Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

καθολικήν πίστιν κατέχειν ήν ει μή τις ακεραίαν και απαράθραυστον συντηρήσειεν αναμφιβόλως εις τον αιώνα απολείται.

(3) "Οστις δν βούληται σωθήναι προ πάντων χρή κρατείν την καθολικήν πίστιν ήν ει μή εις έκαστος σώαν και αμώμητον τηρήση άνευ δισταγμού εις τον αιώνα απολείται.

« (4) "Ει τις βούλοιτο σωθήναι προ πάντων αυτώ χρεία κρατήσαι την ορθόδοξον πίστιν ήν εάν μή τις αμόλυντον και άφθορον τηρήση αιώνιον ευρήσει την απώλειαν.

This specimen is quite sufficient to demonstrate that the creed originated in the West and not at Alexandria. How, then, did it get its name? It has been thought that this may be accounted for by the fact that it contains an exposition of the doctrine which Athanasius 80 nobly defended, and of which he was the most prominent champion against Arianism; and accordingly the suggestion has been made 1 that when Arianism was rife in the West, the Arians may have termed the orthodox party Athanasians, and the creed which most fully expressed their doctrines“ the Athanasian Creed." This does not seem a very probable explanation of the origin of the names, and it is more reasonable to suppose that the name was attached to the creed because it was erroneously believed to be the work of Athanasius. In an uncritical age traditions concerning the authorship of famous documents easily grew up, often without the slightest foundation-witness the ascription of the Te Deum to S. Ambrose and S. Augustine—and even if we cannot now explain exactly how the title Fides Athanasii first became attached to the creed, whether by the carelessness of a copyist, or as a guess at authorship, there is no need to seek for any further explanation of its perpetuation than the belief that it was the work of the saint whose name was given to it.

1 By Bishop Browne, An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, p. 224 ; after Waterland, Critical History, ch, viii.

Concerning the date of the creed, no small controversy has arisen.

Its ascription to Athanasius can be traced back to the ninth century, nor does it appear that it was ever seriously questioned until the seventeenth century. Almost the first to reject the traditional title of it was Gerard Voss, in his work De Tribus Symbolis, published in 1642. From his date onward the Athanasian authorship was generally given up, and various names were suggested by writers on the subject, until in 1723 the Critical History of the Athanasian Creed was published by Daniel Waterland. This masterly work was commonly regarded as conclusive, and the controversy was set at rest for the next hundred and fifty years, and has only been reopened in recent times, largely owing to the discovery of evidence unknown to Waterland. His conclusion, based on a careful examination of both external and internal evi

* It will be noticed that in the Eighth Article, Cranmer (or whoever drew it up) indicated his rejection of the tradition concerning the apostolic authorship of the Apostles' Creed, by speaking of it as "that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed,” but spoke unhesitatingly of this other as “Athanasius' Creed.” In the Ten Articles of 1536 it is said of the three creeds that "one was made by the apostles, and is the common creed, which every man useth ; the second was made by the Holy Council of Nice, and is said daily in the mass ; and the third was made by Athanasius, and is comprehended in the Psalm Quicunque Vult (Article III). The rubric in the Prayer-Book which entitles it “this confession of our Christian faith, commonly called the Creed of Saint Athanasius,” dates from 1662. In the earlier editions of the Prayer. Books there was nothing corresponding to the words in italics.

? (1) Voss himself thought that the creed was the work of a Gallican writer, possibly as late as the eighth or ninth century ;(2) Paschasius Quesnel (1675) assigned it to Vigilius Tapsensis in the fifth century. So Cave, Dupin, Pagi and others ; (3) Antelmi (1693) suggested Vincent of Lerins, also belonging to the fifth century ; (4) Muratori (1698) gives it to Venantius Fortunatus in the sixth ; while (5) Waterland himself decides in favour of Hilary of Arles.

dence, was that the creed was composed in Gaul between the years 420 and 430, and that it is very probably the work of Hilary of Arles. That it cannot be earlier than 420 may be taken as certain, for the coincidences of thought and expression between it and the writings of S. Augustine are so striking as to lead to the conclusion that the author of the creed, whoever he may have been, must have been well acquainted with the works of S. Augustine, including his books on the “ Trinity,” which were not published until 416.1

Waterland's terminus ad quem is arrived at mainly from internal evidence. The date fixed by him as the latest possible one for the composition of the creed is 430 A.D.

