NPNF2-01 Eusebius 584
584 285 Jerome also mentions twenty-five books upon the twelve prophets (in duodecim Prophetas viginti quinque exhghsewn Origenis volumina), of which he had found a copy in the library of Caesarea, transcribed by the hand of Pamphilus (de vir. ill. 75). The catalogue of Jerome enumerates two books on Hosea, two on Joel, six on Amos, one on Jonah, two on Micah, two on Mahum, three on Habakkuk, two on Zephaniah, one on Haggai, two on Zechariah, two on Malachi; but in the preface to his commentary on Malachi, Jerome mentions three books on that prophecy. Of all these books only one fragment of the commentary on Hosea is extant, being preserved in the Philocalia, c. 8.
286 These epistles to Philip and his wife Severa are no longer extant, nor can we form an accurate idea of their contents. We are reminded of Origen’s interview with Mammaea, the mother of Alexander Severus, mentioned in chap. 21. Whether he wrote in response to a request from Philip is uncertain, but is not likely in view of the silence of Eusebius. It is possible that the favor shown by the emperor and his wife had led Origen to believe that they might be won for the faith, and there is nothing surprising in his addressing epistles to them with this idea. On Philip’s relations to Christianity, see chap. 34, note 2.
287 This collection of Origen’s epistles made by Eusebius is no longer extant. The catalogue of Jerome mentions “eleven books of letters in all; two books in defense of his works.” Only two epistles are preserved entire,—the one to Julius Africanus (see (chap. 31, note 1); the other to Gregory Thaumaturgus, written, apparently, soon after the departure of the latter from Caesarea (see (chap. 30, note 1), for Gregory was, at the time it was written, still undecided as to the profession which he should follow. In addition to these two complete epistles, there are extant a sentence from a letter to his father (quoted in chap. 2); also a fragment of an epistle to some unknown person, describing the great zeal of his friend Ambrose (see (chap. 18 note 1. The fragment is preserved by Suidas s. 5, Wrigenh"); also a fragment defending his study of heathen philosophy (quoted in chap. 19, above); and two fragments in Latin, from a letter addressed to some Alexandrian friends, complaining of the alterations made by certain persons in the reports of disputations which he had held with them (see (chap. 32, note 4. The one fragment is preserved by Jerome, in his Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 18; the other by Rufinus, in his apology for Origen). Of his epistles to Fabian and others no trace remains.
288 On Fabian, see chap. 29, note 4. We do not know when this letter to Fabian was written; but it been written in cannot have consequence of Origen’s condemnation by the Alexandrian synods called by Demetrius, for they were held in 231 or 232, and Fabian did not become bishop until 236. There must have been some later cause,—perhaps a condemnation by a later synod of Alexandria, perhaps only the prevalence of a report that Origen was heterodox, which was causing serious suspicions in Rome and elsewhere. We know that the controversies which raged so fiercely about his memory began even before his death.
289 On this Defense, see above, p. 36.
290 The exact nature of the heresy which is here described by Eusebius is somewhat difficult to determine. It is disputed whether these heretics are to be reckoned with the qnhtopsucitai (whom Jn of Damascus mentions in his de Haeres. c. 90, and to whom Augustine refers, under the name of Arabici, in his de Haeeres, c. 83), that is, those who taught the death of the soul with the body, or with the upnoyucitai, who taught that the soul slept between the death and the resurrection of the body. Redepenning, in a very thorough discussion of the matter (II. 105 sq)., concludes that the heresy to which Eusebius refers grew up under Jewish influence, which was very strong in Arabia, and that it did not teach the death (as Eusebius asserts), but only the slumber of the soul. He reckons them therefore with the second, not the first, class mentioned. But it seems to me that Redepenning is almost hypercritical in maintaining that it is impossible that these heretics can have taught that the soul died and afterward was raised again; for it is no more impossible that they should have taught it than that Eusebius and others should have supposed that they did. In fact, there does not seem to be adequate ground for correcting Eusebius’ statement, which describes heretics who must distinctly be classed with the qnhtopsucitai mentioned later by Jn of Damascus. We do not know the date at which the synod referred to in this chapter was held. We only know that it was subsequent to the one which dealt with Beryllus, and therefore it must have been toward the close of Philip’s reign).
