority of the Department of St. Petra failed with the Novatians split having never been overcome in Italy.
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Key words: early Christianity, Roman Empire, Cyprian of Carthage, Novatian, Pope Cornelius, Rome, Carthage, Italy, Africa

URL: http://rcs-almanac.ru/kargaltsev-2017-en/

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