This year is selected because he maintains that the creed does not condemn the Eutychian and Nestorian heresies in the full, direct, and critical terms, such as would naturally have been used had it been composed after these heresies had arisen and become formidable. There is nothing, so he asserts, in the creed but what is found in earlier writers in combating the errors of Arius and Apollinaris. Even those clauses (vers. 32–35) which at first sight bear the appearance of being expressly intended to condemn the Nestorian division of Christ into “two Persons," are found on examination to be based entirely on the writings of Augustine, so that there is really scarcely a phrase contained in them which may not be paralleled in one or other of Augustine's works.?

1

Compare Waterland, Critical History, ch. ix., where the creed is given with parallel passages from the Fathers, and more especially from S. Augustine.

See Waterland, ch. ix. The following striking parallels may be quoted : “Agnoscamus geminam substantiam Christi; divinam scilicet qua æqualis est Patri, humanam qua major est Pater : utrumque autem simul non duo sed unus est Christus."-In Johan. Evan. Tr. Ixxviii. 3. "Verbum caro factum est, a Divinitate carne suscepta, non in carnem

The external evidence as given by Waterland, although not necessitating quite so early a date as 430, is not inconsistent with it. If the creed is a composition of the fifth century, there is nothing surprising in the fact that no external testimonies to its use have come down to us before the sixth and seventh centuries to which Waterland assigns his earliest authorities. Recent researches, however, have shown that it is not safe to appeal without hesitation to some of Waterland's most important witnesses to the early use of the creed. Consequently the whole subject has been reopened, and the question of the date of the creed has been reconsidered in the light of modern discoveries.

The three most ancient testimonies relied on by Waterland are the following :

1. A canon of a Council of Autun, insisting on the recitation of “the faith of the holy prelate Athanasius” by the clergy. Of this he gives the date as 670 A.D."

2. A MS."mentioned by Bishop Usher, which he had seen in the Cotton Library, and which he judged to come up to the age of Gregory the Great," i.e. circa 600. This MS., Waterland says, was not to be found when he wrote, but he entertains no doubt that Usher had really seen it, and is inclined to trust his judgment on the question of its date.

3. A commentary on the creed, published by Muratori, and unhesitatingly assigned by Waterland

[ocr errors]

Divinitate mutata.”—Enchiridion, ch. xxxiv. “Idem Deus qui homo et qui Deus idem homo: non confusione naturæ, sed unitate personæ.' --Serm. clxxxvi. “Sicut enim unus est homo anima rationalis et caro ; sio unus est Christus Deus et homo."-In Johan. Evan. Tr. lxxviii. 3.

1 "Si quis presbyter, diaconus, subdiaconus vel clericus symbolum quod sancto inspirante spiritu Apostoli tradiderunt, et fidem Sancti Athanasii præsulis irreprehensibiliter non recensuerit, ab episcopo condemnatur." Hardouin, vol. iii. p. 13.

(as by its first editor) to Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poictiers about 570.

Now with regard to these three pieces of evidence, it must be noted first, that though the canon referred to is a real canon of Autun, reasons have been given for doubting whether it actually belongs to the series passed in the Synod of 670;' and its date cannot be appealed to with the same confidence as formerly. Secondly, Archbishop Usher's lost “Cotton MS.” has been discovered since Waterland's day in the library at Utrecht. It is now well known to scholars as the “ Utrecht Psalter," and the opinion of experts assigns it to a date considerably later than that at which Usher put it. Indeed, there are grounds for thinking that it may have been written as late as the ninth century. Thirdly, the commentary, supposed by Waterland to be the work of Venantius Fortunatus, is only assigned to “ Fortunatus" in a single MS.3 But Fortunatus is not an uncommon name, and there is really nothing whatever to identify the author of the commentary with Venantius Fortunatus, the Bishop of Poictiers in the sixth century. Thus the reason given for dating this work about the year 570 disappears altogether.

In this way the earliest testimonies formerly brought forward have had doubts thrown upon their value, and it has been thought that the internal evidence, if unsupported by early external authorities, is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider the creed as a work of the fifth century. Further, it has been said that there is no

1 See Lumby, History of the Creeds, p. 204. Of., however, Ommanney, Critical Dissertation on the Athanasian Creed, p. 52 seq., where strong reasons are given for upholding Waterland's view of the date of this

? Ibid. p. 210. 8 The MS. which is at Milan (M. 79 sup.) is assigned to the eleventh century. In other MSS. of the same commentary or exposition, e.g. that in the Bodleian (Junius, 25) no author's name is attached to it. Seo Swainson, The Nicene and Apostles' Creeds, ch. xxix. and Lumby, p. 208

canon.

« ПредишнаНапред »