|The Early Church, from Ignatius to Augustine|
|by George Hodges|
|An engaging introduction to the history of the early church from its emergence in the Mediterranean world dominated by Rome until the fall of Rome in the age of Augustine. Relates the story of Christianity's struggle for life during the early days of persecution; the defence of the faith against prejudice, heresy, and rivalry; the Arian debate; the rise of monasticism in the east and in the west; and the influence of Ambrose, Chrysostom, and Augustine. Ages 14-18 |
I. TABLE OF DATES
THE ROMAN EMPERORS, FROM AUGUSTUS TO AUGUSTULUS
The Pagan Empire
 The Christian Empire
|68,69||Galba, Otho, Vitellius.
|284||Diocletian, with Maximian.|
|305||Constantius and Galerius.|
|311||Constantine and Licinius.|
|337 ||Constantine II, Constantius II, Constans.|
|350 ||Constantius II.|
|West|| ||East|| |
|364 ||Valentinian I.||364||Valens.|
|375 ||Gratian and Valentinian II.||379||Theodosius I.|
|383 ||Valentinian II.|| || |
|392 ||Theodosius I.|| || |
|395 ||Honorius.|| || |
|423 ||Valentinian III.||408||Theodosius II.|
|455 ||Avitus.|| || |
|457 ||Majorian.||457||Leo I.|
|461 ||Severus.|| || |
|467 ||Anthemius.|| || |
|472 ||Olybrius.|| || |
|473 ||Glycerius.|| || |
|474 ||Julius Nepos.||474||Leo H.|
|475 ||Romulus Augustulus.|| || |
II. THE PERSECUTIONS, FROM THE FIRE IN ROME TO THE EDICT OF MILAN
|Under Domitian, ||95.|
|In Bithynia (Pliny and Trajan), about ||113.|
|Martyrdom of Ignatius, ||117.|
|Martyrdom of Polycarp, ||155.|
|Martyrs of Lyons, ||177.|
|Scillitan Martyrs, ||180.|
|Martyrs of Carthage (Perpetua, Felicitas), ||202.|
After more than forty years of peace the First General Persecution under Decius, 249-251,
under Valerian, 258-260: ten years.
After more than forty years of peace again, the Second General Persecution, under Diocletian
and Galerius, 303-311: ten years.
Edict of Milan (decreeing toleration), 313.
III. THE ADVANCE OF THE BARBARIANS
Marcomanni and Quadi cross the Danube, overrun Pannonia, and are driven back by
Marcus Aurelius, 174.
Alamanni and Franks cross the Rhine, 286.
Goths cross the Danube, overrun the Balkans, defeat and kill Decius, 251. In the reign
of Gallienus, 260-268, they raid Asia Minor; they sack Athens, Corinth and Sparta.
Dacia is abandoned by Aurelian, 270-275.
Alamanni and Franks driven back by Probus, 276, by Constantine, 306-312, by Julian,
356-360, and by Valentinian I, 364-375.
Picts and Scots attack Britain from the north, 367-370, Saxons from the south.
Goths, pressed by Huns, settle south of the Danube, defeat and kill Valens, 378, and
advance to Constantinople, but are conciliated by Theodosius.
Throughout fourth century, barbarians are gradually settling south of the Rhine and
the Danube, enlisting in Roman armies, and gaining places of power in imperial courts.
Rufinus the Goth is prime minister of Arcadius, Stilicho the Vandal is prime minister of Honorius.
Britain is abandoned early in fifth century, about 410.
Alaric the Visigoth crosses the Alps and takes Rome, 410.
Visigoths settle in Gaul; Vandals settle in Spain.
 Gaiseric (Generic) the Vandal conquers Roman Africa, 429.
Attila the Hun, ruler of northern and central Europe, invades Gaul and Italy, but is defeated at Chalons, 451.
Ricimer the Suebe rules Italy, appointing four successive emperors, 456-472.
Orestes the Pannonian makes his own son emperor under the title Romulus, called "Augustulus," 475.
Odoacer the Rugian deposes Augustulus and brings to an end the succession of Roman emperors, 476.