291 The Elkesites (AEElkesaitai) were not a distinct sect, but “a school scattered among all parties of the Judaeo-Christian Church.” They are described by Hippolytus (Phil. IX. 8–12) and by Epiphanius (in chap. 19 among the Essenes, in 30 among the Ebionites, and in 53 among the Sampsaeans). We learn from Hippolytus that, in the time of Callistus or soon afterward, a certain Alcibiades, a native of Apameia in Syria, brought to Rome a book bearing the name of Elkesai (AEHlcasai), which purported to contain a revelation, made in the time of Trajan, by the Son of God and the Holy Spirit in the form of angels, and teaching the forgiveness of all sins, even the grossest, by means of belief in the doctrines of the book and baptism performed with certain peculiar rites. The controversy in regard to the forgiveness of gross sins committed after baptism was raging high at this time in Rome, and Hippolytus, who took the strict side, naturally opposed this new system of indulgence with the greatest vigor. Among other doctrines taught in the book, was the lawfulness of denying the faith in time of persecution, as told us by Origen in this chapter, and by Epiphanius in chap. 19. The book was strongly Ebionitic in its teaching, and bore striking resemblances to the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. Its exact relation to those writings has been disputed; but Uhlhorn (Homilien und Recognition des Clemens Romanus) has shown conclusively that it is older than the latter, and that it represents a type of Ebionitic Christianity less modified than the latter by the influence of Christianity. In agreement with the Ebionites, the Elkesites (as all those were called who accepted the teachings of the book, to whatever party they might belong) taught that Christ was a created being; and they also repudiated sacrifices, which compelled them to reject certain portions of the Old Testament (cf. Origen’s statement just below). They likewise refused recognition to the apostle Paul, and ordained the observance of the Jewish law; but they went beyond the Clementines in teaching the necessity of circumcision and the repetition of baptism as a means to the forgiveness of sins. The origin of the name Elkesai has also been disputed. Hippolytus says it was the name of the man who was claimed to have received the revelation, and Epiphanius calls Elkesai a false prophet; but some critics have thought them mistaken, and have supposed that Elkesai must have been the name of the book, or of the angel that gave the revelation. It is more probable, however, as Salmon concludes, that it was the name of a man whom the book represented as receiving the revelation, but that the man was only an imaginary person, and not the real founder of the school, as Epiphanius supposed. The book cannot well be put back of the beginning of the third century, when it first began to be heard of in the Catholic Church. It claimed to have been for a century in secret circulation, but the claim is quite unfounded. Eusebius speaks of the heresy as extinguished in the very beginning, and it seems, in fact, to have played no prominent part in history; and yet it apparently lingered on for a long time in the East, for we hear of a sect in Arabia, as late as the tenth century, who counted El-Chasaiach as their founder (see (Salmon’s article, p. 98). See the work of Uhlhorn already mentioned; also Ritschl’s Entstehung d. alt. Katholischen Kirche, p. 234 sq. (Ritschl holds that the Clementines are older than the book of Elkesai), and Hilgenfeld’s Nov. Test. extra Can. rec. III. 153, where the extant fragments of the book are collected. See also Salmon’s article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. II. p. 95 sq.
292 On Origen’s writings on the Psalms, see chap. 24, note 3. This fragment is the only portion of his homily on the eighty-second Psalm extant.
293 Alciabades, according to Hippolytus (see (above, note 1).
294 The apostle Paul (see (note 1).
295 Origen does not mention the baptism of the Elkesites, which is described at length by Hippolytus. It seems that both belief in the teachings of the book and baptism were necessary. It may be that in Origen’s opinion the receiving of the book itself involved the peculiar baptism which it taught, and that, therefore, he thought it unnecessary to mention the latter.
