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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XXXVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXXVII.—The Dissension of the Arabians. 2054

About the same time others arose in Arabia, putting forward a doctrine foreign to the truth. They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together. And at that time also a synod of considerable size assembled, and Origen, being again invited thither, spoke publicly on the question with such effect that the opinions of those who had formerly fallen were changed.



The exact nature of the heresy which is here described by Eusebius is somewhat difficult to determine. It is disputed whether these heretics are to be reckoned with the θνητοπσυχίται (whom John of Damascus mentions in his de Hæres. c. 90, and to whom Augustine refers, under the name of Arabici, in his de Hæres, c. 83), that is, those who taught the death of the soul with the body, or with the πνοψυχίται, who taught that the soul slept between the death and the resurrection of the body. Redepenning, in a very thorough discussion of the matter (II. 105 sq.), concludes that the heresy to which Eusebius refers grew up under Jewish influence, which was very strong in Arabia, and that it did not teach the death (as Eusebius asserts), but only the slumber of the soul. He reckons them therefore with the second, not the first, class mentioned. But it seems to me that Redepenning is almost hypercritical in maintaining that it is impossible that these heretics can have taught that the soul died and afterward was raised again; for it is no more impossible that they should have taught it than that Eusebius and others should have supposed that they did. In fact, there does not seem to be adequate ground for correcting Eusebius’ statement, which describes heretics who must distinctly be classed with the θνητοπσυχίται mentioned later by John of Damascus. We do not know the date at which the synod referred to in this chapter was held. We only know that it was subsequent to the one which dealt with Beryllus, and therefore it must have been toward the close of Philip’s reign.

Next: Chapter XXXVIII

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