William Ramsay’s The Church in the Roman Empire

William M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170William M. Ramsay’s book, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170 is now available for free download in PDF. The map facing p.472 of the Lycus Valley in particularly useful and is reproduced at various resolutions.

This work will be of help to anyone studying Roman persecutions of the church before AD 170 and the background of Paul’s letter the Galatians and of the book of Acts.

William M. Ramsay [1851-1939], The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170, 8th edn. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904. Hbk. pp.510. Download in PDF [8.9MB]

Map of the Lycus Valley from William M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD 170

Download at 300dpi

Download at 600dpi [right-click and “save as” if using Windows]

Table of Contents

Part I. – Earliest Stage: St. Paul In Asia Minor

Chapter I – General

  1. Plan of the Work
  2. The Travel-Document
  3. The Churches of Galatia
  4. Social Condition of Asia Minor, A. D. 50-60

Chapter II – Localities of The First Journey

  1. Pamphylia
  2. Pisidia and Ayo Paulo
  3. Pisidian Antioch
  4. Route From Antioch to Iconium
  5. Iconium
  6. Lystra
  7. Derbe
  8. Character of Lycaonia in the First Century

Chapter Ill – The First Journey as a Narrative of Travel

Chapter IV – The Second Journey

Chapter V – The Third Journey

Chapter VI – The Epistle To The Galatians

  1. Arguments Founded on the Epistle
  2. St. Paul’s Feelings Towards the Galatian Churches
  3. Arguments for the North-Gaiatian Theory
  4. Analogy of I Peter
  5. Change in the Meaning of the Name Galatia

Chapter VII – St. Paul at Ephesus

  1. Demetrius the Neopoios
  2. Acts XIX.23-41
  3. Demetrius the Neopoios and Demetrius the Silversmith
  4. Action of the Priests of Artemis
  5. Shrines of Artemis
  6. Attitude of the Ephesian Officials Towards Paul
  7. Fate of the Silver Shrines
  8. Great Artemis
  9. Text of Acts XIX.23-41
  10. Historical Character of the Narrative Acts XIX.23-41

Chapter VIII – The Original Authority for St. Paul’s Journeys: Value and Text

  1. Rapid Spread of Christianity in Asia Minor
  2. Distinction of Authorship
  3. Text of Codex. Bezae: Asia Minor
  4. Text of Codex Bezae: Europe
  5. Codex Bezae Founded on a Catholic Recension
  6. Postscript: Spitta’s Apostelgeschichte

Part II – A.D. 64-170 – Being Lectures At Mansfield College, Oxford, May & June, 1892

Chapter IX – Subject and Method

  1. Aspect of History Here Treated
  2. Connexion Between Church History and the Life of the Period
  3. The Authorities: Date
  4. The Authorities: Trustworthiness
  5. Results of Separating Church History from Imperial History
  6. The Point of View

Chapter X – Pliny’s Report and Trajan’s Rescript

  1. Preliminary Considerations
  2. The Religious Question in Bithynia-Pontus
  3. First and Second Stage of the Trials
  4. Pliny’s Attitude Towards the Christians
  5. The Case was Administrative, Not Legal
  6. Pliny’s Questions and Trajan’s Reply
  7. The Christians Were Not Punished as a Sodalitas
  8. Procedure
  9. Additional Details
  10. Recapitulation
  11. Topography

Chapter XI – The Action of Nero Towards the Christians

  1. Tacitus Annals XV.44
  2. The Evidence of Suetonius
  3. First Stage in Nero’s Action
  4. Second Stage: Charge of hostility to Society
  5. Crime Which the Christians Confessed
  6. Character, Duration, and Extent of the Neronian Persecution
  7. Principle of Nero’s Action
  8. Evidence of Christian Documents

Chapter XII – The Flavian Policy Towards the Church

  1. Tacitus’ Conception of The Flavian Policy
  2. Confirmation of Nero’s Policy by Vespasian
  3. The Persecution of Domitian
  4. Bias of Dion Cassius
  5. Difference of Policy Towards Jews and Christians
  6. The Executions of A.D. 95 An Incident of the General Policy
  7. The Evidence of Suetonius About the Executions Of A.D. 95-271
  8. The Flavian Action Was Political in Character