585 296 Philip was defeated and slain near Verona, on June 17, 249 by the Pannonian legions who had compelled Decius, the envoy sent by Philip to quell a mutiny among them, to accept the title of Augustus. Philip’s death made Decius emperor; and he reigned for a little over two years, when he perished in a campaign against the Goths. The cause given by Eusebius for the terrible persecution of Decius is quite incorrect. The emperor, who before his elevation was one of the most highly respected senators, seems to have been a man of noble character and of high aims. He was a thoroughgoing patriot and a staunch believer in the religion and laws of Rome. He saw the terrible state of corruption and decay into which the empire had fallen; and he made up his mind that it could be arrested only by restoring the ancient Roman customs, and by strengthening the ancient religion. He therefore revived the old censorship, hoping that the moral and social habits of the people might be improved under its influence; and he endeavored to exterminate the Christians, believing that thus the ancient purity of the state religion might be restored. It was no low motive of personal revenge or of caprice which prompted the persecution. We must recognize the fact that Decius was one of the best and noblest of the Roman emperors, and that he persecuted as a patriot and a believer in the religion of his fathers. He was the first one that aimed at the complete extermination of the Christians. He went systematically to work to put the religion out of existence; and the persecution was consequently both universal and of terrible severity, far more terrible than any that had preceded it. The edicts published by Decius early in. the year 250 are no longer extant; but we can gather from the notices, especially of Cyprian and Dionysius, that the effort was first made to induce Christians throughout the empire to deny their faith and return to the religion of the state, and only when large numbers of them remained obstinate did the persecution itself begin.
297 On Fabianus, bishop of Rome, see chap. 29, note 4.
298 After the martyrdom of Fabianus the church of Rome was without a bishop for about fourteen months. The bishopric of that church was naturally under Decius a place of the greatest danger. Cornelius became bishop in 251, probably in March, while Decius was away from the city. After the emperor’s death, which took place in the following winter, Gallus renewed the persecution, and Cornelius with a large part of the church fled to Cività Vecchia, where he died in the summer of 253, according to Lipsius (the Liberian catalogue says 252, which is the commonly accepted date, but is clearly incorrect, as Lipsius has shown). Both versions of the Chron. are greatly confused at this point, and their statements are very faulty (Jerome’s version assigning a reign of only fifteen months to Decius and two years and four months to Gallus). Eusebius, in Bk. VII. chap. 2, says that Cornelius held office “about three years,” which is reasonably accurate, for he was actually bishop nearly two years and a half. It was during the episcopate of Cornelius that the Novatian schism took place (see (chap. 43). Eight epistles from Cyprian to Cornelius are extant, and two from Cornelius to Cyprian. In chap. 43 Eusebius makes extended quotations from an epistle written by Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch, and mentions still others which are not preserved. In chap. 46 he refers to one against Novatian addressed to Dionysius of Alexandria, which is likewise lost.
299 On Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, see chap. 8, note 6).
300 The time of Mazabanes’ accession is fixed approximately by the fact that Alexander’s death took place in the persecution of Decius. His death is put by Eusebius (Bk. VII. chap. 14) in the reign of Gallienus (260–268), and with this the notice in the Chron. agrees, which assigns it to the year 265. Since his successor, Hymenaeus, was present at the council of Antioch, in which the case of Paul of Samosata was considered (see (below, Bk. VII. chaps. 29 and 30), it will not do to put Mazabanes’ death later than 265.
301 On Babylas, see chap. 29, note 8.
302 Eusebius gives the name of this bishop as Babio", Jerome as Fabianus, and Syncellus as ylabiano". The time of his accession is fixed by the death of Babylas in the persecution of Decius. He was bishop of Antioch while Cornelius was bishop of Rome, as we learn from the latter’s epistle to him, quoted in chap. 43, below. From an epistle written by Dionysius of Alexandria to Cornelius of Rome (referred to in chap. 46), we learn that Fabius died while the latter was still bishop, i.e. before the summer of 253 (see (note 3, above). The Chron. pasch. assigns three years to the episcopate of Fabius; and though we cannot place much reliance upon the figure, yet it leads us to think that he must have been bishop for some time,—at least more than a year,—and so we are inclined to put his death as late as possible. The Chron. puts the accession of his Successor Demetrianus in the year 254, which is too late, at least for the death of Fabius. We may conclude that the latter died probably in the year 253, or not long before. Harnack decides for the time between the fall of 252 and the spring of 253. Fabius, as we learn from the epistles addressed to him by Cornelius and Dionysius (see (chaps. 43 and 44), was inclined to indorse Novarian and the rigoristid discipline favored by him. We know nothing more of the life or character of Fabius.
