Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XVII
Chapter XVII.—Miltiades and His Works.
1. In this work he mentions a writer, Miltiades, 1603 stating that he also wrote a certain p. 234 book against the above-mentioned heresy. After quoting some of their words, he adds:
“Having found these things in a certain work of theirs in opposition to the work of the brother Alcibiades, 1604 in which he shows that a prophet ought not to speak in ecstasy, 1605 I made an abridgment.”
2. A little further on in the same work he gives a list of those who prophesied under the new covenant, among whom he enumerates a certain Ammia 1606 and Quadratus, 1607 saying:
“But the false prophet falls into an ecstasy, in which he is without shame or fear. Beginning with purposed ignorance, he passes on, as has been stated, to involuntary madness of soul.
3. They cannot show that one of the old or one of the new prophets was thus carried away in spirit. Neither can they boast of Agabus, 1608 or Judas, 1609 or Silas, 1610 or the daughters of Philip, 1611 or Ammia in Philadelphia, or Quadratus, or any others not belonging to them.”
4. And again after a little he says: “For if after Quadratus and Ammia in Philadelphia, as they assert, the women with Montanus received the prophetic gift, let them show who among them received it from Montanus and the women. For the apostle thought it necessary that the prophetic gift should continue in all the Church until the final coming. But they cannot show it, though this is the fourteenth year since the death of Maximilla.” 1612
5. He writes thus. But the Miltiades to whom he refers has left other monuments of his own zeal for the Divine Scriptures, 1613 in the discourses which he composed against the Greeks and against the Jews, 1614 answering each of them separately in two books. 1615 And in addition he addresses an apology to the earthly rulers, 1616 in behalf of the philosophy which he embraced.
This Miltiades is known to us from three sources: from the present chapter, from the Roman work quoted by Eusebius in chap. 28, and from Tertullian (adv. Val. chap. 5). Jerome also mentions him in two places (de vir. ill. 39 and Ep. ad Magnum; Mignes ed. Ep. 70, §3), but it is evident that he derived his knowledge solely from Eusebius. That Miltiades was widely known at the end of the second century is clear from the notices of him by an Asiatic, a Roman, and a Carthaginian writer. The position in which he is mentioned by Tertullian and by the anonymous Roman writer would seem to indicate that he flourished during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His Apology was addressed to the emperors, as we learn from §5, below, by which might be meant either Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (161–169), or Marcus Aurelius and Commodus (177–180). Jerome states that he flourished during the reign of Commodus (Floruit autem M. Antonini Commodi temporibus; Vallarsi adds a que after Commodi, thus making him flourish in the times of M. Antoninus and Commodus, but there is no authority for such an addition). It is quite possible that he was still alive in the time of Commodus (though Jeromes statement is of no weight, for it rests upon no independent authority), but he must at any rate have written his Apology before the death of Marcus Aurelius. The only works of Miltiades named by our authorities are the anti-Montanistic work referred to here, and the three mentioned by Eusebius at the close of this chapter (two books Against the Greeks, two books Against the Jews, and an Apology). Tertullian speaks of him as an anti-Gnostic writer, so that it is clear that he must have written another work not mentioned by Eusebius, and it was perhaps that work that won for him the commendation of the anonymous writer quoted in chap. 28, who ranks him with Justin, Tatian, Irenæus, Melito, and Clement as one who had asserted the divinity of Christ. Eusebius appears to have seen the three works which he mentions at the close of this chapter, but he does not quote from them, and no fragments of any of Miltiades writings have been preserved to us; he seems indeed to have passed early out of the memory of the Church.
A very perplexing question is his relation to Montanism. According to Eusebius, he was the author of an anti-Montanistic work, but this report is beset with serious difficulties. The extract which Eusebius quotes just below as his authority has “Alcibiades,” not “Miltiades,” according to the unanimous testimony of the mss. and versions. It is very difficult to understand how Miltiades, if it stood originally in the text, could have been changed to Alcibiades. Nevertheless, most editors have thought it necessary to make the change in the present case, and most historians (including even Harnack) accept the alteration, and regard Miltiades as the author of a lost anti-Montanistic work. I confess that, imperative as this charge at first sight seems to be, I am unable to believe that we are justified in making it. I should be inclined to think rather that Eusebius had misread his authority, and that, finding Miltiades referred to in the immediate context (perhaps the Montanist Miltiades mentioned in chap. 16), he had, in a hasty perusal of the work, overlooked the less familiar name Alcibiades, and had confounded Miltiades with the author of the anti-Montanistic work referred to here by our Anonymous. He would then naturally identify him at once with the Miltiades known to him through other works. If we suppose, as Salmon suggests, that Eusebius did not copy his own extracts, but employed a scribe to do that work (as we should expect so busy a man to do), it may well be that he simply marked this