Chapter XIII – Christian Authorities for the Flavian Period

  1. The First Epistle of Peter
  2. Later Date Assigned to I Peter
  3. Official Action Implied in I Peter
  4. The Evidence of the Apocalypse
  5. The First Epistle of John
  6. Hebrews and Barnabas
  7. The Epistle of Clement
  8. The Letters of Ignatius

Chapter XIV – The Policy of Hadrian, Pius, and Marcus

  1. Hadrian
  2. Pius
  3. Marcus Aurelius
  4. The Apologists

Chapter XV – Cause and Extent of Persecution

  1. Popular Hatred of the Christians
  2. Real Cause of State Persecution
  3. Organisation of the Church

Chapter XVI – The Acta of Paul and Thekla

  1. The Acta in Their Extant Form
  2. Queen Tryphaena
  3. Localities·of the Tale of Thekla
  4. The Trials at Iconium
  5. The Trial of Thekla at Antioch
  6. Punishment and Escape of Thekla
  7. The Original Tale of Thekla
  8. Revision of the Tale of Thekla, A. D. 130-50
  9. The Iconian Legend of Thekla

Chapter XVII – The Church From I20 To 170 A.D.

Chapter XVIII – Glycerius the Deacon

Chapter XIX – The Miracle at Khonai

Addenda to the Fourth Edition

Index

Samuel Cheetham’s Church History

A History of the Christian Church by Samuel Cheetham
An audio version is available from Librevox

The complete text of Samuel Cheetham’s A History of the Christian Church During the First Six Centuries is available for free download in PDF. The endpiece map showing the Countries reached by Christianity in the First Three Centuries is also available a separate download (but is also included in the main PDF).

The folks at LibriVox have made available an audio version of the book, which should also prove very helpful.

Samuel Cheetham [3 March 1827 – 9 July 1908], A History of the Christian Church

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
PART I
From the Origin of Christianity to the Edict of Milan (A.D. 313)

CHAPTER I
The Preparation of the World
1. Paganism
2. Judaism

CHAPTER II
The Apostolic Church
1. The Lord’s Ministry and the Church in Jerusalem
2. St Paul and the Gentile Church
3. James the Just
4. St Peter
5. St John
6. The remaining Apostles
7. Organization and Worship of the Church
8. Sects and Heresies

CHAPTER III
The Early Struggles of the Church
1. Jewish and Roman Persecution
2. The Intellectual Attack
3. The Christian Defence

CHAPTER IV
Growth and Characteristics of the Church
1. Early Spread of the Gospel
2. Asiatic Churches
3. Alexandrian School
4. Africa
5. The Roman Church

CHAPTER V
The Great Divisions
1. Judaic Christianity
2. Marcion
3. Montanism
4. Gnosticism
5. Manichreism
6. The Catholic Church

CHAPTER VI
The Theology of the Church and Its Opponents
1. Sources of Doctrine
A. Scripture
B. The Rule of Faith
2. Faith in the One God
3. The Holy Trinity
4. Chiliasm

CHAPTER VII
The Organization of the Church
1. The Christian Ministry
2. Synods

CHAPTER VIII
Social Life and Ceremonies of the Church
1. Christian Life
2. Asceticism
3. Hermits
4. Discipline
5. Ceremonies
6 . Sacred Seasons
7. Architectural and other Art

PART II

CHAPTER Xl
From the Edict of Milan (A.D. 313) to the Accession of Pope Gregory the Great (A.D. 590)

CHAPTER IX
The Church and the Empire
1. The Imperial Church
2. The Hierarchy
3. Patriarchs
4. Rome
5. Councils
6. The Fall of Paganism

CHAPTER X
Theology and Theologians
1. Literary Character of the Age
2. School of Antioch
3. School of Edessa
4. Alexandrian School
5. Latin Theology

