Page images


Views of Philo on the Logos.


could be only the 2óros vidios, (comp. Fragm. in Euseb. Praep. Evang. vii. 13). Consequently, he must be a Christ like that of the Docetae. He entertains no desire after a new theophany of the Logos. So little has he of a metaphysical union of cosmical opposites, of God and the world, that man, most specially to be considered as the point of union, who is pervaded by extremes so far as the divine Logos and vλŋ are united in him, in two respects still does not truly represent this unity. To the actual man God is foreign. Philo's idea of God is at an infinite remove from acknowledging that the being man, or becoming man, is a thing that has its determination in God himself. Still man remains so foreign to the other extreme, to the van, that he has a reality without this, for so Philo looks upon the archetypal man, the perfected one. Both extremes, therefore, God and vn, lie out of man, absolutely limit his freedom and his knowledge, and they remain as absolute a secret to him as the irresistible power of gravity. They stand, however, over against each other as unreconciled; and as their dualism, reflected in the consciousness of man, must occasion the deepest unhappiness, so he sets even over God himself, (who has not perfect power over matter, although he might have), an obscure fate, deprives the idea of God of its monotheistic absoluteness, and degrades it into what is Pagan.

Philo, who had drank in the Hellenic idea of beauty and wisdom, knows how to cover over these contradictions, and to give to scientific, moral, and religious lack of trust-ground, the colors of cheerfulness and beauty. But far from that beauty of Grecian life which is of natural growth, he renders artificial his harmony. This appears to him something more elevated, namely a union of heathen and Jewish beauty, which before stood as a problem in the world's history; and one must confess, that in his system the human mind has made the attempt, to complete the union of religions antecedent to Christianity. To the newly-born Christianity, his effort stands forth as a rival. But still, blinding for superficial consideration as the likeness of many of his ideas and expressions to those of Christianity are, the principles of the two are fundamentally different, and what sounds as like something Christian, has, in the connection of the whole, a meaning altogether different. Like Christianity, he lets the world solemnize a perpetual conciliation through the Logos. But what only the deed of divine condescension could accomplish, and what pious longing was entitled to hope for as a divine deed, that he imagines to have already happened, yea, as eternally happening; and thus he treads the way of opposition to Christianity. His system then approaches the cradle of Christianity only as a spectral counterpart, and appears, like the undefined dissolving Fata morgana, on the horizon where Christianity is about to arise.

With all this I would not deny, that this system may have borne some fruits for Christianity in its development. That however, we may say, is a service done by all the opponents of Christianity, even by its antipodes. But to be in unison with Christianity, is forbidden by his system as historically developed; and still more is Christianity forbidden to agree with him. Philo's spirit, and without doubt a large multitude also of his contemporaries, labored philosophically on the same problems, which, as matters of fact, the person of Christ, and from this the church, has historically solved and is solving. Since also Christian fact, because it is the ideal of religion realized, will become an object of knowledge, which must reproduce the same ideally as to all its constituent parts, so was the inclination to this without doubt the earlier set free, by the fact that Christianity entered the world pregnant with questions and ideas which were related to it. When reflection began to set the Christian idea in a relation with the sphere of reason, it came into close contact with those ante-Christian essays and ideas, and permitted itself, as we shall see, not unfrequently to be drawn from its own proper path. But the Christian principle, by which those questions were essentially modified in consequence of Christianity as a fact, not only became self-collected, but engaged in that connection with philosophy, in order, at its own time, to take the leading thread into its own hands, and to introduce a new era for philosophy. Of the operation of the Philonic influence on the Christian world, the Alexandrine Gnosticism is the most remarkable example, although by no means, as Justin and the Alexandrine fathers show, the only monument.

It follows from what has been said, that the idea of an incarnate God cannot, with any certainty, be derived from Hebraism. This cannot be done, because it lies not, even remotely, in that development of the idea of God which is made in the Old Testament, that the only God, Jehovah, so yields himself up to that which is finite, as to become man in time; or that he so mingles with the daily concerns of life, and exposes himself to the changes of human development. Sooner than endeavor to unite this with ancient Hebraism, one would connect the Christian idea with Judaism. But here, the two great parties of which we have any accurate knowledge, the Alexandrine and that of Palestine, have, as has been shown, no idea of God's becoming man. One might appeal to that manifold mixture of heathen and Jewish ideas of religion, which is found in secret doctrines, or in the obscure views of several small parties, near the Christian era. But these contain, in part, wonderful and fantastic things; as e. g. the doctrine respecting Adam, or the archetypal man. One side of this mystical doctrine is that, according to which is understood by him the original man-woman;


Philo's Logos not that of the New Testament.


from which, by a separation of the sexes, an emanation commences; ideas which plainly come from natural religion, and are altogether abhorrent from the whole character of Christianity. The other turn given to this doctrine is, that under Adam is to be understood an exalted being, created in God's image, whether we call it Aeon or archangel. This same Adam runs through a whole series of incorporations. It appeared as Adam, as Enoch, as Noah, etc.; and at last, it appeared in the Messiah.