extract in regard to the anti-Montanistic work without noticing his blunder, and that the scribe, copying the sentence just as it stood, correctly wrote Alcibiades instead of Miltiades. In confirmation of the supposition that Eusebius was mistaken in making Miltiades the author of an anti-Montanistic work may be urged the fact that Tertullian speaks of Miltiades with respect, and ranks him with the greatest Fathers of the second century. It is true that the term by which he describes him (ecclesiarum sophista) may not (as Harnack maintains) imply as much praise as is given to Proculus in the same connection; nevertheless Tertullian does treat Miltiades with respect, and does accord him a high position among ecclesiastical writers. But it is certainly difficult to suppose that Tertullian can thus have honored a man who was known to have written against Montanism. Still further, it must be noticed that Eusebius himself had not seen Miltiades anti-Montanistic work; he knew it only from the supposed mention of it in this anonymous work from which he was quoting. Certainly it is not, on the whole, difficult to suppose him mistaken and our mss. and versions correct. I therefore prefer to retain the traditional reading Alcibiades, and have so translated. Of the Alcibiades who wrote the anti-Montanistic treatise referred to, we know nothing. Upon Miltiades, see especially Harnacks Texte und Untersuchungen, I. I, p. 278 sqq., Ottos Corpus Apol. Christ. IX. 364 sqq., and Salmons article in the Dict. of Christ. Biog. III. 916.234:1604
῎Αλκιβι€δου, with all the mss. and versions, followed by Valesius (in his text), by Burton, Laemmer, and Crusè; Nicephorus, followed by Valesius in his notes, and by all the other editors, and by the translations of Stroth, Closs, and Stigloher, read Μιλτι€δου. See the previous note.234:1605
This was the first work, so far as we know, to denounce the practice of prophesying in ecstasy. The practice, which had doubtless fallen almost wholly into disuse, was brought into decided disrepute on account of the excesses of the Montanists, and the position taken by this Alcibiades became very soon the position of the whole Church (see the previous chapter, note 14).234:1606
Of this prophetess Ammia of Philadelphia, we know only what we can gather from this chapter. She would seem to have lived early in the second century, possibly in the latter part of the first, and to have been a prophetess of considerable prominence. That the Montanists had good ground for appealing to her, as well as to the other prophets mentioned as their models, cannot be denied. These early prophets were doubtless in their enthusiasm far more like the Montanistic prophets than like those whom the Church of the latter part of the second century alone wished to recognize.234:1607
This Quadratus is to be identified with the Quadratus mentioned in Bk. III. chap. 37, and was evidently a man of prominence in the East. He seems to have been a contemporary of Ammia, or to have belonged at any rate to the succession of the earliest prophets. He is to be distinguished from the bishop of Athens, mentioned in Bk. IV. chap. 23, and also in all probability from the apologist, mentioned in Bk. IV. chap. 3. Cf. Harnack, Texte und Unters. I. I. p. 102 and 104; and see Bk. III. chap. 37, note 1, above.234:1608
On Agabus, see Acts xi. 28, xxi. 10.234:1609
On Judas, see Acts 15:22, 27, 32.234:1610
On Silas, see Acts xv.-xviii. passim; also 2 Cor. 1:19, 1 Thess. 1:1, 2 Thess. 1:1, 1 Pet. 5:122 Cor. 1:19, 1 Thess. i. 1, 2 Thess. i. 1, and 1 Pet. v. 12, where Silvanus (who is probably the same man) is mentioned.234:1611
On the daughters of Philip, see Acts xxi. 9; also Bk. III. chap. 31, note 8, above.234:1612
On the date of Maximillas death, see the previous chapter, note 32. To what utterance of “the apostle” (ὁἀπόστολος, which commonly means Paul) our author is referring, I am not able to discover. I can find nothing in his writings, nor indeed in the New Testament, which would seem to have suggested the idea which he here attributes to the apostle. The argument is a little obscure, but the writer apparently means to prove that the Montanists are not a part of the true Church, because the gift of prophecy is a mark of that Church, and the Montanists no longer possess that gift. This seems a strange accusation to bring against the Montanists,—we might expect them to use such an argument against the Catholics. In fact, we know that the accusation is not true, at least not entirely so; for we know that there were Montanistic prophetesses in Tertullians church in Carthage later than this time, and also that there was still a prophetess at the time Apollonius wrote (see chap. 18, §6), which was some years later than this (see chap. 18, note 3).234:1613
περὶ τὰ θεῖα λόγια. These words are used to indicate the Scriptures in Bk. VI. chap. 23, §2, IX. 9. 7, X. 4. 28, and in the Martyrs of Palestine, XI. 2.234:1614
žν τε οἷς πρὸς ῞Ελληνας συνέταξε λόγοις, καὶ τοῖς πρὸς ᾽Ιουδαίους. Eusebius is the only one to mention these works, and no fragments of either of them are now extant. See above, note 1.234:1615
ἑκατέρᾳ& 184·δίως ὑποθέσει ἐν δυσὶν ὑπαντησας συγγρ€μμασιν234:1616
Or, “to the rulers of the world” (πρὸς τοὺς κοσμικοὺς ἄρχοντας.) Valesius supposed these words to refer to the provincial governors, but it is far more natural to refer them to the reigning emperors, both on account of the form of the phrase itself and also because of the fact that it was customary with all the apologists to address their apologies to the emperors themselves. In regard to the particular emperors addressed, see above, note 1.
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