CHAPTER XI
Controversies on the Faith
I. Standards of Doctrine
1. Holy Scripture
2. The Church and its Tradition
3. Rules of Faith
II. The Holy Trinity
The Arian Controversy
Ill. The Incarnate Son
1. Apollinarianism
2. Nestorianism
3. Eutychianism
4. Monophysitism
IV. Origenism
V. Priscillianism
VI. Pelagianism

CHAPTER XII
Discipline and Life of the Church
1. Law and Society
2. Donatism
3. Celibacy of the Clergy
4. Monachism

CHAPTER XIII
Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Art
I. Rites and Ceremonies
1. Catechumenate and Baptism
2. The Holy Eucharist
3. The Hour-Offices
4. Matrimony
5. Care of the Sick and the Dead
6. Ordination
II. The Cycle of Festivals
1. The Week
2. Easter and Lent
3. The Saints and their Festivals
4. Calendars
5. Holy Places
III. Architecture and Art
1. Structure of Churches
2. Pictures in Churches
3. Sculpture

CHAPTER XIV
Growth of the Church
I. The Church in the East
II. The Conversion of the Teutons
1. The Goths
2. The Franks
III. The British Islands
1. The British Church
2. St Patrick and the Irish Church
3. St Columba and Iona

MAPS
Ecclesiastical Dioceses
Countries reached by Christianity in the First Three Centunes

14 Years of Theology on the Web!

14 Years of Theology on the Web
14 Years of Theology on the Web!

Theology on the Web was launched 14 years ago this month. It is exciting to note that this anniversary coincides with three other major milestones in the development of the ministry.

  • There are now over 25,000 free-to-download theological articles hosted on Theology on the Web.
  • 2.3 terabytes of data was downloaded worldwide over the last 12 months. If, like me, you have no idea what that means, it is the data equivalent of downloading 2,300 sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica!
  • Theology on the Web has now moved to its own Virtual Webserver with greatly increasing speed and capacity as the visitor numbers climb to around 2 million in 2015.

To mark these events, I have prepared a Press Release which I am sending to Christian News services in the UK and posting online. Please feel free to download and share this document as widely as possible.

Finally, thank you all for making this possible by your ongoing support and encouragement!

Gwatkin’s Work on Arianism on-line

The following book is now available for free download in PDF:

Henry Melvill Gwatkin [1844-1916], The Arian Controversy. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1889. Hbk. pp.176.

Chapter I: The Beginnings of Arianism

Arianism is extinct only in the sense that it has long ceased to furnish party names. It sprang from permanent tendencies of human nature, and raised questions whose interest can never perish. As long as the Agnostic and the Evolutionist are with us, the old battlefields of Athanasius will not be left to silence. Moreover, no writer more directly joins the new world of Teutonic Christianity with the old of Greek and Roman heathenism. Arianism began its career partly, as a theory of Christianity, partly as an Eastern reaction of philosophy against a gospel of the Son of God. Through sixty years of ups and downs and stormy controversy it fought, and not without success, for the dominion of the world. When it was at last rejected by the Empire, it fell back upon its converts among the Northern nations, and renewed the contest as a Western reaction of Teutonic pride against a Roman gospel. The struggle went on for full three hundred years in all, and on a scale of vastness never limited to the West, whereas Arianism ranged at one time or another through the whole of Christendom. Nor was the battle merely for the wording of antiquated creeds or for the outworks of the faith, but for the very life of revelation. If the Reformation decided the supremacy of revelation over church authority, it was the contest with Arianism which cleared the way, by settling for ages the deeper and still more momentous question, which is once more coming to the surface as the gravest doubt of our time, whether a revelation is possible at all.

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Travers Smith’s St Basil the Great

Basil of Caesarea [from Andre Thevet}
St Basil the Great [from Andre Thevet}
The following public domain book is now available for free download in pdf:

Richard Travers Smith (1871-1905), St. Basil the Great. London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1879. Hbk. pp.232.