303 tou" poda" upo tessara tou kolasthriou xulou parathqei" diasthmata. Otto, in his edition of Justin’s Apology (Corp. Apol. Christ. 1P 204), says: xulon erat truncus foramina habens, quibus pedes captivorum immitebantur, ut securius in carcere servarentur aut tormentis vexarentur (“a xulon was a block, with holes in which the feet of captives were put, in order that they might be kept more securely in prison, or might be afflicted with tortures”). The farther apart the feet were stretched, the greater of course was the torture. Four spaces seems to have been the outside limit. Compare Bk. VIII. chap. 10, §8.
304 A tradition arose in later centuries that Origen died in the persecution of Decius (see (Photius, Cod. 118); but this is certainly an error, for Eusebius cannot have been mistaken when he cites Origen’s own letters as describing his sufferings during the persecution. e epistles referred to here are no longer extant. On Origen’s epistles in general, see chap. 36, note 7.
305 Dionysius the Great (Eusebius in the preface to Bk. VII. calls him o mega" AEAlexandrewn episkopo") was born toward the close of the second century (he was an aged man, between 260 and 265, as we learn from Bk. VII. chap 27), studied under Origen, and succeeded Heraclas as principal of the catechetical school in Alexandria (see (above, chap. 29) in the year 231 or 231 (see (chap. 3, note 2). In the third year of Philip’s reign (246–247) he succeeded Heraclas as bishop of Alexandria, according to chap. 35, above. Whether he continued to preside over the catechetical school after he became bishop we do not know. Dittrich (p. 4 sq). gives reasons for thinking that he did, which render it at least probable. He was still living when the earlier synods, in which the case of Paul of Samosata was considered, were held (i.e. between 260 and 264; see Bk. VII. chap. 27, note 4), but he was dead before the last one met, i.e. before 265 a.d. (see (Bk. VII. chap. 29, note 1). Dionysius is one of the most prominent, and at the same time pleasing, figures of his age. He seems to have been interested less in speculative than in practical questions, and yet he wrote an important work On Nature, which shows that he possessed philosophical ability, and one of his epistles contains a discussion of the authorship of the Apocalypse, which is unsurpassed in the early centuries as an example of keen and yet judicious and well-balanced literary criticism (see (Bk. VII. chap. 25). His intellectual abilities must, therefore, not be underrated, but it is as a practical theologian that he is best known. He took an active part in all the controversies of his time, in the Novatian difficulty in which the re-admission of the lapsed was the burning question; in the controversy as to the re-baptism of heretics; and in the case of Paul of Samosata. In all he played a prominent part, and in all he seems to have acted with groat wisdom and moderation (see chaps. 44 sq., Bk. VII. chaps. 5, 7 sq., chap. 27). He was taken prisoner during the persecution of Decius, but made his escape (see (the present chapter). In the persecution of Valerian he was banished (see (Bk. VII. chap. 11), but returned to Alexandria after the accession of Gallienus (see (Bk. VII. chap. 21). His conduct during the persecutions exposed him to adverse criticism, and he defended himself warmly against the accusations of a bishop Germanus, in an epistle, portions of which are quoted in this chapter and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. The writings of Dionysius were chiefly in the form of epistles, written for some practical purpose. Of such epistles he wrote a great many, and numerous fragments are extant, preserved chiefly by Eusebius. Being called forth by particular circumstances, they contain much information in regard to contemporary events, and are thus an important historical source, as Eusebius wisely perceived. Such epistles are quoted, or mentioned, in chaps. 41, 44, 45, and 46 of this book, and in Bk. VII. chaps. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26. For particulars in regard to them, see the notes on those chapters. In addition to his epistles a work, On Promises, is referred to by Eusebius in Bk. VII. chap. 28, and in Bk. VII. chaps. 