That the Christian idea of God-man cannot be explained from this, that in the incarnate archangel God did not appear in humanity, need hardly be mentioned. Only the Christ of Arius can be developed from this; who is no Christ because he leaves God in the back-ground. Pantheistic emanation does not better the thing, but makes it worse; for with a multiplicity of incorporations every apparent assumption of humanity is lowered down to a mere semblance. However much among all these mystics, the truly divine Being is the far-distant, secluded original essence, in like measure his nature contradicts the idea of his becoming man, (not man according to the views of the Docetae, but) man in earnest and truly so. This is shown by the gradations of beings in various incorporations of the same exalted Being, which they regarded as the apparent mediator between the truly divine Being and mankind.

A third turn of this doctrine is this, viz. that out of the archetypal Adam Qadmon arises a man-woman, which is divided into two sexes, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Against this opinion, the grounds are united which have been given in respect to the two former cases; between which it is oscillating and undetermined. But enough respecting these confused and fantastic representations. Whether they originated before the Christian era or afterwards, they are instructive; since they show, at all events, how the mind has always felt itself forced upon the same problem, viz. to see established an essential and internal unity between God and humanity. But our unprejudiced feeling may judge, whether the Christian doctrine of God-man stands related to it as a copying thereof, or whether it is not itself much more a caricature modified by Paganism, of the archetypal image which appears as a reality in the Christian system.

Thus ends Dorner's discussion of Philo's views respecting the Logos. It is followed by a review of the teaching of the N. Test. writers respecting the human and divine nature of Christ, which is full of close and sober thought, of critical analy sis, and of acute and discretive exegesis. He then proceeds to the examination of the so-called Apostolical Fathers, and various other documents of the first century and of the former part of the second one. Last of all, in this part of his work, he

introduces the subject of the ancient Christian Hymnology, with some simple and beautiful specimens of it. At the close of this, he adds a summary view of the doctrine respecting the person of Christ, which, as it is brief and the reader will be gratified by the perusal of it, I will here subjoin.

"To these testimonies of animated feeling, [he refers to the Hymns which he had just cited], we must add the testimonies of animated action, and voluntary martyrdom for the sake of the Christian faith, which are exhibited in their purest form in the two first centuries. We must consider, that martyrdom was regarded as a higher act of service to God, as a baptism of blood; also that denial of Christ and apostasy from him were looked upon not merely as falsehood and unfaithfulness in respect to a man, and to the memory of him which should be held sacred, but as trifling with eternal salvation and communion with God, and therefore a deadly sin, from which one could hardly be recovered. All this considered, the period until after the middle of the second century deserves not generally the name merely of a testifying period of the church, but of a church more definitely testifying THE TRUE Godhead and TRUE HUMANITY of Christ. This is true, whether we look at the works then written, or to the liturgical elements of divine service, or to the basis of arranging their feasts, or to the beginnings of Christian art and of customs which are characteristic. Here the Eastern and Western churches are one. Essentially one belief, which is ours and that of the apostles, do the systems of the early church speak, that are entirely independent of each other; for one soul animates them, which is the spirit of Christ. And this free internal concord of the most diverse regions, is a conclusive and most striking proof of the unity of the general view in respect to belief in Christ. It should also be regarded as indicative of the existence of a new creative principle in the church, through belief in the Son of God. The church of the epoch in question has received and preserved not only what it derived from the apostles and their immediate successors, and what was communicated to it through the custom, early introduced, of publicly reading the apostolic writings and especially the Gospels in constant succession, but it has also added to this sum the interest that has accrued by means of the treasures committed to its care, (pp. 294 seq. edit. 2.Vol. I.).


The Syriac Words for Baptism.




By James Murdock, D. D., New-Haven, Conn.

WITH what propriety and for what reasons did the early Syrian Christians designate Baptism, uniformly and exclusively, by the verb and its derivatives, words which convey no idea whatever of the form of the Baptismal act, or of its physical effects? Statement of the facts in the case:


This Syriac use of the verb and its derivatives can be traced back to the ancient Peschito Version of the New Testament. version was probably made in the very next age after the apostles, by apostolic men, and in a language almost identical with the vernacular tongue of Jesus Christ and his disciples. And it may be supposed that the apostles themselves, and all the first preachers of the gospel among the Syrians, adopted this phraseology; and of course, that the translators of the Peschito had apostolic authority for their mode of designating baptism.

The .ܠܡܕ the Ininitive of

On looking into this version we find, that it uniformly renders the Greek verb ẞazziw by the Syriac verb, in all the 73 places in which βαπτίζω occurs. The Greek noun Bánzioμa occurs in the New Testament 17 times, and in 16 of them it is rendered by Aps, and once by, the Infinitive of. The Greek noun ẞantioμòs occurs 4 times, and is always rendered by 1. And Barriors, the appellative of John the Precursor, occurs 13 times, and is always rendered by . Thus, wherever the Greek uses ẞanzisw or any derivative from it, the Peschito Version uses or some derivative from it.

And the Peschito New Testament never uses the verb or any derivative from it, with reference to anything besides baptism; with this one exception, that the Greek word orúλos, a pillar, in all the 4 places in which it occurs in the New Testament, is rendered by

And therefore the only ideas which the Peschito New .ܠܡܘܕܐ

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »