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“Eusebius - The Two Theodoti: Historia Ecclesiastica, 5.28”
About Theodotus the Cobbler and Theodotus the Banker, representatives of a second century "adoptionist" school of Christology.
Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.
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TEXTS & TRANSLATIONS
History of the Church
Andrew Louth ed.
Cameron and Hall
W. J. Ferrar
Eusebii Pamphili Evangelicae Praeparations, Tomus I (Greek Edition)
Notley and Safrai
Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism
Harold W. Attridge
Constantine and Eusebius
Eusebius of Caesarea Against Paganism
Christ as Mediator: A Study of the Theologies of Eusebius of Caesarea,
Marcellus of Ancyra, and Athanasius of Alexandria
1. In a laborious work by one of these writers against the heresy of Artemon,
which Paul of Samosata attempted to revive again in our day, there is an
account appropriate to the history which we are now examining.
2. For he criticises, as a late innovation, the above-mentioned heresy which
teaches that the Saviour was a mere man, because they were attempting to
magnify it as ancient. Having given in his work many other arguments in
refutation of their blasphemous falsehood, he adds the following words:
3. “For they say that all the early teachers and the apostles received and
taught what they now declare, and that the truth of the Gospel was preserved
until the times of Victor, who was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from
Peter, but that from his successor, Zephyrinus, the truth had been
4. And what they say might be plausible, if first of all the Divine
Scriptures did not contradict them. And there are writings of certain
brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote in behalf of the
truth against the heathen, and against the heresies which existed in their
day. I refer to Justin and Miltiades and Tatian and Clement
and many others, in all of whose works Christ is spoken of as God.
5. For who does not know the works of Irenæus and of Melito and of
others which teach that Christ is God and man? And how many psalms and
hymns, written by the faithful brethren from the beginning, celebrate
Christ the Word of God, speaking of him as Divine.
6. How then since the opinion held by the Church has been preached for so
many years, can its preaching have been delayed as they affirm, until the
times of Victor? And how is it that they are not ashamed to speak thus
falsely of Victor, knowing well that he cut off from communion Theodotus,
the cobbler, the leader and father of this God-denying apostasy, and the
first to declare that Christ is mere man? For if Victor agreed with their
opinions, as their slander affirms, how came he to cast out Theodotus, the
inventor of this heresy?”
7. So much in regard to Victor. His bishopric lasted ten years, and
Zephyrinus was appointed his successor about the ninth year of the reign of
Severus. The author of the above-mentioned book, concerning the founder
of this heresy, narrates another event which occurred in the time of Zephyrinus, using these words:
8. “I will remind many of the brethren of a fact which took place in our
time, which, had it happened in Sodom, might, I think, have proved a warning
to them. There was a certain confessor, Natalius, not long ago, but in
our own day.
9. This man was deceived at one time by Asclepiodotus and another Theodotus, a money-changer. Both of them were disciples of Theodotus,
the cobbler, who, as I have said, was the first person excommunicated by
Victor, bishop at that time, on account of this sentiment, or rather
10. Natalius was persuaded by them to allow himself to be chosen bishop of
this heresy with a salary, to be paid by them, of one hundred and fifty
denarii a month.
11. When he had thus connected himself with them, he was warned oftentimes
by the Lord through visions. For the compassionate God and our Lord Jesus
Christ was not willing that a witness of his own sufferings, being cast out
of the Church, should perish.
12. But as he paid little regard to the visions, because he was ensnared by
the first position among them and by that shameful covetousness which
destroys a great many, he was scourged by holy angels, and punished severely
through the entire night. Thereupon having risen in the morning, he put
on sackcloth and covered himself with ashes, and with great haste and tears
he fell down before Zephyrinus, the bishop, rolling at the feet not only of
the clergy, but also of the laity; and he moved with his tears the
compassionate Church of the merciful Christ. And though he used much
supplication, and showed the welts of the stripes which he had received, yet
scarcely was he taken back into communion.”
13. We will add from the same writer some other extracts concerning them,
which run as follows:
“They have treated the Divine Scriptures recklessly and without fear. They
have set aside the rule of ancient faith; and Christ they have not known.
They do not endeavor to learn what the Divine Scriptures declare, but strive
laboriously after any form of syllogism which may be devised to sustain
their impiety. And if any one brings before them a passage of Divine
Scripture, they see whether a conjunctive or disjunctive form of syllogism
can be made from it.
14. And as being of the earth and speaking of the earth, and as ignorant of
him who cometh from above, they forsake the holy writings of God to devote
themselves to geometry. Euclid is laboriously measured by some of
them; and Aristotle and Theophrastus are admired; and Galen, perhaps, by
some is even worshiped.
15. But that those who use the arts of unbelievers for their heretical
opinions and adulterate the simple faith of the Divine Scriptures by the
craft of the godless, are far from the faith, what need is there to say?
Therefore they have laid their hands boldly upon the Divine Scriptures,
alleging that they have corrected them.
16. That I am not speaking falsely of them in this matter, whoever wishes
may learn. For if any one will collect their respective copies, and compare
them one with another, he will find that they differ greatly.
17. Those of Asclepiades, for example, do not agree with those of Theodotus. And many of these can be obtained, because their disciples have
assiduously written the corrections, as they call them, that is the
corruptions, of each of them. Again, those of Hermophilus do not
agree with these, and those of Apollonides are not consistent with
themselves. For you can compare those prepared by them at an earlier date
with those which they corrupted later, and you will find them widely
different. 18. But how daring this offense is, it is not likely that they
themselves are ignorant. For either they do not believe that the Divine
Scriptures were spoken by the Holy Spirit, and thus are unbelievers, or else
they think themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and in that case what else
are they than demoniacs? For they cannot deny the commission of the crime,
since the copies have been written by their own hands. For they did not
receive such Scriptures from their instructors, nor can they produce any
copies from which they were transcribed.
19. But some of them have not thought it worth while to corrupt them, but
simply deny the law and the prophets, and thus through their lawless and
impious teaching under pretense of grace, have sunk to the lowest depths of
perdition.” Let this suffice for these things.
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Theodotus the Cobbler
Theodotus the Banker
Theodotus of Byzantium
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