IV. HERETICS AND SCHISMATICS, FROM CERINTHUS TO PLAGIUS
Ebionites. Judaic-Christians, accepting the Gospel but keeping the Law also. Adding to the Law
the practice of asceticism and "doctrines of angels," they were precursors of Gnosticism. Like-minded
with them was Cerinthus, late in first century.
Gnostics. Matter essentially evil, God infinitely remote. God and the world connected by
inferior divine beings called æons. Simon Magus in Samaria. Basilides, Valentinus (d. 160). Marcion
in Rome upheld the Gospel against the Law, accounting himself a champion of St. Paul.
Docetics. The idea that matter is evil contradicted the doctrine of the incarnation: Jesus
had only the appearance of a body, and of a human life.
Montanists. They expected speedy end of the world. Their prophets spoke, they said, by
immediate inspiration: no need of any ordination. Opposed secularism and formalism: Montanus and Tertullian (d. 222).
Adoptionists. Jesus is God by adoption, not by incarnation. God entered into Him at baptism,
departed at crucifixion.
Sabellians, Modalists, Patripassians. Father and Son and Holy Ghost are only names of God,
indicating divine aspects and activities. Opponents said that the doctrine implied the suffering
and death of God. Paul of Samosata (260) taught that Jesus by His unique goodness rose to divine
dignity. Those who held the theory that the names Father and Son signify only two different relations of God
 to the world were also called Monarchians. The most famous teacher of this doctrine was Sabellius.
Novatians. In Rome, after Decian persecution, they held that Christians who had lapsed
should not be restored to membership in the church. They formed separate societies.
Meletians. In Alexandria, after Diocletian persecution, they insisted on subjecting the
lapsed to severe penance. They also formed societies outside the church.
Donatists. In Carthage, after Diocletian persecution, they refused to recognize clergy who
had surrendered sacred books. Condemned at Council of Arles (314) they established churches of their own.
Arians. The Son is a divine being, existing before the beginning of the world but not
from eternity, having been created by the Father. Arius of Alexandria condemned by Council of
Nicæa (325). The Nicene fathers held that the Son is "of one substance" (homoousios) with the Father.
Homoiousians. They held that the Son is "of like substance" with the Father.
Anomæans, Eunomeans. They held that the Son is "of unlike substance" with the Father.
Thus taught Aëtius of Antioch (d. 360) and his pupil Eunomius (d. 392).
Semi-Arians, Macedonians. Named from Macedonius, bishop of Constantinople (d. 360).
Orthodox as to the Son, but Arian as to the Spirit. The name is also applied to those who
said "the Son is like the Father."
Apollinarians. Christ human in body and soul, but the human mind in Him was replaced
by the divine mind. Condemned by Council of Constantinople (381).
Pelagians. Named from Pelagius who came from Britain to Rome early in fifth century.
He upheld the freedom of the will against the doctrine of total depravity taught by Augustine.
His motto was "If I ought, I can." The doctrine was condemned by Council of Ephesus (431).
Mithraism. A Persian religion, rival of Christianity. Mithra, a sun-god, mediator
between God and man. Rites similar to baptism, confirmation, communion; also Sunday. For
men only, but annexed cult of Magna Mater for women.
 Neoplatonism. A Greek philosophy, rival of Christian theology. Ammonius Saccas,
Plotinus (d. 270), Porphyry (d. 304). The vision of God attained by asceticism and
meditation: mysticism. Brought into Christianity by "Dionysius the Areopagite" (about 476).
Manichæism. Another Persian religion. Dualism: life a war between good and evil.
For help of man came Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus—and Mani. Victory by asceticism. Augustine
tried this religion, but abandoned it.
V. THE FATHERS FROM IGNATIUS TO AUGUSTINE
Most dates in this table before 258, and most birth-dates after that, are conjectural
|Justin Martyr, ||100-168.|
|Clement of Alexandria, ||150-215.|
|Eusebius of Cæsarea, ||260-340.|
|Hilary of Poictiers, ||300-367.|
|Cyril of Jerusalem, ||315-386.|
|Gregory of Nazianzus, ||329-389.|
|Gregory of Nyasa, ||331 396.|
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