« AnteriorContinua »
to the judgment and discretion of the reader, having said so much concerning the various sorts of styles under that proposition.
What remains further is, that I add something concerning the manner in which Clemens and Lactantius have cited this book. As to the latter, though he indeed produces a passage out of it, he does not cite it as of any authority, nor in the least intimate that it was wrote by those apostles. As to the former, though he indeed cite it several times, which has been made the great argument to support its authority, I shall think it sufficient to observe,
1. That he never does cite it as scripture, or under that name.
2. That it does not follow from a bare citation of it, that he judged it to be the work of those apostles. Why might he not cite it as an ecclesiastical book ? I have above proved, that he did in like manner cite a passage out of the Gospel of the Hebrews, which yet himself rejected as not canonical; but
3. Suppose he did really appeal to it as a genuine book, it will be a most absurd inference, that therefore it was canonical; it is at most but the testimony of one single father against the express testimony of many others as good and proper judges as himself, as well as against a great many strong arguments of its spuriousness. But
4. To speak what I really think; since it is certain the first Christians did
forge several pious books to gain credit to Christianity, as for instance, The Verses of the Sibyls, &c. out of the same principle I suspect Clemens made use of this book under the name of Peter, just in the same manner as he has very
often in his works taken testimonies against the pagans out of the spurious Verses of the Sibyls. See p. 17, 32, 41, 223, 304, 323, 601, 604, 636, &c.
Upon the whole, I conclude this Preaching of Peter to have been the forgery of some Ebionites in the beginning of the second century, and contained things vastly different from any thing that ever the apostles preached; that it passed under various changes, suffered many interpolations, and was a most silly and impious imposture.
CHAP. XXXVI. The Revelation of Peter supposed by Dr. Grabe equal to the
Revelation of John ; by Mr. Toland, as preferable to seven books of our present canon ; by Mr. Whiston, to have been a sacred book.
Their opinion of it groundless ; for Clemens Alexandrinus never cited it. The Book of Hypotyposes not written by Clemens, but another ; proved out of Photius. A conjecture concerning the Hypotyposes supported out of Cassiodorus. The Excerpta Theodoti not made by Clemens. The contents of these Eclogues, or Excerpta; and their contrariety to the known doctrines of Clemens. They were not part of the Hypotyposes, as Mr. Valesius supposes, nor part of the Stromata. This fully proved. The Preaching of Peter not esteemed by Eusebius. He does not contradict himself in relation to that book, as has been generally supposed. A method of clearing him.
N°. LIII. The Revelation of Peter. BESIDES the Gospel, Acts, Judgment, and Preaching, I observe there was also extant formerly a book called, The Revelation of Peter. The ancient writers who have mentioned it are as follow; viz.
1. Clemens Alexandrinus 1. There was a book formerly extant under his name, but now lost, entitled, The Hypotyposes of Clemens; and in this he made use of the Revelation of Peter, as Eusebius informs usr. 'Εν δε ταϊς Υποτυπώσεσι πάσης In the books of his called Hypoτης ενδιαθήκου γραφής επιτετμη- typoses, he has wrote some short μένας πεποίηται διηγήσεις, μηδε commentaries upon all the books τας αντιλεγομένας παρελθών» την of scripture, not omitting even Ιούδα λέγω, και τας λοιπάς καθο
the controverted books, I mean λικές επιστολές, τήν τε Βαρνάβα, that of Jude, and the other caκαι την Πέτρου λεγομένην 'Απο
tholic epistles; the Epistle of κάλυψιν.
Barnabas, and that called The
Revelation of Peter.
2. Theodotus s. Διό και Πέτρος εν τη Αποκαλύψει Wherefore Peter in his Revelation 9 Lib. Hypotypos.
Excerpt. ad Calc. Opp. Clem. Alex. * Hist. Eccles. 1.6. c. 14.
φησί, Και αστραπή πυρός πηδώσα Baith, And the light of fre darted από των βρεφών εκείνων, και πλήσ- from those infants, and did strike σουσα τους οφθαλμούς των γυναι- upon
the eyes of the women. κών.
3. By the samet. Αυτίκα ο Πετρος εν τη Αποκαλύ- Presently after, Peter says in his ψει φησίν, Τα βρέφη εξαμβλω- Revelation, « That abortive inθέντα της αμείνονος εσόμενα πεί- « fants are in the most happy cirρας, ταύτα αγγέλω τημελούχω
“ cumstances, that they are comπαραδίδοσθαι, ίνα γνώσεως μετα
« mitted to a guardian angel, by λαβόντα, της αμείνονος τύχη μο
“ which means they are so inνής, παθόντα και αν έπαθεν και εν
structed, as to obtain a more σώματι γενόμενα τα δ' έτερα μό
“ excellent mansion, but first suf
“fering what they would have νης της σωτηρίας τεύξεται, ως ήδι
“ suffered, if they had continued κημένα ελεηθέντα, και μένει άνευ
“ in the body : but as for others, κολάσεως, τούτο γέρας λαβόντα.
they indeed find mercy, and Το δε γάλα των γυναικών ρέον
“ obtain mansions of happiness από των μαστών και πηγνύμενον,
« for the injuries they have sufφησίν ο Πέτρος εν τη Αποκαλύ
“ fered ; and thus in this conψει, γεννήσει θηρία λεπτά σαρκο
“ dition they shall abide without φάγα, και ανατρέχοντα εις αυτές,
“ punishment, receiving this for κατεσθίει.