24 and 25, where extracts from it are quoted (see (Bk. VII. chap. 24, note 1); also a commentary on the beginning of Ecclesiastes in Bk. VII. chap. 26, and in the same chapter a work in four books against Sabellius, addressed to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, in which he defends himself against the charge of tritheism, brought by some Sabellian adversaries. He was able to clear himself of all suspicion of heresy in the matter, though it is quite clear that he had carried the subordinationism of Origen to a dangerous extreme. The attack upon him led him to be more careful in his statements, some of which were such as in part to justify the suspicions of his adversaries. Athanasius defended his orthodoxy in a special work, De Sententiis Dionysii, and there can be no doubt that Dionysius was honestly concerned to preserve the divinity of the Son; but as in the case of Eusebius of C‘sarea, and of all those who were called upon to face Sabellianism, his tendency was to lay an over-emphasis upon the subordination of the Son (see (above, p. 11 sq).. For further particulars in regard to this work, see the chapter referred to, note 4. Upon Dionysius’ views of the Trinity, see Dittrich, p. 91 sq. Besides the writings referred to, or quoted by Eusebius, there should be mentioned an important canonical epistle addressed to Basilides, in which the exact time of the expiration of the lenten fast is the chief subject of discussion (still extant, and printed by Pitra, Routh, and others, and translated in the Ante-Nicene Fathers; see Dittrich, p. 46 sq).. There are yet a few other fragments of Dionysius’ writings, extant in various mss., which it is not necessary to mention here. See Dittrich, p. 130. The most complete collection of the extant fragments of his writings is that of Migne, Patr. Gr. X. 1233 sq., to which must be added Pitra’s Spic. Solesm. I. 15 sq. English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 87–120. The most complete work upon Dionysius is the monograph of Dietrich, Dionysius der Grosse, Freiburg, 1,Br. 1867.
306 This Germanus, as we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, was a bishop of some see, unknown to us, who had accused Dionysius of cowardice in the face of persecution. In the present instance Dionysius undertakes to refute his calumnies, by recounting accurately his conduct during the persecutions. It must be remembered that the letter is a defense against accusations actually made, or we shall misunderstand it, and misinterpret Dionysius’ motives in dwelling at such length upon the details of his own sufferings. The epistle, a part of which is quoted in this chapter, and a part in Bk. VII. chap. 11, was written, as we learn from the latter chapter, §18, while the persecution of Valerian was still in progress, and recounts his experiences during the persecutions of Decfus and of Valerian. The fragment quoted in the present chapter is devoted to the persecution of Decius, the other fragment to the persecution of Valerian. The letter is said to have been written pro" Germanon. This might be translated either to or against Germanus. Analogy would lead us to think the former translation correct, for all the epistles mentioned are said to have been written pro" one or another person, and it is natural, of course, to expect the name of the person addressed to be given. I have therefore translated the word thus, as is done in all the versions. At the same time it must be noticed that Germanus is spoken of in the epistle (especially in §18 sq. of the other chapter) not as if he were the person addressed, but as he were the person complained of to others; and, moreover, a letter of defense sent to him alone would probably have little effect, and would fail to put an end to the calumnies which must have found many ready ears. It seems, in fact, quite probable that the epistle was rather a public than a private one, and that while it was nominally addressed to Germanus, it was yet intended for a larger public, and was written with that public in view. This will explain the h eculiar manner in which Germanus is referred to. Certainly it is ard to think he would have been thus mentioned in a personal letter.
586 307 Sabinus, an otherwise unknown personage, seems to have been prefect of Egypt at this time, as Aemilianus was during the persecution of Valerian, according to Bk. VII. chap. 11.
308 One of the frumentarii milites, or military commissaries, who were employed for various kinds of business, and under the emperors especially as detectives or secret spies.
