Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Of the heresy of the Audiani.
p. 114 Chapter IX.—Of the heresy of the Audiani.
The illustrious emperor thus took heed of the apostolic decrees, but Audæus, a Syrian alike in race and in speech, appeared at that time as an inventor of new decrees. He had long ago begun to incubate iniquities and now appeared in his true character. At first he understood in an absurd sense the passage “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” 698 From want of apprehension of the meaning of the divine Scripture he understood the Divine Being to have a human form, and conjectured it to be enveloped in bodily parts; for Holy Scripture frequently describes the divine operations under the names of human parts, since by these means the providence of God is made more easily intelligible to minds incapable of perceiving any immaterial ideas. To this impiety Audæus added others of a similar kind. By an eclectic process he adopted some of the doctrines of Manes 699 and denied that the God of the universe is creator of either fire or darkness. But these and all similar errors are concealed by the adherents of his faction.
They allege that they are separated from the assemblies of the Church. But since some of them exact a cursed usury, and some live unlawfully with women without the bond of wedlock, while those who are innocent of these practices live in free fellowship with the guilty, they hide the blasphemy of their doctrines by accounting as they do for their living by themselves. The plea is however an impudent one, and the natural result of Pharisaic teaching, for the Pharisees accused the Physician of souls and bodies in their question to the holy Apostles “How is it that your Master eateth with publicans and sinners?” 700 and through the prophet, God of such men says “Which say, come not near me for I am pure this is smoke of my wrath.” 701 But this is not a time to refute their unreasonable error. I therefore pass on to the remainder of my narrative. 702
Gen. i. 26114:699
Vide note on page 75.114:700
Mark ii. 16. Observe verbal inaccuracy of quotation.114:701
Is. lxv. 5. The Greek of the text is οἱ λέγοντες καθαρός εἰμι, μή μου ἅπτου οὗτος καπνὸς τοῦ θυμοῦ μου. In the Sept. the passage stand οἱ λεγοντες ποῤ& 191·ω ἀπ᾽ ἐμου, μὴ ἐγγίσῃς μοι ὅτι καθαρός εἰμι, etc. The O.T. is quoted as loosely as the New.114:702
Anthropomorphism, or the attribution to God of a human form is the frequent result of an unintelligent anthropopathism, which ascribes to God human feelings. Paganism did not rise higher than the material view. Judaism, sometimes apparently anthropomorphic, taught a Spiritual God. Tertullian uses expressions which exposed him to the charge of anthropomorphism, and the Pseudo Clementines (xvii. 2) go farther. The Audæus of the text appears to be the first founder of anything like an anthropomorphic sect.
Next: Of the heresy of the Messaliani.
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