“ their reward.” Again, as Peter says in his Revelation, “the milk of women, flowing down from “their breasts, and coagulating, shall produce small carnivorous ani« mals, which should rush back upon them, and destroy them.”
4. By Eusebius u. Το λεγόμενον αυτού Κήρυγμα και That book, which is called The την καλουμένην 'Αποκάλυψιν ουδ' Preaching of Peter, and The Reόλως εν καθολικούς ισμεν παραδε- velation of Peter, we know, have δομένα ότι μήτε αρχαίων, μήτε
not been delivered to us (or esτων καθ' ημάς τις εκκλησιαστικός teemed) as canonical books ; inσυγγραφεύς ταϊς εξ αυτών συνε
asmuch as none of the ancients,
of our ecclesiastical writχρήσατο μαρτυρίαις.
ers, have taken testimonies out
of them. .
5. By the same . 'Εν τούς νόθοις κατατετάχθω -ή The Revelation of Peter is to be 'Αποκάλυψις Πέτρου.
ranked among those books which
are spurious. + Lib. cit. p. 807.
u Hist. Eccles. l. 3. c. 3. * Cap. 25. ejusdem libri.
6. By Jerome y. Libri autem ejus, e quibus unus
But the books under the name Actus inscribiturquartus Apo- of Peter, of which one is entitled calypsis, inter apocryphas scri- his Acts, another his Gospel,-a pturas reputantur.
fourth his Revelation, are reckoned among the apocryphal scrip
tures. This is all that is to be found among the ancients relating to this book : there is not much said of it by the moderns; only Dr. Grabe2 would by no means have it reckoned an heretical book, but composed by the orthodox Christians, and no more liable to suspicion of heresy on account of its strange doctrines, than the Revelation of John, and therefore that we should not be too free in our conjectures about such ancient obscure prophecies. The truth is, which I have often thought, this learned doctor had very much the same opinion of these books, and some, if not all those, of our present canon. Mr. Toland would have it esteemed as valuable as seven books of our present canon, (see the place above, Chap. XXXIV. No. V.) by more than a parity of reason, i. e. there are better arguments for this book than those. Mr. Whiston a also recommends it as a sacred book.
The substance, and indeed the whole that is urged for the book is, that it was made use of by Clemens and Theodotus, not rejected by Eusebius, but said to be read in all the churches of Palestine. I shall consider each of these distinctly, and then proceed to determine concerning the book.
I. As to Clement's using this book, I observe, that this is founded wholly upon that place of Eusebius, above produced, No. I. viz. where he says, that Clemens Alexandrinus in his Hypotyposes wrote some short notes or commentaries upon all the parts of scripture, not omitting the controverted books, and among these The Revelation of Peter. But to this I answer,
1. That it does not follow, that this book was of any authority, because Clemens did write some short notes upon it. This he might do in the same manner as several learned men have wrote notes upon the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. y Catal. Viror. illustr. in Petro.
Essay on the Constit. p. 24. 2 Spicileg. Patr. t. 1. p. 71. &c.
326 The Hypotyposes under Clement's Name, not his. PART II.
2. Those Hypotyposes, or this book of Notes upon the whole Scripture, under the name of Clemens, were not really his, but the composure of some impious heretic. The book itself is now quite lost, and only some few fragments of it preserved by Eusebius b and Photiusc; but yet I think we want not evidence to make it appear to have been the work, not of Clemens, but of a quite different person, from the account the learned Photius gives of it. He says, it was indeed “ an at
tempt to explain all the parts of scripture; and though some“ times he expounded justly, yet in other things his interpre“ tations were impious and fabulous :" he asserts matter to be eternal, makes Christ a creature, holds the transmigration of souls, and that there were great numbers of surprising worlds before Adam was made ; that the angels had commerce with women, and children by them; that Christ was not flesh, but appeared to be so, with a thousand other such blasphemies and fooleries, &c. On the account of which this book is not only despised by the excellent Photius, but rejected. And indeed any one, who has read the works of Clemens Alexandrinus, will easily perceive the whole of this book contrary to the true Clemens and his principles ; which is also observed by Photius, cod. cxi. For speaking of his books, called Stromata, he remarks, that “ though they are not in all respects sound, yet “ they are not like the Hypotyposes, which agòs toana Tūv éxei
diquéxetas, contain many things directly opposite to these.” After reading this, I made no question with myself, but these commentaries ascribed to Clemens were a spurious piece; and was not a little confirmed therein, when I observed that great master of books, Photius, had entertained the same suspicion, and seems inclined to believe these commentaries were made by τινός ετέρου το αυτού πρόσωπον υποκριθέντος, «by some other per
son pretending to be Clemens;” upon which Andreas Schottus, his scholiast, notes, that his conjecture seems probable, because the other parts of the works of Clemens contain sound doctrine. I shall take it therefore for proved, that these Hypotyposes, or Notes upon the Epistles, were not written by Clemens, but some silly heretic; to all which I will subjoin a conjecture, which I cannot but think probable, viz. That those
1 Hist. Eccles. I. 1. C. 12. 1. 2. c. 1.9.15. 1. 6. c. 14.
c Cod. cix.