St. Basil The Great

Chapter I

Early Life: Athens

St. Basil The Great was born about the year 329,of a Christian family, whose high religious character and sacrifices for the cause of truth had been for generations widely known in Asia Minor. It seems probable that the place of his birth was Caesarea, in Cappadocia, the town of which he afterwards became bishop; but his father’s connexions were more with Pontus than with Cappadocia, and some authorities place Basil’s birth in the former province. He himself calls each of these countries in turn his native land.

Basil the elder – for father and son were named alike – was a teacher of rhetoric, and an advocate in large practice. He was a Christian of the best and most earnest type, and when Gregory of Nazianzus addressed his panegyric of the younger Basil to a large audience he was able to assume that the reputation of the father would be known to them all. But the future saint owed his earliest religious education to his grandmother Macrina, who brought him up with his brothers, and formed them upon the doctrine of the great Origenist and saint of Pontus Gregory Thaumaturgus.

Macrina had not only been taught by the best Christian instructors, but had herself with her husband suffered for the faith. In the persecutions of Maximin she and her family were driven from their home and forced with a few companions to take refuge in a forest among the mountains of Pontus, where they spent nearly seven years, and were wont to attribute to the special interposition of God the supplies of food by which they were maintained at a distance from all civilization.

It must not be supposed that the charge of Basil’s childhood thus committed to his grandmother indicated any deficiency in love or piety on the part of his mother. Her name was Emmelia, and Gregory describes her as fitly matched with her husband. They had ten children. Of the five sons three became bishops-Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebaste. The four youngest daughters were happily married, but Macrina, the eldest, devoted herself to the religious life, and exercised over Basil himself a most salutary influence at a very critical period in his career. In how great love and honour she was held by the whole family we know from the eulogium pronounced upon her by her younger brother, Gregory Nyssen.

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Theology on the Web News

Theology on thr Web NewsI have just updated my introductory brochure for Theology on the Web to reflect recent developments, including:

  • Material added to the sites in 2013/14
  • New website launch
  • Increase in visitor numbers
  • Urgent need for dedicated server

Please download the brochure here and share it with anyone you think might be interested.

Alfred Plummer’s Church of the Early Fathers

I recent conducted a poll on the Facebook Group Theology on the Web asking members to vote to the most useful book on church history from a list of possible titles I had available to scan. The winner was a work by Alfred Plummer (1841-1926), which was regarded as one of that author’s most important books. The full text is now available on-line and is in the Public Domain.

Alfred Plummer, The Church of the Early Fathers, 6th edn. London: Longman, Green & Co., 1892. Hbk. pp.210.

 Preface

The Christian Church has three ideals set before it in Scripture- to be Universal, to be Holy, and to be One. It is to ‘ make disciples of all the nations.’ It is to be ‘ without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. ‘It is to ‘ become one flock ‘ with a union between its members admitting of no lower standard than the Unity of the Divine Persons in the Godhead. The external history of the Church is the history of the attempt to realise the first of these three ideals; its internal history tells of the attempt to realise the second and third. The three taken together sum up what is meant by ecclesiastical history – the history of the spread of Christianity and of the development of Christian life and Christian doctrine. Thus a convenient division of the subject is at once suggested. Only the first of these three points is treated in this handbook the progress of the Church in the attempt to become universal, including all that impeded that progress, especially literary attack and civil persecution. The worship and discipline of the Church and the development of its doctrine, though often touched upon, are reserved for treatment in a separate volume.

The present sketch is limited to the Ante-Nicene period, and indeed to only a portion of that. Neither the Apostolic Age nor the history of Arianism falls within its scope. Its limits are, roughly speaking, the second and third centuries, or, more exactly, the period from the death of St. John, about A.D. 100, to the Edict of Toleration published at Milan by Constantine and Licinius A.D. 312 or 313.