309 mh euriskwn. It is not meant that the frumentarius could not find the house, but that he did not think to go to the house at all, through an error of judgment (“being smitten with blindness”), supposing that Dionysius would certainly be elsewhere.
310 oi paide". This is taken by many scholars to mean “children,” and the conclusion is drawn by them that Dionysius was a married man. Dittrich translates it “pupils,” supposing that Dionysius was still at the head of the catechetical school, and that some of his scholars lived with him, as was quite common. Others translate “servants,” or “domestics.” I have used the indefinite word“ attendants” simply, because the paide" may well have included children, scholars, servants, and others who made up his family and constituted, any or all of them, his attendants. As shown in note 8, the word at any rate cannot be confined in the present case to servants.
311 Strabo (Bk. XVII. chap. 1) mentions a small town called Taposiris, situated in the neighborhood of Alexandria.
312 We know nothing about this Timothy, except that Dionysius addressed to him his work On Nature, as reported by Eusebius in VII. 26. He is there called Timwqeo" o pai". Dionysius can hardly have addressed a book to one of his servants, and hence we may conclude that Timothy was either Dionysius’ son (as Westcott holds) or scholar (as ’Dittrich believes). It is reasonable to think him one of the paide", with others of whom Dionysius was arrested, as recorded just above. It is in that case of course necessary to give the word as used there some other, or at least some broader sense than “servants.”
313 Greek exhndrapodismenou", meaning literally “reduced to slavery.” The context, however, does not seem to justify such a rendering, for the reference is apparently only to the fact that they were captured. Their capture, had they not been released, would have resulted probably in death rather than in slavery.
314 These four men are known to us only as companions of Dionysius during the persecution of Decius, as recorded here and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. From that chapter, §23, we learn that Caius and Peter were alone with Dionysius in a desert place in Libya, after being carried away by the rescuing party mentioned here. From §3 of the same chapter we learn that Faustus was a deacon, and that he was with Dionysius also during the persecution of Valerian, and from §26 that he suffered martyrdom at a great age in the Diocletian persecution. See also Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 11.
315 As we learn from Bk. VII. chap. 11, §23, this rescuing party carried Dionysius to a desert place in Libya, where he was left with only two companions until the persecution ceased).
316 I read fabion with the majority of the mss., and with Valesius, Stroth, Burton, Closs, and Crusae, preferring to adopt the same spelling here that is used in the other passages in which the same bishop is mentioned. A number of mss. read fabianon, which is supported by Rufinus, and adopted by Schwegler, Laemmer, and Heinichen. On Fabius, bishop of Antioch, see chap. 39, note 7. The time of his episcopate stated in that note fixes the date of this epistle within narrow limits, viz. between 250 and the spring of 253. The whole tone of the letter and the discussion of the readmission of the lapsed would lead us to think that the epistle was written after the close of the persecution, but in §20, Dioscorus is said to be still among them, waiting for “a longer and more severe conflict,” which seems to imply that the persecution, if not raging at the time, was at least expected to break out again soon. This would lead us to think of the closing months of Decius’ reign, i.e. late in the year 251, and this date finds confirmation in the consideration that the epistle (as we learn from chap. 44) was written after the breaking out of the Novatian schism, and apparently after the election of Novatian as opposition bishop, for Fabius can hardly have sided with him against his bishop, so long as he was only a presbyter. Doubtless Novatian’s official letter, announcing his election, had influenced Fabius. But Novation was elected bishop in 251, probably in the summer or early fall; at least, some months after Cornelius’ accession which took place in February, 251. It seems, from chap. 44, that Fabius was inclined to side with Novatian, and to favor his rigoristic principles. This epistle was written (as we learn from chap. 42, §6) with the express purpose of leading him to change his position and to adopt more lenient principles in his treatment of the lapsed. It is with this end in view that Dionysius details at such length in this chapter the sufferings of the martyrs. He wishes to impress upon Fabius their piety and steadfastness, in order to beget greater respect for their opinions. Having done this, he states that they who best understood the temptations to which the persecuted were exposed, had received the lapsed, when repentant, into fellowship as before (see (chap. 42, note 6). Dionysius’ own position in the matter comes out very clearly in this epistle. He was in full sympathy with the milder treatment of the lapsed advocated in Rome and in Carthage by Cornelius and Cyprian.