It is obvious that in a volume of this size nothing more than a sketch can be attempted; but help will be offered to the student who desires to have fuller information and to examine original sources for himself. A list is given of some of the best and most easily accessible authorities, especially in the English language, together with the chief ancient witnesses from whom the information given by modern writers is ultimately derived. Perhaps in no branch of history is it more important to study original authorities than in the history of Christianity during the second and third centuries. Neither in number nor in bulk are these sources so formidable as in the later periods of Church history; so that the ordinary student may hope to do a good deal in the attempt to make himself acquainted with primary materials. Moreover, nearly all these early writings have been translated; so that even those who are unable to read Latin or Greek are never the less able to obtain fairly accurate knowledge of what these early writers in their own words tell us. This handbook will have failed in one of its objects if it does not lead some of those who use it to check its statements by a comparison with standard works, and above all by an appeal to the original authorities.

As references are almost entirely forbidden by the plan of this series, the compiler of this volume is unable to express in detail his obligations to other writers. They are very numerous to a large number of the works mentioned below, especially to those of Bishop Lightfoot and Dr. Schaff, and to the ‘ Dictionary of Christian Biography ‘ edited by Smith and W ace. An asterisk is prefixed to the name of modern writers whose writings are of special importance.

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Cappadocian Ecclesiology

Basil of Caesarea, of the Cappadocian Fathers
Basil of Caesarea

I am grateful to Wipf & Stock Publishers for granting permission to place on-line the following article on the ecclesiology of the Cappadocian Fathers: Basil of Caesarea, Gergory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus.

Donald A. Sykes, “Understandings of the Church in the Cappadocians,” Horton Davies, ed.,  Studies of the Church in History. Essays Honoring Robert S. Paul on his Sixty-fifth Birthday. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications, 1983. pp.73-83.

A reprint of this book is currently available from Wipf & Stock – click here for details.

Understandings of the Church in the Cappadocians

Donald A. Sykes

The Cappadocians form a significant group among 4th century Greek theologians, regarding themselves as legitimate successors of Athanasius. Basil of Caesarea was acknowledged as leader by the other two major writers, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, developing as he did a churchmanship which was to prove very influential. [1]

In one aspect Basil may be represented as the straightforward man of affairs, whether ecclesiastical or secular. Yet another side of him wants to withdraw, physically and mentally, from the active world. This is why one of the most energetic bishops of his century is a pioneer of monastic practice. The ways in which Basil attempted to resolve this tension cannot here be explored, [2] beyond my remarking that a passion for order is fundamental to both sides of his life. Absorbed as he was to become in the maintenance of the visible structure of the church, Basil would never have considered himself at variance with what he wrote in his celebrated Address to Young Men: [3] “We, my children, in no wise conceive this life of ours to be an object of value in any respect, nor do we consider anything good at all, or so designate it, which makes its contribution to this life of ours only.” The “other life” is what matters and the present is no more than preparation. [4] For some people, or for particular periods in individual people’s lives, the preparation is best undertaken in isolation. It is fairly clear that Basil was sometimes inclined to find in this life the ideal way, [5] and this might seem to undervalue the Christian profession of ordinary members of congregations, business men, say, and the priests whose lives are taken up with them. Are they less “real” Christians than those whose withdrawn lives might seem to bring them closer to the “real” world beyond this? (Cf. Basil’s contrast of “shadows and dreams” with “reality.” [6]) For Basil however any such absoluterestriction of pure apprehension to particular groups or individuals could not be conceived without irreparable loss to the church. It is within the church that this purity must find its context. If it is not present as an interacting, rather than an isolated element, there can be no meaning in the unity which was for Basil an overwhelming concern.

To read the whole article click here.


 

New Resources Page on Origen’s Hexapla

Origen of Alexandria [c.185 – c.254]

Tyndale House has kindly supplied me with scans of the Origenis Hexaplorum [Oxford, 1875] in 2 volumes. This is still listed in reference works as the most complete collection of fragments of the Origen’s Hexapla every printed. To make the most of this important resource I have created a new page on the Hexapla so that those interested can find it easily.

Another important work on this subject is H.B. Swete’s Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek [1900]. The copies of this available in PDF of archive.org were disappointing, so I have scanned my copy to PDF and added it to the collection. You can now access all these works here. Note that Origenis Hexaplorum is a substantial download of over 60MB, though I have shrunk it down as much as possible.