317 The edict of Decius was published early in the year 250, and therefore the persecution in Alexandria, according to Dionysius, began in 249, while Philip was still emperor. Although the latter showed the Christians favor, yet it is not at all surprising that this local persecution should break out during his reign. The peace which the Christians were enjoying naturally fostered the growth of the Church, and the more patriotic and pious of the heathen citizens of the empire must necessarily have felt great solicitude at its constant increase, and the same spirit which led Decius to persecute would lead many such persons to desire to persecute when the opportunity offered itself; and the closing months of Philip’s reign were so troubled with rebellions and revolutions that he had little time, and perhaps less inclination, to interfere in such a minor matter as a local persecution of Christians. The common people of Alexandria were of an excitable and riotous disposition, and it was always easy there to stir up a tumult at short notice and upon slight pretexts.
587 318 o kakwn th polei tanth mantiz kai poihthz The last word is rendered “poet” by most translators, and the rendering is quite possible; but it is difficult to understand why Dionysius should speak of this person’s being a poet, which could have no possible connection with the matter in hand. It seems better to take poihth" in its common sense of “maker,” or “author,” and to suppose Dionysius to be thinking of this man, not simply as the prophet of evils to the city, but also as their author, in that he “moved and aroused against us the masses of the heathen.”
319 Of the various martyrs and confessors mentioned in this chapter, we know only what is told us by Dionysius in this epistle.
320 (He 10,34 He 10, the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, see Bk. III. chap. He 3, note He 17 and upon Eusebius’ opinion in the matter, see Bk. III. chap. He 25, note He 1
321 We know that the closing months of Philip’s reign were troubled with seditions in various quarters; but Dionysius is our only authority for this particular one, unless it be connected, as some think, with the revolt which Zosimus describes as aroused in the Orient by the bad government of Philip’s brother, who was governor there, and by excessive taxation (see (Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 272).
322 This refers to the death of Philip and the accession of Decius. The hostile edicts of the latter seem not to have been published until some months after his accession, i.e. early in 250. But his hostility to Christianity might have been known from the start, and it might have been understood that he would persecute as soon as he had attended to the other more important matters connected with his accession.
323 (Mt 24,24 Mt 24, reads skandalisai; Matthew, plansqai or planhsai.
324 i.e. to sacrifice.
325 oi dhmsosieuonte" upo twn praxewn hgonto. Every officer of the government under the imperial regimen was obliged to sacrifice to the Gods upon taking office, and also to sacrifice at stated times during his term of office, and upon special occasions, or in connection with the performance of important official duties. He might thus be called upon in his official capacity frequently to offer sacrifices, and a failure to perform this part of his duties was looked upon as sacrilege and punished as a crime against the state. Christian officials, therefore, were always in danger of suffering for their religion unless the were allowed as a special favor, to omit the sacrifices, as was often the case under those emperors who were more favorably inclined toward Christianity. A private citizen was never obliged to sacrifice except in times of persecution, when he might be ordered to do so as a test. But an official could not carry out fully all the duties of his position without sacrificing. This is one reason why many of the Christians avoided public office, and thus drew upon themselves the accusation of a lack of patriotism (cf. Origen, Contra Cels. VI. 5 sq., and Tertullian’s Apol. c. 42); and it is also one reason why such Christians as happened to be in office were always the first to suffer under a hostile emperor.
326 Cf. Mt 19,23. This sentence shows that Dionysius did not consider it impossible even for those to be saved who denied Christ before enduring any suffering at all. He was clearly willing to leave a possibility of salvation even to the worst offenders, and in this agreed perfectly with Cornelius, Cyprian, and the body of the Roman and Carthaginian churches.
327 asbestw puri.
328 The Greek word makar means “blessed.”
NPNF2-01 Eusebius 584